Sunday, March 31, 2013

Romesco Sauce

This romesco sauce could have a lot of uses.

McCormick's suggests using it as a salad dressing. Smitten Kitchen recommends it poured over roasted potatoes. The Kitchn provides countless ideas, including adding a layer to your sandwich for lunch and drizzling some over your favorite fish dish. Art & Lemons says its the perfect vegetable dip. Jamie Oliver uses it to dress squid.

I didn't use it in any of those ways. I will.  I'm thankful I've got an extra jarful frozen for just those purposes.

I used it on a Spanish tortilla.

The tortilla is simple and unadorned in its natural state. That makes it the perfect base for this complex, fiery sauce, rich with almonds, roasted peppers and tomatoes, and cayenne. It's got a bit of smokiness and a bit of heat to it.

When I had guests over for dinner, we all drizzled it on top of our tortilla. But later, when eating leftover tortilla by myself, I slathered it on top, totally coating the top of my tortilla with the sauce. The later is what I'd recommend you do.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Chocolate Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

These only exist because I found a bag of Iddy Biddy Bunnies at the grocery store.

They're so tiny. And adorable.

Sixty fit inside one little bag.

I passed on them several times at the store, and yesterday I just couldn't resist anymore.

Because of these bunnies, I made chocolate carrot cake. Only because of these bunnies.

I now have a ridiculous amount of chocolate carrot cake frosted with cream cheese icing only because I wanted to put these bunnies on top.

This is a really, really good problem to have. It's moist and delicious, and the cocoa and chocolate chunks add something a bit different to your typical carrot cake.

I would recommend you do the same and whip yourself up a batch of these. Quickly, because Easter is just around the corner.

P.S. If you're looking for other tasty Easter treats, look at these tasty Chocolate Peanut Butter nests!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Roasted Chickpeas

On the benefits of roasted chickpeas... 

1. They've got a perfect crunch to them, which satisfies my cravings for tortilla chips, pretzels and popcorn. 

2. They're loaded with protein. One cup of chickpeas has about 27 grams of protein in it and half of your daily fiber requirements. 

3. They're so, so cheap. For two dollars, you've got a tasty, nutritious appetizer for your next dinner party. 

4. They're incredibly easy to make. Drain and rinse chickpeas. Spin them quickly in a salad spinner to remove exces moisture. Transfer to a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Top generously with Spanish paprika and salt. Stir. Bake. Stir. Bake. Eat. 

5. They'll make almost any salad a bit tastier. Think of them as healthier, tastier croutons. 

6. They'll take on pretty much any flavor you sprinkle over them. My favorite is Spanish paprika.

7. They'll give you an excuse to use your salad spinner for something other than salad. 

8. You'll almost always have the ingredients on hand. 

9. Every recipe you'll find for them is different. Some call for a 300 degree oven, and others require 450. Some roast for 20 minutes, and others roast for over an hour. My favorite settings are below. 

10. They're so, so tasty. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Lentils with Kale, Sweet Potatoes and Carrots

Blogging comes with its own interesting set of pressures. Checking in consistently, responding to comments and questions, writing relevant, witty (I hope!) posts, and regularly visiting the blogs I love to stay updated with everyone's posts. It's an exciting field, constantly evolving and always engaging.

With food blogging, there's also the added pressure to constantly be posting something new. That means I have to constantly be cooking or baking something new. I can't just pull old favorite recipes off the shelf and remake them each week.

I'm feeling that pressure right now. All I want to do is cook something with chocolate and peanut butter, but I can only think of making these. They really are perfect. I've made them three times, and I've loved them every single time.

I want to make them again tonight, but it means I won't have anything new to share with all of you. I've been searching for new recipes for a bit too long, and I might decide that tonight I just don't care. These cookies are worth the no new blog post sacrifice.

Luckily, it's been easier with my savory cooking lately. Since I decided to try to go dairy-free at home, almost everything I've made has been new.

This lentil dish is divine. It's loaded with tender kale, sweet potatoes and carrots that still have a bit of crunch left. The lentils provide a perfect base and add a great creaminess. Moroccan seasoning wakes the dish up, and it provides a taste I rarely see in my dishes.

p.s. If you have any favorite chocolate peanut butter recipes, please share them here! I'm desperately in need.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

West African Peanut Soup

As a kid, snow days meant a lot of thing. My parents would come downstairs to wake me up and let me know I could sleep in. I'd turn over, snuggle closer to my cat and dog, and smile.

A bit later, when I got up, we'd share breakfast in our pajamas.

We lived on a steep, dirt driveway that was difficult to traverse , so snow days always meant stay at home days for us. I'd curl up on the couch and read for hours or challenge my family to a serious game of Scrabble or rummy.

Then, it was out into the woods. We lived in the country, and there was a huge sandhill just a short hike from our house. We'd suit up with layer after layer of snow gear and make our way toward Mount Baldy.

Mount Baldy was long, and each swift trip down the hill meant a long hike back up. By the time we returned to the house, we were starving.

I remember always having soup on snow days, made from whatever pasta and veggies we had in the pantry, with homemade biscuits on the side. The soup warmed us up from the inside out, and we'd eagerly eat it up.

It snowed a bit today, nowhere near enough to require a snow day, but it did make me crave soup. I don't think I could have handled this soup as a kid, but I love it now.

Like the soups my mom whipped together on those snow days, this West African peanut stew was almost entirely (with the exception of the collards) made from ingredients I had on hand.

Red pepper flakes add a suggestion of heat, and the sweet potato cubes melt in your mouth, bringing a bit of sweetness to the dish. The soup is loaded with collard greens, which add some heft and texture to the dish. Sprinkling some chopped peanuts over the top of the soup add a bit of crunch to the finished dish.