Overnight Oatmeal with Chia Seeds, Walnuts, Blueberries, and Candied Ginger

Try this fantastic recipe for overnight oatmeal made with yogurt, chia seeds, and water. You can top it with anything you’d  like, but I love a combination of walnuts, blueberries, and candied ginger.

Overnight Oatmeal with Walnuts and Blueberries

My breakfast routine has never been the same since I’ve discovered overnight oatmeal. For someone like me, who doesn’t like the taste of traditional hot oatmeal, this has been life changing. I usually make 5 individual containers on Sunday, grab one each morning and add my mix ins. Eat up!

Overnight Oatmeal with Chia Seeds, Walnuts, Blueberries, and Candied Ginger

Ingredients

1/3 cup oats
1/3 cups plain nonfat yogurt
1/3-1/2 cup water
1 tsp chia seeds

Mix ins: blueberries, chopped walnuts, chopped candied ginger

Directions

Mix together and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, mix in blueberries, walnuts, and candied ginger.
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Enjoy!

Beet Hummus Recipe

Here’s a recipe for a homemade Beet Hummus spread with Za’atar. If you’re like me, and love beets and hummus, you might’ve seen and tried the combination of the two from your local restaurants and grocery stores. In fact, I’ve seen beet hummus on display at both Costco and Trader Joe’s within the last few weeks.

I came across the Shocking Pink Beet Hummus recipe in  The Picnic: Recipes and Inspiration from Basket to Blanket by Marnie Hanel, which was the latest selection for our Cookbook Club. This was the perfect recipe to use on my continued quest of converting everyone into beet lovers.

Here’s my adaptation of the recipe. Enjoy!

Beet Hummus Recipe (1)

Beet Hummus with Za’atar

Ingredients

2 medium beets
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin

For serving

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon za’atar
pita chips

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Directions

1. Scrub beets and trim the ends. Place in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer until beets are tender, 30-45 minutes. Drain beets and cool completely. Peel the beets, and reserve 1/4th of one of them. Chop the rest of the beets into about 1/2″ pieces.

2. Add chopped beets with the remaining ingredients into a blender and puree until completely smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning with extra salt and lemon juice as needed.

3. Spread the hummus onto a serving plate or bowl and garnish with the reserved 1/4th of the beet (finely diced), olive oil, and za’atar.

Beet Hummus Recipe (4)

And that’s all! You get the most unbelievably gorgeous vibrant color of hummus. The addition of beets bumps up the nutrients and vitamins and cut down on the starchiness of the traditional hummus. Plus it’s fun and tastes awesome!

 

Taco Tuesday: Steak & Eggs Breakfast Tacos with Guacamole

You might want to sit down for this one, because in this post, I’m combining some of my favorites: Taco Tuesday, Breakfast for Dinner, and Southwestern Food. That’s right, all three in one easy, simple, delectable recipe. Let’s do this!

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The inspiration for the recipe came from Sabra’s latest innovation: Guacamole Veggie Fusions. The guacamole comes in 3 flavors: South Western, Mango Lime, and Garden Vegetable. In addition to being ready at your slightest guacamole craving, these creations have 30% less fat than a classic guacamole and are made with 7 different varieties of crisp vegetables.

What’s not to love? In case you’re curious, the South Western Guacamole that I chose for this recipe included Hass Avocado, Onion, Yellow & White Corn, Black Beans, Tomato, Red Bell Pepper, Red Chili Pepper, Salt, Cilantro, and seasonings.

Steak & Egg Breakfast Tacos with Guacamole

Ingredients

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2 teaspoons of vegetable oil
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons of water
salt to taste
4 corn tortillas, warmed
1/4 cup Sabra South Western Veggie Fusions Guacamole
1/4 cup chopped cooked steak
1/4 cup crumbled Queso Fresco
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
lime juice to taste

Directions

1. Heat oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat. Whisk together eggs, water, and salt. Add to the pan and scramble to your liking.

2. Assemble tacos: evenly divide guacamole among 4 tortillas and top with eggs, steak, cheese, cilantro, and lime juice.

3. Get your napkins ready and devour!

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Get your coupon for $1 off at www.Sabra.com/VeggieFusions

If you love the recipe, please pin and share with hashtags #VeggieFusionsGuac and #VeggieUpYourGuac

Disclosure: I was provided with the product by Sabra and compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.

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Baileys and Coffee Fudge Brownies with Walnuts

Sometimes in life you need chocolate.
Sometimes in life you are short on time and need to take a shortcut.
Sometimes in life you need a shot of Baileys.

For those times in life, you’ve got to make a pan of these Baileys and Coffee Fudge Brownies with Walnuts.

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These brownies are dedicated to my friend Mariah, the funny, nutty, sweet lady that I got to know at The Pantry over the last 6 months or so. Alabama is lucky to have you back, but we’re going to miss you here in Seattle.

These brownies are indulgent, over-the-top, and decadent. To make them, start with a box of Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Brownie mix, sub in olive oil for vegetable oil, replace water with a combination of Baileys and cold brew, add in chopped walnuts and chocolate, and cut down on the baking time. That’s all!

Baileys and Coffee Fudge Brownies with Walnuts

Ingredients

Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix (20 ounce)
1/2 cup Baileys
1/2 cup cold brew coffee
1/2 cup olive oil
1 egg
3/4 cup chopped walnuts, divided
1/4 cup roughly chopped semi-sweet chocolate

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and grease a 10×10″ glass dish.

2. Whisk together Baileys, coffee,  olive oil, and egg. Stir in brownie mix and 1/2 cup of walnuts. Spread into the prepared dish and bake for 30 minutes.

3. Sprinkle remaining walnuts and chopped chocolate over the brownies and bake for another 5-7 minutes. Cool in the dish completely. Serve in small portions – these guys are super rich!

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And now that the post is written, I’m tempted to make another batch to take more photos and to showcase the gooey, fudge-like texture of these chocolate bites. Any takers?

National Hummus Day: Sabra Rosemary with Sea Salt Hummus Bagel Bites

It’s no wonder I’ve named my blog Snacking in the KitchenI love to snack! Whether in between breakfast and lunch, lunch and dinner, or dinner and bedtime, snacking offers a quick, easy, fun, and, most importantly, satisfying way to feed yourself and your friends and family. So, when Sabra approached me to develop a recipe with their hummus to celebrate National Hummus Day and highlight their Unofficial Meal concept, I jumped right in.

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I drew inspiration for this recipe from one of my favorite breakfast plates: a toasted bagel with cream cheese, lox, sliced cucumber, red onion, and capers. I replaced the bagel with bagel chips, used braised lamb in place of salmon, and finally, loaded Sabra’s Rosemary with Sea Salt Hummus with chopped up cucumber, capers, and red onion.

Give this a try and I bet you’ll be right there with me celebrating National Hummus Day!

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Sabra Rosemary with Sea Salt Hummus Bagel Bites

Ingredients

1 cup Sabra Rosemary with Sea Salt Hummus
1/4 cup chopped English cucumber
2 tablespoons chopped capers
1 tablespoon minced red onion
bagel chips
1/4 cup chopped Braised Lamb Shanks
fresh dill for garnish

Directions

1.  Mix hummus with cucumber, capers, and onion.

2.  Spoon hummus over bagel chips, top with lamb, and garnish with dill

3.  Eat!

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Didn’t I promise this was going to be quick and easy? Try the recipe and let me know how you’re celebrating #NationalHummusDay and #UnofficialMeal. And be sure to get a $2 off coupon from Sabra to help your celebration.

 

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Disclosure: this is a sponsored post. Sabra has provided samples of hummus and compensation for the recipe development. All opinions are my own.

How to Prepare Braised Lamb Shanks

There’s no denying my love for lamb. I mostly order it at restaurants, but when I got a chance to receive an order of two lamb shanks from Superior Farms, I decided to give cooking lamb at home another try.

With time and ingredient constraints (the refrigerator was looking especially empty that day), I developed this simple recipe using just lamb shanks, onion, garlic, white wine, and…..wait for it…. sparkling lemon water! Go with me on this one.

To prepare the lamb, I used my brand new French oven from Staub – the one I won a few months ago and lovingly named Amelia.

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Braised Lamb Shanks with Wine and Lemon Sparkling Water

Ingredients

2 lamb shanks
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 sweet onion, sliced
4-6 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2-1/3 cup dry white wine
1 can of lemon flavored sparkling water

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

2. Pat lamb shanks dry with paper towels and generously season with salt and ground black pepper.

3. Heat oil in a French oven over medium-high heat and sear the shanks on all sides until browned. Do this in batches, if necessary.

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4. Remove the shanks onto a plate; drain excess oil and fat from the French oven. Add onions and garlic and caramelize over medium heat until softened, about 10-15 minutes.

5. Nestle the shanks among the onion, pour in the wine, and braise the lamb shanks covered in the oven for 1 hour.

6. Add in a can of lemon flavored sparkling water and continue braising for another 2 hours, until the lamb is tender.

What’s next is up to you. I chilled the shanks overnight and enjoyed them, thinly sliced in salads, over sautéed potatoes and mushrooms, and on sandwiches.

Here are some of my other favorite lamb recipes:

Inside-Out Gyro-Style Lamb Roulade with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Pita Chips, and Feta Recipe

How to make Lamb Burgers With Pesto at Home, plus a Watermelon Salad with Feta and Basil ~ Recipes from Snacking in the Kitchen

Pomegranate Molasses Roasted Leg of Lamb

“Baaa!” says the lamb. “Yum!” I say ~ Braised Moroccan Lamb Shanks

 

Chocolate and Hazelnut Tart with Apricots

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This year, I decided to bake myself a birthday dessert. I wanted something simple to make, decadent, and filled with chocolate. I turned to Giada De Laurentiis recipe for Chocolate-Pistachio Fudge Tart and made a few changes to make it my own.

 

As I’ve been obsessing about Oregon hazelnuts from Trader Joe’s, I decided to replace pistachios with roasted hazelnuts. I also replaced the heavy cream with half & half to lighten up the texture and the calorie load. I was at first worried that using half&half would not set up the chocolate filling, but it worked just fine. As the chocolate was melting into the hot half&half, I added a few extra ounces of chocolate, to make the filling thicker.

The tart came out just right. A balance between the creamy, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate filling and the crunchy, slightly salty nut and graham cracker crust. The topping of dried apricots is optional. I liked the golden, slightly sour bursts of fruit. I can also see how this same recipe would work well with fresh raspberries or strawberries. Happy birthday to me!

 

Chocolate and Hazelnut Tart with Apricots

Ingredients

Crust:
1 1/2 cups roasted hazelnuts
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 whole graham crackers
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Filling:
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups half&half
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch pie pan or springform pan with butter.
  2. Pulse hazelnuts in a food processor until roughly chopped. Add the graham crackers and pulse until finely chopped. Drizzle in the melted butter and pulse until incorporated. Press the mixture evenly over the bottom and sides of the pie pan. Bake until golden brown around the edges, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and lightly press the crust into the pan; cool completely.
  3. Heat half&half, vanilla extract, and salt until just beginning to simmer. Pour over the chocolate and let sit for 2 minutes. Whisk together until smooth and pour into the crust. Refrigerate until set, then sprinkle with chopped apricots and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Sun Basket Meal Delivery Review

Sun Basket Grilled Sausages

Grilled Sausages with Red Pepper Chutney and Braised Kale

My name is Anna, and I’m to this point I was a meal delivery virgin. A short conversation with the marketing team from Sun Basket changed my status. I picked three recipes from their website and had them ship to my house within a few days. I cooked all three recipes within a week, sharing one with a friend, and splitting the other two into several meals (leftovers!).

Here are my thoughts.

Benefits:

  1. On time delivery.
  2. All ingredients are included (other than salt, pepper, and oil).
  3. Fresh, organic, seasonal produce and animal proteins.
  4. Generous portion amounts.
  5. Easy to follow recipes that result in flavorful, healthy, satisfying meals.
  6. No wasted food.
  7. Each recipe introduces you to an ingredient you might not be familiar with.
  8. Accurate times for preparations and cooking, most recipes are done in 40 minutes.
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Chicken Garam Masala with Yogurt and toasted Naan

Recommendations:

  1.  Be sure to read through the entire list of ingredients and directions first. You can save a bit of time by changing up the steps and prepping the ingredients while cooking.
  2. Cut down on oil. Most steps in the recipe asked for 2 tablespoons of oil to sear or saute. You can easily cut this down to 2 teaspoons.
  3. Taste as you go.
  4. For some dishes, like the Chicken Garam Masala, I cooked a side of rice. The Grilled Sausages were for dinner, and I almost topped it off with a sunny side egg.

Verdict:

I would genuinely recommend Sun Basket for families or individuals who want to try new recipes. With this delivery system you can choose between paleo, vegetarian, and gluten free recipes. Enjoy!

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Shrimp Coconut Curry with Purple Potato

I was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own. Meals were provided to me at no cost.

 

One Pan Supper: Roasted Vegetables and Salmon

I’m an expert at doing dishes. In fact, it’s been a part of my job for the last four years. I’d do 2-3 full loads of dishes twice a week, twice a month, plus have more to wash by hand. And as much as it can be therapeutic sometimes to play with soapy water and see immediate results of your labor, saving on washing dishes gets gold stars in my book!

With this recipe, you’ll minimize on the number of dishes you’d need to wash while making a super impressive yet easy for a family of 4. If you’re cooking for 1 or 2, don’t despair. You’ll end up with plenty of leftovers for a few lunches.

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One Pan Supper: Roasted Vegetables and Salmon

Ingredients

3 pounds baby potatoes
4-6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 parsnips, chopped
1 large red onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
salt and ground black pepper to taste
4 thyme sprigs, divided
1 pound salmon fillets
1 lemon, sliced

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 425 F with a sheet pan placed on the middle rack.

2. Toss potatoes, garlic, parsnips, and onion with 2 teaspoons of oil. Season with salt, pepper, and add two sprigs of thyme. Add vegetables to the preheated pan in a single layer and roast for 20-25 minutes.

3. Use the remaining olive oil on top of salmon and season with salt. Layer thyme sprigs and lemon over the top.

4. Stir the vegetables and make space for the fish. Add salmon fillets to the roasted vegetables and bake for another 10-12 minutes.

Dinner’s ready! Remember those leftovers I have mentioned earlier? Imagine the chilled roasted salmon on top of a sandwich. Toss the roasted vegetables with a garlic yogurt and dill dressing. Whatever you decide to do with these, please, be mindful of your coworkers and don’t reheat leftovers in the microwave. They shall thank you!

Love the recipe? Share the link, post pictures and tag on instagram with @snackinkitchen.

Taco Tuesdays

I might argue that tacos are the perfect food. They are portable, super versatile, quick and easy to prepare (relatively speaking at least, once you’ve got all your sauces and fillings ready), affordable, and are plainly fun to make.

Taco Tuesdays have become a tradition all around the nation. Some restaurants even change up their menus to serve these Mexican-inspired delicacies.

What’s your favorite way to enjoy a taco? Are you a corn or flour tortilla fan? (I prefer corn, lightly charred). Do you like a few fillings or load up your tacos to the brim? (I’m a loaded kind of girl, the more, the better – this makes it a bit more difficult to eat the tacos, but so much more enjoyable and satisfying).

Back in the day when I was following a whole30 eating plan, I made my tacos as lettuce wraps. Look at the beauties below! I filled the lettuce with seasoned ground beef, spicy guacamole, and mango-tomato salsa. Skip the sour cream and cheese, and add a serving of plantain chips.

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Another reason to love tacos? They are perfect for parties! Set up a variety of fillings and toppings in individual bowls and let your guests build their own. It’s fun for them and makes your life as a host easier.

Here’s a sample of my taco tray with fajita-style peppers and onions, tender braised and shredded beef, slow cooked beans, salsa, guacamole, pickled radishes, sour cream, and lime.

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Got a favorite taco? Share away!

Quinoa, Chicken, & Zucchini Egg Bake

Quinoa, Chicken, and Zucchini Egg Bake

It might be cliche, but breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. But when every free minute in the morning is worth its weight in gold, you want breakfast that’s quick, easy, and can be prepared ahead of time. This Quinoa, Chicken, and Zucchini Egg Bake fits every category. It is loaded with protein, vegetables, can be baked the night before, and quickly reheated in the morning while you pour yourself a cup of coffee. What’s even better? You can freeze the bake in individual portions and have them ready to go when needed.

I’ve prepared a similar recipe in a muffin pan, but honestly, it took longer to remove the egg cups out of the muffin pan than I care to admit. With this version, there’s less sticking, and it bakes in the same time. I’ve cut the bake into 8 servings, think of it as 1 egg per serving.

Quinoa, Chicken, & Zucchini Egg Bake

Ingredients

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 (3 ounce) fully cooked chicken sausages, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 cup cooked quinoa
8 eggs
1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
2. Heat oil over medium heat. Stir in onions, garlic, and sausage. Cook until onions are browned and softened, 5-7 minutes.
3. Stir in zucchini and cook until slightly soft, 3-5 minutes. Mix in quinoa and cool.
4. Whisk together eggs, milk, and seasonings.
5. Layer quinoa on the bottom of the greased baking dish. Top with whisked eggs and bake until set, 30-35 minutes.

The beauty of this bake is also how versatile it is. Depending on the flavor of the sausage you use, you can play with seasonings and mix ins. Cheese is always a good option here – either mixed in with the eggs or sprinkled on top before baking.

And speaking of mix ins – do try using different vegetables. I’m a fan of sauteing the vegetables first. Not only does it add flavor, but it removes moisture from the vegetables that helps keep the bake nice and firm.

Ready to cook? Share your personal combination with me, post your photos on Instagram and be sure to tag @snackingkitchen.

Loaded Avocado Toast

loaded avocado toast

Loaded Avocado Toast with Za’atar, Sumac, and Aleppo Pepper Flakes

Who was the genius who invented avocado toast? If I ever found him or her, I might just give them a hug. It seems like the popularity of avocado toasts has exploded overnight, and just like that, you were seeing pieces of toasted bread topped with mashed or sliced avocados all over social media.

Most of the toasts I’ve come across were simple, if not somewhat plain. Perhaps a sprinkling of salt, maybe a dash of lemon juice, and there it was, in all its glory for you to devour.

I’ve had my share of those for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and everything in between. And then I thought, “Why keep the toast simple? Why not add extra flavors and toppings? Don’t I like most everything loaded? (this includes baked potatoes, pizza, and tacos).” And that’s how this Loaded Avocado Toast was born.

It’s silly to write down a recipe for this, but my preference is for a deeply toasted piece of seeded whole grain bread, topped with mashed avocado and sprinkled with za’atar, sumac, Aleppo pepper, and salt. That’s all guys and girls! Call it a Mediterranean take on the traditional avocado toast. Call it genius. Or simply call it yours and make it for breakfast.

Enjoy!

Nosh the Truck: Seattle Fish and Chips

Seattle Nosh Fish and Chips

This might come as a surprise to my London friends, but I am serious when I say that Nosh the Truck in Seattle has better fish and chips. Fish and chips is one of those simple and basic food pairings like peanut butter and jelly, chocolate cookies and milk, and wine and cheese. They go perfectly well together and make up for a very pleasing and enjoyable experience.

I look for several things when it comes to fish and chips. The fish has to be flaky, piping hot, encased in a golden crispy coating. Although the fish is fried, it should still taste light and airy, not greasy. And it has to be perfectly seasoned, with salt, as soon as it comes out of the fryer.

And the chips? The potato fries must be crisp and tender on the inside. The double frying method works best to achieve this.

Both the fish and chips from Nosh lived up and exceeded my expectations. Honestly, I could do without the side of mashed peas, but when in London… (or Seattle).

The next time you see the food truck parked by your office, don’t be put off by the long line (as there’s bound to be one). Do wait and order this British delicacy.

Life Lessons in the Kitchen: Patience

Caramelized Onions

Life has taken a few interesting turns in the last few months. With it, it brought a level of stress and anxiety. As much as I am trying to stay positive, I find it difficult. And so, I walk into the kitchen and turn to cooking, to feed, to soothe, to take a moment from thinking about everything that is happening and everything that is not. This sounds like one of those non-specific Facebook posts, does it not? But without going into details, I’ll just say that a lot of balls are up in the air right now and I’m failing at juggling.

But back to the kitchen. One onion, a few cloves of garlic, and thyme. And time. That night’s meal prep was an exercise in patience. Thin onion slices, mingled with minced garlic and a sprig of thyme with a bit of olive oil. Over medium heat, they softened up, sweetened up, and turned tender. There was no hurry, no cranking up the heat, no multitasking. Just the sweet and savory aroma filling the kitchen. At the end of the process, I splashed a little bit of rice vinegar and turned off the heat.

There are so many uses for this jam-like onion condiment. I spread the onions on a piece of sourdough bread, topped with sharp Cheddar, and thin slices of crispy pear. A second piece of bread went on top, lightly pressed, and transferred to a skillet. The end result was a perfectly crispy and gooey grilled cheese sandwich.

Happy stomach, happier heart.

Roasted Beet Soup with Celery Cream

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I’ve loved beets ever since I was a toddler. In my family, we ate beets in a variety of ways from roasted, to shredded, to boiled, to pickled. And guess what? Nobody thought they tasted like dirt. To us, the beets were one of the main staple ingredients for soups and salads. But maybe that’s because I grew up in Russia.

Not until my move to the United States did I encounter people who despised beets, with passion.

As my love for beets continues to grow, I look for new ways and recipes to incorporate this brilliant root into my diet. I’ve discovered the golden beet, the striped beet, and I’ve loved each and every single one of them.

In the last few years, I’ve also tried raw beets. Either thinly sliced or shaved, marinated in olive oil with a dash of salt, they make for a perfect addition to salads.

My latest adventure in the beet world was with this recipe from Hugh Acheson’s cookbook “The Broad Fork.”

I invite you to look for the book at your local bookstore or library to get the exact recipe. Here, I’ll offer the general method and some thoughts.

For the soup, Hugh instructs to first boil and then roast the beets until perfectly tender. My recommendation is to stick to one cooking method. Either simmer the beets until tender or roast them. The double cooking method took extra time and equipment and in my opinion landed little to the recipe.

Once tender, the beets are added to sauteed onions and celery with chicken stock, bay leaves, thyme, and parsley. So far so good, but where’s the garlic, Hugh? If you are like me, and love garlic, here’s where you’d add a clove or two.

Also, keep in mind, that you can easily make this soup vegetarian and vegan by using vegetable stock (preferably homemade) in place of chicken stock. Also, use oil in place of butter for sauteing the vegetables.

For the final step in making this soup, you puree the vegetables until perfectly smooth. To take this up a level, Hugh suggests passing the soup through a fine sieve. Do as you wish, but I thought the soup felt quite nicely on the palate without being strained.

And lastly, I really enjoyed the soup chilled. Garnished with a boiled cold egg and celery cream, the soup was refreshing, breathtakingly gorgeous and well liked by many of the members of my cookbook club.

Don’t forget the salt!

I hope this recipe inspires you to try cooking with beets.

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Adventures in French Macaron Baking

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The first time I had a French macaron was on my first visit to Paris, France at the famous and breathtakingly beautiful Ladurée Bakery. Up to this point, still in my early 20s, the only macaron I have experienced was actually the coconut macaroons I’d eat for Passover. And I must admit, I wasn’t expecting much more from the French macarons as I did from the chewy, overly sweet coconut concoctions. Boy, was I wrong!

As I fell in love with France, I fell in love with these almond meringue cookies that ranged in color from the softest Easter pastels to the deepest and brightest jewel tones. With a crispy skin on the outside, the cookies are soft and tender and slightly chewy as you bite into them and discover the flavor of the butter cream or chocolate ganache that holds them together. Eating just once is too difficult. You want to get a selection of several and savor them on their own. Skip the coffee.

A decade has flown by in front of my eyes, and I have enjoyed plenty of macarons during that time. From another Ladurée Bakery in Italy and from one of my favorite bakeries in Seattle, Bakery Nouveau.

But it wasn’t until last week that I baked French macarons on my own (I don’t even remember baking them while studying culinary arts at The Culinary Institute of America).IMG_20150910_113827

The opportunity presented itself at work, and I rose up to the challenge. As I’ve mentioned in my previous posts, trying out new recipes and techniques is one of the things that I love and appreciate the most about my job as a Food Stylist and Editor at allrecipes.com.

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You guys! These little things are tricky business! Finicky, super time sensitive and require a lot of patience and attention to detail (think measuring all ingredients up to a gram!).

This kitchen experiment will require you to step up, buckle in, and perhaps even say a prayer or two. I know, I’ve said my share of prayers to the Macaron Goddess to ensure that my macarons bake up evenly, with beautiful, tall feet, and smooth, shiny tops.

With the 5 batches of the same recipe, some turned out better than the others. Thanks to my friends and family for encouragement along the way and readily consumption of the baked goods.

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Above is a photo of what my kitchen at home looked like when I tested the recipe. I colored the cookies almost a black currant color and sandwiched them with chocolate ganache flavored with pomegranate liqueur. These got served for a Rosh Hashanah celebration (the Jewish New Year) to add sweetness to the year ahead!

If you are a fan of baking, new challenges, and delicious, French sweets, do give this project a try. There are plenty of recipes out there, ranging in ratios of almond flour and sugar, baking temperature and times. I encourage you to try a few and find the one that best suits your preferences. Enjoy!IMG_20150922_161447

Malaysian Food in Seattle: Kedai Makan

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In all my culinary adventures, I have never experienced Malaysian food, until yesterday. How lucky we are here in Seattle to have this gem of the restaurant open, serving up the flavors of Malaysia.

Up until now, Kedai Makan was a small walk up, where you could pick up Malaysia’s traditional dishes, without much of an opportunity to sit down and enjoy the food right then and there.

Recently, the restaurant has moved to its new location, with plenty of tables for you to sit and enjoy the food. I might be a bit biased, but the combination of bright turquoise with the orange containers that hold silverware and napkins is fantastic!

Find Kedai Makan at 1802 Bellevue Ave, Seattle, WAIMG_20150925_164821

Being warned that the restaurant fills up pretty quickly, my friend and I showed up at 4:45pm, 5 minutes before they open, and were the first ones in line.

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What did I tell you? How gorgeous does the orange look against the bright turquoise walls and the dark, lacquered tables?

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We started with Padam Masala, a crispy papadum with tomato, cucumber, cilantro, chili, chat masala. Perhaps a version of Mexico’s chips and salsa. This was bright, crispy, light, and packed with flavor.IMG_20150925_184021

For our second course, we went with Roti Babi, bread stuffed with pork, mushrooms, coriander, and nutmeg. This whole sandwich is dipped in egg, and served with worscheshire and thai chilis. This was outstanding and I would be happy to eat it at any point for breakfast. Both my friend and I were not fans of the dipping sauce. Good thing, the sandwich didn’t suffer without it.IMG_20150925_194855

Finally, a bowl of noodles arrived at our table. Mee Hoon Kueh, the hard torn and pinched wheat noodles were served with mushrooms, ground pork, crispy anchovies and a bowl of earthy broth. And you know what? They put an egg on it! A perfectly poached egg that we stirred into with the noodles for a decadent sauce.

National S’mores Day – How to Make S’mores Inside

I haven’t discovered s’mores until I was way into my adults years. But once I did, I loved the upscale version with homemade marshmallows and rich, dark, semi-sweet chocolate. The idea of having a s’more on any given day might be quite tempting, but what happens when you don’t have access to a fire or a gas stove?

That was my challenge as a stylist and editor at Allrecipes.com. I was tasked to create a recipe for S’mores Indoors and am thrilled with the results. This one also uses coconut oil, so there are some health benefits, obviously.

Enjoy!

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