September 2014 archive

Curry Fig Sweet Potato Skillet Gratin

Cozy weather calls for cozy food. That is an absolute fact. I use sweet potatoes a lot in the fall and am always trying to revamp them. Not that simply roasting them with rosemary isn’t always enough, because it is, but the sweet potato is hardly a trending item on everyone’s menu. I thought up this recipe when I was really craving a gratin, a dish that’s usually covered in cream and topped with cheese, and/or breadcrumbs and is baked in the oven. The traditional gratin is thinly sliced potatoes, cooked in cream, and baked until golden brown. The sweet potato works really well with Middle Eastern and Mediterranean spices; I dabble with a spiced sweet potato hash now and then. I’ve also had curry sweet potato fries before so I knew the flavor pairings would be a match made in Heaven. I was actually afraid the whole thing would be too sweet but with the warm spice of the garam masala, coriander, and cayenne, this needs to be a side dish at your next dinner party. Plus, serving it in a skillet makes for a great presentation. See, dinner parties are easy! I just did most of the work for you. Onward! (more…)

Our cozy ingredient line up (get used to the word cozy, I’m obsessed):

From Top Left to Right: Fig jam, spice mixture of nutmeg, garam masala, ground ginger, coriander, and cayenne, curry powder, sweet potatoes, cream (I give you permission to use coconut milk if you wish), and parsley. Totally easy ingredients.

First, we make our curry cream. That either gets you excited or it totally disgusts you. Give it a healthy stir!

This dish is all about layering. A little sweet potato, a little cream, a little spice, a little jam. The sweet potatoes are smiling at you.

We layer until the sweet potatoes are submerged. This isn’t submerged so I had to add a little more cream. I adjusted the recipe accordingly. I will admit the jam looks a leetle weird but once it’s baked, it transforms. Have a little faith in the process! PS. When heated over the stove with a little bit of water, the fig jam is a great sauce for pork or chicken.

Our gratin is baked until tender and bubbling. Bubbling should be the result of every recipe when cooking in the Fall. I wanted to give you an up close and personal shot of this gratin. The curry powder makes it a pretty yellow color.

Add a little parsley and we are in business! There is so much flavor going on here! I’m tempted to make this for Thanksgiving.

I wanted you to see the gratin in action. It’s so creamy and comforting, it’s perfect for a cozy (there I go again!) dinner at home…with friends…and wine. Happy gratin making!

Second Giveaway Winner!

Thanks everyone who participated in Kitchen with a View’s second giveaway! I loved hearing about your favorite ways to enjoy Fall! Now on to the winner! Our winner for the Foxtail Cutting Board is Yana from Harrisburg, PA. Congratulations, Yana! May this cutting board enhance any entertaining you are doing in the next couple of months!

Be sure to check back in this Fall. We will have lots of cozy and autumnal dishes for you to enjoy! And perhaps, another giveaway! Have a great weekend!

Second Giveaway: A Foxwood Co. special!

I think we have a few things to celebrate here! School has officially been in session for a month, this was the first week of our beloved Fall, AND it’s Kitchen With A View’s 3 month birthday! Since the colder months are slowly rolling in, I know we all will be doing a good amount of entertaining between the holidays. The giveaway today is a special piece from my good friends over at Foxwood Co. It’s their Foxtail Cutting Board in hickory and it’s perfect for any type of serving, big and small. Its dimensions are 15″x6.5″. I see a beautiful assortment of fruits and cheeses laid out on this cutting board. I see a wheel of baked brie, encrusted by puff pastry, and topped with a homemade cranberry sauce sitting on this board in the middle of your buffet for Thanksgiving. It would also be a fun and rustic way to serve your pies or cookies for Christmas. I own a few Foxwood Co. items and the quality does not disappoint. If you are interested in this sweet family’s business, you can check them out on Facebook or Instagram (I follow them on both). (more…)

Now down to business. You know I like it when you talk to me on here and today is no different. To enter into the giveaway, you just have to answer this question in the comment section below. I will pick a winner at random. The giveaway ends at 8pm Eastern time. Ready?

What is your favorite part about Fall? Just leave your answer in the comments and you are entered! Can’t wait to see your answers! I love talking about Fall! Can you tell?!

Pumpkin Spiced Coconut Macaroons with Dulce de Leche

Did I say macaroon or macaron? If you ever need a conversation starter, you can use this because everyone wonders what the difference is. I’ve done my research so you can look like the Know it All at your next party. Notepad ready? It’s really not that serious, I just get carried away. Macaron is a French sandwich cookie generally made with an almond flour and filled with a cream. Macaroon (what we are making today) is a cookie comprised of egg whites, sugar, and ground coconut. I’m glad I could settle the confusion. Or maybe you weren’t as confused as I was. I dunno. What I do know is that these macaroons MUST go into your repertoire. They are the easiest cookies ever and the different varieties are endless. If I throw in the word gluten free, would that catch your attention? Because they are so you can make them for a crowd and not worry about people’s dietary needs…unless they are allergic to nuts or eggs, then these are out of the picture. (more…)

These macaroons are filled with pumpkin pie spice. If you have one of those plastic jars from the store that says “Pumpkin Pie Spice” toss it and make your own. The best part of making your own is that you control the ratios of spice. Pumpkin pie spice is usually cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Use that as a base and work from that. I like a little clove, cardamom, and allspice in mine. It gives everything a little more depth of flavor.
*Warning: Spice Rant Coming: Spices are one of those things that come in containers that you probably won’t finish by the time they lose their punch or go rancid (yes, rancid). I like to save my little spice jars but get my spices from somewhere where you can choose how much of the spice you want so you don’t have to commit to a whole bottle. My Whole Foods has this option so maybe yours does too. This helps you not spend a ridiculous amount of mulah on a spice you’ll only use once or twice a year. That being said, get yourself fresh spices for the season. It really does make a huge difference! Rant Over.* Thanks for tuning in. Now, pumpkin spiced macaroons!

Our pumpkin spiced ingredients:

From Top Left to Top Right: Egg whites, sugar, salt, sweetened coconut flakes, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice. Once you make your own spice, you will be tempted to throw it in EVERYTHING. Your morning coffee, your ice cream, your oatmeal cookie batter, your pumpkin bread, your apple crumbles, your chocolate mousse, and of course, your pumpkin pie.

Our egg whites, sugar, salt, and pumpkin pie spice are whisked until frothy. Put some muscle into it! I just love the color the pumpkin pie spice adds to this!

The coconut is added. We make delicious little mounds! Have fun with this! The mixture will feel like it’s about to crumble into your hands but with a little tenderness, your mounds will hold! Yes I just naively said tenderness and mounds in the same sentence and am now embarrassed.

As our macaroons bake, our dulce de leche thickens. Add a little cream to make it drizzable (sooo not a word). I let my macaroons cool on a rack and placed a sheet pan underneath so the pan catches the drizzles and not my dining room table.

These are sweet with that warm spice from the pumpkin pie spice. The dulce de leche makes these feel a little more indulgent. These macaroons are perfect for the season! And they are literally ready in a snap! Happy macaroon making!

Cinema Paradiso: Catching Up on The Little Films of 2014

Ash here! I realized I have had Chris as a special guest on my blog and have never really introduced him. Among our group of friends, Chris is known as the human IMDB (Internet Movie Date Base). He loves watching films and discussing their impact on our personal lives and their impact on society. He will watch any movie, even if he knows it will be bad, just to have a perspective and earn the ability to review that movie. Warning: Wife Bragging Moment: Chris is actually in school, as he works full time, to be able to teach History and Film Critique. It’s so empowering to watch him chase after what he loves the most. Wife Bragging Moment over. Thank you. Ok, here’s Chris!

When you see Guardians of the Galaxy four or five times, you tend to forget about those smaller independent films that can fall between the cracks in the high-octane summer blockbusters.  Such is the case with me these past three months, mostly due to budgetary reasons. I didn’t get the chance to venture out to see much of the smaller films that I was excited to see.  With very little class work due this week (yes, I’m in college for what has seemed like an eternity), I decided to catch up on some recent releases on Netflix and VOD.  Here’s my short takes on some recent little-known films you should maybe check out. (more…)

Blue Ruin

Director: Jeremy Saulnier

Starring: Macon Blair, Devin Ratray and Amy Hargreaves

Blue Ruin is the “revenge flick” that settles the revenge within the first 20 minutes of the film, only to see how this complicates things for the protagonist’s personal life.  Dwight, played by a fairly unknown actor, Macon Blair, exacts revenge on the man who killed his parents, only to have it backfire. As the film plays out, we find out how this blood feud may or may not have begun.  There isn’t anything especially unique or new about this film, but it’s well made and at times, a suspenseful film.  The director never tries to romanticize or agree with Dwight’s revenge nor condemn it either but instead, lets it play out as naturally as possible.  Dwight is trying to survive not by criminal skill but by improvising through his lively hood. Macon Blair gives a terrific performance, as someone who is grief stricken without laying on the emotions too heavy, something in which a top- billed actor would feel necessary to do.  The pain and anger is already placed on his face without him speaking one word at the beginning of the film. It’ll remind you of No Country For Old Men without the grandiose Americana characters and perhaps, with a more conventional satisfying ending too. The film is streaming on Netflix.

Under The Skin

Director: Jonathan Glazer

Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy McWilliams and Adam Pearson

Last year was the McConaissance (Matthew McConaughey had a big year, from his scene-stealing performance in Wolf of Wall Street, to his Best Actor Oscar win and the run as Rust Cohle in True Detective), maybe we are now entering into the Scar Johanaissance?  Despite my stupid usage of the word “renaissance” hear me out on this.  She starts out her terrific year in maybe her best performance to date by only using perhaps her strongest acting asset: her voice, in the film Her. A few months later, she makes do with what she is given, in a thankless part in one of the biggest hits of the year Captain America: The Winter Soldier.  Then she holds her own as the lead character in the action movie Lucy, which became one of the successes of the testosterone heavy summer movies.  Have I made my case yet?  If not, I offer you Under The Skin.

I’ll try to give as little away as possible while trying to describe and explain this film. Scarlett Johansson plays a mysterious woman who roams the streets of Scotland to seduce men into her sexual web (“sexual web” maybe the dumbest term I’ll ever write but it’s the best I could do), who are at no way aware of what they’ve gotten themselves into. What little I can tell you about Under The Skin, is that it is surely one of the more unique films of the year. An eerie, sometimes haunting film that deals with the familiar themes of sexuality and humanity, with a fresh perspective by director Jonathan Glazer (Sexy Beast). In her performance,   Johansson is asked to be more of an observer of the world instead being an active part of it.  The film is asking her to react to things around her and to see how she deals with a world she doesn’t quite understand completely.  I won’t say this film is for everyone but if you’re looking for a cerebral, puzzling, dig deeper for answers film, then this may do it for you as it did for me. It’s available for rent on Netflix.

The Only Lovers Left Alive

Director: Jim Jarmusch

Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Tilda Swinton, Mia Wasikowska and John Hurt

No character has been put on film more than Dracula. In a few weeks, we’ll be given a Dracula origin story: Dracula Untold (pretty self explanatory title).  With that, the subject of vampires has become a staple among the horror genre.  Every ten years we think we’ve seen every vampire story there is to tell and Hollywood gives us what we enjoy from our vampires all over again.  The sex appeal from True Blood, scariness from The Strain (I use scariness not because it is, but because that’s what the makers want it to be) and the silliness of The Twilight Series has kept vampires in cultural consciousness recently.

Jim Jarmusch (Stranger Than Paradise and Coffee & Cigarettes) doesn’t take interest in the familiar aspects of vampires.  Instead, Jarmusch’s interest is in the toll of living for a thousand years and what it would do to you spiritually and mentally.  Tom Hiddleston plays Adam, a reclusive musician who has become tired and burnt out on the world after “living” for a very long time.  He as become annoyed with the human race, which he calls zombies, that have wasted what they have been given while still fascinated with what they are capable of doing.  Jarmusch explains through Adam and Eve (played by Tilda Swinton) how we’ve lost appreciation for what came before us.  Our lack of love for the art, music, and literature that as shaped society has left us with an empty love for what is now considered art and popular.  The best moments of the film came from watching the relationship of Adam and Eve, to see what it would be like to be married to someone for several centuries, gives new meaning to everlasting love.  The lovers and the film are unfortunately interrupted by Eve’s sister Ava (Mia Wasikowska), who pays an unexpected visit to the home of our two lovers.  The visit takes away from the pleasure of watching Hiddleston and Swinton conversing, as people would do that have seen Rome built and burned. It may be the most romantic film of the year, but I haven’t seen About Last Night yet so maybe I should hold off on that statement.
Available to rent on VOD.

Late Summer Salad

I like to think that at the end of a season, a better one awaits. There shouldn’t be mourning from one season to another, for we don’t know what the new season might bring. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way but transitions can be tough. Along with a new season, uncertainty, insecurity, and fear are close behind. Luckily, for me, the only major transitions right now are the seasons changing and the company I work for is moving to a new location. Both transitions are very much welcomed but I know that’s a gift. Here’s to making the best of transitions. (more…)

Ok, enough with my philosophical rant. I guess that’s what happens when I blog right before bedtime. But seriously, I love the Autumn and all that it brings. Lately, it feels like Summer doesn’t want to let go and Autumn isn’t telling her she should. With that stubborn attitude comes confusion in the kitchen. Do I roast a chicken or make a fresh salad? Do I grill or throw together that pumpkin pasta I couldn’t resist just leaving alone on the shelf? I’m very confused but one thing I know is that it’s definitely not the time for chili just yet. This salad is for those of you, like me, who love the vibrant flavors of the Summer but long for the coziness of Fall. The fennel and apple make this salad super fresh and help balance the acidity of the vinaigrette. Plus, did I mention honeyed goat cheese? No? Honeyed goat cheese.

Here is our late harvest ingredient line up:

From Top Left to Right: Extra virgin olive oil, red onion, apple, (I used Honeycrisp for a sweeter flavor but if tart is more your thing, Granny Smith will do just fine), fennel, lemon juice, arugula, dried cherries, shaved brussels sprouts, rosemary, Dijon, honeyed goat cheese, and apple cider vinegar.

I call this piece Controlled Chaos. We throw all of our ingredients that are not being used for the vinaigrette into a bowl. Save the goat cheese for last because it will dissolve if added in too soon. We admire this beauty and then move onto our vinaigrette.

Our vinaigrette is all sass. It’s tangy and with the rosemary, it has that subtle lemony herb flavor. We pour it over our greens and toss. Don’t add the goat cheese yet!

Sprinkle the goat cheese over individual servings or better yet, crumble the goat cheese and let your guests add it to their salad. It adds a wonderful sweetness that brings it all together. Side note: If you can’t find honeyed goat cheese, just add honey to your non-honeyed goat cheese. This isn’t a “good bye Summer” salad; it’s more of a “it’s been real Summer, now I’m going to hang with your friend Fall” kind of salad. Happy salad making!

It’s In the Air

You know it and I know it. I don’t hate it. Do you? I don’t even have to say what I’m talking about. I won’t drop the F word (Fall) or the P word (Pumpkin) on you today since I know some of you love the hot, sticky summer where the chlorine makes your beautiful blonde hair green and your chances for skin cancer increase. But go ahead be sad for Summer. Next week, though? I won’t be as nice. Just kidding! I love that you love the Summer! I love the Fall! Can we be friends? (more…)

This week was filled with Autumn recipe planning, plenty of chilly evening strolls, and your occasional PSL shout out (that acronym will always make me laugh) on social media. I hope you also were able to enjoy the last week of Summer and give it a proper kiss good bye. Just remember: it will be back in 9 months. Here’s my week in pics for ya!

The Adventures of Babysitting: Story Time Edition.

My favorite field on my drive home everyday.

The best way to start a weekend. I heart campari.

Evening walks with these fur balls.

I don’t take pictures of my friends anymore; just of their adorable babies.

In one month, we will be here and I will be complete. Too much?

What are you up to this weekend? I hope it’s filled with cozy blankets, yummy Fall (sorry!) inspired drinks, and quality time with the people who matter to you. I’ll see ya next week!

Cheddar Crab Sliders with Old Bay

Summers on the East Coast and more specifically in Maryland, are quite a special thing. There are more traditions than just the usual cookouts with burgers and hot dogs. Let me paint a picture for you. Imagine a long, rectangle table with newspaper rustically draped to keep it covered. The table is studded with paper towel rolls, non strategically placed and are accompanied by little wooden hammers. Ice cold beer bottles, little bowls of melted butter, and a spice in a red and yellow can are the finishing touches. There aren’t any plates or utensils laid out. Just crabs, paper, and two hands are all you need. Oh and good conversation because you might be sitting there for a long time. (more…)

1410733617.627072.46

Since it’s National Burger Day, I figured I should have another burger on here other than this gem. Also, my husband is allergic to shellfish (a crime, I know), so I don’t cook with it much. But to keep my “I’m from Maryland” badge, I wanted to put up a recipe that involved crab in some way. These sliders are topped with a fresh crab salad then drizzled with a cheddar, Old Bay sauce. The burger is seasoned perfectly, the sweet crab salad adds a bite of freshness, and the cheddar sauce is sharp with a little bit of spice. They are the perfect balance of surf and turf but they will make you miss Summer a little bit more than you already do. And just in crab eating fashion, all you need are your two hands, and if you have any common decency, a paper towel to enjoy.

Our Surf ‘n Turf ingredient line up:

From Top Left to Right: Ground beef, cheddar, milk, garlic, Dijon mustard, red onion, red bell pepper, dried oregano, Worchestire sauce, rolls, flour, lump crab meat, and that purdy little can is Old Bay. I totally forgot the butter in this pic. Sorry! Also, if you don’t have access to Old Bay in your supermarket (it’s our God given right!), Amazon sells it.

That may look like a lot of ingredients but the good news is most of them are thrown into a bowl with the beef and most of them are probably in your pantry. They make for a very tasty burger! We make little patties that match the size of our buns! Aren’t they cute?

The crab, red onion, and red bell pepper are tossed in a bowl together. They get a healthy sprinkling of Old Bay. Perfect! Make sure you taste for seasoning here. I don’t know how much Old Bay you like to get down with.

Now, what should be here is a picture of the cheddar Old Bay sauce. But it’s not and I’m sorry I forgot to take a pic by itself. Just a quick encouragement about mornay sauce aka the cheese sauce. Stir that milk until it’s thick. About 3 minutes in, you might start doubting yourself. Stick with it and keep stirring. It WILL thicken.
Our delicious sliders are assembled. Bottom bun, patty, crab, cheese drizzle, top bun. These sliders are incredibly flavorful but make you hardly work for it. EAT THESE TONIGHT! If you don’t, you know you will be thinking about them until you do. Happy sliders making!

Maple Brown Butter Oatmeal Muffins

The Amish Market. Have you been? I’ve always lived so close to one you can call me one spoiled little Amish supporter. Their pretzel dogs are magic, their whoopie pies are better than whoopie (not really but I HAD to), and their sweet and humble demeanor is refreshing. They also have a restaurant that always has a line of hungry, early birds attached to it. But if you are lucky enough to catch a table before the inevitable line, you’re in for a special and incredibly simple treat. Now I’m starting to sound like I’m writing a review but I’m not. There’s a point to my long-winded story. In this restaurant, they have baked oatmeal. This baked oatmeal is served with heavy cream and then a dollop of whipped cream (a little redundant I know). The warm, crumbly, spice filled oatmeal is complimented by the smooth, thick, cold, non sweet cream. It’s true comfort for a chilly Saturday morning. I have since gotten my hands on the recipe and have tweaked it to make it even more enticing, if that’s possible. Still with me? (more…)

When the leaves start to change and the air gets crisper, I want something baked in the morning. Is there anything better than waking up to the smell of oatmeal and cinnamon permeating the house? Well, I guess bacon would be better…These muffins are so simple to pull together for a lovely breakfast with friends…or family (sorry for the unwanted pressure). The muffins themselves aren’t too sweet but still have a rich, nutty flavor thanks to the brown butter. Serve them warm with a little touch of cream poured on top or a little dollop of whipped cream for a sweeter treat.

Our ingredient line up:

From Top Left to Right: Whole milk (never doubt it), vanilla, maple syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, baking powder, rolled oats (old fashioned, not instant), eggs, and our butter.

This is liquid gold aka brown butter. It’s so delicious for being so simple but let’s not be that surprised that something simple and delicious came from butter. This adds a nutty, caramelly (sorry spelling check), flavor to our muffins. Pour this over pancakes or pasta or into your chocolate chip cookie batter. DIVINE!

We mix our dry ingredients.

We mix our wet ingredients. I’m obsessed with this color scheme right now!

Combine the wet with the dry. I know, hard work DOES pay off here. Hehe. Drop spoonfuls of muffin batter into the muffin tins. The liquid does separate from the oats, just make sure each muffin has equal amounts of the liquid. Time for the oven!

These muffins will make your house smell out of this world. It will make you think of every Fall you spent as a kid jumping in leaves and drinking hot apple cider (so this totally didn’t happen in my childhood but I’m kind of hoping it did for yours). These are great snacks or a fast breakfast. Or prop your feet up and enjoy that your windows can be open. I like mine with a leetle whipped cream on the side. Happy muffin making!

Seasonal Rivalry is a Go!

Whew! This week was fun! We were so busy last weekend! Our dear friends, Tim and Ali, got married and Chris was a groomsman! To say we had a good time is the understatement of the year. It was on a quaint farm with sweet little details. It was very hot in Maryland that day but we all got sweaty together so no one felt left out or judged. I know I don’t have to tell you but football season began, meaning Chris and I sit on opposite ends of the couch. He loves the Steelers and I the Ravens so we like to make fun bets when our teams are playing. It’s a totally congenial rivalry…most of the time. I was also excited to feel the temperature drop a little bit this week, alluding to my favorite time of year! Here are some snippits from my week! (more…)

This farm was a dream. The barn I was standing in was even dreamier.

It’s the little things.

The gorgeous couple. I was lucky enough to sit next to them and admire their sweet little moments.

Chris and I before we got all sweaty from a crazy dance party.

The Ravens’ most adorable fan. She literally won’t sit still anymore.

Honorable mentions:

Never forget.

If you are gluten free, this is a great blog. My friend Michelle is a mom of 5 and now has her own mini farm. She is a fun and talented person to follow. Enjoy!

I have an art show, a good bye party, and some babysitting to look forward to this weekend. I hope you have a grand weekend of enjoying this beautiful weather! See you next week!

1 2