Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Countdown to 2015: Best Desserts of 2014


Hi again everyone

It's another day of the countdown to 2015 hosted by Sarah over at Fantastical Sharing of Recipes in conjunction with Secret Recipe Club. Today's theme is Desserts and I really had an awesome amount of desserts this year. We got a new ice cream machine as a wedding gift, which has really upped my dessert repertoire. Check them out

 


From top left going clockwise we have:

Watermelon Sorbet
Three Layer Christmas Jello
Peach Sorbet
Greek Yogurt Souffle
French Vanilla Ice Cream
Tofu Chocolate Pudding
Lemon Meringue Pie
Orange Olive Oil Cake

Thanks for looking. See you in 2015

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Countdown to 2015: Best Main Dishes of 2014


Hi again readers.

It's another day of my countdown to 2015, hosted by Sarah at Fantastical Sharing of Recipes in conjunction with Secret Recipe Club. Today's theme is main dishes and boy did I make a lot of those this year. I used to make bits and pieces (a lot more baking) but this year I've made a lot more whole meals. We were saving for the wedding and started eating at home a lot more often than before. It's a wonderful habit to get into, but it really shows on my blog. There are so many tiles in this post I can barely keep track.


Starting the top left and going clockwise we have:

Ginger Cilantro Whole Roasted Snapper
Vietnamese Noodle Bowl with Fish Sauce Dressing
Beet and Goat Cheese Ravioli
Spaghetti Carbonara
Enchilada Bake
Sweet Potato, Lentil and Sausage Stew
Lebanese Stuffed Eggplant
Thanksgiving Turkey Burgers
Coq au Vin
Spinach and Butternut Squash Ravioli
Milk Braised Chicken

Thanks for all the great views. See you tomorrow and in 2015

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Countdown to 2015: Best Crockpot Dishes of 2014




Hey again readers.

I'm back with another day of my 2015 countdown, hosted by Sarah at Fantastical Sharing of Recipes. Today's them is Crockpot dishes. I realized after making my collage that I really hadn't made that many crockpot dishes in 2014. I really need to change that this year!

In the meantime, check out my crockpot recipes from 2014

 

Pictured recipes are:

Asian Style Pulled Pork
Chili from Dry Beans
Split Pea and Ham Soup

Thanks again. Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow and in 2015.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Countdown to 2015: Best Breakfast Recipes of 2014

Hello everyone.

This year I'm trying something a little different as my New Year retrospective. Sarah over at Fantastical Sharing of Recipes participates in this yearly countdown to reflect on your best recipes of the year, make an awesome collage and see other folks "Best of" list. It's a great way to find some amazing new recipes to try. Today's theme is Breakfast. Yum.



I've never been very good at keeping up a blog in the past but this year has been different. This year I got accepted to Secret Recipe Club and it really has changed everything. Now I look forward to blogging recipes from other bloggers, posting new things for others to try and basically being part of a community. I really feel so fortunate that I discovered this group in 2014.

I've had so many great things happen in 2014. I got married to my best friend in the world, our families are still in great health and we maintained a lot of great friendships. I can't wait to see what 2015 has in store (for food, otherwise, and the combination of the two).

 
 

I didn't realize just how many breakfast recipes I had this year. Starting from the top right and going clockwise we have the following:

Salad Lyonnaise
Apple Aebleskiver
Spinach and Ricotta Quiche with Quinoa Crust
Breakfast Crescent Rolls
Sourdough Hot Cross Buns
Cranberry Apple Streusel Coffee Cake
My Husband's family Irish Soda Bread

Thanks so much! See you in 2015

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Breakfast Crescent Roll



I saw this recipe on Pinterest and thought it was absolutely amazing. This is the kind of thing I could never come up with on my own. I never ate crescent rolls growing up. It would never occur to me to purchase them. But my husband grew up with them on the dinner table so we will purchase them from time to time.

I wasn't expecting much from this dish, but they are delicious. They are super buttery (so this is just a once in a while dish) and versatile. I use whatever leftovers I seem to have in the fridge when making these and just serve it with a nice salad. Best of all, this is a great dish for a lazy dinner as well when you just can't muster the energy to make real food.

Give it a shot. I'm sure you'll like it.

Breakfast Crescent Rolls
Ingredients

  • 1 can Pillsbury crescent rolls
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 strips of bacon, half cooked
  • a couple slices of onion
  • Parmesan cheese
  • basil/herbs
  • salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Roll out the crescent rolls and divide into 4 rectangles
  2. Pinch the sides slightly to create a lip. Place bacon and onion and crack an egg in the center
  3. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, Add fresh herbs and cheese
  4. Bake at 375 for about 12 minutes. Check after 10 minutes, depending on how firm you like your eggs. The white should be cooked and the yolk should be firm, but soft
  5. Eat immediately with a light salad or fruit.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

French Onion Soup


I'm sick. Or I'm getting sick. My husband has left me at home alone while he goes out for a holiday party without me. He has left me to fend for myself like an injured animal in the wilderness.

Except injured animals don't have leftover French onion soup in the freezer they can defrost and heat up at a moment's notice.

Chicken noodle soup might have been better, but this is still pretty delicious. I love french onion soup any time of year from its richness, the sweetness, the cheese, etc. It's perfect, easy and quite cheap to make. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Like all of my recipes, this isn't so much a recipe as a baseline. It changes from time to time depending on what I have in stock,

Now if you excuse me, I need to go blow my nose, cough up a lung and make a pot of ginger tea.

French Onion Soup
Ingredients
  • 10 cups sliced sweet onions (about 5 Oso or Maui onions)
  • 3 or 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 or 3 Tbsp butter
  • a few sprigs fresh time
  • 1 tsp caraway seed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup wine (red or white... it won't really matter in the end)
  • about 2 1/2 quarts stock (I use half an half beef and chicken but most people prefer all beef)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • stale french bread
  • gruyere or swiss cheese

Direction
  1. Melt butter over medium low heat in a dutch oven. Add onions, garlic, bay leaf, thyme and caraway and cook down until the onions are well caramelized (a couple hours, give or take). Leave them alone on lower heat, but make sure they don't burn.
  2. Deglaze the pot with wine  and cook down slightly.  Add stock. Season soup to taste
  3. Simmer soup for an hour or so until flavors come together.
  4. Pour soup into ramekins or oven safe mugs. Top with a toast point and cheese. Place under the broiler just until the cheese melts and browns slightly.
  5. Eat immediately with gusto. Enjoy




Sunday, December 14, 2014

Secret Recipe Club: Sesame Seed Cookies


It's time for a special installment of the Secret Recipe Club.


As you all know, Secret Recipe Club is a weekly collection of recipes from a great group of bloggers. Every Monday, the particular group makes a recipe from another member (in secret, of course) and reveals it on the given day. It's great fun and you get to learn about some great recipes and amazing blogs.

Usually I post  with group C on the third Monday of every month. That's today. The months of December/January are a little weird because groups C and D take a break in December and groups A and B take a break in January in order to accommodate for the holidays. I thought I was going to have to miss out on SRC this month, but then I learned they were doing a cookie swap. It sounded perfect, especially around the holidays.

Instead of having a member of Group C this week, the cookie swap mixed folks from all different reveal groups. This gave me the opportunity to explore Sid's Sea Palm Cooking, who normally posts on the second Monday of the month during Group B.

Sid loves cooking and sharing it with her friends for a variety of things, including Tapas Night and something called Boat Club (though I'm not really sure what that was). I knew I was looking for a basic cookie that would be great with tea and wasn't too sweet. When I saw the recipe for her Sesame Seed Cookies, I knew this was the one.

This recipe was great. It was buttery, nutty and delicious. It held together very well and baked crunchy yet tender. I would absolutely make this recipe again.


Sesame Seed Cookies

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened (I didn't have salted butter, so I just added salt to taste)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • about 1 3/4 to 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup toasted sesame seeds

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream together butter and sugar
  2. Add egg and vanilla. Continue mixing until combined
  3. Add flour and baking powder. Mix until just incorporated
  4. Scoop cookie dough into small balls and roll in toasted sesame seeds. Flatten balls slightly until they are about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Cookies will not spread, so flatten as much as desired
  5. Place on baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes until golden. 
  6. Eat cookies with a cup of chai tea. Mmmm




Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Serious One Pot Pasta



Lately I've seen a lot of recipes on Pinterest for one pot pastas. You cook the pasta in a bare minimum of water with all your vegetables and the starch makes your sauce for you. It sounded interesting, easy and simultaneously like a terrible idea. Pasta should involve two pots. Period.

I tried it and it was pretty good. I still think I prefer pasta where the sauce is made separately, but it wasn't bad. This was also a great way to use up random things in the refrigerator. I used this basic recipes for a Kale, Mushroom and Chicken pasta but I adapted it to what I had in my house. If you want to try out something different, give it a shot. It's easy and it will only dirty one pot and one cutting board. If you care about that, it's a great alternative to regular pasta. This also scales well to a half box of pasta.

One Pot Pasta

Ingredients

  • 1 lb dry pasta (something with longer cooking time, like spaghetti, linguini, penne, etc)
  • 4 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 chicken apple sausages
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 2 zucchini
  • large handful of mushrooms
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • heavy cream for finishing
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • parmesean or mizithra cheese
  • any other vegetables you may want
Directions
  1. Cut the sausages into circles and brown in the pot you intend to use. Remove
  2. Add a little more olive oil and brown and sautee your onions, peppers, mushrooms, garlic and zucchini briefly until onions are translucent and slightly brown. Add remaining vegetables.
  3. Add pasta and stock. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until pasta is tender. Add a little more stock or water if necessary as the pasta cooks if it is evaporating too quickly.
  4. Finish pasta with a splash of cream and some shredded cheese. Stir until fully incorporate and adjust salt/pepper to taste. Top with more cheese if desired and serve immediately.


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Three Layer Christmas Jello


I made this jello for our Thanksgiving this year. My mother would always make it every Thanksgiving and Christmas because it looks so perfect for the holidays. My grandmother really enjoyed it and it was one of my favorite desserts at during the holidays.

In retrospect, it's kind of weird. I mean, who actually enjoys jello? But it tastes like childhood and that is the main reason I made it this Thanksgiving. I even made a special effort to share it with you so that you might have it this Christmas.

I hope everyone has enjoyed the season thusfar. I end this post with a picture of our cat, Because I am a cruel cat Mommy





Note: this can also be made for 4th of July with a slight change of colors.

Three Layer Christmas Jello

Ingredients

  • 1 6oz box of cherry jello
  • 1 6oz box of lemon jello
  • 1 6oz box lime jello
  • 6 oz cream cheese
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • 1 16oz can crushed pineapple, juice reserved
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Directions
  1. Prepare the cherry jello according to the package directions. Pour into clear parfait glasses or a casserole dish and put in the refrigerator until set
  2. Mix lemon yellow is 1 1/2 cups of boiling water. After jello is dissolved, Beat cream cheese and marshmallows in using an electric mixer. Marshmallows should melt slightly, but not fully.
  3. Beat the heavy cream until it holds stiff peaks. 
  4. Add pineapple to the jello mixture with half a cup of the reserved pineapple juice.
  5. Fold in whipped cream and pour lemon layer on top of the cherry layer. Let set in the refrigerator.
  6. Make lime jello according to box directions. Let cool to room temperature on the counter before pouring on the middle layer, otherwise the colors will run.
  7. Let set and enjoy.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Milk Braised Chicken


I first saw the recipe for this milk chicken on pinterest. The idea sounded strange, but I opted to give it a shot. The lemon zest causes the milk to separate into curds and whey, creating this delicious sauce for your chicken. The chicken comes out very moist and goes perfectly with sauteed greens and roasted or mashed potatoes.

We made this recipe for some friends who bought us our new dutch oven as a wedding present. Everyone was so happy with it that I thought I would share the recipe with you. This recipe is closer to a roast than a braise, but it's still delicious.

Make sure you use an enameled pot like a dutch oven because it is so much easier to clean than if you were to use a regular pan. Additionally, try to use a good quality organic chicken if possible. I've tried with a non-organic chicken as well and the skin tears too easily and the meat drys out. 


Look at that delicious delicious burnt saucy stuff on the bottom of the pan. Yum

Milk Braised/Roasted Chicken

Ingredients
  • 1 chicken (5 lbs or so)
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • handful of fresh sage leaves
  • half cinnamon stick
  • 20 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 3 cups milk
  • zest of two lemons
  • olive oil

  1. Directions
  2. Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper inside and out.
  3. Heat a dutch oven on the stovetop with olive oil and brown chicken well on all side. Remove chicken from the pot and drain off the excess oil.
  4. Deglaze the pan with milk. Add the rest of your ingredients and scrape up anything on the bottom of the pot.
  5. Put chicken back in the pot and place pot in a preheated 375 degree oven. Cook about an hour or until internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees.
  6. Serve with a generous amount of the curds/whey sauce and spread the softened garlic over crusty french bread.





Friday, November 21, 2014

Coq au Vin


Coq Au Vin is one of those amazingly easy and cheap dinners that are perfect for the winter. It is so rich, hearty and warming from the inside out. It is a great way to use up red wine that has sat open a little too long (that should never be a problem, but it does happen sometimes).

My husband and I never by pieces of chicken. We only ever buy whole chickens because they are so much cheaper and then I break them down into their respective parts. This is the perfect kind of dish for that.

I used to make coq au vin and it would always turn out this weird purple color. I've discovered that you can get a rich brown if you make sure to brown it in a pot that is NOT nonstick so you can get all the brown stuff. It also helps if you use tomato paste to thicken the sauce because that will help with the color also

I sort have a recipe, but not really. I just throw things in a pot and see what happens (in terms of the amount of liquid). Edit this recipe as necessary.

Coq au Vin
Ingredients
  • 1 onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 3 ribs celery
  • 1 cup quartered mushrooms
  • 1 chicken, cut into either quarters or 8 way.
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • thyme sprig and bay leaves
  • half a bottle red wine....maybe a little more
  • 1 large tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cups chicken stock (or so)
  • flour
  • salt and pepper
  • oil for browning chicken
Directions
  1. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Coat with flour and brown on all sides in a dutch oven or wide bottom heavy pot on the stove.
  2. Remove chicken and add vegetables, scraping up the delicious brown stuff on the bottom. Add a big spoon of tomato paste, stirring to coat vegetables.
  3. Add wine (half bottle or a little more) and let reduce by half.
  4. Add chicken stock and put the chicken pieces back in the pot (they should not be submerged, but halfway covered in liquid)
  5. Cover pot and simmer gently until done (half hour?). Remove lid or cover loosely if you desire a more reduced sauce, though the flour and tomato paste should thicken it enough
Make sure to eat this with some crusty bread to soak up all that delicious sauce. Yum!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Secret Recipe Club: Pumpkin Mac and Cheese


It's Secret Recipe Club time of the month again.

For those of you not in the know, SRC is a collection of bloggers who make each other's recipes (in secret, of course) and reveal them on a given date. Every Monday, about 30-50 people reveal the recipe they have been assigned for that month. Everyone gets to see all the delicious recipes other folks have made and you get to fill your to do list with plenty of delicious things.

This month, I was assigned Melissa's blog, BKLYN Locavore. Melissa works in marketing by day but on the weekends she is an avid blogger and foodie who is super involved in the Park Slope food co-op. She started Brooklyn Locavore in order experiment with eating locally through the food co-op and her CSA shares.

This experiment in eating locally really spoke to me. When I first moved to the East Coast from California, I was most distraught by the food prices and the lack of local markets. In California, I only went to my local market where it was impossible to find asparagus or strawberries any time other than their short seasons. It was the kind of market where you could go to the mushy vegetables section and buy 10 lbs of ginger for $4 or 5 lbs of eggplant for $3 just because they were a little past their prime. It forced you to make ginger beer or a giant pan of eggplant and it was amazing.

I miss it. I miss hating grapefruit because that's the only fruit you got all winter. I miss being excited about artichokes coming into season

Melissa had so many great recipes on her blog, but I really took her challenge to heart when choosing my recipe this month. As great as her Horseradish Crusted Prime Rib or her Beer Braised Shortribs looked, I just had to go with her healthy Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese. After all, I had half a pumpkin leftover from my CSA box.

My husband and I both LOVED this macaroni and cheese recipe. It is creamy, cheesy and doesn't taste like the vegetables that are hiding inside. It doesn't have the super creamy texture of boxed mac and cheese or frozen mac and cheese, but it is so much better for you and better tasting. We really loved this recipe and will absolutely add it to our regular rotation.

Melissa says her recipe serves 8 so we cut it in half. We still had a great amount that is easily 6 side dish portions or 4 main dish portions. 

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
Ingredients
  • 1/2 lb pasta (penne, elbows, etc)
  • 1 cup pureed roasted pumpkin (or butternut, or acorn squash)
  • 1 cup lowfat milk
  • 1 cup mixed cheeses (I used a combo of cheddar and jack, but aged gouda or fontina would be excellent as well)
  • 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp breadcrumbs (panko, preferably)
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • parmesean cheese and parsley if desired
Directions
  1. Cook pasta according to directions, drain in a colander and set aside
  2. Whisk together milk and pumpkin puree until it comes to a low simmer.
  3. Add cheese, salt, mustard, cayenne and chili powder and whisk until smooth
  4. Remove from heat and add pasta. Stir until well coated
  5. Pour pasta into baking dish and top with bread crumbs, olive oil and parmesean cheese. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until bubbly and golden. Eat immediately




Saturday, November 15, 2014

Peach Sorbet


Summer is over, so I really shouldn't be posting any more frozen dessert recipes. I shouldn't but I keep making them. It was 40 degrees outside today, but for me it's never too cold for ice cream/sorbet.

We also needed to make room in our freezer, so we took out one bag of leftover diced peaches from the summer to make sorbet. We got some wonderful peaches in our CSA box this year, but since we get about a half dozen per week, it's impossible to eat that many before they get overripe and mushy. We peel and freeze them as we go through the summer, but you could also use fresh overripe fruit for this recipe or frozen fruit.

This was also the recipe that taught me how to make really amazing sorbet if you're just guessing at a recipe. The basics for a whole fruit sorbet are a 1:1 ratio of simple syrup to fruit puree. That's it. It's so easy.

You have to double check for things that are just juice or recipes that are more sour. Sugar levels as well as alcohol inhibit freezing, so I will usually add a splash of whatever booze works in order to keep my sorbet at a scoop-able consistency as opposed to rock solid.

Give this easy recipe a try. I promise you won't be disappointed.

Peach Sorbet
Ingredients
  • 2 cups diced frozen or fresh peaches (about 1 1/4 cup of strained peach puree)
  • 1 1/4 cup one to one simple syrup, cooled 
  • splash of peach schnapps
Directions
  1. Puree your peaches in a food processor for a couple minutes or until totally smooth. Press your peach puree through a fine mesh strainer. The liquid should still be thick, but all fibrous parts should be removed.
  2. Mix together equal parts peach puree and chilled simple syrup in a bowl with a splash of peach schnapps. Chill for a couple hours until ready to make sorbet.
  3. Churn according to your ice cream maker directions. Put in an airtight container in the freezer. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Ebelskiver with Apple compote





We got a takoyaki pan as a wedding present.

If you've never tried takoyaki, you are missing out. Basically, they are Japanese octopus pancake balls topped with mayonaise and sauce and fish flakes and served mouth searingly hot. They are basically the best thing to order at an izakaya, especially at 2am.

Unfortunately, I have yet to make real takoyaki. It still seems intimidating and I wanted to try out my technique with cheaper ingredients.

Ebelskiver, or Aebleskiver, is a danish dessert served during the holidays. They are round pancakes served with powdered sugar and jam. They can have filling in them or not. Either way they are delicious.

The wells of a normal Aebleskive pan are much larger than a takoyaki pan. Aebleskives are usually an inch and a half to two inches in diameter while takoyaki are about 1 inch in diameter and perfectly bite sized. They cook very quickly, so the key to takoyaki is speed. I use chopsticks to turn mine but they sell tools for that as well.

We made ours for breakfast with apple compote to use up some extra apples. Just sauteed until tender with butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and dark rum. For the aebleskiver, I used the recipe provided by the blog Sweet, Sour, Savory. We divided this recipe by 4 to have breakfast for 2 people, but half would also have been appropriate for plenty of snack leftovers.

Aebleskiver
Ingredients
  • 250 grams all purpose flour
  • 125 grams salted, melted butter
  • 375 mL milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom (optional. I put less because I don't really like the flavor)
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • Powdered sugar, lingonberry jam, etc for serving
Directions
  1. Separate the eggs and beat the whites to stiff peaks. Set aside.
  2. Mix flour, cardamom, baking powder salt. Mix milk with egg yolks, lemon zest, and melted butter. 
  3. Mix wet ingredients with dry ingredients until no lumps remain. Fold in egg whites.
  4. Heat the pan over medium heat and spray well with cooking spray. Pour batter into wells until 3/4 full. Begin turning the balls as soon as the edges start to bubble (for an aebleskiver pan) or immediately for a takoyaki pan. If desired, you can fill the insides with fruit, chocolate chips, etc just before turning.
  5. Keep turning the balls until browned on all sides and rounded. This will take practice. 
  6. Eat immediately with powdered sugar and desired topping.







Thursday, October 30, 2014

Chili from Dry Beans


Chili is easily one of my favorite foods. I know real Texas chili is supposed to be just meat, but I grew up in California eating predominately vegetarian chili. For me, the all meat chili might as well just be odd flavored spaghetti sauce. 

I had my fair share of chili growing up, but my parents never made chili. They would get it from a can or they would buy canned beans and make chili that way. I didn't realize how easy, flavorful and cheap it was to make chili from dried beans until recently. Now I won't make chili any other way.

Add or edit this recipe in any way you see fit. These are just the basics and they are totally flexible. You can use whatever beans you want as long as they add up to the same total amount. This time, I used cannelini beans instead of garbanzo because that is what I had in stock.

You can also cut this recipe in half, because this amount makes a full crockpot to feed a large party or a large family for many nights. We usually cut it in half and have more than enough for the two of us.

Chili from Dry Beans
Ingredients
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes (or 2-3 fresh whole tomatoes)
  • 1 lb ground beef (or chicken/turkey or omit completely)
  • 2 cups dry kidney beans
  • 1 cup dry black beans
  • 1/2 cup dry garbanzo beans
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn
  • 4 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp cumin
  • red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 7 cups chicken stock (or veggie stock, or water)
  • avocado, cheese, cilantro and sour cream for garnish

Directions
  1. Brown meat and drain off the grease completely
  2. Rinse beans but do not pre-soak
  3. Combine all ingredients in slow cooker and cook on low at least 8 hours. Adjust seasoning to taste if needed.





Thursday, October 23, 2014

Chili Spiced Chickpeas


I think this is my new favorite snack to make when we have folks over for some low key football/board games at our house. Of course, we still provide the standards (fruit, cheese, crudite veggies, chips) and other things we always have in the house. This was a fairly recent discovery. I saw this idea on pinterest and have made it at least 3 times in the last month. It's that easy and that good.

If you are going to compare this to anything, I think it is most similar to corn nuts. It's just as crunchy and addictive, but a lot healthier. I really don't feel so bad about eating all of them. They are very versatile and you can change the flavors any way you see fit (curry powder, chili powder, dill for a pseudo ranch flavored...)

Chili Spiced Chickpeas

Ingredients

  • 1 14oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • pinch of garlic powder
  • a little less than 1 tsp salt
  • black pepper
  • cayenne pepper, depending on your desired spice level
Directions
  1. Toss chickpeas with all ingredients
  2. Spread on a sheet pan and bake in the oven at 350 until mostly dry and crunchy (will continue to harden as it cools).
  3. Check after half an hour, but it will probably take closer to 45 minutes or an hour.



Sunday, October 19, 2014

Secret Recipe Club: Thanksgiving Turkey Burgers


It's Secret Recipe Club time of the month!

It feels like it has been so long since I've participated in SRC. I had to miss out on all the fun for September because I was busy getting married/going on vacation/not cooking at all. I've been trying to get back into a rhythm as far as blogging is concerned, but I've been slacking. I've needed some good SRC inspiration to get me motivated again.

For those of you who don't know, Secret Recipe Club is a group of bloggers who make another member's recipe (in secret, of course). Everyone reveals on their designated date and gets to see what another member made from their blog. It's a great way to showcase some of your older recipes and a great way to find out about some cool bloggers who also share a passion for cooking.

This month, I got to explore The Avid Appetite hosted by Rachel. Rachel is a working mom living in Jersey City with her husband, Shaun, and her adorable daughter. Rachel started cooking in an attempt to be a kickass wife who loved football (NY Giant specifically) and knew how to cook. What a lucky husband!

I've made the same attempts with my husband. I cook for him regularly, I've been cultivating an appreciation for football, and I love beer. He could have done worse for himself.

Anyway, back to SRC. Rachel had so many great recipes on her blog that were great for entertaining or having a weeknight dinner. I opted to make her Thanksgiving Turkey Burgers because it just sounded so good. I had a bunch of apples and ground turkey was on sale at the market. Sounded like the perfect recipe.

It was absolutely delicious. The apples and celery gave some moisture to the turkey and the flavor were just like a Thanksgiving leftovers sandwich. This was a great recipe that didn't need too many changes. I used fresh sage, rosemary and thyme in place of poultry spice. I also made fresh cranberry sauce with my last bag of cranberries in the freezer from last Thanksgiving. Next time, I would probably sautee my vegetables/apples first so I can cook it fully in the skillet (I ended up starting my burgers in the skillet and finishing them under the broiler). I would also add some walnuts or chopped bacon to my burger (because that's how I make my Thanksgiving stuffing)

Thanks so much for this awesome recipe, Rachel! I know it will become a regular thing in our house.


Thanksgiving Turkey Burgers (will make about 6. We halved this recipe)
Ingredients
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 small yellow or sweet onion
  • 1 crisp baking apple, peeled cored (I used honeycrisp, but granny smith would also work)
  • 3 sage leaves
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Fresh or dry rosemary
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cranberry sauce (homemade or canned)
  • mayonaise
  • rolls
Directions
  1. Dice celery, onion and apple
  2. Mix turkey, celery, onion, apple, herbs and spices together in a small bowl. Cook a small taster in a frying pan and adjust seasoning/herbs as desired.
  3. Form Turkey burgers into patties and cook in a hot skillet until colored on both sides. Transfer skillet to broiler and finish burgers until cooked through
  4. Meanwhile, toast your rolls (we used ciabatta) and spread with cranberry and mayo. Place burger on your roll and serve immediately. 






Monday, October 6, 2014

Watermelon Sorbet



I can't believe it's already October. Where has the summer (and the year) gone?

I thought I was doing a great job of keeping up this blog during the past year since joining Secret Recipe Club. It has been difficult to get back into the swing of things since getting back from vacation, and for that I do apologize. I'm realizing now that I had a good many photos/recipes logged in drafts from before vacation, so I'm trying to get caught up with those at the moment. It's bad because I have to remember the recipe so long after, but good because it gives you a little taste of something beautiful as the seasons change (in this case, the long-gone watermelon)

This weekend it was 41 degrees Fahrenheit Saturday night. My husband and I were both surprised when we stepped outside to feel the chill and not remember where we had stored most of our winter clothes (we have not even unpacked them yet). Today it was back up to 75, but I'm not looking forward to how the weather will change in a couple weeks.

If you can still find watermelon in your local markets, you should really take advantage of it while it's there. This is a great way to use scrapings or mushy bits from your watermelon (or the edge waste you get from melon balls). The texture is more icy like a granita (probably because of the lower sugar ratio in the simple syrup), but still delicious. This was the first watermelon thing I've ever had that tasted like real watermelon and not like a jolly rancher.

Watermelon Sorbet (for a 2 quart ice cream machine)

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups seeded chopped watermelon
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
Directions
  1. Heat water and sugar in a pot to create a syrup
  2. Pour syrup and watermelon in a blender or food processor. blend until smooth and add lime juice. Chill at least 2 hours
  3. Pour into ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer directions.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Slow Cooker Pea Soup



It's winter.

Well, it's not winter yet, but it is officially the first day of autumn. And I've had to wear a sweater in the morning on the way to work. That's how I know winter is coming.

Because of that, I felt it was time to post a recipe I've had in my drafts since last year. I just never got around to posting it, and summer never seemed like the right time. But now it's time for soups and hearty foods. This seemed perfect.

Enjoy the rest of the summer as long as it lasts, but when winter finally creeps up you can have this easy soup ready to go.

Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup

Ingredients


  • 1 pound dried green split peas, rinsed
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and medium dice
  • 2 medium celery stalks, medium dice
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, medium dice
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 fresh Italian parsley sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 meaty smoked ham bone or 2 ham hocks (about 1 pound)
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth (1 quart)
  • 2 cups water
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Directions
  1. Put all ingredients in crockpot and set to low for 8 hours. 
  2. Adjust seasoning to taste and add more water to thin out if necessary. Super easy.
  3. Top with sour cream and parsley if desired. Serve with crusty bread

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Back from Vacation with French Vanilla Ice Cream


Okay, I'm back from vacation. Took a while to get back into the swing of things

The wedding went amazingly well and the honeymoon was fantastic. We vacationed in Belize (such a beautiful country) with plenty of adventure, relaxation and gorgeous sights. We ate plenty of local food (recipes from a local cookbook to come, for sure).  It was very hard to come back to real life and back to real work.

I made this ice cream before leaving, but I didn't have a chance to share the recipe. It utilizes our new KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment (awesome wedding gift) and the recipe comes the included recipe book

French Vanilla Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 2.5 cups half and half
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 2.5 cups heavy cream
  • 4 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt
Directions
  1. Simmer half and half until just before boiling, stirring constantly
  2. Mix yolks and sugar with wire whip until thickened and glossy yellow
  3. Slowly temper egg yolks with half and half. Return to stove and heat until steamy, stirring constantly.
  4. Mix vanilla, heavy cream and salt with egg mixture. Cover with plastic and chill overnight. 
  5. Churn according to ice cream maker directions. Freeze until desired texture is reached.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Secret Recipe Club: Grilled peach salad with balsamic drizzle



It's Secret Recipe Club time of the month again and my partner in crime for this month is Jenna over at Painted Apron.

Jenna is super creative. Her blog is full of great recipes, beautiful tablescapes and ideas for party planning and easy home decor. There are plenty of great dinner party ideas for me to check out...later. (You know, when I'm not two weeks away from getting married, later. When you're reading this, I will be on an airplane to California for the wedding. Sorry if I don't respond to comments promptly)

I normally love SRC post dates, but this month was more difficult than usual. It wasn't Jenna's fault. Her blog had some awesome recipes like this great Stuffed French Toast and these Magic Potatoes made with so much butter and cheese. The one I must wanted to make was her Breadstick Pizza Rosette because it looked so amazing.

And then I realized we were leaving on vacation for two weeks (for our wedding, followed by honeymoon). By the time I found time to make a recipe we were already in the "We ain't going to the grocery store for shit" stage. You know...the stage where you're eating dry cereal because you refuse to buy milk, and a large amount of your dinners consist of pasta and whatever veggies you have in the fridge. Wanna put an egg on it? What about cheese? All perishable foods must go until we're stuck eating takeout for 3 straight days before vacation.

Given the timing of this SRC, I think I did a pretty great job with this recipe for Prosciutto and Peach Salad. I made mine as a combination of two of her peach salads and I think I did a pretty good job keeping the spirit the same, given all of my self-imposed food restrictions.

It was a really tasty dinner. We had a duo of salads that night: peach salad and caprese salad because everything must go! Thanks for the great recipes Jenna. I promise I'll come back and make that pizza rosette after we get back from vacation.

Grilled Peach Salad

Ingredients
  • 2 ripe peaches (either yellow or white)
  • mixed greens (anything with arugula and frisee is always great)
  • almonds
  • salted italian meat (prosciutto or pancetta would be great. I used sopresatta)
  • lemon
  • olive oil
  • balsamic glaze (I used an English Toffee infused balsamic vinegar that was on sale at my local olive oil shop)
  • goat cheese (I didn't have this, but I would use it next time)
Directions
  1. Pit the peaches and grill them either outside or on your grill pan
  2. Sautee your sopresatta or chosen meat until slightly crispy
  3. Lightly dress your greens with a little olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Lay them down on the plate
  4. Top with grilled peaches, sopresatta, almonds and a little balsamic glaze. Eat immediately and enjoy



Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Lebanese Stuffed Eggplant


I love my CSA box.

I get so many amazing vegetables every week that I would never think to buy on a regular basis. I mean, I would buy french beans, but I probably wouldn't get Indian eggplant when Japanese eggplant was an option.

Most of the time, I would have probably just chopped up this eggplant for curry or a stir fry. This time, that didn't happen. My CSA company sends an email every week with a recipe at the end to give you inspiration. This week, they sent out an adapted version of Smitten Kitchen's recipe for stuffed eggplant.

This was an absolutely delicious dish! The flavors all went so perfectly together and the eggplant was beautiful. The recipe I used was altered in order to fit what came in the box that week. I highly recommend you all try it.

Lebanese stuffed Eggplant

Ingredients

  • 12 indian eggplants (or 6 baby bell Italian eggplants)
  • 1/2 cup jasmine rice (rinsed, but uncooked)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts or slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 lb ground beef or lamb (uncooked)
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 3 Tbsp chopped flat parsley
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Cut the bottom sliver off each eggplant and hallow out the eggplant with a melon baller, leaving about 1/3 inch eggplant flesh on all sides. Take the interior of the eggplant and roughly chop it.
  2. Heat a little olive oil in large skillet. Sautee onion and garlic until tender. Add the eggplant interior and cook until tender.
  3. Place half the onion mixture into a bowl with nuts, ground meat, rice, allspice, lemon, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper. Mix together.
  4. Leave the other half the onion mix in the skillet. Add chicken stock, tomatoes, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Simmer gently uncovered
  5. Stuff eggplants with the rice filling mixture. Filling will expand, so don't stuff it too tight.
  6. Place eggplants in the simmering sauce and simmer covered for about 45 minutes, turning halfway through. Cook until rice is cooked through.
  7. If necessary, remove eggplant and reduce sauce to desired consistency.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Vietnamese Noodle Bowl with Fish Sauce Dressing


Vietnamese noodle bowls are a summertime staple in our house. This is the main thing I order at Vietnamese restaurants (even when everyone else is ordering pho). There aren't very many rules when you make it at home (this one had corn, because we had fresh white corn) but it always needs to have rice noodles, cucumber, carrots, cilantro, mint, basil and noum cham (citrus fish sauce dressing).

It's great for summer because it doesn't heat up your kitchen. It's light, very flavorful and refreshing. We love it and I hope you do too

Ingredients

  • rice noodles
  • desired lettuce
  • cucumber
  • carrots, seeded tomatoes, celery, or whatever you desire
  • chicken breast
  • cilantro
  • mint
  • basil
  • fish sauce
  • lime juice
  • palm sugar (or brown sugar, or cane sugar syrup)
  • sesame oil
  • warm water
  • thai chilis
  • garlic
Directions
  1. Begin by marinating the chicken in some fish sauce, lime juice, sesame oil, garlic and ginger. It doesn't have to be very long (half hour at most). Slice thin and cook quickly in a skillet. Set aside to cool.
  2. Next, make the noum cham sauce. Mix equal parts fish sauce, lime juice and sugar together. Dilute the sauce with some warm water and a touch of sesame oil until it's appropriate strength. Thinly slice one clove garlic and one thai chili to mix with the sauce.
  3. Julienne all your vegetables and begin by layering your lettuce at the bottom of the bowl.
  4. Cook rice noodles until done and chill in ice water. Drain and place on top of your lettuce
  5. Top with your desired fresh vegetables, chicken and herbs
  6. Drizzle fish sauce dressing over the top. Toss all ingredients together and eat immediately.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Roasted Whole Snapper with Ginger and Cilantro


I grew up eating whole fish from time to time. We would eat fillets mostly because it was easier and it is more difficult to find whole fish at regular grocery stores like Safeway/Food Lion/Giant/whatever. We only ever had whole fish when my grandfather caught some. I thought it was a little weird back then, but as I've gotten older I've learned that whole fish is the way to go.

This was my fiance's first time ever having whole fish. He grew up in a very Caucasian household, so I understand. I brought it out to the table and he said "How do you eat it" and I laughed. I had to explain that we would just take vegetables and pull of some fish in our rice bowl and come back as we desired. He enjoyed it, and it was a cute experience.

Ingredients
  • 1 whole red snapper (1.5 lbs or so)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp fresh minced ginger
  • 2 Tbsp fresh minced cilantro
  • touch of sesame oil
  • salt and pepper
  • desired vegetables (I used bean sprouts, napa cabbage and carrots)
  • Rice for serving
Directions
  1. Clean and scale your fish. Cut about 3 or 4 diagonal slits in each side almost to the bones.
  2. Mix together the fresh ginger, garlic, cilantro, sesame oil. Rub mixture in the slits in the fish
  3. Season inside and out of fish with salt and pepper.
  4. Prop the fish up by splaying the belly flaps on a sheet pan. Prop a ball of aluminum foil under the tail if necessary. The fish should stand upright. 
  5. Roast fish at 350 for about 25 minutes. The skin should be a little crisp. You can crank the oven higher at the end if you desire for extra crispy skin.
  6. Cook your vegetables as desired. Serve fish with vegetables, rice.
Note: you can also make a dipping sauce with equal parts rice vinegar and light soy sauce, but it's really not necessary.



Sunday, July 20, 2014

Secret Recipe Club: Spinach Ricotta Quiche with Quinoa Crust



It's secret recipe club time again. Awesome. I get so much enjoyment out of seeing what everyone else posts every Monday. I find so many amazing recipes and it forces me to be creative. It helps so much when I'm not feeling inspired (which has been happening a lot lately with 90 degree days and lots of wedding shit. So much wedding shit to do in the next 5 weeks).

This month's assigned blog was Debbie Does Dinner Healthy. Debbie is a Mom of 3 living in Minneapolis MN and is also the leader for Group C. Almost all of her recipes are low calorie while still looking so delicious. I knew this could be a perfect blog to pick up some guilt-free recipes.

There was only one problem with Debbie's blog: there were just too many options! I wanted the Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya. I wanted the Crockpot Chicken Mole and the Twice Baked Cauliflower. I ended up settling on the Quinoa Egg and Vegetable Bake (which wasn't really settling, since it's really an amazing sounding low calorie quiche)

I loved it and could have eaten the whole pan (correction: ate like half the pan over breakfast and lunch, but that's okay because the whole thing is only 1300 calories). It had the texture I wanted, allowed me to use up a lot of veggies in my csa box, and allowed me to use up some leftover egg whites I had after making ice cream. My fiance...not so much. He already doesn't like quinoa unless I mix it with ground beef/chorizo for stuffed peppers or squash. Give me thirty years of marriage and maybe I'll convert him.

I'd change a couple things for next time, but not much. First, I'd bake the crust for 10 minutes before putting in the egg mixture. I loved the crusty texture of the edges and wished it carried through for the entire dish. I would also cook the quinoa in chicken stock like I normally do (cuz then maybe the man would like it a little more)

Great dish Debbie! Not sure if this will make it into our regular breakfast rotation, but I know I'll make it when I have a weekend on my own.

Spinach Ricotta Quiche with Quinoa Crust

Ingredients for crust

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 oz shredded cheddar cheese (about 1/4 cup)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Ingredients for filling
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup part skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 extra large handful of fresh spinach (2 cups? about?)
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1/2 bell pepper, diced (I used green because that's what I had. Red would have been much nicer)
  • 4 spears asparagus, sliced (not necessary, I just had some I needed to use)
  • 1 oz shredded cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix cooked quinoa with egg white, cheese, salt and pepper. Press quinoa into sprayed 9 inch pie pan and push up the sides.
  3. Sautee onions, peppers, asparagus and spinach until onions are slightly translucent and spinach is wilted.
  4. Mix eggs, egg whites, ricotta cheese and cheddar cheese together. Add vegetables and mix.
  5. Pour into quinoa crust. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes until cooked through
  6. Let cool 5 minutes before slicing.


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Coconut Pistachio Biscotti


I used to drink coffee every morning (not always with a biscotti). In the last few years, the acid from coffee has begun to bother me more and more, to the point that I can no longer drink coffee in the morning on an empty stomach because it will upset my stomach too much.

I usually drink tea in the morning and in the afternoons now. I like it better than coffee anyway and always have. I'll only have coffee when I make biscotti, because sometimes things just go better together.

These biscotti have a very tropical flavor and a great salty-richness from the pistachios. They are not too sweet and just delightful with a cup of coffee. I highly recommend this recipe. (Do you file this under cookie or breakfast? I don't know)

Enjoy! And enjoy my favorite coffee mug teaching you how to eat a lobster.

Coconut Pistachio Biscotti


Ingredients
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup softened butter
  • 1 tsp coconut extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 ½ cups AP flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup coconut
  • 1 cup pistachios


Directions

  1. Toast coconut and pistachios for 5 minutes and remove to let cool
  2. Fist together flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and coconut extract, then add flour mixture and mix until it comes together. It will be very stiff
  4. Mix in coconut and pistachios.
  5. Divide into two parts and form each into a loaf about 10 inches long. Flatten biscotti until it is about 3 inches wide and place on a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Bake for about 30 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven. Remove and allow to cool for 15 minutes.
  7. Slice loaves into individual biscotti (about ½ inch thick). Place cut side down on the cookie sheet and bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes.
  8. Allow cookies to cool and store in airtight container
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