Monday, June 27, 2016

you'll never believe what's happening to your favorite cooking sites!!!

Hello, I'm here to complain again!

I'm tired of the Buzzfeed-ification of what used to be my favorite cooking website: The Kitchn. They post like 15+ posts a day, and I used to read almost all of them. They had delicious-sounding recipes, informative tips, and these great weekly meditation pieces on Sunday mornings that were kind of philosophical about cooking. Sounds like voodoo, but they were great.

Now, we have this stellar content:

Serious Journalism Alert: A Guide to the Flavors of Pop Rocks (actually I kind of want to read this but only ironically you guys)
9 Essential YA Series to Read on the Beach This Summer (what....does this even have to do with food?)
4 Steps to a Pristine Picnic Table (??? please I'm dying to know how to sanitize a picnic table tell me more now)
What Bizarre Thing Should We Spiralize on Facebook Live? (nothing. you should spiralize nothing, and you should stay the heck away from facebook live.)

And like every other article has a number in it:

5 tips for this...27 side dishes for that...7 ways to...a 3 ingredient...4 steps to...[pristine picnic table!]

My other favorite cooking sites (Serious Eats, Food52) have generally managed to save their dignity and avoid the clickbait-y-ness but all of them are falling into Pinterest-ification. All of their front pages are just a matrix of food pictures, which, I can't believe I'm complaining about, but for some reason I hate it. It's overwhelming and confusingly ugly. I need more words!

ALSO: huge pet peeve of reading ANY online article, not limited to food sites: ads in the middle that make me think the article's abruptly over when it's not. It's so distracting and makes me feel like my attention span is even shorter than it is. I get that people need to get paid somehow but...can we just put all the ads at the beginning of an article or something? I would much rather just get them all out of the way at first so that I can seamlessly read. I especially hate it when the interrupting ad is a link to another article on the site. Why are you sabotaging your own content? Now you've ruined my experience of reading your article by trying to interrupt me and have me read something else. Why? Can't I finish reading your own article in peace?

Disclaimer: I know nothing about what drives online clickzz, and there are probably valid reasons for all of these things. (If you know what they are, enlighten me!) I freely admit to sucking the fun out of most things-don't get me started on superhero movies.

Sunday, June 19, 2016


I've been holding out on you. Aaron and I have made some pretty delicious things lately which I have yet to share on my neglected blog. This changes TODAY.

I got over my peanut-butter-is-too-expensive-to-use-in-cookies thing and made these peanut butter cookies from Smitten Kitchen. They have 5 ingredients, and you can be eating them in less than an hour (most of which is hands-off oven or chilling time). They've nearly replaced these brownies as my go-to "I need a dessert now, and I already ate all the chocolate chips I've been hoarding in the freezer". 

Did you need a black bean burger recipe? Because I have one for you! This comes from America's Test Kitchen, which you'll need to have a login to see and the recipes will disappear unless you get a paid subscription after the current season has passed. So I've brought it here to you!

2 cans (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 scallions, minced
3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon hot sauce (optional, but I'd recommend it)
½ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 ounce tortilla chips, crushed coarse (1/2 cup)
8 teaspoons vegetable oil
6 hamburger buns

  • Instructions

  • 1. Dry your black beans for ~15 min by putting them on a baking sheet lined with a triple layer of paper towels.
  • 2. Whisk together the eggs and flour to form a paste. Add in the scallions, cilantro, garlic, cumin, hot sauce (if using), coriander, salt, pepper. Mix well.
  • 3. Crush up tortilla chips into a fine powder using a food processor, about 30 seconds (you could also probably just smash them up in a plastic bag if you don't have a food processor, just make sure they're pretty finely crushed). Add in the black beans and pulse 5 times to combine. Combine the black bean mixture with the egg/spice mixture and refrigerate for at least an hour. (This helps make it easier to handle the burgers because the mixture will be pretty loose at this point. That being said, Aaron and I were too hungry to wait every time we've made these, so we skipped straight to the cooking part and it worked out just fine.)
  • 4. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions, forming patties 3.5" in diameter. You can wrap the patties in plastic wrap and freeze them for later if you want, as long as you thaw them out before cooking.
  • 5. Heat a couple teaspoons of oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Once the oil's hot, cook three patties at a time. Cook 5 minutes on one side, until the bottom's brown and crisp, and then flip them and cook for another 3-5 minutes (whenever the other side is also brown and crisp). 
  • 6. EAT. Love them so much you don't even care they're not beef. My favorite way to top these is with cheese (put a slice on when you're cooking the second side), barbecue sauce, and guacamole. Mmmm happiness.

  • And your final food recommendation also comes from America's Test Kitchen, but this recipe link should work: bolognese sauce. You're going to need meatloaf mix (pork + beef + veal) for it, and I wouldn't recommend subbing just ground beef or ground turkey (we almost always sub any ground meat for turkey in other recipes, but it doesn't turn out nearly as good here). It's worth it. You can, however, sub out the white wine for chicken stock and it will still taste fantastic.

  • Besides these few standouts we've sort of been in a rut lately. We decided we should actually cook more out of the cookbooks we own, so there will probably be some more Smitten Kitchen recipes showing up here in the future. Got any recipes you're loving these days?