Monday, April 21, 2014

Sweet and Savory Breakfast

I had this at a breakfast joint I've been to a few times and after the first time, I had to have it again the next time I went.  Then it hit me, this is so simple to make, I can do it at home.  What is it?  It's herbed goat cheese on toast with jelly.  Sounds a bit odd for breakfast, I know but once you have it, you'll be hooked, I'm sure!  Next time you're at the grocery store, grab a small package of goat cheese.  Not too soft.  Get one that's firm and spreadable but not to creamy or it'll make your toast soggy.  Next, get your favorite bread.  Mine is sourdough.  Then your favorite jelly or jam.  Hopefully you have some fresh herbs outside.  If not, you need to grab those too.  I went out to the patio and snipped a bit of dill, oregano, basil, thyme and sage.  You don't need a lot, just enough to flavor the cheese a bit so don't buy a bunch of packages if you're buying it.  Just get your favorite.  After washing the herbs, chop them up nice and small.  Dump the cheese into a bowl and top with the herbs.  Smash with a fork while your toast is toasting.  Spread the jam on the toast and then top with the cheese.  If it's not the greatest thing you've had in awhile for breakfast, then use the bread for sandwiches or as a garnish to a salad that you can also use the cheese in.  But I hope you love it as much as I do.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Banana Pudding

I thought about not writing about this one because I just posted a banana treat but it hit me that many others are probably in this same situation.  There was a sale on bananas.  Actually, I got a couple free with a coupon from my local grocery store.  I couldn't pass up free so I decided to grab a few.  I'm not a huge fan or bananas.  I'm mean, I like them but don't go crazy over them.  I mostly like them in Frosted Flakes cereal because that's how we always had them as a kid but I rarely buy Frosted Flakes anymore because of all of the sugar.  Anyway, I used one for the caramelized bananas recipe I just posted and then let the other two sit on the counter for a couple of days.  I'd heard that you can put bananas in the freezer and they do well so I thought I'd try it.  I grabbed a package of instant vanilla pudding from the store.  On the morning that I wanted to make the pudding, I put the banana in the fridge to thaw gently.  It didn't take long.  I tested it about an hour or so after moving from the freezer to the fridge and it was getting soft.  I mixed up the pudding, sliced the banana which looked great, just like a regular banana (not black like I was expecting) but it was super soft.  That made it perfect for the pudding.  I didn't want to buy banana pudding because I thought that would be too banana-ee and taste more like banana flavoring than real banana which I truly hate.  Banana flavoring is not pleasing to me.  Once the pudding was starting to set, I mixed in the banana that I'd just peeled and sliced.  It froze my fingers a bit but the result was worth it.  I still had some whipped cream in my canister so after dinner, I topped off my pudding with a squirt and it was divine!  So, yes, you can freeze a banana but only do it if you don't want perfect slices.  Use it to mix into something else.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Caramelized Bananas

After dinner every so often, I want a little dessert.  I hate buying cakes and that sort of thing because they sit around the house for days and I feel compelled to continue eating it.  I had a dessert at a Thai restaurant one night that inspired making the bananas at home.  At the Thai restaurant, the banana is cut into large chunks, battered, deep fried and then drizzled with chocolate sauce and honey.  Sounds fabulous doesn't it?  Well, I'll leave that much work to the restaurant but feel free to try it if you want.  What I did discover is that bananas get very soft and decadent when they're cooked.  They turn almost creamy.  I love it.  That prompted me to quarter a banana one night, throw a fist full of brown sugar into a pan with a tablespoon of butter and give it a shot.  My first attempt, I had the sugar and butter melted and then I added the banana and cooked until it was soft.  The caramel turned to hard candy and it was almost impossible to eat.  Almost but I was a trooper and made it through it.  Then I thought, I need something to make the caramel creamy so the next time, I melted the butter and sugar and then poured in some milk.  It didn't look like it was going to work at first.  It seemed like I had milk and butter and sugar in a pan but I kept stirring over medium heat and it came together nicely.  I then added the bananas again and after tossing them around for a bit, knew that it was time to take them out as soon as they were getting hard to turn (because they were so soft).  I had some whipped cream in a canister in the fridge so I put that on but it also goes nicely with vanilla or even better, coconut ice cream.  But, it's also good by itself.

Quick Sweet Treat

I found myself having a sweet craving one day and didn't feel like the same ol' cookies or cakes.  I had a coupon for Nutella and decided to get some just to see what I could do with them.  Once while in Paris, I'd had a crepe of Nutella and coconut.  Knowing that I probably couldn't make a crepe, or even if I could, it's involved and who wants to make just one after going to all that trouble.  I searched the fridge for a substitute and found some flour tortilla shells I'd used to make quesadillas out of for dinner one night.  I spread the Nutella over the entire tortilla and then sprinkled some shredded coconut I had in the freezer over half of it.  I popped it in the oven and let the tortilla get warm and just brown on the edges.  I took it out and cut it just like I would a quesadilla with three slices on an angle from the center.  Wow, what an awesome treat.  I thought maybe next time some nuts would be nice.  I'd also like to try Nutella and maybe sliced bananas or even strawberries, or hell, maybe even both.  Lots of ways you could go with this.

Fried Bologna Sandwich

Sometimes you just need a fried bologna sandwich.  Every so often we'd have fried bologna sandwiches when I was a kid.  We'd have them as a substitute for a normal breakfast when Mama was bored with it.  There were rules to them, however.  The bread was always toasted, the bologna always crisp, the bread only slathered with mustard and always had cheese.  I saw bologna on sale at the grocery store the other day and thought it was time for a fried bologna sandwich.  I have them a couple of times a year.  Today, I broke the rules.  I didn't have regular loaf bread so I pulled out what I had - some sliced sourdough.  I took a long slice and cut it in half.  I didn't have sliced american cheese so I carved off a few slabs of strong cheddar.  I did have the mustard but had a hankering for mayo so I put them both on the bread.  Mama always put three cuts in the bologna so I've always done the same.  That prevents it from bubbling up with a big cone in the center only allowing for the sides to be crisped.  I've resorted to using fat free bologna which doesn't crisp up as well and usually sticks to the non-stick pan but I've found the taste of bologna is a little more subtle.  I'm not a huge fan of bologna - only fried bologna sandwiches.  I put the slices in the pan and when they start to stick, it's time to flip them.  Once nice and brown, I put one slice on each piece of bread and then put the cheese on one half and close the sandwich up which puts the cheese in between the two slices of bologna.  I then put the sandwich in the hot pan and toast it on each side.  If using loaf bread, it's just as easy to put them in the toaster but since I was using sour dough, I didn't want it to get too tough from the toaster.  Once toasted, move to a plate and enjoy.  I had some sour cream and onion Pringles in the cupboard so I had those with it.  I wrapped the rest of the bologna for another day when I can't figure out what to eat.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Leftovers - Garlic Bread

We recently had almost a loaf of left over garlic bread from a dinner out.  I had it in the fridge for a few days not sure what I'd end up serving it with.  I first thought of just warming it and putting on the side of a salad but on Sunday, while watching football, I wanted some munchies and decided to pull out the bread.  I chopped up some tomatoes into small bites and tossed them with some fresh basil and a dash of salt and pepper and a splash of olive oil.  I thought of adding some garlic but remembered the garlic bread was already garlicky enough.  I let that sit and soak together for a bit.  The salt will make the tomatoes soften up and release some juices.  When I couldn't wait any longer, I heated the oven and put the bread in until just warmed through.  My garlic bread already had cheese on it.  If it didn't, I probably would've added some to get it melty in the oven.  I pulled the bread out, spooned on the tomato topping and drizzled it with reduced balsamic reduction.  Nice snack for game day or a super appetizer idea.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

I'd like a Pita-cheese please

I was rummaging around today trying to find something to eat for lunch.  I was contemplating making some tuna but what to do with the leftovers.  It would be a few days before I'd be able to eat it again and tuna gets runny if you don't eat it pretty quickly so I continued with my search.  I wanted to use the other half of the pita I had from my "boca burger on a pita" dinner last night (  I pulled the pita out of the fridge and flopped it on the counter.  I saw the container of olives I had just bought the other day.  Just a small assortment.  Chris doesn't like olives so I treat myself every so often with some nice ones from the olive bar at the grocery store.  I had wanted to put some in my tuna.  I'll have to post my killer tuna recipe next week when I decide to make it!  What else goes good with olives?  Cheese!  I got out the huge block of sharp cheddar that Chris bought a few weeks ago that I've been hacking at ever since.  I carved off two and half (knife slipped) slices and eased them into the pita.  Put the oven broiler on high and got out some tin foil.  I put the cheese back and noticed the little squares of jelly I'd ripped off from the breakfast place we went to last weekend.  Oooo, that would be great!  I looked over my options - strawberry, orange marmalade and blackberry.  I grabbed the orange marmalade, peeled back the top and spread the whole thing on the cheese.  Onto the tin foil and into the oven.  Just as the cheese started to melt (sweat really), I flipped it for just another couple of minutes while I grabbed the olives, a Diet Dr. Pepper and a napkin.  I went back and rescued the pita from the oven.  Perfectly melted and just a tad crisp.  Yum!  It was super good and a little fancy feeling - cheese and olives and all.