Cabin Fever

  in Blog

Can you feel it? Spring is in the air! But it’s still a ways away too…how to cope? Here is the conventional advice:

  1. Go outside and be active. Ski, snowshoe, skate, ice fish, etc, etc.
  2. Expose yourself to sunshine or spend time with a SAD light
  3. Throw a party
  4. Play some old fashioned games like Monopoly or Scrabble
  5. Spruce up your house with a bright pillow or some new plants
  6. Hop on a plane to Florida or Bermuda
  7. Listen to the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams

If all the above fails, you can console yourself with food by trying one of these comforting-but-spring-will-be-here-soon recipes:

Smoked Gouda Risotto with Kale and Mushrooms


2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups diced yellow onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound button mushrooms, quartered
1 1/4 cup Arborio rice
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons tamari
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 1/2 cups vegetable broth, divided
4-5 cups roughly-chopped kale (1 large bunch)
1/4 pound smoked Gouda cheese, shredded

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté the onions for 5 minutes, add the garlic and mushrooms and sauté until the mushrooms begin to soften. Add rice and stir while sautéing for about 2 minutes. Add tomato paste, tamari, paprika, salt, pepper, lemon juice and 3 cups of the broth and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, then cover with a tight lid and place in the oven for 20 minutes.
  2. Remove from oven, uncover and return the pan to the stove over medium-low heat. Stir in the kale and another 1/4 cup of broth. Cook for another 5-10 minutes, adding more broth if needed, until the kale is tender, rice is creamy and liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese. Serve warm.

Cabin Fever Baked Falafel

From Mark Bittman

2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked 24 hours
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons olive oil
Tahini Sauce
½ cup tahini
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 package pita bread
Optional: lettuce, tomato

  1. Heat oven to 425°F. Drain chickpeas and transfer to a food processor with the garlic, onion, cumin, parsley, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and baking soda. (Do this in batches if you have a smaller processor.) Pulse until everything is minced but not pureed.
  2. Grease a large rimmed baking sheet with 2 tablespoons of the oil. Roll the bean mixture into 20 balls, about 1½ inches each, then flatten them into neat, thick patties. Place falafels on the prepared pan. Flatten a little on the pan. Brush the tops with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Use more oil if needed. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until browned on the bottom. Flip and cook another 15 minutes until browned on both sides.
  3. While felafels are baking, whisk the tahini and remaining ½ teaspoon salt with ½ cup water in a small bowl until smooth. Serve the falafel drizzled with the sauce. You could also serve with tzatziki sauce.

Meatballs and Spaghetti Squash

1 large spaghetti squash
prepared or homemade pasta sauce
grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.  Brush with olive oil.  Place on a baking sheet, cut side down and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until tender when poked with a fork.  Cool slightly on the baking sheet.
  3. Using a fork, scrape the squash strands onto plates, top with meatballs and sauce and sprinkle with parmesan cheese and basil.


1 lb ground beef or 1 lb mix of ground beef and ground pork
1 egg
1/4 cup onion, minced
1 large clove garlic,  minced
1 teaspoon Italian herbs
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  1. Heat oven to 400 F. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Roll into small balls with your hands.
  2. Place the meatballs in a lightly greased 13 x 9 inch baking dish and bake about 20-25 minutes. Drain excess fat and use as desired.

Butternut Squash Soup with Goat Cheese Croutons

Adapted from Siren Hall
Serves 6

1 large butternut squash,  cut in half length-wise
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
1 – 2 tablespoons honey
Sea salt and white pepper to taste
2 tablespoons heavy cream or to taste

  1. Heat oven to 375°. Place squash halves on a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes or until squash is soft when pricked with a knife. Let cool. Scoop out seeds and pulp and discard. Scoop out flesh and reserve in a bowl.
  2. In a large soup pot melt the butter. Add onion and celery and cook until softened, about 8 minutes. Add squash, stock, ginger, and honey and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 30 minutes. Using a hand-held immersion blender, blend soup until smooth. Blend in cream and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with goat cheese croutons.

Goat Cheese Croutons

1/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon soft butter
4 oz soft goat cheese
1 egg white, beaten lightly
Course sea salt

  1. In a medium bowl or food processor, combine flour, butter, and goat cheese into a smooth dough. Roll the mixture into a log about as wide as a quarter coin. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap or wax paper and refrigerate until firm.
  2. Heat oven to 375°F. Cut the logs into slices approximately 1/4-inch thick. Brush with the egg white and sprinkle with salt. Place goat cheese coins on a rimmed cookie sheet and bake about 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven, cool, and serve atop butternut squash soup.

Easy Cinnamon Rolls

1 packet yeast (or 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast)
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon cane sugar
3 cups unbleached spelt or all purpose flour, plus more for kneading
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup cane sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
Optional: vanilla glaze

  1. Heat the butter and milk in a saucepan over low heat. Do not boil. Pour mixture into a large mixing bowl. Let cool until you can comfortably stick your finger in it. (If it’s too hot it will kill the yeast.) Sprinkle the yeast over the mixture and let sit for 10 minutes. Whisk in the sugar and salt.
  2. Stir in the flour a cup at a time with a wooden spoon When it’s too thick to stir, scrape the dough off the spoon, toss in a little flour and knead with one hand right in the bowl. Or dump onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding small amounts of flour as needed, until you have a smooth ball. Get a clean large bowl, spray it with cooking spray, and place the dough ball inside. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot for 1 hour. It should double in size. While dough is rising, melt the 1/3 cup butter and grease an 8 inch square or round baking pan with cooking spray or soft butter.
  3. Lightly flour a work surface and roll out the dough into a large, thin rectangle, no more than ¼ inch thick.
  4. Pour the melted butter over the dough and spread it evenly to the edges using a rubber spatula. Sprinkle with the sugar, followed by the cinnamon.
  5. Roll the dough tightly starting at the long edge. Situate the log seam side down. Cut the log using a serrated knife into 1 ½ to 2 inch rolls. Place the rolls in the prepared pan. Set the pan on top of the stove while you heat the oven to 350°F.
  6. Bake rolls for 30 minutes until lightly browned on top. Let cool for a few minutes before serving. Serve drizzled with glaze, if desired.

*To make a quick glaze, whisk together 1 cup powdered sugar (sift using a wire sieve if it’s really lumpy), 2-3 tablespoons milk and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla. Drizzle over rolls.

Gretl’s Chocolate Marble Pound Cake

The combination of extracts in this recipe give this cake a unique and delicious tootsie roll flavor. This is an Austrian-Style Gugelhupf recipe. Gugelhupf is a popular Austrian dessert, and a classic for afternoon teas and Sunday breakfasts, at home or in Vienna’s coffeehouses. Gretl, who grew up in Germany, shared this recipe with us.

2 sticks butter, room temperature
2 cups cane sugar
6 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 teaspoon orange extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup baking cocoa, sifted
1/4 cup mini bittersweet chocolate chips

  1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Generously butter and flour a 10-cup bundt pan or tube pan.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar together at medium speed in an upright mixer until well blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the extracts and salt.
  3. Add flour to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour. Mix just until blended after each addition.
  4. Melt the chocolate in a small bowl in a microwave oven or in a small saucepan over very low heat.
  5. Transfer 2 and 1/2 cups of the batter into a medium bowl. Add in the cocoa powder and mix until smooth. Stir in the melted chocolate.
  6. Scoop about half of the plain batter into the prepared pan. Spoon in the chocolate batter over the plain batter. Spoon in the remaining plain batter on top of the chocolate batter. Use a knife, skewer, or chop stick to gently twist through batters to obtain a marbled effect, if desired.
  7. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center of the cake comes out clean. Cool for 30 minutes, then invert onto a serving plate.

Molten Chocolate Cake

Adapted from Martha Stewart

4 tablespoons butter, softened, plus more for muffin tins
1/3 cup natural cane sugar, plus more for muffin tins
3 large eggs
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon vanilla
8 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted
Optional: vanilla ice cream, strawberries, raspberries, etc.

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Generously butter 6 cups of a standard muffin tin. Dust with granulated sugar, and tap out excess. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, beat in flour and salt until just combined. Beat in chocolate until just combined. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups.
  3. Bake just until tops of the cakes no longer jiggle when the pan is lightly shaken, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven; let stand 10 minutes.
  4. To serve, turn out cakes, and place on serving plates. Serve with vanilla ice cream and fruit, if desired.

Strawberries with Chocolate Cinnamon Dipping Sauce

1 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
washed and dried strawberries with stems intact

Place chocolate chips, cream, and cinnamon in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until chocolate is melted. Pour into a bowl and serve with the strawberries.