Crepes

Years ago when Nathan bought me my beautiful le Creuset pot we were unknowingly entered in a drawing at said store. A week later I got a call completely out of the blue saying I had won a le Creuset crepe pan.

Simple homemade crepes

Wait what?

Of course I’ll take it!

So then I learned to make crepes. There really isn’t anything to learn really. It does take a bit to get the feel of how much batter to put in the pan and when to flip but otherwise I feel that crepes might be easier than pancakes. Certainly easier than waffles.

The really cool part? Totally a customization dinner. Littles don’t like the green? Then ham and cheese for them. I loaded mine with Gruyere, ham, dijon mustard, and arugula.

Simple homemade crepes

Good thing I have a tiny smidge of self control or I would have eaten three of these in rapid succession.

Although this was technically a savory recipe I reserved some of the batter for making dessert crepes. It worked wonderfully. I simply cooked them, folded them in to triangles, then squeezed on some lemon juice and sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Simple homemade crepes

Sorry there aren’t any pictures of those. They kinda disappeared as fast as I made them.

I can’t believe we don’t have this for dinner more often. Definitely working these into the menu more often. I am imagining ones filled with roasted veggies or scrambled eggs and bacon or or or….

Yum.

Simple homemade crepes

One year ago today: Pea pesto and rhubarb crisp

Savory Crepes (makes 5)
From Joy of Cooking

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup lukewarm water
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt

Place all the ingredients in your blender and blend till smooth. Pour the batter into a pitcher or other container with a pouring lip. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 30 minutes or in refrigerate for up to 2 days. (This allows the flour to thoroughly absorb the liquid and gives the gluten in the flour a chance to relax.) Place a nonstick or seasoned crepe pan over medium heat. Coat the pan with a little unsalted butter. Stir the batter and pour about 2 tablespoons into the pan, lifting the pan off the heat and tilting and rotating it so that the batter forms an even, very thin layer. Cook until the top is set and the underside is golden. Turn the crepe over, using a spatula or your fingers (fingers work best here) and cook until the second side is lightly browned. If you are adding savory toppings you can do so now to allow the cheese to melt, ham to warm up, greens to wilt, etc. or remove the crepe to a piece of wax paper. Continue cooking the rest of the crepes, buttering the pan and stirring the batter before starting each one.

Simple homemade crepes

Cucumber Feta Tomato Salad

Dear Little,

Please sleep.

Love, Your Mama.

Cucumber Tomato Feta Salad

Yes, I have a toddler who doesn’t sleep through the night. This sweet child of mine has flat out NEVER slept what us adults would consider well. The heat, changes in our daily routine, teeth, and extra hours of daylight have, of late, made for a few long long nights.

It doesn’t help that wake up time for him is somewhere right around 6 am regardless of when he falls asleep. Sigh.

Cucumber Tomato Feta Salad

So as I have mentioned before (on this salad post) lunch around here is usually quick, heavy on the veg, and eaten while the toddler naps and I catch up on facebook. And coffee. Lots of coffee.

Before you tell me to go nap you should know I have already taken one today. And yesterday. And the day before.

All I can say is I can’t wait till he is a teenager and I have to drag him out of bed in the morning. It will be poetic justice.

Cucumber Tomato Feta Salad

On another note I love salads and believe they are perfect summer food. Well salads and barbecuing. You don’t have to stand over a hot stove. Fresh veggies are at the peak of the season. Salads don’t tend to give you a bogged down too full feeling.

All around yum.

I feel silly actually writing a recipe out for this. Feel free to adapt as you see fit. I bet it would be lovely with goat cheese too if that is your thing.

Cucumber Tomato Feta Salad

One year ago today: Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Frosting

Cucumber Tomato Feta Salad (serves 2 as entrees 4 as sides)
Mine

2 medium cucumbers peeled, halved, and sliced
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes halved
1/4 sweet onion diced
1/4 cup feta crumbles
1 teaspoon salt
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
splash of white wine vinegar

Combine the veggies and cheese in bowl. Sprinkle with salt, drizzle on the olive oil, then splash lightly with the vinegar. Best eaten immediately.

 

Risotto Milanese

We have chatted about risotto before. Remember? I became obsessed with mastering it because of Hell’s kitchen? Ok cool. We are on the same page.

Since then I have discovered Master Chef. Now I feel knowing how to make risotto isn’t enough…. I feel the need to master eggs benedict along with a host of other things. And apparently macaroons which I have made so may batches of and we are just NOT friends.

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, the remaining tablespoon of butter, the sauteed veggies and salt and pepper to taste.

For the Master Chef audition each contestant gets 5 minutes to finish and plate a dish for the three judges.  I have spent alot of time mulling over what I would make seeing as Gordon Ramsey is one of them. This week I am convinced it would be this risotto. I am sure it will change in a couple of weeks.

Risotto Milanese

Yes. I currently think I would be brave enough to make a risotto for Gordon Ramsey. I think this risotto would be good enough to at least get me past the first hurdle to being the next Master Chef. But lets be honest here. I would probably melt into a tiny puddle of goo just from being in his presence that I would be useless.

Risotto Milanese

Wouldn’t you?

Oh well. I highly doubt I am going on Master Chef any time soon.

At least I can make this delicious risotto for my family and friends. The saffron flavor is amazing and intense. It is perfect served as a main with some simple steamed veggies.

Do you watch Master Chef? What would you make for that opening dish?

Risotto Milanese

One year ago today: Peanut Butter Pie

Risotto Milanese (serves four small entrees)
From the Joy of Cooking

1 small onion chopped
2 tbs olive oil
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
3/4 cup dry white wine (serve the rest with dinner)
5 cups chicken stock
1 generous pinch saffron threads
Salt to taste
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon butter

Place the stock in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Keep at a simmer while cooking the risotto.

Put the olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan 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 oil 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. The the saffron threads and crush them between your fingers and add to the simmering pot. 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 and the butter. Salt to taste. Serve to Gordon Ramsey.

Ps. Someone really really enjoyed this…Risotto Milanese

Hamburgers

Please don’t get offended that I am sharing this with you.

I used to believe hamburgers were ground beef patted into a disk and thrown on the grill. Then I met my husband.

The first time he took ground beef, dumped it on a bowl, and threw in ingredients at random I was more than skeptical. Slowly over the past nearly eight years he has perfected his recipe.

The hamburger perfected

Let me tell you- it is amazing. I absolutely love his burgers. They are full of flavor without being in your face about it. The oatmeal helps it stay moist on the grill and the tabasco gives it just a suggestion of spice.

An absolute fave around here. Wanna know what I love even more? This is entirely his own doing. No recipe to base it off of. No replication from something he had this one time. When I asked him about it he said he simply added what he thought would taste good.

The hamburger perfected

And of boy does it taste good.

So while you cannot have my husband you can have these delicious burgers. Either come over and we will make them for you or make them yourself. Either way I promise you will never make plain burgers again.

The hamburger perfected

 

One year ago today: Sausage Ricotta and Spinach Stuffed Shells.

Hamburgers (makes 4 burgers)
From Nathan

1 lb grass feed ground beef
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon tabasco
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup rolled oats

Dump all of the ingredients into a bowl. Mix well. With your hands divide into four portions then pat into burgers about 5 inches across. Cook either in a pan or preferable on the grill till your desired doneness. If you like top with cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, mustard, and ketchup. Enjoy summer.

The hamburger perfected

Ensalada mixta

I have a really bad case of the I don’t want to cook.

Which is not so great when you have a food blog.

Honestly this is what my lunch looks like three or four afternoons a week.

Ensalada mixta- quick healthy spanish salad

A salad is a fairly common first course in Spain. For everyday meals it is just tomatoes and lettuce. For special occasions, or if there is company, an ensalada mixta is called for. Simply put it is a mixed green salad dressed in olive oil salt and vinegar. The more special the occasion the better the goodies on top.

My day to day go to is tomatoes, tuna, and olives. Sometimes onions. Today I also included a couple hard boiled eggs. Typical toppings also include roasted peppers and canned white asparagus. Never carrots or broccoli or cucumbers or other things Americans usually throw on salads though.

Ensalada mixta- quick healthy spanish salad

Healthy and quick. Easy lunch that can be scarfed one handed while perusing facebook or pinterest. The best part? This is actually comfort food for me. I can’t count the number of times I have made this simply because I am homesick for Spain.

Besides how often do I really take time to eat pretty food? At least with this salad I do! I always take the time and care to arrange all the topping in a pretty way. It makes the everyday a bit more special.

On another note this is the only way we eat salad in this house. Occasionally we will have a taco salad and use just lime juice as a dressing but otherwise it is olive oil, white vinegar, and salt. Always.

Ensalada mixta- quick healthy spanish salad

(I feel silly giving you a recipe for this but here it is).

One year ago today: Buttermilk rosemary pound cake 

Ensalada Mixta (serves one, scale as you see fit for more)
mine

5-6 large leaves of lettuce torn
1 tomato sliced
1/2 can of tuna
1-2 hard boiled eggs
a handful of green olives
1-2 tbs olive oil
a big pinch of kosher salt
splash of white wine vinegar

Tear lettuce and place on a plate or large bowl. Top with sliced tomatoes, flaked tuna, sliced eggs, and olives. Sprinkle with salt, then drizzle on the olive oil, then splash with the vinegar. Enjoy.

Ensalada mixta- quick healthy spanish salad

Spanish Tortilla

I may or may not have bitten off more than I can chew with this upcoming shindig.

There are about four or five lists on four or five different pieces of paper floating around my kitchen right now. It is the only way I am managing to keep myself organized. In the midst of all this crazy I don’t want to neglect sharing recipes with you.

Spanish Tortilla. Yum, yum, yum.

Problem is I am making recipes that you have already seen. And the recipe I made on Sunday to share with you didn’t quite turn out. Lets just say I am glad that day is over.

In my mania this week all I want is comfort food. I will be doing lots of recipe reading over the coming days as I make recipe after tasty recipe for you to come enjoy on Saturday. Right now I want the dinner to come together all on its own with no effort.

Spanish Tortilla. Yum, yum, yum.

And so that was how we came to have tortilla for dinner on Monday. Having grown up in Spain this is the definition of comfort food for me. Spanish tortilla is sometimes likened to a fritatta which irritates me. I believe it can be compared to nothing except perfection. It is that good. Simply put it is potatoes, onion, and eggs. Yum.

There is something so comforting not only about the taste but about making it. In reality there is something comforting about making anything by feel and memory. I hope the recipe I am giving you makes sense because honestly I have never used a recipe to make this. It was a recipe I learned by watching- watching my mom, watching my adopted spanish mom, and by watching myself (trial and error).

Spanish Tortilla. Yum, yum, yum.

Whenever I make tortilla I feel a bit like a hero. It took me many many tries to get the flipping motion down correctly. I love the rush I get when I go to flip it. But mostly I feel like a hero because of the look my family and friends give me when I tell them I am making it.

Utter joy.

Spanish Tortilla. Yum, yum, yum.

That is honestly how good it is.

What are your go to throw dinner together comfort food dishes you make from memory?

Spanish Tortilla. Yum, yum, yum.

Spanish Tortilla (makes 1 small tortilla)
Mine

2 medium sized russet potatoes
1 cup vegetable oil
1/4 onion
6 eggs
Salt

Chop the potatoes in half. Take each half and slice in half again then finely slice being careful to keep the pieces as uniform as possible. Finely dice the onion. Place the oil in a pan over medium high heat. When the oil sizzle when you drop a piece of potato in add all the potatoes and onion. Salt generously then fry till soft (about 5-8 minutes). Remove from heat and scoop the potatoes and onion out of the pan into a colander to drain.

While the potatoes are cooling break the eggs into a medium sized bowl and whisk to combine. Add the potatoes and mix. Salt well. Heat a 8 inch non stick frying pan over medium heat. Add about a tablespoon of oil and tilt the pan to coat the entire surface. Add the entire egg and potato mixture. Cook on one side for about 5 minutes over medium to medium low heat. Once the sides are mostly set place a plate over the pan. Place one hand firmly on the plate and with the other hold the pan. In one decisive, fluid, quick motion flip the whole thing upside down so the plate is down and the pan up. Lift off the pan (if you greased well nothing should have stuck) and return it to the burner. Gently slide the tortilla raw side down back in to the pan. Continue cooking till cooked through- another 5-8 minutes. Serve warm.

Leftover are great eaten in a sandwich our out of hand in your jammies before bed.

Spanish Tortilla. Yum, yum, yum.

Vanilla poppyseed thumbprint cookies with strawberry jam

Some days you have cookies for lunch.

Yesterday was one of those days.

Vanilla poppyseed thumbprint cookies with strawberry jam

When I was pregnant I SO wanted a boy hoping I would avoid some of the emotional roller coasters that are typically associated with girls. Someone failed to mention to me that emotions run high with toddlers regardless of their gender.

 

Major meltdown over things like the wrong spoon for his yogurt and the fact that his friend was touching one of his books made me desperate for nap time. And while my naptime to do list last fourteen items deep I made cookies instead.

Vanilla poppyseed thumbprint cookies with strawberry jam

Seriously though. To be a toddler. To get  to throw myself on the floor in a crazed fit because mom cut the skin off my apples. The same skin I refused to eat since the day I started eating solids. To cry unconsolably because mom forgot and put my shirt over my head first before letting me put my arms through. To forcefully refuse to eat yogurt. The same yogurt I cried for and refused all other food for 20 minutes prior.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my son. I sit nearby and offer empathy when is having a hard time. Being a toddler is hard and he is just trying to find his place in the world. I understand.

Vanilla poppyseed thumbprint cookies with strawberry jam

Most of the time.

And sometimes I read books to him (sorta, he doesn’t sit still) and hope for naptime to come soon. So I can make and eat cookies.

Thankfully there is tomorrow and chance to start over.

Vanilla poppyseed thumbprint cookies with strawberry jam (makes about 30 cookies)
Adapted from Technicolor Kitchen 

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup poppy seeds
1 cup unsalted butter room temp
1/2 cup sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Strawberry jam (or whatever you have on hand)

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Mix together the flour, salt and poppy seeds in a large bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter on medium-low speed until smooth. Pour in the sugar and mix just until incorporated. Add the egg yolks and vanilla, mixing only until blended. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the dry ingredients in two additions, mixing just to combine after each addition. Do not overmix or this dough will become oily (this happened to me). Roll 1 leveled tablespoon of dough into balls place 2 in apart on a lined cookie sheet. Using a wooden spoon with a rounded handle no wider than about 1/2 inch wide make a deep indentation with the tip of the handle in the center of each cookie. Dipping the handle in flour will keep it from sticking. Place the cookies in the oven. After 10 minutes, remove the cookies from the oven and re-press each indentation. Then fill the centers with jam. Do not overfill these or the jam will run over. Return the cookies to the oven, rotating the pans top to bottom and front to back. Bake for 5-7 minutes longer until the cookies are golden brown around the edges. Using a spatula, loosen the cookies from the pans and cool on a wire rack.

Vanilla poppyseed thumbprint cookies with strawberry jam

Sausage Potato and Spinach Soup

The first time I made this recipe it was inhaled so quickly two things happened. First, I didn’t manage to get pictures taken to share with you. Second, I flat out forgot how I made it.

Around here most meals and cooking is planned around what we have on hand, what I feel like making, and what can I share with you lovely readers. Often the three intersect which, when it does, it makes me a very happy camper.

The problem is I get stuck in a cooking rut because so many of our standby favorites I don’t feel like making because I have already shared it here. Then I just get grumpy and don’t want to make anything at all and end up eating quinoa for dinner again.

Sausage potato and spinach soup. Super easy and amazingly tasty.

Happily I got to make this crowd pleaser a second time in a few short weeks. Honestly I think I could eat this for dinner every night it was so good.

Yes there is a bit of cream but not too much. Overall it is packed full of dark green leafy spinach, savory sausage, yummy potatoes, and tender zucchini so it can’t be all that bad for you.

Now if you bake up a loaf of homemade bread and slather it with homemade butter that is a completely different story.

Maybe fruit for dessert if you choose that course of action.

I know we are headed in to summer and soups will be fewer and fewer as the weather warms so hurry up and make this soon so you don’t miss out!

Sausage potato and spinach soup. Super easy and amazingly tasty.

Sausage Potato and Spinach Soup (serves 6)
Mine

2 tbs olive oil
1 onion diced
2 garlic cloves minced
1 lb ground Italian sausage
4 cups of water
1 cup cream
2-3 cups of milk
2 lbs of russet potatoes peeled and diced
1 lb chopped zucchini
Salt and pepper
1 6oz bag baby spinach roughly chopped

Set a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and when it begins to shimmer add the onion and garlic. Sautee till the onion softens then add the sausage. Brown it breaking it up into pieces with a spatula. Once it is fully cooked add the water, cream, milk (start with 2 cups) potatoes, and zucchini. Add a bit more milk or water if needed, you are looking to cover the ingredients plus about an inch. Season well and bring to a good simmer. Cook till potatoes are done (easily pierced with a fork). Add the spinach and stir till wilted, about 3 minutes. Serve in big bowls with generous slices of crusty bread.

Sausage potato and spinach soup. Super easy and amazingly tasty.

Quinoa, Avocado, and Tomato Salad

Can we be real today?

Sometimes I get super tired of cooking. Like maybe I will just have a slice of cheese for dinner tired.

Healthy and quick quinoa, avocado and tomato salad

Nathan is juicing again most weeknights so mostly I am cooking for just Little and me. Little has his opinions about food. Most days I am one of two things: either surprised or exasperated. Surprised that he did in fact eat what I didn’t expect him to or exasperated because something he has eaten for the past three weeks he wont touch. So I end up sticking with safe foods on nights it is just us- fruits, sauteed zucchini, whole wheat pasta, and cheeses.

So that is what leads to me having half an apple and a slice of cheese for dinner. Not the best choice but hey it could be worse.

Often dinner around here looks like this.

 Healthy and quick quinoa, avocado and tomato salad

A simple salad of quinoa, lime juice, salt, tomato, and avocado. Filling, satisfying, very little cooking. Little will not eat this but eh. I don’t mind. More for me. He can have cheese.

Do you have go to dinners that are quick and simple and NOT a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (cause that happens around here all to often too)? Please do share!

Healthy and quick quinoa, avocado and tomato salad

Quinoa, Avocado and Tomato Salad (serves 2 as entrees 4 as a side)
Mine

1 cup dry quinoa
2 cups waters
1/4 tsp salt
1 avocado diced
1 tomato diced
Juice of 1 lime
Salt to taste

Bring the water to a boil over medium high heat. Add the quinoa and salt stir briefly and return to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for 12-15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed and no longer crunchy. Fluff with a fork and allow to cool slightly. While still warm add the lime juice and salt to taste. Toss with the tomatoes and avocado. Serve.

I prefer it while it is still warm however you can make the quinoa in advance and assemble before eating. Double to serve as a side at a BBQ. It is delicious.

Healthy and quick quinoa, avocado and tomato salad

Shepherd’s pie

We are experiencing unseasonably warm weather around here.

It downright has felt like summer the past couple of days. Little was out in short and a t-shirt this morning at my parents house. And no shoes. It is THAT warm.

Homemade lamb shepherd's pie

I will admit that as Oregonians we think 70 is balmy. I feel like I need to get my strawberry picking and jam making done. However that is still months off. Months. My summer fruit radar is craving local blueberries but all the plants still only have buds. I feel thoroughly confused.

It is so bizarre for it to be this warm and sunny right now. Oh don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. Just remarking. I’ll take sunshine any day.

Homemade lamb shepherd's pie

This warm weather made my plan to make shepherd’s pie feel a bit off. This is a meal that comfort food at its core and begs to be eaten on a cold rainy night. Except when we had it for dinner we had the windows open and it was still sunny out. Have I mentioned I love how late it stays light out right now? All around bliss. Even if we were eating dead of winter food on what felt like the middle of the summer.

Homemade lamb shepherd's pie

This recipe is super simple. If you don’t care for lamb it is ok sub ground beef but I urge to splurge and use lamb. It so good. If you do things right while making this you can dirty only two pots (one for the potatoes one for the filling) and one casserole dish. Wash up the pots once you throw the dish in the oven and you get to sit down to eat dinner with a clean kitchen. This has to be my absolutely favorite part of making casseroles- sitting down to eat dinner with no pots and pans staring at you while you try to enjoy your meal.

On a positive note turning on the oven on such a warm day wasn’t a big deal because we are still reaching freezing temps at night.

Now I can’t wait to start eating outside.

Homemade lamb shepherd's pie

Shepherd’s pie (serves 6)
Adapted from Alton Brown

For the potatoes:
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepperFor the meat filling:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 carrots, peeled and diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground lamb
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 cup water
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons freshly chopped rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup frozen English peas

Peel the potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch dice. Place a medium saucepan with water over high heat.  Once boiling add the potatoes and cook till tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes in a colander and then return to the saucepan. Mash the potatoes and then add the buttermilk, milk, butter, salt and pepper and continue to mash until smooth.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the filling. Place the olive oil into a 12-inch saute pan and set over medium high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and carrots and saute just until they begin to take on color. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Add the lamb, salt and pepper and cook until browned and cooked through. Sprinkle the meat with the flour and toss to coat, continuing to cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste, chicken broth, Worcestershire, rosemary, thyme, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer slowly 10 to 12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly.

Add the corn and peas to the lamb mixture and spread evenly into an baking dish. Top with the mashed potatoes, starting around the edges to create a seal to prevent the mixture from bubbling up and smooth with a rubber spatula. Place on a parchment lined half sheet pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25 minutes or just until the potatoes begin to brown. Place under the broiler for a minute or two to really get some color. Remove to a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Homemade lamb shepherd's pie