Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A seedy bar full of nuts

No, I'm not referring to the sketchy hangout down the block; I speak of a healthy and economical alternative to the rather expensive snack bars currently lining supermarket shelves!

This bar is an invention/experiment that was born out of a survey of about 5 different snack bar recipes on the web, all of which included some nibbly bits that I found appealing. These are no-bake bars (hooray!), based on a simple yet ingenious principle: (sticky + dry) + freezer = snack. You follow? Stay with me now...

Seedy Nut Bars
(makes about 10 bars, but depends on how you cut them)

- 4 oz. bar unsweetened baking chocolate (I dig Ghirardelli's)
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1 cup almonds
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup ground flax
- 20 mejdool dates, pitted
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup natural peanut butter (I prefer salted)
- 2 tablespoons agave nectar (or other sticky sweetener of your choice: maple syrup, brown rice syrup, etc.)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Break up chocolate bar and pulse in food processor until you get chocolate chips. Set aside.
2. Pulse walnuts and almonds in the same food processor. Set aside.
3. Combine pitted dates, raisins, peanut butter, and agave nectar in food processor until you get a paste.
4. Combine the chocolate, nuts, seeds, flax and cinnamon in a large bowl. Add in the paste and stir until well mixed - this will seem difficult, but trust me, you'll get there. A large metal spoon works well here, to break up any large chunks of paste.
5. Line an 8 x 8 glass baking dish with parchment paper, and flatten the mixture into the bottom, using lightly oiled hands or the bottom of a cup.
6. Put the dish into the freezer until hardened, then transfer to a cutting board and cut your bars. I suggest wrapping them individually with press'n seal wrap and keeping them in the refrigerator. If you wrap them tightly enough, they should hold up all day in a big shoulder bag or backpack.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Burrito + Samosa = Burrosa!

Last night, one of my classmates from the Natural Gourmet Institute, Toshiko, was thrown a going-away party as she will be leaving us for the isle of Japan next week. We'll miss you Toshi!! (But we know you'll be back soon.)

To the party, I brought an experimental cross between a burrito and a samosa, which Dan and Anna deftly named the Burrosa. Stuffed with warmly spiced squash and hot pepper-spiked black beans, these crispy little pockets are a delectable identity crisis for the unsuspecting tongue.

I wrapped them up into triangles using half sheets of spring roll pastry:
Then I baked them at 375 for about 15 minutes, until golden and crispified.

The new kitchen

Ok, I've kept my whereabouts and whatdoings shrouded in mystery long enough. It's time to expose the truth: I have a new kitchen, and it's fabulous!!! Which is to say, I have moved to a new home, a lovely, light-drenched 1-bedroom apartment in Astoria, Queens which I share with my most favorite roomie, Dan. We've been having a delicious time setting up and making elaborate breakfasts, like this one: Eggs in a frame (by Dan) with Moroccan roasted butternut squash (by Eve). Dan proves himself to be quite the masterful coffee- and egg-maker.

Just lookit him go!

View of the big breezy tree outside our living room window:
And a sampling of Dan's refrigerator poetry (quite a Renaissance man, that one):

All in all, life is shaping up to be beautiful and tasty in Astoria!