Tag Archives: Recipe

Death By Chocolate Cupcakes

Happy 2014 everyone!  This year, we’ve decided to hold back on the pretenses and celebrate the new year the proper way.

With death by chocolate cupcakes, obviously.

Death-By-Chocolate-Cupcake

I found and adapted this recipe from another blog and it’s really quite delicious as is.  Now I know I should depend on blogs more often for my baking recipes.   The cake was moist, the filling decadent and never lacking in chocolate flavor.

Overall, it’s a win and I highly recommend it.

The only thing I altered was filling the cupcakes with most of the frosting and leaving only a small amount on top of each cake.  I find this method to give the perfect cake to frosting ratio with each bite.  I also just upped the vanilla a little bit and used dark brown sugar instead of light, but that’s just for a little more oomph in the flavor department.

I bet a dash of espresso powder would be delicious as well, but I wouldn’t recommend that for the kids.  They get crazy enough with just the sugar, no need to add coffee to that equation.  Yikes.

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Death By Chocolate Cupcakes

Recipe Adapted from Blog: Sally’s Baking Addiction

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick or 115g) unsalted butter
  • 2 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate
  • 1/2 cup (64g) unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch processed)
  • 3/4 cup (95g) all-purpose flour (you may use cake flour for a more soft and tender crumb)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50g) dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) buttermilk

Dark Chocolate Frosting

  • 2 and 3/4 cup (330g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 2/3 cup (80g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 6 Tablespoons (90g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 6 Tablespoons (95ml) heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt (to balance sweetness of frosting)
  • 1/3 cup (60g) semi-sweet chocolate chips for decoration, optional

Directions

chocolate cupcakes:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line 12 cup cupcake pan with 12 cupcake liners (Tip: double up the liners to prevent fading of pattern on liners).
  2. Place chocolate and butter into a glass bowl and microwave on high in thirty-second intervals, stirring thoroughly after each.  Note: If you prefer to do this in a double boiler –the old-fashioned way–, you may.  Remove from heat once thoroughly melted and set aside to cool slightly until further notice.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together dry ingredients:  Cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set that aside.
  4. In a large bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla until smooth.
  5. Add cooled butter/chocolate and whisk until smooth.
  6. Add half of the flour mixture, then half of the buttermilk. Repeat until everything is added. Stir until barely combined you do not want to over mix as this will cause a tough cupcake (and while that sounds adorable, it is not).
  7. The batter will be very thick like pudding.
  8. Divide the batter between 12 liners in your cupcake pan.  Bake for 18 minutes, or until the cakes spring back when gently pressed with the back end of a wooden spoon.  Note: I prefer this “press test” to the toothpick test to prevent over-baking, but the toothpick test works if you prefer it.
  9. Allow to cool completely before frosting.  Be patient.  It’s worth it. Promise.

Chocolate Frosting:

  1. Sift together the confectioners’ sugar and cocoa powder to assure there are no lumps. Set aside.
  2. With a handheld of stand mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until fluffy  which should take about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the sifted sugar and cocoa powder alternately with the heavy cream and vanilla in small batches. Beat on low speed after each batch of sugar added to prevent sugar from flying everywhere.
  4. Add more powdered sugar if frosting is too dark (or) add a pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet for your liking; as I did.

Note:  Using a frosting filled pastry bag (or a ziploc bag with the corner snipped), fill the insides of the cupcakes by inserting the tip of the pastry bag half way into cupcake.  Fill until the cake plumps up, which should be about 2 tablespoons of frosting inside.  Then swirl the top of each cake with an additional two tablespoons of frosting as well.  This gives the perfect cake to frosting ratio in every bite.

Posted in Dessert, Entertaining, For Kids | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Wicked Famous Apple Cinnamon Muffins

wicked-famous-apple-muffins-kate-from-scratch

It is the most beloved, the most requested, the most downloaded and the most adored recipe on Kate from Scratch.  This recipe exploded all over the internet when it was first published; shared and linked and highlighted and commented upon regularly for over a year.  I got emails saying how “wicked good” and “totally amazing” and even (dare I repeat it, for fear of sounding like a blogger)  …

“amazeballs” they are.  Yes, seriously.

I just figured it was luck and never gave it much thought after that.    So, after nearly two years of people referring to these as, “you know those really good apple cinnamon muffins with that stuff on top you made that one time?”

I figured I’d make them again.  And as you can tell from that mess of a pan.  I made a LOT of them.

Kate-from-scratch-apple-muffins

Yes, people…

I, the one who never ever makes the same thing twice (seriously never) have followed my own recipe and perfected it upon picking over fifty pounds of apples with the family over the weekend.  If you thought these muffins were “wicked awesome” before… brace yourselves.

You asked for it and you got it.

My “Wicked Famous Apple Muffins” are here once again and now that I sit here and eat one, I get it.  I understand.  They really are pretty good if I do say so myself.

The secret?

famous-apple-streusel-muffins-kate-from-scratch-3

They don’t hold back.

There’s lots of real butter, lots of fresh ripe and crisp New York apples with an entire container of sour cream in the batter to keep the crumb of the muffin moist and tender.  Not to mention tons of honey graham cracker cinnamon sugar streusel on top.

Hey, if you’re going to do something, do it right.

Wicked Famous Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Makes three dozen muffins

Apple Cinnamon Muffins
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups diced, peeled tart fresh and ripe quality apples
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 16-ounce container of sour cream
  • 1 stick of butter at room temperature
Graham Cracker Streusel:
  • 10 sheets of graham crackers (40 individual graham crackers), crushed
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 sticks of butter cut into pea sized pieces
      1. Move oven rack to top third of oven and preheat to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line or generously grease 36 muffin cups
      2. In a large bowl add flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt and whisk to evenly distribute dry ingredients.  Add apples to dry ingredients.  Toss to coat.   Add eggs, sour cream and butter and mix to combine.
      3. In a medium mixing bowl combine all ingredients (you can use your hands for this) for the streusel topping until crumbly.
      4. Using an ice cream scoop or a one quarter cup dry measure, add batter to each prepared pan.  Place one handful of streusel (about two rounded teaspoons) on top of each muffin and press gently to make sure the streusel sticks.  Place pan(s) in preheated oven on top rack and bake until muffin springs back when gently pressed, or for about ten minutes.
      5. Remove pan(s) from oven and place on a wire rack until cool enough to handle.  Remove muffins from pan and enjoy.
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Best Brownies Ever

brownies

Max disappeared into his room for a few minutes and then this happened. Never mind that mess in the background. One more week and they’re in school, this place will be tolerably clean again, but I digress.

kate-from-scratch Then he decided that it was time to “conquer a brownie battle” .  I obliged considering I was dubbed his “sidekick dragon-lady” and I take my character very seriously and also …I like brownies.  It makes sense.

I make cookies and brownies materialize so ubiquitously that I often forget to include them in my recipe arsenal.  I surmise that everyone already knows their favorite brownie recipe, so there’s no sense in inundating you, my clever and knowledgable readers, with unnecessary and trivial things such as brownies.

Right?

But, wait just a minute.  Maybe this assumption I’ve made on your behalf is all kinds of wrong.

Maybe you don’t have a favorite brownie recipe yet.  I didn’t have a favorite brownie recipe until last year!  In fact, I wasted a lot of time and energy on years of crappy disappointing brownie recipes, one just as disastrous as the next.

So, maybe you’re just like me three years ago; kitchen surfaces showing their brownie battle wounds and you, randomly being splattered in chocolate and the only thing to show for it is overly fluffy, grossly gooey or the worst –”I can’t believe I wasted that much good (expletive) chocolate on a wrongly written baking time” brownies.  It’s a thing, yes, wrong baking times are out there and some are even in print.  You’ve been warned.

Maybe you always turn back to box mixes because it’s just easier than the obnoxious recipe that calls for things you never have on hand.  Things like time, patience, Himalayan salt and fifty zillion egg yolks.  The entire point of brownies is that they’re uncomplicated and cut straight to the point with little fuss.  You can slather them in chocolate frosting, drop handfuls of peanut butter chips into the batter before baking, you can add that bowl of candy to the batter that’s sitting around after Halloween or (if you’re fancy) swirl in some goat cheese lightly doused with cinnamon and sugar if that’s your thing.  I kept it simple and added one single Hershey kiss to the center of each brownie this time.

brownies-best-ever

Best Brownies Ever

Hardly Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

  •  3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, plus extra for pan
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt or 1/4 teaspoon table salt (about 2 grams)
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • Optional: 9 Hershey’s Kisses, or 3/4 cup of your favorite add-in (chocolate, butterscotch or peanut butter chips, nuts, chopped candy, cream cheese swirl, etc)
  • Optional: confectioner’s sugar or a drizzle or light coating of frosting

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter an 8×8 inch square glass or metal brownie pan.  Note: As always, if using metal, baking time will be less than when using glass so please be aware of this.
  2. Place strip of fitted parchment inside of greased pan and rub butter over parchment.
  3. Melt chocolate and butter in a heat-proof bowl over a pot filled with two inches of simmering water until only a lump or two remain. Remove bowl from heat and stir until thoroughly melted.
  4. While whisking constantly, add sugar, eggs. vanilla and salt.
  5. Continue to beat until smooth and velvety.
  6. Fold in flour until combined.
  7. Pour batter into prepared baking dish
  8. Place one unwrapped Hershey kiss into the center of each brownie portion (3×3 grid)
  9. Bake in preheated oven for twenty-six to twenty-nine minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out fairly clean.
  10. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack until warm.  Grab parchment at sides and lift out of brownie pan.
  11. Served most deliciously while warm with ice cream.
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Quick and Easy Vegetarian Sub Sandwich


It’s easy, delicious and it doesn’t require heat or dishes; which for a busy and hot summer afternoon, sounds just perfect to me.   Tomato and basil cheddar, a thin slice of swiss, handfuls of crunchy and sweet yellow peppers with arugula and spinach for a little hearty green protein and of course fresh tomatoes on a lightly toasted crusty roll with a tangy avocado spread.

vegetarian-sub-sandwich

 

Vegetarian Sub Sandwich

  • avocado
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • Sandwich rolls
  • cheddar or american cheese, thinly sliced
  • swiss or provolone cheese, thinly sliced
  • tomato, sliced,
  • arugula and/or spinach
  • fresh basil (optional)
  • yellow pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced

In a small bowl, combine 1 avocado, vinegar, lemon juice, and lemon zest.  Mash it together and add salt and pepper to taste.  Toast sandwich roll (optional) and spread avocado mixture thinly onto both sides.  Stack light layers of cheese between tomatoes, greens, basil and yellow peppers.  Enjoy!

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Brunch: Potatoes, Peppers and Perfect Poached Eggs

potatoes peppers and eggs

Apparently my little rant has gotten quite a bit of attention on twitter from the food blog community who generally feels the same way (or has at one point) about things.

I like you too.

potatoes-peppers-poached egg

Thanks for dropping by!

Let’s eat brunch.  You can bring the bacon if you’d like.

This is my version of potatoes peppers and eggs.   Sweet red bell peppers and roasted golden potatoes topped with a perfect poached egg using a fairly fool-proof method (for them to keep their shape).  I use an egg shaped cookie cutter that I have from Easter, but you could use a ring or whatever you have on hand for the bottom of the pot.

It’s simple and one of my favorites.

Enjoy and Have a Happy Memorial Day!

 

Brunch: Potatoes, Peppers and Perfect Poached Eggs

  • 4 potatoes, diced
  • 1  large red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • your favorite (high heat friendly) oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 eggs (as fresh as possible)
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • parsley and chives, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 ° F.
  2. Place potatoes, peppers, and onions into a roasting pan and drizzle with two tablespoons of oil (eyeball it, it’s fine) and lightly dust with salt and pepper.  Toss to coat.  Roast until fork tender, or about thirty to forty minutes. Top the roasted potatoes and peppers with thyme and oregano.

While potatoes and peppers are roasting:

  1. Place a large heavy bottomed saucepan with a well-fitting lid over high heat with about four inches of water in the bottom. Drop a round or oval cookie cutter in the bottom of the pot with the water (a mason jar ring will work just as well) to hold the perfect shape of the egg.  Crack one egg into a small glass bowl or cup.  Bring the water to a full boil and then turn off heat.
  2. Watch carefully now: The second the water stops boiling, roll the egg into the ring  in the water and cover the saucepan.  Wait three minutes for the egg whites to fully cook.  Remove lid and using tongs, gently remove the ring.  Use a slotted spoon to scoop up the egg, gently.  Season with salt and pepper.  Continue the same procedure with other eggs.  Using the same ring you used for the eggs, place on plate.  Scoop roasted potatoes and peppers into the ring, lightly packing them in.  Remove ring and top with a poached egg.  Garnish with parsley and chives, if desired.

Note: I find this to be the easiest way to explain how to poach an egg.  Technically speaking, you’re supposed to poach an egg in very lightly -barely- simmering water.  This temperature, however is often missed and is difficult to maintain resulting in separated egg soupiness.  Bringing the water to a full boil and then allowing it to cool is a means of avoiding egg drop soup.  Hope it helps!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dear Foodgawker: A Rant and Some Easy Rice Pudding.

Note: It’s raining and cold here this Memorial Day weekend but I hear it should be nice by Monday (woohoo!).  Save the grilling for then and try this simple and easy recipe for rice pudding tonight.  It’s the only one I’ve ever used because there’s no sense in messing with perfection, obviously.

The following is just a little rant about some food blogger type things that I know a lot of people can identify with.  Enjoy.

easy-rice-pudding

Dear Foodgawker:

I had a streak of luck awhile back with a slew of acceptances which renewed my self efficacy in terms of blogging and food photography.  I can only surmise that somebody outside of the norm was behind the approval process during that time.  Whomever that person was, actually enjoyed my submissions and they were accepted!  The photos were the same quality they always are (ranging from not bad to pretty decent), and there was definitely nothing special about them.  Then it was over.  Not a single photo has been accepted for a fairly tragic amount of time, and so I am relenting to your food photo snobbery.  As annoying as it might be, you have every right to be kind of a jerk an elitist.  That’s your thing.  It’s cool. You’re Ludo, I’m Nigella. It’s all good.  You like to set the bar so high that not even you can reach it (I’d be interested to see that, honestly).  You like to set standards that only superhuman professionals buy at the store and snap a photo of can dream of.  Neat.  It’s cool but it’s not for me.  I have no clue what you’re looking for and so there’s no sense in continuing.  Trying to figure it out is abysmally pointless, at least for a little while.

Why not?

Well the deal breaker is in the rejection letters.  First of all, I can’t opt out of them. “Don’t call us we’ll call you” would make me despise the process less.  I’d notice a steady flow of traffic from your site if ever my photo was accepted and it would be a pleasant surprise which is better than the bitter cold rejection you always offer.  Second, the emails are automated and have a tone that sounds polite at first, but then just seems robotic and condescending; especially after the sixty third arrives.

“Thanks so much for submitting..Unfortunately…reason: ____ please continue to submit”

I find them completely irritating and unhelpful, honestly (“food/photo styling” is not a helpful directive for future reference, if you care) and generally, these emails are just a huge bummer to the end of a seemingly great day.  The worst is when I bravely submit a whole bunch at once, thinking, “if I get just one accepted, it will vanquish the agony of all the other rejection”.   Wrong! Instead, I get a barrage of  rejection letters and corresponding feelings of inadequacy sent directly to my inbox all at once from some automated terribleness that I like to call  …well, I’ll spare you the profanity, but it sounds like foodgawker and has an extra F.

It’s my way of saying, “that was not nice”.

What happened to the good old days when we as lowly bloggers could submit some terrible casserole (with flash!) and get over 2k hits flooding in from your site within a few short hours?  I’ve heard the tales from those that have been around long before me.  I can scroll back and see it for myself.  Really terrible photos used to pass as “amazing” and even be featured! Was that before you became the cool kid on the block?  Now you’re only “secret friends” with the amateurs?  Well, either way, those days are long gone and I’m finding the process to be not quite worth it, anymore.  Who knows, though, maybe I’ll change my mind and try again (this has happened several times over the years).  And then I will briskly be reminded, via robotic email, to just stop bothering with it. It’s one site that I can’t peg down out of about fifty that either are just as popular, or will be within 2013. Perhaps it’s time to just let it go.

There are at least five other sites that feature my posts (and photos) regularly and you,  dear foodgawker, are just a spiral of self doubt and quite frankly, suckiness (yes, I said suckiness).  It’s not a fun relationship so I’m taking a break.

Yes.  Again.

(Shut up)

Whenever I remember to post on pinterest, bloghertastespottingdailybuzz, babble and the others, my photos are accepted, shared and even occasionally featured!  So, it’s hard not to take it personally.  I know it’s not personal because it’s a cold heartless robot I’m dealing with, but it’s no fun, regardless.  What could I possibly be doing so wrong?  Bah…I suppose that’s the ever alluring mystery, though, isn’t it?  More rejected means more elite and elite = “youfancy” success.

Anyway, I’m having a great week despite your annoying rejection letters being the worst thing ever : Traffic is up and people are sharing.  Tastespotting appears to like me just fine and accepts my photos regularly (I won’t forget to submit anymore). Also, today is national wine and tap dancing day.  That’s fun.  So, yeah…to put it nicely – I’m breaking up with you.

Again.

 

 

Rice Pudding

  • 5 cups organic whole milk
  • 7 ounces short grain rice
  • 2-3 tablespoons vanilla sugar (to taste)
  • garnish: cinnamon and brown sugar (optional)

Place the milk, rice and vanilla sugar in a deep saucepan. Bring to a medium simmer and put on the lid. Cook for half an hour, stirring occasionally, until the rice pudding is thickened. If you accidentally cook it for too long or (for whatever reason) becomes too thick, you can thin it down by adding a little more milk.  Place in dessert bowls and sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon, if desired.

Adapted from : Jamie Oliver’s Recipe

 

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Cocoa Dinosaur Dunkers

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“Mommy, can we please make dinosaur cookies now and not tomorrow?” he asked with a big grin.

Looking at the grey sky and realizing I was out of distractions, I obliged.

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This is Max; our little ball of perpetual exuberance and wonder who turned three a few weeks ago and loves dinosaurs almost as much as he loves chocolate cookies.  He helped mix the dough, roll it out as well as shape the dinosaurs.  But the most fun part was “excavating” the dinosaurs from the powdered sugar; a wildly jovial experience for anyone, obviously.  dinosaur-breakfast-dunker-cookies

 

I dunked them into my coffee this morning, and with irresponsible genius it passed as my breakfast.  They are delicious.  A light cocoa taste, not too sweet and not too heavy.  They’re soft and almost biscuit like as they soak up your extra hot morning coffee or tea; resembling a cocoa version of a Stella D’oro breakfast treat.

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Cocoa Dinosaur Dunkers

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour + more for rolling dough
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven at 350°F. Whisk together dry ingredients: flour, salt and baking powder in bowl and set aside.
  2. Mix with an electric mixer on medium-high speed butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, cocoa and cinnamon.
  3. Add flour mixture in three additions; mixing after each for about ten seconds, or until smooth. Wrap in plastic and chill an hour or more.
  4. Roll out cookie dough on floured counter. Cut into desired shapes, brushing extra deposits of flour off the top, if desired. Bake on a parchment-lined or lightly greased baking sheet for 8 to 11 minutes (the time will vary depending on the thickness of your preferred cookie – I like thicker cookies).
  5. The cookies will puff slightly when they’re done baking.
  6. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.  Dust with confectioner’s sugar or decorate as desired.
Cocoa Dinosaur Dunkers
Recipe Type: Dessert, sweet, cookie
Cuisine: dessert, sweet, cookies,
Ingredients
  • Cocoa Dinosaur Dunkers
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour + more for rolling dough
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven at 350°F. Whisk together dry ingredients: flour, salt and baking powder in bowl and set aside.
  2. Mix with an electric mixer on medium-high speed butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, cocoa and cinnamon.
  3. Add flour mixture in three additions; mixing after each for about ten seconds, or until smooth. Wrap in plastic and chill an hour or more.
  4. Roll out cookie dough on floured counter. Cut into desired shapes, brushing extra deposits of flour off the top, if desired. Bake on a parchment-lined or lightly greased baking sheet for 8 to 11 minutes (the time will vary depending on the thickness of your preferred cookie – I like thicker cookies).
  5. The cookies will puff slightly when they’re done baking.
  6. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Dust with confectioner’s sugar or decorate as desired.

 

Adapted from: Smitten Kitchen

 

 

 

 

Posted in Basics, Breakfast, Dessert, Entertaining, For Kids, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Simplicity: A Classic Grilled Cheese Sandwich



Grilled-Cheese-Sandwich

 

Fresh seasonal vegetables are not devastating by any stretch of the imagination.  However, when standing back and looking at the concept of a grilled cheese sandwich, one must remember that simplicity is what gives the sandwich integrity.  I am personally guilty of forgetting this, which is why I am bringing it to light.  I tend to smother a perfectly good grilled cheese sandwich in dark leafy greens, perhaps some avocado slices, and if tomatoes are in season, then that pure and innocent grilled cheese sandwich gets a lashing of sweet and juicy ripe tomatoes, covered in any type of pepper I have on hand which surely steals the limelight if not its title.  So, to preserve the sanctity of grilled cheese sandwiches everywhere, I believe that less is more and this is my example.

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I have had a great many grilled cheese sandwiches, considering it was one of the first things I learned to cook as a kid and this is my favorite.  Soft and tangy marble rye  toasted to perfection in mildly browned butter with a light coating of melted aged swiss sandwiched between the two toasted bread slices.  It is not overtly gooey or overly smothered and complicated. It is just what a grilled cheese sandwich should be: toasty, tangy, rich, delicious and comforting.  And while I realize that “National Grilled Cheese Month” was last month, I truly believe that this classic beauty is worth the wait.

 

Classic-grilled-cheese

A Simple Grilled Cheese Sandwich

  • 2 slices of marble rye bread
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 -3 slices ultra finely sliced swiss or American cheese

equipment: A heavy bottomed shallow pan that fits two slices of bread fairly snuggly.

Place a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat.  Drop butter into pan and swirl or brush the butter to coat the pan evenly as the butter sizzles.  Drop both pieces of bread onto sizzling melted butter. Top each slice of bread with a piece of cheese.  Cook until butter is browned, bread is golden and cheese is melted which will all happen simultaneously over two minutes.  Combine the two cheesy sides together to create a simple grilled cheese sandwich. Enjoy.

Serve with soup or salad for a complete meal.

 

 

 

EasyRecipe
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Tortilla Soup with Black Beans

The sun is streaming down as the bugs bite and the birds chatter; They say it’s going to be hot today followed by late afternoon thunderstorms.  Are you a fan of thunderstorms?  An afternoon thunderstorm after a hot day instigates both a rush of excitement and simultaneous coziness, so naturally, I am a fan.  Also, thunderstorms are the most perfect forum for snuggled book reading, old movie watching and lovely soup making which I think we can all agree, are magnificent.

Tortilla-soup-with-black-beans

I’m personally looking forward to it:  The dramatic streak of lightning sharply contrasts the blackened sky and excites anticipation of echoed thunder, which rarely disappoints.  It rolls in with a foreboding boom as the kids scream with fearful delight and run wildly in search of  stuffed animals.  The rain pours as they cling lovingly to us, claiming their oh so brave nature only between the cracking thunder.

Granted, I only enjoy the storms that make me jump a bit; not the ones that destroy or devastate, naturally.

This tortilla soup is fast, simple, light, healthy and incidentally gluten-free and vegan too; it is the perfect accompaniment to any afternoon thunderstorm.

tortilla-soup-with-black-beans

 

 

 

Tortilla Soup with Black Beans

Serves 4

Prep and Cook Time: 15 minutes Total

Level: Beginner/Easy

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups diced onion
  • 2 tablespoons minced seeded chili pepper (with a heat level you will love)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted cumin seeds, freshly ground (or roasted ground cumin)
  • 2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) diced tomatoes in juice
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) reduced-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen corn kernels
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 1 cup crushed tortilla chips, plus more for serving (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro (or flat leaf parsley, if preferred)

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Cook garlic, chili, and onion until fragrant and soft, about 4 minutes. Add tomatoes (with juice), beans, broth, corn, and 1 cup water; season with salt and pepper.
  2. Bring soup to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Add scallions and tortilla chips; cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in lime juice, and cilantro (note: use parsley if you don’t like cilantro) season with salt and pepper. Serve soup with lime wedges and, more chips if desired.

 

Adapted from, “Every Day Food” 2009.

 

Tortilla Soup with Black Beans
Recipe Type: Soup, appetizer, lunch, dinner
Cuisine: Mexican, American
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
Fast, easy and affordably delicious. Adapted from, “Every Day Food” 2009.
Ingredients
  • Tortilla Soup with Black Beans
  • Serves 4
  • Prep and Cook Time: 15 minutes Total
  • Level: Beginner/Easy
  • Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups diced onion
  • 2 tablespoons minced seeded chili pepper (with a heat level you will love)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted cumin seeds, freshly ground (or roasted ground cumin)
  • 2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) diced tomatoes in juice
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) reduced-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen corn kernels
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 cup crushed tortilla chips, plus more for serving (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro (or flat leaf parsley, if preferred)
Instructions
  1. Directions
  2. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Cook garlic, chili, and onion until fragrant and soft, about 4 minutes. Add tomatoes (with juice), beans, broth, corn, and 1 cup water; season with salt and pepper.
  3. Bring soup to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Add tortilla chips and scallions; cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in lime juice, and cilantro (note: use parsley if you don’t like cilantro) season with salt and pepper. Serve soup with lime wedges and, more chips if desired.
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Spinach Ricotta Calzone


spinach-ricotta-calzone
Spinach Ricotta Calzone: A crispy tender crust wrapped around pillow-light savory spinach ricotta filling. An adaptable and casual fuss-free weeknight dinner, ready in minutes and made exactly as you like it.

It’s pizza mayhem out here in farm country.

Yeah, I love the fresh vegetables, local everything, beautiful scenery and quaint community farm markets. But seriously, people, the pizza situation is laughably dire compared to just thirty minutes closer to the city.

One of the reasons I started cooking more seriously when we moved out here was because I just wanted decent food made from the simple, quality ingredients that were at my fingertips.  This is a perfect little recipe that I adapted for calzones.  The original recipe used arugula, I used baby spinach, but you could substitute any dark leafy green vegetable.

Its crust is crackled and crisped to golden deliciousness and filled with pillow-light savory ricotta, mozzarella and earthy spinach.  Add a dash of herbs and a hit of seasoning and it’s ready in minutes, making it completely weeknight friendly for a casual, no-fuss dinner or lunch.  It uses quality ingredients, it’s not overcomplicated or overpriced and you can adapt it to your liking.

IMG_0145-3

Spinach Ricotta Calzones

Serves 4.  Active time: 25 minutes.  Total time: 45 minutes

Note: Calzones are highly adaptable; feel free to vamp this one.

Ingredients

  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter, plus 1 tablespoon more for brushing dough
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 5 oz. baby spinach (8 cups packed)
  • 1 cup fresh whole milk ricotta
  • 5 oz. whole-milk mozzarella, coarsely grated
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for dough
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 lb. frozen pizza dough, thawed
  • Special equipment: an oiled 17- by 12-inch heavy baking sheet

 

Directions:  In a large heavy bottomed sauté pan, over moderately low heat, add garlic, olive oil, butter, red pepper flakes, oregano basil and baby spinach.  Cover and cook until wilted, tossing occasionally so you don’t brown the garlic too much (too much brown on garlic makes it -blegh- bitter). Remove from heat to cool.

Preheat oven to 450° F and place rack in lower third of oven.  Divide dough into quarters and roll each out  (thinner is better) on a lightly floured surface. Squeeze the cooled spinach to remove as much water as possible and roughly chop to bite sized pieces.   Combine spinach with all three cheeses and nutmeg.

Taste then season with salt and pepper to taste.   Add egg and stir to combine.   Place dough onto lightly oiled baking sheet and drop one quarter of the filling onto half of each rolled dough.  Fold the unfilled half over the filled half and press to seal.  Brush dough with melted butter or olive oil and sprinkle lightly with Parmigiano cut two or three slits in the top of the dough to vent (I find kitchen scissors or a very sharp paring knife works best for this).  Repeat with remaining dough and filling.   Bake calzones until golden and puffed, which should take about 12-15 minutes.

Cool slightly before serving or slicing.

 

Adapted from Gourmet, 2006.

 

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