September 26, 2014

Ginger Custard

Ginger Custard | Hard Parade
A chill in the air is definitely not an excuse to stop eating ice cream. I'll eat it anytime of year - even through the blistering cold winters of New England. I'm ice cream obsessed and bought a home ice cream maker last year that I haven't been able to use because my freezer is too small to fit the base in it without taking out all my already-frozen goods, so this recipe is coming from the archives but I haven't shared it on Hard Parade yet.

I like a nice spice to my food, especially when fall comes around - and I'm not just talking spicy, I'm talking cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, allspice, five spice, what have you. One of my absolute favorite spices is ginger because it's ridiculously versatile, it's good for you, and bangs up the flavor of any dish several notches. While this recipe isn't technically for 'ice cream' since the base is also made with egg yolks, it's a cold custard that has the look and flavor of ice cream, but alot more depth and thickness. The ginger in here really packs a punch and the longer you steep it, the more spicy heat you're going to get. If you don't like ginger (like one of my sisters), move along and find something else to make. If you do - well, than you're in the right place.
Ginger Custard | Hard Parade
Ginger Custard
Recipe from Pastry Pal
Special equipment needed: ice cream maker
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided into 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup
  • 8 egg yolks
  • Fresh ginger (enough for 1 cup, chopped)
Directions:
Roughly chop the ginger up enough to get a cup. Pour the milk and cream into a pot and add the 1/2 cup sugar and chopped ginger.
Ginger Custard | Hard Parade
Ginger Custard | Hard Parade
Bring to a simmer over medium heat (watch for it boiling over). Remove from heat and let sit for at least 30 minutes so the ginger can steep into the mixture. While the mixture is steeping, separate the egg yolks from the whites into a large bowl and set aside. You can do what you want with the egg whites, a good tip is to separate them into ice cube tray and stash them in the freezer for individual use later.

Bring the ginger mixture back up to a simmer. Once simmering, whisk 1/4 cup sugar into the egg yolks. Whisking the entire time, slowly pour the ginger mixture over the yolks. Pour the now combined ginger and egg yolk mixture back into the pot and cook gently for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pot. Once the mixture is thick enough to coat a spoon, it's ready to come off the heat.
Ginger Custard | Hard Parade
Pour the ginger mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl to strain out any cooked yolk and the ginger chunks. Place the bowl in a large bowl filled with ice and leave the mixture to cool completely.
Ginger Custard | Hard Parade
Pour the cooled mixture into your ice cream maker and follow the manufacturers instructions. Mine takes about twenty minutes, give or take. 
Ginger Custard | Hard Parade
Ginger Custard | Hard Parade
Spoon the custard into a freezer-tight container and let sit in the freezer for at least two hours or overnight. Once it's reached your desired firmness, scoop that shit and enjoy!
Ginger Custard | Hard Parade
Ginger Custard | Hard Parade

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September 22, 2014

Meatless Monday: Tomato & Bread Soup

Meatless Monday: Tomato & Bread Soup | Hard Parade

Happy Meatless Monday! Made in minutes, this tomato and bread soup is a perfect way to start off the week on a healthy (and meatless) foot. It's chock full of tasty, fiber-filled Swiss chard and poured over thick pieces of crusty bread for sopping up all the tomato-y juices. Do you want an egg on that? Of course you do! Poach one up and crack it over the top of this hearty, delicious soup. This also freezes really well, so I suggest making a larger batch and storing it for a quick defrost on a busy weeknight. Don't have (or like) Swiss chard? Substitute it for your favorite leafy green like spinach or kale. 
Meatless Monday: Tomato & Bread Soup | Hard Parade
Tomato & Bread Soup
Recipe modified from Eating Well
Serves: 4, Serving Size: 2/3 cup broth, 1 egg, 1/2 slice bread, PointsPlus: 8
Ingredients:
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped, plus 1 halved
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups canned plum tomatoes, hand crushed
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3 cups water
  • 12 x 3 inch Parmesan cheese rind, plus 2 tbsp freshly grated Parm
  • 1/2 cup cooked Swiss chard, coarsely chopped (I used one large bunch of Rainbow)
  • 2 large slices country-style bread, toasted
  • 4 large eggs
Directions:
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent then add garlic and cook until lightly browned. Season with salt and pepper. Turn heat to low and caramelize onion and garlic for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in cayenne pepper.
While the onion and garlic are cooking, coarsely chop the Swiss chard (or other leafy green). Set aside in a bowl and in another bowl, hand-crush the canned tomatoes, adding in the halved grape tomatoes when finished. 
Meatless Monday: Tomato & Bread Soup | Hard Parade
Meatless Monday: Tomato & Bread Soup | Hard Parade
Add the tomatoes, water, and cheese rind to the pot and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 15 minutes. Discard the cheese rind and stir in the Swiss chard. You may have to wilt the chard in batches. Cook soup for 15 more minutes.
Meatless Monday: Tomato & Bread Soup | Hard Parade
Meatless Monday: Tomato & Bread Soup | Hard Parade
While the soup is finishing, toast the bread slices and rub each side with the remaining halved garlic clove. Divide the bread among 4 soup bowls then divide the soup among the 4 bowls. 
Using the method you know best, poach 4 eggs and add 1 egg to each soup bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and drizzle with remaining olive oil. Serve immediately and bask in the glory of quick, easy, and healthy deliciousness!
Meatless Monday: Tomato & Bread Soup | Hard Parade
Meatless Monday: Tomato & Bread Soup | Hard Parade
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September 19, 2014

Sesame Tuna Noodle Bowl

Sesame Tuna Noodle Bowl | Hard Parade
I've been really into noodle bowls lately. I like how you can make them into whatever you want them to be, add all different kinds of proteins, flavors, and fillings, and throw everything into one bowl. I'm looking forward to when it finally cools down outside (for more than two days in a row) and I can start adding warming broths to them (and topping them with poached eggs, of course).

The star of this noodle bowl is the seared sesame tuna on top. I used frozen fish because 1. it's way cheaper, 2. the quality is just as good as fresh (okay almost as good) and 3. it's easier to find at the grocery store. You can substitute another kind of fish if you don't like tuna but I would suggest going for something on the fatty side, like salmon.

Sesame Tuna Noodle Bowls
Recipe modified from Cooking Light
Serves: 4, Serving Size: 1 tuna steak, 3/4 cup noodles, PointsPlus: 10
Ingredients:
  • 1 tbsp white sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp black sesame seeds
  • 4 6-oz. tuna steaks
  • Cooking spray
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 4-oz. soba noodles
  • 1 cup frozen, shelled edamame beans
  • 2 tbsp lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 tbsp chili garlic sauce
  • 1 tbsp dark sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 package rainbow broccoli mix
Directions:
Combine white and black sesame seeds in a small bowl. Coat the tuna steaks with cooking spray then season with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Coat each side of the tuna with the sesame seeds, pressing to adhere.
Sesame Tuna Noodle Bowl | Hard Parade
Cook the soba noodles according to directions. Add frozen edamame for the last 3 minutes, drain, and rinse the noodles. While the noodles are cooking, combine soy sauce, lime juice, chili sauce, and sesame oil in a medium bowl. Add soba mixture and cilantro, stirring well to combine, and set aside.
Sesame Tuna Noodle Bowl | Hard Parade
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add oil to pan, swirling to coat. Add tuna steaks to pan, cooking for 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness (I like mine a little more pink in the center). Slice tuna thinly and set aside. (Sidenote: you'll probably lose alot of sesame seeds during this but don't worry, you can always sprinkle more on at the end!)

Divide the soba noodles among 4 bowls and top with tuna and 1/2 cup of rainbow broccoli slaw. Garnish with more cilantro leaves and sesame seeds, if desired, and spicy Sriracha hot sauce! PS. This is really easy to pack for lunch the next day and is delicious served cold so you don't have to be THAT person in the office heating up fish. 
Sesame Tuna Noodle Bowl | Hard Parade
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September 17, 2014

Blackberry Oatmeal Ricotta Pancakes

Blackberry Oatmeal Ricotta Pancakes | Hard Parade
What's your favorite meal of the day? I can say without a doubt that for me, it's breakfast - no matter when I'm eating it. I'm sure my devotion to all things breakfast has come up at least once or twice on Hard Parade. There's nothing better, in my opinion. To quote Leslie Knope of Parks & Rec, "Why would anybody ever eat anything besides breakfast food?" I don't know, Les.

While I'm not a huge pancake fan, they're Dan's absolute favorite so I recently whipped these up as a weekend morning treat. We had some leftover ricotta in the fridge so I figured I would incorporate it into the mixture and add to the already indulgent pancakes. (Needless to say, I didn't track any Points that day...) 

Along with our pancakes, we had great coffee from our brand new Keurig 2.0. It's a new coffee machine that just arrived in stores and it brews not only a cup but...wait for it...an entire CARAFE of coffee. WHAT?! The carafe K-Cups are a little bit larger and you have the option of brewing 2-3 cups, 3-4 cups, or 4-5 cups (we picked 4-5, of course). With a touch screen and easy to follow instructions, the Keurig 2.0 is 100% the way of the future. I just wish the carafe was a little larger - we go through alot of coffee on the weekends. Check out how cool this thing is:

Blackberry Oatmeal Ricotta Pancakes
Recipe modified from Damn Delicious
Ingredients:
  • 1 2/3 cups flour
  • 2/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups fat-free milk
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup blackberries
Blackberry Oatmeal Ricotta Pancakes | Hard Parade

Directions:
  • Preheat the oven to 200f to keep made pancakes warm while finishing off the batter
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt
  • In another bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients - ricotta, milk, butter, and eggs
  • Pour the wet mixture into the dry, stirring to combine until just moistened throughout
  • Add blackberries and gently mix in
  • Coat a griddle or non-stick pan with cooking spray. Scoop batter onto pan and cook until browned on one side, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook an additional 1-2 minutes. Keep made pancakes in the oven so they stay warm
  • Top with maple syrup, butter, and powdered sugar!
Blackberry Oatmeal Ricotta Pancakes | Hard Parade
*PS. I received the Keurig 2.0 complimentary from Influenster to test and review, however thoughts and opinions on the product are obviously my own. Thank you!*
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September 15, 2014

Meatless Monday: Caprese Mac & Cheese

Caprese Mac & Cheese | Hard Parade
And suddenly...it feels like fall. As I'm writing this, I'm wearing JEANS and a SWEATER. Finally, all my thick, chunky knits, worn-out flannels, and wide-brimmed wool hats can come out of hibernation and take their place at the forefront of my closet. Fall is my absolute favorite season (winter coming in at a close second) and while this blog isn't going to suddenly become inundated with squash recipes and magically turn that burnt orange color so associated with autumn, I am thrilled for cooler weather, warming recipes, and the return of tights.

If it's on the menu, Dan the man will order a caprese salad in two seconds flat. He loves mozzarella - so much so that if we have a ball of it sitting in the fridge, waiting to be added onto a pizza, I will have to hide it so he doesn't bite into it ahead of schedule. When I found this recipe on Cooking Light, I knew there would be no complaining from his side of the kitchen. With a couple of tweaks and updates, we made it our own and dove head first into its delicious creaminess.

Caprese Mac & Cheese
Recipe modified from Cooking Light
Serves: 4, Serving Size: about 2 cups, PointsPlus: 10
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups grape/cherry tomatoes, halved (I like to get the variety pack)
  • 4 tsp olive oil, divided
  • 6-oz. uncooked farfalle (bowties! my favorite)
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp flour
  • 1 3/4 cup skim milk
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 tbsp hot sauce
  • 3-oz. mozzarella cheese balls (Ciliegine size)
  • 1.5-oz. Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup torn basil leaves
  • Cooking spray
  • 3 tbsp panko
Caprese Mac & Cheese | Hard Parade
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350f. Combine tomatoes and 2 teaspoons olive oil in a pan. Toss to coat and season with salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the tomatoes begin to burst. 
While the tomatoes are roasting, cook pasta according to the package directions. Once cooked and drained, place in a large bowl. Set aside. 

Heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil, swirling to coat. Sauté the garlic until it's fragrant. Stir in flour, add milk, salt and pepper, stirring with a whisk frequently to break apart the flour. Bring to a simmer, cooking until thickened (about 1 minute). Remove the pan from heat, stir in the cheeses and hot sauce until smooth. Pour cheese mixture into bowl with pasta, toss to combine. Add in tomatoes and torn basil. 

Spoon pasta mixture into a shallow baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle panko over the top and cook for another 25 minutes, or until panko is browned and cheese is bubbly. Divide among 4 bowls and garnish with basil leaves. Add more hot sauce if desired - no matter what kind of mac and cheese, I cannot get enough hot sauce on top. Enjoy!
Caprese Mac & Cheese | Hard Parade
Caprese Mac & Cheese | Hard Parade
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September 9, 2014

Crock-Pot Cinnamon Applesauce

IT'S APPLE SEASON, Y'ALL. While it's still kind of hot here in New England (what?!), the apple orchards around town are full with gorgeous, ripe apples. What better way to celebrate the beginning of fall than with delicious homemade applesauce? This is my go-to applesauce recipe because all you have to do is "set it and forget it" à la Ron Popeil. Throw all the ingredients in your Crock-Pot and go about your day. You'll come home to a wonderfully scented kitchen and big batch of applesauce.

Crock-Pot Cinnamon Applesauce
Recipe adapted from Find Time for Fun
Special equipment needed: 5 qt (or larger) Crock-Pot
Ingredients:
  • 12 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
    • I used Gala
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Directions:
Peel, core, and slice your apples
Crock-Pot Cinnamon Applesauce | Hard Parade
Fill the Crock-Pot with the apples then add the water, brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla 
Crock-Pot Cinnamon Applesauce | Hard Parade
Crock-Pot Cinnamon Applesauce | Hard Parade
Cover and cook on low for 4 hours
Crock-Pot Cinnamon Applesauce | Hard Parade
Once the apples are soft, use a spoon or fork and mash them until you get the consistency you desire. I like a slightly chunky applesauce so I mash it a little less. Funnel the applesauce into whatever jars you'd like and let cool in the refrigerator before digging in! (because it will be hot and it will burn your mouth when you try to gobble it up)
Crock-Pot Cinnamon Applesauce | Hard Parade
Crock-Pot Cinnamon Applesauce | Hard Parade
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September 5, 2014

Rustic Tomato Galette

Rustic Tomato Galette | Hard Parade
The New York Times just did a great piece on the gorgeous simplicity of the galette. As they say in the article - 'a pie is homey, a tart is fancy, and a galette splits the difference.' Without a pinched, defined edge like a pie and the structural integrity of a tart, the galette delivers both sweet and savory flavors and gives bakers a chance to be as creative as they want. The free form crust is easy to make and turns an ordinary dinner home into an adventure in the countryside.

Rustic Tomato Galette
Recipe modified just slightly from Cooking Light
Serving Size: 1 wedge | Serves: 4 as a side, 2 as a meal | PointsPlus: 12 (as a meal)
Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 1/2 tbsp chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3 tbsp ice water
  • 1 pint of multicolored cherry/grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2-oz. crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves
Rustic Tomato Galette | Hard Parade
Directions:
Combine flour, cornmeal, butter, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a food processor, combining until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Slowly add ice water through the top opening and process until just combined.

Gently press the mixture in a 4-inch circle on plastic wrap, cover, and chill for 30 minutes
While the dough is chilling, preheat oven to 425f. Toss the onion slices in the olive oil and roast at 425f for 20 minutes until browned and shrunken.

Unwrap the dough and roll it into a 13-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Place the dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or Silpat, which is what I used) and arrange the tomatoes, cut sides up on top of the dough, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border around the edge. Season with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Add the roasted red onion slices and fold the edges of the dough over to partially cover.
Rustic Tomato Galette | Hard Parade
Bake the galette at 425f for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle the feta cheese evenly over the top of the galette and bake for another 5 minutes.
Rustic Tomato Galette | Hard Parade
Garnish with the basil and cut into wedges and have yourself a pizza galette party! Don't forget to snap pics of that 'ish cause it is gooooorgeous.
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