It’s been a while since I posted a side dish, so I thought I’d fix that. Honey mustard glazed carrots are an easy and savory side dish that’s ready in just a few minutes. The honey adds a hint of sweetness, while the mustard provides a bit of a kick. The carrots are really easy to prepare, but the dish feels fancy enough for company.
This side dish goes beautifully with a simply roasted piece of chicken. Season it with olive oil, lemon, and rosemary, put it in the oven and then start the carrots about 20 minutes before the chicken is done.
Or, try them with a grilled lamb chop, or a steak. This recipe would also be great with Thanksgiving turkey or a family holiday get-together (you’d obviously have to size up the quantities).
If you’re trying to eat more veggies, honey mustard carrots also go well with a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch.
I sliced the carrots in matchsticks, but you can make them whatever way suits you. If you’re in a hurry, use frozen carrots (which are pre-blanched and will cook faster than fresh ones will).
Another tip to speed up the process and make your life a bit easier: when you measure the honey, dip the spoon in water first. It creates a barrier that will keep the honey from sticking and make it easier to pour it into the saucepan.
Two carrots, sliced into matchsticks (about 2/3 of a cup)
1 1/2 tsp butter
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
Boil water in a small saucepan (about one quart)
Once the water is boiling, add the carrots and the salt.
Cook for 5-7 minutes until the carrots are tender
Drain the carrots and set aside.
Add the butter, mustard, and honey to the empty saucepan. Once the butter melts, add the carrots back to the pan and stir to coat them with the mustard mixture. When the carrots are glazed, remove and serve.
Substitutions and Variations for Mustard Honey Glazed Carrots
If you don’t have honey, use brown sugar instead
Add some fresh rosemary to the carrots
Saute some shallots with the honey mustard mixture and then add the carrots back to the pan
Try roasting them in a 450 oven for 40 minutes with some parsnips
I’ve been craving pear bread ever since I saw some in the store the other day.The store version was much too big for one person, so I ran to the Internet.I started out thinking I would make the Smitten Kitchen pear bread.But, that turned out to make two loaves. I’d never be able to eat two loaves of bread before it went stale. Even a single, full-size loaf was more than I wanted, especially for an experiment. So I kept looking. Then I found that Desserts for Two had a banana bread recipe that, with some tweaking, would do nicely.So, ginger pear bread was born.
I didn’t want to play around with reducing the sugar, but I was concerned that 3 tablespoons of sugar plus the honey plus the pears would be too sweet. So, I balanced the sweetness of the pears with the bite of some cinnamon and a bit of ground ginger.Ginger is both sweet and spicy, depending on what other flavors you combine it with.
I topped the whole thing with some chopped almonds.They were supposed to go in the bread mixture, but I forgot!
One warning though, when you finish mixing the combined ingredients, the result will look a bit odd before you bake it. However, the finished bread is delicious.
This Greek Yogurt Chocolate Cake has got everything a cake needs: chocolate, chocolate chips, and a gooey chocolate center. I would have left it at that, but then I remembered my local bakery’s chocolate blackout cupcakes. Those cupcakes have chocolate cake, a chocolate icing center, and then more icing on top! Yes! If it’s good enough for cupcakes, it’s definitely good enough for cake.
I found this recipe on dessert for two.Since it’s already a small portion, I didn’t change it much, but I did make a few tweaks.
Because I don’t use cooking spray, I prepared my mini baking pan with butter and a dusting of flour.
Keep Your Cake From Sticking
Just rub the butter over the bottom and sides of the pan, then sprinkle flour over it and spread it around with a butter knife.
Also, I didn’t have chocolate chips, so I cut up part of a bar of chocolate with a large knife (a mini-chopper would work too). Since I was going to add the icing, I cut the amount of “chips” to 1/4 cup. I don’t like espresso powder, particularly not with chocolate, so I left that out.
Finally, I topped it all with a ganache topping, which is simply equal parts chocolate bar and butter.Just combine 2 oz. of chocolate with 2 oz. of butter and melt that gently in a small saucepan.Let it cool for fifteen minutes (or it will just soak in to your cake and disappear) and then and spread it over the top of your cake. If you want, you can add a splash of vanilla extract to the mixture.
Since this is a small cake, you don’t need to use your mixer. You can easily make the whole thing by hand in a single medium-size bowl.
It’s getting harder and harder to find these in the stores. They’re all too wide: fine for turning fish or an egg, but useless for scraping cake batter out of your mixing bowl or spreading icing. Since they are silicone, they’re more heat-resistant than rubber would be. They’re also dishwasher safe and have built-in holes for hanging.
Have you ever gotten a a mad, out-of-blue craving for something? A meal or a treat you just have to have? This week, I had this crazy yen for Sloppy’s Joe’s. Unfortunately, most of the recipes I found were too big and had too much tomato sauce. I wanted “sloppy joe’s” not “bathe in tomato sauce joes.” And, many of the recipes were also too bland. The only sloppy joe recipe for one person that I found was made with tofu. Nope.
Since I’d been feeling ambitious earlier in the week, I had fresh grass-fed beef on hand, and even homemade buns. If you want to make your own buns, try the recipe at King Arthur Flour’s website.
In order to boost the flavor, I added a bit of sriracha to the sauce and increased the Worcestershire sauce slightly.
The recipe includes two different amounts for the ketchup and the tomato sauce, so you can adjust the sauce/beef ratio to your own preferences.
Yes, it was messy. But it was also really good! I have put this under “dinner,” but really you could make it for a weekend lunch too, since it’s easy.
There’s nothing better than hot soup on a chilly, blustery day. This curried butternut squash soup with apples is perfect for cold fall or winter weekends. I had plenty of squash left over from making roasted cinnamon nutmeg butternut squash, so this was the perfect way to use it up. I have adapted the recipe from The Silver Palate cookbook, with a few tweaks.
First, I cut the recipe in half, as the original recipe made 6 large servings. Plus, I only had most of one squash left (not two!). I also substituted apple cider for the apple juice called for in the recipe.
One more note, use a mild curry in this recipe (not something super-hot and spicy as it will overwhelm the squash and the apple). I have a West Indian curry blend which is more savory than spicy; it works perfectly.
An easy soup that's perfect for chilly fall or winter days.
2 T sweet butter
1 C onion (about one medium-large), finely chopped
3 teaspoons mild curry powder (preferably West Indian)
1 butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
1 1/2 C chicken stock
1/2 C apple cider
salt and peper to taste
Melt the butter in a three quart dutch oven or soup pot.
Add the chopped onions and the curry powder. Cover the pot and let the onions cook, on low heat, about 20 minutes.
Peel the squash and cut it into chunks. You don't have to be too neat about this as you're going to puree the soup. The easiest way is to take a large, sharp knife and cut the squash in half (width-wise) and then into smaller hunks. Make sure you scrape out the seeds and discard them. I find a grapefruit spoon works nicely.
When the onions are soft, add the stock, the chunks of squash, and the apple to the pot.
Raise the heat to medium-high and bring the soup to a boil. Once it's boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook (with the cover partially off the pot), until the apples and squash are soft. This should take about half an hour.
Turn off the flame and remove the pot from the heat.
Now, take a stick blender and puree the soup until it's smooth.
Add the apple cider and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Tools and Ingredients for Curried Butternut Squash Soup with Apples
The original recipe called for straining the soup, then putting it through a food mill or food processor, and then pouring it back into the original pot. Doable, but a pain in the neck, and it means two more things to clean. The immersion blender is much easier to use, and a lot easier to clean up too. You just pop off the end and wash it.
It’s apple season! It’s also the time of year when it’s traditional to eat apples and honey (for a sweet Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year). I brought a full batch of this cinnamon sugar apple bread to my brother’s house for the holiday. They gobbled it up! Pretty good, considering it was competing with mom’s New York cheesecake.
I originally planned to post the entire recipe, which I adapted from Cookies and Cups. Then I remembered (duh), that this is the “single serving chef” blog, and the portions should be smaller!
I have reduced the sugar and the vanilla, because the original recipe was far too sweet for me. The result is a delicious, and easy to make quick bread (think banana bread, but with apples rather than bananas), that’s full of apple flavor and topped with a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar.
If you can get them, use a Canville Blanc D’Hiver apple (which is a French tart apple). If not, Granny Smith, Mutsu, or GingerGold will work well. You want an apple that’s firm, crisp, and not too sweet.
I once accidentally made this with cayenne (!) instead of cinnamon. I mention it because it was much better than I would have expected. I’m not sure I’d do it again deliberately, but it did give me an idea (see the substitutions section).
A rich, delicious cake full of apples and dusted with cinnamon sugar. Serve it warm or cold. It's great topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or gelato.
1/4 tsp kosher salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 C flour
1/4 C butter (half a stick), at room temperature
6 T light brown sugar
4T granulated sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 C milk
1 tart apple, peeled and diced
1/4 tsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Preheat the toaster oven to 350 degrees.
Butter and flour a small baking dish.
Mix the salt, baking powder, and flour in a small bowl.
Beat the butter, sugars, and cinnamon in your mixer until the mixture is fluffy. If you have a KitchenAid, this should take about a minute, on speed 2. If not, mix on medium speed for two minutes, scraping down the sides.
Add the egg and vanilla, and mix another few seconds (KitchenAid), or about a minute for standard mixers, scraping the sides.
On low speed, alternately add the flour and the milk. Start with some flour, then some milk, then flour, then milk, then flour again. You should begin and end with flour.
Add the chopped apple, and stir just enough to combine.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Mix the remaining sugar and cinnamon together in a small ramekin and sprinkle over the batter.
Bake for 35-40 minutes.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Substitutions and Variations for Cinnamon Sugar Apple Bread
Add 1/2 tsp ground ginger to make the cake a bit spicy
Give it a bit of a kick with some brandy or Calvados
If you’re brave, or like spicy sweets, go for the cayenne
Top the bread with bourbon sauce (2 T bourbon, 1/4 C sugar, 2 T butter, heated in a small pan) instead of the cinnamon/sugar.
Fall has finally arrived, and the temperature is dropping. It’s time to start thinking about butternut squash, apple crisp, and soups. I found this recipe for roasted cinnamon nutmeg butternut squash tucked into a cookbook. I’ve no idea where I got it from, but the combination of cinnamon, apple cider, nutmeg, butter, and squash is classic.
Cinnamon and nutmeg add both a bit of spice and sweetness, and the apple cider is both tart and sweet. It’s also apple cider season, so all the ingredients are at their peak now.
Butternut squash are notoriously hard to peel, unless you have an Oxo peeler, which makes this chore much easier. Or, you can buy the pre-peeled squash.
The rest is just cutting up the squash (use a big, sharp knife), adding the spices, butter, and cider, and baking it in the toaster oven.
This peeler cuts through butternut squash skin with virtually no effort. It’s no harder than peeling a cucumber. I’ve had mine for years and it still works flawlessly. There’s even a little scoop at the end for de-eyeing potatoes or removing bruised spots. The handle is comfy and easy to hold. It works on apples, squash, cucumber, carrots, and hasn’t needed any extra care or sharpening. I did add a dab of red nail polish at the end to make it easier to find in my utensil holder.
Most baking dishes are far too large for one person or small batch cooking. This is perfect. I use it for the squash, to bake brownies or coffee cake, and reheat leftovers. It”s safe in the oven or microwave, looks great as a serving dish, and can go in the dishwasher if you have one.
I adapted this crispy lemon chicken thigh recipe from The Silver Palate Cookbook. It’s full of lemon flavor from lemon juice, lemon pepper, and lemon zest. The lemon is balanced by brown sugar for sweetness and a bit of paprika for a hint of bite. You can eat it hot, or cold for lunch the next day. It’s also good for picnics while the weather is still good.
I cut the original recipe down to serve one (instead of six), but also made a few other small changes. The cookbook recipe called for lemon extract. It’s an ingredient I’m never going to use up (unless I make lots of lemon chicken). So, I increased the lemon juice a bit.
I then swapped the plain black pepper for lemon pepper. Lemon pepper is a bit exotic, but I do use it for other things (try it on string beans or broccoli). This way, I kept the lemony flavor without having to buy a special ingredient only to use a spoonful or two (which annoys me).
You end up with a crispy crust, almost like fried chicken, except there’s very little oil, less mess, and you can bake it in the toaster oven.
Incidentally, the recipe on the facing page of the cookbook is for Chicken Monterey, made with orange juice. I haven’t done it, but I bet orange juice and zest would work for this too. You might try a bit of orange juice concentrate, or upping the zest to substitute for lemon pepper/extract. I’d also reduce the brown sugar, since orange is sweeter than lemon.
Crispy lemon chicken thigh recipe with three kinds of lemon, plus brown sugar.
1 chicken thigh
2 T lemon juice
1 heaping T flour
generous pinch of salt
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp lemon pepper
2 T neutral oil (such as canola or sunflower)
1/2 tsp fresh lemon zest
1/2 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp chicken stock
one slice lemon
Pour the lemon juice in a bowl and add the chicken. This is best if you let it sit in the fridge overnight (or do it in the morning). If not, let it sit for half an hour.
Preheat the toaster oven to 350 degrees.
Discard the lemon juice and dry off the chicken with a paper towel.
Take a small plastic zippered bag and add the dry ingredients (flour, salt, paprika, and lemon pepper). Add the chicken to the bag, zip it shut, and shake thoroughly until the chicken is completely covered with the flour mixture.
Heat the oil in a small skillet and fry the chicken (turning once with kitchen tongs) until it gets brown and crispy. This should take about 10 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the skillet and place it on the toaster oven tray. Sprinkle it with the lemon zest and the brown sugar.
Pour the chicken stock around the chicken (not over it). Put the lemon slice on top.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.
I served this with a baked potato, so I put that in the oven first, while the chicken sat in the lemon juice.
This week’s peach crumble recipe was originally going to be apple crisp. But, it’s 90 degrees out. I’m not thinking fall, I’m still thinking summer.
Once I switched (in my head) to peaches, my next thought was peach cobbler. I had a recipe that looked good and I was anxious to try it. Unfortunately, peach cobbler requires an egg. Since I’m reducing the recipe, that won’t work. I can do eggplant parmesan with half an egg, but a quarter of an egg is pushing it!
So, back to the drawing board. I ended up taking the cobbler recipe “filling” and combining it with a crumble topping inspired by Ina Garten.
Traditionally, the difference between cobbler, crumble, and crisp was the topping. Cobbler had a biscuity topping (hence the egg). To make a crumble, you topped it with a butter and flour mixture (think coffee cake). A fruit crisp topping had oats. Now, it’s all mixed up and also seems to depend on what part of the country you live in.
Whatever you call it, peach crumble is easy to make. Just mix the peach base in one bowl and the crumble topping in another. Since it’s a small portion, you don’t even have to pull out the mixer.
Prepare a 6.5 inch square shallow baking dish with butter and flour. Rub a stick of butter along the bottom and sides of the dish, and sprinkle it with flour. This will prevent the crumble from sticking to the pan.
Slice the peach and place it in a small bowl.
Add the sugar, salt, melted butter, and lemon juice.
Mix it all together with a spoon.
In another bowl, combine the flour, sugars, cinnamon, salt, and butter. Mix it up with your fingers and crumble it into small pieces. The pieces should be roughly the size of peas.
Putting the Peach Crumble together
Pour the peach mixture into the prepared pan. Top that with the crumble mixture.
Bake for 30-35 minutes.
Serve topped with vanilla ice cream or vanilla sweetened whipped cream.
Note that I have reduced the sugar a bit. Add more if you like sweeter desserts (or if your peaches aren't sweet enough).
Substitutions and Variations for Peach Crumble
Use half peaches and half blueberries
Try nectarines or plums
Go back to the future and use apples (add a pinch of nutmeg)
Perfect for peach crumble, a small batch of brownies, or apple crisp. It’s heavy, well-made, and dishwasher-safe too. If you have extra crumble, you can heat it in the microwave right in the dish. Ice Cream Scoop
This is going to be my next present to myself. It’s heavy duty, so it won’t bend, and the tip is pointed to make it easier to get the ice cream (or sorbet) out of the container. You’ll easily get a perfect scoop, no matter how thick your ice cream is. Since it’s OXO, it’s also easy to hold and has a lifetime guaranty.
Mmmm bacon….We’re obsessed with it. We have bacon appetizers, bacon cocktails, and even bacon ice cream. And now, meet the bacon spinach tomato aioli sandwich, a slightly different twist on the tried-and-true BLT.
I made this with Trader Joe’s uncured bacon (which is delicious; get the bacon ends if you can and save some money). I tend to use spinach far more than lettuce, because it’s more versatile. You can cook with it, as well as use it in salads. So, I reached for that rather than lettuce.
Then, I added some mini bell peppers. The sweetness and crunch of the peppers makes a nice foil for the salty bacon.
Finally, I decided to ditch the standard mayo in favor of aioli (which is mayo with garlic, some lemon juice, olive oil, and a bit of cayenne pepper).
If you are ambitious, and want to make your own aioli from scratch you can do that. It’s delicious, and freshly made mayonnaise is far tastier than the stuff in the jar.
On the other hand, it doesn’t keep nearly as well, and making (and eating) a whole batch is a bit much for one person. Of course, you can always use the leftover aioli for french fries (like they do in Belgium) or as a dip for crudités.
I like to take the jarred mayonnaise and then add fresh ingredients to brighten the flavor so it tastes a bit more like homemade. That way, there’s no leftovers to worry about.