Drying fresh herbs in the oven is a great way to use up fresh herbs from your garden. It also makes your kitchen smell heavenly!Read More
Have you ever had quinoa? If you are new to it, it's the bee's knees. It's kind of like a mix between rice and couscous, and is a great substitute for either. It's also a complete protein (that that rice!), and it also packs a punch in terms of nutrients. It doesn't spike your blood sugar the way starchy carbs do... it's da bomb. You can add black beans to this recipe for even more protein, or chopped bell peppers, really anything that you want. I never measure anything precisely here, I just eyeball it. As a result, it comes out different every time, which is part of what makes it so versatile. The only think I'll caution is that if the quinoa is too hot when you add it to the herbs it will make them brown a little from the heat. I'd let the quinoa cool a little after cooking to keep those greens bright. Same for cherry tomatoes- scalding hot quinoa can make the skins separate as if you were blanching them!
I used fresh parsley, thyme, and oregano from my garden, and the flavors were bright and fresh.
2 cups of quinoa, rinsed
Big handfuls of parsley
1/2 cup of sliced Kalamata olives
Vinagrette: dijon mustard whisked with vinegar of choice. Add extra virgin olive oil and mix to combine. Salt and pepper to taste.
Rinse quinoa well and cook. While it's simmering, clean and finely chop parsley, kalamata olives, and cherry tomatoes. Add to a large bowl with the dressing. When quinoa is cooked, let it cool a little bit. Add to the parsley and quinoa, and then pour on dressing and mix thoroughly.
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As the days are getting longer, and the temperatures are warming up, I woke up wanting something different. I tour full-time with Harpeth Rising, and when I'm home I really enjoy being able to cook all the things I can't normally have on the road. Things like soup. Have you ever tried eating soup in a car? Seriously... Broiled grapefruit also fits into that category, although I don't know that you could call putting something under the broiler for five minutes cooking. It's a delicious way to jump start your day, and a great way to "eat your colors". It can be a little messy, but definitely worthwhile.
Its lively color will perk up your breakfast and cheer you up. You'll end up having a better day, will smile more, and be more liked by your colleagues, and will probably get that bonus you were hoping for. Who knew it was this easy?!
1 grapefruit, halved
Dash of cinnamon
Drizzle of honey (or sugar of choice)
Set oven to broil. Place your baking rack in the middle of the oven (you want the top of the grapefruit to be about five inches from the heat coils. Take your halved grapefruit, and slice off the rounded bottoms, so they lie flat in a baking pan without rolling around. With a paring knife, score the grapefruit lightly around the circumference, where the pith meets the fruit. Also score the individual sections- this will make it easier to pull out chunks of grapefruit. Splash a dash of cinnamon if you'd like, and drizzle some honey over it. If you sprinkle white sugar over the top you'll get a beautiful brulee like creme brulee. Pop in the oven for about 4-5 minutes, and let rest a minute before eating
The honey and juices will heat up and mix together, and it is delicious! The heat and the honey take away a little of the tartness of the grapefruit, which makes it more palatable if you've got a sweeter tooth.
Today is September 21st, and I thought it was officially Fall, but turns out that's September 23rd- oops! It's probably safe to break out your cable knit sweaters and start heating your ovens though. It certainly feels like Fall in England, where we're on tour this month. We're staying with Jordana's delightful relatives outside of London in between shows. They have an apple tree in their backyard (we were told that lots of people in England have an apple tree in their backyards for baking), and we went outside, plucked a few apples, and that's what we used for this recipe. They're very tart, and perfect for baking. Drinking hard cider worked really well for us while making these. Highly recommend that. I'm a fan of any apple recipe that doesn't require peeling (what a chore), and these come together in about thirty minutes, plus baking.
Recipe and apples courtesy of Judy Farncombe.
Unsalted Butter, softened
Toasted chopped walnuts
Raisins/chopped dried fruit
Pinch of salt
Vanilla ice cream, or custard for serving
Preheat oven to 350F.
This is a great recipe for improvising, which is why I didn't list any set measurements for the recipe.
Wash and dry apples, and core, leaving the bottom of the apple intact. If you core all the way through all the juices will escape into the pan while baking.
Lightly score a horizontal "belt" around each apple. The apples expand while baking, and scoring the skin keeps them from exploding. Exploding apples sounds pretty cool, don't get me wrong... but I'd rather eat my apples than clean them out of the oven.
In a medium sized bowl, mix the softened butter with the raisins, sugar, and toasted nuts, and salt. Gently spoon mixture into the apples, and then bake at 350F for thirty minutes, or until apples are soft, and mixture is bubbling. Serve with a dollop of vanilla ice cream or custard.
BY JULIA STEWART
"Browned butter." It just doesn't sound that promising, does it? When I first heard the term, I thought it must mean something very serious. I thought it meant spoiled butter, or stinky butter, or butter that had been foolishly tampered with by some reckless cook. A bad accident, if you will. A very bad accident. Nope!
Browned butter may, in fact, change your life. Let me tell you the truth about it. It is butter whose flavor is amplified by cooking it on the stovetop until the milk solids float to the top, and then float back to the bottom where they turn golden and fragrant. The butter starts to foam and sizzle, and smell nutty. The scent intensifies, fills the room, then inspires the cook to shimmy back and forth across the kitchen floor, thrice. At least, this has been my experience. Sometimes only two bouts of shimmying are possible before the butter starts to scorch.
Anyways, it's really good stuff, and totally delicious in any baked goods in which you want to bring out the flavor of butter. And it's easily executed; check out these fool-proof directions from Joy the Baker. Bam! Nothing to it.
These browned butter blondies are a snap to make. They are also quite adaptable. Add your favorite toasted chopped nuts, or swap out different chocolates for the bittersweet. You can also use plain brown sugar in place of the coconut sugar. I am a huge fan of coconut sugar for it's molasses-y taste and the fact that it's less refined, but to each his own.
As for the flour, I use Pamela's bread flour because it has some good substances, isn't grainy or gummy, and holds together well. You may have another preferred flour blend, which would likely work just fine. And for those who can stomach it, all-purpose flour works beautifully, too.
3 sticks unsalted butter (Did I mention these bars are delightfully low fat? Truth!)
3 cups GF flour (I use Pamela's bread flour), or all-purpose flour
2 tsp. sea salt, plus more to sprinkle on top
2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (please refrain from the fake stuff! Bleh!)
1 2/3 cups coconut sugar (can be purchased at Target or any health food store)
1 1/2-2 cups bittersweet chocoalte chips
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9X13 pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on all four edges. No need to grease the foil; check the amount of butter in the recipe if you need convincing!
Brown yo' butter a la Joy's method. Be sure to let it cool completely so that it doesn't melt your chocolate! Alternatively, use it warm to get some swirled chocolate action. Up to you.
Whisk flour and salt together. Set aside.
Pour cooled brown butter into a large bowl. Add the sugar and whisk well. Add the eggs and yolk, followed by the vanilla. Mix well.
Add the flour mixture in with the wet ingredients. If using GF flour, mix the daylights out of it! You do not have to worry about the batter becoming tough. If using glutinous flour, caution yourself against overtaxing so as to avoid blondies that are leather-like in texture. This is never pleasant.
Folkd in your chocoalate/nuts/whatever other little goodies you've got in mind.
Pour your batter into the prepared pan, sprinkle with sea salt, and bake for about 27-30 minutes. GF blondies can take a bit longer to bake. Either way, look for golden, crispy edges and a softer middle. Allow the bars to cool and firm up a little, and then dig in and enjoy!
*Chef's tip*- These little munchkins pair beautifully with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of homemade salted caramel.
BY MARIA DI MEGLIO
For those of you who don't know, I tour in the folk trio Harpeth Rising. We just came back from a music conference called NERFA (Northeast Regional Folk Alliance), where we spent 36 hours performing, networking, performing some more, then networking, then performing and networking at the same time o_0, you get the idea. I left the conference with names of new artists that I'm excited to check out, as well as this awesome recipe for candied ginger. It was given to me by a fantastic musician, Bill Isles, who we had the incredible good fortune to hang out with and perform with. Bill and his wife Kate are based out of Duluth, MN, which is an exotically far away and cold land. He makes these homemade candied ginger bites, which is the perfect pick-me-up to a cold winter's day. Bonus- you can use the leftover syrup for a myriad of things, which is another great tip from Bill.
1 pound ginger
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups water
Peel ginger and slice into small pieces. You can peel by scraping with a spoon, using a vegetable peeler, or sharp paring knife. Place sugar and water into medium saucepan, and bring to a gentle simmer. Add ginger, cover, and simmer gently for three hours. Simmer on low to preserve the ginger pieces, and keep it covered to prevent the water from evaporating. Stir every once in awhile. After three hours, remove and place ginger pieces on cooling rack. Pour syrup into jar and let cool. Roll ginger pieces in sugar, and store in an airtight container.
*Ginger syrup- you can use to flavor tea, cookies, cakes, or anything else that you fancy! Suggestions welcome in the comments below.
BY MARIA DI MEGLIO
1/2 Cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons edible lavender buds
8oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
Cocoa powder for rolling (you could also try toasted
unsweetened coconut flakes, or chopped toasted walnuts)
1/2 Cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons espresso powder (I just used what I had- 2 tsp of ground coffee beans)
2 tbl (1 oz) coffee liquor
9 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups finely chopped toasted walnuts
Heat cream in small saucepan, bring to simmer. Add lavender, and cover. Move to a cool burner and let sit for 30 minutes. Strain the cream, and bring back to a gentle simmer. Pour over the chocolate, stirring to melt. Once the chocolate is melted, pour it into a shallow container, cover, and refrigerate until firm, at least four hours.
Once the chocolate mixture is chilled, you are ready to roll them out. You may need to let it sit for 15 minutes to bring to a workable temperature. Set up two bowls- one with toasted chopped walnuts, and another with toasted coconut. Using a small melon baller, scrape the chocolate out and roll into a ball with your hands. I had originally started out using a small ice cream scoop, but I found that for the consistency of my lavender ganache, (a little harder than usual) it worked best to flake the chocolate with a spoon, and gather the flakes into a small ball. Work off of the consistency of the chocolate- it will be a little different every time!
If you place the rolled truffles into the fridge for about 30 minutes they'll develop a "skin", and it will take less cocoa powder to adhere to the truffles. If you're dipping them in nuts or coconut flakes no need for this extra step. This is just to prevent dark cocoa spots and too much cocoa powder on the truffles.