December 21, 2015

Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies


Ingredients:
1 1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1 1/2 tablespoons Tuaca
2 tablespoons coarse Cara Cara orange zest*
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the egg, zest and Tuaca and combine thoroughly. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix until a very thick dough forms. Fold in the chips. Form cookies by dropping 1 heaping teaspoon of dough two inches apart. Flatten slightly then bake until light brown, about 12 minutes. Slide them out on the parchment paper on to a wire rack and allow them to cool 1-2 minutes on the parchment on the wire rack before removing the parchment and allowing them to cool directly on the wire rack.

*Or regular oranges. I use this to coarsely zest my orange.

My thoughts:
I recieved some pretty pink Cara Cara oranges in my produce box a week or so again. I was just going to eat them but then I was reminded of those chocolate oranges they sell this time of year and thought I'd make some cookies inspired by that instead. Orange and chocolate are a classic combination. Cara Cara oranges are extra sweet and less acidic than some varieties of orange so they make the perfect zest for cookies. The Tuaca adds a bit of richness and a hint of orange that went great with the coarse orange zest and didn't fade after baking like fresh orange juice can. The best part is that these cookies were in the oven in only 10 minutes. They bake for 12 and once they cool for a few minutes, they are ready to eat. Fresh cookies ready to eat in under 40 minutes? Yes, please!

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December 15, 2015

Apple Butter Mascarpone Dessert Cheese Ball



Ingredients:
1/2 cup Musselman's apple butter
8 oz (brick) cream cheese, at room temperature
8 oz mascarpone, at room temperature
1/3 cup confectioners sugar
1 cup sliced almonds

Directions:
In a large bowl, beat together the apple butter, cream cheese, marscapone and sugar until smooth with the paddle attachment of an electric mixer. Scrape into a bowl and refrigerate 1-2 hours or until well chilled.


Place the almonds in a shallow bowl. Set aside. Remove the apple butter mixture from the container and mold into a ball. Roll in almonds to coat. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with apples, pears and graham crackers.

Prep time: about 10 minutes, serves about 20


My thoughts:

Our friends have an annual holiday party that that is always a lot of fun. This year they asked for people to bring an exciting dish to share and I knew it was my chance to make the sweet, dessert cheese ball I've been waiting to make for at least the last 8 months. Being a family of two, our needs for a cheese ball are pretty small on the day-to-day so I'd been looking for an excuse to make it. Since I am a Musselman's apple butter blogger, an apple butter-spiked cheese ball seemed like a no brainer. It was super quick to put together and transport. I just placed it in the middle of a platter, loosely wrapped it in foil and then added the fruit and crackers when I arrived. It wasa great combination of sweet, tangy and nicely spiced from the apple butter which went great with the graham crackers and fruit I served it with.





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December 11, 2015

Chicken Schnitzel


Ingredients:
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, pounded to about 1/4 inch thick*
4 eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon
1 cup flour
1 cup matzo meal
Thrive™ Algae Oil
lemon wedges for serving

Directions:
Heat 1/3 inch Thrive™ Algae Oil in a low, wide pan. Meanwhile, whisk together the egg and mustard in a shallow bowl. Set aside. Pour the flour and matzo meal onto two seperate plates. Dredge each piece of chicken in the flour then dip into the egg mixture and then dredge in matzo meal. Fry 2-5 minutes, flipping once, until golden brown and cooked through. Drain on paper towel lined plates. Serve with lemon wedges.



*If the breasts are very thick, butterfly them first. I pounded mine between two sheets of parchment paper with a rolling pin.
My thoughts:
I've already shared one recipe I created inspired by Israeli TV show, Srugim, about four single 30-something modern Orthodox friends. That beet-dumpling soup was what one of the female characters, Yifat, made several times for Shabbat. She did most of the cooking for the group but on the rarer occasions the male characters had Shabbat at their apartment or brought a dish, they always served schnitzel. There is even one scene where the two brothers, Nati and Roi debate the merits of the eating the last schnitzel their mother made (and froze) before she died. It being Israel and keeping kosher, the schnitzel they were talking about was made of chicken, not pork. Since frying is one of the things we are compelled to do at Hanukkah, I thought this would a perfect time to have another Srugim inspired meal.

Since you are frying thin cutlets very quickly, it is important to use oil with a high smoke point. Coincidentally, right before Hanukkah, the folks at Thrive™ Algae Oil contacted me about trying out their new, neutral-tasting oil made from algae. With a smoke point of 485 degrees, it seemed perfect for frying. Plus Thrive™ Algae Oil has the highest level of monounsaturated ("good") fat, and the lowest level of saturated ("bad") fat compared to other oils which helped ease my mind a bit when it came to making a second fried meal in less than a week! Now, I served my schnitzel hot but in the show, they normally served it at room temperature so I think that would be good as well! It also made a great sandwich on some challah.

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December 07, 2015

Fennel-Potato Latkes


Ingredients:
4 cups grated Russet potatoes (about 4 medium potatoes)
2 bulbs fennel, grated
1/4 cup chopped fennel fronds, leafy parts only
1 medium onion, grated
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup matzo meal
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
canola oil

Directions:

In a large cast iron skillet or other heavy bottomed pan, heat about 1/4 inch oil.
Place the potato into a metal sieve over a large bowl. Press out any liquid. Pour out the liquid and place the potatoes in the bowl on top of the remaining starch. Use the same sieve to drain the fennel and onion over the sink. Add to the potato. Stir in spices, and the matzo meal. Form into flat patties. If they will not hold their shape, stir in additional matzo meal until they do. Fry in hot oil, flipping halfway through, until just golden.


Drain on paper towel lined plates.


Yield: about a 10 latkes, depending on size.



My thoughts:
One of the best parts, possibly the best part, of Hanukkah, is latkes! I try to make a different kind each year and this year I ended up with some beautiful fennel in my produce box so it was only logical to turn it into latkes! I was surprised at how well and easily the fennel grated (using the large holes in a box grater just like the potatoes) and how much flavor they added to the latkes. Matt thinks fennel can be fibrous but that was not an issue there, it really mixed well with the potato. I don't know if it was the fennel or what but these were some of the crispiest, tastiest latkes we've made in years. I served them with a bit of sour cream and alongside some smoked salmon salad I made yesterday for a festive lunch, but they'd be great at dinner too. I did really like making the salad the day before so I could focus all of my attention to the latkes and not on another main dish. I will keep that in mind for next Hanukkah!


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December 05, 2015

Rauðkál (Icelandic Pickled Red Cabbage)


Ingredients:
1 head red cabbage, cored and sliced thinly
1 1/2 cups red wine vinegar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 large stick cinnamon
2 whole star anise


Directions:
Place ingredients in a lidded pot. Bring to a boil. Stir. Reduce to a simmer and cover. Simmer for 45 minutes or until fully wilted and soft, stirring occasionally. Remove cinnamon stick and star anise and discard. If liquid remains, bring to a boil until it evaporates. Cool then refrigerate. Serve chilled.

My thoughts:
Over the years we've gone to a number of Scandinavian holiday events; Swedish, Finnish, Danish and then this year, Icelandic! It is a lot of fun to try food that we normally can't get (Icelandic hot dogs and lamb!) and I normally come away with some ideas of how to make some holiday foods at home. I've made quite a few Swedish dishes over the years but Icelandic was new to me. In Iceland, it seems, a lot of red cabbage is grown for Jóla (Christmas) dinner. It is quick-pickled and served along side hangikjöt (smoked lamb) wild game, potatoes and other dishes. While some Icelandic ingredients are tricky to get a hold of (I have the Icelandic hot dogs but no condiments!) red cabbage is plentiful this time of year here as well. It seemed an obvious choice! This cabbage is similar to a lot of sweet and sour cabbage dishes across Europe but somewhat unusually spiced with star anise and cinnamon. The result: a pickled cabbage dish that really tastes of the holidays! I served it with pork as I don't have hangikjöt but it would be great with ham, turkey or chicken as well.

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December 03, 2015

Slow Cooker Beef-Eggplant Stew


Ingredients:
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, sliced into coins
1 lb Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 turnip, cubed
1 large eggplant, cubed
1 1/4 lb cubed sirloin or other beef for stew
1 1/2 cups beef stock
1/4 cup cognac vinegar (can sub red wine vinegar)
1 tablespoon Herbes de Provence
1 bay leaf
super fine flour (like Wondra flour)
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
Toss the beef with the salt, pepper and some super fine flour to coat. Set aside. Heat some olive oil in a Dutch oven and add the beef. Saute until the beef is lightly browned on all sides. Pour the mixture into a 6-quart slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients Stir. Cover and cook for 8 hours. Remove the bay leaf prior to serving. Stir prior to serving.




My thoughts:
After an unseasonably warm November, there is actually a bit of a chill in the air. We've busted out our slippers, flannel sheets and now the slow cooker for the season. I've been wanting to make beef stew for a while but it really didn't seem appropriate when the days were 65 and sunny so when yesterday was rainy and dreary I popped some ingredients in the slow cooker and had a lovely, hearty meal come dinnertime. I've rarely cooked eggplant in the slow cooker (despite the hundreds of slow cooker recipes in my cookbooks)but that's a shame, slow cooking renders eggplant silky and tender with nary a hint of bitterness. The perfect counterpoint to the rich beef.


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November 30, 2015

Cold-Busting Matzo Ball Soup


Ingredients:

for the stock:
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 parsnips
2 carrots
2 stalks celery
1 onion, quartered
1 bunch fresh parsley
1 large chicken, cut into pieces, skin/fat removed and reserved



2 quarts chicken stock

for the soup:
1 onion, diced
6 garlic scapes, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 carrots, sliced into coins
1 parsnip, sliced into coins


for the matzo balls:
3 tablespoons rendered chicken fat* or olive oil
1 cup matzo meal
1 cup original Vintage Seltzer, at room temperature
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

In a large soup pot, place onion; 1 (large) parsnip, halved; bunch parsley; sprigs of sage; 2 celery stalks; chicken pieces; broth and wine. The broth should be covering the chicken. If not, add water or additional to cover. Over high heat, bring to boil then reduce to low and simmer, partially covered for 1 hour, every 10 minutes, skim any scum that floats to the surface off.

Pour the seltzer into a large bowl and top with matzo meal, stir to combine. Add 3 tablespoons rendered fat (if you don't have 3 tablespoons' worth, make up the difference in oil), salt, egg and white pepper. Stir to combine, refrigerate for 1 hour.


After the stock has cooked for one hour, remove the chicken and place in a bowl. Strain the broth through a fine strainer into another large pot, pressing the solids to release any liquids. Discard solids.

Saute the onion, carrots, parsnips, garlic, scapes and celery in a large stock pot.


Add stock and boil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the chicken and simmer.

Meanwhile, remove the mazto meal mixture from the refrigerator and, using wet hands, roll into 1 inch balls.


In a second pot, bring a large amount of salted water to boil. Drop the matzo balls into the water and cook 15 minutes, they should float to the top but this does not mean they are ready, cook the full 15 minutes.



*To render chicken fat to make schmaltz for the matzo balls: Heat a sauté pan, add the fat, and the small onion, quartered and cook over medium heat until the fat is rendered. Strain into a heat safe bowl or measuring cup.



To serve: place 4 matzo balls in each bowl (should serve 4-6) and ladle the soup over. Serve right away.


Store leftover soup and matzo balls in separate containers in the refrigerator. Add the matzo balls to the soup and warm it on the stove top to server.





My thoughts:
When Vintage Seltzer approached me about developing a recipe using their seltzer in a new recipe my mind didn't go to drinks; it went to matzo balls! Hanukkah is right around the corner and while matzo ball soup is a classic Passover dish, I think it goes great with Hanukkah which falls in a more classically soup weather time of year. So I headed straight for the beverage aisle and picked up a 12-pack of 12-oz cans. I like using canned seltzer for my fluffy matzo balls because it keeps the fizz longer than an opened 2-liter bottle so I have plenty on hand for many batches of soup! The fizz in seltzer adds a bit of lightness to the matzo balls and since it is very low sodium and flavorless, it doesn't interfere with the flavor of the matzo balls or the soup. It is one of my favorite "secret" ingredients.

It is cold and flu season so I made this a hearty soup (not just broth n' balls like some versions) and loaded it up with chicken, carrots, celery, parsnips, garlic and garlic scapes! They don't call chicken soup Jewish penicillin for nothing! The garlic and rich broth are sure to make you feel much better.


Side note: This recipe is great made with turkey too!

Click here for a digital coupon for Vintage Seltzer.

Follow Vintage Seltzer on TwitterFacebookPinterest and Instagram! Users who tag @DrinkVintage on Instagram will receive a $1 off coupon!


I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.


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November 24, 2015

Winter Greens, Leek and Feta Pie


Ingredients:
2 tablespoons butter
1 lb sliced leeks
1 large bunch Swiss chard, stems and leaves finely chopped (about 2 lb)
1 large bunch mustard greens, stems and leaves finely chopped (about 2 lb)
1 1/2 teaspoon za'atar
1/2 lb crumbled feta
8-10 sheets of filo (phyllo) dough
1/4 cup melted butter for the dough
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350.

In a large skillet, melt the butter and saute the leeks until soft. Meanwhile, steam the greens in a large pot of boiling water until bright green and soft. Drain the leaves and squeeze dry in paper towels (or spin out in a salad spinner and avoid burning your hands). Add the mixture to the leeks. Saute until well combined and all liquid is evaporated. Stir in spices. Allow to cool slightly. Stir in feta.

Line the bottom and sides of a buttered 10-inch springform pan with 4-5 sheets phyllo dough, buttering between each layer. Fill with vegetable, feta mixture. Top with 4-5 4-5 sheets phyllo dough, buttering between each layer, fold the edges over the top of the pan, brush with butter. Bake 40 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack, unmold. Best served warm or at room temperature; wait at least 10 minutes prior to cutting for best results.

My thoughts:
In keeping with my holiday pie theme, #seasonofpie, I present this hearty greens pie. It is a bit nontraditional but hear me out, it is perfect for the winter holidays. Chard and mustard greens are beautiful and abundant right now; it can be served at room temperature (perfect for potluck); it can function as a side dish or a vegetarian main; anything made in a springform pan looks impressive; it is a wonderful alternative to many of the dodgier vegetable casseroles people trot out this time of year. I loved it. The salty feta, the earthy za'atar and the slightly bitter greens. Perfection.

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November 23, 2015

Cherry Ricotta Pie


Ingredients:
2 tablespoons fine semolina flour
1 1/4 lb whole milk ricotta, drained
2/3 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
1 1/2 cup frozen whole sweet cherries (do not defrost!)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375. Lightly butter (or spray with baking spray) a standard pie plate. Sprinkle semolina flour in an even layer over the bottom of the pan. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together the ricotta, sugar, eggs and vanilla paste until very smooth. Pour into prepared pie plate. Dot with frozen cherries, pressing them into the batter lightly. Bake 45 minutes or until lightly browned and the pie is set (a slight jiggle is okay but it should not be liquidy in the center). Allow to cool completely on a wire rack prior to serving.


My thoughts:
Cranberries might be more traditional this time of year but cherries are just as red and festive and I think they go better with this Italian- and clafoutis-inspired pie. I used leftover cherries from the summer that I pitted and froze myself after making jam but store-bought would work just as well. Or fresh if they are in season.The best thing is that this rustic pie is light, and takes only about 5 minutes to pull together; both a major bonus in the holiday season. It is creamy like a lot of traditional holiday pies (and cheesecake!) but different enough that you don't have worry someone else will bring it to the party! #seasonofpie

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November 17, 2015

Turkey and Stuffing Pie


Ingredients:

for the stuffing layer:
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 cup turkey stock
12 oz soft potato bread cubes
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
butter (for pan)
salt
freshly ground black pepper


for the turkey layer:
1 lb cubed Yukon Gold potato
3 carrots, sliced into coins
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 1/3 lb cooked turkey breast, cubed
18 oz turkey gravy

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

for the stuffing layer:
Heat the butter and oil in a skillet. Saute the onion, garlic and celery over very low heat until the onion is translucent and the celery is soft but neither is browned. Toss with the bread cubes and spices. Pour the stock over the mixture and mix until well distributed. Set aside.

Meanwhile, saute the potato, carrot, garlic, shallot and celery and saute in a large skillet until the vegetables are softened. Stir in the turkey and gravy, cook until warmed through 2-5 minutes. Spoon into a 2 1/2 quart baking dish. Top with stuffing.


Bake covered for 15 minutes then uncovered for an additional 15 or until hot and the stuffing is browned.
My thoughts:
I was trying to think of a theme for Thanksgiving posts this year and was having trouble. This is my eleventh Thanksgiving since starting this blog and I've done everything from pomegranate-themed to Hawaiian (complete with Pineapple-infused Turkey and Spam-Hawaiian Bread Stuffing) to Polish (with kielbasa-rye stuffing) to Thanksgivukkah and a ton in between. This year I've declared it to be the  #seasonofpie and am making all of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes in pie form. First up: Turkey and Stuffing Pie. All of the taste of turkey and stuffing with a fraction of the work. Think of it as a turkey pot pie with stuffing as the crust. Homey and satisfying. Perfect for small (or potluck!) Thanksgivings or even using up leftovers after the big day.

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November 15, 2015

Waffled Italian Tortilla Bites



Ingredients:
10 Mission Flour Soft Taco tortillas
1/2 lb thinly sliced turkey breast
1/4 lb thinly sliced lean capicola
1/4 lb thinly sliced smoked provolone
1/4 cup olive spread (prepared*)

Directions:
Heat standard (not Belgian!) waffle iron. Meanwhile, spread 5 tortillas with olive spread. Top with a single layer of turkey then a single layer of capicola then a layer of provolone. Top with remaining tortillas. Place in waffle irons, one at a time, and cook until warmed through and lightly browned. Repeat for remaining tortillas. Quarter and serve hot or at room temperature.




*I buy this at our local Italian store. You can make your own by finely mincing pimento-stuffed green olives and mixing with olive oil until spreadable


My thoughts:
Italian tortillas! What? I was inspired by the ubiquitous tortilla pinwheels I see so often this time of year on blogs and in magazines. I took it to the next level by crisping them in the waffle iron and using my favorite capicola and olive spread. The result is oddly satisfying; lighter than a finger sandwich but the turkey, capicola, and cheese pack quite a bit of protein. The waffle iron created little notches in the bread so it held together better than a traditional quesadilla or panini pressed tortilla sandwich would. Perfect for a heavy apps holiday party with lots of mingling.


 Leave a comment here for a chance to win Mission Foods tortillas sent to your door!


I’m required to disclose a sponsored partnership between our site and Mission Foods. I have been compensated in exchange for this post in the form of payment, product or experiences.


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November 11, 2015

Acorn Squash Stuffed with Fruited Wild Rice



Ingredients:
1 acorn squash, halved and seeds removed
1 cup cooked wild rice
1 Bosc pear, cubed
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup dried, sweetened cranberries

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Place the acorn squash on the parchment, flesh-side down. Bake 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, stir together the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Evenly divide among the cavities of the squash. Bake, flesh-side up for an additonal 20 minutes or until the squash is tender. Slice in half and serve immediately.


Serves: 4

Note: This recipe is easily doubled.


My thoughts:
As much as I hate to admit it (and the temperature seems to be with me on this, it was 60 today!) it is more than a week into November and the holidays are right around the corner. Time to break out the winter squash and holiday-worthy dishes! This one is a new favorite, serve half and it is a great vegan main course, divide it into fourths and it is a great side for pork or poultry. It couldn't be easier, too! Just bake, stir and bake again. No stovetop, no sauteing, nothing! Perfect for weeknights or busy holidays.


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November 09, 2015

Warm Italian Roasted Cauliflower Lentil Salad




Ingredients:

for the warm salad:
1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste
1/4 cup capote capers
8 oz cooked beluga lentils
freshly ground black pepper

serve with:
2 Bumble Bee SuperFresh® Salmon with Garlicky Black Pepper and Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400. Place the Bumble Bee SuperFresh® Salmon with Garlicky Black Pepper and Extra Virgin Olive Oil in their included parchment envelope. Place on a baking sheet. Cover the rest of the baking sheet in foil. Arrange the cauliflower in a single layer over the foil.

In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, oil, lemon juice, anchovy pasta and capers. Drizzle over cauliflower. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the cauliflower to a bowl, stir in warm lentils. Plate the salmon and divide the salad between the two plates. Serve immediately.






My thoughts:
With Matt taking ASL classes three nights a week and tai chi one night a week, it has been a challenge to make dinner. We are either eating very late or freakishly early for the bulk of the week. So what I've been doing is trying to make meals that are either a. quick or b. need little hands on-time. So when Bumble Bee asked me to come up with a 25 minute meal involving their new frozen seafood, I readily agreed. I was pleased with the salmon, it was very fresh tasting and honestly, had a better texture then about 1/2 the time when I make salmon from scratch. I think it is because you are cooking it from frozen which I just discovered a few months ago is the trick to really moist salmon. Since it came with a perfectly sized parchment envelope, all I had to do was wrap it up and pop it in the oven.

I thought I'd make roasted cauliflower to go with because it cooks in the same amount of time as it takes to bake the salmon: 20 minutes. I used cooked beluga lentils I heated up but you can make them fresh in the time it takes to bake the cauliflower if you wish. Simply simmer 1 cup dried lentils in 2 cups salted water for 20 minutes until tender. I love beluga lentils because they hold their shape making them a great choice for hearty salads. Since I was using the well-seasoned garlicky black pepper salmon, I went Italian-inspired for the salad and tossed in pretty much all of my favorite ingredients: anchovy, lemon and capers. The capers roasted wonderfully but take care to use the capote capers are called for, not the small non-peril variety as the smaller capers may burn.


Visit the Bumble Bee SuperFresh® website for a coupon to try these SuperFresh® for yourself! Bumble Bee SuperFresh® is a complete line of naturally-seasoned, restaurant quality, “fish-forward” prepared seafood solutions for the home. It raises the bar for what seafood lovers can expect from frozen food!



I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.



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October 30, 2015

Ham, Mushroom and Collard Topped Garlic Herb Cheddar Grits





Ingredients:

for the topping:
1 bunch collards, ribs removed and chopped
12 oz shiitake mushroom, chopped
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 oz cubed ham
salt
freshly ground black pepper

for the grits:
1 cup stone-ground grits
3 cups water
1/3 cup grated garlic and herb cheddar*


Directions:
Boil the collards in a large pot of water for about 5 minutes or until wilted. Drain thoroughly. Saute the collards, onion, garlic, mushrooms and ham until the collards and onions are quite soft but not browned. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Whisk in grits and continue to cook, whisking frequently for about 5 minutes or until thickened. Stir in cheese.

Divide grits among 4 plates and evenly divide the ham mixture on top. Serve immediately.


*I used Cabot's


My thoughts:
This another one of those meals that comes and ends up being much better than expected. I love grits and am always looking for ways to incorporate them into a dinner. They make a nice alternative to potatoes or rice and cook up quite quickly, the perfect base for a quick saute. This time I topped them with collards, something I don't see cooked quickly very often which is a shame. They are a bit tough so the boiling step is necessary but they added a great flavor and texture to the dish. Shiitake mushrooms might seem a little out of place but they absorb flavors well and added a fun chew to the saute. I can't wait to make it again

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October 28, 2015

Crab-Broccoli Quiche with an Old Bay-Cheddar Crust


Ingredients:
for the crust:
Ingredients:
1 cup King Arthur flour
1/3 cup cold butter, cut into 1-inch chunks
1/4 cup grated Cabot Alpine cheddar
2-4 tablespoons ice water
1 teaspoon Old Bay


filling:
1 small head broccoli,cut into small florets
1 1/2 cup lump blue crab*
1 small onion
3/4 cup Cabot Alpine Cheddar
5 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tablespoon Old Bay

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425. Place the Old Bay, butter, flour and cheese into a food processor. Add water one tablespoon at a time and pulse just until mixture sticks together. Form the dough into a ball. Roll out into a crust and place in a pie plate or quiche pan or tart pan (I just use a Pyrex pie plate). Prick with a fork. Bake for 10 minutes or until just browned. Turn oven down to 325.

Meanwhile, saute the broccoli and onion in a small amount of oil until the onion is soft and the broccoli is bright green and tender. Allow to cool. Whisk together the egg, Old Bay and milk. Stir in cheese, crab, broccoli and onion. Pour into the prepared shell. Bake for 45 minutes or until lightly browned and cooked through.


*I used crab leftover from picking crabs, it was still pretty seasoned so I used a bit less Old Bay then called for here. Feel free to adjust to your taste.


My thoughts:
It is King Arthur Flour's 225th anniversary and they paired up with Cabot to send us Cabot Cheese Board bloggers a fun flour and cheese quiche making kit. I tossed around a lot of ideas but when I had some crab leftover from what will probably be our last crab picking session of the summer I knew I need to make a crab quiche! This is possibly this most Baltimore quiche ever--Old Bay is in the filling and the dough! And might I point out how this might be the best quiche dough I've made yet? It rolled out so smoothly and didn't tear when I picked it up. The filling was quite tasty as well, good but not overwhelming Old Bay flavor and lovely chunks of crab. I know quiche doesn't scream "weeknight dinner" but do consider it, it really required less than 15 minutes hands-on time.

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October 19, 2015

Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Cookies



Ingredients:
1 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla paste
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a medium sized bowl combine flour, cocoa, salt, and baking powder. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla paste and combine thoroughly. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the sweetened butter and mix until a very thick dough forms. Fold in the chocolate chips and distributing them evenly. Form cookies by dropping 1 tablespoon of dough on the sheet two inches apart. Bake for exactly 12 minutes; the cookies will look slightly shiny and soft, but the bottoms should be lightly browned and crisp. Remove gently slide the cookies still on the parchment to a wire rack to cool for 2 minutes or until set. Remove the parchment and continue to cool the cookies on the wire rack until fully cooled.


Yield: about 1 1/2 dozen fairly large cookies



My thoughts:
Matt was at his Tai Chi class yesterday and I was avoiding washing those last few utensils at the bottom of the sink (no dishwasher here!) so I thought I'd make a quick batch of cookies. Good thing too, because Matt came home saying he felt like having something sweet but that the cookies at the grocery were unappealing and overpriced. Score one for my marital psychic ability. These cookies are dead simple but very satisfying. The trick is to take them out of the oven at precisely 12 minutes and let them continue to cook slightly and set up on the rack. This makes for a cookie that is every so slightly on the moist side (without being pudding-y or brownie-like) but not overcooked or dry. It is a little tricky sliding them onto the rack while still on parchment but it is worth the effort. They are super chocolatey and studded with even more chocolate. What more could you want?


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October 16, 2015

Roasted Shrimp and Vegetable Pearl Cous Cous Salad


Ingredients:
1 small head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
8 oz crimini mushrooms, halved
2 carrots, cut into 1/2 inch-thick rounds
3 cloves garlic, minced (divided use)
1 3/4 cup pearl (Israeli) cous cous
2 1/4 cups water
1 1/2 lb medium shrimp
1 small onion, sliced
greens from 1 bunch carrots, minced*
salt
freshly ground black pepper



Directions:
Preheat oven to 350. Place the cauliflower, mushrooms, carrots in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with half of the minced garlic. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 40 minutes or until the vegetables are fork-tender and lightly browned. Remove to a large bowl.

Bring the water to a boil, add the cous cous. Cover and simmer 8 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, place the shrimp and onions in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with remaining half of minced garlic. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 8-10 minutes or until fully cooked. Scoop the cous cous into the bowl with the roasted vegetables. Add the chopped carrot tops. Stir. Remove the shrimp from the pan with tongs and add to the vegetable/cous cous mix. Discard the onions. Stir the mixture.

Serve warm or at room temperature.


*Could sub in Italian parsley if needed.
My thoughts:
I love when I get carrots with the tops on in my produce box. Once I realized they are not poisonous as I had oddly, erroneously thought, I fell in love with their bright, light carrot flavor. For this recipe I tossed shrimp, both carrots and their tops, cauliflower, mushrooms and my favorite style of cous cous together to make a light yet filling weeknight dinner. It was super easy and quick to make because pretty much everything cooks at once in the oven and required virtually no hands-on time a major plus on the nights when Matt is at school late and I have to make an exciting dinner after a long day.

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October 12, 2015

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




Ingredients:

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


Directions:

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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