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sweet thang

Not the prettiest dish, but hearty and tasty. I used this recipe for Sauteed Sausages with Grapes and Balsamic Glazed Onions from Fine Cooking, made a few little changes, and served it over raw Tuscan kale.

3 tsp canola oil
4 andouille chicken sausages (I used precooked because it was all I had on hand, but uncooked is best)
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup red seedless grapes (if they’re small, leave them whole; otherwise, cut in half)
1 pound Tuscan kale, ribs removed, cut into 1-inch thick slices
Juice of 1 lime
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan over high heat. Add the sausages and cook until brown on all sides, about 8 minutes total.
2. Remove the sausage, lower the heat to medium, and add the onion to the pan. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden brown. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute.
3. Deglaze the pan with balsamic vinegar, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen the brown bits, and reduce by half.
4. Add the chicken broth and grapes, and nestle in the sausages.
5. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the liquid has reduced by about half and the sausages are cooked through, about 15-20 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, massage kale with lime juice, salt, and pepper and place on a platter.
7. Serve sausages, grapes, and onions over the kale salad.

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I used this recipe from Whole Foods. Changes I made: subbing coconut oil for butter, going just shy of 1/2 cup for the sugar, omitting the walnuts, increasing chocolate chips to just under 1 cup (mixed in the batter and sprinkled on top). Overall, not bad for a brownie made with black beans. Slightly grainy in texture, and a little too cakey for my taste. Plus, they stuck to the bottom of the pan.

Next time, I will under-bake, and consider swapping mashed banana for the sugar. Perhaps will omit eggs and use a ground flaxseed slurry to make it vegan (with the coconut oil). Needs work.

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The first–and only–time I had mochi was at the original Fatty Crab restaurant in New York City’s West Village. I went to this place every chance I got, before it was nearly impossible to get in. There was a time when there were no dessert items on the menu, but you would receive a little mochi cake with the bill. I had never tasted anything so pillowy (some people call that “heavenly”), chewy, and crunchy, all in the same bite. I needed more.

Fast-forward many years later, and I finally baked a mochi cake of my own. I used , as featured in Gourmet Magazine’s May 2005 edition. Changes made: addition of 1 1/2 tablespoons sesame seeds sprinkled on the top of the cake batter, and sugar reduced to about 1 3/4 cups (simply because I ran out).

The result? Wonderful! Crunchy exterior, custardy and chewy on the inside. Next time: add more sesame seeds, try increasing sugar to 2 cups. They froze fairly well, though we’ll see how they hold up with a near two-week transit time to get to my brother in Afghanistan! They are very dense and satisfying, and great with a cup of tea in the evening.

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I first encountered this raw dessert at my last job. Completely enamored with the idea, and in love with the gelling little chia seeds, I am now noticing it popping up in my current job. Here is my take on this simple, healthy dessert.

75 grams chia seeds
475 grams almond milk
75 grams honey (or coconut nectar, to make it vegan), divided
pinch of salt
frozen peaches, thawed

1. Combine the chia sees, almond milk, and 50 grams of the honey in a container and whisk (or cover and shake) to combine.
2. Allow to sit for at least 2 hours, or ideally overnight, to thicken.
3. Combine the peaches with the remaining 25 grams honey and puree or mash.

And without further ado, the hideous photo:

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