After taking a hiatus last year due to Oliver’s birth, Sarah and I are diving back into our winter tradition of committing to the Whole30 program for thirty days. It’s always a good reset for us in the winter when we are more drawn to sweets and carbs. For those who don’t know what it is, we’re basically going to avoid sugar (including honey, syrup, artificial sweeteners, etc.), grains, legumes, and dairy for the next thirty days. That pretty much leaves fruit, vegetables, eggs, and meat.
I believe this is our fifth time doing it, so it feels like a pretty smooth start. We made lists of recipes last week and stocked up at Costco yesterday. Chicken chili is in the slow cooker and I’ve got a dutch oven filled with my proprietary kale-and-sausage stew which I eat for breakfast every morning (with a poached egg… it’s divine).
The kids aren’t included, though of course they benefit from having fewer sweets and carbs on the menu. Maggie, however, isn’t 100% clear on this fact yet. While we were making lunch for them, she came into the kitchen and asked, in her signature end-of-the-world way, “What are we having for lunch? Pleeeeease don’t say that we’re having only fruits and vegetables!!!”
Sarah had these cookies at a recent ECFE meeting. In Sarah’s words, they were “conversation stopping amazing — the perfect cookie, crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and bursting with flavor.”
½ cup granulated sugar (set aside) 1⁄3 cup granulated sugar
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened 1⁄3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup light or dark molasses (dark gives a stronger flavor)
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Spread ½ cup of the sugar into a shallow dish for rolling. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, spices, pepper, and salt together.
In a large bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar, and remaining 1⁄3 cup granulated sugar together with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 6 minutes. Beat in the egg yolk and vanilla until combined, about 30 seconds. Beat in the molasses until incorporated, about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl and beaters as needed.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the flour mixture until combined, about 30 seconds (the dough will be soft).
Working with 1 tablespoon of dough at a time, roll the dough until balls with wet hands, then roll in the sugar to coat. Lay the balls on the prepared baking sheets, spaced about 2 inches apart.
Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, until the edges are set and beginning to brown but the centers are still soft and puffy, 8 to 10 minutes, rotating each baking sheet halfway through baking. (The cookies will look raw between the cracks and seem underdone.)
Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then serve warm or transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
Makes about 34 cookies.
Originally from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book,p. 162. (Adjusted slightly based on our experience.)
The recipes on this blog make it look like we mostly cook junk food. Here’s the thing: when I want to cook a gourmet meal, I usually have time and have lots of cookbooks to turn to. The recipes I post in here are often focused on when I’m alone with the kids or otherwise need to whip something up quickly. These foods also have gazillions of recipes on the internet, so when I find a good one I like to record it.
This recipe is great for really-big-cookies (round blondies). Intended for one huge cookie on a pizza pan, I divided the recipe in two and baked them in springform pans. Worked great; the cookies were robust enough to bring to school in my backpack without crumbling, and tasty enough that kids and colleagues devoured them. (Forgot to take a picture. Doh!)
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar 3/4 cup packed brown sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 eggs 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon baking soda 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips 1 cup chopped walnuts
In large bowl, beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well.
Gradually add flour, salt, and baking soda, beating until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
Spread in greased 14 inch round pizza pan or two greased springform pans. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 20-25 minutes (a bit less for two pans). Cool cookie in pan on a cooling rack. Decorate as desired.
We were looking for a more robust pancake recipe to have “breakfast-for-dinner” recently and I came across this one. Worked fabulously for dinner, and now it’s my favorite breakfast recipe too. Definitely heartier than standard white flour pancakes, but something about the combo of buttermilk, spices, and brown sugar make these divine. (They’re better than most when reheated too, so we usually have a few in the freezer for emergency breakfasts.)
3/4 cup oats
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons well-shaken buttermilk, divided
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
Soak oats in 3/4 cup buttermilk 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl.
Stir egg, butter, brown sugar, remaining 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk, and oat mixture into dry ingredients until just combined.
Heat a griddle over medium heat until hot and lightly brush with oil. Working in batches, pour 1/4 cup batter per pancake onto griddle and cook until bubbles appear on surface and undersides are golden-brown, about 1 minute. Flip with a spatula and cook other side, about 1 minute more. (Lightly oil griddle between batches.)
Sarah investigated some breakfast options this morning that would make progress on our basket of aging apples. One of our favorite breakfasts is Pannukakku, so she chose something similar. It was delicious, the kids loved it, and it filled the house with the delectable scent of baking apples and cinnamon.
1/3 cup butter
2 large tart apples, cored and sliced
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Powdered sugar, to serve
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
In a cast iron skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Saute the apples until they start to get soft, then add the sugar and cinnamon and cook until golden.
Whisk the flour with the salt and nutmeg. Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly with a large wire whisk to beat out any lumps. Beat in the vanilla and the eggs one at a time. Beat by hand for 2 minutes, or until foamy. Let the batter rest for 5 minutes.
Pour the batter over the apples. Bake for 20 minutes, or until puffed and golden
This is hardly an ambitious recipe, but while on solo-parenting duty this weekend, I remembered how much I loved Pigs in Blankets as a kid. Griffin was excited about the idea, so we decided to do it from scratch. We bought old fashioned wieners from the butcher down the street and eschewed Bisquick. They were delicious, so I thought I would jot down the recipe we used here, for future reference.
1 cup flour
½ tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
¼ cup grated cheese (we used sharp cheddar)
½ cup buttermilk
6 hot dogs
Then the usual dough making operation: mix dry ingredients, cut or massage in the cold butter until crumbly, mix in cheese and buttermilk (don’t over-mix). We rolled the dough out lightly on a floured board (again, trying not to overwork the dough) and cut into six similarly sized sheets. Wrap dogs, bake on greased sheet at 400° for ≈12 minutes.
The salsa is fantastic with the pork on a warm summer night—fresh, sweet and spicy. We used jalapeños for the peppers. The article in The Week, where we got this from, talks about how food guidelines have recently changed such that whole pork cuts are considered safe at 145 degrees rather than 160. Much juicier!
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
½ cup minced shallots
6 tbsp fresh lime juice
¼ cup vegetable oil, plus more for brushing
2 pork tenderloins, about 2½ lbs total
8 oz fresh cherries, stemmed, pitted, and halved
1 fresh Fresno, red jalapeño, or Holland chile, thinly sliced crosswise
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat a gas grill to high, or build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill. Meanwhile, combine ½ cup cilantro, ¼ cup shallots, 4 tbsp lime juice, and ¼ cup vegetable oil in a resealable plastic bag. Add pork, seal bag, and turn to coat. Marinate pork at room temperature for at least 15 minutes and up to 8 hours, turning occasionally.
Meanwhile, combine cherries, chile, olive oil, and remaining ½ cup cilantro, ¼ cup shallots, and 2 tbsp lime juice in a medium bowl. Season salsa lightly with salt and pepper and set aside to let flavors meld.
Remove tenderloins from marinade and season generously with salt and pepper.
Brush grill grate with vegetable oil. Place tenderloins on grate and cook, turning frequently, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of pork registers 145 degrees, about 15 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes. Cut into thin slices and serve with salsa. Serves 6.
Definitely not paleo, but for sure rhubarb-a-licious! The first time I baked this, I woke Griffin up and he said, “Are we having rhubarb pie?” and I said, “Yes! How did you know?” and he said, “I heard lots of rhubarby things going on! “
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ cup sugar
1 pinch salt
½ cup butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
¾ cup buttermilk
1 lb rhubarb, chopped (that’s about 5 stalks)
½ cup sugar
1 egg white, lightly whisked with a little water
sugar, for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 350°F Butter a 10 inch deep-dish pie dish and set aside.
For the dough sift together flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a large bowl.
Work in butter using your finger tips until dough resembles coarse cornmeal.
Gradually add buttermilk folding the wet and dry ingredients together until a soft dough forms (you may have to add a little water).
Turn out onto a floured surface and knead lightly just until the dough comes together (do not overwork it or it will be tough).
Divide dough into two equal portions. Roll out half of the dough into a 12 inch round and place in pie dish.
For the filling combine rhubarb and sugar in a bowl and stir to mix well.
Pour filling into the pie dish.
Roll out the remaining dough into another 12 inch round to from a pastry lid. Brush the rim of the bottom crust with water and put on the lid. Press together to seal.
Brush the glaze evenly over the top crust and then sprinkle lightly and evenly with sugar. Cut 3-4 steam slits into the top of the pie.
Bake until the crust is golden brown and the fruit tender for about 50 minutes.
Made this for the first time this morning and it was a big hit for the whole family. I cobbled the recipe together from a few sources, so I thought I would write it up to make it easier to repeat. Note that the shortcake is biscuit-like (i.e. super-delicious), rather than cake-like. If you prefer sponge-cake style, move along.
1 ½ lbs strawberries, quartered
2-3 tbsp sugar
1 c heavy cream
2 tbsp sugar
½ tsp vanilla
Shortcake 2 c flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
6 tbsp butter, cold, unsalted
1 beaten egg
⅔ c milk
Preheat oven to 425°.
Slice the strawberries and mix with sugar (2-3 tbsp depending on your preferences and the sweetness of the berries). Set aside for at least 30 minutes. The strawberries will shed liquid which makes the sugar properly syrupy.
Whip cream with sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form. Set aside.
For the shortcake, thoroughly mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter (I like to pulse it a few times in the food processor) until mixture is crumbly with pea-sized chunks of butter. (The amount of butter in this step is variable depending how buttery you want your shortcake to be.) Combine beaten egg and milk; add all at once to the dry ingredients and mix just until moist. Drop large, rough spoonfuls of dough onto a greased baking sheet. Makes 6-8 shortcakes. (Optional: Before baking, brush a bit of melted butter over the dough and sprinkle with a bit of sugar.) Bake for 12-16 minutes until tops are golden.
Cool for a few minutes. Slice shortcakes in half and spoon berries and whipped cream between layers and over the top. Yum.
¼ c. honey (≈3 oz.)
¾ tsp. salt
2 ½ c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. flour
4 tbsp. butter
Put a 10 ½” heavy frying pan into a 425° oven for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, beat together eggs, honey, salt, milk and vanilla. Add flour. Beat until smooth (some flour lumps are ok). Add butter to pan in oven; when melted, pour batter into pan and bake 25 mins until browned.
Serve immediately. Delicious with peaches and drizzled honey (or maple syrup when peaches and honey are lacking).
I learned this recipe from Grandma Pam who got it from The Old Country Cookbook, a locally produced cookbook of Northern Minnesota recipes. Griffin loves it, doing a happy dance whenever he discovers that it is on the menu. In the family, we always refer to it as “Pannakukken,” but I’ve seen it written on line more often as “Pannukakku.” My Finnish is nonexistent, so I’m not sure what’s correct, though my understanding is that the word translates as “pancake.”
This post inaugurates a new category in our blog: recipes. We’ve been looking for a central, accessible place to keep favorite recipes. The blog kills a flock of birds with one stone: easy formatting, optional pictures, categorized, searchable, and it allows us to share with our friends and family. Yay!