A Sprouted Kitchen Feast

The Sprouted Kitchen cookbook

I couldn’t make a decision. And my attempts to organize my thoughts — adhering cute page flags to particularly tempting recipes — proved futile. In the midst of this frenzied state of drooling and tabbing, drooling and tabbing, my mother arrived at my doorstep with a bucket of feta (that’s normal, right?), a branch of oregano, and a dozen figs. And at once, my vision for our dinner became clear.

As my mother unloaded her basket of goodies into my pantry and fridge, I waved pages of The Sprouted Kitchen cookbook in front of her. Over every image we ooheh and ahhed; over every title we yummed and mmmmed. My mother soon understood my predicament: everything — from the roasted wild cod with meyer lemon and caper relish to the roasted tomato soup with cheesy toasts to the mushroom and brown rice veggie burgers — looked and sounded incredibly enticing.

But thanks to the ingredients my mother had just delivered, the decision was easy: dinner would be mediterranean baked feta with olives and roasted plum tartines with ricotta, substituting figs for the plums and my mother’s peasant bread for the wheat baguette — I never pass on my mother’s peasant bread. And having just read that Sara, the book’s author, encourages readers to “use the recipes as a starting point and to omit or add ingredients according to preferences,” I felt OK making a few changes. Figs seemed a suitable stand-in for plums, and Sara in fact recommends pears or persimmons in the fall. Yum.

We soon set to work mixing dough, slicing onions, halving tomatoes, making ricotta, mincing garlic and chopping parsley. And before we knew it, we had the makings of a beautiful spread, as colorful as Hugh’s (Sara’s husband) photos, as promising as Sara’s recipes.

The book, while not a small-plate cookbook, offers lots of wonderful ideas in this category. As I flipped through the pages, the recurring thought was: This would be fun for a party. And it makes sense as one of Sara’s goals for the book is to “share recipes that are simple enough to make after work but interesting enough to serve at a dinner party.” She certainly has achieved this. We have now eaten the baked feta with a hunk of bread twice this week for dinner — it is so good — and I have never been so eager to invite some friends over for dinner to show them my new tricks. The fig tartines, which disappeared in record time, lit up the table.

Beautifully photographed, thoughtfully written, the book is sure to inspire whoever comes across it. The Sprouted Kitchen cookbook is now available for purchase.

Preparing the baked feta:
olive topping, oregano, feta

feta, ready for the oven

baked feta with olives and tomatoes

Preparing the roasted fig tartines:
honey roasted figs

roasted fig bruschetta with ricotta and basil

Bucket of feta:
bucket of feta

Mom’s bread:
making my mom's bread

mom's bread

Recipes:

Roasted Plum (or fig) Tartines
Source: The Sprouted Kitchen

Note: I’ve supplied the recipe here just as it is written in the book so that you can take a look and make your own adjustments accordingly. As I noted above, I used figs in place of the plums, but roasted them exactly the same — with honey and salt for about 20 minutes. Also, I made homemade ricotta, which is so easy and delicious, and omitted the parmesan and chopped chives (was feeling a little lazy). Finally, I used fresh basil in place of the microgreens.

6 ripe plums
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons honey, warmed
1 1/3 cups ricotta cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons chopped chives
1 whole grain baguette
1 cup microgreens for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Cut the plums into quarters (if using figs, cut them in half) and remove the pits. Gently toss the plum pieces with a pinch of salt and the warm honey. Spread them on the prepared baking sheet, cut side up. Bake until the edges are crisped and caramelized, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.

3. While the plums are baking, in a bowl, stir together the ricotta, Parmesan, chives, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a few grinds of pepper.

4. Turn the oven up to 500ºF. Slice the baguette in half lengthwise. Place the halves, cut side up, on a baking sheet and bake the bread just until toasty, 4 to 5 minutes. Spread the ricotta mixture evenly on both halves and return to the oven just until warmed through, another 1 to 2 minutes. Evenly distribute the roasted plums on top of the cheese. Finish with a few grinds of pepper and garnish with the greens. Cut each baguette half into slices on the diagonal. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Mediterranean Baked Feta
Source: The Sprouted Kitchen

Note: Once you make this once, you’ll never need a recipe again. The quantity of the olive salad is dependent on how much feta you choose to warm up. I baked my block (as opposed to grilled) and served it with warm bread. Heaven.

1 (8- to 10-ounce) block of feta
1 cup assorted baby tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup Kalmata olives, pitted (I didn’t…lazy) and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons finely-chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper

Crackers, pita chips, or crostini, for dipping

1. Heat your grill to medium-high or preheat the oven to 400ºF. Set the block of feta in the middle of a piece of foil for grilling or in a small ovenproof baking dish twice the size of your block of cheese for baking.

2. In a bowl, mix the tomatoes, olives, onion, garlic, parsley, oregano, olive oil and a few grinds of pepper.

3. Pile the tomato mixture on top of the feta. For grilling, fold up the edges of the foil so that it will hold in any liquid as it cooks; put it straight on a grill; heat for 15 minutes to warm it through. For baking, put the baking dish in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. It will not melt, just get warm and soften.

4. Remove from the grill or oven and serve the dip hot with the crackers, pita chips, or crostini.

Honey Almond Butter
Source: The Sprouted Kitchen

Note: This almond butter is SO good. If I wasn’t afraid that I might burn out my Cuisinart’s motor, I would start making this for gifts immediately. I used maple syrup in place of the honey because I am obsessed with this particular Justin’s Nut Butter, but now that I know how to make it, there’s no going back.

2 cups raw almonds
1 teaspoon oil, such as almond, unrefined peanut or extra-virgin coconut (I used coconut and more than a teaspoon)
sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon (I omitted)
2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup

1. Place the almonds in a food processor or Vitamix and process for about 1 minute. Add the oil, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and the cinnamon. Continue to process for another 8 to 10 minutes, scraping down the sides of the food processor or Vitamix as needed. You will see a change in consistency from crumbs, to big clumps, to a large ball. Finally, as the oil is released from the almonds, the mixture will smooth itself out. If you want it even smoother, add a bit more oil.

2. When it is as smooth as you’d like it, stir in the honey or maple syrup. Add more salt to taste and transfer to a glass jar. It will keep covered in the fridge for up to 6 weeks. (I kept mine at room temperature. It disappeared in three days.)

maple almond butter

Maple almond butter spread on no-knead oatmeal toasting bread:
no-knead oatmeal bread with maple almond butter

Comments

  1. Kate says

    Thanks for all the wonderful recipes and pictures! I have a quick question: did I miss the recipe for your mom’s bread? It looks wonderful!

  2. Kate says

    Thanks for all the wonderful recipes and pictures! I have a quick question: did I miss the recipe for your mom’s bread? I would love to try my hand at it!

  3. judy says

    I had the exact same comments for you as Kate. I searched the archives and didn’t see your mom’s recipe. Thanks for the inspiration for this weekends cooking.

  4. alexia says

    i have the exact same bucket of feta in my fridge.

    it makes me happy just thinking about it and now i want to go home and make that baked feta and eat it all.

  5. says

    Lovely post, Ali! Justin’s Nut Butter is a favorite in our household, too (and I proudly wear a Justin’s Nut Butter bike jersey when riding). Isn’t it delicious? I’m excited to recreate it at home. It sounds like you love this cookbook – should i add it to my collection? I’m very tempted…

    • says

      Darcy, you were one of the first people I thought about with this cookbook — there are so many wonderful recipes for quinoa, which I know you love. I’m jealous of your Justin’s Nut Butter bike jersey. I might have to get my hands on a t-shirt or something. I think his maple almond butter is so incredibly delicious!

  6. Elaine says

    All this looks wonderful! I’m headed to the country for the long weekend where my “salad garden” is still going strong, so I think the baked feta is a given!

    Any chance your mom would share her bread recipe? Is it baked in the bowl?

    • says

      Elaine, Kate and Judy — I’m working on it. My mother is possessive of one and only one recipe, and it happens to be this one. I think she’ll budge if I tell her I’m getting pressured by readers :) Seriously, it is high on my list of things to do/post about, so you will be first to hear if I ever am allowed to share the recipe. Silly I know.

  7. Liz says

    I forgot to say that my new favorite house gift is a package of your cards. What a hit with my hostess this Labor Day Weekend (we’re starting the celebration early), and now I’ll volunteer to make one of the treats in today’s post.

  8. Lois says

    Never mind the fabulous food. Where did you get the fabulous page tags (or whatever you call those Post-it type thingees to mark the pages of all the recipes one wants to try)?

  9. says

    thank you! love the photo with all the tags in it, very flattering and makes me so happy. I’m glad you’ve been cooking from it. Such a special feeling. THANK YOU!

  10. Ellen says

    Seriously, I had the same question–how can I make that no-knead oatmeal bread TONIGHT? Tell your mom I will be happy to print up little cards that give her correct attribution every time I serve it at a party, but, really, it would revolutionize my efforts to eat a healthy breakfast, avoid Type II diabetes, etc. PLEASE.

  11. says

    Thanks so much for sharing your review of The Spouted Kitchen cookbook – it sounds wonderful and I love the selections you chose to make, especially the fig tartines! I’m featuring this post in today’s Food Fetish Friday (with a link-back and attribution as always). Thank you so much for keeping me inspired with such delicious creations…

  12. Yen-Ning says

    Oh, I am so happy that I came across your blog the other day! Thank you for all the nice posts! I made Honey Almond Butter yesterday and it turns out so delicious! I omit cinnamon too because I want the pure almond taste. I had to stop myself from spooning it into my mouth. Your butter looks so smooth. Mine is kinda hard to spread. It’s very good but not as smooth as yours. I add two teaspoons of oil in total. Should I add more?

    • says

      Yen — Ning — I did end up adding more oil than suggested in the recipe. I think honestly I ended up adding more like a couple of tablespoons. I just kept adding until the texture looked right, but I may have added too much in the end, though the taste was great. I added more maple syrup than the suggested amount as well. I think the next time you try it, just do it to taste and to texture preference. Also, I just left mine at room temperature, which probably helped with the spreading. THank you for your nice words about the blog!

  13. Yen-Ning says

    Thank you! I will definitely try it again! I added one and half tablespoons of raw honey and found it sweet enough for my taste. Will add more oil and see how it turns out. Planning to do it again as holiday gift! May I link to your blog posts at my blog? :)

  14. Yen-Ning says

    I know! I guess I will let my food processor rest for a while before I have it work on those nuts again. :) Maybe I should try make your Eggplant Caviar first. Thank you! Have a great week!

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