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
In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, baking powder, chopped herbs and cracked pepper
Grate the butter into the almond flour mixture, until the butter is evenly distributed in the mixture
Stir in the cheese
In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, honey and vinegar
Stir the wet mixture into the almond flour until just combined
Divide and shape into scones
Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. You should have about 6 to 8 good sized scones
Bake at 335F for 25 minutes, or until golden brown
Store left overs in the refrigerator, and bake for a few minutes to reheat and re-crisp when desired.
This morning, I woke up, ran through my chores at the speed of light before bolting out the door. I have been getting a little stir crazy, so I went to the mall and tried on a number of fun little outfits. I love shopping, and today I had a blast trying on some really fun little summer outfits. I decided after trying on a candy-colored striped dress that it was time for guacamole and some summer barbecue. Nothing says “summer” like a pile of perfectly caramelized ribs and a whole bunch of zesty guacamole and chips.
So I went to the store… they were having a sale on avocados. 10 for $10!!! So I gathered 10… that is I think I gathered 10! Because when I got home I realized I miscounted and had 11… I think I “stole” and avocado!
Anyway… Today I tried a different method of cooking my ribs. I alternate between the dry rub I wrote about HERE and wet barbecue sauce where I cut up the racks into segments. Anyway… the point is today, the ribs came out absolutely tender and succulent with just the right amount of crisped fat and bubbly barbecue sauce so I thought I would share! The method is easy peasy, but remember to crack a window or run a fan because the heat from the oven definitely makes the kitchen quite warm!
Easy Peasy Oven Baked Pork Ribs
Baby Back Pork Ribs
2 tablespoons of salt
1 tablespoon of cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon of paprika
1 teaspoon of chili powder
Barbecue sauce (any variety!)
Preheat the oven to 400F
Rinse and pat the ribs dry
Mix together the salt, pepper, paprika, and chili together.
Sprinkle on both sides of the ribs
Lay ribs on rimmed baking sheets, meat side down.
Cover the entire sheet tightly with foil
Bake ribs in foil wrapped baking sheets for 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until ribs are tender
Return ribs, meat side up, to pans
Brush with barbecue sauce and bake at 375F for 30 minutes, until bubbly and delicious
I didn’t take pictures, because I’m a bum these days… but there is a picture of the finished ribs on my instagram… so check that out HERE
When I was a kid, my summers were filled with books and lots of time running in the sun dappled yard. My mother would us strap us into our trusty red Volvo, and drive us to the library with the windows down. We’d sneakily stick our hands out the window to feel the wind push our hands back. My sisters and I would quiet the minute we go to the library, solemnly picking out our books and propping ourselves on the stacks to read the interesting ones right away. And after the air-conditioning had sufficiently seeped into our bones, we would pile back into the car with our stacks of books. We would spend the rest of the afternoons with our piles of books in the yard reading. I remember sitting on blankets on the deck reading books until the sun set. The soft breeze rippling through the grass and the shade on the deck lulling me into the books.
Well, other than wishing that these huge tomes of law books were nearly so fun to read and that I was still in my backyard plastered to my books like I was as a kid… I remember reading a story that talked about cheese straws. It sounded so glamorous and delicious. The main character was in London, and her friends were visiting and she scraped together these cheese straws with “just a bit of butter, cheese, flour, and water.” I wanted to feel as glamorous in my chic apartment munching on cheese straws… so I obviously tried my hand at it. My mother’s the forgiving sort that let us experiment with all of the kitchen supplies, and would patiently watch while we insisted we knew what we were doing. After mushing together an extraordinarily expensive chunk of cheese with some flour, water, and butter… I baked my little straws. They were actually just awful. I was just a kid, but the cheese straws I imagine in my head were light and crunchy and melted on your tongue. The ones that I had made were heavy blocks of floury cheese.
Needless to say, I never looked at another recipe for cheese straws again. I just wasn’t interested in baking blocks of disappointment. But, then two years ago when I started law school, I was actually living alone in my chic little apartment with my equally chic little puppy. I felt that it was time to try my hand at cheese straws again. I followed the recipe on smittenkitchen, which was delicious, but the dough was just a bit too substantial for me. I wanted little straws that were meltingly lovely and that were equally pretty. So, I tweaked. Just a bit. And discovered that a combination of cheddar and the best Parmesan (that my teensy grocery carries) made all of the difference. A generous sprinkle of crushed red pepper made them just spicy enough, and of course, all food must be pretty… so I used the teensiest fluted cutter I have.
Cheese Circles (Adapted from smittenkitchen, who references Lee Bros. Southern Cooking)
1 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese, grated finely
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, grated finely
4 tablespoons of good butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup of flour
1/2 teaspoon of flaky sea salt
3/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes, I whizzed mine through a food processor to get smaller flakes
1 to 2 tablespoons of heavy cream
In a large bowl, mix together the cheeses, butter, flour, salt, and pepper. Work the mixture together until the dough is crumbly and well incorporated.
Slowly drip the cream into the bowl, stirring until the dough comes together into a cohesive ball.
On a lightly floured table (or counter) roll the dough out to about 1/4 inch. Cut with a 1/2 inch cookie cutter. Or whatever size you desire.
Bake at 350 degrees Farhenheit for 10-15 minutes. The circles should be golden and have poufed up a bit.
Note: In one of my runs, I sprinkled a little Parm over the tops of the circles and that was delicious also… but I prefer mine without.
This morning, I had planned on running at 7:00am and then getting to the library just as it was opening. My plans were shot when I woke up this morning to thunderclaps and my poor little munchkin huddled on the covers shuddering. The poor thing is terrified of thunder and shakes like a little leaf. So I slept in and went for my run at noon when the thunder had passed and my munchkin was no longer trembling.
I normally don’t run when it’s rainy outside or water is on the ground because I don’t want to fall. I’ve broken and sprained more than my fair share of bones and joints, and I know the waiting for everything to knit back up will drive me insane. Everyone wants me to run, because I get crazy without it! Anyway, this was my first training run since April 3 (when I ran the Cherry Blossom 10mi), and as I was hitting mile 6, the rain started again. It was glorious. I used to love running in the rain, because everything seems to wash away and the world just seems cleaner. I loved the smell of the cold rain hitting the hot pavement and the precipitation-disliking people scuttling inside. My run was like that today… no one else except me and my feet.
I felt so good, I registered for another half marathon in 21 days! Because I can use the extra race and motivation to get prepared. I’m running my first WHOLE 26.2 miles in July, and the mileage scares me just a bit. I need every minute I can get to get ready. I just want to finish it, but I also want to have a solid time too!
Anyway, since it is finals, I haven’t really been eating anything but the quickest cheese and black bean wraps. I’m craving good vegetables, so on a study break day, I’ll run over to a good grocery and load up. I read a while back that chickpeas are good for you, so I made falafel. Because, no matter what it is… it always tastes better crispy!!
Crispy Falafel (Kaprise Kitchen Style)
15 oz of chickpeas, drained (or reconstituted chickpeas, about a cup and a half) and then crushed
1 onion, minced finely
2 carrots, minced finely
2 cloves of garlic, minced finely
3 tablespoons of fresh basil, chiffonade
1/2 lemon, juiced
2-3 tablespoons of flour
1/4 cup of oil
In a large bowl, crush chickpeas with a fork. I like mine just a bit chunky, so I don’t go crazy. If you like a smoother texture, feel free to use a food processor.
Stir in onion, carrots, garlic, basil and lemon juice.
Stir in egg, and depending on the texture of the mixture, add 2-3 tablespoons of flour.
The batter should resemble a loose cookie dough – firm enough to be shaped into patties, but loose enough to flatten in a pan.
In a pan, heat the oil.
Form the dough into 2 tablespoon patties. Fry gently, about 4-5 minutes per side until firm.
Serve over greens with a bit of tahini.
Note: I think the next time I make this, I’ll add more vegetables. Maybe a bit of kale or spinach to pack more nutrient rich vegetables into the patties. 🙂
I remember I loved those Chinese takeout noodles that were just sticky with peanut butter. There was something just so good about those noodles…
Since becoming a pseudo adult (I mean really, I just feel like adult sounds so… blah! and I’m not blah!), I’ve been cooking more and more. Plus, now I have healthy neurosis about germs and dirty hands, and then my weird love affair with bleaching things… but besides the point. And, I live in Baltimore. KFC and McDonald’s takes 20 minutes, and it’s already made!! So I cook for myself. A lot of people say that cooking for one is sad… is it? I would rather make my food the way I want it and not have to consider anyone else. (I had a boyfriend who used to liberally salt and pepper anything I made before even taking a single bite… and that pissed me off.)
This recipe is just enough for one serving of noodles, with just a bit of sauce to spare for dipping veggies in or to refrigerate until the next time you need some quick noodles. These noodles take me 20 minutes from when I put the water up to when I’m done eating. Super quick!
Peanut Sesame Noodles (liberally adapted from New York Times, April 2007)
1 serving of noodles (I normally use buckwheat soba noodles, but angel hair, egg noodles, or whatever fits your fancy would be fine too)
1 tablespoon of sesame oil
1 1/2 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of rice vinegar (I have used white vinegar and it tastes just fine)
1 tablespoon of sesame paste (I used tahini)
1 tablespoon of chunky peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon of chopped garlic
1 pinch of sugar
1 pinch of ginger (if you have fresh ginger, just a quick swipe on a microplane should do it)
1 teaspoon of chili paste (I have the Korea kind – go-chu-jjang. But you can omit this, or substitute red pepper flakes for the spice)
Sliced vegetables and a bit of salad (I use cucumber, tomato and a bit of arugula)
Boil a pot of water and add the noodles. In the mean time – make the sauce
In a small, microwave-proof bowl stir all of the ingredients (minus the veggies) together.
Microwave for 30 seconds and stir until smooth
Once the noodles are cooked – drain immediately and toss with 3 tablespoons of the sauce (or you get the amount of sauce you want on the noodles).
Add veggies and eat!
(Note: These noodles do not taste good cold, so you are best making just enough for your meal. Save the sauce in the fridge for next time, just microwave for 30 seconds before tossing with the fresh noodles)
When I was a kid, my mother kept a garden. We grew cherry tomatoes, green beans, zucchini, and a bunch of other vegetables. And even though I was a picky kid, I would run out the door and stand amongst all of the plants and pick the vegetables off the stems to my hearts content. (I’ve always had a thing for picking vegetables and fruit… I like it!). I would eat the cherry tomatoes by the handful, smelling their wonderful green smell. I loved the green beans raw, and would often eat them all before I even got to the kitchen. The zucchini was something I couldn’t just munch on standing in the garden, but I loved it all the same. My mother would slice the zucchini into thin strips and fry them ever so lightly so that you could have these amazing and crunchy fritters. She made zucchini bread and this amazing Korean side dish (I have to ask her about that…), and all sorts of things with zucchini.
Anyway, in a fit of nostalgia, I made these zucchini fritters with a friend and devoured them for dinner. I serve them with just a bit of soy sauce and vinegar. A small caveat – these are not nearly as delicious as the ones my mother made for me as a kid… I just don’t know what she did to make them so yummy!
Zucchini Fritters (Kaprise Kitchen style… Mom – I need you to teach me how to make them like yours!)
2 medium sized zucchini, julienne
1 medium sized yellow onion, sliced thinly
2 eggs, beaten lightly
1/2 cup of sifted flour
1/2 cup of corn (thawed, if you use frozen like me)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of pepper
In a large bowl, mix the egg and flour until a batter forms.
Toss the remaining ingredients in the batter until lightly coated. (Or, you can just do what I did, and stir it all together)
In a skillet, heat about 1/4 cup of canola oil until it shimmers (I promise, once I get one of those thermometers I’ll give you more accurate temperatures!)
Drop tablespoons of batter into the oil and fry for 3-4 minutes per side, until the center of the patties are cooked through.
I squish mine down just a bit so they are more like pancakes, and obviously fry them just a teensie bit longer so they are crunchy!
Has anyone been to Lebanese Taverna? It’s my grandmother’s favorite restaurant because of the cute puffy little pitas that are served. The pitas are white, soft little pillows of bread that are served piping hot. She loves these pitas.
(^Whole wheat dough)
A few days ago, I was making pizza, when I just tossed the leftover dough into the oven, and it ballooned into a little pita. It was delicious! So I tried it again, and then again with whole wheat flour. And then again with some honey. I ate these little pitas with cheese and some avocado…. but then I wanted more! So I made more. The water added to the dough fluctuates depending on the type of whole wheat flour you use. Keep in mind that whole wheat dough requires just a bit more water than regular dough to keep the bread soft.
(^ Whoops! A plain dough picture… hehe)
Whole Wheat Pitas (Kaprise Kitchen, adapted from a cookbook, which I don’t remember the name of (and I’ll promise to update, but inevitably forget))
1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups of bread flour
1 teaspoon of salt
1 1/2 teaspoon of active dry yeast
1 cup of warm water
3 tablespoons of honey
1 tablespoon of olive oil
In a mixing bowl, sprinkle yeast over the warm water. Allow the yeast to soften and bloom for about 10 minutes
Sprinkle the whole wheat and bread flour over the water. Sprinkle the salt over the flour (salt can kill yeast, but I find that this method works best.
Drizzle the honey over the flours and salt and begin to incorporate all of the ingredients into a shaggy ball
Using your hands (washed first!!), knead the dough to combine all of the ingredients. Add another tablespoon of warm water if the dough is stiff and hard to work with.
The dough should be supple and warm to touch. It should be just a bit more moist than regular bread dough.
Add the olive oil to a clean bowl and roll the dough in the oil to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a dish towel.
Allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 3 hours, or until doubled.
Once the dough has doubled, knead the dough for 10 minutes to redistribute the yeast.
Allow the dough to rise again, this time in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, but overnight is best.
Allow the dough to come to room temperature before kneading and dividing into 16 equally sized balls
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit
Roll the dough into ovals, about 1/2 inch thick.
Sprinkle cornmeal on a baking sheet before placing the dough on the sheet (this helps prevent sticking)
Bake the pitas for 8 to 12 minutes, until puffy and golden.
(The next two pictures are plain dough pitas)
(I forgot to take pictures when I rolled the whole wheat ones out)
It just started getting cold in Baltimore this week, which coincides with the busiest time of the year for all law students. Well…. maybe not busiest, but absolutely the most stressful. And for a procrastination guru like myself, I find myself in the clutches of mini depression and annoyance because I am so drastically and embarrassingly behind. And of course, the only place I would ever admit this is here, because in law school it really is just all about hanging on.
Yesterday, after spending the entire day fooling around and then sleeping through class (how do you manage to spend 12 hours sitting around, and then manage to SLEEP in class?! How could you possibly be tired from doing nothing?? Well… it’s possible). So I ran to the grocery store for some much needed solace and then hurried back to my kitchen for some much needed therapy. Mind you, I was cooking 1 handed, at times with two but very gingerly. I made the fatal mistake of grating chocolate on my very new and very sharp microplane while drinking some delicious port (perhaps the bottle… but I can’t tell you that), so I am missing a grated portion of my thumb.
I have been looking at recipes for baked pastas and salads that keep well in attempt to study more and spend less time to my elbows in chopped veggies and bowls of flour. I couldn’t find anything that I really liked, so I picked two vegetables that I liked and then went from there.
The focus of this salad is really the wonderfully tender and beautiful butternut squash. I found an adorable and slightly smaller squash so I cubed and used the whole thing. I also found some fluffy curly leafed kale that I immediately paired with the squash.
I didn’t season the bulgar wheat at all, instead figuring if this giant bowl of food was supposed to last a week, then I would want different seasonings each day. I think the best thing to do is pick a different protein each day to toss with the salad and eat. I had mine with a little Italian dressing yesterday and some oil/vinegar this morning. Both were delicious. I’m planning on using this salad as the bed for my roasted chicken legs tonight.
Butternut Squash Bulgar Wheat Salad
(remember this is supposed to last all week, so the recipe is large. Feel free to halve or quarter as necessary)
2 cups of uncooked bulgar wheat (you might consider quinoa or barley or any other whole grain)
1 small butternut squash
1 bunch of kale (or any other sturdy and hearty green)
2 celery sticks, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 jar of olives (I used little green ones, but I think black or any other variety would work just fine)
1 small bunch of fresh chives or green onion (red onion works too), chopped finely
juice of 1/2 lemon
handful of chopped figs
1 cup of toasted and chopped walnuts
salt, pepper, and olive oil as needed
Cook the bulgar according to package directions (I would suggest under-cooking by just a bit because the texture and crunch of al-dente bulgar adds more dimension to the salad). Drain and cool
Bring a salted pot of water to boil
Roughly chop the kale (use more than you think necessary since this boils down quickly)
Peel and cube your butternut squash (you can buy this pre-sliced in my grocery but I like chopping so I did it myself)
Plunge the kale into the boiling water and cover for about 3 to 4 minutes. I left most of the steams in the kale, so I boiled a little longer to soften the ribs of the kale. If you prefer crunchier kale, feel free to blanch.
Remove and drain the kale – when the kale is cooled, you will need to squeeze the moisture out of the leaves. I realize this removes a lot of the nutrition, but the salad needs to be as dry as possible.
Bring the water back to a boil and plunge the squash into the water. Cover and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes depending on the size of your cubes. You want your squash to be soft but maintain the cube shape.
Drain and cool the squash.
While your bulgar, kale, and squash are cooling – chop and prepare the other ingredients.
In a very large bowl, toss of the ingredients with a teaspoon of olive oil. Mix well.