I know it seems like I’ve stopped eating, but I promise I haven’t. I even still take pictures of most of the things I cook (usually), they just never make it this far. This one I just took with my phone as I reheated last night’s leftovers for lunch today – but that counts, right?
First, the exciting news. I’ve discovered my new favorite website/tool – Pepperplate – which basically consolidates recipes from the internet or inside your head and lets you tag them, sort and search them, meal plan, and make shopping lists from the ingredients. For free. It has a few quirks, and things I think it’s missing (I’ve annoyingly emailed them every time I find something), but it’s a great tool and it’s allowing me to move away from my immense piles of printed recipes that I can’t ever find or remember I have to something much more useful. It also partners with Smitten Kitchen, which is both awesome and dangerous, because it means I am spending inordinate amounts of time on her site looking through all the billions of recipes I want to make. Which leads me to the Broccoli Pesto.
Broccoli is one of those things. I love it. Calin does not love it. We agree to disagree, but he still has to eat it sometimes, so I’m always on a quest to find broccoli recipes that he will eat and hopefully enjoy at least a little bit. When I discovered this recipe, I immediately added it to Pepperplate (see where that comes in?) to make soon – because pesto! and pasta! and broccoli! and kind of easy! Well, the reality didn’t come out quite as well, but it was absolutely worth trying, and I’m definitely going to tweak it for us in the future.
Problem 1: My garlic and onions were both sprouting. In garlic, I think that makes it stronger, but apparently in onions it makes them more mild, because the onion flavor was minimal.
Problem 2: I lost the garlic. Seriously, one minute it was there, and the next minute it was gone. I finally found it hiding in with the broccoli, dutifully steamed. Weird. So I added another clove, but that one didn’t get cooked long enough, so I ended up with this weird combo of faux-roasted and raw garlic.
Problem 3: I didn’t have any heavy cream. I used half 1% milk and half plain yogurt instead. Definitely different, and less flavor, but better for us…
Problem 4: I overcooked the broccoli. There’s no getting around this one.
So the pesto was tasty, but a little bland (I also didn’t measure the salt or pepper, because I’m lazy), and Calin’s verdict was that he would probably rather just eat broccoli. Or, preferably, not eat broccoli at all. So, success for me but still a no-go in the “eating more broccoli” department. Oh well. The leftovers were actually pretty good, too. I think I’ll try fixing the problems first, and then maybe see if I can add some other things to make the flavor stronger if that isn’t enough.
Do you have reliable go-to broccoli recipes you’d recommend?
I went back to work full time after New Year, and all my hopes for keeping up with this blog have been dashed. To all of you bloggers out there who are parents and have full time jobs and still manage to post regularly, I salute you! I have no idea how you do it – my day consists of working, nursing, and getting all the housework done after the baby goes to bed. Where the blog fits, I have no idea. For that matter, where cooking fits is a bit of a mystery as well.
Tonight after bedtime, I decided it was high time to resuscitate one of my favorite recipes – Whole Grain Blueberry Muffins, which are healthy enough that they can be considered a legitimate breakfast food, and which a friend recently pointed out also contain flax and oatmeal, both of which helps with milk production (TMI for you non-moms out there, right?). My other favorite blueberry muffin recipe can’t pass for anything other than dessert, and doesn’t help with nursing, so it’ll have to wait for another day – and I have to applaud my own fortitude on that front, because I found that recipe first while digging for this one, and talked myself out of it.
These muffins are ridiculously easy, especially since I discovered that I’d already ground a bunch of oats, so I didn’t even use the food processor this time. I just mixed all the flours, blended the dries, whisked the wets, combined, folded in the blueberries, and baked. As easy as muffins! They’re sitting on my stove now, cooling from the oven, and they smell delicious. Almost delicious enough to make me excited about tomorrow morning – but no, I’d still rather stay in bed (which, needless to say, is no longer an option either now that I have a 4 month old).
What are your favorite week-day breakfast foods? How do you get through the work week morning routine?
It’s a nasty day outside – cold, wet, grey, miserable – and I’m sitting inside in the almost-dark thinking about Thanksgiving and all the intense cooking and eating in the next few days. Most years, my sister and I go all out and make a feast, regardless of how many people we’re expecting. This year my sister can’t come home and I have a newborn, so Thanksgiving will be in the capable hands of my in-laws and I’m only a contributor. I am contributing my famous Caramelized Brussels Sprouts (easy), and a pumpkin cheesecake (easy). Which is making me think about all the incredibly easy recipes there are out there and how, even with a new baby, I should be cooking more.
Potatoes are one of the most versatile and comforting foods there is. They can be prepared in so many ways, some healthy, some not so healthy; they can be simple or supplemented with delicious additives (like ranch dressing – thanks to Hidden Valley ads during Agents of Shield on HuluPlus, I’ve been craving mashed potatoes with ranch dressing for weeks). Every time someone fixes them for me, I remember how much I love them and how I should make them more often. Potatoes last a really long time, so they aren’t one of the “emergency – eat these now” vegetables, which also makes them a good stand-by.
This “recipe” could not be easier. It’s so easy that I wouldn’t even call it a recipe – I’d call it a cooking style. (I do actually apply this general style to almost all the veggies I cook – it’s excellent for broccoli and brussels sprouts also.) Since there’s no real measuring, you can make as many or as few potatoes as you want. These potatoes make a great side dish for dinner, or a simple substitute for fancier hash browns at breakfast. And if you’re like me and you like to use your hands rather than utensils, the olive oil is great for your skin!
Easy Roasted Potatoes
- Cut up some small potatoes, however many you have or want (I had about five yukon gold here).
- Toss them in some olive oil, salt, and chopped rosemary (or whatever herb/spice you have around).
- Spread them on a baking sheet and bake at 450 degrees for 25 minutes, until crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. (You should be able to stick a fork straight in with no trouble.)
- Serve hot.
It’s supposed to be 80 degrees today, so it seems like a good time for the first ice cream post of the season! I discovered home-made ice cream when I first got my KitchenAid mixer, and every time I make it I struggle to remember why I don’t do it more often (other than the fact that it’s a 24-hour gratification process, which might really be enough of a reason).
I actually made this cinnamon ice cream for Thanksgiving last fall, to go with mom’s apple pie, and it was amazing. My favorite part of making my own ice cream is that the flavor is entirely up to me – if I want more or less of something, I don’t have to whine about Breyer’s choices – I just have to change the recipe! I have big plans for the ice cream season this year – chocolate, black raspberry, ginger… I also want to experiment with some sorbets and frozen yogert. We’ll see what I actually get around to.
Like the cardamom rose ice cream, this was a custard base, which I’m pretty sure just means you cook it. It’s a little time consuming because you have to watch and stir it constantly, but not terribly so, and the results are much creamier than an uncooked base.
Once the custard base is cooked, it has to be strained to make sure you didn’t get any clotted milk clumps (because that’s what milk and cream do when you cook them). This part involves too many hands, but it’s actually sort of fun. And ice baths look neat.
Once it’s strained and cooled a little, it has to be refrigerated overnight to completely chill it. Before you do that, you usually add most of the spices and flavorings (if they weren’t already in the custard). I use the same air-tight plastic containers for chilling that I do for freezing the completed ice cream, because I have tons of them.
I didn’t end up taking any pictures of the churning this time, for some reason, but it worked a lot like the cardamom rose or the peach ice cream I made ages ago – pour the chilled custard in the frozen mixer bowl (They have a separate bowl for this that also has to be frozen, so don’t let that throw you off if you’re making ice cream yourself. It needs at least 18 hours frozen, so I just keep mine in our chest freezer at the ready for “spontaneous” ice cream making.) and churn until it’s done, following the instructions in the ice cream maker manual. And every now and then sneak a taste of what’s splashed up the sides. (They always leave that part out of the directions, for some reason…)
Cinnamon ice cream was perfect with apple pie. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this years ago – I’m pretty sure it’s going to become an annual occurrence. (Ha. I like to predict things, but I’m not so big on going back to see if I ever follow through. Don’t hold me to that.) But it’s also a really easy mix, since it’s just flavorings and no extra ingredients. Highly recommended!
Mmm, now I may need to sneak out for ice cream after my lunch.
Cinnamon Ice Cream
Sweat Pea’s Kitchen
Makes 1 quart
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 4 inch piece vanilla bean, slit lengthwise and seeds removed, pod reserved OR 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 large egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- Set a fine mesh strainer over a medium sized bowl and set the bowl over a large container of ice water.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the milk, cream, 1/2 cup sugar and the vanilla seeds and pod, stirring occasionally to break up the vanilla seeds, until steam appears and the liquid is hot (175 degrees) about 5 minutes.
- When the milk mixture is cooking, in a separate bowl, whisk the yolks and 1/4 cup of sugar together until smooth.
- Slowly whisk about 1 cup of the hot milk mixture into the yolks to temper them.
- Then slowly whisk the tempered yolk mixture back into the remaining hot milk mixture.
- Continue to cook the custard mixture over medium heat until it is very hot but not simmering (180-185 degrees).
- Pour the custard mixture into the strainer bowl set in the ice bath and let cool, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.
- Remove the custard mixture from the ice bath and add cinnamon.
- Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold (40 degrees), about 3 hours.
- Remove and discard the vanilla pod from the custard (or add the vanilla extract, if using) and stir well.
- Pour the custard into the ice cream machine canister and churn, following the manufacturer’s instructions, until the mixture resembles soft-serve ice cream, about 20 minutes.
- Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container, press plastic wrap flush against the surface, cover the container, and freeze the ice cream until firm, at least 2 hours.
Recipe Note: Two teaspoons of vanilla extract may be substituted for the vanilla bean. Stir it into the chilled custard just before churning. (I don’t like vanilla specks in my vanilla, so I went with extract. Also, beans are much more difficult than just pouring things out of a bottle.)
This is a red letter blog post. It’s the first time I’ve turned a Cupcake Friday cupcake into a LivingWithPurple Edition! Huzzah! I’ll confess that the photos on Jamie’s blog are prettier, but I’d challenge her to prove that her cupcakes were tastier! These turned out amazingly well – we ate most of them at the Super Bowl party, and the rest were demolished the next day at work.
[Note: I did discover that while pumpkin coffee makes these amazing cupcakes, it does not make amazing coffee. So I’m hoarding the rest of the beans for when I have another pumpkin coffee recipe I’m enthralled with.] (more…)
My relationship with Joy of Cooking got off to a rocky start, but things are definitely looking up. I don’t think I ever got around to telling my Joy of Cooking story, so now’s as good a time as any. And then I’ll get around to the Brussels Sprouts.