Cakes and Rum Balls

I left Ithaca where it was a chilly 10F for California, where countless friends and family members had been bragging about the warm weather.

The second I landed, the weather turned rainy and cold.  It’s been raining for 5 days straight.  I have the worst luck.

So since I’ve been stuck at home, I worked on the never ending report! made a cake (among other things).

Okay really I made 2 cakes.  Both were mistakes.  My brother asked me to make a cake for a party he’s going to.  For some reason I thought his party was on Monday December 20th.  Nope, it’s on Thursday December 23rd.

Clearly a cake made on December 19th would be no good by the 23rd.  So instead, I took one to a party, and another was made for family friends.

Chocolate cake filled with chocolate mousse and frosted with raspberry whipped cream.

I didn’t try it, but I can only imagine it’s good.

Facebook wall confirmed.

Great!

Now, you know everyone favorite part of making layer cakes… leveling off the top?

Well I had a lot of leveled off cake tops after making 2 layer cakes.  So instead of stuffing my face, which ordinarily is my favorite thing to do.  I decided to make something exciting.

Chocolate Rum Balls

1 1/2 cups crumbled chocolate cake
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
2 tbsp dark rum
1 tbsp honey
Extra powdered sugar, cocoa powder, or melted chocolate

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

Any good Guatemalan household has Guatemalan Rum…

Use your hands to form it all into a mass.  Break off pieces and roll into one inch little balls.

Then you can roll them in powdered sugar, cocoa powder or dip them in melted chocolate.  Refrigerate for a few hours and serve!

My brother gave one to my niece; she wasn’t a fan.

Me on the other hand… I’ve eaten about 5 today… Clearly I hated them.

Now I need to figure out what cake to actually make for my brother’s gathering.

In the meantime…

 

Pumpkins and Leftovers

If there’s one thing I hate, it’s throwing food away.  After Thanksgiving, I was determined to not throw a single thing away.  Not even the meat.  I bought a twenty pound turkey, you better believe I was using every last bit of it.

While I usually don’t eat meat, I would rather eat it than throw it away.   So I make turkey noodle soup, using a sad looking turkey carcass (I’ll spare you the photo), some whole wheat pasta that’s been in the cupboard since August 2009 and a rather boring assortment of vegetables. The result:

Not too exciting… Turkey noodle soup.  But don’t you worry.  I brown-ified it and made it a million times better.

The magic additions?  Lime, sour cream and Goya Adobo seasoning.  Tastes like home.

In addition to a turkey, I also had half a large can of pumpkin puree sitting in the fridge.  No way that’s going in the trash.  2 solutions: Pumpkin Pizza and Pumpkin Biscuits

Pumpkin Pizza was inspired by a Well’s Vegetarian Thanksgiving recipe that someone brought for Thanksgiving.  I made a few changes.

Pumpkin Pizza

inspired by Winter Squash, Onion and Pine Nut Pizza

1 recipe pizza dough (I used Eating Well’s whole wheat pizza dough recipe)
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp dried sage
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp butter or olive oil
1 onion, sliced
about 1/2 cup grated parmesan or asiago cheese
1-2 tbsp pepitas

In a skillet, heat butter or oil (or both), add onions and cook on low heat for about 20 minutes until caramelized and sweet.

Preheat oven to 400F.  Make the pizza dough, shape into whatever pizza dough shape you would like.

In a bowl, mix together pumpkin, sage, nutmeg and salt.  Spread onto pizza dough.  Next layer on caramelized onions and pepitas.  Top with cheese and bake for about 15 minutes or until dough is golden.

Pretty delicious.  Definitely would make it again.

As for the pumpkin biscuits… who doesn’t love a biscuit.

Pumpkin Biscuits

inspired by Eggs on Sunday

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter, chopped
1/2 cup pumpkin, sage, nutmeg, salt mixture (same as pizza above)
1 tbsp yogurt (or more as needed)

Preheat oven to 450F.  Combine dry ingredients.  Cut butter into the flour mixture, then add the pumpkin mixture.  Using your hands combine to form a ball.  If you need extra moisture, add some yogurt (I used about a tbsp).  Once the dough is sticky but well combined, roll it out.  Using a cup or biscuit cutter, cut into 5 pieces.  Bake for about 9 minutes.

Goes great with turkey noodle soup!

Now that I used up all my canned pumpkin, I just need to find something to do with these sugar pumpkins…

What should I do with these??

Creamy Potato Leek Soup: The Cure for the Forgetful

I have a tendency to be very forgetful.  Aside from the little things like forgetting to pick up shoes or forgetting to shave my legs, there are the more important things in life like remembering to pick something up for a friend (sorry, Sara!!!!).

Consequently, I’m a fan of reminders.

I remind myself to sleep, exercise and eat well by leaving notes for myself.

I sometimes forget to eat protein.  So then I make up for it… 1 cup milk + 1 scoop protein powder + 1/2 cup mango chunks… blend, blend, blend…

I, apparently, also need a reminder to wash my travel mug daily so as not to depend on jars for transporting beverages.

I definitely don’t need a reminder that ugly omelets

made with egg beaters, cheddar cheese, mushrooms, onions, oregano and paprika have tons of protein too.

Next I need to find a way to remind myself that produce doesn’t last forever.

So if you’re forgetful like me and have a few leeks sitting in the back of your fridge for nearly a month, here’s something to save the day.

Creamy Potato Leek Soup

1 tbsp olive oil
3 leeks, sliced, white part only
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 small potatoes, peeled and diced
1 tsp dried thyme
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a pot.  Add leeks and garlic, cook until leeks are tender about 10 mins.  Add potatoes and thyme, cook for 10 more minutes, add broth and simmer until potatoes are tender.   In a small bowl mix cream with a bit of the soup, add mixture to the rest of pot.  Add salt and pepper.  Allow to cool then blend and reheat if necessary.

Serve with goat cheese!

Don’t forget to make this ASAP!

Lentils, Quinoa and Kale

I swear the weather in Ithaca has terrible mood swings! It’s cloudy and gross out today.

The day started off with more World Cup and waffles, but I’ll spare you that.  I’m sure your tired of hearing about waffles and the World Cup (not that I’m going to stop talking about it… more on that later).  In between games, I went for a run.  It was great!  5 miles that flew by! It probably helped that it was pretty cool out.

For dinner, I decided I should probably finish up the kale I got last Saturday before it goes bad.  This ensued…

Lentil, Quinoa, Kale Sautee

1 tsp olive oil
1 shallot, sliced
1 bunch of kale, cleaned and chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
1 cup cooked lentils
1 cup cooked quinoa
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup tomato sauce (aka pasta sauce, or sautee some fresh tomatoes and herbs with the shallot if you have them instead!)
3 eggs

Heat the oil in a pan, add shallot and cook for 2 minutes.  Add kale and cook down for a few minutes.  Stir in pasta sauce, quinoa and lentils.

While kale is cooking, boil some water to poach eggs.  Once water starts boiling, slowly slide in raw eggs and poach for 3 minutes.  Remove with a slotted spoon.

Serve quinoa, lentil, kale mixture on a plate, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and top with poached egg, because really everything tastes better with a runny yolk.

I like this because it’s quick, easy and healthy, but also because you can easily adjust the measurements to feed as many or as few people as you need.

Not gonna lie.  I’m a little bummed the US lost today (although I’m not completely surprised).  Sort of put a damper on my night.  Although I will say I’m looking forward to tomorrow!

Germany vs England in the morning.
Mexico vs Argentina in the afternoon.

My guesses:  Germany beats England.  Argentina beats Mexico.

I hope I don’t jinx them!

What do you think?  Not that into it?

I think I might do some baking tonight since 1) I’m a little bummed and 2) it’s not that hot and 3) I really have nothing else to do!

Have a great night!

Turnip and Kohlrabi Slaw

It really is just way too hot to cook.  This morning I had oatmeal.  Big mistake.  I was sweatin’ like a ____ in _____.

So there’s no way I’m turning on the stove, much less the oven, but my vegetables still need to get eaten.

My goal is to not let any vegetables from my CSA share go to waste.  Can I do it?

Last week, I got these guys:

I won’t lie.  I was a little concerned when I put them in my bag at the farmer’s market.  First, I had never touched a kohlrabi.  Second, the only knowledge I had of turnips was a book I read in elementary school

Luckily, the internet (and Clay and Zach) saved the day.

Turnip and Kohlrabi Slaw

adapted from Turnip-and-Kohlrabi Slaw with Ginger Vinaigrette

1 kohlrabi, peeled and grated
1 bunch of turnips, peeled and grated (I used about 5 small turnips)
A few lettuce leaves (or any other green), shredded
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp ginger, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
a handful of peanuts

The food processor is really handy to grate all these veggies.  Combine grated kohlrabi, turnips and shredded lettuce in a bowl.  In a small bowl mix together vinegar, oil, sugar, ginger, salt and pepper until the sugar is dissolved.  Pour dressing over vegetables, toss to combine and sprinkle with peanuts.  Serves 4-6 as a side dish.

I was extremely pleased with this.  Next time, I would definitely add a grated carrot and some cilantro for both taste and color.  This really would be perfect to take to a barbecue or potluck!

Have a great night!

Quinoa and Black Beans on Lemony Kale with a Tangy Spice Sauce

Holey Moley it’s hot today!   Luckily, the apartment I’m living in this summer is very well ventilated!  It’s always about 15 degrees cooler than my friend’s apartment across the street.  But enough about the weather… Lunch… Remember the three bunches of kale in my CSA this week?

I ate an entire bunch for lunch!

Quinoa and Black Beans on Lemony Kale with a Tangy Spice Sauce

1 tsp olive oil
1 bunch of Kale, washed, stemmed and chopped
1/2 lemon
salt and pepper
1 cup cooked black beans (I boiled mine with an entire onion, a bunch of cilantro and garlic)
1 cup cooked quinoa (boiled with onion powder and garlic powder, or cooked with vegetable broth)
Tangy Spice Sauce (recipe below)

Heat oil in a pan.  Add kale and garlic.  Sautee for a minute.  Add lemon juice, salt and a pepper and sautee for another minute or two.  Serve kale on a plate, top with quinoa and black beans.  Drizzle with tangy spice sauce and enjoy!  Serves  2-3.

Tangy Spice Sauce

1/4 cup greek yogurt
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp paprika
few shakes of cayenne (optional)
Pepper to taste

Just stir it all together!

Sounds like a weird combination right?  But it worked!  Pretty tasty and pretty healthy!

In other news, guess what arrived in the mail yesterday!!

A 50mm f/1.8 lens!!

Woo!  I’ve been taking pictures of random things all day but mostly of my toes and basil.  I’m going to need to find a better subject because my toes aren’t cute and my basil will probably get eaten soon.

Lastly, Sara and I made donut holes using Smitten Kitchen’s recipe, except we were our usual selves  and added cinnamon and cayenne to both the dough and the glaze.  Highly recommended.

Yes, they were deep fried.  That was a first for me.   I won’t lie.  I’m not sure I want to do that again…

Have you ever deep fried something?  What was the last thing you deep fried?

Curried Kale with Lentils and Mango

Not a whole lot to report over here.  So I’ll just shut up and give you a recipe for tonight’s dinner creation.

Curried Kale with Lentils and Mango

1/2 cup of lentils, dry
1 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 onion thinly sliced
1 bunch of kale, stemmed and chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp curry powder
salt and pepper to taste
juice of one lemon
1/2 cup chopped mango chunks

Boil lentils for about 20-25 minutes, until tender.

Heat oil in a big pot (since the kale is so voluminous, it’ll be easier to prevent a mess if you use a pot).  Add onions and shallots and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic, kale, salt, pepper  and curry powder.  Cook for 2 minutes stirring occasionally.  Add lentils and lemon juice, continue to cook until kale is wilted (don’t over cook the kale.  It should still be bright green).  Lastly stir in mango chunks.  Serves 2 as a main dish, 4 as a side.

Fast, healthy and delicious.  My kind of meal (especially when I’m starving).

I have a ton of lentils (among many other things… more on that later…) my friend, Rhoda, left me since she’s moving to Africa!  Good thing they’re delicious!

Any recipe suggestions for lentils, garbanzo beans, rice, or split peas?

Beans and Greens Burgers

Not gonna lie.  Not a lot of cooking has been happening over here the past few days for a few reason:

1. No one will eat my baked goods. Boo.
2. I’ve been eating salads like it’s nobody’s business.  Fresh things are just fun in the summer.
3.  I’ve been spending the better parts of my day watching soccer.

Basically I made one big pot of lentil/rice/greens and ate that for about 4 days.

I also ended most meals with strawberries that were in my CSA bag this week.  Pretty tasty.  Sad they’re gone.

Finally, today I decided it was time to make something.  Why not a burger?

Beans and Greens Burgers

1-2 big handfuls of greens (I used turnip greens and kale)
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 an onion, roughly chopped
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 handful of fresh basil (I bet mint or cilantro would work great too)
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (rehydrated or packed in oil)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cups cooked garbanzo beans
1 tsp salt
2 “flax” eggs (2 tbsp milled flax + 6 tbsp water)
2 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp paprika

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Put greens,  garlic, onion, basil, sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, lemon juice and zest in the processor and pulse until it resembles a coarse pesto. Add remaining ingredients and continue to pulse until you get a consistency you like (I left mine kind of chunky).

Form into patties and place on a greased baking sheet.  Bake for 15 minutes, turn and bake for 15 more minutes.  Serve as patties or on a bun.

In other news, I’ve been watching Glee. While a lot of the times I get embarrassed for the characters who are singing and have to fast forward (does this happen to anyone else!??!),  I’m enjoying it.  But let’s be realistic, it’s no secret I watch TV shows/movies for the eye candy…

Anyone else love Puck?

World Cup Waffles

This morning I packed up some stuff to have some waffles with my world cup

+

I ran across the street to watch the first game, Mexico vs South Africa, with this fella

That’s Daniele.  He’s pretty.

He also made a bet that South Africa wouldn’t win a single game…reason enough for me to betray the latinos and root for South Africa.  They tied.  I can be happy with that.

So while I watched in rather agitated fashion, I enjoyed this:

Rhubarb Waffles

adapted from Eating Well’s Rhubarb Waffles

5 stalks of rhubarb (cut into 1/4 inch pieces)
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 tbsp oil
1 tsp vanilla
3 egg whites
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tbsp baking powder
3 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt

In a pot, combine rhubarb and sugar.  Cook for about 10 minutes or until rhubarb is tender.  Remove 1 cup of rhubarb and set aside.  Continue to cook the rest of the rhubarb for another 5-10 minutes, until rhubarb breaks down and thickens.

Combine remaining ingredients and reserved rhubarb to make the batter.  Cook in a heated waffle iron for about 10 minutes.   Serve with rhubarb sauce.

This made 4 fat waffles and wayyyy more sauce than necessary.

Thanks Liz for letting us borrow your waffle iron!!

Okay I’m off to burn off some of these waffle calories.  Have a great day!

Guatemalan Rellenitos

One of the best parts of being home is the food. I’ll be honest, my mom is a lovely woman, but she’s not much of a cooker. She most definitely can; she simply chooses not to. My aunt on the other hand loves to cook. Lucky me, she’s visiting!

So I’ve been following her around the kitchen the past few days trying to get some Guatemalan recipes to share with you all.

I guess the first warning is that a lot of these things are cooked to taste, so the measurements may vary but I’ll give estimates of what she used.

The first thing we made was rellenitos.

rellenitosedited

Rellenitos are mashed plantains stuffed with sweet black beans then fried to create tasty little dumpling type things.  They’re usually eaten as an afternoon snack or dessert.  They’re a little labor intensive but totally worth it.

Rellenitos

1/2 lb cooked black beans (cooked like the Guatemalan Black Bean recipe I posted before)
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
10 ripe plantains
1 cinnamon stick
oil for trying

This recipe will make a few dozen rellenitos, so adjust accordingly.  I know it sounds sort of weird but you start with salty beans cooked in garlic and onion.  Put them in the blender with cinnamon and sugar (you might have to do it in batches). Taste to make sure they’re sweet and not too cinnamony.

Then put the blended beans in a deep skillet with oil and bring to a boil.  Simmer for a few minutes then transfer to another container to cool (they’ll thicken as they cool).

You want your plantains to be ripe.  The riper they are, the sweeter they are but also harder to work with.

Cut your plantains into 2 inch pieces, leaving the skin on.  Put them in a large pot with cinnamon stick and fill about half way with water (plantains won’t be completely submerged).  Bring to a boil and simmer for a few minutes until plantains are starting to soften but not so soft that they fall apart.

Peel and put in a container to mash.  If you have a potato ricer or food mill this will be a whole lot easier, we had neither so we used a mug, some forks and a masher to get out all the clumps.

Now comes the shaping part.  Once the plantains have cooled.  Take a palm sized amount and shape it into a thick pancake/tortilla shape.

Place about a 1/2 tbsp to 1 tbsp sized amount of beans in the middle and close the pancake/tortilla shape.

Pinch the edges together and smooth with your fingers into a roundish egg shape.  Repeat until you run out of beans or plantains.

Heat oil in a skillet.  Place rellenitos in hot oil and fry all around.

Once they are golden brown all around (okay if a little burnt), place them on a paper towel to absorb the excess oil.

Serve with sour cream and sprinkle with sugar.

Delish!  Definitely not the healthiest way to eat a plantain but probably one of the best.

If you made a ton don’t worry about finishing them all at once.  While chances are they will get eaten, if not you can wrap them in aluminum foil and freeze them and when you’re ready for a treat just unwrap them and microwave for a minute or two and ta-da! Ready to go!  My family actually brings them frozen from Guatemala since my mom isn’t big on cooking 🙂

Anyway, tonight we’re having a birthday party for my dad since he was in Guatemala on his actual birthday!  More fun recipes and hopefully pictures to come!

Hope you’re having a great weekend!