Blackberry season is hands down one of my favorite times of the year. Around here, you pretty much walk outside and it’s free berries EVERYWHERE! It’s hard not to get a little giddy when you think of how much a bucket o’ berries would cost you from the store or farmers market.Nothing feels more like summer to me than picking blackberries. It’s almost always August, it’s HOT out, but at the same time you know summer is coming to a close, and you have to relish in the last few weeks. My blackberry picking love is hard to explain, but it really is one of my favorite things. Continue reading
Nothing says Fall like a warm, hearty bowl of soup. Pumpkin Soup with Bacon and Croutons, however, takes Fall to a whole new level.I was blown away with how this soup turned out. Normally I associate the canned pumpkin with sweet treats and desserts, but this soup has changed my mind. I also couldn’t help but think baby food as everything was cooking down (aren’t I super good at convincing you to try my recipes?)…but dammit, it’s a really freakin good adult version of baby food that I would be proud to feed my baby/kids someday (showing them this blog with all the swearing probably won’t be on my list though).Anyways, Pumpkin Soup ended up being a huge success! The bacon and croutons are a must – so was the sprinkling of goat cheese on top. Another thing that blew my mind was the soup was even better the next day. I think this soup will become a yearly October tradition in our house. Next time I will likely double the recipe since the soup is great as leftovers. I also see new versions of this soup surfacing in the years to come, and I can’t wait!
Pumpkin Soup with Bacon & Croutons
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 1 (15 oz) can unsweetened pumpkin
- 2 cups cooked, diced bacon
- pinch nutmeg
- 32 oz (2 lbs) low sodium chicken broth
- dash thyme
- dash red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 – 6 slices day old bread, depending on what size of loaf you are using (I used a few slices of a crusty artisan loaf)
- Goat cheese or sour cream
- Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
1. Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the chopped onion and carrots and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 – 10 minutes or until softened. Add a few dashes of salt and pepper while the veggies are cooking down.
2. While the vegetables are cooking, dice raw bacon into small pieces and add to a separate pan. Cook on medium until bacon pieces get slightly crisp. Set aside and drain on paper towels. Leave remaining grease in pan for the croutons. To make croutons, cut bread into small squares and cook on medium-low in the bacon pan until brown and crisp. Set aside to drain on paper towels.
3. Add the pumpkin, half of the cooked bacon (about 1 cup), and nutmeg to the carrot and onion mixture, stirring well. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 – 10 minutes.
4. Pour in the chicken broth, increase the heat to medium, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for at least 15 minutes. Add a few dashes of thyme and red pepper flakes, season to taste with more salt and pepper if needed.
5. Remove the pan from heat and let cool slightly. Use an immersion blender to blend up the soup until smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, I highly recommend you get one…but transferring the soup to a food processor or blender and blending in batches also works fine. If so, return it to the pan and reheat.
6. Serve soup with the reserved bacon bits and croutons. Soup is excellent with a few sprinkles of goat cheese on top, or sour cream. Toasted Pumpkin Seeds add a nice seasonal flair as well.
If you happen to be with your “average” American male, chances are he probably likes steak. A lot. I find that it is nice, every so often, to make your man a steak. I mostly think this because 99.9% of the time we eat steak, Jordan is the one grilling it.
For some reason, this recipe feels so 1950’s to me, because you put the steaks under the broiler. When I first cooked them, I was nervous they would be disappointing (like when you compare a pan-fried McDonald’s Burger to a char-broiled Whopper). However, this is not the case. It may be that you can’t go wrong when cooking quality steak with butter…But I am just going to go back to picturing myself as a 50’s housewife. Continue reading
Goat Cheese is already so good on it’s own…I never thought it could possibly get better.
But it does.
In fried Cheese form.
It really tastes amazing on a salad (like this kale salad), and this way you can categorize your meal as “healthy.” But I won’t judge you if you choose to just eat these by themselves…with a big glass of Sauvignon Blanc. Or eat these for breakfast. I don’t care. Just make them. But please, don’t burn yourself while dropping the goat cheese discs in the hot olive oil, I pretty much burnt off my fingerprint since I got a little too excited. The things we learn while making delicious meals.
Crispy Fried Goat Cheese
adapted from The Hungry Mouse
- 16 oz. goat cheese log
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 2 tsp. dried parsley
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp. granulated garlic or garlic salt
- 1/2 tsp. crushed black pepper
- pinch of kosher salt
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup of flour (I used whole wheat flour)
- olive oil
Yields about 8 pieces of fried goat cheese, depending on how thick you cut the cheese.
- Chill goat cheese in freezer for 15 minutes or until firm enough to slice without crumbling.
- While your cheese is chilling, put the panko in a medium-sized bowl. Add the parsley, thyme, garlic, pepper, and kosher salt. Stir to combine well.
- Crack the eggs in a bowl. Beat to scramble them. Line a sheet pan or plate with wax or parchment paper. Put the flour on a plate or in a shallow bowl. Now your dredging station is ready: panko mixture, flour, and eggs.
- Slice & bread the cheese. Grab your cheese out of the freezer. Slice it into 1/4 – 1/2-inch pieces. Use a sharp knife. Wipe the knife off with a warm, wet paper towel in between cuts. Your slice may crumble a little. If it does, just squish it into a rough round shape and keep going.
- Put the cheese in the flour. Flip it gently to coat on both sides.
- Drop the floured cheese into the beaten egg. Flip it gently to coat with egg on both sides.
- Lastly, put it into the seasoned panko breadcrumbs. Flip it to coat on both sides.
- Put it on your lined pan or plate.
- Repeat with the rest of the cheese. You could do this maybe an hour ahead of time and keep them in the fridge.
- Fry the cheese. Put a little olive oil in a nonstick pan. Use just enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Set it on the stove over high heat. When the oil shimmers, you’re ready to fry.
- Grab one of your slices of breaded goat cheese. Set the cheese down gently in the hot oil. It should start to bubble around the edges immediately. Repeat with the rest of the cheese. Depending on the size of your pan and how many pieces you’re frying, you might need to fry in batches so you don’t crowd the pan. Do not crowd the pan…give the cheese room to fry!
- Keep an eye on your cheese…it cooks fast. When the cheese is brown on the bottom (this will happen very quickly), flip it over carefully with a spatula.
- When it’s brown on the second side, remove the cheese from the pan, and transfer to a paper towel lined plate. If you’re fying a lot of cheese, keep them warm in a 150 F oven.
- Serve and enjoy!
This recipe will definitely be filed under the “fancy dinner salads” category. It’s simple, yet elegant…and tasty! I have never really liked kale…but I found some “baby kale” at the store and just went for it…There seems to be a lot of different types of kale out there, and I am by no means an expert, so please, if you know more, enlighten me…
I seriously can’t wait to eat this salad again (most likely for lunch tomorrow) and I’m wondering if I will like kale any other way…the pairing with the goat cheese, cherries, and dressing is just perfect.
Kale Cherry and Pecan Salad
makes 4 small or 2 large servings
adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
for the salad:
- 5 ounces (entire package pictured above) baby kale
- 4 ounces (about 4 medium-large) radishes
- 1/2 cup dried cherries
- 1/3 cup candied pecans, you can coarsely chop, but I kept them whole
- 2 ounces soft goat cheese, chilled and crumbled
- salt and pepper for topping
- for the dressing:
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons white wine (or apple cider) vinegar
- 1 tablespoon smooth Dijon mustard
- 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
- salt and pepper to taste
Wash kale and allow it to dry by spreading it out on a paper towel. Tear kale into bite sized pieces and place in a large salad bowl. If you are using baby kale, you can keep them whole if you like. Thinly slice radishes and add to the bowl. Add the dried cherries, candied pecans, and goat cheese crumbles. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
To make the dressing, in a small bowl whisk together olive oil, vinegar, mustard, and honey. Whisk until smooth and the oil is well incorporated into the mixture. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss together insuring that all of leaves are coated in dressing. The salad is delicious to eat immediately, but is even better after its rested for 20 minutes, allowing the leaves to become tender.
Although today is Thanksgiving and debatably (is that even a word?) the best Holiday ever, it is also another very special day – my Mom’s birthday. Every few years, her birthday falls on this day, and I wanted to do some special things for her.
That’s the reason I love cooking – on special days you can make people happy by making them something that brings them joy.
When I saw this recipe for Chocolate Goat Cheese Truffles I knew this would be my mom’s “Birthday Cake.” Like me, she loves goat cheese. Mixing it with chocolate sounds weird, but this turned into the easiest and tangiest chocolately truffles you’ll ever make.
Happy Birthday to the best Mom ever! I know you’re making the turkey today and doing probably over half of our Thanksgiving meal (recipes to follow!), but I Love You and hope you get to relax on a day that is normally filled with chaos for the master chef!
Chocolate & Black Pepper Goat Cheese Truffles
From (where else?) The Joy the Baker Cookbook
Makes 15-20 truffles
- 4 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 4 ounces fresh goat cheese, at room temperature
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp coarsely crushed black peppercorns
- 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- coarse sea salt
Place about 2 inches of water in a small saucepan, and place chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over, but not touching, the simmering water to melt the chocolate. Once the chocolate is melted, remove bowl from the pot and set aside to cool slightly.
In a medium bowl, whisk together goat cheese, melted chocolate, sugar, vanilla, and peppercorns until fluffy and well incorporated. Cover the mixture in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.
Once firm, portion a heaping teaspoon of the goat cheese mixture into clean hands and roll into a ball. Coat the ball in cocoa powder, place on a cookie sheet, and top with a few flakes of coarse sea salt. Serve slightly chilled.
Truffles will last, in an airtight container, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
This is THE salad dressing. It goes great on just about any kind of salad. I cannot tell you how many times I have dug through my email, trying to find the recipe that my mom has sent me on numerous occasions. It is so easy to make, very few ingredients, yet for some reason I cannot memorize this recipe for the life of me! Let’s hope this post helps it sink in more. I’m just relieved that now that I’ve posted it I’ll have easier access to it!
The classic salad for this dressing is a combination of pear, toasted walnut, and bleu cheese. Grilled chicken on top makes it a complete meal (if you aren’t vegetarian).
Last night, I didn’t quite have all of those ingredients, but I was close enough, and it was just as delicious: Asian Pear, candied pecans, and goat cheese, with the dressing drizzled on top. Honestly one of the most delicious and satisfying salads you can have!
Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
Makes enough for a salad that serves 2-4 (depending on if entree size salad or side salad)
- 3 Tablespoons Olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- dash Salt
- dash Pepper
- Squirt of honey mustard
- Squirt of honey
- Use dijon mustard or grainy mustard instead of honey mustard.
- Add a clove of minced garlic if you are feeling a little more zesty!
Add olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper to a bowl. whisk until combined. While whisking, add in a squirt of honey (at least a tablespoon) continue whisking and add a squirt (again, about a tablespoon) of honey mustard. You can add more honey or mustard to taste. I used French’s Honey Mustard, although other brands will work. Just make sure it is REAL honey mustard, not the lighter colored kind you find at some fast food restaurants.
Up until now, I’ve only ordered wings from a bar. That’s just what people do. You don’t make wings at home…you eat them in a bar, with lots of beer. Maybe with a gallon of bleu cheese dressing (kidding!). Some carrots and celery too, as an afterthought.
But, AS USUAL, homemade is better, and way more satisfying. I was worried these wouldn’t go over well with Jordan since they weren’t super spicy and buffalo-y, but Baked Brown Sugar Wings prevailed.
He did, however, add sriracha to his wings after they came out of the oven. It was surprisingly the most amazing flavor combination. Somehow, all of the spices complimented each other so well. The sriracha didn’t taste nearly as spicy as it usually does. Next time, we will be adding sriracha to the wing coating.
And the sauce! Oh, the sauce. Honestly, it would taste good on anything. Crackers, baguette, veggies, sandwiches…YUM! It tasted great on the wings as well. I didn’t reach for ranch or bleu cheese once.
Baked Brown Sugar Chicken Wings with Roasted Red Pepper Dipping Sauce …adapted from Damn Delicious
Yields 3-4 servings
- FOR THE WINGS:
- 2 pounds chicken wings
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 cloves crushed garlic OR 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- FOR THE SAUCE:
- 1/3 cup roasted red pepper, chopped (I used the roasted red pepper from a jar)
- 2 ounces goat cheese
- 2 tablespoons sour cream (I used fat free sour cream)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil (I just sprayed my cooking sheet with pam, things still worked out).
In a large bowl, combine the wings, olive oil, brown sugar, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, paprika, salt and pepper.
Place the wings onto prepared baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes, using metal tongs to turn at halftime.
To make the dipping sauce, combine the roasted red pepper, goat cheese, sour cream and salt in the bowl of a food processor until emulsified.
Serve wings immediately with dipping sauce.
Dinner on Saturday night. Amazing! Great restaurant and atmosphere, but very dark. The photos aren’t the greatest, but despite the darkness everything still looks pretty delicious. Tom Douglas does it again!
Kalamata olives, stuffed with cheese (I think it was goat or feta), then fried…with sour cream to dip. Basically my dream appetizer. My mom thinks I can replicate these at home. Stay tuned.
I wasn’t dying to try pig tail, but for some reason everyone else was. They ended up tasting like a mixture of chicken wings and bacon, sooo clearly they were pretty awesome.
2030 Fifth Ave
Seattle, WA 98121
There is something to say about ending your work week on a good note and getting off on the right foot to your weekend. For me, the perfect way to end my work week is with a fun meal and a familiar face. Last Friday Jordan arrived with not only himself (enough to make me happy) but with Otto, his new puppy. He is so much fun, and cute to boot. Him and the cats will have to work on their relationship, but they’ll be friends someday I’m sure.
So, for our evening in with our furry friends we just had some cocktails and appetizers – Ginger Lemon Drops, Sweet Potato Hummus with rice crackers and peppers, prosciutto-wrapped dates with goat cheese, a big salad, and some leftover Crunchy Chicken Coconut Fingers. It was pretttttty much amazing.
Half the time I look at my photos and just laugh – all of the ridiculous mismatched dishes, place mats and tablecloths…cat toys in the background, less than award-winning plating skills. Sometimes my living situation and surroundings don’t really allow me to have award winning photos that make the good blogs out there great…And sometimes I get really depressed about it. But why? I have no reason to be sad over such a silly thing. I have this wonderful dude who brings a cute puppy home with him…what more could a girl ask for? I am pretty sure one day I will have matching dishes, and maybe even a cute backdrop to photograph these matching dishes in. But for now, I have to say I am pretty damn happy, and life is good. Mismatched dishes and all.
Ginger Lemon Drop
Makes 1 drink
- 1 1/2 oz vodka
- 1/2 oz lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1/2 oz simple syrup
- freshly grated ginger
- sugar for the rim and lemon to garnish, if desired
Now for some yummy dates. Savory and Sweet!
Prosciutto Wrapped Dates with Goat Cheese
Make as many or as little as you want…wing it!
- Goat Cheese
- Candied nuts (pecans, walnuts, anything to add a little crunch!)
Remove the pits from the dates. Hollow out a little hole in the date. Add some Goat Cheese, push in a candied nut, and wrap the date in a thin slice of prosciutto. Place Dates on a greased baking sheet and pop under broiler for a few minutes, until prosciutto has browned a little and has gotten a bit crispy. Enjoy!