Spinach and Green Garlic Soup.

Green garlic is everywhere right now. It’s just young garlic, with a softer, edible skin and a milder flavor. It’s delicious in scrambled eggs, soups, and sauces (especially pesto). Since I haven’t been feeling well lately, from a combination of allergies and a sore throat from screaming my head off when the Blackhawks beat the Red Wings in a Game 7 of the NHL playoffs, I figured a nice spring soup might perk me up a bit. It’s also a great way to get a good healthy helping of spinach! Adapted from Orangette, this light and easy green garlic and spinach soup is a breeze to make and delicious to boot. Dig in.

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INGREDIENTS

butter and olive oil
3 stalks green garlic, sliced (use the white and the light green parts)
pinch of salt
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 cup chicken stock
2 1/2 cups water
5 oz baby spinach
a spoonful of Greek yogurt
pepper

Just the Recipe link: Spinach and Green Garlic Soup

DIRECTIONS

In a Dutch oven or other large pot, heat a bit of butter and olive oil over medium low. The butter is for flavor, and the olive oil will keep the butter from burning. Once it’s hot, add the green garlic, salt, and cayenne.

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Cook gently, careful to avoid burning or browning, until the garlic is soft and smells sweet, and has lost its raw smell. Add the chicken stock and turn up the heat. Bring to a boil, and then turn down to simmer for 15 minutes.

Add the spinach and turn off the heat. Stir it in and let stand just 5 min, so it cooks but keeps its bright green color.

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Now puree the soup in batches, until it’s smooth. Add it back to the pot to reheat. I wanted to reduce my soup and get it to a little bit thicker consistency, so I simmered it a few minutes more.

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Once it’s where you want it, turn off the heat and stir in a scoop of greek yogurt. Serve immediately, with lots of pepper on top. Delish!

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Green Taco Burger Wraps.

I love lettuce wraps – I think I even prefer when things are wrapped in lettuce to any tortilla or bun (excluding hot dogs, of course). The cool crunch and the light freshness of the lettuce just seems to pair well with a lot of the foods that we think of as bun-worthy. This recipe for what I’m calling “green taco burger wraps” combines the best of cheeseburgers and tacos and wraps the whole thing in nice crunchy lettuce. The burger meat is spiced with cumin and oregano to give it a bit of Mexican flavor, and the toppings are all my taco favorites (especially avocado….mmmm). They’re easy and healthy and so delicious!

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INGREDIENTS

about 3/4 lb ground meat (I used beef)
1 egg
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
red onion, diced
cheese, sliced (I used cheddar)
cilantro, rough chop
tomato, chopped
red pepper, raw or lightly sauteed
4 large lettuce leaves, rinsed and patted dry
avocado, sliced
green onion, sliced
1 lime, sliced

Just the Recipe link: Green Taco Burger Wraps

DIRECTIONS

First, season the burger meat. In a large bowl, add meat, egg, cumin, garlic powder, paprika, ground coriander, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper, and red onion to taste. I set the rest of the red onion aside in a little ramekin to top the burgers with later. Use your hands to mix all the ingredients together.

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That’s the only cooking prep you’ll do in this recipe. At this point, I set the meat aside to let the flavors hang out a bit while I chopped up everything else and put all the amazing toppings into their own little bowls.

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When everything else is ready to go, cook the burgers. First, use your hands to form them into small patties (we made two little patties per person). I cooked them on my beautiful new Le Creuset grill pan from Williams-Sonoma, but a regular grill or a pan can do the trick as well. Put your pan over medium high heat and lightly grease before adding the burgers. Cook until browned on each side and medium-rare in the middle (or however you like your burgers cooked!). Set aside for 5 minutes to let the meat rest.

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The next step is just assembly!

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I started with the lettuce wrapper, then laid the burger on top and placed the cheese on top of that, so it would get a little melty. Then it’s only a matter of topping to your heart’s content – cilantro, red pepper, red onion, green onion, avocado, and a finishing squeeze of lime make these a perfect fresh and healthy lunch. Before you take a bite, just wrap the lettuce around your taco-topped burger. Then dig right in!

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Apple Walnut Cake.

Many many thanks to fantastic art director and mi amiga Vanessa Palacio for photographing this cake for me! These are by far the most expert and mouth-wateringly gorgeous shots that have graced KellyintheKitchen. And not only that, but she also picked the apples herself on a recent apple orchard excursion, so muchas muchas gracias a ti, Vane!! We got together on Sunday at my apartment to bake this yummy apple walnut cake, inspired by a similar recipe from smitten kitchen. It’s a pretty unique cake—we loved that instead of butter, this recipe calls for olive oil and lemon-flavored yogurt, which really changes the texture and makes it super moist and soft. After all our hard cake-prep work, it was quite a struggle waiting for our pastel de manzanas y nogales to finish baking, but once it was done (and had posed for its close-up), each bite was everything we dreamed of and more. Nos gusta comer manzanas.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
4 eggs
1 cup lemon yogurt
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 1/4 tsp baking powder, sifted
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp olive oil (NOT extra virgin)
3 apples, peeled, cored, and diced
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
1 tsp cinnamon

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Beat the sugar, brown sugar, and eggs until totally smooth and incorporated. Stir in the yogurt and vanilla.

Sift the flour and baking soda in a bowl. Alternate adding half the flour mixture and half the oil, stirring between each addition.

Then fold in the apples and walnuts.

Pour into a greased springform pan and shake from side to side, to distribute batter evenly. Sift the cinnamon over the cake.

Use the handle end of your spoon to swirl the cinnamon into the top of the batter.

Bake for 55-60 minutes until the top of the cake is golden brown and springs back when you press it gently. If you find that a toothpick inserted into the cake never comes out clean, don’t worry—the toothpick test doesn’t work with this cake. It’s too moist!

Dust with powdered sugar…

…and enjoy!

Hasselback Potatoes with Jalapeño Leek Scrambled Eggs.

On Sunday morning, I set my friends Jalapeño and Leek up on a blind date. They’ve never met before, but since they’re so great separately, I thought I’d introduce them and see if they had any chemistry. It was a little risky, because they tend to roll in pretty different circles: hot and bold Jalapeño usually hangs out with Onion, while Leek has a more mellow friend in Bell Pepper. But I was hoping to play off a bit of an opposites-attract dynamic to see if this odd couple would get along. And while I’m not sure they’ll be going steady any time soon, it’s safe to say they had a Casablanca moment: I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

INGREDIENTS:

2 small potatoes, washed and sliced accordion-style (lots of little slits, without cutting all the way through the base)
olive oil
paprika, salt, pepper, parmesan to taste
1 leek, sliced and washed
1 jalapeño, minced
1 egg
1 tbsp heavy cream, half and half, or milk
cheddar cheese, grated (optional)
parsley, chopped, for garnish

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Rub the potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with paprika, salt, pepper, and parmesan. Bake until browned on the outsides and completely softened on the insides.

Just before the potatoes are finished cooking, heat a bit of olive oil and a bit of butter in a pan over medium low. Add the leeks, stir, and cook 1 minutes. Then stir in the jalapeño. Cook until softened and just starting to turn a bit golden. Set aside.

Crack your egg into a ramekin and add cream/half and half/milk and more salt and pepper. Scramble.

Then add a bit more butter and olive oil to your pan and pour in the egg. Sprinkle over your grated cheese, if you’re using it, and give it about 45 seconds.

Then add the jalapeño and leeks back to the pan and stir into the eggs. Cook until done.

Garnish with parsley and serve! Of all the plates in all the kitchens in all the world, I’m glad this dish walked into on mine.

Stuffed Eight Ball Zucchini.

Recently I feel like I’ve been seeing eight ball zucchini everywhere! I guess that could be explained by the fact that they’re in season right now…but still. I noticed that a bunch of bloggers had interesting stuffed zucchini recipes to offer; then these pudgy little guys appeared on my roommate’s dad’s wedding menu 2 weeks ago, and (as if it weren’t a sign from the universe that I should give them a try myself), they were at my farmers market on Saturday. So I picked up a few. First of all, they’re adorable. Second, they’re so versatile! I love how they leave so much room for food-creativity. I just kind of made this dish up as I went along, and you can can do the same–just prepare them using whatever you’ve got hanging around your kitchen and these will come out beautifully!

INGREDIENTS

1 chorizo sausage, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
2 eight ball zucchini
salt and pepper to taste
5 leaves fresh basil, julienned
1/4 cup tomato sauce

DIRECTIONS

Heat a pan over medium high and add a splash of oil. When the oil is hot, add the chorizo. Cook until browned on the outside. It’s okay if it’s a bit pink in the middle, because it’s going in the oven in a bit. Set the chorizo aside.

Add the celery, carrot, and onion to the pan with the chorizo juices and cook until soft.

While the veggies cook, cut the tops off your zucchini and set them aside for later, and hollow them out. I used a mellon baller. Roughly chop the insides and set them aside.

Stir in the garlic and cook 1 minute. Then add about 2/3 of the zucchini insides, salt and pepper to taste, and stir.

Cook down the mixture until it shrinks a bit, letting the zucchini liquid cook off.

When the mixture has tightened up a bit and some of the liquid has cooked off, stir in the basil, tomato sauce, and the chorizo, and give it another 3 minutes or so. Then remove from heat and let cool 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 F.

When the mixture has cooled a bit, stuff the zucchinis. Place them in a casserole dish or other oven-safe pan and put their little tophats on.

Cover the pan with a sheet of foil and bake for 15 minutes. Then remove the foil and finish them off for another 15-20 minutes, until soft and tender.

That’s it! Take them out and enjoy. I buttered a piece of easy French bread and toasted it in a pan, and it was the perfect simple accompaniment.

Fresh Peach Crisp.

I always really enjoy shopping at farmers’ markets; I’m a sucker for food porn, and it’s hard for me to say no to an open-air market with rows of tables, piled with picture-perfect produce. I always go home with some nice fruits and veggies, but every once in a while the farmers’ market comes through with a big win. This week, it was fresh-picked Michigan peaches. I can definitely say I’ve never had a better peach than these, and I might even go as far as to say that they were some of the best fruit I’ve ever had! Perfect texture, amazing flavor, and a juicy, drip-down-your-chin sweetness that I’m sure makes me look cartoony as I lick my lips and dab at my chin. I ate a few of them in their natural state, but I made sure to save 4 peaches so that I could make this dessert, inspired by seven spoons. And it was totally worth the wait!

INGREDIENTS

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oats
1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp brown sugar
4 tbsp sugar, divided
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick cold butter, cubed
2/3 cup sour cream
1 overflowing tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp honey
4 fresh Michigan peaches (or regular peaches…obviously), cut into eighths

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Combine flours, oats, brown sugar, 2 tbsp sugar, and salt in a bowl.

Then add cold cubes of butter to the dry ingredients and work butter into the mix, rubbing everything together with your fingers. Place topping in the fridge until you’re ready for the final step.

In another bowl, stir together the remaining 2 tbsp sugar, sour cream, vanilla, and honey.

Now, take a handful of the crumb topping and pat it loosely on the bottom of your pie pan, almost like a crust. Spread the yogurt mixture over it, on top of the crumb crust.

Now lay the peaches in a swirl pattern on top of the yogurt.

Top with the rest of the crumb topping and bake for between 30-35 minutes.

Remove from oven when the topping is golden brown. Let cool before eating. Serve hot with vanilla ice cream.

And after you cut out that first slice, pause a moment and admire how this yellow-y orange crisp looks like Ms. Pacman. Wocka wocka wocka.