Spanish Lentil Soup

When Little was born one of the pieces of advice about taking care of my new mama self was to eat nourishing food. And more specifically it was to eat food I personally found nourishing. To trust my body to crave what I needed and then to eat that.

In my mind nourishing food was things like casseroles and stew and this soup.

Spanish Lentil Soup

Funny thing is as a kid growing up in Spain I hated this soup. Hated it. I think it was the in thing to do amongst kids my age. I was just trying to fit in probably. Now the much older version of me loves this comfort food. The flavor is so familiar and the way it looks in the bowl is nostalgic.

This is a staple I think in almost every Spanish home. Much like tortilla it is simple every day food. The ingredients cook up fast and you can go from start to finish in just over a half an hour if you work quickly.

Spanish Lentil Soup

And the house smells so so so good. Like I said these are all comfort smells and flavors for me- the paprika in the chorizo especially.

My toddler true to form refused to eat it. He was trying to stick with the cool kids too and hate on this deliciousness. That is until I made him his own dinner and sat down with my bowlful of lentils. Then he promptly refused his dinner and demanded to eat mine. That was a win I guess? Kinda? I’ll take it. At least he tried it.

Spanish Lentil soup

We ate it for days. Delicious nourishing food.

Spanish Lentil Soup

One year ago today: Roasted Banana Ice Cream with Hard Chocolate Topping and Tiramisu Ice Cream Cake

Spanish Lentil Soup (serves at least 8)
Learned from watching many spaniards make it

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion diced
1 lb ground chorizo sausage or 1 dried spanish chorizo chopped (I recommend Palacios but at $11 for 12 oz I compromised for cheaper ground chorizo)
2-3 russet potatoes peeled and diced
3 carrots peeled and chopped
1 1/2 cup brown or green lentils
Water
Salt to taste

In a large soup pot over medium hit heat sauté the onions in the olive oil till they just start to soften. Add the chorizo. If using ground cook it all the way through breaking up as you go. If using dried cook for 3-4 minutes till it starts to release its oils and smell delicious. Add the potatoes and carrots and sauté for a minute. Cover with water then add the lentils and stir. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer for 20 minutes or until the lentils, potatoes, and carrots are all soft. Enjoy with big slices of crusty bread.

Spanish Lentil Soup

Warm Lentil and Potato Salad

Dishes like this make me feel smug.

Every so slightly posh. Just a tad on the complicated side (not really but it does use two pots AND a bowl). Incidentally vegan. Chocked full of good for you stuff.

The day I saw it I couldn’t wait to make it.

Warm Lentil and Potato Salad

Except it got bumped on our weekly menu I don’t know how many times. I had all these ingredients on hand for at least ten days before I finally forced myself to make.

Why on earth did I have to force myself to make something I was initially so excited about? Who knows. I am just as baffled as you are. Maybe it was all the dishes I knew it would dirty.

And yes in case you are putting two and two together I had ALL the ingredients on hand for ten days. Including the parsley. Did you know if you wrap things like parsley and cilantro in a paper towel and stash in a zip lock bag in the fridge they might last up to two weeks? A serious life saver for the “I really want to make this no wait I don’t” person that sometimes takes up residence in my house.

Warm Lentil and Potato Salad

It also means I now just keep cilantro on hand since it can hang out in the fridge for some time before taking a trip to funky town. Seriously. Try it. Fresh cilantro on hand at all times is a win.

And I guess parsley too because when I made this Nathan paused from shoveling long enough to request this once a week. Delicious lentils meet buttery potatoes in an ever so slightly tangy dressing.

It made for a perfect light dinner. I can see this gracing the table at a fancy summer picnic too.

And probably our dinner table again in the very new future.

Warm Lentil and Potato Salad

One year ago today: Artisan Bread

Warm Lentil and Potato Salad (serves 4 as mains)
From Smitten Kitchen

1/2 onion
4 sprigs of thyme
1 small bay leaf
1 cup dry small green lentils
1 small bay leaf
Salt and pepper
1 pound yukon gold potatoes diced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 large shallot finely diced
1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced or smashed to a paste (I use less)
1 tablespoon smooth Dijon mustard
1/4 cup of your favorite olive oil
2 tablespoons capers roughly chopped
1 to 2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley

Cook the lentils: Pick over and rinse lentils. Place them in a medium saucepan with the the 1/2 onion, thyme branches, bay leaf, some salt and 4 cups of water. Simmer the lentils over medium heat for 25 to 30 minutes, until firm-tender. Drain (discarding shallot, thyme and bay leaf) and keep warm.

Cook the potatoes: In a separate saucepan, cover potatoes with 1 to 2 inches cold water. Set timer for 15 minutes, then bring potatoes to a simmer. When the timer rings, check for doneness with a fork. Cook longer if needed. Drain and keep warm.

Make the dressing: Place the chopped shallot and red wine vinegar in the bottom of a small bowl and let sit for 5 minutes. Whisk in minced garlic, dijon, a pinch of salt, a few grinds of black pepper and olive oil. Stir in chopped capers and scallions.

Assemble salad: Place the potatoes, lentils, dressing and all but 1 tablespoon parsley in a large bowl and combine gently. Adjust seasoning with additional salt and pepper if needed. Scatter salad with remaining parsley.

Warm Lentil and Potato Salad

Spaghetti Squash and Kale Gratin

Spaghetti squash and I have not been on the best of terms. Mostly I want to to like it. Mostly it disappoints me. Alot. Like the bad boyfriend you just KNOW is going to change but no… nope… same story.

I was bemoaning this to my brother in law as I was roasting the squash for this recipe and he agreed. In fact unprompted he mentioned that for him it seems like you can never get it quite cooked enough and is crunchy. E.X.A.C.T.L.Y. my issue. Does this happen to anyone else?

However, kale. Kale let me count the ways I love you. I love it in my juice, in a pot pie, sauteed with simply with olive oil and garlic then piled high with homemade mac and cheese. Kale was our bumper crop this past year in our garden. In fact it is still growing. After a week of snow and countless frosts the hardly buggers are still hanging on. Yum.

Spaghetti Squash and Kale Gratin

So why did I tackle a new recipe with spaghetti squash when I don’t like it? I was given two huge spaghetti squash and I hate wasting food. When I stumbled on this recipe I though it might, just might, be ok.

It is more than ok. It is lets make this twice in one week good. It is a we fought over leftovers good. Sure you could serve this as a side dish to chicken or steak but it also makes a lovely stand alone vegetarian dinner.

The other winning fact is this recipe is so forgiving. The second time I made it I eyeballed everything. I just threw things in bowls, sautéed estimations in a pan, and threw it in these cute individual dishes. It tasted just as good as the first time when I payed more attention to measurements.

Bravely I made this into two 8×8 pans and gave one to a mama friend of mine who recently started a new job. I hate gifting recipes I haven’t tested but thankfully they enjoyed it as much as we did.

Cooking the squash twice (one roasted in the shell and again in the pan) helps it not be as crunch. It actually tastes done. And the kale. The kale makes up for everything.

I will be making this again soon. My son wont eat it but my husband and I devour it. I made both recipes with just one of the two enourmous squash I had. Yeah you read that right. Twelve servings from one squash. That was one big squash.

Spaghetti Squash and Kale Gratin

One year ago today: Black Bean and Brown Rice Burgers and Stuffed Peppers

Spaghetti Squash and Kale Gratin (serves 6-8)
Adapted from Kalyn’s Kitchen

1 large spaghetti squash
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1 large onion, diced small
fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon minced garlic
5-6 cups chopped kale leaves
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives or sliced green onion
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup coarsely grated Parmesan cheese plus about 1/4 cup more for topping the gratin
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup shredded mozarella

Preheat oven to 400 F. Prick the spaghetti squash all over with a fork. Place the whole, uncut squash on a baking tray and place in the oven. Bake for an hour or until easily pierced with a fork. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Cut open, remove seeds with a spoon, then using a fork pull the strands of spaghetti squash out and into a bowl. Set aside (this can be done a day ahead).

Heat 1 tablesppon olive oil in heavy frying pan, add chopped onions, rosemary, and black pepper, and saute until onion is softened, about 2-3 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook about 1 minute more, then add chopped kale all at once. Cook kale about 1-2 minutes, turning a few times. until it’s wilted to about half the size it was. (The kale shouldn’t be completely cooked, since it will cook more in the gratin.) Salt well. Turn off heat.

Using a large fork, gently mix the chopped chives or green onion and shredded spaghetti squash into the onion/chard mixture. Combine the sour cream, cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, and beaten egg in a seperate bowl and salt well. Mix into the chard/spaghetti squash mixture. Then put the combined ingredients into the gratin dish, and press down so it’s evenly distributed in the dish. Sprinkle top with about 1/4 cup more Parmesan cheese and with the mozarella cheese.

Bake about 30-35 minutes, or until the mixture is bubbling and cheese is browned on top. Serve hot.

Spaghetti Squash and Kale Gratin

Veggie Tortilla Soup

Hey there.

Yeah still on the needing to eat well kick over here. Yoga and whole foods are helping to make me feel whole. I swear about half of my anxiety and mood can be attributed to how I eat. Eating well helps keep me sane.

Tortilla soup is one of my all time favorite soups. For some reason I have always had it in my brain that it had to be made with chicken. Happily I stumbled on this recipe and realized I was so wrong.

veggie tortilla soup

Even as I started making it I was skeptical. Could it be just as tasty meatless? Surely it could right? And can these measurements for the spices be accurate? That is a big bowl full of spices for just one pot of soup… On and on I doubted.

Till I took the first taste. Perfect. Delicious. Spicy. So full of flavor. And completely vegan. Well at least until I topped it with cheese and sour cream. Stick with just lime, avocado and cilantro and it would be.

Nathan, who is not very thrilled with my vegan/vegetarian attempts of late, has gone to the fridge and unprompted eaten this soup as a leftover. This man is not know for eating leftover ANYTHING (well except for pizza and tortilla) fixed himself a huge bowl and raved about it the whole time.

As with most flavorful soups this was definitely better the next day. And the next day. It made a huge pot and I will happily eat it for days to come.

veggie tortilla soup

One year ago today: Roasted Chickpeas and French Apple Tart

Veggie Tortilla Soup
From The Cooking Photographer

2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (4 ounce) can diced mild green chiles, drained
1 (28 ounce) can fire roasted chopped tomatoes
1 1/2 cup fronzen whole kernel corn, defrosted
32 ounces vegetable broth homemade or store bought
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 lime

Garnishes:
tortilla chips
shredded cheese
diced avocado
chopped cilantro
sour cream
hot sauce
lime juice

In a small bowl mix together cumin, sweet paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, coriander, salt and black pepper. Set aside. In a large pot heat the oil over medium high. Add the onions and bell peppers. Sauté until soft, stirring occasionally. Add the spices and garlic; cook for 2 minutes. Add the green chile peppers, tomatoes, corn, black beans and vegetable broth. Cook until warmed through. Squeeze in lime juice. Serve in bowls and garnish as desired.

veggie tortilla soup

Chickpeas with Bengali Mustard Spices

Are you feeling the over indulgence from the holidays?

Both Nathan and I have certainly noticed it. Nothing irritates me quite as much as my pants not fitting the way they are supposed to. I mean come on. I bought them and they fit a certain way and continued to fit that way for EVER and a few too many holiday cookies and the suckers are out to make my day miserable.

Do.not.like.

Chickpeas with Bengali Mustard Spices

I put up with for exactly fourteen seconds before I resolved to do something about it. Sure I am a bit behind the rest of you with your new years resolutions but hey don’t judge. Some of us are born procrastinators.

For the record I did make resolutions. Two of them in fact. Firstly to move more. As in physically move. Second was to love myself more. I am winning at one of those but not so much at the other. I will let you sort that one out.

So. Back to what I decided to do about my rebellious pants. I decided first to concentrate on my first resolution to move more. Moving should help my pants fit better right? So thus began 30 days of yoga vinyasas every morning. Asthanga yoga is my personal favorite so I have been doing three surya namasakara a (sun salutation a) and three surya namasakara b (sun salutation b). It is tough. Mostly to motivate myself but man do I feel better.

Secondly I jumped started my body back into healthy eating with a three day juice fast and switching to vegetarian eating focusing on whole grains, beans, and veggies. It has been delicious and I feel so so so good.

Chickpeas with Bengali Mustard Spices

I am an all or nothing type of person. Making some drastic changes in how I was eating has helped me get on track and realize my body does better on less and on real food.

This was one of the many recipes I pinpointed when picking veggies and bean recipes. Nathan loves chickpeas so I knew right off the bat this would be a winner. And I was so right. He inhaled it. He told he would eat it every single day.

I would too.

We ate it just as is with no rice. It felt downright indulgent.

I love nothing more than a recipe that is delicious and nutritious and I can’t get enough of it. Also thankfully my pants have decided to get their act together and stop making me miserable.

Chickpeas with Bengali Mustard Spices

One year ago today: Graham crackers and Muesli 

Chickpeas with Bengali Mustard Spices
From Taste with the Eyes

2 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon dry mustard
salt to taste
1 can chickpeas, rinsed & drained
5 oz. baby spinach

Heat oil over medium-high heat. Add mustard seeds, cumin, fennel, and cook for a minute or two. Add turmeric, chile powder, dry mustard and stir to combine. Add chickpeas and cook until heated through. Add spinach, cook until the spinach has wilted. Season with salt to taste.

Chickpeas with Bengali Mustard Spices

Spinach Pesto Risotto

I don’t think I have EVER made pesto the normal way.

You know- with basil, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan, and olive oil. The only other pesto post I have is for pea pesto. Incidentally that is delicious stuff. Also wow. That post was so so so long ago it seems.

Spinach Pesto Risotto

Aaaanyways. For so many reasons I have not made traditional pesto. Chief of which is pine nuts. My husband and I are at complete odds about them. I’m pretty indifferent about them and for the price point I can’t justify them. Nathan on the other hand loves them and dislikes my attitude towards these spendy buggers. Until we win the lottery I will keep subbing walnuts in for the pine nuts.

Also I love veggies. The idea of pureeing veggies with tasty basil, garlic, cheese, and olive oil entices me. And then you can put it on things. Bread, pasta, more veggies, and yes even risotto.

As much as I love and have made risotto it has never occurred to me to stir in basil. Perusing Pinterest like you do one day I stumbled on spinach risotto. Done. Pinned and planned.

Spinach Pesto Risotto

Or maybe not. It took a few weeks for it make it on the menu. I happily had the privilege of making it for my family one Sunday. They all absolutely loved it. Even Little. He will scarf this stuff down like it is going out of style.

The very best part about this recipe? It makes a bunch of pesto. Enough for two batches of risotto for us. Plus it is a great way to get loads of veggies in a toddler. Because currently that is on the long list of things that keeps me up at night and watching him chow down on this warms my heart.

Hey you do what you gotta do sometimes.

IMG_1646Spinach Pesto Risotto

One year ago today: Beef with Barley Stew 

Spinach Pesto Risotto (
From Food Recipe HQ

For the pesto:
2 cups fresh spinach leaves, stemmed and washed
1/4 cup walnuts
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Risotto
4 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons butter
1 finely chopped onion
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

Make the pesto: Place all ingredients into you food processor and blend until you get the desired consistency.

Make the risotto: Place the stock in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Keep at a simmer while cooking the risotto. In a large, heavy saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until tender but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter cooking for 2-3 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes total. Remove from the heat. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, as much pesto as you want, the remaining tablespoon of butter, and salt and pepper to taste.

Spinach Pesto Risotto

Rye Caraway Bread

I am in the love love love rye bread camp.

And caraway. Love me some caraway.

Rye Caraway bread

But you know that already from the rye caraway scones.

So when my sister offers to bring over bacon, tomatoes, and lettuce for BLTs if I provide the bread I gotta bring my A game.

Rye Caraway bread

Well that and I am weird. Really good bakery bread can be pretty spendy ($4-5 a loaf or more). We don’t eat sandwich bread unless it is Dave’s Killer Bread and that isn’t cheap either. The artisan bread I have been making lately is delicious but I wanted something just a bit better for this go around.

And we already had rye flour. That’s normal right? To just have rye flour on hand? Thanks for making me feel normal about it.

Rye Caraway bread

So off I went to try and find a good recipe. I feel like recipe picking is something I am pretty good at. Rarely do I get a recipe that is a complete and utter failure and I ascribe that to my ability to know what a recipe will turn out like by reading it. Oh and by knowing that Smitten Kitchen is almost always a sure bet.

I don’t pretend that making this bread is quick. It is ridiculously easy but takes a while. I think I started around 8 am and pulled the bread out of the oven around 2. There is a ferment, kneed, rise, punch down, rise, shape, rise, and lastly bake. None of it takes particularly long but you are required to be around and baby sit the bread off and on.

Rye Caraway bread

Perfect for a lazy Sunday morning. Or when you get snowed in. Or when you really really want rye bread.

Totally worth it though. I baked it on a pizza stone and threw some ice cubes onto a sheet pan in the oven before I shut the door to create some steam. The bread is light, flavorful, chewy, and has a slightly crisp crust.

Rye Caraway bread

Beyond perfect for BLTs. I used some the leftover bread for an egg sandwich the next morning and then a cheese sandwich that afternoon. Then it was sadly gone. I have been obsessing over it ever since and fully intend on making another loaf this weekend.

Rye Caraway bread

One year ago today: The very best pizza dough

Rye Caraway Bread (makes 1 large loaf)
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Sponge
3/4 cup bread flour
3/4 cup rye flour
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 cups water, at room temperature

Flour Mixture
2 1/4 cups bread flour
1/2 plus 1/8 teaspoon instant yeast
2 tablespoons caraway seeds
1/2 tablespoon coarse salt

Dough and Baking
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
cornmeal for sprinkling

Make the sponge
Combine sponge ingredients in a large or mixer bowl and whisk until very smooth, to intentionally incorporate air — this will yield a thick batter. Set it aside.

Make the flour mixture and cover the sponge
In a separate large bowl, whisk together the flour mixture and gently scoop it over the sponge to cover it completely. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and allow it to ferment for 2-3 hours at room temperature. (The sponge will bubble through the flour mixture in places.)

Mix the dough
Add the oil and mix with the dough hook on low speed for about 1 minute, until the flour is moistened enough to form a rough dough. then raise the speed to medium and mix it for 10 minutes. The dough should be very smooth and elastic, and it should jump back when pressed with a fingertip; if it is sticky, turn it out on a counter and knead in a little extra flour.

Let the dough rise
Place the dough in a large container or bowl, lightly oiled. Oil the top of the dough as well (spray oil works great). Allow the dough to rise until doubled, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Flip the bowl over and let the dough fall out on to a lightly floured counter, press it down gently, fold or form it back into a ball and allow it to rise a second time, back in the (re-oiled) bowl covered with plastic wrap for about 45 minutes.

Shape it and wait out the final rise
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and gently press it down again. Round it into a ball and set it on a cornmeal sprinkled pizza peel (or baking sheet). Cover it with oiled plastic wrap and let it rise until almost doubled, about 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. While it is rising preheat the oven.

Preheat the oven
Place your pizza stone (or upside down baking sheet) in the oven and preheat the oven to 450°F as early as you can tolerate. On a shelf below the pizza stone place a cast iron skillet or sheet pan.

Slash and bake the bread
With a sharp knife or singled-edged razor blade, make 1/4- to 1/2-inch-deep slashes in the top of the dough in a square pattern. Quickly but gently slide the bread on the hot stone or hot baking sheet. Toss 1/2 cup of ice cubes into the pan beneath and immediately shut the door. Bake for 15 minutes, lower the temperature to 400°F, place an instant read thermometer in the bread and continue baking till it registers 190F or for 10-20 minutes and the bread is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Cool the bread on a wire rack.

Rye Caraway bread

Sausage and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash

Ufff. Holiday eating. Is it getting to you too?

We don’t generally eat very much sugar around here. It isn’t something we consciously avoid it just doesn’t make me feel fantastic so I don’t buy sugary treats and what ones I do make here at home I give away pretty quickly.

Sausage and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash

The holidays though are totally different. Tins of chocolates, boxes of cookies, rich rich rich foods, crackers and cheeses…. It goes on and on. And I can’t seem to stop myself.

Actual holiday meals don’t seem so bad and I can generally pace myself but all the in between snacking and goodies get to me.

Sausage and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash

Everyone goes through this right?

This was a welcome reprieve in all the holiday eating. Delicious roasted acorn squash stuffed with apples and sausage. It very much resembled stuffing (you know- the kind you eat at the holidays). Healthy, fillings, not the least bit heavy or rich. Filling was the most crucial part as it helped with the after dinner dessert cravings.

Sausage and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash

Total win.

Even my sweet husband Nathan who is often reticent to eat leftover made quick work of what we didn’t eat that night. This recipes easily fed four adults and two toddlers with about three servings left over.

Sausage and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash

And do these ever make delicious leftovers. I do have to recommend to get the biggest acorn squash you can find. Our were huge and I could barely fit all the filling in them. Or use three instead of just two.

Sausage and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash

One year ago today: Simple Caprese Appetizer 

Sausage and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash (serves 6-8)
From Food.com

2 acorn squash, halved and seeded
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon ground sage
1 lb pork sausage (regular seasoning)
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
4 ounces mushrooms, chopped
2 apples, cored and chopped
1 cup fine breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon sage
salt and pepper
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup grated parmesan
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

Combine the melted butter, garlic salt and 1/4 teaspoons sage; brush over cut sides and cavity of squash. Salt and pepper to taste. Bake in a large roasting pan, cut side up, at 400 degrees F for 1 hour, until squash is tender yet still holds its shape.

Meanwhile make stuffing: Fry pork sausage until light brown. Remove pork to a colander to drain. Drain all but 2 tablespoons drippings from frypan. Add onion, celery and mushroom; saute 4 minutes. Stir in apple and saute 2 more minutes. Combine the pork, vegetables, and breadcrumbs in a large bowl. Taste and season with sage, salt or pepper if needed (depending on your sausage you may not want to add more seasoning). Stir in the egg and parsley. Fill the squash halves with stuffing-they should be slightly mounded. Sprinkle with the parmesan cheese. Return to oven and bake, for 20 more minutes, until the egg is set. Garnish as desired with parsley and more shredded parmesan cheese.

Sausage and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash

Cornbread (gluten-free)

I do not appreciate being challenged in the kitchen.

Well, I guessI should really say I don’t like being challenged when I am not wanting it. Does that even make sense?

Make homemade marshmallows? Sure why not. That can’t be hard.

Fondant? Total breeze.

An ice cream cake that took a whole week to make? Bring it!

Corn bread (gluten free)

Gluten free baking when it has to be intentional and not incidental? No! Please don’t make me!

It is an established fact that I love taking dinner to those I love. A sweet dear mama friend of mine just recently welcomed her second daughter into the world (remember the almond lemon ricotta cake I made for her shower?). Delivering dinner to a new mama is a privilege and I wanted it to be special. However my repertoire of gluten free cooking is not very deep.

I made a delicious chili to take to her. It was such a big batch it fed her little family AND mine. Even with planning on packing sour cream, grated cheese, fresh fruit, and those amazing marshmallows I felt that the meal was lacking something.

Corn bread (gluten free)

My train of thought went as follows- corn bread goes with chili well, except my recipe has flour. Gluten free corn bread has got to be a thing right? To Google! No not that recipe, or that one, or that one (all involving odd gluten free flours I didn’t have). What?! One with just cornmeal?! Win.

And that’s how I stumbled on this recipe. And it’s perfect. Perfect crumb, delicious taste, and not a hint of gluten or ingredients you would have to go on a hunt for.

Absolutely perfect with a warm bowl of homemade chili.

(It should be noted that not all cornmeal is gluten free so be sure to purchase a gluten free labeled brand if you are sincerely avoiding gluten)

Corn bread (gluten free)

One year ago today: Perfect chocolate frosting

Corn Bread (Gluten free) (serves 6-8)
From Gluten Free on a Shoestring

2 cups coarsely ground yellow cornmeal (gluten free)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg at room temperature, beaten
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
4 tablespoons honey

Preheat your oven to 400°F. Grease a 12-inch cast iron skillet or an 8-inch square or round pan. If using a skillet place it in the oven as you preheat.

In a large bowl, place the cornmeal, salt, baking soda and baking powder, and whisk to combine well. In separate bowl, mix the egg, butter, buttermilk and honey, and whisk to combine well.

Create a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined. The mixture will be relatively thin. Remove the skillet from the oven. Add an additional tablespoon of butter and wait for it to melt. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for 20-30 minutes (closer to 20 minutes if using a cast iron skillet), or until lightly golden brown on top, golden brown around the edges, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Slice and serve immediately.

Corn bread (gluten free)

Oven Baked Egg Rolls

Please don’t judge me.

I have an obsession.

When it comes to all things salty I have absolutely no self control. If it is salty and fried I am decidedly toast. (Speaking of which I have been known to salt my buttered toast. In my defense it is unsalted butter.)

Baked Egg Rolls

Popcorn (particularly with homemade butter), chips of any and all kind but particularly kettle type ones, delicious crackers, pretzels, salted caramel, you name it. As long as it is salty I am a FAN.

Consequently I have a small love for soy sauce. Just a smidge. Or alot. Don’t judge, remember?

I am totally on the fence about sushi but will still go out and eat it because you get to dip food in soy sauce. Again and again. My kind of party.

Chinese food is also where it is at. Most of it has soy sauce in the recipe at some point. Remember baby bok choi and mushrooms and beef with broccoli. Yeah. There is a reason I enjoyed those so much.

Baked Egg Rolls

Now there is a certain smugness that does come out in recreating Chinese take out at home. Food I would otherwise entrust someone else to make in a rather mediocre manner (at least in this town) I can make pretty decently here at home.

I have an inexplicable aversion to refined oils these days. I know some are ok ish and some are to be avoided at all costs but I just can’t muster the energy to do the research. So… when I stumbled on Chinese take out, no frying eggrolls in vats of oil, AND the chance to dip deliciousness into soy sauce I was sold.

Lordy these did not disappoint. Sweet and sour sauce is not on my list of favorite things but this recipe is easy and actually pretty good. Nathan’s response to the question of how he liked it was “mmmmmmhmmmm.” Sounds like a winner to me.

Baked Egg Rolls

It should be noted that the crispier you want your rolls the more oil you should brush on them. I was very stingy with the oil I was using and only the parts with generous amounts of oil crisped up.

Still. Delicious. The filling is absolutely spot on. I can’t wait to try these again with chicken or pork added. Maybe nooddles? Who knows….

Baked Egg Rolls

One year ago today: Juniper brined roasted turkey

Oven Baked Egg Rolls (makes about 14)
From Use Real Butter

For the filling:

2 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup green onions, julienned
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
4 cups cabbage, shredded
2 cups bean sprouts
1 cup carrots, julienned or shredded
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp soy sauce
dash cooking sherry
1 tsp salt
dash sesame oil
12-15 egg roll shells
1 egg, beaten
olive oil for brushing

For the sweet and sour dipping sauce:

1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
4 tbsps brown sugar
1 tbsp ketchup
1 tsp soy sauce
2 tsps cornstarch
4 tbsps water

Make the sweet and sour sauce: Combine the rice wine vinegar, brown sugar, ketchup, and soy sauce in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Mix the cornstarch and water together in a small bowl or cup and stir into the boiling sauce. Stir until thickened (should take 10 seconds) and remove from heat. Set aside to cool.

Make the filling: Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over high heat and add the green onions, ginger, and garlic. Stir until fragrant. Add the cabbage, bean sprouts, and carrots to the pan and sauté until the cabbage begins to wilt. Stir in the mushrooms and stir fry for a minute. Combine the soy sauce, cooking sherry, salt, and sesame oil in a small bowl or cup and mix together until uniform. Pour the liquid mixture into the vegetables and stir together until the vegetables are evenly coated. Taste and adjust seasonings with more salt or soy sauce as needed. Turn off the heat and drain off any excess liquid from the vegetable filling.

Assemble the egg rolls: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment and brush some olive oil over the lining.

Place an egg roll wrapper on your work surface with one corner pointing at you. Pile 2-3 tablespoons of filling into a 2×4-inch rectangle just below the horizontal diagonal line that connects the right and left corners. Take the corner nearest you and fold it over the filling, rolling it away from you so that the filling is completely encased in wrapper. Fold the right and left corners in toward the center, keeping it snug, but not so tight that the wrapper breaks, and continue rolling until you have  two inches of the last corner left. Dip your finger or a brush into the egg wash and paint the edges of the last corner, then quickly roll up the egg roll.

Arrange the egg rolls on the lined sheet, leaving a little room between each one. Brush the tops of each egg roll with a little more oil. Bake for 10 minutes, then flip the egg rolls over and bake another 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and serve with sweet and sour sauce, hot mustard, or whatever you like. Makes 12-15

 Baked Egg Rolls