Donuts, Get Your Donuts!

As many of you reading this know, I will travel for food. Whether it’s a car ride or a plane ride, there’s always some food destination on my list. So, today I have a fun food destination that I want to share.

A few weeks ago I was scrolling through my Instagram and up popped a picture of these delicious looking donuts. Naturally, I clicked to check it out and was thrilled to learn that the donut shop was located right here on Long Island!!! Finally!!!! A DONUT SHOP HAS ARRIVED!! So, yesterday morning I ventured out to Port Jefferson to check out the new donut shop, East Main and Main.

I knew I was going to love the place before even walking in because there was a pink donut hanging from the tree outside to denote where the shop was. I loved the rustic look of the store and was immediately greeted with a friendly hello. The display counter of donuts looked spectacular! I didn’t even know where to begin…

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They have certain flavors everyday as well as specialty donuts that change daily. I decided to order the Peanut Butter Cup, S’mores, Cookies and Cream, Fig, Toffee, Key Lime, Cereal topped, and Lemon Blueberry donuts.  The store was so cozy and welcoming that I decided to take advantage of the seating they provide, ordered a cup a of coffee, and began to dig in to some of these donuts! I couldn’t wait!!!

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WOW!!! they were TO DIE FOR! Big and flavorful with a delicious dough that is only enhanced by the yummy toppings and fillings of each one. I think my favorite would have to be the Lemon Blueberry, but for the chocolate lover in me, the Peanut Butter cup was amazing! Oh, and for those of you who like figs (I happen to love them!)…The Fig with Mascarpone was awesomeee!!! Keep in mind that some of these flavors are not always available, but I don’t think you’ll have a hard time finding one that is delicious on the day you decide to make a visit!!

I ate my fair share of donuts yesterday and can’t wait to go back and try more!

So, if you find yourself walking around town in Port Jeff and see a pink donut hanging from a tree, STOP!!! and check out East Main and Main, you can thank me later!  ; )

With love and sugar,

xo. Kristen

Short Rib Sunday!

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It was a nice, relaxing Sunday over here and short ribs were on the menu.  One of my favorite restaurants serves a braised pot roast over polenta that is to die for!!! So, I figured why not use some short ribs instead, right? and that’s what I did. I made some Braised Short Ribs with Parmesan Polenta and for some greens – a side of  broccoli rabe. Oh my goodness do I love broccoli rabe!

The first recipe I came across for braised short ribs was from Williams Sonoma. I took a closer look and immediately knew that this was the recipe I was going to use. Not only was it exactly what I had in mind when I envisioned this meal, but the other great thing about this recipe was that I already had most of the ingredients on hand! Score!

Keep in mind that this recipe does need a bit of tender love and care so I recommend making it when you know you’ll be hanging around the house.  I also halved the recipe since it was only for my boyfriend and I – who so kindly took the pictures since he has some pretty sweet camera skills. Say goodbye to iPhone pictures haha… You guys, how good does this look right? My mouth is watering…go make this!!! Simple ingredients, and big on flavor! The meat was fall-off-the-bone tender and the grave was just heavenly. You’ll want to be pretty generous with it when serving, so good! We loved it!!

Braised Short Ribs with Creamy Polenta

http://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/braised-short-ribs-with-creamy-polenta.html

Ingredients:
3 Tbs. olive oil
6 lbs. meaty, bone-in, individual-cut short ribs
4 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 carrots, diced
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups hearty red wine
3 cups beef stock or broth
2 Tbs. tomato paste
1 Tbs. minced fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
1 cup whole milk  (I used chicken broth) 
1 1/3 cups quick-cooking polenta
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving

Directions:
Preheat an oven to 325°F. In a Dutch oven, heat 2 Tbs. of the oil over medium-high heat. Season the short ribs with 2 tsp. salt and the pepper. In batches to avoid crowding, add the short ribs to the pot and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, 5 to 6 minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate.

Add the remaining 1 Tbs. oil to the pot and heat. Add the onion and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Sprinkle in the flour and stir well. Slowly stir in the wine, then the stock. Stir in the tomato paste, rosemary and bay leaf. Return the short ribs to the pot. The short ribs should be barely covered with liquid. If not, add hot water as needed. Bring the liquid to a boil. Cover the pot, place in the oven, and cook, moving the position of the ribs every 45 minutes or so to be sure that they are covered with liquid and are cooking evenly, until very tender, about 2 1/2 hours. Transfer the ribs to a deep serving platter (don’t worry if the meat separates from the bones), and tent with aluminum foil to keep warm.

Let the cooking liquid stand for 5 minutes. Skim off the fat from the surface and discard. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cook, stirring, until reduced by about one-fourth, about 10 minutes. Discard the bay leaf. Return the short ribs to the pot.

Just before serving, make the polenta: In a heavy saucepan, bring 3 cups water, the milk, and the remaining 2 tsp. salt to a boil over high heat. Slowly whisk in the polenta and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, whisking often, until the polenta is thick, about 2 minutes. Stir in the 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano. Divide the polenta among warmed deep serving bowls, top with the ribs and sauce and serve at once. Serves 6.

Oh! and don’t forget the broccoli rabe – Here’s how I made it… Trim the bottom stems and then in batches, drop it in boiling water for 1 minute and then transfer it to a bowl of ice water to cool. I then sautéed it with a little olive oil, garlic and some red pepper flakes until tender, about 4-5 minutes. Doesn’t get much easier than that, yummm!

With Love and Sugar,

Kristen xo.

 

 

Black Bean, Swiss Chard and Butternut Squash Enchiladas!

Fall is here!! Time for cool weather, fall foliage and warm, cozy kitchens filled with the aromas of comfort food and fresh baked goodies!! First recipe up…Black Bean, Kale and Butternut Squash Enchiladas.

So as the summer was coming to an end, a friend of mine dropped off some goodies from their garden, including the cutest butternut squash. It sat for days until I came across the perfect recipe…Black Bean and Butternut Squash Enchiladas!!!!! I decided to add the Kale to the recipe I had found simply because I had seen other recipes with it so I decided to add it to this one.

I was really excited to make this for many reasons. The first being that Mexican food is one of my all time favorite cuisines and the second being that this recipe is layered like a lasagne instead of rolling it into individual enchiladas which made it an easy week night meal. I was also left with plenty of leftovers to bring for lunch which is an added bonus! I decided to use jarred Enchilada sauce (Frontera)  since I was making it during the week, but had I been making this on the weekend I totally would have made my own.

I also roasted my butternut squash in the oven first before making the mixture on the stove. I just like the extra flavor. All you need to do is drizzle the butternut squash with olive oil, season, and put in the 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes. Which would cut the simmering time in the recipe below since the squash would already be cooked. This was a great meatless meal. Filling and Satisfying!

Black Bean, Swiss Chard, and Butternut Squash Enchiladas 

*recipe adapted from http://littlespicejar.com/butternut-squash-black-bean-enchilada-casserole/

INGREDIENTS
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 jalapeño, diced (with seeds and ribs removed, optional)
3 cups butternut squash, peeled and diced
1¼ cup salsa
¼ cup chopped cilantro + plus more for serving
½ teaspoon red chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon coriander powder
1 bunch of swiss chard, thinly sliced
¼ cup water
1 (15 oz can) black beans, drained and rinsed
1½ cups red enchilada sauce (homemade or store bought)
6 tortillas, cut into 1inch thick strips
1½ cups monterey Jack or cheddar cheese
salt and pepper, to taste

3 chives, thinly sliced
sour cream, to serve
INSTRUCTIONS
1. Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. Add the onions jalapeños and cooke for 4-5 minutes until the onions become translucent, add the garlic and continue to cook for an additional 1 -2 minutes. Add the cubed butternut squash, salsa, cilantro, chili powder, cumin, coriander, water, swiss chard and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and let cook over medium-low heat for about 25-30 minutes or until the squash is tender. Add the black beans and stir to combine ( lessen your cooking time if you’ve already roasted the squash in the oven first).

2. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Place a ¼ cup of enchilada sauce on the bottom of a large baking dish. Lay enough tortilla strips side by side to cover the surface. Place half of the filling over the tortilla layer, top with half of the remaining enchilada sauce and then half of the cheese. Repeat a second layer of tortillas, then the remaining butternut squash mixture, followed by the remaining enchilada sauce and finally layer on the remaining cheese.

3. Bake the enchilada casserole or 10 – 15 minutes or until the cheese melts. Top with scallions and additional chopped cilantro. Serve with sour cream, if desired.

…a little Guacamole and brown rice on the side wouldn’t hurt either! =)

With love and sugar, Kristen x0.

PS- I have a really yummy pasta dish to share up next! Keep a look out…

 

A Surprise Gift + Risotto

This awesome Le Creuset Pot was a very special gift from my boyfriend and there’s a super cute story that goes along with it. He was going away for the weekend and dropped this off on a Thursday night and I was told I could not open it until Saturday which was a special day for us, hence the gift giving haha (how awesome is he, right?). I had to walk past this box sitting neatly wrapped on my dining room table for two days!! – the suspense was killing me! Well, I asked if Friday at midnight counted as Saturday and he laughed and said yes, I could open it then. It was literally 12:00am on the dot when I tore off the wrapping paper to reveal this beauty…

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Ohh my gravy!!! I have been wanting a La Creuset pot since like forever!! He’s the best! =)

I couldn’t wait to use it … Since receiving this pot, I have used it for just about everything, but the very first thing I used it for was to make risotto.

As always, I looked through my Giada cookbook for the recipe and once again it did not disappoint. It was easy, delicious and boyfriend approved. If you are nervous to make risotto, don’t be! It does take some tender love and care, but it is so worth it! So what are you waiting for? =)

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Mushroom and Pea Risotto

Ingredients

8 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
1/2 -ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups finely chopped onions
10 ounces white mushrooms, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice or short-grain white rice
2/3 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
2/3 cup grated Parmesan
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, optional

Bring the broth to a simmer in a heavy medium saucepan. Add the porcini mushrooms. Set aside until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Keep the broth warm over very low heat.

Melt the butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the white mushrooms and garlic. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the porcini mushrooms to a cutting board. Finely chop the mushrooms and add to the saucepan. Saute until the mushrooms are tender and the juices evaporate, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and let it toast for a few minutes. Add the wine; cook until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of hot broth; simmer over medium-low heat until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Continue to cook until the rice is just tender and the mixture is creamy, adding more broth by cupfuls and stirring often, about 28 minutes (the rice will absorb 6 to 8 cups of broth). Stir in the peas. Mix in the Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/mushroom-risotto-with-peas-recipe.html?oc=linkback

With love and sugar, Kristen xo.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirled Cookies

Yes, you read that right – Chocolate Peanut Butter SWIRLED Cookies!!! …I hope I’m not the only one who has thousands upon thousands of pinned recipes on Pinterest and then don’t make any of them (Yup – GUILTY!) … but when I pinned this cookie recipe I knew that I needed to make it immediately. Typically, cookies are not a summer treat because it involves turning the oven on, but I didn’t care. There was chocolate and peanut butter involved. done.

I stumbled upon this recipe one July afternoon and knew I needed to make these, which was then reaffirmed once the batter came together. I knew this was a recipe I had to share after not blogging for months (and I mean months, sorry y’all)…that’s all I’m going to say because if I make you read any longer I’m only keeping you from getting in the kitchen and making these bad boys, so go, like now, I’m not kidding … you’ll thank me later! =)

Chips upon Chips...YES!

Chips upon Chips…YES!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirled Cookies

http://www.cookingactress.com/2015/07/peanut-butter-swirled-chocolate-cookies.html

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Makes approx. 3 dozen cookies.
Ingredients:
1 cup creamy peanut butter (or chocolate peanut butter–natural, homemade, or storebought are all fine)
2 sticks (or 16 tbsp. or 1/2 lb.) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 and 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher or sea salt
1 cup cocoa powder
2 cups chocolate chunks or chips (dark or semisweet are best)

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
  • Freeze peanut butter for about 30 minutes, until firm.
  • Using a mixer (hand or stand) cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined.
  • Add flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder and mix on low speed until just combined.
  • Add chocolate chunks/chips and mix in until evenly incorporated.
  • Drop in dollops of chilled peanut butter and just mix a few times so that it is swirled throughout the dough.
  • Use a medium cookie scoop to measure dough onto cookie sheet, leaving at least 1 inch of space between each dough ball. (You’ll need to do a few batches to use up all the dough.)
  • Bake 14-16 minutes, until set. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Repeat until all the dough is used up.
  • Serve warm! Store leftovers in airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week or freeze in freezer bags for up to 3 months.

With love and sugar, Kristen xo.

Pop on Over

Happy New Year! Hope 2015 is treating you all well!

I’m not sure if there is any place better than New York during the holidays. Ever since I was little my parents would take my brother and I to Manhattan to soak in all the sites and eats of one of the greatest cities…such great memories!!! That tradition has not stopped and we continue to frequent the city as often as possible. In fact, my mom’s gift of choice are tickets to the theater, so this year for Christmas we got her, what else? tickets to a show and spend the weekend in Manhattan!!

Love My City!

Love My City!

So, naturally, my job was to pick where we would be having dinner. The dining options in NYC are endless, and I am not even close to trying all the city has to offer. I have some favorites that we frequent, but I decided to look through my list of places on my “must eat in NYC” list to try something new and stumbled upon BLT Steak. I had added this restaurant after seeing a segment on Best Thing I Ever Ate when Tyler Florence mentioned their amazingly, delicious Popovers that they bring to your table along with a cute tag that has the recipe!! Reservations, check!!!

Let me first start off by saying that not only was the food absolutely delicious, but the staff made the experience truly the most memorable dinning experience I’ve ever had, ever! period. From the minute we walked in the door we were greeted with such warmth and hospitality that I felt like I was dining at a friends house.

Once we placed the order for our entrees, my eyes quickly darted to a tray of these beautiful, flaky, piping hot, Pop Overs which were being placed on the table with butter and the cutest salt shaker…OMG…you guys…you need these in your life!!! Better than any bread basket…and it comes with the recipe!!! amazing…Tyler Florence knows what’s up!

Popovers...comin' in hot!!

Popovers…comin’ in hot!!

We then had the beet salad with gorgonzola and apples, which was light and delicious!

Beet Salad

Beet Salad

For our entrees, I ordered the branzino, which was fabulous, mom had the hanger steak, the meat was so incredibly flavorful, and dad ordered short ribs, which were fork tender. The side dishes were equally as yummy — The mashed potatoes are out of this world!! The Mac and Cheese was a special and I probably could have had about 7 more orders of it, and I know you are thinking that mushrooms sound boring, but oh no, not these! They were meaty and flavorful and the perfect side dish to accompany the meal.

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Branzino

Hanger Steak

Prime Hanger Steak

Short Ribs

Braised Short Ribs

Side dishes: Mac and Cheese, Mashed Potatoes, and Mushrooms.

Side dishes: Mac and Cheese, Mashed Potatoes, and Mushrooms.

Even though our bellies were so full, we knew we had to order some desserts. After chatting with the general manger, he made some recommendations. We are dessert people after all! We were delighted to be presented with three desserts that were the best possible way to end a fabulous meal — A Peanut Butter Mousse with Banana Ice Cream, Carrot Cake, and Doughnuts!! You guys, I didn’t even know where to start…one dessert was better than the next!

Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake

Donuts with Coffee Ice Cream and Peanut Butter Mousse with Banana Gelato!!!!!

Donuts with Coffee Ice Cream and Peanut Butter Mousse with Banana Gelato!!!!!

Please do yourself a favor and put this on your list of places to dine at the next time you find yourself in the city! I promise you will not be disappointed with the food or the service! Happy Eating!

With love and sugar, Kristen xo.

PS- I went and bought a Pop Over pan over the weekend!! I’ll let you know when I try making them myself! =)

Back to School, Back to Blogging!

When I first decided I was going to start blogging, I knew in my mind it was going to take commitment. After diligently posting away in the beginning, the days between my post grew longer and longer. Not because I didn’t have super cool and tasty things to share, but because I wasn’t making sure to find the time to write. Cooking and sharing food, restaurant finds, and recipes with family, friends and new friends is something I love, so I am promising myself now that the summer is over…I’M BACK and will do my best to get on here to give you recipes so you can get in your kitchens and whip up some love.

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To you give you a quick update since we last chatted…I had a great summer!!! Our trip to Disney was amazing, and I plan on doing a post about the awesome restaurants Disney has to offer. I also was able to relive my trip to DC with my parents and played tour guide for the long weekend (still dreaming about when I will once again return to Founding Farmers…can’t.get.enough! haha) Then I ended the summer with an very relaxing trip down to Ocean City Maryland. My Dad’s uncle has a condo down there and I’m not really sure why we stop going! It was so fun and we had great weather! I also researched my butt off to try and find great foodie destinations among the fried foods that lined the boardwalk. I mean… obviously, I did indulge in salt water taffy and other amazing summer boardwalk treats, but I knew there would be places that offered something a little different and I found some gems!

 

Then it was time to decorate my classroom and get ready for a new school year to begin! (NO I WANT MORE SUMMER!!) So, now I have been in school for two weeks and getting back into the routine. School Work, dinner, pack lunch, pick out clothes, set alarm, repeat.  This means that the all meal planning and food shopping is back to the weekends. We have a few staples for quick and easy dinners and then on Fridays and the weekends I like to try new recipes or cook things that might need a bit more prep work.

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Last weekend I found myself flipping through the pages of a Rachael Ray cookbook I received as a gift, I can’t even remember how long ago. Now, usually most of her recipes are not my style, but there were a couple in this book that caught my eye. One being a recipe for Sausage Burgers. It looked and sounded delicious so I suggested we try it. Friday came along and I was ready! The recipe called for Broccoli Rabe which I happen to ADORE! I could just eat it piled high on crusty bread…nom nom nom nom…you must try it if you haven’t!! but shockling… have never made this delicious bitter green! sayyyy whattt?…but it’s so easy!!!! My mom explained how her Aunt used to make it, which was very similar to how the recipe called, and just like that…I did it!!! Do not be afraid my friends. I will now be making broccoli rabe more often without a doubt!  Unfortunately, my ground pork was still a bit frozen in the middle, so mom suggested we just cook it “sloppy joe” style instead of making it into burgers. GO MOM! The recipe still came out tasting delicious, but I am sure if I could have made these into burger patties it would have been a home run! Here is the recipe as Rachel has it written, but feel free to make it your own like I did!

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/hot-sausage-burgers-with-broccoli-rabe-and-provolone-recipe.html?oc=linkback

Hot Sausage Burgers with Broccoli Rabe and Provolone

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Ingredients
1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds coarsely ground pork (ask butcher to do this)
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, 1/3 palmful
2 teaspoons smoked sweet paprika, 2/3 palmful
1 1/2 teaspoons ground fennel, fennel pollen or 1 teaspoon fennel seed
1 teaspoon ground sage, 1/3 palmful
1 teaspoon granulated onion, 1/3 palmful
1 teaspoon granulated garlic, 1/3 palmful
Salt
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling, plus 1 tablespoon
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 cup tomato sauce
Freshly ground black pepper
1 small bundle broccoli rabe, tough ends discarded
1 large or 2 small cloves garlic, finely chopped
A few grates nutmeg
4 thick deli slices sharp provolone cheese
4 ciabatta rolls or other crusty rolls, split
Store-bought olive oil-rosemary or herb flavored fancy potato chips

Directions
In a large bowl, combine the pork, red pepper flakes, paprika, fennel, sage, onion, garlic and salt, to taste. Form the meat into 4 patties, put on a plate and coat with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.

Heat a small pot over medium-low heat and add the brown sugar, Worcestershire, vinegar, tomato sauce and black pepper, to taste. Simmer until the mixture becomes a thick steak sauce consistency, about 15 minutes.

Add a couple inches of water to a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then salt the water and add the broccoli rabe. Cook for 5 minutes, then drain. Transfer the broccoli rabe to a cutting board and chop it into 2-inch pieces. Set aside. Return the skillet to the stove over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil. Stir in the chopped garlic and the broccoli rabe. Saute for 2 minutes, then season with a few grates of nutmeg, to taste.

Heat a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, add the patties and cook for 5 to 6 minutes on each side. Top the patties with a slice of provolone during the last minute of cook time and tent with foil to melt.

Divide the broccoli rabe on the bottoms of the rolls and top with the cheesy sausage patties. Slather some of the warm sauce on the roll tops and cover the burgers. Serve the burgers on individual plates with a few chips alongside.

 

Give it a try, maybe you might even want to save some time and make it like I did! An Italian Sloppy Joe! haha…Have a great week everyone! and I can’t wait to start sharing my culinary adventures with you. Fall is in the air and I just want all things pumpkin and comforting!!! Stay tuned…

With love and sugar, Kristen xo.