Posts

GINGER & WALNUT DARK CHOCOLATE BARK

DARK CHOCOLATE BARK - LAUREN KELP

Happy Monday! Constance here. Please tell me I’m not the only one who is seriously struggling with coming off of the chocolate high after the holidays?! It seems to be so much more difficult than it was last year. I’m a firm believer in the gradual change, and I think that this little recipe falls a bit more into the power bar/trail mix category than the dessert category. Right? And dark chocolate is basically a superfood. Thus, I bring you Ginger & Walnut Dark Chocolate Bark. It’s easy. It’s delicious. And it’s obviously super healthy…

DARK CHOCOLATE BARK - LAUREN KELPDARK CHOCOLATE BARK - LAUREN KELP

INGREDIENTS:

-18 oz. dark chocolate chips or chunks

-2 tablespoons almond extract

-1 cup candied ginger, chopped

-1 cup walnuts, chopped

-1 cup shaved almonds

DARK CHOCOLATE BARK - LAUREN KELP

INSTRUCTIONS:

-Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
-In a medium sized saucepan, heat chocolate on low until melted. Stir often.
-Once melted, add almond extract and whisk until smooth.
-Remove from heat and add all but 1/3 cup of ginger, 1/3 cup of walnuts and 1/3 cup of almonds.

-Stir until evenly combined.
-Pour chocolate mixture into prepared pans.
-Sprinkle the remaining ginger, walnuts and almonds evenly on both prepared pans.
-Refrigerate bark for at least one hour (preferably overnight) until firm.
-Remover from refrigerator, cut into squares, and serve.

DARK CHOCOLATE BARK - LAUREN KELP


constance button

MAPLE SEA SALT ROASTED ALMONDS

Lauren Kelp | Maple Sea Salt Roasted AlmondsHello lovelies! Are you ready for the best snack hack of your life? We recently threw a Tablemakers dinner in Phoenix were these were served as a little appetizer and our guests flipped! They are the perfect combination of salty & sweet and your life will never be the same after you try them. Seriously. xoxo,LK


Laurel here! There’s something magical about the sweet, rich aroma of roasted almonds that always makes me think of steam swirling around street-cart vendors in winter, or fancy kiosks in the mall selling fragrant cellophane bags of these little goodies. They remind me of something you’d treat yourself to or receive as a gift (in those same fancy cellophane bags or glass jars), you know? I’d always thought of roasted or candied nuts as something too special to make at home–which is ridiculous, now that I know how completely easy they are to pull off, and in almost no time at all. Can you stir things in a bowl? Can you wait twenty minutes? Perfect, then you can make these! If your pantry is stocked anything like mine, you may even have all the ingredients to make these treats already, but even if a shopping trip is required, this four-ingredient beauty won’t break the bank.

The only real secret to getting these crunchy, candied nuts just right is one I’ll share with you now (saving you from a fate like my first few overly sticky batches)…always toss them in syrup first, then vegetable oil separately. That’s it! The oil resists mixing with the liquid in the syrup and forms a kind of coating on the outside. Your result, my friend? Perfectly crunchy, not sticky, addictively delicious roasted nuts every time.

Lauren Kelp | Maple Sea Salt Roasted Almonds
The best thing about this recipe for Maple Sea Salt Roasted Almonds really is, in fact, that it’s just a gateway to other recipes. Once you know how easy they are to make ahead of time, you can discover how amazing they are on top of hearty salads, warm Brie drizzled with maple syrup, breakfast bowls of grains or Greek yogurt, chopped and sprinkled on ice cream…you name it! My favorite way to eat them is straight out of my hand, though–they’re the perfect take-along snack for the office or running errands, and they keep me from reaching for far worse alternatives (vending machine candy bars, I’m lookin’ at you).

Never know what to serve at a party? This recipe will make you look like an entertaining genius. Set out a few pre-dinner bowls of these to satisfy hungry guests the next time you’re hosting–they’re totally at home next to a good cheese plate or on a bar cart with tasty cocktails. Like all good salty-sweet things (which is basically saying ALL GOOD THINGS, because that’s my favorite category), these roasted almonds are equally at home before or after dinner. You could just as easily end the meal with passed bowls of them and call it dessert. Happy snacking!

Lauren Kelp | Maple Sea Salt Roasted AlmondsINGREDIENTS:

3 cups whole almonds
1⁄4 cup real maple syrup
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Lauren Kelp | Maple Sea Salt Roasted Almonds

INSTRUCTIONS:

– Preheat oven to 350 F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

– In a mixing bowl, toss almonds with maple syrup and half the salt.

– Add vegetable oil, toss until thoroughly coated.

– Spread almonds in a single layer on lined baking sheet.

– Bake for 20 minutes until deep golden brown, stopping about halfway through to stir with a silicone spatula and sprinkle with remaining sea salt.

– Let cool slightly, then break apart any clumped-together almonds while still a bit warm.

– When completely cool, store in airtight container for up to one month.

Lauren Kelp | Maple Sea Salt Roasted Almonds


laurel button

 

CREAMY PASTA WITH APPLE & SAGE MEATBALLS

Lauren Kelp | Creamy PastaHowdy, friends! Laurel here & I know, I know…it may be January, and shiny brand new resolutions may be popping out all over the place, but let me just gently reassure you here. One, it’s not going to be January forever, even if it feels that way, and two, you need this pasta in your life. Gym memberships and kale smoothie cleanses are all wonderful things, but this weekend, you’ve got a date with some good old-fashioned comfort food.

This creamy pasta was the very best thing I ate in the month of December, which is saying something considering that it was a month that also contained at least a dozen new cookie recipes and Christmas dinner itself. But this dish, oh baby, this was the hands-down winner! This delightfully creamy pasta with savory apple, sage & sausage meatballs is rich yet somehow light, brightened by lemon zest and generous handfuls of fresh chives. And while it may not be a virtuous kale smoothie, it’s packed with spinach and fresh herbs and guaranteed to help chase away your dead-of-winter-blahs with some warm, carb-laden comfort: this is the One Winter Pasta To Rule Them All. It’s worth putting on your stretchy pants for, even in the land of New Year’s resolutions.

Lauren Kelp | Creamy PastaINGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup chopped chives
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice
salt & pepper
1/2 cup peeled & grated apple
1 tablespoon fresh sage
1 lb. mild Italian sausage
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
1 lb. rigatoni pasta (usually, one box)
3 cups baby spinach leaves

Lauren Kelp | Creamy PastaINSTRUCTIONS:

1. In a mixing bowl, whisk the sour cream and regular cream together.

2. Add chives, lemon zest and lemon juice, plus salt & pepper to taste, set mixture aside.

3. Squeeze grated apple between your hands to remove as much juice as possible beforehand.

4. Put fresh sage, Italian sausage and chopped shallot in a mixing bowl, add the grated apple, mix with your hands until just barely combined. Roll mixture into about two dozen meatballs the size of large marbles.

5. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add half the meatballs, cook until lightly browned on the outside and no longer pink on the inside, do the same for the other half of the batch. Set all cooked meatballs aside.

6. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, season with a handful of salt and add pasta. Cook until tender, then strain and return pasta to pot.

7. Add spinach and toss thoroughly while pasta is still warm, until leaves wilt and become soft.

8. Add cream mixture and meatballs, then serve.

Lauren Kelp | Creamy Pasta


laurel button

HONEY & ROSEMARY BAKED BRIE

HONEY & ROSEMARY BAKED BRIE - LAUREN KELPOoh, dear, dear friends, you are in for a treat today. For all of my cheese lovers out there, today’s recipe is for you! We’ve got the most glorious baked brie and it’s basically a cheap & easy lifesaver. It takes no time, is cheap to make, and makes you look like a total pro! Go ahead invite the mother in law over, you just popped a brie in the oven 😉 – xoxo, LK


Oh friends. Constance here. Is anyone out there as excited as I am that the holidays are over? Never before in my life have I uttered that sentence. I almost feel ashamed saying it, but it couldn’t be more true this year! I think it must be a combination of a way too busy holiday season around our house (I literally felt like I couldn’t breathe for a couple of days there!) and an overwhelming sense of excitement about 2016. I can’t quite pinpoint it, but there’s something about this year that has me giddy. I have a feeling 2016 is going to be quite the game changer.

HONEY & ROSEMARY BAKED BRIE - LAUREN KELP

All of this excitement, however, doesn’t come without some sort of reflection. I’ve been thinking a whole lot about the art of entertaining, especially when it comes to the holidays. Confession: I’m 100% certain that that busyness I mentioned earlier had much to do with me spending way too much time in the kitchen trying to impress our guests rather than cooking smarter and spending more time actually enjoying my loved ones. There’s a way to be intentional and make much of your guests, without entirely missing the celebration yourself, and I truly believe that if that’s not happening there’s a big problem.

So to remedy this for future celebrations, I’ve decided to learn from my mistakes this year, and share with you the recipes that truly did work. The ones that are simple and quick, but still communicate to your guests that the dinner you’ve invited them to is a celebration! And you guys, this is the pièce de résistance. Because who doesn’t love brie…

HONEY & ROSEMARY BAKED BRIE - LAUREN KELPINGREDIENTS:

-12 ounce wheel of good brie (a younger brie works best, but ask your cheese monger for a good option)

-honey (the more the better)

-3-4 sprigs of fresh rosemary

HONEY & ROSEMARY BAKED BRIE - LAUREN KELPINSTRUCTIONS:

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

-Remove brie from packaging and place in camembert baker or on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle liberally with honey (we prefer to completely cover the top of the brie, but it’s up to you). Top with fresh rosemary sprigs.

-Bake for 12-14 minutes.

-Remove from oven, and serve with crusty french bread.

HONEY & ROSEMARY BAKED BRIE - LAUREN KELP


constance button

SALTED DARK CHOCOLATE TART

CHOCOLATE TART - LAUREN KELPDid y’all have a lovely holiday? Are you gearing up for the next one? Well, if you plan on entertaining soon, we more than recommend this delicious salted dark chocolate tart. It’s unreal y’all! – xoxo, LK

Well hello fellow chocolatiers! Constance here. We hope you all had the most wonderful Christmas weekend celebrating with family and friends! Good news? We’re still going strong over here. We’re taking advantage of the rest of this glorious month, and continuing to celebrate by eating chocolate all day, everyday. I’m assuming you’re all doing the same, and this here little recipe is my go-to for all NYE parties. It has the classic black & white thing covered, and it’s really just a crowd pleaser. Because let’s face it, if you’re crowd doesn’t like dark chocolate, you may need to reevaluate your crew…

CHOCOLATE TART - LAUREN KELP

INGREDIENTS FOR CRUST:

-1 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats
-3/4 cup whole wheat flour
-1/3 cup coconut oil, melted & slightly cooled
-1/4 cup agave syrup
-2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
-3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
-3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

INGREDIENTS FOR FILLING:

-1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
-1 cup dark cocoa powder
-7 ounces dark chocolate, melted & slightly cooled
-2/3 cup agave syrup
-3 teaspoons vanilla extract
-2/3 cup coconut oil, melted & cooled
-1/4 teaspoon sea salt
CHOCOLATE TART - LAUREN KELP

INSTRUCTIONS:

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-In a large food processor, pulse the oats, flour, coconut oil, agave, cocoa, salt, and cinnamon until coarsely ground.
-Transfer dough to a 13 3/4 x 4 1/2 – inch tart pan with removable bottom.
-Firmly press dough into the bottom of the pan and up the sides.
-Bake crust until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack.
-Combine espresso powder and 3/4 cup of hot water in a food processor, and mix until espresso is dissolved. Add cocoa and let sit for 5 minutes.
-Add melted chocolate, agave syrup, vanilla, coconut oil and sea salt, and process until mixture is really smooth and thick (roughly 45 seconds).
-Pour filling into cooled tart crust, and smooth the top (you may have a little extra filling left over–you’re welcome!)
-Sprinkle tart with see salt flakes and place in refrigerator until filing is set (about 1 hour).
-Cut tart into small bars and serve chilled!

constance button

CHOCOLATE FUDGE

CHOCOLATE FUDGE - LAUREN KELP

Hello & Happy Monday, you beautiful birds! It’s chocolate day here at LK HQ and we are busting out a good one – chocolate fudge! It’s pure heaven and it’s perfect to share, gift, or indulge in after a good meal. Thankfully, Foodie Bad Ass Constance Higley brings her A-game and knocks this guy out of the park. Can’t wait to hear what y’all think! – xoxo, LK


Hello friends! Constance here. Remember how we said Mondays were made for chocolate? We weren’t kidding. It’s what we live for…at least on Mondays. I’ve always steered clear from any sort of fudge recipe, thinking it was way out of my league. And the whole tahini thing (see recipe) threw me for a complete loop. But like with anything that may seem scary, once you get started you realize it’s truly easy and so worth it. And any recipe that I can make the day before a dinner party and freeze overnight is 1000 times worth it!

If you love chocolate, dessert, a good time, or a delicious recipe – this little guy is absolutely for you! Check it out and see what I mean…

CHOCOLATE FUDGE - LAUREN KELP

INGREDIENTS:

-1/2 cup pure maple syrup

-3 tablespoons coconut oil

-340g hulled tahini

-2 tablespoons cocoa powder

-3 teaspoons vanilla extract

-sea salt flakes

CHOCOLATE FUDGE - LAUREN KELP

INSTRUCTIONS:

-Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper.

-Slowly heat the maple syrup and coconut oil until just melted.

-Remove mixture from heat and add the tahini, cocoa powder and vanilla extract.

-Mix together until combined into a smooth, runny paste.

-Transfer mix to prepared 8×8 pan, and top with sea salt flakes.

-Place pan in freezer for at least 4 hours to set.

-Remove from freezer, but into small squares, and serve immediately.

CHOCOLATE FUDGE - LAUREN KELP


constanceRecipe adapted from My Darling Lemon Thyme.

PROSCIUTTO WRAPPED DATES WITH GOAT CHEESE

PROSCIUTTO WRAPPED DATES WITH GOAT CHEESE - LAUREN KELP

Well, hello! We are helping you step up your entertaining game this holiday season with the most delicious (and easy!) prosciutto wrapped dates with goat cheese! You can make it in under five minutes, it tastes delicious, and it packs a major WOW factor – what could be better? See the recipe below! – xoxo, LK


Friends! Constance here. It’s official! I’ve found it. The ultimate Christmas party appetizer that is, in fact, equal parts super easy and super fancy-ish. Parties, dinners and last minute get-togethers are in full swing for the holidays, and if you’re anything like this gal, procrastination can get the best of you. Rather than opting for that weird and slightly disturbing store bought dip, I beg of you, try this prosciutto wrapped dates with goat cheese combo out.

PROSCIUTTO WRAPPED DATES WITH GOAT CHEESE - LAUREN KELPPROSCIUTTO WRAPPED DATES WITH GOAT CHEESE - LAUREN KELP

INGREDIENTS:

-15-20 dates

-goat cheese

-proscuitto

-fresh thyme

 

PROSCIUTTO WRAPPED DATES WITH GOAT CHEESE - LAUREN KELP

INSTRUCTIONS:

-Spread 1/2 tbsp of goat cheese on each date.

-Wrap each date with one slice of prosciutto.

-Top with a small sprig of fresh thyme.

PROSCIUTTO WRAPPED DATES WITH GOAT CHEESE - LAUREN KELPSo next time you are in a bit of a bind and need a fancy appetizer in a snap, don’t forget about this little gem! Nothing says, I am a serious hostess-with-the-mostess like prosciutto wrapped dates with goat cheese! PROSCIUTTO WRAPPED DATES WITH GOAT CHEESE - LAUREN KELP


constance button

 

FANCY MOVIE NIGHT CARAMEL POPCORN

Lauren Kelp | Movie Night SnacksHello, hello! Laurel here! Even though my other half and I are years past our early ‘dating’ days, I have to admit, I have never stopped loving date night. Better still, my guy loves movies of all kinds just as much as I do! But between our busy schedules and a tighter than usual budget these days, actual nights out at a theater just aren’t the norm around these parts. Our new favorite thing? Movie Date Night In, complete with better-than-concession-stand snacks, of course. Let’s be real: movie ticket prices are always going up, theater seats are sticky and uncomfortable, and the treats are expensive and mostly kind of unappealing (except you, Junior Mints, I love you forever and ever). If those aren’t compelling enough reasons for you to stay home and do a little ‘Netflix & chill’, then I’ve got two more words for you……homemade candy!

Now, I’m not the kind of gal who’s going to try and convince you to unethically sneak your own snacks into an actual movie theater (I’m sure no one reading this has ever done that! I mean, I never have done that. Ahem). Let’s just focus instead on the fact that amazing homemade treats like these are best enjoyed at home, where you can be in the company of your sweetheart, your dog, your couch, and your comfiest yoga pants, all at the same time. I’m also going on the theory that if I make it myself at home, it’s somehow healthier……and that includes candy! Shhhhh. Just go with me on this one.

Lauren Kelp | Movie Night Snacks

This recipe is based on a tried & true standard, but with a subtle twist; caramel corn–just like the dark chocolate bark seen above–is one of those old-fashioned recipes I can’t resist giving a modern makeover. White miso paste is the kind of earthy, salty, umami-loaded flavor that can sneak unexpectedly into classic candy and make it feel like a brilliant new invention. Try it! Get a little crazy with your date night treats, change up the movie genre to something you wouldn’t ordinarily go for, switch sides on the couch, you get the idea. Keep the Movie Night magic alive!

With a little planning ahead and only a little bit of effort–you seriously won’t believe how simple and tasty this treat is to put together–you can plan the ultimate Movie Date Night In.

Hint: You will need parchment paper for this recipe, which is easy to find in the baking aisle and is a great addition to your kitchen whenever you’re looking for a disposable, low-stick surface!

Lauren Kelp | Movie Night SnacksINGREDIENTS:

-6 cups popped popcorn (unflavored microwave popcorn or good old stovetop popcorn)

-2 tablespoon butter

-1 1/2 cups sugar

-2 tablespoon white miso paste

-1 tablespoon sesame seeds

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside.
  • In a large pot, melt butter and sugar over medium high heat, stirring with a heatproof spatula or wooden spoon.
  • Let sugar mixture boil for a few minutes without stirring, watching carefully, until it turns the light brown color of caramel.
  • Remove from heat and stir in miso paste.
  • Fold in popcorn and stir until coated in caramel. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  • Divide mixture between baking sheets and spread it out with spoon or spatula. Let cool, then enjoy!

Lauren Kelp | Movie Night Snacks


laurel morley button

SALTED CARAMEL APPLES

SALTED CARAMEL APPLES - LAUREN KELPHello party people! I know everyone is gearing up for the holiday season, but we are still enjoying this gorgeous Fall weather here in Chicago. It’s beyond rare that we don’t have snow on the ground at this point in time, so I am basking in all the “light jacket” glory.

Our fabulous Food Contributor Constance must have taken my Fall musings to heart as she whipped up the most gorgeous salted caramel apples the universe has ever seen. Just in time for Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving, and all those potlucks you are about to attend.

Dip, serve, and repeat – that’s what I say! For the perfect shareable dessert, put in the refrigerator for a few minutes so the caramel hardens and cut into easy to serve slices.

SALTED CARAMEL APPLES - LAUREN KELP

INGREDIENTS:

– 2 cups granulated sugar
-12 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced into 1-inch cubes
-1 cup heavy cream
-3 teaspoons of SEE SALT

SALTED CARAMEL APPLES - LAUREN KELPINSTRUCTIONS:

– In a semi-deep non-stick pot, heat sugar over medium high heat, stirring often.
-The sugar will soon start to clump together. This is ok and what it is supposed to do!
-The sugar will soon start to break down into a liquid and you’ll want to switch to a whisk to get rid of the clumps.
-Once the sugar is in liquid form, you’ll want to continue stirring for about 2 minutes.
-Carefully add the butter. The mixture will hiss and splatter a bit. Continue stirring until all the butter has melted.
-Once the butter has melted, CAREFULLY add the heavy cream. Since the heavy cream will be cold, your mixture will bubble and splatter a bit as well. Stir the mixture then let boil for 3 minutes.
-Remove from heat, stir in the SEE SALT, and let completely cool before you pour it into any jars.
-Store in the refrigerator and warm up slightly to drizzle or use for desserts.

SALTED CARAMEL APPLES - LAUREN KELP

Recipe by Table for Two.


constance button

THE AUTUMNAL MIMOSA

Lauren Kelp | The Autumnal MimosaHey, hey, it’s Friday! And you know what that means – COCKTAILS! We think you worked extra hard this week, so we think you should treat yourself to the most delicious cocktail around (well, at least this week) – our Autumnal Mimosa! See the recipe from sweet Laurel below. – xoxo, LK


Good morning, all! November is finally here, and where I live (in a little desert oasis called Phoenix) that means the return of outdoor entertaining. The cooler temperatures recently inspired me to throw a little autumnal-themed brunch bash, which led me to a new revelation…apple cider mimosas! In all my experimenting with cocktails, I’ve never messed around with the original mimosa equation (Orange juice + Sparkling wine = BRUNCH TIME), and now I’m kicking myself for having missed out on so many delicious, seasonal sips!

This pairing of crisp apple cider with a perfectly chilled sparkling wine (try a nice, dry prosecco or champagne to balance the sweetness of cider) is an autumnal match made in heaven, and perfectly Instagram-worthy once topped with a slice of apple and a sprig of fresh rosemary.

Lauren Kelp | The Autumnal Mimosa

INGREDIENTS:

3 oz. dry prosecco or champagne

3 oz. apple cider

Apple slice (choose your favorite variety–I love tart & sweet Honeycrisps–and slice thinly)

Fresh rosemary sprig

Lauren Kelp | The Autumnal Mimosa

 INSTRUCTIONS:

1.Fill each glass halfway with apple cider.

2.Pop open your sparkling wine, top off each glass with an equal amount, leaving about an inch of room at the top.

3.Garnish each glass with a fresh slice of apple and rosemary sprig, then enjoy! Happy brunching!

Lauren Kelp | The Autumnal Mimosa


laurel morley button