Tried and True Recipes

These are a Few of My Favorite Things…

I thought I would make Bon Appetit’s Kale Minestrone and the weather would be too warm to eat it. Thankfully, NYC had decided to become bipolar in the temperature department, and I’ve been able to enjoy this soup, in March, as snowflakes hit the ground. I tweaked the recipe a little bit, so I won’t be offended if you stick to the classic. I replaced the russet potatoes with sweet potatoes, because if you don’t know this already, they’re my favorite food ever. And sweet potatoes combined with kale and tomatoes? That’s what I would a call holy trinity. Bon appetite!  unnamed-1     INGREDIENTS 3 sprigs oregano 3 sprigs rosemary 2 bay leaves 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 onion, choppedleek, white and pale-green parts only, thinly sliced 2 carrots, peeled, chopped 2 celery stalks, chopped 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes Kosher salt 2 tablespoons tomato paste 1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, drained 1 Parmesan rind (about 2 ounces; optional) 3 cups cooked cannellini beans, cooking liquid reserved if desired, or two 15-oz. cans, rinsed Freshly ground black pepper 12 ounces sweet potatoes, scrubbed, cut into ½” piecesbunch Tuscan kale, ribs and stems removed, leaves torn into 1” pieces     DIRECTIONS Tie oregano, rosemary, and bay leaves together with kitchen twine. Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium. Add pancetta, if using, and cook, stirring often, until browned around the edges, about 5 minutes. Add onion, leek, carrots, celery, garlic, and red pepper flakes; season with salt. Cook, stirring often, until onion is translucent and carrots are tender, 10–12 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring to coat, until slightly darkened, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, crushing with your hands as you go, then herb bundle, Parmesan rind, if using, and 6 cups water or reserved bean cooking liquid, or a combination. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Add potatoes, reduce heat, and simmer until potatoes are tender and flavors have melded, 20–25 minutes. Add kale and beans; cook until kale is tender, about 5 minutes. Discard Parmesan rind and herb bundle.

Homemade Almond Butter

Hello, my name is Lauren, and I have an addiction: to almond butter.

I am thoroughly obsessed with it. I slather it on apples, celery, dollop it on oatmeal, sweet potatoes and even lick it straight off the spoon. I seriously can’t get enough.

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Now don’t get me wrong: I love flipping the switch at Whole Foods and watching whole almonds turn into a smooth paste right before my eyes. But wanna know what I love more? Making it myself.

I like making almond butter at home for a few reasons.

1. I can add whatever I want into it (or not!). Sometimes I just want straight-up almonds. Other times I want a hint of cinnamon and a drizzle of honey

2. I can control the salt content. A lot of the times, jarred almond butter will contain a lot of salt. I like mine alllllmost salt-free.

3. It’s more cost efficient. Have you ever noticed how expensive almond butter is? Yeah, me too. And I was sick of spending money on something I could easily make at home.

4. I can make as much as I want and it’s really quite rewarding. A quarter cup? Fine. 2 cups? Even better.  You’ll see what I mean about it being rewarding once you try it yourself. Here’s how:

INGREDIENTS

2 cups raw almonds

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tbsp honey

pinch of salt

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit. Spread the almonds in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake for 10-20 minutes, turning once, until golden and toasty (tasting is encouraged!).

Add almonds, cinnamon and salt to a food processor and process until smooth, about 5 minutes. Once smooth, let the food processor continue to run and drizzle in honey. Taste and season accordingly. Enjoy!

Pistachio Madeleines

I’ve been on a huge pistachio and almond butter kick lately. I’ve been spreading the stuff on apples, rice cakes, celery– just about anything crunchy and healthy. I love these two nut butters because they’re made of 100% nuts, they’re a great source of protein, and they remind me of my younger days spooning peanut butter straight from the tub without having a care in the world (guilty: I’ve done this with almond butter). But when I was browsing my Thomas Keller Bouchon Bakery cookbook, I couldn’t help but be tempted to make pistachio madeleines. The recipe calls for pistachio paste, which is a little more concentrated than regular pistachio butter, but I thought I’d try my luck with what I had on hand, and boy, did these babies come out delicious. Let’s start with the basics, shall we?

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What is a Madeleine?

No, she’s not your favorite British cartoon character, Madeleines are cake-like cookies baked in a madeleine pan, which each mold resembles a sea shell. They’re light, pillowy, not too sweet and down-right delicious. Traditional Madeleines have a buttery, vanilla-y flavor, but the addition of pistachio butter (which I had never had before) gives them a nutty, earthy flavor and bit of a heartier texture.

Where can I find pistachio butter?

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Working at a food magazine has its perks, one of them being, well, free food! I was lucky enough to score this jar of pistachio butter at work after we had conducted our “Best Nut Butters Taste Test.” However, you can find this stuff in most grocery stores these days, but when all else fails, I’d suggest Whole Foods.

Where can I find Madeleine pans?

Any home goods store (Bed Bath and Beyond, Target, etc.). They look like this:

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If possible, get a non-stick one. It will make your life a lot easier.

Okay time to get to the (very specific) recipe.

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup + 2 1/2 tbsp AP flour

3/8 tsp baking powder

1/78 tsp kosher salt

1/4 cup + 1 tsp eggs (it’s a little more than one egg, beaten)

3 tbsp + 2 tsp granulated sugar

1.9 ounces unsalted butter (it’s a little less than 4 tbsp)

2 tsp dark brown sugar

1 1/8 tsp honey

3 tbsp pistachio butter

DIRECTIONS

Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.

Combine the eggs and granulated sugar and mix with a handheld or stand mixer on medium-high for about one minute to dissolve the sugar. Increase the speed to high and whip for about 4 minutes, until the batter has doubles in volume and has lightened in color.

Heat the butter, brown sugar and honey in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, whisking to dissolve the sugar, about 1 minute. Remove fro the heat.

Gently fold half the dry ingredients into the egg mixture, then fold in the remaining dry ingredients until just combined. Pour the warm butter mixture over the batter and fold until the batter is smooth.

In a small bowl, microwave the pistachio butter for 15-30 seconds until it has loosened up a bit. Add 1/4 of the madeleine batter to the pistachio butter to lighten it, then fold in the remaining batter. Cover your bowl and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, and up to one day.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using a paper towel, rub room temperature butter into each of the madeleine molds and freeze the pan to harden the butter.

Spoon about 1 generous tablespoon of batter into each mold, spreading it so that it covers most of each mold. Bake for 7-9 minutes, keeping a close eye. The cookies will be done when a toothpick comes out clean when stuck into the middle. Let sit in molds for a few minutes then place them on a cooling rack.

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The cookies are just delicious on their own, but if you’re looking to satisfy your sweet tooth just a liiiiitle bit more, you can glaze them like I did:

Just combine 1 cup powdered sugar with 1-2 tablespoons milk of your choice (I used vanilla almond milk) until all the sugar has dissolved. Once the cookies are cool enough to handle, spoon the glaze over them and return them to the cooling rack to let the extra glaze drip off.

I wanted to get more adventurous so I dipped a few of the madeleines in Nutella glaze (YOLO). The nuttiness of the cookies pairs perfectly with the chocolate-hazel-nuttiness of the Nutella. As Rach would say, YUM-O.

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Big Gigantic Kitchen Sink Cookies

All this terrible weather has done nothing beneficial besides put me in the mood for a sweet, gooey, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink-filled cookie. Snow outside, warm cozy apartment, melty cookie in my hands on the couch. What could be better?

Besides the snow, I’ve had another thing on my mind lately: Big Gigantic. They’re my favorite performers in the whole world. Dominic Lalli and Jeremy Salken are a sax- and drum-playing duo, respectively, who rock amazing beats to the sounds of electronic music. No, they’re not DJs. They have talent…. and a lot of it. I will be seeing them for my 5th time this February, and in anticipation of it, I’m dedicating this cookie recipe to them. My Big Gigantic Kitchen Sink Cookies are soft, gooey, and full of tons of sinful ingredients, like oatmeal, pretzels, peanut butter and chocolate.

Take one bite of these Big Gigantic cookies and your taste buds will experience the same miraculous symphony as my ears do every time I listen to Big G. Better yet, why don’t you bake these cookies while listening to them? Find all of their songs on their Soundcloud page here. And be sure to buy their brand new album on iTunes starting February 11th!

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I told you these things were big, gigantic and full of deliciousness.

INGREDIENTS

3/4 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar

2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal, divided

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 sticks unsalted butter, slightly firm

1 cup smooth peanut butter

2 tablespoons light corn syrup or honey

1 large egg

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

2 cups pretzels, broken into 1-inch pieces

 

DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 375. Place the brown sugar, 1/2 cup of the oatmeal, and the granulated sugar in the work bowl of a food processor and process for 2-3 minutes until the oatmeal is very finely ground and powdery

In a medium bowl, strain together the flour, salt and baking soda. Stir in the remaining oatmeal and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix the butter with the peanut butter and corn syrup or honey on medium-low speed until smooth and lightened in color. Add the oatmeal-sugar mixture in three additions, mixing well after each addition. Add the egg and vanilla and mix for 1 minute longer. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Reduce the mixer speed to low, then incorporate the dry ingredients in three additions, mixing just until blended. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the chocolate chips pretzels.

Drop palmful ball size mounds of dough onto the prepared cookie sheets, spacing them about 3 inches apart. Press down slightly. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes or until the edges begin to turn golden brown. Do not over bake.

Remove the cookies from the oven and let stand for 2 minutes. Using a metal spatula, carefully loosen and transfer to cooling racks. Enjoy!

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Curried Acorn Squash Soup

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As I’m trying desperately to stay warm this winter, I’ve managed to find ways to appreciate the season: via root vegetables, leafy greens and citrus! The winter’s most plentiful produce has made its way into many of my meals, and this weekend, my trip to the Union Square Farmers Market resulted in this hearty, comforting pot of curried acorn squash soup. I must admit, I was looking for butternut squash, but when the only thing I could find was acorn, I seized the moment and the end product left me pleasantly surprised (I didn’t know how sweet acorn squash could be!). You can tweak this recipe as much as you like, whether its changing up the type of apple, squash, seasoning, or adding other winter ingredients like leeks or parsnips. The pos-soup-bilities are endless!

INGREDIENTS

1 4-lb acorn squash

1 large carrot, peeled and chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

1 small yellow onion, chopped

1 tart apple, peeled and chopped

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp curry powder

salt and pepper

4 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable stock

DIRECTIONS 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Rinse squash and poke various holes in the skin using a fork. Bake squash for 45 minutes to an hour, until tender.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the carrots and celery and saute until they begin to soften, about 7 minutes. Add the onion, apple, curry powder, salt and pepper and cook until everything is tender, about 10 minutes more. Add the stock and lower the heat until the squash is cooked through.

Once the squash is soft and cool enough to handle, peel the skin and break into pieces. Add the squash to the soup and simmer for about 5 minutes more.

Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until smooth. Add any additional salt and pepper if necessary.

The soup will keep up to a week and freezes wonderfully!

Fall Granola

Fall is by far my favorite season. It’s that time of the year when I get to bring out my scarves, oversized sweaters, leather boots, and- oh yeah, it’s socially acceptable to eat basically all of my favorite foods: pumpkin, sweet potatoes, apples, brussels sprouts, you get the idea.

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Greek yogurt has taken grocery stores by storm for quite some time. But have you ever had Icelandic yogurt? It’s slightly thicker, a little less tangy and, when made by Siggi’s, just sweet enough without being overwhelming, and FREAKIN delicious. My favorite fall flavor? You guessed it- Pumpkin & Spice. The other day I made a batch of homemade fall granola, and I knew it would go just perfectly with the yogurt, with hints of pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg. See recipe below and please go out and buy this yogurt ASAP!!

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FALL GRANOLA

INGREDIENTS

2 cups rolled oats

1/3 cup shredded coconut (I like the big shards)

1/3 cup uncooked quinoa

2 tbs honey

2 tbs coconut oil, melted

1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce

2 tsp brown sugar

dash of cinnamon & nutmeg

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a small bowl, combine coconut oil, apple sauce and honey. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine oats, quinoa, coconut, brown sugar and cinnamon. Stir to combine. Drizzle in coconut oil mixture and stir until the dry ingredients are completely coated. Spread the granola into an even layer on a nonstick cookie sheet and cook 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool completely and store in an airtight container for up to a week. Great with yogurt, milk, or just as a crunchy snack!

Summer Recap

I know it’s been months since my last blog post, but between graduation and moving to New York City, I’ve had quite the summer. But yes, I’m back at Every Day with Rachael Ray, assisting with all online content and social media, and I’m finally settled in enough to have free time to blog. Well, here’s what I (and my stomach) have been up to:

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and Momofuku Cereal Milk Ice Cream

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and Magnum’s DIY Ice Cream Bar Stand at Bryant Park

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  • I ventured to Smorgasburg and tried some awesome pizza from Pizza Moto

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  • I went to the Vendy Awards and had some more awesome food truck treats

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Pictured: Carpe Donut‘s Apple Cider Donut, Odd Fellows’ PB&J and Cornbread Ice Creams and Bon Chovies Fried Anchovies

…. and many many more

  • I’ve gotten into the serious habit of packing my breakfast and lunch, including these fabulous recipes:

Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding

Curry Egg Salad in Endive

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Check ’em out, and maybe you’ll be inspired to start packing your lunch again too! Got any other good lunch ideas? Let me know! Can’t wait to continue regularly maintaining my blog!