Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili

Happy Halloween!!!

Today I’m doing, “What I’m eating Wednesday” as I’ll be having this for dinner tonight!

When I was a kid, every Halloween was the same routine. We’d get home from school and get ready in our costumes. My mom was pretty handy with a sewing machine and created some pretty awesome looks for us over the years. Some of my favorites? One year I was a pirate with a coffee ground beard. Also, I loved my 50′s girl costume so much I think I wore at for at least 5 or 6 Halloween’s. After getting all gussied up, we’d sit down to dinner at about 4 o’clock. I remember so well how early it was because it was strange, but also because it was so exciting to know that after we scarfed down dinner we’d get to stuff our bellies with tons and tons of candy!

Every single Halloween we’d have a big pot of soup or chili. Every year. Growing up in Washington, Halloween was usually a pretty chili (hahaha totally didn’t mean to do that!) time of year. Like, long underwear under your costume kinda chili. So we’d always get started off on our marathon bell ringing night with something warm in our bellies. So this Halloween chili is a tribute to my mom and all those warm-your-body-and-soul Halloween dinners.

This chili will warm your body, soul, and tongue! It packs a punch with a spicy chipotle sauce.

Usually, when I make chili I use canned beans. They are so easy to work with and really cut down on cooking time. But for this recipe, I used dried black beans.

The extra cooking time adds so much depth of flavor to the chili. And cooking the dried beans in the chili lets the flavor and starch of the beans seep into the chili broth in a supremely delicious way.

Speaking of flavor…

There’s lots of it in here! Mexican Oregano, Chili Powder, and Cumin help make this chili a flavor bomb before you even add anything else in! (But you’re still gonna!)

This is a vegetarian dish that won’t leave you missing meat at all. It’s also so hearty and packed with protein and fiber from the beans, that you’ll be full enough to walk door to door all night long.

The big chunks of sweet potato not only add lots of substance to the dish, but also balance the spicy chipotle flavor really well. I leave the skins on, what can I say? I like the skins! But if you are a skin-less sweet potato person, by all means, peel em’!

Despite a long cooking time, this is actually a pretty hands off dish. After you get everything mixed in, you just add water and let it do its thing for about 2 hours.

Don’t forget to get all your fixins ready! I used all these and a big dollop of greek yogurt. Pile lots and lots on top and dig in.

Just don’t forget to save a little room for candy! :)

Enjoy!

Recipe: Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
  • 2 14.5-ounce cans fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 pound dried black beans, soaked overnight and rinsed
  • 2 chipotle chiles from canned chipotle chiles in adobo, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • About 4 cups diced sweet potato (peeled or not)
  • Fixins: diced red onion, greek yogurt, cheddar cheese, sliced jalapeño, cornbread, etc.

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until soft and beginning to brown, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Add garlic; stir 1 minute. Sprinkle chili powder, Mexican oregano, and coriander over; stir 1 minute.
  2. Stir in tomatoes with juice, beans, chipotles, and oregano. Add 10 cups water. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low, cover with lid slightly ajar, and simmer until beans are tender, stirring occasionally, about 2 hours.
  3. Season to taste with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Stir sweet potato into chili. Simmer uncovered over medium-low heat until potato chunks are tender, about 30 minutes.
  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Divide chili among bowls. Serve with fixins.
  7. Chili can be made up to 2 days ahead.

***NOTE: If you are making this with canned beans use about half the water. You don’t need as much because the beans won’t soak it up! (thanks Rachel!)

Spooky Snacks and Healthy Halloween Treats

Halloween Bark

Hi!

So, I was going to save this post till Wednesday since it is called “Halloween Bark,” but I made it this weekend and it was such a hit I just couldn’t wait any longer!
This past Saturday I went over to some friends’ house for dinner. I was in charge of bringing a veggie side dish so I made these. Delicious, but I wanted to do something else…a little more…fun.
What’s more fun than chocolate topped with tons and tons of Halloween candy?
We brought this out while we were all watching the Giants’ game (World Series CHAMPS!!) and the only word to describe it is irresistable. You would take a small piece, break off a corner, you know, so you don’t feel bad, but then that tiny piece would be gone far far too quickly, and you’d be going back for more. Some of the boys were even accusing me of mixing in one of any number of addictive substances into the candy! :) Nope guys, just full of Halloween goodness!
You know you have some halloween candy lying around the house right now. And, if you’re anything like me, you buy the candy you love to eat. Every year I say I’m not gonna do it. Every year I think, “get the candy you don’t like as much, then you won’t eat it!” But alas, as I stand in the overflowing candy aisle at Target I cannot bring myself to put that bag of Almond Joy in my basket (sorry if you like Almond Joy!), and instead fill it with all the good stuff. I buy twice as much as I need for trick or treaters since it’s not really a big deal if I have leftovers. :)
The great thing about this bark is it’s kind of like a blank canvas. Whatever candy you have around works! I used a pretty good variety of standard halloween candy.
First, start with some good chocolate and just melt it down. Since the chocolate is the base of this bark, make sure to use good quality chips.
Melt the chocolate using a double boiler over medium low heat. You want it to melt slowly so it gets silky and stays shiny.
Then get your paintbrush/spatula ready and spread the chocolate on a piece of foil. This recipe is inspired from one I found on Bon Appetit and they don’t say to grease your foil, but I sprayed mine with a bit of nonstick spray which I think made things much easier in the end.
While the chocolate is still warm, sprinkle on the candy. You really have to try and sprinkle it evenly because you want some of each in every piece! It is really funny to watch people sift through the pieces to find one that has all the candy they love on it. It’s like treasure hunting for sugar hyped adults!
Then, just stick it in the fridge and let it cool at least 30 minutes. I left mine in the fridge till we were ready to eat it, I just think it tastes better chilled, but after it hardens you can peel off the foil and break it up into pieces. Unfortunately, you might be left with quite a few chocolate shavings and candy scraps after you are done, and you will just have to snack on them to clean up your cutting board. Bummer. ;)
I’m telling you, this is a halloween treat that will please both kids and adults. Not to mention it will definitely give you the sugar rush you need to stay up for those late night trick or treaters!
Enjoy!

Recipe: Halloween Bark

Ingredients

  • 1 pound bittersweet chocolate chips
  • Assorted halloween candy!
  • Suggestions:
  • M&M’s
  • Reses pieces
  • peanut butter cups
  • Twix
  • Milky Way
  • Snickers
  • Whoppers
  • Whatever your heart desires!

Instructions

  1. Line baking sheet with foil. Spray with cooking spray.
  2. Stir chocolate chips in a double boiler set over medium low heat until melted and warm (not hot) to touch.
  3. Pour chocolate onto foil; spread to desired thickness – I did mine about 1/4 inch thick.
  4. Sprinkle with candy, making sure all pieces touch melted chocolate to adhere.
  5. Chill bark until firm, 30 minutes.Peel off foil.
  6. Cut bark into irregular pieces.

Mashed maple sweet potatoes with toasted pecans

Why hello!

I’ve been thinking orange lately. My hometown team, the San Francisco Giants are playing some amazing baseball and electrifying the Bay Area with Giants fever! So, I’ve been busting out every orange and black item in my wardrobe, pulling on my panda hat (yes I really own one!), and eating everything orange I can! Yesterday it was kabocha squash soup (recipe to come). Today it’s sweet potatoes!

But not just sweet potatoes. Maple pecan sweet potatoes.

I’ve been obsessed with trying to recreate these sweet potatoes ever since my trip to Austin when I had them at Stubbs BBQ. Even with all the amazing BBQ meat piled up (literally) in front of me, I kept coming back to these sweet potatoes. They were amazing. Since then, I have made it my goal to re-create them.

 

This version was a step in the right direction, but I think I realized what I need to do in the next batch. Add butter. Lots and lots of butter.

This version has none. Zip. Ziltch. Nada. So, you can feel great about piling ‘em up on your plate – which I did – but I think to get it closer to the Stubbs version I need to spend a few extra minutes on the spin bike and throw butter measuring caution to the wind.

But I gotta say, this version is pretty darn good.

You start by roasting the potatoes.

After letting them cool <– a very important step I neglected, and my hand paid for it! Scoop the flesh out and grab your hand mixer. Whip the potatoes up with the milk until they are light and fluffy.

Then add the maple syrup and nutmeg and whip a little more.

While you’re whippin’, toast up your pecans in the oven. Then sprinkle them on top of the potatoes. You can chop them if you want, but I just kind of smashed them in my hand. At Stubbs they had big pieces of pecans on top of theirs. It was great when you got a bite with a big huge piece of pecan-like winning the lottery! It’s the simple things in life people. J I may or may not have picked more than my share of pecans out of the bowl for my portion. Shhhh, don’t tell on me!

If you like spice, a touch of cayenne would be great in here too, but if you don’t, the maple syrup adds just enough sweetness to make these sweet potatoes something special.

Grab some sweet potatoes and make these this weekend. And GO GIANTS!!

Enjoy!

Recipe: Mashed maple sweet potatoes with toasted pecans

Ingredients

  • 4 large sweet potatoes
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 ½ cups pecans
  • olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pierce sweet potatoes with a fork. Rub skins with olive oil. Roast for 40-45 minutes. Remove and let cool. Reduce heat to 350 degrees.
  2. Scoop flesh of sweet potatoes into a large bowl. Heat milk in the microwave for 30 seconds and add to the potatoes. Whip with a hand blender until fluffy.
  3. Add maple syrup and nutmeg. Whip to mix.
  4. Place pecans on a baking sheet and toast in a 350 degree oven for 5-7 minutes, shaking to turn once.
  5. Top sweet potatoes with pecans before serving.

 

 

Pumpkin Dark Chocolate Blondies

You guys, I have a confession to make.

I only JUST figured out why blondies are called blondies.

I know. Horrible, right? I seriously always just thought that was a cute name for the delicious cookie like bars. Nope, blondies are called blondies because (and I’m entirely certain all of you already know this) they are brownies without the cocoa! How in the world did that take me so long???

One thing I’ve always known is that blondies are delicious.

Know what else? Pumpkin choucolate chip blondies are out of this world!

I’m going pumpkin crazy over here.

I made these pumpkin blondies back when my in-laws came to visit. I firmly believe that the best way to welcome someone into your home is with baked goods. So, since I wasn’t going to be home when they got in, I had a big plate of these waiting in my place. I think they were ok with the switch!

You’ve all heard the trick of using mashed banana in place of butter right? Well guess what, the same thing works with pumpkin! So, I tweaked a blondie recipe I found on Saveur to make it a little bit healthier, but just as moist, fluffy, and delicious.

After mixing the sugars, vanilla, and eggs, you add the pumpkin to create a beautiful orange batter.

Then, you dump in the chocolate.

One of the keys to this recipe is using really good dark chocolate. I like 70% cacao (or more!), but anything over 60% works.

I also prefer to chop a big chocolate bar as opposed to using chocolate chips because then every once in a while you get a huge chunk of chocolate in your slice and all is right with the world.

Make these pumpkin blondies asap. Set them on the table to welcome guests, or set them on the kitchen counter to welcome you home. They be just as good either way! ☺

Enjoy!

Recipe: Pumpkin dark chocolate blondies

Ingredients

  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup pureed pumpkin
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 ¼ cups light brown sugar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups roughly chopped dark chocolate (I used 70% cacao)

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 9″ x 13″ baking pan; set aside. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  2. Whisk together sugars, vanilla, and eggs together in a bowl until smooth. Add butter and pumpkin, and stir until smooth.
  3. Add flour mixture, and stir until just combined.
  4. Stir in dark chocolate, and spread batter in prepared pan.
  5. Bake about 25-30 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.

 

 

What I Ate Wednesday – Pumpkin-palooza!!

Hey guys! It’s fall and I have been loving all things pumpkin lately! I just can’t get enough. I’ve been baking it in everything I can. Pumpkin adds tons of flavor but also makes all my baked goods super moist, AND pumpkin is a super food! Delicious and good for you?? Yes please!! Here’s a look at some of the pumpkin goodies I’ve been cooking up lately. Recipes to coming soon! These pumpkin biscuits are warm, spicy, and perfect with a big glob of honey! Pumpkin chocolate chip blondies. These cake-like blondies are yummy and low fat because you use extra pumpkin in place of butter. Pumpkin and dark chocolate brownies. Moist, rich, and the perfect fall dessert. I made these pumpkin scones last night and haven’t been able to stop eating them! I love baked goods that are acceptable to eat for breakfast :) Last but not least, pumpkin spice granola! In fact, I have a batch of this in the oven right now. Ever since I first tasted it I’ve been eating it at super speed! My oven can hardly keep up! What kind of pumpkin goodies have you been enjoying? Happy Wednesday?

Spooky Snacks and Healthy Halloween Treats

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Butternut squash and quinoa soup with kale pesto

Hey there!

It’s been a rainy windy fall day today and nothing sounds better than a hot bowl of soup. I adore soup. Especially around this time of year. It’s so enjoyable to me to cozy up to the table with a steamy bowl of soup. Preferably in my coziest sweater holding the bowl so my hands warm up too. Ahhh fall….

I could eat soup for dinner every day from mid-October through December. My husband…not so much. He is of the mindset that one should not be able to drink dinner. I could see where he is coming from (even though I love pureed soups, sometimes they can seem a little first-course-ish), so I was trying to think of some creative ways to elevate pureed soups to fit-for-dinner quality. Then it hit me.

Quinoa.

I cooked some tri-color (any kind will do!) quinoa and added it to the pureed soup and WOW! It totally changes the dish. The al dente quinoa adds lots of texture and makes the soup much more filling. This is a dish that will satisfy you and that you can feel good about eating.

You start off by roasting the butternut squash. Some soups call for boiling or (eek!) microwaving the squash, but I really love the flavor of roasted squash. Plus, it couldn’t be easier. Just throw it on a pan with some olive oil and let it do its thing!

While the squash is roasting you can make the kale pesto.

Lots of kale, garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice. Let it go in a blender or food processor, set it aside, and try to resist dipping your finger in every 5 seconds. Good luck.

Just before the butternut squash is set to be done, heat some oil in a soup pot and sauté a clove of garlic and one chopped onion. Remove the squash and dump it in the pot. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil, then reduce and let simmer.

Time to puree!

One very important step: before you puree, let the soup cool about 10 minutes. You kitchen walls will thank you when they are butternut squash puree free :)

Pour the pureed soup back into the pot, add the quinoa, and warm through.

Ladle into bowls and top with kale pesto. Feel free to get creative, designs, messages to your dinner guests, whatever you feel like! :)

This silky, healthy, filling, soup is sure to get your through some rainy nights AND please your soup-judgmental husband. At least it did mine. :)

Enjoy!

Recipe: Butternut squash soup with quinoa and kale pesto

Ingredients

  • 1 small butternut squash (about 3 cups chopped)
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • Kale Pesto
  • 2 cups densely packed kale leaves
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)

Instructions

  1. For kale pesto: Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Process until smooth, adding more olive oil in necessary.
  2. For soup:
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel and chop butternut squash. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Place chopped squash on parchment and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 25 minutes, turning once or twice, until tender.
  4. Cook quinoa according to package instructions. Set aside.
  5. Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a medium pot. Add chopped garlic and onions. Cook over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add roasted squash and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let cool 10 minutes.
  6. Transfer soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Return to the pot, turn heat to medium.
  7. Add cooked quinoa and salt and pepper. Stir to combine and warm through, about 10 minutes.
  8. Ladle into soup bowls and top with kale pesto.

Number of servings (yield): 2

 

 

Pork chops with roasted apples and onions

Oh heyyyyy.

Have I got the perfect fall meal for you! This scrumptious supper is like wrapping fall up into one amazing fork full. I threw this recipe together last week when I had an overabundance of apples. Whoops, I just can’t say no to all the crisp, sweet, tangy apples from my “apple guys” at the farmer’s market. So when it was already Thursday and I still had several pounds of apples overflowing my fruit bowl, I decided I needed to whip something up.

Apples and pork. No brainer right? Well, I wanted to do something a little bit different. So instead of going sweet with the apples, I left turned to savory. Enter onions.

And fresh thyme. Lots of fresh thyme. Don’t worry apple sauce lovers (I’m currently raising my hand!), the sweetness of the apples is still there, especially because you sauté AND roast them, but there is a whole new depth of flavor when you combine that with the roasted onions and woodsy, lemony thyme. It’s the absolute perfect back drop for your spice rubbed pork chops.

Oh, I didn’t mention the spice rub?

Because the apples and onions are SO flavorful, it might be tempting to diss the pork chops here…don’t! This simple spice rub really enhances the flavor of the pork and brings the whole dish totally over the top.

Toss all the spices together and sprinkle over both sides of the pork. Don’t be shy here! I love pork, but it is kind of like chicken, it need some help from herbs and spices to give it a nice punch of flavor.

Another awesome thing about this meal (besides being ridiculously delicious), is that it is a one-pot-wonder! All you need is a big skillet. Cast iron works really great here. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet I highly highly suggest going out and grabbing one. Like now. They are inexpensive and so versatile. Definitely one of my top 10 kitchen tools.

This is a great meal for guests too because you start it in the pan and finish it in the oven. Who doesn’t like to have 20 minutes to enjoy a glass of wine before dinner. Side note, you don’t have to have guests over during this meal to do this, as was proven by me and my husband last Thursday!

You guys have got to give this meal a try. It is one of our new favorites, in fact, we loved it so much I have made it twice in one week! That’t when you know it’s good!

Enjoy!

Recipe: Pork chops with roasted apples and onions

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless pork chops
  • 4 medium apples (I used red and golden delicious but you can use any kind you like!), chopped
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • For spice rub
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a large, oven safe skillet (I like cast iron) heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium high heat
  3. Mix spice rub and sprinkle over pork chops liberally
  4. When oil it heated, sear pork chops until brown, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from pan and set aside.
  5. In the same pan, add butter and remaining olive oil. Add chopped onions and apples.
  6. Sautee over medium heat until the apples just begin to get soft, about 5-7 minutes. Add fresh thyme, stir.
  7. Place pork back into the skillet with the apples and onions, roast in the oven about 20 minutes, until pork reads around 150 degrees on a meat thermometer.
  8. *note: spice rub can easily be made in bigger batches and stored for later use

 

 

 

What I Ate Wednesday – Fall foods!

Hey there!

This week’s WIAW is all about fantastic fall foods!

There is no way I would rather spend a fall Sunday (or any Sunday for that matter!) then a hard workout at the gym followed by a trip to my local farmer’s market. This was my haul this week. I know it is time to go home when I can no longer carry my big basket because my arms hurt too much! I love seeing the food at the market change with the seasons. Fall means apples, squash, and lots of leafy greens…A OK by me!

Speaking of apples…

I am loving these pork chops with roasted apples and onions. So much so that I’ve made it twice in one week! It is so flavorful, warm, {healthy!} and full of fall flavor. Recipe coming this week!

I used some carrots and celery I lugged home in my farmer’s market basket to make this chicken noodle soup. It was so yummy, but did not feel super fall-ish as I was eating it in almost 80 degree weather in California! Oh well!

Oh yeah. This happened tonight.

Sorry I’m not sorry.

;)

Happy Wednesday!

 

This entry was posted in WIAW and tagged .

Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Fresh Herbs

I really don’t know why brussels sprouts have such a bad rap. It’s like somewhere along the line all the other veggies got together and said, OK let’s gang up on our small green friend. And for no good reason! Poor brussels sprouts!

I, for one, love these little green, leafy layered veggies. I gobble them up by the bowl-ful.
I think brussels sprouts are fantastic simply roasted and salted, but this is an awesome variation. The maple syrup not only adds sweetness, but it also helps the brussels get all brown and caramelized in the oven for extra deliciousness.
A sprinkling of fresh herbs near the end of roasting adds both earthy flavor and freshness to this perfect fall side dish. And it couldn’t be easier! Just trim and halve the sprouts and toss them in olive oil, maple syrup, and salt and pepper. I like roasting at a high temperature (400 degrees) to get good caramelization (and as an added bonus, crispy outer leaves I like to call brussel-chips! <—- I fully realize that is really dorky!). My friend was over when we had this version for dinner and told me that she broils her brussels sprouts! I had never thought of that! I can’t wait to try it!
When I dove mouth first into these delicious roasted brussels sprouts I imagined my six year old self watching my twenty-something self thinking, “ewwwww.” Silly six year old me!
Enjoy!

Recipe: Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Fresh Herbs

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs brussels sprouts
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons good maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped chives
  • 1 teaspoon chopped sage

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degreed
  2. Trim and halve brussels sprouts
  3. In a large bowl, toss brussels sprouts with olive oil, syrup, salt and pepper
  4. Turn onto a large baking sheet lined with foil (for easy clean up)
  5. Bake 30-40 minutes, tossing brussels sprouts several times during cooking
  6. Remove baking sheet and sprinkle on chopped herbs, return to oven for 5 minutes
  7. Remove and season again with salt if necessary

Granny Smith Apple Tart

Sometimes, you just need dessert.

Then sometimes, you need dessert for breakfast.

Luckily, this apple tart works in both cases. :)
This granny smith apple tart was part of my two day cooking extravaganza with my mother-in-law. Apparently, we were really into tarts! We were talking about ways to make desserts healthier. I love fruit pies, and one of my favorite tricks is just to remove the crust! Most of what’s no-so-good-for-you about a pie is in the crust, so take one away and you can automatically double the size of that slice! Or, eat it for breakfast and not feel one iota guilty. Now that’s my kind of dessert!
I used Granny Smith apples as a little bit different take on a traditional apple tart. I love the flavor and pucker of Granny Smith apples. In fact, I love them so much that as my mother in law was peeling and slicing them, I was greedily gobbling up the skins like delicious, green, sour noodles. I am pretty sure she was questioning her son’s taste in women at that point, but I didn’t care! They were sooooo good! I also love how Granny Smith’s taste when baked. But, I realize the tart taste isn’t for everyone-luckily, any apple will do here!
I really enjoy playing in general, but especially with my food! I don’t know about you, but I find it ridiculously fun to arrange apple slices in a real life game of apple Tetris to get them to fit into a perfect pattern. What? That’s not what you do for fun on a Saturday night??? :)
Another thing I love aout this tart is that you literally can’t mess it up! If the crust isn’t in the shape you want, just reshape it? Have a few different kinds of apples? Mix and match! Don’t want to make pie dough? Use store bought! Don’t feel like peeling your apples? Leave the peel on! (although this eliminates the possibility of apple peel “noodles,” which I highly suggest!).
After it came out of the oven I whipped up some cream as it was cooling and topped it with a big dollop and a sprinkle of cinnamon, but some good vanilla ice cream would be divine on top as well. Which is totally allowed because you only have one crust :)
Enjoy!

Recipe: Granny Smith Apple Tart

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 6 tablespoons ice water
  • 6 cups sliced peeled Granny Smith apple (about 2 pounds)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten

Instructions

  1. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and salt in a food processor; pulse 2 times. Add butter; pulse 4 times or until mixture resembles coarse meal. With processor on, add ice water through food chute, processing just until combined (do not form a ball). Gently press mixture into a 4-inch circle on plastic wrap; cover. Chill for 15 minutes. Slightly overlap 2 lengths of plastic wrap on a slightly damp surface. Unwrap chilled dough, and place on plastic wrap. Cover with 2 additional lengths of overlapping plastic wrap. Roll the dough, still covered, into a 14-inch circle. Place dough in freezer 5 minutes or until plastic wrap can be easily removed. Remove bottom sheets of plastic wrap. Place dough into a 10-inch tart pan, pressing dough against sides of pan and allowing it to extend over edge of pan. Remove top sheets of plastic wrap.
  2. Preheat oven to 425º.
  3. Arrange half of the apple slices in the bottom of the tart pan, and sprinkle with half of the sugar. Repeat the procedure with the remaining apple slices and sugar. Fold the dough over the apple slices (dough will partially cover apple slices). Brush dough with egg white. Place pan on a baking sheet.
  4. Bake at 425º for 45 minutes or until apple is tender and crust is lightly browned (shield tart with foil if it becomes too brown). Cool on a wire rack.

Butternut Squash Tart with Fried Sage and Serrano Pepper Honey

Hey there!

Hope you are ready to launch into your weekend with a delicious appetizer! Appetizers are the perfect food to me. There are so many good things about them…they are small, meaning you can have many more and still be within the “acceptable” range of eating, you can get a variety of different foods, styles, and types of cuisine-you never have to stick with a theme or try to make things “go together,” and you can usually eat them with your hands. See? Perfection. I would almost always order, like, everything off the appetizer menu than just one entrée. For some reason Michael does not feel the same way, we really should have talked about that in our pre-marriage counseling…

Anywayyyy. Speaking of marriage, my in-laws were up to visit last weekend. I’m pretty lucky because I have awesome in-laws, and I’m not just saying that cuz I know they read this (Hi guys!) they are truly awesome. I spent the weekend cooking everything from the most recent issues of Food and Wine, Bon Appetite, and Cooking Light with her. Sounds like a great weekend, huh?!?

This butternut squash tart came from Bon Appetite. As soon as I turned the page to it, I knew I had to make it. And boy, and I glad we did! This one is going in my permanent appetizer recipe bank.

I love butternut squash so obviously I loved the nutty, slightly sweet slices so carefully arranged on fluffy, buttery puff pastry. Plus, you get to practice your kindergarten skills while brushing the puff pastry! I’ve never yet met someone who doesn’t like to play with their food.

The fried sage is an amazing touch. Earthy, homey, and (gasp!) crunchy! I think I will be frying up sage and adding it to lots of dishes this fall!

But, for me, what was so special about this dish was the pepper honey sauce.

I used a Serrano pepper – I like it hot people! – even though the recipe says to use a jalapeno or thai chili. The hot bite of the pepper combined with sweet, syrupy honey is a match made in heaven. Then drizzle it on the roasty squash and top with sage. This is a balanced recipe with so many flavors going on you’ll think your taste buds are working overtime!

Try out this app and then laminate the recipe card, cuz you’ll want to keep that bad boy around for a while!

Oh and I am pretty sure it tastes better if you make it with your awesome mother-in-law. Right Roberta?? :)

Recipe: Butternut Squash Tart with Fried Sage

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Gently roll out 1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed (from a 17.3-ounce package) on a lightly floured surface to a 10-inch square (just enough to even out). Transfer to prepared sheet.
  2. Brush pastry with 1 large egg beaten with 1 tsp. water. Arrange twelve 1/8-inch-thick rounds peeled butternut squash (cut from squash’s neck) over pastry, overlapping as needed and leaving a 1/2-inch border. Place another sheet of parchment paper over squash. Set another large rimmed baking sheet over the tart. (This will weigh down the pastry dough and steam the squash slices.)
  3. Bake until bottom of pastry begins to brown and top begins to puff, about 10 minutes.
  4. Remove top baking sheet and discard top sheet of parchment paper. Brush squash slices with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with kosher salt. Return tart, uncovered, to oven and bake until pastry is deep golden brown and cooked through, 25–30 minutes longer.
  5. Meanwhile, combine 1/4 cup honey, 1 thinly sliced Fresno, jalapeño, or red Thai chile, and 2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat (add another thinly sliced chile if more heat is desired). Boil until thickened slightly and syrupy, about 6 minutes.
  6. Line a plate with paper towels. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small skillet until just beginning to smoke. Add 12 fresh sage leaves; fry until crisp, about 30 seconds. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
  7. Slice tart. Arrange 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan on top; drizzle with chile-infused honey. Garnish with fried sage leaves and a few grinds of black pepper.

See the original recipe from Bon Appetite here

 

What I Ate Wednesday – Fall Favorites

Hey there!

Even though we’ve had super nice weather in California lately, I can tell by the changing produce that it’s fall! I am absolutely loving devouring some new in season produce, especially apples! I have been getting the most amazing, crunchy, flavorful, apples from a local farm at my farmer’s market. Being from Washington, it’s pretty out of the ordinary for me to be impressed by an apple, so you know they have to be good!

I get so excited about brussels sprouts. Did you hate brussels sprouts as a kid?  I did!! I mean HATED them. Now I get some sort of sick pleasure out of the fact that I love them so much now! Also, who doesn’t love a veggie you can get in in-tact stalk form?

Try these and look for another recipe featuring these mini cabbages soon!

I’ve also been eating this granola by the handful. Literally!

Speaking of oats…

I just whipped up a big batch of this baked pumpkin oatmeal and  I have been eating it for breakfast every day. Eating something warm and cozy (yes baked oatmeal can be cozy!) for breakfast each morning definitely starts the day out on the right foot.

How do you start your days off right??

 

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