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 spend 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 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 frozen 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 frozen 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.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Simple Garlic Soup

I came home from a long holiday trip to Alaska with a terrible cold and little in the fridge. Faced with potatoes, garlic, and chicken and peppers that I knew were reserved for a dinner P wanted to make, I decided to try my hand at a simple garlic soup. The result was gorgeous: savory, warm, and perfect for a winter cold.

Simple Garlic Soup
adapted from recipes by The Splendid Table, Brooklyn Supper, and Serious Eats

3 heads garlic
3-4 medium yellow potatoes
1/4 yellow onion
1 box beef broth (if available: any kind of stock, or even water and wine, will do)
Olive Oil
Black Pepper
Heavy Cream (optional)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Chop the tops off of 2 heads of garlic and drizzle with olive oil. Roast in oven for 20 minutes or until fully soft. Remove from heat and let cool.

While your garlic is roasting, peel and smash the cloves from the remaining garlic head. Rinse and dice your potatoes, and dice your small piece of onion. Cover the bottom of a soup pot with a generous layer of olive oil and add garlic, potatoes, onion, pepper, salt, and thyme. Heat to medium-low and let saute slowly with the lid on. Check every five minutes to make sure nothing is getting too brown. After 15 minutes or so, add the beef broth and let simmer.

Once your roasted garlic heads are cool, remove the skin and add to your pot. After simmering for a bit longer, add a bit of water to thin things out (unless you weren't using stock to begin with), then use an immersion blender until smooth. Drizzle in heavy cream or milk if you have it on hand, stir and enjoy.

Serves two.

Food allergies and ethics
Gluten-free so long as you use gluten-free broth, I prefer Pacific Brand. To make vegetarian, substitute beef broth for a flavorful veggie stock. Vegan if you use veggie stock and skip the heavy cream.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Brown Butter Rosemary Cornbread Stuffing

You know the beloved children's story, "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie"?  There could be a follow-up titled "If You Give A Parady A Side-Dish".   We admittedly go overboard at times, which is well-documented on this bloggy.  I spent this Thanksgiving with some dear friends who happen to be the rare sort of people who approach food like my family does, and while we definitively went overboard, the meal was fantastic.  On my list of dishes to contribute was stuffing, and so it began.

Stuffing, the usually humble, down-to-earth dish who is content to never be the star of the Thanksgiving show became a fancy-pants, bougie-fied (not a word, don't care) food in my hands and I have no regrets.  There was a brief moment in time between the cooking and eating of said stuffing where I feared I had gone too far, but one bite and a friend's declaration that it was the best stuffing he'd ever had and all doubts were laid to rest.

So now that you know this dish is over the top, I can tell you that I made my own cornbread to then make into stuffing.  I can admit that I browned butter not once, but twice.  And I can reassure you again that it is so worth it.  Please indulge me and add this to your Christmas meal, or next Thanksgiving, or any other reason you have to feast, because really, who says stuffing is just for Thanksgiving? Not I, and not this stuffing.

cornbread recipe barely adapted from Joy The Baker

1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup coarse ground cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8×8 square baking pan, line with parchment paper.

Brown the butter in a small saucepan. Heat slowly over medium-low heat until it begins to crackle and brown. Remove from heat, whisk together with eggs, buttermilk, and orange juice.

In a large bowl, blend orange zest and rosemary into sugar, pressing the zest and spice into the sugar to release the flavor. Add the rest of the dry ingredients to the large bowl with the flavored sugar, whisk to combine. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stir to combine. Pour batter into pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

6 tablespoons butter
9 cups cubed cornbread, stale or toasted dry
1 onion, diced
2 eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons rosemary
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3.4 cup chicken stock.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Brown butter in a small saucepan until it begins to crackle and smell nutty. Remove from heat and transfer to a measuring cup or small bowl.

Mix together cornbread, diced onion, eggs, rosemary, salt, pepper, 3 tablespoons of butter and 1/2 cup of chicken stock in a large bowl. Transfer to a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish. Drizzle the remaining butter and chicken stock over the top. Bake 30-45 minutes, until crisp and brown on top.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Guest Post: Sweet Potato Biscotti

Our Mom called last week to brag about eating these awesome, tender biscotti, so of course, we commissioned a guest post from her fabulous colleague Tammy, a librarian, blogger, and maker of tasty treats.

Merry Christmas and Happy Eatings, Everyone!  I am honored that these sisters have graciously agreed to allow me the opportunity to share with you a recipe I just recently tried.

Knowing this family is very good about eating healthy, I was a little concerned as to how my horribly UN-healthy fare filled with full-fat, refined sugar, gluten and plenty of “vitamin C” (cholesterol) would be received.  But my fears were alleviated when I scrolled through these culinary delights and occasionally found my old friends, “cheese, butter, and heavy cream.”  And even the party twins, “BOOZE & PIE”!

So here goes…enjoy!


For The Biscotti:

3 C all-purpose flour
2 t baking powder
½ t salt
1 t cinnamon
¼ t nutmeg
½ c butter
½ c sugar
½ c brown sugar
3 whole eggs
½ c sweet potato puree
½ c chopped candied pecans

For The Icing (optional):

1 bag white chocolate chips
1 T shortening

Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Mix together all dry ingredients and set aside.  In a separate bowl, cream butter & sugars together, then add eggs and puree.  Next, add the dry ingredients into the wet.  Fold in pecans.

Place dough onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone mat.  Shape into a 15”x16” log and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and place log on a cooling rack.  Let cool for 30 minutes or more.  Slice into ¾” to 1” slices* and return the slices to lined cookie sheet, bake for 8-10 minutes.  Flip slices over and bake on other side for 8-10 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool on cooling racks.

These are good without the icing, but for extra scrumptiousness, melt chips and shortening in microwave in 30 second increments until melted.  Dip one side of biscotti slices in white chocolate and let dry on cooling racks until firm.

*Slices may then be sliced in half lengthwise for a more authentic biscotti size.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Tom Kha, no Gai

This is a quick and easy way to get some bone-warming Thai flavors onto your table. I took lots of weeknight-friendly shortcuts, and the soup was still utterly satisfying,


Veggie bullion (or chicken broth)
3 TB lemongrass in a tube (or 4 stalks lemongrass, chopped into 4-inch lengths and smashed with the back of a knife)
3 TB ginger in a tube (or a big, hand-sized hunk of ginger, peeled, chopped and smashed with back of knife)
4-5 Thai chilis, stems chopped off (or Sriracha to taste)
Juice of 1 - 2 limes
Chopped kale - or, if you prefer, the more traditional add-ins of chicken and/or mushrooms
1 can coconut milk
2 TB fish sauce (vegetarian fish sauce can be found at Vietnamese markets)

To top:  Fresh cilantro leaves, and I highly recommend fried garlic from an Asian market (or homemade, but it's easily purchased), which packs a great flavor punch on all kinds of soups, from tomato to pho.

Equipment:  A fine mesh strainer.

1.  Mix 8 cups of water with half the amount of bullion called for so it's not overpowering.  Add lime juice, chilis or sriracha, ginger, and lemongrass, and boil for 10 minutes, tasting and adjusting along the way to see if you need more of anything to make the broth pop.  Then, strain to remove the ginger and lemongrass pulp.

2.  Return to a boil and add whatever ingredients you want.  I made it simple with just kale.  Boil until these are cooked.

3.  Add about 1/2 to 3/4 of your can of coconut milk, to taste, plus fish sauce. Again, taste and adjust before serving.  Some recipes recommend a bit of sugar this point; I left it out, but follow your tastebuds.

4.  Ladle into bowls and serve with a small bowl of rice and a small well-baked sweet potato on the side.  Top with fresh cilantro and fried garlic.  

Monday, December 8, 2014

Early Winter Breakfasts: Spiced Butternut Muffins with Bittersweet Chocolate

At some point during the Thanksgiving grocery shopping bonanza, I sent my husband out for a butternut squash. He returned with the largest gourd known to man, which, he informed me very grouchily, cost $9. A $9 squash?! Adding insult to injury (no, really, I tore my rotator cuff during the Thanksgiving festivities and am sure lifting this sucker didn't help) I ran out of time to make butternut soup on Thanksgiving day.

We're determined that $9 is not going to go to waste, so we've since had squash in our chicken soup, squash cooked into quinoa polenta arepas, and now squash in these perfect. not-too-sweet breakfast muffins. 

This recipe seems a bit fussy, but it's only because I was using up other leftover holiday ingredients, like buttermilk and heavy cream. You don't need to follow my lead here, and could definitely substitute plain old milk. And if you're not gluten free? You can sub the brown rice flour for whole wheat and use a regular all-purpose flour. The almond meal would still be a nice touch, or just increase the amount of one of the other flours by 1/2 cup. 

Adapted slightly from this lovely recipe:

Spiced Butternut Muffins with Bittersweet Chocolate
Adapted a little from this lovely recipe at Making Thyme for Health

1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
1/2 cup gluten free all purpose flour (I use this mix)
1/2 cup almond meal
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 cup roasted and mashed butternut squash** 
2 eggs
2/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate

In a large bowl, sift together your dry ingredients. Set aside and preheat your oven to 350°F. Fill a 12-muffin pan with liners.

In a separate bowl, mix together all of your wet ingredients, including the squash. I did this by hand with no problem, and my squash was pretty dry. 

Slowly fold the contents of your wet bowl into the dry mix. Don't overdo it. Fold in the bittersweet chocolate last. 

Pour into muffin tins and bake at 350°F for 25 minutes. 

**You can either pre-roast your squash or puncture its skin and then microwave the heck out of it. You might get some more depth if you roast it, but for muffins I found the microwave a very acceptable cooking method.

Food Allergies and Ethics
Gluten-free, vegetarian

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Chopped Kale Turkey Salad with Pecans, Apples, and Curry Spiced Yogurt Dressing

A perfect Sunday lunch, especially after a Thanksgiving weekend with an abundance of rich food.

For the Salad
Kale, de-ribbed, roughly chopped
Pecan halves
Apple, chopped
Avocado, diced
Turkey, chopped and shredded
Cranberry Relish (optional)

For the Dressing
Greek Yogurt
Olive Oil
Curry Powder
Sea Salt

After de-ribbing and chopping your kale, massage with several squeeze of lemon and sea salt. Add chopped apple, turkey, and pecan pieces, and toss. Add avocado and gently toss again. I also stirred in just a few spoonfuls of leftover cranberry relish to brighten things up a bit.

In a separate bowl, mix several spoonfuls greek yogurt with a teaspoon or two of olive oil. Thin with several squeezes of lemon, and stir in a teaspoon or two of curry powder to taste, plus a few pinches sea salt. Drizzle over salad, toss again, and enjoy!

Food Allergies and Ethics

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Mulled Wine Pear Pie

I developed this recipe several weeks ago, and ever since K has been on top of me to post it, as evidenced by the following note that she left in my draft:




So here it is, just in time for you to dash out and grab the ingredients to add another pie to your Thanksgiving menu (I'm being presumptuous, but I can almost guarantee that by this family's standards, you don't have enough pies planned for Thursday and that ought to be remedied.)

My new favorite equation is booze + fruit = pie, and this season needed a replacement for my ever beloved Bourbon Peach. As I considered exploring other fall flavors in place of the tragically overused pumpkin, I realized that pear and wine may be a perfect match, and a quick google search resulted in baking this Pear, Red Wine and Rosemary Pie.  That yielded a slightly disappointing result - I felt that the syrup was too fussy, and the taste was not nearly as flavorful as I'd hoped.  But a lightbulb went off in my head, and I set about making a mulled wine version of my own with a less involved syrup process, some soaking of the pears in the syrup, and more prominent spices.

This is one of those pies in which the baking process is just as lovely as the eating.  The pears turn a stunning, jewel-toned purple, and the smell of the spices and wine simmering into syrup is just the thing your home would like to be filled with in November.

for the syrup:
1 bottle (probably cheap) dry red wine
1 cup sugar
3 sticks cinnamon
6 whole cloves
2 whole star anise
(feel free to add your own spices, or even some orange zest, but don't go overboard - you'll add more spices later and my first round was far too heavy on the cloves)

Place all ingredients into a medium pot, bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until reduced to 1/3 of original volume. Strain spices from syrup,  pour over sliced pears in a large bowl and allow to soak 2-3 hours (if anyone tries longer or shorter, let me know how it turns out!)

for the pie: 
1 double pie crust, unbaked
3 lbs of Bartlett or Anjou Pears, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon butter, cut into pieces
1 beaten egg
Granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 375.

Roll out one pie crust to fit a 9-inch pie pan, place in bottom of pie pan.  Toss flour and spices in the bowl with wine-soaked pears.  Place filling (syrup included, but use your eye to judge if you feel there's too much liquid and adjust accordingly) in pie crust and dot with butter pieces.  Roll out other crust and place on top.  Pinch edges of crusts together to seal, flute and decorate as desired. Cut slits to ventilate. Brush crust with a beaten egg and sprinkle with granulated sugar.

Bake for 30 minutes at 375, then reduce oven to 350 and rotate pie.  Continue baking for 60-75 minutes or until crust is golden and juices are bubbling.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Moonshine Hot Toddy

I've come down with a cold over the last few days, apparently because the high has dropped into only (!) the 70s 'round these parts.  Cue a round of concerned text messages from Mum, prescribing all manner of remedies beginning with steaming myself in the shower ("Gettin' might nippy down there! Steam yourself!") and of course including the ever-beloved ZICAM ("a different Zi cam nasal spray that supposedly shortens cold SHOULD have told u that when u were @ store").

Then came my personal favorite remedy that I had already been gladly utilizing: the hot toddy ("Eat honey & lemon if U have it.  Warm it up & add whiskey.  Do you have bourbon left from pie?  It would work too.")  The hot toddy has become my go-to comfort when sick - so never fear, Mum, this sick daughter's throat is well coated with toddy love.  Tonight I was inspired to do a fall twist on the classic version, which turned out better than I expected. So here you go, a rare same-night posting:

For 1:
Hot water
Cinnamon Apple Spice herbal tea from Celestial Seasonings (or similar)
Apple Pie Moonshine
1 quarter of an orange

Fill your mug slightly over half-full with hot water.  Add tea bag, the juice of the orange, honey and moonshine as desired.  Perfect for any cold evening, whether sickness or weather-related. Mum-recommended.

Previous Toddy Inspiration: 
by Kate: Italian Amaretto Cookies and Bourbon Hot Toddies
by Sarah: Apple Toddy

Friday, November 14, 2014

Classic Turkey Soup

Nothing's better than a simple turkey soup in November. Bookmark this for Thanksgiving leftovers now, or do like I did and get started early using turkey breasts cooked in a crockpot. 

2 turkey breasts, combining to about 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of meat
2 ribs of celery
5-7 carrots
1 yellow or sweet onion
1 cup wild rice
8 cups veggie or turkey broth
Olive Oil

Cook the turkey breasts ahead of time in the crockpot with 3 cups of your broth (more if needed to completely cover the meat), sage, pepper, and salt. You could do this the day before or the day of, just make sure you get it in at least four hours prior to cooking. I usually cook on high the entire time, but if you notice the meat is done in advance or cooking quickly switch to low for the duration.

Cover the bottom of a large soup pot with olive oil and place on burner turned to medium high heat. Add the full cup of wild rice and stir to coat with olive oil. While the rice and oil are heating, dice your onion finely. Add onion to heat and stir with rice.

Start chopping your carrots and celery. I like the celery chopped finely and the carrots with a little larger dice.

After the onions have softened a bit, add the broth that you left out of the crockpot, the celery, and the carrots. Bring to a low boil, then turn down just a bit. It typically takes the rice 30-40 minutes to cook through.

While soup is simmering, shred the turkey breasts using two forks. Add to the main soup pot along with the broth they cooked in, let simmer for another 10 minutes, and enjoy.

Depending on how your rice cooks, you may find you need a little more liquid: I added about 1/2 cup of water and that worked out fine. We ate this as a very hearty soup, almost a stew.

Food Allergies and Ethics
Gluten-free and dairy-free, just check your broth.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Perfect Oven-Fried Potatoes

Easy peasy perfect oven-fried potatoes. Picture says it all, right?

Yellow potatoes (4-5 good-sized, could also use a larger number of tiny fingerlings)
Butter (1-2 Tbsp)

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Put somewhere between 1-2 tablespoons of butter in a glass baking pan and place on the top shelf of your oven so that the butter heats with the oven. (You can do more or less butter depending on the size of your potatoes and your personal butter preference.)

Puncture your potatoes with a fork and place them together on a plate, then microwave for 5ish minutes or until tender. The first time you do this, stop halfway through and check. Watch not to turn them to mush, you want them to be cooked through, soft, but holding their shape. Sometimes if I have bigger potatoes, I flip them halfway through, too.

Next, quarter the steaming potatoes with a sharp knife. You could oven-fry 'em whole or halved, too, but you'll get a better crisp if you quarter them.

Pull out the baking pan and add your potatoes to the sizzling butter. It's ok to do this even if the oven isn't at 425 yet, you'll just have to watch your baking time. Don't be alarmed if the butter has browned a bit, then you just have brown butter fried potatoes and what's not to love about that! Toss with salt and pepper. Add more butter if you need after you see how coated the potatoes are. I go for a nice coat but not dripping.

Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. I like to finish off with a quick broil to get them even crispier. Flip them halfway through if you want, though sometimes I'm too lazy and it's fine.

Obviously, you can do this with more than 4-5 potatoes, I have just found that to be a nice size to serve alongside breakfast or lunch for P and I and have some leftovers. These are also delightful with a little grated cheese and a glass of red wine. Which I think counts as a reasonable working gal's dinner.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Harissa Broth Vegetable Soup with Chickpeas + Swirled Feta

I made this gorgeous soup after seeing Heidi Swanson's recipe for Spicy Chickpea and Bulgur Soup. You really do want to have harissa on hand here. I also used some za'atar but that's certainly not necessary.

This soup received rave reviews from several guests with very diverse palates. The swirled feta takes it over the top and is well worth the bit of extra effort.

Ingredients for Soup
2 yellow onions
1 head garlic
1 anaheim chile pepper
2 red bell peppers
Large handful of kale
1 small butternut squash
4 yellow potatoes

1 14.5 oz can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 can chickpeas
32 fl. oz. veggie broth

1 Lemon
2 T harissa
Za'atar if already in your cupboard
Olive Oil

Ingredients for Swirled Feta
Whole fat, plain greek yogurt
1/2 block feta
Fresh parsley
Several squeezes of lemon
Za'atar (again, if already in your cupboard)

Cover the bottom of your soup pot with a generous pour of olive oil and set on medium heat. At this point, I recommend also puncturing the skin on your butternut squash and microwaving it to soften. I also do this with the potatoes if I'm in a hurry and don't have time to wait for them to cook through all the way in the soup.

Dice your onions, chile pepper, and red bell peppers and add to the pot. Season with salt, pepper, and za'atar if using. While those soften, mince or crush your entire head of garlic. If you have one, place garlic in a mortar & pestle along with a big squeeze or two of lemon, two to three tablespoons harissa (depending on how hot your harissa is), and another pour of olive oil. Crush to form a paste. If you don't have a mortar and pestle, just stir this all together and be sure to really mince/crush your garlic.

Add your harissa paste to the soup pot and toss well with onions and peppers. When onions are translucent, add the vegetable broth.

While broth simmers with the onions, peppers, and harissa paste, pull out your softened butternut squash and softened potatoes. Chop and add to soup. Rinse your squash seeds and roast them like this if you'd like an extra soup topping.

Rinse your canned chickpeas and add to soup along with fire roasted tomatoes. As a last step, rinse and de-rib your kale, then toss in a few handfuls of that as well.

Finally, while the soup simmers, you can whip up this amazing swirl of feta, yogurt, and fresh herbs to top each bowl with. Put 1/2 block of feta into your food processor along with a big handful fresh parsley, some squeezes of your lemon, salt, pepper, and za'atar or more harissa if you want. Process. Depending on how wet your feta is, you may want to add a small bit of olive oil, too. After the first process, add tablespoons of plain whole greek yogurt until you have a nice creamy consistency. If you don't have a food processor, finely chop your parsley and mix by hand.

Taste and continue to season the soup as you like - I think I poured in a bit of the wine I was drinking at one point. Serve with a generous dollop of the feta cream on top and crusty bread on the side.

Food Allergies and Ethics: Vegetarian, vegan if you skip the swirled feta. Gluten free, but please check your veggie broth. I use Pacific brand.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Sea Salt & Vinegar Roasted Squash Seeds

In Phoenix, I froze all my food waste that could be composted and hauled it to some gracious friends who had both a compost pile and chickens. Since moving to Boston, no workable composting solution has presented itself and I've been regretfully tossing all my beautiful veggie peels and seedy innards.

Until we find a way to divert food waste again, I'm trying to be more mindful about reducing the amount of it that ends up in one of Boston's trash incinerators. This morning, poised to toss the innards of a gorgeous acorn squash, I realized one squash's worth of roasted seeds would make a lovely afternoon snack.

Whether you have the seeds from just one acorn or butternut or delicata or kabocha, or a whole slew of pumpkin seeds from Halloween prep, you can do the same. Let's use as much of our veggies as possible, people!

Sea Salt & Vinegar Roasted Squash Seeds

Preheat oven to 350. Rinse your seeds well, and then spread on the bottom of a glass baking pan or baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, plain, to get them dried out. Once beginning to crisp, reduce the heat to 250. Pull out seeds and coat well with olive oil, sea salt, cracked black pepper and white wine vinegar. (Be generous with the vinegar if you want that puckery taste!) Let bake for another 30 minutes. Pull out and enjoy warm as a snack or on top of soup, like this roasted red pepper and potato or this chopped veggie soup with crema and seeds.  To save for later, let them cool completely and then store in a glass jar with an airtight lid, then use as a topper on a hearty salad like our warm quinoa and chickpeas mix.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Chopped Fall Slaw with Brussel Sprouts

Somewhere between a chopped salad and a slaw, this is a lovely way to use up brussel sprouts when you're tired of roasting them. Crunchy and light! I recommend serving with a heavier soup or any dish with a lot of starch or cheese.

About a dozen brussel sprouts
1 pint grape tomatoes
White wine vinegar
Olive oil
Sea salt
Cracked black pepper
Maple syrup

Rinse your brussel sprouts and cut of their woody bottoms. Chop in a food processor or shred manually with a sharp knife. Place into salad bowl and toss with several large squeezes of lemon, olive oil, sea salt and black pepper. Next, rinse and finely chop your tomatoes. (I did this in the food processor too, just be careful not to turn them into tomato paste.) Add to the sprouts. Add a bit of white wine vinegar and maple syrup to taste, toss, and enjoy.

Food Allergies & Ethics: Vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Roasted Red Pepper and Potato Soup

On Sunday, I came up with a vague plan to make a roasted red pepper soup this week. Mostly, the plan entailed buying red peppers and figuring out how to turn them into soup later. Here's the outcome: a lovely, creamy, potato-red pepper pairing that was filling and nutritious. I want to do a better job showcasing the regular food we eat around these parts, and this is tasty, relaxed, and very easy to make changes to depending on what you have on hand.

5 red peppers
6-8 yellow potatoes
Head of garlic
1 box vegetable stock
Olive oil

Fresh thyme
Paprika (smoked or regular, whatever you have on hand or prefer)

White or red wine (optional)
Parmesan rind (optional)
Heavy cream or half and half (for a final drizzle, optional)

Preheat your oven to 400. Then, wash and de-seed your peppers. I typically slice off the top, then slice the pepper into thirds, removing the seeds from the middle. Arrange your clean pepper segments in a large glass baking dish, toss well with several glugs of olive oil, and put them into the oven to roast. This typically takes about 35-40 minutes. You want to keep them in until the skin is blackened and pulling in places.

While the peppers are roasting, peel most of the cloves of garlic from your garlic head. Toss them whole into a deep soup pot with a healthy covering of olive oil, and begin to cook on medium heat. Throw in some white or even red wine if you have it on hand...I poured right of the glass of Pinot I was drinking. Added some nice depth but totally isn't necessary.

Rinse your potatoes and puncture with a fork. Then, throw them in the microwave for 7 minutes, until they are mostly soft. Chop with the skins on and add to the garlic, oil, and wine already simmering.

Next, add your veggie broth and begin to season using salt, pepper, smoked or regular paprika, and thyme. If you have an old parmesan rind on hand, throw 'er in. If not, don't worry about it. Let simmer while your peppers finish.

Once your peppers have a decent blackening going, pull them out of the oven. This is where you really should let them steam in a covered bowl and then remove their peels. But who's got time for that, especially on a weekday? Throw them into the soup pot, peels, oil, and all.

It's time now for your immersion blender (or to do this in batches in a regular blender if that's what you have available). Pull out the parmesan rind if there's one in there, and then immersion blend away. Slowly add milk as you go, until you get the texture you want. I added a drizzle of organic half and half at the end, but again, this is an easy soup and that's not necessary.

Food Allergies & Ethics: Gluten-free, but check your vegetable broth of course. Vegetarian. Replace the milk with coconut milk to make this vegan, or leave it out all together and thin with a bit more broth, wine, or water.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Fancy Grilled Cheese, Autumn Edition (Grilled Cheese with Sharp White Cheddar, Caramelized Onions and Butternut Squash)

We're big fans of cheese around these parts, especially when it's melting between slices of toasty, buttered bread. Here's an October edition of what P and I like to call Fancy Grilled Cheese aka Grilled Cheese With Extras Like Mustard and Caramelized Onions and All Other Good Things.

Grilled Cheese with White Cheddar, Caramelized Onions and Butternut Squash

I used leftover roasted butternut squash here. If you're starting from the beginning, well, turn your oven to 425 or so and get to roasting. Or, to make it easier, just microwave the squash. I'm skeptical too, except that's how our Ma does it and it always works. Stab it with a fork, microwave for between 7-10 minutes or until that cute little squash is falling in on itself.

Once that's taken care of, assemble your grilled cheese components.

Bread (gluten-free if you need)
Sharp white cheddar cheese or gruyere, lots, thinly sliced
Yellow onion, thinly sliced
Butternut or acorn squash, roasted and de-seeded
Sharp mustard

1. Heat a little butter in a skillet, and cook your thinly sliced onion over medium-low heat with salt until it becomes extremely soft and begins to caramelize. Don't rush this, to properly caramelize I find onions need 30+ minutes.

2. In the meantime, spread butter and a nice sharp mustard on all sides of your bread.

3. Once the onions are ready, remove from the skillet and set aside.

4. Add a touch more butter to the same skillet, then lay your bread slices down.

5. Flip a few times, and once the bread is beginning to toast nicely, add your thinly sliced cheese.

6. As the cheese is melting, top with caramelized onions and a scoopful of squash.

7. Flip one slice onto the other and toast the whole thing in the skillet with a little more mustard. (Just put a bit down in the skillet like you would butter. This makes for a messy, messy skillet but a delightful, delightful sandwich.)

8. Remove from heat and enjoy.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Lime Basil Gin & Tonic

It's the last Friday of summer.  Here's a cocktail inspired by a drink I had somewhere once, the lime basil growing abundantly in the backyard, and LIME FLAVORED EVERYTHING in Mom's fridge.

A squeeze of agave
2 ounces Limeade
3 ounces Lime gin
2 ounces Lime perrier or tonic water
11 Lime Basil leaves (mine are on the small side, so if yours are larger, adust accordingly)
(in the absence of LIME FLAVORED EVERYTHING, plain gin, perrier/tonic, and/or basil will do just fine.)

Honesty:  Those measurements are complete estimates of what I did based off of the interwebs.  I believe you are a smart, capable adult who deserves this cocktail and can guesstimate your measurements just as well as I. ;) 

Place 10 basil leaves in your hand, clap.  Pummel them in a small glass with agave and a small amount of your limeade. Strain out basil leaves.  Add to tumbler with gin, perrier and the rest of the limeade, stir well.  Garnish with final basil leaf.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Plum Raspberry Crumble

I'm home in September for the first time since high school (usually this time of year is kicking off school or busy in other ways), and I forgot how lovely the mild air and changing of the seasons can be here.  The leaves are just beginning to brush yellow, but the best of late summer flowers still spill out of pots around our yard.

Because of this pie, I didn't make nearly enough out of late summer berries, failing to even make my Dad's legendary raspberry cobbler because all I wanted to do was soak peaches in whiskey.  Whoops.  I wanted to remedy that and also to make use of some abundant plums from a tree in my Mum's yard, so I adapted this recipe to suit my late summer/early fall baking desires. The result was exactly right: it has all the tart, fresh flavors of summer, but begins to ease in the subtly spicy-sweet flavors of fall.  I happily baked while old favorites like Mary Chapin Carpenter and Tom Petty played out of our stereo with windows and doors thrown open to welcome the almost-crisp night air.  It's a transition dessert, to help us say goodbye to recent favorites while welcoming what's next.

Now, do you think there are still peaches enough to make that pie one last time?

(Oven at 350)
10 small plums
1 cup raspberries (alternately to raspberries and plums, 1 1/2 cups of whatever fruit(s) you please)
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp vanilla powder (alternately, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, or leave out)
4 TB butter, in small cubes
1/3 cup sliced almonds (optional, feel free to leave out or exchange for pecans or walnuts)

Note: We were concerned that the plums had bitter skins, so I blanched and peeled mine.  You'll want to pit and slice yours, and I leave the peeling up to your discretion.

Place plums and raspberries in the bottom of either four 1/2 cup or two 1 cup ramekins, filling roughly half.  In a small bowl, mix flour, oats, sugar and spices.  With fingers, work butter cubes in until the butter pieces are roughly pea sized or a little larger.  Toss with almonds.  Press crumble on top of fruit, chill ramekins 20 minutes or overnight.  Once ready to bake, heat oven to 350 and place ramekins on a baking sheet with parchment paper to catch any bubbling over.  Bake 22-28 minutes until bubbling and golden. Enjoy with a scoop of ice cream by night or a mug of coffee by morning.  Or vice versa, who am I to judge?

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Bloggiversary, Round Three: Sarah's Five Favorites

Long ago in Wyoming, when we were little girls, Katelyn, Annalise and I went through a phase where we were fighting a lot.  I think we were probably about 12, 9, and 5, so we're talking almost 20 years ago. (Back then, my favorite dinner was elk Dad hunted and butchered himself, with a side of Mom's scallop potatoes.  Sorry about the vegetarianism, Dad - it's about factory farms!)

Well, at some point, the three of us were overtaken with remorse for our bickering and had a meeting after dinner one night in the basement, during which we decided the solution was to form a club, consisting of the three of us, and called ....... ahem:   "Sarah, Katelyn and Annalise in Peace:  SKAP!!"

I'll just let that sink in a bit.

Actually, it gets even better.  The rules of SKAP were that if one sister did something mean to another sister, the third sister got to act in a quasi-judicial capacity and decide what the mean sister had to do for her victim, and then..... we would sing a special song we referred to as the "SKAP Rap."

...... Yep.  The "SKAP Rap."  I don't even know what to say about that, other than that we lived in small-town Wyoming without a television, so please, cut us a break.  Thankfully, I do NOT remember the words.

So, the reason I am telling this completely ridiculous story (other than that I still love to embarrass my younger siblings) is just to say that ever since I left home, I have done nothing but wish that I could again live close enough to my sisters to bicker regularly, make up, and hatch stupid plots together.  Please call me today so we can bicker, OK, guys?

When I claimed "" five years ago and then called my sisters to tell them about it, I was in the middle of probably the lowest period of my life (a divorce in my mid-twenties).  I think I imagined that the blog would be sort of a recipe box, a place to jot down reminders and ideas, and I think it came to mind because I was frankly having trouble forcing myself to cook for nobody but me.  Watching the posts grow ever-longer, as my two deeply thoughtful sisters use the blog to capture pieces of daily life in their lovely writing voices, has been a surprise and a source of happiness again and again over five tumultuous years.

OK!  So recipes:

By Annalise:
Fava Beans with Tomatoes and Toasted Bread.  I love this recipe both on its merits, and because it includes an extended discussion of Annalise's embarrassing childhood nickname (also my fault - I'm on a roll here), and also because it is posted via a photo of an exchange of text messages between her and Katelyn.

Vegan Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes:  This post is all Annalise all the time (covering such essentials as her love of autumn, colored pants, baking, and Pinterest), and coincidentally also contains a recipe sent via text message.

Finally, Annalise, while I will not insult your formidable baking prowess by categorizing our most-read recipe ever as a "favorite," I will note that in the time we've had this blog, you've gone from being a sweet and awesome college girl who makes her friends cookies and takes a blurry phone photo, to a sweet and awesome college grad who makes an entire Thanksgiving dinner for 40 immigrant teenagers and takes sophisticated photos on a fancy camera.  Well played.  

By Katelyn:
Tha(ish) Indian(ish) Soup:  I obviously make this without chicken, and it's straight-up one of the yummiest things on the blog.  I might make it today!

Strawberry Breakfast Salad with Cowboy:  This salad is quintessential Katelyn:  Healthy, comforting, fresh, and unexpected.  Plus, the post itself is very sweet, which is also quintessential Katelyn.  Tell that cowboy to eat his salad!

Katelyn, I credit your entries on this blog with helping me get into much healthier eating habits than 5 years ago.  You are so thoughtful about everything you do in life, and (science jokes like this one aside) you really bring all of your scientific and social scientific training and learning to bear on everyday decisions.  Everyone in our family benefits a lot from that.

By Sarah:
Fresh Corn and Fava Soup:  This is the kind of thing I wish I managed to eat every single day!  Mostly veggies, with flavor.

Alright, that's it from me.  Thanks for letting me publicly air my great love for these two:

Annalise and I are pretending to be aliens.  I am confident that today, now that she is no longer a preteen wearing awesome lipgloss, Katelyn would join us.