Posts Tagged ‘Baking’

Comfort Food

Do you know what I like? Coming home from a day of reading-until-my-eyes-might-fall-out and teaching-until-my-head-might-explode to find this waiting for me:


That Trent is something special.

The meatballs consist of CSA lean, hormone- and antibiotic-free, grass-fed, free-range beef and whatever else the Joy of Cooking told Trent to add. They taste divine.

Come back tomorrow to see this week’s veggie haul. Things are getting interesting now that the seasons are changing!


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We’ve been accumulating large amounts of ground beef in our freezer thanks to our meat CSA. In an effort to make a dent in our stash, I made a veggie-stuffed meatloaf. This was my first meatloaf making attempt (though not my first Meatloaf experience – I’ve been know to rock this at karaoke bars), and it wasn’t too shabby. I combined a few different recipes to come up with the following:

Veggie-Stuffed Meatloaf

For the meat layers:

2 lbs ground beef

2 small potatoes, grated

1 carrot, grated

1/2 an onion, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, chopped

2 tbsp rolled oats

1 egg

1 tsp each salt and pepper

2 tsp soy sauce

dash of Sriracha

For the veggie layer:

spinach and shitake mushrooms (or greens/mushrooms/etc. of your choosing)

For the top layer:



(1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

(2) Combine all of the ingredients for the meat layers in a large bowl. When well-combined, put half of the mixture in a pan (I used an 8” square pyrex).

(3) Top with a few handfuls of spinach and chopped mushrooms (I’d say I used half a bag of spinach and a whole container of mushrooms).

(4) Put the remaining meat mixture on top of the veggies. Brush desired amount of ketchup on top of the meat. Bake for 45 minutes.

(5) Enjoy this:


I think that next time I will use a larger pan so that I can add more veggies. The spinach shrunk considerably (as it is wont to do), so there wasn’t quite as much roughage as I was hoping for. All in all, though, not bad for a first meatloaf!

Hope everyone’s having a fabulous labor day! Enjoy the day off if you’ve got it. 🙂

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Kitchen Symbiosis

Have you ever made a recipe that calls for part of an ingredient? Say, a few egg whites but no yolks, or lemon peel but no lemon flesh? The wonderful thing about culinary history is that thrifty cooks throughout the ages have come up with wonderful ways to use these castoffs. So when I decided I wanted to make macaroons, which require egg whites, I knew exactly what symbiotic recipe I wanted to use to keep my surplus yolks from getting lonely: lemon curd.

As you may or may not know, lemon curd is a delightful concoction made from egg yolks, lemon juice, sugar, and butter. It gets cooked into a creamy spread that is heaven on scones, toast, muffins, or anything else you can think to spread it on. It’s just tart enough to balance out the heaviness of the yolk and the butter, and it’s the most delectable shade of yellow this side of a daffodil.

I used this recipe from My Kind of Food and this recipe from Joy of Baking for my curd. The first gave me the basic ingredient proportions and the second told me how long I had to cook it. I ended up using the juice of two smallish lemons, 3 egg yolks, 7.5 tablespoons of sugar, and 4 tbsp butter. I whisked everything but the butter over a double boiler for 10 minutes until it took on a thick, creamy, sauce-like consistency, then took it off the heat and whisked in the butter one tablespoon at a time. Then I licked the whisk and almost cried. Yes, it was that good. I’m glad I went with 7.5 tbsp of sugar – it’s just the right amount for a tart-but-not-too-tart taste.

I’m afraid my poor camera won’t do it justice, but here it is:


I was pretty full when I made this but I needed to eat some fresh, so I spread a bit on half a slice of bread.


I kind of love that it looks like mustard gone wrong. 😉

And what about those macaroons? Well those, my friends, were an abject failure. I make the mistakes so you don’t have to.

I used this recipe from Elana’s Pantry, but the failure was certainly not Elana’s fault. I realized as I was beating my whites that it had been some time since I’d done anything with egg whites and I wasn’t sure that I would recognize “stiff” egg whites when I saw them. It was too late to do my research though, so I just beat until I thought they were stiff. In retrospect it wasn’t nearly long enough. I also realized too late that I didn’t have enough agave, so I subbed in honey, which is much thicker than agave and more difficult to fold into fluffy egg whites. Fail, Daria, fail.


This isn’t what macaroons should look like. They should not be shiny or flat or oozing. They should be covered in chocolate though. At least I got that part right:


So now my homework for myself is to read up on the chemistry of egg whites. I’ll report back on my kitchen dictionary page soon. Because no one should have to eat flat macaroons.

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I haven’t made any great meals in the past few days, but I have been playing in the kitchen. Last night I remembered that we have a bag of CSA potatoes hiding out in storage, so I made myself some oven-roasted beauties.


Potatoes aren’t potatoes without copious amounts of ketchup.


Then I got the baking bug and tried out two recipes with the almond meal I bought at Trader Joe’s. Note: almond meal is NOT the same as almond flour. It’s coarser are more suited for dense fare like breads than for cakes or lighter baked goods. There’s a good explanation of the differences here.

First up were the Savory Grain-Free Crackers from Karina’s Kitchen. I subbed in 1 cup of regular flour just because I wanted to ease into the whole nut meal/flour thing, and I used sage and tarragon instead of the Italian herbs since I didn’t have any. I also used paprika rather than turmeric for the splash of color.


These are SO GOOD! The parmesan really comes through, so they taste quite rich. I would make one small adjustment next time, however. The recipe tells you to just flatten the dough with your hand directly onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. This technique left the dough far too thick – most of these are more like flatbread rather than like crackers, which is what I wanted. Next time I’ll roll out the dough first.

Next up: Comfy Belly‘s banana bread, made into muffins.


I had one for breakfast this morning and they’re also delicious. Very dense and nutty and satisfying. I subbed 1 cup of all-purpose flour here too (so I used 1.5 cups almond meal and 1 cup regular flour total). This recipe made 12 muffins that clock in around 300 calories each.

The verdict on baking with almond meal:

If you’re craving a light, fluffy, airy baked good, steer clear of nut meal. But if you want to pack some extra nutritional punch into your baked goods, almond meal gives you all kinds of vitamins, minerals, fats, phytonutrients, and antioxidants that you just can’t find in all-purpose flour. If you go in knowing that your muffins are going to be a dense, nutty affair, they’re absolutely scrumptious.

I have plans to try my hand at macaroons and lemon curd later today. Sometimes I just get into a domestic groove and want to keep going. 🙂

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Trent and I are often very bad about taking advantage of summer. It’s easy to get bogged down in work, humidity, and other downers and to forget how fun it can be to leave our desks. So today we decided to take advantage of the season by heading to some nearby fruit farms for a pick-your-own extravaganza.

First up: blueberries!

Berrying 007Berrying 003

We were told that there was lots of poison ivy around these bushes, so now I’m feeling itchy. Nothing like the power of suggestion to make a hypochondriac worry. 😉

Next up: black raspberries!

Berrying 010


We had a roasting party when we got home and finished off our remaining beets and summer squash in a 400 degree toaster oven.







Three roasty squashes. Ah ah ah! (said in Count von Count’s voice, of course)

After we scarfed these without taking pictures, we pondered what to do with our berries. I am in love with the names of American fruit cobblers (Betty, grunt, slump, buckle, sonker…seriously, you can’t make this stuff up), so we decided to make a blueberry buckle. We used this recipe from Simply Recipes.

The beautiful batter:


The crumbly crumb topping:










And then I ate another piece because it’s that delicious. Our stupid oven burnt the outer edges (if you have a stupid oven you may want to reduce the baking time by 5 or 10 minutes), but I don’t care. It’s moist and sweet and has a crunchy streusel topping and I’m quite happy right now. 🙂

I hope you all had wonderful summery Sundays as well!

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