The oven was hot, the breads were baking.

The first real weekend that felt like fall in Louisiana, I got a little baking happy. Hello fall and winter, let the yeast rise, the oven stay on all day and make me all the breads!  Honestly I super miss making my bread of the week and am trying to get back into the habit of having all “in house bread” baked fresh by me.  Stocking up in this venture I went for the grand-daddy of breads…..the traditional french baguette. Plus the next day was jambalaya on the menu and I was going to need some bread to go along with that. It does mean a day of baking but in the end after 7 hours and 3 rises pass you get 3 delicious loaves of bread. Bon appetite my friends!

baguettes

 

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Blueberry-Lemon Mascarpone Crepe Cake — Crepe off continues……….

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I want to start off by saying this at one point was an utter disaster.  BUT it got saved.  As in a previous post by my sis, she let you in on that fact we are in the mists of a crepe off and this is round one.  One sis making a savory crepe the other sweet and then the switch.

My attempt at sweet crepes is in cake format.  I’ve been dying to try this lemony layered cake that I found in Martha Stewart some years ago.  As with all new recipes you learn what works and what doesn’t and this recipe diffidently had some issues that may or may not of gotten corrected in the test kitchen before going to print. (if brave try the recipe here.) 

Lets just say at one point lemon curd and crepes were all sliding off a cake stand.  All went into the trash as I talked to my mother who provided encouraging words including…”you know those photos they do a lot to them to make them look good”  and “are you making this for company? don’t worry about it”

Round 2 ( here’s the secret…combine all mascarpone, lemon curd and whip cream together) and I had a pretty good looking crepe that not only was eaten for dessert but breakfast too.

 

Roasted Pumpkin Seed Beer Bread

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Beer + Pumpkin + Bread ….. it just works

Here’s a little easy fall bread recipe for you…I recommend making some yummy ham and cheese melts or simple slicing this bread with some yummy gouda and apple slices.

RECIPE

1 Loaf

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cups bread flour

1 TBSP baking powder

Pinch of salt

12 oz pumpkin beer

1 egg

1/3 cup roasted pumpkin seeds

 

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.  Form a well in the middle of the flour mixture, crack egg in flour well.  Beat egg gradually adding in flour from sides, slowly pour in beer as you mix together flour, egg and beer.

Dough will be very sticky, sprinkle in 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, knead in seeds.

Shape dough into a loaf on either a coated baking stone or non-stick pan. Top loaf with remaining pumpkin seeds.  Bake at 375 for 50 minutes or until you hear a hollow sound when you knock on the bread.

 

Savory Goat Cheese Apricot Melt

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I’m sorry in my opinion goat cheese is nectar from the gods.  It is always available in my kitchen in a variety of formats.  Here’s the latest!  Taking grilled cheese to the next limit with this goat cheese, apricot and thyme spread. Served this delicious melt with some Acorn Squash Soup.  mmmmmmmhmmmmmm

Recipe

Makes 2 sandwiches

4 slices whole grain bread

3 TBSP butter

6 oz softened goat cheese

1/2 TBSP fresh thyme

2 TBSP chopped dried apricots

1 tsp cracked black pepper

1 1/2 tsp whole milk

 

In a bowl mix together goat cheese, apricots, thyme, black pepper and milk till a smooth paste forms. Divid paste in half, spread one portion of the mixture on one piece of bread, remaining on the second. Top bread & goat cheese paste with remaining slices of bread.

Heat butter in a skillet over med-med high heat.  Let 2/3 of the butter melt and coat the pan.  Ad in sandwiches.  Soak each of the sandwich sides with melted butter.  Toast sandwiches to preferred grilled preference ( some of you love to almost burn it.. I know you do)

Slice and enjoy melty savory sweetness.

 

Inspiration needed…..

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Life forces of late seem to be pushing me into what I’m calling “a Life Rewrite” Needing some tweaks, edits, revisions to get me back on the ultimate life journey.  To help me get some inspiration with this rewrite, I consulted my Instagram account…what do I like to document in my life and share with the world???  The answer turned out not to be to shocking……food and cats.

BUT that did inspire me to look at some foods I don’t spend a lot of time cooking or have wanted to cook more of.  So I raided the cookbook section of my local library.  Libraries have great cookbook collections.  Not sure if you want to try Indian cooking, check out a book, try a few recipes, like it…go buy the book, don’t…. just return it and try another. The only thing from stopping me from checking out almost the entire section….remembering I had to cary these books to my car and then up to my house.

What was I most attracted too?  Grilling and marinades (I’m ready to make my tiny charcoal weber my bitch), Thai cuisine (I have 3 whole ducks in my freezer that seem to be whispering “cook me with peppers and thai spices”) Cuban (stand by for me when I need to get out of a funk), and grilled cheese (I’m ready to have my mind BLOWN AWAY by melted goodness).

Lift your spatula..here’s to my rewrite and maybe just maybe one of these cookbooks changing my life.

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How to Make Crepes

Or as I like to call it, The Crepes of Wrath…but not really.

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This month my sister and I decided to do a crepe challenge. I picked a savory crepe recipe and she picked a sweet dessert crepe. My big plan was to use the crepe recipe from our high school French teacher (I pity students who don’t get to experience French class crepes). Alas, I lost the sticky note that I’d scribbled the recipe down on. Instead of asking my sister for the recipe yet again, I turned to The Kitchn’s How to Make Delicate, Lacy Crepes. My back-up plan turned out to be a great one. Here’s their recipe and it works!

Easy Crepe Recipe

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Makes about 8 8-in crêpes, recipe can be doubled as needed

Ingredients
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk
2 large eggs
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons of melted butter

Optional for sweet crepes:
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Neutral oil for cooking

Equipment
Measuring cups and spoons
Blender, or a bowl and whisk
Wire cooling rack
Ladle for pouring (optional)
10-inch nonstick pan or an 8-inch crêpe pan
Spatula

Instructions

  1. Make the batter: Place the flour, milk, eggs, salt, and melted butter (and optional sugar and vanilla) in a blender and blend for about 20 seconds until batter is smooth. Alternatively, whisk everything together in a bowl until thoroughly combined and frothy.
  2. Let the batter sit: Cover the bowl and let the batter sit for at least 1/2 hour on the counter or overnight in the refrigerator.
  3. Prepare to cook the crêpes: Before cooking the crêpes, assemble everything you’ll need by your stove top: the batter, the pan, the oil, the spatula. If your bowl doesn’t have a pour spout, have a ladle or 1/4-cup measuring cup handy.
  4. Cook the crêpes: Place the pan over medium heat and add a small amount of oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Let it sit on the flame for a minute to get hot. Pour in about 1/4 cup of batter. Immediately, pick up the pan and swirl it to coax the batter into an even layer on the bottom of the pan.
  5. Flip the crêpe: When the crêpe has browned slightly on the bottom, carefully work a spatula underneath it and flip. Cook the second side briefly, just to set the batter.
  6. Cool the crêpe: Tilt the pan and loosen the crêpe, then slide it onto the cooling rack.
  7. Continue making crêpes: 

Continue making crêpes with the rest of the batter, adding more oil as needed to keep the crêpes from sticking.

  1. Stack and store: If not eating the crêpes immediately, stack them one on top of the other as they cool. If they seem sticky, place a square of plastic wrap or parchment paper between them. Place the stack in a sealable plastic bag and store in the refrigerator for a few days or in the freezer for a few months.

Turning a Sweet Crepe into a Savory Blini

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Every once in a while Russian recipes catch my attention. When I stumbled on Chicken and Mushroom Blinis, I thought, now how do I make that vegetarian? Here’s how!

Vegetarian Blini Recipe

Ingredients for Garlic Tofu and Mushroom Blinis

  • One Block of Garlic Tofu
  • 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
  • 1 Cup of Sliced Mushrooms
  • 1 Sweet Chopped Onion
  • 1 Tablespoon of Dried Parsley
  • 1 Diced Garlic Clove
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1/2 cup of White Wine
  • 1 Tablespoon of Butter
  • Slices of Provolone Cheese

How To:

Drain and cut the tofu into bite sized pieces. Add the olive oil to a skillet and saute the tofu until it’s slightly brown and crispy on the edges. Remove the tofu from the pan. Melt butter in the same skillet. Saute onions until translucent then add the garlic, mushrooms, and parsley until mushrooms are sautéed. Finally add the tofu back into the pan along with the white wine, salt and pepper. Stir and cook for less than 5 minutes.

Depending on how your crepes turned out use add a 1/4 a cup or 1/2 a cup of filling to each crepe. Roll them up and place the blinis on the plate seam down so they don’t unroll. Lay a slice of provolone over the top of two rolled blinis. Pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds to melt the cheese.

The filling makes about six blinis and they are great as leftovers!

 

 

 

Tahini Roasted Chicken

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Just Say No To PB&J that was the title for this Instagram pic.  Why?  Because it was my lunch for the day.  Now don’t get me wrong PB&J has its place.  But I had to start making my own lunch when I was 9.  Which means over the years I’ve started getting really creative with always bringing my lunch. This lunch were some yummy leftovers from my Sunday Night Dinner:  Tahini Roasted Chicken topped with Hummus and Olives and Cucumber-Tomato-Feta Salad on the side. Yay I got excited about that meal.

Part of adult-ing is not only planning meals, but sticking to the plan and learning how to maximize leftovers.  Hello budget savviness becoming apart of my everyday.  Here’s the breakdown — a not so intricate system of rotating when and what leftovers you eat.  (I know I’m preaching to the choir but 3-4 times in a row of the same meal just becomes depressing.  Thus has entered my system. ) Sunday Night dinner becomes Monday lunch,  Monday Night dinner Tuesday lunch and Tuesday Night dinner are Sunday Leftovers.  See that pattern developing.   I’ve become almost so OCD with my system I rarely eat out any more.  I catch myself sometimes seeing a favorite restaurant and think “that sounds good I should do that for dinner!”  But then I remember my meal plan and I head home for what’s in the fridge.  Here’s to all us trying to save a dime and brown bagging that gourmet meal for lunch!

Hey it was really good so you should make it too!  Try my Tahini Roasted Chicken (also great on the grill but it was super hot outside so I wasn’t about to do that)

 

Tahini Roasted Chicken

Serves 4

4 chicken breasts

1/2 cup tahini sauce

1/4 cup white wine

1 TBSP greek seasoning

1 clove garlic minced

1 TBSP minced fresh basil

slat and pepper to taste

Hummus — your favorite. I used white bean basil for this

Green and Black Olives chopped

 

*mix tahini, white wine, greek seasoning, garlic, and basil together in a bowl to form a marinade.

*Wash chicken breasts and pat dry.  Lightly season with salt and pepper.  Add chicken breasts to marinade and allow to marinate for 4-8 hours.

*For roasting cook chicken breasts at 375 for 1 hour.

*For grilling cook chicken breasts till meat reaches 165 degrees.

*Serve chicken with a spoonful or 2 of your favorite hummus and a sprinkling of chopped olives