What’s Been Inspiring Me Lately

I have found so many great blogs lately, and there are a slew of great posts that have been inspiring me to create tasty autumn recipes. Here are some of my favorites I’ve turned to in recent weeks:

Cola Magic: This. Recipe. You really have to try it–it’s tasty and complex, and it tastes like you’re consuming real, identifiable food items. Truly a treat. I’m pretty much in love with this blog all around, so I recommend perusing some other posts too.

Chai Syrup: As you may have guessed, autumn is a time when I make many, many syrups and other goodies that I can add to my beverages to spice them up or that I can use to soothe a sore throat (less of an issue here than in Iowa, it seems.) This one is *incredible.* So flavorful, and her suggestion to toast the spices is one I’ve been singing the praises of for quite some time. A couple things I’ll add: for this (and the cola syrup above) you can make it stronger tasting by bringing it to a boil, turning the eye off, covering it, and letting it sit for quite a while (hours) before adding the sugar and boiling. Both are incredible without doing that, so that’s just if you want to be punched in the face with extra flavor. Also, if you have trouble fitting the dried spices into a tea ball for making tea without the syrup, you can blitz them in a coffee grinder for a couple seconds (make sure to use one that’s separate from your coffee, or it will all taste like coffee.)

How to Catch and Care for Wild Sourdough: I tried this and it works very well. Mine is in hibernation in my fridge since I don’t have time to bake as much as I’d like. It works really well, although a word of caution: follow someone else’s recommendations for how much yeast you use until you have a sense for how your wild yeast works. The first time I made sourdough I added *way* too much and it was pretty pungent! For those of you who have some hops lying around, this is a great way to use them up: soft hops yeast makes tasty, nourishing bread.

Nutella ice cream: I’m pretty sure the title speaks for itself.

Cultured Butter: I love cultured butter and I love cooking with buttermilk, so this is a win-win.

A New Way with Sauerkraut: It ferments in the jar–looks extra easy! I’m trying it right now, but I’m expecting some positive results. Yum!

Preserved Lemons: I became interested in these when I wanted to start adding more Middle Eastern and Mediterranean foods to my repertiore, but buying a big jar at the store seemed like a rip off. For mere pennies on the dollar, I can prepare my own versus buying them. As with most things, the act of making a food you take for granted or one that you have never made before really helps you understand that food in ways you didn’t before. Preserved lemons are a new favorite because they impart a very complex lemon flavor to dishes. Make sure you don’t throw out the liquid–I use it in salad dressings and sauces!

Corn Meal Recipes from 1837: Anyone who’s followed the Modernizing Markham project knows I have an obsession with historic foods. So when this came up, I got excited (especially because I live in the South now). I love good cornbread, and eating foods based on recipes from the past makes me feel connected with the people who lived in those times and gives me a special way to try to understand their lives.

Baked Brie with Apple & Fennel: My awesome friend Katie organized an ‘autumnal exchange,’ where a group of us ladies shared recipes, music, and other goodies that inspire us as the seasons change. It was particularly special to me because I have been missing the changing leaves and even the snow! One of the things I shared was this brie recipe, which Jess, another one of the exchange folks, made and tied into a beautiful blog post. I was honored that she liked the recipe so much, so I wanted to share her great blog here!

Raw Alfredo Sauce: For my vegan and raw food enthusiast friends, I always recommend this recipe. I love to make it and put it on everything–a personal favorite is grilled portabello mushrooms. The suggestion for raw veggie noodles is a great one too–I love blanching thin strands of veggies and putting sauce on them!

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