It's my blog's 5th birthday, so I thought I would celebrate and also by posting more than once in a month. Blogging sure has changed since this first post, but I do still enjoy capturing delicious recipes and sharing restaurant finds. I can't say I'll ever get back to a regular posting schedule, but I do hope that those readers who have stuck around continue to do so, because there is still so much tastiness to share. I've had some incredible experiences and made wonderful friends through my tiny space on the internet, and I'll treasure that forever. Stay tuned, because I really do plan on posting more than once this month. I'll have a wonderful giveaway or two soon and I will share some more restaurant deliciousness. In case you don't follow me on Twitter or Facebook (and really, what is your excuse?), I am also writing for My Daily Find Chicago. So once again, thanks for sticking around for these five fun years and cheers to more fun.
This cake was first introduced to me via White on Rice Couple, but it has been making the rounds on the internet. You can find the recipe I followed, here.
Monday, May 6, 2013
Monday, April 8, 2013
This year, I have been making a very concentrated effort to get at (at least) five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. I start each morning with a green smoothie full of blueberries, bananas, kale, and orange juice. At lunch, I mostly keep low carb with lots of greens and a little meat and at dinner I have...popcorn. It's all about balance and this is just what is working for me right now. The healthy lunches and breakfasts keep me powered through my recently insane work schedule so when I get home at night, I don't feel completely guilty reaching for the first thing on the pantry shelf. To avoid going completely off the rails, I try to keep something somewhat healthy on hand to heat up in my microwave-free kitchen when I get home at night. This soup is relatively simple to prepare and full of flavor to keep me from getting bored with an evening meal. Even though it is vegan, it's full of heartiness and I don't feel deprived after slupring a bowl full of this bright goodness.
One year ago: Brunch at Longman & Eagle
Two years ago: Thin Mint Brownies
Three years ago: Double Chocolate Butterscotch Muffins
Four years ago: Bacon and Tomato Tart
Butternut Squash and Tomato Soup
(Adapted from Bon Appetit, January 2013)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 medium (1.5 pounds) butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 teaspoons ground ginger or 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning as needed
1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
1 28-ounce can low-sodium, whole, peeled tomatoes, drained
1 1/2-2 cups of vegetable stock
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with tin foil. Brush the baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and place the squash halves, cut side down on the sheet. Tuck the garlic cloves into the the hollow of each squash half. Roast for 30-45 minutes or until the squash is fork tender. When the squash has cooled, peel it from the skin and reserve the flesh as well as the roasted garlic.
Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the reserved garlic, squash, ginger, salt, tumeric, tomatoes, and vegetable stock. Stir until combined. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover the pot, and cook, allowing the flavors to meld, about 20 minutes.
Use a handheld blender to puree the soup until smooth. Alternately, puree the soup in a blender in batches until it is smooth. Return to the Dutch oven over medium heat. Season again as needed and ladle the soup into serving bowls. Top each bowl with a little bit of freshly ground black pepper.
Thursday, March 28, 2013
It's been some time since my last post, but with Easter around the corner, I thought this would be the perfect moment to dig through the archives and share some of my favorite recipes that would go well with any spring feast. Spring hasn't quite sprung yet here in Chicago (though the upcoming weekend weather forecast has me more optimistic), but here are some recipes to get you in the mood for the season.
Hot Cross Buns are a traditional Easter treat.
Sticky Meyer Lemon Rolls are addictive, and best shared with a group at brunch.
Consider this light and relatively healthy savory spinach bread pudding.
I'm definitely missing California berries. Try using some in these awesome strawberry cheesecake muffins.
Asparagus is just coming into season and this simple asparagus mimosa is a great, fresh way to use them.
This strawberry and lemon curd tart is one of my favorite ways to bridge the gap with winter citrus and spring berries. Even though temperatures are still a bit chilly in Chicago, this reminds me that warmer days are around the corner.
As always, I hope you enjoy the holiday with family and friends that you love.
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Usually, when I don't blog for a while, it's just because I need a break from the blogging race. Trying to keep up with the trends and seasons can be so exhausting, that I just need some time to have a life again and decompress. Unfortunately, this recent break was not for those reasons. I've been dealing with the loss of a friend. A loss that was so unexpected and unimaginable, that I have found it hard to put fingers to the keyboard for purposes other than writing in my own private journals. In terms of dealing with death, I have been sort of lucky in life. I haven't lost too many people that I have been close to. As my sweet friend was laid to rest this weekend, I thought about how to deal with the loss of a loved one. Writing my thoughts down in journals has helped. Long walks, yoga, and Pilates have helped to alleviate some of the stress. Spending time with those that are close to me has been number one. I am also taking some comfort in cooking. Surprisingly, I haven't been craving sugary sweets or fattening "comfort" foods. Rather, I have been craving nourishing, vibrant food that helps me feel energized. That's not to say that some stress-relief baking hasn't been taking place, but above all of the cookies, I would rather have a salad much like this one. It is food's way of reminding me that even in the coldest times of my life, both literally and figuratively, there is brightness at the end of the tunnel.
Kale, Lentil, and Roasted Sweet Potato Salad
(Inspired by Familystyle Food)
*Notes: This salad is great warm or at room temperature. Massaging the kale takes some of the bite out of it, but it is not a necessary step.
Makes 2+ servings
For the roasted sweet potatoes and apples:
1 cup peeled and chopped sweet potatoes
1 medium Fuji apple, chopped
1 large shallot, chopped
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
For the dressing:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
For the salad:
4 cups roughly chopped kale
3/4 cup cooked French lentils, warm or at room temperature
2 tablespoons roughly chopped toasted walnuts
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the sweet potatoes, apple, and shallot with the olive oil, salt, black pepper, and cayenne. Roast in an oven-safe dish or pan for 30 minutes or until fork-tender. Set aside to cool slightly.
While the sweet potatoes are roasting, mix together the ingredients for the dressing. Pour the dressing over the kale and massage the kale with your hands for five minutes. Toss the lentils with the kale.
Divide the kale and lentil mixture between two bowls or plates. Top each plate with the sweet potatoes and apples and then with chopped walnuts. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Sunday, December 30, 2012
This has certainly been a delicious year! Before I left Los Angeles, I tried to visit as many restaurants, both new and old, as possible. Chicago has proved to be an equally amazing food town (though I haven't been documenting my eating adventures here as often). These are just a small sample of my favorite restaurant dishes from the year.
Kick Ass Margaritas at Marix. The food at Marix is good, and I think they make the best margaritas in Los Angeles, but what I love most about it is the atmosphere and all of the fun memories we created there. It is probably the restaurant I visited most in my ten years in Los Angeles.
Wood-Roasted English peas at Tar and Roses. Almost everything we had at this meal was great, but these simple roasted peas were one of the highlights for me.
The Original Baco from Baco Mercat.It is easy to see why Bon Appetit recently named Baco Mercat one of the best new restaurants of the year.
The chicken sandwich from Son of a Gun is a monster of a sandwich that is just delicious and best shared with friends.
I've now brunched at Longman & Eagle twice and it looks like I may squeeze in a third visit just as the year is coming to a close. Their chicken and waffles is an excellent way to get your day started.
The Purple Pig is another favorite Chicago restaurant. The pork fried almonds are a must at every meal there.
I had one crazy weekend in LA during the summer for a press trip and out of the many delicious things we ate that weekend, the Paiche from Mo-Chica was at the top of the list.
As I mentioned, I haven't been documenting my Chicago dining adventures as much, but I feel that the oysters at GT Fish and Oyster, the burger at Au Cheval, the foie gras terrine from Au Cheval, and the Tagliolini Nero with Crab, Sea Urchin, and Chili from Balena should all get shout outs. I am looking forward to many more meals in the next year and I can't wait to share them. Have a happy and safe New Year!
Sunday, December 23, 2012
I say this every year, but I cannot believe how fast this year has gone by. It was a big year for me which included me packing up and moving from Los Angeles to Chicago. It was a great decision and I am having the time of my life meeting new people and exploring an amazing city. Even though I don't cook quite as often as I used to, there have been some delicious things that have come out of my tiny kitchen in the last year. Here are a few of my favorites.
Serious Eats' take on Halal Cart-Style Chicken and Rice is packed with flavor and a great way to have street food at home.
Cookies and Cream Brownies were such a hit at my friend's Super Bowl party that I made them again a few weeks later for the super cute couple that I cooked for for Valentine's day.
One of the last things I cooked in LA was this insanely addictive Chipotle-Garlic Edamame.
Greek Nachos quickly became my favorite summer meal.
Funfetti Cake was a fun way to celebrate my sister's 30th birthday.
The holidays were definitely merrier with cranberry mojitos.
I really can't stop thinking about these peppermint slutty brownies. I may have to make them again for New Year's Eve.
I'm in California for the week visiting with my mom (!) and sister and relaxing. I hope that however you spend the holidays, you are having a great time with people you love.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
I thought I would do something a little different this year and make a little holiday gift guide of things that I am loving and/or coveting this season. It's not too late to pick up some last minute things for people on your list! To sweeten the post, I am hosting a giveaway to win one of these fabulous gifts! Scroll down for details.
1. Several cookbooks are on my "to-buy" list including The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, Keys to the Kitchen, and at the very top of the list is Jerusalem, A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, $19.85 on Amazon
2. I love rustic kitchens with a modern edge and this sign fits in to that aesthetic. It would be so cute over my little stove. "Eat" sign made with recycled farm steel by The Steel Fork on Etsy, $40
3. For leftover wine, these stoppers make an excellent stocking stuffer. vinostop "Peace" bottle stoppers on Spin Bucket, $9.95
4. I am feeling much love for my new home town. These necklaces are the perfect expression of pride for whatever city you live in. City pride necklace on Brevity, $75-$95
5. If you're traveling during the holidays or just listen to a lot of a music, these headphones are a must. The sound quality is amazing, they have a microphone so you can use them on calls, and they are so sturdy, that I feel completely comfortable throwing them in a carry on and not worrying about them. SOL Republic Tracks HD On-Ear Headphones, $129.99
6. Most of the time I take pictures with a 50mm lens, but it can be difficult in trying to get wide-angled shots of my city's skyline that I love so much. This 35mm lens allows for wider shots, while still being able to get great depth on tighter images. Canon EF 35mm f/2 Wide-Angle Lens, $309 on Amazon
7. To know me is to know I love, love my nail polish. I've changed nail colors three times in the past week alone. I am a huge fan of the brand Essie and totally crazy about their Winter 2012 collection. I have already added Leading Lady, Beyond Cozy, and Where's My Chauffer to my ever-expanding collection of colors. These colors are perfect for holiday parties and will make great stocking stuffers for the polish fanatics in your life. Essie nail polish in Leading Lady, $8
8. Winter is almost here! I'm super excited for the snow, but having already experienced the wind chill, I know I need to be prepared. This scarf/shawl combo is great for those super blustery days. The Chunky Cowl Scarf Shawl Hood by CT Handmade on Etsy, $34.95
9. Who doesn't love a thoughtful, homemade gift? Give the baker in your life something like homemade vanilla extract and they will think of you every time they make a delicious treat. Homemade Vanilla Extract Recipe on Saveur
Now for the giveaway! One (1) lucky reader will have a chance to win the SOL Republic Tracks HD Headphones in the color gray, as seen above. Since these are great for listening to music, the rules of the giveaway will be simple: Tell me your favorite holiday song (name of the song and artist). For additional entries, follow me on Twitter @dishingdelights and tweet me your favorite holiday song or follow my Facebook page and leave a post with your favorite holiday song. Once you have done that, leave another comment to let me know you have done so. This contest is open to US residents only and you have until midnight CST on 12/29/12 to enter. This will be a nice post-holiday gift if you didn't get everything on your list. Good luck!
*Disclosure: I received a pair of SOL Republic headphones to review and another to give away. The opinions expressed are my own.
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
We've all seen them. I believe they originated on Kevin and Amanda under the name Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie n' Oreo Fudge Brownie Bar (say that ten times fast). The Londoner coined them "Slutty Brownies" and they have been popping up around the web ever since. I got my first taste of these earlier this year at the Food Blogger Bake Sale and I have been waiting for a reason to make them. I try to stay away from box mixes so I wanted to do this version from scratch. For my holiday party with friends this past weekend, it made sense to kick these up with some mint. These are a delight. The mint creams get a little melted in the cookie layer, but they definitely enhance the flavor of the candy cane Joe Joes. The gooey brownie layer is the perfect counterpart to the mint. I would like to think these were the hit of the party. These brownies are definitely rich so one pan will go a long way at a party.
One year ago: Apple Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Glaze
Two years ago: Little Ethiopia
Three years ago: Pumpkin Bread with a Cinnamon Cheesecake Layer
Four years ago: Almond Brittle
Peppermint "Slutty" Brownies
(Adapted from What's Gaby Cooking)
For the brownie layer:
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs at room temperature
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 package candy cane Joe Joes (or other chocolate-mint sandwich cookie)
For the cookie dough layer:
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup brown sugar
Scant 3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup of chopped peppermint cream candies (it is easier to cut them while they are cold)
To make the brownie layer:
Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Turn off the heat. Whisk in the sugar and cocoa powder. Remove the pan from the burner and whisk in the eggs and vanilla until well-combined. Add the flour and whisk until it is fully incorporated. Set the brownie batter aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x9 pan with foil and leave an overhang so it is easy to lift the brownies out of the pan. Spray the foil with cooking spray.
To make the cookie layer:
In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer, cream the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, add the egg and vanilla, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder and mix until well combined. Fold in the mint creams.
Press the cookie mixture into the prepared pan into an even layer. Top the cookie dough with the candy cane Joe Joes in a single layer. Top the cookies with the brownie batter and use a spatula to spread the mixture evenly.
Bake for 30-35 minutes until a knife inserted in the center of the pan comes out clean. Let the cookies cool on a rack for 10 minutes before lifting out of the pan to cut and serve.
Monday, December 10, 2012
I've had a cheesecake craving for about three months, so a few weeks ago, I decided to give in and finally make some. I can be picky about cheesecake, but I was intrigued by fusing it with the flavors of a beloved cookie. One or two of these bars definitely satisfied my craving and I was able to give the rest to my insatiable friends at a post-Thanksgiving get together. The warm smell of cinnamon baking is a great way to get in the holiday mood. If that doesn't work, just have a mojito or two. It's not too late to add these to your menu of holiday baking and I guarantee your friends will love these bars just as much as mine did.
I made this recipe as found on the Tasty Kitchen blog here. Next time, I would reduce the cookie layer by half and also line the pan with foil to make for easier removal.
One year ago: Buttermilk Fried Chicken
Two years ago: Braised Short Ribs with Autumn Root Vegetable Puree
Three years ago: Garlic Soup with Shrimp
Four years ago: Shrimp with Chive Butter