I’ve been home sick for the past three days. Blah. On Saturday I was lying in a pile of tissues when my friend Rachel dropped off my share of our CSA (and a bagel and OJ – she’s the best!) The last thing I thought I wanted to do when I was sick was cook, but on Sunday after my meds had kicked in, I spent a little time in the kitchen. And it was really one of the best things I did to take care of myself. Soup doesn’t take much effort to make, plus it lasts a few days and (hopefully) helps cure you. And when you’re home alone with only your Netflix boyfriend, it feels good to show your sick self a little love.
You can make a soup like this with any veggies, really. I used two onions, a yellow squash, kale, and carrots. You could add beans or noodles too, but this simple, veggie-filled soup was just what I needed. Below you’ll find my on-cold-meds, non-recipe…
Fall Veggie Soup
In a large pot, sauté sliced onion in olive oil and butter until softened and caramelized, about 40 minutes. Add chopped carrots and squash to pot and let soften. Season with salt and pepper. Add chicken broth and chopped kale and let simmer for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, make some garlic bread: Preheat oven to 400°. Melt some butter and stir in chopped garlic. Half a baguette lengthwise and brush butter on cut sides. Top with grated parmesan. Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden. Serve garlic bread with soup. Soup can be reheated and eaten until you’re well and want to eat pizza.
It’s a new week and I’m ready to dive in and GSD at both work and in life. I pump myself up at the beginning of each week to do this but it’s not easy. There are distractions. I get tired. Things don’t go as planned.
I’m going to keep trying to do things differently until I get them right. Maybe I need to shut off some of the noise. Maybe I need to pay closer attention to my to-do lists. Maybe I should just come up with some better rewards for myself.
I pretty much reward myself every day with dessert, so dessert isn’t so much a reward. But if I am going to treat myself, it better be with something chocolate and fudgy…and these double chocolate raspberry brownies do just the trick. Whip them up Sunday so you can treat yourself all throughout the week. Or late on a weekday after a tough day so you can lick the bowl and share with coworkers the next day. They heal, they cheer, they perk you up, they put a smile on your face. Enough said.
Double Chocolate Raspberry Brownies
- 6 oz dark chocolate (chips or chopped)
- 6 oz semisweet chocolate (chips or chopped)
- 8 oz butter
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/3 cup cocoa
- 6 oz (raspberries)
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Melt chocolate and butter in a small saucepan over low heat and stir until melted and smooth. Let cool.
- In a large bowl, mix together the sugar and eggs. Mix in cooled chocolate. Slowly incorporate the flour, baking powder and cocoa and mix to combine.
- Pour into a greased cake pan and top the mixture with the raspberries. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until set.
On Sundays I make pasta. It’s not overly planned or anything, but over time I realized this was become a routine. It makes sense. After a weekend of moving all around the city and most likely eating out a lot, this is my time to regroup and unwind. I always have a bunch of veggies from my CSA and and I visited the farmer’s market earlier in the day for more provisions. Pasta is just my go to. It’s comforting and easy. I know it’s the perfect base for experimenting with any of those veggies or new ingredients. Carbs schmarbs. The kitchen calls.
This pasta celebrates the seasons changing. The corn is still so fresh and summery. Tomato season is almost over, so while I can, I like to roast them for some fall-flavor. Ricotta from Blue Ridge Dairy is so creamy and light. I love knowing about where these ingredients come from and that they all end up working together to create something new and exciting to devour.
I take my time and sip wine while cooking. Between steps, I bob in and out of the kitchen, cleaning a little and getting ready for the week. Coming back to the stove slows me down. Maybe I’m crazy that making a big mess is a way to wind down but I love it. It fuels me. It’s my time. And even though I always cook enough for small dinner party, usually I’m pretty happy that it’s just me. Sunday nights with me and my pasta.
As you’ve read before, I don’t really do recipes for pasta. Because I never measure anything out really I think with repetition, you’ll be able to come up with something great yourself too. Here’s my non-recipe recipe:
Pasta with Roasted Tomato, Corn, Spinach and Ricotta
Preheat oven to 300° and throw a pot of water on the stove to boil for the pasta. On a baking sheet, toss golden cherry tomatoes and whole garlic cloves with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast until soft about an hour or you’ve run out of patience. Meanwhile, heat some olive oil and butter in a pan on the stove. Cut corn off the cob and toss in the pan. Cook for a while until soft. Toss in some fresh spinach (cause you have it and you should eat something green) and cook down. Now’s about the time you should probably cook your pasta. I typically use cappellini, but I think bowties would be nice with this too. Remove tomatoes from the oven and pour into the pan, juices and all. I removed the whole garlic, chopped, and returned it to the pan. Toss with pasta and fresh ricotta. Best eaten on the couch watching West Wing season 4.
There are many ways I’m pushing myself recently. Trying things that I know can really pay off. Because I have the time and the energy now. Be productive, learn about myself, and do better all at once.
Put my phone down and go to bed early so I can wake up early and GSD before noon. Not only show up for pilates, but hold that pike higher for a few extra seconds. Ask him out. Read for fun and read about business. Take the extra time to try something new in the kitchen.
Ok, not that this banana bread is going to change lives, but pushing my creativity in the kitchen fosters ideas at my desk and in my relationships too. I could have made my go-to banana bread, but those four over-ripened bananas were telling me to do more. You have the time and energy to do more. And that’s really just a beautiful thing. So I changed things up a bit. I did things a little differently and I learned – about consistency, patience, collaboration, selling. After all that, turns out I love this recipe even more and have decided that everything should be coffee-glazed.
Time, energy, coffee glaze. Those are my three favorite things right now. How are you pushing yourself if you have those things at your fingertips?
Coffee-Glazed Peanut Butter Banana Bread
makes one 9 x 5 loaf
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 large egg
- 2/3 cup sugar sugar
- 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter, melted and cooled
- 4 large bananas, mashed
- 1/3 cup milk
- 2 Tablespoons strong coffee
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray or grease with butter, sprinkle some flour to lightly coat sides. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk egg and sugar together until smooth. Whisk in vanilla, peanut butter, and butter. Then add the mashed bananas and milk and mix until combined. Slowly add in dry ingredients mixing with a spatula or wooden spoon until batter comes together.
- Pour batter into loaf pan. Set pan on a baking sheet and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until center is set and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool completely.
- While baking, prepare glaze. Brew strong coffee and mix a couple of tablespoons with some powdered sugar until it becomes thick. Drizzle on top of cooled bread.
While I’m so excited for fall (mostly boots and slouchy sweaters), I’m all about making the most of summer fruit before it disappears. After I made this peach cake at home a few weeks ago, I brought back to DC with a me a few extra Jersey peaches. I was planning to meet a few friends that weekend for coffee around the city, and I wanted to bring them a little treat to thank them for being awesome during my job transition.
This was my first time making scones and I found this recipe to be so simple. I’d make them again for a weekend brunch and maybe add plums, raspberries, or orange zest this time. Grab one with your morning coffee, read a magazine, and soak in the sunshine before it’s all pumpkin and plaid out there. So what are you cooking/baking this lovely summer weekend?
Makes 8 scones. Adapted from Tyler Florence
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar + extra for dusting
- 5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, divided into chunks
- 1 1/2 cups fresh peaches, chopped into bite-size pieces
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Sift together the the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Using a pastry attachment (I keep mine in the freezer), cut in the butter to coat the pieces with the flour. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs.
- Fold the peaches carefully into the batter. Make a well in the center of the batter and pour in the heavy cream. Using your hands, fold everything together just to incorporate; do not overwork the dough. Prepare a lightly floured surface and press the dough into a rectangle about 12 by 6 inches. Cut into 8 rectangles.
- Place the scones on an ungreased cookie sheet and sprinkle with some extra sugar. Bake for 15 to 20 until the tops have browned a little. Serve warm or at room temperature.