Feed Yourself

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Meatballs and Sunday Sauce

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My mother taught me how to make meatballs, just like my grandmother taught my five aunts. However, my father swears that all of our meatballs have a slightly different taste. “Everyone’s hands have a specific chemistry,” he says. “It gets into the meat.”

Chemistry aside, I think I make a pretty good meatball, largely because I’ve stolen everyone’s secrets and tricks.

My mother buys ground pork and ground beef separately and then mixes them together. She says that the veal in pre-made meatball mix makes for a drier, tougher meatball. At least one of my aunts grinds her own meat, but that’s a little too intense for me at this point.

My mother says its very important to crack the egg into a bowl before adding it the meat, in case it comes out rotten. My mother is the most practical person I know, and I try to follow this excellent piece of advice but usually forget.

Meatballs need some kind of bread to bind everything together. When I was a kid, my mother would soak a piece of white bread in milk until it got really soft, and then she’d mix it with the meat. At some point, she switched to regular, store-bought breadcrumbs, and I know this is kind of sacrilege, but I prefer it that way because I think it incorporates better. Also, not to gross you out, but I have clear memories of sitting at the kitchen table picking out bread chunks from my meatballs, because I thought they looked like snot. 

My father’s cousin said the secret to a good meatball is not to over mix the ingredients. Always use with your hands, never a spoon, and only until everything is just combined. It should take less than a minute.

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A family friend said to add a bit of water to the mix if it’s too dry. A bit of milk would work too. 

Someone on some television cooking show said she rubs a little olive oil onto your hands before she starts shaping the meatballs because it  flavors the meat. I know this doesn’t make sense, because you then go and fry them in olive oil, but I do it anyway.

The most important tip comes from my father “Don’t overpack them. Meatballs should be light.”

I don’t think he’s ever made a meatball in his life, but he is nonetheless an expert on the topic. Heavy, overpacked meatballs are no good at all. 

Ingredients for the meatballs (makes about five or six):

  • half a pound of ground meat (I like a combination of beef and pork)
  • one egg, cracked and beaten
  • 1/3 cup of dried, Italian bread crumbs
  • three cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup grated Pecorino cheese
  • half a cup of oil (I use a combination of olive and vegetable)

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Ingredients for the sauce:

  • two 28 ounce cans of San Marzano tomatoes
  • three cloves of garlic, smashed with the back of your knife
  • two to three tablespoons of olive oil
  • pinch of red chili flakes, oregano, salt and sugar, to taste

Make the Meatballs:

Combine the first five meatball ingredients together in a large bowl, being careful not to over mix. It it feels dry, add a little bit of water until it’s moist. Form into balls. I like mine a little bit bigger than golf balls.

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Add the oil to a  pan and cook over medium heat. The oil is hot when a drop of water in the pan causes it to sizzle. Carefully add the meatballs to the pan, being careful not to crowd them or burn yourself with a splash of oil. 

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Fry the meatballs for a few minutes on each side, and use a spoon to turn them over in the pan. When the meatballs are fried and brown on all sides, remove from the pan and place on some paper towels to drain off the excess oil. 

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Make the sauce:

Add a few tablespoons of olive oil to a large pot along with the remaining cloves of garlic. Fry for a minute or two on medium-low heat, and then add the chili flakes if using. Add the two cans of tomatoes, and crush them down with a wooden spoon. Cook for about ten minutes, and then add the meatballs, a pinch of oregano if using, and the basil. I usually just add the basil leaves whole. 

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The longer this cooks, the better it will taste, so leave it on the stove for at least an hour or two, stirring every once in awhile to make sure nothing sticks and burns to the bottom of the pot. Give the sauce a taste each time you stir to make sure it doesn’t need a little bit more chili flakes or oregano. Sometimes, I add a pinch of salt or sugar, depending on how things are going.

Rutabaga Fries

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You know that recipe for rutabaga chips that I posted last month? In my mind, I had been eating celery root chips until like literally five seconds before I hit the Post Now button.  

But wait, it gets better. I actually gave one to a friend of mine as a present for coming with me to my CSA vegetable pickup that week. I put it right in the back seat of her car and said, “Here, take this celery root.” I’m sure it was one of the best presents she ever got.

It just so happened that I looked up the contents of my CSA share - who even knows why - right before publishing the post and noticed the prominent absence of celery roots from the list. Instead, there were rutabagas. And plenty of them. 

That’s right. Until recently, I didn’t know the difference between a  rutabaga and a celery root.  Hi. I’m Francesca, and I’m a food blogger. Can you even imagine the total, epic embarrassment if I hadn’t checked? 

What’s so strange about all of this is that I’ve definitely eaten a celery root before, and now that I’m thinking about it, the two look completely different, aside from their generally big, bulbous, root vegetable-ness. 

This is a rutabaga:

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And this is a celery root:

Totally different. Now we all know.

Having felt like I had dodged a deadly hot bullet, I posted the rutabaga chip recipe to my Facebook page. Here was a comment from one of my friends:

The compliment was lovely. But more importantly, who knew rutabagas had fans? 

So I decided to get to know them better.  Over this past month, I’ve mashed them, and I’ve roasted them and I’ve made them into these insanely good fries, and now I’m a big fan too.

Ingredients (makes one serving):

  • one large rutabaga
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Make the fries:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Peel the rutabaga and then cut it into sticks that are about half an inch thick. 

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Toss with olive oil and salt, and roast in the oven for about forty minutes, until crisp and golden brown. Eat immediately.

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Speculoos

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Adapted from Epicurious 

It’s the middle of February, so I think it’s safe to start talking about my New Year’s resolution. Not my resolution to wake up early and go running before work every day. Not my resolution to limit my coffee and wine intake to one daily serving each. Not my resolution to get eight hours of sleep. No, those resolutions were crazy and broken in like ten seconds. Today I’m talking about the one resolution I have actually managed to keep. I’m talking about my resolution to break my habit of buying pre-made, store-bought food.

It started with hummus.

To date, I’ve posted three hummus recipes on this blog: roasted yellow peppercarrot and white bean, and edamame, In each post, I go on and on about how easy it is to make and how you’ll never need to buy the store-bought stuff. And yet, know what ends up in my shopping basket every week? That’s right. A large container of hummus.

One day in late December, I went to the supermarket and saw that they had completely run out. I stood in front of the case for a good minute or two with an open mouth and glazed eyes as if witnessing some sort of apocalyptic tragedy. And then it hit me. I was a total fraud. 

At that point, I made a hard and fast decision. Never again. I was done with the store bought hummus. My 2014 resolution was born.

I started with the things I know I can make well: some type of fruit compote and muffins for breakfast, pizza with a delicious topping or two, and obviously, hummus. If I made it once, it’d go on the list of things that I wasn’t going to buy already made in the supermarket. 

Since then, it’s been full on. I started making veggie chips. I stopped buying canned beans and started presoaking the dried ones overnight.  I now bake my own bread every week. 

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A few years ago, I spent New Year’s in Amsterdam. It was the first time I had speculoos, which are thin, crispy spiced cookies, and I’ve been a fiend for them ever since. If I’m passing through that part of the world on vacation, I’d bring back boxes. My lovely friends would text me when they find a store here in New York that carries them. It was no joke.

Last night, I polished off the last cookie in the last box of my stash. Usually, I’d start panicking, but this time, I was totally calm. I’d just made a fresh batch. 

I had to make a few changes to the recipe. Since nobody is here to help me with the four dozen cookies the original makes, I scaled everything down by a half. Speculoos are a lot like gingerbread, and I like mine with a bit of crushed black pepper, so I added some. Instead of the egg, I swapped out ground flax and water, which sounds strange but is actually a great substitute and prevents you from having to waste half an egg. 

I started on these kind of late at night and didn’t want to be bothered with rolling out dough on a messy, floured board, so I stole a tip from a comment in some other recipe that I can no longer find and molded the dough to a form before chilling it so that the cookies could be sliced. (Thank you comment-tip lady, whoever and wherever you are! You are a genius!) I used a coffee mug, and it ended up making a nice log shape. 

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Also, you know how cookie recipes say to wrap dough in plastic and then chill? Well, I had no plastic wrap, so I cut open a plastic bag and used that instead.

Even with all these changes, the cookies were fantastic. And the moment I pulled the pan out of the oven and that spicy cookie smell hit me in the face, I knew I had stuck to the right resolution. 

Ingredients (makes about fifteen to two dozen cookies): 

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground blackpepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cups (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground flax seed
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoon water

Make the speculoos:

Combine the first seven ingredients in a medium bowl.

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In a small bowl, mix the ground flax seed and the water and set aside. 

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Beat the brown sugar and butter in large bowl using an electric mixer. Add the flax-water mixture, and then gradually add the dry ingredients. Beat slowly or mix by hand until everything is combined.

Mold the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic, and push it into a coffee mug, making sure the ends of the plastic wrap are sticking out from the top of the cup (you can also just roll it into a freeform log). Freeze for about forty minutes.

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Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet. Pull the dough up from the cup (if using) and remove the plastic wrap. Cut the dough into thin slices using a sharp knife.

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Bake ten to twelve minutes at 350 degrees on a lined baking sheet, until the cookies are brown around the edges. Let cool on rack. Whatever you don’t eat immediately can be stored in an airtight container for about a week.

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Soba Noodles with Pickled Watermelon Radishes

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Adapted from David Chang 

The cold, dark nights. The quiet solitude of snow. The bone chilling sounds of Edward Gorey’s damsel in distress (totally the best part of Masterpiece!). Winter is the season for solving mysteries.

Sherlock and Poirot may have their logical reasoning and superior deductive skills, but I have text messaging and a friend who knows about these things.  

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The clues: turnip on the outside, beet on the inside, and foul to the taste.

Intriguing, right? 

Here’s a picture, so you can play along. 

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By now, you must be riveted to the point where you are sitting on the very edge of your seat. Hold on tight, because the response is a shocker.

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Who knew this was even something that existed? Not me. 

And so with one mystery solved, another is revealed. 

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I have never pickled anything because I hate pickles. I also loathe radishes. 

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Which leads us to the final mystery, the be all to end all. What else could I do with them? Because it turns out, I had a lot. My winter CSA had given me tons of amazing root vegetables. Potatoes, carrots, rutabaga.        

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Clearly, stating the obvious.   

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Not feeling like I had much choice…

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It did. The salt-sugar mixture made the radishes taste less radishy without being too pickled, and the soba noodles were a nice balance. Mystery solved, case closed.

Ingredients (makes two servings):

  • 2 medium to large rainbow radishes
  • 2 bundles of soba noodles
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of chili garlic sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar

Pickle the radishes and make the noodles:

Slice the radishes into thin strips. In a bowl, toss with the sugar and the salt, and set aside for at least ten minutes.

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Meanwhile, boil a pot of water. Add two bundles of soba noodles and cook for about three minutes. 

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In a bowl, mix the soy sauce, peanut butter, honey and chili-garlic sauce. Drain the soba noodles and toss with the sauce. Let cool, and then top with the pickled radishes.

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Rutabaga Chips

Like many New Yorkers, I don’t own a dishwasher. Neither do my parents. We all scrub our pots and pans the old-fashioned way. Life in the big city can be so very hard.

My mother on the subject: “If I have to pre-rinse everything before putting it into the dishwasher, then what’s the point? I’d have to give up so much storage space. Plus, I heard they attract roaches.”

And while I see her point completely, and have managed all of these years just fine, I got it into my head that I absolutely had to have one. So I did the logical thing and went to an appliance store.

The appliance store sales associate on the subject: “You can’t just buy a dish washer. We need to send out a contractor.”

Um, ok…

Two weeks later, my appointment was scheduled. I had it all worked out. I’d  replace my microwave and range hood with one of those combo deals, prune the contents of a cabinet or two, and I’d be able to fit the dishwasher into a spot right by the sink without feeling like I’d lost any storage space. I even drew a picture of the whole thing. It was genius.

The contractor on the subject, two minutes after he walked into my kitchen: “The job is going to cost at least $10,000. Honestly, I say save your money. It’s not worth it.”

It turns out, so many New Yorkers don’t own a dishwasher because we live buildings that were built when people washed dishes in a sink. I couldn’t just go ahead and buy a dishwasher. I would have needed all new wiring and plumbing. For starters. 

Obviously, this was really disappointing. So to cheer myself up, I bought a food dehydrator. 

While it won’t solve my dishwashing problems, it does make a mean bunch of rutabaga chips. Other root veggies work just as well. And if you have a working dishwasher and/or don’t have a dehydrator, you can slow bake them in your oven instead.

Ingredients (makes about a two cups):

  • 4 - 5 small rutabaga (or maybe two large ones)
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt

Make the rutabaga chips:

Peel the rutabaga and slice them very thinly. Use a mandoline if you have one, but do not despair if all you have is a knife. That’s what I used, and it was fine. Just make sure the slices are as thin and uniform as possible. 

Place the slices on the dehydrator trays so that they are spaced evenly apart. My dehydrator has four trays, so I ended up using about one tray per rutabaga.

Turn the dehydrator on to about 135 degrees. After about ten hours, they should be done. 

After you’ve finished dehydrating, toss the chips with the olive oil and salt and bake them at 350 degrees for about two or three minutes. Make sure to preheat the oven, and definitely, absolutely, do not walk away from the oven or get distracted while they are in the oven because keeping them in for just a bit more will cause them to burn.

Take the chips out of the oven and let them cool for a minute or two so they crisp back up before eating.

Cacio e Pepe with Fennel

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I went to Rome about a year and a half ago, and I ate cacio e pepe almost every day. Spaghetti, pecorino, black pepper. and maybe some butter and/or olive oil. So good, so simple, and best accompanied with several glasses of wine.

It’s the kind of dish that just makes you want to sing “I’m in Rome and about to stuff my face with more deliciousness than my ever expanding stomach can handle.” Or maybe quietly hum it as you slowly drift off into a semi-drunken food coma.

This is me on Day 2 of the trip, about to dig in.

I will not be showing you pictures from Day 5 of the trip for obvious reasons. 

If you’re on a New Year-new me, post-holiday, cleanse, detox, let’s all do yoga and meditate kick, then stay away from the cacio e pepe. DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER. Consider yourself warned.

If, like me, you need something hearty and cozy on this freezing January night or wish you were sunning yourself on the Spanish steps instead of slogging through wintry frozen sludge, then please, continue.

There’s a little bit of controversy out there as to what makes a proper cacio e pepe. For some people, it’s butter and pecorino. For others, its olive oil instead of butter. Or it’s neither. Some equate adding a vegetable or other accompaniment as an inexcusable, disgraceful travesty. I say, do what makes you happy. Especially if you are the only one eating it.

And happiness for me was using up that starting-to-wilt bulb of fennel I had lying around. 

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For good measure, I also used both butter and olive oil. 

I’ll run it off once the snow melts. 

Ingredients (makes one serving):

  • 1 small fennel bulb
  • 2 - 4 ounces of spaghetti (depending on how hungry you are)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 -2 tablespoons of grated pecorino cheese, or to taste
  • crushed black pepper, again to taste
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

Make the cacio e pepe:

Add the teaspoon of salt to a pot of water and boil. Add the spaghetti and cook according to the package. Mine cooked for about 12 minutes.

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Meanwhile, slice the fennel bulb into thin strips and cook with the olive oil in a pan until soft, about ten minutes. Watch it closely, and if the fennel starts to brown, lower the heat.

Add one to two teaspoons of water from the pasta pot and mix with the fennel. Drain the pasta and add to the pan along with the butter. 

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Stir to coat, add the cheese, and stir again. Add the crushed black pepper to taste, along with more cheese if you feel it needs it and give everything one last stir before happily stuffing your face.

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Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

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Adapted from smitten kitchen 

I know it’s already the middle of January, but I have to say that the weeks leading up to Christmas were just Grinch-like, Scrooge-like shitty, and only now am I back fully to being my normal cheery self.

It wasn’t for lack of trying to feel the spirit of the season. I had a chocolate Advent calendar but kept forgetting to open the daily boxes. I bought some branches loaded with those festive red berries, but one dropped on the floor and was eaten immediately by dog, who then threw up for two days straight. (She’s ok.) 

A few days before Christmas, I splurged on this limited edition, imported, hand-crafted, papier-mâché Santa Claus. 

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I think he’s glorious. The people at the shop? Not so much. “Look at this Santa. Who would buy this? Would you, ever?” the sales associate at the register whispered as he wrapped it in tissue. ”Never,” said his colleague. “It’s totally creepy and weird.” Then they both turned around and looked at me with pity and disgust.

And so, having had any last bit of Christmas cheer completely destroyed, I decided to take things back to a happier time. The last time I did any kind of serious cooking. Thanksgiving. 

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Thanksgiving left me with a ton of leftovers, and even weeks after the fact, I still had some pumpkins and cranberries lying around, so I decided it was as good a time as any to make muffins. I ate one on Christmas Eve while surrounded by my half-opened Advent calendar, my poisonous berries, and my creepy Santa, and it was delicious.

I’m really glad the holidays are over. Happy belated New Year everyone!

Ingredients (makes about nine muffins):

  • 1 1/2 cups flour 
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup mashed pumpkin (canned, or from two small pumpkins)
  • 1 cup of whole fresh cranberries
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil, plus about a tablespoon for the muffin tins
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup of brown sugar

Make the muffins:

If you are using fresh pumpkins, roast them in the oven on a pan for at least an hour at 350 degrees. Let cool, cut open, scoop out and discard the seeds, and you should have about cup’s worth of pumpkin remaining. Otherwise, you can get it from a can. 

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If you have not already done so, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and brown sugar. 

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Crack open the eggs and add them to the flour, along with the pumpkin puree and the vegetable oil. 

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Stir to combine, and then fold in the cranberries. 

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Lightly grease a muffin tin with the remaining tablespoon of vegetable oil. Scoop about half a cup of batter into each muffin tin. 

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Bake the muffins for about twenty five to thirty minutes at 350 degrees. You will know they are done when you can poke them with a toothpick, and it comes out clean. 

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You can freeze whatever muffins you don’t eat right away. I’ve been eating the leftovers over these past few weeks, and they heat up again in the oven really nicely. 

Thanksgiving

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I don’t play when it comes to Thanksgiving. My mother, my aunt and I usually split up the cooking, and we are quite serious about making sure nobody goes hungry. One year, there were five pies - one for each person sitting at the table. 

I usually settle on a few recipes before I get down to cooking and then end up changing things because I’ve forgotten to buy some key ingredient, or things don’t seem to be turning out quite right, or I get some bright idea along the way. 

This year being no exception, I made:

  • Pumpkin pie with a gluten free pie crust, only I used roasted kabocha  squash for the filling, left out the cardamom and the lemon zest, threw in the rest of the spices without measuring, and added half a cup more flour to the dough recipe. 
  • An apple pie with a double gluten free pie crust (again adding half a cup more of flour to each). For the filling, I chopped enough apples until I filled a large bowl and then tossed them with some flour, sugar and cinnamon. It was completely unscientific. Also, the top crust fell apart when I tried to place it on the pie, so I just smushed it down on top of the apples and then glazed the whole thing over with cream and sugar. I don’t think anyone noticed.
  • Sweet potatoes and apple casserole, only without the pecans. Also, I added some amount of cream to the sweet potatoes before mashing
  • Mashed butternut squash and pears, which really was supposed to be roasted butternut squash but I couldn’t get them quite caramelized and time was running out, so I mashed them up instead. Also, I cooked the pears in butter separately and mixed them into them mash. Also, there were no spices. Instead, I used more cream.
  • Roasted brussels sprouts. No recipe, I just cut them in half and roasted them with olive oil until they were perfect.
  • Cranberry Pomegranate Sauce, but with a fresh pomegranate (I ruined my favorite t-shirt trying to get the seeds), the juice and zest from two clementine oranges, and an apple. 
  • Gluten-free cornbread stuffing, which I cobbled together from maybe five different recipes that I now cannot find. It ended up being ok, but not great. 
  • Quinoa with spaghetti squash, dried cranberries, hazelnuts and feta, which I made at the list minute because one of the pieces of pumpkin I had bought for the pie turned out to be spaghetti squash. Also, I had to use up the leftovers in my refrigerator. I’ll post the recipe later.

Everyone was thankful and happy. Nobody starved. And there are leftovers for at least a week. 

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Hope you had a good one too.

Cinnamon Dulce de Leche

Saturday morning was going to be amazing. I was going to make a pot of coffee with my brand new, super fancy all-in-one espresso-cappuccino-drip coffee maker, and I was going to make a big pot of apple sauce. A few minutes in, my house is starting to smell like one of those lovely fall candles. But better. I’m feeling like nobody can mess with my domestic goddess skills.

Pride cometh before the fall.

I walk into the kitchen, and there is coffee all over my countertop and dripping on the floor. Some nozzle wasn’t aligned with some opening or something. I’m not at all fazed because it’s a new machine and I’ll figure it out. I start mopping and drying and trying my best to keep my dog away because she has this annoying habit of licking the floor.

And then I smell something burning and realize that I’d forgotten to stir the applesauce. I walk to the stove, and the entire bottom of my favorite pot is coated with black, sticky nastiness.

My kitchen sink is now full of towels and coffee grinds, so I move the pot to my bathtub and start scrubbing away before deciding it’d be easier to just let it soak for awhile. My pre-war bathtub pipes are probably all clogged with burnt apple bits.

At this point, I feel like I’m about to die from caffeine deprivation, so I decide to give the machine another shot.

I grind more coffee beans. I measure out the water. I make sure everything is aligned precisely. I hit the ON button, and water starts streaming out of the espresso nozzle. Only I wasn’t making espresso. I grab a towel and change the settings. Water starts spraying out of the steamer attachment. So now, I’m wet, and I’m pretty sure I have coffee grinds in my hair.

And then my dog starts freaking out because she’d snuck back into the kitchen while I was dealing with the pot in the bathroom and clearly I hadn’t cleaned the floor as well as I had thought.

Twenty minutes later, I had it all under control and was pouring myself a giant cup of coffee.

A friend of mine went to Mexico a few months ago and brought me back a bottle of dulce de leche. I decided this was as a good a time as any to stir some of it in. And by some, I mean like half the bottle. It saved the day.

Here’s how you can make it for yourself.

Ingredients:

  • One 14 ounce can of sweetened, condensed milk
  • One cinnamon stick

Make the dulce de leche:

Pour the condensed milk into a small pot. Add the cinnamon stick and cook over low to medium heat for at least thirty minutes, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon. The longer you cook it, the darker and thicker it will get. Remove the pot from the stove and let cool. Stir a spoonful into coffee, warm milk, hot cocoa, or just eat straight from the pot.

Sweet Potato Crackers

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This recipe was supposed to serve three goals:

1. Get me out of the really quite sad I-live-alone-and-am-too-busy-to-cook-a-proper-meal kitchen rotation of pizza, quesadillas, and omelets. (note my prior post, which is at least three weeks old).

2. Use up some of the sweet potatoes accumulating in my refrigerator (see goal #1).

3. Replace the vegetable chips I’ve gotten into the habit of buying (again, see goal #1) with something more virtuous. 

I came up with these vegan, gluten-free sweet potato crackers. Just a few points to note here:

1. I have never made crackers in my life and didn’t follow a recipe.

2. I know nothing about gluten-free baking, so I just kept adding potato flour until everything looked kind of dough-like. 

3. I started mixing ingredients at 10:30 at night. I have six meetings tomorrow, and the first one starts at 9 AM. 

So clearly, I was all set for a winning success. 

I’m not going to say they were the best things I’ve ever made, but I started snacking on a few of them straight from the oven and decided that they weren’t half bad either. Actually, they were kind of addictively good. In a vegan, gluten-free, just thrown together in a half-assed sort of way. 

Ingredients:

  •  2 medium to large cooked sweet potatoes (about one cup mashed)
  • 1/4 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed meal
  • 1/2 cup potato flour, plus more for board and rolling pin
  • 2 teaspoons of chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup of water

Make the crackers:

This recipe starts with sweet potatoes that are already cooked. If you are starting with uncooked sweet potatoes, just toss them in the oven for about an hour or so at 400 - 450 degrees until soft. I like to roast a few at a time and then keep them in the refrigerator for a quick meal. Or, you can cut them up and boil them until fork tender. Either way, you should have about a cup of mashed sweet potatoes.

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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Add 1 teaspoon of the chia seeds to the water, stir, and set aside.

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Meanwhile, in a large bowl, add the mashed sweet potatoes, the buckwheat flour, flaxseed meal,  potato flour, remaining chia seeds and salt. 

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Pour in the chia-seed and water mixture and stir until well combined.

Coat a wooden board and rolling pin with the remaining potato flour. Dump the sweet potato cracker dough on the board.  

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Roll out until about half a centimeter thin.

Cut into strips lengthwise, and then slice each strip into diamonds. I wasn’t so precise at this stage, but I did my best.

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Place each cracker on a lined cookie pan and cook at 350 degrees for about forty minutes. Press down on any that look a little too thick.

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You will need to watch them so that nothing burns. I rotated the pans after ten minutes, then flipped each cracker over ten minutes after that, and then rotated the pan again after another ten minutes. I still burned a few. 

Remove from the oven and let cool before crunching away.

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