Cheese sticks with caraway seeds

It was Sunday, the World Cup final – Germany vs. Argentina at 4PM. We had two bottles of beer lined up to accompany the match, and I wanted to have some snack to go with the beer. These cheese sticks with caraway seeds are often served in Hungary to munch on with beer – so I looked up a recipe that sounded like it was close to what I remember my mom baking. They were actually really quick and easy to make – much more simple than I expected. And they went really well with the beer. And Germany won. :-)

_MG_44873 tablespoons warm milk
a pinch of sugar
1/2 teaspoon instant dry yeast
4 ounces all-purpose flour (a little less than 1/2 a cup)
4 ounces butter (1/2 a stick)
4 ounces farmer cheese or ricotta
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, whisked with 1 tsp water and a small pinch of salt, for washing
coarse salt, caraway seeds

Sprinkle yeast grains and pinch of sugar on top of the warm milk in a cup and let sit while you are working the dough. In a bowl, cut butter, cheese and flour with a pastry cutter, until uniform fine crumb forms. Make an indentation in the middle of the crumb mass, and pour mil-sugar-yeast mix into it. Aiding yourself with the pastry cutter, mix everything together. Don’t over knead — you want the ingredients just combined to form the dough. Resist the urge to add flour, unless the cheese is very wet. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a rectangle 1/4 inch thick. The short side of the rectangle should be about 6-7 inches long (the desired length of the stick). Using a sharp knife or a pizza cutter, cut off uneven edges of the rectangle and reserve the scraps. Spread the egg wash carefully over the dough. Sprinkle caraway seeds and coarse salt (if desired) evenly over. Using the knife or pizza cutter, cut the sticks to about 3/4 inch wide. Transfer the sticks onto a parchment covered baking sheet, leaving about 3/4 inch interval between them. Roll the dough scraps into a sheet and proceed cutting as before, until all the dough is gone. You want to cut off the uneven portions before egg washing every time, to keep the dough nice and clean. Preheat the oven to 400F (200C). Bake the sticks for about 15 minutes, until puffy and nicely golden. Cool on rack until manageable and enjoy.

Adapted from

Chocolate cherry cake

This cake is now one of my favorite cakes. It is very quick and easy to put together, and the end results is rich, dense, chocolate-y goodness. I made it with sweet cherries, because that’s what I had at home, but it might be even better with sour cherries, or tart blackberries.

choc_cherry_cake1 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 c granulated sugar
1/2 c unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 c almond milk
3/4 c chocolate chips or chunks
1 1/2 c sweet dark cherries, pitted, halved

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease 9″ spring form pan. Line with parchment paper. Grease and flour the paper. (You can also use 9″ square pan).
Whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, cinnamon, soda, baking powder and salt), set aside. Beat sugar and butter to light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla – beat 1 min. Add dry ingredients alternating with milk, mix until just combined. Pour into pan and sprinkle with the chocolate chips.
Bake 25 minutes, then arrange cherry halves on top of the cake and push them in the batter. Bake 20 more minutes (cake should not wiggle in the center) and test the middle for doneness, then cool completely.

Adapted from

Watermelon margarita

_MG_40713 1/2 cups cubed seeded watermelon
1/2 cup tequila
1 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon Triple Sec

Combine watermelon and next 4 ingredients (through Triple Sec) in a blender; process until smooth. Fill each prepared glass with 1/2 cup crushed ice. Add 1/2 cup margarita to each glass. Garnish with lime wedges or melon balls, if desired.

Recipe adapted from

Watermelon sorbetto

_MG_40503 cups of seedless watermelon puree*
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbs lime juice
4 tbs vodka (optional)
pinch of salt
2tbs of mini chocolate chips (for seeds!)
*To get 3 cups of watermelon puree, you’ll need approximately 3 lbs. of watermelon.

Remove the watermelon rind and cut the fruit into small pieces. Puree the watermelon in the blender until smooth.
Pour 1/2 cup of the watermelon puree and 1/2 cup of sugar into a pot. Turn on the stovetop, heat, and stir until sugar melts. Turn off the stove and pour the rest of the 2 1/2 cups of watermelon puree into the pot. Add 1 tbs of fresh squeezed lime juice.

Refrigerate the mixture until chilled completely – 4 hours, or overnight. Add vodka to mixture, pour into the bowl of an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Approximately 2-3 minutes before done churning add in the chocolate chips for “seeds”. Scoop the mixture into a freezer safe container and freeze.

Adapted from The Perfect Scoop

Savory cheddar herb cornmeal waffles

1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese (about 3/4 cup)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1-3/4 cups milk (I used soy)
6 tablespoons canola oil
2 large eggs

Place flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl; stir to combine. Add shredded cheddar, chopped chives and rosemary, stir. Place the milk, oil, eggs, and hot sauce in a separate bowl, stir with a whisk to blend. Add to the dry ingredients and stir until smooth. Let batter rest 5 minutes before using. Preheat your waffle iron.

When preheated, pour batter (mine uses about 1/4 cup for each waffle) onto waffle iron grid and allow batter to spread towards edges for 5 seconds. Close lid of waffle iron – green indicator light will turn off. When green indicator light turns on again, waffle is ready. Open lid and carefully remove baked waffle. Repeat with remaining batter. For best results, serve immediately. You may keep waffles warm until ready to serve in a 200° F oven. Waffles can also be frozen for later use.

Recipe adapted from

Brownie cookies

If you have a craving for intensely chocolate-y cookies, you should try this recipe. They are very quick and easy to make, and chances are, you have the ingredients in your pantry. I dialed down the sugar content from the original recipe to let the chocolate flavor shine – if you prefer a sweeter cookie, add an additional 1/4 cup (regular) sugar with the brown sugar.
_MG_40074 tablespoons (56 grams) butter
5 ounces (140 grams) dark chocolate, chopped
2 large eggs
3/4 cup (150 grams) brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup (95 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (85 grams) chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).

In a large saucepan, melt the butter and chopped chocolate over low heat until smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in the eggs, sugars, and vanilla extract. Fold in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Allow the batter to cool to room temperature before adding the chocolate chips.
Drop batter by the tablespoon onto a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, or until set. Cool for several minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Adapted from

Beet ravioli with goat cheese-ricotta filling

This recipe was largely inspired by the gorgeous beets that are available now at our local Saturday farmer’s market. I wanted to try something other than simple roasted beets – which I do like a lot, but did not want to have three weekends in a row. If you find beets with healthy greens, I highly recommend chopping those up and sautéing in a little bit of olive oil and salt and pepper as a side for this pasta recipe.
If you want to make this dish for dinner, I recommend starting mid-day – you need to clean, roast, puree and let cool the beets, then make the pasta, let it rest for two hours, then roll out, cut, fill and cook. While this might sound too time-consuming, don’t let that deter you from trying this recipe – it is so much better than store bought ravioli!

ravioli_vert2 large beets
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 eggs
3 ¼ cups flour (plus more for dusting)
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup ricotta cheese
3/4 cup goat cheese
1 tablespoon chopped sage
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper

1 cup butter (1 stick)
3 tablespoons chopped sage

Parmesan cheese for serving

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap the beets in tinfoil and place on a baking sheet. Roast about 1 hour or until the beets are tender. Remove beets from oven and allow them to cool a bit before handling. Remove the skins, place in a food processor and puree the beets until smooth. Add flour, salt, beet puree, olive oil and eggs to the bowl of a KitchenAid and process with a dough hook until the dough comes together and becomes smooth. Cover and let rest for 2 hours.
Before dough is done resting, make the filling by combining ricotta, goat cheese, sage, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Set aside. When dough is done resting, cut into 4 pieces. Roll out each piece to form a thin layer (about 1/8″) of dough. Place 1/2 Tablespoon of filling onto one sheet of the dough about 1/2″ from the edge. Continue to place spoonfuls of filling along the dough about 1″ from each other. Place one of the other pieces of rolled out dough on top of the piece with the filling on it. Pinch the dough around the filling to form the ravioli. Use a sharp knife to cut out the ravioli into individual squares. Pinch the edges of each ravioli with the edge of a fork. Set aside each ravioli in a single layer on a baking sheet dusted with flour until ready to cook – you can also place the cookie sheet in the freezer if you want to cook some later. Once completely frozen, transfer ravioli in ziplock bags.
Add ravioli to cook in a pot of boiling water. Stir until the water returns to a boil. When the ravioli float on their own, about 5-7 minutes, they are finished. Serve on individual plates drizzled with brown butter sage sauce (below) and shaved Parmesan cheese.

Brown butter sage sauce
Melt butter in a pan. Add sage, cook over medium heat until the butter is completely melted and brown bits start to form.

Recipe adapted from and