Baking · Home Cooking · Random Recipes

New World

Morning Glory Muffins

Morning Glory Farm

Please excuse the lack of a photo with this post, Joey just got a new camera so still testing that out!  However a lack of a photo won’t keep me from joining this month’s Random Recipes, hosted by the always incredible Dom of Belleau Kitchen.  This month the Random Recipes theme was Christmas Gifts, which required me to narrow my cookbooks down in to those that I received as gifts over the past year.  This left me with four books: Plenty, World Vegetarian, Morning Glory Farm, and Chocolate Cakes.  I was hoping Chocolate Cakes was going to win out, but fortunately for my waist line the winning book was Morning Glory Farm – and the family that feeds an island.  My in-laws got me this book as a birthday present after they visited Martha’s Vineyard.  It’s been many a year since I have been to Martha’s Vineyard, or Cape Cod, but seeing the recipes in this book brought back many happy memories.  The random recipe selected were delicious Carrot Muffins that the book called Morning Glory muffins after the farm.  The book tester for this recipe suggested walnuts but we decided to skip that step since walnuts seem to be one of the few tree nuts that do bother my hubby.

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These were a little oily for my taste, but that might be because we had to half the original recipe though the above recipe is as written in the book.  I think in the future I might also tweak this recipe with some nutmeg, maybe 1tsp, just to add a little bit more pop.  Another future tweak would be switching out the raisins for some dried cranberries!

Thanks Dom for another amazing year of Random Recipes!  Can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2013 🙂

52Weeks · Dessert

Winter Wonderland

Layered Peppermint Bark

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Merry Christmas!  Hopefully all your presents are wrapped and ready to go, but just in case this Peppermint Bark makes a wonderful last minute gift.  It also makes a great treat, so even if you are ready to go gift wise nothing wrong with making some candy to go with all the other treats.  I love how quickly this treat comes together, though sometimes it is rather hard to wait for it to set.  All the ingredients are easy to locate, and for those willing to be extra, patient candy canes will go on super discount tomorrow so buy in bulk now for later!

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Hope everyone has an amazing day!  Merry Christmas 🙂  I’m also sending this recipe over to r/52 weeks for the final challenge: Holidays.  Whether being made as a gift or being enjoyed as a gift to yourself these peppermint treats certainly say winter holidays!

52Weeks · Asian · Home Cooking · Vegan

Make Way

Thai Basil Eggplant

and

Grand Ma’s Tofu

Thai Basil Eggplant & Grand Ma's Tofu

There is just something about Chinese food around the holidays, it just feels right!  This week I had the added encouragement of /52weeks Take Out at Home theme.  I debated about trying a thincrust pizza but forgetting to add water to the bread machine took care of that idea, so on to Chinese Food!  Joe and I get Chinese food about once a month and our favorite place no longer ask us what we want, they hear my name and they know we are calling for eggplant and tofu.  I had wanted to try making both of these recipes for awhile but every recipe I found online featured either pork or fish sauce and I wasn’t sure how our place does it without either of those.  So I started experimenting with sauces, testing them out on soba noodles until I found the “right” combination.  The hardest part was finding a chili paste for the tofu that didn’t include shrimp paste or fish sauce, but after a very long trip to the Asian grocery store I was able to locate one that was safe!

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The best part about these dishes is that the sauces are so versatile, could easily switch things up and do a Thai Basil Tofu or a Grand Ma’s Eggplant.  Each of these dishes would also make a great topping for some rice noodles, or just as they are.

Home Cooking · Italian

If At First

Homemade Veggie Lasagna

A few months ago I attempted, and failed at, making homemade ravioli.  I was resolved that once I got my stand mixer I would try again to make my own rolled dough, and after a month of psyching myself up I finally did it!  Having the stand mixer not only greatly reduced the extreme mess, it also allowed me to focus more on what the dough looked like to insure the right balance of flour, egg, and oil.  I also made sure to take the time to let the pasta rest, and in the end I had dough that was rollable and edible.   I thought about making ravioli, or tortellini again, but wanted to make sure I could handle the basics first.  So I cleared off the space where my microwave once sat, laid out the parchment paper, and got to work.   I divided the dough into three sections to make the rolling more manageable and occasionally got out my hubby’s measuring tape to see how thick the dough was.  For the filling I used a combination of vegetables, based on what I found in the local section of the grocery – gotta love hothouse vegetables in December!

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I’m not sure if I’m ready to try long noodles or shapes yet, but I’m hoping that after a few more goes at lasagna and ravioli I’ll have the rolling technique down enough to start cutting the dough.  If that ever happens I can promise a very happy blog post.

52Weeks · Home Cooking

Little Things

Caprese Grilled Cheese

No matter how fancy the meal, how exotic the ingredients, how elaborate the presentation it’s normally the simple dishes that stick with us.  Mom’s soup, Grandma’s candy cane cookies, Dad’s pasta sauce…those are the dishes that more often then not mean more than the most expensive dinner.  There is a reason, after all, that these are commonly referred to as comfort foods.  I can only guess what meals my future children will remember when they look back on their childhood, but if they are anything like their father this grilled cheese stands a chance of making the memory list.  It’s a switch on the standard grilled cheese, but nothing so elaborate that it “requires” a special occasion or a special trip to the grocery store.

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I’m sending this over to /52weeks as part of their lunch challenge, even though this sandwich will also great with a big bowl of soup for dinner.  At the end of the day, this sandwich is simple and delicious and perfect.

Home Cooking · Quick Weeknight Recipes

Take You There

Ricotta Kugel

I apologize in advance for the brain dump of a post that is to follow, but this is what happens when one decides to see The Hobbit and then go to work the next morning.  I keep telling myself that functioning on four hours of sleep is practice for later in life, but the truth of the situation is I am not as young as I use to be and midnight showings are no longer worth the exhaustion that follows.   However I’m sure by time the next Hobbit movie comes out, I’ll have forgotten all about this and still go to the midnight showing.

Today’s recipe has nothing to do with The Hobbit and everything to do with one of the few dishes I’ve had to make over and over and over again in an attempt to make it edible.  I was in college the first time I attempted to make kugel, using a recipe from a book that will remain nameless because it was just bad.  The dish was cloyingly sweet, putting it a far cry from the amazing kugel I had experienced in Poland only a few months prior.  I tried tweaking that recipe, and recorded my attempts, but it never came together.  I then switched to a recipe I found on AllRecipes.com which had the right level of sweetness but was too dry and more rock-like than pudding-like.   With that I decided to combine elements of both recipes while adding/subtracting a few things until I finally came up with the variation that worked best for me.

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This recipe still has an element of sweetness to it, without going too far into the “should be a dessert” category.  For the rest of my Hanukkah inspired recipes please check out: Spinach Potato Knish, Cream Cheese Bread, and Sweet Potato Latkes.

Update: This post was written just prior to the horrible incident that happened today in CT.  My thoughts and prayers, and those of my family, go out to the families and victims of today’s horrible crime.  I’m still having a hard time wrapping my head around the senselessness of what happened and can only hope, wish, pray, and dream that something like this never happens again.  

Baking · Home Cooking

Give You a Treat

Spinach Potato Knish

  

 I do my best to avoid projects that involve rolling dough, as there are very few recipes that are worth the stress that comes with rolling dough.  The exceptions being: sugar cookies, perogies, pies, and knishes.  While my new mixer makes the dough more likely to cooperate, my tiny kitchen makes the rolling process more of a challenge than it should be.  However the smell that comes from the oven while baking, or the stove when cooking, tends to make up for the issues which is probably why I’m so eager to make the next rolled dough item.  For the longiest time knishes were one of those items that I didn’t even want to think about attempting for fear of destroying them.  The idea of stuffing dough and then moving the stuffed dough to a baking sheet caused me to picture my puppies scampering off with the unbaked products, leaving nothing for us.  Luckily my better half was able to help me out, insuring that all knishes made it into the oven without falling victim to the begging puppies.   This recipe is loosely based on one I found in Jewish Home Cooking, which is a great cookbook for people looking to find out more about traditional Jewish fare.

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I served the knishes with some creamed spinach, but they are also amazing on their own or with some sour cream.  I can’t promise I won’t go back to buying knishes at Wegmans during the rest of the year, but this are totally worth the effort during Hanukkah!