Sunday, December 1, 2019

Ruth Reichl's Deviled Eggs

We love to have deviled eggs on just about any holiday. Fourth of July, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any other get together. Everyone usually loves them and they are always the first thing to disappear.

My Mom used to make the very best deviled eggs. The problem is I can't find her recipe and I don't remember how she made them. I know she used mayonnaise, chopped pickle, a little pickle juice, and some paprika, but I can't quite master it.

So now I'm on the hunt for the very best deviled eggs.  I've tried a few recipes and so far none have come close.

I knew Ruth's version wouldn't be like my Mom's, but I still wanted to give it a try. Ruth's version is different than most in that it calls for 6 eggs, 1/4 cup mayo, 1 teaspoon Dijon, and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper. I was really drawn to her use of cayenne pepper, and since we love spicy food, I was really hoping for some deliciously spiced deviled eggs with a kick.

Turns out Ruth's eggs are good, but not great. Upon tasting the filling, I found myself adding more mayonnaise. As a lover of all mustards, I thought the Dijon would be a welcome touch, but upon tasting immediately learned that regular yellow mustard was the way to go as far as deviled eggs are concerned. Mostly though, I thought the cayenne would be more prominent, or at the very least lend a slightly spicy kick, but alas I couldn't detect any heat either.

Deviled eggs seem quite simple, but I've found that everyone likes them a different way and they can, therefore, be quite hard to get just right. I'm still on the search for the perfect recipe.

Do you have a favorite deviled egg recipe?

Deviled Eggs
Adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook
by Ruth Reichl
Makes 12

6 large eggs
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
salt and black pepper, to taste
Optional: a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2" star tip or plastic bag with the corner snipped

Start by boiling your eggs however you like. I like to place my eggs in a pan, cover with water, bring the water to a boil, cover the pan, shut off the heat, leave the pan on the burner and let them stay for 10 minutes. Then I immerse the eggs in cold water for about 30 minutes.

Ruth says to put eggs in a 3-quart heavy saucepan, cover with cold water by 1-1/2 inches, partially cover pan, and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce heat to low, cover completely, and cook eggs for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and let stand, covered for 15 minutes.  Then transfer to a bowl of ice and cold water and let stand for 30 minutes; drain.

Peel eggs and halve lengthwise. Carefully remove yolks and mash in a bowl with a fork (I like to blend all the filling ingredients in a bowl with my hand mixer).  Add mayonnaise, mustard, and cayenne and stir with fork until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Fill pastry bag, if using, with yolk mixture and pipe (or spoon) into egg whites. Sprinkle with paprika and chives, if desired.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

My Top Ten Favorites of 2019!

It's been a rough week or so in The Stirring The Pot household. I came down with both a sinus and ear infection, plus bronchitis, then I wasn't quite recovered from that before I came down with the stomach bug. I was still coughing and recovering from the stomach bug when I came down with a fever. So, I've spent the weekend sleeping and resting and can now say that I finally feel as though I'm on the mend.

We're supposed to be making dishes with ingredients we're thankful for, but I didn't quite feel like getting back in the kitchen, so I'm going to be sharing My Top Ten Favorites of 2019, all of which I'm very thankful for!

(click on the recipe title to be directed to the original post with recipe)
These may very well be my favorite recipe of 2019. They are the best chicken wings I've ever had, hands down. Cooked under a broiler, they are perfectly crispy on the outside and so very tender and juicy inside. Plus, Bittman's homemade buffalo sauce is complete perfection, flavorful and garlicky.

Surely this is not the first time you're seeing this famous tart. Do yourself a favor and make it.

These should speak for themselves. I mean if Jacques Pepin and Julia Child got together and created  a mashed potato recipe, then you already know it's gonna be THE ONE. Add in some homemade garlic powder, which has been one of my favorite ingredients to cook with this year, and you have a winner.

This pizza had me dreaming I was on a cliffside surrounded by good looking Italian men somewhere on the Amalfi coast (hey, Amalfi is know for its lemons, is it not)? If you love white pizza, this pizza is for you. Cheesy, with a hint of spice, lemon, and fresh basil. It's simply light and luscious.

Ina is known for being the Queen of Chicken, but I've also crowned her the Queen of Plum Desserts. Have you ever looked at the sheer number of plum desserts she has? No, well you need to. Then you need to come around to plums and realize that they make for one of the most amazing fruity desserts around, with their ability to be both sweet and sour. This recipe is a major winner! Sweet, sour, juicy plums topped off with a hefty dose of nutty crumble. This dessert is a dream!

Homemade hummus is one of the best dishes there is, as far as I'm concerned. And, if you're going to make it, then turn to no one other than Yotam Ottolenghi. Make his Hummus Kawarma with lemon sauce and crispy bits of ground lamb, which is oh so heavenly, OR make this Hummus with Ful, which is really like having two bean dips in one. Either way, you're in for a velvety delicious dip that has the most wonderful mouth feel! One of the best things on the planet for sure!

This dish is another one that is at the very top of the list. In fact, of the two potato dishes in this roundup, this one is my favorite! First, you have a crusty baked potato skin coated in herbs and spices and then you fill it with a whipped feta topping?  It's total perfection. In fact, the potato never had it so good. This is quite easily the most flavor a potato has ever had. In fact, I'm adding the ingredients to my grocery list as we speak.

This is one of those dishes that you make and you know it's going to be good, but then you end up being absolutely blown away. This is hands down my favorite frittata dish. The reason: the sliced potatoes slide to the bottom of the pan and create a crispy potato layer on the bottom. Plus, feta cheese is my favorite. I look for any reason to eat some feta (see above). However, this dish would be easy enough to change up. Keep the potatoes and add different veggies, cheeses, and herbs. Delicious!

When I posted this recipe I said, "The bottom line is...Food Cart Curry Chicken is something I think just about anyone would love, very family-friendly, and this recipe is perfection. I highly recommend giving it a try!' I still stand by this. I think it could be part of every home cook's go-to chicken dishes!

This recipe for Baked Cheddar Olives is just special. It was my very favorite Ruth Reichl recipe and is one of my very favorite recipes of this year, if not the favorite. It's retro, it's fun, and it's so delicious! The best part is, it's cheap, easy, and made with pantry ingredients. Think of these like a cheesy cracker wrapped around a juicy little tangy olive. Absolutely perfect for the upcoming holidays! Once you pop 'em, you can't stop.

Can't wait to see what amazing dishes come out of The Stirring The Pot kitchen in 2020!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Giada's Calabrian Chile Pasta

When it comes to quick and simple weeknight meals, Pasta is King! Not only is pasta comforting and delicious, but it can be put on the table in less than 30 minutes.

Giada's Calabrian Chile Pasta is probably the easiest pasta dish around. From start to finish it can be on your table in about 20 minutes. The secret: you don't have to wait for a big pot of water to boil. For this dish, you cook the pasta in a skillet with about 1" of water, which takes only minutes to boil.

I loved this method of cooking pasta because not all of the water cooks out and the residual water, filled with the starch from the pasta, remains and helps to create a very silky smooth pasta sauce. All you have to do is add the Calabrian Chile Paste, Pecorino, olive oil, lemon zest and juice, and chives. When you toss all that together in the pan you get the most luxurious pasta sauce, spicy and so silky and smooth.

I really liked this dish, and other reviewers on Food Network did as well. I enjoyed this method for cooking the pasta and will most definitely use it again. I am a little conflicted about the flavor of the dish. It was good, but I felt like something was missing. It definitely needs some garlic. I also think it needs more than a splash of lemon juice. I found I needed to add quite a bit to brighten up the dish. Overall, it was good, but it has the potential to be great. I'd like to play with the recipe a bit more, perhaps even trying different brands of Calabrian Chile Paste.

Calabrian Chile Pasta
Adapted from Food Network
by Giada De Laurentiis
Serves 4-6

1 pound penne pasta
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup grated Pecorino
1-pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
3 tablespoons Calabrian hot pepper paste
1/3 cup chopped chives
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest, from 1 lemon
1 teaspoon lemon juice, from 1/2 lemon or more, depending on taste
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Optional: add garlic, to taste, if you wish

Note: I omitted the cherry tomatoes simply because the grocery store didn't have them.

In a 10-inch high-sided saute pan, bring 1 inch of water (about 4 cups) to a boil over high heat.  Add the penne and salt.  Cook, stirring often, until the pasta is al dente, about 9 minutes (mine was about 7 minutes); there should be a little water left in the pan.

Remove the skillet from the heat and sprinkle the pecorino over the pasta; toss to coat. Add the tomatoes, chile paste, chives, lemon zest, lemon juice, and olive oil, and toss.

Note: If you'd like to add garlic I think it would be best to saute a few minced cloves in the skillet before cooking the pasta.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Nigella's Clean Out The Pantry Granola Muffins (w/ Caramel Apple Granola)

We started I Heart Cooking Clubs back in the fall of 2009 with The Domestic Goddess, Nigella Lawson, as our very first chef. I fell in love with Nigella and the way she writes about food. I think we all did. I cooked a lot of delicious Nigella recipes, but my favorite Nigella recipe was, and continues to be, these Granola Muffins!

I made Nigella's Granola Muffins for the first time back in February of 2010. That time around I made them with a very simple oats and honey granola and I fell in love. I drizzled them with a touch of honey and gobbled them up.

Back in 2018, I made Nigella's Granola Muffins with oats and honey granola again, but changed things up by adding sliced almonds, dried cherries, and coconut chips. They were equally delicious and I loved the added texture of the added nuts and dried fruit.

Now I'm making them again using a seasonal Caramel Apple Granola from Trader Joe's. This granola has a mix of oats, sweet and tart apple slices, peanuts, and pumpkin-spiced pumpkin seeds and let me tell makes for a delicious autumn-inspired muffin!

I love these muffins for so many reasons. They're so simple, so versatile, and so delicious. They're also a great way to clean out your pantry. Have some leftover granola, dried fruit, or nuts? Go ahead and throw it in. Have fun trying different combinations! Whichever granola and add in's you chose you are sure to have a tasty treat! You really can't go wrong!

Granola Muffins
Adapted from Feast 
by Nigella Lawson
Makes 12

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cups granola
Optional: Any kind of dried fruit, or nut, or chocolate chip for added flavor

Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper muffin cups (I never line with cups, choosing to butter and lightly flour them instead).

Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. In a wide-necked pitcher whisk together the buttermilk, egg, sugar, and oil. Pour this into the dry ingredients and mix lightly to combine. Fold in the granola and then fill the muffin tin. Bake for 25 minutes (mine only needed 20 minutes), until the muffins have risen and become golden brown. 

Remove from oven, let cool, and enjoy!

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Nigella's Toad In The Hole

It has been far too long since I've cooked with The Domestic Goddess, Nigella Lawson. To remedy that, I decided on an old-fashioned British classic, Toad In The Hole.

Toad In The Hole is a traditional dish that is basically links of sausage popping out of a popover batter.  The sausages are said to appear like toads poking their heads out of holes.

Now, Nigella changes things up a bit because according to her, "I really don't like the way that the sausages, when this is prepared in the traditional manner, go a spooky braised pink as they cook within the batter." So she removes the sausage from the casing and forms little patties.

Now, I've never tried the traditional way, with the links, but I can see Nigella's point and therefore chose to go with her method. In the end, I think it makes the dish a little more appetizing and also easier to eat.

Please do yourself a favor and try this classic dish.  It is incredibly simple to put together and requires very little ingredients. It makes for a comforting family meal, perfect for kids. Toad In The Hole is typically served with onion gravy and peas and/or mashed potatoes. The onion gravy truly brings together the flavors of the Toad In The Hole with the peas and mashed potatoes for a delightfully different meal. My favorite parts were the crunchy bits of the batter close to the edge!

Toad In The Hole
Recipe Adapted from Nigella's Kitchen
by Nigella Lawson
Serves 4-6

For The Toad In The Hole
1-1/2 cups milk
4 eggs
pinch salt
1-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
approximately 1 pound good pork sausages (6 in number)
1 tablespoon fat or oil
4 sprigs fresh thyme, plus more for garnishing

For Onion Gravy
2 tablespoons fat or oil
2 onions, peeled, halves, and very finely sliced
2 teaspoons sugar
4 teaspoons flour
2 cups beef broth
splash of marsala, if desired

For the Toad In The Hole: Preheat the oven to 425F. Whisk the milk and eggs together with the salt, then whisk in the flour, beating to make a smooth batter. I find this way round makes for a lighter batter.

Press the sausage meat out of its casing (you may need to nick the skin with a knife), half a sausage at a time, rolling it in your hands to form a ball, and then squash gently to make a little, fat patty. You should get 12 patties from the 6 sausages.

Heat the fat or oil in a heavy-based, flame-safe roasting pan on the stove and brown the patties for about 1 minute each side; you need do no more than make them look enticingly brown.

With the patties and oil still hot, pour in the batter and quickly drop in the sprigs of thyme. Absolutely immediately put into the oven for about 40 minutes or until the edges of the batter have risen and turned golden, and the eggy middle has set.

Serve immediately, scattered with a thyme sprig or two or just a few leaves, and with gravy (if you feel you can only properly enjoy your popovers when they are sauce-sogged.

For Onion Gravy: Warm 2 tablespoons fat or oil and then cook 2 onions, halved, and very finely sliced, until soft (about 10 minutes). Add 2 teaspoons sugar, and let the onions cook, caramelizing a little for another 3 or so minutes, before stirring in 4 teaspoons flour, then 2 cups beef broth. When thickened and hot, add a glug of marsala (if you wish) to taste.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Ruth Reichl's Butternut Squash, Sausage, and Walnut Lasagne

When I first got my hands on Ruth Reichl's The Gourmet Cookbook, there were two recipes that jumped out at me, begging me to make them. The first was her Parmesan Walnut Salad in Endive Leaves, which I made straight away, and the next was her Butternut Squash and Hazelnut Lasagne, which I'm just now getting to because...well, it requires a lot of time and effort.

So, I've adapted this recipe for two reasons: one, I don't care for hazelnuts BUT I do love walnuts, and second, I wanted to add a little bit of sausage for flavor. Hence, Butternut Squash, Sausage, and Walnut Lasagne. I also read the reviews and decided to amp up the onion and garlic, add red pepper flakes, and add some more cheese, in the form of Gruyere. Mozzarella and Parmesan are good and all, but Gruyere belongs in this lasagne since it's nutty flavor pairs beautifully with both the walnuts and the butternut. Feel free to play with the flavors and adapt the dish how you like!

Just so you know, we're talking about layers of fresh pasta sheets covered in chunks of tender butternut squash seasoned with spicy sausage, onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, walnuts, sage, and parsley; creamy bechamel sauce; and three kinds of cheese: Parmigiano-Reggiano, Fresh Mozzarella, and Gruyere.

I mean I don't wanna get in the habit of writing love letters to chefs, but I could definitely write Ruth a love letter about this lasagne. The flavors and textures are simply incredible, friends! This is an amazing dish and one that you could definitely entertain over the autumn months.

Now, I knew that I would really like this dish, but I wasn't expecting to be bowled over with flavors and textures. While there is plenty of butternut squash in this dish it is not overwhelming in any way. You get the flavor of the butternut, along with the spicy sausage, the creamy bechamel sauce, and all the cheeses, and you wanna know what's really nice in this dish? The crunch from the walnuts. It goes a long way in creating such wonderful texture in this dish. You have both creamy and crunchy, plus little nuggets of butternut along with way. Drop the mic, folks. This is a total winner!

Thanks, Ruth, for another absolutely amazing dish!

Butternut Squash, Sausage, and Walnut Lasagne
Adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook
by Ruth Reichl
Serves 6-8

For Filling:
3 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 pound ground sausage, spicy or another flavor
3 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2" pieces
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
pepper, to taste
red pepper flakes, to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
4 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
1 cup walnuts, toasted, and coarsely chopped 
any broth, optional

For Sauce:
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon or more, to taste, minced garlic
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 cups whole milk
1 Turkish bay leaf 
1 teaspoon salt
pepper, to taste

For Assembling:
2 cups coarsely grated fresh mozzarella (about 8 ounces)
1 cup finely grated Parmesan-Reggiano (about 2 ounces)
1 cup grated Gruyere (optional)
12 oven-ready (no-boil) lasagne noodles or 3 or 4 fresh pasta sheets

Notes: Feel free to change up this lasagne however you see fit. I loved this with the spicy sausage, but you can definitely make this vegetarian, spicing it up with red pepper flakes, or without! 
Make the filling: Melt butter in a deep 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat. Add onion and sausage (if using) cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 10 minutes. Add squash, garlic, salt and pepper, red pepper flakes (if using) and cook, stirring occasionally, until squash is just tender about 15-25 minutes. (I used a little broth here and there while I was cooking the squash so that the ingredients wouldn't stick to the pan). Remove from heat and stir in parsley, sage, and nuts. Taste the mixture and make sure the flavors are where you want them. Let cool. 

Make the sauce: Preheat oven to 425F. Butter a 13x9 baking dish. Set aside. Melt butter in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderately low heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Whisk in flour and cook, whisking, for 3 minutes to make a roux. Add milk in a slow stream, whisking constantly.  Add bay leaf and bring to a boil, whisking constantly, then reduce heat and simmer, whisking occasionally, for 10 minutes. Whisk in salt and pepper and remove from heat. Discard bay leaf. (Cover the surface of sauce with wax paper if not using immediately). 

To assemble the lasagne: Toss cheeses together in a large bowl. Spread 1/2 cup sauce in a buttered baking dish and cover with 3 lasagne noodles (or a fresh sheet of pasta), leaving space if using separate noodles (pasta will expand). Spread with 2/3 cup sauce and 1/3 of the filling, then sprinkle with 1/3 of the cheese.  Top with more noodles, 2/3 cup sauce, 1/3 filling, 1/3 cheese. Repeat layering one more time, using the remaining ingredients. Don't fret.  None of this needs to be exact!

To bake: Tightly cover the baking dish with buttered foil and bake lasagne for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake until golden and bubbling, 10 to 15 minutes more.  Let lasagne stand for 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Garnish with sage and/or parsley, if desired and enjoy!

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Mark Bittman's Minimalist Buffalo Wings {The Very Best Buffalo Wings}

So my family is absolutely crazy for chicken wings. We eat them at least once a week. Years ago I tried a Nigel Slater version where he roasts the wings in the oven and this roasting method became my go-to method for chicken wings. The roasted wings are crispy without the mess of frying, and I feel that roasting the chicken helps to bring out the flavor of the chicken, much more than frying would. Roasting wings is a very good method.

However, I stumbled upon Mark Bittman's Minimalist Buffalo Wings recipe this week and wanted to give his broiling method a try. I could write a letter about them. In fact, I think I will.

Dear Mr. Bittman,

I thought I had perfected making chicken wings. My family and I really enjoyed them roasted in the oven with a simple dusting of Lawry's. They flew off the pan and I could never seem to make enough.

Then I tried your method of broiling the chicken wings and my family came unglued. We turned into wild animals, fighting over each wing until they were gone. I'm not kidding, Mark. Have you ever seen one of those documentaries where wild animals fight over their prey? The scene in my kitchen was very much like that. In fact, my children nearly attacked each other over your wings, Mark.

We blame this behavior on "the trifecta of deliciousness": the most incredible buffalo sauce (buttery and garlicky with just the right amount of heat);  the crispiest exterior a buffalo wing has ever had (truly the broiler method is the best), and the juiciest most delicious chicken meat on the inside. I mean when you take a bite and the buffalo sauce hits your lips it is lip smackin' good, then you get the crunch of the outside and bite into that juicy chicken and it is just magic, Mark. A mouth never had it so good!

Your wings are the stuff of dreams. You deserve a medal. We should shout your name from the mountaintops and we just might. Right after I make another batch.

You are our hero, Mark.
The Stirring The Pot Family

Minimalist Buffalo Wings
Adapted from Food52
by Mark Bittman
Serves 4-6, depending

3 pounds of chicken wings
Neutral oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 cup mild hot sauce, like Frank's Red Hot
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or white vinegar
1 tablespoon minced garlic
blue cheese dressing or ranch, for serving
carrot sticks and/or celery sticks, for serving

Pat the wings dry very well with paper towels (this will help them crisp) and, if the wings are whole, cut them into 3 sections, saving the wing tips for stock. Toss the wings with a little neutral oil to keep them from sticking, salt them lightly, and spread them on a baking sheet, leaving at least an inch of space between each wing.

Heat the broiler with a rack 4 to 6 inches from the flame. (Alternately, heat a charcoal or gas grill; the fire should be moderately hot and the rack 4 to 6 inches from the heat. Leave one side of the grill cooler for indirect cooking.)

Broil in the oven on a sheet pan until the wings are evenly well-browned and crisp, flipping them midway through. This should take 20 to 25 minutes overall, but will depend on the strength of your broiler, so peek often! (If using the grill, put the wings on the cool side of the grill. Cover the grill and cook, checking and turning once or twice, until most of the fat has been rendered and the wings are evenly well-browned and crisp, 15 to 20 minutes.).

While the wings cook, in a large bowl, combine the hot sauce, melted butter, vinegar, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste.

When the wings are browned and crisp, add them to the bowl with the sauce and toss to coat. Return the wings to the pan, leaving excess sauce in the bowl, and broil fora few minutes until sizzling and nicely browned on both sides, flipping once. (Or put the wings on the hot part of the grill and cook, uncovered, turning as necessary.)

Serve hot with the extra sauce on the side, for extra spicy, saucy wings, toss back in the sauce before serving. Blue cheese and/or ranch dressing and celery sticks and/or carrot sticks on the side are a good idea. 

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Mark Bittman's Spaetzle for Oktoberfest!

I absolutely love Spaetzle! Who doesn't? Buttery little bits of's just a given. However, I never thought about making it because, well... I've become somewhat of a lazy cook and I don't like dealing with dough or special tools, like a spaetzle maker.

Well, let me tell you....never fear! This dough is super easy and you don't even need a spaetzle maker! No, all you need is a pizza baking pan with holes on the bottom! Or you can even use a pasta strainer. Who knew? Now spaetzle making is as easy as 1-2-3! Simply place the pizza pan, or strainer, over the boiling water and push that dough right through with a spatula. Spaetzle for everyone!

Now we can celebrate Oktoberfest like we should! The best part is that you probably already have every single ingredient you need, and if you don't then we need to talk, because we're talking the bare minimum ingredients here: flour, eggs, milk, butter, salt and pepper, and just about any kind of herbs for topping.

So, what on earth are you waiting for? Deliciousness awaits!

by Mark Bittman
Serves 4

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 eggs
1 cup milk, more if needed
2 to 4 tablespoons butter or olive oil
chopped fresh parsley or chives for garnish

Step One: Set a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. In a bowl, combine flour with pepper and a large pinch of salt. In a bowl, combine flour with pepper and a large pinch of salt. Lightly beat together eggs and milk, and add to the flour, stirring. If necessary, add a little more milk until the mixture has the consistency of pancake batter.

Step Two (per Mark Bittman): Scoop a tablespoon or so of batter and drop it into the water; small pieces may breakoff, but the batter should remain largely intact and form a disk. Repeat, using about one-third to one-fourth the batter, depending on the size of the pot. When spaetzle rise to the top a couple of minutes later (you may have to loosen them from the bottom, but they will pop right up), cook another minute or so, then remove with a slotted spoon into a bowl of ice water. Repeat until all the batter is used up. 

Step Two (Easier Alternative):  Instead of following Bittman's steps for forming and cooking the spaetzle I read and researched various ways, finally settling on a method that was easiest. If you have a non-stick pizza pan with holes you are all set! Simply place it over the boiling water and allow the batter to run through the holes - talk about easy! This is the perfect method for getting the perfect-sized spaetzle and also making a somewhat tedious job perfectly easy.

Step Three: Drain spaetzle; at this point you can toss them with a bit of oil and refrigerate, covered, for up to a day. Heat butter or oil in a large skillet, preferably nonstick, over medium-high heat. when it's hot, add spaetzle a few at a time, and quickly brown on both sides. Serve hot, garnished with parsley or chives. And, let's be real here...of course, you could use olive oil, but why on earth would you? Browned butter is the perfect accompaniment to spaetzle!

This is a helpful video if you decide to make spaetzle!

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Ruth Reichl's Sriracha Shrimp

I've been eyeing Ruth's Sriracha Shrimp ever since I got my copy of her cookbook, My Kitchen Year. In her cookbook, Ruth serves the Sriracha Shrimp over coconut rice, which I'm sure is delicious.  I had all the ingredients for the coconut rice, but my husband and I weren't overly hungry and we typically like our shrimp served all on its own, straight out of the pan.

With or without the rice, this is an extremely easy and flavorful dish that comes together in no time. Simply marinate the shrimp in Sriracha and a touch of lime juice. While it's marinating go ahead and cut up an onion and some garlic and ginger. Cook the aromatics until the onion is translucent and then toss in the shrimp and the marinade, stirring until the shrimp are cooked through.

You'll be enjoying a spicy and flavorful dish in no time! This is really good if you're a Sriracha fan. The shrimp aren't too spicy on their own, but if you were worried about the spice level then the coconut rice would definitely help to take some of the heat away. This was really good and easy. I can definitely see myself making it again.

Sriracha Shrimp
Adapted by My Kitchen Year
by Ruth Reichl
Serves 3-4

1 pound shrimp (thawed, shelled, and deveined)
1 lime, quartered
2-3 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 small knob of ginger, peeled and diced*
2 tablespoons butter and/or oil, for frying

Place the thawed shrimp in a shallow bowl and squirt a little lime juice over them. Drizzle the shrimp with 2-3 tablespoons of Sriracha and toss to coat. Allow the shrimp to marinate for about 15 minutes.

Place butter and/or oil in a large skillet over medium heat, cook the onion, ginger, and garlic for 3-5 minutes until the onion is translucent. Turn the heat up to medium-high and toss in the shrimp and the marinade. Cook for about 2 -3 minutes, until shrimp is cooked through. Take shrimp off heat and serve immediately.  

This dish was meant to be served over coconut rice, but we weren't very hungry so we served the shrimp on their own with a little lime wedge on the side.

*Note: I left out the ginger because my husband isn't a fan.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Tessa Kiros' Apple Bread with Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Topping

 Is there anything more glorious than the smell of apples and brown sugar baking away in the oven?

Grate a few of your favorite apples. We are obsessed with Honeycrisp apples, so Honeycrisp it is. Add those grated apples to a batter spiced with cardamom and cinnamon. We're talking major fall vibes here.

Top the batter with a mix of brown sugar, chopped walnuts, and cinnamon. I don't have to tell you that this topping is delicious. We all know that brown sugar is like magic. Think candied walnut topping here.

This bread is deeper in color than other classic quick breads and that's ok because again, brown sugar friends. So don't fret. The crumb holds plenty of moisture from the apples and the topping, speaks for itself. 

Apple Bread with Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Topping
Adapted from Apples for Jam
by Tessa Kiros
Cuts into 10-12 slices

scant 3/4 cup sugar
1/4 pound, plus 3 tablespoons butter (11 tablespoons)
2 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
about 2 apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely grated
2/3 cups walnuts, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped (omitted)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

 Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter and flour a 12 by 4-inch loaf pan. Beat together the sugar and butter until fluffy. Add the eggs, and beat them in well. Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cardamom, and cinnamon in, and add a pinch of salt. Mix well. Add the apples, walnuts, and vanilla, and mix those through well. Scrape the mixture into the pan.

For the topping, mix together the walnuts, sugar, and cinnamon, and then scatter abundantly over the top of the batter. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the top is crusty brown and a skewer poked into the middle comes out clean. Check after 30 minutes and cover the top with foil if it is already quite brown.

Cool slightly before turning out carefully. Do this over your serving plate so that you don't lose any topping. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature, on its own, with whipped cream, or with a simple vanilla ice cream.