Sunday, October 25, 2020

Ina Garten's Kielbasa with Mustard Dip (Plus a Cookbook Review on Ina's newest book, Modern Comfort Food!}


There are two cookbooks that have completely taken me by storm this year. The first one was Sami Tamimi's Falastin, so unique and beautiful. The second was Ina Garten's latest, and best in my opinion, Modern Comfort Food. As the holidays approach, either one of these cookbooks would be a much-loved gift for any cookbook lover.

I have marked so many recipes in Ina's latest. This recipe, Kielbasa with Mustard Dip was one of them and it inched it's way to the top of the list simply because it is SO SIMPLE and I truly love kielbasa and mustard. Also because I think it would make for a wonderful appetizer for your upcoming holiday parties.

Let this recipe replace the traditional cocktail wienie swimming in a barbecue sauce. This is the updated version. Crispy fried kielbasa dipped in a zesty and zippy mustard sauce. Trust me, everyone is going to love it. IT IS SO GOOD! SO GOOD! Best of all, this is good served hot and juicy straight from the pan, but it's also really good when it's at room temperature (if it lasts that long).

Trust me on this one, folks. Everyone loves savory crispy meat they can skewer and dunk.

Modern Comfort Food: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by [Ina Garten]

If you're wondering about Ina's newest book, Modern Comfort Food I will give you a quick review. It is published by Clarkson Potter, my personal favorite, and in the style of her other cookbooks, which I love. A big stack of Ina's cookbooks makes for a great showpiece.

The book has six chapters: Cocktails (Frozen Palmoas, Hot Spiced Apple Cider, Fig & Cheese Toasts, Warm Spinach & Artichoke Dip, Cacio e Peppe Cheese Puffs, Spicy Pimento Cheese Spread, and today's recipe Kielbasa with Mustard Dip); Lunch (Chicken Pot Pie Soup, Baked Raclette, Lobster BLTs, Ultimate Tuna Melt, Broccoli & Kale Salad); Dinner (Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas, Brussels Sprouts Pizza Carbonara, Fresh Crab & Pea Risotto, Seared Salmon with Spicy Red Pepper Aioli); Vegetables & Sides (Cheddar & Scallion Creamed Corn, Provencal Zucchini Gratin, Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Chipotle Orange Butter); Dessert (Peach Almond Torte, English Lemon Posset, Milk Chocolate Oreo Ice Cream, Applesauce Cake with Bourbon Raisins, Berries &Jam Milkshakes, Banana Rum Trifle, Giant Crinkled Chocolate Chip Cookies); and Breakfast (Smashed Eggs on Toast, Whole-Grain Breakfast Bowl, Creamed Spinach & Eggs, Bacon, Egg & Cheddar Sandwich) Waffle Iron Hash Browns, and Chunky Apple Butter).

I love all of Ina's books, but this one is hands down my favorite. Who doesn't love comfort food? Especially right now, in the midst of a pandemic? As much as I love Sami Tamimi's cookbook Falastin, you will likely see me cooking much more from Modern Comfort Food as the food is so family-friendly and full of modern twists on classics that we crave. If I had to pick between the two cookbooks, I'd pick Ina's Modern Comfort Food, again and again.What can I say? Comfort food is my fave!


Kielbasa with Mustard Dip

Adapted from Modern Comfort Food

by Ina Garten

Serves 6-8

 1-1/4 pounds smoked kielbasa (Polish sausage)

olive oil

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon whole-grain mustard

1 teaspoon prepared horseradish

salt and black pepper

Slice the kielbasa crosswise 1/2 inch thick diagonally. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium (10-11 inch) saute pan, add the kielbasa, and cook over medium-high heat for 5 to 6 minutes, turning occasionally, until the kielbasa is nicely browned on both sides. 

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, whole-grain mustard, horseradish, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Serve the kielbasa hot from the pan with small wooden skewers and a dish of the mustard sauce on the side for dipping.



Sunday, October 18, 2020

Giada's Spiced Pumpkin-Raisin Cookies


'Tis the season for pumpkin spice, Spiced-Pumpkin-Raisin Cookies it is! And guess what? They're healthyish cookies (minus the sugar). And vegan! That's right...there's no butter or eggs in these cookies. What are you waiting for? Get on your pumpkin game and start making these now!

You begin by mixing together the dry ingredients: flour, old-fashioned oats, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Then you add the dry mixture to a wet mixture of: canned pumpkin, sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, and oil. Then you sprinkle the raisins in! It's simple and delicious! Plus, you probably already have all the ingredients on hand right now!

These cookies are just about perfect. They have a mild pumpkin flavor, the spice is just right (not overpowering), and the raisins add a wonderful chew! If you can only get your hands on one can of pumpkin this year, give this recipe a try! I cannot say enough good things about them, and I'm not the only one. They have a 5-star rating over on the Food Network too! Check out the video below.

Spiced Pumpkin-Raisin Cookies

Adapted from Food Network

by Giada De Laurentiis

Makes 15 or so cookies


1 cup all-purpose flour

2/3 cup old-fashioned oats

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon fine salt

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

3/4 cup sugar, plus additional for sprinkling

1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup raisins

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350F. Line 2 heavy large baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, oats, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and allspice. Stir to blend well. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, pumpkin puree, oil, syrup and vanilla; whisk to blend. Using a flexible rubber spatula, gradually stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture. Stir in the raisins.

For each cookie, drop 1 generous tablespoon of batter onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing the mounds about 1 inch apart. Using moistened fingertips, flatten each to a  2-inch diameter round, Sprinkle each cookie with a bit more sugar.

Bake the cookies until brown and a bit firm to the touch, 17 to 20 minutes. Using a metal spatula, transfer the cookies to a rack and cool completely. 


Sunday, October 11, 2020

Giada's California Turkey Chili w/ Quinoa and Pine Nut Pilaf

Fall break is a glorious invention. An entire week off in the beginning of October to enjoy the most beautiful and wonderful time of year. It is simply the best! We went to the zoo, we caught up on appointments, we played board games, we read books outside, we binge watched shows, and we slept in! 

We are closing a beautiful week spent outdoors with a rather rainy gloomy day, but I am ok with that because it is perfect weather for making chili, Giada's California Turkey Chili w/ Quinoa and Pine Nut Pilaf to be exact. This is a recipe I've been wanting to make for ages and I'm so happy to finally be getting around to it.

Now, 99% of our world makes absolutely ZERO sense right now and to illustrate that, we are going back to "in person" school this week right as our state suffers the most coronavirus cases it has ever had! What the what? Does anything make sense anymore? Well, I'll tell you what does make sense: chili. Chili always makes sense. Chili is perfect for meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans. Chili works for everyone. 

So as I mask up and head back to the germiest place known to man, I will pack this chili and take delight in something that does actually make sense. A delicious and healthy chili packed with creamy white beans and chunky bits of savory turkey packed in an extremely flavorful broth served over the most delicious quinoa and pine nut pilaf, which helps to give the chili great texture. 

Now, I will confess that I am partial to Giada's recipes. We usually almost always love them, but this chili is a step above the rest. It really is SO GOOD! If you're wanting to try your hand at a new chili recipe, this one is solid gold. I absolutely loved all the flavors from the poblanos, onions, celery, tomato paste, and spices. You can add garnishes if you like, but really and truly this chili doesn't need anything added to it. It is simply perfect the way it is! Five stars, Giada! 

California Turkey Chili w/ Quinoa and Pine Nut Pilaf

Adapted by Food Network

by Giada DeLaurentiis

Serves 4-6

For the Chili

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 large cloves garlic, smashed, peeled and chopped

2 large poblano chiles, stemmed,seeded and diced

1 celery stalk, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

1-1/2 pounds ground turkey 

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

4 tablespoons tomato paste

3 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons (packed) brown sugar

1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano, crushed

salt and black pepper, to taste

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon*

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves*

3 cups chicken broth

One 15-16 ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

Simplest Quinoa and Pine Nut Pilaf, recipe below

Assorted garnishes, such as chopped onion, shredded Cheddar, chopped tomatoes, and/or sour cream

Simplest Quinoa and Pine Nut Pilaf

1-1/4 cups whole grain quinoa 

1-3/4 cups chicken broth

salt and pepper, to taste

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

1/3 cup pine nuts

*Notes: I omitted the cinnamon and cloves because I don't care for those flavors in chili.

For the Chili: Heat the oil in a heavy, large pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, poblanos, celery and onions. Saute until the vegetables soften, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the turkey and saute until no longer pink, breaking up the turkey with the back of a spoon, about 7 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over and stir to blend. Add the tomato paste,chili powder, cumin, sugar, oregano, salt and pepper, cinnamon and cloves*. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring to blend. Add the broth and beans. Bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the flavors blend and the chili thickens to desired consistency, stirring often, 20 to 30 minutes. Season with more salt and pepper.

For the Quinoa Pilaf: Place the quinoa in a fine sieve. Rinse under cold running water 1 full minute. Set aside to drain. Bring the broth, salt and pepper to a boil in heavy, medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the quinoa. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the quinoa is tender and all the broth is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat. Let the quinoa stand, still covered,for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350F. Scatter pine nuts on a small rimmed baking sheet. Toast the nuts until golden, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet. Mix the parsley and pine nuts into the quinoa.

To Serve: Spoon Simplest Quinoa and Pine Nut Pilaf into deep bowls. Ladle chili over. Serve with garnishes, such as chopped radishes, pickled jalapeno, crumbled cheese, tortilla chips, and or pico de gallo. See list of garnishes above, as well.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Hassan's Easy Eggs with Za'atar and Lemon {Cooking from Falastin!}

I preordered Sami Tamimi's Falastin so that I could get my hands on a copy as soon as possible.The hype was that it was going to be one of the hottest cookbook releases of the year. I can tell you now, that it is by far my favorite cookbook of the year! Sami's Falastin is one of the most beautiful cookbooks. It is full of Palestinian food, people, geography, history, language, land, identity, and culture. I found myself reading more like a novel than a cookbook.

Sami Tamimi's recipes have the Ottolenghi feel to them, but they also have a simplicity and ease that Ottolenghi's recipes do not. I found myself more taken with Sami's book than Ottolenghi's, which is heavy praise in itself. I quickly bookmarked over 50 recipes and found myself wanting to make everything from Hummus with Meatballs to Chicken Shawarma Pie to Sumac Onion and Herb Oil Buns. So many simply yet unique recipes that felt exciting and fun.

You will be seeing more of these recipes as we begin cooking with Sami and his new cookbook over at I Heart Cooking Clubs. For starters, I had to make the recipe that called to me first and that was these eggs, Hassan's Easy Eggs with Za'atar and Lemon.

 "These eggs will always remind Sami of his father, Hassan, who used to make them on the weekend for Sami and his siblings. It's proof,if ever proof were needed, that few things are not improved by the addition of some good-quality olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, and a sprinkle of za'atar."

 There is something about a plate of broken hard-boiled eggs with their sunny yellow yolks front and center. It's a welcome sight. It calls to me. Top the eggs off with a lemon juice, olive oil and za'atar mixture, some sliced green onions and hot pepper flakes and you have one delicious and welcoming platter. Simple, delicious, with a unique twist. These eggs feel both comforting and somewhat exotic.

Eat them on their own or put them inside of pita bread. Sami also says they pair well with cubed chunks of creamy avocado (I need to try that). 

This is a recipe that you can eat warm or cold. You can eat it for breakfast or lunch. You can serve it as an appetizer or a midday snack. Either way it is delicious and you can't go wrong!


Hassan's Easy Eggs with Za'atar and Lemon

Adapted from Falastin

by Sami Tamimi

Serves four

6 eggs

1-1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

3 tablespoons oliveoil

1 tablespoon za'atar

salt and black pepper

2 green onions, finely sliced

1/8 teaspoon Aleppo chile flakes

Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil and carefully lower in the eggs. Boil for 5-6 minutes, then rinse at once under plenty of cold running water.

Meanwhile, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil and za'atar and set aside.

Peel and roughly quarter the eggs, by hand so that they're not too neat, and arrange on a serving plate, yolk side up. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a generous grind of black pepper and drizzle the lemon juice-olive oil mix over the top. Sprinkle with the green onions and chile flakes and serve at once.