At the Studio: Dark Chocolate Energy Bites

A lot of you seemed enthusiastic about the No-Bake Energy Bars I posted to the QUITOKEETO site a few weeks back. Nut butter, toasted oats, chocolate – they’re dead simple to make, and key when I need a late afternoon energy boost, or morning boost, or, whenever, really. Because those were so popular, I thought I’d share another favorite – Dark Chocolate Energy Bites. I made these for our studio snack this week, and took a little box of the extras in my purse on our quick road trip to Los Angeles last week. The jist: good-quality dark chocolate crammed with as much good stuff as it can hold. In this case I pack the little bars with lots of chopped nuts, seeds, and dried fruit. Then I sprinkle them with things like bee or fennel pollen, crushed rose petals, sea salt, and more nuts and seeds to give them a little extra nutritional boost, and to bump up the pretty. Make a batch, wrap them in gold foil candy paper, or parchment, and place in a drawer – you’re set for the month. I used a mix of almonds, pecans, walnuts, and hazelnuts, and dried nectarines here. But, as you can imagine, the recipe is very flexible – dates, raisins, dried blueberries, all make good substitutions. Use great quality dark chocolate – 70% or higher if possible.I posted the recipe here >>>>.

Dark Chocolate Energy Bites
Dark Chocolate Energy Bites
Dark Chocolate Energy Bites

Continue reading At the Studio: Dark Chocolate Energy Bites…

Roasted Carrots & Dukkah + Meaning

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I started writing a text about summer food. About being offline and trying to unwind. A happy text about nothing of importance, really. With too many sad reports on the news recently, finding meaning in these short texts can sometimes be difficult.
Millions of refugees keep filling up camps in countries around Syria. Or climb onto small boats in Libya hoping that they will make it across the Mediterranean sea. Meanwhile, prejudices, hate and racism are on the rise both in the US and here in Europe. So how can  a blog post about summer food be meaningful at all?

Luise and I often talk about this. I am sure everyone does. This feeling of wanting to do more but not being sure what, or how to do it. A recipe can seem so irrelevant in the midst of it all. It looks like we might get involved in some voluntary work in relation the refugee situation in Syria within the next couple of months. But until then, we are trying to see meaningfulness around us.

The truth is of course that food does matter. It is important, in many more ways than just for our physical survival. Food is memories, heritage, happiness, family and food is love. Food gathers people around a table and makes us talk. Many of our best memories are connected with food. We solve problems over food. We celebrate. We become friends. So maybe a food blog isn’t that meaningless. Food is after all more than just a recipe.

And talking about meaning. Another truth that Luise and I try to live by, is that the most responsible thing we can do at the moment is infusing our children with kindness. Talking to them about how it never will matter how much money you have, the colour of your skin, if you are a man or a woman, where you are born or who you choose to love. We are all humans. And we are all equal. If we can all just pass that on to our children, they will hopefully grow old in a world with less hate and fear and more love than the one we are currently living in.
By writing this text, I have also passed that simple message on to you. Prepare the recipe in today’s blog post, share the meal with your friends or family and talk about the importance of kindness. It might be a cliche, but we believe it is one worth sharing.

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This is a simple summer dinner that we did the other day after we had prepared a large batch of the Egyptian spice blend Dukkah. Calling the meal simple might be a slight exaggeration as you actually have to prepare the spice blend as well as making the rest of the dinner. But it will be worth it. You will find that Dukkah can be added to an infinite amount of meals this summer. It carries a lot of flavour and adds both richness and crunch to whatever you pair it with. There are lots of Dukkah recipes to be found online so instead of adding yet another to the mix, we are simply sharing a slightly adapted version of Yotam and Sami’s brilliant Dukkah from their Jerusalem book.

In this recipe the Dukkah is generously sprinkled over roasted summer carrots and onions that rest on a bed of herby quinoa with a creamy feta cheese and yogurt spread on the side. Any roasted vegetables can of course be added to this meal and they can just as well be grilled on a bbq. It’s a summery, creamy, very flavourful and absolutely delicious dish. And hopefully more than that. Enjoy!

Much love and happy summer!
David, Luise, Elsa & Isac

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Roasted Carrots with Dukkah, Quinoa & Feta Yogurt Cream
Serves 4

Oven roasted summer carrots & onions
1 lb / 500 g (approx. 8 large) carrots
4 onions, shallots or red onions
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp maple syrup
sea salt and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F. Scrub the carrots under water and trim off the top greens. Cut the carrots lengthwise if they are thick (and keep thin carrots whole). Place on a baking tray. Peel off the outer layer of the onion and trim the top off. Cut into large chunks. Place on the baking tray next to the carrots. Stir together oil, maple, salt and pepper and drizzle over the vegetables, toss to cover. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until tender.

Herby Quinoa
1 cup / 170 g uncooked quinoa (or 2 1/2 cups pre-cooked)
1 large handful flat leave parsley
a generous drizzle of olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
sea salt & black pepper

Place rinsed quinoa in a saucepan, add water and salt and bring to a boil. Lower the heat immediately and let simmer for about 10-15 minutes, set aside and let cool. Chop parsley and stir through the quinoa together with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Feta & Yogurt Cream
5 oz / 150 g feta cheese
1 cup / 250 ml plain yogurt
sea salt & black pepper

Place feta cheese in a mixing bowl and mash with a fork, add yogurt and combine until creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste, set aside.

Dukkah spice blend
(adapted from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi)

1/2 cup / 70 g hazelnuts
2 tbsp sunflower seeds
3 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tsp nigella seeds
½ tsp sea salt

Preheat the oven to 160°C / 320°F. Spread the hazelnuts on a baking tray and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until cracked and golden.

Meanwhile heat a skillet or frying pan to medium heat. Add sunflower seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds and cumin and dry roast for no more than a minutes while stirring. Now add sesame seeds and nigella seeds and keep stirring until the sesame seeds turns light brown, it takes about 30 seconds. Set aside and add salt.

Rub the hazelnuts between the palms of your hands (or a towel) to remove and discard some of the skin. Place all ingredients in a pestle and mortar and coarsely crush the spice blend. Store in an airtight container for up to a month.

Assembling:
Spread the quinoa in a serving dish or on a large platter. Arrange the oven roasted carrots and onions on top. Spoon the feta and yogurt cream into a small bowl and place in the dish. Sprinkle the vegetables with a generous amount of Dukkah. Serve.

All Things Pesto

I noticed a number of great pesto-centric recipes deep in the 101 Cookbooks archives, and thought it might be helpful to pull a few of them to the forefront. The smell of basil in summer, and the fragrance that takes over a kitchen when preparing big batches of pesto is one of my favorite things. For those of you who haven’t made it yourself before, pesto also freezes nicely, so you can make a good amount while you’re at it. Later in the year, just a quick thaw, and you’re set. I’ve also included sun-dried tomato, as well as broccoli versions below, for when you’re lenient with the definition of pesto, and are ready to switch things up a bit ;)….xo -h

How to Make Pesto like an Italian Grandmother

How to Make Pesto like an Italian Grandmother: This favorite, stunning, vibrant pesto recipe was taught to me by my friend Francesca’s mother who came to visit from Genoa, Italy (nearly ten years ago now!) – hand-chopped basil, garlic, Parmesan, olive oil and pine nuts.

Red Pesto Ravioli

Red Pesto Ravioli: For the sun-dried tomato lovers out there. Goat-cheese raviolis tossed in a sun-dried tomato red pesto sauce, served over baby spinach.

Five

Five Herb Pesto:If you want to switch things up a bit, this is a summer pesto made from a mix of coriander, basil, arugula, oregano, and chives.

Double Broccoli Quinoa

Double Broccoli Quinoa: This is another favorite – I cook up lots of broccoli, then puree half of it into a pesto. The other half is cut into little florets. Toss the broccoli with some quinoa, sliced avocado and a drizzle of feisty chile pepper oil, and you’ve got a nice meal on your hands.

Other pesto-centric recipes that have caught my eye:

Lentil “Meatballs” in Lemon Pesto (Sprouted Kitchen)

Farro Risotto & Purslane Pistachio Pesto (Local Milk)

Asparagus Pesto Pizza with Oil-Cured Olives and Lemon Ricotta (Bojon Gourmet)

Spaghetti Squash with Kale Pesto and Burrata (Food52)

Pesto Potato Salad with Green Beans (Smitten Kitchen)

Arugula Caprese Salad with Kale Pesto (Sprouted Kitchen)

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Summer Drink Ideas

I’m delivering a list of quenchers today. A quick summer drink round-up to keep you hydrated and full of good ingredients while enjoying the sunshine. xo -h

Summer Drink Ideas

Vanilla Rose Water: I’ve encountered vanilla water in various guises over the past year or two. It’s fantastic. The first time was at Héctor Galván’s La Casa Tropical studio – it was sparkling water with a small segment of beautiful Mexican vanilla dropped into it. And again, the other night, my friend Bonni made a version combining a vanilla segment with fresh, fragrant rose petals, and a splash of rose water. It was a beautiful refresher. I did this version of Bonni’s (pictured above) and added ice-cubes frozen with a mix of summer berries to the rose petals and rose water.

Summer Drink Ideas

Pineapple Coconut Water: If you’ve never had absolutely fresh pineapple juice, you are missing out on one of life’s simple pleasures. I juiced my little pineapple, enjoyed the first glass straight, and proceeded to use the remaining in this quencher – made with coconut water, lime, and straight ginger juice. It is invigorating, fragrant, hydrating, and a pure, intense shade of yellow that somehow tips us off to its strength and vitality before ever picking up the glass.

Summer Drink Ideas

Paloma Rosa: One of our favorite cocktails, Palomas push all the buttons – bright, refreshing, tart, with a kiss of sweet and salty. They also couldn’t be simpler. Combine the juices and tequila ahead of time, and mix in a flash.

Summer Drink Ideas

Yellow Tomato Bloody Mary: Perfect this time of year, it’s the bloody mary I want to drink – fragrant herbs, yellow heirloom tomatoes, shallots, and a bit of kick from vodka and serrano pepper.

Summer Drink Ideas

Iced Green Tea: Cold-brewed after an initial hot splash of water to awaken the leaves, you can enjoy this chilled green tea straight, or accented with rose and a bit of whole coriander. A beautiful warm weather hydrator.

Summer Drink Ideas

White Peach Maple Soda: Make this when stone fruit is at its sweet and ripest.

Summer Drink Ideas

Blackberry Limeade: Put those plump, juicy summer berries to work. This blackberry limeade is a stunning jeweled-toned refresher, perfect for summer, from the cookbook Screen Doors and Sweet Tea by Martha Hall Foose.

Summer Drink Ideas

Green Juice: Everyone should have a green juice recipe in their repertoire, and this one is a ringer. Its heart and soul is straight green, not at all sweet, with a good amount of lemon-lime tang, and invigorating ginger lift.

Other summer spirited drinks that have caught my eye lately:

Hibiscus, Lemongrass, Basil and Honey Sweet Iced Tea (Half Baked Harvest)

Louisa Shafia’s Watermelon, Mint, and Cider Vinegar Tonic (Food52)

Ranier Cherry Muddler (Sprouted Kitchen)

Pink Grapefruit, Ginger, and Lemongrass Sake Cocktails (The Bojon Gourmet)

Pink Gin & Tequila & Tonic (New York Times)

Curious about what your go-to summer drink favorites are as well! -h

Continue reading Summer Drink Ideas…