Easy Apricot & Honey Cobbler

So even though we had an apricot tree in our yard growing up I believe this is the first time I’ve had fresh apricots. As far as that tree goes the birds always got to the apricots first. So it was about time I secured some of these guys to do as I please with them.

Apricot & Honey Cobbler

Apricot & Honey Cobbler

Apricot & Honey Cobbler

Apricot & Honey Cobbler

Apricot & Honey Cobbler

Apricot & Honey Cobbler

Apricots are really good fresh, if you mind the skin like I do it is a bit of a hassle to peel them and sizing up this recipe might be a bit cumbersome. But fear not, there are ways to do it faster by dropping them into boiling water and then ice water so the peels just rub off (see here).

Apricots

Apricots

Apricot is a wonderful little fruit that goes very well with spices (cinnamon, cloves, you name it) and chillier weather food. But since its been so sunny and hot out I decided to forgo any wintry ingredients and go with something that would bring out more fresh and summer-y flavors. Quite simply I thought it was best to thus let the apricots stand out on their own and the only other major flavoring I added was buckwheat honey. Apricot is tart and sweet and this darker honey has deep caramel but at the same time floral notes that play well with the apricot.

Apricot & Honey Cobbler

Apricot & Honey Cobbler

Spoonful of Apricot & Honey Cobbler

Spoonful of Apricot & Honey Cobbler

This recipe is designed to be a) super easy and b) for one person. I imagine you would be hard pressed to prepare a cobbler for one if it wasn’t dreadfully easy and peeling those little guys was really a rate limiting step that discouraged me from attempting to size this up. But perhaps you are a more generous person than I am 🙂

Apricot & Honey Cobbler with Greek Yogurt

Apricot & Honey Cobbler with Greek Yogurt

INGREDIENTS:

6 apricots, peeled and halved
3 tablespoons of buckwheat honey
4 tablespoons of flour
2 tablespoons of cold butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon oats

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 375.
1. Toss the apricot halves with the honey and 1 tablespoon of flour until coated well with no obvious lumps of flour. Add this to a small ramekin that can go in the oven.
2. In a separate bowl combine the remaining, flour, butter, brown sugar and oats.
3. Rub the mixture with your fingertips until it’s in big crumbles.
4. Add this to the top of your fruit mixture
5. Bake for 15 minutes in a 375 F degree oven.
6. Serve with ice cream, creme anglaise or greek yogurt.

Apricot & Honey Cobbler

Apricot & Honey Cobbler

Apricot & Honey Cobbler with a Dollop of Greek Yogurt

Apricot & Honey Cobbler with a Dollop of Greek Yogurt

Apricot & Honey Cobbler with a Dollop of Greek Yogurt

Apricot & Honey Cobbler with a Dollop of Greek Yogurt

Perhaps the most important thing I could tell you is that this needs to be eaten hot out of the oven. Give it a couple minutes until its not bubbling lava but as soon as its reasonably still hot you must put a scoop of ice cream over it or dig a little hole in the middle of it and pour some creme anglaise or greek yogurt right in the center of it and watch it as it seeps into all the little nooks and crannies. I chose greek yogurt as I was sort of being healthy but mostly and very sadly did not have ice cream in the house. Worry not though, it was still amazing.

Apricot & Honey Cobbler with Greek Yogurt

Apricot & Honey Cobbler with Greek Yogurt

Apricot & Honey Cobbler with Greek Yogurt

Apricot & Honey Cobbler with Greek Yogurt

TIPS:
– Other dark honeys like avocado honey can be used. Really any honey would be great and they would all change the final flavor a little. I think orange blossom honey and sage honey would be lovely lighter honey alternatives to buckwheat.
– Other fruit could be used; namely peaches, nectarines, any berry or whatever your heart desires. Maybe not bananas though I don’t know how a banana cobbler would fare.
– Do not “over rub” the crumble as you can warm the butter too much, you need cold bits of butter in your dough so its flaky and crumbly.

5 Minute Healthy Salad – Strawberries, Feta, Almonds, Turkey + Thyme

One of the best ways to eat healthy during the work week is to BYOL – Bring Your Own Lunch. Cooking a bigger portion ensures you have extra leftovers to bring to work. However there are days when there are no leftovers to be had and very little time in the morning to prep something to take to work. Even though I have turned to Trader Joe’s frozen meals and PB&J’s, I also learned how to make tasty, filling salads that I can throw together in 5 minutes. I love salads with berries and this an easy strawberry salad that requires minimal cooking and will be ready to go in your trusty tupperware in less time than you take to shower in the morning.

strawberry, salad

Strawberry Salad

The best part about this recipe is that the basic concept is there but you can substitute whatever you have in your fridge: if I don’t have strawberries I throw in blueberries, if I don’t have feta I use goat cheese…No turkey? A tiny bit of bacon is not going to kill you. It’s all good 🙂

strawberry, salad

Strawberry Salad

INGREDIENTS:

Mixed greens
5 strawberries
2-3 slices of roasted turkey breast (not the cheap rubber-y kind please)
Handful of almonds
Feta
3 sprigs of thyme
2 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 tablespoon honey
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat up a small frying pan and add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil to it.
2. Rip up the turkey in small pieces and add it to the hot pan. Season to taste and let it get crispy and brown around the edges.
3. While the turkey is browning fill your plate/bowl with the mixed greens and slice up your strawberries and place them on top of the greens.
4. Add almonds, thyme leaves, then crumble feta on top.
5. Add the turkey thats browned.
6. Combine the 2 tbsp of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and honey in a small bowl then whisk together and season to taste. If you are eating this right away pour it on top and toss to combine. If taking to work add it to the bottom of the container so everything doesn’t wilt and you can toss it all together before eating.

Amounts in this recipe are fairly loose because you should not be measuring things that early in the morning. Just add however much you want of each ingredient. I recommend adding A LOT of toppings so that the salad feels like a meal and you’re not just eating greens by themselves like a rabbit :/

You could also always add more meat like chicken breast. I like using meat as just an accent as opposed to the main ingredient in this salad because reducing your meat intake is good for you (but hard to do!) and although we tend to cook full meals for dinner (complete with steaks or salmon filets and whatnot) there are so many tasty ingredients you don’t miss it in this salad.

Strawberry

Strawberry

A great way to make salads more flavorful too is to use herbs like salad greens. If you have ever had tabbouleh or fattoush or other Middle Eastern salads, they use parsley and mint as if they were salad greens not just accent herbs. So have herbs on hand! I grow rosemary, basil, parsley and thyme. All are doing pretty well except for the parsley which apparently cats like to eat…

For this salad basil, rosemary, or mint would also pair beautifully with the strawberries.

Thyme

Thyme

Basil

Basil

Rosemary

Rosemary

So this is a lovely 5 minute salad for spring, look out for future posts on a super fast nicoise style salad and citrus-avocado based salad…

TIPS:
– If you don’t have strawberries: blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries would all do – just make sure its fresh fruit!
– We used fat free feta but using real feta makes the salad creamier and using goat cheese even more so!
– If you don’t have almonds, hazelnuts would be particularly good here. Or else pine nuts, walnuts, pecans, pistachio and most nuts would work…perhaps not peanuts.
– Candied nuts always are really good in berry salads as well! Those have a lot of calories so we stayed away from them this time.
– Any mixed greens maybe with the exception of iceberg lettuce could be used as a base – butter lettuce, romaine, spinach, etc.
– If you use a pre-made low fat dressing that would save you even more time!

Strawberry Vanilla Pound Cake with Almond Crumble

There are certain flavors that can really take a dish the extra mile and at the same time it’s hard to put your finger on what’s missing when it’s not there; nutmeg in cream sauces, a squeeze of lemon to brighten up roasted asparagus, and almond in vanilla-based baked goods. This pound cake is a simple pound cake recipe to which we add fresh strawberries, almond extract, a glaze and almond crumble. Nice to serve with ice cream for dessert or just lightly toasted for breakfast.

Strawberry Vanilla Poundcake

Strawberry Vanilla Pound Cake

RECIPE:

STRAWBERRY VANILLA POUND CAKE WITH ALMOND CRUMBLE

Pound Cake & Glaze:
1 cup softened unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
3/4 cup of confectioner’s sugar
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
3 large eggs
1 1/3 cups self-rising cake flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup of chopped strawberries tossed with 2 tablespoons of flour
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1/2 tsp of almond extract

Almond Crumble:
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons cold butter, diced
3/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup sugar

– Preheat the oven to 350C and grease a loaf pan.
– In a bowl, cream the butter and sugar, then add the lemon zest.
– Add the eggs one at a time with a tablespoon of the flour for each.
– Then gently mix in the rest of the flour.
– Add the lemon juice (saving 2 tbsp for glaze), vanilla, and finally almond extract.
– Mix in the chopped strawberries then add to the loaf pan.
– Pulse all the ingredients for the crumble in a food processor until you have a crumbly/granola consistency. Set aside.
– Sprinkle the loaf with caster sugar (about 2 tablespoons should do it) and then the crumble as it goes into the oven. Then bake for 1 hour or until a cake-tester comes out clean.
– Remove to a wire rack, and let cool in the tin before turning out.
– Whisk the confectioner’s sugar with 2 tbsp of lemon juice until the glaze is smooth. Add lemon juice/sugar as needed to adjust the consistency.
– Once its cooled swirl the glaze on top.

Based on Nigella’s Madeira Cake

The final product is a nice mix of rich pound cake with tartness from the strawberries, extra sweetness from the glaze and crunchy texture from the crumble. The almond perfumes the loaf and the strawberries get the tiniest bit jammy from being in the oven. Try it out 🙂

TIPS:

– You can sub out the strawberries for other berries, fresh or frozen.
– Be sure to toss the fruit in flour so they don’t sink to the bottom of the cake.
– You could also use dried strawberries if you don’t like how fresh/frozen fruit can bleed into the cake.
– Tastes even better the day after.

Crispy Broccoli

Originally found this recipe on Pinterest and it came along with a hefty claim that the lady’s husband preferred this broccoli to french fries. I will come out and say these are no french fries; but it probably is the tastiest way to serve broccoli I have encountered. They are simple, pretty healthy, and the texture and taste of the broccoli is downright addictive. Will definitely be making these again!

Crispy broccoli

Crispy broccoli

The edges of the broccoli get browned and so crispy and the combination of lemon + parmesan really adds flavor. Maybe it won’t substitute a side of fries with your burger but it will definitely convert any broccoli haters.

(ALMOST) BETTER THAN FRENCH FRIES BROCCOLI

Serves 4
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 a lemon

PREPARATION:

  • Preheat oven to 400° F.
  • Place the broccoli on a baking sheet (foil-covered if you want to make clean up easier).
  • Drizzle with olive oil and squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the broccoli
  • Add the parmesan, salt and pepper then toss to coat everything evenly.
  • Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until broccoli is crisp.
  • Serve. You can add some more parmesan over top before serving.

based on this recipe

TIPS:
– I think a little of browning is ideal but if you leave it in for longer you can get more of the brown crispy parts. Adding more oil with also increase browning.
– Best eaten right after you make it since it won’t remain crispy the day after.
– You definitely need fresh broccoli for this, frozen broccoli will be too wet and won’t crisp up nicely.

Scarpetta’s Stromboli Bread

Even though almost everyone bakes now people tend to shy away from anything using yeast. Well I promise that working with yeast is fairly easy. Especially if you have a dough hook in your mixer or try no-knead bread or pizza dough (here). It takes times sure but it will cost you a few cents and there is nothing like freshly baked bread.

Stromboli!

Stromboli!

Scott Conant’s Scarpetta restaurant has an amazing salami stromboli in their bread basket and after eating way too much of it at the Scarpetta in Vegas I was happy to find the recipe on Food Network’s website. Here’s the recipe on the site and below are some tips for making it:

SCARPETTA’S STROMBOLI

INGREDIENTS
Dough:
1 tablespoon dry yeast
Extra-virgin olive oil
5 1/2 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons salt
Filling:
2 cups grated smoked mozzarella
Salt
1/2 bunch fresh basil, leaves chopped
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
Freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces salami, sliced thin
Extra-virgin olive oil
Toppings:
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt, such as Maldon
1/4 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
Citrus Herb Oil, for serving, recipe follows
Mascarpone Butter, for serving, recipe follows
Directions
For the dough: Whisk together 2 cups cold water, the yeast and 1 1/2 tablespoons oil. Put in a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment. Mix on speed 1, or low speed, for 5 minutes. Add the flour and continue mixing for an additional 5 minutes. Then turn the mixer to speed 2, or medium speed, and mix for 5 minutes. Add the salt until incorporated. Add 1 tablespoon oil at the end of the 5 minutes.
Transfer the mixture to a large hotel pan greased with oil. If you don’t have a hotel pan, you can use a large bowl; just make sure there is ample space for the dough to double in size. Put a little oil on top as well, about 2 tablespoons.
Wrap all the way around with plastic wrap and put on top of the oven (or other warm, draft-free area) with something in between, such as a kitchen towel or a baking tray, for about 1 1/2 hours. The dough will double in size.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
When ready, transfer the dough to an oiled table or flat surface. Form into a log to make it easier to portion, and cut into two equal pieces. Cover with plastic so it doesn’t dry out. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
Lightly brush a baking tray with oil. Spread out the dough on the oiled countertop with the palms of your hands, don’t use your fingertips. It should be even all the way around, with no fat edges.
Place half the fillings on one piece of dough in the order listed: mozzarella, salt, basil, garlic, pepper and salami. Fill two-thirds of the surface, leaving the bottom third and a little on the sides empty. Roll the dough over twice, seal the sides with your palm, fold over the bottom and then the sides. Transfer to the oiled tray. Rub a little oil on top. Repeat with the second portion of dough. Put the rosemary, sea salt and tomatoes on top. Cover the tray with plastic and let sit for 15 minutes to rest.
When ready, put a pan of ice in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove. Place the tray in the oven and bake for a total of 45 minutes. After 20 minutes, turn 180 degrees. Bake another 20 minutes, then turn again and bake the remaining 5 minutes.
Transfer to a new baking sheet lined with parchment. Allow the loaves to cool. Slice and serve with Citrus Herb Oil and Mascarpone Butter for dipping.

Read more here

TIPS:
– I halved the recipe, the original one makes A LOT of stromboli.
– If you don’t have a dough hook on your stand mixer and are kneading by hand, here’s a quick tutorial (video)
– When you are kneading just keep going until the dough goes from sticky and lumpy to shiny and smooth. Once the dough comes together and isn’t sticking to your hands anymore its ready!
– You don’t need Maldon sea salt but any coarse salt will do. I skipped the tomatoes and added some fleur de sel to the top of the loaves and they add a lot of texture and taste to the final product.
– Eat it right out of the oven! I mean not literally because it will be scalding hot but definitely tastes best eaten hot.