Thursday, February 14, 2013

Almond Joy + Donut

If you don't have a donut pan in your life, you should probably get one. We had put it on our registry thinking it'd be fun to try our hand at homemade donuts. Well, tried we have. And the results are delicious. Always. Plus, they're baked. Way healthier than fried donuts, right?

This base recipe is great. From there, you can dip the donuts into any toppings. I'm still on a Nutella kick, so I decided on an almond joy variety of donut, but with Nutella instead of plain ol' chocolate. Great decision, if I do say so myself.

Almond Joy Donuts
adapted from Table for Two
6 donuts


For the Donut:
3/4 cup flour
2 tbsp corn starch
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar (I cut this down to even less)
1/3 cup + 2 tbsp milk
1 1/2 tsp vinegar
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp butter, melted

For the "Almond Joy" topping:
1/3 cup nutella
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lightly butter or grease donut pan.
In a large bowl, mix together all dry ingredients: flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt & sugar.
In a separate bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together milk, vinegar, egg & melted butter.
Pour the egg mixture into the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Do not overmix, or your donuts won't be fluffy!
Transfer batter to the donut pan. I use a spoon, but a ziploc bag with a corner cut out would work well, also.
Bake for 7 minutes, or until slightly golden brown on top and the donuts spring back when touched.
Let cool for a few minutes.
While the donuts are cooling, prepare the topping. 
Mix together the nutella and heavy cream until smooth. 
Place coconut and almond together in a separate bowl.
Take each donut, dip and swirl in the nutella mix and then dip in the almond & coconut mix.
Repeat until you've reached your desired amount of topping.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Naan + Pizza

In the spirit of quick recipes, we present to you naan pizza. Credit goes to H for this masterpiece.

This was the perfect Friday night meal. It was easy to customize, quick to prepare, and quick to cook. We made two varieties, and both were fab.

Garlic Naan Pizza
2-3 Servings

3 frozen Trader Joe's Naan (We used Garlic, but Tandoori would work just as well!)
2 tbsp cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup pasta sauce
1/2 onion, diced
2 green chilies, finely chopped
1 large tomato, thinly sliced
3/4 cup shredded cheese (we used jalapeno pepper jack)
3 tsp pizza seasoning

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place garlic naans on a baking sheet, and bake for 5-7 minutes, until soft and lightly browned. Remove naans, and keep the oven at 425 degrees.
Then, prepare pizzas.
For the cream cheese based naans, start by spreading about 1 tbsp cream cheese per naan. Top with sliced tomato, onion, and green chili.  Add 1 tsp pizza seasoning per naan. Finish with cheese.
For the pasta sauce based naan, start by spreading pasta sauce on naan. Top with onion and green chili. Add 1 tsp pizza sauce per naan. Finish with cheese.
Once pizzas are assembled, place back in oven and bake for an additional 5-7 minutes, until cheese is completely melted.
Remove from oven and let cool for 2-3 minutes before slicing and serving.

Fun fact: I loved the cream cheese base, while H preferred the pasta sauce base.

This would be great meal for a group as well - easy to customize and each guest could "build" their own pizza. The possibilities are endless. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Cake Mix + Mint Chips

Sometimes someone asks you to bring something to a party. Sometimes you look in your cupboard to find you're a cup short of flour and are nearly out of sugar. It happens.

In those sometimes, think of these. Made from things you likely have on hand. The not-so-secret ingredient: cake mix. The moist-ness and cakey-ness of these cookies is, always, perfect.

You can throw anything into these cookies. Shredded coconut, dried fruit, nuts, a spoon or two of peanut butter, a scoop of nutella, chocolate chips... the list goes on. Easy AND versatile.

This time, I threw in some Guittard Mint Chips. I usually only see them around the holidays, but tend to stock up so the supply lasts me through all seasons. I've seen them at Target, Safeway, and Cost Plus World Market.

Cake Mix Cookies with Guittard Mint Chips
18-24 cookies

1 box cake-mix (Devil's Food is my personal fav)
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil
1/2 cup Guittard Mint Chips

Preheat oven to 350*. Prepare and lightly oil a baking sheet
In a mixing bowl, combine cake-mix, eggs, and oil. Then, stir in the mint chips.
Using your hands, form small balls with the dough and place on the prepared baking sheet, at least 1 inch apart. To achieve the look in the picture, place one mint chip in the center of each dough ball prior to placing in the oven.
Bake for 8-11 minutes. It's best to take them out of the oven when they seem slightly underdone. 
Let cool for a few minutes before removing from baking sheet (or else they will fall apart!)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Tomato + Avocado

This is hardly a recipe, as much as it is a reminder of the happy seasons to come.

There are fewer things lovelier than a perfectly green avocado. What do you get when you layer it with a tomato, add some cheese. and top it with balsamic vinegar? A heavenly bite of warm weather.

2 servings

1 tomato, sliced
1 ripe avocado, sliced
shredded cheese of choice (I used Manchego)
sea salt
black pepper
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Starting with tomato, stack alternating slices of tomato and avocado. Top with sea salt and black pepper. Sprinkle the cheese on top. Lastly, drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Polenta + Tomato Sauce

I've been in the mood to try new things, lately. There's been a lot of change happening, why not incorporate that into our nightly cuisine!

This recipe was simple, yet oh-so satisfying. It has the comfort of mashed potatoes, without as much butter.

Baked Polenta topped with Tomato & Mushroom 
recipe adapted from Joy the Baker

2 servings

2 cups water
1 cup cornmeal
salt, to taste
2 tbsp unsalted butter
crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
1/4 cup grated cheese (I used Manchego)

Tomato & Mushroom topping:
1/2 can whole tomatoes
1/2 onion, peeled
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 tsp pizza seasoning (or crushed red pepper flakes + italian seasoning)
salt, to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
4 oz sliced mushrooms
crushed black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350*F.
Start with the polenta. Mix water, cornmeal, and salt in a baking dish. I separated the mix into half, and divided it among 2 oven-safe bowls in order to prepare individual servings. The cornmeal will settle to the bottom, and the water will be a bit cloudy. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven, and mix in the butter. Once butter is melted, return the polenta to the oven for an additional 15 minutes. You'll know the polenta is fully baked when it's not jiggling and the top is dry. Remove from oven, and stir in cheese and red pepper flakes. Let cool for a few minutes before serving.

While the polenta is baking, start the tomato & mushroom topping. Heat olive oil in a skillet, and add mushrooms. Let cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally  until mushrooms browned and fragrant. Mix in black pepper and red chili flakes. In a separate saucepan, add tomatoes, butter, and onion. Try to keep the onion intact, as it will be easier to discard later. Let simmer on medium heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once sauce thickens, remove from heat and discard onion half. Stir in pizza seasoning. Then, combine mushrooms in the tomato sauce.

To serve, scoop tomato & mushroom mixture over the polenta. Top with shredded cheese.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Nutella + Peanut Butter

Welcome to our little kitchen. In the beautiful city by the bay. Here's what you need to know about us, for now. I'm S & he's H. We are newlyweds. And we love food. Here's to embarking on a new adventure together, to share the love from our kitchen with you. We hope you enjoy!

It's our first blog post AND it's World Nutella Day. Coincidence? Fate? 

When I came across this recipe on Pinterest, it was straight to the kitchen I went. Apart from the insanely deliciously sounding combination in the name, I was even more inclined to try these because the recipe lacked flour. 

Make these, you won't be disappointed.

Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookies with Nutella Filling
recipe courtesy of The Spiffy Cookie

2 dozen cookies

1 cup chunky peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup nutella
Course sea salt, optional

Preheat oven to 350*F and lightly grease a cookie sheet (or line with parchment)
Mix peanut butter, sugars, egg, vanilla extract until combined. Scoop the mixture onto the prepared cookie sheet. I used two spoons to do so, but a small ice cream scoop would work just as well. These cookies won't spread much, so there is no need to space them more than 1/2 inch apart.
Bake for 10 minutes, or until cookies are slightly flattened and the shine has disappeared.
Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes.
While the cookies are still warm, make an indentation in the middle of each one. I used a bottle cap to do so, it was the perfect size. Scoop nutella into each of the indentations. I used two spoons to do this, as well.
Sprinkle with sea salt, if desired.

*I halved the recipe, it yielded about 10 cookies.