Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Guest Post: Weekly Meal Plan by Cousin Jessica, Tuesday

Our dear "Cousin Jessica" (as kids, we only referred to her by her full "title", and it has since stuck) has written a series of posts for our blog this week, walking through a week of cooking for a new family amidst the busy-ness of life. We're posting it over several days this week, but will include the grocery list at the top of each post for ease of use.  Her posts are filled with great tips along with great recipes, so happy reading!

Weekly Grocery List and Budget – Weekly budget including what we need for breakfasts and lunches - $150 for a family of three.

I have a lot of the spices in these recipes already, along with some staple items. Please double check your cupboards and the recipes to make sure you have all ingredients!

Brown Rice
Whole grains (any)
Acorn Squash
Ground sausage with sage
Flat leaf Parsley
Chicken stock
Avocado oil
Brussel sprouts
Butternut Squash


Tuesday “Let’s entertain on a week night” – Acorn Squash stuffed with Sausage, apple and cranberry stuffing; Sweet treat: Paleo Bon Bons

Let me start off by saying, entertaining on a weeknight is totally doable even if you both work.  The key is to PREP.  This stuffing is still amazing if cooked the night before. Bon Bons can be prepped up to a week in advance.

The base of this recipe was not my idea. Last year, I had a craving for stuffing and squash and I went hunting for recipes.  I knew I wanted apples and cranberries to give some sweetness, but I also knew that I didn’t have a ton of time.  I found this recipe on Happily Unprocessed (great site!) and tweaked to make it work for us.  Tonight I’m adjusting to make everything mostly paleo for my dear friend who is coming over for dinner.

Bon Bons:
·       Almond butter – 1 cup
·       Coconut flakes – ¼ cup
·       Almond extract – a couple drops
·       Honey -1/2 cup
·       Dark chocolate (to be paleo, 85% or above. To be creative, use fruit infused chocolates – like orange or raspberry)

What to do:
·       Mix everything but the chocolate into a bowl. You want the consistency to be thick – add more coconut if you needed, but make sure it’s not crumbly.  The mixture should still be damp. 

·       Melt the dark chocolate. Form the above mixture into balls and put into a small cupcake paper.  Pour the dark chocolate over the top. Freeze for 30 minutes or up to a week.

Squash and Stuffing:
·       Two acorn squash
·       Half onion – diced
·       Diced Celery – ½ cup or so
·       1 lb ground sausage with sage – I used spicy Italian sausage for kick – if you can’t find with sage, just add some extra sage in your cooking process.
·       ½ teaspoon dried sage (more if your sausage does not have sage)
·       ½ teaspoon fresh thyme
·       Two cups whole grain brown rice - cooked
·       1 apple cut into chunks – Skin on – any variety (honey crisp is my fav)
·       I cup dried cranberries
·       Butter – two or three pads – grass fed if you can find it

Cook it up!
·       Bake up the squash -  preheat oven to 350 – cut in half, brush with olive oil, place face down on a cookie sheet.  Cook for 15-20 minutes. If your squash is thick, cook for 25 – you want it mostly done
Cook the stuffing – this can be done the night before and saved in the fridge
·       Cook onions, celery in olive oil until translucent. Add the sausage and cook until cooked through. Add the spices. Add apples, cranberries and some butter.  Add the brown rice and mix.  
o   Note: This will not “set” like traditional stuffing because there is no bread. Expect it to be crumbly
Stuff the squash
·       Pull squash form the oven and flip over – use a fork to break up squash – it will be a little stringy. Add some butter to preference.  (In this stage, I always add a little goat cheese to make the squash extra creamy, completely up to your own taste)
·       Stuff the squash with as much stuffing as it will hold. It’s ok if a little bit falls on the pan or the sides, it will get crispy and it’s amazing.
·       Bake another 20 minutes – careful not to burn the top. The stuffing is cooked – this baking is only to add more flavor to the squash, finish the squash baking, and crisp the sausage.
·       Leftover stuffing – put in a glass pan and bake until crispy. Great for leftovers or to supplement if you have hungry guests!

Eat! Take everything out of the oven – it will be VERY hot.  I like to top with a little goat cheese or parmesan. My friends added siracha and it was delicious.  

Dessert: Bon bons are eaten frozen – do not thaw!

Tip: if you want more of an ice-cream consistency, mix in some ripe banana during the creation process and lessen the amount of almond butter by about half.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Guest Post: Weekly Meal Plan by Cousin Jessica, Monday

Our dear "Cousin Jessica" (as kids, we only referred to her by her full "title", and it still sticks) has written a series of posts for our blog this week, walking through a week of cooking for a new family amidst the busy-ness of life. We're posting it over several days this week, but will include the grocery list at the top of each post for ease of use.  Her posts are filled with great tips along with great recipes, so happy reading!

Welcome to a week in the life of a new wife, new step mom, new homeowner and full time employee. 

Cooking and entertaining are a huge part of my life, but in order to pull it off, I have to be incredibly organized, plan our meals, make our grocery list, and try to stay on budget! This week, I am creating a fall inspired menu – one night just the two of us, one night of entertaining, and one night together as a family.  Followed by creative use of left overs to save some cash and clean out our fridge before we head out for the weekend.  

Growing up, I was always the kid who never cooked and broke a wooden spoon trying to stir chocolate chips into my first batch of cookies . . . however . . . I knew how to eat. As an adult, I’ve found that I have a unique skill of craving what is in season, and designing recipes with complementary flavors. I almost always start with googling ingredients that sound good and combining recipes or substituting items to create something unique and healthy for our family.  My food doesn’t always look the prettiest – I’m not skilled with knife work and sometimes I don’t time things perfectly – but it almost always tastes good J

Everything below can be adjusted to suite your personal tastes.

Grocery List and Budget – Weekly budget including what we need for breakfasts and lunches - $150 for a family of three.

I have a lot of the spices in these recipes already, along with some staple items. Please double check your cupboards and the recipes to make sure you have all ingredients!

Brown Rice
Whole grains (any)
Acorn Squash
Ground sausage with sage
Flat leaf Parsley
Chicken stock
Avocado oil
Brussel sprouts
Butternut Squash

The plan:

Monday “Just the two of us” – Whole Grain Bowl with roasted veggies, a fried egg, and lemony walnut dressing

When it’s just Josh and I at home, I tend to experiment. I went to lunch at EVE in Fremont here in Seattle and had their Hot bowl – they use seasonal vegetables, and I decided to try and recreate the experience with my own dressing and vegetable combination.

·       Whole grains – any you prefer! I used a combination of multigrain rice mixed with whole grain wheat.  
·       Brussel Sprouts – sliced  (Best guess for two people – 5)
·       Radishes – 10-12 cleaned, stems cut off, halved
·       Delicatta squash – one squash, diced with skin on
·       Beets, peeled and cut into ¼s (3 total)
·       Carrots – 3 large, halved length wise and cut into chunks
·       Pine nuts
·       Goat Cheese
·       Egg* – one for each dinner eater
·       Walnuts – 1 cup or so
·       Fresh lemon juice from one lemon
·       ½ Shallot - diced
·       Thyme – to preference, I used about 1 tablespoon
·       Olive oil – half cup
·       Avocado oil – ¼ cup
·       Lemon zest
·       Salt and pepper to taste – be generous!

Time to get cooking!
·       Heat up your oven! 375 Degrees
·       Roast your walnuts – about 10-12 minutes – until they start to smell fragrant
·       Toss vegetables in any oil – I used avocado oil
·       Add your own spices! I used lemon pepper, but if I did it again, I’d use tarragon as well.
·       Roast veggies for 20 minutes, stir, flip, whatever it takes to get the other side. Roast another 15 minutes or until you reach your desired tenderness.
·       While veggies are cooking – cook your grains according to the packaging

·       Add walnuts, shallot, thyme, lemon zest, lemon juice,  olive oil into the food processor and pulse.  Try a magic bullet if you have it!  Add salt and pepper (generously) –
o   Note: This dressing does not look appealing – the walnuts give it a thick brown texture, but close your eyes and taste it, because it really packs some good flavor!

When everything is cooked – fry up two eggs, or poach if you know how!

·       Grains – Mix dressing directly in
·       Veggies
·       Egg
·       Goat cheese
·       Pine nuts

Feel free to toss in some siracha, or whatever gets your taste buds going!  EAT! Make sure you cut into the egg to get the yolk mixed in with the grains.

* Added bonus if you can get farm fresh eggs. Check out the yolk color in ours – those are eggs from our friends who are very happy chickens. They are so delicious and healthy!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

White Beans & Greens

Wow have I not been cooking lately.  Except this, a few times!  My sister-in-law sent the recipe to my husband because he wanted to take on a bit of meal prep responsibility (an incredibly sweet thing because I.have.been.busy), but when he tried, I got bossy, took over the process, changed the recipe, and.... sigh.  I'm a jerk.  But I like to cook?

Anyway, it IS really yummy.

What you need:

Can of white beans, NOT DRAINED
Tomatoes - probably 2 giant heirlooms, 4 normal sized tomatoes, or a pint of cherry/grape tomatoes?
6 cloves garlic
Fresh herbs (parsley, basil?) if you fancy
Olive oil

Cast iron skillet is helpful, but whatever pot/pan will work

What you do:

Slice the garlic.  Soften it in olive oil.  Add white beans WITH THEIR LIQUID and chopped-up tomatoes.  Let that cook down into soupy savory goodness.  Add the kale.  When that is about cooked, salt to taste and add chopped fresh herbs.  Oh, at some point make the pasta too.  And serve over that.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Peaches Overnight Oats Parfait

Overnight oats or muesli is my absolute staple breakfast food, and the only thing that stops me from eating a bagel every morning.  I will never, ever be a person who actually takes the time to make breakfast before work except on the rare, unicorn morning. Enter overnight oats, here to save the day. They're ideal because you can (quickly!) mix them up the night before, and then grab as you run out the door.  You may be doubting me, because cold oatmeal sounds both weird and boring, but just take a chance with them if you haven't already.

 My longtime favorite has been this recipe from Joy The Baker, but if I don't start changing up my flavors, I'll go running back into the toasty arms of my beloved bagels slathered in cream cheese.  While I ate my breakfast last week at my work desk, I was struck by inspiration for a new variety, and it is better than I anticipated! Reminiscent of a yogurt parfait, but with more heft and less being-starving-twenty-minutes-later.

A few notes: I tried really hard to give measurements here, but for me it's really an unscientific process of what fits in a mason jar and looks like it'll be a good ratio. Kefir, if you don't already know, is a yogurt with the consistency of a thick liquid, making it a good fit to replace some milk and add some probiotics to your overnight oats.  The oats soak it up really nicely, but if you don't have Kefir, I'm sure you could stir together some plain yogurt and milk before pouring it over the oats.  I was surprised by how good this was with these simple ingredients, but other add-ins that I think would be delicious would be unsweetened shredded coconut, pecans, almonds, a touch of brown sugar instead of honey, or maybe a pinch of nutmeg. The beauty of overnight oats is their flexibility.

For two mason jars of overnight oats:

1 cup oats
2 peaches
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1/2 cup Almond milk (or whatever your preference)
1/2 cup Kefir

Set two sealable jars in front of you.  Peel and dice peaches. Alternate filling with diced peaches and oats, stirring as you go and splitting evenly between the jars.  Add 1 Tbsp chia seeds to each, stir.  Add almond milk, stir.  Drizzle with honey to taste, stir. Add Kefir, stir (stirring is key since the Kefir is a little thick, some of the oats may miss the nice liquid).  You want the liquid to cover the oats, plus a little extra, since the oats will soak up what's there. Seal and place in your fridge overnight, or at least four hours.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Thai Peanut Curry with Salmon and Veggies

Tonight I wanted to order Thai takeout, but couldn't order Thai takeout, so I responsibly made this at home instead and was in fact infinitely more pleased than I would have been with takeout.  I recommend serving this over coconut rice - cook rice as you normally would, but replace half the water with coconut milk (and make sure to stir the coconut milk well before adding).  For this recipe, I'd also stir some chopped fresh cilantro in the rice when it was done cooking. I was inspired by a few recipes, but mostly took a few concepts and ran with them.  This is a single-lady portion, so double/triple/quadruple etc. as needed.

1 salmon fillet (I use frozen, because that's the stage of life we're in here)
Spices to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Lay salmon on tinfoil and rub salmon with paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper, turmeric, curry powder and ginger. Place in tin foil and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap in foil and place in a baking dish.  Bake for 10-12 minutes if unfrozen, roughly 30 if frozen - until it flakes easily with a fork.

Peanut Sauce:
1/4 of a yellow onion
2 garlic cloves
2 T red curry paste
1/2 can coconut milk
2 T honey
1 T sesame oil
2 giant spoonfuls of peanut butter (sorry, I am trying to have exact measurements here, but sometimes it's hard!)
Chopped peanuts (for garnish!
Chopped cilantro (for garnish!)

Dice onion and garlic and sauté for five minute in some olive oil over medium heat. Add red curry paste, cook two minutes longer and mix curry paste well with onion. Add coconut milk, stir well and bring to a light simmer. Stir in honey, sesame oil, and peanut butter, simmer until it thickens into a nice sauce. Keep sauce on low heat until other recipe elements are ready.


I chopped up carrot, bell pepper and cauliflower and sautéed them in another frying pan in some olive oil.  I put in the carrots first to allow them to soften, then the cauliflower, and the bell pepper last. I added some of the spices that I used on the salmon (curry powder, paprika, etc.) and let them char a bit in the pan.

Serve salmon and veggies over rice, top with peanut sauce.  Garnish with cilantro and chopped peanuts.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Guest Post: Bacon and Bell Pepper Quiche

It's high time my long-ago college roommate turned BFF, Tori, was invited to guest post.  Our freshman year of college, we would haul all the kitchen items she had stored in her dorm room down the stairs to our sad dorm kitchen and make elaborate things that the kitchen was not built for, like lemon olive oil muffins. Her kitchen skill and dedication was an important starting point for my own love of cooking. Most importantly, she's a kind soul who on a recent visit to the sisters' childhood home made our loving Mum some of this in mini-quiche form to freeze for breakfast for the coming weeks:

1 ½ cups cold salted butter cut into small pieces
3 cups flour
1 egg
5 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon salt

Onion, thinly sliced
1 ½ bell peppers, chopped
8 slices bacon, fried and chopped
2 tablespoons butter
8 eggs
1 ½ cups milk
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Any crust will work for the quiche. I made an extra crust awhile back and had stuck it in my freezer so I used it for this quiche.

Here’s what I did to make the crust. In a large bowl, combine the cold cubed butter with the flour using a pastry cutter (or forks if you don’t have a pastry cutter) until the mixture is crumbly. Beat an egg in a separate bowl. Add the beaten egg to the flour mixture. Then add the cold water, vinegar, and salt. Stir all ingredients together until combined. Divide the dough in half and put each half in its own gallon sized plastic bag. Slightly flatten each ball of dough until it forms a disk about ½ an inch thick. Seal the bags and place them in the freezer. If you want to use the crust right away, pull it out about 15-20 minutes later. Otherwise pull the frozen crust out and leave it on the counter for about 30 minutes before rolling it out.

Preheat the oven to 400°. To make the filling, melt the butter in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and bell peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5-7 minutes. Remove the sautéed vegetables from the heat and allow them to cool. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, pepper, and a bit of salt. After it is whisked well, add the vegetables, bacon and cheese to combine. In a pie dish, place your crust and then pour in the egg mixture. If you have extra egg mixture, you can spray a muffin tin with cooking spray and then fill the tin with leftover mixture. These will bake faster than the quiche, but will still taste really good. Also you can freeze them after they are cooked. Cover the quiche lightly with aluminum foil, and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for an additional 10 minutes.

making mini quiches for the Mom! These had spinach and tomato, and you can use crust for the mini form as well.
food allergies and considerations: Could easily be made crustless, just be sure to grease the pan really well. Filling additions are easily adjusted, so you could leave out the bacon to make this vegetarian, but otherwise...bacon!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Stuffed Chicken with Pesto, Mozzarella, and Tomatoes

I am about to post a recipe that *gasp* I do not have photos of, but as I've gone nearly a year without posting, I am making an exception for myself (mostly because I am the one who cares the most about our blog having photos with the recipes).  I feel fairly sad about that, because I will note that this chicken turns out quite aesthetically pleasing.

I have a semi-part-time job which involves cooking nice dinners for small groups of people, and it's highly enjoyable, particularly when I get to choose the dish.  I forgot how much I enjoy the challenge of creating a meal that many people enjoy regardless of differing tastes and dietary requirements.  Here's what I made tonight, an easy crowd-pleaser:

Stuffed Chicken with Pesto, Mozzarella, and Tomatoes
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup pesto
1 lb mozzarella cheese
1/2 lb cherry tomatoes
Olive Oil
Bread Crumbs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a baking sheet or glass pan. Dredge outside only of chicken in olive oil, then breadcrumbs. Butterfly the chicken halves by slicing the long, thin side nearly all the way through (but leave enough to keep the pieces together).  Spread pesto evenly across all four pieces.  Slice mozzarella and spread evenly across all four pieces. Slice cherry tomatoes in half, place roughly 4 tomatoes on each open piece of chicken.  Fold chicken closed and securely fasten with toothpicks. (Pull sides of chicken as tightly together as possible, potentially using multiple toothpicks.  The risk is having some melted cheese and pesto drip out, not to worry if you do, just spoon back over the top of the chicken once cooked).  Slice the rest of the cherry tomatoes and place on top of chicken and in the pan.

Bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.  These chicken breasts were quite large, so I cut them in half and found that this comfortably served 8 with sufficient side dishes, or you could make the chicken the focus of the meal with a small salad on the side.

note: I tried to include measurements here for those that prefer them, but you should follow your instincts and use less cheese, if you aren't a cheese fanatic like us sisters, or more tomatoes, if you have an abundance, etc. etc. I would consider stuffing some spinach leaves in there in the future, as well.  Could easily be gluten-free w/out breadcrumbs, or with gluten-free ones, so that's why it is tagged as such.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Kale & Chickpeas, Or, The Only Thing I Want To Eat

This is from Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Every Day cookbook, except she makes it with dandelion greens.  It's tasty that way too, but I love the texture of kale so much that I generally make it this way instead.  (And when I say generally, I mean "probably twice a week.")  It's divine with soup, over rice, over couscous, by itself....

2-3 bunches kale (any type), torn
1 can chickpeas, rinsed
Olive oil
Juice of 1-2 lemons
about 1 TB red pepper flakes
5-6 cloves garlic, chopped

Heat the oil in a skillet.  Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until aromatic.  (Don't let the garlic get crispy or dark.)  Add chickpeas, cook until they start to darken.  Add lemon  juice and salt,   Add kale.  Eat when kale is cooked.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Thanksgiving Leftover Cornish Pasties

If you've never heard of a Cornish Pasty, well, it is high time you educate yourself because apparently there's even more excuses to wrap delicious food in pastry crust and eat it than pot pies and gallettes.  One of my favorite restaurants in Phoenix makes it their mission to do so to almost every food imaginable - chicken tikka masala, carne adovada, cajun chicken, you name it.  They also have one called "The Pilgrim", which is all the Thanksgiving joy you ever need in one convenient pie crust package.  If I ever had to spend a holiday at a restaurant, Cornish Pasty it would be.

I never considered the brilliance of attempting this at home, however, until one year in college when I was kindly invited over to my dear friend's family's home (where I gratefully spent many a college holiday) for Thanksgiving, and learned that they make pasties out of their leftovers each  year.  I ask you, did you ever believe that there was a way to make Thanksgiving leftovers, arguably one of the top 10 food genres on the planet, EVEN BETTER? Well, this surpasses it all, and is shockingly not going to require you spend too much more time in the kitchen the day after you've just churned out a feast that made you want to order takeout for three weeks after the leftovers run out.

Preheat oven to 375
2 single pie crusts (or one double), unbaked
Thanksgiving leftovers!
1 egg for egg wash

All need to do is make a few extra pie crusts when you are making your pies.  Last year, for six of us, my friends and I made two extra (single) pie crusts in preparation while we were in the Thanksgiving cooking craze, then threw them in the fridge.  On Friday, we rolled them out (keep it a little on the thicker side) and cut them into 6 equal circles (we traced the circles with a plate, whatever seems to work).  We then invited each guest into the kitchen to fill half of their circle of dough with whatever leftovers their heart desired.  A winning combination is definitely sweet potatoes and/or mashed potatoes, stuffing, and turkey. Be sure to leave space need the edge to seal the dough. Add a little gravy to keep it moist but be careful not to overdo the liquid- save the cranberry sauce and most of your gravy for dipping.  Fold the empty half of each circle of dough over the filling, creating a semi-circle pressing down on the edges with a fork to seal.  Be sure to mark each person's pasty - traditionally, Cornish pasties were marked with the individual initials of each family member to distinguish them.  Brush with an egg wash and place in the oven.  Check at 20 minutes, but they'll likely need longer.  Bake until crust begins to brown.  Enjoy with caution, as it may cause you to declare the leftovers BETTER than  your meal the day before.

Party Menu

Just add people!  :)

Clockwise, we have:

1.  Endives with goat cheese.
2.  In the blue bowl, fava puree with cherries and parsley.  Cucumbers on the side for dipping.
3.  A salad with grapefruit, avocado, endives, spring greens, marcona almonds, and a mustardy-lemony-mapley dressing.
4.  These tomato puffed pastries - they were the only thing I probably wouldn't make again.  Or, would make in the summer with better tomatoes or use some slow-roasted tomatoes.
5.  These no-bake cookies.  (FYI, I made them with vegan butter substitute for some vegan guests.  Worked just fine.)
6. Smitten Kitchen's orange olive oil cake, cut into cubes with whipped cream for dipping.
7. Newfangled cheese ball.
8.  Just above that, apricot butter with bread.
9.  Ottolhengi's gorgeous beet dip with chili and yogurt.  I wish I had seen his suggestion to thicken with mashed potatoes, but tasted amazing.
10.  The cumin chickpea puree from this recipe.

Not pictured, we also had:

11.  Grape, rosemary and ricotta toasts.
12.  Stuffed dates.
13.  Lemon cookies.
14.  Chipotle-orange pecans.
15.  And last but not least, probably my favorite:  Candied chocolate-dipped oranges.

Plus, some guests brought extremely tasty sriracha-roasted cauliflower with sesame dip.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Chocolate-Covered Candied Oranges

When I was a kid, one of my favorite parts of Christmas (and Annalise's too, as I recall) was getting one of those foil-covered chocolate "oranges" that divide into neat little segments in my stocking.  This is like that, all grown up.  Super easy, although the oranges need to dry for at least 6 hours, so plan ahead.

2 oranges
about .6 lb dark chocolate
Sea salt
1 cup sugar 
2 cups water

A bain-marie or some way of suspending a bowl over boiling water.  

1.  Slice your oranges into thin rounds.  They DON'T need to be paper thin; my thicker slices did a better job being dipped in chocolate.

2.  Get the sugar and water boiling.  When they come to a boil, add the orange slices, then reduce the heat as low as possible; cover pot with a towel or sheet of parchment paper; and leave for an hour and a half.  

3.  Remove the oranges from a slotted spoon and let them dry on parchment paper overnight or for at least 6 hours (I did overnight).  They will still be a bit tacky and won't be completely hard, but they should be solid enough to withstand dipping in chocolate. 

4.  Cut the orange rounds in half.  Melt the chocolate in the bain-marie or bowl-atop-saucepan.  Dip each slice in the chocolate, then sprinkle with sea salt.  Place on waxed paper and allow chocolate to harden.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Apricot Butter

Boozy, salty, sweet, fruity butter.

1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/4 cup cognac or other brandy
2 TB brown sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

Equipment:  Long match or stick lighter.

Soak apricots in cognac in a small saucepan for 10 minutes.  Then turn on heat and bring to a boil.

Once boiling, ignite! Whee! The alcohol will shoot some tall blue flames into the air and will burn for a good little while.

Once the flames die off, turn heat to medium, add brown sugar, and stir until sugar is dissolved.

Take off heat, scrape into a food processor, and allow to cool.  Add the butter and process.  Salt the mixture to taste and eat on bread.

Look how fun!!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Warm Potato Salad with Arugula

This recipe is my favorite thing to make with new potatoes, but every time I go to look it up online, I have trouble finding it, and panic.  So, time to post, with full credit to "The Right Recipe," since I only made one change.

Group One:
3 lbs (I would estimate this is about 6-8 cups) of small new potatoes - I've used red, white, and purple, all to good effect
8 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1/4 cup olive oil

Group Two:
2 tsp whole grain mustard
1 TB balsamic
1/3 cup olive oil or lemon olive oil

Group Three:
Baby arugula - recipe says two handfuls, but I use an entire 5oz prewashed package
Good parmesan, finely grated so it will melt into the potatoes (or goat cheese as in the original)
Salt & pepper

As the recipe says, the key to the whole thing is to roast the potatoes very slowly so they will become incredibly soft, not crispy.  For this reason, get the smallest potatoes you can, or chop them into halves or quarters.

Toss the Group One ingredients together and spread on a baking sheet.  Bake at 250 for up to an hour until they are light brown and completely soft. You really don't want them to be "al dente" at all, so leave time to bake them for as long as need be.

Whisk the Group Two ingredients together to make the vinaigrette.  As soon as the potatoes come out of the oven, squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins into a serving bowl and spread the garlic around with a fork.  Throw in the hot potatoes and then the vinaigrette.  Make sure to do this while the potatoes are hot so they will absorb the vinaigrette.

Before they get too cool, add the parmesan and toss so it will melt.  Once they have cooled to "warm," add the arugula, which should wilt just a little and be well-dressed.  (I find this recipe makes plenty of vinaigrette, but if there isn't enough for the arugula to be dressed, make more.)  Season and serve warm.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Baked Delicata

This is not a complete recipe but it IS one of my favorite fall-squash-related things.  Whenever I get my hands on a delicata squash, I tell myself to try something new with it, but I never can.

Slice up one or two delicata squash.  LEAVE THE SEEDS IN and the skins on, and discard the ends.  Slices should be no more than 1/2 inch thick.

Toss the slices in a bowl with enough olive oil to generously coat them, plus salt.  Lay them out on a baking sheet and drizzle with just a liiiiittle bit of honey, then flip them over so the honey side is down.

Bake at 350 until the bottoms are a deep, caramelized brown and the edges are wrinkling and caving in - about a half hour.  The seeds will get a little crispy and the squash itself will be completely soft, as will the skins.

Eat them hot as a side dish, hot or cold as a snack, or chopped up as a salad ingredient.  

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Baked Apples

Last night a few friends and I had a nice evening hanging out at home, for which I attempted to make butterbeer (be honest, sometimes you wish butterbeer was real more than magic when reading Harry Potter).  The butterbeer, unfortunately, was a giant fail.  Perhaps some things in life are better as fiction.  My friends were so sweet and pretended to like it, but I felt an urgent need to redeem myself with a dessert to more accurately portray my skills in the kitchen.

Immediately when thinking of fall treats, a memory popped to mind of our mum pulling a tray of baked apples out of the oven when I was a kid.  She used to sometimes throw them together as a spontaneous sweet treat - easy to make, and not terribly bad for you, as desserts go.  I texted her for the recipe, and in less than an hour we had perfect bowls of warm, sweetly spiced apples, the puddles of their juices melting into scoops of vanilla ice cream.  For me, it was a lovely serving of nostalgia and also kitchen redemption ( ;) ).  I immediately felt like I was sitting at our kitchen table with a cozy snack before bed.  I hope that they can bring you the same sentimentality, or help you to create new autumn memories.

4 apples
1//4 cup of brown sugar
1/4 cup nuts (pecans or walnuts, most likely)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons butter
Drizzle of maple syrup
Vanilla Ice Cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Carve out center of apples with a paring knife and spoon, removing all seeds and leaving bottom somewhat thick (about a 1/2 inch).  In a small bowl, mis brown sugar, nuts and spices.  Feel free to play with different spices (allspice, pumpkin pie spice), or to add some dates or currants to the mix.  Pack the mixture into the apple cores.  Put a small pat of butter on top of each, roughly 1/2 tablespoon.  Drizzle a little maple syrup on top if you like.  Bake for 30-45 minutes, until soft.  Pour the juices from apples from pan on top before serving, warm from the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.