I always thought I could blog through anything. But when your father is diagnosed with metastatic cancer and is told that he has days to live, the whole world changes.
The possibilities of what could be, what might have been, what should have been. All shift.
Suffice it to say, this wasn't the plan. We have too much life left to live together. He has an aisle to walk me down and grandbabies to hold. He is supposed to try to force me to go back to eating meat at least six million times. And it's just. Not. Fair.
I'm not sure when I'll be back, but rest assured I will be. He is so proud of this little place on the internet that I've created. And the last thing he would ever want me to do is stop.
Friday, September 14, 2012
I've come to realize lately that life all too often hands you curveballs, whether you want them or not.
Sometimes they're small. Like a half empty bag of Reese's in an otherwise totally healthy day.
Sometimes they're good. Like boyfriends who came along at just the time when you didn't know that you'd need them the most. Who know the rules of the game, batting averages, RBIs, ERAs. They'll hold your hands as you swing that bat, guide them as that ball sinks and spirals just below where common sense would have told you to aim. And when wood hits leather with a force that is truly not something to be reckoned with, they'll shrug it off like it was nothing. All in a days' work.
And sometimes they're not. Like days that feel like nightmares. A whole 24 hours that just can't be real when all you can do is wonder if this nervous nauseous feeling in the pit of your chest will ever go away. But it has to, you say, because none of this happened. It's all a dream. Right?
So you cross your fingers, click your heels together three times, and take a bite out of one of these cupcakes. Because maybe you won't end up back in Kansas, where life is simpler and evil witches of the west don't lurk around every corner. But at least you'll have had a bite of something truly delicious. And that has to count for something, right?
Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake Cupcakes
Makes 12, adapted from Tracey's Culinary Adventures
- 1 1/2 cups oreo crumbs
- 1/4 cup salted butter, melted
- 12 miniature peanut butter cups
- 2 (8 oz) packages reduced fat cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- Preheat oven to 350. Line a muffin pan with paper cupcake liners.
- To make the crust, using a fork, stir together the oreo crumbs and melted butter until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Put 2 tbsp in each liner and press down into the bottom to form a crust (shot glasses or really tiny ramekins are perfect for this!). Place 1 miniature peanut butter cup on the top of each crust.
- For the filling, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add in the sugar, flour, and vanilla and beat until well-combined and smooth. Add in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the side of the bowl after each addition. Divide batter evenly among the muffin wells (about 1/4 cup per well). Bake for 18-20 minutes or until cheesecakes are barely set. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to allow the cheesecakes to cool completely. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
There are some people on this earth who age gracefully.
They might have firm skin, a gorgeous thick head of salt and pepper hair that really does look stunning in its own right, wise-beyond-their-years eyes that maintain a bit of a captivating twinkle.
And you know just from looking at them that they are the kind of old folk who are generous with their wisdom. Who accept help from their children graciously. Who not only recognize but embrace their limitations and allow themselves to be taken care of for once.
And then there are people like my parents. Who, I can already tell, shall be aging belligerently.
My siblings and I have so much to look forward to.
You see, they've taken to conspiring with each other to hide from us anything that ever goes wrong with them medically. So they "won't worry us".
If someone could explain to me why you would keep your daughter who has MEDICAL TRAINING out of the loop when, sure, she might not know exactly what is going on but she'll at least know the right questions to ask, that would be excellent. Because it's beyond me.
And as a result, my brother and I have to rely on our little sister, who still lives at home, to be our eyes and ears. Which means we get texts from her saying that our father's "door" is swollen and that he didn't go to work or get out of bed all day. So then we have to stare at our phone's keyboard for about twenty minutes trying to figure out what letters she could have possibly mistyped to result in the word "door" only to finally elicit from her that door=foot in teenager typo language and DUH we totally should have known that. Yup, she's really a fount of insider information.
I can't wait for the day when I have to take away their car keys. That's going to be fun and not world war three-like at all.
Call it planning ahead, but I fully intend on breaking the chain in this belligerent aging cycle and being the picture of old age grace.
And I'm going to start by eating tarts. Lots and lots of tarts. Because is there anything more picturesque than the image of an old(er) lady sitting down to lunch with a cup of tea and a nice healthy delicious piece of tomato tart to go with it? I think not.
In truth, this tart is actually part-quiche, although with the rich flavor of the roasted tomatoes in it and the light cornmeal crust, it doesn't feel quite as heavy as one. And it's perfect for keeping summer tomato season alive while we still can!
(PS - See below the recipe for a review of Whole Foods's new dosateria and lassi bar!!)
Serves 4, adapted from Cooking Light August 2012 and Elly Says Opa!
For the crust:
- 3/4 cup cornmeal
- 3 tbsp flour
- 1 tbsp melted butter
- 1.5 tbsp olive oil
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4-1/3 cup milk
For the tart:
- 2.5 oz fontina cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
- 1/3 cup sliced shallots
- 3 heirloom tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
- 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp cornmeal
- 1 tbsp thyme
- 1 tsp kosher salt, divided
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 cup reduced fat milk
- 1 1/2 tbsp grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 3 large eggs
For the crust:
- To make the crust, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, butter, oil, and salt and pepper. Add a little water/milk/broth until you get a dough that will stick together a bit when pinched (sort of like a graham cracker crust). Press the mixture into the bottom of a 10" tart pan and set aside.
For the tart:
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Sprinkle crust with fontina, olives and shallots. Arrange half of the tomato slices over the shallots. In a small bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal and thyme. Top with the remaining tomato slices. Sprinkle with 3/4 tsp salt and black pepper.
- Combine the milk, parmigiano-reggiano, and eggs in a small bowl. Pour into the tart pan.
- Bake at 350 for 50 minutes or until set. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Last Wednesday, I was invited to test out the new dosateria and lassi bar that just opened in the Whole Foods in Tribeca. Given that my roommate has been bemoaning the lack of good dosas in this city for almost as long as I've known her, I knew that there was no way I could turn this opportunity down. So off to Whole Foods The.Boy. and I went on a dosa-tasting expedition!
For those who don't know, dosas are basically large fermented crepes made out of rice and lentil batter that are stuffed with all sorts of delicious fillings, and are typically served as street food in South India. The Dosateria at Whole Foods offers an array of filling options, ranging from traditional turmeric tomatoes served with a green chili coconut chutney to more fusion-esque pulled butter chicken and brie with mango chutney. There are also some breakfast-specific options for the early morning crowd. In addition, you can order your dosas a la carte, choosing from either a dosa, uttapam (open-faced dosa...more like a tostada with a pancake bottom), flatbread or rice bowl base, an array of fillings, and any of their many chutney toppings.
The.Boy. and I were given an array of items to try, each of which was absurdly delicious. He got the butter chicken with brie dosa that I mentioned before and positively fell in love with it, which says a lot considering that he is typically not a fan of Indian food. I got the asparagus uttapam, pictured at the top right, which was full of flavor and the biryani bowl with a vegetable medley, which I couldn't stop eating even though I was positively stuffed. Jessica, the PR agent for Whole Foods NYC who set this whole thing up, also kept us company and ate with us. She got the Bollywood Chicken dosa, which is kind of a tex-mex version of a dosa stuffed with chili chicken koftas, roasted onions, queso fresco, avocado, and a wasabi avocado chutney. From the speed with which she devoured it...I can infer that it was pretty damn good.
We were also lucky enough to get to try two of the lassi flavors - mango and avocado green chili. The mango tasted as good as I hoped it would but it was the avocado green chili that really blew me away. Listed on the savory portion of the lassi menu, it was definitely still sweet but with a bit of a savory kick from the chiles. A really nice twist for the taste buds.
In all, I was super pleased with my whole Dosateria experience and would definitely recommend it to anyone who finds themselves in and around the Tribeca Whole Foods! And for those of you who are in other states, Jessica let it slip that although this is the first Dosateria to be opening up, there are plans to open up more in other Whole Foods, so start badgering your local Whole Foods manager about it!
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Are you guilty of trying to convince yourself to eat things you just don't like because they're good for you? I know I am...at least when it comes to beets. Check out my recipe for this peach, pluot and roasted vegetable salad for a beet recipe that even I enjoyed!
I also just want to take a moment to remember all the men, women and children who were lost on this day 11 years ago. And to say thank you to all the men and women who fight to protect us every day. We appreciate it.
I was merely blocks away from the World Trade Center when the towers hit, in a biology lab that I don't remember. Then, on the fifth floor in homeroom, watching from a window as they seemed to crack at once and then fall. And then. I ran.
It feels like a lifetime ago. And then again, it feels like yesterday. But no matter how much time passes, what remains true is that I will never forget. I've written more about my firsthand experience with 9/11 in previous posts, so I'll just direct you to them if you're a new reader and want to hear more.
9/11/11 - http://www.joanne-eatswellwithothers.com/2011/09/9112001.html
9/11/10 - http://www.joanne-eatswellwithothers.com/2010/09/symons-homemade-spaghetti-with-heirloom.html
Monday, September 10, 2012
Truth be told, I have ignored Fashion Week for the past 25 years of my life in New York City.
Okay, fine, the ones where I was still in diapers really shouldn't count unless you consider graduating to the next level of Huggies to be trendsetting.
I wouldn't even necessarily say that I willfully avoided it. It was more of a "blissful ignorance" kinda deal.
Until this year.
Maybe it was the fact that one of the desk workers at my gym raved to me for twenty minutes about how his friend got a whole bag full of Gucci underwear at Fashion's Night Out. Or maybe it was the unfortunate reality that my Crocs are on the verge of giving me tendinitis in my foot, thus leading me to conclude that if supposedly ergonomic and totally comfortable shoes are going to give you foot pain then why not go for the Jimmy Choos? They're prettier anyway.
Who knows. Whatever it was, I was inspired.
So I made you bean pancakes. Because if we're being honest with ourselves, though we love them with the same nostalgic fervor that we love the karma bracelets and accordion headbands that were all the rage back in 8th grade...
...bean burgers are so last season. And bean pancakes? Well, anyone who's anyone will be munching on them in the months to come. Stuffed with edamame and topped with roasted sweet potatoes and green beans that have been tossed with a soy sauce-based dressing, they're healthy enough that even the runway models who eat a bowl of ice for dinner may deem them worthy of indulging in. Well, maybe not.
But we'll have the last laugh when these babies are being mass produced by The Gap next season. They'll see.
These edamame cakes were chosen by Kathleen + Tom as this week's Food Matters Project recipe. For the original recipe, check out their site and for more interpretations of it, check out the Food Matters Project site!
ALSO. Do you guys remember when I reviewed Lauren of Keep It Sweet's new online bakery and waxed poetic about how she was my hero for quitting her day job to do something she really loved? Well, she is a contestant in Martha Stewart's American Made Contest which is a celebration of those who have followed their passions to start their own businesses, with the grand prize being $10,000!!! I adore Lauren and she is one of my best friends in real life, and I know how hard she has worked to make her business successful. If you wouldn't mind going over to vote for her, she and I would really appreciate it! It's super simple and only takes one click of a button. You can vote daily!
Edamame Cakes with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Green Beans
Serves 4, adapted from The Food Matters Cookbook
- 2 large sweet potatoes, chopped into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 lb green beans, trimmed
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- 2 cups frozen edamame
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup sliced scallions
- salt and black pepper
- Heat the oven to 400. Place the sweet potatoes and the green beans on a baking tray fitted with parchment paper. Spray with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender.
- Combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, half the sesame oil, sugar garlic, and ginger in a small bowl.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the edamame to the boiling water and cook until tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
- Transfer the beans to a food processor and pulse a couple of times to break them down, then add the remaining 1 tbsp sesame oil, egg and scallions. Process until combined but not finely pureed. If the mixture is too stiff, stir in a little of hte reserved cooking liquid. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper to taste. Stir until combined.
- Put a large skillet or griddle over medium heat. Add a thin film of oil. Working in batches, spoon on the batter in 1/4 cup drops. Cook until the top sets and the bottom is browned, about 4 minutes. Turn and cook the other side for a couple minutes more.
- Toss the roasted sweet potatoes and green beans with the soy sauce mixture. Top edamame cakes with the sweet potatoes and green beans. Serve.
Friday, September 7, 2012
I know that they say almost doesn't count (in fact, it was oh so eloquently documented in this song by Brandy from 1999. Classic.) but, for the record. Between plums that were thisclose to rotting (although when you buy them 3 for $1.00 off a street vendor what do you expect) and a pastry dough that was not cooperative in any sense of the word...this is the tart that almost wasn't.
Made even more odd by the fact that, by all outward appearances, it was cosmically approved.
Given the proverbial karmic go-ahead.
All systems are go.
And all that jazz.
You see, on Friday I decided to actually choose what I was going to make for lab meeting the next Wednesday before Tuesday night when generally I turn into a lunatic trying to piece together some kind of baked good with what I have on hand, which is not quite as easy as it sounds given that I seem to be chronically out of brown sugar, confectioner's sugar, and chocolate chips no matter how many late-night grocery store runs I go on.
So I flipped through a baking cookbook that I rarely ever use, closed my eyes, pointed and landed on this here tart. One glance at the picture in the book and my stomach grumbled YES.
Done and done. Onto the grocery list the ingredients went.
Then on Tuesday I go into work and my coworker who is moving back to France permanently at the end of this week asked if I would make something special for her last lab meeting.
To be honest, my heart sank a little bit at this point as the neurotic menu planner in me screamed THE TART!!! TTHHHHHEEEE TTAAAAARRRRTTTT!!!!! But I swallowed my psychoses and said, of course! Anything! What would you like?
And she said (in her adorable French accent that you just can't possibly be mad at), Well I do like cupcakes. And brownies. But what I really love is a fruit tart.
See what I mean. Now if that isn't kismet, I don't know what is.
And yet, when Tuesday night came around you could still find me cursing like a sailor and pacing around my kitchen, more pate sucree in my hair than in my tart pan and plum guts all over my counter as I tried to salvage the non-decomposing parts. So much for best-laid plans.
In the end, though, none of it really matters because with enough patchwork and not a single ounce of finesse, the pastry crust went into its pan. There were just enough plum slices to get by without seeming stingy. And the tart came out of the oven, smelling like a dream and tasting like a fairy tale.
The almond cream filling was light and refreshing, a cross between cake and custard in texture, and just sweet enough to compliment the almost-tartness of the plums, without being overly so. The crust tasted like all things good in this world (i.e. butter). And eating it released so many endorphins that I probably couldn't remember the pain and anguish that went into making it even if I tried.
Yes, it almost drove me to tears. And almost had me committing myself to a mental institution.
But like I said before.
Almost doesn't count.
Plum Almond Tart
Makes one 9-inch tart, adapted from The SoNo Baking Company Cookbook
- 1/2-3/4 recipe Pate Sucree, chilled (recipe to follow)
- 1/2 cup blanched whole almonds
- 6 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp coarse salt
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 3 tbsp all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup apricot jam, strained
- 1 1/4 lb ripe plums, halved, pitted and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
- 1-2 tbsp sugar, for sprinkling
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough to a 12-inch round. Fit the dough in a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Trim the dough so that it is even with the tart rim. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes.
- Set an oven rack in the bottom third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a food processor, pulse the almonds with the sugar and salt until finely ground. Add the butter and process until blended. Add the eggs, one a time, and pulse until combined, scraping down the sides after each addition. Add the almond extract. Add the flour and pulse until well combined.
- Spread the tart shell with 1/4 cup of the apricot jam using either an offset spatula or a spoon. Spread with the almond cream that you just made. Arrange the plum wedges, side by side, rounded sides down, on top of the cream and gently push down to really stick them in. Place the tart on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle all over with the 1-2 tbsp of sugar.
- Bake, rotating the baking sheet 2/3 of the way through the baking time, until the crust is cooked through and golden brown - 40-45 minutes. Transfer the tart pan to a wire rack.
- While the tart is still warm, brush the top of the tart with the remaining apricot jam. If it is too thick, then heat it in a small saucepan until liquidy. Allow the tart to cool completely.
Makes enough for 1 double-crust or two single-crust 9-inch pies (I find this to be debatable...probably 1 1/2 9-inch pies)
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp coarse salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- In a bowl, whisk the flour to aerate it. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, and salt on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the side of the bowl halfway through. Add the egg and yolk, and mix to combine. Add the flour and beat until it has been absorbed.
- Scoop about half of the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Shape into a flattened disk and wrap in the plastic. Repeat with remaining half. Refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.
NOTE - I found this pastry dough to be VERY hard to work with and have a feeling that it was a bit too wet. Here are some other options that I haven't tried, but I trust the sources. And if you have any favorite pate sucree recipes, please leave them in the comments!
Flour Bakery's Recipe
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
The.Boy. can say whatever he wants about kale but the truth of the matter is that when push came to shove on Sunday afternoon, those leafy greens were there for him.
As the capsaicin in the poblanos hit his taste buds, causing sweat to pour down his face and steam to come out of his ears, just as he was about to rip his clothes off in an attempt to relieve some of the internal heat that was building, those leaves swept him off his feet, jumped into his mouth and carried him off into a spice-free sunset.
It was quite the fairy tale ending, if I do say so myself.
Hmmm, what's that you say? Where was I when all of this romancing was going down?
Sitting. At the table. Reveling in my third wheel status.
You see, the heat=pain receptors on my tongue were destroyed long ago by what some may consider excessive (is there really such a thing?) Indian food consumption and so while I can handle a fair amount of heat, no problemo, I occasionally forget that other people actually have the ability to sense such things in any reasonable kind of way.
So while it may seem like my intentions were to drive my boyfriend into the arms of my favorite leafy green so that we could all be one big happy family for once and for all...I swear it was really just an act of forgetfulness.
A total oops moment on my part.
And besides, when did poblanos get so damn hot anyways? I always considered them to be on the more mild/moderate side of the hot pepper spectrum and most certainly nowhere near the "make your fingertips burn for 48 hours after touching them" side. The latter of which describes the effect that they unfortunately had on me.
But it was so worth it.
These stuffed peppers were as delicious as they were spicy, being stuffed with beans that were simmered with beer, cinnamon, and chipotle chile powder, and then topped with cheese. Lots of cheese. I served them with some Spanish rice as well as a corn and kale salad that was super refreshing and really helped to take the edge off the intense heat
All in all, a great meal.
And the fact that it brought two of my favorite entities together (at last!)..definitely the icing on the cake. Err, the cotija on the poblano? The corn in the kale salad? Eh. You know what I mean.
Beer Bean- and Cotija-Stuffed Poblanos
Serves 6, adapted from The Sprouted Kitchen Cookbook
- 1/2 lb dried pinto or borlotti beans, rinsed and picked over
- 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, halved and sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 12 oz guinness or dark Mexican beer
- 1/2 tsp chipotle chile powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- sea salt
- 6 poblano chiles
- 1 cup crumbled cotija cheese
- 1 cup shredded jack cheese
- juice of 1/2 lime
- Place the beans in a large bowl and cover with water. Allow to soak for at least 6 hours or overnight.
- Drain the beans of the soaking liquid. In a large pot over medium heat, add the olive oil, onion, and garlic and saute until the onion is just softened, 5-6 minutes. Add the beans and 2 1/2 cups water. Stir and bring to a simmer. Simmer, covered, until the beans are cooked through, about 45-60 minutes. Add the beer, chipotle and cinnamon and simmer uncovered until the liquid is absorbed and the beans are tender, about another 20 minutes. Add salt to taste. Set beans aside.
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Cut a slit down the side of each poblano. Remove and discard the membranes and seeds and set the chile on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining poblanos.
- In a bowl, mix together the cotija, jack cheese and lime juice. Stuff each pepper with a few spoonfuls of the beans and a handful of the cheese.
- Place in the oven and roast until peppers are cooked through, 20-30 minutes. Serve peppers immediately with the slit side up.
Serves 6, adapted from Simply Recipes
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped fine
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 cups medium-grain white rice
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1 heaping tbsp tomato paste
- pinch of oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- In a large skillet, brown the rice in the olive oil over medium/high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are softened, about 4 minutes.
- Add the vegetable broth, tomato paste, oregano and salt. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then cover and lower heat, simmering for 15-25 minutes, depending on the package instructions. Turn off heat and let sit for 5 minutes.
Kale and Corn Salad
Serves 6, adapted from A Thought For Food
- 3 ears corn, husked
- 2 bunches of kale, washed, stemmed and torn
- zest of 1 lime
- juice of 1 1/2 limes
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 4 oz cotija cheese
- Cut the kernels off the corn and into a bowl.
- In a large bowl, place the kale. Add the lime zest, lime juice, olive oil, and salt. Massage for 3-4 minutes or until kale has decreased in volume by about half. Add in the corn and cotija and toss until well combined. Season with salt to taste.
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
A dessert recipe? On a Tuesday?
Yes, we are mixing things up here today and that's because we are celebrating the fact that one of my favorite bloggers, Jenna of Jenna's Everything Blog, will be having her first baby - a girl!! - in just a few short weeks!
Jenna has been tracking her pregnancy with a weekly post that describes all of her emotions, signs, symptoms....pretty much all things baby-related and I've been
Since it's a pretty well known fact that you can't exactly have a party without any ice cream, I thought I would bring some peanut butter and honey ice cream to the festivities! Both flavors of this cold treat really shine through so that with each spoonful you'll go back on forth on whether it's the honey or the peanut butter that you taste more. And when they meld together....well that is just a bite of perfection.
Here's to you Jenna!! I'm SO excited for you!
Thanks so much to Veronica of Veronica's Cornucopia for getting us all together to celebrate!
Check out what everyone else made for the party:
4 Little Fergusons (Midwest USA): 11 Lessons To Determine If You Are Ready For Parenthood
A Little Lunch (Eufaula, OK): Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice Scones
City Songbird (Greensboro, NC): Merry Christmas, Alice!
Eats Well With Others (New York, NY): Peanut Butter and Honey Ice Cream
Hunting for Bliss (Bozeman, MT): Garam Masala Deviled Eggs
Pinking Shears & Broccoli Spears (Newark, DE): Making Food Good For Your Baby
Sydney Shares (Eugene, OR): Baby BLTs
That’s Some Good Cookin’ (Salt Lake City, UT): Cheesecake Cookie Bars
The Pajama Chef (Bloomington, IN): Iced Tea with Ginger-Mint Simple Syrup
Two Dogs In The Kitchen (Sterling, MI): Spicy Asian Meatballs
Veronica’s Cornucopia (Wichita, KS): Raspberry Almond Fudge Cookies
Very Culinary (Sacramento, CA): Toasted Orzo and Chickpea Salad
Words on Wendhurst: A Gift For Jenna and Alice
Peanut Butter and Honey Ice Cream
Makes 1 quart, adapted from Love and Olive Oil
- 2 cups heavy cream, divided
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tbsp honey
- pinch of salt
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
- Pour one cup of the heavy cream in a heatproof bowl. Next this bowl inside a larger bowl that is filled with ice-water. Place a fine-meshed sieve over the top of both bowls.
- In a saucepan, combine the remaining cup of heavy cream, the almond milk, sugar, honey and salt. Cook gently over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture just starts to steam. Remove from heat.
- In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Slowly whisk in the warm cream mixture to the egg yolks, 1/3 cup at a time, until the yolks are warm and about half the warm cream has been added. Pour this mixture back into the saucepan with the warm cream. Return the pan to medium heat, still stirring, until the mixture thickens slightly and will coat the back of a spoon, about 5-7 minutes or until it reaches 165-170 degrees F. Do NOT let it come to a boil.
- Pour the mixture through the sieve and into the cold cream. Add in the vanilla and stir until cool. Cover with plastic wrap, carefully pressing down onto the surface of the cream. This will prevent a skin from forming. Place in the refrigerator to cool overnight.
- The next day, churn the cream base according to the manufacturer's directions. While it is churning, add the peanut butter to a piping bag fitted with a medium size round tip. When the ice cream is at soft serve consistency, pipe the peanut butter into the machine while it is churning. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container and freeze overnight or until firm.
Monday, September 3, 2012
I tend to talk about kale and spinach the way that some people talk about their first born children. With a twinkle in my eye and a warm squishy feeling in my heart.
It makes The.Boy. nervous when I do this.
Primarily because, well. Would you really want to be dating someone who has absolutely no qualms about inhaling her babies with the appetite of a ravenous vulture?
Yeah, doesn't bode well.
But I think it's also that he's come to realize that if I'm waxing poetic about the virtues of leafy greens, it probably means that I have at least twelve bunches of them in my fridge.
And if that's the case...
...then you know what
The good news is, though, that even though he'll make an "ewww kale!" face whenever I so much as mention the brassica, let alone place a big bowl of it in front of him and tell him to dig in.
He'll eat it without a single complaint.
And then he'll pounce on the leftovers the next day for lunch.
As it turns out, he actually doesn't care what's in his food so long as it tastes good.
Not exactly my eating mentality, but since I happen to care so exquisitely about what goes into every bite that I ingest that it has to taste good...it works.
And who knows...soon I may have him swaddling bunches of kale and containers of spinach before putting them in the fridge also.
(Because that helps keep them fresher for longer. Not for, you know...future practice or anything. Obviously.)
But for now...I'll just be grateful that he dove into this big bowl of green with a fervor that rivaled my own. And rightfully so, because it was damn delicious. A spinach avocado pesto that tastes creamy and buttery even though there is not a hint of either in it, offset by the deeply sweet and slightly tangy flavor of roasted cherry tomatoes...
...what more could you ask for in a gorgeously verdant plate of pasta?
Sigh. That baby spinach really did grow up so fast, didn't it?
Creamy Spinach Spaghetti with Roasted Tomatoes
Serves 4, adapted from Pink Parsley and Perry's Plate
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- olive oil
- kosher salt
- pinch of sugar
- 8 oz whole wheat spaghetti
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lb baby spinach
- 1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
- 1 avocado, chopped
- 1/4 cup basil
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 375. Toss the tomatoes with 1 tbsp olive oil, salt, and a pinch of sugar. Put on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes, tossing once midway through.
- Cook the pasta according to package directions, reserving about 1/2 cup cooking water for the sauce.
- As the pasta cooks, saute the onion in 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet until softened, 5-6 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook about 30 seconds more, or until fragrant. Add in the spinach a few handfuls at a time, waiting until the previous bunch has started to wilt before adding the second.
- Remove from heat and stir the Greek yogurt and avocado into the pan. Add 2-3 tbsp of the reserved pasta water and, using an immersion blender (or a food processor), puree the mixture until smooth, adding more pasta water as needed to give it a sauce-like consistency.
- Stir in the basil and parmesan. Add the noodles to the sauce, tossing well to coat. Serve the noodles topped with a spoonful of the roasted tomatoes.
I am submitting this to Presto Pasta Nights which is being hosted this week by Simona of Briciole.