Monday, August 30, 2010

Roasted Beet & Tomato Salad

Sorry for the lack of posting. And I'm also sorry that the few posts that I have put out, they're all about salad. I hate salads as you may know.
Anyhow, I'm really truly trying to get back into my blog but the summer's here but it's hard getting motivated to look at a computer after staring at a computer for 9 hours a day. If you're living in the Northwest, we use the word 'summer' pretty loosely considering it's been mostly cloudy and cool..but far better than being in the heat wave and flooding the rest of the US has been encountering). I love summer. It means farmers markets, sun dresses & tanned skin (no fake n' bake, please).

I hit up a farmers markets with a few girlfriends a few weeks ago and was inspired by these gorgeous bright yellow-orange beets. Yes, beets. I've never cooked beets but they claimed it was very easy to do..and they were right! After a rather long day of eating dim sum, baseball food at a Mariner's game and other various junk, I felt like Gabe and I should redeem ourselves w/ a light dinner. This is the lovely little ditty is what resulted.

Roasted Beet & Tomato Salad

makes 2 dinner sized salad portions

4 beets (mine were between a large egg and a baseball sized)
1½ c. grape tomatoes
3 tbsp. crumbled feta cheese (blue cheese would also be excellent)
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (more for roasting beets)
2 tbsp. fresh basil
salt & pepper to taste
1 thinly sliced red onion, optional

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Wash and dry beets to remove excess dirt (do not peel). Drizzle w/ 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle w/ ½ tsp. kosher salt. Wrap in a foil packet and roast for 1 hour. Depending on the size of your beets, you may have to adjust cooking time. Beets act like potatoes, when they're done, they are fork tender. Remove from the oven and allow to cool - skins should slide off easily. I just made the beets ahead of time and threw them in the fridge.

Peel and slice beets, arrange on the bottom of the plate. Slice tomatoes and pile on top of beets. Sprinkle w/ feta (add red onion) - salt, pepper, EVOO. Slice basil in small ribbons (stack leaves, roll like a cigar and with a very sharp knife slice thin ribbons) and sprinkle on top - enjoy!

Another note about the beets - as you may or may not have heard, they bleed and stain everything. I just used a dark cutting board and did all the skin removal in the foil packet. Even when you are washing, if you scrub the skins too hard, they'll start bleeding so be careful & try not to use a light colored porous cutting surface. These were even the lighter colored orange beets - if all you can find is the dark red ones, be especially careful!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

New Fave Salad

I never thought I'd post about a salad, let alone one that I would actually use 'fave' in the title but this one's really yum. I'm kinda at work on my lunch break and I'm feeling super guilty that it's already July and I only posted one recipe last month. So this one's a little half post.

Sorry for the iPhone photo. This salad would be really yum w/ a piece of fish or some chicken too but the beans and almonds give it a lot of body. Enjoy!
Feta Almond White Bean Salad
serves 1
2 c. arugula (romaine works well too)
1/2 c. sliced cucumber (I use hot house)
1/2 c. cannellini beans (drained and rinsed thoroughly)
1/4 c. crumbled feta cheese
1/4 c. slivered almonds, toasted
I didn't think you needed instructions on making a salad either. Enjoy friends!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Baked French Toast - Two Ways

Is there anything that screams Sunday morning more than french toast? I'm dying. I die at the thought of french toast on Sundays. Mostly because I can't sleep in and do whatever on Sunday morning.

There's always Saturdays though, right? Wrong. There is baked french toast though. Genius.

How about some niiiice baked black berry french toast. Now that summer is just around the corner I can stop hoarding the last of the blackberries Gabe picked last summer. We made it, hon. Let the hoarding begin.

Start with some lovely sourdough or challah bread. Day old is good. A few days old is best. If you were lucky enough to have some house guests bring you a lovely loaf of sourdough from Brown Bag - you can't do much else than make them a lovely baked french toast with it.

So I made the blackberry french toast for them. Thoughts? It was a little runny. I like bread pudding just like anyone else but it seemed just a tad soggy for my taste. Still good, but I needed more bread.

More carbs.

The answer to life is more carbs.

And butter. Butter the baking dish. I used a 9" x 13" glass dish with sides about 2" high.
If you like your baked french toast a little on the..softer side, use 3 - 1" thick slices of bread, cubed. If you like a little more texture, use 4 slices.

Then eggs.
Beat lightly.



This is the real stuff. No fake syrup please.

Now, if you're doing all maple walnut, you can skip the lemon zest. I didn't mind the lemon zest in the maple walnut, but I hardly consider my opinion normal. That's just me.
I definitely wouldn't skip this if I was making a completely blackberry (or whatever other fruit for that matter) baked french toast.

It really cuts through the richness of the custard - brightens the whole thing up.

But for me, I like raisins and nuts. Gabe? Not so much. So I did what any diplomatic person would do. I made 1/2 for him, 1/2 for me.

Walnuts and raisins for Mrs.

Oops - almost forgot the cinnamon in the milk/egg/syrup mixture.

Then pour the mixture over the bread.

Try to coat everyone evenly, people. Let's be fair to all the pretty little bread cubes.

And don't forget to press the bread down into the mixture. If you don't soak all the cubes, some may end up burning on the top.

There are those blackberries. Just a tad bit of freezer burn got them. They were probably happy to fulfill their little berry destinies. Sprinkle over the other half.
Then make the cinnamon/sugar mixture.

Sprinkle over the whole thing.

Then? More butter. You knew that was coming though.
Dot the whole thing w/ little bits of butter.

This thing baking makes the whole house smell amazing. But you have to be're looking at about an hour's worth of baking and cooling time.
Grab a crossword puzzle or something.

Gabe's bite.

My bite. Mmmmmm.

And another one for Gabe.

Baked Two Way French Toast

makes 6-8 servings

If you want to do all berries/fruit or all raisins/nuts, just double the below topping quantities and omit the one you don't want.
Butter, for greasing
8 eggs
3 cups whole milk
1/2 c. buttermilk
3/4 cup maple syrup, plus extra for serving
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 lemon, zested **
4 (1-inch thick) slices day-old challah or sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
Toppings for Two Way version:

1 cup (12 ounces) fresh or frozen, thawed, and drained blackberries


1/2 c. raisins
1/2 c. walnuts

lastly (for sprinkling)..

3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 stick butter - cubed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter your 9x13" baking dish. Cut 4 - 1" slices of sourdough or challah bread into 1" cubes. In a large bowl, crack eggs and mix lightly with whisk. Whisk in milk, buttermilk, maple syrup and 2 tsp. cinnamon. Zest lemon and add to mixture, whisk until incorporated.
Pour mixture over breadcubes. Make sure to press bread down into egg mixture. Spread berries on half and raisins and walnuts on other half. Sprinkle sugar/cinnamon mixture over entire pan. Dot with cubed butter evenly. Bake for 45 minutes or until set - enjoy!
**If you're doing raisins/nuts version, you can omit the lemon zest. Or keep it in - it's a free country, right?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Not Dead (I don't think)

Hi friends! I've been a bad blogger. I've been neglecting this blog and using the new job as an excuse. Boooo.

No worries! I will definitely kick my butt into gear and post something this weekend. Keep the faith.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

My Pizza Obsession

Hi friends! Sorry I've been out of commission for a few weeks. New job, company, sleep deprivation! All worth it though. I've got a backlog of recipes to share but for now, here's my absolute favorite thing I've learned since being on PW's website: making homemade pizza.

This pizza is seriously the easiest thing you've ever made. You can make it in advance, let it sit in the fridge, stick it in the freezer, whatever.

I haven't made the version that's in these photos for a while, but no matter - it's super versatile.

We almost always make this pizza with:
  • fresh mozzarella
  • feta cheese
  • fresh garlic
  • baby portabello mushrooms
  • proscuitto
  • fresh spinach

..but it's super versatile. My suggestion is to keep 'wet' ingredients to a minimum: tomatoes, onions, peppers, etc. Since it's such a thin crust it can get soggy. Carrie suggested caramelized onions one night we made this and it was awesome.

I'm actualy more of a thick crust pizza girl but this pizza is seriously deee-lish. It's basically PW's pizza recipe, I just like to use a mix of whole wheat as well as AP flour.

If you have time, roasted eggplant is really yummy. Just slice into 1/4" slices, drizzle w/ some olive oil and roast at 425 degrees for about 25 minutes until they're nice and caramelized.

That's only if you have time. If you don't, just go w/ some easy ingredients you have laying around. Sorry I haven't taken photos of the dough making process, it's just so easy. Plus, PW has step-by-step instructions too.
Bake at 500 degrees for about 20 minutes.
Doesn't that look good?
It's about to get better..wait for it..
Basil makes everything better.

Pair it w/ a good salad to make yourself feel better about eating the whole thing.
Pizza. Side salad.
Here's a proscuitto, garlic, feta and spinach.
And pepper.
The proscuitto is awesome. Gets nice and crispy like bacon.

You can see the little bits of fresh garlic. It gets super fragrant and crunchy.
And the feta adds so much flavor.

I think I may have drooled on my keyboard a little there.

I hope you make this soon. Then don't blame me for putting it into your repertoire. It's been in heavy rotation at my house since PW posted it in February.

Pizza Dough

makes 2 balls of dough, each enough to fit a half sheet pan

adapted from The Pioneer Woman's favorite pizza dough

2 c. AP flour
2 c. whole wheat flour
1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
1.5 c. extra warm water (about 110 degrees or so)
1.5 tsp. dry active yeast (can use 1 tsp. if using all AP flour)
1 tbsp. cornmeal for sprinkling on bottom

Dissolve yeast in water and set aside. In a stand mixer, mix flours and salt. While the mixer is going on low speed, drizzle in olive oil. Then stir water/yeast mixture and pour into mixer on low speed. After all is poured, continue to mix for a few minutes. If the dough looks too wet, sprinkle in 1 tbsp. of flour at a time.

Note: PW suggests using the paddle but I find using the dough hook works fine too, just requires a little more flour. Keep some on the side and sprinkle in 1 tbsp. at a time until the dough comes together in a ball.

If your making for the week: divide the dough in half and drizzle with about 1 tbsp. olive oil, rub to coat. Place in separate containers (I use clean 32 oz. containers that my cottage cheese or sour cream came in from Costco). I usually just put the top on, put it in the fridge and wait at least one day for it to rise slowly as PW suggests.

If you're making day-of: just leave it on the counter or some warm, non drafty place to rise for at least an hour.

If you want to use one and store the other for later, just wrap tightly w/ plastic wrap and place in the freezer until the day-of. Take it out in the a.m. and put on the counter at least 6 hrs. before baking.

When you're ready to bake, preheat oven to 500 degrees. Flatten out the dough onto a half sheet pan (don't use non-stick pan, the oven temp is too hot so that coating would burn right off). Flattened dough should be about 1/4" thick. Instead of more olive oil, sprinkle cornmeal liberally on the bottom of the dough for easy removal and added texture.


1 1/4 c. fresh mozzerella
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp. crumbled feta cheese
4-5 thin slices proscuitto
3/4 c. sliced baby bella mushrooms
2 c. fresh baby spinach
1 tbsp. olive oil
fresh basil for garnish

Add toppings (I like to put toppings on in this order from the mozzarella to spinach. Bake at 500 degrees for about 20 minutes until cheese is golden and bubbly. Garnish w/ red pepper flakes.