Category Archives: Food & Recipes

Food is an important part of our family. I don’t believe in “secret recipes.” If I make it, I’ll share it. And if you like it, I hope you’ll share it, too.

Pie Week: Black & White Coconut Tart

The Theme Weavers are ringing in the holidays with PIE WEEK. Wahoooooo! I love pie. Love, love, love it. It’s my favorite of all of the Food Groups – Pie, Bacon, Cheese, Chocolate & Booze. If only we could all be in one room so we could face plant into all the glorious pies to be featured this week, it would be a dream come true. Also dreamy, this gorgeous Black & White Coconut Tart.

Black & White Coconut Tart - Banners

It starts with Kirsten’s ‘No Excuses’ pie dough recipe, pre-baked into the perfect vessel. Then it gets a schmear of hot fudge sauce (it’s okay… just breathe) and a luscious layer of coconut cream. Finally, it’s crowned with glorious mounds of whipped cream and toasted coconut. Have I mentioned that I love pie?

Let’s start at the beginning – a very good place to start. Pie dough. When I say this one is easy, I’m not joking. Made in the food processor, it’s ready in a flash and flawless every single time. It’s the only recipe I use.

Black & White Coconut Tart - Kirsten's Pie Dough

For this tart, I chose to use a vintage 8″ square baking tin I found while antiquing with Kirsten last May. Using the pan reminds me of her and proves two points – 1. food = love and 2. blogging friends are real (and are lots of fun).

Black & White Coconut Tart - Fitting Dough to Pan

One of my favorite pie tools – a pizza cutter. I love a good sharp edge when working with pie dough. There’s no better example of that than this next shot, where I decide to make a fancy braided edge for my tart. Curse you, Pinterest!

Black & White Coconut Tart - Braid Collage

Did I just hear you say “Whatever!”? Oooo… I’m gonna… Ha! Not really. Truth is, this trick is not as complicated as it looks. I found the key is pinching the ends together and pressing them into the countertop to anchor the strands. From there, it’s just a regular braid. When you’re done, pinch the other ends together to seal the deal, then apply it to the tart with a little egg white as glue.

Black & White Coconut Tart - Egg Wash Glue

Once applied, press gently to make sure it’s stuck, then pop then entire thing into the freezer for half an hour. Why? Because a frozen pie shell bakes much better than a room-temperature pie shell. More flaky layers; less shrinkage. After 30 minutes, remove it from the freezer, line it with parchment paper and fill it with dried beans or pie weights to keep the crust from falling into the pan while it bakes. My tip: cut two paper strips to create a sling instead of trying to fold parchment into the corners. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Before (L) and after (R) - the beans keep the dough in place.

Before baking (L) and after (R) – the beans keep the dough in place.

Bake in a hot oven until it’s a light golden brown, then allow it to cool for at least 15 minutes with the beans still in place. After 15 minutes, you can lift out the beans and allow the tart shell to cool completely. If you plan to put your dried beans back in the pantry for soup later, be sure to let them cool completely before you seal them into a container. If you don’t, they’ll create steam in the container which will cause them to mold later.

While my tart shell was chilling, I made a batch of coconut custard from the America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. I chose this filling because it used coconut milk for extra flavor, which was a good call – it’s dreamy. Cooked on the stove, it comes together quickly. The hardest part is resisting the urge to eat it while it cools. Once it’s done and slightly cooled, the trick is to cover it with plastic wrap so it doesn’t get that tough pudding skin layer on top. Two words that should never be used together – pudding & skin.

Black & White Coconut Tart - Coconut Custard

So now you have a baked & cooled tart shell and a cooled custard. What’s next? Assembly! First up is a layer of your favorite fudge sauce, then a thick layer of coconut custard, and finally a piped dome of whipped cream sprinkled with lightly toasted coconut. Licking the spatula is highly recommended.

Black & White Custard Tart - Filling Collage

Days like this make me happy to be one of those people who plays with their food. This one was fun to put together. Have you ever made anything that turned out so perfectly you thought, “Man, I hate to cut this!” Yeah, me neither.

Black & White Coconut Tarts - A Slice

NANABREAD’S BLACK & WHITE COCONUT TART:

One recipe of No Excuses Pie Dough (use half, freeze half for later)
One batch of America’s Test Kitchen Coconut Cream Pie custard:

  • 1 14-oz. can coconut milk (not cream of coconut)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/3 cup shredded coconut
  • 2/3 cup sugar (divided in half)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (cold & diced)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

One batch of stabilized whipped cream topping:

  • one pint heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 heaping tablespoon instant vanilla pudding powder

One cup of your favorite hot fudge sauce (at room temperature)
One cup lightly toasted unsweetened coconut flakes, for garnish

To make the pie shell:
Roll the pie dough out and place in a lightly sprayed pie or tart pan. Flute or attach a decorative edge, then freeze for 30 minutes. Remove from the freezer, line the pie shell with parchment paper, fill with pie weights or dried beans, and bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes, or until the edge is a light golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool 15-20 minutes, then lift out the paper & beans and allow it to cool completely.

To make the custard:
In a heavy saucepan, bring the coconut milk, whole milk, shredded coconut, 1/3 cup of sugar and salt to a gentle bubble, stirring often. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, remaining 1/3 cup sugar, and cornstarch until smooth. Slowly ladle about 1/2 cup of the hot custard into the egg yolk mixture, whisking vigorously to avoid lumps. Once combined, whisk the egg yolk mixture into the pan of custard and whisk to combine. Continue to simmer over medium-low heat until the custard begins to thicken. Whisk in the vanilla extract and turn off the heat. Move to a cold burner and allow it to cool for 15 minutes, then cover with plastic wrap and allow it to cool, covered, until it comes to room temperature.

To make the whipped cream topping:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the heavy cream and sugar. Whisk on high until the cream just begins to thicken. Sprinkle in the instant vanilla pudding powder and continue to whisk until stiff peaks form. Scrape into a piping bag with a large star tip and keep refrigerated until ready to use.

To assemble the tart:
Spread a 1/4″ to 1/2″ layer of your favorite hot fudge sauce into the tart shell, spreading it an even layer. Gently spoon the coconut custard onto the fudge sauce layer and spread it into an even layer. Top with whipped cream and shaved coconut and chill until ready to serve. Makes four large servings or six smaller ones, if baked in an 8″ x 8″ square pan as seen above. Keep refrigerated.

Black & White Coconut Tarts - My Slice

Before you face plant into that last shot, be sure and check out these Theme Weavers and their crusted contributions to Pie Week:

Monday, Nov. 18:
Kirsten @ Comfortably Domestic – Mile High Apple Pie
Anne @ From My Sweet Heart – Cranberry Cherry Ricotta Pie
Haley @ The Girly Girl Cooks – Coconut Cream Pie
Katie @ The Hill Country Cook – New Mexico Apple Pie

Tropical Tuesday, Nov. 19:
Mads @ La Petite Pancake – Pineapple Pie
Monica @ The Grommom – Papaya Pie
Jeanne @ Inside NanaBread’s Head – Black & White Coconut Tart (that’s me!)

Wednesday, Nov. 20:
Kat @ Tenaciously Yours – Grandma’s Chocolate Pie
Carrie @ Bakeaholic Mama – Chocolate Cream Pie
Kirsten @ Comfortably Domestic – Maple Sweet Potato with Swiss Meringue

Thursday, Nov. 21:
Shanna @ Pineapple and Coconut – Boozy Pumpkin Eggnog Pie
Carrie @ Bakeaholic Mama – Sweet Potato Tartlets
Christina @ Buffy and George – Deep Dish Apple Pie

Friday, Nov. 22:
Madeline @ Munching in the Mitten – Sweet Potato Pie
Allison @ Decadent Philistines Save the World – Refrigerator Pumpkin Porter Chocolate Pie with Toasted Pumpkin Porter Marshmallow “Meringue”
Lauren @ Climbing Grier Mountain – Mini Butternut Squash Glazed Pie Stacks with Marshmallow Frosting

Saturday, Nov. 23:
Megan @ Country Cleaver – Biscoff Pie with Whiskey Mallow Fluff
Kirsten @ Comfortably Domestic – Berry Cherry Pie
Shanna @ Pineapple & Coconut – Persimmon & Pear Brandy Pie with Vanilla Bean Crumble

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

32 Comments

Filed under Blogger Collaborations, Food & Recipes

OKMH – The October Box

OKMH Collage 2013

It’s that time again, kids – time for another One Kitchen Many Hearts box. Wahoo! I love mail days like OKMH, where blogging buddies send care packages to one another round-robin-style. For October, I sent a box of love to Madelyn in California and received a box from Kat in Minnesota. Here’s what Kat sent. It started with this card. So much promise in a 4×6 format.

OKMH - October 2013 - Card

As promised, there was so much to squeal over. As the postscript hints, there was a pashmina (possibly from Paris) in a lovely blue hue. So pretty. Ooo la la!

OKMH - October 2013 - Pashmina

And two bags of what can only be deemed the Rolls Royce of rice.

OKMH - October 2013 - MN Wild Rice

I already have plans that involve roasted chicken with mushrooms and grilled shrimp with lemons. Or maybe a wild rice salad with dried cranberries, oranges and nuts. So many possibilities hidden in those gorgeous ebony grains. In sharp contrast, these next goodies have no possibility of lasting. Zero. Zip. Zilch.

Caramello Bar - RIP

No mincing words here. That Caramello Bar died instantly. Thankfully, it was a quick & painless death. I made sure of that. It wasn’t pretty, but it was quick. These are lasting a little longer, but not by much.

Chocolate & Caramel Collage

Okay, confess. When you see a chocolate bar with grid lines, and that bar breaks contrary to said lines, are you compelled to ‘fix’ it by evening it up? To the point that you may eat additional squares just to make sure the bar is neatly within the lines? No? Tell the truth! It can’t just be me!

Yes, I color within the lines.

But my favorite squee-inducing gift from Kat is the vintage cookbooks (cookbooklets?) from the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. Seriously, they are too much fun!

OKMH - October 2013 - Vintage Cookbooks

Techniques, ingredients and product sizes may have changed over the years, but the tried & true recipes and killer artwork of yesteryear never go out of style.

40's Cookbook Art Collage

Vintage Cookbook Collage

Never has a sandwich filling been so happy to leap onto a loaf of bread.

OKMH - October 2013 - 50's Happy Sandwich

Hello 1950’s Thanksgiving Dinner. Hubba hubba! Please pass the gravy.

OKMH - October 2013 - Thanksgiving Spread

Pillsbury’s annual bake-off contests have been bringing home bakers together through blood-sport baking battles throughout the years, but I had no idea how many years. Kat’s flea market collection included these two vintage gems.

OKMH - October 2013 - Vintage 50's Baking Books

OKMH - October 2013 - Pillsbury Bake-Off Book

That’s the $25,000 winner from the second annual Pillsbury Bake-Off. From 1950. At the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. Amazing. Also stellar – Mrs. G. Harold Kirk of Bar Harbor, who knows how to dress for an occasion.

OKMH - October 2013 - Dolled Up Contestant

In an age where people feel comfortable wearing their pajama pants to shop and/or board airplanes, Mrs. Kirk is a breath of fresh air. She is, without a doubt, even more fabulous than her prize-winning crabmeat cobbler.

I was super excited to find this recipe for Raisin Cream Pie, since it reminded me of the Sour Cream Raisin Pies of my youth, and then this recipe card fell out of the booklet and I got a bonus recipe for Baked Beans. Like a gift from heaven.

OKMH - October 2013 - Bonus Baked Beans Recipe

The best indication a recipe was loved is the stains all over it. This one was obviously a favorite. Most touching for me, was this wee booklet that still had the mailing label attached. It was a simple shortening recipe booklet from Swift & Co. addressed to Mrs. Robert Fleischehhacker of Fort Ripley, MN.

OKMH - October 2013 - Vintage Mailing Label

Did you catch that? Two pennies for postage? No way! Most notable was her address – Route #2 with no zip code. These, my friends, were simpler times. When people knew their neighbors, shared their tables and crafted meals not only from scratch, but with a great deal of love. And just like the recipe booklets, this box from Kat is meant to be shared. I may make a dish soon to share on the blog. And I’m thinking of baking a wild rice casserole for our extended family at Thanksgiving. But I probably won’t share the chocolate.

And just when you thought I was getting sentimental.

OKMH - October 2013 - 40's Cookbook Art1

To see what everyone else shipped & received this month, visit:

Mads @ La Petite Pancake – recipient of my box
Kat @ Tenaciously Yours – who sent this box to me
Beka @ Kvetchin’ Kitchen
Kirsten @ Comfortably Domestic
Megan @ Wanna Be A Country Cleaver
Allison @ Decadent Philistines Save the World

16 Comments

Filed under Blogger Collaborations, Food & Recipes

Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Pineapple with Almond & Honey Streusel

Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Pineapple - Title & Text - Inside NanaBread's Head

Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite things about fall and one of the first comfort foods I reach for when the temperature drops and leaves start to turn. This year, I’m jumping into fall with a simple but flavorful sweet potato side dish for Eileen of The Joy of Caking and her collaborative Fall Harvest Dinner.

Fall Harvest Dinner Logo

Don’t let the term “simple” fool you – this dish is packed with flavor. It starts with one pound of peeled & cubed sweet potatoes, two cups of fresh pineapple chunks, a simple sauce of pineapple juice, orange juice and vanilla and is topped off with a lovely streusel of almond meal, flour, butter, honey & cinnamon sugar. The result? Sweet potato perfection.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Pineapple with broiled struesel topping - Inside NanaBread's Head

Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Pineapple with Almond & Honey Streusel:
1 pound fresh sweet potatoes, peeled & cut into 1″ cubes
2 cups fresh pineapple chunks (or 1 can, if needed; juice reserved)
3 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons butter, unsalted
3/4 cup orange juice
3/4 cup reserved pineapple juice
1/4 cup agave nectar or honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

Pre-heat your oven to 350F. Peel and chop the sweet potatoes and drain the pineapple chunks, reserving the pineapple juice for the sauce.

In a large non-stick skillet over high heat, combine the canola oil and butter, and heat until melted. Toss in the sweet potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are nicely browned. Add the pineapple and stir to combine, then turn off the heat. In a small bowl, whisk the orange juice, pineapple juice, agave nectar or honey, vanilla extract and cornstarch until smooth. Pour the sauce over the sweet potatoes and pineapple and place the skillet into the oven to bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft and fork tender.

While your sweet potatoes and pineapple are roasting, mix up your streusel topping and set out a ceramic serving dish (or individual dishes).

For the streusel:
1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill almond meal
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted & cooled slightly

In a bowl, combine the almond meal, flour, cinnamon and sugar; blend with a fork until well blended. Add the melted butter and stir until combined. Using your fork, break it up into 1/2″ clumps or crumbles and set it aside.

When the sweet potatoes are fork tender, remove from the oven. Spoon into your ceramic serving dish(es) and evenly spoon the crumbles of streusel mixture across the top. TIP: Place the dishes on a rimmed baking sheet to make them easier to get in and out of the oven. Turn your oven to the “Low Broil” setting, and pop the tray under the broiler just until the streusel turns a light golden brown. (Keep a close eye on it so it doesn’t burn.) Serve warm with a drizzle of honey or agave nectar over the top. If there are leftovers, try spooning this over the top of a bowl of oatmeal the next morning. Yum!

Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Pineapple - Ready to Eat - Inside NanaBread's Head

Please don’t forget to visit our Fall Harvest Dinner bloggers, who’ve contributed everything from a fall tablescape to cocktails, salads to main dishes, and of course – dessert. You don’t want to miss this!

• Eileen (our hostess) from The Joy of Caking – Invitation & Roasted Chicken
• Sandra from Sweet Sensations – Fall Harvest Tablescape
• Terra from Café Terra – Homemade Apple Pie cocktail
• Monet from Anecdotes and Apple Cores – Harvest Goat Cheese appetizer
• Dionne from Try Anything Once – Eggplant Caviar appetizer
• Amy from Ms. Toody Goo Shoes – Roasted Pear Salad with White Balsamic
• Jeanne from Inside NanaBread’s Head (that’s me!) – side dish
• Denise and Sharon from BeBetsy – Onion Rolls
• Liz from That Skinny Chick Can Bake – Pumpkin Challah Bread
• Anne of From My Sweet Heart – Cinnamon Applesauce Tart

23 Comments

Filed under Blogger Collaborations, Food & Recipes

What we ate this summer.

Boy, did we eat well this summer! We may have consumed more than our fair share of fresh veggies in a wide variety of simple yet flavorful dishes. What is summer for, after all, if not the consumption of goodies from the farmers market and excuse to work on your tan? Here’s a peek at what we ate this summer.

Chicken Stir-Fry - My Bowl

It started with this chicken stir-fry over rice. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this before, but The Complete Package and I love rice. Like L-O-V-E it. You could put a bowl of plain rice in front of us and we’d be happy, but smothering it with this zesty stir-fry made us really happy campers. The recipe came from the Weber’s New Real Grilling Cookbook. Seen it yet? Well, you should. Holy smokes (yes, that’s a grill joke) – it’s exceptional.

When I brought this book home from the BlogHer Food Conference in Austin (Thank you, Dole!), we immediately decided to jump in and try as many recipes as we could as quickly as possible. Here’s another winner from the book.

Weber  - Avocado, Red Onion & Sun-Dried Tomato Quesadillas

This beauty is an avocado, red onion and sun-dried tomato quesadilla. It’s ooey, gooey, crispy and crunchy. It was meat-free, but it still had it all, and in an easy to eat portable package, too. So much flavor!

This next one came from an internet search TCP did for smoked chicken. Now that he has officially conquered brisket and ribs (his are to die for), he decided to tackle smoked chicken. The recipe he found was for a ‘competition grade’ chicken, and while I don’t think he’ll be competing anywhere, this bird deserves a blue ribbon. Isn’t it gorgeous? Smokey, juicy poultry in motion.

A Smoked Chicken

Next was our pizza phase – where we attempted to live out our “More Is More” motto to the fullest. This one was grilled chicken with a smokey BBQ sauce, red onion, sliced jalapenos and a blend of cheddar and monterrey jack cheese.

BBQ Chicken Pizza

Think that one was loaded? You ain’t seen nothing yet. THIS baby was loaded. I call it “All The Veggies” pizza, and it was an exercise in excess. Instead of a tomato sauce, I smeared a whole wheat dough with basil pesto, then layered on oodles of veggies – artichoke hearts, mushrooms, orange & yellow bell peppers, roasted piquillo peppers, fresh spinach, kalamata olives, and red onions – then topped it with ricotta, toasted pine nuts and a drizzle of olive oil. We could hardly pick it up, but the flavors were over-the-top fabulous.

DeLallo Veggie Pizza

Speaking of flavor, this simple dish from the Weber’s grilling book blew our minds. It is deceptive in that it doesn’t look like much, but practically explodes in your mouth. Yummy is an understatement. It starts with eggplant grilled over charcoal, which is then topped with a sun-dried tomato, shallot & garlic relish dressed in a balsamic vinaigrette. Wow. Just wow.

Grilled Eggplant with Sun-Dried Tomato Topping

Next up was a Cuban Sandwich made with leftover smoked pork tenderloin (also from the Weber book), but the star of this show was the tostones we made on the side. Ever had tostones? It’s hard to describe them, but if you ever have an opportunity to try them (or even make them), take it. They’re like thick chips made from plantains. Now, if you think plantains are just fat bananas, you are mistaken. They’re actually starchy like a potato, and unless you let them over-ripen, they are not sweet. Think of them as a potato substitute.

Cuban Sandwiches from Grilling Book - July10, 2013

To make tostones, peel and slice plantains and fry them in a little canola oil until they just start to crisp a little. Remove them from the oil, drain on paper towels, and flatten them with a metal spatula. Then, and I know this sounds strange, throw them BACK into the oil until they are a golden, crispy brown. Sprinkled with kosher salt & served with your favorite salsa, I promise you will never reach for corn chips again.

All this talk of chips and pizza is making me thirsty, which brings me to my last treat of the summer. The fine folks at Double Decker were kind enough to ask if I’d like to try their wine. I don’t think I could have said “Heck yes!” any faster. To my surprise, they sent two full-size bottles – Pinot Grigio (white) and their Red Blend. The red was opened first. We drank half the bottle with a nice steak dinner and used the last half the bottle for Blackberry Sangria. Mmm…. I can still smell and taste it just looking at this photo. My friend Beka pointed out that it appears the ice is giving a fist-bump. Wildly appropriate; it rocked!

Double Decker Blackberry Sangria - Inside NanaBread's Head

Blackberry Sangria is my new ‘must have’ for summer. To make, muddle one pint of fresh blackberries with 1/3 cup of sugar and add to a bottle of Double Decker Red Blend. Cap it and put in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours so the berries & wine can fall in love. Then strain and serve over ice with a few fresh berries for garnish. So good, and so refreshing. This would also work with red plums or raspberries. The pinot grigio is superb and crisp on its own, but also makes a great summer sangria with the addition of peaches, apples, orange slices and a handful of white grapes. If you lika de’ bubbles, top it with a splash of champagne, club soda or lemon-lime soda. Then sit back and reflect on a summer worthy of the record books.

Did you try anything this summer that knocked your socks off? Do tell!

8 Comments

Filed under Food & Recipes, Miscellaneous Thoughts, Things I Love

Pumpkin Week: Hazelnut Pumpkin Waffles with Cinnamon Honey Butter

Pumpkin Hazelnut Waffles - Title Text

Pumpkin – most people either love it or hate it. I am firmly in the ‘love it’ camp. It’s one of the things I love best about fall. When All Things Pumpkin bombard Pinterest & Twitter full force, I know cooler weather is on the horizon. So hang on to your butts, because the Theme Weavers are celebrating all things orange and tasty with Pumpkin Week and an array of our fall favorites.

“We’re staying up late telling scary stories, and in the morning I’m making waffles!” Donkey from Shrek. These gorgeous pumpkin waffles are laced with toasted hazelnut meal, buttermilk and a hint of fall spice. Seriously, friends… if we just had smell-a-vision, you’d be clamoring to get over here for breakfast. They smell HEAVENLY! And I’ll use any excuse to break out our vintage waffle maker (circa 1982). Don’t laugh; it works. But before we do anything, we need to plug in the waffle maker and let it start getting good and hot.

Pumpkin Hazelnut Waffles - Our Vintage Waffle Iron

Please don’t laugh at my waffle maker. She may not look like much, but she’s a beast. And for the record, she’s not dirty, she’s just well-seasoned. While the waffle maker heats up, let’s prep the ingredients. I like to start with the wet stuff.

Pumpkin Hazelnut Waffles - Wet Ingredients

Then I toast the hazelnut meal in a non-stick skillet and toss it in with all the dry ingredients. Don’t be like me and forget the brown sugar until the last possible second (hence the golden brown blob in the photo below). If you think food bloggers are miraculously flawless and free of mistakes, you are quite mistaken. Trust me – I screw up all the time. I just don’t show you that part.

Pumpkin Waffles - Dry Ingredients Collage

Once your wet and dry ingredients are ready to go, take those egg whites and beat the tar out of them. We have one of those awesome KitchenAid stick blenders with a whip attachment that makes short work of this step. If you don’t have one yet, you should think about it. They are the Mighty Mouse of kitchen tools. When your egg whites hold firm peaks, they’re ready to roll.

To blend all of this into pumpkin perfection, whisk the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk your wet ingredients (except for those egg whites). Then invite the wet ingredients to play with the dry ingredients and blend them together with a whisk until they’ve all gotten to know one another better. Then it’s time to fold in those fluffy, snow-capped egg whites. Just remember – they’re sensitive. Fold slowly so you don’t scare the fluff out of them. Patience pays off in fluffy waffles here.

Pumpkin Waffle - Egg White Collage

When your batter is blended, it’s time to start makin’ the waffles. I always spray my hot waffle iron with a little of that canned cooking spray before the first waffle hits the pan, just to be safe, because no one wants to sit in the floor and cry when the first one refuses to release and burns. No one.

Remember when I said food bloggers make mistakes? Well, here’s your peek behind the curtain. Proof that I’m just like you (if you like to slop your waffle batter onto the machine and say ‘Sure…that looks like enough. Why not?’).

Pumpkin Hazelnut Waffles - Over Run

It’s not tragic or anything, it just takes longer to clean up. So for my waffle maker one cup minus 2 tablespoons = the perfect amount of batter for one waffle. I can’t speak for your waffle maker, so you’ll just have to get in there and give it a shot. If yours do run over, though, please promise you’ll tweet me a quick pic, because that would make me feel SO much better. #WaffleWrecks

Pumpkin Hazelnut Waffles - Just Out of the Waffle Iron

Hello, Gorgeous! So my first waffle may have been a mess, but when the second one came out PERFECT, you can bet your sweet bippy I did a happy dance. If you’re happy & you know it clap your hands {clap! clap!}

So let’s talk toppings. These waffles are so rich and fragrant, they just need a little something sweet on top. I chose cinnamon honey butter. Because butter is a given. Adding cinnamon and honey (or agave if you like) just brings it all in for a big group hug. I make it the night before and chill it so it’s scoopable. Yum.

Pumpkin Waffles - Honey Butter Collage

When that scoop of honey butter starts to melt into a hot waffle, I promise your eyes will roll back in your head and your heart will beat a little faster. And the only thing better than one hot waffle with honey butter is a big pile of them. You can poke me with a fork now; I’m done.

Pumpkin Hazelnut Waffles - Waffles with Cinnamon Honey Butter

NanaBread’s Hazelnut Pumpkin Waffles:
4 large eggs, separated
1 cup buttermilk + 1 cup vanilla milk
OR 1 cup buttermilk + 1 cup of whole milk
1 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill hazlenut meal
2 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Pre-heat your waffle iron while you mix up your waffles. To make, blend the egg yolks (egg whites come in later), buttermilk and milk, pumpkin, melted butter and vanilla in a bowl and whisk until well blended. In a non-stick skillet, toast the hazelnut meal over medium-low heat until it just starts to take on some color and smells robust and fragrant. Toss it into a large mixing bowl and add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Whisk to combine. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until thoroughly blended.

In a deep mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until they form and hold firm peaks. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the waffle batter. I like to scrape to the bottom of the bowl and flip it once very gently, then turn the bowl a quarter turn and repeat the process until you can no longer see streaks of egg whites (see photo above). Once blended, you’re ready to bake.

Lightly spray your hot waffle iron with cooking spray. Depending on the size of your waffle iron, spread one cup of batter (if your waffler makes one waffle) or up to two cups (if your waffler makes 4 smaller waffles). It truly depends on your machine, so use a little caution on that first one and adjust as needed until the batter spreads to all edges without running over. When done, remove from the waffle iron and place it on a ceramic plate; cover with a clean kitchen towel to keep them warm while the others bake. My old-school Belgian Waffler made seven waffles. Two died immediately and the others were frozen for later. These will keep in the fridge for 3-5 days or in the freezer (wrapped in waxed paper and placed into air-tight freezer bags) for up to six weeks.

Cinnamon Honey Butter:
1/2 stick of butter, softened
1 cup of your favorite local honey (or agave nectar)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Beat together until smooth and creamy. Scrape into an airtight container and chill until needed. To use, simply scoop a tablespoon on top of a toasty warm waffle and enjoy. So good, y’all. So, so good.

Pumpkin Hazelnut Waffles - Digging In

Before I go, don’t forget to drop in on our other Pumpkin Week participants:

Monday
Kirsten @ Comfortably Domestic – Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Beka @ Kvetchin’ Kitchen – Pumpkin Streusel Bread

Tuesday
Carrie @ Bakeaholic Mama – Pumpkin Pie Macarons

Jeanne @ Inside NanaBread’s Head – Look, Ma! I made waffles!

Wednesday
Megan @ Country Cleaver – Mini No-Bake Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecakes with Crumble Topping

Allison @ Decadent Philistines – Pumpkin Marshmallows & Pumpkin Spice Syrup

Shanna @ Pineapple & Coconut – Creamy Maple Bacon Pumpkin Risotto

Thursday
Anne @ From My Sweet Hear – Pumpkin Doughnuts with Cream Cheese Icing & Candied Pepitas

Kat @ Tenaciously Yours – Marbled Pumpkin Gingersnap Tart

Madelyn @ La Petite Pancake – Pumpkin Spice Cake with Maple Frosting

Friday
Madeline @ Munching in the Mitten – Savory Pumpkin Tart

Lauren @ Climbing Grier Mountain – Pumpkin Mousse with Candied Squash

Kirsten @ Comfortably Domestic – Pumpkin Kiss Cookies

Saturday
Beka @ Kvetchin’ Kitchen – Pumpkin Scones

Monica @ The Grommom – Pumpkin Ice Cream

Pumpkin Week Badge

Note: this recipe is adapted from Smitten Kitchen.

34 Comments

Filed under Blogger Collaborations, Food & Recipes

Horchata at Home

Horchata - long grain rice

Rice. My family loves it. In fact, it we might even prefer it to potatoes. Sounds crazy, but we find ourselves craving rice more than french fries. This weekend, The Complete Package whipped up one of our favorite summer refreshers.

Horchata - Inside NanaBread's Head

Horchata: a refreshing Mexican drink made with rice & cinnamon.

So simple, delicate, and fragrant – a good horchata is a revelation. And it’s easy to make. It only takes a few ingredients, most of which you probably already have in your fridge or pantry. Horchata is best when allowed to sit and bloom overnight, so plan to start this a day in advance for best results.

Horchata - Ingredient Collage

TCP’s Horchata (updated 2/26/2014):
1 cup long-grain white rice
2 1/2 cups boiling water
1 3″ Mexican cinnamon stick (canela)
4 cups whole milk (not skim or reduced fat)
1 can (12 ozs) evaporated milk
1 can (14 ozs) sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Combine the rice and boiling water in your blender; blend on medium to medium-high until the rice begins to break up into small pieces (about a minute or so). Add the 3″ cinnamon stick. Cover the blender jar and allow it to sit on the counter at room temperature overnight (or up to 48 hours).

Strain the rice water to remove the kibbles & bits and discard the rice. Rinse out the container to remove any debris and pour the strained rice water back into the blender pitcher. Add the milks (all 3), vanilla, and ground cinnamon. Blend on medium speed for one minute. Pour into a serving pitcher and refrigerate. Stir just before serving to blend all the ingredients, as the fine rice pulp tends to settle to the bottom.

Horchata - CloseUp

Notes:
1. Mexican cinnamon & vanilla really are different that the version you’ll find in most markets. If you can find it in your area, please use it. The delicate, floral aroma is heavenly and takes this recipe to a whole new level.
2. This recipe can be doubled for a crowd.
3. This recipe is adapted from Lola’s Horchata at AllRecipes.com.
4. Horchata is perfect on a hot day or paired with spicy foods.
5. Horchata will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.
6 Horchata makes excellent coffee creamer.

13 Comments

Filed under Family Stuff, Food & Recipes

I don’t know how this happened.

Remember my post from 2 weeks ago? The one with the pineapple update? The update where I said we probably had at least 4-6 weeks until harvest? Well, we went to Austin last weekend to visit the kids and came home to this:

Pineapple Harvest 6

I don’t know how this happened. They went from firm, mostly green and this:

Pineapple Close-Up - Aug2013

to completely, thoroughly golden-yellow ripe in 4 days. FOUR DAYS!

Side by Side Comparison - 4 days

I can only attribute it to:
A.) four days of intense Houston heat, followed by
B.) a good solid day of rain during drought conditions, and
C.) my lack of experience growing pineapples (even with 15+ plants)

We had no choice but to harvest them before they got too ripe, which was disappointing because we really had hoped the kids would be here to participate. Instead, The Complete Package & I cut them down. No kids; no celebration.

Pineapple Harvest 1

Pineapple Harvest 2

Here’s a peek behind the curtain at how we’ve accumulated so many pineapple plants over the past few years. Each plant, while it’s fruiting, puts off several shoots (ratoons) that can be removed and replanted to form new plants. Each of our four fruiting plants put off at least 2 to 3 ratoons.

Pineapple Harvest 3

Pineapple Harvest 4

I’m no math whiz, but if each pineapple plant produces 3 ratoons PLUS a pineapple fruit, that means you now potentially have FOUR (4) additional future pineapple plants, because you can replant the ratoons and replant the top off the pineapple fruit. We started six years ago with the top of a pineapple plant we’d bought at the grocery store. We now have over 15 plants because we keep re-potting the ratoons & pineapple tops. I joke about our mini-plantation, but it’s actually kind of true. They’re taking over our back porch. Two years ago, we harvested one lonely but gorgeous pineapple. This year, we got this:

Pineapple Harvest 5

Which brings me to our new little gadget I just have to show off. My friend Kirsten of Comfortably Domestic (my sister from another mister) and her four boys were so excited about our pending pineapple harvest, they sent us the new OXO ratcheting pineapple corer & slicer. Oh, baby!

Pineapple Harvest 2013- Ready to Cut

To use it, lop the top off your pineapple, leaving about 3/4″ so you can replant it later and become a semi-obsessed mini-plantation pineapple farmer like me.

Pineapple Harvest 2013- Lop off the top

We set the pineapples into a mixing bowl to capture any juice so I could make marmalade (always thinking ahead), then TCP set about coring those golden puppies. The OXO pineapple corer tore right through each pineapple in seconds.
It was amazing to watch and surprisingly fun to use.

Pineapple Harvest 2013- OXO Pineapple Corer & Slicer

Did I mention it ratchets? You don’t have to turn the bowl or move the pineapple or anything! Just twist the handle on top and it ratchets after each cut until it reaches the bottom. Once done, you simply pull the rings right out of the shell. That’s right – I said rings!

Pineapple Harvest 2013- Rings on the Slicer

It cuts the entire pineapple into perfectly even rings. Shut up! I know!

Pineapple Harvest 2013- Perfectly Sliced Rings

We set aside one tub of rings for Jonah Bear & Lilly Bug, since they both said they’d like to recreate our pineapple upside-down cake from the 2011 harvest, and poured most of the pineapple and juice into the Dutch oven to make my first ever batch of pineapple upside-down marmalade (pineapple, brown sugar & maraschino cherries). With that, there was only one last task to conquer.

Remember that post I mentioned in the first paragraph? The one where I said we probably had a few weeks until harvest? Well, I may have mentioned in that post that I’d also like to make fruity cocktails with this batch of pineapples. And since the OXO corer/slicer did such a nice job of creating the perfect vessel, there was just one last thing to do.

Pineapple Harvest 2013- Pina Colada Fixings

You should know me well enough by now to know that I never turn down a fruity ‘pinkies up’ frou-frou girly cocktail. So here’s to you, and here’s to friends who send friends kitchen gadgets, and here’s to the great pineapple harvest of 2013.

Pineapple Harvest - Pina Colada

Oh, and just in case you’d like to join me:

Pineapple Harvest 2013  - Pina Colada Recipe

25 Comments

Filed under Family Stuff, Food & Recipes, Things I Love

Can It: Black & Blue Jam

Black & Blue Jam - Label Shot

Jam. It’s my jam. I love making it, which is convenient because I love eating it. There’s something magical about canning your own jam. When I open my pantry and see that Jelly Shelf with jars stacked high, I feel I’ve accomplished something. When I take a jar of homemade jam to my grandkids I feel like I’m sharing something homemade and wholesome. It’s a love that goes back to my own grandmother and memories of sitting on the steps of her root cellar, waiting anxiously to see what she might retrieve. It’s memories of my own mother baking homemade bread on glorious summer canning days, smearing warm slices of that bread with jelly foam and passing them out like Christmas presents. Magical.

When my Big Sister and I road-tripped up to Mom’s last month, I was fortunate to find gorgeous fresh blackberries and blueberries and saved them just for this – Black & Blue Jam. The combination of these two berries, blended into a rich, deep purple jam – well, it just sings to me and stirs some deep-seeded joy from my past as well as a fervent passion for the buttered toast in my future.

Black & Blue Jam - Berries in the Pot

Black & Blue Jam
7 cups fresh blueberries & blackberries, washed & stems removed
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
3 boxes (1.75 ounces each) powdered pectin
10 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon real unsalted butter
6 pint or 12 half-pint canning jars
new lids & rings for each jar

In a large heavy saucepan, combine the berries and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the berries are soft and have released most of their juice, approximately 30-45 minutes. (Hint: I like to take an old-fashioned potato masher to mine after about 20 minutes to help extract the juice.) Add the pectin to the sugar and stir to combine, then gradually add the sugar to the berries, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Drop in the butter and continue to cook, again stirring often, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the mixture has started to thicken. Using a big soup spoon, skim off any foam or bubbles from around the edge of the pan and save it in a bowl for jelly foam toast later. It’s a jam canner’s reward for a job well done.

Turn off the heat. If you dislike seeds (I do), place a strainer over another large pan and ladle the jam into a strainer, pressing the jam through using a flexible silicone spatula. Place your sterilized canning jars close to the pot. Using a canning funnel, ladle the jam into jars, leaving 1/4″ to 1/2″ of space at the top. Once filled, use a damp paper towel to thoroughly wipe the rim of each jar, removing any jam that may have spilled over.

In a heat-proof bowl, place new canning lids (I alternate them – one face up, one face down – to keep them from sticking together) and cover them with boiling water. Let them sit for 3-4 minutes, then carefully remove them one at a time, shaking off any excess water, placing one onto each jar. Screw a ring on firmly, but not so tight that it won’t turn at all, and set them aside until all are done.

I use this handy silicone canning basket when I can anything. It allows me to lower & raise jars without any slips or accidents, and is heat-proof so it stays in the pot the entire time without melting. Process your jam jars in a hot water bath for 15 minutes (half-pints) or 20 minutes (pints). If you’re unfamiliar with water bath processing, check out this tutorial.

Jelly Collage

In my house, jam isn’t ‘done’ until it’s properly labeled. I may be slightly obsessed with creating cute labels for all my jams & jellies. It’s my creative process. Once your jars are properly labeled, you’re free to box them for storage, stack them on a pantry shelf, or pass them out to friends and family. Homemade jam makes excellent gifts. And speaking of gifts, there’s just one more to enjoy before you go – that bowl of jelly foam on warm buttered toast.

Black&Blue Jam Collage

Oh, Mom. I cannot thank you enough. {hugs}

For more on home canning, visit http://www.freshpreserving.com/getting-started.aspx

26 Comments

Filed under Food & Recipes, Things I Love

“The Heat is On” Spicy PB Shortbreads

Heat Is On PB Shortbreads -Title Shot

I love peanut butter. This one time, in high school, a friend’s dad got me to run 5 miles for a giant jar of it on a dare. It was 1980, and there was a peanut butter shortage. I did what I had to do.

Fast forward to June of this year, when I attended the BlogHerFood conference in Austin. I had the best time and met so many fabulous food bloggers, but I was also fortunate to meet some really nice people from companies represented at the event like Adam Shapiro from Peanut Butter & Co.

Adam & I sat at the same breakfast table the first morning of the conference, but didn’t get a chance to talk. Later that weekend, I bumped into him again and got a chance to strike up a conversation and share how much I love their peanut butter (most especially their Dark Chocolate Dreams – it’s sin in a jar). Adam asked if I’d heard about their new flavor – The Heat is On. It’s a crazy blend of peanut butter and spicy chilies.

When I say crazy, I mean crazy genius. We talked about the standard things that came to mind, like using it in a peanut satay or in a dipping sauce for egg rolls or dumplings. But as we were talking, I kept thinking about what it would be like in a cookie. Specifically, a peanut butter shortbread cookie dipped in chocolate.

Adam was intrigued by the idea. Enough so that he offered to send me some peanut butter to play with. This was truly one of the greatest and most unexpected pleasures of attending my first food blogging conference – connecting with fascinating people you’d never have a chance to meet otherwise and sharing a passion for food. True to his word, here’s what Adam sent:

PB&Co Box

Not just one jar, but an entire box of various Peanut Butter & Co flavors. I was simultaneously stunned and thrilled. He even included a jar of the Dark Chocolate Dreams. What a guy! Lilly Bug (our granddaughter) immediately fell in love with the dark chocolate peanut butter. She’s a girl after her Nana’s heart. Jonah Bear (our grandson) loved the maple. He’s a pancake kind of dude, so that’s not really surprising. Personally, I went into that jar of Cinnamon Raisin Swirl with a spoon and almost didn’t come back out. I’m officially obsessed with it.

PB&Co The Heat is On

But this spicy The Heat is On is what inspired these cookies. This richly roasted peanut butter combined with a spicy blend of heat is as bold as it is fun. It’s just spicy enough to feel the burn spread across your palate, but not so spicy you’re running for a glass of water. It’s a party in a jar, and now it’s a party in a cookie. And all because I stepped out of my comfort zone and initiated a conversation with a super guy who just happened to work for a peanut butter company that I love.

The Heat is On Peanut Butter Shortbreads – for Adam
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup ‘The Heat is On’ spicy peanut butter
1/4 cup plain crunchy peanut butter
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons honey or agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon table salt

In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter and peanut butter, beating with an electric mixer until well blended. Add the brown sugar, honey or agave nectar and vanilla extract, beating until combined. Sift together the flour and salt and add it slowly to the butter mixture, beating until the flour is fully absorbed.

Heat Is On PB Shortbreads - Pressed with a Glass

To press with a glass for a decorative cookie:
Scoop enough dough into the palm of your hand to form a ball roughly the size of a golf ball. Line a cookie sheet with a Silpat baking mat or parchment paper. Space the balls of cookie dough about 2″ apart and press with the bottom of a decorative glass. If the glass tries to stick to the dough, dip it in granulated sugar.

Heat Is On PB Shortbreads - Slice & Bake style

To use the slice & bake method:
Shape the cookie dough into a log and roll in plastic wrap, twisting the ends to seal them shut. Refrigerate at least one hour, then unwrap and slice into 1/4″ slices. Place the cookies 1″ apart on a lined cookie sheet.

To bake:
Pre-heat your oven to 275F. Place your oven rack in the middle portion of the oven, and bake the cookies for 40 minutes. Remember – everyone’s oven is different and some run hotter than others. Start checking the cookies at 30 minutes. If you gently press the center of the cookie and it gives a little, let them stay in a few minutes longer. I baked mine for exactly 40 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow them to cool on the baking sheets until completely cooled. Store in an airtight container for up to one week. If you want to kick it up a notch, consider dipping them in chocolate. I did. #NoRegrets.

Heat Is On PB Shortbreads - Dipped Close-Up

To dip in chocolate:
I let the cookies cool overnight to make sure they were completely cooled. Next, combine 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips with 3/4 cup milk chocolate chips and set them over a double-boiler to melt. Once melted, whisk until the chocolate mixture is perfectly smooth, with no lumps. Scrape the chocolate into a small glass or ramekin and dip each cookie individually, placing them on waxed paper to set.

Heat Is On PB Shortbreads - Drizzed in Chocolate

In a rush? You can scrape the melted chocolate into a zippered plastic food storage bag, press it all down to one corner of the bag, and snip the corner off. Using a quick back & forth method, drizzle the cookies until all are decorated. Then squeeze some into your mouth for good measure, and throw away the used bag. After that, it’s just a matter of waiting for the chocolate to set up, if you can wait that long. I’ve never been good at waiting, especially with cookies.

Heat Is On PB Shortbreads - Final Close-Up

Tip: If you live in a warm, humid climate like I do (hello, Houston), spread your waxed paper onto a cookie sheet before you dip or drizzle your cookies with chocolate. Once done, you can pop the entire pan into the fridge for 30 minutes or the freezer for 10 minutes to help the chocolate firm up.

Note: This recipe is adapted from a shortbread recipe at Living Tastefully. This post is not sponsored by Peanut Butter & Co. As stated above, the company provided me with a box of product to sample. All opinions (and drooling) are my own. Special thanks to Adam Shapiro of Peanut Butter & Co for his generosity.

29 Comments

Filed under Food & Recipes, Things I Love

My Favorite New Salad: CousCous

Couscous - Banner Shot - Inside NanaBread's Head

I am addicted to couscous. I blame my little sister (aka #4). She’s the one who first introduced me to it, and since then I have come to love it beyond words. It’s hard to even pinpoint what I love most. Maybe it’s the couscous grain itself – so buttery and delicious. Or perhaps it’s the combination of fresh & dried fruits; it does pair my favorite tart dried cherries, cranberries and apricots with the sweetness of fresh melons. Or maybe it’s the nuts? That’s a strong possibility, since toasty roasted pistachios, walnuts & pecans are showcased.

Couscous - Ingredients - Inside NanaBread's Head

Who am I kidding? It’s all of it, tossed together to create a sweet & savory, soft & crunchy perfection you just can’t find in other salads. And the best part is that you can customize it to include any of your personal favorites. My little sister loves to add pomegranate seeds. I adore it with the fresh melon and dried papaya. Any way you choose to make it, be forewarned – once you try it, you may never stop obsessing over it. Trust me.

NanaBread’s Easy CousCous:
1 cup water
1 pinch of table salt
1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup uncooked couscous
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dried papaya, diced
1/2 cup dried apricots, diced
1/2 cup dried, pitted tart cherries
1/2 cup fresh honeydew melon, diced
1/2 cup fresh cantaloupe, diced
1/2 cup roasted & salted pistachios
1/2 cup toasted pecans
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
zest & juice of one orange

In a saucepan, combine the water, salt, agave, cinnamon and butter; stir over medium-high heat until the water mixture comes to a boil. Quickly add the couscous and stir constantly for one minute, to prevent the couscous from sticking. Cover tightly with a lid, turn off the heat, and let it sit for 5 minutes.

While the couscous is resting, chop your fruits and nuts into roughly the same size pieces and place them in a large mixing bowl; toss with the juice and zest of one orange. Once the couscous is ready, fluff it with a fork and pour it over the fruits and nuts; toss to thoroughly combine.

Couscous - Close-Up - Inside NanaBread's Head

Let the mixture sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving. Leftover couscous should be refrigerated in an airtight container and should keep for at least 4-5 days. I don’t think mine will last that long. Not even close. Nope. Not at all. Not sharing, either. Nuh-uh. {going back for more}

14 Comments

Filed under Food & Recipes