Am I pretentious for liking cheese straws more than Cheez-It’s?

I recently purchased a pack of cheese straws at Food Lion after a long sabbatical without them, even though I have loved them since I worked at World Market in 2010 and would sample (read: steal) the fancy, international snacks offered at the back of the store. I have since become more and more invested in my health, most likely due to maturity and old age (I’m 33 and my body is falling apart 😫), so I swore off chips, and anything similar.

However, I noticed that this particular package of cheese straws boasted only 150 calories for 6 pieces. My new thing is 100 calorie snacks; if each snack I eat is 100 calories, I may actually make my daily intake low enough to lose weight. I’m not starving myself, and I try to consider the nutritional value for most things I eat. But, cheese straws!

Anyway, I brought them home, my husband asked what a cheese straw was, and I described it as a ‘fancy Cheez-It.’ I suppose it could also be considered the ‘adult Cheez-It.’ The side of the box suggests pairing your cheese straw with a glass of wine, prosciutto or apple slices. Cheez-Its are probably more likely to address their younger clientele. Even so, it’s essentially the same thing right? So why do I not like Cheez-Its but love cheese straws?

I’ll admit I like the finer things in life. As much as my husband hates it, I love the restaurants that create wildly inventive plates with ingredients you’ve never heard of. Farm to table, small plates, seasonal menu; these are all favorite things of mine but are also considered to be snobby, hipster shit. I’d rather have a little bit of something nice than a lot of whatever. Nick likes diner menus, and I’ll enjoy it once in awhile, but there’s usually no health benefits there. I’m not the kind of person to order a salad everywhere I go, especially because diner salads are usually shit.

I think, in the end, I like to feel fancy. And maybe the form of Cheez-Its vs cheese straws is different, and those differences matter to me. Maybe eating fancy, in a silly way, makes me think I’m eating better too. And even though I know the realities of drinking a glass of wine at lunch, the romantic ideal of it lingers in my mind. I want grapes and Prosecco, cheese straws, thin slices of Havarti, tiny pickles and a beautiful outdoor setting to enjoy it.

…What do you know, I guess I am a white, upper middle class woman.

Love,
Feisty

Advertisements

Money and Gold

Happy 2018! Despite the worst weather we’ve experienced in awhile—25 degrees as the high!—a new year always brings hope for me. Hope I’ll be better at what I do, hope that I’ll end the year proud of what I accomplished. And while hope is a very good thing, you are also going to need a helping of luck. 😉

Years ago, I was doing research on lucky foods for New Years, wanting something that I could make a tradition out of. Enter the classic perogi, little purses filled with ‘money’ and ‘gold’ (sauerkraut and cheese). They are perfect, delicious and easy. Time consuming but oh so worth it. 👌

PEROGI
Makes 2 dozen

Dough
1.5 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. water
1 egg
1/8 c. sour cream

Filling
1/2 lb. potatoes
1 T. sour cream
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. sauerkraut, drained
1 c. shredded sharp cheddar 

To serve
2 T. butter
1/2 small onion, sliced
sour cream

Whisk together flour and salt for dough. Whisk egg then add sour cream and water and whisk until combined. Add to flour. 

Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until a shaggy dough forms. As I mixed my wet ingredients in, I must have mismeasured my dry ingredients because the dough was way too wet! If this happens to you, keep adding flour until it becomes a dough you can handle. 

Knead dough with hook attachment in stand mixer for 5 min, or by hand for 8 min, until smooth and soft.

Cover with a dish towel and set aside to rest on the counter. Be sure to flour the surface before placing the dough! When working with dough, flour is your best friend.

Scrub potatoes clean and place them in a pot with water to boil over high heat. Simmer on medium low heat until potatoes can be pierced easily. Drain and mash, then mix in salt and sour cream until smooth. Add sauerkraut and cheese and stir to combine. 

Shape filling into 1 inch balls (the size of a quarter) and arrange on a plate. I used a 1 inch cookie scoop which was helpful to keep size consistent, but I’ve done it by hand many times which works too. It’s important to keep the balls at 1 inch otherwise making the perogis will be difficult. 

Just a bit of clarification; I added thyme to the filling because I had it in my fridge and why not? The great thing about this recipe is it is very easy to customize.

Line a large baking sheet with wax paper and sprinkle with flour. This will be where you place your finished perogis. Roll dough to 1/8 inch thickness and cut using a 3 inch cutter or drinking glass. 

To shape perogi, hold dough in palm and set ball of filling in middle. Fold in half, pinching it closed at the top and working to the sides. 

Boil until they float, stirring occasionally so they don’t stick to the bottom. You can eat them as is, adding sour cream, bacon, tomatoes, etc. My favorite way is pan fried with butter and onions, served with a side of sour cream. Yum yum! 

Crispy, creamy, delicious and completely homemade, that’s the Feisty way! ;). Also, if you have leftover dough, you can roll it thin and slice it for fresh pasta. I haven’t tried it yet, but that’s what I’m doing with mine.

Happy New Year my loves, and here’s to delicious food and luck in 2018! 🥂

Love,
Feisty

Spotlight On: the Nutribullet

I love this little guy. $69.99 for a combination blender and food processor with only two pieces to wash!

Now, a small disclaimer: as great as this guy is, it’s not the best for making pesto. For those not familiar, the final step in making pesto is streaming oil into the basil mixture as it is running. You can do that with a food processor; if you’re a food aficionado like me it’s great to have all the tools! 🙂

I usually use my nutribullet to make smoothies, pictured above. My go to recipe is a fresh banana, a combination of frozen fruit, almond milk and honey. This particular smoothie was made with frozen raspberries, blueberries, mango and pineapple. The convenience of the nutribullet plus the affordability of buying store brand frozen fruit and bananas means I have at least 2 smoothies every week! 

Besides smoothies, I’ll grab the nutribullet to blend up sauces and dressings as well. Like pumpkin vinaigrette or homemade enchilada sauce, or this delicious cilantro garlic sauce! Which goes great with chicken, steak, shrimp, or any Mexican themed dish! Like on tacos 😛

Cilantro Garlic Sauce

BLEND: 
2 smashed garlic cloves
1 c. chopped cilantro
2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. olive oil
2 T. fresh lemon juice (1 lemon)
1/8 tsp. cayenne 

And that’s it! Definitely worth the price if you like to cook/make food from scratch. 

Love,
Feisty

Freeze Your Food

No not Lean Cuisine or Digiorno’s (though I’ve got both in the freezer right now, sometimes a girl needs a break), I’m talking homemade food. It is my new favorite thing to freeze food I’ve made. Generally a recipe yields more than me and my man will eat at one time, and gone are the days of forcing yourself to eat the same thing 4 days in a row!
Here’s what you could make & freeze right now:

Pulled pork– unsauced, measure 1 cup into each bag. BTW, I use sandwich bags. Probably not great super long term but it’ll be fine for a month or two. I’ve never posted a recipe because it’s so damn easy. Pork shoulder or butt in the crockpot, add liquid (chicken broth, Dr. Pepper, beer, etc.), then on Low for 8-10 hours. Then shred and remove fat and bone. So yum!

Biscuits– I have made biscuits for years (my recipe post from 2012!) but it didn’t occur to me until recently to freeze the dough! I would leave it in the fridge, it would get gross, and I would be sad. No more! Replace milk with buttermilk in that recipe for buttermilk biscuits. 😀 Anyway, once you roll it out, just cut out biscuits and place them on a tray covered with wax paper and place into freezer until solid, then throw them into a bag. Ahh biscuits for LIFE. (Bake 5 min longer if from frozen)

Gnocchi– Yes, I just posted this here, and I still have some left over! I already made one dinner with it and it was arguably better because after I boiled the gnocchi until it floated, I threw it in with the tomato sauce pot and it soaked up the sauce so wonderfully. Maybe I just really love tomato sauce…

Pierogis– My love, my ultimate comfort food, the pierogi 💕  I used to gorge myself on Mrs. T’s Pierogis as a youngun, and then I grew up and found a recipe that is now my New Year’s Day tradition (little purses!). I’ve never posted my recipe until now!  Time consuming but so worth it.

Love,

Feisty

Make Your Own Gnocchi

Disclaimer: I do not order gnocchi at restaurants so I had no idea what they were supposed to look like! So don’t judge my funny looking gnocchi 🤓

So, I have wanted to make gnocchi for awhile now and I finally did it tonight! I love anything that is simple yet sounds impressive. This recipe is literally 3 ingredients and 2 of them are staples in my kitchen. Let’s get to it!

Gnocchi

2 russet potatoes
1-2 cups flour 
1 egg
s & p

First, boil your potatoes. Stick them whole in a pot, cover with water, add salt and walk away. I suggest doing this way ahead of time so you can get them cooked and cooled. Mine took 45 minutes or so; just keep pricking them with a fork until you can slide it in easily. Set potatoes aside to cool.

Once cool, peel potatoes and mash in a bowl. Mix in one egg, then add flour. I used 2 cups but it’s really dependent on the size of your potatoes. Add s&p to your liking at this point as well. Honestly, you could add anything you want, like dried herbs or Parmesan. You want a crumbly, shaggy dough. It’ll look like this: 
Dump it onto a floured surface and knead it together until it’s not sticky and comes together. 
Next you are going to grab a handful of it, roll it in a bit of flour and then roll it out into a long snake. 
Maybe it’s supposed to be thinner? I really should’ve done some gnocchi research before I made them…once you’ve got your snake, cut it into 1/2 inch pieces. Mine were more like an inch. 🤷🏻‍♀️ 
Looks kind of like a spinal cord! 🎃 Set them aside until you’ve snaked and cut the whole mound. Some people press or run a fork into the pieces because classic gnocchi has lines? I couldn’t figure it out. Maybe next time 😉 When ready to eat, drop them into boiling water until they float to the top, usually about 3 minutes. I used them in this recipe, switching out parsley for spinach and adding lemon juice. 👅
If you only have 2 mouths to feed like me, you will have leftovers. Lay them out on a sheet pan covered with lightly floured parchment paper and let them air dry for an hour. Then put in freezer until frozen solid (45 min-1 hour) before throwing them in a freezer bag for storage. 
Little potato dumplings! Did you know you could make it with ricotta too? Yum yum! Such an easy, fancy-sounding food. 😄

Love,
Feisty

Smores Bar 2.0

Ok first, I am the least like a real food blogger anymore, since blogging a meal I’ve made within that week is no longer a reality. Or even blogging more than once a year. 😉 But the food’s good and I gotta share it, ya dig?

So SMORES BAR. So delicious, and previously mentioned here as my first commissioned (!!) baked good. Buttery graham cracker crust, smooth chocolate and topped with a thick layer of toasted meringue. Ooey gooey but I always felt a little too sweet.

So I tweaked the recipe and now here we are. A smores bar so great there’s only 1 picture of it because we gobbled it up every chance we got.

SMORES BAR REDUX

crust
2 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/2 c. melted butter
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt

ganache
2 c. chocolate chips
2 c. cream

flüff
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. light corn syrup
1/4 c. water
1/4 tsp. salt
2  egg whites
1/4 tsp. cream of tarter
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

350*. Line a square baking dish (8×8 or 9×9) with foil or parchment. Mix ingredients of crust together and press into baking dish. Bake 10 minutes.

Measure chocolate and cream with same measuring device (weigh 16 oz or use 2-cup measurement), placing chocolate in a heatsafe bowl and cream into a saucepan. Heat cream over medium until bubbles form on sides and you see steam.  Pour hot cream over chocolate and let sit for 10 minutes. When time is up, whisk quickly until chocolate and cream combine; mixture should be smooth and uniform in color. Pour over cooled crust and let sit in fridge for 1 hour.

For flüff, combine sugar, corn syrup, water and salt in a small saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer over medium high. Boil together until reaches 240*.  Before mixture reaches temperature, beat egg whites with cream of tarter in mixer until soft peaks form.

When syrup is ready, slowly drizzle in as egg whites beat on low. When all is added, turn mixer to medium high and beat until thick and glossy. Add vanilla extract and beat until incorporated.  Spread over cooled chocolate and broil or torch until toasty brown.

Baby it’s worth it.
yum yum yum yum yum yum

love,
👩🏻‍🍳
feisty

Easy Recipe of the Week: Roasted Tomatoes 

  To all my readers and friends, I’ve been wanting to tell you all the ways I’m in a different place than I was two weeks ago.  Two weeks ago to this day, Nick and I packed our endless amount of stuff into the truck (down two flights of stairs no less), raced to South Boston, then emptied the entire truck into our new house! 

Since then, the house is laid out the way it should. In two weeks, we got a lawnmower, tv stand and a 9′ x 12′ rug for the living room (all hardwood floors). I enjoyed laying low for a week, reading this great book my sister gave me for my birthday (The Girls), but alas, a girl needs a job. I walked into Bistro 1888 looking to be a food runner, but they were so over the moon about my bakery experience, Chef Margaret has decided to ‘show me how to make everything on the menu.’ In short, it’s prep work, making dressings, sauces and marinades, and eventually, desserts. 😍 One of my tasks included peeling and chopping roasted tomatoes, and it looked so tasty I decided to make them at home! 

This is easy easy, and the possibilities for them are endless. Eat it on toast as bruschetta or mix it into risotto, like me!

Roasted Tomatoes

Roma Tomatoes
Olive oil
S & P/other spices as desired

Start by chopping your tomatoes in half lengthwise. Cut a ‘V’ in the top of both halves to core the tomatoes.   
Place tomato halves cut side up on an oiled rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and spices. I added dried thyme, and dried basil or oregano would work as well.

Bake at 400* for 30-40 minutes, depending on how much you have. I did 5 total, 4 homegrown (smaller), and unfortunately my new oven burns much hotter than its reporting to me. I put them in at 375* for 35 minutes and didn’t think much until my husband walked past and asked what was burning. No worries, the tomato skins got black but that’s exactly what you want!
 
Let cool completely, then remove skins  (should be very easy) and chop. Cook it into tomato sauce, fold into dinner dishes, eat alone on toast with olive oil and basil. Yum yum!

Love,
Feisty

Blog at WordPress.com.