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.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Kaycee's Organic Raspberry Princess Muffins

Meet our youngest sister!  Kaycee, age 7, loves singing, dancing, science, and animals (and being an Alaska girl, that means not only cats and dogs, but also eagles, whales, porcupines and arctic foxes).  This is her first recipe on the sororial cooking blog, but it surely won't be the last. 

Adapted from The Disney Princess Cookbook

Kaycee's Adaptations:

Substitute raspberries for blueberries
Substitute organic gluten free flour
Substitute organic brown sugar and butter

Eat with your Dad on a chilly Sunday!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Sweet Potato, Apple and Onion Galette

Grad school homework procrastination means I am back to both cooking and blogging in a big way.  Please no judgement, writing about wrapping fall's best foods in pie crust and calling it dinner is infinitely more enjoyable than working on my first midterm paper.  I made this (a slight variation on this) on a lovely fall evening in Boston, served with a bowl of tomato soup (and a pumpkin beer) it was exactly the sort of indulgence that helps you appropriately enjoy a season.

Serves 4 as an appetizer, 2 as part of a main course

1 single refrigerated pie crust (If I had had premade pie crust on hand, I would have been tempted to speed the dinner process along by using it.  However, that's why I don't keep storebought pie crust on hand- it really is so much better when you make it yourself, even when you mess it up slightly and it's hard to roll out or too sticky) (Requested edit: I like smitten kitchen's and Joy the Baker's pie crusts, if you are in need of a trusty recipe)
1 small sweet potato, or half a large one (peeled, cut in half lengthwise and sliced)
1 apple, cored and sliced
1 quarter of an onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup sharp white cheddar, cubed
1 tsp sage
1 tsp rosemary
2 T butter, cubed

Preheat oven to 375.

Roll out pie crust on a flat surface, transfer to a baking pan (do this before filling the crust, don't make the same mistake I did).  Dab crust with a few cubes of butter and cubes of cheddar, gently shake some of the spices over.  Artfully layer the sweet potato, apple and onion slices, starting with a circle in the middle and tucking butter and cheddar cubes throughout.  Be sure to leave 3/4 - 1 inch around the edge for the crust.  When finished, top with any leftover butter and cheddar, and the rest of the spices.  Use your discretion on the amounts of apple, sweet potato and onion - you want the same amount of apple and sweet potato, less onion, and for your crust not to be overloaded.  Fold the edge of the crust over the edges.  Because this is a galette, it's supposed to be a little imperfect compared to its fussy cousin, pie.  Bake for 40 minutes, rotating halfway through.

Serve with a bowl of soup or a hearty salad, or as the sort of appetizer that makes the main course feel embarrassed to follow.  I would imagine that if you caramelized the onions, this would be even better, but didn't get to that point last night - let me know if you do.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Chris's Foolproof Cold-Brew Coffee

My spouse has spent I-don't-know-how-many hours tinkering with his cold-brew, which is now my favorite coffee anywhere.  He finally typed it up for us:  

There are two great things about making cold-brew coffee. First, this method results in a very low-acid brew. The coffee is sweet and chocolatey, and great for mornings or before a long run. Second, once you make a pitcher of this, you've got coffee in an instant for at least a week. 

The key here is the nut-milk bag. I've tried this just pouring the coffee through a filter or cheese cloth, and it takes forever and creates a big mess. With the bag, this is no harder than making a pot of tea.


2 cups dark-roast coffee, medium grind
4 cups cold water
1 large bowl
1 large pitcher
(Optional) large coffee filter or cheesecloth + mesh strainer

This is a coffee-inefficient brew method, but fortunately you can use an inexpensive preground coffee. I usually use a store brand french roast.Eight O' Clock works great, too. There's no reason you can't grind your own, but I don't think it is really worth the effort here.

Here goes nothing:

1. Put the coffee in the nut milk bag, and the nut milk bag and the water in the bowl.

2. (Optional) Put something heavy on the nut-milk bag to keep it below the surface.

3. Put the coffee (in the nut milk bag in the water in the bowl) in the refrigerator for 12-18 hours, You can stir it up once or twice if you remember.  Set a phone alarm so you don't let it sit too long.

4. Remove the nut milk bag from the bowl, giving it a good two-handed squeeze to get the last of the good stuff out.

5. Ladle or pour the coffee concentrate from the bowl to the pitcher.  A bowl with a spout makes this easier.

6. (Highly optional) If you want to be really persnickety about this (like me), put a large coffee filter or cheese cloth in a strainer and pour the coffee through that into the pitcher to remove any fine sediment that got through the nut milk bag.  

Now you've got a coffee concentrate that will last for a week in the fridge, probably two if you get a hermetic pitcher.

The recipe can be scaled as long as you maintain the water-to-coffee ratio.

Again, it's a concentrate, so when ready to enjoy, pour over ice and add an equal amount water. (Or, if your name is "Sarah," about 2 parts water to one part concentrate,) Milk and simple syrup are optional but delicious. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Light & Fragrant Gluten Free Zucchini Bread

Light & Fragrant Gluten Free Zucchini Bread
Slightly adapted to be gluten-free from Elise's zucchini bread, at Simply Recipes

1 cup gluten free all-purpose flour (I recommend Pamela's All Purpose Artisan Flour Blend or Cup 4 Cup Original Flour Blend)
1/2 cup slightly heartier gluten free flour - a biscuit mix would work fine here, as would almond meal or gluten free oat flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 heaping teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 heaping teaspoon nutmeg
1 egg, beaten
1/2 heaping cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1.5 to 2 cups grated zucchini, drained
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Grate your zucchini and press into a colander to drain. I use a nice zester to get a really fine grate. Pat dry with paper towels and set aside. 

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. In another bowl, beat your egg, then pour in melted butter and vanilla. Fold in the sugar and grated zucchini, then slowly stir together with your flour mixture.

Butter the bottom and sides of a regular loaf pan and pour in batter. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until golden brown on top and fully set. 

Food Allergies and Ethics
Vegetarian and gluten-free. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Summer Carbonara

One great thing about getting a CSA is that in order to use everything up, you kind of have to trust that anything harvested in the same week will probably taste good together.  And it does.  (This dish was so much better than I expected - I think it was the mint!)


Whole wheat pasta 
1 egg per dinner eater
1/2 log of goat cheese
Lemon olive oil 

Get the pasta boiling and get the eggs to poaching.   In a large frying pan over medium heat, heat the lemon olive oil (or plain, and add 1 TB lemon juice to the pasta at the end).  Add peas, corn, finely chopped chard stems, cook these for a few minutes, then add roughly chopped chard leaves.   Cook just until the chard is wilted and salt to taste. 

When the pasta is ready, drain, but add a bit of cooking water to help melt the goat cheese.  Return the pasta to the pot and stir in the goat cheese, with a bit more hot water (or lemon juice) if needed.  Then add the veggie mixture. Finally, snip about 1-2 TB of chives and finely chop 1-2 TB of mint leaves, and add those.  Toss together, taste for salt again (I think it is important in this one), and serve with a poached egg on each bowl.  

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Cherry-Mint Salad

Red leaf lettuce, arugula, thinly sliced radishes, halved cherries, finely chopped mint, vinaigrette of lemon olive oil and white balsamic vinegar with a little salt.  

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Thinly Shaved Broccoli Salad with Feta & Burst Tomatoes

This has become a staple at the O'Parady house lately, mostly because it's delicious and holds up well for lunches. Top with a fried egg for lunch or serve with stuffed portabellas or a nice piece of salmon or steak for dinner.

Thinly Shaved Broccoli Salad with Feta & Burst Tomatoes

2-3 heads broccoli
Grape or cherry tomatoes
Nice block of feta
Olive oil
Plain whole-milk or greek yogurt
Sea Salt

Slice your tomatoes in half and saute over medium heat with a bit of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, and generous salt and pepper. I like to have a 2:1 broccoli:tomato ratio, but you can adjust accordingly. Normally I use somewhere between 1/2 and 1 container of tomatoes.

While those heat to bursting, wash and thinly slice your broccoli. I cut off the rough ends of the stem but leave as much of it as possible, then work almost in a shaving motion from stem to floret. Shave it as thinly as possible: you end up with almost one-dimensional little broccoli tree figures.

Chop up your feta into small crumbly cubes. Try to use a nice feta and be generous here. Toss with broccoli and tomatoes.

Now, time for dressing. In a bowl, whisk a big scoop of yogurt with a generous drizzle of olive oil, several squeezes of lemon juice, and possibly a touch of water to thin. Add salt and pepper to taste. You want this to be really tangy and a touch salty. Use enough to generously dress the salad, that's key.

Fold your dressing into the bowl with the broccoli, tomatoes, and feta, and enjoy.

Food allergies and ethics
Vegetarian and gluten free, with no fuss at all.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Coconut Curry

Guys, I'm proud of this one, because I just threw it together without even glancing at a recipe, and it tastes crazy good.

Here's what I used:

Group One:
1 onion
2-3 jalapenos depending on your spice preference
4 large garlic cloves
3 inch piece of ginger, freshly grated (about 1 TB)

Group Two:
Water from one coconut (I bought a fresh one at an Asian market and I think it made all the difference - use a screwdriver to make a hole through the eye and drain the water)
1 TB soy sauce
2 TB lime juice
Salt (taste and adjust)

Group Three:
One sweet potato, diced
One bell pepper, diced
Cubed fried tofu (also from Asian market)
Fresh cherry tomatoes
Basil leaves to garnish

I just softened the Group One ingredients on the stovetop in some oil, pureed them in the blender with the Group Two ingredients, and used the sauce to cook the Group Three ingredients until sweet potatoes were soft (adding tofu and tomatoes later in the cooking time).  You might need to add a little water during cooking.

Group Three could really include whatever.  But the sauce was killer!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Corn & Purple Rice Dinner Salad

I have no idea what to call this, but it's soooo good:

The ingredients are just a good nutty rice (in this case, long grain purple rice, which is a thing! - one rice-cooker cup), the corn from 3 cobs (quickly boiled), and healthy doses of grated Gruyere, fresh chopped parsley, chopped dried cherries, olive oil, salt, and lemon juice or white balsamic vinegar - mixed together and served warm.  

Friday, March 27, 2015

Sriracha Fried Avocado Tacos

Siracha Fried Avocado Tacos
Corn Tortillas

Heat large skillet with a generous dab of butter and two large handfuls spinach. Salt spinach and saute until wilted, then push to side or remove. Add a bit more butter and a spoonful of siracha to pan, then add tortillas and begin to fry. Flip, adding more chili oil or hot sauce as desired. As the second sides fry, top each tortilla with spinach and 1/4 of an avocado. Press in half, do a final few seconds of frying on each side, and enjoy hot out of the pan.

To scale up - use an electric griddle and as many corn tortillas as you want!

Food Allergies and Ethics
Vegetarian, vegan if you skip the butter. Gluten-free but source your sriracha. Huy Fong says theirs are gluten-free, though in a slightly elusive way. You could also buy this fancy certified kind or make your own.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Buttermilk Pudding

Straight from Mom, to our inboxes, to you:

I bought buttermilk to make muffins last weekend which i totally screwed up & tossed :(   I used this recipe to use some of the buttermilk left over but I did not make it chocolate because I wanted something to go with blackberries (on sale!). I zested a lemon into the hot mixture & the juice of said lemon because mixture was already tart from the buttermilk. I had intended to make vanilla pudding but lemon seemed ideal with the tart flavor. I did add a tsp or so of vanilla at the end. YUM

Monday, March 16, 2015

Roasted Cabbage with (Faux) Lemon Aioli

Roasted Cabbage with (Faux) Lemon Aioli

Pre-heat your oven to 400°F. Slice the stem off one head cabbage. Wash well. Slice into rounds, about one or two inches thick. Rinse again for good measure. Place in glass baking dish, drizzle with olive oil, and season generously with salt and pepper. Let roast for 40-45 minutes, until it is beginning to crisp.

In the meantime, mix a bit of olive oil and lemon juice with 2 tablespoons mayo and 1.5 tablespoons mustard. Mix well, and adjust to taste. I like to think with just a small splash of water.

To serve drizzle your faux-aioli over the cabbage rounds. Delightful as a warm first course salad, as a side to go with steak or pork chops, or integrated into any St. Patrick's day supper!

Food Allergies and Ethics
About as veggie as they come. Vegan only if you skip the faux aioli or use a vegan mayo substitute. Gluten free, just check your condiments as always.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Late Winter Meals: Eating Lately (Refried Beans with Veggie Hash and Eggs, Sausage Soup, and Polenta Bowls)

It's been a long winter here in Boston. This week we have a reprieve, but since the God of Prediction Nate Silver says we're probably gonna get more snow, well, I thought I'd better post our late winter staple meals. I'm starting to move onto lighter fare, but I'm sure that these three will make at least one more appearance each before it's really spring.

Sausage Soup
I've made soooo many variations of sausage soup this year. I took photos of none. But! Look! Someone else already did a better job than I ever could on the food photography and recipe development front! Lucky for you, Deb Perelman's version is delicious and hearty, with sausage, lentils, chard, and garlic. I subbed the carrots and celery for potatoes and red peppers and think it was the favorite attempt of the season.

Refried Beans with Veggie Hash and Eggs
A pretty standard improvised weeknight meal for us. I just pick my favorite veggies -- usually red peppers, potatoes, jalapenos, garlic, shallots, and kale -- chop 'em up and saute them in olive oil, with tons of salt and pepper.

Right before they're finished I clear two little spaces in the pan for my eggs, crack 'em and fry in a bit of butter while the veggies finish cooking. Serve it up with hot refried beans and either rice or warm corn tortillas. Sharp cheddar and avocado are always welcome additions, and spooning on some of this hot chili garlic sauce is a must.

Polenta Bowls
A long time ago, Annalise tried to sell me on Joy the Baker's Baked Polenta with Tomato and Basil. Ever the know-it-all, I assured her I wouldn't like it. Then I moved to Boston now I make my own version of it at least weekly. My apologies for the condescension, sweet sister. Clearly, you know what's up and what's good.

We skip the baking, preferring bowls of soft, cheesy stovetop-polenta made as per the instructions of the package, plus a little extra Parmesan and butter. I like to make a simple marinara from tomato paste for our bowls. So easy, so good, so damn cheap. Just dice some garlic and onions, cook in olive oil, add a 6 oz. can of tomato paste, Italian spices, 1 and 1/2 cups water, and a pinch of sugar. Then simmer. I sometimes throw in white beans, mushrooms, peppers, or whatever else for substance and nutrients.

Want to make a quick meal, and have no time for marinara? Just throw some grape tomatoes in when you add the polenta to the boiling water. They'll burst, and you can just serve it all up with some pesto. Or add a pat of butter and wilted greens.

Food Allergies and Ethics
All gluten free. Sausage soup - not vegetarian. But you got that, right? None of this is vegan. Sorry about that, but the theme of this winter was "it snowed and I ate cheese."

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Heidi Swanson's Millet Muffins

This recipe is from Super Natural Every Day.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these muffins and promised my Mom I'd share the recipe with her.  Putting millet in a baked good it gives this wonderful little bit of crunch.  These are not oversweet, but also not bland in the slightest.  They are perfect with butter and tea for breakfast or in the afternoon.  Bake them!

2 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup raw millet
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1 cup plain yogurt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup coney
1/2 cup unsalted butter, barely melted
Grated zest and juice (2 TB) of one lemon

Preheat oven to 400.  Mix together dry ingredients in one bowl and wet in another.  Add wet to dry and combine.

Divide batter into a greased standard 12-muffin tin and bake for 15 minutes.

Kale in Harissa-Yogurt Broth

I have a nasty, annoying cold/cough thing, and all I want to eat are spicy brothy soups.  I don't want to cough all over everyone at my local Thai place, so I made this instead.  Virtually no effort and it was exactly what my sinuses and I needed.

4 cups broth (nothing too strong - I used bone broth that I make every few months and keep frozen, my one weird unvegetarian dietary tendency)
2 TB harissa paste or spice mix (or as much as you can stand)
1/2 TB fresh ginger paste (or more if you like)
1 bunch kale, destemmed (or whatever leafy greens)
1/2 cup to 1 cup plain yogurt

Heat the broth, stir in the spices, adjust the flavor, cook the kale in the broth. Stir in the yogurt when you serve.  

Monday, January 19, 2015

Cleansing Citrus Toddy

The dark day blues seems to skulk around this time of year. Everyone's looking for light. Sun tops the list. But don't despair: here's a bright and tart toddy you can dredge up on even the darkest of nights.  

Cleansing Citrus Toddy

Juice of 1/2 grapefruit
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon honey
1 shot Irish whiskey 
Hot water to taste

Fill the bottom of a small tea mug with honey, juice, whiskey. Pour hot water into the mug while stirring. Enjoy.

Or, if you're still savoring the spiced and cozy, consider our moonshine toddy, apple toddy, or bourbon toddy.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Za'atar Roasted Bone-In Chicken Thighs

This is by far the best chicken dish I have ever made and possibly the best chicken I've ever eaten. Bold claims, I know. The key here is to make a marinade that's full of flavor, then to roast at a high heat so the thighs get a crispy exterior but the meat is falling off the bone on the inside.

If you don't have za'atar, you can make your own following these instructions, or substitute a blend of thyme and oregano. The original recipe, from Deborah Krasner's unparalleled Good Meat, calls for fresh cardamom pods and wild greek oregano.

Za'atar Roasted Chicken Thighs
adapted from Good Meat, by Deborah Krasner

2-4 lbs bone-in chicken thighs (we found 3.5 pounds serves about 7 people)
1 whole lemon, zested
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
5 cloves garlic, diced
4 tablespoons za'atar
1 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon coriander
2 teaspoons whole black pepper pods
1 tablespoon sea salt

In a mortar and pestle, begin crushing pepper pods, diced garlic, and salt with a touch of olive oil. As pepper begins to break down, add sesame seeds and za'atar. Continue crushing. Add the juice of the lemon as well as its zest, cardamom, coriander, and, slowly, all of the olive oil. Crush until a mostly uniform paste is formed.

Brush each side of each chicken thigh with the paste and let marinate overnight, or for four hours at a minimum. It's easiest to let it marinate flesh side up directly in the baking dish you plan to cook the thighs in.

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake chicken on a rack placed on the very top rung of your oven for 45 minutes total -- again, flesh side up in a shallow glass or ceramic baking dish. Halfway through, flip the meat so the skin side is up and can get crispy during the final baking time.

We served this with mushroom risotto and kale salad for a lovely Sunday dinner. Would be great with plain rice and a bit of yogurt and spinach, with mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, many possibilities for something so easy and satisfying.

Food Allergies and Ethics
Gluten-free, just check your spice blends. Obviously, not vegetarian or vegan. We have been enjoying buying meat from Whole Foods and cuing from their five-step animal welfare rating system. Bone-in chicken thighs are a relatively affordable cut of meat and cost less than white chicken meat, which makes it easier to handle the prices that come with Whole Foods. Local butchers and local meat are a better way to go, as well, if you have access.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Guest Post: Coconut Granola

When my mom placed a big tin of this lovely mixture under my nose today, I swooned and ate half of it right up.  Slightly sweet, satisfylingly crispy, perfect for a hike / workday morning / movie snack, and allegedly very easy to make (plus, Mom points out, it "makes a boatload"):

Dry ingredients:

3 cups rolled oats (use gluten free if needed)
1.5 cups pecans and/or almonds
1 cup coconut flakes
.25 cup sesame seeds

Wet ingredients:
1 cup coconut oil (melted in microwave)
.5 cup maple syrup
.5 tsp ea vanilla and almond extract
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
.5 tsp nutmeg

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Mix wet ingredients in a separate bowl, add to dry, and toss together.  Spread on a baking sheet and bake at 300 for 30 minutes.