Galentine’s Day Jam and Nutella Straws

I’m so happy that we live in a time where we can take a holiday (that is normally exclusive and can be a bummer to many) and turn it into something fun, lady-positive, and delicious. Kudos to Leslie Knope and the writers of Parks and Rec for making it a thing.  For tomorrow’s Galentine’s Day Brunch, I made these puff pastry straws. Super easy to put together, yet decadent enough for a special occasion. Definitely go well with too much coffee and awesome friends. Original recipe from Sprinkle Bakes.
IMG_79381 package puff pastry (2 sheets)

1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam

Flour for dusting

Powdered sugar for sprinkling

“Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment and set aside.” Personal tip: use cooking spray on top of the parchment to avoid peeling jam-encrusted pastry bits later on.

Allow puff pastry to thaw as directed on the package.  Dust work surface with flour and lightly dust rolling pin with flour. Roll out puff pastry until about 2″ larger on each side.  Cut crosswise into two rectangles.

Heat 1/4 cup of jam in microwave for 15-20 seconds, just enough to loosen the consistency.

With a pastry brush, coat one piece of puff pastry with half the jam.  Cover jam-coated piece with the remaining plain piece of puff pastry and gently roll together with rolling pin – not too hard, or your jam will squish out.”

strawsSlice into long strips and twist, then place on parchment lined pan.   Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Let cool before removing from the pan.  Sprinkle generously with powdered sugar.

IMG_7904“Repeat process with second sheet of puff pastry.”  For added variety, I used Nutella diluted with a bit of melted butter on the second batch. Thanks, Sprinkle Bakes!

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Fall Cookbooks for Everyone

I love cookbooks. As much as I use the internet as my main resource for recipes, I love the feel of a solid good cookbook. I read them like bed time stories, pausing to look at beautiful photographs and fantasizing about recreating dishes in my own kitchen. Clearly I can’t be the only one, because there have been tons of new release in the last little while. Here’s a round-up of the ones that have caught my eye.

1. The Art of Eating Well: Hemsley and Hemsley: By now we all get that eating healthy is a lifestyle approach. What better way to encourage that than delicious, accessible meals?
2. Plenty More by Yottam Ottolenghi: I’m always looking for new interesting ways to make vegetables. Now I just wish I had a fresh herb garden year round.
3.  Cairo Kitchen by Suzanne Zeidi: My love for Middle Eastern food holds no bounds, and it’s about time I learn how to make some of my favorite meals.
4. Three Times a Day by Marilou and Alexandre Champagne: a.k.a “Trois Fois par Jour”, this local Montreal duo has created quite a buzz in the last year. With new recipes that are not featured on their blog, as well as some favorites like buttered chicken,
5. A Modern Way to Cook by Anna Jones: Packed with vegetarian recipes that can be made in under 30 minutes. Ideal for the real world where you just give in after a long day of work and throw a frozen pizza in the oven.
6. Audrey at Home: Memories from my Mother’s Kitchen by Luca Dotti: Both a scrapbook of Audrey Hepburn’s life and a cookbook, nostalgia-lovers can fully indulge in the vintage photographs, anecdotes and foods from another time.
7. Baking from Food52: Because sometimes, after all that healthy eating, I just want to make something entirely out of sugar and flour. This go-to site compiled a book of classic baked recipes (like banana bread) to mind-blowing new desserts (like black sesame cupcakes with matcha icing!!!!!)
8. Simply Nigella: Feel Good Food by Nigella Lawson: are you noticing a trend here? Cooks offering recipes that are less complex, more accessible? Well last but not least, Nigella is on board, offering meals that can easily be made during your workweek. Butternut and halloumi burgers? I’m totally down.

Anything I missed? What are your favorite cookbooks?

Potato chips dipped in chocolate + toffee bits

chocolate dipped chips littlekokomo.com

I swear I’ll post something healthy soon, but for now let’s just indulge ok? Besides, these guys are meant to be shared and savoured, so portion size is very much under control here. I saw this a while ago on Joy the Baker, and decided to take it to the next level by adding bits of Skor toffee on top. Toffee bits are pretty much crack for someone with a sweet tooth, by the way.
IMG_6923Here’s what i used: 
-1/2 a bar of dark chocolate broken into small chunks. Chocolate chips could work too.
-about 2 handfuls of Ruffles regular potato chips (try to get a bag that hasn’t been crushed)
-Skor Toffee bits
-a drop of vanilla (optional)
-a tsp of coconut oil (optional)
-parchment paper
-a small pot and bowl to fit in it
chups1chocolate dipped chips littlekokomo.comPour some water into the pot, about 1/4 full. Add the bowl (metal or glass) on top, creating a bain-marie (a.k.a. double boiler). Add the chocolate pieces, turn the heat on low and stir frequently. This method is key for melting the chocolate without burning the bottom. Once melted, add the vanilla and coconut oil, stir. Carefully dip chips and place them on parchment paper, adding the toffee bits while the chocolate sets. You can put them in the fridge for 15 minutes or so, just not too long or the chips will start to get soggy. Enjoy (in moderation!), xo.
chocolate dipped chips littlekokomo.com

My go-to lemon squares recipe

lemon squares littlekokomo.com

Lemon squares are the kind of treat I crave year round. They brighten up dull winter days and are equally refreshing when a heat wave hits in the summer. I’ve been using this Smitten Kitchen + Barefoot Contessa recipe for a few years now and they never fail to turn out AMAZING. Please be warned: like most good things, they require quite a bit of prep time, so make sure you have the energy and nothing to do for at least an hour. I like the tartness of regular lemons, but you can also try this with meyer lemons, or adding a little lime juice to mix it up. Here is Deb Perelman’s recipe, with a few slight variations (I mainly cut back on the sugar):
lemon squares littlekokomo.comFor the crust: 
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

For the lemon layer: 
6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup flour

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking sheet.

For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into the greased baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides. Chill for about 15 minutes.
lemon squares littlekokomo.comBake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until just golden. Let cool on a wire rack for about 15 minutes, (you can keep the oven on).

For the lemon layer, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, just until it’s set (make sure the centre isn’t too gooey). Let cool to room temperature. Cut into rectangles and dust with confectioners’ sugar using a fine mesh sieve. Enjoy!
lemon squares littlekokomo.com

Sweet Potato Nachos

Littlekokomo.com sweet potato nachos

Recently I was craving cheese-covered nachos, but wanted something more substantial and less of a junk-food snack. I remembered this recipe I saw a while back, which uses sweet potato fries rather than corn tortilla chips and decided to try it. The result: healthy AND satisfying! It even works as a side dish or light meal. Here is my lightly modified recipe:

Ingredients:
2 large sweet potatoes
1 large tomato
½ can black beans
1 cup shredded cheese, or more to taste
salt + pepper
dried spices of your choice: garlic, onion, cumin, paprika, etc

optional (but very recommended!):
chopped avocado
hot peppers
salsa
2 limes
cilantro
whatever you have in your fridge/pantry that can work as a topping! ½ cup corn kernels? do itttt

You will need a baking tray and parchment paper.  Continue Reading ›

Genius idea: Coffee Ice Cubes

coffeeicecubes

I’ve tried making iced coffee in the past and it just didn’t turn out right; too watery, not enough flavour, somewhat lukewarm and the sugar still grainy at the bottom. Last summer, I finally found the right formula that lets me enjoy gourmet iced coffee without leaving the house: coffee ice cubes! They keep your coffee strong as they melt, so you can sip at your own pace with losing that bold delicious flavour.

Note: this requires freezing time, so plan it a day ahead

What you will need:
-Good quality strong coffee
-Espresso maker (I use a stovetop Bialetti: cheap and makes a strong cup) *If you don’t have an espresso maker, a strong batch of filtered coffee will do)
-Ice cube tray + freezer
coffeecollage
Directions: Make the coffee in the espresso maker as you normally would. Let it cool. Pour it into the ice cube tray and freeze it for several hours. One cup of coffee makes about 8 large/standard ice cubes. I used 4 ice cubes per serving.

When you want your coffee in the morning, heat some on the stove again. If you are adding sugar, put it in your glass and stir in a little bit of hot coffee so that it dissolves. Next, add the coffee ice cubes (as many as you can fit – I used 3 at first) and then add the rest of the coffee. Then one more ice cube (the others will start to melt). Stir carefully, add milk if you wish. Top with whip cream and cocoa powder if you’re feeling extra fancy. Enjoy!
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Salad Days: Crunchy Red Cabbage and Kale Slaw

I’m not the type of person who throws around terms like “detox” or “cleanse,” mainly because I don’t like doing things in extremes. But also because I know I won’t stick to something if it doesn’t make me happy or requires constant effort. I can get a load of groceries full of leafy green vegetables and have the best intentions (“green juice every day!” or “only plant-based meals this week!”), but when it comes down to scouring the fridge for a snack, the chances of me actually following through are slim.

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However, that process was made a little easier when came across Martha Stewart’s Red Cabbage and Kale Slaw. A hearty colourful salad that can live in the fridge for a few days, you say? And it’s easy to make? Simple 3-ingredient dressing? I’m in. Here’s my variation:

Dressing:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon apple-cider vinegar
Coarse salt and pepper

For the salad:
the juice of half a lemon
3 cups mixed shredded kale and red cabbage
1 carrot, shredded or julienned (use organic and you don’t have to peel it!)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves (or parsley if you prefer
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
handful of smoked almonds

squeeze half a lemon over the kale and red cabbage in a big bowl, sprinkle with some sea salt. While it soaks in, make the dressing:
Whisk olive oil, mustard, and apple-cider vinegar in a small bowl. Season with a bit of salt and pepper.
Add the shredded carrot, cilantro, pumpkin seeds and almonds to the kale-cabbage mixture and drizzle the dressing. Toss to coat, add more salt and pepper if needed. The dressing and lemon juice should soften the leaves, but it will still have a satisfying crunch.

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Cover up the leftovers and keep them in the fridge. Next time you’re rummaging for a snack, it’s there waiting for you.