Recent Recipes

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Comments (0) | Monday, November 29, 2010

Just recently Cassie's grandma celebrated her 81st birthday.  As a way to celebrate and to give a gift to the woman who has everything we decided to make a batch of chocolate chip cookies.  Grandma has always been crystal clear that she LOVES cookies and that chocolate chip is her absolute favorite cookie.  The choice was an easy one and the morning before her birthday celebration we went to work crafting some extra special cookies just for her.  Cassie even hand made the box that they are in.  If you are interested in learning how to make a gift box yourself check out her craft blog.

We found this recipe from another blog and it looked too good to not try.  The results were fantastic.  They will definitely be our go to chocolate chip cookie recipe from now on.  The cookies were soft and chewy and really packed with chocolatey goodness.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from  Baking Illustrated found via Annie's Eats

2 cups plus 2 tbsp. whole wheat pastry flour
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
12 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
1 cup brown sucanat
½ cup evaporated cane juice
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup organic dark chocolate chips

1)  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.  
2) In a medium bowl whisk together the pastry flour, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.  Combine butter, sucanat and the evaporated cane juice using a mixer until well combined.  Add the egg, yolk and the vanilla until the batter is well combined.  Using a large spoon mix in the chocolate chips by hand until they are evenly dispersed on through the cookie dough.

3) Take 2 T. of dough and place in a rounded mound on the prepared cookie sheets.  Let cookies bake in the oven for 11-14 minutes until they start to harden at the edges, but are not yet hard in the center.  Let cookies cool on the sheet until they can be lifted without falling apart and then transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling. 

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Black Bean and Salmon Toastadas

Comments (0) | Friday, November 19, 2010

One thing people find hard to believe is that the two of us have managed to live without a functioning microwave for over 2 and a half years now.  While microwaves are truly a convenient invention neither of us feel particularly inclined to remedy our situation any time soon.  In all honesty we do have a microwave.  There it sat, above our stove, when we purchased our house, but we soon found out that it was not a functioning appliance (ahhh the joys of buying a foreclosed home).  We haven't gotten around to replacing it as we have had many other priorities to take care of in our now cozy little home.  So there it sits and it makes a wonderful timer.  We do plan to replace it one of these days, but we are leaning more towards replacing it with a range hood rather than another over the stove microwave when we do that.  The more you live without a microwave the more you realize how it really isn't all that hard to live without one.

So why the heck are we talking about microwaves?  Well the recipe we are sharing today actually has a step with some microwaving in it.  These usually aren't a big deal and are easily adapted (as was this recipe), but there are some that tend to just throw us for a bit of a loop.  Creating a double boiler of water and a glass bowl on the stove to melt stuff can be quite a pain in the rear.  Sure it isn't that hard, but occasionally (just occasionally), life really would be simpler with one, but we still will probably be one of those crazy households without for a very long time.  So...anyway if you want to revert heating the bean mixture in this recipe back to the microwave then more power to you.

Black Bean and Salmon Toastada
Adapted from  EatingWell.com
Makes 4 servings
8 6-inch corn tortillas
non stick canola cooking spray
1/2 T. canola oil
6 oz. salmon fillet
1 avocado, diced
4 T. pickled jalapenos, mince
3 T. pickled jalapeno juice reserved
2 c. purple cabbage, shredded
1 carrot, shredded
2 T. chopped cilantro
1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed
3 T. sour cream
2 T. prepared salsa
2 scallions, chopped
Lime wedges, optional (but highly recommended)

1) Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  Arrange corn tortillas on 2 baking sheets in a single layer.  Spray each side of the tortillas with canola spray.  Bake for 12-14 minutes, flipping once and rotating the baking sheets midway through, until light brown.

2) Meanwhile, heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Cook salmon fillet about 6 minutes per side till it is cooked through.  When it is done flake the meat.

3)  In a food processor, process beans, sour cream, salsa and scallions until smooth.  Heat these over medium heat in a small sauce pan for about 5-8 minutes until warm.

4) Combine the salmon, avocado and jalapeno in a bowl.  Combine the cabbage, carrot, jalapeno pickling juice, and cilantro in another bowl.

5) Spread each tortilla with an 1/8 of the bean mixture.  Add an 1/8 of the salmon mixture and then top with an 1/8 of the cabbage mixture.  Serve immediately.

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Stuffed Bell Peppers

Comments (0) | Thursday, November 18, 2010

When we started out to make these we were supposed to be having stuffed zucchini, but we soon realized we had a problem.  We had the tiniest zucchini on the planet.  This is what happens when Jason shops for zucchini.  He always grabs super tiny ones.  As we amassed the stuff we were supposed to actually stuff into this tiny zucchini onto the counter we realized...this isn't gonna work.  So, being the resourceful people that we are we decided to make stuffed bell pepper instead.  Regardless of the mix up it was a great dish with lots of flavor and made eating those veggies to be truly enjoyable.  Plus...bonus, these are really easy to make.    

The recipe for this wonderful side dish came from kind of a funny place...a calendar.  Way back at the beginning of 2010 our Grocery store, Natural Grocers, was giving out free calendars.  We didn't yet have a 2010 calendar so we snatched one up and brought it home.  It was filled with a new recipe card every month and a coupon.  Hooray.  Many many months passed and neither of us spent much time paying attention to our calendar as it was hanging in our spare room next to the very rarely used treadmill.  That was all until a few weeks ago when Cassie injured her knee and was unable to go running outside and had to settle for walking slowly on the treadmill.  As she passed to tedious time her gaze shifted from the wall in front of her to the October page of the calendar to her right.  She was looking at the recipe and decided that it looked pretty good and it needed to make an appearance on our menu sometime soon.  Boy are we glad it did too.  This may become one of our new favorite ways to eat a load of vegetables.

Stuffed Bell Peppers
Adapted from our Natural Grocers 2010 calendar
1 medium green bell pepper
1/2 T. olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 medium zucchini or summer squash, diced 
1 large tomato, diced
4 scallions sliced
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese, shredded
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
1/4 c. whole wheat bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste
1 large egg, gently whisked

1) Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Slice green bell pepper in half from top to bottom, remove the seeds and the stem and set aside.

2) In a skillet heat oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and red bell pepper to the skillet and saute for about 7-10 minutes until they begin to soften.  Add the zucchini, tomato and scallions and saute another 3-5 minutes.

3) Meanwhile in a medium bowl mix together Parmesan, red pepper flakes, bread crumbs and salt and pepper.  Stir till they are well combined and then add the egg.  Mix well into the breadcrumb and cheese mixture until incorporated.  After the vegetables are done add them to the bowl with the other ingredients and mix well until they are well coated. 

4) Fill the green bell pepper halves with the vegetable mixture and place in a non stick oven dish.  Bake for about 20-30 minutes until the tops of the stuffed peppers are golden brown.  Serve hot.

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Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato and Feta Pie

Comments (0) | Thursday, November 11, 2010

Here we go with another sweet potato recipe.  What did I say before?  We just can't get enough of these things.  They are so great for the cold fall weather.  We found this recipe and couldn't wait to make it.  Not only was it delicious looking, but it also included fresh rosemary which we happened to have on hand and wanted to use up before it dried out.  The recipe can take some time, but it is definitely worth it.  It is perfect for a hearty Sunday night meal.  We really enjoyed the flavor of the squash, caramelized onion and feta all together.  It really created a satisfying meal.  We added bacon to the pie because, well honestly, because we are both a bit of bacon fanatics.  It added another layer of flavor and was a really good addition, but certainly isn't necessary to the overall pie and would be perfectly delicious left vegetarian.

Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato and Feta Pie
Adapted from Christine's Recipes
Makes 4 generous main dish servings or 6 side dish servings

Shortcrust Pastry:
8 oz. whole wheat pastry flour 
4 oz. chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3 T. cold water

15 oz. butternut squash,diced
7 oz. sweet potato, diced
6 cloves garlic unpeeled
3 T. olive oil, divided
3 oz. feta cheese
2 small red onions, thinly sliced
1 T. balsamic vinegar
1 T. sucanat
2 t. finely chopped fresh rosemary
4 pieces of bacon, cooked and crumbled (optional)
salt to taste
fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 egg, whisked
shortcrust pastry

To make the pastry:
1) Place the flour and butter into the food processor and pulse until well combined and crumble.  Add the cold water and pulse again until the dough begins to come together.

2) Knead the dough into a circular disc shape and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes until you are ready to use it.

To make the pie:
1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Place the squash, sweet potatoes, and garlic cloves into a baking dish and toss with 1 1/2 T. of olive oil.  Bake for 30-35 minutes until the mixture is tender.  Remove from the oven.

2) Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in a frying pan.  Cook the onions over medium heat for about 10-12 minutes.  Add the vinegar and the sucanat and cook for another 12 minutes until the onions are caramelized.

3) Squeeze the roasted garlic out of their husks and discard the husks.  Return the garlic to the roasted vegetables.  Add the onions, rosemary, feta, salt, pepper and bacon (if using) into the roasted vegetables.

4) On parchment paper roll the pastry till it is about a 11 inch circle.  Heap the vegetable mixture in the center of the pie leaving a 1 1/2 inch border of crust.  You may have some filling left over.  Fold the edges of the pastry up pleating it as you go.  Brush the crust with the whisked egg.

5) Bake for 25-30 minutes on 400 until the crust is golden.  Serve immediately.

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Chicken and Sweet Potato Stew

Comments (0) |

We have been on a pretty big sweet potato kick lately.  It is a fairly new found love as Cassie is a reformed picky eater and was pretty sure she didn't like sweet potatoes for the longest time.  It is pretty amazing how she has gone from not liking anything to now liking just about everything. 

Anyway, back to sweet potatoes and this stew...We found this recipe and it looked like a really easy, but hearty dish for a fall evening.  It is filling and warm, but still healthy and not too heavy.  We substituted red wine and red wine vinegar for white wine and white wine vinegar because that is what we had in the house and they both added a great full flavor to the meal. 

Chicken and Sweet Potato Stew
Adapted from Eatingwell.com
Serves 4
4 bone in chicken thighs with the skins removed and trimmed of fat
2 lbs. sweet potatoes, cut into spears
1/2 lb. cremini mushrooms, sliced
6 large shallots, peeled and halved
4 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 c. dry red wine
2 t. chopped fresh rosemary
1 t. salt
1/2 t. ground black pepper
1 1/2 T. red wine-vinegar
1 c. low sodium chicken broth

1) Place all ingredients into a slow cooker and stir to combine.

2) Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Remove the bones from the chicken if desired and serve warm over vegetables.

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Bacon, Fig and Balsamic Pizza

Comments (2) | Thursday, November 4, 2010

As we've posted before, pizza is probably our favorite thing to cook.  When we have dinner guests, especially for the first time, we usually bust out the old reliable pizza, because almost everyone likes it, you can feed quite a few people for very little money, and a well planned and executed pizza is just impressive.  Not everyone is as crazy as we are about pizza, and a lot of people would consider what we put on them to be unacceptable, not because it's not good, but because it sounds sort of bizarre.  We usually save our pizza experiments for when we're not expecting anyone over, so as not to offend anyone with our sometimes crazy notions.  A few weekends back we experimented with bacon, fig and balsamic vinegar.  It was absolutely fantastic, so we thought we'd share.

Toppings (for 2 pies):
10 fresh figs
1 onion
7 or 8 large mushrooms
4 strips of bacon, cooked
Fresh basil
Balsamic vinegar

Begin by following our basic pizza recipe for the crust and sauce.  Thinly slice the figs, onion, and mushrooms.  Leave the basil leaves whole and crumble up or slice the bacon.  Place half the cheese on the pizzas, then the toppings, and then the rest of the cheese.  Drizzle a little vinegar over each of the pizzas and put them in the oven.  Cook for 12 minutes at 450 degrees or until the cheese is brown and bubbly.

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Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

Comments (0) | Wednesday, November 3, 2010

We are big fans of savory and sweet mixed together.  We are always combining things like fruit and cheese, salt and chocolate, etc.  When we saw this recipe for chocolate bacon cupcakes we knew that this was a recipe we just had to try.  Chocolate and bacon are two of our favorite foods so mixing them together sounded like genius.  The we decided to add peanut butter frosting into the mix and it sent these cupcakes to a whole different level of amazing.  Both of us agree that these are by far our favorite cupcakes that we have ever had.  We will be making these again and again and again.  We served these at our Halloween Party and they were a huge crowd pleaser.  Everyone was a little hesitant at first, but once they tried them every single one of our guests raved about them.  

Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes

3/4 c. unsweetened organic cocoa powder
3/4 c. hot water
3 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1 1/4 t. salt
1 1/2 c. butter
2 1/4 c. evaporated cane juice or sucanat
4 large eggs
1 T. plus 1 t. vanilla extract
1 c. sour cream
3/4 c bacon, cooked and chopped

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line standard muffin tins with paper liners. 

2) Shisk together hot water and cocoa powder until smooth.  In a seperate bowl whisk together whole wheat pastry flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  

3) Melt the butter and beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 3-5 minutes until cool.  Add sugar and mix until well combined.  Add the eggs one at a time beating until each is incorporated.  Add the vanilla and the cocoa mixture.  Add the flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the sour cream.  Stop the mixer and gently fold the bacon into the batter.

4) Pour about 1/3 c. of batter into the muffin tins filling them about 3/4 of the way.  Bake until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20-22 minutes.  Let cool completely before frosting.

Peanut Butter Frosting
Adapted from the  FoodNetwork.com

3 c. organic powdered sugar
1 c. butter, softened
1 t. vanilla extract
1-2 T. whipping cream
1/3 c. peanut butter +more if desired.

1) Whip together butter and powdered sugar at a low speed until well combined.  Increase speed to medium and add the vanilla extract and the whipping cream until it is the desired consistency.  Add in the peanut butter and beat until well combined.  Taste the frosting to make sure you have the desired peanut butter potency  if not add a little more.   

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Whole Wheat Caramelized Onion & Rosemary Bread

Comments (0) | Monday, November 1, 2010

We made these for our Halloween Party this week and they were so good.  We will definitely be making these again.  The sweet onion with the rosemary were a great combination and these are probably going to show up on our Thanksgiving menu this year.

Whole Wheat Caramelized Onion & Rosemary Bread
Adapted from Simply Scratch
1 large sweet onion
1 T. butter
1 T. olive oil
2 cloves garlic minced
1 1/2 c. warm water
3 t. active dry yeast
3 T. olive oil +more for oiling
3 c. fine ground whole wheat flour
1 c. stone ground whole wheat flour
2 t. salt
2 sprigs rosemary, leaves removed and chopped
1-2 T. butter, melted 

1) Warm oil and butter over medium heat in a medium skillet.  Saute the onions and garlic about 15-20 minutes until they are browned and carmelized.

2) Pour warm water into a bowl.  Sprinkle the yeast on top of the water.  Then mix in the honey and olive oil.  Let stand for about 5-10 minutes until the yeast begins to bubble.

3) In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook  combine the flour and the salt.  Add the onions and garlic and toss to coat.  Add the yeast mixture and mix in the mixture in the stand mixer until well combined.  The dough will be very wet.  Add more flour as necessary till you have a sticky, but easier to handle dough.  Let the dough hook knead the bread for about 5-8 minutes and then turn the dough out into a bowl greased with olive oil.  Cover and allow the dough to rise for 1.5 to 2 hours until it has doubled in size.

4) Divide the dough into 12 even portions and roll them roughly into balls.  Cover again and let them rise for another 15-20 minutes.  Meanwhile preheat oven to 400 degrees.

5) Bake the dough for 9-10 minutes.  Brush with melted butter and then return them to the oven for another 9-10 minutes until they are golden brown. 

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