Sour Beets

Since having our baby girl, we realized that having friends and family over for dinner is a little more difficult than it once was. We love cooking and hosting, but given that she goes to bed in the 6 o’clock hour and lets be honest, most people are coming over to see her and not us anyway, dinners just weren’t that convenient. Instead of giving up, we decided to start having people over for brunch! Everyone loves brunch ,and the baby is super friendly and cute in the mornings! We call our brunches “Hedgehog Brunch,” because the baby’s nickname is Hedgehog. (Side note, I think that’s how we’ll start referring to her on here, since “the baby” is a little generic. We’re not comfortable sharing her name and face with the wild, wild west of the whole internet.)

And no, these Sour Beets are not on our brunch menu. That usually consists of Selim’s biscuits (recipe forthcoming…), fruit, sausage and/or bacon, and eggs. But because we eat such a big brunch in the late morning, we’re frequently not that hungry at dinnertime on those nights. We usually just want something lighter and frequently just eat some vegetables for dinner. Hence our dinner tonight of this beet dish! This recipe comes from February’s Cookbook Club selection – Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking, by Toni Tipton-Martin. This book is beautiful and educates the reader about African American culinary influence, a legacy that is often overlooked. I thought this particular recipe would be a great place to start because Selim loves beets, but only tolerates vinegar, while I love vinegar and only tolerate beets! Perfect right? As we were eating, Selim deemed this “hot beet slaw,” which is exactly what it is! He didn’t love it (too vinegary), but I really enjoyed it! We also thought next time we might add some carrots too.

Sour Beets

(Adapted from Jubilee, by Toni Tipton-Martin)
Ingredients:
  • 2 tsp neutral oil
  • 1 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Black pepper
  • 1 large beet or 2 medium beets, cut into matchsticks (~3 cups)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, sliced to similar thickness as the beets
  • 1/4 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
Instructions:
  1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the onions to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes. Then add the garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes. Season with a few turns of black pepper.
  2. Add the beets to the pan, stirring to combine with other ingredients. Cook for just another 1 minute.
  3. Then add the water, salt, sugar, and vinegar. Bring to a boil and then cover and lower the heat to so the liquid is simmering. Cook like this for 15 minutes. (If you like your beets a little softer, go for 20 minutes.)
  4. Remove the lid, add the apples, and cook at a vigorous simmer for another 5-10 minutes, until a lot of the liquid has evaporated and the beets are your desired texture!
  5. Stir in the lemon zest and juice prior to serving. Adjust salt and pepper if need be.
Serves 4 as a side

River Doughnuts

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Growing up, we would visit my grandparents at their home on the Rappahannock River for days and weeks at a time in the summers. We’d spend all day in the water and when we weren’t in the water, we were eating. The best was when my grandfather, known for his sweet tooth, would make us River Doughnuts for breakfast! What is a River Doughnut you ask? Well, it’s a way to add more sugar and butter to an already delicious and low-cal Krispy Kreme doughnut. It’s also a way to improve leftover, almost-getting-stale doughnuts, if you were unfortunate enough to not eat them before they got to that state. It’s so simple that I don’t even know if it can even be called a “recipe,” but we’ll share anyway.

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River Doughnuts

Ingredients: 
  • Leftover glazed doughnuts
  • Butter
  • Sugar
  • Cinnamon
Instructions: 
  1. Slice the doughnuts in half.
  2. Spread a thin layer of butter on each half. Top with generous sprinkles of sugar and cinnamon.
  3. Place under the broiler for just a few minutes, watching closely, and removing when the tops are just beginning to brown.

Easy Bagel Chips

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One of the greatest things about having a baby (other than, you know, the birth of a new human) is the fact that everyone brings you food. We’ve had some great meals and treats over the past 10 days courtesy of our wonderful friends and family. The only bad thing… sometimes we can’t quite finish everything! Ally’s aunt brought us a big box of bagels earlier this week, and the last few were starting to get stale. What to do…? Make bagel chips!

This is just about the easiest thing we’ve ever done and instead of wasting the last two bagels, we now have a bag of bagel chips for snacking! The possibilities are essentially endless. These two bagels we used were everything bagels, so we kept the seasoning savory. If you had a leftover sweet bagel, you could season with cinnamon or something else.

Easy Bagel Chips

Ingredients:
  • 2 stale bagels
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • Herbs and/or spices – we used:
    • 1/2 tsp granulated onion
    • 1 tsp granulated garlic
    • Sprinkle of salt
Instructions: 
  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
  2. Slice the bagels into similarly sized pieces.
  3. Toss with the oil and then spread onto a foil-lined cookie sheet. Ensure the chips are in a single layer.
  4. Sprinkle with seasonings.
  5. Bake for 20-30 minutes until crisp.

Herby Stuffed Dates

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I think Selim has a new favorite herb. Recently he’s been gravitating towards tarragon whenever it is a possible option to add to whatever we’re making (see our last post – Easy Herbed Ham & Cheese Quiche). So when I said I wanted to make some herby, savory stuffed dates, that’s what he suggested. I was inspired by Alia’s easy Ramadan date recipes, where she used chives in a similar manner.

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Awhile back somehow we learned about the use of dates in Middle Eastern culture during pregnancy. Dates are healthy and good source of energy. But also, tradition holds that eating dates towards the end of pregnancy eases labor. The medical community has noticed – several studies have supported the idea that date consumption late in pregnancy decreases the duration of labor, lessen need for labor augmentation, and increases the likelihood of spontaneous labor. These studies are small and not randomized, so not perfect by any means. But given that there’s no harm in date consumption – we’ve decided to try to incorporate them into our diet a little more at the end of Ally’s pregnancy. Hence, we were inspired to bring a date appetizer to our family’s gathering this weekend!

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Ally’s grandparents, aunts & uncles, cousins, and their kids – all together to celebrate the 80th birthdays of the matriarch & patriarch!

Herby Stuffed Dates

Ingredients: 
  • ~50 large pitted dates
  • 1/2 lb feta
  • 1 tbsp of the feta brine
  • 5 turns of fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped
Instructions: 
  1. Open up all the dates halfway. If you bought already pitted dates, this shouldn’t be too difficult.
  2. Place the remaining ingredients in a food processor and blitz until smooth.
  3. Stuff the feta filling into each date. We found that using a butter knife was easiest, though a piping bag would probably be even easier than that!
  4. Refrigerate until serving.

Rainbow Rice Krispie Treats

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Shout out to all the moms out there who have their kids duped into thinking the Rice Krispie treats they make them are such labors of love. (I’m trying to be you one day!) Best joke ever – Rice Krispie treats certainly are delicious, but SO EASY to make! (Don’t worry if you were fooled; I’m sure your mom would labor over a hot stove any day for you…) We adapted these for spring with bright colors, only varying from the original Rice Krispie Treat recipe a tad!

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We’re bringing these treats to our work spring potluck lunch, but they’re perfect for any spring gathering or just to have around the house as you welcome spring with it’s beautiful flowers and warmer temperatures! Also, Easter is fast approaching and if you want an easy dessert, sure to please the adults and kids alike, here you go!

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Rainbow Rice Krispie Treats

Ingredients: 
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 4 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup spring colored (pink, green, yellow) mini marshmallows
  • 4 cups Rice Krispies
  • 2 cups Fruity Pebbles
Instructions: 
  1. Melt butter over low heat in a large pot.
  2. Once the butter is melted, pour in the first 4 cups of marshmallows. Stir, still over low heat, coating the marshmallows with butter and continuing until they are completely melted.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the colorful marshmallows and cereals.
  4. Grease a 9×13 glass pan. Pour the mixture in and press down (with a greased spatula or wax paper over your hand) until smooth.
  5. Allow to cool and then cut and serve!

 

Parmesan-Truffle Potatoes

 

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Happy March! We hope this will be a great month for everyone. We’re really excited about March, because we closed on our house on the first! We’ve spent much of this weekend over at the new house, planning our renovations, picking colors, and generally being proud homeowners! We made these potatoes when we got home to accompany some meatloaf. They’re so easy – perfect for a quick weeknight dinner. The cooking time is about an hour, but your hands-on time is less than 10 minutes! Easy to put together, with just a few ingredients, and delicious! What else can you ask for??

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Parmesan-Truffle Potatoes

Ingredients:
  • 2 Russet potatoes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp truffle oil
  • 1 tsp truffle salt
  • 1/2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1/2 tsp granulated onion
  • 10+ turns fresh black pepper
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Slice potatoes fairly thinly.
  3. Stir together the oils, salt, garlic, onion, and black pepper. Toss the potato slices with the oil mixture.
  4. Stack the potato slices horizontally in a glass baking dish and roast for 1 hour.
  5. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese. Return for just another 2 minutes to melt the cheese.
Serves 2-4

Dinner Salad with a Poached Egg

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In my mid-to-late 20s, there was this salad I used to make myself all the time. I’m talking maybe two or three times a week for months to years. (Katie & Terry probably remember this phase of my life well 😂🤣). I saw it originally in a magazine somewhere I think, though I can’t remember where. I got away from making it when Selim and I started dating, probably for two reasons. One, I stopped cooking for just one person and this is the perfect dinner for one. And two, Selim is morally opposed to anything trendy, and for awhile there everyone was putting an egg on top of everything! Happily, the thought popped into my head to make it for my dinner tonight, and now we have the recipe to share here. It’s really easy to throw together, easily modified, and simultaneously healthy and filling. The salad portion itself can be whatever you want it to be – I generally use mixed greens as the base, with carrots, cucumbers, and bell peppers for additional veggies. The consistent components are a poached egg, balsamic vinegar, and lots of fresh pepper. When you break the poached egg open, the runny yolk combines with the balsamic vinegar to essentially create an eggy vinaigrette. The thick fat of the egg yolk replaces the oil of a normal vinaigrette.

As I was writing this post, I figured out that the original recipe inspiration for this salad is likely the Salade Lyonnaise – which is a classic French bistro salad with a bed of frisée, bacon, a poached egg, and a vinaigrette. Sounds familiar… I like my salad just how it is, though I’m sure many people would happily take the additional bacon.

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Dinner Salad with a Poached Egg 

Ingredients: 
  • ~3 cups mixed greens
  • Assorted raw crunchy vegetables (carrots, cucumbers, peppers, celery, broccoli, radishes, whatever!), chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 egg
  • ~2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Fresh ground black pepper
Instructions: 
  1. Poach the egg. [Many people have different tips and tricks on how this can best be accomplished. This is what I do: bring a small saucepan of water to a light simmer, not a boil; crack the egg into a small ramekin; swirl the water with a spoon to create a vortex in the center of the water; gently pour the egg into the vortex and immediately stop stirring; watch the pot to make sure it doesn’t start simmering and let the egg bathe in the water for about 4 minutes. I do not use vinegar or salt or anything else in the water, but you do you.]
  2. Assemble the salad – greens spread out on the plate, topped with the chopped veggies.
  3. Remove the egg from the water with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to dry briefly. Then place it on top of the salad.
  4. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar over top. Crack a lot of fresh black pepper over that. Then break open the egg and toss the salad together!
Serves 1