Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pumpkin-Pecan Bread Pudding

Today I am guest posting over at A Healthy Jalapeno! I am totally excited that Laura has agreed the share her blog with me for the day! If you've never been to Laura's blog, I suggest you pay her a visit (right now!) to see all of her lovely recipes and photos. She has some great seasonal dishes like her Pork and Apple Kebobs with Caramel-Walnut Sauce and Pumpkin Pie Popsicles that I'm dying to try! Not to mention she strives to cook with wholesome ingredients just like me! So you know you are not only getting a delicious meal, you're getting a healthy one too!

This cozy recipe for Pumpkin Pecan Bread Pudding is just what I need to warm me up on this wet and cold dreary day! And there is supposed to be snow tonight! SNOW!...really?? I'm not ready for you! I'd just like to hold onto fall a little longer!

So head over to A Healthy Jalapeno for this yummy recipe! :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Roasted Cauliflower and Asiago Soup

 I don't know about you but I always prefer a creamy soup! There's just something more to a chowder than there is to chicken noodle. And I have to say, I have NEVER been a fan of chicken noodle! ugh! I just can't handle the soggy noodles and vegetables. no thank you! 

Anywho...I love cauliflower because even though its pretty simple on its own, it's so versatile. And by pureeing it, you can hide it many dishes and use it as a substitute for heavy cream or milk. I have a great mac and cheese recipe that calls for a whole head of it and you would never know! This recipe has no milk or cream, you can add some if you so choose, but the great thing is you don't have to!

Roasted Cauliflower and Asiago Soup
recipe by Sabrina W. for eat.drink.and be merry.
serves 6 to 8
1 large head of cauliflower, stem and leaves removed and cut into little florets
1 medium onion, cut into 8 wedges
4 garlic cloves, kept in their skins
3 to 4 cups chicken stock (depending on how much cauliflower you have)
1 1/4 cup shredded asiago cheese
olive oil
1 tablespoon dried thyme
salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Arrange cauliflower, onions, and garlic cloves on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and thyme.

Roast for 40-45 minutes, or until fork tender.

Remove the garlic cloves and set aside. Transfer roasted veggies with all their juices to a large pot. Carefully peel the garlic cloves and slide out roasted garlic into the pot. Add the chicken broth and puree with a hand blender until it reaches your desired consistency. 

Bring pot to a simmer on the stove and simmer for 10 minutes.  Add in 1 cup of the asiago cheese and stir. Save the rest to top the soup off.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Strawberry Stuffed French Toast

 It's really funny how this post came to be. One Friday night, I had planned to make tomato and fontina paninis to go along with leftover soup. Well to my dismay, I found that the ciabatta bread I bought just a   few days earlier was spotted with mold! :( It had been pretty warm and humid that week so those rolls stood no chance being left out on my counter! 

So unfortunately, we were left with only soup and a trip to the grocery store was planned for the next morning.  Well that of course failed to fill up my husband. As he finished his soup he looked up at me and asked "what's next?" I laughed and said "that was it hunny." And then out of no where he came up with       "can you make me french toast?" Figuring when all else fails breakfast for dinner must be doable. Well to    my surprise, we not only had the staples to make french toast, but we had the staples to make THIS french toast!!! 

My Avo made me some Portuguese Sweet Bread a week ago, that was half gone and pretty stale at this point. But it was kept in my fridge and mold-free! Perfect for french toast!! Actually MORE than perfect for french toast! I didn't think sweet bread could get much better, but soak it in cream, cinnamon, and sugar and fry it up-and yes we have reached a whole new level of deliciousness! and I haven't even gotten to the strawberry and cream cheese filling yet!

Needless to say, this was so super we ate it again for breakfast on Saturday, and on Sunday. :)

Strawberry Stuffed French Toast
recipe by Sabrina W. for eat.drink.and be merry.
serves 4
8 slices of Portuguese Sweet Bread (or another thick bread like Challah) 
8 oz cream cheese (softened)
1 cup frozen strawberries (thawed) - you can use strawberry jam or fresh strawberries instead
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup cream or milk
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter
powdered sugar and maple syrup for serving

In a shallow dish beat together with a fork the eggs, cream, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon.

In a small bowl, mix together the strawberries with the cream cheese and set aside.

Heat the butter in a skillet over med to med-hi heat. 

Dredge the bread slices, one at a time in the cream and egg mixture and place in the skillet.  Cook each side until lightly golden and crisp. Transfer to a dish. Assemble the stuffed french toast by spreading the strawberry cream cheese mixture over one slice and topping it with another slice. Dust with powdered sugar and drizzle with maple syrup. Serve immediately!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Artichoke and Swiss Cheese Spread

As you know, for our 2 year anniversary, Eric and I celebrated with a picnic overlooking the Concord     River in Concord, MA.

It was picture perfect! I'm really glad we decided to pack a lunch instead of eating out. It was a pretty hard decision. Concord has so many cute cafes and restaurants! But since it was a Monday, there was really no one but us at the North Bridge and the weather was absolutely gorgeous, just like it was 2 years ago.

For our picnic I brought along this pasta salad, fresh fruit, Salted Caramel, Apple and Cheese Danishes, and Chicken Sandwiches with Spinach and this artichoke spread. 

Artichoke and Swiss Cheese Spread
recipe by Sabrina W. for eat.drink.and be merry.
makes 2 cups
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup shredded swiss cheese
1 14 oz jar of marinated artichokes, drained, and finely chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Mix all ingredients together and microwave for 30 seconds or until cheese melts together. Refrigerate to use as a spread. You can also serve this as a dip either hot or cold.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Heirloom Tomato-Ricotta Tart

 A couple weeks ago, Eric and I celebrated our 2 year anniversary! It's amazing how fast time flies! We decided to visit one of our favorite places - Concord, MA. So we packed up a picnic lunch and ate by the historic North Bridge overlooking the Concord River. We then grabbed lattes and took a stroll down the main streets browsing through the little shops.

 On the way home we stopped at Verrill Farm. I always stop here when I'm in the area! They have the largest selection of heirloom tomatoes I've ever seen. They are absolutely gorgeous! I usually take them home and make a simple bruschetta, but this time I decided to try something different. 

This tomato tart came out fabulous! I was so excited about it! 

Heirloom Tomato-Ricotta Tart
recipe by Sabrina W. for eat.drink.and be merry.
makes 9 squares/slices
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed 
a variety of heirloom tomatoes, sliced thick ( I used 1 green zebra, 1 black prince, and 2 smaller red zebras)
1 clove garlic, grated
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
1 teaspoon Italian Seasonings
olive oil
sea salt
balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out puff pastry to about 14 x 10 inches, so it fits into a 13 x 9.5 inch sheet pan (or similar) and its able to come up on the sides.

Line pan in foil and butter. Roll out the puff pastry and poke holes in the bottom only with a fork. Brush lightly with olive oil.

In a small bowl, mix together ricotta cheese, goat cheese, grated garlic, salt, pepper, and seasonings. Spread evenly over puffed pastry. 

Arrange sliced tomatoes over cheese layer. Drizzle with olive oil and a little balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle a little Italian Seasonings over tomatoes and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Let cool before transferring the tart and cutting slices. I didn't have any fresh basil, but if I did I would have sprinkled some on! 


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