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Archive for November, 2012

by Sarah Steimer

I made this for Bill’s birthday in October, and then again for my family when I went home for Thanksgiving. Enchiladas might be one of my new favorite meals to make. It’s so easy to mix and match flavors depending on the season or whatever is in your refrigerator.

  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 medium red onion, sliced thin
  • salt
  • 1 cup black beans (cooked)
  • 1/4 cup diced green chiles
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 chicken breast, poached and roughly chopped (I use bone-in, skin-on chicken and then pull the meat off after poaching, but boneless, skinless is a bit faster)
  • 4 soft corn tortillas
  • 1 cup salsa verde
  • 1/2 cup Monterey jack cheese, shredded

Simmer the sweet potato in a small pot until the cubes are soft enough to be mashed. About 10-15 minutes.

In the meantime, heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a small saute pan. Add the onions to the oil, along with a pinch of salt. Cook until the onions are just caramelized.

Want more than just four enchiladas? Double the recipe and use a regular 13-by-9-inch pan.

Mash the sweet potatoes and mix in the black beans, diced chiles, chili powder, garlic, cumin and salt to taste.

Place about half of the salsa in an 8-by-8-inch (or 9-inch) square baking dish. Shake to distribute the salsa in the bottom of the dish.

Distribute the mashed sweet potatoes and black beans, caramelized onion and a sprinkle of the cheese (leave about half for the top). Roll each taco up and place in the baking dish, with the seams facing down. Pour the rest of the salsa on top and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

Bake the enchiladas at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, until the cheese has melted.

Makes four enchiladas, or two-three servings.

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by Caitlin Saniga

Holy comfort food! I’m sure I say this every time I make something in the slow cooker, but the smell of this stuff cooking all day was divine. Also, check out the awesome mini sourdough rolls I found at my grocery store’s bakery. They came partially baked, so I popped them in the oven for a few extra minutes to finish cooking. They tasted especially fresh. If you spot similar rolls at your grocery, I highly recommend them for these sandwiches!

  • 3-pound boneless beef roast
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 10-ounce cans beef broth
  • French rolls or hoagies
  • slices Provolone cheese
  • butter for rolls

Once the meat was finished cooking, I tried in vain to slice it into thin cuts, but it shredded on its own. The same will happen to you if you try to slice it warm. (Certainly not the end of the world!) I did find that when I used refrigerated leftovers the second time around, the cold meat sliced more easily.

Trim and discard all visible fat from the roast. Place the trimmed roast in a slow cooker.

In a medium bowl, combine the soy sauce, bay leaf, peppercorns, rosemary, thyme and garlic powder. Pour the mixture over the roast. Add the beef broth to the slow cooker. Cover, and cook on Low heat for about 5-6 hours, or until meat is very tender.

When the meat is ready to serve, slice and lightly slather the rolls with butter. Toast them in a 350-degree oven for 5 or so minutes. Remove the meat from the broth, reserving the broth. Thinly slice or shred the meat. Pile the meat on the rolls and top each roll with Provolone cheese. Place the rolls back in the oven for about 3 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Skim off any fat from the surface of the reserved broth in the slow cooker. Serve each sandwich with a small bowl of the reserved broth.

Makes about 8 servings.

Recipe adapted from: The Girl Who Ate Everything

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by Sarah Steimer

Why the candles? This was Bill’s choice for a birthday cake this year (back in October) — not a bad choice at all for a fall birthday. I always make single-layer cakes when I’m cooking for a small crowd, but this could clearly be doubled to make a more traditional double-layer cake.

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick), at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

Grease and flour a 9-inch or 8-inch round cake pan (I use butter to grease the pan).

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.

Beat the butter and sugar in a medium bowl with an electric beater until fluffy. Beat the eggs in one at a time. Stir in the vanilla. Alternately at the flour mixture and the buttermilk in three batches, starting and finishing with the flour.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30-35 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Let cool in the pan for about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and let finish cooling.

For the icing:

  • 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • about 1 cup powdered sugar

Melt the butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and stir continuously for 2 minutes. Stir in the milk. Return to a boil, stirring constantly, and remove from heat. Let the mixture come down to room temperature.

Gradually stir in the powdered sugar until the frosting comes to your desired consistency.

Once the frosting has cooled completely, ice the cake and serve.

Serves 8-10.

Recipe adapted from: Dramatic Pancake

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by Caitlin Saniga

Any time company comes to visit, I try to squeeze in a trip to Euro Bakery for some fresh, hot burek. It’s impressive to watch baker Bari Sinani prepare the pastries, and the burek, like this pepperoni and mozzarella version, is to die for. Heck, I don’t need visitors for an excuse to stop by Euro Bakery. I go somewhat regularly for lunch or on Saturdays during my trip to the Roanoke farmers market, which is across the street.

Bari and Elizabeta Sinani own and operate Euro Bakery in Roanoke. On most days, you can spot their young son curled up in the back of the kitchen, watching TV from a folding chair. Bari, who was born in Macedonia, owned a bakery in Serbia. In 2000, he and Elizabeta, of Bosnia, moved to Roanoke. The couple opened the original Euro Bakery in 2010. You can read more about the Sinanis and their business in this Roanoke Times article from 2010.

I visited: Euro Bakery, a vendor inside the City Market Building in downtown Roanoke, Va., that specializes in Middle-European baked goods. Most notable is the selection of burek, rolled pastries made from fresh-tossed phyllo dough and filled with an assortment of goodies, including beef and onion, spinach and cheese, and my new favorite: pepperoni and mozzarella. Also available is a selection of baked goods such as braided breads, pretzels, crescent rolls, dark chocolate-filled rolls, baklava and tiramisu.

Elizabeta uses a rocking knife to cut burek into bite-size pieces.

I tried: This time, I had the pepperoni and mozzarella burek with marinara dipping sauce. But I’ve also tried and have been a fan of just about every type of burek they serve, including many of the specials.

Why it stood out: Bari Sinani, owner and baker at Euro Bakery, makes his own phyllo dough. Each pastry starts out as a small disc of dough that he works into a fine sheet by pressing out onto a flat surface with buttered hands and then lifting and tossing in the air. It’s an eye-catching spectacle. He says many people who prepare and sell burek, even in Turkey where it originates, use frozen dough. His burek is special because everything is fresh and it’s always served hot from the oven, so it’s totally crispy and flaky.

Bari tosses some fresh phyllo dough before rolling it full of beef and onions.

It cost: $5.50

Find out more:
Euro Bakery
32 Market Sqaure S.E.
Roanoke, VA 24011
540-344-0460
Euro Bakery on Facebook

*$6 Snacks is a recurring feature that reviews an area eatery’s snack — for $6 or less. Look at a map of the places we’ve tried. Help our map grow by submitting your own review. Find out how!

Euro Bakery on Urbanspoon

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by Sarah Steimer

One of my favorite parts of this soup was not having to buy any broth – that’s right, it just needs water! I was worried that wouldn’t make it as flavorful, but the roasted vegetables do all the leg work.

  • 6 medium/large carrots,- cut into sticks
  • 1 medium/large carnival squash, peeled, seeded, stems removed and cubed
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried coriander
  • 3 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 cups water

Toss the carrots, squash and onion with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast at 425 degrees for 20-30 minutes, tossing halfway through. The vegetables are ready when a knife or fork can easily be inserted into all the vegetables.

Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the cumin, coriander, cinnamon and nutmeg to the pan and cook for a few minutes until the spices are fragrant. Add the roasted vegetables to the pot, along with the water and bay leaf.

Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cover and let simmer on low for 20 minutes.

Puree the soup in a blender (or with an immersion blender) until smooth. If using a regular blender, work in batches and only fill about half way at a time.

Salt to taste and serve with good bread. Makes six servings.

Recipe adapted from: Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes

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by Caitlin Saniga

Rainbow carrots taste just about the same as regular orange carrots, but they add a pretty, colorful pop.

  • 1 pound rainbow carrots, scrubbed, trimmed and halved lengthwise
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sunflower seeds
  • chopped parsley for garnish

When I saw these darling organic rainbow carrots at the Roanoke farmers market, I had to have some!

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.

In a shallow baking dish, toss the carrots with oil and salt to coat. Roast in the oven for 10 minutes.

Heat the butter in a small saucepan until golden brown, remove from heat and add the maple syrup and mustard. Drizzle over the carrots and shake pan to coat. Return to the oven and continue to roast for another 8 minutes, or until brown and tender.

Arrange the carrots on a serving plate and top with sunflower seeds and parsley. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

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Check out my (Sarah’s) review of the vegan breakfast burrito from the Santa Fe Farmer’s Market. And for the record, I did get my margarita finally. A few, in fact.

While I was on my trip, I tried tons of awesome Southwest food. The highlights included a trip to Cafe Pasqual’s, Dr. Field Good’s (a food truck) and The Atomic Grill. I also slugged down a few Santa Fe Brewing Company Pale Ales and wandered into a bar with one of the coolest back stories ever, Evangelo’s.

See a map of Caitlin’s and Sarah’s postcards to each other.

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by Caitlin Saniga

This stew is hearty and smells warm and wonderful. It’s food that will make you feel cozy.

  • 1 cup brown basmati rice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced, peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cups green lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (14 to 14 1/2 ounces) vegetable broth
  • 1 bag (9 ounces) fresh spinach
Prepare basmati rice as label directs.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook 8 to 10 minutes or until tender and lightly browned. Stir in the ginger, curry, cinnamon and garlic, and cook 1 minute. Add water, lentils, potatoes, tomatoes, broth and  salt. Heat to boiling.
Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 25 minutes or until the lentils and potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally. Add the spinach; heat through. Serve the stew over rice.
Recipe adapted from: The Daily Green

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by Sarah Steimer

This was the first time I ever made a pecan pie, and I had planned to head over to Martha Stewart’s website for the recipe. After talking with my mom, she mentioned my Uncle Steve makes great pecan pie (even though I don’t think she’s ever tried it). I asked him for the recipe and here we have it: The great Stephen Jameson pecan pie. And now I can officially vouch for how good it is.

For the crust:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold water

Combine the flour, butter, sugar and salt in a medium bowl, mixing until coarse crumbles appear.

Whisk together the vinegar, egg and cold water in a small bowl. Add the liquids to the dry mix and combine with your hands. Form into a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.

For the filling

  • 1 1/4 cup Grade A maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans (plus a few halves for garnish, optional)

Whisk all filling ingredients together in a medium bowl.

I plan to freeze this pie (just wrap tightly with plastic wrap and aluminium foil) and take it home for Thanksgiving.

Roll the pie crust dough into about an 11-inch round. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate, allowing about 1/2-inch or so to overhang the edges of the dish — the crust WILL shrink a bit. Poke a few holes in the bottom of the crust and bake for about five minutes at 375 degrees. Remove the crust from the oven and carefully arrange the edges in your preferred design. I took a cue from Caitlin and made an easy criss-cross pattern with the back of a knife.

Carefully add the filling so as not to overflow the crust. Return to the oven (still on 375 degrees). Let bake for about 1 hour, checking it about halfway through. If the crust is beginning to brown too quickly, cover it with aluminium foil or a crust shield (cheap and totally worth it). The pie is ready when the center is still slightly jiggly and has puffed up.

Allow the pie to cool completely before serving. The center will mostly level out once cooled.

Recipe adapted from my Uncle Steve.

*This month we’re featuring classic pies that would be a great dessert at any Thanksgiving table. For the full list of pies, click here.

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by Caitlin Saniga

Let’s be real for a minute. The crispy onion things on top of the green bean casserole are all anyone ever really cares about. Especially the fact that there better be TONS.

  • canola oil for frying
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 6 large shallots, peeled and sliced into thin rings
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Unsalted butter for baking dish, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1 pounds cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 pounds green beans, trimmed, chopped into 2-inch lengths and blanched

Green bean casserole has always been my favorite Thanksgiving dish. Grandma makes the classic recipe every year: canned green beans, cream of mushroom soup, those crispy little onions that come in a resealable can. I love it so much that if it’s sitting around for too long before dinner, I’ll pick at the onions on top until the poor casserole is noticeably bare. What I dig about this recipe is that it uses all fresh ingredients from the beans, to the mushrooms in the homemade creamy soup, to the shallots that go into the frying oil. And the best part? You can double the crispy shallot part of the recipe if you anticipate needing more. ;)

Using a mesh strainer makes it easier to sift away the excess flour when coating the shallot rings.

If possible, make the crispy shallots ahead of time. Start by pouring oil about 1/2 inch deep in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Let it sit until it’s hot, about 5 minutes. In the meantime, prepare a cooling rack by covering it with paper towels.

Put 1/2 cup of the flour in a small bowl and season with salt and black pepper. Add the sliced shallots and toss to coat evenly.

To check whether the oil is hot enough, you can carefully flick a few drops of water at the oil. If they sizzle and pop immediately, the oil’s ready.

Working in batches, fry the shallots until golden brown and lightly crisped, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and lightly season with salt. Set aside.

When it’s done, it looks like a work of art!

Preheat an oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 13-by-9-inch baking dish.

In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil and melt the 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, add the chopped shallots, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of flour and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. While stirring constantly, slowly add the stock and then the cream. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the green beans and season with salt and black pepper. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.

Transfer to the oven and bake until the edges are bubbling, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with fried shallots, return to the oven and cook for 5 more minutes. Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 8.

Recipe adapted from: Williams-Sonoma Kitchen

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