Down the Rabbit Hole

Dear Readers (I’m channeling Jennie right now),

Please pardon my absence.  The school year has started.  I have entered the world of learning 76 student names as quickly as humanly possible, turning into a giant ball of sweat in our un-airconditioned building, sprinting through 5+ straight hours of teaching before I come up for air, then promptly falling asleep as I rock my little boy each night.  Please do not think I am complaining…I love every minute of the madness.  It just takes me a couple of weeks to adjust and get back into the swing of things.

As hard as it is to not spend everyday with Connor like I did in the summer, it is nice to be back at school.  I work with some truly amazing people and really enjoy the kids and families I have the privilege of serving.  Here I am in polka dots on the first day of 6th grade!
1st day selfie My school is located right at an entrance to one of the city parks, which is awesome.  I snapped this photo Wednesday morning on our first class hike of the year.  I love that I work for a school that values getting kids outside, learning about the world around them and the impact we have on every living thing.
1st hike of the year

I have lots of yummy things to share, including restaurant reviews from our trip to Charleston/Kiawah and some good Where to Shop Wednesday posts.

Stay tuned and have a wonderful holiday weekend!

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Banana Fluffernutter White Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Holy cow. fluffernutter ice cream This ice cream means business.  Hands down the best ice cream to come out of my kitchen.  It’s so rich and packs in so many of my favorite flavors.  It lasted forever in our freezer because you only need a little bit to really kick a sweet craving.

you will need:
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup creamy peanut butter, divided
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1½ cups marshmallow fluff
½ cup white chocolate chips
1 very ripe banana, cut into chunks

Add cream, milk, sugar, salt and ½ cup peanut butter to a saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until the sugar dissolves and the peanut butter melts, making sure nothing sticks to the bottom. Continue to heat until little bubbles form around the edges of the pan. Remove from heat, then add in vanilla extract and mix well.  Transfer the mixture to a bowl and refrigerate until cold, at least an hour.

Once cold, add the mixture to your ice cream maker and churn according to directions. About 5 minutes before it’s finishing churning, add in 1 cup of marshmallow fluff in a few increments, making sure it doesn’t all clump together. Once finished churning, scoop the ice cream into a freezer-safe container. Stir in the remaining peanut butter and marshmallow fluff.  Then add the chocolate chips and banana.  Freeze for at least 4 to 6 hours.

When ready to serve, let sit a room temperature for a few minutes so it can soften and you get all of the delicious goodness in every scoop.

makes: about 1 quart
time: approximately 8 hours
adapted slightly from: How Sweet It Is

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Spicy Cilantro-Lime Coleslaw

Aaaaand, I’m back to reality…

Our 10 day trip to the Carolinas was just lovely.  We spent time in Raleigh with friends, had a week in Kiawah and then ended our trip at Lake Murray just out side of Columbia, SC with family.  I adored all of the time spent with loved ones and experiencing the wonder of a summer vacation through the eyes of my kid.  Here is my favorite video from our trip…

Today was my first day back at school, thankfully I am easing into it with several professional development days.  Nonetheless, it was heartbreaking to get back to the grind and not have the whole day with Connor!

Anyway, back to the food!  That is what you are all here for anyway, right?!  I made this delicious slaw a couple weeks ago when I needed to use up some cabbage from my CSA.  It comes together super quickly and is a great accompaniment to so many different meals.  I loved it on top of tacos we made with some leftover chicken.  It was a great side for lunch with whatever I had laying around.  I think I’d love it atop a burger as well.
spicy cole slaw Now that I’m looking at this photo, I think I’m going to make it again this week!

you will need:
5 cups cabbage, thinly sliced
2 carrots, shredded
½ small red onion, thinly sliced
½ bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream
2 tablespoons buttermilk
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 limes, juiced
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons hot sauce (I used Cholula)
salt and pepper to taste

In a bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, buttermilk, garlic, lime juice, spices and hot sauce and whisk to combine. Taste and add more lime or spice to your taste, you should get a nice punch of lime flavor so feel free to add more juice.

In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, carrot, onions and cilantro. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss to combine. Serve immediately.  Keeps well for up to 4 or 5 days.

serves: 6-8
time: 15 minutes
adapted from: The Hungry Hounds

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Sun, Sand & A Drink in My Hand

Oh. my. gosh.  I’m in paradise.
sandy feet

We arrived at the Kiawah Island Golf Resort on Saturday afternoon after a stop in Raleigh to see some friends. It was actually a pretty manageable drive and Connor did amazingly well.  He mostly slept and then we successfully bribed him with movies on the iPad and graham crackers.  Parents for the win.
photo collage We’ve been relaxing, enjoying time with family, eating amazing Southern food and soaking up summer activities.  We even went on a date night and went to the spa. So indulgent, and I don’t even feel bad about it.

connor beach 1

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you’ve seen pictures of Connor at the beach and the food I’ve been eating. I’ll be back next week to share some yummy things from my kitchen as well as the most delicious dinner we’ve had in a long time.  Until then, I’ll continue to enjoy this lovely view of my fearless little boy crawling into the ocean with gusto and the beautiful South Carolina beach.
connor beach 2

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Zucchini Fritters with Dill Yogurt Sauce

We’ve gotten quite a bit of zucchini and squash in our CSA this year, which is fantastic.  We all love it…Connor has been known to down his fair share of it after it was cooked with butter and onions.  So far, I’ve used it in a galette, put it in pasta, zucchini bread and just sauteed with butter and onions.  It never disappoints.

I was in the mood to try something new and found this recipe.  It was delicious, especially the sauce.  Word to the wise, definitely take the time to drain and squeeze out the moisture from the zucchini, otherwise they won’t get crispy!
zucchini fritters

for the fritters, you will need:
2 large zucchini, shredded
1 teaspoon salt
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
¼ cup fresh dill, chopped
6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
salt & pepper to taste
canola oil for frying

for the yogurt sauce, you will need:
1 cup Greek yogurt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped

Grate zucchini and toss it with the salt in a large colander, and let it sit for 30 minutes to draw water out of zucchini. Wrap the zucchini in paper towels and squeeze to remove the excess water.  Do this several times until you have gotten as much moisture out as possible.  Place zucchini in a large bowl and set aside.

Chop the onion and saute in butter over low heat for about 5 minutes.  Add the onion to the bowl of zucchini along with feta cheese and dill, mix to combine. Whisk flour and eggs together, then add to the zucchini mixture. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and give it another good stir.

Over high heat, add enough oil to a large skillet or frying pan to coat the bottom.  Allow it to get very hot. Drop about 1/3 of a cup of the zucchini mixture into the hot oil and flatten it a bit to form a patty. Fill the pan with other dallops of the zucchini minture.  Fry until golden on both sides, about 8 minutes.  Drain on paper towels until ready to serve.

While the fritters are cooking, make the yogurt sauce.  Mix yogurt, minced garlic and chopped dill together in a small bowl. When the fritters are cooked, serve with dallops of the yogurt sauce and enjoy!

makes: 10-12 fritters
time: hands-on prep= 25 minutes | hands-off prep = 30 minutes | cook time = 8 minutes per batch
from: Vikalinka

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Strawberry Rhubarb Hand Pies

Bite sized pies!  They are adorable, and tasty.  Less work than making a full sized pie, but tastes just as good.  Winning.  This Handheld Pies cookbook is so fun…I’d like to make everything in there.

My pies leaked some of the filling, so they weren’t as plump and juicy.  Next time I’ll have to be firmer with my pinching!
strawberry rhubarb hand pies for the cream cheese crust, you will need:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
very cold 4 ounces cream cheese
very cold 2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup whole milk, plus 2 tablespoons more if needed

Cut the butter and cream cheese into cubes and freeze them for about 10 minutes. Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse three or four times to mix.  Scatter the cubes of cream cheese and butter over the flour mixture.  Pulse until the mixture forms pea-size clumps.  Add the milk, and pulse three or four times until the dough comes together, adding the extra milk if necessary.

Turn the dough onto a clean, floured work surface or sheet of parchment paper. Knead the dough a few times, divide it in half and wrap in plastic wrap.  Flatten into discs and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.

for the filling, you will need:
1 cup thinly sliced rhubarb
1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled & quartered
½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg, beaten

In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix gently so as not to crush the berries.  Use immediately to fill the pie crusts.

To prepare:
Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and remove the dough from the refrigerator.  Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Lightly flour a work surface, unwrap the dough and place it on the work surface.  Dust with flour and roll out until the dough is about 1/8 of an inch thick.  Using a round biscuit or cookie cutter, cut out as many pieces as possible.  Only reroll the dough once or it will get tough.

Put a couple tablespoons of filling in each circle, leaving about ¼ inch border.  Moisten the edge with the egg and then fold over into half-moons.  Pinch the edges to seal and place on baking sheets about 1 inch apart.  Brush the with remaining egg.

Place trays in the oven and bake until the crust is golden, 15 to 20 minutes.  Let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.  Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 2 months.

makes: 10-12
time: prep – 25 minutes | chilling – 2+ hours | 20 minutes
adapted slightly from: Handheld Pies

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Farmers Market Summer Pasta

Sometimes the best dinners are the ones you make up on a whim with what you have in your house.  This, my friends, is one of those dinners.  Holy moly, so flippin’ delicious.  It is the epitome of summer…in a bowl.  It’s even better if you can find homemade pasta…or if you are feeling daring enough to make your own. Gah, I’m drooling.

Go make this, and add your own flare by using whatever ingredients you have in your kitchen!
summer pasta

you will need:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
2 medium zucchini or yellow squash, halved and sliced
2 ears sweet corn, cut off the cob
5 garlic scapes, sliced (or 2 cloves of garlic, minced)
1 pound pasta (I chose fettuccine)
¾ cup ricotta cheese
zest and juice of 1 lemon
handful of chopped parsley
salt & pepper
olive oil and chopped basil for serving

Heat the butter and olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.  Add the onions and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add zucchini and cook for another 10 minutes, until softened.  Add corn and garlic scapes and continue cooking for another 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper and turn heat down to low until you are ready to add the pasta.

While the vegetables are cooking, combine the ricotta cheese, lemon zest and juice, chopped parsley, salt and pepper in a bowl.  Set aside until ready to serve.

Cook the pasta according to package directions.  Before draining, reserve about a cup of the pasta water and set aside.  Add the pasta to the pan with the vegetables and toss well to combine.  Add some of the reserved water to reach your desired consistency.

Divide pasta up into bowls or plates, top with dollop of the ricotta mixture and chopped basil, then drizzle with olive oil.

serves: 4
time: 30 minutes
cb original recipe

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Garlic Scape Pesto

Another ingredient I’ve never cooked with before…garlic scapes.  Garlic scapes are basically the flower stalk of garlic plants, growing out of the top in a curly sort of fashion.  My CSA newsletter suggested making pesto with them, so obviously that’s the direction I went.  I could eat pesto with a spoon…greens blended with nuts, cheese and olive oil…I mean come on.  What is better than that?  Well I suppose tossing it with warm pasta.  Food heaven.
Garlic Scape Pesto

If you happen to come across these at your local farmers market or get them in your farmshare, I highly suggest making pesto with them.  Super easy and totally delicious…double win!
Pesto Close-Up

you will need:
¾ cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
10 garlic scapes, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup (or 1 large handful) parsley, roughly chopped
½ cup Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
¾ cup olive oil

Heat walnuts in a small skillet over medium heat without oil.  Swirl the pan every minute or so until you can smell the nuts toasting, about 3 minutes.  Take off of the heat and set aside to cool a bit.

Meanwhile, prepare the garlic scapes and parsley and toss in the bowl of a food processor.  Add walnuts and pulse until everything breaks into pieces.  Pulse a few more times, then add cheese, salt and pepper.  Pulse again until a paste begins to form.

With the food processor running, add the olive oil in a steady stream until it reaches your desired consistency.  Feel free to use more or less than my suggested amount of oil.  I keep mine pretty thick and thin it out in small portions if necessary.  Do a taste test for seasoning before serving or storing.

Serve immediately or place in a container and add a bit of olive oil to the top before refrigerating.  Keeps beautifully in the fridge for about a week or freeze small portions (hello ice cube tray) for a summer treat in the middle of the gloomy winter.

makes: about 2 cups
time: 10 minutes
cb original recipe

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Beef Tenderloin & Creamy Poblano Enchiladas

Homemade enchiladas are my favorite way to use leftover steak or rotisserie chicken…so delicious.  We grilled beef tenderloin and had a decent amount leftover.  Let me tell you, it is amazing wrapped up in a tortilla and drenched in poblano sauce.  Thank you Mama Cheater Bite for bringing over a container of that heavenly sauce.  You should make these and serve them with chili lime rice like I did.  Your stomach will thank you.
beef & poblano enchiladas

you will need:
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 small sweet red pepper, chopped (could substitute a poblano pepper or some fresh jalapeños)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 cup poblano sauce, divided
3 ounces cream cheese
¾ pound cooked beef tenderloin, cut into pieces
1½ cup shredded cheese, divided
flour tortillas

Heat a large sauce pan over medium-high heat and add canola oil one turn around the pan. Add the onion and peppers and cook, stirring often, until they have softened, 8-10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and chili powder, and cook just until fragrant, less than 30 seconds. Add the cream cheese and ½ cup of the poblano sauce and stir until combined.  Season sauce with some salt and pepper and take off of the heat.  Add in the steak, ¾ cup of shredded cheese and the cilantro. Stir to combine.

Preheat the oven to 425° and coat a baking dish with cooking spray. Heat the tortillas until warm and pliable. Spoon about ½ cup of the mixture evenly down the center of a tortilla. Roll up the tortilla around the filling tightly, and place in the prepared baking dish, seam-side down. Repeat with the remaining filling and tortillas. Lightly spray the tops of the enchiladas with cooking spray. Place in the oven, uncovered, for 7 minutes or until the tortillas start to brown slightly.

Reduce the oven temperature to 400˚ and remove the enchiladas from the oven and pour the rest of the poblano sauce over the top. Sprinkle with the remaining shredded cheese. Cover the dish with foil and bake for another 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 5 more minutes, until the cheese is browned. Remove from the oven and let stand 10 minutes before serving.

serves: 4
time: 45 minutes
cb original recipe

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Summer Squash & Ricotta Galette

So a galette is basically just a fancy version of pizza.  A very flaky, buttery pizza.  Even though it is a bit time consuming, this recipe is not complex and you can prep a lot of it a day in advance.  It is certainly is a showstopper to bring to a party as an appetizer. Or to have for a summer lunch.
zucchini ricotta galette I’m fairly certain I could eat an entire one of these babies and not even feel bad about it.  Yes, it is that good.

for the pastry, you will need:
1¼ cups all-purpose flour, chilled
¼ teaspoon salt
1 stick (8 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter
¼ cup sour cream
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¼ cup ice water

Whisk together the flour and salt in a large bowl.  Cut the butter into chunks and place on a small plate or bowl.  Place both in the fridge for about 15 minutes before moving on.  Once chilled, combine the butter and flour with a pastry cutter or a large, sturdy fork.  Cut until the mixture resembles a coarse meal the size of peas.

In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon and water.  Add the mixture to the butter and flour and mix gently with a spatula until large clumps form.  Using your hands, combine into a ball, but make sure not to overwork the dough.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight.

for the filling, you will need:
1 large or 2 small zucchini or squash
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
½ cup ricotta cheese
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
handful of slivered basil leaves

Spread the zucchini out over several layers of paper towels.  Sprinkle with the salt and let sit for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, combine the ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella, garlic and olive oil and set asie.  Blot the tops of the zuchinni dry before using.

for the glaze, you will need:
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon water

Preheat the oven to 400°F. On a floured work surface, roll the dough out into approximately a 12-inch circle. Transfer the dough to an ungreased baking sheet, then spread the ricotta mixture evenly over the bottom, leaving a border of about a 2 inches. Shingle the zucchini attractively on top of the ricotta, starting at the outside edge. Drizzle a tablespoon or so of olive oil mixture evenly over the zucchini. Fold the border over the filling, pleating the edges to make it fit, and brush crust with egg yolk glaze.

Bake for about 35 minutes, until the cheese is puffed, the zucchini is slightly wilted and the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with basil.  Let stand for at least 5 minutes, then slide the galette onto a serving plate and cut into wedges like a pizza.  Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

serves: 4-6
time: dough – 20 minutes prep + chilling time | galette – 40 minutes prep + 40 minutes baking/cooling
from: Smitten Kitchen

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Posted in appetizers & snacks, squash, veggies | Tagged , , | 1 Comment