Caramelized Onion, Smoked Cheddar, and Apple Biscuits

5 02 2016

You guys. Have I got a recipe for you!

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A few weekends ago, I had some onions left over from a Blue Apron meal. I also knew that there was some delicious smoked cheddar cheese in the fridge just screaming to be used in a yummy recipe, and I had an apple that needed to be eaten sooner rather than later.

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So I did what any normal foodie would do- made some savory biscuits!

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I did a quick google search for another biscuit recipe that used caramelized onions and stumbled upon this one from Smitten Kitchen that I knew would be a winner. I knew I’d be able to tweak it to make it work with the ingredients I was using.

And man, I was not disappointed! This biscuit made the PERFECT vehicle for a slightly runny fried egg. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

Go to the store now and get these ingredients so you can make these for your family this weekend!

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 TBS brown sugar, divided
8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1/2  red onion, thinly sliced
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt
3/4 cup shredded smoked cheddar cheese
1/2 an apple, finely chopped
1 cup buttermilk
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, reduce the heat to low. Be patient! Stir occasionally, and add some water if the onions start to burn. This will take at least 20 minutes! When the onions are nice and brown, stir in 1 TBS of brown sugar. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, remaining brown sugar and salt. Dice 8 tablespoons remaining cold butter into 1/2-inch bits. Use your fingers or a pastry blender to work the butter into the flour mixture until the mixture is crumbly with butter in pieces no larger than a small pea.

Stir in cheese and apples. Pour buttermilk over cooled onions and stir to combine. Add buttermilk-onion mixture to bowl and stir until combined. Turn the dough out onto a floured counter and roll out to a 1-inch thickness. Using a circle cookie cutter or the mouth of a pet glass, stamp out the biscuits and place them on prepared baking sheet. Gather the scrap and re-roll them as needed. Bake until the scones are deep golden-brown and the cheese is melted and bubbly around the edges, 20 to 23 minutes.

Serve with a fried egg, or eat by itself!

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Birthday Weekend Fun

1 02 2016

On Friday, I turned 33. Thirty three is such a weird age/number to me. I like even numbers (my favorite number is 2) or multiples of 5. And 31 isn’t so bad because you’ve survived your first year in your thirties. But thirty three? It’s kinda like your sophomore year: that awkward, in-between year that just isn’t very special.

But, I’m lucky enough to have people in my life who made this birthday extra special and I’m so thankful for that!

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***

On Friday, my actual birthday, I started off my day with a cup of coffee in my new favorite mug from World Market.

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I don’t think you could drink from this mug and NOT be happy. It was a great way to start my day!

Later in the afternoon, Bill and I went to Ybor to enjoy a late lunch/early dinner at a fantastic Italian restaurant called Bernini’s.

They were serving $2 martinis ’til 7. Yes, please!

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We shared this amazing Caprese salad, made with Burrata cheese (LOVE!) with a white truffle balsamic reduction on top. It was so delicious!

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We topped off the night with a show! We saw the Hellcats Burlesque troupe perform at a bar in town. It was fun to get dressed up and see one of our friends perform!

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On Saturday, I knew Bill had something else planned, but he hadn’t told me what. I picked up on a few clues along the way, but he did a great job of keeping it a secret!

I started my morning with a spin on the trainer- I knew that I’d likely be eating well today (i.e. cake, cheese, wine, etc.) and I didn’t want to feel too badly about it after. I would have gone for a nice long run, but unfortunately, I sprained my ankle last weekend and haven’t been able to run:-( (Side note, looks like BDR will be a DNS for me. Side note #2- Of course I had to include a sweaty selfie in this post).

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In late afternoon, it was time to get ready. Bill and our friend Domenique helped me pick out an appropriate outfit, after finally spilling where our first stop would be: Ciro’s Speakeasy.

It must be noted that this weekend is also Gasparilla weekend in Tampa. Gasparilla is like a pirate-themed Mardi Gras here. I went to the parade last year and though I’m glad I went once, I really don’t have a desire to go again. Huge crowds, lots of traffic, drunk people EVERYWHERE. No thanks.

Well, Ciro’s is just two blocks off the parade route. Though the parade had ended several hours before, the party was still going strong, making it kind of a nightmare to get there. With a crazy stroke of luck, we were actually able to find parking a few blocks away. Seriously, it was like something out of the movies- cue the angels singing and lights glowing. Unfortunately, some of my other friends weren’t so lucky in the parking department and ended up throwing in the towel. I totally don’t blame them- they were there in spirit!

We got into our cozy booth and ordered some cheese fondue and fancy cocktails.

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Bill then gave me the most thoughtful gift anyone has ever given me. He said, “It’s Steph Appreciation Day” and he had asked friends and family to contribute. Basically, he asked them to anonymously write a few words or sentences or a paragraph, about what they appreciate about me. The idea sprung from a conversation we had had months earlier, about how we go through life and never really hear how appreciated we are until it’s too late. Doesn’t it bring you such joy, knowing that someone really thinks your awesome? So why aren’t we spreading that joy all the time? Why aren’t we making people feel special, loved, and important while they’re still here on this earth to bask in that wonderful feeling?

Yup. That’s my boyfriend. He’s pretty amazing.

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I spent the next part of the evening reading each one aloud, with many stops for tears and laughter. It was quite emotional! Anyone and everyone who is reading this: Please replicate this with a loved one in your life. You will not regret it!

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This was after reading the notes. I was happy that most of my makeup stayed put!

After our time at Ciro’s, we went to Edison food + drink lab where we shared an appetizer, salad, entree and dessert. Everything was delicious, but the dessert stole the show! We got the sugar-crusted butter cake with brown butter ice cream, pistachio, orange, and toffee sauce. OMG this was to die for! We cleaned the plate and we all agreed that the ice cream was some of the best we had ever had in our lives.

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Finally, we came home and had second dessert. Because, duh, it’s my birthday and you have to have second dessert on your birthday!

My friend Domenique is an amazing baker and she made a Boston creme pie (cake) from scratch. Chocolate ganache, moist butter cake and that amazing cream filing was the perfect ending to my night.

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Thank you so VERY much to everyone who made my birthday the furthest thing from an awkward, in-between kinda day!

Domenique and Bill- you two are amazing. I am so stinking lucky to have you two in my life!





Ten Things I Love About Blue Apron

22 01 2016

Sometime last year, many of the “Healthy Living Bloggers” raved about their experience with Blue Apron. All their meals looked really yummy, so I decided to use the discount code one of them was sharing for a free meal.

If you’re not familiar, Blue Apron is a spin on a meal delivery service: Basically, when you sign up, you receive the ingredients and recipes for several meals (select either a plan for 2 or a plan for four). You can choose to go the vegetarian route or not, and you’re free to swap out one of the recipes for another that is offered that week. The other thing that’s great about the service is that it is super easy to skip a week if you don’t like the recipes, are going to be out of town, or want to rely on TJ’s for your meals that week.

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There are 10 things I love about Blue Apron:

  1. The recipes: I love, love, love, trying new recipes. I did some research before choosing to go with Blue Apron (instead of Hello Fresh or one of the other similar brands out there) and it’s really the recipes that won me over. The vegetarian recipes weren’t just different kinds of salad (which is what I noticed on some of the other services) and the recipes were all so unique. All of the recipes I perused looked and sounded delicious, and were a bit more “adventurous” than some of the other services. IMG_0753(rice noodles and coconut matcha broth)
  2. Because I love trying new and interesting recipes, I always end up buying a jar of X or a gallon of Y just because the recipe calls for it. But then I’m stuck with a jar of X or a gallon of Y until I make that recipe again, or the ingredient goes bad because I have nothing else to use it in! With Blue Apron, the ingredients are already measured out; I get just enough for whatever it is I’m making. The first recipe I made with Blue Apron in November required Verjus Rouge- I had to look it up to even know what it was! If I had spotted this recipe on my own, I would have had a bottle of it siting in my house still, because I wouldn’t have known what else to do with it. Blue Apron provided me with the exact amount I needed, and no more- perfect! IMG_0060
  3. I’m expanding my cooking repertoire with new flavors and techniques! I’ve made “mise en place” a priority when cooking on my own, because I’ve gotten into the habit thanks to Blue Apron. I’ve made béchamel multiple times since starting Blue Apron, tried queso oaxaca (love!), and finally made something with Meyer Lemon. IMG_0059
  4. They have direct relationships with farmers and provide the highest quality ingredients they can find. I was super pumped to see a card in one of my latest deliveries that had a picture of a farmer from Buena, NJ. That’s not too far from my parent’s place in Jersey, which I thought was pretty cool!
  5. The price: I get the vegetarian meal plan for two, which is three meals for $59.94/week. That works out to be $9.99/serving. Sure, I know that I could probably make meals for cheaper than that, but it saves me the trip to the store, the planning time, and all that extra stuff I would have thrown in my cart at the store because “OOH, that looks good!” For me, it’s totally worth it. Screen Shot 2016-01-17 at 5.25.03 PM
  6. They’ve recently started a recycling program. This is great, because the biggest negative about the whole thing is that there’s a lot of packaging. I can pack up a few week’s worth of wrappers, containers, bags, etc., print out a shipping label, and send it back to them. Easy peasy!
  7. Portion size: I have been pleasantly surprised by the portion size for most of the meals. Most of the meals have been plenty for two and then some. Hooray leftovers! And, when I’m just making a meal for me, I have meals for several days!
  8. It’s a great excuse for me to go have dinner with a friend. I’ve taken over the recipe and ingredients to a friend’s house on several occasions, and we’ve had a great time chatting, making dinner, and enjoying a fabulous homemade dinner that is way cheaper than if we had decided to go out to eat!
  9. I guess I haven’t been explicit about this yet, but everything is delicious! My mouth is watering just thinking about the recipes I’ll get to make this weekend!
  10. Their mission: to make incredible home cooking accessible to everyone. Yes!

 

If you can’t tell, I’m a huge fan of Blue Apron. And no, I wasn’t paid to say that. I’ve paid for all of these myself (with the exception of the free meal I got when I signed up with a coupon code) and I’m writing this just because I want to share my experience with you.

If you want the convenience of having ingredients delivered directly to your door and the recipes for fabulous recipes-give it a try! I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!








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