Monday, August 30, 2010

Fried Green Tomatoes for Breakfast

Eating fried green tomatoes for breakfast is a revelation.

This past weekend, I decided to get up early on Saturday to attend a new "Hard Core Dance Class" at the YMCA. After the lesson in humiliation was over, (but definitely a good workout) I came home to the reality of making a weekend breakfast at more of a brunch time of day.

It was time to call an audible. So I surmised the bleak situation and got started.  Bacon in a 400 degree oven - check. Coat the fried green tomatoes - check. Fry up a couple of eggs - check.

Then I proceeded to make my breakfast concoction. Place a fried green tomato on the bottom. Lay a fried egg on top of it and then some shredded cheddar cheese, two pieces of bacon and some baby lettuce mix coated lightly with a lemon vinaigrette.

It's not worthy of an actual recipe but this is my method of creating a fried green tomato...

1 large green tomato
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp of ground black pepper
2 large eggs

Combine flour and spices together. Mix throughly so they are distributed evenly. Slice the green tomato into 1/2 inch thick slices. Put in flour mixture. After the tomato has been dipped once in flour on both sides, put in the egg mixture. Then put back in the flour mixture. Fry in  extra virgin olive oil  on medium high heat until golden brown on both sides.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Coconut Flavored Rice Krispies Treats

Ok so maybe I'm not in the mood for something fancy on this lazy Sunday afternoon. I'm the one who has to live with myself. Lately all I see in the grocery store are marshmallows for smores due to the fact that fall is on the horizon. I had a weak moment and bought a large bag. Instead of smores however, I decided to make Rice Krispies Treats.

Let's face it, Rice Krispies Treats are comforting.

It doesn't hurt that these treats are easy to make and not really complicated either. In my opinion like most things, they are better made from scratch.  It also doesn't hurt to bring some new flavors into the dessert to make it different. While you are making the Rice Krispies Treats recipe add 2 tsp of Coconut flavoring and add it to the marshmallows as they are melting on the stove. And while they are setting  add 1 cup of coconut flakes to the top.

See....At least I was creative.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Chocolate Fridays - Bread

There are so many possibilities when you make Chocolate Bread. Not only do you have, chocolate bread (which let's face it is wonderful by itself)) but you have the ability to make a number of other delicious desserts and breakfast options for those of you who think chocolate for breakfast is a good idea.

You might be thinking this is the type of chocolate bread that resembles a chocolate pound cake. It's not. This recipe is a yeast-style chocolate bread. As I continue to bake through the book, "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes A Day," I seem to find more recipes that are easy, take relatively little time and seem to be better than the last.
Once I made Chocolate Bread, I decided to use the two large loaves it provided to make other desserts. I made Chocolate French Toast (use it as a dessert or breakfast) and I also made Chocolate Bread Pudding. I love a recipe that I can re-use into other amazing ideas. Its the gift that keeps on giving. 

Chocolate Bread Pudding

5 eggs
1 1/2 cups half and half
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Cube or tear the loaf of chocolate bread into pieces in a 13x9 glass baking dish. In a mixing bowl, mix eggs, half & half, and vanilla together and pour over the bread. Sprinkle semi-sweet chips over the top. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Plum Jam with Cinnamon Pancakes

"Stone Fruits" are not the most attractive term to reference fruit. However, these fruits - plums, peaches and cherries - are in many cases the best of the summer season. For some reason, I never liked plums as a child growing up. It is the one fruit I remember not liking. My sister who was considered the "picky eater" loved them. So as I was perusing the fresh fruit at Greenlife, I saw the beautiful plums and decided it was time we made up.

At first I made some skillet jam with black plums. And then I decided to add them on top of some cinnamon pancakes for my weekend breakfast. I found that cinnamon complimented the plums very well.

It was a great breakfast to reunite with this particularly wonderful stone fruit. I can't wait to continue this courtship.

Plum Jam
6 plums roughly chopped
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
Juice of 1 lemon

Add all ingredients in a skillet and cook on medium until plums fall apart and mixture reduces (about 20 minutes) and thickens.

Cinnamon Pancakes
2 cups self rising flour
2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Combine ingredients and whisk in a mixing bowl. Cook in a skillet with 1 tbsp of butter on medium. Makes roughly 8 large pancakes or 16 small. Pour plum jam on top.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Made By You Monday - Embroidered Pillow

I still remember the summer I spent with my grandparents, aunts and uncles in Mississippi. For one thing, it was extremely hot and I was from Florida. But I remember my aunts teaching me how to cross-stitch. All of the cross stiching they had done over the years seemed so intricate and beautiful. So they gave me some supplies and taught me. It wasn't a pretty start. The diagram alone made my brain hurt and the back looked atrocious.  I never really took it up again.

This year in my nesting research and adventures, I found Sublime Stitching. I loved their modern patterns and different approach to embroidery in general. I knew I had to try it again. However, I tried some different embroidery stitches and this time it just seemed to make sense. It was also a perfect activity to do while on the couch, watching baseball in the summer, since it's way too hot for knitting.

One of the quotes I read from Jenny Hart, the founder of Sublime Stiching, in favor of embroidery, was that it was relaxing and soothing. I completely agree. With the little hours that I have in the day its nice to relax on the couch and also create something instead of feeling guilty of just relaxing. The first project I decided on was a pillow for a friend that is getting married. I wanted to make a pillow with love birds until I found a beautiful transfer from Sublime Stiching with two peacocks. It was perfect.

It's my first finished embroidered project and I'm so happy with the way it turned out. I even added some sequins to the feathers of the peacocks for a little something extra. I cannot wait to start on my next project and hopefully the warm weather holds out a little longer so I can continue embroidering before knitting projects start calling my name.

There really aren't enough hours in the day...Patience. 

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Ham and Brie Sandwiches

This is what happens when I have to work on Saturday.

You don't get a neat new breakfast recipe. You don't get anything until I come home from work and realize its lunchtime-and I'm hungry.

Normally I would be out of luck but I stopped at the market on the way home and got a beautiful wedge of runny brie cheese, a baguette and some ham. These are the makings of a wonderful lunch. So just because you can't make a Weekend Breakfast, doesn't mean the weekend is a loss. It just means you can splurge on a different meal... 

Ham & Brie on a Baguette
1 baguette
Homemade Mustard (or Spicy Brown Mustard)
1 medium wedge of runny brie cheese
1/2 lb of sliced honey smoked ham

Slice the baguette in half. Spread the runny brie (all the easier to spread over the baguette) over both sides of the baguette. Then layer the ham over one side of the baguette and top with your mustard. Put the top of the baguette on and slice into 4 servings. 

Friday, August 20, 2010

Red Onion Jam & Mozzarella Quesadilla

After a long week, I'm usually looking for an easy meal or at least an appetizer to hold the husband over while I relax with a glass of wine and decompress from my week. This easy appetizer not only holds his hunger at bay it allows me to muster up the strength to decide what to make for dinner.

So its the return of the Red Onion Jam. If you're going to make it I mind as well provide as many recipes as I can with it, right?  

This is really complicated so I'm going to take is slow...

Red Onion Jam & Mozzarella Quesadillas
4 flour tortillas
1 cup mozzarella
1/2 cup Red Onion Jam

Take you tortilla shell and spread half of the Red Onion Jam then top with half of the mozzarella. Top with a tortilla shell. Heat in a skillet over medium. Repeat for second quesadilla...Enjoy glass of red wine.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tomato Tarte Tatin

I get it!

Tomatoes are in the fruit family. However, I never considered you could make a dessert with them until I saw this recipe in this month's issue of Bon Appetit Magazine. It looked stunning and called out to me. So I decided to try this as a special project and less as an everyday eating adventure.

Before the recipe it said, "This dessert is a revelation" - no doubt. I had no idea that cooking plum tomatoes in a caramel like syrup would really make more of a dessert than a vegetable tart which was what I was expecting. If you had blindfolded me, I would have guessed a fruit (I mean naturally sweet fruit)

The other reason I recommend this recipe is that I can see it would be a great idea for a statement at the end of a dinner or even as a tart at a bridal or baby shower. Its something to show-off your skills and if you follow the directions it really comes out well.

Tomato Tarte Tatin (Bon Appetit August 2010)
1 3/4 pounds plum tomatoes (8 large)
3 tbsp unsalted butter - room temp
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 sheet frozen puff pastry - thawed and corners cut off to make a very rough 9 to 10 inch round

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bring large saucepan of water to boil.  Cut shallow X in bottom of each tomato. Add 4 tomatoes to boiling water. Blanch tomatoes just until skins at X begin to peel back. 15 to 30 seconds. Using slotted spoon, transfer blanched tomatoes to bowl of ice water to cool quickly.  Repeat with remaining tomatoes.  Peel tomatoes. Cut out cores, halve lengthwise, and remove seeds.

Spread butter over bottom of 9 1/2 inch ovenproof skillet. Sprinkle 3/4 cup of sugar over butter. Arrange tomato halvesrounded side down and close together in concentric circles in skillet to fill completely. 

Place skillet over medium heat. Cook until sugar and butter are reduced to thickly bubbling deep amber syrup (about 1/4 inch deep in bottom of skillet), moving tomatoes occasionally to prevent burning about 25 minutes. Remove skillet from heat. Immediately drizzle vanilla over tomatoes and top with pastry round. Using knife, tuck in edges of pastry.  Cut 2 or 3 small slits in pastry.  Pace skillet in oven and bake tart until pastry is a deep golden brown about 24 minutes.

Cool tart in skillet 10 minutes. Cut around sides of skillet to loosen pastry.  Place large platter over skillet.  Using oven mitts as aid, hold skillet and platter firmly together and invert allowing tart to settle onto platter. Carefully lift off skillet. Rearrange any tomato halves that may have become dislodged.

Serve tart warm or at room temperature.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Coconut Almond Pancakes

The great part about pancakes is that the options are as wide as the type of ingredients you have in your pantry. And today I was in the mood for something a little more tropical. And it just so happened that I had Coconut and almond flavoring in my cupboard...And so I set out to try this combination of flavors. The base pancake recipe I started with is the one I've used many times on this blog:

2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs
2 cups Self-rising flour
1/2 cup sugar

Then I experimented with the coconut and almond flavoring:

I found if you add 1 & 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (if the coconut you have is sweetened just go easier on the sugar) and 2 tsp almond flavoring you find you have the perfect combination of flavors. Top with additional coconut flakes and chopped almonds.

Just a tiny tweak to make a whole new pancake recipe that is still relatively easy but delicious. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

California Club Breakfast Wrap

Breakfast wraps have become a new thing of mine. You can put anything in them that you have on hand. And in the summer you can add fresh tomatoes, avocados and anything you have on hand. Couple that with Oven cooked bacon and you've got an easy breakfast to enjoy while you relax on your Saturday morning.

You can even buy yourself time to work on your own personal projects with a cup of coffee.

California Club Breakfast Wrap (Makes two servings)
1 avocado sliced
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 large sliced tomato
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
Ricotta Cheese
4 eggs
2 sun dried tomato wraps
6 pieces of cooked bacon

Pour juice of a lime over the avocado to season it. Season with salt and pepper. Spread a couple of tablespoons of ricotta cheese over the wrap and then layer with avocado, cilantro, tomato, and bacon. Fry the eggs and place on top.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Fresh Corn & Tomato Salsa

Everyone seems to be in a canning state of mind. Everywhere I look people are canning their fresh vegetables from their garden or local farms planning for the winter.

All I can do is eat this fresh produce. I'm a little like the grasshopper who played around all summer and then had nothing for the winter. But I just can't help it. While I love the idea of canning I just can't seem to have any leftover after my 'mater sandwiches, salads, salsas and relishes...And the best part is that cooking in the summer is just so easy. The produce speaks for itself.

I made a wonderful corn salsa for a side dish for dinner one night and then added the leftovers to some scrambled eggs the next morning...

See what I'm saying? Easy... I'm starting to have newfound respect for the grasshopper. But we'll see how it goes come December...

Easy Corn Salsa
2 cups fresh corn kernels
1 large heirloom tomato diced
2 small green heirloom tomatoes diced
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
olive oil
4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

In a bowl add the vinegar. Drizzle olive oil into the vinegar while whisking until it emusifies and comes together. Salt and pepper to taste. Add the corn, tomatoes and basil and toss until coated. Check for season. Use as a side dish or in scrambled eggs for breakfast or as an addition to a salad. Then figure out a plan for winter.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Blueberry Cobbler - Anniversary Post!

Today is the one year anniversary of my blogging adventures.

One year ago today, I set-out to develop a nesting plan for my life to provide a balance between work and home and to prepare our home for the next stage of our lives.

Since then I've learned home repairs, sewing, knitting, embroidery, craft ideas and countless new recipe ideas including developing some of my own. I hope this blog has helped some of you navigate the difficult line between excelling at work AND home. It has been my compass to enjoying the domestic arts and inspiring creativity that I didn't know I had. And I can't wait to see what happens in the next year.

A couple of shout outs to those who helped me along the way this year: My best friend and next door neighbor...She has pushed me with new ideas of her own and has given me the encouragement I've needed, My mother - who has great constructive feedback always in my life and this blog, My sister who always has something nice to say about my blog and has tried a few of my recipes. And last of all to my husband who is my biggest fan and "Editor". (thanks for all of the its vs it's reminders!)

Ok that's enough with the sappy portion of our blogging..Now on to the recipe.

I came up with this while looking for something on my baking shelf. While I don't like using mixes that much, I alwas keep some Jiffy Corn Muffin mix around in case I want to make some quick muffins with Chili. And I thought it would be great as a topping to a blueberry cobbler. So I purchased a couple of pints of blueberries and added sugar and a little cornstarch and put it in a favorite pie dish and Voila!

A very easy dessert to enjoy the blueberries of the season.

Blueberry Cobbler
1 package Jiffy/Muffin Mix (8.5 oz)
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
2 pints blueberries

Mix the Corn muffin mix according to the instructions. (1 package combined with 1 egg, 3/4 cup milk, tbsp melted butter) Then in a separate bowl combine sugar, cornstarch and blueberries. Add to pie plate and cover with mixed muffin mixture and put in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes are until golden brown and blueberries are bubbling through.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Balsamic Jelly

Lately my new obsession is canning and cooking my own condiments. Its not just me right? Everywhere I turn someone is canning, preserving and making relishes or condiments that we have all taken for granted by purchasing them by the name of Heinz or Grey Poupon. I've joined this canvolution (not my word) as well.  I've made my own mustard, preserves and jams and jellies. And then I saw this recipe in the latest Bon Appetit Magazine. It seemed so unique I had to add it to my list.

But there was a problem....I don't really like jelly much. Its hard to spread and normally has the texture in the family of jello - another food group I'm not a fan of. Besides, who would want jelly when you can have preserves? 

Balsamic Vinegar makes up for all of those issues. Such a bold flavor that is perfect to spread on french bread for an appetizer. And I finally got over my issues with jelly... This time. 

Balsamic Jelly (Bon Appetit August 2010)
1 cup Balsamic Vinegar
1 packet of unflavoredGelatin
6 tablespoons of honey

Pour vinegar into small saucepan. Sprinkle gelatin over. Let stand until gelatin softens about 10 minutes. Stir over medium heat until gelatin dissolves and mixture is hot (do not bring to a simmer) Remove from heat and stir in honey. Divide mixture among 6 small ramekins or bowls. Chill until gelatin sets about 8 hours.  Serve balsamic jelly with bread and butter.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Peach Pancakes for a Weekend Breakfast

I've never found a recipe for fruit pancakes inside the pancake unless it's with bananas or apples. Peaches are in season and its time to break that mold.

And then I thought about the great peach preserves I made last week which would be great inside an easy pancake batter.

A perfect summer breakfast.

Peachy Keen Pancakes
2 cups self rising flour
2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs
1/4 cup sugar

Combine the ingredients and fry your flapjacks in a skillet on med. Makes roughly 8 large or 16 small pancakes. Serve with some fresh sliced peaches on top.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Portuguese Corn Bread

I found the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes cookbook from a friend who referred it. I was always cautious around bread baking. By this point I had mastered pizza dough and that was good enough for me.

This time I decided to try a recipe out of the book that seemed a little out of the ordinary, to me. It's called Broa or Portuguese Corn Bread. You are basically substituting Corn Meal for 1 1/2 cups of flour from the original bread recipe in the book. I had bought some locally grown and milled corn meal and thought it would be perfect for this recipe.

If you don't have this book I still highly recommend it. Because on a weekend when I'm running around doing chores and fixing things around the house and I'm too tired to bake or make an overly special dinner, I can go to this book on a Sunday afternoon and take a few minutes and have bread rising while I relax for a few precious moments.

And while the smell of baking bread fills the house I can relax with my food magazines and make plans for when I have more time and more energy.

Here's hoping.

Broa Portuguese Cornbread 
3 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 tbsps granulated yeast (2 packets)
1 1/2 tbsps Kosher Salt
1 1/2 cups stone ground or standard corn meal
5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Corn meal for pizza

Combine the ingredients and stir with a spoon or combine in your mixer with a dough hook (only until incorporated) the mixture will be sticky (use wet hands to put it in a lightly oiled bowl to rise) and then let rise for 2 hours. Then in the fridge if you don't want to make it all at once. And tear off and bake as needed.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Egg Salad Recipe

There is sometimes that last minute panic that hits you before your party starts

"Did I make enough food?"

And after I made a dozen deviled eggs I was worried there wouldn't be enough. So just to be sure I boiled another dozen in case I needed to replenish...The other side of that coin is when you don't need them you have a dozen hard boiled eggs that you need to find something to do with.

Until a couple of years ago I never liked egg salad. I never saw a version that looked appetizing enough to try. When I was working at a bed and breakfast inn, the Chef made me try his recipe and he wouldn't take no for an answer. So I tried it. It had kick from dijon mustard, was flavored with just enough salt and didn't have too much mayonnaise. It was comfort food without a doubt.

So for the last week I've been enjoying egg salad for lunch. And no eggs were wasted in the making of this blog post.

Egg Salad
12 hard boiled eggs
1/2 - 3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup dijon mustard
1 tbsp dill
salt and pepper to taste

Dice hard boiled eggs and add remaining ingredients. Perfect for easy lunches throughout the week.
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