13 January 2017

I made Thug Kitchen's Tahini Fudge, and it is insane

The Thug Kitchen...collective? family? corporation (ooooo, fightin' words)?...now has several cookbooks out, and I just finally got my hands on 101 (fast recipes). It has several comforting, easy and fast dishes to whip up they are perfectly pleasant, but the one recipe I couldn't stop thinking about was this crazy-sounding tahini fudge.  I mean, I like tahini, and I don't totally like fudge, so maybe I should try it?

It is weird as hell--salty and bitter as well as sweet--but I love it.  It's so complex, and it almost has a burnt sugar taste to it for a split second of each bite. You can read a reprint of the original recipe here, but I made a couple of alterations based on what I had lying around the house. 

Thug Kitchen's Tahini Fudge

1 cup canned coconut milk
1 cup tahini
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 tablespoons fig jam
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 roasted pepitas

Grease an 8-inch square baking dish.

Place all but the pepitas in the blender and process until smooth. Pour into the baking dish, sprinkle with the pepitas, and freeze for at least 1 hour before cutting and serving. (The original recipe says just to refrigerate, but I couldn't get it to set that way.)

06 January 2017

Oh-So-Satisfying Cauliflower and Olive Penne

What could be simpler than this luxurious, but very easy dish between Christmas and New Year's? Nothing.  Nothing, I say. And for anyone who doesn't love cauliflower, this is the dish for you. 

Cauliflower and Olive Penne

Serves 4

½ pound penne pasta
1 cup mixed olives, pitted and chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
½ small yellow onion, diced
1 small head cauliflower broken into small florets (about 2 cups raw)
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (more to taste)
Olive oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
Salt to taste
1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese (plus more for serving)
¼ cup roasted almonds, chopped

Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425⁰F.  In a large bowl, combine the cauliflower and onion with the oregano, red pepper flakes, some salt, and about a tablespoon of olive oil.  Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast until brown bits develop, stirring once, about 15 minutes.  Add the olives and garlic, stir and spread, and roast another 5 minutes until olives and garlic are fragrant.

When the pasta is cooked, drain all but a ½ cup of the cooking water.  Stir in an ounce of Parmesan cheese, the lime juice, and salt to taste. Add the cauliflower mixture and stir thoroughly to combine.  Serve in individual bowls topped with equal portions of the chopped almonds and more grated Parmesan on the side. 

31 December 2016

a breakfast sandwich in casserole form

Now you know I like a good, fatty brunch at least as well as I like drinking the night before...this may be the best way to kick off what may be an otherwise sketchy year.  The first time I tried it, I had 2/3 of several bagels that my cat had gnawed on before remembering he prefers meat, and I didn't want to waste the parts of each bagel that had not been tainted with cat spit.  In the process I realized that it very much reminded me of a gooey, cheese breakfast sandwich. Bonus: make it the night before and all you've got to do is sit around and wait in the morning while it cooks.  

Breakfast Sandwich Casserole

Serves 6-8

1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing
8 large eggs
2 cups milk
2 teaspoons grainy mustard
6 kalamata olives, chopped
Kosher salt
1 pound day-old everything bagels (3 large), cut into 1-inch pieces 
1 small bunch of kale or other cooking green, stemmed and chopped
½  pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons minced rosemary
2 scallions, thinly sliced
8 ounces  shredded cheese of your choice

Lightly grease a 2-quart oval baking pan. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk, mustard, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Stir in the bagel pieces and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the kale and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until tender and wilted, about 7 minutes. If you had bits of leftover vegetables in the fridge, you could cook those here, too. Stir in the cherry tomatoes, garlic, rosemary and cook until the tomatoes start to soften, about 3 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the scallions; season with salt and pepper. Let cool slightly.

Fold the vegetables and shredded cheeses into the bagel mixture, then transfer to the prepared baking pan. You could cook this now, or you could cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight to cook in the morning.

Preheat the oven to 375°. Cover the baking pan with foil. Bake for 30 minutes, remove the foil and bake for 35 minutes more, or until the top is puffed and golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (cooking times will be longer if you pull this directly out of the fridge before baking). Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Melvin, who made this meal possible with his
fine bagel-hunting skills. 

23 December 2016

Christmas Eve-Eve preparations

'Tis the night before the night before Christmas, and you need to take it easy so you can get through this dumpster fire of a holiday.  Perhaps you are already inundated with visiting relatives who don't like your food, house, or local entertainment. Perhaps your kids have now been home from school for just enough days to make you consider "accidentally" leaving them in a faraway aisle of the nearest Toys R Us for someone else to rescue. Perhaps you have just whipped yourself into such a grocery-buying, food-prepping frenzy that you feel dizzy and your feet ache. Tonight is the night you can dispense with the ambitious need to eat a balanced meal or do something productive.  Think of he chart, below, as a handy little choose-your-own-adventure for Christmas Eve Eve. From me to you.

What to Wear (choose one or none)
What to Drink (choose two)
What to Eat (choose two, plus chili-cheese Fritos)
What to Do (choose no more than one)
Egg nog (with or without rum)
Tuscan White Bean Dip with chips or toast
Netflix, with or without chill
Yoga pants and sweatshirt
Strap on snowshoes and take out the garbage
Swimsuit (for our California fans)
Groom your pets
Green corduroys and a cat shirt
Hot chocolate
Lay on the couch and stare at the ceiling