Monday, September 26, 2011

Banana Almond Butter Pancakes

I have to admit - stopping long enough to take
this picture was difficult!
I've already explained this little thing I have with Sunday nights. I always get a burst of energy that comes with a creative urge to do something that is probably a much larger endeavor than I should attempt. Maybe it's a sad attempt to prolong the inevitable Monday morning. This website is actually the fault of a Sunday night...but I digress. Yesterday was a lovely Sunday: the weather was finally showing signs of fall, I had some minor successes in the kitchen (quick bratwurst recipe coming soon!), and we had come from the farmers market with some great finds.

As I stood in the kitchen with restless energy, knowing very well that my hunger was going to drive my evening late night activities, I looked around to see what was available. Sadly, while we had bought some beautiful dino egg pluots and fresh apples, that certainly wasn't going to be enough to fill the giant void in my stomach nor sooth my creative impulse. It occurred to me that we hadn't done the "regular" shopping, so I'd have to improvise.

Two of the pluots from the market needed to be eaten right away. More on that later. With that in mind, I gathered these rather pathetic looking ingredients (including my very last and seriously overripe banana) and preheated the oven. 

almond butter, spice (coffee) grinder, egg, banana, dried coconut
Had I known this creation would turn out so well, I would've done it much sooner. 

Banana Almond Butter Pancakes
with Sweet Roasted Pluots


1 tbsp almond butter
1 egg
1 ripe banana
1 tbsp coconut flour*
pinch of cinnamon, optional
Butter or coconut oil (for cooking)

*I generally don't have coconut flour on hand, so I throw dried, shredded (unsweetened!) coconut into the spice grinder (which is a coffee grinder we don't use for coffee) for 20-30 seconds. Works great, although it's best to do more than 2 tbsp at a time, so I put what's left in a baggie and save it for next time. 

Serves one hungry person or two less hungry people!

Directions (this is pretty darn easy)

1. Combine almond butter, egg, banana, coconut flour (and cinnamon) with a fork until blended, smashing and stirring until most or all of the banana lumps are gone.
2. Heat oil/butter in your favorite frying pan over medium-low heat (we used a non-stick for this)
3. Cook on medium-low (or low) until golden brown on each side. These do not bubble the same way "regular pancakes" do - watch for the edges to start to cook, and just a few bubbles to form before flipping them.

I found that these pancakes cook best in oil/butter so they will brown well rather than burn.

I'm sure this would work with a hand blender, but it was fast this way
...and that's one less thing to drag out/clean/put away!
Ready to flip!

Sweet Roasted Pluots

pluots (we used two)
sugar (if they need sweetening)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Wash and cut pluots into bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle with sugar (brown or white). I'm sure honey would be a great sweetener (let me know how they turn out if you try it).
Roast 10-15 minutes until soft. We used a glass baking dish.
If you want the sugar to caramelize, place it under the broiler.

We started the pluots and put them in the oven before cooking the pancakes. The timing seemed just right.
Pluots just out of the oven
Enjoy! I ate this with a large dollop of whipped cream because I had some cream in the fridge. It would  be fabulous with some coconut whipped cream or just some straight coconut cream drizzled over it. 

Our lazy kitchen hack for the whipping cream was to pour it into a short glass and use a milk frother. It worked! The poor frother thought it was a bit much, but it was easier than dragging out the big guns!

Note the cute little heart on the bottom right! I did that on purpose.
Actually, I didn't, but I learned that wherever there was no butter, the pancake got darker.
Pretty cool if you ask me. 

Monday, September 12, 2011


Italian Meatballs with awesome sauce - a very geometric dinner.
(Yes, slangsters, I just said "awesome sauce")
What's for dinner? It seems to be the forever unresolved question, since I'm not exactly the queen of planning ahead, and well...I'm always hungry. While a bit more than a 30 minute meal, these meatballs are versatile, make excellent left overs (if you can keep any that long), and make use of things you likely have in the fridge already. This meal actually came about from a conversation that started something like, "what am I supposed to do with all of this left over pulp from juicing?"
Juice = meatballs. Yep, makes sense to me.

This recipe can easily be doubled if you'd like to have more left over, or maybe freeze some for next week.

Italian Meatballs

1 pound ground meat (I used beef this time. Beef/pork is a great combination)
1 egg
1/4 large yellow onion, diced
1-2 cloves of garlic, pressed
Juicer pulp from 2 carrots, 2 stalks of celery (with leaves) and 1 apple (gala or fuji)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp cayanne pepper
4 fresh basil leaves, chopped

Preheat oven to 350. Mix all meatball ingredients (by hand is best!) in a large bowl.
If you don't have carrot/celery/apple pulp - you can use the same ingredients grated or chopped, but use half of the original amount. The apple is optional, but does provide a very subtle mouthwatering sweetness.
Shape meat into golf ball sized balls. Arrange in mini-muffin tins for great browning, or just put them all in a square glass baking pan.
Bake until lightly browned, 30-35 minutes.

What's the white stuff? Salt. Yeah, I forgot to mix it in, so I just
sprinkledit on top before cooking. Turned out really well!
The verdict around the table was that it was plenty salty.
Not that I'd generally recommend forgetting the salt...
(Awesome) Sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, pressed
4 tomatoes, diced (I used two romas and two small dark heirlooms from the garden)
1/4 tsp dried oregano
sea salt (to taste)
1 sprig fresh rosemary
4 fresh basil leaves, chopped

Heat olive oil in a sauce pan or saute pan on medium high. Add all ingredients except fresh herbs (If you have the patience to saute the onions and garlic first, go for it, but I threw everything in tonight and it was great!). Add fresh rosemary (to be removed later!). If you don't have fresh rosemary, use 1/4 tsp dried. Cover and cook on medium heat until tomatoes break down, about 20 minutes.
Remove lid and cook out excess moisture. Remove rosemary. Add fresh basil, stir and serve!

Need I say it again? Sauce. Awesome.

Meatballs can be elegant - just add soft lighting and fresh rosemary.

Variations, thoughts, improvements

-The meatballs would be great with all kinds of different herbs - some fresh parsley or sage would be fabulous. I take it kind of easy on seasonings, so dump 'em on in if you feel like it.
-If you want saucier meatballs, cook them in the sauce. You may want to add a little tomato paste with a touch of water.
-This would be a great pot luck dish out of a crock pot - needs some extra sauce to wade in and some toothpicks for serving.
-This would taste amazing on or with my new favorite rosemary almond bread (recipe forthcoming)
-If you want spaghetti and meatballs, serve on cooked spaghetti squash or grated zucchini