Archive for ‘Food’

August 2, 2012

Eggsactly.

by Jillian Douglas

 

I was thinking the other day about how marvelous and magical a simple little egg is.

Ostrich Egg

I mean, really. It’s biologically complex, and yet by sight it’s very simple: shell, white, yolk.

And when you cook it, many different things can happen.

You can boil it, right in its cozy little shell, for a beautifully round and smooth texture to crumble or eat whole.

You can fry it, snatching it quickly before the yolk solidifies, so you can let the happy sunshine flow down over the toast on your plate.

Or you can crack it open into a pot of hot water and watch it float, somehow cooking all together even though (at least to me) it should disintegrate.

But it works.

And, if you whisk air into it just long enough, you can make a beautiful mountain range of white cloud peaks to place on your freshly made pie.

It’s beautiful.

How do you cook your eggs? I’m not very particular about it, although I do enjoy a warm, runny yolk to soak up with a chunk of bread. Has anyone ever tried ostrich or another type of egg?

Until next time.

jj

Photo by The Animal Print Shop.

 

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July 8, 2012

A Smattering of Notes

by Jillian Douglas

Hullo, friendlies.

Today I bring you… a few notes that have been floating in this brain of mine. Enjoy! ❤

A. Cities are fabulous, but let’s face it; there’s nothing like a small town. Remember why with this article by Sarah Dobbins at Apartment Therapy

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B. Joy in the Morning by Betty Smith. This is a really good book. Like, really, really, really good. Go. Get it. You must. She writes about the first year of marriage for Annie and Carl, two (very) young adults living in the early 20th century in the mid-west. This is one (just one!) step below A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, another book by Betty Smith, that is my absolute favorite piece of literature.

C. Driving home today, I couldn’t help but stop by a little vegetable cart by the side of the road, full of bright and happy garden goods. I picked up some beets and zucchini for practically nothing. (Another wondrous note: that same gardener/farmer sells sunflowers for only 35 cents each! They were all out this time, but next time I see those babies, they’re mine! For you local people, this cart is on East Henrietta Rd, between Rush and Henrietta). But back to beets: this Beet Hummus recipe at The Color Issue looks delicious! And did you know the leafy greens are also edible?

That’s all for now…

Live simply; love deeply. xo

First photo by Sarah Dobbins at Apartment Therapy; second and third photo by Aarean at The Color Issue.

July 2, 2012

As promised: Dark Chocolate + Orange Cake Pops

by Jillian Douglas

Mmmm.

Mmmmhmm.

The combination of dark chocolate + orange interests my taste buds quite a lot. There’s just something so contrasting but balanced about pairing the nutty, rich flavor of chocolate with this light citrus fruit. As I hinted at in this post, cake pops are not my passion. But I do think if you’re going to bother with the fad, you might consider this recipe I concocted with the help of a few friends…

Dark Chocolate + Orange Cake Pops

Ingredients:

16 oz. Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Chips

1 Orange

1 Box of Cake Mix (with other ingredients it calls for, such as oil, water, or eggs, made as a cake, cooled)

1 Can of Chocolate Frosting

1-2 tsps of Orange Extract

Now I am in no way a cake pop guru, so if you know a better way to make them, by all means, go for it. But this is how I did it:

1. Crumble the cake into smithereens. Be aggressive. Be. Be. Agressive.

2. In a large bowl, heap the cake on the frosting and add a few teaspoons of orange extract (to be honest, this was such a long time ago, that I do not recall how many teaspoons I used. But I do know that I followed what was on the bottle, and it came out quite, quite delicious).

4. Mix, mix, mix.

5. Now would be a good time to experiment with chilling this mixture to make it a little firmer. I didn’t have the time, so I went ahead and rolled them up into balls.

6. Zest up some orange peel (we didn’t have a zester tool so my cutie just minced it up like a pro). Melt the chocolate in a pot on the stove.

7. Stick lollipop sticks into those cake batter babies and plop into the chocolate, spooning chocolate all around it for good coverage.

8. Dip the tip of your newly formed cake pop into the orange zest and place on a plate (or in a handy dandy cake pop holder or piece of foam) and refrigerate until stable.

Yum yum yum!

April 15, 2012

Maple Sugaring

by Jillian Douglas

It was not my intention to neglect you, oh blog! Life has the uncanny habit of swallowing me whole at times.Don’t worry though, it spat me back out. It’s good to be back! I have many posts floating through my head, ready to land in the crisp screen of a blog post.

First up is fun with maple syrup making!

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Mid-March I went to my dear friend’s house and had a great time with her family and another friend, watching the maple syrup process and making maple cream candies with them. They only have 3 sugar maple trees, each tapped twice, but this apparently creates a substantial amount of sap, which is then boiled down to syrup.

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This process interests me a lot! I love handgrown and homemade things. Collecting sap for syrup-making is on my list of Dreamy To-Do’s, along with beekeeping, canning homemade salsa, and sewing my own clothes.

Unfortunately, I forgot my camera when I went over (sigh), so I only have photos of the delicious syrup they gave me. Which we consumed it in a week. (hah!)

We also made chocolate-covered maple cream candies! They were so easy but delicious (and I discovered a new chocolate pair that I adore… Nate didn’t like it especially, but I loved it. Even more than chocolate + bacon…).

Simply melt chocolate chips in the microwave, then dollop a bit into paper candy wrappers. This makes a bottom for the candy (it will appear similar to a Reese’s peanut butter cup later). Then place that in the freezer until the chocolate is stiff while you mold your maple cream into little balls (my friend’s dad had made the maple cream by simply heating maple syrup. I didn’t catch how to do that, but here’s a recipe elsewhere. He apparently did it a little longer than usual to make the consistency thicker and moldable, and placed that in the freezer to stiffen a bit as well). Place the maple cream balls in the cups with the chocolate bottoms and pour more chocolate on top to seal the deal. Place them once more in the freezer for a bit. Enjoy!

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So here’s a quick list of

Things I Learned on This Adventure:

1. It takes 32 gallons of sap to create… (get this)… 1 gallon of syrup.

Is that not crazy? I am surprised people still even do this; it requires so much patience. But then again, I can understand how they fall in love with the process.

2. Maple cream is really just maple syrup (with a tiny bit of butter) boiled more to create the thicker consistency. I thought for sure there was some dairy yum in it… but nope!

3. This year, because of the unusual weather, the maple sugaring season was much more successful and earlier than usual. When tappers would normally begin in February, they started in January (remember when we had those crazy summer days when it should’ve been frigid? Those triggered the sap).

4. I have awesome friends who I need to hang out with much more.

February 20, 2012

Chocolate + Water + A Little Furiousity = An Extraordinarily Scrumptious Dish of Yummy

by Jillian Douglas

The Best and Easiest Chocolate Mousse Recipe Ever

“As a chef, you’re always taught that water is an enemy of chocolate.”

Oh, right.

I knew that.

“This is nonsense. I’m going to show you with this recipe that that doesn’t hold true.”

WHAT?! Ridiculous!

Anyways, maybe you should just watch it for yourselves:

Evening Dream

And being so inspired, I called Boyfriend up and insisted on us partaking this wild culinary adventure of whisking up some mousse. At first we were really confused about the ratio of water to chocolate (what I had found was in the metric system) but then Boyfriend summoned up his magical math skills (scary) and figured out that for 2 3.5 oz. Ghirardelli Intense Dark chocolate bars with 60% cacao, we needed a little more than half a cup of water.

And you know what? It came out beautifully! Because there’s only 2 ingredients and the majority of the mixture is chocolate, the mousse tasted so rich and dark and awesome. Seriously.

So I thought I’d write out the recipe for you. I also (later) found this recipe that could be useful, too.

Simply Mousse

1. Fill a large bowl with a layer of ice and place another smaller bowl on top and set to the side.

2. Break up the chocolate with a knife so it melts faster.

3. Melt the chocolate in the water in a pan on the stove. Don’t take too long, you don’t want to cook it; just heat it up.

4. Quickly pour the chocolate into the bowl over the ice and whisk furiously. It took us pretty much a whole eternity, or maybe 10 minutes, which is a wicked long time to whisk furiously, even if you’re really furious and in to it (rarr!). In fact, it took so long we almost gave up. But then I saw how it looked the slightest bit thicker… so we kept to it… and it kept thickening! By the time it became mousse I was yelling “BABE, IT’S MOUSSE! IT’S MOUSSE!” but he was so furious, I don’t think he noticed and whisked a bit longer and made it a little grainy. Butnevermindthat’sokay. It was still really, really, stuff-your-face-as-fast-as-you-can scrumptious. (Apparently at that point, you could remelt it and whisk again, so say these people).

5. Try it at this point, and if it’s too bitter (60% cocoa is ridiculously dark, even for me. And the original recipe called for 70%!), you are allowed to add some powdered sugar (but only if you’re good).

So anyways, fancy it up a bit if you so desire with some blueberries, raspberries, mint or orange extract, etc. The great thing about this stuff is that it looks pretty fancy all by itself. Look at ‘choo, makin’ your own mousse. Fancy schmancy. Also, it tastes way great if stuck in the freezer to cool down for a while.

Let me know if any of you dare to test your furiousity!

Top image by Cafe Fernando. Bottom image by Ghirardelli Chocolates.

January 26, 2012

Cuppow!

by Jillian Douglas

Check these lil’ babies out!

I found these the other day on Lovely Package, a blog dedicated to “curating the very best packaging design.” The packaging design was pretty stellar (scroll down more), but I just happen to like the product itself- a simple lid that will make any canning jar into a spill-proof mug. You just put replace that metal cap and screw on the rim part.

Isn’t that neat?

To purchase, visit the Cuppow site

Here’s some more coffee wonders:

What can I do with all these used coffee grounds?

It all started with goats.

You’ll never guess which country consumes the most coffee. Okay, the U.S. But I bet you’ll never guess the third-leading coffee-consuming country!

How to make a Pumpkin Spice Latte.

January 15, 2012

Grilled Pears

by Jillian Douglas

I am about to share with you a mighty secret of the Health Nut Gods.

Fruit can be oh-so-sweetly delicious and scrumptious and sweet-tooth satisfying.

What?! Fruit?! You mean those bruised-up apples rolling around in the bottom of every lunch bag I carried to school? You mean those bananas that make everything else in your lunch box banana-y (specifically crackers- blegh!)? You mean those oranges I hate because you have to drench yourself in citrus juice just to get a bite, which inevitably makes all the cuts/dry skin on your hands sting?!

Well, not those. I still despise oranges to a certain degree.

But pears… pears are very nice pieces of fruit. So soft. So tender. So juicy. And so good for you!

I read a recipe for grilled fruit in the Cook This Not That book… so I know it is actually good for you (I can be fooled sometimes…). It’s really quite simple and quick! They used apricots, but I opted for pears after seeing a barrage of recipes on Pinterest.

Grilled Pears

4 servings

2 ripe pears

Greek yogurt

Honey

Almonds/Any kind of nut you prefer

1. Cut the stems off the pears and halve them. Scoop out the seeds with a tablespoon.

2. Lay the pears flat side down on a broiler pan, and broil them for 5 to 15 minutes (totally depends on what your oven’s like- the first time I made these, I used Ashley’s panini grill, and then baked them because I accidentally bought very unripe pears.. hee hee. They still came out great, though!) or until the pears look golden brown and soft and gooey.

3. Dress up with a dollop of Greek yogurt, honey, and almonds!

Enjoy!

I can’t wait to try this out with apricots and other fruit… yay for healthy eating!

P.S. I also want to try this (not so healthy) recipe out… Honeyed Pears wrapped in puff pastry! MMM!

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November 14, 2011

No-Knead Clover Honey Dough

by Jillian Douglas

A couple weeks ago I picked up a book lying on the coffee table that my mom had gotten at the library… and read the whole thing through. Heartland: The Cookbook is filled with glorious recipes and beautifully written glimpses of what life in the west is like, from the various Scandinavian ancestral influences to the history of the All-American Hamburger. Go check it out. It’s wonderful.

Visit the photographer's great food blog here: http://fourfoodiesblog.wordpress.com/

With this cookbook, along with Pioneer Woman’s hilarious blog about living on a ranch and this Hoof and Heel song, I am ready to move out west. I’d love to experience the great prairie in all of its flatness, embrace the earth’s longing for growth, and revel in the abundance of cheese.

Okay, it’s settled. I’m becoming a cowgirl.

But in the meantime I plan on making this wonderful No-Knead Clover Honey Bread over and over again! Judith Fertig‘s recipe is super easy to follow, and the bread is simply delicious, full of sweet honey flavor, and slightly sticky.  The dough can be used for many different types of baked bread, like loaves, dinner rolls, coffee cakes, and sweet cinnamon rolls.

                 

Taken out of Heartland: The Cookbook by Judith Fertig

Makes 24 to 32 servings

NO-KNEAD CLOVER HONEY DOUGH

Ingredients:

6 1/2 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting

2 tablespoons instant or bread machine yeast

1 1/2 tablespoons fine kosher salt

1 cup clover or other amber honey

1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil

2 large eggs

Warm water (about 100°F)

Directions:

1. Spoon the flour into a measuring cup, level with a knife or your finer, then dump the flour into a 16-cup mixing bowl.

2. Add the yeast and salt to the flour. Stir together with a wooden spoon or a Danish dough whisk.

Mix the honey, oil, and eggs together in a 4-cup measuring cup. Add enough warm water to reach the 4-cup mark and stir together. Pour the honey mixture into the flour mixture, stir to combine, then beat for 40 strokes, scraping the bottom and the sides of the bowl, until the dough forms a lumpy, sticky mass.

3. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature (72°F) for 2 hours, or until the dough has risen to about 2 inches below the rim of the bowl and has a spongelike appearance.

4. Use that day or place the dough, covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days before baking. If you like, write the date on the plastic wrap so you know the bake-by date for your dough.

So then the next page has the recipe for making Clover Honey Boules (2 large loaves), which is what I made with half of the batter. It was gone in a record three days.

CLOVER HONEY BOULES

Ingredients:

1 batch No-Knead Clover Honey Dough

Unbleached all-purpose flour, for dusting

Directions:

1. To bake into 2 round loaves, preheat the oven to 350°F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the dough in half on a floured surface. Coax the dough into a round shape and place each round on the prepared baking sheets. Pinch any seams closed, cover with kitchen towels, and let rest at room temperature for 40 minutes.

2. Bake for 40 to 42 minutes, or until the crust is a shiny, medium brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted int he center of the loaf registers at least 190°F. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Enjoy right away with Farmhouse Butter (another recipe in her book), or let cool, wrap, and freeze for up to 3 months. Freeze any leftover or stale bread to use in bread puddings.

Happy baking, my friends! Let me know how it turns out. And do you have any bread recipes I should try out?

November 4, 2011

Everything in Mugs is More Delicious

by Jillian Douglas

I really like mugs. It’s what I trust my beloved coffee with. They’re cozy and when I wrap my little hands around them, tucking my fingers in the nook of the handle, I can’t help but feel like I’m hugging my own little deliciousness-bearer.

So you can imagine that when I saw this on Pinterest, I had to try it. It’s coffee cake! In a mug! It’s beautiful and it’s yummy and it can be yours in less than 10 minutes!

So go get your yummeh on and grab your favorite mug and stuff it with these yummy ingredients, like so:

Lay one lovely tablespoon of butter in the bottom of the mug. Soften it a little in the microwave; just 10-15 seconds. Then stir in 2 tablespoons of sugar until it’s fluffy and resembles a light cloud in an April sky.

Now, in the original recipe at Prudent Baby, Jaime prefers to stir up an egg and pour in only half per mug. I tried it without the egg as she also suggests, and still loved it. So it’s up to you. Whatever floats your boat.

Next, stir in 2 tablespoons of sour cream and a few drops of vanilla (just a few!). Stir in 1/4 cup of flour and 1/8 teaspoon of baking powder.

For the crumbly topping which is absolutelynecessaryyouhavetotryit, in a different bowl, put together 1 tablespoon butter, 2 tablespoons flour, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Aaand smoosh it all together with your fingers until it’s nice and crumbly. Then add it to the other mixture of deliciousness.

Now it’s ready to be nuked. Microwave it for 1 minute, and add 1o seconds until you think it’s done. It’s not going to bake like cake-cake, since it’s in a microwave, but it should be a little crumbly.

Now dig in! hee hee

While we’re on the topic of mugs, check out this beauty from the Gent Supply Co:

Loooove!

October 27, 2011

pumpkin streusel pancakes

by adandelionchild

Considering what a large part of our lives food is, I can’t believe neither Jill nor I have posted yet about it. All that is about to change my friends, because I have a great recipe for you! I found it via two peas & their pod.

Jill and I made these Pumpkin Cinnamon Streusel Pancakes a little while ago and they were….amazing.
If you like pumpkin, these are for you.
If you like pancakes, these are for you.
If you like breakfast, these are for you.
If you still haven’t raised your hand, you should just try these anyways. You won’t be sorry.
These pancakes are moist and hearty and not overly sweet, but kind of spicey in the way that all the best festive fall recipes are.

Here is the recipe from the website of tt&tp:

STREUSEL:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks

BATTER:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup milk
1/2 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 large egg
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

1. First, make the cinnamon streusel. In a medium bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter. Mix together with your hands or a fork, until you have a crumbly mixture. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together flours, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. Set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, egg, pumpkin, canola oil, and vanilla extract. Add wet ingredients to the flour mixture and whisk until combined.

4. Heat a griddle or pan to medium low. Coat with cooking spray. Drop 1/3 cup of batter onto heated skillet. Add 2 tablespoons of the cinnamon streusel. Cook on the first side until bubbles begin to form, about 2-3 minutes. Carefully flip pancake over and cover very generously with cinnamon streusel. Cook for another 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Continue this process to make the rest of the pancakes.

5. Serve pancakes warm with maple syrup and butter.

Jill decided to forgo the syrup on her pancakes, and I should have followed her example. The streusel is perfect and they don’t really need any extra sugar. Unless you’re into that kinda thing. Then, by all means, let Mrs. Butterworth out of the cupboard.

I actually really wish I had some canned pumpkin right now so I could whip up another batch of these lovelies. Enjoy!

*all photos were by the wonderfully talented JJ