I love to bake. I love to bake because I love to eat sweets. I love it because I enjoy experimenting and trying to create things I’ve never made before. I love following instructions and coming out with something a little bit magical. I like to try recipes until I find the right one. Baking is relaxing for me (mostly).
Sometimes when you love to do something you have to step away in order to find your love for it again. If it becomes to routine, the joy is lost. So there hasn’t been a whole lot of baking happening in my life of late. And yet these cherry hand pies called to me to be made. After my last cherry pie, which left me unsatisfied, I had to tackle them again. So small pies were the plan, something a little different, something a little more fun.
I didn’t worry too much how these looked in the end. I just put them together in a way that pleased me. They weren’t perfect looking but the filling was almost divine. I admit, I made a mistake or two in the preparations, but I learned something wonderful: tapioca makes an amazing pie filling.
So here is to adventures in baking, whether they yield glorious or disastrous results.
This week we got our first CSA box and I’m possibly a little over excited about it. The truth is I’m really awful at shopping for vegetables, and it’s rare that I buy fruit ever. So having someone else pick out some perfect organic fruits and veggies and deliver them to my door is the best. I feel like this is the impetus for my diet to be transformed from 90% carbs to maybe a little bit lower percentage. Granted, I am already dreaming of making cherry tarts and zucchini bread (I blame these ladies for posting zucchini bread instagrams for that) which isn’t quite the healthiest way to prepare these fruits and veggies, but at least it’s a step in the right direction.
Mostly I’m just happy to have really fresh and delicious foods. It’s easy to forget how good simple foods can taste when you’re used to drowning them in sauces and seasonings. Yet it’s entirely pleasing to just eat a peach or a cobb of roasted corn.
The other perk is getting creative with foods I wouldn’t normally buy. Celery for instance. While I’ll occasionally purchase celery for a recipe, it’s not on my usual slate of vegetables. Since we got some in this box, I was inspired to make some chickpea salad. It’s a recipe I make all the time, but leave out the celery. Who knew that the celery actually makes it taste way better. So here is to expanding my vegetable vocabulary. And to celebrate, here is my easy chickpea salad recipe.
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
1/4 cup vegenaise
1 Tbsp mustard
1 1/2 tsp rice vinegar
salt & pepper to taste
In a food processor, mash the chickpeas until they are sort of mushy. Add the other ingredients and blend until combined. I like my chickpea salad on the smooth side, but you can go chunky too.
Ever since we had our Twin Peaks marathon I’ve been thinking about donuts. A lot. In fact, yesterday I told Shawn I am going to open a tiny donut shop, just so I can have them whenever I want. Ok, not really. I would like to try out some recipes though.
I’ve always liked my donuts light and fluffy, and fried. The best donuts I ever made were spudnuts (potato donuts) that were soft and airy. If only I had written down the recipe. I’ve vowed to try again sometime. On the other hand, I’ve been dying to make these beignets forever now too.
The thing with fried donuts though is that they’re really only good for a little while. It doesn’t take long for them to get that weird old donut texture, so unless you’re eating them right out of the fryer, they’re not as awesome. So despite my love of all things fried, I am really starting to like baked donuts. I guess I’ll have to get a donut pan to make these.
Plus if I get a donut pan, I can make rice crispie treat donuts. Or maple donuts. Or any kind of donut I want. Donuts forever!
Do you have a favorite kind of donut?
It’s been nearly a year since Pure Luck closed and I still miss it all the time. The only thing that takes the edge off is that it’s not too hard to recreate their menu at home. It’s not quite the same obviously, but works when you’re desperate for a jackfruit burrito.
Pure Luck Jackfruit Carnitas
1 20 oz can Jackfruit in brine, drained and rinsed
1 bottle Mexican coke
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 heaping teaspoons Better than Bouillon mixed with 2 cups water (I used the No Chicken base, but could be done with the No Beef base I’m sure)
Generally speaking, I like to make this in my crock pot, because it’s easy to just let it cook overnight, but you could also just let it all simmer for 20-30 minutes on the stove.
Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a pan over medium flame. Add onion and garlic to the pan and saute until the onions have softened, stirring so that the garlic doesn’t burn. Set aside.
Break up the jackfruit a little with your hands, separating the flesh (don’t worry too much about the core, it will soften up when cooked). Add jackfruit, cooked onions, garlic and all other ingredients to your crock pot and cook on high for 4-6 hours or on low overnight. You can keep the jackfruit in this broth until you are ready to eat it.
In an iron skillet or heavy bottomed pan, heat the remaining oil over medium high flame. Add the jackfruit and saute until browned. You’ll want to break up the jackfruit even more at this point, particularly the cores. Toss in your burrito and enjoy!
The other majorly important side dish from Pure Luck is the potato pals. Someone asked for the recipe to make these, but honestly, they’re basically premade. I suppose you could get all fancy and make some gnocchi from scratch, but that’s certainly not what Pure Luck did. So just pick up a package of gnocchi from the market (make sure they don’t have eggs in them), cook them following the instructions on the package, and then fry them up. I don’t have a deep fryer so, I just fry them in some oil in a skillet. They still taste awesome. Missing the dipping sauce? It’s just vegenaise and bbq mixed in equal parts.
I’m still dreaming that one day Pure Luck will reopen it’s doors somewhere else, but until then, I’ll just go on making jackfruit carnitas and potato pals at home. Now if only I could crack their caesar dressing I’d be set.