Split Pea Soup with Bengali Spices.

I’ve been meaning to share this recipe for a while now (pretty sure I’ve been making it for almost a year!). One of my best friends, who is an amazingly creative cook, gifted me a batch of her Bengali spice mix, called panch phoron. I started using it in split pea soup, and it is SO GOOD. The spices get toasted and give a really interesting and savory flavor to the already-wonderful classic split pea. This stuff is great fresh or as leftovers, and it freezes well, too, so you can definitely make a big batch and pop half in the freezer. Pair it with almost any garnish you can think of–my favorites include fresh herbs, grated cheese, toasty buttery croutons, or a poached egg. So without further ado, one of my favorite soups…Split Pea with Bengali Spices!

Bengali Spice Split Pea Soup| KellyintheKitchen | Ingredients: bacon fat or butter, onion, garlic, carrot, celery, Bengali Spice Mix (fenugreek seed, fennel seed, cumin seed, nigella seed), split peas, cooked ham, chicken stock, thyme, fresh parsley

INGREDIENTS
bacon fat (butter or olive oil will work also, of course)
1 onion, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
4 stalks of celery, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp Bengali spice mix (see below)
2 cups cooked ham, chopped
1 lb split peas 5-7 cups stock or water
1/2 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
optional: 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

for panch phoron spice mix (equal parts of all spices):
fenugreek seed
nigella seed
mustard seed
cumin seed
fennel seed

DIRECTIONS

Add bacon fat to a Dutch oven or other large soup pot over medium low heat. Add onion, carrot, celery, and garlic, and stir. Cook until softened and just starting to brown. Use a large spoon to move all the vegetables to the side of the pan. Put a bit more fat in the pan and add the spice mix. Stir into the oil and cook until fragrant–just a few minutes–and be careful not to burn.

Bengali Spice Split Pea Soup| KellyintheKitchen | Ingredients: bacon fat or butter, onion, garlic, carrot, celery, Bengali Spice Mix (fenugreek seed, fennel seed, cumin seed, nigella seed), split peas, cooked ham, chicken stock, thyme, fresh parsley

When the spices are cooked, stir them into the vegetables. Pour in the stock or water, ham, thyme, and split peas. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook until the split peas are softened. When the soup is done cooking, taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the fresh parsley and serve hot!

Bengali Spice Split Pea Soup| KellyintheKitchen | Ingredients: bacon fat or butter, onion, garlic, carrot, celery, Bengali Spice Mix (fenugreek seed, fennel seed, cumin seed, nigella seed), split peas, cooked ham, chicken stock, thyme, fresh parsley

Though you may be tempted to eat it all up right away, this soup is PERFECTION as a leftover. The flavors get even better when they have a few days to develop.

Bengali Spice Split Pea Soup| KellyintheKitchen | Ingredients: bacon fat or butter, onion, garlic, carrot, celery, Bengali Spice Mix (fenugreek seed, fennel seed, cumin seed, nigella seed), split peas, cooked ham, chicken stock, thyme, fresh parsley

Sugar & Spice Cookies.

Crazy to think it’s been over 4 months since I’ve posted a recipe. I still cook and bake all the time, but my weekend days (when I tend to test out new recipes, and when there’s nice daylight for photos) are not about the blog right now. Instead, I now spend at least one day of my weekend volunteering at a local dog shelter. I started volunteering last spring, but lately it’s become a huge priority for me. It’s so rewarding and special – I encourage anyone who’s interested to start volunteering at an animal shelter near you, because I can promise you they need the help!!

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Meanwhile, I’m exhausted from work travel this week, so I decided to take the day off from the shelter and bake these cookies. Adapted from a recipe by Joy the Baker, they smell amazing and taste even better. And I’ll still get my pup time in – it’s a three-day weekend for MLK Day, so I’ll get to spend all of Monday with them!

Sugar and Spice Cookies | KellyintheKitchen | 12 tbsp softened butter, 1 cup packed brown sugar, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp ground ginger, pinch of ground nutmeg, 1 egg, scant 1/4 cup molasses, 2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 cup turbinado sugar

INGREDIENTS

12 tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
pinch of ground nutmeg
1 egg
scant 1/4 cup molasses
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup turbinado sugar (or other sugar with large crystals)

Sugar and Spice Cookies | KellyintheKitchen | 12 tbsp softened butter, 1 cup packed brown sugar, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp ground ginger, pinch of ground nutmeg, 1 egg, scant 1/4 cup molasses, 2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 cup turbinado sugar

DIRECTIONS

Cream together butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg until the mixture is fluffy in texture and light brown in color. Add the egg and molasses and stir just evenly combined. Then sift in the flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir just until combined – don’t overstir, or the cookies could become tough. You can advance to the next step here if you like, but I like to put the batter in the fridge for about 30 minutes, just to tighten up a bit.

Sugar and Spice Cookies | KellyintheKitchen | 12 tbsp softened butter, 1 cup packed brown sugar, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp ground ginger, pinch of ground nutmeg, 1 egg, scant 1/4 cup molasses, 2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 cup turbinado sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or baking mats. Set up a little station with your baking sheets, your cookie dough with spoons or a cookie dropper, and a little bowl full of the turbinado sugar. Scoop a small amount of dough, form it into a ball, and roll it in the turbinado sugar so that it’s completely coated. Place on the baking sheet and repeat with the rest of the dough.

Bake for about 12 minutes, until the cookies are set but the very tops are still soft to the touch. Let cool for 2 minutes on cookie sheet and then move to a wire rack to cool completely. Put them on a plate and bring them to a friend before you eat all of them yourself.

Sugar and Spice Cookies | KellyintheKitchen | 12 tbsp softened butter, 1 cup packed brown sugar, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp ground ginger, pinch of ground nutmeg, 1 egg, scant 1/4 cup molasses, 2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 cup turbinado sugar

Pumpkin Dog Treats.

Happy fall!!! Just kidding. We’re not quite there yet. But that doesn’t mean we can’t bake something pumpkin-y. And pumpkin dog treats just felt right this weekend, since I was dog-sitting my family’s black lab, Peepers. Did you know that pumpkin is really good for doggy tummies? And that a lot of dogs really love the taste of pumpkin? That’s why this recipe is such a success – and not just with Peepers, who will eat literally anything. Peep has lots of dog friends who acted as my taste testers: a yellow lab, an American foxhound, and a vizsla with a sensitive stomach. I think I know a beagle who might appreciate them, too.

Pumpkin Dog Treats | KellyintheKitchen | INGREDIENTS  1 cup pumpkin puree 1 tbsp peanut butter 2 eggs 2 1/4 cups unbleached flour

The results: the labs and vizsla were bonkers for them, and the foxhound was funny – she carried a treat around in her mouth for a while before she finally ate it.

One important note. You know your dog better than I do, so if he has a sensitive stomach or hasn’t tried anything like this before, give him one or two treats and then watch for any signs of upset, just to be safe. As for my taste testers, the canine verdict is good – my pup was breaking out all her tricks to get her paws on these pumpkin treats.

Pumpkin Dog Treats | KellyintheKitchen | INGREDIENTS  1 cup pumpkin puree 1 tbsp peanut butter 2 eggs 2 1/4 cups unbleached flour

INGREDIENTS

1 cup pumpkin puree
1 tbsp peanut butter
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups unbleached flour, plus more for dusting (if your dog is sensitive to gluten, use brown rice flour or a similar substitute)

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Stir together pumpkin puree, peanut butter, and eggs. Add 1 cup flour, stir to incorporate, add the rest of the flour, and stir again.

Lightly flour a flat surface. Take half the dough and use a rolling pin to roll it about 1/4 inch thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut out the treats. I used a heart, but honestly, your dog has no clue what shape they’re eating, so do whatever you want. Repeat with the rest of the dough until it’s all cookie-shaped.

Pumpkin Dog Treats | KellyintheKitchen | INGREDIENTS  1 cup pumpkin puree 1 tbsp peanut butter 2 eggs 2 1/4 cups unbleached flour

Lay the treats on a baking sheet (they don’t expand much, so feel free to crowd them on, as long as they’re not touching) and bake for 20-30 minutes. They do puff up in the oven, almost like a cute little pillow, so that the hearts are more 3D than flat.

Let cool completely before putting them away.

Pumpkin Dog Treats | KellyintheKitchen | INGREDIENTS  1 cup pumpkin puree 1 tbsp peanut butter 2 eggs 2 1/4 cups unbleached flour

Peepers was suspicious of the treats at first – like, are you trying to make me eat something healthy?? – but once she had one, I could barely keep her away. Love her little face when she gets excited to eat another treat!

Pumpkin Dog Treats | KellyintheKitchen | INGREDIENTS  1 cup pumpkin puree 1 tbsp peanut butter 2 eggs 2 1/4 cups unbleached flour

Quick Weeknight Pulled Pork.

Pulled pork is legendary. I could probably eat it a few times a week. But its 4-6 hour cooking time can be brutally long, especially on a weeknight, when you’d have to be nuts to attempt it. Four to 6 hours cooking after work means either a midnight meal or a “creative solution,” and that’s what I’ve got for ya here. Complete with its own quick homemade sauce, this one-pot dish cooks on the stove top and is ready to go (even if you’re a slow recipe-maker!) in under an hour. Now of course, this isn’t the same as the 6-hour slow-cooked version, but it’s tender and flavorful and still makes for awesome leftovers the next day. And the day after. And it’s an excuse to eat some of my favs – coleslaw and refried beans!

Quick Weeknight Pulled Pork by KellyintheKitchen | 2 tbsp butter, olive oil, 1/2 onion, 3 cloves garlic, salt, 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp ground coriander, 1/4 cup ketchup, 2 1/2 cups chicken stock or water, 3 tbsp brown sugar, 1/2 tsp dried thyme, 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 2 lb boneless pork loin roast

INGREDIENTS

2 tbsp butter
olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 cup ketchup
2 1/2 cups chicken stock or water
3 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 lb boneless pork loin roast, cut into 4 pieces

DIRECTIONS

Heat a Dutch oven or other large pot with a lid over medium heat. Melt the butter (plus a splash of olive oil to keep the butter from burning) and add the onion, cooking until soft and just starting to brown. Add the garlic and salt and cook another minute, careful not to burn the garlic. Add the cayenne pepper, cumin, and ground coriander. Stir and toast the spices for about a minute.

When the spices are fragrant (and you feel like you might sneeze from the smell of the cayenne pepper), add the ketchup, stock or water, brown sugar, thyme, and cider vinegar. Bring to a boil and then add the pork to the pot. Cover the pot and keep at an active simmer for about 25 minutes. I flipped the pieces of pork over halfway through.

When the pork is tender and cooked through, remove it to a plate. Turn up the heat so that the sauce comes to a steady boil and let it bubble away until thickened a bit – I let mine go for about 15 minutes.

Quick Weeknight Pulled Pork | KellyintheKitchen Quick Weeknight Pulled Pork | KellyintheKitchen

Let the meat cool until it’s not too hot to work with, and then shred it with two forks. It won’t shred as easily as the slow-cooked kind—don’t worry, just power through it. Toss the pork in the sauce and serve!

Quick Weeknight Pulled Pork by KellyintheKitchen | 2 tbsp butter, olive oil, 1/2 onion, 3 cloves garlic, salt, 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp ground coriander, 1/4 cup ketchup, 2 1/2 cups chicken stock or water, 3 tbsp brown sugar, 1/2 tsp dried thyme, 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 2 lb boneless pork loin roast

S’mores with Homemade Spiced Graham Crackers.

Ohmygod these are the best s’mores ever. I don’t even give ’em the ol’ campfire treatment and they’re still the best ever—even in the oven, they’re toasty and good. I’m eating my way through my current batch very very quickly. The crackers have just a bit of ginger and cinnamon—enough to make things interesting—and their texture is different from your average light and crispy graham cracker. They’re a little more crumbly and a little more substantial. Makes for a really nice batch of s’mores! The only problem is keeping enough of the graham crackers around so that I can have one whenever I want. I think this means I have to up my graham cracker production…

S'mores with Homemade Spiced Graham Crackers | KellyintheKitchen | Ingredients: 1 cup plus 2 tbsp almond meal (or grind up about 1 cup of whole almonds), 1/4 cup coconut flour, 1 tsp potato starch (or use arrowroot powder), 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground ginger, pinch of salt, 1 tbsp maple syrup, 2 tbsp plus 2 tsp room temperature butter, 1 1/2 tbsp molasses, 1 tbsp milk, splash of vanilla, jumbo marshmallows, chocolate

INGREDIENTS

for graham crackers:
1 cup plus 3 tbsp almond meal (or grind up 1 heaping cup of whole almonds)
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 tsp potato starch (or use arrowroot powder)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
pinch of salt
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp plus 2 tsp room temperature butter
1 1/2 tbsp molasses
1 tbsp milk
splash of vanilla

to assemble:
jumbo marshmallows
chocolate (I only had chocolate chips in the house, so that’s what I used)

DIRECTIONS

In a food processor, pulse together the almond meal, coconut flour, potato starch, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Then add the maple syrup, molasses, butter, milk, and vanilla and pulse just until the dough comes together. If it’s looking too wet, add a bit of coconut flour and pulse again.

Turn the dough out onto a sheet of parchment paper, press into a flat disc, and wrap in the parchment. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to a few days.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out to about 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into squares (or whatever shape you want) and lay flat on a parchment-lined baking sheet. If you like, use a fork to make some kind of cute little design. Bake for about 10 minutes, until the edges just start to brown.

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That’s it for the graham crackers! When you’re ready to make the s’mores (which, for me, was immediately), turn the oven up to 400 F. While it preheats, top the graham crackers with chocolate and add a marshmallow to each. I tried sandwich s’mores and the open-faced kind, and open-faced is the way to go. You get double the s’mores goods that way, and still all that toasty marshmallow on top. Pop them in the oven just for a minute or two, until the chocolate has melted and the marshmallows are lightly browned.

S'mores with Homemade Spiced Graham Crackers | KellyintheKitchen | Ingredients: 1 cup plus 2 tbsp almond meal (or grind up about 1 cup of whole almonds), 1/4 cup coconut flour, 1 tsp potato starch (or use arrowroot powder), 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground ginger, pinch of salt, 1 tbsp maple syrup, 2 tbsp plus 2 tsp room temperature butter, 1 1/2 tbsp molasses, 1 tbsp milk, splash of vanilla, jumbo marshmallows, chocolate

That’s it! Keep the rest of the graham crackers in a sealed container and just repeat the melting process when you’re ready for another s’more. I put them in my cast iron skillet to toast in the oven, and maybe I’m imagining it, but they seem to toast up just perfectly this way.

S'mores with Homemade Spiced Graham Crackers | KellyintheKitchen | Ingredients: 1 cup plus 2 tbsp almond meal (or grind up about 1 cup of whole almonds), 1/4 cup coconut flour, 1 tsp potato starch (or use arrowroot powder), 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground ginger, pinch of salt, 1 tbsp maple syrup, 2 tbsp plus 2 tsp room temperature butter, 1 1/2 tbsp molasses, 1 tbsp milk, splash of vanilla, jumbo marshmallows, chocolate

Strawberry “Nutri-grain” Snack Bars.

I was traveling for work this week. That meant four nights in a hotel, with – dun dun DUN – no access to a kitchen! And as nice as it is to have the hotel make you breakfast every morning, I am now sick to death of *other people’s* food. I want Kelly food again! After all, who is Kelly if she isn’t in the Kitchen? So to celebrate being home again, I made these snack bars. Snacks might be the worst part of travel food – the standard options are almost always processed, over-salted, and packed with sugar. Gross. These are the opposite of the airport convenience store snacks I ate this week. Strawberry Nurtri-grain-esque snack bars – yay, I’m home!

Strawberry "Nutri-grain" Snack Bars | KellyintheKitchen | 1/4 cup maple syrup, 1/4 cup honey, 1/4 cup peanut butter, 2 tbsp butter, melted (or coconut oil), 1 tsp vanilla extract, 2 1/4 cups almond meal, 1 tbsp coconut flour, 1/4 tsp salt, 10 medium-sized strawberries, 1 tbsp honey, pinch salt

INGREDIENTS

for crust:
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 tbsp butter, melted (or go for coconut oil if you want)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups almond meal
1 tbsp coconut flour
1/4 tsp salt

for filling*:
10 medium-sized strawberries, washed, dried, stems removed
1 tbsp honey
pinch salt
*if you don’t want to make the filling, just skip this step and use use 1/2 cup pre-made jam.

DIRECTIONS

First, make the crust. Combine maple syrup, honey, peanut butter, butter, and vanilla extract. Stir in almond meal and salt until dough comes together. Refrigerate 1 hour.

While the dough chills, make the filling. Use a food processor to totally blitz the strawberries and honey. Transfer the puree to a pan, add salt, and heat over medium low. Bring to a low bubble and stir occasionally. Cook about 15 minutes, until reduced and thickened. You should end up with about 1/2 cup of cooked filling. Put it in the fridge to cool down.

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Preheat oven to 350 F. Then take the chilled dough out of the fridge and split it into quarters. Put one quarter on a sheet of parchment paper and put the rest back in the fridge. Roll the dough out between two pieces of parchment paper, into a long rectangle. Trim the sides so that it’s actually a rectangle and not a free-form wavy-edge shape. Then spread one quarter of the strawberry filling over half of the rectangle.

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Use the parchment paper to gently fold the non-filling half over the filling half, creating a long seam. Cut into bars and use your fingers to pinch the sides closed, so the filling doesn’t leak out (mine did leak out a bit and it really wasn’t a big deal). Carefully move the bars to a baking sheet and put them in the fridge to keep cool while you repeat the process with the rest of the dough.

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Bake for about 10 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and the edges are darkened.

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That’s it! These are good right out of the oven, but they’re also super good at room temperature. Make sure to cool them completely before storing in a sealed container; they’re best when eaten within 2-3 days.