Archive | October, 2014

Raspberry Scones

19 Oct

IMG_6474

I was always a bit hesitant about scones. They seemed like muffins’ dry and boring cousin. But that was until I met Luke, a man obsessed with scones. So I actually began ordering scones in restaurants and cafes and found that when done right, they can be AMAZING! My favorites were ones where there was fruit involved, blueberries or strawberries. And I figured, that it couldn’t be too hard to try to make some…

You know how when you get a new cookbook, there are just some recipes that jump out at you and you KNOW you have to try it?! Regardless of the time or the steps, sometimes the picture or the name of a recipe jumps out of the cookbook to me. I know which recipes these were for each of the dozen cookbooks I own (an example, Chipotle and Rosemary Roasted Nuts from Barefoot Contessa’s How Easy is That? cookbook). One of these such experiences was with The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook (another fairly new favorite cookbook of mine, from the blog Smitten Kitchen) and her recipe for Whole-Wheat Raspberry Ricotta Scones.

I now had the perfect reason to make scones: I finally came to the conclusion these could be delicious, I could feed my husband a good portion of them (and earn some brownie points, perhaps) AND I had a great recipe to start from.

I made these the first time last Christmas, following the recipe to a ‘T’ from the cookbook. I loved them and thought they turned out incredibly moist and delicious. However, I wanted to make them again and put my own spin on them. Particularly, I wanted to experiment with using something instead of ricotta, as I don’t normally have that just ‘hanging out’ in my fridge.

So, this is my own spin on the recipe from Deb’s cookbook. I think the original recipe is great and highly encourage you guys to pick up her cookbook, flip to page 15 and give it a go. You can also try my twist on it below and see what you think!

I didn’t have whole-wheat flour on hand and used cottage cheese instead of ricotta, so the texture and taste of mine is slightly different. I personally loved the twist and will continue to make them this way in the future, especially as it means I likely could decide to make these and have everything I need on hand and not require any grocery store trips. However, making them with the original recipe gives more texture and makes them a bit thicker, due to the ricotta mixture. So it’s up to you!

Ready for scone-making? Here we go…

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 Tbsp cold unsalted butter
  • 1 c. fresh raspberries (or insert in another fruit you want to use, blueberries or strawberries could be great!)
  • 3/4 c. skim milk cottage cheese
  • 1/3 c. heavy cream

How to Make:

First things first, preheat your oven (which I always seem to forget to do) to 425. Next, prep your baking sheet by lining it with a big sheet of parchment paper. My parchment paper loves to just roll itself back up in a ball so I set a drinking glass on each end to help keep it in place. Genius move, I know.

Next up: dry ingredients. Measure out the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt and whisk it all up together in a medium-sized bowl.

IMG_6446

IMG_6447

IMG_6448

IMG_6449

IMG_6450

Now, butter time. Grab your butter directly from the fridge when you’re ready for this step. Chop it up into little cubes and then drop those directly into your bowl of dry ingredients. As I lacked a pastry blender, I went with the finger-mixing method. Gently work the butter into the dry ingredients until the large butter pieces start to become little pea-size guys. The butter should be mixed in enough that the dry ingredients just look a bit more like a sandy mixture, kind of with a breadcrumb consistency.

IMG_6451

IMG_6452

IMG_6453

With whichever fruit you decided to use, throw it on a cutting board and chop it up a bit. Strawberries you’d want to definitely chop down into smaller pieces but blueberries and raspberries can just get a quick rough chop and be all set. Once you’re done chopping, throw the fruit into the dry ingredients.

IMG_6455

IMG_6456

IMG_6457

Last, but certainly not least, measure out and throw in the cottage cheese and the heavy cream. Stir everything together gently, ensuring all the dry ingredients are exposed to the wet ingredients, soaking up all the dairy goodness.

IMG_6458

IMG_6459

IMG_6460

Once it all starts to come together and look like dough, pour out the batter on to a floured surface (cutting boards work well for this). Get your hands good and floured up too, as this is a sticky dough and it loves to hang out on your hands. Add some flour to the top of the dough and work it into a square that’s about an inch high. Now, cut the square into 9 smaller squares and transfer each square to your parchment-lined baking sheet.

IMG_6462

IMG_6463

 

IMG_6464

Bake ’em for 15 minutes or until the tops are just starting to golden up.

Sigh, they look and smell SO tasty, right?! Cool them for a few minutes in the pan, then move them to a wire cooling rack to fully cool.

IMG_6466

These are SUPER good when they’re still warm but they keep well in a Ziploc for a few days too. We loved having them on the counter to allow both of us to grab a quick breakfast on-the-go. They were also great for a snack or a little dessert at the end of the day. To be perfectly honest, they don’t last long on our counter as we both gobble them up pretty quick. I don’t even feel guilty about that, they’re so tasty and wonderful that we just can’t help ourselves.

IMG_6470

These got a big thumbs up from my husband, the scone-lover and I think you guys will REALLY love them too.

Highly encourage you guys to try these out and leave me a comment about how they go!

French Onion Soup Meatballs

8 Oct

IMG_6602
To carry on with delicious comfort fall foods, I have a main dish recipe that will blow the socks off your feet. Yes! Your socks will land in the other room and you won’t even care because you will be in the midst of devouring the most tender and savory meatballs.

Ok, so that may be a BIT of an exaggeration …a little bit…

But I can’t tell you enough how good these are so you must just trust me and make them yourself! Pleaseeee! And tell me how they turn out for you because I just know it’ll be a hit. A walk-off triple. Three and out for a rockstar defense. (Sorry, my husband’s coaching terms are rubbing off.)

Before we dive into meatball heaven here, I must disclose that I have a soft spot for meatballs. I don’t know what it is, but I think they’re one of my favorite comfort foods. I have favorite go-to recipes for tangy turkey meatballs with cranberry sauce  (one I’ve been meaning to share with you guys), another for BBQ meatballs that are great when you are sick and just want yummy, simple food and the ones I’ve shared with you here already – Spicy Turkey Meatballs, Barefoot Contessa style. Now I think I’ve stumbled into a fourth to keep in my arsenal of meatball go-to’s.

Now if you’re at all on the fence about meatballs (which, I’m sorry but I don’t QUITE relate), perhaps convincing you that these are like sinking your teeth into a delicious meat version of french onion soup, with the same drippy cheese and delicious cooked down onions. Except this…

…that cheese and onion that makes french onion soup SO good?!?

It’s INSIDE the meatballs!

Mind. Blown.

Right?!

So stay with me here, if you like anything I said above then all I can say is, you will love these babies. This recipe is adapted from the amazing recipe posted over at Cupcakes and Kale Chips. I cannot say how thankful I am for Brianne’s creation. My version is adjusted for ingredients we had in our kitchen and I note a few spots below that you could also experiment and make these your own.

Ingredients:

Onions / Filling (makes enough to stuff 15 or so meatballs, plus a bit extra):

  • 1 Tablespoon garlic infused olive oil (adds a little extra flavor, but normal olive oil works too)
  • 2 white onions, halved and sliced
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ¼ cup beef stock or broth (whichever you have on hand)
  • ¼ cup red wine (I used Shiraz as I’m obsessed and it’s always in our kitchen)
Meatballs (makes 15 or so meatballs):
  • 1 ½ lbs ground beef (you could use ground turkey if looking for a healthier option)
  • ¼ cup oats
  • 1 Tsp fresh parsley, roughly chopped plus extra to sprinkle on top, at the end
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 egg
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella (divide 3-4 oz into half-inch cubes for your meatballs – about 15 small mozz cubes – and slice up the remainder to place on top of the meatballs)
  • ½ Tbsp garlic infused olive oil (again, to add some extra flavor but normal olive oil will work too)
Meatball Sauce: 
  • 1 ¾ cup beef stock or broth (again, whichever you have on hand)
  • ¼ cup red wine (Shiraz for me again!)
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • S&P (to taste)

How to Make:

First thing that you’re going to get cooking is the onions. Halve and slice up the onions.
Aug-Sept 2014 028
After heating up the olive oil in a saucepan, add in the sliced onions, S&P and let it cook down and become fragrant for 15-20 minutes. Make sure to give this a stir with a spatula regularly to keep everything cooking.
Aug-Sept 2014 029
Aug-Sept 2014 030
Aug-Sept 2014 035
While your onions are cooking, start in on the meatballs. Mix ALL of the ingredients listed for the meatballs, except the mozzarella, together in a medium-sized bowl. Mix everything together using your hands or a spatula. Then, divide the meat mixture into 15 separate balls.
Aug-Sept 2014 034
Aug-Sept 2014 038
Back to the onions, once they’re carmelized and looking GOOD, add in your thyme, letting it cook in with the onions for a few minutes.
Aug-Sept 2014 031
Then add in the wine and beef stock / broth. This is when it hits you…these onions are going to be out of this world. And why have you never thought to cook onions this way? What is it about red wine and beef stock / broth that makes onions smell and taste so darn good?! I do not know the answer to that, but I admit that I snuck quite a few onions from the pan while everything reduced down.
Aug-Sept 2014 032
Aug-Sept 2014 033
Aug-Sept 2014 036
Sigh, good stuff. Let the onions cook down until there’s not much liquid left in the pan. Then remove from heat and let it cool a bit.
While those onions are making your mouth water, it’s time to prep your mozzarella. Divide about 3-4 oz of the mozzarella block into 15 small cubes. Put these on to a plate or in a bowl. Next to your mozzarella pieces, place your meatballs. Once your onions are cooked down and cooled, add them to your assembly line. Add an empty plate to the end, where you can place your finished meatballs.
Now for the fun part! We are stuffing these meatballs, guys. And it’s an imperfect process and that is a-ok.
No stressing, ok?!
To stuff each meatball, take one of the meatballs and flatten it in the palm of your hand.
Aug-Sept 2014 039
 Grab a small handful of onions and place those in the middle of the patty.
Aug-Sept 2014 040
 Place one of the small mozzarella cubes on top and then gently pat the meat mixture around the stuffing to make it back into a ball shape.
Aug-Sept 2014 041
This doesn’t turn out perfect looking meatballs, onions might be visible and mozzarella might be visible and it’s ok! Guess what?! It makes everything melty and wonderful and it will taste the same darn way no matter what they look like. So have fun, and stuff all of your 15 meatballs!
Now for this next step, I used my cast iron skillet as it’s stove top and oven friendly. If you have one, I’d recommend you use it for this next step as it’s super simple. If you don’t have a pan that is both stove top and oven friendly, not to worry. You can start with a skillet and then transfer to a oven dish after. As you decide on your skillet / oven dish of choice, preheat the oven to 350.
Heat up a the olive oil in the skillet and place all 15 of the meatballs in, one by one. Brown them on all sides, flipping them to ensure they’re browned all over. And again, don’t worry if they break a part a little bit.
IMG_6595
Aug-Sept 2014 043
Once the browning process is complete (and you’ve wiped that drool off your chin, because yes, these look and smell SO good at this point), mix up your sauce, whisking everything together. If you’re using the same pan from stove top to oven, then pour the sauce on top and carefully place in the oven. If you’re switching dishes, move your meatballs from the skillet to an oven dish and then pour the sauce on top before putting in the oven. Bake these delectable dudes for 15-20 minutes.
Aug-Sept 2014 044
Aug-Sept 2014 045
While those are baking, slice up the remainder of your mozzarella cheese and chop up some extra parsley for the top of the meatballs.
After the 15-20 minutes go by, pull ’em out and place the mozzarella on top. Pop ’em back in and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes. Bake until the cheese starts bubbling and starts to turn golden.
IMG_6601
Pull the meatballs out, garnish with the remaining fresh parsley and serve it up to hungry people. These will disappear faster than you can even fathom. They are drippy, cheesy, flavorful meatballs. They will rock your world and warm your insides. They would be perfect alongside some fresh veggies and some bread or grain that will soak up the juices on your plate. Nothing should be wasted here, friends!
IMG_6608
I hope you guys give this a go. It’s a new favorite in our home and will be for decades (we’ve made it twice in the last two months)!!
%d bloggers like this: