Saturday, December 13, 2014

Coconut Macadamia Biscotti | Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2014

It’s cookie swap time! This is my 3rd year participating in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. The first year I made my ma’s recipe for the most amazing maple waffle cookies, and last year I made insanely good peppermint mocha icebox cookies. And this year? 

Coconut Macadamia Biscotti, Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2014 | Loves Food, Loves to Eat #fbcookieswap This has been a really tough year for me, with lots of tears and heartache. I almost wasn’t able to participate in the swap this year due to my recent posting hiatus, but luckily the head gals in charge have super big, warm, fuzzy hearts! Participating in this event seriously gave me the motivation I needed to get in the holiday spirit and start recipe planning and blogging again! So, I wanted my cookie to be all about the big, warm, fuzzy, heart-shaped part of my life, which is… 

Coconut Macadamia Biscotti, Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2014 | Loves Food, Loves to Eat #fbcookieswap #PIROMAR! (PS. this is a combo of Evan and my last names… it’s clearly right up there with Brangelina, Beniffer and the like, but not with Kimye, because seriously NO ONE CARES ABOUT KIMYE). We got married in October and then went on our #piromoon to Kauai! So, these cookies (which are actually biscotti) are inspired by our honeymoon… full of coconut and macadamia nuts, just like Kauai. Not full of sand or roosters though… we left those on the island. 

Coconut Macadamia Biscotti, Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2014 | Loves Food, Loves to Eat #fbcookieswap I made several batches of these before I got it right. I wanted the coconut flavor to come through nice and strong, and in the end it meant using every kind of coconut imaginable. Desiccated, shredded, flaked, and coconut extract! Then I threw in some mac-nuts for crunch, and topped the whole thing with a drizzle of dark chocolate! These crunchy little goodies are made to be eaten alongside a cup of hot coffee, especially if you came back from Kauai with roughly $200 worth of beans. Yoiks!  

Coconut Macadamia Biscotti, Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2014 | Loves Food, Loves to Eat #fbcookieswap 
PS. Want to see some of the pics from #piromoon!? (Not those kind of pics… pervs!) I have a Kauai post in the works, stay tuned! 

Coconut Macadamia Biscotti with Chocolate Drizzle
Makes about 36-40 biscotti (a bit smaller than standard sized)

½ cup coconut oil
¾ cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
2 tablespoons coconut extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon spiced rum
½ teaspoon salt
pinch nutmeg
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut, toasted and cooled to room temp
½ cup large flake coconut
½ cup roughly chopped salted macadamia nuts
1 cup dark chocolate chips/ chunks

Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper

With electric or stand mixer, mix together coconut oil through nutmeg until well combined. Add flour though macadamia nuts, and mix until a solid dough-ball forms. 

Separate dough into 3 equal sized balls, and roll each one into a log, about the length of your sheet pan. Arrange each long on pan so there’s plenty of space between, and flatten to about ½ inch thickness. 

Bake for ~25 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool until you can handle them, then carefully slice each log into strips (about 12 pieces per log). 

Lay pieces cut side down/up on baking sheet, and bake for 6 minutes on each side. Cool on wire rack.

Once cool, melt chocolate (over double boiler or in microwave) and drizzle over biscotti.

Wait, there's more!
Looking for more recipes from the cookie swap? Check out the blogs of my random matches: the bloggers I sent these bad boys to, as well as the bloggers who sent cookies to me!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Fancy Tuna Melts from Sheet Pan Suppers

Do you follow the blog Dunk & Crumble? If not, you should! Molly’s writing is cute and personable, and her recipes are always fun and approachable. And she and I are the same age, we both live in Seattle, and we both got married this October. #soulmates. And guess what? She wrote a cookbook (so, I guess this is where our paths diverge) which is every bit as cute, fun, and approachable as her blog! I can already tell you this book going to be a weeknight staple in my house! 

Fancy Tuna Melts from Sheet Pan Suppers // Loves Food, Loves to Eat Sheet Pan Suppers is full of dinners, desserts, sandwiches, appetizers, and brunch things, all made on a trusty sheet pan! Her sheet pan style makes things simple and easy, even for some serious show-stoppers, like lemony fish baked on top of crispy potatoes, a pork tenderloin recipe with squash, apples, and onions that looks amazing for fall, a giant sheet pan-sized dutch baby with meyer lemon sugar, and a thin chocolate chip cake rolled with cannoli filling that I’m dying to make. She also has a lot of recipes for quick weeknight meals or weekend lunches, like these Fancy Tuna Melts.

Fancy Tuna Melts from Sheet Pan Suppers // Loves Food, Loves to Eat Tuna melts are one of Evan and my go-to weekend lunches. They’re easy and delicious, but also a little bit fancier than your average weekday sandwich (for us office folk, anyway...especially since I don't eat tuna at work, out of coworker respect...amiright!?). We usually go with a classic chunky and not too creamy (because I hate overly mushy tuna) tuna-pickle-mayo mix on toast or bagels, topped with cheddar or swiss. 

Fancy Tuna Melts from Sheet Pan Suppers // Loves Food, Loves to Eat This recipe ups the ante in every way. The tuna is full of sweet, tangy, crispy, fresh additions like apples, shallot, capers, and fresh dill. Instead of standard bread, we’re using naan, which gets a little bit crispy in the oven, and we’re topping the whole thing with marinated mozzarella. Extra flavor in every element of this sandwich! And it doesn’t stop there. Once everything’s warm and the cheese is all melty, Molly offers two topping suggestions: sun-dried tomatoes and fresh greens, or salt & vinegar potato chips! ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? This is a like the his and hers sandwich combo of Evan and my dreams. I try to health things up if I can, with greens or fresh veggies, and he tries to trash things up (and I mean that in the best way possible), with chips, hot sauce, and all manner of pre-packaged foods. From my experience though, I can tell you that the perfect topping for these melts is actually a combination of all three: sun-dried tomatoes, peppery arugula, and salt & vinegar chips.    

Fancy Tuna Melts from Sheet Pan Suppers // Loves Food, Loves to Eat Things you won’t regret this holiday season: making these tuna melts, visiting Molly’s blog, buying a copy of Sheet Pan Suppers (for yourself or for a gift!), eating a few extra potato chips. 

Fancy Tuna Melts 
Adapted slightly from Sheet Pan Suppers by Molly Gilbert

Makes 4 sandwiches

Molly uses Armenian braided string cheese, which is marinated in oil and spices. My grocery store, which has the fanciest of all fancy cheese sections didn’t have this, so per her suggestion, I went with marinated mini mozzarella balls, which you can find in most grocery stores, including Trader Joe’s. This recipe makes 4 enclosed sandwiches. If you prefer open face, just use 2 naan pieces, each cut in half (making 4 open face sandwiches). 

4 pieces of naan bread, each cut in half 
1 12-ounce can chunk light tuna in water, drained
1/2 large shallot, finely diced
1/2 cup diced, unpeeled apple (something crunchy like Pink Ladies)
1/4 cup capers, drained, plus 1 tablespoon caper brine
1 heaping tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
1.5 tablespoon dijon mustard
1/4 cup mayonnaise
Fresh ground pepper
1 container small marinated mozzarella balls, drained

sun dried tomatoes (drained if in oil)
Salt & vinegar potato chips

Preheat oven to 375, with rack in the center. Line sheet pan with foil or parchment paper. Arrange 4 of the naan halves on the sheet pan. 

Mix together tuna through pepper, and scoop evenly onto 4 naan halves. Top each one with about 4-5 balls of the marinated mozzarella, broken in half. Arrange 4 remaining naan prices on the sides of the pan (not on top of the tuna).

Bake for about 10 minutes, until everything is warm and cheese is melty (a bit longer for crispier bread). 

Top each melt with sun dried tomatoes, salt & vinegar chips, and a handful of arugula, then place extra naan half on top for an enclosed sandwich. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Date & Chorizo Kale Salad

We don’t usually have salad at our Thanksgiving feast, do you? I’ve always felt like, who wants to fill their plates and bellies with lettuce when there are already too many other good things to get through?

Date & Chorizo Kale Salad // Loves Food, Loves to Eat But this year, I’m throwing this salad option out there for you, just in case you want a dose of something green and leafy. And it’s kale, so really, no worries about that whole lettuce issue I mentioned above.

Date & Chorizo Kale Salad // Loves Food, Loves to Eat I got the inspiration for this salad from the New York Times Thanksgiving by State article. An article which, by the way, has Washingtonians very confused. Glazed shiitake mushrooms with bok choy!? So random. I get the Asian influence, we do have a lot of that here. But they seem to have totally passed over all of our amazing local ingredients that typically go into a Washington fall feast: chanterelle mushrooms, which are in-season and abundant in certain parts of the state right now; apples, for which we have orchard upon orchard upon orchard; Walla Walla sweet onions from, you guessed it, Walla Walla Washington; salmon and dungeness crab… I mean, they had so much to work with! And they failed. Big time.

Date & Chorizo Kale Salad // Loves Food, Loves to Eat Sometimes I feel like everyone on the east coast is like “Washington… DC, right?” And I’m like “Hello! We’re over here! We’re a state!” Like in the 90s, when we first got (dial-up) internet at home and I spent all my time in chatrooms (um, geocities, amiright!?) and whenever I got A/S/L’d, I obviously lied about the A and said I was a cool, older 16 year old…I was really more like 14 (sorry mom), and even though I was supposed to lie about the L (sorry mom), I would say “Washington,” and my chat-mate would always think DC. Every. Damn. Time. Also, I got in trouble when my mom discovered my chat name was something like “cutiegirl16.” IT WAS THE 90S YOU GUYS. To Catch a Predator wasn’t even a thing yet.

Date & Chorizo Kale Salad // Loves Food, Loves to Eat Oh, sorry. I digress. Back to this kale salad. I was inspired by California’s non-terrible representation: kale/date/almond stuffing! Since all these ingredients can be saladified with different proportions, I went that route. The bread becomes crunchy rustic croutons, the kale gets a massage but stays fresh and raw. I nixed the ground turkey and cooked onions because texture, and added Spanish chorizo, cranberries, and a little shallot-lemon dressing, because flavor. It all comes together for a fresh, autumn salad, perfect for Thanksgiving or any other fall dinner. 

(PS. this is a husband arm modeling our chorizo, below!)

Date & Chorizo Kale Salad // Loves Food, Loves to Eat Date & Chorizo Kale Salad
Makes 4 servings

Unlike its crumbly, un-cooked Mexican cousin, Spanish chorizo is a hard, cured link, similar to salami. If you can’t find it, you can order online:

1 load sourdough bread
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
Salt & pepper

2 bunches of Lacinato Kale, rinsed and dried
Olive oil
Flaked sea salt

5 large dates, pitted and roughly chopped
½ cup toasted almonds, roughly chopped
Spanish chorizo, sliced or diced, about 1 cup
1 cup fresh cranberries, roughly chopped

Juice from half a lemon
1 teaspoon finely diced shallot
1 teaspoon brown mustard
1 teaspoon olive oil
Fresh ground black pepper

First, croutons. Preheat oven to 400.

Cut the crust off the bread, and cut or tear the rest into rustic, large-but-bite-sized chunks. Spread bread chunks on a sheet pan, and drizzle with the 2 T olive oil, rosemary, thyme, and a couple heavy pinches of salt and black pepper. Toss together until the bread is well coated.

Bake for about 15 minutes, until croutons are lightly browned and crunchy. Set aside.

Next, kale.

Remove the stems, and tear the leaves into bite sized pieces. Add kale to a large bowl, and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil (less than tablespoon), and a heavy pinch of flaked sea salt. Massage the salt and oil into the kale leaves with your hands—this helps break down the tough leaves—until the leaves are softer and a more vibrant green.

Add dates through cranberries to kale.

Finally, the dressing.

Whisk together lemon through black pepper, and pour over salad. Toss everything together, and enjoy! Can also be eaten the next day.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Mini Cranberry Tarts

My mom has such a generous heart. Mel’s kitchen has always been open-invite, for any meal, any holiday, any time of year. If you need a place to eat at Thanksgiving, she’ll never turn you away, and you’ll always leave happy, with a full belly.

Mini Cranberry Tarts // Loves Food, Loves to Eat This year’s Thanksgiving will be no different in that regard. In fact, we’ll have a very full house. There will be one very important person missing this year, but we’re hoping to fill our hearts (and my mom’s home) as much as possible by surrounding ourselves with friends. Lots of friends. Like… around 20 people.

Mini Cranberry Tarts // Loves Food, Loves to Eat Our Thanksgiving dinner has never been a formal affair. We don’t have place cards at the table, we don’t care if you wear sweat pants (honestly, why wouldn’t you go for the elastic waistband!?), and we don’t have rules about what items to put on the buffet and what items to put on the table. This Thanksgiving etiquette article? Go ahead and read it, and then forget everything you read, because it doesn’t apply at my family’s turkey day celebration. The only rules are that Mel makes the mashed potatoes, Amanda doesn’t make the deviled eggs (she has a problem with over-mustarding things), and that everyone laughs and eats and eats and eats.

Mini Cranberry Tarts // Loves Food, Loves to Eat This year, with so many guests, I think it will be even more casual. Everyone is bringing a dish or two, there will be seating at the table, counter, couch, floor. And… we’re having a bonfire! I figured that with such a laid-back but also busy and crowded Thanksgiving, it would be good to add some quick finger food snacks to the menu—things that can be eaten standing up, without a plate. Enter: mini cranberry pies!

Mini Cranberry Tarts // Loves Food, Loves to Eat These little bite sized beauties are tart, buttery, and just a little bit sweet. They’re also really simple, with a quick dough (no chilling, no rolling), and an equally quick filling of fresh cranberries, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and lemon juice. If you like things a little sweeter, then by all means, up the sugar or top with some sweetened whipped cream.

Mini Cranberry Tarts // Loves Food, Loves to Eat PS. This is my first baking project and photo shoot in Evan and my new place! Look at all that light! Ignore the makeshift staging area, and focus on all that beautiful light! 

Mini Cranberry Tarts

1.5 cups flour
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (1.5 sticks)
3 ounces of cream cheese, softened (the 8 oz packages have easy measurement lines on the foil)
Pinch salt
2 heaping cups fresh cranberries 
1/2 cup sugar
juice from half a lemon
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Preheat oven to 325. 

For dough, mix together flour, butter, cream cheese, and salt until combined into a ball. Divide into 24 equal sized balls. 

Press each ball into an ungreased mini muffin pan, pressing evenly up the sides as well.

For filling, chop cranberries in a food processor, and toss with remaining ingredients. Spoon filing into each dough cup. 

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until dough is just slightly golden. Loosen tarts by running knife along inside of muffin cup, and let cool before removing. 

Adapted from this recipe 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Pumpkin Cream Pie

I’m back… and with PIE!

Pumpkin Cream Pie // Loves Food, Loves to Eat A lot has happened around here in the last couple of months, and I struggled a little with how I wanted to come back, and what I wanted to say. In the wake of so much sadness (my dad passing) and so much joy (my wedding), I just couldn’t seem to put pen to paper (or…fingers to keyboard) about food.

Pumpkin Cream Pie // Loves Food, Loves to Eat Also…grief and stress can do weird things to you, appetite wise. For weeks I was sick to my stomach and couldn’t eat, then I had a few weeks of eating all the chocolate and donuts in the land, followed by a brief stint just before the wedding where I seriously forgot how to cook.

Pumpkin Cream Pie // Loves Food, Loves to Eat I didn’t know if I should talk to you about my dad, because sometimes he’s all I can think about…but ultimately, I decided that should wait—I’m not really ready for that here. And then, my wedding! And honeymoon! I have so much to share with you, but I’m waiting until we have all the photos back from our (amazing) wedding photographer. That will come soon enough. Here's a sneak peek. 

Pumpkin Cream Pie // Loves Food, Loves to Eat So, in the meantime, I knew I needed a conversation starter… but I just felt… lost. And then, I saw this pie. Now THAT is a conversation starter! I knew immediately that I wanted to adapt it for Thanksgiving, and for a few days, it was all I could think about. I seriously stared at pictures of this pie for a week. This pie reminded me why I love cooking and blogging. It inspired me to get in the kitchen and create something. To wipe the dust off my camera. Oh, and also… it’s really good.

Pumpkin Cream Pie // Loves Food, Loves to Eat The original pie is a peanut butter cream pie, but the moment I saw it, pumpkin cream pie was all I could think about. I’m not the biggest fan of standard pumpkin pie, but fluffy, creamy, cool, whipped pumpkin pie, with a cream cheese base!? Yeah, that I can get behind! And let’s not forget the chocolate crust (with chocolate shell layer!) and bourbon maple whipped cream topping! It’s not overly pumpkiny and texturally, it’s pretty fun. You have the contrast of the looser bourbon maple whip, the creamy, tangy pumpkin filling, and then the crunchy chocolate crust. I think your Thanksgiving dessert table could use one more addition, don’t you? 

Pumpkin Cream Pie // Loves Food, Loves to Eat PS. I missed you guys!

Pumpkin Cream Pie with Chocolate Crust and Bourbon-Maple Whipped Cream
Adapted from this recipe

1 cup chocolate wafer cookie crumbs (I used half a sleeve of the Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafer cookies, in crumb form)
1 tablespoon sugar
Pinch of salt
Pinch of cinnamon
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
Just under 1/2 cup dark chocolate pieces (chunks, chips, etc)

Pie Filling
1.5 cups heavy cream
1 package cream cheese (8oz), at room temp
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon vanilla 
1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling—the only ingredient should be pumpkin)

Bourbon-Maple Whipped Cream
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon bourbon
1.5 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350.

Make the crust: Combine the cookie crumbs, sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Add butter, and stir until combined. Pour into 9-inch pie dish, and press tightly into bottom and sides with your hands. Bake 13 to 15 minutes—it might be puffed up right when you take it out, but it will fall a little when it cools. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.

Melt chocolate pieces (in double boiler or microwave) and pour into cooled crust. gently spread evenly on bottom of crust. Let cool completely before filling (helps harden chocolate shell if you put in fridge to cool, but wait until pie dish is no longer warm to refrigerate).

Make the filling: With a stand mixer, hand mixer, or if you’re really buff, a whisk, beat the cream until it holds medium-hard peaks. If using a stand mixer, transfer to a separate medium-sized bowl.
In the same stand mixer bowl (with the paddle attachment) beat the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth. Add the brown sugar, salt, vanilla extract, spices, and mix well. Beat in the pumpkin puree until smooth. Remove the bowl from the mixer and gently fold in the whipped cream, a quarter at a time, until mixture is well combined but still light and fluffy. 

Spoon the filling into the fully cooled, prepared crust, and smooth top. Loosely cover and chill up to 4 hours or overnight.

Bourbon-Maple Whipped Cream: Beat the cream, bourbon, and maple syrup until it holds soft peaks. 

Just before serving, top pie with a sprinkle of cinnamon, and serve each piece with a heavy dollop of bourbon-maple whipped cream. Let the pie sit at room temp for a minute, to make cutting through the chocolate shell a bit easier. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

A Moment

Hey friends, you may have noticed some silence around here.

My dad—one of the funniest, coolest, most vibrant and charming troublemakers I've ever met—passed away two weeks ago.  

Things may continue to be quieter around here while I’ll take a moment to figure out how, for the first time in my 29 years, to live in a world that he isn’t in…while simultaneously putting final touches on Evan and my wedding, which is just 4 weeks away.

I’ll be back when the inspiration strikes, maybe in a week, maybe post honey-moon. But in the meantime, I wanted to let you know I’m not going anywhere, and I hope you’ll stick around too!


Monday, August 11, 2014

Peach + Cilantro Sodas

Hey friends! Sorry for being MIA! I've been so busy! I had Ragnar*, then went backpacking, then flew to Sonoma for my bachelorette party(!), then got sick, then blah blah blah yadda yadda etcetera etcetera PEACH + CILANTRO SODA! 

Peach + Cilantro Sodas // Loves Food, Loves to Eat Last weekend we saw Book of Mormon, the musical (so good), then went to dinner at Terra Plata afterward, where I had an amazing house-made peach cilantro soda (plus a million other delicious things). I've been dreaming about that soda since Saturday you guys. Fizzy, peachy, and not-too-sweet with juuuuust a hint of cilantro in the background. Such a small hint that you can tell something herbaceous is goin on, but you might not even guess right away what it is. Unless you're one of those crazy cilantro-tastes-like-soap people, then maybe you'll figure it out immediately. But really, if you are one of those people, you probably don't want to drink a peach + cilantro soda anyway. 

Peach + Cilantro Sodas // Loves Food, Loves to Eat If you aren't one of those cilantro-tastes-like-soap people, then you should probably definitely make this. It's easy and summery, and I won't even try to stop you from adding bourbon. Or rum. Or gin. Or even vodka, if that's your thing. 

Peach + Cilantro Sodas // Loves Food, Loves to Eat Cheers! I missed you guys! Summer is super busy and wedding countdown craziness is in full effect, but I promise I'm not abandoning you. Now, go make some bourbons! I mean, sodas!

Peach + Cilantro Sodas // Loves Food, Loves to Eat *PS. In that video on the Ragnar NWP page, see those crazies in sumo suits at 28 seconds in!? Yeah, that's my team! I'm giving a power-fist in the background with a hulk-hand. NBD. 

Peach + Cilantro Soda
Makes about 4 large glasses

5 ripe peaches, rinsed and halved, pits removed
1/3 cup cilantro (not chopped-- a small handful)
Juice from 1 lemon
1.5 tablespoons agave 
Soda water

Add peaches, cilantro, lemon, and agave to blender, and blend until smooth. In a Vitamix it gets super smooth, but if you have tiny chunks thats ok! Taste, and add a bit more sweetener or lemon if you desire - it will be diluted from the soda water, so keep that in mind. Fill your glass just over 1/3rd full with peach mix, the next third with ice, and top off with soda water. Stir and serve! Note: It may start to separate a bit, just give it another stir. 

Store extra peach mix in fridge.