cheddar apple ale soup + sage toasts

october 20th, 2015

homesweet-soup

It's been awhile since I've had a weekend wide open to relax and catch up. While I love weekend road trips and exploring new corners of New England, there sure is a whole lot to be said for waking up slow on a Saturday morning, long riverside runs, and taking the time to re-energize and simply be. A change in season always helps to remind me to slow down and savor the simpler things.

When the temps outside begin to drop, I tend to seek comfort and coziness. The down comforter is broken out, wool socks are donned, and hearty food is roasted and warmed. The fall colors this year have got me like woah, and I decided to make something to match the golden leaves on the trees outside my window. This soup is creamy and decadent and warms you up from your fingertips to your toes. Enjoy a big bowl of this cheddar apple ale soup with crispy sage toasts to dunk and crunch on. 

Eat, drink, and be cozy :)

cheddar apple ale soup - 

serves 4

ingredients - 

  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter 
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 apples, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup leeks, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1 cup pale ale of choice 
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 Tbsp worchestershire sause 
  • 1 1/2 cups light cream 
  • 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated (cabot seriously sharp is my favorite)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil
  • sage leaves
  • flakey salt 
  • 1 loaf fresh crusty bread

In a large dutch oven melt butter over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic to the pot. Cover and stir occasionally for about 10 minutes, add diced apples, and cook for another 10 minutes, or until vegetables are softened. Stir in the flour for a few minutes, then add the ale and stir. Next mix in the light cream, worchestershire sauce, and vegetable broth. Turn up heat to medium-high to bring soup to a simmer. Once simmering, cover and reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 10 - 12 minutes. 

Remove soup from heat and puree contents in batches or with an immersion blender until smooth. Place the soup over medium-low heat and add the grated cheddar cheese to the pot in handfuls. Stir constantly to evenly melt throughout soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover until ready to serve. 

toasts - 

Heat oven to broil, drizzle bread with olive oil, and place in the oven for 5 minutes. These will crisp up quick so keep an eye on them! While the toasts are crisping, pour a generous amount of olive oil into a small skillet. Once oil is hot, add sage leaves. The oil should pop and bubble when the sage leaves are added. Heat for 2-3 minutes and remove from the skillet. Take the toasts out of the oven, sprinkle with crispy sage and flakey salt, and serve on top of or on the side of soup.

Be sure to follow @homesweet_mary on instagram and tag #HSrecipes when you try out a recipe!

pumpkin spice & walnut granola 

october 9th, 2015

homesweet-pumpkin

Lately, I've been desperately trying to slow down the hours, days, and weeks. It's my favorite time of year (much like everyone else in New England) and I'm savoring these crisp and sunny days before the winter air settles in. It can be easy to let this time of year pass you by in the city. You see trees with scarlet and gold leaves here and there, but the colors don't overwhelm you the way they do in the mountains.

This past weekend I zipped up to my old stomping grounds in Vermont, and boy, do I miss it there. I moved to Burlington when I was eighteen, and quickly fell in love with its mountains and its people. Vermont felt like home right away. My first fall there was basically my first fall, ever. I remember walking down to Lake Champlain, looking out to the Adirondacks and thinking that their slopes and ridges looked like they were on fire. The colors burned so bright they blazed, and it took my breath away year after year. Still does. From September to November I was determined to spend as much time as I possibly could outside. There were sunrise and sunset hikes on Camel's Hump, weekends in the apple orchards, pumpkin picking, and long solo runs along the lake. Though the air grew cooler and the days shorter, I always found myself feeling indescribably warm this time of year. A combination of beautiful views, good company, and the sweet and spicy scents often floating from the kitchen made for happy memories in one of my happy places. 

So, this granola. While it can't take me back in time, it sure does bring back a whole lot of happy memories with it's warming, nutty, and spicy flavors. It's cozy and inviting and makes both your heart and belly feel full. I like to make big batches of it to sprinkle on yogurt, add to oatmeal, and to snack on morning, noon, and night. I hope you enjoy this simple recipe as much as I do :).

pumpkin walnut granola

ingredients - 

  • 3 cups rolled oats 
  • 1 1/3 cups raw walnuts, halved or chopped
  • 1/3 cup raw pepitas
  • 1 Tbsp flax seeds 
  • 2 dashes of sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice 
  • 1/4 cup refined coconut oil, melted
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup honey

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine oats, flax seeds, walnuts, pepitas, spices, and salt.

In a small pan, melt the refined coconut oil and then whisk in pumpkin puree and honey. Mix well until the contents are evenly combined. Add to the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon or spatula until all dry ingredients are coated. 

Spread half of the mixture evenly on a baking sheet. Place in the oven for 7 minutes, stir contents around a bit, rotate, and place in the oven for another 7 or so minutes. *Keep an eye on it! It can go from crispy to burnt to a crisp quite quickly (speaking from experience.) 

Once golden brown, remove your granola from the oven and let it cool. Enjoy warm over yogurt, with a splash of milk, or store in an airtight container to enjoy at a later time. 

Let me know how your pumpkin granola turns out by tagging #HSrecipes on instagram, and be sure to follow me @homesweet_mary. Happy baking! 

harvest barley bowl + maple cider dressing

september 22nd, 2015

homesweet

On Monday I woke up cold. It was 5:30 am and this wonderful, crisp, breeze was blowing through my window. I burrowed under my down comforter and snoozed for another hour before hopping out of bed to warm up with a cup of tea. Slow and cozy mornings like this are my favorite, and they're downright rare on a Monday. It's September 21st, and a year ago today I moved into my little Beacon Hill apartment. 

Time flies. It really does. This year has gone miles a minute at moments and crawled by at others. A year. How is it possible that a year ago I was driving up the gravel road on the farm, teary eyed and feeling so so heavy-hearted after a difficult goodbye. The chill in the air yesterday took me right back to those moments, and I felt all sorts of nostalgic. Seasons seem to have a way of doing that. The length of the days, the way the air feels, and the produce popping up in farmers' markets brings about new routines in the day to day. 

It wasn't until I moved to the Northeast that I truly learned what cooking and eating seasonally meant, and I soon fell in love with the rich flavors and warm colors fall brought about in the market and in my kitchen each year. This weekend I moseyed through the Boston Public Market, a Sunday pastime that has quickly become part of my weekly routine. I ate a cider donut because it was finally below 70 outside (and because why not), munched on some Vermont cheeses, scooped up a small bouquet of dahlias, and found myself obsessing over all of the colorful winter squash varieties that have popped up overnight. I had at least 5 different kinds in my arms before I zeroed in on these adorable "sweet squash," a miniature version of the butternut squash.  Promising to be a gorgeous orange hue and just sweet enough, I grabbed a few and went on my way. 

Eager to test out the texture of these babies, I decided to roast them simply and mix them in with a few favorites. This warm barley bowl is bursting with color, tasting and smelling warm and spicy as well. It boasts baby kale and dried cherries, hints of thyme and cider vinegar, and is topped off with a poached egg and parmesan for creaminess. It warms you up from the inside out, and is the perfect dish to welcome the new season. 

Happy Equinox friends :)

harvest barley bowl + maple cider dressing

serves 3-4 

ingredients - 

  • 1 cup barley
  • 2 1/2 cups water 
  • 2 "sweet squash" or 1 small butternut squash, peeled, roasted, & diced
  • generous drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil
  • pinch or two of cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • a few sprigs thyme
  • salt & ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 handfuls baby kale
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries
  • handful pepitas
  • 3 - 4 eggs (dependent on serving size), poached
  • a bit of parmesan cheese, shaved

dressing - 

  • 1/3 cup really good extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup, the real stuff
  • 1/4 tsp dijon mustard
  • salt & pepper to taste 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Bring barley and water to a boil in a medium pot and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook until the water has been absorbed completely, 35 - 45 minutes. *Check every 10 minutes or so to be sure you don't overcook. 

Place your whole squash on a cookie sheet and roast at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. This will soften the tough skin, making it easier to cut into chunks to roast. Remove and let cool. Careful not to burn your fingers, cut the squash in half length wise and peel. Remove the seeds and cut into bite size pieces. Spread the squash out on your cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and toss with cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Top with thyme sprigs, and roast in the oven for another 30 minutes, until a bit browned and tender. 

While the squash cooks whisk together the dressing ingredients and season with salt and pepper. 

Once the barley and squash are done, combine in a large bowl with baby kale, dried cherries, pepitas, and dressing. Top off this grain salad with a perfect poached egg and some sharp parmesan cheese.

Enjoy!