Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mooooovin' on Up

Hey folks.

I have a new site.

That's Right. Check it out.

I've transferred all of my posts over and I'm kicking off the new site with some bangin' recipes for Green n' Yellow Risotto and Bananas Foster Bread.

Come and get it!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Steph's Granola: Everything Mus(t) Go!

Sipped on day-old coffee (yes, day-old coffee) as I filtered through my closet...I have a large pile of cute clothes and ballet attire to give away. Come n' get it.

Started to read a book for fun. Made a space on my tiny porch for a towel and my body. Sunshine. Lovin' it.

Relaxing (-ish) sun-filled days complete with evenings entailing dinner + drinks + friends.

Can I tell you the truth? I'm not very good at this whole "relaxing" thing. But, I'm trying, and trying feels nice. Champagne helps. Champagne feels nice. Things in jars help, too. Things in jars make me want to vomit (too cliche) but also flirtatiously bat my eyes (jars=cuteness).

Granola is the name of the game right now. Why are there so many "Mom's Granola" recipes out there? Sure, Mother's day is coming up. Sure, I love my mom. My mom has never made me granola before. "Mom's Grilled Cheese" suits her better than granola.

Today I give you "Steph's Granola." Sometimes, it is all about me. Well, actually, sometimes it is all about using up the random accumulated food in your pantry/fridge before you move across the country. And thus "Steph's Granola" was born.

Steph's Granola was born out of multiple recipes and attempts of granola (and granola bars) as well as too many things that need to get used up before she moves out of her apartment.

Things I used up:
-leftover trail mix from Trader Joe's in which I had eaten out all of the dried cherries, cranberries, and pineapple and was left with cashew and almonds
-more almonds
-about half of a cup of leftover salty mixed nuts which I only left the brazil nuts and about 6 hazelnuts
-wheat germ (I have SO much left, gah help me)
-raw quinoa (adds a lovely crunch. I also recommend sesame seeds)
-a small pack (about 1/4 cup) of applesauce (helps with the "wet" ingredients and to add less sugar)
-the end of my cinnamon jar
-some almond extract
-used up about 1/2 cup of banana chips and 1/2 cup of choco chips that have been sitting in the pantry for about 7 months

More ideas that you may have to use up in your pantry:
-chopped candied ginger
-peanut butter
-pretzels, chopped
-mashed banana

Steph's Granola

adapted from multiple recipes, today from Food & Wine's annual cookbook 2010

Makes 7 cups

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1.5 cups of nuts (see above for what I used)
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup raw quinoa
1 teaspoon salt (omit if using salted nuts)
1 tablespoon hot water
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon agave (I think I used some random maple syrup made with agave?)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup or one of those small individual packs applesauce
a few shakes of cinnamon
a few drops of almond extract

add-ins after baking:
golden raisins, banana chips, choco chips (yes! I used up the little bit that was left of all of these)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a bowl, toss the oats, nuts, wheat germ, and quinoa. In a separate small bowl, whisk the water, salt (if using), honey/agave, vegetable oil, and apple sauce. Stir the liquid into the nuts to coat thoroughly, then spread on a large rimmed baking sheet.

2. Bake for 40 minutes in the center of the oven, stirring every 10 minutes, until nearly dry. Turn off the oven and prop the door open halfway; let the granola cool in the oven, stirring (I only did this for a few minutes because it was too hot to leave the oven open). Toss the granola with the raisins, banana chips, and choco chips. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

Want more granola recipes?
-Extreme Granola
-Homemade Granola Bars

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Polenta Circles with Shrooms, Flowers n' Beans

Plating food on a square white plate makes me feel all fancy pants.

A drizzle of balsamic is my go-to for a finishing touch.

A sprig of something green (in this case, a snip of carrot top greens) makes all the colors pop.

Crisp browned edges are my weakness.

Hi dinner.

Polenta Circles with Shrooms, Flowers n' Beans

vegetarian, gluten-free

serves 4

1 large head of cauliflower, chopped
8 oz of mushrooms, sliced
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 tube of already made polenta, sliced into circles
1 can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

olive oil

Heat the oven to 475 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Spread out your chopped cauliflower and drizzle with a touch of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, until nice and browned around some of the edges.

Meanwhile, heat a (cast-iron, if you have it) skillet with some more olive oil. Add as many polenta circles as can comfortably fit in the pan and fry on each side until crisped looking with a little color. Repeat with remaining polenta circles.

While the polenta cooks, heat a clean pan without oil and add the mushrooms. Saute for a few minutes. Then add some oil and sliced red onion. Let cook until soft and colored.

Add the beans and roasted cauliflower to the pan with the mushrooms/onions. Drizzle in some balsamic.

Serve next to or atop polenta circles. Use a square white plate if you're feelin' fancy pants. Or add a "not-so-fancy-pants" sprig of green to appear fancy-pants.

-Basic polenta
-Polenta cake with olive oil and rosemary
-Mushroom etc. and sausage ragu over polenta

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Drool-Worthy: Alice Medrich's Best Ever Cocoa Brownies

So I am going to describe something and you are going to drool. Ready?

Browned butter cocoa brownies with walnuts, pecans, and chocolate chips mixed in, sprinkled with flaky sea salt, and baked until a cracked in all-the-right-places top develops. Fudgey, moist, rich perfection. The sinfully sweet balance of gooey and chewy, of salty savory dark and sweet. Oh, and this is a one-pot recipe. And you don't have to clean the baking pan after baking.

How'd I do?

Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter
Adapted from The Cilantropist, originally from Bon Appetit, February 2011, recipe by Alice Medrich

***My adaptions are in bold

1 1/4 stick unsalted butter (10 tbsps) cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cups cocoa powder
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 teaspoons water

2 large eggs
1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup pecans (I used a mix of pecans and walnuts), chopped
~1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Extra sea salt for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit, and line the inside of an 8x8 square baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving 2-inch overhangs and pressing the foil tightly to the sides of the pan. (If you like spray the aluminum foil with non-stick cooking spray, though I didn't find this necessary.)

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, stirring often. The butter will first melt, then foam, then form more clear bubbles. Once the butter has only bubbles (and no foam) and there are browned bits at the bottom of the pan, remove the butter from the heat. Stir in the sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, salt, and 2 teaspoons water. Let the mixture sit for about 4-5 minutes to cool, then mix in the eggs one at a time, beating quickly after each addition. Once the chocolate mixture looks relatively smooth, mix in the flour, and then beat well for a few minutes. Mix in the chopped nuts, and transfer to the prepared pan, smoothing the top before baking.

Bake for about 30 minutes or more, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean - if there is still a tiny bit of moist batter at the very bottom that is ok. Remove the brownies from the oven and cool completely on a cooling rack. Once cool, remove the brownies from the pan using the aluminum foil overhangs; then pull the aluminum foil away from the brownies and cut them into 16 square pieces. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container.

Give me an "M": Matzo Lasagna

Matzo lasagna and a shot-glass full of Manischewitz wine. Good dinner. Good dinner, indeed.

Hey it's Passover, the Jewish holiday that remembers and celebrates the Jewish people's exodus from slavery. Good stuff. Traditionally Jews celebrate by having a big dinner called a "Seder" (Hebrew for 'order') where the story of this exodus from slavery is re-told. Then for 8 days it is common to refrain from any bread products except for matzo, which is an unleavened sheet of crunchiness.

You can make loads of awesome goods with matzo: matzo brei (aka matzo n' eggs), matzo pizza (aka melted cheese and sauce atop matzo), matzo granola, matzo toffee crunch, matzo spread with butter, matzo spread with cream cheese, matzo slathered with baba ganoush (eggplant dip), etc. etc.

Tonight I give you MATZO LASAGNA. It's just like regular lasagna but instead of lasagna noodles, I used sheets of matzo that I ran under cold water.

And let me tell ya, this is goooood stuff, especially when you turn on the broiler for the last 5 minutes of baking. Browned cheesy delight.

I sauteed some onion and dino-kale to add between the layers of sauce and cheese. Feel free to use mushrooms, spinach, summer squash, whatever you want.

If you are in a Passover rut, or just like matzo, or just like lasagna, this is the business right here.

Oh, and don't forget the Manischewitz wine. So sweet, so delish, so much needed.

Matzo Lasagna

I've have been making this recipe for over 2 years. I printed it online, possibly from "The Jew and the Carrot" although I have yet to find exactly where on the website.

makes a 13 x 9 inch pan's-worth of goodness
(8-12 servings?)

1 cup part-skim ricotta
2 cups non-fat cottage cheese
4 cups tomato sauce
1 onion, chopped
1 large bunch kale
Enough matzo sheets to make four layers in a 13 x 9 inch baking dish, lightly softened with water (I just ran it under the tap water for a few seconds as needed)
Grated mozzarella cheese
Salt and Pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a saute pan, brown onions and chopped kale in some olive oil and set aside.

3. In a bowl, mix ricotta, cottage cheese, and some salt and pepper.

4. Spoon 1 cup of the tomato sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. Cover with one layer of moistened matzo. Layer 1/3 of the cheese mixture, 1/3 of the vegetable mixture, and 2/3 cup of the sauce. Add some salt and pepper between each layer. Repeat twice. Cover with a final layer of moistened matzo, sauce, and mozzarella cheese.

5. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes, uncover and bake another 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated and cheese is melted and beginning to brown (I turned the broiler on for the last few minutes of baking). Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

Heaven in a mazto.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Kiss n' Swirl Meringues

Little bites of heaven. Sweet, but not too too sweet, melt-in-your mouth heaven. 4 egg whites whipped up to make 2 cookie sheets filled-to-the-brim with mini meringues.

I experimented with different ways of piping.


n' swirls...

so pretty, oh my.

Egg whites, sugar, a pinch of salt, and a dash of vanilla make these treats have more of a toasty marshmallow flavor than an eggy flavor.

Springy, colorful, satin-like pillows of sweet. AND, these pretties are gluten-free, fat-free, Kosher for Passover, perfect for a light Easter treat, or just a sweet after-dinner delight. Love 'em, eat 'em.

Kiss n' Swirl Meringues

From EatGood4Life

4 egg whites, at room temperature
pinch of salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
food coloring (all you need is 1-2 drops)

1. Preheat oven to about 200-250 degrees F. In an electric mixer with the whisk attachment (or by hand), whip your egg whites with pinch of salt until stiff peaks form. SLOWLY add the sugar, about 1-2 tablespoons at a time until the egg whites form a lovely glossy shiny look. This should take about 5 minutes or so. Add the vanilla extract. Fold in the food coloring as you wish (I saved some white, then I added 2 drops of red coloring for pink meringues, then 1 drop of blue for purple meringues).

2. Spoon the mixture, a little at a time, into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe onto a parchment lined baking sheet.

3. Bake for about 1.5 hours, turning once while baking. The meringues should be dry and crisp and easily lift off the parchment.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Pumpkin Chickpea Quinoa with Haricot Vert and Almonds

Oh hey, remember like half a year ago when I made my own pumpkin puree? And then I made mac n' cheese with it? Yep. Me too.

Well I froze a few large yogurt containers-worth of puree. I let one thaw out in the fridge over night yesterday. And today I added a bunch to some quinoa, along with some sauteed onions and haricot vert, chickpeas, and slivered almonds (I also added about a tablespoon of nutritional yeast for some hidden protein).


(I'm sort of sick of quinoa, though)

I promise that I will bake you something soon.

I promise that in addition to a tray of garlic-y rosemary roasted potatoes and cauliflower I will soon give you fresh-baked cookies.

I promise that I'll stop posting about quinoa and find another grain to fall in love with (I have my eye on farro...).

Spare me, for now.

Pumpkin Chickpea Quinoa with Haricot Vert and Almonds

Serves 6 (?)

1 cup dry quinoa
2 cups water
1 small onion, sliced thin
large handful of haricot vert (green beans), cut into bite-size pieces
1 cup of pumpkin puree (or squash)
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon cumin
salt, pepper
1 can garbanzo beans
1/4 cup almonds, toasted and chopped
1/4 cup golden raisins
grated cheese (Pecornio or Parmesan)

1. Prepare your quinoa. Add 1 cup of dry quinoa and 2 cups water to a saucepan. Boil. Turn heat to low/simmer, cover, and leave it for about 15 minutes until done.

2. Saute your onion in olive oil until transluscent. Add the green beans and cook for about 4 more minutes. Add the pumpkin, nutritional yeast, cumin, salt, pepper. Add the cooked quinoa, garbanzo beans, almonds, and raisins. Grate cheese over the top.