Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Gnocchi Pomodoro

Twice I have made this and twice we've ooohhhhd and aaaahhhd over it so I thought it was time to throw it up here.  The funny thing about gnocchi is it was probably my least favorite food while living in Uruguay as an LDS missionary. When I came home, I was glad to never eat it again. So when I told my husband, the first time I made this, what we were eating, he responded that gnocchi was the least likely thing he thought I'd ever make!

Well, thanks to Pinterest and all the other lovely food bloggers I kept seeing these amazing pictures and recipes for gnocchi. I figured it was time to try it again.  I'm so happy this was the first thing I made. The sauce is pretty much everything because the gnocchi doesn't have much flavor, and it's so incredibly flavorful while being super simple at the same time. Although the gnocchi itself doesn't have much flavor, it lends great texture; it's soft and smooth, almost like biting into a marshmallow. The cheese melted over the top, with those little bits of crispy brown parts just puts it over the top!

Gnocchi Pomodoro
for the sauce:
2-3 Tbsp. Olive oil
1 shallot, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 large tomatoes, preferably garden ripened, roughly chopped
Pinch of sugar
Generous handful of fresh basil, chiffonde
Salt and pepper, to taste

8oz. Package gnocchi
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add shallot and cook 2-3 minutes, then garlic for another minute. Add tomatoes and half the basil and reduce to a simmer. Depending on how juicy your tomatoes are, simmer 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mash the tomatoes as you stir, either by using a potato masher the back of a spatula.  Add a pinch of sugar, salt and pepper and check for seasoning. Add salt as necessary. Remove from heat and stir in the remaining basil.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil. Boil gnocchi as directed. Drain and add to the pan of sauce.  Stir to coat then top with mozzarella. Place under the broiler until it starts to brown, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from oven, serve immediately.

SOURCE: Sauce adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

Monday, September 5, 2016

Caramelized Peach and Lavender Scones

My favorite thing about the weekends is sleeping in, going on long walks and making fresh cream scones! They have become a habit around here and we just never get tired of them.  Peaches are in season right now and we just got a whole bunch from my parents' trees. I can most of them for food storage but always leave some for fresh eating and, of course, making yummy treats with.

If you have not tried scones before or have tried them and have not been impressed, you must try them again! I have a ton of scone recipes on the blog and they are all pretty fabulous.  I use a cream scone base recipe and they turn out so light and flaky and just perfect if you ask me.

In May I made this cake for Mother's Day for me, my mom and my sister.  It was the first time I had used lavender in cooking or baking and it was so delicious.  Since I still had tons of lavender leftover, plus the fresh peaches, this scone recipe was a no-brainer.

Caramelized Peach and Lavender Scones
3 medium peaches, peeled and diced
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
olive oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. dried culinary lavender buds, plus more for garnish, if desired
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla

for the glaze:
3/4 cup powdered sugar
peach juices
milk or heavy cream

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Place peaches on a baking sheet and toss with brown sugar and a couple drizzles of olive oil.  Bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven and toss again, then put it back in the oven for 10 more minutes.  Remove from oven and cool completely.  Drain the liquid off the peaches and reserve for the glaze.

In a food processor fitted with a blade attachment, add the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Pulse a couple times to blend.  Add butter and pulse until mixture becomes a coarse meal.  Alternately, you could use a pastry blender or two knives to cut the butter in.

In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the heavy cream and vanilla. Add the dry mixture and with a wooden spoon, stir until it just comes together.  Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead gently, only about 4-5 times,  Split the dough in half and press each out into about a 6-inch circle.  Cut into wedges and place on a baking sheet, lined with a silicone baking mat.  If you are not planning on glazing them, brush with additional cream or an egg wash before baking.  Bake in preheated oven, 425 degrees, for 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden.

Cool on a wire rack.

To make glaze, whisk together the reserved peach juice and powdered sugar.  If it's too thick, add milk or heavy cream until it's thick but syrupy. Spoon glaze onto cooled scones and garnish with additional lavender, if desired.

Best eaten fresh the first day.  Will keep about 3 days in a vented plastic container.

SOURCE: Adapted from How Sweet It Is

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Mile High Biscuits

If you've followed my blog for a while you know about my love for all things scones.  Cream scones, to be exact.  I had never made them until a few years ago, now it's about my most favorite thing to bake on a weekend.  They are delish, they are to DIE for.

So, it's probably no surprise to find out I love biscuits as well.  They are very similar and the method is pretty much the same.  Mile high biscuits are wonderful!!  They aren't quite a mile high, but they're nice and tall with lots of buttery delicious layers, a little crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside.  They're great at breakfast smothered in sausage gravy or as an egg sandwich.  They're even great at dinner!  But, I think my most favorite way to eat them is with some homemade raspberry jam.

A couple things to remember when working with biscuit dough.
*Embrace the crumbs- Your dough will be a little dry, as it should.  It's not going to be soft and elastic like bread dough, it'll be more craggy-looking.
*Less is best- Remember not to over work your dough or it will become too chewy.
*When using a biscuit cutter, don't twist it to get the dough out, it will seal off the edges, making it harder for the dough to rise "mile-high." Make sure the cutter is floured and you'll be able to lightly tap the dough out.

Mile-High Buttermilk Biscuits
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut in to chunks
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 egg
1 cup cold buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In a food processor, fitted with a blade attachment, add all ingredients but the egg and buttermilk.  Pulse until it looks like a coarse meal.  Alternately, you can use a pastry blender or two knives to cut in the butter and shortening.  If you use your fingers, work QUICKLY as to not melt the butter.

In a large mixing bowl add the egg and buttermilk and whisk.  Add the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until mostly combined.  Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand just until dough comes together; about 10 seconds.

Pat dough out into a large round, about 1-1/2 inches thick.  Using the biscuit cutter of your choice, cut as many biscuits as you can. Barely press scraps together and cut the rest of the biscuits out.  Place biscuits on a cookie sheet and bake 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden brown.

Biscuits are best the first day but can be stored 2-3 days in a vented container. They will get soft over time, so if you're eating them on the second or third day, slice them in half and throw them under the broiler for a minute or two on each side to crisp them up a bit again.

SOURCE: Slightly adapted from Something Swanky

Friday, May 20, 2016

Teriyaki Chicken Burgers with Piña Colada Sauce

Two of my favorite "take out" foods I love (and prefer) to make at home are pizza and hamburgers. Pizza, obvs, because I can put whatever crazy toppings I want, not just pepperoni and cheese.  Hamburgers because, hello, PRETZEL BUNS!!  No seriously, they are the bomb.  I discovered them at Costco last year and now it's the only thing I use for my homemade burgers. Actually I think the taste of a homemade burger far surpasses that of anything you'd get at a fast food joint.  And, I'm choosy about my ground beef and like to know where it comes from.  I have been using this recipe for years and I love it.  It's great to build on.

Buuuuut, I wanted to step outside the norm with this one, do chicken and amp up the flavors a bit.  The thought of this burger had me drooling and I could not wait to make it. It was seriously delish, maybe not something for a quick weeknight dinner, but definitely something to plan for the weekend!

While these burgers are fabulous with the pretzel buns, they are not necessary, you can use any ol' bun you'd like.  And the teriyaki sauce I used was thicker like a glaze or dipping sauce.

Teriyaki Chicken Burgers with Piña Colada Sauce

for the burgers:
1 1/2 lbs. ground chicken
2 Tbsp. onion, finely diced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp. jalapeño, finely diced
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 egg
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
3 Tbsp. teriyaki sauce

6 pretzel buns, sliced in half
6 slices colby jack cheese
6 slices cooked bacon
6 slices fresh pineapple (core intact)
extra teriyaki sauce

for the piña colada sauce:
1/2 cup fresh pineapple chunks
2 Tbsp. cream of coconut
1/2 cup sour cream

In a bowl, gently mix the ground chicken with the rest of the burger ingredients. Make 6 patties.  Refrigerate about 30-60 minutes to help them firm up a bit, they will be very soft.

Prepare outdoor grill.  Place chicken patties as well as pineapple slices on the grill.  Grill chicken 4-7 minutes each side.  Grill pineapple 2-4 minutes each side. *NOTE: Grilling the pineapple with the core intact helps it not fall apart while cooking.  Once removed and cooled, use a pairing knife to remove the core.

Meanwhile, puree pineapple chunks, cream of coconut and sour cream together for the piña colada sauce.  Pour into bowl or squeeze bottle for serving.

Remove burgers from grill once done cooking; place a slice of cheese on each patty to melt. Turn heat down on grill and place buns, cut side down, to toast up a bit. Just keep an eye on them, it should only take a minute or two.

To assemble burgers, spread a spoonful of teriyaki sauce on each half of the bun.  Next, spread the piña colada sauce, add a patty, slice of pineapple and bacon and top with the lid. 

Enjoy every last bite!  It's worth it!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Overnight Yeasted Waffles

Up until about 2 years ago, I had almost never made waffles my entire life.  Sure, I grew up with a mom that made them often and I enjoyed them. But I always considered myself a pancake connoisseur.  I've made LOADS of pancakes I can make just about any kind with my eyes closed, no recipe needed. Waffles, to me, were just not on my radar because there were those little extra steps of separating the eggs, whipping the whites and folding them in the batter. Just not my thing (ok there could be a time and place for it-but not for breakfast).

Then it happened.  I found LOVE.  Waffle Love that is.  About two summers ago the Waffle Love food truck started showing up around the corner from where I live and I just HAD to try.  I mean I can make a mean breakfast so if they can sell this thing from a truck, it MUST be good.  And it was.  And I died with my first bite.

You see these aren't your typical buttermilk, whip 'em up in the morning waffles.  These waffles have yeast and the batter sits out overnight for the flavor to develop (kind of like you would a sourdough starter).  And when you cook them in the waffle maker, oohhhhh the smell that fills your house.  I just died again.

These have become a tradition we do twice a year, in the spring and in the fall.  We enjoy these waffles with Nutella, Biscoff cookie butter, whipped cream and fresh fruit-usually berries. Once you try these you will NEVER (maybe almost never) go back again.

Overnight Yeasted Waffles

the night before:
1/2 cup warm water
1 Tbsp.  active-dry yeast
1/2 cup melted butter
2 cups whole milk
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp.  sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour 

the next day:
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp. baking soda 

Combine the yeast and the water in a large mixing bowl and let stand for a few minutes. Stir to make sure the yeast dissolves into the water. Melt the butter over low heat. Combine the butter with the milk, salt, and sugar (if using). Test with your finger to make sure the mixture has cooled to lukewarm, then stir it into the dissolved yeast mixture. Add the flour and stir until a thick, shaggy dough is formed and there is no more visible flour.

Cover the bowl with either plastic wrap or a loose fitting lid and let it sit on the counter overnight. The batter will double in bulk as it rises.

The next morning, beat the eggs  and baking soda  into the batter until completely combined.
Make the waffles according to your waffle maker's instructions, cooking until the waffles are golden-brown. Cooking time will vary with your waffle maker, but it is typically 4 to 6 minutes.

Waffles are best if served immediately, but re-heat well in the toaster. Leftovers can be kept refrigerated for up to a week. Leftover waffles can also be frozen for up to 3 months and toasted straight out of the freezer.

SOURCE:  The Kitchn

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Cauliflower Dirty Rice with Andouille Sausage

After all the kitchen failures I've had, it's nice to have something work out once in a while.  I didn't even know I was going to make this, let alone blog about it.  But it was SO good, I couldn't NOT post it.

This was my first attempt at cauliflower rice (as far as I can remember, lol!) and I have to say I'm a huge fan.  I love that it's just like rice in that it'll take on the flavor of whatever you cook it with; so it's very versatile.  I also love that after eating a big bowl of it I don't feel like I just ate a brick because it's all VEG! That's a big score in my book.

We love jambalaya in our house so this was right up our alley.  The flavors are spot on, just enough spice to give it a good kick but not too much you can't taste anything else. I used Aidells Organic Cajun Style Andouille Smoked Chicken Sausage, which is nitrate free and has no added hormones. But feel free to use any kind of Cajun style sausage you can find. I served the cauliflower rice with Cajun seasoned tilapia and steamed asparagus.  It was perfect!

Cauliflower Dirty Rice with Andouille Sausage
1 head cauliflower, thick core removed and chopped into florets 
1/2 onion, diced 
olive oil 
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced 
1 pound smoked andouille sausage, sliced 
1 tsp. salt 
1 tsp. ground black pepper 
1/4 tsp.  cayenne pepper
1/2 Tbsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. dried thyme 
1 Tbsp. dried oregano 
1/2-1 cup chicken or vegetable broth 
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Place cauliflower florets in a food processor with a chopping blade and pulse until finely chopped.  If necessary, chop in batches. Prepare the rest of the veggies because cooking will go quickly.

Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onions and sauté until soft and translucent; 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and peppers and sauté another 3-4 minutes, then add sausage and cook until browned.  Add the cauliflower, spices and seasonings and chicken broth and simmer until veggies are tender but not mushy; about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.  Serve warm and garnish with fresh parsley.

SOURCE: Slightly adapted from Always Order Dessert

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Skinny Broccoli Soup with Sourdough Croutons

This winter has been the longest, snowiest and coldest winter we've had in a LONG time! I walk around my house with layers of clothes and still freezing.  I am really looking forward to spring and wearing less clothes! In the mean time, I've been making lots of soup to keep me warm.

My middle daughter started asking me to make broccoli soup a few weeks ago. It kind of caught me off guard because I don't remember her ever actually eating or wanting broccoli soup.  I don't know where she got the idea that she liked it.  Buuuuut I was gonna take FULL advantage of that.  You know when kids even think they might like something, it's so much easier to get them to eat it! 

I actually made two attempts at broccoli soup.  The first one, a pretty simple and classic recipe, bombed!  My kids wouldn't touch it.  So I decided to tempt fate and try again.  Inspired by this Zucchini Spinach and Basil Soup, I tried again and scored!!  They were brave enough to try it again and liked it. And as a bonus, this one is much much healthier.

Skinny Broccoli with Sourdough Croutons
olive oil
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups zucchini, choped
3 cups broccoli, chopped
2-3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
3 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped
1-2 cups cashew milk (in the carton)
salt and pepper, to taste
 parmesan or cheddar cheese for topping, optional

for the croutons:
1 sourdough loaf or boule

In a large pot heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat.  Add onion and saute about 7-8 minutes, until soft and translucent.  Add garlic for another 60 seconds then add zucchini broccoli and saute another couple of minutes.  Add broth and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer 8-10 minutes; until veggies are very tender.  Remove from heat and add spinach.  Stir to wilt.  Use an immersion blender to puree soup, or working in batches, puree in blender.  Add milk and more broth, if desired.  Add salt and pepper, taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary.   Top with cheese, if desired, and sourdough croutons.

To make croutons, cut about half of the sourdough loaf or boule into 1-inch cubes.  Melt 1-2 Tbsp. butter in a large frying pan, add croutons and toss to coat.  Season with a few dashes of salt and cracks of black pepper.  Saute on medium high heat until they start to turn a light golden brown.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Lemon Cream

So, I was shopping at Costco the other day and this bag of Meyer lemons caught my eye.  I've never tried them before although I've been hearing about them for years.  Since they were pretty cheap I grabbed a bag and figured I decide later what to do with them.  I got a lot of great suggestions from friends, some of which I'll be trying soon,  but I also searched the interwebs high and low for something to make that was worthy of my time. Let me tell you friends this lemon cream is it!

WOWWY!!  No I know that not every loves lemon perhaps as much as I do, but wow, this is just the best.  It's not too sweet and has a lovely lemon flavor and luscious creamy texture.  You'll seriously want to put it on everything.  Try it on pancakes, waffles, crepes, on fruit, over ice cream, the sky is the limit!  It only takes about 10 minutes to whip up, so definitely worthy of my time.

Lemon Cream
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
zest of 1 lemon
1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (I used Meyer lemons)
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup heavy cream

In a heat proof mixing bowl whisk together sugar, eggs, lemon juice and zest.  Make a double boiler by setting the bowl on top of a medium saucepan with a few inches of water in the bottom.  Heat over medium high heat.  Cook mixture, whisking often, until it starts to thicken and become pudding-like; about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in butter until melted.  Set in an ice bath until cooled then stir in the heavy cream.

Keep refrigerated for up to 3 days.

SOURCE: The Grant Life

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Skinny Zuppa Toscana

I know that really the "official" start of winter was only like a month ago but seriously, this winter is already dr...a....g..g....i...n...g!  It's been the coldest and snowiest we've had in Utah for a LONG time. Needless to say, I'm always looking for something to warm me up.  I walk around the house in warm fluffy socks, slippers and a jacket and always drinking some warm tea.  I'm also always looking for warm comfort food to get me through the nights.

 It's been a while since I've had Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana. In fact I don't know if I've ever eaten it at the restaurant, my husband and I swore it off years ago.  I enjoy the soup but the original is not so calorie friendly, with all the potatoes, pork sausage and heavy cream.  I was so happy to find a recipe that is not only much more healthy but exploding with flavor.  This soup doesn't miss a beat and satisfies every warm comfort food craving I had. 

Skinny Zuppa Toscana
1 lb. Italian chicken sausage
1/2 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium head of cauliflower, chopped in to bite-sized pieces
3 small russet potatoes, peeled and small-diced
4 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups cashew milk
4 cups fresh kale, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat.  Remove sausage from casings and add to frying pan along with onions. Cook until sausage is no longer raw and both sausage and onions are light golden brown.  Toss in the garlic the last 60 seconds.  Remove from pan and set aside. 

Bring chicken stock to a boil in a stock pot, then add cauliflower and potatoes.  Cook until tender; about 5-8 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, remove half of the cauliflower and potatoes and puree in a blender with a little stock.  Return to pot. 

Add turkey, onions and garlic back to the pot as well the kale, parmesan, milk and red pepper flakes.  Heat through, until the cheese is melted, making sure not to boil.  Taste for seasoning then add salt and pepper, to taste.  Serve immediately.

SOURCE: Adapted from With Salt & Wit
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