A few years ago, I planted one lonely thornless blackberry twig in my backyard. I nursed it and took care of it. But then I ran over it with a lawnmower….then I nursed it again. And now, I have 20 feet of blackberry bushes lining one full side of my backyard fence. It is a race between me, the squirrels, and the birds to see who can nab the blackberries first.
There may have been a time or two that I have stood in my backyard, gorging myself on these fresh thumb-sized blackberries. I’m too excited about the harvest and will eat so many that there isn’t any left to bring inside! I stare at my purple soaked fingers and sort of feel bad that I haven’t shared any with my husband… so naturally I have to lie and tell him that the birds got them… ALL. yes.. All of them. right out of my hands. It was a tragedy. Crying, Thrashing. Feathers everywhere. I promise I tried. They were ferocious….. But my purple lips and seeded teeth tell the real truth.
So needless to say I owed my husband some blackberry goodness. I gathered up a good bundle of blackberries and baked him this skillet gluten-free nectarine and blackberry crumble. He was pretty excited… mainly because he could add ice cream to it. I swear, that man would be happy with a dirt cobbler as long as you could put ice cream on it. :)
This recipe is my standard crumble topping. I use it on tons of different fruit crumbles. I added some lemon zest to the crumble to give it a light summery zip. You could easily swap out the fruit in this filling with peaches, raspberries, blueberries, etc. It is really easy to throw together for summer gatherings to use up all that fresh fruit produce that is flooding the markets. So give yourself and the ones you love a warm and awesome summer treat!
6 nectarines (Halved, pitted, and sliced with peel)
1 cup of blackberries
juice from 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder or cornstarch
Gluten Free Oat Crumble Topping
1 1/2 cups old fashioned gluten-free oats
1/2 cup almond meal
1/3 cup brown sugar or coconut palm sugar
1 teaspoon of lemon zest
5 tablespoons melted butter (plus a little extra to grease the baking dish)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 9-inch cast iron skillet or 8X8-inch baking dish and set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix all of the fruit filling ingredients. Spoon the fruit filling into the prepared skillet or baking dish.
In a medium bowl, stir together the topping ingredients. Mix the ingredients until it is crumbly and moistened. Lightly sprinkle the oat crumble mixture over the fruit filling evenly.
Bake for 40 to 50 minutes (or until the filling is bubbling and the crumble top is lightly golden brown). Remove the crumble from the oven and allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. This is delicious with vanilla ice cream for dessert or plain greek yogurt for breakfast!
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I really have to admit that, honestly, this Chicken with Morel Mushroom Sauce is one of my favorite dishes that I have ever made.
Honestly. Ever. I don’t know whether the magic of the sauce is from the morels or from the sherry-based sauce..or the heavy cream. Who knows. It’s good. Real good.
I came home to a huge bag of fresh picked morel mushrooms on my doorstep! A friend of mine foraged for them and thankfully decided to share his treasure! These puppies can go for as much as $40 per pound! We are eating like royalty over here!
With such a large bundle of morel mushroom-delights, I decided to prepare a recipe that was provincial and special: a french morel mushroom sauce. This sauce deserves a trumpet of announcement. It deserves to be served in a bowl with amazing a crusty baguette, if you can have it. Sop it up. Don’t waste this sauce. With only 1/2 cup of heavy cream added at the end, the sauce is not heavy but it is substantial. I also think that adding champagne vinegar or lemon juice at the end really brings this sauce home with a small acidic kick.
Note – If you are unable to get fresh morel mushrooms, either substitute the mushrooms for equal quantity of cremini or shiitake OR go online and purchase about 2 oz of dry morels. If using dry morels, you will need to rehydrate them. In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups water to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat off and add the morels to the saucepan. Cover the saucepan and soak the mushrooms for 30 minutes to rehydrate. Remove the rehydrated mushrooms out of the soaking liquid using a slotted spoon, gently squeezing out the excess liquid back into the saucepan. Reserve the soaking liquid.
3 pounds of bone in chicken thighs or breasts (skin removed)
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup minced red onion or shallot
1 pound fresh morel mushrooms, washed and cut in half if large (this is how I wash my morels)*
1 cup dry sherry
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon Champagne vinegar or lemon juice
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper up to one day in advance.
Add olive oil (or butter) in a large skillet placed over medium-high heat. Add chicken to skillet bone side up, and cook about 6 minutes per side, turning once. Allow the chicken to become golden brown on both sides. Remove the chicken and place on a plate.
Lower the heat to medium. If needed, add another tablespoon of olive oil and then add onion (or shallots). Sauté until soft and translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes. Then add washed morel mushrooms and sauté for a few more minutes. Use a slotted spoon and transfer the mushrooms to a separate plate. Add dry sherry to skillet and bring to a boil. Allow the sherry to reduce by half (about 2 minutes). Add chicken stock and chicken to skillet and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the skillet with a lid placed slightly ajar. Simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Check chicken after 20 minutes. After cooked through, transfer the chicken to a platter.
Add the mushrooms back to the skillet. Add cream, vinegar, and thyme. Simmer uncovered for about 5 minutes or until sauce begins to thicken. Add salt and pepper to taste. To serve, pour the sauce over the chicken on the platter. Sprinkle with additional cracked pepper and fresh thyme, if desired.
We all need a little treat now and then. For me, my favorite treat is always peanut butter eggs or dark chocolate peanut butter cups. Swooooooon. I don’t have them often, but when I do, I prefer the mini ones … Continue reading →
For my birthday, a friend of mine gave me an amazing cookbook by Rachel Khoo called My Little French Kitchen. I’ve been wrapped up in her delicious recipes, bright photos, and lovely stories about exploring regional french cuisine as she travels all around France! Ugh…Tough job, I know. I try not to get too bitter at the picturesque seaside photos around Normandy and the nonstop lavender fields of Provance…especially when my fingers are numb by just driving my car to work. Spring needs to come quickly.
As we say goodbye to winter, I am still cooking up stews and comfort meals. This cookbook offers plenty of that as well. There is a wonderful section in her book about Alsace, a northeastern region of France, bordering Germany. The recipes in this section are hearty, winter-loving, comfort foods. One of my favorite recipes in the Alsace region of her book is called Baeckeoffe or “Baker’s Oven Stew”. The history behind the stew refers to a time when french women would often bring this casserole to the baker in the morning on their way to the river to wash their clothes. The baker would bake it in the coolest part of the oven all day. The women would then pick up the baked stew and a loaf of bread for dinner on their way home. Hence the name Baeckeoffe or literally Baker’s Oven.
As I started thinking more and more about that story, I couldn’t help but feel so sorry for those poor women. Those women had to lug that huuuuge cast iron casserole pot full of meat and wine to the baker’s shop PLUS haul their whole families’ stinky laundry to the river in the winter! Then they spent all day doing laundry in a cold river. They then had to pick up a fiery hot casserole and hoped that they wouldn’t drop it or get on their newly cleaned clothes. Hmm…Makes my issues seem pretty petty.
The original recipe used several different cuts of beef (oxtail and beef cheeks) and none of the spices that I mention below. Buuuuut I had a leg of lamb staring me down in my freezer that needed to be used. So there. I decided to adapt the recipe by using lamb and several warming spices such as cinnamon, coriander, cumin, and smoked paprika. These spices pair very well with lamb. It gave the stew a hearty and warm balance. If you don’t have lamb, you can sub out a 3-pound chuck roast and leave out the cinnamon and coriander. This stew is so easy and can be easily adjusted for whatever you have on hand. Don’t have red wine? Use white. Don’t have white? Use chicken or beef stock. Seriously… this is like the compost of all stews. And yet it comes out like magic.
Oh and let’s talk about that lovely top, shall we? It is just a butternut squash and a sweet potato that have been thinly sliced and layered around like a flower petal. It’s quite a treat to take the top off of this stew when it is done and see that beautiful rose and smell the amazingness that wafts out. Just think of it as your winter flower.
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into thin slices
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into thin slices
Place the lamb in a large glass bowl or baking dish and toss with the cinnamon, coriander, cumin, smoked paprika, salt, garlic, and pepper. Use your hands to massage the seasonings into the lamb meat. Pour the wine over the meat so that it is submerged. Cover with plastic wrap or a lid and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours (and up to 24 hours).
When ready to cook the stew, preheat the oven to 325F. Remove the marinated lamb from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before cook time.
In a large 6 to 8-quart Dutch oven, add lamb and marinade, onions, carrots, tomatoes with juice, water, bay leaves, and parsley. Stir and bring to a gentle boil. Remove from heat.
Neatly and tightly place thin slices of squash and potato around the edge of the pot. The layers will begin to look like flower petals as shown in the above pictures. Continue layering the slices and lay them over the top of the stew until it is covered. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Place a sheet of parchment paper on top of the stew and then place the lid on top. Bake in the preheated oven for 3 to 4 hours, until the lamb is tender. Remove the lid and parchment paper. Increase the heat to 450 F and bake for 5 to 10 minutes to crisp the top. Serve immediately.
Notes – you can easily use a 3-pound chuck roast in this recipe instead of lamb.
I recently brought this easy Black Bean Soup to a pot luck lunch party at my office. It was a breeze. I actually threw all of the ingredients in the slow cooker in the morning in my office and let it cook there until lunch time. The big problem was that I let it cook in my office next to my desk. I nearly ate my arm off trying to not dive head first into the slow cooker and devour the entire thing.
But thankfully I had enough self control to hold off until it was time to serve so that everyone could try it. You’re welcome people!
I recommend this recipe for anyone looking for something super easy and cheap during the weeknight, weekend, or even for entertaining. This is an all around great soup! If you are going on a ski vacation and want to come home to something hearty and wholesome… this is your soup. If you are just coming home from a long work week, this is your soup. If you are having some friends over for game night, this is your soup.
I promise it to be a winner. It will satisfy both meat eaters and veggie eaters! It also will be easy on your pocket book and be super stress free.
Place two of the four cans of black beans (with liquid) in the bowl of a food processor or in a blender. Puree for about 15 seconds. Add pureed black beans and remaining ingredients through salsa into a slow cooker. Cook on low for at least 6 hours or high for 3 hours.
Just before serving, stir in half of cilantro and juice of 1 lime. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve with greek yogurt (or sour cream), chopped scallions, lime wedges, and additional cilantro.
*Note – this recipe can definitely be made with dried black beans but will take about 2 hours longer to cook. Rinse and soak them overnight. Drain them and then puree half of them (about 4 cups) with 2 cups of water. Add all ingredients to slow cooker as mentioned above. Cooking time will increase by 2 hours, with it taking 8 hours on low and 5 hours on high.
I’m so sorry. INCREDIBLY sorry. I have been M.I.A. for a month. I need to grovel and ask for your forgiveness…. soooo….. I made brownies. Nothing says I love you and I’m sorry for being away like chocolate + butter + … Continue reading →
Hello. My name is Alissa and I am an oatmeal-aholic. I am. *sigh*
My all time favorite oatmeal flavor is cinnamon apple. However, my recent new oatmeal passion is this Banana Nut Oatmeal.
I love oatmeal with allof my heart. I actually look forward to having oatmeal every morning. It’s my favorite breakfast and my favorite thing about chilly mornings. Nothing is more cozy to me than a warm comforting bowl of oatmeal. It’s like getting a hug from your favorite person while wearing wool socks in front of a cozy fire in a fabulous log cabin with Otis Redding on repeat on the record player.
I’ve been making this delicous Banana Nut Oatmeal every morning lately which is the perfect marriage between banana nut bread and creamy oatmeal. It is also a fabulously healthy way to start your morning during this crazy holiday winter season. The chia seeds and flax seeds help boost the nutrition, fiber content, and protein content which will help you stay full throughout the morning.
I typically work out in the mornings and have to hurry myself getting ready and end up eating breakfast at work while checking my emails. That is why I prep my breakfast the night before. I add all of my oatmeal ingredients to a microwave safe container and simply add liquid in the morning when I get to work and heat ‘er up! So whether you are rushed or have some spare time, this breakfast is perfect for you. You can either throw all of the ingredients into a bowl and refrigerate overnight before making it in the morning or you can cook it in a saucepan on an oven and fill your home with amazing aromas. This recipe also serves 4 hungry people. You can either make the whole batch and eat leftovers all week, or cut it down and make it for solo servings.
But trust me, this breakfast is so delicious that none of it will go to waste if you make extra! Invite me over and I will help you out! I’ll bring the coffee!
Stovetop – Place water, almond milk, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Add chia seeds, flax meal, rolled oats, and cinnamon to the saucepan. Turn down heat and allow to cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom. Dice up one banana and add to saucepan and stir. Allow to cook for an additional 5 minutes, adding a bit of water if needed. Remove from heat. Spoon into four bowls, topping each with remaining sliced banana, chopped pecans, and coconut palm sugar.
Make Ahead – Place all water, almond milk, salt, chia seeds, flax meal, rolled oats, and cinnamon a large bowl, stir, cover, and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, stir and spoon out into four separate bowls. Dice a banana on top of each bowl and add water to desired consistency. Microwave each bowl for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir oatmeal and top each bowl with remaining sliced banana, chopped nuts, and coconut palm sugar.
This Black Eyed Pea stew provides all the good luck that you’ll need for the new year. Well, don’t quote me on that. You may need some other luck besides this stew. So cross your toes and buy a rabbit foot. … Continue reading →