Snickerdoodles

I never got on the snickerdoodle bandwagon. Once I learned that the cookies had no actual Snickers in them, I wasn’t interested. Why would someone ever choose a sugar cookie with a little cinnamon on top over a chocolate chip cookie? And furthermore, why hasn’t anyone baked a cookie with actual Snicker bits in it? I’ve got to get on that. I decided to be an equal opportunity cookie lover and baker and give snickerdoodles another shot. As I sampled a warm snickerdoodle straight our of the oven, I honestly felt like someone was giving me a warm hug. Delightful. Buttery. The perfect balance of cinnamon and sugar. I’m not saying it’s better than a chocolate chip cookie- that’s blasphemy. But, snickerdoodles, you won a place at my table and in my heart.

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Snickerdoodles

From Smitten Kitchen

2 3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks room temperature butter
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 400°. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Mix together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add eggs, and beat to combine. Add dry ingredients, and beat to combine.

In a small bowl, combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar and the ground cinnamon. Form balls of dough with your hands and roll in cinnamon sugar. Place about two inches apart on the baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes, rotating the baking sheets after five minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.

 

Popcorn Party Mix

Sure, you can open up a bag of store bought party mix, pour it into a bowl and serve it to your guests. Or, you can make your own customized, crunchy, savory party mix that people will devour. Just you and your TV on Sunday night for The Oscars? No problem. This bowl of deliciousness will keep you company during the show and happens to love a couture gown.

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Popcorn Party Mix

From Smitten Kitchen

3 tbsp olive oil
6 tbsp popcorn kernels
1 cup peanuts
2 cups waffle pretzels
1 cup broken-up bagel chips
6 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
2 tsp dark brown sugar
1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp mustard powder
3/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder

Heat oven to 250°F.  Heat olive oil over high heat in a large pot and add in your popcorn kernels, cover with a lid.  Wait for all the popcorn to pop and when the popping begins to slow down, remove pot from heat and dump your popcorn in a large mixing bowl. Add in the nuts, pretzels, chips or crackers to the popcorn.

Place butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat.  Melt the butter and keep cooking it, stirring occasionally until it begins to turn a golden brown.  Remove from heat, and whisk in worcestershire, sugar, spices and salt.

Pour butter mixture over popcorn mix and toss well until all the ingredients are coated. Spread out the popcorn mix on a large baking sheet or two if needed. Bake for 45 minutes. Let the mix cool completed before storing.

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Banana Pancakes

Confession time. I seriously effed up a simple pancake recipe a couple weeks ago. I know, I know,  I am the flipping Fresh Princess – it’s shameful, really. The recipe was from a bloke named Jamie Oliver and had three simple ingredients – flour, milk, and an egg. And yet. They were flatter than a Bachelor contestant’s personality. Dense and flavorless. Bad pancakes are plain old sad. So what went wrong? Well, the recipe called for self-raising flour for one thing – what the heck is that? Apparently it’s a thing in the UK. Thanks to Google, I now know that “if you’re looking to replace selfraising flour in a UK recipe then you need to add 2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt to every cup of all-purpose flour.” I’m sticking with Ina next time, sorry Jamie. Or Mark Bittman. His Everyday Pancake recipe is just as simple and quick as Jamie’s recipe, but it has the secret ingredient… baking powder! Add whatever fruit you love, a drizz of maple syrup and your Sunday morning just went from flat to fluffy in no time.

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It doesn’t get any more all-American than a stack of pancakes against a giant calendar backdrop.

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Everyday Pancakes 

From The New York Times

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, optional
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter, plus more butter for cooking
  • Fruit of choice, I like bananas (optional)

Mix together the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together. Add in your dry ingredients and melted butter to the egg and milk mixture and mix until combined. Batter will be pretty thick and lumpy. Add more milk if you want to thin it out a bit. Heat a frying pan over medium-low heat. Melt some butter – about a teaspoon or two in your frying pan. Ladle in your batter and top with fruit if desired, cook for about 2-4 minutes a side until golden brown. Keep pancakes warm in a 200 degree oven. Top with maple syrup and fresh banana slices.

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Behind the scenes.

 

Spiced Turkey Burgers

I love when ingredients inspire a meal. Fluffy pitas caught my eye at the grocery store and in an effort to keep things somewhat healthy I grabbed some ground turkey too. Cinnamon, cumin, chopped garlic, and parsley (mint would have been perfect) lend a Greek flavor to the turkey burgers, which I grilled in my poorly ventilated apartment. “My coat smells like turkey,” Oliver said. Oh well, the sacrifices we make for grilled meat. I served the burgers with a quick pickled slaw, Israeli salad, and tehina. Sour pickles and roasted eggplant would have been good too.

photo 4photo 1 (1)photo 2photo 3Spiced Turkey Burgers

1 lb ground turkey

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/4 cup red onion, chopped

1/4 cup parsley, chopped

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp salt

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and divide into four equal portions. Form patties. Heat grill pan over medium-high heat. Grill patties about 4 minutes on each side.

Spiced Flatbread Burgers

Sometimes you just need red meat.  I eat a lot of vegetarian dishes during the week, because it’s easy, convenient and doesn’t require planning ahead (aka defrosting or purchasing meat). Stanbys include pasta, veggie chili, shakshuka and soup.  But, sometimes I just want a burger. You get that, right? This recipe is not only easy, but effing delicious.  The recipe calls for ground lamb, but I used ground beef. Cumin, coriander and cinnamon flavor the meat which sits between two flatbreads and is then grilled to juicy perfection. The beef cooks inside the flatbread creating a crunchy juicy burger scenario unlike anything you’ve ever tried.   Please make these. They’re effing delicious.

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Spiced Flatbread Burgers

Adapted from Bon Appetit

1 lb ground beef

1 small onion, finely chopped

1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped

1/2 tbs coriander

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp salt

freshly ground pepper

olive oil

3 flatbreads or pitas

Mix the beef, onion, parsley, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, salt, pepper in a large bowl. Heat grill or grill pan to medium heat brush with olive oil.  Cut the flatbread into four triangles and place filling onto flatbread wedges and top with another wedge. I put about an inch of meat. Grill flatbread sandwiches until filling is cooked through and bread is crisp, about 5 minutes per side. Serve with Israeli salad.

 

Sticky Buns

Sticky buns are one of my favorite breakfast pastries. What’s not to love? Ooey gooey brown sugar, pecans, and cinnamon in a delectable bun form. This recipe is like baby babka bun’s floozy cousin – easy, sticky, and fun. Frozen puff pastry sheets make this recipe a cinch to throw together – perfect for a brunch or an impromptu weekend visit with friends. Next up on the bun bucket list: cinnamon buns. It’s going to be a fun winter.

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Sticky Buns

Recipe from Ina Garten. Yields 12 buns

12 tbs butter, at room temperaturephoto 4

1/3 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup pecans, chopped

1 package (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted

For the filling:

2 tbs melted butter

2/3 cup light brown sugar

3 tsp cinnamon

1 cup raisons

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with non-stick baking spray. In a mixer, combine 12 tablespoons butter with 1/3 cup brown sugar. Place a tablespoon of the butter/sugar mixture into the bottom of each muffin cup. Sprinkle pecans evenly on top of the butter/sugar mixture.

Lightly flour a cutting board and unfold puff pastry dough with the folds going left to right. Brush the whole sheet with melted butter. Sprinkle on 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and 1/2 cup raisons. Starting with the side nearest you, roll the pastry up, finishing the roll seam side down. Cut the log into sixths. Place each piece, spiral side up, into each muffin cup. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry. Bake for 30 minutes or until the buns are golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then flip over onto a cooling rack. Spoon leftover filling and pecans onto buns with a spoon.

Rustic Roast Chicken

Simple and understated is often the best approach to food, fashion, and reacting to your friend’s horrific new haircut. It always surprises me how delicious a simple whole roast chicken is and it’s one of my absolute favorite foods.  This recipe is pretty foolproof, too. Toss the bird in with your favorite veggies and roast for an hour and a half. The trickiest part  is carving the golden bird. But, that’s where YouTube comes into play. Hope you enjoy this chicken as much as I do.

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Rustic Roasted Chicken

Adapted from Ina Garten

1 whole chicken (about 3.5 lbs)

olive oil

salt and pepper

1 bunch of thyme

1 lemon, cut in half

1 head of garlic, cut in half crosswise

fingerling potatoes (small bag)

4 carrots, cut into 2-inch chunks

1 bulb of fennel, top removed and cut into wedges

2 yellow onions, cut into chunks

Preheat your oven to 425. Rinse your chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Season the inside of the chicken with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with the lemon, garlic and thyme. Brush the bird with about a tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss veggies with olive oil and a good amount of salt and pepper and any leftover thyme that you have. Put the veggies in a roasting pan or dutch oven and place the chicken on top. Roast for 1 1/2 hours. See YouTube for helpful carving advice.

 

 

 

Spinach, Red Pepper and Feta Frittata

Frittata is one of those dishes that tastes great, presents beautifully and is a cinch to make. Kind of like creme brûlée or coq au vin. Frittata is lighter than quiche and just as tasty. You can use any combo of veggies and cheese like asparagus and cheddar, mushroom, onion and swiss or tomato, basil and mozzarella. Perfect for brunch, this dish pairs well with bottomless mimosas or bloody marys.

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Spinach, Red Pepper and Feta Frittata 

Based on this recipe from Williams-Sonoma

10 eggs

1 tbsp olive oil

1 red pepper, sliced thin

2 cups fresh spinach

1/2 cup feta cheese

salt and pepper

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large nonstick skillet. Add red pepper and sauté for 8-10 minutes until soft. Meanwhile crack 10 eggs and whisk until frothy. Add feta and salt and pepper to taste. But don’t actually taste–salmonella alert.  Add spinach to the pan and sauté for 2 minutes until it is wilted. Add eggs and stir everything around lightly. Cook for about 5 minutes and then stick the pan straight under the broiler for a minute or two until it is golden brown on top.