Red Wine Chocolate Fudge Brownies

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These brownies were featured in a list I found on Pinterest that showcased ideas for using leftover wine in cooking. I don’t know that eating a fudgey brownie is any healthier than just having went for that last glass of wine, but I did think these were appropriately festive for a holiday treat.

Red Wine Chocolate Fudge Brownies
For the Brownies:
4 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 c butter, cut into pieces
1/4 c red wine
2 eggs
1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 c granulated sugar
1/2 t vanilla
1/2 c flour
1/4 c cocoa powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 c chocolate chips

For the Glaze:
2 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 T butter
2 T red wine
pinch of salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter an 8″x8″ pan and line it with two sheets of parchment paper, each buttered. (I think this might be unnecessary and just helpful for cleanup. I haven’t tried the recipe without the parchment paper step, but I do appreciate my pan not being crusted).
2. Melt the 4 oz semisweet chocolate and 1/2 c butter atop a double boiler until smooth.
3. Whisk together eggs, sugars, and vanilla in a large bowl. Whisk the chocolate mixture into the bowl, then the 1/4 c red wine. Keep your double boiler heated. Add flour, cocoa powder, and salt into the large mixing bowl until blended. Fold in chocolate chips.
4. Pour your batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a knife or toothpick comes out fairly clean. About 15-20 minutes into the batter baking, melt all the glaze ingredients in the heated double boiler. Remove the brownie batter from the oven once it’s thoroughly cooked and spread your glaze evenly across the top of your brownies. Allow to cool, then slice into squares and serve.

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Chai Spice Pumpkin Kiss Cookies

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I have had the recipe for these cookies pinned for quite some time, despite everyone I love objecting to the autumnal flavors of Pumpkin Spice Hershey’s kisses. How could you not love a handful of them mixed into your coffee? They are even better atop these spicy little cookies.

Don’t forget to calculate an hour of refrigeration time when making these (as I did the morning of a Friendsgiving party… oops!). I did, however, manage to unwrap my kisses the night before and set them in the fridge to cut down on prep time.

Chai Spice Pumpkin Kiss Cookies
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 c sugar
1/4 c spiced chai concentrate (I used the recipe I’ve featured before on this blog)
1 egg
1 t vanilla
1 3/4 c flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/8 t salt
A few dashes each of cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg
20-25 pumpkin spice Hershey’s kisses

1. Blend butter and sugar in a bowl until creamy. Add egg, chai, and vanilla. Then mix in flour, baking soda, and salt. Cover your dough and refrigerate for one hour.
2. Preheat oven to 325° F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
3. Once refrigerated, roll your cookie dough into one-inch balls. Place on parchment paper with enough space to expand, then sprinkle all your dough balls with cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.
4. Bake your cookies for 12-14 minutes, until a knife or toothpick comes out cleanly. While they’re baking, unwrap your kisses and set in a bowl if you haven’t already.
5. Remove your cookies to cooling racks, quickly adding one kiss per cookie as you do so. Gently press the kisses into the center of each cookie, not touching them again once placed.
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Tempeh Chili con Frijoles (y cerveza!)

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I found this recipe on Post Punk Kitchen a couple years ago and have kept it in heavy rotation ever since. It’s completely vegan, but I have added shredded cheddar or Greek yogurt on top for some extra flavor. I’ve also just sliced an avocado across the top for a similar effect, but while still keeping the dish vegan.

Tempeh Chili con Frijoles (y cerveza!)
1 8-oz package tempeh, diced medium
1 large yellow onion, diced medium
1 bell pepper, diced medium
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 T olive oil
2 T soy sauce
3 T chili powder
2 t cumin
1 t dried oregano
1 1/2 t salt
A few dashes black pepper
15 oz can pinto beans, drained (I used black beans this time because they were all I had on hand – it was still delicious)
1 c Negro Modelo
15 oz can diced tomatoes
3 T tomato paste
1 1/2 c vegetable broth
2 t maple syrup
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Handful cilantro, chopped
Avocado, sliced (optional)
4 T Greek yogurt (optional)
1/4 shredded cheddar (optional)

1. Cook onion, bell pepper, and carrot over 1 T olive oil in a large pot for about 20 minutes, until soft.
2. Meanwhile, add tempeh to a large frying pan. Add water until it is nearly covered, as well as the soy sauce. Boil until the water is nearly gone, then mash with a fork or wooden spoon. Add the remaining olive oil and sauté over low heat until crispy, about 15 minutes.
3. Add garlic to your veggie pot and simmer for 1 minute, until fragrant. Add spices. Add beer, deglaze the pot. Drink the remainder of your beer while you let the beer simmer for two minutes. Add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, beans, salt, and vegetable broth. Cover and cook for 20 minutes over medium. Uncover and cook for another 30 minutes. Add lemon juice and maple syrup. Serve with chopped cilantro. Add avocado, Greek yogurt, and/or cheese if you’re feeling really hungry.

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I think I’m going to start doubling this recipe. It feels like it would freeze well, and even if it doesn’t.. it’s usually gone within a day and a half at my house anyway.

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Ribollita

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This soup makes for a hearty weekend side or dinner – I made it to eat alongside Baked Potato Grilled Cheese on football Sunday last weekend. I found the recipe for Ribollita in this book: 125 Best Vegetarian Slow Cooker Recipes, which one of my fellow vegetarian friends and bridesmaids gave me as a gift at my wedding shower a few years ago. This soup can be made vegan very easily, just don’t add the cheese boot to the stock or the parmesan on top when you serve it.

I also made the homemade, crockpot stock from page 25 of this book the day before cooking this soup. The author suggests that this soup needs reheated in the oven, until the parmesan on top (if added) is lightly browned. I just reheated it on top of the stove because that sounded like a pain in the ass, but I didn’t have any problems with the results.

Ribollita
1 can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
5 c vegetable stock, divided
1 T vegetable oil
2 onions, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 T lemon zest
1 t finely chopped fresh or dried rosemary
1 t salt
1/2 t cracked black pepper
2 potatoes, peeled and grated
1 bunch Swiss chard, stalks and major veins removed
1/4 c finely chopped fresh parsley
1 long red chili pepper
cheese boot (parmesan suggested, I had a hard Swiss on hand)
Grated parmesan
Crusty croutons

1. In a food processor, combine beans with 1 c stock and puree until smooth.
2. In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, celery, and carrot and cook until softened. Add garlic, lemon zest, rosemary, salt, and pepper and cook for another minute. Add bean puree and bring to a boil. Stir in potatoes and remaining 4 c stock.
3. Transfer mixture to slow cooker. Add cheese boot if you’re using it. Cover soup and cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-5 hours. Stir in Swiss chard, parsley, and chili pepper. Cover and cook on high for another 30 minutes.
4. Top with crusty croutons (unless you’re having a sandwich on the side like me), drizzled olive oil, and a sprinkling of grated parmesan to serve.

I also added salt and pepper to my own serving because it needed a tad more zip for me the first day. It got much more flavorful after sitting overnight, so much so that I plan to make this ahead to purposely eat the next day in the future.

stock simmering in preparation for the main event

stock simmering in preparation for the main event

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Baked Potato Grilled Cheese

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I grew up referring to what most people call “grilled cheese” as “toasted cheese” for reasons I have yet to figure out, but I’m keeping the original poster’s title on this one in hopes that it’s easier for potential readers to find. I saved this recipe to Pinterest quite some time ago and finally dared to take the plunge this past weekend once it dipped below 30° F in good ol’ Columbus, OH. It’s officially comfort food season and I won’t even pretend that I was going for healthy here. I *did*, however, substitute in some high-protein Greek yogurt for the sour cream suggested in the original recipe, and obviously used veggie bacon as opposed to the real, cholesterol-laden thing. She also added two slices of cheese to each sandwich, I just used one large slice. And honorable mentions to my husband for being the official sandwich flipper, because I have a tough time getting each side evenly golden and the center all melty despite my many other talents. He’s amazing at it.

Here’s my take on this monster of a sandwich:

Baked Potato Grilled Cheese
4 strips veggie bacon
1 potato, scrubbed and sliced thinly
1/3 c plain Greek yogurt
2 slices sharp cheddar
2-3 T fresh cut chives
4 slices crusty bread
a few T butter/oil
garlic powder
salt & pepper

1. Heat 1-2 T butter in a skillet. Add your potato slices, a few dashes of garlic powder, salt, and pepper to the pan. Cook on each side until crispy, then transfer to a paper towel. Repeat with veggie bacon.
2. Slice your fresh bread (I made the Sally Lunn loaf from Betty Crocker’s Best Bread Machine Cookbook) and add butter to your pan to melt for toasting your sandwich.
3. Spread Greek yogurt across the bottom slice of bread of each sandwich, then layer cooked potato slices across the yogurt. Dab a bit more yogurt across each sandwich’s potato layer, then sprinkle each slice with chives. Add two slices of veggie bacon to each sandwich, then a slice of cheddar to each as well. Top with your other slice of bread, then toast each sandwich in your pan until browned on each side.

IMG_3322IMG_3325IMG_3326The original author suggests buttering your sliced bread before topping it off, but I found that this resulted in needing four hands on deck to both hold and top buttered slices without letting them sit on a plate or cutting board and smear butter everywhere. I think it’s much easier to just melt your butter in the pan for the purposes of toasting the sandwich. Maybe you have a better trick than that? Let me know in the comments if you’re a grilled cheese master!

 

Asparagus Feta Frittata with Shallots and Fresh Chives

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I know asparagus and chives are spring vegetables, but they were both calling to me in the grocery store this week. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with either of them, but the asparagus looked particularly tiny and tender and flirted their way into my cart. Asparagus made for the perfect add-in to the frittata I put together this weekend and was a welcome light-but-filling breakfast yesterday morning after a busy week of eating out.

Asparagus Feta Frittata with Fresh Chives
4 eggs
1 T olive oil
10-12 stalks asparagus, coarsely chopped
1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped
1/4 c feta, crumbled
2-3 T fresh chives, minced
Salt & Pepper
Crushed red pepper

1. Whisk eggs together in a bowl.
2. Heat oil in medium skillet. Add shallot and sauté until tender. Add asparagus and sauté 3-5 minutes, until tender. Spread the veggies out so that they are covering the pan fairly evenly.
3. Add whisked egg to pan, ensuring that the entire pan and the veggies inside are covered in egg.
4. After egg has begun to set, add feta, salt and pepper, and crushed red pepper. Allow egg to cook until bubbling throughout.
5. Gently use a spatula to lift up the egg around the diameter of a pan. Slide your frittata, cooked-side down, onto a large plate. Quickly flip the plate so that the uncooked side of your frittata lands face-down in the pan. Cook another 3-5 minutes over medium heat, until egg is cooked thoroughly throughout. Slide onto a fresh plate, snip chives over the frittata, and serve immediately.

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I’ve eaten this piping hot and at room temperature and enjoyed it each way, similarly to quiche. You can reheat it on low in the oven and add some hot sauce if it’s dried out. I would avoid the microwave though, because it tends to add condensation and make the texture a little wonky.

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Coffee-Glazed Almonds

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I made these little treats when I was still living in Chicago this past June for grad school and took them to Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee. Bonnaroo is a 4-night long music festival where you camp out with 80,000 of your best friends. It’s my favorite weekend of the year and I’ve been going since 2011 – I could write an entire blog just about how much I love ‘Roo (and in fact you could find something along those lines – as well as some old cooking adventures – here at my nearly defunct Tumblr page that I recently abandoned in order to start up and focus on this blog).

That being said, four days of camping and non-stop concert-going, fair food, and Bloody Marys can leave you in need of a pick-me-up. These coffee-glazed almonds were a great portable snack to take on the road, give me the caffeine boost I needed after hopping around to Skrillex until 3am, and lay on some much-needed protein for my little veg heart after all the Spicy Pie pizza I carbloaded. The heat can make the nuts all stick together, so I suggest breaking them off into individual snack-sized portions in separate bags or containers once they’ve cooled so you can avoid the glomping together that happened to my double batch in the southern heat.

The original poster made this snack with a variety nuts, as posted on Pinterest: Coffee-Glazed Nuts Recipe. I happened to have whole almonds on hand and really liked it that way, but mix it up and see what you like!

Coffee-Glazed Almonds
2 T hot water
1 1/2 t instant coffee granules
1/4 c granulated sugar
1 T honey light corn syrup
1/4 t Kosher salt
3 c whole almonds

1. Preheat oven to 350° F and line a baking sheet with foil.
2. Combine coffee and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat until dissolved. Add sugar, honey/syrup, and salt and boil – stirring constantly – until dissolved. Remove from heat, add nuts and mix quickly. Spread in a single layer on the baking sheet.
3. Bake for 5 minutes, stir, then bake for another 10 minutes. Cool completely, break into pieces, and store in an airtight container.

I think these would be a great desk drawer snack in your office too, or a nice add on to a holiday gift.