Monthly Archives: August 2010

Cinnamon French Toast w/ Raspberry Creamed Honey

 

Whaaa?  What is this — there’s not a drop of maple syrup to be found, after I just created the most beautiful cinnamon french toast?  

I was forced to work fast under the unfortunate conditions, as my breakfast was not-so-patiently waiting on its hot plate.  Untouched on the shelf was a jar of creamed honey.  Raspberry preserves, I thought?   So, I mixed the two together.  Its pretty genius if you ask me (wink).  As they say — the best things in life happen when you least expect.

Cinnamon French Toast w/ Raspberry Creamed Honey

  • thick sliced bread
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 2-3 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp raspberry preserves
  • 1/4 cup creamed honey (or whipped honey)

Combine all ingredients minus the preserves and honey, and whisk together very well.  Preheat large pan with a tablespoon of butter.  Soak both sides of bread in the egg mixture and drop in hot pan.  Cook on each side for about 3 minutes or until golden brown.

In separate bowl combine raspberry preserves and creamed honey. Pour over french toast and top with powdered sugar (if desired).

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Filed under All Posts, Breakfast; the most important meal of the day, Recipes, Sweet Treats, Uncategorized

Farmer’s Market Succotash

When I eat fresh lima beans, I taste the sweet flavors of self-liberation.  Every picked-from-the-pod bean frees my inner child from the traumatic frozen-fed upbringing that’s held me captive in a lima bean prison since I was a tot.  While I appreciate my mother’s efforts to provide nutritious meals, I feel I’ve been deceived.  I mean, why would she teach me that these delicious vegetables grow from a cardboard box?  Now that I’ve discovered the truth, its invigorating to know I never have to lay eyes on an iced up piece of mush again. In the famous words of Anthony Bourdain –  I’d rather lick Cheeto dust off the floor of a public bus.

This recipe is wonderful!  Succotash offers so much versatility and flexibility, so you can really mix and match an array of flavors, using whatever ingredients strike your mood. 

Fresh from the Market Succotash

  • 1/2 lb lima beans, out of pods
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1/2 onion (or one small onion), diced
  • 4 ears of corn, kernels cut off
  • about 6 small fingerling potatoes
  • about 12-15 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced fine
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 F and slice potatoes into 1/4 inch discs.  Place potatoes on baking sheet with salt and an olive oil drizzle and bake for about 12-15 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through.

While potatoes are cooking, blanch lima beans in boiling water for about 5-7 minutes or until beans are soft.  Drain beans and transfer immediately to a cold water bath. 

In sauté pan with olive oil add onions and cook for about 3-4 minutes on med-low or until translucent.   Add garlic, corn, zucchini and cook for another 3-4 minutes.  Once potatoes are ready add to sauté pan with the other veggies and add lima beans and basil.  Combine in pan, season with salt and pepper and serve.

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Filed under All Posts, Healthy Options, Recipes, Seasonal - Summer, Side Dishes, Southern Specialties, Vegetables

Almond Enrusted Goat Cheese, Blueberry Vinaigrette and Mixed Greens Salad

Something about the word encrusted just does something to me. One simple utterance across the lips has the power to induce instant taste bud stimulation.  Add goat cheese to that word and I’ll be sitting high in my chair with hands raised to the sky, and letting out the loudest scream of excitement!  Better than any theme park I’d ever want to go to. 

 

 

For the dressing:

  • 1 small shallot, diced fine
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon

For the Salad:

  • mixed greens
  • 1 goat cheese log
  • about 1/3 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 egg + 1 tbsp water, whisked together
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • blueberries

Saute shallots and blueberries in a drizzle of olive oil for about 2-3 minutes in small saucepan.  Add vinegar, honey and cinnamon and cook for a few minutes more, or until the blueberries have begun to release juices.  Remove from heat and cool before transferring into food processor.  Blend ingredients together in processor and then slowly add 1-2 tbsp to incorporate.  Season with a little salt as desired.

Preheat oven to 375 F.  Prepare goat cheese by slicing into 3/4 inch slices. Lightly dredge the goat cheese in flour and then in the egg mixture.  Coat the cheese in sliced almonds pressing around the sides, bottom and top.  Place on a baking tray and into the oven for about 8-10 minutes.  Serve warm over salad.

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Filed under Fruity Flavors, Goat Cheese, Recipes, Scrumpdidily Salads, Uncategorized

Easy Pea Salad

In the past, if I would have ever seen the words “peas” and “delicious” used together in a sentence, I would have immediately brushed off any credibility – regardless of the topic.  I sound like such a pompous pea-hater, I know. It’s not that I completely hate them, it’s  just that I’ve never had the desire to put an abundance of them in my mouth at one time.  I can’t explain it.  It’s just one of those things.  But my gosh – if only I would have known all it takes is turning them into a snazzy salad with smokey bacon and parmesan cheese, I would have been a die-hard pea fan long ago. 

This is one of the few times you’ll see me using a frozen ingredient, but peas are an exception if you cannot find fresh (or in this case was a little too lazy when I had a craving for my snazzy pea salad – like now!).

  • 4 cups frozen peas, thawed 
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan
  • 8 strips of applewood smoked bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 2 shallots, minced fine
  • 2 1/2 tbsp sour cream
  • 2 tbsp mayo
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in medium bowl and serve.

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Ginger Zucchini Cupcakes with an Orange-Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting

If you’re anything like me, right around this time of year you begin to get the Autumn itch.  The nights are slowly evolving into a cool calm, the scent of the outside air begins to change, and the anticipation for the fall festivities ahead has you wound up with total excitement!

What better way to transition into the best time of year, than to unite the two worlds of summer and spice in this delicious cupcake.  My (very soon-to-be) father in-law graciously gifted me with a bag full of garden fresh zucchini followed by a brief mention of a healthy ginger-zucchini muffin recipe he had come across recently.  As soon as my food-obsessed brain processed those two magical words, I knew that I had, had, had to act quick.

I searched for this healthy muffin recipe and found something even better – a healthy(ish) cupcake recipe!

Here’s where I give credit to my father in-law for igniting a delightful cupcake post.  Adding this to my (future) mother in-law sending a foodie care package from Maine this week – I’ve realized why God created in-laws 🙂

Ginger Zucchini Cupcakes

(adapted from Gourmet)

*Makes 18 cupcakes

  • 1/3 cup crystallized ginger, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups coarsely grated zucchini
  • 3/4 cup mild olive oil
  • 3/4 cup mild honey
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Orange-Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh orange zest

 

For cupcakes:
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin cups with liners. 

Pulse crystallized ginger in food processor until ground, then add flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, zest, salt, baking soda, and baking powder and pulse until combined. 

Whisk together zucchini, oil, honey, eggs, and vanilla in a medium bowl, then stir in flour mixture until just combined. 

Divide batter among muffin cups and bake until golden and a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean, 20 to 24 minutes. 

Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and cool completely, 1 hour. 

For frosting:
Beat together frosting ingredients with an electric mixer at high speed until combined well and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. 

Frost tops of cooled cupcakes.

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Filed under All Posts, Recipes, Sweet Treats, Uncategorized, Vegetables

White Cheddar and Roasted Corn Spoon Bread with a Spicy Sausage and Red Pepper Ragu

Oh my dear South, you’ve done it again.  I’ve been coaxed by your charming and delicate ways that gracefully swoop me up into a comfort food heaven.  Spoon bread darling, take me away!

Don’t be fooled by the pseudonymous name, as this dish is quite the opposite of bread.  Spoon bread is made from corn meal and has a soft and creamy pudding-like texture.  It is wonderful when baked with roasted corn and cheddar — making it the perfect combination of slightly sweet and oh-so-cheesy.

White Cheddar and Roasted Corn Spoon Bread

  • 1 cup yellow corn meal
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 eggs, whisked together
  • 2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar
  • 3/4 cup corn, roasted
  • a generous amount of salt
  • fresh cracked pepper

Preheat oven to 400 F. Combine corn meal and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a slow boil and then cook for about 5 minutes or until it thickens.  Add milk, butter, eggs (whisked together), salt and pepper and combine well.  Fold in cheese and corn.  Transfer mixture to a greased baking dish and bake for about 30-35 minutes or until top is golden brown.  Let casserole sit for several minutes and serve (it will be a smooth and creamy texture).

Spicy Sausage and Red Pepper Ragu

  • 4 spicy italian sausage links
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 to 2 cup of chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp ancho chilli powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • salt/pepper

Cook sausage in small sauté pan and remove.  Add to the pan onions and peppers and cook for a few minutes until onions become translucent.  Add garlic and tomatoes and cook for about 3-4 minutes longer.  Add stock, bay leaf, thyme, chilli powder and tomato paste.  Simmer until sauce begins to thicken and stock evaporates. Season with salt and pepper and return sausage to pan.

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Filed under All Posts, Recipes, Southern Specialties, Uncategorized

A Culinary Cornucopia

The combination of living in New Jersey and residing 20 miles outside of The Big Apple, has expectedly resulted in an overwhelmingly large restaurant wish list.  One place specifically that has long been on my mind (ever since the talented Anne Constance snapped our engagement photos) is Ninety Acres.  Ninety Acres is a new restaurant that has opened in the 491-acre Natirar estate, which was once home to the King of Morocco.       

Photo by Anne Constance: http://anneconstance.com/

     

Set against rolling acres the King’s old mansion sits high in the center of one of the most serene and peaceful places in New Jersey.  The moment your feet hit the entrance, you begin to feel alive as earth’s unparalleled nature consumes you with plush greenery and innate beauty.   A perfect reminder of the true meaning of beauty.  

    

Adjacent to the house (which will soon be a spa and fitness club) is the restored carriage house and garage which is where Ninety Acres lives.  Complete with a restaurant, bar and cooking school, the culinary center also supplies their own fresh and local products from the surrounding  farm land.  Boy does this make me giddy!  Gardens and greenhouses are out the window to your left. Barns and stables are down the road to your right.  Just as they say — farm to table is one thing, but this is a table at the farm.   

Our first experience at the culinary cornucopia was for an ideal morning brunch.     

    

A Homemade Terrine and Pate, Fresh Picked Berries and Yogurt, Natirar Poached Eggs with Chicken Hash and Chocolate Bread French Toast with Corn Flake Crust and Bourbon Maple Syrup.  So rich with freshness, exquisitely pure in taste and the most dreamy Chocolate French Toast my stomach’s ever laid eyes on.  Good thing the cute guy sitting across the table proposed first!   

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Filed under All Posts, New Jersey, Personal, Restaurants, Uncategorized