Archive for November 2015

Iron Chef Biergarten Dinner

November 30th, 2015 — 12:06pm

From left to right, top to bottom: Roasted kielbasa with apples and cabbage, beer cheese dip with pretzels and pumpernickel bread, apple strudel, beer cheese soup in a pretzel bowl, banana beer bread, spaetzle with bratwurst.

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Pumpkin-Spiced Rice Pudding

November 25th, 2015 — 11:50am

DSC08176In honor of Thanksgiving, I’m sharing one of my recent favorite pumpkin recipes. This one is from the PBS food blog Fresh Tastes. This pumpkin-spiced rice pudding is perfect for breakfast or dessert during the fall. I mostly enjoyed it for dessert. For breakfast I’d probably recommend cutting the brown sugar down to maybe a 1/4 cup—depending on how sweet you like your breakfast. Or if you’re more of an oatmeal person, try this recipe for baked pumpkin steel cut oatmeal I posted last year.

Pumpkin-Spiced Rice Pudding (slightly adapted from the the PBS food blog Fresh Tastes)

1 cup rice (per the suggestion in the recipe, I used a blend of quinoa, brown rice and barley, which gave the rice pudding really nice texture)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup pure pumpkin puree
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, roughly chopped (I used pepitas)

In a medium saucepan, combine the rice, brown sugar, milk, water, butter and salt. Bring the mixture to a simmer, cover, and cook until the water has mostly evaporated and the rice is tender, about 20 minutes. (timing will depend on the rice blend used. Add more water as needed)

Once the rice has finished cooking, stir in the pumpkin puree, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg. Add more water or milk to reach your desired consistency. Divide the rice pudding into bowls and garnish with pumpkin seeds.

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Sunday Snack Ride

November 24th, 2015 — 12:19pm

Before the snow came and covered most of the state, there was one last perfect, unseasonably warm fall Sunday. With the day wide open, a 9-month old to entertain and empty bellies, we hit the road on our bikes with the Burley in tow in search of adventure and good food. We called it our “Sunday Snack Ride,” a 3-hour bike tour of Madison during which we pedaled around sampling food from various food establishments. There was a cheesy-cauliflower soup from Lakeside St. Coffee House, a Spanish chorizo from the Underground Butcher, the ridiculously good Ham and Jam sandwich from Crema Cafe, and various sweet treats from Batch Bakery, including an intensely flavorful and delicious gingerbread muffin. Eventually the sun set on our perfect Sunday, but we returned home with full bellies and a sense of accomplishment of having taken full advantage of the last hurrah of fall.

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10 Recent Favorite Recipes

November 4th, 2015 — 2:54am

As a new mom, I didn’t know what to expect in terms of my ability or desire to continue cooking as much as I have in the past. I’ve always loved to cook, but I was ready for my time in the kitchen to take a back seat to the needs of my baby daughter. And no doubt, it has. While I’m certainly still learning how to juggle everything in this new chapter of life, I’ve been pleasantly surprised that there is still time—not much, but a little—to do the things I love. And so I cook when I can. Maybe just once or twice a week now. It’s important to me to continue doing the things I love, and to nourish my family with good, fresh and healthy food. It’s also brought me so much joy to begin introducing my daughter to new flavors and to share with her my love of food.

For a while, I’ve wanted to share some of my recent favorite recipes. To keep it simple, I’m sharing a top 10 list—with pictures, links to recipes (when applicable) and quick notes. This sums up the last eight months—which has gone by way too fast.

Pasture-raised pork with couscous and vegetablesDSC06696

This is one of the most beautiful meals I’ve ever made. I purchased the pork from Jordandal Farms at the farmers’ market. It’s a great meal for a special occasion or when you’re really looking for that “wow” factor. It’s also a recipe that you need to commit to for the long haul—even the harissa paste is made from scratch. But it is amazing.

Autumn Kale Salad with Fennel, Honeycrisp and Goat Cheese


I made this recipe just last week and it’s a new favorite. This was my first time using the massage technique in a kale salad—a technique that truly opens a whole new world of possibilities. I love the dressing and the fall flavors. The recipe is from Cookie and Kate, one of my favorite food blogs. I don’t think I’ve been disappointed with a recipe from the site yet. And thankfully, Kate is releasing a cookbook soon.

Pork Belly Kimchi TacosDSC07039

These Korean-style tacos are an interesting take on a Mexican classic. They’re sweet, spicy and delicious. Sometimes I cook the pork belly, other times I buy pre-cooked pork belly from Trader Joe’s.

Wild Rice Maple Cake DSC08015

I found the recipe for this cake while vacationing in Door County earlier this fall. When I needed to bring a sweet dish to a friend’s house for brunch, it’s the first recipe that came to mind. This cake is super dense and flavorful, and has the most unique texture from the wild rice. It screams fall. And it’s perfect for breakfast and dessert. The recipe was developed by the baker and pastry chef at Hotel Washington.

Pumpkin SnickerdoodlesDSC08153

Honestly, at first I wanted to scream while I was making these cookies because the dough was very hard to work with and I wasn’t able to roll it into balls like the recipe directed. But I pressed on and did the best I could, and the cookies turned out much better than I expected. Crunchy on the outside, cakey and fluffy on the inside, they’re truly an autumn delight.

Crispy Millet and Peanut Butter BuckeyesDSC06164

I’m all about cookies, but I’m also all about making cookies as healthy as they can be. Sure, you can only make a buckeye so healthy, but these are a big improvement over the original. I made these buckeyes shortly after my daughter was born, and it was a great to be able to reach into the freezer and grab a little treat whenever the craving struck (often). I especially love the crunchiness from the millet. This recipe is from the Thug Kitchen cookbook. When I was totally sleep deprived (who am I kidding, I’m still totally sleep deprived), the cookbook also provided much-needed comic relief. These will be great to make for the holidays.

Poblano Chili Mac & CheeseDSC08105When my husband and I picked up poblano peppers at the farmers’ market earlier this fall—just because they were beautiful, I did a quick search online for recipes, and was inspired to try poblano chili mac & cheese. I loved the creamy pasta with just the right amount of heat beneath a top crunchy, baked layer.

Spiced Chickpea Wraps with Tahini DressingDSC06131This recipe became a standby for me last spring. It’s also from the Thug Kitchen cookbook. I especially like the tahini dressing. The wrap is very filling, and full of ingredients¬† you can feel great about.

Minnesota Winter Chili (no picture)

I recently finished reading Eat & Run, an autobiography by world-renowned ultramarathon runner and proud vegan Scott Jurek. Each chapter includes one of Scott’s favorite recipes. He talks about how this particular recipe changed him—how he realized he didn’t miss meat at all in this vegan chili. I’d have to agree.

Three-Greens Soup with Sausage and Potatoes (no picture)

This is another great warm-weather soup that is hearty enough for a meal. I usually omit the escarole and serve with a crusty baguette.

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