Rachel’s Redheads: Vegan Pumpkin-Cranberry Cookies

So I came up with this recipe so I could give my vegan bestie a treat that was cruelty free! In case you were wondering, her name is Rachel, and yes, she is actually a redhead! I highly recommend using a stand-up mixer if you have one for any baking recipes. They really are the greatest baking tool, and I promise you will see better results and a reduction in your prep time! I use a KitchenAid Artisan 5-Quart Mixer in Aqua Sky, and not that the color does anything for it, but it’s pretty much the most amazing invention I’ve ever owned. The possibilities are really quite endless with the mixer, but I won’t go into all that now; besides, it’s not like KitchenAid is sponsoring this blog!

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Anyway, back to these cookies. I’ve given these to toddlers, adults, and everyone seems to enjoy them. I should state up front, these are a spongier cookie the way my recipe is done, so if you’d like them less so just use less baking soda. These cookies are delicious and low in sugar; although, one can make these using substitutes for sugar to make them safe for diabetics.

Makes (somewhere in the neighborhood of) 30 2″ round cookies

Oven temp: 350

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cup flour (all purpose – I even use whole wheat or half whole wheat half not)

1/3 cup white sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 tsp. ginger

1/2 tsp. cloves

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. allspice

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. vanilla

1 can of pumpkin

1/2-1 cup craisins

1/3-1/2 cup canola oil

To start, I usually whip the pumpkin, sugars, and spices together in the stand up mixer, then add flour gradually. Then I mix in canola oil in small doses, stopping when the consistency becomes thick enough to mold into a cookie – you don’t want runny cookies! The baking soda is usually added last, and then I always taste my batter, and recommend every baker do the same. The only way you’ll know if it’s good is if you taste it, so always taste your batter! If the batter needs adjustments, make those – recipes are not set in stone. Maybe you think it needs more ginger, or more sugar: you could even roll the cookies in a sugar mixture, or like Snickerdoodles, in a cinnamon-sugar mix!

Then make 2″ cookies (these won’t spread too much, unless the dough is really loose). Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes, switching positions of cookie sheets (top to bottom and vice a verse) half way through.

Voila! Alas, I cannot seem to locate a picture of this recipe!

I will make these soon and upload photos 🙂

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Peaches, Mangoes, Raspberries…Oh My!

I absolutely love making cobblers, and for this recipe I use a cookie dough style crust. This sugary treat really finishes the sweet but tart taste of the berries, and the touch of Hennessy on the peaches gives it a little chutzpah.

Oven temp: 400

Peach, Mango, & Raspberry Filling

2-3 peaches

2-3 mangoes

1 small container of raspberries (of course, I don’t have the size written down: palm, forehead)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

pinch o’ freshly ground cloves (aka cloves, ground)

1 tblsp. Hennessy or other cognac

1/2 tsp. ginger

1/4 cup granulated sugar

First, slice mangoes and peaches into desired size. I generally just halve the peaches, then quarter and sixth them, creating thin slivers. Mangoes can be a bit difficult to cut, so here’s a tutorial on YouTube (sidenote: fast forward to 0:33 to skip his little sales pitch and ripeness hints). Place the mangoes in a small bowl and do the same with the peaches, keeping the two fruits separate. Place sugar in the mixing bowl you plan to combine everything in and set aside. Sprinkle the ginger on the mangoes and, using your hands, toss the slices and spice together, until the ginger is spread throughout evenly. Then, pour the Hennessy on the peaches, and then the pinch of cloves. Just as with the mangoes, toss the spices, liquor, and peach slices together until the ingredients have coated the slices. Combine the peaches and mangoes with the sugar, adding the vanilla once the fruits have been hand-tossed and combined. Add the raspberries and again hand-toss them, and then transfer the whole fruit mix to a pie dish or whatever baking pan you intend to use.

Next, it’s time to prep the filling to be cooked. Cover the pie dish with aluminum foil, being sure to seal up the sides – you want to trap all the heat you can for this step! Then place this in the preheated oven, cooking for 17 minutes.

During this time make the crust!!!

Cookie Dough Crust

Ingredients:

3/4 cup all purpose flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

pinch o’ salt

12 tblsp. unsalted butter

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 large egg yolks

1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Real quick, let me take a second to talk about vanilla extracts. Not all vanilla extracts are created equal, and not all of them taste the same. For example, I have a family friend who is also an exceptional cook and baker, and she prefers to use this high-end vanilla extract: Nielsen-Massey. The taste difference is notable, however not so much so in this part of this recipe (not to mention it comes at a hefty price). Where the vanilla flavor becomes apparent in this recipe is in the fruits, and if you use a cheaper brand that uses more artificial flavoring techniques, some more sensitive palettes may take notice. I personally tend to use McCormick: mainly because it’s cheap, easy to find, reputable, and doesn’t taste really artificial.

Okay, so to make this crust, place the slices of butter and other dry ingredients (all but the flour) in a food processor. Pulse the processor to get the butter broken up, and then add the flour gradually, being sure the butter gets spread evenly throughout.

Once the filling has cooked, take the crust batter and using a regular tea spoon, dollop the top of the cooked filling with crust as desired. Then, place entire cobbler in oven for 40 mins at the same temp!

Allow to cool 20-30 mins (or until pan is warm enough to touch) and serve with ice cream if desired…

Peach Mango Raspberry Cobbler

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Korean BBQ Short Rib Tacos & Cilantro-Lime Crema

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I’m a huge fan of Dutch ovens, so naturally, I’m going to use one for this recipe. The wrought iron heats so fast, and really retains heat well. It’s perfect for slow cooking and, like I’m about to do here, the occasional quicker cooking.

First things first, let’s get the ingredients down for both the braised short ribs and the lime crema. Obviously, the fixings I’ll mention are optional and you can use whatever fixings you like (note: bok choy is tasty with this too).

Ingredients
Serves 2-4
Oven temp for warming tortillas: 200

Korean BBQ Short Ribs:
4 short ribs, with or without bone, cut into smaller chunks
(aim for a medallion; you want them thinner and wider, not thick)
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp. sugar
1/3 cup at sauce
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp. canola oil
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. sesame seeds
Tsp. Sriracha chili sauce
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

On a burner, start Dutch oven at med-hi heat, (I used 7, my stovetop has a total of 10) lowering once the meat has browned for a bit and the sauce is boiling. I feel like I should mention that when you cut the meat, you should take it off the bone if your ribs have them. The sauce should cover the meat, but the meat should not float. As the meat cooks, let it do so for about an hour. Watch the meat, stirring occasionally, just to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom. Eventually, the meat will turn a deeper brown, resembling a caramelized coating, (though it’s really not).

While the meat is cooking, chop your fixings. We used tomatoes (diced), yellow onion (raw), romaine lettuce (sliced into thin strips), and shredded mozzarella cheese. You’ll see them in the picture of the whole table spread below.

Though the crema is really a quick and easy sauce to make, I prefer to have all my prep work done as soon as possible. Anyway, onto this lime crema…

So, my crema didn’t turn out as I’d hoped: it was a bit runnier than I expected. That being said, it had a ton of flavor, and I did not use a jalapeño (which I saw recommended in a number of recipes). Here’s what I used.

Cilantro-Lime Crema:
2/3-1 whole bundle cilantro
8oz. Sour Cream
Juice of 1-2 limes, to taste
Kosher salt, to taste (I used about 1/2 tsp.)

Blend, in either a juicer or blender (I used a Cuisinart hand blender), together the cilantro and sour cream. Do this until the blend is smooth, and then add the lime juice. Don’t use fake lime juice, it’s way too apparent in something so simple. Once you’ve added the lime juice, taste the sauce and add salt and more juice to taste. Then, voila! You’re done.

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It was delicious…in fact, I think I’ll make it again tomorrow!

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A Killer Lazy Lasagna

So there was a recipe I found on Pinterest, but after altering it quite a bit I’ve both complicated and simplified the recipe. This “Lazy Person Lasagna” as I call it, can be made with any pasta or pastas of your choosing. Why, just last night I made one with Linguini and Cavatappi!

Serves 4-6
Oven temp: 350
Prep time: 20-25 mins
Cook time: 20-25 mins

Ingredients:

1/2-3/4 box of linguini or other pasta

Sauce:
1/2-3/4 can crushed tomatoes
2 lbs ground turkey
Rosemary (1/2 tsp. chopped)
3 bay leaves
Salt & Pepper to taste
3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 yellow onion

Cheese/Bechamel:
1 bag shredded mozzarella cheese
8 oz cream cheese

First: begin cooking the pasta, it’ll need to be al dente when you put this whole sucker in the oven, so make sure you start the pasta first. Then, using a pot, put ground turkey, garlic and onion in another pot, cooking on medium heat till turkey is browned.

Then: Once turkey is browned, add the crushed tomatoes, rosemary, bay leaves, and salt and pepper. Feel free to add any spices you particularly like – I know we do!

Meanwhile: while this is all cooking, take the cream cheese and stir it in the container to loosen it up. Add milk if you want a more loose result (sidenote: we do not even do this step).

Once the pasta is cooked: Strain as you would normally, and then lay pasta in bottom of baking pan or lasagna pan, making sure pasta is still hot. Spoon cream cheese generously over the pasta, and then add the (now) ragu sauce.

Finally: Take the shredded mozzarella and coat the top of the filled pan. Then, place in oven @ 350, letting bake for 20-25 mins or until top layer edges are golden brown.

Serve: Hot with grated Parmesan (if desired).

Voila!

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A Little Hello to Start

So this blog is the beloved brainchild of myself, Jamie, and my human, Richard. Between myself, my fiancé, and our cat we combine our endlessly sophisticated palettes (*note the hint of sarcasm*) to create dishes to share with the world!

Okay, but real talk: I love cooking and do it all the time; in fact, we constantly have people over for dinners, and I’m always being asked what or how I made whatever I’ve made. So, I decided why not start a cooking blog?! Sure, no one may ever read this thing, but I could wind up amassing a following, so why not give it a shot?! I mean, what’s there to lose? Nothing, except maybe time (that I would’ve spent cooking anyway)!

So, this blog will have recipes and basic instructions for a variety of recipes, ranging from entrees to desserts, pork to pastries. I hope you enjoy, whoever you are, dear reader!

Omnomz
– J.