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Updated Cookbook Review: Moosewood Restaurant, Cooking for Health

Posted Dec 02 2009 2:48am
From November 2009 photos

That tasty vegan mix above is the topping for the crumble I made to test out the newest cookbook from the Moosewood folks, Cooking for Health . Actually, it was a blueberry, cranberry, and slightly apple crumble. I also made a few alterations to the recipe in terms of the directions and the ingredients because it seemed like the fruit would be a bit overcooked if I didn't.

From November 2009 photos

In this photo, it looks like it really shrunk down. But that's my fault. I used a very deep baking dish to test the recipe. It shrinks a bit, but not a huge amount. I'm sorry I didn't take a scoop-out shot, but this was one of the dishes I brought to Mom's for Thanksgiving last week, and I didn't want to dig into it prior to serving it to the folks. All that aside, it was a very good crumble. Healthy, full of great vitamin C from the berries and fiber from the oats and cornmeal (a surprise in crumble, but a welcome one), this is one recipe I'll use over again.

It's flexible enough to noodle with, so my gluten-free friends can easily enjoy it with gluten-free flours instead. What I liked most about this dessert (other than the flavors of the fruit and the crumble's crunch) was that it was super-easy to make and alter. I think the next time I make this, I'll use barley flour instead of the cornmeal. I really liked it in granola, and my version of the topping is much more like granola than not.

Here's the recipe as I made it. Greatly inspired by Apple-Blueberry Crumble on page 316 of Moosewood Restaurant, Cooking for Health (2009).

Blueberry-Cranberry Apple Crumble
Serves 10

Ingredients4 cups cored apples chopped into 1/2 pieces (peel if you wish, but I didn't)
4 cups blueberries (I used frozen because they are not in season)
3 cups fresh cranberries (because they are in season, but frozen will do if not in season where you are)
2 tablespoons tapioca flour
1/2 cup (or less, depending on your taste) agave nectar
3/4 cup rolled oats (old fashioned)
3/4 cup cornmeal (or alternate flour, such as brown rice or barley)
1 cup chopped raw pecans
3/4 cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds, although you could just as easily use sunflower seeds)
1/2 cup raw sesame seeds
2 teaspoons apple pie spice (I use Pensey's because it has great flavor)
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup olive oil (make sure it's a nice, fruity oil, otherwise, you could use grapeseed or some other lightly flavored oil)
1/2 cup agave nectar

Directions:

1. Lightly oil a 9 x 13 in. glass baking dish.
2. In a large bowl, stir together the fruit, tapioca flour, and first agave nectar measurement until well coated with the flour.
3. In another large bowl, stir together the oats, cornmeal, nuts, seeds, spices, and salt.
4. Add the oil and agave nectar to the dry ingredients and stir until you start seeing large crumbs (1/4 in.) form.
5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
6. Add the fruit to the baking dish and top with the crumbs. Spread the crumbs evenly over the fruit. Cover with foil.
7. Bake the fruit crumble for 20 minutes with the foil, then remove the foil and continue baking for another 15 minutes, or until the fruit is bubbly and the topping has become golden brown. Don't be concerned if you hear popping noises -- those are just the cranberries. They don't explode, just break their skins. You can avoid this by lightly chopping them prior to adding them to the mix.
8. This is best served warm, so only cool it for about 10 minutes before serving. However, you can make this ahead and re-heat it. It stays well in the fridge for a couple of days.
9. Enjoy!

It occurred to me that I hadn't actually given a review of the book when I wrote the entry above. So, here it is! There is a lot to like about the newest Moosewood cookbook. For starters, the authors took care with the design of the book so that it is very easy to use. For instance, most of the recipes appear on one page, the nutritional facts (calories, fat, etc.) are included with each recipe, the ingredients are ordered well and highlighted in a shaded box for easy reading, and between chapters there is a great deal of interesting information about ingredients.

The majority of the recipes are savory, although the one above is a good example of the Moosewood dessert style (simple, not overly sweet, and fruit-centric). The recipes are easily alterable for special diets and food sensitivities, which is such a gift. Overall, I really liked paging through the book and look forward to working my way through the savory recipes (more than likely on Here and There ).
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