Erica Lea on Jan 21st 2013
This past month I have been quite spoiled. During the cold winter months construction is much slower; Reuben has been having so many days off from work. It’s like endless weekends spent together.
My days have been filled with leisurely walks through the woods, mugs of tea (several times a day), lovely reading, Pinterest (of course), organizing, photographing, and generally preparing for baby. It feels like the breath before the plunge; the calm before the storm.
In preparation for the new member of our family, I have been making up nutritious meals and slipping them into the freezer. So far I have stored up chicken broth, homemade bread, sausage and potato soup, and a couple bags of these meatballs.
Making meatballs is so much more fun with Reuben as my compatriot. He is constantly putting a smile on my face with his words as we exchange and steal kisses. And he does the hardest part: browning the meatballs.
Of course not all of the them make it to the freezer. We like to feast on them with mashed potatoes, gravy and peas, or with a red sauce over noodles.
- 6 slices crusty bread (or about 1.5 - 2 cups of panko or quick oats)
- 3/4 lb ground beef (we use ground venison)
- 3/4 lb ground pork
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 2 tablespoons dried parsley
- 3/4 cup grated or shredded parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- coconut or olive oil, for frying
1) If using bread slices, bake at 200°F (95°C) on a baking sheet in a single layer for about 30 minutes, or until dry. Pulse in a food processor or blender until crumbled.
2) Put the breadcrumbs and the remaining ingredients (besides the oil) in a large bowl and mix with your hands until everything is very well combined. Add more breadcrumbs or milk to create the right consistency. Form the meat into balls (I like mine a bit smaller than golf ball-sized) and line up on a cookie sheet. Place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to firm up. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
3) Preheat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the meatballs until browned on most sides, working in batches. Meatballs will not be cooked all the way through. Transfer to a baking pan and bake in preheated oven until cooked through, about 15-25 minutes.
4) Use the meatballs immediately or cool completely and store in the freezer. Simply reheat in the oven or thaw and cook in a red sauce or white gravy.
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Erica Lea on Oct 15th 2012
Alright, time for the promised pancakes!
Reuben loved them. “These are really good pancakes,” he told me with his mouth full.
Lovely Chai spices are mixed in with the dry ingredients. Fresh-ground espresso makes these “dirty” pancakes.
You should whip these up. Today. For breakfast, lunch or supper! They’re good any time.
The original recipe called for spelt flour, but I subbed whole wheat and AP flour with great success. It also called for non-dairy milk, but I just used regular whole.
I didn’t have any maple syrup on hand, so I just mixed up a spiced caramel sauce. You could also mix a few spices into warmed maple syrup if you prefer.
For the Spiced Caramel Sauce
- 1 cup sugar
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup heavy cream, room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- pinch each of: ginger, cardamom, nutmeg and cloves
For the pancakes:
- 1 1/3 cup whole milk
- 2 tsp white wine vinegar
- ¾ cup white whole wheat flour
- ½ cup all-purpse flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- pinch of fine sea salt
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground espresso
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp ground cardamom
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- pinch of ground cloves
- 2 tbsp maple syrup or sweetener of choice
- 1 tbsp melted butter or coconut oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
To make the caramel sauce:
1) Place the sugar in a medium heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the sugar melts. This will take a few minutes.
2) Once the sugar has all melted start adding the butter one piece at a time. Whisk until the butter is completely melted. Wait about 3 seconds and then add the cream slowly. Whisk as you add until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Remove from heat.
3) Add the salt and spices and whisk again a couple times just to incorporate.
To make the pancakes
1) Combine the milk and vinegar in a liquid measuring cup. Stir lightly and set aside to curdle for at least 5 minutes.
2) In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ground coffee, cinnamon, ground ginger, cardamom, nutmeg and cloves. Add the curdled milk, maple syrup, melted butter and vanilla extract. Stir gently to combine, taking care not to over mix.
3) Heat a large cast iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat. Brush the pan with melted butter. Drop 1/3 cup measures of the pancake batter into the pan. Allow the first side to cook for 1 to 1-½ minutes, or until bubbles pop on the surface and the edges appear dry and lightly browned. Flip the pancakes over and cook for another minute. Remove pancakes and keep warm. Repeat with remaining batter.
4) Serve pancakes with lots of butter, spiced caramel sauce or maple syrup. Yum!
Now for the winner of the Mignon Kitchen Giveaway!
And the winner is…
Commenter #51, Carrie J.L. who said: “Fish sticks, homemade tartar sauce, and green beans! Simple, quick dinner =) Really enjoy your blog by the way! And can’t wait to check out this kitchen website! =)”
Congratulations, Carrie! I will be emailing you soon with further details.
Thank you all for participating in my giveaway.
Have a lovely day!
Erica Lea on Oct 8th 2012
Spicy sweet pumpkin cupcakes with freshly ground espresso, whipped cream and caramel sauce. Convinced yet?
As Reuben and I drove home from a birthday party for my little niece (I made these for the occasion), I mentioned that I was going to eat a cupcake when we got home. “My cupcake?!” Reuben protested. I assured him there were two left.
You can check out the step-by-step instructions and recipe over on the Tasty Kitchen Blog.
Hope you’re having a marvelous Monday!
Erica Lea on Sep 17th 2012
Alright, ya’ll are probably just dying to hear my news right now, so I’ll cut to the chase.
We’re expecting! To see more photos and details, visit my personal blog.
Now about this peach cobbler.
Simply mix together some peaches, sugar, cinnamon and cornstarch, whip up a drop biscuit batter, and bake until golden. And you have dessert!
When Reuben saw me editing the photos for this post, he wistfully asked if there was any peach cobbler left, even though it had been gone for over a week. Guess that’s a hint to make it again.
* The original recipe was for a peach blueberry cobbler, which sounds lovely, but I didn’t have any on hand. I’m sure you could easily adapt this recipe for different fruits. Just make sure to adjust the sweetener according to the tartness of the fruit.
* If I would have thought of it, some coarse sugar sprinkled on top of the biscuits would have been lovely.
* I ended up cooking the cobblers much longer than the recipe recommended. Think of that time as a starting point.
- 4 to 5 ripe peaches, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, demerara, sucanat, rapadura, or sweetener of choice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 large egg
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (can substitute half whole wheat if desired)
- Pinch of table salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Vanilla ice cream or cinnamon whipped cream (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place peaches in a large bowl. Whisk together 1/4 cup of the sugar, cinnamon, and cornstarch. Add to peaches; toss to combine. Set aside.
- Combine egg, 2 tablespoons melted butter, and cream in a bowl; whisk with a fork. Set aside.
- Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, and remaining tablespoon sugar. Make a well in center of dry ingredients, and pour egg mixture into well. Using hands, slowly draw dry ingredients into wet ingredients, and work dough until just mixed together.
- Divide fruit mixture among four 8-ounce ramekins. Gently pat dough into 4 disks just big enough to fit on top of ramekins. After placing, brush dough with remaining melted butter. Place ramekins on a baking sheet. Bake until juices bubble up and crust is golden brown, 15 to 17 minutes. Serve warm, with cream or ice cream if desired.
Erica Lea on Sep 4th 2012
Hello friends! Can believe August is over? This summer has been super-busy. I must admit to looking forward to the cooler months when things will slow down a bit and we can breathe.
Throughout the summer, the thought of heating up our small house by turning on the oven doesn’t excite me one bit. But as the weather begins to whisper of fall, my interest in cooking is rekindled.
My favorite fall/winter supper is soup. Once you know the basic steps for most soups, it’s so easy to customize and create to your preferences. And there’s just something cozy about a bowl of steaming soup.
But on to the soup at hand.
Cauliflower has never been my favorite veggie. On a scale of 1 to beets, it’s about an eight. Then one day, my grandma taught us how to make steamed cauliflower with buttered breadcrumbs. I softened. A little. Then I saw Katie’s recipe for Roasted Garlic & Cauliflower Soup. I caved.
I’m so glad I did. Once roasted, the cauliflower develops a lovely flavor. The hints of celery, thyme and roasted garlic are amazing. You should definitely try this soup, even if you are a cauliflower hater. It just might change your mind!
- The original recipe looks quite long and complicated. Do not fear! It comes together quite easily.
- Also, this recipe is very forgiving. I didn’t have any white wine on hand, so I replaced it with more chicken broth. We’re not huge on bay leaves, so I left that out as well. The bacon suggested sounds yummy, but I think it’s completely optional.
- 1 whole head cauliflower
- 1 large whole head garlic
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 1/2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth, plus up to 2 more as needed for desired consistency
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 2 teaspoons fresh minced parsley
- 1/3 cup half and half
- 3 ounces cooked and crumbled bacon
- additional oil for serving - olive oil or truffle oil
1.) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2.) Cut cauliflower into individual florets. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Transfer to a foil lined baking sheet. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
3.) Cut the top off of the head of garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and wrap with foil. Place wrapped garlic on the baking sheet. Roast the cauliflower and garlic at 400 degrees F for 15-20 minutes. When the cauliflower is tender and golden remove from the oven.
4.) The garlic will need to roast for a total of about 25-30 minutes. You can remove it to check it’s progress as needed - it should smell fragrant but not raw, be golden and tender.
5.) Meanwhile, heat the butter in a cast iron dutch oven or medium-large stock pot. Add the onion, celery, and carrot. Saute over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Whisk in the salt, pepper, paprika, thyme, and flour and continue to cook for 2 more minutes.
6.) Add the wine and water, whisking to combine with the flour mixture. Then, slowly add in the 2 cups broth. Add the bay leave and roasted garlic cloves. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the cauliflower and simmer an additional 5 minutes.
7.) Remove the bay leaf. Working in batches, add the soup to a blender or food processor and blend until pureed and smooth. Add additional broth during or after blending to achieve desired consistency. After all the batches have been completed, return to the pot. Stir in the half and half and parsley. Cook until just heated through. Adjust salt and pepper for tastes.
8.) Serve immediately, topped with bacon and a drizzle of olive or truffle oil and a side of bread for dipping