Saturday, December 29, 2012

Winter Wheat Berry Salad

This is the kind of dish that will make your meat-loving relatives go back for seconds. It's filled with chewy, hearty wheat berries that somehow feel light when topped with a subtle citrus dressing. Notes of orange and lemon weave through the dish. The addition of spinach, pine nuts and feta cheese give you something interesting to look forward to in every bite.

It's a variation on a Heidi Swanson recipe. I used the same flavor base, but I made it a bit healthier (Yes, I know. It's hard to believe you could actually make a Heidi Swanson recipe healthier  but indeed I tried) by halving the olive oil and increasing the amount of spinach.

This dish would be delicious as a vegetarian main course or a hearty side salad. The citrus makes it a delightful winter dish, and it's make-ahead quality makes it perfect for entertaining.

Friday, December 28, 2012

2012: A Year in Review

One year, 80 blog posts, and countless delicious meals later, 2012 is speeding to a close.

Here are my top five posts from 2012. Although these were certainly some of my favorite dishes, I selected them because they were your favorites. They were the recipes that were most visited, were pinned the most times, and the recipes where viewers to the site lingered the longest.

This bread couldn't be easier to make. There's no kneading and very little mixing required. It's a breeze to make a few loaves, and I always tuck one away in the freezer to have later. Bonus: It's delicious. Each slice is like a hearty English muffin. 

This cake is light despite its layers, and the homemade lemon curd really stands out as a tart contrast in between the cake layers and lightly sweetened frosting. It's a great special occasion cake. I originally made it for a baby shower, and looking back it's hard to believe that little baby is now crawling all around!

Blue Sky Bakery is, by far, my favorite place to get muffins in Brooklyn, and this muffin was a delicious tribute to them. Served warm, the cream cheese and chocolate chunks are just a little melty, and they keep each bite of muffin interesting because you just don't know what you're going to get next.

Chocolate, peanuts, and a salty, crunchy crust? Perfection in a slice. Drizzle a little hot fudge sauce over the top, and you've got a fancy dessert that's sure to impress.

Have I mentioned how much I love chocolate and peanut butter? Apparently my roommates did too, because all of my chocolate peanut butter oatmeal bars disappeared from the fridge before I was able to take a decent picture of them. Regardless, they were certainly a hit.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Hot Fudge Sauce

One jar of hot fudge sauce.

Oh, so many uses.

1. Heat it up just a bit, and spoon it over a bowl of vanilla ice cream and whipped cream after Christmas dinner because you really haven't had enough to eat yet.

2. Eat it straight from the fridge, straight from the jar, with a spoon. It's the most delightful cross between a warm hot fudge and a rich, dense square of fudge. Repeat regularly, each time you walk into your kitchen, until the jar is empty.

3. Add it to the top of your favorite, already rich dessert that could benefit from just a little bit more chocolate: cupcakes, cookies, pie or cheesecake!

4. Drizzle a little over your pancakes for breakfast. Divine.

5. Stir a little into warmed milk or hot coffee to make a delicious chocolatey drink.

6. Add it into your next batch of brownies after you've poured the batter into the pan, pouring a little in and then swirling it with a knife. Bake as usual.

7. Unroll a croissant, spread a little warmed hot fudge sauce in the middle, and re-seal. Eat, and smile.

8. Spread on the bottom of a graham cracker, top with a toasted marshmallow and enjoy a decadent s'more.

9. Thin it a little with half-and-half, and while still warm, use it as fondu. Dip sweet bread, fruits, marshmallows and nuts in it.

10. Spread a generous amount between two sandwich cookies: delicious homemade chocolate Oreos.

I'm sure the list goes on, but I have to stop. I just realized, sadly, that the single jar of hot fudge sauce I made will be nowhere near enough to bring all my hot fudge dreams to life.

It's back into the kitchen for me!