Thursday, November 21, 2013

a list of loves and links

Because my life this week is consumed  with shoeboxes through this incredible ministry, I've gathered a bunch of my favorite links lately and few other random things that have caught my eye. Happy browsing!

I know summer is behind us, but this one-pan farro with tomatoes recipe from Smitten Kitchen is simply delicious. After thirty minutes in the pot, the ingredients transform into an almost risotto-like goodness that is perfect for cold winter evenings. This is one my newest go-to recipes for easy, quick, and comforting dinners. (P.S. cut the red pepper flakes if you don't do heat.) Speaking of Smitten Kitchen, these cranberry orange breakfast rolls are on my list of sweet things to make and SOON!

Current favorite diy blog: East Coast Creative. What these ladies can do with tiny budgets is magical! Watch their show and prepare to be amazed. My personal favorites thus far from the show: the rolling barn door, the pallet wood accent wall, and this little kitchen re-do. Truly gifted designers.

Meet Grandma Helen. Yes, that is her name. Quite possibly one of the silliest cows I've ever seen. Check out that curly mop up on top and those giant ears. She wants to know if you have a carrot in your pocket...

Marriage is work, beauty, sacrifice, and love all rolled together in a messy, precious package! This article reminds me of how thankful I am for my hubster.

Sugared cranberries?!? I feel like I've missed something so important for much much too long. It's time to change that.

Gearing up for Christmas goodness! Get ready - I've got some Christmasy posts in the works. Here's a little sneak peek:

Just got PW's newest cookbook from the library! Can't wait to read through all the recipes and check out Charlie's costumes :)

Excited for more Joy the Baker's Bonkers Awesome videos - pretty sure I'd make the same faces if I was covering a wedding cake with fondant!

And while we're on the subject of baking, leave it to the good people at King Arthur Flour to have some great baking tips. A reusable shower cap to cover rising dough - genius!

I leave you with this beautiful sight of what almost landed on our car last weekend...
Pretty cool, huh?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

butternut squash, feta, and sage galette

The flavors of fall are in full swing here in the abode. A couple of weeks ago that meant the smell of pumpkin filled every nook and cranny. But now, I've mostly transitioned to apples, cranberries, sweet potatoes, pomegranates, and squash. Today let's focus on that perfect little fall-flavored starch: butternut squash.

I recently discovered a versatile galette recipe in the Everyday Food Light cookbook. Are you familiar with galettes? Basically a rustic free-form tart that can be made savory or sweet. The galette dough in this recipe uses olive oil instead of butter (less saturated fat), comes together in a bowl in a minute and half, and is basically a blank canvas. Quite possibly the easiest dough ever. With perhaps the exception of Bisquick, but I'm not completely sure that counts.

The original recipe uses broccolini and feta. I kept the dough the same, but changed the filling to include roasted butternut squash, feta, parmesan, and a few of the last waning sage leaves from the garden. A dash of cayenne and some cracked pepper help give the galette some additional peppiness. The result? Sweet, savory, fall-inspired goodness! Let's crack open that squash!

Butternut Squash, Feta, and Sage Galette
Adapted from Everyday Food Light

For the dough:
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 c. olive oil
1/3 c. cold water
1 tsp. salt

For the filling:
1/2 of a butternut squash (about a 1 1/2 lbs after peeled or the top neck part of the squash - save the bottom half for another day)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
1/2 c. crumbled feta cheese
1 1/2 tsp. fresh finely chopped sage
dash of cayenne
ground pepper, to taste
1 egg, lightly beaten

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Peel butternut squash and cut just where the neck begins to round (see photo).

3. Using a knife or mandolin, cut squash neck in half long ways and then cut into 1/4 inch thick semi-circles. Try to cut similar size pieces, otherwise, the squash will not roast evenly in the oven.

4. Toss squash pieces in olive oil and salt.

5. Spread the squash semi-circles out on two parchment lined or greased baking sheets and roast for about 20 minutes. You want the squash to be tender, but not mushy (mushy squash will fall apart during the galette assembly process). Once the squash is out of oven, raise the temperature to 400 degrees.

6. While the squash is roasting, prepare the galette dough by combining all the ingredients with a fork in a mixing bowl. Once the dough has comes together, knead for about a minute. Refrain from overkneading - the dough will loose its flakiness.

7. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and allow to rest in a bowl for 30 minutes.

8. Once the dough has rested, roll out on parchment into a 14 inch round. Transfer dough and parchment to a baking sheet.

9. Assembly the galette. First, sprinkle parmesan in the middle of the round leaving a 2 1/2 inch border on all sides. Then starting in the middle of the dough create a circular fan with the roasted squash. Then make another circle of squash overlaping the first (see photo). Sprinkle cayenne evenly across squash. Then spread feta and top with sage and ground pepper.

10. Fold dough border over filling and brush with beaten egg.

11. Bake in lower third of the oven for 35-40 minutes or until crust is golden brown. I prefer my galettes warm, but served at room temperature like a quiche works too.

Serve with a a spinach salad and call it dinner/lunch for four. Happy Cooking!

Need more butternut inspiration? Try Bon Appetit's florentini with butternut squash, Smitten Kitchen's butternut squash and caramelized onion galette, How Sweet It Is's butternut squash enchiladas or Love & Olive Oil's butternut squash risotto. All deliciously lovely options! Or check out Mouthwatering Mondays hosted by Southern Fairytale!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

tuesday's thought

Perhaps it's more of a challenge than a thought. Dust off those journals, curl up in a cozy chair, and let the ink flow. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

almond oatmeal lace cookies

Happy November! I love everything about this time of year - crisp days, cozy nights, days filled with laughter, friends, and FOOD! These lace cookies are the perfect recipe to ring in the baking season. The ingredient list isn't too long, the dough comes together quick, and the result is a buttery and elegant cookie that's just begging to be taken to a family party or a cookie exchange.

This recipe is adapted from an old standby cookbook in my mom's cookbook library. And yes, I did say library - her collection is extensive! Mom has her own little cataloging system. Unfortunately, I haven't quite figured out her system and always forget where each book belongs. Such a source of shame to my inner librarian! In my defense, they are lacking proper spine labels :) Anyway, the original recipe comes from Steven Schmidt's Master Recipes. I adapted it to include some nuttiness with the almonds and a wonderful complimenting drizzle of chocolate on top. Every great cookie deserves a small dose of chocolate!
2 sticks salted butter
1/2 c. white sugar
1/4 c. packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tbsp all purpose flour
1 1/4 c. oats
3/4 c. ground almonds
4 oz. semi sweet or dark chocolate

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Melt butter in saucepan over low heat
3. Remove from heat and beat the sugar in first then egg and flour. I pour the melted butter into my stand mixer and let the mixer do the work.
4. Stir in oats and almonds. Don't worry if the dough looks too liquidy - the butter will begin to solidfy as it cools. I did need to add another tablespoon of oats to my dough because the egg I used was abnormally large.
5. Drop slightly heaped teaspoons of batter at least 2 1/2 inches apart onto prepared baking sheets. Flatten mounds of batter slightly with finger and push in jagged edges.
6. Bake in batches on prepared baking sheets for 8-9 minutes in preheated oven until cookies have spread and browned nicely around the rims. I found that using a silpat works beautifully with these cookies. If you don't have one, use parchment.
7. Let cookies cool a minute or two on sheet then transfer to parchment lined cooling rack.
8. Once the cookies cool, melt chocolate over double broiler.
9. Decorate your cookies. Here's your options: drizzle with melted chocolate, use a pastry brush and brush half of each cookie gently, or dip the bottoms of the cookies so the back side is coated in a light layer of chocolate. I prefer drizzling. It's the messiest, prettiest, and easiest way to decorate!
10. Cookies keep for two to three days in an airtight container. I keep mine in the fridge, and bring them to room temperature before eating. You can also freeze them in airtight containers, but enjoy within two months time.
The original recipe said it makes four dozen 2 1/2 inch cookies. I made mine a bit larger and got a little over three dozen.
P.S. The buttery, nutty smell of these cookies is intoxicating. I could barely resist eating another one while getting this shot. Taste testing is always the best part!