Monday, December 24, 2012

holiday cooking 2012 [two recipes and some photos]

One of the really nice things about an extended at-home vacation is that Hanna and I can eat on our own schedule, which for both of us is more along the brunch-at-ten-late-lunch-at-four-cocoa-before-bed than breakfast at seven, lunch at noon, and dinner at six.

Hanna's parents gave us Rose Elliot's New Complete Vegetarian for Christmas and we've made some lovely and simple recipes from it, like the oatcakes and most recently vegetarian toad-in-a-hole. Toad-in-a-Hole is basically a baked pancake with sausage in, and very simple to make! Elliot's version is as follows:

1. Heat oven to 450 Fahrenheit.

2. Brown vegetarian sausages (we used the Field Roast apple & sage, but any kind would work!) in 1/4 cup of oil (we used olive, but any nut or vegetable oil would work) in a cast iron skillet, remove from the pan and set aside. Leave the remaining oil in the pan for later use.

3. In a mixing bowl or blender, combine:

1 cup white flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
150ml milk
150ml water

Beat until smooth and put in a pitcher (I used a Pyrex measure) or leave in blender for easy pouring.

4. Put skillet with oil into heated oven and let warm until the oil is very hot and just starting to smoke.

5. Pull out the oven rack and pour the batter directly into the pre-heated skillet. Drop the sausages into the pan, distributed as evenly as possible, and close the oven door as quick as you can.

6. Bake for approximately 25 minutes (don't open the door to peek!). Check after 25 minutes and once the top of the pancake is golden brown remove from the oven and serve immediately.

It was just the sort of meal we needed prior to going out on a brisk walk yesterday afternoon to the Chestnut Hill Reservoir and back.

This morning, Christmas Eve, we're having coffee and cinnamon buns while listening to the MPBN broadcast of the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from King's College, Cambridge. The buns are inspired by our favorite recipe of Joy the Baker's, her sugar and spice yeast rolls. But this time I did make a few changes that Hanna and I agreed were

  • I substituted half whole wheat flour for the 2 1/2 cups white flour in the recipe
  • I swapped the amounts of cinnamon and cardamom in the dough, since Hanna and I love cardamom
  • Instead of the citrus zest I put in a tablespoon of cocoa powder
  • I also added two teaspoons of cocoa powder to the filling
  • And instead of butter I used coconut oil in both the dough and filling
In other news, we're forecast to have a couple of inches of snow overnight and into the morning hours of Christmas Day, so hopefully Hanna will have the white Christmas she's yearning for!

Happy Holidays!

Cross-posted at the feminist librarian.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Thursday, March 15, 2012

welsh rarebit mac and cheese

What to make when celebrating the end of a two-day migraine? Macaroni and cheese, of course! Here's the recipe for a mac-and-cheese dish I put together on the fly this evening in celebration of actually feeling hungry again.

1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. In a medium pot, set about a quart of water to boil (for cooking pasta). When the water boils, add about 2 cups of dry pasta and cook until just tender.

3. In a medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and saute one large onion, minced as finely as you can make it.

4. When the onions are going translucent, add 2 tablespoons of your favorite mustard (we used Stonewall Kitchen's cheddar ale mustard; a strong Dijon would also be nice) and about 1/4 tsp of smoked paprika.

5. In a 2-cup pyrex measure, warm 1/2 cup milk in the microwave and stir in 2 teaspoons of cornstarch. Add to onion mixture and stir until mixture begins to thicken.

6. Add remaining cup of milk and about a cup of shredded cheese (we used sharp cheddar). Add salt and pepper to taste.

7. Turn off heat until milk mixture once everything has incorporated, and set aside until pasta is done.

8. Mix pasta and cheese sauce in one of the saucepans and pour into a loaf pan or equivalent oven-safe dish.

9. Sprinkle top with about 1/4 of paprika and bake in oven for 30 minutes.


Saturday, February 4, 2012

two modified savory bread recipes

This weekend, Hanna and I made two of our standard bread recipes -- with slight variation. Mostly due to that thing where we didn't have what the recipe called for in the cupboards, so we had to improvise (that happens a lot!).

1. Goat Cheese Apricot Stilton Biscuits (Joy the Baker). We've long loved this particular drop biscuit recipe, which you make in a cast iron pan in the oven. We happened to be craving biscuits to go with tomato and vegetable soup on Saturday and thought to make these. Except we didn't have goat cheese. We

2. Cheddar, Beer and Mustard Pull-Apart Bread (Smitten Kitchen). So okay, we didn't so much improvise this one as let Smitten Kitchen improvise for us. With some pretty tasty results! In a slight variation, we used whole seed mustard and a cheddar made with caramelized onions. You won't be sorry.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

stuff we've been making

As 2011 draws to a close, I thought I'd share a few of the recipes that kept us busy over the holidays. Both Hanna and I had this past week off from work (hooray for slightly anachronistic academic schedules!) so we were able to while away even more time than usual in coffee shops and in the kitchen. Over the past week we've made the following, all of which come highly recommended:

Joy the Baker | Russian Grandmothers' Apple Pie Cake. I didn't actually chill the dough, as recommended, and it came out just fine.

The Way the Cookie Crumbles | Mushroom Farro Soup. Made with barley instead of farro 'cause that's what we had around. And a bit more tomato paste than the recipe calls for. Particularly good as left-overs.

smitten kitchen | cinnamon brown butter breakfast puffs. We just sprinkled cinnamon sugar on the tops of these muffins, rather than rolling them in butter, and thought they came out very tasty all the same.

smitten kitchen | nutmeg maple butter cookies. As it says on the tin. We found these worked best as tiny cookies, since they're basically maple shortbread ... a couple of bites go a long way!

And from Hanna's father, a recipe for lentil cakes that we modified into lentil casserole:

Lentil-Curry Casserole

Makes: 8 x 8 baking dish (four to six servings, depending on whether main- or side dish)

1 3/4 cups cooked lentils, any kind
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
olive oil, for frying
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 cup milk
2 eggs
1/3 cup feta, crumbled
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees; lightly oil 8 x 8 glass baking dish and set aside.
2. Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until onions are translucent, add curry powder, salt and pepper.
3. In a medium bowl, combine crumbled feta, lentils, eggs, milk, and 1 cup of breadcrumbs.
4. Add sauteed onion mixture to bowl, stir until well combined.
5. Spoon mixture into baking dish and spread evenly, sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs on top.
6. Bake for 35 minutes until edges are browning and casserole is firm to the touch.

The casserole is excellent hot or cold, and stores well for left-overs (we've made it twice now and it packed well for lunch at work.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Kahlua Fudge Sauce

I spent the Saturday before Christmas making this chocolate sauce for Christmas gifts. After four hours I had 40 half pints! Next year I may try this one from Smitten Kitchen

Kahlua Fudge Sauce

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup cocoa powder

Mix these three ingredients in a sauce pan with a whisk.

Add the following:

1 cup heavy cream
1 cup Kahlua or other coffee liqueur
1/2 cup butter

Heat over lowish heat stirring constantly. Once combined I whisk for a while for a smooth consistency. Bring to a hard boil; boil for 2 minutes.

Remove from heat and add:

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

Fill warm jars with sauce. Canning procedure hasn't been necessary; the jars seal themselves mostly. If not, well, that's just more for you.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Chai Rose Cookies

Last May when Hanna and I were in Holland (Mich.) I ordered a drink at lemonjello's that was a chai latte with a shot of rose flavoring. Heaven on earth. The problem is, rose flavoring is a rare offering at coffee shops and not the sort of thing that's easy to find at grocery stores, even a number of our favorite specialty shops here in Boston. But this morning Hanna and I were in Harvard Square for coffee and window shopping + actual shopping and I found rose water at the fabulous Cardullo's. So tonight we decided to make cookies using rose water, and found the following recipe on the Food Network website. We followed it with slight tweaks, so here is the altered version:


2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon rosewater


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

1) Combine flour and spices in a bowl and set aside.

2) Cream butter and oil and brown sugar, mix in rose water.

3) Add dry ingredients 1/2 cup at a time until fully incorporated. Cookie dough will be crumbly, like a dry pie crust dough.

4) Use hands to form walnut-sized balls of dough and place on a cookie sheet roughly 2 inches apart.

5) Bake for 15 minutes and use spatula to transfer cookies to wire rack for cooling.

Serve with warm milk and/or chai tea.