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The problem with baguettes is that they go stale much too quickly. I used find myself throwing a hard, seemingly useless piece away only a day after enjoying the other half. It was sad, really, and so wasteful. But, happily, that madness is over for me because I’ve learned a crucial lesson: when life gives you old bread, you might as well make croutons.
Seriously, it’s so easy, you’ll freak. Then you’ll double freak when you realize how intensely homemade croutons can perk up your salad or soup.
To facilitate this revelation, all you really need is a little olive oil, your favorite savory seasonings and, of course, bread (see my recipe at the end of this post). First, preheat your oven to 375, then cut your baguette into 1/2 inch slices.
I’m currently sitting on a stockpile of cinnamon rolls.
It’s true. They’re hanging out in a bag in the bottom drawer of my freezer, and every third morning or so, I break into it and enjoy one with some butter and tea. It’s quite the treat.
The best part is that I made them myself. That’s right—I made the dough, rolled it out, sprinkled it with cinnamon and sugar and lived to tell about it. The result is super wholesome, relatively nutritious (75% whole wheat) pillowy cinnamon rolls that freeze well and can be reheated in a toaster oven…because you deserve a nice breakfast even on a weekday.
You can do it, too. Just beware that yeast is involved, so you’ll need a few hours of prep time. Here’s how (see full ingredients list at the end of post):
Prepare the dough: To start, heat butter and milk in a saucepan and set aside. Next, mix white flour and 1 cup of whole wheat flour, water, yeast, sugar and eggs together at low speed using your paddle attachment. Now add the milk and butter mixture, salt, and the rest of the whole wheat flour. Don’t stop until it’s well blended.
If you have a kneading hook, now’s the time to use it. Start kneading, adding more flour (verrrrry slowly and in tiny amounts) if needed. The goal is to get a big ball of dough that doesn’t stick to the sides of the mixing bowl. Same goes if you’re kneading by hand. You want it to be moist but not sloppy. It should take about 10 minutes.
Once you get it right, transfer the ball into a large, oiled metal bowl. Cover with a towel, and put it in a warmish place.
I have to admit, I’m a big fan of the everything-old-is-new-again food trends. You know what I mean—like when restaurants start offering cookies and milk for dessert or their own version of Ho-Hos. It’s silly, but whatever, I’m not immune to the charms of such things.
Now I’m lobbying for another classic to have its day: I’m thinking it’s pudding’s time to shine. Specifically, tapioca pudding, so I offer a new take on the cafeteria favorite: coconut tapioca pudding. I say this knowing full well that there are a lot of detractors to tapioca. I get it. Those little beads can be a freaky, but I think the spark that coconut milk adds might help stem your fears.
I was really surprised at how easy tapioca pudding is to make from scratch, and how creamy, luscious and pretty the results were.
Here’s how I did it:
(See ingredients list at the bottom of this post.)
Step 1: Boil 3 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Once things get rolling, add tapioca beads and reduce to a simmer. Constant stirring is a must because the tapioca tends to stick to the bottom of the pan. Just keep things moving for about 10 minutes.
Me make pretzels? What were the chances? Pretty slim, actually, but ever since I got my new stand mixer, I’ve been pretty adventurous. I mean, this recipe even required yeast! Usually, that would be a deal breaker for me, but I took a chance.
And it was a rousing success.
I found the reasonably easy recipe on a great cooking blog called Two Peas & Their Pod and followed it to a tee. The result was a whole lot of gorgeous little golden brown pretzel bites. They were quite the hit, and I’ll definitely be making them again.
Here’s what you need:
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tbsp light brown sugar
1 package active dry yeast
3 oz. unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
3 quarts water
3/4 cup baking soda
1 whole egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
Here’s how you do it:
Put water, butter, sugar and yeast in the bowl of your mixer. Use the hook attachment to blend it. Let it stand for 5 minutes.
A long, long time ago, I posted about these cheese-filled poppers. I thought I’d unearth the recipe again since that big football game is happening this weekend, and everyone’s looking for ideas. I’ll be making pretzels with cheese dip, myself, and I look forward to the gorge-fest element of the day.
And here are some other recipes you might enjoy:
First off, nobody is saying this is a healthy cookie. It’s neither low-fat nor low-calorie nor low-sugar. None of that is the point.
“What is the point?,” you ask. Well, part of it is that there’s some actual nutrition involved, and even more crucial is that these guys are delicious. They’re crisp, grainy in a good way, and a little salty with an appeal similar to that of McVities Digestives.
Perfect for the texture obsessed.
Being a big fan of whole grains, I’m always scouting for promising whole wheat cookie recipe, but almost all of them take a half-and-half approach—equal parts white and whole wheat flour—which seems gutless to me. I mean if you’re going to do it, then just do it. And that’s what this recipe does.
No pussyfootin’ around with the complex carbs here. I’m talking 100% whole wheat flour, baby.
If there’s one thing I don’t care about it’s the Super Bowl.
Just now, I even had to look up whether it was one word or two. That’s how not part of my consciousness it is.
I do, however, care a lot about party food—chips and dips, meat in blankets, etc. etc. And, since I figure some of you might be looking for something breathtaking to take to a Superbowl (darn it!) Super Bowl party, I’m sharing my should-be-famous Spicy Cheese Ball recipe with you.
Seriously, it’s the best in the world. The BEST! People go crazy for it.
It’s pieced together from the many cheese ball recipes I’ve followed over the years, plus a few of my own ideas. I did get the idea to use Gouda from Amy’s Sedaris’ Lil’ Smokey Cheese Ball recipe, but the rest of the credit, I’m holding onto.
Here’s what you need:
4 cups of Gouda cheese (about 1 lb)
2-3 Habanero chiles (depending on your spice desires and tolerance)
1 heaping tbsp of cilantro
2 packages of cream cheese (room temperature)
4 stalks of green onion
2 tbsp of mayo (Weird, right? But trust me.)
2 cups of chopped nuts (I use 1 cup walnuts, 1 cup pecans)
Life can’t be all wet burritos and pie, but you can have a chocolate breakfast smoothie pretty much every day. At least I have ever since my new blender came into my life. It’s nothing special (the blender, I mean, not the smoothie)—just a $40 machine, but it sure does make a mean breakfast smoothie.
Thus far, I’ve experimented with a couple of different concoctions. I’ve done the yogurt-oj-banana thing and the berry-banana-milk shuffle, but the one that I keep coming back to is a powerhouse blend of antioxidants, vitamin C, protein, calcium, Omega 3s, and most importantly…chocolate.
Still, it’s not too sweet, and the granola I layer in gives it an earthy quality that makes you feel like you’re some health nut living in Santa Cruz or Berkeley or whatever ultra-liberal college town you’d like to imagine yourself.
Sound good? Well, here’s what you need for one smoothie:
..on a cold (for Los Angeles), Fall night.
My aunt Carlene is one of those natural born bakers. While I struggle to make a halfway decent cupcake or an unoffensive cookie, her baked goods always come out looking and tasting magazine-quality perfect. Seriously, when she hands me a tin of her homemade treats every Christmas, it feels like a prize.
That’s why I turned to her to help me come up with something delicious for Eat My Blog 4.0. When she suggested baklava, I was a little nervous because it looks hard, but it turned out to be easy and—dare I say—fun. Plus, baklava is one of those desserts that’s ridiculously tasty, visually stunning and just exotic enough to trick people into thinking I have enviable culinary skills. And that’s the kind of deception I’m all about.
This recipe was so simple that I think it will be my go-to this holiday season, and it might as well be yours, too. I mean, just picture yourself unveiling a plate of these flaky, golden masterpieces at a holiday party or an office potluck.
You’re going to be so popular.