Vacation is awesome, reality is not. After two weeks of eating burgers, ice cream, and white wine, it was time for some healthful, vegetable laden eating! As I was reading through my epic Google Reader list, I stumbled upon a recipe for farro salad. This recipe sounded healthful, delicious, and used a new food!
Farro is a grain, sort of liked puff wheat. You boil the farro like pasta and use as you would a couscous or quinoa. If you want to learn more about farro, go here! Sriracha is a sauce that is EVERYWHERE and I have been hesitant to use it, I’m not really a spicy girl! It just looks so cool and I want to be cool!
Using the sriracha as a marinade provided a huge flavor boost for plain chicken. I still found the chicken a little spicy, but totally manageable and very flavorful. If I had a cooling, yogurt-based sauce, the chicken would be outstanding! The farro salad was refreshing and super summery. The roasted corn and red peppers were sweet and just a bit crunchy. The onion added more crunch and cilantro is the right herb to accent the other flavors. I really liked the chewiness of the farro and this salad provides a much needed divergence from typical summer salads. And, this salad lasted a week in the fridge and it was still tasty!
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Yield – 5 servings
1 tablespoon Sriracha
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon Italian herb mix
good pinch of Kosher salt
1 pound boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
- Place the first 4 ingredients in a gallon size plastic bag. Add in the chicken and squeeze to mix and cover the chicken. Set on the counter for about half an hour.
- Preheat your grill pan and liberally spray with cooking spray.
- Place the chicken on the grill and cook on one side for about 10 minutes and flip over and cook for another 8 minutes. Check with a knife to make sure the chicken is cooked all the way through.
Roasted Corn & Red Pepper Farro Salad
Adapted from Alexandra’s Kitchen
Yield – 5-6 large servings
2 ears of corn
2 red bell peppers
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup farro
1 bunch cilantro
1 red onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
juice of one lemon
salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven 450 F and set a pot of water on the stove to boil.
- Cover a baking pan in foil and spray with cooking spray.
- Cut the corn kernels off the ears of corn and chop the red peppers to the size of the kernels of corn.
- Toss the corn and peppers on the baking sheet with a liberal dosage of salt, black pepper, and olive oil.
- Roast for 15-20 minutes or until the corn is roasted and the peppers are soft.
- Add the farro to the boiling water with a big pinch of salt. Cook for 15 minutes or until the farro is al dente.
- Chop the cilantro and red onion and add to a large bowl.
- When the farro is cooked, drain and add to the cilantro and red onion.
- Squeeze the juice of a lemon over the farro and add the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine.
- Add in the roasted corn and peppers. Taste and add more salt, pepper, or oil as needed.
There is nothing better than a good chocolate cupcake with just a bit of a twist. And who doesn’t love a good chocolate malt? I made these cupcakes for Cinnamon’s birthday! She was my first friend at work who invited me to hang out for after work functions. Without her, I probably wouldn’t have a ton of work friends :-( But now I have a lot of work friends and I keep their friendships alive by bribing them with cupcakes!
I was surprised how easy these cupcakes were to throw together. Malt has always intimidated me and has been on my new foods list, but really it’s as simple as buying the malt powder that appears next to the hot chocolate mix in the grocery store. The malt flavor develops over time, so the second day is more flavorful than the first.
The chocolate cake is soft, tender, and moist, everything your want from a chocolate cupcake. I like how simple the chocolate cake is because it really allows the frosting to shine! This a fantastic, chocolate frosting! Very rich and creamy. I love the extra bite from the malt powder. Chocolate malt cupcakes are a great way to jazz up an regular chocolate cupcake!
Print the recipe.
Chocolate Malt Cupcakes
Adapted from That Winsome Girl
Yield – 18 cupcakes
1/2 cup whole milk
3/4 cup malted milk, original flavor
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup + 2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg + 1 yolk
1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Beat together the milk and the malt powder in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Mix on low until all combined. Then mix in the oil.
- Sift together the flour, cocoa, sugar, brown sugar, soda and salt onto wax paper. Slowly add to the milk/oil mix.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time and then beat in the yogurt and vanilla.
- Use a standard ice cream scoop to place batter in lined cupcake tins.
- Bake for 18 minutes or until the cupcakes are set.
- Cool completely on a wire rack.
Yield – enough to generously decorate 18 cupcakes plus a lot extra!
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup malted milk powder, original flavor
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
4 cups powdered sugar
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
- Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 20 second intervals, set aside to cool.
- Beat togeher the butter and shortening until well combined and light and fluffy. Beat in the malt powder and the cocoa.
- Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time and beat on low speed and gradually increase the speed until well combined and light and fluffy.
- Mix in the melted chocolate.
- Place in a pipping bag and pipe a generous topping. Garnish with Whoppers.
Ages ago I bookmarked a chocolate beet cake from Joy the Baker. I had never worked with beets before and they were on my New Food list. I had forgotten about the recipe until I was strolling around Brooklyn one sunny Sunday morning and walked pasted a farmers market with these beautiful beets. I was completely inspired!
There was no real reason to make these cupcakes besides pure fun and intrigue. How was a beet cupcake going to taste? I posted a picture on Facebook and asked my friends to guess the secret ingredient with a cupcake as a reward for the correct answer. After about 45 incorrect guesses, I had to give a little hint! The wrong guesses included everything from Jolly Ranchers to raspberries.
These cupcakes did not taste beety at all! I’m not the biggest fan of beets, so that pleased me! What the beets bring to the party is the spectacular jeweled pink color and lots of moisture! I wish Essie made a nail polish color called beet frosting. I would be all over that!
Also, I think these would be awesome for a little girl’s birthday party. They are so brightly pink and have zero artificial color. The kids wouldn’t even know they are eating vegetables and the parents would have the piece of mind of not giving their child a chemical laden dessert.
The chocolate cake is moist and tender with a gentle chocolate flavor. My friend who does not like chocolate, enjoyed this cupcake. It’s similar to a red velvet. The frosting is light, delicious, and incredibly creamy. I thought you would be able to the beet here, but not at all! You are left with the awesome pink color and little jewels of beet strands throughout. Trick your friends, make some beet cupcakes!!!
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Chocolate Beet Cupcakes
Adapted from Joy the Baker
Yield – 24 cupcakes
3 beets, trimmed & cut into quarters
splash of oil
3/4 cup unsalted butter (12 tablespoons or 1 1/2 sticks) room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
scant 1 1/4 cup whole milk + juice of 1/2 a lemon (enough to make an even 1 1/4 cup)
- Preheat the oven to 400 F.
- Wash the outside of the beets and trim the green stalks. Cut into quarters and place in a large sheet of foil. Toss in some oil, wrap the beets in the foil, and roast for 40 minutes or until fork tender.
- Try to let the beets cool before pealing and then grate on a fine grater.
- This is messy and everything will be a beautiful bright pink color! Take 3/4 cup of grated beets and set aside for the cupcakes, leave 2 tablespoons aside for the frosting.
- Reduce the oven to 350 F.
- Beat together the butter and sugar until pale yellow for 4 minutes. Add in the eggs one at a time and then beat in the vanilla and 3/4 cup of beets. Scrap the bowl as needed.
- Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, soda, powder and salt.
- Turn the mixer on low and add in the flour mix, beat until just combined.
- Pour in the milk and mix until just combined.
- Using a standard size ice cream scoop, place the batter in lined cupake pans.
- Bake for 18 minutes and let cool completely.
Whipped Vanilla Frosting with Beets
Adapted from Tie Dye Cupcakes
1 cup whole milk
5 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons roasted beet puree
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the milk and flour. Keep whisking until the mixture becomes smooth and thick resembling pancake batter.
- Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla and beets, and allow to cool completely.
- Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy – just keep beating until it is no longer grainy.
- Add in the cooled flour/milk mixture and beat until the entire frosting is light and fluffy. It looks very liquidy, but keep beating and it will whip up properly.
- Pipe onto cupcakes.
I don’t know if you ever watch Chuck’s Day Off, but you definitely should! It’s a great hour of food porn starting with Jamie Oliver and ending with Chuck Hughes. There is something so satisfying about watching two men cook with such passion and love for the ingredients. When my roommates and I saw Chuck make these marshmallows with hot chocolate, we were smitten! The hot chocolate is a little too calorie laden, but the marshmallows are fantastic on their own or in your own version of hot chocolate.
Homemade marshmallows have been on my mental to-do list for awhile and I added them to the New Foods list because of the gelatin. I have never worked with straight up, powdered gelatin before. These are pretty easy, they just take a bit of time to whip up in the mixer. The coffee flavor really comes through creating a mocha like flavor in hot cocoa. I’m sure you could substitute any flavoring you like for the coffee. These marshmallows are soft and tasty. As an added bonus you feel pretty bad-a$$ making your own marshmallows! Hello, that’s some hard core baking!* I cut the marshmallows in squares and circle to have variety and see what each would look like. I like the circles better, even though there is more waste.
*There is not actual baking in marshmallow making, just a little stove top action!
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Yield – 30 1” marshmallows
Adapted from Chuck’s Day Off
1 tablespoon canola oil
4 teaspoons powdered gelatin (each packet has about 2 1/2 teaspoons)
2/3 cup cold water
1/2 cup strong coffee
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
- Soak the gelatin in the cold water, set aside to bloom.
- In medium saucepan, heat the coffee, sugar, and vanilla. Add in the bloomed gelatin and water. Stir and cook until all the sugar is dissolved.
- Add the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Beat on slow speed to start and then on high speed until soft peaks. This took me about 15 minutes.
- Prepare a 9”x13” pan by covering with several sheets of plastic wrap. Pour in the oil and spread around.
- Pour the marshmallow mixture into the prepared pan and let sit at room temperature for an hour.
- Sift together the corn starch and powdered sugar.
- Dust the marshmallows with the corn starch and powdered sugar mixture and turn out on a large cutting board. Dust the knife/round cookie cutter (1 1/2 inch) and slice the marshmallows.
- Dip all of the cut marshmallows into the dusting mixture to make the marshmallows not sticky. Store in an airtight container
I made this recipe almost a month ago for our Super Bowl party, but I forgot to take pictures due to the Blood Orange Margaritas. This was a recipe was also chosen for the New Foods list. These little dates are so good, it was not difficult to want to make them again! A lazy Saturday is the perfect time to enjoy some delicious dates! They are so good!!!! Like really, really good! If you are having a cocktail party or you want to make a fancy appetizer, please make these, you will not be disappointed!
One note about dates – all by themselves, these little guys are so delicious! I didn’t even know if I would like them, but I do! They are sweet and chewy, almost like candy, but they are not candy, dates are a fruit!
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Bacon Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Blue Cheese with balsamic-honey sauce
Yield – 24 pieces
Adapted from Simply Scratch
8 slices of bacon
24 dates, pitted and split open
4 ounces blue cheese, I used gorganzola
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
pinch of Kosher salt
2 grinds of black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Split open all the dates, I used kitchen scissors to cut open one side.
- Stuff each date with some blue cheese crumbles.
- Cut each strip of bacon into thirds so you have 24 pieces.
- Wrap each date stuffed with cheese in a piece of bacon and secure with a toothpick.
- Place the dates on a wire rack (I used the rack from the toaster oven) over a foil lined baking sheet. This is all for easy clean up.
- Bake for 23-25 minutes or until the bacon is crispy.
- Drizzle with the balsamic-honey sauce
- Combine the vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper into a small saucepan on medium heat.
- Cook for 10-15 minutes or until the sauce reduces by two-thirds, stir frequently.
These are wonderful! I have never made fresh fruit margaritas, but now I may not be able to stop!! The margaritas were so fresh and light, and not to mention strong! The blood orange was not too sweet or sour and the lemon balanced out the flavor really well. Blood oranges were an excellent addition to the new foods list! These are a bit of work, I’m not going to lie, my arm was a little sore the next day from juicing all the fruit. I would definitely recommend an electric citrus juicer of some kind. The blood orange margaritas were an excellent addition to our Super Bowl Party! Sorry for the lack of photos, once I started drinking, photos became unimportant…
Blood Orange Margaritas
Inspired by How Sweet it is
Recipe from Food & Wine
- 4 cups blood orange juice
- 1 1/2 cups lime juice
- 1 1/2 cups triple sec
- 3 1/2 cups silver tequila
- 1 orange + 1 lime in slices for garnish
- Ice for serving
Juice the oranges and limes and pour into a pitcher, it gets a little messy.
Add in the the triple sec and and tequila, stir, cover the pitcher with plastic, and refrigerate until chilled.
Pour into glasses with ice, garnish with fruit slices. If you like salt on the rim, do that, I don’t like the saltiness.