springtime treats

coconut macaroons on twothirtyate.com

I’m not entirely sure why coconut macaroons are so popular in the Spring (which is coming, or so I’m told), but I’m thankful that they are. Whether gracing tables during Passover or made into tiny little nests to celebrate Easter, this is the time of year for coconut macaroons to shine.

just a few

frothy

Not to be confused with their perfectly round, airy, crumbly relatives, these macaroons are simple and quick to make. Sweetened coconut is mixed with egg and sugar and baked for just a little while. The outsides are flaky and crisp while the insides remain a little gooey. They’re perfect in their messiness.

mushy

coconut macaroons

from thekitchn
makes approximately 18 cookies

printer-friendly version

ingredients:
3 cups sweetened coconut flakes
4 egg whites
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt

directions:
Place a baking sheet in the lower third of the oven and preheat it to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle coconut in a thin, even layer. Bake for 5 minutes just until the coconut on the edges starts to turn lightly golden brown, it shouldn’t brown all over. In a bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients until the sugar is dissolved and the egg is frothy. Add the cooled coconut and stir together until evenly wet throughout. Use wet hands to roll 2 tablespoons of the coconut mixture into balls and place on a lined baking sheet, about 1-inch apart. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Will keep in an air-tight container for up to a week.

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blue apron

This is an unsolicited review of Blue Apron meal delivery service. They have no idea who I am and I paid for this service on my own and am sharing my thoughts with you.

box full of goodies

If you’re like us these days, you’re barely treading water. You know those weeks (months!) when life just seems to be whirling by? We are in them. And during these busy times, it’s hard to sit down and meal plan, much less actually go to a grocery store! And take-out is great during crunch time, but it gets old pretty fast and I do enjoy cooking as a way to unwind a bit after the hectic day, even if it means eating at nine o’clock at night.

lots of packaging

Blue Apron’s meal service delivers all of the ingredients for three meals (2 servings each) along with the recipe and instructions. You don’t really get a say as to what the meals are, save for some options you choose when you sign up (vegetarian, eats fish/pork/beef, etc.). We tried this service for two weeks when even getting to the store was a seemingly impossible task and enjoyed cooking and eating 6 different meals.

recipe cards

Of course there were some hits and misses, but over all, we had a great experience. There’s something to be said for not having to worry at all about what you’re going to be eating for dinner. These meals come right to your door so you never even have to go out for that one thing you forgot while shopping. They have been great during this horrible winter weather too. And as a bonus, Derek cooked a couple of the meals for us and we cooked a couple together so it was a nice change of pace from me having to do all of the planning, shopping, and cooking.

shrimp po'boys

How it works: you get a big box full of fresh (mostly) ingredients delivered to your door. The first week we got Shrimp Po’Boys, Orange Beef Lo Mein, and Chicken and Sage Biscuit Pot Pie. The po’boys and pot pie were excellent. The lo mein, was not our favorite, but it did include gai lan, a vegetable we never use at home that I will be sure to try again. By the time we got around to making the pot pie, the purple topped turnip had shriveled to nothing and one of the celery stalks was dried out as well. I just omitted both and the recipe turned out just fine.

orange beef lo mein

The second week, we got Tilapia Meuniere, Crispy Chicken Thighs, and Lamb and Beef Shawarma. We really enjoyed the tilapia dish and the shawarma. The portions for this week’s meals were a little on the light side for us and the only bit of produce that didn’t last was a cucumber for the shawarma. These recipes were also a bit more involved that the previous week, but not too difficult. Although a couple of them required more than 2 pots/pans, which makes clean-up a bit of a chore.

chicken pot pie

Some final thoughts: We loved trying new recipes and cooking with unfamiliar ingredients. That and the convenience factor are a huge plus. The cost ($60 for 6 servings) seems steep, but it actually was pretty comparable for us eating out or grocery shopping (we have high grocery bills). Some negatives were that there were virtually no leftovers, which we like to take for lunch and some of the servings were skimpy for us big eaters. We also ran into some not-so-fresh ingredients, especially for recipes we made later in the week. It is also difficult to discern if the produce is organic or not. Certainly not a deal-breaker, but for the price, I want organic!

tilapia meuniere

At the end of the day, this is not something we will do regularly, but it is a nice break during those crazy weeks we all go through. Signing up seems relatively simple, and I’m sure you can Google a discount code. It would also make for a nice gift for a newlywed couple or new homeowners. Happy cooking!

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soup’s on

mexican chicken soup

Please excuse the fact that I am more than a day late in posting this recipe! But I do have a delicious soup recipe to share with you. I adapted a chicken tortilla soup recipe, but seeing as how we didn’t have any tortillas on hand, I’ve deemed it Mexican chicken soup. Its super easy to make if you’ve already got some cooked chicken on hand or if you decide to go the rotisserie chicken route. I love that you can customize the toppings for this soup, much like my beloved tacos and burrito bowls. It’s light yet filling and so so good during these winter doldrums.

mexican chicken soup
printer-friendly recipe
adapted from The Pioneer Woman
serves: 8

ingredients:
2 chicken breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (10 oz.) Rotel tomatoes and green chilies
2 boxes (32 oz.) low sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cans (15 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons cornmeal or masa
1 cup frozen corn
To garnish: sour cream, shredded cheese, diced avocado, pickled jalapenos, cilantro, etc.

directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix cumin, chili pepper, garlic powder, and salt. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil on chicken breasts, then sprinkle a small amount of spice mix on both sides. Set aside the rest of the spice mix. Place chicken breasts on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until chicken is done. Once cool, cube or shred the chicken and set aside. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pot over medium high heat. Add onions, bell pepper and minced garlic. Stir and begin cooking, then add the rest of the spice mix. Stir to combine, then add chicken and stir. Pour in Rotel, chicken stock, tomato paste, and black beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes, uncovered. Mix cornmeal with a small amount of water. Pour cornmeal/water mix and frozen corn into the soup, then simmer for an additional 30 minutes. Check seasonings, adjusting as needed. Ladle into bowls, then top with desired garnishes.

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look no further

the city bakery's peanut butter cookies on twothirtyate.com

Sometimes in life I’m almost sorry that I know how good something is because then I know. I know just how delicious it is. The most recent of these discoveries is  the peanut butter cookies from The City Bakery. This NYC gem is nestled in the blocks between Chelsea and the Flatiron District and I cannot believe that I didn’t know it existed until recently.

a few simple ingredients

While they make plenty of delicious baked goods, it’s their peanut butter cookies that converted me into a believer. They aren’t a sweet cookie necessarily. They lean more towards a salty, savory cookie with rich peanut flavor and just a hint of sweetness.

dough

Their consistency though, is where it’s really at. These cookies don’t rise or flatten very much. They outside bakes crisp while the inside manages to stay dense and slightly wet still. The sprinkle of sugar and salt on the top? Genius.

mounds

Unfortunately for everyone, the recipe is hard to get your hands on. Fortunately for everyone, the New York Times reverse engineered the recipe so they could share it with the world. This is their version of the classic cookie and it’s close to perfect! I think the use of unsweetened peanut butter is key- this isn’t a super sweet cookie so you want to make sure you use the right ingredients. Also, this isn’t a cookie that gets flattened with a fork, no matter what peanut butter cookie tradition demands. Just let them be, they’re perfect.

the city bakery’s peanut butter cookies
from the New York Times’ adaptation
makes about 3 dozen cookies

printer-friendly version

ingredients:
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
2 cups unsweetened creamy peanut butter
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 heaping teaspoon coarse salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
extra salt and granulated sugar for sprinkling

directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a stand mixer, beat together the butter and both sugars until they are light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the peanut butter and salt. Mix until combined. Add the salt and flour and mix again just until it is well combined, there is no dry flour, and it forms a consistent dough. Line baking sheets with parchment and use a medium-sized cookie scoop to measure out the dough into rough, round dollops. Leave two inches between the cookies as they will not spread. Combine together two tablespoons sugar and one tablespoon coarse salt. Sprinkle over each cookie generously, making sure that it lands in the nooks of the cookies. Bake for 12-14 minutes until golden around the edges. Let cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely. Store in an air-tight container.

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oh, cod it’s cold out!

cod with lemon and dill on twothirtyate.com

Let’s start this post by talking about the same thing that everyone’s talking about. It’s cold. It’s cold and miserable. It’s cold, miserable, and it’s sucking the life out of my soul. Somewhere, deep down, I know that it’ll get warmer but for now the 1/4 mile that I walk to the train every morning (before walking a little farther on the other side) is just the most miserable.

before

So for now when I get home I want something fast and easy for dinner that isn’t too hearty because bathing suits are starting to pop up in stores and that’s just a frightening situation right now. I also want something easy because all the energy has been drained from all that walking in the freezing cold. Winter is hard, y’all.

during

I used to fear cooking fish, which is funny because it’s actually a part of my job. Sometimes it doesn’t change color too much to show “doneness” and in general it was just confusing. Then I baked it. Problem solved. This is seriously the easiest way to prepare fish and it takes the perfect about of time. I pop it in the oven, prep a side salad or vegetable and have an immensely delicious dinner in 25 minutes.

cod with lemon and dill
makes 2 servings

printer-friendly version

ingredients:
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried dill
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 small lemon, cut into 1/4″ slices
2 portions cod, 4-6 ounces each

directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic, dill, salt and pepper. Whisk together with a fork until well combined. Place the cod in an oven-safe dish and brush the herbed oil onto the fish. Place 2-4 lemon slices on top of the fish. Bake for 20 minutes until tender enough to flake with a fork.

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for the love

Are you guys tired of these recipe round-ups? This will be the last one for awhile… But I love to bring back some of our older posts from the last 3+ years of blogging and Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to make a {fancy} homemade meal or sweet treat for your loved one(s). So here goes! Click on the picture to take you to the recipe post.

Let’s start with the sweets!
crinkle  drizzled lemon cookies on twothirtyate.com  no-bake peanut butter bars on twothirtyate.com  scatteredno-bake chocolate chip cookie dough truffles on twothirtyate.com  gooey  davy crockett bars  chocolate brownie cookies

And of course, that fancy {pasta!} dinner at home:
Tiny vessels  lasagna rolls  Skillet roasted chicken over Brussels sprouts on twothirtyate.com  comfort foodpenne alla vodka  rolled  Seared  Chicken florentine stuffed shells on twothirtyate.comMomofuku ramen on twothirtyate.com  fettuccine alfredo with shrimp  spaghetti and meatballs, all covered in cheese  all about the mushrooms

Have a wonderful, calorie-filled, “more of you to love” Valentine’s Day!

xoxo

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when once isn’t enough

savory twice baked sweet potatoes on twothirtyate.com

Remember when carbs were a dietary evil item to be avoided at all costs? Well thank goodness, new dietary trends are embracing the spud and it’s sweeter relative. Potatoes for all!

baked

I’ve been embracing the sweet potato lately. Their sticky, sweet, and hearty in this chilly weather. They’re also more versatile than most people give them credit for, as can be seen by this spicy sweet potato soup.  Lately I’ve been dreaming about a twice baked sweet potato.

butter and herbs

I was craving something a little savory that could sit aside any main dish. Just a little garlic and some finely minced rosemary are mixed with the inside of the potato that balance the potato’s sweetness upon being baked the second time.  A little extra Parmesan sprinkled on top at the end and they’re the perfect mix of savory and sweet.

savory twice baked sweet potatoes
makes 4 servings

printer-friendly version

ingredients:
2 sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated, plus extra for sprinkling
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
1 glove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

directions:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Pierce the potatoes with a fork and bake for 40 minutes, until tender when pierced with a fork. Let cool enough to be handled. Cut each potato in half lengthwise and carefully remove the inside of the potato with a spoon and transfer to a small bowl. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and mash together until well combined and smooth. Scoop the filling back into the sweet potato skin or use a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip to fill them. Return to the oven and cook for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with extra Parmesan cheese and serve.

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