Monday, April 27, 2015

Harissa Zucchini Spaghetti Skillet

I recently discovered "zoodles," or zucchini noodles. It's popular among people doing the Whole 30 or Paleo diets, which I clearly am not. But the idea of using zucchinis (and other vegetables) in a new way was intriguing to me. I ordered a cheap $7 spiralizer from Amazon and decided to make this as my first "spiralized" meal.

Let's be clear here: this is just a creative way to eat zucchini. It is NOT in any way a replacement for spaghetti. I know people call them zoodles and claim they are better than pasta, but they are wrong. This is not similar. It just looks the same. BUT! If you like zucchini, you will enjoy this. Plus, the spiralizing process is fun.

The rest of the dish is similar to my favorite Roasted Cauliflower, Chickpeas, & Harissa dish (which I make all the time), but with some kale and eggs. The eggs aren't actually poached; they're just baked in the same skillet as the rest of the food. I don't like runny eggs so I poked the yolk so it would cook through. Just my personal preference.

This was good and was a fun introduction to spiralizing. I have many more recipes I'm hoping to make. We joined a CSA this year, so I'm hoping for an abundance of zucchini, and it's nice to have exciting ways to use them!

zoodles

Harissa Zucchini Spaghetti Skillet with Kale, Chickpeas, and Poached Eggs
Inspiralized

1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup diced shallots
1 cup diced tomatoes (or half a 14oz can of diced tomatoes)
2 tablespoons harissa
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 small pinch of saffron
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cups chopped kale
3/4 cup chickpeas
2 medium zucchinis, Blade C
2 whole eggs
Feta and chopped parsley, to garnish

Place a medium cast iron skillet over medium-low heat and add in the olive oil. Once the oil heats, add in garlic and shallots. Cook for 30 seconds and then add in the diced tomatoes, harissa sauce, cumin, saffron and season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine and let cook for 1 minute.

Add in the chopped kale, stir to combine and let cook until sauce is reduced. Once sauce is reduced, add in the zucchini noodles and chickpeas. Toss the noodles around until covered in the sauce.
Move the mixture around to create two pockets for the eggs. Crack one egg into each pocket. Cover the skillet and let cook for about 5 minutes or until egg whites have fully set.

Remove the cover, garnish with parsley and feta.

Yield: 2 servings

Cookie Monday: Soft Monster Cookies

Here is what you need to know about this week's cookie: I ran out by 12:30 PM. I RAN OUT. I've run out of cookies before, but not til the end of the day. Usually I have enough. These were great though, and word spread. And before I knew it, they were gone.

They have peanut butter mixed into the dough, and then have oats, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, and M&Ms folded in. My M&Ms are from Christmas, so the cookies are belatedly festive. I ran out of AP flour so I used a combination of that and some white whole-wheat pastry flour. I think this was actually a really good mistake because it gave the cookies a nice chewy texture.

I loved these and I think everyone else did, too. I would definitely make these again, but I'll make sure to bake more next time!

monster

Soft Monster Cookies
Sally's Baking Addiction

1/2 stick salted butter, softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup quick oats (not instant or whole rolled oats)
3/4 cup M&Ms (any size or variety)
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (can sub in some peanut butter chips, too)

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.

In a large bowl, using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars together on medium speed, about 3 minutes. Mix in the peanut butter, egg, and vanilla (in that order). Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Slowly mix in the baking soda and flour. Do not overmix. Fold in the quick oats, M&Ms, and chocolate chips. If the dough is very soft and unmanageable by hand, chill the dough for 30 minutes before rolling.

Rolls balls of dough, about 2 Tablespoons of dough per ball, onto prepared baking sheet. Press a few extra M&Ms on top for looks, if preferred. Bake for 9-10 minutes - do not bake past 10 minutes. The cookies will appear undone. Slightly press down the baked cookies with the back of a spoon, since the cookies only slightly spread in the oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Cookies will firm up as they cool. Store cookies covered at room temperature for up to 1 week. Cookies freeze well.

Yield: 30-40 cookies, depending on size

Friday, April 24, 2015

All-American Potato Salad

Woops, I forgot to actually finish telling you about the barbecue last weekend, besides just the amazing Crack Cake.

SO, this was my plate:
bbq
Cornbread, potato salad, grilled vegetables, tomato salad.

I don't have a recipe for the tomato salad, because a guest brought it. The vegetables were just seasoned with olive oil and grilled. We'll skip those.

My gentleman made ribs for the first time. He used this Alton Brown recipe. Everyone really liked it a lot, so if you eat meat you might want to look into it.
bbq

I also made the Best Cornbread In The World, which is still my favorite cornbread recipe.
bbq

And then I made this potato salad:
bbq

I LOVED this potato salad. Because you soak it ahead of time in a mustard sauce, the mustard is able to flavor the potatoes without getting all weird with the mayonnaise. It's so subtle and lovely. It was also great the next day (not that there was much left). I didn't add any celery because we were out. I didn't peel the potatoes because we prefer it that way. I would definitely make this recipe again next time.

All American Potato Salad
Food.com
From "Cook's Country by America's Test Kitchen," episode 106, "All-American Picnic."

2 pounds yukon gold potatoes
1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
3 tablespoons pickle juice, divided
1 large dill pickles, finely diced (1/4 cup)
1 small celery rib, finely diced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
2 hard-cooked eggs, cut in 1/4-inch dice (optional)

Peel and cut potatoes in 1" cubes. Place in saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring up to a gentle simmer and cook until tender, when a knife slides in and out of cubes without resistance, about 10-15 minutes. Drain potatoes and turn out onto a baking sheet.

Whisk mustard with 2 tablespoons of juice from a jar of pickles. Pour over hot potatoes and toss with fingers to coat. Spread out potatoes and refrigerate for 30 minutes until cool.

Combine pickle, celery, red onion and remaining 1 tablespoon pickle juice with salt and celery seed. Add mayonnaise and sour cream and whisk together.

Add potatoes and toss. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes longer. Add diced egg and fold to combine.

Yield: 8 servings

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Crack Cake

We had a barbecue this past weekend and I wanted to make a really exciting cake, but I reallllly did not want to put in much effort because I was already making so much food. In some magical twist, I had ALL of the ingredients available to make this cake. It's super easy. Mix everything together, dump it in a bundt pan, bake it for an hour. Then as soon as it's out, pour melted butter & white wine over it. It'll bubble and sizzle, like this:

cake

Then the liquid will soak evenly into the entire cake, and then you dump it out and you have the best cake EVER.

cake

The cinnamon flavor is strong, the wine flavor is not. It's amazing. I promise. I will make this again. Also, I used my Williams-Sonoma Nordic Ware Bundt Cake Pan, which I love love love.

Crack Cake
It's The Little Things via Pinterest

1 box Duncan Hines yellow cake mix
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 box vanilla pudding instant mix
2 teaspoons cinnamon
4 eggs
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup oil
1/2 cup white wine

For the topping:
1 stick of butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup white wine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the above ingredients by hand or hand mixer.

Grease a bundt pan.

Pour into pan.

Bake for one hour.

When cake comes out of the oven, melt 1 stick butter into 1 cup sugar and 1/4 cup wine.

Pour over hot cake.

Cool. Flip out of pan onto plate and serve.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter Fudgy Swirl Cookies

I made these for Cookie Monday this week. I did not double the recipe, and I got 4 dozen huge cookies. If you make the cookies smaller, you could probably get tons more. I used half regular cocoa, half hershey's extra-dark. This was a brilliant idea and made the cookies VERY chocolatey. Freezing the peanut butter is very important because it helps it to hold its place when you bake the cookies, other than melting everywhere or absorbing into the dough.

I couldn't take a picture because it kept looking like poop. I can't explain it. It was horrible. The cookies are delicious though. Bake them, and then you'll know what they look like!

Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter Fudgy Swirl Cookies
Picky Palate

1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 sticks butter, softened
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups good-quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat liner.

Place peanut butter into the freezer until firm, about 30 minutes.

In a stand or electric mixer, beat butter and sugars until well combined. Add eggs and vanilla, beating until well combined.

Place flour, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Add to wet ingredients along with cocoa powder, and chocolate chunks, slowly mixing until just combined. Drop dollops of frozen peanut butter into dough and turn mixer on for just a few turns of the mixer to get swirls of peanut butter through the dough. With a medium cookie scoop, scoop dough onto prepared baking sheet, about 1 inch apart from each other. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, until cooked through. Let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Yield: 3-4 dozen

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Double Tahini Hummus

Even though I recently discovered the amazing Restaurant-Style Hummus recipe, I saw this in a recent issue of Eating Well and felt like I had to try it. It uses dried beans and is extremely complicated - why wouldn't it make the best hummus ever in the world?

Well, it didn't. It took FOR EV ER to make. I covered the stove in starch when boiling them. My refrigerator smelled funny as the beans soaked. I used up the rest of the tahini I had in the house to make a nice big double-batch, and... was completely disappointed. I'm sure the guy who makes this for his restaurant is a hummus champion. I'm sure I just didn't do it right. But it wasn't worth it, even if it was done right. I'm going to stick to the other hummus recipe from now on.

hummus

Double Tahini Hummus
Eating Well

8 ounces dried chickpeas (about 1 cup)
1 tablespoon baking soda
7 large cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 cup cold tahini, divided
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice plus 1 tablespoon, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin, plus more for garnish
Paprika for garnish
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

Place chickpeas in a medium saucepan and cover with 2 inches of water; stir in baking soda. Soak overnight. (Alternatively, to quick-soak: Bring the chickpea mixture in the saucepan to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 1 hour.)

Drain the chickpeas and rinse well. Rinse out the pan. Return the chickpeas to the pan and cover with 2 inches fresh water. Add garlic. Bring to a boil. Keep at a rolling boil until the chickpeas are tender and almost falling apart, 25 to 40 minutes.

Reserve about 3/4 cup of the cooking water, then drain the chickpeas. Set aside 2 tablespoons of the prettiest chickpeas for garnish. Rinse the remaining chickpeas and garlic and set the colander over a bowl. Refrigerate the chickpea mixture, reserved cooking water and pretty chickpeas separately overnight.

The next day, combine the chickpeas, 6 of the garlic cloves and 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking water in a food processor (or blender) with 1/4 cup each oil, tahini and 1/4 cup lemon juice, salt and cumin. Process until creamy. Transfer to a serving bowl. Puree the remaining 1/4 cup each oil and tahini with the remaining garlic clove, 2 table-spoons of the cooking water and 1 tablespoon lemon juice until smooth.

Make an indention in the center of the hummus and spoon in the tahini-lemon mixture. Sprinkle the hummus with cumin and paprika, if desired. Garnish with the reserved whole chickpeas and parsley.

Make Ahead Tip : Cover and refrigerate hummus (without garnishes) for up to 5 days. Garnish just before serving.