Black Bean Hummus {Summer Days}

“So how exactly do you make hummus?” I casually ask as we’re driving down the road in wet swim suits. The windows are down and the warm breeze feels nice on our cool skin. We just spent the afternoon floating on tubes and showing off our swimming skills in the clear reservoir water among the green mountains. It was the perfect way to soak in yet another toasty summer day.

He starts right in like he’s been waiting on this question all day. “Well hummus is traditionally made with five base ingredients,” he says and holds up his right hand to start counting each one off with his tan fingers. “Olive oil. Chick peas. Tahini. Garlic. Lemon juice. And I like to add a little shallot or onion in mine for sharpness. Sometimes some black beans and cumin too for flavor.”

He pauses and looks off. I can see the wheels turning. Perfect. He’s already making it in his mind.

I clear my throat. He comes back to me. “That’s a really random question. Do you want some hummus or something babe?”

I slyly smile. “Why yes, a matter of fact I do. I thought you’d never ask.”

…………………………….

The perfect snack for these warm summer days… Let’s let loose on some black bean hummus, shall we?

Ingredients:

  • (1) can of chick peas, rinsed
  • (1/2) can of black beans, rinsed
  • (3) cloves of garlic
  • (2) Tablespoons of onion or shallot, rough chopped
  • (3) Tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
  • (1) Tablespoon of ground cumin
  • (4) Tablespoons of olive oil….can add to mixture in 1 Tbsp increments
  • (1/3) cup of Tahini
  • (1) and ½ teaspoons of salt (maybe more for personal preference)
  • And a little water for smoother consistency

Directions:

  1. In a food processor, process your garlic, chopped onion/shallot.
  2. Add in our chick peas, black beans, tahini, cumin, lemon juice and salt.
  3. During the processing, occasionally add a little olive oil and a little water as you go to help create your desired consistency.
  4. Once you achieve a smooth blend, you’ll need to finish by adding a little more olive oil and salt for a final blend or to your desired taste preference.

Alternate prep: We only have a mini-processor here in our little red cabin in the woods. Ideally you want a standard sized processor to process all of these ingredients together. Instead, we processed our chick pea mixture in batches with the black beans and then combined it all in our Kitchenaid mixer for a final light blend.

Enjoy with fresh summer veggies as a dip or on a sandwich like we did, made with fresh focaccia bread from Elmore Mountain Bread.

Until we pull from random inspirations again,

A+ H

Fresh Strawberry Cobbler with Decadent Dulce de Leche Whipped Cream

The other week we were lucky enough to snag an invite from our good friend/farming sensei Sara over at Sandiwood Farm to join her on a strawberry picking field trip. So we loaded up one morning with the intern crew and headed over to “the spot”, Riverside Farm in East Hardwick, Vermont.

Riverside Farm is owned and operated by the lovely couple, Bruce and Judy Kaufman. The Kaufman’s are committed to “organic farming to cultivate a sustainable farming practice.” In their own words “one that is supportive of the earth, the people working on the farm, the people eating the food, and the community we live in. Real food for real people”. Well that sounds mighty nice and refreshing, eh?

It happened to be the first solid week of strawberry picking in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom and we were in for a treat with rows and rows of plump strawberries up for grabs.

And H O L Y smokes it was a hot one too!! Judy shared that the heat actually speeds up the already short season and our timing couldn’t have been better to get in some of the best picking around. And so, after a quick tutorial on strawberry picking, we were off with buckets and Tupperware in hand (and coated in sunscreen from head to toe).

A Few Things We Learned:

1. The best time to pick strawberries is in the morning when the berries are still cool. Sunshine and heat quickly make the berries soft and then they tend to bruise easily.

2. Only solid red berries are completely ripe. Look for plump firm berries with a red tip. Unripe (white) or partially ripe berries will not ripen once picked. The ripening process actually stops once you pick them.

3. Smaller berries tend to be sweeter and more flavorful. Plus – they’re pretty freaking cute.

4. When you pick your berries, leave about ½ inch of the stem still attached.

5. It’s best to process your berries soon after picking. Berries stored more than 2 – 3 days will lose some of their fresh, bright color and tend to shrivel and deteriorate in quality.

6. You can easily freeze strawberries that you’re not planning to eat right away. Simply wash, cut off the green husks, and place them in a Ziplock bag removing as much air as possible. Perfect to have on hand for smoothies, jams, pies and cobblers… which we’ll show you  how to make! Keep on reading…

Why Pick Your Own?
Here’s an interesting tid-bit
: Did you know that commercial, store-bought strawberries continuously rank as one of the most contaminated common foods due to the use of pesticides? Even after washing store bought berries they still have significant levels of unnatural chemicals on them. YIKES! BUT not the case with organic, freshly picked strawberries like  those found at Riverside Farm. No pesticides means you can dive right in – plant to mouth. Perfect for me – professional taste tester.


And today for your strawberry indulging pleasure, we’re making you a Strawberry Cobbler topped with Decadent Dulce de Leche. Mmm…Let’s dive in, shall we?

Ingredients – for your filling

  • 2 ½ cups of sugar (taste your berries first for level of sweetness; you may want to adjust amount of sugar based on this)
  • 2 ½ cups of cold water
  •  ¼ cup of corn starch
  • 14 cups of fresh strawberries
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced

1. Heat your sugar and (2) cups of water in a large pot until sugar dissolves.

2. In a separate bowl, add ½ cup of cold water to your corn starch to make a slurry. Then add to your sugar/water mixture.

3. Bring your mixture to a light boil so your corn starch activates. Then add your strawberries and lemon. Turn off heat.

Ingredients – for your topping

  • 3 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons of Kosher salt
  • 6 Tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 ½ Tablespoons of baking powder
  • 2 ½ cups of milk
  • 1 Tablespoon of softened butter

1. In a large bowl, mix your dry ingredients and sift.

2. Next mix in your softened butter. And mix until the butter becomes more like grains of rice.

3. Create a well in your mixture (similar to making biscuits except your mixture will be more like pancake batter).
 

To make your cobbler:

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2. Pour your strawberry mixture in your baking pan(s). We used (2) 9×9 pans.

3. Spoon your topping mixture evenly across the strawberry mixture.

4. Bake on 350 for 15 – 20 minutes, or until your dough is cooked all the way through.

Decadent Dulce de Leche:

1. Take one small can of sweetened condensed milk. Boil in a medium pot on medium low heat for 2 – 3 hours. (Longer the time = Richer the Color)

2. Pop open the can after a couple of hours and fold into fresh whipped cream. Then pour over your cobbler for a sinfully good treat.

Enjoy!

Until we find freshly picked inspiration again,

A + H

Pasta Salad with Garbanzos, Tomatoes, Feta and Mint {Book Club}

Read any good books lately?  I have a few to share.   Quite a few actually thanks to cold winter nights tucked under fuzzy blankets and a shiny new library card.  Yep, I’m raging it up here in Brrrmont.

Last month I was up to host my book group with our pick, Blood, Bones and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton.  And yes, go ahead. Add it to your must-read list.

Harrison was pulling an extra-long week at the restaurant, so I had to fly solo on pulling my hostess menu together. I cracked open the book and perused its pages for creative cooking inspiration and was able to piece together an eclectic assortment for the girls to share.

Since a good portion of the book takes place in Italy at summertime with bowls of fresh pasta around every turn, that was a must.

Plus there were prunes, so I extended those into a yummy local cheese and pate board.

And then there were mason jelly jars from which we drank our deep red wine.

The pasta recipe actually came straight from the Bon Appetit Fast Easy Fresh Cookbook he bought me.  It was a hit so I wanted to share… perfect to eat while day-dreaming about the warm summer months ahead.

Ingredients

  • (1) pound orecchiette (little ear-shaped pasta) … I used campanelle that I had on hand
  • (1) pound of Golden Grape or cherry tomatoes (scant 4 cups), halved
  • (7) tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • (1/3) cup chopped fresh mint plus sprigs for garnish
  • (1/3) cup thinly sliced green onions
  • (1/4) cup chopped fresh cilantro plus sprigs for garnish
  • (2) garlic cloves, minced
  • (1) 15- to 16-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), well drained
  • (6) ounces feta cheese, coarsely crumbled (about 1 ½ cups)


Directions

  1. Cook your pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile, combine tomatoes, (6) tablespoons olive oil, chopped mint, green onions, chopped cilantro, and garlic in a large bowl.  Season to taste with salt.
  3. Heat the remaining (1) tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Add garbanzo beans and sauté until lightly browned, about (5) minutes.
  4. Add garbanzo beans and pasta to tomato mixture in bowl; toss to coat.
  5. Add feta and toss briefly.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Garnish with mint and cilantro sprigs.  Serve warm or let stand at room temperature up to (2) hours.  Makes (6) to (8) servings.

Until we pull inspiration from pages again,

A + H

{Photos by Andrea Littell}

How To Make Hearty Veggie Chili with Cheese

There are tastes that seem to spark the official change of season in our minds.  The bite of a fresh juicy strawberry in summer, the warmth of hot apple cider in the fall and for me, it’s the return of  hearty chili in the winter that propels me to pull out the toboggans, cozy socks and well, phone my dad. 

Growing up, I remember sitting side by side with him on cold Saturdays eating bowl after bowl of spicy chili and cheese cheering on the Michigan Wolverines. I was his lanky, curly-headed championship chili eating sidekick and to this day it still makes me smile when he calls to say he’s putting on the first pot of the year.

Lucky for me I just so happened to have married a man who appreciates what a big ol’ pot of chili means to me.  Last weekend, as Harrison and I sat eating hot bowls of chili watching Michigan football (beat OSU…yahoo…GO BLUE), my heart warmed with thoughts of my dad and feeling lucky to have a husband who gives me that same simple comfort each day. 

So today, while Harrison is away (at Harvard for a Ferran Adrià lecture and dinner… seriously… can I join culinary school?), I am heating up a bowl of this chili with cozy socks with that third guy in my life, Turtle, by my side.

Let’s let loose on some hearty veggie chili, shall we?

Base ingredients: tomatoes, lentils and kale.

Ingredients:

  • (1) 15 oz. can of organic chick peas (aka garbanzo beans)
  • (1) 15 oz. can of organic cannelloni or white beans
  • (1) 15 oz. can of organic red kidney beans
  • (1) 15 oz. can of organic sweet corn
  • (1) 24 oz. can of organic green beans (thanks to Harrison’s Yaya for sending us beans from her garden!)
  • 8 oz. of lentils (green or red)
  • (2) 28 oz. cans of whole tomatoes (typically roma or plum)
  • (3) medium onions, fine diced
  • (6) – (8) garlic cloves, fine diced
  • (1) carrot, fine diced
  • (4) jalapenos, thinly julienned (strips)
  • (1) bunch of kale  (purple or green), rough chopped
  • (1) medium sweet potato, fine diced (we used local garnet yams)
  • (3/4) cup of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • (1/8) cup of fresh oregano, chopped
  • (2) Tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • (4) bay leaves
  • (8) cups of water

Now that's a beautiful countertop.

Dry Seasonings:

  • (2) and (1/4) Tablespoons of Kosher salt + pepper to taste
  • (2) and (1/2) Tablespoon of ground cumin
  • (1) Tablespoon of paprika
  • (4) Tablespoons of chili powder (or 1/2 cup)
  • (2) teaspoons of dried oregano
  • (1) teaspoon of dried thyme

I once made "chili" for Harrison without chili powder. I thought hot sauce would fill in just fine. I have since learned that those key spices are what makes chili, chili. Lesson #345 learned.

Directions:

1.  Rinse all of your canned beans and combine together.

2.  Saute your onions and garlic in EVOO in a large pot on medium heat for approx. 8 – 10 minutes (or until your onions start to show color and sweat down)

3.  Add your jalapeno, fresh oregano, carrots, and sweet potatoes and saute for 3 – 4 minutes.

There is something about the smell of sautéed onions and garlic that just makes us smile.

4.  Next, add your dry seasonings (EXCEPT salt) and continuously stir for one minute.

Here comes the flavor.

5.  Add your water, tomatoes, beans, and salt. Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes.

In go the tomatoes

Beans, beans the magical fruit...

Add your water gradually.

Looking good now.

6.  After 20 minutes, add your kale, corn and lentils and then let simmer for another hour and a half on medium low (length of time depends on how firm you want your lentils).

Last but not least...

Mmmm .... eat more kale.

7.  Add your cilantro and cook another 15 minutes or so.

8.  Then, check all ingredients to ensure they are cooked to correct tenderness.  Adjust seasoning if needed.

Who's ready for chili?

 
 
9.  And FINALLY, ladle out a big ol’ helping in each bowl, top with goat cheese or Cabot cheddar and fresh minced onion (whatever suits your fancy).  Spoon in and enjoy!
 

Warm and ready for you. We topped this bowl with Cabot cheddar cheese, diced onion, turkey chicharrones and a side of Bayley Hazen blue cheese toast.

 
Mmmm…. let winter begin.
 
Until we cook with warmth & comfort again,
A + H

Spicy Bloody Mary Cocktails {Sunday Brunch}

Yesterday we headed over to the Capital City Farmers Market to pick up a few pumpkins for Halloween. 

Pumpkins at Capital City Farmers Market Vermont

Check out the stems on these guys.

But we got distracted and left with vodka and short ribs instead. 

Caledonia Spirits Barr Hill Vodka Hardwick Vermont

We were captivated by this vodka crafted from pure raw honey so much so that we forgot the pumpkins. Plus, I just adore the packaging... yes, I'm on of "those".

Greenfield Highland Beef Short Ribs - Vermont

And seriously. How could we resist fresh short ribs from Greenfield Highland Beef? More on what we did with these guys in another post...

So sorry kids.  No cool jack-o’-lanterns at the Littells this year.  We whipped up one of our most favorite cocktails using our favorite new vodka instead. 

Fresh Spicy Bloody Mary Mix Recipe Vermont

Sunday fun-day.

Let’s let loose on our signature Spicy Bloody Marys, shall we?

Ingredients – the goodness:

  • (1/2) cup of vodka – we used Calendonia Spirits Barr Hill Vodka and couldn’t be happier.
  • (1) quart (OR 4 cups) of organic tomato juice – we used RW Knudsen Family and loved the consistency.
  • (1) lemon, zested and juiced
  • (1) large garlic clove
  • (3) tablespoons of fresh horseradish – we used Rabbi’s Roots Horseradish and love the kick!
  • (1) tablespoon of worcestershire
  • (2) tablespoons of Sriracha hot sauce
  • (1) and (1/2) teaspoons of Kosher salt
  • (1) teaspoon of black pepper
  • pickled okra (optional)

    Fresh Spicy Bloody Mary Mix Recipe Vermont

    The stars of today's show. Yaya's pickled okra, Rabbi's Roots Horseradish, and Caledonia Spirits Barr Hill Vodka

Directions:
1. First, pull out your blender ya’ll.  That’s where it’s all going down.

2. You’ll want to first zest your lemon straight into the blender.  Then, juice that same lemon separately using a small strainer and pour in.  By using both the zest and the juice you’re able to fully utilize the lemon, reducing waste.  Plus, that zest will add a bright spark to your cocktail.  You’ll see…

How to zest a fresh lemon

Grab a microplane to zest your lemon. Zest gently careful not to grate the white pith just beneath.

3.  Next add your garlic, horseradish, worcestershire sauce, sriracha, salt and pepper.  Pulse these ingredients gently in the blender to (of course) blend.  Note: You want to leave your mixture slightly chunky.

4.  Now, pour in your tomato juice and again pulse until blended.

5.  Finally, add your vodka (feel free to increase amount based on your preference… and tolerance) and add (5) ice cubes.  Then turn your blender on high and blend until smooth.

Fresh Spicy Bloody Mary Mix Recipe Vermont

Add that ice, ice baby.

6. Serve it up with your favorite accompaniments and enjoy! 
….We like ours with Yaya’s (translation: Harrison’s grandmother’s) pickled okra.  Nom! Nom! Nom!…

Homemade Bloody Mary Mix Receipe

Cheers!

 
Until we “get saucy” again,
A + H
 
 

Homemade Creamy Butternut Squash, Apple and Sage Soup

It started.  The snow.  As I write this, it’s gently falling outside of our window.  If this was North Carolina I would give a pleasant little squeal of “Ooh pretty! Snow day!”. But this is Vermont so instead I shiver and sigh, “Here we go. Buckle up.”

Ever since we formally announced our move, its seems like all conversations with friends and family have turned to snow.  “Brrrr… don’t forget to layer” “I hope you like to ski.” “We’ll visit in the summer, ok?”  “Hope you have four-wheel drive.”

You people have given me a complex and today the impending day has come, the first sign of flakes, and all I can seem to think of is soup.  So I yelled upstairs to the kitchen, “Babe!!! We need soup recipes.”  To which he replies, “Don’t worry. I got you.”  So today, we’re turning on the heat and letting loose on our first soup recipe:
Creamy Butternut Squash, Apple and Sage soup.

Mise en place. Homeade Butternut And Apple Squash Soup

Simple ingredients. Ultimate taste.

Ingredients – base:

  • (3) small to medium apples, cored and chopped
  • (1) large yellow onion, chopped
  • (1) 3 pound butternut squash, cored and chopped into quarters as seen below
  • (1) pint of organic heavy cream
  • (1) clove of garlic, minced
  • (1) medium carrot, diced
  • (2) medium white or yellow potatoes, diced
  • (4) tablespoons of olive oil
  • (1/4) cup of white wine
  • (8) cups of water

First, let’s get our squash ready to roast:

1.  Preheat your oven at 375 degrees.

2.  Never broken down a squash before?  Here’s a crash course.

Peel a squash. Homeade Butternut And Apple Squash Soup

First, you peel.

How to cut a squash. Homeade Butternut And Apple Squash Soup

Then you begin little by little cutting it down.

How to cut a squash. Homeade Butternut And Apple Squash Soup

Then you quarter. (Please excuse my apple core...I got busted snacking "on the job")

How to core a squash. Homeade Butternut And Apple Squash Soup

And finally you scoop the core and finish chopping into quarters.

Quartered squash. Homeade Butternut And Apple Squash Soup

Voila. You have broken down a squash. Bravo.

3.  Add (3) tablespoons of olive oil to your squash and mix well by hand.

4.  Pour your squash onto an ungreased sheet pan.

5.  Liberally salt & pepper and place in the oven.

Roasted squash. Homeade Butternut And Apple Squash Soup

Did you know salt and pepper brings out the natural essence of your ingredients?

6. Roast for 40 minutes.  After 20 minutes, turn over your squash pieces and rotate your pan 180 degrees to help cook evenly and continue roasting for 20 minutes.

Roasting squash. Homeade Butternut And Apple Squash Soup

In she goes... on to the next.

7. Meanwhile, in a large pot, add olive oil, carrots, and garlic.

Saute onions and carrots. Homeade Butternut And Apple Squash Soup

So it begins...

8. Saute on medium to medium-high until you start obtaining a little color on  your onions.

9. Once onions begin displaying color, add your potatoes and apples.  Saute for (3) minutes.

Saute Potatoes, Onions And Carrots - Homeade Butternut And Apple Squash Soup

We're cookin now!

10. Next, add white wine to deglaze your pot.  Simmer for (6) minutes.

11. After simmer, add 6 cups of cold water, keep your heat on medium and cover.  Continue simmer for 20 minutes.

12.  Once your squash is done roasting to deliciousness in the oven, add to your pot.  After you add the squash add another (2) cups of water and turn your heat up to medium-high. Remove from stove.

Add squash into soup. Homeade Butternut And Apple Squash Soup

Moving right along...

Ingredients – spice goodness

  • (1/2) teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • (2) teaspoons of ground nutmeg
  • (1/4) teaspoon of ground allspice
  • (1/4) teaspoon of red pepper flake
  • (1/4) teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • (3) tablespoons of fresh sage, chiffonade
  • salt to taste (normally 1 – 2 teaspoons)

13.  Next, time to add your spices.  Add your cinnamon, salt to taste, ground nutmeg, ground allspice, red pepper flakes, black pepper, sage,and  heavy cream.

14. Return to stove for 20 minutes on medium to medium-high, stirring consistently.

15.  Want a thicker soup?  Add a little roux (1/2 butter, 1/2 flour) .
We added about (3) tbsp to our soup approximately three minutes before our soup was done. 
(Hint:  We keep ours in our fridge and just scrap out by fork as need.)

16. Spoon it out.  Add a little fresh shaved Parmigiano Reggiano if you please.  Slurp up, warm up, and enjoy. 
(We paired ours with fresh multi-grain Red Hen bread. Delish!)

Homeade Butternut And Apple Squash Soup

Comfort. At its finest.

Until we eat again,

A + H

Chilaquiles – {Sunday Brunch}

People sometimes ask if it’s “difficult being married to a chef”.  Long hours, working holidays and weekends, stereotypical temper… yeah, yeah, yeah.  Sure it’s not you’re typical lifestyle but let me tell you patience has its perks (and well, my chef-husband pretty much breaks the mold). 

Take this week for instance.  En route back to Vermont from a few days working in Texas (which felt like another country by the way), I called to let him know I was running late because “the east coast earthquake” delayed my flight (how random was that?!).  “No worries,” he said.  “I’ll have dinner for you whenever you get here”.  

I eventually landed, wandered the parking garage frantically looking for the Commando (got to start paying attention to where I park), and headed back to the place that now feels like home with the hands “casually” at 10 and 2.

Driving Home from Airport

Yeah, I think I kind of like it here. And yes, I still am using my GPS.. just in case.

After a quick attack by the gremlins as I walked in the door, the aroma hit me.  Our new family favorite, chilaquiles, must be bubbling in the oven. 

Mexican chilaquiles recipe

We think we might have been Mexican in another life. Follow the blog and you'll see a trend.

 And what’s that beside it?  A freshly made mojito to wash away the day of traveling delays. Yep, he’s a good one.

Freshly Made Mojito

Bottoms Up! Nice and refreshing with fresh mint from our patio garden.

Since this dish just so happens to be a traditional Mexican breakfast/brunch item, we thought we would give you a little south of the border inspiration for your Sunday. 

Let’s let loose on some chilaquiles, shall we?


Ingredients for your Chilaquiles:

-  (1) regular sized bag of tortilla chips - (crushed lightly in bag)
-  (1) whole chicken – roasted (or poached if you want with a little garlic, onion and salt/pepper) / cooled /pulled off the bone
     Quick Tip:  Swing by your local grocery store and pick up a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken
-  (1) recipe of salsa verde – (keep it hot ya’ll)
-  (1) package of Queso Fresco (we LOVE Ploughgate Creamery)

Directions
1.  Put your salsa verde (recipe down below) and chips is a large sauce pot.

Chilaquiles Recipe

Commonly known as the "poor man's dish", chilaquiles is a traditional Mexican food made with leftover corn tortillas. "Poor Man." Sounds like a culinary school student.

2.  Cook on low until your chips start to weep (not crying, but soaking up the salsa verde)

3.  Add your shredded chicken, mix and heat thoroughly.

Chilaquiles Recipe with Shredded Chicken

We have found around 7:30p grocery stores start to offer a discount on rotisserie chicken. Always trying to save a buck!

Chilaquiles Recipe

The ingredients for chilaquiles are really flexible... eggs, pulled pork, beans... let loose.

4.  Grease a 9″ x 9″ glass Pyrex dish and then add your mixture and cover with foil.

5.  Bake for 30-40 minutes on 325 degrees.

6.  Pull out, remove foil and sprinkle… OK, let’s be honestsmother the top with cheese.

7.  Put back in the oven for 5 minutes to melt your cheese and voila!


Moving on…

Ingredients for your (Caliente!) Salsa Verde:

-  (8) to (10) medium tomatillos, husks removed
-  (1) whole jalapeno pepper, stems removed, leave those seeds
-  (1) poblano pepper, diced
-  (1) large yellow onion, diced
-  (5) cloves of garlic, whole
-  (2/3) cup of fresh cilantro
-  salt and pepper to taste
-  (1) pint of water (or 2 cups)
    Helpful Hint:  If you want your salsa to be less liquid, guess what? Use less water.  
     Another Helpful Hint:  Sometimes if we roast or poach a chicken, we reserve some liquid and pan drippings and add that to salsa instead of water.

1. First remove the papery husks from your tomatillos by placing them in a large pot of hot (not boiling) tap water for a few minutes.  Then remove the outer skin by hand.

How to make salsa verde

Mise en place. Everything's in place for our salsa verde.

How to remove skin from tomatillo peppers

After a brief soak in hot water, gently begin removing the papery husks (outer skin).

How to remove skin from tomatillo peppers

Easy does it.

“].”]How to remove skin from tomatillo peppers

"Before" on your left. "After" on your right.

2.  In a saute pan, on medium-high heat (so you can get some color into the salsa), saute the peppers, onion and garlic until carmelization starts.

3.  Next, add your tomatillos and saute for 5 minutes on medium-low heat.

How to make salsa verde
Smelling good now!

4.  Then add your water and cilantro and get ready to blend.

5.  Pour your mixture into a blender or food processor and blend until you reach a smooth salsa consistency. 

How to make salsa verde

Pour all your ingredients into your blender.


How to make salsa verde

Blend but be sure not to puree.

And finally!

Plate up your chilaquiles, add your salsa verde on top, and dig in!

Chilaquiles Recipe

Salsa verde, pico de gallo and cilantro avocado sour cream... can't get enough.

Additonal suggestions:
We like to save a cup or so of salsa verde to go with our finished dish.  A small diced onion and/or a sprinkle of fresh cilantro also make great toppings as well as some fresh pico de gallo. 

A fun twist – whip up some of our cilantro avocado sour cream!

Ingredients:

-  (1/2) cup of fresh cilantro
-  (1) avocado
-  juice of (1) lime
-  salt and pepper to taste
-  (1) 12 oz. jar of sour cream

Combine ingredients in blender.  Blend! Ta-da!

Cooking Newlyweds

Now, if only I could figure out how to take our picture

Until we eat again,

A + H

Freshly Picked Field Trip! {Blueberry Muffins}

We were walking home from The Skinny Pancake the other week and stopped in our tracks when we saw our neighbors/friends/Vermont day trip guides Jen and Ian unloading “big ‘ole bags” of fresh blueberries from their car.  Harrison’s eyes popped out like Wile E. Coyote.  “Where’d you get those?!”

Come to find out “a friend of a friend who lives near Calais” (which we have learned is how a lot of stories here begin) “knows this house that has beautiful rows and rows of blueberry bushes open for picking for donations.” Sold.

The next day we packed up in their Subaru (the unofficial vehicle of Vermont) and headed down the gorgeously green winding back roads to the site of our future bed and breakfast…. OK, OK, not really.  Dare to dream though, right?

Vermont House for Sale

You should see the house. We didn't take a picture because it felt a bit stalker-esqe.

 
Vermont Blueberries

Beautiful rows and rows of blueberries. A lovely place for a lunch break indeed.

 
 
Go for the bright blueberries. Don't get distracted and start picking the pink ones like "someone" did.

Go for the bright blueberries. Don't get distracted and start picking the pink ones like "someone" did.

 
 
Fresh Vermont Blueberries

Now those are some good looking blueberries.

 
 
Jackpot! $2 a pint. We picked 3.

Jackpot! $2 a pint. We picked 3.

And what to do with all of these vibrant freshly picked blueberries?  Breakfast muffins of course!  Here’s our latest blueberry muffin recipe.  Keep it on hand in case you wind up with cool neighbors like us who kindly take you blueberry picking.

Let’s let loose on some blueberry muffins with crumbles, shall we?

Muffin Ingredientswe’ll start with the dry
- (2) and (1/4) cup of organic all-purpose flour
- (1) and (1/4) cup of natural sugar
- (1/4) teaspoon of Kosher salt
- (2) teaspoons of baking powder

Muffin Ingredientsnow on to the wet
- (2/3) cup of vegetable oil
- (3/4) cup of organic milk
- (2) large eggs (we recommend cage free)
- (2) cups of vibrant freshly picked blueberries (or store-bought…)

1. Combine all of your dry ingredients (sift if you like to get fancy) in a large bowl and make a well in the center of the dry mixture ready for your wet ingredients.

2. Combine your wet ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk together.

Ready. Set. Bake!

Ready. Set. Bake!

3.  Add your wet mixture into the well you created in your dry ingredients and mix together.

4.  Add your vibrant freshly picked blueberries (or store-bought…) into your mixture last and fold in lightly.
      ***Remember! Lumps are good so don’t go crazy perfectionist on us and over mix.

5. Grease your cute muffin pan (ours is a large, 12 count pan). 

6.  Fill each “hole” (3/4) of the way.


Ingredients for your scrumptious crumble topping:

- (1/2) cup of natural sugar
- (1/3) cup of flour
- (1/4) cup of unsalted butter

7.  Mix your crumble topping mixture in a medium bowl until it looks like fish fine gravel.

I'm learning baking includes a lot of textures.

I'm learning baking includes a lot of textures.

8. Sprinkle your crumble mixture evenly over your muffin batter in the “holes”.

With and without our crumbles.

With and without our crumbles.

9. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out smooth and clean.

10. Done. Delish. Devour!

{Insert glamour shot here.} 
Rookie mistake. We started digging into the muffins and *gasp* forgot the final shot.
But don’t you worry, in its place we’re including a shot of another dish we whipped together with a little blueberry twist… more on this one soon!

Homeade Brownie with Heath Bar Frosting and Blueberry Garnish

MMMM... we love inspired treats.

Neat side note:  Our lovely neighbor Jen just opened her own online shop on one our favorite websites, etsy.com.  I’m going to swing by for some pretty notecards.  We would love it if you did too.

Bananas Foster French Toast – Sunday Brunch

In honor of one of our favorite food cities, New Orleans, and because we’re feeling a little nostalgic today (it’s where we got engaged), we decided to whip up some divine Big Easy inspired comfort food on this sunny Sunday.

(A little late for brunch today, but hey, nevertheless… ) 

Let’s let loose on some Bananas Foster French Toast, shall we?

Bananas Foster French Toast - Mise En Place

Mise en place.

For your French Toast:

  • (1/2) loaf of Challah bread (hint: let your bread sit out overnight for french toast)
  • (4) large eggs
  • (1/4) cup of cream
  • (1) and (1/2)  teaspoons of cinnamon
  • (1) tablespoon of sugar (to help carmelize)
  • dash of nutmeg

1.  Mix eggs, cream, cinnamon, sugar and nutmeg in a large bowl.

Eggs, cream, butter, cinnamon

2.  Slice your bread loaf into one and 1/2  inch slices.

3.  Dip bread slices into egg mixture and coat thouroughly,

French Toast Ingredients All In Place

Bananas Foster French Toast in Batter

4.  Put (1) tablespoon of butter in a large saute pan and turn on medium-low heat (4 on your stove dial).

Melt Butter in a Saute Pan for French Toast

5.  Once pan heats (tempers) and butter is melted, add those scrumptious slices of of coated bread.

6.  Sear each piece for 3 to 4 minutes or until browned on each side.

Cooking Bananas Foster French Toast

For the goodness, a.k.a. your bananas foster topping:

  • (2) bananas, sliced into pieces
  • (2) ounces of butter – approx. 1/2 stick
  • (1/3) cup of brown sugar
  • (1) teaspoon of vanilla
  • hint of cinnamon
  • (note:  you can use 2 tablespoons of rum also… we’re just keeping it PG today)

1. On low heat, add your butter, vanilla and cinnamon to a medium sauce pot.

2. Let butter melt down then add brown sugar.  Stir frequently until sugar dissolves.

Brown Sugar Into Butter for Bananas Foster French Toast

Melt Sugar in Butter for French Toast

3.  Then, turn heat up slightly and add banannas. Stir frequently.

Bananas Into Brown Sugar Butter Mixture

4.  Mixture should take about 3 to 5 minutes to cook.

bananas foster mixture

5.  Once complete, plate your slices of french toast, add your topping and let loose…dig in!

Bananas Foster French Toast

Dig in! And don't forget your Vermont pure maple syrup...Divine.

Until we eat again,

A & H

Vegetarian Pasta – Winning Recipe!

And the winner from last week’s Brussel Sprout – Three Way Thursday challenge was…

drumroll…
drumroll…
drumroll…

Brussel Sprout Veggie Pasta!

Veggie Pasta - red pepper and brussel sprouts

The winner! Vegetarians represented on this one!

 As promised, here’s your recipe!

First, “the goodness” (a.k.a your Brussel Sprout mix)

  • (3) tablespoons olive oil
  • (14) whole Brussel sprouts – cleaned / remove base and sliced in half
  • (3/4) cup pea sprouts – wash throughly ya’ll…
         H-dog got on his soap box about this one, as did the FDA
  • (1/2) cup red pepper, thin julienne
  • (3/4) cup onion, thin julienne
  • (3) cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

1.  Pull out your coolest medium saute pan (with a lid, you’ll need it). 

2.  Add your olive oil to the saute pan and let heat (temper) for 1 to 2 minutes on medium-high.

3.  Add your onion and saute for 4 minutes, stirring (or get fancy and toss) occasionally.

4.  Then add your red pepper and garlic.  Saute for 3 minutes.

5.  Next, reduce your heat to medium-low and add those gorgeous Brussel sprouts.  Top it with a lid.

6.  Saute your mixture covered for 8 to 10 minutes until your Brussel sprouts are tender  -  stirring (or tossing!) occasionally.

7.  Finally, add in your *throughly washed* pea sprouts and turn off the heat.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile… be working on your pasta noodles

  • While you’re sauteing, tossing and simmering above, go ahead and get started on your pasta noodles. 
  • Pick your pleasure for this one… fettuccine, angel hair, farfalle… let loose! 
  • Cook noodles as directed by packaging. 
    Tip:  Add a splash of olive oil in the water to prevent noodles from sticking.

Moving on, the final touch, your olive oil “dressing”:

  • (1/4) cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • (2) cloves of garlic, finely chopped. 

1.  In a small sauce pot, add your olive oil and garlic.
2.  Bring to a simmer on medium heat.
3.  Once at a simmer, take your pot off heat. 
      Reason?  Don’t want to burn that garlic, ya’ll!
4.  Finally, in a large bowl, add your olive oil dressing to your drained pasta and coat thoroughly.
5.  Plate your pasta and top each serving with your delicious Brussel sprout mixture.

Dig in, savor the veggie goodness and enjoy!
Until we eat again,

A & H

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