Tzatziki

September 30, 2013 § Leave a comment

Oh Greece, I miss your yogurt ice cream, your history, your islands. If you missed the recaps of my trip, you can check them out here, here and here. My favorite meal on the trip was in the Plaka (old town area of Athens). We sat in an alley way at a small table for two, sipped sangria and noshed on Greek salad, meat pie and tzatziki. Perfection. Tzatziki is typically served with gyros, as a sauce for other meats, with soups or with a loaf with bread at the beginning of a meal. I like it with veggies.

Making food from a trip is a quick way to transport me back to that place. This tzatziki was a simple way to do that. We ate ours with homemade baked falafels and salad, which is a clash of ethnic food. It was still delicious.

Ina’s original recipe I used says to use plain Greek yogurt strained through a sieve with either cheesecloth or paper towel. I did that but nothing ended up straining so I think using plain Greek yogurt is the best option.  And using fresh dill, garlic and lemon will punch up these flavors.  

Tzatziki
from Ina Garten

Ingredients

  • 1 lb plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 English (hothouse) cucumber
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 lemon)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1-1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1-1/2 tsp freshly chopped dill
  • pinch pepper

To Make

1) Cut the hot house cucumber in half and remove the seeds using a spoon. Leave unpeeled and grate. Mix with 1 tbsp salt. Place in a fine mesh sieve, put over a bowl and let drain in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours.
2) Squeeze as much liquid out of the cucumber as you can after the hours in the refrigerator, place in large bowl. Add in the greek yogurt, sour cream, white wine vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, dill and garlic. Stir to combine. Taste and add pepper and salt as needed.
3) Serve immediately, or let it sit in the fridge for another several hours to allow flavors to combine. Enjoy!

Nutella Rice Krispies

September 23, 2013 § Leave a comment

Nutella rice krispies? I know what you’re thinking. Either a) that’s amazing b) that’s madness or c) rice krispies are lame. If you think rice krispies are lame I’m not sure why you’re reading my blog to begin with, but that’s okay. We can just move on and you can make these and then get over your rice krispie hatred. My initial thoughts were a combination of a&b so I made these about two days after I first heard of them (usually I pin something and then remember I pinned in 3 months later and then make it, which I why you may see pumpkin stuff here in February). Back to the krispies – I had to give away half of them so I wouldn’t finish the pan by myself that afternoon.

Anyway, to make the magic happen we combine butter and marshmallows over low heat and stir stir stir. When they’re good and melty, mix in a cup of nutella. Don’t skimp. I did and things can get a little too crumbly. Then stir this into a giant amount of rice krispie cereal (off brand is cool!) and press into a well greased pan. Don’t skimp on pan grease either. Finally we make an awesome topping. Choco chips, more nutella (!!) and coconut oil. Melt, spread on top, chill and you are in business. ENJOY and SHARE! (from Chef-In-Training)Ingredients

  • 6 cups rice cereal
  • 1, 10 oz bag marshmallows
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup Nutella
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup Nutella
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

To Make

1) In a small sauce pan, over low-med heat combine marshmallows and butter. Stir often until the marshmallows are melted and well combined with butter. Remove from heat and stir in Nutella.
2) Measure rice cereal into a large bowl, pour in mallow mixture and stir.
3) Grease 9×13 inch pan. Pour in rice krispie mixture and press down well using clean hands. Set aside.
4) To make topping: using small sauce pan melt chocolate chips, Nutella and coconut oil together. When mixture is smooth pour over rice krispies, spreading to even it with the back of a spoon. Refrigerate for several hours. Cut using a sharp knife and enjoy!

Instant Oatmeal

September 18, 2013 § Leave a comment

Once I bought a Costco sized box of instant oatmeal packets. They sat in our pantry for six months and I only used them once in awhile, like for camping. Normally I’m really into oatmeal and things but I think the large quantity I had kind of freaked me out. I’m not sure why. Probably has something to do with my psyche. We’ll examine that later.

 Anyway, once I finally used them I refused to buy individual oatmeal packets anymore. A couple weeks ago I had the craving and wanted them to bring to work with me. Thankfully I stumbled upon a recipe from the Kitchn for homemade instant oatmeal.  

The secrets? Quick cook oats and grinding 1/3 of them in a processor to a coarse powder. Makes it stick together and cook effectively with just boiling water.

It’s incredibly east to put together, really cost effective and really customizable. I like my oatmeal a little creamy so I add powdered creamer, but if you want non-processed ingredients feel free to skip it. Cashews are also my latest nut-jam but sliced almonds would also be amazing. And you can use any sweetener or dried fruit you want. Make it your own!

One note on sizing: I always used to use two instant oatmeal packets for one meal (I eat a lot, okay?) but with this I used 3/4 cup in one bag/bowl and its the perfect size! Add 1 cup boiling water and it’s perfect so figure out how much works for you and go with it.

Homemade Instant Oatmeal
from the Kitchn

Ingredients

  • 6 cups quick cook oats
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup powdered creamer
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup cashews, shopped

To Make

1) Using a spice grinder, coffee grinder or food processor grind two cups of the oats coarsely.
2) Add the ground oats, whole oats, salt, brown sugar, creamer to a large bowl and mix well. Lastly stir in the raisins and cashews.
3) Put between 1/2 and 1 cup of oats in a bowl (or in individual bags) depending on the serving size you want. When ready to eat add in 3/4 cup boiling water per 1/2 cup of oats mixture you have. Stir, let sit for 3-5 minutes and enjoy!

Lentil Soup

September 13, 2013 § Leave a comment

This one time I got really upset when the internet went out at our house and the open network worked for everything but my main computer. Frustration was high. I was annoyed. I also felt emotional because I wasn’t with my best friends anymore after a soul-reviving weekend.

Then I remembered there is real life tragedy. People in Colorado have lost their homes to flooding, Syria is happening and there are families dealing with death and cancer. Life is truly hard and sad for people beyond not having internet and missing friends. Real talk. And I needed that mental reminder.

The best I can do right now is thank God for the things I have and pray for those in the midst of horrible things. I wish I could make everyone a bowl of this lentil soup, some bread and love them with comfort food.

To me, soup is one of those foods you make for people that need love, even if it’s me and I need some comfort. If you feel inclined, chop some veggies, pour in some chicken broth, add spices and love on someone that needs it. Thanks for letting me real talk.

Lentil Soup
from my mother-in-law

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 2 stocks of celery, sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 4-8 cups of chicken or vegetable stock (can substitute 1/2 of this for water)
  • 3 medium red potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1, 15 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 lb of lentils (I use green usually) , rinsed
  • bay leaf
  • salt and pepper to taste

To Make

1) Heat olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Add garlic, cook for one minute. Then add in onions, carrots and celery and stir occasionally; until onions are clear.
2) Add in 4 cups of stock, lentils, potatoes, tomatoes, bay leaf and S&P. Once boiling, bring down to a simmer and cook for about 45 minutes, adding more water or stock as it cooks. Once lentils are cooked and potatoes are tender, season to taste and add in liquid until soup is desired consistency.

I like to serve it with a big hunk of bread while warm. Also great as leftovers, and will keep for several days in the fridge or in the freezer for later. Enjoy!

Herbed Simple Syrup and Lemonade

September 6, 2013 § 1 Comment

Does anyone else refuse to believe summer is ending? Labor day weekend came and went (I worked) and all of a sudden sun and vacations are gone. I REFUSE to believe it. I’m gonna keep going on going on vacations and drinking lemonade.

I don’t know whats taken me so long to make simple syrup. Its just so…simple. Equal parts sugar and water. And if you happen to have herbs even better. This time my simple syrup batch included about half a cup of mint, torn into a pieces. I also did a second batch with 5-6 sprigs of thyme.To make the lemonade I juiced 8 lemons. My arms may have gotten a workout. I got about one and half cups of lemon juice. I mixed it with half a cup of sugar and about three cups of cool water. Then, as the cherry on top I combined the simple syrup with the lemonade, the ratio was about 3:1 (lemonade:herbed simple syrup). And added some ice and mixed well. It was fantastic. So refreshing and tasty! Regular lemonade is old news now.

Ingredients for simple syrup

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • fresh herbs (1/2 torn leaves, or 5-6 sprigs depending on the herb)

To Make
1) In a small saucepan combine water, sugar and herbs. Over low-medium heat stir consistently until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool. Store in refrigerator for up to one week.

Ingredients for lemonade

  • 1 and 1/2 cups fresh lemon juice (from about 8 lemons)
  • 3-4 cups cool water
  • 1/2 cup sugar (or more depending on preferences)
  • Ice

To Make
1)Mix lemon juice, water and sugar. Top with ice and stir.
2) For herbed lemonade combine 1 cup lemon juice and 1/3 cup simple syrup (or to taste), add ice and enjoy!

Roasted Tomatoes

September 4, 2013 § Leave a comment

The day I made these was a very stereotypical Seattle day. I woke up, went to yoga and then the farmers’ market, and wore my chacos, then came home and used all my fresh produce to make these amazing roasted tomatoes. I’m okay with stereotypes as long as they have delicious outcomes!

The key to this recipe is delicious cherry tomatoes. All the other stuff you add makes them even better but without a good base to this you aren’t going to reach the fullest potential. I didn’t even remove the little stem parts from the top before roasting these.

You’re then going to top with lots of delicious things, fresh thyme, sea salt, little bit of brown sugar, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. See where this is going? Then they’re roasted to perfection. 

Now, onto the cheese. I lucked out and discovered this gem at the market. It’s lady smith. It’s like an amazing cross between ricotta and mozzarella. Perfection, basically. You can use whatever your favorite soft, mild cheese is. The original recipe calls for ricotta.

Now we add a delicious carb base, like baguette and we are good to go. Toast this, combine and enjoy. Now, this had lots of possibilities. I had leftover cheese and tomatoes and so I made a really good pasta later on in the week, and used the bread to go with soup for lunch.

Roasted Tomatoes with Ladysmith Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb of cherry tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 5-6 springs of fresh thyme
  • 4-5 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • sea salt
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 lb of soft cheese, such as ricotta
  • baguette, thinly sliced

To Make

  1. Preheat oven to 325. Wash and dry your tomatoes and spread on a pan (can use an 8×8 or baking sheet with sides). Drizzle on olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Toss with thyme, garlic, salt, brown sugar and red pepper flakes.
  2. Roast in oven until tender and caramelized and tomatoes start to burst, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven.
  3. Turn oven on to broiler, place slices of baguette on baking sheet, coat with a little bit of olive oil and place under broiler until toasted, 3-5 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven, top with cheese and several tomatoes. Enjoy!

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