Monday, April 25, 2011
Happy Easter to everyone, I hope your day was as lovely as mine! I had a wonderful time being home with my family and enjoying time with my niece and nephews (Erik and Me are above!) It's good to be back on the blog too. Things have been so busy lately with school and life, it was hard to find time, but I'm back and I've got some delicious things to share :)
Trav and I headed up to my parents house for the weekend to enjoy Easter with my family. We went into Boston on Saturday to go to Mike's Pastry in the North End. A few lobster tails and a bunch of cannolis were just what we needed to bring a little cheer to the rainy day. I must say, lobster tails are starting to win me over. The crunchy flaky crust is such a good match for the fluffy cream inside. I always thought cannoli were my favorite, but I think I've been converted to a Lobster Tail Lovah. If you have never had one, you should probably order them off Mike's website.
Anywho, onto the good stuff: Easter brunch! After giving up meat for lent, I could not wait to eat some bacon on Easter morning. It was liberating and scrumptious. My Mom and Dad went all out and cooked a huge feast, with a lot of help of course from the family! My Dad was most excited about his Pizzagaina, a traditional Easter Ham Pie filled with tons of italian meats, cheeses, and eggs. He used his mother's recipe from when he was a kid, so it brought back some good memories. My brother and nephew helped him make it and they did such a great job. It was the first time I got to have pizzagaina, so I was really excited about it. Doesn't that picture just make you wanna take a huge bite hehe!
My Mom did some fantastic baking with the help of Erika. The monkey bread was my favorite - ooey gooey buttery cinnamon-y pastry bread! YUM! It didn't last very long at the table, I think everyone loved it. She also made an amazing chocolate bread pudding that she got from Paula Deen. It was SO chocolate-y, it tasted like very moist chocolate cake. Carol made a really delicious french toast casserole as well. It had apple slices on top with a sweet cream cheese frosting. Everything was just amazing. Of course we had bacon, eggs, sausage, ham, bagels, etc. Lance made his fancy fruit salad (we did have some healthy menu items!). And last but not least, we had mimosas! No brunch is complete without one!
I hope everyone had a great Easter and ate some yummy food. I will be posting these recipes soon so be on the lookout :)
Sunday, January 9, 2011
We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, it gets you going and wakes you up! That being said, I am not much of a morning person so most of the time my main motivation for getting out of bed is what I am going to eat for breakfast. A runny egg and cheese on toast? Greek yogurt and honey? Pancakes? Oatmeal? Oh the possibilities. Being as busy as I am, it is sometimes a challenge to eat before I leave the house. Sure it's easy to go to DD and grab a bagel or a donut, but I like to start my day off on a healthy note to give me plenty of energy. This one day I was running a little late, I decided to try a place on campus, the cereal bowl. I had always been a bit curious about it and thought it would offer some smart healthy, yet delicious, breakfast choices. Turns out, I was correct. I quickly looked over the menu and noticed some seasonal specials, one being a Blueberry Muffin Oatie, a mixture of frozen yogurt, milk, blueberries, oats, and maple syrup. After my first sip, I was hooked. I went back many many times for this oatie. Then it occured to me I could probably save a few bucks by making my own, so I created my own version of this delicious creamy way to start your day!
Blueberry Muffin Smoothie:
1 1/2 c fat-free vanilla bean frozen yogurt (i use the turkey hill kind)
2/3 c skim milk
1/3 c fresh blueberries (or more, depending on how you want it)
1/3 cup old fashioned oats
1 packet french vanilla carnation instant breakfast
1 tblsp maple syrup
Throw it all in the blender and blend until smooth and creamy! Depending on what consistency you like your smoothies, you can add more or less milk. I added the instant breakfast to include some more protein and add some more creamy vanilla flavor. If you feel you don't want the extra protein, feel free to leave it out, either way it is going to be delicious! You can also experiment with many more flavors of this smoothie. Turkey hill makes a honey granola frozen yogurt as well and you can add any fruit you wish, get creative :)
Saturday, January 8, 2011
It's no secret that my favorite dish is eggplant parm. The thought of it makes my mouth water. It is also a dish that I usually only make when I have to cook for more than just a few people, since you get quite a bit out of just one eggplant. It's also no secret that watching The Jersey Shore is one of my guilty pleasures. I just can't help it. With that being said, Jody and I have been anxiously awaiting the premiere of season 3 and decided to have a little dinner party in honor of it. So I invited a few friends over and made two large dishes of eggplant parm and it was a pretty big hit :) I also picked up some mini cannoli shells and made chocolate chip cannoli for dessert. We had quite the situation on hand.
Now I do believe that the best way to enjoy eggplant parm is to bread it and fry it. It may not exactly be the healthiest, but it's all about moderation anyways. So I hand breaded my eggplant and pan fried it in olive oil. I made a small batch of sauce and completed the parmigiana with a mixture of mozzarella, parmesan, fontina, and asiago cheeses. Crispy eggplant, tangy sauce, and gooey cheese....is there a more perfect combination of ingredients? I didn't think so. I don't measure much with this recipe, so I sort of guesstimated the amounts of seasonings. I think it's really all up to you, if you want more garlic, less garlic, more pepper, etc. Don't be afraid to forget about your measuring spoons!
1 large eggplant, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cups bread crumbs
fresh cracked pepper
1/2 c milk
Mix bread crumbs with seasonings and beat eggs with milk (in two separate containers). I like to use two large tupperware containers and bread all my eggplant before I start frying, otherwise your kitchen may end up a huge mess. Next, heat a saute pan (medium to medium high) with olive oil and place eggplant in hot pan. Flip over when browned (about 2-3 minutes per side). While your first batch of eggplant is cooking, place a layer of sauce in casserole pan. Once the eggplant is done, place a layer on top of the sauce. Follow with another layer of sauce and then the cheese. Repeat until you have no more eggplant. Depending on the size of the eggplant, you will probably end up with 2-3 layers.
Quick and easy sauce:
1 large can of tomato sauce
1 medium can of diced tomatoes (I like the Del Monte diced with oregano, basil, and garlic)
1 small can of tomato paste
2 tbl sp chopped garlic
2 tbl sp parmesan cheese (grated)
1 tbl sp sugar
good red wine ( to taste, I usually go with 1/3 cup)
Start with some olive oil and add the garlic, sauce, tomatoes and paste. Then add sugar, wine, and cheese. The longer you simmer the better!
Simple Cannoli filling:
1 small container of whole milk ricotta (or a large one, depending on how much you want to make)
1/2 to 1 cup of Powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Drain ricotta in a cheese cloth for about an hour or longer, depending on how dry you want it. Mix all ingredients together until sugar is dissolved. I usually start off with 1/2 cup of sugar and taste as I go to make sure I don't make it too sweet, which usually ends up at about 1 cup of sugar. Fill shells with a pastry bag, or if you don't have a pastry bag, you can put the filling in a zip loc bag and cut one of the corners to act as a pastry bag, it works just the same!
Lastly, ENJOY :)
Saturday, January 1, 2011
A very Happy New Year to everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful NYE and have a happy healthy 2011 :) After a nice low key night at the lovely home of Sandra & Mike, we woke up and started off 2011 with a delicious breakfast. With the end of the Holiday season pretty much here, it is safe to say that Egg Nog won't be in stores much longer. As a fat kid, I was obsessed with Egg Nog. I would drink it non stop, hence, fat kid-ness. Nowadays, you really just need a few sips, otherwise you'll start to feel like you drank a gallon of heavy cream and have no desire to ever drink Egg Nog again. As Trav and I shopped for some groceries, I thought mmm egg nog dipped french toast. Thus, our first meal of 2011 was born. I saw a loaf of apple fritter bread, which not only smelled amazing, but seemed thick and dense enough to stand up to french toast batter. So we picked that up along with some egg nog and cinnamon. The bread lived up to my expectations and was really thick and moist. It soaked up the batter perfectly to create a sweet bite into 2011.
10-12 slices bread (we used apple fritter)
1/2 cup egg nog
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp sugar
Beat the eggs with the eggnog and milk. Add vanilla, cinnamon, and sugar. Mix it well until it is a nice creamy blend and smells of cinnamon-y egg nog. You can add more cinnamon, more egg nog, all depending on how you want it to taste. Once the slices have soaked in the batter on both sides, place on a hot griddle and flip when browned. Once there is a nice brown crust on the outside of the bread, it is done. You want the outside to be a bit crusty while the inside is still moist and gooey. We used the Vermont Maple Syrup from Williams-Sonoma with cinnamon stick in it. It was very very good syrup, and the hint of cinnamon was perfect for this french toast.
I hope you and yours started off 2011 with an equally delicious meal :)
So I am sure many of you are familiar with the show Man Vs. Food. Perhaps you even saw the episode when he was in Philly and went to the Reading Terminal Market for a roasted pork sandwich from Di Nic's. If you did then I hope you were also drooling at your television over this delicious looking piece of work.
Di Nic's is known for its pork and roast beef. You can get sharp provolone, roasted, peppers, spinach, or broccoli rabe as a topping on your sandwich. They also have hot peppers and horseradish sauce sitting on the counter as an option. Travis, Meghan and I all chose the roasted pork. I opted for sharp provolone and broccoli rabe as my topping. After waiting in line for at least a half hour, we were lucky enough to snag some seats at their counter top. This line was INSANE, it wrapped around the whole corner and was down near the fish market. After the first bite of my sandwich, I knew why the line was so long. And let me tell you, it is well worth the wait.
The outside of the bread is crusty enough that it stands up to the over flowing juice of the meat. The meat was unbelievably juicy. There was juice dripping off my sandwich after every bite. Just look at the juice in the picture. If your mouth isn't watering, then you must be a vegetarian. The provolone provides a smooth creamy contrast to the juicy pork while the broccoli rabe is a nice bitter bite. All of the elements came together so nicely, this sandwich was without doubt the best pork I have ever eaten. It was very large too, I took the 2nd half home because I just could not finish it. I did not want to ruin something so delicious by filling myself to the point where I was uncomfortable. This sandwich is all about savory enjoyment. I got a glimpse of their pulled pork and roast beef sandwiches as well, so the next time we go I think I may try the pulled pork. Be sure to pay the Reading Terminal Market a visit if you are ever in Philly. Beyond this sandwich, they have any type of food you could ever imagine and a bunch of local vendors that sell their homemade goods and make them all right in front of you. It was a great place!
So after a not so awesome 10 hour ride from Boston, I was very glad to be back in Delaware. Marisa and I could not believe the traffic, it was horrid. We did, however, enjoy playing the windshield wiper game (we made this up on one of our journey's home last year). Once a car was close enough behind us, we clean our windshield and since the fluid gets on the car behind us, they have to clean theirs too. We don't know why, but it is SO funny. Or at least, it keeps us entertained as we trudge up 95. Ah the simple things in life.
It was great to be back, and even more great to spend lots of time with Trav. So Wednesday we saw Little Fockers (which was really funny, so go see it) and then I cooked a delicious dinner. Perfect day. Since I am obsessed With Williams Sonoma, Travis was thoughtful enough to pick me up a few things for Christmas. One being the most delicious extra virgin olive oil I have ever tasted, and another was a package of pasta from Italy. And also the 12 days of Christmas mugs I had wanted. Isn't he just great? So anyways, back to our dinner. We went and got some fresh broccoli, pancetta, and pignoli nuts. This was a super simple recipe, but it is one that we really love and is great for when you don't want to cook an elaborate meal.
2 crowns fresh broccoli
1/4 cup pignoli nuts
8 slices (thin) pancetta
1 lb pasta (you can use any kind, penne or farfalle are probably best)
2 tbl sp fresh chopped garlic
fresh cracked pepper
extra virgin olive oil
Cut pancetta into small pieces and bring to a crisp in a saute pan. Remove the crisped pancetta and set aside. Then cut the stems off the broccoli crowns and cut into pieces and add garlic and olive oil to saute pan with pancetta grease. In the meantime, boil the pasta and toast the pine nuts until brown in a toaster oven or regular oven. Be sure to watch the pine nuts, they burn easily. Drain the pasta then add broccoli, pancetta, and pine nuts. Add a bit more olive oil and fresh cracked pepper to taste. I also added grated parmesan cheese to mine as well.
Simple & Delicious. The way food should be :)
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
I hope everyone had a wonderful Holiday with
their friends and family, I know I did. I went home to Massachusetts for a little over a week and got to spend some quality time with the fam and caught up with some dear old friends. And, of course, I ate copious amounts of food (and desperately need to get my butt to the gym). But before I start eating lettuce and yogurt and running 5 miles a day, let's recount the delicious morsels I consumed over the past week. I am
sad to say, I did not photograph a lot of it, but the ones I did take were some of my favs so I hope you all enjoy!
Christmas Eve began with a lovely trip into the Boston Opera House to see The Nutcracker with my parents, Gram, Jules, Lance, Abby & Noah. The Opera House is SO beautiful, the architecture and decor are definitely something to rave about. The Nutcracker was a great show as well. Anywho, after the show we all headed down to my sisters for dinner. It began with some appetizers, including bacon wrapped scallops. I am not a huge seafood fan (I know, doesn't make much sense being from New England), but I will eat a bacon wrapped scallop. You could wrap anything in bacon and it would be good, lets be serious. Next came the main course which included a homemade chicken alfredo, which my sister let us all know was HERS! It was very good, a nice thick creamy cheesy coating for the noodles and chicken. Lance also made a crock pot beef stew, which had been cooking all day so the meat just fell apart and the flavors were very well melded together from hanging out in the pot all day. It was yummy.
Christmas day we were at my uncles and had a traditional Turkey dinner, which I did not manage to get any pics of since I was busy stuffing my face. But, it was good, my mom made some delicious sweet potatoes. Later that night we headed up to Maine to my brother's house. We cooked up a bunch of Italian food for the weekend,
since the Pats were playing Sunday and Jules/Lance & the kids were coming up as well. I was in charge of calzone, Tommy & Erika made the sauce/meatballs and my Dad & Tommy did the Lasagna. Everything was molto bene! I made 4 calzones, all with wheat dough. 3 were the regular Italian filling with provolone, pepperoni, salami, prosciutto, capicola, ham, and mozzarella. Then topped with a mixture of sweet and hot peppers. (The same calzone recipe from the previous post). The last one was a turkey meatball and cheese with some homemade sauce. They were all delicious! I wish I had taken more pictures of all the food, but Holidays are about family and that's what I was busy with. Best wishes to you and yours :)