National Sandwich Day

November 2nd, 2018 by

You know those awkward, eye-roll inducing “ice-breaker” activities instructors and teachers use before their classes? I have an exercise people may actually warm to. Ask them what their favorite sandwich is. Being perpetually hungry and obsessed with food in general, I often ask this question. National Sandwich Day is November 3rd and it’s a great opportunity to get to know people in a new, more intimate way. You can learn everything you need to know about someone from their response. Some go simple. A grilled cheese or a turkey and swiss. Those people are generally laid back, uncomplicated, purists. Chicken Parm? You lead with your heart. Peanut butter and jelly with trimmed crusts? You’re type A.  If the Gobbler is your favorite, you are a full-fledged psychopath. Just kidding! You’re a person after my own heart.

 

The Gobbler, aka the Pilgrim, aka the Puritan, has an endless number of stage names and variations that revolve around the same concept- pile all your Thanksgiving leftovers on a sandwich and chow down like your life depends on it. It’s not dainty, and it’s not something you eat on a first date. It’s an amalgam of turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy, maybe even mashed potatoes and a whole lot of shameless savagery. This ultra-loaded, juicy, sweet, salty combo may actually put the integrity of Thanksgiving dinner in question. Ask around. A lot of people love Thanksgiving dinner even more in its reincarnation the following day, or what I like to call “Second Dinner.”

This seasonal treat has gone from an exotic novelty to a fall staple, but it is no spring chicken (spring turkey?). I first learned about the crazy combo twenty years ago on a summer trip to Cape Cod. We celebrated our arrival at a little deli that served “The Pilgrim” piled high on fresh bread year-round. This version included muenster cheese and lettuce and could be served in wrap form upon request. I ordered mine on fresh sourdough and was presented with a full loaf of bread busting at the seams with sweet and salty goodness. Cape Cod and other areas of Southeastern Massachusetts claim ownership of this gem which is served year-round at deli’s and restaurants. After all, the oldest town on Cape Cod is the aptly named Sandwich, Massachusetts.

The first known recipe emerged in the 1950’s although the dish was likely around undocumented well before that. The original sandwich was considered a refined treat, eaten with white gloves, and perhaps even a raised pinky. Sandwiches did not transform into a messy Jenga of glorious ingredients until much more recently. Nowadays, we embrace the mess and shovel as many flavorful components as possible into our melty, gooey creations. Table manners have taken a back seat to flavor in the current manifestation of sandwiches, and the Gobbler is a prime example.

If you haven’t tried this dream of a sandwich, please, let National Sandwich Day be your catalyst. We love building our own because we can customize them to perfection. While we usually adopt a “the more the merrier” attitude about food, we don’t use mashed potatoes on ours. The pairing of fresh turkey, a spicy sage stuffing, turkey gravy and thick layer of whole-berry cranberry sauce is too perfect to mess with. Make yours with all your favorite Thanksgiving components and lots of napkins handy. Here’s to the Gobbler and all its sandwich ancestors this holiday season. Now that is something to be thankful for.

 

Try out our favorite fall recipe and let us know how it turned out in the comments below!

 

Ingredients:

1 white or wheat roll (we used honey wheat for a dash of sweetness)

1 tsp butter

4-5 oz turkey, broken into smaller pieces (this helps ensure turkey in every bite)

1/4 cup sage or cornbread stuffing

4 tbsp cranberry sauce (whole-berry or jellied based on preference)

3 Tbsp gravy

 

Directions:

Cut the roll in half and spread with equal amounts of butter. Place cut side down on a warm grill pan and toast. Remove from heat.

Coat both sides of your roll with cranberry sauce. Add a layer of stuffing and top that with pieces of turkey. Add gravy on top (dripping is encouraged!). Top with the top piece of the roll.

SNACK LIKE YOU MEAN IT!

Dirty Chai Blog Post

October 29th, 2018 by

People are passionate about their beverages. We want them flavorful, pretty, fresh, and inexpensive. We need them fast, in the biggest cup you’ve got, with our choice of milk, and a generous dash of whip. Remember those multicolored pastel drinks that were all the rage? What about freakshakes, the mother of all milkshakes, topped with every confection imaginable? People are having fun with their drinks, and we are on board. One of our favorite trends these days is the Dirty Chai Tea Latte. You can have all the warm, spicy flavors of chai without sacrificing the essential, revitalizing joy that is coffee. Basically, you can have your cake and eat it too. Bonus: you can make it at home!

Some of the best innovations come from necessity. We’ve all made those “I really need to go food shopping but I don’t feel like it” meals. You stare into your bare cabinets and try to figure out how you can work those pitiful, mismatched ingredients into something edible. There are entire cookbooks on the subject matter. Scarcity can turn anyone into an innovator.

The aromatic tea we know and love was born in tougher times. Masala Chai is a Hindi term that translates to “mixed-spice tea”. In the early 1900s, black tea was very expensive in India. Vendors used milk, sugar and spices to keep their brew flavorful while keeping costs down. To stimulate the sales of Indian tea, the British-owned Indian Tea Association encouraged big employers to offer tea breaks throughout the work day. They also encouraged chaiwalas, tea vendors, to sell their brew along the developing railway system.

Traditional Masala Chai used black tea, typically the local Assam or Ceylon, blended with real spices that varied based on region and availability. Chaiwalas became an important part of the culture and continue to exist all over India. They are one of the only consistent presences in a very diverse country, from lazy rural villages to busy cities streets. People from all walks of life flock to chaiwalas for a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Over tea, you’ll see people congregate, night and day, discussing anything from politics to sports.

Masala Chai became popular in India, but it didn’t stop there. Over the pond it went, right to our local coffee shops and tea houses, in all its spicy, fragrant glory. Any trendy coffee shop will boast the “Best Dirty Chai,” but as DIY-ers, we subscribe to the philosophy that if you want something done right, you’ve got to do it yourself. A lot of cafes make their chai with a concentrated syrup or powder mix. This version fuses our own signature chai spices into the tea like the first chaiwalas. Those real ingredients add a richness and depth of flavor you can’t emulate with an artificial mix alone. You wouldn’t build a house with particle board. You have to go for the good stuff!

If you want the traditional Dirty Chai experience, brew up 2 shots of espresso – we love Godfather’s Italian Espresso for this drink. You can also strong brew any coffee of your choice. Typically, espresso drinks use a dark roast, but the beauty of doing it at home is that you get to choose. Your home will be filled with that sweet, spicy aroma in no time! Whether you’re brewing it by the cup or the pitcher, this decadent treat is as simple as it is tasty.

Give this recipe a try and let us know what you think in the comments below!

 

Ingredients

1-2 tbsp Spiced Chai tea

1/2 cup of water

1/3 cup of milk of your choice

1/2 cup of strong coffee or 2 shots espresso

2-3 tsp honey

1 drop vanilla extract

A dash of cinnamon

Directions:

1.) Prepare coffee or espresso

2.) Prepare chai by bringing water to boil, then pouring it over loose leaf tea in a tea strainer.  Let steep for 5-10 minutes. Remove tea bag/tea container from tea.

3.) Add honey and a drop of vanilla to chai tea, stir in well

4.) Prepare milk by either heating it up in a pot on the stove or use a wand to steam

5.) Add milk to chai

6.) Add strong brewed coffee or espresso and a dash of cinnamon

Coffee S’more Pie

October 15th, 2018 by

You think you know everything you need to know about s’mores? We beg to differ. Not only did we remix the famous trio of ingredients into delectable pie form, but we also gathered all the shocking, scandalous, and morbid facts surrounding this infamous delicacy. The union of chocolate, marshmallow, and graham cracker is a tale of ingenuity. We’ve followed the trend, taking this recipe up a notch and redefining the s’more yet again!

The first known recipe emerged 90 years ago, but the s’more and its’ components were no new kids on the block. Marshmallow root was used to heal wounds throughout the ancient world, but Ancient Egypt created a sweet elixir by mixing the root with honey. The divine treat was used to soothe coughs and sore throats and was solely reserved for royalty and gods. They were used medicinally again in 1800’s France, sold in bar form as lozenges. The modern-day marshmallow has substituted gelatin for the plant’s sap, and has become a whole lot fluffier, but it still goes by the same name.

Coffee S'more Pie

Graham crackers had a far more dogmatic origin. Presbyterian Minister, Sylvester Graham, created the recipe for these crackers to curb society’s impure desires. He believed moral collapse was imminent, and our diets were a contributing factor. Condemning the sensuous nature of juicy, flavorful foods, he proposed a dry, unseasoned vegetarian diet of starches and vegetables to curb bodily excitement. The author of “On Self Pollution,” preached that a plain, wholesome diet would allow society to resist its lustful urges and allow us to return to our natural, chaste state of being.

Strangely, the first known union of chocolate and marshmallow dates back to Victorian-era funeral tradition. It was customary to serve sponge cakes and sandwich cookies filled with chocolate and marshmallow at these services. Rich, elaborate treats were often served to display the wealth of the deceased and their family, along with decorative ostrich feathers and extravagant costumes.

Later, marshmallow roasts became a trendy way to mingle. Young people congregated around bonfires, nibbling each other’s marshmallows and socializing with friends. Marshmallow roasting was considered a fun, flirtatious activity for singles. The summer fad continued through the 1890’s as a simple, inexpensive way to host.

The s’more we all know and love made its first appearance in the 1927 issue of the Girl Scout guidebook “Tramping and Trailing With the Girl Scouts” with the title “Some Mores.” The recipe gained popularity and quickly became a campfire staple. Somewhere down the line the name got shortened, but the recipe lives on. People love their s’mores so much that the flavors have been integrated into everything from ice cream to waffles to protein bars.

As much as we love the holidays, it’s always a little sad to see the summer go. Or it was, before we found a way to keep all the gooey, rich flavors of our beloved s’mores close to our heart (and bellies) all winter long. What’s more seasonal than coffee and pie? We certainly can’t think of anything.

Try out this super easy, super yummy recipe and let us know what you think in the comments below.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup strong brewed fall roaster’s blend
  • 1 (9-inch) graham cracker pie crust
  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows

 

Directions:

In a mixing bowl, whisk chocolate pudding mix, evaporated milk, and strong brewed coffee. Set aside.

 

Carefully pour in filling. Chill.

 

Place marshmallows in the center of the pie (they will spread as they melt). Broil until marshmallows are golden brown.

 

Serve!

National Dessert Day

October 12th, 2018 by

Food is love. There is no way around it. There’s a reason they put plump, sweet-faced grandmas on food labels. Love is the secret ingredient in any true home-cooked meal. The holidays are the perfect time to come together with family and friends, fill our homes with aroma of fragrant, slow-cooked treats, break bread, and be together. Food unites us and requires a pause in the frenzy of daily life. It’s time to slow down, to savor, and indulge.

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To be fair, not everyone agrees with this sentiment. We all know someone who implements rigid meal prep, Tupperware after Tupperware of bland, monotonous rations. Their calories and protein are in line with the daily recommended value, their blood pressure is pristine. The creator of the food pyramid would love these people, but those meager little meals just make us sad. Someone once told me “food is strictly sustenance,” and I balked at the thought. I’m all for balance, and I love nothing more than a good salad some days, but where is the love in unseasoned, broiled chicken, day in and day out? Is that a life worth living? We think not.

The thought came back to me months later, meeting a friend at our favorite little Italian bakery. The spot was abuzz with conversation, friends catching up at the end of the work week, milk being frothed for cappuccinos, orders being filled. It wasn’t a fancy place, but there was always an aura of merriment and the food was out of this world. I ordered my favorite, their Italian Rainbow Cookie Cake, to go with my latte. If you haven’t tried this, please, scour the baked goods in your area until you find one. I sat and savored the lush, homemade chocolate ganache, the smooth, dense almond cake, the fresh, tart raspberry jam oozing from between the layers. This was no meal of sustenance, but rather a festive departure from the mundane. Dessert cannot be rushed through or thoughtlessly devoured. It must be savored alongside a steamy mug of coffee on a joyful little floral plate with friends. Dessert is not a food, it’s an experience.

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The ideal holiday requires no travel, no cleaning, no gift-buying, just really good food. National Dessert Day just might be that holiday, and who doesn’t need an excuse to celebrate? You can even get away with skipping dinner if you want. Sustenance is cool and all, but today is a day to eat the kind of foods people daydream about.

We took a look back at our favorite dessert recipes and put together this handy little list for you. We’ve got everything from 2-ingredient, no fuss recipes to romantic, shareable items, and desserts that will impress the snootiest of foodies. You can even observe the holiday in pajamas, eating gooey Hot Fudge Pudding Cake for dinner with your cats. Now, that’s a holiday tradition we could get behind.

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Try out one of these amazing recipes and let us know what you think in the comments below!

No-Churn Coffee Fudge Ice Cream

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

Vietnamese Coffee Pops Recipe

The Perfect Two-Ingredient Dessert

Apple Berry Pie

Chocolate Lover’s Coffee Shake

The Ultimate Coffee Lover’s Cheesecake

Green Tea Mojito Bars

Earl Grey Truffles with Orange & Lavender

Coffee Smoothie (for Two) Recipe

Matcha Cheesecake Recipe

Peppermint Bark Recipe

Crème Brulee Recipe

Apple Cider Donut Overnight Oats

October 8th, 2018 by

Mornings are hard. I once worked in an office where I was the only one who drank coffee. That’s right, no coffee pot and no coffee shops or drive-thru’s nearby, just little packets of decaffeinated green tea taunting me from the break room. I would arrive every morning with my personal keg of coffee and quietly caffeinate in my corner cubicle while fresh-faced decaf coworkers buzzed around with irritating peppiness.

Apple cider donut overnight oats

We’ll go to ridiculous lengths to make mornings as easy as possible: breakfast prepped, coffee timer set, clothes laid out. Many of us just aren’t morning people. I don’t know what I would do without my coffee. Seeking to minimize my morning routine, my interest was piqued when I came across a recipe for “overnight oats with coffee.” Coffee and breakfast in one? It was almost too good to be true. I looked for a simple overnight oats recipe and added in my own dash of pizzazz.

With fall comes a plethora of rich, hearty flavors too good to pass up. As much of a summer person as I am, I must admit, I’ll take a dash of apple cinnamon or pumpkin spice in my coffee any day. One of my favorites is our Apple Cider Donut flavored coffee. Fusing the flavors of fresh donuts (without the guilt, might I add), spicy apple cider, sweet brown sugar, and cinnamon, this autumnal flavor pairs perfectly with breakfast. I decided to give it a whirl in my overnight oats recipe. This recipe called for ¼ cup of coffee, strong brewed. I made mine double strength and let it chill.

As much as you may want to sleep in, kids and pets often have different ideas. Often, it’s even hard to find much time for meal prep in the evenings. I liked this recipe because it was easy and didn’t require a lot of ingredients. In a jar, I mixed ½ cup of chopped apple, ½ cup of old fashioned oats, a teaspoon of honey, an 1/8 teaspoon of ground cinnamon and chilled coffee. Then, I sealed it up and hoped for the best. It made me a little nervous forgoing the timer on my coffee pot, but I was committed to finding out if my coffee oats would do the job!

I couldn’t believe how tasty this recipe turned out to be. A breakfast that is filling, easy, and gets me going in the morning? If only I had known years back, I could’ve saved myself a lot of sulky mornings in that corner cubicle. Well, better late than never! Give this recipe a try or modify it to your liking. Pumpkin Spice coffee overnight oats? Mash in a banana? Overnight oats with yogurt? Tell us what you think in the comments below!