Friday, March 13, 2009

Havanuther Cookies

I firmly believe that the world needs cookies. In fact, I think there's a good chance that if the Israelis and Palestinians would just sit down together over a warm plate of Tollhouse's best, they could work out all their problems. These bite-sized beauties are my homage to the Schoolyard Oatmeal Cookies found in Table for Two. They're just sweet enough, just chewy enough, just spicy enough, and more or less guilt-free.

Start to finish: 45 minutes
Yield: 16-24 cookies

Havanuther Cookies
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup millet
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup brown rice syrup (or other liquid sweetener)
4 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons vanilla

1/3-1/2 cup dried cranberries
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a cookie sheet with cooking spray, or line with parchment.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients together.
  3. In a small bowl, mix all the wet ingredients together, and then stir into the dry ingredients. The dough will be quite thick and stiff.
  4. Stir in the dried cranberries.
  5. Drop by rounded teaspoons or tablespoons onto prepared cookie sheet. (Teaspoons will give you roughly 2 dozen bite-sized cookies; tablespoons will give you about 16 two-bite cookies.)
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the tops are golden.
Note: You can add walnuts, almonds, etc., if you like. Just cut back on the amount of dried cranberries.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Shameless Smoothie

Now that the weather's turning a little warmer, I've started thinking again about making food that's raw and cooling. This morning I made up a smoothie that was simply delicious. Granted, smoothies are not rocket science, but this was too good not to share. (It's "shameless" because you needn't have any shame eating this healthy, tasty treat.)

Yield: 1 serving
Start to finish: Less than 5 minutes

Shameless Smoothie
1/2 cup yogurt "cheese" (see below for directions)
1 organic banana
1/2 cup frozen organic blueberries (or fresh, but I like a little frostiness)
1 tablespoon wheat germ
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Put everything in a blender and blend until smooth.
Yogurt Cheese
This is my new favorite treat, also known as Greek-style yogurt, made by draining off the whey in yogurt. It's thicker and creamier than regular yogurt, makes a great bagel spread, and can be used as a substitute for sour cream or cream cheese in dips, baking...whatever you want! The cheese I used for my smoothie was made with Nancy's Organic Vanilla, but it works just as well with plain or any other flavor you want.
  1. Line a colander with cheesecloth or coffee filters.
  2. Place it in a bowl or dish. You may want to put it on top of another bowl turned upside-down, because you'll be draining off liquid, and you don't want the contents in the colander to sit in the liquid.
  3. Pour yogurt into the lined colander. Use any amount you want -- just be aware that the amount of "cheese" you're left with will be 1/3 to 1/2 less than the amount of yogurt you started with.
  4. Put the whole assembly into the refrigerator to drain overnight.
  5. In the morning, you'll have yogurt "cheese" and some amount of clear, pale yellow liquid that has drained off. The liquid is the whey and can be used as a substitute for water when making bread to add a little protein and smooth out the texture. (You can freeze it to use later if you're not going to use it in a day or two.) Apparently you can also make your own ricotta cheese with it, but that seems like more trouble than it's worth.