Cast Iron Cooking 101

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In our minds, cast iron can do just about anything — it produces some serious heat, it’s naturally nonstick, it can go straight from the stove top to the oven, and it’s the true master of one-pot meals. Occasionally you’ll hear that cast iron can be a little  finicky, or tricky to clean. But we have to disagree! If you show your pan a little love, give it a good cleaning and seasoning, you’ll have a pan to last you a lifetime. This weekend we’ll call out some of our best cast iron tips and summer recipes! Here’s a sneak peek…

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cucumber grapefruit Paloma

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Light, refreshing, and oh so tasty! Sounds like the perfect recipe for mom doesn’t it? We love this cocktail for it’s general drinkability during the warmer months ahead, but also for its ability to easily turn into a mocktail! Just skip the tequila and add a few more splashes of juice and sparkling water.

The Perfect Paloma

Makes: 2 drinks
Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients
4 ounces Reposado tequila
1 ounce fresh lime juice
3 cucumber slices
3 ounces fresh grapefruit juice
pinch of salt
1 ounce club soda
3 tablespoons simple syrup or agave

Directions
In a shaker, muddle the cucumber slices and lime juice. Add the tequila, grapefruit juice and simple syrup. Add in a small pinch of salt. Shake to combine.

Pour over ice into two glasses rimmed with salt or sugar (optional).

Top with club soda and stir to combine. Garnish with lime, grapefruit slices and/or cucumber slices.

quinoa stuffed eggplant

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Want to impress the socks right off a special lady in your life? Make this dish! This veggie filled, recipe is light yet filling and we can guarantee that it will be a big hit, especially in the flavor department! We recommend serving with a light, dressed salad of chopped veggies or greens!

Quinoa Stuffed Eggplant with Yogurt Sauce

Makes: 4 servings
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients
eggplant
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons coriander
1 teaspoon chili flakes
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lemon zest
2/3 cup olive oil, plus extra for drizzle
2 medium eggplants

yogurt sauce
½ cup Greek yogurt
½ cup buttermilk
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
pinch of salt

quinoa
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water or broth
2 teaspoons cilantro, chopped, plus more to garnish
2 teaspoons mint, chopped
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
3 green onions, sliced
1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice

Directions
Preheat oven to 400°F.

In a small bowl, mix together the garlic, cumin, coriander, chili flakes, paprika, salt, lemon zest and ½ cup of the olive oil.

Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise then score the flesh of each half by making deep, diagonal cuts into the flesh without piercing the skin. Spoon the garlic and spice mixture over each half, spreading evenly. Place the eggplant, cut side up, on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 40 minutes, or until the eggplants are completely soft.

To make the yogurt sauce, combine yogurt, buttermilk, olive oil, garlic and salt in a small bowl.

Whisk to combine and taste. Adjust seasoning if desired and transfer to refrigerator to keep cold.

In a medium saucepan, combine the quinoa, two cups liquid (water or broth) and a pinch of salt. Bring to a rolling boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to the lowest setting and cover. Cook for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove from heat but keep covered for another 5 minutes.

When the quinoa is done, remove the lid, add remaining olive oil and fluff with a fork. Add herbs, almonds, green onions, lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Stir to combine and taste, adding more seasoning if desired.

To serve, place ½ of an eggplant cut side up on a plate. Spoon the quinoa mixture on top, then spoon over some yogurt sauce, sprinkle with cilantro and a drizzle of olive oil.

blueberry brown butter waffles

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Can you think of any better way to wake mom up than with homemade breakfast in bed? Because we can’t! These yummy waffles provide the wow factor when it comes to presentation AND taste. The best part? They are SO simple to throw together and great for making with kids! We recommend placing on a tray with additional bowls of toppings, her favorite morning cup and some fresh flowers.

Blueberry Brown Butter Waffles

Makes: 8 servings
Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ cups blueberries
2 ½ cups buttermilk
4 eggs
1 stick butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla

for topping
whipped cream
extra berries
syrup
butter
sprinkles

Directions
Preheat oven to 200°F and have a rimmed baking sheet ready. This is where you’ll place
cooked waffles to keep them warm.

Preheat your waffle iron.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk constantly as the butter begins to bubble and foam. After several minutes, small brown flecks will appear at the bottom of the saucepan. Continue whisking until it turns brown and is giving off a nutty aroma. Transfer immediately to a large bowl to cool.

Whisk together the flour, salt, sugar, baking powder and baking soda in a medium bowl. Toss in the blueberries and coat well with the flour mixture.

Add the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla to the bowl of butter. Whisk until combined. Pour the dry mixture into the wet mixture and fold until just combined and no dry lumps remain.

Generously coat your waffle iron with non-stick spray or butter. Then cook waffles according to the machine instructions. Once cooked, transfer to rimmed baking sheet and keep warm in the oven.

Serve immediately with your favorite toppings: syrup, whipped cream, berries, sprinkles – whatever makes you happy!

How to Host Mother’s Day Brunch

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There’s nothing we love more than a day that celebrates the special women in our lives – and guess what? It’s coming up! This Mother’s Day we  hope you spoil all of the lovely ladies in your life (or you’re the one getting spoiled!), because they (you!) most certainly deserve it. Stumped on what to do? We highly recommend making one of these fabulous recipes and giving her the most relaxing day possible. Hosting a get together? You won’t want to miss our features this week! Starting with Tips for Hosting…

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ESPRESSO pots de creme

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You don’t necessarily need to love coffee to LOVE this treat, but it certainly doesn’t hurt! Once again, we are pairing the coffee flavors with a rich and creamy dark chocolate and some bright berries. Can you tell we like that combination? Because we can’t get enough of it!

Espresso Pots de Creme

Makes: 6 servings
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes + chilling time

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
½ cup whole milk
7 oz. high quality dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 ½ teaspoons instant espresso powder
6 large egg yolks
¼ cup dark brown sugar
whipped cream
cocoa nibs
fresh berries

Directions
Heat oven to 300°F. Place 6 medium ramekins in a roasting pan and set aside.

Place chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, bring cream, milk, espresso powder and a pinch of salt just to a boil. Stir until espresso powder dissolves, then pour over chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted and smooth.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and a pinch of salt. Slowly add the warm chocolate mixture, whisking constantly while pouring. Pour custard through a fine mesh sieve into a glass container or bowl, and let cool completely, about 15 minutes.

Divide the custard among the ramekins. Pour warm water into the pan so that it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the pan tightly with foil that has been poked several times to create holes.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the custards are almost set but not quite in the middle. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before wrapping them tightly with plastic wrap and chilling in the refrigerator.

Once chilled, remove from refrigerator, top with whipped cream, cocoa nibs and fresh berries to serve.

mocha coconut frappuccino

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The ultimate coffee pairing? Chocolate of course! With the warmer months ahead, we can promise you that this cold, refreshing and indulgent treat will be on our radar all summer long! For some added yum, play with the toppings and try different mix-ins!

Mocha Coconut Frappuccino

Makes: 2 servings
Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
½ cup strongly brewed coffee (your favorite roast)
½ cup milk of your choice
½ cup canned coconut milk
5 tablespoons dark chocolate syrup
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups ice
½ cup whipped cream

Directions
Heat oven to 325°F.

Spread coconut flakes on a baking sheet and place in the oven for 5-10 minutes until golden brown. Check it every couple of minutes, stirring several times to ensure it isn’t burning. When light golden brown, take out of the oven and leave to cool.

Make extra-strong coffee in your preferred method or make a double shot of espresso. Stir in the sugar and move to the refrigerator to chill while your coconut is toasting.

To make the drinks, place the coffee, milk, coconut milk, ice, all but 2 tablespoons of toasted coconut, and all but 2 tablespoons of chocolate syrup in a blender. Blend until smooth.

Pour into two glasses. Garnish with whipped cream, drizzled chocolate and toasted coconut.
Add a straw and enjoy!

blueberry coffee cake with Espresso Glaze

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It’s a bold statement, but we may love coffee cake just as much as we love a good cup of coffee! Coffee cake can come in many different forms, but this one is full of berries and drizzled with a delectable coffee glaze. Note to our tea lovers out there: we didn’t forget about you! This little cake is just as tasty with a hot cup of tea! You could even swap the espresso glaze for an earl grey glaze. YUM!

Blueberry Coffee Cake with Espresso Glaze

Makes: 12 servings
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup whole milk
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen

crumb topping
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
pinch salt
¼ cup butter, melted

espresso glaze
1½ teaspoons instant espresso powder
2-3 tablespoons strong brewed coffee
¾ cup confectioners” sugar, sifted

Directions
Heat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with non-stick spray and dust with flour.

To make the crumb topping, combine the flour, sugars and salt. Pour the butter over the top and mix until crumbly. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in eggs, vanilla and milk and whisk until combined. Mix in lemon zest. Slowly add in flour mixture and stir until just combined, being careful not to overmix. Carefully fold in the blueberries.

Spread batter evenly into prepared pan. Sprinkle with crumb topping. Bake at 350°F for 45-50 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack, then run a knife around the edge of the pan and remove the ring.

To make the drizzle, stir together espresso powder and 2 tablespoons coffee until powder has dissolved. Add confectioners’ sugar and stir until well combined. If the glaze is too thick, thin with additional tablespoon coffee or a splash of milk.

Drizzle glaze over cooled cake and serve.