Savory Simple http://www.savorysimple.net A Recipe Blog Mon, 20 Oct 2014 16:16:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Pumpkin Spiced Buttermilk Layer Cake with Maple Buttercream http://www.savorysimple.net/pumpkin-spiced-buttermilk-layer-cake-maple-buttercream/ http://www.savorysimple.net/pumpkin-spiced-buttermilk-layer-cake-maple-buttercream/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 02:26:49 +0000 http://www.savorysimple.net/?p=15067 I’ve never been very good at creating a work/life balance. It was easy when I worked for someone else. Every week, 40 hours were spent mostly sitting in front of a desk with breaks for lunch and meetings. Now that I work for myself, my weekdays and weekends are very similar. My mornings and evenings are very […]

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This Pumpkin Spiced Buttermilk Layer Cake with Maple Buttercream is a perfect recipe for Thanksgiving or Christmas! #dessert

I’ve never been very good at creating a work/life balance. It was easy when I worked for someone else. Every week, 40 hours were spent mostly sitting in front of a desk with breaks for lunch and meetings. Now that I work for myself, my weekdays and weekends are very similar. My mornings and evenings are very similar. I space out the work, but it’s always there.

This Pumpkin Spiced Buttermilk Layer Cake with Maple Buttercream is a perfect recipe for Thanksgiving or Christmas! #dessert

I don’t mean to sound like I’m complaining because I really enjoy what I do. But I’m still trying to figure out how organize my time. Right now I never completely turn off. It causes me to crash more than I’d care to admit. I think I’ll figure it all out soon. It’s just one of those things.

This Pumpkin Spiced Buttermilk Layer Cake with Maple Buttercream is a perfect recipe for Thanksgiving or Christmas! #dessert

This buttermilk cake has a slightly different texture than my other layer cakes. The combination of buttermilk and pumpkin puree creates an incredibly moist texture but this in turn makes the cake itself more delicate. It takes slightly longer to bake. The first time I made this recipe I didn’t do a great job scraping the bottom of the mixer and it caused the cake to bake unevenly. So make sure you scrape down the bowl at least twice to be safe. Handle the finished cakes with care while assembling and frosting. Typically I bake layer cakes the day before frosting them so they can chill overnight in the refrigerator.

This Pumpkin Spiced Buttermilk Layer Cake with Maple Buttercream is a perfect recipe for Thanksgiving or Christmas! #dessert

I am often asked how I get such clean slices of cake. My method: use a long, sharp knife. Run it under hot water, wipe it dry and immediately cut one slice in a straight down, non-sawing motion. Don’t pull the knife up, pull it straight out toward you. Then repeat the process for the other side, starting with the hot water. That’s how I do it!

It also helps to work with cake that has just been removed from the refrigerator, when the buttercream is more firm. This is less helpful when using a frosting that is not butter based (for example, whipped cream).

This Pumpkin Spiced Buttermilk Layer Cake with Maple Buttercream is a perfect recipe for Thanksgiving or Christmas! #dessert

Tools I used to make this cake:

(these links go to my Amazon affiliate store)

Ateco Revolving Cake Stand
OXO Good Grips Food Scale
KitchenAid Stand Mixer
Parchment Sheets
Wilton Cake Rounds
Wilton Cake and Cookie Lifter
Digital Thermometer
Offset Spatula

This Pumpkin Spiced Buttermilk Layer Cake with Maple Buttercream is a perfect recipe for Thanksgiving or Christmas! #dessert

Pumpkin Spiced Buttermilk Layer Cake with Maple Buttercream
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 1 8-inch triple layer cake
Ingredients
cake ingredients:
  • 10½ ounces all purpose flour
  • 3 ounces (9 tablespoons) cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1½ tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1½ cups buttermilk
  • ¼ cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 9 ounces (2¼ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 21 ounces granulated sugar
  • 6 large eggs, room temperature
maple buttercream
  • 7½ ounces (approximately 1 cup) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 5 egg whites
  • 16 ounces (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Instructions
prepare the cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place an oven rack in the middle position. Lightly spray the bottom of 3 8-inch cake pans with baking spray and then cover them with parchment rounds. Set aside.
  2. Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, pumpkin puree and vanilla extract.
  3. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together on low speed for 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, allowing each egg to incorporate before adding the next. Scrape down the sides of the bowl all the way to the bottom. With the mixer still on low speed, swiftly alternate between adding the dry and liquid ingredients over the course of a minute. Scrape down the sides well, making sure to reach the bottom of the bowl. Turn the mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Give the batter one final stir by hand to make sure the batter is completely incorporated.
  4. Distribute the batter evenly between the 3 prepared cake pans, using a spatula to even out the tops.
  5. Bake until the a toothpick comes out of the center of each cake clean, approximately 36-40 minutes. Allow the cakes to cool completely in the pan before removing.
prepare the frosting
  1. Add sugar and water to a medium sized sauce pot. Cover and turn the heat to high. Once the liquid begins to simmer and steam has developed, remove the cover (this helps prevent crystallization). Using a candy thermometer, cook the sugar to the soft boil stage, 235-240 degrees F.
  2. While the sugar is cooking, whisk the eggs on high in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment until a soft peak has formed.
  3. Turn the mixer speed down to medium low and very slowly pour the syrup down the side of the bowl into the egg whites. Don’t pour the hot syrup directly into the meringue or you’ll get scrambled eggs.
  4. Once the syrup is completely incorporated, turn the speed to high and allow the meringue to continue to form a stiff peak while cooling down. Mix on high until the meringue has reached room temperature. To speed up this 15-20 minute process, ice packs can be placed around the bowl.
  5. Once the meringue is room temperature, slowly begin incorporating the soft butter on medium speed. Don’t rush this step. Once all of the butter has been incorporated, turn the mixer speed up to high and slowly add the maple syrup.
assemble the cake
  1. Place the first layer of cake on a revolving cake stand and remove the parchment paper. Placing a cardboard round below the cake is optional but will make transporting the cake easier after it is assembled.
  2. Spread approximately one cup of buttercream on the cake and spread it around evenly with an offset spatula. Add more buttercream as needed to reached the desired thickness. Repeat with the second and third layer (don't forget to remove the parchment each time). Use an offset spatula to apply a thin layer of frosting to the side and top of the cake. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to set this first layer of buttercream. Remove from the refrigerator and cover the entire cake with a final layer of frosting.
  3. Cake is best when served at room temperature.
Notes
You can use store-bought pumpkin pie spice or make your own. I used this mix of spices, which yields extra:

3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons fresh ground nutmeg
1½ teaspoons ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cloves

Here's a great article with tips on how to solve common buttercream issues.

 

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One Pot Chicken and Bacon Orzo Soup http://www.savorysimple.net/chicken-bacon-orzo-soup/ http://www.savorysimple.net/chicken-bacon-orzo-soup/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 17:14:34 +0000 http://www.savorysimple.net/?p=15046 I’ve decided to judge how productive my days are based on how many times I have to run the dishwasher. It’s a running joke between Jeff and I because when I go out of town for a week, he might run the machine one time. But in my day to day life, I’m using it […]

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This one pot chicken and bacon orzo soup from Savory Simple is perfect for chilly days or when you just need a warm bowl of comfort food.  #Soup #Autumn #Recipe www.savorysimple.net

I’ve decided to judge how productive my days are based on how many times I have to run the dishwasher. It’s a running joke between Jeff and I because when I go out of town for a week, he might run the machine one time. But in my day to day life, I’m using it at least once per day even though I wash many dishes by hand. And I hate doing dishes. But they’re a clear indicator of whether I’ve been slacking or getting things done.

This one pot chicken and bacon orzo soup from Savory Simple is perfect for chilly days or when you just need a warm bowl of comfort food.  #Soup #Autumn #Recipe www.savorysimple.net

No job is perfect. Dishes are just part of the deal and I’ve gotten used to them. Part of the reason this soup is so appealing to me is because there’s very little clean up involved. I use a dutch oven or heavy bottom pot for cooking the soup plus a plate and cutting board for handling the bacon and chicken. It’s easy, not overly time consuming and perfect for this time of year.

This one pot chicken and bacon orzo soup from Savory Simple is perfect for chilly days or when you just need a warm bowl of comfort food.  #Soup #Autumn #Recipe www.savorysimple.net

One Pot Chicken and Bacon Orzo Soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: approximately 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 5 slices bacon
  • 2 cups yellow onion, diced (approximately 1 large onion)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup celery, diced (approximately 3 ribs)
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 6 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • ½ cup orzo
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper or to taste
  • chopped fresh parsley to taste
Instructions
  1. In a large dutch oven or heavy bottom saucepan, render the fat from the bacon over low heat. Once there's a nice layer of fat on the bottom of the pan, turn the heat up slightly and cook the bacon until crisp. Place the bacon on a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Discard all but 2-3 tablespoons of the fat from the pan.
  2. Add the onions, garlic, celery, and carrots to the pan with a pinch of salt. Cook the vegetables on medium heat for several minutes, stirring periodically, until they have caramelized a bit (Note: the more you caramelize them, the more flavorful the finished soup will be).
  3. Lay the chicken breasts on top of the vegetables and cover with the chicken stock. Bring the the liquid to a boil, cover and reduce the heat to low. Allow the soup to simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the chicken and place on a cutting board. Once it has cooled slightly, use 2 forks to shred the meat. Set aside.
  4. Bring the soup back to a boil and add the orzo. Cook for 8 minutes, uncovered, until the orzo is al dente.
  5. Add the chicken back to the soup and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Dice the reserved bacon. Garnish each bowl of soup with fresh parsley and diced bacon before serving. (Note: the bacon can be reheated either in a skillet over medium heat or in the microwave at 10 second intervals)

 

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Strawberry Macadamia Nut Milk http://www.savorysimple.net/strawberry-macadamia-nut-milk/ http://www.savorysimple.net/strawberry-macadamia-nut-milk/#comments Sun, 12 Oct 2014 23:26:34 +0000 http://www.savorysimple.net/?p=14205 I love making nut milks from scratch. It’s not very time consuming or expensive to make and the flavor is, in my opinion, far superior to anything sold at the grocery store. There are no weird preservatives or stabilizers. It’s a nice, unprocessed drink that can be used as a base for smoothies or in […]

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Strawberry Macadamia Nut Milk is a healthy, sweet drink that can be enjoyed on its own or used as the base for a smoothie. #Vegan #Paleo #DairyFree

I love making nut milks from scratch. It’s not very time consuming or expensive to make and the flavor is, in my opinion, far superior to anything sold at the grocery store. There are no weird preservatives or stabilizers. It’s a nice, unprocessed drink that can be used as a base for smoothies or in place or regular milk in baked goods or coffee drinks.

Strawberry Macadamia Nut Milk is a healthy, sweet drink that can be enjoyed on its own or used as the base for a smoothie. #Vegan #Paleo #DairyFree

Most of the time I stick with almond or cashew milk but sometimes I like to mix things up. I recently tried macadamia nut milk for the first time and it’s now one of my favorites. The milk is smooth, creamy and slightly sweet.

Strawberry Macadamia Nut Milk is a healthy, sweet drink that can be enjoyed on its own or used as the base for a smoothie. #Vegan #Paleo #DairyFree

Macadamia milk is tasty on its own but I spruced this version up with fresh strawberries and a bit of maple syrup. You can swap out the strawberries for whatever berry you prefer.

Strawberry Macadamia Nut Milk is a healthy, sweet drink that can be enjoyed on its own or used as the base for a smoothie. #Vegan #Paleo #DairyFree

You don’t need any special equipment to make homemade nut milk aside from a blender, fine mesh strainer and some cheesecloth. However, for the same price as a large bag of cheesecloth you can buy a reusable nut milk bag. I think it does a much better job straining out all of the solids and the bag is really easy to clean.

Strawberry Macadamia Nut Milk is a healthy, sweet drink that can be enjoyed on its own or used as the base for a smoothie. #Vegan #Paleo #DairyFree

Natural separation will occur in nut milks if they’re not immediately consumed. The milk will stay fresh in the refrigerator for several days so if it’s not used right away, simply stir it back together before serving.

Strawberry Macadamia Nut Milk is a healthy, sweet drink that can be enjoyed on its own or used as the base for a smoothie. #Vegan #Paleo #DairyFree

Strawberry Macadamia Nut Milk
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: approximately 3 cups
Ingredients
  • 1 cup raw macadamia nuts
  • 3 cups filtered water, plus more for soaking
  • 5 strawberries, hulled
  • optional: 1-2 teaspoons maple syrup
Instructions
  1. Place the macadamia nuts in a container and cover them by several inches with filtered water. Cover and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.
  2. Drain the water through a colander. Place the nuts in a blender with 3 cups of fresh, filtered water.
  3. Briefly chop the macadamia nuts on low speed an then slowly turn the blender speed up to high and puree for an additional minute.
  4. Pour the macadamia mixture into a nut milk bag or a fine mesh strainer lined with 2 layers of cheesecloth set over a bowl. Allow to strain for 30 minutes and then squeeze the remaining liquid through the bag (or cheesecloth). Discard the solids (or find a creative use for them).
  5. Rinse out the blender. Return the macadamia nut milk to the blender along with the strawberries and maple syrup, if using. Puree for 30 seconds.
  6. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Natural separation will occur so simply stir the milk before serving.

 

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Spiced Octoberfest Beer Bread http://www.savorysimple.net/spiced-octoberfest-beer-bread/ http://www.savorysimple.net/spiced-octoberfest-beer-bread/#comments Mon, 06 Oct 2014 19:52:30 +0000 http://www.savorysimple.net/?p=14148 I’m writing a cookbook. I’ve only just begun the process and I’m already feeling very overwhelmed. But I also feel excited and validated. I feel as though everything I have been working for over the past few years is finally coming together. I feel like I made the right choices. This book is going to be 12 […]

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This autumn Spiced Octoberfest Beer Bread recipe is so easy to make! No mixer or kneading required. www.savorysimple.net

I’m writing a cookbook. I’ve only just begun the process and I’m already feeling very overwhelmed. But I also feel excited and validated. I feel as though everything I have been working for over the past few years is finally coming together. I feel like I made the right choices. This book is going to be 12 months of blood, sweat and tears. I’m going to put everything I have into it.

This autumn Spiced Octoberfest Beer Bread recipe is so easy to make! No mixer or kneading required. www.savorysimple.net

Honestly, I’m not sure how I’m going to get everything done. I’d like to continue sharing two new recipes on this blog every week. I don’t want to vanish and lose momentum. I still want to continue with my weekly freelance writing jobs. I also want to make sure I test the hell out of every recipe in this book.

I’m terrified of bad reviews, even though I’m sure they’re inevitable.  As much as I try to avoid it, I post typos here from time to time. I accidentally mess something up in one of the recipes and then I feel like a complete idiot when someone catches the mistake. I can’t do that with a book. It has to be perfect. But I can’t worry about this too much. Panic is a waste of time and energy and these are luxuries I can’t afford. It’s time to make it work.

This autumn Spiced Octoberfest Beer Bread recipe is so easy to make! No mixer or kneading required. www.savorysimple.net

Here’s an easy October recipe that I think you’ll enjoy. I was inspired by the endless supply of Octoberfest beer that Jeff has been bringing home. I’m not a huge beer drinker but I’ll admit it’s tasty stuff. And it makes really good beer bread. If you’re scared of working with yeasted doughs (or any dough in general), this recipe is for you. It’s like the muffin of bread recipes. Stir, bake, eat.

This autumn Spiced Octoberfest Beer Bread recipe is so easy to make! No mixer or kneading required. www.savorysimple.net

Spiced Octoberfest Beer Bread
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 1 loaf
Ingredients
  • 16 ounces (approximately 3 cups) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 4½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 (12 ounce) bottle Octoberfest beer (I used Sam Adams)
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan (I use baking spray).
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and cloves.
  3. Pour the beer into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Transfer the dough into the prepared loaf pan. Drizzle the melted butter over the top of the batter and bake until golden brown on top, approximately 50 minutes.
  4. Allow to cool on a cooling rack for 15 minutes before slicing.

 

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Salted Olive Oil Brownies http://www.savorysimple.net/salted-olive-oil-brownies/ http://www.savorysimple.net/salted-olive-oil-brownies/#comments Thu, 02 Oct 2014 16:22:48 +0000 http://www.savorysimple.net/?p=14134 Do you have a favorite month? October is definitely one of my top picks. It’s far from perfect since the threat of winter and darkness always looms. But October by itself is lovely; temperatures start to cool and the leaves begin changing color. I’m enjoying the milder temperatures. I’ve worn my cherished Frye boots for the past 2 weeks and […]

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Salted Olive Oil Brownies from Savory Simple are a decadent, sweet and salty chocolate treat. They're some of the best brownies you'll ever taste.

Do you have a favorite month? October is definitely one of my top picks. It’s far from perfect since the threat of winter and darkness always looms. But October by itself is lovely; temperatures start to cool and the leaves begin changing color. I’m enjoying the milder temperatures. I’ve worn my cherished Frye boots for the past 2 weeks and will be venturing to an orchid to pick apples this weekend. I might be lamenting the loss of light, but there’s no denying my love for October.

Salted Olive Oil Brownies from Savory Simple are a decadent, sweet and salty chocolate treat. They're some of the best brownies you'll ever taste.

October is cozy. These salted olive oil brownies are cozy. Olive oil replaces butter for a fruity, peppery note and the fleur de sel adds just the right amount of salt to enhance the chocolate.

Salted Olive Oil Brownies from Savory Simple are a decadent, sweet and salty chocolate treat. They're some of the best brownies you'll ever taste.

The key to this recipe is to use high quality ingredients. The best chocolate, a fresh olive oil and a good finishing salt will elevate this recipe to make some of the best brownies you’ve ever tasted.

Salted Olive Oil Brownies from Savory Simple are a decadent, sweet and salty chocolate treat. They're some of the best brownies you'll ever taste.

Salted Olive Oil Brownies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 9 large or 16 small brownies
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup good quality olive oil
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon espresso powder
  • fleur de sel (finishing salt)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 8x8inch brownie pan with parchment paper, allowing excess paper to hang over all 4 of the sides (this will make it easier to remove the brownies). Lightly spray the parchment paper with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl set over a pot of simmering water, warm the olive oil and bittersweet chocolate together over low heat, stirring until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth.
  3. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar and vanilla, then beat the eggs in one at a time. Add the flour and vigorously stir for 1 minute until the batter becomes smooth and shiny.
  4. Scrape the batter into the prepared brownie pan and sprinkle some fleur de sel evenly on top of the batter. Place in the oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes.
  5. Let cool completely before removing and cutting the brownies.
Notes
Olive oils can go rancid with time. Try to use only the freshest olive oil with this recipe (and taste it before using).

Adapted from Ready For Dessert by David Lebovitz

 

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Spicy Chocolate Latte http://www.savorysimple.net/spicy-chocolate-latte/ http://www.savorysimple.net/spicy-chocolate-latte/#comments Wed, 24 Sep 2014 18:29:01 +0000 http://www.savorysimple.net/?p=13853 It seems like every year there’s one month where I find myself traveling to multiple work events. I’m right in the middle of that hectic time right now. I’ve been home from a visit to Seattle for just two days and in another two days I’m headed to Pennsylvania. It’s tiring but I’m enjoying catching up […]

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This spicy chocolate latte from Savory Simple will warm you up when it's chilly outside! This vegan latte uses almond milk, but regular milk may be substituted.

It seems like every year there’s one month where I find myself traveling to multiple work events. I’m right in the middle of that hectic time right now. I’ve been home from a visit to Seattle for just two days and in another two days I’m headed to Pennsylvania. It’s tiring but I’m enjoying catching up with old friends and acquaintances. The more I do this, the harder it is to be away. I’d always rather be at home with Jeff and our special needs cat.

This spicy chocolate latte from Savory Simple will warm you up when it's chilly outside! This vegan latte uses almond milk, but regular milk may be substituted.

I’ve never been shy about the fact that I’m an absolute fiend for coffee, specifically espresso drinks (and even more specifically, lattes). They’re definitely helping me get through this stretch of work travel. Now that the weather in DC is finally cooling off, I’ve been adding a touch of heat to my lattes. This version (I almost hate to call it a recipe since it’s so simple) is a triple threat: espresso, chocolate and cayenne pepper.

This spicy chocolate latte from Savory Simple will warm you up when it's chilly outside! This vegan latte uses almond milk, but regular milk may be substituted.

I’ve used unsweetened Almond Breeze in the recipe and really enjoy the lightness that it brings to this drink. Go easy on the cayenne pepper when you add it. It’s always easier to add than subtract. I’ve learned this the hard way on many occasions.

Spicy Chocolate Latte
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 1 latte
Ingredients
  • 1 shot espresso
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder powder
  • ground cayenne pepper to taste (start with a pinch)
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (I used Almond Breeze)
  • optional: additional cocoa powder and cayenne pepper for garnish
Instructions
  1. Whisk together the espresso, cocoa powder and a pinch of cayenne pepper.
  2. Steam the milk (you can also just heat it up if you don’t have a frother or espresso machine).
  3. Whisk together the flavored espresso and steamed milk, spooning a bit of the foam on top.
  4. Sprinkle with additional cocoa powder and cayenne pepper.
  5. Serve immediately.

 

ab1-logo

Disclaimer: I was paid to develop a recipe for Blue Diamond Almond Breeze. As always, all opinions are my own! 

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Pine Nut Tahini Cookies http://www.savorysimple.net/pine-nut-tahini-cookies/ http://www.savorysimple.net/pine-nut-tahini-cookies/#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 22:53:55 +0000 http://www.savorysimple.net/?p=13828 Have you ever tried halva? It’s a sweet, sesame-based confection that can often be found at local candy shops or Jewish delis. Sometimes I see pre-packaged versions but you really want to find the homemade stuff. It’s rich, dense and wonderful. I love it. And when I first tasted these tahini cookies, halva immediately came to mind. These cookies […]

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These pine nut tahini cookies have a delicate, flaky shortbread texture and a sweet sesame flavor.

Have you ever tried halva? It’s a sweet, sesame-based confection that can often be found at local candy shops or Jewish delis. Sometimes I see pre-packaged versions but you really want to find the homemade stuff. It’s rich, dense and wonderful. I love it. And when I first tasted these tahini cookies, halva immediately came to mind.

These pine nut tahini cookies have a delicate, flaky shortbread texture and a sweet sesame flavor.

These cookies have a tender, flaky texture similar to shortbread. The tahini is prominent and pine nuts add a light crunch and complementary flavor. You can use regular honey in this recipe but I recommend orange blossom honey if it’s available to you. Orange blossom honey is lightly floral and blends perfectly with the other flavors.

These pine nut tahini cookies have a delicate, flaky shortbread texture and a sweet sesame flavor.
I gave one of these cookies to my grandmother to try and her response was “These are so good; these taste like halva!” If Zelda gave these cookies her seal of approval, that means you need to try them.

These pine nut tahini cookies have a delicate, flaky shortbread texture and a sweet sesame flavor.

Pine Nut Tahini Cookies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 20-30 cookies
Ingredients
  • 1¼ cups (6½ ounces) all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup well-stirred tahini
  • ½ tablespoon honey (I used orange blossom)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • pine nuts
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together. Set aside.
  2. In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl with on medium-high for several minutes until light and fluffy.
  3. Slowly add the tahini, honey and vanilla.
  4. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the flour mixture until a dough has just formed.
  5. Transfer dough to a sheet of plastic wrap and flatten. Chill in the refrigerator until the dough has firmed up, at least 45 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  7. Using your hands or a small cookie scoop, roll dough into approximately 1-inch balls. Line them up on the cookie sheet at least 2 inches apart. Top each cookie with 5 pine nuts.
  8. Bake for approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Allow to cool on the baking sheets for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Notes
Adapted from Epicurious

 

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Grilled Fairytale Eggplant with Garlic Yogurt Sauce and Pomegranate http://www.savorysimple.net/grilled-fairytale-eggplant/ http://www.savorysimple.net/grilled-fairytale-eggplant/#comments Thu, 11 Sep 2014 21:50:07 +0000 http://www.savorysimple.net/?p=13811 Fairytale eggplant is one of those ingredients I like introducing to people who say they don’t like eggplant. Not only are they gorgeous but the skins are completely soft when cooked and there are no seeds. They’re like perfect little eggplant jewels. They’re gorgeous. The easiest way to prepare fairytale eggplant is to simply roast it in […]

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This Grilled Fairytale Eggplant with Garlic Yogurt Sauce and Pomegranate is an impressive, flavorful, vegetarian appetizer.

Fairytale eggplant is one of those ingredients I like introducing to people who say they don’t like eggplant. Not only are they gorgeous but the skins are completely soft when cooked and there are no seeds. They’re like perfect little eggplant jewels.

This Grilled Fairytale Eggplant with Garlic Yogurt Sauce and Pomegranate is an impressive, flavorful, vegetarian appetizer.

They’re gorgeous. The easiest way to prepare fairytale eggplant is to simply roast it in the oven (which you can do with this recipe instead of grilling, if you prefer). The only negative to roasting them is that they lose a lot of their vibrant, natural purple tones. Grilling leaves some of that color in place and also yields a tastier dish. The grill adds a smokiness that you just can’t get from roasting.

This Grilled Fairytale Eggplant with Garlic Yogurt Sauce and Pomegranate is an impressive, flavorful, vegetarian appetizer.

With regards to the yogurt sauce, I recommend using a full fat yogurt or at least one with some fat. Also, the longer the garlic and the yogurt sit together, the more noticeable the garlic flavor will be. The sauce can be prepared one or two days in advance.

This Grilled Fairytale Eggplant with Garlic Yogurt Sauce and Pomegranate is an impressive, flavorful, vegetarian appetizer.

Grilled Fairytale Eggplant with Garlic Yogurt Sauce and Pomegranate
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 pound (give or take) fairytale eggplant
  • 1-2 tablespoons regular olive oil (or as needed)
  • pomegranate seeds
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, minced garlic, lemon juice and salt. Use milk to thin the sauce to the desired consistency and set aside. The garlic flavor will become more noticeable the longer it sits with the yogurt.
  2. Slice the eggplant in half lengthwise and sprinkle liberally with salt (you can slice the stem off first but I think it looks prettier attached, like poached pears). Place in a colander over the sink.
  3. Preheat a grill to medium-high for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Rinse the salt from the eggplant and lightly pat dry. Place in a large bowl and toss with just enough olive oil to prevent the eggplant from sticking to the grill.
  5. It is easiest to grill the eggplant in batches since they are small and don’t take very long. Place 10-15 eggplant halves on the grill, flat side down. Cook for 2 minutes and then flip them carefully with tongs. Close the lid and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from the grill, cover with foil to keep warm and repeat with the remaining eggplant.
  6. Just before serving, drizzle the eggplant with the garlic yogurt sauce and sprinkle liberally with pomegranate seeds.
Notes

 

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Plum Butter http://www.savorysimple.net/plum-butter/ http://www.savorysimple.net/plum-butter/#comments Sun, 07 Sep 2014 22:24:27 +0000 http://www.savorysimple.net/?p=13761 I’m a product junkie. It’s a habit I’ve somewhat successfully quelled over the years but it still gets me from time to time. When I try a beauty product or food condiment that I really love, it’s an effort not to stock up by the case for fear that I might not always have this beloved […]

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Homemade small batch plum butter has no refined sugar and is easy to prepare at home!

I’m a product junkie. It’s a habit I’ve somewhat successfully quelled over the years but it still gets me from time to time. When I try a beauty product or food condiment that I really love, it’s an effort not to stock up by the case for fear that I might not always have this beloved product available to me when I want it.

Homemade small batch plum butter has no refined sugar and is easy to prepare at home!

I developed two such product attachments when we were in Europe this summer: a mustard and a honey. I have not yet tried combining these two ingredients to make honey mustard. Oddly enough, the idea didn’t occur to me until I began writing this post. Guess I know what I’ll be making next.

Homemade small batch plum butter has no refined sugar and is easy to prepare at home!

The mustard is pretty cheap on Amazon but I have yet to find the honey for sale at a reasonable price. It’s a creamed honey that’s very smooth and creamy with a delicate flavor. I’m going to start seeking out other German honey brands to see if I can find a good match. Because I am already more than halfway through my precious jar.

Homemade small batch plum butter has no refined sugar and is easy to prepare at home!

I used my German honey in this plum butter and pretty fantastic. The final product has a beautiful color, a sweet and tangy flavor and it smells amazing. I am not ashamed to admit that I ate a lot of this jar with a spoon. I also enjoyed it on fresh crusty bread and mixed with a bit of skim ricotta. Plums will be gone soon, folks. Make this NOW.

Homemade small batch plum butter has no refined sugar and is easy to prepare at home!

Plum Butter
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 3-4 cups
Ingredients
  • 4 - 4½ pounds plums, pitted (see note)
  • 1 orange or 2 clementines
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ cup good quality honey (can be adjusted according to taste)
Instructions
  1. In a blender or food processor, puree the plums. If they are firm, chop them up first.
  2. Push the plum puree through a food mill or fine mesh strainer and discard the skins. Add the puree to a dutch oven or heavy bottom saucepan.
  3. Use a vegetable peeler to peel 4 large strips of zest from the orange or clementines. Juice the fruit and add 3 tablespoons of juice to the pot along with the zest. Stir in the vanilla, cinnamon, allspice and honey.
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring periodically, and then turn the heat down to a simmer. Cook for 75-80 minutes, uncovered, and use tongs to remove the zest after 20 minutes. Stir frequently, scraping a heat proof spatula against the bottom of the pan to make sure nothing sticks.
  5. Allow to cool and then store in the refrigerator.
Notes
Less ripe plums are often more tart while ripe plums are more sweet. For a nice flavor balance, use a mixture of both ripe and semi-ripe plums. If you use all ripe plums you might want to use less honey (and possibly a tablespoon or two of fresh squeezed lemon juice for tartness). If your plums are very tart to begin with, add more honey to taste.

 

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Gluten-Free Four Cheese White Pizza http://www.savorysimple.net/gluten-free-four-cheese-white-pizza/ http://www.savorysimple.net/gluten-free-four-cheese-white-pizza/#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 21:45:50 +0000 http://www.savorysimple.net/?p=13742 Earlier this year I created a grain-free paleo pizza crust for the blog and it was surprisingly successful, considering the fact that I’m not known for being a gluten-free/paleo blogger. Even though I don’t follow any specific diet, we make a real effort at home to limit refined sugars and carbohydrates. However, Jeff and I are both completely […]

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This Gluten-Free Four Cheese White Pizza is completely grain free but you'll never know the difference! Easy and delicious.

Earlier this year I created a grain-free paleo pizza crust for the blog and it was surprisingly successful, considering the fact that I’m not known for being a gluten-free/paleo blogger. Even though I don’t follow any specific diet, we make a real effort at home to limit refined sugars and carbohydrates. However, Jeff and I are both completely nuts for pizza. It’s a weakness. This pizza crust is a nice way to indulge periodically without all the guilt.

This Gluten-Free Four Cheese White Pizza is completely grain free but you'll never know the difference! Easy and delicious.

I make pizza variations with this crust all the time and today I’m sharing one of those with you. It’s the same exact crust except that I use tapioca flour instead of arrowroot (both are sold by Bob’s Red Mill and can be found at most grocery stores). These starches can be used interchangeably in the recipe so I just use whichever one I happen to have on hand. The pizza crust has a crunchy texture and a nutty flavor that almost reminds me of cornmeal.

The four cheeses I use are ricotta (either whole or part skim), goat, mozzarella and parmesan. For best results, buy good quality cheese. Nothing shredded, pre-grated or pre-crumbled. You want to maximize and savor each of these unique flavors. I like to mix roasted garlic with the ricotta. It adds a sweet and savory depth that I love, but it can be omitted if you’re not a fan of garlic in general. You might also be able to find pre-roasted garlic to save time.

Finally, I love making single serving pizzas for each of us so that’s what I’ve done with this recipe. I divide the dough and topping ingredients in half to make 2 smaller pizzas. If you prefer, you can make one large pizza following the exact same instructions. Just don’t divide the dough and toppings.

This Gluten-Free Four Cheese White Pizza is completely grain free but you'll never know the difference! Easy and delicious.

Gluten-Free Four Cheese White Pizza
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 2-4
Ingredients
for the crust
  • 2½ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 2½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (plus more as needed)
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 ounces (1 cup) almond meal (I used Bob's Red Mill)
  • 4¼ ounces (1 cup) tapioca flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
for the topping
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 cup whole or part skim ricotta cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh oregano (or ¼ teaspoon dried)
  • ½ teaspoon fresh basil (or ¼ teaspoon dried)
  • ½ cup goat cheese
  • ½ cup fresh mozzarella cheese
  • fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • fresh ground black pepper
Instructions
prepare the dough
  1. Whisk the yeast and warm water together in the bowl of a stand mixer. Allow the mixture to rest for 3-5 minutes (it should bubble up). Add the olive oil and egg. Using the paddle attachment, mix for 30 seconds on medium speed.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the almond meal, tapioca and salt. Add this mixture to the stand mixer and mix on low speed until the ingredients just are just combined. Turn the speed up to medium-high and mix for one minute. The dough will be more thin and sticky than regular dough.
  3. Grease a medium sized bowl with olive oil. Using a spatula, scrape out the dough and move it to the oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with a towel and place it in the microwave (or oven, somewhere it can sit undisturbed). Boil some water and pour it into a bowl. Carefully place the bowl into the microwave to create a warm, steamy environment. Allow the dough to rise for 90-100 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F and place a pizza stone in the oven. Once the oven is at temperature, grease a large sheet of parchment paper with olive oil. Divide the dough in half (note: the dough can also be left whole for one large pizza or divided into 4 pieces for mini pizzas). Press the first half into a thin round circle that's approximately 5 inches in diameter. Do not do this step before the oven is preheated or the next step might not work.
  5. Using oven mitts, remove the pizza stone from the oven. Swiftly flip the parchment paper over so that the dough transfers onto the pizza stone. Place the stone back in the oven and bake the crust for 6 minutes, or until it's slightly browning on the edges and firm on top.
  6. Repeat this process with the remaining dough.
prepare the toppings
  1. Turn the oven down to 400 degrees F. Remove most of the outer layers of skin from the garlic. Carefully slice off the top of the head so that the cloves are exposed. Place the head in a ramekin, cut side up, and drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Cover with foil and place in the oven. Roast for 30 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool for several minutes. Once the head is cool enough to be handled, squeeze the roasted cloves out of the skin and mash into a paste.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the roasted garlic paste, ricotta cheese, salt, oregano and basil. Spread half of the mixture onto each pizza crust, leaving space around the end of the crust for handling. For a lighter topping, do not use all of the ricotta mixture (it’s great on salads).
  3. Crumble the goat cheese evenly over both pizzas. Rip the mozzarella into small pieces and distribute evenly on both pizzas. Grate plenty of fresh parmesan cheese on top and then finish with a few twists of fresh ground black pepper.
  4. Place each pizza under the broiler until the cheese has melted and the edges of the crust are golden (4-6 minutes). Do not walk away while the broiler is on!
  5. Serve immediately.
Notes
The roasted garlic can be prepared up to 24 hours in advance. For less garlic flavor, mix only half of the roasted garlic paste with the ricotta. The garlic can also be omitted entirely.

Crust inspired by Zen Belly Catering

 

Disclaimer: I was paid to develop a recipe for Bob’s Red Mill. As always, all opinions are my own. 

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