Zucchini Spice Bread

Hmmm... what to do with all your extra zucchini?  If you have a garden, you know what I mean.  I don't have one, but my mother does and on a visit this last weekend she arrived with about 8 pounds of tomatoes and 3 giant zucchinis.  Awesome.  The tomatoes you'll see in sauce and soup form soon.  Cameron isn't crazy about zucchini squash but doesn't everyone like zucchini bread?  I know I do.  

Other things you can do with your zucchini?  Shred it, bag it, freeze it.  Make noodles out of it, sneak long thin slices into lasagna, grill it and sprinkle it with vinegar, make a gratin, make a pizza, ratatouille....  Not that any of these suggestions matter because you're just going to make it into this bread, aren't you?  

This quick bread is well spiced, mild on the zucchini flavor with a moist crumb.  It's not too sweet.

Makes 1 loaf. 

Zucchini Bread

3 cups grated zucchini  + 1 tablespoon sugar

2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons grape seed oil

1/2 cup buttermilk

zest of 1 lemon

Toss grated zucchini with the tablespoon sugar.  Place it in a strainer set over a bowl.  You will be amazed how much water this gets out.  Leave it there while you do everything else.  

Heat oven to 375.  Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and lightly oil.  Set aside.  

Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice.  In another bowl, whisk oil, butter milk and lemon zest.  Press out any extra water from zucchini.  Combine zucchini and buttermilk mixture with the dry ingredients until flour is hydrated.  Do not over mix.  Smooth into loaf pan.  Bake 55-60 minutes.  (When cake is done, it will feel firm and springy and an inserted toothpick will come out clean.)  Let cool.  

Funfetti Birthday Cake

I really like baking cakes.  I also really like when someone has a birthday so I can make them a cake.  Not just any cake but a BDAY CAKE!!!!   Birthday cakes have to be special.  They're a big part of the birthday celebration and should be glorious.  This one is lightly flavored with lemon and pops with colorful sprinkles that are mixed into the batter.  The edible gold glitter helps, too.

Edible glitter can be found at cake baking supply shops and Amazon.  The one used on this cake is Disco Dust which is an extra fine, non toxic, edible glitter.  It does get everywhere - all the cake eaters had gold glitter on their faces from it but it's pretty so who cares. 

Serves 20 people. (Yea, it's a big one.)

Confetti Cake

3 1/2 cups cake flour

4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

6 oz unsalted butter, room temperature

2 1/2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

15 oz whole milk

6 egg whites

1/2 cup sprinkles

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease three 9 inch cake pans.  Place a 9 inch round of parchment paper in the bottom of each, butter the paper.  Set aside.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt together into a bowl.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until very light, about 4 minutes.  Add lemon and vanilla.  In another bowl, whisk milk and egg whites.  

With the mixer running, add 1/3 for the flour mixture to the creamed sugar butter.  Next, add 1/3 of the milk eggs, do this 2 more times until everything is in the mixer bowl.  Fold in the sprinkles.

Pour equal amounts into each prepared cake pan.  Bake until edges are light gold, centers are set and a toothpick tests clean.  It's about 25-30 minutes.  Remove from oven, cool in pan 5 minutes. Invert and cool completely on rack.  (Don't forget to remove the paper!  Seriously, I've seen it happen.)  

Once completely and totally cooled, you may frost it.  I recommend a swiss meringue buttercream, if you're up for a fun/frustrating challenge.

I was not.  The first buttercream I made failed and I did not wish to make another one.  So, went for something super light and not too sweet.  I used a stabilized, sweetened whipped cream frosting.  It is delicious but not to best for layered cakes as it tends to push out the sides as it's cut.  If you're interested:  In a small saucepan, whisk 1 cup powdered sugar with 8 teaspoons corn starch.  Whisk in 1 cup heavy cream.  Cook, stirring constantly until thickened (will coat the back of a spoon.)  Let this pudding you have just made cool completely, even chill it if you can.  In a chilled bowl with chilled beaters/whisk, whisk 5 cups heavy cream to loose soft peaks then whisk in cooled pudding until stiff peaks form, less than 5 minutes.  Don't over beat past the stiff peaks or you'll ruin it.  

 

 

Greek Chicken Burgers

I'm open to all types of burgers but at home I mostly make them with poultry.  Chicken and turkey burgers can be a little boring and very dry so it's helpful to spice them up a bit.  I recently discovered a popular greek place in our new neighborhood that I am now obsessed with.  The gyros are soooo dreamy.  (Yes, a sandwich can be dreamy!)  Because I'm too embarrassed to order from them every single night, I've been cooking up a lot of greek inspired foods for dinner here at home.  Think feta, red onion, olive oil, sea salt, spinach, garlic, lemon, parsley and oregano.  If you like what you're reading - this non-boring burger recipe is for you. 

Makes 4 burgers.

Greek Chicken Burgers

2 BIG handfuls of spinach leaves

1/2 cup finely diced red onion

1 clove garlic, minced

juice of 1/2 a lemon

s + p

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried parsley

1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes

1/3 - 1/2 cup feta

1 lb ground chicken

Cook spinach in a pan with a splash of water until it begins to wilt.  Remove from pan and squeeze out as much water as you can with your hands.  Chop.  

Combine spinach with all remaining ingredients except of chicken.  Add chicken, mix.  Form into 4 burger patties.  

Heat a skillet oven medium high heat.  Lightly oil skillet.  (I like to use a spray bottle filled with grape seed oil for things like this.)  Cook patties until browned, about 5 minutes, flip, cook until browned.  

 

 

Strawberry Banana Biscuits

My new breakfast!  Probably good other parts of the day, too.  I think biscuit is my new favorite word.  

I've been wanting to make these forever but was procrastinating working on a recipe but today, I woke up feeling energized, needing to bake and craving biscuits.  A winning combination. The outcome being these tender biscuits that are a bit sweet, fruity with a hint of banana and bites of fresh strawberry.  

Makes about 16 biscuits (2.5") 

Strawberry Banana Biscuits

2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces

1 cup well mashed banana (about 1 large)

1/3 cup sliced strawberries

1/3 cup buttermilk (more or less)

Heat oven to 450 degrees.  Lightly grease baking tray.  Set aside.

Whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and sugar.  Add cold butter, work into flour with fingers until butter pieces are very small but visible.  Stir in banana and strawberries.  Slowly add buttermilk until dough comes together.  It will be slightly sticky.  Adjust with more flour or more buttermilk, as needed.  Give it a couple quick kneads.  

On a floured surface, flatten dough to 1/2" thick.  Use a 2-3 inch sized biscuit cutter or drinking glass to cut biscuits.  (Dip in flour if it starts to stick.  Arrange biscuits on tray.  Bake 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown.  (The best way to check is to pick one up off the tray, turn it over and look for a nice toasty, color and texture.)  

 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola

I used a week of hiking in Maine as an excuse to make this peanut buttery granola.  It's a chunky granola, somewhere in between loose and bars.  It's tasty and works for snacking or as a sundae topping, too.  

This can be prepared as a looser granola by not pressing into a rectangular form before baking and then stirring once of twice during baking for even cooking.  If you prefer bars, double the peanut butter and honey. 

Makes about 1 quart. 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola

1/4 cup peanut butter

3 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons neutral oil

2 cups rolled oats

2 tablespoon roasted, salted sunflower seeds

1/2 teaspoon chia seeds

1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix peanut butter, honey and oil until smooth and well combined.  Stir in oats, sunflower seeds, chia seeds and mini chips.  Stir until all is coated and sticky.

Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat.  Transfer granola mixture to mat, use a spatula to form a rectangle, pressing in sides and top to help the granola stick together during baking.

Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Let cool.  Break up into large pieces. 

Chorizo + Tomato Vegetable Soup

A quick stroll through the farmers market will get you all the things you need to make for this soup.  It's smoky, spicy, salty and a little sweet from all the peek season summer vegetables. Chorizo is a fresh Mexican sausage made from pork and spiced with paprika.  It can be found in most butcher shops and grocery stores.  I held back on it so if you like a meatier soup use 1 pound chorizo.  

Makes 6 servings.

Chorizo + Tomato Vegetable Soup

small splash high heat oil

8oz chorizo sausage, casings discarded

1 yellow onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 carrots, peeled, finely chopped

1 poblano chile, stemmed, seeded, finely chopped

1 tin diced tomatoes

1 quart vegetable stock

1 1/2 cup diced new potatoes

1 teaspoon dreid oregano

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 bay leaf

kernels from 2 ears of corn

1 cup green beans, chopped

s + p

lemon juice

Heat a pot over medium high heat.  Add oil.  Add chorizo, cook until browned and set aside.  Return pot to stove, lower heat to medium.  Add onions, cook until soft and glossy, about 8 minutes.  Add garlic, carrots and poblano chile, cook 4 minutes, stirring.  Add reserved chorizo, tomatoes, stock, potatoes, oregano, cumin, paprika and bay leaf.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer.  Let simmer 20 minutes.  Add corn and green beans.  Simmer 10 minutes more.  Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and lemon juice.  

 

Zucchini Pizzas

It's not pizza, but it is a gluten free, vegetable thing that will remind you of pizza.  This is perfect if you have any zucchini-zillas growing in your garden.  The wider the zucchini, the better.  I think this would also be great using portobello mushroom caps instead.  (Or in addition, you could mix and match your veggies!)

Serves 2-4.

Zucchini Pizza Bites

1 large, mega zucchini, cut into 3/4" slices

 olive oil

s + p

1 cup tomato sauce

1 - 1 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Toppings:  olives, onion, pepperoni...

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Brush both sides of zucchini slices with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Arrange on baking tray.  Place in oven and cook 12 minutes.  

Remove from oven and top with sauce, cheese and desired toppings.  Return to oven and bake 10 minutes more.  

Plum Upside Down Cake

This cake is incredibly easy.  The hardest part is deciding how to layer the plum slices.   I whipped this up in between an afternoon at the beach and a backyard dinner.  (A quick one!)  It's really the perfect balance of fresh summer fruit and sweet cake.  Feel free to substitute peaches or nectarines for the plums. 

Makes 1 cake. 

Plum Upside Down Cake

2 tablespoons butter, room temp

about 1/3 cup light brown sugar

2-3 ripe plums,pitted, thinly sliced

1 2/3 cup cake flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/3 cup butter, room temp

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup milk

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease the inside of a 9 inch cake pan with the 2 tablespoons of butter. Make sure to get the sides and corners.  Sprinkle with the brown sugar.  Be very liberal with the butter and sugar.  Arrange fruit slices on along base of pan, extend to sides if you like. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, whisk flour, salt and baking powder together.  Set aside.  In another bowl, whisk butter and sugar until light.  Beat in egg and vanilla.  Add the dry ingredients in two or three batches, alternating with the milk, until batter is smooth but not over mixed.  

Pour into prepared cake pan, over fruit.  Gently smooth top if needed. Bake 40-45 minutes or until fully baked.  Remove from oven and let cool in pan 5 minutes.  Run knife along edges to loosen.  Invert cake onto plate and serve.  

Vegan Bowl + Dill Mustard Sauce

Vegan bowls!  I love these.  Perfect for lunch because it has a little bit of everything.  This one has flavors of dill, mustard and caraway seed.  This recipe came about after visiting the Ithaca Farmer's Market and tasting several sauerkrauts by Crooked Carrot.  They make raw, live culture products using local produce.  I picked up their Original Kraut and immediately began working on a 'bowl' recipe suitable for this pristine, classic sauerkraut.  And here you have it.  

Also, if you haven't had tempeh - try it!  It has a firm chewy texture and an earthy taste.  It's made of fermented soy beans and has more protein and fiber than tofu.  

Serves 4.

Tempeh Vegan Bowl + Dill Mustard Sauce

for the bowl

1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce

8oz tempeh

4 large handfuls of chopped kale

small splash olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

pinch red chile flakes

lemon juice, to taste

1 cup quinoa

1 teaspoon poppy seeds

3 carrots, peeled into ribbons

1 cup sauerkraut

for the sauce

2 teaspoon olive oil

1 shallot, minced

1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds

2 cups vegetable or chicken stock

2 teaspoons dijon mustard

s + p

fresh dill, finely chopped

Cook the tempeh: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice tempeh into 1/4 inch slices and drizzle with tamari.  Arrange on tray and bake 8 minutes or until golden brown.  

Cook kale:  Add about 1/4 cup water to a large saute pan.  Bring to a boil.  Add kale.  Cover and cook until kale wilts, about 1 minute.  Drain.  Return to medium high heat.  Push kale to one side of pan.  On the bare side, heat splash olive oil with minced garlic and chile flakes.  Cook until garlic softens and toss with kale.  Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice.  

Cook quinoa:  Combine quinoa and 2 cups of water in a small sauce pan.  Cover, bring to a boil. Reduce to low heat and simmer 15 minutes or until water is absorbed and quinoa is soft.  Stir in poppy seeds.  

Cook mustard dill sauce:  In a saute pan, over medium heat, warm olive oil.  Add shallots and caraway seeds.  Saute until shallots are soft and mixture is fragrant.  Turn up heat to high and add stock.  Boil until liquid is reduced by half.  Remove from heat and stir in mustard.  Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice.  Liberally, toss with quinoa and stir in as much dill as you like.  Save extra sauce of drizzling over finished bowls.  

Assemble the bowls:  Spoon dressed quinoa into bowl. Top with sautéed kale, tempeh, raw carrot ribbons and sauerkraut.  Drizzle with extra mustard sauce if you like. 

 

 

Turkey Chili

Another easy dinner idea.  This is a meatier chili than I normally make.  It has lots of protein and little fat because of the lean ground turkey.  Serve over brown rice and kale.  Everything's instantly better with a bit of kale, isn't it?  

Serves 6.

Turkey Chili

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 yellow onion, finely diced

1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 lb lean ground turkey breast

s + p

1 14 oz tin diced tomatoes

14oz chicken stock

1 14oz tin black beans, drained, rinsed

1 14oz tin chickpeas, drained, rinsed

1 14oz tin kidney beans, drained, rinsed

2 tablespoons cumin

1-2 tablespoon chile powder, to taste

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Warm oil in a pot, over medium heat.  Add onions, jalapeños and garlic.  Cook until soft, about 8 minutes.  Season turkey with salt, pepper and add to pot.  Cook until browned.  Break meat up with a spoon while it cooks.  Stir in tomatoes, stock, beans, cumin, chile powder and cinnamon.  

Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer.  Simmer 15 minutes.  Adjust seasoning as desired.  Serve hot.

 

Thai Tea Ice Cream

It's finally hot out.  Cool down with this ice cream - infused with the Thai iced tea flavors of anise and cardamom.  

Thai tea leaves can be found on amazon (what can't be?) or at well stocked grocery stores.  I like the one by Panthai.  

Makes about 1 quart.

Thai Tea Ice Cream

2 cups milk

1 cup cream

2.5 oz thai tea leaves

1/2 cup sugar

4 egg yolks

pinch salt

Combine milk, cream and tea leaves in a sauce pan.  Bring to a boil.  Turn off heat and let steep 10 minutes.  Strain and discard tea leaves.  Stir in sugar.  Return to boil.

Beat egg yolks in a bowl. Whisk in 1/3 boiling liquid to temper the eggs.  Add tempered eggs to the boiling liquid.  Add a pinch of salt.  Cook, whisking constantly until mixture has thickened and coats the back of a spoon.  

Strain into a bowl set over an ice bath to cool right away.  Place in fridge.  Let cool completely.  

Process in ice cream maker until smooth and frozen.     

 

Pineapple Coconut Chia Seed Overnight Oats

I like the convenience of overnight oats.  I stir everything into a cup before bed and wake up to a nutritious breakfast.  I rarely eat breakfast at all - a habit I'm trying to break starting with this easy one.  

Makes 1.

Pineapple Coconut Chia Seed Oats

1/4 cup old fashioned oats

1 1/2 teaspoons chia seeds

1/4 cup coconut milk (like silk or so delicious brands)

1/2 teaspoon brown sugar

2 tablespoons crushed pineapple

small splash vanilla extract

about one tablespoon toasted coconut flakes 

Mix all ingredients together except the coconut flakes.  Cover and refrigerate overnight (8 hours).  Top with toasted coconut flakes and enjoy.  

 

Cam's Black Bean + Tomatillo Soup

This is a good one.  I wasn't sure about the tomatillos when Cam was explaining his idea for the soup but they really add a beautiful bright flavor.  

Tomatillos look like little green tomatoes that you'll find in papery/dried leaf like husks.  Peel those off and discard along with any stems. Cotija cheese is a salty, hard cow's milk cheese from Mexico.  You can grate it or just crumble it with your hands - you'll notice it crumbles into little rice sized bits.  

Serves 8.

Black Bean + Tomatillo Soup

1 lb dried black beans

1 large white onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon cumin

2 quarts water

1 jalapeno, quartered

2 bay leaves

cilantro, leaves chopped and stems separated and reserved

1 lb tomatillos, husks removed, quartered

2 ears corn, husks removed

2 tablespoons cotija cheese

lime juice

salt + pepper

Pick through beans, discarding anything that is not a bean.  Place in bowl and cover with 3 inches of water.  Let soak overnight.  

In a large pot over medium low heat, warm olive oil.  Add onions and sweat until soft, about 8 minutes.  Add garlic, cook 2 minutes.  

Wrap jalapeño, bay leaves and cilantro stems in cheese cloth, secure with kitchen string. 

Drain beans of soaking liquid.  Add beans, jalapeño sachet, cumin and 2 quarts of water to the onions.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer.  Simmer until beans are soft, about 2 hours. 

While soup is simmering, heat oven to 350.  Arrange tomatillos in oven safe dish, sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil.  Roast until soft, 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and puree smooth.   

Grill corn until slightly blackened.  Cut kernels from cob, discard cob.  Toss with cotija cheese, chopped cilantro leaves and lime juice.  Season with salt and pepper.   

Remove sachet from beans.  Puree about 1/3 of soup.  Stir tomatillo puree and pureed 1/3 into soup.  Adjust seasoning.  Top with corn garnish. 

Burgers + Seasoning

Just in time for Fourth of July grilling!  This will add flavor to your burger with ingredients you probably already have in your pantry.  I love a classic burger in the summer, cooked on the stove or on the grill, with a squishy bun, american cheese, crisp lettuce, paper thin red onion slices, ketchup and mustard.  And pickles. I hate it when I forget pickles.  

80:20 is the best meat to fat ratio for burgers.  When forming, don't overwork (it'll change the texture) and make sure to leave a divot in the center of the patty with your thumb (it'll help them cook more evenly).

Serves 4.

Burgers

2 teaspoons ground black pepper

2 teaspoons paprika

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1 lb ground beef, formed into 4 burgers

1 tablespoon butter

Mix pepper, salt, sugar, garlic and onion powders together.  Sprinkle over both sides of all burgers.  

On the stove:  Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.  When hot, melt butter in skillet.  Carefully, place burgers in skillet.  Cook about 3 minutes on each side.  

On the grill:  Heat grill to high (gas) or until coals are glowing and ashy.   Brush burgers with melted butter.  Place burgers on grill, cook 3 minutes.  Flip and cook 5 minutes more or until done to your preference. 

Either cooking method - add cheese about 2 minutes after flipping.  

Assemble burgers on buns with ketchup, mayo, mustard, pickles, cheese, lettuce leaves, onion and tomato slices.  

Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are classic, no frills chocolate chip cookies.  A dessert staple -these were made by all my relatives growing up and it's my go to chocolate chip cookie recipe.  

Makes 30 cookies.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup butter, room temperate

1 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

3 cups flour

1 package semi sweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare cookie sheets with liners or grease.  Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and both sugars.  Stir in eggs and vanilla.  

In another bowl, whisk salt, baking soda and flour together.  Combine with wet ingredients.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Use a tablespoon to portion out cookies, form them into spheres and arrange on baking sheets.  (They will spread during baking, I fit 12 on a half a sheet tray.) 

Bake 10 minutes.  Let cool. 

Lemon Pepper Green Beans

I almost always use the stove top when cooking, rarely the oven.  But last weekend I realized how nice it is for somethings.  For example last weekend, making dinner, it was great to throw (yes, throw.) these and a potato side in the oven while focusing on sautéing our steaks just right.   It also helps me time the meal right so all components are hot and ready together.  

Serves 4.

Lemon Pepper Roasted Green Beans

1 lb green beans, trimmed

splash olive oil

s + p (lots of black pepper!)

juice and zest of 1 lemon

Heat oven to 425.  Toss green beans in oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Roast 10 minutes. Remove from oven and toss with lemon juice and zest.

Lemon + Parmesan Risotto

IMG_9014.JPG

This was one of those 'I don't have a thing to make dinner with' situation.  (Also, an 'I do not want to go to the grocery store nor do I want to order in but I am very hungry for dinner' situation.  What can I say?  I can be difficult.)  I realized, I had, and just about always have, all the things I needed to make risotto.  Risotto is great.  It's so easy, just requires a bit of patience for stirring.  This one is punched up with tastes of lemon and fresh thyme.  

We ate this as a main course - remember?  Low fridge inventory/laziness - but It would be great served with grilled chicken or sautéed vegetables. 

Makes 2-4 servings. 

Lemon + Parmesan Risotto

1 tablespoon butter

1 small yellow onion, finely diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1 cup aborio rice

1/4 cup water + 1/4 cup white vinegar

1 quart chicken stock (or vegetable, for all you veggies), kept hot on the stove

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

zest of 1/2 lemon

s + p

In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until soft, about 8 minutes.  Add garlic thyme leaves and rice, stir to coat in butter and cook until rice is glossy and edges become translucent, about 2 minutes.  Add water and vinegar.  Cook, stirring until almost all evaporated.  

Add hot stock 1/2 cup at a time, stirring continuously until absorbed before the next 1/2 cup addition.  Continue adding stock, stirring, absorbing until rice is creamy and soft but not mushy, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in cheese and lemon zest.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve immediately.   

Malt Vinegar Roasted Potatoes + Herbs

Just you're usual roasted potatoes with garlic and herbs but brightened up with splashes of malt vinegar straight out of the oven.  I love these.  Use new potatoes, fingerlings or creamers.

Serves 2-4. 

Herb Roasted Potatoes

1 lb small potatoes, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons grape seed oil

leaves from 1 stem rosemary

2 thyme sprigs

3 cloves of garlic, smashed

s + p

several splashes of malt vinegar

Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Toss potatoes with oil, rosemary leaves, thyme sprigs and garlic cloves.  Season with salt and pepper.  Arrange on baking dish.  Place in oven and roast about 30 minutes, tossing once during roasting.  Remove from oven once potatoes are cooked through, golden brown and a bit crispy. Immediately, splash a bit of malt vinegar over potatoes while they are still hot.  

Korean Beef Jerky

Guess who finally got herself a food dehydrator?! (It's me.)  I love it.  The lowest setting on the oven worked fine but now I don't have that space monopolized for hours and hours.  

And what better food for my new dehydrator's maiden voyage than beef jerky?  Nothing.  This recipe is gingery, spicy, garlicky and a pinch sweet. 

Use grass fed/pastured local, super lean beef.  I like top round, the london broil cut.  Ask your butcher to slice it into very thin strips.  Or put it in the freezer for 20 minutes and slice it yourself.  Just don't freeze it solid, it'll be impossible to slice right. 

makes about 6oz.

Korean Beef Jerky

1 tablespoon honey

4 tablespoons tamari soy sauce

1 tablespoon sambal oelek

2 tablespoons water

1 garlic clove, grated

1/2 inch round of ginger, peeled, grated

1.5 lb grass fed top round / london broil steak, in thin strips

sesame seeds, optional

Whisk together honey, tamari, sambal oelek, water, garlic and ginger.  Combine with steak strips, coating evenly.  Place in fridge and let marinate overnight, stirring once of twice.  

Arrange marinated strips on dehydrator screens, sprinkle with optional sesame seeds and dehydrate at 160 degrees for about 4-8 hours.  (Ours took 6 but the amount of time varies with thickness of your slices, humidity, moisture content of the beef... lots of things so check it occasionally.)  Once dry, store in airtight container. 

 

Quick Dinner: Pasta + Kale

On Friday nights, Cam and I like to stay in and catch up.  We drink wine, order takeaway dinner,  relax and chat about our week.  It's a really nice way to unwind after a crazy work week and enjoy being together.  (Chibi likes it, too.)  We've made one small change to our evenings recently, which is that now we make dinner.

Nothing elaborate.  Just something quick and easy that can be put together in under 30 minutes. It's fun and provides leftover bites for any weekend hunger attacks.  I'll be sharing these here and there. 

Serves 2-3. 

Pasta with Kale + Mushrooms

3 cups wide egg noodles

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/8 teaspoon red chile flakes

1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms

1/2 tablespoon butter

2 cups chopped kale

s + p

juice of 1/2 lemon

grated parmesan cheese

Boil egg noodles for 6 minutes.  Drain and set aside. 

Heat oil in a sauté pan over medium heat.  Add chile flakes, garlic and sliced mushrooms.  Cook, stirring occasionally until mushrooms are soft.  Add butter and kale, cook about 2 minutes.  Add pasta.  Cook, stirring frequently until hot.  Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice.  Serve with grating of parmesan cheese.