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Monthly Archives: August 2011

Stuffed French Toast Sliders

These stuffed french toast sliders are incredibly delicious and very simple to make.  They are such a great serving size for a brunch; it would be a very easy recipe to multiple and make for a crowd.  You could do this with any type of fruit you want as the stuffing.  This was on the menu for a recent birthday brunch and it will probably be on the menu of every brunch I host in the future!

Slider rolls(1-2 per guests)

1 block cream cheese

about 2 TBS sugar

2 cups fresh strawberries, chopped in small bite size pieces

2 eggs

2 TBS milk

1 tsp almond extract

Using a long serrated knife to cut a pocket into each roll (it will look like it has a little mouth dying to be filled with sweet and scrumptious cream cheese and strawberries!).  Place cream cheese in a bowl and let it come to room temperature.  Mix sugar and cream cheese with an electric mixer until it’s whipped and fluffy and perfectly sweet.  Stir in the fresh strawberries until well incorporated.  Fill each roll with about 1 or 2 TBS of the filling.  In a large bowl or dish whisk the eggs and milk together until it’s bubbly and frothy.  Add in the almond extract and whisk again until it’s mixed.  Dip each roll into the batter and coat completely.  Heat the griddle to high (and grease or butter if yours isn’t nonstick).  Place each roll on the griddle.  The filling will ooze a bit, but it will harden a bit and stick to the roll.  Make sure you flip the rolls and get each side nice and browned.  Depending on the type of roll you have, flip it to each side (not just the top and bottom).  Serve with regular syrup or for a special treat with strawberry syrup!

They turned out really well, but I think the next time I make it I think I’ll brown them and then put them in a baking dish and bake them for 10 or 15 minutes to make sure that the filling and middle gets nice and cooked and warmed.

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Watermelon Feta Bites

I saw this on www.foodgawker.com (it’s seriously so inspiring to look at!!) and had to try it!  It was really easy to do, and looked so elegant.  It was on the menu for a birthday brunch that I threw for myself last weekend haha.  The picture and recipe I saw had a balsamic reduction that I’m sure would be a fantastic addition.  But, we didn’t have any balsamic vinegar when I made these, so we just left that off.  Next time I do them, I will definitely include that though!

1 watermelon

1 block Feta cheese

Fresh basil

Balsamic vinegar reduction

Slice watermelon in 1 1/2 inch slices.  Use a small biscuit cutter to cut out circles from the melon.  Repeat for as many as you are making.  The block of Feta I had was about 1/2 inch thick.  Use the same size biscuit cutter to cut circles out of the cheese.  Use a very sharp knife and very carefully cut each circle in half.  The Feta is very potent, so you want a much higher ratio of watermelon to the cheese.  Make the balsamic reduction by placing vinegar in a sauce pan over low heat and let it reduce.  It will become thick and sticky.  Place the watermelon on a platter or plate and top with the Feta and then a drizzle of the balsamic reduction.  Place a fresh piece of basil on each bite.

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Birthday Brunch!

I really love brunch!  So what better reason to have a brunch than to celebrate my birthday with my family 2 weekends ago!

I think to have a great brunch you need something breakfasty, something savory, something light and fresh and something sweet.  The best way to do this is to have small serving sizes of each, so you get a nice variety of flavors but aren’t guaranteed to feel disgusting at the end of the meal!

On the menu for this brunch was mini scrambled egg muffins, strawberry stuffed french toast “sliders”, watermelon and feta bites, bacon, almond pound cake  and chocolate cups with raspberry chocolate mousse with orange juice and tea.    Everything turned out very well, and were all pretty simple to get ready for a group.

 

My sister set a lovely table with her beautiful china and good silverware.  It doesn’t always have to be an over the top special occasion to use the good stuff!

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Stuffed Banana Peppers

Apparently this summer is all about stuffing peppers for me!  I saw locally grown, beautiful, and fresh banana peppers at the farmers market recently and I had to have them.  And stuff them haha.  They varied in color which directly resulted in slightly different heat in each of them (I read somewhere that the deeper or oranger/ redder they are the more mild they taste).  They were all delicious!  I had been talking to my co worker about stuffed banana peppers, and knew the basic jist of what went in them, but didn’t do my usual research to find things I liked about 5 recipes and then come up with my own spin.  So, I just went for it.  While I was stuffing the browned sausage into them I realized people probably make a meat ball (or tube would be more relevant, I guess) and cook the meat in the oven.  I didn’t do that and it crumbled like crazy all over the peppers.  But, I must tell you, I think I enjoyed the extra texture that the crumbly browned sausage gave over the regular baked only filling.  And it really wasn’t difficult to stuff them even if it was a little crumblier.

6-8 Fresh whole banana peppers, cut n half length wise and seeded

1 package ground hot sausage

1/4 cup or so of Panko breadcrumbs

1/2 cup cheddar cheese

1/2 medium white onion, chopped

A few shakes of Worcestershire Sauce

a pinch of salt (I used Tastefully Simple’s seasoning salt)

I also used a sprinkle of Garlic! Garlic! from Tastefully Simple

 

Pre heat the oven to 350.

Saute the onion in some butter over medium heat.  While they are getting beautifully transparent and making your kitchen smell amazing, slice the peppers in half long ways and get all of the seeds out.

Place the peppers on a baking sheet and drizzle with just a tad of extra virgin olive oil.  If you are browning the meat first, like I did, bake the peppers for just the amount of time it takes you to brown the sausage.  If you are doing a meat tube (that phrase is cracking me up!) and baking it all together, you could skip this step.  You don’t want the peppers to be an overcooked mushy mess.

Once the onions are nice and sauteed, add the hot sausage to the pan.  You may need to add a slight amount of butter or oil here.  Break up the meat with your spoon as it cooks.  Once the sausage is browned, add a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce, the spices (seasoning salt and Garlic! Garlic! in my case), the bread crumbs and the cheese.  Once you have that combined, take the peppers out of the oven and spoon into the pepper boats.  Spoon it in as best you can and just know that it will be delicious!  Sprinkle a little more cheese over the top and place the pan in the oven for 15-20 minutes (until the cheese is nice and melted and everything feels nice and warm).

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Veggie Sushi with Shrimp

I saw a great picture and recipe for a vegan veggie sushi roll with cashew paste.  It was so pretty and I wanted to put a spin on it.  The cashew paste did not appeal to me at all, so instead of that to seal the wrap I used cream cheese with shrimp and wasabi.  They turned out pretty tasty!

1 zucchini, sliced very thin

2 carrots, chopped in about 2 inch match stick width

1 bell pepper, chopped in about 2 inch thin strips

1/2 block of cream cheese

4-5 squeezed of wasabi (do this according to your taste, taste after each squeeze)

1/4 cup chopped cooked shrimp

Place the cream cheese in a bowl and let it come to room temperature.  While that is happening, slice and chop the vegetables.  Squeeze the wasabi into the cream cheese and continue to mix until you get it to your taste.  Add the shrimp and mix until it’s incorporated.  Add about 1/2 – 1 tsp of the cream cheese mixture to each slice of cucumber and place the carrots and peppers on top.  Roll the zucchini as tightly as possible.  The cream cheese mixture will help it stay sealed.  Serve with soy sauce.

1 cucumber will make about 15 rolls.  Oh and I ended up not using the radish that was in the pic, I didn’t like how it tasted with everything else.

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Tilapia with Pineapple and Mango “Salsa”

Over the summer, I have heard from a few different sources about making a fruit salsa and how delicious it is over fish.  I thought it sounded fresh and light and perfect.  So, here is my version adapted based on what I like and what I had.  I used tilapia this time, but think it would be better with a more substantial fish, maybe mahi mahi?!  I think it would also be great with grilled chicken!

Tilapia (again, base this on how many people you are serving)

Lemon Ginger Sesame Dressing and Marinade

1/2 fresh pineapple, chopped pretty finely

1 mango, chopped

1/2 yellow pepper (in the future I would use red to give it more color, but I was using the other half for something else)

1/4 red onion, minced very small

1/4 jalapeno, minced very small

1 lime

Splash of orange juice (I’d say about 1/4 cup)

I marinated the fish for a bit with a ginger and lemon dressing that I found and then baked it in foil packets at 350 for about 20 minutes.  The fish is done when it’s slightly opaque and is flaky.

While the fish is cooking, chop the pineapple, mango and pepper in small pieces.  You want to make them small enough so you can get a mouthful of all of the great flavors at once.  For the onion and jalapeno, I minced them very small.  I wanted the heat that they offer, but someone getting a huge chunk of jalapeno would not be enjoyable!  Mix all the items in a pour and juice 1 lime over the top and add the orange juice.  You want enough moisture to help the fruits become nice and juicy, but you don’t want it super wet.  Add the fresh chopped cilantro and give it all a toss.  The measurements that I used gave me about 2 cups.

Very easy.  Very fresh and summery.  Very tasty!!

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Brownies with Peanut Butter

This attempt at brownies with a peanut butter swirl didn’t turn out quite as planned, but they were pretty tasty.  The peanut butter swirl was much thicker than intended, so it was almost like brownies with peanut butter cookie globs mixed in.  If I try these in the future, I may try an egg into the peanut butter to give it a more cookie like consistency.

Brownie batter

1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Peanut Butter “Swirl”

1 cup creamy peanut butter

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 TBSP butter

1 tsp vanilla

Heat the oven to 350 and spray an 8 x 8 pan with cooking spray.

Bring water to a gentle simmer in a double boiler.  Chop the chocolate into small pieces and place in a double boiler with the butter.  Melt the chocolate slowly over a simmer.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the sugar, egg, vanilla and salt until well combined.  Whisk in the flour until just combined.  Add in the chocolate chips and give another gentle stir.  Pout the batter into the baking dish.

With an electric mixer, mix together the peanut butter, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla.  It will be pretty thick.  Drop dollops of this mixture onto the top of the brownies.

Bake for about 35-40 minutes until a knife comes out clean.

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