I’ve made six batches of candied pecans in the past two days, through which this Alton Brown recipe morphed and changed to meet my mothers taste in spicy-yet-sweet pecans. This final version contains a fully toasted nut, a pretty deep collection of spice with a smoky kick to it, and a caramel-y coating that seals it all together. It’s definitely inspired by the above recipe, but following that one resulted in under seasoned pecans that I can’t suggest.
These are a good make ahead gift *cough cough wedding prep* and make the house smell amazing so would be a great appetizer. If you aren’t eating them right away, be sure to pack away into as airtight a container as you can find after they dry – humid weather is your enemy (I mean it always is really, but especially in regards to candy). If you need them to dry faster or they come out a little wetter than you’d like, let them dry out in the oven at about 175 on a sheet try for about 30-45 minutes.
cinnamon and spice candied pecans
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp – 1 tsp cayenne pepper (you will feel the heat from this, so adjust to your taste!)
1 tsp salt
1 lb or 3.4 c pecan halves
5 tbs butter, cut into pieces
1/2 c brown sugar (light or dark)
2 tbs water
prep all your ingredients before putting anything on the stove – when this recipe starts going it gets fast, and you don’t have time to be cutting your butter! Also lay out a long strip of parchment paper on a stable flat surface, you’ll lay your pecans here to dry
in a large (like seriously, as big as you have) cast iron skillet over medium heat, begin toasting your nuts. They’ll start to smell like warm pecans and that’s when you know it’s time to move on – but remember, nuts burn fast so as soon as you start to smell it begin the next step, the nuts will keep toasting
sprinkle in your spice mixture (that you already mixed together in a bowl, remember) and stir through the nuts. The spices will also begin to toast, and you’ll be able to smell it. This is where you have to start moving quickly
once you can smell the spices, add in your butter pieces and stir through until melted and coating all the pecans
add in your brown sugar and stir to coat
the sugar will have begun to melt, but to help it coat the pecans you want to add a splash of water – it will sizzle and bubble, so watch your hands. Add the water slowly, stirring continuously, and let it coat the pecans. You may not need all the water, or you may feel you need a little more.
let the sugar melt completely and cover the pecans, stirring
when coated, dump pecans and caramel onto the waiting parchment paper, and spread out with your wooden spoon to separate. I wouldn’t worry too much about a little overlap, and the puddle of spicy-sugar won’t bother anyone either!
when dry and cool to the touch, package in airtight containers.
Soft, more crumbly than chewy, and incredibly flexible, dessert scones are underrated. These are like shortbread meets a biscuit, with flavours just complex enough to make them fit in at breakfast or dessert.
The recipe is inspired by this one from Molly Yeh, but using this scone recipe from El’s grandmother as a base instead. While you could definitely make these in a food processor, I find rubbing the butter into the flour to be a calming activity so I make mine by hand.
dark chocolate and rosemary scones
2 c flour (if using self raising flour, omit baking powder)
1 1/2 tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3-4 tbs sugar, depending on how sweet you want your scones and how sweet your chocolate is
1/2-3/4 c cold butter, cubed (start with 1/2, but you may need a little more – it’s all based on texture!)
3-4 tbs rosemary cream (below)
1 tbs vanilla
3/4 c dark chocolate chips
combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in large bowl
rub cold butter into dry ingredients until smooth and crumbly, it should just hold it’s shape when you squeeze it together
add in vanilla and rosemary cream, dough should come together and pull away from the sides of the bowl
fold in dark chocolate chips
dust dough in flour and chill, wrapped in plastic, for about 30 minutes until butter is cold again
roll out to desired thickness, about 3/4 inch thick, and cut into circles with a cookie cutter or glass
place on baking tray lined with parchment and bake at 400 for about 15 minutes, or until lightly golden
top with glaze (below) while still warm
3/4 c heavy cream (or milk, any dairy will work but heavy/double cream adds a nice richness)
4 sprigs of rosemary (fresh is best but dried will work, you’ll just have to strain it well
pinch of salt
combine in a small pan and bring ingredients to a simmer over medium heat
remove from heat and let steep for 15 minutes
divide among scones and glaze
remaining rosemary cream
1/2 powdered sugar
in a small bowl, slowly add powdered sugar to cream, whisking continually. Add sugar until desired thickness is reached
it’s incredibly fluffy, softer than you thought pita would be, and the perfect partner for falafel, shawarma, grilled chicken, pretty much anything you might want some carbs on the side of. Don’t run away from yeast and dough just because it’s a weeknight, because this is foolproof and spends more time sitting than anything else.
I like to mix the dough right when I get in, and put chicken or something in to marinate, then ignore it for a couple of hours. This might work mostly because I like to eat quite late, but I think you could probably let this rise all day in the fridge! (let me know if you try it)
The sugar content might look quite high, but I think it’s the slight sweetness that really makes these special and a great pairing for spicier foods and toppings. These are baked because its fast, easy, and hands off.
Soft, Fluffy Pita Bread
1 1/2 c warm water 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast 1 1/2 tbs sugar (or 1tbs honey, whisked into the water to dissolve before adding yeast) 1 1/2 tsp salt 3 tbs olive oil 3 1/2-3/4 c flour (more needed for dusting
whisk together water, sugar, and yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes, the yeast will activate and the mixture will get foamy
whisk in salt and oil
gradually add the flour – I prefer mixing with my hands from here and mixing in dough at about a cup at a time to get it well incorporated
need for about 10 minutes, dough will feel smooth and should not stick to the sides of the bowl but still be sticky
if there is loose flour in your bowl, rinse it out or get a clean one and lightly coat the bowl with oil, turning your dough so it is also covered in oil
cover and let rest for 2(ish) hours, or until it has doubled in size
*if your kitchen is cold, check and see if you have a ‘proof’ setting on your oven, which will keep it at a warm temperature! This usually speeds up my proofing as well. If not, turn on your oven and set the bowl on top
When dough has doubled, turn onto a clean surface dusted with flour and divide into pieces (these will be the size of your pita, so choose wisely)
tuck the corners of each piece of dough around and under, making a ball, cover and let rise for another 30 minutes
* you can skip this second rise and they will still be great, just a little more dense
after rising, roll dough out just a little with a rolling pin (or more likely, with your hands) so its flatter and pita shaped
preheat your oven to 400f and bake on parchment lined sheets for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown
I love sauces/dips/dressing. All foods should have another food on them. I put approximately 4 sauces/toppings on all foods and it has horrified many people. And due to my need for all foods to have sauce on them, I make a lot of different sauces. This one though, I make probably 3 times a week and eat on as many vegetables as possible.
It started because I fell in love with this salad, which I also make incredibly often. But I didn’t quite have all the ingredients for the dressing and I refused to not have salad for dinner, so I used what I had. And then a few days later, I did a similar thing and put in on another salad-y thing. And now I put it on pretty much anything crunchy I can find.
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 large or 2 small cloves of garlic
2 tbs honey
1/3 cup tahini or peanut butter (crunchy peanut butter here is incredible)
pinch of salt salt
olive oil (as needed)
zest lemon into bowl, add juice
grate garlic into bowl (I use a microplane)
stir in honey and tahini or peanut butter
add in salt
add oil until desired consistency is reached
This dressing is creamy from the nut butter, tangy from the lemon, and has an amazing slight burn from the raw garlic. Its great with ginger added, or chili if you want more spice.
How to use it
Obviously, in The Salad. I love it on top of shredded salad with pickled onions (often served with quinoa and grilled chicken). I dip carrots into it. I put it on rice cakes. It’s great on falafel (I was going to post a falafel recipe today but I have no photos of making it so that will come another day). Basically, please eat this on everything you can.
There’s a small jar of my grandmother’s homemade cherry jam tucked into the back of my cabinet, which I haven’t eaten because if I eat it then I don’t have any more. How long I hold out on not eating it is a good question, because it really is the best jelly on earth. However, this is not that recipe, this one is much much easier.
Canning things and sealing jars is great (and you can do that with this recipe if you’d like to) but it’s also a bigger time and space commitment than I think most people want to give. That doesn’t mean you can’t make and eat homemade jam regularly. This recipe relies on the natural pectin in the raspberries (other fruit will work, specifically blackberries and other high pectin fruits) to help it set, rather than adding it separately. This also means it’s JAM not JELLY (fruit not juice) – this difference is a hill I am willing to die on. If you don’t like the seeds though, feel free to run the whole thing through a sieve!
I primarily put jam on top of oatmeal/porridge/overnight oats. The main reason I decided to make it myself was to control how sweet it is – I find store bought jams to often be too sweet so you’ll notice there isn’t that much sugar in this recipe.
Easy Raspberry Jam
makes around one jar
175-200g raspberries (one medium-large carton)
juice of one lemon
1/4- 1/3 c granulated sugar – adjust to your desired sweetness and the sweetness of your berries
add berries, sugar, and lemon juice to a non-reactive saucepan
stirring occasionally, bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat
skim off the foam that rises and discard – if you don’t get it all, dont’ worry!
raise heat to high and boil for aprox 10 minutes, stirring to prevent scorching. beginning at 10 minutes check for doneness (I use the wrinkle test by putting a spoon or two in my freezer while the mixture comes to a boil and then testing if the jam sets when dropped onto it – you also get to eat the jam off the spoon after!) you can also check for the jam to get to 220F but I don’t have a thermometer.
If you want, strain your jam!
pour into a sealing jar and refrigerate. As you can tell in photos, I’m reusing an old jar that I washed out and sterilized (having a kettle is a godsend) right before use but you could definitely use traditional jars and process them in boiling water. However, this jam will keep in the fridge for a few weeks and makes such a small batch there’s no need!
I have never liked oatmeal very much, but living somewhere cold makes you! I prefer my oats soaked overnight so they become a custard-y texture, and honestly I like them cold best. These are great for making in a container you can take on the go to work/class!
1/3 c rolled oats
2/3 c milk (or 1/3 c milk and 1/3 c greek yogurt)
1 tbls chia seeds if you have them and like them!
pinch of salt
mix ingredients directly in the container you’ll eat them out of – it needs a lid
refrigerate for at least 4 hours – hence the ‘overnight’
this recipe is endlessly adjustable. I go ahead and put a spoonful of jam on top the night before. It’s also great with cinnamon sugar and bananas or apples, chocolate, peanut butter, and a variety of other fruits!
I love soup to the point it’s excessive. I probably have soup for at least one meal a day and never tire of it. I might love winter just for the soup. And while I generally prefer my soups fairly brothy and lighter, this stew is by far the most comforting thing in my normal rotation of recipes.
The recipe is a hodge-podge of many, many I’ve read (googling beef stew in the grocery store) with quite a few adjustments to what I can find and what I like to keep on hand. It’s best when topped with scones, which both thicken the stew and cut through some of the richness. You could easily top with scones simply cut into circles, but I’m partial to the way El grew up with them – filled with ketchup and herbs and rolled up like cinnamon rolls. I too was hesitant at first, but it’s incredible.
2 stalks celery
3 shallots or 1 small onion
3-4 cloves garlic
2tbs balsamic vinegar (red wine would be good here, if you drink it)
4tbs tomato paste
Rump steak (cut into bite size pieces)
½ c flour (season w/ salt, pepper, dried herbs)
4 c beef stock
Chop vegetables into whatever size you want to eat them at, set aside
place oven proof pot on stove, heat oil over medium heat
Dredge cut meat through flour, fry off in oil over medium heat till all sides are brown turning as needed (let frond develop on the bottom of pan)
Pull meat from pan
Add onion/shallot to pan and deglaze with vinegar, scraping along the bottom until all frond is loose
After onion has begun to go soft, add celery and garlic
Add tomato pastes, stir to loosen and let caramelize
Add meat back to pot, add beef stock and fresh thyme
Cover and let simmer for 1 ½ hours, meat should be tender
if adding scones to top of stew, place cut scones on top of the liquid with space between and place pot or dutch oven in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes
1 c self raising flour
¼ c cold butter
Splash of milk
Rub cold butter into flour until smooth and crumbly,
Add milk until dough forms (about 3-5 tbs)
Roll out on floured surface to ¼ inch thick
Top with ketchup, herbs, and cheese
Roll up (like cinnamon rolls)
Pinch seam closed, and place seam side down
Use serrated knife to cut in ½ inch thick slices, brush tops with milk
Place on top of stew or on tray, bake at 200c or 350f for 15-20 minutes until golden
I’m going to breeze past the fact that the fact that the last thing I wrote was about my 21st birthday and I’m a month away from 22, and instead write about a cake I made last week!
Winter is citrus season, and my love for it has resulted in a series of jokes about how I’ll never get scurvy. There are orange peels everywhere and my microplane is constantly in use zesting something. I couldn’t be happier. In addition to this I’m working out the kinks in a blood orange curd recipe so maybe I’ll keep up the writing and share that? Planning ahead, who knows!
Anyway, I saw a recipe for this cake on instagram and decided at 10am on a Tuesday morning to make it. I’ve definitely tweaked it since, as my desire for intense citrus flavour is too much for most recipes but it was incredibly easy to make and only gets better as it sits!