Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Being MIA lately...


Let me first apologize for my severe lack of blogging over the last three weeks. I have been extremely busy with school (basically going in at 8 am and not getting home until around 10 pm), interviewing for externships (I finally got one), and having multiple family members visiting me. This being said life is FINALLY settling down and I will have more reasonable hours starting on Monday allowing me to start up the posting again! I'm excited and have a few great posts planned!

Have a good rest of the week/weekend!

xx C

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Cookbook Love: Ottolenghi, Plenty, and Jerusalem

Happy Tuesday!!!

This is the first post of a new sporadic feature where I will share some of my favorite cookbooks and recipes from these books. 

Yotam Ottolenghi is an english chef, he focuses on fresh middle eastern flavors in his three cookbooks. His book, Plenty, has one of my favorite tofu recipes of all time and has many other recipes that are delicious, fresh, and healthy. Finding one recipe to share in this post was difficult considering all of his recipes are delicious! I would highly recommend any of these books. 

Black Pepper Tofu (serves 3-4)
2 cups canola oil, or any oil that has a high smoke point so you can fry in it
2 # firm tofu, cut into ~1 inch cubes
11 tbs. unsalted butter
3 tbs. finely chopped ginger
12 small shallots, thinly sliced
12 cloves of garlic, crushed
3 hot red peppers, seeded and minced
5 tbs. coarsely ground black pepper
3 tbs. sweet soy sauce (you can find this at any asian market)
3 tbs. light soy sauce (this is the normal soy sauce)
4 tsp. dark soy sauce (you can find this at any asian market)
2 tbs. sugar
16 small scallions, cut into 1 inch pieces
Cooked white rice, for serving

Heat the oil in a frying pan until the temperature is high enough that it will bubble if you drop a tiny bit of cornstarch into it. At this point dip the tofu cubes into the cornstarch and fry in the oil, turning as necessary, to get all of the sides a consistent golden brown color. Once all of the tofu is fried, empty the pan and wipe it out with a paper towel. Add ginger, shallots, garlic, hot peppers and saute them until they are soft. Add the pepper the soy sauces and the sugar and stir together. Now add the tofu and warm through. Just before serving toss in the scallions and serve over white rice. 

This recipe is DELICIOUS! But spicy. If you aren't a huge fan of spice dial back the hot peppers, I wouldn't change the amount of pepper though since you want that strong black pepper taste! Enjoy! 

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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sunday Muffins: Æbleskivers (Gluten-free)

Good Morning! 

I hope everyone had a great weekend spent with loved ones -whether it was a significant other, good friends, or a loved pet! I know I did, my weekend was filled with brunch with friends, dates with Matt, and spending an early morning with one of my dearest friends at the tea shop she works at. In my opinion this has been one of the best weekend in a long time. 

This recipe isn't exactly a muffin but they are delicious and you top them with the same type of things that you would top muffins with - such a jam, butter, chestnut cream, and lemon curd. While you do have to have a special pan to make them, they are super easy to make! 

Æbleskiver (serves 4)
1 cup gluten-free flour (when my mom makes them she uses this gluten free flour)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp sugar
2 eggs, separated
1 cup milk
3 tbs unsalted butter, melted


In a small bowl mix the dry ingredients together. In a larger bowl whisk the egg yolks, milk, and 2 tbs melted butter together until combined. Add the dry ingredients to this mixture and mix until just combined. Beat the egg whites until dry peaks form, now fold the whites into the other mixture. DO NOT OVER MIX NOW OR THEY WON'T BE FLUFFY! 

Heat the pan over medium heat, use the extra butter to grease each of the little holes and fill with the batter (about 3/4 of the way up). Cook until the sides are golden about 3 minutes. Now the tricky part, using some bamboo skewers turn the aebleskiver over so the other side will cook. Cook about 2 minutes more, until golden, and remove from the pan. Repeat until you have used all of your batter. Serve warm with your favorite toppings! 

Happy cooking (and eating)
xx C
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*this recipe was adapted from here

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Hearty White Bean and Winter Greens Stew

During this past weekend, when Portland was covered in a layer of fresh snow, I made this for dinner. It was everything we were looking for; healthy, warm, hearty, and delicious! After we ate I did some quick math and realized that to total cost of the dish was about $6. We ended up freezing about half of what it made to keep as a quick dinner in the future. I will definitely be keeping this recipe at hand to make in the future.

White Bean and Winter Greens Stew (Makes 6 large servings)
3 tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 large onion, julienned
3 celery stalks, small diced
1 lb. white beans
1 bunch kale, stems removed and torn into bit sized pieces
1 bunch spinach, torn into bite sized pieces
balsamic vinegar, to taste
Salt, to taste

To prepare the beans: there are two methods "the over night method" which has you soak the beans in water overnight; and the "boiling method" which has you put the beans in a pot with water (make sure there is more water than beans) and bring it to a boil, turn your heat off, and let the beans soak in the water for about an hour. Either way works, mainly it just depends on how far ahead you plan before your meals.

Once your beans have soaked, add the oil to a clean, large soup pot and heat over medium heat. Add the garlic, sauté for ~30 seconds (until you can smell the garlic cooking), and add the onion. Sauté until the onion starts to turn a golden brown color, add the crushed red pepper and a dash of salt, and stir briefly. Now add the beans. Fill the pot with water until the water level is 2 inches higher than the beans. Bring the water to a simmer and simmer for 1-1.5 hours. At this point taste the beans, if they are still crunch and there isn't very much excess water add some more and cook another 30 minutes. Keep this up until the beans are soft.

Twenty minutes before serving reheat the beans (if they have cooled) and add in the kale and spinach. Cook these until soft and tender. Taste, season with salt and balsamic (if desired). Serve in bowls and top with freshly grated parmesan cheese and black pepper.

You could also serve this with some warm bread.

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*this recipe was adapted from the February issue of bon appétit magazine

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Valentine's Nails

Base coat: Essie's "East Hampton Cottage: // *Hearts: Butter London's "the old bill" and "fiddlesticks"

Don't get me wrong- I love cooking school but one of the things I miss the most is being able to paint my nails. We aren't allowed to at school because the polish could chip and go into the food and who wants to be eating nail polish chips is their mashed potatoes or salad? No one. This being said I have been known to paint my nails almost as soon and I get home on Friday and wait until just before bed on Sunday before I take the polish off. I love having my nails painted; I like the fact that it adds some color and it also means I am much less likely to bite my nails if they are painted. I am looking forward to valentine's day as another excuse to paint my nails. This past weekend, while being cooped up in my house because of the snow, I became restless and decided to paint my nails. This is what I came up with and I think I might redo it for this weekend!

*To make the hearts I used a toothpick because it allowed me to have a little bit more control than the polish brush.

What are some of your ideas for Valentine's day?

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Monday, February 10, 2014

DIY: Felted Heart Garland

Here is a super easy diy that will add a little Valentine's spirit to any room!

A while back I bought a faux birch tree that had little LED lights on the end of its branches to put in one of the corners in my bed room. Since then I have had fun finding ways to decorate it, especially for holidays. For christmas (I never got around to getting a real tree) so I hung my decorations on the branches of this one. I wanted to do something Valentines-y with it and I came up with this!
You will need: 
Sheets of felted wool (you can find this at Michael's) -how ever many colors you want
Gold embroidery thread
A needle
Cut out little hearts from the felted wool sheets. I used two colors (pink and grey). Once you have enough hearts (I think I probably made fifty or sixty) thread the needle with the embroidery thread. Now assemble your garland by threading each of the hearts onto the thread. Don't worry if they bunch up - you can space them out again once you have gotten them all on the thread! Now tie off each end and ta-da you have a heart garland! 
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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Sunday Muffins: Homemade Donuts!

Good Morning!

Matt. Loves. Doughnuts. I don't think I have ever met someone who likes them as much as he does, except maybe my Uncle Jack. At some point last week Matt decided that his next yeast recipe adventure was going to be doughnuts. Well, who doesn't like fresh, warm doughnuts? I gladly agreed to help him make these. In fact, I think they came out pretty darn good!

Doughnuts (makes 18ish)
1 1/8 cup whole milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 large eggs
1 1/4 stick butter
4 cups AP flour
Shortening/Oil to fry the donuts in

     Warm the milk in the microwave or in a small saucepan. Heat the milk until it is JUST BARELY WARM, if it is too warm it will kill the yeast. Stir in the sugar until it dissolves. Now add the yeast and let the mixture sit for 10 minutes. Melt butter in another bowl, again just barely so it isn't too hot. Crack the eggs and beat until a uniform color in another small bowl. Now, slowly whisk the butter into the egg mixture. Add the egg/butter mixture to a electric mixing bowl, attach the bread hook. Add the yeast mixture and turn the mixer on to speed level 3. Once the mixture is fully combined start adding the flour in 1/2 cup increments until it has all been added. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides if needed, now let the mixer run on level 3 for 5 more minutes. After 5 minutes let the dough rest in the bowl for 10 minutes then transfer it to a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours.
     Once the dough has been allowed to rise roll it out on a floured surface, you want it to be about a third of an inch thick. Now cut out the doughnut shapes. You could probably make them any shape but we made them the normal doughnut shape. To do this we used a larger glass to cut the outside shape and then something with a much smaller diameter (we used the top of an old prescription bottle, but a shot glass would work too). Once you have cut all of the doughnuts out you can re-roll the excess dough if you want. Place the shapes on parchment lined cookie sheets and let rise until they are almost double in size (about an hour in a warm place).

Now it's time to heat your oil, if you have a counter top fryer use that, I just used a pot that had about 3 inches of oil in it. Be careful if you are using an oil filled pot, you will need to check the temp to make sure it isn't too hot. Heat the oil until it is 375˚F, once it is hot you can start frying the doughnuts. Place 2-3 in the oil and flip after 1 minute. Cook 1 more minute on the other side and remove and let cool on a cookie sheet lined with a paper towel. Repeat until all of the doughnuts have been cooked. To cook doughnut holes follow the same procedure but cook each side for 30 seconds instead of a minute.

4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup water
1 tbs. milk

Combine all of the ingredients and whisk until the mixture is lump-free and smooth.

To glaze doughnuts: dip the top of the doughnuts into the glaze, wait two seconds, and transfer to a wire rack to allow excess glaze to drip off. Glaze will harden in 2-3 minutes.

For the doughnut holes we tossed them in a cinnamon-sugar mixture while they were still hot, they were delicious!
Enjoy (just don't eat to many!)

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*this recipe was adapted from Pioneer Woman