Baked Lemon Risotto

I know there is some debate about if you can call something risotto if someone didn’t spend 30 – 700 minutes standing over the stove, stirring, but this makes it so very easy, and is a soft creamy texture, close enough to ‘real’ risotto that I’ll certainly take it. I’ve made many varieties on this basic premise, adding things or leaving them out, swapping leeks for onions, and, of course, putting ever so much more cheese on top. Somehow, I’ve never taken pictures while following the recipe exactly, so I’ve got photos both from making it with leeks, which I didn’t precook the way you cook the onions, and a time where I followed the recipe except the Arborio rice had dried mushrooms in it.

Lemon risotto (with mushrooms in the rice) and chicken marinated in Garlic Lemon Caesar Dressing). I suppose we should have had some vegetables, if only for color.

Lemon risotto (with mushrooms in the rice) and chicken marinated in Garlic Lemon Caesar Dressing).

Ingredients:

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons fresh chopped thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 32 ounces low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt to taste
  • butter for coating the dish
  • more cheese, lemon zest and thyme leaves for topping

Butter a 9X13″ dish and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat, then add the onions and cook about 5 minutes, until translucent and brown.

IMG_4493Add the lemon zest, thyme, pepper flakes, and black pepper, stir together to heat through, then remove from the heat.

IMG_4494In a medium bowl, stir together the rice, cheese, and the cooked onion mixture. Spread into the greased pan, then pour the chicken stock and water over the rice, and stir gently.

firstPlace the pan in the oven and cook 37-40 minutes, stirring once halfway through.

twoIt’s done when the liquid is absorbed and the mixture is soft and creamy. If the mixture is still dry, add more water or stock, 1/3 cup at a time. (I’ve never needed additional liquid, and I’ve made this many times now.) Remove from the oven and let rest 15 minutes.

threeTaste the rice, then add salt if desired (your stock may have been salty enough you don’t need much/any). Serve topped with more zest, thyme, pepper, and/or cheese.

IMG_4498Simple, creamy, lemon-y, filling… it’s the perfect side!

Baked Lemon Risotto

From Joy the Baker.

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons fresh chopped thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 32 ounces low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt to taste
  • butter for coating the dish
  • more cheese, lemon zest and thyme leaves for topping

Butter a 9X13″ dish and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat, then add the onions and cook about 5 minutes, until translucent and brown. Add the lemon zest, thyme, pepper flakes, and black pepper, stir together to heat through, then remove from the heat.

In a medium bowl, stir together the rice, cheese, and the cooked onion mixture. Spread into the greased pan, then pour the chicken stock and water over the rice, and stir gently.

Place the pan in the oven and cook 37-40 minutes, stirring once halfway through. It’s done when the liquid is absorbed and the mixture is soft and creamy. If the mixture is still dry, add more water or stock, 1/3 cup at a time. Remove from the oven and let rest 15 minutes.

Taste the rice, then add salt if desired. Serve topped with more zest, thyme, pepper, and/or cheese.

Posted in Dinner | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Vegan/Gluten-Free Thin Mints

Last week (right? already lost track of time) I had a chance to see my friend Mary Kate, of Surviving the Food Allergy Apocalypse. In a rare move, we made cookies instead of getting Mexican. We combined recipes from two cookbooks, and ended up making our own alteration a bit as well, and wound up with cookies that are as minty and chocolatey as you would hope!

IMG_4541Ingredients:

Cookie:

  • 1 1/4 cups Cara’s All-Purpose Blend
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons non-hydrogenated shortening
  • 1 tablespoon nondairy milk
  • 2 teaspoons unsulphured molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Chocolate Coating:

  • 1 cup vegan gluten-free chocolate chips
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons mint extract

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.

Mix all the cookie ingredients together in a medium bowl until it mostly sticks together.

IMG_4525Turn it out onto a piece of parchment paper and knead it together until it sticks.

It's a very dry dough...

It’s a very dry dough…

Roll out between 2 pieces of parchment to about 1/8″ thick.

IMG_4527Cut with a 2″ cookie cutter. The only thing remotely the right size we could find was a lid to some dessert topping, but it worked okay.

IMG_4528Place the cookies on the lined sheet, and bake 10-12 minutes. Set aside to cool fully.

IMG_4529 IMG_4530When the cookies have cooled, combine the chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon of mint extract, and carefully melt the chips until the mixture and be stirred smooth. Taste it, and add additional mint 1/2 tablespoon at a time, as desired. The original recipe said to use 3 tablespoons, but Mary Kate had already written a note in her book to just use 2. We started off with 2, but ended up having to “water down” the mixture with additional chocolate, because the mint was so strong it was unpleasant.

IMG_4536Spread the chocolate mixture onto each cookie, then place the cookies in a single layer on a platter, or back on the pan, whatever you can fit in your refrigerator for 30 minutes to let the chocolate set.

IMG_4537 IMG_4540Minty!

Vegan/Gluten-Free Thin Mints

Cookies from Decadent Gluten-Free Vegan Baking, topping adapted from BabyCakes Covers the Classics.

Cookie:

  • 1 1/4 cups Cara’s All-Purpose Blend
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons non-hydrogenated shortening
  • 1 tablespoon nondairy milk
  • 2 teaspoons unsulphured molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Chocolate Coating:

  • 1 cup vegan gluten-free chocolate chips
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons mint extract

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.

Mix all the cookie ingredients together in a medium bowl until it mostly sticks together, then turn it out onto a piece of parchment paper and knead it together until it sticks. Roll out between 2 pieces of parchment to about 1/8″ thick, then cut with a 2″ cookie cutter. Place the cookies on the lined sheet, and bake 10-12 minutes. Set aside to cool fully.

When the cookies have cooled, combine the chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon of mint extract, and carefully melt the chips until the mixture and be stirred smooth. Taste it, and add additional mint 1/2 tablespoon at a time, as desired. Spread the chocolate mixture onto each cookie, then place the cookies in a single layer on a platter, or back on the pan, whatever you can fit in your refrigerator for 30 minutes to let the chocolate set.

Posted in Dessert | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Monster Cookie Dough Dip

A quick dessert to whip up, this makes enough (really delicious) dip that it’s probably for the best to make it before having a bunch of friends over, rather than sitting home alone with the bowl and some Netflix…

IMG_4524The recipe originally called for 1/4 cup all-purpose flour. Many dips do, and I’m not positive why, other than to thicken the dip up. The night before making this, I had tried a different dip and substituted in all-purpose gluten-free flour. The gf flour made the whole bowl so gross that, even after trying to mask the taste with extra caramel sauce and ganache, we ended up throwing out the whole batch plus the rest of the flour. This time, I just left out the flour entirely. If your dip isn’t as thick as you’d like, additional oats work just fine to thicken it up, without adding an unwanted hint of rotting compost.

Ingredients:

  • 1 8 ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • up to 2 1/2 cups rolled oats, old fashioned or quick (quick oats are smaller, so the same volume of them will create a slightly thicker dip)
  • 2/3 cup plain M&Ms or other small chocolate candies (I used Reese’s minis)
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • cookies, pretzel thins, apple slices, etc for serving

In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, butter, and peanut butter until smooth.

IMG_4516Mix in the sugars and vanilla.

IMG_4517Using a wooden spoon or your mixer’s paddle attachment, stir in the oats to your desired thickness, keeping in mind that the dip will get a bit stiffer as it chills.

IMG_4518Stir in the candies.

IMG_4519Store in the fridge until ready to serve, then eat with cookies, apple slices, spoons, or whatever else is convenient in your kitchen.

IMG_4520 IMG_4521

Monster Cookie Dough Dip

From The Girl Who Ate Everything.

  • 1 8 ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • up to 2 1/2 cups rolled oats, old fashioned or quick (quick oats are smaller, so the same volume of them will create a slightly thicker dip)
  • 2/3 cup plain M&Ms or other small chocolate candies
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • cookies, pretzel thins, apple slices, etc for serving

In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, butter, and peanut butter until smooth. Mix in the sugars and vanilla. Using a wooden spoon or your mixer’s paddle attachment, stir in the oats to your desired thickness, keeping in mind that the dip will get a bit stiffer as it chills. Stir in the candies.

Store in the fridge until ready to serve, then eat with cookies, apple slices, spoons, or whatever else is convenient in your kitchen.

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Mu Shu Pork

One of my favorite dishes when getting a lot of Chinese food, mu shu (or mu shi, moo shi, or moo shu depending on the menu) is a mess of thinly sliced pork and vegetables wrapped in a thin pancake. This version is gluten free, if you use gf soy sauce and hoisin sauce, but I thought the pancakes tasted just like the ones you’d get in a restaurant, although they come out smaller. (The smaller pancake size somehow led to me making less of a mess on myself, so I’m not complaining!)IMG_4575

Both the pancakes and the pork filling are best if served warm. You can make the pancakes earlier in the day, and reheat once you’ve made the filling, or pre-cut all the filling ingredients, make the pancakes and wrap them up temporarily, then quickly cook the filling, and serve.

IMG_4576Ingredients:

Mandarin Pancakes:

  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 cup millet flour
  • 1/2 cup sweet rice flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil, plus more if needed

In a medium bowl, stir together the flours, xanthan gum, and salt.

IMG_4543Stir in the boiling water with a fork, then add the cold water and mix.

IMG_4544Knead, in the bowl, until the mixture comes together – it’ll still be hot, but shouldn’t burn you. At this point in the winter, it’s kind of pleasant!

IMG_4545Divide the dough into 4 pieces, then divide each piece in 4, creating 16 small balls of dough.

IMG_4546Flouring well with additional sweet rice flour, roll the first ball out to 1/16″ thick. I did it between two sheets of parchment, and I think that that’s a good idea, but even with the so you should flour well, as the dough is quite sticky. Place the rolled out pancake onto a clean kitchen towel or piece of paper towel. Brush the top well with the sesame oil, completely covering the surface.

IMG_4547Roll out  second ball of dough, and put it on top of the first, greased pancake.

IMG_4548Cover the pair with a fold of towel/piece of paper towel. Roll out the rest of the dough, creating 8 greased pairs. It’s fine to stack them.

Place another clean kitchen towel/piece of paper towel on another clean plate. Heat a nonstick frying pan over medium high heat. Place one pancake pair, without any oil, into the heated pan, and cook about 30 seconds or until the top pancake forms air bubbles.

Not much in the way of bubbles, but that's ok.

Not much in the way of bubbles, but that’s ok.

Flip, and cook the second side another 30 seconds, or until the new top pancake begins to bubble.

IMG_4552If they don’t seem to be bubbling, remove them from the heat anyway – you don’t want them to crisp or you won’t be able to wrap with them later.

IMG_4553Once on the fresh lined plate, pull the two pancakes apart, and cover them with a fold of towel/piece of paper towel.

IMG_4554Cook the remaining pairs, then serve immediately or wrap tightly with plastic wrap.

If you prepared the pancakes earlier, then when ready to eat, either steam for 10 minutes, or wrap in a barely damp paper towel, followed by plastic wrap, and microwave until hot, to get them moist and flexible again.

Keep the hot pancakes covered to keep them warm throughout the meal. Leftover pancakes can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for two days, or frozen 1 month.

Mu Shu Pork:

  • 1 pound boneless pork loin or boneless center-cut pork chops
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari, divided
  • 2 tablespoons sake, dry sherry, or Shaoxing rice wine
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 eggs, beaten with a pinch of salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup wood ear mushrooms, soaked in warm water for 15 minutes, squeezed dry, and shredded
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots (we added the carrots – I think it’s nice, color-wise!)
  • 1/2 cup drained and rinsed canned bamboo shoots, shredded lengthwise
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • hoisin sauce, for serving

Cut the pork into 4 chunks and freeze 20-30 minutes, so that it firms up. Cut into 1/4″ thick slices, then stack and cut into thin slices. Combine the sliced pork with two tablespoons of the soy sauce, the sake, and the cornstarch. Set aside to marinade while you prepare the other ingredients.

We had this chopped and marinating in the fridge the night before.

We had this chopped and marinating in the fridge the night before.

Heat one tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add the eggs and let them cook until puffy, about 30 seconds, before scrambling them until cooked through, making sure to break the egg up into small pieces. Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside.

IMG_4562 IMG_4563

Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan, return the pan to the heat, and add half the pork, letting it cook undisturbed for 30 seconds. Stir, and continue to cook until cooked through, about 3 minutes, then transfer to the bowl with the eggs. Repeat with another tablespoon of oil and the other half of the pork.

IMG_4564

Whoops, I put my eggs in too small a bowl, so the pork had to wait alone.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil and cook the garlic and green onions for 30 seconds. Add the wood ear, cabbage, carrots, and bamboo, and cook until the cabbage starts to wilt, about 3 minutes.

IMG_4565 IMG_4567Add back the pork and eggs, and stir in the remaining tablespoon of soy sauce and the salt. Cook until heated through.

IMG_4570To serve, spread a bit of hoisin on one of the pancakes, then top with the pork mixture and wrap shut.

IMG_4571 IMG_4572We also had some quickly stir fried veggies and some kimchi (wrong culture!) on the side. IMG_4573The method for making the pancakes seems a bit weird, but they wrap well, and taste just right – it’s really a great dish, and worth the effort!

IMG_4574 IMG_4578

Mu Shu Pork

From The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen.

Mandarin Pancakes:

  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 cup millet flour
  • 1/2 cup sweet rice flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil, plus more if needed

In a medium bowl, stir together the flours, xanthan gum, and salt. Stir in the boiling water with a fork, then add the cold water and mix. Knead, in the bowl, until the mixture comes together. Divide the dough into 4 pieces, then divide each piece in 4, creating 16 small balls of dough.

Flouring well with additional sweet rice flour, roll the first ball out to 1/16″ thick between two pieces of parchment. Place the rolled out pancake onto a clean kitchen towel or piece of paper towel. Brush the top well with the sesame oil, completely covering the surface. Roll out  second ball of dough, and put it on top of the first, greased pancake. Cover the pair with a fold of towel/piece of paper towel. Roll out the rest of the dough, creating 8 greased pairs. It’s fine to stack them.

Place another clean kitchen towel/piece of paper towel on another clean plate. Heat a nonstick frying pan over medium high heat. Place one pancake pair, without any oil, into the heated pan, and cook about 30 seconds or until the top pancake forms air bubbles. Flip, and cook the second side another 30 seconds, or until the new top pancake begins to bubble. If they don’t seem to be bubbling, remove them from the heat anyway – you don’t want them to crisp or you won’t be able to wrap with them later.

Once on the fresh lined plate, pull the two pancakes apart, and cover them with a fold of towel/piece of paper towel. Cook the remaining pairs, then serve immediately or wrap tightly with plastic wrap.

If you prepared the pancakes earlier, then when ready to eat, either steam for 10 minutes, or wrap in a barely damp paper towel, followed by plastic wrap, and microwave until hot, to get them moist and flexible again.

Keep the hot pancakes covered to keep them warm throughout the meal. Leftover pancakes can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for two days, or frozen 1 month.

Mu Shu Pork:

  • 1 pound boneless pork loin or boneless center-cut pork chops
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari, divided
  • 2 tablespoons sake, dry sherry, or Shaoxing rice wine
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 eggs, beaten with a pinch of salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup wood ear mushrooms, soaked in warm water for 15 minutes, squeezed dry, and shredded
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup drained and rinsed canned bamboo shoots, shredded lengthwise
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • hoisin sauce, for serving

Cut the pork into 4 chunks and freeze 20-30 minutes, so that it firms up. Cut into 1/4″ thick slices, then stack and cut into thin slices. Combine the sliced pork with two tablespoons of the soy sauce, the sake, and the cornstarch. Set aside to marinade while you prepare the other ingredients.

Heat one tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add the eggs and let them cook until puffy, about 30 seconds, before scrambling them until cooked through, making sure to break the egg up into small pieces. Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside.

Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan, return the pan to the heat, and add half the pork, letting it cook undisturbed for 30 seconds. Stir, and continue to cook until cooked through, about 3 minutes, then transfer to the bowl with the eggs. Repeat with another tablespoon of oil and the other half of the pork.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil and cook the garlic and green onions for 30 seconds. Add the wood ear, cabbage, carrots, and bamboo, and cook until the cabbage starts to wilt, about 3 minutes. Add back the pork and eggs, and stir in the remaining tablespoon of soy sauce and the salt. Cook until heated through.

To serve, spread a bit of hoisin on one of the pancakes, then top with the pork mixture and wrap shut.

Posted in Dinner | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Buffalo Turkey Meatloaf

A few weeks ago I made a long overdue trip to visit some friends in New York. We made this meatloaf that, while slightly sloppy, was really super delicious and worth trying! We cooked it with some vegetables, so there was a convenient side done alone with the main dish, too!

IMG_4349Ingredients:

Meatloaf:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs (we used 1/3, but the additional crumbs will help soak up some of the excess liquid)
  • 3 tablespoons buffalo wing hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons blue cheese dressing
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh mozzarella, shredded
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1 lb ground turkey

Glaze:

  • 1 tablespoon buffalo wing hot sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey

Vegetables:

  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
Are you a guest? Totally sit around on the couch while your friend does all the chopping down the other side of the house!

Are you a guest? Totally sit around on the couch while your friend does all the chopping down the other side of the house! Good work, you lazy jerk!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9X13″ baking dish with foil and grease lightly.

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat, then cook the onion and celery with a pinch of salt and pepper for 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute, then remove from the heat.

IMG_4337In a large bowl, stir together the egg, bread crumbs, hot sauce, blue cheese dressing, salt, peppers, and cheeses.

IMG_4339Add the cooked vegetables, then the ground turkey, and use your hands to mix until evenly combined.

Pretty unpleasant looking, really.

Pretty unpleasant looking, really.

Tip the mixture out into the lined pan, and shape into a rounded loaf.

IMG_4345After a thorough hand-wash, stir together the glaze ingredients in a small cup or bowl, then brush over the surface of the meatloaf.

IMG_4340 IMG_4346Spread the extra vegetables around the loaf.

IMG_4347Bake 55-70 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft and an instant read thermometer inserted into the center of the meatloaf registers 165 degrees.

IMG_4348Remove from the oven, cover with a piece of foil, and let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Like I said, this is quite delicious, and makes a nice complete meal with little fuss. We didn’t leave leftovers!

Buffalo Turkey Meatloaf

Adapted from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures.

Meatloaf:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons buffalo wing hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons blue cheese dressing
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh mozzarella, shredded
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1 lb ground turkey

Glaze:

  • 1 tablespoon buffalo wing hot sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey

Vegetables:

  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9X13″ baking dish with foil and grease lightly.

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat, then cook the onion and celery with a pinch of salt and pepper for 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute, then remove from the heat.

In a large bowl, stir together the egg, bread crumbs, hot sauce, blue cheese dressing, salt, peppers, and cheeses. Add the cooked vegetables, then the ground turkey, and use your hands to mix until evenly combined. Tip the mixture out into the lined pan, and shape into a rounded loaf.

Stir together the glaze ingredients in a small cup or bowl, then brush over the surface of the meatloaf. Spread the extra vegetables around the loaf. Bake 55 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft and an instant read thermometer inserted into the center of the meatloaf registers 165 degrees. Remove from the oven, cover with a piece of foil, and let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

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Crispy Brown Butter Gnocchi // Blue Apron Giveaway

A few weeks ago a friend gave me a free trial of Blue Apron. If you haven’t heard about it, well, I’m about to tell you a little bit, and at the end, give you a chance to try two free meals from them yourself!

IMG_4326Blue Apron is a food delivery service that lets you customize your preferences (vegetarian, no fish, etc.) and fit the frequency/size of the deliveries to your family size. The food comes as raw, fresh ingredients, in just the right amounts for each meal. For the three meals I made, I only needed to provide some oil, water, salt and pepper. Everything else came in the box, including a few tablespoons of butter, a bit of cream, a bit of cider vinegar, and some herbs. It’s great if you hate getting a whole carton of cream for a recipe that only needs a few tablespoons. Everything comes labeled, and with a clear ingredient list for each recipe, so it’s obvious which foods go with which recipe. It does feel like a lot of packaging, but they make nearly everything recyclable, so you don’t have to feel too terrible.

Each meal is made to be cooked in 35 minutes or less, but they manage to be pretty fancy for something you can do that quickly. They’re between 500-700 calories. What that meant for me was eating half and wrapping half up for the next day. Twenty minutes later I’d think “huh that was good maybe I could eat the other half now?” but I wouldn’t, and I’d wake up the next day still not starving. (What I’m getting at is that they don’t necessarily seem like huge portions at the time, but they’re filling.)

The main pluses of the service are that you don’t have to plan ahead, and you’ll probably try cooking some things you never would have made otherwise. The three meals I had were Chicken Charlemagne with Roasted Root Vegetables & Parsnip-Potato Mash (I expected ‘eh’ and got ‘fantastic’), Korean-Style Tteok with Spicy Pork “Ragù” & Gai Lan (I get so excited about rice cakes!), and the Crispy Brown Butter Gnocchi with Meyer Lemon & Brussels Sprouts below. Pretty nice variety for just 3 meals! And, of course, if you don’t want to receive meals for a few weeks, you can pause them without getting billed, and pick back up later when you want to get cooking again.

Photo via my friend Danielle, who was trying Blue Apron the same week as me.

Photo of the Chicken Charlemagne via my friend Danielle, who was trying Blue Apron the same week as me.

Rice cakes forever!

Rice cakes forever!

If you want to try out Blue Apron for yourself, you can! The first 30 readers to click this link will get a free two meal trial. (To make sure that you’re in their delivery zone, which covers vast swathes of the US, check here.)

As a disclaimer – I am not getting anything myself for writing about Blue Apron, I was just really happy with my trial and wrote them to ask if I could get a giveaway for my readers.

And now onto the recipe! For once, I’m just going to give you their text directly, so you can see how their recipes are written. As well as getting the printed recipe, they have them online, with additional tips and tricks.

Description and a clear ingredient list/picture.

Description and a clear ingredient list/picture.

Ingredients:

  • 10 Ounces Fresh Gnocchi
  • 8 Ounces Brussels Sprouts
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • 1 Meyer Lemon
  • 1 Red Onion
  • 1 Bunch Thyme

Knick Knacks (small items for each meal that come in a paper bag to keep them together)

  • 3 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1/3 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
Pictures with each step.

Pictures with each step.

Makes 2 Servings
About 500 Calories Per Serving
Cooking Time: 15 to 25 minutes (I found preparing the Brussels sprouts pretty time consuming, so this was longer for me)

Prepare the ingredients:

Wash and dry the fresh produce. Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling on high. Trim off and discard the root ends of the Brussels sprouts. Pick off the bright green leaves until you reach the lighter cores; place the leaves in a small bowl and discard the cores. Peel and mince the garlic. Using a peeler, remove the yellow rind of the lemon, avoiding the white pith; mince the rind to get 2 teaspoons of zest (or use a zester). Quarter the lemon and remove the seeds. Peel and thinly slice the onion. Pick the thyme leaves off the stems; discard the stems and roughly chop the leaves.

Slowest part, by far.

Slowest part, by far.

Cook the gnocchi:

Add the gnocchi to the pot of boiling water. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until the gnocchi float to the top of the pot. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain the gnocchi thoroughly and set aside.

Crisp the gnocchi & brown the butter:

In a large pan, melt the butter on medium-high heat. Once melted, add the drained gnocchi and cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 4 minutes, or until the gnocchi are crisped and the butter is browned and nuttily fragrant.

IMG_4331Add the aromatics:

Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic and onion to the pan of crisped gnocchi and browned butter; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes, or until the onion has softened.

IMG_4332Finish the gnocchi:

To the pan of gnocchi and aromatics, add the Brussels sprout leaves, lemon zest, thyme, the juice of 2 lemon wedges, all but a pinch of the Parmesan cheese (save the rest for garnish) and 1/4 cup of pasta cooking water. Cook, stirring occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes, or until thoroughly combined. (If the sauce seems dry, slowly add the remaining pasta cooking water until you achieve your desired consistency.) Remove from heat; season with salt and pepper to taste.

IMG_4333Plate your dish:

Divide the finished gnocchi between 2 plates. Garnish with the remaining Parmesan cheese and lemon wedges. Enjoy!

IMG_4335Delicious, filling, and decently healthy-feeling.

If you give Blue Apron a try, do let me know how you like it!

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Cranberry Crumble

I’m moving to Wyoming soon, but before I left DC I went to one last Battlestar Galactica potluck. We did a Wyoming theme, which mostly turned out to mean Bison meat and recipes from a Native American cookbook. This was from the cookbook, is 3/4 various types of sugar, and was delicious!

IMG_4357The cornmeal mixture gets a crisp top, and makes a pretty unique sort of crumble. Whether because of all the sweetness, or because of the cornmeal top, people were pretty into this!

Ingredients:

Cornmeal Topping:

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

Cranberry Mixture:

  • 4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter a 8″ square baking dish. I only had an 8X11.5″ dish, so I just added a quarter more of each ingredient to make it larger for the larger dish.

Stir together all the ingredients of the cornmeal mixture, creating a thick dough, and set aside.

IMG_4354Combine all the cranberry mixture ingredients in a large saucepan over medium heat. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until the berries have begun to burst, stirring frequently, then pour into the greased pan.

IMG_4355Drop the cornmeal mixture in tablespoon sized portions over the cranberry mixture.

IMG_4356Bake 20-25 minutes, until the topping is golden brown.

IMG_4357Let cool 10 minutes, then serve still warm.

Yum!

Yum!

We’ll find out shortly if my next kitchen has better lighting, for slightly better photos! Here’s hoping!

Cranberry Crumble

From The Mitsitam Cafe Cookbook: Recipes from the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.

Cornmeal Topping:

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

Cranberry Mixture:

  • 4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter a 8″ square baking dish.

Stir together all the ingredients of the cornmeal mixture, creating a thick dough, and set aside.

Combine all the cranberry mixture ingredients in a large saucepan over medium heat. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until the berries have begun to burst, stirring frequently, then pour into the greased pan. Drop the cornmeal mixture in tablespoon sized portions over the cranberry mixture.

Bake 20-25 minutes, until the topping is golden brown. Let cool 10 minutes, then serve still warm.

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