Recipes

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Now that my kitchen is functional (and I’m getting deliveries from Green Bean Delivery every other week), I’ve been busy in the kitchen. I have several great recipes with mediocre photos to share, but I thought I’d do a round-up of others’ recipes I’ve either made or tasted recently and really liked.

romanescoRoasted Romanesco. The romanesco is a broccoli/cauliflower hybrid that is milder and tastier than either of the two. I got one in a Green Bean Delivery box and cooked it up using this simple recipe from The Kitchen Snob and it was great! This is a particularly good recipe to try when having guests since the vegetable looks so great on a plate. And they were definitely better than roasted cauliflower steaks. I just can’t seem to roast them at home so they taste like the cauliflower at Etch.

Baguettes. During the recent snow/ice storms, we were stuck in our house for nearly a week. Our driveway was covered in a thick sheet of ice. The steepness was great for sledding, but not so much for getting out without possibly careening into a tree. So I decided to make some bread in anticipation of actually running out! My friend, Amy at Fearless Homemaker has made these baguettes often and loves them.

Eh, I didn’t love them. But it’s not the fault of the recipe. Somehow (perhaps the arid conditions in our house because of the heat being on all the time), the dough was too dry, so we had to add water. I also had trouble mixing the dough initially (almost burned up my mixer’s motor). My husband swears he did not measure inaccurately, but anyway, the result was a bread with overworked dough that resulted in a tight crumb (like sandwich bread). So I wasn’t blown away. But if made properly, I can see how this bread would be really great. It’s a huge recipe, though (makes four loaves), so keep that in mind.

Freekeh with Brussels Sprouts, Apples, Cranberries, Cherries and Pecans. This is the dish that Beth of Eat. Drink. Smile. brought to our Nashville Foodbloggers post-holiday potluck. I loved this dish. I’ve got to skeedaddilydoo over to the store and get some freekeh, though. I’ve never had it before and certainly never bought it. But it is fantastic. Plus, I’m always up for a new way to use Brussels sprouts.

Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Empanadas. My favorite dish from the foodblogger potluck was Tracey of Single Grrl in the Kitchen’s empanadas. Oh, man, these things were good. I snagged several to take home afterward, too.

Also at our potluck, Angela of Spinach Tiger brought some of her famous biscuits as well as this triple layer chocolate fudge cake and Phillip of Southern Fatty brought these delicious ginger beer cupcakes.

I’ve also made a really great Brussels sprouts salad (several times), some fantastic waffles, and a “cookie salad” (my contribution to the foodblogger potluck). Those are the recipes I plan to post soon (I hope).

There’s not a lot of really creative cooking going on in my kitchen right now. I’m packing up infrequently-used gadgets and gear and trying to creatively use only what’s in my pantry and freezer so that I won’t have to move it. When cleaning out, I realized I had a ridiculous amount of rice. White rice, brown rice, white basmati rice, brown basmati rice, Forbidden rice, short grain rice (for sushi or paella), and jasmine rice. And, of course, a “wild rice blend.” My rice habit is worse than my pasta habit!

So now you know why rice is the center of this recipe, one I adapted to use with my new slow cooker from Hamilton Beach, the Set 'n Forget® 6 Qt. Programmable Slow Cooker.
slowcookerricepudding (Small)First, let me tell you about this slow cooker. It is awesome. Right out of the box, I knew I liked it when I saw clamps that keep the lid on for transport. I’ve owned three different slow cookers and none have had this feature! I’m glad someone finally thought of it. Also, even though there are several settings (not just one knob for “off – low – high”), it was very intuitive and easy to use. I got everything going for my recipe without even opening the user guide. I also love the removable crock for washing. Best of all is the programmable timer. It’s a nice feature to be able to determine the time for your slow cooker to turn off if you’re going to be away from the house for a while and you don’t want your food to be overcooked.

Next, the recipe. Slow cooker rice pudding. I’ve never made rice pudding before, but I’ve enjoyed it when other people have made it. I’ve also been looking for “treats” for the rest of the Eats family that are a bit healthier than cakes and cookies. So this worked out perfectly. I used this recipe as my guide and realized that I could make it even easier by using So Delicious Coconut Milk Beverage Nog instead. There’s also a pumpkin spice version and a chocolate mint version and any of the three would work just as well (note, though: these are limited edition flavors only available in the fall and holiday season; other times of the year, you’ll need to follow the original recipe or just put some So Delicious in the freezer for emergencies!). The finished product wasn’t quite sweet enough for a treat, but that was quickly remedied with a drizzle of maple syrup. I added some toasted slivered almonds for a little crunch, too. But I bet pistachios would be even better. This was a great treat for the members of my family that always like a little sweet after dinner. It’s satisfying without being junk food!

Slow Cooker Rice Pudding
serves 4
adapted from With Style and Grace

½ cup basmati rice
1 can light or regular coconut milk
¾ cup So Delicious Coconut Milk Beverage Nog
1 cup water
Maple syrup or agave nectar
Optional: toasted slivered almonds, walnuts or pecans or ground pistachios

Pour all ingredients in the slow cooker, stir and cook on high for 2 to 2 ½ hours. Serve warm and drizzle with maple syrup or agave nectar and top with toasted nuts or ground pistachios if you like a little crunch or texture for your pudding.

For more recipes, check out the hashtag #slowcookermeals on Twitter. There are also lots of chances to win your own Hamilton Beach Set & Forget® 6 Qt. Programmable Slow Cooker!

And be sure to check out all the great new products from So Delicious. The frozen treats (holiday editions available exclusively at Whole Foods), whipped topping, yogurt, creamers, and milks are all fantastic. I have loved everything I've tried. Sign up to get coupons so you can try them for yourself!

hamiltonbeach

Disclosure: Hamilton Beach provided the slow cooker free of charge. So Delicious also provided free samples in advance of market availability of their holiday line of products. Opinions expressed in this post are solely my own and were not influenced by either organization. I only advocate for brands and products I truly like.

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sesameoilI don’t consider myself a good cook, but I have spent some time around good cooks while they’re doing their thing, so I’ve picked up some really great tips over the years. One of the best things I’ve learned is to always have roasted sesame oil on hand. It can make some really ordinary foods really great and is helpful when you're in a time crunch for dinner because so much of what you can do with it is quick and easy. I will give you examples!

First, baby bok choy. You just add a little sesame oil and a dash of soy sauce into a bowl of baby bok choy, toss, and put on a baking sheet to roast at 400F. Cook until the leaves are crispy and brown and you have a great, tasty side dish. You can also do this with broccoli.

Next, green beans. This is a two-step process because you need to blanch your green beans before sauteeing. Bring a big pot of salted water to a boil, add a pound of green beans (stem ends removed) and boil for about two minutes, or until bright green. Then drain and immediately put them in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. While they’re cooling, add 1 tablespoon of sesame oil and 1 teaspoon of minced garlic to large saute pan and heat over medium until it becomes fragrant and hot (about 3-4 minutes). Add the beans and cook for about five minutes, stirring frequently. Add a splash of soy sauce at the end (or salt).

Finally, noodles. Get some thin udon or thing rice noodles or spaghetti (1/2 or 1 pound) and prepare as directed. Drain and remove to a bowl. Add 1-2 tablespoons (depending on the amount of noodles) and toss to spread evenly. Season with gomasio (sesame salt) or kosher salt and toasted sesame seeds plus garlic powder (use sparingly). I like using the gomasio because it adds some interest to the noodles.

I’m not ashamed to say that I could make a meal off these three things together (and maybe some dumplings). You can find toasted sesame oil (and gomasio) in the Asian section of the grocery or at the international market. Be sure the bottle indicates it’s toasted (should have an amber color, not gold). Sesame seeds should also be toasted (save the untoasted for buns). Sesame oil also great as a salad dressing by itself or in a vinaigrette.