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Chocolate Peanut Butter Bites

Overhead shot of Chocolate Peanut Butter bites dusted in cocoa powder

I’ve found that I’ve occasionally forget to share some of the recipes we eat most in our house. One of the things we eat a lot of but rarely makes it to the site: snacks. We’re a huge snack family and the tradition seems to be continuing with our little guy. Sometimes our favorite dinner is a platter of snacks.

The peanut butter bites have been a staple of our sweet-tooth snack section. However, my version got a rather large overhaul once I started making Sarah Waldman’s version, from her cookbook. Over the past year or so I’ve been making small adaptions to the recipe, finally landing on the version below.

What I like most is that the recipe doesn’t have to be exact. I’ve made this recipe about 50 different ways, usually using up whatever we have on hand. However, it’s almost always guaranteed we have peanuts and peanut butters on hand, making these peanut butter bites quick and easy.

Read more and see the recipe.

The post Chocolate Peanut Butter Bites appeared first on Naturally Ella.

11 All-Star Ways to Cook Corn on the Cob

Corn season – it’s officially on! It’s the season to eat outside. And, it’s the season to eat with your hands – especially corn on the cob. What follows here is a round-up of corn-centric ideas to inspire you this summer.

11 All-Star Ways to Cook Corn on the Cob

Corn on the Cob Basics

  • These recipes are all about celebrating corn – shopping for the freshest corn, still in husk, makes a difference!
  • If you shuck the corn before grilling, keep an eye on it, it can get dried out. Try grilling in the husk to keep in steam.
  • If you boil the corn in a large pot, definitely shuck it before. Salt the water, boil for 3-5 minutes.
  • After cooking, if you want to get the corn off the cob to use in salads, sides and more, check out this method using a bundt pan (video -jump to :25 sec).
  • If you cook a lot of corn and remove it from the cob with the above method, try freezing it for future recipes!
  • Used cobs can be cleaned, placed in a stock pot and simmered to make a corn stock. Use the stock to bump up the flavor in corn-centric dishes (polenta, risotto, chowder).

11 All-Star Ways to Cook Corn on the Cob
1. Grilled Corn Kale Salad (The Almond Eater)  Throw a few chickpeas in this hearty kale salad, and call it a main. Probably couldn’t resist tossing a few cherry tomatoes while I was at it.
11 All-Star Ways to Cook Corn on the Cob
2. Baked Green Chilaquiles with Sweet Corn  (Bojon Gourmet)  A stunner from Alanna – love the idea of making these beautiful chilaquiles with any leftover grilled corn.
11 All-Star Ways to Cook Corn on the Cob
3. Corn & Chickpea Bowl with Miso-Jalapeño Tahini (Bon Appetit) If I could only have one salad this summer, this might be it. Chickpeas, avocado, herbs, summer corn, and an herby miso-tahini dressing – fresh, bright, and satisfying! A perfect, summery, one-bowl meal.

11 All-Star Ways to Cook Corn on the Cob
4. Grilled Corn With Harissa and Mint Recipe (Serious Eats)  This might be the most flavor-forward of all the options here, with a strong combination of harissa and cumin.

11 All-Star Ways to Cook Corn on the Cob
5. Coconut Corn Salad (101 Cookbooks) Five ears of corn, shaved in quick fashion, sautéed in a bit of butter. Tricked out beyond that with thyme, red onions, toasted almonds and coconut. So good!

11 All-Star Ways to Cook Corn on the Cob
6. Indian Corn on the Cob (La Petit Chef)  Apparently corn on the cob is an Indian street food thing and here’s a delicious looking version, with chaat masala as a flavor.

11 All-Star Ways to Cook Corn on the Cob
7. Elote Farro Tomato Salad (the Kitchen Paper)  This recipe takes the classic Mexican elite grilled corn, adds farro and turns it into a delicious salad.

11 All-Star Ways to Cook Corn on the Cob
8. Green Curry Broth with Summer Corn (101 Cookbooks) A thin green curry broth, fragrant with garlic, lemongrass, and ginger. Punctuated with fresh corn. There’s heat from serrano chiles, and zings of tanginess on account of the fresh lime juice. Spicy and summer in the best way.

11 All-Star Ways to Cook Corn on the Cob
9. Sofritas Style Burrito Bowls with Tofu, Lime Rice and Grilled Corn (Lauren Caris Cooks)  No one loves a good hippie lunch bowl more than me, and this one fits the bill. Love the grilled corn punctuation.

11 All-Star Ways to Cook Corn on the Cob
10. Grilled Corn with Sriracha Aioli (Minimalist Baker)  Another vegan masterpiece from MB – this recipe focuses on the vegan aioli, which looks amazing and flavorful.

11 All-Star Ways to Cook Corn on the Cob
11. Grilled Cilantro, Lime and Paprika Corn on the Cob (Blissful Basil)  Corn on the cob plus lime is a prety classic combination at this point, this vegan version uses coconut oil as an alternative to butter. 

11 All-Star Ways to Cook Corn on the Cob

Continue reading 11 All-Star Ways to Cook Corn on the Cob on 101 Cookbooks

Spicy Jackfruit Tacos (1-Pot Meal!)

Spicy Jackfruit Tacos (1-Pot Meal!)

Friends, the time has come to share this STUNNER of a new recipe with you.

Say hello to these SPICY Jackfruit Tacos that come together in less than 45 minutes in 1 pan! Huzzah!

The base for the tacos is jackfruit, which is rinsed, sorted, and chopped. The flavor comes in waves from onion, garlic, lime, chipotle peppers in adobo, and smoky spices.

The key to this recipe is infusing tons of flavor, adding enough moisture on the front end so the jackfruit “marinates” while cooking, and then turning up the heat near the end so you get a bit of a caramelized effect.

Spicy Jackfruit Tacos (1-Pot Meal!) from Minimalist Baker →

An Amazing Vegetarian Paella

Let’s make paella! You can absolutely do it, and for this veg-centric, California-inspired take on the Spanish classic, you don’t need a special pan. Many paellas feature various meats and seafoods, but vegetarian paella can be a revelation. This version is fully loaded with a rainbow of seasonal vegetables cooked into a saffron and paprika-scented rice based dream. 

Once you have the technique down, the adaptations can be endless. Paella is a great way to use up random seasonal vegetables in your crisper, and leftovers are A-plus. And I’m going to tell you how it can be week-night friendly. Really!
An Amazing Vegetarian Paella Recipe

You Don’t Need a Special Paella Pan

If you have a traditional paella pan, great! Use it. That said, don’t let the lack of a special pan foil your paella endeavors. I’ve successfully cooked paella in copper pans (a favorite), as well as stainless steel, and cast iron. Use what you have, the wider the better. I’m including instructions for two different sized pans in the recipe, please reference the head notes. 

How to Make Paella Weeknight Friendly

Paella can be a great, realistic go-to weeknight recipe if you do one thing. Keep this sofrito on hand. Have some ready in the refrigerator, keep back up in the freezer. If you have a bit of saffron and paprika around, with some broth, rice, and seasonal vegetables, you’re ready to make paella. And it’s quite simple.

An Amazing Vegetarian Paella Recipe

The Best Rice For Paella

Choosing the right rice for paella is key. Ideally, you want a short-grain, stubby paella rice, something like this, or this. Look for Bomba. Paella rices are celebrated for being able to absorb more water (or broth) than other rices, while maintaining structure. This translates to a paella with definition between grains – no mushy rice. I also love this article about choosing rice for paella with Russ Moore (of Camino in Oakland, CA). He uses a well-rinsed, local, Japanese short-grain varietal, and his paella is beautiful. If you do experiment with non-paella rice varietals, you’ll need to play around a bit and adjust the liquids.

Can I Use Brown Rice?

I’ve tried. I’ve tested 100% brown rice paella, and blends. Here’s the problem. Brown rice takes a lot longer to cook comparatively. So, the way paella comes together is the following. You get all your ingredients in the pan, stir once, and then leave it alone. This is half the battle when it comes to achieving a golden-crusted bottom (desirable!), see below. When you use brown rice, you end up with overcooked vegetables, because you need to cook it so long. My advice? Stick with tradition and use a short-grain paella rice.

The Trick to Achieving Soccarat Magic

Today’s recipe focuses on paella made indoors, in a modern kitchen. That said, many paella are cooked grilled, over open flame. One of the things you hope to achieve in either scenario is soccarat – that golden crusted rice bottom. The skill, of course, coming from just the right amount of toastiness – not too little, not burned. If you’re brave, give your paella a moment or so on a burner, after removing from the oven, to  increase your likelihood of some good soccarat! Takes some practice.

How to Make Vegetarian Paella Awesome

Here’s the deal, you need to load up on seasonal vegetables. Experiment! There are so many ingredients that are fair game here. I like ingredients with a bit of structure, that can handle some cooking time. Asparagus (thicker stem vs. skinny), baby artichokes, summer squash, fava beans, cherry tomatoes, peas, etc.

Paella Verde Variation

A green version of the paella you see pictured here is fantastic. Simply stir in 1/4 pound of well chopped spinach or kale with the other vegetables.

This recent paella bender was inspired by a beautiful paella birthday dinner cooked by my friend Bonni Evensen. You can see pics in my Instagram feed 🙂

Continue reading An Amazing Vegetarian Paella on 101 Cookbooks

Smörgåstårta – Savory Rye Sandwich Cake

Smorgastarta_1

Hey friends and happy midsummer! We spent midsummer eve at a friends house, dancing like frogs around a flower covered midsummer pole. It’s one of many weird traditions that we do in Sweden on this longest day of the year. Today we are off to Noma (as in one of the coolest restaurants on earth) to test their new plant focused menu that is launching next week. We’re very excited – obviously for Noma, but also for eating a fancy dinner together with zero kids around. Before we are leaving, I wanted to post this little recipe that we uploaded to our youtube a few days ago.

Just like frog dance, this savory layered sandwich cake is also a very Swedish thing. It is called smörgåstårta and is traditionally made by layering white bread with mayonnaise, creme cheese, whipped cream, dill, chives, shrimps, salmon and a bunch of other stuff. It’s basically like a sandwich gone wild. Even if we are not completely sold on the very heavy traditional version, there is something intriguing about the concept of a sandwich cake. So we made our own version, using rye bread and three colorful and fresh (but still quite rich) spreads in between. One green spread with avocado, dill and peas. One white spread with egg, sauerkraut and creme fraiche. And one purple spread with beans, beetroot and sunflower seeds. We cover it with cream cheese with a sting of horseradish and lots of finely sliced veggies and flowers. It looks great, is fun to make and really delicious. Sandwich cake FTW!

This is the perfect savory dish to make for a party, brunch or gathering with friends. You can easily half the recipe or make it vegan by skipping the egg layer and replacing the cream cheese with coconut cream. If you want to try a gluten-free version of this cake you could either simply use a gluten free bread, or bake 4 trays of our vegetable flatbreads (this option is a little time consuming but would probably taste amazing).

Check out this recipe video to see how we make it.

Smorgastarta_2

Smörgåstårta (Savory Rye Sandwich Cake)
Serves 12-16

Green Spread
300 g / 2 cups cup green peas
1 small lemon, juice
1 bunch dill, chopped
2 avocados, flesh scooped out
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large pinch salt

White Spread
6 hard-boiled eggs
250 g / 1 cup creme fraice or sour cream
2 tbsp capers
4 tbsp sauerkraut
a pinch black pepper

Purple Spread
1 cup sunflower seeds, soaked for an hour in water
1 x 400 g tin white beans, drained and rinsed
2 cooked beetroots, roughly chopped
1 small lemon, juice
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Assembling
36 slices of sourdough rye bread (or bread of choice), thinly sliced
500 g cream cheese
1 tbsp grated horseradish

Decoration
1 avocado, sliced or shaped into a rose
1/2 cucumber, sliced thinly
1 small bunch of asparagus, thinly shaved
1 lemon, halved and thinly sliced
mache lettuce
chives, finely chopped

Start by making the spreads. Add all the ingredients for the green spread to a food processor and mix until smooth (or use a bowl and a hand blender). Taste and adjust the flavour to your liking. Transfer to a bowl and clean the food processor.

For the white spread, peel and roughly chop the eggs, place in a bowl and gently stir through crème fraiche, capers, sauerkraut and a little black pepper. Set aside.

Drain and rinse the sunflower seeds for the purple spreads and add them to the food processor (or use bowl and hand blender) along with beans, beetroot, lemon juice, olive oil and a good grind of salt and pepper. Pulse a couple of times until combined but still a little chunky.

To assemble: Trim any hard ends off the bread and line up the rye slices so you have a rectangle, 3 slices wide and 3 slices long. Spread the green spread evenly on top and then place another layer of bread. Now layer they white spread evenly on top. Place another layer of bread, followed by the purple spread. Place the final 9 slices of rye on top. Add cream cheese to a mixing bowl and grate in the horseradish. Whisk to make sure it’s incorporated, taste and add more if desired. Use a palette style knife to cover the cake with a layer of cream cheese. Decorate with an avocado rose, ribbons of cucumber, shaved asparagus, machet lettuce, slices of lemons, chives and flowers. Or whatever you think looks good.

Tip: You can make this cake 12-24 hours ahead and store in the fridge to let the spreads soak into the bread and soften it up a bit. Then add the cream cheese and decorations right before serving.

The Best Sofrito to Use in Your Next Paella

There are a lot of reasons to keep a stash of sofrito on hand, but I’m going to focus on one. Having great sofrito means you’re on the fast track to great paella. Sofrito is the base magic. Keep it on hand in your refrigerator. Keep it in your freezer. It is the building block of many Spanish, Caribbean, Puerto Rican, Italian, and Latin American dishes, and it is much loved for good reason. It adds complexity and dimension to each dish you couldn’t achieve otherwise, and the variations are infinite.
The Perfect Healthy Granola Recipe

Here’s the deal. I’m going to argue that you need an hour to make great sofrito. Don’t let anyone tell you any different. Or, allow me to rephrase. You need an hour to make the style of sofrito that makes a paella like this one (Link tomorrow!) really wonderful. It requires time, because it is the long gentle sauté that brings out the sweetness of the onions. It’s the long simmer that brings together the layered flavors of tomato, rosemary, garlic, and green bell pepper. I’ve tried quick versions, and I’ve taken shortcuts when pressed for time – the resulting paella, just isn’t as good.

Other Uses for Sofrito

You can use sofrito as more than a cooking base. It’s delicious in its own right! It can have an unctuous jammy consistency perfect spread across a slab of hearty garlic toast, or dolloped as a finishing touch on a bowl of risotto. It’s great as the base for quick dressings that you can use to toss things like grilled asparagus, or broiled broccoli, or roasted cauliflower. Once you have a jar on hand, it becomes the essence of fast flavor, and your best weeknight friend.

The Perfect Healthy Granola Recipe
Storing Sofrito

My main advice – double the recipe. This means you should have enough sofrito for four rounds of paella. Cook, and then, after cooling, freeze half of your sofrito for later use. Use the other fresh, unfrozen half within the week.

Fresh Tomatoes or Canned?

You can use either! I’ve included amounts for both in the recipe below. If I have a glut of summer tomatoes, I use those. If canned tomatoes are more convenient, they work wonderfully as well. Go ahead and experiment. I find the fresh tomatoes put off more liquid, but work nicely.

Special Equipment

I like to avoid when possible special equipment when possible, and this is one of those cases. Many sofrito recipes have you run the cooked tomato mixture through a food mill or processor, both steps I avoid. I’ve found that grating the tomatoes on a box grater is a bit more work up front, but results in a consistency I like without any special equipment.

Continue reading The Best Sofrito to Use in Your Next Paella on 101 Cookbooks

Eleven Slushie Cocktails to Make This Summer

The slushie cocktails I bookmarked last summer, for this summer. I think it’s best that we stop at eleven here 😉 It’s my personal slushie list, inspired by some of my favorite cocktail maestros.

1. Frozen Mezcal Palomas(Serious Eats)
Number one on my list. From Julia Turshen’s much-loved Small Victories cookbook, you know these are going to be hard to beat. Get the recipe here.

Eleven Slushie Cocktails to Make This Summer

2. Frozen Sgroppino(PUNCH)
Vodka + Limoncello + Lemon Sorbet + Prosecco – preferably enjoyed in the sun somewhere on the Italian coast. Get the recipe here.

Eleven Slushie Cocktails to Make This Summer

3. Color-Changing Frozen Mojito(Buzzfeed)
Have to admit, I’m intrigued by this one. Red cabbage is infused into boiling water to create blue simple syrup. When the acid in the lime juice hits it, color shift! I think it’s in the Tasty cookbook, and you can see it play out in the video. Get the recipe here.

Eleven Slushie Cocktails to Make This Summer

4. Mango Coconut and Orange Vodka Crush(Heather Christo)
Fresh Mango and coconut milk, offset with orange and lime juices, and vodka. Get the recipe here.

Eleven Slushie Cocktails to Make This Summer

5. Friesling(PUNCH)
A case for swapping switching out your rosé habit. Some good guidelines and recommendations here. Recipes in right-hand column on this page.

Eleven Slushie Cocktails to Make This Summer

6. Cucumber Gin Slush(QUITOKEETO)
A go-to this summer. This one should go in the slushie cocktail hall of fame. I love the refreshing cucumber, gin, and limoncello trifecta. Get the recipe here.

Eleven Slushie Cocktails to Make This Summer

7. Peach Wine Slushes(Dessert for Two)
A simple as it gets, in the best way – fruity white wine + frozen peaches. Get the recipe here.

Eleven Slushie Cocktails to Make This Summer

8. Cherry Moscato Slush(Salt & Lavender)
I always stock up on frozen cherries (because I’m usually too lazy to pit them). Pair those with a bottle of moscato and a spike of lime, and this is where you’re at. Contender for best-looking slushie cocktail. Get the recipe here.

Eleven Slushie Cocktails to Make This Summer

9. Strawberry Dragonfruit Margarita(Host The Toast)
In addition to frozen cherries, I always stock up on frozen dragonfruit puree when I come across it. I can imagine a version of this using the puree being A+! Get the recipe here.

Eleven Slushie Cocktails to Make This Summer

10. Frozen Blood Orange Negroni(The Kitchn)
The classic Negroni is equal parts gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth. Here it meets the blender and gets rounded out with fresh blood orange juice. Yes, please. Get the recipe here.

Eleven Slushie Cocktails to Make This Summer

11. Bourbon Slush Punch(Smitten Kitchen)
Finishing strong. Literally. Smitten Kitchen meets Garden & Gun. This one looks a tad dangerous. Get the recipe here.

Eleven Slushie Cocktails to Make This Summer

Also, just in case you want to get serious and roll out your own slushie machine, you’re going to want to read this. Straight talk from the master: How to use a slushie machine. And, here’s a little tip sheet on Bon Appétit related to crafting your own frozen drinks. Lastly! I also love (and make a lot of) weeknight non-alcohol cocktails, let me know if you’d like me to do a list of those. Enjoy!

Continue reading Eleven Slushie Cocktails to Make This Summer on 101 Cookbooks

How to Make Pesto like an Italian Grandmother

If you’ve ever tasted pesto in Italy you know that the pesto here in the United States just isn’t the same. I received a lesson in how to make pesto from a real Italian grandmother last week and now I understand the difference and what makes it so.
How to Make Pesto like an Italian Grandmother

My friend Francesca makes the trip from her small town near the pesto-epicenter of Genoa, Italy to San Francisco once or twice a year – this time (lucky for us) she brought her mom and two-year old son Mattia. Her mom makes a beautiful pesto (and perfectly light, potato gnocchi to go along with it) and offered to show me and my friend Jen how it is done. I have to say, it was a complete game-changer. If you love pesto, you really have to try this. Her technique results in an incredibly special pesto.
How to Make Pesto like an Italian Grandmother

Chop by hand or blender?

Most of the pesto you encounter here in the U.S. is different for a few reasons. First off, most of what you see is made by machine, usually a food processor or hand blender. This holds true even if it is homemade. Don’t get me wrong, it usually tastes good, but because the ingredients aren’t hand chopped you end up with an texture that is more like like a moist paste and there little to no definition between ingredients.

During my lesson I quickly began to realize chopping all the ingredients by hand and not blending them is key because this prevents the ingredients from becoming a completely homogenized emulsion or paste. When you dress a pasta with a pesto that has been hand chopped the minuscule flecks of basil will separate from the olive oil in places, you get definition between ingredients, and bright flavors pop in a way they don’t when they’ve been blended into one.
How to Make Pesto like an Italian Grandmother

Choosing the right basil

Another thing, Genovese pesto is famous in part because it is often made with young, small basil leaves. For us non-Italians it is easy to find Genovese basil in stores and at farmer’s markets particularly in the summer, but chances are it wasn’t picked young. I wouldn’t worry about it too much, simply by hand chopping all your ingredients, you will see a major shift in personality of your pesto. If you grow your own basil, I’m envious.
How to Make Pesto like an Italian Grandmother

If you’re serious about making good pesto, using this technique, get a good, sharp (preferably large, single blade) mezzaluna, or a good knife – you’ll need it. Chopping the ingredients will take twenty minutes or so. Whatever you use to chop, make sure it has a sharp blade or the basil will turn dark. Once you chop your ingredients, you’ll form them into a cake, pictured above. You add olive oil to this cake, and it’s magic – below. 

How to Make Pesto like an Italian Grandmother

How to Store Pesto

Store any pesto you might use in the next day or two, refrigerated, under a thin film of olive oil. You can also freeze it in snack-sized baggies. Thaw and toss whatever gnocchi or pasta you like with it.

Let me know if you try this and what you think! Use your beautiful fresh pesto with this gnocchi recipe. Tutto bene!

Continue reading How to Make Pesto like an Italian Grandmother on 101 Cookbooks

30-Minute Quinoa “Fried Rice”

30-Minute Quinoa “Fried Rice”

When visiting Mexico recently, we found a little gem in the heart of Puerto Vallarta called Salud Super Food. They had tons of delicious smoothies, perfect oats, and bowls. Their Mediterranean quinoa bowl struck my eye one day, and I’m so glad I gave it a try. The veggies were perfectly seasoned and saucy, and I managed to get my daily serving of greens in one bowl!

But my biggest takeaway? 

30-Minute Quinoa “Fried Rice” from Minimalist Baker →