Category Archives: recipes

Early summer cooking

Deviled eggs: The America’s Test Kitchen recipe for hard-boiled eggs has never failed me. For the fillings, I used the egg yolks, mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, salt, pepper, and some chopped fresh rosemary, with a little paprika on top. I would’ve used soy sauce but we were out.

Radish top pesto: Got some radishes at the farmers’ market and made the greens into pesto, along with a couple of handfuls of basil from the garden, a clove of garlic, olive oil, walnuts, and parmesan cheese. (Ate the radishes themselves on bread with butter.)

Veggie dal: a friend made this (from Oh She Glows) and I can’t wait to try it out at home. It was surprisingly mild – I think she went easy on us, as we are not spice-loving people – and delicious over quinoa.

Couscous with a fried egg on top: still enjoying this “chef’s snack” when it’s hot out and I need to throw a meal together quickly.

IMG_20180619_173443Strawberry shortcake: We got a quart of incredible strawberries at Wilson Farm’s strawberry festival, and spooned them over shortcake, with home-made whipped cream. Perfect summer dessert. My own strawberries are doing pretty well too – and the nets covering the plants mean that we get to eat most of them, instead of them going to the birds.

Popcorn Cookies: Oh, Deb, I just don’t know how to quit you. This is from one of the Smitten Kitchen books and isn’t on her blog. It was one of her most straightforward recipes, and turned out the way it was supposed to, but I think I’d rather have popcorn and cookies, separately. (Or, you know, at the same time, but not in the same item.)

What are your favorite summer recipes?

 

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Chef’s snack

My new favorite quick dinner is this:

Cous cous (made with butter, salt, and a little za’atar if you have it)
Feta cheese
Crispy kale and/or cucumber and tomatoes (if in season)
Cashews or pistachios
Fried egg

I was describing this to a friend, and she said anything with a fried egg on top is called a “chef’s snack.” I’m not sure how widespread that terminology is, but I’m borrowing it!

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Mango juice pop on the deck

Other things I’ve made recently: tahini cookies from Jerusalem, applesauce from some slightly bruised Granny Smith apples, mango juice pops (in an ice cube tray with popsicle sticks; when this batch runs out I’m going to take another mom’s suggestion and freeze yogurt-fruit smoothie the same way. Voila, frozen breakfast on a stick!). Ben made cranberry-orange scones for Teacher Appreciation Week, and key lime pie is in the near future.

What are your favorite summer recipes?

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Taste of spring

Last fall I started a cookbook club at the library where I worked, and it was a success – so much so that a co-worker decided to keep it running when I went to work elsewhere. I’ve continued to attend as a regular participant, and it’s been a great way to try lots of new recipes from different cookbooks. (The group meets every other month, and cooks from a different book each meeting; the potluck style means everyone gets to try as many recipes as there are attendees at that month’s gathering, usually between 15-20.)

Fresh mint from the porchAt the most recent group, we read/cooked from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. I made pureed beets with Greek yogurt and za’atar, which came out well. After tasting some other dishes, I copied several of the recipes down to try at home, and have since made the turkey & zucchini meatballs/burgers (with green onion, mint, and cumin), a yogurt/cucumber/mint condiment, butternut squash hummus, and tahini cookies. It’s been refreshing to have some ingredients and flavors that are different from our usual rotation.

What else have we been up to in the kitchen lately? Baking, of course. I made black & white cookies from Martha Stewart’s Cookies. They were fine, but the dough was more like batter than dough; I could scoop tablespoons, but not roll them, so the cookies weren’t perfectly round, but they tasted good. I made our family’s birthday cake recipe again for my mom’s birthday, and I’ve been making the English Muffin Toasting Bread from King Arthur Flour almost every week.

What are your favorite seasonal recipes for spring?

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Homemade bagels

Did you know you can just, like…make bagels? YOU CAN. And I will be, from now on, unless we can get them from Brooklyn (on a visit, or friends visiting us…slice and freeze!). Thank you, again, to King Arthur Flour.

Here’s the KAF recipe for bagels that I used. I used two packets of active dry yeast instead of the instant yeast they call for, and I used brown sugar instead of the malt stuff, and I added a teaspoon of baking soda to the boiling water, on the advice of a baker friend. They turned out much better than expected! I will be making them again.

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Dough portioned out for bagels (approx. 100 grams each)

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Bagels taking shape

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Boiling three at a time

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Nine delicious, delicious bagels cooling

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Lunch!

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Get a loaf of this

Winter baking continues! Bread (and more bread), scones, pancakes, cake, cookies, pizza dough, granola, and probably more I’m forgetting.

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The oatmeal potato loaves from The Bread Bible

Bread: Most of my bread recipes come from King Arthur Flour, but I branched out recently and tried the potato oatmeal bread from Beth Hensperger’s The Bread Bible: 300 Favorite Recipes. It was a little more work upfront, but it makes two loaves and it came out great! I made one loaf in a 9×5 bread tin and one on a baking sheet (using a Silpat). The ingredients list calls for water, but in the text of the recipe it says milk; I used milk. I think the milk-for-water substitution was mentioned elsewhere in the book.

From King Arthur, the Oatmeal Toasting & Sandwich Bread has been a steady winner, with a good rise, nice color and flavor and texture. I’ve also liked the Vermont Maple Whole Wheat Honey Bread and the Vermont Maple Oatmeal Bread (I use the maple syrup, but not the extra maple flavoring). IMG_20180131_165114

My best discovery from King Arthur, though, has been the Almond Flour pancakes: they are perfect. Like most pancake batter, it’s quick to mix up a batch. I can make three at a time in our biggest skillet without them touching; they’re light-textured and airy and delicious, more filling than the average pancake (because of the nut protein?), and they keep and reheat well. The only downside is that I can’t send them to daycare with the little one, as it’s a nut-free environment. (Insert joke here.)

IMG_20180207_161715Pizza: The “rushed” version from Smitten Kitchen Every Day actually came out just fine, while the ATK recipe didn’t come out as well (it was still quite edible, just didn’t rise the way I thought it should).

Cake: Chocolate cake with chocolate icing: top-secret family recipe, for birthdays and weddings!

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Chocolate cake, before icing the sides

Cookies: Deb Perelman’s latest hamantaschen recipe from the book Smitten Kitchen Every Day. These didn’t come out as well as ones I’ve made previously; the dough was not quite as pliable, and liable to crack rather than bend when folded. Next time I’ll go back to one of her other hamantaschen recipes (there are lots) or my original family recipe (don’t know where it came from, but it works). Filled them with raspberry jam this year (yum) and fig (too sweet).

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Oatmeal scones from ATK recipe

I also made the blondies from the America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook (a.k.a. the red binder), because I wanted chocolate chip cookie bars. They were good but I’d consider trying other recipes as well – anyone have a chocolate chip cookie bar they love?

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In the oven (NOT A METAPHOR)

Homemade cinnamon raisin bread

Cinnamon raisin bread

Give me a little free time in summer, and I’m in the garden; give me a little free time in winter, and suddenly the house is full of sandwich bread, cinnamon raisin bread, cream scones, oatmeal cookies, chocolate chip cookies, Swedish visiting cake, and sour cream coffee cake. (To be fair, my partner-in-kitchen made the coffee cake. And helped with the cookies.)

Sandwich bread: King Arthur Flour

Cinnamon raisin bread: America’s Test Kitchen (but the kid baffles me: “No butter on my toast!” What??)

Oatmeal cookies: Flour by Joanne Chang (I used dried apricots instead of raisins)

Chocolate chip cookies (a.k.a. “most best”): Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce

Cream scones: America’s Test Kitchen (I used raisins and candied ginger instead of currants)

Swedish visiting cake: Dorie’s Cookies by Dorie Greenspan (I’ve made this at least seven times since discovering it. It is SO EASY and SO DELICIOUS. I don’t make the topping, I just sift a little powdered sugar over it once it’s cooled a bit.)

Sour cream coffee cake: Flour

We did have salmon and kale for dinner the other night, so we’re not subsisting solely on baked goods, and both cakes were to share…but still, I should probably concentrate on vegetables for a little while.

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What’s cooking

Dog lying on a pillow

But also, here is a photo of the dog.

This used to be, as a friend once described it, a blog about food and pictures of my dog. It’s evolved a little bit away from that in the past few years, but here’s a roundup of some of the recipes I’ve made over the last few months, partly inspired by my reading and by the new cookbook club I started at the library.

Cooking

Tsimmes from Cooking for Jeffrey by Ina Garten: Fine, but not as good as the tsimmes my friend brought to Rosh Hashanah last fall; I should have used her recipe. I tried the Barefoot Contessa’s because (a) it took less time, and (b) that was the cookbook club book.

Pita chips from The Food52 CookbookAs advertised: better than store-bought chips. I made these to bring to the first cookbook club.

Pasta with tomato sauce and cheese, with a side of Brussels sprouts in the cast iron on the stove top: first time I’d made Brussels sprouts in a while, I forgot how good they are. (Not that good left over. Get ’em while they’re hot and crispy.) This isn’t really a special recipe but it’s here as proof that I don’t use my kitchen solely to bake cookies.

“Green casserole”: I don’t particularly enjoy munching on spinach leaves and neither, it turns out, does my two-year-old, but we will both happily eat “green pasta.” 1. Cook any short/medium shape of pasta as usual. 2. Put a whole bag of spinach in the food processor with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and one clove of garlic. 3. Drain pasta, and while the empty pot is still warm, add a couple tablespoons of butter, some milk or cream, grated cheese, and salt and pepper to taste, then mix in the spinach. 4. Add the pasta back into the pot and stir to coat. 5. Optional: add more milk or cream, dump it all into a casserole dish, top with extra cheese, and bake for 20 minutes. If you do this, make sure you take the pasta out when it’s al dente, or it may get too mushy.

Winter vegetable crunch: My friend brought me some salad she’d made, a combination of Brussels sprouts and carrots, and it was delicious. I borrowed her recipe (lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper, mustard) and used purple cabbage and rainbow carrots. Everything into the food processor! This was the first time I bought a cabbage. (It goes a long way. This would be a good salad to serve if you have a lot of people coming over.)

See also: pizza (below)

Baking

Last-minute chocolate cake from Garlic & Sapphires by Ruth Reichl: The cake didn’t rise much (not even all the way to the top of the bread tin). It was good warm, but not great leftover – definitely needed ice cream or whipped cream. Probably wouldn’t make again, but will try “Nicky’s Vanilla Cake” from the same book.

Pear clafouti from Wintersweet: This recipe called for cranberries also but was very, very good with just pear. I’ve made it both ways now. Easy and delicious.

Oatmeal raisin cookies from Flour (again, and again, and again)

Pumpkin cookies from Martha Stewart Cookies: Like all pumpkin cookies I’ve ever made, a little wet and cakey, though the flavor was good.

Pumpkin “bread” (cake) from my mom’s recipe, with the caramel icing from Faulknerian Family Spice Cake from The Food52 Cookbook (minus about a cup of confectioner’s sugar): This pumpkin bread really doesn’t need icing, but I made it in muffin tins (halve the baking time) for my daughter’s second birthday party, and, well, cupcakes should have a little icing. It was a good combination.

“Easy as pie” Apple cake from the New York Times: A friend brought this over for brunch and this was the recipe she used. I think I made it too, afterward, but I don’t remember. Apple cakes are usually pretty foolproof.

French toast: French toast seems fancy but is actually very easy. Soak bread in egg/milk/vanilla mixture, sprinkle it with cinnamon, and cook it on both sides over medium heat till golden-brown. Slice some bananas into the pan with butter too so they caramelize and put them on top, or use fresh fruit.

Guinness Brown Bread from Cooking for Jeffrey by Ina Garten: The bread fell apart when I tried to turn it out of the loaf tin. Flavor was OK but not outstanding. Rather than make this again I’d just make Boston brown bread.

Cranberry orange bread from America’s Test Kitchen: My mom brought me some fresh cranberries from the Cape and this was one of the ways I used them (see also: pear clafouti). If you only have dried cranberries, soak them in water or juice before adding them to the batter.

Banana bread from Flour (again)

Sprinkle cookies from Smitten Kitchen: A friend made these for our December book club/cookie swap and they were so much better than sprinkle cookies usually are that I made a batch a few days later. So good – and fun for kids to roll the balls of dough in the sprinkles!

Sliced bread

Loaf of bread on a wire rack

ACTUAL BREAD from King Arthur Flour’s recipe for Pain de Mie. One of my goals for 2018 was to start baking sandwich bread instead of buying bread at the grocery store, and I tackled it on January 1. It came out beautifully! (For years I have been avoiding any recipe that called for active dry yeast, after being burned – not literally – too many times by less-than-active yeast. No more!)

Emboldened by my success with the sandwich bread, I made pizza dough from Smitten Kitchen tonight: her “rushed” version from the first book takes about six minutes to put together and has just a 30-minute rise, so it is actually manageable for dinner without much planning ahead. We topped it with pasta sauce, Italian herbs, shredded mozzarella,  black olives, and kale.

Toddler with olives on fingers

She quickly mastered the ancient art of putting olives on one’s fingers

 

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