Sweet and Salty Almonds

Hello…hello anyone out there? It has been quite a busy few months (internshipinternshipinternship), and honestly, much of the time when I am cooking dinner i was just too lazy to prepare natural light, plate the food pretty, and take a picture. So I have still been cooking- albeit a little less creatively due to a certain picky-eater boy who has been hanging around, but excuses, excuses.

Enough is enough- time to get back in the kitchen more and dust off my old camera. I realzied that I missed having a blog to “store” my recipes open, and it’s time to get things back up and running. So let’s start with these almonds. I have made them multiple times, and each batch disappears faster than you can say “so stressed about internship applications.” Sweet, salty, and spicy (if you want). These are a great snack food. And it’s almonds, so really, it’s pretty healthy.

SWEET AND SALTY ALMONDS

Slightly Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

INGREDIENTS

2 cups whole almonds
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon canola oil
Cayenne pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 250°F. Line baking sheet with foil.

Combine soy sauce, light brown sugar, and cayenne pepper in small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Stir in almonds and and canola oil. Cook until liquid has been absorbed, 4-5 minutes approximately.

Spread almonds onto baking sheet in single layer (may need more than on baking sheet, depending on the size). Bake until crisped, 8-12 minutes. Let cool and store in seal container for snacking.

Lemon Couscous with Avocado, Currants, and Almonds

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Earlier this semester I had a food challenge to meet: I needed a quiet dinner food.

Once a week I have a night class that is during and far past dinner, and the professor’s one request is that we bring in quiet food as to not disturb our classmates as we ate.  The first few classes I brought in salads, figuring there would be a little crunch, but I had cut my food into small pieces and used soft toppings- and my lettuce was often old and limp so quieter than it could have been.

Well, salad was deemed a little bit too loud, so I went back to the drawing board.  I sat down and took a moment to ponder: “what foods are quiet foods?”.  After some deep reflection, it came to me: avocado. Avocado: the ultimate quiet, delicious, and filling food.  Thus, this salad was born out of a desperation for solitude and has been eaten once a week during class ever since.

Although I often leave the almonds off because of the crunch factor.

LEMON COUSCOUS WITH AVOCADO, CURRANTS, AND ALMONDS
Adapted from Erin’s Food Files

INGREDIENTS

1 onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon butter
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup currants
1/3 cup warm water
1 cup dried couscous
1 teaspoon aloppa pepper (or cumin as alternative spice)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
4 small avocados, diced
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted

DIRECTIONS

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add butter and onion. Season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium to medium low heat until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, soak currants in the water. Pour currants and water with onions and cook until liquid is evaporated. Set onion mixture aside.

Cook couscous according instructions. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in onion mixture, aloppa pepper, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Cook for an additional 1-3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in avocado (salt avocado if needed).

Serves 3-4.

Corn Muffins

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Well, my friends, it is my 1st anniversary today.  While I may be celebrating by not cooking, here is the first recipe I made for my boyfriend.  He loves cornbread, so I made these for him to take to a BBQ he was going to.

They are the best corn muffins/form of cornbread I have ever made.  Never dry and sweet (just how I like my cornbread).  I ate a test one, and it was great.  So he took them and returned later that day and informed me that he tried a few bites but he couldn’t eat a whole one because the recipe includes sour cream.

Yep. Here’s to love.

CORN MUFFINS
Barely Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

INGREDIENTS

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
8 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk (preferably whole milk)

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a prepare a muffin pan.

Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl. Set aside.

In a second bowl, whisk eggs for approximately 20 seconds until combined a lightly colored. Add sugar and whisk until evenly incorporated for approximately 30 seconds. Add butter in 3 parts, whisking until combined after each addition. Add half of the sour cream and half of the milk. Whisk to combine. Add remaining sour cream and milk, whisk to combine.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Using a rubber spatula, mix until batter is just together. Use an ice cream scoop to place mounds into prepared muffin pan. Bake until light golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean, 16019 minutes. Cool in pan for 5 minutes. Transfer to wire wrack and cool for five additional minutes.

Baked Fontina

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Oh, cheese. Glorious, glorious cheese.

Some days you really just need some bread with some warm melty cheese on top. This is a simple appetizer and/pr meal for one that will be warm and filling. Perfect for a romantic Valentine’s Day in.  Warm cheese, bread for dipping- that is true love.

BAKED FONTINA
Barely Adapted from Ina Garten

INGREDIENTS

1/2 pound fontina cheese, cut in 1 inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the broiler.

Grease a 9 inch square cast iron pan. Toss cheese in pan in a somewhat equal layer. Season with salt, pepper,thyme, and garlic. Drizzle olive oil on top. Broil for 6-8 minutes, until bubbly. Let cool slightly. Serve with crusty bread family style.

Serves 4 as an appetizer.

Butterscotch Meringue Bars

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

You know those people who can take a few bites of a dessert and then have to stop because it was too sweet? I am not one of those people. I am the type of person who can eat for dessert for lunch and dinner and be perfectly fine (I speak from experience here). I can handle my dessert but not my liquor.

And I am perfectly fine with that. I feel sad for those people who can’t eat more than a few bites. They would be missing out, especially when it comes to these butterscotch meringue bars. These bars are a buttery blondie base studded with your filling of choice (Snickers was my chosen poison here), and then they are topped with a sweetened meringue. They are then baked, cooled, cut into bars and become little bites of heaven. It’s gooey-ness like you can’t believe. Yum. These are wonderfully sweet but not overly so. Some people may be satisfied with just one bar, but I always want at least three.

BUTTERSCOTCH MERINGUE BARS Slightly Adapted from Cooks Illustrated via The Church Cook

INGREDIENTS

For the Butterscotch Base: 2 cups all purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 3/4 teaspoon salt 2 cups butter, softened 1 cup light brown sugar 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 egg yolks 1 tablespoon water 2 cups chopped Snickers* For the Meringue Topping: 2 egg whites 1 cup light brown sugar

DIRECTIONS

For the Butterscotch Base: Preheat the oven to 350°F.. Line a 9 inch by 13 inch pan with aluminium foil. Grease with butter. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, cream butter, light brown sugar, and granulated sugar together until creamy. Beat in vanilla extract, egg yolk, and water. Stir in flour mixture until just combined. Press butterscotch base into pan. Press chopped snickers on top. For the Meringue Topping: In a large bowl beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Pour in light brown sugar and beat until uniform in color and glossy. Spread on top of butterscotch base. Bake for 32-40 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool 2-3 hours before removing from pan. Cut into bars. *The original recipe used chocolate chips. Use any mix in you feel like!

Egg Curry with Lentils

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Eggs really are a wonderful food.

I love to cook eggs many ways: scrambled, over easy, poached, and hard boiled to name a few. While I love a good runny yolk when I make eggs over easy or poached, when I am scrambling or hard boiled I love them well done.  I like to cook my eggs to death, and I love them that way. I like my scrambled eggs as dry as the dessert even though it is a serious violation of the foodie laws (which formally decree henceforth that scrambled eggs should be soft and runny- Ugh, nope).

Same for my hard boiled eggs- no soft boiled eggs for me here. I have loved hard boiled eggs since first trying them in my mom’s Spam salad (no shame). When I was younger, I used to eat around the yolks, just some salt on the hard boiled egg whites for me, but now I appreciate the richness of a good yolk.

This egg dish is a great dish for people who are looking to continue to eat healthy in the new year. The spicy curry and deep complex flavor of spices works really well with a creamy hard boiled egg.

EGG CURRY WITH LENTILS
From Cinnamon Freud

INGREDIENTS

4 eggs
2-3 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt, to taste
1-3 teaspoons curry powder, to taste
1 cup dried green lentils
2 1/2 cup vegetables stock
3-4 cups grape tomatoes, chopped
Extra vegetables, as desired*
2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
Juice of one lemon
Cilantro, for topping

DIRECTIONS

Place eggs in a large saucepan. Cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover with lid and remove from heat. Let eggs sit in water for 20 minutes (or however long you normally do based on personal preferences). Let cool slightly, peel, and slice. Set aside.

In a saucepan, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onions and cook until softened and translucent, 6-8 minutes. Add garlic and cook until golden brown and fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add cumin, paprika, turmeric, salt, and curry power. Toast 2-3 minutes until fragrant. Stir in lentils,vegetable stock, and tomatoes.

Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Cook until the vegetable stock is mostly evaporated. Stir in any additional vegetables and cook*. Stir in Greek yogurt and place hard boiled eggs on top. Spoon any remaining sauce on top of the eggs and cook for 3-5 minutes. Serve with freshly squeezed lemon juice and cilantro on top.

Serves 3-4

*I used cauliflower, which I like with more bite, so I added with the tomato and vegetable stock.  You can also add other vegetables when you are cooking the onions before you add the garlic (adjust olive oil as needed when adding more vegetables)

Healthier Fig and Nut Blondies

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Hello? Hello? Anyone out there?

I know, I know I have been officially MIA for several months.  Life, man.  But it is the new year and time for a new start-up back here on Cinnamon Freud! Happy New Year’s!

So it is the New Year, the time when lots of people make resolutions to lose weight.  I understand well- Christmas and the holidays is a time of decadence. I myself have packed on some extra “warmth layers” since being in a relationship…in spring of last year (no one warned me about that perk or couple-dom).  So, eating healthier can benefit us all.

These “blondies” are a healthier way to help satisfy your sweet tooth.  Believe it or not, my sweet tooth has mellow out (this must be what people mean by adulthood), so these are the perfect dessert or snack.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

HEALTHIER FIG AND NUT BLONDIES
Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

INGREDIENTS

6 ounces vanilla yogurt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12-15 dried figs, chopped
1/2 cup nuts

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9 inch by 9 inch baking dish with foil and grease.

In a large bowl mix yogurt, oil, brown sugar, sugar, vanilla extract, and maple syrup together. In a separate bowl mix together flour, baking soda, and salt. Slowly stir the dry ingredients until wet, mixing until just combined. Fold in figs and nuts. Add milk as needed to thin the batter (I added about 2-4 tablespoons).

Bake for 18-20 minutes, until golden brown. Cool completely. Remove with foil and cut into bars.

Peanut Pretzel Chocolate Clusters

photo (1)

For this month’s Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned Brittany’s blog We Heart Vegan. I was excited to try out some new vegan stuff and began looking through lots of interesting recipes. But then life caught up with me. I came home tired or had to do work, so I turned to something simple yet comforting. Salty and sweet Peanut Pretzel Chocolate Clusters? Please and thank you.

This recipe too was a great way to use up my hoarded peanuts and pretzels from Southwest flights (I often feel too nervous/sick to my stomach to eat on planes but damn it I paid for my ticket and I am getting my free snack and assorted soft drink).  I also apologize for a hasty picture.  After I made these, the aroma of chocolate made me temporarily forget that I was meant to take a picture, leaving me to remember only after I had begun eating most of these clusters in one sitting.

PEANUT PRETZEL CHOCOLATE CLUSTERS
Adapted from We Heart Vegan

INGREDIENTS

2 cups milk chocolate chips
Pinch of salt
4 tablespoons butter
Vanilla extract
Crushed pretzels
Salted peanuts

DIRECTIONS

In a double broiler, combine chocolate, salt, butter, and vanilla extract. Cook, stirring, until melted. Stir in your desired amount of pretzels and peanuts (feel free to add anything else too your heart desires). Spread onto a prepared baking sheet or wax paper into a single layer. Chill in fridge for at least 30 minutes. Break into pieces. Store in refrigerator.

Make sure to check out what everyone else made this month!