Archive for February, 2010

5 for Friday

Friday, February 26th, 2010

I have a bad habit of “starring” links in my Twitter feed to share later, and then never getting back to them. (Surely someone out there could create an app that reads those links and sends you back a cliff notes version, right??) So I thought I’d try sharing a few favorite things with you on Fridays, with the caveat that I may not get to it every Friday. But I hope you find it useful and will share anything interesting you’ve come across during the week, too, okay?

  • Health Note of the Week: A new study gives hope that some of the negative effects of exposure to BPA (you know, if you used plastic baby bottles pre-2009, or ever eat food or beverages from a can, or use toilet paper, or … ) may be offset by eating leafy greens and soy. Bring on the miso soup!
  • Food FAIL of the Week: New York City schools have decided that kids can buy pre-approved packaged snacks like Doritos and Pop Tarts at school bake sales, but not homemade treats with all those frightening real sugars and non-trans-fats. It would almost be funny if it wasn’t just so flat-out maddening.  Speaking of bake sales, remember to save the date for the National Food Blogger Bake Sale on Saturday, April 17 — coming to a city near you!
  • timeforlunchLunch Bite of the Week: Moms are getting fired up for Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative, and particularly for getting healthier food into school lunches. Here’s a great post from Ilina at Dirt and Noise.
    (Have you emailed your Congressman/woman yet?)
  • Recipe of the Week: The Jewish festival of Purim is this weekend, and I promised the husband homemade hamantaschen this year. Anyone got a favorite recipe to share?
  • Blog Find of the Week: One of my favorite parenting blogs, Simple Mom, has launched a new food site, Simple Bites. Even better, Simple Bites is edited by one of my favorite foodie mamas, Aimée of Under the High Chair. (Why do I love Aimée? Check out the adorable Pat-the-Bunny cake she made for her younger son’s first birthday.) And there’s the new Simple Organic, too. Love.

Cinnamon Hazelnut Waffles

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

There are few things better than the scent of cinnamon on a Saturday morning. While these waffles aren’t quite as decadent as fresh cinnamon rolls, they do offer more instant gratification. I had some toasted hazelnuts left over from another recipe and added them on a whim — turned out delicious. A little sweet, and warmly satisfying. (On yet another snow day.)

Recipe: Cinnamon Hazelnut Waffles

Ingredients:
2 cups unbleached flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts, finely chopped

Instructions: Preheat waffle iron.

In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. In another bowl, whisk eggs until frothy. Add milk, sugar, butter and vanilla and stir to combine. Add dry ingredients and mix until combined (you may have some small lumps still). Stir in the hazelnuts.

Cook on hot, oiled waffle iron. I use about 1/2 cup of batter per 4-inch-square. Makes 10 4-inch waffles. Enjoy! (Leftover waffles can be frozen and then popped in the toaster for quick breakfasts during the week.)

Cooking with Kids note: Waffle irons can be highly tempting to curious preschoolers … particularly ones who feel compelled to touch and see when you tell them it’s really hot. So for best results, I recommend letting young children help with the whisking, but distracting them in another room for the actual cooking. My son also likes to help garnish for the photographs (as seen above).

Save the Date! National Food Blogger Bake Sale, April 17

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

I’m a firm believer in eating, er, cooking for a good cause, so I’m delighted to be helping with the first ever National Food Bloggers Bake Sale to benefit Share our Strength and their work to end childhood hunger. On April 17, food bloggers across the US will unite to support the cause by holding bake sales in their states. Readers will have the opportunity to taste the baked goods from their favorite food blogs at each state’s bake sale location. The event is being organized by the fabulous Gaby Dalkin of WhatsGabyCooking.com.

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DC BAKE SALE: The DC bake sale will be held Saturday, April 17, from 9am-12noon at DC’s Historic Eastern Market. So come on by and look for our table outside near the farmers line. There are some great local bloggers participating, stay tuned for a list closer to the date.

Funds raised through Great American Bake Sale support Share Our Strength’s efforts to end childhood hunger in America.  Nearly 17 million— almost one in four—children in America face hunger. Despite the good efforts of governments, private-sector institutions and everyday Americans, millions of our children still don’t have daily access to the nutritious meals they need to live active, healthy lives. More information on SOS can be found at http://strength.org/.

If you’re in DC and would like to participate, please send me an email at foodietots (at) gmail (dot) com. Outside DC, visit Gaby’s blog for a list of coordinators in other states (and states needing hosts). And wherever you live, please make plans to stop by and purchase some yummy treats that day!

Meatless Monday: Curried Sweet Potato and Squash Soup

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

This twist on the classic winter soup is one of those happy accidents that happens when you don’t have quite enough of one ingredient — or in this case, a very petite butternut squash. I supplemented with two sweet potatoes and loved the richer flavor it gave the soup. It’s light on the curry, for the boy’s sake — and the husband and I just supplemented the spice with a dash of smoked paprika on top. Easy and tasty. Enjoy with grilled cheese sandwiches, or a side salad and rolls for an easy weeknight dinner.

Recipe: Curried Sweet Potato and Squash Soup
Adapted from MarthaStewart.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 smaller butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 15 ounces coconut milk
  • smoked paprika, to garnish

Instructions: Heat olive oil in soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until softened and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add curry powder, ginger and salt and sauté another minute. Add squash, sweet potatoes and broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to medium low and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk and simmer another 10 minutes. Remove from heat and puree with an immersion blender or in a blender. Serve, with a pinch of smoked paprika (and swirl of reserved coconut milk), if desired. Makes 4-6 servings. Enjoy!

Peter Reinhart’s Bagels

Friday, February 19th, 2010

Like many others around DC, I turned to baking to stave off boredom during the Snowmageddon/Snowpocalypse blizzards of 2010. And with all that time on my hands, I decided to take the plunge and bake the bagels I’d skipped over in the Bread Baker’s Apprentice challenge. You see, the book goes alphabetically and there was no way I felt ready to tackle bagels on just my third attempt! Especially not when I’m married to a New Yorker with rather high bagel expectations.

These bagels were much more labor intensive than my previous breads. The dough quickly becomes stiff and tough to mix, so much so that my KitchenAid gave up before the final addition of flour. I mixed the remainder in by hand and began to knead, but it was so stiff that I ignored the warnings of other BBA bloggers and put it back in my KitchenAid … when the motor began to smoke three minutes later, it was back to kneading by hand. I probably kneaded about 15 minutes in total, letting it rest for several minutes midway through. After letting the balls of dough rest, I shaped them into bagel shapes and let them rest again. After 20 minutes, you’re supposed to plop them in a bowl of water and hope they float. Mine did not. Not after another 20 minutes, and not an hour plus later. I gave up and stuck the bagels out in the (non-heated) sunroom over night — our fridge was a little too full with blizzard supplies.

The next day, they didn’t seem to have risen at all. I let them sit on the dining room table for a couple hours, tried the float test again, and they still failed. I wasn’t going to give up at this point, so I went ahead and put a large pot of water on to boil and preheated the oven. This time they finally floated (I’m sure the boiling helped) and after boiling 1 minute on each side I placed them back on their trays to be topped. Of course, I discovered then I was out of poppy seeds, so I used a sea salt, sesame seed and garlic powder blend for most of them. I added caraway seeds to a couple, and cinnamon sugar on the last three. Then they bake in the oven, at 500 degrees, for 10 minutes. Now this is probably obvious to most people, but 500 degrees is HOT. I had to put my husband’s ove-glove (he’s a sucker for infomercials) on under my oven mitt to handle the trays while I transferred the bagels to the cooling rack.

bagels!

bagels!

We had the first round for lunch, topped with cream cheese and my mayo-free salmon salad. A little lettuce and tomato would’ve been nice, but, well, we were running low on fresh produce. (See aforementioned Snowmageddon. And, being February, I would’ve passed on those bland winter tomatoes anyway.)

Next time I might boil a little longer for a chewier crust, but these were pretty darn close to the real deal. My Jew-from-Flushing husband, who had skeptically asked if I wanted him to be honest or polite when he tasted them, actually liked them! I doubt we’ll stop going to Slim’s when we’re in New York, but these are a pretty good substitute … as long as you have a few hours to devote to baking them. I do want to try them again in the summer to top with fresh tomatoes and lox.

And as you can tell, the boy was perfectly content with his (with a hearty schmear of cream cheese, hold the fish!):

Shared with Friday’s Feast on Momtrends – go check it out!