Favorite Fall Recipes

Where does the time go? I have been nannying for two months now and I feel like I’ve become a mom. I am with the two kids about 40 hours a week and by the time I get home, I just want to crash on the couch and order take out. **Shout out to all those moms out there who don’t get to “clock out” at the end of the day!** It’s a horrible habit but I can’t seem to break the cycle. I have, however, managed to make two of my fall favorites the past few weekends: pumpkin gingersnap cookies and curried celery root and roasted sweet potato soup.

These are my favorite fall cookies that are easy but a bit time consuming. So many of my childhood holiday memories are connected to the cookies, pies and other baked goods my mom used to make around this time of year. Now that I am out on my own, I am trying to create some of my own holiday food traditions.

I stumbled upon this recipe last fall when I had some extra canned pumpkin in my pantry. Gingersnaps were always part of my mom’s repertoire so I thought theses Pumpkin Gingersnaps would be the perfect addition to mine.

Pumpkin Gingersnaps 

½ cup of butter, at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for rolling the cookies

½ cup of pure pumpkin (I used Trader Joe’s canned pumpkin)

¼ cup of molasses

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

In the bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until creamy and smooth using a hand mixer (or a standing mixer if you have one). Add the pumpkin, molasses, egg, and vanilla extract, mix until well combined.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, spices, and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until combined.

Refrigerate the cookie dough for at least 1 hour. The dough can be chilled for 2-3 days.*

When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper.

Place sugar in a small bowl. Roll tablespoon-sized balls of dough in sugar until well coated and place on prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 10–12 minutes, or until cookies look cracked and set at the edges. The cookies will still be soft.

Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a 2-3 minutes after removing them from the oven, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

*I cannot stress enough how important it is that you let the dough chill for AT LEAST one hour. I usually leave mine overnight. If you attempt to roll the dough in your hands and sugar before it is properly chilled, you will have a frustrating sticky mess on your hands (literally). The longer the dough chills, the easier the rolling will be!

This next recipe is loosely on Mark Bittman’s Creamy Curried Celery Root Soup.

Curried Celery Root and Roasted Sweet Potato Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 small onion, chopped

1 tablespoon curry powder

Salt and black pepper

1  pound celery root, peeled and cut into 1 to 2 inch cubes

1/2 pound sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-2 inch cubes

6 cups chicken or vegetable stock or water

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put sweet potato in a large bowl and coat with 1 tablespoon of oil and 1/2 tablespoon of curry powder. Toss to coat. Spread out on a lined cookie sheet and roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes (it might take a little longer so just check in 3-5 minute increments).

Put 1 tablespoon of oil in a large, deep pot over medium-high heat. When it’s melted, add the onion and cook until they begin to soften, 3 to 5 minutes

Add 1/2 tablespoon of curry powder and a sprinkle of salt and pepper and cook, stirring, for 1 minute

Add the cubed celery root and stir just to coat it in the curry powder, then add the stock and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat so that the stock bubbles gently and cook, stirring occasionally, until the celery root is fully tender, 15 to 20 minutes more

Cool the roasted sweet potato and the cooked celery root cool slightly. Add both to a blender or food processor, and purée carefully. You may also add the sweet potato to the celery root, stock and spices and use an immersion blender to purée the soup in the pan.

These recipes have become a part of my fall/holiday tradition and I hope you will try them out. They are a little tricky at first but practice makes perfect! Once you get a hang of these, they will be great fall backs when you’re in need for a fall pick-me-up! Enjoy!

If you’re looking for some fall inspiration, check out this list of seasonal fall fruits and vegetables and some other fall recipes, in this  from Buzzfeed!

Blueberry and Raspberry Compote

This is an easy way to use fresh berries that are just past their prime. I have found that, although berries are a little pricey, berries are a great snack to keep in my fridge- I mentioned this in my Anthropologie Farmers Market Basket post back in April. Whenever I need something a little sweet, I just open the fridge and grab a handful for ZERO points!

I bought some blueberries and raspberries a few days ago but haven’t been eating them as quickly as usual. So, this morning, I decided I would make a quick compote to put on top of the last two Van’s Waffle I had in the freezer!

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Ingredients

1 cup of berries

1 tsp of agave nectar

1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar

Directions

Heat a small frying pan over low to moderate heat

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Add all the berries to the warm pan and smash them gently as they being to heat up (using the back of a fork or potato masher will work well)

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Cook for 4-5 minutes. Continue to break down the berries with your fork or masher. Once most of the berries have burst (this should be right around the 5 minute mark), add in the agave nectar and balsamic and stir to combine

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Increase the heat slightly (to a moderate heat) and stir often for 8-10 minutes

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Continue to stir until the sauce has reduced by half (above: before being reduced; below: after being reduced by 1/2)

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All done! Remove from heat and serve immediately over waffles, pancakes or even vanilla ice cream! Reserve any unused compote in a small Ball jar or tupperware and use within 2-3 days.

WW Points: 3 points for the whole “recipe”

Restaurant Review and Some “Scary” Reading

I haven’t posted any of the New York Times Restaurant Reviews yet- I’m not sure why! When I was working at Esca, we had to read the restaurant review in print every Wednesday because we were quizzed on it during our pre-shift meeting. At first this was really annoying and daunting because you never knew what aspect of the review the chef was going to question you on. However, I quickly learned that reading the review kept me in the loop in the restaurant world and it educated me on all the best restaurants in New York.

This week, Pete Wells, the New York Times food critic, reviewed Carbone in Greenwich Village. Nowadays, I will read the review if industry friends post about it on facebook (usually because they work there) because I am not “forced” to read it every week. A chef I worked with at Eataly is now working at Carbone so when his post about the review popped up I wanted to read it. It also caught my eye because Nick and I ate at their sister restaurant, Torrisi, two weeks ago (where I know the GM through a co-worker at Gwynnett St.).

You should definitely check out the review here!

If you are interested in some other light reading, check out this link from Buzzfeed. Just another reason to make your own food and stay away the processed “food” in grocery stores!

Corner Bistro

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Anyone who knows me well, knows that I have a minor obsession with How I Met Your Mother- I own the first 7 seasons and watch it daily on my train rides to and from everywhere. I’m pretty sure at this point I could quote 85% of every episode.

Well I don’t have to work today and two of my girlfriends are coming over for dinner so I decided to venture down to Chinatown to get ingredients for one of my favorite Vietnamese dishes (post coming later). As I was heading downtown, I was watching the beginning of the 4th season of HIMYM (obviously) and happened to be at one of my favorite episodes ever- “The Best Burger in New York.” This episode focuses on Marshall’s obsession over finding the burger place he deemed the best burger in NY 8 years earlier but can only remember that it was on a numbered street. A stranger over hears him talking about it and tells him it’s the Corner Bistro. It’s not (according to Marshall).

Seeing that I was on a train headed to Chinatown around 1:30pm today, I hadn’t had lunch and would pass right by this restaurant, I decided it would be stupid not to get off the subway and try the burger. I realize that my last post was about being a “flexitarian” and that it is kind of hypocritical that I went and had a burger for lunch but I just had to know! Again, my daily struggle of living in the amazing city full of food wonders, being on a budget and being a member of WW all while trying to eat locally and sustainably…

I had been to the Corner Bistro twice before but only for drinks- it is one of the only places in New York where you can get a pint of beer for $3.00 at any time of the day. Nick and I used to go the first summer we were dating back when we were still in college and poorer than poor.

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I haven’t been in a while because 1) I will pay more for a good drink (not cheap beer) and 2) I don’t eat burgers or red meat all that often. Well today I tried their cheeseburger and it was worth the trip. Not sure if it’s the best in New York but, then again, I haven’t tried too many burgers in New York.

For only $7.75 (great deal in NY but I understand that that might seem like a lot of a burger with no sides), it was an amazing burger. I put it together with thinly sliced onions, a thick slice of tomato, one leaf of lettuce and two pickles and was convinced I wouldn’t be able to take a bite because it was SO big.

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I finally got a bite and decided I couldn’t put it down out of fear that the whole thing would fall apart. It was juicy, perfectly cooked and the flavors were amazing. For anyone who has seen this episode, Marshall’s monologue at the end, when he finally finds the burger, is the perfect description!

Next time you’re in New York and wandering around the Village, stop by, sit at the bar and order the cheeseburger with a $3 pint of McSorley’s. You won’t be disappointed!

Creamer Potatoes- The Recipe

I posted a picture Thursday night of the creamer potatoes I made for dinner at my parents. This is such a simple side dish and this is an inexpensive way to make a meal look extra fancy.  When my mom and I were at the Dekalb Farmer’s Market Thursday afternoon, I stumbled upon a medley of small potatoes. I am a firm believer that you eat with your eyes first and, therefore, anything you can do to make your food look pretty will also help it taste better! I noticed some tiny red and white creamer potatoes sitting next to some long, thin, purple fingerlings. I grabbed about a 1/2 pound of each. All of them cost less than a dollar per pound!

When I got home, I went straight to prepping them. Here’s what to do:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees or turn your grill on to medium high heat.

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Wash and scrub your potatoes to get rid of any excess dirt. Make sure to dry them completely.

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Cut the potatoes so that they are all roughly the same size. Put all the potatoes in a large zip lock bag. Add roughly 1 tbsp of oil to the bag. You may need a little more. All the potatoes should have a nice coating of oil on them.

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Finely chop the fresh rosemary and add to the bag.

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Add salt and pepper.

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Shake vigorously until the rosemary, salt and pepper evenly coat the potatoes.

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Gently pour the potatoes onto a sheet of tin foil (the sheet should be long enough for all the potatoes to lay flat and have about 2 inches of extra foil around all the edges). Top the potatoes with another sheet of foil and fold the sides over to make a little packet of potatoes.

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Place the foil packet directly on the oven rack or on the lower level of your grill. Check after 30 minutes (could take up to 45). The potatoes should be tender but not falling apart.

Enjoy!

WW Points: 4 points/serving (1/6 of whole dish)

Dekalb Farmer’s Market

My mom and I go to the Dekalb Farmer’s Market every time I visit Atlanta. Honestly, I would move to ATL just for this market. Anything you could ever need or want to buy for your culinary adventures is here. When I visited my parents last June, I was able to stock up on Asian kitchen necessities so I could finally try to cook some Vietnamese and Thai foods. I think I got all my oils, curry pastes, spices, etc for under $20- and these are the ingredients that would normally cost $7.99/oil in NYC. Their spice section alone is worth the trip. My mom bought me bulk spices (everything from fennel seed to curry powder to whole nutmeg) and each ¼ pint container cost 58 cents. Yup $0.58!

On our trip on Thursday, we had a specific grocery list for our dinner at home. We wanted pork tenderloin, veggies for a side dish and we needed a starch. There were also a few miscellaneous items to find. Here are some pictures I took while inside the market (sorry for the bad quality- you aren’t technically allowed to take pictures inside!):

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Fresh herbs

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Our shopping cart

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Oranges

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Shrimp (we bought so of these!)

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Crab

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Salmon

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Every cut of chicken you could ever want

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Skin-on chicken thighs (by far the best cut you can buy)

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Turkey meat, I believe?

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Olive bar

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Beef

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More beef

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Lamb tongue, kidney, etc.

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Lamb

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Pork

Next time you are in Atlanta, definitely check it out. You can wander for hours and find things you didn’t even know existed!