White Bean and Rosemary Soup

Cold weather and golden-red leaves have arrived, officially marking the beginning of comfort food. Sweaters, boots, and mittens have come out of hibernation, and the sandals have been sent away for another six months. Meanwhile, I’ve been saying goodbye to fresh tomatoes and raspberries. Bur before you get too upset, welcome squash, thick stews, and hearty bread into your kitchen.
My hometown is only minutes away from a historically German settlement, so I feel comfortable saying that I know my comfort food. This soup has never failed to hit the spot, both warming and filling. Until recently, it was a bit of of hassle to make. The soup needs to be blended. I tried both a hand crank and a blender with varying degrees of success, but neither one was terribly practical Luckily, I was feeling generous one day and bought an immersion blender. This gadget isn’t practical for everyone, but living with a small kitchen and no blender makes this tool golden. Continue reading

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Baking Powder Biscuits

Something I learned early in my collection of family recipes is that we have a secret ingredient. It’s not love, although I suppose the food contains that too. No, the real key to our recipes is heavy cream. Does your ingredient list call for milk? Replace it with cream. Even whipping cream will do in a pinch.
My family, specifically my mother, is so used to this rule that although many recipes call for milk, we automatically replace it .This recipe is a perfect example. It listed milk, but my mom reminded me that cream turns a somewhat dry biscuit into a heavenly treat. Sure, you can use whole, 2%, or even skim. But I promise you, you’ll neer regret cream. Continue reading

Spaghetti Squash & Cheese

When I was in my final semester of undergraduate, I enrolled in an 8-week short course on cooking for the college student, aka cheap, fast, and (hopefully) healthy. Unfortunately, I found myself a little over qualified. I was one of very few upperclassmen and the only person to have worked in a restaurant. Most days this discrepancy wasn’t an issue; I enjoyed the class because it gave me an hour a week to discuss food. But, while the class as a whole was fun, the first ten minutes were always a gamble. Class members traded off bringing in food that they believed was good for students. These moments served as quite the teaching opportunity. For example, some muffins reinforced that baking powder and baking soda are not interchangeable. Potatoes are not good mix-ins for spaghetti. “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” is not a substitute for butter in most baking.

When it came time for my turn, I decided to challenge myself . I would create my own recipe, keeping it cheap and practical. I’ve seen spaghetti squash recipes, but none of them utilized “cheese” like I wanted. And so I created a spaghetti squash & cheese recipe that I have since fallen in love with. Continue reading

Pancakes

I realize that I’ve been down on breakfast food in my previous posts. However, I’ve been doing some soul searching. I think… I might actually like it. And I think I like it most when I make it for myself. It’s turned into a ritual: wake up early, throw on my glasses, and grab my cast iron. The cooking wakes me up, and the end product is like a pat on the back—“Good job! You’re so together! Enjoy your spoils and go win the day!” So allow me to say, yes, I like breakfast, just don’t make it for me. Plus I love pancake batter.

But I have another confession to make.
These pancakes were not breakfast-fare. I came home after a particularly frustrating battle against the public bus and train systems (I lost), and I needed something sweet. Maple syrup. I therefore needed a vessel to deliver my syrup. No stale bread, so no French toast. Waffle maker is with my parents, so no waffles. I have a frying pan—pancakes it is. Continue reading