Sausage, Cheese and Jalapeño Kolaches

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Oh, Kolaches. If you’re from Texas you’ll know this as a breakfast food that is present at every donut shop you might go to. If you’re from anywhere else either a. you have no idea what this word means or b. you know this as a sweet polish pastry. Whichever of the three you may be, try this recipe. Please.

Feel free to fill these with anything you want. This combination is my favorite, but you can mix it up with bacon, different cheeses, etc. The dough is just a little bit sweet but it complements the savory fillings deliciously. However, you could definitely fill these with something sweet and it would be equally scrum-dilly-umptious.

Sausage, Cheese and Jalapeño Koalches

Adapted from The Pastry Queen

Yields ~15 kolaches

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 1 package (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup water, warmed to 110-115F
  • 1 cup milk, warmed to 110-115F
  • 4 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled to warm
  • 2 large eggs
  • 5/8 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 3/4 – 5 1/2 cups flour

For the filling:

  • Grated cheddar, optional
  • Fresh jalapeño slices, optional
  • Smoked sausage, cut into 3-4 inch pieces and halved lengthwise if very thick

Instructions

Sprinkle the yeast over warm water in the bowl of your stand mixer. Let proof for 5 minutes, until foamy/creamy.

Turn the mixer to low and add the milk, melted butter, 2 eggs, sugar, and salt until mixed thoroughly.

Add the flour in two batches (start with the low amount) and mix only until just combined. The dough will be tacky but should be firm enough to crawl up the dough hook. Add additional flour as necessary.

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Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 1-2 hours, until dough has doubled.

Punch down and refrigerate covered overnight or for at least 4 hours.

Divide dough into ~2.5 inch balls (I weighed mine at 2.5 oz each) and set on a lined baking sheet. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.

Flatten each dough ball and top with a couple slices of jalapeño and pinch of grated cheddar (if using) and place the sausage on top.

Wrap the dough around the fillings, pinching the edges together and placing seam-side down on the baking sheet.

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Cover and let rest for 20 minutes, while preheating oven to 375.Bake for 25-30 minutes, until browned.

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Let the kolache cool for 20 minutes and serve.

Leftovers will keep tightly wrapped in the fridge for 3-4 days and can also be frozen.

Notes

Yields: ~15 large kolache

 

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

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Soup? Yes, please.

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup
Adapted from Joyful Healthy Eats
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 10-12 Roma Tomatoes, seeds removed
  • 1 teaspoon olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon Coconut Oil
  • 1 large Onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 28oz. can of crushed tomatoes
  • ¼ cup of sun-dried tomatoes, diced
  • 4 cups of low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 ½ cups of fresh basil
  • ¼ cup of cream cheese
Instructions

Preheat oven to 350°.

Sprinkle tomatoes with olive oil and season with salt.Roast tomatoes for 40 minutes.

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In a 6-quart stockpot over medium high heat, add coconut oil, onions and crushed red pepper. Sauté onions until translucent {about 5-7 minutes}.

Add garlic, stir for 30 seconds and add crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, and sun-dried tomatoes.

Bring to a boil, then add roasted tomatoes and let simmer for 10 minutes.

Add basil and cream cheese to pot and stir until the cream cheese is completely melted.

Blend soup until smooth. (I used my immersion blender but you could also take the soup out in portions and put it in a blender.)

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Pairs great with grilled cheese sandwich 🙂

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Salted Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

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Another beautifully fall dessert.

Salted Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars
Adapted from Eats Well With Others

Makes 1 8×8-inch pan

Ingredients
For the crust

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

For the cheesecake

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 8 oz reduced fat cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the apple filling 

  • 2 granny smith apples, cored and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg

For the streusel topping

  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

For the caramel sauce

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp coarse salt

Instructions

For the crust, cut the butter into the flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon until combined and crumbly. Press the mixture into the bottom of an 8×8-inch pan that has been lined with aluminum foil.  Bake at 350 until lightly golden brown, 8-12 minutes.  Set aside and let cool.

For the cheesecake, beat the sugar into the cream cheese until smooth.  Beat in the egg and vanilla.  Pour the mixture into the baking dish over the crust.

For the apple filling, mix the apples, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg together in a large bowl.  Sprinkle on top of the cheesecake in an even layer.

For the streusel topping, cut the butter into the flour, oats, brown sugar, and cinnamon until combined and crumbly.  Sprinkle evenly over the apples.

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Bake at 350 until the cheesecake is set, about 25-35 minutes. let cool.

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For the caramel sauce, heat the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Let simmer until the sugar turns a medium amber, swirling the pan every 30 seconds or so.  Remove from the heat and carefully pour in the heavy cream.  Return to the heat and cook until smooth, stirring with a wooden spoon.  Remove from heat and stir in the butter. Let cool for a few minutes before mixing in the vanilla and salt.

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Let cool and serve over the apple cheesecake bars.

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Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie

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My favorite Thanksgiving pie. That is all.

Ingredients

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

1 whole Unbaked Pie Crust 

1 cup White Sugar

3 Tablespoons Brown Sugar

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1 cup Corn Syrup

3/4 teaspoons Vanilla

1/3 cup Melted Butter (salted)

3 whole Eggs, Beaten

1-4 Tablespoons Bourbon (optional)

1 .5 cup (heaping) Chopped Pecans (recipes usually call for 1 cup, but I never feel that it is enough)

1 cup mini chocolate chips (optional for the pecan pie purists. I know you’re out there and you are judging me)

Instructions

First, whip up your pie crust.

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Next, mix sugar, brown sugar, salt, corn syrup, butter, eggs, bourbon and vanilla together in a bowl.

Spread the chocolate chips in the bottom of the unbaked pie shell. Layer the chopped pecans over it.

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Pour syrup mixture over the top. Wait until pecans float to the top.

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Cover top and crust lightly/gently with foil. Bake pie at 350º for 30 minutes. Remove foil, then continue baking for 20 minutes, being careful not to burn the crust or pecans.

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NOTE: PIE SHOULD NOT BE OVERLY JIGGLY WHEN YOU REMOVE IT FROM THE OVEN. If it shakes a lot, cover with foil and bake for an additional 20 minute or until set. Required baking time seems to vary widely with this recipe. Sometimes it takes 50 minutes; sometimes it takes 75!

Allow to cool for several hours or overnight. Serve in thin slivers, possibly with vanilla ice cream (Blue Bell is preferable for those who are lucky enough to currently live in states that supply it) or whiskey whipped cream

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Pie Crust

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Tis the season for pie! Let’s get rolling.

Ingredients

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Makes 3 thin, or 2 thick crusts  

1-1/2 cup Crisco (vegetable Shortening)

3 cups All-purpose Flour

1 whole Egg

5 Tablespoons Cold Water

1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar

1 Tablespoon Sugar (Optional, for sweet pies)

1 teaspoon Salt

Preparation Instructions

In a large bowl, with a pastry cutter, gradually work the Crisco into the flour for about 3 or 4 minutes until it resembles a coarse meal. In a small bowl, beat an egg with a fork and then pour it into the flour/shortening mixture. Add 5 tablespoons of cold water, 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir together gently until all of the ingredients are incorporated.

Separate the dough into thirds. *Note: Separating it into thirds will result in three thin crusts. If you prefer a more substantial crust, separate it in half.* Form 3 evenly sized balls of dough and place each dough into a large Ziploc bag. Using a rolling pin, slightly flatten each ball of dough (about ½ inch thick) to make rolling easier later. Seal the bags and place them in the freezer until you need them. (If you will be using it immediately it’s still a good idea to put in the freezer for about 15 to 20 minutes to chill.)

When you are ready to use the dough to make a crust, remove from the freezer and allow to thaw for 15 minutes. On a floured surface roll the dough, starting at the center and working your way out. (Sprinkle some flour over top of the dough if it’s a bit too moist.) If the dough is sticking to the countertop use a metal spatula and carefully scrape it up and flip it over and continue rolling until it’s about ½ inch larger in diameter than your pie pan.

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With a spatula, lift the dough carefully from the surface of the counter into the pie pan. Gently press the dough against the corner of the pan. Go around the pie pan pinching and tucking the dough to make a clean edge.

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Gobi Musallam – Whole Roasted Cauliflower

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This is what I made for Thanksgiving last year. You might be confused with that statement. The thing you should know about Thanksgiving and I is that historically, I have either gone all out (homemade everything–turkey, potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pies, etc, etc, etc) or boycotted. Last year was a little of a boycott but I still wanted to have something delicious. This dish was touted last year as the turkey alternative for all those with some sort of dietary restriction or allergy, but honestly I just like cauliflower.

Ingredients:

Adapted from Vegan Richa

Serving Size (3-4)
1 Cauliflower head  – leaves, tough stem removed and washed
Water to blanch
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon chili powder (optional)

Gravy/curry:
2 teaspoons oil
1/2 medium red onion chopped
1 inch ginger chopped
5-6 cloves of garlic chopped
1 dry red chili or chili flakes to taste
3 medium tomatoes chopped
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 Tablespoon dried Fenugreek Leaves (I left this out)

3/4 cup coconut milk(from can)
1/4 cup ground cashew or 1/3 cup soaked cashews (If going nut-free, you can use 2-3 Tablespoons powdered sunflower seeds or use 1/4 cup coconut cream + 1 Tablespoon cornstarch)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon raw sugar or 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup

Instructions
Bring a large pot of water to boil. use enough water so all of the cauliflower can be immersed in it.
Add salt, turmeric and chili and blanch/cook the whole cauliflower.
Cover and cook for 4 minutes on each side(top and bottom. Flip after 4 minutes)

Gravy:
In a pan, add oil and heat on medium heat. Add chopped onion and saute until golden, 6-7 minutes
Add ginger, garlic chili and saute for another 2 minutes.  Add the spices and mix.
Add tomatoes, salt, sugar, fenugreek leaves, mix and cook covered until tender. Mash them a bit in between. 8-10 minutes.

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Cool slightly, then blend with coconut milk and cashews into a smooth thick puree. Taste and adjust salt, spice.
Oil the baking dish if desired. Place the blanched cauliflower in a baking dish. Slowly drop the puree on top to cover the entire head of the cauliflower.

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Some gravy will fall on the side.
Keep about a 1/3 of the gravy to serve on the side later.
Bake in pre-heated 400 degrees F for 40-45 minutes till the cauliflower is dry to touch and gravy thickens a bit. Turn the dish around after 30 minutes.

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Heat the remaining gravy to just about a boil so it thickens and serve on the side.
Serve hot with homemade Naan. (And maybe a side of roasted butternut squash like I did)

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Note: You can also chop up the cauliflower into florets and just baked with the gravy.

 

Warm Brussels Sprouts Caesar Salad w/Bacon

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Here’s another yummy recipe for your viewing pleasure. This is a great way to eat something healthy while still having something warm and filling on a chilly fall night. Nom nom nom.

Ingredients

Adapted from How Sweet It Is

Serving Size (1-2)

2 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped (but let’s be real, you should probably cook more)
1 cup bread cubes (I like to use a rosemary sourdough bread, but choose your favorite)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 pound brussels sprouts, sliced and stems removed
1 pinch of salt
1 pinch of pepper
freshly shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Yogurt caesar dressing
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons greek yogurt
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
4 anchovies, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup olive oil

 Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the bacon. Cook until crispy and the fat is rendered, then remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and place it on a paper towel. Pour the bacon grease from the skillet over the bread cubes on the baking sheet and toss well. Sprinkle with the garlic powder and toss once more. Add the baking sheet to the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the cubes are golden, tossing once or twice while cooking.

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Return the skillet to the burner and heat over medium-low heat. Add the brussels with the salt and pepper and stir well. If you need a drop of olive oil feel free to add it, but I just used a little residual bacon grease in the skillet. Cook the brussels until warm and slightly soft, about 5 to 6 minutes.

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Remove them from the skillet and toss with a few spoonfuls of the caesar dressing. Add the bacon and croutons on top and serve!

Yogurt caesar dressing
To make the dressing, add the garlic, yogurt, parmesan, mustard, vinegar, anchovies, lemon juice, salt and pepper to a food processor and blend until pureed. With the processor still on, stream in the olive oil until a creamy dressing forms. This will make more dressing than needed, but you can store it sealed in the fridge for about 5 days and stir well before using.

7 Layer Bars — aka Hello Dollies

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Sorry for leaving you lovelies for so long. I ‘m sure you’ve been starving (<–yes, I went there) for yummy things to make. I’ll try to catch up on a few recipes I’ve been holding onto for far too long, so prepare yourself for a flood (more likely a light drizzle) of recipes coming your way soon.

My grandma used to make these bars every Christmas and so they’ve always held a special place in my heart. They’re extremely easy to make and very delicious and now since it’s fall (which I’m finally ready to admit), I can begin my multi-month obsession with baking unhealthy things. Hallelujah for the season of leggings and baggy sweaters! 

Ingredients

1.5 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup white sugar

1/2 cup melted butter

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 -1 cup butterscotch chips (optional; vary according to your tastes)

1/2 -1 cup white chocolate chips (optional; vary according to your tastes)

1-1/3 cup flaked coconut

1 cup chopped pecans

1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk

Instruction

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter. Press into the bottom of an 13×9 inch baking pan. Layer the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, white chocolate chips, coconut and pecans over the crumbs.

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Pour the sweetened condensed milk over the top. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 20-25 minutes. Let cool and cut into squares.

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Bacon, Brussels Sprouts & Beer Mac’n’Cheese

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Oh, what a holy trinity of B’s–bacon, brussels sprouts and beer. Then throw in some smoked gouda, smoked fontina and garlic breadcrumbs and how could you go wrong? That’s right, you can’t. Enjoy 😉

Ingredients:

Adapted from How Sweet It Is

1 pound of cooked macaroni
6 slices of bacon, chopped
1 shallot, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 pound of brussels sprouts, stems removed and sliced/chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk + 1 cup beer (something delicious like a nice ale or IPA–there’s a time and a place for light beer but this is not it)
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 ounces smoked gouda cheese, freshly grated
4 ounces smoked fontina cheese, freshly grated
2 ounces parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
cayenne pepper (to taste)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Heat a large, 12-inch oven-safe skillet oven medium-low heat and add bacon. Cook until crispy. Add in the shallot, half of the garlic and brussels spouts, stirring well to coat. Cook until the brussels soften, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and toss the pasta in with the brussels.

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To make the cheese sauce, heat a small saucepan over medium heat and add the butter. Once it’s sizzling, whisk in the flour to create a roux and cook until it is golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Pour in the milk, beer and the cream, stirring the entire time and cook until it is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

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Stir in the fontina, gouda and parmesan, stirring until the cheese is melted.  

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Stir in the nutmeg and cayenne. Once the cheese is melted, pour it over the pasta in the skillet and toss well to coat.

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In another skillet heat 1T butter and 1T olive oil. Add the other half of the garlic and cook 1 minute. Add the panko breadcrumbs and cook until lightly browned. 

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Distribute evenly over pasta. Top with additional cheese if needed and sprinkle with cayenne pepper. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the top is golden and bubbly.

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Nutella Stuffed Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies w/Sea Salt

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This weekend was alllll about love and yoga. For Valentine’s Day I made these absolutely, ridiculously amazing cookies for all of my coworkers. The coworker who sits next to me was making fun of me for being the most festive person in the lab considering I am 1 of the few single people in a group of about 30. But these cookies are just too good not to be shared, and what better day to do it?  These have become my go-to chocolate chip cookies, developed by Monique at Ambition Kitchen. They’re not too much more difficult than traditional chocolate chip cookies but the extra effort is sooo worth it.

Then Saturday I taught my very own arm balance and inversion workshop at CorePower Yoga, which ended up being completely amazing! Everyone around me must be annoyed by how grateful I keep saying I am, but it’s true!!! I still get excited thinking about it. Over 40 people attended and I got a lot of great feedback. Plus, I didn’t fall on my face–quite a feat with demonstrating Urdhva Kukkutasana in from of a packed room of yogis. Some of my students were so excited about it that I’m going to organize an Instagram challenge for the month of March 🙂

It’s strange how absolutely exhausting teaching can be. After teaching 2 classes then my workshop I felt completely depleted of energy (but in a good way!). Funnily enough, what ended up giving me more energy was the yoga class  I did later. The owner of the studio I’ve been going to this past month was celebrating her birthday by having a live DJ (DJ HyFi) come and play live music while she taught a class. It was really awesome (and the champagne after made it even more so).

After all the yoga fun, the next day I hosted a second annual Single Ladies’ Night. Don’t let the name fool you, however. Basically, it’s just a night of fireplaces, wine, chocolate, cheese and good friends and to attend you neither have to be single nor a lady–but you do have to wear heels. Exhibit A: My friend Justice and his lovely fiancé Laura

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I re-made my chocolate and brie grilled sandwiches that made their debut last year at single ladies’ night but this time I made 3 types–regular, orange and mexican chocolate for a little variety. You should definitely try it some time if you have never had the pleasure.

Basically what I’m trying to say is Chocolate+Yoga+Wine/Champagne+Love = Perfection

And now, chocolate chip cookies!

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon plain greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks (or chips)
  • 1 cup dark chocolate (you can use chips but I used a bar that I cut into chunks)
  • 1 jar of Nutella, chilled in refrigerator
  • Coarse sea salt for sprinkling

Directions

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. The butter will begin to foam. Make sure you whisk consistently during this process. After a couple of minutes, the butter will begin to brown on the bottom of the saucepan; continue to whisk and remove from heat as soon as the butter begins to brown and give off a nutty aroma. Immediately transfer the butter to a bowl to prevent burning. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.

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With an electric mixer, mix the butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Beat in the egg, yolk, vanilla, and yogurt until combined. Add the dry ingredients slowly and beat on low-speed just until combined. Gently fold in all of the chocolate chips.
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Chill your dough for 2 hours in the refrigerator.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Once dough is chilled measure about 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough and roll into a ball. Flatten the dough ball very thinly into the palm of your hand. Place 1 teaspoon of chilled nutella in the middle and fold dough around it; gently roll into a ball — it doesn’t have to be perfectly rolled! Make sure that the nutella is not seeping out of the dough. Add more dough if necessary. Place dough balls on cookie sheet, 2 inches apart and flatten with your hand VERY gently. (And shape into hearts if you want!)
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Bake the cookies 9-11 minutes or until the edges of the cookies begin to turn golden brown. They will look a bit underdone in the middle, but will continue to cook once out of the oven. Cool the cookies on the sheets at least 2 minutes. Sprinkle with a little sea salt. Remove the cooled cookies from the baking sheets after a few minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.
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