Sunday, May 14, 2017

Blackberry and Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast Bake

When the Smashed Blackberry & Goat Cheese Toasts recipe left me with leftover blackberries, blackberry sauce, and ciabatta bread I decided to try to work them into a second recipe. I already had four ounces of neufchatel cheese in my fridge, so a stuffed french toast seemed like a pretty way to incorporate the blackberries and blackberry sauce.

The original recipe serves eight and can be made in an 8x8 glass baking dish. I cut the recipe in half based on the ingredients I had to make four ramekins of French Toast Bake. You could also bake this in a loaf pan if you don't want to make individual portions.

I didn't add any extra sugar to this and thought it tasted best liberally drowned in maple syrup (okay, maybe I didn't use that much, but it needs more than is baked into the recipe). Overall, it was a nice way to use some of the leftovers from the other recipe and an easy breakfast for dinner recipe to put together.

Inspired by this post from Creative Culinary.

-All of the leftover sauce from this recipe
-1/2 loaf ciabatta bread, sliced and cubed
-4 ounces neufchatel, cubed
-1/2 cup blackberries
-4 large eggs
-1 cups milk
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-4 tablespoons maple syrup, and more to taste

Preheat oven to 350° and grease four 9 ounce ramekins. Evenly divide the cubed bread and nuefchatel cheese between the ramekins. In a bowl combine the eggs, milk, vanilla extract and maple syrup. Pour the egg mixture over the bread and then bake for 30 minutes covered, 10 uncovered.

Serve with the blackberry sauce, I needed to add a little water to thin mine. And additional maple syrup and garnish with the remaining fresh blackberries.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Smashed Blackberry & Goat Cheese Toasts

It's spring! I'm loving all of the beautiful light we've been having the opportunity to enjoy later and later into the evening, although these are perfect for a light weekend lunch as well. The recipe will make more smashed blackberry sauce than you need, save the extra sauce and the leftover ciabatta bread for a different recipe that I'll post by Sunday.

Dave and I are both not big on adding fresh mint to foods, but we ended up liking the hint of mint on the toasts.

Recipe from Wry Toast.

-1 1/2 cups blackberries
-1/2 cup blueberries
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
-3 tablespoons water
-1 – 2 teaspoons cornstarch, sifted
-8 oz ciabatta bread, sliced (or your bread of choice!)
-4 oz goat cheese
-fresh mint to garnish

In a medium-sized saucepan combine the blackberries, blueberries, vanilla, sugar, and water over a medium low flame. Once simmering and the fruit begins to burst (about 5 minutes) gently mash with a fork, then whisk in the cornstarch until well incorporated.

While the berry sauce is simmering, toast the ciabatta bread.

Once both the sauce and bread are ready, spread the ciabatta bread with a thick layer of goat cheese, then spoon over with the smashed blackberries. Garnish with fresh blackberries and mint.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Strawberry, Blue Cheese, and Almond Guacamole

If you're a guacamole purist look away, but I love mixing non-traditional ingredients into guacamole. This was our Cinco de Mayo meal paired with some mango margaritas. I wanted to make guacamole and found this idea while pursuing the Nuevo menu for what I would like to order later this week when I have dinner plans scheduled. Dave and I love their rotating menu of guacamole toppings and I thought this sounded relatively easy to put together.

3 avocados will make quite a bit of guacamole, don't be afraid to reduce the number to two. You'll need a little less of each of the other ingredients if you do this, but it's more of less to taste anyway.

A Vegetarian & Cooking original inspired by Nuevo Mod Mexican in Akron, Ohio.

-3 avocados
-8 strawberries, diced
-4 tablespoons blue cheese
-2 tablespoons almonds
-Lime juice and salt, to taste

In a large bowl mash up the 3 avocados and then add lime juice and salt to taste. Carefully mix in the diced strawberries, blue cheese, and almonds.

Top with additional sliced strawberries and blue cheese, serve with chips or veggies.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Vegetarian Spring Roll Bowls


We're finally all moved into our new place. On one of our first full nights there we made this recipe. Temperatures were starting to get warmer and I liked the simplicity of only cooking the tofu. You can serve this recipe hot or cold, but I enjoyed it best served cold.

Adapted and Inspired by Pinch of Yum.

Sweet Garlic Lime Sauce
-3 cloves garlic
-2 tablespoons rice vinegar
-1/4 cup honey
-1/4 cup soy sauce
-1/3 cup lime juice
-1/3 cup vegetable oil

12 ounces of udon noodles
-1 package of extra firm tofu, drained, pressed, and cut into cubes
-1/2 cup fresh basil
-1/2 cup fresh mint
-1/2 cup fresh parsley
-3 serrano peppers, sliced
-1/4 cup chopped peanuts
-2 avocados sliced
-3 carrots, shredded
-1 yellow bell pepper, diced
-1 red bell pepper, diced
-1/2 a cucumber, diced
-1 mango, diced

In a large bowl add the udon noodles and cover them with cold water, set aside until all of the other steps are complete -- by that time the noodles will be softened and ready to eat.  Mix together all of the ingredients for the sauce and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat a small amount of oil and then start browning the cubes of tofu. With all of the other ingredients, you'll only need to season the tofu with salt and pepper.

One all of the tofu has been browned, drain the water out of the bowl of udon noodles. Add the shredded carrots, bell peppers, cucumber, mango, and all three herbs to the bowl. Toss to combine everything and pour in the sweet garlic lime sauce.

Portion the noodle mixture into bowls and then top each with sliced serranos; chopped peanuts; avocado; and tofu. I added some black sesame seeds for a contrasting color, but they aren't needed if you don't have them on hand.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Homemade Ricotta Gnocchi with Asparagus Pesto

It's a very rainy day here in Ohio, but we're coming off of a week or two of summer-like weather which has been the perfect introduction into spring. Asparagus is one of the quintessential spring vegetables and seems to make its way into most spring recipes. For this recipe, asparagus is used in two different ways and although this was our first foray into making ricotta gnocchi, overall I think everything came together really nicely. 

Recipe from How Sweet Eats.*

Ricotta Gnocchi
-12 ounces ricotta cheese
-1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
-1 cup all-purpose flour
-1 large egg + 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1/4 teaspoon pepper

Asparagus Pesto + Serving
-1 pound asparagus spears, woody ends removed
-1/4 cup  toasted sliced almonds
-1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
-3 garlic cloves
-pinch of crushed red pepper
-1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
-shaved parmesan, for topping

* The original preparation involves squeezing excess moisture from the ricotta and weighing out a perfect eight ounce portion. Dave declared this to be messy and a waste of time, so it didn't happen for our recipes. All turned out fine. 

To Prepare the Ricotta Gnocchi: 

In a medium bowl stir together the ricotta that you've weighed out, 3/4 cup flour, cheese, eggs, salt and pepper until just combined. Add the remaining flour one tablespoon at a time until the dough has come together. Once the dough is ready, form a ball of gnocchi dough, then press it into a disk on a floured surface. Cut the disk into four equal pieces and then take each piece and roll it into a log about 16 to 18 inches long. Use a sharp knife to cut the rolls of dough into 1-inch pieces.

To Prepare the Asparagus and Pesto:

Cut the asparagus spears into thirds and bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes until still bright green, but now tender. Remove some of the pieces and set aside to toss with the gnocchi later.

Add the remaining asparagus, almonds, garlic, cheese and crushed red pepper to a food processor. Pulse the food processor until the mixture begins to come together, then stream in the 1/3 cup of olive oil in while the processor is running. Once you have used all of the olive oil and the pesto has reached the desired consistency, taste and season with salt and pepper if desired.

Cooking the Gnocchi:

To cook the gnocchi, bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and then add the gnocchi -- cook about 2 to 3 minutes, until it floats for about 30 seconds. Remove with a large slotted spoon. Once all of the gnocchi are ready, drain the water reserving about 1/2 cup of the pasta water.


In sauce pot that you used to cook the gnocchi add the pasta back in and the asparagus pieces. Toss the gnocchi and asparagus together with the pesto. Add the reserved pasta water until the sauce has reached the consistency that you would like. Divide into four servings and top with shaved parmesan and garnish with lemon.