October 12, 2015

Marak Kubbeh Adom (Beet Soup with Meat-filled Dumplings)


meat filling:
1 lb lean ground beef
1 onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon ras al hanout, paprika or baharat
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

dumpling dough:
4 cups coarse semolina (not flour)*
2 cups water

for the soup:
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 medium-large roasted beets, cut into wedges
1 stalk celery, diced
2 carrots cut into 1-1/2 inch chunks
2 small yellow squash, cubed
2 tablespoons tomato paste
8 cups vegetable or chicken stock
juice of one lemon


for the filling:
This can be made the day before (or morning of) and refrigerated.  Heat a small amount of oil in a large pan. Saute the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent. Add the beef and cook, breaking up any large pieces with a spoon, until nearly fully cooked. Stir in spices and parsley. Cook until the beef is fully cooked. Drain off excess fat if needed.

for the dumplings:
In a medium bowl, whisk the water in the semolina. Allow to sit until the semolina absorbs all of the water. Roll into 1 1/2 inch balls. Flatten in the palm of your hand. Place a small amount of filling in the middle and fold the sides to make a round, filled dumpling. Place on a platter until ready to use.

for the soup:
Saute the onions and garlic until the onion is translucent. Add the celery, carrot, squash and beets. Saute 5 minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften. Meanwhile, bring the stock and tomato paste to a boil. Add the vegetables and simmer 20 minutes or until they are tender. Stir in the lemon juice. Add as many dumplings can fit without crowding.

Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Tip: Freeze leftover dumplings (kubbeh) in a single layer on a sheet pan. Then place in a freezer safe container. Add them frozen to the soup the next time you make it.

*I found this very cheaply at a local Italian grocery.

My thoughts:
Over the last few weeks I've become obsessed with the Israeli TV show, Srugim, about four single 30-something modern Orthodox friends who are looking to get married. It is really good! Seasons 1 & 2 are available for streaming on Amazon (for free, if you have Prime) and season 3 is available on Hulu. Anyway, there is a ton of cooking on this show and I swear one of the characters, Yifat, makes this soup at least six times during the first season. After seeing it so much, I had to make it myself. I'm glad I did because it was so good! I will admit, it is quite time-consuming, but I did a few things that made work easier for myself.  I seasoned and browned the meat the morning the day I was going to make the soup (I work from home so that is easy for me, alternatively, make and refrigerate it the day before). I also chopped up the onions and garlic and places them in one container in the fridge. I cut up the rest of the vegetables and refrigerated them also. Then, when it was time to make the soup, I just had to saute the vegetables and then boil the soup while I made the dumplings. This way I wasn't trying to keep track of the vegetables and the beef at the same time and the beef was already cool enough to handle for dumpling making. You can do it all at once (like I shared above) but especially if it is your first time making this, it is worth it to do some work ahead of time. Oh! And I used roasted beets which really cut down on the vegetable sauteing time. It is really worth the effort, is it slightly sweet, slightly sour and very savory. It is even better the next day! I'm totally adding to my rotation of favorite soups.

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October 11, 2015

Dark Chocolate Pudding with Candy Topping

2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup Divine Chocolate Cocoa
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 1/4 cups 2% milk
2 tablespoons butter, diced
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste
1 teaspoon bourbon
pinch salt
chopped candy (I used Goldenberg's Peanut Chews)

Over medium heat and in a small sauce pan, whisk together sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt. Slowly whisk in the milk. Continue to cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it boils. Allow to boil for 1 minute while whisking continually. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter, bourbon, vanilla and paste. Pour into ramekins or jars. Serve warm or refrigerate until cold, 1-2 hours. Sprinkle with candy bits prior to serving.

My thoughts:
I was excited that Divine Chocolate sent me some yummy bars and baking cocoa for #Chocotoberfest with Imperial Sugar! I love their candy bars (and how they are fair trade and farmer-owned) but I hadn't tried their cocoa before. OMG, it is the best cocoa I have every had! It made for the richest pudding I've ever had, despite making it with only 2% milk! Truly decadent! I sort of gilded the lily by tossing some candy on top, but it is nearly Halloween so it seemed appropriate. This is a great pudding for people who haven't pud'd before, it is egg free so you can skip the tempering (which can be tricky and lead to cocoa scrambled eggs instead of pudding!) but is just as creamy and smooth as any other pudding.

Don't forget to enter the #Chocotoberfest Giveaway!



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October 06, 2015

Can't Beet Chocolate Chip Brownies


7 oz semisweet baking chocolate
1/4 cup cocoa
6 tablespoons butter
2 eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar, such as Imperial Sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup finely chopped roasted beets*
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Spray with baking spray or grease and flour one 8x8 inch baking pan. In a saucepan, melt the butter, cocoa and chocolate together over low heat. Stir occasionally, and when the chocolate is nearly melted, remove from heat. Whisk until smooth. Set aside. In a small bowl, stir together flour, salt, baking powder. In a separate bowl, beat together the sugar, eggs and vanilla paste until smooth. Slowly stream the chocolate mixture into the eggs and mix to combine. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients and mix until the batter is thick and glossy. Beat in the beets. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with one or two crumbs. Cool (in pan) on a wire rack.

*I processed them using this mini chopper. It was about 2 medium beets.
My thoughts:
I was excited to be invited by Allison over at the PinterTest Kitchen for #Choctoberfest way back in August. Then it evolved into #Chocotoberfest with Imperial Sugar when Imperial Sugar said they'd send all of us Chocotoberfest bloggers a case of sugar! Yes, I am now the proud owner of 40 lbs of sugar minus what I used in these delish brownies!

I've been tooling around with the idea of beet-spiked brownies and #Choctoberfest was the excuse I needed to actually make them. Beets are in season now, so tasty, huge beets are widely available. I wondered if you could taste the beets and while I think they added some slightly earthy flavor that deepened the chocolate, what they really did was make the richest, moistest, slightly chewy brownies I've ever had.  No one who tried them guessed there were beets in the mix. Plus, you can feel slightly less guilty eating them...they are full of vegetables!

Don't forget to enter the #Chocotoberfest Giveaway!

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October 05, 2015

#Chocotoberfest Giveaway!


I am beyond excited today, because it is October 5.... and that means it is the first day of #Choctoberfest! :D

#Choctoberfest is a virtual event put together by The PinterTest Kitchen. Bloggers from around the world will be posting their favorite chocolate recipes, and you'll get a chance to win some awesome prizes. What's not to love?

Here's what this event is all about!

#Choctoberfest would not be possible without our sponsors, starting with our 2015 Gold Sponsor, Imperial Sugar. Imperial Sugar has been a trusted name in family kitchens since 1843. Their sugar products and sweeteners are made from non-GMO cane sugar and ensure consistently delicious results. We'll be using Imperial Sugar whenever we use sugar in our recipes this week, and can't wait to share the sweetness with you!

You can find Imperial Sugar on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more. Make sure you visit the recipes section of their website for some sweet inspiration, and you can also find coupons on their website if you want to try out Imperial Sugar yourself.

Imperial Sugar and our other sponsors have banded together to contribute some awesome prizes for our #Choctoberfest giveaway! Entering is simple - just click below to follow us on Pinterest. Here's what you could win:
We also have a nonprofit sponsor this year - Rescue Chocolate! They make vegan chocolate treats and donate 100% of their proceeds to animal shelters.

Enter now to win the #Choctoberfest prize. Hurry, because we're picking the winner on October 12 at 8:00 AM, so if you don't sign up before then, you'll miss your chance!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A huge thank you to all of the other blogs participating in #Choctoberfest 2015. Check out their blogs throughout the week for chocolate recipes you won't be able to resist:

The PinterTest Kitchen2 Cookin' MamasA Day in the Life on the FarmAloha FlavorAmy's Cooking AdventuresAngels HomesteadBalancing MotherhoodBless this MessBusy-at-HomeChocolate SlopesCoconut & LimeColie's KitchenCookaholic WifeCooking In StilettosCooking With LibbyCookistryCopyKat RecipesCravings of a LunaticCrumbs in my MustachioCulinary CoutureCupcakes Take The CakeDeliciously SavvyEat It & Say YumFairyburgerFamished Fish, Finicky SharkFarm Fresh FeastsFood Hunter's Guide to CuisineFull Belly SistersGet Off The Couch and CookGrumpy's HoneybunchHey What's for Dinner Mom?Honey and BirchI Can Cook ThatJane's Adventures in DinnerJessie WeaverLife on Food Life, Love, and Good FoodMajorly DeliciousMoore or Less Cooking Food BlogMother Would KnowOr Whatever You DoPoet in the PantryRecipes Food and CookingRhubarb and HoneySassy Southern YankeeSavory TartSeduction in The KitchenSerena LissySumptuous SpoonfulsTake Two TapasThat Skinny Chick Can BakeThatsSoYummyThe Chonchudo FilesThe Crumby CupcakeThe Dinner-MomThe Saucy SouthernerThe Spiced LifeThe Spiffy CookieThe Two Bite ClubThe Weekday GourmetVintage KittyWendy PolisiWhat A Girl EatsWhitBit's Indian KitchenWit Wisdom & FoodZesty South Indian Kitchen

Are you a blogger who is interested in joining us during our next community event?

Sign up here now!

We'll make sure you get an email about our next blogger event.

September 30, 2015

Shrimp Miso Noodle Soup

3-4 tablespoons aka miso (red miso)
5.3 oz beech mushrooms, roots removed
1 bunch green onions, chopped (green and white parts)
3/4 cup matchstick-cut carrots
1 1/4 cup diced okra
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb shrimp (small-medium)
12 oz fresh rice noodles
cilantro for garnish (optional)

Whisk miso paste into 1 1/2 quarts water in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Add the mushrooms, green onion, carrot, okra and garlic and return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender. Add the shrimp and cook 1-2 minutes or until just pink. Add the rice noodles and cook 2-3 minutes or until the shrimp and noodles are cooked through.

My thoughts:
Poor Matt has been a little under the weather lately so I wanted to make a soup that would be soothing but not too heavy for dinner tonight. This recipe combined some of our favorite foods (okra, shrimp and mushrooms) in a light miso broth with fresh rice noodles. The whole soup took only about 15 minutes start to finish and was every bit as soothing and homey as I'd hoped.

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September 28, 2015

How to: Roast Beets

you need:
beets, greens removed*
baking sheet


Preheat oven to 400. Pull off a length of foil that is twice the length of your baking sheet. Line your baking sheet, allowing half of the foil to hang off the end. Place the beets on the foil in a single layer. Fold the foil over the beets and crimp close.

Bake 45-60 minutes or until each beet is easily pierced with a thin knife. Allow to cool slightly. Use a paper towel to rub the skin off the beets. Eat or cook with immediately or refrigerate up to one week.

*I used a mix of red and white beets (that pale guy on the end is a white beet. fun!) because that is what I had on hand. Smaller beets may cook more quickly than larger beets. If you have some nice beet greens leftover, I have a few recipes that use them.
My thoughts:
I keep a running tally of questions readers ask and when it reaches what I deem a critical mass, I try to do a how-to post. I haven't done one in a while but it was clear one was needed about roasting beets. I frequently call for cooked beets in my recipes and roasting is by far the easiest method. You can boil them but that takes just as long and you have a pot of boiling water on the stove that you have to make sure doesn't evaporate. I much prefer a hands-off method. I actually like roasting beets for recipes that call for me to saute them until tender. Sauteing beets until they are tender takes forever. I just roast up a big batch when I get a chance and refrigerate them until ready to use. Then I add them towards the end of the root vegetable cooking time or add them long enough to warm them through if they are the only root vegetable in the recipe. Added bonus? The skin slips right off of cooked beets; so you can avoid peeling the slippery, staining things with a regular peeler. Win-win-win.

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September 26, 2015

Chocolate Chip Yoghurt Cookies


1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup vanilla noosa yoghurt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup flour
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375. Line 2cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, cream together the brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder. Stream the flour into the butter/yoghurt mixture until a soft dough forms. Fold in chocolate chips. Place healthy teaspoons of dough roughly 2 inches apart onto the lined cookie sheets.
Bake for 8 minutes or until the bottoms are golden. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Yield: about 1 1/2 dozen cookies

My thoughts:
If you like cake-like, moist cookies, these are the cookies for you! When noosa first approached me about developing a recipe using their yoghurt, I immediately said yes because I was already a big fan. I love creamy, smooth, lightly tart Australian-style yoghurt and I think their flavors ( my personal favorites are  the strawberry-rhubarb and the cranberry-apple) are some of the truest found in yoghurt. They sent me a big box of flavors to play with but I was drawn to the vanilla because it not only comes in a 24-oz tub but it was totally flecked with vanilla bean seeds and had a really pure vanilla flavor. I've been craving chocolate chip cookies for a while now so it only seemed natural to use the vanilla yoghurt in a batch. Like I said, these are more cake-like than crisp; sort of like a cookie scone if you can imagine that! They were a big hit and super easy to make (and allergy-friendly--they are egg-free thanks to how thick and rich the yoghurt is!) with only 6 ingredients.

I buy my noosa at the regular supermarket and Target but if you are having trouble, check out their product locator.

This blog post is sponsored by noosa® yoghurt and SocialMoms. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own. 
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