Tag Archives: food

Crispy Chocolate-Granola Haystacks

Road tripping ain’t what it used to be, friends.

Gone are our lazy days of puttering down the coast, of long lunches with spectacular views, of starting and stopping and pitching camp where and when we like.

We’re all business now.  It’s I-5 all the way from Seattle to Northern California, aggressive packing of PB&J fixings so we don’t need long lunches, and hardly noticing the view because of the song and dance I’m doing in the back seat to entertain the girls.

That’s right, we packed the whole family into the minivan (which I like to call the “Man Van” now, both to distance myself from it and to convey to J how sexy it is for him to take the kids to swimming lessons).  And we drove all afternoon and night, and much of the next day, and lived to tell the tale.

Here are some of the things that we did in the car to entertain three children aged 1, 3, and 5: made a list of things to do, read books, sang songs, colored, napped, watched a video, ate snacks, played peek-a-boo, and let the baby pull out an entire package of floss.

Here is something we did not do in the car: eat these chocolately granola treats.  We meant to, we really did.  Hannah said they were road food and I’m inclined to agree, but once I made them we had to taste one and then, wow, another, and they were so crispy and chocolately and then it was the next day and J was asking me to please take a photo of the things already so he could keep eating them and just like that…gone, as fast as the miles roll by when you’re having a good time out there on the road.

Continue reading Crispy Chocolate-Granola Haystacks (click for recipe)

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Homemade Maple-Roasted Almond Butter

A new cookbook is such a good treat.  Whether it’s on loan from the library or all mine from my great local bookstore, I always love to curl up on the couch or in bed with a new cookbook.  And I just got a good one.

I’m telling you about it because you might think that the Food in Jars cookbook, by Marisa McClellan of the delightful Food in Jars blog, is only for us fringe types who are into canning.  Not so!  First of all, this is truly small-batch stuff, with most of the recipes yielding a manageable 2 or 3 pints of jam or pickles.  No need to can those–give one to the neighbors and put the other(s) in your fridge; they’ll be gone in no time.  Second, there are also plenty of recipes that have nothing to do with canning: think of them instead as recipes for foods that you could put in jars, if the urge struck, but it would be mostly for decorative purposes.  Granolas.  Nut butters.  Pancake mixes.  Infused salts.  This recipe falls into that latter category.

I meant  to put it in a jar, I really did,  but unfortunately I halved the recipe.  Served alongside a plate of apple slices, it was gone before the jar question even came into play.  The full recipe is below, and I don’t recommend halving it. Continue reading Homemade Maple-Roasted Almond Butter (click for recipe)

Salted Caramel Ice Cream, No Ice Cream Maker Required

The truth about how J and I met is kind of boring, so we usually make something up when people ask us.  For a long time we used to say that we’d met in an internet chat room, back when that sounded scandalous, but now everyone meets online and we have to be more creative.  We met underwater off the Great Barrier Reef?  We were seated side by side for jury duty in small claims court?  We both worked at Baskin Robbins in high school?

That last one is true, actually, although the establishments in question were thousands of miles apart.  But it proves an important point: we have a long history with ice cream around here.

So I am well-qualified to tell you that this one is outstanding.  I already sang its praises here, but I feel wrong depriving you of this recipe for Seattle’s iconic ice cream flavor from Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream.  Especially since, get this, you don’t need an ice cream maker to make it. Some magic having to do with the salt and the cream keeps the texture sublime, even if you make it with a pan and fork instead (directions below).  If you do have an ice cream maker, you can save yourself a few minutes of stirring. Either way, this recipe will make your summer better.  And probably the entire rest of your life. Continue reading Salted Caramel Ice Cream (click for recipe)

Sorta-Caesar Salad

Well, the nice thing about this endless Seattle gloom is that the lettuce isn’t bolting.

When I first moved to Seattle, J and I lived in a tiny house, and one of the first things we did was put in a tiny garden.  We built four raised beds in the grassy strip between the sidewalk and the street.  Everyone does that now, I know, but this was more than a decade ago and I liked to think of us as pioneering urban farmers back then.  (We got chickens too, of course.)

There was just one problem.  I’m from California.  And when I moved to Seattle, I was cold.  I consulted with my local garden store about what kind of vegetables I could grow in this inhospitable climate and planted things like lettuce, arugula, and broccoli.  And then I bundled them up as warm as I could.  I put hoops over the beds and sheathed them in clear plastic, trapping the heat to create toasty little greenhouses for my tender plants.  They thought it was high summer and went happily straight to seed, of course.  Learning that some plants prefer cooler temperatures was the beginning of my education about the benefits that a cool climate has to offer.  (Others include not needing much of a summer wardrobe, only needing an air conditioner a few days each year, and the blueberries.  Oh, the blueberries!)

In any case, delightful lettuces grow in this part of the world nearly year-round.  They are floppy or pert, frilly or reserved, pastel green, deep maroon, or freckled.  They are the stars of the show at springtime farmers markets, and I find them irresistible.  Here’s a nice thing to do with any sturdy, crunchy lettuce.  (Romaine is the classic, of course, as we’re riffing on the Caesar salad here, but it gets much more exciting than that.) Continue reading Sorta-Ceasar Salad (click for recipe)

Aloo Gobi: Indian-Spiced Potatoes, Cauliflower, and Peas

What is your super power in the kitchen?

I usually joke that mine is the ability to cook when it’s messy (it’s always messy), but in truth I think it’s that I like to eat.  So as I cook, I ask myself, does this taste good? What would make it better? Do I want a finely chopped vegetable here, or big chunks?  This description makes my cooking sound more planned-out than it usually is, but I just mean that these are the things that go through my head on the fly.  I believe that constantly thinking about the end product and tasting occasionally as I go increase my chances of producing something delicious.  (There are plenty of failures too, of course–I’ve been thinking lately that I should start taking pictures of those as well for an Emmy Cooks bloopers reel.)

But this ability to envision the eventual dish fails me when it comes to cuisines that I am less comfortable cooking.  Indian food falls into this category, which is why I appreciate starting with a good recipe that will rely less on my intuition and more on my ability to follow directions.  So mostly I stick to recipes from Vij’s At Home.  But dazzled by the success of that saag paneer I keep making (thank you, Kolpona Cuisine!), I decided to branch out to this aloo gobi recipe from the gorgeous vegan blog v:gourmet.  I followed the recipe exactly, except for the splash of cream I added at the end.  What can I say?  My super power told me to.

This dish plus the saag paneer and rice make a respectable Indian-themed feast for company.  And whether or not you’re making multiple dishes, consider making this one a day ahead.  The flavor was even better the following day. Continue reading Aloo Gobi: Indian-Spiced Potatoes, Cauliflower, and Peas (click for recipe)

Fast Food: Tomato and Mozzarella Frittata with Greens

Eggs are the original fast food, as far as I’m concerned.  I have been reasonably successful in cooking other things too lately, but that doesn’t mean that eggs don’t continue to make a regular appearance on our table (often shortly after they make their appearance in our backyard chicken coop).  Here’s the glorious thing about an egg: treated properly, it elevates any hodgepodge of leftover vegetables into a meal.  Think of those chard stems!

So odds and ends often end up in little single-serving frittatas around here.  To anyone who thinks they don’t have time to cook, I say, get an 8″ cast iron skillet.  Two eggs, a few generous handfuls of vegetables, a pinch of salt and your meal is ready in ten minutes.  And you know as well as I do that eggs aren’t just for breakfast.  Fancy them up like this and you can serve them for any meal of the day.

The usual rule applies: use what you have.  I was working with leftovers from that arugula salad I kept making, but you might have other tidbits in your fridge.  The eggs cook quickly, so you’ll want to briefly cook most of the other ingredients first, then add the eggs.  I usually cook the veggies, add the eggs for a few minutes, sprinkle a bit of cheese on top, and then broil the pan for minute or two to set the eggs.  Fresh herbs are nice sprinkled on top after cooking (basil would have been perfect here if I had it).  Usually I’d say to avoid wet ingredients like tomatoes on top of a frittata, but this little one cooks so fast that they don’t have time to melt into a juicy mess.

So keep this little preparation in mind.  Next time you find yourself considering a fast food order, see if you have an egg handy first.

Continue reading Tomato and Mozzarella Frittata with Greens (click for recipe)

Potato and Rosemary Foccacia with (or without) Black Garlic

Have you ever heard of black garlic?  I hadn’t until last week, when I happened across a small new bin tucked in with the mushrooms at my local co-op.  The sign said “fermented black garlic.”  What?  The employees in the produce section were enthusiastic in recommending it but vague about exactly what it was.  It looked like garlic, but was slightly collapsed and shrunken, and smelled like a sweet, lightly garlic-flavored soy sauce.  It smelled good.  Into my basket it went. Later I found that wikipedia link above and determined that I had purchased either a traditional Asian ingredient or a new-fangled food entrepreneur’s invention from California, or maybe some combination (see here for the California producer’s description of how the “magic” fermentation process occurs “behind the closed doors of our patented machine”).  Apparently this stuff is all umami and antioxidants and a darling of the food cognoscenti, of which group I am not a member, so that explains why I had never heard of it.

Finding a new vegetable is a big deal for a serious eater.  A new taste experience on the horizon!  I started researching how to make the most of my intriguing head of garlic.  In the end, I didn’t find a recipe that called to me, so I adapted a potato and rosemary focaccia recipe from Food and Wine, which had in turn adapted it from a Daniel Boulud recipe.

I made two medium-sized focaccias, and I used half a head of black garlic to flavor one of them.  I roasted thinly-sliced potatoes with olive oil, rosemary, and a couple of minced cloves of black garlic, then I layered more sliced cloves of black garlic onto the potato-topped bread before baking it.  I was a little worried that I might have overdone it with all that garlic.  (The other focaccia was topped only with rosemary-roasted potato slices as a delicious control group.)So hey, it’s good bread.  But the garlic flavor is quite mild, and in my opinion the black garlic’s flavor, at least as I prepared it, doesn’t live up to the bold promise of its alluring scent and striking appearance.  But I like strong flavors, and the unexpectedly delicate garlic flavor may be a plus in your book rather than a disappointment.  In any case, the midnight-black cloves certainly lend dramatic flair.

Here’s the important question: what should I do with the remaining cloves of black garlic?  Have you used it in a preparation that you liked?  Do you have some off-the-wall inspiration to share?  I’ll give it another go.

Continue reading Potato and Rosemary Foccacia with (or without) Black Garlic (click for recipe)

Green Tartine, or, Radish Top Toast

I spent a very nice year in Denmark once upon a time. (Yes, I can still remember how to say about two things in Danish.) The country has many charming aspects, one of which is the fine tradition of making a meal out of good things piled on top of bread.

Recently, a similar movement seems to be gaining steam here in the U.S. as well, except that we toast our bread first. I think of the evolution this way: bruschetta (1980’s), crostini (1990’s), toasts (aughts), tartines (isn’t that what we call them now?). Or maybe there’s some other difference, I don’t know. Anyway, here’s a nice way to get away with eating melty cheese on toast for dinner. My friend Daisy at Coolcookstyle made it up by substituting radish greens for nettles in a Nigel Slater rarebit recipe, and I say it was a wise decision. You can swap the greens, swap the cheese, or vary the mustard, of course: the only two essential ingredients are bread and something delicious to put on top of it. Continue reading Green Tartine, or, Radish Top Toast (click for recipe)

My Favorite Recipes: May 2012

Have you liked emmycooks.com on Facebook yet?  If so, I have one more request for you.  If not, now’s the time!  Here’s the step by step: visit the emmycooks.com Facebook page.  Click the “Like” button.  Wait, you’re not done yet!  Now hover over the button (which now says “Liked”) and select the “Show In News Feed” option.  There.  Now the daily recipe should appear in your Facebook feed.

Alternatively, you can sign up right here to receive our daily recipe via email.  (See the link over there on the right sidebar?)  Or you can add www.emmycooks.com to your favorite RSS reader.  Or just come back and see us now and again, that’s nice too.

Finally, before we get to the good stuff, there’s something that’s been bothering me.  Since you are discerning readers, I imagine that it’s been bothering you as well.  It’s this “emmycooks” business.  See, when I started this blog I wasn’t really thinking about giving it a name, I just popped that in as the URL and copied it as the blog’s title.  But oh! The improper capitalization.  And the unnecessary runningtogether of two words.  I apologize if this has been grating on you each time you visit this site, and I hereby unveil this blog’s dramatic new name: Emmy Cooks.  Phew.  Don’t we all feel better now?

Baked Chard Stems with Tomato, Garlic, and Parmesan
Indian-Spiced Kale and Paneer
Buckwheat Soba Salad with Spicy Almond Sauce
Butternut Squash Tacos with Chipotle and Feta
Hazelnut Baked Pears
And last but not least, the readers’ favorite: Roll-Your-Own Vegetarian Brown Rice Sushi

It’s been a delicious month!  Thank you for reading and cooking along with me.  I love all the great ideas and thoughts you share in the comments.  I can’t always keep up with them, but I’ll do my best to at least answer questions as I see them come in.  Here’s to another delicious month together!

How to Cook a Simple Pot of Lentils

I like how one good thing becomes another. An easy quinoa dish becomes savory little herbed quinoa cakes.  Leftover risotto fills chard rolls.  A pot of black beans leads to chilaquiles and taco salads and all kinds of deliciousness.  What I’m saying is this: make more lentils than you plan to eat in one go.  We’ll be doing something good with the leftovers tomorrow.

This recipe will work for all the lentil varieties I can think of except for red lentils, which tend to cook into a mush rather than holding their shape.  You can eat them alone or with rice, use them in a lentil salad, or serve them as a side dish.  They’re great under or alongside a simple roasted piece of fish (or probably chicken, although I’m no authority on that point).

There are two secret ingredients at play here that make this lentil preparation so delicious: the lentils themselves, which have a sweet, earthy flavor, and salt.  A splash of vinegar at the end doesn’t hurt, either. If you have a carrot and a stalk or celery, great, toss them in.  If not, don’t fret, just go ahead without them.

Personally, my favorite lentils are the tiny green French Le Puy lentils or the equally-tiny black Beluga lentils.  This recipe works equally well with a run-of-the-mill supermarket brown or green lentil, however.  Whichever kind you choose, just be sure to keep an eye out for tiny rocks or dirt clods as you pour them into a colander, then rinse them well before cooking. Continue reading How to Cook a Simple Pot of Lentils (click for recipe)