There is something about watching a recipe video that gets me. I go to another world and fall in love. This pesto recipe video my kinfolk knocked my socks off!Maybe it’s the music with the cinematic filming that makes me want to run to the kitchen in be in the world that can be created by cooking the dish. To me cooking is living art. I am drawn to it, calmed by it, and couldn’t imagine ever living without it.
Pesto is magical. Pasta is transformed, chicken is seasoned to perfection, and vegetables are dazzled by it. I have always be a purest when it came to pesto, pesto was made with basil, case closed. Until now. As I wrote in Monday’s post, my whole perspective and cooking methods have been turned a bit on their heads. My thoughts on pesto, included. So I took a leap and ventured into the world of pesto made without basil.
My herb of choice: Rosemary. Even with using rosemary in my roast chicken and rosemary lemon curd, I was still left with a TON of rosemary. That’s when I decided to give this rosemary almond pesto a try.
Let me just warn your, if you prefer only a hint of rosemary in your foods this is not for you. This pesto is jam-packed with rosemary and garlic. It is intense but a perfect match for potatoes or chicken. If you wish to reduce the intensity I would try cutting the rosemary amount in half and replacing the other half with basil or even arugula. Give it a try and let me know how it turned out!
I also added parmesan at the end to taste instead of mixing it into the pesto itself. That was just my preference. It is fine either way but I am not going to give an exact measurement for the parmesan. Just add some, taste, maybe add a bit more, and leave it on the table for others to add to their preference too.
- 1/2 cup loosely packed rosemary leaves, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons sliced almonds, chopped
- 2-4 tablespoons olive oil
- freshly grated parmesan to taste
Using a cutting board, add your rosemary and garlic cloves, chop to combine. Then add in the almonds and continue to chop until ingredients are combined and very fine. Transfer into a bowl and pour in olive oil. I prefer less oil and more herb to my pesto, however, add as much oil as needed to reach desired consistency. Taste your pesto and begin to add your parmesan cheese until your feel the flavor is sufficient. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Enjoy on boiled or roasted vegetables, chicken, pasta, or in a grilled cheese, Yum!
I made this, rosemary lemon curd, at 10pm on a Wednesday night. I’m not usually in the kitchen creating that late in the evening. On most nights at 10pm my eyes are either glued to my kindle or HGTV. On this particular night I was digging through the kitchen making sure I had all of the ingredients to make the recipe that I couldn’t get out of my head.
The previous night I had roasted a chicken stuffed with lemon halves and springs of rosemary. Rosemary is one of those herbs that once I start cooking with it I can’t stop until it’s gone. Just wait for thursday’s post, yes it involves rosemary.
Here’s the deal: buying herbs is so lovely because of how much they enhance our foods but we are always stuck with more than half of the bundle. That bundle soon becomes forgotten and then wilts away in the depths of the fridge. It’s frustrating.
So that wonderful, juicy, melt in your mouth roasted rosemary lemon chicken left me wanting more. For some reason I couldn’t shake the idea of lemon curd. Oddly enough I have only had it once in my life. A roommate had bought some and I stole a little spoonful to slather on toast only to be taken to another lovely lemony world. I am not sure why I have never tasted it again because it is heavenly but last week I craved it.
So there I was at 10 pm on a Wednesday night whisking fresh lemon juice, sugar, and egg while praying that the whites wouldn’t solidify. They didn’t and with the help of an immersion blender the result was a rich, lemony, fluffy spread that brightened my mood on a dreary, wet Thursday. The hint of rosemary gives the curd a milder, less sugary taste that I find much more tolerable in the morning that am sweet, pucker spread.
I used the immersion blender because most of the recipes I came across involved straining through a fine mesh strainer and that I don’t have. I figured if I blended the liquid enough the solids wouldn’t have a chance. To my delight, the immersion method worked and for this recipe that is what I am recommending. You could possible use a blender but the back and forth pouring may just be too many steps when needing to work at a fairly fast pace.
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup cane sugar
- 1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 3 small lemons)
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
You will need a pot for boiling water, a stainless steel bowl that fits over the bowl to act as a double boiler, and a smaller bowl for mixing the butter and rosemary. Fill a medium sized pot of water with about 2 inches of water. Just be sure that when the bowl is placed on top of the pot the water cannot touch the bowl. Begin to heat the water over medium high heat until the water begins to simmer (bubbles are forming but the water has not reached a full boil).
While the water is heating, in the small combine the rosemary and butter until the butter becomes soft and the rosemary is distributed throughout. In the stainless steal bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, and lemon juice until combined and yellow in color.
When the water is ready, place the stainless steel bowl over the pot and begin the whisk. Whisk continuously. The liquid will foam a bit but if feel the liquid is heating too fast, lower the heat. Whisk until the liquid becomes the texture of a thick sauce and lighter in color. Remove from heat and add the butter. Whisk until the butter is melted and combine.
The curd should look pastel yellow with rosemary flecks and be thick in texture. Once the curd has cooled it will thicken further. You will want the curd to rest for about an hour before using but I recommend 4 hours to overnight.
To store, place in an air-tight container with plastic wrap or parchment on top of the curd to prevent a thick skin from forming. Top with the lid and refrigerate. The curd, stored in the mentioned way will last up to two weeks in the refrigerator.
There are endless ways to use lemon curd but Thursday morning this is what brightened my day: Plain greek yogurt, rosemary lemon curd, frozen blueberries.
I’ve been a bit absent lately on this blog. I needed some time to gather my thoughts, courage, and figure out where I was going. It’s pretty easy in this blogging “world” to get caught up in what other food bloggers are doing and how creative they are getting with their recipes and how I am just not feeling quite as creative (can you tell I was caught up!?!). It’s a flaw of mine that creeps up on me when am feeling a lull in inspiration.
You see, I have just completed, An everlasting meal by Tamar Adler, and it has clearly made an impression on me. Her cooking is intuitive, flowing, and resourceful. All things that the more I cook and read cookbooks I too hope to acquire.
As I have made my way through the book, I found myself wondering while chopping broccoli whether or not I should save the stem or toss it or after cleaning last of the meat off of a roast chicken if there is anything I should save the bone for. She includes it all in her book but I now have a new hesitation as I throw scraps away. I am sure I could have done more with both but it’s a process and over-thinking can be a burdensome thing.
Probably the most valuable lesson I have walked away with in reading the book is that cooking does not have to be complicated or fancy or intimidating. There isn’t really a wrong way to cook. If we cook with whole foods, we will be nourished. If we sit with good company, we will be nourished. If we eat simple thoughtfully made meals, we will be nourished.
My perspective has changed as will be reflected in my recipes. I hope to provide inspiration to step into the kitchen and create, healthy, simple recipes.
It’s been a low inspiration couple of weeks for me. The weather is getting nicer, hours have been spent park, and I have had to shift my creative mind to other areas, temporarily.
Last Friday I was feeling a bit down about my lack of kitchen creativity, ingredients, and counter space. So, in hopes to snap myself out of this rut, I opened the food cabinet and stared. I pulled out three ingredients, sliced almonds, cocoa powder, and shredded coconut. That’s how these scone were came to be…minus the coconut. I decided to save it for another time.
I love scones and for these I kept the sugar minimal to maintain the essence of cocoa. You can adjust to your preference but to me their delicious.
Not only are the delicious but they easy and quick to make. The whole process from gathering the ingredients to placing them in the oven took about fifteen minutes and the baking time took just under twenty minutes. I actually managed to get the scones out of the oven and onto a cooling rack minutes before rushing my son out the door in time for school.
My lessons learned from these scones are:
1. In desperate times for inspiration, open the food cabinet (or pantry).
2. Adding a bit of cinnamon to a recipe with cocoa only makes it better!
3. It’s best to start baking project when I have more than
40 minutes before leaving the house!
- 2 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for topping
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup butter, cold and cut into pats
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 cup sliced almonds
Begin by preheating your oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with a non-stick mat or parchment paper and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, stir together your dry ingredients. Add the pats of butter and combine with your hands until the the mixture resembles crumbles.
In a separate bowl, combine your vanilla, egg, and milk. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and throughly mix. Add in the the sliced almonds and mix to evenly disperse. Use your hands if your need to and add extra milk if the dough feels too dry.
Divide the dough into two equal parts. Using your hands, shape each half into a round 6 diameter circle about 1/2 inch thick. Place both rounds on the baking sheet and using a sharp knife cut each circle into 6 wedges. Bake the scones for 18-20 minutes and allow to cool on wire rack for another 5 minutes.
I know what your thinking, “did I have to name this ice cream with chocolate twice?”! Why, yes I did because just one chocolate wasn’t enough. This ice cream is so insanely packed with chocolate it is as if you are eating a rich ganache. Which I can totally understand my not be what everyone wants in their ice cream but I do and so I did it.
I dreamed up this chocolaty chocolate thin mint ice cream when I opened the freezer only to discover two unopened boxes of thin mints. Naturally, I had to break into them. How could we forget about two boxes of thin mints?!
Since the latest ice cream request from my boys was chocolate I couldn’t resist adding a bit of crunch and hint of mint from the cookies. I adapted David Lebovitz’s chocolate ice cream recipe to my preference and then just before the ice cream was ready to come out of the machine I threw in twelve mashed up thin mints. Heaven.
I think the hardest part of this recipe was preparing the base and having to wait overnight while it chilled. I so badly wanted to throw the base right in the ice cream machine for a sweet treat last night but instead I waited and it paid off. I am not one for time consuming recipes and having to wait overnight to allow things to rest but after making this recipe I might just have to rethink my position.
This ice cream is rich from the cocoa powder and dark chocolate chunks while the coffee concentrate give it an added depth that lets the cocoa linger and satisfy. It’s killer and I would have named it “Death by Chocolate” but I feel that phrase is just overused.
Chocolaty chocolate thin mint ice cream
- 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 7 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 cup cane sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 5 ounces dark chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup cold brew coffee concentrate
- 1/2 cup 2% milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Have a medium sized mixing bow, saucepan, whisk, and immersion (or blender) ready. Pour the heavy cream, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt into the saucepan and heat over medium-high heat. While the mixture is heating whisk frequently. You will want to stay close and watch for the the cream to begin to bubble and foam. Once you see foam, remove from heat and whisk in the chocolate chips. Continue to whisk until the chocolate has melted. Add the remaining ingredients and blend in the saucepan using your immersion blender or transfer to your blender to blend for about one minute. The blending helps to smooth out the base and give it a bit of airiness.
Transfer your chocolate base into a medium bowl, cover, and place in the refrigerator overnight. At this point you can also place the bowl of your ice cream machine in the freezer, if it's not there already.
Once the chocolate base has chilled, transfer it to your ice cream machine and mix according to your machine's instructions. While the ice cream is mixing, place 12 thin mint cookies in a ziplock bag and crush but be sure to leave some generous chunks to give your ice cream a cookie crunch. When your ice cream is nearly complete (about 5 minutes left) add in the cookie crumbles, reserving about 1/4 cup.
After your cookie crumbles have been added, transfer your soft ice cream into a freezer-safe, air-tight container (I prefer glass), top off the ice cream with your remaining cookie crumbles, and place a layer of parchment paper over top to prevent ice crystals from forming. Allow your ice cream to freeze for at least two hours before serving.
*recipe adapted from The perfect scoop
Lately Paul and I have been ordering a bit more than I would like to admit. I mean, here I am with a food blog touting the wonders of cooking and some nights I just cannot think about entering the kitchen. It’s not good but it’s the truth. To make matters worse, I also don’t want to make the decision of where we order from. It’s not that I’m not hungry, usually I’m starving, but I honestly just don’t want to make the decision.
Our takeout meal usually ends up consisting of rice, a brothy noodle soup, or salad which is delicious but not very exciting. To be honest, if I felt like making up my mind, I would go for mexican. There’s something about the flavors, the smells, and the comfort of the food that keeps me wanting more.
Last week the way to frequent take-out guilt finally go to me, I wanted mexican , so I decided to make my own tortillas. The entire process was surprisingly quick, easy, and super fun to get the boys involved! From mixing, crumbling, kneading, and forming the dough into walnut sized balls to rolling out the tortillas and cooking them took about 45 minutes, which was much shorter than I had anticipated.
As life happens, I wasn’t able to incorporate them into my planned taco dinner until two days after we made them, but they held up beautifully in an air-tight container with a layer of parchment between each tortilla. They can actually last packaged in that way for about a week and even longer if you want to try an make your own tortilla chips (stay tuned!).
How to make whole wheat tortillas
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1 cup hot water
Start by pouring your flours into a large bowl. Mix them well and then add your baking powder and salt. Form a well in the middle of the bowl and pour your oil into it. Using your fingers, combine the oil until the dough begins to crumble. Adding about 1/4 cup of hot tap water at time, knead the water into the dough until a well formed ball begins to take shape. Once you can form the dough into a ball and it holds, separate the dough into individual walnut-sized balls.
To roll out the tortillas, place one ball between two sheets of parchment paper and use a rolling pin to form the tortillas. Heat a large non-stick fry pan or flat grill pan over medium heat. Place a rolled out tortilla on the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side. Use tortillas immediately or store in the refrigerator in an air-tight container with sheets of parchment between each tortilla.
First off, my posts have been a bit delayed this week. In trying to conceptualize a clearer vision for this blog I somehow managed to get all backed up in writing my posts and as a result I missed the first two days of this week. I tend to thrive on routine and it has been thrown off. Just stick with me as a muddle through this week to get back on track for next week!
I was first introduced to adding balsamic to roasting fruit about ten years ago on one of Jamie Oliver’s cooking shows. When you cook with the balsamic it creates a surprisingly subtle sweetness that blends perfectly with berries and stone fruits.
This recipe is one that I created with the intention of posting along with my balsamic reduction but for some reason it was left out. You can certainly use balsamic vinegar for this recipe, however, your result will have much more juice rather than a syrup-like consistency. Both results are wonderful for different purposes so I encourage you to try both.
I used this batch of roasted balsamic strawberries in a coconut cream parfait (as seen below) but it is equally delicious on vanilla ice cream, on shortcake, or by the spoonful.
Roasted Balsamic Strawberries
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimed baking sheet with parchment paper and evenly spread the sliced strawberries making sure to avoid overlapping. Drizzle the maple syrup and balsamic reduction over the strawberries. Place the baking sheet in the oven for 15 minutes.
Allow the roasted strawberries and juices to cool for about 5 minutes then transfer to an air-tight storage container (preferably glass). The balsamic strawberries can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
I have limited cabinet space in my current tiny galley kitchen. That is going to change in a few months but for now putting away dishes seems like a jigsaw puzzle. For this reason, I try to keep the smaller kitchen appliances to a minimum and those that I do keep are either multi-functional (food processor) or a staple in our house (rice cooker). An ice cream maker is one appliance that has never made the cut even though I consume way too much ice cream!
The problem is I take forever to make a purchase decision. It’s pretty frustrating. So, like any purchase phobic person would do…I borrowed one. After one week it’s official, I really want one of my own. So, I guess it does pay to be slightly purchase-phobic because now I know for sure.
This ice creamer maker has got ice cream on my mind 24/7! Flavor options are endless. So much so that I can’t eat my ice cream fast enough in order to make more. Thankfully my forward-thinking in buying just one storage container has saved me, otherwise I would have a freezer full of ice cream!
Let’s get on track with the most recent flavor combination, cinnamon ice cream with almond butter swirl. This isn’t exactly your typical ice cream because I substituted the cream for coconut milk which you can easily replace with whole, reduced-fat milk, or go with the original, cream, if your not a coconut kind of person. I am and for some reason I feel less guilty eating the coconut version:)
The ice cream maker is so easy to use that I actually thought I was doing something wrong. Just whip up your base ingredients, pour the mix into the ice cream maker, let it do its magic and just before you are ready to transfer the ice cream into your storage container add in your almond butter mixture, allow it to go through 2 or 3 rotations and then remove. If you allow it to mix too much the almond butter will mix right into your base…..speaking from experience!
Cinnamon Ice Cream with Almond Butter Swirl
For the Base:
- 1 can coconut milk, !refrigerated overnight
- 1 can light coconut milk, !refrigerated overnight
- 1/2 cup cane sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon xantham gum
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
For the Almond Swirl:
- 1/2 cup homemade honey almond butter
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
Before you begin, make sure your ice cream maker bowl has chilled in the freezer for at least 6 hours and both cans coconut milk have chilled in the refrigerator overnight.
Place all of your base ingredients into a medium mixing bowl and combine using a whisk or immersion blender. Turn on your ice cream maker and pour in your base ingredients. While the base is mixing combine your Almond Swirl ingredients using the same method as the base and set it aside.
Keep a close eye on your base and after about 15-20 minutes of mixing watch for it to become thicker. Once the base is frozen enough transfer to your storage container, add in the almond swirl and allow to mix for one to two more rotations. Now, transfer your ice cream into the storage container, place in freezer, lay a piece of parchment over the top of the mixture to prevent ice crystals from forming, and place in the freezer. Allow the ice cream to settle for up to 6 hours or overnight.
Once frozen to desired consistency, enjoy!
It’s funny to me how changing the way a type of food is presented can effect whether or not a person with eat the food. These almond chicken satay skewers are a perfect example. Any type of meat is a tough sell with my kids. I’ve even considered switching to a vegetarian diet, if only they would eat more vegetables! I am usually pretty successful with chicken if it’s masked with a breading or in a taco but a baked chicken breast would never cross their lips. With the simple switch of serving chicken on a skewer they finished their entire dinner. It was a triumphant night.
The best part about these is they will even win over adults too! The skewers infuse some fun into the meal. The oils from the homemade almond butter
keep the chicken moist to a point that it almost melts in your mouth. The creaminess from the butter gives it a smooth texture and paired with rice creates ultimate satisfaction.
To cook the chicken I used a grill pan (a new purchase I love), however you could also bake them in the oven with a wire rack placed on a cookie sheet or probably the method that provided the deepest, most rounded flavor is the grill. Unfortunately, I don’t have the outdoor space to fire up a grill but I highly encourage you to, if it’s available.
As I am writing this I can’t help but think of other flavors to try. Mango, lime, barbecue, ohhh and the list goes on. Can you tell I’m dying for summer to arrive??!!
Almond Chicken Satay *Kid Friendly*
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast
- 12 wooden skewers
- 2 tablespoons homemade almond butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- Rice for serving
To prepare the chicken, butterfly each chicken breast. You can also buy thin-sliced chicken breast to save yourself a little time. Once the breasts are cut, slice them again in vertical strips, in twelve total. Place each chicken strip on a skewer.
In a small bowl, prepare the marinade by whisking the almond butter, minced garlic, and soy sauce. Coat each skewer of chicken with the marinade. This can be done up to 12 hours in advance, covered with plastic wrap or in an airtight container and stored in the refrigerator.
Heat your grill pan over medium heat and once the pan is heated (test by dropping a bit of water onto the pan and listen for a sizzle). Cook the chicken for about 4 minutes on each side.
Enjoy as a skewer by itself or on a bed of rice.
Nut butters are pretty much in the same category as chocolate for me. Just as I have chocolate every day, I sink spoon into a jar of peanut or almond butter almost as much. I hate to admit it but I am just as selective with my nut butters too. My preferred type is natural with a bit of sweetness. I’m pretty surprised that it took me so long to make my own but finally I did.
I wanted my nut butter to taste fresh, like when I open then lid of the jar I can smell the thick scent of nuts and see the darker flecks mixed in with a creamer color. I wanted the butter to be smooth with only a slight texture of ground nut and natural oil.
I started my homemade nut butter adventure with honey roasted peanuts. The nut butter is smooth, requires no stirring after it’s ground, and is sweet, almost too sweet. My boys loved it, naturally, but I wanted a bit more control over just how sweet it was. I also craved the earthly taste of almond butter.
The beauty of this honey almond butter is how you can customize it to your taste. The recipe I have posted is to my taste so I encourage you to stop along the process for a taste and adjust accordingly.
Unlike the honey roasted peanuts, I found that once the honey was added the butter became thick and slightly dry. I decided to add a bit a coconut oil to smooth it out and was a bit nervous that the coconut would shine through. Surprisingly, there is just a hint which I enjoy but if coconut is not for you, almond oil would be a good choice.
Homemade Honey Almond Butter
- 16 ounces roasted, unsalted almonds
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- pinch of salt
Using a food processor, pour the almonds into the bowl and process. You will continue to process for about eight minutes going through the stages of almond meal, dough ball, and lastly smooth buttery spread. Once the butter is smooth, add in the 2 tablespoons of honey and salt then process for a minute. The butter will thicken and become slightly dry again. At this point the coconut oil can be added to bring it back to it's smooth texture.
To store: Once your desired consistency is reached, transfer into an airtight jar and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks