A Squared: September 2014

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Tastemaker Top 10 with Jenny of Honey and Birch

The Tastemaker Top 10 is a collection of 10 questions asked by me and answered by some of my favorite bloggers. Here they will tell you a little bit about themselves, their blogs, and of course, their favorite foods and restaurants. On the blog today, we've got Jenny from Honey and Birch. Over and Honey and Birch, Jenny features tons of great recipes with beautiful photos to accompany them. And I love hosting other Chicago area food bloggers here-- plus Jenny's take on fresh ingredients is right up my alley (as is her answer to #2)! Meet Jenny...

Name: Jenny Bullistron

Blog: Honey and Birch

Location: Chicago, IL

In a few sentences, tell us a little bit about your blog. Honey and Birch is a lifestyle blog focusing on recipes and food with the occasional DIY project and craft. I like to make food from scratch and try not to use pre-made ingredients so you'll find lots of homemade salad dressings, condiments and spice blends mixed in with baked goods, slow cooker dishes and appetizers.

Now, tell us about your...

1. Favorite meal, food, or cuisine:
I love spicy food so Mexican cuisine is top on my list.

2. Least favorite meal, food, or cuisine:
I strongly dislike clams and oysters - I can't get over the texture.

3. Favorite restaurant in your city: Uncommon Ground on Clark.

4. Favorite food memory:
Watching my grandma cook.  She would never allow us to write down her recipes - instead she wanted us to learn the recipes by watching her.  My memories of her inspire me to cook more each day.
5. Favorite guilty pleasure food: Doritos. I have to refrain from buying them because I can't stop eating them once I open up a bag. 
6. Favorite ingredient (something you love to cook with, or something you see on a menu and know you have to order): Arugula/rocket. It's a great addition to pizzas, breakfast sandwiches and just about everything else.

7. Favorite kitchen tool, utensil, product, etc.: My KitchenAid mixer is my most beloved kitchen tool.

8. Favorite recipe: Duck fat chocolate chip cookies.  A guilty pleasure - once I start eating them, I can't stop.

9. Favorite thing about blogging: Meeting new friends. Blogging has brought me in contact with people who enjoy the same things as me - writing, eating and taking photos.

10. Five favorite blogs/blogs that A Squared readers should know about:
Local Milk - http://localmilkblog.com/
Solid Gold Eats - http://solidgoldeats.com/
Dad Cooks Dinner - http://dadcooksdinner.com/
Seasonal and Savory - http://www.seasonalandsavory.com/
Love Bakes Good Cakes - http://www.lovebakesgoodcakes.com

Thanks so much for your thoughts, Jenny!

Do you have a blogger that you'd recommend to be featured on the Tastemaker Top 10? Or are you a blogger that would like to participate? Email me at aasquaredblog@gmail.com and let me know!

Follow on Bloglovin

Monday, September 29, 2014

In My Lunchbox This Week: Sun Dried Tomato, Basil & Roasted Garlic Soup

One of my favorite things to make for lunch in the fall and winter is a good homemade soup. I make a huge batch on a Sunday afternoon, portion it out, freeze it, and then just pack one as needed-- it's one of the easiest ways to pack a healthy homemade lunch every day of the week.

Tomato soup is one of my old favorites. It's super easy to make and even easier to doctor up with a few new ingredients to turn it into a totally different soup. I love the fresh flavor of a good tomato soup, but I wanted to add some deeper flavors here. Jarred sun dried tomatoes have a super intense tomato flavor, so pureeing them into this basic tomato soup really amps up the flavor. I also love the  flavor of roasted garlic-- the flavor is richer, but less pungent than raw or sauteed garlic and works perfectly in this soup.

This soup comes together really quickly and tastes great garnished with a little fresh basil and/or grated parmesan cheese. It's a perfect lunch or also a great accompaniment to a grilled cheese sandwich for a more well-rounded meal. This soup is also vegan... can't often say that about an A Squared recipe!


  • 1/2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cups canned whole peeled tomatoes with liquid *Use San Marzano, if possible
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/3 cup oil packed sun dried tomatoes, plus 1 tsp. reserved oil from the jar *Halved or julienne cut will both work
  • 4 roasted garlic cloves *This recipe from Country Cleaver is super easy
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Pour olive oil into a medium stockpot and heat over medium heat. Add onions and saute for 5-8 minutes, until softened, but not browned.

Add canned tomatoes, vegetable stock, sun dried tomatoes, reserved sun dried tomato oil, and garlic to the pot. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and continue to simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add half of the sliced basil and season with salt and pepper. Cook for another 10 minutes.

Remove soup from heat and allow it to cool closer to room temperature. Using a blender or a handheld immersion blender, puree the soup mixture until mostly smooth. I like to leave a few small chunks for texture. Return soup to the stockpot and heat. Season with additional salt and pepper as needed, garnish with remaining basil, and serve.

Friday, September 26, 2014

East Coast Eating: Falmouth [Cape Cod], MA

So, yesterday I shared some great Rhode Island restaurants with you. After a short meeting in Providence and an even shorter visit with my family, Alex and I drove up to Falmouth, MA for the weekend. Two dear friends got married in Falmouth and it was a great excuse to spend a crisp fall weekend in Cape Cod with a bunch of old friends. We had a lot of downtime to catch up with one another and spent much of that time doing a little eating and drinking around town. So, if you find yourself in Falmouth-- and I hope you do because it is a charming little town-- here are a few spots to check out:

Stone L'Oven

A handful of us arrived in Falmouth on Friday evening and being a food blogger, my friends assumed that I had done some research and left picking a spot for dinner up to me. Well, they were right and I had found a few good options, ultimately deciding on Stone L'Oven since we wanted good food in a casual atmosphere. This was the perfect place for a big group like ours to enjoy a few drinks and share a ton of food.

We started with a few appetizers: Sweet & spicy wings and the antipasti plate. I'm not a big wing fan so I didn't partake in those, but the rest of the group seemed to really enjoy them. The antipasti was definitely more my speed: An assortment of fresh tomatoes, kalamata olives, pepperoncini, roasted eggplant and red peppers, salami wrapped provolone, and prosciutto wrapped goat cheese with a little balsamic drizzle. These are a few of my favorite flavors and this was the perfect app for sharing-- there was something for everyone.

And speaking of something for everyone, let's talk about pizza. Stone L'Oven offers a pretty vast selection of pizzas-- from the basic pepperoni or four cheese to the more nontraditional Shrimp Scampi or Sweet Potato & Bacon pizzas. They all sounded really good and our group was hungry, so we ordered four small pizzas (they come in small and large) for the 6 of us. We only had a few slices left when we finished, so this seemed to be just the right amount.

We decided on the Meat Lover topped maple-fennel sausage, pepperoni, ham, and meatballs; the sweet and salty Scallop & Bacon pizza, the Fig & Prosciutto pizza topped with a fig & balsamic jam, prosciutto, caramelized onions, and a combination of mozzarella & gorgonzola cheese. Lastly, we ordered The Special, which included pepperoni, ham, sausage, caramelized onions, mushrooms, and black olives. The table loved the Scallop and Bacon pizza. It was light on the scallops, but the bacon was crushed small and evenly distributed over the pizza and totally made up for it. The boys loved the Special, but the ladies were all about the Fig & Prosciutto pizza. It was such a delicious sweet and savory combination. I'm considering recreating it on the blog sometime soon!

There was nothing fancy about this place, but the atmosphere was loud and fun, the beer and wine selection was great, and the food was really delicious.
Stone L'oven on Urbanspoon

Cape Cod Bagel Co.

I love a good bagel. I hardly ever eat them at home since they have no redeeming health qualities... but man, they are good! So when I am traveling it's usually something I treat myself with. And since I found Cape Cod Bagel Co. just down the street from our hotel, this was the perfect place to grab a quick Saturday breakfast while I waited for the rest of my peeps to wake up (I'm always the early bird on weekends). Cape Cod Bagel has a huge selection of bagels, cream cheese, sandwiches, muffins, and other great breakfast and lunch options. The bagels are fresh and chewy and the house flavored cream cheese are delicious. I ordered a wheat bagel for myself with their light scallion & chive cream cheese and it totally hit the spot. Two bonuses about this place: They have a huge outdoor patio! Perfect for enjoying your breakfast al fresco. Also, when you order a coffee they give you an empty cup that you can fill yourself and to my surprise, there were about a dozen varieties of coffee to choose from-- including pumpkin spice! And the good spiced kind, not that flavored syrup. I was a happy girl that morning.
Cape Cod Bagel Co on Urbanspoon

La Cucina Sul Mare

After a little shopping on Main Street, we met up with our friends for a little afternoon drinking, football watching, and catching up. One drink turned into a whole afternoon seated at the bar at La Cucina Sul Mare, an adorable little Italian restaurant right on Main Street with a fabulous staff. We had such fun with the bartender and she was incredibly patient with our big group! Since we were watching football, I ordered a (prosecco!) mimosa, because that's just what I do... Alex and a few other members of our crew ordered what ended up being the most popular drink of the weekend: Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale with a cinnamon sugar rim. It just tastes like fall.

We ended up staying here for a few hours and decided we might as well grab a late lunch at La Cucina Sul Mare before heading back to the hotel to get ready. The menu had a great variety of Italian-American classics and standard pub fare, with a healthy amount of seafood on the menu. Several of us opted for the lobster roll and it was a great choice. Like the roll I told you about yesterday, this one was also a Maine-style roll filled with a cold lobster salad (versus a Connecticut roll filled with hot buttered lobster). It had huge chunks of lobster with a little celery and red onion tossed in mayonnaise on a toasted buttered bun. I ordered my roll with their shaved sweet potato fries, which I absolutely loved! They were thin and crispy and topped with a little bit of grated parmesan.

This restaurant was quiet during the lunch hour, so it was really nice for us to have the bar to ourselves. I imagine that the crowds really pick up in the evening though, so give it a try for dinner-- the guys in our group loved the calimari and the pastas on the menu sounded delicious!
La Cucina Sul Mare on Urbanspoon

Maison Villatte

A fellow foodie and friend from high school (shout out to Shayna!) is familiar with Falmouth and had a few suggestions of where to eat during our visit. One that was highly recommended was Maison Villatte and we almost didn't make it there, but managed to make a quick stop on our way out of town Sunday morning. Clearly, everyone else in Falmouth knew that this was the place to be because there was a line of about 25 people snaking around the little cafe when we arrived. This place is a true French boulangerie with fragrant freshly baked breads, beautiful cakes and pastries, and a great selection of savory and sweet baked goods.

I could have stayed here all day, but we were anxious to get back on the road so Alex ordered a small raspberry tart and I opted for one of their individually sized quiches. They were offering a few varieties, but I opted for a goat cheese and spinach quiche and it was SO good! The crust was flaky and buttery and the filling was super creamy from the combination of egg and goat cheese... even though it was quite rich, I ate it embarrassingly quickly.

If we had been sticking around for a few days, I would have certainly picked up a few loaves of their fresh bread. Maison Villatte bakes a really interesting variety of breads with combinations of cheeses, fresh herbs, dried fruits, and nuts in them that sounded amazing. If you need a carb fix, a quality quick breakfast or lunch, or if you're packing a fancy picnic for the beach be sure to stop in here!
Maison Villatte on Urbanspoon

Follow on Bloglovin

Thursday, September 25, 2014

East Coast Eating: Rhode Island

As you all know by now, I'm a proud Rhode Island girl. Although I was raised by Midwestern parents and we didn't move there until I was 12, the most important years of my childhood were spent there so I definitely consider the Ocean State to be "home." I love going back to visit and know that those visits are numbered as my parents prepare for a move back to Michigan in the next few years.

In the meantime, I'm incredibly spoiled that my company hosts a workshop in Providence each fall. It's a guaranteed visit to my old stomping grounds each year! I got to tack on a quick visit with my family this time around and packed in a few visits to local restaurants before Alex and I headed up to the Cape for a wedding. I've got a follow up post planned to tell you about dining in Falmouth, but today is all about Rhode Island!

Sweenor's Chocolates
Cranston, RI

For my meetings in Providence, I was charged with tracking down some local chocolates to give our guests as gifts. This one was super easy for me as in Rhode Island, there is really only one place to go for local candy and that is Sweenor's. They're a great locally run family business that's been around for over 50 years. They use high quality ingredients and everything tastes super fresh. This truffle assortment was not only adorable, but delicious! That white one at right center was my favorite: minty white chocolate with a dark chocolate ganache center. Sweenor's has stores in both Cranston and Wakefield, RI.

Chapel Grille
Cranston, RI

Chapel Grille is a lovely restaurant located in the heart of the Chapel View area of Cranston. Chapel View is a beautiful new mixed used development built within the restored historic Chapel View campus. The restaurant is quite large and the decor is beautiful mix of chic upscale furnishing with cozy rustic details like exposed beams and fireplaces throughout.

The menu at Chapel Grile is vast and the focus is on Mediterranean flavors and is heavy on seafood, which is exactly what I want to see when dining on the east coast! I saw some pizzas go by on big wooden planks that looked amazing. Another detail of note here is that Chapel View serves fresh bread and olive oil for dipping before the meal. Our waiter came out and walked us through four different olive oils from California, Greece, Spain, and Italy and how they differed before pouring out each one for us to enjoy at the table. I love little details like that!

The food here was absolutely wonderful. I started with the Summer Cleopatra Salad and really enjoyed it. Bibb lettuce was topped with fresh strawberries, crunchy dried pomegranate seeds, spiced Marcona almonds, and creamy goat cheese. It was all tossed in a tangy sweet pomegranate vinaigrette. It was such a great summery combination of flavors-- even on the unseasonably chilly evening that I was there.

For an entree, I ordered off the special menu. As soon as I heard 'lobster' and 'pasta,' it was pretty much a done deal for me. Farfalle pasta was tossed with a summer succotash of sweet corn, tomatoes, yellow squash, and green onion in a thickened lobster stock. The pasta was topped with a fresh lobster tail and it was perfect-- richness from the lobster, but an overall light dish since it was packed with vegetables and in a brothy sauce. Also, three of my dinner companions ordered the swordfish steak and raved about how good it was.

Chapel Grille is definitely worth a visit and would be perfect for date night or a special occasion! Chapel Grille on Urbanspoon

Iron Works Tavern
Warwick, RI

I know I have told you about Iron Works Tavern before, but it's one of my parents' favorite spots so we dined there again during this visit. And it's one of their favorites for a reason: the food and the service are consistently good. The menu is composed of high quality pub fare with many great seasonal and special options available. Mom and I stopped in for lunch and both ordered the same thing of the special menu: Grilled chicken breast, caramelized onions, arugula, sweet potato, and this really yummy bacon white bean spread in a toasted wheat wrap. The flavors reminded me of fall and went together so well! This is a great spot to check out if you're in the area and especially if you've got a flight out of T.F. Green Airport and have some time to kill.
Iron Works Tavern on Urbanspoon

Tavern by the Sea
Wickford, RI

As it's name suggests, Tavern by the Sea is a cute little nautical-themed eatery located right on the water in my hometown. It it the quintessential New England restaurant and they have tons of outdoor seating for such a small place, so if you manage to get there on a good weather day (like we did!) then snag waterside table.

Tavern by the Sea's menu is very seafood-focused, which was exactly what we were looking for that day. Alex had just flown into RI late the night before and was ready for his first lobster roll of the visit. Beyond seafood, the menu features some traditional pub fare like sandwiches, burgers, and pizza and also a few more Mediterranean-inspired dishes like hummus, souvlaki, and gyros.

Alex and Emma both started with some traditional New England clam chowder. I stole a bite and it was exactly what you're looking for from chowder: thick, creamy, with a touch of that shellfish sweetness. I started with a cup of the lobster bisque, which was equally delicious. There were some nice chunks of lobster in a thick and creamy seafood stock.

I ordered the Cape Cod Salad (topped with dried cranberries, candied walnuts, gorgonzola) and added a crab cake to it. I'm a huge crab cake lover and order them almost anytime that I see them on a menu. Sadly, I was a bit underwhelmed by this one. It may be my personal preference, but this one was breaded and deep fried leaving it a bit too greasy for my liking.

Alex's lobster roll, on the other hand, was a huge hit. It was stuffed with so much lobster salad that it is the kind of sandwich you need to attack with a fork before you can even pick it up. The salad was perfectly chilled and it was tossed in just enough mayo to cover the lobster without drowning it. And those fries? Also tasty. Emma and I stole more than a few off of his plate.

Tavern by the Sea serves lunch and dinner. They also have an adorable little bar situated right on the waterfront deck. Perfect for a summertime New England cocktail! Tavern by the Sea on Urbanspoon

Bertucci's Italian Restaurants
Various locations along the eastern seaboard

This review is a bit of a stretch-- in more ways than one. First, we didn't actually eat at Bertucci's in RI. Alex and I stopped at one in the south shore of Boston for lunch with his family during our visit. But since it wasn't really on the Cape and since it's one of my family's favorite Rhode Island restaurants (there is one right by T.F. Greene Airport), I decided it was worth mentioning here.

I'm a bit of a chain restaurant snob. I don't often eat at them and usually don't need to since I'm so spoiled living in Chicago with great restaurants at every turn. But I just love Bertucci's. It's a regional chain with locations from Maine down to Virginia. The food isn't anything out of the ordinary, but it's always good. It was one of the first restaurants my family discovered after moving to RI and it quickly became "our" place. And when I moved to Boston after college there was one just down the street from my apartment. Alex and I frequently ordered takeout from there for movie nights at my apartment.

9 out of 10 times I order a calzone when I go to Bertucci's. I don't really order them anywhere else, but they are really good here. Typically, I like to make my own as they allow you to customize your calzone fillings. This time around though, I ordered the Tuscan Vegetable Calzone which comes filled with roasted eggplant, zucchini, artichokes, tomatoes and Asiago cheese. The calzone is packed with filling and their dough is great-- soft, but chewy (as it should be!) and they also use it to make the delicious hot ciabatta rolls that they bring to each table when you sit down. A word of advice: Don't pass up the bread basket at Bertucci's!
Bertuccis Brick Oven Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Follow on Bloglovin

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

What's For Dinner Wednesday: Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Spicy Slaw

I know it's officially fall now, but I have one more slightly summery dinner recipe to share with you before we move into months of pot roasts, soups, and casseroles. These grilled shrimp tacos with spicy slaw scream "summer!" and as much as I love fall, I am totally okay with stretching summer out for a few more days-- especially when it tastes like this!

I did a little social media crowdsourcing recently to find out about which recipes you readers wanted to see first. The margin between these tacos and the winner (baked rosemary, thyme, & parmesan potato chips) was super slim, so you got the potato chip recipe on Monday and today we are talking taocs.

These tacos make for a fabulous dinner. They're healthy, flavorful, and filling all at the same time. Shrimp is marinated in a flavorful combination of Old Bay seasoning, citrus, and cayenne and then grilled until tender. For me, a fish taco is not complete without a little slaw and this tangy and spicy red cabbage and jalapeno slaw is the perfect complement to the briny grilled shrimp. Topped with some simple homemade guacamole, you have yourself a complete dinner in a tortilla.

My hubby can't eat shrimp, so I made these tacos with scallops for him. They were marinated and grilled in the same way that the shrimp was prepared and he seemed to really enjoy them.

  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 limes
  • 1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 18 peeled and deveined raw shrimp
  • 1 Tbs. light mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbs. cilantro, chopped
  • 2 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, membranes removed, seeded, and finely diced
  • 1 avocado
  • 6 corn tortillas, warm

For the shrimp: In a large glass bowl, whisk together lemon juice, juice of 1 lime, Old Bay, cayenne, salt, pepper, and olive oil until fully combined. Add shrimp and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.

Preheat grill to high heat. Thread shrimp on to prepared skewers and grill for roughly 2 minutes per side, until shrimp is pink and curled. Remove from heat and when cool enough to handle, pull shrimp off the skewers and remove tails.

For the slaw: In a medium bowl, combine juice of 1/2 lime, mayonnaise, 1 Tbs. cilantro, and season with salt and pepper. Add cabbage, red onion, and jalapeno and stir to evenly coat.

For the guacamole: Mash the avocado in a small bowl. Add juice of 1/2 lime, 1 Tbs. cilantro, and season with salt and pepper. Stir to fully combine.

To assemble, layer each tortilla with a few spoonfuls of slaw, 3 shrimp, and a dollop of guacamole. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Tastemaker Top 10 with Paige of Tomatoes for Cucumbers

The Tastemaker Top 10 is a collection of 10 questions asked by me and answered by some of my favorite bloggers. Here they will tell you a little bit about themselves, their blogs, and of course, their favorite foods and restaurants. Today I am featuring Paige of the blog Tomatoes for Cucumbers. On Tomatoes for Cucumbers Paige covers everything from recipes to restaurants to her favorite things to happenings here in Chicago-- not unlike A Squared! Check out her blog and read on below to get to know Paige...

Name: Paige Viollt

Blog: Tomatoes for Cucumbers

Location: Chicago, IL

In a few sentences, tell us a little bit about your blog. Tomatoes for Cucumbers is a lifestyle and food blog for the everyday person. I focus mainly on food, restaurants, and events in Chicago as well as recipes of my own.

Now, tell us about your...

1. Favorite meal, food, or cuisine:
Anything Italian. More specifically pizza! I could eat pizza at every meal of the day and never get tired of it. I especially love thin crust, wood-fired pizza.

2. Least favorite meal, food, or cuisine:
 There isn’t really much I won’t eat, but I’m not a huge fan of mushrooms or cucumbers. I love pickles though!

3. Favorite restaurant in your city: This one is so tough. There are so many great restaurants in Chicago; it is really hard to pick a favorite. Sadly my old favorite restaurant, Twist, closed last fall. Currently, I would have to say Davanti Enoteca is one I could eat at over and over again. They have great Italian small plates and delicious pizza! Cicchetti is on my list for favorite new restaurants of 2014.

4. Favorite restaurant outside of your city:
 Osteria Mozza in Los Angeles. One of Mario Batali’s restaurants and it is fantastic!
5. Favorite food memory: My husband and I got engaged five years ago on the day before Thanksgiving. We ate dinner at Smith and Wollensky that night so now we have made it a tradition to have dinner at a different Chicago steakhouse each year on the day before Thanksgiving. Our favorite to date is Chicago Cut Steakhouse.

6. Favorite guilty pleasure food: Ice cream! I don’t have a big sweet tooth, but if ice cream is offered to me my answer will always be yes!
7. Favorite ingredient (something you love to cook with, or something you see on a menu and know you have to order): Balsamic Vinegar. I put it on everything! Sauces, pasta, salads, vegetables, you name it!

8. Favorite kitchen tool, utensil, product, etc.:  I finally got a large (14 cup) food processor for Christmas a couple years ago and don’t know how I ever lived without it!

9. Favorite recipe: Annette's Chicken Enchiladas from the book Bread and Wine.

10. Favorite thing about blogging: Finding other Chicago bloggers as well as opportunities to visit restaurants and events through different blogger networks.

Thanks so much for your thoughts, Paige!

Do you have a blogger that you'd recommend to be featured on the Tastemaker Top 10? Or are you a blogger that would like to participate? Email me at aasquaredblog@gmail.com and let me know!

Follow on Bloglovin

Monday, September 22, 2014

Baked Rosemary, Thyme & Parmesan Potato Chips

I recently posted two new recipe photos on Instagram that got some overwhelming positive response from all of you. Because you were all so excited to get the recipes for these dishes, I took a little social media poll to find out which one you'd like to see first and the winner (by a small margin) was today's recipe for Baked Rosemary Thyme & Parmesan Potato Chips. And for those of you that voted the other way, the shrimp taco recipe is on its way shortly too. Crowd sourcing is fun!

These chips are a delicious and different way to prepare potatoes. They are also a healthy alternative to bagged chips or french fries. Baked and not fried, made with whole ingredients like fresh flavorful herbs and a touch of real Parmesan cheese, these chips are addictive-- and so tasty that they don't require ketchup!

We liked these chips so much that I actually made them as a side dish for our dinner twice last week!


  • 5-6 redskin new potatoes, cut into  1/4-inch slices
  • 2-1/2 Tbs. canola oil
  • 1/2 Tbs. fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 Tbs. fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 Tbs. fresh parmesan, finely grated

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Add potatoes, oil, rosemary, thyme, and garlic powder to a large mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper and toss thoroughly so that the seasoning and oil is evenly distributed.

Arrange potato slices on a metal baking sheet in an even layer. Sprinkle parmesan evenly over the tops of the potato slices and bake for 15-20 minutes, until potatoes are slightly blistered and brown around the edges.

Turn on the broiler and place the pan underneath the broiler. Broil potatoes for 3-5 minutes, until tops are golden brown.

Remove from heat and allow potatoes to cool for 5 minutes. Use a spatula to remove the potatoes and transfer to a paper towel lined plate to soak up any excess oil. Serve.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Global Bakery Cookbook + Polish Apple Cake Recipe

In my humble opinion, one of the best things about traveling to new parts of the world is sampling the local cuisine. Even back in college when I wasn't a particularly big foodie, I loved trying new to me foods-- or foods that I wouldn't typically order/enjoy at home-- in the different places we visited: sting ray in Paris, Döner kebab in Berlin, prawns (complete with legs and eyes!) in Venice, and a million ways to eat cabbage in Prague. What was most fun, however, was sampling the local pastries. When we traveled, my friends and I usually tried to find a local bakery for breakfast or a snack because everything was so different-- country to country and even city to city-- but it was always delicious. It could also explain my Study Abroad 10 (not quite the Freshman 15, but dangerously close).

I recently received a complimentary copy of The Global Bakery and it took my right back to this place-- the excitement of trying new food from interesting places and this cookbook really captures it. In The Global Bakery, author and baker Anna Weston highlights traditional baking recipes from around the globe in a way that is easy and approachable enough for even an amateur baker to tackle. When the book arrived I had so much fun leafing through it and a very difficult time deciding which recipe to try first. Some of the top contenders for me were the chocolate mousse cake (a nod to my Hungarian roots), lime cake from West Africa (Alex's pick), or Jamaican ginger cake with lemon glace icing.

Ultimately though, I decided to make something that felt a bit more fall-like (since it's been so chilly) and tried the recipe for Jablecznik, a Polish apple cake. This simple cake is dense and delicious and not overly sweet. It was super easy to make and the most time consuming part of the prep was peeling the apples and then arranging them in a pretty way on top of the cake. I loved the cake because it really reminded me of the apfelkuchen (German apple cake) that my Oma used to make. I didn't know if Alex would enjoy the cake since he's got a major sweet tooth and this is not a sugary sweet cake, but he totally surprised me. My original intention was to send him to work with several slices to share with his coworkers, but he liked it so much that he kept it all at home and ate it for breakfast (and dessert) all week. If that's not a ringing endorsement, I don't know what is!

Be sure to pick up a copy of The Global Bakery and bring some global inspiration into your kitchen. And in the meantime, give this Jablecznik recipe a try!

Jablecznik (Polish Apple Cake)


  • 2-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2-1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup and 1 Tbs. granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 oz. butter, cold and cut into pieces
  • 3/4 cup milk *I used 2%
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 large apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 tsp. cloves

Lightly grease a 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Heat oven to 355 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and 3/4 cup of sugar.

Add the softened butter, milk, and eggs and beat well until creamy.

Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan, then layer on half of the sliced apples.

Keep about half a cup of batter back, then spoon the remaining batter over the apples, covering them completely.

Arrange the remaining slices on top and dot the reserved half cup of batter over the apples.

In a bowl, rub in 1/4 cup sugar, cloves, and cold butter until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over the mixture in the cake pan.

Bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Remove the cake from the oven and sprinkle it with remaining 1 Tbs. sugar while it is still hot.

Leave in the pan for 10-15 minutes to allow the juices from the cooked apple to soak into the cake.

Cut into squares.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...