Month: October 2012

Marinara Sauce//Peanut Butter & Dill Pickles Blog

Homemade Marinara Sauce

Lately life has been slowing down a bit around here. Most summer weekends were spent out and about but recently we’ve been able to sleep in and spend more time around the house. I’m not quite sure what’s come over me but I’ve developed a strong desire to get back to basics and stock my freezer with everyday basics to use throughout the winter. I started with marinara sauce.  I don’t know about you but we go through a lot of it. I froze the sauce in one cup portions so I can serve one or a whole crowd with it–depending on whatever I need to make. Now if I only had the looks and kitchen to match Giada De Laurentiis… PrintHomemade Marinara Sauce About 7 cups Ingredients1/2 c. olive oil 1 medium onion, chopped 2 medium carrots, chopped 2 celery stalks, chopped 2 garlic cloves + 1/2 tsp. salt, crushed into a paste (see below) 1 tsp each: dried rosemary, dried basil, dried parsley 1-32 oz. can crushed tomatoes 1-32 oz. can diced tomatoes, …






Roasted Butternut Squash Sweet Potato Soup with Smoky Cherries & Walnuts//Peanut Butter & Dill Pickles Blog

Roasted Butternut Squash Sweet Potato Soup with Smoky Cherries & Walnuts

Remember when I said no squash was safe in my Pumpkin Butter post? Yeah, butternut was next on the chopping block.  No pun intended. The butternut squash for this recipe came from my very first market bag from Growing Power.  You can read more about my discovery of them here.  I’d never cooked with butternut squash before and had only eaten them as filling in ravioli.  Getting one in a market basket gave me an opportunity to come up with something new to try, hence this soup. Roasting the squash and sweet potatoes caramelizes them and brings out some of the natural sugars which go great with the smoky paprika. The soup was just the ticket on a cold, rainy day. But would be just as good on a crisp, sunny autumn day too! Enjoy! PrintRoasted Butternut Squash Sweet Potato Soup with Smoky Cherries & Walnuts Serves 6 Ingredients1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped 1/3 olive oil 1 tsp. + 1/4 tsp. salt 1 tsp. + 1/4 tsp. pepper 1/2 …






What’s a CSA?

One of the perks of meeting new foodies and bloggers is getting exposed to all sorts of things you’ve never stumbled upon yourself.  My blogger friend Karis, over at Karis’ Kitchen, opened my eyes up to CSAs, which stands for Community Supported Agriculture.  When you purchase a CSA share, you receive lots of fresh, local produce, usually on a weekly schedule. I’ve heard about the volume you get on a regular basis from CSAs so I sought out a way to start small and get my feet wet. That brought me to Growing Power here in Milwaukee.  This wonderful organization is only located about 6-7 minutes from where I work. While most CSAs have you pay up front for the whole season, Growing Power allows you to purchase week to week while also using smaller, local wholesalers to get produce not available locally at a better rate.  I picked up my second bag last week and here’s the haul: pears, apples, oranges, kohlrabi, and collard greens.   Not pictured: 2 bananas, butternut squash, cabbage, and jalapenos All of this for …






Caramelized Pear & Walnut Bread with Apple Cider Glaze//Peanut Butter & Dill Pickles Blog

Caramelized Pear & Walnut Bread with Apple Cider Glaze

Because I love bread… Because I love pears… Because I love walnuts… Because I love saving butter wrappers to make greasing pans easier… Because it’s Sunday… Because the Green Bay Packers won… Because technically it’s still the weekend… I give to you, this yummy recipe! PrintCaramelized Pear & Walnut Bread with Apple Cider Glaze 1 loaf Ingredients2 eggs 1 c. unsweetened apple sauce 1/3 c. canola oil 1/4 c. skim milk 1/4 c. apple cider 3/4 c. all purpose flour 3/4 c. white whole wheat flour, such as King Arthur 1/2 c. sugar 1/4 c. brown sugar 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder 1/2 tsp. cinnamon 1/2 tsp. salt Pinch of cloves 1/2 c. chopped walnuts 1/2 c. caramelized pears (recipe below) Apple Cider Glaze (recipe below) InstructionsPreheat oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 9×5″ loaf pan. Set pan aside. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, applesauce, oil, milk, and cider until thoroughly mixed. In a large bowl, sift flours, both sugars, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and cloves. Push any clumps through sifter. Slowly fold …






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Celebrity Chef Sighting: America’s Test Kitchen

A few years ago, I stumbled upon a program on PBS called “Cook’s Country“.  I fell in love with it and started recording re-runs.  Not only did they demo recipes, they also provided general cooking tips and had fun segments featuring product recommendations and blind taste testings to determine the best ingredients.  It was so different from any other cooking show I’d seen. I think what I love so much about their approach in the show is discussing the “how” & “why” of cooking, rather than just featuring a recipe and finishing the show with the standard sign off of, “Mmm…it’s delicious.  Trust me!”  Of course I love to cook and eat great tasting food but I think what I love even more is understanding why it tastes so good and how to replicate it again or in another recipe variation. Of course I came to realize that “Cook’s Country” was a spin off of “America’s Test Kitchen” with both shows featuring Christopher Kimball (founder of Cooks Illustrated magazine), in his ever present bow tie, …






Pumpkin Butter//Peanut Butter & Dill Pickles Blog

Pumpkin Butter

They say that your tastes change when you grow up and become an adult. It’s true. Foods I Detested as a Kid: Kidney Beans (or any beans for that matter) Mustard Bell Peppers Foods I Love as an Adult: Kidney Beans (and all beans for that matter) Mustard Bell Peppers One new food on the cusp of making it to the “foods I love” list is pumpkin. I loved carving them as a kid but I wouldn’t let the seeds, pie, puree, etc. cross my lips. I’m finally getting with it.  I might be autumn’s biggest fan and therefore couldn’t stay in the pumpkin-free darkness any longer. I figured I’d start small and go with something I could minimally (or liberally as it turns out) put on some toast. I’ve seen the light.  I like pumpkin.  A lot.  No squash is safe.  At least this can of pumpkin wasn’t. The recipe is really simple.  You basically add everything that’s great about autumn (minus the falling leaves) and let it simmer on the stove and while …






My favorite spices & seasonings//Peanut Butter & Dill Pickles Blog

These are a few of my favorite things: Spices/Seasonings

I get really curious about what people use and keep in their kitchens.  Back in May, I posted about my favorite kitchen gadgets.  It was a fun to write and you can see it here. This time around I decided to open up my hilarious spice cabinet. “Why is it hilarious Molly?” Let me tell you. I have an internal conflict with my kitchen, you see.  On one hand it has the world’s smallest pantry.  Annoyingly small.  So small we had to set up storage shelves in the basement.  Boo. The trade off, however, is that next to my pathetic pantry, I have the cutest darn spice cabinet.  It really is the funniest thing.  The shelves are only about an inch or so wide so it’s not suitable for much more than rows of small spice canisters. I’ll never forget when my college roommate came over to our house for the first time and I flung it open.  She started laughing and couldn’t believe how thin and tiny it was.  She thought it was a false …