London | Garlic, My Soul

Hey-o folks!

Jeff and I are visiting Rebecca and her BF Colin in London, and we are seeing the sights, hitting up the museums, and eating all the foods. I haven’t sat down and read the Internet in almost a week (heck, I haven’t really sat down in almost a week) so I don’t have much to report on this front, so I’ll give you five things I’ve loved about London:

London | Garlic, My Soul

1. The museums! We have been to the Museum of London, Bletchley Park, the British Museum, Stonehenge, and the Imperial War Museum. Each of them has been amazing, and I have learned so much while being here.

London | Garlic, My Soul

2. The food. I have eaten so much food you guys, but we’ve been walking and average of seven to ten miles a day, so I don’t even feel badly. We went to two Jamie Oliver restaurants, at least two pubs, I’ve had fish and chips, Mr. Whippy ice cream, been to Borough Market, and we even had a BBQ in the countryside! Whoever said that London doesn’t have good food maybe doesn’t know how to eat.

London | Garlic, My Soul

3. Seeing the countryside and more of England than I did when I was last here in 2006. We got to see Colin’s village, Cublington, as well as Bletchley, and Salisbury, where Stonehenge is located. Tomorrow, we’re headed to Greenwich to see the Prime Meridian, which is also out of London.

4. Hanging with Becca, obviously, has been amazing, especially because that’s meant we have a tour guide who not only knows where everything is, but also knows the history of England, knows what is weird and what we’ll think is weird to point it out, and also is patient and willing to do things she’s done already again (and again) for the sake of her visitors from the US. I don’t know how we would have seen everything we did if we didn’t have Becca guiding us from place to place.

5. The culture. Walk on the left! Drive on the left! Be super polite, have a pint, call somebody “love.” Pretty much everything that I’ve seen and heard is adorable (pudding means dessert, but also pudding, but that pudding isn’t dessert; eggs aren’t refrigerated, eggplants are aubergines, lift instead of elevator, the response “I will do”, etc. etc.) The words quite, queue, and keen have made their way into my lingo. Having Colin around helps because he’s British, obviously, and it’s fun to hear him try to act American, too, to hear what people think we sound like (right, y’all?)

I hope that you guys are having great weeks wherever you are, and if you’re headed to London in the near future, let Becca know, she’ll show you a good time!

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You guys, my pictures for this post are the worst.

Please, please, please don’t let this stop you from making this recipe because it is the actual bomb.dot.com and you shouldn’t miss out because I can’t remember to collect my real camera from my neighbors and can only use my iPhone.

I have a toddler and thus, I can barely remember to put my shoes on in the morning. Don’t hold it against me.

Or him.

theoswing15months

Anyway. This is a dish that’s not actually too hard to make, so it can be done on a weeknight. It’s also a dish that’s super impressive, so you can make it for your friends at a dinner party and they will ooohhh and aaahhh over it, I promise you.

I’ve seen it done.

I found the original recipe on Bon Appetit, and then after making it, oh, 100 times, got it to a place where I felt really, really good about it.

A couple of notes to get you there faster:

1. Do not substitute chicken breasts, or anything skinless. Do not be afraid of chicken thighs with the bone. They are delicious, they will not give you a heart attack. Chicken breasts are so boring, anyway.

2. When it says drain the fat, drain the fat. Just trust me.

3. The chickpeas that this recipe produces are the best things that have ever been created. Almost even better than the delicious chicken.

IMG_4518

 

Chicken Harissa

Serves: 2 really hungry people, or 3-4 reasonable people. I’m in the former category and frankly you should be too.

Ingredients

4 Bone in, skin on chicken thighs
1 can chickpeas
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
s & p
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup harissa paste (I found this in the ethnic aisle at the regular grocery store and prefer the spicy variety, but there are a million kinds so pick your poison- you can also find it on the internet, just like everything else)
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth

Preheat oven to 425°. Heat oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Season chicken with s&p. Cook until browned, about 5 minutes per side, toss it aside onto a plate.

Pour off all but 1 T drippings from pan (again, super important step). Add onion and garlic; saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, until it gets a little dark, about 1 minute. Add chickpeas, harissa, and broth; bring to a simmer.

Arrange the chicken, skin side up, into the chickpeas; transfer skillet to oven. Roast until chicken is cooked through, 20–25 minutes. Serve with a big, fat, salad and maybe a piece of crusty bread. Enjoy every.single.bite.

IMG_4520

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Salmon Walnut Salad | Garlic, My Soul

Guys, I love salad and I love salmon and I love lots of colors in my food.

Do you ever just start to feel rundown and realize that you need to eat a bit of fish and a pile of vegetables? Jeff doesn’t love fish, so when I know he’s not going to be about I always make sure to buy something from the sea to whip up for myself.

Salmon Walnut Salad | Garlic, My Soul

This salad started off simply; some salmon, seared on each side with olive oil for about a minute, and then cooked for 5-7 minutes in a 425 degree oven. I seasoned with a little salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, while the salmon was in the oven, I put together a simple salad: kale, spinach, blueberries, goat cheese, and walnut pieces. I dressed this with some homemade dressing: equal parts olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and lemon juice.

Salmon Walnut Salad | Garlic, My Soul

When the salmon was done, I placed it on top of the salad, and voila! Done. Easy lunch or dinner with an amazing protein.

Here’s the recipe.

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

1/2 pound salmon
1 bag or bunch of kale, chopped
1 bag or bunch of spinach
4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 – 1 pint blueberries
1/2 cup walnuts
olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
balsamic vinegar
s/p

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Salt and pepper the salmon and place skin side up into a hot cast iron pan that’s been greased with olive oil. Saute on one side for one minute, then flip and do the other side.
2. Place the whole cast iron pan in the oven for 5-7 minutes, until the salmon is cooked through. Meanwhile:
3. Make your salad: combine kale, goat cheese, blueberries, and walnuts and toss.
4. Make your salad dressing: combine equal parts lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil in a jar and shake well. Dress your salad.
5. When your salmon is done, place filet on top of the salad – serve! Makes enough for two hefty salads.

Salmon Walnut Salad | Garlic, My Soul

Enjoy! I hope you love this simple salad as much as Eva and I did. Because we ate it in about 10 seconds flat!

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Hello friends! We’ve made it to another Friday, and I can’t believe it. Tonight, Jeff and I head to London to visit Rebecca for 9 wonderful days!!

Before I head to the airport though, I wanted to share a couple things that I’ve been enjoying from around the Internet:

Workplace Wisdom | Megan Roy Design

1. First, I am sure you’ve seen around here our beautiful illustrations from Megan Roy, my good friend who I dragged into working for us on the regular. Well, she’s got an Etsy shop and it’s amazing, and if you ever want to see her non-food related work, you should check it out.

2. Completely unrelated, President Obama is doing something about the bees, you guys!! I am so excited to see that we’re finally taking the pollinator problem seriously.

Soldier Pose

Photo from Graylin Porter

3. I went to yoga this week and my teacher had us try this new pose (to me) “Super Soldier” and I didn’t think I was going to be able to do it. But I could. I mean, not perfect let’s be real, but definitely got further in the pose than I thought I would.

4. I just finished reading “Into Thin Air” by Jon Krakauer and I am equal parts obsessed and horrified. I couldn’t put it down, but I never want to go to Mt. Everest, and I never want to go anywhere that has “Icefall” in the name.

5. London! We leave in a few hours, as I mentioned. Any suggestions for when we’re there?

Happy Memorial weekend, chickadees!

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You guys, I made some thumbnail cookies this weekend, but they sucked so hard. I took the recipe from the Internet, and I had never made thumbprint cookies before so I just kind of trusted the recipe, even though the cookie dough was basically just rosemary butter. It wasn’t right.

ANYWAYS but this isn’t about those terrible cookies. It’s about this funfetti cake I’m reposting because I wanted to give you sweet cookies and instead they were the worst so instead I’ll give you a cake! I posted this about this time last year for Mary’s birthday, and since it’s coming up next week, I thought it appropriate!

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Funfetti Bundt Cake | Garlic, My Soul

Whoever invented sprinkles was really onto bottling happiness right up. We love sprinkles over here at GMS, and we’re always itching to put them on anything we can get our hands on…or IN anything. So a funfetti bundt for Mary’s birthday? Definitely doable.

For this bundt, we made our normal vanilla bundt (sans vanilla bean and with vanilla extract instead) and then we added an entire cup of sprinkles. The recipes we found kept saying “add a third of a cup” or “add a half of a cup” but let’s be serious, is that enough? Absolutely not.

Funfetti Bundt Cake | Garlic, My Soul

Then, we decided that we needed some perfect white frosting so we used one teaspoon of vanilla, some powdered sugar, and then added heavy cream until the frosting is JUST starting to run – it should be about two tablespoons of heavy cream for every cup of confectioner’s sugar.

Funfetti Bundt Cake | Garlic, My Soul

Here’s my advice about the frosting, you guys. Are you listening? THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. OK: When you make frosting, start small. Start with one cup of sugar. See if that’s enough. If it’s not, make another. But don’t think you need three cups and then make three cups worth and then have leftover frosting. Because you know what? You don’t use that leftover frosting. You leave it in your fridge for too long and then you waste it. So, start small.

Funfetti Bundt Cake | Garlic, My Soul

Here’s what your delicious sprinkle cake will look like on the inside. It’s a party in your mouth. It’s a party on your plate. It’s the perfect birthday cake.

Funfetti Bundt Cake | Garlic, My Soul

All your friends will love you probably, if you make this cake, even more than they already do, which will be hard.

What’s your favorite way to use sprinkles? In a cake? On a cake? Donuts? Let us know – we have a jar of them now, so maybe we’ll use them on a suggestion!

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