Whole Wheat Dill Kaiser Rolls

I eat a lot of bread. Going through an entire loaf before it gets stale/moldy all by myself? No sweat. I could eat sandwiches for 3 meals a day for weeks and not complain (especially when they are smothered with homemade hummus). That whole “no carb” business that people swear by? Not for me. Ok, so you get it. I love bread.

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Happy February! and Friday!

So remember when I mentioned that my hard drive crashed right before Christmas? Well I had it taken out of my old computer and finally got around to buying a case for it with a USB so I could transfer over any files that made it onto my new computer. As it turns out, most everything was still there! I recovered all of my music, work from college (that I’ll probably never use again), and best of all, photos! I know it’s way past the holidays and everything, but without further adieu, here are some pictures of the pies I made over Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Here are the links to the Pumpkin Cream (see last photo, bottom right) and the Chocolate Pecan, which were created by the ever-talented Martha Stewart. The rest are my recipes. I will post soon with full on how-to’s. Until then–food porn!

Rosemary Crust

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Butternut Walnut Soup with Walnut Parsley Pesto

People! I’m excited to tell you that tonight I’ll be making and serving soup at the Hideout for their weekly Soup and Bread event. Basically a handful of people make huge batches of homemade soup and then hungry Chicagoans come in, donate a few bucks, and get to eat as much soup and bread as they want. All the proceeds go to a different charity each week, so it’s just super awesome all around. I made a Thai Carrot soup last year and had such a good time that I decided to do it again.

This year I decided to make a new recipe of mine, Butternut Walnut Soup. It’s fairly simple and perfect for this time of year. Ok, ok, so it’s 50 degrees today, but on a normal January day it would do just the trick to warm you up. So, even though it’s warmer than usual outside, come to the Hideout tonight and I promise you won’t regret it.

Here’s the event page. Hope to see you there!

Butternut Walnut Soup with Walnut Parsley Pesto

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 yellow onion, diced

5 cups vegetable broth
1 butternut squash, cut into cubes
3/4 cup walnuts
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Chop the butternut squash and place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Toss in 1 tablespoon olive oil and cover with another sheet of aluminum foil. Let roast in the oven until tender, about 30 minutes.
Once the squash is done, chop the onion and warm the oil on medium heat in a medium sized stock pot. Add onion and sautee until translucent. About 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook one minute longer.
Add broth, then squash and walnuts*. Once the broth is boiling, lower the heat to medium-low and cover. Let simmer until the walnuts are soft, about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the parsley.
Transfer the soup into a blender. Do not fill the blender more than 2/3 the way full. If you do, the soup will go everywhere when you turn on the blender. This may mean you will need to blend it in batches. For this recipe I did three batches in the blender. You want this to be a very creamy, smooth consistency, so start the blender on low and slowly work your way up to high.
Once all the soup is blended, pour it back into the pot and add the milk, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
* I was reading some walnut soup recipes (http://www.graftedwalnuts.co.uk/soup.ihtml#celery) and some recommend that you first blanch the walnuts and then rub them together to remove the skins. You can do that if you prefer to, but the skin on the ones that I had was so thin that I didn’t think it was necessary, and it didn’t seem to alter the consistency of the end product so I don’t think it’s necessary.
Parsley-Walnut Pesto
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
1/2 cup walnuts
3/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
Put everything in a food processor and blend for about 30 seconds. Stir and then pulse several times until everything is incorporated and it is close to a paste but still with small pieces of walnuts (similar to traditional basil pesto)
Spoon one tablespoon pesto on top of each bowl of soup, then EAT!
Also, I’m entering this recipe into a winter soup recipe contest with my friend Matt’s site, Favediets.com. Wish me luck!

Curried Vegetable Galette

A lot of people think that all vegetarians eat are straight up vegetables, tofu, and french fries. I can’t tell you how many times people have asked me what kind of meals I cook for myself because they just don’t understand how I can make a hardy meal and have it be vegetarian. I’m not writing this so I can stand on my soap box and run my mouth about vegetarianism, but I do want to highlight the fact that this meal is a perfect example of a hardy meal made with all natural ingredients and no meat substitutes that also happens to be vegetarian. It’s the perfect combination of healthy, yet substantial. So, with great pride, I introduce to you my Curried Vegetable Galette.

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Homemade Oreos and a New Year/Computer

First and foremost, I wish you all a very happy New Year. I hope that yours was filled with as much champagne and soul music as mine was, if you’re into that kinda thing.

I’m sure you’re wondering where the heck I’ve been for the past, ahem, month (and some change). Well, long story short my very old, cranky, SLOW MacBook finally gave out on me right after Thanksgiving. From what I’ve gathered it isn’t salvageable, but I’m saving it for my father who is a stickler for the belief that “everything can be fixed.” With that said, I’m now blogging to you from my new laptop! It’s much faster and shinier and smarter and faster and so many more things. Oh, and did I mention it’s faster? Yeah? Ok, good.

So on to this recipe. Lately I’ve been obsessed with re-creating classic treats. For example for Christmas I made candy assortments as gifts and the crowd favorite was the homemade peanut butter cups. I’ve also been playing with the idea of Almond Joys, but now the holidays are over so no one will eat them. I can’t wait for January to be over. These cookies I actually made back in November when everyone was still stuffing themselves with sugar and butter-laden goods I created. This was actually one of two desserts offered that night. So even though it’s January, I’m still sharing the recipe with you. There’s gotta be someone out there that will make them. Or at least you can just look at some food porn for a bit while you snack on celery. Deal? Ok, there. Now everybody’s happy.

Here‘s the recipe I used from Sea Salt with Food. Please disregard the fact that her photos are 14,000 times better than mine (approximately).

I have lots more coming up soon, so stay tuned!

Whole Wheat Herb Foccacia

Hello from Pieland! 21 pies down, 3 more to go (for a post-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving). Yep, the number increased again to make the final count an even 24.

The other day my brother took me to Whole Foods to buy all of the ingredients for my pies. I calculated everything out exactly to avoid over/under buying anything, so my list looked ridiculous with a bunch of crazy calculations on it. As I was shopping around, I couldn’t find the baking aisle. I asked a man that worked there if he could steer me in the right direction, and he asked what I’m baking. “Uh, 17 pies…” I responded and giggled nervously. “Oh! Well how much flour do you need?”. I look at my list. “Approximately 24.5 cups.” After a bit more calculating, we figured out that I would spend almost $35.00 on individual bags of flour, until he suggested another idea: I could buy a 50 lb. bag of flour from him for $20.00. That’s more than double for almost half the price. Seriously? Deal.
I love when things like that happen. It just goes to show that people will surprise you, and are often much more willing to help than you’d think — you just need to talk to them first.

Pie-romania and My 15 Minutes of Fame

I’ve been meaning to post all week, but have not found any time to bake the loaf of homemade foccacia that I’ve been craving. It’s probably because I am preparing to make 17 pies (and counting) for Thanksgiving! I am so excited to have the opportunity to bake for so many friends and family and share some great recipes I’ve found as well as my own. This hasn’t given me much time to work on other baking projects, but when the waterfall of pie posts come in post-Thanksgiving it will be worth it. I promise.

Also, my friend Matt works for a cooking blog called FaveDiets.com and offered to feature me on the website as a guest blogger. So far I’ve submitted 3 recipes and a how-to about egg replacements in baking, and I even got a blurb about myself on their “Featured Foodies” page. Here are the links if you’re interested in checking them out. There’s also a Jam Pie recipe in the works to send to him as well.

Featured Foodies – Gillian McLennan

Healthy Moist Cornbread

How to Replace Eggs with Fruit in Baking

Perfect Pie Dough

I also have a new rendition of the cornbread muffins recipe made from scratch that I hope to share with you soon! Same with the foccacia. Stay tuned.

Chocolate Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies

Your first impression of these cookies is probably like most everyone that saw them in real life: “Why are they shaped like hatchets, you creep?”. Well, on the day that I made them I thought it would be more obvious, being that it was Halloween and all. Hatchets are scary! Halloween is scary! It totally makes sense. Plus, it was a perfect opportunity for me to use one of the awesome cookie cutters my friend Natalie got me for Christmas last year.

Still, no one got it, making me look like a total weirdo. This isn’t uncommon, just a little unfortunate.

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Homemade Granola Bars

People are usually surprised when I admit that one of my favorite foods of all time is peanut butter. It took me 4 months to convince my Spanish roommates to try it, but once they did, they were immediately seduced by its magical powers. I’m usually a purist, though, when it comes to peanut butter. I eat a PB&J, have it with apple slices, or ants on a log as a snack, but that’s about it. As I’ve mentioned before, I like to make my own granola, and finally I found a recipe where I can combine the power of peanut butter and homemade granola.

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