#Cookie Hack- 5 Ingredient Graham Cracker Bark

#Cookie Hack- 5 Ingredient Graham Cracker Bark

Cookie RecipeOh hello, my favorite readers. The holiday season has officially descended upon us. And if you’re anything like me, you’re frantically trying to think of some thoughtful gifts for those near and dear. Enter Bark or as some rather interesting Pinterest users call it- Christmas Crack. Every year, I like to make a big batch of Bark to give with presents. Actually, if I’m being honest. Sometimes I give Bark as the main present. because thoughtful, handmade presents are the best, right? RIGHT?!?. This weekend, I made a huge batch of Bark to give to the people in our apartment building and decided to document the process.  It is such a simple but flexible recipe. One year, I added chopped pecans and another year, I added chopped candy canes. The only hard part is you have go on patrol that make sure no one sneakily steals the edge pieces (ahem, G!).  I hope you enjoy. – A

5 Ingredient Graham Cracker Bark

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Time: 25 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients: 

  • 1 box of graham crackers (14-16 sheets of graham crackers) (I’ve also used saltines)
  • 1 & 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) of salted butter
  • 1 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup of topping of your choice (pecans, almonds, candy canes)

Tools:

  • 1 baking sheet (11 x 15-inch)
  • 1 quart sauce pan
  • Scissors
  • Spatula or Spoon
  • Parchment paper

 

Steps:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Break graham crackers apart to create small triangles. Line crackers up so they are side by side in a single layer. Set aside.
  3. Heat butter in saucepan over medium-high heat until melted.
  4. Add brown sugar and stir to combine. Add small chunks of brown sugar to avoid butter-sugar foam. Stir CONSTANTLY.
  5. Let mixture boil for 2 minutes and remove. Pour over graham cracker.
  6. Use spatula or spoon to spread mixture evenly across the graham crackers.
  7. Bake for 5 minutes until toffee starts to bubble. Remove and add chocolate chip sprinkles.
  8. Put tray back in the oven and continue baking for another 3-4 minutes.
  9. Use spatula or spoon to spread chocolate mixture evenly across the crackers + toffee.
  10. Sprinkle desired topping.
  11. Let sit for about two hours and then cut and serve. You can cool bark in the freezer for faster cooling time.

 

Happy American Turkey Day

Happy American Turkey Day

pro-church-media-441073chris-lawton-154388simon-maage-351417Happy American Turkey Day!

Thanksgiving is, hands down, my favorite holiday. What more could you want than food, family and leftovers? Most years, we host Thanksgiving at my parent’s and invite my mom’s graduate students and colleagues over. It’s usually potluck style so we end up with an eclectic assortment of food (my mom’s Biriyani is the most requested dish) and very few leftovers.

This year, however, we threw an early Friendsgiving since my parents and I are traveling (in two different locations!*). And honestly, it was one of my favorite celebrations to date! Since we were able to invite 25 of our closest friends, neighbors, and colleagues without encroaching on actual thanksgiving day plans.

Today, I thought I’d do a throwback to our early celebration. In this post, you will see my best photography skills. Haha, just kidding. You try taking photos of food as 25 people try to devour it. Here is our official menu and some of the food pictures I managed to snap before being shoved out of the way.

I’m taking the rest of the week off from the blog — there’s too much eating, wine drinking, and merry making to be had! I hope that you have the most wonderful Thanksgiving with your friends and family, wherever you are. Stay safe and warm/cold!

-Aheli

PS — You can keep up with me over on Instagram…I’m sure I’ll be snapping some beach pics.

* As you can tell I do not let travel get in the way of any thanksgiving celebration. See my quest for a Turkey in Scotland 2007. 

Thanksgiving Menu

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Amazing Mozzarella, Pesto, Cherry Tomato and Tortellini sticks by Steph 

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Grapefruit-and-Beet Salad. Recipe from NYT.IMG_6370

Raita

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Leftover Biryani

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Pork Stuffed Cucumber Soup

Pork Stuffed Cucumber Soup
We all know that Chrissy Teigen is the undisputed queen of the Internet, but did you also know that she’s a super talented Chef. Normally, I’m not a huge fan of cookbooks- hey, I started cooking in the age of Pinterest— but when Chrissy announced- Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat— I knew I needed to read it.
And… drumroll please…it’s wonderful. From her chili-garlic oil (TO DIE FOR!), John’s Chicken & Waffles recipes to all her mother’s Thai-inspired recipes, You’ll find something for you. A couple months ago (!), G and I tried her mother’s Pork Stuffed Cucumber Soup, and I thought I’d share our results. It’s a perfect soup for when you need something light and filling. The best part is that you can re-use the mix as a topping for zoodles or a simple stir-fry. I hope you enjoy.
– A
Pork Stuffed Cucumber Soup
Adapted from Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings 
 
Serves 4
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Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1/4 cup light soy sauce
  • 10 cloves of garlic, mashed or minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon grand black pepper
  • 5 large cucumbers
  • 3 chicken bouillon cubes or 3 cups of chicken  stock
  • 1/4 cup of thinly sliced scallions
  • 1 bunch of mushrooms (honshimeji mushrooms, shiitakes, sliced white mushrooms)
  • Chili flakes/ chili garlic sauce
 
Tools:
  • Mixing bowl
  • Veggie Peeler
  • Knife
  • Measuring spoon, melon ball peeler or pineapple corer
  • Large Pot
 
Steps:
1. Mix pork, soy sauce, garlic, chili flakes and pepper. Use your hands for optimal mixing (and fun).
2. Peel and halve cucumbers. Use the spoon to hollow cylinder and remove seeds. Pack each tube with the pork mixture, spooning it in a little at a time to avoid air pockets*
3. In a large Dutch oven or wide soup pot combine 12 cups of water and bouillon cubes. If you are using chicken stock, boil 9 cups of water. Add stuffed cucumbers to pot and reduce heat to a low simmer. Let cucumbers cook for 30 mins. Then add, mushrooms and cook for another 15 minutes.
4. Serve in bowls with a garnish of scallions and some chili garlic sauce.
* There will be leftover pork mixture. I recommend pan frying and serving the next day onto of zoodles.

Summer Salads: Cilantro Lime Jalapeño Vinaigrette Edition

Summer Salads: Cilantro Lime Jalapeño Vinaigrette Edition
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Cilantro Lime Jalapeño Vinaigrette
Inspired by sweetgreen‘s Guacamole Greens salad 
For those of you unlucky enough not to live within a 30 minute  radius* of a sweetgreen, I’m here to tell you that you are missing out. They make some of the best salads, that I consistently pay between $10-$15 for (aka WAY to much), but I’m addicted. Back in the day, G used to live a block from a sweetgreen. Every weekend, without fail, I’d dream about picking up one of their Guacamole Greens. Usually, we’d end up at the nearest ramen place…but that’s a whole different story. The Guacamole Green has the absolute best dressing I’ve ever tasted. It’s so good, I actually don’t care what salad ingredients are underneath. One day, while eating another lackluster, homemade salad, I thought to myself “I wish I could just bottle up that sweetgreen salad dressing” which of course led to a much too long Pinterest and google hole.  I tried five different variations of this salad dressing, and I finally found it. TRY IMMEDIATELY and than thank me. Or better yet, just get over to your nearest sweetgreen.
*Yes, I think driving/walking 30 minutes to get this salad is worth it.

Ingredients:

Dressing:
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeeze lime juice (1 1/2 lime worths)
  • 1/4 packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 medium sized jalapeño pepper, finely chopped (keep some seeds for some extra spice)
  • 1/4 cup avocado, grapeseed or other neutral oil (no olive oil!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Salad Ingredients:
  • Green leaves (Mesclun, Spinach etc)
  • Roasted Corn
  • Finely diced onion
  • Grape Tomatoes
  • Roasted Red Peppers
  • Avocado
 
Tools:
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Blender or Food Processor
  • Mason Jar
  • Sharp Knife
  • Lime Squeezer (optional, but so fun)
 
Steps:
  1. Prepare Vinaigrette: Combine all ingredients in a blender, or small food processor bowl. Puree or pulse ingredients together, until mixture just begins to come together, and cilantro is still finely chopped. Set aside in a small container. Shake before using.
  2. In a large bowl, place all the salad ingredients. the cooked chicken, halved tomatoes, diced red onion, crushed tortilla chips, avocado, and mixed spring greens. Squeeze the wedge of lime over the salad, then toss the salad lightly with lime cilantro jalapeño vinaigrette. Serve immediately.

 

Hot crossed…Apple Turnovers?

Hot crossed…Apple Turnovers?

As you know, G + I migrated up to Fishkill, NYC with the other Brooklyn couples to fulfill what Instagram tells me is a very basic Fall couple activity. Now, we’re not huge apple people (G specifically picked Fishkill Farms, because you could pick your own vegetables and listen to live music)… so color me surprised when we left the apple orchard with a bag full of apples. Of course I had to hop on Pinterest to figure out what to DO with the apples….and found this gem of a recipe from the Blog Cook. I am no baker (as well as know!), but this recipe took twenty minutes and was SO TASTY. If you’re heading into apple land and looking for something to do with the delicious excess, try this.  – A

 

Apple Turnovers

Prep Time: 15 Minutes | Cook Time: 10 Minutes | Total Time: 30 minutes

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Roll, bake and Enjoy!

Ingredients: 

  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon apple pie spice, and additional apple pie spice (about ¼ teaspoon) for sprinkling on top of crescent rolls
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • ⅓ cup chopped pecans
  • 1 small Granny Smith apple, cored and sliced into 8 (1/2-inch) slices
  • 1 (8-ounce) can Pillsbury Original crescent rolls

Apple Pie Spice

  • 1.5 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1.5 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon allspice

Tools:

  • Oven
  • Baking Sheet
  • Parchment Paper
  • Small Bowl for mixing
  • Small bowl for melting butter
  • Brush (Optional)

Instructions:

  1. Heat oven to 375 °F degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and apple pie spice and set aside.
  3. Slice apple so they are about 1/8 inch thick. Do not peel the apples!
  4. Melt butter in microwave (5-10 secs) at a time, depending on how strong your microwave is. Leave butter bowl in the microwave.
  5. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and Arrange crescent roll triangles on baking sheet. Evenly distribute brown sugar mixture onto each triangle. Add chopped pecans.
  6. Remove butter from the microwave and toss Apple slices in melted butter. Place apple slice on the wide end of each triangle. Wrap crescent roll dough around each apple.
  7. Brush each crescent roll with remaining butter. Sprinkle lightly with additional addle pie spice.
  8. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.

 

 

“A” is for Apple Picking

“A” is for Apple Picking

 

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Over the weekend, G and I ventured out of the city to the spacious apple orchards of Fishkill, NY. Surrounded by the other “leaf peepers”, we did the most quintessianal basic couple activity around- took Instagram-worthy photos of us picking apples. Now G spent a long time researching different apple orchards within a 2 hour drive of NYC, and landed on Fishkill Farms. It’s a wonderful small scale sustainable farm and apple orchard. Seriously, they have FIELDS of eco-certified apples that won’t leave your mouth tingling from chemical pesticides. From now until Oct 29, they are running a Fall Harvest festival with apple picking, fresh apple cider donuts, live music, wagon rides, a corn maze and fresh (hard) cider tastings. G and I weren’t actually into apple picking (don’t let the staged photos fool you), but we drawn into the live music, super fancy food truck (hello, truffle fries!), and the PYOV, where we picked as many cherry tomatoes as our hands could carry. It was such a wonderful day trip, complete with a dinner stop in Sleepy Hallow for the ultimate Fall festival. Enjoy the apple-related recipe, coming soon. – A

Quick Stats:

Fishkill Farms

9 Fishkill Farm Road, Hopewell Jct, NY 12533 (around 2 hrs from Brooklyn)

Fishkillfarms.com

Admission: $5 per person (Kids, CSA & Farm Members Free)

PYO | 9am-5pm (entrance closes at 5PM).

 

 

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Tuna Tartare

Tuna Tartare

I’m the first one to admit that I have no business writing this many recipe posts. I’m not a cook. I always mentally double check that “TSP” stands for teaspoon and not tablespoon. (That’s right, right?) I do, however, spend a lot of time watching those with culinary talent. Case in point- my mother’s Tuna Tartare recipe. She made it once. Told me it was the easiest thing to do….and she was right! (The woman is both an intellectual, social AND culinary genius!). Now, when I’m feeling super fancy or want to confuse the hell of of a guest, I like to whip up this dish.  The key is to find a place that has “SUSHI GRADE” fish. If you need help determining fish quality in general, I highly recommend this ChefSteps video. It breakdown how to pick out which fish is the freshest (look at the eyes!) even when it’s behind frosted glass at your local Stop & Shop. I promise this is a super easy recipe and perfect for those last days of summer.

Enjoy.

Tuna Tartare

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