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Tips for Eating Locally - even in the Winter! from LaughingLemonPie.com via SALT Bistro, Boulder

September 29, 2014
by Lacy
0 comments

Tips for Eating Locally — Even in the Winter!

Tips for Eating Locally - even in the Winter! from LaughingLemonPie.com via SALT Bistro, BoulderYou’ve been to SALT the Bistro, right? In Boulder? Super yummy? Where Tom’s Tavern used to be, at the west end of the Pearl Street Mall?

SALT has long been a remarkable place for its very Boulder farm-to-table focus, but now Chef Bradford Heap is pushing further forward – pioneering a GMO-free restaurant. The Daily Camera gives a peek into how challenging that can be. At a recent event, Chef Heap shared some tips for eating locally even in the winter – I’ve gone ahead and added some of my own as well.

Tips for Eating Locally – Even in the Winter

  1. Squash, apples, pears, kale and chard are just a few things that will be ready to harvest during the fall. Buy in bulk and store in a cool, dark place for future use.  You can even DIY your own root cellar (which can be as easy as a box in your garage).
  2. Raspberries and strawberries are still flourishing this time of year. Fresh berries are perfect for preserving into jams and jellies, or you can freeze them for fresh-fruit taste all winter long.
  3. Think outside of the can. In addition to canning your freshly harvested finds, consider pickling and curing. Pickled watermelon rind and cured meats make a nice addition a charcuterie board.  Pickles aren’t as hard or as scary as you think — give it a try!
  4. You can also freeze lots of fresh produce. Just Google “How to freeze…” and the produce you’ve got for your best chance at success.
  5. Eating locally is more than just vegetables and fruit. Keep it local by looking for locally-made products available year round at your local market: local meats, cheese, dairy, etc.

Pork Flatbread from Salt Bistro on LaughingLemonPie.comChef Heap also shared his recipe for Fall Flatbread features pulled pork, apples, arugula and gorgonzola (which sounds AMAZING, right???).

Fall Flatbread photo courtesy of SALT the Bistro.
Apples & tree photo credit: seyed mostafa zamani via Compfight cc

Pork Flatbread from Salt Bistro on LaughingLemonPie.com

September 28, 2014
by Emily Klopstein
0 comments

Fall Pulled Pork Flatbreads with Balsamic Leek Onion Jam and Gorgonzola Dolce Sauce from SALT Bistro, Boulder

Fall Pulled Pork Flatbreads with Balsamic Leek Onion Jam and Gorgonzola Dolce Sauce from SALT Bistro, Boulder

Ingredients

  • For Pulled Pork:
  • 2 Tbls Olive Oil
  • 8 oz Memphis BBQ Seasoning (from the Savory Spice Shop in Boulder)
  • 2 pounds Pork shoulder
  • 1 quart (4 cups) roughly chopped Mirepoix (onions, celery, carrots)
  • 6-8 sprigs of fresh organic Thyme, washed
  • For Balsamic Leek Onion Jam:
  • 2 leeks (only the bottom ends), cut into 1 inch julienne (wash them after chopping)
  • 2 Tbls unsalted Butter
  • 1 cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 Tbls local Honey
  • 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • For Gorgonzola Dolce Sauce:
  • 4 oz Creamy Gorgonzola
  • 1 cup organic heavy Cream
  • For Flatbread assembly:
  • Fresh pizza dough (I’m sure Chef Heap has his own recipe, but I like this Jaimie Oliver stand-by), alternatively you can purchase flatbreads at many grocery stores.
  • 5 (or more) ounces organic Arugula
  • 1 Honey Crisp Apple, julienned
  • 1 Jalapeno, thinly sliced

Instructions

  1. Start the pork the day before you want to make this meal.
  2. Rub pork shoulder generously with Memphis BBQ Seasoning.
  3. Heat a 12” stainless saute pan on medium high heat.
  4. Cut the pork shoulder into quarters and sear in hot pan.
  5. Sear on all sides then place in a roasting pan (or slow cooker).
  6. Add the mirepoix and thyme to the roasting pan or slow cooker, plus 5-6 cups of water (or 4 cups of water and 12 ounces lager), and cover.
  7. Place in a 300 degree oven for 4 hours, or set slow cooker to low for 6-8 hours.
  8. If there is a bone in your pork shoulder it should pull right out when done.
  9. Let pork cool, then pull.
  10. Make the Balsamic Leek Onion Jam - Heat small stainless saute pan with a swirl of olive oil. Add leeks and turn heat to low. Sweat leeks until soft (10-12 minutes), then add butter and balsamic. Add brown sugar and honey, then reduce to a syrup.
  11. Make the Gorgonzola Dolce Sauce - Heat 1 cup of heavy cream and add to your blender or Vitamix. Blend, slowly adding 1 oz at a time of creamy gorgonzola until emulsified. The gorgonzola cream should reach a nearly fondue-like consistency.
  12. To make Flatbreads - Decide if you’re going to grill or cook indoors in an oven. Preheat oven (and pizza stone, if you have one) to 425 degrees, or preheat covered grill on medium high for 10 minutes (aiming for a temp of 450-500 degrees). On a floured surface, cut fresh pizza dough into 4 pieces. Roll dough out into small flatbreads about 1 inch thick. Grilling instructions - Drizzle and rub olive oil into the dough so it doesn't stick to the grill. Grill the flatbreads for about 5 minutes each side. In the oven - Place dough on a non-stick cookie sheet or preferably a baking stone if you have one. Bake at 425 degrees for 7-10 minutes.
  13. Flatbread assembly - Top warm flatbreads first with Balsamic Leek Onion Jam, then add pulled pork. Top that with jalapeno, arugula, and apple slices. Finally, drizzle Gorgonzola Dolce Sauce over the whole thing and devour.
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September 22, 2014
by Lacy
2 Comments

101 Paleo and Whole30 Friendly Recipes (via Mark Bittman)

Several years ago, Mark Bittman started putting out astonishing lists of 101 recipes (no more than a sentence or two each!) and I started printing them out, putting them in my recipe notebook, and referring to them often for inspiration.

So, when I started doing the Whole30, of course, I went back and looked at them again — and I was pleasantly surprised at how many of the ideas were Whole30-friendly, or easily made so with a quick swap here or there or the judicious omission of cheese.

All of these recipes are from Mark Bittman’s 101 series with the New York Times. I have culled from all the lists and edited a few recipes slightly (swapping coconut aminos for soy sauce, for example) to make things Paleo and Whole30 compliant.

This is in no way meant as plagiarism (as these are not my recipes and not meant to seem as such), but rather a remix, if you like.  Enjoy!

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Best Chocolate Cake Recipe Ever from LaughingLemonPie.com

September 15, 2014
by Emily Klopstein
0 comments

Our Quest for the Best Chocolate Cake Recipe

It started with my impending birthday, and the desire to make a chocolate cake for myself. Simple, right?LaughingLemonPie.com presents the 2014 Chocolate Cake-Off

But how do you decide which chocolate cake recipe to make when you have amassed a collection of 67 chocolate cake recipes? Uh…not so simple.

And so the quest for the best chocolate cake recipe evolved into the 2014 (1st annual?) Laughing Lemon Pie Chocolate Cake Fest — a head-to-head tasting of 8 different chocolate cakes to determine the all-time (or this time) best recipe. The most chocolately, and most worth the calories.

However, I could not do this on my own. Well, I could but it’s a lot more fun and healthy to have friends help. 20 discerning tasters were invited and advised to think CHOCOLATE.

There was no frosting to distract them – cake squares were marked with their letter in white chocolate drizzle scribble. As a (semi)blind-tasting, tasters only knew the cakes as A-H. Lacy did however make a lovely frosting used as cake “dip” for tasters so inclined. Everyone really enjoyed the stabilized buttercream recipe from Tasty Kitchen.

The 8 contenders for best chocolate cake recipe…

Narrowing the field down to a number conceivable both to bake without a commercial oven and then limited to a number of pieces that might fit on just 2 plates per taster was excruciating! However, as I poured over my chocolate cake recipe collection I started to notice some patterns; that helped me get to 8 categories from which I then picked 1 recipe each. The categories and recipes were:

A: Guiness/Stout Chocolate Cake – My one-time all-time favorite chocolate cake was the Chocolate Stout Cake published in Bon Appetit way back in 2002. What my 2002 early 20s self thought was “The Best Cake EVER” (written in the margins of the magazine clipping), my mid-30s 2014 self balked at…4 sticks of butter?! 4?! No can do…sorry charlie. Harnessing the power of the interwebs I found a more acceptably buttered version over at Taste of Home. And for the very butter-shy, there is a “skinny” version Lacy tried and liked from Skinny Taste.

Quest for the Best Chocolate Cake from LaughingLemonPie.comB: Pumpkin – Another recipe with margin scribbles (“makes EXCELLENT chocolate cake!”) I found in Sunset Magazine, Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes.

C: Box Cake Mix! – Oooh! I thought we’d throw a red herring in there to truly test the powers of industrial chemistry and food science vs those of the home baker. Some tasters were worried at my “red herring” reference…no she didn’t! no there isn’t! Omega-3 Chocolate Cake? Ha ha – no there isn’t, no I didn’t. Based on a recommendation from Food & Wine Magazine’s Taste Test: Chocolate Cake Mixes, I chose Duncan Hines. (Classic Devil’s Food. Normally $2.19 per box, on sale for $.99 each – woohoo!)

D: Buttermilk – I had to decide between two, both from Martha Stewart. These are the same recipe, except that One-Bowl Chocolate Cake adds water, and Chocolate-Coconut Sheet Cake contains coffee. I went with the coffee version.

E: Beet – Chocolate Cake (with Beets) from Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food.

F: Vegan – This was interesting, I had a dozen+ vegan cake recipes. When it came time to choose one I discovered…they were all the same recipe! Wow. The only variation being that some called for a cup of water. Among the choices were Martha’s Double Chocolate Cake, Nita’s Crazy Cake from Bon Ap, and Chloe Corscarelli’s Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes as published in Sunset Magazine.

G: Sour Cream – A Nigella Lawson At My Table article published in 2004 in the New York Times (I have a photocopy of a clipping of it from a reprint in the Minneapolis Star Tribune) for All-in-One Chocolate Cake. The sheer brilliance of this recipe is that you literally just dump all the ingredients in a food processor. All at the same time. Whiz it, pour it in the pan. Bake. Done. So simple! It was a must-try.

H: MayonnaiseCook’s Illustrated has a recipe for The Best Easy Chocolate Cake that uses mayonnaise as the sole form of fat. Normally I steer clear of mayo (it is just too too too good – the crack of foods for me. Once I have some I must. have. more. now.). But I was intrigued by the simplicity of the recipe, and heartened by the fact that there wasn’t additional fat (I draw the line at mayo + butter. Ewww.).

Best Chocolate Cake Recipe Ever from LaughingLemonPie.comAnd the best chocolate cake recipe is…Vegan!?!

Yep, the by far and away winner and crowd favorite was the vegan cake! How do you like that?! I was pretty sure that butter was going to be a big factor in the winning recipe – but no. Very interesting.

Cake “F” was nearly every tasters #2 pick. So how’d it get to be #1? It was a few people’s top choice, and had the most consensus. Tasters chose their top 3 cakes – I then weighted the scores (#1 got 3 points, #2 2 points, and 3rd choice got just 1 point) and tallied.

Only one person actively disliked the vegan cake. In her and/or the cake’s defense, she is married to a vegan and in so being is a bit over the whole vegan thing. Her taste buds retaliated against that particular recipe, craving butter/eggs.

A note about the vegan cake, recipe F – it is really, really chocolatey. That’s why it won, right? It’s not for the faint of heart or a person who is on the fence in their love of cocoa. It had a dark chocolate flavor, quite strong. As one taster noted, this recipe would pair really well with the sweetness of a vanilla frosting to act as a foil and complement. It went divinely with the Tasty Kitchen frosting Lacy made (here’s a review and photos of the frosting recipe as posted by Ree Drummond – The Pioneer Woman).

The 2nd and 3rd place cakes both included coffee – further cementing the fact that chocolate and coffee are best buds for your taste buds.

Results, scores, & commentsQuest for the Best Chocolate Cake from LaughingLemonPie.com

F: Vegan (I followed Martha Stewart’s Double-Chocolate Cake recipe) Score: 25 points (“flavor builds, a bit dry,” “pairs so well with the frosting,” “dark cocoa taste”)

H: Cooks Illustrated Best Easy Chocolate Cake (with Mayonnaise, and coffee) Score: 16 points (“good all-around,” “just right…you gotta eat a lot of this”)

D: Chocolate Coconut Sheet Cake (with Buttermilk, and coffee) Score: 12 points (“dense & chewy, nice mid-chocolate note”)

A: Chocolate Guinness Cake Score: 6 points (“disappointing texture,” “rich & dense/fudgy,” “heavy non-chocolate flavor,” “different”)

Quest for the Best Chocolate Cake from LaughingLemonPie.comC: Duncan Hines “Classic Devil’s Food” as recommended by Food & Wine Score: 5 points (Hooray for the home-baker! I was so relieved when this wasn’t a taster-favorite. It was admittedly very good, I tried not to hate myself for liking it – Heck, it is designed by scientists for my enjoyment! It had a nearly perfect texture, but the chocolate note was mild, “weak flavor, but fluffy.”)

B: Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes Score: 4 points (“funny flavor,” “good flavor, moderate moistness”)

G: Nigella Lawson’s All-in-One Chocolate Cake (with Sour Cream) Score: 1 point (“not very chocolatey,” “not dark enough,” “hint of gingerbread”)

E: Chocolate Cake (with Beets) from Deceptively Delicious Score: 0 points (poor beets :(, “chewy, weak flavor”)

I’ve already got a contender for next year’s Chocolate Cake-Fest, in the healthy cakes category: 100 Calorie Chocolate Cake from Chocolate-Covered Katie. What’s your favorite chocolate cake recipe? Any suggestions for next year? Have you ever done a tasting like this? Share below!

And if you LOVED this post (and are excited to know what the best cake recipe is), please Pin and share this post with your friends! We really appreciate it!

finished-the-w30-IG-300x300

September 8, 2014
by Lacy
4 Comments

My Whole30 Results and Review

finished-the-w30-IG-300x300

I had come across Whole30 a while back and dismissed it out of hand as being one of those crazy radical extreme diets I always swore I’d never do.

In late July, I saw a fashion blogger I follow, Wardrobe Oxygen, was doing it, and I was intrigued again.  I went to the Whole30 site and really read everything, and my fears were assuaged that it wasn’t a lose-weight-quick crazy diet, but actually more deeply about restarting a healthier relationship with food.

And then I read one line that changed everything. “This isn’t hard; losing a parent is hard.”

In early July, I lost my dad to leukemia.  It wasn’t unexpected, but it was sudden, and I was left reeling a bit.  I had just started seeing a therapist in expectation of his eventual death and the resulting grief, and rather than telling me that my previous eating disorder diagnosis was gone (as my previous, kinda crappy therapist had), she said nope! And by the way, let’s expand that diagnosis a bit.

So, I was deep in the thick of grief, yet also strongly determined not to try to eat my way out of it, as I might easily have done.

And then I read that line on the Whole30 website and thought, “You know what? They’re right.”

I decided then and there to start that weekend. I stocked my fridge.  I moved most of the non-Whole30 foods out to the garage, and I got Well Fed 2, a Whole30-approved cookbook, from the library. (The first one has a hold list on it about a mile long!!) And I got started.

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Watercress Salad with Grilled Sweet Potatoes & Orange Honey Vinaigrette from LaughingLemonPie.com

August 31, 2014
by Emily Klopstein
3 Comments

Watercress Salad with Grilled Sweet Potatoes & Orange Honey Vinaigrette

Ready to try watercress – the super-est (but least practical) superfood? It’s the CDC‘s #1 PFV (Powerhouse Fruit & Vegetables). Despite my shock at its ranking, initial balking, and further obstacles in getting familiar with this impractical and un-versatile superfood, I do have 2 applications to recommend. You can click over to Watercress: Super-est (but least practical) Superfood to read about the journey and more about PFVs.

It took some doing, but I tried and found two recipes I actually fully enjoyed, and might make again if I see cress on sale – A salad with watercress, grilled sweet potato (yum!!), grilled pork chop, and orange honey vinaigrette; and a potato salad with creamy yogurt and wilted watercress dressing.

I was inspired by a Martha recipe for Watercress Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes, but since it was WAY too hot to be turning on the oven,  I took further inspiration from the sensational grilled sweet potato salad in Salad for Dinner: Complete Meals for All Seasons. I added grilled pork, and used fresh-squeezed orange juice rather than lemon juice in the dressing. Yum. A grilled chicken breast could very well stand in for the pork. The sweetness of the potatoes, orange juice, honey, and candied nuts really balanced out the peppery-ness of the raw cress in a salad like this. Creamy feta was a good add-on as well.

Watercress Salad with Grilled Sweet Potatoes & Orange Honey Vinaigrette from LaughingLemonPie.com

Watercress Salad with Grilled Sweet Potato and Orange Honey Vinaigrette

Ingredients

  • 4 oz watercress
  • 1 or 2 medium to large red-skinned sweet potatoes
  • 10 oz salad greens - spinach, red or green leaf lettuce, or butter lettuce would all be nice here.
  • Spiced salad nuts (optional - recipe below)
  • Feta or fresh mozzarella (optional)
  • Some meat perhaps? Grill a chicken breast or a couple of pork chops to top the salad.
  • Dressing:
  • 3 T fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1-2 tsp dijon mustard (depends how much bite you like, remember the cress is peppery)
  • 1 tsp - 1 T white wine vinegar (optional, depends how much mouth pucker you like in a salad dressing).

Instructions

  1. Grilled Sweet Potatoes: Pierce then microwave the sweet potatoes whole, about 10-15 minutes depending on their size. Turn them over periodically to get even cooking - you're looking for a knife or fork to slip in easily but you don't want them so cooked as to be falling apart. Let them cool down (you can cook them well in advance), then slice in half lengthwise then cut the halves a few times - you want spears about the size of "steak fries." Heat your grill to medium-high. Coat the sweet potato pieces in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Grill over medium for about 10 minutes, turning every few minutes until well marked but not too black.
  2. Orange Honey Vinaigrette: whisk all ingredients until emulsified, or use a small jar to combine, shake, and potentially serve the dressing in and from.
  3. Spiced Salad Nuts can be purchased (I like the spiced pecans or walnuts at Trader Joe's), but lately I make my own: Heat a non-stick pan over med-high and add 1/4 cup brown sugar with a splash of water (2 Tablespoons more or less). Grind in a whole bunch of sea salt and pepper (I generally do about 20 turns of salt, and 40 of pepper from hand-held salt/pepper mills). Add a good dash of allspice - this is to taste, at first the allspice flavor can seem odd or off-putting but I rapidly came to love it in this application. You could easily sub in any other herb or spice that you adore. Using a silicone spatula, add an overflowing cup of pecans or walnuts to the pan and coat them with the sugar-spice over a good bit of heat for as long as it takes for the water to dissolve and the nuts to become coated in spicy caramel and toasted in the pan, 5-10 minutes. Let cool in pan - hopefully they come out nice and crispy. Every now and again mine don't or won't crisp up - humidity? They're still tasty that way, but less satisfying without the crunch.
  4. Assemble the Salad: Remove the watercress leaves from the stems - try keeping the stems in a container of water to see if they'll regrow! Toss with spinach or leaf lettuce, and plate. Top with grilled sweet potato spears, spiced nuts, feta, and sliced grilled meat. Add dressing to taste!
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Another idea would be to add watercress to turkey or roast beef sandwiches, which can be quite bland and could use some strategic pepper if you ask me. However, not being a turkey sandwich eater…I haven’t tried this, nor have I been able to convince my turkey-sandwich-eating husband to do so.

Maybe it could be made into a sauce for steak? That’s another place that the peppery flavor would be a good complement. There are recipes for watercress sauce to go with salmon, I haven’t cooked steak in years…so it’s another idea I haven’t tried myself. Martha’s Slow-Roasted Salmon with Green Sauce or chef Jill Hough’s Pan-Seared Salmon with Upland Cress Creme Fraiche would be a good place to start, though.

So tell me…what would, will, or do YOU do with watercress?

Watercress Yogurt Potato Salad from LaughingLemonPie.com

August 31, 2014
by Emily Klopstein
3 Comments

Watercress Yogurt Potato Salad

Ready to try watercress – the super-est (but least practical) superfood? It’s the CDC‘s #1 PFV (Powerhouse Fruit & Vegetables). Despite my shock at its ranking, initial balking, and further obstacles in getting familiar with this impractical and un-versatile superfood, I do have 2 applications to recommend. You can click over to Watercress: Super-est (but least practical) Superfood to read about the journey and more about PFVs. Watercress from LaughingLemonPie.com

It took some doing, but I tried and found two recipes I actually fully enjoyed, and might make again if I see cress on sale – A salad with watercress, grilled sweet potato (yum!!), grilled pork chop, and orange honey vinaigrette; and a potato salad with creamy yogurt and wilted watercress dressing.

The potato salad was inspired by a recipe for Watercress Sauce with Thick Yogurt found in Vegetable Literacy: Cooking and Gardening with Twelve Families from the Edible Plant Kingdom, with Over 300 Deliciously Simple Recipes. The cress gets blanched for this recipe, and it really amounts to nothing once blanched and chopped into the salad. On the upside, blanching really mellows out the peppery flavor.

Watercress from LaughingLemonPie.com

Watercress Yogurt Potato Salad

Ingredients

  • 4 oz water or upland cress
  • 1/4-1/2 cup finely diced red onion
  • 3/4 cup thick plain yogurt (greek, or pressed regular plain yogurt)
  • 2 Tbl mayo or sour cream
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1-2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 5 red-skinned potatoes
  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Boil or microwave the potatoes until they can be easily pierced with a fork or knife, 5-15 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes. Drain and let cool. Cut them into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Blanch the cress for 5 seconds only - if you are boiling the potatoes it is easy enough to just blanch the cress in the potato water, either before, during, or after they are being boiled. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. Pat and squeeze dry in a kitchen towel to remove excess water. Chop the cress finely, it's ok to use the stems - keep chopping down until it is just stem, no leaves.
  3. Make the sauce - combine the cress, yogurt, and all other ingredients. Then add the cut potatoes and stir to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. You can cover and refrigerate to serve cold, or it is very pleasant warm or at room temperature immediately after making.
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Another watercress idea would be to add it to turkey or roast beef sandwiches, which can sometimes be bland and could use some strategic pepper if you ask me. However, not being a turkey sandwich eater…I haven’t tried this, nor have I been able to convince my turkey-sandwich-eating husband to do so.

Maybe it could be made into a sauce for steak? That’s another place that the peppery flavor would be a good complement. There are recipes for watercress sauce to go with salmon, I haven’t cooked steak in years…so it’s another idea I haven’t tried myself. Martha’s Slow-Roasted Salmon with Green Sauce or chef Jill Hough’s Pan-Seared Salmon with Upland Cress Creme Fraiche would be a good place to start, though.

So tell me…what would, will, or do YOU do with watercress?

Watercress from LaughingLemonPie.com

August 31, 2014
by Emily Klopstein
3 Comments

Watercress: Super-est (but least practical) Super Food

Did you see the news back in June? The CDC released a list of Powerhouse Fruits and Vegetables (PFVs) in an effort to get to the bottom of the whole super food phenomena. It was published in their journal Preventing Chronic Disease. (Scroll down past the article abstract et al to see the ranked list). Uhh…watercress is #1.

I don't really own one of these, but for $750 you could!

I don’t really own one of these, but for $750 you could!

Watercress? Watercress. No joke. Go ahead and check, I’ll wait. And kale is…#15 (ranked below chives! below leaf and romaine lettuce! Even parsley is apparently more powerful. What the what?!). So the question is what I’m going to do with my kale necklace, and if watercress has too many letters to be made into jewelry.

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Chiles Rellenos Casserole on LaughingLemonPie.com

August 25, 2014
by Emily Klopstein
1 Comment

Summer Eats

Happy Summer! Some would argue that fall is right around the corner, but I’m lucky to be able to ignore that for a few more days.

Between camping trips, visits with family, and vacation we’ve been quite busy – but never too busy to eat well!

Here are some highlights from our kitchen this summer, hopefully they give you some fresh ideas and inspiration:

Zucchini Enchiladas – a very intriguing idea I saw in Cuisine at Home magazine. You halve garden or farm fresh zucchini, then carve out the middles to create little boats! Fill the boats up with any Mex-y filling you like or would normally fill enchiladas with. I used store-bought fresh-ground beef chorizo, pintos, corn, enchilada sauce, and plenty of cheese. Tasty!

Grilled Pizza – We have our own style and technique but Martha has some good tutorials and there are good getting-started tips here from the kitchn.

34 ° Pan "Fried" Chicken from LaughingLemonPie.comPeach, Tomato, and Spinach Salad with 34° Crisps Pan-”Fried” Chicken Strips (recipe forthcoming!)

Jerk Shrimp Tacos - Cantaloupe is one of the few things I cannot stand, so I subbed in mango instead.

White Chicken Chilli – I used store-bought rotisserie chicken, and store-bought salsa verde. Super easy.

Ribs using Penzey’s 33rd & Galena as a rub and following this basic Emeril Oven-Baked BBQ Ribs recipe, then tossing them on the grill later for a few minutes to finish.

Red Beans & Rice – so satisfying. In my book, any day you get to buy ham hocks is a good day. I made this ahead and took it camping – we grilled a big andouille sausage, and served both over rice (that I had cooked ahead at home). Reheating the rice was a bit tricky over a camp stove, but it all came out phenomenally. I ate the leftovers for breakfast the next day.

Then there were those 3 days we lived (almost exclusively) on Chinese take-out while my husband was out of town…

Gumbo from A Mouthful of Stars on LaughingLemonPie.comGumbo from A Mouthful of Stars: A Constellation of Favorite Recipes from My World Travels – I added rice and a can of kidney beans.

Thai Red Curry with Tofu and Snap Peas (I just follow the directions on the spice packet) ;)

Falafel with veg and hummus etc.

Enchiladas Verde – I found some Enchiladas Suizas sauce packed away in the back of my freezer. I blended it up with a bunch of spinach and some frozen green chiles I found in there too. Chopped up some frozen leftover rotisserie chicken, rolled the chicken and some pinto beans up in flour tortillas, sauced and cheesed the whole thing, and set it to bake. YUM.

Chiles Rellenos Casserole on LaughingLemonPie.comChiles Rellenos (more of a casserole version, much easier on the home cook) from A Southerly Course: Recipes and Stories from Close to Home. I broiled and skinned chiles from our own garden, and couldn’t resist adding a mandoline-d home-grown zucchini plus some leftover sweet corn kernels.

Kalustyan's Korma Masala MixChicken Korma Masala with Peas (and a less-than-glamorous time-pressed attempt at home/hand made grilled naan bread) – got the spice mix from Kalustyan’s in NYC years ago, part of my trying to clear out the backlog (i.e. hoard) of spices (see Balance Through Depletion).

Crispy Grilled Kale with (store-bought) Rotisserie Chicken

Breakfast?: Zucchini Spice Bread

Dessert?: Blueberry Hand Pies

What’s been your favorite or most- requested meal this summer? Please share in the comments below!

kokopelli

August 18, 2014
by Lacy
0 comments

Restaurant Report: Kokopelli Beer Company

kokopelli

When a new restaurant/brewery opened up this close to my house (under 5 miles!), you know I couldn’t wait to try it out. It’s in an unassuming little strip mall, but don’t let that put you off.  Friendly atmosphere, good beer and pretty good pizza make this a fun hangout.  I’ll definitely be back to try another brew and a different slice.

Location: 8931 Harlan Street, Westminster, CO

Claim to Fame: Up to 20 beers on tap, some made in-house, some brought in for a limited time, including gluten-free beer. They also serve fresh artisan pizzas, sandwiches, giant pretzels, and salads and have a limited selection of wines.

What we tried: We started with a giant pretzel, which was very tasty—especially with the mustards provided! Shared a large Italian salad, which was fresh and full of goodies, and a pick-your-own pizza with sausage, black olives and mushrooms.  The pizza has a medium-thin crust—not crispy, but not too bready either. We also liked the beers we tried (though I can’t for the life of me remember which they were—sign of a good brew???)

Favorites: The pizza was the standout of our meal. I’d love to go back and

Unexpected: I really wasn’t expecting such a huge tap selection from such a small place! Something to please everybody, for sure. Plus, they have a large selection of gluten-free items—I haven’t tried them, but it’s certainly nice to have the option.

Atmosphere: Bright and family-friendly with live music several nights a week, trivia nights, and “beer and board games” nights.  This place definitely wants to be your local hangout.

Kid-friendly?: Yes!  Surprisingly kid-friendly for a brewpub. Family-friendly atmosphere, and what kid doesn’t like pizza?