Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Bun in the Oven: Cinnamon-Peach Buns


Oh wow. It's been over a month again.

I'm back with a painfully obvious, yet cute, yet completely cliched post.

I promise, it's happy.

There are a lot of reasons I haven't been able to keep up with my cooking, baking, writing, my therapy.

I took over a new and challenging position at the paying job, and finding balance hasn't been easy.

I was disenfranchised with food blogging in general and uninspired.

However, there was a larger reason for the lack of noise here over the past five months or so.

I'm happy to tell you all that the husband and are expecting our first child!

Baby Bingham is due December 15th 2012, the best Christmas present for which one could ask.

Now, unlike his/her mother, Little Baby Monkey (as baby is affectionately known, since we are not finding out if it's a boy or girl), hasn't loved food all that much.

I haven't been sick, but my list of food aversions has been quite long. For almost the entirety of this pregnancy, it's been a struggle to eat pretty much anything else other than cake. Fear not, I haven't been living on cake alone.


Therefore, I've been frustrated. This food-loving lady just hasn't been able to cook or bake much. The effort put in, to not enjoy it at the end, well, I couldn't take it.

Thankfully, now in Week 22, food is a ray of sunshine again.

This Saturday morning, I sit with Grateful Dead radio playing, waiting for the dough for these cinnamon-peach buns to rise, thinking about all of the things about eating and food that I cannot wait to teach my little one.


Dear Baby,

I cannot wait to teach you the love and care that goes from farm to table.
I cannot wait to share your first, juicy, June strawberry with you.
I cannot wait until you pick your first tomato out of our backyard garden with your father, who tends to it carefully and lovingly.
I cannot wait to teach you how a July blueberry is heads and tails above a shipped-in blueberry at the grocery store in January.
I cannot wait to take out the box of my grandmother's recipes with your grandmother and cook and bake through the past with you.
I cannot wait to travel with you and introduce you to foods and cuisine all over this amazing food. 
I cannot wait to sit at the kitchen table with you and your daddy on a Sunday night, and share a family dinner, and talk about everything under the sun.
I cannot wait to share with you the love, toil, and reward that goes into the growing and preparing of what we eat, I want you to treasure it as much as I do.

The list goes on and on.

The husband and I are so thrilled to become parents and share this world with our child.

I'm nothing if not honest, it's as terrifying as it is thrilling.

However, I'm standing at the edge of the "long, strange trip" parenting is known to be.

I cannot wait to jump.


Cinnamon-Peach Buns
Yield: 12 large rolls
Adapted only slightly from: Cooks Illustrated

Note - this is not a quick weekend morning affair. It takes two hour-plus rises. The time you put into this recipe will be 100% worth it, I promise. After this, no commercial cinnamon bun or roll will ever seem the same. They're that good. The icing DOES use corn syrup, you could probably omit and add a touch more cream, a touch more sugar. I do not mind using it on occasion. You know me, everything in moderation. Do this with peaches (perfect right now) or blueberries, or apples, whatever, it's all wonderful.

Ingredients:


Dough:
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees or so)
  • 1 envelope instant yeast (make sure it's fresh)
  • 1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) sugar
  • 1 large egg, plus 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 cups (20 ounces) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting work surfaces
Icing
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened, but cool
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
Filling
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon (use the best you have)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 medium-sized peaches, pitted and chopped
Instructions:
  1. Dough: Heat milk and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until combined. Remove from heat, set aside, and allow to cool a moment to 100 degrees.
  2. Using a standing mixer with the paddle attachment and its bowl, combine water, yeast, sugar, egg, and yolks at low speed until mixed. Now add your salt, warm milk mixture, and 2 cups of the flour. Mix at medium speed until blended. This will take about a minute. Now, switch to your dough hook attachment, add the other 2 cups of flour, and knead at medium speed (adding more flour IF necessary) until the dough becomes smooth and clears the sides of the bowl. This takes about 10 minutes. Scrape your dough onto a a floured work surface, shape into a round, and place into a lightly-oiled bowl. Cover said bowl with plastic wrap, and leave in a warm, draft-free spot to rise until it doubles in bulk. This will take 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  3. Icing: While your rise is taking place, tackle the icing. All you have to do is combing all icing ingredients together in the bowl of your stand mixer (or in a large bowl to tackle with a hand mixer) and beat until all the lumps are out and everything is well combined. Transfer to a bowl for storage in the refrigerator until you need it.
  4. Rolling/Filling Dough: After your dough round has doubled in size, transfer it to a lightly-floured work surface. Roll it out to a 16x12-inch rectangle, with the long side facing you. 
  5. Mix together all of your filling ingredients in a bowl, and then cover your dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border all the way around. 
  6. Starting with the edge closest to you, roll your dough, pinching along the way to make sure you're getting a nice-tight roll. At the end, moisten the edge, and seal it. Dust it with a little flour and plump it into a nice cylinder. 
  7. Now, take out some dental floss (you can do this with a knife, but it gets messy), and by wrapping the floss around the center of the roll first, and then "tying" the floss around it, cut the cylinder in half. Cut each piece in half again, and then cut each segment into 3 equal pieces, all using the floss technique.
  8. Place rolls, cut side up, in a lightly greased 13x9 baking dish, cover with plastic wrap, and return it to your warm, draft-free spot to rise again for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. 
  9. Finally, you're ready to bake them after this last rise. I promise it's worth it. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, remove the plastic wrap from the rolls, and place the dish on the middle rack. Bake until golden brown, about 25-to-30 minutes.
  10. Once down, invert them onto a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Once, cooled a bit, turn them upright on a serving dish, slather with icing and serve right away!
Thankfully, I can still see past my apron. Of course, the pugs are very excited too!
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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Deep Thoughts with Canada Day Cake


Wow. I really have let this go a while.

I could say all the normal things. I've been busy. My day job, family, dogs, house, etc, etc have all been too demanding.

While all the above are true, it's not the real reason I haven't been writing.

I'm not motivated to do so, plain and simple.

The real reason I started this a couple of years ago was to share. It wasn't to make money. It wasn't to meet new people. It wasn't to make a name for myself or anything else. It was simply to share good food, good info, and good moments.

I let that get away.

All of a sudden there was that pressure to post "X" number of times a week, to join this "group of the month", to get to this conference, to tweet non-stop, to not fall off the face of blogging earth.

In fact, all of those things probably have been keeping me away.

Believe me, I'm not saying any of the above is bad, it's just not working for me.

My passion for local food is still extremely strong. However, I'm cooking less extravagant things these days, keeping it simple, hardly worth a post from me to tell you to cook up those greens with some olive oil, garlic, and salt.

My passion for keeping my local habits is high, tempered with the moderation I always approach it with. Yes, there's frozen pizza in my freezer. Yes, often we cook that frozen pizza, and pair it with a side of local greens. There's a balance here for everyone, keep finding yours.

Don't be dissuaded by blogs, writers, critics, who turn their nose up at anything that's not local, organic, etc, etc, etc. It's not always possible to cook everything from scratch, avoid a drive-through. There will be bloggers who respond and say, "Sure it is". Hats off to them, it's not the life that most people lead or are able to lead. Many of us food types are blessed to live in areas where farm-fresh food is readily available. Others live in parts of the country where Wal-Mart (sadly) is their only choice in a location they can afford to get to.

In other words, do what you can. It's never all-or-nothing. Movements very rarely take hold if they are. Tackle little bits at a time - local berries first, then maybe greens, and work your way up to meats and grains. Slowly, your habits overall will change entirely.

I guess that last tangent was simply because of the "all-or-nothing" approach I see written about out there quite a bit turns me off. It's another reason I stopped writing quite a bit. The judgement level in the food world is high. Give people props for cooking, in general, instead of chiding them for using a mix. If someone wants to post more about cupcakes, who CARES if they're "out of vogue". Hell, cupcakes are tasty, it doesn't mater if they're "in-style".

This all leads me to our Canada Day cookout and the cake I made. I'm not a huge fan of holiday-themed post, and in this case, the holiday has even passed us by. However, this would be great for the 4th of July, or any other time you need a great summery cake. There are versions of this cake ALL OVER the internet that call for store-bought sponge/pound cake, strawberry gelatin mix, and Cool Whip. I thought about taking the easy route for a moment, and couldn't do it. I couldn't use all the artificial ingredients involved. A few years ago, I wouldn't have thought twice. However, baby steps got me to this point, and further. I'm glad I took the "from-scratch" route. It was totally worth it.


Canada Day Cake
Serves: 18
Source: Canadian Living


Honestly, this isn't just for Canada Day, this can be for any summer afternoon. It's not difficult (especially if you have a stand mixer on hand) and it's completely worth the time involved. I think next time I may add some liquor to the sponge cake, I think that might be divine!

Ingredients:

Sponge Cake:
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 1 pinch cream of tartar
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon grated orange rind (or zest, either works)
  • 1/3 cup orange juice

Filling/Decoration:
  • 8 cups strawberries 
  • 3 cups whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions:

Sponge Cake:
  1. Take your flour and salt, and sift them together. Return them to the sifter and put it aside. 
  2. In a large bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer (highly recommended), beat egg whites until foamy, sprinkle with your cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form.
  3. Bit by bit - add half of your sugar, beating until stiff glossy peaks form.
  4. In another bowl, beat egg yolks and the other half of the sugar until the mixture thickens. 
  5. Stir in the orange rind and juice into the yolk mixture. 
  6. Take the yolk mixture and gently fold into egg whites.
  7. Sift your flour mix, a third at a time, over the egg mixture, gently folding until well combined. 
  8. Transfer the batter to an ungreased 13x9 cake pan (I liked mine with parchment to make it easier) and bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-to-25 minutes or until spongy to a light touch. 
  9. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  10. If you have the time, wrap and store in fridge for 1 day, or you can use right after it has cooled. It can also be frozen for up to 2 months.

Filling/Decoration:
  1. Hull and then slice all of the strawberries.
  2. In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, whip your cream, stir in icing sugar and vanilla.
  3. Use a large serrated knife, cut your cake horizontally making two layers. 
  4. Place one layer, cut side up, on a serving tray, and spread about 1/3 of the whipped cream on top.
  5. Spread a single layer of strawberries on top of the whipped cream. 
  6. Place the top layer or your cake, cut side down, over the berries.
  7. Spread remaining cream over top and sides.
  8. To decorate, spread strawberries in a thick band on either side, and create a maple leaf in the middle with the rest, or simply cover the top in strawberries in whatever kind of decoration you like!




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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Nanaimo Bars and "Are Food Bloggers Faking it?"


There's an interesting discussion underway in the food blogging community today. Are food bloggers "faking it"? Is the surge of hundreds of thousands, actually more likely millions, of food blogs out there "dumbing down" the culinary industry?

You're reading this blog, and probably several others, so I'm going to guess you probably don't agree with either sentiment.

However, a food journalist put forth an opinion piece, "Faking It", on the IACP web site this week, that puts those ideas out there.

The premise is basically this: Major companies in the food industry are paying food bloggers to create recipes with their products, however, there are some food bloggers that do not test the recipes over and over, so therefore, the recipe/creation they put out to the world is an inferior product.

The writer also refers to many food bloggers as "hobbyists" or "stay-at-home-moms" with too much time on their hands.

Umm, do any of you actually know a stay-at-home-parent (because honestly people, there are stay-at-home-dads too, so get over your sexist stereotypes) that actually has "too much time on their hands"?

Also, isn't cooking about experimentation? It's about messing around with a recipe until it's where you want it to be? Does it have to be tested seven which ways to make it "publish-worthy" on the internet?

I don't think so.

Without food bloggers, you wouldn't have that perfect yellow cake recipe that came from someone's grandmother, instead of the dry, complex one that may have come out of the pages and test kitchens of some high-gloss food publications.

Food is NOT reserved for hoity-toity publications, that's where the culinary industry has gone wrong.

There is a place for high cuisine. I truly believe it's an art form and it's beautiful, and it should be left to the people who know how to make it happen with grace and style.

Most of the food bloggers I know or read, aren't aspiring to high-gloss covers, or high-cuisine. They're focusing on bringing good food back to the tables of whatever country they may be in. They're sharing time-tested family recipes, creations that worked in their kitchens, and information that has made cooking accessible again in their households.

Food blogging is not "dumbing down" the culinary industry. Instead, this movement is making cooking "real", "down-to-earth", and bringing people back into the fold of things like from-scratch baking, canning, and preserving.

You all know, I don't write this blog for money. I do get compensated from time to time for certain posts. This isn't my career, it's a love I have for food and sharing it with others. In the end, that's how almost all food blogs begin, with a love for cooking or baking.

Let's all celebrate that cooking and baking is making a comeback among the masses again, instead of tearing down the people that are working so hard to get it there.

Discuss amongst yourselves, while I offer up some nanaimo bars while you chat. Yes, they've been all over the internet already. No, they're not my own creation, but a mish-mash of other people's creations.

Honestly, I never even knew what they were until I first visited the man who would become my husband in Vancouver. His family had made them for years, and it was love at first bite. I now make them whenever possible. Enjoy.


Nanaimo Bars
Sources: City of Nanaimo and the Laura Secord Canadian Cookbook

Note - traditionally you add a 1/2 cup of chopped almonds or nuts to the bottom layer, I do not, feel free to add, however.

Ingredients:

Bottom Layer:
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 5 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (about one sleeve of full graham crackers)
  • 1 cup shredded coconut

Second Layer:
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons milk or cream (whatever you have is fine)
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla custard or pudding powder (custard is traditional, but can be hard to find)
  • 2 cups icing sugar

Third layer:
  • 4 (1-oz) squares semi sweet chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Instructions:

Take an 8x8 square baking pan, line with parchment (or wax) paper, leaving plenty of overhang so you can lift the bars out of the pan later.

Bottom Layer:
Melt 1/2 cup butter, sugar, and cocoa in a double boiler.
Add egg and stir until mixture thickens (also making sure the egg doesn't cook either), then add vanilla extract.
Remove from heat and fold in crumbs, coconut (and nuts if using, see header above).
Press into your lined baking pan and place in fridge to cool while you make the second layer.

Second Layer:
Using a stand mixer or a hand mixer, cream together 1/2 cup of butter, your milk, pudding powder, and icing sugar until light and fluffy.
Spread over the bottom layer of the bars and place back in the fridge.

Third Layer:
Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler until melted together.
Allow to cool a touch, but when it's still liquid, pour over other layers, and then place in the fridge to chill until the top layer is hardened.

Lift parchment out of baking pan, and cut into small squares and enjoy!



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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Market Day


 The simple things make me happy. I woke up this Sunday morning, groggy, sleepy, ready to throw the covers back over my head and sleep half the day away.

I'm so happy I didn't.

Today was the opening day of the summer portion of the Newburyport Farmers' Market. It's my home market. It's the market that reminds me that when I get lazy, fall off the "local" wagon for a bit, I suffer. My creativity suffers, my heart suffers, my support for the people in the community I live in, it suffers.

That may sound extreme, I'm serious here.

I don't have to tell any of you that life is busy. I help run a busy and large newsroom in a major U.S. city. I'm familiar with crazy busy. It's what is usually going on when I'm silent on this blog. It's my passion, my career, it can also be all-consuming.

Market and farm days are what slow me down, remind me to breathe. I'm lucky, the Newburyport Farmers' Market runs all year round, however it's just every other week in the winter. Frankly, at some point, winter greens and root vegetables make you want to scream. The opening of the summer market this weekend reminds me that tantalizing offerings such as asparagus, corn, and *gasp* tomatoes are on their way. The berries will soon fill the tables, it's truly the best time of of year.


So, I believe it's the right time to begin again. This blog started its rebirth from Sundays, and a simple list of what I picked up in my travels, and what I plan to do with it. It's time to begin that again to give everyone out there ideas of how to work local food into your weekly schedules. Remember that when you plan meals more locally, it's best to shop first, and meal plan afterwards. This way, you can see what looks best, and is affordable and in-season at market, instead of filling your bag with pricey substitutes.


What I picked up Sunday, May 6th:

Potatoes, spinach from Heron Pond Farm (NH) - $7
Olive Bread from When Pigs Fly - $6
Chai (my favorite) from White Heron Tea (NH) $3

I then popped over to Tendercrop Farm in Newbury, Ma for more ($20):

Romaine Lettuce (their own)
Steak tips (their own)
English Muffins (baked on site)
Eggs (their own)

I'm lucky to also have on hand from Shady Oaks Organics an amazing variety of mushrooms from oyster varietals to shitakes.

Meal Plans:
As a disclaimer and reminder, I also will head to the traditional grocery store this week as well for ingredients not listed above.

Sunday: Grilled steak tips with sauteed mushrooms, mashed potatoes, and grilled romaine (with the Olive Bread as a side)
Monday: Spinach Quiche
Tuesday: Spaghetti and homemade fresh tomato sauce (from the freezer stash) with mushrooms tossed in.

That's about as far as I've gotten. Since there's just the two of us, the end of the week usually ends up being a mish-mash of leftovers and quick meals. I'll most likely pick up chicken from Tendercrop Farm mid-week, and some pizza-making supplies for another meal. Pin It

Monday, April 16, 2012

Shady Oaks Mushroom Risotto


Nothing makes this blogger happier than good local people seeing good things happen with their amazing local businesses.

Enter Shady Oaks Organics of Newburyport.

You may have seen their name in several restaurants from Newburyport, to Portsmouth, to Boston. Chefs locally are picking up on their fresh, beautiful products and serving them up for you. Here in Newburyport, both Enzo and Ceia both use Shady Oaks mushrooms in their dishes and proudly display them on their menus. By the way, if you haven't tried either of those restaurants, get up, and go, I'm serious.


However, we're talking mushrooms today. This writer will admit she has never had a love affair with fungi. She also has never tried mushrooms as wonderful as these.


From golden oyster, to grey dove, to shitake - Shady Oaks cultivates several varieties from organic straw in their Newburyport greenhouse. These are perfect specimens, as beautiful to behold as they are to eat. The company was started by a pair of locals, Nate Seyler and Devin Stehlin, who realized the market for such a product in New England was lacking, and they could fill the void. They run the business along with Leif Johnson, traveling to farmers' markets throughout the region, and making deliveries to various local restaurants, and stores. You can find them at the Newburyport Farmers' Market, if you're in the area.

The trio just received kudos and first place at the 2012 North of Boston Business Plan Competition at the Enterprise Center at Salem State University. They're looking to expand, and bring more of local-loving folks like myself more amazing mushroom selection.

To be fair, I have to admit that Seyler is friend of myself and the husband, but the dedication that he, and his other partners bring to the local food table is nothing short of extraordinary. They have a commitment to this city and this region that gets them a gold star in my book.


The husband and I picked up several varieties of their mushrooms at the Newburyport Farmers Market last weekend. The husband would just eat them straight, I like them with a little finesse. I've never made a mushroom risotto, so I went researching for a simple, straight forward recipe that would allow the mushrooms to shine. There are many out there, and too many have ingredients such as pancetta or bacon that I felt would compete with these superior fungi. Simply Recipes came to my rescue with the simple, yet wonderfully flavorful version you will find below.

You need to know more about Shady Oaks Organics, by the way. Their story and process is fascinating. Start with this recent article in the Newburyport Daily News, try their website, and don't forget to give them a "like" over on Facebook.

Support local people doing great things, your community is stronger for it.


Shady Oaks Mushroom Risotto
Adapted from: Simply Recipes
Serves: 4-6

Ingredients: 
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed, cut into half-inch pieces (I used golden oyster and grey dove varieties, you want flavorful kinds, not your standard supermarket fare)
  • 2/3 cup vermouth
  • 5-6 cups of chicken stock (low-sodium is best)
  • 1/3 cup of peeled, minced, shallots
  • 1 3/4 cup arborio rice
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Instructions:
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring your stock JUST to a simmer. You don't want it boil.
  2. Take a dutch oven, and melt the 3 tablespoons butter over medium high heat.
  3. Add your mushrooms and shallots and cook for about 5 minutes, 
  4. Now, add in your rice, allow to toast for a minute or two or until the rice becomes translucent.
  5. At this point, dump in your vermouth, bring the mixture to a boil and reduce the liquid by half. This should take about 3-4 minutes. 
  6. Now you're ready to get that risotto nice and creamy - reduce the heat to medium, then add the stock to the rice mixture a half cup at a time. All along the way, you're going to continuously stir the rice, that's what makes it creamy. You want to wait until the stock is nearly completely absorbed before adding your next batch. Continue doing this until the rice is cooked, but slightly al dente. All together this takes about 25-30 minutes.
  7. Once you've achieved the desired consistency, stir in your parmesan cheese, the last tablespoon of butter, and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve garnished with the chives.
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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Whole Wheat Jam Muffins


It's Sunday. Sunday is a day for strolls, and muffins.

I admit that after last weekends 5-mile jaunt, I was ready for it again. However, Mother Nature was not quite ready for me. After a week of 70+ degree temperatures in New England, March became March. It's cold, rainy, and barely hitting 50 degrees today. Therefore my "Sunday Stroll" this week included a walk to and from my mom's car, to Ten Center Street, in Newburyport, Ma., and what you see below.


I love a Bloody Mary on a Sunday.


On cold, early spring days like this one, you need a hug. A warm, hearty, toast-your-belly, type of fare that delivers on the comfort you're craving. These muffins are just that. They're substantial with the sweet surprise of jam in the middle.


This particular Sunday, they're filled with Strawberry Jam. I made it early last summer. It was my first real foray into canning. I'm telling you, on a raw March day, the taste of a June strawberry is absolutely divine. It tides me over until I'm back out strawberry picking again.


Whole Wheat Jam Muffins
Makes: 12 muffins

You can fill them with whatever kind of jam you have on hand. The whole wheat gives them a nutty flavor, which by all means, if it's not your thing, feel free to use regular old all-purpose.

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (I weigh, it's 8.5 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup canola oil (I've also used olive oil in a pinch)
  • 1/8 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 4 oz. jar of strawberry jam
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
Instructions: 
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. In one bowl combine whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Whisk to combine. 
  3. In another bowl, lightly beat the two eggs, and add canola oil, honey, buttermilk and milk and whisk to combine. 
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until the mixture resembles a thicker batter.
  5. Grease a muffin pan (normal sized) and fill each tin up a little less than halfway.
  6. Grab your jam and put a dollop of it on the batter in each tin.
  7. Divide the rest of the batter between the 12 tins, covering the jam. 
  8. Pop into your preheated oven for 10 minutes. 
  9. While they're in the oven, combine sugar and brown sugar in a little bowl and whisk to combine. After 10 minutes of baking, sprinkle the muffins with the sugar mixture.
  10. Bake for another 5 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each comes out clean.
  11. Take out of the oven, allow to cool in the pan on wire rack for 5-10 minutes.
  12. After that time, pop out of the pan and serve warm with butter and extra jam.
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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Potato Leek Quiche


They're the signs that Spring is here. Beautiful greens, the arugula, the leeks, the spinach, popping up at markets all over. They join the pinks and reds of those lovely spring radishes, which are perfect when cooked up in a copious amount of butter or to even add a peppery crunch to your salad.

Just when you thought you couldn't eat, or even look at another root vegetable, or open a mason jar full of last year's bounty, they appear.

The greens of spring let you know there's hope on the way.


I shouldn't complain. Our winter here in New England was mild in comparison to years past. This week, we've seen 70 degrees several time, in mid-March. I do get fairly excited, however, when I start seeing the early spring offerings pop up at the Newburyport Farmers' Market.


I picked up early spring leeks from Arrowhead Farm (Newburyport, MA) and several varieties of potatoes from Heron Pond Farm (South Hampton, NH). I love Heron Pond's potatoes. They come in a rainbow of colors, from blue, to gold, to red. They go well in quiche.

Simple. That's the point of quiche, right? Look in your refrigerator and if you have eggs, some vegetables, and some dairy, you're good to go. This is an easy, weeknight quiche. It doesn't call for egg separation, no heavy cream, or anything you might not have on hand. It deals with milk, eggs, and cheese. If you're feeling really healthy, ditch the crust. I won't lie, I had some store-bought pie crust in the fridge, and for a quick meal, I never hesitate to grab them. They make dinner, simple.


Potato Leek Quiche
Serves: 8

I've called for 1/2 a bunch of leeks. I used early spring ones, and I found using the entire bunch was too much, it will depends on the size of your bunch. Add them slowly to your egg mixture so that you can find the right amount for you.

Ingredients:
  • 3 small potatoes (any variety will do), scrubbed clean (peel if you'd like, I didn't.)
  • 1 9-inch pie crust (homemade, store-bought, whatever)
  • 1 cup low fat milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup shredded Gruyere cheese (or cheddar, or Swiss, brie would be nice too)
  • 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • dash of ground black pepper 
  • 1/2 bunch leeks, sliced into 1-inch pieces.
Instructions:
  1. Place your potatoes into a pot of some variety and cover with cool water until there's about an inch covering them. Place on stovetop, bring to a boil, and cook until the potatoes are fork-tender (about 15-20 minutes).
  2. Once their fork-tender, drain, and allow to cool enough so you can handle them, slice, and set aside.
  3. Now, preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
  4. Grease up a 9-inch pie pan. Roll out your pie dough to about 10-inches and place in your pie dish, folding the excess over, and crimping to your liking. (I'm awful at this.) Prick the side and bottom with a fork.
  5. Now, place a sheet of parchment paper over your dough, and place several pie weights (or as I do, dried beans), over the parchment in the dish. This will allow your crust to keep its shape in the oven.
  6. Bake the crust for 10-12 minutes or until golden. Take out of the oven and allow to cool on a baking rack, set aside.
  7. While your crust is baking, make the filling: combine milk, egg, cheese, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl and beat lightly to combine. 
  8. Finally, add in your leeks, the amount should be to your liking. 
  9. Now, take your pie crust (make sure weights or beans or all out), place your potato slices on the bottom, just enough to cover, and then pour the egg-leek mixture over the potatoes. 
  10. Bake 35-45 minutes. The top will become golden, and 35 minutes will give you a more custardy filling. I baked to about 45, because the husband likes a firmer quiche. It's up to you. 
  11. Slice, and serve alongside a small salad of greens.

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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sunday Stroll: The Winter Market


Oh, give us pleasure in the orchid white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.
-"A Prayer in Spring", Robert Frost

Far too often, we move far too fast.

Our lives are a blur of appointments, events, deadlines, to-do's; a constant trail of the things we have to do, versus the things we want to do.

Introducing, "The Sunday Stroll".

I run during the week for exercise, I walk as well, but only to get my heart rate up and my mind clear. Those sessions have goals of endurance, time, the focus on the movement, not on the scenery.

So, upon being gifted by mid-March burst of beautiful spring temperatures, I elected that instead of driving about to the market, to the store, I'd simply walk it. I'd walk slowly and deliberately. I'd breathe in the sun-warmed air, and look at the flowers along the way. I'd notice homes I've never noticed before.

I'd take my time.

About a half-hour or so into what turned out to be two-plus hours meandering, I realized, I'd like to do something like this every Sunday, and share it; a reminder that slowing down, while not always possible, is always necessary.

The crocuses above was one the first things that caught my eye. I live in a city called, Newburyport. It's a small, seaside city right near the border of Massachusetts and New Hampshire. It was settled in 1635, given its official name in 1764. It's the birthplace of the U.S. Coast Guard, and it filled with the kind of New England stately homes that people travel far and wide to see. Those blossoms above grace the park near my home. Atkinson Common had it's start in the late 1800's, and it's a quiet, beautiful spot for all to enjoy.


 I continued my wandering down Newburyport's historic "High Street". Here is where the sea captain's mansions reside. Beautiful homes ranging from the early 1500's (yes, before official settlement) to now. Along the way, a historical marker pointing the way to the site of the first ferry landing that took people from one side of the Merrimack River to the other. 


 My destination, the Newburyport Winter Farmers' Market, just under 2.5 miles away from my home, on the other side of the city. Green was the theme this week, as the warmer weather has given way to a host of spring greens, from chives, to green onions, to the leeks that I brought home from Arrowhead Farm, in Newburyport. I picked up some potatoes, from red, to blue, to gold, from Heron Pond Farm, in South Hampton, Ma. The world's best guacamole comes from Patty's Guacamole, out of Gloucester, Ma. I always pick up a container. No trip to market would be complete without a chai from White Heron Tea and an amazing breakfast wrap made with all local ingredients. They're out of Rollingsford, NH. I *love* seeing the market packed on a Sunday morning.


Armed with my wrap, my chai, and my much saner mind at this point, I head to the waterfront of Newburyport. A boardwalk stretches along the blue water of the Merrimack River, reaching out into the Atlantic Ocean, less than a mile from this point. I enjoy my breakfast, the quiet, and the sun, before my stroll back home.


Two glorious hours, five miles later, I reach home. Relaxed, content, a little more aware of where I live, ready to start the last gasps of the weekend.

Happy Sunday to you and yours....
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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Amaretto Cheesecake for #Baketogether



I've often been accused of being an "old soul". I shouldn't even say "accused", I suppose, because I embrace the title.

I enjoy things from simpler times. From music, to art, to lifestyle, I enjoy simply and "tried and true". I'm a traditionalist, too often steeped in a sense of nostalgia.

Of course, this trait comes out quite often in cooking or baking.

I'm drawn to old recipes. Simple ones. Thus, there is nothing more treasured in my recipe library than the recipes handed down from my Nana Virzi. She passed away a year or so after my wedding, but she lives on in these recipes.


There's a back story here, and a box of hundreds of recipes, but that story, it's not for today. Today, I would like to talk of cheesecake.

A couple of years back, I asked my Aunt Claudette to send me what she had of my grandmother's recipes. In the mail, I received photocopies. Recipes, written in my Nana's handwriting, and the letter that originally accompanied my aunt's request for the knowledge.

They're beautiful. I treasure them. Among the ones sent, was a recipe for Amaretto Cheesecake.


Thus, when I saw that this month's Bake Together (brought to us by the lovely Abby Dodge) was cheesecake, I knew I had to finally make this recipe. It's simple, unfussy, and I can envision my Nana serving it at a dinner party. It's a little taste of a time gone by.


Amaretto Cheesecake
Serves: 8-12
Inspired by: Abby Dodge's Vanilla Cheesecake and my Nana

Ricotta is added in this cheesecake, making it closer to ricotta pie than tradition cheesecake. It's wonderful, and don't forget to add a little more Amaretto if you like. I did.

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups coarse graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 stick of butter, melted
  • 1 15oz. container of ricotta cheese
  • 1 8oz. pkg of cream cheese, softended
  • 4 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup Amaretto
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspon salt.

Instructions:
  1. Grease a 9-inch springform pan and set aside. 
  2. Combine crumbs and butter, press into the bottom and sides of the springform pan. 
  3. Chill crust for at least an hour.
  4. While crust is chilling, preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  5. Now, beat together ricotta and cream cheese until smooth. 
  6. Add in remaining ingredients, beat until smooth again.
  7. Pour into the crust/pan. 
  8. Bake 60 minutes or until full in middle.
  9. Cool 20-30 minutes in pan, then remove to cool on a wire rack. 
  10. Cool completely (I like putting it the fridge) before serving.
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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Overnight Caramel French Toast


Moderation with caramel, and sugar, and thick-sliced bread.

Sounds like a joke, right? I'm not kidding.

This is Caramel Overnight French Toast, and no, it's not my own recipe, I confess, but I want to share it with you because I constantly get asked for it. Truly, that's how this entire blog thing started. People would ask for a recipe and I'd post it here, so it was easier. I had no theme, no commitment to it, it was just a way to share my love for food with others.

I think that gets forgotten in the food blog way too often.

In the middle of deadlines, sponsorships, conferences, giveaways, and popularity, we forget that food blogs simply popped up to share a love of food. I think we'd all be better writers, developers, and people, if we remembered that the passion for food and sharing it, should be our first priority. Then again, I can say this because I have a day job that pays the bills.

Back to moderation, however. You know that's my "theme". The "lighter" part of the title of this blog has more to do with the "lighter" side of eating local. "Lighter", as in, a not so serious side of trying to live a more local and regional lifestyle. Yes, it wasn't thought out. Yes, I probably should change the name of this blog since most think it's about healthy eating. Most of my recipes are fairly healthy, but I'm a firm believer in moderation of all things, including those full of fat and sugar.

Including Caramel French Toast.


This is a Cooking Light recipe I stumbled upon a few years back. Ever since, it's become a choice for me to bring to holiday brunches, sleepovers, and when there's a special Sunday morning. It only comes out once or twice a year. The main reason is that it's super sweet. In moderation, that's perfect. The other reason, it does use corn syrup.

Before you skewer me for that, I'm here to tell you it's OK. I live and cook with mostly local products, and whole foods. I'm a true believer that if you can't pronounce it, you shouldn't eat it... regularly.

However, in moderation, it's OK. I use corn syrup, maybe, three times a year in a recipe. It has properties that lend itself to easy caramelization. If you really hate it, you can sub maple syrup here, but you won't get caramel.

Here's my deal and my confession. Every once in a while I'll eat something crazy processed. And yes, even though I know it's probably one molecule off from plastic, I'll have a fast food shake every once in a while, because I can. Frankly, where we veered off the path with processed foods is when they stopped becoming "treats". That once in a while thing you got when you were good at the dentist or something. However, when a trip through the drive-through became a several-times-a-week thing, we took a wrong turn.

You can live a life enjoying mostly whole and local foods, the best of what life and nutrition has to offer, but you can also allow yourself certain things, use "forbidden" ingredients, every once in while. It won't kill you. It won't upset your balance, as long as it doesn't become habit.

Heck, if you don't like these things, then don't eat them. Don't feel like you can't pick up something that's on the "bad" list, however. There's no good or bad, if you place limits and practice moderation. In other worse, don't beat yourself up. Life is too short to not enjoy guilty pleasures, that truly, aren't really guilty in the first place.

Until then, enjoy french toast, soaked in caramel.


Overnight Carmel French Toast
Source: Cooking Light
Serves: 8

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup light-colored corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • Cooking Spray
  • 10 slices french (soft) bread (I like to use Texas Toast here)
  • 2 1/2 cups low-fat milk
  • 1 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Instructions:
  1. Combine light-brown sugar, corn syrup, and butter in a saucepan. Cook these over medium heat until mixture bubbles. Stir is constantly. 
  2. Coast a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray, pour caramel mixture into bottom of dish.
  3. Put you bread slices in a single layer over the caramel mixture.
  4. Combine milk, flour, vanilla, salt, and eggs in a large bowl, whisk to combine. 
  5. Pour milk mixture over bread, evenly.
  6. Cover and refrigerate the dish, overnight, or for at least 6 hours. 
  7. In the morning, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
  8. Mix together your sugar and ground cinnamon, and sprinkle over bread. 
  9. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until golden. Let stand for 5 minutes and serve.

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Turnip Mochi Pancakes with Starfruit & Millet Risotto with Adzuki Beans


Sometimes it's a good idea to go beyond your comfort circle. Outside of my comfort circle is pretty much any type of Asian cuisine. I love it when someone else makes it, but when I attempt, it's usually a disaster. 

So when the fine people over at Marx Foods asked me to take part in their "East Meets Delicious" challenge, I was a little concerns, but I forged forward. I'm happy i did.

For the challenge, lucky bloggers were given a box of treats to work with. I received some amazing things Dried Maitake Mushrooms, Mochi Rice, Dried Star Fruit, Organic Millet, Adzuki Beans, and Hijiki. The mission? Use four of the ingredients provided to create an original appetizer and main course recipe. 

Of course, I wanted to put a local spin on this challenge, using in-season ingredients. I picked up turnips and asian greens from Heron Pond Farm in South Hampton, NH from the Newburyport Farmers' Market, and I went to town. 

I have to say, it was a challenge.  Mochi is tough to work with when you make it into a paste. It's insanely sticky, hard to clean-up, but extremely tasty as well. I made into a seasonal appetizer, that ended up being quite difficult to stop eating. The millet risotto is a great whole grain alternative to regular risotto, and as i found, it's quite awesome to make into cakes and fry up the following day. 


Turnip Mochi Pancakes with Spicy Starfruit Topping 
Makes: 12-15 pancakes

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups mochi rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 large turnips (or 3 medium, or 1 bunch small hakurei turnips)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock (or water)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
Directions:
  1. Rinse and drain mochi rice three times, letting it drain for at least 30 minutes the last time. 
  2. Put cleaned rice and water into a rice cooker and cook until done.
  3. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook and knead 30-40 minutes on medium speed until smooth. Place a towel over the bowl to keep the rice warm while it kneads.
  4. While the dough is kneading, prepare the turnips. 
  5. Cut off the top and tail of the turnips, slice into 1/4 inch slices. 
  6. Melt butter in a non-stick 12-inch skillet (choose one with a lid) and layer turnip slices in pan. Sprinkle the turnips with thyme, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. 
  7. Cook in butter over medium heat for 3 minutes.
  8. Cover turnips with the heavy cream and chicken stock, put lid on and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes. 
  9. After 20 minutes, the turnips will be softened, transfer them to a food processor and process until slightly smooth with chunks of turnip.
  10. Dust a clean work surface with LOTS of corn starch. Dust your hands as well. Transfer dough to work surface.
  11. Form dough into little balls, once done, flatted each a touch and place just a touch less than a teaspoon of turnip mixture to each ball, re-roll ball so filling is covered.
  12. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. 
  13. Once warm, work in batches, and pan-fry each ball (it will spread into a pancake), it will release on each side once done. 
  14. Transfer to a plate and serve with Spicy Starfruit Sauce (recipe below)
Spicy Starfruit Topping

Ingredients:
  • 8-10 dried starfruit
  • rum
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha sauce
Directions:
  1. Soak starfruit in rum over night.
  2. Drain, and chop starfruit into little pieces.
  3. Combine starfruit, sugar, and water in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the fruit begins to break down and it reaches the consistency you desire.
  4. Add sriracha and stir, cooking for 2-3 minutes until it's worked in.
  5. Serve with mochi pancakes.


Millet Risotto with Adzuki Beans and Greens
Serves: 6

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 a red onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce, low-sodium
  • 1 cup millet
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan (or guyeyre, something with a nutty flavor)
  • 1 cup adzuki beans (cooked)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 bunch asian greens
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce

Directions:
  1. In a small saucepan, heat water and broth together until warm (not hot).
  2. Heat olive oil in a dutch oven, once heated, add your chopped onion and cook until tender.
  3. Add garlic and cook until fragrant (30 seconds or so)
  4. Stir in your soy sauce and cook for another minute.
  5. Now, add your millet, allowing the seeds to toast up 2-3 minutes. 
  6. Now, add the broth/water mixture a 1/2 cup at a time until the mixture thickens and the millet is tender. 
  7. At this point, stir in your cheese and the beans and keep warm. 
  8. Next, heat other teaspoon of olive oil, once warm, add greens and soy sauce to the pan and cook until just warm. 
  9. Top the risotto with the greens and serve.


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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Cheddar Peasant Boule


 I heard it again this weekend. It was at a gathering of amazing, creative, talented, and fearless women. In this case, however, there was a touch of fear. You could see it in their eyes, the way their voices cracked with a sudden lack of confidence.

The topic was baking with yeast.

You'll hear it all of the time in cooking circles, "Oh, you know, I just can't make anything with yeast in it, it never turns out". I know, I used to be one of those cooks.

Now, I can't get enough. Are my baked goods perfect? Not at all. Do they taste fantastic? Why yes, they do. Oh, and apparently Gordie the Pug loves it as well.


Truth be told, my first loaf of bread came only last year during #Charcutepalooza. I wanted a pumpernickel or rye to go alongside my Cider-Braised Corned Beef. So, I took a deep breath, read the instructions, and low and behold, later that day, I had amazing bread. I was emboldened by such a move, so then I tackled Italian Bread. That recipe has become my go-to for a nice side to any pasta dish, the key is the olive oil, I swear it.


Now, I'll be honest here. Do I make my own bread every week? No. Should I? Yes. This could be that bread. It's simple, with little work or clean-up involved. This could be that perfect bread. It's easily adaptable to whatever you want. It's brought to us by the talented Abby Dodge and a little group we call #baketogether (yes, people, the hashtag is connected to Twitter, and yes, you should try it out, my feed is full of amazing food and people).


"Bake Together" is a group of bloggers, cooks, people, that simply love the art of the baked good. Abby puts a recipe out there every month, and we all re-create it and post our creations. Anyone can join, and after Charcutepalooza, I needed some group baking or cooking love. This is perfect, and frankly, even more up my alley than the meat adventures. Confession here, I actually eat little meat, maybe once or twice a week.

You can throw this bread together in a few hours on a weekend, or in a morning. I'm in love with it, so please go and make it. Oh, and I promise you'll fall in love once you start baking bread. The smell of your kitchen will be irresistible, and you'll come back to it all, again and again.


Cheddar Peasant Boule
(printable recipe)
Yield: 8-10 slices
Source: Abby Dodge

I have added the cheddar to the recipe, but feel free to omit, or add whatever you what. That's what's great about this recipe, it's so adaptable!

Ingredients:
  • 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour (15 ounces)
  • 1 packet instant yeast (1/4 ounce)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
  • 1 1/3 cups warm water (125 degrees)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I used Cabot's 50% reduced cheddar this time around)
Instructions:
  1. In the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk together flour, yeast, sugar, baking powder and salt. 
  2. Connect bowl to mixer fitted with a dough hook, and take your water (making sure it's 120-125 degrees) and slowly add to the dry mixture with your mixer set at medium-low speed. 
  3. Once the water is well-incorporated, push speed up to medium, and allow the machine to knead the dough until it is smooth, pulls away from the sides and the bottom. According to Abby, this takes about 6 minutes or so.
  4. Now, take your melted butter and grease up a mixing bowl. Gather the kneaded dough into a ball and place in greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap tightly and place in a draft-free, warm area, and allow to rise about 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.
  5. While the dough is rising, butter a 8-inch cake pan (I realized I had only 9-inch, so I improvised), and set aside. 
  6. Once dough has doubled in size, turn out onto a clean work surface. Deflate the dough with your hand, and at this point, shape into a little, fat rectangle, sprinkle cheese across the surface, roll up, and then shape into a 7-inch little rounded loaf. 
  7. Place the dough into your prepared cake pan and place in a warm spot to again double. This time it should only take about 25 minutes.
  8. While the dough is rising again, make sure your oven baking rack is in the middle, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Once the dough has doubled (filled up the pan), place the pan into the oven. 
  9. Bake for 40 minutes or until the loaf has risen about 2 inches above the pan and when you knock on the middle, it sounds hollow.
  10. Tip the bread out onto a baking rack and place right side up to cool. Slice, enjoy! 
And just one more picture of Gordie the Pug, because he's so cute.






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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Spicy Asian Chicken and Noodle Soup


OK, I'll fess up. Detox, well, I made it to day 6, before saying, enough is enough. I felt great, lost a few pounds, had energy, but when friends came bearing wine and Chinese food after shoveling on Saturday, I said, "this isn't for me". That being said, I'm being mindful. It was a good reminder that clean eating does wonders, and I needed more balance. However, it doesn't fit into my whole mantra of moderation, at least for very long.

So folks, I'm back. We won't mention that I'm back after I sampled one too many dips at a little AFC Championship party on Sunday (go Pats!), because that doesn't go well with the whole "moderation" theme either.

I will, however, begin with a soup that, while not my own, is an absolute favorite in this house. This is one of those, down and dirty, simple, "I have no time to really cook", soups. It tastes, however, like you slaved over it. It's a husband favorite, which I know for many of you is very important. It's also got a kick, but one you can adjust on your own. Hey, there's a bonus here as well, it's good for you!

Before I share this weeknight staple with you, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the talented Alex Marciello from the Newburyport Daily News here in town. She dropped by my kitchen, and chatted with me about my cooking, the blog, and my love for everything local. If you want to check out her work, do so in this article that came out in today's Daily News. I have to thank her, and the Daily News, for talking with me. You all know I love my little New England town, and there's something really heart-warming and fun about being in the paper where you grew up!


Spicy Asian Chicken and Noodle Soup
Source: adapted from Cooking Light
Serves: 4

I love this because it takes no time to put together, and I can adjust the vegetables involved with whatever is seasonal. In this case, all vegetables, minus the snow peas, were from local sources. They were either picked up at market, or they had a home in my freezer.

Ingredients:
  • 3 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot (about 1 medium)
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced snow peas
  • 2 teaspoons Sriracha (I add more, and have extra for serving)
  • 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons thai red curry paste (I have also omitted once or twice)
  • 1 (2-inch) piece peeled fresh ginger
  • 3 ounces cooked wide rice sticks (prepare according to directions)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (I have omitted before as well)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
Preparation:
  1. Take chicken broth, water, chicken breast, carrot, snow peas, Sriracha, soy sauce, red curry paste, and fresh ginger, place in a large saucepan, or dutch oven and bring to a simmer. 
  2. Prepare your rice noodles according to package directions.
  3. Remove ginger piece from simmering soup, and add your rice noodles, lime juice, and green onions to the soup.
  4. Serve warm with extra Sriracha for a bit of an extra kick if you'd like.

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