From a pinned recipe to the dinner table in about 12 hours. This morning I saw a pin for Cookie and Kate’s Vegetarian West African Peanut Soup and I knew we needed it soon. I knew it would be a hit since my boyfriend likes pretty much every recipe that involves peanut butter or coconut milk. Plus this was veggie friendly and we already had several of the ingredients on hand.
Alterations: I used vegetarian better than bouillon and I wasn’t sure the flavor was going to be strong enough so I upped the amount of chopped ginger and garlic. My onion was also quite big. I opted for kale instead of collards and added in a roughly chopped carrot about 2/3 of the way through the broth simmering process. I used a combination of Sriracha and Sambal Oelek for the hot sauce.
Do-again?: Super flavorful and came together quite quickly. The vegetables weren’t overdone and we didn’t even think this needed the rice (so we skipped it). Would definitely make it again.
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Yesterday I began my nearly annual tradition of giving up meat for Lent. While I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself religious, I do like using the time period of Lent to make myself more aware of habits and what I’m consuming. I was a pescetarian for seven years before, so it really isn’t too hard for me to adjust. Especially when I can eat things like Macheesmo’s Stuffed Artichokes for dinner.
Alterations: I scaled things down because I was working with three artichokes instead of four.
Do-again?: Not going to lie, the prep work took some time. It wasn’t necessarily hard, but it was time consuming to cut and pry open the artichokes. Then it was a nice hands-off hour while they roasted in the oven tempting us with delicious smells until they were finally ready. My boyfriend was skeptical that it would be filling enough but the roasting time made the inner leaves really tender and it was definitely enough for a satisfying dinner. The outer leaves were a bit drier so I whipped up a little lemon pepper garlic aioli to dip the leaves in.
When in the adorable town of Pescadero last weekend, I stopped at the farmer’s market and picked up brussels sprouts, avocados (6 for $1), artichokes and the most delicious berries. This resulted in making Closet Cooking’s Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Bacon in Mustard Cream Sauce.
Alterations: I was out of grainy mustard so I substituted dijon mustard and added some mustard seeds. I used milk instead of cream as well.
Do-again?: While not the healthiest preparation of Brussels Sprouts, it was tasty. We ate this as a main instead of a side.
It’s not football or the commercials that I wait for each Super Bowl - it’s the chance to compete against my friends for the best dip or appetizer. Since I’m headed to NOLA in a few months, I decided to get in the spirit by making Annie’s Eats Gumbo Dip.
Alterations: I almost had to sub the okra but finally found some in the frozen section of the grocery store.
Do-again?: Creamy, salty with texture that made it great to scoop onto a baguette. It was kind of a thick soupy texture. I ended up tying for best overall appetizer, along with winning “Most Addictive” and “Most Likely to Be Seen on the Food Network.” I’ll have to get creative to impress again next year.
Even though my boyfriend generally requests boxed yellow cake mix and jarred chocolate frosting, I usually like to try to bake something for his birthday. It’s likely because I’m rarely in the mood to bake but feel compelled to make something special for my favorite sweet tooth. This year, Serious Eats’ Salted Caramel-Chocolate Pudding Cake is what tempted me away from the Ducan Hines.
Alterations: Followed as directed, it’s hard to mess with dessert recipes. My only change was I made this a day early and reheated in the oven and served with vanilla ice cream.
Do-again?: This was ooey-gooey and sweet and decadent - perfect for a birthday.
We rarely go out on Valentine’s day because the menus are overpriced and the restaurants are full of over-the-top dates. Instead, we go out on a different night and cook something special at home. This year, we were cooking for more than two so we decided to break in the new Le Creuset dutch oven I got for Christmas and make Food & Wine’s Coq au Riesling.
Alterations: Instead of full legs, I opted for skin-on, bone-in organic chicken thighs.I added three slices of chopped bacon in the browning onions phase. I utilized low sodium chicken broth and subbed sage for thyme since I was out. I opted not to strain the sauce because I’m lazy and it was late.My grocer was out of creme fraiche so I used a combination of greek yogurt and heavy cream.
Do-again?: The sauce was heavenly - creamy but cut from being too heavy with the addition of all the veggies. The chicken was tender and easily came off the bone. I served five with this recipe and still had a lot of leftovers.
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Every culture has a dumpling of sorts and I’m pretty much always a fan. Which is why I was game to try America’s Test Kitchen’s recipe for Asian-Style Dumpling Soup - especially since the recipe looks super easy to pull together.
Alterations: I used a 12 oz bag of of chicken cilantro dumplings from Trader Joe’s and 5 oz of Shitake mushrooms. I also squeezed in fresh lemon juice instead of limes at the end.
Do-again?: This was really easy to put together and tasted great. The ginger, red pepper, onions and fish sauce made the broth more dynamic and cleared my slightly runny nose.
This morning my fridge had several eggs and a container full of chopped broccoli in it. I perused my Pinterest file of recipes to see what I could do with that and was pointed to Serious Eats’ recipe for Broccoli, Chorizo and Onion Tortilla. I decided to pick up some spanish chorizo when I went to the farmer’s market to gather vegetables for the rest of the week and a delicious brunch was born.
Alterations: I was scared to do the flip, so I broiled the tortilla at the end for 3-4 minutes.
Do-again?: This was really delicious and a good way to make broccoli acceptable at breakfast. The chorizo gave it a great smoky saltiness. I imagine this will also hold up well as leftovers.
Earlier this fall, my mom and I took a trip to South Carolina and Georgia. Almost everywhere we dined featured Pimiento Cheese in some form or another. In tribute to this trip, I decided to make Southern Living’s Ricotta Pimiento Cheese spread as another appetizer on Thanksgiving.
Do-again?: There was nothing wrong with this dish and it did the trick as an appetizer, but it didn’t necessarily beg to be made again either. I might prefer it on some sliced cucumbers or celery.
Usually my family does Thanksgiving in the early afternoon, where it serves as the single big meal for the day. This year, due to travel schedules, we had Thanksgiving at dinner time, which presented an opportunity to serve appetizers mid-day to keep us sated before the big meal. I made Cooking Stoned’s Stuffed Brussels Sprouts, along with some stuffed mushrooms for those afraid of the little green guys.
Alterations: I added some chopped mushroom stems and used low fat ricotta.
Do-again?: These were great, as tasty as stuffed mushrooms but you feel better about eating them since you get to believe you’re eating something green. The hardest part is finding big enough Brussels sprouts to be able to stuff!
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