Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Apple Crisp!

I feel like Apple Crisp always warrants an exclamation point, so I have titled this delightful seasonal recipe: Apple Crisp! Woohoo!

If cool weather and changing leaves has you craving a warm and gooey apple dessert, look no further. This Apple Crisp is as traditional as it gets--and I mean that in a very, VERY good way. In fact, the base of this recipe is from the Joy of Cooking cookbook. I have mentioned this cookbook MANY times, and I cannot stress enough. It is truly a kitchen table.

It seems nowadays, anybody who can take a nice picture and write some basic recipes can have a cookbook, but the Joy of Cooking is SO MUCH more than that. It is the home cook's survival guide! From meat, to breads, to cookies, to vegetables--there is a recipe for everything (and this is totes NOT sponsored: I really truly live by this cookbook).

Also, sorry for saying "totes" back there...

Anyway, back to this sweet, cinnamon-y, crispy, gooey perfect fall dessert. It doesn't take much work, but it sure is a crowd pleaser. Might I recommend a scoop of good vanilla ice cream to tie it all together? My knees are weak at the thought.

The best apple crisp will be made with local apples freshly picked from the orchard. Whatever variety that may be, you are guaranteed to have a juicy, ripe and sweet apple. I used about 6 apples, but two of them were unreasonably large; I'd say you'll use about 8 average sized apples. I used a variety of McIntosh and Gala apples. I also enhanced the natural sweetness of the apples with a touch of sugar and a bit of freshly squeezed lemon and orange juice.

Let's not forget the second most critical part of an apple crisp; that is, the crisp. I went totally traditional--just a mixture of flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cold butter. If your heart desires, you could also add in rolled oats for some added texture and nuttiness.

Dear apple crisp: get in ma belly!!

Here's what you need for Apple Crisp* (Print Recipe!)

8 medium apples, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 stick unsalted butter. cut into cubes then chilled in the refrigerator
vanilla ice cream for serving

Here's what you do

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place the apples into a 2 quart baking dish with high sides. Add the sugar, lemon juice, orange juice and 1/2 teaspoon of the cinnamon and toss well to combine.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, salt, remaining cinnamon, and nutmeg. Use a pastry cutter to cut in the butter until the mixture resembles course crumbs. Scatter the topping evenly over the fruit, trying to get a bit of topping on all the apples.

Bake until the topping is golden brown and the apples are tender and bubbling. Serve immediately, with a scoop of ice cream because you're worth it!

*Adapted from the Joy of Cooking
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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Classic Penne A la Vodka

Can anybody answer why oh why is pasta the most delicious, comforting meal on the planet? I have to insist that someone answer this question.

As the weather gets cooler--and let us just accept it, because it is--I find myself craving generous servings of classic comfort food. What could be better than a creamy, dreamy bowl chock full of al dente pasta, tossed in a most delightful A la Vodka sauce?

If you said, "Nothing!" you are absolutely right! This Classic Penne A la Vodka is the light at the end of a hard day, the big hug after a long cry. A rich and flavorful tomato cream sauce enriched with the flavor of garlic and prosciutto, sweetened with a touch of vodka, heavy cream, and fresh basil.

Penne A la Vodka always reminds me of my sister, Amy. so I guess you can say this recipe is dedicated to her! Whenever we went out for an Italian dinner, she almost exclusively ordered Fettuccine Alfredo or Penne A la Vodka. Now both she (and you!!) can save a few bucks and make restaurant quality Penne A la Vodka from the comfort of your own home.

Let's get that pasta water bawlin'!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Apple Pie Oatmeal

Let's eat all the apples!

Have you been apple picking this season? I don't care if the internet declares apple picking a "basic" activity--it's fantastically fun and a tradition I am not willing to give up.

At what other time of year can you get 20 pounds of apples for two people and NOT judge yourself?

Besides eating an apple a day for the entire month of October, apple picking gives you the perfect excuse to get cooking with the freshest apples that the season has to offer. A fresh apple is the key to my Apple Pie Oatmeal. Imagine having dessert for breakfast. Well, I am here to make that dream a reality.

I suggest rolled oats or steel cut oats for this dish. They are nutty and rich and pair wonderfully with warm apples, cinnamon, and sweet honey. There is no refined sugar in this oatmeal, making it a deliciously guilt free breakfast you can enjoy all week!

I like to make a big batch of this oatmeal Sunday night, and warm up individual portions every morning. The oatmeal may get thicker the longer it sits in the fridge, but that's nothing a little almond milk can't solve. Simply warm the oatmeal in the microwave with a couple of tablespoons of almond milk until your desired consistency is reached.

May I recommend an extra apple slice or two, chopped pecans, an extra sprinkle of cinnamon and a dollop of vanilla yogurt for serving? Enjoy!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Ground Lamb and Pearl Cous Cous Stew

Hi there my blog-loves!

I've been kind of MIA for the past few weeks. I'm sorry about that. This hiatus is just temporary, I promise. I have just been a busy little bee with work, and studying, and wedding planning and life in general. I am cooking though, I promise, and I am cooking things that I absolutely want to share with you!

Fall is my favorite time of year to cook, so expect me back in full force come mid-October. Although I will try to get a few tasty recipes to you between now and then, I can't make any solid promises. However, I will be posting some throwback recipes on my Facebook page to get us ready for fall--I'm talking all thing pumpkin, apples, warm casseroles, and delicious soups!

Be sure to like my Facebook page HERE  and share with your friends to keep up with those posts, as well as any new posts so you never ever miss a recipe!

Today I have a wonderful recipe for Ground Lamb and Pearl Cous Cous Stew. This stew is rich and warm, with rustic Middle Eastern flavors throughout every bite.

I absolutely love ground lamb and encourage you to give it a try in this recipe if you've never cooked with it before (previously here, here, and here on GSG and boy do they need new pictures!). It has a uniquely gamey taste that pairs well with tomatoes, cinnamon (seriously!), oregano and thyme.

This stew is a one pot meal--hooray--that comes together in just about 30 minutes. In my original vision, I would have made meatballs out of the lamb, but I didn't defrost my meat soon enough so I had to keep it ground. Turns out, it worked just as well as I could have hoped and made the meal come together that much sooner.

Cuddle up to a big bowl of this hearty stew and welcome the cool weather with open arms.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Lemon Garlic Pasta with Shrimp, Kale, and Goat Cheese


Make this pasta.

OK, bye.


On a serious note, I want to tell you a little story about this pasta. I got home a little later than usual but I still wanted a hearty, delicious homemade dinner. I didn't succumb to the take out menu, and I am so glad I had that willpower. This meal came together in less than 30 minutes, but I was hungry. Ravenous. I needed food in my belly. I took a bite of this pasta right out of the serving bowl and after that first bite, well. I knew I had to share this with you. I needed to wait just a few minutes longer, snap a few (really unremarkable) photos, and let everyone on the interwebs know what an amazing dish this is.

In the end, it's a happy story. I had two big servings of this pasta, I'm not hungry anymore, and now, just below, you hold this recipe in your hands.

This dish, despite being a pasta recipe, is delightfully light and fresh. It is hearty and flavorful. It starts with a pasta of your choice--I'd recommend a whole wheat or Trader Joe's Brown Rice and Quinoa pasta for gluten free. Pasta = happiness, as we all know, so this is a good place to start. Save a bit of the pasta cooking water too, it will come in handy later when we make our sauce. Then, there is chopped kale, sauteed in a bit of olive oil with two generous cloves of minced garlic. Lovin' ya. Big, juicy shrimps are sauteed until golden brown and gorgeous.

The fun part about this pasta is that we are making a no-cook sauce. In a big serving bowl, we are whisking together the juice of 2 lemons and about 1/3 cup of olive oil with a big handful of grated parmesan cheese and lots of black pepper. SERIOUSLY, that's it. Pasta, kale, and shrimp all get a big toss in this lemon sauce along with that pasta water, creating a nice, slurp-able sauce.

OH wait. You thought that was it? That description there was perfect and you're ready to dig in? That's fine, but wait. There's more more more. And you don't want to miss this. GOAT CHEESE. Yes, yes. Crumbled on top of each bowl while the pasta is still hot. And it's going to melt, and become creamy, and dreamy, and you will finally understand what love is.

Here's what you need for Lemon Garlic Pasta with Shrimp, Kale, and Goat Cheese* (Print Recipe!)

1 pound pasta of choice
1 bunch kale, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined (fresh or frozen & thawed is fine!)
2 lemons, juiced
1/3 cup olive oil, plus more for sauteeing
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and lots of pepper to taste
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

Here's what you do

Prepare pasta according to package directions. Reserve a cup of the pasta cooking water (you may not need all of it, but better safe than sorry).

While the pasta cooks, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the kale and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the kale is wilted and tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Be sure to stir occasionally so as not to burn the garlic.

Push the kale to the side of the skillet and add a bit more olive oil to the pan. Add the shrimp and cook 3 to 4 minutes on each side until it is pale pink in color and slightly browned on the edges.

In a large serving bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil and parmesan cheese with a generous pinch of black pepper. Add the hot pasta and toss to coat. Gently fold in the shrimp and kale mixture and drizzle in a bit of the reserved pasta water. I used about 1/4 cup, just to loosen the sauce a bit. Season to taste.

Finally, spoon the warm pasta into bowls and top with crumbled goat cheese. Each person should lightly stir the goat cheese into the pasta to create a nice, creamy finish. Enjoy immediately.

*Gas Stove Girl Original Recipe

Friday, August 15, 2014

Pistachio Muffins

When I eat these muffins, all my troubles melt away. These muffins are like warm blankets wrapping us up in a big muffin hug.

You know how some foods can transport you to another time or place? Pistachio muffins are like that for me. They immediately bring me to lazy Saturday mornings at home. My mom and I preferred to eat them toasted with a bit of melted butter on each half. Oh, yum. 

I was really craving one of these muffins and so I decided to give a try making a slightly lighter version at home. Turns out, the recipe was a huge success and I had to share it here!

My recipe for Pistachio Muffins is guaranteed to make your weekend a better, more relaxed place. Muffins are one of my favorite breakfast treats to make--all you need is a big bowl, a liquid measuring cup, and a muffin tin. 

These muffins are wonderful for many reasons. First of all, pistachios, crushed and crumbled, are the best nut ever. Please do not argue with this! They add a wonderful flavor and a slight crunch throughout every bite.

Then, of course, there is the whole stick of butter that is melted and stirred into the batter. Don't be scared of the butter! It keeps the muffins moist and tender for days! Plus, I subbed half the flour for whole wheat pastry flour (good life choices!) 

My muffins are sweetened with light brown sugar and almond extract, for an extra delicious nutty flavor. Might I suggest enjoying one warm, right out of the oven, with some more butter spread on top? Or perhaps you have some cherry jam, in which case it would be prudent that you slather a bunch of that on a muffin or two. If you are enjoying these muffins a day or two after baking, try zapping them in the microwave for just a few seconds -- they will be just as delicious as the moment you enjoyed them fresh out of the oven!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Kale and Quinoa Stuffed Patty Pan Squash

How do you guys feel about farmer's markets?

I never used to go to these too often but this summer I have really changed my tune. The produce is just so beautiful and fresh, and there is no doubt that you are eating delicious fruits and vegetables that are in season.

Look at these adorable Patty Pan squash! I very rarely see patty pans in the grocery store, but this past week at the Copley Square farmer's market they were all over the place. Bright, sunny, patty pan squash. I had never cooked or even eaten these before, but they looked like little packages of sunshine and I had to give them a try!

The farm stand owner told me a little bit about the taste of patty pan, which is slightly more bitter but similar taste as a regular yellow squash. Not surprisingly, he recommended that I stuff them and I decided to channel some Mediterranean flavors. 

My Kale and Quinoa Stuffed Patty Pan Squash is a wonderful Meatless Monday recipe! It is also a great fulfilling lunch option. I chose to cook the squash and make the filling separately, then use the squash as an edible serving vessel. 

The squash has it's top cut off then it is seeded and baked until tender. In the meantime, I prepare the filling. Quinoa is cooked until fluffy. Then a big bunch of kale is thinly sliced and cooked down in a bit of oil. Like most leafy greens, kale is best seasoned with salt, pepper, and a touch of ground nutmeg (trust me!). Once the kale is tender, the filling comes together in no time flat--just mix in the quinoa along with fresh, sliced basil, chopped pistachios, crumbled feta and the juice of a lime.YUM. 

Feel free to just take a spoon and eat the filling right out of the pan--it is amazing on it's own! But today, we are honoring the farmer's market and mixing this amazing, flavorful quinoa mixture with a tender and delicious patty pan squash!