Cosmopolitan and Vodka Collins

Vodka is not particularly high on my list of favorite alcohols. Not that I don’t like it I just have never appreciated it.

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Till now. I tasted all three of the vodkas I currently have on hand side by side. What.a.difference. The pretty white bottle with red writing is Medoyeff from Bull Run. I have spent quite a bit of time enjoying other craft alcohol but had never ventured down the path of fine vodka. So worth it. A bit spicy and subtly sweet.

And the things you can do with vodka. I also missed the boat on this. I’ve had my tryst with the other delicious spirits but not much of a relationship with vodka.

Cosmopolitan

The two best things I have found to make vodka are a cosmopolitan and a vodka collins. One is the quintessential girl drink and the other a great summer thirst quencher. I’m completely won over to the I love vodka camp.

Cosmos are oh so sweet and beautifully pink. You can barely tell there is liquor in them.

Vodka Collins are a new drink to me. With just a bit of lemon juice, some simple syrup, and a big splash of club soda you have a ridiculously good light grown up version of lemonade. Try just drinking one.

Vodka Collins

Also today we embark on the mixers journey. I think it is safe to say that as far as I am concerned triple sec needs to be in your liquor cabinet. And club soda and cranberry juice. And limes and lemons on your counter. Just do it. You can make these two drinks (plus so many others) with just these few mixers.

(And I am so loving writing about cocktails)

One year ago today: Planked salmon

Cosmopolitan

Cosmopolitan (makes 1 drink)
(I read many many recipes and settled on the easiest. It is amazing)

1 ounce vodka
1 ounce triple sec
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1 ounce cranberry juice

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice then add vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice and lime juice. Shake the cocktail shaker for about 30 seconds until well chilled. Then, strain into a martini glass.

Vodka Collins

Vodka Collins (makes 1 drink)

2 ounces vodka
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup (recipe below)
5-6 ounces club soda
Lime for garnish

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the vodka, fresh lime and simple syrup. Shake for 30 seconds or till well chilled. Pour over ice into a tall glass. Top off with club soda and garnish with a lime.

Simple Syrup (makes 1 cup)

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water

In a small saucepan combine the sugar and water. Turn the heat to medium and stir till warm and all the sugar is dissolved. Cool and use in cocktails. Store in the fridge.

Cosmopolitan

How to Stock Your Liquor Cabinet

I want to remind you to please save the date for May 31tst! This sweet blog turns two and we will party. Bakeshop style. 

Something that has not been discussed much on this blog is my affinity for a good drink. Sure there has been a mention here or there about a lovely wine I enjoyed or how much I needed a beer at the end of my day. Cocktails, though, have been completely overlooked.

I am setting out to remedy that.

Anyone who has been to my house knows I love a good drink be it wine, beer, or spirits. Slowly over the past year I have been teaching myself to make delicious drinks with the tastiness that resides in my liquor cabinet.

I keep a liquor cabinet that is stocked better than most. It’s just a fact. I am not trying to sound pretentious. The very first bottle of liquor I bought I believe was a creme de menthe to add to my hot cocoa. Since then my palette has evolved and expanded. Now I can honestly say that there is not a quality liquor out there I don’t like (I hate bottom shelf).

How to stock your liquor cabinet

What I want to do this month is encourage you to build your own liquor cabinet (or expand it is you already have one) and get to mixing some drinks! It is so incredibly easy. The hurdle is knowing recipes and I will give you plenty of my faves.

So for the next month we are going to talk liquor. All my favorites in fact. Living here in Oregon we are blessed with incredible distillers. Bull Run Distillery is one of the standouts and you will see many of their spirits over the coming weeks. Whatever you do please buy and enjoy your local spirits. You will not be disappointed.

Seriously. You heard me right? Please please please support your local distillers. Not only because it is good for your town/state but because, chances are, the spirits will knock your socks off. All my top picks are Oregon made. Just do it (yes I went there).

Besides bottom shelf sucks. Don’t do that to yourself. You deserve better.

Today I want to talk about the five (or seven depending on how you read the list) spirits I think are the basics. From these you will be able to mix a host of drinks. Sure you will need mixers and some additional spirits but by in large here is what I think you need to have:

How to stock your liquor cabinet

1. Vodka- Usually distilled from grain or potatoes (at the least the kind you should be buying will be). High quality vodkas are delicious simply chilled and sipped. It doesn’t have a strong flavor compared to some of these other alcohols so it makes a standout mixer.

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2. Rum- A pirates drink. But no really it is distilled from sugarcane by products and is aged in a barrel. The longer it is aged the darker it is. Most rum comes from the Caribbean but Bull Run does make a wicked one right here in Oregon. If not buying local I particularly love Puerto Rican rum. Bacardi was a cop out last time I went shopping. Don’t judge.

How to stock your liquor cabinet

3. Tequila- With or without the worm I love tequila. A lot. This is the one you get to fudge on when it comes to buying local. Tequila can only be made in Mexico and is distilled from agave. I urge you to branch out beyond Jose Cuervo and Patron. Craft tequila can be incredibly unique and delicious. We love Zircon Azul as our standby mixer as it is relatively inexpensive yet still quite tasty.

How to stock your liquor cabinet

4. Whiskey (and a Bourbon)- Whiskey is made from fermented grain mash and aged in charred barrels. It is very strictly regulated and delicious. Bourbon is a type of whiskey that is made from at least 51% corn. They taste very different and I keep both on hand when I can afford it. If not we generally just keep one GOOD whiskey. And scotch. We usually have a scotch on hand too.

How to stock your liquor cabinet

5. Gin (dry and western)- Oh gin. I didn’t know I loved it till just this past fall when Vivacity won me over with their Native Gin. It has 17 botanicals of which many of them are native to Oregon. It is considered a western style gin as the flavor profile is so incredibly unique. The main component and flavor in gin is juniper and with a london dry gin it is much more pronounced. More so than any of the other spirits, I highly recommend you just keep tasting different gins. You will most likely eventually land on one you like.

How to stock your liquor cabinet

As far as equipment does you can fake most of it but I do recommend:

  • A good shaker. I have tw0- a cobbler shaker (the one with the metal top) and a boston shaker (the metal cup and pint glass).  The boston can easily make more than one drink, the cobbler is best for single servings.
  • Shot glasses or a jigger.
  • Muddler. You need one to mush up all the delicious stuff.
  • Strainer of some sort. I use my small metal strainer when I juice citrus into my shaker and use a hawthorne strainer when pouring drinks
  • Glassware. This is the biggest one you can fudge because honestly if it is you at home alone who cares what glass you are drinking from.
  • Citrus reamer. They are cheap and you will thank me when you have to juice four limes for margaritas.
  • Mixers. We will talk more as I share drinks with you. I always keep lemons, limes, club soda, and some other random stuff on hand.

As we approach the coming weeks and these drinks please don’t feel like I am preachy or trying to convert you to a particular spirit. Bottom line is drink what you like but every once in a while taste a martini just to make sure you still don’t like it.

Cheers.

One year ago today: Quinoa, tomato, avocado salad and sausage potato and spinach soup

Lavender Scones

Right.

It’s scones again.

I feel like I need duck every time I hand you another scone recipe lest you throw it back at me.

But I just love them. So.much.

I have made lavender cupcakes for you before and they were divine. When I had a request for scones from a friend a few days ago I couldn’t help but pounce on this recipe.

Lavender scones

I was skeptical to put the lemon zest in as well as the vanilla AND lavender. I really wanted a strong lavender flavor and though the other two might overpower it. Not the case. Seriously trust this recipes. Make it as it is written and you wont be disappointed.

Have you ever made something that is lavender flavored? You should do it. It isn’t like just munching on flowers. I promise. It is delicate and light.

These scones are so perfect. Usually I am good after just one scone or sweet treat. I found myself eating three in a row. It was so totally worth it.

They are on the make again soon list. Join me?

Lavender scones

One year ago today: Homemade butter

Lavender Scones (makes 16 small ones)
From Bon Appetit

3 cups all-purpose flour plus more for surface
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon dried lavender buds
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons sanding or granulated sugar

Arrange racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 425°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk 3 cups flour and next 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Add butter; rub in with your fingers until mixture resembles coarse meal. Whisk 1 cup buttermilk, zest, and vanilla in a small bowl. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir until shaggy dough forms. Transfer to a lightly floured surface; knead until dough forms, about 5 turns. Pat into a 10×6″ rectangle. Halve dough lengthwise. Cut each half crosswise into 4 squares. Cut each square diagonally in half into 2 triangles. Divide between baking sheets. Brush with 2 Tbsp. buttermilk. Sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake until scones are golden and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 13–15 minutes. Transfer to wire racks; let cool.

Lavender scones

Blueberry Oatmeal Pancakes

Right.

So I can’t believe I haven’t shared these with you yet.

Blueberry oatmeal pancakes

They hit our breakfast rotation a few months ago and have been a frequent visitor ever since. I often have all these ingredients on hand (yogurt around here is hit of miss) and this makes a fairly big batch.

When I say it makes a big batch I mean it is way more than Nathan, Little, and I can eat for breakfast. The first time I made them I was a little worried about all the extras. Then I did something I have never done before. I froze the leftovers.

Blueberry oatmeal pancakes

Seriously.

I simply put a piece of wax paper between each pancake, threw them in a zip lock, and popped them in the freezer. A few days later I tossed one in the toaster hoping it would be a great breakfast treat for Little. It was an instant win.

Since that day I make these every time we run out of pancakes in the freezer. As with any toddler food they are starting to loose their favorite food status but I persist. Served with some scrambled eggs I feel pretty ok calling this a complete breakfast. If I sneak some green juice in there I win mom of the day before 8 am.

Blueberry oatmeal pancakes

Breakfast (or really any meal) with a 2.5 year old is less than tidy. While these pancakes can, and do, make a spectacular mess I continue to serve them. Some days Little seems to think of them more as paint… as was the case the morning I opted to make and photograph these.

I clean up a lot of messes around here these days. Mine and not mine. But I do get a lot of kisses. I guess it is worthwhile in the long run.

Blueberry oatmeal pancakes

One year ago today: Fudge Date Balls and Shepherds’s Pie

Blueberry Oatmeal Pancakes (makes 12-15)
From Damn Delicious

1 2/3 cups whole wheat flour
2/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 cup (or more) blueberries

In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk together yogurt, milk, butter and eggs. Pour mixture over dry ingredients and stir using a rubber spatula just until moist. Add blueberries and gently stir to combine.

Lightly coat a griddle or nonstick skillet with butter. Scoop 1/3 cup batter for each pancake and cook until bubbles appear on top and underside is nicely browned, about 3-4 minutes. Flip and cook pancakes on the other side, about 1-2 minutes longer. Serve immediately with maple syrup.

Blueberry oatmeal pancakes

Cheesecake with a Chocolate Cookie Crust

Since making this chessecake there has been an incredible amount of self control going on at our house. Sure we inhaled half of it the first day but since then we haven’t touched it. We are expecting friends for dinner tomorrow night so I am actually saving it.

Want a little bit of insight? The real reason it is still around is because I am neurotic. I have a way of needing things to be just so. In the case of this cheesecake we had half left so it made sense to save it all. Because there was half. Rational right?

Cheesecake with a chocolate cookie crust

Had there been a third or a quarter or anything less I am sure that we would have continued eating it. My poor sweet husband knowing and understanding my neurosis has not dared to touch it. And I love him for putting up with me.

How bad is this really? It’s bad. I have a set way in my head of thinking of the leftovers- particularly when they are baked goods or sweets.

For example I had nine leftover cupcakes the other day and the fit neatly in three rows of my cupcake pan in my fridge. After an event I added one more to it so there was 10 (I like even numbers more than odd). Nathan thinking it was safe since the 10th one looked like the odd man out asked if he could eat it.

Cheesecake with a chocolate cookie crust

No. Sorry love. I am neurotic and now in my mind 10 is better than 9 so you have to leave it.

Living with me comes with cupcakes and cheesecake and one terrible case of the crazies sometimes.

BUT we all get to eat more cheesecake tomorrow and enjoy it.

I am blessed more than you know to have people who put up with me.

Ps. This cheesecake? The best I have ever had. And I am not kidding.

Cheesecake with a chocolate cookie crust

One year ago today: Snickerdoodles

Cheesecake with a Chocolate Cookie Crust (serves 10-12 easily)
From Martha Stewart 

One half of a batch of this cookie recipe for the base
2 1/4 cups sugar
3 pounds (six 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sour cream, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
5 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the sides of a 10-inch springform pan. Wrap exterior of pan (including base) in a double layer of foil. Pat the cookie dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Place pan on a baking sheet. Bake until crust is set, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down sides as needed. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and flour. With mixer on low speed, gradually add sugar mixture to cream cheese; mix until smooth. Add sour cream and vanilla; mix until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined; do not overmix.

Pour cream cheese filling into prepared pan. Set pan inside a large, shallow roasting pan. Carefully ladle boiling water into roasting pan to reach halfway up sides of springform pan. Bake 45 minutes; reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Continue baking until cake is set but still slightly wobbly in the center, about 30 minutes more. Turn off oven; leave cake in oven with door slightly ajar, 1 hour. Transfer pan to a wire rack; let cake cool completely. Refrigerate, uncovered, at least 6 hours or overnight. Before unmolding, run a knife around the edge of the cake.

Cheesecake with a chocolate cookie crust

Homemade Falafel with Tahini Sauce

Remember when I bought tahini for the first time the other day? And made pita bread? Best day ever.

So I did it again. Not the buying tahini part because I already had some but the making pita bread. Just a half batch this time. Lets not get crazy out of hand people. And then I made homemade falafel to fill it with.

Homemade Falafel and Tahini Sauce

Seriously. Made my own falafel. Who knew it was so easy? Sure you gotta stand over the stove and fry them but it is so worth it.

Precious little brings me as much pleasure as being able to make restaurant quality food at home. I love being able to make things I would otherwise have to pay someone to make for me. And for a fraction of the price plus there is the upside that I get to share it with you.

Homemade Falafel and Tahini Sauce

Speaking of sharing things what are you up to on May 31st? This sweet little blog turns two at the end of May and last year it was SO fun to see many of you at the first anniversary party. Wanna have another party? I’ll cook. It will be delicious. There will be drinks. But seriously. Please just come celebrate with me. I would be over the moon.

Homemade Falafel and Tahini Sauce

Mark you calendar- My 31st. Be there or … I don’t know. I have no threats to make. Just come. It will make me happy. I might make you some pitas.

Homemade Falafel and Tahini Sauce

One year ago today: Baby bok choi and mushrooms and risotto primavera

Homemade Falafel with Tahini Sauce (makes XXX)
From Just a Taste

For the falafel:
2 cups roughly chopped white onion
6 garlic cloves
2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained
1 cup lightly packed parsley leaves
1 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ cup all-purpose flour
Canola oil, for sauteing
Pita bread, for serving

For the tahini sauce:
1¼ cups plain yogurt (full fat or non-fat)
¼ cup tahini (sesame paste)
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Add the onion and garlic cloves to the bowl of a food processor and pulse just until they are finely minced. Remove the mixture and set it aside.

Add the chickpeas, parsley, cilantro, salt, chili powder, and cumin to the bowl of the food processor and pulse until they are roughly blended but not pureed.

Return the onion mixture to the food processor, along with the baking powder and just enough flour so that when you pulse the processor, the mixture begins to form a small ball and is not sticky. (Note: Start by adding ¼ cup of flour, and then the remaining ¼ cup. You can add more if the mixture is still too wet.)

Transfer the falafel mixture to a bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 1 hour.

While the falafel mixture is chilling, prepare the tahini sauce by whisking together the yogurt, tahini and lemon juice. Season it with salt and pepper, cover it and place it in the fridge.

Once the falafel mixture has chilled, use a small ice cream scoop or spoons to form the mixture into balls (roughly 3 Tablespoons per ball). (Note: You can also add additional flour at this point, if the mixture is too wet to scoop.)

Set a large sauté pan over medium heat and add a liberal amount of canola oil so that the pan is well-coated. Let the pan pre-heat for 3 minutes then add the falafel one by one, browning them on the first side for 3 minutes, then flipping them once and browning the second side until the mixture is cooked throughout.

Transfer the falafel to a paper towel-lined cooling wrack and immediately season them with salt. Repeat this process until you have cooked all of the falafel.

Place three or four falafel inside a halved, warmed pita and drizzle with the prepared tahini sauce.

Homemade Falafel and Tahini Sauce

Sweet Potato Hash Browns with Ketchup Aioli

BRUNCH!

Easter absolutely screams brunch to me. Even though I don’t think I have ever done an Easter brunch. We are mostly ham and deviled eggs sorta people around here.

Sweet Potato Hash Browns with a delicious Ketchup Sauce

Something that has eluded me (and continues to elude me) has been hash browns. I can’t count the number of times we have tried to make them. If you know the secret please share with me. I am at a total loss.

What possessed me then to try and make sweet potato hash browns is also a mystery. I do however know that they.turned.out. Stop the presses. I actually made crispy potatoes in a pan. Well sweet potatoes but crispy fried potatoes nonetheless.

Sweet Potato Hash Browns with a delicious Ketchup Sauce

These were immediately devoured as soon as I was done taking pictures. The sauce really takes this one step further. I urge you to make it. And make it with craft ketchup. Remember Red Duck? We did a couple recipes with them recently and I am developing recipes for them on a monthly basis now.

Trust me- this sauce will only be as good as the quality of your ketchup so make it count.

Sweet Potato Hash Browns with a delicious Ketchup Sauce

So make em for brunch. Or make in the afternoon and devour the evidence before anyone else gets home. Just make em!

Ps. I really think the reason this works so well is the rinsing then draining/squeezing in a towel of the shredded potatoes. At least that is what I am telling myself. So drain and squeeze well! Get those puppies as dry as you can.

Sweet Potato Hash Browns with a delicious Ketchup Sauce

 

One year ago today: Flourless chocolate cake

Sweet Potato Hash Brown with Ketchup Aioli (makes 10-12 patties)
From High Heels to Hot Wheels

2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled & shredded
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons egg whites
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup safflower oil (if frying)

1/2 cup reduced fat or fat free sour cream
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoons fresh chives, finely chopped
Dash salt & pepper

For the Sweet Potato Hash Browns
Place shredded potatoes in a colander and rinse until the water runs clear. Let drain for about 10 minutes. Wrap the potatoes in a clean dish towel and squeeze to pull out liquid. In a large bowl, combine potatoes, onion, garlic, egg whites, olive oil, salt & pepper. Stir to coat and combine evenly. Heat safflower oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat. Once oil is hot, place about 1/4 cup of potato mixture into pan (being careful of oil splashes). Fry for 4-5 minutes per side depending on thickness of potato cakes. Using a slotted spatula carefully remove cakes from oil and place on a paper towel lined plate to absorb excess oil.

For the Ketchup Aioli
In a bowl, combine sour cream, ketchup, chives, salt & pepper. Stir to combine completely.

Serve the warm patties topped with sauce and extra chives.

Sweet Potato Hash Browns with a delicious Ketchup Sauce

Coconut Cream Pie Date Balls

A little over a year ago I found myself in the home of a lovely friend and she served me the most delicious date balls. I even shared them with you remember?

What I didn’t share with you was the funny interchange that happened when I asked for the recipe. She looked at me puzzled. A bit like I was lost. “A recipe?” she asked. “You just throw things together!”

Um. I had never had the privilege of making anything of the sort so she obliged and hunted down a recipe that resembled her fantastic creating. It was an instant hit around this house.

Coconut Cream Pie Date Balls

After the second or third time of making these date balls I realized why she looked at me so strangely. It really is just as easy as throwing things in the food processor and turning it on. Granted it has to be things that you like and that will go well together but seriously… just throw things in there and whir!

Date balls are a staple around here. So are Lara Bars when I am too lazy to make my own date balls. My absolute favorite Lara Bar flavor is coconut cream pie. Shorty after learning to make date balls I started reading the ingredients on the back of Lara Bars and crafting date balls with similar ingredients.

Coconut Cream Pie Date Balls

These are such a win. And so incredibly delicious. The toddler loves them. Nathan and I snack on a couple as a sweet after dinner treat. They come together in an instant and are so very forgiving of proportions or additions and subtractions when it comes to ingredients.

Make a batch. Then be brave and branch out. Use different nuts. Or add cocoa power. Maybe a different dried fruit like cranberries. Oh I bet apricots would be divine!

Coconut Cream Pie Date Balls

One year ago today: Rye caraway scones and peanut butter cookies 

Date Balls (makes about 30)
Mine

4 cups dates (pitted if they aren’t already)
1/2 cup unsweetened dried coconut plus more for rolling
1 cup cashew (or pieces as they are infinitely cheaper)
1/2 cup coconut oil

Add all of the ingredients (except the extra coconut for rolling) to the bowl of your food processor. Pulse until it is finely ground and is paste like. Scoop out with a spoon and roll into balls. Drop the balls on the extra coconut in a bowl or a plate and roll around till well coated. Place on a tray. Chill in the fridge and enjoy.

Coconut Cream Pie Date Balls

Lemon Poppyseed Cake

Are you ready for me to instill some confidence in you about this cake? It baffles me.

Mostly it is delicious but it was definitely one of those things that turned out every which way. Tasty always but annoying.

I made a total of three batches of this cake in rapid succession. It was a cake all around weekend with me helping to make the cupcakes for two toddler birthday parties and having the privilege of making a cake for a baby shower I was hosting.

Lemon Poppyseed Cake

The first time I made it I made a double batch but I didn’t come out with enough cupcakes for both parties so another batch ensued. Both batches were delicious but the second was cooked ever so slightly less time and was less dense. Neither was better than the other just different.

The last batch I baked in a bunt pan like the recipe called for. Delicious in the end but I struggled to flour the bunt pan. Yes. You read that right. I struggled with something in the kitchen. So the cake you see here pictured is less than beautiful as it has huge clumps of flour on it.

Lemon Poppyseed Cake

Maddening I tell you. No one complained. All were met with rave reviews and devoured quickly. And who who can say no to poppyseed and lemon? Certainly not me.

The first batch I skipped the lemon glaze till long after the cake had cooled. It was delicious but I recommend following the directions and putting it on while the cake is hot. Also these are the STRANGEST directions if you ask me. I contemplated ignoring them and making it my own way several times but opted to try it just once. And it works. Who knows why or how it works but it does. So just trust it.

Lemon Poppyseed Cake

One year ago today: Spicy whole grain mustard

Lemon Poppyseed Cake (serves 10-12)
From Rose’s Heavenly Cakes

2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
3/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. sour cream, divided
1 1/4tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups (8.7 ounces) superfine sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
5 tsp. loosely packed lemon zest (from 2 large lemons)
1/3 cup poppy seeds
14 Tbsp. (1 3/4 sticks; 7 ounces) unsalted butter, at 65 to 75 degrees
Lemon syrup
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp. (4 ounces) sugar
6 Tbsp. lemon juice freshly squeezed

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 10-cup metal fluted tube pan with butter and then with flour. In a medium bowl, whisk the whole eggs, yolk, 1/4 cup of the sour cream, and the vanilla, just until lightly combined.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, lemon zest, and poppy seeds on low speed for 30 seconds. Add the butter and the remaining sour cream. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Raise the speed to medium and beat for 1 1/2 minutes. The mixture will lighten in color and texture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Starting on low speed, gradually add the egg mixture in two parts, beating on medium speed for 30 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. Using a silicone spatula or spoon, scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface evenly with a small metal spatula. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a wire cake tester inserted between the tube and the side comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center.

Shortly before the cake is finished baking, make the lemon syrup. In in a small saucepan over medium heat heat the sugar and lemon juice, stirring often, until the sugar is dissolved. Do not allow it to boil. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, place the pan on a wire rack, poke the cake all over with a thin skewer, and brush it with about one-third of the syrup. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Invert it onto a 10-inch cardboard round or serving plate. Brush the top and sides of the cake with the remaining syrup. Cool completely and wrap airtight.

Lemon Poppyseed Cake

Enchilada Quinoa Black Bean Casserole

We have done black bean enchiladas before. So ridiculously good.

I have thing for enchiladas. They might, just might, be one of my all time favorite foods. And since I can make my own sauce I can whip them up whenever I want. Which I don’t. Because I can be lazy like that. Aren’t we all?

Enchilada Quinoa Black Bean Casserole

Then the idea floated across Pinterest to just toss the sauce with quinoa and other goodies and bake. Yes please.

What a simple recipe to throw together. Skip the cheese and it is vegan. Use or make a gluten free sauce and it’s gluten free. Which, in the circles I hang out in, something that can easily be vegan AND gluten free is a real winner.

Enchilada Quinoa Black Bean Casserole

We topped our with avocado and limes. I’m sure cilantro, sour cream, and even guacamole would be welcome additions.

Simply put it is enchiladas with WAY less hassle. And a bunch of veggies. I was thinking as I was making it that you would easily roast up some veggies and include them. And if you are an omnivore or someone who doesn’t think it is a complete meal without meat adding in some shredded chicken or pulled pork would totally be appropriate.

It makes a ton to invite company over. Just sayin.

Enchilada Quinoa Black Bean Casserole

One year ago today: Honey Cake and On Delivering Dinner (my favorite post ever)

Enchilada Quinoa Black Bean Casserole (easily serves 8+)
From Two Peas and their Pod

1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red pepper, seeds removed, diced
1 orange pepper, seeds removed, diced
1 cup corn frozen kernels
Juice of 1 small lime
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 (15 oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed or three to four cups cooked on your own
2 cups red enchilada sauce
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. Add quinoa and water to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Cover quinoa and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic. Sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add in the peppers and corn. Cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add the lime juice, cumin, chili powder, and cilantro. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

In a large bowl, add the cooked quinoa and black beans. Add the sautéed vegetable mixture and stir to combine. Pour in the enchilada sauce and stir. Add 1/2 cup shredded cheese. Pour the black bean and quinoa mixture into the prepared baking dish. Top with remaining shredded cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and edges are bubbling. Remove from the oven, and let cool for 10 minutes. Garnish with toppings, if desired. Serve warm.

Enchilada Quinoa Black Bean Casserole