Tuesday, November 29

Wheat Cranberry Bread

Since I started this blog, I have food-porn pictures, recipes, ideas, and edits coming out of my ears (from my brain of course). I'm quickly realizing that I cannot blog at the rate at which I cook or bake. And I cannot cook or bake at the rate at which I conceptualize. And I certainly cannot cook or bake at the rate I can browse other food blogs and find amazing recipes that I want to try. Le sigh.

Goddamn you, full time job!

Let me tell you a thing or two about how I stay organized. 


I don't.



I'm slowly realizing that like, wow, I've gotta get my shit together.

I need a binder for my recipes. I need a central place to save my blahg faves. I neeeeeeed to organize my pictures. I need need need to take more logical notes. Oy.

New years resolution. I've already found you! Well that was easy this year...


This one, was almost the one that got away.

I love this cranberry bread recipe from Martha Stewart (with a few tweaks, of course). And it's perfect for the holidays. I has such a beautiful deep red color when it's baked! It smells amazing and is the perfect balance of sweet and tart. It makes a great host/ess gift for that ugly sweater party. The gift of breakfast! Just wrap it up in some wax or parchment paper and secure with a ribbon. Just don't try to stick tape or stickers to parchment paper. It doesn't stick. It's so logical. It's so annoying.

Soundtrack: Business Casual Disco, courtesy of DPC! Thank god for Becca and Rashad, or what would I listen to all day?

Anyone For Tennis? by Business Casual Disco

Wheat Cranberry Bread
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart, Cranberry Bread
Yield: 1 9x5 in. loaf

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 c ap flour
1 c whole wheat flour
1 c packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3/4 c milk (I used 2%)
1 bag (12 ounces) fresh cranberries
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 tbsp turbinado sugar, for topping (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together both flours, the brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set dry mixture aside. In a smaller bowl, whisk slowly together butter, egg, and milk. Add wet mixture to dry mixture. Stir with a spatula to combine, then fold in cranberries and lemon zest. Use the least amount of strokes possible to do this.

Pour batter into a greased and floured 9x5 in. loaf pan. Sprinkle top with turbinado sugar, if desired. Bake about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. Place pan on a wire rack and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes. Remove from pan, and continue to cool directly on the cooling rack.




A sea of cranberries!
Oooh. Now, just wait 1 hr and 15 minutes.. oy. So long!





Sunday, November 27

White Chicken Chili

How ironic that I am posting a white chili the day after watching one of my best-est friends try on wedding dresses...

And being the first to cry (go me!), I have to say, the dress shopping thing was a little overwhelming. Maybe it's because I can't even fathom the fact that this is where we are in life now and I'm just not ready to grow up. Or maybe it's just because my purse was full of mashed pear and I spilled coffee all over myself, but being so close to things so white and delicate and expensive totally freaked me out at first.

So hard to imagine that just a few short years ago we were bowling
in our prom dresses... and now we are shopping for wedding dresses...
(PS Being overwhelmed always reminds me of one particular Hollywood moment from 10 Things I Hate About You. PPS I have no idea what the second part of that youtube vid even is, but it's all I could find..)

But omgosh, watching her face light up when she found the right dress was a moment that I'm really glad I was able to share. And I finally met her fiance (so now that doesn't have to be an awkward pre-wedding moment). And now I'm really excited for her.

Eek!

I also got to see three of my other favorite people in the world this weekend! Two of which told me they've never even read my blog, so I'm definitely crossing them off the list soon. Losers. Jessica on the other hand, I can't wait to walk down the aisle with you, boo.

But yea, totally worth eight hours of driving in two days. Poughkeepsie, I love you. You have my heart forevs.
Our "21st" Birthday
Anyway... chili...




Soundtrack: Some interesting Christmas music that I found.... Carol of the BELLZ, yo.


 

White Chicken Chili
Serves 4-5


1 medium onion, chopped (I like to chop half and leave the other half in bigger pieces, because I like big pieces of onion)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 chicken breasts, cleaned and cut into strips
2 medium red peppers, seeded and chopped
jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced (optional)
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp chipotle powder
20 oz chicken broth (this is about most of a 32 oz container, you can eye it out if you don't have a scale)
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 can corn, drained and rinsed
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground mustard
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
Juice of 1 lime
Muenster cheese, shredded
EVOO, salt & pepper




In a medium stockpot, heat a small drizzle of EVOO over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions just begin to soften; about 3-4 minutes.


Add chicken, red peppers, jalapeno, chili powder, and chipotle to the pot. Saute over medium heat until chicken is cooked through; about 5-10 minutes. Once chicken is fully cooked, remove chicken strips from stock pot to a cutting board. Add broth, kidney beans, chickpeas and corn to the pot. Stir in remaining seasonings (oregano, cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin, mustard and coriander). Raise the heat to high.


Meanwhile, using two forks, shred the chicken strips to bite-sized pieces. Once shredded, return to stockpot.


Once chili begins to boil, reduce the heat and cover the pot. Allow the chili to simmer at least 20-25 minutes. Can be simmered longer to thicken. Before serving, add lime juice to pot.


Serve hot and garnish with cheese.


See? Some small onions, some large onions.. I have issues
Chickpeas. Love.
Imagine you were a giant, and used a giant spoon?
Bahaha. I took a whole bunch of pics of the chili,
then noticed something a bit off...


Tuesday, November 22

Thanksgiving Pie Porn, Swoon!

I don't really love Thanksgiving all that much. Yea I know. Me. Obsessed with food. Don't love it.

I'll let you get over your shock and then I'll explain. It's just not that awesome. I can totally get behind a whole day of eating, trust me. But WHY do we all have to eat a turkey? WHY do we all have to eat stuffing and mashed potatoes? I just don't get it. Because I just don't LOVE those foods. 

And honestly... it's just all so stressful. The thought of cooking a WHOLE GIANT BIRD just stresses me out. And then add 5 or so side dishes! Thank GOD I don't have to do it. Oy.

But I do love one part of Thanksgiving. Ok, I guess it's really two parts. But only one is really a component of the holiday.

<3 

1) The next day is the beginning of the holiday season (hence the reason I've spent most of my life anxiously awaiting Thanksgiving to be over).


<3

 2) Pie.

Mmm pie.

I'm bringing a pie to my holiday feast. I'll give you one guess which.

I've also been browsing pinterest in my spare time for adorable, delicious pie-baking ideas (Yea, I do that. WHAT?). And I thought I would share. Because OMG, swooon, some of these ideas are soo cute! And oh wow, some of these look SO goooood.















Source: notmartha.org via Jenna on Pinterest





Source: familyfeedbag.com via Gina on Pinterest\



Source: bhg.com via Jessica on Pinterest





Source: bhg.com via Jessica on Pinterest



Source: bhg.com via Kim on Pinterest





Source: bhg.com via Jessica on Pinterest









Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy your feasts, your time with the fam, your PIE and your football. Just get excited. Because the holidays are coming. In. 2. days. Weeee!

Saturday, November 19

Peppermint Oreo Cookies

Can I say that? I don't have to call these "Chocolate Creme Sandwiches" or something? Pssht. This ain't Waaaalmarttt.

I think the chipped polish gives the picture a more peppermint=y look
Anyway, speaking of discount super stores, I got a little carried away in Target last night. I stopped in for shampoo and got totally sidetracked by Christmas decor (it's always something). I ended up with Christmas sticky notes, bells for my mini tree (it's the size of a coffee mug... and now it has giant bells on it.. it's SO cute), gift labels, tissue paper, candy canes, ribbon, etc. I'm getting really amped. And I know I'm a week early (I've never really loved Thanksgiving all that much; I know scandalous right?). But you know what, I'm an adult. And adults do what we want. Even if that's to get really excited about a holiday that's largely based upon belief in a fictional character who sneaks into your house and delivers presents in the night. And even if that means buying sticky notes shaped like bells. And gingerbread man squeaky toys for your dog, who has no concept of Christmas at all and makes the gingerbread man an amputee in .05 seconds. Whatever.


Vanilla Almond Milk = perfect dunking option
PS How cute is this!?


OMG Christmas Penguin, look out!
But after returning home and continuing to be really excited, I decided to mash up some candy canes and make these delicious peppermint oreo cookies. Because what better way to be excited about the holidays and steal a little of Thanksgiving's thunder than with peppermint candy cane confections? And who doesn't love a good oreo cookie? Exactly. So, here's a little bit of my week-too-early holiday cheer. If you can't stomach it for another week, save the recipe. It's definitely worthwhile! The whole thing is done in the bowl of a food processor. One stop shop. Minimal dishes, maximum milk dunking enjoyment. (If you haven't already heard me say this, I'll say it again: If you don't have one, GET A FOOD PROCESSOR.) The wafer part of these cookies is spot on to the original oreo; the frosting is a bit off, but I attribute that to the lard and preservatives that this homemade version leaves out. (You're better off without it.)

Soundtrack: Found this one on a friend's FB page and I sorta love it. It sounds a little generic in some parts, but most of it's really unique and fun.
TDRMC Annual Mix by Taikomochi Records

Peppermint Oreo Cookies
Adapted from Retro Desserts, Wayne Brachman, via Smitten Kitchen
Makes 15-20 sandwiches (I made mine larger, because I was in an "I want to eat 2 cookies, but tell myself I ate 1" kind of mood)


For the cookies:
1 1/4 c ap flour
1/2 c unsweeted Dutch process cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 c sugar
1/2 c plus 2 tbsp butter, room temp
1 egg


For the creme:
1/2 c butter, room temp
2 c powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 peppermint candy canes, smashed into bits


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.


In the bowl of a food processor, add flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar. Process on low until blended. Cut butter into tablespoons and add to bowl. Process on low until fully combined. Add egg and continue to process on low for 2-3 minutes, or until dough comes together and is fully moistened. You will need to scrape with a spatula at least once to ensure even distribution.


Spoon dough onto lined cookie sheets in rounded teaspoons. Flatten cookies a bit with the flat part of a spatula or palms. Bake for 9 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through.


While cookies are baking, rinse food processor bowl and blade and dry. Remove cookies from the oven and allow to cool for 2-3 minutes, then transfer to a cooking rack.


To make the creme, reattach food processor bowl to base and add butter. Process for 1 minute on low, scraping the sides occasionally, until whipped. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Continue to process for another 3 minutes, or until creme is light and fluffy. With processor running on low, add candy cane bits. Run for another 30 seconds. 


Once cookies are fully cooled, use a spoon to drop about a tablespoon of creme on the underside of a cookie. Press the underside of another cookie to the creme to spread it out and create a sandwich. Repeat until all cookies are used. 


Dunk in milk and enjoy!



Whiiiirrrrrr






Thursday, November 17

Favorite Peanut Stir Fry Sauce

This is...


...hands down, the best stir fry sauce. Ever.




Do you like peanut butter? I'm sure that you do. Because you're cool. I'm cool. We're hip. We're groovin'. And peanut butter is super yummy.

I remember the first time I learned peanut butter was mayyyybee not the best thing to haphazardly eat 5-6 spoonfuls of per day. It was a sad day. One day it's, "Hey, this goo is really good! I can totally snack on this instead of real food whenever I get bored, because goo is totally calorie free!" and the next day it's "Wow, I've totally been consuming an needless average 600-700 calories mindlessly every day." Oh, to be 13 again. Eek.

And just so you know, I'm not the only person who's had this experience with peanut butter. I know others. My aunt, for instance. She told me once (it must have been why I had this revelation, because I don't know why else this story would be so burned in my brain), that she ate it every day when she got home from school, until one day she read the label. So see? I'm not the only one.

But anyway, back to this stir fry sauce. It's my go-to. The peanut butter is thinned out with vinegar and soy sauce and seasoned, to make a tangy, gingery, spicy sauce that you can pour over virtually anything that you're stir-frying. It's that easy. It's that delicious. And I'm sharing it with you. Because I love you.

And because you love me, you're going to follow this link. And vote for my pie. I scratch your big toe, you scratch mine. I'm just kidding. I would never go anywhere near your big toe. I hate feet.


Favorite Peanut Stir Fry Sauce
Adapted from Eatingwell.com
Serves 2-3


3 tbsp water
4 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
2 tbsp white vinegar
2 tsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp honey
2 tsp minced ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced

2-4 tsp hot sauce (to taste)


Whisk all ingredients together. Pour over cooked meat and/or slightly sauteed stir-fry vegetables to finish!






Monday, November 14

Fall Fruit Walnut Crisp

Guess what!? I'm back. I took a few days off to do some things. Secret things. Wouldn't you like to know? (You wouldn't. I'm not that cool.) I wasn't even gone that long. I just wanted to be dramatic about it and link to that Eminem video for mah girl Kerry (shout out!!!).


But anyway, I'm back and I've got more Fall stuff to make you roll your eyes. Apples! Pears! Cranberries! Walnuts! and BUTTER! (Yea, butter is totally a Fall staple. So is cheese. And squash.)

If anyone read my pumpkin pie with dark chocolate ganache recipe and still thinks they can't make pie crust despite my pleading and disco inspired persuasion, a crisp is a great way to fake it. I actually like crisps more than pies anyway. Brown sugar and butter bubble down from the crust and form a delicious sauce with the fruit in the bottom of the baking dish. The topping is sweet and crunchy and just the right amount pastry-y (you know what I'm talking about). You probably can't frost them though (or maybe you can - I'll work on that).

Then, you can get really lazy with me and not even peel your fruit. Well, some call this lazy, I think it makes it prettier. (Ok, it started as laziness, but I like the way it looks.)

Also, who knew there were this many different types of baked fruit desserts? I can't wait to make a grunt. Uuhhh. Bonus points if you know the difference between a betty and a cobbler without looking!




Fall Fruit Walnut Crisp
3/4 c ap flour
3/4 c brown sugar
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon 
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 c chopped walnuts
1 stick (1/2 c) butter
2 medium Bartlett pears
1 medium Granny Smith apple
1 medium Gala apple
1/4 c craisins

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Add to the bowl of a food processor the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, salt and walnuts and pulse to combine. Cut butter into 8 pats and drop into the bowl. Pulse until just combined, being careful not to over-process. (Alternately, combine in a medium bowl and cut butter in using a pastry cutter or 2 knives. The knives thing is a PITA, trust me. It totally can be done, but you should get a food processor.) The mixture should look like coarse breadcrumbs. Set aside in the refrigerator.

Grease an 8x8 cake pan or baking dish. Core the apples and pears. Cut into cubes, but do not peel. Add to baking dish with craisins, evenly interspersing the fruit around the dish.

Top the fruit with the dough, adding in clumps. It should form an even crust once patted together.

Bake dish for 45-50 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Serve warm and top with whipped cream (or even better, ice cream! I'd suggest vanilla, but Adam wanted chocolate.). 

Please, note the small white dog in the bottom right corner of
this photo, scavenging off the ground
Beautiful Fall colors!



Wednesday, November 9

Pumpkin Pie Granola

You know what sucks about store bought granolas? They're usually pretty expensive and they're usually pretty unhealthy. Oil, sugar, chocolate, etc.. all delicious things, but not when you inadvertently load your breakfast down with them. When I eat dessert, I like to be eating dessert. (And I love to be eating dessert.)

Tasty!
So, the solution? Make your own. It's less expensive (although the cost will be more up front depending on what's hanging around in your pantry, but once you have the basics you can make it on the cheap.). You know what your getting into. It looks more rustic; I think it's prettier. You can control your ingredients. You like walnuts? You like almonds? Add 'em! Can't stand sunflower seeds? Forget 'em! (Although, I think you're nuts if you can't stand sunflower seeds. Add yourself to your granola.)

It will seem awkward at first, but like anything once you get the hang of it you can pretty much play around with the proportions of your add ins. It's easy once you do it a few times.

Not convinced yet? Homemade granola also makes a great holiday or hostess gift. On the cheap. I think putting a little love into something is way more valuable anyway. (Just a side note, booze is also a wonderful holiday/hostess gift. Booze and granola is even better. Hmmm homemade gift basket idea?)

Packaging is everything!
 Try this one below. It's healthiest version I've ever come up with, but it tastes delicious. It's not super sweet, but nothing you're eating in the AM should be. I like a crunchy granola, which this is. I used steel cut oats, because I just bought them and I'm a little obsessed at this very moment, real pumpkin, walnuts and a variety of seeds (pumpkin seeds, of course) and no oil.  Then, try this Ginger Spice Granola.

Soundtrack:




Pumpkin Pie Granola


1 c steel cut oats
1/2 c quick cook oats
1/2 c walnuts, chopped
1/4 c pumpkin seeds
1/4 c sunflower seeds
1/4 tsp kosher salt
3/4 c pureed pumpkin
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp agave syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 c raisins (optional)


Preheat oven to 300.


In a large bowl, combine steel cut oats, quick cook oats, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and kosher salt. Stir until mixed well. Set aside.


In a small saucepan, heat pumpkin, maple syrup, agave syrup, and vanilla over low heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and allspice and stir to blend.


Add pumpkin mixture to bowl of oats, nuts and seeds and stir to coat.


Spread out granola mixture on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 35-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.


Once granola is toasted, allow to cool. Then add raisins and toss to combine. Store in an airtight container.


Reflect-y bowl

Oh hey, random can of pumpkin... 




Monday, November 7

Caramelized Onion Hummus with Pita Chips

Dear Megabus: Your wifi sucks.

Sorry all! The plan was totally to have a new post on Saturday, but due to Megabus being Megasuck, I didn’t really get the chance. Two 3 hour bus rides, 0 hours of wifi. I’m not a happy camper.

But despite the bus 'n stuff (which really wasn't all that bad; I got really good at Mahjong!), I had the best weekend ever! (I say that a lot, but I always mean it.)
Yummions.
I was down in DC Saturday and Sunday, visiting Becca (creator of this Fluffanutter Bread and dance party extraordinaire) and attending the Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Expo

The expo was an all around pretty cool experience! I got to see my idol (Giada DeLaurentis, obvi) and her hot red pants conduct a cooking demo, then sampled lots of cheese and just under 50 million different dips, olive oils and spice mixes, etc. Needless to say by the end of the day I was pretty full and my sodium intake was up there.

The cooking demo wasn’t actually Giada cooking (she used audience volunteers), which was slightly disappointing (only disappointing because I wasn't up on stage). But there was a highly inappropriate and rambling audience Q&A session, which was pretty damn entertaining and that totally made up for it. Overall, the vendor part of the expo was just endless samplings of dips, spice mixes, hot sauces, and cheeses, which was really exciting at first, but I feel bad for the booths towards the back of the floor (dipping tiny pieces of bread or pretzels into things gets old..). I wished they focused a little more on actual cook/bake ware. And where were all the artisanal breads?

There are definitely a lot of people out there with some tasty and forward thinking products though! Some things that I loved: Nantucket Pasta Goddess (gluten-free pasta, that's actually really good), Bola GranolaLarry's Beans (Fair-Trad organic coffee), and Peanut Butter & Company (which actually I just discovered is for sale at Wegs!).

Take home lessons: cheese is good, don’t try to earn a living selling spice mixes/dips (it’s a flooded market, to say the least), people are curious about Giada’s weight, artisanal salts are really expensive and just taste like kosher salt, make sure there will actually be a book-signing before you go and drag your food processor to a cooking demo, and the DC Convention Center is really large.
Yummus!
Ooh! And! Saturday night, we grabbed some pizza at Mellow Mushroom, a circus themed pizza joint, which was honestly delicious. Pesto, tomatoes, mushrooms, jalapenos and spinach topped our perfectly soft and doughy wheat crust (which I didn’t even notice until I started pulling it apart at the end; I pick at my food, sorry if you don’t) pizza and it was glorious. SERIOUSLY PHILADELPHIA WHY DO YOU HAVE TO SUCK SO HARD AT MAKING PIZZA!? I’m moving to DC for the pizza, fo’ sho.
Meh, not creative enough to work the word "yum" into pita chips...
Soundtrack: We also checked out Metro Area at UHall, which was a good time. They were really fun and a dance party ensued (obvs, I can always trust Becca for that). Here’s to good times!




Caramelized Onion Hummus with Pita Chips

For the hummus:

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 clove garlic, split in half
1/4 c well-stirred tahini (sesame paste, available near the peanut butter in the natural foods aisle)
Juice of 1 lemon
EVOO
Pinch of salt

In a microwave-safe container, microwave chickpeas for 30 seconds (this step is not necessary, but it makes for a fluffier consistency). 

Combine onions, chickpeas, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, salt and a light drizzle of EVOO in the bowl of a food processor. Process on low for 30 seconds. The dip will be dry and thick, so add a tbsp of water. Scrape down the sides, then process for another 30 seconds. Continue to alternate this for another minute, adding water as needed to moisten, until hummus has reached a consistency that is easy to work with, but not too watered down. Process for an additional 3-4 minutes to fully purree.

For the pita chips:

4-5 whole wheat pita loaves (Wegman’s bread are the absolute best I’ve tried)
1-2 tbsp EVOO
¼ tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the pitas into wedges, pulling apart the triangles at all of the edge so they are 2 separate pieces. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Lay the pita triangles out on the sheet.

Using a basting brush, dab each chip with a bit of EVOO and sprinkle with a light dusting of Zatar seasoning. Sprinkle salt over all the chips evenly.

Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, or until crispy.

Serve with caramelized onion hummus.





I burnt my mouth like 4 times right about at this point
Mini food processor love!


Ch-ch-chips!