Joy’s Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I know what moms like.

It’s not difficult.  Moms like some peace and quiet.  Moms like it when you pick up after yourself.  They like when you call them just because.  They like when you have a good and stable job (I’m told).

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In my mind, moms like planting perennials and picking up the sticks that fall off the trees in the front yard.  They like cleaning out the attic and doing back exercises on the living room floor, also cozy nightgowns and eggs benedict.  Moms like nudging and puttering, in general.  Or maybe that’s just my mother?

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It’s a fact that all moms like warm chocolate chip cookies, fresh from the oven and laced with brown butter and dark chocolate.  Especially when they didn’t have to make them.

This is Joy The Baker’s recipe.  Girl knows her cookies.  These have crisp outer cookie shells and soft, gooey insides.  They’re rich in flavor and comfort and love.  Like moms.  Let’s connect the dots this Sunday!  If nothing else, your mom deserves a cookie.

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Posted in Cookies & Bars | 1 Comment

Cinco De Mayo!

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Happy Cinco de Mayo!

It’s grey and a little dreary in Seattle today, so an enormous bowl of guacamole seems like the right thing to do.

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I will add too much lime juice because I like it that way.

And if we’re going whole hog fiesta, I’ve got a few more beats to lay down.  Like grilled pineapple salsa!  It’s that sweet/spice mix, with some charcoal-y grill flavors to boot.

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A deep bowl of smoky bacon turkey chili would keep that tortilla chip train rolling along nicely.

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And to finish it all off?  I mean I don’t want to tell you what to do, but you should definitely serve some chewy brown butter chocolate pecan blondies.  Add a little cinnamon to the mix to keep them on theme, por favor.

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Beer and margaritas are optional since it’s a Monday but, then again, since it’s Monday I probably am going to need a beer and a margarita.

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Crackly Rye Banana Bread

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Weekend baking project!  And GO.

Ben can’t tell how he feels about the crackle in this bread.  I, on the other hand, love the crackle.  (Just so we’re clear, by crackle I mean raw millet, aka birdseed, aka don’t look at me in that tone of voice because it tastes good, okay?)

So, yeah.  Birdseed banana bread.  Have I lost you yet?

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Though it’s used in birdseed, yes, millet is actually a human food.  It’s a kind of ancient seed, healthy and full of nutrients, which happens to be having a renaissance in the bulk food aisle, somewhere between the multicolored quinoa and the chia seeds (and the general pretension, yes).  And whatever, it’s great in banana bread!  With a bit of rye flour and coconut oil and not very much in the way of sugar, the loaf sings and crackles and makes you feel better when you pull a back muscle and have to hobble around like someone three times your age.  It’s great in thick slices for breakfast or thin, half slices when you’re not supposed to be snacking but just can’t help yourself (I’m told).

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Banana bread is a staple, for me.  One that gets tweaked and twisted and changed according to how I feel, or what’s in my pantry, or which books or blogs I’m reading this week.  I mean, how many recipes for banana bread have I tried, at this point in my almost-30-year-old life?  A bunch.  But this one, with its depth and crackle, is my favorite version yet.

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Posted in Breads & Cakes, Breakfast, Recipes, Snacks | Leave a comment

Sunchoke & Arugula Soup

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The soup!  Finally the soup.

Have you ever eaten sunchokes before?  They’re a root vegetable, also called Jerusalem artichokes (though they have nothing to do with either, apparently) or earth apples.  Earth apples!  Sounds like some kind of alien pet name.  Let’s go with sunchokes.  They’re weird little gremlins, all gnarled and lumpy, but oh — they’re delicious.  Kind of sweet and earthy.  Paired with mild leeks and fresh garlic, they bring a real sense of depth, a rich kind of grounding, to this bright and verdant springtime soup.

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I ate this for a week straight, you know, the week just after the roasted rhubarb, and just before the diamond ring.  It’s a happy sort of soup, I think.

It’s a soup good with bread, or goat cheese toast, or topped with roasted Brussels sprouts chips (those are a thing, and they’re amazing – recipe coming soon) or just an extra dollop of crème fraîche.  It’s a soup fit for spring — for rainy mornings and budding branches and cool, puff-cloud sunsets over Greenlake (and beyond).

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Posted in Recipes, Soup | 2 Comments

An Engagement

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I had a soup recipe for you today… but then I got engaged (!) and all thought of soup just wouldn’t do.

Ben proposed (!!!!) at the park on Friday afternoon.  First, I completely lost it.  Then I said yes.  And then our families came running out of the bushes, where they were watching from afar.  We drank champagne and ate cheese and chocolate on blankets in the grass, and it was pretty much as perfect as it gets.

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I mean… soup?!?  I can’t concentrate on the soup.  Just the ring on my finger (on that finger, eeeeeeeks) and my Ben.  For the moment.

Now it’s on to planning a wedding.  Who’s got tips for me?  I need all the help I can get!

Don’t worry, there’s soup coming soon…

Posted in Recipes | 10 Comments

Malted Almond Chia Pudding

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Remember that time we made malted almond milk?  That was fun.  I used it to make smoothies, and when I still had some leftover – chia pudding!

As you may have noticed (or maybe not because pie), I’ve been experimenting with a bit of a healthier approach towards eating these days.  I haven’t cut anything out or made anything off limits, so there will still be plenty of doughnuts and also lots of cookies, I’ll just supplement with lots of salads and soups and whole grain banana bread affairs (coming soon).  And chia pudding!

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Have you ever tried chia pudding?  I won’t lie, it’s kind of weird.  It’s a texture thing.  If you’re not into tapioca things, you probably won’t be into this thing.  It’s just chia seeds (which are naturally grain and gluten free and are the richest plant source of Omega-3, so that’s probably good) simply mixed with almond milk, some salt and vanilla extract, and then BOOM.  Pudding.  The little chias soak up everything in the land — everything! — and then sort of gelatinize and thicken up, which is pretty amazing and ultimately means we can eat pudding for breakfast.  I’m okay with it.

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Chia pudding’s definitely not a new thing, but it’s new to me and I’m excited to experiment with different flavors — maybe next time I’ll add some cinnamon or roasted fruit or coconut milk… so many options!  This version’s not very sweet (I’m sure you could add your favorite sweetener if you like) but I like that about it.  It’s richly almond-y, and the chia seeds heft everything up and are really filling.  In general, it just feels wholesome and good.  I kind of want to try making a warm version, which to me seems like a cozier option for breakfast.

Have you ever tried chia pudding?  Into it, or no go?

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Posted in Breakfast, Recipes, Smooth & Creamy, Snacks | 2 Comments

Roasted Rhubarb

IMG_2684 Last weekend I decided to take a trip to the Ballard farmer’s market – as a newbie to the city of Seattle and person who generally likes food, I’d heard this was a must-do.  So I was excited to wander over on Sunday, empty-basket in hand, as the sun peeked out from behind the drizzle.

I’m here to report that the outing was, indeed, a must-do.  Yes, the produce and flowers and prepared food are fantastic (salmon sliders, hello).  Yes, I did get my hands on a huge arrangement of gorgeous flowering quince branches.  I bought freshly canned tuna, a handful of sunchokes (more on those later) and some broccoli rabe, a big bag of arugula, a gigantic leek and bunch of firm, bright pink stalks of rhubarb.  It was awesome.

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But!  But.  I had just bought my beautiful branches and was sidling over to the honey booth when — HEY!  I know that little girl.  How do I know that girl?  She’s all cheeks and dark brown curls.  She’s dancing (adorably) in front of the bluegrass trio by the curb.  How do I know her??

OH RIGHT, I stalk her mom on instagram!  Yes, correct.  The little girl was baby June, daughter of Molly Wizenberg (she of Orangette), who was also standing right there.  At the market.  Next to her husband (who runs one of Seattle’s best restaurants and bars).  Next to me.

um… HI MOLLY!  Thanks for being an amazing writer and cook and inspiration to me, in general.  Also your daughter is the cutest and your husband makes great pizza.  …Hi.

I actually didn’t say hi, since they seemed to be enjoying some family time, and also because I wasn’t sure what I would say (the above seemed a bit over the top, at the time). I mainly just smiled from behind my giant branches and hoped no one would call me out as a creeper (holy smokes I’m such a creeper).

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Then I bought some granola from Megan Gordon (of Marge Granola and an amazing, newly released cookbook) and my life was pretty much complete.  Ballard farmer’s market, you rule.

As for the rhubarb I bought at the market?  I knew only a recipe from Orangette would do. This one is the simplest as they come, and turns sour, tart stalks of rhubarb into sweet, tender, spoonable fruit.  We ate it warm, spooned over bowls of ice cream, which I think is the way to go, though the other Molly swears by eating it straight from the refrigerator.

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Posted in Breakfast, Crisps, Crumbles & The Like, Recipes | 5 Comments

Malted Almond Milk

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Let’s be clear: I love dairy products.  I enjoy milk, yogurt, cheese (so much cheese) and ice cream on the regs.  I’m lucky to have a body that seems to tolerate milk products, a happenstance for which I (and Ben & Jerry & the like) are quite grateful.

Lately, though, I’ve been playing around with nut milks – in my cereal, glugged into a smoothie.  I even used almond milk in some pancake batter awhile back and it was, decidedly, a good decision.

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Almond and cashew milks are my favorite nut milks, and they’re both pretty easy to find at the grocery store.  Still, I’ve been reading some things about common additives, particularly carageenan, which seems to be hard to avoid in store-bought nut milks (and dairy products in general, actually), so I figured I’d take a stab at making my own.  (I’m in good company, too — turns out my friend Tracy (she probably definitely wouldn’t call me a friend but I listen to her podcast so feel like she’s mine) posted her own recipe for homemade almond milk just this week!)

Turns out homemade almond milk is easy peasy!  All it takes is almonds, water, and maybe a little sweetener, if you like.  I’ve seen versions that use maple syrup, honey, dates, agave, vanilla extract… sky’s the limit, really.  I decided to use malted milk powder, which is slightly sweet, and ultimately put the dairy back in my non-dairy milk alternative.  Dairy nut milk.  It’s a thing now.  Get onboard!

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Posted in Recipes, Smooth & Creamy | 2 Comments

White Bean & Avocado Hummus

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I can’t say much with authority in life, but today I will say this: putting together an 8-drawer dresser from Ikea is a suckbox of an activity.  It takes, on average, at least two days and as much sanity as you have on hand.

True, it probably would have been an easier task had the instructions not been missing and had all of the parts been in tact, but still.  Just part of the experience, amiright?  Thanks, Ikea.  Your cheap furniture may or may not be worth the subsequent years you took off my life this weekend.

In other news, I’m feeling fairly dramatic today.

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Let’s talk about hummus!  It’s a staple in our fridge, and though I’ve made my own a few times, I usually just buck up and buy it when I’m out grocery shopping.  There are a few really great brands out there, and hauling out the food processor every few days to make a new batch is kind of a daunting prospect, so.  Sabra it is!

That said, occasionally I get the itch to experiment on the hummus front.  Awhile ago I made creamy garlic edamame dip, and the idea for white bean & avocado hummus came about this week.  (I think technically you can only call something hummus if it’s made with chickpeas, but I like to live on the edge and we’re only talking about dips, not NATO members or medical terminologies, so I think we’re okay.)

I love the dense creaminess that white beans bring to the table here.  They’re dreamy paired with rich (but light) whipped avocado, fresh lemon juice and punchy herbs and spice.  It’s great in any kind of hummus application — spread on crackers or sandwiches, or used as a dip for fresh veggies, pretzels and chips.

You’ll need a food processor or high-powered blender to get a supremely smooth, creamy hummus, but don’t be daunted– I know for a fact that cleaning these appliances, while not the most fun, is at least 15 times more enjoyable than assembling something — anything, really — from Ikea.

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

Pink & Greens Salad

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I live in Seattle now!  Officially.  There were two flights, a road trip through Portland (with doughnuts) and a few choice words to a less-than-stellar moving company along the way, but I’m writing now from my new home office (strewn with boxes and receipts and packing tape, but still) in Seattle.  Because I live here.

In other big news, it’s raining.

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Amidst the chaos of unpacked boxes, echo-y half-furnitured rooms, new streets to navigate and what feels like constant drizzle, I’ve been stress eating since I got here.  Did I mention that BOX of doughnuts?  Yeah.  There’s been lots of pizza.  And there was ice cream, too.  Twice.  Alone.

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Yesterday I decided to take charge.  I went to my happy place (Whole Foods).  I stocked up on leafy greens and fruit and peanut butter.  I color-coded my cookbooks.  Then I made this salad, and it felt so good to get some actual health back in my routine.  Roasted greens are the way to go.  They wilt from the heat but keep their toothsome heft, their deep flavor intensifying and their edges crisping delicately.  Tossed with some fresh herbs, a bit of quinoa, and plenty of soft avocado, tart grapefruit and a handful of meaty pistachios, and you’ve got yourself a lunch you can be proud of.

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The boxes will get unpacked, and the furniture will fill in eventually.  And the rain, well, it has to stop at some point, doesn’t it?

…Don’t answer that.

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Posted in Recipes, Salads | 9 Comments