Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 top recipes

Top 2013 recipes2013 was an interesting year on the blog. While there were many great recipes, the real parties element of the blog was really slow. That was mostly my fault. I had to prioritize cooking/baking for my family which meant less time for creating posts around the great party submissions I received. I really hope to bring that back in 2014, along with some other exciting things.

Like a blog redesign!

I'm very excited to get this blog a face lift (it soooo needs one, right?!). The current navigation is terrible. And the commenting systems is not user-friendly and downright frustrating. The redesign will be more than a face lift. It will be a totally new look with new branding and even a new platform (bye bye Blogger, hello Wordpress). I'll be working with the talented ladies at Wooden Spoons Kitchen and will hopefully have everything ready to share in the next few months.

In April, Eat Drink Pretty turns 5. Wow. I can't believe I've been doing this for 5 years. Sometimes I think I'm crazy. Blogging isn't easy. This year has been really tough to find the time to blog with a toddler, a busy job, etc. And I know it showed. My posting frequency waned a lot. I was uninspired some of the time. But recently I've been re-energized and hope that 2014 brings a lot of great things around the blog.

I wanted to say thank you for being here in 2013. I truly appreciate your visits, comments and emails. Thank you especially to those of you that have been around since the beginning and have stuck with me.

2013 brought a lot of great recipes around the blog and some are these are favorites in my household. Without further ado, here are the top recipes from Eat Drink Pretty in 2013.

Chickpea Greek pita
Herbed blue cheese quiche
Quinoa caprese
Quinoa mac and cheese
Kale, strawberry and avocado salad
Melt-in-your-mouth pumpkin cookies
Vinegar broiled potatoes with sour cream dipping sauce
Roasted cauliflower

Tomorrow I'll be doing a recipe round-up of the top toddler recipes from 2013. If you are interested in making your toddler's favorite homemade be sure to stop back.

If you have any requests for things you'd like to see more of (or less of?) on the blog in 2014 please comment and share, thank you!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Roasted cauliflower

Amid a flurry of pumpkin milk shakes, pumpkin scones and other yummy fall eats I am the first to admit that roasted cauliflower seems a bit boring in comparison. However, I literally told Erik as I was eating this for lunch the other day that it was as good as french fries. And if you've been a reader of my blog for a while you know I'm not fooling around with a statement like that.

Roasted cauliflower is freaking delicious. I don't know why I don't make it more often. From now on I will be.

Roasted cauliflower

Ingredients

One head of cauliflower, washed and cut into florets
1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon of onion powder
Salt and pepper

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Arrange the cauliflower on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic powder and onion powder and toss to coat everything evenly. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place in the oven for about 25 minutes or until the cauliflower begins to turn slightly brown on top.

Did I mention I am back on Weight Watchers after two glorious years of not being on it? Please send fruit and other point free food items to help me to get through this. It's only been a week and a half and it has been going alright. Having a new Blendtec blender (amazing, I will have a full review on it within the next couple weeks) has helped as I've been drinking a lot of smoothies. I've also been filling up on lots of fruits and veggies (like this cauliflower) and making healthy meals. We'll see how it goes. Wish me luck.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Cucumber salad

This simple cucumber salad is a summer staple in our household. It is one of my husband's favorite salads, one that he grew up eating in North Dakota.

Erik's mom and grandmother always had fresh cucumbers from the garden, add in a bit of cream (of course cream, this is a North Dakota recipe, after all), vinegar, dill and there you have it.

A delicious, creamy, crunchy cucumber salad.

I make this often for family BBQs and gatherings and everyone always loves it. I just made it this weekend for a lunch with friends and my girlfriend said it was the best cucumber salad she's ever had.

It's really easy, and really that good.

Cucumber salad

Ingredients

4-5 small to medium sized cucumbers (fresh from the garden or your local farmers' market are best), peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 Tablespoon fresh dill (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1/4 cup green onions, sliced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Preparation

Add all the ingredients together in a medium sized bowl and stir to combine. Serve immediately. Lasts a couple days stored in an air-tight container in the fridge.

Note, the combination of ingredients in this recipe are very much to each person's taste. Make it as I recommend above, but alter based on if you want the salad to be more vinegary or if it needs more salt, etc. Erik's mom adds water to thin it out a bit, but I prefer to keep it a bit creamier. Also, I typically am not a fan of using white vinegar in cooking, but it works in this salad. I'm sure you could substitute red or white wine vinegar, but I haven't tried it.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Vinegar broiled red potatoes with sour cream dipping sauce


My family is a bunch of suckers for vinegar chips. Well, chips in general, but also vinegar chips. So when I saw a recipe for vinegar broiled potatoes on Pinterest I knew I needed to give them a try for our next family gathering. 

I am a big fan of anything and everything potato-related so I'm willing to give most potato recipes a try.

A couple important notes about this recipe:

The original recipe calls for fingerling potatoes. The grocery store didn't have any that day so I opted for red potatoes. These worked just fine, but fingerlings have a little different flavor and would probably be really good, if not better, in this recipe.

Be prepared for your house to smell strongly like vinegar as you boil these. The smell didn't linger, thankfully...though I sort of like the smell of tangy vinegar so it probably would have been fine it it had.

Don't give the potatoes a taste right when come out of their vinegar boil. Just. Don't.

Dry the potatoes off extremely well after you drain them from their vinegar bath. This will help them get nice and crunchy on the outside when you broil them. I didn't pat them dry enough and as a result they were a bit soggy.

The original recipe says you can use regular white vinegar or malt vinegar. I recently went to a cooking class and the chef said never to use white vinegar unless you're cleaning your coffee pot. There are many other vinegars that are much better to use for cooking. That's why I opted for malt vinegar.

And lastly, the original recipe didn't include a sour cream dipping sauce and I like to dip things. Especially potatoes. The sour cream is awesome and helps to cut the super tangy, vinegar taste. 

Vinegar broiled red potatoes (recipe adapted via Umani Girl)
Ingredients
1 pound red potatoes, sliced into rounds, 1/4 inch thickness
2 cups malt vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher Salt
Pepper
1/2 cup sour cream
Couple dashes of hot sauce
Preparation 
1. In a small pot, combine the potato slices and vinegar. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until fork-tender, about 8 minutes. Let cool in liquid for 30 minutes. Drain well and pat potatoes dry with paper towels.
2. Preheat the broiler with a rack about 6 inches below the heat source. Dump the potato slices onto a sheet pan, sprinkle very generously with olive oil, salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Arrange the potato slices in a single layer. Broil until lightly browned on top, about 7 minutes. Then flip the slices and broil until the underside is lightly browned, about 5 minutes more. 

3. Combine the sour cream and hot sauce in a bowl and stir. Serve with warm potatoes. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Healthy kale recipe round-up for the New Year

{Photo credits: Martha Stewart}

I was feeling a bit uninspired this evening so I texted my sister and asked for blog post ideas. She just started Weight Watchers back up again after a bit of a hiatus over the holidays and her response was "how about a healthy recipe round-up"?

It was a great idea so here you go. Six delicious kale recipes to get you on the right track for the New Year.

Kale and white bean soup
Whole wheat pasta with kale and fontina
Cannellini and kale soup
Sausage and kale soup 
Crostini with kale and parmesan 
Kale with tomato, garlic and thyme

I am obviously NOT on a diet because I'm pregnant. Actually, this is the first time in about 10 years that I haven't been on a diet for the New Year. Guess how much I love being pregnant right now? A lot.

No dieting.
No worrying about counting points.
No feeling guilty for eating chocolate muffins for breakfast or grabbing handfuls of Skittles for a snack.

Ok so I know I should still be eating healthy, and I am, for the most part. But man...I DO NOT miss the D-word at all. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Roasted beets and goat cheese

Every Thursday last summer I would set aside time during my lunch hour to go to the Mpls Farmers' Market.  I would take a $20 out in cash and wouldn't leave until the money was gone and my arms were sore from carrying a heavy load.

Well...this summer/fall I am sad to say that I barely made it out to the farmers' market at all and didn't buy much of anything all season. It was a product of being really tired during my first trimester and not feeling like cooking anything as well as being super busy at work and not being able to make time to get outside.  Lame.

The other week Erik said, "honey, remember when you used to always make roasted beets with goat cheese?"...I always included a huge bunch of beets in my weekly load of produce. So even though the beets were looking a little small at the market last week, I made sure to buy some and make Erik roasted beets with goat cheese yesterday.

He loves this dish and so do I. It's simple, so good for you....and if you've never tried this pairing do so immediately. Goat cheese and beets were made for each other.

You can easily turn this side into a salad  (add greens and a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette and you're set).

Roasted beets with goat cheese

Ingredients

7-8 medium size beets, scrubbed and tops cut off
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3rd cup crumbled goat cheese
Salt
Pepper

Preparation

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place beets on top of a baking sheet lined with foil. Rub the beets with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover with another layer of foil.

Bake for about an hour, checking tenderness of beets after 45 minutes. They are done when they are fork tender. Remove from oven and set aside to allow them to cool.

When beets are cool, peel them (using your hands, they should peel fairly easily). Cut into quarters and divide among 4 bowls, top with crumbled goat cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Whole Foods Cooking Class: Congee

I took yet another Whole Foods cooking class all about Chinese Dim Sum the other weekend and my favorite dish was this Congee. It is easy, full of veggies and super flavorful.

To me, any dish with rice is comforting.  Being filipino, growing up I ate rice every single day.  Even with breakfast sometimes. Rice reminds me of sitting around the dining room table with my family.  We did that every evening.  I definitely want to do that when I have children someday. 

Congee (recipe credit to Ani Loizzo of Whole Foods)

2 cups sushi rice, rinsed well
8 ounces sliced shiitake mushrooms
1 medium onion, sliced
1 cup shredded carrots
2 baby bok choy, thinly sliced
1 stalk lemongrass, pounded and minced
2 inches of ginger, peeled and minced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1/4 cup sesame oil

Directions

Combine sushi rice and three cups of water in a medium pot with a lid and bring to a simmer. Cook for 30-35, or until the rice is very soft and creamy, stirring occassionally.

Meanwhile, heat the sesame oil in a very large pan and cook mushrooms, onions, carrots, bok choy, lemongrass and ginger until soft and brown, about 20-25 minutes. Stir together rice, vegetables, green onions and sesame seeds, season to taste and serve.

Serves 8 as a side dish.

This dish is great served plain but also with a splash of soy sauce.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Homemade bread

It's amazing what you can create in the kitchen with just a few simple ingredients. I was off work Monday with little to do since I was snowed in from the previous day's blizzard.  Nothing sounded better than the house warm with the smell of baking bread in the oven. I was inspired when I found this recipe on Honey and Jam, the bread in the gorgeous photos looked lovely and rustic. 

No knead french bread (recipe found on Honey and Jam, original by Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day)

Note, I cut this recipe in half and it was still enough for two rounds of bread.

Ingredients

3 cups of lukewarm water
1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons coarse salt

6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Grab a very large mixing bowl, or a large container that you can cover. In it, mix the water, yeast, and salt. You don’t have to heat up the water to a precise optimal temperature for the yeast. I’ve even used just regular tap water, and it’s worked well for me. Just let that sit together for a while (you don’t have to wait for the yeast to dissolve completely), then dump the flour all at once and stir with a wooden spoon. You don’t need to knead this, and you’re not looking to make it come together into a dough ball. You just want everything mixed well, with no streaks of flour left, and you’re done.

Leave it in your container, covered (but not airtight, or it’ll pop), for a few hours. When it has risen and then deflated a bit, your dough is done. It’s ready to be used or stored in the refrigerator.

To bake the bread, just grab a chunk of dough, about the size of a grapefruit. Dust your hands with flour to help prevent sticking, and gently pull the sides of the dough toward the bottom, rotating the dough, until you get a roundish shape with a smooth surface. It should only take you about a minute or less to do this. The dough won’t be entirely in the bottom, where it may look bunched up, but don’t worry about it.

Put it on a cutting board that’s been dusted with cornmeal to prevent sticking, and let it rest for at least 40 minutes. No need to cover it. If the dough has been refrigerated, it helps to let it rest a little more, until it’s no longer chilled.

Twenty minutes before you are ready to bake, put a cast iron skillet (or a pizza stone) in the middle rack of your oven, and put a broiler pan (I used a cookie sheet) in the bottom rack. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Dust some flour on the top of your loaf, and slash the top, about 1/4-inch deep.

After twenty minutes of preheating, it’s time to bake. (You can put the bread in after 20 minutes, even if your oven hasn’t reached 450 degrees yet.) Slide the loaf onto the baking stone, and then quickly pour 1 cup of hot tap water into the broiler pan. Then quickly shut the oven door to keep the steam inside.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until you get a nice brown crust. Remove and let cool completely

I ate this bread a few different ways.  Pictured above, slathered with apple butter (homemade by my friend Libby) and also with regular butter and a pinch of sea salt.  Both sinfully good. 

Trust me when I say this bread was one of the easiest things I've ever baked.  Delicious and beautiful, too.  I loved everything about my Monday off, but this homemade bread was my fave part of the day.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Chunky tomato soup

I have a confession to make. I am a huge loser on Friday evenings. It is likely that by 6pm I am in my pj's and in bed by 9pm watching movies on Netflix or reruns of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives on Food Network. I can't help it. By Friday evening I am wiped out, exhausted. The thought of putting on eye liner, brushing my hair and going out for cocktails is the furthest thing from my mind.

I get a lot of crap for this from my hubby and friends. They all know better than to try to get me out on a Fridays. Yup, on Fridays I am known as "lame Jenna". 

And so when Erik was up for a lazy evening with me last Friday I was thrilled. I had my eye on this chunky tomato soup ever since the latest issue of Food and Wine magazine showed up in my mailbox a week ago. I love making homemade soup but sometimes they can be a bit fussy and time-consuming. Not this soup. You simply chop up a few veggies, open a couple cans of whole, peeled tomatoes and bam, delicious tomato soup. Erik and I had this with a bacon, cheese, tomato and avocado panini.

A perfect meal for my perfectly lazy Friday evening.

Chunky tomato soup (recipe adapted from Food and Wine)

Ingredients

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and finely chopped
4 thyme sprigs
3 tablespoons tomato paste
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 cups water
Two 28-ounce cans peeled Italian tomatoes—drained and finely chopped, juices reserved

Directions

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, fennel and thyme and cook the vegetables over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion and fennel are softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the water and the tomatoes and their juices and bring to a boil. Simmer the soup over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced by one-third, about 30 minutes. Discard the thyme.

Transfer half of the soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Return the puree to the pot.

I imagine that you are all a lot cooler than me on Fridays (and probably in general).  What did you do this weekend?  And do you have today off?  I do!  Minnesota got a nasty snow storm yesterday so I am most likely going to be hanging out all day, maybe baking a thing or two and hanging with my kitty. 

Happy Monday!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Delicious polenta

{Photo credits and recipes: Martha Stewart}

I've eaten polenta a bunch of times when dining out, but it never occured to me to include it in my cooking repertoire. For some reason I was intimidated by polenta but fortunately that disappeared when I attended a Whole Foods cooking class last week. The creamy polenta with goat cheese dish was so easy!  And oh my god...so good.

Polenta is made from ground yellow or white cornmeal.  It is very easy to prepare, just add water, the cornmeal, heat and stir.  The texture is smooth, like a porridge I guess you could say.  Any type of cheese can (and should!) be added for a delicious savory meal.  It can also be baked, grilled and served cut up into bars like those shown above.  Or made into a quick bread.

Today's post was inspired by that class and my newfound love of polenta. How amazing do all of these polenta recipes look? Click below for the recipes (all from Martha Stewart):

Mushroom Polenta Diamonds
Polenta Quick Bread with Lemon and Thyme
Baked Polenta Squares with Mediterranean Toppings
Fried Polenta, Eggs, and Sage
Grilled Polenta and Balsamic Mushrooms
Polenta Wedges

Do you have any ingredients that you were intimidated by but have since conquered? Comment and share!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Memorial Day BBQ

I had a lovely, long weekend. We couldn't have asked for better weather and spent a lot of time outdoors. Erik and I went up to our friend Nick's cabin, then had a date night and had my family over for Memorial Day.

On the Memorial Day menu:

Tomato, basil and mozzarella crostini
Chips and guacomole
Cheese and crackers
Cheeseburgers
Spicy Italian brats
Chicken brats
BBQ ribs
Corn on the cob
Watermelon
Raspberry jello with whipped cream
Cheesy potatoes
Tuna salad
Pistachio dessert



Yeah...we had too much food and ate too much. Good thing my household enjoys leftovers!



Mmmmm, cheesy potatoes.  These are exceptional.

Cheesy Potatoes (adapted from a recipe sent to me by my sister-in-law)

1/2 C. butter (melted)
2 lbs. frozen hash browns (cubed or homestyle work, too) (thawed)
1/2 C. onion (chopped
2 C. Cheddar cheese (shredded)
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 (8 oz.) carton sour cream
2 C. crushed corn flakes or panko bread crumbs (I used panko)
1/4 C. butter

Mix first 8 ingredients in a large bowl. Place in 9x13-inch pan. Top
with crushed corned flakes. Drizzle melted butter over the corn
flakes. Bake at 350 degrees for about 50 mins.


The pistachio dessert my mom makes is my husband's favorite. Funny story...Erik is a huge Yankees fan and my mom is a Twin's fan. She told Erik today that she was considering not making the dessert unless the Twin's beat the Yankees in last Thursdays game. Fortunately, they did.

Pistachio dessert

Ingredients

50-55 ritz crackers (crushed)
1/4 pound butter, at room temperature
1 quart vanilla ice cream
1 container cool whip
2 packages instant pistachio pudding mix
1 1/2 cup milk
1 bag of Heath Bits O Brickle Toffee bits

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Make the crust; mix the crushed ritz crackers and butter in a bowl and spread on the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan.  Bake for 8 minutes.  Cool crust completely. 

In another large bowl mix the 2 packages of instant pistachio pudding mix with the milk and vanilla ice cream.  Spread on top of crust.  Top with cool whip and sprinkle with Heath toffee bits.  Keep frozen.

My brother and sister-in-laws dogs (Peaches and Oliver) joined the bbq. They are cute little things, a bit naughty, but cute. This is Oliver, he is very photogenic.

I'm also excited to announce I finished the recipe index. I still have to trouble-shoot and make sure all the links work, so I'm calling this a beta version. I'd love your feedback, should I incorporate photos/images into the index or leave as is?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Brussel sprouts

Brussel sprouts didn't have a very good rap growing up in my house. My mom used to tell stories about how her parents would make her stay at the dinner table until her brussel sprouts were gone. My mom hated brussel sprouts. Her parents must never have cooked them using this recipe below.

My friend Libby made this brussel sprout recipe the other night for dinner in addition to roasted potatotes and chicken. It was a pretty simple meal, but hardy and delicious. I have to admit this was only my second time ever eating brussel sprouts (first was just a couple weeks ago at Cafe Lurcat), what can I say? I listen to my momma. But since giving them a chance they have quickly climbed up to being one of my top fave veggies.

Brussels Sprouts with Crisp Prosciutto (recipe from Cookinglight.com)

Ingredients

3 cups trimmed halved Brussels sprouts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1/4 cup chopped prosciutto (about 1 1/2 ounces)
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Preparation

Cook Brussels sprouts in boiling water 3 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat; add prosciutto. Cook 6 minutes or until crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove from pan; set aside.

Heat pan coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add Brussels sprouts; sauté 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Add butter, salt, and pepper, stirring until butter melts. Remove from heat; drizzle with juice. Add prosciutto; toss to combine.

Note: Pull off any limp outer leaves, and closely trim the stem end-don't cut too much off, or the Brussels sprouts may fall apart."


{Photo credit: above two are from my crappy camera}


{Photo credit: Cooking Light, Randy Mayor}

Monday, July 13, 2009

Mmmmmm....potatoes

I love/adore/worship potatoes. Any kind really...fried, mashed, scalloped, etc. Pair potatoes with melted cheesey goodness and I am one happy gal.

Check out this Potatoes Au Gratin recipe from the Food Network. My friend Libby has made these twice now, most recently for her boyfriend Biffer's birthday. They were a big hit, with me of course, but also with the birthday boy.

Potatoes Au Gratin

Ingredients

1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 pounds Idaho potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1/2 cup grated Gruyere
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon paprika

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter a 1 1/2 quart baking dish with about 1 tablespoon of the softened butter.
Arrange a layer of potatoes in the baking dish, and sprinkle some of the cheeses over them. Continue layering potatoes and cheeses until you've used them all, ending with a layer of potatoes.

In a small bowl, whisk the cream with the salt and pepper; pour this over the potatoes. Dot the remaining butter over the top and sprinkle with the paprika. Bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until the potatoes are tender and golden brown on top. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.