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Peanut Sesame Noodles

My boyfriend and his friends have had a fantasy football league going for at least 10 years now, in some form or another. It’s always the Saturday after the first Thursday game, and the weekend is essentially sacred. I mean seriously, try to even remotely ask any of them to do something else that weekend and they will laugh in your face for asking such a ridiculous question. Not being a football fan, I don’t really get it, but it’s also the only time of year they see a few of the guys. The last few years, we’ve gone as a group up to Rockport or Gloucester, rented a house for the weekend, and enjoyed getting the time out of Boston.The draft itself is just Saturday, but since they don’t give time limits to picks, it can take all day. Literally, last year it took  over 12 hours. I think they ended around 3 am, I went to bed way before that. As we’ve all gotten a bit older, and there’s now a 2.5 year old in the mix for one of them, the girls have more or less dropped out, and this year we’ve even been banned. The guys are going to Vermont for the weekend, and none of them can even remotely wait for a boys weekend. It’s going to be a mess, with a ton of meat, and I’m more than happy to leave them to it!

The point of all that is to say that when the bf got home Wednesday night (which was my day off), he took over the kitchen to make Korean short ribs and Thai honey-lime wings to take to their draft weekend, which started Thursday. Since I can’t exactly make dinner while he’s cooking (our kitchen is super tiny), I decided to make one of my favorite cold summer dishes from growing up: peanut sesame noodles. Dad used to make it all the time, and while I’ve helped with it at home, I’ve never actually made it on my own before today.

I didn’t completely follow Dad’s recipe, mostly because I didn’t feel like cooking chicken today and the precooked ones at Whole Foods are pretty delicious already. It’s grey and wet outside, I’m happy to feed into my laziness this afternoon. Obviously this is great when you cook the chicken yourself, too, but today I’m all about enjoying my lazy side. I also used togarashi and black pepper, which work very well, but I was also being lazy again, because really I just didn’t feel like buying white pepper or chili oil. My spice shelf is running out of space, and I already had the other two on hand. My general philosophy on food, though, is that there’s almost no recipe that can’t handle substitutions. To quote one of my dad’s favorite lines, “they’re more like guidelines, anyway”.

Peanut Sesame Noodles

September 10, 2017
: 4-6
: 20 min
: 10 min
: 30 min

While good when the noodles are warm, this is best chilled. Perfect for a picnic, or a hot summer evening.

By:

Ingredients
  • 1lb chicken breast
  • 1T + 2t sesame oil
  • 2T peanut oil
  • pinch of pepper (preferably white)
  • 6oz bean sprouts (strings removed)
  • 6oz noodles
  • 1 cucumber, seeded and chopped
  • 3 scallions
  • 1-2T cilantro, chopped
  • 1T peanuts, chopped
  • For the Sauce:
  • 3T peanut butter
  • 5T chicken broth
  • 1 1/2t rice vinegar
  • 1t ginger, fresh
  • 1t chopped garlic (optional, but recommended)
  • 3/4t sesame oil
  • 1T soy sauce
  • 1/2t togarashi
Directions
  • Step 1 To make the sauce, combine the 8 ingredients in a bowl, and set aside.
  • Step 2 Cook the noodles al dente, drain, and mix with the peanut oil, 1T of the sesame oil, and a pinch of pepper.
  • Step 3 Parboil the sprouts (30 seconds), drain, and rinse in cold water. Drain again.
  • Step 4 Slice or shred the chicken, and mix with 2t sesame oil.
  • Step 5 Combine the noodles, chicken, sprouts, sauce, and most of the cucumber, and mix thoroughly.
  • Step 6 Chill, if you have time. This can be made a day in advance.
  • Step 7 Serve topped with the remaining cucumber, scallions, cilantro, and chopped peanuts.
  • Step 8 Enjoy!

St. Germain Dino Gummies!!

This won’t be a long post, I’m just too excited by how adorable these are! I keep coming across homemade gummy bears online, and finally decided to try them myself. When I told the bf I wanted to try them, he said there must be fun alternatives to bears in terms of molds, and I found the cutest dinosaur shaped one on Amazon (you can find it here). And it comes with a dropper to make it easier to fill in all the little dinos.

One recipe I found said to slowly sprinkle the gelatin powder into the heated liquid a bit at a time to ensure it blends in smoothly. Most others said to mix the powder with liquid first, and then add that mixture to the heated part. I did sort of a combination, but honestly I mostly did the latter, because I felt too lazy and excited to take the time to do the former. Of course, considering I didn’t initially add enough liquid, I actually made more work for myself because it made this thick mass that was like drying rubber cement, that I could barely get out from inside the whisk. I basically had to cut it out and slowly add more liquid to it until I could smooth out most of the lumps. I would suggest NOT making the same obvious mistake, and next time I won’t either! This flavor of these can of course be easily adapted, just change the type of liquid to whatever flavors you might want to try.

I might (just maybe) be making a second batch tonight, this time coffee flavored, with a bit of vanilla. Mmmm mmm!

 

St. Germain Gummy Dinosaurs

August 24, 2017
: 160 dinosaurs
: 5 min
: 45 min

How can you not love something so adorable? These can be adapted to whatever flavor you'd like, and are a quick, tasty treat that looks far more impressive and time-consuming than it really is.

By:

Ingredients
  • 1 1/4C St. Germain
  • 2T water
  • 6 packets gelatin powder
  • 3 strips lemon peel
Directions
  • Step 1 Heat 1C of the St. Germain with the lemon strips over low heat.
  • Step 2 In a small bowl, mix the gelatin powder with remaining 1/4C St. Germain and the 2T water, making sure there are no lumps.
  • Step 3 Slowly add the gelatin mix into the pot of St. Germain, making sure to whisk together completely. It will look cloudy when the gelatin gets added, but keep stirring until it’s clear again and any new lumps are gone.
  • Step 4 Let cool a bit until it’s room temperature, then carefully fill the molds. Try not to spill around the molds, just because they’re messier when you remove them. Purely aesthetic, they’re work just fine either way.
  • Step 5 Chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  • Step 6 Store in a closed container so they don’t dry out, and enjoy!

Peach Cardamom Sorbet

One thing I know very well about myself…I’m usually very lazy, and have trouble finishing things. I swear, most of my knitting projects (because I knit too, as well as sew) sit unfinished and still on the needles for years before they might just maybe get finished. Honestly, it’s something I get ridiculously frustrated with myself over, and while I wish I could change….surprise surprise, I’m too lazy to make the effort most of the time! And on that note, I’m going to just put out a blanket apology right now for the occasional long gaps between posts. I can pretty much promise they’ll happen every once in a while, but I can also promise that I will try to make to make sure they don’t happen too often.

This recipe was a bit of an experiment, and one done with high hopes of it turning out delicious. Thankfully I was so so right….it’s fantastic. I was inspired by two recipes: ‘Cardamom Poached Apricots’ from The Broken Bread, and ‘Fresh Peach Sorbet’ from Making Thyme for Health. I hadn’t thought about making any sort for frozen treat like this without having an ice cream maker, so when I stumbled on Sarah’s recipe at for a no-churn version using almond coconut milk, I thought it a great time to test it out. My boss at work had given me a bunch of fresh peaches that she’d picked with her kids, so it was really the perfect summer treat to use them up. I recently made Kristan’s poached apricots, which were amazing, so the idea of adding cardamom to the peaches seemed like it would be a great flavor combination: a bit of sweet, a bit of spice, and add a bit of lemon zest to brighten everything brilliantly.

About a week ago, I decided to make a sage simple syrup, because I have a very rapidly growing sage plant in my garden and I don’t want to let it go to waste! It’s such an easy thing to make, and somehow something I’d never done before. Of course, I made an extra large batch and now have a mason jar full in my freezer, as well as they one in the fridge. When I decided to make the peach sorbet, and realized I wanted to use cardamom in it, I figured what better than to also make a cardamom simple syrup? A wonderfully delicate flavor in an uncomplicated recipe, what could be better?

I love recipes that use minimal ingredients for incredible flavor, and this sorbet is one of those: fresh peaches (frozen first, preferably done day of, but store bought would work in a pinch), coconut milk, lemon zest, and the cardamom syrup. The syrup can be made even a few days ahead of time, but if you decide to make it the same day as the sorbet, be sure you give yourself at least an hour and half so that the cardamom can steep long enough in the sugar water and then cool to room temperature. While you might be able to make this using ground cardamom, it most likely won’t strain well and you’ll have the grains in the syrup. Definitely use pods instead (the ones I use are from Swad), and crush them with the side of a knife like you would garlic. You only need a few tablespoons for the sorbet, but I can promise that the syrup is so wonderful that you’ll be more than glad to have the rest of it ready in your fridge. It’s fantastic in coffee, by the way, especially iced coffee.

Peach Cardamom Sorbet and Cardamom Simple Syrup

August 9, 2017
: 8 hr
: 30 min
: 8 hr 30 min

Bright, fresh, and with a hint of spice, this sorbet is summer in a bowl.

By:

Ingredients
  • For the cardamom simple syrup:
  • 1C water
  • 1C white sugar (I use raw cane sugar)
  • 5-6 cardamom pods, crushed
  • For the sorbet:
  • 4C diced peach (~1inch cubes)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 3T cardamom simple syrup
  • 1/2t lemon zest
Directions
  • Step 1 First things first: freeze the peaches. Give the cubes as much space as your freezer will allow, they’ll freeze more evenly and be easier to dump in a blender later! Allow to freeze thoroughly, for 3-4 hours.
  • Step 2 Make the syrup. Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan, and bring to a boil, stirring to be sure the sugar doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • Step 3 Lower the heat a little bit, and add the crushed cardamom pods. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  • Step 4 Remove from the heat, and let the cardamom steep in the sugar water for 30-60 minutes. Stir it occasionally, and certainly taste it. The flavor will continue to get a bit more intense , so if you’re happy after the 30 minutes then you’re just about done.
  • Step 5 Strain the syrup into a jar (I prefer glass), and let sit until cooled to room temperature before you close it.
  • Step 6 Once the peaches are frozen and the syrup is ready, place the four sorbet ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Taste, and adjust if necessary.
  • Step 7 Pour into a freezer-safe container to set, I used a metal bread pan lined with parchment paper. Place in the freezer for 4-6 hours, or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.
  • Step 8 Enjoy!

Lemon Olive Pasta

I started this whole thing saying that I was going to share family recipes, and so far the only one I’ve posted was the very first entry. Time to change that with this lemon olive pasta. This has always been one of my favorite dinners, and it’s so good as leftovers too. Of course, that means not overeating and finishing off everything I’ve made for dinner, and I’m not so good at that when dinner is something this delicious. I’m working on it. I just kind of like food. Just a little bit.

Moving on from my gluttony. I love garlic. Until a couple years ago, almost everything I cooked had at least some garlic and onion to it. Sadly, a few month before I turned 28, my body decided it to say ‘haha, you’re almost 30!’ and won’t let me eat (or even drink) lots of the things I always loved. Like asparagus, and eggs, and beer, and most red wine. And especially garlic and onions. My body really doesn’t like garlic and onions anymore. At this point it’s been a few years, I’m now so used to it that my tongue is starting to revolt against them too, and my poor boyfriend whose body was just starting to think that just maybe garlic and onions were okay has now gone back to not being able to eat them at all either. Basically, eating in our house is a constant struggle to find the line between who can eat what without feeling awful, and how much of those things we are willing to suffer for anyway in the name of deliciousness. I have found, though, that I can handle small amounts of chives and the green parts of scallions, so I can still enjoy some of the flavor without feeling horrible afterwards.

The upside of this is I can eat the chives he really wanted to grow in our garden. Yay! And have I mentioned our garden? Because I’m loving having it! Living in an apartment building in the city, garden space isn’t exactly easy to find. Luckily for us, there’s a community garden about a 3 minute walk from our building, and we got a space for this year. It’s one of my favorite investments, worth every penny we put into it, and we are both loving having something to do that’s outside, productive, and doesn’t involve us spending our days off spending a ton of money because we can’t think of anything better to do than go for long walks around the city and inevitably stop at 1-2 different places for food and a quick drink. Don’t get me wrong, I actually love walking around Boston and stopping into whatever restaurant we happen to be near or feel like getting to, but it doesn’t really help me save money. Getting to actually eat the things that we’re growing, too, makes them just that much better, and it’s so satisfying to know that we grew them ourselves, and that there were no harsh chemicals or anything involved (it’s an organic only garden).

This is the first time either of us has really had a garden before so we’re learning as we go, but I have to say I’m pretty impressed with us for being novices. If only we can figure out how to actually stop the squirrels and chipmunks from getting to all our cucumbers and tomatoes! They also seem to love our cilantro. Not the parsley, for some reason, or the basil. Really just the cilantro. Sadly, though, all the cucumbers that were there just a few days ago have now been devoured by the tricky little guys, and without building some sort of net roof I think that’s just the way it’s going to be. Luckily, they really aren’t getting to the parsley, basil, sage, rosemary and chives, so we get to enjoy them ourselves. It makes me so happy 🙂

This pasta, when we made it growing up, always used a clove or two (or three) of garlic, so please please please add it if you like it! It was incredible with the chives instead, but that was initially done because I needed a substitute. Plus, why would I not add fresh herbs that I picked just a few minutes before I made dinner? That would just be silly. I said in my initial post that part of the inspiration for the name ‘Lemon & Biscuits’ was my lifelong love of everything lemon, and this dish is definitely case and point. You can always adjust the lemon to suit your preferences, adding more or less juice and zest, tasting a bit as you go. I could have easily added even more lemon and still been super happy, but this had such a good balance of flavors that I didn’t want to push it. I also could have cooked more pasta and had just a bit less of the lemon and olive sauce coating everything, but that ‘s another thing that can be trial and error when you make it yourself. For me, this was the perfect amount of sauce for about 4 servings.

You can make the lemon and olive sauce a bit before you’re actually ready to make dinner. Honestly it’s better if you do, the flavors meld together if you give them an hour or two to soak each other up. If you don’t have time for that, though, it will still be super tasty. A bit of fresh parsley and cheese on top makes it perfect. The boyfriend went with parmesan, but I had picked up a sheep’s milk feta at Whole Foods and oh my god. It was nutty, buttery, creamy, soft but still firm enough, and just amazing. Not as salty as I tend to think of when I think of feta. Pretty sure I won’t be buying any other kind for quite a while, unless I’m adding it to watermelon or something where the saltiness of a classic cow’s milk feta would be a better contrast. In this case, the sheep’s milk version was the perfect pairing with the lemon and olives.

Lemon Olive Pasta

July 14, 2017
: 2-4
: 5 min
: 15 min
: 20 min

Delicious warm or cold, topped with feta or parmesan, and with whatever pasta you prefer, it's a perfect picnic dish!

By:

Ingredients
  • 1C chopped kalamata olives (pitted, obviously)
  • 1/2C lemon juice
  • 1/3C olive oil
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 4-5 chives, chopped
  • 1/2t salt
  • 1/2t black pepper
  • 1-2T chopped parsley
  • 8oz pasta of choice (roughly 1/2 a package, usually). Fusilli is a great choice, something with ridges and dips to catch the sauce.
  • Crumbled feta or grated/shaved parmesan (optional)
Directions
  • Step 1 Mix all the ingredients except the pasta and parsley together, and let sit. If you have time, leave it for an hour or two.
  • Step 2 Boil a pot of heavily salted water and cook your pasta according to the directions on the package. In my case, the pasta needed about 6-7 minutes to be al dente.
  • Step 3 Drain, return the pot, and pour in the lemon olive sauce, mixing together well.
  • Step 4 Plate, and top with the fresh parsley and cheese of choice (if you want cheese).
  • Step 5 Enjoy the deliciousness!

 

 

Sesame Crusted Tofu with Tamari-Lime Sauce

I can’t believe it’s been almost a month since I last posted something! I apologize for disappearing, I was taking the first real vacation I’ve had in at least five years, if not almost ten years. It made me realize that I need to stop waiting for the timing to work out, and to make it happen myself. It’s not like I’ve had no time off at all in those ten years, but not the week and a half I just took. It was a busy vacation, but so necessary, and filled with all good things. I got to go to the wedding of one of my oldest friends, and spend about 36 hours back home on Mt. Desert. Sadly neither of my sisters were able to make it, so the simple Father’s Day breakfast we had planned ended up being a much smaller affair, but I’m so glad I was able to get to spend a little time with my parents and Quintus, the 150lb beast who thinks he’s a lap dog.

Then it was a long day of driving back to Boston to swap out luggage (including exchanging my wedding guest dress for my maid of honor dress), before heading to Cap Cod to spend the week with the bf’s family. His parents live in Japan, so we don’t get to see them nearly as often as we’d like, it usually works out to once every year or two, but his sister lives in St. Louis so we get to see her at least once a year, and she was here with her husband and their two adorable little nuggets. It’s awesome to watch them grow into real humans, especially since it’s always months between visits so they’re always leaps and bounds ahead of where they were the last time we saw them. Or at least it is for now, while they’re only 2 and 4. After a (mostly) relaxing 5 days, I got up crazy early, had the bf drive me to Providence to catch the train, and went to Philly for all of 24 hours to be able to be there for wedding celebration 2.0 for one of my best friends and her fantastic new husband. I am so glad she asked me to be her maid of honor, and that I was able to be there not just for their small wedding ceremony in Maine, but to be able to make it down to Philly for the huge reception with their friends and extended family too. It was the first time I’ve had to go to a wedding alone (the bf’s parents were still in town, I couldn’t have him join me), and it was so much better than I expected.

(Michelle and Andrew got married at the Azalea Gardens in Northeast Harbor, ME. I mean really, could you ask for a better venue? And how amazing did Michelle look?! Photos by Sheila Irene Photography.)

And now this is about to get serious and confessional. For those of you who don’t know me, or don’t know me well, I’m usually very anxious and uncomfortable in new situations, and as a typically shy (until you get to know me or I’ve had a couple drinks) type person, events where I don’t know anyone are hugely challenging for me. But Michelle and Andrew are amazing, their friends and family are wonderful, and I still had a great time even without the bf’s company. I would never have let my anxiety stop me from going, but I’m so glad I’ve gotten myself to a place where I was able to go without expecting to feel insanely awkward. Honestly, this vacation had a number of those moments, and I’m so grateful to be at a point where I can acknowledge them. Some of you will know what I’m about to talk about, but for those who don’t, I had a hard time with a number of my classmates growing up. I was one of the girls they singled out to pick on, and I could never understand why. I’ve spent most of my life feeling like I don’t fit in and to be honest wishing that I didn’t exist. Not in a ‘I don’t want to exist anymore’ kind of way, but in the sense that I wished I never existed in the first place. It took me 30 year to be able to express that feeling in words, and I swear it was one of the biggest self-revelations I’ve had, being able to coherently state that particular sentence. Scared the hell out of me, too, and almost made me feel even more broken than I’d already spent my life feeling. It was like a dam had broken open. I was always on the verge of tears. But it was also a turning point in that getting to that place where it was an actual sentence, something I could explain, opened me up to be able to both say it out loud to those people I have around me, and to actually hear others when they in turn acknowledged what I was saying and told me that they’d heard similar things from other people who were honestly able to find ways to pull back from that precipice feeling. I FINALLY got my shit together enough to start seeing a therapist, which had always been a weird point for me. I felt like I wasn’t damaged enough to need one, which was just so ridiculous. It doesn’t matter how damaged a person is, seeing someone to talk through even the smaller challenges of life can never be a bad thing. But I also still sort of struggled with a sense of shame in the idea of going to a therapist. Again, ridiculous. I should have started seeing someone 20 year ago. It has made such an incredible difference in my life, and it hasn’t even been a full year. But my outlook on life, and my reactions to situations that used to overwhelm me, are night and day from where I was a year ago. I mean, I still get super stressed and worked up over some things, but that’s just always going to happen. But when I do get that way, I’m better able to acknowledge it and let people know what I might need to get out of that headspace, and that alone is a huge change.

Now the reason I’m sharing all of this is because the wedding up in Maine included a number of people that I’ve known forever, who I was close to at various times, but who were also part of my life during the years that left such damaging impressions on me. I’ve seen almost all of them enough that I am honestly very comfortable with them all, but it’s been years since I’ve been around such a group of people at once from a period of my life in which I really felt outside and quite frankly disliked. I really want to emphasize that I didn’t go to this wedding with any expectations of negative feelings, but I was aware that those old feelings and insecurities might surface in this particular context. They usually have in the past, in similar situations, so I wouldn’t have been surprised to find myself uncomfortable. Kind of like going to the other wedding alone, though, the bride and I have been friends since we were 6 years old, our families are very close, and there was never a single moment when I would have even considered not going. Instead of finding myself at all awkward, everyone I saw was so incredibly supportive of this whole food blogging endeavor I’ve now embarked on, going out of their way to mention it, to tell me they read it, to tell me they can really see me and my family in it, to tell me I have talent. It was one of the most validating moments I’ve had in years, possibly ever, and I’m so incredibly grateful to every single one of you that took the time to tell me that you’ve even seen this blog or that you really do read it, or are excited to try any of the recipes, etc. It means the world to me, and I honestly cannot express how much I appreciate it. I had also made the dress I wore, and the comments on that were amazing on their own! I was nervous to wear something I created based on a picture I saw on Pinterest, and while so proud of myself (especially when I hadn’t sewn anything in a few years), it was incredible to hear such affirmative reactions from others.

Long (very long) story short, while this vacation was so necessary just for being a vacation after years of not taking one, it was also amazing for my mental health in such wonderful ways, more than just getting a break from the every day. And I’m so so grateful for it.

So now back to the food. It’s been hot and humid, and basically summer here in Boston. Since, you know, it’s summer. Our apartment definitely likes to trap the heat, too, so it just sort of sticks around and makes it even harder to want to spend much time in the kitchen, or to eat anything very heavy.

What I love about tofu is that it’s so quick to cook up, and just needs a little delicious sauce to make it a wonderful weeknight dinner. The sauce for this one also takes no time at all. And minimal stove time means even less heat in our already warm home.

Sesame Crusted Tofu with Tamari-Lime Sauce

July 7, 2017
: 4
: 20 min
: 20 min
: 40 min

I usually serve this with rice, but it would also be great with your choice of noodles.

By:

Ingredients
  • 1 block extra firm tofu, drained and sliced into 1/2 inch thick slices or squares
  • 2t wasabi paste
  • 2T black sesame seeds, plus more if necessary
  • 1/2C tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 1 1/2 limes, juiced
  • 1 1/1t chopped chives
  • 1 inch chunk ginger, minced
  • Dash of togarashi or crushed red pepper
  • 2-3 bunches baby bok choy, leaves separated
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • Vegetable or peanut oil for sautéeing
Directions
  • Step 1 Combine the tamari, lime juice, chives, ginger, and red pepper. Set aside until the end.
  • Step 2 If you’re making rice, start it now, if making noodles then start the water.
  • Step 3 In a large pan, heat some oil, and add the vegetables to sauté. They’ll take about as long as the rest of the tofu itself. Pull them off earlier if you want them a little bit more crisp. Really, whenever they’re as done as you like them. I like to add a couple spoonfuls of the tamari-lime sauce towards the end to cook a little of the flavor into them, too.
  • Step 4 Put the sesame seeds into a small bowl or plate.
  • Step 5 Coat each slice of tofu with a small amount of wasabi.
  • Step 6 Cover with the seeds, pressing them lightly into the wasabi so they stick.
  • Step 7 Heat a bit of the oil in a large saucepan on medium-high.
  • Step 8 Place the tofu slices in the pan, I add them in a circle (the way you’d cook scallops), then leave them to brown! Seriously, don’t touch them for 2-3 minutes before turning them over to cook another 2-3 minutes on the other side.
  • Step 9 Plate. I like the tofu and the vegetables on the side of the rice, but again, that’s up to you. Pour a bit of the sauce over everything and enjoy!

Turkey Meatballs with Chimichurri

For some reason, meatballs have became a joke in our house. More specifically, demanding meatballs. A few months ago, the bf was hungry and we were both lazy and watching tv, and he told me to get up and make him meatballs. Pretty sure it was also about 11pm, and there was no way I was being ordered to make anything, aside from the fact that I don’t exactly take orders! Plus, he was completely joking. Except about having an intense craving for them. But it meant that he kept thinking about them for weeks, and kept wanting to get them for dinner, and I finally decided to be nice and surprised him with making them (for the first time ever) on one of my days off. The first batch were a combination of turkey and pork, and they were amazing. I now usually make them with just turkey (half light, half dark), but still love the added pork too. It keeps them a little juicier with the added fat content, but then again that’s part of why I try to go with the all turkey version regularly.

When I finally caved, I of course spent a large chunk of the day browsing recipes online to get inspiration. What finally got me excited was seeing this one from Jo Cismaru of Jo Cooks, who dressed hers with chimichurri and feta. How could I go wrong with one of my favorite sauces? I personally make my chimichurri sauce a little differently, I like it with a far higher parsley to liquid content, but that’s partly because if I made it with more liquid and ate it in the quantities I want to, it would be way too much oil at once for me to feel that good about consuming! But that’s such a matter of personal taste, so definitely play around with the proportions until it becomes what you want to eat.

Turkey Meatballs

June 8, 2017
: 30 meatballs (4-6 people)
: 20 min
: 45 min
: 1 hr 5 min
: Beginner

I like mine baked, but you could fry them if you prefer. They'd also be fantastic with tomato sauce, basil, and marinara, or really anything else you want as toppings!

By:

Ingredients
  • 2lbs ground turkey
  • 3/4C panko breadcrumbs
  • 1-2 eggs (I've done both, it's delicious either way)
  • 3 scallions, chopped or just thinly sliced
  • 1t salt
  • 1t black pepper
  • dash of crushed red pepper
Directions
  • Step 1 Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Step 2 Mix until well combined, and mix it well! Don’t hurry this part.
  • Step 3 Form into 1″ sized balls. I use a spoon to scoop the mixture into a ball, and finish forming it with my hand. It should be pretty smoothly formed.
  • Step 4 Place the meatballs onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Clean up is soooo much easier this way! But they can also just be placed directly on the baking sheet if you prefer.
  • Step 5 Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes, turning them over halfway through.
  • Step 6 Top with chimichurri and feta, tomato sauce and mozzarella, or other dressings of choice, and enjoy!

I am slightly obsessed with chimichurri.  It’s great on just about everything, and it’s so simple to make. Just throw everything into a blender or food processor, and blend away. It’s one of those things that takes a lot of taste-testing, so try it regularly and adjust it so suit your preferences. Add more liquid to get it to the consistency your like, more acid to balance the oil and brighten it up (I use vinegar, but a bit of lemon juice is good too), and a bit salt to bring out all the flavors. Some people like cilantro in addition to the parsley, but I’ve never been happy with it when I’ve done made it that way, I find that the more simple it is, the better I like it.

Chimichurri

June 8, 2017
: 30
: 10 min

I'd happily eat this by itself with a spoon. It's amazing on steak, over eggs, on toast...the list goes on.

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Ingredients
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley (most of stems removed)
  • 1/3C olive oil, plus more to taste
  • 1/3C vinegar, plus more to taste (I use red wine, but sherry vinegar is amazing too)
  • 1 clove garlic (optional)
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Directions
  • Step 1 In a blender or food processor (I often use my immersion blender if i’m making a smaller batch), chop up the parsley until fine.
  • Step 2 Pour in the liquids until you like the consistency.
  • Step 3 Add salt and pepper, a dash of crushed red pepper.
  • Step 4 Taste, and adjust it as necessary. I usually find that I need to add more salt and more vinegar, but I’d always rather start with too little and need to add more, than feel like it’s being overpowered!

We got to spend this past weekend up in Maine seeing one of my best and oldest friends marry the love of her life, so were away from our garden for a week. I got the chance to check on it yesterday, and our arugula and other lettuces went insane! Since I clearly had plenty of it, I did a simple arugula salad on the side, which I love and always dress with just lemon juice, olive oil, and a bit of salt. In this case, also with crumbled feta. So many deliciously peppery leaves! I can’t wait for the rest of our lovely plants to grow big enough for us to eat.

Cherry Orange Crisp

I love cherries, and always buy a big bag of them (when I see them for a good price), but I’m horrible about actually finishing them! It’s so sad to have to throw them out because I was forgetful and let them go bad. Such a waste of something so delicious, and that’s really just such a shame. Plus, since my boyfriend is allergic to them but also loves them, it’s a little bit mean to have them around. Doesn’t mean I won’t buy them, because come on, I’m going to buy them if I want them, but I do try not to fill the fridge with foods that he can’t eat.

I bought a whole bunch the other day, and decided that I for once wasn’t going to waste so many of them. Memorial Day weekend in Boston was grey and a bit chilly, so what better than a deliciously warm crisp for breakfast? It’s my favorite way to use up large amounts of fruit at once, and I will regularly wait until the fruits are going almost past wanting to eat them raw. Once they’re baked, the texture changes anyway, and they’re often a bit sweeter naturally so I really don’t even need to add extra sugar to the filling.

 

I will never not want to eat this, pretty much any time of day. It’s not very sweet with added sugar, I can pretend I’m being the tiniest bit healthy because I’m eating lots of fruit, and honestly does anything beat warm fruit with a sweet, lightly spiced crumble topping? It’s amazing with ice cream on top, or with yogurt if you want to feel a little less guilty. Basically, it’s just amazing.

 

Cherry Orange Crisp

June 2, 2017
: 6
: 15 min
: 45 min
: 1 hr

Is there anything better than a warm fruit crisp, fresh out of the oven? Easy to throw together, easy to modify, and always delicious! The cherries can be substituted for almost any other fruit you'd prefer, and the orange can always be substituted for lemon.

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Ingredients
  • For the filling:
  • 4C cherries, already pitted and quartered (that can take time, I think it took me about 30 minutes or so to get through mine with just a paring knife)
  • 1T sugar, I use raw cane sugar
  • 1t orange zest
  • 1 1/2t vanilla bean paste (extract would work too)
  • For the crumble topping:
  • 1/3C flour
  • 1/3C brown sugar
  • 1/3C old fashioned oats
  • 3T butter, softened
  • 1/4t cinnamon
  • 1/4t cardamom
  • pinch of salt
Directions
  • Step 1 Mix the cherries with the sugar, zest, and vanilla, and spread evenly in a heavy baking dish. I use a rectangular Le Creuset baking dish.
  • Step 2 In a separate bowl, combine the flour, oats, sugar, and spices.
  • Step 3 Add the butter, and mix with your fingers until it becomes a crumb texture. It will be all over your fingers, and you’ll be able to squish it all into a large ball, but try to keep it clumpy and crumby.
  • Step 4 Sprinkle the topping evenly over the cherries.
  • Step 5 Bake at 400 for 45 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and crispy, and the cherries are bubbling up at the sides.
  • Step 6 *I always put a baking sheet on the rack below the crisp, just in case it does bubble over the sides.

Mocha Chia Pudding

I’m not a sugary-sweet food type of person. I’ll almost always choose savory first. Even when it comes to dessert, I prefer things with depth and a good balance. If it tastes like it’s going to dissolve my teeth with sugar, I’ll typically pass. But that said, I still love chocolate. Preferably dark chocolate. And I love coffee. So what even better than dark chocolate, or coffee? When you combine them.

This recipe is super quick to prepare, and makes a delicious treat that’s perfect for breakfast or a snack. I usually throw this together before leaving for work in the morning to have as a mid afternoon snack, but you could also make it at night so it’s ready first thing in the morning.

NOTE: I make this in a measuring cup, adding everything but the chia seeds, and fill until the total ingredients reach the 1/3C mark. It does mean that I probably use less than the 1/3C listed, but the measurements can be adjusted to your taste. It depends how soupy you want the end result!

 

Mocha Chia Pudding

May 25, 2017
: 1
: 3 min
: 4 hr

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Ingredients
  • 1T unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2t instant espresso powder
  • 1/2t sugar (I use raw sugar)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2t vanilla extract
  • 1T chia seeds
  • 1/3C milk of choice (I use SoDelicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk Beverage)
Directions
  • Step 1 Mix the cocoa powder, coffee powder, sugar, salt and vanilla extract in a small bowl.
  • Step 2 Add in a bit of the coconut milk, and mix into a paste. I find that the cocoa powder is easier to stir in this way.
  • Step 3 Stir in the rest of the coconut milk.
  • Step 4 Add the chia seeds, and mix everything together, making sure none of the seeds or cocoa powder is stuck in clumps.
  • Step 5 Let sit closed in the fridge for at least a few hours, preferably 4 hours minimum or overnight.
  • Step 6 Stir before eating, and enjoy!

Here we go…

So here goes….well, hopefully much more than nothing!

I’ve always loved food. Ask almost any friends from high school, and I can tell you that a number of them will be remembering egg rolls and fajitas any time they think of the Millers. They might drool a bit thinking of it, too. My family has always cooked most things from scratch, and I grew up with fresh bread made every week, meals that dad spent most of the day preparing, and family gatherings full of a whole variety of deliciousness. My uncle is a professional chef, my aunt is an amazing baker, and everyone else just has skills. I usually prefer savory over sweet, will always choose real ingredients over processed foods, and hate the fact that my body stopped liking onions and garlic a couple years ago.

Now onto the name: my family has a thing for biscuits. As this gets going, I fully intend to pull together the Miller family recipes, and hopefully others will love them as much as we do. For now, the family recipe archive is going to be just this one, but it’s absolutely the iconic one. See, we compete on this one. It’s my grandmother’s recipe, and I remember my dad telling us how she used to make them in the morning when they were growing up. He made them for us when we were little, I’ve made them for years, and my uncles and cousins all make them as well. The competition part comes in because of my dad. He decided one year that one particular batch was especially picture worthy, so sent it as his Christmas card to his family members, and maybe a few friends, along with a classically Jerry Miller-esque alliteration about harrowing harridans, howling harpies, and beneficent bounty. One uncle retaliated with a photo of his own, and now every time one of us makes a better than average batch of perfectly fluffy, well-risen biscuits we have to share proof.

I spoke to one of my uncles not long after deciding that I was going to start this blog, and he mentioned that both he and my dad have most of the old family recipes written down. I love the idea of collecting them all here, and of course sharing them for everyone to try. Hopefully you’ll all love them as much as we do! I of course got Grandma’s permission, because I can’t start a Miller Family Recipe archive without the matriarch’s ‘ok’. I also asked my family to send me their own pictures of the biscuits, because if I’m going to tell everyone about our competition with them, I think it’s only right to share the outcomes. One of my cousins sent me a picture of the copy of the recipe she uses (above left), in Grandma’s own handwriting, which I love, but I also noticed something….we have different recipes!! All this time we’ve been showing off our biscuit skills, it’s been with different measurements. I mean, I love the version I’ve always used (above right), so that’s the one I’ll continue to use, but I will definitely have to try out this one to compare.

I made this batch on Mother’s Day weekend, and kept seeing all the sweet treats people were making for their moms. Since my mom is five hours away, I didn’t get to see her, but I was inspired to make this vanilla-rum butter nominally in her honor. I hope she’d love it, but since she hasn’t tried it yet I’ll just assume it passes with flying colors. I think it’s amazing, and one of those quick and easy recipes that’s deceptively fancy. It definitely makes simple biscuits seem much more sumptuous!

Baking Powder Biscuits

May 22, 2017
: 9
: 20 min
: 12 min
: 32 min
: Beginner

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Ingredients
  • 2C flour
  • 3t baking powder
  • 1/2t salt
  • 6T Crisco
  • 6T butter (keep it cold!)
  • 3/4C cold milk
Directions
  • Step 1 Add dry ingredients to bowl.
  • Step 2 Using a pastry cutter (or two butter knives), cut the butter and shortening into the dry ingredients until the consistency of coarse corn meal. Be sure to keep the butter cold! Minimize the amount of time the dough spends in your hands, or the biscuits won’t be as fluffy and flaky.
  • Step 3 Sprinkle the cold milk into the dry ingredients, tossing with a fork until it forms a wet dough.
  • Step 4 Knead gently (and quickly) until smooth.
  • Step 5 Place dough on floured cutting board, roll out to about 1/2 inch thick, and cut with a biscuit cutter (a glass works well too).
  • Step 6 Place on an ungreased baking sheet and cook at 450 for about 12 minutes.

Vanilla Rum Butter

May 22, 2017
: 5 min

This may be one of my new favorite things.

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Ingredients
  • 1 stick butter, softened (I prefer salted, but unsalted is good too)
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1/4t rum (I used Myers's Original Dark)
  • Honey optional
Directions
  • Step 1 Split open the vanilla bean, and scrape all the deliciousness inside into a bowl.
  • Step 2 Add the softened butter and mix until thoroughly combined.
  • Step 3 Add the rum, half at a time, and taste after 1/8t. Honestly, I almost didn’t add more rum, but I thought the flavor was just a little too subtle.
  • Step 4 If you want the butter to be a bit sweeter, add a touch of honey, a bit at a time, until you’re happy.

My favorite way to eat these biscuits is warm, slathered with butter, drizzled with lots of honey, and then mashed with a fork in a bowl. Looks messy, tastes amazing! This vanilla-rum butter is definitely stepping the whole thing up a notch, and I think I’m ok up there.