Friday, May 25, 2012

Spinach Potato Salad

Although these past few days have been rain filled spring weather, today marks the unofficial start of summer. While the official day doesn't start for another few weeks, people have already started their barbecues early this year!

We started a few weeks ago when the weather shot up to an unseasonable 80+ degrees. One of my favorite things to eat at a barbecue are actually the sides believe it or not. Since I don't eat too much red meat, I'm normally limited to grilled chicken and load up on sides.

One night, I was looking in my pantry and had a few odd and ends ingredients to use up. This recipe used up all my eggs, potatoes, and spinach! I decided to combine it all into this dish and it came out great! Although I didn't really measure the ingredients, I added mustard and mayo to taste, and that's about how much I used. Now with the weather warming up, this would be a great dish to add to your next cookout menu as well!

Spinach Potato Salad
a cathy's kitchen journey original recipe

  • 4 medium russet potatoes (or an equivalent amount of red potatoes)
  • one big handful baby spinach
  • 2 heaping TBSP mayo
  • 1 tsp spicy brown mustard
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

  1. Scrub the potatoes clean, peel if desired. Cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces.
  2. Steam in a pot with water for about 15 minutes, or until fork tender.
  3. Remove from heat, transfer to a large bowl and immediately add the spinach to wilt slightly. Mix in the remaining ingredients.
  4. Cool in the fridge before serving.
Yield: 4 servings

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Nutella Oatmeal Thins

I first made these cookies as part of my Christmas cookie tins. They were such a big hit that I decided to make them again for Mother's Day, as it makes a lot of cookies! I celebrated with my mom, aunts, cousins, and many others, so I would need enough for everybody!

If the nutella didn't convince you that this cookie is awesome already, I don't know how else to sell you on it! It's a thin little crispy wafer that are small enough that you don't have to feel guilty eating 2 or 3 or more! It makes a whole lot to share with others. They're thin and They're just a nutella/chocolate version of cute lacy oatmeal cookies and they're just divine. These would go great in any party or brunch or whatever event you can think of!

Even though these were made slightly larger than the originals, I still got a few dozen cookies. I lost track after the first 4 dozen :). Even at 11 minutes in my oven, they were already crispy. These were very buttery, chocolatey, and just the perfect bites of cookie.

Nutella Oatmeal Thins
made by cathy's kitchen journey
adapted from Baking Bites

  • 1 cup plus 2 TBSP all purpose flour
  • 1 TBSP baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • 6 TBSP nutella
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup quick cooking oats (not instant or regular)

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with baking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together butter, nutella and the sugars until mixture is fluffy. Beat in the egg and the egg yolk, followed by the vanilla extract.
  4. Working at a low speed or by hand, gradually blend in the flour mixture and the oats (if you don’t have quick-cooking, pulse whole rolled oats in the food processor to chop them up a bit).
  5. Drop teaspoonfuls of the batter (1/2-inch balls) onto prepared baking sheet, leaving at least 2-inches between cookies to allow for spread. I used a cookie scoop, which is about 1" in diameter.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes, until cookies are set. (11 minutes if using the cookie scoop)
  7. Cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. If spraying the pan, transfer to pan after a few minutes using a spatula. Otherwise, it may crack when lifted.
  8. Store in an airtight container when cool.
Yield: 5-7 dozen depending on how big you make them

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Garlic Breadsticks

One day, I brought over an experimental loaf of bread over to my family to taste test. The loaf was still steaming hot, fresh from my breadmaker. Nobody could resist, and I got some good feedback for future loaves. My brother then promptly asked if I can make garlic bread. I said ok, but never said when I would actually make it.

When I made the pizza for the baby shower, I wanted to use some dough to make garlic breadsticks as well, but I wasn't sure how many pizzas the batch of dough would make. Since I used up all the dough for pizza, I didn't get a chance to make it. Since my brother was the one who requested the garlic bread in the first place, I decided to make it for his birthday.

For the garlic lovers out there, there's an abundant amount of garlic. My family loves it, so beware our wrath after we eat this! For those who don't like too much garlic, I was told that the garlic wasn't to prominent. I'm not sure how it works, but there was just enough garlic to satisfy everyone! The garlic haters even came back for more!

Although the dough didn't brown as much as I want, I wanted to keep it chewy. If I baked it any longer, it would have been crispy breadsticks. I may turn up the heat next time to see how it turns out.

Garlic Breadsticks
made by cathy's kitchen journey
adapted from Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day


for the dough (use a half batch):
  • 3 cups + 3 tablespoons (25 1/2 ounces) lukewarm water
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 TBSP instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 TBSP kosher salt
  • 9 cups (38 ounces) all purpose flour
for the glaze:
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, crushed or finely minced

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix until thoroughly moistened (use a spatula if necessary).
  2. Loosely cover and set aside in a warm area. Let rise for 2 hours.
  3. After 2 hours, transfer the covered bowl to the fridge for at least 3 hours, or up to 7 days.

to make breadsticks:
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Combine the 1/3  cup olive oil and garlic in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. To make breadsticks, portion out 1/3 of the batch of dough.
  3. Roll between parchment or wax paper to a 9x6 in rectangle. Cut into 9 1" wide pieces. Transfer to a baking pan, lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Stretching out the dough to lengthen as desired. Repeat with remaining dough.
  4. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the breadsticks with the olive oil and garlic mixture.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on the edges (mine didn't darken too much).
  6. Remove from oven and brush on more of the olive oil and garlic. Allow to cool slightly before serving.
  7. Serve with your favorite marinara sauce.
Yield: ~27 breadsticks

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Kale and Basil Pesto

With an abundance of kale left, along with a full windowsill basil plant, I decided to make some pesto. I've seen pesto using all sorts of greens before, so I decided to modify a recipe I've used before with success. This came out great, and Gary ate it even with the tri-colored pasta he hates so much :).

This is a great alternative to an all basil pesto. I've also substituted all spinach which works great as well. I only used about half the batch in the 12 oz pasta. Use this as a substitute for mayo or mustard for a great sandwich.

Kale and Basil Pesto
made by cathy's kitchen journey
adapted from Vegan with a Vengeance

  • 1/4 cup toasted nuts (I used walnuts)
  • 2 cups, packed baby kale
  • 1 cup, packed basil
  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tsp lemon juice (half a lemon)
  • 1/4-1/3 cup olive oil

  1. Combine all ingredients (except olive oil) in food processor and blend together.
  2. Slowly pour in olive oil into the feeding tube while continuing to blend until desired consistency.
  3. Serve with pasta or spread on bread in place of mayo!
  4. To store leftovers, portion out the pesto into ice cube trays. Once frozen, pop out and place in a freezer bag. Defrost and use as desired.
Yield: ~1 1/2 cup

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Friday, May 4, 2012

Chocolate Cranberry Shortbread Cookies

For this recipe swap, we are assigned a random blog and we would choose any recipe from that blog. I was assigned JBean Cuisine. I had a tough time choosing which recipe to make. I probably bookmarked half a dozen recipes before I finally chose these chocolate cherry shortbread cookies. These look like a great sharable recipe, and I love that she also provide a vegan alternative.

I've never been a huge fan of shortbread cookies. I'm probably one of the few people in the world who doesn't like butter on everything. Give me plain lightly salted steamed veggies and I'm a happy camper! However, even though these shortbread cookies have a pound of butter in them, it isn't too rich and balances out nicely with the chocolate and fruit. I guess I'm not a fan of plain shortbread, but as long as they have some sort of mix-in to cut the butter taste for me it's fine. It was slightly powdery from the cornstarch, so I might reduce slightly next time to see how it turns out.  My family liked them, but my sister mentioned that there wasn't a lot of butter taste, even before I said anything.

I didn't need 7 dozen of these things, so I halved the recipe. I got about 2 1/2 dozen cookies from that batch. I also swapped out cranberries, since I have a lot of them!

Remember to check out Sarah's blog for the full swap round up!

Chocolate Cranberry Shortbread Cookies
made by cathy's kitchen journey
adapted from JBean Cuisine

  • 2 cups (1 lb) butter, softened (sub vegan butter to make it vegan!)
  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 cup dried cranberries, chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 300° F.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine flour and cornstarch. Set aside.
  3. Using your stand-mixer with your beater blade (or in a large bowl) beat together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in vanilla.
  4. Add the flour mixture into the butter mixture until smooth.
  5. Stir in chocolate chips and cranberries to the cookie batter.
  6. Using a small cookie scoop, scoop dough and drop onto ungreased or parchment-lined cookie sheets. Press down to flatten (these don't spread) Bake 25-30 minutes (adjust to about 18-20 minutes if baking in convection oven).
  7. Remove from oven and transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
  8. Store in an airtight container or freeze.
Yield: ~7 dozen (I got 2 1/2 dozen when halved)

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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Gingered Kale and Bok Choy

I swear that Gary changes is mind about foods every other day. One day, we saw a Vitamix demo at Whole Foods. The guy doing the demo made a green smoothie with all kinds of fruits and kale. He thought it tasted good. Meanwhile, I've tried to give him a green monster smoothie a while back and he didn't like it.

So fast forward to the present, I decided to pick up some kale for smoothies, or just to eat. I told him I would make a smoothie, but he didn't want any part of that! Of course, I mentioned that he liked it before, and he even likes the Bolthouse bottled ones as well as the Naked Juices, but NO!

OK, fine. I decided to find another way to use up the kale and found this recipe. It's a simple and quick stir-fried veggie dish that is similar to how I am used to frying vegetables, in a wok! I've used ginger with mushrooms, and I usually use garlic to stirfry vegetables. I don't know why I didn't think of stir frying the veggies in ginger too!

I had all the ingredients on hand. I omitted the cilantro since I'm not a huge fan. I've started to like it in certain dishes, but I wasn't sure how it would taste in this. I also added some almonds as a garnish for extra crunch.

Gingered Kale and Bok Choy
made by cathy's kitchen journey
adapted from All the Good Blog Names are Taken

  • 1 big handful baby kale, roughly chopped into 1" pieces
  • 5 heads baby bok choy or shanghai bok choy, roughly chopped into 1" pieces
  • 1 TBSP canola oil
  • 1 TBSP minced ginger
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • salt to taste
  • slivered almonds for garnish (optional)

  1. Clean and rinse the vegetables thoroughly to get the sand out. Roughly chop into 1" pieces.
  2. In a hot wok, add the oil and heat. Add ginger and mix continuously for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the vegetables, mix with the wok spatula until they're vibrant green, 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add a few sprinkles of salt, and soy sauce. Mix for another 2-3 minutes.
  5. Transfer vegetables to a bowl and top with slivered almonds.
Yield: 3-4 servings

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