Saturday, March 28, 2015

Cocoa Kañiwa Breakfast Pudding

This easy little breakfast pudding is just lightly sweet, and perfect for an on-the-go morning. Make a few of these the night before, and they'll be ready when you are. This recipe really shows off the texture of the kañiwa, which is almost like that of tiny tapioca pearls and the chia gives a pleasant crunch. There are so many ways to vary this recipe, so feel free to add fruit, nuts or other spices like cinnamon (or even more cocoa if you're a chocolate lover) to suit your fancy.  

Cocoa Kañiwa Breakfast Pudding

Makes: 1 serving

2/3 cup cooked Zócalo Kañiwa
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (soy or coconut is fine too)
2 teaspoons maple syrup or agave nectar
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 teaspoon cocoa powder

In a pint mason jar add all of the ingredients, adding the cocoa powder last. Replace the lid tightly and shake vigorously until all of the ingredients are fully incorporated. Place in the refrigerator overnight. Before serving, add nuts, frozen or fresh fruit and enjoy.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Chocolate Walnut Mesquite Cookies (Gluten-Free)

Mesquite and chocolate are the perfect pair. Mesquite's sweet, aromatic flavor bring out the cocoa and chocolate in these little cookies. This recipe is from the marvelous Kitchen Apparel blog (check out those photos!), although we've altered it slightly to accommodate some chopped dark chocolate and mesquite honey. These wold be perfect to wrap up in pink tissue, and give to your loved ones for Valentine's Day.

Chocolate Walnut Mesquite Cookies (Gluten-Free)

Makes about 5 dozen cookies

1/2 cup of unsalted butter
1/4 cup Zócalo mesquite honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/4 cup brown rice flour
3/4 cup Zócalo mesquite flour 
1/2 cup Dutch processed cocoa
1/4 cup tapioca starch/flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup chopped Blanxart dark chocolate

In a large bowl with a hand mixer or a stand mixer with paddle attachment beat the unsalted butter, sugar, and vanilla until creamy.  Mix in the honey gradually, and then the eggs, one at a time, beating well after adding each one.  In another large bowl whisk together the brown rice flour, mesquite flour, dutch processed cocoa, tapioca starch, salt and baking powder.  Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and beat on a low setting until all the flour is incorporated.  Mix the chopped walnuts and dark chocolate by hand with a wooden spoon.  Cover the bowl of dough and place it in the refrigerator to chill for 30 - 60 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350° F. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and shape it into 1-inch balls with your hands. As you roll the balls in your palms, if they become too sticky then they will likely need to be colder (and need a bit more time in the fridge). Place the balls on a cookie sheet and gently press them down with the bottom of a drinking glass or the palm of your hand. Bake the cookies for 10 - 15 minutes. Transfer finished cookies to a wire rack to cool.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Purple Corn and Dried Cherries Tea Cake

This recipe was inspired by Alice Medrich's new book Flavor Flours. We just love the idea of using "alternative" flours to enhance the flavor of baked goods. The wonderful thing about purple corn flour is it's versatility - it can be swapped out for yellow corn flour or cornmeal in many recipes. Here we've played with Medrich's original recipe, and transformed it into a celebration of purple corn's deep, sweet flavor. The dried cherries are a fun addition, and they sink to the bottom during the baking process, leaving a sweet, toothsome layer at the base of the cake.

Purple Corn and Dried Cherries Tea Cake

1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup Zócalo Purple Corn Flour
3/4 cup sugar
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft (if substituting coconut oil, use 6 tablespoons)
1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup plain yogurt (Greek works well too, or sub vanilla coconut milk yogurt if not using dairy)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup dried tart cherries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a bread loaf pan (or use a sheet of parchment to line) and set aside.

Combine the rice and purple corn flour, sugar, butter, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer (using an electric mixer is fine - or even mix by hand for a real workout!) and beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Add the baking powder, baking soda, yogurt, eggs and vanilla and beat on medium high for 2-3 minutes, until smooth and fluffy. Then reduce the speed and add in tart cherries until mixed thoroughly.

Pour batter into the loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool for 15-20 minutes and then remove from pan and place on a cooling rack to cool completely. Keep in an airtight container for up to 4 days, or refrigerate if keeping longer.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Five Fabulous Food Gifts

Peppermint Bark (photo and recipe: Sarah Sarna)

The best gifts are those can be savored, shared and enjoyed. They aren’t tossed aside when the newest model comes out, and the size always fits. The absolute best gifts are food gifts...and they’re a hit every time (we’ll keep mum on the fruitcake debate). Here are five food gifts that will not only make your loved ones feel loved, but will also make you feel good too. By making and buying these food gifts you’ll be supporting independent businesses, family-owned farms and companies that follow fair labor and eco-friendly practices. Also, what could be better than knowing that your present will end up on someone’s table instead of a landfill? Go ahead; feel a little smug this year knowing that you’re saving the world this holiday season!

1. Peppermint Bark: Everyone loves this holiday classic. Make this recipe extra special with fine dark chocolate from Blanxart. The seven-ounce bars are perfect for making big batches of holiday treats.

2. Cookies: These luscious Ginger Sandwich Cookies with Lemon Cream use Zócalo Sweet Potato Flour which gives them a hearty, sweet flavor. Put them in a pretty box and wrap with parchment and twine for a simple, elegant gift.

Ginger Sandwich Cookies with Lemon Cream (photo and recipe: Grazed and Enthused)

3. Smoked Olive Oil: These gorgeous blue bottles of smoky oil are selling like mad! This oil gives any dish – from salads to poultry to sweets a smoked, piquant flavor. No need for fancy wrapping – the bottle speaks for itself.

4. Paella Kit: Paella is easy and fun, provided you start with the right ingredients and tools. This paella kit provides authentic Matiz Paella Rice (a must for the perfect paella!), Spanish saffron and Rey de la Vera smoked paprika nestled in a pretty round paellera.

5. Candy and Nut Box: Make your own perfect little box of mixed candies and nuts for gifting – so much better than the store-bought kind! Our friend Lisa has a few lovely recipes for sweet treats. Try your hand at these Mesquite Honey Salted Almonds and these unique Marcona Kaniwa Quince Bites.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Holiday Sweet Potato Flour Rolls (gluten-free)

This recipe is one we posted a few years ago, but this time we've decided to give it a refresh for the holidays. The one thing many people who are gluten-free miss this time of year are traditional baked goods such as pies and rolls. This gluten-free recipe will please everybody at the table - gluten and non-gluten eaters alike! We've added in dried fruit and nuts and a bit of orange zest into the original recipe, but feel free to get creative with other holiday favorites (candied orange peel and a hint of clove would work handsomely too).

Holiday Sweet Potato Flour Rolls (gluten-free)
Yield: about 20 rolls

Dry Ingredients

2 ¼ cups bread flour mix or other GF all-purpose baking mix
3/4 cup Zócalo Sweet Potato Flour
2 ¼ teaspoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon Matiz Mediterraneo Sea Salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup dried fruit of choice (dried cranberries or raisins work well)

Wet Ingredients

2/3 cup warm (110 degrees F) coconut milk/or non-dairy substitute/low fat milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3 extra large eggs or 4 small eggs at room temperature
1/4 cup LA Organic Olive Oil
2 teaspoons orange zest

Egg Wash

1 egg
1/2 teaspoon water

In a medium bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients listed above. Warm up the coconut milk or non-dairy substitute to 110 degrees, use a thermometer to check the temperature.

In a standing mixer, mix together all of the wet ingredients listed above. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well, approximately 5 minutes.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Use an oiled 2-inch spring scoop or ¼ cup measure to scoop out dough for the rolls. Oil your hands and round each ball of dough into a smooth mound and place on the baking sheet, about 1.5 inches apart.

Cover the rolls of dough with cling wrap or a warm wet kitchen towel and place in a warm space (70 degrees or warmer) and allow them to rise for one hour.

In a small bowl, mix the egg and water to make the egg wash. Once the rolls have risen, brush the egg wash over the entire top side of each roll. This is what makes the tops brown and shiny. Feel free to make slash marks for a more artisanal look.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until the inside temperature reaches about 190 degrees. Take the rolls out of the oven and let cool on a rack for 3 – 5 minutes before serving. Serve with butter and Zócalo Mesquite Raw Honey.

If you have leftover rolls (not likely!), store in a zip lock bag to keep fresh.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Sweet Purple Corn Chocolate Chunk Muffins

It's harvest time in Peru for the mystical maiz morado, a purple corn variety that originated in the mountains of Peru over 3,000 years ago, and which still retains its original properties, having been untouched by industrial farming or genetic modification. This colorful corn is chock full of naturally occuring pigments, called anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants shown in numerous studies to deliver a wide range of benefits. 

Topara Organica, a leader in organic cultivation in Peru, will be soon be harvesting our 2014 crop of purple corn. Some of this corn will be sold locally to produce chicha morada a favorite Peruvian drink made by boiling ground purple corn kernels with pineapple, cinnamon, clove, and sugar. But most will be dried and milled for the Zócalo purple corn flour. To celebrate harvest time and to give a nod to the sweet and spicy purple corn drink, we'd love to share with  you this surprising recipe. If you've never thought of combining purple corn, cinnamon and chocolate, then you're missing out! This recipe is so easy, and goes well with your morning cup of coffee. 

To learn more about Topara, read about our recent visit to their farm.

Sweet Purple Corn Chocolate Chunk Muffins

1 1/2 cups Zócalo Purple Corn Flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Matiz Flor de Sal
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup granulated sugar (rapadura or raw sugar works well)
2 large eggs
1/4 cup Puremiel Honey
6 tablespoons Castillo de Canena olive oil 
1 cup milk (dairy, almond, coconut or soy)
3.5 ounces Blanxart Dark Chocolate, chopped into small pieces

Preheat oven to 400F. Oil a muffin pan, set aside. In a large bowl, add the first 5 ingredients, and whisk to combine; set bowl aside.

In a medium microwave-safe bowl, add the butter and heat to melt. Add remaining ingredients, except chocoatle, to butter and whisk to combine and until smooth.

Pour wet mixture over dry ingredients and fold until combined; don't overmix. Then fold in chocolate. Fill muffin tin and bake at 400F for 10 minutes. 

Reduce oven temp to 350F and bake muffins for about 5 to 7 minutes (about 15 to 17 minutes total), or until tops are domed, puffed, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Optionally, drizzle with honey and add a pat of butter before serving. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Peru Visit - Expoalimentaria 2014

By: Antonio Guadamuz

On my recent visit to Peru I had the pleasure of visiting several amazing farmers and producers who are showcasing the wonderful variety Peru has to offer. My first visit was to the farm of Stefan Bederski near Chincha, which is about 200 kilometers south of Lima. Topara was originally bought by his father back in 1970. Over the course of several decades they have turned over 200 acres of what used to be an arid valley into a lush and productive farm of pecans, fruits, corn, and peppers. They turned these lands into productive farmland by creating a system of reservoirs, reforesting the riverbanks, building the organic matter of their soils and using sound water management polices. 

One of the many reservoirs at Topara.
Pecan trees account for over 80% of Topara’s land use, and I was lucky to see the pecan harvest in full swing. Aside from the ajies and purple corn that Stefan grows for our products, Topara also has a large organic nursery of fruit tress that supplies many farms throughout Peru. 

Pecan shells used for composting and mulching on the farm.

From Chincha I went on to visit Orquidea Chocolates in Tarapoto. It was incredible traveling from the dry, cool costal lands of Chincha to the hot and humid Amazon of Northern Peru.   Orquidea is a chocolate maker that provides technical assistance and social services to its communities of cacao growers. The staff at Orquidea has helped dozens of cacao farmers transition to organic farming practices and actively work with the farmers to maintain organic certification. I had the pleasure of visiting two communities who were all very proud to be part of Orquidea’s cacao growers. Through all this work Orquidea takes the bean to bar philosophy to the next step by focusing on how the cacao is grown. 

Cacao beans fermenting at Orquidea.

View from Orquidea's chocolate factory.
I ended my stay with a visit to Expoalimentaria where I was blown away at the never-ending parade of products. Just when I thought I could not see anything new on the trip, I saw beautiful multi colored beans and corn grown by small mountain communities, a kaleidoscope of tubers cultivated since the time of the Incas, and modern twist on ancient products like chocolate covered Sacha Inchi.  

Sacha Inchi pods.