Eternally-Fresh Berries and Greek Yogurt.

This is definitely not a “recipe” in my usual sense. It’s more of a favorite technique, and I’m sharing it with you because ever since I started doing it, I’ve saved money by not letting fruit go to waste and I’ve made my breakfasts a lot healthier and better-tasting. I used to eat those single-serve yogurts that come with a layer of sugary fruit to stir in, which is of course delicious and convenient, but not such a great way to start the morning. Then I started doing fruit and yogurt this way instead, and man is it ever good! Here’s the basics of why this method rocks:

  • the berries last longer because I wash and dry them before they go in the fridge/freezer, which helps fend off mold/mushiness
  • my berries are washed and ready to go whenever I need them, so I never have to eat wet and drippy berries
  • I freeze half, so I have gorgeous berries on hand all the time
  • The fresh berries are (obviously) delicious, and the frozen berries break up easily when stirred into yogurt (just like the sugary stuff, only healthier!)

Convinced? Because I love this stuff berry much. Now orange you laughing at my fruit jokes?

INGREDIENTS

2 packets of fresh berries – raspberries are my favorite, and blackberries are great too, but any berry you like should work
Greek yogurt (let me HEARTILY suggest Fage brand yogurt. I’ve reached the point where if it isn’t Fage, I don’t even want it. Seriously unbeatable stuff)

DIRECTIONS

As soon as you get home with your berries, rinse them under cold water. Then turn them out onto a towel and flip each one upside-down; if you’re using raspberries, for example, turn them so that they’re standing up on their hollow end. This helps them dry completely, which is what we’re going for. Leave the berries for an hour or two, until dry.

IMG_0181

When the berries are dry, put them back in their little plastic basket or other similar container (which should also be dry).

IMG_0191

Put one of the containers in the fridge and use within 2-3 days. Not only can you eat these on the go, without stopping to rinse them and then have them wet and drippy, but they also last a lot longer when they’ve gotten a chance to dry before they get piled on top of each other in the fridge.

Put the other container of berries in the freezer. Because they are dry, the berries will freeze individually, without sticking to one another, and they’ll keep their perfect picturesque berry shape.

IMG_0193

Here’s how I use the frozen berries: before I leave for work, I spoon a portion of Fage Greek yogurt into a tupperware and toss in 8 or so of these frozen gems. By the time I get to work and dig into the yogurt, the berries have defrosted and gone a little bit soft. They’re the perfect consistency to crush up with my spoon and stir into the creamy yogurt. I LOVE this because it’s just as delicious as one of those yogurt-and-fruit single serving cups, but it’s so pure and healthy!

IMG_0195

Here’s what it looks like once I get it to the office and stir everything up. Best easy workday breakfast ever!

IMG_0205

Advertisements

Chocolate Pudding with Blackberry.

This is becoming one of my favorite recipes. It’s pretty quick and not too hard, and the outcome is completely delicious. I also use slightly lower-fat ingredients than Nigella’s original recipe calls for—hers is a perfectly rich chocolate pudding made with whole milk and heavy cream, where I’ve turned the fat content down a bit with skim milk and half-and-half and added a hint of berry flavor. I’ve tried this one with raspberries too, and it’s equally out of this world. I’d love to hear if anyone tries it with other berries, or other chocolate-and-fruit combos that might be delicious. What’s your favorite? Can you even choose? Maybe not. Either way, yum! Billy Madison and your snack packs, eat your heart out.

IMG_8964

INGREDIENTS

2 tbsp just-boiled water
3/4 cup skim milk
3/4 cup half-and-half
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp corn starch
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 egg yolks
about 3/4 cup blackberries
splash of vanilla extract
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
more berries and cream, for garnish

Just the Recipe link: Chocolate Pudding with Blackberry

IMG_8932

DIRECTIONS

Gently warm the milk and half-and-half in a saucepan. Don’t let it come to a bubble – just let it slowly heat, stirring occasionally.

Put the blackberries in a food processor and puree.

IMG_8936

In another pan, sift together the sugar, corn starch, and cocoa powder. Whisk in the just-boiled water until combined. Then whisk in 1 egg yolk at a time. Slowly whisk in the warm milk/half-and-half mixture. Then, pour the blackberry puree into a sieve, place the sieve over the cocoa mixture, and stir the puree to push through all the juice, leaving behind the seeds. Add the vanilla extract and whisk it all together.

IMG_8938

Turn the heat on medium. Whisk vigorously for about 30 seconds, and then continue to stir pretty consistently for the next minute and a half. Repeat this process for about 8-11 minutes, until the pudding has thickened slightly and will thickly coat a spoon. Turn off the heat.

IMG_8939

Next, add the chopped semi-sweet chocolate and stir in to melt.

Pour the pudding into ramekins or other cute little cups.

IMG_8952

Cover each ramekin with plastic wrap or tinfoil, being very careful to make sure that the covering makes contact with the surface of the pudding. This contact will prevent a skin from forming on top of the pudding – blech. However, if pudding skin is your thing (you and George Costanza have that in common) feel free to cover just the top of the ramekin, without making contact with the top of the pudding itself – you’ll have a pudding skin in no time. Either way, put the pudding in the fridge and chill for at least 4 hours.

IMG_8955

Then, enjoy!

IMG_8962

If you like, garnish with a bit of lightly whipped cream or some berries, or both.

IMG_8971

Champagne, Blackberry, and Pomegranate Yogurt Popsicles.

There are so many star ingredients in these things that I had a hard time coming up with a name for them. I almost gave up and called them “Tom Petty pops.” Can you guess why? I’m not going to tell you. But I will show you through song (click here).

Okay fine, I’ll tell you. It’s because these popsicles are so pretty to mix, and smell so delicious, and are in general so easy to make….and then you have 4-6 hours of freezing time on the back end. Therefore, “the waiting is the hardest part.” Thanks, Tom Petty. QED.

My roommate and I made the long trek out to the northwest suburbs of Chicago on Saturday. We went allllll the way out there in order to ransack the gigantic and heavenly Ikea where all our budget-driven twenty-something decorating dreams come true. I just love that place! We managed to exercise some admirable self-control; one of the essential life necessities I made it out of there with was a cute little popsicle mold. As we drove back into the city (through awful I-90 traffic), I started to plan out all our popsicle adventures. These first ones are born of convenience – I had all this stuff at home already, and we just so happened to have a half-finished bottle of  champagne from last weekend in the fridge. It was a bit flat, but perfect for popsicle-making! This recipe is incredibly flexible, so if you make it, try switching out the fruits, the booze, whatever – just make sure, if you try hard liquor instead of champagne, to use a little less booze, and to let them freeze a little longer. De-lish.

IMG_8889

PS As someone who typically cooks/bakes, it was both frustrating and liberating to freeze something for once. I was impatient for the popsicles to be ready, but loved how I could just forget about them in the freezer!

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup blackberries, chopped
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
heaping 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 tsp maple syrup
1/3 cup champagne

Just the Recipe link: Champagne, Blackberry, and Pomegranate Yogurt Popsicles 

DIRECTIONS

Stir the blackberries, pomegranate seeds, and maple syrup into the yogurt until combined. NOTE: The pomegranate seeds will turn into little juicy-seedy ice cubes when frozen. If you want the juice, but not the crunch of the seeds, just pop them in a blender for a few pulses or work them over with a mortar and pestle, and then strain the juice into the champagne, leaving the seeds out.

IMG_8875

Add the champagne and stir gently.

IMG_8876

Now fill your popsicle molds. Be careful not to jostle them too much once you’ve filled them; the berries are heavier than the liquid and will tend toward the bottom of the mold, so don’t give them any reason to sink further down than they already will.

IMG_8879

Pop in their sticks.

IMG_8880

And freeze for 4-6 hours, depending on the size of the mold and the type/amount of booze you use. I left mine overnight. Then slide them out of their molds and enjoy!

IMG_8888

See? Fruity goodness, all the way through.

IMG_8894

Chocolate Crepes with Berry Yogurt Filling, and My Battle with Search.

When I first started this blog at the beginning of 2012, I was so excited to have a place to share my love of recipes and ingredients and eating. I was so excited, I even hoped that my blog might get some followers, and that some of those followers might find my blog via search engines. In order to test this hypothesis, I decided to search for my blog in google, to see where it popped up and what the little blurb looked like. But to my horror (and yours, too, if you ever searched “kelly in the kitchen” back then), I discovered that a fellow Kelly—the infamous R&B singer R. Kelly—was stealing all my search term thunder. The first, oh I don’t know, 15 pages of the google results were filled almost exclusively with links to Mr. Kelly’s song, “Sex in the Kitchen.” Since we shared the search terms “kelly in the kitchen,” we had to share the space, and as a result, my humble little recipe blog was banished to search engine oblivion. I figured no one would ever find me.

Fast-forward to today. My site traffic is up, with a handful of inbound and outbound links (all of which google rewards websites for), and things are looking up. So I decided today to search for my blog in google again, to see if anything had changed. And I am proud to say that the search landscape looks quite a bit different today! KellyintheKitchen.net is now the 3rd result returned from a search of those same words, behind another blog and, yes, a link to R. Kelly’s notorious song. That’s a huge win for a little blogger in the Battle of the Search Terms! I may never shake the haunting specter of R. Kelly and google results weirdness, but I’m happy to at least be on page one, above the fold, where I’ve wanted to be all along!

Anyway, chocolate crepes with yogurt and berry filling…

IMG_6996

INGREDIENTS

1 tbsp butter
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
scant 1/4 cup sugar
1 cup flour, sifted
1 cup frozen berries (of course, fresh would be great, too – your filling will just be chunkier)
1 cup Greek yogurt
squeeze of honey
water
cooking spray or butter
lemon juice

Just the Recipe link: Chocolate Crepes with Berry Yogurt Filling

DIRECTIONS

Put the butter, chocolate, and milk in a pot over medium low heat and bring to a simmer, stirring to start the chocolate melting. Remove from heat and continue to stir until everything is dissolved.

Crack the eggs into a bowl with the sugar and vanilla and whisk together. Then switch to a big spoon and stir in the flour. You’ll get an annoyingly-sticky paste that is hard to stir. Pour in the milk mixture and stir to combine. Let this batter sit for 30 minutes.

IMG_6974

To make the berry filling, put the frozen berries in a bowl with warm water to thaw out. I usually change the water once, just to move the thawing along a little faster.

IMG_6976

Then drain the berries and mix with the yogurt and honey. Set aside.

After 30 minutes have passed, pour the crepe batter through a mesh strainer to get some of the lumps out. This step isn’t absolutely necessary, but I find that no matter how careful I am about lumps, I always have some in my crepe batter, so I like to strain it.

IMG_6978

At this point, check your batter for consistency. We’re going for a pretty watery consistency, almost like whole milk. So add water, one tablespoon at a time, until your batter is the right consistency.

IMG_6984

To cook, butter or spray a pan with cooking spray and heat over medium. Using a ladle or measuring cup, pour in a small amount of batter into the center of the pan and immediately swirl around to the edges of the pan. The first crepe is notoriously a failure, so don’t feel bad if your first one looks like this:

IMG_6988

The French say to give the reject first crepe to the dog. Since these have chocolate in them, I figured Penny’s little tummy wouldn’t appreciate it, so I ate the ugly one, because my tummy does appreciate it. Regardless, the next few should work out better.

IMG_6990IMG_6991

Once all the crepes are cooked, fill them. The two usual ways are to dollop the filling down the center of the crepe (the diameter, if we want to get geometric), and fold each side over to the center, like this:

IMG_6993

Or to spread the filling over one quadrant of the crepe (can breakfast foods have quadrants?), fold it in half, and spread over the crepe layer that sits on top of the filled quadrant and fold again (that sounds confusing….just look at my picture):

IMG_7007

To finish, drizzle with a squeeze of lemon. Dust with powdered sugar if you like – we were too hungry and ate them up before I could go rustling through the baking cabinet.

Dutch Baby Pancake.

If you’ve ever been to the Walker Brothers Pancake House in Wilmette, you’ve seen one of these huge pancakes being delivered to a table near you. Maybe you’ve even tried this light and fluffy mass of puffed-up flour, butter, and eggs yourself. It’s the perfect thing to cook for company because it looks so impressive and unusual. But as you serve it to a chorus of compliments, smile silently to yourself, you big show-off, because it’s actually a ridiculously easy recipe.

INGREDIENTS

for pancake:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup wheat flour
cinnamon to taste (we used about 1/8 tsp)
4 eggs
4 tbsp (half a stick) butter

for topping:
1 – 1 1/2 tbsp honey
1 cup yogurt
your favorite berries
powdered sugar
lemon juice

DIRECTIONS

Remove your oven’s top rack and preheat oven to 425 F–the pancake cooks on the middle rack and needs space to rise.

With the stove on medium heat, melt butter in a large cast-iron pan or oven-proof saute pan. While the butter melts, combine all other pancake ingredients in a mixing bowl.

When the oven is fully preheated, pour batter into pan over melted butter, but don’t stir the butter into the batter! They should remain separate.

Immediately place pan into the oven and bake for 22-25 minutes, so that the whole pancake cooks through. The middle and sides will start to brown a bit by the time the pancake is done. Remove from oven and cool about 1 minute.

While the pancake cools, mix together yogurt and honey, and wash and cut up berries.

Transfer pancake to a large plate. Top with yogurt, sprinkle with berries and lemon juice, and add a generous finishing touch of powdered sugar. Serves 2-3 (or a very hungry 1…).