Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving Stuffing Roundup

Thanksgiving is only two days away!? How did that happen? I had all these great plans for you. A few more T-day side dishes, some desserts, maybe even a cocktail. But then this crazy thing happened that fully derailed everything… I GOT ENGAGED. Our whole relationship has been a crazy whirlwind of excitement… we met, fell in love, moved in together, and got engaged. So fast.
Thanksgiving Stuffing Roundup // Loves Food, Loves to Eat Just kidding about the fast part… we’ve been together since spring of 2004, when we were wee little freshman babies in college. Most people probably think we’re already married. The general response to our engagement has been “IT’S ABOUT TIME!”

Thanksgiving Stuffing Roundup // Loves Food, Loves to Eat But more on that later, because it’s almost Thanksgiving! So, let’s discuss stuffing. Or dressing, which is technically what it’s called when baked separate from the bird. This is how I prefer it, because it’s not a soggy lump of a mess, but instead it’s crispy in places, soft in places, all around amazing. But I still call it stuffing.
Thanksgiving Stuffing Roundup // Loves Food, Loves to Eat First, the bread: start with super crispy dry bread, whether it’s 2-days old or popped under the broiler to crisp up. Try classic French bread, or mix it up with cornbread, ciabatta, or a combo! Second, the additions: I think there are 6 main categories here. Mushrooms, fruit (cranberries and apples), winter veg (squash, sweet potatoes), pork (bacon, sausage, chorizo), nuts (chestnuts, pecans, walnuts), and herbs (thyme and sage are classics).
Thanksgiving Stuffing Roundup // Loves Food, Loves to Eat
Since I didn’t have time to make a million stuffing recipes for you, I scoured the internetz for some really tasty looking recipes that you can make as-is, or use for T-day inspiration! A little something for everybody. Happy cooking!


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Cranberry Pecan Sweet Potato Quick Bread

Warning: this post contains explicit language & delicious bread.

Cranberry Pecan Sweet Potato Quick Bread// Loves Food, Loves to Eat I don't think I've told you guys about the fucking yams yet, have I? Well, it happens to be my very favorite holiday story. 

Cranberry Pecan Sweet Potato Quick Bread// Loves Food, Loves to Eat So, to set the stage… my parents certainly didn't have the mouth's of angels when I was a kid, but the F-bomb was a place they never went. I think I heard my mom say it once my whole childhood, when a thrift store wouldn't accept her donation (she was really riled up that day). Then, when I was in like, 7th or 8th grade, Amanda, Mel, and I spent one super hot summer reading through Stephen King's The Green Mile out loud together. That's what you do out in the country when you don't have cable TV…sort of like old timey radio stories. So we all took turns reading chapters. We were at one super intense part in the story, my mom was reading and Amanda and I were leaning forward in anticipation of what would come next. All of a sudden, Mel stopped reading, her face got super red, and then she continued "Eff-You-See-Kay, Percy Said!" Amanda and I looked at each other, then fell on the floor laughing. She couldn't even read the F-word out loud to us, she had to spell it out. Needless to stay, we lost our steam after that, and it took us awhile to carry on with the story. 

Cranberry Pecan Sweet Potato Quick Bread// Loves Food, Loves to Eat So, fast-forward to a few years ago. It's Thanksgiving day, and Mel is hard core stressin'. We have a house full of people, and she's pulling everything out of the oven, just about ready to serve dinner. From the living room, we hear a giant crash in the kitchen, so we all run in, and Mel is standing there, covered in yams. Orange mush on the walls, the floor, every where. My dad asks "what happened?" And then she bursts into tears and wails "THE FUCKING YAMS!" So, of course, Amanda, John, and I all die laughing. And then, to make her feel better, one of us says "we don't really like the yams anyway." If bullets could shoot out of peoples eyes, that's what would have happened at that moment.

Cranberry Pecan Sweet Potato Quick Bread// Loves Food, Loves to Eat The next year, Amanda and I wandered out Thanksgiving morning in shirts we had made with a cartoon yam and Mel's new catchphrase "THE FUCKING YAMS." Needless to say, this time her tears were laugh-tears, and the phrase sort of just stuck. So now every year we make sure we add some sort of fucking yam to the Thanksgiving menu. 

Cranberry Pecan Sweet Potato Quick Bread// Loves Food, Loves to Eat But the truth is, we weren't lying when we told her that we didn't really love the yams. The mushy, sweet, marshmallow covered yams. So ever since that day, we try to do something new with them. Roasted sweet potatoes, scalloped sweet potatoes, etc. This year, I figured we could go in a whole new direction, and make a sweet potato quick bread!

Cranberry Pecan Sweet Potato Quick Bread// Loves Food, Loves to Eat I based this off of the pumpkin quick bread in my trusty Fannie Farmer cookbook, and was inspired by the recipe just below it for cranberry quick bread. Full of nuts and tart cranberries, with warm fall spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, this bread is perfect for the main meal, the dessert table, or even breakfast the next day.  

Cranberry Pecan Sweet Potato Bread
Based loosely on a Fannie Farmer recipe

Plan ahead so your puree has time to cool before mixing with the egg, otherwise you'll have weird cooked egg pieces. To make the sweet potatoes, I just peeled and cubed one orange sweet potato, then steamed it (in a veg steamer) for about 15 minutes, until it was super tender, and then mashed with a pastry blender until smooth. You can also roast a whole, unpeeled sweet potato, or try boiling the peeled chunks, ala Martha Stewart (minus the salt & pepper).

1.5 cups flour (I used half whole wheat, half all purpose)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sweet potato puree, cooled 
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 teaspoon fresh nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 cup pecans, chopped
1/4 cup water
1 cup fresh cranberries, chopped
2 teaspoons course turbinado sugar

Preheat oven to 350, and butter a loaf pan.

Whisk together flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda. In a separate bowl, stir together potato puree, oil, eggs, spices, and water until properly mixed. Add sweet potato mixture to dry ingredients, and stir until just combined, don't over mix. Stir in nuts and cranberries. Pour into loaf pan and sprinkle course sugar over top. Bake 55-65 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on rack. 


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Roasted Vegetables with Harissa Yogurt

Roasted Vegetables with Harissa Yogurt // Loves Food, Loves to Eat
Hey guess what!? I mentioned this on my Loves Food, Loves to Eat Facebook page, and also on twitter, but if you're not following along at either of those places (you should be!) then I'll tell you here too. I'm doing NaNoWriMo! NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month, and it takes place every November. I've been very, very slowly writing a story for the past two years, and decided to use NaNo as an excuse to push through and finish it. The goal with NaNo is to write 50,000 words, which is the average size of a novel. I'm up to 30,000! Anyway, my novel has nothing to do with food. It's a mystery type story. My mom likes it so far, so…I'll consider that a success. Stay tuned, maybe I'll let you read it someday. 

Roasted Vegetables with Harissa Yogurt // Loves Food, Loves to Eat But anyway, enough about that. Let's talk about your Thanksgiving table. There's the turkey, the mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing/dressing, something orange, green beans of some sort, bread rolls, and cranberry sauce. Right? 

Roasted Vegetables with Harissa Yogurt // Loves Food, Loves to Eat Well, I like to also add some roasted vegetables with a little spice. These vegetables, delicata squash, carrots, parsnip, and onions are roasted until they're all caramelized, and the coconut oil adds just a hint of sweetness. Then the whole thing is topped with harissa yogurt, which is cool, sweet, and spicy all at once. Throw some crunchy, juicy pomegranate arils on top, and it's ready to serve.  

Roasted Vegetables with Harissa Yogurt // Loves Food, Loves to Eat

Roasted Winter Vegetables with Harissa Yogurt 

1 delicata squash
1 large carrot, peeled and cubed
1 parsnip, peeled and cubed
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 can drained, rinsed chickpeas (not pictured..*)
2 teaspoons coconut oil, melted
salt & pepper
6 oz plain greek yogurt
1/2-1 teaspoon harissa spice blend (dry)**
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons olive oil
juice from half a lemon 
Pomegranate arils (the fruity seeds)

Preheat oven to 400.

Slice delicate in 1/2 inch slices, and clear out center of each slice with a spoon. Separate and save the seeds (like with pumpkin seeds). 

Toss squash slices, squash seeds, carrots, parsnip, and onion with coconut oil, and spread out on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with a fairly generous amount of salt and pepper (you can also sprinkle on spices here if you'd like. I've tried za'atar and thyme, both were great!).

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until everything is tender. If you want more color on it, stick under the broiler for thirty seconds to a minute (keep an eye on it).

Stir together yogurt, harissa, honey, olive oil, and lemon juice. Add salt to taste.

Serve vegetables hot, topped with yogurt mixture and pomegranate arils.

This is also pretty good cold the next day, or tossed with arugula for a little salad. But, since it's cooked in coconut oil, once it's refrigerated, the coconut oil hardens again. 

*Edit: Aw man! I completely forgot that when I made this before I added 1 can of drained, rinsed chickpeas! I would definitely recommend doing that. 

**I've tried both the spice blend and the paste in this, and prefer the dry spice blend. You can buy it bulk in a lot of places or try this


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Papa's Marinated Green Olives

Papa's Marinated Green Olives// Loves Food, Loves to Eat
THANKSGIVING! Just a few weeks away! I have a few recipes that you can adopt for your Thanksgiving table this year, and the first is so, so perfect: a simple little snack that also happens to be a really special family recipe for Evan. 

Papa's Marinated Green Olives// Loves Food, Loves to Eat
Every time Evan and his family visited his paternal grandparents, his grandpa, Frank "Papa" Piro made his signature marinated olives. Evan said these olives were always a highlight of the trip. And he said that as a kid, he was amazed that his Papa could make olives, he had no idea how he did it! PS. Evan was a really cute little boy, and this is my favorite picture on Earth. Those sandals! 

Papa's Marinated Green Olives// Loves Food, Loves to Eat
Papa's Marinated Green Olives// Loves Food, Loves to Eat Unfortunately, I never had the chance to meet Papa or Mamo Piro, but luckily I get to hear tons of great stories from Evan and his family, and we ended up with a copy of the recipe for Papa's Olives! 

Papa's Marinated Green Olives// Loves Food, Loves to Eat These are so easy and flavorful—just a jar of store-bought green olives, marinated in garlic, red pepper flakes, olive oil, and oregano. We like to make a jar and just keep them in the fridge for snacking, but they would be such a perfect addition to the Thanksgiving feast—a simple snack you can prepare ahead of time, before you get all crazy with the turkey and ninety seven side dishes. 

Papa's Marinated Green Olives// Loves Food, Loves to Eat
Thanksgiving is for giving thanks, so this one, this thank you is to Evan's family, for making me one of their own, being supportive and caring and welcoming to my family, letting me whisk Evan away all the time, sending me awesome hilarious childhood pics (Thanks Mary Ellen!), and for sharing their amazing history and traditions with me. And for these olives.

Papa's Marinated Green Olives// Loves Food, Loves to Eat
Papa's Olives

You can make these right in the jar they came in, or if you buy canned olives, just mix it up in a bowl or other jar! The flavors intensify as they sit and meld, but feel free to add more garlic, pepper flakes, etc, as your tastes desire! 

1 6-7 oz jar or can of green olives, drained
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon dried oregano

Add garlic, pepper flakes, olive oil, and oregano to jar, and shake to mix well. For a pretty presentation, serve in a little dish, or transfer to cute jars for gifts (!!). 

Papa's Marinated Green Olives// Loves Food, Loves to Eat

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Baked Tortilla Cup Huevos Rancheros

Evan was sick all weekend, so I made him his favorite chipotle chicken tortilla soup. Which meant I had a jar of chipotle peppers in my fridge, along with half a lime, cilantro, cotija, corn tortillas, and of course, sour cream (which, let’s be real, I always have in my fridge). I also had a can of black beans in the cupboard, and a brand new jar of Mel’s homemade salsa.

Baked Tortilla Cup Huevos Rancheros// Loves Food, Loves to Eat
I went to bed Saturday night planning Sunday’s brunch, those ingredients dancing in my mind (seriously… who needs sugar plums). First I was thinking a scramble, then maybe something like chilaquiles, or maybe a fried egg tostada type deal. But just before I drifted off to sleep, it came to me: baked eggs in tortilla cups, with mashed chipotle black beans. EUREKA!

Baked Tortilla Cup Huevos Rancheros// Loves Food, Loves to EatI woke up super early Sunday morning (ok, like 8am…which because of the time change should have been 9am, but whatever…I’m not an early riser), feeling like a freaking genius for the idea I had come up with. So I decided to just do a real quick search on the ol’ internetz to find some tips for tortilla cups and egg baking… and the Google search “tortilla cup baked eggs” popped up a recipe that was pretty much exactly what I had dreamt up. The top search result.

Baked Tortilla Cup Huevos Rancheros// Loves Food, Loves to Eat
Like… get out of my head, Bon Appetit! 

Baked Tortilla Cup Huevos Rancheros// Loves Food, Loves to Eat
So, while I thought this recipe was totally unique and completely my own, it turns out tortilla cups filled with mashed black beans and top with a baked egg exists, outside of my head. They even used chipotle. C’MON, YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING ME!
Baked Tortilla Cup Huevos Rancheros// Loves Food, Loves to Eat

Anyway. These are super easy to throw together, and an awesome brunch party idea, since you can make individual little egg cups for everyone. Or you can make them for breakfast for yourself, then eat all 6 of them throughout the day… that’s also a thing that can happen.

Baked Tortilla Cup Huevos Rancheros
Adapted from this recipe
Olive oil 
Six 6-6.5-inch corn tortillas (soft taco size)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo, diced + extra sauce adobo sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin 
3/4 cup grated cheese (jack, cheddar, etc)
6 large eggs 
Salt & pepper
Sour cream
Crumbled cotija cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Brush six 10-ounce custard cups with oil (or cooking spray), or use large muffin tins (not regular cupcake size). 

Wet and wring out a paper towel, and wrap around stacked tortillas. Microwave until warm and pliable, about 30 seconds. Gently press 1 tortilla into each cup, and brush with oil (or spray).

Add beans, a splash of oil, the chipotle peppers and sauce (add more or less, depending on your heat tolerance), cumin, a pinch of salt, and ¼ of the grated cheese to a bowl, and mash with a fork or pastry blender.

Spoon bean mixture into bottom of each tortilla cup.

Crack 1 egg into each tortilla cup on top of the beans, being careful not to let it spill over the edge. Sprinkle each with salt and pepper, and the remaining grated cheese.

Bake uncovered until whites are set, about 25-27 minutes. Serve with suggested toppings.


Friday, November 1, 2013

Creamy White Chicken Chili

Creamy White Chicken Chili // Loves Food, Loves to Eat
I know that white chicken chili is nothing new, and has probably been blogged and pinned and cooked and eaten a hundred kazillion times. I read a ton of food blogs and spend hours pouring over food photos, recipes, and magazines, so I forget that a lot of my readers (hi, mom!) are just looking for simple, everyday recipes. Recipes that might not be the most unique thing they've ever seen, but come together quickly on a weeknight to warm their kitchens and fill their bellies. This one is for you guys. 

Creamy White Chicken Chili // Loves Food, Loves to Eat I've certainly had white chicken before, but I honestly couldn't remember when or where, or whether or not I liked it. So I decided to whip up my Grandma Carol's recipe, with a few changes. And guess what? It's really effing awesome. I felt like "why haven't I been making this every weekend!?" Seriously, it's so good! And it's so, so, so easy. Especially if you convince your boyfriend that he's really good at chopping onions and should do it every time. 

Creamy White Chicken Chili // Loves Food, Loves to Eat ...I've also convinced him that he's really good at unloading the dishwasher and taking out the trash. 

Creamy White Chicken Chili

Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 chicken breasts, cubed
1/2 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cans white beans, drained and rinsed (any variety: Great Northern, Cannellini, small white beans, etc)
3 cups chicken broth
2 4-ounce cans chopped green chiles
1.5 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt & black pepper
1 cup sour cream*

Optional toppings: 
Grated cheese
Tortilla chips

In a large pot, heat a swirl of olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, and cook until just translucent. Add garlic and chicken and cook through. Add remaining ingredients except sour cream. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in sour cream. 

*Evan hates sour cream (I know, he's crazy), so I left it out and just added a dollop to my own bowl. It was delish both ways, but for a good creamy chili, add to the whole pot. 

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