Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tuscan Cranberry Bean Stew

Here is a fantastic recipe from the March 2008 issue of Cook's Illustrated. It does take a fair amount of time, but not effort, so just plan to make it on a day when you'll be hanging around the house anyway. The recipe calls for cannellini beans, and those would be fine, but I find cannellini ever-so-slightly mealy, much like their red kidney bean siblings. We are fortunate to have access to locally-grown beans. We get them fresh in their pods in the autumn and then can buy them dried in winter. We really like cranberry beans (also known as borlotti beans), as they're incredibly creamy. If you can't find them (I've never seen them in a grocery store), just use cannellini beans.

I did do the long brine for the beans, which I believe contributed to the well-balanced flavor and creamy texture. I've made the soup using canned beans before and it's perfectly acceptable, you'll just lose out a bit on the texture. I'm sure the short-brine would also be fine (half the amount of water and the same amount of salt heated to a boil then poured over the beans and steeped for 1 hour).

For the most part I followed the Cook's recipe as written, but there were a few modifications. I only had homemade turkey stock on hand, so I used that instead of chicken stock. I only had extra large cans of tomatoes in the house, and I used all of them rather than saving half for another purpose. Instead of pancetta, I used our 'house bacon', the tasty thick-cut pepper bacon we get from the butcher.

INGREDIENTS
1 lb dried cranberry beans, rinsed and picked over
3 TBSP salt (I used Diamond Crystal kosher salt
4 qt cold water
1 TBSP olive oil
6 oz pancetta or pepper bacon, cut into 1/4 inch pieces or lardons
1 large onion, chopped (I had some leeks on had so used those, too) 1 1/2 cups approx
2 medium celery ribs, chopped approx 1 cup
2 medium carrots, chopped approx 1 cup
8 medium garlic cloves, minced or put through a press (I used my mini-chopper)
4 c. chicken or turkey broth (low-sodium if using storebought)
3 c. water (I actually used 4 c. as I had a bit more than 1 lb. of beans)
2 bay leaves (I used 3 fresh ones)
1 bunch/1 lb. greens (I used lacinato kale aka dino kale or cavolo nero), trimmed and chopped
14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes, drained and rinsed
1 sprig fresh rosemary

DIRECTIONS
  1. Dissolve the 3 TBSP salt in the 4 quarts of water. Add the beans and soak at room temp anywhere from 8 to 24 hours (I think I did about 16 hours). Drain and rinse the beans
  2. Make sure your oven rack is in the lower middle and then preheat the oven to 250 degrees
  3. In a Dutch oven or other large, lidded pot (that will eventually go into the oven), heat the oil on medium heat and cook the bacon/pancetta until the fat has rendered and it's golden brown
  4. Add the onion, celery and carrots and continue cooking until the vegetables are soft and lightly golden (10-16 minutes)
  5. Add the garlic and cook for a minute or so until it's fragrant
  6. Add the broth, water, bay leaves, and beans to the pot, keeping it on the stove
  7. Turn up the heat to high and bring the stew to a simmer
  8. Cover the pot and put it into the oven. Cook until the beans are nearly done, 45 minutes to 1 hour
  9. Take the pot out of the oven to stir in the tomatoes and greens. Cover the pot again and return to the oven for a further 30-40 minutes. The beans should be fully tender and the greens nicely cooked
  10. Remove the pot from the oven a final time. Submerge the sprig of rosemary in the stew for 15 minutes with the pot covered
  11. Remove the rosemary and bay leaves and adjust the seasonings
  12. You can smash some of the beans on the side of the pot to thicken the broth if desired or even use an immersion blender. This time I did neither, since the beans were so creamy and tender that I didn't want to mess with them at all
  13. Serve with Delicious, Crusty Bread

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Olive and Sun Dried Tomato Spread

I used to make this recipe quite frequently for lunches when I lived in the UK. For whatever reason, it fell off my radar for a few years. I thought of it again for a couple of child-related reasons: Elspeth loves puttanesca sauce and is also getting into the idea of spreads and dips. This spread was a hit for the whole family on the Tall Grass baguette from the farmers' market. When I get my act together, I'll be making Delicious, Crusty Bread to accompany it. (By the by, if you live in our area, Tall Grass baguettes are the closest to the good ones I had in France by a wide margin).

The recipe comes from one of my favorite cookbooks by one of my favorite cookbook authors, Patricia Wells' Trattoria. That and her Bistro Cooking are mainstays. She calls it Red Pesto or Pesto Rosso and I'm sure that is the name she found for it in Italy, but it doesn't seem anything like pesto to me. Because the olives are an important ingredient, I feel it's more like a tapenade with sun-dried tomatoes. I just went for a descriptive name instead of causing debate about what constitutes a pesto or a tapenade.

Wells uses salt-cured olives, but we don't often have these around, so I used brine-cured kalamatas instead. I also use less olive oil than she does--if you want a sauce as opposed to a spread, feel free to add the full 6 tablespoons she calls for. Finally, I added a tiny bit of clementine zest. Wells taught me that baked pasta is delicious when you butter the baking dish and then put orange zest in it. I know this is a bit much for some diners, but I adore it. I extrapolated that idea to this spread with great success--it's more subtle than in the baked pasta.

Here again I use my trusty mini food processor as the recipe doesn't really make enough for a full sized food processor.

We were lucky to find organic sun-dried tomatoes at the farmers' market and I used those. If you use sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, you'll either want to rinse them or reduce the amount of olive oil in the recipe. Wells uses her homemade sun-dried tomatoes (not oil-packed) but mentions nothing in her recipe about reconstituting the tomatoes. I chose to soak my tomatoes in a couple of tablespoons of boiling water and then use the water in the spread--I think the texture is nicer that way. I've also substituted roasted cherry tomatoes for the sun dried ones with great success.

INGREDIENTS
10 sun-dried tomatoes or 1/4 c. roasted cherry tomatoes
1 garlic clove, put through a garlic press or finely minced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional) or to taste
3 TBSP olive oil (or up to 6 TBSP)
20 pitted kalamata olives or salt-cured black olives such as Gaeta or Nyons
2 tsp minced fresh thyme or to taste
1 tsp minced fresh rosemary (she says 1 TBSP but I find rosemary overpowering and like to tone it down)
1/2 tsp clementine or orange zest (lemon might also work)
Pepper to taste (you shouldn't need salt)

DIRECTIONS
  1. If desired, soften the sun-dried tomatoes in a couple of tablespoons of boiling water. If using oil-packed tomatoes, rinse if you wish
  2. Place all of the ingredients except the olive oil in a mini-food processor and process until it forms a coarse paste
  3. Add the olive oil and process further to your preferred texture. Wells states that the sauce should be on the chunky side
  4. You can store the spread in the fridge for up to a month if you cover the top of it with a thin film of olive oil
  5. Serve on bread, crisp flatbread (someday I'll post Wells' Sardinian Parchment Bread recipe--the spread would be great on that), or even pasta

Smoothie Shortcut

So, I keep forgetting to soak my almonds and cashews the night before I want to make a smoothie. I decided to see if the same concept used for quick-soaking dried beans might work for nuts. Eureka! I think the result is acceptable. I take the nuts and cover them with water. I microwave them (making sure there is room for the water to bubble) at 50% power for 5 minutes and then let them sit for another 5. I rinse them and then follow the smoothie recipes as usual.

Broccoli Bake with Garlic Breadcrumbs

I've been making Broccoli Bake for years--so long I can't remember where I learned it. I know that I was making it as early as Christmas of 1994 when dear friends and I spent the holidays in a flat near Edinburgh. Ah, the memories. The garlic breadcrumb idea I'm pretty sure came from the Natural Health cookbook.

This is a a great one for kids, provided they don't reject the sight of broccoli and will give it a taste. Most of the time I have made the vegetarian version, but as I had some chicken gravy in the freezer, I used that for this most recent dish. I've often used Quorn pieces in addition to the broccoli; you could use chicken if you wanted protein but don't like fake meat.

I had both broccoli and cauliflower in the fridge, so used a combination, which was tasty. I had dried and saved cubes of leftover Delicious, Crusty Bread and used them for the breadcrumbs. I served the Bake with Sweet Potato 'Fries', though I just cooked them alongside the Bake and they cooked just fine at 350 degrees and puffed just as they do at 450.

This dish has several parts, but they're not too complicated. It is helpful to make a double batch of gravy so that you have some in the freezer for next time.

BREADCRUMB TOPPING
INGREDIENTS
1-2 c. stale bread (whatever you've got on hand--you can also stale fresh bread in the oven)
1 clove garlic, put through a garlic press or very finely minced
1-2 TBSP olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS
  1. Crush the stale bread in a food processor until it's in fine crumbs
  2. Add the garlic and pulse to combine
  3. While the food processor is running, add the olive oil--you don't want the mix to be wet and stick together, so just add enough oil for flavor and crispness
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste and pulse
  5. Set mixture aside
GRAVY
I like to make my gravy quite thick when using it for Broccoli Bake, but you can use more traditional proportions of butter and flour (usually 1 TBSP of each for 1 cup of liquid) if you prefer

INGREDIENTS
3 TBSP butter (I'm sure you could use olive oil if you want a vegan dish)
3 TBSP all purpose flour (though I bet you could use whole wheat pastry flour or a combination of flour and nutritional yeast)
2 c. vegetable stock, chicken stock or either one in combination with milk
1 sprig fresh thyme (use 1-2 tsp dried if you don't have fresh and don't discard at the end)
1 bay leaf (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS
  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat
  2. Stir in the flour to make a paste and cook until golden (could be as much as 10 minutes)
  3. Turn off the heat (if using gas--remove from the burner entirely if using an electric stove) and add the liquid, a little bit at a time, stirring constantly
  4. Continue adding the liquid. After you've added about half of it, you can start adding larger quantities at a time
  5. Once all the liquid is incorporated, return to medium heat and add the thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper
  6. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring very frequently, and let boil for a few minutes
  7. Discard the thyme and bay leaf, if using
  8. Set aside until you're ready for it (you can make the gravy up to 2 days ahead and can freeze any leftovers)
BROCCOLI BAKE
INGREDIENTS
1 head broccoli including stems OR
1/2 head broccoli and 1/2 head cauliflower
1 package Quorn tenders (optional) OR
1 lb. cooked chicken pieces
Gravy (from above recipe)
Garlic Breadcrumbs (from above recipe)

DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Clean and chop the broccoli and cauliflower into bite-sized pieces (you may want to remove some of the skin from the broccoli stems)
  3. Steam the broccoli or broccoli/cauliflower until just about the texture you like (it won't get that much softer in the oven so don't underdo it too much)
  4. Place the steamed veggies and Quorn or chicken pieces in a large ovenproof dish (I use our ceramic oval Emile Henry dish)
  5. Pour over the gravy, freezing any excess
  6. Sprinkle over the garlic breadcrumbs
  7. Bake for 30 minutes and then let sit for 10 minutes before serving (to help the gravy set a bit)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Eggy Bread

Eggy Bread is the UK version of French toast, except that it's savory rather than sweet. Instead of adding any sugar or vanilla extract, you just add salt and pepper. I quite like it this way and Evan finds that it still tastes nice with fruit spread on it. We had this for dinner last night, as we're all still recovering from stomach flu.

Cook's Illustrated just did a story on French Toast and we thought we might find new techniques to improve upon our rather slapdash method. It turns out that we don't mind the 'egginess' that caused the Cook's writers to eliminate the whites and that the melted butter was good but not required. We also don't bother to stale the bread. The slackers win!

I have found that it is quite tasty to salt and pepper each slice of bread (on the 'up' side) as it cooks, but you can also add the salt and pepper to the egg and milk mixture.

We have used lots of different bread for this, but have settled on a sliced artisan bread from Grand Central bakery (the Como). Pre-sliced bread isn't necessary, but does seem to work the best.

INGREDIENTS
5-9 slices bread (staled or not)
3 eggs
1- 1 1/2 c. milk (any kind)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 TBSP oil
1 TBSP butter

DIRECTIONS
  1. Gently preheat a cast iron skillet or griddle over medium-low heat for 10 minutes or so (to ensure even heat distribution over the whole surface, particularly if using a griddle that spans two gas burners)
  2. Beat the eggs and milk in a bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste if desired or wait and do this by the slice
  3. Put half of the oil and butter in the pan or on the griddle and let it melt, spreading it around. Turn the heat up to medium
  4. Soak the bread slices in the egg/milk mixture and then put in the pan/griddle
  5. Salt and pepper the top side of each slice if you haven't salted the mixture
  6. Cook until golden brown then flip. Cook until golden on the other side
  7. Melt the remaining oil and butter and cook the remaining slices
  8. Serve plain or with fruit spread, syrup, fresh fruit, yogurt, pear or huckleberry sauce or anything else that sounds appealing. Makes a great breakfast-for-dinner treat

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Toddler Snacks

Here's another product review, this time for freeze-dried fruits and veggies. What a wonderful toddler snack! They're lightweight and they don't make a mess. There is no added sugar and children seem to think they're great fun to eat. We have been eating Crunchies brand. The only organic ones they do are sweet peas and strawberries, so that's what we eat. (Strawberries have high pesticide residue, so they're worth buying organic when possible). We got ours in bulk from Amazon. They're not cheap, but they're not too outrageous, either. I like the strawberries in my cereal. The peas taste just like a really good, fresh garden pea except crunchy. So glad I discovered these--I feel much better about them than Veggie Booty and the like.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Clementine Aioli

This is another recipe, recently rediscovered, from Dana Jacobi's Natural Health Cookbook. I've been working on 'Project Vegetable' with Elspeth, making sure to offer her several different vegetables at a meal so that she's exposed to a wide variety and takes lots of vegetables as a matter of course (as it were). I had bought some cauliflower and thought that, just because I've always preferred my veggies plain, it doesn't mean that Elspeth might not like a sauce now and then. I've heard that many kids really get into dipping so I decided to try it.

I don't tend to have big oranges on hand, but in the winter we almost always have clementines (which I prefer to satsumas), so I took a risk and used that. It worked great! I also reduced the garlic in the recipe, not for Elspeth's benefit, but because Cook's Illustrated recently revealed that garlic will get stronger over time and I wanted to be able to use the sauce over more than one day.

I had thought I was such a French food expert and believed that aioli was garlic mayonnaise. Wrong! I was also puzzled that Jacobi called her recipe 'allioli'. It turns out that traditionally aioli is just garlic and olive oil with no eggs (no wonder I like it) and that allioli is the Catalan version.

At any rate, Elspeth ended up eating the cauliflower dipped or plain and loved the sauce so much that in the end she abandoned dipping and just raised the dish to her mouth and quaffed the lot--on two separate occasions! I guess she knows her good fat when she tastes it.

This sauce is great with cauliflower but I suspect would work well with many steamed veggies.

INGREDIENTS
1-3 cloves garlic, put through a press (the garlic needs to be super fine)
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
1/4 c. clementine, tangerine or orange juice
Zest of 1 clementine
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil

DIRECTIONS
  1. Combine the clementine juice, zest, black pepper and the salt (this is so the salt dissolves--it won't dissolve in the oil so doing this ensures even distribution of salt). Set aside
  2. Whisk together the garlic and olive oil in a small bowl
  3. Slowly drizzle the juice mixture into the oil/garlic and whisk constantly until the mixture is well incorporated and emulsified (the recipe doesn't make sufficient quantity to make a food processor workable, but I made it with great success in the blender)
  4. Serve over steamed vegetables. Keeps in the fridge for up to 4 days but you'll need to warm to room temperature and shake or whisk well before serving again

Two More Smoothies

I originally had put my idea for a Pumpkin Spice Smoothie into the original smoothie post, but then I had another idea for a smoothie flavor and decided to post again.

I tried out the Pumpkin Spice idea and it worked really well, though I added far too much ground ginger the first time. Since it doesn't particularly matter if our smoothies are non-dairy, i added a large spoonful of strained yogurt for extra creaminess. I also did use agave nectar for sweetening.

I was thinking of more ways to add fats to the smoothies and hit upon coconut milk. That led me to the idea of a Tropical Smoothie. I haven't tried it yet, as our store was out of frozen mango, but I plan to try it soon and suspect it will be tasty. Adults might even consider making it alcoholic--kind of like a healthfood pina colada.

PUMPKIN SPICE SMOOTHIE
INGREDIENTS
1/4 c raw almonds or cashews
1/4 c water
1/2 c water
1/2 cored pear
1/4- 1/2 c frozen roasted squash chunks
1 TBSP ground flaxseed and/or pumpkin seed or wheat germ or a combo
1 large spoonful (strained) yogurt
1 TBSP pecans (optional)
1-2 tsp agave nectar (another interesting sweetening idea would be maple syrup)
1/4- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 - 1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg

DIRECTIONS
  1. The night before you're going to make your smoothie, combine the nuts with the 1/4 cup of water in a small dish or jar. Leave at room temperature overnight. This make the nuts much easier to blend--you're essentially making your own nut milk
  2. In the morning when you're ready to make the smoothie, drain and rinse the nuts
  3. Place nuts in the blender with 1/2 cup (new) water.
  4. Blend until the nut milk is smooth and creamy
  5. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse/blend until very well mixed
  6. Thin with more water/milk/juice if desired
  7. Taste, adjust spices, and serve
TROPICAL SMOOTHIE
INGREDIENTS
1/4 c raw almonds or cashews
1/4 c water
1/2 c coconut milk
1/2 banana
1/4- 1/2 c frozen mango or pineapple
1 TBSP flaxseed and/or pumpkin seed or wheat germ or a combo
A couple of torn leaves of washed spinach, chard or kale if you're brave

DIRECTIONS
  1. The night before you're going to make your smoothie, combine the nuts with the 1/4 cup of water in a small dish or jar. Leave at room temperature overnight. This make the nuts much easier to blend--you're essentially making your own nut milk
  2. In the morning when you're ready to make the smoothie, drain and rinse the nuts
  3. Place nuts in the blender with 1/2 cup coconut milk
  4. Blend until the nut milk is smooth and creamy
  5. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse/blend until very well mixed
  6. Thin with more water/milk/juice if desired and serve

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Pork Chile Verde Stew II

We decided to try out the Pork Chile Verde Stew again, but using pork butt from the farmers' market instead of the loin we used before. I had suspected that I'd need to adjust the technique because pork butt is so much tougher and fattier than loin, so I didn't even start there. Instead, I looked to carnitas for a tip. We love, love, love carnitas and found a good recipe for it on Epicurious (though, of course, we've modified it over time). Cook's Illustrated recently did an article on carnitas (though they called it 'Mexican Pulled Pork', which I just found irritating) and their technique seemed like it might be even better. My plan was to use the carnitas oven technique and then add the pork to the soup instead of crisping it as you would for carnitas. Wow, was it good! And the great thing is, if I did it next time, I would use half the pork for chile verde and the other half for carnitas--two delicious meals with one effort. Since that might be pork overload at one time, it would be easy to freeze the stew for a cold night (or even the carnitas, I suppose, though they're tastiest fresh). Another alternative would be to freeze half the pork in its glaze to make another batch of stew later, making it really easy to put together for a weeknight meal.

There was a lot of fat in this stew, so next time I'd make sure to trim all of the exterior fat on the pork butt (also called a shoulder roast). You'll be able to remove some of the fat after the oven stage and then I removed more today once it had solidified in the refrigerator. You'll have guessed, however, that we don't exactly demonize fat in this family!

INGREDIENTS
BRAISED PORK
3 1/2-4 lb boneless pork butt, well trimmed and cut into 2 inch chunks
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander (Cook's didn't call for coriander, but I love it)
1 small onion halved and peeled
2 bay leaves
2 TBSP juice from one lime
1 medium orange halved and juiced (keep the halves)
2 c. water

CHILE VERDE STEW
1 medium onion, chopped
4-6 cloves garlic, minced or put through a press
3 TBSP plain flour
12 oz green salsa or to taste (we're using Emerald Valley)
1 can tomatillos with liquid, chopped (optional)
2 large cans hominy, drained and rinsed
6 cups low sodium or homemade chicken stock or water or a combination
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped (optional)
More lime juice as needed for brightness
Salt to taste

DIRECTIONS BRAISED PORK
  1. Place the oven rack in the lower third and preheat oven to 300 degrees
  2. Combine all the ingredients including the orange halves in a large ovenproof Dutch oven. The liquid should barely cover the meat
  3. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat on the stove, stirring once in a while
  4. Once the ingredients have come to a simmer, cover and move to the oven
  5. Cook, stirring once at the halfway point, for about 2 hours. The meat should be very tender
  6. Remove pot from the oven and take the meat out of it and set the meat aside
  7. Discard the bay leaves, onion and orange halves
  8. Now, reduce the remaining liquid (and fat) over high heat until it's thick and syrupy (8-12 minutes)
  9. Remove the liquid from the pot and set aside
DIRECTIONS CHILE VERDE STEW
  1. Heat the olive oil in the same Dutch oven over medium heat and add the onion. Cook over until very soft and golden
  2. Add the garlic and cook 3 more minutes. Don't let the garlic brown
  3. Add half of the pork to the pot (if you want the other half for carnitas or another batch of soup) and turn the heat up to medium high. Cook for a few minutes so that the pork is lightly browned in spots
  4. Sprinkle the flour over the pork, onion and garlic and stir together. Let cook several minutes
  5. Take about 1/4 cup of the stock or water and mix well with the flour-coated ingredients
  6. Defat the syrupy glaze you reduced earlier and add half to the soup (the other half will go with the carnitas)
  7. Add the salsa, tomatillos, hominy, bay leaves, remaining stock/water and cilantro if using. The water should cover the ingredients by 1-2 inches. I think I used about 6 cups stock.
  8. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Cook for 45 minutes to one hour and then taste. Adjust the seasonings and determine if you think more cooking time would be beneficial.
  9. Serve with warmed corn tortillas
DIRECTIONS CARNITAS (this is Cook's method, which I haven't tried--alternatively, mix the pork and the glaze together and fry in a skillet over medium high heat until crispy and delicious)
  1. Set the oven on broil and make sure there is a rack in the lower-middle
  2. Take the remaining pork and shred it using two forks
  3. Fold in the rest of the syrupy glaze
  4. Spread pork on a wire rack set over a baking tray
  5. Broil until meat is crispy on the edges and nicely browned on top
  6. Turn over and brown the other side
  7. Serve immediately or freeze for later

Vegan Carrot Cookies

In one of my earliest posts, for Peanut Sauce, I mentioned that I would someday get around to posting the recipe for 'Chewy Carrot Cookies' also from Dana Jacobi's Natural Health Cookbook. Today is that day! I changed the name to Vegan Carrot Cookies because that piece of information might be useful to some readers.

Oddly, I didn't have any rolled oats on hand but I was set on making the cookies. Muesli to the rescue! I had some unsweetened fruit and nut muesli on hand that worked beautifully.

One lesson I learned in making these is that you should really use a food processor for grating the carrot if you have one. I thought that it would be more hassle than it was worth to get out the processor for the grating, but after nearly shredding my fingers and becoming cranky, I decided to let the machine to the work next time.

Note that in March 2009, I published a bar cookie version of the recipe: http://eatseats.blogspot.com/2009/03/carrot-bar-cookies-recipe-makeover.html

In January 2015, The Kitchn posted a recipe that is startlingly similar to this one, with the addition of shredded, unsweetened coconut and warm spices instead of vanilla. I used these modifications and really like the results. I used my 2 TBSP scoop and they were very tall so the second batch I flattened (already in my instructions below, but not in The Kitchn's). No matter what, they're going to be crumbly, so you'd be wise to eat from a plate

INGREDIENTS
1 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 c. rolled oats or unsweetened muesli
1/2 c. chopped toasted walnuts or sunflower seeds
1/3 c. raisins or other dried fruit
1/2 c. unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)
1 tsp ground cinnamon (all spices optional)
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 c. shredded carrot (2-3 carrots)
1/2 c. maple syrup (could be reduced; I'm guessing agave would also work)
1/2 c. coconut oil, melted (original recipe specified corn)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and prepare two baking trays (Silpat or parchment is very helpful, otherwise you'll need to grease your baking trays)
  2. Stir the syrup, oil, and vanilla in a small bowl and set aside (if using coconut oil you don't want to whip these together or you end up with something that looks like maple coconut frosting)
  3. Combine the flour with baking powder, salt and oats in a large bowl
  4. Stir in walnuts/sunflower seeds, raisins and carrots
  5. Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir until well blended
  6. Using a greased teaspoon, drop onto the baking trays. The cookies do spread a little bit
  7. Flatten cookies to about 1/2 inch tall
  8. Bake until golden, 10-12 minutes
  9. Remove from oven and let cool on the trays for a few minutes before transferring to a rack