pumpkin seeds

gjelina's squash, olive oil, and chocolate cake

autumn, breakfast, desserts, winter, vegetarian, sweetRachel SandersComment

I woke up yesterday still wearing my Buddy Christ shirt from Halloween (guess who we were!) and feeling mildly sugar hungover + for reals hungover + a bit discombobulated by how bright it was given that my phone read 7:35 am. So I made coffee and decided to go through this month's Book of the Month, Gjelina, and find some things to make for you all.

This squashy chocolate-studded loaf was one of the very last recipes, and it looked so very pretty and easy enough that my brain could handle making it in spite of the metaphorical coat hanger crammed into my skull. You sift together the dry ingredients, mix up the wet ones, combine them briefly and fold in the chocolate, and pour the whole thing into a pan. If you've ever made pancakes or muffins or put together an IKEA bookcase, this recipe is going to be cake for you (bahaha).

I'm so sorry, all of the candy has made me especially weird today.

I, like most of America, am all about the pumpkin-spiced stuff, but I was somewhat surprised that one of my favorite parts of this recipe ended up being the glaze. It's a simple powdered sugar glaze that is fortified by olive oil, and good lord, is it delicious. I ate most of it out of the bowl and felt thoroughly sugared afterwards, but it was completely worth it. I think I might borrow it and use it to glaze this cake. Travis suggests omitting the glaze if serving this cake for breakfast, but don't do it, I beg of you. It's really fantastic, and it helps to cut through the richness of the cake (which, with the oil content and chocolate, is certainly up there, though in a very good way).

If anything, if you want it to be more breakfasty, halve the chocolate. I know, I can't believe I said that either.

Makes 1 9x5-inch loaf - serves 8-12

The original recipe calls for you to make your own kabocha squash purée, which adds some depth of squashy flavor. I've adapted the recipe for using canned pumpkin, but if you'd like to make your own purée, there are instructions at the end of the recipe.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup canned pumpkin purée or homemade squash purée
3 eggs
8 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

1 1/4 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted, plus more as needed
2 Tbsp hot water, plus more as needed
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

3 Tbsp pepitas (raw, hulled pumpkin seeds), toasted in a dry skillet until nutty and browned
2 Tbsp crushed cacao nibs

Preheat the oven to 325˚F, and generously butter a 9x5-inch loaf pan.

Whisk (or sift) together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, olive oil, pumpkin purée, and eggs. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl with the wet ingredients and whisk until just combined. (Adding the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients helps to prevent little dry pockets in the bottom of the bowl.) Fold in the chopped chocolate.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 75 to 90 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool in its pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Run an icing spatula or a thin knife carefully around the edges, and invert the cake from the pan. Re-invert the cake so that it is right-side-up and let cool on the rack for another 20 minutes. Transfer to a serving plate.

To make the glaze: In a small bowl, whisk the confectioner's sugar with the water until smooth. Add more sugar and/or water until you have a glaze that is the consistency of honey. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking constantly to combine.

Pour the glaze over the cake, allowing it to drip down the sides. Sprinkle with the pepitas and cacao nibs and let the glaze set completely (about 1 hour) before serving.

To make your own squash purée: Remove the seeds from a 1-pound piece of kabocha squash and drizzle the squash with olive oil. Place squash cut-side down on a baking sheet and roast in a preheated 425˚F oven for 30-45 minutes, until the squash is very soft and beginning to caramelize around the edges. Remove from the oven and let cool. Scrape out the soft flesh into the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until smooth.

Place the puréed squash on a large square of cheesecloth, and wrap into a tight bundle. Put the bundle into a colander, and place over a large bowl. Let drain at least 4 hours, or up to overnight. Twist the top of the bundle to squeeze out any additional liquid. Unwrap the drained squash, and measure out 1 cup of purée for the cake recipe. Cover and refrigerate any remaining purée for another use (may be stored for up to 5 days).

antioxidant power oatmeal

breakfast, autumn, vegetarian, vegan, winterRachel SandersComment

This isn't exactly a recipe, but it's my favorite thing to eat for breakfast when camping or backpacking (this is what we ate on the Amethyst Basin backpacking trip). Oatmeal gives me the warming boost I want for my belly (and my hands) in the morning, and it gives me enough energy to carry me through until a late-morning snack or lunch on a high-activity day. Adding in trail mix with lots of seeds and berries makes it flavorful and texturally interesting, while the nut butter makes it creamy and luxurious and even more stick-to-your-ribs-y.

There aren't solid quantities in this recipe because you should make as much or as little as you want to eat, and add as much and as little trail mix/nut butter as you want to have! The world is your oyster.

Serves 1

rolled or instant oats
hearty trail mix (see below for my favorite add-ins)
nut butter

Put about 1/2 cup of oats into a bowl. Pour some boiling water over the oats (a lot or a little, depending on how thick you like your oatmeal) and let sit for a minute or two to soften the oats.

Stir in as much trail mix and nut butter as you want. Now, eat it!

My favorite trail mix for this breakfast usually contains most or all of the following:

pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
goji berries and/or cranberries
currants and/or raisins
walnuts and/or cashews and/or almonds
cacao nibs
candied ginger pieces

baked oatmeal with apples, rhubarb, almonds, and pepitas

autumn, breakfast, desserts, spring, sweet, winterFieldandForest1 Comment
baked oatmeal | field + forest

I know, I know... what, pray-tell, is this apple and nut-crumbly topped thing doing here in May. Would you believe that the Northern Utah high desert, land of the fourteen-day spring, has developed a Seattle-esque languor of thunderstorms and wind? That we've been slathering on sunscreen in the morning only to throw on our rain shells and boots in the afternoon (or vice versa)? That I haven't had to water my garden once in the past week and a half? That the ski resorts have closed for the season even though we've had an additional 16 inches of snow in the mountains in past 72 hours?

It is crazy-town.

But it's reinvigorated our desire for baked and braised and stick-to-your-ribs things for the time being, as we are feeling these feelings of homebody-ness and the need for thick socks and weekend mornings spent on the carpet with bowl food and Calvin & Hobbes anthologies. This oatmeal has been in the back of my mind since I received this book as a gift two years ago, and I am face-palming myself for not making it earlier. The original recipe calls for bananas and walnuts, but I'd encourage you to try this version while rhubarb is in season. It is like eating apple crumble and creme brulée and oatmeal all at the same time, and it has just enough cinnamon and nutmeg to make it feel warm and cozy even when eaten leftover straight out of the fridge.

Baked Oatmeal with Apples, Rhubarb, Almonds, and Pepitas
adapted from Heidi Swanson - serves 6 generously, or 12 as part of a larger brunch spread
This is the dream brunch dish, as you can prep the rhubarb compote the night before, and then easily prep the rest of the ingredients in the morning. Put it in the oven about a half-hour before the meal is slated to begin (it cooks for closer to 40 minutes, but in my experience people are generally a few minutes late to brunch), and it will fill your kitchen with all sorts of lovely smells before people arrive. I've given you proportions for an 8-inch by 8-inch baking dish, but you can easily 1 1/2 or double the recipe to suit your headcount or available baking dish size. I ended up 1 1/2-ing the recipe to fill my oval baking dish; if you do the same, aim for 5-6 apples instead of 3-4.

2 cups rolled oats (not instant oats)
1/2 cup pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds)
2 tablespoons flax seeds
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon natural cane sugar (granulated sugar), divided
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups milk
1 large egg
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3-4 large apples (Fuji, Pippin and McIntosh apples will all keep their shape when cooked) cored and cut into 1/2-inch thick wedges or slices
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Rhubarb Compote (recipe follows)
1/3 cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons chopped crystalized ginger, optional

To serve:
Fresh fruit or berries (blueberries, strawberries, or blackberries would all be delicious)

Preheat the oven to 375˚F/190˚C with a rack in the top third of the oven. Generously butter an 8-inch square baking dish, and set aside.

In a bowl, mix together the rolled oats, pepitas, flax seeds, chia seeds, 1/3 cup sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, and salt.

In another bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, half of the melted butter, and vanilla.

In a third bowl, combine the apple slices with the remaining tablespoon of sugar and the lemon juice, and toss to combine. Arrange the apples in the bottom of the buttered baking dish. Spoon the rhubarb compote over the apples (make sure it is distributed relatively evenly). Cover the fruit with the oat mixture. Slowly drizzle the milk-egg mixture over the oats, and gently give the baking dish a couple of thwacks on the counter so the milk evenly soaks the oats. Scatter the sliced almonds and the crystalized ginger, if using, across the top.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the top is nicely golden and the oat mixture is set. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for a few minutes. Drizzle the remaining melted butter over the top, and serve warm with yogurt and fresh fruit.

Rhubarb Compote (makes 1 1/2 cups)

2 cups sliced rhubarb (about 3-4 stalks)
1/4 cup sugar
a generous pinch of cinnamon

Combine the rhubarb, sugar, cinnamon, and a splash of water in a heavy-bottomed pot. Set the pot over low heat and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb begins to break down and turns rosy in color, about 10 minutes, adding more water if necessary to keep it from burning on the bottom of the pan. Taste, and add more sugar if necessary (I like my compote slightly tart).

raw choco-muesli with blueberries and ginger

autumn, breakfast, snacks, spring, summer, vegetarian, winterFieldandForestComment

I studied abroad in Germany during the summer between my junior and senior years in college. While I did eat a lot of traditional German foods (and drink a lot of traditional German beverages), my diet mainly consisted of gelato (which was 1 euro a scoop and came in flavors like "French!" and "Smurf!") and muesli, which was served each morning in the Alban Stolz Haus where I was staying.  The morning muesli rotated each day, varying the nuts, seeds, and fruit mixed in with oats, but my FAVORITE muesli by far was what was known as choco-muesli. Yes, this is muesli with chocolate, and yes, it is as amazing as it sounds.

Choco-muesli is usually oats, a nut (the one served at ASH had almonds), and maybe one or two other rolled grains, plus tiny little squares of "light" or dark chocolate (or sometimes you could even get boooooooth, so delicioussssss).  And the chocolate was GOOD.  I know this because I kept a box in my room for mornings when I slept through breakfast and, on a particular night when I went out for some traditional German beverages, came home and ate all of the little squares of chocolate out of the muesli in the box. It was overwhelmingly enjoyable at the time, and also very disappointing the next morning when I woke up to realize that a) the traditional German beverages had caused me to sleep through breakfast, and b) I had eaten all of the chocolate out of my emergency muesli.

I packed two boxes of choco-muesli in my suitcase for my return trip, ended up eating half of one on the plane, and finished the other box-and-a-half within a week of arriving back home. It is rare that I find choco-muesli ready-made in the States (though I certainly stock up when I do), so I've been making my own version with raw cacao nibs and other goodies.  While it lacks the novelty of tiny, perfect chocolate squares and the sense of youthful gluttony that comes with eating candy for breakfast, I daresay I like this as much (if not better) than the original.

Raw Choco-Muesli with Ginger and Blueberries
makes 6-7 cups

2-3 cups rolled oats (depending on your preferred oat-to-nut ratio; you can always start with 2 cups and add more later!)
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1 cup coarsely chopped raw almonds
1 cup dried blueberries
1/2 cup raw cacao nibs
1/2 cup finely chopped candied ginger

Mix the ingredients together in a large bowl, and store in a lidded jar or airtight container.  Properly stored, the muesli will keep for up to 1 month.

Traditional Preparation (for one serving) - soak 1/2 cup muesli in liquid (milk, yogurt, quark, coconut milk, plant milk, juice, or water) in the fridge overnight.  Top with fresh fruit before serving.

Short-On-Time Preparation (for one serving) - soak 1/2 cup muesli in liquid for a minimum of 5 minutes (I usually start my muesli soaking right after I wake up, and it's ready in the time it takes me to wash my face and get dressed).