Powernap: Quick Recipes For When Time is Limited!
My friend Barbara and I have declared 2014 the year of citrus. It started out as a joke about our mutual obsession with Meyer lemons, but now it has turned into a real thing. My Meyer lemon tree arrived in one piece and is slowly acclimating to a Connecticut spring. I am also still plowing through my last beautiful jar of Meyer lemon marmalade. When that goes I plan to try out the recipe for Grapefruit marmalade she sent me, and make yet another loaf of marmalade cake. So, you see, this is really turning into a bit of thing. In keeping with this trend, last week I made a big batch of limeade bars. They are just like lemon bars, only made with Key lime juice and man are they perfect for spring.
Before we had children we didn’t have a microwave. We didn’t really have a need for one since it was just as easy for me to reheat food in the oven and make popcorn on the stovetop. But then we had kids. And we got a microwave right away! All that milk and food warming…all that late night reheating tea and coffee…there was no end to how much we needed it. I’ll say though, I never really cooked our food in it full-stop. I usually only used it for warming/reheating in a pinch. This all changed a couple of weeks ago when Panasonic reached out and invited me to try their new microwave and use it to cook all of our meals for an entire day. I was unsure at first, but am always up for trying new things, so I gave it a go.
I am not a big fan of jarred mayonnaise, but homemade mayonnaise, or aioli, is the most amazing thing ever. Add garlic and it is even better! Not only does it taste like garlic heaven (as you know, I am a big fan of garlic), it is incredibly versatile. It is terrific on a sandwich, used as a dip, or even tossed with leftover roast chicken to make a mean chicken salad. Lately, I’ve been loving it as a basic dip for vegetables. It is a great way to make our nightly vegetable snack a little more interesting and it is so easy to make.
With spring just around the corner I am starting to think about asparagus. It is usually one of the very first vegetables I buy when our farmer’s market reopens and I can’t get enough of it. One of the very things I plan to make with it is this awesome asparagus soup. My friend, Lauren, made me something similar last fall and I’ve been thinking about it all winter.
Even though I have a fairly solid go-to salad formula, I still need to change it up now and then. The other day I was assembling a slideshow for Babble and came across this amazing looking dish. As I mentioned last week, I love roasted garlic (sorry, Edward Cullen), and practically eat it like candy. What I find so unique about this recipe is how the strong flavors of raspberries, roasted garlic, and cashews mingle together so well. No one item cancels out the rest. It really is a symphony of sweet, crunchy, salt, and nutty which is exactly how I like to compose my salads.
It have been in a weekend breakfast rut this winter. We’ve mostly been eating oatmeal almond pancakes, poached eggs on pesto toast, and enjoying the occasional strata. Don’t get my wrong, it has been wonderful, but over the weekend I wanted to breathe a little new life into this tired repertoire. Last summer I tested a great recipe for baked egg cups for my new book and we loved them. Since I had some herbed tomato salad on hand I want to add them to this already simple recipe to make a new breakfast nibble.
One of things we’ve been a LOT of this winter is baking. Baking is one of those activities that is universally enjoyed by everyone in my house. My daughter and I could spend hours in the kitchen mixing up batters and doughs if given the opportunity. In February we had a lot of fun participating in King Arthur Flour’s Family Fun month by getting in the kitchen and making donuts. It will probably come as no surprise to learn that my daughter is a donut fanatic. Isn’t every kid?!
For Christmas I gave my husband a Moscow mule mug. I collect all things copper for my kitchen and couldn’t wait to add it to our collection. I also know how much he loves trying new cocktails, especially in the deep-dark days of winter. On Sunday night was started the second season of Breaking Bad (yes, we are behind, but it is so much easier to watch in one fell swoop) and mixed our first Moscow mule. I am not one for heavy cocktails on a regular basis but this is one we’ll definitely be breaking out again in the near future.
Every so often I like to bring back a recipe that deserves a little more time in the spotlight. This grilled cheese is an old favorite and I return to it over and over. We all have things that we consider our personal comfort foods and this is one of mine.The other day I made it when my daughter was at school. I had a few leftover onions in the fridge from dinner and was in the mood for a hearty lunch. I let the onions sweat and caramelize slowly over the stovetop while I fed my son lunch. Then I sandwiched them between two pieces of toasted bread and grilled them until the cheese melted.
These days my cooking routine has to fit into two categories: cold-weather cooking and busy school night-friendly. The temperature continues to drop every night which means I want something hot and nourishing on the dinner table. However, my days are spent shuttling my daughter to and from school and running around the house after a little boy on a Y bike. (He loves that thing and can ride like the wind!) So, other than naptime, I don’t have a lot of time to cook. When I saw Aimee’s slow-cooker chicken recipe last month I knew it would be on my recipe list in short order. It is ideal for cold winter days filled with school runs and active toddlers.
I’ll be back full-time on January 6th, but today I am stopping in with a little holiday treat fun. I know Christmas cookie season has past, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up on the sweets entirely. In fact, not at all! New Year’s Eve is around the corner so why not think about a few luscious goodies you can make to share with friends.
These chewy sandwich cookies were a recent baking project of mine. We were invited to go to a friend’s house and I decided to make these using some leftover Gevalia coffee we had in the coffee maker. I had already made the cookies so all I had to do was whip up some soft coffee-flavored buttercream and sandwich it between them.The coffee filling made this otherwise regular chewy chocolate sugar cookies taste like the most insanely good mocha dessert. We loved how the soft coffee filling almost tasted like an afternoon sip of cappuccino!
I hope you all are with me when I say this week is crazy with a capital “C”! Raise your hands if you have so much left to do before Christmas and seemingly no time to do it. (Me! Me!) It has been a great year but between the baby, move, and book, I’ve pretty much lost all of my free time. This Christmas I’ve parred down my baking ambitions in order to keep up with daily life. This means I’ve concentrated on a few cookies and desserts and we’re sticking with a great Christmas dinner menu of tried-and-trues. One of the few new recipes I’ve tried recently are these eggnog oatmeal cookies. They are rich and spicy but still chewy like the classic oatmeal cookie everyone loves.