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A Well-Seasoned Kitchen Review on LaughingLemonPie.com

February 16, 2015
by Emily Klopstein
1 Comment

Entertaining, Colorado Style: Book Review, A Well-Seasoned Kitchen

A Well-Seasoned Kitchen: Classic Recipes for Contemporary Living is a lovely Colorado-centric cookbook, unique in many ways. The recipes are from the Clayton family files, written and shared by a mother-daughter team after decades of making them for friends and family. Unfortunately, the matriarch, Sally Clayton, passed away before the book was published. Denver-native Lee Clayton Roper finished it as a tribute to her mother and the legacy of loving food & family traditions.

The book is part memoir and part remembrance – full of lovely anecdotes about parties the family hosted, how recipes came to be, and memories of time spent together in the kitchen. Lee Clayton Roper keeps a food and travel blog, and some recipes from this book are also on that website.

Many recipes in this collection are designed with entertaining in mind. Even better, nearly every recipe has a make ahead tip which is handy for the home-cook but for entertaining these tips are invaluable to help you enjoy your guests and event rather than being busy prepping in the kitchen.

I tried four recipes from A Well-Seasoned Kitchen:A Well-Seasoned Kitchen Review on LaughingLemonPie.com

Spinach Fafalle Bolognese – featuring a quick 30 minute bolognese recipe which would be great any weeknight over pasta. I was intrigued by the use of sour cream rather than ricotta in the spinach mixture. My husband loves a good pasta bake, so this dish went over well.

Herb Quick BA Well-Seasoned Kitchen Review on LaughingLemonPie.comread – this was awesome. All the warmth of a herb-y biscuit, but baked up easily in a loaf! Yum. We had it with the Butternut Squash Gratin.

Finally, the A Well-Seasoned Kitchen Review on LaughingLemonPie.comJam Cake with Caramel Frosting – a treat by way of Kentucky. When I read about jam being mixed into the cake batter well, I had to find out what that was all about. What an amazing cake. Really “different,” moist, and nicely spiced. I’ll be making this one again for sure – probably with a simple whipped cream or cream cheese frosting next time. Or even plain – Super Excellent!

Well-Seasoned is a great multitasking title for this unique cookbook – it could refer to the seasons of CO, seasoning of food, the seasons of life, and a kitchen so well-used it’s seasoned like an old cast iron skillet. A loving tribute to a matriarch and the bonds that we form over food and in the kitchen.

February 14, 2015
by Emily Klopstein
1 Comment

Stay in this Valentine’s Day!

For Valentine’s this year we worked up 3 choices for yum – without having to go anywhere, make a reservation, get elbowed at the bar, or put on pointy shoes. With help from our friends at Whole Foods Bradburn, we present 3 menu options you and yours are bound to adore:

Breakfast in Bed featuring Challah French Toast, Whole Foods Blueberry Breakfast Sausage, and Shirred Eggs.

Fondue Family Fun featuring cheese and chocolate fondue and plenty of fresh fruits, bread, and veg to dip n’ dine.

And a reimagined Surf n’ Turf featuring a luscious Crab Dip and NY Steaks.

We hope you enjoy one of these 3 ideas this weekend – Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

 

Valentine's Breakfast in Bed from LaughingLemonPie.com

February 13, 2015
by Emily Klopstein
2 Comments

Valentine’s Day Stay-in: Breakfast in Bed

Jammies are kind of a big deal in our house. Weekends are definitely for pajamas – it is rare that all 3 of us are showered and/or dressed by noon on a Saturday or Sunday. While we all 3 love (love, love, love) brunch in general, the thought of actually getting ready and leaving the house? None of us have much love for that idea. Brunch at home and weekends full of homemade tasty treats – that’s our routine.

When Valentine’s falls on a weekend it’s even more of a great weekend to stay in. And our good friends at Whole Foods Bradburn are such wily enablers. Hence, option #3 in our Stay In This Valentine’s Day series: Breakfast in Bed! At home. In pajamas. *Cheers!*Valentine's Breakfast in Bed from LaughingLemonPie.comValentine's Breakfast in Bed from LaughingLemonPie.comLet’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start! In other words: eggs. While shopping at Whole Foods Bradburn I noticed Owl Canyon pastured organic local eggs – trifecta! Lacy did a thorough breakdown of all the various egg designations a little while back, and also Whole Foods has a great in-store display that highlights the different kinds of eggs we are fortunate to be able to choose from.

Valentine's Breakfast in Bed from LaughingLemonPie.comEggs of course are fantastic in general, but I am specifically and especially enamored with Shirred Eggs at the moment. I had wanted to make these for far too long. What was I waiting for? Sheesh! Deeelish and simple. The eggs take on such a different dimension when baked. And you think: like what’s up with this tablespoon of cream? Mwooohahahahah! It turns into a luxurious pepper-flavored gravy for the egg – Oh Man! Shirred eggs are now in heavy rotation around here. Try for yourself and let me know what you and yours think!

Next up? Challah French Toast! *Holla!* Using the wonderful eggy sweet challah from the Whole Foods bakery, and Valentine's Breakfast in Bed from LaughingLemonPie.comtopped with an organic raspberry syrup – now we’re talking!

Valentine's Breakfast in Bed from LaughingLemonPie.com

Challah French Toast

Ingredients

  • 4-6 slices from a loaf Whole Foods Bakehouse Challah
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk (or milk alternative)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Whisk eggs, milk, and cinnamon together in a shallow dish until combined.
  2. Heat a nonstick pan or griddle over medium to medium-low heat.
  3. Soak bread slices in the egg mixture for a good 4-5 minutes, and flip gently to get the other side soaked as well. Soak second side for just 1-2 minutes.
  4. Gently transfer the soaked bread onto/into your griddle or pan. Cook slowly so that all the custard gets cooked in the bread, adjusting the heat as necessary to balance both internal done-ness as well as external brown-ness.
  5. When your slices plump up a bit in the pan, that's a good indication that the custard has cooked through the whole slice. Plate, dust with powdered sugar, and drizzle with homemade raspberry syrup.
http://laughinglemonpie.com/valentines-day-stay-in-breakfast-in-bed/

How about some meat with all that sweet? Yeah, Whole Foods Bradburn has you covered there too. It’s called Blueberry Breakfast Sausage. And Holy Cannoli…In a meat case full of the most beautiful (and ethical) choices you can iValentine's Breakfast in Bed from LaughingLemonPie.commagine, the Blueberry Breakfast Sausage patties are a real standout. Just to put a valentine’s spin on it I shaped the sausage into hearts. It was super tasty with our breakfast, balancing out the sweet/tart-ness of the raspberry syrup. Also unbelievably good the next day, even cold. Not only does Whole Foods Bradburn have such a gorgeous meat case, but the butchers are some of the most helpful, friendly, and knowledgeable people around and we are so appreciative of Whole Foods’ Raised with Care standards and values.

Valentine's Breakfast in Bed from LaughingLemonPie.comWhat’s breakfast without coffee? The Bradburn Whole Foods has a fantastic selection. Fair trade, organic, locally roasted – take your pick…or don’t! Find one that meets all your criteria. There’s also a nice tea selection including a bunch of single-serve packs so you don’t have to choose, and/or can try something new without having to commit to a whole box/bag. I went with locally roasted Allegro Coffee, the Whole Foods Blend of course. Allegro is one of Colorado’s first specialty coffee producers, and headquartered in Thornton.

Once you do decide to wash up (not the dishes, heaven forbid. Let’s just pretend those do themselves) you know there’s a gift or treat for yourself in the Whole Foods bath, body, and beauty section. I tried Aura Cacia Relaxing Lavender Aromatherapy Mineral Bath made with pure essential oils from 3 different kinds of lavender. Heady stuff, and a great way to cap off a splendid and sumptuous morning!

Ready to enjoy your own luxurious Valentine’s morning?Valentine's Breakfast in Bed from LaughingLemonPie.com

Our friends at Whole Foods Market Bradburn are giving away a $25 gift certificate so you can have your own indulgent Valentine’s morning in. Visit the Whole Foods Bradburn Facebook page to enter to win! (Please note, you must be able to pick up the gift certificate at the Bradburn Whole Foods location to win.)

fondue_featured

February 11, 2015
by Lacy
2 Comments

Stay In this Valentine’s Day: Fondue Family Fun

For option two in our Stay In This Valentine’s Day series, we wanted to put something together that the whole family can enjoy!

For some of us, the ones we love extend beyond our partner — and it just might not seem right (or feasible!) not to include them in the Valentine’s Day love fest!  So we decided on a fondue party! Fun for kids (and grown-ups) of all ages.

Fondue is actually quite simple to prepare, and doesn’t require any special equipment. If you don’t have a fondue pot, you can melt your cheese or chocolate over very low heat on the stove.  Or in a crock pot. (If you need to reheat half-way through the meal, that’s OK too.)

fondue_words

Of course, Whole Foods Bradburn has a very nice fondue set as well, if you’d like to treat yourself to a little fancy this Valentine’s day!

Some fondue tips:

  • If you don’t have fondue forks, you can use bamboo skewers instead. (Watch out for the pointy ends with very young kids.)
  • If you’re worried about little double dippers, leave the pot on the stove and serve the melty goodness in small individual ramekins or dishes.
  • You can omit the alcohol in any fondue recipe (if you’re worried about it for yourself or your kiddos). Omit entirely for dessert fondue, and replace with chicken broth for cheese fondue recipes.

I decided on a menu with a traditional cheese fondue for the main course and a chocolate fondue for dessert! You can customize the dippers to your family’s preferences, but I’ve included some suggestions with the recipes below.

Game plan:

You can chop up the fruits and vegetables and grate the cheese as much as several days in advance. Steam any veggies up to a day in advance and refrigerate, then bring to room temperature before serving. Bread should be cut up a few hours in advance to prevent it from being too crumbly.

A note about refrigerating dippers: whatever you dip should be as dry as possible when you dip to ensure the cheese and chocolate stick to the dipper.

Put the cheese fondue on to melt and finish cutting up and drying dippers while the cheese melts.  Have a second pot ready for the chocolate, and put all the ingredients in, ready to melt as soon as dinner is finished.

Only cook cheese and chocolate until just melted, or they will get weird. If your fondue starts to get too thick after a while, a tablespoon or two of milk will help thin it.

Cheesey Fondue

Cheesey Fondue

Ingredients

  • 12 oz Gruyere (about 4 cups shredded)
  • 4 oz sharp cheddar (about 1 cup shredded)
  • 2 T all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • assorted vegetables for dipping
  • 1/2 loaf sourdough bread, cubed, for dipping

Instructions

  1. Toss the grated cheese with flour and set aside.
  2. In a pot over medium heat, whisk together the garlic, wine, lemon juice, mustard and nutmeg. Cook until just simmering. Add about half of the cheese mixture and allow to melt completely, stirring occasionally. Add remaining cheese and melt.
  3. Serve with veggies, bread, and other assorted dippers.
http://laughinglemonpie.com/valentines-day-family-fondue/

I got pre-cut veggies from Whole Foods that made the prep for this go so fast. I like to steam the really crunchy veggies — like broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots — until they’re just crisp-tender, to make skewering and dipping a little easier.  The cheesemongers at the Whole Foods cheese counter can advise you on the best cheeses to choose — I got very lucky and found both Gruyere and a sharp, smoked cheddar on sale! And the bakery department recommended sourdough as an excellent choice for dipping — regular or rosemary, your choice.

You might also raid the salad bar and/or your pantry to see what other ideas for fondue dippers you can come up with — get creative! (I saw grilled veggies on the hot bar the last time I was at Whole Foods Bradburn that would be STELLAR.) Here are a few ideas:

  • Dried figs or other dried fruit
  • Pasta
  • Avocado
  • Pearl onions (blanched)
  • Candied walnuts
  • Gherkins
  • Pineapple
  • Popcorn
  • Bacon, slices of sausage, or cocktail weenies
  • Tater tots
  • Mini bagels
  • Butternut squash (roasted)
  • Celery
  • Corn on the cob
  • Croissants
  • Grapes
  • Beef jerky

fondue

After the cheese course, we enjoyed a simple chocolate fondue for dessert:

Start with 12 ounces dark chocolate — I used 365 Semi-Sweet Chocolate chips, which saved me from chopping — and add 1 cup heavy cream and 3 tablespoons of butter.  Melt over low heat until just combined, then serve with your choice of dippers!

fondue_choc_ingredients

I chose a pre-cut fruit cup from the Whole Foods produce section that included fresh berries and papaya, marshmallows, and an assortment of cookies from the bakery! I also picked up some raspberry sanding sugar from the baking aisle to add a little extra special fun.

Sweet dippers could also include:

  • Fresh fruits such as strawberries, cherries, banana & orange slices, pineapple chunks
  • Dried fruit, Figs
  • Thin cookies, Shortbread, Lady Fingers, Biscotti
  • Whole nuts
  • Cake cubes or mini cupcakes!

Part of the fun of fondue is trying lots of different dippers!  You might also add toppings like sprinkles, sanding sugars, or crushed nuts.

Our fondue party was a BIG hit with my 3-yr-old.  She loved dipping in her own little ramekin of “cheese dip” and we gave her toothpicks to make it even more special.

fondue_table

The biggest surprise of the night? Broccoli was by far the preferred dipper for the cheese. My husband couldn’t get over how good he thought it tasted, and even my 3-yr-old asked for seconds and THIRDS of broccoli.

And my sweetheart was pretty excited to get this soapstone treasure as a little Valentine gift as well. Whole Foods has gifts that are appropriate for anyone in your family.

fondue_heart

Want to throw your own Family Fondue Fun Party?

Our friends at Whole Foods Market Bradburn are giving away a $25 gift certificate so you can have your own fondue party. Visit the Whole Foods Bradburn Facebook page to enter to win! (Please note, you must be able to pick up the gift certificate at the Bradburn Whole Foods location to win.)

surf_crab_dip

February 9, 2015
by Lacy
1 Comment

Stay In This Valentine’s Day: Surf ‘n Turf for Two

Valentine’s Day! It’s about showing the people you love how much you love them, getting impossible dinner reservations, booking a babysitter six months in advance, wearing uncomfortable “sexy” clothes, paying through the nose for a “prix fixe” menu, getting sideways glances from the waitstaff if you linger too long (because they’re worried about their second seating) and freezing your booty off on the walk back to the car.

Yay! ;)

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

When our friends at Whole Foods Market Bradburn approached me about doing a series of posts on staying in this Valentine’s Day, I was all over it. What better way to show your sweetie you care than with a home cooked meal? A little candlelight… Some roses… Mmmmm….

No reservations required.

We’ll be posting three different menu ideas this week, including a family-friendly feast and a breakfast in bed idea, but we’ll start with a traditional, romantic, surf ‘n turf for two.

Continue Reading →

Red's All Natural Burritos Review on LaughingLemonPie.com

January 26, 2015
by Lacy
2 Comments

Better For You Prepared Food Choices (Review: Red’s Burritos and Tandoor Chef)

Natural AND convenient? Microwave foods whose ingredient list matches exactly what you would use to make it yourself? Sounds like something we all need in our freezer, a tasty plan B for those nights when…well, you know how it goes!

Tandoor Chef Review on LaughingLemonPie.comTandoor Chef and Red’s All Natural products are decidedly worth stocking in your freezer. Natural and Red's All Natural Burritos Review on LaughingLemonPie.comconvenient applies to both of these freezer-to-microwave-to-table, natural-ingredients-only, tasty convenience food lines.

Soccer night? Lazy bones? Worked late? In the mood for super-tasty, but not in the mood for a ton of prep, work, and clean up? Yup, natural and convenient frozen foods fit the bill and Tandoor Chef and Red’s All Natural are great choices among those. Instant yum, less than 5 mins to table, and no ingredients you wouldn’t recognize and/or put in if you were making it yourself.

I’ve been loving Tandoor Chef for years, and have mentioned the convenience of ready-made Indian foods a few times on this site as part of what-I’ve-been-eating- this-month. My husband and I often marvel at how lucky we are to both enjoy Indian food – ready-made Indian foods make one dinner of the week so so so easy (and yummy).

Tandoor Chef Review on LaughingLemonPie.comTandoor Chef Chicken Tikka Masala?: The chicken is so luscious and tender, it comes with rice, and I could just drink the sauce. I’ve contemplated having a waterproof coffin constructed so I could be buried in this sauce, but that is a) gross, b) morbid, and c) gross. The only thing unnatural about the sauce is my love for it.

Palak (saag) Paneer is a lovely dish featuring spinach (saag) and Indian cheese cubes (paneer). Tandoor Chef Review on LaughingLemonPie.comIn Tandoor Chef’s version the saag is so creamy and smoothly textured, and the paneer so soft and subtle – if you’ve had as much Indian food as I have, you come to appreciate a nice soft perfect paneer.

And basically, you don’t even want to get me started on Tandoor Chef’s Samosas. I’m c-c-c-crazy about them. I could eat those every day.

Red's All Natural Burritos Review on LaughingLemonPie.comRed’s All Natural Burritos come in 2 sizes: 5 and 11 ounces. We tried four of the 5oz burritos: Chicken & Cheese, Bean & Cheese, Steak & Cheese, and Spicy Chipotle Beef & Bean. To make a meal, you’d want two of these little guys, or one alone would make a great snack. Definitely something to stock in the freezer at work too – what a tasty lunch! Though all the “PROPERTY OF ME! (NOT YOU!)” mailing labels you apply probably won’t deter your coworkers from pilfering these lunchtime gems.

Red’s tortilla is so tasty and rather amazing, truth be told – I mean, how do you get a tortilla to Red's All Natural Burritos Review on LaughingLemonPie.comdo it’s job, freeze, AND rebound in the microwave? As their website points out, these tortillas really are notable: Red’s All Natural’s tortillas are custom-made in a bakery using only the finest and simplest ingredients. They are just big enough to hold together all the goodness inside without overwhelming the delicate burrito balance. In fact, Red’s All Natural uses just 20% tortilla in each burrito compared to usually 50% from other frozen burritos.

Red's All Natural Burritos Review on LaughingLemonPie.comRed’s Ingredient list?: Yeah, you know all the guys on that team. Not only are the ingredients recognizable, they’re non-GMO, antibiotic and hormone-free, and comparatively low in sodium.

Red’s Chicken & Cheese was the kid-favorite of the bunch, nicely seasoned by not spicy/hot. I should say family favorite, since we all liked it equally. The Bean & Cheese? So yummy, and how can you go wrong really? I mean, beans + cheese? Talk about super foods. A perennial and unbeatable combination. The Steak & Cheese burrito was excellent – very satisfying steaky flavor, and nice and cheesy too. Spicy Chipotle Beef & Bean was tasty as well, spicy but not hot. Overall – 3 very satisfied and burrito-filled tummies!

Red’s recommends baking the burritos, as opposed to the strictly microwave method. I tried 2 in the oven and 2 in the microwave and I’d say it’s a matter of taste. I liked the nicely browned exterior of the oven baked burrito, but my husband preferred the softness of the microwave method. You’ll have to see and decide for yourself!

These burritos really need no accompaniment – maybe some guac, but really they are so well seasoned that salsa seemed unnecessary. They stand alone – another great reason they’d be ideal for a quick lunch or dinner option.

Find Tandoor Chef and Red’s All Natural products near you, I bought both at Sprouts.

Laughing Lemon Pie was provided with coupons to purchase these freezer-case items, but our review and opinions are completely our own.

lemon_pie_3

January 19, 2015
by Lacy
8 Comments

Healthy Laughing Lemon Pie with NestFresh Eggs & Wholly Wholesome Crust

When I recently got the opportunity to review NestFresh eggs and Wholly Wholesome pie crusts at around the same time, I knew exactly what I wanted to make: Laughing Lemon Pie.

But, being January and all, I am one of those trying to eat a bit healthier to balance out all those December indulgences.

So I decided it was time to update the recipe. It was time for a healthier Laughing Lemon Pie.

Continue Reading →

January 12, 2015
by Lacy
1 Comment

Gluten-Free Cutie Cake Recipe

I’m on a big anti-food-waste kick lately.

I heard a story on NPR recently about food waste that stated that as much of 1/3 of the food in this country goes to waste — and consumers are the biggest problem.

Take, for example, the ubiquitous Cuties you can find at the grocery store this time of year.

cuties

I don’t have a problem with Cuties on the whole. In fact, I think lots of fruits and veggies would benefit from this kind of awesome marketing!

The problem I have is that it’s so easy for these guys to go to waste. Think about it: At the peak of the season, you can get a 5 pound box of these little guys for $5 or less. Irresistible! But if you have a small family like I do, you might have trouble getting through 5 pounds of adorable mandarins before they start to go squidgy.

And, while you can still eat them when they get a little squidgy, nobody really wants to, so they just sit there getting squidgier and squidgier until they are ultimately composted.

WASTEFUL.

So, I’ve started looking for recipes that incorporate foods that might otherwise go to waste. (I’ve started a new tag that says “use it up” where I’ll collect them!)

And this recipe was born of that.  Adapted from a Nigella Lawson recipe that originally called for clementines, this cake also has the benefit of using the WHOLE fruit — you’re not even putting any rinds in the compost!

Cutie Cake

Prep Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 3 hours, 15 minutes

Yield: 12 servings

Cutie Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Cuties (mandarin oranges)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 1/3 cup ground almonds (almond meal)
  • 1 heaping tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Place Cuties in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for two hours. Drain and allow to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375. Butter an 8" springform pan and line with buttered parchment.
  3. Chop cuties (peel and all) finely in a food processor.
  4. Mix eggs, sugar, almonds, baking powder, and salt until well combined. Add Cuties and mix.
  5. Pour cake into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour. Check at about 30 minutes; if the top is very brown, cover with foil for the remaining time. Allow to cool on a rack before removing from pan.
  6. Serve with whipped cream.

Notes

5 ppv per slice Adapted from Nigella Lawson's Clementine Cake

http://laughinglemonpie.com/gluten-free-cutie-cake-recipe/

This is a wonderful, naturally gluten-free cake recipe that works well as dessert with some ice cream or whipped cream, as a snack/tea cake, or even served for brunch. It’s not-too-sweet and pretty easy to pull together.

Looking for another fun way to use mandarins? Check out these candied orange peels! I originally made them with satsumas, but any citrus — including Cuties! — will work.