Monthly Archives: December 2013

ReelBeets: Blue cheese gougeres and a video!


Le first video post, my friends! Dear Smitten Kitchen, thank you again for following through on this delicious recipe. Blue cheese and black pepper light and fluffy appetizer puffs? Please and thank you. This was filmed in my friend Cessie’s kitchen, and filmed by our fabulous videographer friend Walle.

Are you ready for fancy, ooey, gooey, yummy, cheesy, sassy puffs? Dig in and join the holiday party! Merry merry Christmas dear friends. Also, get all gussied up and wear your holiday ribbons in your hair, k?

It’s an iPhone video, bear with us 🙂



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Samosas Round 2: Lamb, Sweet Potato, and Pea Samosas


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So I ate a REALLY GOOD lamb samosa from a package yesterday and was so curious about how I could re-create the hearty spice of a lamb samosa mixed with the richness of a sweet potato. I’ve seen a few sweet potato + lamb recipes before, but really, I adapted a strictly lamb-based samosa to create these as my parsnip samosas came out a little too sweet for my liking last time.

Keep your eyes peeled for the first video post in the works! This is my first try so stay patient with me here. Ok I love these samosas because they are very forgiving. I started with happyyolk’s referenced Saveur recipe for the dough after trying a healthier one last time. For a baked samosa, you’re not going to get much better than this. The dough is not super flakey like a galette kind of dough, but it has just enough butter to give it enough flake to have a crunch to it. If you’re not frying these babies, then that’s the closest you’re gonna get.

There’s a methodology to this madness guys. Don’t put yourself in a cook vs. baker category. We can do both here. Get the dough right and you’ll be much more confident experimenting with the filling. Besides, I told you already, there’s butter in this dough, so if you are lacking a little flavor in the filling, you still got the butter going for ya.

Are you one of those people that wants a filling-ish appetizer? I am. I need one of these meat and potato pockets to keep myself going until dinner-time. Whatever time you eat these, they are a good afternoon snack or appetizer.

Here’s how we start. First, prep your dough. Follow Saveur’s recipe to make the dough. They suggest using around 6 tablespoons of water, but mine came out to about 8. And if you have a food processor, by all means use it here. Wrap up your dough and let it refrigerate while we make the filling.


1 sweet potato, cooked in the microwave until mostly soft, about 6-8 minutes

1/4 lb ground lamb

2/3 cup frozen peas

1 onion, chopped

2 big or 3 small garlic cloves

2 TBS olive oil

1/2 tsp tumeric

1 tsp curry powder

1/2 tsp coriander

3/4 tsp cumin

a pinch of whole mustard and whole cumin seeds (and fenugreek if you have it)

1/2 tsp salt

1/4-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock, plus more in case

Start by toasting your whole mustard and cumin seeds to bloom the spices. If you don’t have these, don’t worry about it. Honestly I was just experimenting with using whole seeds :). Once fragrant, empty into a small bowl and set aside.

Heat olive oil on medium heat, add your chopped onion and let soften until translucent, about 5 minutes. Then add garlic for one more minute. Add in the curry powder, cumin, salt, coriander, tumeric, and coat the onion and garlic with them.

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Add the lamb and break it up into small crumbles. Peel your soft sweet potato and cut into small chunks while the lamb starts to brown. Once it browns, add in your sweet potato. Now add in your hot pepper flakes and the whole toasted seeds. At this point, the oil will be mostly taken by the lamb, so add in your chicken stock and add the frozen peas.

Let it simmer on medium heat, slowly breaking up the sweet potato as it softens. Continue to add chicken stock if it looks dry. Once the peas have lost their frost, turn the heat down to very low, put a cover on the skillet, and let the filling absorb the stock and spices. The point here is to make sure you’ve got a thick enough filling.

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There’s no worry on this step, timing and look of the filling is entirely up to you and your eyes only. Just think about what texture you want when you bite into a spicy pillow with a little crunch on the outside. Now we’re in a happy place! One it looks about ready, turn off the heat, cover, and lets get those pillows ready.

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Take the dough out of the fridge and prep your oven to 450 degrees F. Break off your dough into ten even pieces and roll them into little balls. I cut the dough in half and made each half into 5 pieces. Cover the balls you are not using with a towel. Starting with the first ball, roll it into a flat circle. Add a spoonful of filling on one half, making sure there is room at the edge for crimping. Swiftly fold over the other side into a half moon and press the top and bottom layer together lightly to close. Some of your filling might puff out, that’s okay! It’s rustic remember.

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Starting at one end, fold the edge together toward the filling, snuggling in the pocket. Continue to fold the edges over one another, crimping the open edge inward so it again, “snuggles” the filling in tightly! It’s okay if it doesn’t work out the first time, you’ll get the hang of it. The key is to just keep going in the same direction so there are no air pockets in the seam. Place the samosa on a greased cookie sheet and continue with the others, until you have 10 samosas.

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Bake for 15 minutes at 450 on the middle rack, then turn the samosas over and cook for another 3-5 minutes until both sides are speckly golden brown. Let cool for about 5-10 minutes. Enjoy with some chutney, Indian pickle, or by itself!

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Sister favorites: Shrimp Broccoli Pasta with Lemon and Garlic


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This is a dish that has a long-standing history with my family. It’s kind of funny because we don’t really have a recipe, and everyone thinks of it as a different dish based on their preferences. My sister loves asparagus and lemon, my Mom loves broccoli and garlic so she thought that was supposed to be in it, and my Dad loves spicy red pepper flakes in his. Me? I want everything cooked perfectly and for the flavor to be RICCHHH 🙂

I have adapted a few different ways we cook it to basically my base for all olive oil sauces. For one thing, I really like my broccoli not too crunchy but not too soft either. I want the sauce to not have cream, but I want it to still be a sauce and not a broth. I want there to be that delicious white wine flavor and lemon acidity, but I don’t want to make a sour face while I’m eating this. No one said you can have the best of both worlds (ok maybe Miley did) but in this case, I think you can!

By the way, here’s a snapshot of what happens when two people who love each other hug and get their earrings caught, lol. The kitchen is a dangerous place.

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Here’s my ingredient list:

1 bag of broccoli florets, about 1 head, chopped

1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for taste

1 lb deveined raw shrimp (I used frozen, fresh obviously works

5 big cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 small pinches red pepper flakes

1-2 lemons

kosher salt

fresh black pepper

cooking water (see instructions)

1 lb long pasta (linguini is our favorite, I had spaghetti on hand here)

fresh Italian or curly parsley

1. Boil water for your pasta in a large dutch oven/pasta pot.

2. Place a steamer basket in water simmering in a small pot. In two batches, or one if your steamer basket fits all the broccoli, steam your broccoli for 2-4 minutes, until the florets are turning bright green but not quite soft! This is just the way I like it to get a little crunch off it

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3. Once the water is boiling, add pasta and season with salt. Set a cup next to your pot to save some cooking liquid after the pasta is almost done.

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4. Meanwhile, thaw your shrimp if frozen in a colander by rinsing with very cold water. I like to leave the tails on, but take them off if you prefer.

5. Heat a wide saucepan/skillet and add your 1/4 cup oil. Once warm, add your garlic. This can burn so watch carefully! I’d only cook it for 1-2 minutes just until it becomes fragrant. Then, add your half cup of wine, and turn up the heat just for a minute to cook off the alcohol.

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6. Continuing with the sauce: Zest half of a lemon into the sauce, sprinkle about 2 big pinches of kosher salt, some cracked pepper, and the juice of 1-2 lemons. Add in the partially cooked broccoli, and add enough red pepper flakes to your liking.

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7. Save some cooking liquid from the pasta pot, about 1/2 cup. This will help thicken up the sauce. Then, drain the pasta in a colander.

8. After the broccoli softens more and the sauce thickens, add in your shrimp and some of the pasta cooking liquid. Make sure everyone is touching the pan. Sprinkle again lightly with salt and pepper and more olive oil if you need it. Flip after the shrimp are starting to turn pink and cook for another 2 minutes until the other side turns pink. Watch these carefully they have the tendency to cook fast!!

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9.  Add pasta in small batches to the pan so that you can monitor the sauce:pasta ratio. Squeeze some lemon to finish and garnish with fresh chopped parsley!

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Unlikely ingredients meet: African-Style Stewed Kale


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Here’s the story about the pic. My sister decorated these apples for Thanksgiving and there wasn’t really any appropriate prop for the pic, so this apple is here to symbolize the opposites in this recipe. But then after I took this, we dubbed this “Snow White’s last meal.” If you are following me, thanks, if not, just focus on the yummy kale!!

Just go with me for a second. This is one of those times where you sit back, relax, and just go with the recipe. I really have ZERO familiarity with African food but have been wanting to experiment with the ever-popular-and-trendy harissa, try David Lebovitz’s tagine recipe and Cookie+Kate’s west African peanut soup. Here’s where we start, African stewed kale. More than anything, the odd mix of ingredients dared me to make this dish.

Found via Bon Appetit’s pinterest, this recipe is for those who enjoy complex spices, vegetarian Indian dishes, curries, Thai food and KALEEEE (it’s number 7 out of 11). Honestly, you really don’t need to be the biggest kale or dark greens lover though. As long as you love a curry-based sauce, I really think you’ll enjoy this hearty dish. AND, it’s easy! The chopping is minimal if you buy one of those big bags of kale from the grocery store, all you’ve got left is 1 onion and some garlic.

2013-12-11 18.33.28My camera was feeling emotional, sorry for the dark lighting.

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BFFs: 2 TBS butter, 1 chopped onion, 3 cloves minced garlic

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A hefty portion of coriander and cumin

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Brace yourselves, here’s where it gets weird:

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2013-12-11 19.56.35You need some chili garlic sauce, Indian pickle, or sriracha at the end if you are from the spicier end of the gene pool

Then cook some quick couscous, I used roasted garlic and olive oil flavored kind that cooked up in 5 minutes from a package!! Be adventurous! I got my whole family to eat this and they had NO idea what was in it. The peanut butter has this way of making the sauce creamy without adding coconut milk, but you can’t necessarily identify it. Enjoy as a side or serve over couscous as a main!


Holiday Cookie Decorating


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I think this was my first time actually making and decorating quintessential sugar cookies. In reality, I crashed a roomie cookie decorating Sunday afternoon, so all the cuteness is NONE of my doing. Last Sunday was the dreariest of Sundays, cold and rainy, aka cookie and hot cocoa weather. After a delicious brunch at West Egg, we got to work on these sugar cookies!!! I was a bit concerned at first because the recipe didn’t have any salt, but we can all verify these were good decorating cookies! For once, my cookies came out completely flat and in perfect circles, and I’d say go with a flat 8 minutes here.

While I baked, the style gurus decorated their tree, set the room for Sound-of-Music-watching, and prepped the icing. Easy icing here, 1 cup powdered sugar, 1/4 tsp vanilla extract, 2-3 tablespoons milk and how every many drops of food coloring it takes to get to the desired Christmas colors. Warning…don’t get the icing on your countertop it could stain :/ Thanks Care, Liz, and Whit for having me over!!

Also, I’ve made a few delisshhhh recipes lately that I’ve not be photographing, so here’s some good links to recipes you should try!

chai snickerdoodles – a good batch for the office or the fellow intern’s birthday…

Maple cinnamon applesauce via cookie and kate

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2013-12-08 13.17.28-1Noms, ready to decorate! How did you guys turn out so well?!

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Note: Try to use your icing right away after you make it, it can harden quickly

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