It’s that time again! Tomorrow is the December Carroll Cafe. I’ll be there selling the following baked goods:
Cranberry Buttermilk Cake
Chocolate Chunk Eggnog Cookies
Check out previous Carroll Cafe menus here.
Here’s another dish I tried for my nutrition class project of trying 5 new, whole foods…sardines! Don’t run away!! These were actually really good! Sardines definitely have a bad reputation, but they’re a nutritional powerhouse and are a good sustainable fish. Sardines are high in vitamin B12 (especially important for people who don’t eat meat), omega-3 fatty acids (these are the good fats that we need more of), protein, phosphorus, vitamin D, and calcium. All that good stuff and they’re pretty low in calories too! So why are we so afraid of some little fishes?
Ok, I have to admit there is something weird about the cans that they come in…not sure why they don’t come in a normal tuna-style can, and they’re really unappetizing looking when you open the can, but it’s not exactly like canned tuna’s a looker, right? So once you get past those aversions you can focus on this tasty recipe. These were quite simple to prepare and I even served them to my aunt and uncle who stopped by unexpectedly for dinner and they liked them too. The panko provides a nice crispy exterior, and the potato pairs nicely with the slight fishy taste. Adding herbs helps keep these cakes tasting fresh. I forgot to make some, but this would be great with a tartar sauce. On their own they’re the perfect accompaniment to a salad or a bowl of soup. I’ll definitely make these again and look forward to trying variations on these so I can up my fish intake. After all, it’s recommended that adults get 2 servings of fatty fish per week. What’s your favorite way of serving fish?
Makes about 8 small patties
Adapted from The Professional Palate
Boil the potato for about 10-15 minutes, or until fork tender. Let cool and then chop finely.
In a bowl, combine sardines, shallots, dill, eggs, salt and pepper, mix well. Add potato and mix well. Form into about 8 patties, then dredge each patty in panko crumbs.
Pour oil into a pan, until the bottom is covered, and heat over medium heat. Add cakes to the skillet (in batches if necessary) for about 2-3 minutes per side, or until heated through and golden on the outside. Serve immediately.
These cookies are full of all the tasty things a cookie monster loves, they’ve got peanut butter, chocolate chips, M&Ms, toffee and oats. And they just happen to be gluten-free. I don’t normally look for gluten-free recipes, but for last month’s Carroll Cafe, I thought it might be nice to have one gluten-free option. These are definitely popular with kids, but adults with a sweet-tooth will love them too. They’re nice and chewy from the oats, and peanut butter-chocolate is always a winning combination. Feel free to mix in different candies or add nuts to make the perfect creation for the cookie monsters in your life.
Makes about 3 dozen large cookies
Adapted from Betty Crocker
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a large bowl, beat sugars, peanut butter and butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in oats, baking soda and salt. Then fold in the chocolate chips, M&Ms and toffee pieces.
Scoop dough into large balls on an ungreased cookie sheet leaving lots of space between each cookie. Bake for 11-14 minutes, or until golden. Allow to cool briefly before removing from pan.
These cookies are simple, yet exquisite. The brown sugar tastes caramelized, giving a rich toffee flavor and nice chewy texture that goes well with the oats. These are definitely going to be one of my go-to cookies. It’s especially good for anyone who isn’t that into chocolate. While obviously cookies are always best when eaten hot from the oven, these maintain their chewiness once cooled too. I doubled the recipe and got nervous that I’d have too many leftovers, but these are definitely a favorite, so I’m glad to have extras in the freezer!
Makes about 4 dozen (using a 2oz scoop)
Adapted from Pioneer Woman
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a large bowl, beat together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla, then add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda, then add into the creamed butter mixture in 3 batches, mixing until just combined. Fold in the oats.
Scoop batter onto lightly greased, or parchment paper covered baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until beginning to brown on the edges and center is golden and set. Let cool slightly, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely (I find this is easier to do if the cookies are on parchment paper and then you can just slide the paper onto a wire rack to cool).
Hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving full of good food, family and friends!
Now that my favorite holiday has passed we can turn our attention to the next one that is rapidly approaching….Christmas! If you have a special someone who’s into cooking, or trying to get more into cooking, then read on for my favorite kitchen tools and gadgets! These are some of my favorite products that I use all the time and would definitely recommend having in any kitchen.
Mixing bowls that can double as serving bowls if needed. Nested, multiple sizes, and light enough that they’re easy to hold when full, are my requirements. I also usually avoid metal ones because they transfer heat too easily.
Good knives: Chef’s knife and a pairing knife. These are the two knives I use for everything. Well and a serrated knife for bread. Everything else I do in the kitchen can be done with a good chef’s knife and a good pairing knife. I got both of these as gifts and they’ve been absolutely amazing (thanks, Chris!). I get that it’s an investment, but you’re going to be using them pretty much everyday, so get good ones. I wouldn’t bother with a whole block set because you don’t need that many different kinds. You also MUST keep them sharp! There’s nothing worse than a dull knife. If your knives can’t easily cut through the skin of a tomato, and it squishes the tomato instead, your knives are not sharp enough. I’ll do a feature soon on how to sharpen your own knives, but until then, call your local hardware store and ask if they do it in store or if they have a recommendation for someone who does. It’ll make all your cooking so much easier!
Some other suggestions for tools that I love in my kitchen:
Onion goggles. I got these last year for Christmas and I have to confess that they have been life changing. If you’re an onion crier like me, you’ll be saved with these goggles. You might not look the coolest, but at least your eyes won’t be burning and you won’t be sobbing into your onions either. Get them. Get an extra pair for guests. Give them to everyone you know. They’re fantastic and I haven’t shed a tear over onions, shallots, or scallions ever since I got mine.
To keep your knives handy, I recommend a magnetic knife rack, just make sure you think about where you’ll hang it before you get it. It needs to be handy, but out of the way.
Cookie scoop. If you bake cookies even once a month, I’d recommend these cookie scoops. I like having a 2oz and a 4oz. The 2oz scoop is perfect for scooping cookie dough. Make your dough, scoop all of it into dough balls, freeze and store in freezer bags, it’s the perfect way to have fresh-baked cookies on hand whenever you want.
Cupcake carrier. If you like to bake for others this carrier is the perfect way of transporting your baked goods. There are individual cupcake spots, as well as just a flat surface for things like cookies, brownies or bars. The tray has handles that makes getting your baked goods out of the box easy, and the handles are reversible so you can have two layers.
Microplane. A microplane is great for zesting and grating. It’s perfect for citrus zest, easy to grate garlic, and great for grating fresh nutmeg. It might seem like an unnecessary piece of equipment, but if you’re getting into cooking you’ll definitely be needing it sooner or later.
Pastry brush. Ok, this isn’t something I use frequently, but whenever you need to “brush” something, an egg wash or what not, this is the perfect tool. This is definitely a tool for bakers, but can be used to glaze meats or tofu too.
Griddle or super-size (this is what I have). If you’re a pancake lover, or want to pretend you’re a short-order cook at home on the weekends, a griddle is just what you need. I never make pancakes on anything else, since it’s so convenient to have the griddle next to you at the table ready to serve hot pancakes immediately. It’s also great for bacon, eggs, french toast, grilled cheese, grilled peanut butter sandwiches… It’s not something I use all the time, but is definitely convenient if you like to serve brunch.
Immersion Blender. This isn’t the exact model I have, but they seem to have discontinued it. An immersion blender is great for pureed soups. I love the whisk attachment, it’s much faster than my handheld electric mixer for beating egg whites or whipped cream. It’s quiet, easy to use, clean and store. I haven’t used it for smoothies, but I assume it’d work pretty well. This price tag is kind of steep, so I’d wait for a sale; but if you’re interested in soups, dressings or an excellent whisk, an immersion blender is a handy tool.
Dutch Oven. These pots are great. They’re wonderful for slow cooking meats, they can go from stove to oven, they can be used just as a plain pot too. They’re also ridiculously heavy, so you can get your workout done in the kitchen too! Got to love a multipurpose tool! Le Creuset is the most well-known, I think the one I use is actually a Martha Stewart brand from Macy’s and about 1/2 the price. It’s an investment, but definitely something you’ll enjoy using, and is built to last.
Stand Mixer. This is for the serious bakers out there. I got mine last year for Christmas and I love it. It’s definitely not essential and I could do pretty much everything with a handheld electric mixer, but if you bake a lot you’ll definitely appreciate the hands-free nature. This is also great for making bread, since it has a dough hook and you don’t have to knead by hand.
What are your favorite kitchen gadgets and tools? Anything you’ve started using recently and don’t know how you lived without for so long?
**I’m not being compensated for any of these recommendations, they’re just products I use and like (or are similar to products I use). All opinions are my own.
This semester I’ve been taking an online nutrition class. It’s been really fun and interesting. Our last project of the semester was to try 5 new, whole foods, meaning foods that haven’t been overly processed. As a child who grew up with a strict one-bite rule, I’m a big fan of trying new things and was eager to tackle this assignment. Coming up with 5 foods that I’ve never tasted was a bit of a challenge, but I’ve managed to come up with quite a few things and hope to continue challenging myself to try new things.
One of the first things I thought I should try was fennel. I’ve avoided fennel because I’m not a fan of licorice or anise flavored things. So with a brave (and skeptical) heart, I bought my first fennel bulb. Fennel is a good, low-calorie source of vitamin C, fiber and potassium. The whole fennel plant is edible, the leaves can be use as a fresh herb, and the stalks are good for soups, but I focused on the bulb. Raw fennel does smell very strongly of licorice, but doesn’t have too strong of a licorice taste, it’s mostly just crunchy like celery. And when I cooked it in this dish, it was very pleasant. The sweet notes from the butternut squash, cranberries and apples pairs nicely with the floral and more mellow flavor of the cooked fennel. We served this dish to some family friends and once I told them about the fennel they could taste it, but otherwise it just adds a nice complexity to the dish. We served this with pork, but it would also be great as a Thanksgiving side dish.
Adapted from Foodie Crush
In a large cast iron pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add shallot and fennel and sauté until softened. Add butternut squash and sauté for a few minutes. Add remaining ingredients. Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer with the lid on for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Check for seasoning and doneness, add more water if needed. Serve hot or at room temperature.
This cake is a great way to use the fresh fruit of autumn. This cake is super moist and filled with apple-y flavor. Dusted with a little powdered sugar, it’s the perfect balance of sweet. Perfection is this cake with a cup of tea or coffee, or really get into the holiday spirit with a cup of hot cider!
Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats
Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously spay a bundt pan with cooking spray and set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet in three batches, reserving a few Tbsp to toss with the apples, mix until just combined and then fold in the apples. Pour batter into prepared bundt pan and bake for 48-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Check the bundt halfway through and if browning too quickly, cover with foil. Allow cake to cool for at least 1 hour before flipping out of bundt pan and on to your platter. Once cake is cooled, sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.
This is a great soup! I adapted the recipe to include more veggies and I left out the rice. I was going to add in some barley, but my pot was too full! But honestly I don’t think anyone missed it. Everyone went back for seconds, and I was glad I’d made enough that we’d have some leftovers too. This is easily scaled up or down depending on your gathering. But I think leftovers would freeze excellently. This soup does have a bit of a kick to it, but it was prefect for a fall night. My 9-year-old-cousin loved it and thought it was just the right amount of spicy…she did keep calling it chili, but as long as she thinks it’s good chili that’s fine by me!
Adapted from Barefeet in the Kitchen
In a large pot, sauté onion in olive oil over medium-high heat until translucent. Add ground beef and break apart the beef while it cooks. Add carrots and celery and continue to cook for a few minutes, season with salt and pepper. Add remaining ingredients, cover and let simmer for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Soup is done when peppers are tender. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream, bread, rice or as is and enjoy!
I don’t usually do a lot of cooking on the weekdays. I usually try out new recipes on the weekends when I have more time and have had a chance to pick out a new recipe, and do the grocery shopping for it, etc. However, this week my uncle and cousin are staying with us while their house is undergoing some renovations. So obviously when company is over (even though it’s family), it’s time to pull out the stops and cook a real, hearty meal. This recipe definitely fits the bill. It’s a great one-dish meal that’s mostly hands-off, leaving plenty of time for other things. This is also something you’ll want extra of since it’s great as leftovers too, or would be easily turned into a soup.
This is easily customizable with the vegetables you have on hand. I think sweet potatoes would be delicious in this, celery would also be good and add some green. Mix it up, just make sure that your vegetables are roughly the same size so they cook evenly.
My cousin, Naomi, also discovered that she likes parsnips by eating this dish! So it’s a great way to introduce new vegetables! It’s always a thrill for me when someone discovers that they like something new!
Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease the bottom of a large roasting pan with cooking spray.
Spread vegetables over the bottom of the pan. Drizzle with olive oil and just a sprinkle of kosher salt. Top with chicken breasts. Drizzle chicken breasts with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Flip breasts over and season the other side with salt, pepper, and rosemary. Top chicken with lemon slices and squeeze a little lemon juice over the chicken.
Roast the chicken for about 45 minutes. Check to see how things are cooking, if vegetables seem to be drying out, add chicken stock. Continue to cook until chicken is cooked through. This took about 1 1/2 hours for me, but they were some awfully big chicken breasts.
This was a fantastic cake. It was the first thing to sell out at Carroll Cafe on Friday, and I have to say that it is a great recipe. The orange zest adds a fresh note that pairs wonderfully with the cranberries, the pumpkin keeps the cake moist and tender. The fresh cranberries are tart and juicy, surrounded by a sweet sugar topping. I just might have to say that this is the perfect fall cake.
And incase you’re intimidated by making an upside down cake, this was my first attempt at one. It was surprisingly easy and even though some of the cranberries stuck to the bottom of the pan they were easy to scoop off and put back on the top of the cake and once it was sliced you couldn’t even tell. So give it whirl, you won’t be disappointed.
Adapted from Bakeaholic Mama
In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat until it becomes golden and nutty smelling, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool while preparing the dry ingredients.
In a separate bowl, mix sugars, pumpkin, eggs, vanilla extract and orange zest together. Fold dry ingredients into the wet until just incorporated.
Slowly mix in cooled brown butter.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×13″ pan with 4 Tbsp unsalted butter. Arrange cranberries in an even layer in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle sugar on in an even layer. Pour cake batter over the cranberries. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center and comes out clean.
Allow cake to cool for about 20-30 minutes, then flip cake out onto a serving platter.