Friday, June 18, 2010

green beens with shallots and pecans

I just can't resist fresh green beans whenever I see them at the grocery store. They always look so gorgeous! Lately, my roommate and I have gotten in the habit of making up a huge pot of green beans and polishing off the whole thing for supper. It's cheap, easy, fast...what more could you want?

This is one of my favorite ways to make green beans. It's a twist on the classic green beans amandine. (I'd like to point out that "amandine" almost seems like a frenchified version of my name, and I've always found that very cute.) Another day, I'll talk about that lovely southern dish, string beans cooked down with bacon. But today, we celebrate the crunchiness and freshness of the green bean.


1 bunch fresh green beans
1 shallot
2-3 tbs butter
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup pecans
salt & pepper

With scissors, snip the ends off of the green beans. Prepare an ice bath (a large bowl filled with ice and water.) Boil a large pot of water with a couple tablespoons of salt. Cook the beans in the boiling water for 3-4 minutes, until they are just tender but still slightly crunchy. Immediately drain the beans and drop them in the ice bath. This will halt the cooking process and prevent soggy beans.

Return the same empty pot to the stove, and melt the butter. While the butter is melting, peel and and cut the shallot into very thin slices. When the butter is melted, add the shallot. Cook the shallots, stirring often, until they are translucent and slightly caramelized.

Add the green beans back into the pot. Coat in the butter and shallots. Squeeze half a lemon over the top of the green beans and give them a few shakes of salt & pepper to taste. Transfer to a bowl and add the pecans on top.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

seriously best ever fudgy brownies

Let's just talk about brownies for a minute. I seriously love brownies. I mean, I love brownies more than most parents love their children. And honestly, I've never met a brownie that I didn't like. But today, I want to talk about a serious brownie love affair.

Tomorrow is my mother's birthday, and when I asked her what she wanted, she requested a pan of brownies. Now, my mother is a woman who loves brownies possibly even more than I do. She's a true aficianado. And after years of eating brownies with my mother, I know her standards: very dark, very rich, and very fudgy.

I believe it's far better to err on the side of undercooking than to pull a cake-like brownie out of the oven. Brownies are simply NOT a cake. If brownies were a cake, they would be called chocolate cake. That's a story for another day, my friend! But today, we make the best ever, super gooey, fudgy brownies. And we make them--for Mom!

This recipe is wheat-free, but you can directly substitute regular flour. You'll just have to cook it a bit longer. Also, this recipe has been adapted from a much-cherished recipe from a bag of King Arthur Flour.


1 cup unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups dark cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp coffee grounds (optional)
1 tbs vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups oat flour

Preheat the oven to 340, and grease a 9x13 baking pan.

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Remove from the heat and add the sugar, stirring until mixed. Return the pan to the heat, stirring until the sugar mixture is hot, but not bubbling. (This is a very important step because more of the sugar dissolves and it gives the brownies a very glossy top.)

Transfer the sugar mixture to a large bowl. While it's cooling, sift together the cocoa, salt, coffee, and baking powder. Add to the butter and stir until combined. Stir in the vanilla and eggs. Last, sift in the flour, and stir until completely combined.

Transfer the mixture to a baking pan and bake for 22-24 minutes. They may not look completely done when you take them out, but they will set up more as they cool.

agave roasted carrots

They're sweet, they're roasted, they're gorgeous...what more can I say? Other than that I apologize for the poor quality of this photo. It was night time by the time I made them so I had to use the dreaded flash. I promise they're more delicious than they appear.

The measurements on this are vague and approximate, because the recipe is vague and approximate in nature. Honestly, within reason, you can't mess this up. Roasting vegetables is generally fool-proof.

This recipe also only serves 1 or 2 people. Double or triple for a big family!


2 cups chopped carrots (whole or baby)
2-3 tbs olive oil
3-4 tbs agave nectar

Preheat the oven to 400. Peel and cut the carrots into 1/2 inch pieces. Put them in a roasting dish or cast iron skillet. Give them a good drizzle of the olive oil, the agave, and the salt and pepper. Mix until all the carrots are well-coated, and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the carrots are nice and tender. Shake the pan a few times throughout the cooking process to make sure the carrots are really getting a coating of that agave.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

peanut butter apple chips

If I had to eat one thing for the rest of my life, it would probably be cold, sliced apples dipped in peanut butter. It's simple, it's nutritious, and it always tastes good--always. Luckily, I'll never actually have to eat just one thing for the rest of my life. So, I'm free to explore culinary possibilities!

Culinary possibilities of things like...baked apple chips? Even better, baked apple chips with a vanilla-scented, peanut butter glaze? It's snacking perfection. I like the apples to stay a little soft, but the peanut butter gets just slightly crunchy as it bakes. And oh. It is good.

A word of warning, this is quite a messy recipe. You'll get very peanut-butter-y. But don't fear! Delve into the messiness. Wholeheartedly enjoy the process of apple chipping (yes, I just created a new verb.) And no, these chips aren't exactly pretty. But you'll get over it, because you can make sacrifices for snack perfection.


1 granny smith (or any tart) apple
1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbs agave nectar or honey
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbs milk or soy milk
2 tbs sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Peel, core, and slice the apple as thinly as possible.
3. In a medium bowl, combine peanut butter, agave, and salt. Microwave for about 10 seconds, until the peanut butter is just warmed and loosened up. Add the vanilla and milk and stir gently until combined into a paste. Don't overmix, or the mixture will gum up. If it is too thick, add a little more milk.
4. Add the apple slices to the bowl. With your hands, stir everything together until the apple slices are all coated with the peanut butter mixture.
5. Lay the apples out in one layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle the sugar over the apples.
6. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the edges of the apples and the peanut butter are crisp. Let the apples cool for a few minutes before you remove them with a spatula.

Friday, June 11, 2010

In Production: chocolate peanut butter cupcakes.

Gluten-free and dairy-free, of course!
Working on this most diligently.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

easy lemony hummus

To me, hummus is one of those foods that just feels calorie-free. Conventional nutrition informs me it isn't, but its bright, earthy flavor convinces me otherwise. That half-crazy girl logic leads me to eat copious amounts of this tasty little spread.

Since I periodically crave hummus, yet rarely have all of the ingredients, I've been forced to develop this super-simple hummus recipe. There's no tahini in my hummus, because I hate one-use ingredients and my culinary horizons aren't wide enough to use tahini on a regular basis. (I can be honest with myself.)

But I do always have lemons! I'm what you'd call a lemon enthusiast--like, I get really upset when lemon bars aren't tart enough to make the back of my mouth pucker. The lemon totally makes this garlicky, earthy hummus. I even squeeze a lemon over the top of the finished hummus for good measure, but I don't expect you to be as zealous about citrus as I am.


1 can (15 oz.) of chickpeas
2 cloves garlic, peeled & smashed
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
juice of 1 lemon
a few tbs olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Drain & rinse the chickpeas and put them in the food processor. Add the lemon juice, garlic, and seasonings. Pulse until the chickpeas have a crumbly consistency. Add in a tablespoon of olive oil at a time, pulsing until smooth and creamy. Sample and add in more salt & pepper as you desire.