New Favorite

Smoky Eggplant Dip

Eggplant is one of my favorite vegetables. It started with fried Eggplant in my Mother’s kitchen, and through the years I have experienced eggplant in many ways.  I have made Ina Garten’s Eggplant Spread dozens of times.  This recipe is more like baba ganoush, with that wonderful smoky flavor.  The dip would be wonderful served with a fresh Greek Salad.

SMOKY EGGPLANT DIP

Makes about 2 cups

2 medium eggplants (about 1 pound each)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt, or to taste
6 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste), well-stirred if a new container
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced or pressed
Juice of 1 lemon, plus more to taste, if desired
Pinch of cayenne or aleppo pepper
Pinch or two of ground cumin
2 tablespoons well-chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided
Toasted sesame seeds or za’atar for garnish (optional)

  • Heat oven to 375°F.
  • Brush a baking sheet or roasting pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt.
  • Prick eggplants a few times with a fork or tip of a knife. Over a gas flame, grill or under a broiler, evenly char the skin of your eggplants. I like mine quite smoky and like to leave no purple visible. Transfer to a cutting board, and when cool enough to handle, trim off stem and cut lengthwise. Place cut side down on prepared baking sheet and roast for 30 to 35 minutes, until very, very tender when pressed. Let cool to room temperature.
  • Next Step Option 1: Food Processor: In a blender or food processor: Scrape eggplant flesh from skin and into the work bowl. Add tahini, lemon, cayenne, cumin and 1 tablespoon parsley. Blend in short bursts (pulses) until combined but still coarsely chopped.
  • Taste and adjust ingredients if needed. You may wish to add more salt and lemon.

To serve: Spoon into a bowl and drizzle with remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Scatter with second tablespoon of parsley, and some toasted sesame seeds or za’atar, if desired. Serve with pita wedges or naan.

Recipe from Smittenkitchen

Family · Family Favorites

Snickerdoodle Bars

Snickerdoodles have always been a family favorite.  What do you do when you want a Snickerdoodle but too lazy to make individual cookies?  You find a Snickerdoodle Bar recipe.  I doubled the recipe and made it in a 9 x 13 pan lined with parchment paper.  This recipe is easy and uses ingredients that are in most pantries.  Another recipe that will be made over and over again.

SNICKERDOODLE BARS

  • 1/2 c. Butter, room temp. (can use Vegan butter)
  • 1 Egg room temp.
  • 3/4 c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1/4 c. Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 1 1/2 c. Flour
  • 3/4 tsp. Cream of Tartar
  • 1/4 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 3/4 tsp. Cinnamon

Cinnamon Sugar Topping:

  • 2 Tbsp. Granulated Sugar
  • 2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • Allow butter and egg to come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • In a bowl, mix together butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until combined.
  • Add vanilla and egg and stir until fully mixed.
  • Add flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon to the bowl. Fold into the butter mixture until combined. Evenly spread the batter into the baking dish.
  • In a small bowl stir together sugar and cinnamon for the topping. Sprinkle on top of the cookie batter. Bake for 35-40 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before removing and cutting into 16 squares.

Recipe from Mylifeafterdairy

Home · New Favorite · Vegan · Vegetarian

Spicy Peanut Soup with Sweet Potato and Kale

Wonderful, yummy Spicy Peanut Soup with Sweet Potato and Kale is a new favorite.  I first enjoyed this soup at a Bunco gathering a few years ago and I asked for the recipe.  The source, Pinch of Yum, is a favorite site for my daughters and I and this recipe doesn’t disappoint.

The title says ‘spicy’ but with one chopped jalapeno, it was not hot at all.  If you truly want it hot, I would suggest adding 2+ jalapenos.  With this batch, I only added the curry powder, but next time I will add the tumeric.

This soup is Vegan and Vegetarian.  If you would like protein, adding some shredded chicken would be delicious.  It’s fall y’all, and I’m cooking up a soup storm!

SPICY PEANUT SOUP WITH SWEET POTATO & KALE

2 tablespoons olive oil
half an onion, diced
1 jalapeño, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 14-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes1
14-ounce can light coconut milk
2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon curry and/or turmeric
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
1/4 cup peanut butter
1–2 cups kale, stems removed, chopped

  • Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat and add the onion, garlic, and jalapeño. Saute until soft and fragrant.
  • Add sweet potatoes. I like to brown them a little bit with the aromatics to get them nice and flavorful.
  • Add tomatoes, coconut milk, water, spices, and peanuts. Simmer until sweet potatoes are fork-tender.
  • Add peanut butter and kale. Simmer until everything is thick, creamy, and delicious. Top with more peanuts and a little cilantro if you’re obsessed like me.

NOTES

Instant Pot: Cook everything except peanut butter and kale on high pressure for about 3 minutes with a quick release. (Sometimes I reduce the liquid when I make it in the Instant Pot by a cup or so, and then just add more as needed when it’s all done. But that is optional – it should work fine either way.) Stir in the peanut butter and kale after cooking. Voila!

Slow Cooker: Cook everything except peanut butter and kale on low for 6 hours. Stir in the peanut butter and kale. Don’t cook the sweet potatoes too long or they’ll fall apart on ya! Just cook until they pierce easily with a fork.

One last note. This recipe is inspired by an amazing West African recipe called maafe, or groundnut soup. I did what I always do and changed/added some ingredients based on what I love and what I had on hand (kale, jalapeño, coconut milk, cilantro, etc.) making it more of a cultural mash-up. That’s why I’m not calling it a proper West African peanut soup even though those are its roots.

Freezer Meal Version

Freeze Together:
3 cups chopped sweet potatoes, fresh or frozen
jalapeños, minced
half of an onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1 14-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
1 14-ounce can coconut milk

  1. Instant Pot Instructions: High pressure 8 mins + 10 mins natural release
  2. Slow Cooker Instructions: High setting 6 hours
  3. Final Step: Stir in 1/4 cup peanut butter, 1/2 cup chopped peanuts, and 1-2 cups chopped kale. Add water to thin to desired consistency.
  4. Check out our full freezer meal posts with all recipes and instructions here!

Recipe from Pinch of Yum

Book Club · Holidays · New Favorite

Cinnamon Apple Pie Cake

Cinnamon Apple Pie Cake is absolutely yummy!  I’ve served it multiple times with great reviews and requests for future events.  This is a definite favorite in my recipe box!

CINNAMON APPLE PIE CAKE

6 to 8 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon- sugar (1 1/4 T. sugar + 1/4 t. cinnamon)
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups superfine white sugar (see *Tips below)
1 1/2 cups vegetable or canola oil (see notes below!)
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-Purpose Flour
more cinnamon-sugar to sprinkle on top (same as above)

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 1/2 to 10-inch springform pan with nonstick spray. Line the bottom with a round of parchment paper and then spray again.
  • Layer the apple slices in the pan until they come about 2/3 of the way up the side. (I went a little higher than that and it worked out fine). Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar over the apples.
  • Prepare the batter by beating the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the oil (see notes below about the amount of oil called for) and the vanilla and beat well, then stir in the flour. Pour the batter on top of the apples, and sprinkle with additional cinnamon-sugar. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to allow the batter to sink down and around the apples.
  • Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool *completely* in the pan. If you try to remove the cake from the pan while it is still warm, it will tend to break apart. I refrigerated my cake before slicing, and that worked out well. Serve slices with ice cream (warm individual slices in the microwave, if desired).

TIPS:

  • You want “caster sugar” for this recipe: It is a finer grind than table sugar, but not as fine as powdered. Look for “Baker’s Sugar” at the store, or simply put regular white sugar in your food processor and give it a few whirls to create superfine sugar.
  • NOTE:  In the original recipe from this cookbook, the author calls for 1 1/2 cups of oil.  Although my pie cake turned out just fine the way the recipe was written, when I make it again… I will definitely try using 3/4 cup oil and 3/4 cup applesauce instead.  Some readers have noted that this has worked well for them.
SOURCE:  RecipeGirl.com (Adapted slightly from Monday Morning Cooking Club) and http://www.recipegirl.com/2013/09/30/cinnamon-apple-pie-cake/print/
Gluten Free · New Favorite · Vegan · Vegetarian

Chocolate Cake…Vegan and Absolutely Delicious

Who doesn’t like chocolate cake?  I wanted to make a chocolate cake for a gathering of friends, two of which are Vegan.  We all love to share salads, fruits, pastas, but dessert is always a bit tricky.

This cake was moist, delicious and almost healthy!  I would make it again and again whether my guests were Vegan or not. Even one of my Grand Dogs thought it was worthy of his attention!

CHOCOLATE CAKE…VEGAN AND ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS

Cake: 

3/4 cup plain flour/GF flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup unrefined cane sugar/brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Frosting: 

This makes a small amount of frosting as the cake doesn’t need much, but for a full batch

    1 1/2 tbsp. lite Nuttelex or other dairy free butter/margarine alternative
    1 1/2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
    1/2 cup sifted icing sugar
    1/2 tsp. vanilla

    • Preheat oven to 180°C/355°F.
    • Grease and line a small cake tin (or cupcake tins)
    • In a large mixing bowl combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
    • In a separate medium mixing bowl combine applesauce, sugar and vanilla and pour into dry ingredients.
    • Mix until just combined and pour into cake tin.
    • Bake for 20-35 minutes or until cooked through and a skewer inserted removes clean. If making cupcakes, cook for ~10-15 minutes or until cooked through.
    • For the frosting, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy in a mixer, adding in the cocoa and vanilla and mixing until combined. If needed, add a couple of drops of milk/non dairy milk until your desired consistency is reached

    Recipe from Southerininlaw.com

    New Favorite

    Yogurt Cake with Pear and Dark Chocolate

    Fresh, sweet pears have always been a favorite of mine. Rarely have I baked with pears but this recipe sounded too delicious to resist.  It has a wonderful texture and so very moist!
    Yogurt Cake with Pear and Dark Chocolate

    YOGURT CAKE WITH PEAR AND DARK CHOCOLATE

    1 1/2 cups flour
    2 tsp. baking powder
    1/4 tsp. salt
    1 cup plain yogurt (I used vanilla Greek yogurt)
    1 cup sugar
    3 large eggs
    1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
    1/2 cup canola oil
    1 large pear, ripe but still firm, cored and cut into small pieces (leave the skin on)
    1/2 cup bittersweet (dark) chocolate chunks.

    • Preheat your oven to 350F and grease an 8 inch loaf pan with butter (I found the recipe made too much for one loaf pan–I made an 8 inch loaf and a small loaf pan).
    • In a small bowl combine all the dry ingredients (flour through salt). In medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, yogurt, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Then, stir in the dry ingredients, a bit at a time, until well blended. Finally, use a rubber scraper to fold the oil into the batter until it is fully incorporated.
    • Pour about one-third of the batter into the greased loaf pan. Sprinkle 2/3s of the pear pieces and the chocolate chunks all over the batter. Then, scrape the rest of the batter on top of this and gently spread it smooth. Sprinkle the rest of the pear and chocolate over the top of the loaf and gently press all the pieces down into the batter to partially submerge them.
    • Bake in the middle of the oven until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean – 55-60 minutes or so. Then, take the cake out of the oven and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake. Carefully turn the cake out of the pan, and then put it upright on a cooling rack to cool the rest of the way. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. The cake will keep for several days (refrigerate if it’s more than 2 days), and slices are delicious lightly toasted before eating. Serve with sweetened whipped cream.
    Slightly adapted from FiveandSpice.com

     

     

    New Favorite

    OMG Scrambled Eggs…with Pesto, Bacon, Roasted Tomatoes & Peppers

    OMG Scrambled Eggs were an experiment, a gamble that paid off.  ‘OMG’ was the first thought that came into my head when I took the first bite. Adding the coincidentally roasted fresh tomatoes and peppers was a fantastic addition.
    I also made this recipe combining the tomatoes and peppers into the egg cups and loved them as well.
    The recipe could be adapted easily to add more bacon, cheese, pesto or whatever floats your boat. Worth trying!  I may be dreaming of this tonight.

    OMG SCRAMBLED EGGS

    3 slices bacon, sliced into 1 inch pieces
    1/4 cup chopped onion
    1 bunch swiss chard (or kale) stemmed and chopped
    1 dozen eggs, whisked
    salt and pepper
    2 tablespoons pesto
    1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
    roasted tomatoes and peppers (optional)
    • Sauté the bacon in a non-stick skillet until cooked about half way.
    • Add onions and cook through.  Drain most of the bacon fat off.
    • Add Swiss chard and cook until it wilts.
    • Add the eggs, salt and pepper, and pesto.
    • Stir the eggs often to assure they cook through.
    • Add cheese when eggs are about half way cooked.
    Serve with warm roasted tomatoes and peppers.
    MUFFIN EGG CUPS: Mix all ingredients together, including the chopped roasted tomatoes and peppers. Grease muffin tins and bake egg cups at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes until done in the center and golden brown.
    New Favorite · New Traditions

    Roasted Stuffed Kobacha Squash (or Pumpkin)

    Stuffed pumpkin (or in my case Kobacha Squash) was a novel idea I heard about from friends. I found this wonderful recipe and adapted it to use the Kobacha squash I’d recently purchased from Trader Joe’s.

    It was a fun, and delicious, experiment and one I’ll try again, shaking it up with different ingredients. This is a great way to use leftover pumpkins from Halloween or Thanksgiving. A new tradition perhaps.

    IMG_7582

    ROASTED STUFFED KOBACHA (OR PUMPKIN)

    1 pumpkin (I used Kobacha squash), about 3 pounds
    Salt and freshly ground pepper
    1/4 pound stale bread, thinly sliced and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
    1/4 pound cheese, such as Gruyère, Emmenthal, cheddar, shredded
    2-4 garlic cloves (to taste) coarsely chopped
    4 slices bacon, cooked until crisp, drained, and chopped
    About 1/4 cup snipped fresh chives or sliced scallions
    1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
    1/3 cup heavy cream
    Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

    • Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
    • Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment, or find a Dutch oven with a diameter that’s just a tiny bit larger than your pumpkin. If you bake the pumpkin in a casserole, it will keep its shape, but it might stick to the casserole, so you’ll have to serve it from the pot—which is an appealingly homey way to serve it. If you bake it on a baking sheet, you can present it freestanding, but maneuvering a heavy stuffed pumpkin with a softened shell isn’t so easy. However, since I love the way the unencumbered pumpkin looks in the center of the table, I’ve always taken my chances with the baked-on-a-sheet method, and so far, I’ve been lucky. (Note: I baked my squash in a round Pyrex casserole lined with parchment paper)

    IMG_7561

    • Using a very sturdy knife—and caution—cut a cap out of the top of the pumpkin (think Halloween Jack-o-Lantern). It’s easiest to work your knife around the top of the pumpkin at a 45-degree angle. You want to cut off enough of the top to make it easy for you to work inside the pumpkin. Clear away the seeds and strings from the cap and from inside the pumpkin. Season the inside of the pumpkin generously with salt and pepper, and put it on the baking sheet or in the pot.
    • Toss the bread, cheese, garlic, bacon, and herbs together in a bowl. Season with pepper—you probably have enough salt from the bacon and cheese, but taste to be sure—and pack the mix into the pumpkin. The pumpkin should be well filled—you might have a little too much filling, or you might need to add to it. Stir the cream with the nutmeg and some salt and pepper and pour it into the pumpkin. Again, you might have too much or too little—you don’t want the ingredients to swim in cream, but you do want them nicely moistened. (It’s hard to go wrong here.)

    IMG_7567

    • Put the cap in place and bake the pumpkin for about 2 hours—check after 90 minutes—or until everything inside the pumpkin is bubbling and the flesh of the pumpkin is tender enough to be pierced easily with the tip of a knife. Because the pumpkin will have exuded liquid, I like to remove the cap during the last 20 minutes or so, so that the liquid can bake away and the top of the stuffing can brown a little.
    • When the pumpkin is ready, carefully, very carefully—it’s heavy, hot, and wobbly—bring it to the table or transfer it to a platter that you’ll bring to the table.

    IMG_7579

    • You have a choice—you can either spoon out portions of the filling, making sure to get a generous amount of pumpkin into the spoonful, or you can dig into the pumpkin with a big spoon, pull the pumpkin meat into the filling, and then mix everything up. I’m a fan of the pull-and-mix option. Served in hearty portions followed by a salad, the pumpkin is a perfect cold-weather main course; served in generous spoonfuls, it’s just right alongside the Thanksgiving turkey.
    • It’s really best to eat this as soon as it’s ready. However, if you’ve got leftovers, you can scoop them out of the pumpkin, mix them up, cover, and chill them; reheat them the next day.

    Recipe Adapted from Epicurious.com

    New Traditions

    Baked Risotto with Bacon and Kale…comfort food

    Baked Risotto with Bacon and Kale (and many other yummy ingredients) is a comfort dish to love. My gal pal, Jan, told me about this dish and I had to try it.  It also helped that I had many of the ingredients on the ready.

    I rarely make Risotto because I don’t enjoy standing over the stove, constantly stirring and adding liquid to the Arborio rice. This recipe eliminates that hassle. There is some prep work chopping, roasting, grating, etc. but I did that early in the day which made the final preparation a breeze.

    Add this is the list…comfort food!

    RISOTTO WITH BACON AND KALE

    4 slices bacon, chopped coarsely
    1 large onion, chopped
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1 cup Arborio rice
    3 cups low-salt chicken broth (plus 1/2 cup+ to add later in preparation)
    3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
    3 medium curly kale leaves, stemmed and chopped into 1-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
    1 roasted carrot
    1 roasted parsnip
    1 roasted shallot
    1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

    • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Peel and chop the carrot, parsnip and shallot. Place on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Roast for 10 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from oven and set aside.
    • Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees.
    • In a large, heavy saucepan or braising pan, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until crisp.  Drain on paper towels.
    • Add the chopped onions, salt and pepper.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add the rice and stir for 2 minutes.  Add 3 cups broth and the lemon juice. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally.
    • Cover with a tight lid and bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes.  (Note: my dish was done at 20 minutes so watch closely.)
    • Remove the pan from the oven and return it to the stove, over medium-low heat. Remove the lid and stir in the chicken, kale, roasted vegetables and 1/2 cup chicken broth.  Stir until the kale is wilted, about 5 minutes, adding extra broth, as needed, until the Risotto is creamy.  Stir in the cooked bacon and cheese.  Ladle into bowls and serve.

    Recipe slightly adapted from Giada De Laurentiis Risotto with Bacon and Kale

     

    New Favorite

    Mini Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

    Our baby shower treats of last Saturday focused on baby-sized treats, including Mini Snickerdoodle Cupcakes.  Who doesn’t love a Snickerdoodle cookie…so why not a cupcake?  They could easily be adapted to a full-size cupcake without a problem.  They are yummy, yummy in the tummy as I will soon say to my first Grandbaby.

    Mini Snickerdoodle Muffins

    MINI SNICKERDOODLE CUPCAKES

    1 1/2 cups flour
    1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
    1 tablespoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, plus 1/2 teaspoon for dusting
    1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
    1 3/4 cups sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for dusting
    4 large eggs, room temperature
    2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    1 1/4 cups milk

    Cinnamon Frosting

    6 cups powdered sugar
    2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
    1 tablespoon vanilla
    2 to 4 tablespoons milk (or more to achieve desired consistency)

    Garnish

    2 teaspoons granulated sugar
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    Makes 98+ mini muffins.

    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.  Sift together both flours, baking powder, salt and 1 tablespoon cinnamon.
    • With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.  Beat in vanilla.  Reduce speed to low.  Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk, and beating until combined after each.
    • Divide butter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full.
    • Bake rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about (10-15 minutes). (Cathy’s Note: Each oven varies greatly with mini cupcakes, so do a test run.)
    • Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored up to 2 days at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months in airtight containers.
    • Frost mini cupcakes and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
    • Cupcakes are best eaten the day they are frosted.  Keep at room temperature until ready to serve.

    Cupcake recipe adapted from:  Martha Stewart
    Icing recipe from:  Betty Crocker