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espresso education.

19 Oct

this espresso guide is educational, digestible (no pun intended), and beautiful at the same time.

time to try some of these bad boys out!

i believe i’ll start by concocting the cafe con leche.

jan’s homemade apple sauce.

17 Oct

no one makes better apple sauce than my mother.

and nothing says fall like walking into a kitchen full of the sweet smell of spiced apples cooking. it was always my favorite treat growing up and a sure sign that autumn was under way. my mom never told us she was going to whip up a batch, it was always the most wonderful surprise we’d stumble upon.

now that i’m on my own and creating some of my own seasonal traditions, i’m taking my first stab at recreating a classic from the autumns of my youth in our (somewhat) adult household.

delightfully, it turns out that jan’s recipe is super low fuss. (though, i’ll admit i called my mom twice during the preparation.)

ingredients

  • 8-10 apples. (i choose  2-3 varieties)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 cup water
method
  1. wash & peel apples.
  2. core apples and slice apples. i quartered each apple and then halved.
  3. combine apples, cinnamon, lemon juice, water, & brown sugar in the crock pot
  4. cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours
et voilà!
feeling indulgent?
sprinkle some brown sugar over the top and dunk with light nilla wafers.

seeking: hardboiled perfection.

14 Oct

this girl is an eggs addict.

after 22 years of claiming to hate them, i’ve jumped on the bandwagon. now its eggs for lunch, for dinner, for snack-time. i really owe this new found love to my friend beth, who when i moved to chicago got me to try poached eggs. nowadays i’ll eat them almost anyway. the most convenient (and favorite at the moment) is hardboiled.

when i started cooking hard boiled eggs, i felt like a lost puppy. there is SO much literature on how to cook the perfect hardboiled egg. i can’t claim to have achieved this ‘perfection’, yet i’ve found 2 ways, one simple & quick and the other fool-proof and a little longer, that are doing the trick. the boy can be credited for the latter version.

some tips i’ve learned, before we start:

  • hard-boiling works best when using eggs near their expiration date. new eggs will be harder to peel
  • hard-cooked eggs can be stored (in shell) for a week in the refrigerator

method 1:  quick & easy hard boiled eggs
preparation & cook time: ~15 Minutes

  1. fill a small pot with cold water (such that when you place the eggs in they will be covered)
  2. set stove to high & heat water to boiling
  3. use a spoon to lower eggs into the boiling water & let cook for 10 minutes
  4. on the side, fill a bowl with ice water
  5. after ten minutes remove eggs from boiling water
  6. submerge eggs into the ice water (this prevents the eggs from having that dark grey-ish icky color around the yolk)
  7. let stand in cool water for 5 minutes. peel & eat

method 2: fool-proof method hardboiling 
preparation & cook time: ~25 Minutes

  1. place eggs in a small pot
  2. fill with cold water such that the eggs are covered by an inch of water
  3. set stove to high & heat water to boiling
  4. one at a boil, remove pot from the burner & turn heat to low
  5. place pot back on burner & boil on low hear for 1 minute
  6. turn off stove completely after 1 minute
  7. place pot on a cool burner & cover
  8. let sit for 12 minutes
  9. on the side, fill a bowl with ice water
  10. after 12 minutes, submerge eggs into the ice water
  11. let stand in cool water for 5 minutes. peel & eat

{excuse my poor peeling.}

both of these methods work great. it’s really what you have time for. if you’re already preparing a breakfast full of pancakes & bacon, then the longer method doesn’t hold you up. but there are SO many mornings where i’m racing against the clock & the quick and easy method has come through in the clutch.

happy hardboiling!

pumpkin brews!

12 Oct

yestreday evening, while picking up dinner at whole foods the boy suggested we grab some “seasonal brews”.

by golly, this man knows me well. SEASONAL EXCITEMENT OVERLOAD ensued. i knocked over at least six patrons busting it to the microbrew ailse. yup, a whole dedicated aisle.

i grabbed Post Road’s Pumpkin Ale and the boy selected what can only be described as a perfect expression of his tomfollery, a beer called Pranqster. our selection took us at least 15 minutes since Whole Foods takes autumnal consumption very seriously. so. many. choices.

check out some of the contenders, which we’re sure to sample over the coming months:

{dogfish head pumpkin ale, samuel adam harvest pumpkin ale, schlafly pumpkin ale, sixpoint autumnation pumpkin beer, shipyard pumpkinhead ale}

feeling a little lost by the variety & recent take-over of your local microbrewery section by these seasonal specialties? esquire posted a highly educational review of the best & worst of the pumpkin brews available this fall.

do you have a favorite fall beer? i’d love to hear suggestions!

inside out caramel apple.

6 Oct

i am NEEDING this ultimate fall snack about now. i’m such a sucker for seasonal treats.

caramel filled edible dipping cups? done and done.

this would be so fun to serve up at a party!

also, can we talk about THIS recipe for inside out baked pastry apples?! my heart skipped a beat when i read it.

fall dessert bonanza will ensure at my house.

mango blueberry quinoa salad.

27 Sep

yesterday, while i was munching on my afternoon snack of peaches & blueberries, i brainstormed concoctions to make use of the impressive amount of end-of-summer produce we’ve got in the house. i knew i wanted to do something with the fruit other than use it in a dessert dish.

how happy was i to stumble across this delicious quinoa dish?!

what’s that you say?

MANGO. BLUEBERRY. QUINOA.

i am TOTALLY making this tonight.

i’ll add peaches onto the mango blueberryness as well as some chickpeas for even MORE fiber and texture. i’m a huge quinoa fan. it cooks in bulk, keeps for days, is a versatile base for sweet or savory recipes, and is a great source of fiber and protein. in fact quinoa is a source of COMPLETE protein, supplying all 9 essential amino acids. BOOM. whole grain win.

here’s the recipe in short. more info on the scrumptious veggie-belly!

ingredients for the quinoa
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup water

ingredients for the fruits and veggies
½ cup fresh blueberries
½ cup cubed ripe mangoes
½ cup cubed cucumbers
1/2 tablespoon dried cranberries

ingredients for the lemon basil dressing
1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
10 Basil leaves, chopped finely
Salt and pepper

method: preparing the quinoa
rinse quinoa under cold running water and drain.
if using a rice cooker: measure 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups water and combine in rice cooker. cook on white rice setting. let cool when cooking is finished.

if using stove top: bring 1 3/4 cups water to a boil in a small pot. Stir quinoa and a pinch of salt into water. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until tender and liquid is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. uncover and let cool.

method: preparing the fruits
combine the fruits in a bowl and refrigerate till you are ready to serve the salad.
whisk together all the dressing ingredients, except the chopped basil. refrigerate dressing until you are ready to serve.
chop and add the basil to the dressing just before serving.

let me know what you think of the dish if you try this out!!

eat it.

20 Aug

anyone have recommendations for great eateries in london?