Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Baked Asparagus

I have never been a fan of asparagus, until I read about baking it!

1 lb. asparagus
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
block of your favorite cheese- smoked cheddar or parmesan work great!

(1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
(2) Cut the woody lower ends off asparagus and use a vegetable peeler to gently remove the skin from the stalks. The stalks are surprisingly delicate, so it takes a light touch to peel asparagus! I recommend peeling over a cutting board so you can easily salvage any pieces that snap while you're peeling (unlike I usually do and peel over the sink, thus loosing many a pieces to the depths of the garbage disposal... I digress).
(3) Cover a baking sheet lightly with olive oil. Using a silpat works well for this recipe too.
(4) Spread asparagus on baking sheet and cover with more olive oil, salt, and pepper.
(5) Grate cheese liberally over asparagus.
(6) Cook for 8-10 minutes and serve!

Potato Leek Soup

In honor of the upcoming St. Patrick's Day, here's a recipe that our family thoroughly enjoys!
Based off a recipe from The Frugal Gourmet On Our Immigrant Ancestors.

Potato Leek Soup
4 TB butter
2 medium leeks, sliced (or onions)
2 lbs potatoes, sliced
3 cups milk
5 1/2 c. vegetable stock (or chicken)
1/4 c. chopped fresh chives
1/2 tsp celery salt
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 c. heavy cream (or light cream)
salt & pepper to taste

Roux (2 TB butter, 2 TB cornstarch)

(1) Heat a 6-8 qt. stockpot and saute butter and leek.
(2) Add potatoes, milk, stock, and herbs. Cover and cook gently for an hour.
(3) Prepare the roux by melting the butter in a small saucepan and whisking in the flour. Let it bubble for 2 mins on med-low heat, stirring constantly.
(4) Add roux to soup to thicken, whisking to avoid lumps.
(5) Cook for 5-10 mins, and then puree the soup with stick blender.
(6) Add cream and gently reheat, but do not boil.
(7) Season with salt and pepper. Serve!

Make it a Crock Pot dish: 
This can be done in the crock pot, which is actually the only way I've ever done it! In lieu of cooking for an hour on the stove, I cook on LOW for 6-8 hours, or on HIGH for 4-6 hours. You can do the first step as written, or skip it completely and just add the ingredients into the crock pot sans sautéing! Step 3 must be done as written. For step 5, I just leave it in the crock pot to blend it, and make sure the crock pot is on LOW when I move onto step 6. After adding the cream, I let it cook for another ~15 mins, and then turn the crock pot to WARM.

** DISCLOSURE NOTE: The above recipe contains an Amazon Associates link. **

Monday, October 21, 2013

Pumpkin Maple Bread with Pecan Streusel

Pumpkin Maple Bread with Pecan Streusel
to welcome autumn!

This recipe was inspired by a Pinterest pin I'd found a while back {found here}. I just free it of its gluten and this is what I got!

-- Bread Ingredients --
1.5 cups Bob's Red Mill gluten free baking mix (or regular flour)
1.5 tsp guar gum (or ~1 tsp xantham gum) (skip this if you're using regular flour)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice*
1 cup pumpkin puree (make sure you get 100% pumpkin, NOT pumpkin pie filling)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 egg (or 1/4 cup egg beaters)
1/3 cup olive oil (or veggie oil, or applesauce)

-- Streusel Topping Ingredients --
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 TB flaxseed meal (or almond meal, or flour)
2 TB sugar
1/4 cup butter, chilled
1/4 cup chopped pecans

* I made my own pumpkin pie spice (as per THIS recipe), as it's something I rarely use so I didn't want to buy a whole bottle of it. The below mix will make 1 TB (3 tsps) of pumpkin pie spice!
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp cloves

-- Instructions --
(1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, placing the rack in the center of the oven. Line a 9" loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving some overhanging the edges (so you can later lift the loaf out easily).
(2) Whisk the first 6 (or 5, if you're using regular flour) ingredients together in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, and whisk until just combined.
(3) Mix the first 3 topping ingredients together. Cut in the butter. Toss in the pecans.
(4) Pour batter into the loaf pan and smooth the top with a knife or spatula. Evenly sprinkle on the streusel topping.
(5) Bake 30-40 minutes (mine ended up baking closer to 50 mins), until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 5-10 mins, then transfer to a rack to continue cooling.
(6) After cooled, cut, serve, and enjoy!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Mashed Cauliflower

Mashed Cauliflower
a staple side dish in our family
prepared much the same as mashed potatoes but with loads of nutrients!

- 2-3 heads of cauliflower (or 2 frozen family-size bags)
- 1/8 c. half and half
- 3 TB butter
- 2 TB Adobo seasoning (or garlic powder)
- salt and pepper to taste

(1) Place cauliflower in a stockpot and cover with water. If using fresh heads, cut off florets into stockpot and cover with water.
(2) Bring pot to a boil, and cook until cauliflower is very tender and very easily pierced with a fork.
(3) Drain cauliflower and return to pot.
(4) Add remaining ingredients and mash together with a potato masher.
(5) Serve and enjoy!!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Inspired by {this recipe} that I found via Pinterest

Serves: 4 (as a side dish) or 1 1/2 (as a main dish)
Recipe is easily doubled, tripled, etc. 

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

2 cups cooked quinoa
1/2 of a medium pepper finely chopped
1/2 of a medium cucumber finely chopped
2-3 stalks of green onion diced
2 small tomatoes diced

Cook quinoa according to directions. Generally it's 1 part quinoa, 2 parts water- cooked just like rice, but prewash the quinoa to remove any sediment. Let quinoa cool slightly (I usually turn off the heat and start chopping my veggies while the quinoa cools!). Chop vegetables and add to quinoa, mix, and serve warm or chilled.

Tzatziki Sauce

2/3c plain greek yogurt
1 tsp dill weed
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 of a medium cucumber, finely grated
1 TB olive oil
dash freshly ground pepper
dash freshly ground sea salt

Mix in a small dish. Adjust spices to taste. We like a heavy garlic influence :) Top your salad with a dollop of sauce and enjoy! This goes great on gyros, a regular lettuce salad, a dip for potato wedges... the possibilities are endless ;)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Brown Sugar Ginger Carrots

Brown sugar ginger carrots are a bit of a staple in our home! They pair well with most any other veggie or meat dish. We've also used maple syrup, sucanat, you could probably even use honey in place of the brown sugar! Feel free to experiment as you wish :)

Brown Sugar Ginger Carrots

1 lb. carrots
2 TB brown sugar
1/4 tsp powdered ginger
2 TB of butter
1/2 cup of water (or more)

*NOTE: this recipe easily doubles, triples, etc. So adjust to your family size and tastes!

(1) Cut carrots into smaller pieces, peeling the carrots if you wish. I usually cut the carrots in half lengthwise and then into thirds (and we leave the peels on for extra nutrients!).
(2) Add carrots to a medium saucepan. Add enough water to generously cover the carrots. In effect you'll be steaming the carrots, so you don't want them all completely submerged. You can always add more water later in the cooking process if they're getting low on liquid!
(3) Add butter, sugar, and ginger to saucepan.
(4) Cook over medium heat for approximately 15-20 minutes, or until carrots are easily pierced with a fork. Cook less if you prefer an al dente finish and/or for even more added nutrients!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Spice Cake with Penuche Frosting

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • 2 cups (packed) light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1¾ – 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  1. For the spice cake:
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Have all ingredients at room temperature. Grease two 8-inch cake pans. Sift first 7 ingredients into a small bowl; set aside.
  3. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating will after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Add in flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with the sour cream in 2 additions, beating well after each addition.
  4. Pour batter into prepared cake pans and bake until top is golden brown and tester inserted into centers comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Set cake pans on a wire rack; let cool for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the pan perimeters and turn cakes onto rack. Let cool completely before frosting.
  5. For the penuche frosting:
  6. Melt butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low, stirring continuously for 2 minutes. Stir in milk. Return to a boil, stirring constantly, then remove from heat. Allow mixture to cool to lukewarm temperature, then gradually stir in confectioners’ sugar until frosting has reached your desired consistency. For a thicker frosting, add more sugar; to thin it out, you can always add a bit of milk. Fill and frost the cooled cake. Enjoy!
Recipe from Dramatic Pancake