Family Favorites · New Favorite

Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Crush Cookies

Daughter Megan found this recipe and shared this mega cookie with me.  I have never heard of Levain Bakery in NYC but if I ever get back to the City, I will try to go! The cookies are delicious!

A batch of these cookies would make a wonderful Father’s Day present, or if you aren’t a baker, you could order them from the bakery!  Slightly warmed in the microwave, topped with vanilla ice cream, it would be a wonderful dessert for two or more!

LEVAIN BAKERY CHOCOLATE CHIP CRUSH COOKIES

1 cup Cold Butter cut into small cubes
1 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Sugar
2 Eggs
1 1/2 cups Cake Flour*
1 1/2 cups Flour
1 teaspoon Cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
3/4 teaspoon Salt
2 cups Chocolate Chips
2 cups Walnuts roughly chopped

  • Preheat oven to 410 degrees.
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream together cold cubed butter, brown sugar, and sugar for 4 minutes or until creamy.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each one.
  • Stir in flours, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. Mix until just combined to avoid overmixing. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.
  • Separate dough into large balls and place on lightly colored cookie sheet. They are bigger than you think! You will fit 4 cookies on one large cookie sheet. The dough makes 8 extra large cookies.
  • Bake for 9-12 minutes or until golden brown on the top. Let them rest for at least 10 minutes to set.
Recipe Notes

*can substitute all-purpose flour for cake flour

*Levain Bakery has stated they don’t use vanilla extract in their cookies. If you would like to add vanilla extract, I would suggest adding 1 teaspoon when adding the eggs to the batter.

Recipe from Modernhoney.com

Family Favorites · Garden

Mediterranean Feta Dip

Mediterranean Food is so fresh and delicious.  Daughter, Sarah, has made this recipe many times with rave reviews.  I decided to make it but add diced cucumber, making this more like a Greed Salad.  Using fresh Feta cheese, in block form, allows the cheese to absorb the olive oil and seasoning.  My family agrees that the cucumber takes this dip to a new level.  If you like Greek olives, you could add those as well.  I served with Stacy’s Simply Naked Pita Chips.  Scrumptious!

MEDITERRANEAN FETA DIP

1/3 cup olive oil
3 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
4-5 green onions, sliced thinly
1/2 diced English cucumber
8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (I used fresh block Feta)
2-3 teaspoons Cavender’s Greek seasoning
fresh baguette, sliced thinly or Pita chips
optional balsamic vinegar

  • On a large platter drizzle olive oil until you have a thin layer on the entire platter. You may use more or less here depending on your preference.
  • Add the tomatoes, green onions, and feta on top of the olive oil. Sprinkle with the Greek seasoning to taste.
  • With a spoon carefully combine the ingredients. We found that we like a little drizzle of balsamic vinegar on top. If desired, drizzle a little balsamic on top.
  • Serve with warm sliced baguettes for scooping up the dip.

Recipe modified from the-girl-who-ate-everything.com

 

New Favorite

Lemon Tiramisu

Tiramisu is one of my favorite desserts and when I saw this recipe for Lemon Tiramisu, I had to make it!  Lemon is so refreshing and a wonderful summer dessert.  

LEMON TIRAMISU

1 carton (8 ounces) mascarpone cheese
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 package (3.4 ounces) instant lemon pudding mix
1 cup 2% milk
1 teaspoon lemon extract
2/3 cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons sugar
24 crisp ladyfinger cookies
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

  • Beat first 5 ingredients on medium speed until blended, 2-3 minutes (do not overbeat).
  • Whisk lemon juice and sugar in a shallow bowl until sugar is dissolved. Quickly dip 8 ladyfingers into lemon juice, allowing excess to drip off; place in a single layer in an 8-in. square dish. Spread a third of the mascarpone mixture over top. Repeat layers twice.
  • Sprinkle with lemon zest. Refrigerate, covered, at least 2 hours before serving.

Recipe from Taste of Home

Family · New Favorite

Crock Pot Carnitas

Pork Carnitas are a favorite while dining at local Mexican restaurants.  This recipe, made in the Crock Pot, made the work easy.  I chose to skip the final step in the recipe and it was delicious.  If you love the crispy pork, go for it.  The pork is great in tacos, burritos, bowls, nachos….your choice!

CROCK POT CARNITAS

2 pounds boneless pork shoulder (or 2 1/2 pounds bone-in)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and ribs removed, chopped
1 orange, cut in half
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • Rinse and dry the pork shoulder. Salt and pepper liberally. Mix the oregano and the cumin with olive oil and rub all over pork.
  • Place the pork in a slow cooker and top with the onion, garlic, and jalapeno.
  • Squeeze over the juice of the orange and add the two halves. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or on high 4 hours.
  • Once the meat is tender, remove from slow cooker and let cool slightly before pulling apart with a fork.
  • In a large sauté pan, heat the vegetable oil over high heat. Press the carnitas into the oil and fry until crusty on one side. Serve.  (I skipped this step)

Recipe from FoodNetwork

New Favorite

Chicken Tikka Masala…Trader Joe’s Style

Chicken Tikka Masala is made easy using Trader Joe’s delicious Masala sauce.  The first time I made it, I followed the recipe below.  The second time I made the recipe, I used strips of red, yellow and green pepper, carrots and chopped onions.  Both were delicious and easy, peasy.  We were so excited when a Trader Joe’s was built fairly close to my house. There are always new products to try and enjoy!

During the pandemic, I went to Trader Joe’s only a couple of times.  Hat’s off to Trader Joe’s and how they managed shopper entry, masks, and cleanliness.  By far, the best job of any grocery store I ventured into.

CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA…TRADER JOE’S STYLE

1 (15-ounce) jar Trader Joe’s Masala Simmer Sauce
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds total), cut into bite-sized pieces
1 (14.5-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained
1 cup frozen pearl onions
1 cup sliced baby carrots
Coarsely chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
Cooked rice, for serving (optional)

  • Pour half of the sauce into the bottom of a 6-quart or larger slow cooker. Nestle the chicken into the sauce in a single layer. Pour the drained tomatoes evenly over the chicken.
  • Add onions and carrots
  • Pour the remaining sauce on top.
  • Cover and cook until the chicken is cooked through.  (I cooked for 4 hours) 
  • Sprinkle with cilantro and serve over rice, if desired.

Recipe adapted from thekitchn.com

Book Club · New Favorite

Mango Shrikhand

Mango Shrikhand was a recipe made by my friend, Diane, for Book Club now over a year ago.  It was delicious and I wanted to try to make it at home.  I made it with Greek Yogurt and cut the cardamon in half.

For those who don’t love Greek Yogurt, I would recommend using Vanilla yogurt.  If you don’t like cardamom, try using cinnamon.  If you don’t like mango, try another fruit.  It’s a versatile recipe and healthy dessert.

MANGO SHRIKHAND

2 1/2 (8 ounce) container plain yogurt (I used Greek yogurt)
3/4 cup mango puree
5 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (I used 1/8 teaspoon)
2 tablespoons crushed almonds

  • Line a colander with a clean piece of cheesecloth. Place colander over a tall vessel to collect the dripping water.
  • Pour yogurt onto the cheesecloth and gently twist the ends. Tie the ends into a knot above the yogurt.  Let drain and thicken in the refrigerator, 5 hours to overnight.
  • Whisk yogurt, mango puree, confectioners’ sugar, and cardamom in a bowl until well blended.
  • Refrigerate Shrikhand for 1 to 2 hours. Garnish with crushed almonds and serve chilled.

Recipe from allrecipes.com

Gluten Free · New Favorite

Honey Garlic Chicken Gluten-Free or Not

Honey + Chicken = Delicious!  I am fortunate to live next to a beekeeper and have two additional friends that have hives in their yards.  Local honey is such a wonderful treat and inspires me to try new recipes.  This recipe is definitely a keeper and wonderful paired with a fresh, green salad.

HONEY GARLIC CHICKEN

1 1/4 pound Chicken breasts
1/3 cup cassava flour (GF) or flour of preference
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup Chicken broth
4-5 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
3/4 teaspoon salt divided
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoon avocado oil (oil of choice)

  • Grate garlic with a grater or garlic press.
  • In a glass bowl add the sauce ingredients (honey, chicken broth, grated garlic, rice wine vinegar, yellow mustard, thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon salt). Set aside.
  • Place chicken on parchment paper and pat dry. Add salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder to your chicken.
  • In another glass bowl add the cassava flour. Coat the chicken on both sides.
  • Place your skillet on medium heat and add oil to the pan. Once oil is heated, place chicken in the pan and cook for 2 minutes per side.
  • Remove chicken from the pan and set aside. Place sauce in the pan and scrap up the pieces on the bottom of the pan. Then add chicken back to the pan.
  • Cook chicken an additional 4 minutes per side. Serve right away!

Recipe adapted from Redsreality.com

Holidays · New Favorite

Koulourakia Greek Easter Cookies

2020 was quite the year, and Easter was no exception.  During the lockdown, my daughters and I cooked different things and did a front porch, socially distanced food swap.  We each ate our Easter Dinner in our own homes, different than our normal family gatherings.

The following weekend, our neighbor invited everyone in our cul-de-sac to partake in a Greek Orthodox Easter dinner.  It was warm enough to gather outside, socially distanced, to celebrate this special day.  For the potluck gathering, I made Koulourakia, Greek Easter Cookies.  The cookies are a wonderful, orange-flavored butter twist cookie.

They were fun to make and similar in design to the Kringla I make at Christmas.  The cookies are especially good with a hot cup of coffee. This year, Greek Orthodox Easter will be May 2, 2021.  I may be inspired to make these yummy cookies once again!

KOULOURAKIA GREEK EASTER COOKIES

3½- 4 cups all purpose flour 420- 480 grams (3½ + ½ cup separated)
 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup granulated sugar 150 grams
zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup butter 115 grams, cubed, room temperature
2 large eggs room temperature
1 large egg yolk room temperature
 teaspoons vanilla extract pure
1/4 cup orange juice freshly squeezed
1/4 cup milk room temperature
1 teaspoon ouzo or Sambuca (optional)

Egg wash:

1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon water
2 tablespoons sesame seeds sprinkled on egg wash

  • Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Place rack in the center of oven. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • Sift together 3½ cups flour and baking powder and set aside. The other 1/2 cup of flour is reserved in case we need to add extra flour (see recipe note).
  • In a bowl of a stand mixture, with the paddle attachment, whisk together the orange zest and the sugar.
  • Add the cubed room temperature butter and cream together with the sugar until light and fluffy. This can take up to 5 minutes. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time beating well and scraping down the bowl between each addition.
  • Add the egg yolk and again, beat well and scrape down the bowl.
  • Add the vanilla extract, orange juice, milk and ouzo (if using). Beat together for 30 seconds.
  • On low speed, add the 3½ cups of flour and baking powder. The dough should be soft but not sticky. Add a few tablespoons of flour if the dough is still sticky. (Optional: cover dough with plastic wrap and chill for 20 minutes).
  • With a medium sized cookies scoop, portion and roll into a 7-inch log.
  • Shape into desired shapes (braids, pinwheels, twists, etc…) Refer to pictures in the post.
  • Place on parchment lined cookie sheets about 1 inch apart.
  • Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  • Bake for 13 minutes or until cookies are golden brown.  (This was too long in my oven.  I baked for 11 minutes and probably could have done even less.)
  • Allow to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to wire rack to completely cool down.
  • Can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for about 2 weeks. Cookies can also be frozen.

Recipe from shelovesbiscotti.com

New Favorite

Spring Bliss Bowls

Spring Bliss Bowls are so yummy that I made it twice within two weeks. There were so many ‘wows’ in this recipe. Wow, I have NEVER used pesto on rice…it’s amazing! Wow, I’ve NEVER roasted radishes…they are delicious! I roasted all vegetables on the same cookie sheet and it worked fine. You can also add protein such as sliced chicken breast if you like. If you don’t like the vegetables in the recipe, change it up. Any combination of vegetables will be great. Go for it!

SPRING BLISS BOWLS

INGREDIENTS:

serves 4

1 cup short grain brown rice
extra virgin olive oil
seasoned salt and pepper
10oz. bag cauliflower florets, trimmed into similar sized florets
3 small golden beets, trimmed, peeled and chopped
1 bunch radishes, trimmed then halved or quartered if large
1/2 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed then chopped into 2” lengths
1/3 cup + 1/4 cup prepared basil pesto, divided (recipe recommends Buitoni-I used my homemade pesto)
2 Tablespoons chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup pepitas/pumpkin seeds (optional)

DIRECTIONS:
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees then line two half sheet pans with foil, spray with nonstick spray, and set aside. (I used one cookie sheet vs. two).
  • Add brown rice plus 1-3/4 cup water, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and a sprinkling of seasoned salt to a small saucepan with a tight fitting lid. (Refer to the cooking instructions on your particular bag.) Bring to a boil then place a lid on top, turn heat down to low, and gently simmer for 40 minutes. Taste – if rice is still crunchy, add 2 Tablespoons water then continue to cook for 5 more minutes. Remove pot from heat then let sit
    and steam with the lid on for 7 minutes before fluffing and cooling slightly. Once slightly cooled, stir in 1/3 cup pesto.
  • Meanwhile, add cauliflower to a medium-sized bowl then drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and season with seasoned salt and pepper. Spread onto one half of the first sheet pan then oil/season beets in the same bowl and spread onto the other half. Roast for 15 minutes then stir.
  • While the cauliflower and beets are roasting, oil/season the radishes then spread out onto one half of the second sheet pan. Roast for 10 minutes with the beets/cauliflower then stir. Add oiled/seasoned asparagus to the remaining empty half of the second sheet pan then roast with all the other vegetables for 10 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender.
  • Breakdown of cooking times: Cauliflower/beets: 35 minutes. Radishes: 20 minutes. Asparagus: 10 minutes.
  • Add remaining 1/4 cup pesto to a small dish with chicken or vegetable broth then stir to combine.
  • Scoop pesto rice into four bowls then top each bowl with a quarter of the roasted vegetables. Drizzle with pesto sauce then top with 1 Tablespoon pumpkin seeds, if using, and serve.
  • For Meal Prep: Let all components cool then portion into containers, cover, and refrigerate. Microwave for 1-1:30 minutes or until warm then eat.
  • Notes
    I like to keep each vegetable separated in case they cook quicker or slower than the other vegetables.

Recipe adapted from IowaGirlsEats

Garden · Home · New Favorite

Layered Baked Ratatouille

Ratatouille is a vegetable side dish filled with wonderful flavors.  Every time I say the word ‘Ratatouille’ I have to smile and think of the Disney animated film Ratatouille. The young rat, Remy, dreams of becoming a famous French chef.  Such a funny film, great to watch with children, grandchildren or in the privacy of your own adult home…no one needs to know you’re watching a cartoon!

Celebrate after watching the film by enjoying the real deal!

LAYERED BAKED RATATOUILLE

2 cups (16 oz.) crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 small onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves (or 1 tsp dry) (plus more for sprinkling)
½ tsp. salt (plus more for sprinkling)
¼ tsp. pepper (plus more for sprinkling)
2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced*
2 medium yellow squash, thinly sliced*
2 small eggplant, thinly sliced*
2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1” squares
Olive oil
Parmesan cheese, to top (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 375F.
  • Spread 1 tbsp. olive oil in the bottom of a 9 inch cast iron skillet. In a small bowl, mix the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, onion, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Pour the mixture into the base of your skillet.
  • Layer the sliced vegetables vertically around the skillet, packing them as tight as you can. (We find that it is easier to layer the zucchini, squash, and eggplant in the skillet and then go back in and tuck the red peppers within the layers after the other vegetables have been filled in.)
  • Season the top of the vegetables with additional salt, pepper, and thyme. Drizzle with more olive oil.
  • Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until bubbly and the vegetables are softened and starting to brown slightly.
  • Garnish with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Recipe from Curiouscuisinere.com