Challah Rolls

Book giveaway winner– Hannah E! (I will text you about getting you your copy of the book!)

What are your Thanksgiving staples?

Around here it is a given that we have stuffing made by my brother-in-law, these rolls and chanterelle mushroom gravy made by Nathan, and then turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, and pies made by whomever. But those are the requirements for our Thanksgiving dinner.

Last year was the first year we had Thanksgiving at my house. It was such a wonderful time and it was our first dinner around our new dinning room table Nathan made for me. This year we are lucky to have three meals with those we love. One with my mama tribe, one with our friends, and one with our family.

Challah rolls

Happily all of the complicated dishes have become dishes Nathan is an expert at making. And he is particularly good at these challah rolls. It is just a plain challah bread recipe that he simply makes in to rolls. He has been making them for years now and is a bonafide challah making expert.

I can’t remember the last time he actually this recipe into a challah loaf though. Always always always they wind up at rolls and are trotted out at the holidays.

Leftover rolls make the BEST leftover turkey sandwiches by the way. Just sayin.

Challah rolls

One year ago today: Oatmeal butterscotch cookies

Challah Rolls (makes 64 small rolls)
From Nathan 

2 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup honey
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 tablespoon salt
8 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (2 lbs 4 oz)

In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over barely warm water. Beat in honey, oil, 2 eggs, and salt. Add the flour one cup at a time, beating after each addition, graduating to kneading with hands as dough thickens. Knead until smooth and elastic and no longer sticky, adding flour as needed. Cover with a plastic wrap and let rise for 1 1/2 hours or until dough has doubled in bulk.

Punch down the risen dough and turn out onto floured board. Divide in half and knead each half for five minutes or so, adding flour as needed to keep from getting sticky. Divide each half into 32 smaller rolls (for a totaly of 64 rolls). Roll into balls and place about 1/4 apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise about one hour.
Meanwhile preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Beat the remaining egg and brush a generous amount over the rolls. Bake at 375 degrees F for about 20 minutes. Bread should have a nice hollow sound when thumped on the bottom. Cool on a rack for at least one hour eating.

Challah rolls

Moroccan Beef with Pine Nut Couscous

This is the lost recipe.

Have you ever made something and it was just amazing and then you don’t remember where you found it?

I have several dishes like that and this was one of the worst. I made this years ago for Nathan’s birthday. It simply disappeared.

Moroccan Beef with Pine Nut Couscous

A few weeks ago we were cleaning out a stack of recipes and notes from a cupboard in the kitchen. Papers were placed in several piles- to make for the blog, already on the blog so we can pitch, utter failures never to make again, etc. And somewhere in all those recipes this one resurfaced.

I was SO pleased.

The first time I made it was the story of the dinner that multiplied. I made just a single recipe (and made it with the lamb like the original recipe called for) and somehow it managed to feed a table of, if I recall correctly, twelve.

Moroccan Beef with Pine Nut Couscous

This year knowing I was going to have a crowd I doubled the recipe and used beef since it was significantly cheaper. I was sure there would be leftovers.

Nope.

Every.single.last.bite. was gone.

And who can blame them? It is utterly delicious. The comment was made around the table a couple of times that we don’t often eat meat spiced like this. What a tasty tasty birthday dinner is was for Nathan.

Lucky boy.

Moroccan Beef with Pine Nut Couscous
One year ago today: Cheddar Scallion Drop Biscuits

Moroccan Beef with Pine Nut Couscous (serves 6-8)
Adapted from Rachel Ray

2 1/2 pounds stew meat
1 rounded tablespoon grill seasoning
2 teaspoons turmeric
2 teaspoons cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons coriander
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
20 to 24 pitted dates, halved, about 1 cup
1 quart chicken stock
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons pine nuts
2 cups couscous
4 scallions, chopped

Place beef in a food storage bag. Combine the 7 spices in a small bowl. Sprinkle into the bag and seal bag. Shake and evenly coat the beef pieces in the spices.

Heat a large, deep skillet over medium-high to high heat. Add 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil then the beef. Sear the beef and caramelize the meat all over, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the onions and garlic and cook 5 minutes more. Add the dates and 2 cups of chicken stock to the pan and cover. Simmer for 20-30 minutes more (till the meat is tender) to plump the dates, soften the onions. Remove cover and adjust seasonings.

During the last 5 minutes the beef has to cook, melt butter and toast pine nuts. Add 2 cups stock and bring to a boil. Remove pan from heat, add couscous and cover pan. Let stand 5 minutes. Remove lid and fluff with fork.

Serve beef over couscous in shallow dishes and garnish with chopped scallions.

Moroccan Beef with Pine Nut Couscous

Rosemary Garlic Focaccia

I am not the bread baker.

I also do not always manage to coordinate my dinners well. Rosemary garlic focaccia with curry? Sure! Sounds like a great idea!

Rosemary and garlic focaccia

You know why we made focaccia? Because it was something I have been wanting to share with you. The conversation the day I made this literally went:

“Naan is on the blog already isn’t it”

“Yeah I think so”

“What should we have with the curry?”

“Focaccia?”

“Sure!”

Rosemary and garlic focaccia

Except… I just discovered naan isn’t on here. So now we get to add naan to the list of recipes to share and maybe eat it with lasagna or ravioli. This all makes perfect sense right? Good. I am glad we are on the same page.

And even if it doesn’t I got to have delicious focaccia for dinner. And a delicious curry. And they weren’t awful together.

Perfect lazy Sunday bread baking project. I am fairly new to yeast baking and, as you can see, I didn’t screw this one up at all.

Serve however you wish but this is particularly decadent with a plate of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Yum.

Rosemary and garlic focaccia

One year ago today: Carrot Cake Cookies

Rosemary Garlic Foccacia (makes one 9 x 13 pan)
From Baking Bites

2 cloves garlic
3 cups bread flour
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast (.25 oz)
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup water
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
additional olive oil and coarse salt

Finely mince garlic using a sharp knife or a garlic press. In a small saute pan over medium heat, saute garlic with a little bit of olive oil until lightly browned and fragrant. Transfer to a small dish and allow to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, combine bread flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Whisk to combine. Add in olive oil and water, sauteed garlic and chopped rosemary and stir with a large wooden spoon until dough comes together into a ball. Add an additional tablespoon or two of water if dough is too dry to form into a ball easily. Stir until dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. (All of this may be done in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook).
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 4 minutes (You can also knead the dough with the dough hook on medium-low for 3-4 minutes). Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

Generously grease an 9×13-inch baking pan (or a sheet pan) with 1/4-1/3 cup olive oil. Turn dough out onto pan and press gently outwards with your fingertips, spreading the dough as you go, until it has evenly filled the pan. Pressing with your fingertips instead of kneading preserves the bubbles in the dough.
Cover with a clean dish towel and allow to rise for 30-40 minutes. Preheat oven to 400F.

After rising brush dough with 1 tbsp additional olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake for 25-30 minutes until bread is well browned. Place bread on a wire rack to cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing.

Rosemary and garlic focaccia

Chanterelle Mushroom Risotto

Will you forgive me if we don’t chat much today?

Things are busy around here. A birthday party for a soon to be two year old, work, a host of nasty headaches and migraines.

Chanterelle mushroom risotto

Thankfully I am dutifully cooking my way through a lovely batch of chanterelle mushrooms still.

Easy weekenight dinner? Check- risotto plus roasted mushrooms. Gourmet with hardly any effort.

Chanterelle mushroom risotto

Ps. I still love you lots even though our chat was short. I promise we will catch up later this week. Coffee date soon? Yes, please.

Chanterelle mushroom risotto

One year ago today: Homemade Granola

Chanterelle Mushroom Risotto(serves 4-6 depending on if it is a side or entree)
Adapted from the Joy of Cooking

Note: Risotto is not an exact science but is rather based on feel. As stated above taste taste taste then taste some more. Some days your risotto will take 4 cups of chicken stock then the next take 5. Channel your inner chef and trust your instincts.

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
1 lb chanterelle mushrooms chopped or torn
1 tbs olive oil

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

Preheat oven to 400 F. Place the mushrooms on a baking sheet and drizzle with oil. Place in the oven for 10-15 minutes until dark brown.

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. About 5 minutes before it is finished add the mushrooms and all the pan juices (if any). Remove from the heat. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, the remaining tablespoon of butter, and salt and pepper to taste.

Chanterelle mushroom risotto

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.

 

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.

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

Risotto Primavera

I can’t believe we haven’t talked risotto.

Ok that’s a half truth. I did make that amazing farro and cauliflower risotto and share it with you. But we haven’t had a chat about basic simple amazing risotto.

Risotto primavera. Great use up all those spring veggies dish.

(I added the above picture so you realize what a MESS I make when I am cooking. Yes my pictures may be pretty but know there is chaos behind the lens)

If hard pressed I would say my true foray into the world of becoming a better cook began way back in 2005 when Hell’s Kitchen first aired. The premise of the reality show is Gordon Ramsey (swoon!) take a bunch of wanna be chefs, puts them through the ringer, eliminates them one at a time, then eventually crowns one a winner and gives them their own restaurant. I only watched that first season but I learned on huge thing- none of them could make risotto.

Terrified I might wind up on the show someday (completely rational I know) I decided if Chef Ramsey was going to yell at me for something it wouldn’t be for my lack of ability to make risotto. My Joy of Cooking cookbook and I had a date in the kitchen and I taught myself how to make it. The best part? I had never even had risotto. I was just fumbling through trying to figure it out.

Risotto primavera. Great use up all those spring veggies dish.

What did I learn? It is absurdly easy. All it takes is time, patience, really good ingredients, and lots and lots of tasting. In the course of cooking a batch of risotto I probably taste it 10-15 times, each time biting down on a grain of rice looking for that perfect al dente softness and crunch.

We have discussed good ingredients on here so many times I feel I have beat you over the head with this subject but here it goes again. When you have a recipe, like risotto, that uses so few ingredients use the very best you can afford. Pick up a GOOD cheese and a bottle of wine you would enjoy drinking. I also feel arborio rice is a must. It is fairly inexpensive (comparatively) in the bulk bins at my grocery store. Use your own homemade chicken stock or something with a very short list of ingredients.

Risotto primavera. Great use up all those spring veggies dish.

So back to Chef Ramsey. If I were to be on Hell’s Kitchen tomorrow I would make a mean risotto. I promise. It would be cooked perfectly as well as properly seasoned.

Now my ability to cook steaks might get me in trouble but risotto will not.

Risotto primavera. Great use up all those spring veggies dish.

Risotto Primavera (serves 4-6 depending on if it is a side or entree)
Adapted from the Joy of Cooking- essentially a basic risotto with veggies.

Note: Risotto is not an exact science but is rather based on feel. As stated above taste taste taste then taste some more. Some days your risotto will take 4 cups of chicken stock then the next take 5. Channel your inner chef and trust your instincts.

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
6 oz green beans cut into 1 inch pieces
6 oz zucchini chopped
8 oz asparagus end removed and chopped in to 1 inch pieces
1 tbs olive oil

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

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat till hot. Add the asparagus, beans and zucchini and sautee for about 5 minutes until they are bright green and just starting to soften. Set aside.

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.

Risotto primavera. Great use up all those spring veggies dish.

On Delivering Dinner

Hopefully we have been friends for a bit. If not no worries. I’m always happy to make new friends.

If we have been friends for a awhile one thing you will know about me is my reaction to pretty much any major life event is to throw food at it. Not literally but figuratively. You moved? Had a death in your family? New baby? Generally speaking an awful week? Birthday? Anniversary? I’m there with food in hand.

On delivering dinner

Over the years I feel I have become a bit of an expert on what to take to people. There are a few things I try to take into consideration:

1. I never make anything for a someone I wouldn’t feed my family. Good food but also good for you (well besides the cookies maybe). This means whole grains, locally sourced meats, as much organic produce as I can afford, little or no refined oils

2. Aim to include veggies. So often I feel when people drop off dinner the dishes are rich and calorie laden. I always pick main dishes that are chocked full of veggies.

3. Include something for breakfast. Ages ago I read a post about delivering dinner to a new mom and it suggested to take breakfast foods along with the dinner. I tend to make something like muffins or scones for an easy next day breakfast.

4. If you can just bring along some plain fresh fruit- apples, watermelon, grapes, strawberries. you know- whatever is in season. When we are in the midst of a life changing event I don’t think we tend to eat well. Wash and cut up the fruit for easy, mindless snacking.

5. Always ALWAYS ask about allergies, aversions, preferences before deciding on your menu. I don’t like blue cheese but you wouldn’t know that unless you asked. Or know me well.

6. Don’t break the bank. The reason I have such a deep repertoire of recipes is I cook and deliver based on what is in season, on sale, or on hand. Most meals I deliver cost me less than $10 to make. The entire meal- fruit, breakfast, and entree.

7. Only deliver on dishes and in tupperware you don’t want or need back. The last thing these people need is to keep track of your stuff. Make sure they know they don’t need to wash or return anything.

Do you ever make and deliver food to friends and family? This little blog has a long list of recipes that are perfect for delivery. Here is a list of my favorites:

Casseroles:

Black bean and spinach enchiladas

Black bean and spinach enchiladas– Healthy and hearty. I actually delivered this to a new mama yesterday.

lighter tuna noodle casserole

Tuna noodle casserole– First reference #5 above. Not everyone loves tuna casserole BUT if they do this lighter version is packed full of veggies and is sure to please!

chicken or turkey biscuit pot pie

Chicken or turkey biscuit pot pie– A twist on pot pie that is a bit quicker to prepare. Still a showstopper and again loaded with veg.

Baked penne bolognese

Baked penne with bolognese– This dish packs a veggie punch without you realizing it. Plus there isn’t anything out there as hearty or heartwarming as homemade pasta sauce.

Baked mac and cheese

Baked mac and cheese– This recipe offers two ways to make it- both with veggies! And who doesn’t love homemade mac and cheese? Fascists that’s who.

Easy to reheat dinner:

Easy veggie curry

Easy veggie curry– Perfect vegan or vegetarian dish. Make brown rice for an extra hearty fiber punch.

Lentils, sausage and swiss chard

Lentils, sausage and swiss chard– Yes this sounds a bit unusual but make it and I promise the recipient will be impressed. This basic dish has so much flavor.

Soups:

Broccoli cheese soup

Broccoli cheese soup– Loads of veggies in this lighter version of an all around classic. Be sure to include bread for dipping!

Beef barley stew

Beef barley stew– Veggies, meat, barley. Yum. Stick to your ribs soul food.

Saffron chicken veggie soup

Saffron chicken veggie soup– Did you know saffron is a mood booster? Ideal dish if someone if having a particularly hard time.

Leek and potato soup

Leek and potato soup– One of our standby faves for weeknight dinner. Simple mild soup made with nourishing chicken or veggie broth. A must make for anyone recovering from illness.

Sweet potato quinoa chili

Sweet potato quinoa chili– Another great recipe for the vegetarian or vegan. Be sure to make cornbread (suggested recipe below).

Breakfasts:

Banana bread

Banana bread– Does this really need an explanation? A classic favorite.

Cranberry orange muffins

Cranberry orange muffins– Perfect around the holiday season or if you have frozen cranberries lurking in your freezer.

Homemade granola

Homemade granola version one or version two– Cereal lovingly made by someone else is always a welcome treat.

blueberry-muffins

Blueberry muffins– I make this recipe so often I have it memorized. First time I made them was to deliver to a friend at the hospital right after she had her baby.

Sides (to go with soups or casseroles!):

Brown butter rosemary cornbread

Brown butter rosemary cornbread– I think this would go great with the sweet potato quinoa chili. Just sayin.

Artisan bread

Artisan bread– This bread is no effort at all on your part and is a stunner. Sure beats spending $5 on a loaf at the store.

Cheddar scallion drop biscuits

Cheddar scallion drop biscuits– Ridiculously cheesy and flavorful biscuits. Goes great with the saffron veggies soup.

 

I hope this has given you some ideas and inspiration. What are your favorite recipes to deliver?

 

 

Roasted Pepper and Feta Scones

I know I have mentioned many times on here that I try and follow a pretty tight budget. It is hard work but I love the freedom (yes!) to easily save for bigger purchases. Knowing whether or not I can buy something by counting the cash in my wallet is wonderful.

Not wanting to settle for just having less because I don’t have as much money I am finding ways to stretch my dollars. I used to coupon ALOT. Not so much these days. Sure I still watch for sales and stock up when prices are low but the new way I have found to make my grocery budget go further is a local mama co-op.

Roasted pepper and Feta Scones

A co-op (per wikipedia) is simply “an autonomous association of persons who voluntarily cooperate for their mutual, social, economic, and cultural benefit.” In this case the mutual benefit is rock bottom prices on some of the best food around. A selfless mama heads up the crazy produce buy and helps us all put together a massive all oroganic order every week. The quality of the produce is unbelievable. I have been ruined for the ordinary.

Sure, some of the produce is a bit more expensive than conventional (the asparagus I ordered this week is cheaper at Freddies but isn’t organic) but I love getting all my produce once a week, seeing these other lovely mamas, and being part of a fabulous community that works hard to feed our families well for less.

Roasted pepper and Feta Scones

These gorgeous tiny peppers were part of the buy last week. Under $2 for a pound of organic mini peppers. Booyah.

Little got a hold of the clamshell earlier in the week and ate one straight. They were THAT sweet.

However, I over ordered a bit last week and, while I used a few early in the week, by the weekend these were forgotten in the back of the fridge and needing to be used.

Happily this recipe had been waiting in the wings for a couple of weeks now. Sure it called for red peppers but these tiny beauties roasted up perfectly.

Roasted pepper and Feta Scones

And the finished scones? Yum. Yum. Yum.

On another note…. In case you are wondering the answer is yes- scones are clearly my new thing (orange poppy seed scones anyone?). In fact I have a fun “lets get together and take lovely pictures of food” party planned with a friend on Friday morning. And you guessed it- I’m making scones. Savory again but yes more scones.

Roasted pepper and Feta Scones

Roasted Pepper and Feta Scones (makes 8)
Adapted from Joy the Baker

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
1 large egg, beaten
1 3/4 cup buttermilk, cold
1/2 cup coarsely chopped roasted peppers
1/2 cup coarsely crumbled feta cheese
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

Turn your oven on to broil and place the top rack as high as it will go. Place the peppers on a baking sheet and slide under the broiler. Broil for 5-8 minutes per side till nice and toasty. Remove to a bowl and quickly cover with plastic wrap. Allow to steam and cool for about 20 minutes. Peel the skins off and coarsely chop.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Grease a large (9 or 10-inch) cast iron skillet with butter and set aside (a cake pan would do as well or you can simply roll out, slice, and bake as biscuits)

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda. Add the cold butter and cut in the butter with a pastry cutter. In a small bowl, beat together egg and buttermilk. Add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients.  Stir with till barely mixed.  Before the mixture is entirely incorporated, add red pepper and feta cheese.  Dump mixture out onto a clean work surface and gently knead together.  If the dough is too sticky, add a bit more flour.  The dough should be moist but still shaggy.  Gather pat in to an 8-inch round. Do not overwork.

Transfer dough to prepared pan.  Use a serrated knife to mark an inch deep X into the dough.  Brush generously with buttermilk and top with cracked black peppercorns and flaky salt.  Place in the oven and allow to bake for 32-35 minutes, or until the top is a deep golden color and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Let bread rest in the pan for 10 minutes before removing.  Serve warm.

Roasted pepper and Feta Scones