Why Did I Wait So Long?!!! The Story of My NEW Love

It all started when I googled recipes for cornmeal… then I found Alanna’s website The Bojon Gourmet. And true to my mildly obsessive reading habits, I spent the next two days reading all of the recipes on her website. I highly recommend spending some time to read her recipes. Beautiful photography, beautiful food… all sorts of goodies to be found.

So… it goes back to the cornmeal. I’ve been thinking about cornmeal, so when I found Alanna’s recipe for custardy cornmeal cake, I knew it was just right. The only problem? I didn’t have an 8 inch cast iron skillet… so of course I braved rush hour traffic to go hunt one down.

So when I got to Target and there was just ONE small cast iron skillet left without a barcode… I just bought it. The nice man there helped me, and after inspecting the bottom of the pan and seeing “8SK” stamped on the bottom, he decided it was in fact an 8 inch skilled at it would just be $10.99. So I popped it into my car, grabbed some grassfed buttermilk and cream and headed home.

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So. I mixed my batter, suspicious that it was such a little quantity of batter, but I proceeded anyway. I spread the batter thinly, and baked away.

When my cake baked up thin, contrary to Alanna’s beautiful pictures, I was indignant! I did everything right! I even followed the recipe!! I even bought the right pan!!!!!

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But, I was immediately pacified when I ate a slice of my delicious creation. It was creamy, delicious and just perfect as a near-midnight snack.

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Then, after scrutinizing the recipe AGAIN, I noticed that the pan Alanna used looked much smaller than mine. So I whipped out my ruler and discovered I had in fact bought a 10 inch skillet. Oh dear…. that explains everything!!

The morale? Thin or thick, that beautiful cornbread studded with berries is an excellent dish.

So today, I meant to remake the cornbread with a double batch so I could have a thick and creamy slice of cake… but then I was thinking about asparagus and cheese.

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I did a little research on Alanna’s blog again, and baked up the crustless quiche in the SAME beautiful, cast iron skillet I bought.

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Let me tell you… Not only am I completely enamored with Alanna and her beautiful recipes, but I am absolutely head over heels with my new skillet.

Why ever did I wait so long to purchase this lovely skillet? Amazing. I love it. I can’t say enough good things.

So, my dear lovelies, this wasn’t a recipe post, but more of a review of The Bojon and Lodge skillets. Both? Excellent! Highly recommend.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

And for your patience reading my ramblings about my NEW love (10in Lodge skillet), here are some pictures! ‚̧



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Grilled Nectarine Coconut Lemon Chia Seed Ice Pops

What a mouthful!!!

Do you say ice pop or popsicle? The area I grew up in has some quirky vernacular, or so I’m told. When I first moved to Baltimore, someone told me that I spoke funny. Haha.

Anyway. I’ve been looking at ice pop recipes all over the internet and really getting into them, but when I saw Joy’s gorgeous Roasted Strawberry Popsicles¬†I immediately got my butt in gear to make them. I didn’t have a popsicle mold, so I spent the better part of the morning hunting one down. The one I found at the craft store was hideous, but I found this adorable one at Marshall’s. It was 2xs more expensive… but you know, I have little control over my food-related impulses. Very little.

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Right on. Here we go.

Grilled Nectarine Coconut Lemon Chia Seed Ice Pops (Inspired by Joy)

  • 13.5 ounces of whole coconut milk (about one can)
  • 1/4 cup of chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • Zest of one organic lemon
  • Juice of one organic lemon
  • 1 nectarine, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon of coconut oil, melted
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, chia seed, maple syrup, lemon juice, and lemon zest until well combined.
  2. Set aside the chia/coconut mixture
  3. Heat up a the grill (or you can just use a broiler!!).
  4. Brush the nectarine slices with some coconut oil, and grill for a few minutes on each side, until tender.
  5. Once your nectarine slices have cooked, chop them into bite size pieces and mash just lightly in a small bowl
  6. Once the chia seeds have plumped up (it took mine about 40 minutes), begin assembling your pops
  7. Start with the chia/coconut mixture, tapping the ice pop forms gently on the table to remove air bubbles. Add a spoonful of nectarine, tapping gently to remove bubbles and get even layers.
  8. Freeze for several hours, or until set.
  9. Serve!!!
  10. My ice pop mold is quite small, but I saved the remaining chia/coconut mixture in the refrigerator and refill the molds as I eat the pops.

Enjoy!!!!!


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Itty Bitty One Bite Calzones (Kinda…)

You guys. I did a bad thing. I made these… and instead of sharing? I ate them all.

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So. First, these aren’t calzones. Sorry if I roped you in based on that information. Misleading title huh? But I didn’t actually know what to call these little things because they aren’t dumplings, or calzones, or really anything. Instead – it’s just a crispy shell filled with¬†mozzarella and tomato sauce… which is really what a calzone is, but baked. These babies are fried.

Anyway… before we get to the recipe, as always I have some rambling to do (you love my rambles, you do!). In college, I used to order a pizza, sit, and eat each and every single piece by myself while I studied. I could normally polish off the entire pizza in an hour, sometimes longer if I was actually studying. Well, one day my best friend Corinne caught me in the act and to this day, she won’t let me live it down. She thinks it’s hilarious that I used to regularly stuff down entire pies of pizza. Small confession: I definitely did this in my last year of law school.

Oh right… back to the calzone-things. There used to be a delivery place that would deliver amazing calzones at my undergrad. I don’t know if they still do and it’s been so long that the name escapes me… but Corinne and I used to eat calzones in the library, hung over, and working. I know… I’m painting such an attractive picture of my college years, aren’t I? So, I’ve been thinking about teeny ones, like one bite calzones for the longest time because everyone likes finger food. And, for me, I like more sauce and more cheese and less bread than a normal calzone offers. Originally, I thought about doing this little recipe in actual yeast raised pizza dough, but then I forgot to buy yeast. So then I was thinking pie crust, but I got lazy and decided on wonton wrappers. I always have a package or two of wonton wrappers in my freezer, so it worked out. I’m cleaning my fridge and making my food-dreams come true.

Right on. Here we go. So before we get started, I highly recommend using a splatter guard. It’s one of those mesh things that you pop over the top of frying pans to prevent oil splatters. I really debated on making these at all because frying anything “wet” like tomato sauce can be a HUGE problem and lead to really dangerous splattering oil. And then after I made them, I debated on posting them here, because I don’t like the idea that anyone makes something I recommend and gets hurt. However… I decided as I was cleaning that you are ALL adults and I am giving you the appropriate warning so there it is. BE CAREFUL!

Kaprise Kitchen’s Itty Bitty One Bite Faux Calzones

  • 2 Mozzarella sticks
  • 16 small circular wonton wrappers
  • 1/4 cup of chunky tomato sauce*
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable oil

*** I recommend using the chunkiest sauce you have so that you can eliminate the more fluid and liquid-y parts of your sauce. I made sauce from whole canned tomatoes a few days ago, so I used the chunks of tomatoes from that sauce only. The reason for this is that in case your wrapper leaks as you fry, the sauce won’t hit the oil and turn into a fountain of spluttering hot oil.

  1. Cut the mozzarella sticks down the length and then into fourths. You should get 8 thin rectangles from each stick (16 total)
  2. Lay out the wonton wrappers and place one mozzarella segment in the center of each
  3. Using a small spoon, add a small dollop of sauce on each circle
  4. Seal the circles with a dab of water and press firmly so that the wrappers are 100% sealed. You want to give yourself a little room as you seal these. The sauce and cheese will puff a bit as you cook so you should give them room to move around without breaking the seal of the wrapper.
  5. In a pan, heat the oil and drop a piece of wrapper in to check the temperature. You want a gentle bubble of oil
  6. Gently place each “calzone” into the oil, giving plenty of space
  7. Fry on each side for about 1 minute, or until golden brown.
  8. If cheese or sauce leaks from your wrappers and causes the oil to splutter, step back until the oil has stopped spluttering before removing the little calzone. Better to have burnt food than burnt body parts.

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I hope you enjoy this recipe! I can see this being versatile and becoming as down to earth or as sophisticated as you want. This would even be good with a dollop of goat cheese and fig spread!!

Have a great weekend everyone!

xoxo-H

 

 

 

Crunchy Snack Time! (Reviews)

I’m a huge snack person. Until recently, I was really into chewy and sweet snacks – the kind that put your dentist’s kids through school. All through undergrad I ate jelly beans while I studied, and then through law school I ate gummy bears in the library. However, as I continue to slog through studying, I’ve been more and more attracted to crunchy and savory snacks. So. In light of that change, I’ve been sampling many different kinds of snacks. I really like potato chips. Like… REALLY like them, but since eating mounds of chips is really not too good for your waistline, I’ve been trying to find other delicious and more healthful things to snack on as a study.

Yesterday, I hit on two that I am completely infatuated with!

  1. Turbana Plantain Chips, Lightly Salted –¬†These plantain chips are super, duper thin and crunchy. They are GMO and gluten free. There are a variety of flavors, but this “lightly” salted package is really hitting the spot. Unlike other brands, these are in fact just lightly salted so you don’t walk away with puckered lips from the salt. I found these at a local health food store, but you can also order them online here:¬†http://platanicious.elsstore.com/ ¬†SONY DSC
  2. Bakery On Main, Extreme Fruit and Nut Gluten Free Granola – I send a packet of this granola in a care package a week or so ago… and I couldn’t get it out of my head so I went back and purchased a bag for myself. I am SO SO thrilled that I did. It is delicious! My mother and I demolished the entire bag in one sitting… all 11 servings of it. It is crunchy and just lightly sweetened. There are a couple things to note: the granola smells mildly of faux maple syrup, contains canola oil, and contains “natural flavors, caramel color.” These aren’t a huge deterrent for me and I will continue to purchase this granola, but they may be of concern for others. The granola, while it does contain corn, is certified GMO free and Gluten and Wheat free. Since I’m not quite over my “sweet and chewy” phase, I added a handful of dried cherries to the mix and it was just perfect! This can be purchased online on Amazon.com and the official website is here:¬†http://www.bakeryonmain.com/

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I would definitely recommend both of these snacks for people who are trying to get away from potato chips and other unhealthy snacks. I am really enjoying both of these, so I hope you get a chance to try them also!  What are the snacks you are into these days? What else should I try?

Smoked Gouda Almond Flour Scones with Tarragon and Thyme (Paleo/Primal)

Hello hello my friends! Today was Day 1 of the 30 Day Fitness Challenge. I’ll post about that shortly in a separate post.

But, before we get into the running, I wanted to share this quick little recipe. It’s a riff off of the Nom Nom Paleo Scones¬†which I made a while back with a couple tweaks. Those scones are sweet, but these are savory and stuffed with smokey gouda cheese.

Smoked Gouda Almond Flour Scones with Tarragon and Thyme (Paleo)

  • 3 cups of blanched almond flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh tarragon, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 cup – 1/2 cup of smoked gouda, chopped into small cubes (add more cheese as you see fit)
  • 1 teaspoon of black truffle oil, or truffled cheese
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  1. In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, baking powder, chopped herbs and cracked pepper
  2. Grate the butter into the almond flour mixture, until the butter is evenly distributed in the mixture
  3. Stir in the cheese
  4. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, honey and vinegar
  5. Stir the wet mixture into the almond flour until just combined
  6. Divide and shape into scones
  7. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. You should have about 6 to 8 good sized scones
  8. Bake at 335F for 25 minutes, or until golden brown
  9. Store left overs in the refrigerator, and bake for a few minutes to reheat and re-crisp when desired.

Enjoy!!!

Gingery Grilled Avocado and Steak Salad

I’m sure you guys have gathered that I LOVE steak, avocado, and ginger… so naturally I put them all together in this salad for lunch. With ice cold tea, this was the perfect springy lunch.¬†I splurged and bought an organic, grass fed Australian steak.

  • 8 ounces of good steak
  • 1 avocado
  • 3 slices of ginger
  • 1 bunch of arugula (or other lettuce)
  • ¬†1 bunch of sugar snap peas
  • Salad dressing of your choice
  1. Sprinkle steak with good salt and grill. I like mine rare, so I grilled accordingly.
  2. Once your steak has been grilled, let it rest
  3. While the steak is resting, brush the avocado and ginger with a little olive oil. Grill for just a few minutes
  4. Arrange the salad in your favorite bowl and sprinkle with your favorite salad dressing.

*The grilled ginger is rather bitter, but tossed with the salad it imparts a light gingery flavor.

ūüôā Enjoy!

 

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Steak Salad with Mint and Shaved Goat Cheese

After months of putting off using the bike my sister gifted me, I finally got it out and took it for a good, long ride. Turns out, biking is super fun. I did 9 miles in 40 minutes and felt great. My knees definitely appreciated the break.

Anyway, after working out I bought a mini salad spinner and whipped up some salad. I thought I’d share what I made.

Steak Salad with Mint and Shaved Goat Cheese (Kaprise Kitchen original)

  • 3 ounces (or more) of cold steak, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups of arugula
  • 1/2 cup of mint leaves, stems removed
  • 2 small cucumbers, sliced
  • half a dozen shavings from a block of cheese, I chose Midnight Moon goat cheese
  • a drizzle of your favorite dressing
  1. Wash and spin your arugula and mint
  2. Arrange the salad greens in a large bowl with the steak and cucumber
  3. Shave the cheese over the top and drizzle your favorite dressing on top.

Easy Peasy and delicious. The mint definitely adds a unique punch and freshens up the salad.

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Spiced Pea Stew

I don’t really like the idea of pea soup. I find it is always a bit too creamy or sweet or weird. Anyway, it was raining yesterday and I felt like soup. I was going to make chicken-something-something soup with some leftover chicken I had in the freezer, but then I found two bags of sad little peas and immediately changed my mind.

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This soup isn’t pretty… but it sure beats the hell out of those weird pea soup recipes you see. It’s chunky, spicy and just delicious.

Spice Pea Stew (Kaprise Kitchen Original)

  • 3 cups of frozen peas, rinsed under cold water
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 cup of chopped beet greens (you can use spinach, kale, or any other green you would like)
  • 3 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon of spicy pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons of butter (or olive oil)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of cracked black pepper
  1. In a heavy bottomed pan, melt butter over medium heat
  2. Saute onions until soft and translucent
  3. Add beet greens and continue to saute over medium heat until soft
  4. Add in celery and peas
  5. Smoosh (hehe… smush? squish?) the peas with the back of a ladle. I squish about 1/2 so that there is texture to my stew (Alternatively, you could blend 1/2 of the mixture with an immersion blender or other device for a smoother texture).
  6. Add all of the spices (you may want to add in increments so that you can adjust accordingly). Taste, and adjust the seasonings as needed.
  7. Just cover the vegetables in filtered water, cover and bring to a boil
  8. Lower the temperature and simmer for 20 minutes
  9. Serve and enjoy!

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Cheesecake Nanaimo Bars

I first read about nanaimo bars on Closet Cooking’s website a few years back… They looked great, but I didn’t think about them again until recently. I’m not sure where I stumbled across another picture of these bars, but then I was obsessed with the idea of making them. I read a bunch of recipes before settling on Seven Spoons and Closet Cooking for my models.

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Instead of making them in a 9×9 pan, I made mine in a cupcake pan so I wouldn’t have to worry about cutting the bars. I also tweaked the recipes just a little bit to accomodate the ingredients I had on hand and I scaled back the sugar since I like my cheesecake a bit tart.

I’m a huge fan of cheesecake, so next time I would double the cheesecake and 1/2 the chocolate cookie crust. However, these little bites were truly delicious and I’m glad I made them!! (Even if I feel mildly ill from eating 3 of them in a row).

Cheesecake Nanaimo Bars (adapted from Seven Spoons and Closet Cooking)

Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups of sugar cookies, blitzed through a food processor (or smashed in a plastic bag with a rolling pin)
  • 1/4 cup of chocolate cocoa
  • 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup of shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup of almonds, blitzed through a food processor
  • 8 tablespoons of melted unsalted butter
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F
  2. Mix the dry ingredients together, then drizzle the butter into the bowl until the ingredients come together
  3. Press into the bottoms of cupcake liners. I used these adorable monkey ones from Reynolds. (Also… I have quite a bit extra cookie mixture leftover, so don’t be concerned if you also have left over)
  4. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until just browned.
  5. While the cookie cups bake, start on the cheesecake filling

Cheesecake filling:

  • 8 ounces of cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  1. Whip the cream cheese with sugar until smooth
  2. Add the egg and vanilla extract and continue whipping until smooth
  3. Once the cookie cups have finished cookie, top each with about two tablespoons of cheesecake batter each
  4. Tap on a flat surface to evenly distribute the batter in the cups
  5. Bake for another 10 minutes, or until the cheesecake has set.

Chocolate ganache topping

  • 7 ounces of dark chocolate
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  1. As the cheesecake and cookie layers cool, make the ganache topping
  2. In a double boiler (or a mixing bowl over boiling water), heat the chocolate and heavy cream. Once the chocolate has melted, whisk the mixture until smooth and glossy.
  3. Put 1 to 2 tablespoons of ganache on top of each cheesecake/cookie cup, smooth the tops with a knife.

Put the whole pan in the fridge and let it set. These should keep for up to a week in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.

Enjoy!!!

I used these Guittard chips for my chocolate ganache and I am impressed. They were deliciously dark and not overly sweet. Definitely a re-buy!

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