snaps & snippets & blurbs from saturday


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on saturday, elinor and i enjoyed a little mama-daughter time while ben worked from home for the first part of the day. on the menu: a meet-up with miss hallie and her little dude, peyton followed by some strolling and errand running.

the weather was simply glorious which made for an all-around incredible experience. and as you might know, we have been all about the al fresco dining for the last few weeks.

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we grabbed a table at our tried and true, true food, and ordered up some tasty dishes. elinor enjoyed an almond butter + banana + apple sandwich with carrot sticks and some fresh fruit. she gobbled up almost every single morsel. she even used two fingers to scoop up the remaining dip…pretty much licked that bowl clean. this girl and her dip, my goodness.

i had a monster vegan wrap with spicy soy chorizo and salsa and avocado. and the beans! and the sweet potato hash! it is embarrassing how quickly i devoured that plate. i blame it on the baby…

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um, and speaking of baby…would you look at my baby girl and her wispy baby-fine locks of curly goodness? she was having a majorly fab hair moment and it just needed to be celebrated. isn’t she practically edible? too much adorableness.

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oh, and speaking of adorableness…would you look at all that? elinor sitting on miss hallie’s lap and working it for the camera? and the flirting! she was playing all coy with peyton during brunch and it was too much. not sure that the 7-year-old boy was enjoying the smirks and eye batting from the 2-year-old across the table but the mamas were eating that up.

and just to freak out a bit – that lovely lady and i have known each other since we were her son’s age. and there we were, eating a meal with our kids. who are we? when did we grow up? sheesh.

so, yes. it was a delightful morning. after saying our farewells, elinor and i strolled a bit and enjoyed the cool breeze. we window shopped and ran an errand or so and grabbed some juby true juice and a few breakfast muffins to-go. because, there is no way that i would be allowed back in the house without bringing a muffin for ben. those muffins. total crack muffins. addiction level, man. coffee and banana and date and pistachio. all my faves! i keep saying that i am going to make a batch at home, some saturday morning, but that would not be wise. the $3 price tag and built-in portion control at a restaurant are absolutely necessary to keep some kind of barrier between me and those baked goods. my fear of sideways looks from the server when i order a dozen to-go after just eating a full meal is still just enough to deter me from ordering all. the. muffins. so yes, i will not be making these at home. the risk of my eating six or more in one sitting is just too great.

where was i? did i just spend a whole paragraph on muffins? yikes.

anyway…the afternoon was spent napping and resting and getting some stuff done around the house. AND THEN, ben getting into the kitchen to make some fantastic pizza for us to enjoy for dinner.

i give you…this.

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ben’s magical crust made with his whole wheat sourdough starter plus rye and buckwheat and stout. topped with his homemade red sauce + roasted garlic kale + sautéed cremini mushrooms + caramelized onions + fresh, local mozzarella.

folks, it was such a great dinner. and it was such a great saturday.

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chef ben | vegan enchiladas

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recently, ben took a little break from his #bensbread creations for our sunday supper and whipped up some vegan enchiladas! he has made these a few times and they are killer every single time.

like me, ben doesn’t really use recipes. and if he does, they are just a springboard. a dash of this, some of that, and oh yeah we had some so i added it too doesn’t make for a good recipe post. and i have been meaning to get these yummy guys written up for some time.

SO THIS TIME ben took some mental notes and i managed to ask him to write them down for me in a real recipe-esque form. huzzah!

and so, here are ben’s killer vegan enchiladas.

* and p.s. feel free to mix it up with the fillings. we have done variations with different bean mixes or added quinoa or corn or other peppers…or seitan or jackfruit! where are my jackfruit fans? it’s amazing stuff. this concoction just seems to be our go-to. you can also have fun with the enchilada sauce and go green or creamy chipotle or whatever.

*p.p.s. we have enjoyed vegetarian variations of this dish using real cheese and they are equally yummy. but for some reason, the flavor and creaminess of the daiya stuff just works so, why not walk on the vegan side? live dangerously. or, i suppose, live kindly and compassionately. or whatever mantra hardcore vegans have.

ingredients

enchilada sauce:
3 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon corn meal
1/4 cup chili powder
2 cups vegetable stock
10 ounces tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
beans:
1-2 tablespoons evoo
2 cans black beans
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
1 poblano
1-2 jalepenos
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
celtic salt + pepper
juice of 1-2 limes
other:
1 package of sprouted corn tortillas (we used ezekiel brand)
1 block of daiya jack style cheese

directions

for the sauce: in a medium saucepan heat oil, add corn meal, smoothing and stirring with a wooden spoon. cook for 1 minute. add chili powder and cook for 30 seconds. add stock, tomato paste, oregano, and cumin. stir to combine. bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. the sauce will thicken and smooth out.

for the beans: dice onions, cook over medium heat with evoo until soft and golden. add minced peppers and garlic, then add spices. cook until soft and starting to brown. add drained beans. cook 15-20 min, then use potato masher or the back of a spoon to smash half of the beans. stir together and then add lime juice, and extra salt or pepper if needed.

assembly/cooking: shred the cheese and set aside. oil a baking dish with a little evoo and preheat oven to 350. fill each tortilla with a scoop of the beans and a small handful of shredded cheese (reserve 1/4 of the cheese for the top) and roll. nestle the rolled and filled tortillas into rows to fill the pan. before baking, coat the enchiladas with the sauce and finish with the remaining cheese. bake until the cheese is melted and the enchiladas begin to bubble, about 10-15 minutes. enjoy your tasty vegan feast-fiesta!

seasonal food

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i think it is safe to say that my pregnancy-induced poultry obsession has subsided. it was pretty hardcore there for a few weeks… and perhaps it was partly due to the weather and not just a growing baby boy. i always love a hearty dish when it is cool outside. rich and creamy and warm. things that “stick to your bones” as great-grandmothers would say.

but that food switch flips pretty much as soon as my eyes spot 80-degree temps on the forecast. i am such a seasonal creature. but that is the fun thing about seasons, you get an automatic change in mood and mindset. i switch my closet. i change up my exercise routine. i enjoy different foods that have been tucked away for a few months. it makes things feel fresh and fun and new, which i like. and it also mixes things up a bit so i don’t get bored, ya know?

the last couple of weeks have seen more vibrant fruits for breakfast. more fresh juice concoctions. and a shift back to our more plant-based life. and it feels pretty darn good. light and refreshing. just as it should be this time of year.

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and of course, as a farewell to fall/winter flavors, ben whipped up ˆ this ˆ scrumptious plate for our dinner the other night. a fitting way to say toodle-oo to rich flavors and welcome lighter tastes and more veggie yumminess. ben kept the rich flavors of winter balanced with hints of citrus and an ode to spring with some local raw honey (plus, it really helps to fight those nasty pollen allergens). the perfect transitional dish, right here. puree of roasted butternut quash with fresh lemon juice from our tree and salt and pepper. topped with sautéed cremini and oyster mushrooms + pecans + crispy sage. all drizzled with just a tad of brown butter and some honey.

goodbye, cold weather foods. and hello all things spring and summer!

chef…or shall i say…baker ben {macarons}

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as some of you may recall, my chef ben decided to set a new year’s resolution for himself – to become baker ben.  he normally isn’t too keen on the baking arts.  cooking fine cuisine, yes.  making up tasty recipes, absolutely.  but for some reason he has always left the baking up to me.  not that he isn’t into baked goods.  he is a cookie fiend.  but, he prefers preparing a savory entrée over frosting a layer cake.

so, when he decided to take on the baking realm, naturally, he started with the tough stuff.  delicate and intricate and temperamental macarons.  way to ease into things, chef.  and naturally {slash sickeningly} he killed it.  i mean, he totally killed it.  and as a result, i have eaten WAY TOO MANY of these little pretties.  i can’t wait for the next round.  baker ben said that he will make some intense chocolate for me so i expect those to last all of three hours.

{step 1}

create the candied grapefruit peel with star anise and vanilla bean

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{step 2}

whip the egg whites to create the merengue and then gently fold in the other ingredients.  including a perfectly measured amount of food coloring to create a vibrant pink-orange hue.

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{step 3}

melt the white chocolate for the ganache.  add in the campari to give it that citrus zing.

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{step 4}

assemble the cookies

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{step 5}

refrigerate the cookies for 24 hours to let the flavors meld. 

AKA endure the brutal wait until you can FINALLY eat the long-awaited cookies.  {darn those french and their delayed gratification} but let me say, it is more than worth the wait. 

and then…you eat as many as you can handle before slipping into a sugar coma.  amazing

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chef ben {spanish style deviled eggs}

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holy smokes folks!  chef ben made the yummiest tapas-esque meal the other night.  it may sound a little bit like a lame potluck sidedish, but no sir!  these deviled eggs were to die for!  big time flavor in bite-sized {well, three bite-sized for me} vessels.  once again, he grabbed the smitten kitchen cookbook and flipped through page after page of yum, settling on these tasty guys.  they are sprinkled with crispy prosciutto and salty marcona almonds.  i mean, come on!

seriously, they were amazing.  we paired them with a vibrant,spicy, and deep rioja from our wsj wine club collection {loving that, by the way}

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it was so much fun to pop these guys while sipping on a perfectly paired red.  i love flipping the mundane on its head and making it something memorable…and my fabulous chef did that for us this week.  boring old eggs made amazing.  and a typical tuesday night became an {unexpected} smashing evening of relaxing and savoring and celebrating all the little good things in life.

let’s do this again.