My Grandma Dotty, whom I call Bestemor (the Norwegian word for Grandma), is the most amazing cook. I consider many of her recipes to be the tastes of my childhood. Her brown bread with raisins is one of my favorite things in the world. This recipe for Rhubarb Muffins comes from her as well, adapted from the muffins served for years at the drugstore cafe (yes, that was a thing!) in the sweet little town where she lives….
March, to me, is somewhat of a culinary gray zone. It’s not quite spring, but the cozy comfort foods of winter are starting to feel a little old. I’m craving fresh fruits and vegetables, bright greens, and crisp outdoor dining. Thanks to el nino, we’ve had an incredibly mild winter here in the great midwest and yesterday was an absolute treasure – 70 degrees and sunny! Now we just need the produce to catch up. Bring on the asparagus, pea greens, and early strawberries! And on that (heavily optimistic) note, here are our Good (Food) Reads for your Wednesday:
Are you a radish fan? I feel like they can be a divisive vegetable. I love them – especially raw, with fresh butter and sea salt on top. My dad eats them on buttered bread. Epicurious takes on That Time a Facebook Fan Changed Our Minds About Radishes. …
It’s hard to believe it’s already Wednesday and time for another Good (Food) Reads, a short collection of food stories we’re loving. We had a glimpse of spring this past weekend (yes!) and while the temperatures have dipped back firmly into winter, it’s got me excited about what’s to come. I’m starting to see fresh asparagus pop up at grocery stores and I’m so ready for new fruits and vegetables to join them!
One of the very first books I got when I first started cooking was Nigella Lawson’s How To Be A Domestic Goddess. At the time, Nigella wasn’t yet a household name here in the U.S. I used to watch her first show, Nigella Bites, on Style Network (does that even exist anymore?!?). I loved the glimpses into London life and her quirky British sensibilities. She was unabashedly in love with food and it made me want to cook everything she did! One of my favorite recipes from those early days – one that I still make today – is for Molten Chocolate Babycakes. In the book, she refers to them as “the acceptable face of culinary cute” and I couldn’t agree more. They are however, also absolutely delicious….
First things first, guys. I made this amazing Crockpot Lentil Soup from Pinch of Yum the other day and it was amazing. It’s full of flavor and easy, easy, easy to prepare. We try to stick with Meatless Mondays in our house and I’m happy to report this soup was the perfect vegetarian meal! It is filling, healthy, and hearty. I did make a few tweaks to Lindsay’s recipe – my husband hates kale (I know! He says it’s a garnish, not a food!) so I used chopped spinach in place of the kale. Also, I didn’t have any yellow split peas on hand so I made the whole thing with lentils. I highly recommend her suggestion to finish the soup with a splash of red wine vinegar and serve with crusty bread and parmesan….
It’s a good week in the internet, folks. Especially, when it comes to good food reads. Here are my favorite recipes, links, and articles for the week. Happy reading!
Alexandra’s Kitchen has long been a favorite read in the blog world. I was first introduced to the blog by wonderful sister-in-law, who loves to make her fingerling potatoes with rosemary and thyme (try them – you won’t regret it!). I’m aching to make this white bean and orange salsa. Sounds like the perfect winter treat.
Since I’ve got salsa on the brain, I’ve been looking at tons of Mexican recipes. These Mexican Molletes are next up on my to-try list! Avocados are great right now and I’ve never met a recipe with cheese and homemade refried beans I didn’t love. Bring. It. On.
Danielle Walker and her Against All Grain books are go-to sources for healthier, but still hearty recipes my whole family loves. I just made these Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Blue Cheese Dressing and they were a hit. If you leave out the cheese, these are paleo and Whole30 friendly, but honestly, I say leave it in. We could all use a little more blue cheese in our lives.
Avocado tzatziki. Yes, you read that right. I will be making these 30 Minute Greek Chicken Lettuce Cups with Avocado Tzatziki ASAP.
Boozy olives. My kind of recipe. Thanks, Sweet Paul. He suggests that they’ll make great gifts, but let’s be real, these aren’t going anywhere but in my fridge.
And for a good morning, Coconut Mango Muffins from The Clever Carrot. Yes, please. They’ll be the perfect breakfast treat to accompany a chai latte.
All good dinner parties need treat bags, right? We hadn’t really considered it when first planning our menu. But it is a funny story, how these particular treat bags came to be. My 13-year-old daughter has been learning her own way around the kitchen and has discovered that baking is her forte. For her last birthday I bought her a copy of Joy the Baker’s Homemade Decadence, because really, it is never too early to start your cookbook library-even if you are only turning 13. (P.S.-If you don’t have this one, it is a must have!) My daughter has been slightly obsessed with a recipe in this cookbook for Dark Chocolate Truffle Cookies. I must admit, they didn’t look like much, so when she chose them for her weekend project several months ago, I wasn’t super excited. I’m not usually too moved by anything dusted with powdered sugar. However, when I tasted these gooey little bombs, I quickly changed my mind. Pure heaven. My daughter has now made the recipe many, many times and they definitely rise to the occasion. Every time.
When my daughter found out Holly and I were hosting a dinner party, she offered to make a batch of these Dark Chocolate Truffle Cookies for us. We already had plans for our dessert course (coming soon!), but what would be a better take home remembrance of a really fun night than a bag of cookies? We took her up on her offer. She set to work, crafting the cookies, and I set to work crafting some bags for the cookies to be packaged in. I’m pretty pleased with what we came up with, and I think our dinner guests were too!
So now that our dinner is over, I can only hope that all of our guests are happily treating themselves to some Dark Chocolate Truffle Cookies. Preferably with a nice glass of wine. I recommend you all try them too. Your friends will thank you.
And a special thanks to Joy the Baker (Joy Wilson).
Dark Chocolate Truffle Cookies
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder this can be been somewhat hard to find, you can substitute Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder which is a blend of natural and Dutch processed cocoas-this has worked fine for us
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
- 1/3 cup 3 ounces chopped dark chocolate (we have used both 70% and 72% cacao chocolate bars-both have worked well)
- 1 large egg
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar you can likely get away with less of this as this is just to roll the cookies in
Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
In a medium bowl ,combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.
Chop the room temperature butter into small pieces and rub into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Mix in the chopped dark chocolate.
In a small bowl, mix together the egg and vanilla.
Pour the egg mixture into the chocolate mixture and mix until moistened.
Press the dough into a ball (you'll have to get your hands dirty here if you haven't already).
Wrap the ball of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Put the confectioners' sugar in a shallow bowl.
Using a tablespoon, form balls of the refrigerated chocolate mixture.
Roll the ball in the confectioners' sugar.
Place the sugar covered ball on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Repeat with the remaining chocolate mixture, rolling in confectioners' sugar before placing on baking sheet.
Bake about 10 minutes leaving the cookies just a bit undercooked on the insides.
Cool on the pan for a few minutes before finishing cooling on a cooling rack.
These are fabulous served warm, and almost just as good eaten over the next 4 days (store in an airtight container).
Good (Food) Reads for your week:
A strange, but very useful kitchen tip: If your dishwasher needs a good cleaning, try Tang! I was noticing my dishes weren’t as sparkling recently and saw this technique and gave it a try. I’m happy to report it worked and with very minimal effort. Do you have any great kitchen hacks you love?
When I lived in Boston, there was the best little Cuban restaurant just up the block from my apartment called El Oriental de Cuba. I still have dreams about their cuban sandwiches and tamales, especially on a cold day. I’ve been on a quest to find something comparable for a few years now. I’m hoping this recipe for Cubano Sheet Pan Sliders from The Kitchn might keep my cravings at bay until I can get back to Boston/JP.
Lately I’ve had the worst luck with bananas – they seem to go from green straight to brown! So, we’ve been doing a lot of banana bread around here. While I usually love the basic recipe from America’s Test Kitchen, I think I’m going to try this Maple Olive Oil Banana Bread version by Shutterbean.
Yesterday was Fat Tuesday here in the United States (did you make a King Cake?). IFormally known as Shrove Tuesday, for Christians it is the last day before the traditional fasting period of Lent. In the U.K. this is often known colloquially as “Pancake Day” and is celebrated by eating pancakes! That is definitely a holiday I could get on board with, especially if these Lemon Cardamom Pancakes with Honey Drizzle were involved.
Sometimes you just need Frito Pie and Not Without Salt does it right. Again. I can’t wait to make this recipe!
And for balance, this simple Sesame Ginger Salmon en Papillote from Kelsay Nixon. I’ve never tried the en papillote technique, but it seems perfect for a busy weekday night. It might even work for a sweet, at home Valentine’s Day dinner when paired with some bubbles (I’ve been loving Italian proseccos for casual dinners) and a crisp, crunchy slaw-type salad.
Happy reading – and cooking!
Well, it’s Wednesday, and time for another batch of good (food) reads. Here in the blustery midwest, we are digging out after our first real snowstorm of the year. The blizzard conditions made travel a bit anxiety provoking, but also made cozying up inside with a good book and comfort foods (give me all the carbs!) even more appealing than usual. On days like this, I love a piping hot cup of Aveda’s Comforting Tea and a slice of earthy, slightly spiced pumpkin bread (recipe coming soon to the blog!). What are your snow day favorites?
It may be a few days beyond meatless monday, but these Cauliflower Steaks with Romesco sauce look CRAZY good. Using chickpeas instead of bread to thicken the romesco is genius!
Speaking of bread, this Panzanella with Winter Squash and Sage, is next on my list. I had always thought panzanella was a summer-time only dish, with it’s heavy reliance on bright and fresh tomatoes, but this recipe uses roasted squash instead. Bring on the carbs!
Mardi Gras kicks off in one week! Do any of you make King Cake? NPR has a great article on the history of the king cake and all of it’s pop-culture permutations.
And because winter is the season for roasted everything, do yourself a favor and check out this piece from The Splendid Table featuring Michael Ruhlman talking about roasting. I particularly love the bit about testing your oven with Pillsbury biscuits! LOVE. Mostly because it’s an excuse to eat those totally-processed-but-oh-so-delicious weird little dough balls…
Take advantage of all the amazing winter citrus right now and make these Crunchy Chicken Spring Rolls with Blood Orange Dipping Sauce. Please. Thank me later.
Speaking of citrus, Heartbeet Kitchen featured Roasted Citrus Bowls with Honey Mascarpone and I almost drooled on my computer. Please go check it out. And while you’re there, someone convince me to get over my beet aversion and make these Fermented Beets. They are so pretty! (And I love pickles and they’re just like pickles, right? Right)
Finally, if you’re itching for some of the Avedea tea I mentioned and you want to try a DIY version, here’s a recipe from Wisdom and Honey. I think my next trip to the co-op will be in search of licorice root.
Until next week….
I don’t know about you guys, but I have a complete addiction to cookbooks. I blame my habit on my grandmother (hei hei, Bestemor!), whose home is always filled with the smells of something wonderful baking and whose pantry is overflowing with cooking tomes. She tends to favor old, local, home-style cookbooks, often bought at church fundraisers or garage sales – ones that over the years have been peppered with priceless notes and anecdotes. My mother has a similar love of cookbooks, though with a slightly more modern, photo heavy bent to her collection. Personally, I love them all.
With the rise of cooking blogs, Pinterest, and digital food magazines, we are surrounded by recipes and beautiful photos of food with just the swipe of a finger. It is a wonderful thing and the ease of web-based resources is something I really appreciate in the midst of the every day life hustle and bustle. There is something so wonderful though, about a slow afternoon with a cup of coffee and an actual book. One that you can hold in your hand, and read cover to cover, savoring the recipes and stories their authors have put down. Over the years, I’ve managed to collect a respectable assortment of wonderful cookbooks and in the process, compiled a list of favorite recipes that I return to again and again. It is a few of those recipes (and their books!) that I want to share with you today.
Since we have been talking a lot about breakfast and baking the past week, I’ve put together five of my favorite cookbooks for baking bread and sweet treats:
- The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day (Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois). The title of the book talks about the “discovery that revolutionized home baking” and it’s not just hyperbole. Their basic boule or bread recipe contains only four ingredients and is so simple but wonderful. I like to eat it straight from the oven with some honey butter and salt but it’s also wonderful served along side pasta or stews, to soak up all those sauces.
- The New Best Recipe. This book is an update of the original Best Recipe, first published in 1999. From the genius editors at Cooks Illustrated, you really can’t go wrong with any of the recipes in it. My personal favorite are the lemon bars and the molasses spice cookies.
- How To Be A Domestic Goddess (Nigella Lawson). Also an older book, this is essentially a collection of decadent treats. Make the chocolate loaf cake and you won’t regret it.
- Date Night In (Ashley Rodriguez). A newer addition to my shelf, I can’t stop making the Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies. It’s a problem.
- The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. The version I have is slightly different, but I’m assuming the recipe for blueberry muffins (with lemon!) hasn’t changed. With it’s thick, buttery dough with yogurt and lemon, it’s almost more of a cake than a muffin. And that’s just the way I like it.
What are your go-to books when it comes to baking? Are there recipes your family asks for again and again? Let us know!