Potatoes That Taste Better Than The Chicken

Roasted Chicken and Potatoes
Fall is around the corner, my friends. The beginnings of fallish things are happening from the wonderful cooler temperatures and crisp mornings to the not-so-wonderful appearance of Christmas decorations ALREADY. I’m not one to start up the Christmas music until the day after Thanksgiving and I’m not one to drink a pumpkin spiced latte until it can actually do its job of warming me up because I’m cold from natural causes (as in, I didn’t sit in my car with my AC on full blast to get the same effect. That’s cheating AND rushing the perfect moment, which I feel, should come about authentically.) My friend Libby is rolling her eyes at me because she LOVES rushing fall and pretending it’s cold outside. In fact, she already had a pumpkin spiced latte! ūüôā I’m fine with seasonal enthusiasts. Honestly – whatever makes you happy! But as for me and my household, we won’t decorate for Christmas until Thanksgiving is over. ūüôā

Another thing that¬†makes me happy is starting to think about fall dinners. I love the braising and stewing and the simmering of heavy, warm spices on the stove. One meal that gets me to thinking about the warmth of the winter is this simple and yet divine dish: roasted chicken on top of potatoes. We made this recipe a loooong time ago by¬†Jean-Georges Vongerichten. His recipe was so delicious, we’ve done it a few dozen times since and have varied and simplified and it’s always delicious and always perfect. I never mess this recipe up and it’s always so amazingly delicious. And let’s not ignore why: the potatoes are cooked in schmaltz. You’d also be delicious if you were roasted in chicken fat.

I also love this recipe because it is one of those dishes that everyone can agree on. Add a salad or some braised greens and you’ve got yourself a complete meal!

Potatoes Cooked in Chicken Fat Chicken Potatoes

Potatoes Taste Better Than the Chicken*

1 whole chicken, about 3 lbs
2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
coarsely ground salt and pepper
butter to coat the pan and chicken
1 head of garlic, sliced in half
sprigs of thyme, rosemary, whatever you have

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Butter a large cast iron skillet and place the cut potatoes in a single layer. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Pat your chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. Rub with butter and then stick the halved garlic head into the chicken cavity and add whatever herbs you like. Place the chicken on one of its sides on top of the potatoes.

Roast for 20 minutes. Turn the chicken onto its other side and roast another 20. Then, turn the chicken breast-side up and continue roasting until juices run clear and an instant-read thermometer says at least 165F, about 15-20 minutes more. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes and carve on top of the potatoes and serve them along with the chicken. Beautiful.

*adapted from Jean-Georges Vongerichten

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Dark Chocolate Cherry Pie Biscuits

Black Cherry Chocolate Biscuits
Dark chocolate and cherry – a pretty perfect desert combination. I regularly make dark chocolate oatmeal for Olive and myself and I will stir in dried cherries almost every time. There’s just something special about the tart zinginess of the cherries combined with the rich, deep earthy heft of dark chocolate. I’m just full of adjectives tonight. This baking project was a fun one – Olive and I were watching Tangled on a Sunday afternoon and I decided to bake something fun. A while back, Joy the Baker had this really fun baking competition and one of the challenges were these amazing apple pie biscuits. I remembered the recipe seeming like it wouldn’t work because it was too sloppy and wet, but they turned out incredible. (And there’s wonderful step-by-step instructions for how to do her biscuits, which you can apply to this recipe as well.) Fast forward to my version of this recipe and I felt the same way all over again – that there would be too much juice from the cherries for this recipe to work the same. And honestly, there was a bit more juice than with the apple version, but nothing a little draining didn’t fix. These were fun, decadent and great for breakfast during the week!

They also look so white because I had recently bought expensive, pasture-raised eggs made by chickens with PhDs and I didn’t want to waste one on making an egg wash for a few biscuits. So I brushed them with heavy cream. ¬†Not as pretty, but it saved an egg from not getting to fulfill its destiny of becoming a fried egg on my toast the next morning.

Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond Biscuits Cherry Chocolate Biscuits

Dark Chocolate Cherry Pie Biscuits*

For the cherry filling:
2 cups fresh, pitted cherries, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
squeeze of lemon

For the dough:
2 cups self-rising flour
1/4 cup cold, unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2/3 to 3/4 cup cold buttermilk

Preheat your oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.

In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and brown sugar until they are all incorporated and bubbling and then stir in the cherries. Mash them around (I use a drink muddler) and let the mixture cook for about 5 minutes. Stir in the extract and a squeeze of half a lemon and add a pinch of salt. Stir around and let it cook for one more minute. Drain off all but about 2-3 tablespoons of liquid (cherries give off more liquid than the original recipe’s apples, but you don’t want NO juice) and set the mixture aside to cool while you make the dough.

To make the dough, mix the flour and butter together with your hands or a pastry blender until the butter is broken up into small pea-sized bits. Stir in the sugar and then make a well in the center of your dough. Add the buttermilk and with a fork, stir together until combined. The dough should be soft and moist, so use a bit more buttermilk if needed.

Use all-purpose flour to dust your work surface. I ignored this step in the original recipe and the bottoms of my biscuits tasted sour because they were in dusted with self-rising and there’s baking powder in self-rising flour so DON’T BE LAZY LIKE ME and just get out the all purpose to dust. It isn’t that difficult.

Spoon the dough onto your floured surface and gently pat it into a small rectangle. Dust the top with a little extra flour and roll out into a rectangle about 7 x 10 inches. Arrange the cherries over half the long side of the dough and carefully fold the other half of the dough over the filling, crimping along the edges to seal in most of the filling. It doesn’t have to be perfect and it will be messy. If you have cracks, just gently pinch them closed and carry on. You want to have about a 6 x 8 inch rectangle when it’s all said and done, so just pat it into submission. Cut into 12 squares and place on prepared cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Brush the biscuits with a beaten egg that was not raised by monks and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon if desired (I just used sugar since cinnamon didn’t fit in with the flavor profile I was going for.)

Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until golden brown and serve right away. The sugar topping will melt if you store these in a plastic bag on your counter throughout the week, so it’s best to eat these the same day or store in an air-tight container.

*adapted from Joy the Baker

White Bean Stew with Smoked Sausage and Kale – Using Up Leftovers!

Scrappy Stew - White Beans, Kale and Roast Chicken
So it seems winter is going to beat us down at least one more time before spring officially arrives. ¬†Maybe more, but I’m hoping for just one last hurrah. ¬†I used to love winter and all its coziness and hot tea and warm socks. ¬†But now that I’m a mother of two little people, I find winter to be quite suffocating. ¬†I just NEED there to be the option to go outside. ¬†When I had Ellie back in November, I quickly taught Ollie how to open the backyard door by herself. ¬†That was probably the best move I made all year. ¬†She could come and go while I fed the baby and everyone was happy. ¬†But when it snows, there’s this expectation from Ollie that we MUST GO OUTSIDE NOW AND YOU MUST GO WITH ME. ¬†And it just isn’t that easy. ¬†And frankly, as most of you know, it takes 15 minutes to get a child bundled up to go outside and then 5 minutes for them to get so cold they want to come back in. ¬†I fail to see how it’s worth the effort.

The one thing I DO love about cold weather is the food. I love making a huge pot of beans and eating it over the following days in various ways. ¬†Over cornbread, with smoked sausage, in a quesadilla, with a fried egg, whatever, it’s all good. ¬†And this most recent batch of stew we made was my favorite. ¬†Because Matt made it. ¬†Seriously, though, we both make our beans in the same way and much in the spirit of the Family Meal Blog, I always love when a recipe is made by someone else in this family. ¬†This stew also does my most favorite thing in the entire kitchen-world: it uses up leftovers! ¬†We threw in a half used can of diced tomatoes, a handful of kale, onion, and some¬†leftover turkey and sausage from a local bbq joint¬†and it was frankly, amazing. ¬†The beauty of a good bean stew is that you can add anything and if the beans are good, you’re good to go. ¬†For this, I recommend using dried beans instead of canned, although canned would cut the prep/cook time by a good 8 hours. ¬†They just don’t have the depth of flavor that starting with dried beans does. ¬†And because we’re a part of Rancho Gordo’s Bean of the Month Club, (yes) I recommend you get their beans if you can find them!

White Bean and Kale Stew

 

White Bean Stew with Smoked Sausage and Kale

  • Servings: 8-10
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*start this recipe the day before you want to eat it! Modified for a slow cooker below the recipe!

1 lb dried white beans, such as canellini
2 bay leaves
1 small onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk of celery, diced (these three ingredients together are called mire poix)
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 can fire roasted tomatoes (we used half a can because that’s what we had leftover in our fridge)
1 smoked sausage link, chopped
4 oz. smoked turkey breast
1 small bunch of kale, rinsed and chopped

The night before you want to eat this stew, rinse the beans and then submerge them in a large stockpot by about 2 inches of water along with the bay leaf.

In the morning, bring the beans to a boil in the same water you soaked them in and add the onion, carrot and celery and garlic cloves. ¬†Season with salt and pepper. ¬†Reduce to an active simmer and cook until beans are tender. ¬†This time can really vary. ¬†I’d say on average, I have the beans simmering for about 2 hours before they are a texture I like. ¬†Some like al dente beans. ¬†I’m not one of those people. ¬†I also don’t like them to be total mush, like canned, but it’s your preference, really. ¬†Just start tasting them after an hour and keep going if you’re not satisfied.

After about an hour of simmering, add in the tomatoes and meats (and honestly, the meats were leftovers in our fridge. You could add bacon, ground beef, no meat at all Рthis soup will be amazing no matter what).  Toss the kale in about 30 minutes before serving and adjust the seasoning of the stew with extra salt and pepper.  Remove the bay leaves and serve with crusty buttered bread.

Slow Cooker Note: this could all be done in a slow cooker if you wanted to get it on before you go to work.  Just soak the beans in a large slow cooker overnight with the bay leaves with at least 2-3 inches of water covering the beans.  In the morning before you leave for work, add in the mire poix and garlic and turn it to low.  When you get home, add in the rest of the ingredients and turn it on high for about 30 minutes to let it boil.  Adjust the seasoning and serve.

Cheesy Broccoli Rice from Scratch

broccoli rice casserole
This was undoubtedly a comfort food for many of you growing up, as it was for me. ¬†Creamy and cheesy with just a hint of something green, but mostly rice and cheese. ¬†So all in all, the perfect vegetable dish. ūüėČ My mom made it a lot and sometimes I crave it but I’ve never made it myself.

A lot of recipes you see online call for cans of stuff, velveeta and things that just don’t seem like…food. ¬†Now, I’m not saying that the from-scratch version is any better for you, BUT it has all real ingredients and gives you a good feeling and that’s what makes the indulgence worth it. ¬†I decided one day I would make this dish and since I don’t keep any cream-of-whatever on hand, I made a simple bechemel (white gravy base) and added in lots of extra sharp cheddar. ¬†Each ingredient cooked separately in chicken stock to give lots of added flavor and the results were fabulous!

We still have lots of snow on the ground and the roads are hard to travel, so warm, cheesy dishes are the perfect meal to stay inside and enjoy. ¬†Be warm and well fed! ūüôā

Cheesy Broccoli Rice Casserole

 

Cheesy Broccoli Rice

  • 1 head broccoli, chopped small
  • 2 cups chicken broth (although vegetable broth would enable the entire
  • dish to be vegetarian)
  • 1 cup white rice
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 TBS unsalted butter
  • 4 TBS flour
  • 1 cup whole milk (plus more to adjust consistency)
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • breadcrumbs and extra cheese for topping (I used crushed Ritz crackers)

Preheat oven to 400F.

In a large, deep skillet, bring the broth to a boil and throw in the broccoli. ¬†Steam it with a lid covering until the broccoli is starting to get tender, about 5 minutes. ¬†Remove the broccoli with a slotted spoon and set aside in a large bowl. ¬†Add the rice to the broth and cook until tender (about 15-20 minutes). ¬†Dump rice into the bowl with the broccoli (it’s okay if there’s a little extra liquid).

Wipe the skillet clean and melt the butter over medium heat. ¬†Whisk in the flour until it’s all coated and bubbling, but not turning brown. ¬†Whisk in the milk and let it come back up to a boil, adding more splashes of milk to maintain a gravy-like consistency. ¬†I’m sorry I don’t have exact amounts, but it’s really an add enough until it looks right kinda thing. ¬†Stir in the cheddar and whisk until melted. ¬†Add more milk if it seems too thick. ¬†Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper until it tastes right and then stir in the broccoli and rice. ¬†Top with breadcrumbs and extra cheese and melt in the¬†oven until bubbling.

Caramelized Pear and Biscuit Pie

Caramelized Pear Biscuit Pie
Happy New Year’s Eve! ¬†It is a frigid 20 degrees today with a windchill of about -5 and this morning as I got reluctantly out of my bed, I looked out the frosted window and saw gray. ¬†Just gray with bits of white flocking everything in sight. ¬†I thought of what I would make for breakfast for the redhead and for Matt, who was working from home due to the weather, and I wanted something warm and cozy with possibly a bit of cinnamon. ¬†We had pears getting way too ripe on the counter and lest I waste such beautiful fruit, I decided to do a spin on Joy the Baker’s apple pie biscuits. ¬†The apples for her recipe are obviously not mushy pear consistency and so they cut up and bake into biscuits nicely. ¬†I knew that wouldn’t be possible with pears and I’d just end up frustrated, so I decided to do a free form biscuit/pie/tart mashup and the results were amazing. ¬†I adapted her biscuit recipe to include creme and lemon juice instead of buttermilk and the result was cakey, tangy perfection on top of caramlized pears.

I highly recommend this dish.

Pear Biscuit Pie

Caramelized Pear and Biscuit Pie*

For the pears:
4 ripe pears, peeled and sliced
4 TBS brown sugar
4 TBS unsalted butter
1/2 tsp kosher salt

For the biscuits:
2 cups self-rising flour
2 TBS granulated sugar
4 TBS cold butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 heavy cream
2 TBS lemon juice
1/4 cup milk

In the super old, awesome, vintage skillet your husband got you for Christmas, melt the butter and brown sugar and salt together until bubbly. ¬†Fold in the pears until they’re all coated and set aside.

Preheat your oven to 425F. ¬†In a large bowl, cut the butter into the flour and sugar until it’s all well incorporated. ¬†You can use your hands to break up the butter into tiny pieces in the flour, or just use a pastry cutter. ¬†Either way, make sure it resembles tiny pea-sized crumbles. ¬†Stir the lemon juice into the heavy cream and pour into the flour. ¬†Stir up until it’s all moistened and then add the milk until a sticky dough forms. ¬†You may need more milk. ¬†Loosely form biscuits and layer on top of the pears. ¬†Brush with a beaten egg and sprinkle with coarse sugar. ¬†Bake for 25-30 minutes until the biscuits are golden brown.

*adapted from Joy the Baker

Pear and Biscuit Pie

Poppyseed, Prune and Lemon Coffee Cake

coffeecake
Coffee cake has always seemed a bit boring to me. ¬†In a land filled with pies and cookies and brownies, why would you ever choose a coffee cake? ¬†It’s cake’s slightly dry cousin. ¬†I never see a coffee cake recipe and think, “Yeah, I’ll spend time making that” when I could be spending time making something more satisfying.

That was all until I saw this recipe from Tasting Table. ¬†Do you get the Tasting Table emails? ¬†If not, you should. ¬†So many great recipes and interesting gift ideas abound in every email. ¬†This coffee cake looked absolutely decadent (it should – there’s almost three cups of sugar – ack!) But I figured in the name of Thanksgiving indulgence and postpartum cravings, I’d dive in and try it. ¬†And I dadgum near ate the entire pan myself. ¬†Not my proudest moment, but it was pretty enjoyable. ¬†The filling reminded me of fig newtons and the lemon zest brightened the entire sugar-laden thing up. ¬†I’d definitely recommend making this when you have family in your house over Christmas. ¬†It makes a ton, it feeds and satisfies a lot (or one person over the course of a week) and it is super comforting. ¬†Enjoy!

coffeecake2
Poppyseed, Prune and Lemon Coffee Cake
makes one 13×9 cake

For the Streusel:

1 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1¬ľ teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the Coffee Cake:

Softened unsalted butter, for greasing
3¬ĺ cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1¬Ĺ teaspoons salt
¬ľ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup buttermilk
4 large eggs, at room temperature, beaten
¬ľ cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the Filling:
¬Ĺ cup chopped prunes
¬Ĺ cup packed dark brown sugar
¬ľ cup poppy seeds
Zest of 1 lemon

1. Make the streusel: In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, light brown sugar, ginger and cinnamon until everything is well incorporated. Add the melted butter to the flour-spice mixture and mix with a fork or a wooden spoon until fully incorporated and clumps begin to form. Make ahead: Unbaked streusel can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to a month.

2. Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350¬į. Grease a 13- x 9-inch baking pan with the softened butter and dust the pan with flour.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda.

4. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, sour cream, vanilla extract and melted butter until very smooth.

5. Using a rubber spatula, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until well combined.

6. Layer half the batter in the prepared baking pan; smooth it out to the edge leveling the top with an offset spatula. (Tip: Since the batter is so thick, it’s best to scoop it in ¬ľ cup mounds into the pan before spreading.)

7. Sprinkle the prunes evenly over the batter then sprinkle with the dark brown sugar and the poppy seeds. Top the filling with the lemon zest.

coffee cake
8. Layer the remaining batter over the filling using the same method mentioned above. Smooth out the top of the batter, ensuring it is even and reaches the edges of the pan. Sprinkle the top with the streusel, and then bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 45 to 55 minutes.  I had to bake it over an hour to get the middle done.  I recommend rotating it halfway through baking!

*recipe from Tasting Table

Sweet Potato Tortellini with Sage Brown Butter

homemade sweet potato tortellini
This pasta is a yearly tradition that Matt generally does at the beginning of the fall season. ¬†The classic combination of roasted pumpkin and sage is glorified with browned butter and served simply with a shaving of fresh Parmesan and a side of crusty bread. ¬†This year, we dipped into the all-encompassing guide to Italian cooking, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, by Marcella Hazan, for the recipe for the filling, which actually called for sweet potato instead of pumpkin (you can literally not taste the difference and the texture was great). ¬†We also use her recipe for our pasta dough and it is velvety and amazing every time. ¬†Making pasta from scratch is time consuming, but as we often do on the weekends, we incorporate the process of making the meal into our entertainment as well as our dinner. ¬†I’ve included step by step photos of how to cut and fill the dough and for rolling it out, we have this hand-crank pasta machine. ¬†It works great because I don’t feel like I can ever get pasta thin enough just rolling it out by hand. ¬†I’m no Italian grandmother.

Also, just an FYI to the few of you who subscribe to this blog: ¬†I’m due kind of any day, now. ¬†So, as you’ve undoubtedly noticed, my posts have been waning at the end of this pregnancy, and when I have the baby, I’ll either drop off the face of the planet entirely for a few months, or have a ton of random pockets of time to do posts – I just don’t know how it’ll turn out! ¬†But I’m thinking the former is more likely. ¬†So I pray you are all here when I return! ¬†And hey – when I return, I’ll be nearing the baby food making phase, again, and that may end up being great material for Family Meal posts, anyway! ¬†Stay tuned…and a few prayers would be nice, too. ūüėČ

cutting pasta
After rolling out the dough, for tortellini, cut into about 1.5″ squares. ¬†It doesn’t have to be perfect and a good pizza cutter makes it super easy.
piping out tortellini filling
Pipe out the filling by teaspoons using a simple ziplock bag with one of it’s bottom tips cut off. ¬†Using a serrated knife to lop off the portions helps tremendously so your hands don’t get all gunky.

folding tortellini
Wet the edges of the square with your finger dipped in water and fold one corner over to meet the other. ¬†As you can tell, this particular one was not so “square.”

 

forming tortellini 2
Then, fold the opposite corner up, dotting with water to seal it.
forming pasta 2
Wrap one of the other corners over your finger, and making sure your other corner is wet, bring it up and seal on top of the corner draped over your finger.
forming pasta
Voila – you have a tortellini. ¬†Now – do this 100 more times till you’re done with all of them, laying the finished pasta on a parchment-lined baking sheet dusted with flour to keep them from sticking together. ¬†Use parchment to separate layers of tortellini until you’re ready to boil.

 

forming tortellini

sweet potato tortellini

Sweet Potato Tortellini with Sage Browned Butter Sauce

For the Filling:

1 3/4 lbs orange-fleshed sweet potatoes (so really, yams if you can find them)
A pair of Italian amaretti cookies (I’ve only found these at World Market. ¬†I have a huge bag if you need a couple. ¬†Just swing by.)
1 egg yolk
3 tablespoons chopped prosciutto
1 1/2 cups freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
3 tablespoons parsley, chopped fine
whole nutmeg
salt

For the Pasta:  

*this is a great site and nearly the exact recipe we used.  He just gives so much great instruction and homemade pasta could be its own post entirely, so follow his steps and then continue on with rolling it out into tortellini as pictured in my post here.

For the Sauce:

5 tbs unsalted butter
12 sage leaves, roughly chopped and a few left whole

Instructions for the filling:

Preheat oven to 450F.  Bake the potatoes in the middle of the oven.  After 20 minutes turn the temp down to 400F and cook for another 35-40 min until potatoes are very tender when prodded with a fork. Turn off the oven. Split the potatoes in half lengthwise and return the potatoes to the oven, cut side up, leaving the oven door slightly ajar.  Remove after 10 minutes.  This helps dry out the potatoes some.

Peel the potatoes and scoop the flesh into a food processor.  Add the cookies, egg yolk, proscuitto, Parmesan, parsley a grating of nutmeg and about a teaspoon of salt and puree until smooth.  Adjust taste with salt.

Use this filling to fill your pasta and boil the formed pasta in salty water for 10 minutes, or until they’re al dente. ¬†We take one out around 5 minutes and test it and we usually let it cook a little longer. ¬†Remove pasta from water and keep it in a bowl with a splash of pasta water to keep it all from sticking together. ¬†If it sticks, more pasta water should loosen them up.

For the sauce: over medium heat in a large saucepan, heat the butter until it stops foaming and brown solids begin to form.  Careful to not burn!  As soon as foaming starts to subside, add in the sage leaves and swirl them around to crisp them up.  Continue letting the butter brown until fragrant.  Spoon browned butter and sage leaves over the pasta, top with a grating of Parmesan and serve!

 

Baked Pumpkin Doughnuts

pumpkin doughnuts
I¬†haven’t posted in a really long time. ¬†I apologize. ¬†Not that any of you were waiting around without anything to eat or lacking another post about complex carbs to drool over, but still. ¬†I don’t like being inconsistent, but I’m thinking that may be the new word that will begin to define my life, starting in about four weeks.

We’ve been doing all kinds of prep to the house for the arrival of this tiny baby. ¬†Amazing what all “needs” to be done to accommodate something that only weighs eight pounds. ¬†But I’m a planner. ¬†I love my ducks all in a row and a few of those ducks were still squawking around in my head, so we’ve been getting things done. We rearranged¬†Olive’s room and Eleanor’s nursery, which will also be a guest bedroom. ¬†I’ve made a Quiet Book for Olive for the one Sunday morning a month that our church doesn’t have their children’s program during services, and I’ve been trying to knit Eleanor a cardigan, which I’m sure she’ll like to put on one of her dolls when she’s five, because I think that’s about when I’ll be done with it. ¬†Matt finished building Olive’s bed and I’ve bought the requisite new rug (I feel the need to buy a rug for each new life occasion) for the nursery and so we’re getting there. ¬†Slowly but surely, I’ll be ready for this baby to enter our world. ¬†Things left to do: buy Christmas presents for as many people as I can, write a few dozen blog posts, finish up my last three photo shoots, have a few cooking days to stock our freezer with ready to make meals for the winter, and create/shoot our annual Christmas card. ¬†Yes, we will go to just as much trouble as we always do. ¬†Unfortunately/fortunately. ¬†It’s going to be epic. ūüôā

So in the midst of all this planning, I woke at 6 last Sunday morning with my parents in town for a visit, a quiet house, and THIS picture on my Instagram feed.¬† I quickly scanned my brain pantry for the items and they were all there. ¬†So, I got up and made them. ¬†They were fantastically successful. ¬†So easy and so worth buying a little doughnut pan, although I’m sure they’d bake up into amazing little mini muffins, as well, if you don’t have a doughnut pan.

I promise more regular posts in the coming weeks. ¬†Life’s changing, but we still have to eat, right?! ¬†I hope things have been going well for you. ¬†And if they haven’t, these doughnuts will start you off in a better direction tomorrow.

baked pumpkin doughnuts

Baked Pumpkin Doughnuts*
makes 16

1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, or 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon plus heaping 1/4 teaspoon each ground nutmeg and ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 350¬įF. Lightly grease two¬†standard doughnut pans. If you don’t have doughnut pans, you can bake these in a standard muffin tin; they just won’t be doughnuts.
Beat together the oil, eggs, sugar, pumpkin, spices, salt, and baking powder until smooth.
Add the flour, stirring just until smooth.

Fill the wells of the doughnut pans about 3/4 full; use a scant 1/4 cup of batter in each well. If you’re making muffins, fill each well about 3/4 full; the recipe makes about 15, so you’ll need to bake in two batches (unless you have two muffin pans). ¬†Bake the doughnuts for 15 to 18 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean. If you’re making muffins, they’ll need to bake for 23 to 25 minutes.

Remove the doughnuts from the oven, and after about 5 minutes, loosen their edges, and transfer them to a rack to cool.

While the doughnuts are still warm (but no longer fragile), gently shake them in a bag with cinnamon-sugar. If you’ve made muffins, sprinkle their tops heavily with cinnamon-sugar.
Cool completely, and store (not wrapped tight) at room temperature for several days. ¬†I’d recommend a tupperware as opposed to a plastic bag. ¬†They sweat like the dickens.

*taken from the King Arthur Flour website, which you all should subscribe to

 

Double Dark Chocolate Waffles

Double Dark Chocolate Waffles
The chocolate cravings have gone overboard. ¬†I really blame it in all seriousness on pregnancy. ¬†When I’m not pregnant, chocolate is good and fine, about on par with every other sweet. Not pregnant, ¬†I don’t think about it outside of seeing it, I don’t dream up ways of using it to its maximum potential in breakfast foods, and I don’t think that it’s “needed” to get from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. successfully. ¬†When pregnant…well, all those things suddenly become priorities. ¬†Like on Labor Day, I got up and looked up a basic buttermilk waffle recipe and then thought of the maximum way I could choco-fy it. ¬†And I did. ¬†Yes, I’ve had a similar waffle recipe on this blog before, BUT it wasn’t as good. ¬†These waffles are fluffier, less dense, and the chocolate chips remain melty like a fresh-baked chocolate chip cookie during your entire breakfast. ¬†So. ¬†I’m not sorry for seeming repetitive. ¬†If you’re pregnant, I’ll understand if I get a thank-you note in the mail later this week.
Double Chocolate Buttermilk Waffles
I topped these in three different ways and they were all good: melted butter and powdered sugar – easy, and the most cookie-like experience. ¬†Butter with maple syrup: most waffle-like experience, but I’ve always felt that syrup on a chocolate anything is too much. ¬†Turns out, it’s not. ¬†And three: fresh raspberries all over the suckers. ¬†Chocolate dipped fruit, anyone? ¬†They were all good. ¬†Dress it up, dress it down, this will be your new craving.

Double Chocolate Waffles
Double Dark Chocolate Waffles
makes about 12 Belgian-style waffles

2 cups AP flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup dark chocolate chips

Heat your waffle iron. ¬†In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients with a whisk until fully incorporated. ¬†In a smaller bowl, whip up the wet ingredients. ¬†Gently whisk the wet into the dry until just combined. ¬†Fold in the chocolate chips. ¬†Cook waffles to the waffle-iron’s suggested time (mine has a handy little light that goes off when they’re done) and keep in a 200 degree oven while you cook the rest to keep them nice and warm and crisp on the outside. ¬†Serve with powdered sugar and melted butter, or whatever. ¬†It really doesn’t matter – it’s all good.

Deviled Egg Burgers

deviled egg burgers
Here’s a little joyous addition to your Labor Day grilling if you want something new! ¬†Our dear friend, Shannon, who has been with us through all kinds of culinary adventures over the past 10 years as our most enthusiastic taste-tester, came up with this awesome¬†idea. ¬†We were sitting at our favorite restaurant in Lubbock, Crafthouse Gastropub, enjoying one of their creative appetizers, the fried deviled eggs, when the idea came to her. ¬†This dish is pure genius: hard boiled eggs, fry the whites in a crunchy batter and then serve the little fried egg halves with deviled egg spread so you can put as much as you want on your egg. ¬†So crunchy and amazing! ¬†As we were enjoying the dish, Shannon said, “This would be so good on a burger.” ¬†And we all sat in silence for a second and let it sink in that deviled egg filling would indeed, be the best burger spread, ever.

And it is.

Deviled Egg Burger Spread
Imagine the goodness of mayo, mustard, pickle, the tang of vinegar and the creaminess of the ever-popular-fried-egg-on-a-burger-trend, all combined into one spread for your burger. ¬†It TOTALLY works. ¬†So, I just whipped up a very traditional deviled egg mix and added the basics and it has been my favorite burger of the summer! ¬†If you want to try it, a dozen eggs yields enough for about 6 burgers as a spread. ¬†So cut it in half if you don’t have all deviled-egg enthusiasts at your party and see how you like it! ¬†Thanks, Shannon, for being our partner in culinary crime ūüôā ¬†We love you!

Deviled Egg Burgers 2
Deviled Egg Spread for Burgers

makes enough for 6 burgers

1 dozen hard boiled egg yolks
1 tsp paprika
2 tablespoons mayo
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 tablespoon sour relish
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar (or any vinegar, really)
salt and pepper to taste

Hard boil the eggs by bringing all dozen up to a boil (start them in cool water) and once it reaches a boil, remove from heat, cover, and let sit for 12 minutes. ¬†Drain, rinse in cold water and peel. ¬†The glory of this dish is that you don’t have to keep those fussy whites in tact. ¬†If they fall apart, they fall apart. ¬†If you don’t want to waste the whites, I’m sure you could crumble them up and incorporate them in this recipe as an egg-salad kinda thing. ¬†Do what you wish.

In a large bowl, add all the yolks and the other ingredients and mash well with a potato masher or whisk until smooth.  Adjust with extra mayo or mustard as you wish Рreally, I eyeballed this mixture, so I may have had slightly more of something, but these approximations are fairly close to what I did.  Spread on burgers, sandwiches, etc, and enjoy!