A few weeks ago, I told Sarah of Well Dined that all I wanted to do this Fall is bake, bake, bake, and I wondered whether she would mind eating nothing but cookies for lunch when we got together. She thoughtfully responded that we should make empanadas.
And after we made these, we congratulated ourselves over and over again because the filling is so delicious. I mean seriously, we were both sneaking spoonfuls of filling as we assembled the empanadas, and licking our fingers when we were done. It’s amazing.
You should make yourself a batch of empanadas right away, so you will know what I’m talking about!
If you’ve been hanging out here for a while, then you already know how dearly I love Sarah of Well Dined.
She is one of my favorite people on the planet! Sarah has been unspeakably kind and generous to me in the seven years (!) we’ve known each other. She is thoughtful, thought-provoking, and hilarious. She is bold—and I don’t just mean her hair—and she pursues life fully. I am grateful to Sarah for stretching me as a cook, for her encouragement and patience through all of my motherhood woes, and for being the best friend a girl could ask for.
Which is why I am so excited to be cooking from Well Dined for the September Secret Recipe Club challenge!
Months ago, when Sarah joined the SRC, I mentally earmarked this spinach and gruyère strata to make whenever I got assigned to cook from her blog. But…surprise! During one of our subsequent lunches, she mentioned this amazing caramelized French toast she makes, and I knew my life would not be complete without it, so I decided to make that instead. And then, when the assignment actually happened, I got so excited about making some kind of ravioli, which Sarah makes all the time—and we talk about endlessly—that I threw out all my breakfast plans entirely. This somehow turned into the joy of hiding vegetables inside of pasta sauce.
I’ve become kind of obsessed with cauliflower.
Lately, I’ve been eating it almost every day, with beet hummus, for breakfast scrambled with eggs, instead of rice with Indian food.
And then Sarah and I decided to combine our powers for good and make a colorful, healthy lunch totally based on cauliflower.
I am NOT on the low-carb bandwagon. Wheat would have to go extinct for me to give it up for the rest of my life. Despite these truths, I really love replacing grains with cauliflower.
Here’s the thing. I am the type of person who wants to spend time eating. It’s hard for me to feel “done” eating if my plate is clean in five minutes or less, even if I’ve actually had enough calories to fill me up. This is why vegetables, and cauliflower specifically, are amazing. More volume for less calories, longer meals with less overeating just because I still have the munchies.
This rainbow bowl is delicious and surprising. There are a lot of components, but all together they make an incredibly satisfying meal!
I like to collect cookbooks. Mostly pretty ones. Often written by bloggers I enjoy and famous chefs.
Yet, like everyone in my generation, when I want to figure out what is for dinner, I usually ask Pinterest.
Which is why it’s so weird that I have been cooking lately from magazine clippings and *gasp* the actual pages of the books on my shelves!
When I found this grain salad as I was idly flipping through a magazine one morning, I immediately wrote all of the ingredients on my grocery list and purchased them the next day. I love whole grain salads, and you should, too!
Are you a gardener?
I keep trying, really I do, but I have never had any success with squash. I know they are supposed to be easy to grow, prolific even…but so are the tiny little caterpillars that keep murdering my squash plants year after year.
Which is why I am so grateful for friends with better garden prowess!
This year, one of my dear friends from church gifted me with zucchini blossoms and the world’s largest zucchini. Seriously, it was the size of a small pumpkin.
This soufflé recipe is a perfect way to make the most of the zucchini plants in your own backyard (meaning: you don’t need an industrial quantity of squash or blossoms, so you can make this recipe with what you are able to harvest—or what your friends are willing to part with!). I urge you not to be scared of soufflé. Yes, it’s fancy, and it makes all of your dishes dirty, but it’s also delicious and less delicate than you think! And, bonus, it’s a great way to trick your kids into eating delicious summer veg.
Last week, I made these amazing beet burgers. Beets are lovely, aren’t they? I think beets are the most beautiful color in the whole world. But…I have to admit that I really hate to eat them plain. I’ve tried them in salads with goat cheese and soaked in butter and horseradish sauce. But my favorite beets are definitely those diced small and mixed well with other flavors.
As I was contemplating what to do with the lonely, leftover beet in my crisper, I suddenly remembered a batch of beet hummus Dave’s aunt had made at Christmas, and I immediately got excited.
This hummus is a little earthy and a little tangy, and full of gorgeous pink. Eat it with a huge handful of bright, raw vegetables and you will feel like you are on cloud nine.
Admit it. You love veggie burgers. You can’t escape the truth.
Veggie burgers are one of the best things about being vegetarian, in my opinion. (Why eat something boring when you can eat something creative?) And these beet burgers with quinoa and black beans are no exception! They are delightful and hearty and a little smoky.
They are also a brilliant backdrop for all sorts of toppings, so pick your pleasure and take a big bite.
It’s no secret that I love foodie burgers.
I’m not the kind of girl who longs after the simplicity of mayo and relish.
The fact that I don’t eat meat has definitely exacerbated this situation. Now, in addition to the fancy sauces and unique toppings, I crave interesting and colorful patties.
Like this one, made from green peas and edamame!
For Memorial Day this year, do something special. Skip the all-soy burger and make a masterpiece.
I was a ripe 13-year-old when I first took a formal German class. Middle schoolers are delighted by the idea of pretending to be someone they are not, so it probably comes as no surprise that I thoroughly enjoyed picking out a German name to go by. (I’m still a little sad that this tradition is falling by the wayside. P.S., my “German” name was Andrea.)
Before I share the next tidbit from my early German career, let me first apologize to everyone named Günter, and all German women and German people in general. Because, you see, as my equally pimpled friends and I perused the list of German names in our textbooks, we were struck by how funny they sounded. For some reason, our mirth centered on the name Günter, as we pictured a ruddy and rotund, aproned German mother calling for her son out the front door while stirring a very large bowl of dough.
We, unfortunately, spent the rest of the year pretending to stir invisible bowls of dough and giggling.
This image popped back into my head as Sarah and I were wrestling with the bowl of spaetzle dough.
And, by the way: it’s pronounced “sh-paytes-luh.” Don’t let me hear you calling it “spatsl.”
Gruyère cheese has a special place in my heart.
When Dave and I were on our honeymoon, we visited the town of Gruyères. We toured the cheese factory (!) and ate a very winey pot of fondue. Simple and delicious. We went to the castle and admired all of the artwork and the gardens and the ancient armor. And then we wandered down the cobbled streets and decided we needed even more fondue.
Let’s pause to acknowledge the fact that I speak German pretty fluently and French…barely at all. And Gruyères is definitely part of French-speaking Switzerland. Where no one speaks German and very few people speak English.
So. Dave and I found a place to eat, and we were so excited for our dinner! We ordered this interesting-sounding fondue called raclette.
Haha. Guess what? Racler means “to scrape” in French. And raclette turned out to be a block of cheese under a heat lamp, which we scraped off as it melted and spread it on potatoes. (Dave wishes me to inform you that it was a whole bucket full of new potatoes. A bucketful.) After we conferred very awkwardly with our waitress (language barriers are real!), we laughed it off and ate the simplest meal in the history of our relationship together. Not exactly fondue, but definitely an amusing (and, um, expensive) story!
But my take-away? Gruyères is a simple place for real people. Makes sense that the most amazing cheese in the world is best served simply! Like in this easy and delicious Spring tart.