Cooking food that pleases to two adults and a toddler can be tricky at times. I like to think that little Sara eats good, home cooked food most of the time, so the occasional bribe at the grocery store so we can go through the register and reach the car without a major meltdown doesn’t make me too worried. To make up for those bribes, I always look for recipes that include whole grains, vegetables and lean proteins. So, when I saw this recipe here, I knew I had to try it; the dish is simple, good hot or at room temperature. Toasting the millet gives the whole dish a nutty flavour and goes beautifully with the tender butternut squash, soft and sour cranberries and crunchy pumpkin seeds. The original recipe comes from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian which I have already ordered; I am looking forward to trying more recipes from the book.
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil plus more to grease the dish
- ¾ cup millet
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon minced sage leaves
- 2 tbsp maple syrup or honey
- 1 cup vegetable stock or water
- ¼ cup cream
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds or coarsely chopped hazelnuts
Preheat the oven to 375F; grease a 10×10 or 9×13 baking dish with olive oil, set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a pan and toast the millet until golden and fragrant, transfer to the prepared baking dish, arrange the butternuts squash and cranberries, season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with sage and drizzle with honey or maple syrup. Heat about ¾ cup of vegetable stock and ¼ cup of cream, pour over the millet, cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes.
Remove the foil, increase the oven temperature to 400F, check the millet, it should be cooked through but still a little firm, add more water, stock or cream (I added about 3 tbsp of vegetable stock) and bake for about 10 more minutes.
Finally, a recipe that doesn’t start by melting copious amounts of butter and chocolate, and it’s not even a real recipe, more like a salad that we make using kale and what we have on hand. I dislike winter tomatoes with passion, not only are they perfectly tasteless but they also lack that beautiful tomato smell, so, instead I use winter greens, white and red cabbage for salads.
To make this salad, I chop up the kale, steam it lightly and toss with extra-virgin olive oil and apple cider vinegar, then, whatever we have in the fridge or what we feel like eating goes into the bowl, some kind of cheese, some dried fruit and a generous amount of toasted nuts make for a perfect winter salad.
Last weekend I was experimenting with a flourless beet cake for Passover which involved roasting bunches of beets and thankfully at the end of the day we had one to use in the salad, I added some gorgonzola cheese and toasted pine nuts and served it with grilled salmon and called it lunch.
- 1 bunch kale
- 1 beet, roasted, peeled and diced
- 2-3 oz. Gorgonzola cheese, or any other blue cheese
- ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
- 3-4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Wash the kale thoroughly in cold water, remove the stems and cut into thin slices, steam the kale, in batches if necessary, for 2-3 minutes, toss in a large bowl with the olive oil and apple cider vinegar, season with a little salt (go easy with the salt if you are using a salty cheese) and black pepper, add the beet and the pine nuts reserving some to decorate before serving, toss well again and decorate with diced beet, cheese and the pine nuts. Serve as a salad or side dish.
When I started this blog or I should say, when my husband convinced me start a blog, I knew that some of the recipes would be the ones that I make regularly, some would be new things I see on television, in other food blogs or in cookbooks and naturally most of the recipes would be coming from my mother.
My mother has given us amazing support since we started, she was the first to subscribe to the blog, (first time she has subscribed to a blog, ever!), she has also been giving me great advice, sharing her recipes, tips and techniques, but I have to say, she happens to be my hardest critic! Just the other day, she reminded me of Valentine’s Day and asked me what I was planning on posting, I told her I hadn’t decided yet, so she offered the chocolate pot de crème which I have to be honest, sounded great but I told her I didn’t have recipe for it, she quickly said she would e-mail me the recipe, it was in my inbox within seconds, then I quickly said that I didn’t have pretty little pots for it, so she suggested I use grandma’s Turkish coffee cups, that’s what I did. The dessert, aside from sounding like a heart attack in a little cup is excellent, especially if you let it chill long enough in the fridge.
The recipe below serves 6-7, depending on the size of cup.
- 5 oz. dark chocolate, I used 70%
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 6 egg yolks
- Optional topping: Fleur de sel
Preheat the oven to 325F; line a baking dish with a rim with a dish towel, set aside.
Heat the milk and cream in a saucepan, melt the chocolate and let it cool slightly, mix in the yolks gently with a spatula, pour in the warm milk and mix to combine, strain through a fine sieve and divide amongst the cups or ramekins.
Arrange the pot de crèmes in the baking dish and pour enough hot water into the baking dish to cover half the height of the ramekins. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the custard sets but still looks a little jiggly in the middle. Remove from the oven, let them cool to room temperature and refrigerate until ready to serve, preferably for at least 4 hours. Serve with fleur de sel, plain or the topping of your choice.
Every summer, starting in June, we start picking fruits and vegetables at the local farms. The picking season in most farms start with strawberries and the last vegetables to pick are the winter squashes, they have a huge variety at the farm. They grow squashes of all sizes, tiny pumpkins and squashes and giant ones, really sweet, almost fit for a dessert type to less sweet ones. The colours just reflect what you see in nature around that time of the year, everything from dark green to vibrant orange is available. After enjoying fresh, local, delicious fruits and veggies all summer, it’s hard to go to the produce store to buy vegetables.
Thankfully, squashes last a long time when kept in a cool, dry place and we get to enjoy it for months after picking them. I love to incorporate winter squash into all sorts of dishes, from cakes to breads to lasagne but if we had to choose a favourite, this recipe would definitely be the one. This year we made it more than any other squash recipe combined; it’s easy, versatile and goes beautifully with all kinds of main courses.
Adapted from Kalyn’s Kitchen
- 1 medium butternut squash
- Garlic infused extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp fresh rosemary
- Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- ½ cup hazelnuts (skin on), coarsely chopped
- 1/3 cup Gorgonzola cheese
Preheat the oven to 425F. Peel and halve the butternut squash, remove the seeds and cut it into 1 inch pieces, transfer to the baking tray and toss with the olive oil, rosemary and season with salt and pepper. Bake for about 35 minutes or until the squash is tender and lightly caramelized, add the chopped hazelnuts and bake for another 5-10 minutes or so. Remove from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes, transfer to a serving bowl, add the gorgonzola and serve warm.
A little piece of these brownies goes a very long way, they are rich, dense and fudgy, if you are looking for a light, cakey brownie recipe, this is definitely not the one. I have watched Barefoot Contessa make these brownies on food network multiple times, read and drooled over the picture in her book but could not just melt a pound of butter and chocolate as the base of a recipe, then, I scaled down the recipe just to be able to try it. I cut it into 9 squares and that makes a healthy portion for most people. Since you really only taste the chocolate, I really recommend using the very best quality chocolate and fresh walnuts.
The recipe is simple, no need for a mixer, just couple of bowls and a spatula is enough but there I have an important tip, once it’s baked, make sure to cool it to room temperature and then refrigerate it, because although it’s fully cooked, it’s also very soft, you can’t cut once it comes out of the oven. So, cooling to room temperature and refrigerating before cutting is important.
By the way, these brownies freeze beautifully, I froze a few pieces just to experiment and I was really impressed by how fresh they tasted.
Adapted from: Barefoot Contessa Parties
- 10 tbsp unsalted butter
- 10 oz. dark chocolate (I used 70%)
- 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
- 2 extra-large eggs
- ½ tablespoons instant coffee granules
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup sugar (I used 2/3 cup)
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour plus 1 tbsp to toss the chocolate and walnuts
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 4 oz. chocolate, chopped (or chocolate chips)
Butter and flour an 8×8 baking dish, set aside, preheat the oven to 350F.
Melt the butter, chocolate and unsweetened chocolate, let it cool to room temperature. In a large bowl mix the eggs, the instant coffee, vanilla and sugar (do not incorporate air into it), pour the melted chocolate and butter into the egg mixture and stir to combine, add the flour, baking powder and salt.
In a small bowl toss the walnuts and chocolate with a tablespoon of flour and add to the brownie batter, pour it into the prepared baking pan, smooth the top with a spatula and bake until it’s set and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Let it cool to room temperature and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight, remove from the fridge, let it stand at room temperature for half an hour or so and cut into squares.