Cherry Cobbler

Most of the time, I don’t have the heart to bake with fresh fruit that is delicious (i.e. blueberries, cherries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, etc.).  I usually think they should be enjoyed, raw, delicious and completely on their own (I don’t understand putting sugar on strawberries!), as nature intended.

But if someone gives me some fruit and asks me to bake something with it, do you really think I’d say no?

Cherry Cobbler

from All Recipes

3 tablespoons butter (I used EarthBalance)*
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk*
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup boiling water
3 1/2 cups fresh pitted cherries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spread cherries in a greased 9 inch pie pan or 9×9 square baking dish.   Combine the first seven ingredients in a bowl. Spread the mixture over the cherries.  Combine the 1 cup of sugar with a tablespoon of flour and a cup of boiling water then pour it over the batter and cherries.  Bake for 45 minutes.

*Use non-dairy milk and Earthbalance to make it vegan.

Potential Problems You Might Face in Making This Cobbler:

  • Pitting the cherries if you don’t have a cherry pitter.  –> Solution: Enlist the help of a friend.  Slice the cherries in half and pull out the pit with your fingers.
  • Temptation to eat the entire thing –> Solution: Give it to the friend who helped with the pitting.
  • Feeling that you need an occasion to make this.  –>  Solution: New season of Mad Men started last night, make this next Sunday and have a piece with Don Draper and an Old Fashioned.

Was anyone else as sorely disappointed as I was at that first episode last night?

Wafflezone-o-wich?

Nope.  Those aren’t burnt waffles.

It’s a waffle, pizza, calzone, and a panini all in one!

Okay so I have no idea if I read about this or dreamt about it.  Let’s be realistic, I probably read about it because I doubt I could be this creative.

Actually nevermind, let’s pretend I’m great and I thought it up all on my own.

I made a quick whole wheat pizza dough by mixing together:

1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or just 1 cup WW flour and omit all purpose)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/8 tsp yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
3/4 cup warm water
1/2 tbsp olive oil

After kneading it for about 2 minutes.  I let the dough rest for about 10 minutes.  Then I divided it into two equal sized pieces and on a well floured surface, rolled each piece VERY thinly.  I topped one side with some pasta sauce, kale (obviously), smart dog and 1 string cheese.  I put the other thinly rolled piece of dough on top and sealed the edges by folding over and pinching together.  After I put it in a heated waffle iron for 5 minutes.  The dough shouldn’t reach the edges, you’re going to squish it down so it’ll get there but leave about an inch of room all around.

It got a little messy in the spots where the sauce oozed out.  But it was completely worth it.

Perfect for days like today when turning on the oven could easily qualify as murder.  Not to mention it takes about 20 minutes total to make and if you use store bought pizza dough, the process takes less than 10 minutes.

Also fun because I’m obsessed with this waffle maker!  While these were delicious, there’s always room for improvement.

A few suggestions:

  • Roll the dough very thinly,  maybe don’t use all the dough.
  • If something is in chunks (i.e. kale and smart dog in this situation), chop them very finely.  Big chunks are okay but I bet it would be less messy if the chunks were smaller.
  • Reduce the sauce or just use tomatoes.  Ragu is a little more runny than other sauces.  I’d reduce it a bit (or maybe I was just over zealous with the sauciness, as I often tend to do).

I should also note that this waffle maker is huge!  So one waffle is enough for two people.

If you have a waffle maker, try it!  Super easy and relatively healthy!

Glamorous

Little known fact about me: I love spy movies.  A lot.

Last night, I saw

I was entertained.  Probably a little over the top (okay REALLY over the top) but better than a lot of other movies I’ve seen recently.

For some reason, movies always portray spy life as pretty glamorous.  It’s probably not, but it’s still my secret dream job.  In the meantime, I’ll fake the glamorous lifestyle.

For example: Last week, the Biscotti Queen and I made a glamorous cocktail.

I scoop of your sorbet of choice (we used grapefruit)

Top it off with champagne.

Let it fizzle.

Enjoy.

Okay so life’s not going to be that glamorous the next few weeks.  I’m moving twice in the next 2 weeks!  Not fun! But before that there’s the weekend!  Have a good one!

Introducing the Biscotti Queen

Looks can be deceiving.  Sometimes I make things that look good, like this

But really they’re not that great and end up in the trash.

On the other hand, sometimes the lighting in a room isn’t the best so your pictures don’t turn out fantastic, but the end product is AMAZING.

You’ve seen Sara on here a lot.  She will from now on be referred to as the Biscotti Queen.

Why?  Because she makes biscotti that will make your Italian grandmother jealous.

I’ve tried to make biscotti numerous times.  It never turns out right.  But the Biscotti Queen has got it down. Way back when in January, she even sent me some in the mail!

Chocolate Hazelnut and Ginger Biscotti

from Epicurious

1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
1/3 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.  Mix in 3 eggs until combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips, hazelnuts and crystallized ginger.  Turn mixture onto a floured surface and shape into two logs, flatten to about an inch and a half high and 3 inches wide.  Transfer to a greased and floured baking sheet, brush with a beaten egg and bake for 35 minutes.

Take the logs out of the oven, reduce the heat to 325F.  Allow to cool about 10 minutes then cut into 1/2 inch slices.  Bake again for 7 minutes on each side.  Then drizzle with melted white chocolate if you’d like and give them as goodies!

We also made some White Chocolate Espresso biscotti, but sadly white chocolate does not work that well.  It all melted away and just left holes!  Still tasted delicious though!

The point of that is photos can be deceiving and the Biscotti Queen makes amazing biscotti!

Have a great day!!

Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream

Apparently, it’s National Ice Cream month.  Good thing I took my neighbor‘s ice cream maker hostage.

After you read this recipe and try it, you have to promise me you will never EVER again buy Ben and Jerry’s Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream.  This one tops it.  That’s right.  I said it.

I took these pictures and put the ice cream back in the container but saved a spoonful for myself to try.  About 30 seconds later, I went back to the freezer and put the scoops I had returned to the container back into my bowl.

Then I had to brush my teeth and basically strap myself down to keep myself from eating more.

Better Than Ben and Jerry’s Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream

adapted from Kitchen Chick

1 cup smooth peanut butter
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup whole milk
1 1/3 cup half and half
1/2 tsp vanilla
7 Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, chopped

In a bowl, mix together the peanut butter and sugar.  Gradually stir in the milk, half and half and vanilla until the peanut butter is dissolved.  Chill in the freezer for a few minutes (about half an hour should be fine).  Put in the ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.  In the last 5 minutes of turning, drop in the pieces of Reese’s Peanut Butter cup.  Freeze for a few hours and serve.

This evening, I took it over to Sara(who will from now on be called the biscotti queen, I’ll tell you why another day)’s house.  It cannot be around here.  You can probably tell, this stuff is faaaaaaaaattyyyyyyy!  It’s one of those once a year type things.

Speaking of once a year… Yesterday was my friend Daniele’s Birthday!

Hey yo Daniele, Happy Birthday yesterday!!  Miss your face!

And Rhoda, we all always miss you!

Honey Coconut White Chocolate Chip Ice “Cream”

Do you ever have those days where you spend the day doing random things and you don’t realize time went by SUPER fast?

Today flew by. I woke up late, I think it was 9:00am.  Had pie and cucumbers for breakfast (not together).

Went for a fantastic 5.5 mile run.

Hung out with this lady

Basically we were ridiculous (as we usually are).  We went by Six Mile Creek Vineyard for Sara to pick up some wine.

We also made ice cream (I’ll tell you about that one later in the week) but first let me tell you about this stuff I made at some point last week.

Honey Coconut White Chocolate Chip Ice “Cream”

2 cans of coconut milk**
1/2 cup honey*
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup shredded coconut

In a bowl mix together the honey and coconut milk.  Chill for a few minutes in the freezer or in the fridge for a few hours.  Pour into your ice cream maker according to manufacturers instructions.  In the last 5 minutes of turning, drop in the white chocolate chips and shredded coconut.  Freeze for a few hours in a container before serving.

**I used one can of full fat coconut milk and one of light coconut milk.  You can also use two cans of full fat, which will make it taste even more delicious and the texture will be creamier.  I don’t suggest using two light cans.  I tried that and it turned out too icey.

*To veganify use agave nectar instead and vegan white chocolate chips.

Lovely and (almost) Dairy Free!

It also happened to go perfectly with the champagne brownies I made a few days ago, which by the way turn into full on FUDGE once chilled.

All sorts of amazing.

I need to give Slick Rick back his ice cream maker, ASAP!  There CANNOT be this much ice cream in my freezer!

What was the highlight of your weekend? I had a dinner party last night, super fun. Stay tuned for that!

Brownies and the French

July 14th was Bastille Day.

I’m not French.

I know that, but I’d take any excuse for a party and baking.

Some friends had a party, Sara and I made Champagne Brownies

and I tried to look French because obviously a black dress with a sassy look and an odd hairdo screams Je suis française!

But really, Champagne, we can call that French, right?

I’m not sure we should call these brownies brownies though.  They should probably just be called fudge.  They’re dense and bittersweet and intense.

Champagne Almost Fudge Brownies

adapted from Couture Cupcakes

1 lb of unsweetened chocolate (i.e. baker’s squares or coco powder+oil)
12 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar (omit if you use sweetened chocolate)
4 eggs
3/4 cup flour
1 cup champagne

Preheat oven to 325F.

In a large pot on low heat, melt together the chocolate and butter.  Remove from heat.  Add the salt, sugar and vanilla.  Stir together to combine.  Stir in 1 egg at a time until just combined.  Add the flour stirring until just combined.  Add the champagne and stir until incorporated.  Transfer to a greased 9 x 13 baking pan.  Bake about 40 minutes.  Allow to cool completely (I would even say you can chill them), cut and serve (with ice cream or on its own).

So rich!

I kept up with the French theme this morning (two days later).

Omelets are French.

Zucchini Goat Cheese Omelet

1/2 tsp olive oil
3 tbsp diced onion
1 small zucchini, diced
1/2 cup chopped chard or kale
1/2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley or basil
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup egg substitute  (or 3 eggs, beaten)
1 oz goat cheese

In a small skillet, heat oil, add onions and zucchini cook for a few minutes until zucchini is almost tender.  Add chard and cook an additional minute or two.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside.  Spray a medium skillet with cooking spray and put on medium/low heat, add eggs, cover and cook until eggs are pretty much cooked through (no longer jiggle when shaken) about 4 minutes.  Carefully flip the egg using a spatula, sprinkle with goat cheese and vegetable filling, fold over and transfer to a plate.

Sprinkle with a little more parsley and serve with a slice of homemade oatmeal bread.

Very light and tasty.

This omelette only has 200 calories, must be why French women don’t get fat.

We’ll just forget about the brownies.

The Pros and Cons of a CSA Share

Hi friends!  Hope your day is starting out well.  This morning I went to a TERRIBLE spinning class, but we won’t talk about that.  Instead, let’s talk about vegetables.

I’ve had my CSA share for about a month now.

Overall I’d say it’s been great.  Here in Ithaca, having a CSA share is pretty common, but I know in other places it’s not.  So why not do some pros and cons. Feel free to chime in with some comments!

Cons:

1. My salad spinner is my new best friend.

With a CSA you don’t have the luxury of packaged/pre-washed vegetables.  Preparing things takes a bit longer as everything has to be washed, trimmed, chopped, etc.

2.  No more green monsters everyday.

I haven’t gotten any spinach in my share so I’ve been going through green monster withdrawal.  I actually went to the grocery store at one point this month ONLY to buy spinach so I could make a green monster.  I tried it with JUST kale, it was NOT good.

So sometimes you miss certain vegetables.  I also haven’t had a carrot since May even though I used to have one every day.  But I have plenty of other vegetable options.

3.  Eat cautiously.

Because the veggies are so fresh and haven’t traveled far, I’ve found my fair share of worms in my lettuce.  Some would see this as horrible, but I don’t think it’s that big a deal.  If anything, it’s a marker of freshness.

Added bonus: helps me slow down (as I tend to eat very quickly) when I have to inspect each bite 🙂

4.  Somewhat pricey?  I’m torn on this one.  My share ends up costing $19 per week.  For that amount, I have unlimited local organic vegetables.  For one person, that might be a lot but I think if I bought the same stuff (entirely local and organic) at the grocery store it would probably cost more.

Pros:

1.  Supporting local agriculture.  You can feel good about yourself… or something.

2.  Plenty of organic vegetables!

Having a CSA share has definitely made me increase my vegetable intake.  Since I don’t have the heart to throw anything away, I eat a huge bag of vegetables each week usually something to the effect of: 2-3 bunches of kale, 1 head of lettuce, a kohlrabi, some broccoli and a cucumber.  Kind of a lot.

3.  Forces you to get creative.  A lot of times, you’ve never heard of a vegetable that’s in your share (check out my first experience with kohlrabi).  But a lot of times you don’t want to eat the same vegetable prepared the exact same way for weeks on end.

So you try to get creative, like this:

Vegetable Polenta Bake for One (or Two)

1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
1 small yellow squash, thinly sliced
1-2 cups greens (I used kale and chard)
1 cup pasta sauce (jarred or homemade)
1-2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
1 oz mozzarella (I used 1 string cheese)
1-2 tbsp grated paremesan/pecorino romano/asiago cheese
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 cup water
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt

Heat oil in a pan, add onion and cook for a few minutes (until translucent), add garlic, zucchini and yellow squash and cook for a few minutes (it shouldn’t be cooked all the way).  Next add greens and stir around until they start to wilt.  Add pasta sauce and stir until greens have cooked down.  Turn off the heat and stir in the parsley.

In a small pot or sauce pan, combine cornmeal, water, garlic powder, onion powder and salt.  Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Once cornmeal starts to thicken (aka polenta), keep stirring until the polenta starts to come off the sides.

Take a small baking dish,  spread half of the sauce/vegetable mixture in the baking dish, then on top of that spread half of the polenta.  Next top with half the string cheese/mozzarella and half of the parmesan.  Repeat.

Bake in the toaster oven for 20 minutes.

Allow to cool.  Either eat it straight from the dish for another single lady (or gent) meal or serve on a plate with a simple green salad.

Ingredients from CSA in this dish: zucchini, yellow squash, kale and chard, parsley. + side salad with lettuce and cucumbers from CSA as well.

4.  Less trips to the grocery store!   Since I pick up at the Farmer’s Market once or twice, I make less frequent trips to the grocery store.  As a result, I spend less on things I don’t really need.  Because let’s face it, who actually sticks to their shopping list when they go to the store?

5.  It’s fun!  If you’re like me, vegetables are probably one of the most exciting things ever!  You get fun new ones every week!

Do you have a CSA share?  Consider getting one?
Any Pros or Cons I missed?

Naturally Nutty Zucchini Muffins and a Wine Trick

A few nights ago, my roommate and I were talking about muffins.  Yesterday morning after my nap (at 10:30am!  Isn’t that nuts!??!  I’m ridiculously tired these days) I was inspired.

Naturally Nutty Zucchini Muffins

1/2 cup Naturally Nutty Cinnamon Vanilla Sunflower Butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup egg substitute (or 1 egg)
1/2 cup milk
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 small zucchini, grated (about 1 cup)

Preheat oven to 350F.

Cream together the sugar, sunflower butter, egg and milk.  Add whole wheat pastry flour, baking soda, and baking powder  and mix together.  Fold in grated zucchini.  Place in greased muffin pan and bake for approximately 20-22 minutes.  Makes 10 muffins.

I have to confess the whole reason I made these up was because I wasn’t a fan of the Naturally Nutty Cinnamon Vanilla Sunflower Butter.  I got two jars a while back from one of Kath’s Open Sky deals.  While it tastes okay, I’m not a HUGE fan of it on its own.

However, baked into these, it tastes good!  If you don’t have Naturally Nutty Cinnamon Vanilla Sunflower Butter on hand you can use 1/2 cup of any nut butter + 1/2 tsp vanilla + 1/2 tsp cinnamon!

These aren’t the sweetest thing in the world but they’re tasty enough for a baked treat.  Definitely not bad for about 150 calories. But honestly, not what I was  expecting.   The batter tasted a million times better than the baked product.   Oh well.

A few days ago my friend sent out this video about opening a bottle of wine with a shoe. I can’t insert it here for some reason but watch it! It’s nuts!

So we tried it.  Here’s the recap.

We rewatched the video (tools ready).

Tapped the bottom.

Hit it against a wall and nothing.

Tried a door frame.

Hmmm maybe it has to be a real cork not a synthetic cork.  Good thing we have another bottle.  Start over.

Brick outside maybe?  Still looking for other hard surfaces.

Hmm maybe it’s the shoe.  Let’s try a cowboy boot (his, not mine, in case you were wondering).

Nothing. We’ll try again later.

We’re thinking maybe it has to do with the bottom of the show. We’re going to try with one of my hard bottom leather boots instead of a rubber soled shoe.

Isn’t that video nuts!?!?  Anyone speak French who can tell me if I’m missing something?

Baked Falafel

Today was much better than yesterday.  I was still pretty lazy but not NEARLY as much as yesterday.

I got my butt to the gym as soon as it opened (12:00pm, isn’t that crazyyy late?!?).  I did a FANTASTIC interval work out inspired by this lady.  Actually I wrote this work out plan on a little piece of paper with the intention of taking it to the gym with me, but left it at home as I often tend to do.  Instead, I made up my own on the spot.

5 min warm up
3 sets: (9 mins)
1 min 6.0
1 min 7.0
1 min 4.0

3 sets: (9 mins)
1 min 5.6
1 min 8.0
1 min 4.2

3 sets: (9 mins)
1 min 6.5
1 min 7.5
1 min 4.5

3 sets: (9 mins)
1 min 7.0
1 min 6.0
1 min 4.0

3 sets: (9 mins)
1 min 8.0
1 min 6.5
1 min 4.2

5-10 min cool down

LOVED IT.  I was a sweaty mess at the end.  The work out just flew by!  Probably helped that I was listening to an old school playlist that I hadn’t listened to in a million years.  I hate to admit it but I like running on treadmills.

I’m excited to do this again sometime this week.  Next time, I’ll do her actual work out.  Definitely recommended!

Then I came home and made the most magical lunch ever!

Baked Falafel

adapted from Epicurious
1 cup dried garbanzo beans
1/2 large onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
4 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 tablespoons flour (I used sorghum flour, so I think they were gluten free)

Soak beans overnight in plenty of water.  The next days, put the garbanzo beans and onion in the food processor and pulse to roughly chop.  Next add remaining ingredients and pulse until combine.  Refrigerate mixture for a few hours (this is when I went to the gym and did the above mentioned fab work out).

After the  mixture is chilled, pre heat your oven to 375 degrees.  Form garbanzo bean mixture into 20 walnut sized balls.  Place on a greased baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.  Turn and baked for another 15 minute.  Serve on lettuce with cucumbers, tomato and yogurt tahini sauce.

Yogurt Tahini Sauce

1/4 cup greek yogurt
2 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp water (more or less depending on how thick you want it)

Stir together in a bowl and drizzle over falafel.   This recipe makes enough to serve 4 or 5.

In case you’re curious, this is the nutrition information for each ball:

Pretty tasty!  I will say that they can be rather messy to eat, God forbid I use silverware!

Of course after lunch I watched the World Cup Final.  Big surprise (I’m sure you’re tired of hearing about it, but it’s over now).

Spain won! I’m pleased!

Alright now back to my book!  Have a great night!