Creamy Spring Vegetable Gratin

This was delicious! The only hangup I had was using my roommate’s mandoline. It as probably user error, but I had a really hard time with it. I think I’ll make this again when I have a food processor. I think slicing the veggies slightly thinner would make this even better.

This makes a ton, which is great for leftovers heated up in the toaster oven,  with or without a fried egg on top. Also, the volume of veggies was so big that I had to use my biggest stock pot to mix them up in, because my biggest bowl (which is pretty big) couldn’t handle it.

Also some of the leek slices were a little tough, make sure to remove the tougher outer bits before baking.

UPDATE: Freezes really well. I had this about a month later and it was still delicious.

http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-creamy-spring-vegetable-gratin-with-grana-padano-cookbook-recipes-from-the-kitchn-145006#.spfzjd:cGKi

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Memom’s Peanut Butter Pie

I know this ridiculously delicious PB pie recipe by heart, but since I don’t make it on the regular (if I did, I would probably break all of the world’s scales), there are always a few things I miss.

1. Timing

This pie takes time, but it is so, so worth it. Ideally, bake the crust and make the pudding in the late morning/early afternoon to take to a dinner that night. The pudding takes about 20 minutes to cook, then at least a few hours to set up.

The best way to do this is to prepare the crust, put it in the oven, and start the pudding while the crust is in the oven (maybe after you’ve washed a few things in the meantime). The pudding needs regular, but not constant, attention. When the crust is done, pop it in the freezer. Then get back to the pudding. More or less by the time the pudding is done, the crust is cooled enough in the freezer.

2. The Graham Cracker Crust recipe

I use the Kitchn’s, and it’s great.

http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-a-graham-cracker-crust-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-36895

3. Jell-o Cook n’ Serve Pudding

There’s something about this pudding that I can’t quite replicate from scratch. I’m quite convinced it’s some sort of chemical that I probably shouldn’t be eating very much of, but since I don’t make this all the time I’m very unworried about it.

It takes a while to cook (at least 20 minutes). And to set up, I’d give it a couple of hours. I had a bit of a harrowing drive to a friend’s dinner party in which the pie was sloshing around a bit and I was trying very hard not to get it all over my car.

4. Peanut Butter to Powdered Sugar Ratio

I always end up dumping too much powdered sugar in with the peanut butter, then have to add tons more PB to compensate. You don’t need as much powdered sugar as you think!

5. Whipped Cream
Cream doubles in size when whipped. Use 1 tsp of powdered sugar per cup of heavy cream (pre whipped). Add after it starts forming peaks.

6. Taking to a friend’s
I never bake this pie unless there are witnesses, otherwise it all gets eaten by me in a matter of days or day. The best trick I’ve found for transporting a pudding pie topped with whipped cream is to freeze it (whipped cream topping included). Then it’s not sloshing around everywhere. When you get to your destination, pop it in the fridge. It may not thaw completely, but it’s better to have it a little on the harder consistency side than the goopy side, though goopy is still delicious.

7. Shopping List
For some reason, I always forget to buy at least one ingredient when I make this. Here is an exhaustive shopping list.

Graham crackers (10-12 crackers)
Butter (6 tbsp)
Cook n Serve vanilla pudding
Milk (3 cups, a quart is more than enough)
Non-natural peanut butter
Powdered sugar
Heavy cream

Obsessively Good Avocado Cucumber Salad

The name certainly does this salad justice! It really is that good. The mayo-lime-dash of hot sauce dressing is unbelievably good (two drops of Sriracha in the double recipe were plenty for this spice wimp). The only tweak I’d make next time is to add more avocados. And I also tweaked it a bit by throwing in some leftover feta and mint I had lying around. Yum!

This is great to bring to a gathering at a friend’s place. Fast, easy, and delicious!

http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2015/04/obsessively-good-avocado-cucumber-salad/

Wheat Berry Salad with Citrus and Feta

Loved this salad! It was supremely delicious. I made a double batch, which should be about 5 portions. There are a couple of things I’d change for next time, some on proportions, some to cut down on time (it took nearly 1.5 hours to make).

1. Skip the Red Onion

The dressing has you saute red onions, then make a vinaigrette with them in a blender. I didn’t notice any especially exciting onion flavor coming out of the dressing, and this step was time consuming. So next time, I’ll just make a normal vinaigrette (but do make a lot, it’s nice to have a generous coating of dressing on the salad).

2. Use Faster Cooking Grains

The wheat berries took forever, maybe I had a different variety or something. I know Trader Joe’s sells quick cooking farro, so that might be nice. Quinoa as well, since it doesn’t take nearly a long.

3. More Fruit/Veggies

I think another orange might be in order, and maybe some shredded summer squash to boost nutrition.

4. Mint

I used a blend of fresh mint and parsley, which worked really well.

http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-wheat-berry-salad-with-78138

Chicken Tikka Masala

This was delicious! A bit time consuming (approx 1.5 hours), but maybe if you got the recipe down it wouldn’t take as long.

1. Broiled Chicken Thighs

So good! I’ll definitely do this again for other recipes. I left them in there an additional 2-2 minute intervals (4 extra minutes total), and still the internal temp wasn’t 165 (the highest I saw was around 155). But after that long I cut them up and they were definitely cooked.

Also I was able to marinate these for about 4 hours, which I’m sure made them very tasty. Not sure how it would come out with a shorter marinade time, which is probably more realistic if I make this again. Could try getting them ready when I get home, then do something for an hour (maybe chop some of the vegetables).

Also: preheat the broiler for about 5 minutes. I need these things spelled out for me haha.

2. Tomatoes

I accidentally bought 14oz of tomatoes instead of 28oz. Everything turned out fine, I just added a bit more tomato paste and some broth to compensate.

3. Adding Veggies

I threw in a leftover 1/2 yellow squash, which I shredded, and some frozen peas to add some veggies to the dish. Delicious!

4. Salt salt salt!

I salted this pretty well at the end. Otherwise it would have been a bit bland. The salt brought out all of the flavors and really pulled everything together.

http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-chicken-tikka-masala-recipes-from-the-kitchn-195785