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Pecan Pie Bars

Hellooooo,

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Hi! I feel like every time I write a new post, I talk about how long it’s been since my last one. Yeah. Well. I’m trying! I always have a bunch of things to blog about and no time to actually sit down and do it. But here I am at a slow day at work, with plenty of time to devote to my Thanksgiving posts.

For Thanksgiving I traveled (by way of a 7 hour long bus ride from hell…but that’s a different story) to Boston to visit a friend for an extremely low-key, two-person Thanksgiving. Now to be quite honest, Thanksgiving for 2 people is hard! I know how to make this kind of food in vast quantities, but for just me and one other person it’s kind of an odd situation. I wanted turkey, but how are two people supposed to eat an entire turkey by themselves…? Unfortunately, I didn’t get my turkey. But I did make a fabulous roast chicken, twice-baked sweet potatoes, and Armen made his contribution of carmelized onions (thanks, Armen). I made a slightly adapted version of these bars as our Thanksgiving dessert. I cannot explain how badly I wanted pie, but Armen is picky/rude and vetoed both pumpkin and apple pie. I don’t want to talk about it. I was devastated. Also limited resources meant we had no pie pan, etc. etc. So we compromised and settled on pecan pie bars. Okay, to be fair, these were awesome. I really, truly enjoyed every bite of every one of these bars I ate (I ate at least…6 or 7? Oops) and would definitely make them again. I still resent them the teensiest, tiniest bit, but that’s just because I wanted a fall fruit pie so badly. In reality, these were really great. Make ’em.

1/2 c. butter, softened

1/2 c. brown sugar

1 c. flour

1 egg

heaping 1/3 c. honey

heaping 1/3 c. brown sugar

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 tsp. vanilla

1 c. pecan halves

coarse salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 375. Cream the sugar and butter together until combined, then beat in the flour until the mixture becomes crumbly but sticks together when pressed. Press this with your hands into the bottom of an 8×8″ pan and bake for 10-15 minutes until the crust looks dry and a little bit puffy. While your crust is baking, whisk together the egg, honey, more brown sugar, maple syrup and vanilla. Once combined, stir in the pecans until coated and pour into the crust once it’s out of the oven. Rearrange the pecans a little if needed and stick it back in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until the filling is almost completely set. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with salt. Let them cool in the fridge (preferably overnight) before serving.

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I know, OVERNIGHT? The horror. Your kitchen/entire apartment will smell so delicious after baking these, but you must resist the urge to eat them fresh out of the oven! They won’t hold together and you’ll be eating a weird, soupy mess. Although I considered trying a warm one, I used my will power and managed to wait. I was so proud of myself.

I tried these in a variety of ways (all in the name of blogging, of course……): once heated in the microwave topped with vanilla ice cream, a bunch of times just plain cold out of the fridge, and twice cold with vanilla ice cream on top. My personal favorite was definitely cold, paired with ice cream. No comparison. The ice cream makes the already cold bars even chewier, and the vanilla adds an amazing contrast to the maple-y, nutty goodness. You have to do a little bit of aggressive crushing with your spoon in order to get proper bites, but it’s worth the extra effort. The two servings of these bars I ate like this were consecutive; I simply could not stop at just one.

Make these for some holiday gathering or something! Or to bring to work! Or to share with friends! Or to keep all to yourself! Just make these. They’re festive and great.

Love, Emily

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Quinoa Sweet Potato Chili

Hello friends!

Goodness it’s been a while. Sorry, guys. I’ve been really lagging. I’ve been cooking (kinda), but nothing really worth posting. I’ve been SOOO busy and overwhelmed lately and I haven’t really taken any time to do my favorite things (aka cook, bake, photograph, and blog) but I’ll have this weekend and the entirety of Thanksgiving break to catch up! Yay. I made some super special birthday cookies for a friend that I’ll post about tomorrow, but for now, my soup.

Oh my GOD this soup was so yummy. This chili is loosely based off of this recipe (although obviously not vegan, since I used chicken stock and put chicken AND cheese in mine…I don’t do vegan). I made a huge pot of it and none of my roommates wanted any, so I have it all to myself. I’m not complaining. I put half in the fridge and froze the other half after I ate a hearty bowl. Can’t wait to have awesome leftovers for this weekend/whenever I choose to thaw my frozen batch. Ugh yum. Is there anything better than soup in the fall? Honestly? As far as dinners go, at least (I can think of quite a few desserts I’d rather have than chili, but that’s another story), it’s the absolute best. It’s so cozy and warms you up from the inside out and your tummy is all warm and everything is just great. I love eating soup.

OKAY yeah yeah I know I don’t have a picture. I know. What on earth is a food blog post without a series of beautiful food porn photos? I’ll update it soon, but I’m currently at work so access to my camera is nonexistent. I promise, it looks as good as it sounds. Meanwhile, here’s the recipe:

1 tablespoon olive oil

32 oz. chicken stock

4 oz. tomato paste

1 onion, sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 15 oz. can black beans

3/4 c. quinoa (dry)

Tabasco, salt, and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a soup pan over medium high heat. Brown the onions for about 10 minutes until they get soft, then add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste, cumin and chili powder and combine, cooking for about another 2 minutes while constantly stirring. Add the chicken stock, beans, and sweet potatoes, mix well and cook for about 5 more minutes. Add your quinoa, bring your mixture to a boil, then down to a simmer. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes until your chili gets thick enough and your quinoa is fully cooked.

I garnished mine with some cheddar cheese and leftover shredded chicken. It was perfection. I highly recommend you do the same.

Have a wonderful weekend, lovelies!

Love, Emily


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Chocolate Almond Granola Bars

Hi everybody,

This is the first of a series of post-hurricane-catch-up posts that I’ll be writing–I did lots of cooking and baking while Sandy was happening, but was wifi-less for days (THE HORROR), hence my lack of posting. But I’m back! Lucky for me, we didn’t get hit too hard by the storm. A few power outages, fallen trees, and the loss of internet was all we really had to deal with. A huge part of downtown was not so lucky. Love you, New York. Stay safe.

This recipe was the result of a baking void build up from a few days–I needed to make something, but I didn’t want it to be unhealthy. All I did during the hurricane was wake up, eat, watch Law and Order SVU, eat more, shower more than necessary, eat, etc. We weren’t allowed to leave our homes, okay?! What else was I supposed to do? Anyways, after almost an entire week of constant eating (mostly those brownies in the last post), these granola bars were what I needed. They’re delicious, easy, and portable. And who doesn’t love granola bars? Warning: these are not super sweet. If you’re looking for a Chewy-bar-caliber sweetness, do not look here. The only thing I sweetened these with was banana; if you want something more, you could always add sugar or honey! Easy fix. I really wanted to make these a little more exciting by drizzling some melted chocolate over the top, but my chocolate chips mysteriously disappeared. I kid you not, I’m not even being sarcastic right now. They were in the cupboard last time I checked! Anyways, until I get more, these will have to do. Not the worst thing in the world! They were yummy either way.

2 ripe bananas, mashed

1/4 c. peanut butter

1/4 c. almond butter

1 1/2 Tbsp. cocoa powder

1 c. old fashioned oats

1/4 c. almond meal

1/2 c. chopped almonds

Preheat the oven to 350 and grease an 8×8″ pan. Put your bananas in a large bowl and mash with a fork (or your HANDS if you’re daring!) until as many lumps as possible are gone. You’re not going to be able to get all of them; don’t fret. Add your nut butters and mix until combined. Add your dry ingredients next and stir until everything is incorporated. Maybe add 1/2 c. or so of chocolate chips if you have them! Bake for 20 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned and the center is firm (but still gives a little). Wait until the bars cool completely before cutting! I cut mine into 10 granola-bar-sized bits. It worked out nicely.

Can you tell I love almonds? You could obviously add any other mix-ins you want to this, but I wanted to keep it a simple chocolate-almond combo. Dried fruit would be yummy, chocolate chips, coconut, etc. Go crazy. If you’ve never made your own granola bars before however (I hadn’t!), I highly recommend it! It’s honestly so simple. Aaaand cheaper. And so fresh! And there are no funky ingredients! And, last but not least: you can customize them. What’s better than that?

Enjoy!

Love, Emily