September 2013

sucré chocolate bar giveaway! {closed}

Congratulations David “Panda” L! You’ve won our giveaway! Thanks to everyone who participated! 

Hurray! Today is the day that you can win a suite of tasty chocolate bars!

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These beautiful chocolate bars are from Sucré, an artisanal sweet boutique in New Orleans specializing in macaronschocolates and baked goods, like the infamous mardi gras king cake.

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Isn’t that rose and pistachio bar just gorgeous! It’s as tasty as it is pretty, I’ll have you know. Jordan’s favorite bar was the Nibs and Brittle. But, you don’t have to take our word for it, you could have the opportunity to taste for yourself!

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Enter to win this Milk Chocolate Bar Collection from Sucré by commenting below! Giveaway is limited to the contiguous USA only and closes Friday, October 4th at 11:59 PST. We’ll choose one winner randomly. Comment away!

Congratulations David “Panda” L! You’ve won our giveaway! Thanks to everyone who participated! 

-Emily

oatcakes, or a meal in a muffin

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It might look like a muffin, but this oatcake isn’t messing around with a delicate crumb, bright lemon zest or jammy berries. It is a breakfast that packs a punch, and by a punch I mean each one of these suckers has enough oats and nuts to leave you full for hours, even after a 2.5 mile walk to work or 2 hour surf sesh. While not the most nuanced of pastries, these oakcakes are great for what they’re designed to be—fuel.

Oakcakes, adapted from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Everyday
3 cups rolled oats, avoid instant oats if you can
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup chopped walnuts, lightly toasted
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup butter
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat your oven to 325° F. Butter a muffin tin, or line it with adorable paper cups purchased in Japantown.

Combine the oats, flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and walnuts in a large mixing bowl.

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In a medium saucepan over low heat, heat the coconut oil, butter, maple syrup and sugar until they melt and combine. Pour the coconut oil mixture over the oat mixture and stir to combine. Add the eggs and stir again until everything comes together. The dough  will be more the texture of granola than batter.

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Spoon the dough into the muffin tins, spreading it amongst the 12 muffin cups. Bake for 25 – 35 minutes, until the edges of the oakcakes are golden.

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Enjoy for breakfast or as a mid-day power snack. I’d recommend having some tea or coffee alongside these guys.

-Emily

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sushi

We’ve talked about how I have Jordan to thank for my love all foods fishy. Well, my gateway fish dish was sushi. It started innocently enough with a shrimp tempura roll, maybe some seared BBQ tuna, but soon morphed into hook me up with that chirashi, and stat. I love sushi, especially simple sushi. Vinegar rice + raw fish = perfection.

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Which brings me to my next point, it is really hard to hide bad rice (or bad fish, but we’re not going there) when your dish has just two ingredients. Sushi rice is a special thing and insanely hard to make if you don’t have a decent rice cooker. The texture is paramount and we’ve struggled for years to get it right. First we gave it a go in a pot on the stove, and then in a subpar rice cooker. There were tears.

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And then for my birthday we went to Japantown. We looked at all the cute things (!!!), took some purikura photos and spent an hour and half in the Japanese supermarket. The very best part of the day (a tough call for me because I love just about everything Japantown has to offer) was that Jordan bought me my very own Zojirushi NeuroFuzzy rice cooker. It has a little computer inside. It sings to us when it starts and finishes the rice. You can customize the hardness or softness of your rice. You can keep rice warm in the cooker for days and it still tastes pretty darn good. NeuroFuzzy is amazing and will make you perfect sushi rice. It is also a very romantic gift.

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Armed with a decent rice cooker and access to sushi-grade fish (YAY, JAPANTOWN!), we’ve been reveling in perfect chirashi. So simple and fresh and good. I am so happy. Sushi-happy, which I’m sure must be a phrase in Japanese, if only I spoke it.

Chirashi Sushi
For the sushi-su
1/4 rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups sushi rice
your favorite raw fish, sliced thinly

Make the rice according to your rice cooker’s instructions. Rice cookers know all. In a small pan over low heat, heat the rice vinegar, sugar and salt and mix until combined. Remove from the heat and let cool. Once the rice is finished cooking, transfer it to a large shallow bowl. Drizzle the sushi-su over the rice and stir the rice gently to incorporate the sushi-su and cool the rice.

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Thinly slice your fish using the sharpest knife you’ve got. Mound a small pile of rice on a plate and top with slices of fish. Serve with soy sauce, wasabi and pickled ginger.

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And lastly, if I wasn’t already obsessed with Japan (so much cute!) and Japanese cuisine, we watched this fantastic documentary that transformed the way I look at sushi. I also recently read this wonderfully funny book that made me want to travel to Tokyo and eat everything, immediately.

-Emily

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chocolate chip zucchini bread

It’s late summer which means that you probably have zucchini the size of toddlers growing in your backyard or left on your doorstep in the night by a neighbor or delivered in your CSA box. This recipe is here to help you out. We made several variations, tweaking the recipe each time to maximize the amount of zucchini used, minimize refined sugar and retain deliciousness. I won’t claim this bread is healthy, but I also don’t think you should feel guilty eating it for breakfast. You are using up those zucchini after all.

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Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 eggs
2/3 cup coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
1 cup crushed pineapple
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 cups zucchini, shredded
1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup flaked coconut, toasted (optional – we did it once, but didn’t repeat for the next few batches)

Preheat your oven to 325° F. Grease two loaf pans with butter and dust with flour.

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Combine flours, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, pineapple and sugar.  Add grated zucchini into to the other wet ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until just combined.

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Stir in walnuts, chocolate chips and coconut if using. Divide batter into two loaf pans. Bake 30 – 40 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center comes out dry.

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Enjoy! For breakfast, lunch and dessert!

pancakes with white peaches

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I used to think Bisquick pancakes were the end-all-be-all of pancakes. They were what my Nonnie made for us for breakfast when we stayed at her place, and what my dad made for us when we had breakfast for dinner. My dad was especially talented at making shaped pancakes. Anyone can make a Mickey Mouse pancake, but my dad was (and probably still is) a true pancake artist. He could make just about anything you’d ask for—even adding the batter at different times to make faces, fins or fur. T-Rex, killer whale, guinea pig, we’d name it and he’d make it.

Another childhood favorite was my dad’s ‘special pancakes’, his version of crepes. They were just your standard Bisquick pancake recipe with enough extra milk to make the batter runny enough to coat a pan, and we loved them. While he’d cook up a stack of special pancakes, he’d tell us about how he used to make them for his college football team. He’d wax poetically about how much the guys loved them, and how he’d never give up his secret recipe. All those years of practice making pancakes for a bunch of football players paid off—my dad is good at flipping crepes. We’d snatch them hot off the pan and roll them up like little burritos with a filling of syrup, whipped cream, strawberries, peaches, powdered sugar, chocolate sauce, whatever we had around and could get away with.

Needless to say, my attachment to Bisquick pancakes is a serious thing. Being both a diligent food blogger and generally opposed to processed food products, I’ve tried to find a ‘from scratch’ recipe that measures up to my Bisquick memories. Sadly, every recipe I tried was a disappointment.

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And then I found these pancakes. Insanely fluffy, just the right amount of saltiness, not too sweet, a hint of spice. They are perfection in a pancake.  They have more depth than the old Bisquick standby, but I’ve never finished them disappointed craving a ‘real’ pancake. While I may never find a pancake that replaces Bisquick pancakes in my heart, these are a very close second.

Sour Cream Pancakes with White Peaches, adapted from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
1 egg
1 cup sour cream (8 oz)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt (heaping 1/4 teaspoon of Kosher salt, a level 1/4 teaspoon if you’re using table salt)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
A pinch of ground nutmeg
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
butter for the pan
1 – 2 white peaches, depending on their size and how much you like peaches
maple syrup for serving

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Preheat your oven to 250 degrees and place a cookie sheet or heatproof plate on the middle rack (to keep the pancakes warm while you cook the other batches). In a large bowl, whisk together egg, sour cream, vanilla and sugar. In another bowl, combine, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, all-purpose flour, baking powder and baking soda. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet, stirring just to combine. The batter will be a little lumpy.

Heat a skillet over medium-low heat (I usually just use the nonstick to keep things easy) and add a pat of butter. When the butter is bubbling, spoon in the batter. I can usually fit about 3 pancakes in my 10″ skillet – they expand as the cook. When they start to bubble and the edges are dry, about 3 – 4 minutes, flip them. Cook them another few minutes on the other side and then transfer to the oven while you cook the rest.

While the pancakes are cooking (or before if you’re nervous about burning things), cut the peaches into small chunks.  To serve, make a short stack, pile on the peaches and top with maple syrup!

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Ps. Don’t be scared by the cup of sour cream. It is GOOD. Just go with it. Also, who doesn’t have a tub of sour cream languishing in their fridge left over from a taco night. This is the perfect way to use it up.

-Emily