Chewy Graham Cookies

19 Aug
Graham Cookies

Reminiscent of the sweet mildly-cinnamon flavor of graham crackers, these graham cookies are a great treat. Using basic ingredients that most bakers will have on hand, they’re a snap to throw together and yet bake up to something a little unusual for when you’re feeling tired of traditional chocolate chip cookies and snickerdoodles (not that both aren’t delicious!). The texture is perfectly chewy, the honey adds a pleasant background flavor, and the cookies are rolled in cinnamon-sugar for a decadent finishing touch. Next time, I’m planning on substituting some of the flour with whole wheat flour for a nuttier taste.

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Roasted Veggie Pasta with Pomegranate Balsamic Reduction

17 Aug
Roasted Veggie Pasta with Pomegranate Balsamic Reduction

Although I often enjoy spending multiple hours preparing elaborate meals, there’s a certain joy in creating a delicious simple meal in just half an hour.  This pasta is perfect for that as the three main components can easily be prepared in parallel, and all of them are fairly straightforward.  I always admire versatility in recipes, and this one is most certainly versatile; use almost any pasta or veggies to customize your meal.

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Homemade Vanilla Extract

15 Aug
Homemade Vanilla Extract

This recipe is so simple it hardly seems worth posting.  But this little recipe has enormous value; imagine never having to buy vanilla extract again!  Once you’ve whipped up your first batch, you can simply add more bourbon as the extract dwindles, but remember to also occasionally toss in another bean.  Every time I use vanilla beans for another purpose, instead of discarding the used beans, I simply rinse them and add them to my vanilla extract.

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Nutella Banana Muffins

12 Aug
Nutella Banana Muffin

I pretty much always have bananas around; they’re cheap, tasty, healthy, and a great snack when I know that dinner is still a couple hours off. But I sometimes end up buying more than I can eat and I’m tired of traditional banana bread, so I’ve been keeping my eyes open for other banana-enriched baked goods. These muffins are perfect for overripe bananas – rich and moist with just enough of a nutty chocolate flavor from the Nutella. This recipe makes quite a lot of muffins so be prepared to share.

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Vegetarian Moroccan Tagine

10 Aug
Vegetarian Moroccan Tagine

Three years ago, in the summer of 2008, I spent two weeks traveling around Morocco with a friend. We had both been studying Arabic and thought this would be a good chance to practice; of course, once we arrived, we quickly realized that Moroccan Arabic is so different from Modern Standard Arabic that we were better off falling back on our knowledge of French! Luckily, my friend was practically fluent and I had five years of middle school and high school French classes under my belt – not that it did me all that much good, as this trip was probably the only time I’ve had people ask me why I’m so quiet and shy.

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Strawberry Vinegar Reduction

8 Aug

Strawberry Vinegar Reduction

This is a jewel of a syrup, a deep ruby red reduction with the rich thick consistency of honey.  Take a taste and the intense strawberry flavor plays on your tongue, the sweetness balanced by the complex tartness of red wine vinegar. This syrup is incredibly versatile, allowing for a little bit of customization at each step along the way. You can make it with different berries or fruits (or combinations of fruits even), you can add in fresh herbs, you can reduce the syrup only slightly (a thinner consistency works best for mixing in drinks or vinaigrettes) or cook it down until it’s the consistency of honey, and once you’ve made it, there are an endless amount of possibilities for using it! I’ve listed some suggested uses after the recipe.

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