Homemade Oreos (Fauxreos)

IMG_4160

It’s Fridaaaaaaaay!  Hallelujah.

And we have OREOS!  On our minds and in our mouths.  It’s going to be a good weekend.

IMG_4139

I made these little beauties as a knee-jerk reaction to a few things that happened this week.  First, I ran my credit card through the washing machine, so that was fun for everyone.  Then I made friends with a giant spider crawling up the wall of my bedroom (totally awesome) and, finally, a bunch of the (very lovely, I might add) wedding invitations I sent out last week showed up in my mailbox, all marked-up and ugly-like, because the post office is a big fat idiot.  I’d like to return YOU to sender, post office.  And then shove like 5 homemade Oreos (fauxreos?) in my face.

IMG_4148

I’ve been wanting to make my own Oreos for awhile now, but never went for it because it seemed like kind of a hassle.  For the record, it’s totally not.  The simple dough comes together (without the help of an electric mixer, I might add) quickly, and the cream filling is a breeze of butter and sugar.

IMG_4169

And the real secret here?  …Salt.  (Kosher salt.)  There’s a generous amount of it in the chocolate cookie dough, and then an extra pinch is whisked into the filling, too.  It really helps balance the sweetness of the cookie and compliment the deep, dark chocolate flavor we’re going for.

So what are you waiting for?  It’s milk’s favorite cookie!  And it’s the weekend!  Homemade Oreos should probably happen.  Dunked then crumbled.  (Heyo.)

IMG_4152

wait! there’s more…

Posted in Cookies & Bars, Recipes, Snacks | 8 Comments

Summer’s Best

photo (11)

Oh haaaaaaaay.  Hi!  Yeah, I’m still here.  And it’s August!  Welllll into it.  Pretty much the Dog Days, just flying on by.   Where have I been, lately?  Oh, you know — just enjoying summer in Seattle, sweating my face off at the Zoo Tunes concerts, accidentally killing my potted plants (RIP, blueberry bush), trying not to get lapped while jogging around Greenlake, and diving headfirst into the biggest scoop(s) of soft serve you’ve ever seen.  Or else eating peaches.  So mostly just the usual.

photo (12)

And I haven’t really been cooking.  Mostly because it’s pretty hot out, and the idea of turning on the oven sounds lousy.  But also because I just haven’t felt that motivated in the kitchen as of late — I’m not entirely sure why.  What gives?  Is it wedding stress?  Job stress?  Stress stress?

Whatever, I’m kicking it to the curb.  Let’s look to the archives for inspiration!

This time of year is all about the fresh produce.  What about this Sweet Melon, Cucumber & Goat Cheese Salad?  It doesn’t even involve real cooking.  Done!

IMG_8312

Open-Faced Summer Sandwiches are the simplest, and are always a hit.  Bread + cheese + fresh fruit is the kind of math I can get behind.

IMG_7808

Peaches right now are insane.  It’s almost a shame not to eat them straight-up, standing over the sink while the sweet juice drips down your chin — but this Cornmeal Peach Cobbler makes dessert extra special.

IMG_2493.JPG

I’m trying to get all of the corn while the gettin’s still good.  The best are the ears so sweet and tender, you can eat the kernels raw.  I like to slice them right off the cob and throw them into this Summer Corn Salad.

IMG_7165

White Chocolate Party Figs!  These are just one great big YES.

IMG_8519

YES.

Are we feeling inspired yet?

I hope the answer is yes!  But just in case, here are some links to a few of my favorite, summer-inspired posts from around the interwebs:

wait! there’s more…

Posted in Recipes | 7 Comments

Marionberry Pie

IMG_4079

It’s POTLUCK day!  On the interwebs.  I’m talking about the #SoLetsPigOut Potluck, a virtual get-together hosted by two beautiful and talented women, Em & Gina, who decided it’d be fun to gather their interwebs friends and collect a heap of recipes for one fantastic midsummer celebration.

Have you ever been to a virtual potluck?  It’s the same as a regular potluck, except you can show up pants-less and no one will be the wiser.

IMG_4078

Not a bad deal, overall.

My contribution to the party is pie!  Because pie makes friends wherever it goes.  And I like friends.  And pie.

IMG_4094

As a recent transplant to the Pacific Northwest, marionberries are new to me – have you heard of them?  Or tried one?  They’re a variation of blackberry, indigenous to the state of Oregon, and they’re so, so good.  Plump and juicy and sweet, with some tartness thrown in for good measure.  I’ve seen them popping up in goodies all over the place here (muffins, scones, smoothies, jams, smooth jamz, etc.) which makes sense because they’re in season just now.

But I wanted in on the fun and, after a glimpse at the latest cover of Bon Appetit, I knew a pie was in order.

IMG_4117

I used frozen marionberries because I found a reasonably-priced enormo bag of them at Whole Foods, and most of you won’t be able to get your hands on fresh ones, anyway, so let’s embrace the frozen berry!  They make for one fantastic pie.

IMG_4072

Happy (virtual) potlucking, friends!  Make sure you check out all of the other pot-lucky posts and recipes, here and here.  It’s a (virtual) feast day.  SO LET’S PIG OUT!

IMG_4096

wait! there’s more…

Posted in Breakfast, Crisps, Crumbles & The Like, Recipes, Snacks | 22 Comments

Watermelon Limesicles

IMG_4056

More popsicles!  Because it’s hot and because it’s Friday and just because.  Can’t stop won’t stop, or whatever the cool kids are saying these days.

Watermelon-Limesicles!  They’re made to look like slices of watermelon, see?  With little chocolate chip “seeds” and everything.  How annoying am I??

IMG_4054

These are easy peasy, though.  Just fresh fruit, the greenest lime sherbert, and a bit of time in the freezer.  The chocolate chip “seeds” can be optional, even.

I made these with my cousin-to-be, Sophia.  She’s a doll.

IMG_4047

We think these treats would go over well at your next bbq, or for a summertime kid’s birthday party, or a summertime adult’s birthday party, preferably on a cool rooftop and maybe dunked in a glass of oh, I don’t know, tequila.  Or gin.  (The booze is my idea, not Sophia’s, because I’m a wizened almost-thirty-something and she’s a high school student with a heart of gold.)

IMG_4064

The good news is that it’s watermelon season this very minute, so find a good one and get to popping!  (Do you know how to choose the best watermelon?  I found some good tips over at The Kitchn.)

Watermelon Limesicles for all!

IMG_4060

wait! there’s more…

Posted in Recipes, Smooth & Creamy, Snacks | 4 Comments

Octavia’s Warm Shrimp Salad with Cantaloupe & Feta

IMG_5302

Excuse me for a minute while I eat all of the popsicles and forget to blog about it (oops).

I spent last week in Sunriver, Oregon, where the air is hot and dry and the mountains loom quietly on the horizon.  We were there for Ben’s family reunion.  There were some sweaty bike rides, a dip in the pool, a few spirited games of pickle ball (a real game, apparently), lots of empty wine bottles, ample ice cream cones, plenty of deer sightings, and a whole lot of family time.

IMG_5291

My niece, Matilda, says hello.

IMG_5164

…Skeptically.

We drove through Portland to get to Sunriver, so we stopped at Lardo for pork meatball bahn mi sandwiches, cucumber salad and french fries.

IMG_5161

A good decision.

In Sunriver, we pretended to know how to play croquet.

IMG_5252

When we got back to Seattle, it was hot.  Real hot.  Like, sweaty-knee-back hot.  So we picnicked on the patio with cold white wine and this salad, which is plump with shrimp and tangy with arugula and feta.  The cantaloupe is a nice and unexpected addition; it really pulls the whole dish together.  It’s a salad for hot summer evenings, light and flavorful, as delicious at room temperature as it is warm.

IMG_5304

wait! there’s more…

Posted in Dinner, Recipes, Salads | 4 Comments

Dark Chocolate Pudding Pops

IMG_3952

Question: what do you do when your wedding rehearsal dinner venue bails on you, just a few short months before said rehearsal dinner is set to go down?

IMG_3960

Answer: dark chocolate pudding pops.

I mean first you ball up your fists and let fly a few choice expletives at the computer screen, but then you just eat like twelve popsicles, and suddently the earth doesn’t seem like such an unfair place to be just now.  You know?

IMG_3967

Chocolate pudding pops are actually the answer to many of life’s difficult questions.  For example: How can I show my partner that I love him/her?

Chocolate pudding pops!

I’m worried about global warming.  How can I help keep our planet cool?

Chocolate pudding pops!

What’s the meaning of life, anyway?

Chocolate pudding pops!  …Among other things, probably.

Why are my pants so tight?

Chocolate pudding pops, duh.

IMG_3958

Whether you’re grappling with one of life’s major issues or just wondering what to serve at your 4th of July BBQ, the answer is clear: just look to the pudding pop.  You’re sure to land on something sweet (and deep and creamy, too) in the end.

Happy #popsicle week, everybody!  I hope you’ve checked out all the amazing pop recipes that went up this week, and have been enjoying them as much as I have.

IMG_3969

wait! there’s more…

Posted in Recipes, Smooth & Creamy, Snacks | 3 Comments

Date Shake Popsicles

IMG_3905

Shake your dates!  It’s officially summertime.

Here in Seattle, the days are long and gorgeous.  Everything is green green green, except when the sky turns pink for an almost-10-pm sunset.  People jog around Greenlake in short shorts, shoes crunching the gravel as they mosey or fly.  Groups of friends set up volleyball nets in the park, or spread blankets on the grass for a lazy midday picnic.  They splash in the lake with their little ones, or kick soccer balls or ride bikes.  One group practices some kind of “freestyle frisbee” situation, kicking and flipping and ducking and swooping, almost like they’re playing hacky-sack (remember that?), except with a frisbee instead of a little beanbag.  It’s probably really hard to do but it makes me laugh a lot to watch them.

IMG_3924

Summertime rituals!  Easily dusted off and brought back to life.  My favorite rituals of the season are long walks outside, ice cream from a cone, sunblock that smells like coconuts, long cotton dresses, peach picking, new leather sandals, and, of course, popsicles.  Also freestyle frisbee.

Just kidding.

Popsicles!  Of all kinds.  I like the red, white and blue rocket pops.  I love fudgesicles.  I really want to try these smoked peaches and cream pops.  And date shake pops!  These ones happen to be the richest, creamiest pops I’ve ever made.  They’re inspired by the date shake — have you heard of this phenomenon?  Date shakes are basically just milkshakes made with fresh dates and vanilla ice cream.  Instead of going the ice cream route for these pops, I used coconut cream and a whole vanilla bean.  Holy sweet Mariah Carey.  They are good.

IMG_3914

The dates bring an almost caramel-y flavor to the pop, and and the coconut cream’s lush, rich texture makes you feel like you’re eating the creamiest of ice creams.  And since they’re both sweet on their own, no added sugar needed!  Just some vanilla bean seeds for that floral aroma and the visual pop of black on white.  Three ingredients.  Boom.  Popsicles.

Do you have a popsicle mold?  They’re inexpensive and kind of the most fun (I own this one).  Don’t be like me and look for popsicle sticks at your local hardware store, though.  They won’t have them and you’ll go to two other places and waste nearly an hour before you realize you could just buy a pack of 100 from Amazon in about three minutes flat.

Let’s make popsicles.  It’s #POPSICLEWEEK!

IMG_3916

wait! there’s more…

Posted in Recipes, Smooth & Creamy, Snacks | 20 Comments

POPSICLE WEEK!

popsicleweekimage

Happy Popsicle Week, Peepsicles!

Billy, the hilarious wit behind Wit & Vinegar, has declared this first week of summer to be Popsicle Week, and so it shall be!  I’ve got not one, but TWO cool new pop recipes for you this week (if I can get my isht together, I mean), but in the meantime check out Billy’s Popsicle Week Page for all the amazing popsiclosity from the 37 other bloggers participating in this magical, brain-freezing, Mariah-Carey-approved week.

To start the week off in the proper spirit, here are two of my favorite past popsicle recipes:

IMG_8072

Red Berries & Cream Popsicles.  They’re creamy and dreamy and the perfect color combo for a 4th of July BBQ, or to help you cheer on TEAM USA this Thursday (U-S-A! U-S-A! It’s the World Cup of CONCACAF!) in their match of death vs. Germany.

IMG_3506.JPG

Whiskeyed Peach Pops!  Peachy sweet and refreshing!  With whiskey, so… POPTAILS!

And, just because… Dreamlover.  Ending this Monday on a (literal) high note.

Posted in Recipes | Leave a comment

Coconut Mac Nut Ice Cream (Vegan!)

IMG_3983

I feel like my life these days is such a balancing act (whose isn’t?).  It’s all about keeping some sort of equilibrium.  Or maybe it’s about seeing just how much I can get away with.

IMG_3946

For example: I went for a run yesterday.  Do I have to do it again today?  Exactly how much laundry can pile itself up before I’m out of underwear?  Is it still considered “working” if I’ve got World Cup soccer on in the background?  What if it’s on mute?  Also, I had salad for lunch.  Can I have three fudgesicles for dinner?

IMG_3971

Balance.  Between being a good and healthy person and letting my inner lazeball/chubster peek through.  My good and healthy side has not just vacuumed but mopped, too, thrives on yogurt and chia seeds, finished planning her wedding months ago, and always remembers to take out the trash.  My inner lazeball has watched three movies today and has a fudgesicle stain on her pajama shirt (which, by the way, she is still wearing.  It’s noon).

IMG_3933

This ice cream recipe is a manifestation of my constant struggle for balance.  The thought process of making and eating it went something like this: I want ice cream.  A big bowl.  What if it’s dairy free and vegan?  That’s fine, right?  Totally fine!  Coconuts are healthy.  So is a little bit of rum, probably.  And I can add some chocolate sauce.  Just a little bit.

…A little bit more couldn’t hurt.  I mean, I went on a run two days ago.  And I’ll vacuum afterwards.  Probably.

IMG_3989

wait! there’s more…

Posted in Recipes, Smooth & Creamy, Snacks | 6 Comments

Roasted Black Bean Burgers

IMG_3870

HELLO!

Hi.  It’s been awhile, huh?  Almost a month!  Which is like… a long time, in blog-years. Man.  I have no good excuse.  I went to the BlogHer Food conference in Miami last month and got really overwhelmed – sponsors! ads! video! networking! social media! –  so instead of trying to catch up on all of the things I’m not doing here, I decided to stop writing altogether.  A successful conference, no?  (To be fair, it was a fun conference, I’m just a spaz.)

Anyway, I’m back and ready to talk about burgers.  I’ve made a lot of burgers since Memorial Day (as one should, I think).  I’ve done classic hamburgers, caprese turkey burgers, (recipe coming in my forthcoming book! More on that soon…), lamb burgers and these roasted black bean burgers, which definitely hold their own in the category.

IMG_2628

These are my first go at homemade veggie burgers — I wanted to try my hand at making them because, though I’m definitely a meat eater (ahem, lamb burgers), lately I’ve been slanting towards a more veggie-centric diet in general, and sometimes I’m just not in the mood for meat (and lambs worldwide rejoice).

Veggie burgers can be lackluster (at best), and I was worried about turning up a mushy, ambiguously-flavored patty, but Kenji at Serious Eats helped put my fears behind me.  Roasting canned black beans (rinsed and drained, first) eliminates the mush-factor and intensifies the flavor of the burger, and adding sautéed onions, garlic, and poblanos, plus some chopped chipotle in adobo and a handful of roasted cashews, really brings the whole thing to another level.

IMG_3872

The resulting burger is deep and smoky, with a firm, slightly crumbly texture once cooked.  You won’t miss the meat.  Pile it on a bun with all your favorite fixings, or eat it over a bowl of dressed greens with some rice or quinoa mixed in.

Happy (burger-time) summer!

wait! there’s more…

Posted in Dinner, Recipes | 3 Comments