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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Knish


  Ok, so more than likely you have either never eaten, or never heard of knish. If you have eaten it, then odds are you have not bothered to try and make it. Maybe you are intimidated by this seemingly laborious dish? Maybe the thought of  having to make from scratch dough has you unnerved? Maybe you can't pronounce it so making it is a deal breaker.....blah blah. ITS EASY YALL!! I swear. It's a tad time consuming, but honestly most from scratch dishes are. The upside is you can double your filling recipe, freeze half, and next time only have to make the dough. Thus making a super yummy, easy, and quick week night dinner.
  So what is Knish. I suggest you google the origin if you have to know, but basically it is an easter European street food. Normal filled with a mix of potatoes, veggies, and some kind of cheese. You can make them with meat too. Brisket makes delicious knish. We typically make a variation of potato, veggies and goat cheese. Its the family favorite. We bake ours but they can be fried, or even grilled.  I found and adapted my  recipe for the dough on the  Smitten Kitchen website. She found hers from some guy who seems to know his stuff when it comes to knish. I suggest you give that a look one day. He uses rendered chicken fat (schmaltz) vs oil, and I bet its amazing. So really, give them a try. They are sooooooo good, and pretty simple. You won't be sorry, promise!

Dough:
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
teaspoon baking powder
half teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/2 cup oil ( I use grape seed oil, but you can use any mildly flavored oil)
1/2 cup water
teaspoon vinegar

Filling:
potatoes-depending on the kind you use, I used 5 ukon gold for this recipe and made 2 batches of knish
1 small onion
2 roasted red peppers
1 bunch rainbow chard
A few big dollops of goat cheese

*You could use ANY veggie you like, you could add bacon, you could sub the goat cheese for another  cheese...the filling is all up to you. In our house it varies depending on what we have on hand. The base is always potatoes, though.

Step 1- DOUGH:
  Mix your dry ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl add water, oil, vinegar, and the egg, then whisk. Next, pour the wet with the dry and mix. I use a big spoon at first then normally finish mixing with my hands. Once the dough has come together, form it into a ball and let rest in the fridge while you make the filling. I always wrap mine in wax paper, but you could just leave in the bowl and cover it with plastic wrap.

Step 2- FILLING
  -Peel or just clean your potatoes, its up to you if you want the the peel on there. Chop and boil. Once they are soft, drain.
  _chop your onion, greens, peppers, and any other veggie you are adding and sauté util tender.
-add the sautéed veggies into the potatoes, and any cheese you are using and mash with a hand masher ( ***if using a hand mixer instead, mash the potatoes first then use a large spoon and fold in the rest----for the sake of not making a huge mess)

Assembly:
So if a picture is worth a thousand words, then I could just show pictures of this part...or type  1,000 words, or split the difference. I"ll split the difference and give you both.

- First flour a flat surface ,and your rolling pin
-Next, roll your dough out into a nice large rectangle .....or as close as you can get. It needs to be about as thick as pie crust dough. Once you get it rolled out into a rectangle, trim the 4 sides to even them up.

-Take your filling and make a line of the mixture down the dough starting a few inches from the edge. Don't pile it too thick, it will ooze out while baking.

-Now, you are going to start rolling your knish. Fold the extra dough closest to you,over your mixture ,and start rolling.

-Once you get to the end, brush with egg wash to seal up the seam. (1 egg and a few teaspoons of water whisked together)


             
NOW FOR THE TRICKY PART:
(not really, I'm just messing with you)


 -Now we you have to cut the knish. Start at the end of the "roll". You will pinch and twist the dough about 2-3 inches in.



 -Next you will cut the twist with a sharp knife



 -Finally, place the "twisted" side down, (the knish bottom) and use your finger to tuck the extra dough into the center of the top.

                                                                       not so pretty

much better


REPEAT WITH REMAINING DOUGH!
*Place prepared knish on a baking sheet sprayed with oil, or lined with parchment
*Brush all knish with remaining egg wash
*Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown!



SERIOUSLY, WORTH ALL OF THE  EFFORT!
Enjoy!


Monday, July 6, 2015

Roasted Eggplant and Portabello Lasagna:

  Its Monday and that means produce delivery day! Unfortunately I went grocery shopping last Wednesday and our produce list is not emailed until Friday. Long story (I mean its really not a long story at all, but whatever) short, I had more eggplant and Mushrooms than I had planned for. I was going to make eggplant parm but decided I would try and make something with the eggplant and the mushrooms together ......mostly because I am out of room in my fridge and needed to use them before they went bad...I found a few recipes online, but ultimately decided to mix a couple and make my own. I did not use mozzarella cheese because we have dairy issues around here. I thought the ricotta and parm would be enough without being overkill. You could easily mix some grated motz into your cheese mix though. I personally believe there can never be too much cheese. My stomach tends to disagree, though. I love mixing as many veggies into my sauce as I can. I always add some greens, because I love pretty much any green. Plus, you sneak in some flavor and vitamins! win, win!!!  So here is how I used some of my organic produce delivery this week!

What you will need:
* 2 small or large eggplants
* 2 portobello mushroom caps, stems and ribs removed
* 1 bell pepper ( I used red, but use any you like)
* 2 medium yellow onions
*2 carrots
*3 cups of any green, spinach, chard,  kale (I used heirloom spinach)
*a few cloves of garlic
*1 package of lasagna noodles
* 16 oz ricotta cheese (I prefer whole milk)
* 3/4 cups of grated parmesan cheese
*1 egg
*1 large can of whole stewed tomatoes
*1 can of diced or stewed tomatoes
*salt, pepper, dried thyme, oregano, and oil of your choice.

Roasted veggies:

preheat over to 450:

-Slice eggplant in thin, quarter inch circles. Lay out on paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Let sit for 5 minutes.
-Slice the pepper, 1 onion, and mushrooms into thin strips.
-Arrange the vegetables on a baking sheets. Spray or drizzle oil over veggies and a few shakes of salt.  Roast in oven until they begin to brown, maybe 20-25 minutes. (this is when I start my sauce)

Sauce:
-blend large can of tomaotes (I use my nutribullet)
-chop onion and carrots into small pieces
-crush and chop garlic cloves (or add 2 teaspoons already prepared garlic)
-heat a large pot with oil of your choice (I use grape seed oil) and sauté the onion and carrots for  a few minutes.
-wash and chop your greens and add to the pot. Let the greens cook down until wilted
-add the blended tomatoes. Drain the diced or stewed tomatoes and add those.
-season with salt, pepper to taste, about 1 teaspoon oregano, and 1 teaspoon thyme  (or whatever herbs you prefer)
-let sauce simmer for about 25-30 minutes (while veggies roast)

cheese mixture:
-mix ricotta, parm and egg in a bowl.

Build the lasagna:
-spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 casserole dish
-next add a layer of noodles, then add a few big spoonfuls of cheese mix on the noodles and spread evenly
-evenly layer half of your roasted veggies on top of cheese mix
-add another thin layer of sauce
-repeat above steps once more
-finally add a last layer of noodles, left over cheese and a thin layer of sauce.
-sprinkle a thin layer of grated parm on top
-bake at 350 for half an hour. Should be golden and bubbly on top.
- LET COOL, SLICE AND SERVE









Friday, June 13, 2014

Ballet recital at 35

 Ballet....the thing I always wanted to learn as a child , but never took a class. If you ask my parents you get two varying stories as to why. Either way, it was a squashed childhood dream. All the while my brother got to be a boy scout and my parents where even den learders ( not bitter at all..not one bit...fully recovered from this act of favoritism..whatever)
  I had a cousin who danced and I just wanted to be her.. I loved looking at all of her old costumes hanging in my aunts closet. Tutus, tule and  sequins...most little girls dream. On the rare occasion she let me in her room I would just stand in awe of her point shoes hanging on her wall...I wanted those shoes!! I would go as far as trying to make point shoes out of cardboard and duck tape, dancing around my living room to my parents oldies collection.  Its a wonder I never broke my ankle.....As years wore on I stopped asking to dance and took  up whatever sports were offered at school.  I accepted my future as "not a ballerina". I chose cheerleading because we got make up dances, not because I liked cheering. At this point I would not dare attempt to learn  ballet at risk of embarrassing my self for life.  Middle and high school are brutal enough.
  I remember watching an episode of Cheers where Diane decides to pursue her dream of dance by auditioning  for some ballet....Sam warns her she is only going to embarrass herself ,but she is determined to go through with it...needless to say it goes badly. This stuck with me for a VERY LONG TIME. I would always think back to poor, sad, embarrassed Diane as a reminder of why a grown up should not attempt ballet...
  So as most parents do, I decided to live vicariously though my children, and slapped them in dance as soon as they were old enough. Now I would have never if they did not seem interested, but they did. I swear... This may or may not have had something to do with my encouragement for all things ballet related, the purchasing of  fairy tutus, and forced viewings of the nutcracker on PBS each year..but we will never really know, will we.  P loved her pre ballet class ,while Ava resisted for a few years in favor of soccer and karate. Eventually the lure became too much for her and she decided to dance too.
  At some point when looking over their fall schedule one year, I noticed their studio offered adult classes.....ADULT CLASSES.....but as much as I wanted too, I just kept thinking  "don't pull a Daine, Kat..DOOONNNN'TTTT ) but alas, Dave is not Sam. Dave is encouraging.  I had also just had a baby, like a month before class started, and need to loose some baby weight.  So I signed up. I was told to go buy a leotard. I just had a baby..Just had a baby. "Hey adult lady who just had a baby, you will NEED a leotard, and tights"  ummmmm. what...NO! But wait, a leotard will help hold all that extra in! Brilliant. ummmmmmm, that assumption was false...I learned this after recruiting a few friends to class ( I was actually not about to step in there alone. That would have been super nuts) and we all headed off to the dance store together. I think it was equally traumatic for all of us.
   They only lasted a little while. I loved it from the minute I was able to get over the sight of me in that leotard! Our teacher is the best. She is able to teach a class of grown women how to dance without pulling her hair out. We are  a mixed bag. Some have danced most of their lives, some  like me who have never. We are 17-60 something years old.
  I have terrible ballet arms.  It haunts me in my sleep. I can not spot my pique and chaines turns. I have to remind myself to keep my toes pointed, always. I have to remind myself the elbow points in the direction you are moving.  Pull in from the core, shoulders back and down, chin up, legs straight, toes pointed, leg turned out....and so on and so on and so on.
  And this year we are in recital.  We must be lunatics. Full costume, makeup and hair.  Sharing a stage with 3-18 year olds.  We may royally screw up.. ( yet we have practiced for months) some people may think we are ridiculous, but I think someone will be inspired in that big audience. Some one who was scared to try something new, that they always wanted to do. At least I hope we inspire someone. We are not the best ,but its not a contest. I think we are brave. I think if you can get on a stage as a 30-50 something year old in a leotard, wearing too much make up and dance for hundreds of people, you are braver than most people. You have  confidence you didn't know you had. I am so proud of our grownie ballet class. I am so thankful for our teacher and her faith and confidence in us. I am so excited to share a stage with my girls. Its memory we will always have. They think I look beautiful in my less than attractive recital dress. They think it is amazing that I take ballet at their studio, from their teacher.  They are not embarrassed by me ,but proud that I am their mom. I pray that it is an example that they will always take with them in life. To be brave..not give a rip what other people think...to do things you love even ifyou are not amazing at doing it...try new things that scare you...be and inspiration to others..BE A DIANE. Don't  live in fear. Its paralyzing.
  So dance, sing, twirl, skip, play kazoo, learn the banjo, climb a mountain, run a marathon, ride your bike across the country...WHATEVER..just get out there and try it. Even if it means wearing a leotard as a grown A** woman!  Fl theater this saturday...you can see it for yourself...Im not scared to invite you. If it goes well, then all that practice payed off..if it goes horribly wrong, we can all laugh about it later.  We only get one chance at life people, make it count!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

   If you would have had a conversation with me two months ago about my feelings on Boston, it would have gone starkly different than it would today. For starters, it is finally spring time here. It was an incredibly long and hard winter. Spring time in Boston (and I am guessing for most North Eastern cities) is amazing and fairytale like...there are birds and tulips and trees that literally rain down tiny little pink and white and yellow flowers...everything smells so good and happy and new. And everyone finally seems happy because they have spent months, and months, and months, indoors ...... shoveling themselves out, and trudging over pile after pile of sloppy, dirty old snow.
    I vividly remember every emotion and thought I had prior to our move here. I am an "overly passionate" person some would say ( DAVE) and that is not always and endearing trait..as it turns out, passion can be confused by those around you as anger or aggression from time to time ( I know! I was shocked to learn this too!!) but those of us who are 'overly passionate" know it comes from a place of love, excitement and mostly just overwhelming emotional attachment to a thing...I am very easily attached to things..my heart is big and squishy and spills over most of the time. I was optimistic about our move. I had always wanted to go to New England and it was exciting. A new start and there are actual seasons there!! But still I cried for 10 of our 20 hour pilgrimage..My heart instantly ached for my home, friends and family. These friends that have become our family. They know us up and down, good and bad. They have cried with us, laughed with us. We have fought and made up. We have "grown up" together..we have witnessed the births of each others children and been at every birthday party. We have visited each other in hospitals and held hands when we were scared. We have comforted and been comforted at times of loss. We have prayed with each other, held one another accountable. We have listened and been listened to we have loved and been loved beyond anything we could ever deserve....and I over passionately cried and cried and cried as we drove away...
       Friendships take time, and trust and heart and more time...and it seems the older we get, the harder it is to make friends...this move has certainly proved that true. A lady told me yesterday that in the south people will welcome you with open arms, and over time decide if they like you, gradually backing off if you are not a good fit...but in the north they keep up a brick wall and slowly remove one brick at time  until they are ready to let you in...I found this to be a very true and interesting observation...I think the southern approach will cause heart ache down the road..and I think the northern approach causes heart ache from the jump...this said  its been a pretty lonely year and  half here and we were certainly not greeted with a smile and open arms....it is a cold city on more than one level.
   But then a unimaginable terror happened in this city last week....it was devastating and horrible and  just  insane..we watched it all unfold with the rest of the country on the news..but we were sitting just miles away from the reality. Dave's office stayed closed for a week and a half  because the area surrounding it remained a crime scene...we sat on lock down, not leaving our homes because we were told not to as they hunted down the person responsible for these crimes, this terror.... the one who took multiply lives, left countless people in critical condition..devastating an entire city. It was surreal to say the least....and I watched this city that I have felt no connection to prior to this, stand together..I watched the bravery and determination of this city...I watched the city get back up and move forward despite such tragedy.....and I finally felt like I had some connection here.....a bond you could only have if you here for this thing..this tragedy...it links you together somehow...because you came out of it together...even if you have not clue who the  "yous" are on a personal level..
   I drove Dave to work today and the city was lively...full of people out and about, because it is a beautiful day...its spring time in Boston..trees raining flower and birds singing and police barricades are coming down. I could not help but smile but then suddenly before I knew what happened I was crying. We move in three weeks and my big squishy heart began to ache. I know I want to go home. Our kids want to go home...I want to be able to drive them to see their grandparents and spend summers with their families..( without spending 50 hours in our car) I want to be close by as our parents age and need us close...I want to be close by our parents as our kids grow and we need their support and encouragement.. this city has history, charm and beauty by the bucketful..it does not have our friends and family and personal history which is worth its weight in gold... but has a little piece of me now.
    This year has been hard, discouraging, and up hill all the way battle...it has taken a toll on each of us differently..there has been many tears and broken hearts...mine has been broken for sure..but taped, glued and sewed back together little by little...and nestled right in the middle of my big, broken/mended, squishy, overly passionate heart, there is a piece of shrapnel left by this city..and I never want it removed..it will stay there forever..because I will never forget the loneliness and hurt..and I will never ever forget how much I changed and grew and learned from being here...God breaks us and sifts us to refine us...and as strange as it may sound, Boston refined me...and I will be forever grateful.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Sweet Potato and Quinoa Falafel





So due to an over abundance of sweet potatoes, I decided to poke
around th
e interwebs for some new recipe ideas....In my search I stumbled across a recipe for sweet potato falafel and I LOVE FALAFEL!!!
So Ifigured what the heck. Now naturally I was not satisfied with the found recipe and decide to change it up. For starters it was only sweet potato and spice..this in my mind seemed too mushy. I
like the grit of a falafel. So I decided to try

adding quinoa, and It worked...it added just enough grit, helped hold it together and made it even healthier!! Now because it is not monday yet I took some liberty, and therefore it is not totally vegan. The falafel itself is but of course I felt the need to top it with a yogurt lemon dressing...also I felt the need to serve it with a hot bowl of matzo ball soup!!!!! NOMMNOMMNOMMM MATZO BALL SOUP!
I think I liked the end result..a sweet falafel ball. It my no means changes my love for a good ol fashioned falafel..and honestly I think I prefer the ol fashion to the new fangeled. But I was able to use us my potatoes before the produce delivery man dropped more on my doorstep, literally, while I was pealing the before mentioned sweet potatoes..and it is healthy , so you can't beat that!


RECIPE:

- 2 sweet potatoes
-1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
-1 cup water
-1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
-1 1/2 teaspoon coriander
-1/4 teaspoon turmeric
-3 cloves chopped garlic
-palm full of parsley
-salt and pepper to taste
-1/4 cup whole wheat flour

*preheat oven to 450 degrees
*chop and boil sweet potatoes, drain
*bring 1 cup water to boil, add quinoa and simmer until water is absorbed
*in a bowl mash potatoes, mix in cooked quinoa and flour and mix
*mix in garlic, parsley and spice
*on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, scoop potato mixture with a small scoop or spoon to form falafel balls
*spray with a light coating of cooking spray and bake at 450 for about 20-25 minutes
falafel balls should brown on outside a bit and be crisp to the touch.

****serve in pita with lettuce, tomato, cucumber and whatever else you like!
*

21 days : Vegan, Gluten free, Refined sugar free


Ok, so we are going vegan, Gluten Free, and Refined sugar free for 21 days!!
Yikes, I love me some bread so this is not gonna be a cake walk..ahahhahahahhahaha..I am such a nerd...pretty sure I am the only one laughing at that one. Ok, so my sister in law is actually the one responsible for this idea..I just blindly jumped on the train because I like a challenge...everything is more appealing if it seems like a game, am I right? Also being that we have moved a million miles from home, and I am currently friendless and bored in a the big city.....its seemed like something to fill my time.
It should not be too hard. We actually just finished a 3 day juice fast so anything is a step up from that. I am just happy to be chewing anything honestly..just don't make juice for three days ever again! ( after saying this out loud as I type it, I instantly am positive I will one day do it again..blraggggg!) It had its perks. Felt great after..stomach felt good, did not miss coffee, did not really miss sugar...just missed eating. So going vegan, sugar free and gluten free seems doable.
The plan here is simple: find recipes, tweak them, make up recipes, take pictures, post pictures and recipes and share.
So if you are feeling crazy, THERE IS PLENTY OF ROOM ON THIS TRAIN!
We are starting monday so expect pics and updates starting monday morning! whoop!!!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Quinoa/ Veggie burgers


So I wanted a veggie burger...an excellent one...delicious...healthy and home made...not a gross frozen one. So like any ambitious cook would do, I started digging through the fridge in search of on hand veggies...pulling out the bag of quinoa and devising my plan.....but like in any story there is a beginning and mine started in Asheville Nc.
We went to Asheville for our 10th anniversary and of course visited the Biltmore Estate. After the long, hunger inducing tour was over, we ended up eating lunch at the Carriage House. I order a veggie burger and was surely skeptical. If you have never been to Asheville let me tell you its the bees knees for all foodies...I wanted to eat somewhere way more exciting but I was too hungry to wait.. The nice waiter assured me the veggie burger was his favorite thing on the menu. Well, he didn't lie. It actually turned out being one of the best veggie burgers I had ever had. Odd, because Dave's food was gross and the menu as a whole did not appeal to me. When the nice waiter brought us our check he also brought out a card with the recipe on it! GREAT..HOORAY....but of course me being me..I lost it..SUCK......this was some time ago. Long enough that I forgot all about it until staring into my pantry at a bag of quinoa that I needed to use up. Then I remembered the burger and decided I had to make up a recipe for a delicious quinoa/veggie burger..BETTER THAN THE CARRIAGE HOUSE..( this cold air is getting to me, giving me high hopes and lofty ambitions ) so here it is. I was impressed with even myself. If you hate it, well I am sorry. If you love it..YAY. Its healthy and yummy and pretty easy.

*1 cup cooked quinoa
*1 cup herb bread crumbs (i used day old french bread and tossed in some rosemary and thyme)
*1 red bell pepper
*1/2 red onion
* 1 cup carrots
*1 and 1/2 cup broccoli
*1 can drained and rinsed black beans
*1 8oz can tomato sauce
*1 egg
*1/4 cup whole wheat flour
* a few good shakes of turmeric ( cause that's how I cook)
*a shake of cumin
*salt and pepper
* and if you don't use herbs in your bread crumbs, maybe and little rosemary and thyme
-
-chop all veggies pretty small and sauté in pan with preferred oil until tender...dump beans in too
-mix quinoa, bread crumbs and tomato sauce in bowl
-dump veggie mix in a food processor or blender and pulse..just to break down and mix em up a bit.
-combined veggies with quinoa and bread crumbs
-add spices and egg and mix until combined
-add flour a little at a time, just until it has thickened up a bit
-form burgers and cook in skillet or grill pan

It will make you around 10 burgers..I tossed the leftovers in my freezer and fully plan on reheating them for lunch later this week!