Saturday, August 15, 2015

Peach, Nectarine, and Apple Cobbler

When you live in a part of the country / world with seasons, summer is a season that you come to cherish. Not only does it bring back great memories of long, lazy, and fun days filled with swimming, biking, road trips, and running through a sprinkler in your backyard, but it brings with it the most amazing fresh fruits and vegetables. 

Yes, fruits and veggies you can find all year long, but let's face it - winter strawberries just don't taste as good as the summer ones, especially if you just picked them off the vine when they are still warm from the sun. I can't even find peaches outside of July and August in the grocery, so when they are here, I try to take full advantage. This cobbler is just one great recipe that I changed up a little from the original on epicurious. You can make it with all peaches, all nectarines, or probably all apples, but I like the mix and usually pick among the best and most ripe fruits that I have in the kitchen so that I get the best product. I've included below my recipe that makes a larger product (enough for a 9"x13" pan). I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did! 

Peach, Nectarine, and Apple Cobbler


Fruit Filling: 
5 ripe peaches
3 ripe nectarines
1-2 apples
1/3 cup sugar 
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

Cobbler Topping: 
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 and 3/4 sticks cold butter 
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup boiling water 

9x13" baking dish


1. Heat over to 425 degrees. 

2. Start to boil some water on the stove or take 1/2 cup of water and put it in the microwave for 45second-1minute to warm. 

3. Take all the fruit, peel and slice it into 1/2-1 inch pieces (I left some of the nectarines with the skins on, however). Try to do this over the baking dish so that the juices from the fruit are collected in the pan. Put all of the sliced fruit evenly into the bottom of the 9x13-inch pan. Sprinkle with the sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch, then mix it in the dish with a spoon so that the fruit is generally evenly coated with these. 

4. Place the fruit in the oven as it is heating up to get the fruit starting to cook. Leave it in there for no  more than 10 minutes. In the meantime, start to make the topping. 

5. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut the cold butter into paddies. Take the paddies of butter and add it to the flour, mixing it with your hands (will be messy) until the flour and butter are incorporated well into each other and the butter is about the size of small peas. Add the boiling water and mix together with a spoon until well incorporated, but do not overmix. 

6. Take the fruit out of the oven. Scoop the cobbler topping on top of the fruit and gently spread to try to cover as much surface area as possible. Place the baking dish back in the oven and cook until the topping is golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. 

7. This is great to serve warm for ice cream or can sit for a couple of hours to serve later. 

8. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Crème Brûlée French Toast

Mmm... French Toast in the morning. There is something special for me about well-made French toast. It's probably my love of carbs, and especially bread. Crispy on the outside, soft and creamy on the inside, with real maple syrup and of course berries or fruit to make me feel like it's a healthy choice - I love making this recipe when I have time for it. It doesn't take a lot of time, but my usual workday routine doesn't allow time for serious cooking. With residency finished in June, however, I had July to study for boards (painful), but break  did give me enough time in the morning to indulge in making French press coffee, reading the news, and of course this wonderful French Toast recipe! 

I used to make French toast by just whisking together eggs and some cream and then dipping the bread in it and frying. However, the toast always ended up tasting a little egg-y (which I despise) and the batter usually ended up not being evenly dispersed over the toast. Thus, I decided to make a batter like you would make crème brûlée, which significantly improved the final product. It does take a little bit more time and a couple more dishes, but in the end it's significantly worth it. This recipe is enough for 1-2 people (makes 3-4 slices of toast), but can be sized up easily. 

Crème Brûlée French Toast 


1/2 cup heavy cream 
1 medium-large egg yolk 
pinch of salt 
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract 
Optional: pinch of cinnamon +/- nutmeg 
3-4 pieces of slides quality bread (I like mild sourdough)
1 Tablespoon butter 

Fruit of choice for garnishing
Real maple syrup


1. Place the heavy cream in a saucepan and turn on medium. Scald the cream (heat it until it starts to mildly bubble). While you're waiting for the cream to scald, separate the egg yolk from the egg white and place the egg yolk in a small bowl. 

2. Once the cream is scalded, warm the eggs (whisk the egg yolk constantly while pouring 1/3-1/2 of the cream into the bowl with the egg yolk, continue to whisk constantly). Place the saucepan back on the stove and then transfer the warmed eggs to the rest of the cream mixture in the saucepan, again whisk constantly. Whisk for a minute to two or until the cream-egg mixture thickens. Once it is thickened, turn off the heat. Stir in the salt, vanilla extract, and any other flavors you want the batter to have. 

3. In a larger flat bottomed pan or (cast iron) skillet, place the patty of butter and allow it to melt on medium heat. Place a piece of bread into the cream-egg batter mixture and coat both sides of the bread. Once the butter is heated (but not burned), fry the bread in the butter until the sides are slightly crispy, about 1-2 minutes per side. Once cooked, remove from the pan and put on a plate. Repeat with the other pieces of bread until all are pan-fried. 

4. Cut up fruit of your choice into bite-sized pieces. Serve on the plate with the French Toast. Drizzle with real maple syrup. 

5. Enjoy! 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Pot Roast

It's snowing. It's cold (it's only 15 degrees), and I'm sick of cooking, but don't really want to go out. Time to re-discover the good old Crock Pot!! I had a craving for beef and so made this pot roast, which I think turned out really well. Here's the recipe for my future memory and for you to try! 

Pot Roast 


1.5-2 lbs of brisket, trimmed of fat 
1 onion, cut into chunks
2-3 cups of beef broth (enough to cover the meat but not to fill the whole crock pot)
3 Tablespoons olive oil 
3 bay leafs (leaves?)
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning (or thyme)
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup red wine (optional)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 
1/4 teaspoon salt (if beef broth not too salty) - more to taste if needed, esp at the end with the gravy
pepper, to taste 
2-3 parsnips cut into french-fry type shapes
2-3 carrots cut into french-fry type shapes 
1/4 cup flour & 1/4 cup water, mixed into thickish paste

Mashed potatoes to your liking if you want. 

1. Get out your crock pot and make sure it's not dusty. 

2. Trim any fat off of the brisket. In a large flat-bottomed pan / skillet, heat the oil until just before its smoking point. Add the brisket and quickly brown on each side (max 1 minute each side). Take the brisket off of the pan and put it into the crock pot. (Don't transfer any excess oil).  

3. Put the rest of the ingredients except the parsnips and carrots into the crock pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours. 

4. 1-2 hours before dinner, put in the parsnips and carrots and cook for 1-2 hours. (Start the mashed potatoes soon if you want them). 

5. Take out the brisket and place on a cutting board and allow to rest for a bit. Then, cut against the grain into strips for eating. 

6. Remove the veggies with a slotted spoon and place them in a pan. 

7. Transfer the juice from the crockpot into a pot. When boiling, add the flour-water mixture and whisk until thick like a gravy. You may need to add more flour-water mixture or cornstarch-water mixture to get to the gravy consistency. There is no exact science. 

8. Serve the brisket and veggies topped with gravy and mashed potatoes on the side. Mmm. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Miso, Ginger, and Pine Nut Dressing

My husband again has managed to make something delicious that I must document in an attempt to replicate on my own. Here is his dressing: 


2 cloves garlic 
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder 
2 Tablespoons yellow miso 
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil (dark)
1/4-1/3 cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons water 
1 1/2 Tablespoons lemon juice 
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon chili oil 
2 Tablespoons pine nuts 
1 green onion


1. Put into a blender, mix with an emersion blender, or whisk well together in a bowl. Serve over lettuce, other salad, or as a marinade / finishing sauce for chicken or fish. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Curried Cauliflower and Potatoes

I am in love with my husband's cauliflower curry. He always makes it perfectly. I'm copying his recipe here so that hopefully I can make it on my own in the future. 


1 onion, chopped small 
1 large head of cauliflower, chopped into approximately 1/2-inch pieces
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped coarsely
2 medium potatoes, diced small
3 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 cup of frozen peas 
1/4 cup coconut oil 
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons curry powder 
2 teaspoons garam masala
1/2 teaspoon asafetida
1/2 teaspoon mango powder (optional)
2 teaspoons black cumin seed
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon tumeric
1 1/2 teaspoon salt 


1. Add one-third of the coconut oil to a large sauce-type pan. Raise heat to medium-high. Add cumin seed and mustard seed for 1 minute, until the seeds start to pop some but do not burn. Then, add onion. Saute until the onion begins to caramelized, approximately 5 minutes. Remove mixture from pan and set aside. 

2. Place one-third more of the coconut oil into the pan. Add the cauliflower, tumeric, 1 teaspoon salt, and saute for approximately 7 minutes with lid on, stirring occasionally. Stir in the potatoes. Continue to saute for 10-15 more, until the potatoes are soft, stirring regularly with a scraper, to get the little bits off of the bottom of the pan. You do not want to add water. When potatoes are tender enough to eat, add remaining ingredients and the onion mixture. Cook until the tomatoes begin to fall apart. 

3. Serve on its own or over rice. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Roasted Chicken Tacos with Mexican Gravy

This weekend, the hubs decided that he was going to buy more tomatoes (because canning 120 pounds of them wasn't enough) in order to try making his own salsa for the first time. It went well, although I think next year we will be making some changes to the recipe. In any event, we wanted to make a dinner dish in order to highlight the salsa and settled on trying to replicate our favorite Mexican restaurant's chicken that they put into their tamales, tacos, enchiladas, etc. The chicken is always so moist, and their seasoning of it is perfect. We obviously don't know the secrets to their sauces and seasoning, but the hubs is pretty good spices and came up with this close - and delicious - mix. We particularly like roasting whole chickens as you tend to get more meat, the price per pound is cheaper, and the meat stays juicier. This also allows you to keep all the juices to make gravy or other sauces with, which is an added bonus. We will definitely keep this method of making taco meat in our recipe-box, and hopefully will branch out from tacos to other entrees to highlight the meat in the future. 


Roasted Chicken Tacos with Mexican Gravy


For the spice mixture:

2 Tablespoons chili powder 
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 
1/2 teaspoon onion powder 
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
1 Tablespoon cumin 
1 teaspoon celery seed 
2 teaspoons salt 
2 teaspoons black pepper 

For the chicken:

1 whole chicken (4 pounds about), fresh or thawed 
1/4 cup of canola or grapeseed oil
2 1/2 cup water 

thickening agent (flour, potato starch, corn starch)


1. Heat oven to 350 degrees 
2. Loosen the skin of the chicken with the back of a wooden spoon. Smear 1/4 cup of canola or grapeseed oil under and on top of the skin. Take 1/2 of the spice mixture and rub it under and on top of the skin.
3. Place the spiced-up chicken in a dutch oven and pour water into the base so that there is about an inch of water under the bird. Cover the dutch oven with a lid and close the oven door (you want to steam cook the bird). 
4. Bake for about  hour 15 minutes (or per the directions with the bird) or until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 165. Would recommend flipping the bird half way through the cooking process. 
5. Take the chicken out of the oven when done. Remove the chicken from the dutch oven, draining any liquid from the cavity of the chicken back into the dutch oven. (Save this liquid for below. Do not discard.) Place the chicken on a plate, cooling rack, or bowl and allow it to cool some until it's at a comfortable enough temperature for you to start to remove the meat from the chicken with your hands. 
6. When it is cool enough, remove the skin from the bird and then use your hands to remove the pieces of the meat from all parts of the bird and place it in a separate bowl. Shred any larger pieces of meat with two forks. 
7. Toss the newly shredded meat with the remaining spice seasoning. 
8. Place the dutch oven with the seasoned drippings from the bird on the stovetop. Turn the heat to medium-high, and allow it to come to a soft boil. Once boiling, whisk in your choice of thickening agent (we use Egg-replacer, which is a potato starch and tapioca start based thickener, but you could also use either potato starch, corn starch, or about 1/4-1/3 cup flour mixed with 1/4-1/3 cup water). Whisk this until the gravy is thickened. Don't worry about bits of chicken in the gravy (yum!). Salt to taste. 
9. Assemble your tacos with your choice of sides:  Guacamole, salsa, onions, peppers, tomatoes, lettuce (or other greens), and/or sour cream. Use the gravy inside the tacos or drizzled over multiple tacos for presentation. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Wild Rice Salad

Several months ago the hubs and I went to a local museum, where they were highlighting a chef who works for a neighborhood food kitchen. He has brought nutricious, delicious, and free (!) lunches to an area of town that was a healthy food desert. He made this salad to highlight our local Minnesota wild rice, which was so delicious. 

There are many types of wild rice that are commercially available, but we have found that the rice harvested by hand from the northern river beds of Minnesota is the best. Many of the local native tribes are active in the harvest and selling of the rice, which is fun. The native rice cooks the fastest and has the best flavor. We really fell in love with this salad and now make it - and versions of it - frequently at home. Enjoy! 

(Minnesota) Wild Rice Salad


1.5 cups wild rice 
4 cups water 
(1 broth cube)
1 carrot 
1 onion 
3 large swiss chard leaves (or spinach)
1/3 cup chopped mixed nuts (preferably walnuts, almonds, or pecans)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
1/4 cup raisins, dried cherries, or other fruit


1 cup cilanto (1/2 bunch)
1/2 cup olive oil 
3 Tablespoons champagne vinegar 
3 cloves garlic 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1 Tablespoon agave syrup (or maple syrup)
1 teaspoon mustard (stone ground)


1.) 2-3 hours ahead of time, cook the rice in the water with a broth cube (optional). To do this, bring the rice, water, and broth cube to a boil in a large sized pan. Once it comes to a boil, turn down and cover. Cook on low until the rice is fluffy and soft (how long depends on the rice). Drain any extra water. Place the rice in a medium sized bowl and allow it to sit at room temperature until it's completely cooled. Then, fluff. We have found that putting it in the fridge works against the consistency of the rice and instead we just let it cool to room temperature on the counter. 
2.) 30 minutes or so before wanting to serve the dish, Chop the onion into 1 centimeter pieces. Place some canola or olive oil in a saute pan and over low-to-medium heat, sautee the onions until they are soft, brown, and somewhat sweet. Then, place them aside. Grate/shave the carrot into small pieces. Roll the swiss chard leaves length-wise into a little tube and chop/slice the tube into little strips (chiffonade-style). Chop the nuts. 
3.) Make the dressing by combining all ingredients in a bowl and then mixing with an electric mixer or - even better - an immersion blender until a dressing is made. The most important part of the dressing is keeping the oil to vinegar ratio 3:1 and putting in mustard to help as an emulsifyer. The other ingredients can be played with as you like. 
4.) Assemble the salad by combining the rice, veggies, dried fruit, and nuts. Pour over the dressing and stir all together.