Honey Trout Gravalax

Photo by Libby Geboy

Photo by Libby Geboy

By Libby Geboy

Gravlax is a salty, sweet way to prepare fish, specifically salmon or trout. Originally from Sweden, the traditional way to prepare a whole side of fish involves wrapping the fillet in dill or pine needles (neither of which I used in this recipe out of personal preference). Feel free to wrap the fish with them and let it marinate in the greenery.

This recipe can be modified in many ways, using whatever spices you have on hand, like bay leaves, coriander, dill, caraway, fennel seeds (add about one tablespoon per filet of each spice) and brown or white sugar.

Only use the freshest of fish, as the fillet isn’t fully “cooked” but rather it is cured. I find my fish at the local farmer’s market, where I can count on the fish being clean and healthy up to its harvest. The vendor had told me that the fish I was purchasing had been swimming in fresh water until the day before it was caught, so I bought it!

The fish can marinate for up to 48 hours, but needs to be marinating for at least eight. It can be stored for a few days, but if it starts to smell funny before then, just get rid of it. It’s easy to eat on toast with sour cream, dill sprigs and a squeeze of lemon, so I bet it’ll be gone in no time!

1 medium-large filet of trout (or salmon)
1/3 cup natural honey
1/3 cup coarse grain salt
2 tablespoons cracked black or white pepper
1 tablespoon white sugar

Remove any pin bones that are along the thick side of the fish, careful not to disrupt the flesh as much as possible. Trim any fins or excess skin that might be on the sides of the filet. Place into a sheet of plastic wrap that will be big enough to wrap the fish in.

In a bowl, mix together the honey, salt, pepper, sugar and any other spices you are using. Rub onto the fish, massaging it gently. Place the fish onto the plastic wrap, skin side down. If using dill/pine, place a mass of it on top of the fish flesh. Tightly wrap the fish in plastic wrap, using another layer to fully wrap the fish. Put the wrapped fish into a shallow baking pan (I used a bread pan, as it fit the length of my fish), or a plate. This is so any liquid that escapes is caught in your drip pan.

Let the fish marinate for at least eight hours (but up to 48) in your refrigerator. When ready, open the wrapping, and remove the fillet. If desired, wash off the fillet to remove excess honey/salt. Using a sharp knife, thinly slice the fish, avoiding the skin.

Serve chilled, on top of toast with sour cream, more dill, a squeeze of lemon, with chives, or with oranges in a salad.

Maple Carrots, Burnt

Photo by Libby Geboy

Photo by Libby Geboy

By Libby Geboy

Warm, roasted carrots get sweetness from the maple syrup, which pairs well with the crispy burnt edges of the carrots. An easy dish to make any time of the year; serve hot in cold weather with other winter vegetables or chilled in the summer with a green salad. The salty sweetness is a great flavor, and the simplicity of the recipe will satisfy cravings.

4-5 large carrots
4 tablespoons of maple syrup
olive oil
salt
pepper

Place oven racks in the middle and top of the oven, then preheat the oven to 400°F.

Quarter the carrots the long way, and put them in a bowl big enough to toss in.

Splash olive oil, salt, pepper and the maple syrup onto the carrots; toss the carrots to cover. Drizzle olive oil on a large sheet pan, spread out the carrots onto the pan.

Roast the carrots for half an hour.

Remove the pan, and move it up to the top rack to broil. Watch carefully (broiling happens quickly) until the excess syrup is bubbling and the edges of the carrots are burnt.

Remove from the oven, serve and enjoy.

 

Green Bean Pea Salad with Mint

Photo by Libby Geboy

Photo by Libby Geboy

By Libby Geboy

Inspired by the new flower shoots and bright spring sun, this salad is so many shades of green. Based from a recipe in Yotam Ottlenghi’s all-vegetable cookbook, Plenty, I made some adjustments. Being the college student I am, I don’t have access to all the little spices and specialties that I might need. That’s okay, I make do, and it makes good food regardless. This crisp bean salad can be eaten as a main or a side, best chilled (but room temperature is good too!).

Two handfuls of fresh green beans (about 4 cups)
1 Cup frozen or fresh green peas
1-2 cups greens (I used kale, but sorrel, beet greens, spinach, or any soft young greens would work)
A handful of mint, torn to pieces
Splash of olive oil
1-2 tbsp whole mustard seeds
Salt
Pepper
Trim the stalk ends off all the green beans, and start a medium pot with water to boil. Add the green beans, and boil for 4 minutes. Take them out of the hot water, either with a slotted spoon or by pouring the beans through a colander. Rinse them in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process, dry and set aside in a large bowl. Start another pot of water to boil for the peas, only cooking them for about 30 seconds. Ice water rinse them too, then dry and add to the beans. Add your greens, and toss to combine the vegetables.
Drizzle everything with olive oil, sprinkle on salt, pepper and the mustard seeds. Mix it all again. Add on all the torn mint, and set the table. Enjoy the salad with your dinner, everyone.

Banan-cakes

Photo by Libby Geboy

Photo by Libby Geboy

By Libby Geboy

A funky combination of simply eggs and banana yields a delicious pancake-like breakfast. There are endless possibilities for what you can do with banan-cakes; all sorts of add-ins to make this recipe totally customizable for your palate and breakfast desires.

NOTE: Don’t rush your banan-cakes! Cooking them over high heat will burn the bottoms before they can be flipped.

2 eggs
1 banana (ripe, but not necessarily brown)
Butter/cooking spray

Optional:
Almond slivers (or other nuts)
Fruit
Chocolate chips
Oats (instant works best, texturally)
Syrup and/or honey

Mash the banana, combine with the eggs and mix until fully incorporated. Mix in the oats, if using.

Over medium-low heat, add to your pan a small knob of butter (if you’re using a non-stick pan, butter is optional but advised). When melted, pour in about a third of the batter. Sprinkle on the nuts or chocolate chips.

Using a spatula, lift the edge of your banan-cake to see if it:

  1. is ready to flip
  2. is golden brown.

**Flipping may take a couple attempts** as banan-cakes can be a bit fussy because they don’t have all the ingredients that usually hold pancakes together.

When the second side is finished, remove from the pan to a plate and repeat making banan-cakes with remaining batter.

I find that two eggs and one banana makes about three 5-inch pancakes. Top with fruit and syrup/honey. Enjoy!

 

Fig Newtons

Photo by Libby Geboy

Photo by Libby Geboy

Article by Libby Geboy

A delicious alternative to the store-bought cookies filled with figgy goodness. Making things at home allows you know know exactly what goes into the cookies, and also allows things to be customizable. For instance, the vegan recipe that this is based off uses aquafaba (bean juice) in place of the egg. You can also alter how much spice you add to the cookies. These cookies will stay soft for days if kept in an airtight container.

Cookie Dough:
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
¾ cup whole wheat flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
⅓ cup coconut oil, softened*
½ cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange zest

 

Filling:
8 ounces dried black Mission figs
2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
1 tablespoon honey
¼ teaspoon cinnamon

 

For the dough:
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flours, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Using a wooden spoon, cream the coconut oil and brown sugar until smooth and slightly fluffy scraping the bowl down as needed. Add the applesauce, egg, vanilla extract, and orange zest. Beat until smooth. Gradually add the dry ingredients, mixing until fully incorporated. A stiff dough should form. Gather the dough into a ball and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

 

For the filling and assembly:
After about 45 minutes, preheat the oven to 325°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Soak the figs in hot water for 10 minutes to soften them up, and place into the bowl of a food processor. Add applesauce, honey, and cinnamon and process until the smooth. (The mixture should be quite thick.) Fill a piping bag with the fig filling, snip off the corner of the bag so that the opening is about an inch wide. Set aside. On a well floured surface, roll cookie dough 1/4 inch thick, into the best rectangle you can. Trim off the edges with a pastry cutter or knife to make the edges perfectly straight. Cut the dough lengthwise into three even strips, just more than 3-inches wide. Pipe an inch-wide line of fig filling down the center of each dough strip. Carefully fold one edge of the dough tightly over the filling, then wrap the other edge in, overlapping with the first edge slightly. Press gently to seal, using a water-dipped finger to get a good seal.Turn the log over. Repeat with the remaining dough until you have three logs. Transfer the logs to your prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes (rotate at 10). While the logs are still warm, slice each log into as many 2-inch cookies as fits. Allow cookies to cool completely before eating.

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Black Pepper and Leek Tofu

By Libby Geboy

Photo by Libby Geboy

Photo by Libby Geboy

This spicy dish is surprisingly easy to make, and can be altered for your level of liking for spicy food. Though the whole idea is to keep it fiery, so keep it sharp! The recipe is deliciously vegetarian, and can be made gluten-free by the use of gluten-free soy sauce.

Recipe adapted from London’s Ottolenghi chef Yotam Ottolenghi
Serves 3-4

1 block organic, extra firm tofu
cornstarch to dust the tofu
olive oil
1 medium leek
knob chopped fresh ginger
7 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1-2 teaspoons chopped fresh or dried red chili
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black peppercorns
Steamed white or brown rice

Pour enough oil to cover the bottom of a large saute pan and have a depth of about a 1/4 inch. Cut tofu into 1 x 1 inch blocks, and toss them in cornstarch; shake off the excess. Add the tofu to the hot oil, turning when they get crispy on a side. (Chances are you’ll need to fry in batches, so the tofu gets crispy and doesn’t just stew in the oil.) When golden on all sides, transfer to paper towel to cool.

Turn the heat down to medium low. Thinly slice all of the white of the leek, and add to the oil in the pan, dropping in the ginger and chilies, too. Saute until all the leeks are soft and cooked down. Add the soy sauce and the sugar, then the black pepper. Stir until the sauce gently bubbles around the edges.

Add the tofu back to the pan, tossing in the the sauce to coat and rewarm. Serve hot, over steamed rice.

Spiced Butternut Squash

By Libby Geboy

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1 medium butternut squash, peeled
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon allspice
Fresh ground black pepper
Salt
Optional: honey

 

-Preheat the oven to 400°F.
-Cut the butternut squash in half, and scoop out the seeds. Cut the squash into rough one-inch cubes.
-Toss the cubes in olive oil, then sprinkle with the cinnamon, allspice, black pepper and salt until evenly coated.
-Spread the squash in an even layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 30-45 minutes, until tender.
-Drizzle with honey, if desired.

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