Who am I kidding? None of you have made any ricotta since Monday. (If you have, I salute you and we are destined to be BFFs.) I must be the only crazy person with a fridge full of raw milk and an interest in cheese making.
But maybe you have some store-bought ricotta in your fridge that needs to be used?
Time to bust it out, people! We can work with that.
This dip is.. gah. So good.
This is basically a cannoli in a bowl. Tastes exactly the same. Dip anything you want into it- fruit, crackers/cookies/carbs of your choice, heck- spread it on a vegetable and just try not to eat it.
The cute little crackers pictured are actually made with some spent grain from Mr. Nick’s homebrewing adventures. They are dark and lovely and perfect vessels for dipping. Grahams or waffle cookies would be lovely, too.
If you’d prefer a smoother dip, keep adding cream until it’s as thin as you like. I like it thicker, with an almost cookie-dough-consistency- you could probably roll it up and make it into truffles if you wanted to. Umm, yeah- let’s definitely do that.
(I just realized that this looks eerily similar to my white bean cookie dough– there are no beans in this, I promise! And tastes better, if you ask me. Probably because there are no beans in it?)
4 oz mascarpone cheese (you can sub cream cheese if you need to)
2 tablespoons honey
¼-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon vanilla
zest of ½ an orange, plus more zest for topping
2-4 tablespoons heavy cream
¼ cup mini chocolate chips, plus more for topping
sliced fruit, crackers, etc for dipping
In a stand mixer, combine ricotta and mascarpone cheeses and blend until smooth. Add honey, cinnamon, vanilla, orange zest and 2 tablespoons of the heavy cream and mix to combine. If the dip is still too stiff, add more cream 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach your desired consistency. Scoop into a bowl and serve.
If you have any leftovers, store in the fridge- it should keep for a week or so.
I know Paleo is definitely a thing, but is ‘Almost Paleo’ a thing?
Well, I’m making it a thing.
These little squares are going to make your paleo-loving tummies very happy, with or without the frosting. ‘Cause let’s face it, the frosting is the problem here. Apparently those old cave people didn’t do cream cheese or butter. Can’t imagine why? I guess they were too busy hunting animals for food to bother with milking them and churning butter.
The thing I love most about these pumpkin squares is that normal people will eat them and enjoy them. It will probably not occur to them to even ask if they’re Paleo (unless you spend all day talking about your diet, then the caveman’s cat/tiger is probably out of the bag).
They don’t have a weird texture. They don’t taste dry or like cardboard. They just taste like a normal, moist dessert bar. A real triumph in sugar-free and grain-free baking, if you ask me. I’m pretty sure I’ll be taking these to every holiday party from now until New Year’s, so get ready for that, friends!
I don’t think cavemen had holiday parties, but if they did..
you see where I’m going with this.
Almost Paleo. It’s a thing.
Almost Paleo Pumpkin Squares with Maple Walnut Frosting [Grain/Refined Sugar Free]
inspired by This Primal Life **For these to be paleo-approved, just omit the frosting.**
Author: Oven Love
Recipe type: Dessert
1 cup almond butter (walnut or pecan butter would be great too, but tend to be hard to find/expensive unless you make it at home)
¾ cup pumpkin puree
⅓ cup honey or maple syrup
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (Jamie has a great recipe you can make at home, or you can just substitute plain cinnamon here)
½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons maple syrup
whole walnuts or pecans, for topping
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare an 8×8 baking pan with butter, oil or cooking spray.
In a large bowl, whisk almond butter, pumpkin, egg, honey/maple syrup, baking soda and pumpkin pie spice until well combined. Fold in the chopped nuts, if using.
Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.
While the squares are cooling, combine the cream cheese and butter in a stand mixer and mix until smooth. Scrape down the sides and add the maple syrup. When the squares are completely cool, spread on the frosting. Cut into 2-inch squares and add a nut on the top for garnish. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week or at room temperature for 2-3 days.
Ever since we started drinking raw milk, I have been itching to make some cheese with it. The only thing getting in my way is a tiny human with a serious appetite for milk- we almost never have any milk leftover for cooking or experimenting.
Last week I got hit with The Lucky Stick and had a whole half-gallon left for my own enjoyment. I finally had my chance to make cheese! I scanned my saved recipes to find a cheese recipe that didn’t require rennet, since I don’t have any cheese-making items on hand.
Lucky for me, this recipe requires only four ingredients- milk, cream, salt and a lemon. That’s all, friends. And there is only about 15 minutes of work involved. And by work, I mean pot-watching.. so it’s pretty basic.
You can certainly make this with store-bought milk, but I wanted to make the distinction that this cheese was made with raw milk- mostly because it has a yellowish color to it. The yellow color is just like the color of our raw milk, not because anything went wrong in the cheese-making process.
My favorite way to eat ricotta is just to smoosh it onto some toast and salt the heck out of it, but these are other good ways to use it, too.
1 cup cream (either skimmed from other raw milk or bought separately)
1 teaspoon sea salt
juice of 1 lemon
Cut a square of cheesecloth to line your strainer. Place the strainer over a large bowl.
In a stockpot, combine the milk, cream and salt. Bring to a boil slowly, stirring often to prevent scorching.
When the milk is at a boil, add the lemon juice. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until small curdles start to form.
Pour the mixture into your cheesecloth-lined strainer and let drain for 10 minutes. Discard the remaining liquid (or feed it to your pets/animals). Store the cheese in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Mr. Nick (that handsome fellow I share a last name with) is here to talk about home brewing!
I know I’ve mentioned it before, but he’s been brewing beer at home for a while now and we’re finally ready to share it with you. (Meaning we finally got off our butts, took some photos and sat down to write this post.) Love this guy.
Before I knew anything about homebrew, beer seemed like something you needed a roomful of stainless steel pipes and tanks to make, as well as a dedicated brewmaster (who attained such status after a lifetime of devotion). Clearly not the sort of thing you could make at home.
Wrong. Not only can you make it at home, it is absurdly easy to do so. I’m brewing beer right now. In a plastic bucket. In my closet.
Most people get started with a homebrew kit. These typically have all the ingredients you need, except a few special pieces of homebrew equipment (but a homebrew set-up can be had for just over a hundred bucks). Most of the fermentable sugars in a homebrew kit come from malt extract, which looks a lot like molasses.
A kit is a good place to start, but brewing from grain is not much harder (and the beer is better, less sugary). It’s like the difference between a from-scratch cake and baking from a cake mix.
The steps for grain brewing are in the instructions below. They may be a little intimidating at first, but you’ll have it down by your second batch. As far as the ingredients, Brooklyn Brew Shop sells one gallon kits (perfect for your stove top). Another option is to visit your local brewing supply store. I bought the ingredients for my first all grain batch from Mr. Steve’s in York, PA. I just gave him the recipe and gave me back a bag of crushed grain, ready for the mash.
Kölsch is a tougher beer to start out on, due to it being a lager and needing to ferment at a cooler temperature (ales brew at 75 deg or so). Though nothing a little improvisation couldn’t fix – I kept my one gallon fermenter in a cooler with water and swapped out frozen jugs of water from the freezer to keep it between 50-60 deg.
If you enjoy a cold one now and then – and like to make things yourself – give homebrew a try.
60 Minute Mash at 152 degrees(all grains should be milled)
2 quarts water, plus one gallon for sparging
1.5 pounds German Pilsner malt
0.25 pound Munich malt
0.2 pound Pale Wheat malt
60 Minute Boil
0.3 ounce Hallertau hops, divided into thirds
0.1 ounce Tettnanger hops
1/2 packet German ale yeast, such as White Labs German Ale
3 tablespoons honey, for bottling
In a medium stockpot, heat the 2 quarts water over high heat to 160 degrees F. Add all the malts and stir gently. The temperature should reduce to 150 F within one minute. Turn off the heat. Steep the grains for 60 minutes between 144 and 152 F. Every 10 minutes, stir and take the temperature. If the grains get too cold, turn on the heat to high while stirring until the temperature rises to that range, then turn off the heat. With 10 minutes left, in a second medium stockpot heat the 1 gallon water to 170 F. After the grains have steeped for 60 minutes, raise the heat of the grains-and-water mixture to high and stir until the temperature reaches 170 F. Turn off the heat.
Place a fine mesh strainer over a pot, and pour the grains into the strainer, reserving the liquid. Pour the 1 gallon of 170 F water over the grains. Recirculate the collected liquid through the grains once.
Return the pot with the liquid to the stove on high heat and bring to a boil. When it starts to foam, reduce the heat to a slow rolling boil and add one third of the Hallertau hops. Add a third of the Hallertau hops after 15 minutes, another third after 40 minutes and the Tettnanger hops after 58 minutes. Prepare an ice bath by stopping the sink and filling it with 5 inches of water and ice. At the 60-minute mark, turn off the heat. Place the pot in the ice bath and cool to 70 F, about 30 minutes.
Using a sanitized funnel and strainer, pour the liquid into a sanitized fermenter. Add any water needed to fill the jug to the 1-gallon mark. Add the yeast, sanitize your hands, cover the mouth of the jug with one hand, and shake to distribute evenly. ttanch a sanitized stopper and tubing to the fermenter and insert the other end of the tubing into a small bowl of sanitzing solution. Place the fermenter in a storage area that is 54F, such as a mini fridge or cellar. The solution will begin to bubble as the yeast activates, pushing gas through the tube. Wat 2-3 days untl the bubbling has slowed, then replace the tubing system with an airlock. Wait 3 weeks, then siphon the beer into a second sanitized fermenter (or into a sanitized pot, then back into the cleaned fermenter). Store for 3 weeks at 35F to 40 F (your regular refrigerator should work). fter 6 weeks total, bottle, using the honey. Store the bottles in your refrigerator, unless you decide to drink it all right away.
And because you’re the best, I want to Oven Love to be the best.
So I’ve taken all of your ideas into consideration- namely, “Natalie, I really want to read your post but I can’t see it on the red background!”- and will be launching a new website!
The major changes happening are:
Clean, readable design. My apologies to you if you’re one of the many folks who have trouble pulling up the blog and reading it because of the background. There really is a white background there, I swear! It is typically a browser issue, but I’m sorry none-the-less. Here’s a screenshot of what it really looks like if you’ve never been able to read:
New recipe card format. This is going to be awesome. The recipe will be save-able, printable and set apart from the post. It’s about time, right? I will have to go back and reformat all of the old recipes though.. so have a little patience with me on that part, okay?
Searchable archives. Finally, we can get rid of that tag cloud! There will be an easily accessible search bar and an archive page so you can find your favorite recipes quickly.
Social media tabs. Facebook, Twitter, RSS, and Pinterest will all be just a click away. (And maybe Instagram?)
More about me. Maybe you want to know more about me, maybe you don’t.. but now at least you have the option. You can find out why I started this blog in the first place and why I like food so much. (Note to self: remember why I started this blog and figure out why I like food so much.)
A new domain and a WordPress theme. I have had a great experience with Blogger, but we are moving on to an actual website with a WordPress theme- this will make responding to individual comments easier, among other things.
(Congratulations for reading through all of that.)
I expect things will continue to grow and change, but this is a great place to start and I can’t wait to share it with you when it goes live. Thank you for making Oven Love what it is- is it too cheesy to say that you’re my inspiration?
And please- if you have anything to suggest about how to make Oven Love better, anything at all, please comment below, email at email@example.com or forever hold your peace!
I love hearing your feedback. You are the user, after all, and I want Oven Love to work for you.
The toddlers have amazed me by sleeping for TWO HOURS so here I am- bringing you some cookies. I wish I could bring them to you personally, but the inmates are running the asylum around here and they just won’t let me out!
I’m surprised at how much I’ve been in the kitchen this week. These kids are always hungry! We finish breakfast and 10 minutes later they’re asking for snack. I don’t know what people do with multiples- so many dishes, so many sippy cups and so many growing mouths to feed at one time. I salute you, mothers of multiples/childcare workers/mothers of many- you are keeping this world turning.
Some important things:
No refined sugar, no eggs, no dairy- great if there are allergies in the family (unless you’re gluten or wheat-free, sorry. You have to make the cookies out of something!) Easily adaptable with whatever nut butter you prefer or have on hand and you can mix in anything you like- chocolate chips, chopped nuts.. cacao nibs taste amazing, too. They’re easy to mix, scoop and bake. Kids will gobble them up. You can make (and eat all of) them in under 30 minutes.
I was going to feed these cookies to the babies when they wake up as their afternoon treat, but they are just sitting there on the counter calling to me.. they’ll never know what they missed, right?
(Just kidding. I will exercise some self-control and only eat one.. or two. Definitely not more than four or five. Gotta make sure I have enough for their second/third snack-after-snack.)
I am in the midst of an intense week of toddler-watching (we are caring for two extra little cuties this week while their parents are on vacay), so I have about 10 minutes to say my peace about these salmon cakes. Let’s cut to the chase:
1. They’re a great use of leftovers. As you can probably guess, the night before I made these, we had salmon with wild rice. There wasn’t enough salmon to repeat the whole meal for everyone, but making the salmon cakes transformed them into something new while using up what we already had. Refrigerator-0, Natalie-1.
2. They are kid-friendly. This is crazy, okay- I made the kids PIZZA last night, but they decided they wanted to eat these instead. What the what? Mind-boggling, really.
3. They’re great for packed lunches. They are portable, make-ahead and reheat well, too.
4. They’re nourishing. Wild salmon, wild rice.. it’s getting wild up in here. You’ve got good fats coming from the wild salmon, and the wild rice is a good source of fiber, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, zinc, Vitamin B6, and niacin. Add some spinach and avocado and things get even better. Take that, RDI!
I’m out of points and out of time- these taste great and I know you’ll like them.
2 cups pre-cooked wild rice (brown rice or any other cooked rice/grain can be substituted)
12 oz wild salmon, pre-cooked (canned works also)
2 tablespoons Greek yogurt (preferably full-fat)
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
sea salt and pepper to taste
In a food processor, add onion, celery, parsley and garlic. Process until finely chopped. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the rice. Pulse just a few times until the ingredients are combined- the rice should keep most of its shape (you aren’t making pureed rice).
In a large bowl, combine the rice mixture, salmon, yogurt, egg and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice. Mix well. If the mixture does not seem wet enough, add more lemon juice (or yogurt). Season the mixture with salt and pepper.
Using a ⅓ cup measure, scoop out the mixture and form into patties (I got 10 patties with the ⅓ cup measure- use the ¼ cup if you would like more or smaller cakes). Place formed patties on a parchment-or-foil-lined cookie sheet and freeze until they firm up a bit, about 30 minutes.
When the salmon cakes have firmed up, preheat the broiler on high. Place the oven rack about 10 inches below the element (in other words- don’t put it right under the broiler, give it some space). Broil for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Serve hot and enjoy!
Of course, I am not committed to the Paleo Diet as a lifestyle- ya’ll know I love me some raw milk and cheese. But I do see its merits in other ways and it seems to work well for a lot of people.
We had a little get-together at our house last night for Labor Day and it was just the right time to try my hand at baking Paleo-style. A few of our dear friends are eating Paleo and I wanted to make sure everyone could enjoy a treat and no one had to abstain. Let them eat cake, am I right?
To be honest, I was a little nervous about this recipe at first. I’ve been having some success with alternative baking, but you never know what could happen with a new recipe.
Thankfully, even though I thought it was a definite fail going into the oven, the cake was a hit with our friends. It has a nice, moist crumb which is difficult to achieve when working with coconut flour and without refined sugar. Perfect with a glass of milk, er.. coconut milk.
I was also nervous about the coconut whip- I thought my coconut cream was not solid enough to whip, but it came out just fine. Like coconutty “whipped topping,” if you will. And as for that skinny middle layer of frosting, I was afraid there wouldn’t be enough whip to top the cake, so I went easy on the middle. There was plenty left over, so I will be a little more liberal with the middle layer next time. This time I just ate the leftover whip 0with a spoon (this is also perfectly acceptable).
I think I will be doing some more experimenting with this cake in the future. I can already think of some fun variations- mint chocolate, mocha, chocolate raspberry, chocolate peanut butter… maybe I’ll get back into the baking business. Is there a market out there for paleo cakes?
I’m going to go ponder that idea over the last slice.
PS- I just shaved a little chocolate onto the top of the cake, but you could dust with cocoa powder or top with chopped fruit, nuts or berries as well.
¾ cup coconut oil (butter or ghee), melted (more for greasing pans)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup
¾ cup brewed coffee (or water)
1½ tablespoons vanilla extract
parchment paper for lining cake pans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
Combine coconut flour, cacao, baking soda and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, with whisk attachment, whisk the eggs.
Add the oil/butter/ghee, maple syrup, coffee and vanilla extract and continue to mix until combined.
Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are incorporated – about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of mixing bowl (you may need to do this a couple of times) and beat cake batter on high speed for about one full minute so that the batter is fluffy.
Divide batter between the two prepared pans.
Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Allow to cool on a wire rack for about 10-15 minutes. Use a knife to loosen the sides of the cake from the pan and turn out onto the wire rack and allow to cool completely.
2 cans full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated for 24 hours or more
a few drops of vanilla Stevia or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Remove coconut milk from the refrigerator. Open cans and carefully scoop out the top layer of coconut cream into a mixing bowl, leaving the clear-ish part of the coconut milk in the can (save this for other uses- smoothies, etc).
Mix on high with the whisk attachment for about 5 minutes or until stiff peaks of cream form. Add your Stevia or vanilla extract to taste. Spread on top of cooled cake as a frosting, or use in any other application that calls for whipped cream.
As I declared and made official in my last post, summer is not over.
It’s still August (I think?). And it’s still warm. And Labor Day is still a few days out.
Since I know you don’t mind, I will carry on with my summer-related nonsense. Sorry I didn’t get my act together for you guys about three months ago, but you can just pin this little number on your “Summer 2013” board and get pumped for next June.
I usually don’t eat salad with dressing (I know, I know, it’s weird), but when I make salads for dinner, I feel like I should provide Nick with a dressing option that actually complements the salad (he will typically just balsamic-vinegar-and-oil anything in a bowl). And then I just do a teeny, tiny drizzle on mine just to test it out.
The last time my mom was in town, she took me on an amazing throw-anything-in-the-cart-because-I-am-the-best-mom-ever Whole Foods shopping trip (love you, Mama!). While we were there, she recommended the O Citrus Champagne Vinegar that I used for the dressing. It’s light, fresh and not too sharp- you can taste it, but it doesn’t interfere with the other flavors of the salad.
What can I say? My mom and I are a couple of geniuses. 😉
Before I go, have we talked about getting kids to eat salad?
It is one of my great quests as a parent to have my children enjoy salads. I was completely against salads as a child. My cousin used to eat lettuce straight from the bag and I thought she was IN-SANE. (Turns out she was the smart one and the healthy one- can’t imagine why.)
Sometimes the whole idea seems futile, but I hope they’ll appreciate the effort someday.
I try to make salads as meals pretty frequently, so when I fix a toddler plate, I just use a smaller bed of lettuce and more of the toppings. Then, gradually, as the kids grow and get used to it, they will get more greens. I also try to sneak spinach or kale into everything- eggs, smoothies, wraps/sandwiches, desserts- I think that helps with flavor recognition (which is totally a real thing, I’m sure).
This particular salad was a toddler win for us- you really can’t go wrong if you’ve got fruit and bacon in the mix. If you want your kids to eat salad, just try adding a leaf or two of spinach to their plate each time. Eventually, they will wonder what it is and put it in their mouth.
End of Summer Chopped Salad with Citrus Honey Viniagrette