As a young cook, cookbooks have been essential in my learning my way around the kitchen. My most helpful cookbook has been one that my mom compiled for me of favorite family recipes. If you don’t have my mom’s recipes to share these are great for those on your list.
I have either used all of these books or enjoyed these authors recipes online with great success. So they are kitchen tested and approved.
This is the gift giving season, but it is also the whisking, mixing, baking and mess making season. If you’re all about the cute, and you probably are, these are the perfect helpers for your kitchen clean up and kitsch decor.
I have posted about Studiopatro before (for Fall 2011) but I had to share the new items for winter 2012.
These make a lovely and generous gift for a friend, a holiday hostess or for yourself.
It’s August, we’re officially closer to fall than spring. While we’ve complained about the oppressive (really, it has been) heat, in as many weeks we’ll (I’ll) be complaining about the colder temperatures.
So, in this order: invite some friends over, fire up the grill, open up a bottle of wine, eat, talk and laugh too much.
Dinner with Friends! Grilling by Jon, Flowers by Kristin
Dinner with friends doesn’t have to be fancy. It could be new flavors or old favorites – the company is what counts!
Need ideas for some dishes? Connect with me on Pinterest for some yummy inspiration.
Each Thursday I am going to feature a must-have. It could be something or the wardrobe, home, kitchen or otherwise. But it is getting the Daily Batch seal of approval.
I picked up PB2 at Whole Foods last week after hearing about how amazing it is from my sister-in-law. PB2 is powdered peanut butter. The ingredients are roasted peanuts, salt and sugar. The oil has been pressed out and all that remains is a fine powder. It becomes peanut butter when you add 1-part water for 2-parts powder.
The real benefit is that it is absolutely delicious and tastes just like peanut butter but for about 1/4 of the calories in traditional peanut butter. It is perfect on toast, can be added to smoothies, oatmeal and cereal or yogurt.
Perfect healthy snack – available at Bell Plantation, Amazon and health food grocery stores.
Must Have of the Week: PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter
I am sorry I have been a little quiet these past few days, maybe even weeks, but we have been very busy in our house. In fact, in the past month we cleaned, staged and sold our house. Last week we packed it all up and moved.
Where to begin… Two years ago we moved from our condo to a rowhouse in central DC. It was big and spacious but in the end we realized, for us, it was too big and too spacious.
My Old Kitchen
We have since moved back to our old condo, more on that later. When you leave a kitchen this large you have to think thoughtfully about what you need, not just want in your new space.
Here are my space saving kitchen must-haves:
Where space is a premium you have to be smart. Bowls and dishes should be multifunctional and stackable, gone are the canisters and jars of utensils, no longer are we cluttered by a big knife block when we only use two knives anyway.
We thought long and hard about and have right-sized our supplies to fit our needs and space.
Do you have a big kitchen or a small kitchen?
This week I made popcorn. Not pre-popped from a bag or from a microwave. Homemade popcorn, made right on the stove… And it was delicious and easy!
Parmigiano Reggiano Truffle Salt Stovetop Popcorn, recipe adapted from Simply Recipes
1.5 Tbsp grapeseed oil (or any high smoke point oil)
1/2 cup of high quality popcorn kernels
Truffle Salt to Taste
Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
A drizzle of truffle oil
Large sauce pan with a lid
Other flavor options include classic salt and butter, salt and pepper, hot sauce, cinnamon, curry, whatever you fancy!
Set the pan over medium-high heat and drizzle the grapeseed oil. Add to the pan 3 popcorn kernels and cover with the lid.
When the kernels pop, add the rest of the 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels in an even layer. Add a conservative amount of the truffle salt. Cover, remove from heat and count 30 seconds.
This method first heats the oil to the right temperature, then waiting 30 seconds brings all of the other kernels to a near-popping temperature so that when they are put back on the heat, they all pop at about the same time.
Return the pan to the heat and keep the lid slightly ajar. The popcorn should begin popping soon, and all at once. Once the popping really gets going gently shake the pan by moving it back and forth over the burner.
Once the popping slows to several seconds between pops, remove the pan from the heat, remove the lid, and dump the popcorn immediately into a wide bowl.
During the Passover/Easter weekend I did a lot, a lot, A LOT of cooking — which also meant a lot of eating. when I was planning the menu I wanted healthy and spring dishes.
Here are two bright, colorful, and healthy winners – Roasted Carrots with Parsley and Lemon Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower.
Roasted Parsley Carrots, adapted from The New York Times
2 pounds carrots, peeled, then cut in half horizontally and then down the middle vertically
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
In a prep bowl drizzle the olive oil over the carrots and then sprinkle in the salt, pepper, thyme and oregano.
Lay the carrots on a foil covered baking sheet and bake in a 400 degree oven for 35 minutes, or until fork tender.
Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. Add parsley just before serving.
Lemon Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower, adapted from Martha Stewart
1 head broccoli (about 1 pound), broken into 1-inch florets
1 large head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), broken into florets
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 lemons, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and ground pepper
Prep the broccoli and cauliflower, wash, dry, and cut and place in large Ziploc bag or Tupperware.
Add to the container the olive oil, salt and pepper, thinly sliced garlic and the lemon slices. Close the container and shake thoroughly to fully coat all of the pieces with the oil, lemon and garlic.
I left my vegetable bag in the refrigerator overnight, but you could also skip right to the roasting.
Lay the contents of the bag onto a covered baking sheet and into a 450 degree oven for 25-30 minutes, longer for crispier vegetables. Check the vegetables at the midway point and toss on the pan.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
These recipes were affordable to source, a cinch to prepare, healthy and kid approved.
Posted in dinner, Easy Recipe, healthy, Her Kitchen, Holiday Food, Jewish Holidays, Passover, Seasonal, Spring
Tagged easy spring recipes, healthy easter recipes, healthy passover recipes, healthy spring recipes, kid friendly vegetables
We’re just days away from two major holidays, Passover and Easter. I grew up celebrating Passover and Mark’s family celebrates Easter and together we practice our family’s traditions and have created some new ones that are now all our own.
For us, the root of our traditions centers on our love of food. Food brings people together, it sparks conversation, and it inspires people to learn more, share more, and love more.
This year for Passover, we’ll be doing a quiet Seder at home and we’ll be hosting a spring brunch on Sunday that will feature elements of both traditions.
As I do my menu planning, I continue to debate (with myself) what to make. The trouble with tradition, or perhaps the reason for tradition, is that so many of the “traditional” foods are no longer part of our regular diet – dishes like low and slow cooked brisket, oversized matzo ball soup, kugels, honey cakes, are once, twice, maybe three times a year specialties. But, that is what makes them special – heavy too – but always special.
Does a departure from the traditional Ashkenazi (Eastern European) menu in favor of a Latin/Asian/Sephardic (North African) inspired meal mean I am losing my traditions? What would Tevye say? Or is it a fun and inspired way to add new culinary skills to a millienia old meal?
These oil laden dishes are really most worth savoring because of the stories of the parents, grandparents and great grandparents that made the same dishes in their own kitchens once upon a time.
In the end I think I will continue to slowly and very subtly make adjustments to our menu, but one thing is for sure, we’ll eat lots and lots of matzo.
If you’re invited to a Seder or just want to have a sweet Passover friendly treat try this recipe out:
For Matzo Toffee – or Matzo Crack, depends on who you ask!
4 to 5 pieces of matzo*
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate, or semi-sweet chocolate chips
Toppings, as desired
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and/or parchment paper.
- Place the matzo in one layer on the baking sheet, breaking it when necessary to fill the pan completely. Set aside.
- In a large sauce pan, melt the butter and brown sugar over medium heat, stirring constantly. Once the mixture reaches a boil, continue to cook for an additional three minutes, still stirring, until thickened and just starting to pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove from heat and pour over the matzo, spreading an even layer with a heat-proof spatula. Be super careful, this is a great way to burn a finger or a hand.
- Put the pan in the oven, then immediately turn the heat down to 350 degrees. Bake for 15 minutes, watching to make sure it doesn’t burn. If it looks like it is starting to burn, turn heat down to 325.
- After 15 minutes, remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle the chocolate over the pan. Let sit for five minutes, then spread the now-melted chocolate evenly with a spatula.
- You can leave it just as is, enjoying the simplicity. Or add your favorite toppings while the chocolate is still melted. I like to add dried unsweetened fruit or blanched almonds or pistachios, steer clear of the peanuts, they are not kosher for Passover.
Posted in Dessert, Easy Recipe, Her Kitchen, Jewish Holidays, Passover
Tagged chocolate matzo, matzah crack, matzah desserts, matzah toffee, matzo desserts, matzo toffee, Passover, passover desserts
I am a kale enthusiast. I throw it into pasta, and add to rice dishes, but my favorite way to eat it is as a chip. When baked to a crisp this leafy green takes on a rich and nutty flavor – and no, you won’t be able to eat just one.
This is the simplest recipe ever posted on the blog and very possibly one of the most delicious.
1. Buy a big bunch of leafy green tale – I like Scots Kale, but any type would work just fine.
2. Strip the leaf away from the rib. Kale has a similar structure to romaine lettuce, you just to rip the leaf down the center and discard the ribs at the end. Yes, you can use the ribs for other recipes, but right now this is all about the leaf.
3. Put the strips of leaves in a colander and rinse thoroughly and then shake to dry thoroughly. LIGHTLY drizzle olive oil over the colander and use a soft hand and a spatula or wooden spoon to mix the kale in the bowl giving each piece a hint of the olive oil.
4. Set the oven to 350 degrees. Pour the olive oil kissed leaves onto an unprepared cookie sheet, be careful to not overlap the leaves too much so they get the direct heat and crisp. Sprinkle with salt and pepper – or rosemary and thyme – or parmigiana – or truffle salt – or cayenne pepper – whatever your taste buds fancy.
5. Bake for 17 – 20 minutes.
6. Snack away. Munch. Crunch. Enjoy!
Why Kale Chips? According to WebMD, kale is one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet. It belongs to the Brassica family that includes cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, collards, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. Kale’s health benefits are primarily linked to the high concentration and excellent source of antioxidant vitamins A, C, and K — and sulphur-containing phytonutrients. Carotenoids and flavonoids are the specific types of antioxidants associated with many of the anti-cancer health benefits. Kale is also rich in the eye-health promoting lutein and zeaxanthin compounds and the fiber rich vegetable also binds bile acids and helps lower blood cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease, especially when cooked.
Last weekend I went on an impromptu trip to Florida to see my parents. We cooked, hung out, and relaxed. It was wonderful.
One of the perks of the weekend was enjoying true spring weather and seeing the sun – we haven’t had a ton of sun in DC this winter. Another plus was being able to gorge on fresh Florida spring fruits like strawberries and blueberries. Not flavorless like they are here, and not super tart they were perfectly sweet.
And so, my berry snacks have inspired me for this weekend.
There is something so lovely about the freshness of a new season and the first crop of sweet fruit. I hope you have a beautiful weekend with lots of sweetness and joy.
Posted in Family, Fashion Inspiration, healthy, Her Closet, Her Inspiration, Her Kitchen, Spring
Tagged blueberries, florida fruit, spring inspiration, strawberries, weekend post