Harvest + Honey

An open-ended love letter, culinarily inspired.


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Green Chile + Pork Tenderloin Posole and The Fun in Feeling Stupid

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As the first birthday of this blog speedily approaches, I’ve found myself skimming back through some of my earliest posts, recipes and ramblings. It’s hard not to get a little nostalgic and sentimental when you do this, I’ve discovered. When I set out to do this blog, I really just wanted a new creative outlet and an ever-accessible place to house the various dishes and recipes that I enjoy and think others might as well. But I’m not sure I could have imagined just how much more I would get out of doing this. In addition to it just being a fun thing to do, food blogging has connected me to so many others who are equally as passionate about food and cooking but who possess their own unique perspectives, ideas and voices. The feeling of being constantly inspired by these people, as I have been over the past year, feels like a luxury of sorts. Almost intoxicating in its effect, deep-seated inspiration can both keep you up at night and get you up in the morning – and I mean this in the best of ways.

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There has been many a late-night and early-morning occasion on which I have found myself doodling away in my little notebook, trying to capture ideas and thoughts, recipe concepts and flavor combinations that I can’t wait to test. Not everything I come up with makes it past the pages of this notebook; in fact, most things don’t. But the recipes you don’t see and the ideas that never really amount to much still carry a great deal of weight. It is those half-baked thoughts that help to get you where you’re going and ultimately lend shape to your final destination. The process of brainstorming and sorting out what will and won’t make it off the pages and onto the blog is half the fun. Green Chili PosolePosolePosole

This green chili posole recipe was one of the first things I posted on the blog and I didn’t even have any supporting photos to accompany it. I was wading my way through the blogging process and just beginning to establish what I wanted, or thought I wanted, it to be. Almost a year later, I’m still doing that – or at least a version of that. This “figuring it out” process is something that will most likely never stop, and I wouldn’t want it to if it could. The more I learn about food and cooking, and the more trends, traditions, tricks, and techniques to which I am exposed, the more I realize I don’t know. Like life, really. That’s part of the beauty of doing a blog though. You are always hovering somewhere between feeling like you know something and like you know nothing, and when you’re stuck in the latter, some source of inspiration inevitably kicks in … and away you go.

In honor of a very fun year spent feeling both smart and dumb, lost and inspired, I’m going to revisit one of my first recipes and shine a light on it once more. This Green Chili and Pork Tenderloin posole’ (a Mexican stew) is just plain wonderful, and in a life where I am increasingly drawn to more streamlined, efficient (i.e. one-pot, chop and drop) recipes, this one reigns supreme. It’s spicy, comforting, different, and unlike many other stews and soups, it’s actually kind of beautiful. Thanks green chilies! Topped simply with sour cream and avocado to cool it down, cilantro, pistachios or toasted pepitas, and torn soft or crushed hard tortillas for sopping, this is one dish that will have you coming back for more. It’s the kind of recipe that will make you pat yourself on the back and revel in just how much you DO know …

RECIPE

2 cubanelle peppers

3 poblano peppers

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 lbs. of pork tenderloin, cut into chunks (no more than ½ – ¾ inch)

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

2 celery stalks, finely chopped

1 large onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

5 tomatillos, peeled, rinsed and chopped

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano

5 cups chicken stock

1 cup whole milk

2 cans of yellow hominy, drained (white works too)

1.5 tablespoon honey

1/2 cup yellow corn meal

 

Place all of the chilies on a baking sheet and broil them in the oven until the skins have blackened and blistered. This takes about 3 – 5 minutes per side (flip them once). When the skins are nice and black all over, remove the baking sheet from the oven/broiler and cover with a clean kitchen towel. The steam that this creates will help lift the skins off easily for you. When they’re cool enough to handle, peel, seed and chop the chiles and set aside.

Heal the oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot. Add your pork and season with salt and pepper to taste (don’t actually taste it, just use however much you like). Cook the pork until the pieces are brown and the edges are crispy and then transfer to a plate for a bit. Set aside.

Add the celery, onion, and garlic and cook for just a few minutes, or until they’ve softened, about 5 minutes.

Add the tomatillos and next three ingredients (your spices) and test for seasoning. Make any adjustments you see fit. After this lovely concoction has cooked for a few more minutes, add the stock, milk, hominy, honey, and the roasted chiles. Transfer half of the soup to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Return to the pot along with the pork and corn meal and simmer until the pork is tender, about  35 – 45 minutes.

Garnish as desired (I like sour cream, tortilla chips, lime wedges, avocado, pepitas, pistachios, pickled jalapenos, etc.), and enjoy.

 

 


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Autumn Squash Chili

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“Next to jazz music, there is nothing that lifts the spirit and strengthens the soul more than a good bowl of chili.” – Harry James

 

RECIPE

1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch cubes (1/2 of a large one should be enough for this recipe, if that’s all you can find)
5 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1.5 lbs ground beef
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced or grated
2 teaspoons cumin
1.5 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 cup chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup beer
1/2 cup brewed coffee
28 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained (optional)
2 – 4 cups beef stock.
Toppings of your choice (tortilla chips, sour cream, cheese, avocado, cilantro, scallions, etc.)

 

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Toss the squash with a couple tablespoons of oil and spread out evenly on a baking sheet coated with nonstick spray. Roast for 25 minutes, or until softened and slightly golden brown, turning halfway through. Set aside.

Meanwhile, add two tablespoons of oil to a large pot over medium-high heat. Brown the ground beef. Once it’s nice and brown, drain the fat off and transfer the ground beef to a separate container/plate while you cook the aromatics and toast the spices.

Reduce the heat under the pot to medium. Add another tablespoon of oil to the pot followed by the diced onion, garlic, and the next 7 ingredients. (Note: you don’t have to stick to the amounts I have listed for the spices. If you like, feel free to add more or less of each one to suit your preferences). Cook, stirring frequently, for 6 – 8 minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent.

Add the tomato paste and pumpkin and stir to combine. Cook for an additional 2 – 3 minutes.

Add the beer to the pot to deglaze, stirring to loosen any bits on the bottom. Add the coffee and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the beef back into the pan, followed by the tomatoes, beans (if you like beans in your chili), and roasted squash.

Stir the contents of the pot to combine everything and add the stock, starting with two cups and adding more if the chili appears too thick (this step can be done to your preference. If you like very thick chili, you can skip the stock altogether).

Cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer the chili for at least an hour before serving to allow the flavors to develop. The longer it sits the better!

Ladle into bowls and top as desired.

 


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Chocolate + Apple Fritters

Chocolate and Apple FrittersChocolate and Apple FrittersChocolate and Apple FrittersChocolate and Apple FrittersChocolate and Apple Fritters

Cocoa and apples

Have come together as one

What took them so long?

 

What’s that, you ask? Oh you know, just a little original Haiku. (You’re welcome!) I’m confident that this little number might win me acceptance into some secretive and highly coveted poetry society.  If the haiku doesn’t do it, then at LEAST the fritters will.

 

They

are

 

SO

Good.

 

 

RECIPE

2 cups all-purpose flour

¼ cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup sugar

3 tablespoons brown sugar

2-1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1-1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

½ teaspoon allspice

2 eggs

3/4 cups milk

2 tablespoons melted butter

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 apples, peeled/diced

Powdered sugar (optional, for dusting)

 

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugars, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, then add the milk, butter, and vanilla.

Fold the dry and wet ingredients together until just combined. Fold in the apples. Add enough apples to make a very chunky batter.

Heat a couple of inches of canola or vegetable oil to 360 degrees F.

Drop teaspoons of batter into the hot oil, six or eight at a time. Keep an eye on them to ensure they don’t get too brown and flip them once during cooking. Cook them long enough to make sure they are done in the centers (about 2 to 2 1/2 minutes).

Remove and drain on a paper towel. Dust liberally with powdered sugar,

(These are great heated up the next day or two in a 350 degree oven for 5 – 6 minutes. Crisps ‘em right back up)

 


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Fig + Walnut Energy Bars

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The recipe for my incredibly easy, healthy and delicious 3-ingredient energy bars (plus a little story) is up on Bastion & Co. today. These bars are the perfect grab-and-go snack and they taste like dessert (without the guilt, clearly). Swap out the figs and walnuts for your favorite dried fruits and nuts and add spices and seeds such as cinnamon and chia seeds (pictured) to help you stay alert, focused, full, and free of guilt.

 

Happy Friday, y’all!


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Pumpkin-Maple Apple Crisp and a Day at the Orchard

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Bean finds the best apple in our tree and hands it up to me. “You know what this tastes like when you first bite into it?” she asks. 
“No, what?” 
“Blue sky.” 
“You’re zoomed.” 
“You ever eat blue sky?”
“No,” I admit. 
“Try it sometime,” she says. “It’s apple-flavored.” 

― Rodman Philbrick, The Last Book in the Universe

 

I have a feeling, even though there is quite a bit more Fall left to enjoy this year, that I’ve already experienced what will live on to be one of my favorite Fall moments. The fact that I’m having a baby in a few weeks, as well as celebrating my first baby’s second birthday soon are obvious Fall memory winners, so I’m not counting them. In this case I’m referring to the types of experiences that would most likely be insignificant or totally forgettable 99% of the time, but for some reason, just happen to stand out every once in a blue moon, imprinting themselves on your memory with zero intentions of going anywhere any time soon.

I recently enjoyed a trip to a local apple orchard with my family and, after watching my little one delight in the apple-picking festivities, I ducked in the orchard’s small market to grab some of their cider to take home with us. Waiting in line and growing more pregnant by the minute, I confess to having taken a quick, “I’m-pregnant-and-super-thirsty-so-I’ll-drink-it-in-the-store sip” (okay fine, it was more like a chug) of this really, really delicious cider.

“Wow!” I exclaimed. I really did. I literally exclaimed out loud, to no one in particular in the store. But it was just so, so good. It was one split second of pure refreshing Fall flavor and I think it actually caught me off guard how good it was. Maybe I had forgotten how nice cider can be in all of its icy cold and satisfying simplicity. As I stood there in this adorably charming country market, watching people pick and choose their autumnally inspired purchases, I couldn’t help but smile. This time of year just does that to me. We take plenty of sips of all kinds of things every day, most of them understandably forgettable. Maybe it was the setting, the gorgeous Fall day, or the pregnant that did it. But I will remember that particular sip of cider and how easily and effortlessly it managed to win me over. To reference the quote above, I will admit to having never tasted blue sky before, nor have I ever tasted sunshine. But I will wager a guess that at least one of those two things tastes a little something like this cider.

 

Pumpkin Maple Apple Crisp RECIPE

4 medium tart cooking apples, sliced (about 4 cups)

1 cup packed brown sugar

¾ cup all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

¾ cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats

¾ stick butter, softened

1/2 cup canned, unsweetened pumpkin

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

2 teaspoons apple pie spice (you could use pumpkin pie spice as well, or a mixture of cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg)

 

Heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease bottom and sides of 8-inch pan (circular or square or whatever you like) with butter or non-stick spray.

Spread out the sliced apples in the pan. In a medium bowl, stir the remaining ingredients until well mixed. Sprinkle evenly over the apples.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until your topping is golden brown and the apples are tender (test with a fork if you like). Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

 


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Little Moments and a Coffee Fit For Kings

Imperial coffee Imperial coffee1 Imperial coffee2When you are pregnant and only allowed one cup of caffeine, er, coffee each day, sometimes you’ve really just gotta make it count. Go for the gusto, you know? If you down multiple pots of coffee a day, then you’re probably not as likely to view each cup as an opportunity to take a minute to yourself and relax. Ever since I found out I was pregnant last winter, I’ve started taking my one cup of coffee each day as a time-out for myself – a time to stop and wrap my head around the day ahead and to just enjoy the solace that the morning brings. Granted, this little time out doesn’t ever last too long. But it’s there, each and every day, and I make sure of that. In a day that is full of plenty of little unpredictable moments – some stressful, some blissful – and everything in between, this little coffee moment is one I know I can look forward to every day, and it never disappoints. I appreciate and value its predictability.

As such, I have a couple of recipes for drinks that help make the most of this single cup of coffee and while I definitely do not have or take the time to make them every morning, I try to whip one up when I can. My favorite at this particular moment? Coffee Imperial. I’m not totally sure where the name comes from, but I like to think it’s because this is such a fine and upstanding beverage that it will invade your typical coffee routine and turn it into something entirely different. At least that what it does for me. I probably put too much pressure on my coffee, now that I think about it …

I’m a total sucker for cinnamon and the combination of the warm spice and the dark, earthy coffee together in this drink is so, so, soooooooooo so so good. Plus, it’s great served hot or cold and you can prepare it the day/night before so all you have to do in the AM is pour and enjoy.

 

RECIPE

adapted from Food.com

 

4 cinnamon sticks

cups strong coffee, freshly brewed

1/2 cup heavy cream (half and half also works really well)

Sugar or preferred sweetener, to taste

Ice

Whipped cream

Cinnamon

 

Add cinnamon sticks to hot coffee and let stand for 1 hour, then remove cinnamon.

To coffee add sugar/sweetener (to taste) and the heavy cream or half and half, then chill.

For iced coffees, pour this mixture into tall glasses and fill with ice, top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon. For a hot version, simply re-heat the mixture in a saucepan set over medium heat and pour into mugs/serving vessels of your choice. Garnish as you like :)

 

 

 

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