Every time I make twice baked potatoes I curse myself for not making them more often. They are hardly more work than a traditional baked potato, and while the ingredients aren’t really different (I usually put butter, sour cream and chives on my baked spuds) something magical seems to happen when you fully mix the topping into the flesh of the potato and send it back into the oven for a quick stay at finishing school.
The kitchen gods were good to me this week. Just as I was noodling on what to do with an almost full container of ricotta cheese in my fridge (leftover from making these seafood ravioli), this gorgeous recipe for a ricotta based cake arrived at my doorstep courtesy of my friends at Bon Appétit Magazine.
How many of you have ever made your own pasta? I know it can seem a bit daunting, and with high-quality dried and fresh pastas available everywhere these days, many of us can’t be bothered with making it from scratch. But can I tell you something? Once you experience the ritual of making your own and then taste how clearly superior it is to ANY store bought brand, you’ll be a pasta maker for life.
The latest issue of Bon Appétit Magazine had a feature on how to make all sorts of different energy bars from scratch, and of the half-dozen or so that they shared, this one struck me as the one to give a try. I think it mostly had to do with the binder made from tart cherries, rice syrup and salt (YUM!), but it also could have been that I have 3 different bags of quinoa in my pantry just screaming for redemption. Whatever the reason, I’m quite happy to have made these.
I love potatoes! Whether they be white, sweet, or purple; smashed, whipped, or fried….you name it and if its made with a spud I’m a fan.
That said, I do recognize their nutritional challenges (especially white varieties), and often lament the fact that the creamy dollop of mashed potatoes smiling back at me from the center of my plate, offer little in the way of nutrition, save the dairy fat brought by the cream and butter that make them so luscious. Over the years I’ve made efforts to augment the whipped goodness that often anchors my meals by either adding healthier veggies to my spuds to make them more nutritious, or by replacing them altogether with a tasty alternative.
I’ve had a lot of time to catch up on food magazine reading over the past few weeks as the Northeast has been pounded with FOUR significant snowstorms that have kept us all locked up and out of harm’s way. As luck would have it I had all of the ingredients for this special treat on-hand during the first of these big snow events, which was a blizzard that dropped 31″ of snow on us, and required that we stay put for 3 days until a plow could finally reach us and clear the drive.
Beans, beans the magical fruit, the more you eat the more you…..
I don’t need to complete the rest of that limerick for you now, do I?
I didn’t think so.
The fact is, that little ditty is burned into the minds of most kids by the time they’re ten years old, and may go a long way toward explaining why so many people have an aversion to eating beans. Let’s face it, the social implications of a poorly timed meal rich with beans can be staggering, especially for folks who don’t eat them as a normal part of their diet. You see, our bodies tend to adjust over time to the gas producing effects of beans, lessening their impact on our digestive tracts the more that we eat them. This is a good thing, because as an inexpensive source of protein that is low in fat and high in fiber and nutrients, we should all be cooking with, and eating more beans.
Rye Flour….don't ask me why I have so much of it, but along with scarlet runner beans and dried chilies, I turned up a couple bags of the stuff when organizing my pantry a few weeks back. I'm sure there are lots of cool things to do with rye flour (please chime in if you happen to know what they are), but all I could think to do was to make some bread.
As I write this post winds are whipping outside my home at the rate of about 60 MPH, the snow continues to fall (18″ and counting), and the wind chill sits at about 4℉.
Yeah….it’s a cocoa day.
A couple times each year, once in January and then again in July, I take a very detailed inventory of my pantry in order to cull foodstuffs that have been part of the family for far too long and are in need of either being used or pitched. As I REALLY hate tossing perfectly good grub, January and July tend to be months where new and unusual foods are cooked up in these parts.