If you’ve been following me on Instagram you know that I’ve been busy preparing for Thanksgiving and Page’s Birthday right after. We are hosting Thanksgiving , which means that I will be doing most of the cooking. I spent most of the day writing out my menu, dividing up tasks I can accomplish throughout the next few days. Today I tackled prepping my desserts which just means I weighed the dry ingredients put them in bags, labeled, and sealed them. Now all I have to do is add the wet ingredients and bake. As you can see I’ve learned over the years that cooking a large meal like this requires a lot of forethought and staggering of duties. So today one of the other things on my to do list was to make this cranberry sauce! It takes 10 minutes, you throw everything in one pot, a little bit of stirring and you’re done! So easy and super delicious and definitely an upgrade to the canned stuff. Trust me once you make this you will never go back to the canned stuff!
Here’s what you need:
12oz organic cranberries fresh or frozen
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cinnamon stick
Zest of 1 organic orange
Juice of 1 organic orange
1/2 teaspoon of allspice (optional)
Place cranberries, cinnamon stick, orange zest, sugar, water, and juice in a medium sized saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer, stirring as the cranberries begin to pop. The sauce is done once it thickens about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool, serve immediately or place in an airtight container and refrigerate.
Last year, I had the hair-brained idea that I could make my own pasta. In my head it seemed simple enough, I would mix a few eggs with some flour and make delicious, velvety, egg noodles. I ordered an old school pasta roller (ATLAS 150) and when it came, I was eager to live out the visions of velvety egg noodles in my head. I started with this very recipe that I’m sharing with you today. Only I hadn’t a clue what I was doing, I added 2 cups of flour, a few whole eggs, and when the dough didn’t immediately come together like I thought it should, water. After letting my dough rest, I tried to roll it out. Rolling the dough out with the Atlas was one of the most awkward experiences of my life. Not one part of it felt natural. As a matter of fact it felt extremely unnatural. I felt like even if I had 3 additional hands, rolling the pasta would still feel awkward. My folly was clear. The manual pasta roller wasn’t for me. I decided right then and there I would need an electric pasta machine, and immediately set out searching for one. I ended up ordering the KitchenAid 3 piece Pasta attachment. During my research, I read every review, of every pasta machine on the market, (Phillips, ATLAS, Kitchenaid 3 piece roller set, Kitchenaid Pasta extruder, Marcado, ect.), and although I learned a lot about the different machines and their features, I also learned a lot more about pasta. It made me think maybe I need to focus on what I did wrong with my pasta dough, and not what was wrong with the pasta machine. The dough I made initially was sticky and the resulting noodles were a pitiful clump of a mess. So I pulled out the ATLAS, my handy kitchen scale, and proceeded to weight my ingredients to make pasta. Instead of adding water when the dough seemed dry, I kneaded until my dough came together, and what do you know–it came together without one additional drop of water. Not only that! When I went to roll it, the two hands that God gifted me with were more than enough to roll and cut my noodles! In fact it was so easy, and such a different experience from the first time that I knew it was not the machine that was my problem, it was my dough! So here’s the key to making pasta, weigh your ingredients, don’t add unnecessary water, and let your dough rest so that it has time to relax and hydrate. If you follow those 3 rules you will never fail at making pasta. Now that you have those keys, the recipe I used is from the Serious eats blog. They have a great article on the Science of Making Pasta, definitely read it. It has some great information in it. If you are in the market for a pasta maker, check out my review on my YouTube channel of both the ATLAS 150 Wellness Pasta machine, and The KitchenAid 3 Piece Pasta Roller Attachment. I contrast the two and give you a step by step on how to use both. By the way I purchased both machines with my own money, I wasn’t paid by either company to give the review. Now to the recipe. You can find 00 flour at most grocery stores. If you can’t substitute with All purpose or bread flour.
Here’s what you need:
10 ounces of 00 flour
2 large whole eggs (weighing 4.0 oz) If my eggs weigh more I remove some of egg white until they don’t
4 egg yolks ( weighing 2.5 oz)
1 teaspoon of sea salt
Directions: Weigh your ingredients:
My egg yolks were a little over so I removed some with a spoon:
Place your flour in a large bowl and make a well. Add your eggs and salt to the well.
With a fork beat the eggs until fully mixed.
Slowly start to incorporate the flour until a sticky dough has formed.
At this point I pour the contents of my bowl out on to a large work surface.
The dough will feel sticky by look very dry–DO NOT ADD WATER! You’ll want to, but trust me DON’T! Gather the dough together and knead.
The dough will appear to be dry and unwilling to come together, but keep going.
Knead and knead some more, until every drop of flour is incorporated into the dough, and the dough looks like this:
Now wrap it in cling wrap, and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.
It needs that time to hydrate fully and to let the gluten relax. Now it’s time to roll. With a bench knife cut the dough into 4 equal parts. Note how smooth the dough is now that it has had time to relax,
Place one part of the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Re-wrap the remaining dough in the cling wrap and set aside. Place your pasta roller dial on the lowest setting. On my ATLAS that is 0(zero). On my KitchenAid attachment it’s 1.
STEP 1: Roll the dough out into an oval shape on your work surface.
STEP 2: Roll the dough through the 0 setting 3 times.
Then fold the dough into an envelope and run it through the 0 setting 3 more times.
This is only to make the dough edges uniform. But honestly if oval edges don’t bother you, that step is not necessary. The only time I fold my edges into an envelope is when I tear my dough. If your dough tears, fold it and start back at the zero setting. Once you’ve run the dough through the 0 setting 3 times, dust it lightly with flour.
STEP 3: Move the dial on your pasta machine up one dial.
Run the dough 3 more times through dial setting 1. Dust the pasta sheet and Repeat steps 1-3, rolling the dough through 3 times on each dial setting from 2-6.
With each pass through and dial adjustment the dough gets thinner, smoother and longer.
Just a note: On dial 6 running it through 1 or 2 times maybe all you need–that’s up to you to determine. If it feels like if you run it through one last time it may rip, then don’t run it through. By this time you should have a long beautiful sheet of pasta.
Dust it lightly with flour, and place it on a parchment lined sheet, and cover with a sheet of parchment/cling wrap/towel. Repeat Steps 1-3 for the remaining 3 portions of dough.
Now it’s time to cut your pasta sheets. If you’re making lasagna you’re pretty much done, just cut the sheets to fit your pan size. If you’re making spaghetti, or fettuccine, attach the cutter to your machine. Place the pasta sheets through your cutter of choice.
Gather the cut pasta as it comes out of your machine. Sprinkle some flour on your board, then place the noodles on the board and gently roll them in the flour, making sure to dust the ends. Gently place the noodles in a circular nest on a dusted piece of parchment. Cover and continue until all your dough has been cut.
When your ready to cook, bring a medium pot of salted water to boil. Place a few the noodles in and cook for 60-90 seconds. Toss in your favorite sauce and enjoy! Freeze any unused noodles in a ziplock, and when you’re ready to use them, simply bring a pot of water to boil, and drop the noodles in frozen. Cook until Al dente.
Don’t forget to check out my YouTube Channel for a detailed review of the KitchenAid and Atlas Pasta makers:
Dried Watermelon–How to make Dehydrated Watermelon
This week is Teacher Appreciation Week at Page’s school. Every day this week she is required to bring in a small gift to show how much she appreciates all that her teacher’s do. The note that the room mom sent home said to send a sweet treat as a gift, knowing the kinds of sweets that most moms have sent in the past I thought why not send something semi-healthy. So I marched down to my local Whole Foods and purchased an organic seedless watermelon. Lucky for me it was on sale. The result- a deliciously sweet watermelon snack. It was so good, that I raced back to Whole Foods to get another watermelon to dry. When I dry fruit I never add sugar to it. I see many recipes that do and I never understand why. There really isn’t a need to. In fact, the watermelon I chose was not at all that sweet in its natural form, but in its dried form it was highly sweet, almost like I had added sugar to it. So for this “recipe” all you need is a fresh watermelon, a dehydrator, or an oven set to low and time.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 6-8 hours
Directions: Slice the watermelon and discard the rind. Keep in mind that the thinner you slice it the quicker it dehydrates.
Place the sliced watermelon on dehydrator sheets. Set it on 135F for 6-8 hours depending on how thick you sliced the watermelon.
The watermelon is done when it is pliable but dry to the touch.
If you don’t have a dehydrator–get one they are worth the money and the counter space–you can do this in an oven, set the oven to the lowest setting, and place the watermelon on a parchment lined cookie sheet. My oven’s lowest setting is 250F. If you are using your oven on a setting this high, keep in mind that the watermelon will dehydrate at a faster rate, so keep an eye on it, at the 4-5 hour mark, your watermelon will likely be done.
My daughter loves lentil soup. It is one of her favorite meals. My version of lentil soup is not highly complicated, lentils, carrots, celery, onion, and a final squeeze of lemon at the end. When I ran across a recipe by Kenji over on the Serious eats blog adding a parsley and lemon Gremolata, I knew I had to try it! Let me tell you, hands down this is the best lentil soup that I’ve ever had or made! My daughter ate 3 bowls, (3 of her little mini bowls, but 3 bowls none the less), and she could not stop saying how yummy it was. I decided to use cilantro instead of parsley because I love the flavor of cilantro, lemon, and lentils—super yummy. If cilantro is not your thing, then by all means use parsley, this soup is good either way! If you know you’re putting this in your weeknight line up soak the lentils overnight, it will shave off 30 minutes of your cooking time.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 45minutes-1hour
Here’s what you need:
6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons lemon zest
4 tablespoons oil
1/2 cup cilantro chopped (sub parsley)
Ingredients for Soup
1 cup of lentils ( I used French green lentils)
1 cup carrots diced
1 cup celery diced
1 medium onion diced
4 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
5 cups of good quality chicken broth( sub with veggie stock if you want to make this vegetarian)
1 lemon cut into wedges for squeezing.
Directions: Add the ingredients for the gremolata to a small bowl,
Mix well and set aside.
Heat 4 tablespoons of oil in a Dutch oven pan, add the onions, carrots and celery,
Sauté until onions are translucent about 5 minutes,
Add the lentils mix well,
Add half of the gremolata. Mix well and cook for 2-3 minutes, your house should smell amazing at this point.
Add in the chicken stock and bring to a boil.
Lower the fire and simmer until lentils are nice and tender around 45 minutes. Add water, if necessary, it wasn’t for me. Once lentils are tender, add the lemon juice, mix well then turn off the fire. Serve by ladling into soup bowls and topping with a dollop of the remaining Gremolata, a few squeezes of lemon juice, and enjoy!
If you don’t have it already, check out Kenji’s new book, The Food Lab, it’s full of useful cooking information backed by science.
After years of only getting a harvest of two or three lemons per year, my lemon tree is in full bloom.I finally have a bountiful harvest. In fact, I have so many lemons, I caught myself finally uttering words I thought I would never utter–I have too many lemons. My motto is when life gives you lemons–cook with them! Luckily for me, the Mediterranean flavor profile is one of my favorite flavor profiles. I love a great greek chicken salad. I decided to switch things up a bit, by taking the same ingredients I might use to make a greek salad, and instead, make a warm and savory bowl. The result–delicious! The best thing about this bowl is it can be eaten warm, or cold, it is delicious either way. Feel free to switch out the ingredients, using kale in place of spinach, grill the chicken on the barbecue instead of in the pan, or add red bell pepper and marinated artichokes. You can also switch out the grains, use basmati rice instead of quinoa. If you want to make this vegetarian, replace the chicken in this recipe with tofu or just add more mushrooms. To make it Paleo omit the grains and add more spinach or kale.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Ingredients For Sauce/marinade:
4 large cloves of garlic minced
1 tablespoon of fresh Thyme
1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon of lemon zest
1/3 cup of olive oil
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
Ingredients for chicken bowl:
5 chicken thighs
1 cup of Persian cucumber diced
1 cup of tomato diced
10 ounces of sliced crimini mushrooms
12 ounces of spinach
1 cup of quinoa
1 cup of feta cheese, crumbled
4 Tablespoons of oil, split
sea salt to taste
Directions: Place the quinoa and 2 cups of water in a pan, cover and cook until water evaporates(about 10-15 minutes), then set aside.
Heat the garlic, olive oil and thyme in a saucepan for 1-2 minutes.
NOTE: You do not want the garlic to brown. If it browns then you’ve cooked it too long. The point of this is to infuse the oil with garlic and thyme and also mellow out the garlic. The two-minute mark is usually long enough.
Transfer the infused oil to a bowl, add the lemon juice, sea salt, and lemon zest, mix well.
Season the chicken with sea salt, and pour half of the sauce/marinade over the chicken, set the remaining sauce/marinade aside. Place the chicken in the refrigerator to marinate for a minimum of 15 minutes.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a saute pan, add the mushrooms, season with sea salt and cook until brown–about 10 minutes. Once the mushrooms are brown, transfer them to a plate and set aside.
Add the spinach to the same saute pan, cook until wilted about 3-4 minutes.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a cast iron skillet. The skillet should be smoking hot. Once it is hot, add the chicken and cook undisturbed for 3-4 minutes on each side or until chicken is cooked through.
Assemble the bowls by adding some quinoa, mushrooms, spinach, cucumbers, tomatoes, feta and chicken to each bowl. Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of the remaining sauce over each bowl, and enjoy!
Now that Page is in school–two schools if we’re being technical–there are always opportunities for me to cook, or prepare treats for her classes. This week has been particularly hectic because both schools are doing fundraising drives, and if you’re a parent then you know the schools require a lot of participation from parents in the form of raising money and volunteering to bring food and elbow grease. Luckily for me none of the kids in Page’s class have food allergies, so I decided to make these popcorn balls. Popcorn balls have always been one of my favorite Halloween treats. They contain popcorn and marshmallows, really what’s not to love? These popcorn balls also have a yummy touch of peanut butter, you can omit it, or sub with sun butter or almond butter if you have a little one with allergies. If not–live a little–tis the season! You can make your own marshmallows here’s how, or you can buy a store brand. I got a gluten free version from Whole Foods.
Makes 12 medium popcorn balls
Here’s what you need:
6 cups of organic Non-GMO popcorn (equal to 1/4 cup of unpopped popcorn)
These caramels have been on my ever expanding list of things I’d like to make for a while now. I decided that since Halloween is just within our grasp, why not make these as a special Halloween treat. One of my all time favorite Halloween treats are caramel apples. My mom always bought a package of caramels and on Halloween night we would melt them and make caramel apples. If you have never made caramel before there can be some pitfalls. You’ll need a thermometer that can read temps above 250F. This caramel needs to be heated to 248F. While cooking, it took a considerable amount of time for my caramel to go from 228F to 248F. This happens quite often when making candies of this type. The first time that I made caramel I thought that my thermometer was broken, but it was not. My thermometer just would not go past 230F. I turned my thermometer off and on, recalibrated it, and yet when I placed it in my caramel it would not budge beyond 230F. My caramel had reached a plateau. When making candy it takes a considerable amount of energy to burn off enough water to reach a higher temperature. This plateau typically occurs at temps between 230-240F. Simply put, do not be surprised or thrown off if you put your thermometer in your caramel and the temperature stalls at 230F and does not rise for 10 minutes. It’s completely normal, and once the water cooks out the temperature will rise. Give it time. If you don’t the caramel will not set–great if you just want to use this to coat apples, but bad if you want to have them set as a candy.
Here’s what you need:
1 cup of organic sugar
1 cup of organic heavy cream
1/2 cup maple syrup
4 tablespoons of butter
1/2 teaspoon maple extract
1/4 cup of water
3 tablespoons of organic corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
Line a 9 by 11-inch pan with parchment paper spray lightly with oil and set aside. Heat the cream, butter, salt, and maple extract in a sauce pan, once butter melts, remove from heat and set aside.
In a large saucepan add the remaining ingredients:
Bring to a boil over medium heat without stirring,
Once the sugar completely dissolves, slowly add the cream mixture, be careful the mixture will boil violently:
Reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the temperature reaches 248F. Remember, going from 230F to 248F could take some time, but keep an eye on it, do not walk away. The mixture will become less watery and more thick and candy-like as it nears 248F:
When it reaches 248F it will be very thick:
Thick enough to coat a spatula:
Pour it into the parchment lined pan and let cool for 2 hours.
We have a black bean tostada night once every 2 weeks. It’s simple, and definitely a lazy girl dinner, because I open a can of black refined beans heat them then add them to a piping hot and crisp tortilla. I top the tortilla with cheese, sliced tomatoes, cilantro, and either a fresh guacamole or this Avocado Crema. The result is a delicious and lazy dinner! Simple ingredients, but oh so good. My husband raves about this dinner every time we have it. The best thing about this is that you throw everything into a blender and a minute later the sauce is done. If you want to make this vegan, paleo or Whole 30 approved just omit the yogurt and replace with 1/4 cup of water.
I love California, as a matter of fact I’d be hard pressed to name a state within this union that I’d consider leaving California for. One of the many great things about living here, besides the diversity here, is the weather. On a great day, the temperature ranges between 78F and 82F. Since we live by the beach, there is seldom a day without a cool ocean breeze. Lately however, the temperatures have been 10-20F degrees above normal, and for the last two weeks temps have settled in around 89-98F—HOT!!!!!! So hot that the last thing I want to do is to turn on the stove. So we’ve adapted, I’ve been marinating meat in the morning for my husband to grill in the evening when things start to cool down a bit. This marinade is super simple, and if you’ve ever had grilled Peruvian chicken you know how yummy and it can be. The vinegar in this really gives this chicken a yummy tang and kick. I’ve tried this with Rice vinegar and white wine, both are yummy, but plain white distilled vinegar is just as yummy.
Here’s what you need:
1 lb of boneless skinless organic chicken thighs
1 tablespoon cumin powder
1 tablespoon of smoked paprika
3 cloves of garlic grated
1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar–can sub with white vinegar or rice vinegar
1 tablespoon of olive oil–can sub with oil of your choice
sea salt to taste
Directions: Generously season the chicken with sea salt and set aside. Add the cumin powder, paprika, garlic, oil, and vinegar to a pan or a bowl big enough to marinate you chicken in.
Then add chicken,
Toss to coat the chicken in the marinade.
Cover with foil, refrigerate until you’re ready to grill. Cook chicken on a hot grill for 15-20 minutes, or in an oven set on 425F 15-20 minutes. Serve and enjoy! I served this with a delicious Avocado and cilantro crema, I’ll post the recipe for that soon–sooo yummy! This chicken also makes for great chicken taco’s!
This week I’ve spent a lot of time in the kitchen making things that I had on my “list of things I want to make”–yes I actually have a list. This cheese has been on that list for quite some time. It’s so unbelievably easy to make that now I am left to wonder why it took me so long to try it. It’s also a great way to use milk that would not get used otherwise. This cheese was a great addition to my Peruvian Chicken taco’s that recipe will be on the blog tomorrow.
Here’s what you need:
1 quart of whole organic milk
2 -3 Tablespoons of fresh lemon juice–can sub with vinegar
Sea salt to taste
Directions: Add the milk to a saucepan,
Heat the milk to 180F whisking to prevent the milk from scorching.
Once the milk reaches 180F remove from heat.
Add the lemon juice or vinegar 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring gently until the curds separate from the whey. This happens almost immediately.
Allow the curds to continue to separate, let the mixture sit in the pot uncovered for 15-20 minutes.
From here you can decide to just strain the mixture in a cheesecloth lined sieve, add salt to taste and be done–you’ll have a perfectly soft crumble cheese.
Or you can strain, then squeeze out excess whey, add salt, form into a ball, and press into a firmer queso,
I placed my queso into a circular cookie/biscuit cutter, which I wrapped in my cheesecloth, and then placed a sealed water-filled 4-ounce mason jar on top for 5-10 minutes to squeeze out excess whey. I placed these items over a sieve with a bowl underneath to collect the whey.
For a firmer paneer type cheese extend the time that the cheese is pressed from 10 to 20 minutes. Refrigerate if you don’t plan on using the cheese right away. It will keep in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.