I think we all have those recipes, tucked into the back of a recipe box or a binder, that gets pulled out once a year for a specific occasion. This Chocolate Espresso Layer Cake, from the genius Ina Garten, is exactly that recipe for me. Each April, I lovingly make this cake for my husband’s birthday and then – for no good reason – it tends to be tucked back into my trusty recipe binder until the next spring. I can’t quite figure out why I don’t make it more often. It is really the best cake ever: layers of rich, dark chocolate with a hint of coffee to cut the sweetness and buttermilk to keep it moist. When the recipe was published in Food and Wine years ago, Ina declared it “the most fabulous chocolate cake I’ve ever made.” I agree wholeheartedly….
Well friends, it was another good food week here on the old internet. Maybe I’m just really hungry, but I’m finding foodie inspiration and Good (Food) Reads all over and can’t wait to share some of my favorites. So, let’s get on with it:
Sometimes I really love a table full of healthy foods. And sometimes, all I want is a cupcake. Today, I want these Twix Cupcakes from The Foodwright. I’m not a huge candy bar person but the mini Twix bars around Halloween get me every time.
Another guilty pleasure in my life: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies from Potbelly. I don’t know what they do to those things to make them so addicting, but man are they good. One of these days I’m going to attempt to recreate them, but until then, I’ll be trying these Soft & Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies from Sally’s Baking Addiction.
I’m not Jewish, but I have a special place in my heart for matzo ball soup. Growing up in Minnesota, my dad used to take me to The Lincoln Del almost anytime we were in the Twin Cities, and I fell in love with their Matzo Ball soup. The restaurant closed more than 15 years ago and I still randomly crave it at times. As we are in the midst of Passover, there are a lot of kosher recipes floating around right now and I was particularly intrigued by a recipe Molly Yeh posted for Chickpea Flour Matzo Ball Soup. I have no idea if it’s a kosher recipe or not, but it sure sounds yummy!
As we are rolling into garden season, I’m always on the lookout for zucchini recipes to use when the inevitable bumper crop arrives. These Roasted Curry Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini have been bookmarked as a must make!
Speaking of garden bounty, I’m hoping for a huge number of basil plants this year and can’t wait to try this 20 Minute Basil Cashew Chicken. Yum, yum, yum!
Finally, an article from Bon Appetit about the rising industry of foodie “influencers” on Instagram. It’s a Good (Food) Read and definite food for thought.
Diving right in to this week’s Good (Food) Reads with a little love for Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cookbook, It’s All Easy. I picked it up at Costco the other day (is it just me, or is anyone else nearly incapable of leaving Costco without a new cookbook?!?!) and have been loving it. The mix of simple foods with fun flavor combinations is perfect for busy foodie mamas like myself. I’m having her take on cacio e pepe, made with zucchini noodles. While it’s definitely not a classic italian pasta dish, it is a great everyday (and healthy!) alternative and I’ll be making it again. What new cookbooks are you loving these days?
Speaking of classic Italian pasta dishes, I’ve had a real thing for meatballs lately. As an ex-vegetarian, it’s a little outside of my wheelhouse, but just so darn comforting. Broma Bakery featured some Sunday Meatballs this week and I think they’ll be just the thing for a cozy dinner tomorrow night. While my waistline would definitely appreciate them being served with zucchini noodles, I think I’ll stick with classic spaghetti for this one!…
There are many times in the kitchen when I want to put my own spin on things. And then there are times when you don’t mess with a classic. Think: Ottolenghi’s hummus. Jim Lahey’s bread. Ree Drummond’s Lasagna. Not surprisingly, many of my “don’t mess with it” recipes come from the geniuses at Cooks Illustrated. With their scientific approach to finding the best methods in the kitchen, their recipes are often instant classics. The Molasses-Spice Cookies featured in their 1999 cookbook, The Best Recipe, certainly falls into that category. (Side note: There is a new version of the cookbook aptly titled, The New Best Recipe. I don’t know if this particular cookie is featured in that edition.)…
I don’t know if it’s the weather (spring is FINALLY here!) or what, but I am HUNGRY this week. Like, can’t stop, won’t stop, hungry. Which means I’ve been trolling the old internet for new recipes to try and foodie inspiration. Which means, we have a Good (Food) Reads chock full of inspiration this week. So let’s get started, shall we?
First, I dug out my copy of Gwyneth Paltrow’s first cookbook, My Father’s Daughter (and before you scoff, it’s actually really good!), and have been eating her Italian Chopped Salad all week. It’s fresh, with plenty of heft from the bocconcini and green beans, and easy to make. Total winner! Looking forward to checking out her new cookbook It’s All Easy….
Let’s just get this out of the way: I am not a morning person. While having a toddler has certainly forced me to be an early riser, mornings are still not my most productive time. I much prefer a slow wake up, a lazy cup of coffee, and a leisurely breakfast. Unfortunately for me, being a full time working mama doesn’t mean that I can indulge in mornings MY way very often. So, I try and keep some healthy breakfast options on hand to ease the way. These Healthy Egg White Breakfast Muffins are a staple around here. They take less than 10 minutes to put together and freeze beautifully, all while being full of fresh veggies and tangy cheese. Paired with a lovely breakfast sausage or a glass of vegetable juice and it’s a filling, easy way to start the day.
The best thing about these egg muffins really is how versatile they are. I love to make mine with egg whites (to allow more calories for cheese!), bell peppers, and spinach. They are amazing with bacon, goat cheese and sundried tomatoes, too. Frequently, they are filled with whatever needs to be used up from the vegetable drawer….
It’s Wednesday, which means it’s time yet again for another Good (Food) Reads. The last week has been a bit of a whirlwind around here and that has had me on the hunt for quick and easy recipes that the whole family will love. With that in mind, here are this week’s Good (Food) Reads:
Do any of you have an Instant Pot? I got mine last summer on super sale as part of Amazon’s much (over) hyped Prime Day. Since that time, I’ve heard countless people rave about the amazing – and quick! – meals they’ve prepared courtesy of their IPs. Sadly, until now I’ve only used it as a glorified quinoa cooker. Last night I tackled this recipe for Instant Pot Honey Bourbon Chicken. Now, before you guys go nuts, I know there is no bourbon in the recipe. It was a super quick recipe that produced really flavorful, tender chicken in about 20 minutes. I served it with steamed broccoli and Trader Joes’ Organic Brown Rice. I will say that the chicken was a little sweet for me (though my toddler and husband loved it!), so next time I’ll cut the honey down a bit, add a little more soy sauce and may sauté in some actual bourbon at the end….
It seems like hummus has exploded in popularity in the last ten years. I can’t think of the last party I was at that didn’t feature a bowl or two of hummus and veggies or pita chips. Scanning the aisles of just about any grocery store will reveal a wide array of flavor choices. About a year ago, I was introduced to Yotam Ottolenghi’s classic hummus recipe (find the recipe here). It was a game changer. Homemade hummus is not only easy and cheap, it is worlds above anything you can buy at a store and can be easily adapted for varying tastes and crowds….
Confession: I’ve been on a bit of a strawberry bender recently. Our local Costco, in another glorious sign that spring is here (!), has had a bumper crop of perfectly sweet-tart organic strawberries in stock and I can’t. stop. eating. Breakfast, lunch, snacks, anytime. I love them on salads, in yogurt, or just by the handful. After a winter of starches and citrus, I’m so ready for spring and summer fruits! With that in mind, here are this week’s Good (F0od) Reads:
Sarah from Broma Bakery featured these Strawberry Nutella French Toast. I can’t wait to try them (the strawberry obsession continues) and actually think they’d be a great dessert topped with some crème fraîche and a little grated nutmeg….
One week later and I’m even more excited about spring! It’s officially here (well, at least according to the calendar, if not the actual weather) and this week’s Good (Food) Reads is going to celebrate that with recipes and articles for the new season. We are forecast for some snow here in the good ole midwest, so I’m going to freshen up my kitchen with salads, bright desserts, and a few Easter goodies. Here. We. Go.
I have a longstanding obsession with Yotam Ottolenghi. His recipes can be a little involved and sometimes call for some less-than-standard pantry ingredients, but they are absolutely worth it. His Turkey Zucchini Burgers with Spring Onion and Cumin are one of my spring and summer staples and a great way to use the garden abundance of zucchini each year. The NY Times is featuring a recipe for Baby Spinach with Dates and Almonds that sounds amazing. It does call for sumac, which can be hard to find, but you can order it at Penzey’s, or I’ve also found some at Cost Plus World Market….