Food + Drink

cranberry hazelnut crisps.

December 17th, 2013

It’s a white Christmas here in NYC! It is so pretty. I’m watching a man teach his little boy how to make snow angels in the park across the street as I sit perched in our apartment window. And look at this snowflake on my sister-in-law Kate’s ear muff from this weekend.

Snowflake-KMG

Pretty amazing, right?

Last Friday evening we had a handful of sweet friends come over for a casual wine and cheese catch-up. This time of year gets so hectic that it becomes all too easy to miss your nearest and dearest because of overlapping holiday commitments with work, other groups of friends, etc. We were so happy to see a few before the major NYC holiday departures.

My husband, Paul, loves wine. And cheese. I do, too. Probably about 50% of our working relationship relies on this shared affinity to wine and cheese. Just kidding. Probably 75%. Ha. Kidding again. But we really love wine and cheese. Paul’s favorite crackers are these gems that cost $8.99. I’m not kidding about this part. These things are so expensive! But, admittedly, they are also so, so delicious. After shelling out more than enough money on these suckers I decided to head into un-forged territory and try a hand at making my own. I love the bulk  These are not only perfect for just having around for those last minute cheese get togethers, or late night snacks, but would also make such a great hostess gift paired with a nice little block of cheese. YUM!

Ingredients:
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup cranberries
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds {raw or roasted – I used raw and they were pretty yummy}
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 Tbsp. chia seeds {optional}
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary

1. Preheat the oven to 350F.

2. In a large bowl mix the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the buttermilk, brown sugar, and honey. Mix until combined. Lastly mix in cranberries, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds, and rosemary. Mix until just combined – do not overmix! The ingredients will begin to settle when poured into the bread pans.

3. I wanted to make smaller, more manageable crackers so I used 4 5 1/2″ x 3″ x 2 1/4″ pans. If you want to make larger crackers you can easily use 2 8″ x 4″ pans. If using XX pans bake for approximately 30 minutes. If you’re using 8″ x 4″ pans cook for 35 minutes. Of course, all ovens are different so be sure to keep your eyes on them! You’ll want them golden and springy to the touch. Use the toothpick method to ensure they have cooked through all the way.

4. Once removed from the oven place on a rack to cool. Once cooled remove the bread from the pans and place in the refrigerator to continue to cool.

Raincoast-Crisps-Un-Cooked

This will help the bread and you retain sanity when you slice to make the crackers. If you need to make these quickly stick them in the refrigerator until chilled.

5. Reduce the oven heat to 300. Slice the bread as thinly as possible with a serrated knife. Easy on the sawing motion. But use the sawing motion. It looks weird, but it works. Place the sliced bread in a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, flip the crackers over, and bake for another 10 minutes. They will look nice and golden. Note: If they are still a little bit soft don’t worry about it! They’ll get crispier as they cool.

Raincoast-Crisp-Imitations-with-Text

This recipe makes about 8 dozen crackers give or take. Mine was a little bit of the take because I mis-judged the first batch and nearly set the kitchen on fire. It also depends on how thinly you slice the crackers. Either way just know that it makes a lot. And you’ll still want to make more!

xx

LT

XX Leigh-Taylor

last minute Thanksgiving packaging.

November 28th, 2013

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

I’m kind of a last minute-er. I’ve said it multiple times in just as many ways in my last few posts but let me reiterate: no matter how many lists I write and no matter how great my intentions there is always something still on there that hasn’t been crossed out.

We all know you can’t // shouldn’t really be going over to someone’s house for a gathering without a little something to show your appreciation. Wine, cookies, bread … vodka {kidding.} Often I make the edible and then I’m stuck without packaging. And no folks, ziplocs aren’t good packaging.

Here is a little festive trick for your treat. Your hostess will think you spent time {or // and money} on it and really in all reality it will take you about 3 minutes. Total.

Here’s what you’ll need: wax paper, holiday shape of choice, and an iron.

1. Cut out your holiday shapes. {I cut out some turkeys!}

2. Cut 2 pieces of same sized wax paper.

3. Place one of the pieces of paper on a hard surface with a paper towel beneath. Place your holiday cut-out on top of this piece of paper. Then, on top, put on your second piece of paper. And, to top it off, place a paper towel on the top of all of these layers {you don’t want to get the sticky waxiness on your iron}.

4. Iron the pieces of wax paper evenly.

DIY-Wax-Holiday-Paper

And there you have it! Thanksgiving themed wax paper all set and ready to wrap up your yummy mini chocolate chip pumpkin bread loaf in. Too bad we may eat all 4 before they even get into the packaging.

xx

LT

XX Leigh-Taylor

pumpkin and maple {and vanilla} granola.

November 19th, 2013

Y’all, that’s a whole lot of yummy. Now is the time where pumpkin  consumption is winding down. Sure, the pinnacle of all pumpkin awesome is Thanksgiving {I love pumpkin pie. And whipped cream. And pie crust.} with pumpkin pie and all. Every time I’m on Pinterest or rounding the corner at Whole Foods or Target there it is looking me right in the face: pumpkin purée. I wanted to finish up the maple syrup we purchased while we were in Vermont and was planning to make some regular old maple granola and somehow I came up with this concoction. And what a joyous coincidence!

Pumpkin-Maple-Granola

I would say I simply adjusted a recipe I found on Pinterest but it wouldn’t be true. I went out on a limb with this one adapting about 4 recipes. For once the toss this in and toss that in philosophy worked for me. I like it!

Here’s what I threw in:
2 1/2 c rolled oats
1tbsp chia seeds
1/2 c raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 c sliced pecans
1/2 c pumpkin purée
1/4 c coconut oil
1/4 packed brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
** I have dried cranberries to sprinkle over the top of mine when I eat it but my husband, Paul, isn’t as big of a fan of dried fruit. Just remember, if you’re adding any sort of dried fruit to the mix be sure to do it after you bake your granola.

Directions:

Preheat your even to 350 degrees Farenheit.

Mix the rolled oats, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, and chopped pecans in a medium sized bowl and set aside. In a large bowl mix the pumpkin, coconut oil, brown sugar, vanilla extract and cinnamon well. Add the dry ingredients to the large bowl and mix very well. At this point I scooped in a spoonful more of pumpkin purée. You don’t need to but the Holy Spirit moved me. {I’m not sure why I typed that but I’m certainly not deleting it.}

Once mixed transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. I have a track record of my food sticking to baking sheets so I gave the parchment paper a light spray of coconut oil. Spread the granola mixture out evenly onto the sheet. Make sure it isn’t too thick! Unless you like your granola gooey which I’m assuming isn’t the case.

Place your granola in the oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes has passed rotate the baking sheet and bake for another 15 minutes. My oven bakes unevenly so this is pretty important. It should start to brown only slightly. Once you pull it out of the oven allow it to sit for at least an hour to harden.

Pumpkin-Maple-Granola-2

Once hardened place in an air tight container. It can be stored this way for up to two weeks. But I’m telling you right now. It’s not going to last for 2 weeks. Especially because Paul can’t keep his paws out of it! He had a minor procedure done on his foot today and is working from home {the first time since I’ve known him!}. Let’s just say he’s been hopping, dragging, and scooting himself to the kitchen to keep digging in. It is a wonder I got any pictures of the goodness!

Happy snacking!

xx

LT

XX Leigh-Taylor

winter salad, cozy colors, & a baby on the way!

November 13th, 2013

Friends! We’re off to the races! Our awesome web developer just transferred the blog hosting, hence a little gap in posting. And now e-commerce is successfully under construction. I am so, so giddy about getting this project underway and completed. This time, second time is a charm!

This past weekend Paul & I had his little brother, Andrew, in town visiting us. Whenever we have guests, especially family, we end up taking them on the food tour of NYC. Y’know, for their sake {wink, wink}. Either to one of our favorites, a place we haven’t been in a while and have been craving, or, somewhere entirely new that we’ve been dying to try. Basically we just really like to eat. After we had gone on this food tour Friday to Sunday brunch we felt like total porkers. To kick into gear we went on a family outing to Soul Cycle to sweat out some of the icky and decided to cozy up and eat at home on Sunday night. Someone in the peanut gallery suggested salad so I hopped on Pinterest to see if I could get some creative ideas. I am all about a good salad but I like having a lot of different flavors, and not necessarily coming from the dressing {although we all know I’m a big sucker for condiments}. I’m the girl that goes through the Whole Foods salad bar and puts in a little bit of everything that catches her eye and then proceeds to mix the food bite for bite. Weird? Maybe. Delicious? Umm, yes.

I found a couple of salads that I decided to mix and meld and I got two thumbs up from the two grown boys! Which, really, all I was going for.

Here is what I threw in the salad: mesculun salad mix, red quinoa, roasted pumpkin seeds {lightly salted}, sliced Granny Smith apples, crumbled goat cheese, butternut squash {served warm}, and rotissierie chicken on the side {so everyone could choose their own level of protein consumption}. We each topped our own salads with the balsamic vinaigrette from The Olive Tap found on this link: http://bit.ly/19kHXFW {my blog isn’t linking properly right now, sorry!}. I cannot even begin to tell you how good this stuff is. We like it on our salads, of course, but we really love to drizzle it over beefsteak tomatoes topped with mozzarella or burrata & a pinch of truffle salt. YUMM. It’s 9am and I shouldn’t have written that. Now I want some. Typical.

Winter-Salad-Colors

The best part about this salad? Look at those colors! So cozy, warm, & saturated. Everything I want to wrap myself up in this winter.

Paul and I got some really exciting news this past Friday. I made the decision to find a little spot in my next post to share and then I realized … I hadn’t even shared the initial news! We are expecting our first little rascal this March. March 17th to be exact. Recognize the date? It’s St Patrick’s Day. I’m not sure if this is God’s way of jokingly giving a little nod to my appreciation for a great cocktail every now and then but He sure had me laughing. Our ultrasound technician got to giggling because the baby is constantly on the go! And don’t I know it! I think it may have something to do with the fact that this kid has: hiked the Long Trail South in Stowe, VT from Smuggler’s Notch to the top of Mt. Mansfield, this is how it is described, “here the trail climbs almost 3,000 vertical feet to the top of Mt. Mansfield (4,395 feet) in 2.3 miles. It is flatter toward the bottom, fairly wide but steeper through the middle, and very rocky at the top” translation for me –> death {rewarded with a really delicious hot chocolate and one fat lob of whipped cream}, trained for and ran the Chicago Marathon {rewarded with some more than ridiculous deep dish pizza}, and gone to more than a handful of Soul Cycle classes. My instinct tells me we may have a competitive little one. Anyhow, the point I wanted to get to is: we’re having a little man! During our appointment our technician said, “he has a beautiful heart.” We are so grateful for his health. And if he is anything like his dad I will be the happiest {and luckiest} woman in the world. After we found out we were having a little boy I finally allowed myself to indulge in baby nursery mood boards … and so I started playing. I think this may just have to work it’s way into his room.

He Has A Beautiful Heart for Blog

I hope you are all having a wonderful week. Happy hump day!

xx

LT

XX Leigh-Taylor