lemony pea toasts


LemonyPeaToasts

I imagine many readers’ childhoods were filled with dinner table commands, “Eat your peas!” Not this girl. It helps when your own mother never overcame her childhood trauma of peas. Because Mommy Cat has such an intense aversion to ’em, green peas were always absent from the Lovett dinner table and for years I assumed I’d hate them too! When I finally gave peas a chance, I was delighted by their texture and fun burst of fresh flavor.

This lemony pea mash on toasts makes an easy peasy app, and the lemony pea mash would make a scrumptious spread for a veggie sandwich (I’m dreaming of a goat cheese, lemony pea mash, avocado, and sprouts concoction). 

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2 loaves of crusty bread, sliced (we used ciabatta)
olive oil for drizzling on sliced bread
1 2-cup bag of frozen peas, thawed
1 tbs olive oil
4 cloves of garlic smashed
2 tbs lemon
2 tbs chives
1/4 c parsley (I used the squeeze parsley for the first time! amazing!)
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
salt to taste

In a large pan, heat olive oil, garlic, parsley and chives. Add your peas and squeeze in your lemon. Add red pepper and salt to taste. Heat mixture until your peas are thoroughly cooked, but before they’re too mushy.

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Pour pea mixture into your food processor and give it about 8 good pulses – I wanted to maintain some semblance of pea texture so opted for a coarse mash over a pea puree – but do whatever floats your boat.

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Slice (or solicit a sous chef, thanks One Sock Wonder!) your bread to desired width – I recommend ~1/2 inch – and generously drizzle on olive oil and toast.

Heap room temperature pea mash onto toasts and enjoy!

Peas out,

Julia

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red velvet cake

CakewithBerries_RedVelvet

Last night the Saucy San Diegan grilled a full aquarium (squid, oysters, swordfish, salmon, cod) in honor of Amy Boo Boo’s birthday celebration, and the Hungry Texans were in charge of apps and zerts. SSD requested red velvet, so red velvet it was! I was a little apprehensive as more often than not I feel like red velvet kind of dry, lackluster cake whose primary purpose is to make copious consumption of cream cheese frosting socially acceptable. That said, I put my biases aside and made a few modifications to a Saveur recipe that turned out super moist, flavorful, and good enough that I went straight for a slice for breakfast this morning.

For the cake:

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cocoa powder
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 tsp red food coloring
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

For the icing:

Icing Ingredients

1 stick butter
1 package cream cheese
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla

This cake couldn’t be quicker to whip up. Start by preheating your oven to 350. Combine all your dry ingredients – sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder together in a bowl. Then, in the bowl of a stand mixer combine – vegetable oil, eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, vinegar.

Liquid Mixing

Add your food coloring and combine.

Red Batter

Add your dry ingredients to your sanguine red batter.

Wet & Dry

Pour batter into two round parchment-lined and sprayed cake pans.

Finished Batter Batter in Pans

Bake for 25-30 minutes until your cakes pass the toothpick test. Set cakes aside to cool.

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While cakes are cooling, make your icing. In the bowl of your stand mixer cream together butter, cream cheese, and vanilla. Gradually add your powdered sugar until the icing reaches the desired flavor and consistency.

Assemble your cake. I achieved the coveted double-flip for this cake – making sure the round part was on top. I recommend, you do your first flip onto a plate, then flip back into your cake pan, and then flip on top of your first layer. Cake flipping is a delicate art, so you do you and figure out what works.

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Ice and decorate as desired.

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Light the candles, slice and serve with ice cream. We served with homemade buttermilk ice cream! Yum!

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Make a wish!

Julia

tofu lettuce wraps

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Last night Boston Boy, Boston Sister, and I ate our weight in sushi and tots (that’s right sushi and tots under the same roof!) at Sticky Rice, one of our favorite H Street haunts. Sticky Rice has some of the most unique sushi rolls I’ve ever enjoyed – like the Godzirra (crunchy shrimp, avocado, cream cheese, spicy sauce, cucumbers + crunch) or the Drawn and Buttered (no big deal, just some lump crab sushi you dip in butter! that’s right…sushi dipped in butter. Big Daddy, take notes!) – but in spite of their cornucopia of creative rolls, one of my favorite of their dishes is their tofu lettuce wraps! Chunks of fried tofu mixed with a delicious soy ginger sauce with just the right amount of crisp from the lettuce and crunch from huge chunks of water chestnuts. Delish!

24 hours later and I was hungry for more, so I whipped up my own rendition of this veggie delight. For ease and health, I opted against frying my tofu (although, it would be delish! If you want to try these with fried tofu hunks, I recommend borrowing the frying method from our Soy Ginger Tofu with Bok Choy). Grab these ingredients and you’ll be crunching away on these tofu lettuce wraps in no time! Also…for anyone suffering from tofu-phobia, this dish is a great gateway!

tofulettucewrapsingredietns

1 pound extra firm tofu
5 cloves of garlic chopped
2 tbl ginger chopped (I love ginger, so if you’re less of a ginger nut you may want to reduce)
1 tbl lemon grass
1/2 chopped onion
2 tbl olive oil
1 package of mixed mushrooms, coarsely chopped
4 tbl hoisin
4 tbl soy
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
romaine lettuce hearts
garnishes: carrots, peanuts

Heat oil in a large saucepan and add onions, garlic, lemon grass, and ginger. Let cook for 5-7 minutes until fragrant and tender.

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While those are cooking, combine soy, hoisin, red pepper, and sesame oil to make your sauce.

IMG_1792Add your mushrooms.

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Cook for about 4 minutes before adding tofu and water chestnuts.

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Pour sauce over everything and mix to combine.

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Cook for another 5-7 minutes until everything’s thoroughly hot, combined, and saucy.

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Scoop heaps of your tofu mixture into romaine lettuce hearts. Garnish with your choice of toppings – I recommend carrots and peanuts!

xoxo,

Julia

apple bundt cake

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I know this recipe might have been better saved for the fall, but ever since Boston Boy and I peeled and chopped dozens and dozens and dozens of apples for applesauce at Miriam’s Kitchen I’ve been craving a sweet, cinnamon apple treat. I volunteered to bake dessert for a dinner party our esteemed Ragnar captain, LatinThunder hosted this weekend and this bundt cake is a convenient and easily-transportable (read: won’t Cake Wreck tossed into a bag and hanging from the handles of my bicycle).

Gather the following:

ingredients

Your favorite baking spray
2 cups flour
1 1⁄2 cups sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1⁄4 tsp. salt
1⁄2 cup butter
1⁄2 cup applesauce
3 eggs
2 apples, peeled, cored, and chopped (I used Fugi)
1/2 cup raisins (not pictured, these were a game time addition!)

I started by making a half batch of Liz’s yummy applesauce. The rest is a glorified dump cake. You need one bowl, a stirring utensil, and you’ll be golden delicious (couldn’t pass up the opportunity for an apple pun!). In a large bowl, melt butter in the butter melter (read: microwave). Stir in sugar.

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Add your eggs.

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Then your cinnamon.

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Then your applesauce.

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Then your fresh apples.

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Then your raisins (I might also recommend pecans or walnuts if you have any handy!).

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Then your dry ingredients.

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Mix it all up, and then pour into a well sprayed (or buttered and floured) bundt pan.

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Cook at 350 for about 40 minutes (or in my case a little over half of Denise Austin’s yoga tape – streaming on Amazon Instant thankuverrymuch!). Let your cake thoroughly cool before wiggling around the edges with a knife. DSC_0649

Say a little prayer and hope she comes out easy! Thankfully my bundt came right out. Slice & serve! The cake’s delish and makes a great simple dessert that won’t leave you sugar-rushing, side-split, buckled over lamenting whoever initiated the fairy tale that there’s “always room for dessert”, but it’d also make a great breakfast! If you’re looking for a little more presentation and want to glam this cake up a bit – I recommend (in increasing level of difficulty) either a) sifting powdered sugar on top, b) whipping up a quick powdered sugar glaze, or c) getting fancy and making a caramel/dulce de leche sauce to drizzle on top. Get creative!

You’re the apple of my eye!

Julia

white chocolate, coconut blondies

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These white chocolate, coconut blondies are a dump everything, mix, and wait dessert. No fuss, no frills. Just a pretty decadent, delicious treat that’s the perfect hybrid between brownie and cookie. The coconut keeps them oh, so moist and the creamy white chocolate’s the perfect companion to the coconut’s chewiness.

This was a Sunday night improvisation a few weeks ago, and I encourage you to do the same. Swap coconut for pecans or white chocolate for dark chocolate or butterscotch chips! Mix in peanut butter instead of coconut oil and add peanut chips. The pantry’s full of possibilities, but this version’s definitely worth a whirl!

Ingredients_blondies

1 cup coconut
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 c coconut oil
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
4 tsp vanilla
1 cup white chocolate chips

Start by creaming together butter and coconut oil in the bowl of a stand mixer.

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Add vanilla.

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Add brown sugar and cream until well combined.

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Add your two eggs.

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Remove your bowl from the stand mixer and fold in flour, salt, baking powder, coconut, and chocolate chips. That’s right. Dump everything in!

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Pour into a greased square pyrex dish and bake at 350 for about 25 minutes or until the top of your blondies glisten and the middle passes the toothpick test.

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Cut into squares and shower these blondies’ deliciousness upon adoring coworkers.

xo,

Julia

tabouleh


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I love tabouleh. So much in fact that I often find myself scooping heaps of it from the Whole Foods salad bar and eating it for breakfast (they do a terrific and terribly convenient version of the traditional mezze). Yesterday was my first attempt to make it myself, and although a tabouleh purist might roll her eyes at my creative liberties (no tomatoes, no onion, no cucumbers) it’s the perfect, refreshing delight for my palette.

All you need is:

1/2 cup bulgar

1/3 cup lemon juice

1/3 cup olive oil

two bunches of parsley

a dozen mint leaves

salt to taste, I used ~2 tsp

This was also my first time cooking with bulgar and I use “cooking” loosely because all you really do is rehydrate it. Start by rinsing your bulgar in a fine, mesh strainer. Transfer to a large bowl and pour in half of your lemon juice. Let it sit for 30-40 minutes or until the bulgar starts to fluff and get more tender.

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While your bulgar’s soaking and absorbing your lemon juice, in the bowl of a food processor place parsley & mint. Pulse to mince. Then, combine olive oil with with other half of your lemon juice and slowly pour into your parsley/mint mixture.

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Once your bulgar is adequately soaked, pour in your green mixture and stir to combine.

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There you go! Super simple tabouleh – no heat required. This is also a great make ahead dish, I had some for lunch today and I think it improves with age as the flavors have longer to gel.

A refreshing addition to any summer plate or breakfast of champions,

Julia

almond peach tart

almondpeachtart

Spring has finally sprung in the District! The cherry blossoms are in full bloom, the Nationals’ season is off to a solid start, and thankfully (knock on wood & fingers crossed) we’ve had more sunshine than showers so far this April! This week has been unseasonably warm and visions of summer stone fruits have been dancing through this Hungry Texan’s head. Try this almond peach tart (inspired from a recipe from Peace Meals, the newest Junior League of Houston cookbook) and start and tempt your tastebuds with the summer sweets to come!

You’ll need:

peachtartingredients

almond cream

2/3 c slivered, blanched almonds

1/2 c sugar

6 tbl butter

2 eggs

2 tbl chambord (raspberry liquor, rum would also work)

2 tbl flour

PieCrust

Peaches

tart

1 pie crust (I used frozen!)

2 bags frozen peaches or 5 ripe peaches

glaze

1/3 c peach jelly/jam

4 tsp chambord

Preheat your oven to 425.

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Now, this recipe is really quite simple! To make your almond cream, start by grinding almonds and 2 tbl of sugar to a fine meal in your food processor. Remove the almond meal from the food processor and set aside briefly.

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Cream your butter in the food processor until soft. Then add the remaining 6 tablespoons of sugar and continue creaming. Add your eggs one at a time and process until smooth. Finally, add back in your almond meal mixture, add the flour, and chambord until well mixed and creamy.

almond filling

Next, assemble your tart! Pour your almond mixture into a prepared pie crust (fork-poked).

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Arrange peaches in a radiating or concentric design.

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Bake for 10 minutes in your preheated oven and then reduce heat to 350 baking for another 25 – 30 minutes. Remove and let your pie cool.

Jam+Chambord

When the pie cools, prepare your glaze by bringing peach jam and chambord to a simmer in a small saucepan. Stir continuously until the mixture is melty and wonderful.

Glaze Straining

Then strain through a fine mesh strainer. With a pastry brush, brush the glaze generously over the top of your tart.

Enjoy room temperature with a scoop of vanilla ice cream (Blue Bell if you’re so lucky!).

Sweet & creamy,

Julia