Yes, please! Homemade Oreos

Oreos have always been one of my “problem foods.” Once in college, 3 buddies and myself sat on the floor of our hallway dorm and proceeded to eat an entire bag of Oreos (with milk, of course)! Needless to say, as much as eating these deliciously sweet sandwiches is fun, making them is just as satisfying. Not only can you customize the flavors to your perfect balance, but you can make them BIG, like as big as a huge lollipop big, so big that you’ll put those storebought cookies to shame. Oh yeah, that’s what I’m talking about!

Anywho, try it out for yourself and let me know what you think. Happy dunking! (Apologies for any typos, I wrote this up on the fly while riding the subway.)

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HOMEMADE OREOS
Recipe adapted from Deb Perleman, Smitten Kitchen

For chocolate wafers:
1 1/4 Cups Flour
1/2 Cup Natural Cocoa Powder
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Light Brown Sugar
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Instant Espresso Powder
1/2 Cup + 2 TB Unsalted Butter, room temperature
1 Egg

Filling:
1/2 Cup Butter, room temperature
2 Cups Powdered Sugar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

To make the cookies:
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

2. Combine the flour, sugars, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa and salt. (Sifting, optional)

3. Combine the butter and espresso powder and, using an electric mixer or food processor on low speed, add to the flour mixture until the butter is thoroughly incorporated and the mixture resembles wet sand.

4. Beat in the egg until a dry batter forms.

5. Drop rounded teaspoons (or bigger) onto a baking sheet or sheets about 2 inches apart. Then, using wet fingers, press the dough into round circles. (Go big or go home, baby!) Bake 9 minutes, or until the cookies are set, rotating halfway through.

6. Remove from then oven and let stand for 1 to 2 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool.

To make the filling:
1. Using an electric mixer, gradually beat the sugar and vanilla into the room temperature butter. (You may not need all of the sugar.)

To assemble the cookies:

Transfer the filling mixture into a piping bag (or sandwich bag with one corner cut out), and pipe into the center of half of the cookies. With the remaining cookies, top the “filled cookies” to create amazing and delicious Oreo-like sandwiches. Yum!

Red Quinoa & Kale Stuffed Butternut Squash

RED-QUINOA & KALE STUFFED BUTTERNUT SQUASH

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Ingredients:

Butternut squash, scooped out, then roughly chop the scooped out squash
1 Teaspoon Cumin
1 Teaspoon Coriander
1/2 Cup Red Quinoa
1/2 Onion, small diced
1/2 bunch kale, destemmed and roughly chopped
1 Cup Vegetable Broth
3 Tablespoons Currants
2 Tablespoons Almonds
2 Tablespoons Grated Parmesan Cheese
Gruyere Cheese for shaving

Directions:

1. Prep & roast the butternut squash halves:
Preheat the oven to 350F. Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling on medium-high heat. Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out and discard the seeds. Cut or scoop out as much of the butternut squash as possible for the filling. (This can be tough, so if you get frustrated, just try to scoop out enough so you can partly fill the squash.) Drizzle the insides of be squash with a little olive oil and half of both the cumin and coriander and rub in the spices. Season with salt and pepper and roast for 25 to 30 minutes, or until slightly browned and tender when pierced with a knife.

2. Cook the quinoa:
Once the water is boiling, add the quinoa and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, or until tender. Drain thoroughly.

3. Start the filling:
While the squash is roasting and the quinoa is cooking, in a large pan, heat a little olive oil on medium-high heat until hot. Add the onion and chopped butternut squash. Sauté for 4 to 5 minutes or until softened. Add the remaining cumin & coriander and toast the spices for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until throughly combined, stirring frequently.

4. Finish the filling:
Add the kale, currants and vegetable broth. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the kale is wilted, the currants are plump and most of the vegetable broth has cooked off. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the drained quinoa, almonds and half of the Parmesan cheese. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until thoroughly combined and heated through. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.

5. Bake the stuffed squashes:
When cool enough to handle, sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese inside the baked squash halves and fill each halve with as much filling as possible. Line the sheet pan with any remaining stuffing. Then, using a vegetable peeler, create shavings of Gryuere cheese and lay on top of the filling. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Beer Buzz

Over past couple weeks, beer has been catching my eye in the news. Here’s a look at what’s happening in the world of brews:

Americans Are Drinking Less Beer (Marketplace.org)

via Marketplace.org

According to a recent Gallup poll, only 36% of Americans who drink alcohol say beer is their beverage of choice. No need to signal any alarm bells though, beer is still at the top of the alcohol industry as a $100 billion market, opposed to wine ($35 billion) or spirits ($62 billion) says Nancy Koehn of Harvard Business School.

Japan Brewing Up Wacky Summer Beers (wsj.com)

Double Cultured Fermented Milk Beer

via Asahi Breweries Ltd.

In an effort to attract younger drinkers (especially women) who prefer sweeter drinks, strange pours are a brewing in Japan. Kirin, for example, is selling 12 creative beer cocktails including the colorful Ichiban Shibori Two-Tone Draft, featuring beer layered on top of cassis liqueur. Other notable flavor combinations include beer mixed with pineapple, lemon and blueberry liqueurs and even fermented milk (pictured).

Get Your Ice, Cold Frozen Beer (foodbeast.com)

Personally, I’m pumped about this because I cannot drink a beer fast enough before it gets warm. (It’s just too filling.) Can’t wait to try one of these out ASAP!

NO WAY! Just-Add-Water Beer (huffingtonpost.com)

via Pat’s Backcountry Beverages

Camping just got a whole lot better. To be honest, I’ve never been camping, so I’ve always imagined that half the fun is drinking outside, however lugging beer cans to a camp site has never sounded appealing enough to me. Well here’s the solution: just-add-water beer concentrate and an easy-to-carry carbonation system. I was skeptical on how a carbonation system could be easy-to-carry and still work, but after watching this video, I may actually give it a shot.

Beers Implicated in Emergency Room Visits (nytimes.com)

via Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

Well, well, well…now isn’t this something. Sorry to end on a serious note, but can you believe that roughly a third of all emergency room visits are due to alcohol related injuries, with the top brands being Budweiser, Steel Reserve, Colt 45, Bud Ice and Bud Light. Not to be offensive, but these all kinda sound like college beers to me…

 

Keep Reading:
More News Posts
More Food Posts

Heirloom Tomato Salad

When tomatoes are in season, you really don’t need to do much to them to enjoy them. I love making this super simple heirloom salad as an easy appetizer, side dish or anytime snack. It’s important to wedge the tomatoes so each bite has a mix of seeds and jelly which actually contain the most flavor (as opposed to the flesh). 

Heirloom Tomato Salad

Heirloom Tomato Salad

Serves 2

Ingredients

3-5 small to medium heirloom tomatoes, cut into wedges
1/4 serrano chile, thinly sliced with seeds removed
1 scallion, green part only, thinly sliced
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preparation

Place all ingredients into a small bowl and mix. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let stand for 5-10 minutes (or more) to let flavors combine.

Vegetarian Farro and Corn Salad

The best part about this recipe is that you don’t really need a recipe. Just toss together however much (or little) of each ingredient you’d like and eat. To save time on the week days, prepare the farro ahead of time and keep in the fridge until you’re ready to build the salad with whatever else you’ve got—like corn, avocado, asparagus, etc.

Vegetarian Farro Salad

Vegetarian Farro Salad

Ingredients

2 cups farro
1 1/2 cups corn, raw or cooked
2 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 cucumber, sliced then quartered
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup pea shoots, torn in half or chopped
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
2-3 tablespoons honey balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preparation

  1. Cook farro as directed and drain. Set aside to cool slightly.
  2. Meanwhile, toss whatever ingredients you’d like such as corn, chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, pea shoots and feta cheese in a large bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together vinaigrette. (Typically for a vinaigrette, you’ll want one part vinegar/acid to two parts oil. For this specific recipe, I used honey balsamic vinegar and olive oil, but you could also use lemon juice or sherry, apple cider or rice wine vinegar. To kick up the flavor a little more, you can also mix in a small amount of dijon mustard or soy sauce, depending on whatever type of flavor-profile you’re going for.)
  4. Combine all ingredients in large bowl, toss until well coated and season with salt and pepper. Finito!

Tip: I like to let the farro cool a little bit so that it doesn’t wilt the greens too much. However, don’t let it cool too much! Tossing the farro with the vinaigrette when it’s slightly warm allows the farro to absorb more of the vinaigrette.

Tip: Serve this salad on its own or over a bed of greens such as arugula, spinach or escarole.

Tip: Wanna keep it meatless, but still want more protein? Add a soft-poached or hard boil egg.