Honey Buttermilk Bread (with or without Dill) (in the Bread Machine)

As I mentioned, I found two great bread machine recipes recently. Here’s the second. I added fresh dill because I had a lot on hand, but this would be great without too. And don’t be intimidated by the buttermilk. So long as you have milk and white vinegar/lemon juice on hand, you can make buttermilk in 15 minutes! Adapted from The Spruce Eats.

Here’s what you need:

3/4 cup buttermilk (you can make this by adding almost 3/4 cup buttermilk and 3/4 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice, and allowing to sit for 15 minutes)

1 tablespoon butter, at room temperature

3 tablespoons honey

1/2 cup water

3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill (optional)

3 cups bread flour

2 teaspoons yeast

Here’s what you do:

1. In your bread maker, add the ingredients in the order listed above (first liquids, then dry, then yeast).

2. All bread makers are slightly different, but here are the settings I chose: (1) white bread program, (2) medium sized loaf, (3) medium darkness.

3. Turn on your bread machine, let it do the work, and enjoy!

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Oatmeal Honey Wheat Bread (in the Bread Machine)

I recently found two bread recipes that are amazing in the bread machine. Here’s the first; it makes the whole house smell delicious! Adapted from King Arthur Bread.

Here’s what you need:

1 cup boiling water

1/2 cup oats (regular or quick cook)

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoons butter

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

2 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour

1/2 tablespoon yeast

Here’s what you do:

1. In a large bowl, stir together the water, oats, brown sugar, honey, butter, salt and cinnamon. Mix well, and allow to cool to warm, about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. In your bread maker, pour in the oatmeal mixture, followed by the flours, followed by the yeast.

3. All bread makers are slightly different, but here are the settings I chose: (1) whole wheat program, (2) medium sized loaf, (3) medium darkness.

4. Turn on your bread machine, let it do the work, and enjoy!

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Pasta with Vodka Sauce

I filed this recipe away for a special time since the ingredients call for heavy cream, and I try not to use that too often in my cooking. But Thanksgiving rolled around, so I made it. And it was so popular I had to make a second batch! It’s actually quite easy to make, comes together quickly, and tastes delicious. Adapted from Serious Eats.

Here’s what you need:

3 tablespoons butter

1 medium onion, roughly diced

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 can (6 oz) tomato paste

1 can (14.5 oz) whole peeled tomatoes

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup half and half

1 tablespoon white or brown sugar

1 pound rigatoni (or other tubular pasta)

1/4 cup vodka

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Here’s what you do:

1. Heat the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, crushed red pepper and salt, and cook until onion softens and starts to turn golden, about 15 minutes, stirring often.

2. Add the tomato paste to the pot, and stir to incorporate, allowing to cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes.

3. Add the entire can of peeled tomatoes and juice to the pot. Bring to a simmer, then allow to cook for about 10 minutes, crushing the tomatoes with the back of a spoon.

4. Add cream, half and half, and sugar, and stir to incorporate. Turn off heat.

5. In a blender, puree the tomatoes until smooth. Return to the pot.

6. Bring a separate pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta for three minutes less than al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and drain the rest. While the pasta is cooking, bring the tomatoes back to a simmer and add the vodka.

7. Add 1/2 cup of the pasta water to the tomatoes, and stir in the pasta. Coat the pasta in the sauce, and allow it to cook the remaining 3 minutes in the sauce, adding the remaining pasta water if the sauce gets too thick. (I used it all.)

8. Turn off the heat, and stir in the parmesan until melted. Taste and add salt as needed.


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Roasted Garlic and Fall Squash Pasta

This recipe was posted on Instagram from Half Baked Harvest. I tried it, but modified a few things to make what I found to be an excellent dish!

Here’s what you need:

6 cups peeled and cubed squash (butternut squash, kabocha squash, or other sweet orange-fleshed squash)

8-10 cloves garlic, trimmed but unpeeled

salt and pepper to taste (don’t be shy with the salt)

crushed red pepper

2 teaspoons fresh thyme, or rosemary, or a combination (or dried herbs, but cut the quantity in half)

glug of olive oil

8 slices prosciutto

1 pound pasta (I did big macaroni and it was like a delicious mac and cheese)

1 cup ricotta cheese

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage (sage really gives this dish a special taste)

1 cup shredded gouda, or gouda and parmesan (or you can cut down the shredded cheese volume)

Here’s what you do:

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

2. Peel and cube the squash. Then toss in a large bowl with the garlic, salt and pepper, crushed red pepper, thyme/rosemary, and olive oil. Spread in a single layer on a large baking sheet, and place the slices of prosciutto around the squash. (If you want to go vegetarian, just skip the prosciutto.)

3. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes. Stir, flip the prosciutto, and roast another 15-20 minutes, so the squash is soft and browning and the garlic squeezes out of its peel.

4. While the squash is roasting, cook the pasta one minute less than the directions. Drain but reserve one cup pasta water.

5. From the baking sheet, set the prosciutto aside. Squeeze the garlic out of the peel and discard the peel.

6. In a food processor, combine the squash, garlic and ricotta cheese until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste, if needed.

7. In a pan, heat the butter and sage until the butter starts to brown. Add the squash mixture and half a cup of the reserved pasta water. Stir to combine.

8. Add the shredded cheese to the squash mixture and melt.

9. Add the pasta and remaining reserved water to the squash, and stir until fully combined. Serve as is, or topped with some crumbled prosciutto.


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Coconut Milk Spiced Chicken with Dates

I recently found a version of this recipe in the LA Times, and decided to put it together yesterday. I made a few alterations, and ended up with something so delicious that my whole family was asking for seconds!

Here’s what you need:

About 2.5 pounds boneless/skinless chicken thighs (or breasts)

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chile-garlic paste, or hot and sweet chile sauce, or gochuchang, or some combination

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

5 cloves of garlice, thinly sliced

2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated on a micro plane

2 cans full-fat unsweetened coconut milk

15 dates, pitted and cut in half

handful or two of golden raisins

Here’s what you do:

1. Place half the chicken on paper towels and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in an oven-safe skillet over high heat. Add the chicken (seasoned side down), season the other side, and allow to cook and brown, undisturbed, about 6-8 minutes. Flip the chicken, and allow to brown on the on the other side for another 3-5 minutes.

2. While the first batch of chicken is browning, prepare the second batch of chicken accordingly (pat dry and season). Also, make the spice paste. In a bowl, combine the brown sugar, chili-paste, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, garlic and ginger.

3. When the first batch of chicken is browned (it won’t be cooked through), follow the same procedure with the second batch, adding the other tablespoon of olive oil as needed.

4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

5. When the second batch of chicken is browned, remove from the pan and reduce heat to low. Add the spice paste to the pan, and cook until fragrant, about one minute, stirring constantly.

6. Pour the first can of coconut milk into the pan, and scrape up any browned bits. Add the second can and mix.

7. Nestle the chicken into the coconut milk, and cover your pan with foil. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

8. Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Remove the foil and bake another 10 minutes. Then, add the raisins (stir them in), and the dates (scatter them over the top), and bake another 25 minutes, until the chicken is very soft and the dates are carmelized.

Enjoy over rice, or with some chapati!

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YUM Kippur Noodle Kugel

For the month of September, Simon received a PJ Library book about “YUM Kippur.” Obviously the child in the story slightly misunderstood the name of the holiday, or the meaning of a “break-fast” (no, it’s not “breakfast”), but at the end of the day, she shared a delicious feast with her family, including a noodle kugel. We decided to make it. Wow, definitely YUM!

Here’s what you need:

12-16 ounce bag of egg noodles

2 tablespoons butter

16 oz. cottage cheese

16 oz. sour cream (or greek yogurt, or a combination; we did all sour cream)

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup golden raisins

1/4 cup milk

Here’s what you do:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a bundt pan or 9×12 baking dish.

2. Cook the noodles according to the directions on the package. Drain, and return to the pot hot.

3. Stir in the butter until melted. Then, adding the remaining ingredients and stir until combined.

4. Spread into the greased pan and press down.

5. Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes, until the kugel is set and the top slightly browned.

Slice and enjoy!

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Korean Sesame Spinach

Have you ever had Korean barbeque, and tried all the small dishes that come along with it? This spinach, which can be served hot or cold, is one of my favorites. I came across this recipe in Koreatown: A Cookbook, and had to try it. It’s pretty simple to make, and so delicious. Today I had it warm, over rice, with sliced avocado and edamame.

Here’s what you need:

2 pounds spinach or baby spinach (fresh)

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons sesame oil

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

Here’s what you do:

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. While waiting, fill a large bowl with an ice bath. When water boils, salt well, add the spinach, and cook for about 1-2 minutes. Quickly drain the spinach, submerge in the ice bath, then drain again. Squeeze to remove the excess water.

2. Whisk together the remaining ingredients. Stir well into the spinach. Eat hot or cold.


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Baked Eggplant and Orzo Casserole

This recipe originated with Yotam Ottolenghi, was then modified by Smitten Kitchen, and modified a bit more by me here. It’s chock full of veggies and really flavorful. Enjoy!

Here’s what you need:

1 large eggplant, cut into 3/4 inch cubes

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 carrots, peeled and 1/4 inch diced

1 rib of celery, 1/4 inch diced

1 red onion, finely diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1.5 cups orzo, rinsed

1 teaspoon tomato paste

1.5 cups vegetable broth

zest of one lemon

2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped (or another favorite herb)

5 ounces smoked mozzarella, or firm buffalo mozzarella, cut into 1/3 inch dice

3 medium tomatoes, or about 21 grape tomatoes, diced

Here’s what you do:

1. Place the diced eggplant in a colander. Toss generously with salt and allow to sit for about 30minutes. Prepare all the other ingredients while waiting.

2. At the end of 30 minutes, rinse the eggplant and pat dry. Add the olive oil to an oven safe pot and heat over medium high. Add the eggplant and cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Move the eggplant to a plate lined with paper towels, using a slotted spoon.

3. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

4. Add the carrots and celery to the pot. (Add some cooking spray or a bit more olive oil if needed.) Cook for 3 minutes.

5. Add the onions and garlic to the celery and carrots, and cook for another 5 minutes.

6. Stir in the orzo and tomato paste, and cook another 2 minutes.

7. Remove from the heat, and stir in lemon zest, oregano, cheese, tomatoes, a teaspoon of salt, and some grinds of pepper.

8. Bake, covered, for 40 minutes, removing the cover at 20 minutes for a crispier top or at 30 minutes for a softer top.


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Best Broccoli Cheese Soup

Simon has been really into soup, and recently discovered the broccoli cheese soup at Subway. Wanting to eat a lot of veggies myself, I thought I could make some soup at home that was a bit healthier than the Subway version. I turned to my trusty Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook and modified their recipe. Delish!

Here’s what you need:

2 tablespoons butter

2 pounds broccoli, florets chopped into 1-inch pieces, stalks into 1/4 thick pieces

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

4 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups milk (I did 2%)

2 cups baby spinach

2 russet potatoes, cooked and cut into chunks (optional)

1.5 cups shredded cheese (I did cheddar, gouda and parmesan)

salt and pepper to taste

Here’s what you do:

1. Heat the butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the broccoli, onion, garlic, mustard, and cayenne pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and broccoli is turning bright green, about 6 minutes.

2. Add 2 cups of broth and the baking soda. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring halfway through.

3. Add the remaining broth and one cup of milk to the broccoli and bring to a simmer. Stir in spinach and potatoes (if using) and allow to cook for about 1 minute.

4. Place all the cheese in a blender, and add half the soup. Blend until very smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes. Pour into a bowl.

5. Blend about 2/3 of the remaining soup (so you keep a few chunks of veggies).

6. Pour all the blended soup back into the Dutch oven. Add the last cup of milk, and bring to a simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste. Allow to cook for another minute or two.


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Yotam Ottolenghi’s Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

What’s appealing about this cake, besides the fact that it’s a moist, sweet, delicious treat? It uses ingredients readily accessible in your pantry. And my kids loved it!

Here’s what you need:

2 eggs and 1 egg white

1 cup plus two tablespoons white sugar

1/2 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream

5 tablespoons butter, mleted

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

zest from 3 lemons

1 1/3 cups all purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons lemon juice

3/4 cup powdered sugar

Here’s what you do:

1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper, and spray with cooking oil.

2. In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk the eggs and sugar on medium-high for about 3 minutes, until they get light and fluffy. Then add the yogurt/sour cream, and mix on medium for another minute or two until fully incorporated.

3. In a separate bowl, stir the poppy seeds and lemon zest into the melted butter. Set aside.

4. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.

5. Fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture. Then fold in the butter/poppy/lemon mixture.

6. Pour the batter into the pan, and bake for 55-65 minutes, until the center is set.

7. While the cake is baking, make the glaze by whisking the powdered sugar and lemon juice together.

8. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, pour the glaze on top and spread evenly around. 30 minutes later, remove the cake from the pan. Eat warm or at room temperature.


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