One month ago, on this very day, Measuring Cups, Optional was born. You all caught a glimpse of my measuring cups and got to know me, Mrs. Measurement, and my blog in its early stages. So here we are one month later, and we’ve done a little bit of growing up:
So let’s celebrate with chocolate and a birthday song.
Chocolate Brownies with Walnuts Recipe
1 stick Unsalted Butter
1/4 cup Cocoa
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 cup chopped Walnuts
1 teaspoon Vanilla
Grease and flour a baking pan.
In a small saucepan, melt butter with cocoa.
Beat eggs until foamy, then gradually beat in sugar.
Add cocoa-butter mixture to egg mixture.
Sift flour and baking powder then sift half of it into batter.
Mix walnuts into the remaining flour; add to batter; stir to blend.
Add vanilla. Spread batter into the pan
Bake at 350° for 20 to 25 minutes
Ice cooled brownies with icing
Staffing a 6:45am conference on a Monday, preceded by staffing the first night of the conference on Sunday night, is not my idea of a perfect start to the week. That’s not to say I’m not a positive person. However, leaving before the sun rises puts a little bit of a damper on even my positive attitude.
For those who care to know, the conference went well. There were lots of attendees, I helped promote my firm (the one I work for – you know, my day job), and I met some very interesting professionals. As the afternoon came to a close, the only thing I wanted to do was get home, get into my sweats and have warm soup. Once I turned on Bravo and watched 10 minutes of The Real Housewives of New Jersey – don’t judge me, you secretly watch mindless, trashy television too – I was ready to get my soup on. Long Day Lentil Soup, or at least that’s what I’m calling it today. Disclaimer I might not have gotten it 100% right the way she does it, I made a few modifications. The Long Day Lentil Soup, however, hit the spot. It was just what I needed to unwind. I squeezed some lemon juice, and sprinkled some Stacy’s Pita Chips on top. Yum.
Long Day Lentil Soup Recipe
1 Onion, chopped
2 cups Red Lentils
1-2 teaspoons Cumin
1/4 teaspoons Turmeric
Diced Baby Carrots
Salt to taste
Check lentils for stones, removing the stones.
Wash the lentils in water 3-4 times (add water, drain, add water, drain, etc.)
Fry 1 onion in vegetable oil until golden
Add lentils, stir
Add water covering the lentils over an inch
Add 1-2 teaspoons cumin and 1/4 tsp turmeric
Add diced carrots baby and Salt
Once it boils, turn to medium heat- keep stirring. If the mixture is thick, add water.
After simmering for 15 minutes, remove from heat and puree in blender. To keep the thickness of the soup, only puree for a couple seconds.
When I think Mana’eesh, I think long summer vacations in Amman, Jordan. Before my summers became obsolete – starting in college with summer courses and then in the “real world” where PTO means barely a week away from email – there was a time when my family, would leave for Amman at the end of June and return right before Labor Day weekend. We spent endless hours with family and friends, attending lunches, dinners, and weddings, staying out late at the local cafes and best of all waking up late-morning to go to my favorite place for mana’eesh – Kan Zaman.
If you haven’t been to Kan Zaman, you’re in for a treat. It’s a hilltop medieval castle turned restaurant where low tables and chairs are met with traditional Jordanian décor. The whole place feels like you just zapped back into “the old days.” Outside this family-friendly restaurant, an Arabian horse and carriage await – tips are highly recommended. And if you didn’t get enough of the old-time feel, walk toward the back of the restaurant and it’s there that most Jordanian-Americans dress up in traditional Jordanian garb and take photos in a very traditional Arabic setting. I guarantee if you’ve seen those photos hanging at someone’s house, they’re from Kan Zaman. My parents still have those family photos hanging up in their home.
Let’s talk Mana’eesh. Traditionally, a breakfast item, you can find two varieties – za’atar and cheese. My personal favorite is the za’atar. It looks like a pizza and consists of flatbread topped with a mixture of olive oil and za’atar, baked to delicious goodness. I’ve been known to eat more than one.
I can’t recreate Kan Zaman’s Mana’eesh, but I can definitely try. While large mana’eesh are easy enough to make, I’ve taken the idea to the next level and found an even easier way to make this nostalgic breakfast item.
Place biscuits on a baking tray
Using your fingers, flatten the biscuits
In a small bowl, mix olive oil and zaatar together (add more oil and zaatar as needed. It should be a runny consistency)
Spoon zaatar mixture onto each biscuit
Bake at 350 degrees for 14-17 minutes
I made this recipe for the first time back in May. I found this on Epicurious. I was drooling at my desk just reading the recipe. I couldn’t wait to buy the ingredients and get busy cooking it. Needless to say it was a success and it’s now one of my favorite dishes. When I made the filets and gravy last time – I incurred some collateral damage. Somehow, when I was taking the steaks out of the oven, a seemingly easy task, I burned my left arm. I medermaed the heck out of it but I still have a scar. However, if you don’t burn yourself like I did, you’ll end up with a delicious meal.
A week or so ago, I was told we may have some friends over for dinner. So, of course, the planner that I am I made a menu and a list then went grocery shopping. It was the week before their wedding, so they weren’t able to make it – so I had some herbed goat cheese and Endives laying around which I had planned to use for an appetizer.
Not really sure what to do with endives, other than slip them in with some mixed greens on a salad, I made my appetizer anyway and served it while dinner was cooking in the oven.
Endive and Herbed Goat Cheese Appetizer Recipe
1 Endive (or more if you’d like)
3 Tablespoons Herbed Goat Cheese
¼ cup Chopped Walnuts
Wash the endives, peel apart carefully and dry on paper towels.
Mix together chopped walnuts and herbed goat cheese until mixed well.
Arrange endives on a plate, place a small piece of goat cheese on the end of each endive leaf.
Using the goat cheese walnut mixture, form a loose ball with your hands and place in the middle of the plate. Serve with crackers.
After an afternoon of errands, and mostly shopping – and let’s not forget the ridiculously huge Burger Joint burger and side of fries, oh yea and a strawberry milkshake – I thought I should probably take it easy for dinner tonight. It was definitely one of those let’s pretend all the junk I ate today didn’t have any calories kind of day. Salad is light, depending on the ingredients you use, so I went for a salad. I don’t really have salad items, however I had an unopened package of mixed greens, some smoked salmon and a brand new package of herbed goat cheese I knew I’d be able to put to use. From there, I created the salmon salad. For dressing, I added a couple swirls of lemon juice.
Salmon Salad Recipe
Herbed Goat Cheese
Mix together mixed greens, salmon, capers, goat cheese and pine nuts. Add lemon juice.