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Archive for the ‘Side dishes’ Category

As you know, I decided to make a tasty risotto for Nate the other day. But I realized that the meal was lacking in protein and I try to serve us balanced meals as often as I can.

I racked my brain trying to figure out what to serve with it, since I had zero desire to cook up any sort of meat. Nate suggested that I make an appetizer, and that’s when I remembered an interesting type of dip I’d seen going around the blogging world.

This dip is made with a bean base, like hummus, but with the addition of peanut butter and honey it becomes a wonderful spread for apples, graham crackers, or whatever else you want.

It’s simple to make too, since you just dump all the ingredients into a food processor. I used my small 3-cup one.

I hope you’ll get past the fact that this is made from beans and give it a try. This is a perfect way to serve your kids a snack that’s healthier than cookies and chips. Serve it to your family and don’t tell them what’s inside 😉


High Protein Peanut Butter Dip
Recipe by Me 

Serves 4  for a snack with things to dip

Ingredients
1 (15oz) can White kidney beans (aka cannellini beans), drained and rinsed
1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp Smooth peanut butter
2 Tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Chocolate graham crackers and sliced apple for serving

Combine all ingredients in food processor and blend well.

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Look, I know I’m a few days late on the Valentine’s Day blog posts.

Every other blogger seems to get it together a week ahead of time so that their blog readers have all sorts of recipes and ideas for the upcoming holiday.

The fact is that Nate and I can only eat so much dessert and I only have so much time…and I want the Valentine’s Day dessert I make for him to be eaten on Valentines day, and not a week ahead of time. If I posted this a week ago then I’d have to bake up something new for Valentine’s day.

But you know what’s great? These can be made any day of the year.

There doesn’t have to be a special holiday to share some chocolate goodness, or to tell someone you love them.

Nate showed me he loved me by walking all the way across the city to Trader Joes to pick me up some sea salt for the top of these bars 🙂

These are EXTREMELY rich…only for true chocolate lovers. I thought the hot chocolate from the other day was rich, but these were even too much for me. Luckily, Nate was a fan.

From my  to your stomach 🙂


Dark Chocolate-Cherry Ganache Bars

From The NYTimes

You can print this recipe from the original link

Makes 18 bars

150 grams all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 cups)
90 grams confectioners’ sugar (about 3/4 cup)
26 grams unsweetened cocoa powder (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
52 grams cherry jam (about 2 tablespoons)
340 grams bittersweet chocolate, at least 62 percent, chopped (12 ounces)
2/3 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons kirsch, rum, brandy or other spirit
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel, for sprinkling.

In a food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder and fine sea salt. Pulse in the butter and vanilla until the mixture just comes together into a smooth mass. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment or wax paper. Press the dough into the pan. Prick all over with a fork. Chill for at least 20 minutes and up to 3 days.

 Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Bake the shortbread until firm to the touch and just beginning to pull away from the sides, 35 to 40 minutes.

Cool in the pan for 20 minutes on a wire rack. Brush jam over shortbread’s surface and let cool thoroughly.

Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl.

In a saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer. Pour over the chocolate and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the kirsch. Spread over shortbread. Sprinkle fleur de sel on. Cool to room temperature; cover and chill until firm. Slice and serve.

*Note: I chilled these overnight and I think it was too long. Only chill for an hour or if chilling overnight, let it come to almost room temp before serving. I found the shortbread part to be too dry and crumbly when straight from the fridge.

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It was about time for a Daring Bakers Challenge that was more fun and less annoying/frustrating/want-to-throw-all-my-baking-supples-out-the-window.

For January we were put to the scone making test! Although in this case, “scone” meant the European scone, which is actually called a biscuit in America. And biscuits in America are scones in Europe.

Backwards, right?

Anyway, we were allowed to put whatever fixins’ we wanted into the mix and I went with dill and cheddar, since I had both in my fridge. They suggested to use chives and cheddar but i’m glad I went with dill.

I served it alongside the veggie soup from the other night and they were just perfect…flaky, fluffy, flavorful, cheesy. Make these tonight!

Blog-checking lines: Audax Artifex was our January 2012 Daring Bakers’ host. Aud worked tirelessly to master light and fluffy scones (a/k/a biscuits) to help us create delicious and perfect batches in our own kitchens!


Cheddar Dill Biscuits

Print this recipe!

Makes 5-8 depending on biscuit size

Recipe can be doubled

Ingredients:
1 cup (240 ml) (140 gm/5 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (10 gm) (⅓ oz) fresh baking powder
¼ teaspoon (1¼ ml) (1½ gm) salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp mustard powder
2 tablespoons (30 gm/1 oz) frozen grated butter (or a combination of lard and butter)
approximately ½ cup (120 ml) cold milk
1/2 cup grated cheese
2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
optional 1 tablespoon milk, for glazing the tops of the scones

Preheat oven to very hot 475°F/240°C/gas mark 9.

Triple sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. (If your room temperature is very hot refrigerate the sifted ingredients until cold.)

Rub the frozen grated butter (or combination of fats) into the dry ingredients until it resembles very coarse bread crumbs with some pea-sized pieces if you want flaky scones or until it resembles coarse beach sand if you want tender scones.

Add nearly all of the liquid at once into the rubbed-in flour/fat mixture and mix until it just forms a sticky dough (add the remaining liquid if needed). The wetter the dough the lighter the scones (biscuits) will be! Mix in cheese and dill.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, lightly flour the top of the dough. To achieve an even homogeneous crumb to your scones knead very gently about 4 or 5 times (do not press too firmly) the dough until it is smooth. To achieve a layered effect in your scones knead very gently once (do not press too firmly) then fold and turn the kneaded dough about 3 or 4 times until the dough has formed a smooth texture. (Use a floured plastic scraper to help you knead and/or fold and turn the dough if you wish.)

Pat or roll out the dough into a 6 inch by 4 inch rectangle by about ¾ inch thick (15¼ cm by 10 cm by 2 cm thick). Using a well-floured 2-inch (5 cm) scone cutter (biscuit cutter), stamp out without twisting six 2-inch (5 cm) rounds, gently reform the scraps into another ¾ inch (2 cm) layer and cut two more scones (these two scones will not raise as well as the others since the extra handling will slightly toughen the dough). Or use a well-floured sharp knife to form squares or wedges as you desire.

Place the rounds spaced widely apart on the baking dish. Glaze the tops with milk if you want a golden colour on your scones or lightly flour if you want a more traditional look to your scones.

Bake in the preheated very hot oven for about 10 minutes (check at 8 minutes since home ovens at these high temperatures are very unreliable) until the scones are well risen and are lightly coloured on the tops. The scones are ready when the sides are set.

Immediately place onto cooling rack to stop the cooking process, serve while still warm.

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Ok, ok, I know I just posted a pasta recipe, but I promise this one is way different. Maybe as opposite as can be.

The other pasta was creamy but this one is buttery.

The other pasta had ham but this one is vegetarian!

The other one had a little escarole but this one is chock full of tasty mushrooms.

I used some crazy long spiral noodles for the other one, but this one uses rotini. Yum.

See, I told you, they’re completely different.

I’m always trying to stay semi-healthy around here. I’m also always looking for recipes that I can make and get on the table at a reasonable hour after I get home from work. This recipe fits the bill on both accounts!

And because I’m sure you all just got finished gorging yourselves on holiday foods, and have all made your new years resolutions, I’m hoping this recipe will be much appreciated.

The flour in the recipe is what thickens it, and there is enough butter to give it a richness without adding tons of calories.

Also, just to continue with the wedding updates that some of you enjoy…Nate and I had engagement pictures taken back in November and the photographer Jodi Miller did an AMAZING job. If you guys wanna check them out, head on over to her blog! After seeing how great these turned out, I am SO excited to see the shots she gets of the wedding 🙂


Pasta with No-Cream Mushroom Sauce

From TheKitchn

You can print this recipe from the original link

Makes enough sauce for almost one 1-lb box pasta, depending on how saucy you like it

1 1/2 ounce package wild mushrooms
1 cup chicken, vegetable or beef broth, boiling
1 cup white wine
2 tablespoons butter, divided
3 8-ounce packages of white button or portobello mushrooms, washed and chopped
4 large shallots, minced
4 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped sage
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
Salt and fresh ground black pepper

1 lb pasta, cooked according to package directions

Crumble the dried mushrooms into a glass bowl or measuring cup and pour the boiling broth over them. Let steep for at least 20 minutes. Drain and reserve the drained liquid. Mix the drained liquid with the white wine.

Heat a tablespoon of butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chopped button or portobello mushrooms and let sit, without stirring, for about four minutes or until they have thoroughly browned on one side. Stir and let them cook on the other side – again, without stirring – for about four minutes. Add the shallots, garlic, sage and steeped wild mushrooms. Turn the heat to low, and cook until they are all fragrant and soft.

Add the second tablespoon of butter and, when melted, add the flour. Stir rapidly, letting the flour thicken with the butter into a paste. Have a whisk ready! Slowly pour in the mushroom broth and white wine, whisking rapidly. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking, until the mixture thickens. It should thicken to the consistency of a thick gravy.

Add the chopped parsley, stirring until wilted. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately over pasta with plenty of fresh Parmesan.

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It’s January and I finally had a moment free so I joined up with my favorite bloghop group for a new ingredient/flavor of the month…January is #citruslove month!

This month’s recipe comes with a nice little story attached…let’s just say Thursday was not my day:

I woke up with vertigo. As soon as I rolled over to get out of bed, the room was spinning. It happens to me now and then so I wasnt too concerned, but there was no way I could get out of bed and to work so I called in sick. I tried to go back to sleep to get the spinning to subside. By midafternoon I was feeling a bit better.

I knew the date for posting my #citruslove recipe was this weekend and since it was early afternoon I figured today was the perfect day to cook up some citrusy dinner since I normally wouldn’t get home from work for another few hours. I had an idea in mind for a lemony pasta. I also had leftover sour cream and ham that Nate’s mom sent me home with after New Years. I thought they could all combine into a tasty dish.

Nate came with me and we did some grocery shopping and after catching up on my Teen Mom 2 (oh come on, you know you watch it too), I got started on dinner.

Things were going well until I started zesting the lemon. I had a brand new zester, but as any of you who have used one know, you have to apply a lot of pressure to the fruit to scrape the peel off.

*this is where you might want to skip to the end if you’re not good dealing with blood…

I was just about to finish zesting the lemon when I pulled a little too hard and the zester decided to zest the side of my palm instead. At first I just felt pain but then I looked down and it was a deep slice gushing blood. I get lightheaded when I see blood, especially if it’s my own. I screamed for Nate while running cold water over it. I then applied pressure with a paper towel while I sat down and attempted not to faint.

Nate desperately wanted to help and asked me what to do but I was too light-headed to answer. I finally laid on the bed with my feet up and managed to instruct Nate where I *luckily had butterfly bandages in the linen closet. I would never have bought these but, being the pack rat that I am, I saved them from when my parents were moving out of their condo. Since Nate was unsure and I was too freaked out to think, I did what I do in any emergency, I called up my mom 🙂

My mom calmly talked me through what Nate should do and Nate very adeptly sealed up my wound. I don’t know what I would have done if I had been alone!

After laying down for a while and making sure the wound was bound enough to stop bleeding, I was determined to finish this meal. I sat on a chair in the kitchen while instructing Nate how to make the rest of the pasta since there was no recipe. Luckily most of the chopping was done since Nate isn’t a fan of using knives. Mind you, Nate has never cooked a meal from scratch.

All-in-all he did an awesome job and dinner was delicious! So that just goes to show you how easy this meal really is ;)…and how lucky I am to have such a wonderful, helpful and sweet fiancé (and a mom who remains cool and collected in a state of emergency!).

Don’t worry, no blood got onto the pasta 😉

Be aware that this pasta is very lemony, so steer clear if you’re not a lemon person.  That being said, Nate and I both thought this may be the most delicious pasta I’ve ever made! Yep, I’m willing to make a statement that bold!

The tart lemon perfectly complements the richness of the sour cream and makes the whole dish seem “light.” Neither Nate nor I are usually a fan of creamy sauces but this one was perfect!

This month’s #citruslove is brought to you by the following lovely hosts:

Astig Vegan ~ Richgail
Oh Cake ~ Jessica ~ @jesshose

Please join in on the #citruslove fun by linking up any citrus recipe from the month of January 2012. Don’t forget to link back to this post, so that your readers know to come stop by the #citruslove event! The twitter hashtag is #citruslove :).

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…(Powered by Linky Tools)

Creamy Lemon Pasta with Ham and Escarole
Recipe by me

Print this recipe!

serves 5-6

1 medium head of escarole< roughly chopped
1 lb pasta
2 Tbsp butter
1 medium onion, diced
2 Tbsp miced garlic
zest and juice of one lemon
8 oz. sour cream
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 cups diced cooked ham
salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta as directed. When pasta is al dente, add escarole and cook one minute. Reserve 2 cups pasta water (for thinning sauce out later) and drain pasta/escarole.

While water is boiling, melt butter in a large saucepan. When butter is melted, add onions and cook til soft, 5ish min. Add garlic and cook until garlic begins to brown.

Add lemon juice to pan and stir to get any stuck bits off bottom. Add sour cream and parmesan and stir to combine. Add ham and continue to cook until it’s warmed through. Salt and pepper.

Add pasta/escarole to saucepan and stir to combine with sauce.  If necessary, thin sauce out with some of reserved pasta water to help pasta get coated.

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Even without a reason to cook squash (like the #squashlove! bloghop I partook in over the weekend!), I can’t help but put one of those beautiful winter vegetables in my shopping cart every time I go food shopping in the fall. I honestly think I could eat them for the next two seasons without getting sick of them.

I think this is partially because there are so many things you can do with with them. Since my last recipe was a savory squash dish, I thought this next one could be a little sweeter.

Squashes have a natural sweetness that makes them pair really well with fruits. I keep seeing mashed sweet potato recipes coming up all over the food blogs lately (with Thanksgiving on the way), but I wanted a way to lighten up the typical dish.

While squash is a starchy vegetable, it has less calories than sweet potatoes, so I decided to mash it up and add sweetness with some apples too. Roasted squash and apples pair together really well.

In addition to the natural sweetness from the fruit and vegetables, I added some maple syrup (during the roasting) and orange juice, along with fresh ginger for a little spice and orange zest for flavor.

While this dish may not be very pretty, I hope that you’ll look past it’s disgusting exterior and trust me when I say that this may be one of my favorite side-dishes I’ve ever made.


Chunky Orange Maple Ginger Squash and Apples

Recipe by Me

Print this recipe!

Serves 6 

Ingredients:

2 medium acorn squash, cut in half and then into 1/2″ thick slices (keep peel on)
3 small apples, cored and then cut into 1/8ths
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
zest and juice of 1 orange

Preparation:

Spread squash and apples on a large baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  Drizzle them with the olive oil thru salt and pepper.

Roast squash and apples at 425 for 25-30 min or until squash is soft.

Remove from oven. After cooling slightly, scoop squash meat from skin and put into a medium bowl. Add apples (I left skin on). Add ginger and orange zest/juice.

Mash squash mixture until it reaches desired consistency.  Add additional syrup if desired. Serve warm.

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An apple a day keeps the doctor away!

Well, that’s what they say. I’m not sure how true it is, though, because I eat an apple almost every single day and I get sick way more than Nate. Although, come to think of it, Nate eats an apple every.single.day with his lunch (I told he he’s a creature of habit!). So maybe the old saying IS true 🙂

Regardless, I think apples are pretty tasty. As soon as fall comes and the air starts gettin chilly, I do a lot of apple-eating. So when October’s #lovebloghop got announced with the ingredient-of-the-month as apple, I was pretty pleased.

Since I’ve been on a flatbread kick, I decided to do a little experimenting. I don’t how this zany little idea got in my head, but I wanted to make a dough out of sweet potato that wouldn’t require yeast.

Because the dough would hopefully have a nice sweetness to it, I wanted a topping that would complement it. I settled on sauteed onions and apples with rosemary. I just felt that those flavors would all meld so well together.

And then, I added cheese. Cheese? Yes, please.

You know what else they say about apples? An apple pie without the cheese is like a hug without the squeeze.

Ok, so I’ve never actually had apple pie with cheese, but I’m told that putting a little cheddar in the crust or on top is just delightful.

I’m not usually a recipe-creator, but I thought I did a pretty good time this time around.

October is #applelove month!  Hosted by:

Baker Street http://bakerstreet.tv/
Bloc de recetas http://blocderecetas.blogspot.com/
Bon a croquer http://www.bonacroquer.com
CafeTerraBlog http://www.cafeterrablog.com
Cake Duchess http://www.cakeduchess.com
Elephant Eats http://www.elephanteats.com
Hobby And More http://hobbyandmore.blogspot.com/
Knitstamatic http://knitstamatic.wordpress.com
Mike’s Baking http://www.mikesbaking.co.uk
Mis Pensamientos http://juniakk.blogspot.com
My Twisted Recipes http://www.mytwistedrecipes.blogspot.com
Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives http://lisamichele.wordpress.com
Queen’s Notebook http://www.queensnotebook.com
Skip to Malou http://www.skiptomalou.net/
Teaspoon of Spice http://www.teaspoonofspice.com
The Daily Palette http://www.thedailypalette.com
The Spicy RD http://www.eastewart.com/blog
Vegan Miam http://www.veganmiam.com
Versatile Vegetarian Kitchen http://versatilekitchen.blogspot.com

Please join in on the #applelove fun by linking up any apple recipe from the month of October 2011.  Don’t forget to link back to this post, so that your readers know to come stop by the #applelove event. The twitter hashtag is #applelove :). 

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Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…


Yeast-Free Sweet Potato Flatbread with Apples, Carmelized Onions, Cheddar and Rosemary

Recipe by Me

Print this recipe!

Serves 6 as an appetizer

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 small onions, thinly sliced
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 Tbsp sugar
s+p to taste
1 cup mashed sweet potato (about 1-2 small potatoes)
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup shredded cheddar (or more if you like things cheesy)

Heat oil in saucepan over med-hi heat.

Add onion and cook 10 min or until soft.

Add 1 tsp vinegar to deglaze, scraping up all stuck bits, and add apples and rosemary.

Cook 5 min or until soft. Add rest of vinegar and sugar and cook 5-10 min more.

Bake (or microwave) sweet potato until soft. Remove skin and mash. Combine sweet potato, flour and baking soda in a small bowl and combine well. Add more flour as needed. Knead until dough forms into a ball. Dough will be slightly sticky.

Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle (or desired shape) until 1/4 inch thick. It should fit on 1/2 of a baking tray.

Bake for 20 minutes at 375.

Remove from oven. Sprinkle with more olive oild and spread apple mixture and cheese on top. Bake 5 more minutes at 350 or until cheese melts.

Cut into squares and serve immediately.

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