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we heart goat cheese.

30 May

Sorry for the long hiatus! With school over I was relishing not being tied to a computer. I’ll try to be more consistent for the rest of the summer. 

John’s summer job is working for an awesome Ohio goat farm and creamery, Lucky Penny Farm. He sells their chèvre and feta (and fudge soon?) at the Pittsburgh Public Market in the Strip on Fridays and Saturdays. The year-old farm is cool not just because they make delicious cheese, but because they are dedicated to helping other small farms in the region and won a USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education grant to aid that mission.

I got this interesting recipe for chèvre cookies from a postcard at their booth. What followed ended up being some of the best cookies I’ve ever made. They’re small and light, rustic yet sophisticated, and have a great subtle flavor.

Chèvre Cookies

Adapted slightly from Lucky Penny Farm’s recipe.
[print PDF]

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PA café preview.

9 Apr

Right now I’m preparing for Free the Planet’s new event, PA Café, an event celebrating local food. It’s pretty exciting for me because the event was my idea in the fall, modeled after an existing event, Fair Trade Café, and because I obviously love to cook.

If you are in the Pittsburgh area, come to Nordy’s place in the William Pitt Union, 9pm – 1am for free food, raffle, and music.

Pile of local cheeses.

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foodie trend: sprouting grains.

31 Mar

I guess this is what happens in college. You get a little radical. First you become a vegetarian (okay, I’ve been one since middle school so I had a head start). Then you realize all your friends are too (this is only a slight exaggeration). Then you start rubbing shoulders with the vegans and the raw-foodies and the people who soak their own beans and the ones who harvest their own spring water in the woods (hey Adam). And the you realize that you want to try that stuff too.

So this is my foray into… I don’t know what to call it. The advanced level of alternative dieting? Anyways, sprouting your grains is something that’s pretty popular right now, especially among raw foodies and vegans who need to work a little harder for their nutrients than the rest of us (yes I’m lumping together vegetarians and omnivores here because honestly being a vegetarian is not difficult at all (and sorry for the overload of parenthetical statements)). Here’s some info about sprouting, but if that article is Greek to you, I’ll paraphrase as I understand the process:

1. Biologically, the grains and seeds you buy in the store are locked in a state of dormancy, waiting until they reach the right conditions to germinate.

2. To keep them locked in that state, the plant contains certain enzyme inhibitors that keep the nutrients bio-unavailable until the time is just right.

3. By sprouting, we are encouraging the grains to germinate which releases these nutrients and make them more available for our bodies to absorb.

The thing I like about sprouting is that the science is quite simple, and to do it requires no investment of money and very little of your time. I tried it the first time just going off some instructions on the web and it worked fantastically.

Sprouting Buckwheat “Groats”

Before starting this, you may be wondering “what the heck do I do with these???” Well I thought they were a great salad topping, a nice hearty contrast to lettuce. I also put them in pancakes (recipe to come). Or you can always make groaty dick. Continue reading

we heart valentines.

14 Feb

My gift to you:

Cupcakes!

And a not-too-mushy love song:

Crazy-In-Love (with these) Cinnamon-Chocolate Cupcakes

The cupcake is super light and fluffy so the powerful combo of coffee and chocolate won’t leave you gasping for water. And the cinnamon-vanilla icing is to die for!

The cupcake recipe is from Cooks Illustrated via PinkParsleyCatering and the icing recipe is from the bookdCupcakes Galore by Gail Wagman. Continue reading

we heart cinnamon swirl bread.

7 Feb

Since it’s been a few days since I posted I’ll post one of my new favorite recipes, pumpkin cinnamon swirl bread! I’ve had cinnamon breads before where they just dust some cinnamon on before rolling the dough. Then if you accidentally get a big clod of it you’re literally choking on cinnamon. You will not find that here. This cinnamon filling is the BEST. Like a giant cinnamon roll. Heaven.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl Bread

(Bread recipe from King Arthur Flour. Filling recipe based off Artisan Breads at Home.)

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stew and a history lesson.

26 Jan

squash stew

Since I’m going to New York city tomorrow (see below), I needed to get rid of everything perishable in the fridge. And so: butternut squash, zucchini, tofu plus lentils, canned tomatoes, chipotle, and various spices. Plus kale chips on top.

New obsession: kale chips.

The invention of kale chips:

While marveling at the numerous health benefits of kale and other leafy greens, someone thought, “Hm… there must be a way to make this unhealthy.” This person tossed kale in olive oil and baked them and topped them with salt. And thus the kale chip was born. And from then on it was the preferred way to make kale since it involved oil and salt.

Anyways, I’m gong to NYC tomorrow to visit my friend. Does anyone have suggestions of we should go? I will be there for a little over two days.

merry christmas and gingerbread houses!

25 Dec

Sorry for the week or so of silence, I have been taking a break for a while. But I had to show you the gingerbread houses I made with my little brother, Willie.

Willie

This was the most elaborate gingerbread spectacle I’d ever attempted. I decided to make a model of our house in Pittsburgh and Willie wanted to make a stadium of some sort. First we made paper models of our structures then used the templates to cut out our gingerbread. Since I’m not wild about gingerbread cookies we used a gingerbread recipe from Martha Stewart which isn’t so good for eating but which holds up real well as a construction material. I used a recipe for icing “cement” from about.com which worked really well too. Here are the results:

Gingerbread House

 

Clockwise from top left: a gummy fountain (made by john); bushes decorated with christmas "lights" out front; marshmallow snowman; "snow" made by coconut and cornstarch; Necco wafer shingles; our house number on the front.

Willie’s “Hershey Park”:

Gingerbread Park

 

Hershey Park

Clockwise from top left: grass made by green-dyed coconut; a gummy statue stands outside the park; graham cracker scoreboard; tons of gummy fans; brown sugar infield.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

we heart gnocchi.

1 Dec

I got the leftover bag of potatoes from Thanksgiving – so now I have about a dozen potatoes to try to eat! I used to think that potatoes were “bad” for you, i.e. they would make you fat with all their empty carbs, but last month the executive director of the Washington State Potato Commission decided to fix exactly that assumption by going on a 60 day potato diet. In the end he lost 17 pounds and his cholesterol levels dropped… I think the real problem with potatoes is that they taste so good fried! The trick is to come up with ways to make them without tons of oil. And eat then in place of other carbs, not in place of fruits and veggies.

In light of that, we decided to make some homemade gnocchi (“nyo-kee”), which is potato pasta. I don’t know why we decided to make this recipe during a busy school week right before finals… I guess it was a nice way to de-stress (?).

Homemade Gnocchi

(From Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian)

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the healthiest dish ever?

11 Nov

I’ve had a sad zucchini sitting in my vegetable bowl for about a week. Feeling uninspired, I searched “zucchini” and “pasta” looking for something interesting. What I found was unexpected, but perfect.

Zucchini Pasta!

From the New York Times’ “Recipe for Health” series.

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almond soba noodles with cauliflower.

9 Nov

I haven’t posted a recipe in quite a while. This is a good one to return to since roasting vegetables has become my favorite thing. It’s a simple and delicious way to eat your veggies. Sometimes I just roast up a big batch and eat them for the next week in pita, on pasta, mixed with egg and fried, etc.

This recipe is basically the easiest to thing to make but sounds really exotic. A super easy way to impress your friends or just make a super healthy meal that doesn’t require much skill. Plus it’s vegan!

soba noodles

Almond Buckwheat Soba Noodles with Roasted Cauliflower Continue reading