Food writing

Recipe of the Week: Patriotic Chocolate-Covered Marshmallows

This Independence Day treat is sure to sweeten up your weekend
First published on Seattle Magazine

Posted June 29, 2015
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Mackenzie Schieck is no stranger to food. The Seattle-based writer, food blogger and former Allrecipes.com editor is always crafting fun recipes. Her food blog, Pine and Crave (formerly known as “Single Servings”) is full of beautiful creations– great for a healthy dinner inspiration or an easy-to-make breakfast for one.

We raided her blog for Fourth of July recipes and it has us itching to start whipping out the red, white and blue. Check out these adorable patriotic chocolate-covered marshmallows (made from scratch!). They’re perfect for entertaining on this upcoming Independence Day weekend, and are sure to be a hit with both kids and adults alike. Just don’t leave them out in the sun…

Key in Pine and Crave for more Fourth of July treats!

Ingredients:

  • Cooking spray
  • 3 packages unflavored gelatin
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • A candy thermometer
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • Red, white, and blue toppers of your choice—strawberries (sliced), raspberries (halved), blueberries (halved), shaved white chocolate (I just used a bar of chocolate and a potato peeler), dried pineapple, coconut flakes, gummy candies (sliced), crushed rock candy, etc.marshmallows-2.jpg
    Photo Credit: Mackenzie Schieck marshmallows-3.jpg
    Photo Credit: Mackenzie Schieck
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine 1/2 of a cup of cold water with the packets of gelatin and allow to sit until gelatin forms, about 15 minutes.
  2. In a small saucepan on medium heat, combine the sugar, corn syrup, 1/2 of a cup of cold water and stir until sugar has dissolved—about 3 to 5 minutes. Increase heat to bring mixture to a boil. Keep the mixture at a boil until the temperature reaches 240 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat.
  3. Slowly pour sugar mixture into the bowl with the gelatin, simultaneously using a mixer on low. Gradually increase speed to high and continue whipping until the mix is very thick, about 15 minutes—imagine the consistency of pourable taffy. NOTE: A stand-up mixer is ideal for this type of recipe, but rest assured, you can do this with an electric hand mixer. I did it—it just requires a little coordination and comfortable shoes.
  4. Add vanilla to marshmallow mixture, then whip for another 30 seconds or so until it’s completely mixed in.
  5. Line the inside of a 9×13-inch cake pan with tin foil, then coat with cooking spray.
  6. Pour the mixture into the cake pan, smoothing the surface with a spatula. (Spray spatula with cooking spray as needed to keep it from sticking.) Let the marshmallow sit for about 6 hours, uncovered, until completely set.
  7. Cover a surface larger than the marshmallow slab with powdered sugar and flip the cake pan over so that marshmallow lands on the dusted surface. You have to do it quickly, and it’s going to kick up some “dust,” so just prepare yourself. (It’s all part of the fun, right?)
  8. Cut marshmallow in whatever shapes you’d like. (It helps to continually coat the knife or cookie cutters with powdered sugar to keep them from sticking.)
  9. Dust all sides of marshmallow pieces with powdered sugar.
  10. Prepare toppers if needed (e.g. slice blueberries in half, dice dried pineapple, etc.).
  11. Prepare a cake pan or plate covered with parchment paper to set chocolate-dipped marshmallows on.
  12. Over high heat, bring 1 to 2 inches of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to low and place a bowl in the saucepan. Be sure the water doesn’t get displaced enough to spill over into the bowl.
  13. Pour in chocolate chips.
  14. Stir until completely melted.
  15. Dip marshmallow into chocolate to cover about a 1/2 inch of marshmallow, then place chocolate side up on plate or cookie sheet.
  16. Place toppers on each marshmallow.

Once all marshmallows are finished, refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes until chocolate has hardened. Store in a cool spot until serving. (If you are topping these with fruit and you’re not serving them right away, store in the refrigerator.)


Recipe of the Week: Sarah Adler’s Rhubarb-Sage Syrup

This tangy syrup is just the jolt of flavor your cocktail needs
First published on Seattle Magazine

Posted June 16, 2015
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With summer solstice coming up, the days are getting longer and the nights are getting warmer. That’s right, it’s patio season. And what better way to liven up your backyard bash than a fresh new cocktail? Queen Anne-based author, nutrition coach and food blogger Sarah Adler concocted this Rhubarb-Sage Syrup  that will certainly sweeten up your night.

The syrup can be used in myriad ways—put it in a mocktail, mix it with your favorite booze or try out her suggestion: The Rhubarb Sunset Cocktail, which uses a touch of tequila, lemon and club soda. So fire up the grill, dust off your outdoor furniture and gather your friends and family and test out this sweet summertime drink.

To get more of Adler’s recipes, grab a copy of her new book The Simply Real Health Cookbook, which features 150 original recipes that all stem from her short-and-sweet food philosophy: Eating well should be simpler, and food should be chock full of real ingredients.

Rhubarb-Sage Syrup // Cocktails

Yields 3 cups syrup

Ingredients:

  • 3 stalks rhubarb, sliced
  • 1 bunch fresh sage
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (or honey) [note: this swap instead of white sugar gives such a better depth of flavor and won’t spike your blood sugar in the same way that normal simple syrups would. Add more to your liking if the syrup tastes too tart for your tastes.]
  • 1 1/2 cups water

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Photo Credit: Sarah Adler

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Photo Credit: Sarah Adler

Instructions:

In a medium saucepan, add rhubarb, 1 1/2 cups water and maple syrup and bring to a boil. Once there, turn down the heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes until the rhubarb softens. Let cool.

Add mixture to a large mason jar, add sage leaves, and place in the fridge for at least 24 hours (and up to 72 hours). Drain liquid with a fine mesh strainer, catching the juice with a bowl below it. Pour juice into a glass jar or storage container and store in the fridge for up to 1 month.

Hint: If you want a double batch, scrape the rhubarb pulp back into a jar and add 2 cups water. In 2 days, you’ll get a lot more liquid out of the same batch!

Now, what to do with this amazing little summer fridge staple? Make cocktails + summer mocktails way more interesting.

Splash it into some sparkling water, add a garnish and go sit yourself out on the back porch for a few minutes and soak up that blissful early summer sun.  Or, add your favorite cocktail base and turn it into a party.

Great combos include:

tequila + lemon + club soda

gin + lime + club soda

vodka + blackberry/blueberry + club soda

My personal favorite? The tequila version, although I’m pretty sure this syrup would make any combination you can think of, pretty amazing. Here’s the one I’ve been loving, right in time for the weekend.

sunset_cocktail

Rhubarb Sunset Cocktail

Serves 1

1 1/2 oz resposado tequila

1/2 lemon, juiced

1/4 cup club soda

splash of rhubarb sage syrup

lemon peels for garnish (optional)

Add all ingredients to a glass, stir well and pour over a cup of ice.


Recipe of the Week: Vegan Strawberry Cheesecake Pops

Throw some color into your backyard BBQ 

Posted June 01, 2015
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With temperatures skyrocketing to nearly 80 degrees this past weekend, we’re on the lookout for new, seasonal recipes to keep us cool in the rare Seattle heat. Queen Anne-based entertaining expert Heather Christo’s Vegan Strawberry Cheesecake Pops are just the thing to do it.

The chilly treats feature few ingredients and an uncomplicated recipe, which makes it easy to whip up these pops for a fresh summer snack for kids and adults alike.

Ingredients

  • 1 fifteen ounce can unsweetened coconut cream
  • 2 ½ cups fresh chopped strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup sugar (I used beet sugar)
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch

Instructions

  1. In the jar of a blender, combine the coconut cream, strawberries, vanilla extract, sugar and kosher salt and puree until smooth.
  2. Add the content of the blender to a small pot and heat until simmering.
  3. In a small Tupperware or mason jar shake the milk and corn starch until well combined and then whisk it into the simmering strawberry base.
  4. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the base is thickened. Pull off of the heat and let cool.
  5. When the base is cooled down, divide the base between ice pops molds and put a stick in each one.
  6. Freeze for at least 4 hours. Run warm water over the ice pops mold to release the pops and serve immediately or store in the freezer.

Preparation time: 20 minute(s)

Cooking time: 10 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 12


Recipe of the Week: Lemon Goat Cheese Gnocchi
Brighten up your palate with this springtime dish

Posted May 18, 2015
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If you’ve always wanted to try your hand at making pasta, this recipe is a great place to start. This fresh pasta dish comes from Chef Ellen Jackson’s newest book, The Lemon Cookbook, just released this April from Seattle’s own Sasquatch Books. Jackson’s gnocchi recipe screams spring, with its pops of color and tangy flavors to brighten up your palate.

This dish can be great for other seasons as well, just by adding some new flavors into the mix. “The rich, lemony gnocchi come together quickly, can be cooked ahead and refrigerated overnight, and pair equally well with flash-sautéed cherry tomatoes, shallots, and herbs in the summer; chanterelles and corn in the fall; and braised lamb or beef in the winter,” Jackson says.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces slightly soft, mild fresh goat cheese, at room temperature|
  • 8 ounces cream cheese (preferably without stabilizers), at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (from 2 small lemons)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus additional for rolling the dough
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 small stalks green garlic, thinly sliced on the diagonal, or 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup dry white wine or vermouth
  • 3 cups freshly shelled green peas
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chives, cut into ½-inch lengths

Instructions

In a large bowl, combine the cheeses, zest, salt, and eggs. Mix with a rubber spatula until smooth and add ¾ cup of the flour. Combine well and gently mix in the remaining flour to form a moist, slightly sticky dough. Do not over- mix or your gnocchi will be heavy. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Lightly flour a baking sheet or large platter and set aside. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface, form it into a ball, and cut the ball into quarters. Roll each quarter into a ½-inch-thick rope. Use a sharp knife to cut the ropes into ½-inch gnocchi and put them on the baking sheet. Repeat the process with the remaining dough pieces; you should get about 84. Lightly dust the gnocchi with flour. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil.

Boil the gnocchi in batches of 15 to 20; they will take about 3 minutes to cook. They’re done when they float—wait a few seconds before using a slotted spoon to remove the gnocchi to a baking sheet to cool. (They will be delicate when warm but will become sturdier as they cool.) Reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid. The cooked gnocchi will keep in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until the liquid in the skillet has reduced by half, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the gnocchi, peas, butter, and ½ cup of the reserved gnocchi cooking liquid to the skillet. Cook until the ingredients are warmed through and the sauce thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Add the lemon juice, tarragon, and salt and pepper to taste and toss to combine. Divide the gnocchi between 6 or 8 bowls. Garnish with the chives and serve immediately.

Number of servings (yield): 6 to 8  


Gluten-Free & Vegan for the Whole Family
Adventures in the Kitchen with Marketing Intern Cassady

First Published on Sasquatch Books
May 14, 2015
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When it comes to cooking, I am a tourist with an upside-down map lost in the maze of a new city. Simple directions often read like another language, and I get easily flustered when things aren’t as simple as they appear. For my most recent cooking journey, I decided to try out a few recipes from Jennifer Katzinger’s newest cookbook Gluten-Free & Vegan for the Whole Family.

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This time around, I embarked on a cooking journey with my boyfriend. (Poor guy didn’t know what he was getting himself into). We decided to try and make the Spinach Salad and Red Bean Hummus. We went to the store wide-eyed with our list in hand, thinking that this meal was going to be quick and easy.

We modified the recipe as we went— for instance, we found that one monster-sized pear was more than enough. We also substituted walnuts for hazelnuts, since we couldn’t find those in our local grocery store. The salad preparation itself was no problem, but the proportions we arrived at were a little off. For some reason we ended up with infinitely more toppings than spinach.

The hummus we messed up right from the get-go. I had never pitacooked dried red beans before, so I thought, how hard can it be? What I didn’t realize was that we needed to soak the beans in hot water for about an hour, drain them, and then leave them simmering on medium heat for another hour and a half—two hours. Needless to say, we ate dinner at 9:00 p.m.

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Even after kitchen mishaps and misread directions, the hummus ended up tasting great. In hindsight I think that soaking the beans overnight may have been the way to go. I was also very satisfied with the salad; it had a nice balance of sweet and tangy, crunchy and chewy. And I was quite pleased with how the dressing came out. It provided a nice balance to the honey taste of the Asian pears and the bite of the dried cherries. All in all, it was a successful misadventure.

Spinach Salad

Makes 6 servings

2 cups lightly toasted hazelnuts, finely chopped, divided
1 cup dried cherries, divided 3 bunches spinach leaves, well washed and torn into bite-size pieces 2 Asian pears, cored and cut into very thin slices
2 shallots, cut into thin slices

For the Dressing

1/8 cup freshly squeezed orange juice 1½ tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ tablespoon maple syrup
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup of the hazelnuts, ½ cup of the cherries, and the spinach, pears, and shallots. In a small jar or bowl, thoroughly combine the orange juice, vinegar, oil, maple syrup, salt, and pepper. Toss with the spinach mixture. Divide the salad equally onto 6 salad plates. Before serving, distribute the remaining 1 cup hazelnuts and ½ cup cherries over each plate, for a delicious garnish.

Red Bean Hummus

Makes about 16 ounces

3 cloves garlic 1½ cups cooked small red beans, or 1 (15-ounce) can, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ to ½ teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper Fresh oregano for garnish (optional)

In a food processor, combine all the ingredients and blend to a smooth consistency. Store the hummus in an airtight container for up to 1 week in the refrigerator. Serve with your choice of accompaniments.


Recipe of the Week: Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Who said dairy- and egg-free recipes have to be boring?

Posted May 11, 2015
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When Rachel Vdolek learned her food allergies would prevent her from eating some of her favorite meals, she made it her mission to find equally delicious alternatives. Now, the Tacoma-based author of four cookbooks has created a slew of delicious, healthy and flavorful dairy- and egg-free soups in her latest book, Dairy and Egg Free Soups: with gluten free options.

She shared with us a recipe for this hearty baked potato soup, her favorite companion for those rainy spring days. “It’s creamy and filled with starchy goodness,” she says. “I had never tried this recipe before mostly because it has dairy in it, but now it’s one of my favorites because it’s so comforting and easy to make.”

Vdolek’s book featuring this recipe is now available on Amazon.

Ingredients

  • About 3 large Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 large Russet Potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour (or gluten-free flour)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 4 slices bacon, cut into ½ inch strips
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • Vegan shredded cheddar or pepperjack

Instructions

In a medium sauté pan, cook bacon until crispy. Drain, reserving fat if using. Set bacon aside and measure the amount of fat. Add enough olive oil to make 2 tablespoons, then add fat and oil to a small sauce pan. If you do not want to use the bacon fat, use 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Set aside.

In a large stock pot, add potatoes, chicken stock, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 12 minutes or until potatoes are cooked but not mushy. A fork should pierce through with some resistance.

Meanwhile, in the small sauce pan with the fat and oil, heat over medium until hot, then whisk in the flour. Continue whisking until the flour is fully incorporated and there are no lumps, then add the soy milk. Whisk for 3-4 minutes until the mixture begins to thicken. Set aside until the potatoes are cooked, then pour milk mixture into the stockpot. Stir soup to mix it in, then bring to a simmer. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until soup is slightly thickened.

To serve, ladle soup into bowls then top with crumbled bacon, green onion slices and cheese mix.

Cooking Time: 30 minutes


Recipe of the Week: Grilled Caprese Kebabs

A sweet and colorful addition to your summertime BBQ

Posted May 05, 2015
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It’s that time of year in Seattle—when the sun graces us with its presence and Seattleites can safely go outside with just a light jacket, and shorts. That’s right, grilling season is around the corner.

In honor of the sunshine, it only seemed fitting that the recipe of the week should be grill-worthy. Queen-Anne based chef and entertaining expert Heather Christo cooked up this simple and delicious recipe that’s perfect for summertime. Her grilled caprese kebabs are the delicious combination of refreshing and light and make for a great appetizer.

ngredients

  • 20 small tomatoes (but not cherry tomatoes)
  • 20 medium fresh mozzarella balls
  • 30 fresh basil leaves
  • 10 kebabs
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • Balsamic glaze

Instructions

  1. Take the 5 skewers and thread 2 tomatoes and 2 mozzarella balls and 3 basil leaves on each kebab (alternating). Drizzle the kebabs with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a grill to high.
  1. Put down a sheet of tin foil directly on the grill and lay the kebabs on the foil.
  2. Cook each side for about 2-3 minutes until the tomatoes get soft and slightly charred and the cheese is melting.
  3. Place the kebabs immediately on a platter to serve and drizzle with balsamic glaze.

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 5 minutes

Number of servings (yield): 6

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