Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Breakfast Bread Bowls

I'm not sure what you, my audience, does with my blog. I'm sure there are plenty of you who pop on to grab recipes and actually make them. Some of you are just here for the food porn. And some of you are just my friends and family who are here to help me out (thanks, guys).

No matter the reason, you're likely here because you enjoy food. However, if you're not that passionate about cooking, I think maybe you need to revisit that thought. I think learning to cook is a worthwhile way to spend your time, even if all you do is learn the basics (and I don't mean knowing how to cook ramen noodles). It's also important for every budding chef to take a step away from reading recipes and just experiment in the kitchen. Trust your instincts, rely on a little trial and error, and do your best and you might end up with something fabulous. The point is that you try.

I bring this up because 98% of the time, the recipes I share here have been slapped together and developed after a little bit of experimenting and they turn out to be delicious. Mind you, some are not so successful, but the good ones are so good. And, as you may have seen, I try lots of delicious dishes at restaurants and the first thing I do when I get home is try to recreate it. I just trust my taste buds to help me figure out what flavor components are required to make the dish perfect.

If you haven't really experimented much, then today's dish might be a great place to start. It's just an easy breakfast bread bowl and I've given you suggestions for what to fill it with, but you can totally make this your own. You don't have to follow my recipe exactly. Just throw in what you like and just roll with it. Maybe by this time next year, you'll be whipping up Thanksgiving dinner on your own, without being being a slave to a cookbook.
Ingredients [for 2]:
2 bread bowl rolls
2 eggs
2 oz. salt pork or 2 slices bacon, chopped
1/4 onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 to 5 mushrooms, sliced
1/4 bell pepper, sliced
jalapeno slices (add as little or as much as you like, depending on your spice level preference)
1/4 cup grated cheese (I used gruyere)
2 tablespoons heavy cream
salt & pepper to taste

Monday, November 24, 2014

Pumpkin Ricotta Pancakes

You guys, it's my birthday today. I don't want to make a big deal of it because I actually despise birthdays, as they are a reminder that I am aging. Entering my "late 20s" is kind of depressing. The feeling of losing my youth is not fantastic. However, I am proud of what I have accomplished so far in my life. I managed to make it through high school unscathed. I graduated from an awesome university (I freaking love Cornell so much; I'm borderline Andy Bernard's twin sister). I have a great job. I paid off my student loans! I bought myself a car. I redesigned and renovated our kitchen. I have an awesome family and an adorable dog. My friends are superb. I've traveled to really cool places and will continue to do so. And, of course, I have my blogs. I love this food one dearly and my travel one is a winner (at least in my eyes). Every year that has passed has been a good one, so I have already assumed that the coming year will be great too. I don't know, is it time to just 'get over it?' "It" meaning the fear of getting old. Ugh, no, I can't.

Anyway, in the spirit of celebrating and also in the spirit of falling victim to cans of pumpkin puree (that are on sale), I've got a dessert-like breakfast to share this morning. Or is it a breakfast-like dessert?
Ingredients [serves 2]:
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup ricotta (homemade if you got it)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs, separated
2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup milk
butter for cooking the pancakes
+ syrup
+ powdered sugar

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Broccoli & Cheddar Soup

Sometimes, I like to share little tidbits about myself in these introductions. I think that maybe it makes me a little more relatable, hopefully more likable, and gives some personality to the "voice" that I type in on this bloggy thing. Today, I thought I would share with you my issues with anxiety. To be clear, I am not one of those people whose worlds come to a tire-squealing stop with humongous panic attacks. However, I do struggle with bouts of weird anxious oh-my-gosh-why-God-why-can't-I-just-be-human? moments.

For example, if, as I am cooking, a pot boils over and spills all over the stove, it is extremely difficult for me to just lower the heat and allow the pot to keep cooking away. I get super anxious because I, so badly, want to clean up the spill. I know that the stove is hot so I shouldn't, and sometimes I successfully convince myself that the spill can be cleaned later. Sometimes though, I can't fight it and I'll just move the pot over to a different burner, don some oven mitts, and scrub away at the spill. It's so strange to fight my natural compulsions. And horrifyingly enough, it seems to be getting worse with age. Many of you will not understand, but some of you will.

Why, oh, why am I talking about anxiety this morning? Well, when I was making this soup, I had to fight this (v. real) struggle. Chopping broccoli means that the little green balls (the leaves of the tree, if you will) go rolling all. over. the. place. It was an intense day of food blogging for me, as I wrestled with myself whilst photographing and chopping and simmering. Luckily, I managed to survive and ended up with a bowl of cheesy goodness. Cheese is the best medication.
Ingredients [serves 6 to 8]:
1 head broccoli, chopped
1 onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock for a vegetarian option)
4 cups whole milk
2 cups grated cheddar
salt & pepper, to taste

*You can certainly substitute almond milk and vegan cheese if you want a vegan version.
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