Stewed Peppers with Tomatoes, Onions & Garlic

Stewed Peppers with Tomatoes, Onions & Garlic

Back when I first started blogging, I would photograph and post whatever I happened to have made for dinner that night. There was no planning posts ahead of time, no thought as to what “it” ingredients to use in my posts, no blogging schedule (which, obviously, is something I’m still horrible about). And while elaborate perfect-for-blogging recipes is fun, sometimes it’s the simple recipes that I really want to tell people about. The foods that I make regularly, and (I’m guessing) the things that my readers are probably a lot more likely to make for themselves.

Stewed Peppers with Tomatoes, Onions & Garlic

These peppers are an example of that. I’ve been making these regularly for several years now, and the whole family loves them. In fact, I may have to start doubling this recipe, because every time I make them everyone wants seconds! I usually serve this with some really good bread (usually homemade), alongside a frittata or scrambled eggs for a simple but delicious dinner.

Stewed Peppers with Tomatoes, Onions & Garlic

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 large garlic cloves, minced

3 large red bell peppers, thinly sliced

Salt

1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes, partially drained

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

Freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring every now and then, until tender (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and bell peppers, and cook for another 5 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and cook 5 minutes more, until the peppers are tender.

2. Add the tomatoes and thyme to the pan, and season with some salt and pepper. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, making sure to stir occasionally. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Makes 6 servings

Adapted from The Very Best of Recipes for Health, by Martha Rose Shulman
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Onion, Feta & Olive Rolls

Onion, Feta & Olive Rolls

In my last post I left you all with half a batch of leftover Mother Dough, and a promise for a recipe to use it up. It took a while to get this post up, because I was enjoying time with Chaim while he was off from work over the holidays. But he’s back at work today, and it’s time for life to get back to normal. So here we go.

I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do with the rest of my dough at first. I was thinking of doing another variation of the bagel bombs, but in the end I decided I wanted to something different. I rolled out the dough, spread caramelized onions over the top, scattered it with kalamata olives and feta cheese, then rolled it up and sliced it cinnamon bun-style, and baked them in muffins cups.

Onion, Feta & Olive Rolls

Filled with some of my favorite flavors, these are a perfect savory option for breakfast. They’d also be great alongside a bowl of tomato soup for a light lunch or dinner.

Onion, Feta & Olive Rolls

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 large onion, diced

1/4 cups chopped kalamata olives (about 8 olives)

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/2 batch Mother Dough (find the recipe HERE), at room temperature

Flour, for rolling out the dough

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a 6-cup muffin tin.

2. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, and cook until a deep golden brown, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and allow to cool.

3. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to about a 9-by 14-inch rectangle. Spread the caramelized onions over the top of the dough, all the way to the edged. Sprinkle evenly with the olives and feta.

4. Roll the dough up lengthwise, as you would cinnamon buns. Lightly push in on the sides of the roll to make a roll that is 12 inches long. Cut the roll into 2-inch slices, so that you have 6 rolls. Place each one into a muffins cup. Don’t worry if they fall apart a little, the cup with hold them together; they don’t need to be perfect.

5. Bake at 375°F for about 35 minutes, until the tops of the rolls are golden brown. Carefully remove the rolls to a rack to cool for a few minutes before serving. These can be made a ahead of time, but warm them up before eating them.

Makes 6 rolls

Tomato & Scallion Cream Cheese Bagel Bombs

Tomato & Scallion Cream Cheese Bagel Bombs

Since I was already using my Milk Bar cookbook to make the pretzel ice cream, I thought I’d finally pay some attention to the small savory section in the back if the book. The chapter is dedicated to the bakery’s “mother dough”, a simple dough that is used to make all different kinds of savory goodies.

Bagel Bombs are a sort of all-in-one breakfast sandwich, with the filling baked right inside the dough. The recipe in the book uses a bacon, scallion, and cream cheese plug, but since we do not eat bacon (nor do we eat milk and meat together) I needed to come up with an alternative. Yes, I could have just omitted the bacon, and had a plain scallion cream cheese plug, but I wanted something with a little richness in there.

Tomato & Scallion Cream Cheese Bagel Bombs

I ended up using some chopped homemade smoked-paprika oven-dried tomatoes in them, which was perfect. I served these for dinner with a huge salad, and everyone loved them!

Smoked Paprika Oven-Dried Tomatoes

Like most Milk Bar recipes, this is made up of a few components, but they can all be made ahead of time: the cream cheese plugs up to a month ahead, the everything bagel mix up to 6 months ahead, and the dough up to a week ahead. And once you’re ready to make them the assembly is pretty easy.

Tomato & Scallion Cream Cheese Bagel BombsTomato & Scallion Cream Cheese Bagel BombsTomato & Scallion Cream Cheese Bagel Bombs

Mine all exploded in the oven (which is, apparently, quite normal). But I guess that’s why they’re called bombs!

Tomato & Scallion Cream Cheese Bagel Bombs

Notes:

This recipe uses only half of the mother dough. I do have another recipe coming up that will use the other half but, if you prefer, you can double the plug & bagel mix amounts and make 16 bagel bombs.

If you’d rather, you can use jarred oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes (blotted dry with a paper towel) for this if you don’t want to make your own oven-dried tomatoes.

Tomato & Scallion Cream Cheese Bagel Bombs

Tomato & Scallion Cream Cheese Plugs:

7 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

2 tablespoons chopped oven-dried tomatoes (recipe below)

2 scallions, green part only, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1. Place the cream cheese into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and beat on medium speed until creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the tomatoes, scallions, sugar, and salt. Mix just until it’s incorporated.

2. Evenly divide the mixture into 8 portions, and place them onto a lined quarter-sheet pan. Freeze until solid, about 1 to 3 hours. If not using right away, place them into an airtight container and freeze for up to 1 month.

Oven-Dried Tomatoes:

Use whatever tomatoes you find that look good. Normally I’d use Roma’s, but even for this time of year they looked really bad, so I used tomatoes on the vine. You really only need about one tomato for this recipe, but make as many as you want—you can use the leftovers in a salad or panini (anywhere you’d use sun-dried tomatoes, really). Cut the tomatoes in half, scoop out the seeds with a small spoon, and place in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, and mix them with your hands to make sure they are all coated. Place in a parchment-lined baking sheet, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and smoked paprika. Bake in a 250° oven for about 6 hours, until dry (but not bone dry; you want them to be fairly soft). Mine took about 7 1/2 hours, because my tomatoes were really juicy). Allow to cool.

Mother Dough

3 1/2 cups bread flour

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 1/8 teaspoons active dry yeast

1 3/4 cups water, at room temperature

grapeseed oil, to grease the bowl

1. Place the flour, salt, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer and stir together, using the dough hook like a spoon. Add the water, and keep stirring it by hand with the dough hook until the mixture just starts come together.

2. Attach the dough hook to the mixer, and mix the dough on the lowest speed for about 6 or 7 minutes, until the dough looks like a wet ball and bounces back softly when pressed.

3. Grease a large bowl with the oil and turn the dough out into it. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough sit at room temperature for 45 minutes (it may not rise much, and that’s okay).

4. Use the dough then, or store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to a week. Bring the dough to room temperature before using!

Everything Bagel Mix

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon white sesame seeds

2 teaspoons black sesame seeds

1 tablespoons dried onions

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Combine all the ingredients together in a bowl. Can be store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Assembly and Baking:

1 recipe Tomato & Scallion Cream Cheese Plugs (above)

1/2 recipe Mother Dough (above)

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon water

1 recipe Everything Bagel Mix (above)

1. Preheat oven to 325°F and line a large sheet pan with parchment paper.

2. Flatten the dough down on a smooth, lightly floured surface, and divide evenly into 8 pieces. Using your fingers (I lightly floured my hands, because the dough was a little sticky), gently stretch each piece of dough into a circle about 3 inches wide.

3. Place a cream cheese plug onto the center of each circle, and bring the edges up and around the plug. I used a bench scraper to do this, because the dough was sticking to my work surface (you can sort of see this in the pictures above). Lightly flour your hands, and gently roll the ball between your palms to make a round shape. Place them onto the sheet pan, 4 inches apart from each other.

4. Whisk together the egg and water, and generously brush onto the rolls. Sprinkle evenly, and heavily, with the bagel mix.

5. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until the bombs are golden brown. Don’t worry if the cream cheese explodes out; that’s normal—you can leave it as is, or tuck it back into the bomb after it cools a bit.

6 Remove from the oven, and serve warm. If you are making these ahead of time, warm them up before serving. You can keep these, well-wrapped in plastic, in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Makes 8 Bagel Bombs

Adapted from Momofuku Milk Bar, by Christina Tosi

What We Ate: The 1st night of Chanukah & Thanksgiving, 2013

How was everybody’s holiday? It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving 2013 is already over, and that we are already onto the second day of Chanukah! Where does time go???

I decided that since both of these meals took place within about 24 hours time, I will combine them into one post. Here we go:

1st night of Chanukah:

Chanukah

When planning what to have for dinner I knew that I wanted something easy (because, hello, it was going to be the night before Thanksgiving!), but I also wanted to do something fun. I vetoed latkes for the first night (I’m going to save the mess from frying for a night that’s not the night before Thanksgiving!). I decided to do finger foods that could be made earlier in the afternoon, and we’d eat it picnic-style on the living room floor in front of the menorah.

Spiced Sweet Potato Gelt with Orange Honey Sour Cream Dipping Sauce

The first thing I made, which is what gave me the idea of doing that type of dinner, are these Spiced Sweet Potato “Gelt” with Orange Honey Sour Cream Dipping Sauce. I loved how easy these were to make, and I way more of them than I should have!

Baked Zucchini Coins with Tomato Sauce

In keeping with the “gelt” theme, I also made these Baked Zucchini Coins with Tomato Sauce. These were a little more time-consuming to make, because of the triple dipping you need to do, but they were very worth it because they were delicious.

Onion, Mushroom & Goat Cheese Mini Frittatas

The last thing I made were these Onion, Mushroom, and Goat Cheese Mini Frittatas. They are made in muffin tins, making them a perfect size for picking up and eating, no forks necessary. The tomato sauce from the zucchini coins was also incredible with these.

I set it all out in a side table in the living room, and after we lit the menorah we filled up our plates, sat down, and watched the candles flickering.

Thanksgiving:

Thanksgiving 2013

It was just the five of us again for Thanksgiving this year, so my goal was to have a variety of foods, but keep the prep simple and not have too many leftovers . I made several new recipes this year, many of which are from fellow bloggers. I think the meal I ended up with was perfect!

Pumpkin Glazed Turkey Legs

I knew I didn’t want to roast a whole turkey. Last year I made a roast turkey breast, but this year I decided to go with turkey legs. When I saw this recipe for Pumpkin Glazed Turkey Legs, full of wonderful fall flavors, I knew that it would be perfect. The glaze was wonderful! The only problem I had was that mine took a lot longer to cook, but that could be due to the size of the legs that I used. (You can see how many times I cut into them to check doneness—must get a meat thermometer!)

Bourbon-Vanilla Cranberry Sauce

Due to my insane love of vanilla, I added this Bourbon-Vanilla Cranberry Sauce to my menu the same day it was posted! So simple to make, and so delicious!

Spiced Sweet Potato Casserole

I wanted to make some sort of sweet potato dish, but I did not want anything that involved marshmallows! I went with this Spiced Sweet Potato Casserole, which I thought was wonderful.

Grandma's Saltine Stuffing/Dressing

It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving to me if I didn’t make my grandma’s saltine stuffing (dressing). I know it probably sounds weird to most of you, but I love the stuff! This year, I couldn’t resist baking it in a cast iron skillet!

Roasted Cauliflower with Chickpeas, Mustard & Parsley

The final recipe for our main course was Roasted Cauliflower with Chickpeas, Mustard & Parsley from It’s All Good. This has become my favorite way of serving cauliflower. Try it, it’s outstanding! (Recipe below)

Amaretto Apple Crisp

For dessert I made this wonderful Amaretto Apple Crisp that I served warm with vanilla soy ice cream from Trader Joe’s. Why store-bought ice cream , when I so obviously love to make my own? Well, we keep kosher, which means no dairy at a meat meal. T.J.’s does non-dairy ice cream very well, so I don’t mind relying on the when I need to.

Thanksgiving 2013

And that’s that! Enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend (and Chanukah, if you celebrate it)!

Thanksgiving 2013

I’m very obviously way more into the sides than the turkey! 😉

Roasted Cauliflower with Chickpeas, Mustard, & Parsley

1 (14-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed & drained, and dried with a kitchen towel

1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets

Extra-virgin olive oil

Coarse Sea Salt

1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard

1 tablespoon seeded mustard (I use country-style Dijon)

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

Freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley

1. Place a rack in the middle of your oven, and preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Combine the chickpeas and the cauliflower florets on a large sheet pan, and toss with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and a big pinch of salt. roast for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until everything is dark brown and the cauliflower is soft.

3. In a small measuring cup or bowl whisk together 1/4 cup of olive oil, the 2 mustards, the vinegar, a big pinch of salt, and a few big grinds of pepper. Pour over the still-warm chickpeas and cauliflower, add the parsley, and toss to combine. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 4 servings

From It’s All Good, by Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Turshen

Potato-Apple Latkes with Cinnamon Sour Cream

Potato-Apple Latkes with Cinnamon Sour Cream

I was so excited when, months ago, I found out that Thanksgiving was going to fall out during Chanukah this year. My first thought was that latkes were definitely going to be the potato side dish this year, and I was going to make a cranberry-applesauce to put on top of them, and it was going to be so. much. fun!

Except that for the past month or so Thanksgivukkah has been ALL over the internet. And guess what? I’m already tired of it. And it doesn’t even happen for another two and a half weeks.  It’s kinda like how pumpkin recipes started showing up everywhere on September 1st, and by the time October rolled around I was so over pumpkin recipes. Yeah, too much of a good thing can sometimes just be too much.

Potato-Apple Latkes with Cinnamon Sour Cream

So, I may or may not be serving latkes on Thanksgiving; I haven’t decided yet. However, I probably won’t be making a big deal about the whole Thanksgiving and Chanukah colliding thing. But if you are looking for a recipe for latkes to serve for Thanksgiving or Chanukah (or both), here’s a great one to try. They’re a little bit savory, a little bit sweet, and a whole lot delicious!

Potato-Apple Latkes with Cinnamon Sour Cream

2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and shredded (6 cups)

2 medium Gala apples, shredded (2 cups)

1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

Freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Grapeseed oil, for frying (or use any neutral-flavored oil)

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Demerara (raw) sugar, for garnish

1. Combine the potatoes, apples, and 1 teaspoon of the salt in a colander. Let the mixture stand for 20 minutes, pressing down every so often with the back of a large spoon to squeeze out as much liquid as possible.

2. Pour the potato mixture into a large bowl, and add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, the thyme, and black pepper. Don’t be stingy with the black pepper; you want a nice amount of it to play against the apples and the sugar. Add the flour, and mix well.

3. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat, and coat the bottom of the pan with oil. In batches, add the latke mixture to the pan by 1/3-cupfuls, and cook for several minutes on each side, until golden brown. Keep a careful eye on them. If the darken too quickly, lower the heat a bit, because you don’t want the outside to burn before the inside it cooked (I used a cast iron skillet and had to lower the temperature a bit, because the pan gets really hot!). Add more oil to the pan as needed.

4. Remove the latkes from the pan onto a plate lined with paper towels to drain. You can keep latkes warm on a sheet pan in a 200°F oven while you prepare the next batch.

5. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream and cinnamon.

5. Place the latkes on a platter, top each with a dollop of the cinnamon sour cream, sprinkle with a bit of demerara sugar, and serve.

Makes about a dozen latkes, depending on how tightly you pack the measuring cup.

Adapted from Cooking Light