Pear + Cheddar Salad

New year. Who dis?

Ok ok bear with us. We’ve been absent, yes. But it was January, also known as the month of no inspiration and the month that Hannah moved to Chicago. (insert sassy dancing emoji of joy)

And here I am with a salad “recipe.” I guess it counts. Mostly I made this, loudly exclaimed about how Good I Am At Salads throughout dinner, and wanted to share. Don’t hate me.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Bosc pears (THE FLAVOR OF THESE BAD BOYS)
  • 1/2 head of romaine lettuce
  • sharp white cheddar, cut into tiny cubes or crumbled if you have that kind of time
  • roasted, salted almonds, roughly chopped
  • Pear Champagne Salad dressing (Trader Joe’s is LIFE.)

Roughly chop up that romaine, cube the pears, cube the cheddar, and chop up some almonds. If you’re doing this for lunch and you want more protein, add some roasted/grilled chicken! Toss into a bowl that’s bigger than you think you need with less dressing than you think you need (add more if you want).

For now, please, I beg of you, use the Trader Joe’s dressing. It’s got champagne vinegar, gorgonzola cheese, pear mush, and evoo in it and it’s to die for. I’ll be working on making my own version over here in the Chicago test kitchen, but for now, use it, love it, drink it. (just kidding about one of those).

I would also like to take this moment to share an amazing service I just started using, called Imperfect Produce. Every week I get a cute little cardboard box full of veggies that have been deemed “unfit,” “uggles,” or “imperfect” by some people who think that grocery store veg should live up to Vogue standards. I have yet to receive any produce that is truly ugly. Mostly it’s just really delicious and really cheap. Last week I got 1 head of romaine lettuce, 1 bunch of organic swiss chard, 1 bunch of kale, 2 bosc pears, 4 kiwi, 2 cucumbers, 2 peppers, 4 beets, and a pound of potatoes. For $15. You read that right. $15. So if you live in a big city, I’d recommend them to you.

Egészségedre!

Hannah

Pear-Cranberry Galette & Maple Ginger Glaze

What are your “Christmas flavors”? Is there anything your family used to make or buy that just tastes like Christmas? For me, it’s spiced pears.

Every Christmas dinner my grandmother used to make a cold, spiced pear soup as our appetizer. I used to hate it when I was little because of the pear strings that always lurk beneath the calm, nutmeg-sprinkled surface. But now I just love it and it marks the Christmas flavors for me.

When I was trying to come up with a great Christmas dessert, I knew I had to make a galette. I’ve loved making these recently because it’s all the satisfaction of a pie without as much of the crust stress.

In order to cut out that crust stress even more, just grab the frozen, pre-made pie crusts from Trader Joe’s. It’s on our list of Christmas TJ faves over here. I’m really picky about pie crust, but Y’ALL. These are delicious. I suggest rolling these out a little more until they’re quite a bit thinner, as they’re VERY thick the way they come and that takes away from the filling.

Filling:

  • 6 small Bartlett pears, peeled & chopped
  • 1/2 C fresh cranberries, halved
  • 2 Tbls honey, slightly heated
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 2 tsp lemon juice

I TJ pie crust, rolled out until it’s 1/8″ thick (ish).

Maple-ginger glaze:

  • 1/3 C maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger

All right, you found me out. It’s not a glaze, but it’s delicious. I just didn’t know what else to call it.

Preheat the oven to 350. Mix together all the filling ingredients. Since the ripe pears are very delicate and you don’t want the filling to be total mush, heat up the honey a little until it’s quite liquid. Mix gently with a spoon until all fruit is covered in the honey + spices.

Put the maple syrup and ginger in a small bowl and microwave it for 20 seconds.

Seriously. Microwave it.

Place the rolled-out dough either in a pie dish or on a lipped baking sheet, lined with parchment paper. The fruit will cook down and probably spill out of the dough, so make sure you’ve got something with a lip on it. The parchment paper will make sure that even though the galette is surrounded by sticky fruit liquid, you’ll still be able to get it off the baking dish.

Place your fruit filling into the center of the pie crust until you have 1″ to 1 ½” of dough all around. You may have some filling leftover! Pull the edges of the dough up around the filling and pleat it like you’re recovering a chair.

Bake it on 350 until the filling is bubbling and the crust is starting to brown. Brush it with butter and leave it for another 3-5 minutes until the crust is golden brown. Take it out of the oven and let it sit until it’s slightly cooled. Then you can take it out of the baking dish and plate it.

Drizzle the maple-ginger glaze over it and serve!

Serves: 4 (or like just you, but like I’m not gonna tell you how to live)

Egészségedre!

Hannah

 

 

 

Roasted Chicken

Everyone should know how to roast a chicken.

This is a staple of good home cooking and the base of so many good meals. I use my leftover roasted chicken for curry and use the carcass for homemade chicken bone broth. You can get at least 3 meals out of one whole chicken, which is incredible.

We thought we’d create a super-simple recipe for you all, just so you get the basics down. Once you’ve tried one flavor combination, you can try many more and just find one that fits your kitchen and your tastes. We like garlic and garlic and vampire kryptonite here so obvs that’s in our recipe. If that’s not your jam, sorry ’bout it and find another food blerg to read. (actually plz don’t – stay and be our friend).

Make sure you leave yourself enough time to roast the chicken, about 2 hours, and enough time to let it rest before serving it. I baked mine in my blue Le Creuset, which is just so pretty that you can even use it as a serving dish as well. If you have leftovers, just pop the lid on and put the whole thing in the fridge. Remember to cool it down, ya dingbat!

Ingredients:

  • 1 3lbs chicken
  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 1 lemon, halved or quartered
  • 1 head of garlic (not a clove, folks, this is serious business)
  • twine or unflavored dental floss (to tie the chicken legs together)

Preheat your oven to 450. Make sure you dry the chicken well with a paper towel. Dry chicken skin = crispy chicken skin, and who doesn’t want that?

Next, place the chicken in your baking dish, whether that be a Le Creuset or a roasting dish. Make sure you place it breast-side-up. Rub the butter underneath the skin of the chicken. We have pictures of this, but it looks like I’m man-handling the chicken and that’s just not a good look for us. (NB: If raw chicken grosses you out, please, please talk to someone about it. You can’t live that way forever.) This recipe calls for kind of a lot of butter, but I don’t think butter has ever made anything worse, so use it all. Once you get all the butter you can under the skin, use what you have left inside the cavity of the chicken and on the legs and the back.

Fill the cavity of the chicken with rosemary sprigs, lemon slices, and garlic. With the garlic, I just slice the whole thing in half width-wise. You can also crush all of the garlic cloves for a bolder garlic flavor.

Place the chicken in the oven with the cover or tin foil on it for the next hour. Make sure you check on it every 15 minutes and spoon the melted butter and rendering chicken fat over the top of the chicken. Remove the lid or tin foil for the second hour and keep checking on it. Your chicken will be done when the skin is brown and crispy and the juice runs clear when you slice into it. The chicken in the feature picture isn’t actually cooked all the way – we were running out of daylight and oh wow you already stopped caring, didn’t you.

Serve with roasted veggies, salad, and a good, oaky chardonnay for a hearty dinner.

Egészségedre!

Hannah

Chicken Curry

We tried Whole30. Really, we did. It ended with a wimper, not a bang, at day 6 as I realized on a bench in Monterey, CA that we couldn’t eat at any of the restaurants in the area. (ok ok maybe we could have, but I didn’t have enough blood sugar to figure out which ones had food we could eat and which ones didn’t.) So Whole6, it is. Bless all you people who actually manage to get through those 30 days. (I did come to many realizations during these fated Whole6 – we hardly ever eat enough veggies and my default is pasta dishes.) In all my recipe research for Whole30, one of the meals people kept talking about on Whole30 was CURRY.

I love curry. Any kind of curry. I will sweat and cry through it because it’s just so good and my spice tolerance is just that bad. During these days of Whole6 I was determined to make a good curry, with whatever we were allowed to have, and thus was this curry recipe born. The first time I made it, I didn’t understand the conversions from grams to teaspoons, so I added almost half the jar. My husband sat across from me laughing as I cried my way through that bowl of curry. (His spice tolerance is significantly higher than mine.)

First, you’ve got to find a curry paste you like – I can’t do a *ton* of spice, but I do like a little heat in my curry, so I went with the Yellow Curry Paste from Mae Ploy, which we found at our local Safeway. It has no weird additives or preservatives or MSG, so it’s my jam. And the taste is fantastic. Try to find one that was made with kaffir leaves – it makes a world of difference in the taste. (There was a little diner in my college town that served – and still serves – the best curry I know, so this recipe is inspired by that).

Here are the ingredients (because I used yellow curry paste, I thought I might as well use ingredients that are largely yellow, but you can add pretty much any veggies and it’ll probably by good. I’m going to try adding green beans this week):

  • 2 cans coconut cream (you can also use canned coconut milk — I like the texture of the cream better)
  • 1 C chicken stock
  • 3 red potatoes, chopped
  • 5 small carrots, chopped (don’t peel them!)
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp of fresh ginger, grated (you can use more… I’m a total sucker for fresh ginger so I over-ginger it. This is me being temperate)
  • 2 tsp Mae Ploy Yellow Curry Paste (or another curry paste of your choice)
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded chicken
  • 2 C fresh spinach
  • Jasmine rice, for serving
  • Peanuts (optional)

**I haven’t actually measured anything before, so this is my best guesstimate. Essie and I really like emphasizing cooking by instinct here, so just go with your gut. If your gut lies to you, don’t blame me. You figure out what amount of each item you want in your curry – just make sure you give it time to cook. If it’s over cooked, that’s ok! Trying again is always a good thing.

Start with a deep pan (I use my Le Creuset, but you can use a deep pot or a really big frying pan) – add enough olive oil to grease the pan. Add diced yellow onion, minced garlic, and grated fresh ginger. The fresh ginger here is key — the dried stuff just doesn’t have the same kind of sweetness or spice to it. Cook until the onions are soft, but not brown. If you see or smell that the garlic is burning, turn down the heat and move your pan off the burner for a bit. You can slow down the cooking of it simply by moving the pan off the heat.

Add in diced carrots (I use the organic rainbow carrots from Trader Joe’s because they’ve got just such good flavor in them) and diced potatoes. About the not peeling them note above: peeling carrots takes away all of their natural sweetness. Make sure you scrub them really well so most of the dirt in the wrinkles is gone, but do.not.peel.them. Cook until they start to soften. Add in 2 tsp of the curry paste and stir until everything is thoroughly coated.

Add 1 C of chicken stock and 2 cans of coconut cream. Salt to taste. Add in shredded, cooked chicken. (When I make roasted chicken or am making chicken stock, I keep the chicken from that for meals like this. You can also just use an unseasoned/lightly seasoned rotisserie chicken). Add in 2 handfuls (or more!) of fresh spinach and let it wilt (alternate between covering the pan and stirring it into the curry).

Simmer on low until potatoes are soft. Serve over Jasmine rice & garnish with peanuts for some extra crunch.

I’d love your feedback your curry adventures!

Egészségedre!

Hannah

Basic Quiche

Bonjour, ma cher!

This is how my grandmother almost always begins a voicemail. Just imagine it spoken in a way where “bonjour” is “bonjouuuuuuuuur” and “ma cher” has a long “eeeee” sound on the end of it and the woman saying it is wearing cashmere and hot pink lipstick. It’s quirky and adorable and *so* Patricia. She loves everything French: French food, French fashion, French interior design. All of it. She firmly believes she can speak French and moved to Paris for a year to study at the Sorbonne when she was 70.

My grandmother loved to cook anything and everything that had way too many steps. If a recipe didn’t have many steps, she’d add some. But her food was always delicious. (I’m speaking in past tense because she just doesn’t cook anymore, which is really a tragedy.)

This quiche recipe is an homage to her, since she is Very Picky About Quiche. And quiche is, well, very French. We made this very often growing up and my mom developed this recipe. It’s where I started getting really into making pie crust. I’ll give you the basic recipe here with some of my favorite add-ins, but you can really add anything you want.

Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 C milk
  • handful of grated parmesan
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 3 patties of breakfast sausage OR  handful of bulk sausage
  • 1/2 of 1 leek, finely sliced
  • grated cheddar cheese, about 1 C

Pie Crust:

  • 1 C flour
  • heaping 1/3 C shortening
  • 1 tsp salt
  • very cold/ice water

Preheat the oven to 350.

Filling:

Mix the eggs, milk, parmesan, salt, and pepper together in a large bowl. Set aside.

Brown the sausage until it’s crispy. Make sure you chop it up in the pan into at least bit-sized pieces, if not smaller. Scrape into a bowl lined with paper towel to absorb some of the drippings.

Slice the leek thinly – leeks are most beautiful this way, as they end up as a beautiful transparent circle of light green. NB: make sure you wash them thoroughly and peel some of the top layers off, as dirt inevitable gets really jammed in there and no one wants that kind of crunch in their quiche. Set aside.

Crust:

In a large bowl combine the flour, shortening, and salt. Combine them using a pastry tool or a fork until it resembles a really course kinda chunky flour. SLOWLY add in a TINY bit of cold water and keep mixing. You want to add *just* enough cold water that the dough starts to form a ball. Once it’s at that stage, STOP with the water and use your hands.

Work the dough quickly into a ball. Place it on a well-floured countertop and start rolling it out. Personally, I love the rolling pins that are just one giant stick that gradually taper at the ends, so you never end up with lines in your dough from the edge of the rolling pin. If you’re in a jam and you don’t have a rolling pin, a bottle of wine works fairly well. If it’s chilled wine, though, best of luck. Make sure you flour the rolling pin/wine bottle, so it doesn’t stick to your dough. As I roll mine out, I flip the circle of dough so that both sides are well-floured and so that it doesn’t stick to the countertop. Once it’s rolled out to where it’s about 1/8″ thick, fold it into quarters.

Place the dough into your pie dish and unfold it. Smooth out any creases & fill any holes. Roll the edge of the dough under itself along the edge of your pie dish and crimp it/decorate it in anyway that really gets you going.

Fill the pie shell with the sausage and leeks then pour the egg mixture over it. Sprinkle the top with cheddar cheese and ever so gently place it in the oven. Bake it until it smells like breakfast and the middle of the quiche has stopped jiggling. Usually the cheese also gets a little brown and crispy on top, which is just delightful.

Serves: *technically* 6, but, like, who doesn’t want an entire quarter of a quiche?

NB: a word of warning before adding tomatoes into quiche – make sure they’re deseeded and roasted otherwise the water content in them will ruin the texture of your quiche. The same goes for spinach, except please don’t roast spinach. Just cook it down and drain it and squeeze it with paper towel or cheesecloth.

Bon appetite and egészségedre!

Hannah

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Simple Baked Oatmeal

You know in the early mornings when you really want something that’s kinda sweet to go with your hot coffee, but you just don’t want all the sugar that goes along with pancakes or cinnamon buns or what-have-you? Here’s your new go-to recipe. It’s super easy, you can make it ahead of time, and it keeps fairly well (if there’s any left). I’ve also recently learned that it’s great for nursing moms. So, here you go, mom-friends! Just for you!

Ingredients:

  • 2 C oats
  • 1 C milk (you can substitute almond milk)
  • 1/3 C coconut sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3-ish C chunky applesauce
  • 2 Tbls canola or vegetable oil
  • handful and a half chopped pecans

Before you go and roll your eyes at my coconut sugar, hear me out. EVEN IF it has no special health benefits, the taste has me doing praise hands all day long. There’s a nutty richness to this sugar that just isn’t around with regular white cane sugar. It has more dimension than just sweet and I love that; it plays with the flavors of the apple sauce and the pecans in just the right way. You could probably use maple sugar here too, but that just seems so crazy expensive when you’re putting it in something with so many other ingredients. If you’re gonna use maple, LET IT SHINE LET IT SHINE LET IT SHINE.

Ok, ok. On to directions. Preheat your oven to 350 and grease a glass baking dish. You can use an 7×11 or an 8×8. I use the 7×11 because that’s what I have at my Airbnb.

In a mixing bowl, combine all your ingredients except the pecans. If you wanna be fancy and whip your eggs together before you add them, go you, but we’re not fancy here. Make sure everything is well-mixed and there are no pockets of egg whites leftover. Pour into your greased baking dish and sprinkle chopped pecans over the top. Bake for 20-30 minutes. You want the edges to be crunchy and brown and for it not to move when you wobble the glass dish inside the oven (a little like you’d do with a quiche). It should also start smelling reeeeeeally good all up in your kitchen.

It’s one of my very favorite things to be up and at it before everyone else in the family and for them to come down to a warm, dimly lit kitchen that smells like cinnamon and coffee. I try to do this in our studio apartment, but the racket that I make getting our coffee made with the horrible whistling tea kettle and my clumsiness with glass jars wakes up my husband. Ah, well.

NB: there are SO many delicious variations you can do with this. I’m already thinking about adding some leftover cranberry sauce to it along with a little applesauce to see what it’s like! #livefast #dieyoung #what

Serves: 4-5

Egészségedre!

Hannah

 

 

Spoicy Italian Sausage + Orzo

The other day as I was perusing Instagram stories for the 592,094,701-th time that day, one of my fave mom ‘grammers posted about her healthy lunch with orzo and greens and I don’t even remember what else. It looked amazing, but she kept apologizing for talking about food and giving us a demo. NEVER APOLOGIZE. We all want to know how and what you moms feed yourselves. (Lookin’ at you, Sarah Hart)

When I got to Trader Joe’s yesterday and spotted the orzo I got all *praise hands emoji* and super-inspired.

And thus was this recipe was born. It’s currently in the running for my husband’s favorite dinner.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. spoicy* Italian sausage (all I had was pre-cooked, so I diced it up. I would have much preferred raw spicy Italian sausage, so that’s how I’m writing this recipe.)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 medium zucchini (all you people who grow your own zucchini, medium does NOT mean the size of your entire arm, even though I know that’s your medium-sized zucchini)
  • 2 C raw spinach (can you tell I’m desperately trying to add more veg into my recipes?)
  • 1 ½ C chopped artichoke hearts (if you don’t like these as much as I do, you can pare it down, but DON’T.)
  • Juice of 1 lemon (a real lemon, not the juice in the bottle, y’all.)
  • 3 C cooked orzo (save some of the pasta water!)
  • 1 C grated fresh parmagiano

*spoicy was a typo we accidentally used once in college and I just like it better than the original. Say it out loud. You won’t regret it.

Add the raw Italian sausage to a heated pan and cook it halfway. Make sure your pan is large enough so the meal has room to grow. A sauté pan with tall sides would be ideal, but since we live in an Airbnb, I used an extra-big frying pan that was in our kitchen. At halfway, the sausage should still be pink with a little bit of browning. At this point add the chopped zucchini and a generous salting. Cook until the sausage is completely cooked and the zucchini is tender.

Add the spinach and cover the pan until it’s wilted. If you don’t have a pan with a lid, use the line cook’s trick and cover it with a cookie sheet. Add a little water if it needs more steam in there. This will also help cook the zucchini.

Stir in the chopped artichoke hearts. This adds that delightful acidity that recipes like this always need. Squeeze in half the lemon juice.

Add cooked orzo. NB: DO NOT over-cook the orzo, otherwise this ends up being a tasteless mush of gluten glue and no one likes that.

Add fresh parmigiano and a little of the pasta water that you saved because you’re a Nice Person who knows how Pasta likes to be treated. Stir. Squeeze the rest of the lemon juice over it. Voila!

Serves: 2-ish

Next time I make this, I’d like to add some roasted cherry tomatoes and a little feta. I’ll add a note to the bottom of this post if I like it.

Egészségedre!

Hannah