Quick Oven Roasted Asparagus (and Broccolini)

Anyone who’s known me awhile knows that I grew up picky. Things that were outside the norm were almost automatically turned down in favour of the familiar. Peas and carrots, corn, broccoli? Sure! Asparagus? Uhhhh. How about no. 

But then, as I grew into a much somewhat more reasonable adult, I stepped outside of my comfort zone a little and began to try things. Asparagus was one of those things. I still haven’t quite found a taste for it steamed, but roasted? I could eat that stuff all day. 

Broccolini, though? I had never heard of it! Then, a couple of years ago, a new restaurant opened in town that my husband and I really enjoyed and they offered it as a side option. The first time I ordered it, I admittedly thought it was just a fancy way of saying “broccoli”; but to my surprise, it was actually a little different. I’ve since found it at the grocery store and pick some up from time to time. 

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The thing that really makes it for me is the salt. Maybe it’s my affinity for crispy, salty things; but I can’t be the only one. Any salt will do, I’m sure. But some coarsely ground sea salt makes it perfection.

This roasted asparagus makes a frequent appearance in our house as a side for dinner. Sometimes as shown, sometimes with a bit of parmesan (fresh or “sprinkle cheese”, as my kids call it). Often with roasts, grilled chicken, and pork chops, but also with things like pasta. I’ve even whipped some up with a late night fried egg after the kids are in bed. It’s a versatile little side. 

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(Does anyone else find veggies just so incredibly photogenic?!) 

Quick Oven Roasted Asparagus & Broccolini
A quick, easy and delicious side for any meal.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. asparagus spears, rinsed and tough ends removed
  2. broccolini, rinsed and trimmed
  3. oil of your choice (I usually use olive oil or coconut oil)
  4. salt & pepper, to taste
  5. 1/4 of a lemon (zest optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat your over to 425°F.
  2. Give your veggies a rinse in the sink, snap the tough, woody ends off of your asparagus spears and slice any larger broccolini heads lengthwise so they're similar in thickness to your asparagus. Pat dry with a towel.
  3. Spread your veggies out on a baking sheet. You can line it with parchment or leave it bare. Drizzle with oil, season with salt and pepper, a squeeze of lemon, and toss to combine.
  4. Cook for about 5 minutes at 425°, until asparagus is fork tender. I usually give the pan a bit of a toss halfway through so they cook evenly.
  5. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Notes
  1. If I'm feeling like I want things a bit more tender, I'll put a piece of foil over the pan to retain a bit more moisture for the first few minutes and then finish them up without.
Acronychal Kitchen http://www.acronychalkitchen.com/
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Oatmeal Lace Cookies

Oatmeal Lace Cookies with Chocolate

Oatmeal Lace Cookies 

–or, as my kids like to call them “caramel cookies” or “toffee cookies”. These dainty little ladies are pretty close to perfection. They’re wickedly simple, and super delicious. I think the recipe originally popped up somewhere on my Pinterest feed around Christmas when I was frantically trying to come up with a few things to use for my holiday baking that weren’t too labour intensive. 

I’ve made them a few times since, and they’re always devoured quickly. 

Oatmeal Lace Cookies

Secretly, though, I laugh every time I pull them out of the oven. See, when I was about eight, I had this grand idea to make cookies. I pulled out mom’s old Cookies book from Company’s Coming and trawled through the pages looking for the perfect recipe. I ended up settling on some kind of M&M cookie and went to work. 

That’s when poor planning got the best of me. Of all the ingredients required, I’m pretty sure I had two. Corn syrup and flour. (I’m sure you can see where this is going, even if eight year old me couldn’t.) Still, I persevered. I mixed everything up and laid out my runny dough on the cookie sheets, lurking eagerly in the kitchen while they baked. The whole kitchen smelled like caramel! I was a master baker! 

They came out of the oven flatter than a crepe and about as hard as concrete. The broken edge of one probably could have been used as some sort of torture device they were so sharp. To this day, I don’t think my dad has ever let me live it down. 

–and those area always the cookies I think of when these ones come out of the oven. Of course, the flatness of these is intentional. The caramel taste sweet and crisp, rather than burnt and stabby. But it’s always important to pay homage to the places we’ve been and the things that came before, right? 

Oatmeal Lace Cookies

Oatmeal Lace Cookies with Chocolate

Oatmeal Lace Cookies with Chocolate

Oatmeal Lace Cookies
Yields 60
Crispy, simple and delicate. These sweet little morsels will win you over in a snap with their buttery delightfulness.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup butter
  2. 2 1/4 cups lightly packed brown sugar
  3. 2 1/4 cups old fashioned oats
  4. 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  5. 1 teaspoon salt
  6. 1 egg, lightly beaten
  7. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  8. (optional) 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  9. (optional) 1.5 tbsp heavy cream
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F. Line baking sheets with parchment or silicon baking mats and set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat butter and sugar over low heat, stirring until butter has melted and sugar is thoroughly incorporated. Mix in remaining ingredients and stir until combined. Remove from heat.
  3. With a teaspoon, drop small circles of batter on to your baking sheets. (V. IMPORTANT: Make sure you space them out. 2" is best, but make sure you do not crowd them. These babies spread like crazy. Trust me. Err on the side of caution.)
  4. Bake for about 5 minutes, watching closely. Once the cookies have flattened and are uniformly golden, take them out and cool for about a minute on the baking sheet before moving to a rack to finish.
  5. (optional) While your cookies are cooling, heat chocolate and cream over low heat until chocolate has completely melted. Drizzle over your finished cookies.
Acronychal Kitchen http://www.acronychalkitchen.com/
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Meyer Lemon Bars

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So if you’ve been following, the last time meyer lemons made an appearance on the blog, it was in the Fail!Bundt that came out of the cake pan in sixteen pieces. (see: FrankenCake in this post). 

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When I found that the grocery store had them stocked again, I started thinking about my lemon redemption. I trawled through Pinterest for awhile before settling on some lemon bars. The original recipe that I came across was from Angie at Friday Cake Night. Unfortunately for me, the key piece of equipment in her recipe calls for a food processor–an appliance I suffer from a rather notable lack of.

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So, in lieu of the food processor, I made some modifications. I just mixed the crust up by hand and pulled up another lemon bar recipe to adapt for the filling. I settled on one from Cooks Illustrated that calls for zest and juice vs processing the whole lemon and off we went. Fortunately, this Franken-ing of recipes turned out perfectly. 

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(If you’re anything like me, the chewy, carmelized corner pieces will be the first to go.)

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Meyer Lemon Bars
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
55 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
55 min
Crust
  1. 1 cup flour
  2. ¼ cup granulated sugar
  3. ½ cup softened butter
  4. 1 ½ tsp vanilla cane sugar*
Lemon Filling
  1. 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  2. 1 ⅓ cups granulated sugar
  3. 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  4. 2 teaspoons grated meyer lemon zest (about 2 lemons)
  5. ⅔ cup meyer lemon juice, strained (I used 3 lemons)
  6. ⅓ cup 2% milk
  7. ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  2. In a small bowl, use a fork or a pastry cutter to mix the flour, butter and the two sugars. When thoroughly combined, press mixture into a 7"x11" brownie pan lined with parchment or foil and bake for 20 minutes.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together your eggs, flour and sugar. When combined, stir in lemon juice, zest, milk, and salt. Set aside.
  4. After your crust has baked for 20 minutes, remove it from the oven and turn the temperature down to 325°C. Your filling mix will likely have separated at this point, so give it a few whisks to recombine and pour it over your warm crust. Bake this for an additional 25 minutes, or until the filling feels set to touch.
  5. Cool pan on a wire rack for 15-20 minutes, and then in the refrigerator for an hour or so. Use parchment to lift finished product out to a cutting board, finish with confectioner's sugar and slice to desired size.
Notes
  1. *I found this at Winner's locally. The recipe I adapted this from calls for 1 tsp of vanilla. If you can't find the sugar, just go with the extract!
Adapted from Friday Cake Night & Cooks Illustrated
Adapted from Friday Cake Night & Cooks Illustrated
Acronychal Kitchen http://www.acronychalkitchen.com/
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Chicken Drumsticks with Smoked Paprika, Garlic & Lime

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I think that I’ve mentioned before that I’m addicted to smoked paprika. I picked some up a couple of years ago for a recipe (though, I can’t remember now what it was), and it was love at first bite. There’s just something about it. The smoke, the spice…and the colour. It’s absolutely gorgeous.

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In terms of colour, I think it’s most reminiscent of autumn. Warm and deep; the leaves just before winter. Funny then, that the flavour reminds me of summer. It always pairs well with garlic and a splash of lime plays off the smokiness just right. 

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Now, it’s not summer yet. Not by a long shot for us up here. We’re finally through the snow, I think, and you can see the odd little bud starting to brave forth from the bare branches. It doesn’t usually take long for spring to really burst forward–lime greens turning out from the grey and brown that’s been hidden under the snow. 

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And now that it’s April and we aren’t having spring temperatures in February, I’m ready! Bring on the sunshine. For the grillers among us, I think these would be fantastic on the barbecue. 

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Chicken Drumsticks with Smoked Paprika, Garlic & Lime
Yields 8
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
55 min
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
55 min
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Ingredients
  1. 8 chicken drumsticks, skin on
  2. 1/4 cup olive oil
  3. 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  4. 3/4 tsp garlic salt
  5. 1/2 tsp oregano
  6. 1/2 tsp chili powder
  7. 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced (about 1 tbsp or so)
  8. juice of 1 lime
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, spices and minced garlic. When combined, set aside.
  3. Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Season with salt & pepper.
  4. Toss chicken and spice solution together in a larger bowl, thoroughly coating each piece of chicken.
  5. Line the chicken up on the parchment. Cut a lime in half, squeeze the juice over the chicken and then bake for 50 minutes, turning once.
Notes
  1. Recipe doubles/triples easily if you're making a larger batch.
Acronychal Kitchen http://www.acronychalkitchen.com/
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Blood Orange Bundt Cake with Vanilla-Orange Glaze

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Initially, I had meant to post this a couple of days ago–and it was a meyer lemon cake, rather than a blood orange cake. 

The lemon syrup? DELICIOUS.

Unfortunately for me, it ended up being a sordid lesson in how not to bundt. Honestly, I thought things were going great–the batter was delicious. The cake filled out the pan beautifully as it baked…  

So lovely in the pan...

And then I tried to get it out of the pan.

Now, if I’m being honest, I think patience may have played a little part in the problem–or rather, my lack thereof. Poorly greased pan likely also played a part. Regardless, though, of the culprit, in the end I had a cake in about seven pieces and a heart full of crumbling sadness. I did make the best of it, haphazardly smooshing it back together and covering it in syrup and glaze. And it wasn’t HORRIBLE looking. 

It made a valiant effort.

And it TASTED good.

But it also wasn’t the beautiful bundt that I was hoping for. (Oh, who am I kidding. It was like Frankenstein’s monster!)

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