Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pumpkin, Sunflower and Flax seed butter

When it comes to nut butters, most people ride the peanut butter train.  I don't blame them.  It's cheap, easy, and healthy.  It is also good to give to your dogs when they are running laps around the house trying to kill each other.  It's like a spoonful of valium for them.

I'm a fan of peanut butter myself, but there are a whole lotta other nut and seed butters out there that are worth exploring... cashew, almond, sunflower, pumpkin seed, hemp seed etc...
Each one has a unique flavor and offers different health benefits... and different price tags!

My latest obsession has been sunflower seed butter.  I had been shelling out six dollars a pound for this stuff... whereas, one pound of sunflower seeds only cost a buck and some change.

You do the math.

I figured I would try making it at home.

Why not?

I was going to use straight up sunflower seeds which, by the way, are great for you.. They are high in vitamin E (good for the skin) and magnesium (good for frazzled nerves) and they help to lower cholesterol.

To up the nutritional profile I added some pumpkin seeds (aka pepitas) and ground flax seed.

Pumpkin seeds are a great source of magnesium too, as well as iron and zinc. They are good for the prostate (eat up boys!) and have anti-inflammatory effects for people with arthritis.

Flax seed is pimpin' in terms of nutritonal benefits.  It contains alpha linolenic acid, an omega 3 fat, which has anti-inflammatory effects, protects against heart disease, cancer, diabetes and helps to control high blood pressure.  It's high in fiber and is particularly rich in lignans, which can help protect women from developing breast cancer.  It's also super cheap.  Add some ground flax to a smoothie or oatmeal. Sprinkle some on a salad or make some delicious sunflower, pumpkin and flax seed butter, and do your body a favor!

Pumpkin, Sunflower and Flax Seed Butter (makes 1 1/4 c.)

Based on this recipe:

1 c. raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 c. raw sunflower seeds
1/4 c. ground flax seed
6 T. sunflower oil (I used more than the original recipe.  The amount you use mary vary depending on how creamy you like it!)
a pinch of salt

Toast the sunflower and pumpkin seeds in a skillet over low heat until fragrant. Set aside to cool.  Place the seeds along with the ground flax in a food processor and process for a minute.  Scrape down the sides.  With the processor running, stream in the oil a little at a time until it becomes creamy, scraping down the bottom and the sides as needed. Add the salt and process again.

Be sure to share some with your dogs...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

pizza with zucchini, corn, feta and cilantro

The full title should actually read: thin crust pizza with zucchini, fresh corn, red onion, jalapenos, lime, feta, cilantro, and black wax pecorino romano with roasted garlic oil.
Yeah, there is alot going on here.

Fortunately, this is one of those recipes that comes together in no time. A little bit of slicing and dicing and a quick, no rise pizza crust and you are good to go. It honestly takes less time than ordering takeout... unless, of course you live next to a pizza joint.  But I'm guessing you don't.

This came together based on one of the pizzas at the famous Berkeley, California institution, The Cheeseboard Collective
If you live in Berkeley or any where near Berkeley (I'm talkin' a 60 mile radius), do yourself a favor and hit up the joint.  It is probably hands down one of my top three pizzas evah.
And...I'm a New Yorker so I don't play when it comes to pizza..

This recipe is pretty versatile. Use as much or as little toppings as you prefer.  I heart vegetables and cheese so I went a little heavy on both...

Thin crust pizza with zucchini, corn, feta and cilantro (serves 2-4 people)

1 batch thin crust pizza (i like this one:
1 medium zucchini, sliced into 1/4" rounds
1-1/2 c. fresh corn (about 2 ears)
1/4 small red onion, sliced
1/2 c. feta, crumbled
1/2 c. grated pecorino romano
1/2 c. cilantro, chopped
1-2 jalapenos, seeds removed, diced
2-3 T. roasted garlic oil or extra virgin olive oil
juice from 1 lime
salt and pepper, to taste

Roll out your pizza crust.  Spread a layer of garlic oil on the bottom, just enough to coat the dough. Scatter the jalapenos on the dough. In a small bowl, toss the zucchini, corn and red onion with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Pile the toppings on the dough, followed by the feta.  Bake on a pizza stone until the edges of the crust are browned and the cheese is nice and melty. Top with the grated pecorino, cilantro, a squeeze of lime and a drizzle of roasted garlic oil or olive oil.  Sprinkle some salt and pepper on that pie and you're in business.