When it’s hot outside, but you still want a chocolately treat, what’s a girl to do? Fudgcicles would work, sure, but I wanted cookies… So when I ran across this recipe for no-bake chocolate oatmeal cookies, I knew today was the day to try them out.
I made these for a neighborhood potluck, and they were a hit. I personally ate more than a few. Ahem. But they have almond butter, so… protein? Yes.
1 box brownie mix (I prefer Ghirardelli), plus eggs, oil and water as called for on the box
Preheat the oven to 350°. Cream the butter and sugars in a stand mixer. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined.
Add the flour, baking soda and salt and mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Prepare the brownie batter according to package directions. Spread in a greased 8 x 8 pan. Top with the cookie dough, dropping clumps of the dough over the batter to cover. You may not use quite all the dough, but that’s what “sampling” is for!
Bake for 20 minutes uncovered, then cover with foil and bake for 20 more minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until the cookie layer is browned and the brownies are almost set in the middle.
Remove from the oven and let stand until cooled, at least 30 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.
Since we’ve had a long, (relatively) cool spring, my kale plants are still flourishing. I’m staving off bolting for as long as I can, but I can see that it’ll happen soon… so I’m enjoying lots and lots of kale now, while I can.
A friend clued me in to her favorite, super-simple way to prepare kale not long ago, and it has become a staple side dish around our house. You toss your kale with olive oil, salt and pepper, roast it, and top it off with a squeeze of lemon.
It’s so simple and so good!
Also on my list to try soon are kale pesto and green smoothies (I’m finally getting a Vitamix — look out!).
Ah, yes. Another clean-out-the-fridge meal. I like to use spinach quickly, since it’s so nice when it’s fresh, and radishes always stump me. Did I make a salad, you ask? Nah. I made dal.
The lentils, along with onions, spinach, radishes (yes, cooked — they add a little spiciness) and seasonings, served with brown rice, made a complete meal. I know cooking radishes sounds a little weird, but they really do pair well with Indian spices, and in some parts of India, radishes are cooked traditionally, often in dal.
Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan and add the lentils. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook, partially covered, until tender, 25-35 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the ghee over medium-high heat and saute the onions until softened and translucent. Turn the heat down to medium and continue to stir until they are light golden brown.
Stir the turmeric, cumin, cayenne and 1 tsp salt in the with the onions. Add the radishes and the spinach, working in batches and adding more as the spinach wilts.
When the spinach is wilted but still bright green and the lentils are cooked, add the onion mixture to the lentil mixture and cook for a few additional minutes. Taste for seasoning and adjust. Serve with rice and enjoy!
Not long ago, a friend sent me a clipping from the Austin American-Statesman. In her column Food Matters, Addie Broyles had tracked down the recipe for El Monumento’s swiss chard and sweet potato enchiladas. I knew at first look that this was a recipe I needed to try, but I also knew I’d need to have some time on my hands when I did it.
Last weekend, I had some time. My mom was over to visit, and she chased after Nora while the hubby worked on the finishing touches (finally!) to the paint in our entryway and I puttered around in the kitchen.
This was a very different, healthy-but-not-healthy-tasting enchilada. My balsamic reduction was pretty ugly — I should have let it reduce past half to a more syrup-y consistency, but, lesson learned. It still tasted good! Next time I would strain the sauce, too, as the recipe provides, to give it a smoother texture.
We all ate the enchiladas up, served with refried black beans (homemade by the hubby) and brown rice on the side. What a delicious way to get your veggies!
2 Tbsp canola oil, divided, plus more for brushing tortillas
1 onion, chopped
2 guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed with the flat side of a chef’s knife
1 cup chopped walnuts
½ cup dry white wine
1½ cups heavy cream
½ cup balsamic vinegar
8 corn tortillas
Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 350°. Toss the sweet potatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast in a roasting pan until tender, 20-25 minutes, stirring a couple of times to ensure even browning.
Heat 1 Tbsp canola oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the chard and sauté until slightly wilted, then add the sweet potatoes and stir until the chard is tender. Season with salt and pepper to finish. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbsp canola oil over medium-high heat in a sauté pan. Sauté the onions, garlic and chiles until the onions are softened and translucent, then reduce the heat and continue cooking until the onions are caramelized.
Add the walnuts and sauté until lightly toasted. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, then add the cream and simmer to reduce by one third.
Let the mixture cool slightly, and then puree in a blender or food processor. Strain (if desired) and set aside.
While the sauce is simmering, place the balsamic vinegar in a sauce pan, bring to a boil and simmer to reduce by half or more, until the consistency is syrupy and thick. Set aside.
One by one, brush the tortillas with canola oil and heat briefly on each side on a griddle over medium heat.
Fill each tortilla with the sweet potato-chard mixture, roll and place in an enchilada pan. Repeat for remaining servings.
Ladle the walnut cream sauce over the enchiladas and drizzle with reduced balsamic vinegar.
Warm to serving temperature, a few minutes in the oven. Serve with beans and rice.
I don’t know if this stew is truly Tunisian. It has probably been through enough adaptation at this point that the only thing vaguely Tunisian about it is the spicing, and maybe the chickpeas. But it sure is good.
As I mentioned a while back, I found myself with an abundance of cabbage recently, and this was a great way to use a lot of it. I have to apologize that there’s no photo with this post — apparently my camera ate it. Darn technology. But it was just too good not to share.
If you make it with chicken (as the original recipe calls for), I won’t judge — I bet it’d be good. Or even stir in the chicken at the very end for omni members of the family!
I love risotto. People tend to think it’s fussy, or hard to pull off, but really, it’s easy to do right. It just requires a lot of attention and stirring. So, in the interest of converting more risotto-phobes to risotto lovers, I’m going to give you a step-by-step on how to make perfect risotto every time.
I made a lovely spring risotto this week, with asparagus, peas, leeks and green garlic, but the basic steps are the same no metter what recipe you’re using. Read to the bottom for the Risotta alla Primavera recipe, but let’s get the technique down first. Are you ready to stir?
1. Bring your broth to a boil , lower the heat, and cover it. It’s essential that you keep the broth warm throughout the process.
2. Melt your butter over medium-low heat in a large sauepan. I usually use equal parts butter and olive oil, but you can switch it up if you like. Stir in your alliums (onions, leeks, garlic) and saute them until softened, about 5-6 minutes.
3. Stir in your rice. Make sure you are using arborio rice (sometimes called risotto rice), since you need all the extra starch to make the risotto really creamy. Stir it around and toast it up for about a minute.
4. Add the wine. Most recipes call for white wine, but some use red wine, and if you want to mix it up (or you just don’t want to open a bottle for some strange reason), you can substitute dry vermouth. Stir it until it’s evaporated, about a minute.
5. Add the broth a couple of ladles at a time. At the beginning, I’ll add two ladles (about a cup) at a time, and stir until it’s all absorbed. Once it’s absorbed, add a couple more ladles. Repeat until the rice is about halfway cooked, about 9 minutes. I still set a timer. Stir, stir, stir. Do not leave the stovetop!
6. Stir some more. If you have any slower-cooking veggies, or if you’re using anything frozen, add them in about halfway through the 9 minutes.
7. After the rice is halfway cooked, add your veggies. Stir, stir, stir.
8. At this point, I generally start adding broth just one ladleful at a time (about 1/2 cup), because it keeps me standing right there the whole time, and stirring. Keep stirring.
9. After about 6 more minutes, test the rice. It should be mostly cooked, but still have a bit of a firm bite to it. Good.
10. Keep going for a couple minutes more. Test again — the rice should be creamy and perfectly done.
11. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in your cheese, butter and/or cream.
12. Add salt and pepper to taste, serve, and enjoy!
Now that we’ve got the technique down, how about that recipe? What a fabulous showcase for spring veggies this risotto is!
It doubled as a clean-out-the-fridge meal for me, too, since I had leeks, green garlic and parsley hanging out in my crisper just begging to be used. It is also Nora-approved.
2 medium leeks (white and light green parts only), sliced crosswise into thin rings
2 stalks green garlic, chopped, or 1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine
1 cup 1-inch pieces thin asparagus
1 cup freshly shelled small peas*
¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus additional for serving
Bring broth to simmer in medium saucepan. Cover and keep warm over low heat.
Melt 1 Tbsp of the butter with the olive oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion, leek, and garlic. Sauté until wilted and almost tender, about 6 minutes.
Add the rice. Cook, stirring, until the rice is translucent at the edges but still opaque in the center, about 3 minutes.
Add the wine and stir until almost all the liquid is absorbed, about 1 minute.
Add the broth 1 cup at a time until the rice is about half cooked, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding next and stirring often. This should take about 9 minutes. If you are using frozen peas, stir them in about halfway through this cooking time.
Stir in the asparagus, peas (if using fresh) and parsley. Continue ladling broth and stirring until the rice is almost tender, about 6 minutes longer.
Cook until the rice is tender but still firm to bite and the mixture is creamy, about 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat.
Add ¾ cup cheese and the remaining 2 Tbsp butter. Stir until the cheese and butter melt. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve, passing additional cheese alongside.
* I highly recommend using fresh peas if you can get your hands on them, though frozen peas work as well.
The days of soup-and-grilled cheese lunches are fading fast, with temps breaking into the 90s here in Austin (already — ugh!), but we may just have a few rainy days left in April. Last week, we had a few gray, chilly-ish days, and grilled cheese and tomato soup was just what the doctor ordered. However, we didn’t have any canned tomato soup on hand, so I decided to improvise. And you know what? I’m probably never going to bother to buy canned tomato soup again. This was creamy, delicious and almost as easy as the canned kind.
Sure, you could just open a can, but this is so much better and it only takes a few minutes more. This soup also freezes well, so next time we have a rainy day, all I’ll have to do is thaw it out. Golden.
We all have those days… You know, where everyone is running late to everything, dinner doesn’t get prepped like you planned, and the easy way out is to just pick something up. I will admit having succumbed to the takeout impulse plenty of times, but a little while ago, after having one of those days, I shot down hubby’s suggestion to “just get takeout” and set about improvising.
Sometimes improvised meals turn out to be the best. We had chard growing in the backyard (it’s the gift that keeps on giving!), stuff to make a batch of homemade ricotta, and I always keep pasta in the pantry and good-quality parmesan in the fridge. That was all I really needed to make this delicious pasta with a creamy sauce happen, and, guess what? It was better than takeout, not to mention healthier. Win!
Now, can someone please remind me of this next time we have one of those days?
Cook the spaghetti according to package directions. Drain, reserving about ½ cup of the pasta water.
Heat 2 Tbsp of the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the chard and cook until wilted but still bright green. Stir in the garlic and crushed red pepper and cook for a couple minutes more.
Stir in the cooked pasta along with the remaining 2 Tbsp of olive oil and a nice splash of the pasta water, and add the parmesan.
Lower the heat and stir until the cheese is incorporated and a thin sauce coats the pasta. Add salt and pepper to taste.
This formula was inspired by the Buddha bowl, which is my favorite dish at The Steeping Room. Not too long ago, I made a bowl with red quinoa, sautéed kale, roasted sweet potatoes and fried halloumi, all topped off with some sriracha and soy sauce. Perhaps tofu would have gone better with the Asian-style saucing here, but I had to work with what we had in the fridge. Plus halloumi is delicious!
Any grain will do (I prefer quinoa or farro myself), and you can go with tofu, a fried or poached egg and/or beans to add protein. In the summer, add baby greens or sliced avocado in lieu of the cooked greens and sweet potato. Get creative with sauces to mix up the flavors — think a tangy vinaigrette, or maybe a copycat of The Steeping Room’s famous cashew sauce. Have fun! I know I’ll be experimenting with this formula for a while.
I’m a recovering lawyer-turned-freelance writer and editor, aspiring domestic goddess, and mom to a spunky, demanding and truly awesome 2-year-old girl. I love all things food and drink, and I’ve rediscovered a love for cooking now that I’m not spending most of my days locked in the office, but I often have to improvise, since having the ankle-biter around makes it more challenging!