linkable lists: fall is so legit

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This time of year makes me miss college. I mean, just look at that. Gorgeous. The leaves have been late to change color here in the present, but they're finally in full swing, and it makes the chill weather worth withstanding.

1. Pumpkin tres leches cake??!??!? Stop it.

2. In the post Halloween spirit, a story about zombies in Haiti that's the most compelling writing I've read on the internet all week.

3. The Chicago Reader's moving piece on the tragic death of a cyclist.

4. Chicago-made Co-Op Sauce hot sauces are taking over my fridge. And my life. You may have noticed the Poblano version lurking in my fish taco post.

5. Made this apple cake with salted caramel earlier this week, but was in too much of a hurry to take photos for blogging. A bit tragic, since it was delicious.

6. Cocktail recipes and longform journalism about alcohol? Punch, where have you been all my life?

fish tacos with cabbage slaw and avocado crema

fish tacos

It was one of those days. Before lunch even rolled around, I thought "I need fish tacos tonight." Now, I have made many a fish taco following recipes, and they've mostly been fairly, well, "meh," not delivering the punch of flavor I expect from my fish tacos. Bland fish tacos are basically despair in a tortilla.

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snapshot fridays: annals of brownie recipe testing

I picked up chestnut flour at the farmer's market a few weeks ago, originally for a chestnut pear cake recipe. I've been trying to use the rest in a brownie recipe. The first attempt was a great texture, but I accidentally reached for peppermint instead of vanilla and so you couldn't taste anything but mint. In these, I used all chestnut flour, which gave it a great flavor, but the brownies dried out really quickly. I have enough flour for one more attempt, but I may just go back to the pear cake. That one I know works!

gingerbread pumpkin ice cream sandwiches

pumpkin ice cream sandwiches

Yeah, honestly, the title and pictures pretty much sell themselves.

I love ice cream sandwiches. Like, a lot, and the fact that I don't make them more is kind of a tragedy. Except maybe for the size of my waistline. Flipping through the October Martha Stewart Living (yeah in my fantasy life I have time to make wreaths out of corn husks and carve art museum-worthy pumpkins), these caught my eye immediately.

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chicken with apples and fennel

chicken with apples and fennel

I know I've previously raved about one-pan dinners. This one? Hits all the reasons I love them: minimal work, lots of servings, and tons of flavor.

Cut up apples, fennel, and onions, and if you're ambitious, cut up the chicken too. The seasonings are ridiculously simple: salt, pepper, olive oil, and apple cider vinegar. The result is savory, sweet, and sour, made particularly delicious by gloriously crispy chicken skin.

Serve with some crusty bread and butter. Because you deserve it.

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snapshot fridays: what to do with bananas

An overwhelming amount of frozen overripe bananas crowding the freezer inspires a recipe search.

Honestly, though, there's enough bananas for three separate recipes. Oops.

crisp and chewy chocolate chip cookies

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Sometimes, you have to go back to basics. Because sometimes? The basics are the best.

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spaghetti squash and black bean tacos

spaghetti squash and black bean tacos

I love spaghetti squash. Sure, it tastes great, but my inner five-year-old also really enjoys the way the cooked squash turns into shreds when you scrape it with a fork. So weird. So cool.

Squash in tacos might sound a little weird, but variations on the theme are pretty common, as most squash takes very well to spicy Mexican flavors. This recipe in The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook is the first I've seen to use spaghetti squash, but while unexpected, it works really well. Spaghetti squash retains a little bit of crunch, adding nice texture to the tacos. Beans, queso fresco, and onions round things out, but the spiced squash is the star here.

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pumpkin chocolate chip loaf cake

pumpkin chocolate chip loaf

Okay, it's offish, fall is here. Which apparently means it's time for pumpkin or something?

Seriously, though, when did seasonal appreciation for pumpkin turn into yearly pumpkin hysteria? Pinterest has been 89% pumpkin since late August. Pumpkin spice coffee selfies litter my newsfeed. I posted a filtered picture of a can of pumpkin on instagram and a lot of you "liked" it. A can of pumpkin. I'm starting to become suspicious that we've all been conned by a multi-year marketing campaign by Starbucks.

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roasted salmon and broccoli with chile-caper vinaigrette

roasted salmon and broccoli with caper-chili vinaigrette

Salmon and broccoli, all in one pan and spruced up with a spicy and salty vinaigrette? It's like you were reading my mind, Bon Appetit.

Tonight's dinner is also a great example of the way I usually eat. Yeah, some nights (aka the entire week before an exam) are "microwave some Trader Joe's frozen entree" nights, and when I have time I undertake more ambitious meals, but usually I need some source of protein and vegetables and if they are prepared together, all the better.

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