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Bringing Home the Bakin'

bake my cake and eat it, too

The weather today has been nothing short of gloomy.  With harsh thunderstorms last night, the temperature today has tapered off drastically, and grey clouds have been hanging in the sky ever since.  In an attempt to bring some color to the lifeless conditions outside, I did what I do best: cook up something colorful.  This salad is so delicious, and definitely packs a substantial crunch.

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Thai Crunch Salad – Jennifer Segal of Once Upon a Chef

Ingredients

For the Thai Peanut Dressing

  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, from one lime
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1-inch square piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves

For the Salad

  • 4 cups chopped Napa cabbage or shredded coleslaw mix (I like to toss in a little shredded red cabbage for color)
  • 1 cup prepared shredded carrots
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 small English cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup cooked and shelled edamame
  • 2 medium scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed chopped fresh cilantro

Instructions

  1. For the dressing, combine all of the ingredients except for the cilantro in a blender and process until completely smooth. Add the cilantro and blend for a few seconds until the cilantro is finely chopped. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  2. For the salad, combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and toss to combine. If serving right away, drizzle the peanut dressing over top and toss; otherwise, serve the dressing on the side so the salad doesn’t get soggy.

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For those of you who don’t know, I just spent the past five weeks at my TFA Institute in Chicago, which means many grueling days of lectures, long nights spent lesson planning, and more cafeteria food than I could stomach.  However, I was so surprised that in spite of the hard work and less-than-ideal living conditions, my institute experience ended up surpassing my expectations in many ways.  Over the course of the past five weeks, I made so many incredible friendships and was so proud of the strides that my 26 “zesty” 6th graders made.  Now that I’m home, I’ve decided to celebrate (in BHTB fashion, of course) with homemade Hot Fudge Cream Puffs.  Yum!

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Cream Puffs: King Arthur Flour

Ingredients:

1 cup water

1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter

3/8 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

4 large eggs

Directions:

1) Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.

2) Combine the water, butter, and salt in a medium-sized saucepan, heat until the butter has melted, and bring to a rolling boil.

3) Remove the pan from the heat, and add the flour all at once, stirring vigorously.

4) Return the pan to the burner and cook over medium heat, stirring all the while, until the mixture smooths out and follows the spoon around the pan; this should take less than a minute.

5) Remove the pan from the heat, and let the mixture cool for 5 to 10 minutes. It’ll still feel hot, but you should be able to hold a finger in it for a few seconds. 

6) Transfer the mixture to a mixer, and beat in the eggs one at a time; it’ll look curdled at first, but when you add the last egg it should become smooth. Beat for at least 2 minutes after adding the last egg.

7) Using a generously filled tablespoon cookie scoop, or a level muffin scoop, drop the thick batter onto the prepared baking sheets in 3- to 4-tablespoon mounds. Space the mounds about 3″ apart, to allow for expansion. 

8) Bake the pastries for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and bake for an additional 25 minutes, until pastries are a medium golden brown. Don’t open the oven door while the pastries are baking.

9) Remove the pastries from the oven. Make a small slit in the top of each, and return them to the oven for 5 minutes, to allow the steam to escape. Place them on a rack to cool. When they’re cool enough to handle, split each in half to make top and bottom pieces; splitting and exposing the centers to air will help keep them from becoming soggy.

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I made this tomato sauce about a month ago with no intention of posting it to my blog (hence the sparse and unartistic photo display).  It is quite honestly one of the easiest things I’ve ever made, so I was hesitant to share, however I decided I couldn’t keep this 4-ingredient recipe a secret any longer.

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What I realized after a quick Google search, however, is that this recipe isn’t so secret — it’s actually pretty famous.  This recipe is one of many by Marcella Hazan, an Italian cooking legend.  Upon her death, this recipe exploded onto the internet food scene, and even made its way into the New York Times (where I found the recipe).  It is so simple and delicious, that I can’t even think of making another tomato sauce.  Because the sauce is a little rich (there’s quite a lot of butter…) I served mine over Spaghetti Squash (which was great!) although I’m sure it’s pretty hard to beat real pasta.

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Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce – The New York Times 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups tomatoes, with their juices (for example, a 28-ounce can of San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes)
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, peeled and cut in half
  • Salt

PREPARATION

1. Combine the tomatoes, their juices, the butter and the onion halves in a saucepan. Add a pinch or two of salt.
2. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, for about 45 minutes. Stir occasionally, mashing any large pieces of tomato with a spoon. Add salt as needed.
3. Discard the onion before tossing the sauce with pasta. This recipe makes enough sauce for a pound of pasta.

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Earlier this year I suffered a cooking “accident” — doesn’t sound so unexpected, being that I’m an avid cook and baker.  However, I did not slice my finger while meticulously chopping vegetables, or burn myself while taking a delicious batch of cookies out of the oven; instead, I cut my hand open while trying to separate two frozen veggie burgers.  It was pretty disastrous, but I definitely learned my lesson about handling sharp knives (so much so, that I shied away from cutting anything for several weeks…).  Now that my hand is totally healed and I’ve regained confidence in the kitchen, I’m back to chopping.  This recipe provided a great opportunity to hone my knife skills, as there is a TON of chopping.  It sort of takes a while to make, if you’re a timid chopper like myself, but prep time aside, this salad is DELICIOUS and lasts for 4-5 days in the refrigerator (totally worth it…).  I follow the recipe pretty much to the letter, however I have experimented with adding chopped fresh jalapeno, and if you like a little kick, I DEFINITELY recommend that addition.   IMG_6497 Superfood Black Bean & Quinoa Salad Recipe – Elizabeth Rider Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (1 cup dry quinoa yields about 2 cups cooked)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (*I prefer to use less, closer to 1/3 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed, grated or finely chopped
  • Juice of one lime (about 2 tablespoons) — DON’T SKIMP ON THIS
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional for heat)
  • 1 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained well
  • 1 red bell pepper, quarter inch chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 6 green onions, root removed, white and part of the greens chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 handful of cilantro, rough chopped (about 1/3 cup)

Directions: Prepare the quinoa. While the quinoa is cooking, whisk the olive oil, cumin, garlic, lime, salt and cayenne (if using) together in the bottom of a large bowl to let the flavors marry while you chop the veggies. Rinse and drain the black beans, then chop the veggies; the key is to make the peppers and onions about the same size as the beans. Add the cooked quinoa, beans and veggies to the bowl and gently fold it all together with the dressing. The quinoa can be warm, room temp, or cold when you make the dish. Regardless, I suggest letting it chill in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes to let the flavors come together. It tastes best served room temperature or chilled. 

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“Senioritis” has hit pretty hard this semester — I’ve often joked that I’m “as slow as molasses” lately.

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 Though it’s been a little tricky to stay motivated with graduation quickly approaching and the beautiful spring weather we’ve been experiencing, finals are still around the corner and there are many late nights at the library still ahead. I don’t know about you, but study snacks help my concentration infinitely — however, I wanted to make something that wouldn’t leave me feeling completely guilty and sugar-high.

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And thus, I recently made Vegan Molasses Cookies — they’re excellent.  They’re chewy and spicy, and taste best when completely cool (if you can wait that long, haha). 

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Vegan Molasses Cookies – A Dash of Soul 
Ingredients
  • ⅓ c. Earth Balance, melted
  • ½ c. sugar
  • ¼ c. brown sugar, packed
  • ⅓ c. blackstrap molasses
  • 2 t. vanilla extract
  • 2 T. soy milk
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 t. ginger
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • ½ t. cloves
  • ½ t. allspice
  • 2 t. baking soda
 
Instructions
  1. In a medium sized mixing bowl, cream together the vegan butter and sugars with an electric mixer until smooth and well blended.
  2. Add the molasses, vanilla, and milk and beat until the mixture is very smooth.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients.
  4. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and mix just until everything is well combined.
  5. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
  6. When you’re ready to shape the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  7. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and use a cookie scoop or large spoon to measure out about a tablespoon or so of dough for each cookie. Roll each scoop of dough into a smooth ball with your hands and roll in additional sugar if desired.
  8. Place the balls onto lightly greased baking sheets and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the surface of the cookies have nicely cracked.

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I suppose it’s old news at this point, but one of my favorite celebrity couples, Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin, has split — or “consciously uncoupled” in the famous words of Gwyneth, herself.  Shortly after I heard the news, I began bookmarking countless GOOP recipes, and stumbled upon these Cannellini Bean and Quinoa Burgers.  Like Gwyneth’s relationship with Chris, I’ve been trying to split from meat, eating a plant-based diet whenever possible.

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These Cannellini Bean and Quinoa Burgers are a perfect “meatless monday” option — they’re easy, delicious, and totally satisfying.  I opted to serve mine with some sliced avocado on top, and I highly recommend that pairing. Enjoy!

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Cannellini Bean + Quinoa Burgers – Goop

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups (or small can) cooked cannellini beans
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free breadcrumbs
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • healthy handful of parsley, chopped
  • olive oil
  • salt + pepper

Instructions:

1. Place a large frying pan over medium high heat and drizzle with olive oil (about 2 tablespoons). Add shallots and cook for a minute until they begin to soften. Add garlic, fennel and cumin and cook for another minute until the herbs are aromatic and the garlic softens. Remove from heat and cool.

2. Place the beans, quinoa and breadcrumbs in a large mixing bowl. Add the parsley and cooled shallot mixture and set the pan aside but don’t clean (you’ll use this later to fry the patties). Combine everything together with your hands, mashing the beans so that the mixture turns into a paste. (If it’s feeling a little wet, add more breadcrumbs.) Season with salt and pepper.

3. When combined, form the mixture into small patties, about the size of your palm and about an inch thick.

4. Place your frying pan back on the stove over medium high heat and add a drizzle of olive oil to coat. Cook the patties in batches for about 3 minutes on each side until nice and golden brown. Remove from pan and immediately season with salt and a drizzle of lemon. Serve with lettuce, tomato, red onion, Veganaise and/or whatever else you like.

 

 

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When it comes to grocery shopping, I’m definitely an impulsive buyer.  I walk through every aisle, even though I know exactly what I need going in, and always leave with a bag full of ingredients for which I have no true purpose; this purchase was no exception.

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 With my box of Cacao Butter in tow, I began “hitting the books” and trying to find a recipe.

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When I stumbled upon these raw, vegan almond joy bars, I couldn’t help but squeal with delight — they were exactly the sweet treat that I needed.

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 These are definitely healthier than the variety you would find at the drugstore, but they are so satisfying — I’m totally converted.

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RAW NO BAKE ALMOND JOY CANDY — Courtesy of A Simply Raw Life (With one modification)

Makes about 12 pieces

 

INGREDIENTS

For the filling:

1 1/2 cups dried unsweetened coconut

2 tbsp coconut oil

2 pitted dates

3 tbsp maple syrup (*I used 2 tablespoons, and combined with the sweetness of the dates, it was definitely sweet enough)

1 tsp vanilla

pinch salt

 

For the coating:

1/3 cup cacao butter, warmed until melted

1/3 cup raw cacao powder

2 tbsp maple syrup

Pinch sea salt

 

DIRECTIONS

In a food processor, process all filling ingredients till well combined.  It will be a little wet, but they will stick together well once you chill it..  Shape the filling into twelve mini bit size rectangles. Place them on a parchment lined baking pan and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Set up a double boiler, using a medium sized mixing bowl. Melt the cacao butter, then whisk in the cacao powder, syrup, and sea salt.

Take each mini coconut bar and dip it into the chocolate coating, quickly placing it back on the parchment. Return them to the fridge for 10-15 minutes, or until one coating has set. Repeat the process again, so that each has a double coat.

Return them to the fridge for another 15 minutes, or more to let them set. When ready to serve, let them sit outside the fridge for about 10-15 minutes.

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