(32) Strawberry Goat Cheese Bruschetta

You can file this one under “so crazy it just might work.”

Take a crusty baguette, slap on some tangy goat cheese, and top with one of the most delicious and underrated combinations of all time: balsamic strawberries. What do you get? A mouth full of crunchy and creamy and tart and sweet.  Just make enough for me to have seconds. and thirds. Ok, I ate five.

Ingredients

  • 1 crusty baugette
  • 4-6 oz goat cheese
  • 2 cups strawberries, diced
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • dried or fresh basil, to taste
  • pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Whisk together oil, vinegar, and honey
  2. Wash and dice strawberries. Add to the oil, vinegar, and honey mixture. Add pepper and basil to taste.Stir and let sit for at least thirty minutes.
  3. In the meantime, cut your baguette into slices. Brush with oil and toast, if desired.
  4. Before serving, top each slice with a spoonful of the strawberry vinegar mixture


Recipe adapted from Whole Foods

Instagram Round Up

Follow me on Intsagram, I’m ginnerbot. Here’s what I’ve been up to:

Ice cream and mini golf at Kerber’s Dairy with my mom

The hands-down number one thing I miss from cutting out meat is buffalo chicken. Wings, chicken strips, whatever.  I am working on finding replacements, and luckily, all I’m really looking for is SOMETHING covered in buffalo sauce and ranch. One night I made this huge plate of oven baked fries and it really did hit the spot.

Firefly festival had great food.  I enjoyed a Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey and a ginormous cookie ice cream sandwich before Young the Giant

This girl at Firefly was dressed as a taco. No big deal.

I made a veg-ception for Chicken and Waffles and I did not regret it.

A great thing to do is sit on a couch and eat brownies while you are watching world athletes at the height of physical perfection compete. (Emily made these s’mores brownies).

 

I made this zucchini bread. It was awesome.

These tofu tacos from mad mex convinced me that I need to get over my fear of messing up tofu and try again with some new cooking methods.

Look forward to seeing some posts related to my new cookbooks in the near future.

The Dark & Stormy cocktail is DELICIOUS

Jonathan made bruschetta-stuffed mushroom caps on the grill.  I’ve never had grilled portobellos before and they were awesome!

I made Peanut Butter Snickers Brownies.

This cheesy-garlic sauce is fabulous on veggie pizzas. Pictured: mozzarella cheese, sun dried tomatoes, red onions & spinach on a homemade whole wheat crust.

(31) Boston Cream Pie

 

My brother Michael has just returned from a semester in Shanghai and a month in Seoul and when I asked him what type of dessert I should bring to our family gathering, he said quite simply, “Something with chocolate.”

I debated for a while and decided on Boston cream pie. Everyone enjoyed it, and I enjoyed making it, even though the process of making custard always sort of turns into an existential crisis. You’re just sitting there stirring forever, and you start to think there is no way it will ever thicken, and your eyes glaze over and you start to think about life, the universe and everything. And just between wondering if there is life on other planets and trying to decide what you are going t make when you throw away this custard because there is no way it is ever going to set — that’s when it comes together and you are ready to go.

So make this dessert on an occasion when you have time to think about life.  At the end, you get to dump a bunch of ganache on top of a cake and watch it drip down the sides, so it all works out in the end.

 

Cake Ingredients

  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Cake Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  • Beat eggs and sugar on high for 15 minutes
  • In a separate bowl, measure out 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour. Remove 2 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon of the flour and replace with equal amounts of cornstarch. Add Salt
  • Slowly whisk the egg mixture into the flour mixture.
  • Add milk and vanilla and stir to combine
  • Grease 2 8 or 9-inch cake rounds and bake for 15-17 minutes. Remove from cake pans and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Pastry Cream filling – Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Pastry Cream filling – Instructions

  • In a sauce pan, combine 1 1/2 cups milk and 1/2 cup sugar and heat on a low setting until the sugar dissolves
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together 1 cup of milk, egg yolks, corn starch and vanilla.
  • Slowly add the egg-yolk mixture to the heated milk
  • Stir this mixture continually (FOREVER) until the custard becomes thick and smooth.
  • Stir in butter and allow mixture to cool \g

Chocolate Ganache – Insgridents

  • 1 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Chocolate Ganache – Instructions

  • Assemble the cake but spreading an even layer of custard between both cake layers, after both the cake and custard have cooled.
  • When the cake is ready, make the topping by heating chocolate in a sauce pan until melted. Remove from heat and quickly stir in heavy cream.
  • Pour mixture over top of the cake (and eat the rest with a spoon, clearly)

 

Recipe via Bijouxs

(30) Tempura Veggies and Ponzu Dipping Sauce

You know what’s delicious? Vegetables. You know what’s even more delicious? Coating them in a batter, frying them, and dipping them in sauce. Ok, so maybe deep-fried anything isn’t the greatest everyday meal option, but definitely add this to your occasional rotation because it is so much tastier than it has any right to be. The batter is so light and crispy – the veggies are basically flash-fried, so they still have a great snap, and this ponzu sauce is basically the definition of umami.

Here’s the no-fail secrets to making tempura batter. (1) Make sure your water is super cold. If necessary, it’s fine to go ahead and throw some ice cubes in you batter. (2) Do not over mix. The entire point of this batter is that it’s light and thin; over-mixing can develop gluten, and you’ll end up with a thicker coating that doesn’t work for this dish. If  your choice is a lumpy batter or an over mixed one, go for lumpy.

You can use any combinations of veggies that’s appealing to you, just make sure you cut the veggies into a smiliar size and thickness so they fry at a consistent rate. We used broccoli florets, green beans, zucchini sticks, carrot sticks, and red onion slices. Next time, I think I’ll throw some radish in there, and maybe some snap peas.

Tempura Veggies – Ingredients:

  • 1 cup very cold water
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of salt
  • Cut up strips or pieces of vegetables, enough for 4 servings
  • Oil for frying

Instructions:

  • Cut up vegetables and dab with kitchen towel or paper towel to remove moisture from the surfaace
  • Mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add egg and water and mix quickly. Some lumps are ok.
  • Heat oil  to 350 in a wok or large sauce-pan with high sides.
  • With tongs or a slotted spoon, add vegetables to batter and coat
  • Add coated vegetables to oil in batches. Each batch should take only 1-2 minutes to fry – you don’t need to wait for the batter to turn golden brown.  Turn once to fry both sides.
  • Remove vegetables from oil with tongs or slotted spoon, draining some of the oil off. Place on a platter lined with paper towels while you finish the remaining vegetables.
  • Repeat with remaining vegetables. Keep an eye on the oil to maintain the high temperature.
  • Enjoy!

Ponzu Dipping Sauce:

Mix together:

  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

(29) Crepes

Ok, so I’m a little behind on posting last week’s recipe. You’ll have to forgive me, I was on an awesome vacation where I did things like completely lose my mind in the front row for Jack White and  eat chicken and waffles in a giant field. So blogging was one of the last things on my mind. Behind work, responsibilities, and anything that isn’t related to Jack White.

I’m lucky that I have a super awesome neighbor who also enjoys cooking adventures, or I’d probably never have gotten to a new recipe last week. It was one of those crazed weeks where I had way too much going on, and getting standard dinners on the table was enough without messing with new recipes. I had grand designs to make some elaborate desserts and homemade camp snacks for our trip, but I ended up at the grocery store at 11 p.m. the night before we left cramming grocery store salsa and goldfish crackers into my cart.  We can’t all be superstars all the time.

But back to my neighbor, Emily. This girl is a super star and proved that yet again by inviting me over to make crepes and blowing my mind by showing me how easy it is. (Although her swirling-the-batter-in-the-pan technique is way better than mine). Since last week we’ve been sending each other ideas on other crepe fillings we could try out. I won’t lie to you, they’ve all been desserts.

The night we made these, we had two different fillings . We made savory dinner crepes with some roasted asparagus, brie, and ham (ham-less for the part-time Veg in the house). For dessert, we stuffed those suckers full of nutella, whipped cream, strawberries and bananas. I’m not sure why we are even talking about other fillings because that was so remarkably delicious I don’t really see how anything else could be better. At least I didn’t think so, until I saw someone put ice cream and hot fudge on a crepe.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • And butter, lots more butter (for the pan)

Instructions:

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and pulse until well combined. You want a very smooth batter. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  2. Coat a small pan with butter. Ladle crepe batter into the pan and swirl to coat evenly. (You want a nice thin layer, it may take a few tries to get a feel for how much batter to use)
  3. Cook crepe for about one minute, or until edges begin to slightly brown, then flip and cook the other side.
  4. Remove and let cool on a flat surface. Continue this process until all batter is gone.
  5. Crepes can be stacked on top of each other

Notes:

  • Thanks to Emily, I know that you should stop before all of you batter is gone, add some sugar, and then continue.  Stuff these sweet crepes full of delicious dessert-type things
  • Recipe via Alton Brown

Crepe Ideas:

Instagram Roundup

Brunch on a summer no-reason day-off is the greatest

 

If you invite me to a party, expect me to bring these

 

I love gauc so much sometimes I forget how great pico de gallo is

 

A pineapple mojito & blackberry margartia at Circa after a long day in the DC heat

 

I had an extremely American lunch in the congressional office building cafeteria on my visit to DC.

 

Good eats in Chinatown, DC

This is the season I learned to embrace squash. I have made these charred corn and zucchini tacos (and nachos) a few times now, and they are A+. Throw in a red bell pepper, top with guac. Trust me.

Fabulous lunch at NoodeCat on my quick anniversary trip to Cleveland.

 

We had Manhattans and literally the best meal of my  life at the Greenhouse Tavern

 

Start more days eating a giant cupcake in bed. You won’t regret it. (Banana Walnut from Colossal Cupcakes!)

 

You know I’m not messing around when I break out the patriotic sprinkles

Dark chocolate covered pretzel rods for the 4th of July. Because I was sooo not turning on my office.

Took advantage of a free morning on the 4th to make naan. God bless America. And whoever invented naan.

 

 

If you forced me to pick my favorite dessert, I just might say berry cobbler

 

(27) Curried Lentils & Potatoes

lentils

When I decided to give vegetarianism (part-time vegetarianism? less meatatrianism?) a whirl, I asked my many vegan and vegetarian pals what they’d recommend cooking.  Again and again, people extolled the virtues of lentils.  I’ve eaten lentils before, but I can’t say it’s been all that extensive, and I have never cooked with them, ever.  So I put it off, (all through the winter months when it would have be great to have a hearty lentil stew) in favor of the more familiar.

As usual, my friends are smarter than me. Lentils are great! This recipe is great! I want to scoop it up on a million pieces of garlic naan and eat it all day long. Lentils don’t exactly photograph well, but who cares? I’ve already got another lentil dish on my menu for next week.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dried lentils
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/2 – 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 2 russet potatoes, cut into large chunk
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1.  Combine lentils, coconut milk, curry powder, and half a cup of water in a large saucepan.
  2. Bring mixture a boil. Reduce heat and partially cover. Allow to simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally
  3. Add potatoes, cover, and simmer for about 10 more minutes. If lentils begin to dry out, add more water and stir.
  4. Uncover and simmer for 5-10 minutes, until much of the liquid is absorbed and lentils and potatoes are tender
  5. Season generously with salt and pepper
  6. Garnish with cilantro, serve with naan

Recipe via How to Cook Everything Vegetarian

TED x Jonathon Sawyer


Last night, my husband and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary, and we were lucky enough to have dinner at the Greenhouse Tavern in Cleveland. It was quite literally the best food I had in my life. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a great food experience in Cleveland. (It’s worth taking a trip, seriously).

During my  research in deciding where to go eat, I looked up a few things about Chef Jonathon Sawyer who owns the restaurant. I really like his style, both in terms of how great his food is and in terms of his philosophy about food, which is focused on sustainable, ethical practices and local foods. Above is his TEDx talk about that very topic, enjoy!

Link Round Up

(26) Pesto

I’m officially half way through my 52 foods project, and I’m bringing one of the simplest recipes I’ve made to-date.  One of the most important things that doing this project is teaching me is just how easy it really is to make things from scratch and to enjoy unprocessed foods. Before starting this project,  I stood behind that idea a lot in theory, but not so much in practice. From-scratch was typically reserved for special occasions.  Six months ago, all my pasta sauce came from jars. Now, I don’t even consider it an option. That’s progress.

A few weeks ago, I started a small herb garden in a container on my (extremely tiny) porch. I am no gardening expert, not by a long stretch, but taking care of these few plants is just another example of how I’m learning to be more self-sufficient when it comes to food and gaining some confidence in my abilities.

So this week’s recipe is a simple pesto using walnuts and my garden’s basil. Pesto is becoming a favorite of mine, and I use it in a lot of ways; today, I tossed my pesto with whole wheat pasta and threw some toasted walnuts and Parmesan cheese on top. Another favorite of mine is slathering pesto on a homemade pizza crust and topping with with Fontinella and mozzarella cheeses and roasted pepper slices. I adore it as a sandwich spread, especially in the summer time, paired with vegetables fresh off the grill.  Check out some links on the bottom of the post for more ideas on how to use your pesto.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup  walnuts (or pine nuts)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  • Pulse garlic, basil, and walnuts in a food processor
  • Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • Continue to pulse and slowly pour in olive oil in a steady stream.
  • Scrape down the side of the bowl if needed, and pulse in cheese
  • Add salt and pepper, to taste

Recipe via Simply Recipes

My pesto-related “to make” list. Let me know if you try any, or if you have other ideas!