Apple Ginger Muffins

Apple Ginger Muffins

I do not get full-blown sick very often, usually around once a year or so. Since I’m not a huge fan of taking medication, I try to beat any oncoming illness, the way my gramma would; as soon as I get the telltale sneeze, cough, or sniffle, I hit the hay earlier than usual and try to drown it in fluids. Broth, OJ, tea, water – the works – and before you know it, the impending sickness seems to go away before it hits full force. Unfortunately, our schedule lately hasn’t really allowed for any such nursing, so here I am on the couch with a blanket, thick socks and chamomile. My record 2 year healthiness streak is shattered.

Luckily for me, I had made muffins for breakfast this week and therefore, don’t have to make anything for breakfast/lunch and we don’t have to order in or leave the house. Huzzah! Double luckily, they’re freaking delicious. Hopefully after a big broth dinner, I think I might just be able to turn the curve on this thing.

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Chicago-style Baked Polenta

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Pizza and I have a bit of a history together. One of my first jobs as a teenager was in a big chain pizza restaurant, and I grew up making homemade thin crust pizzas with my dad. I had no concept of deep dish anything really. Even more so, that it could be such a varied dish. The weather this past February was brutal; it was so windy and cold tights became a necessity, and my mind inevitably went to Chicago.

The last time we were in Chicago, Davis and I were attending the Pitchfork Music Festival in 2011. We found the city in the middle of a heat wave so intense my pasty self turned lobster red, even sitting in the shade. I enjoyed hearing Beach House’s set as I lay down like a grassland lion and napped under an umbrella in the harsh sun. We got to see some old friends and see all the landmarks from one of my top five all time favorite movies – High Fidelity. Even despite injuring my foot on a 4 mile run and Michael Bay cutting off most of the city due to filming Transformers 3, I had a fantastic time.

Upon our return, I even took virtual real estate tours of available rentals to try and imagine a life where we lived there. It wasn’t a bad life, but I have moved on to imaginary real estate tours of other areas of fine nature when a little downtime leads me into a geographical daydream.

Culinarily, I fell in love with the vegetable, meat and sauce-laden pile of deliciousness that is the Chicago Deep-Dish style pizza. Things are finally starting to move beyond the freezing temperatures we saw earlier in the year, but hopefully this dish can warm up your day.

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Peppercorn Infused Double Chocolate Cupcakes

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People don’t care what you do, they care why you do it.” Simon Sinek

I am a TED talks addict. I watch at least one a day, sometimes more. It’s something I think about a lot actually. I started writing Roxie Ginger because I really just wanted to commit to a project, but I also legitimately love going into a kitchen with a random set of ingredients and pushing myself to be creative. However, I have to admit, I’m not much of a baker. I don’t like rigorous recipes much, and baking requires an eye for exact precision. Therefore, I’m making a push to bake more…a lot more. That said, I can’t go too crazy with my new-found baking obsession, since I am also not of the constitution to just throw calorie caution to the wind – but what is a Super Bowl/Golden Globes/Grammys/Oscar party without a little sweetness?

A friend from work had introduced me to the world’s most delicious black peppercorn infused chocolates from a chocolatier whose name nobody seems to be able to recall, which is truly such a shame. I wanted to replicate that flavor in some capacity here. They came out subtle but tasty. The pepper comes through just enough to cut the sweetness of these rich cupcakes.

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Mustard Roasted Potatoes with Smoked Salmon & a Poached Egg

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Brunch – is there another word that evokes such delectable promise? Technically, it’s different from its lesser-known and more-awkwardly-pronounced first cousin “brinner,” by only by the time of day in which it is eaten. Still, I think we’d all agree that brunch is an event all of its own. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not knocking on brinner by any stretch of the imagination. Cholesterol be damned, I love eggs.

This is something I thought of when, in typical Roxie Ginger fashion, I had several ingredients that didn’t seem to go together and needed to figure out a way to make them mesh. Davis being the outspoken mustard hater that he is, it’s hard to sneak the condiment in. Topping that off with smoked salmon – another less than lauded ingredient in our house – and I figured this one would be a tough sell. Luckily though, we had company over for an impromptu movie night and this turned to be a quick, hearty winning dish. Maybe I’m a bigger brinner fan than I thought.

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Roasted Cauliflower & Fennel with Chicken Sausage

Roasted Cauliflower & Fennel with Chicken Sausage

We’re no stranger to roasted vegetables here at Roxie Ginger, but it’s fun to see the different combinations that can come together and taste amazing. Carrots and dill never seemed to make much sense to me once upon a time, and what do you know – they sing together in perfect harmony.

On a grocery run this week, we found a really interesting sounding package of chicken sausage stuffed with spinach and gruyere and decided to give it a shot. I head scratched for a bit to think of what would be a good accompaniment. For me, sausage always matches with potatoes, but catching in the corner of my eye was a pretty head cauliflower and I thought, “well don’t you look interesting.”

This is a really simple recipe good for a busy night. While individual ingredient tastes wonderful on its own, but the combination of all three goes together like bread and butter. Or cauliflower and fennel and chicken sausage. Whatever you prefer.

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Smoked Duck Teriyaki

Smoked Duck Teryiyaki

One cuisine type that I’m really looking forward to trying more frequently in 2013 is Asian-inspired food. It’s often pretty healthy for you, and radically diverse depending on which regions you are looking to pull ideas from, but I’ve always found it a bit intimidating. Furthermore, I learned to cook and get a feel for flavors with my grandmother. We didn’t cook or really eat a whole lot of non-American or German foods, and it is always difficult to cook things when you don’t necessarily have a full understanding of the taste you are trying to replicate. Especially when you realize that General Tso’s Chicken takeout doesn’t exactly qualify as “authentic Chinese dining.”

It hasn’t been until the past few years that I’ve ventured out to try and eat more adventurously with foods from that particular portion of the world. I now want to try and re-create some of these flavors at home. There has been some trial and error, as with all things (my Pho recipe is a work in progress). I felt really fortunate to have stumbled upon this gem after buying smoked duck for another dish when inspiration struck.

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Becherovka and Fizz (and Happy New Year!!)

Becherovka and Fizz

Happy New Year! I gladly welcome you, 2013. I’ve been trying to come up with my resolutions, and I’m really drawing a blank. I have an intense love of resolutions, but now that I’m writing about these, ideas are coming in droves. 3 seems like a good solid number, so let’s cull the masses of inspiration and narrow it down. What do you say?

  1. After the holiday glut of decadent eating and drinking, I figure most of us (except the very disciplined of us, of course) want to cleanse the palate and generally try to live a little healthier. I could definitely go that route after my week-long holiday back home. Therefore, I resolve to run 4 races this year. One every 3 months, so I always have one to be working toward.
  2. In the vein of cleansing my palate, preparing my lunch during the weekdays to avoid spending the outrageous amounts on midtown lunches. Saving myself 1 day for a bagel, each week.
  3. Since starting Roxie Ginger back in July, I’ve come to enjoy writing and working on improving it. My goal is to write something – maybe not an entire post, and maybe not even something that I will share with anybody else – but write something every day.

Are there any that I might be missing? What are some of yours?

Now that that is settled, let me come back to the task at hand, introducing you (or maybe not!?) to a new drink we discovered on New Year’s Eve. A few years ago a friend of mine brought back a bottle of Becherovka from a trip to Prague. An herbal, spiced liqueur, it wasn’t love at first taste, but it was intriguing enough to keep me coming back.

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Herbed Mayonaise

Herbed Mayo

I love sandwiches. My desert island, only-thing-you’ve-got food is almost always a sandwich, the fillings of which are interchangeable, but the form is almost always the same. Good bread on either side of good filling and you’re guaranteed to take me on a direct route to pleasuretown.

I can be a bit picky about my lunches. Davis has lovingly chided me in the past for the odd looks when I pack his lunch; he gets to the kitchen at work and takes out individually wrapped tomato slices or onion and has to assemble his sandwich in the particular order I had instructed him to do the night before. One of my sandwich oh-no-no’s is putting a tomato on the sandwich at any point other than right before you’re going to eat. Veg goes separately. Picky, sure, but I’m not putting up with any soggy bread.

Anyway, I digress. To me, sandwiches are serious business. That being said, condiments are important to taking your sandwich to the next level. This easy combo raises a roll, roast chicken, and spinach into something really, emphatically delicious. Not to mention the recipe is short and sweet (and savory, too!)

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Blueberry Crumb Cake

Blueberry Crumb Cake

Every year, Davis and I try to take a trip on our anniversary. I’m not talking a big European vacation or anything, but we try to do something special and spend a few days out of the city. A few years ago, Davis and I took our anniversary trip on a road trip to Burlington, Vermont and Montreal.

We found an amazing bed and breakfast outside of Burlington that had beautiful grounds, with what felt like acres of beautifully designed and cared-for gardens. It was a place of what felt like eternal growth and abundance. Not only were the location and grounds absolutely perfect, we were greeted by our incredibly gracious hosts and their silly sweet dogs. Time stood still for a little bit and you felt like summer wouldn’t end.

Our second day there, we were served the worlds most amazing crumb cake. I would not exaggerate on crumb cake, but my oh my. As I couldn’t stop raving about it, our host actually pulled down the cookbook she got the recipe from and gave me a photocopy. I’ve carried that copy around in my recipe box ever since. I’ve changed it just a bit to make it my own, and although I think it’s second to none in its simplicity and flavor – it doesn’t quite live up to my memory of the first bite.

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Shirred Eggs with Cream

Shirred Eggs with Cream

I have a bit of a history of mispronunciation of words I’ve read but haven’t heard spoken. Usually I take the approach of just trying to sound it out and hoping for the best. This approach works most of the time in English, but not necessarily in other languages. Within my circle of friends I have an incredibly embarrassing, and frequently recounted story about the first time I served about crudités. Yes… I went on for far too long saying “crude-ites.” Oh the shame!!

That said, the first time I made this dish I called my gramma Ginger to talk about holiday plans, and she asked what I was doing. To which I said, “making shirred eggs” – as in “Shirley,” and she repeated back to me “shire-ed eggs?” pronounced like “Shire.” Y’know, like where Frodo comes from.

My gramma has a pretty non-regional accent, so I’m hesitant to write this off as a southern accent misunderstood through years of listening with northern Yankee ears. However, when I ran this by my friends, they were not able to conclusively give feedback one way or the other. Now, this might be due to the fact that it’s a kind of an unknown dish in my group, or it might be because nobody knows. I’m open to any definitive answers, if anyone happens to know?

Regardless of how it sounds coming out of my mouth, these taste pretty amazing going in, and because they’re so easy they might replace poe-actch-ed eggs on Sunday mornings.

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