Sides

Make Ahead Honey Orange Wheat Rolls

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I turn my back briefly, and then turn back around to find her this way.  It’s probably safe to say that there are few 2 year-old staging photographs of their dinner rolls.  It’s far too precious to disrupt, even if she is moments away from potentially breaking one of my few prized possessions.  I chuckle and grab my phone to take a picture of her, taking a picture.  When we are in the thick of rainy season, with a heavy dose of cabin fever, I find myself saying yes to almost anything that peaks her curiosity, and keeps the peace.  Baking is our go-to, meltdown free, domestic adventure these days.  Especially if I surrender and trade in cleanliness and precision for destruction and independence.

These rolls are the BEST homemade rolls you will ever taste!  They are so close to perfection that I am forgoing sharing a heartfelt story because it’s almost Christmas and you must make these rolls.  The dark circles beneath my eyes are begging for some beauty sleep and my thoughts are too scattered to come together in a timely fashion.  The story can wait, but the rolls cannot.  I have made them three times, first on Thanksgiving, once on a Tuesday and again last night.  They are most definitely worthy of scheduling your life around them, even with two small babes.  Start the dough the night before you want to eat them, and your extra effort will not go unnoticed.  Merry Christmas friends!

Make Ahead Honey Orange Wheat Rolls

Recipe from The Faux Martha

Makes 9 large rolls

3/4 cup whole milk

2 1/2 tsp. yeast

4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

3 tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. salt

1 large egg

2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup potato starch

Glaze

2 tbsp. butter

2 tsp. honey

Squeeze of orange

*Serve with Orange honey butter.  All three times I forgot to document my ratios.  I suggest you use high quality butter, raw honey and a few squeezes of fresh orange and just go with it, because with these three ingredients you really can’t go wrong.

Directions:

Heat milk on the stove top until it reaches to 110 degrees. Sprinkle the yeast on top of the milk and set aside to proof for 10 minutes.

Combine all purpose flour, wheat flour, and potato starch in a medium bowl and set aside.

In a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment beat butter, sugar, egg, salt, and the milk and yeast mixture on medium speed.  Slowly add the flours and potato starch until the dough starts to form into a ball.  The dough should be soft but not sticky and should not stick the sides when mixing.  Mix for 8 minutes to activate the gluten.  Place the ball of dough in a large lightly oiled bowl and cover for 2-3 hours or until doubled in size.

After the dough has risen I like to use a butter knife to cut the dough horizontally, vertically and then twice diagonally, making 9 equal pieces, resembling a small pizza.  Use your hands to pull apart and shape into little balls.  I pull the dough from the sides and pinch them into the center until I have gone all the way around the edges.  Place the pinched sides down into a lightly oiled 9 inch pan (I love using cast iron,) but any baking dish will do.

Cover with serran wrap and place in the fridge overnight.  The next day, about an hour or two before you want to eat them, remove them from the fridge and let sit at room temperature.  Preheat the oven to 375.  Drizzle the glaze over the rolls and with a pastry brush or your hands make sure rolls are evenly covered.  Bake for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown.  Enjoy warm with orange honey butter.

Roasted Corn,Tomato & Blue Cheese Summer Salad

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A friend in our apartment building made this salad and left a portion of it outside my door.  I ate it up within minutes and went to her that same day to get the recipe.  A few days later we received tomatoes, basil, and sweet onions in our farm share.  I immediately went to the store to get the few other missing ingredients and made this salad during nap time.  I was happy.  Happy that I had the energy and enthusiasm to be back in my kitchen, wrapped up in the magic of creating colors and shapes that will nourish my body and make my heart sing.  Happy that it was summer and that I wasn’t pregnant.  Happy that I have TWO healthy beautiful girls and that they were BOTH napping, and without a fight from a very passionate 2-year-old.  I was so happy that I started making faces with the tomatoes and opened up a beautiful gifted bottle of white, at 4:15 pm.

I have had this salad three times now and I can’t seem to get enough of it.  I am confident that when I taste it next summer, it will remind me of this current one.  Tastes do that, they take me back and saturate my senses, leaving me reminiscent of the good, bad and indifferent.  And the funny thing I’ve just recognized about the seasons in my life…once it’s past, I miss all of it.  Every single moment.  Like, biking in subzero weather while pregnant and nauseous, or walking the entire island of Manhattan because I did not even have $2 for transit fare, or more recently,  laboring and pushing out a baby.  The challenging moments in my life that can consume me, and some days eat me up, will truly be missed.  Knowing this gives me a new sense of freedom.  It gives me the freedom to be deep in the present moment, regardless of my circumstance.  Even when the days are long and tiring or when the evenings are lonely, without my husband who is working around the clock trying to make us a better future.  Surely, I’ve always known I would miss all the joyful happenings in my life, but knowing I will miss even the darkest hour, shakes me to my core and screams, be here now, live now, love now.

Roasted Corn, Tomato & Blue Cheese Salad

Serves 4-6 as a side

6 corn on the cob

1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved

1 large heirloom tomato, cut into bite sized pieces

1 large sweet onion, halved and sliced

1/2 cup chopped basil

4 oz. blue cheese crumbles

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp. fresh cracked pepper

Directions:

Place corn on grill and cook for 15 minutes, turning often until all sides are chard.  Once cooled, use a large knife to cut corn off of the cob.

Put grilled corn, sliced tomatoes, sliced onions, chopped basil, and blue cheese in a large bowl.  Mix olive oil, rice vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper in a small bowl.  Pour dressing over ingredients and mix well.  Let the salad marinate and sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.  This salad can be stored in the fridge in an air tight container but is best when enjoyed the same day it is prepared.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lately

We’ve been blessed by family and friends bringing us meals in this postpartum season. If you are reading this, and that is you, thank you, thank you, thank you! Bijou is now 3 1/2 weeks old and life is starting to get real. Meaning, I am completely perplexed how anyone can cook dinner with TWO children. I know it will get easier and so I am trying to remember that no season is forever. Snuggling with my ladies is far more important than eating good food right now. However, on the nights when I’ve had help from my mom and mother in law, we’ve managed to make some pretty yummy grub over here. The nights they haven’t been here?  Complete and utter chaos, crying babes and burned frittatas that are so inedible that your husband opts for another bowl of granola.  But, here are some of things we have enjoyed lately…

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1. Pork dumplings, recipe HERE//

2. Mango Avocado Salsa: 2 ripe avocados, 1 ripe mango, handful of chopped cilantro, a few glugs of olive oil, juice from 1/2 lime, a few pinches of sea salt. 

3. Maple Balsamic Roasted Carrots:  Cut in half  and drizzle with equal parts olive oil and maple syrup (I probably used 4 tbsp each for a small bunch of carrots.)  Sprinkle a generous amount of sea salt and a few splashes of balsamic vinegar.  Bake at 425 for 30 minutes or until roasted to your liking. 

4.  The long anticipated Margarita!!  One of my favorite recipes HERE

5.  Some of the Best Burgers I’ve had in a long time (inspired by Crumbums) 1 1/2 lb. ground beef, 1 tsp. sea salt, 1 tsp. cumin, 1 tsp. garlic powder, 1/4 tsp. white pepper, 1 egg, 1 cup of grated sharp cheddar cheese. Mix together, form into patties and grill.

6.  Iced Americano’s, an absolute daily necessity for a tired new mama.  Espresso in my bialetti is my absolute favorite!

 

Brown Butter Orange Rosemary Cornbread

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I am knee-deep in season induced memories.  Cool fall air does this.  I reminisce with every breeze, and bite, and store those memories in my never ever forget pile.  I harbor these memories in a small space, on the inside of my left forearm.  It humbly holds the stories that make up my life.  My autumns are locked up in limbs and lungs, chili, and cornbread.

Chili, and cornbread capture the best things about home…both the one I came from, and the one I have created.  After three years in the making, my labor of love has come to fruition, in the middle of Wyoming, found in the best cornbread I have ever tasted.

Favorite chili recipe coming soon…

Brown Butter Orange Rosemary Cornbread

Adapted from Joy The Baker

Makes 9 big pieces of perfect cornbread

1 1/4 cups cornmeal

3/4 cup all purpose flour

1 1/4 tsp. sea salt

1 tsp. baking soda

***

1/4 heaping cup of cane sugar+ 1 tbsp. for garnish

2 tbsp. chopped rosemary

Zest from 1 1/2 oranges, reserve  zest from the 1/2 orange for garnish

***

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

2 tbsp. raw honey

2 eggs

1 cup whole milk

3 tbsp. orange juice

Pre-heat oven to 350.

Melt butter in a small saucepan until it is golden brown, aromatic and crackling.  Add honey, stir, and set aside to cool.

Combine cornmeal, flour, salt and baking soda in a large bowl and set aside.

Combine sugar, rosemary and orange zest in a small bowl and using a spoon, thoroughly rub rosemary and zest into the sugar. Combine with other dry ingredients.

Whisk together eggs, milk, orange juice, butter and honey.  Whisk wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until combined.

Grease an 8×8 pan with butter or oil, and pour in the batter.  Combine the reserved tbsp. of sugar and orange zest, and sprinkle on top.

Bake for 24-28 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through the middle. Place a knife or tooth pick in the center to check.

Let cool for 15-20 minutes.  Slice into 9 equal squares.

Sun Dried Tomato Soup

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Tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich is the ultimate comfort food for me.  It reminds me of being five, playing in room full of pigs, living in a house that grew tulips out front.  I might have had Campbells tomato soup from a can but it was all I knew and I loved it!  I often crave tomato soup but rarely have all the ingredients on hand to make it come together in a moments notice.  With a little creativity and  using what we already had in the kitchen, I would say this soup took my expectations for tomato soup to another level.  This soup is simple yet really flavorful and full of personality.  We didn’t eat it with a grilled cheese, but we dipped some homemade Naan in instead and it was absolutely delicious.  If it means anything, Christopher rates this soup with the naan(his favorite bread,) in his top 5 meals I’ve made:)

Sun Dried Tomato Soup

(Serves 4 as a side, 2 as main dish)

1/4 cup(packed) sun dried tomatoes that come in a jar with oil

4 large tomatoes

2 small yellow onions

4 cloves of garlic

1 1/2 cups (1 can) coconut milk*

1 cup + 2 tbsp. filtered water, or as needed

1 1/2 tsp. sea salt

1 tbsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. red pepper chili flakes+ pinch more for garnish

1/4 tsp. cumin

1/4 tsp. coriander

12 large leaves of fresh basil+ more for garnish

2 sprigs of fresh thyme

Olive oil for roasting tomatoes, sauteing onions & garnish

*Whole milk also works great in place of coconut milk, but I haven’t tried any other milk alternatives

Preheat oven to 400.  Cut tomatoes in quarters, place on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and salt.  Bake for 35- 40 minutes or until blistered and charred.  Half way through add the cloves of garlic and chopped onion on the baking sheet, in between the tomatoes.  Let tomatoes, onions and garlic cool.

Once cooled place tomatoes, onions and garic in a food processor or high powered blender with sun-dried tomatoes, and spices.  Blend for a few minutes until smooth.  Add coconut milk and water and pulse for a few more minutes.  If you prefer your tomato soup a little thinner add more water a few tablespoons at a time.  Place soup in a saucepan and warm on the stove.  Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, more basil, parmesan and a few more red pepper flakes if you like a little spice.