Saturday, February 20, 2016

Super-Quick Chocolate-Covered Strawberries with Microwave Ganache

Extra chocolate is like extra moneythere's really no such thing. However, if you're like us and           want to extend your Valentine's celebration through the end of Feb., you've got to locate a chocolate bar this week and make some of these berries!

There's really no need to order or buy those ready-made ones; putting these together yourself is inexpensive and truly not that difficult, and using different toppings makes them look even more amazing on the plate.

(You may even want to plan ahead to enjoy them on your upcoming Monday night date. You know, the one with Ben?)

Super-Quick Chocolate-Covered Strawberries with Microwave Ganache

1 quart large strawberries
1 bar sea salt dark chocolate
3 tablespoons heavy cream
chopped almonds, peanuts, or pistachios; toasted coconut

Wash and thoroughly dry the strawberries. Next, break up the chocolate bar into pieces and place it in a microwave-safe bowl and cover it with the cream. Microwave this for 30 seconds and then stir it; repeat. Spoon melted chocolate onto berries but leave the first quarter of the part by the stem plain. Roll or sprinkle berries in your choice of chopped nuts or coconut. Place them on a parchment-lined plate and let them set, which takes about 20 minutes.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Veggie-Packed Napa Cabbage Wraps with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Recently, as a thank-you for the friends who renovated our kitchen, we made food for 100 guests at a party that traditionally has been all about BBQ. We wondered how our dishes would be received by people who might not usually gravitate toward vegetarian food. It wasn't like we were going to serve “a bunch of tofu or something,” we reassured the hosts. That might be too crazy to do for this crowd.

But we ended up doing just that when we made these cabbage wraps! Tofu has a great, meaty texture when it's cooked correctly, and it just makes sense here in an Asian-inspired dish. These wraps are packed with vegetables, and the peanut sauce that accompanies them is awesome even on its own. 

We want everybody to be surprised by how amazing healthy food can be, so go on and make these for your next party or have them for dinner one night this week. We think they’ll win you over, too. 

Veggie-Packed Napa Cabbage Wraps with Spicy Peanut Sauce

1 head of napa cabbage
1 8-ounce package crimini mushrooms
2 medium carrots (roughly chopped)
1 red bell pepper
1-inch piece of fresh ginger
3 large cloves of garlic
1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
1 8-ounce package extra-firm tofu (drained, cubed)
1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
Spicy Peanut Sauce (recipe follows)

Cut napa cabbage in half; reserve leaves for the wraps. Cut the root end off of the cabbage and discard. Place the remaining cabbage in the food processor and pulse 5 to 6 times until finely chopped but not mushy. Place chopped cabbage in a large bowl and set aside.

Place mushrooms into the food processor and pulse 5 times until finely chopped. Add them to the bowl with the cabbage. Place the carrots and bell pepper in the food processor and repeat the process of pulsing 5 times. Add this to the vegetable mixture. Place the ginger and garlic in the food processor and pulse. Add this to the vegetable mixture along with the five-spice, black pepper, and salt.

Put a wok or large frying pan over the highest heat on the stovetop, and let it heat up until wisps of smoke rise up from the hot metal. Carefully pour in one tablespoon of olive oil and wait for it to start to smoke. Now, put the tofu into the wok and give it a shake--be aware that it may pop and splatter. Let the tofu rest in the hot pan without being disturbed for 45 seconds before tossing to redistribute it. Flip the tofu two additional times; after each flip, allow tofu to cook for 1 minute or until nicely browned. Remove tofu from the wok and place it into the food processor along with the peanuts. Pulse the food processor 5 times until mixture is finely chopped.

Add the remaining olive oil to the hot wok. Repeat the same stir-frying process with the vegetable mixture. Once the mixture looks dry, add the tofu and peanut mixture and toss to incorporate. Spoon mixture onto a serving platter. Garnish with cilantro leaves. Serve alongside the reserved cabbage leaves and the sauce.

Spicy Peanut Sauce

1/4 cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sriracha
1 tablespoon Bragg’s (or soy sauce)
1 tablespoon mirin
1/2-inch piece fresh ginger
2 to 3 tablespoons water

Into the work bowl of the food processor, add the peanut butter, sesame oil, rice vinegar, sriracha, Bragg’s, mirin, and ginger. Blend until smooth. Add enough water to form a thick but pourable sauce.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Brunch for Valentine's Day: Croissant Egg Casserole for Two + Asparagus “Fries” with a Simple Aioli

Thank you to Sprouts Farmers Market for partnering with us for this post! We have been compensated for our time, but as usual, all opinions are our own. 

  You can do this! Yes, we’re talking to you -- well, especially if you’ve been unfairly labeled as ‘the one who doesn’t cook’ at your house. You’ve got this. And your sweetie is going to be so surprised! Here’s your guide for Valentine’s Day.

      It falls on a Sunday this year, and if you’re super last-minute like us, it's okay because there’s still plenty of time to prepare, and if you’re super romantic, you get a whole entire day to be sweet. Expectations can be a little high, sure, but it’s better to start the tone off right from the first moment. And the plan really should include cooking for your sweetheart! 

  While checking out all the boxes of cute mini pastries in the bakery at Sprouts in Germantown this week, we noticed the tiny croissants, which sparked an idea for this brunch egg casserole just in time for Valentine’s Day. It’s kind of reminiscent of a croque monsieur but with our own spin, which includes Montchevré goat milk brie and Sprouts Private Label marinated artichoke hearts and roasted red peppers. It’s rich but not too heavy, so hey, feel free to indulge a little on this special day. 

      On the side, we added some asparagus “fries” with a simple aioli for dipping. All of this is really easy to put together ahead of time, and the cool thing is that all you have to do in the morning is place the prepared casserole and asparagus in the oven. They’ll be ready at the same time, and you look like a hero. (And if you make coffee for the both of you while you wait for it all to cook, seriously, then you’re golden.)

      Shop for your ingredients this coming Saturday and knock all of it out in one trip: go on and pick up too many flowers and grab that nice chocolate you always talk yourself out of buying. Because we all know that even those cynical people who claim Valentine’s Day is a made-up holiday secretly want all the attention that comes with somebody thinking of them and only them. 

Croissant Egg Casserole for Two

5 Sprouts mini croissants (split lengthwise)
3 large Sprouts Private Label cage-free, organic eggs
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 6.5-ounce jar Sprouts Private Label marinated artichokes
1 11.9-ounce jar Sprouts Private Label roasted red peppers
1 4.4-ounce wheel of goat milk brie (sliced)
1 tablespoon Sprouts Private Label dijon mustard
1 recipe Asparagus ‘Fries’ with Simple Aioli (follows)

Place the bottom portion of the croissants in a 9x6 inch pan and set aside the top portion of them for now. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, cream, salt, pepper, and thyme. Pour egg mixture over bottom portions of croissants. Place 9x6 pan in to the refrigerator overnight or for at least 20 minutes. Spread dijon mustard evenly over the inside of the reserved top portions of the croissants and place into the fridge separately.

Once you’re ready to serve, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Drain artichokes and peppers. Top each bottom portion of each croissant with an artichoke heart and a roasted red pepper. Top each with sliced brie. Place pan in the oven for 20 minutes. Top with mustard-spreaded tops and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve along side Asparagus ‘Fries’ with Simple Aioli. (Makes two servings.)

Asparagus “Fries” with a Simple Aioli

1 pound asparagus (bottom 1/3 trimmed off)
1 1/2 lemons (divided)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 clove garlic (finely chopped)
juice of 1/2 a lemon

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, toss together the asparagus, juice from 1 lemon, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Allow to cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until the tips are slightly browned. 

In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, garlic, and lemon juice to make a flavorful aioli. Serve roasted asparagus alongside small bowls of aioli and the croissant casserole. (Makes two servings.)

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Vegan Elvis Oatmeal: Banana, Peanut Butter, & Smoked Coconut Bacon

We subscribe to Better Homes & Gardens
and one of their really creative oatmeal recipes from this month's issue inspired us to try out a vegan version of peanut butter, banana, and bacon oatmeal this morning. Sweet and savory always makes for a great combo, and we love to find any excuse to make smoked coconut bacon, which has actually fooled non-vegetarians in the past. 

Vegan Elvis Oatmeal: Banana, Peanut Butter, and Smoked Coconut Bacon

1/2 cup Smoked Coconut Bacon
1 cup rolled oats
2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/4 cup peanutbutter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 ripe banana (sliced)
2 tablespoons maple syrup

Make the Smoked Coconut Bacon according to the recipe. It'll make more than you need, but you won't be sad to have more of this amazing stuff around for salads and to go with BLT or pimento cheese sandwiches.

Into a saucepan place oats and almond milk. Bring to a boil over hight heat while stirring to prevent scorching. Reduce heat to low and cook, uncovered, for five minutes or until thickened. Stir in the peanut butter and salt. Divide cooked oatmeal between two bowls and garnish each with 1/2 of the banana slices, 1/4 cup of Smoked Coconut Bacon, and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Asian-Inspired Taco Bar for the Big Game

Thank you to Sprouts Farmers Market for partnering with us for this post! We have been compensated for our time, but as usual, all opinions are our own. 

We love football. (Y’all, you know we just love it for the food!) So we’re not making seven-layer dip, we won’t be throwing down a platter of homemade wings, and we’re obviously not baking up any team-color-frosted brownies; however, you can depend on us for something: we’ll certainly sign up to provide the Mexican-Korean-Japanese fusion taco bar.

We stopped by Sprouts Farmers Market in Germantown this past Saturday afternoon to pick up all the ingredients, and once we landed back at home, we set about turning our ideas into a little trial-run dinner. The Wildbrine Japanese Miso Horseradish Kimchi we'd never tried before was the item that kickstarted our idea to take our tacos on a non-traditional route. Pan-seared half-moons of Japanese eggplant coated with spicy Bibigo Gochujang handily stand in for the meat, and Sprouts Private Label mini sweet peppers and organic romaine hearts make up the cold and crunchy raw component of the dish. 

Everyone can probably agree that selecting the exact ingredients one wants is pretty interactive and satisfying, and this serve-yourself spread works well on something as crazy and unpredictable as game day, when continuous grazing is the key. We just know your own crowd will welcome something unexpected that packs a spicy punch this Sunday as we all gather to watch, celebrate, and most importantly, eat a bunch of great stuff.

Asian-Inspired Taco Bar

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil 
3 medium Japanese eggplant (sliced into half moons, about 6 cups)
1 bunch organic green onions (discard root end; reserve dark green tops for garnish) 
1 lime (juiced)
3/4 cup gochujang
1/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts

On the side:
1 Sprouts Private Label romaine heart (chopped)
1 avocado (sliced)
6 ounces kimchi
5 ounces queso fresco
2 limes (quartered)
3 Sprouts Private Label mini sweet bell peppers (thinly sliced)
1 bunch organic cilantro
3 serrano peppers (seared in a hot pan)
12 organic corn tortillas (heated in a dry skillet)

Put your seasoned wok or large frying pan over the highest heat on the stovetop and let it heat up until you see little wisps of smoke rise up off of the hot metal. Pour in the olive and sesame oils and wait for it to start to smoke. Now, put your eggplant and green onions in and give the pan a little shake. Let the mixture rest in the hot pan for 45 seconds before tossing everything to redistribute it by pushing the pan forward and then jerking it back just like you’d do to flip an omelette or just use a spatula. Allow the vegetables to rest for another 45 seconds to 1 minute before flipping them again. Flip the vegetables one last time and allow them to cook for 1 minute. At this point, add your lime juice and gochujang and cook for one more minute. Remove the stir-fry from the wok and place it on a serving platter. (The whole cooking process takes less than 4 minutes.)

Serve alongside chopped romaine hearts, sliced avocado, kimchi, queso fresco, thinly sliced mini sweet bell peppers, cilantro, and seared serrano peppers. Each guest can build their own masterpiece atop one of the 12 organic corn tortillas. (Makes 8 to 10 servings.)

Monday, February 1, 2016

Sweet or Savory Ebelskivers

We are excited to have been selected by the International Housewares Association to contribute to their Inspired Home blog. We've been compensated for our time, but our opinions are, of course, our own. 

Round, filled pancakes, a.k.a. ebelskivers, are pretty cool. We made some recently for the Inspired Home blog when we tried out a specially-made-for-ebelskivers skillet in our kitchen, and of course, you know we had to procure the very specific wooden turning tools as well to make the whole process even easier and so official.

So check out how making our ebelskivers went and also find recipes HERE for our pimento cheese version -- or go for the chocolate and ginger ones for a killer dessert. 

We think you'll have fun trying these out, too -- maybe for your sweetie's surprise Valentine's Day Sunday brunch?