March 31, 2015

Rustic potato bread

I've always enjoyed potato bread, but wanted to try a loaf that was more hearty and rustic - not for sandwiches, but to eat along with dinner or soup slathered in some butter. I had found this recipe around St. Patrick's Day and decided to give something like that a try. We actually ate it along with our St. Patrick's Day dinner, which we ate a little late this year. That's okay though because this bread is one you can enjoy with all sorts of dishes. It's a perfect bread to make when you have leftover mashed potatoes. 

It snowed here again yesterday and it's frosty outside this morning, so we are still experiencing cold temperatures in our area. It has been a long and very cold winter and we are still eating wintery food for the most part. It's still fine by me though because I enjoy the cooler temps!

March 24, 2015

Chocolate cream pie

Making an old-fashioned chocolate cream pie from scratch has been on my "to-make" list for quite a while now. Since I'm slowly working my way through 25 Pies of 2015, this was one high on my list to do this year. I really love pie! It's hands-down my favorite dessert or sweet treat. This pie has a super creamy and thick homemade chocolate pudding layer topped with a light and fluffy whipped cream layer. Chocolate pudding + whipped cream + crust. Win-win-win!

This is not a complicated pie, but it has a couple steps and requires chilling time, so be sure to plan ahead. You need time for the filling to set and completely chill before serving plus you need to bake the crust ahead of filling because you don't bake the filling at all. I always find that a homemade pie is worth any and all effort in the end though - it's a swoon worthy dessert!

March 18, 2015

Thick and chewy pan pizza

As a kid, we only had a few restaurants in the town where I grew up, one of which was a Pizza Hut. It was a big deal when we got a Chinese restaurant in town when I was in high school... so yeah, it's a small town. Pan pizza was always a favorite of mine when I was little, but I haven't eaten it in many years. I wanted to find a way to recreate that pan pizza crust at home. Well, I found it and it just so happens to be the easiest pizza crust ever - no kneading, no rolling! I adapted this recipe one over at Serious Eats. Mine is even quicker and thicker and it has that exact quality, texture, and flavor I remember from those pan pizzas of my childhood. I'm super excited about this discovery!

Of course, you can top your pizza with whatever you want. I think a thick and chewy pan pizza lends itself very well to tomato sauce and lots of cheese, and the rest is up to you. We went with a sausage supreme - bulk cooked Italian sausage, bell peppers, green olives, red onions, and some canned mushrooms. It was perfect! Just some pepperoni would also be terrific here. Red pepper flakes and grated Parmesan cheese for serving are also highly recommended. I put the toppings under the cheese for this one so that the cheese could get nice and browned.

March 12, 2015

Maple walnut cookies

In New York we are finally warming up and people are starting to tap their maple trees! That means maple season is here. That's a big deal around here - we have festivals and a maple weekend to celebrate! My husband needed a sweet treat to take to a meeting recently, so I decided to keep it seasonal and make some cookies featuring maple as a star ingredient. I used this recipe as a guide, but decided to add walnuts as well. I really enjoy the maple-walnut combination and it worked in these cookies. They are soft and sweet, with a touch of crunch from the walnuts and a lovely maple scent. 

Just remember, whenever you are baking or cooking with maple syrup, you want to use the darkest one you can find because it will have the deepest and strongest maple flavor. No fake stuff either! This recipe will make about 3 dozen cookies and are a delicious way to celebrate maple harvest time. 

March 9, 2015

Coconut and turmeric cauliflower soup

Soup season isn't quite over yet - at least not here. We are starting to warm up a bit here in the Buffalo, NY area (and by "warm up" I mean have some temperatures that are just above freezing), but we are far from being free of the winter weather and snow. We still require soup for at least one meal a week! This soup is healthy and filling plus it contains a few of my favorites things including one of the greatest vegetables - cauliflower! I love caulifower. I also love turmeric (especially this kind) and coconut milk, so I thought I'd change-up regular cream of cauliflower soup to incorporate a but more color and flavor. Call it cream of cauliflower soup with a twist!

This soup will serve about four people. Serve it with some naan or flatbread if you would like, or as a starter to an Indian meal. It's perfect for cold weather. 

March 3, 2015

Chorizo and potato tacos

Tacos. Need I say more? Doesn't everyone love taco night? I know it's always been one of my favorite dinners. And while we love a good regular beef taco, we also love to try new taco fillings - beans, steak, carnitas, fish, and more! I don't really remember when we first starting making these chorizo and potato tacos, but ever since we first tried them they've remained a favorite in our home. Slightly spiced sausage and potatoes are cooked together with garlic, smoked paprika, and a touch of cayenne and then topped with all sorts complimentary toppings. 

This recipe is for about 8 tacos, but it's quite simple to double it for more people. This is the amount I make for just me husband and I. The toppings below are some of my favorites for these tacos, but others like shredded green cabbage and avocados are also a perfect choice.