Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Mexican Risotto!!!

Oh yes.  Perhaps the best fusion of cuisines I've ever had.  I often wonder why I don't see this dish EVERYWHERE.  It is the perfect creamy risotto texture with the flavors of your favorite mexican dish.  We chose to stick with our favorite chili ingredients for this first trial run, but you could do a simple cheese and shrimp or do a take on huevos rancheros with eggs and tomatillos.  You could deconstruct any of your favorite Mexican dishes and add it into the risotto and I guarantee it will taste amazing.  We served this with a tequila lime marinated tilapia, but the risotto overshot the fish so far that the fish would have been better off mixed into the risotto.

2 cups creamy tomato soup
2 cups vegetable broth
3 tbsps taco seasoning (we use the Trader Joe's brand)
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cup arborio or carnaroli rice
1 tbsp olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
1/3 cup tequila, ale or white wine
1 15 oz can of black beans
1 3-4 oz can of green chiles
1 cup corn kernels
6-8 oz aged, sharped cheddar, shredded or crumbled
3 tbsp chopped cilantro
chopped scallions for garnish
Salt and Pepper to taste
Cayenne Pepper and/or Hot Sauce to taste

Put the stock and tomato soup in a saucepan.  Bring to a low boil and then reduce the heat to keep it warm.  Heat the butter and oil in a pot and saute the onions for 1-2 minutes.  Add garlic and mix well.  Add the rice and stir with wooden spoon to coat all of the rice with fat.

Add taco seasoning and stir in. Saute the rice in the butter and seasoning for a few minutes and then add the tequila, ale or wine.  Stir until it is completely absorbed.  Add 1 ladle of liquid and stir until absorbed.  Continue to add the liquid in this manor until the liquied has been absorbed and the rice is al dente (~18-20 minutes).  Reserve the last ladle of stock.  Add the beans, chile, corn, cilantro, most of the cheese (save some for garnish) and the last ladle of stock.  Stir until all incorporated and cheese has melted.  Salt, Pepper and add hot sauce an/or cayenne to taste.  Remove from heat, serve with scallion garnish.

Scrambled Eggs with Fried Sage and Cornbread


2 Eggs
1 tbsp milk
1-2 tbsp Butter
3-5 sage leaves
Salt and Pepper
A mild white cheese, like mozzarella, is optional
A slice of Buttermilk Cornbread*


Melt butter in a frying pan.  Put sage leaves in and flip them after ~5 seconds.  Cook for an additional 5 seconds and then remove and place on a towel to drain.  Beat eggs and milk together in a bowl.  Add salt and pepper (two or three shakes of each ought to do it).  Use the same butter to cook your scrambled eggs.  If you're going to add cheese, add it towards the end or on the plate.  Garnish the eggs with sage.  You may want to crumble or break the larger leaves so that they are more incorporated into the eggs.  Serve on top of a slice of cornbread.

*Simple Buttermilk Cornbread Recipe

1 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 cup buttermilk

Combine dry ingredients; add beaten egg and buttermilk, mixing well. Pour into greased, heated 8-inch or 9-inch iron skillet. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Buttermilk cornbread serves 8.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread French Toast with Founders Breakfast Stout

Welcome to my first post from our new home in Somerville, Mass!  We have finally settled into the new digs and our going about business as usual.  My man has left the pizza business and is working with craft beers in a retail setting, so expect to see some more beer pairings as our refrigerator overfloweth.

Every fall I make Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread.  So, our first settled weekend in town we wanted to celebrate with a warm, homey fall breakfast.  We tend to make French Toast a lot when we want to brunch at home, so this idea came together as something that was originally two separate recipes we wanted to make.  The pumpkin bread is a pretty simple quick-bread to assemble.  We made the french toast while it was still warm from the oven, and had to slice it a little thicker because it tends to be a bit crumbly when hot.  Also, we didn't have chocolate chips on hand so I chopped up a delicious Chocolove XOXO 70% Dark Chocolate bar instead - a definite improvement!

for bread
2/3 cup butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 cups canned pumpkin (1 lb can)
2/3 cup water
3 1/3 cup flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon and  1 tsp cloves mixed (or 3 tsps ground mulling spices)
6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips or a chopped chocolate bar of your choice

for French Toast
1-2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp sweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp cinnamon and clove mix or mulling spice mix

To make the bread: Preheat oven to 350 F.  Cream the butter and gradually add sugar, beating well.  Add eggs one by one and beat mixture.  Stir in pumpkin and water.  Combine the rest of the ingredients and add to the creamed mixture.  Fold in the chocolate.
Spoon mixture into a greased 9 inch loaf pan and bake for about an hour or until a knife inserted into the middle of the bread comes out clean (except for maybe some melty chocolate).

To make the French Toast:
Slice the cooled bread into 1/2-1 inch slices.  In a bowl, mix together eggs, milk and vanilla extract.   Heat frying pan or griddle to Med-Low heat.  When pan is hot, melt the butter in it- enough to coat the bottom of the pan.  Dip each slice of bread, making sure to coat each side and the ends and place in pan.  Cook each side for about 5 minutes.  

You may need to reapply butter if you're working in smaller batches.  If you're making a lot at once, keep a ceramic plate in the oven @  200-250 F and store the cooked slice in there until you're ready to serve.  Mix together cocoa and spice mix, sift over plated bread.  Eat with maple syrup and a delicious breakfast beer like the Founders Breakfast Stout or your favorite fall seasonal beer.  

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Kefir and Muesli, Cruesli or Granola

The best cold breakfast ever!!!

This is one of my favorite combos.  If you've never tried it, do yourself a favor.

Kefir, if you're unfamiliar, is a smooth yogurt-like liquid with a slight tangy effervescence.  It comes from fermenting milk (or coconut milk) with kefir grains - a symbiotic blend of yeast and bacteria.   It is great for intestinal health and tasty to boot.

Muesli is a breakfast cereal made of rolled oats, fruit, nuts and sometimes chocolate....
Cruesli is a name brand granola/muesli type cereal from Quaker sold in Europe. I picked up a few boxes the last time I was visiting.  Yes, I bring back food from my travels.

The combo above is a classic vanilla (kefir) and chocolate (Cruesli) pairing, but the combinations are endless.  This past week we picked up some banana granola and mixed it with strawberry kefir, which was equally delicious.

As they say in The Netherlands, schmecklekker!

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Giant Garlic Spaghetti Monster

aka The Spaghetti Sandwich

I've been wanting to make this for a while, and actually found a recipe for a spaghetti sandwich in this awesome kids cookbook- Cooking with Herb: The Vegetarian Dragon.  When I recently had a big craving for spaghetti and meatballs, I decided to go for it.  I made one adjustment though,  I used egg noodles instead of a longer stringier pasta like spaghetti, fettucini or angel hair.  The fluffy egg noodles took some of the 'weight' out of the dish allowing for more face stuffing! 

Quantities are vague hear, because I assume everyone has their own way of making spaghetti and meatballs.  For the record, I used a 12 oz bag of basil egg noodles, almost a full jar of Newman's Own Marinara, and one 12 oz bag of veggie meatballs.  For the garlic bread, I just followed the directions on the box but homemade garlic bread is easy to concoct if you have some bread, garlic and butter lying around.  Here's a good recipe from a fellow blogger. Oh, and we were able to eat off of this for almost a week, so, let's say serves 8-10.

Noodles (spaghetti or egg noodles work well)
Tomato Sauce
Meatballs (Try a great meatless version- Nate's Zesty Italian 'balls)
Garlic Bread (Trader Joe's frozen variety was used in this experiment)

Boil up some water for the noodles.  Heat up your tomato sauce and meatballs in another pot.

 Add a heaping spoonful or 2 of pesto to your tomato sauce.  Drain the noodles and heat up the garlic bread in the oven with provolone on top for extra cheesiness.  Mix noodles with the sauce and meat balls.   When the garlic bread is done, top a piece of garlic bread with  some saucy noodles.

Top with another piece of garlic bread.  Smash down real hard.  Try to fit it in your mouth, then give up and eat it with your hands and a fork like a normal person.  

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

You Want Some Fries With That Breakfast?

Just a little suggestion -  When you don't have home fries or hash browns on hand to complete your greasy diner-style breakfast at home, use french fries.

This little plate is graced with fried eggs and sausage patties with leftover fries from the wonderful 5 Seasons Brewery.  I think I dig it even more then the typical breakfast potatoes. 

Bon appétit!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Mini Coconut Ice Cream Sandwich with Whipped Cream and Raspberries

A Midnight @ Mom's House creation.

I recently found myself at my mom's house for the weekend while she was out of town.  Like many moms, she has a large amount of random fresh foods, condiments and dry goods at any given time.  It's easy and almost necessary to get creative with food in her kitchen, since nothing appears to have been purchased with the intention of being combined together.  


Within 2 minutes I had whipped myself up an extremely satisfying and delicious treat, and it was something that I may not have ever thought of on my own.  

1 mini Ice-Cream Sandwich (I recommend So Delicious Coconut)
1 dollop or squirt of whipped cream
1 small handful of fresh raspberries

Remove Ice-Cream Sandwich from wrapping.  Apply whipped cream.  Sprinkle with berries. 

Thanks Mom!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Cinnamon Raisin French Toast Sticks

So easy and delicious, I can't believe I haven't done this before!

3 slices cinnamon raisin bread
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk or cream
dash of almond extract
butter for pan frying

Purchase (or make!) some thickly sliced or unsliced cinnamon raisin bread.  If unsliced, slice into 3 two inch slices,  and then cut each slice into a 2 inch wide strip.  In a bowl, mix together eggs, milk and almond extract.   Heat frying pan or griddle to Med-Low heat.  When pan is hot, melt the butter in it- enough to coat the bottom of the pan.  Dip each strip of bread, making sure to coat each side and the ends and place in pan.  Cook each side for about 5 minutes.  You may need to reapply butter if you're working in smaller batches.  If you're making a lot at once, keep a ceramic plate in the oven @  200-250 F and store the cooked strips in there until you're ready to serve.  Serve with fresh fruit and maple syrup for dipping.  Dust with powdered sugar or some extra cinnamon if you like.

Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas with Creamed Spinach and Cheddar



1 Sweet Potato
1/2 Onion, chopped
2 cups Spinach, cooked or frozen
1 tbsp Lime Juice
1 8 oz can Black Beans
1 12 oz jar of Enchilada Sauce (we used Trader Joe's)
1 Tbsp Taco Seasoning
1 tbsp Cream Cheese or Plain Yogurt (for creaming the spinach)
1 tsp garlic, minced or powdered
5-6 small Tortillas
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
6-8 oz Cheddar Cheese

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Cube sweet potatoes and boil until you can pierce easily with a fork then drain.   Saute onions with olive oil until translucent, then take them off the heat.  Mash the sweet potatoes and and mix in the onions, lime juice, black beans and taco seasoning.

The creamed spinach- if you have an amazing creamed spinach recipe, or just happen to have some laying around in your fridge, use that.  I made a quick concoction out of cooked frozen spinach that I heated up and mixed with cream cheese, garlic and a pinch of salt.  

In a baking dish, pour half of the bottle of enchilada sauce.

Place a tortilla in the dish and coat both sides with enchilada sauce.  Fill with the sweet potato mixture, top with the creamed spinach, and roll it up!  Repeat until all of the filling is used (makes 5-6 enchiladas depending on how big you decide to make them).  Pour the rest of the enchilada sauce on top and spread out evenly.  Top with cheddar cheese.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until sauce is bubbling.  
Dig in! 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cadbury Creme Egg Ice Cream

Yowza.   I made a version of this last year with homemade frozen custard and some additional mini chocolate easter egg candies -- and it was fantastic -- but the Cadbury creme flavor did not carry through.  So, I decided to try a more direct version that is much simpler and you can quickly make at home (without an ice cream maker).  The idea was to mix in the crushed Cadbury eggs in a cold bowl with your favorite flavored ice cream (sort of like those franchise places with the frozen marble).  As you can see, we experimented with vanilla, but based on our findings other simple flavors would be just as tasty.

1 pint Vanilla Ice Cream (or FroYo)
3 Cadbury Creme Eggs
1 ceramic bowl (frozen for at least 1 hour)
2 wooden spoons

First, place a large ceramic bowl in the freezer for at least one hour.  Remove from freezer and scoop out contents of ice cream pint.   Place 3 cadbury eggs on top of the ice cream and start whacking with the wooden spoons.

Once the eggs have been mostly desecrated, start mixing and folding the ice cream until the chocolate is thoroughly mixed but you can still make out the yellow clumps of cream in the concoction.  At this point, you may want to pop the bowl and it's contents back in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to prevent melting.  Once the ice cream has firmed up, you can plate some in a bowl and store the rest in the empty pint container.

A friend of mine also pointed out that using a cracked egg on top of a single serving bowl of scooped ice cream would also be worth trying...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tart Cakes and Fruity-O Cakes

These freaky-deaky breakfast pancakes are the spawns of seeds planted by Kenny Shopsin of Shopsins in NYC.  You may recognize his name as the inspiration for my French Toast Bagels post several months ago.  I've been reading his book Eat Me: The Food and Philosophy of Kenny Shopsin and have been very entertained and inspired by his writings and recipes.  

Pancake Batter (whatever kind you would normally use)
Cereal or Granola
Your favorite toaster pastry (we used strawberry)

Read Kenny's book.  Heat up your griddle and wet with butter then pour on pancake batter.  Sprinkle cereal or chopped toaster pastry bits on top.  Flip the pancake, topping side down, after about 2 minutes of cooking or until the pancake becomes bubbly.  Cook with topping side down for another 2 minutes.  Serve topping side up. 
I like to keep a warm plate in the oven (about 200F) if I'm cooking for a lot of people, and place each finished pancake on the plate until I am done cooking .  That way everyone can enjoy hot pancakes at the same time.

The Results
Well, the the Tart Cakes turned out far better then the Fruity-O Cakes.  The jammy parts from the pastry made a great filling and the iced tops added a bite of sweetness.  The cereal cakes were comparatively flavorless and overly carbohydrated.  In the future I'm going to experiment with raisin bran and granola with dried fruits, chocolate and nuts to try and enhance the flavor.  
Any other ideas?  

Happy experimenting!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Hubert, The Sandwich.

(Reuben's first cousin).

I love sauerkraut.  I really love sauerkraut on a sandwich.  I would say that I love a reuben, but i've never had a real one.  I'm a recovering vegetarian, but I'm not advanced enough to eat a pile of corned beef...yet.  I've enjoyed countless meat-substitute reubens where I've added a tomato to give the sandwich an extra flavor/filling.  However, Hubert was born out of "what the hell do I have in my fridge that I can throw on a sandwich and grill?" and that just happened to include sauerkraut.

2 slices sourdough bread
1-2 slices sharp cheddar cheese
1 Tofurky Beer Brat , sliced into quadrants (or real beer brats)
1 tomato slice
1 onion slice
1/2 cup sauerkraut, drained
Mayonaise mixed with olive tapenade

You know how to put together a sandwich!!  But we suggest this order:

Bread > Mustard > Brats > Kraut > Tomato > Onion > Cheese > Mayo-Tapenade > Bread

We used our cast iron panini press to grill the sandwich into ooey gooey perfection, and then dubbed thee Hubert.  Sauerkraut mixed with more classic sandwich accouterments turned out to be fantastic.  We used a really authentic, fresh sourdough bread that added to the deliciousness.      

Enjoy!!!  (and tell me about any of reuben's other family members that you may have eaten)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Garlic Naan Veggie Burger

Obviously you can use a meaty burger in place of the veggie burger if you like. 
I used a SouthWest Sunshine Burger, one of my favorite non-meaty varieties.  

This is more of a concept then a recipe, and that is:

Replace your burger bun with a piece of naan sliced in half

This particular burger is topped with lettuce, tomato, pepper-jack cheese, and delicious hummus.  
It was delightful.

Go forth and naan-ify your buns!!!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Frankenstein Abomination Dinner (via my friend Adam)

Chicken basil tomato portabello rolled in mozzarella rolled in lasagna noodles rolled in croissant. And then more mozzarella on top.

"It was absofuckinglutely amazing. Frankenfeast success."-Adam

My first contributor post!!! 

A whole big tomato
Half an onion
Buncha Basil
4 small baby portobello mushrooms
A small container of ricotta
~1 lb shredded chicken
8 cooked lasagna noodles, cooked
Croissant dough 
Some Pepper
Some Balsamic vinegar

Mix tomato, onion, basil, portobellos, pepper and balsamic together in a food processor.  Mix this blend with the ricotta and chicken.  Lay out cooked lasagna noodles and lay down a layer of mozzarella.  Then lay down 'the mixture' and roll it all up.  Next, roll that up in the croissant dough and add another layer of mozzarella on top.  His girlfriend and co-chef, Meghan, recommends weaving the lasagna noodles together.  

Thanks Adam and Meghan!!

If you have photographed an awesomely ridiculous and tasty meal, submit via email here.  

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Soft Pretzel and Hummus

An easy but delicious and satisfying combo.  The hummus pictured above happens to be a very pungent and tasty garlic hummus.  

A short list of other good things to dip into hummus:
Warm Garlic Naan
Tortilla chips
French Fries
Crudité (especially carrots)
Warm Bread 
String Cheese

Fresh or frozen soft pretzel

Warm up pretzel in microwave or toaster oven.  If you're using a frozen variety, follow the directions on the box.*  Serve on a plate, with a big heaping spoonful of your favorite hummus, plain or flavored.  If you have more then one type of hummus in the fridge, you should put some of each on your plate -- variety stimulates the mind and the taste buds.  In fact, I would encourage adding a mustard or two to the plate as well if the mood strikes you.

Dip and eat with your hands.  

*once, when i was a young child, i came home from school and attempted to heat up a frozen pretzel in the microwave.  going off of memory, i failed to look at the directions on the box and nuked the pretzel for 2 minutes rather then 20 seconds.  when it finished cooking, it was completely hard.  i had baked my giant soft pretzel into a giant hard pretzel.  unfortunately it was too hard to really eat and enjoy, so it ended up in the trash.  i was very sad because it was the last pretzel.  learn from my mistakes, don't be a sad pretzel-less fool.