Sunday, November 9, 2014

Butternut and Parmesan Biscuits

Hi, all!

I hope the fall has been treating you well so far. I've enjoyed cozying up in sweaters, scarves, and boots, not to mention cozying up on the couch with coffee and, of course, fall-inspired baked goods.

Every November as Thanksgiving dawns on us, I dedicate all of my food-related daydreaming time
to planning my Thanksgiving menu. My Thanksgiving style is classic and comforting with a few fun updates each year. Never will you find a Thanksgiving dinner at the Price house sans cornbread pudding, mashed sweet potatoes, homemade dinner rolls, or chocolate kahlua pecan pie, but plenty of other recipes get revamped each year. This year? Butternut and parmesan biscuits.

Yep. Butternut squash - the epitome of fall produce. Parmesan - the quintessential savory, salty, nutty cheese. Biscuits - need I say more?

Butternut and Parmesan Biscuits


Ingredients:
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
  • 4 tablespoons butter, chilled and diced
  • 2/3 cup butternut squash puree (see notes)
  • 1/2 cup milk, plus more for topping
  • 2 tablespoons honey
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and parmesan. Stir until combined.
  3. Add the butter and mix with your hands, crumbling the butter into pea-sized pieces.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the butternut squash, milk, and honey. Add this mixture to the flour mixture, stir just until combined.
  5. Dump dough out onto a floured surface and roll or pat until about 1/2 inch thick. Cut with biscuit cutters about 2 inches across for mini biscuits (with larger biscuit cutters, tack on a few minutes of baking time). 
  6. Place biscuits on a parchment or silicon mat-lined baking sheet, brush with a thin layer of milk and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. 
  7. Bake for about 12 minutes, until golden brown and firm to the touch.



Notes:
  • To make butternut squash puree, I peeled and diced about 1/2 of a medium butternut squash, microwaved it in a covered bowl for 3 minutes, then pureed it in a blender. I've seen canned butternut squash puree at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, which you could certainly use - or just substitute pumpkin puree!
  • These biscuits can be mixed and rolled well in advance (ahem, right this very minute) and frozen until Thanksgiving. Hooray for make-ahead menus!
  • You better be serving these biscuits alongside butter and honey...or honey mixed with butter. Or maple butter. Or maple butter with a little nutmeg, fresh chopped sage, and sea salt. You get the idea. 
  • What to do with all those biscuit dough scraps? Tear them into small pieces and lump them together, then brush with milk and sprinkle with parmesan as usual. You'll end up with little pull-apart biscuits that may even be more fun than the ones that require fancy little biscuit cutters (although shot glasses work just as well, and you should really have those on hand during the holidays).






Friday, October 24, 2014

FNCE Recap

Hi, friends!

As some of you may know, I spent this past weekend in Atlanta for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE) and it was so incredible that I felt compelled to share it up here on the blog! Here we go...

I got in to Atlanta late Friday night, hit the hay, then woke up bright and early on Saturday for a day of exploring the city!

My view from the room!

Tips from Atlanta-native friends and a little Google searching lead me to piedmont park Saturday morning for a (short) run. It was absolutely stunning!





How cool is this raised-bed community & teaching garden?!




After a few miles, I wandered back to the park entrance, where I noticed a farmer's market being set up earlier (because only I could fly to a new city and wind up at a farmer's market less than 12 hours later...).




I got some delicious coffee and a few snacks (and a "lettuce buy local" shirt - ha!), then headed back to the hotel to meet up with my friend Alexa who was arriving for the conference!

We set out right away in search of Octane, a cool coffee shop with an adorable bakery attached. Pure heaven.






 I got their homemade granola with local honey and yogurt, plus a to-die-for apricot and ginger scone. Alexa had a savory bread pudding with kale (such a good idea!) and a mini apple cranberry tart, which I really want to recreate for the holidays! On top of that, their coffee was ah-ma-zing.

From there, we frolicked around Atlanta, unexpectedly finding an insane Halloween street party in the funky neighborhood of Little Five Points!



We met up with my friend Sam, who I met back in junior year of high school at a Johnson and Wales summer program, and headed out to dinner at a healthy southern eatery, Bantam and Biddy. We hit up Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream for dessert, which was without a doubt one of the highlights of my trip. My friend Olivia is heading to the Jeni's headquarters in Columbus, OH for an internship this winter - it was so exciting to see and taste what she'll be working on!



I got the yazoo sue with rosemary bar nuts (a smoked porter beer ice cream with cayenne-spiced sweet and savory nuts) and the sweet corn and blackberry, both of which were out of this world.

Now...on to the conference itself!

We got up early on Sunday, headed to registration to get our badges, and got our first session at 8 am - an introduction to integrative and functional medicine. We learned about several medical institutions that practice integrative medicine, essentially meaning that they use a whole-body approach, focusing on all factors of health to treat the root causes of disease, rather than treating individual symptoms and health issues. Really interesting stuff - it's awesome to hear that a lot of hospitals are jumping on board with the idea of food as medicine and whole-body healing rather than acute symptom resolving, which can often rely on extensive medication. 

In between sessions, I caught up with my incredible RD mentor Anne! I've been interning for her for over a year now, enjoying every minute of it. Go check out her blog and be inspired for yourself!

(photo credit to Anne)

Next, Alexa and I went to a session on fermentation with one of my food heroes, Sandor Katz. He's the author of The Art of Fermentation, my go-to guide for all things fermented and gut-friendly, and it was awesome to hear him speak. Big takeaway: Sandor talked a lot about our current "war on bacteria" (think hand sanitizer, antibiotics in our meat/food supply, etc.) - but bacteria can actually be really beneficial to our health! Fermentation allows for the controlled growth of bacteria that can actually boost the vitamin content of certain foods, improve digestion, circulation, and possibly even mental health status. By consuming fermented foods, especially those with live cultures (yogurt, kimchi, other non-heated/cooked fermented foods), we can work towards improving our health and reversing the war on (beneficial) bacteria!


After that, we hit up the expo! Oh my goodness, it was overwhelming. We loaded up on one two three reusable bags each of free samples, coupons, and other goodies until it felt like our arms were going to fall off!


One of my favorites was the California Strawberries booth's build your own strawberry bar! Check this creation out: strawberry, goat cheese, toasted almonds, and rainbow sprinkles 
(hey - moderation, right?!)

After dropping off our bags at the hotel, Alexa and I went to the most overwhelming, yet exciting, internship fair out there! Over 100 dietetic internship programs crammed into one room - whew! I talked with some of my top choices, which was so encouraging and exciting! That fair really solidified my determination to get matched to an internship this spring, I can't wait to share my passion with other dietetic interns wherever I end up!

Day one of FNCE: Check! Exhausting, exhilarating, everything I was hoping for. 

Now for day two...

We got up nice and early again and headed to a an 8 a.m. session on earning a dietetic internship! It was great to hear the perspective of a few dietitians who went through the application process recently. 

Next, another expo trip (because how could we not?!). But this time, we walked away with cookbooks in addition to free samples! Woohoo!


I got to meet one of my RD idols, Ellie Krieger. She's such a sweetheart! I used to watch her Food Network show every single day, dreaming of being a dietitian just like her - so cool to meet the woman who started it all for me! 


I also got to meet one of my chef heroes, Marcus Samuelsson! He's so down to earth - and stylish!




Lastly, Hugh Acheson. Another great chef with a hilarious personality. He also wins my award for coolest socks (wish I took a picture of his fun rainbow ones!).


 Last stop on the FNCE train: a session on creating your personal brand! I loved hearing about how to market my strengths, create a positive social media presence, and define my specific passions. Definitely helpful information to keep in mind for applying to dietetic internships! Anne was used as one of the presenter's examples on having a strong personal brand, which was awesome to see. What an incredible mentor I have!

I headed out to the airport shortly after that session, tired but very inspired. I'm so glad I made it all the way to Atlanta for FNCE - what a fun time meeting dietitians, chefs, dietetic internship directors & instructors, and other like-minded students. 



Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Apple Spice Muffins

Guess what?


I'm back!

After a long, unintended hiatus, I'm back to blogging. Since the last time we spoke, I've been hard at work running Chef's Choice classes at Johnson and Wales, researching and preparing to apply for dietetic internships and grad schools, interning for Anne Mauney, starting my senior year, helping create a collaboration between JWU and Brown University, and training for the Marine Corps Marathon. Yes, that's a lot...hence the break.

But my friends, I've missed you! I'm so excited to share my love of fall produce, upcoming nutrition adventures, and kitchen experiments...starting with these apple muffins.

They're impossibly moist, not too sweet, easily freezable, and all around delicious.

Apple Spice Muffins


Ingredients:
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped apples (I used golden delicious)


Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the coconut oil and honey. Whisk in the egg, milk, and vanilla.
  3. Add the dry ingredients (flour through cloves), stirring just until combined.
  4. Fold in the apples and divide batter into prepared muffin tin.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean.


















Friday, April 18, 2014

Asian Kale Salad with Peanut Dressing

Ohh boy. This is a good one.

I'm not usually a fan of kale salad (I know, very surprising considering the fact that I'm one of those health-conscious kale-worshiping hippies). I do absolutely love it cooked, but it's always a bit too rubbery and bitter if I try to tear it up and toss it in a salad. Just no bueno. But I have a solution!


Smother it in peanut sauce, of course.


Now this is a kale salad I could get behind. I used lacinato (sometimes called dinosaur) kale because I find the flat leaves easier to chop and more tender than curly ones. When it's finely shredded and mixed with a slew of other veggies, I couldn't get enough of the raw kale. The slight bitterness actually compliments the dressing and the other veggies in the salad, so I wasn't left wishing it was iceberg instead.

I made the whole batch and kept the veggie mix separate from the dressing in my fridge for a few days - perfect to make ahead and have on hand for those times when you know you should be eating vegetables but something involving peanut sauce sounds much better. Now you get the best of both worlds!


I would even argue that this is a kale salad my mom would love. And she dislikes kale salads more than me.

It's that good.

Asian Kale Salad with Peanut Dressing

makes 4 servings

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups stemmed and very thinly sliced kale
  • 2 cups cored and very thinly sliced red cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup thinly sliced cucumbers
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons natural creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons raw sugar
  • Fresh cilantro, to garnish


Directions:
  1. Toss the kale, cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, and scallions in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk together the peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, and raw sugar in a small bowl. 
  3. Store the salad and dressing separately or toss together if serving immediately. Garnish with cilantro.









Friday, April 4, 2014

Savory Sauteed Mushrooms and Kale


Simplicity is key.


This phrase brought me and my friends a lot of debate last night. I know, a group of friends sitting around discussing the ideal simplicity of food (and watching youtube videos of a fifteen year old chefthe reasoning and science behind awesome recipes, and everyone's dream kitchen) isn't what you'd call a "normal" college weekend night.


But that's why I love my school...and friends. That and the fact that we did, in the end, decide that simplicity is always key when it comes to vegetables. Buy them fresh, local, and gorgeous, spruce them up a little bit, and appreciate their deliciousness. I stand to reason that this method works with just about any food as well.


Last week at the farmer's market, I picked up some real beauties. Russian kale - a flat leaf, lavender stemmed variety, and oyster mushrooms - tender, juicy, and mild clusters. You see, buying things straight from the farmers' hands gives me an incredible appreciation for everything I eat, making it that much easier to enjoy a minimalist approach to food. Not to mention, it's way easier and comes at a much higher success rate than fussing around with tons of ingredients and techniques (although that can be pretty fun sometimes).


Alright. I'm pretty sure you understand my food philosophy by now, so let's get on with the simplest, tastiest, most appreciation-prompting mushroom and kale recipe you'll ever need. 

Savory Sauteed Mushrooms and Kale

Serves 2


Ingredients:
  • 1 tablespoon light olive oil or avocado oil
  • 3 heaping cups roughly chopped oyster mushrooms (criminis, shiitakes, or mixed wild mushrooms will work in a pinch)
  • 1 small bunch Russian kale (or, you know, any kale), roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • parsley and grated parmesan, for garnish
Directions:
  1. Heat half the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add half the mushrooms and let sit for a minute or two, until seared and golden brown on the side facing down. Toss and continue sauteeing until cooked through (just another 2-3 minutes)
  2. Set the first batch of mushrooms aside and repeat with the remaining mushrooms. Sauteeing them in batches allows for a good, caramelized sear on them, rather than a bunch of limp, watery mushrooms.
  3. When the second batch of mushrooms is done, add the fresh thyme, kale, and first batch of mushrooms. Saute for about 3 minutes, until the kale is just wilted.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste, garnish with parsley and parmesan.