You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘What I Love’ category.

My last post was about two months ago. In that post, I made a big deal about how I’ve been super busy, but that I promised to get back into the swing of things. I also made a big stink about giving up meat for Lent. I can’t promise that I’ll be back in the swing of things, but I can tell you that a lot has happened since my last post. For one thing, I got accepted into graduate school for Elementary Education and certification. Hurrah! I’m going to be a teacher. I also successfully gave up meat. I lost 6 lbs. doing it. Then I gained 3 (or more) back when I went on vacation to Boston and New Hampshire and drank lots of different beers. Then I ran a 10 mile race. And now I probably want to run a lot more. That being said, I have a lot more free time now that graduate school applications are out of the way (for good) and I’m no longer training for my run (for now.)

I can go on and on for hours about all of the terrific, and not so terrific meals that I cooked while I was without meat. I can also tell you about the terrible cheeseburger that I had after my race on Sunday. But instead, I’ll leave you with a post about one of my favorite meals that I made while I was without meat. I loved it so much, I’ll make it again and again. It’s called Pad Thai. And it’s awesome.

Vegetarian Pad Thai
Adapted from Mark Bittman 

12 ounces dried flat rice noodles, 1/4inch thick
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 eggs, lightly beaten
4 garlic cloves, minced
8 ounces pressed tofu, or extra-firm tofu, blotted dry and sliced
2 scallions, cut into 1-inch lengths
1 cup bean sprouts, rinsed and trimmed
2 tablespoons nam pla (Thai fish sauce)
2 teaspoons tamarind paste or ketchup
2 teaspoons sugar
1 /4 cup chopped peanuts
1 /4cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 small fresh jalapeno peppers
1 lime, cut into wedges

Put the noodles in a bowl and pour boiling water over them to cover. Soak until softened, at least 15 minutes; if you want to hold them a little longer, drain them, fill the bowl with cold water, and return the noodles to the bowl.

Put 2 tablespoons of the oil in large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the eggs and scramble quickly for the first minute or so with a fork almost flat against the bottom of the pan; you’re aiming for a thin egg crêpe of sorts, one with the smallest curd you can achieve. Cook just until set and transfer the crêpe to a cutting board. Cut into 1/4-inch strips and set aside.

Raise the heat to high and add the remaining oil. When hot, add the garlic, tofu, scallions, and half the bean sprouts to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate.

Put the drained noodles, eggs, nam pla, tamarind, and sugar in the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the noodles are heated through, then add the stir-fried tofu mixture. Toss once or twice and transfer the contents of the pan to a serving platter. Top with the peanuts, cilantro, chiles, and remaining bean sprouts. Serve with the lime wedges.

This dish is particularly special because Stu and I have been trying to recreate it for years. My dad actually makes a killer Pad Thai, with chicken and sometimes shrimp, and he made it for us one of the first times Stu came to my house for dinner. We’ve been trying to make our own ever since, and have been continuously unsuccessful. Mostly because we can’t get the noodles to the right consistency, but also because we wait until the verrrry last minute to prep everything. Something clicked with this recipe though, probably because we didn’t use meat so we weren’t juggling as many steps as normal. This dish was divine! I loved every bite of it, and the leftovers the next day. A co-worker who used to work at a Thai restaurant even commented on how delicious it looked. I was super pleased. This is certainly one dish that made giving up meat a breeze!

Pizza night on the weekends is nothing out of the usual in our apartment, in fact it’s become quite a routine. We both really look forward to staying in on a weekend night and letting the pizza dough rise, while kicking back a six-pack from the bar down the street. We’ve become quite good at making our dough from scratch, to the point where buying dough is no longer an option. And we’re getting more adventurous with our toppings, especially after we gave the fig and prosciutto pizza a try.

A few weekends ago the Phillies were in the playoffs for the Pennant. We’d been going out a lot to watch the games, and we decided it would be  a good night to kick back, make a pizza, and watch some baseball.

The process was made all the easier by the addition to a pizza stone that we purchased from Fante’s in the Italian Market. We’ve been saying for months that we really needed to invest in one. In the meantime, we’d been using an upside-down cast iron skillet, which worked well enough, but was quite sloppy. We both shelled out a measly $20 each and purchased a lovely stone, and it made all of the difference.

I wasn’t quite sure where to turn to when it came to recipes. We usually make a Margherita pizza and usually a veggie. I had a few recipes stored up and I decided it was time to channel Martha Stewart. I had a recipe for hazelnut pizza dough, but I couldn’t find any hazelnut meal in the Acme (surprise, surprise), so I settled on a regular dough. I found  a link to a onion, pepper, and mushroom pizza on Martha’s website, and then turned to The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook for one more.

First, I started out with a basic red sauce recipe from the cookbook. This would be used for the mushroom, pepper, and onion pizza, and maybe a Margherita if we decided to go that route. (Spoiler alert: we didn’t.)

Pizza Sauce
from Martha Stewart Living Cookbook: The Original Classics

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 28-ounce can whole Italian peeled plum tomatoes
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
2 and 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Pour the olive oil into a large skillet, and place over medium heat. Using your hands, squeeze the tomatoes in the can to crush them. Add to the warm olive oil, along with the remaining ingredients. Cook over medium-low heat, breaking up tomatoes with a wooden spoon, until the sauce is thick, 40 to 50 minutes.

Pass sauce through a food mill fitted with a medium disk, discard the seeds and let cool.*

*I just put the mixture into a food processor, and it worked out just fine.

 

Next up I settled on a great recipe, also from Martha Stewart Living. Check it out, because it was awesome.

Caramelized Onion, Goat Cheese, and Turkey Sausage Pizza
Adapted from Martha Stewart

1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 medium red onions, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
8 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces turkey sausage
pizza dough
5 ounces goat cheese
1 cup fresh arugula, optional

Heat 2 tablespoons oil and the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions and garlic cloves, and cook until they begin to soften, stirring often, about 20 minutes. Add the vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper, and cook until golden brown, stirring often, about 50 minutes. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add the sausage, and cook until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer the sausage to a cutting board, and sliced into 1/4-inch rounds.

Preheat the oven to 400F. Place your pizza dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out to a 12-inch circle. Transfer to a pizza peel. Brush with olive oil. Top pizza with a layer of the onion mixture, the sausage, and the goat cheese. Sprinkle with a handful of arugula. Bake until the dough is golden brown and crisp, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cook slightly. Top with more fresh arugula and goat cheese. Serve hot.

This was all that remained of our pizza by the time I got around to grabbing my camera. It was as delicious as it was beautiful. The rich colors of the red onion and the pop of the arugula were awesome. It was seasonally appropriate and super savory. We scarfed the whole thing down pretty quickly, but I would definitely make it again.

Along with our caramelized onion pizza, we made a pepper, mushroom and onion pizza (with a little sausage thrown in), and an eggplant pizza with mozzarella and fresh basil. The eggplant was leftover dinner from Eggplant Parmesan at the South Philly Taproom the night before. Delectable!

Our pizza stone in action, with some mushroom, pepper, and onion pizza.

 

Unfortunately for Philadelphia, the Phillies lost that night, therefore giving up their chance to win the Pennant. Fortunately for us, we had tons of awesome pizza and some Yards Philadelphia Pale Ales. We did hang our heads in sorrow for the Phils’ loss, but only until our next pizza came out of the oven.

Lately our Saturday or Sunday mornings have become quite a nice breakfast tradition. I’ve been trying to take at least one day a weekend and make a substanial meal. Something other than cereal or eggs. Recently we gave the collards and potato frittata a try, so I decided to do something a little less savory.

Recently I discovered the website Joy the Baker. I know a lot of my cooking-friendly friends have been using it for ages, so I’m not sure why it took me so long to figure out how amazing it is. Recently I’ve been trying to make one baked good a week, and so it was good timing to stumble upon this really lovely blog. I’ve already bookmarked quite a few recipes, but one stood out from the others. A great recipe for chai pancakes. I enjoy pancakes just fine, but I especially enjoy them when there is something special about them. Particularly pumpkin pancakes, blueberry pancakes, chocolate chip pancakes, etc. I thought that a lovely Saturday morning in October would be a great time to give these Chai pancakes a try.

Chai Spiced Buttermilk Pancakes
from Joy the Baker

2 eggs
2 cups flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground ginnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
healthy pinch of ground cloves
scant 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon crushed black peppercorns (or a dash of freshly ground black pepper)
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup brewed black chai tea
4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
½ teaspoons vanilla extract
oil or cooking spray (for cooking)

In a large bowl beat eggs. Add buttermilk, chai tea, butter and vanilla and mix well. Add flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Mix well until mostly smooth. Let batter set for a few minutes.

Heat griddle or pan over medium heat. Add a teaspoon of oil (I used grapeseed oil) to the pan or spray with cooking spray. You can test to see if the pan is hot enough by adding a few drops of water, when the drops start to dance its hot enough.

Pour 2 Tablespoons of batter onto the griddle. Cook on the first side until bubbles that form start to pop. You can also gently lift up the pancake to make sure the bottom is not overcooking, if it is the pan may be too hot and you will need to adjust the heat. Flip the pancake over with a spatula and cook until golden brown. Repeat until all the batter is gone. Let cooked pancakes rest on a heat proof plate in a 200 degree F oven until ready to serve.

These were perfect. The batter was a little different than anything I’ve worked with, but it made some awesome pancakes. I used to be pretty terrible at making pancakes (some of my readers can attest to that…), but recently I think I’ve mastered my technique. I’ve been having so much fun with them lately, and this recipe definitely contributed to how much fun they are to make. They were perfect with a little bit of maple syrup, but I got a little crazy and spread some blackberry jam (ahh, summer) on top. I had about 4 pancakes, and then had some more the next morning. Give these a try and impress yourself, and your friends!

Fig season is upon us and boy am I excited. I don’t know what it is about figs, maybe I ate too many Newton’s as a kid, but I am really obsessed with them. I enjoy dried figs just fine, but it is a real victory to get your hands on fresh figs, as they are pretty hard to find and their season is unbearably short. They are also expensive. Last season I picked some up at The Fair Food Stand in Reading Terminal Market for 6 for $5.00. This year I was particularly lucky though. Green Aisle Grocery, which is a boutique grocery in my neighborhood was selling them at a reduced rate for $2.00/6. They were very ripe and needed to be used quickly, so I grabbed a dozen, ran home, and whipped up some figgy ideas. Of course the first thing I did was make my Harvest Muffins from the previous post. But the figs stole the show with an awesome pizza that I’ve been wanting to make for months.

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appetit‘s August Issue and suggests grilling the pizza. After a slight mishap with our roofdeck and a warning from our landlord to stop using our charcoal grill on the roof, we opted for the oven instead. I used a pizza dough recipe from Annie’s Eats and adapted the recipe slightly to suit what we had. Read on!

Fig and Prosciutto Pizza with Arugula and Goat Cheese
Adapted from Bon Appetit

1 pound pizza dough, purchased or home made
1 cup coarsely grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh arugula
1/4 pound thinly sliced Prosciutto
6 fresh figs, quartered
2 thin red onion slices, rings separated1 cup crumbled soft fresh goat cheese

Preheat oven to 500F. Insert pizza stone, if using.

Halve dough; roll into 10-inch rounds. Brush tops with olive oil. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Add a thin layer of arugula to pizza. Top with slices of Prosciuto, figs, and onions. Cook in heated oven for approximately 7-8 minutes. Remove, add a small handful more of arugula and top with sprinkled goat cheese.  Return to oven for about 1 minute or until goat cheese is softened.

If I could eat this pizza every day I would. The original called for sausage, which we did have. But we also had some Prosciutto and I love love love the combination of the savory, thinly-sliced meat with the sweetness of the plump, juicy figs. I was so glad that I made the substitute, but I’m sure that this would taste awesome with sausage as well. This pizza basically consisted of all of my favorite foods: figs, prosciutto, greens, and of course goat cheese! The pizza dough came out great and was nice and thin. Really this dish was one of my favorite yet! If you are into pizza and trying new and interesting toppings- this one is totally worth giving a whirl.

Peach season is slowly starting to come to an end which gives me even more reason to make use of them while I got ’em! The same week that I made peach jam, I grabbed a great recipe from Bon Appetit that used peaches to their fullest, along with my grill. Although the nights are getting a bit cooler, there is no reason why we still can’t light up the grill and huddle up over the flame for a charcoal’d dinner. This recipe was perfect for the end of the summer, but would be just as good in the dog days as well!

Grilled Chicken and Peaches with Chipotle-Peach Dressing
from Bon Appetit

nonstick vegetable oil spray
1/3 cup peach preserves
1/3 cup peach nectar
4 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons adobo sauce from canned chipotle chiles
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for brushing
1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro, plus sprigs for garnish
3 large peaches, rinsed, fuzz wiped away, each cut into 8 wedges
3 boneless chicken brease halves, with skin

Coat grill rack with nonstick spray. Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Stir preserves, next 3 ingredients, 2 teaspoons oil, and chopped cilantro in medium bowl; season dressing with salt and pepper. Transfer 1/4 cup dressing to a small bowl.

Brush peaches, then chicken with oil and dressing from small bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill chicken until cooked through, about 7 minutes per side. Grill peaches until slightly charred, about 2 minutes per side.

Place 1 chicken breast on each of 4 plates, Surround with peaches. Drizzle dressing from medium bowl over chicken and peaches. Garnish with cilantro sprigs.

This was amaaaaazing! This meal totally represents how much I fell in love with peaches this summer, and how many great ways there are to use them. I used the peach jam that I made earlier in the week for the peach preserves, but you can find it in any supermarket. The chipotle chiles and adobo sauce can be found in the International aisle at most grocery stores, or in a Latin American specialty store. I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts instead of skin-on, as a healthier option.  This dish was bursting with flavor and had just the right amount of tangy spiciness, cut by the sweetness. We enjoyed them with some Stone IPA which only made the meal that much more enjoyable.

This past weekend was my 25th birthday. To some, it may be the sign of old age creeping closer; but to me, it was a celebration of my youth and my life thus far. Life has handed me quite a bit, especially in the last 5 years. As with every year, this birthday was an acknowledgement of the years I’ve put behind me and a wide open acceptance of what is yet to come. This particular year, a milestone, is going to be a great one and this birthday certainly represented that.

Read the rest of this entry »

For a while now, Stu and I have been fascinated with the idea of chalkboard paint. My sister has one of her bedroom walls painted with it, and since then I’ve started to notice it in a lot of bars and restaurants. We’ve been tossing around the idea of adding it to our apartment, specifically in the kitchen.

Shortly after our trip to Chicago we got to work. At only $10.00 for a small can, we were able to paint one wall of our kitchen, which was just enough to give it a teeny face lift, and add a little more personality. Most of my kitchen is a weird yellowy tan, including the laminate counter-top and crappy wood cabinets.

Within a few hours the paint was dry, and within a few days we could put it to use. We decided to go with a food theme. I’ve used some space to list my nightly meal plans for the week, and Stu has used a portion to list the beers and spirits we have in our fridge- usually not much. Then there is a little extra room for whatever we feel like putting up there. We’ve only had it a few weeks now, but I am very pleased.

You may have noticed a little re-vamp to the blog. I was getting a bit tired of the floral and decided it was time for a new look. I’ve been sharing the blog with friends and family members a lot more than I did when I originally started the whole concept. I’m getting more comfortable with what I’m cooking, the new recipes that I’m trying, and the photography. I think it’s important to have a blog theme to match. I think this new look is a bit more stream-lined than the previous look and it focuses a bit more on the photos and recipes, rather than the ornate background.

A big thanks to Stuart for helping me with the banner. I’d been thinking about what I’d like for my header and it was very important to me that a recipe box was included. One of the main inspirations for this blog was my mom’s recipe box that I brought to Philadelphia with me after moving out of my house in Connecticut. Although my mom was not the best cook, she loved to bake and had a special talent for it. She often whipped of wonderful cakes for our birthdays that she topped with special home made frosting, a recipe from a friend who made wedding cakes. Included in the recipe box are recipes for pie crusts, quick breads, muffins, and Christmas cookies, as well as ideas for dinners, appetizers, and salads. Tossed in here and there are old grocery lists for special occasions or just for a regular week of dinners. After my mother passed, I took comfort in skimming through the recipe cards, one at a time (hence the title of this blog), looking over my mom’s handwriting and reminiscing about my favorite baked goods that my mom had made over the years.

I am really proud of how far I have come along in the kitchen since I started blogging over a year ago and I think my mom would be, too. And I am also really proud of the progress that I’ve made here on One Recipe At a Time. Please continue to keep following, posting, and spreading the love in the kitchen and elsewhere!

Also, checkout Stu’s other work on his website: http://strtrmnk.com/

Keep on cooking!

Oh man. I love beets. I love their color, their taste, and finding new ways to cook them. I found an interesting recipe for beet burgers which I immediately put to the test. Stu has been avidly against beets for some time now, but truthfully he’s never really had beets except for out of a can. I was determined to change his mind.

I love veggie burgers but they can get tiresome if you’re always using the same ingredients. I’ve made them in a variety of ways but this was the first recipe I’ve come across to use beets. It’s entirely vegan, but I added some cheddar on top because we had it on hand. It was awesome!

Best Ever Beet and Black Bean Burgers
from The Northstar Cafe in Columbus, Ohio; posted by The Kitchn

1/2 cup brown rice (doubled if you like more rice)
1 onion, diced small
3 large red beets (about 1 pound), diced small
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons parsley, minced
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon thyme
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
salt and pepper
thin slices of provolone or monterey jack cheese (optional)

Bring a large amount of water to a boil. Add a handful of salt and the rice, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the rice until it’s a little beyond al dente. You want it a little over-cooked, but still firm. This should take about 35-40 minutes. Drain the rice and set it aside.

Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until the onions are translucent and softened. Stir in the beets. Cover the pot and cook until the beets are completely tender, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook until it is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Deglaze the pan using the cider vinegar.

Empty the black beans into a large bowl and use a fork to mash them up a bit. Add the cooked rice, the beet and onion mixture, the lemon juice, the olive oil, and all the spices. Stir to combine and then taste for seasonings. Add salt and pepper to taste. Once it tastes the way you like it, add the flour and stir until you see no more dry flour.

Heat a cast-iron skillet over the highest heat. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil – the oil should completely coat the bottom of the pan. When you see the oil shimmer and it flows easily, the pan is ready.

Using your hands, scoop up about a cup of the burger mixture and shape it into a patty between your palms. Set it in the pan, where it should begin to sizzle immediately. (If it doesn’t sizzle, wait a minute or two before cooking the rest of the burgers.) Shape and add as many more patties as will fit in your pan. Once all the patties are in the pan, reduce the heat to medium-high.

Cook the patties for 2 minutes, then flip them to the other side. You should see a nice crust on the cooked side. If they break apart a little when you flipped them, just reshape them with the spatula – they’ll hold together once the second side is cooked. If you’re adding cheese, lay a slice over the burgers now. Cook the second side for another 2 minutes.

Serve the veggie burgers on soft burger buns or lightly toasted sandwich bread along with some fresh greens.

I served this up on toasted whole wheat buns and sided it with the Israeli Cous Cous salad that I made earlier that week. Although the recipe was time consuming to make the actual burger mixture, it only took a few minutes to actually cook it. We had a lot of left over mix, so we ate more burgers later in the week. They were so good that it was totally ok to eat over and over again. I highly recommend trying this out, if you are into meatless meals or if you love beets as much as I do. Hooray beets!

This is a much delayed post on our CSA pick up from two weeks ago. We were a little worried that our produce would be effected by all of the intense heat that we’d been having, and ironically, it poured all day on Saturday. I had to take off my shoes and wade ankle-deep in puddles to grab all of the corn, zucchini, eggplant, and apricots I could grab.

Because of our trip, we ended up giving a bit of our produce away to Stu’s parents. Even what we did keep we didn’t use enough of and I still have some left overs on top of what we’ll pick up this weekend. But I was able to use some of the fruits and vegetables that we received.

Apricots

Peaches and Blueberries

Eggplant

Pickles!

Golden Beets

We also got a six ears of corn, three zucchini, three green peppers, and delicious cheddar cheese.

I immediately made a peach, apricot and blueberry cobbler. I will most definitely share that soon. I used the zucchini to make chocolate chip zucchini bread from a recipe that I found on All Recipes.  The pickles came on our road trip to Chicago as a snack, and so did the cheese but we never got around to eating it. I gave Stu’s family some of the corn and green peppers. And I’m still waiting to use the golden beets and eggplant.  Stay tuned for healthy CSA recipes!