Oh hey there blogosphere.
Apparently, I decided to take an extended vacation from blogging. The sad thing is that I don’t really have an excuse. Posting kept being pushed back with another, “I’ll do that next week,” or, “I’m too tired to write tonight,” or, perhaps even worse, “That’s not blog-worthy.” Fail, Rosemary, fail.
The other sad thing is that it’s not like I haven’t been cooking. I have so many pictures of food it’s unhealthy. I’m totally that hipster who only takes pictures of food–but I don’t post them to Instagram or a tumblr. I’m like the not-cool, cool kid. Whoops.
So today marks my return to blogging. And I bring you some blueberry scones as a peace offering. These were absolutely delicious. I LOVE scones. Love them. They take about ten minutes to put together, fifteen minutes to bake, and the reward is amazing. These scones are a good mix of flaky and fluffy (is that weird?), and they taste great the next day. I personally like them slightly warm so the berry juice gets flowing, but they taste just as good at room temperature.
I’m currently basking in post-exam bliss. 2L is almost over (still wrapping up clinic things), and I am ridiculously excited to enjoy the warmer weather before starting work for the summer (for which I’m also excited. Yes, I am a dork). Now if only it would stop raining.
Berries made their market debut a bit earlier this year, and they are actually quite sweet! I bought some strawberries at Trader Joe’s the other day for some strawberry shortcakes (recipe coming shortly. Oh. Ha. Pun.) and decided to use the leftovers for a smoothie–my new go-to study snack when working at home. I recently picked up a bag of chia seeds at TJ’s and threw some of them in as well. I became fascinated by chia seeds after learning they are rich in Omega-3s and fiber. Plus they are supposed to help with weight loss (always a good thing in my book) and, unlike flax seeds, you don’t have to worry about grinding them up or having them go rancid. They’ve got a pretty long shelf life and can be eaten straight out of the package. I wonder what other 90’s fads will turn out to have crazy good health benefits…
Today’s recipe was borne from a lapse in thinking.
I had been craving lemon bars for the better part of a week when this loaf was made. I bought some Meyer lemons from Whole Foods and came home intent on making a tray to bring in to school. I juiced six lemons and a blood orange that I had lying around. The butter was perfectly softened, and I was ready to make some dessert.
Until I read the recipe wrong.
Somewhere between juicing those lemons and creaming that butter, I got it into my head that the recipe called for 1¾ cups of sugar in the crust.
It does not. That goes in the filling.
But of course that didn’t occur to me until I had successfully combined all of the butter with all of the sugar. So then I had to brainstorm ways to save those ingredients that I basically ruined. The end result was a sweet, dense pound cake, studded with lemon zest with the underlying tang of Meyer lemons and blood orange. The best part might actually be that the extra sugar crusted on top, making for a great crunch. Paired with a citrus-y glaze, this is one screw-up that didn’t turn out half bad!
I’m going to go ahead and call this recipe a success. Sure, I cannot read may be losing my mind, but at least I avoided a major baking flop!
There’s nothing I hate more than a cold. This past week was pretty bad health-wise for those of us at the law school. It seemed like all of my friends were sick, and my friend Amanda and I got pretty bad colds. All of my Vitamin C consumption just couldn’t stave off the law school germs. It probably didn’t help that I’ve been staying up late doing work for the past week and a half, but what’s done is done. I’m just hoping that I’ve fulfilled my cold quota for the year and that the germs will now leave me alone. What can I say? I’m an optimist sometimes.
After a week of soup, soup, and more soup, I was really craving something hearty last night. I spotted this recipe for vegetarian burger a few days ago on Tastespotting and pinned it within seconds of reading the ingredient list. I love black beans. Black bean soup, black bean salad, black beans burritos. You name it, I will eat it. And I love veggie burgers. I’m always looking for more ways to get in my daily dose of protein, and this was just the ticket. It’s hearty and flavorful, and you can easily adapt it to what’s in your kitchen.
The original recipe calls for quinoa, but I am somehow completely out. So I substituted farro. While the grains normally take 35 to 45 minutes to cook, Trader Joe’s now makes a great ten-minute variety. I am actually obsessed. If you haven’t tried farro yet, you definitely should. It’s nutty and filling, and Oprah has classified it as a health food (so it must be true). All I know is that I feel great eating this whole-grain, and it doesn’t hurt that it tastes fantastic!
Yesterday was uncharacteristically warm, topping off at over 60 degrees with tons of sunshine and practically no wind. Given that D.C. has been in the 20s and 30s since Inauguration weekend, this random burst of warmth was quite welcome. I wore a dress for the first time in ages and gave my wool coat a break as I opted for a vest.
Don’t get me wrong; I love cold weather. But cold winter days have a tendency to put me in a rut, both wardrobe-wise and foodwise. Not only do I pile on layer upon layer of sweaters and coats, but I also feel like I need hearty, filling food to cope with the season. The problem is that most comfort food consists of rich stews, roasted chickens, and lentil- or bean-filled chili or soup. Needless to say, one gets really sick of eating the “brown” food group most of the time, and yesterday’s weather was the perfect reason to break this habit.
I tried to stick to winter-friendly ingredients–things that you can find in plentitude during the cold season. The crunchy kale pairs well with the bold flavor of blood oranges and the sometimes sharp bites of fennel. Plus, combining blood orange juice with sherry vinaigrette produces a dressing with the perfect amount of tang. And–personal health plug–this salad is packed with vitamins and antioxidants. Total win.
So here’s to incorporating color into your winter menu. Happy eating.
** Side note: I’ll post the promised Smitten Kitchen side dish on Friday. I just thought the weather called for a salad post!
Today’s recipe comes from Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen, whose cookbook may be the greatest gift of 2012 to home cooks everywhere. Deb has a fantastic blog, and when I saw that she was releasing The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, I preordered copies for my sister’s and my good friend Caroline’s Christmas presents. I was lucky enough that my friend Sam (from Blogging with My Mouth Full) was generous enough to gift me the same.
My high school friends and I had a potluck this past weekend, and, as the hostess, I contributed the main dish and a side dish–both of which came from this book. I’ll post the side dish later this week, but it was the main dish that completely blew my mind. First of all, it was easy to make. Easy to assemble, easy to double for a large crowd, easy to do other things like clean your apartment while the chicken bakes. A win for any dinner party.
Second, it was flavor intense. I was both intrigued and wary when I saw that the original recipe featured a combination of grapes and olives. Salt is probably the seasoning that I struggle the most with (isn’t that pathetic?) because everything that I think is too salty, most others find to be not salty enough. What can I say? I’m broken. Leave me alone. As a result, I kind of sort of hate olives. I really want to like them. I try them whenever they are presented to me at Italian restaurants, but I pick them off pizza and never buy them myself. I was also worried that the grapes would be too sweet. Combining the two? Pure genius. The flavors balance each other so well, and the resulting sauce was too perfect for words.
I hope that you give this recipe a try. It might seem a little adventurous but the result is oh-so-worth the risk. Happy eating!
Dear Future Exam-Taking Self:
While I appreciate that you had grand plans to start outlining this weekend, you really made a wise decision by visiting Union and Eastern Markets with friend and foodie Amanda, doing laundry, getting ahead on reading, and, you know, choosing to make granola instead of opening those pesky class notes. While you may not actually understand the rules of evidence as well as you should, keep in mind how delicious procrastination was. One day, you may make those granola-crusted nuts that inspired you on Smitten Kitchen. But, until then, just remember to breathe and to take a bite of your latest creation. While it may not give you the answer as to what constitutes a Fourth Amendment violation, it will provide endless comfort in the form of mildly sweetened oats, chocolate, pecans, and cranberries. You. Are. Welcome.
All the best,
Present Outline-Avoiding Self
Well, there is nothing like a hurricane to give you an incentive to cook something. For those of you who have somehow not heard, the East Coast is experiencing a bit of bad weather. Many students across the Northeast are rejoicing tonight as schools and universities have announced closures for the second day in a row. Since most of my friends and I have strategically avoided Friday classes, this has given us a much-need five day weekend to catch up on sleep and homework–or, in my case, cooking. I just really hope this clears up so kids can go trick-or-treating on Halloween!
About a week ago, I went apple and pumpkin picking with my friends West and Amanda.
Surveying our options
I love pretty much everything about fall, but the one thing I love most is escaping the city for a day and going apple and/or pumpkin picking. This is incredibly ironic as the thought of camping gives me hives. But picking my own produce? Totally down with that. West grew up on a farm, and I like to think that Amanda and I amused him with our extreme excitement at all things nature-related. Like most city-folk who venture to a farm, Amanda and I came home with roughly 6½-lbs of apples each. I haven’t had a chance to make anything with them until now, however, as assignments have kept me out of the kitchen. Nothing like a hurricane to return one’s cooking-mojo.
This is my go-to apple galette/tart recipe. I’ve been making it for nearly eight years, and no other recipe has been able to trump it. The crust is flaky and quickly assembled. The filling is easily adaptable to what one has on hand. The tart itself is not very sweet–making it the perfect vehicle for some coffee or vanilla ice cream. So, if you still have power and are stuck indoors during a hurricane with a ton of apples, I suggest betaking your stir-crazy self to the kitchen. Happy eating, and I hope everyone in the Northeast stays safe and dry!
They say necessity is the mother of invention, and this recipe is proof of that statement’s veracity. I always have fruit, and I most definitely always have bananas. It’s one of those habits that I picked up from my mother. Actually, that last bit is more the result of my father’s insistence on making sure we all got our “daily dose of potassium,” but the point is that I always have fruit. One person can only eat so much fruit, however, and I constantly wind up with a couple of pieces that I cannot consume before they get too ripe to eat.
Having too much fruit, however, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It gives me ample excuse to make fruit-filled pancakes, smoothies, and desserts. My favorite way to use up ripe fruit, however, is by making banana bread. I use my mother’s recipe and have wonderful memories of making loaves of banana bread with her when my dad bought way too many bananas.
When I realized that I had two very ripe bananas earlier this week, my instinct was to make some banana bread. Here’s the problem: my mom’s recipe calls for three bananas. Solution? Add an apple. I didn’t want to lose the banana flavor, however, so I decided to roast my bananas to intensify it. I also cooked the apple pieces for a few minutes so that they wouldn’t release too much water while baking and create a soggy loaf. Working off of my mother’s recipe, I noticed that the substitution of the apple for a banana made the batter a bit too thick. Solution? Add Greek yogurt. The result was an incredibly moist (Horrid word. I know. Apologies) treat that made for a pretty awesome breakfast solution this week.
Maybe it’s not such a bad thing to lack ingredients after all. Happy eating!
This is my go-to quick sauce recipe, or, as I like to call it, “weeknight sauce.” It goes on pasta. It goes on pizza. It sometimes gets used in eggplant parm. Prep takes roughly 5 minutes. Cooking averages 15 to 20. You can adjust anything and everything to suit your taste, and it can be multiplied easily to serve a crowd. It’s got a bit of a spicy kick, but feel free to tone down the heat. If you prefer your sauce to be slightly chunkier (as I did for my pizza), don’t cook the fresh tomatoes for quite as long–only about 2 to 3 minutes–or add them in with the canned tomatoes and wine. If you plan on freezing some, leave out the fresh basil.
- 1½ tablespoons olive oil
- ½ onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (I use a mix of rosemary, oregano, parsley, and basil)
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 scant tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
- ¼ to ½ cup red wine (For some inexplicable reason, I always think this tastes best with Malbec)
- Salt & ground black pepper to taste
- Fresh basil
- In a medium pot, heat your olive oil until shimmering over medium heat.
- Add in the onions and garlic and cook until just starting to soften.
- Add the tomato paste and about half of the dried spices. Stir to coat the onions and garlic and cook about 1 minute so that the tomato paste loses its raw flavor.
- Add the chopped tomatoes. Cook three to five minutes until softened and starting to disintegrate.
- Add the remaining spices, the canned tomatoes, crushed red pepper flakes, and the wine. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in some freshly torn basil.
- Serve warm.
Makes about 2 cups.