20 January 2017

Bonus cocktails for your winter cold

I've spent the past few weeks fighting an on-again, off-again cold and bargaining with myself to only drink "healthy" cocktails, because abstaining completely is not bringing me any joy (so, no Drynuary for me, thank you). These current political times call for comfort of any kind, so eat your Jalapeno flavored Kettle Chips, watch your terrible Netflix cue, and make one of these drinks, which each have some healthy components when separated from the alcoholic content.

Salty Bulldog

makes 1 drink

2 oz. gin
1 oz. cranberry juice
1 oz. grapefruit juice
dash Angostura bitters

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a glass. Salted rim, extra.

Most Perfect Hot Toddy

makes 1 drink

2 oz. rye whisky
4 oz hot water
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon lemon

Stir all ingredients together in a mug until honey is fully incorporated. Drink.

13 January 2017

I made Thug Kitchen's Tahini Fudge, and it is insane

The Thug Kitchen...collective? family? corporation (ooooo, fightin' words)?...now has several cookbooks out, and I just finally got my hands on 101 (fast recipes). It has several comforting, easy and fast dishes to whip up they are perfectly pleasant, but the one recipe I couldn't stop thinking about was this crazy-sounding tahini fudge.  I mean, I like tahini, and I don't totally like fudge, so maybe I should try it?

It is weird as hell--salty and bitter as well as sweet--but I love it.  It's so complex, and it almost has a burnt sugar taste to it for a split second of each bite. You can read a reprint of the original recipe here, but I made a couple of alterations based on what I had lying around the house. 

Thug Kitchen's Tahini Fudge

1 cup canned coconut milk
1 cup tahini
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 tablespoons fig jam
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 roasted pepitas

Grease an 8-inch square baking dish.

Place all but the pepitas in the blender and process until smooth. Pour into the baking dish, sprinkle with the pepitas, and freeze for at least 1 hour before cutting and serving. (The original recipe says just to refrigerate, but I couldn't get it to set that way.)

06 January 2017

Oh-So-Satisfying Cauliflower and Olive Penne

What could be simpler than this luxurious, but very easy dish between Christmas and New Year's? Nothing.  Nothing, I say. And for anyone who doesn't love cauliflower, this is the dish for you. 

Cauliflower and Olive Penne

Serves 4

½ pound penne pasta
1 cup mixed olives, pitted and chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
½ small yellow onion, diced
1 small head cauliflower broken into small florets (about 2 cups raw)
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (more to taste)
Olive oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
Salt to taste
1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese (plus more for serving)
¼ cup roasted almonds, chopped

Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425⁰F.  In a large bowl, combine the cauliflower and onion with the oregano, red pepper flakes, some salt, and about a tablespoon of olive oil.  Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast until brown bits develop, stirring once, about 15 minutes.  Add the olives and garlic, stir and spread, and roast another 5 minutes until olives and garlic are fragrant.

When the pasta is cooked, drain all but a ½ cup of the cooking water.  Stir in an ounce of Parmesan cheese, the lime juice, and salt to taste. Add the cauliflower mixture and stir thoroughly to combine.  Serve in individual bowls topped with equal portions of the chopped almonds and more grated Parmesan on the side. 

31 December 2016

a breakfast sandwich in casserole form

Now you know I like a good, fatty brunch at least as well as I like drinking the night before...this may be the best way to kick off what may be an otherwise sketchy year.  The first time I tried it, I had 2/3 of several bagels that my cat had gnawed on before remembering he prefers meat, and I didn't want to waste the parts of each bagel that had not been tainted with cat spit.  In the process I realized that it very much reminded me of a gooey, cheese breakfast sandwich. Bonus: make it the night before and all you've got to do is sit around and wait in the morning while it cooks.  

Breakfast Sandwich Casserole

Serves 6-8

1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing
8 large eggs
2 cups milk
2 teaspoons grainy mustard
6 kalamata olives, chopped
Kosher salt
1 pound day-old everything bagels (3 large), cut into 1-inch pieces 
1 small bunch of kale or other cooking green, stemmed and chopped
½  pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons minced rosemary
2 scallions, thinly sliced
8 ounces  shredded cheese of your choice

Lightly grease a 2-quart oval baking pan. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk, mustard, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Stir in the bagel pieces and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the kale and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until tender and wilted, about 7 minutes. If you had bits of leftover vegetables in the fridge, you could cook those here, too. Stir in the cherry tomatoes, garlic, rosemary and cook until the tomatoes start to soften, about 3 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the scallions; season with salt and pepper. Let cool slightly.

Fold the vegetables and shredded cheeses into the bagel mixture, then transfer to the prepared baking pan. You could cook this now, or you could cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight to cook in the morning.

Preheat the oven to 375°. Cover the baking pan with foil. Bake for 30 minutes, remove the foil and bake for 35 minutes more, or until the top is puffed and golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (cooking times will be longer if you pull this directly out of the fridge before baking). Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Melvin, who made this meal possible with his
fine bagel-hunting skills.