Monday, October 12, 2015

We moved!

You all can find us at pghkitchen.com! That's right, we have a domain name and a fancy new site. Want to join us?? Email us at pghkitchen@gmail.com
Happy cooking!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Pasta with Slow Roasted Tomatoes (2 ways)


I keep buying large amounts of cherry tomatoes and then forgetting about them until it's almost too late. To use up a bunch at once before they go bad, I've been slow roasting them by lining a baking tray with tin foil, halving the tomatoes, giving them a quick mix with olive oil and baking them at 250 for about 3 hours. I've been trying not to use the oven since it's been so hot, but I LOVE tomatoes after they've been slow roasted and it's way better than letting any tomatoes go to waste. Remember to keep the oil - it's good.


I can definitely go for some plain slow roasted tomatoes, but I wanted to share a couple pasta recipe ideas that make good use of them.


Gnocchi au Gorgonzola 
(aka one of my all-time favorite things to make since high school... not healthy)

1 package gnocchi, cooked
1/2 cup Gorgonzola (or blue cheese), cut up or crumbled
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup heavy cream or half & half
a lot of slow roasted tomatoes (in their olive oil if possible)
1 tbsp chives, chopped

In a small saucepan over medium low heat, combine the cheese and butter and heat until the butter melts, stirring to help melt the cheese. Add the cream and stir to combine. Don't let it bubble too much. Mix with the gnocchi, tomatoes and top with chives.



Nice & Simple Pasta - Garlic, Basil & Tomatoes

2 servings angel hair pasta, cooked 
(pictured is fresh angel hair pasta from Ohio City Pasta, bought at the Squirrel Hill Farmer's Market)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
6-7+ leaves fresh garlic, chopped
1 tsp red pepper flakes
lots of slow roasted tomatoes

In a large pan, heat up the oil over medium low heat. Add the garlic, basil and hot pepper flakes and cook until the garlic is toasted a little. Add in the pasta and mix. Serve with slow roasted tomatoes. 


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Fresh Summer Salsa


We visited relatives that have a pool AND their own Wheaten terrier, so we had a pretty nice summer afternoon hanging out in the pool and watching the crazy dog cousins run a million laps around the water. Twilly is totally wiped out now and will probably nap for the rest of the day.


I decided to make my favorite summer recipe (or maybe #2 fav behind tomato pie?) for a post-pool snack. I usually make this all the time when I have a successful tomato growing summer, but my tomatoes were only in pots this year and got all dried out before producing many tomatoes. Good thing there are plenty of farmer's markets around with beautiful heirloom tomatoes.

1-2 nice tomatoes, chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 lime, juiced
2 mild or hot peppers, finely chopped (I used 1 banana pepper and 1 jalapeno from the farmer's market)
kernels from 1 or 2 ears of corn (uncooked)
1 handful cilantro, chopped
salt & pepper

Once everything is chopped up, combine it all in a bowl and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste and add more lime as needed. Sometimes I add garlic if I feel like it needs something else. And you can always add chopped fruit (peach, mango, watermelon, blueberries, grapes...) or avocado. It will keep for a few days in the fridge.



Saturday, August 22, 2015

Peanut Butter Cookies


A couple years ago I posted some flourless peanut butter and chocolate/M&M cookies, and they've been at the top of my cookie baking rotation since then. I love how few ingredients the batter has, and they come out well every time. A couple months ago I started making another very similar peanut butter cookie from the same site, which has a ton of great peanut butter cookie recipes. I don't know if one is necessarily better than the other but it's definitely another good one! I don't normally make these ones with chocolate chips, but they're always an option.

Peanut Butter Cookies
From Averie Cooks


Note: Remember to allow for 2+ hours of chill time before baking.

1 large egg
1 cup creamy classic-style peanut butter or honey-roasted peanut butter 
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Optional: chocolate chunks

In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients until smooth. Refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours or up to a couple days.  When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350. Use a tablespoon measuring spoon to make balls and arrange them on a baking sheet covered with a silicon baking mat, parchment paper or foil. If you want, place some chocolate chips or chunks on top. Bake for 8 minutes. They'll still be soft and should sit for at least 10 minutes.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake

This cake was inspired by the ice cream cakes at Dave and Andy's- my favorite ice cream place in Pittsburgh. The pumpkin, cinnamon, and birthday cake flavors are all amazing. The waffle cones are made at the shop so it smells amazing as soon as you walk in and then they put an m&m in the bottom of your cone and basically it is heaven. Their ice cream is so good, I'm forming run-on sentences describing the shop! 
Ice cream cake from Dave and Andy's has an actual cake layer. I love that. Cake + ice cream. 
Brittany and Laura came to Philly to celebrate Brit's birthday! I asked Brit what kind of cake she wanted (while secretly thinking mint chocolate either way) and she said what I was thinking. We had cake, went to the beach, went to America's best bar. Didn't get America's best pizza. Wah. But we did see the Impressionist exhibit at the art museum. And got federal donuts. And Mad Mex. And la Colombe coffee. Phew.
The ice cream is from Minimalist Baker. The cookie crumble is from here via Google. The cake is from Molly Yeh who inspired this entire venture. By the way, this recipe makes enough for 2 cakes or for an epic 4 layer ice cream cake.


First the cake:

1 small bunch fresh mint (bonus points if you have chocolate mint)
1 1/4 cup coconut milk 
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup canola oil 
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
2 large eggs
3/4 c boiling water
Cake directions:
In a small saucepan bring the coconut milk to a boil. Rip up the mint leaves into the milk. Cover saucepan with lid and turn down heat to low for 15 minutes. Let cool to room temperature. Strain out leaves and measure only 1 cup of the milk to use. 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line 2 round 8 inch cake pans with parchment paper. Springform pans would be ideal but not necessary.
Mix together the dry ingredients in a small bowl. In a larger bowl whisk together the oil, sugar, eggs, and coconut milk. Add the extracts. Fold in the dry ingredients. Whisk in the boiling water. Pour into prepared pans. Bake for 28 minutes. Let cool completely. Then wrap and freeze.
Then the cookie crumble (aka magic shell plus oreos)
2 1/2 cups Newman's Mint Oreo Cookies (almost whole package)
8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
2 tbsp coconut oil
In a food processor, blend the Oreos in 3 separate batches to form cookie crumbs. You want them to look like crumbs! Transfer to a mixing bowl.
Then melt the chocolate and coconut oil together in the microwave, stirring until smooth. Add to cookie crumbs once finished. 
Spread a thick layer of the crumble over both cakes. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze again. 
For the ice cream
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, divided
1 1/2 cups raw cashews (soaked overnight and rinsed)
1 14-ounce can full fat coconut milk or coconut cream 
1 1/2 tsp peppermint extract 
1/4 cup cane sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup 
3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 tbsp vanilla extract
Pour coconut milk into small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Add half the mint leaves. Turn down heat to low and middle the leaves with a wooden spoon. Cover and let steep for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let cool. 
Add coconut milk plus cooked mint and fresh mint to blender and blend until mint is completely immersed. Add the rest of the ingredients minus the peppermint extract and blend again until really smooth. Add the mint extract 1/2 tsp at a time until you get an acceptable level of mintyness. Process in ice cream maker. 
Get cakes out. Spread the finished ice cream onto the cakes just up to the edges. Sprinkle with crushed mint Oreos. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until firm.
Let cakes thaw 15 minutes before singing happy birthday and serving!

Tahini Ice Cream with Berry Crumble

The berry crumble is from 101 Cookbooks. Her recipe has a doubled crumb topping. Hell yes. Also berry season. I just used sesame seeds instead of poppy seeds. The tahini ice cream uses an ice cream base from Minimalist Baker. It has been my preferred vegan ice cream since the cashews mellow out the coconut flavor. Basically the coconut is not as prevalent. The tahini ice cream is everything. 
Also since we were at family dinner, I didn't get a great shot of the ice cream.



Tahini Ice Cream 

1 can full fat coconut milk
1 cup cashews, soaked overnight 
2 tbsp coconut oil 
1/2 cup tahini 
1/2 cup maple syrup 
2 tbsp brown sugar (optional)
1 tbsp vanilla extract 
1 pinch sea salt 

Blend everything until smooth. Chill for 4 hours. Churn in ice cream maker. Pour ice cream into frozen glass container and chill. Let thaw for 15 minutes before serving over berry crumble! 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Apricot Lavender Cake

At the blueberry farm we bought some apricots in addition to the blueberries. I had seen this recipe on a fellow food blogger's Instagram and wanted to make it right away. Lavender forever. I didn't have a springform pan, so I split the cake into 2 pans. The recipe is from Plenty More via The Baking Bird. I've been cooking my way through Plenty (the original book) now that it's summer and all the vegetables are in season. Our tomatoes are just ripening now. 


  • ¾ cup plus 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 cup plus 1½ Tablespoons white sugar
  • 1¼ cups almond flour
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup pecans
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt 
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1½ teaspoons dried lavender buds
  • 11 ripe apricots, halved and pitted
  • Turbinado sugar 

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease 2 8 inch pans.
  • Process the pecans and lavender in a food processor until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. In a large mixing bowls, combine The butter, oil, sugar, and almond flour until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking after each addition to incorporate fully. continuing to beat until well incorporated. Fold in pecans, lavender, flour, vanilla, lemon zest, and teaspoon salt.
  • Fill pans with cake batter and arrange apricot halves cut side up. Push down slightly so they are securely in place in the cake. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
  • Bake for 40 minutes until golden brown. 
  • I served each slice with a dollop of mascarpone and a drizzle of honey.

Lavender Peaches with Mascarpone and Amaretti

Peaches with Lavender Sugar and Amaretti Cookies

It's peach season! I've been making these for years but originally I saw the recipe while watching Giada on the Food Network. This recipe includes gram measurements for the cookies. Love and Olive Oil has a recipe that uses cup measurements. I was just really excited to use my scale.
I also made powdered sugar for this recipe in my Vitamix. It was pretty exciting! (I inhaled a lot of sugar granules in the process)



Amaretti Cookies 

  • 3 large egg whites 
  • 280g/9.9oz almond meal
  • 280g/9.9oz white sugar
  • 3/4 tsp natural almond extract (the artificial kind is too strong)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

  • For rolling:
  • 2 heaped tbsp. white sugar
  • 2 heaped tbsp. powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Fill 2 separate bowls with the different sugars.
In a large mixing bowl and using a mixer, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks. If you lift your beaters out of the egg mixture, the peaks that form should not fall over.
Fold in the rest of the ingredients with a spatula. The dough will be sticky.
Scoop tablespoonfuls of dough and roll them in the white sugar first followed by the powdered sugar. The method helps all the powdered sugar not dissolve in the dough. It actually worked! 
Place cookies 1 inch apart on cookie sheets. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Let cool on cookie sheets.
The site said they're good for 3-4 days, so I froze about half of mine for later.
-------------------------------

I usually serve 1 peach/person, so I'll just do a general guideline.


Ingredients:

Firm, ripe peaches
White wine
Mascarpone cheese, at room temperature 
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp dried lavender buds 

Blend the lavender with the sugar or grind in a mortar and pestle. Halve the peaches neatly and take out the pit using a little knife. Sprinkle peach halves with the lavender sugar. 
Heat a cast iron pan on medium heat until pretty hot. Spray with coconut oil. Lay peaches cut side down for about 5 minutes without moving them. You want them to be a nice brown color on the edges. Alternatively grilling them would be amazing. Flip over the peaches with a spatula and cook for another 2 minutes. Add a splash of white wine and let cook down for another minute. Now you have a delicious syrup to serve with the peaches.
Serve the peaches with their natural syrup, a sprinkle of extra lavender sugar, a tablespoonful of mascarpone for each peach half, and one crumbled cookie for each peach half. Done. Easiest summer dessert.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Currant Tart

The first time I had currants was working at Garden Dreams. We had a couple bushes at the farm. I had no idea the berries were edible or better yet, delicious. They're really tart but paired with creamy coconut and sweet almonds they are perfect. The recipe for the almond tart came from this shortbread recipe
I made this on a weekend when my sister and I stayed at home alone. We ate lots of ice cream and watched the Lizzie McGuire movie. Ya!


Red Currant Tart

Crust:
2 cups almond flour
1/2 cup softened butter
1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tbsp honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Toppings:
1 bunch red currants
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Cream:
1 can full fat coconut milk, chilled overnight in fridge
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1/3 cup powdered sugar

To make crust:

Place dried ingredients in a food processor and blend. Add wet ingredients and blend again. Mixture will be soft. Also you can do this all by hand.
In a 10 inch pie pan, spread out the cookie mixture on the bottoms and sides just like a pie crust. It's very sticky so you can use a greased spatula or just your hands to help you along. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove plastic wrap and prick dough with a fork all over. Bake for 15-20 minutes until crust is a nice golden brown color. 
Let cool on a rack for 5 minutes. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the crust and let melt for 5 more minutes. Carefully spread chocolate with a spatula over the bottom of the crust. Let crust cool completely, then chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.

To make coconut whipped cream:

Chill ceramic bowl and beaters in freezer for 10 minutes. Remove can of coconut milk from fridge. Scoop out the cream on top and place into chilled bowl. Beat on low increasing speed until medium. Add in vanilla bean caviar and powdered sugar gradually. Increase speed up to high until the mixture looks like whipped cream! 
Pour into chilled tart.
Top with currants. I kept the fruit on the vine- people can pick them off as they eat. It's prettier that way.
Tart keeps in the fridge for 1-2 days.

Oatmeal Pancakes

These oatmeal pancakes are the basis of almost every brunch I make. Back in pharmacy school, my friends would make a batch after our exams (which were at 7 am!). It would be a way of celebrating having our lives back if only until the next exam. These were ladies who joined me in many adventures, bikes tours, and cooked meals. Also lots of studying that didn't get done. And sleeping in class. The recipe is from an old school cookbook, but I couldn't find it online. Does this count as citing my source? Am I the worst? Probably. 

I had the recipe written on the back of my pharmacology notes with doodles and stickers from my friends. I'll keep it forever but just in case of zombie apocalypse, etc I'll have it on the internets just in case. Just kidding, I have it memorized. 


This is my adaption. The recipe does great with substitutions. Just don't use gluten free flour. They will turn into rubber. Trust me. You can double, triple, etc the recipe.

Other substitutions/additions:

For the flour:
1/2 cup buckwheat + 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour 

For the sugar:

1/3 white sugar for brown sugar

Oats:
Same amount of instant oats

Buttermilk:

1 1/3 cup milk + 1 tsp vinegar
Same amount of thinned plain yogurt

Egg:

Flax egg instead
Chia egg instead 

Additions:
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup chocolate chips
2 tbsp flax seed

Makes 9 medium pancakes

1 cup spelt flour
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp rolled oats
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon 
1/3 cup brown sugar 
1 egg
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted

Mix dry ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl with a whisk. Make a well and pour in wet ingredients. Whisk until just mixed and few lumps remain. Let sit for 5-10 minutes.
Cook over medium heat until golden brown. Keep in oven at 200 degrees until ready to serve.

Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Sunflower Seed Brittle

Rarely do I try a restaurant without a recommendation or a quick glance at Yelp or TripAdvisor. I just hate paying for food that I can easily make myself. I am literally turning into my mom, ha. We can't take her anywhere because she makes the best food. 
Nick and I were in Easton for our anniversary and all of the restaurants had a long, long wait. So we walked and came across an Italian restaurant and took a chance. It was incredible. We had whole artichokes stuffed with breadcrumbs, Parmesan, and butter. For the meal, rhubarb and strawberry white pizza. I love when chefs totally try something I would never think to make. For dessert we had panna cotta with fresh strawberries and amaretti cookie crumbs with espresso. I was up until 3 after that but it was worth it. So I've been wanting to make panna cotta for awhile. Now I want to make it all the time. You don't even have to turn on the oven for this dessert. It's so light and fresh. Need I say more?
The sesame seed brittle is from the My New Roots cookbook which I cannot rave about enough. It is amazing. I'm cooking through almost every recipe in the book since it starts with spring and follows the seasons. The recipe for this brittle was featured over at Sprouted Kitchen. You can also use any store bought or homemade brittle. I've even used homemade granola. Anything with crunch. 
The rhubarb butter is from this recipe.
The panna cotta is from Martha Stewart who seems to have every recipe ever on her site. 


Instead of dessert, maybe try this in a large tart pan for super fancy brunch?? 
Makes 6 servings 

2 cups buttermilk (whatever fat content you choose- I always go for full fat)
1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
2/3 cup heavy cream
Scant 1/2 cup sugar 
1 vanilla bean, split

Set 6 ramekins out on the counter.
In a heavy pot, pour in 1 cup buttermilk. Sprinkle gelatin evenly over this buttermilk. Then give it a quick stir and let sit for at least 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring the cream, vanilla bean, and sugar just to  a boil. Then pour into the buttermilk/gelatin mixture. Turn the burner to low heat and whisk until gelatin dissolves and no lumps remain. Just a couple minutes.
Stir in the rest of the buttermilk. Take out vanilla bean. 
Pour gelatin mixture into the ramekins. Cover with plastic wrap. Leave in the refrigerator for 4 hours until set. Does this remind you of making jello? Because it really is that easy

To make:
Top with a dollop of rhubarb butter. Crush some brittle and sprinkle on top.
I didn't bother to unmold the panna cotta for even more ease.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Roasted Parmesan Green Beans


It's way too hot out to have the oven on at 400, but I went ahead and did it anyway to make these tasty parmesan-coated green beans with garlic mayo sauce. I actually made one smallish batch, finished them off, and then wanted more and still had leftover dip - so I turned the oven back on and make another round.


They are worth a even-hotter apartment. It looks like it's about to rain, so hopefully it will cool down soon!


Roasted Parmesan Green Beans with Dipping Sauce
From Buns in My Oven 

2 big handfuls green beans, rinsed & trimmed
1/4 cup or more Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tbsp olive oil
sea salt

1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. In a bowl, toss the green beans in olive oil and cheese. Spread them out on the baking sheet and sprinkle with a little sea salt. Roast for about 20-25 minutes, turning mid-way if you want. (I didn't.)

To make the dipping sauce, mix up the mayo, mustard and garlic powder in a small bowl or ramekin. I'm going to make it this way next time I make fries or chicken fingers - I've made a lot of mayo & mustard dips and never thought of adding garlic powder. It's very good. :)

Monday, July 6, 2015

Watermelon Rosemary Lemonade


Watermelon is my favorite fruit to make agua fresca - I usually just blend it up, maybe strain it and add lime juice. It's very refreshing and a pretty pink. This recipe was originally a boozy one with gin, but I've been drinking it booze-less for now. The boozy version adds 8 oz of gin.

Watermelon Rosemary Lemonade
Adapted from a recipe on Food 52

1/2 of a medium-sized watermelon, cut into big cubes
5-6 lemons, juiced
2 sprigs rosemary
1/2 cup sugar + 1/2 cup water

Blend the watermelon in a blender, juicer or food processor until completely blended. You don't have to strain watermelon juice, but I normally do - sometimes I leave in a little pulp but not all of it. I got about 4 cups of strained juice from half a medium watermelon.

In a small saucepan over medium low heat, melt the sugar in the water, with the rosemary sprigs. Once the sugar is melted, put the lid on the saucepan and let the rosemary infuse the simple syrup for at least 15 minutes, an hour or more if possible.

In a pitcher, mix the watermelon juice with the lemon juice and rosemary syrup. Either chill it in the fridge until cold or serve it immediately with ice. If you want, throw in rosemary and lemon slices.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Queso Dip


There are tons of variations on queso dip - here's the one I usually make if I'm not doing the slightly less classy but very delicious Velvetta and salsa version! If you want to mix it up, you can add corn, black beans, chopped jalapeƱos or different types of salsa or hot sauce.

Queso Dip

5 oz cream cheese, chopped into 1" pieces
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded (pretty much any mild cheese will be good)
1/4 cup tomatillo salsa
1/4 cup milk
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp veg oil

In a medium saucepan, fry up the garlic and cumin in the vegetable oil until fragrant. Drop in the cream cheese and let it soften a little before adding in the cheese, salsa and milk. Keep stirring until it's all integrated and smooth. I keep mine pretty thick but you can add more milk or salsa to thin it out.

I don't usually top it with anything, but you can see in the picture that this time I spooned some more salsa and a few roasted cherry tomatoes on top. You can also throw some cilantro on there, 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Potluck-Ready Pasta Salad


Back when I was in AmeriCorps we had potlucks ALL THE TIME. People were pretty serious about them, too. Since then, I've learned that potlucks are not quite so frequent in your average office environment. However, we did have a potluck recently when our group of AmeriCorps members finished their one-year term. I made this almost-store-bought pasta salad after work the day before. 


This is pretty much a combo of a few things I picked up at Trader Joe's, so I'll write it up as I made it. Obviously, this is not sponsored by Trader Joe's. I wish!!

Potluck-Ready Pasta Salad

1 bag vegetable radiatore pasta (the multi-colored spiral-y one)
1 container pre-cut Healthy 8 chopped vegetable mix (or do the chopping yourself: red and green cabbages, carrots, broccoli, jicama, bell peppers, radishes and celery)
1 container crumbled feta
1 small can sliced black olives

1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 tsp lemon juice
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
1/3 cup olive oil

Combine the pasta, veggies, feta and olives in a large bowl. In a separate small bowl, mix together the vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, dill and olive oil. Pour over the pasta and mix well.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Moroccan Stew

Lately we've been hosting Sunday night family dinners. Family dinner is basically when my cousins and I get together and eat all the food. We go out to eat or we stay in and have a homecooked meal. It's becoming a tradition in the same way that soup group or girl dinner was in Pittsburgh. Some highlights lately have been fish tacos, peanut noodles, and this stew! Restaurant-wise, Vedge was literally the best dining experience of my life (so far). All vegan. All vegetables. I mean the rutabaga fondue was enough to make me fall of my chair.
Also, with Sunday dinner comes Game of Thrones. Sadly it's over now but this stew from The First Mess makes it better. I doubled the recipe easily to serve all of us.


Moroccan Stew

2 tbsp coconut oil
1 red onion, small dice
1 tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp red chili flakes
3 cloves of garlic, minced
5 dates, pitted + chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled + chopped
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
3 cups vegetable stock or water
1 yellow pepper, chopped
2 cups cooked chickpeas
salt + pepper
1 bunch lacinato kale
Heat the coconut oil in a soup pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook  until soft and translucent. I just let this cook for 15 minutes or so stirring occasionally. Then add spices plus garlic and cook for 5 minutes more, stirring constantly. Watch out for the spices burning. 
Add the dates, carrots and sweet potatoes. Add the tomatoes and stir. Add the vegetable stock. Boil the soup then turn down heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes. 
Add the chopped yellow peppers and chickpeas and stir the soup. Season the whole thing again with salt and pepper. Simmer until everything is cooked to your liking. Chop the kale and add to the pot for a couple minutes. Serve with brown rice, additional dates, or bread + cheese to make it a meal.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Chocolate Hazelnut Tart

OMG this chocolate hazelnut tart! This is going to become a staple in my life. Lately I've just been trying to blog things I know I'll be making again and again. Maybe some special occasion recipes once in awhile. I usually have all the ingredients to make this dessert on hand minus the hazelnuts. Laura had me listen to a podcast on chocolate in Ecuador and it just reinforced my chocolate hoarding tendencies. I prefer to buy the chocolove brand. I love the pretzel milk chocolate and the hazelnut. Really I'll take any flavor. After Ecuador, I'll try to seek out Kallari chocolate too. Organic and so so delicious!! We went to the kallari store twice and had hot chocolate (we drank this daily), brownies, and chocolate mouse. Also just chocolate bars whole. Guh. In fact, I'm having severe chocolate withdrawal as I type this. (Don't worry, I have Justin's peanut butter cups stashed in my purse.)



This recipe is from Green Kitchen Stories. This family cooks amazing food and travels all around the world! My goals in life!
Also sorry no pic for now- will update later. For now here's pic of a similar tart.



Crust!
1 cup hazelnuts, toasted
10 Medjool date's pitted
3 tbsp cacao powder
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 pinch sea salt
Filling
1 3/4 cups / 200 g cooked black beans 
5 Medjool dates, pitted
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup strong coffee
1/2 cup almond milk 
5-6 ounces dark chocolate (70%)
Note: I used a 10 inch tart pan, so I increased the filling recipe.
Start by making the crust. In a food processor or blender, blend the hazelnuts until they are chopped finely. Not so much that it turns into hazelnut flour. I liked having some bigger chunks in the crust. Add the dates, coconut oil, cacao, and salt. Pulse until everything is mixed thoroughly. If the dates are hard, soak them in some water for 15 minutes and drain before making crust.
Press crust mixture into bottom of the tart pan. I greased my fingers with a little coconut oil to facilitate the process. Cover with plastic wrap and place in freezer while making filling.
Melt the chocolate with the almond milk. I did this quickly in the microwave. Stir to combine. Add the beans, dates, coconut oil, vanilla extract, and coffee to the blender and blend until completely smooth.  Like really really smooth. Add the chocolate mixture into the blender and blend once more. Pour the filling on top of the crust and place it into the freezer overnight to a couple days. 
My favorite part of this dessert is that I can make it in advance. Also I can trick people into eating beans!
Oh ya and let it thaw for 30 minutes on the counter to soften up a bit.

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