Cook fearlessly, live adventurously, eat well.
Hello, bloggers, and welcome to the January 2015 edition of Our Growing Edge! I am finally recovered enough from whatever winter plague I caught, and so without further ado, am pleased to jump into the wonderful bounty of treats that my fellow bloggers experimented with in January.
For those of you uninitiated, Our Growing Edge is a monthly link-up group featuring new experiences– any new experiences, ranging from cooking challenges, eating new foods, or setting new goals– from bloggers around the world. The event is run by Genie over at Bunny.Eats.Design and is open to any and all bloggers.
I have to say, what a wonderful way to start off this year. Everyone seems to have taken the “fearless kitchen” theme to heart and come up with some truly spectacular items. I am so proud of everyone who entered their links and am inspired by all of the resolutions you have made, goals you aim to accomplish and have already accomplished in this year, and the food wonders you have shared. And now, the good stuff:
Jenny at O Pie-oneers! started off the year right with a Christmas marriage (congratulations!) and, even more important, an all-butter pie crust. As someone who has struggled with pie crusts all my life (seriously, I’ve never successfully made one from scratch), I am awed by Jenny’s ability not only to make a pie crust, but to also make one out of all butter and assemble it into a pot pie before the crust melted into a buttery mess. You go, girl.
Genie at Bunny.Eats.Design reminded me this month with her bacon jam that at heart, I really am a savory person. The combination of the two elements– bacon and jam– are definitely better together, and I’m sure this jam would make everyone’s morning (and afternoon and evening and midnight snack) that much better. Genie’s addition of coffee to this jam seems like it would add an astounding depth of flavor, and I have to agree with her that a splash of whiskey or bourbon certainly wouldn’t hurt. This jam makes me wish I ate eggs (Genie’s food styling has to be blamed for that, certainly), but I’m sure I will get by with this jam on toast, or cheese, or a sandwich with a broiled tomato… I’ll obviously be making this jam soon.
Tracey at Salty Sweet Life also started the year off with a lovely wedding, which she spectacularly catered herself. While all of the food she served looks delicious (she writes about the day in this post), it looks like her chocolate cake truly stole the show! Tracey wrote that while first making the cake, she “worried that the 1990s would call and want its lava cake back,” but I think she needn’t have worried– any lava cake that looked this classy in the ’90s would have had to renounce its gaudy title. Congratulations, Tracey! It looks like the wedding itself went well, your catering was a hit, and this cake– oh, this cake– looks like it will be remembered for a long time.
Ah, another soul like me who is struggling through a never-ending winter. This leek and sweet potato soup looks hearty, tasty, and, best of all, easy! The bruschette with olive oil and parsley are a great addition, as well as the chopped almond garnish– both would add a lovely bit of crunch to keep the mouth as engaged and interested as the taste buds surely are while eating this soup.
Chandler at IPCSP is another blogger of my own heart, who knows what she wants and does a little experimenting to get there. In her stunning breakfast that yet remains unnamed, these adorable hashbrowns (the baking ring? genius) get the royal treatment with the addition of some cheese, bacon, and a fried egg with an ooey, gooey yolk. Could you imagine a hashbrown sandwich made like this? Mmm.
This cake! This beautiful chocolate courgette (or zucchini) cake. It looks wonderfully moist, and the chocolate, I bet, takes this zucchini confection from excellent to perfect. Plus, adding zucchini to anything makes it healthier, right? At least, that is what I am going to tell myself when I make this delightful cake, and stuff it into my face-hole handfuls at a time.
This colorful panna cotta cake was apparently made up on the spot after the chef behind Peckish Bites, Hoi Yan, had the first birthday plan for her mother– a two-layered cheesecake– crumble to the floor. She sprung into action and created this beautiful, colorful masterpiece. I am impressed with her poise under extreme duress, and wish I could pull this off on a normal day, not to mention when pulling my hair out in panic. The berries and flowers are particularly beautiful!
As complicated as Italian cooking may seem, as a member of an Italian-American family well-versed in the cooking techniques of the Old Country, I can definitely say that the cuisine is frequently beautiful in its simplicity. Which the bloggess behind Last in First proves again in this blog post, making a mouth-watering bolognese in just seven steps. Full disclosure: she includes the eating and the compliment-receiving as part of the recipe, but if this sauce tastes anything like it looks (delicious, meaty, hearty, perfect for winter…), those steps are perhaps the most important part of the process.
Oftentimes in the race for bloggers to post awe-inspiring (and frequently complicated) recipes, the simple flavors get lost. Paige from Vittles and Voyages hasn’t lost sight of the beauty of simple dinners, however, and this lovely baked chicken dish proves it. I bet the addition of the lemon zest makes this dish sing, and I look forward to recreating it in my own healthy weeknight dinner rotation!
I am so impressed with these Olaf cookies from Corina over at Searching for Spice. She really outdid herself baking these for her Frozen-loving daughter, and proves that she is more patient than most, if not all of us, by cutting and laying the fondant topping by hand. What an adorable treat, and an excellent way to enjoy the good that winter has to offer.
The blogger behind Everyday Life Mom undertook the great adventure of recreating Harry Potter’s magical butterbeer, a staple beverage for students in the HP universe. I can see why her kids love it, since it’s mostly cream soda and marshmallow fluff, but this post really does have a special place in my heart– I was, for a very long time, an avid Harry Potter fan. Reading about butterbeer– that I can make at home, no less!– just takes me back to a time when the Harry Potter books were listed among my favorites and I would have given anything to have a cold glass of this stuff!
Ohh, man. Caroline has certainly tapped into my weaknesses with this post, because cinnamon rolls are like my kryptonite. Cinnamon rolls are somehow the perfect storm of nostalgia and in-the-moment-goodness, a deadly combination which always results in overeating so good, it’s impossible to regret. Until your waistline grows. Kudos, Caroline, for limiting yourself to a quarter batch and using that cheeky title to warn us away… though it is too late. The cravings have already started.
I was a bit confused when I first saw this recipe in the link-up– as someone born and raised in the U.S., I had never heard of a “lamington” before– but after a quick google search I could only wonder why I had never heard of them. How could something guaranteed to be so delicious only exist in Australia and New Zealand?? I am so grateful to Giulia for bringing these into my life, and a sugar-free version to boot. Even more impressive is Giulia’s goal to cut sugar out of her diet for the foreseeable future. I will be making these lamingtons very soon, and will sing Giulia’s praises with every bite!
Cynthia over at eatmunchlove is a first-time linker to Our Growing Edge– welcome!! She pulled together some lovely ginger honey tea cakes for this month’s round-up, combining two of my favorite flavors into a tasty, fluffy, dainty tea cakes. I love that these cakes play with honey and ginger jam as substitutes for white sugar, and that there are only four steps to this recipe! These tea cakes are surely going to make the winter much easier to pass through, since I am already plotting my next weekend curled up with these, a steaming cup of tea, and a good book.
Suné at Add Some Butter made us chicken burgers this month, which, despite the name of her blog, she manages to convince us is a way to enjoy a burger without ruining our newly-started diets. And I for one am inclined to believe her, since it means I’ll be able to add burgers back into the dinner rotation. Burgers, somehow, always feel like the perfect indulgence. The fluffy bun, the contrast between the warm meat and the crisp veggies, the grease dripping down your chin… thankfully, Suné gives us a way to enjoy the same feeling with significantly less guilt.
The blogger behind this adorable site has set the inspiring goal of baking her way through “Patisserie: Mastering the Fundamentals of French Pastry” by Christophe Felder, giving her an excuse to get back into the kitchen and perfect her French baking. First up on her list was an Italian Meringue, the base for Buttercream and a delicious confection all on its own. As you can see from the picture, the meringue came out glossy and shiny, and is a good sign for things to come! Congratulations, and we look forward to seeing what you accomplish for the next round-up.
Various – Andre’s the Home Baker
Andre at Andre’s the Home Baker started off the year with a prolific baking streak, contributing an outstanding ten items to this month’s link-up. First off in the list is a splendid-looking granola, made with a matcha-derived sweetener that seems to sponsor a number of her posts.
Next up was a pandoro cheesecake pudding showcasing pandoro, the fruit-less cousin of my favorite Christmas bread pannetonne. Andre skillfully transforms the bread into adorable, delicious-looking mini cheesecake bread-puddings.
Andre’s pistachio butter looks simply fantastic– what could be better than homemade butter made with my favorite nut? And, to make it eve better, Andre has also provided a recipe for homemade matcha pistachio cups. I didn’t think anything could replace peanut butter cups in my heart, but these babies (made with some dark chocolate) might do the trick. Mmm.
The lemon honey madeleines that Andre whipped up– those beautiful shells– are absolutely adorable. Can I say that they are just adorable? They simultaneously make me want to curl up with a stack of spongey, lemony shells and also walk along the beach with one of those adorable shell-collecting pails.
Andre also did a bit of experimenting with bar cookies this January, debuting two twists on a classic favorite. The first appears to be a brand new concoction, Disappearing Marshmallow Matcha Blondies. The marshmallows melt in the oven and disappear, making these cute little caves in the finished blondies. These little caves– the “disappeared” holes– which is how she came up with the name for the bars. I bet they disappear from the plate, as well!
The second blondie derivation is her M&M Oreo Cream Cheese Blondies. This candy-studded version of the classic reminds me of childhood (like many of this month’s entries seem to), specifically when I was of the mindset that the more colors a baked good had packed into it (funfetti, anyone?), the better it had to be. These blondies look like a much more refined version of childhood, with a tasteful number of add-ins and a fancy cheesecake topping to boot.
The matcha-green coloring also features in Andre’s Matcha Buttercream-Frosted Hot Cocoa Cupnies. The “cupnies”– a cross between a brownie and a cupcake– look like the perfect way to inject some chocolate directly into the bloodstream, and the matcha buttercream tops them elegantly like a large green flower. Andre uses honey in her icing, which I’ve never heard of in icing– I bet it gives the icing an interesting flavor that goes well with the cupnies.
Andre also does a bit of experimenting with classics. Her Banana Cream Cheese Loaf mixes two all-time favorites– banana bread and cream cheese– and I have to ask, what isn’t there to love about the combination? I bet this loaf is moist and just the right amount of dense. I, for one, will be adding bananas to my next grocery list just so I can let them get overripe and bread-perfect.
This month also saw the creation of Andre’s Cornbread Honey Corn Muffin. Ever since I discovered bacon fat cornbread, I’ve had a hard time eating cornbread any other way. This recipe from Andre might make me switch back, even if just for a batch. It’s healthy (or at least healthier), and how could it be anything but delicious if it involves honey and cranberries?
Slow-Cooker Carnitas Dinner Party (+ Pickled Onion & Habanero Salsa and Mexican Black Beans) – Fearless Kitchen
This month for the roundup I didn’t only cook a new dish (or a few), I threw a dinner party! Since the holidays were so stressful and winter is so darn cold, a few friends and I turned our gazes southward and kicked back with some Mexican-inspired dishes: carnitas, pickled onions, and black beans. And, of course, the requisite beers. The carnitas were a cinch to pull together in the crock pot, and everything else came together easily in the moments before my guests arrived. By the time we sat down for dinner, all we had to do was bite into a taco and for a moment, it almost felt like spring.
Thanks to all the bloggers that participated in January’s link-up to Our Growing Edge! Now, go join February’s, hosted by Kim from Love Live Life by Kim.