Category Archives: Nuts

Mexican Wedding Cookies

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2L classes have finally come to an end. It’s amazing how quickly this semester has flown by. In honor of the last day of class, I made some cookies for my clinic seminar on Monday. I made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (I swear by the Williams-Sonoma recipe) and, one of my personal favorites, Mexican Wedding Cookies (also known as polvorones).

I’ve been making variations of these cookies since I was in high school. Personally, I like the traditional version, but know that you can easily switch things up and satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. By making some substitutions, these can be transformed into a nut-free and/or dairy-free treat. I’ve tried many a recipe, but these have definitely become my favorite. They are soft and easy to make, plus no fancy equipment required (alway a win in my book).

My fellow tastetester, Jocelyn!

Also, Happy Birthday to my dear friend Jocelyn who puts up with my crazy shenanigans, accompanies me on random restaurant outings, humors (and tastes) my cooking experiments, listens to my life rants, helped me fight mice in my last apartment, willingly subjects herself to appearances on this blog, and is just a lovely person all around. Happy Birthday, Joss!! <3s you!

Happy eating!

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Winter Kale Salad

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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!

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Chocolate Cranberry Pecan Granola

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

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Wild Rice Salad

So the other externs and I have been operating under the impression that our office does not have a microwave. The copy room, while equipped with a fridge and a toaster, lacks that quintessential kitchen appliance that students and workaholics alike cannot seem to live without. Consequently, we’ve been experimenting with different recipes for salads and learning about the joys of eating cold leftovers (pizza still trumps all other foods in this category). Well, turns out we’re idiots. There’s been a microwave the whole time on the basement level. In any case, I have eaten my fair share of salads over the last few weeks, and, given the descent of the summer heat, I don’t really see myself changing that pattern anytime soon–even with a microwave.

I have a thing for nutty grains. Quinoa, farro, barley–I love their texture in a salad. One grain of which I am particularly fond is wild rice. Nuttier and far healthier than the average white grain, wild rice is high in protein and fiber and low in fat. It makes for a great alternative to pasta in salads as well. As per usual, this salad was the result of using the contents of my fridge/pantry.

So here’s to eating more wholesome grains and staying cool in the blazing heat! Happy eating!

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Fennel and Apple Salad

Continuing on my Spanish food kick, the second dish from dinner the other night (and hands down my favorite part of the meal) was a salad that I first had during Sam’s and my trip to Jaleo. Sam had told me about it before we went and insisted that we order the dish. As previously mentioned, I love fennel in pretty much any form. Hand me a bulb and I will eat it raw. This salad, followed closely by some delicious roasted onions, were my favorite tapas/dishes of the night (and that’s a difficult title to win at Jaleo).

The flavors in this salad are fantastic. The heartiness of the walnut and the apple were the perfect tint of winter which, combined with the fennel and chives that reminded me of early spring, made for the perfect “transition salad” between seasons. Ideally, you should probably slice your fennel and perhaps your apple on a mandolin. Being a poor law student, I don’t have one of those. That being said, slicing both really thinly with an extremely sharp knife did the trick for me. This also kept pretty well in the fridge and made for a great side salad at lunch the next day. Also, be sure to slice your apple last, as that will preserve it’s color.

On another note: my friend Sam is off to Italy for four months of culinary school and an internship. If you’d like to keep up with travels and culinary adventures, be sure to check out her blog at travelingwithmymouthfull.wordpress.com. Happy eating!

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Revamped Thanksgiving Staples

Recently, I’ve had a few people ask me, “Megan, do you have any good Thanksgiving recipes?”  Well, boy do I.  I have lots of terrific, tried, tested, and approved recipes for Thanksgiving, and I would love to share them with you.

Now, years back, when we used to live in DC, we would drive to Ohio for Thanksgiving and spend it with our families.  As guests, we usually didn’t do much cooking, but one year, I asked if I could try my hand at preparing the turkey.  My mother-in-law was kind enough to allow me to do so, and I was able to test Martha Stewart’s recipe for a brined turkey that I had been dying to try.  It was my first time fixing a turkey, and I was nervous—especially since generations of family members were doubting my techniques—but in the end, it was a total success.  The bird was moist and flavorful with a crispy skin.  What more could you ask for?

Once we moved to New York, however, Thanksgiving changed.  Instead of returning to Ohio to be with our families, we fix a feast here and invite friends over.  It has been a lot of fun, and it has allowed me to be as OCD about Thanksgiving dinner as I want to.  You see, I grew up not loving Thanksgiving.  I mean, I loved the family togetherness, but I’m not a mashed-potato-lover, and yams covered in marshmallows don’t get me excited.  In fact, the only food I really looked forward to on Turkey Day was the pie.

But once I got full control of the menu, I was able to revamp it and reinvent the “perfect Thanksgiving dinner.”  I stay true to the basics—turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberries, etc.—but prepare them in a more modern, if you will, fashion.

Below is a list of links to my favorite recipes.  These are recipes that will, no doubt, be on my Thanksgiving table this year.  I hope they make it on yours as well!

Brandon's lovely "tablescape"

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