Drinks

174

Tahini Date Shake (V, GF)

If you didn’t already know, I’m a big tahini fan. It’s basically¬†grownup peanut butter and it just adds something a little more special¬†to recipes that call for nut butters. Now, I’m not quite ready to whip up any tahini and jelly sandwiches, but I’m very into adding spoonfuls of it to cookie dough, dressing, hot chocolate, and smoothies/shakes! Since it’s now officially summer, I think it’s high time to spend any free moments sitting outside and drinking cold drinks. And that often means cool and creamy tahini shakes. Basically a milkshake for breakfast everybody, get excited! I’ve made a pact with myself to take¬†fifteen minutes every morning to drink one of these (or these) and read a few pages of very important literature¬†and not think about anything else. And then those precious minutes are over and it’s back to writing cover letters and freelance article pitches and crying being excited by the challenge of not knowing what’s ahead.

In other news, Emily and I are currently up to our ears in blue¬†frosting and chocolate chili cupcakes because we got a catering gig! And I must admit, getting paid to chop cilantro and whip buttercream and marinate shrimp is not at all a bad thing. In fact, it kinda really rocks. So general announcement, if you ever are in the market for someone else to make your food for you, drop me a line here because we’re a bargain and the food is slammin, if I do say so myself. And now for some links that made me smile:

A breakfast sandwich crawl sounds like my kind of adventure.

Goals

Food52 featured my Minty Orange Gimlet in a cocktail roundup to toast summer hooraaaay~

Co-owner of Tartine Chad Robertson’s ideas for the future: eco-robotic bread baking. ‚ÄúYou can source your grain from a regional economy, you can fresh-mill it, and you can bake 20,000 loaves using robots.‚ÄĚ yes ok.

The other owner of Tartine (incidentally, Robertson’s wife) Liz Prueitt has some pretty fucking fantastic things to say about women who want to work and have a family and not be questioned about how they “do it all.” She does not mention robots.

I can’t stop watching this video idk idk idk.

O’Neill’s rant about red velvet cake on OITNB was probably the funniest thing that’s ever happened on the show.

Someone buy me tickets to the Saveur cookout for my birthday even though my birthday isn’t for five months plz?

ps- Happy Father’s Day to any dads out there! So glad mine was happy to take me back in after graduation (although I have a sneaking suspicion it’s mostly because I make dinner every night…)

Shake (serves 1)

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup date water)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons chia seeds
1 tablespoon tahini
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 pitted deglet noor dates
1/2 frozen banana
ice
1 teaspoon coconut oil (optional, for added energy boost)
1 shot rum or kahlua (also optional, you might not want to have it for breakfast with this addition) 

Soak the dates in hot water for ten minutes and chia seeds in warm water for five. Combine everything in a blender and really let it rip for a while to break up the dates (unless you’re super lucky and own a Vitamix, in which case the whole thing will take about 20 seconds.) Consume solo or with your favorite breakfast cookies (pictured: Laura Wright‘s Ultimate Breakfast Cookies!)


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Breakfasts, Snacks

173

Zucchini Carrot Muffins (GF)

In the past few days, I’ve realized it’s completely possible to lose hours upon hours in the food internet world. I’m home alone for the most part now, which was an extreme rarity at school. Someone was always around to break up my excessive perusal of food blogs and goodfoodjobs.com and Grub Street and Eater and Munchies and– I think I should stop there. The moment of realization came the other day when¬†I sat down at my computer with a giant mug of coffee at 9 in the morning and was in a media haze until my phone rang well past noon. Not the best. And while baking can break up the day to an extent, even that can get a little cumbersome. There are only so many cookies I can bake before I need to either get a bigger freezer or more friends to help me eat everything (speaking of which, if anyone is hungry and in Montclair, there are at least three¬†brownies or compost cookies with your name on them. I’ve gotten rave reviews by the smart folks who’ve taken me up on this so far, just saying.)

I want to get into¬†more ambitious kitchen projects now that I’m no longer a full-time student. Recipes than don’t have to come together in less than an hour and then are just dumped in the freezer. That always seemed to be the case this past year as I did my best to keep up the blog and an acceptable GPA and some semblance of a social life. I really want to throw a fancy food¬†party complete with lots of unique kitchen experiments and some sort of festive theme (something like this or this. Or this if I really dreamed big/had more than ten square feet of table space.) But planning a food party takes a lot of time and energy. And cleanup. So the few parties we ended up throwing turned out¬†much¬†more akin to a typical college soiree..the only food that was ever present was Jello shots. And one time someone who worked at a bakery in town showed up with freshly baked bread and cookies. As proud as I am of my Jello shot makin’ skills, I’m just dying to tackle a more intense food party. Hopefully this summer I can make it happen. Not to brag or anything, but I do have a very snazzy fire pit in my backyard soooo.

Some things I plan to make for these food parties that may not actually ever happen:

This Fig And Walnut Bostock. Looks like if french toast and bread pudding got together inside a really trendy cafe.

A fluffy, crunchy (two adjectives you didn’t think go together, I bet) Pavlova with strawberry rhubarb cream and pistachios.

I think I’d forget how on the fence I am about tomatoes while making this heirloom tomato tart..it’s just so pretty.

These savory cheddar waffles are also making me question my tomato ambivalence.

I’m 100%¬†invested in learning how to grill and these jerk chicken kebobs¬†are calling to me. As are these shrimp skewers.

Who isn’t a fan of anything cooked in beer? I want to make these mussels asap. They’re also apparently the best thing to serve at a dinner party anyway so I think I’m on the right track.

And also because I’ve spent so much of this post talking about food parties, I think it’s only fair you all watch a few episodes of this, as that is its title. And it is the weirdest, coolest thing ever.

Until I can gather up some people to actually eat all the things I plan to make for these food parties, I’m sticking with recipes that can be easily frozen and defrosted as family and friends¬†want to indulge. Hence these muffins. Don’t be scared by the veggies in the title, cooked carrots are super sweet and zucchini has essentially no flavor alone, and when baked up with sugar and coconut oil and cinnamon it has no flavor at all! Some baked recipes that involve zucchini instruct one to squeeze all the water out of the veggies before adding them to the batter. Not the case here; the water helps loosen up the very thick batter and ultimately makes a more tender muffin. Also, don’t be afraid of garbanzo bean flour. It may seem weird to use a chickpea-based ingredient in a sweet breakfast item, but it’s really just mild and creamy. And it’s full of protein- in fact, it has the same amount as almond flour, so it’s a really great alternative if you’re looking for an alternative to putting nuts in everything, as I’m currently attempting. I also used coconut sugar, which has the same ratio as regular sugar when swapping, but is infinitely better for the body. I felt like they were sweet enough with 1/4 cup of sugar (mostly because I love slathering jam on muffins, which obviously adds a lot of sweetness,) but you do what makes you happy. I also feel like 1/4 cup of cocoa nibs or chocolate chips would be extremely good thrown in here for good luck. Happy breakfasting!

Muffins (makes 12-15)

1 1/2 cups garbanzo bean flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/4- 1/2 cup coconut sugar (depending on how sweet you like muffins)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup finely shredded carrots
1 cup finely shredded zucchini
1/4 cup raisins or craisins (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a muffin tin with solid coconut oil or cooking spray.

In a mixing bowl combine both flours, baking powder, sugar, salt, and spices.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the melted coconut oil, eggs, yogurt, and vanilla; stir to combine. The batter will be thick, resembling cookie dough.

Add the shredded carrots and zucchini (and raisins if using) and combine. F

ill the muffin tins halfway-3/4 of the way full and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the edges are golden. Devour with butter, honey, jam, date cream, yogurt, or au naturel!

 


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Breakfasts, Desserts

171

No-Bake Seedy Mocha Coconut Slice (V, GF)

First post back in my trusty Jersey kitchen! I’ve missed it so. The weirdly yellow speckled floors. The full-sized food processor. THE DISHWASHER. I can’t even describe how many times in the past few days I’ve started washing things¬†by hand and then remembered I can just toss it in a thing¬†that will clean the dishes for me!! No more waking up to a sink full of things I was too lazy to clean the night before. Truly a miracle.

As much as I love having certain things¬†back, it sure is weird being in a real house again for the long haul. I realize like four times a day l have yet to turn off all my alarms telling me about work shifts at the museum and production meetings at the theatre. I can’t remember where I left my bag or shoes or iPod or sunglasses because I can’t just throw them into the same corner of my apartment every time I come home anymore (my roommates totally loved me, can you tell?) I’m taking a big risk if I leave my computer plugged in unattended because a certain member of the household likes to sharpen his fangs on electrical cords when no one is watching. On the other hand, it’s a dream come true to be able to jump in the car and be five minutes away from Whole Foods. It’s actually going to become a problem soon. I like grocery shopping way too much, don’t judge meeee. I’m also growing quite fond of this whole waking up to a¬†pot of coffee already brewed thing. And having a big tv instead of my tiny laptop to re-watch all of Mad Men explore important documentary films. I’ll start my summer job soon enough, but until then I’ve really been getting into having nothing to do. And I’ll continue being a big fan for maybe another week, then I’ll start to go insane and probably begin crafting again. But we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Let’s talk about food. Specifically this recipe. It originated¬†from a recipe by my all-time favorite vegan blogger¬†Ashlae of Oh, Ladycakes. While rummaging in the fridge for dates, I found a container of prunes. And because I’ve been trying real hard to broaden my food-horizons lately I ate one. I was not a fan. Que sera, sera. However, the texture was very promising, as in it resembled a perfectly moist date. Lo and behold, pruney date crust is slammin’! And while I’m not too fond of them on their own, when blended with super sweet dates and nuts and coffee and chocolate, they add a whole new world of flavor. So don’t knock it til you try it, trust me!¬†The greatest thing about this treat is that it’s totally substantial enough to be breakfast, but decadent enough to have for dessert (with a healthy dollop of whipped cream, duh.) PS- if you have a nut allergy, omit the almonds and almond milk; bump up the oats to 1 1/4 cup, the pepitas to 1/4 cup, and swap the almond milk for the water your dates/prunes have been soaking in! Also thx to Emily for being my hand model extraordinaire~

Slice (adapted from Ashlae Warner, via eHow)

1 cup raw almonds
3 tablespoons pepitas
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon coffee grounds
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
heavy pinch vanilla sea salt (or just normal, I won’t tell)
12 deglet noor dates
3 prunes
2 tablespoons cocoa nibs
1/4 cup almond milk (or date water)
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract (optional)

3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
6 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 tablespoons maple syrup

shredded coconut, chopped almonds, cocoa nibs, crystalized ginger, dried chopped fruit, etc. (for topping)

Make the crust:¬†Place the dates and prunes in a bowl and cover with hot water. Set aside for at least ten minutes. Drain, reserving the water to replace almond milk in this recipe (or for adding further deliciousness to a¬†smoothie!)¬†Blend the almonds, pepitas, coconut, oats, coffee, cocoa powder, and salt in a food processor until it turns into a fairly fine meal. Add the dates, prunes, cocoa nibs, and extract (if using) and blend until combined. Add the almond milk or date water and pulse until the mixture forms large crumbs. Press the mixture into an 8 or 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom (or if you’re me and just moved all your kitchen equipment from one home to another, use whatever you have hanging around that vaguely resembles said tart pan; in this case, a spring form pan. See, they’re not just for cheesecakes!) and¬†put it in the freezer to make it bake.

Make the topping:¬†Whisk together the coconut oil and cocoa powder until smooth, it will resemble melted chocolate. Add the maple syrup and whisk well. (Spoiler alert: this is the BEST and easiest vegan chocolate frosting if you’re ever in a pinch.)

Put it all together: Take the crust out of the freezer. Working quickly, spread the topping over the crust with an offset spatula and sprinkle with additional desired toppings! Good luck getting this to last over two days, but Ashlae assures us it will keep in the freezer for up to 6 weeks!


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Breakfasts, Desserts

170

Basic Chia Pudding (V, GF)


I’ve been training myself recently to like foods I’ve been weirded out by in the past. So far I’ve succeeded with mushrooms, the outside (but not insides) of zucchini and tomatoes. Jello too- though does it count if I only consume it when raspberry flavored and mixed with vodka in shot form? Aheh. It’s all because of¬†the texture. I’m not really about gelatinous things, but I’m working on it. Next on the list: chia seeds. How do you feel about these bad boys? I’m okay with them as egg replacers in vegan baking for sure, and recently have come around to throwing a tablespoon or so in my morning oatmeal and granola bowls, where the food gets eaten before the seeds fully gel. Since it’s a huge thing all over the blogosphere, I figured I kinda had to give chia pudding a try. So I did. And I’m still not quite sure how I feel about it. I made it unsweetened first, just to experiment. That was pretty bleh by itself, but very good in oatmeal and smoothies.¬†However, when drowned in maple syrup and nuts/seeds I was a big fan, as it was fairly comparable to rice pudding. But really, what isn’t good with syrup? I also discovered that it’s totally a thing to blend it up, which is much more¬†attractive to me (see above re: texture issues.) I think I’ll try that next time, along with the chocolate. I definitely still have some experimenting to do in this category, so stay tuned.¬†In the meantime, check out these things:

This is everything.

I had a rice burger the other night from a Korean food truck- literally two sticky rice patties filled with spicy pork, kimchi, and veggies wrapped up tightly in an aluminum foil blanket. It was sweet and spicy with a side of sweet potato chips and oh my goooodness it was slammin. From what I can gather on the internet, it’s called a “bob burger,” (no, not because of the tv show..) as rice is Žį• in Korean and was then Romanized as ‚Äúbab‚ÄĚ or ‚Äúbob.‚ÄĚ Is this correct? Someone inform me! Anyway, I could’ve eaten about twelve of them and will be devoting a great deal of my time to making my own in the future. I’m a big, big fan of burgers one can eat with a fork.

Ikea has PLANS for our future and I’m not sure how I feel about it.

I can’t wait to be back home -in¬†8¬†days (?!!!??)- purely so I can take full advantage of this quiz all the time.

New Anthony Bourdain cookbook coming soon !!!! sadosidjahuisdoisdpd I’m only a little excited

Wes Anderson designed a cafe, because apparently Milan wasn’t already trendy enough?

PS- Happy Mother’s Day to any Moms reading today!

PPS- I made a Twitter, because one of my post-grad goals is to understand all the social media things. Someone help me learn how to do this!

Chia Pudding (serves 2-4) 

scant 1/3 cup chia seeds
1 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
2-3 tablespoons maple syrup, honey, agave, etc. (optional)

Whisk up all the ingredients and pour into a jar/your desired vessel. Place in the fridge for at least several hours, preferably overnight so the seeds fully gel (I know- ick) and achieves pudding consistency. Top with nuts, dried/fresh fruit, and maybe even some coconut whipped cream!


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Drinks

169

Coffee Ice Old Fashioned (V)

So yesterday I had my last classes at Smith. The final ten minutes of my very last class consisted of listening to people read a scene from the short play I’ve been working on this semester. I’ve written a lot of short scenes before, for this course and when I took playwriting I two years ago, but I’ve never done a fuller-length piece. I wanted to actually commit to something this semester. I wanted to make something that wasn’t food or a drawing, because I’ve made a whole lot of those and it’s time to try new things already! I wrote a 37-page play, and apparently it was not bad at all! Spoiler: I’m very self-conscious about my writing. About my place as a person who does any academic work, honestly. I guess I know the source of that problem, and I probably shouldn’t let it get to me, but that’s not a story for the blog- at least not today, anyway. This is a meandering way of commenting on how pleasantly surprised I was to hear people laugh at the lines I wrote to be funny; to hear someone actually refer to one of my characters’ actions from a scene read earlier this semester; to listen to my professor’s encouraging comments about words I wrote for the sole purpose of just making something. It was kind of a beautiful way to finish my work here. #feelings, amirite? Class ended and I left the theatre building (geesh, how many times have I done that this year?) and had one of those weird moments where I stopped and realized that was it. I’m done. Okay, technically, I still have to write five more pages of a paper and finish up a few other things, but really, I’m done. Done with college.¬†I honestly don’t know whether to cry with joy or genuine fear. Mostly it doesn’t feel real at all. So while I’m figuring out how to feel about the fact that I graduate in -count ’em- seventeen days and then find my way back to Jersey, let’s talk about this cocktail I made last night.

If you’ve been a reader of Spices and Spatulas for a while, you’re well aware of the fact that I’m a big fan of coffee. A true caffiend, as I’ve mentioned. While deep down I know that the best way to start the morning is with a big glass of water, I never do it. If I don’t have coffee within the first 15 minutes of being awake, I start to get a little grumpy. If I don’t have more later in the day, I’ll start to get a really terrible headache. Which, honestly, is actually probably really bad and I should work on weaning myself off it a bit. But that day is not today. Today, we will be putting coffee in liquor (again) and everyone will be buzzing out of their skin and it’ll be delicious. PS-¬†I know the brown ice isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing, but just accept it; it tastes AMAZING. Also, yes, I did I fact use a $1 nip of Jim Beam because I am classy.

Cocktail (serves 1)

3 coffee ice cubes (see below)
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1 1/2 ounces Bourbon or Rye Whiskey
2 dashes bitters
orange slice

Make the coffee ice cubes:¬†Brew a strong pot of coffee and let it cool to room temperature. Pour into ice cube trays and freeze. If you’re really on your cocktail game you should make them in this tray; much prettier than the tiny ice. You’ll only need 3 for this drink, so throw the rest in a freezer bag and to cool iced coffee without it getting watery! (and maybe make yourself a frozen mocha¬†or throw a few into a milkshake.)

Make the cocktail: Put a¬†rocks glass in the freezer.¬†Dissolve the brown sugar in 1 tablespoon water and set aside. Remove the glass from the freezer and place¬†3 coffee ice cubes in the bottom of it. Pour the sugar mixture over the ice, then do the same with the Bourbon/Rye and bitters. Swirl it all together and garnish with an orange slice, adding a little extra squeeze of juice if you so choose. Sip slowly for a mellow but intense buzz, sip fast if you’re tryna get weird. Either way, you just got a bit¬†closer to being¬†this guy.

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset


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Breakfasts

168

Fruit and Grain Breakfast Bowl
(V,GF…but only if you want it to be)

A few mornings ago¬†I woke up and went about my routine¬†as usual. I fumbled around with the coffeemaker, put away some dishes; you know the drill. But the greatest thing happened when I opened the living room door/window: instead of being greeted with the usual chilly 7am wind, there was a -dare I say it-¬†warm¬†spring breeze!! I honesty can’t describe how happy it made me. So, being a weirdo, I dug out my *shorts* from the bottom of my pile of winter leggings and ran around outside for a while with a giant smile on my face (c’mon, let’s be real, running > homework.) And then, to make things even better, when I got to my favorite park, I found that ALL THE SNOW HAD MELTED! Now, I understand¬†that most of the snow has been gone for weeks, I’m not that unobservant. But since I’ve been living in the theatre for the past month, the last time I ran outside was easily back in early March. I couldn’t even¬†see¬†the asphalt path in the park, let alone run on it. So it was a really big moment for me, as you can likely tell.¬†I got back home and realized¬†that I didn’t need a steamy bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. I could have something cold and it wouldn’t even matter! So I gathered up my trusty oats and about a million different fixin’s and set out to make a giant bowl of happy spring food. It’s not really cooking, but I thought I’d share the “recipe” with you guys anyway. Make it with all the things I suggest, or don’t; it’s up to you!

Spring just feels right. Don’t get me wrong, summer is where it’s at -I’m a large proponent of Birkenstocks and cutoff shorts and falling asleep in the sand on a beach- but spring has some kind of weird power. I can’t completely place it, but it’s wonderful. I keep saying this over and over because it’s kind of a revelation. But, y’know, one that obviously happens literally every year and is probably not super exciting to others. It is to me, though. In fact, I was talking about¬†this very feeling the other day. Walking along the Northampton bike path, it was windy and the sun was warm on my face and I just kept feeling that I’d been in that exact moment before, but at the same time it was completely new. The resolution for what exactly spring feels like? It’s deja vu mixed with hopeful anticipation, and perhaps a small side of nostalgia. Don’t you agree? Think about it over a bowl of the following recipe while I go drink this cup of coffee in the sun on my patio.

Breakfast Bowl (serves 1)

1/4 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 cup your favorite cereal (I’ve been very into this and this¬†lately)
1/2 tablespoon chia seeds
handful dried cranberries and/or raisins
1 tablespoon cocoa nibs
1 large piece crystalized ginger, diced
1 tablespoon roasted sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons dried shredded coconut
1/2 large green apple, chopped into tiny pieces
2 tablespoons cooked quinoa
your preferred type of milk or yogurt

things I did not have in my kitchen, as it’s been quite a while since I’ve been grocery shopping, but would be slammin in this:¬†
banana
grapes
fresh or dried raspberries
strawberries
dried apricots
toasted pepitas
other nuts, raw or toasted

I like to build this bowl starting with dry ingredients and ending with the wet/damp, but you should do whatever your heart desires. Top with milk or yogurt and enjoy, preferably outside!


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Desserts

166

Honey Hazelnut Brownies (GF)

 

If I were one of the seven deadly sins, I’d be gluttony. Growing up, I was 100% never the kid who got distracted by TV or a gameboy¬†or playing outside during dinnertime. I’ve always been all about the food. Still am, if you didn’t already get that. It doesn’t really matter what the food is. Be it a plate of raw-vegan-paleo-something¬†or a sleeve of Thin Mints, I really don’t care. I will want to finish¬†whatever I can find. That’s why I make an effort to surround myself with good food. It doesn’t have to be spinach, but it does have to have some kind of body/mind health benefit. So that’s a way of saying that while I do eat a great many brownies, they aren’t filled with milk chocolate (pffff) or 3 cups of bleached sugar or anything like that.

I’m sure there are others like me out there- those who love to eat all the things, but still care about what they put inside themselves. That’s why I’m sharing (another) recipe for good-for-you brownies. It’s similar, but just different enough to be a completely unique¬†brownie experience. My favorite part of this recipe was hands-down the coconut oil. It made the brownies smell so good. Even after they’d cooled and were hanging out in the fridge- spoiler alert, when these bad boys are cold, they’re even better. But maybe that’s just me. This was also the first time I’ve sweetened brownies with honey and I must say, it’s my new favorite thing. There’s something about using honey instead of regular sugar in¬†a dessert that makes it more interesting. You know the thing you’re eating¬†is sweet, but it’s not a¬†usual kind of¬†sweet. You must mull over the complexities of your dessert by having another brownie. And then another. It’s basically homework. I may or may not have crumbled them over several bowls of¬†pistachio gelato¬†during my analysis of honey vs sugar dessert. It was very important work.

Speaking of overindulgence, Heinz and Kraft are merging to form one giant superfood company (but not this kind of superfood. More like this kind.) What does this mean? That Kraft singles will now come with ketchup packets so we can finally always be ready to make a proper grilled cheese??! One can only hope..

Brownies

1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 tbsp cocoa nibs
1/3 cup chopped hazelnuts

Line a baking tray with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk the wet ingredients until smooth and set aside. Whisk together the almond flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt, then add to the wet ingredients and combine. Fold in the chopped chocolate, cocoa nibs, and hazelnuts. Bake 20-25 minutes.

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Sides, Snacks

Za’atar Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Last semester I had a lot of free time in the mornings (read: first class at 1 pm). I could wake up, casually drink coffee, go through class readings and actually take notes- not just skim and pull out talking points. I could make breakfast at 10, when I truly felt like eating, instead of at 7:30, when anything but caffeine makes me feel icky. Because breakfast happened at a respectable hour, there¬†was no need for lunch until 3 or so, which was just about when I was finishing¬†class, so I would mosey on back to the apartment and figure things out. It was a pretty good deal. This semester is much much busier, which¬†really changes up my food routine. Mornings are less about breakfast quinoa¬†and Joy the Baker’s podcast and more about figuring out how to simultaneously eat yogurt and put on a coat.¬†Don’t even get me started on lunch on the go; I can barely get through¬†salad at a designated eating table without making a mess. Imagine how that works at a desk in an office or classroom or costume/scene shop, which is where I find myself this semester at lunchtime. It’s an issue.¬†Throw in the whole it’s thirteen degrees outside + body craving all the comfort food and we have the perfect storm.

The biggest problem with trying to find satisfying¬†things to eat when it’s freezing and one is pressed for time? Making said enjoyable food not microwaved cookies. At least, not every day..¬†So¬†for those moments when I’m looking for something a little better -while also maintaining a semblance of table manners- I always find myself back at the humble sweet potato.¬†Considering that for some reason I have little desire to eat savory food until it’s dark out (idkidk I’m a nut), but know deep down this is a really poor choice health-wise, I’ve started making sweet potatoes for lunch..and dinner and midnight snacks. I roast a whole bunch at once and then eat half a potato once or twice a day for the next week! They manage to hold their own with pretty much every spice. Sometimes I go cinnamon and ginger; others it’s thyme and dried mustard. But my all-time favorite is a za’atar-dusted (zahtar? zatr? romanization ahhhh) potato with just a pinch of harissa. If I was a really good food blogger, I’d make my own versions of these spices. But alas, I am still a major procrastinator and usually end up looking at Instagram when I could be throwing together a quick batch of za’atar. Someday I’ll get myself together. In the meantime, I recommend this brand! And this harissa spice has done me well. The potatoes do take a while to bake, but you can get so much done in the time they’re hanging out in the oven- plus the kitchen will smell like Thanksgiving, you tell me if that’s a problem. So there’s really no downside. For dinner, I like making these with quinoa or lentils, saut√©ed kale, and half an avocado. For lunch I’ll snack on them with cashews and dried cranberries, so I get my sweet craving out of the way. Don’t get me wrong, it may not seem as satisfying as melted chocolate or mac and cheese, but for a bunch of healthy food it feels pretty darn decadent.

Potatoes (recipe makes 4 halves, easily multiplied)

2 sweet potatoes
olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon za’atar
1 teaspoon harissa spice
black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with foil. Wash and scrub the potatoes. Slice off the tips of both ends and cut in half lengthwise. Rub the halves in olive oil and salt. Lay potatoes on the baking sheet and sprinkle with the remaining spices. Bake 30-45 minutes, depending on how big your potatoes are. Let cool completely then store in the fridge for about a week (good luck lasting that long) in an airtight containter!

 

 

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Drinks

159

Negroni (V, GF)
+ Food-Themed Valentines

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! I hope you’re¬†all looking forward to spending today with someone¬†you¬†love (Netflix totally counts right?)¬†Regardless of who or what you’re planning to hang with today, it is without a doubt you’ll be in need of a stiff cocktail at some point. So of course, I’m going to share a red drink to stay on theme. It’s a Negroni, which happens to be one of my all-time favorite cocktails. It’s simple and elegant, but packs a punch..it is allll liquor. I love ordering them at different places, as every bartender makes their Negroni¬†a little differently. But I also really am a fan of making this cocktail at home. The 1:1:1 ratio couldn’t be simpler, and the orange peel really knocks it out of the park.

Not to get too sappy, but I am so happy that you all read my blog. You’re my Valentines this year. I wanted to give every reader a Valentine because there are so many amazing food blogs, and any time you spend reading mine instead of the billions of others is so appreciated. I obviously had to find something food related, and in my search I discovered that apparently there are many¬†vintage valentines involving hot dog puns (??) and a lot of food with faces. Pretty cute stuff, guys. Just fyi, I don’t own any of these images, but I do think they’re adorable and I wanted to share them in a handy way so I made little Valentine sheets! Click¬†here¬†and¬†here¬†to see them, print a million, and give them out to everyone you know!

Negroni

1 oz gin
1 oz Campari
1 oz sweet vermouth
orange peel

Add gin, Campari, and vermouth to a cocktail shaker. Give it a good shake and pour into a martini glass or a rocks glass with ice. Garnish with orange peel. Sip many.

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Drinks

157

Clementine Hot Chocolate (GF)

There’s a real-feel temperature of -9 today in Northampton, and it’s pretty much been like this for a while,¬†which obviously¬†means I have a strong(er than usual) craving for hot chocolate on a regular basis. In the summer months, that craving turns into chocolate ice cream, but for right now, I’m sticking with the cocoa. I’ve started making up different recipes, normal and dairy-free; with and without funky additional flavors, to try to find my favorite. The contenders¬†started out rich and heavy: tahini, Nutella, peanut butter, almond butter, coconut cream. While each pot of these spread-based cocoas came out unbelievably decadent, I really couldn’t handle more than half a mug’s worth before having to take a rest. And coming back to room temperature chocolate is not the dream. So I thought, how about extracts? They kick coffee up a notch for sure. And indeed, peppermint hot chocolate was seasonally appropriate in December, and anise cocoa went really well with sugar cookies, but both fell a little flat in terms of a “Go To Recipe”, y’know? Then I started remembering a million years ago, when I used to find those amazing chocolate oranges in my house’s chocolate drawer- yes, we have one of those, no joke. (Also I had no idea these chocolates were still being made until I found that link and am now struggling not to order all of them). The best thing about chocolate oranges was that both flavors complimented each other perfectly, neither canceling out the other. So I think at that moment, I knew orange was the route to take. But of course, I only had clementines in the house at that point and just couldn’t bring myself go to the grocery store to buy one¬†orange, so I figured what the hell; orange, clementine; potato, potahto, and such.

Sometimes, the kitchen gods smile and and give you a hot chocolate recipe that is satisfying enough for dessert, light enough for a mid-morning snack; completely chocolatey, but still exciting and different. Definitely a recipe I will make for years to come. So, with the snow blowing around¬†here for snowpocalypse2015¬†-the first act of which (last Tuesday) seemed to be a bit of a hoax in Northampton, while¬†today’s blizzard feels much more eerie–¬†I can’t think of a better time to make another cup for myself, pray the power doesn’t go out, and share this recipe.¬†Feel free to make it 100% vegan (or 100% not) according your personal preference!

Hot Chocolate (serves 4)

2 cups 2% milk
2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 tbsp brown sugar
zest of one clementine (or orange)
4 tbsp dark chocolate cocoa powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
water

In a medium saucepan, heat both milks over medium heat. While milk is heating, whisk together all other ingredients in a small bowl. Add tablespoons of water one at time to chocolate mixture until smooth. Add chocolate to milk and heat!

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