Breakfast Casserole

Breakfast Casserole | CulinaryCousins.com

I know what you’re thinking…”her first post back in the blogging world and she chooses breakfast casserole? of all things??” Yes. It’s delicious, healthy, and only takes about five minutes to make. Who wouldn’t love that?

It’s summer and the LAST thing we want to do is slave away in the kitchen for hours on end…that’s best saved for those wretched winter months, when everything outside is grey and horribly dreadful. (I really hate winter, can ya tell? Summer is where it’s at.) I’m looking for quick 10-minute meals, using fresh ingredients, that are really satisfying. Breakfast casserole fits the mold. Continue reading

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Honey Butter Cheesy Bread

Honey Butter Cheesy Bread at www.culinarycousins.com

I’m a pretty by the book kind of person. Not prone to wild ideas about pairing seemingly unrelated ingredients or reinterpreting classic dishes with an out-of-left field addition. No, my rebellion is subtle. I will follow a recipe to the letter, but throw in my own spin — like adding a pretty normal extra ingredient or a slight fudge of the measurements. There’s always room for more garlic and more sauce, right? I can’t leave well enough alone, and I always make a recipe my own, somehow. Continue reading

Pie Crust Update — and Dutch Apple Pie!

Dutch Apple Pie | Culinary Cousins

It wasn’t my fault!

Last we talked, I promised you a pie crust experiment. Well, I conducted said experiment (using coconut oil) and was all geared up to tell you about it. Then my annual Thanksgiving cold (going on four years in a row now, like clockwork) took me out. Flat. For a week. Happy Thanksgiving.

In between gulping tea (with shots of Jameson honey) and Mucinex and huddling under a heated blanket, it took everything in me to actually bake the pies for my family’s Thanksgiving. As usual, I overdid it: seven adults, four pies. But it’s really the only time of year I make pie, and I get swept up in the excitement and challenge of it. Plus, I’m not allowed into the house without my great-grandmother’s renowned pumpkin pie. (The recipe makes two.) I also attempted my first latticed pie — cherry, which was edible but needs major work. This pie, though, number four — this pie is it. Dutch apple goodness, with soft, syrupy apples and a crunchy, buttery topping. Keep this one in your back pocket for the holidays — or, you know, Tuesday. Continue reading

Food Find: Coconut Oil

Food Finds: Coconut Oil at www.culinarycousins.com

I know, I know. I’m way late to the coconut oil party.

In light of that, I’m not going to wax on and on about its benefits. You can read those elsewhere. Actually, Mel’s Kitchen Cafe did a great roundup on coconut oil recently. I certainly can’t say it as well as I can just link to her post.

I snapped up a jar of coconut oil at Trader Joe’s, with great intentions of using it in stir-fry and with sauteed greens. Then I realized that Thanksgiving is upon us. And Thanksgiving means pie. Continue reading

Chocolate Pavlova with Strawberries

Chocolate Pavlova with Strawberries at www.culinarycousins.com
Chocoholism runs in my family. My grandmother always had something chocolate in the house — usually a pie, but often cake, ice cream, candy. It’s kind of shocking that no one was obese. And I still crave chocolate above all things — it soothes my soul.

After making custard for the rhubarb crumble, I had so, so many egg whites left over. I’m not a big egg fan in general, so an egg white omelet doesn’t appeal to me. Let’s be real — the yolks are the main reason I can even eat that. So, since I can’t bear to throw food away, it was time to be creative. What to do, what to do? Continue reading

Lemon Cheesecake – Part II

Here it is. The long-awaited reveal!

We’ve made lemon curd. We’ve made candied lemons. Now, let’s make some cheesecake. And put it all together.

We do have a birthday to celebrate, remember?

Lemon cheesecake at www.culinarycousins.com

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Lemon Cheesecake – Part I

Lemon cheesecake at www.culinarycousins.com

I have a bit of a reputation in my family.

Jessica is the caterer for our events, and the one who keeps us on track with healthy eating. But I’m the baker, the dessert maker. Whenever a holiday or occasion comes around, sweets are my go-to contribution. And I tend to get a bit wild when I have the opportunity to bake for a crowd, when I can try my hand at all the fancy, complicated things that I would never make for myself. Like red velvet cheesecake and from-scratch cinnamon rolls at Christmas, or southern caramel cake at Easter.

I’m even starting to get special requests. Continue reading

Apricot and Pistachio Biscotti

Apricot and Pistachio Biscotti at www.culinarycousins.com

The morning after I brought Oliver home, he and I went to play in a meadow near my house at about 6:00 am. Neither of us had slept much, and we were both fairly shell-shocked by this new life we’d found ourselves in. Up trotted a neighbor, Fran, with her Schnauzer, Shocky. Shocky was Oliver’s first friend.

I should also explain that I had lived in my neighborhood for two years already and had never met a neighbor. If you don’t garden or cut your lawn, or you don’t walk a dog, you really don’t see other people. Not enough to form relationships, at least. Once Oliver entered my life, we made friends far and wide, of both the human and canine variety. He makes my home feel so much more like home.

We frequently ran into Fran and Shocky on our walks. Even though Shocky was 10 and Oliver just a wee babe, they would run and frolick together as much as their flexi-leashes would allow. It seemed like they knew they were cousins. Continue reading

Vegetarian Moussaka

veg_moussaka

My quest to fill my life with more vegetables continues. I’ve been doing fairly well. I’m a “pescetarian” (veggies and seafood) at home but outside of that anything goes. Hence the trip to a Brazilian steakhouse last week … and the braised short ribs I ate on vacation. (Oops.)

At home, I like that this way of eating is forcing me out of my comfort zone. I’ve had to experiment more with dishes that are hearty enough not to leave me hungry two hours later and satisfy that need for comfort food at dinner. I never realized that part before — a couple of nights ago my friends were talking about what we eat for dinner. Some just have yogurt or a sandwich or crackers. Others of us (like me) feel the need to make a full meal. That’s because, someone noted, dinner is such a comfort meal. So true.

Anyway, I lived for a couple of years in a Greek neighborhood in NYC. Those traditional dishes quickly became my favorite cuisine, and I dream sometimes about the authentic food I could get stumbling right out my front door: creamy hummus and baba ghanoush, Greek olives, lemon potatoes, pastistio and warm, fresh pita. I could go on and on.

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Amazing Lemon Cranberry Scones (Gluten Free!)

The finished product…crunchy and creamy with sweet and tart cranberries

As of right now, I don’t follow a strict gluten-free lifestyle. But I’m beginning to wonder if I should….

Gluten. Oh gluten. This was going to be my year. The year I FINALLY successfully  gave something up for Lent. After hearing a whole slew of bad press about this peculiar protein, I decided to make that my target. I was going to give up gluten for forty days. Welp, here we are, the week before Easter and I can officially say I epically failed. Epically. Like 4 days into it. I’ve eaten more glutenous foods since Ash Wednesday (start of Lent) than I’ve eaten in the past 6 months. No joke. WHY does that always happen???? That is why diets don’t work. When you are fixated on cutting something out, you eat it more often and in greater quantity- or maybe that’s just me, and my lack of dietary will power.

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