Sweet Dukkah Cigars

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January 20th, 2015

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Dukkah is an Egyptian spice mix traditionally made of various nuts, sesame seeds, herbs and spices like coriander and cumin. It is typically served alongside bread as a savory dip, but can also be sprinkled on many dishes to add texture and spice – think salads, roasted vegetables and pasta.

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Having tried and completely fallen in love with traditional, savory dukkah, I had an idea to make a sweet dukkah mix. Mine consisted of pistachios, hazelnuts, black sesame and poppy seeds, with plenty of bright spices like cardamom, coriander, cinnamon and nutmeg, sweetened with dates.

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To stick with a Middle Eastern theme, I rolled up the dukkah into spelt dough cigars. The ‘cigar’ or ‘sigara’ is a traditional Turkish pastry shape, usually made with filo dough, cheese and herbs.

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The great thing about dukkah is that you can add or substitute nuts, seeds and spices based on your preference and what’s on hand. For this particular mix, I suggest to keep sesame seeds and cardamom as a constant, building around them. The result will be a fragrant, chewy, slightly crunchy, and subtly sweet pastry. A topping of chocolate is optional, but adds that perfect touch for all the chocoholics out there.

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Sweet Dukkah Cigars
makes 20 cigars

for sweet dukkah
1/2 cup raw hazelnuts or walnuts
1/3 cup sesame seeds
2 tablespoons poppy seeds – optional
4 green cardamom pods – crushed in mortar and pestle, green shells removed
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
2/3 cup raw, unsalted pistachio nuts
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3 soft dates – pitted and chopped
pinch of sea salt

to make dukkah
1. Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Spread hazelnuts or walnuts onto a baking sheet and toast for 5 minutes. Add sesame and poppy seeds, if using, and continue to toast for another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven.
2. Toast cardamom and coriander seeds in a pan over medium heat until fragrant, for about a minute or so. Grind them in a mortar and pestle.
3. Add hazelnuts/walnuts and pistachios to a bowl of a food processor, pulse a few times. Add sesame and poppy seeds, cardamom, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, dates and salt to the food processor. Pulse to combine to the consistency of coarse bread crumbs.

for dough
1 1/2 cups sprouted or whole spelt flour
1 1/2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
2 tablespoons miso paste
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup very warm water

to make dough
1. Put the flour into a medium mixing bowl, add oil and work it in. Make a well in the center.
2. Combine miso paste and 2 tablespoons water in a separate bowl and mix until smooth. Add the mixture into the flour well, followed by the rest of the water.
3. Start mixing with a fork, slowly incorporating flour into the liquid. Continue by kneading the dough with your hands until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.

for cigars
4 tablespoons ghee or coconut oil plus more for brushing finished cigars
4 tablespoon honey
about 1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate

to assemble and bake cigars
1. Melt 4 tablespoons ghee or coconut oil with 4 tablespoons of honey on a double boiler, combine well and keep warm.
2. Divide the dough into 2 even parts, keep one of them wrapped in plastic. Flour your working surface. Form a rope from the first part and cut it into 10 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a very thin wrapper, keeping the surface floured.
3. Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C). Brush each wrapper with coconut oil/honey mixture and sprinkle with about 1 tablespoon of dukkah. Roll the cigar tightly, tucking the sides in as you go. Repeat with the second part of the dough.
4. Place cigars on a parchment paper covered baking sheet and brush with melted ghee or coconut oil. Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool. Melt chocolate on a double boiler and sprinkle the cigars with melted chocolate. Enjoy!

Note: although these pastries are delicious right away, I found them improving in texture after resting for several hours or even overnight.

Tags: cardamom, dessert, dukkah, pistachio, sesame seed

Curried Squash and Kale Riceless Risotto

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January 12th, 2015

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Ever since I learned about the possibility of riceless risotto, it has become a staple lunch and dinner in our home. In this type of dish, rice gets replaced with rice-sized ‘grains’ made up of a chopped vegetable. I’ve made it my mission to try making ‘rice’ of all kinds of veggies, and so far I’ve really enjoyed riceless risotto made with broccoli stemscauliflower and rutabaga.

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Many winter vegetables work very well for replacing rice in risotto, and winter squash is at the top of that list. For this version, I used kabocha squash and curry spice for their warming wintery flavors, with a healthy dose of kale. The result is a very comforting and nourishing dish that can work as a main or side.

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Since preparing this post, I tried out different types of winter squashes in the recipe, and all of them work equally well. The only thing to note is that cooking time varies according to the type of squash you use (for example, buttercup squash requires less cooking time than kabocha), so I recommend tasting and adjusting as you go.

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Curried Squash and Kale Riceless Risotto

serves 4-6

1 bunch kale – stems removed, leaves chopped into bite size pieces
1/2 medium kabocha squash or other winter squash – roughly chopped, skin removed
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 large onion – finely chopped
1 tablespoon curry powder (I used homemade curry from this amazing book)
sea salt
1 1/2 cup warm good quality vegetable broth
1 cup unsweetened canned coconut milk, plus more if needed
1/2 lime – juice
Parmesan or sheep/goat milk feta – to taste, optional
freshly ground black pepper
1-2 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add kale, blanch for 3 minutes, drain and rinse under cold water. Squeeze with you hands to remove water excess, set aside.
2. Pulse kabocha squash pieces in a food processor into rice sized pieces. You may need to work in batches, depending on the size of your food processor.
3. Warm coconut oil in a large pan over medium low heat, add onions and saute for about 7-10 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add curry, squash and large pinch of salt, saute for 1 minute.
4. Add 1 cup veggie broth and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often. Add another 1/2 cup veggie broth and cook for another 5 minutes. Add coconut milk and cook for 2 more minutes.
5. Add kale, stir it into the risotto and cook for another 5 minutes. Taste the risotto at this point. If kabocha”rice” seems not soft enough to your taste, cook it for another 2-5 minutes. Add more broth or coconut milk, a little bit at a time, if needed.
6. Remove from heat, add a generous squeeze of lime juice and cheese if using. Taste for salt and spices, add salt and/or freshly ground black pepper, if desired. Garnish with parsley and serve warm.

Tags: curry, kabocha, kale, mains, riceless risotto, squash

Pitaya Breakfast Bowl

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December 29th, 2014

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Paloma often asks for açaí for breakfast, meaning the açaí bowl. It’s an easy and nutritious thing to make if you have frozen açaí puree on hand. Paloma loves it because it’s fruity, drinkable and, most importantly, purple. I make different variations on the bowl, but the ingredients that stay consistent are frozen puree of peruvian acai berries, ripe bananas, almond milk and some veggie protein. I often add other fruits, greens, and some nut butter, and top it with anything from bee pollen to cacao nibs.
I was recently introduced to a similar product, a frozen raw pitaya or dragon fruit puree, and my first thought was to turn it into a pitaya breakfast bowl.

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To my surprise, dragon fruit has its origin in Central America, while I’ve always thought of it as a strictly Asian fruit. Pitaya is a great source of antioxidants, magnesium, fiber, active enzymes, and B vitamins. It energizes, aids digestion, supports the immune system, and, as Paloma put it, it’s very pink!
It’s hard to believe that this week we will be saying goodbye to 2014.
2015 will mark the fifth year of Golubka Kitchen. Thank you for reading and Happy New Year!

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Pitaya Breakfast Bowl
Note: Pitaya Plus, the company that makes the frozen puree, sent me some of their product to try. Aside from making a raw, single ingredient, additive free puree, they are on a mission to help struggling farming communities in Central America, getting local farms certified, and taking their sustainably grown fruit to the larger market.

2 packages frozen pitaya puree (dragon fruit puree)
1-2 bananas
1/2 cup frozen berries
1/2 cup almond milk, preferably homemade
2 tablespoons vegetable protein powder, such as hemp, pea or your favorite nut butter

Blend all the ingredients in a blender until smooth. Divide between bowls and garnish with bee pollen, goji berries and hemp hearts. You can also enjoy it as a smoothie.

Tags: breakfast, breakfast bowl, dragon fruit, pitaya, smoothie

Chocolate Fudge with Fresh Sage and Goji Berries

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December 19th, 2014

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I want to wish you all a happy holiday season and thank you for your readership, for trying our dishes and for buying our book (in English and in French)! Hope you enjoyed this year of recipes, we have many more coming to you in 2015. Stay happy and healthy.

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Even though I often use sage in my savory dishes, this fudge marks the first time I tried it in a dessert, and it was a revelation. The combination of rich, dark chocolate and earthy, piney sage makes for a very festive treat. I added goji berries for their brilliant red color and medicinal properties.

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I imagine sage would also be a great addition to cookies, crumbles and other baked goods. A word of warning: you should like the taste of sage in order to enjoy this fudge, and if you’re not sure, try to add less at first. You can also completely omit it, the fudge stands very well on its own.
Happy Holidays!

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Chocolate Fudge with Sage and Goji Berries
(inspired by Emma’s Raw Chocolate Fudge)

3/4 cup dark chocolate – finely chopped
1 1/2 cup (12 oz) sesame tahini
1 tablespoon cocoa powder (preferably raw cacao)
1 tablespoon maca powder – optional
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt
about 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage, plus more for sprinkling on top
handful of goji berries

Melt chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl over a double broiler, add tahini and stir until completely smooth. Add cocoa, maca (if using), vanilla extract, salt and sage. Continue to mix to incorporate. Line an 8×8-inch baking dish with parchment paper, extending it to the sides. Pour the chocolate-tahini mixture into the dish, smooth with a spoon on top. Sprinkle with sage and goji berries. Place into the freezer until set completely. Take the tray out and remove fudge by the extended edges of parchment paper. Cut into bars and keep in the freezer, covered. Enjoy straight from the freezer, they melt fast.

Tags: chocolate, dessert, fudge, goji, sage