Tuesday, November 27

I'm Moving... Again!

But this time actually what I mean is that my blog is moving.

Officially my new site will be http://fortheloveofdessert.wordpress.com/!!!

Can you see my excitement in those exclamation points!??

I'm going to leave this site up for the archive of recipes, but maybe someday I'll move them over to my new home. Feel free to check the recipe log here as it will still exist, but please come and follow me over at my new site for new recipes.

Thanks for reading. Love yous.

Wednesday, November 21

Thanksgiving Pie Porn Part 2

During my last year's Ode to Pie, I feel like my less than enthusiastic 'tude towards Thanksgiving may have been a little exaggerated. Ok, so I don't love mashed potatoes. I can't really get behind a holiday that celebrates a giant turkey when brisket exists. But that's not really what the holiday should be about. We're supposed to think about things that we're thankful for, even if roasted turkey is NOT one of them. It's supposed to be about love and family and laughing at Kanye's boots during the parade and all that jazz (you can't really see it in the vid, but they were thigh high).

And writing things like this to your family members: Thanksgiving Letter to the Family (I cannot wait to be old enough to get away with that sorta shiz). 

Don't worry about not about to write another gushy post like the only thing I published in August. Just know, I'm not a totally shallow person. I get deeper every year. Like deep dish pies!

Either way, I'm still spending too much time thinking about food and I'm still drooling over pie. Here are my faves this year:

Brown Butter Pecan Pie from DashRecipes.com

Buttermilk Pie? Forrealz? From Alyssa B Young

Pumpkin Pie with Brown Sugar Meringue from Pass the Sushi
Someone else likes topping their pumpkin pie...!!

Rosemary Cheddar Apple Pie from The Roaming Kitchen
Not only is this pie breaking the pie mold, it's
got a rosemary/cheddar crust!

And finally.. What the apple flowers...!!
From Tikkido

Love y'all! Have a great holiday and eat plenty of pie!

Thursday, November 15

Healthy Cranberry Applesauce

I totally love applesauce.

Last year, I made this jazzed up adult version of applesauce: Plum and Brandy Applesauce. I made this Caramlized Onion Applesauce to go with porkchops and, of course, I made quite a few batches of the original chunky kid stuff.

Since I realized how amazingly easy it is to make applesauce, I've been experimenting by adding other fruits, subbing sweeteners and varying seasoning.

I've been trying to find new uses for it, rather than just eating it with a spoon for a snack like a kid. Of course there's pork, but some of my favorites thus far:

To sweeten plain yogurt:

As a healthy sandwich spread: (the sammy featured here is cranberry applesauce, turkey, goat cheese and baby spinach)

Healthy Cranberry Applesauce
Yields: ~4 c applesauce

5-6 apples (try for a mix! I used 4 stayman and 2 granny smith), peeled and quartered
2 c water
1 c fresh cranberries
1 c agave nectar
1 cinnamon stick
a pinch of fresh nutmeg
a pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring often with a large wooden spoon. As the apples and cranberries begin to cook, mash them with the side or bottom of your spoon to gently break apart and facilitate cooking. 

Applesauce is finished when all apples and cranberries are cooked down to a sauce. This will be chunky. If you want a more smooth sauce, puree with an immersion blender or transfer to a blender or food processor. (If pureeing in a blender or food processor, make sure that sauce is cooled before doing so. Hot liquids can cause these equipment to break.)

Saturday, November 10

Creamy Pumpkin Orzo Skillet

As I become increasingly "old," I feel like I'm witnessing my perception of weekends changing so much. 

Back in college weekends were basically just an extension of the rest of the week. Exciting nonetheless, but when you're working part time and going to class even less... and let's be honest college was just a big party anyway.  
In the most recent years after graduating college weekends were a great way to revisit that college experience. Party all night, sleep until 11, 12 or even 1... etc. My only deterrence was this job thing that I had to do Monday-Friday.

But now... I'm getting kinda "old." As in.. I find myself relating to Thought Catalog posts like this one. As in.. last night I was going to go out, but had 2 glasses of wine and passed out before 10 PM. I mean, granted I was exceptionally tired, but I'm finding my weekends consisting of an increasing amount of "taking it easy tonight" and waking up around 8 AM. Which is great if you're going to puppy playtime (yea, it's probably what heaven is like) at 9 AM, but not so great if you want to attend anything that goes later than 12 AM.

Anyway, as I arose this morning around 7:30 (let's remember I went to sleep at 9:30 and a girl can only sleep so much), I realized how much more productive my weekends have become. I remember a time when I would have an issue getting anywhere before 12 PM. Now, I've shopped for groceries, played with puppies, and picked up my dry cleaning (yea that's another "adult" thing that's happening now) before 1. And now I'm blogging. And then I'm going to clean my apartment. Good God.. WHO AM I!?

I swear I'm going somewhere with all of this.

Anyway, anyone who can relate to anything I've said above knows what I'm talking about when I say that sometimes I'm too lazy to cook, but only because if I have to wash one extra dish it might be too much. Enter, the beauty of this orzo dish. One skillet! Plus of course a medium sized pot to cook your orzo, some measuring stuff, and a spatula. Thazit. And omgeee it's yum. And we've touched on how healthy pumpkin is here right?

I'm a messy cook       ^


Creamy Pumpkin Orzo Skillet
Serves 4

1 box whole wheat (or not) orzo pasta
1-15 oz can cooked & pureed pumpkin
1/2 c milk (I used 2%)
1/2 c crumbled goat cheese
1/2 c grated Pecorino Romano cheese (or Parmesan)
1 tbsp dried sage
1/2 tbsp aleppo pepper (or 1/4 tsp red pepper flake)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
~3-4 oz fresh baby spinach
1/2 c panko crumbs
Salt & pepper

Cook orzo according to package instructions, drain and set aside.

In a large cast iron skillet over medium low heat, combine pumpkin, milk, goat cheese, Romano cheese and all herbs and spices (including salt & pepper) with a silicone spatula. Continue to stir sauce until cheeses are melted and mixture is warmed. 

Stir in orzo and spinach. Continue to stir until pasta is coated and warmed. Spread evenly over skillet with the spatula. Sprinkle the top with panko crumbs.

Place the skillet under the broiler on high for 4-5 minutes, or until the crumbs are browned and toasty.

Serve warm.

Enter, easy clean up.

Thursday, November 1

Pumpkin, Pepita, & Black Bean Quinoa

I learned today: after eating candy nonstop for a week because "it's Halloween," it's very difficult to try and stop abruptly because "Halloween is over." And it's very hard (read: impossible) to sate a chocolate craving with an apple.

I think I may have a sugar problem. 

But with Halloween being a thing of the past this year, I believe that only leaves us with one thing to do. Buy all the half priced candy from the CVS near your office AND the CVS near your apartment. Eat your decorations.

Ok, not all your decorations (unless you decorate solely with candy). Certainly not the skeleton hanging on your front door. Specifically, the little pumpkin you bought because it looks cute in your living room/kitchen/office. I'm talking "pie pumpkins." (I'm sorry, but you can't actually eat the one you carved.)

Didn't do that? I'm sure they're cheap now. Go get one! Next year, plan ahead. Eating decor is so strangely satisfying. (Was that too bossy? Sorry.)

While it would be fun and delicious to whip said pumpkin into a pie, my thoughts were really focused on taking a few steps away from the sugar shaker. This dish is packed with protein and, when it's unaccompanied by the rest of the pie, pumpkin is actually super healthy. Vitamin A anyone? It's important to eat all the colors of the rainbow all year long and not just in the summer. Pumpkins, sweet potatoes and other squashes are perfect seasonal ways to attain this goal.

Pie pumpkins can be hard to hack open. The way I cracked mine was to cut off the top (as if it were a carving pumpkin), scoop out the seeds and microwave the topless (ooh-la-la) pumpkin for 5 minutes. This softened the outside of the pumpkin so that I was able to cut it in half. This also conveniently reduces the roasting time. #winwin


Pumpkin, Pepita, & Black Bean Quinoa
Serves 4

1 pie pumpkin
1 c. quinoa
2 tbsp EVOO
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp white vinegar
2 tbsp water
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp dried sage
1-2 tsp sriracha
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
Salt & Pepper, to taste
Baby spinach

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare the pumpkin by removing the top and scooping out the seeds. Set the seeds aside. Microwave the pumpkin for 5 minutes, or until it begins to soften.

While pumpkin is in the microwave, clean the seeds of pulp and pat dry. Place a sheet of aluminum foil on a baking sheet and spray with cooking spray. Toss the seeds with salt and lay flat on the baking sheet. These will roast for 25 minutes and will need to be stirred at 10 minutes.

Remove pumpkin from the microwave. Cut in half. Place the halves face down on a foil lined baking sheet. This will roast for 20 minutes.

Rinse quinoa and cook according to package instructions (this is usually about 20 minutes as well, so the recipe will be well timed to start this when the pumpkin begins roasting).

Meanwhile, whisk together to EVOO, honey, white vinegar, water, cinnamon, sage, and sriracha.

Once quinoa, and pepitas are finished cooking, toss together with black beans and dressing in a large bowl. The pumpkin can be cut into cubes in the shell (much like you would cut an avocado) and then removed. Add to bowl and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over bed of baby spinach.

I hope everyone had a fun and safe Halloween!

Wednesday, October 24

Pecorino Crusted Apple Turnovers

Dear Creativity,

Please come back. I miss you.

I think I lost you somewhere between getting home every night at 7 PM, just wanting to shove the nearest food item (usually candy corn) in my mouth when I walk in the door and being broke as a joke after not getting paid for a month and a half.

But I think I'm ready to be friends again. I think this time I will pay more attention to you. I promise you actually.



In the meantime, these apple turnovers rule. Got lots of time and lots of butter? Make your own puff pastry. I did! I made it while unemployed a few weeks ago and froze half. It keeps for 2 weeks in the freezer. Or just buy it at the super market. It will still be good. And easier!

PS The new Geico Maxwell radio ad makes me infinitely happy (will there be.. snacks?!). Anyone else? Oh and check out these freakin meese! Cuuuute.

Parmesean Crusted Apple Turnovers
8 turnovers
Adapted from Joy of Cooking

1 lb puff pastry
1 lb apples (usually 2 large, 3 small)
1/4 c sugar
1 tsp AP flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 c Pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated

Roll the pastry dough into two 11-inch squares, about 1/8 inch thick. Place each square on a baking sheet covered in parchment (or a Silpat) and place in the refrigerator to chill while the filling is prepared.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Peel, core and cut the apples to a 1/4 inch dice (do this while the pastry dough chills, not ahead of time). Toss together in a medium bowl the apples, sugar, flour, cinnamon, lemon juice and salt. Set aside.

Remove the pastry from the refrigerator and trim 1/2 inch from all sides of each square. This will leave you with two 10-inch squares and even edges. Cut each square into four equal 5-inch squares. Turn each piece over.

Spoon some of the apple mixture, dividing it equally, into the center of each square. (I typically have some apples left because they won't all fit. I just eat these. NBD) Brush two adjacent sides of each square with some egg wash (you know, to seal the turnovers) and fold so that the sides with no egg wash meet the egg-washed sides. Use a fork to seal by making impressions around the edges.

Brush the top of each turnover with egg wash and cut 3 slits in the top of each. Arrange on baking sheets at least 1 inch apart and top each with 1/8 of the cheese.

Bake the turnovers 15 minutes at 425 degrees, until they begin to brown. Reduce the temperature of the oven to 350 degrees and bake another 20 minutes.

Try to serve warm or at least in the same day. Fresh pastry is always best. If you can't eat them all in one day, you can breathe some life back into them with a toaster oven (think toaster strudel).

Oh.. and you don't work in a bakery. So don't worry
some are rectangles, octagons or shaped like ghosts.

Sunday, October 14

Carrot & Apple Olive Oil Cake

I recently went apple picking at this beautiful farm in VA. It actually looks like that little water color in the top left corner. I'm not kidding. It was so refreshing to get out into the country for a day and be a total apple nerd. I can't encourage this activity enough.

I used some of said apples to make this amazingly moist cake. Aaaaaand then I spent 20 minutes evening up the edges of section of the cake from where the last slice was taken. Oh it looks a little crooked here. Ok that's straight.. oh wait it's a little bit off here. You know.. important stuff. Obviously eating the remnants.

It's good. It's real good.

The cake is baked in a 13x9 pan. I actually ended up cutting mine in half, frosting with a simple cream cheese frosting (highly recommend, although something with coconut would be nice too!), and making a square layer cake. I added some leaf sprinkles for fall flair and awesome points. 

Ok CLEARLY I'm no professional, but this is pretty adorbs.. amiright?

Soundtrack: These things...

Carrot & Apple Olive Oil Cake

  • 1 1/4 sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup EVOO
  • 2 c ap flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 c peeled, cored and shredded apple
  • 2 c shredded carrot

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 9 X 13 inch pan by greasing and dusting with flour. Set aside.

  • In a large bowl, blend together the sugar and the eggs. Add the oil and mix until combined. Using a spatula, stir in flour, spices, salt, and baking soda. Don't worry - the batter should be pretty thick at this point. Stir in the carrots and the apples (watch how this step makes the dough-like mixture from the previous step become more like a cake batter and be totally amazed!). Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth the top.

  • Bake 40 minutes.

PS Watch yo fingas!