Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Year in Review... and a farewell

I hate goodbyes. I always have. This is more of a 'so long, see you soon' kind of a goodbye. If you've been following my saga here (and over at my other blog) you know that life's gotten busy lately. Very busy. And I just haven't been able to find a balance that allows time for work, family, cooking, and blogging. Unfortunately, the blogging's got to go. For now.

It's been sad for me not to be able to photograph and post. I love it and I was actually becoming half good at it. I have a sweet group of followers, and I love you guys. But I just can't manage it all now - between my super crazy work schedule, my husband's insane school/study schedule, and my always hungry and always wonderful family, there just isn't enough time in the day.

Here's a sendoff to 2011 and to my blogging. For now. I will be back. When things quiet down and I can make some time for this wonderful hobby. I don't know if it'll be six months or a year. Maybe more, maybe less. But I do hope we'll meet again when I return. In the meantime, thanks for visiting and commenting. Please keep visiting this place. Please keep writing. (Fellow food bloggers, I'll still be stopping by your blogs and doing the same.) Thanks for your support. Have a wonderful year.


# 1 Reader Favorite: Zucchini Banana Bread
#2 Reader Favorite: Roasted Peaches.


#3 Reader Favorite: Lemon Mint Zucchini Pancakes
#4 Reader Favorite: Raspberry Peach Tart

#5 Reader Favorite: Pan Fried Chickpeas
#6 Reader Favorite: Chocolate Muffins

#7 Reader Favorite: Baby Bok Choy Salad

#8 Reader Favorite: Signature Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A recipe...in exchange for some input

As you may have noticed, I sort of dropped from the face of the planet this month. I accepted a promotion at work which means I'm working super hard, super crazy hours. I have less time than ever before (who thought it was possible?) and am trying to figure out the right balance of work, family, and me-time. Blogging just hasn't been fitting into the picture, at least not yet. Thanks for your inquiries and emails. It feels good to know I'm missed.

If you happen to stop by here I'd love your input. For now, I'll definitely be posting less often. How do you feel about posts with musings and recipes only - no photos? I know that one of the things I enjoy most about food blogs is the photography. What about you? Would you be interested in posts without photos or would I lose your attention? 

Thanks again for all your support. I hope to be back soon.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread (adapted from Mollie Katzen's Sunlight Cafe)
This recipe makes one loaf. I usually use the large 28 oz. jar of pumpkin and double the quantities to make two loaves. They freeze beautifully, and if you slice the cake and individually wrap the slices before freezing, you've got a quick and easy snack (or breakfast) to go. 

1 small can (15 oz.) 100% pumpkin puree
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons oil or melted butter
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1 cup white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour

Preheat the oven to 350*. Spray a loaf pan with nonstick spray.

Combine the pumpkin, eggs, vanilla and oil in the bowl of an electric mixer. Use the paddle attachment to stir them thoroughly till smooth.

Add the salt, baking powder and sugar, and mix on low speed for a minute or so till the dry ingredients are combined.

Add the chocolate chips and flours and mix on low just till combined. The mixture will be quite thick.

Transfer the batter to the loaf pan and bake for an hour or so (a little less if you like your cake less dry). Once the cake is cool enough to handle, remove it from the pan and cool thoroughly on wire racks before serving or freezing.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pan Fried Chickpeas (Secret Recipe Club)


I feel I owe you an apology. I sort of dropped from the face of the earth for a couple of weeks without so much as a word of explanation.


Much as I know you've got other things on your mind, other blogs to visit, other ways to fill your evening hours, it seems rude to leave you hanging.


Life's been even crazier than ever. Just when I thought it could get no busier, it did. In a good way. I accepted a promotion at work which means I'm working harder than ever. More hours at the office. Less hours at home. More stress. Less time to cook. And blog.


If things are a little quiet around here, please understand. I'm figuring out a new balance between work, home, and personal time. I hope things will settle soon. Thanks for your patience till they do.


On to my recipe of the week. This month, I was SO pleased to get Kitchen Belleicious as my Secret Recipe Club pick. I have been following Jessica's lovely blog for quite some time and had dozens of recipes bookmarked already. It wasn't easy to settle on one, but this recipe was a natural choice. It's super easy, and my kids are WILD over anything with chickpeas.

Pan Fried Chickpeas, adapted from Kitchen Belleicious 
Serves 4 as a side dish or snack


The original recipe calls for Cajun Seasoning, which I didn't have, but since we don't like things really spicy anyway, I left it out, and it was perfect. Let me know if you try it with. Here's my variation. 

1 can of chickpeas (Garbanzo beans)
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for finishing
3 tablespoons olive oil

Drain the chickpeas and spread them out on a dishtowel to dry for about 1/2 hour. In a large plastic bag, combine the spices, salt and flour. Mix well. Throw the chickpeas in the bag and mix them around so they are well coated.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and then shallow fry the beans in two batches. Shake the beans around every couple of minutes to be sure they fry evenly, and remove them with a slotted spoon when they look done (mine took a bit less than 5 minutes). Let them drain on paper towels for a few minutes.

Season with extra kosher salt and ENJOY! Jessica's recipe says that these will save in a ziploc bag or container for up to 1 week, although I have no evidence of that. They were devoured in less than five minutes.




Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Raspberry Peach Tart


I know it. I posted a Peach Tart recipe barely a week ago. It's audacious to make - and blog about - two such decadent foods, on a healthy eating site to top it off, in such a short time span.


What's even more shocking is that I made this tart only a few days after said Peach Tart. And, as long as we're baring our souls here, I have every intent of making another variation this weekend.


There, I've said it. Now won't that make the calories not count or something?

Raspberry Peach Tart, adapted from Food 52
The original recipe calls for whole milk and butter, but I wanted a dairy-free version so I used almond milk and margarine instead. Feel free to use the real-deal if you prefer.

1 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 cups plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
1/4 cup mild olive oil
2 tablespoons almond milk
1/2 teaspoon almond extract or rum
2 tablespoons cold margarine or butter
1 granny smith apple, peeled and coarsely grated
1 pint raspberries, cleaned and dried well
1/2 teaspoon corn starch
2 small ripe peaches, pitted and thickly sliced (about 1/2-inch wide)
Preheat the oven to 425*. Line the bottom shelf with a piece of foil or a baking sheet; this will protect the oven from dripping juice while the tart is baking.

Now, make the dough. In a mixing bowl, stir together 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oils, milk and almond extract or rum. Pour this mixture into the flour mixture and mix gently with a fork. Be sure not to overwork it.

Transfer the dough to a tart pan (I used a 12-inch but a 10- or 11-inch would have been better). Press down on the dough with your fingers till it covers the bottom of the pan.

Next, make the crumb topping. In a separate bowl, combine 3/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt and the margarine. Use your fingers or a pastry cutter to cut the margarine into the dry ingredients until the mix is crumbly.

Now, assemble your tart. Spread the grated apple evenly over the crust. 

Toss the raspberries with the cornstarch and make a lovely border out of the starched berries around the edge of the tart. You'll probably make two rows of raspberries. 

In the center of the tart, inside the berry border, arrange the peaches in a concentric circle. Sprinkle all of the crumb topping over top. 

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until shiny, thick bubbles are erupting from the fruit and the crust is beginning to brown. Cool on a rack. Serve warm or room temperature. (It's also really nice as leftovers, eaten right from the fridge. Even right out of the pan. Trust me.)


Linking this up to This Chick Cooks and Weekend Bloggy Reading

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Corn Tabouleh


I am under strict orders. Here is what I have been instructed to say. This salad is lovely. It is pretty and colorful. It looks like summer itself.


It is not, however, Kid Friendly. In fact, it is decidedly Kid Unfriendly. Children, for example, who do not like pepper will NOT like this dish. Neither will children who do not like bulgur. Or children who don't like olive oil, lime juice, or corn (is there really anyone who doesn't like corn?).


But I ask you. Should I refrain from posting this lovely recipe just because a certain almost-twelve-year-old Miss Particular doesn't happen to like any of the ingredients therein?


Wouldn't that be a shame?


So my instructions to you are as follows. Make this recipe. Soon. Before the local corn is gone. Savor it. Enjoy it. But don't serve it to your particular children. They might not be so nice about it.

Corn Tabouleh
Makes 4-6 generous servings

1/2 cup bulgur wheat
4 ears of corn, husks removed, cooked and cooled
2 peppers (I used one green and one red)
3 scallions
a handful of basil, parsley or cilantro
1/4 teaspoon salt
juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons olive oil

Cook the bulgur according to the package instructions. Or, if you don't have the package, do what I did: bring some water to a boil and pour it over the bulgur so it covers it and then some. Cover and let soak for about 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and let cool.

Cut the corn off the cobs. Chop the peppers, dice the scallions, and mince the herbs. Combine the vegetables in a large bowl, and then add the salt, lime juice, and oil.

Add the cooled bulgur and then refrigerate for at least an hour (overnight is fine too) to let the flavors meld.

Serve within a day or two.


Monday, September 5, 2011

Peach Tart


So yesterday, my house was flying with kids - friends, neighbors, and my own. Kids were coming and going, enjoying the second-to-last day of summer vacation. I ran around in the morning buying produce, restocking the pantry, and then making a few batches of soup to get us through the hectic week.


Then, there was a rare and blessed lull. The house was suddenly quiet - kids playing happily outdoors, baby napping. I decided to do what any sane person would do. I baked a tart.


I chose this one because it looked super simple (it was) and super delicious (it was).


I managed to get the pie into the oven in TEN minutes flat. Literally. But the ironic thing was this. As I put the tart into the oven, the doorbell rang. It was a neighbor coming to pick up her son. She saw the hot gloves on my hands, smelled the pie in the oven, and said "My, you sure are gourmet. You've got time to bake on a hectic Sunday?"


The irony was that I am very much not gourmet these days. And I truly don't have time to bake on Sundays. Why do I feel defensive when people accuse me of having extra time on my hands?? "This was easy!" I felt like saying. "It only took a few minutes. It was so simple that even I was able to fit into to my hassled life."


Instead I smiled and let her believe that I live a relaxed lifestyle. Wasn't that big of me?

Peach Tart, adapted just a tad from Food 52
The original recipe calls for whole milk and butter, but I wanted a dairy-free version so I used almond milk and margarine instead. Feel free to use the real-deal if you prefer. 

1 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 cups plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
1/4 cup mild olive oil
2 tablespoons almond milk
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons cold margarine or butter
3 large ripe peaches, pitted and thickly sliced (about 1/2-inch wide)

Preheat the oven to 425*. Line the bottom shelf with a piece of foil or a baking sheet; this will protect the oven from dripping juice while the tart is baking. 

Now, make the dough. In a mixing bowl, stir together 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oils, milk and almond extract. Pour this mixture into the flour mixture and mix gently with a fork. Be sure not to overwork it. 

Transfer the dough to a tart pan (I used a 12-inch but a 10- or 11-inch would have been better). Press down on the dough with your fingers till it covers the bottom of the pan.

Next, make the crumb topping. In a separate bowl, combine 3/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt and the margarine. Use your fingers or a pastry cutter to cut the margarine into the dry ingredients until the mix is crumbly.
Now, assemble your tart. Start on the outside and arrange the peaches in a concentric circle over the pastry. Sprinkle all of the crumb topping over top. 

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until shiny, thick bubbles are erupting from the fruit and the crust is beginning to brown. Cool on a rack. Serve warm or room temperature. (It's also really nice as leftovers, eaten right from the fridge. Even right out of the pan. Trust me.)


This recipe was published on Culinary Kosher!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Blueberry Pretzel Clusters (Secret Recipe Club)


As soon as I got my assignment for this month's Secret Recipe Club, I knew I was in trouble. You see, Keep it Sweet is a blog full of sweet things. (Never would have guessed that, right?)


Not just any sweet things, though. Fantastic looking ones, like Chocolate Covered Pretzel Bars, Banana Corn Muffins, and Cinnamon Roll Cookies.


I perused. I drooled. I deliberated. But when I saw this recipe, it was love at first sight. Blueberries? Salted Pretzels? Fine chocolate? Count. Me. In.


These things were delicious. And unusual. The combination of salty and sweet was, of course, fantastic. But what puts these over the top is the sweet cold burst of blueberry in the center. As Lauren puts it, "It is heaven biting into the creamy dark chocolate and then having a huge blueberry burst in your mouth." Couldn't have said it better myself!

Blueberry Pretzel Clusters (adapted from Keep it Sweet)

5 ounces high-quality dark chocolate
1/2 cup salted pretzel pieces
1/2 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed and dried

Gently melt the chocolate in the microwave.

Once the chocolate is completely melted, add the blueberries and then the pretzel pieces. Stir until completely coated

Use a tablespoon to drop large clusters of the mix onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Chill the chocolate in the fridge for at least 1/2 hour or until the candy is completely firm. Serve (cold) within a few days.



Linking this up to Melt in Your Mouth Monday and Happy Post.