Shrimp Wonton Soup

Posted on January 22, 2017

 I spent much of my adolescence being moody; I’m sure it was mostly hormonal, and I’m even more certain that there was about 5-8 years where I wasn’t much fun to be around. I wore a lot of black with some occasional tie-dye, hippie skirts and definitely scarves in my hair. I also became a vegetarian at that time – and while I’ve managed to lose most of the ennui and have picked up better-fitting clothing, the vegetarianism stuck around for about 15ish years, at which point I started eating seafood again. Today folks would call me a “pescatarian” but that word wasn’t around back when my diet switched over. These days, I stick to saying I’m a vegetarian when it’s less fussy way to explain my dietary preferences, and go with “vegetarian that eats seafood” when it’s worth the time to get into it. I find anything short of that and people might think chicken broth is okay or just a hint of bacon isn’t worth mentioning.

 

It was a big deal for me to start eating seafood, and I did it because I just felt ready – I was getting a little bored with my diet and felt like there were things I was missing out on. There were specific foods I really missed – like sushi – and for me, it was just time.

 

Even thought it’s been a million years now that I started eating seafood, I still find that there are foods I loved but never really returned to. Wonton soup (from when I ate chicken) is one of those foods – and even though it’s possible to find shrimp wonton soup, it’s usually in chicken broth. So, when the glorious Deb from Smitten Kitchen posted an extremely adaptable and quick wonton soup recipe, all I had to do was sub out the ground chicken for shrimp and I was good to go!

 

Deb mentions this soup isn’t authentic, and since I don’t have anything to compare it to, I’ll take her word for it – but I’ll also say that it’s super delicious, very super flavorful, and comes together quite quickly. I made a batch and ate some for dinner and froze the rest, and it’s great for a quick snack or as part of my dinner. When I made it for dinner, I paired it with this main and a side of pan-seared zucchini, and it was perfect.

 

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Posted in: healthy, quick and easy, soup | 1 Comment

Lamb Scotch Eggs

Posted on January 15, 2017

I have been wanting to make scotch eggs for a couple of years and have never gotten around to making them.  What could be more delicious than meat wrapped around an egg?!  I recently bought a lamb, not the adorably soft version but the processed and in my freezer version (which admittedly was once both adorable and soft).

I got to thinking lamb would be really tasty wrapped around an egg!  These scotch eggs would have been even better if they were duck eggs and not chicken eggs but alas this time of year I must use store-bought chicken eggs (boo hoo!).  The true impetus for making these and posting them this month was because I wanted to learn where scotch eggs originated.

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Posted in: appetizers, breakfast, brunch | 3 Comments

Coconut Bread Cake

Posted on January 8, 2017

 First up, I am totally cheating on this month’s theme – there’s nothing really multicultural about this post other than I had coconut “bread” (it was really cake in loaf form) at one of my favorite coffee shops in Seattle, a Cuban-inspired coffee place in my old neighborhood (their Con Leche is a dream). I don’t usually buy treats at coffee shops – a slippery slope of pastry eating, as far as I’m concerned – but they had samples sitting out and Brandon was weak (or smart, depending on how your frame it). I like coconut just fine, but this “bread” was everything that’s good in the world, in loaf form. Tender, moist, sweet without being cloying, and packed with coconutty flavor.

 

I came home and immediately started googling – and really any Cuban coconut bread recipes I found were actually for a very slightly sweetened bread, but not actually cake, which is what this recipe is when we’re being honest with ourselves (which I’d prefer not to be). So then I got realistic about what I was really eating (a dessert that we will frame as a great brunch treat) and found this recipe from another blog. A few minor tweaks to make it a bit more like the one I had at the coffee shop, and ya esta!* We have coconut “brake” (that would be a combo of “bread” and “cake”).

 

* “it is done” in Spanish – Cuban Spanish is spoken by 90% of the entire population of Cuba

 

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Posted in: baking, breads, breakfast, brunch, cakes | Add a Comment

Alcapurria for a New Year

Posted on January 1, 2017

Welcome to 2017!

Last year was a fun blogging year for Strudel and I.  By continuing our monthly themed posts that we started in 2015, we are continuing to try new recipes and enjoy sharing them with all of you.

In 2016, July was our most popular month with classic desserts such as Arlene’s Apple Pie and Boston Cream Pie.  We had 25% more visitors than 2015 from 77 different countries!  Next to the United States, our top three visiting countries were Canada, Brazil and Hong Kong.  We even had a couple of visits from our friends in Vanuatu.  I hope they saw my post about how much I love their coffee!  Our top viewed post for 2016 was the Protein Biscuits, everyone must love Kodiak Cakes as much as we do!

To kick off this new year, this month we have decided to focus on foods from various cultures that we love to eat!  I knew right away I wanted to make something using plantains from either Cuban or Puerto Rican cuisine.

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Posted in: appetizers, brunch, snacks | 2 Comments

Iceland Air Gourmet Salad

Posted on December 25, 2016

 I was fortunate enough to travel in France in October, and after nearly two weeks of butter, pastries, and coffee, we hauled ourself on a discount flight back to Seattle on Iceland Airlines. The flight was very inexpensive – for which we were extremely grateful for – and absolutely no-frills. It was a long flight and we weren’t able to pack food ahead of time, so had to pay for an airplane meal.

 

Besides junk food and Icelandic yogurt, they only vegetarian option was this salad. I was a little grumpy about eating a salad (very possibly a withdrawal reaction to the lack of butter or bread in this meal) – but, surprisingly, it ended up being *delicious* and filling (not my usual expectation of an airplane meal). It was so good, in fact, that I took a photo of the ingredient list so that I could re-create the salad at home.

 

Three things in particular made this salad so great: it was a little spicy, a little pickled, and a little sweet. So much good stuff! With December being healthy lunch month here at S&S, and now that my various medical complaints have healed, this seemed the perfect time to do some salad experimentation.

 

 

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Posted in: healthy, vegetarian | 1 Comment

Healthy Lunches (something I cannot currently comment on)

Posted on December 18, 2016

 Unfortunately for all those around me, I am in the midst of suffering mightily – I’m doing an excellent job of fully investing, emotionally, in my current state of self-pity and lethargy. Also, I don’t have a new recipe for the blog this week.

 

My reasons – for both the self-pity AND the lack of a new recipe – are fairly stupid, but you know – so it goes sometimes. While Streus and I usually trade off posting on the blog, this month she took the first two weeks, at my last-minute request. I was very happily in Hawaii for a week at the beginning of this month, so blogging would have cramped my vacationing style. The photo above was taken during a lovely hike near Waikoloa.

 

Upon returning home, Brandon and I jumped back into work (appropriate) and then about a week after getting back – end of this past week – we both got sick (inappropriate and rude). Along with the nasty cold I’m suffering under, I also managed to – no other way to describe this – burn the shit out of the roof of my mouth. Pre-illness, I went to happy hour with some colleagues and despite the warning, “watch out, the artichoke dip is hot, we just took it out of the oven” I immediately shoved it into my mouth (I was hungry!). As the (mediocre) appetizer savagely seared my tender palate, I decided I didn’t know the people I was with quite well enough to frantically spit the dip out, so I stupidly left the food in my mouth. I literally could feel the blisters forming on the roof of my mouth. So, in the present moment, I’m sick, plus putting almost any food in my mouth is pretty painful. Cooking is about the last thing I’m in the mood for. Also important to say – manners are stupid and that’s the last time I make that mistake.

 

Saying that, I do need food for lunch week, so I’ve just made a batch of Broccoli Quinoa Casserole, since it’s both soft, to accommodate my pathetic mouth, and healthy – which I need in this season of sweets. I’m also going to roast a bunch of veggies, which will be soft, and eat only once they are entirely cool.

 

Until next week, my friends, we salute you with shave ice!

 

 

Posted in: travel | 2 Comments

Planked Salmon Deliciousness

Posted on December 11, 2016

Planked Salmon Medley

StreuselFor the past six months I have been buying wonderfully flavored salmon frozen on cedar planks.  My grocery store carries Cedar Bay Cedar Planked Salmon in three flavors (yes, I’ve tried them all) and they quite frequently go on sale.  They make cooking up salmon on the grill super easy (yes, there is snow on the ground and I still use my grill).

I generously seasoned the bell peppers with my new favorite pepper,  the Bourbon Barrel Smoked Black Pepper that I used in this and this recipe recently.  This recipe made three lunches for me for the week.  Easy.  Delicious.

 

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Posted in: healthy, quick and easy | 1 Comment

El Verde Bowl

Posted on December 4, 2016

El Verde BowlStreuselStrudel and I decided to do something a little different for December.  In years past, during this month you’d see us post our favorite holiday recipes, like that which brought us together, Chocolate Babka or Cheesy Flaky Rolls.  This December we’re bringing you healthy recipes to balance out all of the sugar and butter and flour you are likely consuming along with us this holiday season!

First up, El Verde Bowl!  I feel extremely lucky here in Colorado to live close to several Protein Bar locations.  If you live in Colorado, Chicago or Washington D.C. you should visit a Protein Bar STAT.  If not, lucky for you I have re-created one of their bowls called El Verde Bowl.  This bowl is a perfect meal before a few Christmas Cookies!  Packed with healthy hemp, quinoa and chicken protein sources, it is filling and tasty!

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Posted in: favorites in Colorado, healthy, quick and easy | 1 Comment

Pomegranate Molasses

Posted on November 27, 2016

Pomegranate Molasses

StreuselI love pomegranates!  I ate an entire one yesterday.

I visited Armenia almost 10 years ago and became fascinated with this fruit while there.  Armenians believe the fruit symbolizes fertility.  They make a wonderful wine of pomegranate and depict the fruit in their art and dishware.

the-pomegranate

While in Armenia, one gentleman told me a tall tale of a lost Armenian surviving for an entire year with only one pomegranate by eating one seed a day, he was adamant that every pomegranate has 365 seeds!  A quick google search suggests many more seeds than that but to be fair I have never counted the seeds in a pomegranate!

I couldn’t help myself when Costco was selling 6 packs of these huge red orbs last week.  I have successfully eaten three but I’m starting to wonder if I can really eat the other three before they start to dry up.  As I pondered how I could turn pomegranates into a homemade gift, the lightbulb went off.  Who wouldn’t love their own little bottle of pomegranate molasses?  As I searched on my favorite site, Food52, for recipes I could give with the cute little bottles of pomegranate molasses, the possibilities were endless!  Add the molasses to dark chocolate truffles or drizzle over your favorite roasted vegetable!

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Posted in: gifts, holidays | 2 Comments

Homemade Nutella

Posted on November 20, 2016

homemade-nutella

Strudel The first time I had Nutella, I was 19 years old and living in Israel for the year. The whole “desserts that pretend to be breakfast foods” thing that food companies push was a non-starter for my parents, so growing up, my breakfasts mainly consisted of grape nuts or puffed rice cereal with raisins for “sweetness.” I wasn’t thrilled about this at the time (on my first solo grocery store trip as a college freshman, I remember binge buying peanut butter Cap’n Crunch), but I get it now… I’d prefer to learn to start my days off with healthy food so when I do decide on a sweet breakfast, it’s a special treat.

 

So, enter Nutella. I still have no idea why it’s considered a breakfast food, but Bless America, somehow it’s accepted. Since I’m not a big fan of processed foods, making my own seems an even more acceptable way to allow it in my mornings. It turns out it’s a snap to make, and *perfect* for packaging in small jars to keep one on hand for myself and give a few others away to friends and family.

 

 

 

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Posted in: breakfast, brunch, chocolate, desserts, gifts, quick and easy | 2 Comments

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