Friday, December 20, 2013

Earl Grey Tea Cookies - Caity

I love tea and own more teas and tea gear than anyone in their right mind should (I guess that really speaks to my state of mind huh?). Anytime I see a tea related recipe, I have to try it. When I saw this recipe on Pinterest, I was a goner. Earl Grey tea flavored chocolate chip cookies?!?! I never thought a chocolate chip cookie could be improved upon. 

The dough keeps very well in the refrigerator or freezer. I made a batch of dough and stored it in the freezer to save it for a special occasion (or a late night craving). A very special occasion presented itself in early December with the arrival of a little puppy named Nigel. He came into our lives slightly unexpectedly, but he couldn't be cuter and he makes Brendan and I very happy (despite the fact that he chews on my hair and sometimes poops on the rug). I threw these cookies into the oven while my friends played with our little boy and they will always remind me of bringing home our little puppy. 

This recipe comes from the Hummingbird High Baking Blog. The cookies use tea infused butter which imparts all the best flavor of the Earl Grey tea into the final product. I have tried these cookies with Earl Grey tea and Lady Grey and found that Earl Grey gives the cookies the strongest "tea" flavor but if you aren't quite as obsessed with tea as I am, Lady Grey would be a good way to go. I made them once with Earl Grey with Bergamot from Twinings and that batch was especially tasty! Make sure you plan ahead for these yummy cookies because the tea-butter takes at least 45 min to steep and the dough at least a couple hours to chill.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Mashed Rutabaga Gratin - Caity

I know what you may be thinking; I know I have heard of rutabagas, but I wouldn't recognize one if it danced naked in front of me. Up until a couple of years ago, I felt the exact same way. But now that I am older and wiser, I have learned that a rutabaga is a really ugly root vegetable that makes a delicious mashed side dish for Thanksgiving.

I would have never learned this important information about rutabagas and probably would have never tried one if it weren't for the Kestles. In Canada, Mashed Rutabaga Gratin is a common Thanksgiving side dish so Lynn would bring a dish to our Thanksgiving dinner. I always avoided the dish because a rutabaga sounds like a scary vegetable that a kid probably shouldn't eat. Then a couple of years ago, I finally decided to try this mysterious dish and I realized what I have been missing out on. Yum!

I did a bit of light research about what exactly a rutabaga is and found it is a cross between a turnip and a cabbage. This would explain the unique smell it has while baking, not a bad smell but just a little.... cabbage-y. Thank goodness it tastes so good! Lynn calls this dish a Turnip Mash or Turnip Puff because apparently in Canada a rutabaga is called a turnip. I am still confused on this point because I wonder what they call a turnip then. If you know the answer, please enlighten me!

The recipe comes from the Best of the Best Cookbook which is where our favorite Orzo with Parmesan and Basil and Christmas Morning Brunch Bake recipes are from. As I mentioned earlier this recipe is also called a Turnip Puff because I guess the mash puffs up some as you bake it. This is a really nice dish to add to your Thanksgiving spread to mix things up or to surprise a Canadian guest with should you be so lucky to have one at your dinner table. Another great thing is that you can do most of the recipe the day before (yay!) then finish it up the day.

Three years ago: Thanksgiving Stuffing

Serves 6 as a side dish

Monday, November 18, 2013

Thanksgiving Turkey - Caity


This will be the first year I won't be spending Thanksgiving at home in Utah and I am a little bummed. I will miss being woken up early in the morning by Molly jumping on my bed and sitting on my chest, I will miss snacking on Sugared Cranberries while my mom and Lynn repeatedly tell everyone to get out of the kitchen, I will miss my mom sneakily calling me into the kitchen to taste the crispy, salty turkey skin without my dad knowing because if he knew he would tell us how much cholesterol and sodium we are consuming. Most of all I will miss sitting down around the gigantic makeshift table(s) with the Kestle family, enjoying the fantastic food and being together with my whole family.  And of course I will miss the point where Erin feeds Molly from her fork while Molly sits at the table! 

But then I remember how lucky I am to have my Portland family and how blessed I am to have such wonderful people to celebrate with. This year, I am especially lucky because Becca is coming down from Vancouver, B.C. to celebrate the holiday with us! She will help me keep the Walsh/Kestle Thanksgiving family traditions alive like making our favorite recipes and watching Christmas Vacation after dinner is over. 

Brendan is also keeping one of his favorite family Thanksgiving traditions alive, which is a pie baking contest with his cousin Colleen. Unfortunately, Colleen will be in Utah and not able to come to our Portland Thanksgiving, so Brendan had to find a new opponent. He has officially challenged Becca. I am already looking forward to tasting the final product. 

I have only cooked three turkeys in my life and I do not claim to be an expert of any sort. Each time I cooked the turkey though, I was on the phone with a real expert, my mom. This recipe is the way she cooks our turkey for Thanksgiving and this is way I will be making it next week. My mom does not baste her turkey or stuff it (see our Thanksgiving Stuffing, which I guess is technically dressing) and it always turns out great. 

If you're looking for any additional Thanksgiving related recipes (like Fresh Cranberry Orange Relish or Orange and Herbs Turkey Brine) check out our "Thanksgiving" header under the Recipes section. Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving! 

Three years ago: Thanksgiving Stuffing

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Pumpkin Juice - Caity

I am a Harry Potter fanatic. Now that that's out in the open, I can confess that for 13 years (since Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone came out) I've been dying to try pumpkin juice. Harry, Ron and Hermione were always quenching their thirst with a couple of bottles of ice cold pumpkin juice and I didn't want to be left out. 

This year I reached a whole new level of Harry Potter obsession. I bought the "Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook" and I've researched many Harry Potter inspired recipes on Pinterest. I've been waiting for Halloween to test out the pumpkin juice recipe I found on the "Babble" blog and I am happy to say it's great! It would be really fun to serve this out of a big pot with dry ice to make fog. Then again, what drink wouldn't be better with dry ice in it? Happy Halloween! 

Serves 2

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Syrup - Caity

I heard an interesting segment on NPR the other day about the pumpkin craze that hits every October. Obviously I am one of the crazed victims (Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread, Pumpkin Bread Pudding, Pumpkin Spice Creamer, Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal) so I was immediately interested. 

They talked about the fact that most pumpkin flavored things don't contain ANY pumpkin, they simply contain the spices that people associate with pumpkin like cinnamon and nutmeg. Even the famous Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks contains "natural and artificial pumpkin spice flavoring". Therefore, I was determined to make a pumpkin syrup with REAL pumpkin. 

I have made Pumpkin Spice Creamer for lattes before, but I wanted to test out pumpkin syrup since these days I use more flavored syrups in my coffee than creamers. Consider this a happy alternative as both are delicious! 

This recipe is based on a recipe from the blog "Savvy Eats" with a few changes. Enjoy in a latte, on ice cream, over oatmeal, in a chai latte, straight from the bottle... 

Makes 1 cup

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Slow Cooked Applesauce with Browned Butter - Caity

Autumn means the grocery store has been flooded with a huge variety of tasty apples of all colors and sizes. The New Seasons by my apartment had a sampling table where you could sample a dozen different varieties to help you decide what to buy. It didn't help me much because I was convinced that every apple I tried was the best apple in the bunch. I ended up taking home about one of each. I'm starting to think that was their plan all along... 

What do you do with twelve apples? Make applesauce of course! A few days ago, my mom had told me about some delicious applesauce she had made using the slow cooker and a splash of browned butter. She said the browned butter added a nice warm savory flavor to the sauce and combined with all the spices, it was a must make. Then she told me she served it warm for dessert with vanilla ice cream and crumbled gingersnap cookies. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. I also like to eat it cold from the fridge sprinkled with Auntie O's Granola for a fast breakfast. 

I like leaving the peels on the apples, partly because I like the taste and partly because I hate peeling apples. My mom says she prefers it without them or else she will end up picking them out of the sauce. It's a personal preference. If you are going to keep the peels on, make sure you buy organic apples. 

Makes 2-3 cups of applesauce. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Mushrooms on Toast - Caity

I was a lucky girl yesterday. I got to go to the DMV and hang out with all of the interesting people there while waiting to renew my tags. After 45 minutes of waiting and listening to the man sitting across from me tell me about how I shouldn't use my iPhone because the government was using it to spy on me, I was just a teensy bit grumpy and ready to go home. Also, it was getting close to lunch time and I was starving! 

When I got home, I dug through the fridge looking for anything edible and non-moldy. Voila! Mushrooms on Toast! It's easy, filling and not too heavy. You can use any type of mushrooms you like: I happened to have button mushrooms and Chanterelle's on hand so that's what I used. It looks pretty to use a couple of different kinds, but tastes great with any type. I used sandwich bread but it would be especially tasty with fancy shmancy bread. 

Serves 1

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal - Caity

Either you're a pumpkin-hater or a pumpkin-lover: I fall strongly in the latter group. The day the calendar switches from August to September, I eat anything and everything pumpkin flavored. I was so excited to get a pumpkin bagel after work the other day, I talked about it multiple times throughout the shift to my friend and co-worker, Emily. When we got to the bagel place, Emily told the cashier about how obsessed I am with pumpkin bagels and the cashier gave me a free pumpkin bagel. Being crazy pays off!!! 

My mom sent me this recipe for Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal and I knew I had to try it ASAP. After a long night at the hospital (where they seem to be trying to freeze out all the employees by hiding the thermostats), a warm breakfast makes everything better (after a long, hot shower too of course). Usually, I am so tired after work I will eat the first thing I see (for example apple, chips, cookies, ice cream, etc.) which is another reason I really love this recipe. Since it uses steel cut oatmeal, the oatmeal reheats really well without getting mushy. The recipe comes from The Kitchn and I have only made one small adjustment. Prepare yourself for a bowl of chewy, pumpkiny pearls that taste like the best of fall. 

Serves 4-6

Two years ago: Hearty LasagnaSnickerdoodles

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Summer Squash with Browned Butter and Thyme - Caity


Squash and zucchini are everywhere! Brendan and I were walking home from the grocery store the other day and someone had a box filled with different sized squash outside their garden with a sign that said "For our neighbors", which was very nice of them and a very Portland thing to do. They had all shapes and sizes including a pale green squash that was skinny and about 3 feet long. We picked out a couple of ones, including a baseball bat sized zucchini to make zucchini bread with and went home to enjoy our free treats. 

Sautéed Summer Squash with Browned Butter and Thyme is one of my favorite late summer side dishes and we end up making it nearly every night. It's really easy to make so I can throw it together while I'm cooking the rest of dinner. It's a simple recipe that my mom described to me over the phone one day when I was looking for something a little different from what I usually make. She's so smart! I should mail her the skinny 3 foot long squash as a thank you. 

One year ago: Barley Greek Salad

Serves 4

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Greek Layered Dip with Pita Chips-Cathy

This "Greek" dip/spread is one of my latest addictions that I learned from my friend, Linda.  It is so fresh-tasting and wonderful and it's sooo easy, too!

We were visiting our friends, Tom and Linda Huth outside of Boston for the second time in sixth or so months because of business trips--after not seeing them for eighteen or so years! They were kind enough to let us stay with (ahem, mooch off) them both times, and showed us around some beautiful areas of Martha's Vineyard, too. 

They let us play with their ridiculously cute dog, Gilligan (who misses his Aunty Cathy very much, I just know--we even took a nap together, with him curled around the top of my head) and they were even  nice enough to feed us very, very well.  

One night, as an appetizer Linda whipped up this amazing dip that is full of wonderful flavors and lots of chopped veggies and herbs.  She served it with freshly baked pita chips and it was oh, so delicious that we couldn't stop eating it until the whole thing was pretty much gone. And then we proceeded to eat a very large, most excellent BBQ dinner.  All that deliciousness in addition to my constant Boston obsession with searching out the best lobster rolls, clam chowder, pho, and cannolis... Hey, our friends have a really good rowing machine in their basement that we really did use! And some good running to be done in Boston besides. Whew!

But okay, really, I'm telling you--you've got to try this stuff!  I've made it a bunch of times since being home, and it's always been devoured--and not just by me. So here, with very slight adaptations (mostly out of sheer laziness), is Linda's delicious recipe.

One year ago: Baby Bok Choi and Snow Peas, and Blueberry Banana Bread
Two years ago: Spicy Edamame, and Chocolate Zucchini Cake 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Fig Crostini - Caity

One of my dearest friends from college, Marianna, is getting married this weekend! The ceremony is up on Mt. Hood and we get to take a chair lift to the ceremony (unless you're my friend Kelly's poor fiancé, who broke his pelvis 2 weeks ago and has to take a van with the elderly people). The actual wedding site is a little clearing with the peak of Mt Hood rising high in the background. Marianna is so kind and beautiful and has such a great sense of fun that it's sure to be a great wedding. I have been looking forward to this wedding for so long, I can't believe it's here already! 

We celebrated her bridal shower this past weekend at her fiancé's parents home. The house was gorgeous and the party was a blast. We shared some of our favorite memories of Marianna. Her sister, Amelia, told a story about the time they were fishing and Marianna caught a fish hook in the back of her thigh while trying to cast off. Marianna panicked at the thought of having a fish hook caught in her skin and she to passed out from the pain. It made me laugh so hard I was crying!

We spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying wine, champagne and snacks by the pool. I brought some Fig Crostinis to snack on because they have been one of my favorite appetizers this summer. The recipe comes from Melia Marden's cookbook, "Modern Mediterranean", which I highly recommend if you ever come across it. Erin bought it for me and I've made probably 10 recipes from it so far and have loved every one. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Watermelon Juice - Caity

Nothing says "August" more than watermelon! Lately I swear I've been drinking more watermelon juice than water. It's so sweet and refreshing! Try making this for your next BBQ or dinner to celebrate the end of summer. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart with Rosemary Crust - Caity

For me, summer doesn't feel like summer without eating some heirloom tomatoes from Farmer Kevin's (my dad) garden in Utah. I thought I was going to miss out this summer, but when my mom, Lynn and Wilson drove through Portland on the way to the Kestle's new house in Vancouver, B.C., they kindly imported some for me. 

They stayed the night in town and we decided to go out to dinner at Ox, for some Argentinian inspired Portland food. It was well worth the 90 minute wait. We ate ourselves silly on house made chorizo, short ribs, steak, roasted cauliflower, mushroom risotto, salad and fried potatoes. Since they don't allow dogs in the restaurant, Wilson had to stay back in the apartment. Lynn gave him a tranquilizer before we left so he wouldn't be really anxious alone in a small apartment he's not used to. When we got back Wilson was a little loopy (he only got half a pill; talk about a lightweight!) and he entertained us by flopping around on the couch looking stoned. 

Morning came too quickly and before I knew it, they were back on the road, bound for the border. I was left with an empty apartment, the day off, and a plate full of tasty Utah heirloom tomatoes to keep me company. I found this recipe on a blog called "Bella Eats" (here). You will need a 10 inch tart pan with a removable bottom to make this tart. I served this with some sautéed summer squash for a meatless meal, but it would go great with anything I think. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tomato Parmesan Farro - Caity

I still can't get over my summer produce/Farmer's Market high; I am happily snatching up all the ripe fruits and vegetables that Oregon summer has to offer! I decided to have a couple of college dance friends, Marianna, Amy and her husband Jered, over for dinner last week and I was very excited that I was able to get everything for dinner (except the farro and red pepper flakes) from the Wednesday Farmer's Market downtown. 

I had a great time wandering through the market examining all the items that are different from the Utah Farmer's Market. I was excited to find fresh, locally grown onions, some that were bigger than a softball. I have never seen an onion that big! After deciding an onion that size would last me the better part of a month, I chose a smaller, more reasonably sized onion which I am happy to say was delicious! 

The tomatoes were out in force and I picked up a couple pints of bright red cherry tomatoes intending on trying a recipe for "One-Pot Farro with Tomatoes" I'd seen on the Smitten Kitchen website. The farro came out great and it was so easy! When I say it was easy, I mean it's EASY! When you dish up this farro, it tastes like you've spent hours slaving over the hot stove, delicately adding in each ingredient and stirring it to perfection. What really happened was, you chopped everything up and dumped it in the pot, had a glass of wine and sat down talking to old friends for half an hour. Voila! Dinner! 

As the Smitten Kitchen points out on her website, purchasing farro can be somewhat tricky. Here is a brief excerpt about which farro is the "right" farro for this recipe:

"The trickiest thing in writing this recipe was considering the different types of farro (from an Italian wheat strain known as emmer) available — as well as misconceptions, such as the notion that it can be used interchangeably with spelt (it cannot, as spelt can take hours.). It comes semi-pearled (semi-perlato) and pearled (perlato) — which describes how much of the exterior bran is removed — but packages are not always labeled. However, if your package says it will cook in less than 25 minutes, it’s semi-pearled. If it takes 30 or more minutes and recommends pre-soaking, it is not."

Serves 4 as a side, 2 as a hearty main dish.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Quick & Easy Blueberry Freezer Jam - Caity


I've been so obsessed with the Quick & Easy Strawberry Freezer Jam, I had to have more. I bought a few pints of organic Oregon blueberries from the farmer's market the other day and it made the most beautiful bright blue/purple jam. 

I have been enjoying blueberry and strawberry jam (at least) twice a day since then; on toast, on English muffins, in sandwiches, in parfaits with Auntie O's Granola (yum!!!), straight out of the jar........ 

Makes 6 cups of jam 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Grilled Cornbread Panzanella - Caity

I love this time of year because the all the produce is so fresh and flavorful.  I went to the farmers market the other day and was annoyed I had only thought to bring one bag; I wanted everything! I also love this time of summer because of the sticky warm heat (my mom repeatedly tells me I can't possibly be her daughter because she hates this kind of weather). I like that you can go outside and grill something without having it dump rain on you; in Oregon that's a real treat!  

Cornbread and panzanella are two things I really like so I can't believe it had never occurred to me to combine the two. This recipe comes from the website "The Kitchn" and allows for optional add-ins; you can add in whatever is ripe at the market like corn, zucchini, micro greens, etc. If you find you are just as in love with panzanella as I am, make sure you try our other favorite Panzanella recipe. 

If you want to keep some for leftovers, separate the cornbread and salad and do not mix and dress until you're close to eating time. 

One year ago: Rice, Bean and Many Veggie Gratin
Two years ago: Grilled Lemon Chicken Salad, Panzanella

Serves 2 as a main, 4 as a side dish

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Zucchini & Haloumi Fritters with Lemony Sriracha Aioli - Erin

You know it's really summer when your zucchini and squash plants start going nuts.  After a while I can't think of anything else to do with them and end up letting them go bad, but now that I've got this delicious recipe that won't be happening again!  Lemony with delicious haloumi and fresh zucchini and squash from my garden, they're so good, especially with the sriracha aioli!  I even put a fried egg on top of a couple of them the day after I made them, and was very happy with the results!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Quick & Easy Strawberry Freezer Jam - Caity

The thought of making jam or jelly has always intimidated me. I think it's the whole sealing the jars part. I'd have to buy all those cute matching mason jars and associated gear... meh. So I was excited when my mom told me there was a way to make jam sans sealing; freezer jam! 

Basically you smash the fruit, boil water with the sugar and pectin, mix it all together and put it containers. The ones you put in the fridge you have to use within 3 weeks (not a problem when you eat jam as much as I have been lately!) otherwise throw it in the freezer for up to a year! This jam is so fresh tasting and it has nice big chunks of fruit in it. 

I will warn you though, once you make this jam, you will find yourself eating more jam than you have ever eaten before. One day I had toast with jam for breakfast, a crumpet with jam for lunch then a PB&Jam sandwich for dinner. That's a lot of jam!!!! 

This recipe comes from the insert inside the Sure Jell Low Sugar Pectin box (low sugar, yay!). 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Peruvian Quinoa Salad-Cathy

It's time for another "crossover" posting! The 2 Vagabonds are at it again next Saturday for another open house with many fabulous things from all over the world. So here is another recipe that is often served at their events and is also posted on their website, This salad is light, high in protein and especially refreshing in our HOT Utah summer weather.

Quinoa is a staple “grain-like crop” grown that has a very long history of being widely consumed in Peru. It’s high in protein and is otherwise nutritionally very dense; it also happens to be very, very delicious.

We have always loved quinoa and eat it quite often; it has a simple flavor and a lovely slight crunch when cooked just to the point of being barely tender. You see it most commonly in this yellow-white color, but also in beautiful red and black colors. When we went to Peru last year we were fortunate enough to see the beautiful flowering fields everywhere, and enjoyed eating quinoa in many different ways. 

This tabbouleh-like salad, slightly adapted from a great Peruvian cooking source,, is one delicious and wonderful way to enjoy this high-protein and easy to prepare food. It has been very much enjoyed at the 2 Vagabonds parties as a refreshing, light salad and an example of some of the wonderful flavors of Peru. 

This works well as a side dish to any kind of grilled chicken (try our Peruvian Style Roasted Chicken), fish, steak, or veggies--or just all by itself!

One year ago: Basil Saketini, and Rice, Bean and Many Veggie Gratin
Two years ago: Asian Grilled Salmon, Mexican-Style Hominy, and Preserved Lemons

Friday, June 28, 2013

Buttered Rosemary Rolls - Caity

I love these rolls because they are easy, they look fancy and they are oh so delicious! If you serve them straight out of the oven, they are warm and the butter melts into them and yummmmmm! The last time I made these, I ate five out of seven of the rolls. I would have happily eaten the other two rolls but Brendan selfishly hogged two of them. How inconsiderate! Didn't he learn to share in Kindergarten? 

This recipe comes from the Pioneer Woman's website and tastes great as a side for Grilled Salmon with Sundried Tomatoes and Caprese Salad.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Auntie O's Granola - Caity

When I went to college, it was a huge shock to me to eat three meals a day in a cafeteria. It REALLY made me appreciate a good home cooked meal. Things got better when my friends and I moved into a house our sophomore year and we were able to cook some for ourselves. Nevertheless, I always appreciated a box with snacks from my family or a box of snacks from my roommate's family. 

Kamauri's aunt, Auntie O, made granola once and sent up a gallon sized bag filled with it and it was life changing! I became so obsessed with her granola that Auntie O started sending up two gallon sized bags, one for Kamauri and one for me. I specifically remember one time while studying for a pathophysiology test, eating my way through more than half of the bag and still wanting more! 

She sent me the recipe a long time ago and I can't believe it's taken me this long to make it. But now that I have two big bags of granola, I am feeling very content with life. I made a couple of changes from the original recipe which is from and is originally titled "Megan's Granola" (but for me this will always be Auntie O's granola). I also am trying to eat less sugar so I reduced the amount of honey and made the brown sugar optional; it is great with it and great without it! Depends on how much of a sweet tooth you have. Enjoy and thank you again to Auntie O for all the gallons (literally) of granola!