Friday, March 7, 2014
Spaghetti squash... I can't believe there used to be a time in my life when I didn't really care for you. Now, you are all over my blog with tons of recipes (almost always involving cheese). Now, I'm a little sad to see that there are only two of you left in the basement. We've eaten our way through so many of you this winter and past fall. This may be one of my favorite ways yet...
This recipe was inspired by a recent post on The Kitchn; however, I changed it up quite a lot. I used the world's most amazing bacon from the half pig when purchased this year. Seriously, this is the smokiest, most delicious bacon I've ever had. I also used a couple of farm fresh eggs. This is a dish that could really be served at any meal. We had it for dinner with a side of broccoli, but I think it would be great for lunch or brunch as well because of the eggs and bacon in it. It would be a complete meal with a simple salad. This recipe will make about 4 main dish servings.
I've been slacking a little bit lately on posts... not because I haven't been cooking, but I haven't been making a lot of new stuff and sometimes even when I do, I just haven't been in the mood to take photos of it... But, I have some new things coming up that I'm excited to try, so hopefully I'll be posting more frequently again very soon!
Spaghetti squash and bacon casserole
1 spaghetti squash (about 2 to 2-1/2 lbs.)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 slices of bacon
1 small-medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk or half and half
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
parsley or extra dried thyme, for garnish, optional
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Halve the spaghetti squash lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Place on a baking sheet cut side up and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Bake until you can pierce it with a fork, about 25 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly. Turn up the oven to 400 degrees.
In the meantime, cook the bacon in a skillet until crisp. When crisp, set aside on a paper towel. Drain the bacon grease from the pan, leaving about 1 teaspoon. Cook the onion in the bacon grease over medium heat until it becomes translucent. Stir in the garlic, a pinch of salt, and a couple grinds of black pepper, and thyme and cook for another minute. Turn off the heat.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Then whisk in the milk/half and half and cornstarch until the cornstarch is dissolved. Stir in the 1/3 cup Parmesan. Use a fork to scrape out the spaghetti squash and add it to the bowl. If a lot of water has collected in the squash, drain it off first. Stir well to combine. Dice the cooked bacon and stir it into the mixture along with the onion and garlic mixture.
Use the paper towel from draining the bacon to grease a baking dish (I used an 8-inch round). Then pour the mixture in and spread it evenly. Top with the remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan.
Bake for about 23-25 minutes, until the casserole is slightly puffed and golden. Let cool for about 5 minutes and then serve topped with parsley or additional thyme, if desired.
What was I cooking one year ago?: Buffalo chicken macaroni and cheese
Two years ago?: fudgy coconut brownies
Three?: vanilla Chai tea
4?: Southwest turkey burgers
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
This milk is quickly becoming a staple in our household. I have read about different versions of warm turmeric milk for a while now, but I have figured out the perfect spice combination for us. Turmeric milk is said to help you relax and sleep and turmeric is known to have anti-inflammatory properties. Since both of us have an autoimmune disease (one thyroid, one arthritis), I'm always trying to find ways to reduce inflammation. I've made this milk with dried turmeric before, and it's still good, but I visited a few local Indian markets and found fresh turmeric root. It was a great find and I was super excited to try it out. It smells like a spicy (not hot) carrot and sort of tastes like one as well. this drink is also sometimes called golden milk because of the lovely color it takes from the turmeric. This milk is a nice warm and creamy drink with a touch of spice and sweetness that warms you up before bed.
We recently joined a herd share so we now have access to farm fresh, grass-fed whole milk! I'm super excited about this and will likely be trying out more recipes like yogurt, cheeses, etc. so we can keep up with our milk. This recipe will make two servings.
Spiced turmeric milk
3 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon grated turmeric root (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1 teaspoon grated ginger root
2 green cardamom pods, cracked open
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
2 teaspoons honey (or to taste), preferably raw
Combine the milk and spices (not honey) in a small pot. Heat over low heat, whisking often. You don't want to boil or scorch the milk. You just want to gently warm it and slowly let the spices permeate the milk. Warm until it turns golden and is just hot, but not coming to a boil.
Pour the milk through a fine mesh strainer into two mugs -- I recommend using dark colored mugs and pouring very carefully as anything with turmeric can stain! Stir 1 teaspoon (more if desired) of honey into each mug. Serve.
What was I cooking one year ago?: maple-balsamic fig jam
Two years ago?: citrus and spice roasted chicken with spaghetti squash & chickpeas
Three?: roasted sweet potatoes with spinach & cranberries
4?: white chili
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
You may remember that early last month I made salted preserved lemons. Well they are now ready to eat! This is the first dish that I have used them in. I tasted a small piece of one on its own and it was really different -- the lemon and salt flavors were there, but mellowed. The rind had become soft and almost silky. They added a nice, bright flavor to this dish and I'm looking forward to using them more. I think that they will go really nicely in other stews and with vegetables like broccoli. This dish combines a lot of Moroccan flavors and turned out to be quite delicious. It will serve about four people.
Today we made another attempt (at a different location) to see a snowy owl and I was skunked again! I couldn't believe it. We did see some snow buntings, which were new for me, but that just wasn't as exciting as the snowy. I hope that I'll see one before they start moving back up north again. We did some snow shoeing this weekend as well. I'm trying to enjoy the last of winter as it's going to get up to 50 degrees later this week! I know we'll still have cold and snow for another month or so, but I like to make sure to enjoy each season to its fullest before the next one comes.
Chicken with preserved lemons, olives, and saffron couscous
1 to 1-1/2 lbs. bone-in chicken thighs (I remove the skin - this is optional)
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, halved and sliced
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground coriander
a couple dashes cayenne pepper
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 salted preserved lemon, pulp removed and finely chopped
1 cup large green olives
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
for the couscous:
1 cup water
pinch of saffron (sub turmeric if needed)
pinch of salt
1 cup couscous
Season the chicken with salt and pepper and sprinkle the chicken with the flour. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the chicken thighs. Leave them still for about 4-5 minutes, until they are browned and will flip easily. Turn the chicken and stir in the onion, paprika, coriander, and cinnamon. Let cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to brown. Stir in the garlic. Let cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Stir in the chicken broth and stir well to deglaze the pan. Let the broth come to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cover. Cook for about 10 minutes and then stir in the preserved lemon and olives. Cover and cook until the chicken is cooked through (165 degrees). Remove the cinnamon. Stir in the parsley and cilantro.
In a saucepan, add the water, saffron, and salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Whisk in the couscous, turn off the heat, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
Serve hot, topped with additional parsley/cilantro, if desired.
What was I cooking one year ago?: pork chop and sauerkraut casserole
Two years ago?: potato and cheddar pierogi
Three?: roasted beet and grapefruit salad
4?: beef stroganoff
Thursday, February 13, 2014
I threw this pasta dish together on a whim and it turned out to be a keeper that we will be having again (and again). I was able to incorporate a few herbs I dried last fall from our herb garden. It was really delicious - spicy, but not too hot, creamy, and a touch sweet from the peppers and onions. It was good for a cold night which is what we are having a lot of lately. I do like winter and snow, but the cold is starting to get to me this year. It didn't help that my work office is freezing cold (though I did receive a space heater this week, and I'm super happy and thankful for that). I'm hoping that this weekend we can get a snow shoe in since we should still have snow and it shouldn't be in the negative temperatures! This pasta dish would be nice to make after spending some time outside because the spice will help to warm you up from the inside out! This dish should feed 4-6 people.
Cajun chicken & pepper pasta
1 lb. penne or other pasta of your choice
1 tablespoon olive oil
about 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized strips
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
2 bell peppers (I used one green and one orange), cut into strips
1 medium-large red onion, peeled, halved, and sliced lengthwise into strips
3-4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
12 oz. tomato sauce/puree
1/3 cup heavy cream
dried parsley, for garnish
Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until just under al dente. Drain, reserving about 2 cups of the pasta cooking water.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the chicken along with some salt and pepper. Cook for about 3-4 minutes (until the chicken is browned on one side) and then stir in the peppers, onion, garlic, Cajun seasoning, oregano, and basil. Cook, stirring often, until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables begin to soften.
Stir in the tomato sauce and cook, stirring often, until the sauce is hot, about 3 minutes. Turn the heat to low and slowly stir in the heavy cream. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Let the sauce warm through, but not boil.
Stir in the pasta along with some of the pasta water to thin out the sauce, as needed. Serve immediately, topped with parsley.
What was I cooking one year ago?: carrot-ginger soup
Two years ago?: Kao soi
Three years ago?: eggplant involtini
4?: apple-cranberry coffee cake
Saturday, February 8, 2014
This post is dedicated to Elle of Elle's New England Kitchen who suddenly passed away recently. Like everyone, I was surprised and saddened to hear the news. I'm participating in ElleAPalooza where friends of Elle are making and posting recipes from her blog in her memory. She was one of the first food bloggers I "met" (in the virtual sense) when I started this blog back at the end of 2009. Aside from food, Elle was very crafty and made jewelery. I still have her Christmas ornament wreath on my to-make list.
After much browsing through Elle's posts, I decided on her cheddar cornbread bacon pancakes (with my husband's assistance and Elle was correct, they do make husband's happy). They weren't the most photogenic of meals, but they were so delicious - the perfect combination of sweet, savory, and salty. I made these pancakes for a weekend brunch and they were definitely a hit. They will become a "keeper recipe" and every time I make them, I will be reminded of my blogging friend. The only thing I changed was reducing the amount of sugar. Elle has so many wonderful recipes on her site and she will be greatly missed.
Cheddar cornbread bacon pancakes
1-1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1-3/4 cups buttermilk
1 large egg
3 tablespoons oil (I used olive)
1/4 cup molasses (I used blackstrap)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 lb. bacon, cooked
real maple syrup, for serving
Whisk together the dry ingredients (cornmeal though brown sugar) in a large bowl.
Pour buttermilk into a large liquid measuring cup and whisk in the egg, oil, and molasses. Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients, stirring with a wooden spoon until almost combined. Stir in the cheese until just combined. Set aside for 10 minutes.
Heat a griddle or cast iron skillet. Add some butter or oil (I used bacon grease from cooking the bacon). When hot, add the batter about 1/4 cup at a time. Place 2 slices of bacon (breaking to fit as needed) as shown in the photo above. When they are brown and begin to bubble, flip and cook on the other side until browned.
Repeat until all the batter and bacon are used. Then, in the words of Elle, ..."stuff your face!"
What was I cooking one year ago?: carrot-ginger soup
Two year ago?: coconut pancakes
Three?: beer battered curry cauliflower
4?: chocolate chip oatmeal cookies