jiaozi pork dumplings, for Chinese new year!!!

if your new year’s resolutions kinda fizzled, have no fear! Chinese new year is here and it’s a new start!! new chances! new possibilities!

this year is the year of the dog and I’m super excited because I am a dog! yes! I am a dog woof woof! there are 12 animals, and you can find yours depending on your birth year!!

CHINESE NEW YEAR 2018 is february 16th but the party actually continues until march 2nd! february 16-26 is the time of the spring festival and february 27-march2nd is the lantern festival. 

jiaozi pork dumplings for chinese new year

here are all the delicious components of the dumpling filling. a gorgeous egg cradled in the center, of coursee. because what is more beautiful than a gorgeous egg?

jiaozi pork dumplings for chinese new year

I use pre-made dumpling wrappers from a local Asian mart because I am not that talented. and these are adorable. and I love going to Asian markets!!

jiaozi pork dumplings for chinese new year

noooo these are not tacos!!!! we are making Chinese food not Mexican, remember? 😉

jiaozi pork dumplings for chinese new year

jiaozi pork dumplings for chinese new year

dumplings are eaten during every or any special occasion, but especially during Chinese new year.

“jiao” means exchange and “zi” means midnight. together “jiaozi” means the exchange between the old and the new!!! so let’s welcome the new! I can’t imagine a better way than with delicious dumplings. they are one of my favorite foods, along with fancy ramen and nigiri.

jiaozi pork dumplings for chinese new year

they are so gorgeous! other than the fact that they kinda look like pockets of flesh, but I think that is what makes them beautiful.

jiaozi pork dumplings for chinese new year

something I love about dumplings is that they are a whole meal in a pocket. you don’t really need anything else. they leave you feeling full, warm, and so satisfied.

jiaozi pork dumplings for chinese new year

these magical and gorgeous red envelopes are a Chinese new year tradition. family, friends, and colleagues give these to each other, with money inside of course. it is lucky money, new years money, money to bring in a new beginning! elders give younger generations money to pass on blessings and good fortune. younger generations can also give them to their elders to show gratitude and give a blessing of longevity.the lucky money tradition began with the Han Dynasty. they were originally coins tied together with red string in a beautiful fashion. starting the new year with money from loved ones sounds like a great tradition to me!

jiaozi pork dumplings for chinese new year

jiaozi dumplings (for Chinese new year!!)
welcoming the new
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups napa cabbage finely chopped
  2. 2/3 lb pork ground
  3. 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  4. 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  5. 1 egg
  6. 2 cloves garlic
  7. 1 tbsp soy sauce
  8. 1 tbsp sesame oil
  9. 2 tsp rice vinegar
  10. 1 tsp ginger
dipping sauce
  1. 1/3 cup soy sauce
  2. 2.5 tbsp rice vinegar
  3. 1 clove garlic minced
  4. dab of chili oil
Instructions
  1. combine all ingredients (except for the dip) well in a large bowl. use your hands 🙂 do not overwork it though, or the filling will be tough!
  2. lay a dumpling wrapper in the palm of your hand. scoop a scant tablespoon of the filling in the center of the wrapper. dip your finger in the water and use it to wet the edges of the wrapper.
  3. fold the dumpling in half to form a half-moon shape
  4. fold a tiny pleats (I had to watch a youtube video for this) & seal the dumpling closed
  5. repeat until all the filling is used
  6. bring a large pot of water to a boil
  7. add the dumplings and simmer until they float to the surface then add about a cup of cold water. when the water returns to a boil, add another cup of cold water. when the dumplings float to the surface this third time they are ready!!!
  8. don't forget the dipping sauce!
  9. to pan fry (sooo yummy) cook in a pan with 2 tbsp vegetable oil on medium high heat until crispy! (both sides crispy pls)
breaking bread xo, brynn http://www.breakingbreadxo.com/

parmesan spinach pesto linguine with seared steak and braised cherry tomatoes

whether you’re into valentines day or not, this pasta=love

spinach pesto linguine with braised cherry tomatoes
spinach pesto linguine with braised cherry tomatoes

spinach pesto linguine with braised cherry tomatoes

spinach pesto linguine with braised cherry tomatoes

spinach pesto linguine with braised cherry tomatoes

spinach pesto linguine with braised cherry tomatoes

spinach pesto linguine with braised cherry tomatoes

my recipe card currently isn’t working 🙁  so it is just typed below,

ingredients:

braised tomatoes:
1-2 cups cherry tomatoes
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt

parmesan spinach pesto:
2 cups spinach
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 tbsp dried oregano
1/2 cup walnuts toasted
1/4 cup good parmesan
3-4 garlic cloves
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil

seared steak
some of the pesto 🙂
sirloin steak for 2
or your cut of choice

for the pasta, I used DE CECCO spinach linguine from Kroger
I love it because it’s affordable and it’s an Italian brand

directions:

braised tomatoes:
cook cherry tomatoes in a pan on medium heat with olive oil and salt for 15 minutes
turn to medium-low for another 15 minutes
stir every 5-10 min
see a similar recipe I did here for tomatoes

parmesan spinach pesto:
put spinach, oil, nuts, vinegar, parmesan, garlic, herbs, salt + pepper in a food processor
blend until smooth

seared steak:
lather some of the pesto on each side of the steak
sear steak on high for 2-3 min on each side
I cooked this in the pan I cooked the tomatoes in for some added flavor

final touches:
cook pasta with directions on box
drain
rinse with cold water
put back in the pot
slowly add your desired amount of pesto, you will probably only use half! now you will have some pesto for later! you can put it on anything!
plate pasta and garnish with tomatoes and steak

 

 

masala chai spiced banana bread

why did I take a perfectly good thing and add to it? because I’m mad. mad I tell you!

chai spiced banana bread

my best friend Shannon’s banana bread recipe is the best damn banana bread recipe out there. I don’t know how she got it but every other bb recipe I have tried doesn’t compare. other recipes are more bready and dry compared to this one. what’s her secret?? 

chai spiced banana bread

sour milk.

yes, sour milk. if you have ever had sour cream coffee cake or a sour cream cake doughnut, you know what I’m talking about. don’t worry, the sourness can’t be tasted in the final product! otherwise only weirdos would eat sour cream doughnuts. and I’m no weirdo 😉

chai spiced banana bread

I debated with myself how to add the ~chai spice essence~. I thought about putting brewed chai tea in the recipe, but then that would change the wet/dry ingredient ratio. I thought about dumping the contents of a chai tea bag into the dry ingredients, but chai tea bags at the grocery store have ingredients I don’t want in the bread such as black pepper. I looked up how to make chai from scratch. I wondered.. what the heck is even in chai? is it one thing or a mixture of things?? turns out, chai (properly known as masala chai, because the word chai just means tea!) is a beautiful blend of black tea and spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, and ginger. adding just the essential spices is perfect for a baked treat.

chai spiced banana bread

chai spiced banana bread

the ratio of spices used in masala chai has many variations. I studied recipes for masala chai and came up with my own ratio based on what I like. the most important spice is cardamom. one whiff will take you to chai heaven.

chai spiced banana bread

one night I brought this banana bread to a friend’s house. before I knew it, the plate was empty. 

people love this banana bread.

chai spiced banana bread

chai spiced banana bread
my best friends' banana bread recipe is the BEST one I have ever encountered, seriously. what makes it so great is how moist it is. I have ruined it by adding chai 🙂
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Prep Time
35 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 35 min
Prep Time
35 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 35 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup sugar
  2. 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  3. 5 tbsp sour milk (4 tbsp milk + 1 tbsp vinegar mixed) this helps make it so moist!!!
  4. 3 mashed bananas, very brown spotted, peeled, and frozen
  5. 1 cup flour
  6. 1 tsp baking soda
  7. 1/4 tsp salt
  8. 1 tsp cinnamon
  9. 1 tsp cardamom
  10. 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  11. 1/2 tsp ginger (powdered)
  12. 1/4 tsp cloves ground
Instructions
  1. get some brown spotted bananas. peel them and freeze them! don't dry to peel them after they are frozen.. it's a disaster!
  2. blend sugar and butter until smooth
  3. add eggs, sour milk, and mashed bananas
  4. blend
  5. in a separate bowl mix flour, baking soda, salt, and chai spices
  6. slowly stir dry mixture in wet ingredients, don't over mix
  7. pour mixture into greased bread pan & let rise in a warm place (200 degrees in oven) for 20 min.
  8. (I like to split batter between 2 bread pans. the loaves come out shorter, but are easier to bake all the way through. decrease main cooking time 15-20 min. if you split it)
  9. bake about 1 hour at 350 degrees or until toothpick comes out almost clean
Notes
  1. if you don't have cardamom/cloves/nutmeg don't by them in jars for $4 ea. Sprouts and other grocery stores have spice bins where can buy per oz, so you only have to spend like 30 cents!
  2. I could have used allspice instead of cloves but I have a friend who is allergic to allspice so THIS RECIPE IS ALLSPICE ALLERGY FRIENDLY!! 🙂
Adapted from shannon rempe
Adapted from shannon rempe
breaking bread xo, brynn http://www.breakingbreadxo.com/

chai spiced banana bread

shannon and I // circa 2011

have you made the bread yet?

kale falafel patties with smoky tahini sauce

kale falafel patties with smoky tahini sauce

woa woa woa wait.. there is no cheese??

kale falafel patties with smoky tahini sauce

YES, this recipe has cheese!! just an appropriate amount of feta.. and it’s still healthy enough to incorporate into our “new year new me” mantra.

falafel is one of my favorite foods. this is a nutrient-packed westernized version of authentic falafel which is usually made from soaked and chickpeas, herbs, and spices and then fried. authentic falafel is a must-try! it can be found at any authentic Mediterranean restaurant. if one isn’t nearby you can use this authentic falafel recipe from a blog I adore called ‘this mess is ours’.

kale falafel patties with smoky tahini sauce

these would be great for dinner or to pack for lunch. they keep well, and the kale releases energy to power through the rest of the day! 

kale falafel patties with smoky tahini sauce

I adapted this recipe for a magazine called Gluten Free & More. it appeared in their April/May 2017 issue. working on these projects with them was the closest to my dream that I have ever been. I love making food, photographing it, and sharing it with people. sometimes I think it is a weird thing to enjoy, but everybody has their own dream. and once you have tasted your dream, it is hard to turn away. it is easy to give into self-doubt, “I will never make it..etc.” and motivation is hard to come by. but, I believe the dream is worth it. your dream is worth it!! keep going! I believe in you.

your dream is worth it.

kale falafel patties with smoky tahini sauce
a healthy western version of your favorite Mediterranean food!!!!
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Ingredients
  1. kale falafel patties
  2. 2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  3. 2 cups torn and packed kale leaves
  4. 1/2 cup garbanzo flour (all purpose flour works well as a substitute)
  5. 3 tbsp olive oil
  6. 1 finely chopped shallot
  7. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  8. 1 tsp ground cumin
  9. 1/2 tsp salt
  10. crumbled feta
  11. smoky tahini sauce
  12. 2 tbsp tahini
  13. 2 tbsp olive oil
  14. juice from 1/2 lemon
  15. 1 tsp smoked paprika
  16. salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. kale falafel patties
  2. 1. place chickpeas, kale, flour, 2 tbsp olive oil, shallot, garlic, cumin, and salt in a food processor and pulse until mixture is just slightly chunky.
  3. 2. dampen hands and roll mixture into 8 balls. then flatten and shape into patties.
  4. 3. in a large skillet heat 1 tbsp oil over medium heat. cook patties 5 minutes per side or until golden.
  5. smoky tahini sauce
  6. 1. whisk tahini, 2 tbsp olive oil, lemon juice, smoked paprika, salt, and black pepper and serve drizzled over patties!!
Notes
  1. crumble feta on top!!!
Adapted from brynn houska
Adapted from brynn houska
breaking bread xo, brynn http://www.breakingbreadxo.com/

carrot miso soup from Kitchen Stories

you can find this lovely recipe below or in the Kitchen Stories app!

(shout out to Kitchen Stories, I hope you all see this. you all are doing an incredible job and I love your work.)

growing up I only ever had soup from a can. it was always bland for the most part and never fully satisfying. at the time I didn’t know it was bland because I had never had anything better. adventurously trying ramen places and working in a restaurant has opened my eyes to the potential of soup. it has become something that isn’t ordinary anymore. a good ramen experience will honestly change your life. I had no idea soup could be so wholesome and flavorful.

I’ve been trying to eat more veggies *yawn* and vitamin c along with my diet of bagels and cream cheese. I love the energy vegetables give me but sometimes pizza just sounds better. finding yummy recipes for veggies makes me look forward to eating them instead of thinking, “ugh.. salad again?!”

veggies heal you. they help your skin, eyes, gut, heart, hangovers, and basically everything. soup can be one of the most healing foods. this soup is velvety and has a wonderful balance of sweet and spicy. adding a dollop of coconut milk makes it creamy and even better.

my new favorite place for dinner inspiration is Kitchen Stories. it is a video-based platform, super user-friendly, design-oriented, and so helpful when I need ideas. it is well organized and I actually end up making the recipes I find. I watch so many food videos on Instagram that I adore but never make because they are here and then gone. Kitchen Stories makes it easy to search, save, and access the food you want to make. among recipes, Kitchen Stories also has helpful how-to videos and fun food articles. it is beautiful!!! here is their about page if you are more interested!!

kitchen stories

let’s get cookin’

carrot miso soup from Kitchen Stories
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Total Time
40 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 17 1/2 oz carrots
  2. 1 onion
  3. 2 cloves garlic
  4. 1 chili
  5. 2 tbsp coconut oil
  6. 3 1/4 cups vegetable stock
  7. 2 1/2 tbsp red miso paste
  8. 1 lime
  9. coconut milk for serving
  10. baked kale for garnish
  11. optional chili flakes
  12. salt & pepper
Instructions
  1. wash carrots and chop them along with onion, garlic, ginger, and chili
  2. heat coconut oil in a large saucepan and saute onion, garlic, ginger, and chili over medium heat
  3. add carrots to the pan and briefly saute
  4. add vegetable stock and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and leave to simmer for 20 minutes or until the carrots soften slightly
  5. remove the soup from the heat and puree with a hand blender or a food processor.. or a normal blender if you are improvising 🙂
  6. return to heat and add the miso paste and lime juice. simmer for 2 more minutes
  7. add a dollop of coconut milk to each bowl and garnish with baked kale, chili flakes, salt & pepper (all optional)
  8. enjoy!
Notes
  1. once you add the miso, do not bring the soup to a boil. only simmer. boiling will destroy the flavor of the paste.
Adapted from brynn houska
Adapted from brynn houska
breaking bread xo, brynn http://www.breakingbreadxo.com/
xo, brynn