November 17, 2014 § Leave a comment
I’ve tested out my fair share of fruit crisps. Crisps were one of the first dessert recipes I tried my hand at, probably because they are easy to throw together with what you have in your fridge and pantry on those nights when you really need something sweet and a little special. I don’t even bother to peel the apples, which tells you something about how ready I am for this treat to come together.
I look for crisps that use oil instead of butter because my stomach is wimpy and I feel a bit more justified in eating a crisp for breakfast when it has olive oil or canola oil. Of all the crisps to come out of the various ovens I’ve had throughout the years, this one is hands down the winner. The crumble topping gets crunchy and browns nicely just like a topping with butter would, and the almond flour gives it incredible flavor.
While this is a tried and true recipe which I should probably leave well enough alone, this time around I also added a few dollops of homemade pumpkin butter between the apples and crumble layer.
I tried out Tracy from Shutterbean’s pumpkin butter recipe this weekend and was itching to put it on everything. It makes this crisp taste and smell like fall. For the pumpkin butter, I cut the sugar by about three quarters and the maple syrup in half and it still got thick and creamy, in case you decide to try it out in your kitchen. I also used a few splashes of vanilla instead of bourbon. You could easily use apple or fig butter (Trader Joe’s has a fig butter I really like) in the crisp, or skip it altogether. The apples can carry the show.
Almond Oat Apple Crisp
Adapted from Oh She Glows
- 5 small apples or 3 medium-large apples, cut into chunks
- zest of 1 lemon
- juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup almond flour or almond meal
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (or canola)
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- pinch of salt
A few dollops of your favorite fruit butter (pumpkin, fig, apple)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray a 9×9 baking dish or circular pie dish with cooking spray.
- Add the filling ingredients to a large bowl and toss well so the apples are well coated with the sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and spices.
- Pour the filling into the greased baking dish and spread it out so there is an even layer of fruit. Top with a few dollops of fruit butter if using.
- Combine the crumble ingredients in a medium bowl and use a fork to mash it all together.
- Spread the crumble topping evenly across the apples.
- Bake for 20 minutes on the middle rack (uncovered) and then move to the top rack and bake for another 10 minutes, so the topping gets some color to it. If at the 20 minute mark the crumble is already browned, you can cover it with foil for the last 10 minutes of baking.
- Serve with ice cream for dessert or Greek yogurt for breakfast.
November 15, 2014 § Leave a comment
A little while back I heard Sara Moulton interviewed on one of my favorite podcasts. In case you don’t know about Sara, she worked at Gourmet Magazine for 25 years, has hosted various cooking shows, and worked with Julia Child. No big deal.
One thing she said really stuck with me–having worked in restaurants, when it came time to write cookbooks for the home cook, she had to break down what was different about restaurant cooking and home cooking.
A big difference was that most home cooks don’t do mise en place (where you have all your ingredients prepped and ready to go). We chop the vegetables while the pasta or rice is cooking, or we make the salad dressing while the main dish is in the oven. We are economical with our time, because cooking is a part of our life, and for many of us a particularly joyful part of our life, but not our only responsibility.
Home cooking is fluid. We use up leftovers and add ingredients to an existing dish to stretch it throughout the week. I find the resourcefulness and creativity involved in home cooking to be satisfying and grounding.
This week embodied this type of cooking for me. I had done a good amount of cooking over the weekend, but not quite enough to get me through breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the whole week. So I got creative and mixed and matched what was in my fridge. In particular, I turned a jar of homemade dressing, a few avocados, a can of chickpeas, kale pesto, and caramelized onions into many, many meals. Here’s how this week went food-wise, in hopes that it helps you feel inspired by (and not entirely bored by the minutiae of) the possibilities of home cooking.
Can’t decide what to eat for dinner, I’m hungry but have no strong cravings. Curly kale in the fridge, but not much else. Whip up a double batch of this dressing for a kale salad with toasted walnuts, defrost a bagel out of the fridge, and top it with half an avocado and some scrambled eggs.
Get home from running errands around 3 pm and MUST.EAT.LUNCH. Open up a can of chickpeas and toss a quick salad together with the dressing from Thursday, a bag of Italian salad mix from Trader Joe’s, the other half of the avocado from Thursday, the remaining kalamata olives that didn’t make it onto the pizza, and some cashews. Also, leftover pizza.
Desk lunch: cauliflower apple soup with leftover kale pesto and caramelized onions (I made more toppings than I needed for the pizza) swirled in, plus the same salad from Sunday.
Desk lunch: can’t possibly eat more cauliflower apple soup. Instead, pull this spicy tomato soup out of the freezer and stir in some of the chickpeas and slices of avocado. Becomes more of a chickpea dish than a soup, which I am perfectly happy about.
Desk lunch: Oh hello cauliflower apple soup, I’m ready for you again, with kale pesto and caramelized onions stirred in.
Desk lunch: The rest of the defrosted spicy tomato soup plus chickpeas, plus english muffin with kale pesto and smashed avocado.
Desk lunch: The very last of the apple cauliflower soup with the last few chickpeas and kale pesto swirled in.
Now, time to do it all over again!
November 12, 2014 § Leave a comment
I am an avid apple eater, and my preferred way to consume apples, especially good fall apples from the farmers market, is just plain old sliced, as is. Sure, I love apple pie and have been meaning to make this apple butter for ages, but I am often hesitant to turn my apple stash into anything else because it means fewer to eat for breakfast, lunch, snack, etc.
However, I deem this soup worthy. The apples add a touch of sweetness and texture to the soup, without being overpowering. Sam hit the nail on the head when he said this soup tastes like a latke with apple sauce!
I love pureed soups, but I find they often need good toppings to keep them interesting. Here I added caramelized onions (leftover from this pizza), which makes it a bit reminiscent of french onion soup! Pesto and yogurt would also be delicious swirled into each bowl before serving.
With only five ingredients plus spices, this soup is a weeknight winner.
Cauliflower Apple Soup
- 1 large head cauliflower
- 3 large apples (I used Suncrisps and Jonagolds from the farmers market; the original recipe recommends Golden Delicious or McIntosh)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large onions
- 6 cups broth (vegetable or chicken)
- salt and pepper to taste
- pesto or yogurt (for topping the soup)
- Separate the florets from the stalks, and chop the stalks into 1-inch pieces.
- Peel and core the apples and cut into 1-inch pieces.
- Dice one of the onions.
- Add the olive oil to a large soup pot and heat over medium heat. Add the apples and diced onion. Cook for about 6 minutes.
- Add the cauliflower stalks and broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Simmer the soup for 20 minutes.
- While the soup is simmering, cut the second onion into large rings.
- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan over medium heat, add the onion slices and stir to coat in the olive oil.
- Reduce the heat to low and cook the onions until caramelized, stirring occasionally. For me this took about 30 minutes.
- After the soup has simmered for 20 minutes, add the cauliflower florets and simmer for another 10-12 minutes.
- Remove from heat and puree with an immersion blender or transfer to a regular blender and puree.
- Season with salt and pepper, and top with caramelized onions and a dollop of pesto or yogurt.
November 11, 2014 § Leave a comment
I know what you are thinking. Lisa is going to start to look a bit orange if she doesn’t stop eating and posting quite so many pumpkin recipes.
I feel you, I totally do. But you see, this is a blog about home cooking, and the recipes I share with you are what I really make for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And given that I am a bit of a nut about making good use of leftover ingredients, am a creature of habit and lover of routines, and grocery shopping can be overwhelming, I tend to put the same items in my cart over and over.
I apologize for not having any pictures of the process here. I threw this pizza together for Sam and me (his half was classic cheese) over the weekend and didn’t really expect to share it, but the flavor combination was just so good, I didn’t want to keep it from you.
Whenever I go out for pizza and see one with butternut squash on the menu, I have to go for it. I love the sweet and savory combination. Here I used pumpkin puree in place of a traditional tomato sauce, and topped it with a quick kale pesto, caramelized onions, mozzarella cheese and whole kalamata olives. Oh, and this pizza tastes even better cold, for breakfast the next day. Sam said it was the best pizza to come out of my kitchen yet!
I’ve made no-knead homemade pizza dough many times, but this was the first time I actually consulted the source, Jim Lahey’s my bread. I found his description of how to incorporate the dough incredibly helpful, and it came together better than any other versions I’ve tried. I’ve done my best to convey his advice below. It also helped that I did a meticulous test of all the yeast in my cupboard and tossed a few packs that were decidedly not active.
If you want to improve your bread and pizza making skills, I highly suggest you get my bread out of the library or on Amazon/at your local bookstore. I got it from the library but am feeling very unhappy about having to return it, so I may add it to my cookbook collection. If you need further convincing, can I tempt you with apricot almond bread, which has almond butter swirled in the dough?! That is happening over Thanksgiving, no doubt about it.
Kale Pesto, Pumpkin & Olive Pizza
Pizza dough from Jim Lahey’s my bread
Note: This dough recipe makes enough for two pizzas. I like to freeze (of course) half the dough for a future pizza. All you have to do is spray the dough ball with some cooking spray and place in a freezer bag. To thaw, place the wrapped frozen dough overnight in the fridge, then bring to room temperature on the counter before stretching out the dough.
- 2 1/2 teaspoons yeast (active dry or instant)
- 3/4 teaspoon plus a pinch of sugar
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups room temperature water
- olive oil for the sheet pan
- 3 cups curly kale leaves
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted
- juice and zest of 1 lemon
- 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
- salt to taste
- 1 large onion, sliced into rings
- 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/4-1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- kalamata olives (without pits)
Make the pizza dough:
- Fill a liquid measuring cup with the room temperature water and add the yeast and sugar. Let sit. You will start to see a foam form at the top, this is how you know the yeast is alive and doing it’s thing.
- In a medium bowl mix the flours and salt.
- Add the water mixture to the dry ingredients and use your hands to really mix up the ingredients. This will take a few minutes, and the dough will be pretty stiff. Don’t shortcut this step or you’ll end up with clumps of flour in your dough after it rises.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit on your counter for 2 hours or so. The dough will double in size.
While the dough is rising, caramelize the onions and make the pesto:
- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan over medium heat.
- Add the onion slices and stir to coat in the olive oil.
- Reduce the heat to low and cook until caramelized, stirring occasionally. For me this took about 30 minutes.
- Add the kale, garlic, walnuts, and lemon juice and zest to the bowl of a food processor or blender. Blend the mixture, using a spatula to scrape down the sides halfway through.
- While the food processor or blender is running, drizzle in 3 tablespoons of olive oil. If it’s a bit dry for your taste, add one more tablespoon. Salt to taste.
Roll out the dough and top the pizza:
- Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. (The original recipe says a 500 degree oven but I don’t trust my oven to safely do much of anything at this temperature. Use your discretion.)
- Oil a 13 x 18 inch rimmed baking sheet and use a rubber spatula to scrape half the dough onto the pan in one piece. You can freeze the other half (see note above) or make a second pizza on another oiled baking sheet.
- Now comes the tricky part–stretching out the dough. You will think there is no way you are going to get this dough to fit the length and width of the pan, but I promise you, it will happen. Lightly flour your hands and use your fingers to pull and stretch the dough. I had success by stretching it lengthwise for a bit, then widthwise, then back to lengthwise, and starting from the middle of the dough where I had the most extra dough to work with. Pinch any holes together. (There will definitely be some, not to worry.)
- Spread a thin layer of pumpkin across the top of the pizza, leaving the border un-sauced for the crust. Top with pesto and caramelized onions, then sprinkle with cheese. Dot pizza with kalamata olives.
- Bake on the middle rack of your oven for 20-30 minutes. I checked at the 20 minute mark and the cheese was already melty and the crust starting to brown so I took it out at about 25 minutes. You want the edges to be crispy before you pull it out.
- Let cool slightly, then slice up and serve!
November 8, 2014 § Leave a comment
These cookies have a lot of ingredients in common with the whole wheat pumpkin chocolate chip cookies I shared with you just a short while ago. But lest you think that you don’t need another pumpkin cookie in your repertoire, let me convince you otherwise. These cookies are like cakey gingersnaps with just a hint of pumpkin. The spices are balanced perfectly, and will make your kitchen smell like a dream.
I got a major craving for gingersnaps after seeing this recipe for pumpkin pie in a mug on The Kitchn, which gets its crust from, you guessed it, gingersnaps. From that point on I was on a mission to have gingersnaps in my kitchen that night. The fact that these have pumpkin in them was icing on the cake.
These cookies are just sweet enough and have whole wheat flour, so I have felt perfectly justified in eating these for breakfast and as an afternoon snack with tea and a few apple slices. Hope you enjoy!
Adapted from two peas and their pod
- scant 1/2 cup canola oil
- scant 1/2 cup raw (turbinado) sugar
- 1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- granulated sugar for rolling the cookies
- In a large bowl whisk together the canola oil, sugar, pumpkin, molasses, egg, and vanilla extract.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the flours, baking soda, spices, and salt.
- Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir with a spatula or sturdy spoon until thoroughly combined. The dough will be thick!
- Place the dough on the fridge for at least an hour, up to 2-3 days.
- When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Fill a small bowl with granulated sugar.
- Use a tablespoon to scoop balls of dough, roll each ball in the granulated sugar, and then place on baking sheet, about 2 inches apart.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes. You want the cookies to crack and have firm edges, but still be soft in the middle.
- Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to cooling rack and let cool fully.