Wednesday, November 11, 2015

roasted vegetables with pecans and goat cheese

Koselig.  What does it mean?  Well, there's no direct translation to English. Koselig (pronounced "kush-lee") is a unique Norwegian word that describe a cozy, warm, cheerfulness that comes from enjoying the winter season.

SAY WHAAA???!!  That's right, Alaskans.  Those of us that complain about the cold, the dark, the shoveling, the ice, the endless shelves of holiday items popping up in stores in October (for the love of all that's holy), need to scale back our sniveling and start embracing the cozy days of winter.  Time to light a fire in the fireplace, sip hot cocoa, don festive Norwegian sweaters, and not merely endure winter...but EMBRACE it!

The actual fire we built at Marika's house.  Super koselig!!
I only learned about this word recently, and just saw a friend post this article on Facebook that aptly summarizes the Norwegian culture surrounding the winter season.  So in that spirit, I lit a fire in the fireplace, pulled on my cozy wool socks, and set down to cooking this lovely koselig-esque winter dish.  A medley of winter vegetables - roasted carrots, parsnips, butternut squash, and onions - with a touch of balsamic vinegar, toasted pecans, and creamy goat cheese.  It may not be traditional Norwegian fare, but it's downright delicious!  I made this alongside roast chicken for a weeknight meal, but it's also perfect for an unexpected side dish at your holiday table.  

Happy koselig season, Alaska! xoxo h

(p.s. Here's the link to the story on KTUU Channel 2!)

Roasted Winter Vegetables with Pecans and Goat Cheese

1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed into 3/4 inch pieces

2 medium parsnips, peeled and chopped into roughly 3/4 inch pieces
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into roughly 3/4 inch pieces
1/2 of a medium onion, chopped in 3/4 inch pieces
2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
1-2 tablespoons of good balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup pecans
2 oz. goat cheese

(1) Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

(2) Place pecans on a baking sheet and bake for 4-5 minutes. Take out, let cool, and roughly chop.  Set aside.

(3) In a large bowl, toss the vegetables with 2- 3 tablespoons of olive oil, kosher salt, and several grinds of black pepper. 

(4) Scatter the vegetables on two baking sheets and bake for 30-40 minutes, tossing the vegetables with a spatula at least once, and rotating the baking sheets once.

(5) Remove the veggies from the oven and place back in the large bowl.  Toss with 1-2 tablespoons of the balsamic vinegar (to taste).  Place on a serving platter, crumble top with goat cheese, and top with toasted pecans.


Friday, October 9, 2015

gooey butter cake

There is a time for kale, and a time for quinoa.  A time for lentils with herbed goat cheese, and a time for avocado on toasted sprouted wheat bread.  A time to fill your body with fruits and vegetables, and fuel it with the nutritional goodness that only whole foods can provide.

Folks, this is not that time.

The timing of this post is apropos, since I am in the process of wrapping up several months of heavy travel, and heavy eating.  As I time this, I'm on a plane eating kale chips (and making a total mess of it, come to that- I'm pretty sure my seat mate thinks he's sat next to an overgrown 2 year old whose food ends up everywhere but IN HER MOUTH).  Breakfast was a protein bar, lunch was a veggie chili.  All this healthy-shmealthy food, but my mind is still reminiscing about the fresh pasta, gnocchi, rustic bread with homemade butter, and panna cotta from the night before.  Ah, memories.  **SNIFF**

I'm finally get a decent stretch of time at home, and I plan to embark on some healthy, clean eating to undo the sins from the last couple months.  But NOT before I post a recipe that flies in the face of clean eating: ooey gooey butter cake!

This recipe comes from a former beau who hailed from the south.  The recipe is the purest example of the single girl's golden rule: never break up with a guy before you get his recipes.  Roger that.

The cakes origins lie in St. Louis, Missouri.  There are fancier recipes for it that you could try, but the one below is so easy and so incredibly delicious, why go to the trouble?  You're busy enough!  This recipe is cut from the same cloth as my favorite Cheesy Corn Casserole.  Staple pantry ingredients + box mix = a creation that will make the entire after church crowd swoon.

The cake is made in two layers.  And the result is a buttery, decadent treat that I can almost guarantee you will make over and over again.  I've never had a dessert quite like it, and I can't wait for you to discover it, too!

Gooey Butter Cake

For the first layer:
2 eggs
1 box yellow cake mix
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 stick of melted butter

For the second layer:
3 3/4 cups (or 1 small box) powdered sugar (plus a little extra for sprinkling)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 8 oz. package of cream cheese at room temperature

(1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  

(2) Mix 2 eggs, cake mix, vanilla, and the stick of melted butter.  The mixture will be thick.  Spread in an ungreased 9x13 inch pan.

(3) Next, mix the powdered sugar, 2 eggs, vanilla, and cream cheese.  Spread on top of the first mixture.

(4) Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown on top.  Don't overbake!

(5) When cool to the touch, sprinkle with powdered sugar.

xo h