Easy Homemade Bread Bowls

Yesterday I had plans to make potato soup for dinner. After searching recipes online and paging through some cookbooks the last couple evenings, I came up with a game plan. Then, early afternoon, when checking email, I saw a post that mentioned homemade bread bowls. What great timing!

I don’t think I’ve ever had anything in a bread bowl before even though I’ve seen them filled with dip at parties and on restaurant menus filled with soup or salad. But coming across a recipe to make them from scratch got my attention. And it was from Sally’s Baking Addiction, a very trusted source for all things baked.

With not a lot of hands-on time required and only one full rise, it looked doable to have these ready in time for dinner. With only a couple short breaks from my work-from-home workday, they were ready and cooling before I even started on the soup, plus, the house smelled amazing.

Following the recipe, the only change I made was to use instant yeast in place of active-dry. That made for a really quick rise to double in size, about 35 minutes. And the second rise after you form the dough balls is only the time it takes to preheat your oven. The egg wash gives the bread bowls that beautiful shiny golden exterior and the interior is a perfectly soft, heavenly texture that you only get with homemade.

Fill with your favorite soup, salad, or dip, take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy! It’ll taste even better if it’s cold and snowy where you are.

Easy Homemade Bread Bowls

From Sally’s Baking Addiction

4 and ½ teaspoons either instant yeast or active-dry yeast (2 packets)

2 and ¼ cups (540 ml) warm water (105-115 degrees F.)

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

2 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

6 cups (780 grams) bread flour, plus more for hands and surface

Egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk (any kind of milk, including almond or soy)

Pour the warm water over yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. If you don’t have a stand mixer, a regular large mixing bowl will work. Whisk together and allow to sit for 10 minutes, until foamy.

If you do not have a stand mixer, mix by hand in this step. With the stand mixer running on low speed, add the sugar, salt, olive oil, and 4 cups of the bread flour. Mix on low speed for 1 minute, then add remaining 2 cups of flour. Mix on low speed for 5-6 minutes. The dough should be thick, yet soft, and only slightly sticky. It should pull away from the sides of the bowl as it mixes. If it’s too sticky, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a ball. Grease the bowl you mixed the dough in with a little olive oil. Return ball of dough to the bowl and turn it over once to oil the top. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in warm area to rise until doubled in size, 45-90 minutes, depending on whether you used instant or active dry yeast.

Once doubled in size, punch down the dough to release any air bubbles. Remove dough from the bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Punch down again. Using a sharp knife or bench scraper, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball.

Line 2 large baking sheet with parchment or silicone baking mats. Place 3 dough balls onto each sheet. Cover lightly and set aside to rest as your oven preheats.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Just before putting in the oven, brush the dough balls with the egg wash. If desired, using a sharp knife, score an X into the tops of each (I did this on 5 of the 6 and it looks pretty, but isn’t a necessity).

Bake for 30 minutes or until golden. About halfway through, rotate the pans from top to bottom and rotate each 180 degrees, for even baking. Let cool on pan or cooling rack. The bowls will be easier to cut if they have cooled somewhat.

For serving, cut a large round off the top of each bread bowl. Scoop out the center (either save to dunk in soup, or reserve for another use). Fill with soup, stew, or salad. Leftover bread bowls can be stored covered, at room temperature for a couple days, or wrapped and frozen for several months (bring to room temperature before serving). I wasn’t able to eat an entire bread bowl (my husband, however, found it easy to do), so I refrigerated the uneaten portion and enjoyed it with soup (in a regular bowl) the next day—don’t let any of that delicious bread go to waste! Make 6 bread bowls.

Panettone Muffins

A few weeks ago, I ordered a new-to-me ingredient from King Arthur Baking Company, Fiori di Sicilia. It’s a blend of citrus and vanilla with a subtle floral aroma that reminds me of an Orange Julius. This secret ingredient can be added to cakes, cookies, sweet breads, muffins, and scones for a lovely mysterious flavor that you just can’t quite put your finger on when describing.

Eager to bake something with it, I turned to the King Arthur website for a recipe and chose Panettone Muffins. Perfect for the season and I had all the ingredients on hand. Fiori di Sicilia (flowers of Sicily) is traditionally used in Panettone, which is a classic Italian Christmas yeast bread. If you don’t have the Fiori di Sicilia, you can sub orange extract or orange essence, or just leave it out. You won’t get that special “je ne sais quoi,” but will still have a mighty tasty muffin.

The recipe calls for soaking the dried fruit in ¼ cup of apple juice, orange juice, or rum, but after reading the comments, I followed a suggestion and used Cointreau, an orange flavored liqueur (plan ahead and start the soaking the day before—it’s worth the extra time). To make the muffins partially whole-grain, I subbed in whole wheat pastry flour for some of the white all-purpose. If you don’t have the whole wheat, just use all-purpose for the full flour amount.

Made on a Saturday morning, we had them with scrambled eggs for a delicious treat that tasted like Christmas. Wanting to use my pretty muffin papers that hold more batter than a typical muffin pan, we ended up with a size in between regular and jumbo. If you do that too, you’ll need to increase the baking time.

Enjoy! And merry Christmas!

Panettone Muffins

Adapted from this King Arthur Baking Company Recipe

1 ½ cups diced dried fruit (I used a combination of dried cherries, cranberries, gold and regular raisins)

¼ cup apple juice, orange juice, or rum (or do what I did and use Cointreau or another orange liqueur)

4 tablespoons butter, at room temp

2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used grapeseed—any neutral oil will do)

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs, at room temp

¼ teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia (you can sub orange extract or orange essence, or just omit)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon fine grain salt

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

2/3 cup milk

Several tablespoons of coarse sugar (turbinado, demerara, or sparkling sugar)

In a small bowl, mix the dried fruit with the juice or booze. Cover and let it rest overnight, stirring it up occasionally so the fruit is evenly saturated. You can speed this up by heating the fruit and liquid in the microwave until very hot and then letting it cool to room temperature, although I think it really benefits from the longer soaking time.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. (or 350 on a convection setting). Lightly grease a 12-cup or two 6-cup muffin tins. If you use muffin papers, lightly spray them before adding the batter so the paper will come off the muffins easily.

In a medium mixing bowl, beat the butter, oil, and sugar together until smooth. Add the eggs and beat to combine. Stir in the Fiori di Sicilia and vanilla.

In a small bowl, whisk together the baking powder, salt, and flours. Stir the dry ingredients into the butter mixture alternately with the milk, starting and ending with the flour mixture and making sure everything is thoroughly combined.

Stir in the dried fruit and include any remaining liquid.

Spoon the batter evenly into prepared muffin pans or cups. Sprinkle the tops generously with the coarse sugar. Bake for 18-20 minutes (for standard muffins. If making larger ones, the cooking time will need to be increased), until a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean or with just a few crumbs clinging to it.

Remove muffins from the oven and let them sit in the pan for a few minutes before moving them to a cooling rack. Makes 12 standard muffins, or in my case, with the larger muffin papers, 7.

One comment after the recipe on King Arthur’s webpage said they are even better the next day and we’ll find out tomorrow if that’s true. With the boozy fruit and Fiori di Sicilia, I’m betting that will be the case.

Oven Fries

Potatoes, in just about any form, are the ultimate comfort food. Mashed, French fried, au gratin, scalloped, hash brown, chips, or baked. All delicious. All comforting. My favorite is French fries, which I’ve been woefully missing since the start of the pandemic—we haven’t dined at a restaurant since March 14.

Sure, we’ve done carry-out and delivery, but French fries just don’t travel well. Nothing deep-fried does, so why bother? But I do have a solution that comes pretty darned close to the hot and crispy fries from your favorite eating establishment. Oven fries—no deep-frying necessary, which is a good thing because no matter how much I miss fries, I don’t want that grease hanging in the air.

The key to crisp fries from your oven is soaking those fresh-cut batons in a big ole bowl of ice water for about 20 minutes before they hit the oven. A lot of the starch from the potatoes will drain away and the result will be fries crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.

Another trick is to space the fries apart on the baking sheet, so they are not touching, otherwise, you’ll end up with potatoes that are more roasted than “fried.” Seasoning is key too. At the very least, you’ll want to salt them generously, both before and after they come out of the oven. I like to play around with the flavors though, using a seasoned salt like Lawry’s or a Cajun blend, or you could use your own custom seasoning mixture.

For the ultimate crispiness, a thorough dusting of cornstarch or arrowroot does the trick. I usually mix the cornstarch and seasonings together and toss the taters with the mixture after they’ve been coated in olive oil. Easy peasy and oh so good. Make a platter, get out your favorite dipping sauce, and I won’t judge if you eat them all yourself. That’s what comfort food is all about. Enjoy!

Oven Fries

About 2 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled or unpeeled (I leave the skins on for added flavor and nutrition)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot

1 teaspoon Lawry’s seasoned salt or Cajun seasoning (I used the Louisiana brand), or go old school and just use about ½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon onion powder

Ice water


Cut the potatoes into batons about 1/3 inch thick. Transfer to a large bowl and cover with water and ice. Set aside for 20-30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil two large baking sheets.

Meanwhile, mix cornstarch or arrowroot, Lawry’s or Cajun seasoning (or plain salt), and onion powder in a small bowl.

Drain potatoes and place on a clean kitchen towel. Pat dry. Either put dried potatoes back in bowl (dry it out first) or into a large zip-lock bag. Drizzle with olive oil and toss or shake until potatoes are evenly-coated. Sprinkle about 1/3 of the cornstarch mix over potatoes and toss or shake. Repeat two times until cornstarch mixture is used up.

Transfer potatoes to the baking sheets and spread fries out so they are not touching. Bake for 30 minutes, turning fries over and rotating pans about halfway through for even browning and crispiness. Remove from oven and top with a final sprinkling of regular salt. Eat while hot. Makes 2-4 servings.

Falafel with Creamy Tahini-Yogurt Sauce

I don’t know why, but earlier this summer I started craving falafel. And
Foxy Falafel, my go-to source for truly great falafel, is limited to curbside pick-up during the pandemic. Deep-fried food just doesn’t travel well, and I’m thinking it wouldn’t be as amazing by the time I got it home.

This led me to look for an authentic recipe that would satisfy my craving. I found it and must share—it’s that good! Plus, it’s not deep-fried–yay! Golden brown and crispy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside with all those signature falafel herbs and spices, it’s served with a creamy tahini-yogurt sauce, thinly sliced radishes, cucumber, red onion, and tomatoes from our garden. All piled on a whole wheat tortilla or, if you have time, stuffed in my whole wheat pita bread, it’s a nutritious, delicious all-in-one meal.

There’s nothing difficult or time-consuming about this other than the need to plan ahead and start soaking the dried chickpeas the night before (canned chickpeas won’t work here). And after soaking, you don’t have to cook the beans, which makes this recipe even easier! Everything else comes together quickly enough for a weeknight meal. A very special weeknight meal! Enjoy!

Falafel with Creamy Tahini-Yogurt Sauce

Adapted from this Downshiftology recipe
This recipe is naturally gluten-free and all that’s needed to make it vegan is to use a tahini sauce without the yogurt, like this one.

1 cup dried chickpeas (canned won’t work in this recipe)

About half of a medium yellow onion, roughly chopped

1 cup fresh parsley, in between loosely and tightly packed

1 cup fresh cilantro, in between loosely and tightly packed

1 medium jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 heaping teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground cardamom

Several grinds of black pepper

2 tablespoons chickpea flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

Grapeseed or avocado oil for pan-frying (or another neutral oil of choice)

Tahini-yogurt sauce, recipe follows

Flour or corn tortillas or my whole wheat pita bread

Thinly sliced radishes, cucumbers, red onion, diced tomato

The night before you plan to make the falafel, place the chickpeas in a pot and cover with water by 2-3 inches (the chickpeas will triple in size and you want to make sure they stay submerged). Cover pot and set aside.

The next day, drain and rinse the chickpeas and add them to your food processor (after draining, I dump them onto a clean kitchen towel and pat them dry before putting them in the food processor).

Add the onion, parsley, cilantro, jalapeño, garlic, cumin, salt, cardamom, and black pepper to the food processor and process until the mixture is the texture of coarse sand (you may have to stop and scrape down the sides a couple times).

Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the chickpea flour and baking soda. Cover and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Place a cooling rack on a baking sheet and place it in oven.

Heat a cast iron pan over medium heat. Add a couple tablespoons oil. When oil is hot, form falafel mixture into balls (I used a #30 cookie dough scoop, which is about 1 ½-2 tablespoons) and place in hot pan. Flatten slightly with a spatula. You’ll have to do this in batches—don’t crowd the falafels.

If the mixture seems too wet, add another tablespoon of chickpea flour. If it seems too dry, add a tablespoon of water (I didn’t need to do either both times I have made this recipe).

Cook the falafels for about 3 minutes, until golden brown on the bottom. Flip and cook another 3 minutes. Remove to rack in oven to stay warm. Repeat with remaining falafel mixture. You will probably need to add more oil to the pan.

Serve in warm tortillas or pita with a swoosh of tahini-yogurt sauce, several falafels, tomato, radish, cucumber, or other toppings of choice. Makes about 4 servings or 18-20 falafel.

Creamy Tahini Yogurt Sauce
this Feasting at Home recipe

¾ cup plain Greek yogurt (I used 2%)

¼ cup tahini

2 garlic cloves, grated on a micro-plane

Juice of one medium lemon

½ to 1 teaspoon kosher salt (my tahini was salt-free, so I used the full teaspoon)

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Wisk all ingredients in small bowl until thoroughly combined and creamy. Can make a day or two ahead of time. Cover and refrigerate until use.


Spaghetti with Cauliflower Meat Sauce

A little over two years ago when I posted this Cauliflower Taco Meat recipe, I mentioned wanting to tweak it with Italian seasonings to be used in things like lasagna, spaghetti sauce, and stuffed peppers. Well, it took me two years and several versions, but it’s finally exactly what I wanted it to be.

This hearty, meaty spaghetti sauce of my dreams will now be in regular rotation in our kitchen. Versatile cauliflower, along with meaty portabellas and healthy omega-3 fat-packed walnuts comes together with herbs and a rich red sauce to create a spaghetti dish I’m confident could hold its own in a cook-off against one made with ground beef.

You could use your favorite red sauce recipe, jarred marinara, or the quick homemade version I included that’s pulled from the headnotes of the Smitten Kitchen’s Stuffed Eggplant Parmesan, which sounds amazing in its own right.

Both the cauliflower meat and the sauce, if you’re making your own, can be done a day or two ahead, which would make this perfect for a weeknight.

To give it an extra dose of veggies, I sautéed some chopped onion and spinach from our garden with a little red wine before adding the sauce and meat. Feel free to leave that out if you’d like. Served over whole wheat spaghetti and topped with a little parmesan (omit for a vegan version) and fresh basil, you’ve got an amazing comfort food meal without the typical saturated fat and cholesterol. What could be better!?! Enjoy!

Spaghetti with Cauliflower Meat Sauce

Cauliflower Meat
3 cups cauliflower florets

1 ½ cups chopped cremini mushrooms

½ cup chopped walnuts

¼ cup tomato sauce

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon fennel seeds

½ teaspoon onion powder

¼ teaspoon dried marjoram

Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet.

Place cauliflower, mushrooms, walnuts, tomato sauce, salt, fennel seeds, onion powder, marjoram, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor and pulse on and off until the texture of ground beef. I found it easier to get the right texture by doing this in two batches, half of each ingredient in each batch. The first time I made it I did it all at once and half of it was almost like a paste—still tasted great, but just not the right texture. Transfer mixture to the baking sheet and spread it out in an even layer.

Bake for 30 minutes, stirring once at the half-way point.

Spaghetti or marinara sauce–homemade, jarred, or this quick Smitten Kitchen recipe:
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a pot over medium, add 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and a pinch or three of red pepper flakes, and a little dried oregano, if you wish. Cook for one minute. Add a 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (it will splatter, be careful) and stir (I used a can of whole San Marzano tomatoes and crushed them with a potato masher once in the pot). Cook at a simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, until you get the saucy consistency you want. This yields 3 cups.

To bring it all together
8 oz. regular or whole wheat spaghetti

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

½ of a medium yellow onion, chopped

A couple handfuls of fresh spinach, chopped

A splash or two of red wine

Salt & pepper

Freshly grated parmesan cheese, optional

Torn fresh basil leaves for garnish

Place a big pot of well-salted water on the stove and bring to a boil. Cook spaghetti according to package instructions. Drain and return to pot to keep warm.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and sauté for several minutes until beginning to soften. Increase heat to medium-high and add spinach and red wine, plus a little salt & pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until spinach has wilted and wine has mostly cooked off.

Turn heat back down to medium and add 2 to 2 ½ cups red sauce. Add about half of your cauliflower meat (reserve the rest for another batch). Bring to a simmer and cook until heated through.

Pile pasta into bowls and top with cauliflower meat sauce, parmesan, and basil. Take a big whiff of all this wonderfulness, and dig in. Makes about 4 servings, with enough “meat” left for another batch.

Cherry Tomato Quick Kimchi

I recently read an article in which the author ponders the word kimchi not as a singular noun, but as a verb, in that you can kimchi just about anything. And “quick kimchi” at that! If  you can quick pickle, why not quick kimchi?

Having made kimchi before, I know it’s a process—chopping, brining, packing, and then the fermenting—it’s at least a week before you can enjoy this addicting Korean side dish. So to see an article that offered a recipe for a speedy option, I was intrigued.

The article included three quick kimchi recipes: smacked cucumber, fennel, and grape tomato. I had picked up an heirloom cherry tomato medley package the other day and had all the other ingredients, so that’s the version I went with.

This doesn’t have quite the funk of traditional kimchi, but it’s still delicious, addicting even. A little smoky, a little nutty, with the sweetness of cherry tomatoes and the heat of Korean chili pepper (gochugaru), it’s a unique dish with lots of uses. I served it with arugula over buttered baked potatoes and called it a meal. The next morning it was on homemade toasted bread and topped with a fried egg. I imagine it would be great with rice and crispy tofu or grilled portabella mushrooms. It’s even wonderful eaten out of the bowl all by itself while you’re waiting for your potatoes to bake! I see myself making this often throughout the summer as my cherry and pear tomato plants start producing. Enjoy!

Cherry Tomato Quick Kimchi

  • Servings: 2 1/2 cups
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From this NYT Cooking recipe

Note: Gochugaru (Korean chili flakes) is not the same as crushed red pepper flakes. It’s slightly sweet and smoky and has less heat than crushed red pepper or cayenne. You can probably find it at a well-stocked grocery store or Asian market, but if not, it’s easily available online.

1 pound cherry or grape tomatoes (about 2 to 3 cups), halved lengthwise

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar

½ teaspoon finely grated garlic

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon gochugaru (Korean chili flakes)

2 teaspoons tamari or soy sauce (can sub fish sauce if not vegetarian)

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

Thinly sliced scallions, chopped chives, cilantro, or flat-leaf parsley leaves for garnish (optional)

In a medium bowl, toss the tomatoes with the salt, transfer to a colander, and let sit in the sink to drain, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in the same bowl, add the vinegar and garlic and set aside.

After 30 minutes, add the sesame oil, gochugaru, soy or fish sauce, and sugar to the bowl with the vinegar and garlic and whisk to combine. Use a paper or cloth kitchen towel to pat the tomatoes dry, then add the tomatoes to the dressing and toss until well coated.

Garnish with the optional scallions or herbs before serving. This is best eaten right away, but can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours. Makes about 2 ½ cups.

Oregano-Hazelnut Pesto

Right now, we’re experiencing the kind of growing weather where everything is thriving. That perfect combination of sun, heat, and humidity that has your garden practically exploding. Especially my herbs. It’s times like this that I start to panic and wonder how will I ever use all the basil, sage, thyme, tarragon, and oregano.

Today my panic was focused on the oregano. Our tomatoes are weeks from being ready so that great tomato-oregano combination won’t happen for a while, but my oregano plant badly needed trimming. I began to wonder if there is such a thing as oregano pesto or would that be too strong a flavor? Yes, oregano pesto is a thing, my online research told me, and I was intrigued by a recipe that used hazelnuts in the pesto. That partial bag of hazelnuts buried in my freezer would finally get used!

It’s been a while since we’ve had pasta, so why not an oregano pesto penne pasta? Shallots for good measure, some quality parmesan because hello, Italian pasta dish, and a little lemon zest to finish. I’ve included the recipe below the pesto instructions–I think you’ll like it!

Fully prepared not to like this oregano version, I was pleasantly surprised and now have a new favorite pesto. The oregano was not overwhelming, and the hazelnuts brought a lovely, unique flavor. I’m looking forward to using some the of the leftover pesto on pizza this week. Enjoy!


Oregano-Hazelnut Pesto

  • Servings: 1 1/2 cups
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Inspired by this recipe

1 cup fresh oregano leaves (discard the stems)

½ cup unsalted hazelnuts

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil


In a small skillet, toast hazelnuts over medium-low heat until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Stir often so they don’t burn. Cool slightly.

Place oregano leaves, hazelnuts, lemon juice, and garlic into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until well mixed. With machine running, slowly drizzle in olive oil. Scrape down sides and process until mixture is mostly smooth. Add salt, to taste.

Refrigerate, covered, until use. Keeps about 4 days. Freeze for longer storage.

Great on pasta (recipe follows), a little mixed into scrambled eggs, as a dip for good quality bread, in place of red sauce on pizza, or a dollop swirled into a bowl of soup. Makes about 1 ½ cups pesto.

Penne Pasta with Oregano-Hazelnut Pesto, Shallots, and Lemon Zest

8 oz. penne pasta, regular or whole wheat

1 medium shallot, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Oregano-hazelnut pesto (about half of above recipe)

¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, optional

Grated zest of one lemon

Cook pasta in a pot of well-salted boiling water, according to package directions. Reserve about ½ cup of pasta water before draining.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes.

Return drained pasta to pan and add shallots, pesto, parmesan (if using), and about a third a cup of reserved pasta water. Toss to coat pasta until sauce becomes creamy. Add a little more pasta water if necessary. Transfer pasta to serving bowls, top with lemon zest and additional parmesan, if desired. Makes 3-4 servings.

Strawberry Dutch Baby

It just doesn’t seem appropriate now to write about light-hearted things like recipes and food with the recent murder-by-cop of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the ensuing riots (not to be lumped in with the peaceful protests), which have now spread across the country. I want to share recipes, but it seems so frivolous and unimportant at this time. However, we all need to eat, so here goes…

I’ve heard of Dutch babies before but had never had or made one. Lately it seemed recipes were everywhere I looked, and I took that as a sign I should join the party.

Apparently Dutch babies aren’t actually Dutch. They are a German pancake that earned the moniker Dutch when someone confused the word Deutsch with Dutch. So, there you have it.

Regardless of the name or origin, they are easy, versatile, and delicious. I’ve made sweet versions with both apples and strawberries and I plan to make a savory one soon (just omit the sugar in the batter and add a few grinds of black pepper) with some veggies and a sprinkling of grated cheese when done. And unlike regular pancakes, you can relax while it’s baking with no need to stand over the stove flipping flapjacks. Enjoy!

Strawberry Dutch Baby

Adapted from New York Times Cooking

One Dutch baby serves two generously and four for a lighter meal. You’ll get more of the signature puffing and rumpling if your milk and eggs are at room temperature to start.

3 eggs, room temperature

½ cup milk, room temperature (I used skim)

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon (optional if using strawberries, but a must with apples)

Pinch of nutmeg

Pinch of salt

3 tablespoons butter, cut into cubes

About 3/4 cup of sliced strawberries or apples

Pure maple syrup, for serving

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. and place a 10-inch cast iron pan in the oven.

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt until very well combined (could also do this in a blender, but I didn’t want to have a blender to clean).

When oven reaches 425, carefully remove pan from oven and add butter. Once it’s melted, scatter strawberry slices on bottom of pan. Pour batter into pan and carefully return to the oven. Cook for about 18 minutes, until pancake is puffed and golden (do not open the oven door—try to determine if it’s done through the window). Turn oven off and leave pancake in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and cut into wedges. Serve with pure maple syrup or whatever toppings you’d like. Makes 2 generous or 4 smaller servings.


Layered White Bean and Spinach Enchiladas

Last week I cooked up a pot of cranberry beans with a little onion, carrot, and celery and then couldn’t decide what to do with them, so they sat in the fridge for a few days until I got some inspiration. With it no longer being wise to run to the grocery store on a whim, cooking during a pandemic has become adjusting recipes to what you have on hand. I’ve been doing a lot of that lately, with mostly good results.

Not sure what made me think of a recipe I cooked a few years back for layered enchiladas. The original recipe calls for chicken and I probably made it with seiten or mock duck in its place. I figured the cranberry beans in the fridge could be the “meat” and spinach would be included too because when I ordered a package of baby spinach in my co-op curbside pick-up order, they gave me a one-pound package. That’s a lot of spinach to use up while it’s still fresh—it’s been going in everything lately!

I made a quick homemade enchilada sauce, but you could use store-bought if you’d rather. Because my cooked beans already had onion in them, I didn’t add more, but I included them in the recipe instructions assuming most people will either use canned beans or won’t have added onion when they cooked their dried beans.

Cranberry beans (also called borlotti beans) are soft and dense with a velvety, rich texture. I ordered mine from Rancho Gordo, which I’m told has some of the best heirloom beans around. You could use any dried white bean or pinto bean, and canned would work as well, but the texture will be a little different.

Out of necessity, pretty much all recipes right now are flexible, so you can vary the cheeses, the additional vegetables, and as I mentioned, the bean variety. Not being sure how all these flavors would come together, I was fully prepared for this to not really work. But it did. It was damned delicious, in fact, and was actually one of the best twists on a recipe I’ve ever made. Pete and I agreed it needs to be shared. Enjoy!

Layered White Bean and Spinach Enchiladas

Adapted from this Williams Sonoma recipe.

1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

1 yellow onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

2 cups cooked cranberry beans or other white beans (or substitute rinsed, drained canned beans)

1 3/4 cups red enchilada sauce (canned or homemade—this is the recipe I used)

9 corn tortillas, each about 6 inches in diameter (mine were 5” and worked fine)

3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

3/4 cup shredded smoked cheddar cheese

3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Sliced green onion tops for garnish

Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, 6 to 7 minutes. Add beans and spinach to pan and cook until spinach has wilted and reduced.

Spread 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 3 1/2-quart round Dutch oven. Arrange 3 tortillas in a single layer on the sauce, overlapping them as needed to cover the sauce. Top with a generous 1 cup of the bean-spinach mixture, 1/2 cup of the sauce and 1/4 cup of each cheese. Repeat the layering 2 more times, alternating the direction of the tortilla layers and finishing with 1/2 cup sauce and 1/4 cup of each cheese.

Transfer to the oven and bake until the ingredients are heated through and the cheese is melted and the sauce bubbly, about 30-40 minutes. Remove from the oven and garnish with green onions and cilantro. Slice into wedges. Makes about 4 servings.

Three Yolk Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have found my favorite chocolate chip cookie! In an effort to use the three egg yolks sitting in my fridge, this recipe turned up in a search for cookies made using no whole eggs, only yolks.

Rich and delicious, heavy on the chocolate chips, and generous in size, these mostly brown sugar-sweetened treats may just become your favorite too. Enjoy!

Three Yolk Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Servings: about 28 cookies
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Adapted from this Violet Bakery recipe published on Taste

1 cup, plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar

½ cup sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3 egg yolks, at room temperature

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour

¾ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon fine sea or table salt

1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Line a small baking sheet or pan (one that will fit inside your freezer) with parchment paper.

Beat the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer until combined but not too creamy—you are not aiming for light and fluffy, as that would make the cookies too cakey. Add the vanilla and the egg yolks and mix well.

In another bowl combine the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, and salt and whisk together well. Add this to the butter and egg mixture and mix well. Add the chocolate chips and mix until combined. Dough will be quite stiff.

Scoop individual portions (I used a number 30 cookie scoop) of dough onto the lined baking sheet. If you don’t have the cookie scoop, pat 1 ½ tablespoon portions of dough into balls. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for an hour.

Preheat oven to 355 degrees F. (330 degrees F. in convection ovens). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange the cookies on the pan about 2” apart (I did this in two batches).

Bake for 13-18 minutes, until the center of each cookie is slightly soft and under-baked, but the edges are crisp and golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Remove to cooling rack and serve either warm or at room temp. Cookies will keep for up to 5 days in an airtight container. Makes about 28 cookies.