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Category: Recipes

You’d Be {Nuts} Not To: DIY Almond Milk

Last weekend, I made my first foray into the world of homemade nut milk.

Everyone who ever told me nut milk is “easy” was a hipster, vegan skinny minnie, so I was pretty convinced it wasn’t at all easy.

Turns out, I was completely wrong.

Here’s what I learned:

I got the basic recipe from TheKitchn.com. Basically, you’ll need 1 cup dry (i.e., pre-soaked) almonds to 2 cups water.

Measure your almonds.

I bought a package of almonds from Whole Foods and made the mistake of not measuring them before I soaked them. The result was a slightly wetter version than I’d have wanted.

Soak your almonds.

I did it for two days, but you can do just overnight.

Drain well.

Add almonds with water 1:2 (i.e. 1 cup almonds with 2 cups water) and blend thoroughly.

Strain almond meal/water mixture.

Use some sort of meshy material to get out every last drop. I used my new nut milk bag from Ellie’s Best which is a million times easier and cleaner than pretty much any other type of straining material, is reusable, and only costs $10. I’ve tried making ricotta and butter with cheesecloth, and it was messy and challenging and I never removed all the moisture. If you decide you need one too (hint: you do), use code “threetimes” for a discount!

Add a little sweetness (optional).

I added a drop of vanilla and some of the honey from my aunt and uncle’s beehives and voila! I am set for a week of overnight oats!

The whole process took like 5, 10 minutes tops of hands-on work. I definitely need to perfect my balance, and I’ll be sure to share when I do! Share your tips and tricks in the comments below!

 

Disclaimer: Three Times Per Day is committed to only marketing products I personally stand behind. Ellie’s Best kindly sent me over their nut milk bag to try, and they were seriously amazing. For more info about them, head to ElliesBest.com and remember Three Time Per Day readers get a discount! Use threetimes a checkout for 10% off!

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Healthy Halloween Treats

halloween-treats

If you want all of the treats but none of the sweets, these Halloween snacks are for you. I love these little guys as a quick, simple, and healthy spread for parties. Plus, they’re kid-friendly and super easy to make for that holiday party you were roped into providing food for.

banana-ghosts

Banana Ghosts

Bananas
Mini semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips (make sure they’re kiss shaped)
Regular-sized semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips (make sure they’re kiss shaped)

1. Cut bananas in half width-wise.
2. Point side first, push the chocolate chips into the banana. Use 2 mini chocolate chips as the eyes and the regular-sized chocolate chips as the mouth
Note: if your ghosts are having trouble standing up, use melted peanut butter or chocolate at the base. Or lay them on their backs! They’ll still look spooky : )

antsonalog

Ants on a Log

Celery
Peanut Butter
Raisins

1. Cut stalks of celery off of the bunch and into thirds.
2. Smear peanut butter into the “valley” of the celery stalk.
3. Place raisins in a line on the peanut butter

pumpkins

Pumpkins

Tangerines/Clementines
Celery (the leftovers from Ants on a Log work great!)

1. Peel tangerines or clementines.
2. With the leftover celery (either the tops or bottoms of the bunch, if you’ve made the ants on a log), cut little stems and place into the hole on the top of the tangerine/clementine.

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Cheesy Caramelized Onion & Mushroom Omelet

This omelet is like the best grilled cheese you’ve ever had without the bread. And it’s so easy-peasy, any amateur cook can handle it. At the same time, this recipe walks through tons of tips that are transferable to all sorts of recipes.

What You Need:

butter
1/2 yellow or Spanish onion (cut into slivers) + a little red onion if you wish
3-4 crimini mushrooms (cut into thin slices)
handful of spinach (optional)
salt
pepper
2 eggs
hard mozzarella (block, rather than pre-shredded)
smoked or regular cheddar (also block, rather than pre-shredded)
feta (optional, if you prefer it. Just choose whichever of these 3 cheeses you prefer!)

skillet
turner spatula

What You Gotta Do:

1. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Once warm, add a healthy amount of butter (enough to slick the bottom of the pan.)
2. Add the mushrooms and onions to the pan. They should sizzle immediately. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and let cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions and mushrooms are both browned and some have a bit of a char.
3. While the mushrooms and onions are caramelizing, shred about a scant 1/4 cup each of mozzarella and smoked cheddar and mix together. Note: shredding the cheese helps it melt more easily. It’s a good trick to use when making grilled cheese as well.
4. If desired, add a handful of spinach. When spinach has just wilted, move on to step 3.
5. Turn heat down to medium-low. Whisk eggs with a pinch of salt and pepper.
6. Add eggs to the pan and rock skillet around a little to make sure it spreads around evenly. You can cover for a bit to ensure everything gets cooked, but not necessary.
7. When the bottom of the eggs are just set (test this by trying to lift up a bit with the spatula), turn the omelet over. If you can’t do this in one go, just quickly turn it all in pieces and then smush it back together once the wet sides are facing down.
8. When eggs look just cooked (no one likes a dried omelet), sprinkle the cheese over the top evenly.
9. As cheese begins to melt, fold your omelet, slide onto a plate (preferably a warmed one), and enjoy!

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How To Cut A Cake The Scientifically Correct Way

This morning, PIF told me he was going to bake a cake with his little cousin. Needless to say, I’ve now had cake on my mind all. damn. day. Because Google and Facebook can read minds, I stumbled upon this today and just had to share:

 

 

For the article in Nature (one of the most prestigious scientific magazines, if not the most prestigious scientific magazine): click here

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Not-Too-Decadent Peach French Toast

There are few things I love more than a leisurely breakfast. I leave my blinds drawn so that I am gently woken up as the sun rises, put on great podcast, and then prepare and — more importantly — savor my first meal of the day. For me, a calm morning is the ultimate preventative medicine; a hectic one can throw off my entire day, leaving me frazzled as I head into work.

Of course, there are bound to be mornings when you don’t have 45 minutes to prep and cook. And that’s why this recipe is so perfect. Make it on a morning when you have time or during the weekend and reheat it quickly throughout the week. Or make it for brunch and eat it all in one go with friends and family! The opportunities are endless. Plus, this recipe is high protein, fruit forward, and relatively low calorie, meaning there is no guilt and no food coma to follow, assuming you practice some self-restraint and don’t eat the whole thing. I know, I know — easier said than done.

Peach French Toast

Peach French Toast

Total Cook Time: ~40 minutes
Serves 4

Ingredients

crusty bread (I like a more rustic whole wheat loaf with seeds and texture. Added bonus if it’s a bit stale.)
4 eggs
2/3 cup plain or vanilla almond milk (can sub for other types of milk)
1 tsp vanilla
3 peaches
2 T agave nectar or maple syrup (skip if your peaches are already deliciously sweet)
1/4 cup of ricotta per serving being eaten
maple syrup

Also needed:
8 x 8 baking tray
2 mixing bowls

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly butter baking pan or use a canola oil spray (Go easy on the fats. You don’t need much. I take a cold stick of butter and run it along the inside surface).
2. Slice off about 4 hearty slices of bread (~1 to 3/4 inches thick) and cut into relatively even cubes (in a relatively stubby loaf I get about 9 cubes per slice).
3. Spread bread cubes along the bottom of the pan.
4. In one of your mixing bowls, mix the eggs, milk, and vanilla and whisk to combine.
5. Pour egg mixture over the bread cubes and let sit. (I like to let the bread really soak up that eggy goodness so it’s soggy in the middle and crispy on the crust.)
6. In the meantime, remove the peach flesh from the seed and slice it into thin crescents. No need to take off that nutrient rich skin!
7. In a mixing bowl, add the agave or maple syrup to the peaches (if using any) and and mix with your hands so they’re lightly coated. Treat yourself to a peach slice, cause you deserve it.
8. Pour your peaches on top of the bread and egg mixture. Use your hands once again to fold the peaches into the mixture. Do not eat any peach slices at this point. You lost your shot; they’re now covered in raw egg.
9. Bake your french toast for 20 mins or until eggs are fully set. I like to finish off the french toast under the broiler on high for just under a minute to get the top nice and crispy.
10. While the french toast is baking, mix about 1 t of maple syrup or agave per 1/4 cup ricotta and mix to make a protein-rich whipped cream.
11. When eggs have set or toast has been finished off under the broiler, remove from oven.
12. Serve hot topped with the ricotta. If treating yourself, drizzle a tablespoon of maple syrup over it as well.

Enjoy!

To reheat, rebake in over at 350 degrees just until heated (you can throw it in as the oven heats if you’re rushed) or, if really rushed, pop in the microwave.

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Safe(r)-to-Eat Cookie Dough

Look, I get it. Sometimes you just are craving some cookie dough, but have zero intention of baking any cookies. That’s where this recipe comes in:

cookie-dough

Ingredients

1 cup + 2 T flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt (plus more to taste)
6 T granulated sugar
6 T brown sugar
1/2 cup butter (or margarine)
1/2 t vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips of desired size
1/2 cup oats (optional)
1/4 cup nuts (optional)
water

Instructions

Mix all dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt, sugar, and salt).
Cream butter at room temperature and add vanilla.
Add butter to dry ingredients.
The mixture should now be a bit clumpy. Add water in tablespoon intervals until cookie dough consistency.
Fold in oats, nuts, and chocolate chips (I like to use some minis and some chunks).

Enjoy!

Adapted from www.food.com.

Note: Consuming raw flour is also potentially dangerous. Consume at your own risk. (Sorry shit had to get serious all of a sudden.)

 

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What I Love This Week: Spiralizers!

I love eating a home cooked meal, but sometimes I’m just exhausted at the end of the day and not interested in chopping and assembling 10 moving pieces. So far, I’ve found nothing easier than spiralized zucchini. Healthy, versatile, and fast, zucchini noodles — i.e., zucchini noodles — are fun to whip up and easy to cook. Just shove the zucchini in there, twist it into the grater, and zoodles will fall out the side. I sauté them in a bit of olive oil with some carrots and onions and then dress them in pesto and pair with a protein.

I use this spiralizer, which only costs $6 and works like a charm.

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What I Love This Week: Kale, Date, and Avocado Salad

I loooooove salads. I think they are a really wonderful platform to test the intermingling of flavor profiles. They can be light and refreshing, or rich and filling. They allow you to mix together every segment on the food pyramid in one go.

They can also be really boring and cost you $15 on your lunch break only to leave you hungry an hour later.

Not the case for this glorious salad.

On Saturday evening, PIF and I planned to cook some fish and since I’m the Salad Queen, I was in charge of whipping something up in that department. I had a ton of kale, avocados, and dates in my fridge (you know, all the necessities), so I searched the internet for an interesting combination of the three. I found this salad, which took maybe 10 minutes to make and was so delicious I brought it in for lunch today at work. Therefore, I’m including here both the original recipe and my method for packing it for lunch that will waste next to none of your time in the morning.

Kale, Date, and Avocado Salad
Adapted from MarthaStewart.com

Total Cook Time: 10 mins
Serves 2

4 handfuls of kale, preferably Tuscan, roughly cut into ribbons*
1/8 cup pine nuts, lightly roasted**
1 avocado
1.5 T lemon juice, preferably from a fresh lemon
3 T olive oil
4 dates, chopped into little chunks
1 ounce shaved Parmesan***
Salt
Pepper

1. In a large bowl, toss together kale, pine nuts, oil, and lemon juice.
2. Add avocados, cheese, and dates, and toss gently
3. Season generously with salt and pepper
4. Serve

* To do this, fold a piece of kale in half hot dog-style, cut vertically along the spine, and then cut approximately inch strips horizontally.
** To do this, heat a skillet for 2 minutes over medium-high heat, add pine nuts, and toss around til they’re roasted to a light brown on each side.
*** I highly recommend shelling out for a nice hunk of Parmesan and then grating yourself. I haven’t yet discussed this much, but pre-shredded cheese freaks me out, Parmesan especially. Why? Read more here.

Seriously, it’s that easy.

Okay, now you’re addicted and looking at how you can eat this every day for lunch at work. You could make it before, but salad can sometimes get droopy (though Tuscan kale holds up pretty well, avocado not so much.)

Here’s how I did it. I put the kale & pine nuts together in a rather large container. A gallon plastic bag works too. I then put the grated cheese, chopped dates, and olive oil in separate little containers. Then I brought an avocado along. I also toted along my salt & pepper shakers cause I am emotionally attached to them. Note: Half the recipe if you’re making it for yourself. Unless you’re super hungry. Then more power to ya!

Once it’s lunch time, just add all the ingredients to the kale-and-pine-nuts container and shake it up. If you’re only using half the avocado, cut it around the pit, leaving the pit in the half you’re not using. That’ll help it last much, much longer. Then store the half with the pit for tomorrow.

Note: Half the recipe if you’re making it for yourself. Unless you’re super hungry. Then more power to ya!

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Empellón Fiesta at The Aviary!

I’m not sure how many people have been told they need to work on their “hair game” by Nick Kokonas, but PIF and I are two of them.

A few Mondays ago, we attended the Chicago release party of Alex Stupak, chef and owner of the Empellóns in New York City, and Jordana Rothman’s new cookbook Tacos: Recipes and Provocations.  This was our first soirée into the world of Chicago’s Food Elite. We spent the night eating and drinking well over the worth of our tickets in tacos and mezcal and got to have conversations with Chefs Alex Stupak, Jenner Tomaska (Next), and Grant Achatz (Alinea), and, obviously, Nick Kokonas (co-owner and co-founder of Alinea and founder of Tock).

Overall, the night was incredibly eye opening. The people we talked to, aided no doubt by the mezcal, were blunt and honest; the crowd was elegant and gave off an air of importance that was contagious; and the food – guacamole with uni, lamb barbacoa tacos, and char roe pico de gallo – was incredible. I was at once captivated, intimidated, and excited. We happened to run into a friend of mine from college who is an aspiring chef and was (smartly) taking advantage of his ticket and treating the event as a job fair. Flanked on both sides by extreme extroverts, I was encouraged to introduce myself to as many people as I had time for in between servings and, as such, I got to shake the hand of every industry influencer there that I had learning about for months.

Later, as I reflected on the evening, I realized that the night had left me with more unanswered – or perhaps unanswerable – questions. None of these brilliant and influential people perfectly embodied exactly what I wanted to be doing in the food realm. Today, I’m still very unsure of my place (if I have one at all), other than that of a voracious eater, enthralled hobbyist, and self-proclaimed critic. If I had to choose, I’d say I fall somewhere between a Jordana and a Nick. While I love to learn, brainstorm, and create, I am simply not a chef. But I am inquisitive, creative, and fully enchanted by this industry that is centered around creating goods that last mere seconds or minutes, experiences that last hours, memories that last a lifetime, and ideas that are both eternal and eternally evolving.

However, there is at least one thing I learned definitively that evening and it is that fresh tortillas taste infinitely better than store bought ones. And, just as importantly, they are extremely easy and fast to make at home. Making tortillas is already a super cheap process, but here is my even cheaper, I-Live-Alone take on Alex Stupak’s recipe.

Corn Tortillas

Adapted from Alex Stupak and Jordana Rothman’s Tacos: Recipes and Provocations

Cook time: 10 minutes
Makes 2 tortillas

Ingredients:
1/4 cup masa harina
water
gallon sized Ziplock bag

1. Mix 1/4 cup masa harina with 1/8 cup water in a bowl and mix with hands and roll into a ball. Keep adding water in small increments until you can press the ball without cracks forming in the dough. (I find I generally have to add quite a bit more water.)

2. Once you get it to a good consistency, make two equal sized balls from the one big ball and cover with a wet cloth (This is what Stupak recommends, but I place the ball back into the bowl, which should have a bit of water on the bottom, and cover with a cutting board). I find my tortillas turn out better when I let them sit for 20-30 mins after mixing, so I typically leave it while I prepare the insides.

3. Place one skillet over medium-high heat and another over low-medium heat.

4. Tear the freezer bag along the edges so it is just a large, plastic rectangle.

5. If you don’t have a tortilla press, I had pretty good results pressing the dough between two cookie sheets with heavy books piled on top. To set up your “press,” place one rimmed baking sheet face down, place the open Ziplock bag on the baking sheet, and go get a bunch of heavy books.

6. When you’re almost ready to serve, take a ball and press between your fingers so it’s slightly flat on either side.

7. Place the ball on one side of the Ziplock bag and fold the other half of the plastic bag over the ball.

8. Press the bottom of the other cookie sheet on top of ball and place heavy books on top. Press down until tortilla is desired thickness. Tortilla should be around 5 inches in diameter. Too thin, and it will be impossible to peel off in one piece. Too thick, and it just won’t taste as good.

9. Carefully peel off one side of the Ziplock bag. Place hand over tortilla and slowly peel off other side of the Ziplock bag.

10. Carefully flop tortilla onto the low-medium skillet. (Stupak actually recommends sliding the tortilla onto the skillet but this takes some mastering.)

11. After 15 seconds, use spatula to flip the tortilla over and onto the medium-high skillet for 30 seconds. Flip over, still on medium-high skillet, for 10 seconds. Repeat this one more time. Then move tortilla to a plate and repeat with the other tortilla. (You can make this a more streamlined process by having the other tortilla pressed and between the plastic baggy, ready to go as soon as the first tortilla is done. If you’re cooking with multiple people, have a sous chef press the tortilla while you cook man the stove or vice versa.)

12. Prepare to be blown away.

Enjoy!
 

 

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Bae’s Scrambled Eggs

Confession time.

 I haven’t always been a foodie. 

For a long time, I was perfectly happy eating breakfast wraps from Starbucks and ice cream from the frozen food section of Walgreens. It was actually PIF who got me to really start viewing cooking and dining as an art. See, PIF grew up in India and then held fancy internships all throughout college that gave him exposure to great food (think The Fat Duck, Eleven Madison Park, and Indian Accent). He’d also followed chefs like Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsay and had learned the basics of French cooking. When we first met, PIF (who was new to Chicago) would thoroughly research restaurants in city and take me to the best ones we could afford. Perhaps more importantly, he would also cook me food the “right” way. This was how I learned that I’d always been eating overcooked fish and dry scrambled eggs.

This recipe, which PIF adapted from an episode of a Gordon Ramsay TV show (let’s be real, it’s hard to keep them all straight) is simple yet delicate and refined, making it a perfect brunch dish. It’s also easy to make in large quantities if you’re entertaining.

 

 

Bae’s Scrambled Eggs
Inspired by Gordon Ramsay

Cook time: approximately 20 minutes
Serves 2

 3 eggs
2 T of butter
1 T heavy cream
salt
pepper
(optional) finely chopped chives
crusty bread

1. Add butter and eggs to a cold sauce pan.

2. Turn on low medium heat. Add eggs and whisk ingredients continuously as pan heats.

3. Keep whisking until scramble thickens. To prevent overcooking, lift pan off the heat for 10 seconds every so often while continuously stirring.

4. When folds begin to form and eggs are no longer watery (but still wet), remove pan from heat, add cream, and continue stirring. (Around this time, begin to toast slices of the crusty bread however you see fit. If toasting in the oven, make sure to preheat prior to beginning to cook the eggs.)

5. When cream is fully mixed, add salt and pepper to taste.

6. Serve with toasted bread and garnished with finely chopped chives

Want to take really this recipe to the next level? We love serving this dish with decadent roasted tomatoes, peppers, and red onions we can smear on the bread along with our eggs.

The *Best* Roasted Veggies

Cook time: 30 minutes
Serves 2

Ingredients:
2 red onions, cut into thick disks (approximately 3-4 disks per onion)
2-4 tomatoes on the vine, dependent on preference
2 whole red bell peppers
olive oil
salt
pepper

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees (F).

2. Without separating the rings, in a baking sheet with edges, place onions evenly spaced and, using a basting brush (the back of a spoon works too) coat both sides of the disk with a little olive oil. (Both onions should only require 2 t or so.) Also season each onion with the teeniest pinch of salt and pepper. If you do not have a gas stove, don’t despair, just coat tomatoes and peppers with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, and place on baking sheet as well.

3. As onions begin roasting, char first the peppers and then the tomatoes by turing the stove on high heat and placing the vegetables on the grate. As a side blackens, use tongs to flip the veggie to the next side.

4. When all four sides are nice and charred and the pepper is getting squishy, place them in a metal bowl and top with a plate. Do the same with the tomatoes, which will take less time (since they’re already quite squishy.) You’ll know they’re ready when the skin begins to break.*

5. Once all the veggies are done, toss very gently with a bit of salt, pepper, and olive oil and throw in the oven with the onions.

6. When onions are slightly brown on top, remove pan. Once they’ve cooled a bit, remove the skin from the peppers and use tongs to move peppers and tomatoes and a spatula to remove the onion disks to a serving plate. These veggies are great alone, so feel free to just smear them on toast. Otherwise, serve with the egg dish above!

Enjoy!

*Feast did a fantastic video about how to blacken veggies on the stove, which you can watch here

 

 

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