Well Dined

3Sep/150

Cherry Amaretto Jam

Well Dined | Cherry Amaretto Jam

Earlier this week, I posted about homemade Seeded Peasant Bread.  Well, what goes better with homemade bread than homemade jam?  This jam, made with Rainier cherries and Amaretto, is the perfect compliment.

Well Dined | Cherry Amaretto Jam

Rainier cherries are so beautifully colored, I just love them.  Start by pitting and chopping (I was lazy and just quartered mine, and the chunks were a bit too large).

Well Dined | Cherry Amaretto Jam

Combine with sugar, bring to a boil, and cook down for a bit.

31Aug/150

Seeded Peasant Bread

Well Dined | Seeded Peasant Bread

I have been trying to make bread for years.  I have tried so many different recipes, and never been happy with any of them.  Until Melissa introduced to to this recipe from Alexandra's Kitchen, that is.  It's so ridiculously easy - there's no kneading, just mixing and rising - and the texture is amazing.  I'm seriously obsessed with it.

Well Dined | Seeded Peasant Bread

First step - activate yeast.  And while that is happening, stir together flour, spelt flour, salt, and seeds.  Melissa uses 1 tbsp each of quinoa, flax, chia, and millet - I don't like flax seeds very much, so I use 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp each quinoa, chia, and millet.

Well Dined | Seeded Peasant Bread

Then you mix the yeast mixture into the flour mixture and THAT'S IT (at least as far as mixing goes).  It's so stupidly easy.  Let it rise for 1 hour, or until doubled.

27Aug/150

Doubletree Hotel Chocolate Chip Cookies

Well Dined | Doubletree Hotel Chocolate Chip Cookies

When I asked Melissa (Smells Like Brownies) to help me become a better baker, I specifically asked to do these cookies.  If you have ever stayed at a Doubletree Hotel, then you know the joy of being handed one of these giant cookies when you check in.  It's probably one of the most searched for cookie recipes, and it has some secret ingredients that I wouldn't have guessed.

Well Dined | Doubletree Hotel Chocolate Chip Cookies

So, let's get started!  The first step is to mix the dry ingredients, which include finely ground dry oats.  This is one of the secret ingredients that makes these cookies so good - it makes the texture so lovely.  There's also a bit of cinnamon in there, yum.

Next, cream butter with both granulated and brown sugar, vanilla, and the next secret ingredient - lemon juice.  I would never have guessed to use lemon juice in a chocolate chip cookie, but it keeps them tender.

Well Dined | Doubletree Hotel Chocolate Chip Cookies

Mix the dry into the wet, then stir in chocolate chips and toasted chopped walnuts.  The original recipe didn't call for toasting the walnuts, but I think it makes the texture nicer and brings out the nutty flavor.

25Aug/150

Grilled Vegetable Flatbread

Well Dined | Grilled Vegetable Flatbread

This week Melissa and Sarah take their vegetarian lunch adventure to the grill!  Woohoo!  We've been meaning to grill all summer, but for some reason every time we pick a day it starts to rain.  This time was no exception - rain was forecasted starting in the afternoon - but we decided to try and grill before it started, and we succeeded!  Finally!

Well Dined | Grilled Vegetable Flatbread

This flatbread had been kicking around in our minds for a while, the product of brainstorming, and I am so pleased with the way it turned out!  Crispy grilled flatbread topped with pesto, grilled and fresh veggies, feta, and fresh basil - the epitome of Summer.

Well Dined | Grilled Vegetable Flatbread

First, we made the flatbread dough - which is very easy and requires no yeast or rising time!  Just flour, salt, baking powder, water, milk, and oil mixed together.

17Aug/158

Food ‘n Flix – August: Osage County (Biscuits and Gravy Casserole)

Well Dined | Biscuits and Gravy Casserole

It's Food 'n Flix time again!  Where we watch a movie and then make something inspired by that movie.  This month's flick is August: Osage County, hosted by Elliot's Eats, and boy is it a doozy.

Well Dined | Biscuits and Gravy Casserole

I could tell immediately  from the dialogue that this was a play adaptation, and I was right.  The movie portrays the funeral of the patriarch of an extremely dysfunctional family, set in the desolate plains of Oklahoma.  The cast (including Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Juliette Lewis) acted the crap out of some very dark and intense material - addiction, depression, suicide, abuse, and incest.  This is not a feel good movie (you know it's bad when incest is the best scenario), but it is very good and it will make you think.

Well Dined | Biscuits and Gravy Casserole

As for the food inspiration - there was a ton!  Many of the most tortured scenes revolved around food, including the horrible funeral dinner and the infamous "eat the fish!" scene.  The moment that I was drawn to was Meryl Streep's character talking about her last interaction with her husband over biscuits and gravy.  She must have said the phrase "biscuits and gravy" ten times.  I'm not even that big a fan of biscuits and gravy, but that was what I wanted to make.

I wanted to make something special, not basic, so I went to Pinterest thinking I would find an herbed biscuit recipe or something.  But what came up were a ton of recipes for biscuits and gravy casseroles.  I had never heard of that before and it sounded awesome!  Some were just biscuits, gravy, and cheese; but I liked the look of one that included eggs (kind of like a strata).

12Aug/151

Salty Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

Well Dined | Salty Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

I have said it before and I will say it again - I am not much of a baker.  I feel much more comfortable with the flow of cooking, than the rigidity of baking.  But I want to get better, and a large part of that is experience.  So my friend Melissa, an excellent baker and author of Smells Like Brownies, is helping me learn.

Well Dined | Salty Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

We decided to start with some peanut butter swirl brownies, with the knowledge that we wanted there to be plenty of saltiness to contrast the sweetness.  So we made sure that the peanut butter layer was salted, then finished the brownies with flaky sea salt - yum.

10Aug/159

SRC – Lemon and Basil Chicken Salad from Renee’s Kitchen Adventures

Well Dined | Creamy Lemon and Fresh Basil Chicken Salad

It's my first Secret Recipe Club post!!!  I had been wanting to join the SRC for a while, but wasn't sure that I met the posting requirements, because I don't always post every week.  I also didn't have a recipe index for a long time, so that is something that I have been working on.  I finally felt like the time was right and asked to join, and here I am with my first post!  Yay!

My assigned blog was Renee's Kitchen Adventures, and I had such a great time looking through it.  Renee is a stay-at-home mom and former nurse (labor and delivery - what a special unit!), and her story reminded me a lot of my mother.  She talks about trying to be healthy and lose weight, and posts healthy recipes based on Weight Watchers points.  I, too, am trying to be healthy and lose weight, so I loved that about this blog.  Even though our ideas of what constitute healthy food are a bit different (I think fat is healthy), I think this blog will be a great resource and inspiration for me.  I also love how accessible and family friendly Renee's recipes are.  I think I tend to only post about the really complicated stuff, which maybe isn't so great.

As I was reading through Renee's most recent recipes, I saw a lot that I wanted to try.  I love that she has a lot of s'mores recipes, and especially that she made s'mores krispy treats - because I did the same thing! I also really liked the sound of this Almond Joy Poke Cake made with coconut oil, coconut oil is the best!  She writes that she isn't ashamed to use boxed cake mix as a shortcut, and I feel the same way!  I don't post about them much, but I love to make poke cakes or dress up cake mix in other ways (pro tip: use 1 extra egg, milk instead of water, melted butter instead of oil).

Well Dined | Creamy Lemon and Fresh Basil Chicken Salad

I've been baking way more than usual lately, though, and what jumped out at me the most was this Creamy Lemon and Fresh Basil Chicken Salad.  It has been super hot and humid lately, so this is exactly the kind of thing I want to be eating right now.

6Aug/150

Crab Quinoa Salad with Lemon Butter and Avocado

Well Dined | Crab Quinoa Salad with Lemon Butter and Avocado

Everyone knows that crab legs go perfectly with drawn (melted) butter, especially if it had lemon and garlic in it.  But what do you do if you are craving that combo in a lighter dish?  Melissa and I decided to make a quinoa salad incorporating those flavors, along with fresh avocado, to keep things nice and light.  Yum.

Well Dined | Crab Quinoa Salad with Lemon Butter and Avocado

Step 1 - acquire crab legs.  I got a pretty good deal on pre-cooked king crab legs at Costco.

Well Dined | Crab Quinoa Salad with Lemon Butter and Avocado

Step 2 - remove crab meat.  This was both thrilling and frustrating.  I felt compelled to extract every last shred of meat from those suckers - not an easy task, but very rewarding.  This will take a while, so start cooking your quinoa in the meantime (Step 1.5? 2.5? I give up).  We used a 3:1 mixture of white and black quinoa because we thought it would look pretty (we were right), you can use whatever you like. 

3Aug/152

Launch Pad Culinary Entrepreneur Competition

Last month, I wrote about a competition that I was invited to attend as a media person, and the breakfast meet and greet that went with it.  Well, the finale event of the competition was 3 weeks ago, and it was wonderful!  I apologize for the delay in writing about it, but 2 days after the event I flew to Texas to keep my mother company while she recovered from surgery, and I just got back!  So let's talk about this thing!

Well Dined | Launch Pad Finale

As I mentioned before, Launch Pad is a competition sponsored by Mess Hall, Ris, and Union Market to give culinary entrepreneurs a jump start.  The winner of the competition would take over the Ris stall in Union Market for 6 months.

Well Dined | Launch Pad Finale

I had never been to Union Market before this, so I got there early in order to wander around.  This place is so cool!  They were having a farmers market outside, with live music, and inside is a series of stalls with all kinds of food.  What a foodie dream!

Well Dined | Launch Pad Finale

I really wish that I lived closer to this market, because it is really cool.  I hope that you DC dwellers are appreciating this!

Well Dined | Launch Pad Finale

The Launch Pad event took place in Dock5 - the event space at Union Market.  It really is a big industrial loading dock that you can set up any way that you like for your event.

30Jul/150

Vegan Three Bean Chili

Well Dined | Vegan Three Bean Chili

I was making dinner for a vegan friend of mine and found this quick and easy recipe that sounded good.  Using mostly canned products, I was not expecting it to turn out as well as it did (hence no preparation photos).  We were both surprised at how much flavor this chili had.  I added in some chopped leftover steak for Jasper, and he loved it too.  This is definitely going into my records as cheap, easy, customizeable, and well-loved.

Vegan Three Bean Chili with Pesto
adapted from Real Simple
serves 4

1 tbsp plus 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 carrots, diced
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes with Italian spices, including liquid
kosher salt and black pepper
1 15.5oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 15.5oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 15.5oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 clove garlic
3 tbsp pine nuts (you can use a less expensive nut)
1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and carrots and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes and their liquid, 2 cups water, 1 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper and bring to a boil.

Add the beans and cook until heated through, about 3 minutes.

Either finely chop the garlic, pine nuts, and parsley and combine with remaining 1/4 cup oil, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp pepper in a small bowl OR put everything into a mini food processor and pulse.

Divide the chili among individual bowls and top with the pesto.

One Year Ago - Greek Style Zucchini Salad
Two Years Ago - Meat Ravioli
Three Years Ago - 4th of July
Four Years Ago - CSA Week 9