A few weeks ago I was feeling like I was in a cooking rut. I was looking through my cookbooks for inspiration, and when I got to Super Natural Every Day, I realized that I hadn’t just marked a couple of things to try one day. I had pretty much marked the whole thing.
So I thought that instead of taking years to get to all those, I would commit myself to making all of them in the coming weeks. I ended up making all but I think two of the ones I had marked. I feel pretty good about that, and sure that I’ll get to the rest of them soon.
Along the way I added some items to my pantry that I hadn’t used before. I think I will keep them on hand regularly now. First, whole wheat pastry flour. Not only is it healthier than white flour, it makes your baked goods light and fluffy. The batters I made with it were downright silky.
The other item is natural cane sugar.
It’s somewhere in between fine white sugar and turbinado sugar. Since sugar seems to really affect my diet, I appreciate any ways I can take it back to its more natural form.
Both of these (and the copious amounts of maple syrup in her recipes) are more expensive than traditional baking ingredients. But not terribly so, and I think they’re worth the extra dollar or two.
One of the first recipes I made was a blackberry compote.
It’s pretty easy to make, and nice to have around since you can use it as a topping for pancakes, ice cream, and the like.
I went ahead and made the multigrain pancakes to go with the compote. They were awesome!
I think I liked them even better than my whole wheat pancakes, so they might become my go-to pancakes now.
The book is packed with great breakfast recipes, so I continued making those. I had never cooked with millet before so I was excited to try the millet muffins.
They came out a little crunchy on the outside, sort of like a cornbread muffin (but a healthier one). Again, the whole wheat pastry flour seemed to help a lot.
I also tried the bran muffins.
They were good, but I think if I’m looking to make a “healthy” muffin, I’d probably rather have my carrot muffins.
I can’t say the same for the granola, though. It turned out so much better than any granola I’ve made before.
I’m not sure why I’ve struggled (and burned) so many pans of granola before. But I think using the thicker shreds of coconut makes a big difference. I will definitely start making this instead of getting the storebought stuff.
It couldn’t be easier. The only thing I might change is halving the recipe because it makes a ton.
One week I was craving biscuits and gravy, so I thought it would be a good time to make the yogurt biscuits.
I don’t get too excited about baked goods that I have to roll out, but these were pretty easy to assemble. And the layering of dough produced exactly the stacked look I was hoping for.
They’re good by themselves, but they also make a perfect base for sausage gravy.
Though it’s in the dessert section, I ended up having the buttermilk cake for breakfast a few times.
It’s not overly sweet at all. I put apricots on top instead of plums, and used about 1/3 the amount it called for.
These apricots were really tart raw, but that made them perfect for baking. I can’t believe I’ve never baked with them before.
Another dessert we loved was the sweet panzanella. It calls for golden raspberries, which I haven’t been able to find yet at the store. So I used regular raspberries, and I thought they worked well.
The only thing I would change is the bread. I used a big loaf of white bread, but it called for an artisan loaf of wheat bread.
We’ve since discovered La Farine’s wheat levain, which would be perfect. Next time!
You top the sweetened crisped bread cubes with the mushed raspberries and there you have your bread salad. It could not be easier.
Getting to some of the savory dishes, I tried the frittata one night for dinner. My expectations weren’t too high since baked egg dishes aren’t usually my favorites. But this one really surprised me.
The golden potatoes and salty feta cheese with the fresh asparagus made for an excellent combination. And again, a pretty easy dish to throw together. I finally found some better quality eggs at the grocery store that don’t cost a fortune, and I think those made a difference too.
I had high hopes for the vegetable curry, but it was just OK.
I think the vegetables and tofu produced a lot of water, which thinned out the sauce. Then you were supposed to add broth, which thinned it out even more. I think I will try it again, though, because I love the overall concept.
I got excited about the cauliflower soup because I finally had an excuse to buy orange cauliflower. I always notice the interesting varieties of cauliflower at the Berkeley Bowl, and this time I got to buy one!
I also loved the idea of the Dijon flavored croutons that go on top of the soup.
The soup itself came together well with some help from my immersion blender. It doesn’t sound terribly exciting, but it’s definitely the kind of soothing dinner that sounds good on dreary days.
So, after all that I have some recipes that will become staples and some that won’t. I got to try new ingredients: millet, apricots, orange cauliflower. I found a new way to make croutons and a technique for rolling biscuits. And I certainly feel like I have accomplished something!
I think the only thing to do now is buy her other cookbook.