Category Archives: Joanna

giving brussels sprouts a little lovin’

Oh, hello! Over the past few months, I have been camera-less and quite busy, and I have dearly missed sharing my cooking adventures with you. But now armed with a new camera and some much-appreciated time on my hands, I decided it was time to show mumble pie some love by cooking up a veggie that is often sadly relegated to people’s hate list: the Brussels sprout.

I love cooking with fresh ingredients, but as a college student with an unpredictable schedule and conservative budget, I often rely on bags of frozen veggies to ensure that I minimize waste and maximize my ability to cook healthy food fast. However, I have recently been challenging myself to use more fresh ingredients by buying one or two fresh vegetables per week and making a couple of dishes that will keep me well-fed for a few days. Knowing that I need to use the vegetables before they spoil motivates me to get in the kitchen and come up with inventive recipes.

This afternoon at the grocery store I had my eyes on the Brussels sprouts. Over winter break in Miami, I ate the most delicious ginger glazed Brussels sprouts from a food truck. They were caramelized and juicy and spicy and sweet and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about those heavenly little morsels! So, with a bag of Brussels in hand, I set out to use those flavors to make a delicious stir fry of Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, tofu, onions, brown rice, and lots of ginger.

I first sauteed the onions and ginger together, and then added the Brussels sprouts to get them caramelized. I then added in the mushrooms and tofu and let everything cook a little longer. Once everything had a nice golden color to it, I splashed in some soy sauce and sriracha, and added two generous spoonfuls of brown sugar. I popped a lid on the pan and let everything steam and soften a bit.

When the Brussels sprouts were fork tender and the tofu and mushrooms had soaked in all the sweet and spicy flavors, I added in some cooked brown rice, and voila! A heaping helping of gingery Brussels sprouts fried rice was served! Better yet, I have loads of leftovers in the fridge to last until at least the middle of the week, when I’ll tackle vegetable #2…

I hope to be better about updating my cooking adventures in the coming weeks. Until then, go take a stroll through the farmer’s market or produce department and see what inspires you!

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wheatberries

I’ve scooped them up at salad bars. I’ve seen them in cooking magazines and blogs. And now, I can proudly say I’ve made them myself.

Wheatberries. All you really need to know is that these are delicious, nutty, half-chewy, half-crunchy kernels that pair just as beautifully with a dollop of yogurt and berries as they do with roasted veggies.  But if the origin of this tiny but mighty grain piques your curiosity, as it did mine, here’s the dish.

Wheatberries are the entire wheat kernel, except for the hull. If you were to grind them completely, you would make whole wheat flour. They are chock-full of iron, fiber, and protein, and surprisingly inexpensive (2 cups of wheatberries from the Whole Foods bulk bin were just $1 and made almost 5 cups of cooked grain).

For my inaugural wheatberry concoction, I made a roasted carrot salad with dried cherries, walnuts, pistachios, and goat cheese (cause goat makes everything better!) I was cooking on the fly, inspired by Moroccan spices but aiming to lighten up the flavor for the summer.  The result was an addictive salad with a diversity of textures and flavors that married quite happily. Best part was that this light yet hearty salad was enjoyed at one of mumblepie’s favorite destinations, Stiltsville.

It was the perfect midday snack on the water and continues to be the perfect lunch for the week. I can’t wait to continue experimenting with these great grains.

Click more for recipe…

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fall flavors

It seems that as the seasons change, so does my appetite. The faster the leaves turn colors and the chillier the air gets, the intenser my cravings for the flavors of fall become. Pumpkin has been a star ingredient in many of my meals for the past month. From oatmeal to yogurt to soups to pastas, it adds warmth and creaminess to every dish. Today it found its place in a delightfully moist cake, made all the more decadent by a gooey ribbon of chocolate chip walnut streusel. This will definitely be a staple in my autumn repertoire.

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Recipe after jump.

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apples for days

Today was the perfect fall day. Not in the conventional blue sky, crisp air, colored leaves sort of way—it has actually been raining since the early morning. Rather, the day’s dreary weather coupled with my fortuitous class cancellation made for an afternoon filled with lazing in sweatpants, sweeping cups of flour, and permeating my suite with a cinnamony aroma.

This past weekend, Mom and Aunt Susan visited. The weather was gorgeous and the time of the season was just right for us to take a trip to Eckert’s Farm to go apple picking. As native Floridians with picking experiences limited to mangoes and strawberries, we were giddy with the chance to hop on a tractor and stroll through the orchards, tossing apple after apple into our bags and even eating a few sweet, juicy ones straight off the tree. We ended up with nearly 15 pounds of Golden Delicious and Jonathan varieties, and since Mom and Aunt Susan could only take so much on the plane back, my suitemates and I were left with a mountainous bag of apples that will last us for quite a while!

When I set out to bake this gloomy afternoon, I knew apples would be the star ingredient. I had recently seen a scrumptious looking apple cake on smittenkitchen and decided to give it a try. The recipe called for a tube pan, but given the confines of my humble toaster oven, I halved the recipe and baked it in a 9×9 pan. The sweet yellow cake rose up beautifully around the cinnamon-coated apple chunks. It was delicious when I had a test taste warm from the oven, and equally as good when I went back for seconds once it had cooled. As my suitemates file in from the rain, I hope the smells of my lazy day of baking and the tastes of fall help to brighten this gray day!

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staying toasty

In college many students covet their DVD collections, their Xboxes, or their overstuffed lounge chairs. I covet my toaster oven—my 10×10” haven for breads, potatoes, and, most recently, a baking experiment.

Earlier this week I found the spare time and ingredients to whip up a variation on one of my favorite recipes: blondies. I set out to make a traditional chocolate chip batch, but browning bananas beckoned from the fruit bowl and made their way into the batter. The brown sugar-banana-chocolate combo was delicious and a hit with my suitemates. The bananas made the bars denser and moister than usual, though, so next time around I’ll add some extra flour.

Overall, the toaster oven proved itself worthy in the baking arena. Armed with this knowledge and a big bag of flour, I’m sensing that my experimentation will go beyond the science lab this semester.

Recipe after the jump.

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doing just peachy

As Erica noted at the end of her last post, I’m no longer in Miami. With the end of the summer came my return to college in St. Louis, where I trade mango trees and snorkeling adventures for apple orchards and trips to the Mississippi. But fear not. In my humble abode (dorm, really) I plan to make the most of my small fridge, microwave, and newly purchased toaster oven to continue cooking and blogging. While I may be lacking the amenities of home (and Erica’s partnership), I am definitely equipped for some exciting culinary experimentation.

This first post from St. Louis, however, comes from the comforts of a home kitchen. My roommate, Jorie, lives near campus and invited us over for dinner last night. I was thrilled to be a guest in her lovely home, but I couldn’t resist the urge to contribute to the meal. On Saturday, I had taken a trip to the Soulard Market, a large open-air farmers market near the river that was chock-full of gorgeous homegrown peaches, juicy nectarines, emerald zucchini, and gigantic sweet potatoes. The market also had some Midwestern delights, like Amish cinnamon bread, fresh goat cheese, and elk meat. Not only was everything fresh, it was extremely cheap. I brought back a combination of two dozen peaches and nectarines that cost only $3! It was these juicy jewels that became the star of last night’s dessert.

Jorie’s parents were kind enough to lend me some counter space and ingredients, and I whipped up a peach, nectarine, and blueberry crisp. The recipe is similar to one I made before. It requires little effort, but capitalizes on the flavor of the fresh fruit. Served warm with a healthy dose of cool vanilla ice cream, it was a great ending to a wonderful night spent at Jorie’s and a perfect segue into mumble pie’s westward expansion

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summer strawberries

Today we came back from our annual family vacation in Marco Island. While there, we indulged in fresh seafood dinners, hours of reading by the waves, and “3 o’clock snacktime,” where the beach attendants would bring around frosty cups of sorbet to clean our salty, sandy palettes. We may be back into the swing of things at home, but I still wasn’t ready to surrender my cool afternoon snack.

Luckily, I had just come across a recipe for strawberry frozen yogurt on one of my favorite blogs, Baking Bites. It uses Greek yogurt, which is an unsweetened yogurt that has been strained, making it thick, tangy, and almost sour cream-like. Though many people are turned off by its lack of sweetness, I think it’s the perfect palette for fruits, nuts, and other mix-ins at breakfast. This frozen treat gives me even more reason to love it. In less than an hour I made a creamy and healthy treat with a refreshing strawberry flavor and a vibrant pink color. I may not be eating it with my toes in the sand, but it’s still a delicious reminder of summer’s sweetness.

Recipe after the jump

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