Happy Halloween everyone! What’s everyone dressing up as this year? Unfortunately, I’m working late tonight so will not be dressing up or handing out candies to the kiddos. Ah, well. I guess that’s less candy for me to eat! Also, I just want to thank everyone for the well wishes during the storm a couple of days ago! Thankfully, Boston didn’t get hit nearly as badly as they were predicting, so the worst we got here was no power for several hours. My thoughts go out to those who got it much worse than us though; New Jersey and New York both had a very rough Monday, and I hope everyone’s on a path to recovery after Sandy!
Anyhoo.. On to today’s post, which has nothing to do with Halloween. Or storms.
I’m not much of a cook.
I can bake one hell of a pie, and endless batches of cookies and brownies that always leave people asking for more.
But put me in the kitchen and ask me to make dinner? Not so much.
Every once in a while though, I create something that comes together wonderfully (although it’s usually by accident). It just so happens that this happened twice a couple of weeks ago, so I thought I must share!
The first was an accidental dinner that really only came about because I came home from work late, with few groceries to choose from and little patience for cooking anything fancy. I was tired and starving, and I wanted food, fast. This is what lead to the preliminary portion of the accidental dinner: seasoned ground beef, roasted sweet potato pieces, and roasted broccoli. The first night, I threw these three components in a bowl together, and it was a surprisingly good flavor combination.
The next night, however, is when it got even better. Again, I got home tired, lazy, and starving, but wanted to do something a little bit different instead of eating exactly the same thing again. So I took out my beef/sweet potato/broccoli combo leftover from the previous night, threw it between two small whole wheat tortillas, sprinkled some asiago/romano cheese in the mix, and baked it into an absolutely delicious (yet kind of strange) quesadilla.
Mexican food it was not, but the flavor was excellent! If you ever have these three main ingredients on hand, I highly recommend whipping this up. Especially when topped with a dollop of plain greek yogurt, the “quesadilla” was a delicious and filling dinner, that took me about 10 minutes to make! (about 40 minutes, if you count the initial veggie roasting, beef browning time).
My next accidental kitchen adventure came from wanting to use up some cashew butter that I had bought at the Boston Local Food Festival. I loved the cashew butter, but realized that I didn’t really enjoy it as a spread, so I couldn’t figure out how I wanted to eat it. This is how Cashew Coconut Date bars were born.
3/4 C Cashew Butter
1/2 C Chopped Dates
2 Tbs shredded unsweetened coconut (+ 1 Tbs reserved)
2 tsp honey
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Few drops of water
Pinch of salt (1/8-1/4 tsp, to taste)
2 Tbs Raw Almond Slivers
Combine all ingredients except 1 Tbs of coconut and almond slivers in medium sized bowl. Mix well, including a few drops of water to aid in mixing. You might need to mix by hand in order to make sure that all ingredients are incorporated evenly; I didn’t use a food processor because I wanted to keep the consistency of the chopped dates. Form into a square, about 1/2 in thick; sprinkle remaining coconut and almond slivers on top. Refrigerate to set, and cut into 4-5 “Lara Bar” sized bars.
I’m telling you, these are so good. They tasted suspiciously like Butternut Donuts from Dunkin Donuts, although not as sweet. I’m not sure how that’s possible from something with a cashew-butter base, but hey, I’m not complaining!
Do you ever make things accidentally in the kitchen? Are you more of a cook or a baker (or both)? What’s the best thing you’ve ever made my accident?