Monthly Archives: August 2012

Cheddar Bunnies

we love to snack. a lot.  and what makes a better snack then some cheesy crackers?

we devoured goldfish, chowed down on cheez-its, and inhaled Annie’s cheddar bunnies before we decided that maybe, just maybe, we should try our hand at a homemade version, as opposed to the highly processed kind that we were consuming.

After finding the perfect recipe, we now savor our delectably flaky, salty, cheesy homemade adaptation.

And we think you will too.

Cheddar Bunnies

slightly adapted from: smittenkitchen.com

yield: approximately 125  – 1.5″ crackers

ingredients

  • 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • .75 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1/8 tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • coarse salt, for topping

directions

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Combine cheese, butter, flour, onion powder and sea salt in a food processor, running the machine until the dough forms a ball, about 2 minutes.

!! Absent Appliance Alert !! don’t fret if you don’t have a food processor {we don’t have one either} there is an easy fix: 1. beat the mixture together until chunky, about 20 seconds  2. wash your hands, really well.  3. kneed the mixture with your hands until it forms a doughy consistency. don’t get discouraged, this can take a little while to happen, but plus side: it can be a great hand/lower arm workout!

Lightly flour your work surface and rolling pin.  Roll the dough out to ~1/8″ thick. Use a cookie cutter to create shapes in the dough. {our cookie cutter does not have an open top, so it is not easy to use. we recommend an open-top cookie cutter, like these}.  Have you preheated your oven to 350°F yet?  If not, do so now!

Lay your cracker shapes onto an ungreased cookie sheet with about a .5 inch between them.  Sprinkle about 2-4 crystals of coarse salt onto each shape, lightly pressing down so the salt sticks to the cracker without falling off.

Bake on the middle rack for 10-12 minutes, or until they are browning at the edges.  Remove from oven and leave on the cookie sheet until cool.  Once cooled, they should be easily removed with a spatula and are ready for storage or snacking …enjoy!!

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m & r’s famous guacamole

we went to the boulder farmer’s market today, for the first time {cannot believe it has taken us 3 years}.  it did not disappoint!  our intention was to just get a few peaches, but of course we came home with some other wonderful produce as well… check out our loot!

peaches, pears, garlic and of course a few ingredients for our guacamole: purple onion, heirloom tomatoes and hot peppers. {the darker green peppers are serrano chiles {the best for guac!} and the market-guy told us that the lighter green one is called a “lipstick” pepper, but according to our Google search, that doesn’t seem quite right…}

after strolling the market we had a nice lunch in boulder and then headed home;  we needed to make sure we had enough time to whip-up some of our famous guacamole to snack on while matt is busy nerding out on his fantasy football draft…

so here it is, long long awaited by my parents; our recipe for delicious homemade guacamole. we would like to dedicate it to my mom and dad {Hi Mom, Hi Dad!!} especially since that without their gift of the “slap-chop” it would take us almost double the time to create our favorite chip dip.

m & r’s  Famous Guacamole

an original recipe from: Matt & Rachel’s Kitchen, dedicated to Bob & Melanie

serves 4-6 people {matt & i can devour almost all of it ourselves, but we’re crazy like that}

ingredients

  • 3 avocados, ripe {check this site out to see how to pick yours}
  • half of a small purple onion, chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 2 large serrano chiles or 3 small {serrano chiles are hotter than jalapeños, so adjust amount to suit your heat tolerance. scoville scale}
  • 1 medium-large heirloom tomato {we used half of a large yellow heirloom and half of a small red heirloom}
  • half a lime
  • .25 tsp salt
  • .25 tsp cumin
  • .25 tsp garlic salt

directions

Halve the avocados, use a spoon to remove the pit and then scoop out the avocado into a large mixing bowl.  If your avocados are at the perfect ripeness, they should mash easily – use a potato masher to work them into the perfect texture, a little lumpy.  Halve your lime-half and juice one of the wedges into the bowl, add chopped onion, mix well.

Next, prepare your cilantro.  Pick the leaves off their stalks and place on a cutting board.  {Don’t be shy here, I think cilantro is what makes guacamole so good, so I don’t believe it is possible to use too much; we use almost the entire bunch.}  Once you have your pile of leaves, chop with a sharp knife, or use a slap-chop! Add to avocado bowl.

Slice chiles in half {careful! these puppies are hot, touching your eyeball after handling will not make for a fun day}.  Use a spoon {we use a grapefruit spoon} to scrape out the seeds into the trash / sink / compost.  Chop well and dump into avocado bowl.

Cut your heirloom tomato into smaller-than-bite-size pieces.  You don’t want them too big, but not too small either as they might get lost in the mix.  Add tomato to avocado mix, carefully folding them in.

Add salt, cumin, and garlic-salt to avocado bowl.  Juice the other half of your lime in and mix well.

Give it a taste and add salt as desired {we don’t think any extra is needed!}.  Our favorite chips to dip are Garden of Eatin’® Red Hot Blues {try these for a spicier experience} and Garden of Eatin’® Blue Chips.  …Enjoy!! 

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Strawberry Bumble Bee {a gin drink}

happy friday! ! !  finally, it’s friday, and it feels so good.

to celebrate the end of the week, we decided to make a cocktail for today’s post.

one of my favorites is The Bees Knees {gin, honey syrup, & fresh lemon juice}, so i thought it would make a good base and i could add some extra goodness.

the goods: strawberry puree,  mint,  and for a little spritz, soda water.

i’m not going to lie, i am pretty proud of this concoction.  it makes an awesome summer’s night drink, and the bonus: it’s pretty.

we are looking forward to relaxing this weekend; a little shopping on saturday, riding our bikes around town, and the boulder farmer’s market on sunday — cannot wait to get my hands on some palisades peaches!  might just have to whip up a peachy treat next week. . .

well, let’s get this show on the road. the weekend is here — cheers to that!!

Strawberry Bumble Bee

a Matt & Rachel’s Kitchen original recipe

yield: 2 drinks {because no one wants to drink alone}

ingredients

  • 4 oz gin
  • .75 oz honey syrup
  • .75 oz freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 oz strawberry purée {approx 6 strawberries}
  • 3 mint leaves, torn
  • soda water, to top off

directions

To make the strawberry purée – slice strawberries and blend until smooth {our bullet blender does a great job}.  Use a fine-mesh sieve to strain out the chunks and seeds so you are left with a smooth purée.

To make the honey syrup – combine equal parts honey and water.  Boil the water, turn off the heat and stir in the honey until it is emulsified.  Don’t worry about making too much, you can put any extra in an airtight container and store in a cool, dark place to use for another day.

Add gin, honey syrup, lemon juice, strawberry purée, and ripped mint leaves into a shaker.  Add ice and shake rigorously.  Use a cocktail strainer to pour into two glasses, split evenly.

Top off the drinks with soda water.  Garnish with mint or small strawberries and thin lemon slices {if desired}  … enjoy! !

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Broccoli Parmesan Fritters

fritter (noun): a small mass of fried or sautéed batter often containing fruit or meat — from merriam-webster.com

let’s hone in on, “small mass of fried or sautéed batter” – so how can it not be good?!  add a little broccoli and you can feel a little less bad about the “fried” part…

matt and i eat these by themselves and call it lunch, but you can pair them with some grilled chicken or steak to call it a meal.

if you haven’t made a savory fritter before, you should try making these!  Be sure to let me know how yours turn out in the comments section.

Broccoli Parmesan Fritters

hardly adapted from: smittenkitchen.com

Yield: 9 – 2 to 2.5 in. fritters {we find that it makes 5-7 fritters}

ingredients

  • 3 cups fresh broccoli, chopped {include some stems}
  • 1 large egg
  • .5 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed**
  • .5 tsp kosher salt
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

directions

Prepare the broccoli – all chopped pieces should be about a .5-inch in length, be sure to add a few stems as well.  Steam your  broccoli until tender, but not mushy: you can use a steamer, or however you’d like – but the quick/easy way that we use {from smittenkitchen} is to bring a .5-inch or so of water to a boil in a small saucepan, then add the broccoli, place a lid on it and simmer it for 5-6 minutes.  Drain the broccoli, then set it aside to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, lightly beat the egg.  Add the flour, cheese, garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes.  Then, add the cooked broccoli and, using a potato masher, mash the broccoli just a bit.  Make sure to keep the bits recognizable, but small enough that you can press a mound of the batter into a fritter in the pan.  Once mashed a bit, stir the ingredients together the rest of the way with a spoon.

Heat a large, heavy skillet over moderate heat.  Once hot, add both oils. When the oil is hot {flick a droplet of water into it and it should hiss and sputter}, scoop up a serving-size mound of the batter and drop it into the pan, then flatten it slightly with your spatula.  Repeat with additional batter, leaving an inch or two between each.  We were able to get all 7 into the pan.  Once brown underneath, flip each fritter and cook on the other side until equally golden, approximately 2 minutes on each side.

Transfer to paper towels to absorb some of the oil, then serve them up! …enjoy!!

**Best garlic press: Rösle Garlic Press – sure it’s super expensive, but one press and you’ll know it’s worth it! i was lucky enough to have one gifted to me… thanks Mom!!!

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The Best Chocolate Cupcake

it’s just a basic, simple recipe, but man these are good cupcakes.  the best term to describe them is ‘moist’ {i looked at the thesaurus for a synonym but figured that soggy, sweaty, and drippy weren’t quite what i was going for}.  and they are plain delicious.

oh.    and did i mention that they are vegan?   wait!!  this is a good thing– just think: what if you are craving a chocolaty cup-shaped cake, but you are out of eggs?  Ah-HA!  vegan cupcakes don’t use eggs!

the first time i fed one to matt, i failed to disclose that they are vegan.  he ate it. he inhaled it.  once he was able to look up from the crumbs in front of him he said, “can i have another?”  now that is when you tell them what’s involved.  the cupcake being vegan didn’t even phase him… i am telling you, they are that good.

of course, it doesn’t hurt when they are topped with smooth cream-cheese frosting {note :: this portion is not vegan} which happens to be matt’s favorite.

The Best Chocolate Cupcake

just barely adapted from: Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero

yield: 12 moist cupcakes

ingredients

  • 1 cup soy milk 
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • .75 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1.5 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder {I like DAGOBA, fair-trade-certified!}
  • .75 tsp baking soda
  • .5 tsp baking powder
  • .25 tsp sea salt

directions

Preheat oven to 350F and line muffin pan with paper or foil liners.

If you will be making the Cream Cheese Frosting {recipe below} set the cream cheese and butter on the counter, out of the way. {they will need to be room temp}

Whisk together the soy milk and vinegar in a large bowl.  Set aside for a few minutes to curdle.  Add the sugar, oil, and vanilla extract to the soy milk mixture and beat until foamy.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  {if you haven’t preheated the oven, do so now!} Add half of the dry bowl into the wet ingredients and beat until smooth.  Add the rest of the dry ingredients and beat until no large lumps remain {a few tiny lumps are OK}.

Pour batter into liners, filling 3/4 of the way.  Bake 14-18 minutes {recipe calls for 18-20 minutes, but for those of us at altitude, 15 is plenty}.  To test: toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean.

Transfer to cooling rack {or if you don’t have one of those, just put them on a plate!}.  Cool completely before icing… enjoy!!

*Finish with Cream Cheese Frosting — recipe below!

Cream Cheese Frosting  {Not vegan}

adapted from: Simply Recipes

yield: frosting for 12 cupcakes

ingredients

  • .25 cup {.5 stick} butter, room temp
  • 4 oz cream cheese, room temp
  • 1.25 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

directions

Slice butter and cream cheese {for ease of beating} and place in a medium mixing bowl.  Use a handheld mixer {extra points if it’s your grandma’s!– shout out to mine: HI OMA!} to beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth and fluffy.

Add powdered sugar, beating until well blended.  Add the vanilla and beat until combined…  enjoy!!

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