The holidays have descended upon us so quickly it seems this year! I looked at my daughter and could hardly believe how fast the four prior seasons have gone by. This year, I am excited to start new traditions with her, and part of that is creating fun and festive meals. Stay tuned, as I will be hosting Christmas Eve, and plan to tease the pallet as well as make it simple and fun.
Labor Day weekend. I usually use this time to prepare, reflect, and look forward to the next season. It is a little harder to do that this year, as it is still 95 degrees. We have had an extremely hot and long summer. However, that is not going to prohibit me from the excitement of my favorite season- fall.
I think I start to perk up, not because I don't care for summer, but rather I love the hominess that fall brings. Gatherings outside, baking, and sharing in the harvest of all of the hard work through the spring and summer. One meal that I love is chili. It is usually easy to pull together, and the best part- really hard to mess up! It allows some creativity, spontaneity (I think I'll try these beans this time, and control (mild to hot).
My preference is to use fire roasted tomatoes and chilis. It brings out a nice rustic flavor. Plus if you are in the West, you can usually find some fire roasted hatch chilis which are delish! For this recipe, I used ground Elk. I found it at our Natural Grocers, and I was inspired by one of my favorite brew pubs in town. (I have no aspirations to come close to theirs, but thought I would still try to put something out there).
In a dutch over, saute ground elk and onion in 1-2 tsp olive oil. Season with 1 tsp kosher salt, and cook for roughly 10 minutes. Add red wine and boil for 2-3 minutes, then add all ingredients except for the tomato paste. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, uncovered. Stir occasionally for an hour an a half. (Chili will start to thicken even more after tomato paste is added). Then add the tomato paste and incorporate by stirring. Continue to cook for an additional 20-30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve in bowls- garnish with sliced avocado, shredded sharp cheddar, sour cream, green onion, tortilla, etc.
Also- you could add 1 tsp chili powder, I have a 4 year old who would then refuse to eat it, so I omitted it from the plan.
So enjoy- make a pot- share with some friends on the porch or the campsite- share your favorite summer memories- and usher in the next season!
Not going to lie, life seems to grab hold and move very, very, quickly. When that happens, I am someone who grabs the wrong food choices for solice. Not a wise move! So, my goal is to start posting more frequently, getting back to the basics, and really living in the moment each day!
I'm not quite sure how I got here, but do you ever find yourself wondering..... what do I make for dinner? You want to break free from the normal go-to staples, and branch into something new. Well maybe not new, but classic! Then it dawned on me, a favorite from my childhood, the wonderful Tater Tot Casserole.
The Tater Tot, a staple of childhood hot lunch at school. Then you mix that with a good ol' midwestern casserole dish, and create a recipe for success. My husband loves this stuff. However, I will admit, this is a dish that is so easy to sneak lots of vegetables into. Of course, I need those vegetables to combat the condensed soup, cream cheese, and whole milk! The other great thing, you can pretty much wing this dish by adding in your favorites, but hopefully this mixture will satisfy your taste buds.
1 lb ground beef
12 oz condensed soup (I used a gluten free)
8 oz cream cheese (although I would say 4 oz is plenty)
1/3 cup milk
6 oz frozen peas and carrots
3 cups frozen spinach
8 oz mushrooms (diced)
Big bag of Tater Tots (Depending on your artistic form)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 tsp Paprika
Saute the ground beef seasoned with salt and pepper. Drain. Add frozen spinach and cook for about 5 minutes. Add condensed soup, cream cheese, milk and mix until cream cheese is melted. Then add frozen peas and carrots and mushrooms. Cook for about 5-7 minutes. Pour mixture into a greased 9x13 pan.
Heat oven to 375. Meanwhile, you get to line up the tater tots onto the mixture. (Bring out your true artistic form.
Place in oven. I recommend a cookie sheet underneath, and cook for 40 minutes or until Tater Tots are golden brown.
Dish and serve!
After finally feeling like I have time to sit, write, and experiment with new flavors, I ran across an inspiration from the latest Bon Appetit magazine. I love lentils, and frankly don't know why I don't cook with them more often. This recipe is super easy, flavorful, and the little one loved it. My husband was so kind and baked some gluten free bread from scratch to serve with this dish. Topped with a poached egg, the warm gooey yoke is a lovely addition to the dish.
2 T Olive Oil
1 yellow medium onion- diced
1 red bell pepper- diced
2 lg carrots- diced
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 oz tomato paste
1 C red lentils
1 C frozen leaf spinach
34 oz chicken broth
Heat oil in a stockpot over medium high heat. Add onions, pepper, carrots, salt, pepper, and garlic powder and cook for 8 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften. Add tomato paste, and continue to incorporate for about 2 minutes stirring continuously. Then add lentils spinach, and broth, and reduce heat and cook for 40 minutes. It will start to thicken which is perfect!
Serve over toast and top with poached egg.
When I was a little girl, my mom had me put together my first thanksgiving. I was ten years old. Now as any good mentor, she sat back and was available for help, guidance, or to talk me through the steps. I'm grateful for that experience on many levels. The first being, you appreciate the end product more when you have had the ability to be part of the process. Secondly, it helped install in me that no task is too daunting, including showcasing probably the most talked about meal of the year. Thirdly, I learned time management, execution, and have my objectives delivered on time. Who knew that a simple dinner could turn into a wonderful life lesson that would benefit me for years to come in my own career.
My mother also had this "rad" cookbook. Yep that was the hip lingo back then. It was called Supercookery and was written in 1976. Within, this book, I uncovered the most magical of pies. My favorite one to be exact. Now, I can't hide it from the world, you all must experience the same joy that I have had these past years. This pie has the texture of a pecan pie (without the nuts!) and the sweet flavor of almond extract. The nutmeg on top gives it a delightful crispy texture.
So as you roll into the wonderful holiday season, I challenge you to try this wonderful recipe! I perfer it cold with a dollop of whipped cream, but you can also serve it warm.
Recipe from Supercookery
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Place the sugars, butter, and cream into a double boiler over a medium sized pot that is half filled with boiling water over moderate heat. Cook the mixture, stirring consistently with a spoon, until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is thick enough to leave a ribbon trail on itself when the spoon is lifted (see third photo).
Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, using a hand mixer, beat the eggs until they are pale and thick.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and the double boiler. Take 1/3 cup of the mixture and temper the eggs. Then you can add the rest of the sugar/cream mixture to the eggs and stir until combined. Add the almond extract.
Place the mixture into your pie crust and then sprinkle the nutmeg over the top of the pie. Place on a baking sheet and put in oven for 10 minutes. Then reduce heat to 325 degrees and continue to back pie for 30 minutes or until the center of the pie comes out clean.
A good friend of mine had surgery this week, and I thought it would be nice to bring over some chicken soup. However, for me, if I am making chicken soup, I must include Matzo Balls. Luckily, I have found a gluten-free option to make these. (I have to tell you they are pretty darn close to the original and sometimes I think even better) The matzo balls are light, fluffy, and so flavorful.
Good chicken soup comes from homemade broth, fresh vegetables, and of course, the most important ingredient..... LOVE.
My mother used to make a version of this soup every Christmas Eve, and frankly I love it. While I was in New York in September, my mother ordered the soup from a Carnegie Deli, and I have been craving it ever since. I hope that you take the time to make it during this fall/winter time period. You will not regret it. (You can either use regular Matzo or Gluten free for the dumplings).
Prepare the Broth:
Matzo Balls- as directed
In large stalk pot combine broth ingredients. Bring to boil and then reduce heat to rolling simmer. Cover and cook for an hour and half.
Remove Chicken and onion (you can throw the onion away). Remove meat from chicken and either shred or dice (based on your preference). Add all of the soup ingredients back to the stalk pot and cook over medium heat for an hour. Then add your Matzo Balls and cook for 20 more minutes.
Serve with gluten-free or regular bread.
I will have to be honest that I have always been curious about creating anything from cashews soaked overnight. I wondered about the texture as well as the flavor, but somehow, there are all sorts of recipes containing this ingredient. I stumbled upon this recipe (in a late night browsing aka not sleeping when I should be) and knew I had to make it. It was fun, whimsical, and had the goblin green that would fit in nice with the Halloween spirit. Plus, let's be honest, I get to sneak in a vegetable for my little one.
Before you close out of the browser, let me stop you. You don't taste the spinach. Crazy, right? However, this "dessert" contains lots of great nutrients and lacks the refined sugar. What does all that mean--- you should probably have two slices, instead of one. If you live by a Trader Joe's most of these ingredients can be found very reasonably priced there.
Modified barely from Tasty-Yummies
For the filling, drain the cashews and quickly rinse and drain again. Place in food processor, along with the oil and coconut cream, honey, vanilla, and water. Pulse til a smooth but somewhat thick consistency. Then add mint, spinach, mint extract, and salt and combine until you get a pretty green color.
Remove crust from freezer, and spread filling. Place back in freezer for about 20 minutes. Take out and sprinkle with miniature chocolate chips. Cover and chill overnight or at least 6 hours. You can serve with whipped cream, or you can whip the remaining coconut cream with a little bit of powdered sugar to taste. (Ha there goes eliminating that refined sugar)! Enjoy
I honestly can't think of anything that says fall quite like the richness of maple. Everywhere I look, people are preparing for fall and are excited about crisp apples, cornfields, harvest time, and bundling up to enjoy the cooler weather. That led me to examine two of my husband's favorite things; which are waffles and a good bourbon. I decided to combine the two into a lovely breakfast while adding the hearty cornmeal to the mix. Since my little one loves the color blue, I decided to use blue cornmeal, and she thought that was amazing!
Above you will see a well-loved waffle iron. This belonged to my Great-Grandmother who along with my mother was an amazing inspiration to me growing up and installing a passion to love entertaining and creating food. While my great-grandmother past away almost 15 years ago, I still think of her often. In fact, my husband who loves waffles so much, breaks this bad boy out weekly. It always brings a smile to my face because I get to take that quick moment and reflect on grandma. I know she would be so happy to see the joy it brings not only my sweetie, but our little one as well. Not too mention, they really don't make things like they use too!
I knew that this dish would need a good balance of sweet to the earthy tones of the cornmeal waffle. I also wanted to utilize another wonderful fall fruit- the Asian Pear. Such a delicate and lightly sweet flavor, that balances the soft waffle with a hearty crunch. I also wanted to add a kick up the normal maple syrup and therefore added butter and some bourbon. The combination was amazing, almost too good to limit only to breakfast.
1 1/4 C Maple Syrup (the real stuff)
1/4 C Salted Butter
1 T Bourbon (I used W.L. Weller)
Bring the syrup and butter to a slow boil and then once boiling whisk in the bourbon. Serve warm
Blue Cornmeal Waffles-
2 C Blue Cornmeal
2 C Flour (I used Cup4Cup to make it GF)
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
6 T sugar
6 Eggs (I used farm fresh from my local neighbor)
1/4 C melted butter
1/4 C vegetable oil
3 C buttermilk
Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Set aside. Then in a separate mixing bowl combine all wet ingredients and whisk until combined. Fold wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until absorbed. Do not overmix. Follow your recommended setting for your waffle iron, and cook until lightly brown.
Serve with diced Asian Pear for garnish and a wonderful accompaniment.
The big apple! I had arrived, meeting my sister halfway across the large amount of space that separates us. I call this a trifecta year for me, as there are many times I go without seeing my only sister for spans of two to four years. Well my friends, this year, I was so blessed to have three wonderful visits with her.
This trip was especially special as my lovely sister was nominated for Best New Voice in the Saveur Blog Awards. Many of you graciously spent your time to vote for her (Much Appreciated By the WAY).
We left our husbands and children behind and decided to take on this town. Food being our main focus, it was almost too overwhelming. Two girls from Utah, two very different life paths, one common interest: Good Food!
Our first morning, we both woke with excitement as we were eager to walk the streets of Manhattan. The first stop on our agenda was finding that truly amazing cup of coffee. As we meandered the streets, attempting to find our bearings against the tall metal landscape, we anticipated finding a coffee shop we saw on yelp. A divine intervention occurred and a lovely local stopped us as it was apparent that we were "lost". I said we were looking for coffee at said location, he shook his head and said, "No". Stunned I wasn't quite sure how this was going to go, he then proceeded to say, "You want the best coffee? You are already here" and pointed behind us. There before our eyes was in fact an amazing shop Little Collins, and yes the coffee was amazing.
No trip would be complete without savoring a giant plate of house-cured pastrami. So a trip to Carnegie Deli had to occur. Here my mother ordered the fluffiest and biggest matzo balls I had ever see! It was like giant pillows that you wanted to rest your head on. Surprisingly, I was able to order my sandwich on gluten free bread. Also on the menu, Gluten Free New York Cheesecake! It was like destiny had pulled me in to indulge in the New York experience despite my inability to have gluten.
We continued on enjoying the sites, architecture, and having fun as a family. My mother and father also had flown out to enjoy the experience. I stumbled across another amazing find, which was PizzaArte and the gluten free pizza is a must do! You will be transported back to a time when you could remember what "real" pizza tasted like. We hit central park, the Natural History Museum, Times Square, and much more. A lot in two days!
Finally the good news. The conclusion to the whole purpose of the trip. NorthWildKitchen did in fact take home a prize for Editors Choice for Best New Voice. But in a surprising twist and well deserved finale, she also took home Saveur Magazine's Food Blog of the Year! So congrats my dear one, thank you for the memories, and once again, job well done.
Busy balancing life's daily obligations, while making sure to stop and enjoy the simple moments.