Saturday, February 28, 2015

Homemade Croutons

Dear Turkey,

You know how I was saying that poached fruit is all over the web? Same with recipes that use leftover bread. Croutons are always on those lists of the top...things to do with stale bread. Since I make bread a lot, I figured it was time to start making my own croutons.

I don't really like croutons from the store, the ones that have, like, 100 ingredients, trans fat, and can break your teeth. These are not like that. These are like what comes off of the top of French onion soup when you make it yourself. You can put them on salad, soup, or even pasta (trust me).

Friday, February 27, 2015

Caramelized Shallot Focaccia

Dear Turkey,

I know that I post breads all the time, but this is one of the best breads that I've ever made. I also tagged it under "pizza" because you could definitely eat it as a meal. (I often use this dough to make pizza, and just roll it out a bit thinner.)

This focaccia is easy to make. It's sweet, salty, and umami. It's good left over (or out of the freezer). The bread part is also really hard to mess up, so if you're feeling intimidated by bread, this is a pretty foolproof way to impress people. Since that's what baking is all about.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Poached Pears

Dear Turkey,

Recipes for poached pears are all over the web. I've heard all about how they are healthy, cheap, easy to make, versatile, and delicious. I should have listened to the hype sooner.

I poached my pears with cinnamon and vanilla and served them in between dinner and dessert. And then I ate them the next day for breakfast. And lunch. You could easily adjust the spices to reflect your personal pear poaching goals. Oh? You're allergic to pears? Even if they are cooked? This technique works with almost any fruit, and not just fruits with pits (poached blueberries on ice cream or oatmeal?).

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Candied Pecans

Dear Turkey,

The other day, my mom made a salad with candied pecans on it. After dinner, I went back into the kitchen and ate the lingering pecans at the bottom of the salad bowl. The next week, I made candied pecans myself. I kept walking over to the cookie sheet, announcing, "these are the last ones I'm going to eat before dinner," stuffing a handful in my mouth, and walking back two minutes later.

These pecans are like the nuts that you can buy on the street, but not a rip off. They are awesome on salad, soup, oatmeal, ice cream, or just stuffed in your mouth at any time. This is the kind of easy, tasty recipe that makes people think I'm an awesome cook.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Banana Chia Muffins

Dear Turkey,

Are you sick of all my healthy, vegan-y, as-few-ingredients-as-possible, "I can't be bothered to buy eggs" baking? If so, these muffins are for you. Except, um, they have chia seeds. But you can't even taste them.

These are big, chewy, satisfying muffins, almost like the ones that you get in a coffee shop (minus 400 calories). I made them even bigger because the recipe originally said to make 18, and I am opposed to muffin recipes that don't come to an even dozen.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Soft Pretzels

Dear Turkey,

I love soft pretzels, and I love the idea of letting kids roll out the dough and make letters and shapes. But I knew that I didn't want to mess around with the giant pot of boiling water and the lye and all the danger that generally makes soft pretzels delicious.

I figured that I could count on kid-friendly weelicious to get me started, and I was right. These aren't as good as the pretzels that you get at the mall (partly because they aren't soaked in butter), but they are definitely not just bread in a pretzel shape, they are easy and fun to make, and delicious dipped in mustard, Nutella, tomato sauce, whatever you want. They also store well in the freezer.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Chocolate Graham Crackers

Dear Turkey,

I love graham crackers, but the chocolate ones from the store don't really do it for me. They're not really chocolatey enough to be dessert, but they're too sweet to eat with savory stuff like cheese. This recipe from weelicious is more like a cookie (kind of a light shortbread, even), but that's fine with me.

There are some times in life when it's worth it to use the food processor; this is one of those times. Same for rolling out a dough between two sheets of parchment. Just take my word for it.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Savory Crepes

Dear Turkey,

Remember when I made crepes the other day? Yeah, that was awesome.

Last weekend, my mom asked me to make savory crepes. She used to rock these awesome crepes with asparagus and hollandaise sauce, and I tried to recreate that, sans asparagus and hollandaise sauce (if you look in the Betty Crocker cookbook, it appears that people had a lot of free time in the seventies to cook intricate foods). These only took about 30 minutes, including making the crepes and baking time, and nobody missed the hollandaise (least of all me, since I didn't have to make it).

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Chocolate Spelt Cast Iron Cake

Dear  Turkey,

I have a "sweet" cast iron pan and a "savory" cast iron pan; that way my cast iron baking doesn't end up tasting like onions. Cast iron pans are awesome for baking in general, but they are really awesome for recipes like this that seem to get drier and drier on the outside while never getting totally done on the inside.

This cake definitely meets my breakfast-or-dessert criteria, and it can easily be made vegan if you use vegan butter (I like Earth Balance), and I bet it would work with a gluten-free flour. It's chocolatey enough that you feel like you really ate something, but not so sugary and greasy that you feel gross after. I could eat it right before a run. Or after.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Tomato Potato Curry

Dear Turkey,

Potatoes. Rice. Naan. Sounds like I'm going to run ten miles tomorrow.

Even if you're not running ten miles tomorrow, this easy, wintry curry is really satisfying. You can make it in the morning before work, and if you use brown rice, it's not really unhealthy.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Sweet and Spicy Baked Tofu

Dear Turkey,

One of my friends doesn't like umami foods. I know. She didn't even know what umami was. The fact that we are still friends is a testament to her awesomeness in all other areas.

The other day at lunch with our co-workers, this friend said, "Tofu, I think that we are at the point in our relationship where you can invite me over for dinner and cook for me." It was right at one of those moments when all other conversation had ceased, and everybody laughed. Well, Umami-hating Friend, I will have you over for dinner, but not for this awesome dish.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Healthy Vegan Pumpkin Maple Cookies

Dear Turkey,

Yup, another episode of healthy, vegan, delicious breakfast cookies. If you are sick of this topic, maybe you don't like breakfast. Or cookies. Either way we can't be friends.

I made up this recipe because  I wanted to show everybody that I am that good at baking I had some things in my fridge that I needed to use up. I don't usually bake with coconut milk and I was not disappointed. These cookies are not too sweet, so they can definitely rock breakfast or dessert, but the coconut fat makes them smooth (but not coconut-y) and the maple syrup really rounds out the satisfying factor.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Black Bean Enchiladas

Dear Turkey,

loveenchiladas. I think they are my favorite Mexican dish. However, I felt like mine were always missing something, especially in the sauce department. So I was excited when I found a recipe that had some new strategies: broth and flour in the sauce (and way more chili powder than I usually use), canned black bean soup in the filling (cheating? okay with me).

These enchiladas were really delicious. It did seem like cheating to not actually cook anything for the bean mixture, but I will definitely be making them again.