Challah Back Ya’ll

You knew we couldn’t help it with the title.

Anyway, in honor of Passover coming up, it’s high time we gave you a bread recipe. Making bread may seem daunting, but honestly, it’s more about testing your patience than anything. A couple of ingredients, a good amount of time, and you have a delicious sweet bread to serve during the holiday.

Also, how cool is it that you don’t have to go to the store? You can MAKE it yourself! I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I walk around the grocery store and realize, “I can make that, and that, and that.” We hope you’re starting to feel the same way. That is our motto after all. :)

  • 2 teaspoons active dry or instant yeast
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs (take 1 of the eggs and separate the yolk from the whites. Store the whites in the fridge separately until ready to use.)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

In a small bowl, combine the yeast, water, and a pinch or two of sugar. Whisk together until the yeast and sugar are dissolved. Let it stand until you begin to see a frothy layer on the top. While the yeast is “frothing”, in a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Make a “well” in the flour mixture and drop in the yeast water, eggs (including the egg yolk) and oil. Begin mixing and slowly incorporating the flour from the sides. Eventually you’ll see a dough begin to form. Knead it until it’s smooth and no longer sticky. Roll it in to a ball, put it in a big bowl and cover it with plastic wrap to rise for 2 hours.

After the 2 hours, the dough will have doubled in size. Cut it in to 3 equal pieces, and roll the pieces in to strips. (I made the strips 19″ which is waaay too long. I would suggest making them around 15″ to get a good size loaf.). Press the tops of the 3 strips together and begin to braid the rest, just like hair. Move it on to a parchment paper lined baking sheet, sprinkle with flour and cover it with a towel. Unfortunately, you have to let it rise again here for another hour. I told you this is about patience.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Take the egg whites out of the fridge, combine with a tablespoon of water and whisk together to make an egg wash. Uncover the bread and brush the egg wash over the top, sides, and in the cracks of the bread. Bake it for 30 minutes.

Challah bread

 

Happy Eating, XO.

Greek Bake

We’ve all been there – those nights where you just don’t know what to make but have a ton of seemingly random things in the pantry. Not to mention those fresh herbs in the fridge that are about to go bad. Well, you know us a little by now, and we almost (read: almost) like those kinds of nights because that’s when we have to get creative with our recipes. Just like this one. We love our “toss ‘em together” recipes that leave just enough cooking time in the oven to go peel off the work clothes and settle in with a nice glass (read: bottle) of wine.
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 lb. lean ground turkey (or chicken or lamb, knock yourself out)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¾ tsp ground oregano
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground pepper
  • 1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cup cooked brown rice (I had some white leftover from a fish & rice I had made the night before, works just as well)
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese, divided (I did the feta with the Mediterranean herbs, but plain feta works as well)
  • ¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray. Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the onion and ground turkey. Cook, breaking up the turkey with a wooden spoon, until the turkey is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, and cook for 1 minute. Add the crushed tomatoes, bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the cooked rice, ¼ cup of the feta cheese and the parsley. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and top with the remaining feta cheese. Bake until bubbling, about 20 minutes.

Greek Bake

Happy Eating, XO.

Bad Ass Mac & Cheese

Sometimes you just have to kick it up a notch, and this mac and cheese recipe does just that. It has a little bit of chedda, some truffle oil (YES! Bc we’re still obsessed with it), some bacon, and it has some…wait for it…whiskey. If this isn’t a bad ass, mans-man mac and cheese then I don’t know what is.

  • 1 box of elbow macaroni
  • 3 tbsp truffle oil
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh basil leaves
  • A pinch of salt and pepper

Sauce

  • 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 slices cooked bacon, chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 tbsp dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups half & half 
  • 1 tbsp whiskey (I used a little Jack)

Topping

  • 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 1/2 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted

Cook the macaroni to your liking and drain. (I prefer al dente.). Add the macaroni back in to the pot and mix in the truffle oil, basil, salt, and pepper. While the pasta is cooking you can start on the sauce. But before you do, turn on your broiler to high.

Using a saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add in the bacon, garlic, and thyme. Add in the flour, half & half, and whiskey and bring it to a boil. After roughly 3 minutes of stirring, reduce to a simmer and add in 2 1/2 cups of the cheddar, mixing until sauce thickens. Then pour it over that delicious smelling truffle macaroni and mix until it’s fully coated. On to the topping. In a small bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, 1/2 a cup cheddar cheese and melted butter. Oil up your ramekins (I used eight 8oz ones) or a baking dish and distribute the macaroni. Sprinkle on the topping and a dash of fresh basil for some color.

Broil the dish for about 3 minutes. Keep a close eye on it as you don’t want it to burn.

 Truffled Mac & Cheese

Happy Eating, XO.

 

Foodie Fav: Surprise Cheddar Biscuits

The other day I was trolling Pinterest for some new breakfast ideas (because, who doesn’t love a good brunch on the weekend?) and I came across this super cute site – Vodka and Biscuits. She had me at vodka. I was also really intrigued by her cheddar and biscuits recipe – she had a soft boiled egg inside of a biscuit! Once you read how simple it is to make, you’ll smack yourself. Not to mention, these were to die for! Seriously. For any of you who read The Fault in Our Stars, I quote: “I want this [cheddar biscuit] to become a person so I can take it to Las Vegas and marry it.”

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter – cubed, cold
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese (shredded or block)
  • 2 tbsp chives – chopped
  • 6 oz. plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 eggs

Preheat oven to 475 and grease a baking sheet, and toss the butter in the freezer (cold better works best for biscuits!). Bring a pot of water to a boil and boil the eggs for roughly 8 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. Combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until combined. Drop in the COLD butter and pulse a few times until mixture is crumbly. Stop at this point – don’t want to overmix! Add the cheese and pulse until just combined.

Transfer into a bowl and gently fold in the chives. Stir the yogurt up and add to the mix. Combine with a rubber spatula until just combined. Remove eggs from shells. Using roughly 1/4 cup of dough, shape into a biscuit and place onto baking sheet. Press a well into the center to fit the egg in to. Form another biscuit and place on top of the egg, forming the biscuit around the egg. Use extra dough to cover up the sides of the eggs. Bake for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to 400 and bake another 6-7 minutes until golden brown. Top with melted butter and extra chives.

Surprise Cheddar Biscuit

Happy Eating, XO.

Arroz con Leche (Mexican Rice Pudding)

Ever since I got back from Portugal I’ve been in an international state of mind. It’s still pretty cold in Philly and I wanted something hot and sweet. I decided to toy with the idea of making a rice pudding and found a Mexican recipe for arroz con leche. Luckily, I had most of the ingredients in my fridge and although it was a lengthy cooking time, it was very easy to make. Also its funny how many cultures eat similar variations of rice pudding – North Indians make a twist on this called Kheer with cardamom. (Had to toss that tip out there since Jess is obsessed with cardamom these days, did you try her cookies?)

  • 1 tsp almond extract (my 1st batch I definitely put too much-yikes!)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup white, long grain rice
  • so the recipe said 7 cups of water I did like 3 cups I don’t get why you need 7 but just letting you guys know.
  • 1 handful of raisins (optional)
  • 1 handful of slivered almonds (optional)
  • 1 14 oz can of sweet condensed milk
  • 1 12 oz can of evaporated milk
  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Put the water, rice, and cinnamon in a medium-size heavy saucepan set over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, uncovered, and cook until the rice is tender, about 18 minutes. Strain out the excess liquid and reserve the rice. Return the rice to the saucepan. Stir in the evaporated milk, condensed milk, and whole milk (Along with the extracts I added to the original recipe, this is also where you could add the cardamom seeds-remove from pods) . Continue cooking over medium-high heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook, uncovered, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick, about 20 minutes. Add the raisins & almonds and stir well. Transfer the pudding to a serving bowl. Dust the top of the pudding with ground cinnamon to look pretty and serve!

FYI: this recipe is GLUTEN-free, Vegetarian, and serves 4-5 people.

Happy Eating, XO.