Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Nutella Hot Chocolate with Kahlua

If I had pick my favorite time of year to live in the northeast, it would be right about now. That golden twilight between seasons; still warm and bright during the day, but crisp and clear in the evenings. Not so cold at night that you can't sit outside and cozy up under a light blanket, listening to the tree frogs sing, or watching the stars twinkle. It's even better when enjoyed with company, and especially wonderful if you have a warm drink to stay toasty!

My Nutella Hot Chocolate with Kahlua is just that drink. Rich, chocolatey, nutty hot chocolate would by itself be a tremendous treat, but add a quick shot of Kahlua and it's... perfection. Nutty, chocolate-y, and with a wonderful rum 'punch', this cocoa makes a great fireside sweet! For the kiddos, leave out the Kahlua, and be the toast of any snowy playdate!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Honey Vanilla Whipped Butter

I think every school kid has made homemade butter for a Thanksgiving Day/Pioneer Lesson Plan during their lives. It's a one-time thing, and then we move on, arms sore from shaking the jar, thankful that we can just go to the local grocery store and buy our butter in convenient sticks.

However, fresh made butter is...different. Creamy, slightly yellow, and with the distinct essence of the cream it's made from, the homemade stuff is divine - especially when combined with local sweet honey and fragrant vanilla.

I like to serve this Homemade Honey Vanilla Whipped Butter with some fresh-baked bread, biscuits, or as a topping on waffles. It's particularly good served on homemade challah bread with thin slices of apple (a great variation on the traditional 'apples & honey' for Rosh Hashanah)!

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Sunday, September 7, 2014

Homemade Challah Bread

Can you be homesick for a person, rather than a place? How about for a feeling? A meal? Someone's laugh? There are times where I get this overwhelming feeling of homesickness - not for my childhood house in the city, or for the first home I created with my husband - it is an intense longing for my mother.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Turkey Meatball Soup with Kale

I am a big fan of Community Supported Agriculture programs. I think that this simple, yet really brilliant, idea of bringing fresh produce from nearby farms directly to the consumer is something more folks should have access to. Before signing up, I had never seen (or tasted!) such a diverse range of fruits & veggies. It has forced me try things I would not have bought at the grocery store - but should have. Knowing where my food is coming from, how it is grown, and roughly how long it has been from field-to-table, is really empowering as a cook!

I will say, even after a bountiful summer, the boxes do occasionally get repetitive. Sure, you can never have too much fruit or luscious ripe tomatoes, but how about bin after bin of Swiss chard? Collards? Thirteen different varieties of kale, all of which sit and stare at you from your crisper as you've run out of ideas for salads, saut├ęs, and smoothies?

It was with a huge bin of kale looking square at me that I tweaked & changed a recipe for hearty, healthy, and completely delicious Turkey Meatball Soup with Kale. Akin to an Italian wedding soup, savory dainty turkey meatballs pack a flavorful bite combined with carrots, orzo, kale, and rich homemade turkey stock. The kale compliments the soup with it's earthy flavor, and the big bonus - you are eating your greens!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Aged Port Zabaglione (Sabayon) with Raspberries & Blueberries

In the world of tarts, pies, cobblers, and crisps, berries are the kit in the caboodle. Whether sweetened, covered in cream, or baked in pastry, summer's little 'jewels' are delicious! My boys and I have made several trips to the berry farms this year to stock up on blueberries (to freeze over the colder months), and also to pick out delicate red raspberries during their short season. Sweet, tart, and vibrant in color, in our house they are scarfed up by the handful!

After brainstorming, then listing, all sorts of fancy-pants desserts that I could make with my raspberries (mousse cakes, cheesecakes, tarts, you name it), I finally decided to go in a different direction. I tried to highlight the bold flavor of these beautiful, summer treats as simply (and easily) as possible, and ended up combining the fresh raspberries & blueberries with an Aged Port Zabaglione.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Warm Tomato Salad with Goat Cheese

I really enjoy the beautiful fresh tomatoes we can pick out at the farmer's markets over the last few weeks. This time of year, our meals almost always contain them. Cool gazpachos, caprese salads, tomato tarts, or simply raw with good olive oil, salt, and pepper. I could eat tomatoes all day, everyday!

At some point, though, the ideas begin to lag, and I look around for new inspiration. Or in this case, "old" inspiration. Back in our dating days, my husband was the cook, and I was the eater! We had opposite work schedules, and it made more sense for him to prepare dinners. One of his most loved dishes was a take off of a local restaurant's salad - this Warm Tomato Salad with Goat Cheese.