Thursday, October 31, 2013

October Roundup!

October has been a whirlwind of excitement and insanity. Here's a quick overview!
My wedding cake!
 The spread for family entertaining. Look at my meat bat! *snerk*
 The Baked Ham & Cheese Sliders are always a hit.
Post-Wedding Survival: Champagne and leftover Wedding Fruit our first night back in Philly.
 Post-Wedding Survival/1st day back to work: Cheese Whiz for breakfast. Going back into the real world was not pretty. That first week was rough.
 Post-Wedding Survival: leftover jam!
Random Stirfry: whatever was left in the fridge.
 Cleaning out the fridge: baked sweet potato with a steak & pepperjack quesadilla. 
I should really get myself to a grocery store.
My plant babies! I miss having a real garden.
They'll need a plant-sitter over the honeymoon, any takers?
 My gorgeous fall centerpiece and what I'm reading: The Lost Art of Real Cooking
Plus I have a table runner now...guess that means I'm an adult?
Wedding present booze...I'm beginning to worry what people think we do in our free time.
The new bottles meant I had to clean and re-arrange the bar.
Scotch & Gin
His & Hers

Chickpea Soup!

The weather took a turn towards the chilly side of things so a soup was to be made. I totally winged this soup and used only what I had at home. I based the first part, or the soup base, off of my much loved Tomato-Orzo Soup recipe. Then I added chickpeas and red pepper flakes instead of tomatoes and orzo. It came out better than I expected. I'm sure using the homemade chicken stock played a large part in that, it's just so flavorful! I wish I had some greens or something to add to it but I wasn't running out to the store. A side of garlic-cheddar biscuits accompanied this steaming bowl of goodness.
Chickpea Soup!
(from my kitchen!)
4 cups chicken broth
2 cans of chickpeas, rinsed
1 onion
5 cloves of garlic
Red pepper flakes
Fresh cracked pepper & salt (I did not add any salt)
Olive oil
1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Stir in the chicken stock, chickpeas, red pepper flakes, cracked pepper and, salt (to taste). 3. Bring the soup to a boil then lower the heat and let it simmer until the chickpeas are on the softer side. If you want to mash or puree part of it for a thicker broth now is the time to do so!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Kitchen Guest!

Behold a kitchen guest from Seattle Coffee Gear! Enjoy.

When worlds collide...Thanks to Guinea Pig Kitchen blog and the awesome Cricket...I get to share a recipe I have been perfecting for some time now--the Easy Boozy Chocolate Coffee Milkshake.

It all started when a little bakery called Hot Cakes opened in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. There was nothing run of the mill about this sweet shop and it was my first experience with a boozy milkshake. They serve an Extra Dark Caramel (the caramel is made with Bulleit Bourbon) + Espresso + Old Overholdt Rye Milkshake. It is a game changer. You will never order a Caramel Frappuccino again after this mind-blowing taste sensation.

I prefer things more coffee-y and chocolate-y so I came up with the following delicious adult beverage: Easy Boozy Chocolate Coffee Milkshake.

I find the boozy milkshake to be located at the off kilter intersection of my culinary interests. (Depicted in the venn diagram below.)

The first thing you need to make this recipe is a beast of a blender. If your blender is not as beefy as mine, consider making half of the recipe (2 drinks) so as to not overtax your underwhelming blender’s performance. Next, select an appropriate drink making soundtrack. I like to play the Coffee Shop Indie playlist on to set the mood.
Easy Boozy Chocolate Coffee Milkshake - Serves 4
      ½ cup Jameson Irish Whiskey
      4 - Skinny Cow Chocolate Fudge Cones or 1 pint Chocolate Ice Cream
      ½ cup Chilled Coffee - I use a Chemex coffee maker
      ¼ cup Bailey’s or Chocolate Almond Milk
      1 cup ice (more or less)
Place all of the ingredients (or half or the ingredients) into the blender and turn it on high speed. If you have a “pulse” feature you can use it to hear if your ice cream/ice cubes are well blended.

Helpful Tips:
Don’t forget to hold the lid onto the blender, it’s about to get category F4 tornado-style up in there.
You can throw the cones in whole but soften your pint a bit if using ice cream.
Blend thoroughly, it’s no fun to have an ice chunk plop in your glass.
Makes enough for four 8oz fancy glasses of classy boozy milkshake goodness!
This will be a thinner consistency milkshake so you can slurp it down easy.
If you would like a thick milkshake, use less booze and more ice cream and/or no ice!
*Remember: the secret ingredient is love <3 br="">

Samantha Joyce is a writer for Seattle Coffee Gear and enjoys sharing her knowledge of all things coffee (and sometimes booze!)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Homemade Bread

There are very few things in life that beat homemade bread. Baking bread in a cast iron skillet was a new experience for me. I was impressed with the results! The crust gets nice and crisp. A light topping of sea salt and rosemary adds a little flavor pop. This was a nice sturdy bread that was perfect for dipping into my simmering chicken stock.
Slow Food: chicken stock and bread
It looked super cute in the skillet.
Skillet Bread
(Pinterest Find!)

1 package active dry yeast
2 cups warm water
1/2 tablespoon salt
4 & 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pinch of rosemary
1-2 pinches of sea salt
1. Combine yeast and warm water in your mixer bowl and let proof for 5 minutes.
2. In a separate bowl add flour and whisk in the salt.
3. Turn on your stand mixer and slowly add the flour mixture to the water. Beat until a soft dough forms, just a couple minutes.
4. Transfer dough to a lightly greased bowl and cover. Place it in a warm, not drafty place and let it rise for one hour.
5. After one hour transfer the dough to your lightly oiled cast iron skillet. Cover and let rise another 30 minutes.
6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil over the dough and sprinkle a pinch of sea salt and crushed rosemary over the dough. 
7. Bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown.

Slow Food

Last weekend we had a slow food revolution in our kitchen! It was just the thing to get me back in my kitchen groove. Well, that and a super clean apartment.
We enjoyed the last of the toasty warm fall days with books and coffee on the balcony.
I made chicken stock. The apartment smelled amazing all day. Every time I walked by the simmering pot I would steal a little spoonful. It rocked my world. You cannot even compare store bought stock or broth to this. It is going to make the most amazing soups.
Skillet bread! This also made the place smell like kitchen heaven and helped me steal chicken broth at every turn. 
Fresh bread + homemade chicken stock = kitchen heaven.
Liquid Gold! I made about 5+ pints of stock.
My recipe is from Grandpa Norm. His idea of chicken stock is a "time to clean out the fridge" one and you just throw anything you have in there. It wasn't very exact. I used what I felt comfortable with and what I had: an onion, a couple carrots, a small bunch of celery, cracked pepper and peppercorns, etc.
Chicken Stock
(From Grandpa Norm)
Chicken carcass
Veggies (onion, celery, carrots, etc)
Seasoning (salt, pepper, bay leave, parsley, etc)
1. Throw everything in a pot, cover with water, and simmer away for hours! The longer it simmers the more concentrated the flavors.
2. When you've decided the stock is ready strain all the bones and veggies out. 
3. Make a soup! Or save it for later. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Fall Cleaning

I have at least 4 recipes to write up but they'll have to wait till this apartment is clean, clean, clean! Cleaning was not high on the list leading up to the wedding and now we have a ton of new things that need to find places to live in our already bursting at the seams apartment. It's like closet jenga! So I'm feeling a bit claustrophobic and itchy for change. I've got a case of the Fall Cleaning...which is way better than Spring Cleaning. This means I cannot focus on anything "fun" until the place is spotless, de-cluttered, and dust free! In college our kitchen always got cleaned before the paper was written, ha. I'm off to dust and reorganize the bookshelf (too many cookbooks is never a bad thing!). But first a picture of my new pretties!
My holiday dishtowels have arrived!
Mr. Lawyer made fun of me with a slightly sassy "more dishtowels." Psssshhh. The gift card was from my brother and I can't have summer or fall themed dishtowels hanging around in my kitchen in the middle of the holiday season. So fun dishtowels it is. I'm kind of in love with the holly berry one, so cheery!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

A Must Make Dinner!

Instead of new recipes today we have two must try repeats!
The pork delicious, amazing, and oh so tender! Mr. Lawyer started the brining process this morning, if you've never brined anything before give it a try! I highly recommend this recipe because the flavor is so amazing. It is divine! It was the perfect recipe to break in our new cast iron skillet.
For the roasted veggies I diced up a combination of butternut squash, carrots, and turnips for the veggies. There is nothing like roasted veggies! I love the little caramelized bits around the edges. The colors were very vibrant and candy corn themed.
Our fall themed tablescape featuring the cool hues of Plum and Lapis, fall leaf inspired napkins, and a beautiful centerpiece made with leftover wedding flowers.
I love my gurgle pot. It doubles as a great vase. So cute!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

1st Married Meal!

Our 1st homemade meal as a married couple was my Tomato-Orzo Soup except I swapped out the orzo for ravioli. Yum yum!
It was delicious.

Barley Zucchini Boats

Mr. Lawyer went to the grocery store by himself yesterday. He doesn't shop from a list, that's never a good idea! Drives me crazy. Then he comes home with random things like 2 zucchinis. Luckily I always wanted to make a zucchini boat recipe. For some reason I couldn't get barley out of my head so I found this recipe and then tweaked it to make it a smidgen healthier. 
The original recipe called for half a pound of ground beef or turkey which I swapped up for only two links of sausage. You could easily omit the meat and make it vegetarian. I left out the added salt and cut out some of the butter. I liked how you cooked the barley in the tomato sauce so it held a lot of flavor. It got the manly seal of approval!
Barley Zucchini Boats
(adapted from
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes
2/3 cup medium pearl barley
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3 medium zucchini (8 to 9 inches)
2 spicy sausage links, casing removed
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon butter, melted
Directions:1. Drain tomatoes, reserving juice. Set the tomatoes aside. Add water to juice to measure 2 cups; place in a saucepan. Add barley and cumin; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until tender.
2. Meanwhile, place zucchini in a Dutch oven and cover with water; bring to a boil. Cook for 6 minutes or until slightly tender. Drain; cool slightly. Slice zucchini in half lengthwise. Scoop out pulp, leaving
a 1/4-in. shell. Chop pulp and set aside.
3. In a skillet, cook sausage, onion, and garlic in oil until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add barley mixture, pepper, tomatoes and zucchini pulp; mix well. Spoon into zucchini shells.
4. Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and butter; sprinkle over zucchini. Place in two greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dishes. Cover and bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until zucchini is tender.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Comfort Foods

Hey guys. LIFE IS HARD. I'm full of wedding excitement, car drama (to the max!), daily shenanigans, and work obligations. I've been in a state of wanting to anxious puke all week. It's total survival mode time which means quick comfort food all the time.

Breakfast for dinner? Yes please. It's not my dad's waffles and bacon that he makes every time I'm home but it will do. Real maple syrup makes an appearance of course.
 Carbo-loading with Grandma's mac & cheese? Bonus points for making mac & cheese sandwiches with dinner rolls? DONE. My parents never got us Stouffer's mac & cheese but my grandparents got it for me every single time I stayed with them so it became known as Grandma's mac & cheese. I would splurge and buy it from the dining hall in college when I felt homesick.
 I can't find any Hoffman Hotdogs down here but if the dog is served up with a side of Grandma's pickles who cares?
Fun Fact #1: when I was little (especially when I was still an only child and the only grandkid so super spoiled) I use to freak out about Christmas. No one in the family could even mention Christmas the entire month of December or else it would be super excited puke city. Here's proof: I love that red doll house but I was also super excited about that doll house and Christmas morning. Puke city.
Fun Fact #2: evidently in situations of extreme stress or excitement I still react this way. At 28 I puked right before my bridal shower. See dad? Not an adult, keep me on your insurance.