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cooking

Food & Recipes

Brown Butter Chopped Pecan Pie

January 30, 2017

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Good morning, friends and happy Monday! I’ve been thinking a lot about blogging lately, as I’ve had a few conversations with friends who have blogged but now are choosing to close their blogs, to say goodbye to sharing their life online. Or, should I say, sharing more in other formats like podcasts and Instagram rather than a blog.

I’ll admit that sometimes blogging these days feels a little like, “Hello? Is anyone listening?” With all the other choices out there for reading and absorbing information (there are so many!) blogging can seem a little old school. Isn’t that crazy to say? And after blogging for over 8 years myself, I’ll admit that closing this blog has come to mind a time or two.

But can I also admit that I love this little corner of the internet? Oh I love blogging so much. I’ve heard from so many that they stopped blogging and didn’t miss it one bit, but I know that for me this is my favorite creative outlet and I’m itching to share more and more here in recent months rather than drawing back from my site.

So, that was a long preamble to sharing about pie, wasn’t it? I’ve been meaning to share my favorite pie crust for a while but never really got around to it because, well, laziness? I still hope to do a full video for anyone who is intimidated by crust, but this recipe is foolproof enough to work for even a beginning baker. Trust me, I’ve tried dozens of different recipes all claiming to be the best and this one really does take the cake. For the original inspiration and full explanation as to why this recipe works, check out Serious Eats.

Joe recently returned from a trip to El Paso where he was visiting some of his pecan suppliers for work (he buys pecans as part of his job) and brought home more pecans than I have any clue what to do with. Bags and bags of them line our freezer right now, so this is the fourth pecan pie I’ve made in the last couple weeks. We’ve never really been huge pecan pie people over here, but chopping the pecans and adding a little brown butter? Go ahead and sign me right up!

I adapted my recipe over the four attempts from this original from Brown Eyed Baker. More pecans, browned butter, less corn syrup, less vanilla, more salt. You get the idea. I think that this recipe is pretty perfect, but give it a go and see for yourself!

Brown Butter Chopped Pecan Pie
 
Ingredients
  • Crust
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • ½ tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons ice water
  • Filling
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ⅔ cup light corn syrup
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 cups chopped toasted pecans
Instructions
  1. First, prepare pie crust: In the bowl of a food processor, combine ¾ cup of the flour, all the butter, the sugar and salt. Pulse 25 times with short on-off turns. Add the remaining flour and pulse 5 more times to incorporate.
  2. Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl and add the water to the flour mixture, stirring with a rubber spatula as you add the water to incorporate evenly. Use the spatula to stir and press the dough together. Once it begins to hold together in large clumps, transfer mixture to a clean work surface and work with your hands into a disc. Don't over-work, but make sure that you work the mixture enough that it fully comes together in a smooth disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
  3. Heat oven to 400°F. Roll dough out in a thin layer on a floured work surface. Transfer pie crust to 9-inch pie plate and press into pan. Roll/crimp the edges as desired. Spray a piece of aluminum foil with cooking spray and place sprayed side down into center and up sides of pie crust. Fill foil with pie weights or dried beans all the way to the top of the foil to prevent shrinking during baking. Bake 15 minutes, remove foil and weights, bake 5 minutes more.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the filling: In a large sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Continue to cook, swirling frequently, until butter is lightly browned and fragrant, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in the brown sugar, corn syrup, eggs and salt and stir until well combined. Return to heat and continue to cook until mixture is hot to the touch. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and pecans.
  5. Transfer hot filing mixture into pre-baked pie crust. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F. Bake 45 minutes more or until filling is puffed and crust is golden brown. Cool at least 2 hours before cutting into slices to serve.

 

Family

Potsafe :: safer cooking with kids

December 15, 2016

This post is sponsored by Potsafe in association with The Women Bloggers. As always, all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that support E&C! #safecooking 

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When I became a parent, one of the things I looked forward to most was being able to cook with my daughter from a young age. I remember my mom giving me so much freedom in the kitchen, cooking and mixing and helping her along the way, and it really helped foster a love of cooking from a young age. Hey, it even became my career! As Ainsley has grown into a toddler (cue all the bittersweet tears…) I’ve enjoyed letting her help more in the kitchen with me. She loves to stand next to the mixer and watch it turn, and help add ingredients to the mixing bowl along the way. It’s a total mess, but I love watching her have so much fun!

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One of the areas that we’ve struggled with, however, has been the stove top. Ainsley is always coming close to my legs and the hot pans when I cook, and despite telling her many times to steer clear because it’s “hot!” she is a little stubborn. While she has never actually grabbed a hot pan, I’m constantly watching her like a hawk to be sure she is a safe distance away.

Enter Potsafe, a kitchen safety accessory that secures your pots to your cooktop to prevent burns. It’s great for kiddos, but also has a wide variety of uses including for your elderly family members that may have issues steadily gripping a pot or pan. We put the Potsafe to the test at my sister-in-law’s house this week and it performed well! I loved how easy it was to set up and install, and the grip on the pot was very secure. We actually have a gas stove at home so this particular style of Potsafe won’t work at our house, but I’m hopeful that they have plans for a gas stove version sometime in the future!

There’s still time to order for your holiday gift giving. Check it out over on Amazon!

Food & Recipes

Easy Weeknight Meal // Black Bean & Grain Enchiladas (Vegetarian + Non Veg Versions)

March 28, 2016

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Easy weeknight meals. Gosh, isn’t everyone in search of more of those? Honestly, despite the fact that the kitchen is my happy place, I still get flustered and frustrated about weeknight dinnertime. We all know how rushed it can feel to get a meal on the table in the short two hours between 5 and 7. You know, after work and before the kiddos totally melt down and refuse to eat because they are tired? The rush to eat dinner, get bath time done, read books and drink bottles and get everyone to bed and I hate when that time feels like a giant race against time.

Hence, I’m always looking for easy meals that can be made in advance so the night is less stressful and everyone is well-fed and happy. Enchiladas have always been a go-to recipe for our family because they’re easy and can be customized in so many different ways.

Have a lot of leftover veggies? Toss them into enchiladas. Left over cooked chicken? Enchiladas! You get the idea…

I made a version of these enchiladas a few weeks ago when friends were in town. They were so easy to pull together and provided me with a vegetarian option to enjoy. I also made a pan of Green Chicken Chile enchiladas that night, but these were just as popular! The recipe includes an option to make them non-veg, or partially veg (half pan for the vegetarians in your life/half for the meat eaters!) so there are a lot of ways this recipe can go. Don’t feel stuck by the ingredients I used. Customize them using this recipe as a base.

To make this in advance, prepare/assemble the enchiladas but stop before baking them. Cover and store in the refrigerator for 24 hours, then bake as directed!

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Easy Weeknight Meal // Black Bean & Grain Enchiladas (Vegetarian + Non Veg Versions)
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 6 enchiladas
 
Ingredients
  • 1 can (10 oz.) mild, medium or hot red enchilada sauce
  • 1 can (14- to 15 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup cooked farro, brown rice or quinoa
  • 1½ cups shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 6 whole wheat tortillas
  • Shredded lettuce, avocado and salsa, if desired
  • *Non-Veg Alternative // Swap the can of black beans for 1 lb. of browned and drained ground beef. Alternately, you could make this veg and non-veg like we do, and do black beans in half the enchiladas and ground beef in the other half, using ½ the amount of both ground beef and black beans.
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease a 13x9-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Spread ¼ cup of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of the baking dish. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the tomatoes, black beans, farro (or other grain of choice), ¾ cup of the cheese, cumin, oregano and garlic powder. Stir until well combined. Add all but ¼ cup of the remaining enchilada sauce and stir.
  3. Divide the mixture between the six tortillas. Roll up tortillas and place them in the prepared baking dish. Spread remaining ¼ cup of enchilada sauce on top of tortillas. Sprinkle with the remaining ¾ cup cheese.
  4. Cover pan with foil and bake 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake 15 more minutes or until cheese is bubbly and melted. Serve with lettuce, avocados, salsa and other desired toppings.

 

Uncategorized

Basics of a Well-Stocked and Healthy Pantry {& a Giveaway!}

May 14, 2014

Basics of a Pantry 1 | Espresso and Cream
One of the post requests I get most frequently is around the topic of what I keep in my pantry. Having a well-stocked pantry is something I’m still trying to figure out, but I do have a handful of basics you can find in my pantry at any given time that make putting a meal on the table a breeze. I’ve also included my favorite freezer items, since I think of my freezer as part of my extended pantry.

Instead of stocking your pantry with items from the regular grocery store (which can be $$) I prefer to buy my basics from Costco and the bulk bins at Whole Foods. Sure, it takes us a long time to go through the Costco-sized box of oats, but it’s worth storing just for the amazing cost savings of buying in bulk. Stocking your pantry may be a little more expensive on the front end, but you’ll gradually see your grocery bill decrease in the weeks and months following.

DRY GOODS
Quinoa
Pasta (I usually have a few different shapes/sizes, including whole wheat spaghetti, bow ties, and penne)
Whole Wheat Couscous (super quick to prepare, great for meals when you don’t have time to make rice or quinoa)
Brown Rice (either minute or regular, depending on your cooking style)
Old Fashioned Oats (breakfasts, meatloaf, cookies, etc.)
Oat Bran (you know how much I love oat bran!)
Cornmeal
All-Purpose Flour
Whole Wheat Flour or Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
Sugar
Brown Sugar
Stevia

CANNED ITEMS 
Black Beans
Canned Diced Tomatoes
Coconut Milk (great for curries and quick Indian meals using chickpeas)
Marinara Sauce
Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans
Crushed Tomatoes
Broth (chicken or vegetable broth)
Diced green chiles
Salsa
Tuna (I buy mine from Costco and always look for a low-mercury, pole-caught variety)

FROZEN 
Peas
Edamame
Chopped spinach
Fish filets (I buy them at Costco, usually Salmon or Halibut)
Ground beef
Butter (I buy butter at Costco and keep what I’m not using in the freezer)
Bread (again, I buy it at Costco and store extra in the freezer)

OTHER ITEMS 
Honey
Chia Seeds
Ground Flax Seeds (store in the fridge or freezer for longer shelf life)
Peanut butter and almond butter (Costco has some great options without added sugars or oils)
Nuts of choice (almonds, walnuts and pecans are my faves)
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Eggs (not really a “pantry” item, but they last a long time in the fridge and are a great source of inexpensive protein)

Danas Decals Labels | Espresso and Cream

Of course, keeping my pantry organized is always a challenge. Since I buy items in the bulk bins at Whole Foods and the items I buy at Costco usually come in large bags and boxes, I am constantly transferring a small portion of what I buy into storage containers that I keep in my pantry. However, it’s not always easy to remember what grain I put in each container and sometimes I’m left guessing and crossing my fingers as the grains cook.

When Dana Decals offered to send me a package of their sticky chalkboard decals to review, I jumped at the chance. Immediately I got to labeling my jars and containers and I have to admit, I love the way they look and the functionality, too. Aren’t they cute?

Dana Decals has generously offered a $25 gift card to one E&C reader. Check out their website for a full line-up of products, including wall decals perfect for decorating. There are three ways to enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway