Crack bread

One of the many perks of working at a bakery is the endless supply of bread, and my favorite being in the form of a beautiful and fresh baguette. Almost everyday I am whisked away at the end of my shift with a pocket full of tips and a crackling baguette. My love for bread has expanded beyond a slab of butter and into a world of meals on the lovely baguettes. I have explored with sandwiches including a variety of cheeses and piles of veggies or simpler versions of a good stinky cheese, some creamy butter and green garlic… my dirty pleasure.

Recently a friend opened my eyes to a whole new baguette experience… he and a few others have coined it as ‘crack bread’. It is easy peasy and really an amazing way to start your morning off kicking. In order to calm my craving I have started freezing some of the baguette so I don’t simply devour the entire baguette the second I am released from work. Thus, early this morning I popped some pieces in the toaster, spread some butter down, followed by raw honey and then the most important components…. salt and pepper.

  

While butter and honey accompany any bread nicely the salt and pepper pumps it up a whole other level and makes it a must! I like to use the raw honey because it has a much bolder flavor than the little plastic bear bottles and some good sea salt makes a huge difference. The pepper gives it an added kick and sourcing all the ingredients from local, wholesome establishments allows you to do more than satisfy your taste buds.

Bon appetit.

Advertisements

Bon appetit: recipes to-die-for

There is a soft spot in my heart for the Tasting Table online food magazine that dishes out the hottest of hot when looking for recipes and restaurants.

This post is a slide show of absolutely phenomenal recipes that I will be crafting as soon as finals are done… check ’em out and bon appetit.

http://www.tastingtable.com/slideshow/national/8195

Bon appetit: thumbprints

It’s a lazy day Monday and in order to avoid the papers piling up, I closed the books and sifted through my long list of recipes waiting to be given a test run. I came across these thumbprints that had high hopes of satisfying my sweet tooth and were easy enough to whip up.

The ingredients list is short and simple but produces a rock-star cookie.

2 cups whole almonds
4 cups quick-cooking oats
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups flour, divided
1 cup canola oil
1 cup maple syrup
Assorted jams of your choice (see note)

One little fun fact about these cookies is that yes indeed they are VEGAN! I have secretly been on a search for a good vegan cookie. While my batch was a bit dry and crumbly I blame it on the fact that my pantry didn’t hold all the necessary amounts of the ingredients. I decided to mix and match somethings but following the recipe will lead to an ideal cookie munching situation.

You can follow the step by step instructions by following this link to the lovely Kitchn blog but I’ll give you my personal advice on what to fill these puppies with.

I choose an assortment that stuck out to me! First up is a homemade raspberry jelly made in our Slow Food UW kitchen, along side an organic peanut butter. Next up was a raw and organic honey that is too-die-for! And finally, without a doubt I made one with dark chocolate chips.

 

As always I don’t listen with my mom and play with my food via the route of snapping pictures. Feast your eyes on these not so exciting food porn pics.

   

Bon appetit.

It’s not summer until you have a BBQ!

  

Its been a while since I’ve posted but at least there is still sun-shining summer weather in lovely Wisco. However, in order to be able to fully label these months as summer I needed to be able to check off a bumpin’ BBQ from my summertime bucketlist. As the days were getting shorter and the clock was ticking closer to that time of year filled with studying and football games, my bestie and I decided to get creative and throw an End of Summer BBQ for all our loves at home in Sheboygan. We are the kind of friends that have fun cooking, eating, shopping, and repeating! I think in our past lives we were attached at the brain, so who else better to throw a BBQ with. As soon as we came up with the idea there was no stopping us as we were fast at work making homemade invites and drooling over possible recipes.

The few requirements we had were that it was outside, the grill was fired up, we had a drink with limes and all of our friends were in attendance. Then the fun part of creating the menu began… we decided what better to have in the summer time than some gud ‘ol burgers! Since I have a soft spot for California cuisine and avocados we choose to have a CA burger with chipolini onions, avocado, heirloom tomatoes and lettuce. The other must have when grilling out are Sheboygan Hardrolls, from the crazed about City Bakery. This lead us to the creation of the Sheboygan burger with sharp cheddar cheese, sautéed onions, heirloom tomatoes and lettuce.

As for sides we attempted to follow some tasty looking recipes for sweet potato chips and zucchini fries but fell short of success. The finished products were far from presentable but still some of our friends were brave enough to sample the wilted and pathetic attempts at chips and fries. This was a failed attempt but we will try again and perfect turning our favorite veggies into our favorite snacks! There was also classic corn on the cob boiled and roasted along with grilled zucchini rounds and sliced watermelon.

The dessert was my personal favorite but unfortunately our guests pigged out on their BBQ feasts a little to much to really enjoy the tasty treats. My favorite sweet tooth satisfier is obviously dark chocolate but I needed to sweeten this up for all the mouths we were feeding. In order to do this I discovered a quick and dirty homemade caramel sauce recipe to fill dark chocolate cups with. The additional sea salt sprinkled on top made these a hot commodity that I am dying to make again VERY soon!

The second dessert was something my mom stumbled upon this past winter. We attempted to make our own ice cream but opted for a healthier version, that is disguised very well. We bought about a dozen bananas, peeled them and stuck them in the freezer over night. The next day a few hours before the BBQ I popped them in my mom’s Vitamix blender and pureed them until smooth. The left over caramel sauce along with various toppings allowed us to have a sundae funday ice cream bar!

Even though we were left with mountains of leftovers the adventure of throwing our first “dinner party” was a success and something we will continue to perfect over the years. What better way to spend time with your friends than sharing a great meal under the summer sky!

Cheers y’all and can’t wait for the next BBQ, bon appetit.

The-too-good-to-do-anything-else dish…

The dish I just finished licking my plate of was way too good to let sit in my word documents waiting to be shared with the world and also is just too damn good to be named. Caprese doesn’t do justice to the way this tomato, mozzarella, basil and balsamic dish is prepared. Comments or ideas on possible names please come rolling in, I will need help with this one!!

I guess I’ll give you the juicy details so you can recreate it in your sweet smelling home…. So start off by liberally dousing sweet cherry tomatoes with olive oil and salt. Place them in the oven at 425 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes letting them roast and explode! While these are roasting get started on the balsamic glaze. I found the recipe online at Simply Recipes and it is oh so simple. Reduce half a cup of balsamic with two teaspoons of sugar over high heat until it thickens. Plate the tomatoes with fresh mozzarella, rip up fresh basil and then drizzle the balsamic glaze all over the place (adding salt to the finished meal if needed). Try this and you may never want to eat a caprese salad any other way.

Next up is figuring out what else I can make with this DIVINE balsamic glaze… bon appetit!

Portabella Marsala Sando.

This post is almost one of my favorites because this sandwich is out of this world and will definitely be featured in a future cookbook!! Lunch was aproaching quickly and we had some portabella mushrooms calling our names.. what to do, what to do?? We decided to get a bit adventurous and created marsala mushrooms with portabellas and slapped them in-between some veggies and bread, waalaa.

The preparation of the mushrooms was like any other marsala preparation. Slice the mushrooms and sauté them in butter and when they are on the edge of being done add a splash of marsala cooking wine to caramelize them. Make sure to add the marsala at the end because adding this essentially finishes cooking the mushrooms. Once the mushrooms have a nice coating of marsala feel free to continue cooking for a few more minutes.

When creating the sandwich you can choose whatever you like but we sliced up some fresh mozzarella, heirloom tomatoes, last nights grilled zucchini and shreds of fresh basil.

Bon appetit to turning a dinner entrée into a tasty sandwich.

Not MJ’s Beets.

This post is no where near Michael Jackson’s hit single Beat It but almost as good and hopefully soon to be as popular!! Searching for a good summer recipe to go along with the large bundle of beets we just purchased from the farmer’s market we came across the website Simply Recipes highlighting a Roasted Beet with Balsamic Glaze. From time to time I go on a beet craze and ever since I returned from China this was a vegetable I was dying to dine on. The recipe was as simple as the name of the website (SimplyRecipes) and took only a few tries to perfect.

  

The beets are roasted at 400 degrees for an hour or two, depending on how large the beets are. It’s important to rub with olive oil and salt in order to give more flavor and to avoid drying them out while roasting. Poke the beets after about an hour every so often in order to find out when they are ready to be taken out.

The best part isn’t with the roasting but instead the Balsamic Glaze drizzled over top!! It may take a few attempts but start with a small, shallow sauce pan and add the balsamic vinegar and sugar in order to reduce into a syrup. When the beets are finished roasting chop them up to the size you prefer and pour the balsamic glaze over. We choose to grate some citrus zest over the top, whatever you have available would work, but we went for orange adding an extra bite to the dish.

These are a great snack or an accompaniment to any meal and can be served hot or cooled, or even in a salad. To find the original recipe visit SimplyRecipes online.

  

Not to mention cooking with beets always makes for some fun artwork, even though mother always told me never to play with my food, bon appetit!

A Sweet Summer Salad.

If there was one fruit that I would describe as sweet summer loving it would be watermelon. This colorful melon is so thirst quenching when the degrees start racking up as well as being extremely versatile. Slices of watermelon is hardly a snack you can go wrong with but what about adding some chili powder or lime sprinkled over the top, it’s easy to get creative and always rewarding. My favorite watermelon concoction is a salad with feta, Kalamata olives, onions and lime. All these flavors combined can create an addicting snack or the perfect side dish for any summer meal.

The recipe I used was Nigella Lawson’s and the reason I choose to use one is because she has an interesting approach to getting the flavors to really blend well. Her advice for the onions is to soak them in the lime juice so they lose some of the bite onions can dominate a salad with. When working with watermelon this is an especially helpful tip.

The rest of her ingredients include black olives but I like the flavor of Kalamata olives instead, and make sure to get pitted olives for maximum enjoyment. Nigella also chooses to add mint and parsley to go along with the tartness of lime and rich flavor of feta allowing for everything to compliment each other giving your taste buds a ride of their life.

The recipe can be found at http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/watermelon-feta-and-black-olive-salad-205, however if you google a Watermelon Feta salad you can find a list of other combinations that suit your style.

Bon appetit and enjoy your sweet summer salads.

My go-to Greek Yogurt.

My initial intention when purchasing a bunch of pears was a healthy one and would allow me to have some fresh fruit to munch on. Although with all this crazy heat in Madison nearly twenty-four hours later they were brown and on their way to molding, so it was time to get creative, and fast!!

I had just finished din din and was craving something that would satisfy my sweet tooth. I sliced off all the bruised parts, which unfortunately was the majority for some. However, I then scoured my cupboards and drizzled honey over while sprinkling on brown sugar and cinnamon. Next up was time to throw it in the oven and wait to see what the finish product would be. About twenty minutes later I had a gooey warm poached style pear to top on whatever I pleased. Unfortunately whatever I pleased turned into whatever I had, Chobani Greek yogurt. Lately yogurt has been my go-to ingredient and strikingly it was amazing because the tartness of the yogurt complimented the sweetness of the pears making me craving more, more, more!

Bon appetit and when it’s brown, don’t throw it down.

Rhubarb… summer’s favorite veggie!

 

Madison’s summer was well under way when I was lucky enough to have a few of my besties visit all the way from Minnesota!! I was feening to be in the kitchen cooking and also to satisfy my sweet tooth. The best thing about visitors is I can cook the tasty treats I dream about without being worried I will devour the entire dish MYSELF!

My roommate and I had just come back to our apartment after spending a few hours moseying around the Saturday Farmer’s Market. I had a bundle of rhubarb, raspberries and the fixings to make a mean dessert bar. I took to my Mac in order to find a recipe I could get creative with, and landed on Martha Stewart’s Rhubarb Crumb Bars.

The prep work for the rhubarb took a while but otherwise I was baking away within minutes and popped my version of the cake as a Raspberry and Rhubarb Crumble in the oven and took a break from cooking in 90-degree weather. Forty minutes later my crumb cake was out of the oven and ready to cool so that ALL my friends could devour it.

The cake had a really nice flavor because the rhubarb is more of a tangy taste instead of many other desserts loaded with sugar. I tried some hot out of the oven as well as later on when it cooled, and my vote is hot with ice cream. Cooled off allowed the flavors to set in and was more along the lines of a pound cake. Either way it was a success and with a full apartment it didn’t even last 24 hours.

Bon appetit and FYI the leaves of rhubarb are toxic, YIKES, steer clear!!