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Month: January 2017

Adobo Sweet Potato Soup

Adobo Sweet Potato Soup

Adobo Sweet Potato soup is my answer to the in-between time of winter and spring.  The end of January and the start of February are such awkward times of the year.  In the PNW in particular, it’s not quite winter, but it’s not quite spring, either – it’s still raining, but there are those occasional days of sunshine that suggest that maybe, just maybe, spring is around the corner.  In terms of seasonal foods, it’s a good time to do some pantry and fridge clearing, as well as explore what root veggies have been hanging out for too long underneath the onions.  It’s definitely the time of year when sweet potatoes and potatoes get some love.

I tend not to cook sweet potatoes around the traditional times of year, like Thanksgiving.  I wait, instead, until I’m back to work post-holiday, and looking for lunches that can be frozen easily.  I never know quite what each week is going to bring, so it’s good to have a guaranteed good lunch waiting for me in the freezer.  This adobo sweet potato soup definitely fits the bill.  It’s easy to make, so didn’t consume my entire Sunday to prep.  It freezes beautifully, and I’m already looking forward to eating it at lunch this week.

Canned adobo chilies lend the adobo sweet potato soup a super smokey flavor.  I also used some smoked paprika, which is arguably one of my all time favorite spices.  As part of the fridge/pantry clean up effort, I gathered up all the celery I could find, leaves and all, and tossed those in too.  The end result is a silky, smokey, soup with a bit of sweet and just the slightest kick from the peppers.

If you checked out my post from last week with the black lentil and poached egg bowls, you know that I’m a bit mirepoix obsessed here of late.  The adobo sweet potato soup has a modified mirepoix: adobo chili, celery, and onion.  It’s just so colorful in the pan:

Once the smoked paprika and salt go in, the mirepoix takes on a deep red shade

And then the sweet potatoes go in.

adobo sweet potato soup

All of this beauty becomes a gorgeous adobo sweet potato soup (after the addition of some veggie stock and some pureeing).

adobo sweet potato soup

I added a dollop of Greek yogurt to cut the heat a bit.  Greek yogurt, sour cream, or creme fraiche would all be a lovely addition to this soup.

adobo sweet potato soup

Adobo Sweet Potato Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 adobo chili, diced
  • 4 stalks celery, preferably with leaves, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into small chunks
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups water
  • Greek yogurt (optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium sized saucepan. Add the adobo chili, the celery, and the onion and saute until the celery and onion become soft. Add the sweet potatoes, smoked paprika, and salt and stir a few times. Add the veggie stock and water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 - 25 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are soft.
  2. Use an immersion blender or blender and puree to desired smoothness. Serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt. Enjoy!
  3. Serves 4
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This recipe is getting around.  It’s linked up this week to

Souper Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen

and at Meatless Monday on Confessions of a Mother Runner (co-hosted by Sarah at A Whisk and Two Wands).

Confessions of a Mother Runner

 

 

 

 

and at Tinned Tomatoes Meat Free Mondays where it was featured for the week of February 6 (check out the great menu ideas for the week!).

Hijacked By Twins
Hijacked By Twins

 

 

 

 

 

 

and at #CookBlogShare hosted by Hijacked by Twins as well as at #SimplySeasonal hosted by Hijacked by Twins. 

Blood Orange Martini

Blood Orange Martini

Blood Orange Martini

This Friday’s Happy Hour post continues my obsession with blood oranges in the form of a blood orange martini.  Would you believe that I’m really almost at the end of doing all my blood orange recipes after I got the box of oranges from my friend in Arizona?  I have blood oranges preserved in various ways.  I have blood orange bitters infusing through next week.  And I have a bag of frozen blood orange juice, which I’ve been using as ice cubes for cocktails, including for this blood orange martini.

I have a tendency to go way overboard with produce.  I’ve had years where I’ve ended up going to a u-pick farm and coming home with thirty pounds of cucumbers or sixty pounds of tomatoes.  My first year of u-pick, I picked just about every fruit that was available, and we had frozen berries and jams and pickles to last us nearly two years.  I’ve been a bit more moderate this last year.  I canned thirty pounds of tomatoes into spaghetti sauce.  I didn’t bother with pickles, because we still have some.  The good thing about being moderate is that by the time the blood oranges came into my life, I wasn’t overly exhausted from preserving all summer long.

One of the best things I did with the oranges was to make blood orangecello.  I used the same basic technique I used for my limoncello.  I used a veggie peeler to peel five blood oranges.  When you do this, use just the outer peel, not the pith.  I steeped the peels in vodka for four days in a quart jar (peels + enough vodka to fill the jar).  I made a simple syrup of 3 1/2 cups water and 2 1/2 cups sugar.  I strained out the peels from the vodka, combined it with the simple syrup and let that sit overnight.  The infused vodka and simple syrup go in jars and get refrigerated and that’s that.  The blood orangecello did not have an especially red hue to it – it looks like the limoncello.  The taste, however, is akin to a good triple sec.  It’s really lovely and especially lovely in this blood orange martini.

blood orange martini

If you don’t have the time to make the blood orangecello, triple sec or cointreau will also work in this recipe.

blood orange martini

The cubes there in the front are frozen blood orange juice.  I used these when I made the blood orange martini, defrosting about four to get the juice.  I also used these to chill the martini a bit more after I’d made it.  The juice melts and doesn’t water down the cocktail.

blood orange martini

Blood Orange Martini

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1 ounce blood orangecello or triple sec or cointreau
  • juice from one blood orange

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice or with blood orange ice cubes. Shake. Strain into a cocktail glass and enjoy! Serves 1
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Rainbow Marmalade Pop Tarts

Rainbow Marmalade Pop Tarts

Fandom Foodies #Nyanuary is the inspiration for my rainbow marmalade pop tarts.

via GIPHY

Ok – so not the original Nyan cat, but who doesn’t love Pusheen?  The whole Nyan cat thing got me down the road of homemade pop tarts, and I happened to have blood orange marmalade on hand, so decided to make rainbow marmalade pop tarts.  I couldn’t resist a cat-inspired challenge, since our much loved cats both inspire me daily (inspire me to take more naps, relax more, and enjoy my food with great relish).

I couldn’t resist – they are so adorable!

Ok – back to the food.  I’ve thought about making pop tarts for quite some time – they are pretty easy to make, since they are basically pie dough, filling, and frosting.  They make a great coffee treat first thing in the morning, as well as go well with afternoon tea.  I had so much fun playing around with these – who doesn’t enjoy decorating with rainbow sprinkles, after all?  Creating a good Nyan cat out of pop tarts, frosting, and sprinkles turned out to be more of a challenge than I expected.  Clay came in at one point and told me my creation was #nailedit.  Ok – that might be a fair assessment of the final product.  Still.  I did all my photos and then realized I needed at least one photo with my maneki-neko cats and a rainbow marmalade pop tart.

rainbow marmalade pop tart

Here’s the Nyan cat attempt:

rainbow marmalade pop tart

And here are some better photos of the actual pop tarts – both frosted and un-frosted:

rainbow marmalade pop tart

rainbow marmalade pop tart

Put it all together, and you definitely have #Nyanuary

rainbow marmalade pop tart

Hope you enjoy making these rainbow marmalade pop tarts as much as I did!

Rainbow Marmalade Pop Tarts

Ingredients

    For the dough
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 4 - 6 tablespoons cold water (or as needed)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • For the filling
  • 1/2 jar of marmalade
  • For the frosting
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk (or as needed)
  • Rainbow sprinkles to decorate

Instructions

  1. Combine the flour, butter, and vanilla in a small bowl. Use a pastry cutter or knife to cut the butter into small pieces and incorporate into the flour until the butter/flour/vanilla mixture is the consistency of small peas. Add the water, one tablespoon at a time until the dough starts to hold together. Knead a couple of times and then refrigerate for an hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roll the chilled dough out on a floured surface to 1/4 inch in thickness. Cut the dough into rectangles that are 2 inches x 3 inches. I was able to get 16 rectangles out of the dough for a total of 8 pop tarts.
  3. Place half of the rectangles single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Put 1 tablespoon of marmalade in the middle of each rectangle. Cover with the remaining dough and crimp the edges using a fork. Using the fork, poke three rows of holes on the top to reduce the amount of marmalade that spills out. Bake for 15 minutes or until light brown. Cool completely.
  4. To make the frosting, combine the powdered sugar and milk and stir. Add more powdered sugar or more milk to get to the desired consistency. Frost and sprinkle with rainbow sprinkles. Enjoy!
  5. Makes 8 pop tarts
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This recipe is linked up to Fandom Foodies #Nyanuary, hosted this month by Pretty Cake Machine

Black Lentil Bowl with a Poached Egg

Black Lentil Bowl with a Poached Egg

I’m at that stage of winter when a black lentil bowl with a poached egg sounds like a perfectly light lunch for the week.  I’m also at the point at which I’m itching to do some spring cleaning, including making an effort to use up what’s been lurking at the back of the pantry.  It helps motivate me that we might be moving and I really don’t want to drag a half-eaten bag of black lentils with me.  As it is, I still have jars of home canned jam and pickles that we moved last year that will need to be packaged and moved again (because I’m not letting those pickles go to waste).

Black lentils just lend themselves to a simple meal.  The black lentil bowl with a poached egg takes just seven ingredients (counting salt and olive oil).  This recipe took so little time to make – I prepped my mirepoix first, cooked that and the lentils and then poached the eggs.  I’ve been obsessing a bit about mirepoix here of late.  The combination of onion, celery, and carrot adds such a deep flavor to dishes and it’s so, so simple.  With this dish, I understood the full complexity of the flavor – initially, I thought that the black lentil bowl with a poached egg would need a dressing of some sort, but when I tasted the lentils, that idea went out the window.

A note on the poached eggs: back in December, I tried my hand at poaching an egg in the traditional way in a saucepan.  It came out a flimsy mess.  Recently, I ran across a video of a chef poaching eggs in the oven, so that’s what I did.  The eggs came out beautifully!  The best part was I didn’t have to swirl the water, baby the eggs, watch the temperature, etc.  Eggs went into muffin cups with a tablespoon of water each, hung out in the oven for 9 minutes, and came out perfectly poached.

The full technique is included in the recipe below.  The best part is that poached eggs can be prepped in advance, so I poached my eggs on Sunday and will have an egg a day each day at lunch with my lentils.  I love super easy lunch prep!

black lentil bowl with poached egg

black lentil bowl with poached egg

Black Lentil Bowl with a Poached Egg

Ingredients

  • 1 onion
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 carrots, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup black beluga lentils
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 eggs

Instructions

  1. Chop the onion, celery, and carrots finely. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan and saute the onion, celery, and carrot mix until the vegetables start to soften (about 10 minutes). Add the salt and the dried lentils. Stir a few times and then add the water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and simmer for 20 - 25 minutes or until all the water is absorbed and the lentils are soft.
  2. To oven poach the eggs: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In each muffin cup, add one tablespoon water. Break each egg directly into the muffin cup. Sprinkle with pepper and salt. Bake for 9 minutes or until the white is set and the yolk is still runny. Use a slotted spoon to remove each poached egg and drain on a paper towel. Eggs can be prepared up to five days in advance.
  3. Recipe makes 4 servings. Enjoy!
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This post is linked to My Legume Love Affair #103, hosted by The Big Sweet Tooth (conceptualized by Susan and hosted by Lisa at Lisa’s Kitchen).  I’ll be hosting in April – can’t wait!

It’s also linked up to #CookBlogShare, which is hosted this week by Sneaky Veg.  Check out all the great posts!

Hijacked By Twins

 

 

 

 

 

 

And you can find it linked up on Tinned Tomatoes Meat Free Monday.

This recipe is getting around!

 

Limoncello Lemon Drop

Limoncello Lemon Drop

A Limoncello Lemon Drop is sure to cheer on even the gloomiest winter days. After nearly a week with snow and ice on the ground (unheard of in the Portland metro area), we are finally back to normal weather – rain and more rain.  I can handle rain and more rain, though I still have a serious craving for asparagus and strawberries (and first of the season radishes).  January is such an odd time for seasonal foods.  There’s plenty of citrus in the market, and there are definitely all the root veggies still, but there’s not a single fruit or veggie that just screams January to me.

January is, however, a good time to start clearing out the pantry.  I’m down to three jars of limoncello and three of blood orange-cello.  I’ve got some blood orange bitters infusing, which used up a few spices and some of the blood oranges from the now infamous 40 pound box.  I’m thinking I might try some new recipes for the limoncello.  It’s great in cocktails, of course, like the limoncello lemon drop, but I’ve been thinking a bit about what else I can do with it.  Any thoughts?  I’d love to hear them in the comments below.

Meanwhile, I did finish out using all the lemon cubes from the lemons from way back in December when I made the limoncello in the first place.  Lemon cubes (really, any citrus juice that’s been frozen) are so great for cocktails.  Toss one in and if it melts, no problem – it just adds to the flavor of the cocktail instead of watering it down.

limoncello lemon drop

I like my limoncello lemon drop a bit on the sour side.  I’ve always been a big fan of sour cocktails.  You can definitely adjust the amount of limoncello you use in these to make them sweeter.

limoncello lemon drop

Limoncello Lemon Drop

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1 ounce limoncello
  • Juice from one lemon

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with a few cubes of ice. Shake, strain and enjoy!
  2. Serves one
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Blood Orange Vanilla Bean Pound Cake

Blood Orange Vanilla Bean Pound Cake

blood orange vanilla bean pound cake

Blood Orange Vanilla Bean Pound Cake is my contribution to Cook the Books for January.  The December/January pick for Cook the Books was Stir: My Broken Brain and the Meals That Brought Me Home by Jessica Fechtor.  Stir is a memoir that chronicles Jessica’s experience with having a sudden aneurysm while on a treadmill at a hotel at a conference and her subsequent surgeries, and slow recovery.  Throughout the memoir, memories of food abound and it is cooking and food that Jessica credits for helping her come back to her self after her trauma.   Jessica includes many recipes and food memories – so there was ample inspiration from the book.  I ended up with a full page of notes of all the various foods described.  But for whatever reason, the thing that stuck with me when I went back to my notes was vanilla bean pound cake.

I have to say that this wasn’t a book I particularly enjoyed reading.  It’s a well written memoir and there’s no doubt that Jessica Fechtor is an amazing woman who came through a traumatic experience and is inspirational because of her determination to get herself back on her feet, back in the kitchen, and back into life.  It’s just that her descriptions of her trauma were hard for me to read.  I don’t watch medical shows and I try to avoid books about medical anything.  So the book itself was something that definitely stretched my boundaries for what I would normally read.

Here’s the thing, though, and how this book came to be inspiration for this particular blood orange vanilla bean pound cake recipe.  I read the book over the holiday break and set it aside.  I got busy with other blogging work and other projects.  I had my notes and the general intention to make a vanilla bean pound cake and then got the idea to incorporate blood oranges in some way, as I had just received the tremendous gift of 40 pounds of blood oranges from a friend in Arizona.  I had everything planned out to make this recipe the weekend before last.  And then that Friday night, one of our much loved kitties, Grace, passed away, very unexpectedly.  She was just going on ten years old and had been with us since we found her in our garage in Tularosa, New Mexico.  When we found her, over nine years ago, she was only eight weeks old, weighed 2 ounces, and was incredibly dehydrated and sick.  I absolutely babied her – came home from work to bottle feed, kept her in a soft-sided carrier to sleep on the bed with me so I could watch her at night.  If you have pets, you know how this goes.  She wrapped her furry grey self around my heart.  Unfortunately, as a moderately feral stray, she was always tightly wound, and we are pretty sure she had either an aneurysm or a stroke.  It was positively devastating for us, our three other cats, and even for Daisy, our lab mix, who was accustomed to sharing under the bed space with Grace.

How do I tie this all to Stir and to pound cake?  Here’s how: by Sunday, I was back in the kitchen.  I don’t exactly remember what I cooked, but I know my first recipe turned out fine.  Then I decided I would try to make a blood orange vanilla bean pound cake.  I created a version of a recipe I’d found, adding in Greek yogurt and eggs and reducing the sugar and just generally trying to be my normal bad ass cooking self.  The pound cake cooked in an astonishing 30 minutes (should have taken an hour).  I knew something wasn’t quite right when one edge of it rose up to the side of the pan while the rest of it sunk low.  It was the perfect metaphor for how I was feeling.  I knew when I took it out of the oven it was an unmitigated cooking catastrophe.  I cried – but not for the pound cake.  I cried because that’s all you can do when you are on the edge of being broken, but know that healing is somewhere out there in that dark void.  I know enough about grief and trauma to know this – healing is like baking a cake.  Sometimes you look done around the edges, but the middle is still as soft as it can be.

I also knows that, at least for me (and for Jessica Fechtor as well), cooking is a great vehicle for healing.  Somehow, I felt better for that catastrophically gooey pound cake.  I could set aside the recipe, the planning, the blog calendar and just spend some time taking care of me, my husband, my other pets.  Holding those little wakes that we do for pets who have passed – remembering all the good times. In Grace’s case, the good times included dunking her favorite toy in the water dish when she was a kitten, getting super excited about Salmon Temptations, and spending lots of time at night snuggled up to my hair and kneading it.

This weekend, I tried again.  It’s a different week.  I’m better rested.  The other cats are filling in the spaces Grace left behind.  The Blood Orange Vanilla Bean Pound Cake is a different recipe (no Greek yogurt – that was just a bad idea – and this time I added salt – that might have made a difference).  I’m a little more healed around the edges.  So while I have mixed feelings about the book Stir I think it’s only because I’m sometimes not so thrilled by trauma and healing and all the work it entails.  I hate being reminded of what hard work it is to heal, but then again, maybe I needed to be reminded.

Blood Orange Vanilla Bean Pound Cake

Blood Orange Vanilla Bean Pound Cake

Blood Orange Vanilla Bean Pound Cake

Blood Orange Vanilla Bean Pound Cake

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup softened unsalted butter
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Seeds scraped out of a vanilla bean pod
  • 1 ¾ cup all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Zest from a blood orange
  • 2 tablespoons blood orange marmalade (or regular marmalade)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Butter a bread pan and set aside.
  2. Cream the butter and sugars in a medium sized bowl. Add the eggs one at a time and mix until they are incorporated. Add the milk, vanilla extract, and vanilla beans and mix. Add the flour, baking soda, salt and zest and mix until all the dry ingredients are incorporated.
  3. Pour half of the mixture into the prepared bread pan. Dollop the blood orange marmalade in a line down the middle of the mixture in the pan. Top with the rest of the mixture.
  4. Bake for an hour or until a skewer or knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool completely and remove from the pan. Enjoy!
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cookthebooks

 This post has been linked to January 2017 Foodies Read.  Check out all the wonderful books about food and recipes inspired by those books!
Casa Costello
It’s also been linked to #BakeoftheWeek at Casa Costello.  Thanks to Helen (Casa Costello) and Jenny (Mummy Mishaps) for hosting.
Baguettes and French Kiss Sandwiches

Baguettes and French Kiss Sandwiches

This month’s Food ‘n Flix pick resulted in honeymoon nostalgia and these baguettes and French Kiss sandwiches.  French Kiss is a lighthearted comedy from 1995, starring Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline.  The basic plot of the movie is woman (Meg Ryan) loses boyfriend to another woman, goes to Paris to track him down, meets a jewel thief (Kevin Kline) along the way, and then falls in love with the jewel thief.  It’s a cute romantic comedy – the kind of thing that my husband plays video games through and mixes up with another cute romantic comedy (namely Runaway Bride) which we watched a few weeks after.

And maybe it’s because I’m equally a cynic, what I mostly thought about the movie after I finished watching it was – oh those simpler times in the 90s when a woman could safely run off with a man she barely knows after losing her passport and money to his family’s vineyard without fear of being murdered.  Just saying.  Still – what a vineyard!

My one challenge with watching movies for Food ‘n Flix is this – I watch them as a food blogger, which means I want them to slow down and focus on the food!  It’s Paris – it’s France – show me beautiful food!  There was beautiful food in this movie, just not enough of it that was up close and personal.  So my inspiration ended up being less of something in the actual movie and more of Paris itself.  What better way to celebrate Paris than with baguettes and French Kiss sandwiches?

A big part of my inspiration also came from all the memories that watching this movie brought up of Clay and my honeymoon nine years ago.  We did a two week Europe trip – starting in Paris, taking a train to Amsterdam, and then flying to Rome and then home.  My one regret, particularly from the Paris part of the trip, was that I was still a hard-core vegetarian, and even though I was drooling over every baguette with ham and cheese that Clay ate, I stuck to the baguettes with tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella.  No – I wasn’t suffering that much.  But still, these baguettes and French Kiss sandwich are my attempt to recapture the days we spent in Paris and the glorious smells of the bakeries and the beautiful slow food that was everywhere around us.

The baguette recipe is adapted from a King Arthur recipe.  I reduced the rise time without any negative impact on the taste of the baguette.  I do use a starter, which I realize adds time and the need for advanced planning to make these, but I promise you, it’s worth it.  The actual hands on time with these is minimal – 15 minutes at the most.

baguettes and French Kiss sandwiches

baguettes and French Kiss sandwiches

baguettes and French Kiss sandwiches

Baguettes and French Kiss Sandwiches

Ingredients

    Starter
  • ¼ teaspoon active yeast
  • ½ cup warm water (around 115 degrees)
  • 1 cup all purpose unbleached flour
  • Dough
  • 1 cup warm water (115 degrees)
  • 1 teaspoon yeast
  • All of the starter
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 3 ¼ cups flour
  • For the French Kiss Sandwiches (for two sandwiches)
  • 4 – 6 slices of Jamon Serrano (or prosciutto or thinly sliced ham)
  • 8 thin slices of brie cheese

Instructions

  1. Start the starter the night before. Combine all the ingredients for the starter in a medium bowl and stir. This should form a sticky dough. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside overnight – about 14 hours will do it, though the starter is forgiving.
  2. To make the dough
  3. Combine the warm water, the yeast, and all of the starter. Mix until the starter is mostly incorporated. Add 3 cups of the flour and the salt. Combine to make a shaggy dough and then knead the dough for 6 minutes on a floured surface. Add a bit of the remaining flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking to you. Shape the dough into a ball and put it back in the bowl.
  4. First Rise
  5. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 45 minutes.
  6. Second Rise
  7. After 45 minutes, punch the dough down (deflate it). Cover it again and let rise for 1 hour.
  8. Shaping the Dough and Preparing it for Baking
  9. After the second rise, deflate the dough again and cut it into four even sections. (You can also divide it into two sections or six sections – depending on how many baguettes you want to make). Roll the sections of dough into rectangles and fold them into baguette shapes, placing the seam-side down.
  10. Place the shaped baguettes on a lightly greased baking sheet.
  11. [The baguettes may spread a bit during the final rise– so if you want more classically shaped bread, you can place the baguettes on parchment paper or a clean dishtowel and pull up a bit of parchment paper or dishtowel between each baguette to help it keep its shape. If you do this, when it’s time to bake, you’ll need to gently roll the baguettes onto a greased baking sheet.]
  12. Cover the baguettes with plastic wrap and let rise for 50 minutes. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees 20 minutes before the end of the final rise. To get a nice crispy baguette, it helps to have a very hot oven.
  13. Once the baguettes have completed the final rise, transfer them to the baking sheet (if you need to) and then place them in the oven. If you have a spray bottle with water handy, gently spray the baguettes, being careful not to spray your oven’s element. Bake for 20 minutes or until the baguettes are a golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. Turn the oven off, crack open the oven door, and let the baguettes sit in the oven for 10 minutes after they are done. This helps get an even crispier texture on the outside.
  14. Let the baguettes cool for at least 30 minutes. When they are cool, to assemble a sandwich, slice the baguette in half and place the brie and jamon on the baguette. Enjoy!
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This post is also linked to to #CookBlogShare at the Easy Peasy Foodie’s site.  Check out all the great recipes!

Hijacked By Twins

 

Avocado Burrata Toasts

Avocado Burrata Toasts

avocado burrata toasts

Avocado Burrata Toasts were just what I needed today to cheer myself up.  We had a historic snowstorm here in the Portland area on Wednesday with equally historic low temperatures, so the snow and ice is still on the ground.  I’d already been dreaming, for weeks, about spring.  Four daffodils were already poking out of the ground in the front. Now, they are buried by eight inches of snow that refuses to melt.   I just desperately need to get my hands in dirt and plant something.  I keep wandering around the house, asking Clay if it is asparagus season yet.  January and I are not friends.

When we got back from the grocery store this afternoon, I decided it was time to make a cheery snack.  I still had a ball of burrata left from last week’s pasta dish, so opted to pair it with a very ripe avocado.  If I was a football watcher, avocado burrata toasts are something I would totally go for as an appetizer for the Super Bowl – maybe paired with a ginger cider or an ale.  But since I’m not, I’ll just eat these while curled up on the couch with a good book.

avocado burrata toasts

I opted to use two kinds of salt on the avocado burrata toasts.  My wonderful husband gave me a salt sampler for Christmas (he knows the way to this blogger’s heart).  I used a little bit of fleur de sel and some black lava salt for contrast.  Just a bit goes a long way.  It didn’t hurt anything that I also used a generous amount of unsalted butter to toast the bread.

The avocado burrata toasts did the trick – I felt a little sunnier after I’d snacked on them.  I still resent the snow and would like to push a fast forward button on what’s left of the winter.  I’ll just bury my winter blues in these toasts and know that somewhere under that snow, the daffodils are on their way.

avocado burrata toasts

avocado burrata toasts

Avocado Burrata Toasts

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 ball burrata cheese
  • 8 - 10 slices of French bread
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • Fleur de Sel salt
  • Black lava salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the broiler. Butter each slice of French bread generously and place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Broil for 5 - 7 minutes or until toasty brown (time will depend on your oven).
  2. Once the toasts are golden and crisp, mash a little bit of the avocado on each toast. Top with burrata cheese (use a combination of the creamy inside as well as the outer part of the cheese). Sprinkle with salt and enjoy!
  3. Serves 2 as a snack and 4 as an appetizer
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Blood Orange Whiskey Sour

Blood Orange Whiskey Sour

blood orange whiskey sour

I made it all the way through the 40 pound box of blood oranges my friend from Arizona sent on Monday and made a blood orange whiskey sour to celebrate.  Given that the Portland metro area has been essentially shut down because of a major snow storm, working my way through a box of citrus made me so happy.  I’m getting the spring twitches – the days are getting a little longer and when the sun does come out (which it does, even in the PNW), I suddenly want to go plant a garden.  Now. Immediately.  Right this minute.  Yeah – it’s that bad.  As an alternative, I’ll likely be stopping off at a really lovely plant nursery that’s close to where I work just to go in and smell some dirt.  Seriously – it gets that bad for me in January.

So back to the citrus – the lovely orbs of blood oranges made my heart sing.  I wasn’t about to let a single one go to waste, so the last thirty or so got juiced and frozen in ice cube trays.  I figure I can thaw out what I need to make a few more recipes later this month.  I also love using the cubes in drinks – much better than regular ice!  I also used a bit of that juice to make my Blood Orange Whiskey Sour.  I happened to have a few Meyer lemons left in the fridge, so used two of them to make the sour part of the blood orange whiskey sour more pronounced.

I’ve had a few people ask me what makes a blood orange different than a regular orange.  Mostly, it’s the color in the interior of the orange.  Some of the oranges are a blood red inside, and some have a tinge of orange on the peel.  Taste wise, they are more intensely orange.  If I could figure out how to grow dwarf citrus trees, these would definitely be on my list.

blood orange whiskey sour

Blood Orange Whiskey Sour

Ingredients

  • Juice of one blood orange
  • Juice from one or two Meyer lemons (depending on your taste preference for sourness in your whiskey sour)
  • 2 ounces whiskey

Instructions

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a glass. Stir. Add a few ice cubes and garnish with a slice of blood orange. Enjoy!
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Daisy’s Favorite Dog Biscuits

Daisy’s Favorite Dog Biscuits

If you’ve been around Fix Me a Little Lunch for awhile, you’ve probably seen me mention my dog, Daisy, as well as know that I make Daisy’s favorite dog biscuits every year around her birthday.  Daisy is a lab/doodle mix who has been a beacon of furry doggy happiness in our life for going on two years now.  She’s my sixty pound snuggle-bunny, who still totally believes that she’s a lap dog.  She’s also the most chill dog I’ve ever met when it comes to road trips, which is a good thing, since last year we made a dozen trips with her around Oregon between my job search and then our subsequent move and effort to sell the house we left behind.

So every now and then, I decide it’s time to make dog treats, since she positively loves them (thus, the name Daisy’s favorite dog biscuits).  We happened to have some leftover bacon the other day, so I included just a bit of it crumbed up.  She was ecstatic, of course.  The best part about making Daisy’s treats is that I can get them just the right size to go into her Kong toy.  Layering dog food, dog biscuits, and a little peanut butter makes the perfect Kong and keeps her busy for awhile.

I use my set of copper dog biscuit cutters – I absolutely adore these for two reasons: they come in three sizes and they have their own storage container, which means they are easy to keep track of.

Daisy's Favorite Dog Biscuits

 

Daisy's Favorite Dog Biscuits

Daisy's Favorite Dog Biscuits

I was surprised I was able to get this next picture.  Daisy isn’t known for restraint when it comes to her treats, but she waited just long enough for me to take her picture.  You can tell how much she adores these biscuits.

Daisy's Favorite Dog Biscuits

Using a medium sized biscuit cutter, these make around 36 dog biscuits.

Daisy’s Favorite Dog Biscuits

Ingredients

  • 3 cups brown rice flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons crumbled cooked bacon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine all ingredients and knead them into a smooth dough. Roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into dog biscuit shapes using cookie cutters. Line up the dog biscuits on a parchment lined baking sheet. There's no need to put much space between them.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes or until browned and slightly crisp. Store in an airtight container for a week or freeze for longer storage. Your dog will enjoy these!
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