There has been a flurry of cooking activity around here, but since baby Iris insists upon keeping us on our toes, there never seems to be time for picture-taking. It would be cruel for me not to share the following goodies with you though:
- The best salad I’ve made in a long time: spinach with dates, pita, and sumac, from Jerusalem. Since I find spinach a pain to buy and wash, I usually just use a crunchy lettuce for weekday meals. The true brilliance is the pita bread and almonds toasted in butter and olive oil, with a dusting of sour sumac and spicy red pepper flakes. I’m pretty sure you could put the pita/almond croutons on anything and it would be amazing! As proof of my love for this recipe, we recently bought an entire package of pita bread to put in the freezer expressly for making this salad (a frozen pita can be nicely warmed up under the broiler and then torn into pieces and toasted as described in the recipe). This one is at the top of the list for a reason, people!
- OK, it’s possible that I’m slightly obsessed with Jerusalem, because the second thing on this list of loves is their recipe for mejadra. I found the serious eats post helpful, because oh man does the onion frying take forever! And don’t do what I did and fry the onions the day before, stick them in the fridge, and then have them turn out all limpy and sad at the time of serving. You see, the fried onions were absolutely delicious when freshly fried (in fact, a good number of them mysteriously disappeared in the kitchen before the frying was complete…). This is comfort food at its best!
- More dumplings! And I used 1/3 whole wheat flour in the wrappers this time (yes, it was out of necessity; funny how keeping white flour in the house is nearly impossible when someone bakes two loaves of bread a week). I made a stuffing of 1 lb. ground beef, 1 egg, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, chives, and salt (roughly trying to follow this recipe, but without most of the ingredients on hand). They. Were. Amazing. I even watched a number of youtube videos on how to fold the dumplings in different ways. It may have gotten a little out of hand. Usually we eat all the dumplings more quickly than is probably healthy, but this time I tried freezing them (raw) on a cookie sheet and enjoyed dumplings for lunch twice before Peter caught on and insisted we eat the rest of them for dinner so he would get to finally try them.
- My mom made us lemon-ginger scones while she was visiting
Peter and Ibaby Iris. I always forget how much I love fresh scones and will now spend a couple days trying to forget again.
- Peter’s mom and brother went to Europe, and all we got was a bag of Kamut! Just kidding, they brought us back some other things too (like a packet of petersilie, errmm, that’s parsley in German). The Kamut has been fun though! We made a salad with carrots and avocado based on this recipe, mostly motivated by the fact that it involved chipotle. Next time I will roast the carrots as suggested, and perhaps add more veggies.
- This one is more of a first attempt: Ghirardelli brownies! I found a recipe that seems to suggest that I could make them at home, without a boxed brownie mix. As many of you might intuit, this made me crazy excited. Until I realized that the one thing that makes this recipe different from my tried-and-true beau-catcher brownies is a specialty ingredient that I’d never even heard of before: ground chocolate. But it’s not like it’s actually grated chocolate, because I think it includes some cocoa powder too. My first attempt involved adding two ounces of melted Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate to the recipe and cutting down on the sugar only slightly. The brownies were amazing, but they didn’t have the simultaneous fluffy and totally gooey thing going on that I was hoping for. Maybe I should give up and just buy boxed brownie mix…
- Finally, speaking of sweets, we have two more bottles of cherry wine left, and the first one is being made into cherry wine chocolate cakes (this time using coconut oil – an extra tablespoon, an extra tidbit of wine to make up for not including the jam, vanilla beans instead of powder, and baked for 30 minutes at 300 degrees F). While I usually don’t share my healthy sweet baked goods with friends (not when the alternative is to have Jen make a chocolate and peanut butter dessert orgasm, David make homemade ice cream, or Rachel make any number of amazing non-chocolate desserts), this one is actually pretty good. I know, a glowing recommendation. I’ve made it a bunch of times (we did have a lot of bottles of sour cherry wine to use up!), and if nothing else, I don’t feel bad eating it for breakfast.
In other news, after literally months of neglect on my part, I’ve started planting things in the garden again. Peter, the good sport that he is, continued to water everything even when I was too pregnant to feel like gardening and then recuperating from the big event. Thankfully, almost everything survived, including rhubarb, strawberries, bush beans, numerous greens (I think Peter may have tried to neglect these on purpose, not that he would admit it), garlic, and two potato plants. I’ve almost finished planting the whole rest of the garden already! Mostly because I tell myself I need to get outside and get exercise, which results in marathon gardening sessions often ending in my receiving a phone call from Peter that Iris is awake and HAS TO HAVE FOOD NOW! Oh babies, they’re so much fun 🙂