Monday, June 16, 2014

Chimichurri Sauce

Chimichurri Sauce is a super fresh herbacious blend of parsley, garlic, lemon, and olive oil. A bit like pesto in that it is herb-based and blended with olive oil, but very different in flavor. It's origins lie in South America where it is a popular marinade, dipping sauce, spread, and much more. 

Chimichurri Sauce

My neighbor dropped off a huge bunch of  parsley on my front doorstep the other day - cut straight from his garden. That's how I got started down this Chimichurri path. I've heard about this amazingly fresh, delicious sauce plenty of times before and I've always been intrigued. But I've never had a big bunch of parsley just waiting for me to do something exciting with it. Thanks to my neighbor, it finally happened this week!

I used this recipe from as my base. I didn't modify it much because, after reading the reviews and comments, I really didn't want to mess with perfection. I mean, listen to this!
  • "My dad is from Buenos Aires and this recipe is spot on!"
  • "This makes your steak taste like it was just dragged through a garden" (that's a good thing, right?)
  • "One word to describe this marinade: FRESH!"

Chimichurri Sauce & Spoon

I used the first of my chimichurri sauce as a marinade for grilled chicken. It'd also be great with steak or shrimp, and it is so easy to do. Simply cover the chicken with spoonfuls of chimichurri in the morning, then grill over hot coals in the evening. Serve with extra chimicurri on the side, as a sauce.  So fresh and delicious!

Other Ways to Use Chimichurri:

  • In quinoa patties (leave out the herbs & sub in a few big spoons of chimichurri instead).
  • Stirred into a garden fresh frittata. (PS I love this blog & its photography!)
  • As a marinade for kebabs.
  • As a marinade (or just sauce if you don't think ahead!) for steak or shrimp. 
Chimichurri sauce as chicken marinade

Chimichurri Sauce

  • 1 1/2 packed cups fresh parsley
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup vinegar (I used rice vinegar, red wine vinegar is another popular option)
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • Juice from 1/4 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp diced red onion
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Pulse parsley in food processor a few times to begin chopping it up.

Add all other ingredients.Process until it all comes togther in a sauce. It will still have some texture - you don't need to process it until it is completely smooth here.

Store in the refrigerator until you're ready to use it as a marinade

Monday, April 28, 2014

Jam Filled Muffins

You might have figured out by now that we're big fans of muffins that are filled with all sorts of deliciousness.  Remember our Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins, and our Peanut Butter Chocolate Muffins (well...cupcakes)?  

Here's another glorious filled muffin - this one is perfect to help celebrate warmer weather. It is tender and vanilla scented (real vanilla beans are so great in this recipe), filled with jam, and topped with sweet nutty streusel.  I've been serving this at brunches with great success!

Jam Filled Muffins

An aside: don't be intimidated by filled muffins.  They are SO easy. Instead of adding all the muffin batter at once, you just spoon in a little bit of batter to start, top with a dollop of jam, and then cover all that up with the rest of the batter. The worst thing that's ever happened to me is a jam swirl in the center, rather than a perfect jam middle.  And guess what - the jam swirl is delicious too.  It's a win win.

Jam Filled Muffins

Here's my recipe.  I recommend using a fruit-forward jammy preserve that you love.  We are big fans of Modern Gingham (made in Denver with local organic fruit and so so good!) but we've had success with all sorts of jams.  Enjoy!

Jam Filled Muffins

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/3 oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 real vanilla bean (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup fruit jam

Streusel Topping

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup sliced or chopped almonds
  • 3 Tbsp butter
Preheat oven to 400 and line a muffin tin with paper cups.

First make the streusel. In a small bowl, combine almonds, brown sugar and 3 tablespoons butter. Using your fingers, work the butter into the sugar and almonds until blended. Pop into fridge to chill as you complete the remaining steps.

Next, combine the wet ingredients (milk, oil, and eggs) in a large mixing bowl. Add salt, sugar, and vanilla. Stir well to combine.  Lastly, add the dry ingredients (flour and baking powder) and stir until the batter is smooth and uniform.

Spoon about a Tbsp of batter into the bottom of each muffin cup. This batter isn't too stiff so it usually smooths out easily over the bottoms of the cups.  Next add about a Tbsp of jam on top of the batter.  Lastly, top with the remaining batter. I try to use less batter on the bottom than on the top - that seems to make these come out more nicely.

Sprinkle each muffin with the streusel topping.  Bake at 400 for 25 minutes.

Jam Filled Muffins with Streusel

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Whiskey Ember

This past fall, I ordered a cocktail at a local restaurant that I have not been able to get off my mind. It was basically a spicy Old Fashioned, and the element of heat came from cayenne. It had all the trappings of the familiar classic but with a spicy finish that was a little addictive. Over the next few weeks, I tried to conjure up something similar at home, but I was disappointed every time.

When I purchased a bottle of Royal Rose's Three Chile simple syrup, it seemed time to try again. Success! This whiskey drink has just the spicy, smoky finish that I was after.

Whiskey Ember

makes 1 cocktail
  • 2 oz good whiskey
  • 1/5 oz Royal Rose Three Chile Simple Syrup
  • a couple dashes of cherry bitters
Mix everything in a low ball glass. Give it a good stir. Add ice (I prefer a single big ice cube which melts slowly). Enjoy.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Baked Cinnamon Sugar Donuts

When it came time to bring a birthday snack to my daughter's preschool, I decided to forgo the usual cupcake and whip up some baked donuts. Baked donuts are really nothing like what you buy at the donut shop but are rather cakey and muffin-like. I have no complaints about that. And when you dip them in butter and roll them around in cinnamon and sugar, they taste like quite the indulgent treat.
Once I bought my donut pan, I started using it all the time. These are a nice basic baked donut recipe (perfect for those finicky preschoolers -- oh, and the rest of us). You can consider this your gateway baked donut.

Baked Cinnamon Sugar Donuts

from Ina Garten
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 2 TBs unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

cinnamon sugar topping:
  • 8 TBs (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1. Preheat your oven to 350 F. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, melted butter, and vanilla. Stir the wet mixture into the flour mixture.
2. Fill up your donut pan so that each donut is about 3/4 filled with batter. Bake for 15-17 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for a few minutes, and then tap the donuts out.
3. For the topping: Melt the 8 tablespoons butter in a small pan. Combine sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl. Dip each donut first in the butter and then in the cinnamon sugar. You can do either one side or both sides of each donut.
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