what I did on my summer vacation

Oh, hi. You may have wondered where the heck I’ve been…The Salted Slate

Overall, this summer was relaxing, but things got busy. I saw old friends, spent some time in the White Mountains and on Cape Cod with my family. But the best thing that happened this summer was that my dear, dear friends opened a restaurant in Providence, RI called The Salted Slate, I’m so proud of them! I’m also very proud to have played a role in this exciting endeavor, of course with photography, and it was really fun being a part of the process. Look at these yummies.

Appetizer

If you are in or anywhere near Rhode Island, you simply must check out the Salted Slate for dinner, lunch, or Brunch (there are donuts) the menu is fantastic and focused on local fresh ingredients including house-cured meats. The atmosphere is quite nice too, modern yet rustic with plenty of tables and a cozy bar.

The Salted Slate, 186 Wayland Ave., Providence, saltedslate.com

IMG_0223A

Fresh ingredients

IMG_0082

 

 

take-out at home: fried rice

I was never really a fan of the typical Chinese take-out fried rice. But this is now one of my go-to recipes when I want something fast and yummy.

Fried rice with eggBelieve me, I love the ease of take-out, now and then. But sometimes, making your take-out faves from scratch is as easy as picking up the phone (and even tastier). You only need a few simple ingredients, some of these things you might already have in your fridge…

fried_rice_ing… and there’s little, to no skill involved. I’ve adapted this recipe from one of Martha Stewart’s, but I think mine is better (don’t tell her)!

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 thick slice ham (8 ounces), cut into strips
  • 1 bunch scallions, white and green parts separated and cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger (pro tip: I buy grated ginger in a tube found in the produce section)
  • 1 cup shelled edamame (thawed, if frozen)
  • 1 1/4 cups cooked white rice
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 large eggs

Directions:

  1. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Add ham, scallion whites, garlic, and ginger. Cook, stirring frequently, until beginning to brown, 2 to 4 minutes.
  2. Add rice, scallion greens, edamame, vinegar, and soy sauce. Cook, stirring, until heated through, 2 to 4 minutes. Divide fried rice among four serving bowls.
  3. Wipe out skillet with a paper towel. Heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium. Gently crack eggs into skillet; season with salt, and cook until whites are set, 2 to 4 minutes. Top each bowl of rice with a fried egg. Garnish with scallions.

Enjoy!

It’s chess pie…

Are you familiar with Chess Pie? I had only heard about it for the first time a few weeks ago, and was very curious.

chess pieIt is a pie or tart with a filling made of eggs, butter, and sugar, according to Merriam-Webster. This one is technically a lemon chess pie because it includes lemon juice and zest. It tastes like a very sweet version of lemon squares– I recommend serving it with a generous dollop of whipped cream.

To say that this recipe is basic, made with simple everyday ingredients that most people have available in the pantry, is an understatement. Chess Pie also seems to be a Southern tradition, which goes along with chef John Besh’s explanation of the origin of its name– “it’s just pie” (say that with a slow, southern accent, it’ll make sense).

bird's-eye-view

Chess pie comes in variations with white sugar or brown sugar, with cornmeal or flour, lemon or orange juice, it’s clearly a recipe that adjusts easily to whatever’s on-hand. This time I used a pre-made pie crust and John Besh’s recipe, next time I may be a bit more daring and try different flavors or Chess Pie’s northern cousin the New England Maple Sugar Pie.

Chess Pie from John Besh’s My Family Table

Ingredients:
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup evaporated milk or whole milk
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons cornmeal
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 unbaked pie shell

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Combine the eggs, sugar, milk, butter, cornmeal, and lemon zest and juice in a large bowl. Mix until the sugar is dissolved, but do not beat. Pour the filling into the unbaked pie shell.

2. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 300˚ and bake until the filling is set, about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool. Serve at room temperature.

Serves 6

caramel coconut cookie bars

Aka, Girl Scout Samoas copycats. If you’re like me, you’ve already eaten through your stash of Girl Scout cookies… and you need a fix!

Samoas BarsIt’s pretty easy to clone the tasty confections from our fine little friends in green vests– especially in bar form– you’ll be eating these up in no time. Just a few simple ingredients…

Samoas Cookie Bars (makes 9 generous cookie bars, or 16 smaller squares)

Shortbread crust:

  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 ¼ cups AP flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp. salt

Coconut caramel topping:

  • 1 ½ cups shredded coconut
  • ½ (12 ounce) bag of caramels, unwrapped
  • 2 tablespoons milk or cream

Chocolate drizzle:

  • ⅓ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

samoa ingredients

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8×8 baking pan, line with parchment paper.
  2. Spread coconut on a rimmed sheet pan.  Toast the coconut in the oven, turning occasionally for 10-15 minutes until slightly golden. Remove from oven and set aside.
  3. Combine butter and sugar in a bowl, mix on medium speed with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Mix flour and salt. Press dough evenly into the bottom of prepared pan. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
  4. Bake until pale golden brown, 22 to 25 minutes. Let cool slightly.
  5. In a small bowl combine caramels and milk. Heat in the microwave in 30 second intervals stirring in between until melted. Place toasted coconut in a large bowl and add the caramel stirring well to combine.
  6. Pour coconut caramel mixture over brownies and gently spread evenly over the top. It will be thick so you might have to gently press it in an even layer.
  7. Place chocolate chips and butter into a zip-lock baggie and put into microwave for 20 second intervals. Squish the bag with your fingers to mix and smooth the chocolate between intervals. When melted smooth, snip a tiny piece off of the corner of the bag and drizzle over bars.

… and voila, samoa cookie bars.

cookie barsOn my honor, I will try not to eat all of them.

we go together like cookies & milk

What can I say about Valentine’s Day, that hasn’t already been said?

cookies & milkThis year, be sweet to yourself. I don’t think Valentine’s Day has to be all about romance, and kissy-kissy things. I think it’s a fine time to celebrate the little things that make you happy. By all means, show the people you love how much you care about them (aren’t you doing that every day?), but why not show yourself a little love, too. 11 ways to love yourself more.

pancakes, syrup and snowdays

Ok, so I’ve always really loved McDonald’s Flapjacks… at least I did as a kid.

pancakesIt’s been decades since I’ve enjoyed anything from McDonald’s, but I vividly remember eating and enjoying the McD’s pancakes and begging my mother to replicate their succulent flapjack-ness at home. We always made the fluffy Bisquick type of pancakes, which are tasty… but not the same. It’s taken me a few years to perfect my own pancake-making abilities, I think it really comes down to the recipe. Wanna know My secret?

silver dollar cakesDry buttermilk powder. Here’s my favorite recipe straight off the back of the buttermilk box:

  • 1 envelope of dry buttermilk powder
  • 1 cup of AP flour
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil

In a bowl whisk together the dry ingredients. Add beaten egg, water and oil. Beat just until batter is smooth. Drop from a spoon onto a hot, buttered griddle and cook until top is full of tiny bubbles and underside is brown. Turn and brown other side.

snowman cake

(Please excuse this quick-and-dirty action shot of someone enjoying her snowman pancakes). Today’s snowday was a perfect excuse to make and enjoy some homemade flapjacks!

soup-er bowl sunday

One thing I really can’t get enough of in the winter is soup!

IMG_3427_copy

There’s nothing like cozying up to hot bowl of soup with a good book, while the snow is falling. Easy for lunch, simple for dinner… I love soup! But soup from a can just doesn’t do it for me anymore now that I know how easy making a tasty batch of soup really is. This recipes for Sweet Potato & Chipotle soup is one of my go-tos this winter. Serve it with a little sour cream, and maybe a piece of cornbread, yum!

soup