I’m back, because cookies.

So it’s been a while since I’ve visited this blog. I had high hopes of doing a series of holiday recipes, but then the holidays hit, and, who can do anything during the holidays, except eat, am I right!? … And now so much time has passed since my last entry, I didn’t know how to get back up on the horse, so rather than apologize, here’re some cookie recipes that I’ve TOTALLY NAILED.

One Part Gingersnap! One part Snickerdoodle!

GINGERDOODLES!

1 & 1/3 cups rice flour

1/3 cup almond meal

1/3 cup coconut flour

1 tbsp ground ginger

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup applesauce

1 cup beet sugar (or other sugar)

1/4 cup barley malt syrup

1 flegg (flax meal egg replacer)

Mix the dry stuff & wet stuff separately, then mix together and bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

Attentive viewers will notice here that I’ve included a couple of things that are not technically “okay” according to Dr. Esselstyn- coconut and almond. I’ve come to the conclusion that I have to moderate, and this is my way of moderating. It’s not a lot of almonds and not a lot of coconut. However, if it makes you nervous, just leave them out, replace them with more rice flour and see what happens!

Speaking of Dr. Esselstyn, all due respect, but a lot of the recipes I’ve tried in his book are terrible. He’s got to find a way to convince people that eating this way can be tasty, not scare them off. One of the worst offenders is the oatmeal cookie recipe. I tried it. It was an affront to cookies. No way somebody made cookies from that recipe and enjoyed them. Unless maybe they had never eaten a real oatmeal cookie before. That said, I’ve been experimenting, and not only is this recipe Esselstyn-safe, as far as I can tell, but it is also full of yum.

D’OH!TMEAL COOKIES

2 cups oats

1/2 cup flaxmeal

1 & 1/4 cup oat flour (I’ve also done it with barley flour)

1/2 cup oat bran

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup coconut palm sugar

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup honey

1/2 cup oat milk

tsp pure vanilla extract

carob chips (or whatever you want to put in)

Add the dry stuff together. Simmer the sugar, syrup, honey and oat milk until it’s combined, add the vanilla, then mix with the dry stuff and add whatever chips you want.  Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes.

Hey, you know, what else? I’m not expert on gluten-free baking, but I think BOTH of these recipes are gluten-free as well! I recommend that you check with someone who knows better before taking my word on it.


Simply delicious, or am I simply lying to myself?

Of course I’d get back to writing one of these on a day I’m fasting.* All I can think about is food right now. If I could put sixteen shells from a thirty-ought-six into the sun right now to get it to set sooner, I wouldn’t think twice. So thinking about all the things I’m going to eat later makes me think of all the things I technically CAN’T eat later, which brings me back to a conversation I had with pal Caspar Poyck recently about eating simple.

I know I get excited about all the different restaurants out there and about all the different kinds of foods I could whip up at home. So many ingredients. So many tastes and cultures. So much variety. It’s almost overwhelming. But when it comes right down to it, most people in most countries eat pretty much the same thing most of the time. Sure, variety is the spice of life, but I’m just making dinner so I have the fuel to get out there and LIVE. So I think later I’m going to dig into a big bowl of beans and quinoa with maybe some steamed broccoli.

Okay, that’s what I’d like to believe, but I’m a foodie, through and through. It’s hard for me not to mix it up! I want to eat ALL THE FOODS. Sure, I could just eat beans and rice every day. It keeps entire nations of people alive, but I want food with moxie! Does that make me a bad person?

Rhetorical question, dude.

Of course, I’m exhausted from not eating all day, so I’ll probably just open a can of beans for dinner. And if I fire up the rice cooker now, it’ll be ready by sundown.

*I know what you’re thinking, but seriously, I’m a bad Jew. The worst.


Hookers! And guns! And fire trucks!

So I was at a bachelor party this weekend which presented a significant challenge to my current lifestyle. And by “current lifestyle” I don’t mean heterosexuality. I mean the guys were hot and all, but… I digress. We spent the weekend on a houseboat on a lake and our food came from a glorified bait shop before we weighed anchor.* Suffice to say, the only options for me were… a can of green beans and a can of pineapple. It wasn’t gonna get me through the weekend. Bourbon was going to help, but not enough.

Luckily, I had prepped for this eventuality.

Standing tough against peanut butter, ribs, mac ‘n’ cheese and baloney sandwiches is a lot harder when you’re hungry from cliff diving. But I learned a valuable lesson at Comic Con earlier this year: Plan ahead. Bring your own food. Don’t touch your face without sanitizing first. Okay, that last one may not be food-related, but it’s just good sense.

It wasn’t a feast, but these little guys got me through it. They’re any-time-of-the-day appropriate and travel really well. Who knew you could make your own granola bars?

Granola Bars:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup oat bran
  • 1 cup Grape Nuts cereal (or Ezekiel brand cereal)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup maple sugar (or palm sugar)
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp ground flax
  • 4 tbsp chia powder
  • 2 handfuls of chopped dried fruit or cacao nibs or both
I like to start by toasting the oats, bran, sunflower seeds and Grape Nuts in the oven a little on a baking sheet. While that’s happening, you can put the honey, sugar, applesauce and vanilla into to saucepan (that’ll be big enough to add the other ingredients to) and heat until combined into a syrupy sauce. Then dump everything else (oats & co., salt, flax, chia powder) into the sauce and mix it up. Then fold in whatever fruit or bits you want and dump the whole thing into a baking pan— I prefer a glass one because it won’t stick, but you can also put parchment paper** in the bottom of a regular one to the same effect. Bake it at 300 for about 30 minutes, let cool and slice into granola bar-shaped… bars.
Now you can (and I have) tweak this recipe to your heart’s content. For example, you can add protein powder (I like hemp protein) and it becomes more protein-y. Although, as is it’s pretty high in protein. Or you could toss some cinnamon in, or sesame seeds. Whatever’s going to make you forget that jumbo bag of peanut M&M’s that your traveling companion just pulled out.***
What I also learned this weekend, though, is that if you trust your willpower to bring you back, it’s okay to be flexible from time to time. That is to say, I ate a couple of things I’m technically not supposed on this new plan (peanuts, regular pasta, tomato sauce with oil & sugar in it). I think really the only way I’ll be able to keep this up is to break a rule occasionally, especially when traveling. Well, that, and continuing to tell you guys about how it’s going. Thanks for helping to keep me on track.

*There wasn’t actually an anchor on the boat, but this way sounded more nautical.

**Have I mentioned before how much I love parchment paper, esepcially now that I’m not cooking with oil? Indispensable.

***This really happened.****

****Okay, I love peanut M&M’s so it was a big deal to me. Jeez…


Today I have only the autotuned words of Julia Child to offer. Enjoy your weekend!

Ready to roll!


How do you feel? I fawaffle…

Thanks to Nick Slayton, I was connected with a post on BonAppetit.com that inspired me to make falafel. And not JUST falafel, but falafel in a waffle iron. I like the idea of a waffle iron, or rather, the way it sounds when you’re saying it. It’s a hunk of iron that allows me to make waffles with impunity. It’s almost as good as a “shootin’ iron,” which allows me to gun down banditos with impunity. I think I might start calling my iPhone my “callin’ iron” and my car my “drivin’ iron.” No, wait, golfers do that, so, no.

Back to the fawaffle: You just make falafel batter and put it in the waffle iron. The downside? Not as crispy crunchy on the outside. The upside? No oil required.

Here’s the recipe I used, which was cobbled together from several on the Internets and tailored to what I’m eating these days-

Falafel:

  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 10 tbsp teff flour

Put all the ingredients except the baking powder & flour in the food processor and blend it up, not too smoothly, then add in the flour and baking powder and process again until it’s mixed in. Then scoop it into the waffle iron and cook it like a waffle.

It even looks like one, see?

Since I can’t really do yoghurt sauces or tahini I made a slaw to eat it with, Salvadorean pupusa-style.

I figured I had desecrated it enough by cooking it in the waffle iron that (literally) heaping a few more spoonfuls of indignities on it would be no big deal. Just… don’t tell any Israelis what I did. They’ll come and revoke my Jew card in the middle of the night.

Now enough hammerin’ on my computin’ iron. I’ve got things to do.


The cook, the thief…

In the interest of full disclosure, I stole this next recipe from the Internet. To be specific, from HungryHungryHippie.com. It’s because I miss Mac ‘n’ Cheese. More precisely, because Tara misses mac ‘n’ cheese. Now, as before, nobody’ll be fooled by this recipe into thinking that they’re actually eating mac ‘n’ cheese, HOWEVER, it does approximate quite well Kraft’s version of macaroni and cheese, which, let’s face it, has little that actually resembles cheese in it. Happily, Tara prefers that kind. Also happily, the Internet gave us a recipe for it that I didn’t really have to tweak. It goes kind of like this-

Hold the Mac ‘n’ Cheese:

  • Brown Rice Penne Pasta
  • Nutritional Yeast (Bragg’s)
  • Vanilla Oat Milk
  • Lemon Juice
  • Stone Ground Dijon Mustard
  • Bragg’s Amino’s

Mix up the sauce while the pasta is cooking. HHH didn’t include amounts, so I won’t either. I just kept mixing it up til it looked right. I’d just say go easy on the liquid otherwise it’ll get too wet and you’ll have to back a dump truck of yeast up to it to get it creamy. As for mustard, if dijon is too strong, you can pretty much use any kind of mustard. I like the kind with seeds in it. Strain your pasta and mix in the sauce. Here’s what it looks like:

See? It looks like that Kraft stuff only less safety orange. Also, Tara likes to put peas in her mac ‘n cheese. We’ll definitely have to do that next time. Definitely. Maybe tomorrow.

Remember, if you’re going to steal, only steal tasty things.


Midnight Cheese and other bad ideas

I was eating with friends tonight and we were talking about beer, and how it sometimes makes bad ideas seem like AMAZING ideas. For example, midnight cheese.

That made made want pizza. Pizza is pretty much made of things that I’m not eating these days so here’s what I’ve been doing to feed my pizza beast: first, I found a whole wheat, no-oil pizza dough at Whole Foods. In the frozen section they also have a no-oil rice dough crust, but I haven’t tried it yet.

Then I had to find a tomato sauce with no oil in it. Thanks, Trader Joe. Although I did make my own from scratch the first time I attempted this. When I did, I steamed some yams and mushed them in with the tomatoes to give it a pastier feel. It actually added a little sweetness to the sauce and worked really well. I highly recommend it. A little oregano, some fresh basil and garlic, and kablam, pizza sauce. But the canned sauce from TJ’s makes the time from pizza to mouth a little shorter.

Toppings? Pretty much whatever. You can see from this photo that my side has sliced beets and red onions and mushrooms, while Tara has a fondness for black olives. But don’t let anyone tell you what to put on your pizza. You hear me? Nobody.

"But what about the cheese!?" you say. "I needs my cheese!"

Well, unfortunately, I haven’t found a suitable cheesy replacement. There’s nothing in my world to match the pully, stretchy, nom nom of actual cheese. You can sprinkle Bragg’s yeast flakes on your pizza— and I do. I sprinkle it on a lot of stuff, actually, including popcorn. It’s good— surprisingly good —but it’s not cheese.

Bake it and eat it up. Do it enough times, and you start to not miss the cheese.*

Okay, I kind of promised to list other bad ideas besides midnight cheese. I’ll save them for later posts. Trust me, I’m the KING of bad ideas. Not all of the stuff I cook comes out, well, right…

Also, despite how beer sometimes makes me have bad ideas and generally get louder and more excited about both good and bad ideas, it is, in itself NOT a bad idea. In fact, it’s a very good one, and I’m glad my recently adopted lifestyle has room in it for beer.

Hooray, beer!**

*Okay, I’m a liar. You never stop missing the cheese.

**Despite this specific exclamation in favor of beer, do not mistake it for an endorsement of Red Stripe. Red Stripe is swill***

***Take my words about beer with a grain of salt. I am a beer snob.


RAW FORCE is so much cooler than raw food*

Sorry, I just got back from a Grindhouse Double Feature at the New Beverly Cinema, CROCODILE and RAW FORCE. RAW FORCE was amazing. So amazing it made me hungry for brunch.

I’m a brunch guy. I’d eat brunch for every meal if I could. Cutting out eggs makes this more complicated. But the waffle conundrum has been unlocked. Of course you need a waffle maker, which looks like this:

Now mix this up and put it in there:

Waffle Batter:

  • 2 cups flour (I like to mix it up, so 1 cup whole wheat, 1 cup spelt in this case)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 4 tsp coconut sugar (or maple, or date, or sweetener of choice)
  • 2 egg replacers (I like ground flax: 1 tbsp+3tbsp warm water/egg)
  • 1 1/2 cups warm oat milk (or flax, or soy or almond)
  • 1/4 cup applesauce (although I think this makes it a little chewy)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Mix up your dry ingredients. Mix up your wet ingredients. Then mix them together and ladle into your heated waffle iron. Bam. Waffles. Like this:

Yes, that is pomegranate syrup in that bottle. No, I didn’t know it existed either.  Yes, I know it’s after midnight. No, waffles don’t care.

*Apologies to raw foodies. I’m sure your food is good. But RAW FORCE would still kick it in the face. Go Burbank Karate Club!


I will bend like a reed in the wind

I almost forgot to tumbl today. I was already in bed, in fact, when I felt off. Was it what I ate today?

I went out to eat today with a friend and I took great care and asked questions before I ordered to insure that I was staying on target, and still, somehow, halfway through my meal, I realized there were little slivers of almonds all throughout my rice pilaf. At first I beat myself up about it. Then I realized that if I’m going to maintain this and stay sane, I’m going to have to cut myself some slack if things occasionally go sideways a little.

As penance, I’ll leave you with this recipe. Spoiler Alert: It doesn’t have almonds in it.

Balsamic Mustard Dressing

  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Whole grain mustard
  • Garlic powder
  • Paprika
  • Salt
  • Honey
  • Black Pepper
  • Sesame seeds

This is one of those recipes where I never measure anything. It’s hugely liberating to cook this way sometimes. Try it. Remember, nobody’s gonna die if it’s not perfect.* Kinda like me.

*Baking, on the other hand, as we’ve discussed before, is hard science. Always measure when you’re baking. People WILL DIE if you don’t. Be responsible. Measure before pleasure.

Realization: Baking is science, cooking is magic.


Consciously culinary

I just stole the title to this post from my friend Caspar Poyck. He is a professional chef and teacher of the culinary arts. Much like Dr. Strange is a master of the mystical arts, Caspar works food magic. Also he can dance like a madman. You can find out more about him and what he does here: http://www.facebook.com/consciously.culinary

I spoke with him today about my recent lifestyle change and he gave me a lot of great insight and, not being familiar yet with Dr. Esselstyn’s work, a few words of caution. Most importantly, he reminded me of the “consciously” part of what I’ve embarked on. It’s very easy to jump into something that feels right without considering the long-term effects of such a massive lifestyle change. There are so many things that I don’t know about how food interacts with the body and what we need to stay healthy over a lifetime. Continuing to be conscious of how this new lifestyle affects me will have to be Weapon #1 in my arsenal.

Okay, fuck that. It’ll have to be Weapon #2. I love my stick blender too much.

Because I feel weird now not including a recipe of some sort, may I introduce you to-

Mango Salsa:

  • 2 mangoes, ripe & diced
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • fresh cilantro, chopped
  • white balsamic vinegar

Mangoes are hard to cut up. Unless you know this trick (which is also fun): http://thaifood.about.com/od/thairecipesstepbystep/ss/howtocutamango.htm

Plus, it makes the mango look sort of like an 8-bit porcupine, like thus

Cilantro is an odd herb. It may be the most polarizing herb I’ve ever encountered, so I leave it to your discretion as to how much (if any, although I recommend some, otherwise your salsa might be kind of boring) you put in. Add a few splashes of white balsamic vinegar and let sit in the fridge a bit before attacking it with corn chips.

"AH HA!" you say. "Tortilla chips are fried in oil! You said you’re not eating oil! LIAR!"

Well guess what I found at Whole Foods?

No oil, bitches. (thanks, Dave Mitchell, for introducing me to this)