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Maple Ginger Parsnip Cake with Labneh Walnut Topping

Why do you bake? I bake to relax. I bake to fill my kitchen with oven warmth and the smell of caramelized sugar. I bake when I want dessert, one made with ingredients I can pronounce. I bake to share my creations, to lift spirits with muffins.  

I've been plotting to bake this cake, adapted from a recipe from the Green Kitchen Stories blog, since Christmas, and today was the day I finally got my shit together. Yes, I define my current level of pulled-togetherness by whether or not I'm actively engaging in pastry arts...

 
Maple Ginger Parsnip Cake | Funky Beets
 

Meet carrot cake's spunky sister, parsnip cake. This recipe nestles a half pound of shredded root veg goodness amid a not-too-sweet but very moist and slightly spicy crumb topped with tangy thickened yogurt, crunchy toasted walnuts and tart dried cranberries.  Unlike zucchini bread, where the vegetable fades into the background, the parsnip flavor in this cake is unmistakable. Parsnips are slightly sweet and nutty, and so work well in desserts and play nice with the ginger, cinnamon and hint of orange in this recipe. The flours used are brown rice and oat, making this cake 100% whole grain and wheat-free.  If you're in the mood for something a little different after dinner, please give this funky cake a shot.

 
Maple Ginger Parsnip Cake | Funky Beets
 

Tip: to make the labneh for topping, simply drain plain, whole milk yogurt (or Greek yogurt) in a coffee filter or cheese cloth set over a bowl for 6 to 8 hours or until it is thickened but still spreadable.

Maple Ginger Parsnip Cake with Labneh Walnut Topping

Adapted from Green Kitchen Stories 

Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 2 tbsp corn starch or potato starch
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 pinch clove
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 lb parsnips
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp orange bitters (optional)
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Topping

  • 1 cup thickened plain whole milk yogurt (labneh) - see above tip
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Generously grease a 8 or 9 inch springform pan. Set aside. 

  2. Whisk together the flours, starch, baking powder and spices.

  3. Peel and grate the parsnips. I used the fine shredding blade on my food processor which worked like a dream. 

  4. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl until slightly frothy. Add the oil, maple syrup and vanilla and whisk until completely combined. Fold in the parsnips and then the flour mixture. 

  5. Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan and bake on the middle rack for about 40 minutes, or until golden and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool before before removing cake from the springform pan.

  6. Make the topping by simply stirring together your thickened yogurt with maple syrup and ground ginger. Spread the icing over the cake when it has cooled completely. Garnish with toasted walnuts and dried cranberries.

  7. The cake will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 5 days and its flavor is actually better the second day. 

 
 

PS: This cake is completely acceptable breakfast fare!

 

 

 

Cardamom-Spiced Blackberry and Sunbutter Overnight Oats

Hi friends, I'm feeling a bit like a wrung out sponge. Wrapping up my semester of internship experience, I've started reflecting on how much I've learned much beyond textbooks, how many unique souls I've met, and how many hours I've stayed up wondering what the future holds for me. Two weeks out from graduation, I'm more than ready for a breather, however brief, from this juggling act I've been putting on for the last four months. I'm trying to keep all the balls in the air, but quite honestly a few are rolling around on the floor, namely housekeeping and sleep. My cup runneth over with joy though tumbleweeds of dust grace the floors. One thing I can always count on to energize my mind and enliven my soul is creative cooking with fresh and vibrant ingredients.

 
cardamom blackberry and sunbutter overnight oats | funkybeetsblog.com
 

Dirty house and sleep deprivation notwithstanding, I can still whip up a breakfast worth rising and shining for. This morning's version of overnight oats combined the comforting scent of cardamom, juicy ripe blackberries, and nutty sunflower seed butter along with chia seeds and a kiss of maple syrup. Power breakfast, no doubt, son. Soaking the oats overnight in a slightly acidic liquid (such as yogurt or milk of choice with a little lemon juice) helps break down some of the harder to digest proteins and totally eliminates the need for cooking.  So easy. So delicious.

In other news, I had an article and recipe about tamale-making published on the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' blog Stone Soup check it out here!

 
cardamom blackberry and sunbutter overnight oats | funkybeetsblog.com
 

Cardamom-Spiced Blackberry and Sunbutter Overnight Oats

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp sunbutter (any nut butter works!)
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 1/4 cup pecans

Method

  1. Combine oats, milk, lemon juice, chia seeds, and cardamom in a glass jar or bowl. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
  2. Remove oat mixture from fridge and stir in maple syrup and sunbutter.
  3. In two separate jars or bowls, evenly distribute oat mixture, layering with blackberries and pecans to your artistic whims.  Add more milk if desired.
  4. Enjoy anywhere!

Double Chocolate Banana Muffins with Gooey Peanut Butter Filling (Gluten Free!)

With visions of maple glazed ham, warm cheesy dips, sparkly cutout cookies, and bourbon-spiked eggnog dancing in our heads, now for something completely different... 

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I've been cooking a lot lately, mostly things to give as gifts, and dreaming of posting about all of it: my beloved granola with dried cranberries and dark chocolate chunks, cute hot chocolate stir sticks replete with mini candy canes, infused booze of several shades and flavors, walnut-studded rum balls, and hearty mason-jarred beef and barley chili. 

But what finally drove me to sit down and write a post were these humble little muffins that emerged from my oven today as a result of some crazy ripe bananas wafting their sweet boozy potpourri cloud through the kitchen. I wanted to bake something to enjoy after a rich holiday meal or with Christmas morning coffee: a not-too-sweet almond flour pillow chock full of the good stuff: chocolate, banana and peanut butter. Obviously I had to test one to make sure they weren't poison, and it was love at first bite: the perfect balance of roasty banana and rich chocolate, with a background of vanilla and almond and a gooey peanut butter center to steal the show. Almond flour's texture is unbeatable when it comes to hearty baked goods like muffins and breads, I completely prefer it over wheat flour. The dense, moist crumb on these babies cries out for a glass of milk... and a second muffin. 

chocolate  banana muffins with peanut butter filling (GF)

Merry Christmas Eve Eve everyone. I hope you have the most wonderfilled and joyful holiday season. Remember to look around and breathe deeply. Say "mmm" as you savor all those special holiday dishes and "ahh" when you see the glow of Christmas lights. As we steep ourselves in family time and food, let's be grateful for and awed by LOVE and all of the ways it manifests itself in our lives - at Christmas and every day after.

Double Chocolate Banana Muffins with Gooey Peanut Butter Filling (Gluten Free)

Recipe adapted from Comfy Belly Blog
Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil (or melted coconut oil, butter, etc.)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups almond flour or almond meal (I used unblanched)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F and line muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. Mix honey, oil, eggs, vanilla and banana together in a bowl until well blended.
  3. Mix baking soda, salt, flour, and cocoa in a separate bowl and add to the wet ingredients and mix well again. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  4. Pour batter evenly into lined muffin tins. Using a spoon, plop 1/2 tablespoon of peanut butter into the center of each muffin.
  5. Bake muffins for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean.
  6. Store at room temperature for up to three days or in the fridge for a few weeks, or freeze for safekeeping. Enjoy at least one while still warm.
chocolate  banana muffins with peanut butter filling (GF)




Zucchini and Cucumber Gazpacho with Lemon and Basil

Zucchini and Cucumber Gazpacho with Lemon and Basil | funkybeetsblog.com

Happy Labor Day weeeeeekend!

Class has only been in session a week, but I already feel I need this little break. My final semester before practicum aka internship, promises to be dynamic and full of opportunities for self-growth. (Read: crazy busy and emotionally demanding.) At times I find myself getting caught up in the scholarly whirlwind and losing sight of what’s most important: sharing healthy, delicious food with people from all walks of life. Thankfully that’s just what I was able to do today: with my very best friend and fearless classmate at my side, I took part in cooking and sharing a fresh, seasonal recipe with the lovely folks at the Wauwatosa Farmers market.

Zucchini and Cucumber Gazpacho with Lemon and Basil | funkybeetsblog.com

Our Zucchini and Cucumber Gazpacho with Lemon and Basil was a success. I loved listening to market goers' comments as they sipped the mint green, basil-flecked, chilled soup from Dixie cups.  They remarked on the light, herbacious flavor and how cool and refreshing it was amidst the heat and density of the late summer air. Not only did Chetney and I get to share our love of food and nutrition, but we were also able to promote our beloved blogs, yet another way to spread the healthy eating love around. And a special thanks to Kettle Rock Farm, who graciously donated all of the produce for today's recipe demo!

This recipe is a fantastic vehicle for using up some of the season’s plethora of zucchini and cucumber, which provide the base of our gazpacho. The flavor-soul of this soup comes from basil and lemon, which elevate the other ingredients with their botanical brightness while scallions lend a gentle allium scent and olive oil and whole milk yogurt bring richness and depth. To add visual appeal and textural variation, we topped the soup with diced heirloom tomatoes, so pretty! Serving this at home, I streaked the soup with yogurt, olive oil and coarse sea salt: abstract art in a bowl.

 
Zucchini and Cucumber Gazpacho with Lemon and Basil | funkybeetsblog.com
 

Talking through this recipe with market goers, we noted that any summer squash (pattypan, yellow squash, etc.) would work well in place of the zucchini.  We also tossed around the idea of using other herbs like cilantro, lemon thyme, or parsley.  Chetney even mentioned blending in some honeydew melon; I’d love to try that version! As with many of the seasonal recipes I’ve been sharing here lately, I encourage you to make this your own, add more of what you like and less of what you don’t. Share your creations in the comments below.  And be sure to pop over to Chetney's blog for the full story of our market cooking adventure as well as to follow along with her day to day food journey, an always inspiring read.

doing what I love - photo credit Chetney Dudzic

Now dear reader, your mission should you choose to accept it: grab your best knife and a blender and whip up this soup in 15 minutes or less.  Then let it chill and share it with the ones you love; the weekend is just beginning!

Zucchini and Cucumber Gazpacho with Basil and Lemon

adapted from Real Simple
Makes about 8 half-cup portions

Ingredients

  • 4 scallions (green onions), chopped
  • 1 lb cucumbers, seeds removed if desired, sliced
  • 1 lb zucchini, sliced
  • 3/4 cup  olive oil
  • 1/2 cup  fresh basil leaves, plus more for topping
  • 1/3 cup  fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup  plain whole milk yogurt, plus more for topping
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 large heirloom tomato, diced, for topping

Method

  1. Puree the scallions, cucumbers, zucchini, oil, basil, and lemon juice in a blender, or in bowl using an immersion blender, until smooth.
     
  2. Add the yogurt, salt and pepper to taste (half teaspoon of each to start) and pulse to combine.
     
  3. Serve cold or room temperature topped with yogurt, torn basil, and diced heirloom tomatoes. Sprinkle with coarse salt if desired.

Smoky ‘Shroom-and-Kale-Stuffed Pattypan Squash

I wish I'd been around when humans got down to the business of naming things.  I’d definitely be pretty psyched to have been the one to point at a scurrying gray rodent with an endearingly bushy tail and say, “We should call that a ‘squirrel’ from now on.” And speaking of awesome names, heirloom vegetables might just be one of the deepest wellsprings of hilarious, beautiful and downright odd monikers known to man.  In the tomato family alone, there’s “Chocolate Stripes,” “Mortgage Lifter,” “Pink Oxheart,” “Brandywine,” "Big Rainbow," "Enchantment," "German Johnson," and “Grandma’s Recliner.” No wait, that last one was made up by Molly and Matt of Spilled Milk, one of my very favorite podcasts.

Take pattypan squash.  It’s hard to say without a hint of a smile, right? These flower-shaped beauties are also known as scallop squash, which describes the elegant curves of their edges.  (Cue John Legend song here.)  Come to think of it, that tune could very well have been written about heirloom veggies: all your perfect imperfections… Anyway, according to rareseeds.com, pattypan is “a very ancient native American heirloom squash, grown by the northern Indians for hundreds of years.”  So thank you northern Indians, for cultivating this delicious fruit we still enjoy today.

beautifulveggies

The pattypans we got in our box this week were about fist size, perfect for stuffing with goodness to preserve their unique geometry and create a hot-lookin’ main dish.  To stuff a pattypan squash, treat it like a pumpkin destined for jack o’ lantern status: saw out the top of the squash with a paring knife by aiming the blade at about a 45 degree angle down into the flesh and cut in a circle; you should wind up with a cone shape when you pull off the top. Then using a metal spoon, scrape out the seeds and some of the flesh of the pattypan, making a decent sized compartment for whatever you’d like to stuff inside.

 
hollowsquash
 

My creation was born of what dwelt in the fridge: collard greens, red Russian kale, cream cheese, and cremini mushrooms.  You can stuff yours with just about anything; grains, greens, and/or cheese work especially well.  Here’s my recipe:

Smoky ‘Shroom-and-Kale-Stuffed Pattypan Squash

Ingredients:

stuffedsquash
  • 2 large pattypan squash, tops removed and insides hollowed as described above
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, divide
  • 2 cloves garlic, mince
  • 5 collard green leaves, ribs removed, shredded
  • 5 red Russian kale leaves, ribs removed, shredded
  • 8 whole cremini mushrooms, dice
  • ¼ cup cream cheese
  • smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and salt to taste

Method:

  1. In a medium sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and sauté for a brief minute before adding the shredded greens.  Reduce the heat slightly and cook the greens until bright green and tender, adding water to deglaze the pan as needed, as you don’t want the garlic or the greens to brown or burn.  Remove greens from the pan to a small bowl and set aside.

  2. Using the same pan over medium heat, add the second tablespoon of olive oil.  Add the diced mushrooms to the pan and stir to coat with oil.  Once the mushrooms are tender and glossy, lower the heat and add the cream cheese, stirring to encourage melting.

  3. Add smoked paprika, cayenne and salt, tasting the mixture with each addition. (Don’t be shy with your spices, the cream cheese tempers the heat quite nicely.) Add the cooked greens back to the pan and mix all ingredients until uniformly incorporated, then remove filling mixture from heat.

  4. Using a spoon, stuff the kale and mushroom mixture into the squashes, pushing down on the filling with the back of the spoon to make room for more goodness.  Overstuff so some filling is visible coming out of the squash, then place the little caps on top. Cover the outside of the squash with a light sheen of olive oil to prevent scorching.

  5. Bake stuffed squash in a 400°F oven for about 20 minutes or until thickest part of squash can be pierced with a fork without much difficulty (but is not totally mushy).

  6. Serve warm alongside a simple green salad and sliced fruit of the season.

Method:

  1. In a medium sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and sauté for a brief minute before adding the shredded greens.  Reduce the heat slightly and cook the greens until bright green and tender, adding water to deglaze the pan as needed, as you don’t want the garlic or the greens to brown or burn.  Remove greens from the pan to a small bowl and set aside.

  2. Using the same pan over medium heat, add the second tablespoon of olive oil.  Add the diced mushrooms to the pan and stir to coat with oil.  Once the mushrooms are tender and glossy, lower the heat and add the cream cheese, stirring to encourage melting.

  3. Add smoked paprika, cayenne and salt, tasting the mixture with each addition. (Don’t be shy with your spices, the cream cheese tempers the heat quite nicely.) Add the cooked greens back to the pan and mix all ingredients until uniformly incorporated, then remove filling mixture from heat.

  4. Using a spoon, stuff the kale and mushroom mixture into the squashes, pushing down on the filling with the back of the spoon to make room for more goodness.  Overstuff so some filling is visible coming out of the squash, then place the little caps on top. Cover the outside of the squash with a light sheen of olive oil to prevent scorching.

  5. Bake stuffed squash in a 400°F oven for about 20 minutes or until thickest part of squash can be pierced with a fork without much difficulty (but is not totally mushy).

  6. Serve warm alongside a simple green salad and sliced fruit of the season.
 
stuffedsquash2
 
 
cutelittlestuffedsquashies