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Silky Ginger PB Soup

6 Jan

A friend of mine made this tasty soup for an appetizer when we went to her house for dinner a couple months ago. I’ve been meaning to try it myself since then, and I finally got around to it. I’ll definitely be adding this to my regular recipe file.

If you use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth, this soup is totally vegan. It’s amazing how creamy and silky it is without any dairy. It makes for a smooth, rich, and filling lunch or dinner. The original called for just zucchini, but I decided to toss some carrots in there too. It came out a beautiful yellow color.

Silky Ginger Peanut Butter Soup

Overall, the flavors are strongly ginger-y and peanut butter-y, which is why I decided to go with that in the name. The original recipe didn’t use peanut butter at all, so I imagine the flavor profile changed quite dramatically. But the peanut butter is really tasty and adds more protein, which is especially helpful if you go with the veggie broth. The PB-ginger combo reminds me of Malay or Thai food. Delicious!

Try this out, and serve a big bowl as a main meal or a small cup as an appetizer for an Asian main course.

Silky Ginger Peanut Butter Soup

Silky Ginger PB Soup adapted from The Clothes Make the Girl

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 ounce fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 medium zucchini, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 cup peanut butter

Heat oil in a large soup pot on medium heat, 2 minutes. Add onions and garlic. Stir often and cook until the onions and garlic are soft and golden, but not browned, about 7 minutes. Add ginger, salt, and black pepper; stir to combine.

Add the zucchini and carrots into the pot. Stir well, then cook ’til beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the broth, bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to simmer. Cook 45 -60 minutes until all the veggies are very soft.

Stir in the peanut butter. Puree with an immersion blender or by blending in batches in a blender or food processor. Serve hot.

Linking Up With:

Funday Monday from Still Being Molly
Block Party from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Inspiration Monday from Twelve O Eight
Time to Sparkle from Love Grows Wild
Wonderfully Creative Wednesday from All She Cooks
Create It Thursday from Lamberts Lately
Full Plate Thursday from Miz Helen’s Country Cottage
All Things Pretty from Sparkles and a Stove

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Brown Sugar Sweet Potato Pie

23 Dec

Two days till Christmas! Are you ready? I’m not. Working on it though. I am so excited to have the next two weeks off work. After last-minute Christmas prep and then holiday celebrations with family, I’m going to enjoy a nice staycation through the new year. I don’t usually get this much time off, so my holiday spirits are pretty high right now.

I finished my Christmas shopping pretty early this year — that was the one thing I was on top of. (We don’t even have a tree!) This last minute, I think I’m just going to skip the decorating this year. So all that’s left is baking, which is happening all day today, so look forward to some post-Christmas blog posts with delicious treats! Oh, and I’m going to put on my favorite Christmas music and wrap presents today — I’ve been putting it off only because wrapping presents is my favorite, and I wanted to keep looking forward to it!

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Need some last-minute inspiration for holiday baking? Try a sweet potato pie! I’m not sure I had ever eaten sweet potato pie before, much less made one. But one of the BF’s friends gave him a whole bag of sweet potatoes from her family’s farm, so we added sweet potato pie to our traditional apple pie for Thanksgiving. This pie, topped with a little whipped cream, would make a great dessert any night or would be delicious enough for a classic Thanksgiving or Christmas spread.

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Classic and tasty, give this a try! Making the sweet potatoes from scratch really wasn’t so hard. I made my pie in a tart pan, which I thought was super cute. I had some extra filling, so I whipped up a little bit of graham cracker crust, pressed it into the bottoms of a mini muffin pan with my dough tamper (the small end fits perfectly in a mini muffin cup), and used the extra filling to make mini pie bites.

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Oh, and a little update:

1) All the recipes for the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap are live! There were 555 submissions of delicious holiday cookies. Check out the Recipe Roundup, part 1 and part 2.

2) Congrats to Elly on winning the Clinique giveaway!

Happy Christmas!

Sweet Potato Pie adapted from Joy the Baker

Crust:

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled to room temp
2 tablespoons cold milk
1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
1 teaspoon salt

Filling:

2 cups mashed cooked sweet potatoes, from 2 medium sweet potatoes
1 cup + 4 teaspoons packed brown sugar, divided
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (2 ounces) unsalted butter
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
3 eggs

For the crust: Mix together crust ingredients: flour, melted butter, milk, teaspoons sugar, and salt. Blend evenly. Spread mixture into a 9″ pie pan, pushing dough evenly across the bottom and up the sides.

For the filling:

Peel the sweet potatoes and dice into small 1/2″ chunks. Place potato pieces in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer until potatoes are tender throughout, about 20 minutes. Test the doneness of the potatoes using a knife. If the knife meets any resistance, simmer the potatoes a bit longer. Once finished, drain into a colander.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

In the same large pot place cooked  potato pieces, half the packed brown sugar, all of the spices, salt, butter, and heavy cream. Cook on low, using a potato masher to mash the potatoes as they cook. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Make sure that the mixture is as smooth as possible. Once mixture is smooth and fragrant, remove from fire and let cool in pot.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, the rest of the brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract. Whisk well. Pour the egg mixture into the warm sweet potato mixture.

Pour the prepared filling into the pie crust. Place on a baking sheet and bake until cooked through, about 45 to 50 minutes.

To test the pie for doneness, lightly shake the baking sheet. If the center of the pie has a wavy jiggle, it needs more time in the oven. If the center of the pie has a lighter, more structured jiggle, it’s done!

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Linking Up With:

Funday Monday from Still Being Molly
Block Party from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Inspiration Monday from Twelve O Eight

Salted Nutella- & Caramel-Stuffed Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

11 Dec

Whoa! That title is a mouthful. And so are these cookies.

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In case you couldn’t tell from the name, these cookies are delightfully (and maybe a little sinfully) decadent. But when I was considering options for the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap of 2013, I knew I needed something big. And since I went with something a little more mature and restrained last year — Chinese Chai Cookies — I decided to go all out. 2013 seemed to call for it.

Oh hai there little choco chip

As you can imagine, Salted Nutella- & Caramel-Stuffed Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies were a bit of a project, but they were worth it. And after I called in reinforcements — my BFF Lauren, aka Betsy Bundt — it really wasn’t too difficult with two people.

As an expert caramel-maker, Lauren took on that project while I whipped up the cookie dough. Once they were both ready, I rolled out balls of dough and pressed them out, Lauren filled them with a bit of caramel and a dab of Nutella, and I rolled out a second cookie disc to press on top and sandwich it all together. The cookie assembling took quite a while, so I finished up that while Lauren managed the multiple batches of cookies going in and out of the oven. See? Teamwork!

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I highly recommend eating these right out of the oven. They’re even gooier and richer and decadent-er. Plus, once they cool, the caramel is a little too tough. In the unlikely scenario that you can’t manage to enjoy the entire batch fresh from the oven and you have a few cookies leftover, just heat them in the microwave for 15-20 seconds before eating so the caramel gets all gooey again.

After I let all the cookies cool down, I packaged them up in adorable little gift boxes and sent them off to my 3 matches from the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap!

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Before I launch into the recipe for these delectable treats, a couple updates…

1) Today’s the last day to enter my first-ever giveaway! Check it out in last week’s post.

photo (9)

2) Wine & Plum now has an Etsy shop! Right now there’s hand-knit scarves, like the eco-friendly wine and plum scarf pictured here, and creaseless hair elastics. In the next few days I’ll add new jewelry items as well. Order soon and receive your items just in time for Christmas gifts!

scarf

And now the recipe!

Salted Nutella- & Caramel-Stuffed Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies from Top With Cinnamon

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder (I used half regular and half extra dark cocoa powder)
2 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
fleur de sel, for sprinkling
approx. 1/2 cup (8 tbsp) nutella
1 recipe for Salted caramel OR 15-16 caramel-filled chocolates
Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Take off the heat and stir in the brown sugar and eggs. Then add the cocoa, salt, and baking powder. Stir until well combined. Add the flour and stir until well combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

Make the caramel, if using (follow link for recipe).

Take 1 heaped tbsp of dough and roll into a fat disc shape. Use your finger make a large indentation the centre of the dough; fill the indentation with a small blob of nutella (like 1/4 tsp ish), and top it up with the still-warm salted caramel (or a caramel-filled chocolate). Top with a flattened tablespoon of dough, and seal the edges. (You may need to dab on a little extra dough to seal the edges.)

Sprinkle with fleur de sel, and bake for 8-10 minutes.

Yield: 15-18 cookies.

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Linking Up With:

Funday Monday from Still Being Molly
Block Party from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Inspiration Monday from Twelve O Eight
Time to Sparkle from Love Grows Wild
Wonderful Food Wednesday from All She Cooks
Create It Thursday from Lamberts Lately
Full Plate Thursday from Miz Helen’s Country Cottage
All Things Pretty from Sparkles and a Stove

Cheesy Spinach Tomato Pie + A Giveaway!

2 Dec

I won’t lie, I occasionally listen to Christmas music throughout the year. So it would be incorrect to say that now that Thanksgiving has past, I’m finally getting to listen to my fave holiday jams. What would be more correct is to say that I am finally getting to listen to my fave holiday jams without hiding it. I can put on my Happy Christmas! playlist in the car, and the BF will (somewhat reluctantly) allow it. It’s a very exciting time of year for me.

My dear friend Eleanor gave me my Christmas present already: this beautiful pie pan. She knew I would be baking for Thanksgiving, so she gave it to me early!

Pie PanI’ve already used it for my Secret Recipe Apple Pie and this oh-so-amazing, super delicious, completely to-die-for tomato pie. I’m not kidding: this is one of the best meals I’ve ever made. Our dinner conversation primarily revolved around how delicious it was and how this will definitely be a dish to serve for casual dinner party guests. The BF and I each had thirds, which is amazing for us light eaters. And I may or may not have had some for breakfast the next day.

Here are the star players: Ingredients

It’s really not complicated, though maybe a little time consuming, but totally worth it. After the crust is ready, just add your layers… sliced tomato, fresh basil and sauteed spinach, and then cheese!

Layers

I edited a more classic recipe a bit to include spinach (I figured I needed something healthy to counter all that cheese) and to substitute Greek yogurt for mayonnaise (I’m not a fan of mayo, so we never have any in the house). I tried to squeeze extra water from both the tomatoes and spinach, and it still came out a bit soupy, so maybe I’ll use my cheesecloth next time and try a bit harder. But not to worry — even a little runny, it didn’t stop us from enjoying our third helpings!

Cheesy Spinach Tomato Pie

And in the spirit of Christmas and delicious cheesy tomato pies, here’s my first-ever Giveaway! Enter to win this cute little Clinique gift set.

Clinique Gift Set

Gift set includes:

  • 7-Day Scrub Cream Rinse-Off Formula
  • Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion
  • Clinique Eye & Cheek Colour Compact: Colour Surge Eye Shadow Duo in Pink Slate, Soft-Pressed Powder Blusher in New Clover, and True Bronze Pressed Powder Bronzer in Sunkissed
  • Long Last Lipstick in Bamboo Pink
  • Brush Set
  • Matching large and mini cosmetics bag

* Does not include mascara shown in picture

There are a few ways to enter – the more ways you enter, the better the chance you have at winning – so make sure you comment once for each of the following things you do:

  • Favorite the new Wine & Plum Etsy shop! Favorite 1 item in the Wine & Plum Etsy shop, and comment below to share which item you would like to give or receive for Christmas!
  • Bonus: Follow Wine & Plum on Pinterest! Pin your favorite Wine & Plum recipe or Etsy shop item to one of your Pinterest boards, and share the link to your pin in a comment below.
  • Bonus: Follow Wine & Plum on Instagram and tag 3 friends on my Instagram giveaway post.
  • Bonus: Follow Wine & Plum on Twitter, and tweet about this giveaway: Excited about this delicious Cheesy Tomato Pie #recipe plus an awesome #Clinique #giveaway from @wineandplum! http://bit.ly/1fYGSw8
  • Bonus: Like Wine & Plum on Facebook, and share any post from the W&P Facebook page.

Don’t forget to leave a comment for those bonus submissions!

Now, here’s the recipe for the Tomato Pie! If you make it, come back and let us know how you liked it!

Mmm... cheesy

Cheesy Spinach Tomato Pie adapted from Simply Recipes

Crust:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/4″ cubes
3 tablespoons cold water

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well with your hands, kind of like kneading, until all ingredients are incorporated. Shape dough into a ball.

Flour your working surface and turn out dough with a floured rolling pin, making a large circle. Transfer crust to a pie pan and press evenly into the dish.

Bake the pie crust for about 8-10 minutes.

Pie:

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3-4 tomatoes, sliced
2 large handfuls spinach
1/4 cup sliced basil (about 7-8 leaves)
2 cups grated cheese (Any combination of your favorite cheese; I suggest mozzarella and cheddar. In ours, we ran out of mozz so substituted havarti, which was delicious)
3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
Salt and pepper

Place the tomato slices in a colander and sprinkle some salt over them; allow to drain while preparing the rest of your ingredients.

In a large bowl, mix together the cheeses and yogurt; set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the spinach and stir well, coating leaves with olive oil. Cook until spinach is wilted, only 3-4 minutes. Set aside.

Once the pie crust has baked for about 8-10 minutes, remove from oven and assemble pie. Pressing each slice between paper towels to remove excess liquid before placing, arrange tomato slices in a circle in the bottom of the pie pan. Sprinkle the basil on top of the tomatoes. Squeeze spinach in paper towels or cheesecloth to remove excess liquid and then arrange evenly in the pan. Last, spread the cheese mixture evenly over top of the entire pie.

Bake until the top of the pie is golden brown, anywhere from 25-45 minutes.

Linking Up With:

Funday Monday from Still Being Molly
Block Party from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Inspiration Monday from Twelve O Eight
Time to Sparkle from Love Grows Wild
Wonderful Food Wednesday from All She Cooks
Create It Thursday from Lamberts Lately
Full Plate Thursday from Miz Helen’s Country Cottage
All Things Pretty from Sparkles and a Stove
Foodie Friday from Simple Living & Eating

Black Bean & Quinoa Veggie Stew

25 Nov

Mmm so tasty and warm and filling… and healthy! I cooked up a huge batch, froze the leftovers in individual containers, and have been enjoying this hearty stew more and more as it’s gotten colder.

I like it like chili: with some shredded cheddar on top and scooped up with tortilla chips.

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I used collards because that’s what I had, but you could use other greens, like kale or spinach. Or you could leave ’em out altogether if that’s not your thing.

This is a short one, but I’ll leave you with this gem: beans, beans, they’re good for your heart colon.

Enjoy!

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Black Bean & Quinoa Veggie Stew adapted from Oh She Glows

1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
1/2 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 large onion, diced
1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped to 1/2″ dice
1 carrot, sliced
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
6 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans (1 can, drained and rinsed)
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 handfuls collard greens

In a medium-sized pot, add quinoa along with 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and cover. Simmer covered for about 15-20 minutes, or until the water is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy. Remove from heat, fluff with fork, and keep it covered until ready to use.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large pot. Add garlic and onion, and sauté for a few minutes over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper. Add the sweet potato and carrots, and sauté for 5-7 minutes more.

Stir in the cumin, chili powder, and broth. Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer for about 18-20 minutes uncovered, or until the potatoes are tender.

Just before serving, stir in the cooked quinoa, black beans, cayenne, and greens. Season with salt and pepper to taste, adding more spice if desired.

Linking Up With:

Funday Monday from Still Being Molly
Block Party from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Inspiration Monday from Twelve O Eight
Time to Sparkle from Love Grows Wild
Wonderful Food Wednesday from All She Cooks
Create It Thursday from Lamberts Lately
All Things Pretty from Sparkles and a Stove
Foodie Friday from Simple Living & Eating

Milky Way Pecan Pie

10 Nov

Back in September, I bought a huge bag of chocolate candy — the good stuff, like M&Ms, Snickers, Milky Way, Twix. I told the BF it was enough to last us through Halloween and the fall season, and I wasn’t wrong. Even after leaving a bowl out for the neighbors on Halloween night, we still have a ton left.

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I had predicted this and decided to sacrifice a dozen mini Milky Way bars on Halloween afternoon. I needed a dish to share at a party, and it felt right to include candy in some way. And once I tasted this, I knew I had made the right decision. Because really, pecan pie is great, but it’s even better with chocolate.

Still have leftover Halloween candy? Use Milky Way bars or whatever chocolate candy you like for this recipe. Don’t have any left? Just go out and buy some. This pie is worth it. The graham cracker crust gives it kind of a cookie bar texture and flavor. So it’s kind of like a pie-shaped slice of a chocolate pecan cookie bar. Also known as heaven.

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Milky Way Pecan Pie adapted from Bakerella

Crust:

3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons white sugar
3 tablespoons melted butter

Pie:

1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tablespoon self-rising flour
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons hot water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup melted butter
2 eggs
3/4 cup pecans
1 cup chopped Milky Way bars (~10 fun-size bars)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the graham cracker crust ingredients together until thoroughly blended and press into the bottom of an 8″ pie pan. Bake for 5-7 minutes.

Place brown sugar and flour in a large bowl and whisk until combined.

In a small bowl, mix together white sugar and hot water until sugar is dissolved. Add to the large bowl. Add vanilla, and stir until thoroughly combined.

Add melted butter. Fold into mixture until it disappears.

Loosely beat two eggs in a separate bowl and fold into mixture until the eggs disappear. Fold in pecans and Milky Way chunks.

Pour mixture into prepared pie pan. Return to oven and bake for about 35 minutes, or until pie has set and edges are browned.

Milky Way Pecan Pie

Linking Up With:

Funday Monday from Still Being Molly
Block Party from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Inspiration Monday from Twelve O Eight
Time to Sparkle from Love Grows Wild
Wonderful Food Wednesday from All She Cooks
Create It Thursday from Lamberts Lately
Full Plate Thursday from Miz Helen’s Country Cottage
All Things Pretty from Sparkles and a Stove
Foodie Friday from Simple Living & Eating

Classic Potato Soup

4 Nov

I feel like all I’m posting lately are soups and desserts. But that’s pretty much all I’m cooking, so I guess that’s about right. I’m not sure how long my soup obsession will last — it’s a relatively new thing, so I’m not sure if it will stick around. And of course I’ve always been obsessed with chocolate and sweets, so that seems like a permanent thing.

At any rate, I wanted to share this one with you now because it is so tasty and warm and filling and comforting. So if the time change has got you down — and I know I’m pretty down when I get home from work and it’s already completely dark — then this is the soup for you. It’s delicious and super unhealthy and it will warm you from the inside out. And it’s definitely hearty enough to be a complete meal. Though maybe you could balance it out with a nice salad or something.

Typically I try to give you options for vegetarian/vegan alternatives, and I am usually inclined to take that route myself. And I guess here you could go with vegetable broth and facon if you so desire. But really, if I’m talking comfort food, I’m talking about real bacon. I highly recommend it.

Potato Soup

Potato Soup from The Pioneer Woman

2-3 slices bacon
1/2 onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
4 whole small potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
black pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon cajun spice mix
4 cups (free-range, organic, low sodium) chicken broth
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup cheddar, grated

Cook bacon in a large soup pot over medium heat until bacon is crisp and fat is rendered. Remove the bacon from the pot and set it aside. Pour off most of the grease, but do not clean the pot.

Return the hot to medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots, and celery. Stir and cook for 2 minutes or so, then add the diced potatoes. Cook for 5 minutes, seasoning with salt, pepper, and Cajun spice.

Pour in the broth and bring it to a gentle boil. Cook for about 10 minutes, until the potatoes are starting to get tender. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and the milk, then pour into the soup and allow the soup to cook for another 5 minutes.

Remove about 2/3 of the soup, and blend in a blender or food processor until completely smooth. Pour it back into the soup pot and stir to combine. Stir in cream. Check for spices, salt, pepper, and temperature, adjusting as needed.

Serve in bowls garnished with grated cheese and crumbled bacon.

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Linking Up With:

Funday Monday from Still Being Molly
Block Party from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Inspiration Monday from Twelve O Eight
Melt In Your Mouth Monday from Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms
Time to Sparkle from Love Grows Wild
Wonderful Food Wednesday from All She Cooks
Create It Thursday from Lamberts Lately
Full Plate Thursday from Miz Helen’s Country Cottage
All Things Pretty from Sparkles and a Stove
Foodie Friday from Simple Living & Eating