Link Love

link-love

I’m a wee bit late with my weekly round-up, but it’s never too late to learn about great new recipes and foodie goodies:

  1. I almost licked the screen when I saw this Apple Cinnamon Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce Drizzle; from Joyful Healthy Eats.
  2. My life is better knowing that Slow Cooked Bacon Maple Quick Jam exists; from Nosh My Way.
  3. Lots of my favorite flavors in this Israeli Couscous and Shrimp with Avocado Cilantro Lime Dressing; from Keys to the Cucina.
  4. Adorable and easy Nutella Hand Pies; from Pass the Cocoa.
  5. Chock full of goodies AND easy Banana, Pecan, Coconut and Chocolate Chip Blondies; from Top with Cinnamon.
  6. This beautiful Torta delle Rose del Garde is truly a rose in the kitchen; from A Kingdom for a Cake.

What were some of your favorite posts from the last week(ish)?

Coconut Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Coconut oatmeal chocolate chip cookies…whew!  That’s a mouthful, huh?  It’s all good, though.  I have a friend who needed a pick-me-up, cookie-style, so I decided to try the coconut oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe from Joyful Healthy Eats.  Who doesn’t love chocolate chips?  Or coconut?  Or oatmeal cookies?  

coconut, oatmeal, chocolate, chip, cookie, recipe, baking

I mixed together 1.5 cups of old-fashioned oats, .75 cup of all-purpose flour, .5 teaspoon of baking soda, .5 teaspoon of baking powder, a pinch of kosher salt, and .5 teaspoon of Vietnamese cinnamon.  (Have I mentioned how awesome that stuff is?  Yes, I have, but I’m gonna do it again.  It’s awesome.)

coconut, oatmeal, chocolate, chip, cookie, recipe, bakingNext, I set up my KitchenAid stand mixer and creamed together .5 cup of softened, unsalted butter with .75 cup of brown sugar (I used dark brown sugar).  I mixed in 1 egg. 

coconut, oatmeal, chocolate, chip, cookie, recipe, baking

Then, I slowly poured the dry mixture into the mixer bowl, mixing the ingredients on low speed until they were combined.

coconut, oatmeal, chocolate, chip, cookie, recipe, baking

Then it was time for the good stuff!  I folded in roughly 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips and .25 cup of coconut.

coconut, oatmeal, chocolate, chip, cookie, recipe, bakingFinally, I scooped the cookie batter onto a baking sheet and baked the cookies at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

coconut, oatmeal, chocolate, chip, cookie, recipe, bakingAfter the cookies cooled on a rack, I packaged some of them to give to my friend.  Yum, yum, yum indeed.

coconut, oatmeal, chocolate, chip, cookie, recipe, baking

Pros:  Pretty easy to make and quick, too–only about 30 minutes start to finish.  Tasty.  I like the chewy oatmeal paired with the light sweetness of the semi-sweet chocolate chips and coconut.

Cons:  I wish I could eat cookies for every meal.  Does that count as a con?

Verdict:  Yes, I will make these again.  Head over to Joyful Healthy Eats for the recipe.

Black Bean Salsa

I don’t know how much stock to put into the “power foods” movement, but I do believe it’s a good idea to have a mix of fruits and vegetables in your diet.  (Plus cupcakes.  In moderation.  But also cupcakes.  Very important.)  I got my hands on a copy of Power Foods:  150 Delicious Recipes with the 38 Healthiest Ingredients and decided to try their recipe for black bean salsa with baked chips. 

black bean, salsa, power foods

I started by cubing and sautéing 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, then set it aside.  Then, I drained and rinsed a can of black beans.

black bean, salsa, power foods

Next, I seeded and diced 1 tomato.  The recipe called for 2 scallions, but I finely chopped 1 shallot instead.  Instead of using a jalepeño pepper like the recipe directed, I choose 2 mini sweet peppers and diced them.  

black bean, salsa, power foods

I roughly chopped about .5 cup of cilantro.  

black bean, salsa, power foods

I quartered 2 limes.

black bean, salsa, power foods

Using my stick blender and its chopper/grinder attachment, I pulsed .25 cup of the black beans until coarsely chopped, then dumped the chopped beans into a big bowl.  I added the remaining beans, chicken, tomato, about .75 of the shallot, sweet peppers, cilantro, and a couple dashes of salt.  I squeezed 3 of the lime quarters over the salsa, then stirred everything to combine. 

black bean, salsa, power foods

Next, I cut 2 whole-wheat tortillas into 8 pieces each, spread them on a baking sheet, brushed them with olive oil, and popped them in the broiler.  After 2 minutes, I turned the chips and put them back in the broiler for 1 minute.  (By the way, those suckers kept sliding off the sheet.  It was like herding cats.)

black bean, salsa, power foods

Finally, I placed a handful of baby arugula leaves on two plates, spread the salsa on the arugula, and lined the plates with the chips.  The original recipe didn’t call for arugula or chicken, but I wanted to make the salsa more of a meal than an appetizer.  I added a few dollops of guacamole to my plate, and Angus added a few dollops of sour cream to his plate.  

Pros:  It was tasty.  The shallot wasn’t as onion-y as I anticipated (a good thing for a person like me who doesn’t like strong, raw onion tastes).  I liked the contrast of the crunchy tortilla chips against the tomatoes and beans, and I liked the bright flavors of the cilantro and lime.

Cons:  It was physically difficult to scoop up the arugula and the chicken and the salsa onto the chips.  This frustrated Angus.

Verdict:  I would make it again, but I might skip the chips and let it be a salad, or I might skip the arugula and chicken to make it an easily-scoopable appetizer.

Black Bean Salsa
 
Author:

 
Ingredients
  • 1 can (19 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 small tomato, seeded and cut into ½-inch dice
  • 2 scallions, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño chile, minced (ribs and seeds removed for less heat, if desired)
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 2 limes)
  • Coarse salt 6 flour tortillas (8-inch size), preferably whole-wheat
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Instructions
  1. Heat broiler.
  2. Pulse ¼ cup black beans in a food processor until coarsely chopped; transfer to a bowl. Add remaining beans to bowl along with the tomato, scallions, jalapeño, cilantro, lime juice, and ½ teaspoon salt. Stir to combine.
  3. Cut each tortilla into 8 wedges. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet; brush with oil, dividing evenly. Broil until crisp and golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer chips to a wire rack to cool. Serve with salsa.
  4. Makes 2 cups salsa and 48 chips.

 

Link Love

It’s that time of the week–time to round up my favorite foodie links from around the web this  past week(ish):

  1. Thinking red because of Valentine’s Day?  Think cherry red with this Cherry Almond Kuchen with homemade sour cherry pie filling; from Home in the Finger Lakes.
  2. These Flourless Triple Chocolate Chocolate Cookies are just oozing with chocolate, and I’m okay with that; from Hottie Biscotti. 
  3. These Rice & Vegetable Pies look filling, and they’re vegetarian (p.s. a “courgette” is a zucchini); from A Kingdom for a Cake.
  4. I want Lisa to pack my lunches like she does in this School Lunch Roundup V, but this definitely gives me ideas for work-day lunches; from 100 Days of Real Food.
  5. I checked out this Banana Bread Pudding and all I can say is:  drool; from Rise and Shine.
  6. Love these quick, healthy, 4-ingredient PB & J Healthy Oatmeal Cookies; from Skinny Taste.

Share your favorite links in the comments.

Foodie Penpal – January 2014

Foodie Penpal is a fun exchange started by Lindsay of The Lean Green Bean.  Every month, she matches up people from around the United States and Canada.  You send your penpal a small box of foodie goodies, and you receive a box from your penpal, too.  This month was my first time trying the foodie penpal program, and I’m glad I did.

I got matched with Shannon in California.  Shannon lives near a Chinatown in her city, so she sent me a box full of Chinatown delights, plus a few other goodies:

foodie, penpal

Nice, huh?  Angus and I are looking forward to trying the pepper sauce on our next meat adventure, or maybe we’ll finally make pho at home and use it in that.  (It’s been pho weather around here, as in pho-reezing.)  I don’t think I’ve ever made kasha at home before.  Hmm, suggestions on how to serve it?

The chopsticks and journal are beautiful:

foodie, penpal

 

foodie, penpal

And, omg, Justin’s almond butter!  I LOVE Justin’s products.  Have you tried them?  Delicious and all-natural.  They also make a hazelnut spread (a la Nutella) and a “classic” almond butter.

foodie, penpal

Finally, some tiny treats and…honey?….liquid pixie stix?….I can’t wait to find out.

foodie, penpal

  

foodie, penpal

I hope Shannon enjoyed her box from me.  I certainly like the goodies she shipped cross-country.  I’m looking forward to the next Foodie Penpal exchange!

Homemade Chicken Soup

[Time for another guest post from my sweetheart, Angus!  We collaborated on the following recipe….Well, okay, I prepped some of the ingredients, but he directed the show.  He’s going to tell you all about it.]

Angus here. With all this cold weather here, we developed a hankerin’ for tasty soup. Wanting to go simple, but flavorful, we went with chicken soup.

homemade, chicken, soup, stock, rice, vegetable, Alton Brown 

Step one for us was to pick up a rotisserie chicken (and a few other ingredients) at the grocery. We bought one that was already refrigerated and I untrussed it and began to joint it. No need to be fancy, just take that bird apart, put the meat and skin aside, but toss the bones and any delicious gelatin you see in the container or on the bottom of the bird into a reasonably sized pot.

homemade, chicken, soup, stock, rice, vegetable, Alton Brown

Cut any of the larger portions of the carcass up so it won’t take up as much room (I cut through the ribs on both sides of the keelbone), then cover it with water (about a gallon.) You can go ahead and turn on the heat now while you run off and cut up the veggies.

homemade, chicken, soup, stock, rice, vegetable, Alton Brown

Cut the top off of an onion and then cut it into four parts; don’t sweat peeling it.  A few baby carrots cut lengthwise can go in there, and a rib of celery cut lengthwise and then into 3″ lengths or so. 

homemade, chicken, soup, stock, rice, vegetable, Alton Brown

Toss in three or four peppercorns and a sprinkling of thyme.  A shake or two of rosemary wouldn’t go amiss, either.  Now take a steamer basket and invert it over all the goodies in there to keep it all nicely submerged and just let it simmer for four hours or so.  This will get all the delicious stock out of the carcass and make your house smell awesome.  Skim the scum that forms on the top (if there is any) every half hour or so.

homemade, chicken, soup, stock, rice, vegetable, Alton Brown

Now, the lady and I aren’t fans of the too-crunchy white onion, so about three and a half hours into the process we sweated (versus a sautee) it a little bit beforehand in some chicken fat.  Where did we get chicken fat, you ask?  Why, from that skin we set aside earlier.  I just heated it up in the pan to render the fat off of it and then put maybe a teaspoon of butter in there to bulk it out.  After the onions were nice and soft and a little caramelized (oh that sweet, sweet Maillard-y goodness), I tossed in the celery for a minute or so to settle down its crunchiness a bit, too.

homemade, chicken, soup, stock, rice, vegetable, Alton Brown

Into another pot, I put a strainer and poured the still-boiling stock through it to get all the solids out.  What I was left with was a delicious soup base.  Now, if I were serious about serving the result to company, I’d have left the stock in the fridge overnight and pulled the big chunks of chicken fat off of the top and made soup the next day.  I wasn’t, so I just went with it and resigned myself to deliciously fattening and rich chicken soup.  Your call.
I’m lazy.
And fat.

homemade, chicken, soup, stock, rice, vegetable, Alton Brown

Next up, put all of your delicious ingredients in there.  Carrots, a cup and a half of leftover rice, the onions and celery you just cooked, as much chicken from that rotisserie chicken as you want (we kept back about two-thirds of it and made chicken pot pie two nights later.)  I also began salting and peppering.  Probably a teaspoon of pepper and something like a tablespoon to a tablespoon and a half of salt.  I also chiffonnaded three or four celery leaves and tossed them in for a nice green touch and a little more flavor.

homemade, chicken, soup, stock, rice, vegetable, Alton Brown

I boiled that on medium-high until I was happy with the texture of the carrots, which I wanted to be a little softer, but still with that nice zippy fresh carroty taste.  Then we ate it.

homemade, chicken, soup, stock, rice, vegetable, Alton Brown

This is good stuff, and I love reusing something that normally gets tossed.  The rotisserie chicken takes away some prep time and also provides more than enough of a basis for two or three meals.

Pros:  Delicious, savory, perfect for cold weather.  Pretty darned cheap, all told.

Cons:  Lots of chopping and prep work, then you need to babysit the stock a little bit.  Toward the end, there’s a lot going on on your stove, so you need to be comfortable managing a few things at once.

Verdict:  Oh yes. Will make again.

Homemade Chicken Soup
 
Author:

 
Ingredients
  • For stock
  • 1 rotisserie chicken
  • Top ¼ of a large white onion cut into four pieces
  • 5 baby carrots cut into lengthwise quarters
  • 1 rib of celery cut once lengthwise and then into 3″ lengths
  • 3 or 4 peppercorns
  • Pinch of thyme
  • Pinch of rosemary
  • For soup
  • All the stock you just made
  • Next ¼ of the same large white onion cut up fine
  • 5 more baby carrots cut into ¼ discs
  • 1 rib of celery cut fine
  • 1½ cups of white rice (already cooked)
  • 1-2 Tbsp salt
  • 1tsp pepper
  • Pat of butter (if needed)
Instructions
  1. Remove the meat and skin from the rotisserie chicken and set it aside.
  2. Put the bones in the stock pot
  3. Add water and get started boiling then reduce to simmer
  4. Add roughly cut ¼ of large onion
  5. Add lengthwise-cut celery and carrot
  6. Add peppercorns
  7. Simmer for about 4 hours and strain into the soup pot, removing all of the solids
  8. About thirty minutes from the end of four hours, render the fat from the reserved chicken skin in a skillet
  9. When the fat is off of it, round it out with a pat of butter and use it to sweat the finely chopped onion for a few minutes until it has some color and is a texture you like
  10. Toss in the fine chopped celery for a couple of minutes to cut down on the crunchies
  11. Put the celery, rice, carrots, onion, and as much chicken as you want into the soup and begin boiling again on medium high heat
  12. Add the salt and pepper and boil until the carrots are a texture you’re happy with.
  13. Eat.

 

Bistro Bohem – Washington, DC

Bistro Bohem, restaurant, Washington, DC, Czech

 

Bistro Bohem, restaurant, Washington, DC, Czech

ham pierogi with tomato sauce

 

Bistro Bohem, restaurant, Washington, DC, Czech

kura na paprice (roasted chicken with sweet paprika sauce and Czech dumplings)

 

Bistro Bohem, restaurant, Washington, DC, Czech

beef goulash (Czech beef stew served with house-made dumplings)

 

Bistro Bohem, restaurant, Washington, DC, Czech

almond cake with vanilla ice cream and strawberries

 

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