All posts by AmandaE

On Without End

S’mores Cookies

smores_cookies

Welcome to a special edition of the Secret Recipe Club featuring Cookies!  All of today’s posts are centered on that class dessert – so if you check out every post you will have over 40 new recipes.  I was so excited to sign up for this challenge, and went to check out my assigned blog as soon as I got the email.  I have been checking out Amy’s Cooking Adventure for a bit of time now, so seeing her name in the email resulted in a rather embarrassing squeal of delight as I knew her blog was stuffed with delicious treats.  There are so many insanely good options on Amy’s blog, and picking one recipe was not an easy task.  Seven cookie recipes made my short list, and looking at back at my full list I must have been on a seasonal kick as almost every one of them features a common seasonal “ingredient”.  Ranging from two chocolate peppermint cookies, to pumpkin latte (!!!) to two s’mores variations – which is what I went with in the end.  Reading her post about the outdoor fire place made me very thankful for our fire pit, and it’s because of our fire pit that we still had many of the ingredients required for this post.   I did have to make a few changes to her recipe as I couldn’t find kosher mini-marshmallows which I know have to exist somewhere outside of the internet.  So I filled a cup with hot water and used my kitchen shears to trim the full size ones in to quarters – dipping the shears in the hot water as needed.

On Without End

Serves: Yields 32 cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 cups mini-marshmallows
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbles (6 sheets)
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose floor
  • 1 cup crushed Hershey Bars (or milk chocolate chip)

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to broil and place a single layer of mini-marshmallows on a cookie sheet and broil for 2 minutes or until the tops of golden. Set aside
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together for 10 minutes, then add in the vanilla extract, salt, and egg - mix well.
  3. IN a small bowl mix together the graham crack crumbs, flour, and baking soda. Quickly mix in to the wet ingredients and mix until just blended. Cover and place in the fridge for an hour.
  4. After an hour, preheat oven to 375 and stir the chocolate chips in to the dough.
  5. Form a walnut sized ball of dough, and then press a mini-marshmallow in to the middle - wrapping dough around the marshmallow before placing on a cookie sheet lines with parchment.
  6. Bake for 9 minutes, then allow cookies to cool on sheet for 2 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/12/on-without-end.html

So with this post SRC is finished for 2014!  I’ll be back in January posting an “orphan” blog with Group D and starting in February I’ll be posting with my regular group A.  This has been another fantastic year filled with tons of incredible recipes, and I’m thrilled that it ended on such a sweet note.

Careful Making

Quinoa with Beets, Beans, and Berries

beets_with_quinoa

I still can’t believe this year is almost over – and that /52weeksofcooking is almost done (again).  It’s been a fun adventure with new ingredients and techniques and cuisines, which is why I can’t wait to see what themes are picked for next year.   I’m also a little behind, so today’s dish is actually from week 49 where dried fruit were the theme.  I debated going with something sweet, oatmeal raisin cookies or similar, but after seeing some fantastic looking beets at the market I decided to go with something savory.  After all, there is more than enough junk food this time of year!  The beets I picked up still had the greens attached, however I know that’s not always the case so feel free to switch out for some swiss chard or collards.

Quinoa with Beets, Beans, and Berries

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 large beets, diced
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup tri-color (or red) quinoa, pre-rinsed
  • 2 1/4 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups cannellini beans, presoaked
  • 2 cups beet greens, torn
  • 1/2 cup cranberries

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add the red onion and garlic and cook for 7 minutes before adding the diced beets. Continue cooking for 10 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.
  2. Add the herbs and pepper, and stir well before adding the quinoa - continue to stir until quinoa is coated in the oil (about 1 minute). Add the vegetable stock and bring to a quick boil.
  3. Allow to boil for 2 minutes, add the beans, then cover and turn heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes then start adding the greens a 1/2 cup at a time. Once they have wilted, add the next portion, stirring as needed.
  4. Once all the greens have been added cook for a final 5 minutes. Mix in the cranberries, then Serve and Enjoy!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/12/careful-making.html

This dish is one where layering the ingredients really comes off – and keeps the leaves from turning bright pink.  I enjoyed this dish “naked” while Joe topped his with some grated Parmesan cheese, soy crumbles would also work for those wanting to add more salt to the dish.  I’m more of a bitter person, which is why I loved how the tart of the cranberries went against the natural sweet of the beets.

Treats you Kind

Pumpkin Streusel Muffin

pumpkin_streusel_muffin

The other weekend I hosted a few friends for a boozy brunch – followed by a Hunger Games Marathon.  I needed something that was quick and easy, just in case the boozy part started before the brunch part.  So I checked out a few of my favorite cookbooks in hopes of a spark, and it worked!  While a coffee cake was out of the question, I decided I could easily adapt the recipe to work for over-sized muffin tins – and that they needed a bit of pumpkin.  This is loosely based on the “quick coffee cake” recipe from Joy of Cooking, just without the egg and smaller amounts of milk plus pumpkin and vegan – so might be more accurate to say this is inspired by that recipe but whatever!

Pumpkin Streusel Muffin

Serves: Yields 6 large muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • Streusel Topping:
  • 2 tbsp dairy-free butter (I used earth balance, as had a guest who can't do soy)
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cloves

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Mix together the dry ingredients and set aside. In a large bowl stir the almond milk and pumpkin puree until creamy.
  3. Quickly add the dry ingredients in to the pumpkin mixture and stir until just mixed. Set Aside
  4. Lightly grease 6 large muffin tins, or use muffin liners. Spook the mixture until cups are 2/3 full.
  5. In a small bowl use two knives, or a pastry cutter, to cut together the streusel ingedients. Once mixture resembles bread crumbs, sprinkle on top of the muffin dough.
  6. Bake for 28 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out cleanly.
  7. Remove to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes. Then Serve and Enjoy!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/12/treats-you-kind.html

There were enjoyed with some fake bacon, turkey bacon, buttermilk pancakes, and lots of champagne based fruity drinks.  Most likely will go all out next year when the final movie comes out, and might actually do something “on theme” at that point – but there is something to be said about random carbs and champagne.

If You Lead

Yoka-Soba

yoki_soba

Welcome to the FINAL Secret Recipe Club for 2014!  I can’t believe this year is almost over – it has flown by way faster than I thought possible.  While the year hasn’t been the best at times, I’ve come out of it stronger – or at least more determined than ever to succeed.  Enough about that, time to focus on the recipe!  This month I was assigned the Saturday Evening Pot which is run by a husband wife duo, which is rather awesome.   Their motto is “Faith, Family, Food: Flavors of a Fabulous Life” and fully covers everything they feature on their blog.  There are so many amazing recipes on their blog, some created by Chef John while others are ones sent in from friends all over the globe.  I was immediately drawn to their Okinawa Cooking Class recipe for Yoka Soba – minus the pork of course!  Instead I greatly increased the amount of vegetables already featured in the dish, to include adding in a second type of cabbage.

If You Lead

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 3 shallots, chopped
  • 4 large carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 package soba noodles
  • 1 small green cabbage, chopped
  • 1/2 red cabage, chopped
  • 3 scallions, chopped white and greens
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a wok over medium heat. Add the green pepper and shallots and cook for 5 minutes before adding the carrots. Continue cooking for another 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the soba noodles according to the package. Drain, and rinse with cold water and then set aside.
  3. Once the carrots are tender, add the white part of the scallions along with half of the cabbage. As the cabbage wilts, continue to add to the wok.
  4. Add the noodles along with the soy sauce and stir well. Season to taste with the black pepper then top with the scallion greens and the sesame seeds.
  5. Serve and enjoy!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/12/if-you-lead.html

I also added some sesame seeds for a crunch, but that’s just me – they can easily be left out.  For those craving a meaty version, please check out the original recipe!  I also have a feeling tofu would work great, but still on a low-soy diet as we get ready for next round of fertility treatments.  In theory our transfer will be in a few weeks so will know if it worked sometime around the start of the year.  If it doesn’t work, then we’ll be going for a session every other month for essentially the entire year.  A lot to take in – but hopeful that 2015 will be our year!

In food news, there is a mini-SRC post coming up in two weeks so for those of you looking for something sweet  make sure to come back on the 15th!  The next “real” SRC post will be in early February, which seems so far off now but will be here in just a blink of an eye.


My Heart is

Squash and Beet Risotto 

squash_beet_risotto

Yep – winter is here and I’m already ready for spring.  Temperatures have been unusually cold, dipping in to single digits when wind chill is included which is just way too cold for mid-November.   However this is the perfect time to just stay in the kitchen and experiment with new-to-me ingredients and all sorts of flavor profiles.  Or throw a bunch of random vegetables in to a dish and see what happens – which is what happened here.  I had a bit of delicata squash left, along with two candy-stripped beets, and half a vidalia onion.  So I went for a random grain, in this case arborio rice, and started chopping!

Beet and Squash Risotto

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 vidalia onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 1/2 cups vegetable stock, low sodium
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1 cup delicata squash, peeled and chopped (reserve any seeds)
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 small beets, peeled and sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a 2qt sauce pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 7 minutes, or until the garlic starts to turn golden.
  2. Meanwhile heat the vegetable stock in a small pot over medium heat, ideally should be at a strong simmer but not boiling.
  3. Add the rice to the garlic onion mixture, stir well, and then add the white wine and milk. Allow rice to soak up the milk and wine, stirring to prevent sticking. Once the liquid has been absorbed, add the vegetable stock in 1/2 cup increments, allowing the liquid to be absorbed before adding more. After adding 2 cups, add the chopped squash along with a 1/2 cup of liquid.
  4. In a small saute pan, heat up the remaining olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the fresh herbs and cook for 1 minute before adding the beet slices. Cook for 10 minutes, turning occasionally to prevent them from burning.
  5. The risotto is ready when it no longer absorbs any liquid. Remove from heat and stir for about 3 minutes, then fold in the beet slices. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

When using a diary free milk, make sure to grab plain/unsweetened for this dish.

http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/11/my-heart-is.html

In order to avoid a pink blob, I held off on adding the beets until the last possible moment.  Not only did this ensure they were super crispy, but it also gave the squash an opportunity to shine on its own.  In the future I would most likely going for a strong squash, acorn perhaps, but there is something to be said about the subtle taste of delicata.   I enjoyed my risotto topped with a bit of pepper, while Joe was more traditional and went for the Parmesan cheese.