Welcome to day three of Fresh Tasty Valentines! I’ve been having so much fun with this blog party thanks to all the fantastic sponsors and bloggers that have joined in. One of my favorite things about events like this is being exposed to new-to-me vendors – such as Casabella. When I received their Clip n Strip shears I think all my herbs gave sigh of relief as I would no longer be torturing them with dull shears or nails in my attempt to get some herbs. These shears are rather fantastic, especially since they have this awesome little notch in the handle for stripping the leaves off the stem. Needless to say these scissors made quick work of the rosemary needed for these aromatic treats. for best results, make sure the eggs are at room temperature and resist the urge to peek as they are baking – just trust in your oven as best you can!
Are they a dessert or are they a side dish?!? I served them both ways and suspect they would also be fantastic as a breakfast item with some runny eggs. Since I don’t have a proper popover pan, I use a jumbo muffin tin which works perfectly. Now, have you entered the giveaway for a chance to win your own shears? herbs? or zester?
Note: I was gifted the shears and a garlic roaster as part of participating in Fresh Tasty Valentine however all opinions are my own.
Avocado Tomato Grilled Cheese
I’m thrilled that summer has finally arrived, yet sad that days are already getting shorter. It seems like winter just ended, and yet I’m already seeing stories advertising “back to school” and “fall fashions”. If it’s alright with them I’m going to stay in a firm state of denial until at least labor day – I need my long hot day of sun! Today’s recipe features my favorite summer ingredient (which won’t come as a shock to anyone): tomatoes. To say that I’m stoked about the emergence of tomatoes at the local markets doesn’t begin to cover it as few things are as awesome as a summer tomato. Since I’ve only been able to harvest a few little cherry tomatoes so far I needed to figure out a recipe where I only needed a few in order to make a big POP. As an added necessity I had half an avocado and a bit of fresh bread that needed to disappear before heading to visit family in NYC. What better way than a lazy (but delicious!) grilled cheese sandwich?!?
I served this up with some fresh coleslaw – the recipe for which is forthcoming – and it was the perfect summer dinner. Heck, this would also make the perfect summer lunch, or brunch, or linner or whatever!
In gardening news the new tally is: 41 tomatoes (only 1 is close to picking), 4 jalapenos, 7(!) fairy eggplants, and the fine beginnings of a rosemary bush. My containers might not give me the same options as my awesome box garden in VA but it’s certainly doing its best to give us in fresh veggies.
I totally blame Becca over at Amuse Your Bouche for today’s post – when I saw her cheesy toast variation the other week I got a total craving. I don’t remember the first time I had cheesy toast but I’m going to guess it was a case of my mom not having enough bread for grilled cheese sandwich and going with an open-faced variation. Also should note as this point that I’m a HUGE fan of open-face sandwiches so thanks mom 🙂 This extends as far as stripping my burgers which is why I tend to load up my cheesy toast with all sorts of goodies. I want the bread to just barely be hanging on so in part it does become a balancing act of figuring out how many toppings a piece can handle. I also used two different spreads (or smears) as I couldn’t decide which one would work best, one being vegan and one being not so vegan. That is of course assuming that vegan bread is being used, something I can assume since I made my own peasant bread using dairy-free stick “butter”.
The more I use Daiya, the more I’m starting to enjoy it in the melted form. The texture still drives me crazy when it’s raw but that all goes away once it melts. I’m also hoping to find some more varieties of cashew cheese as there are occasions where I can’t melt the cheese but would still like to have some, such as cold salads. I’m also sending this open faced cheese sandwich over to 52weeksofcooking for their historic foods challenge since this Depression Era treat has become a comfort classic over the past (almost) 100 years. Also cool to note that the original version was open-faced and it wasn’t until the 60s that the top piece was added. Important to note that the cheese on toast is historically different than an open faced cheese sandwich, something that has been around since the 15th century – the toasting makes all the difference!
In gardening news, I have a good dozen green cherry tomatoes growing and today my first little pepper joined the party. I’ve also got lots of purple flowers on my fairy eggplant but so far no lil eggplants, fingers crossed that will change. I’ve never done a container garden before so I’m looking forward to seeing how it does in comparison to my awesome box garden. I’m also hoping that the guy who bought my place appreciates the awesome box garden and is using it.
Vanilla Ricotta Bread
Following behind again with /52weeksofcooking but only one week behind so that’s not tooooo horrible – right? Anyway, last week the theme for /52weeks was (is?) vanilla! Simple enough ingredient but of course I couldn’t do something simple, I had to think of something non-dessert. Which is why I’m a week late with posting this deliciously amazing Vanilla Ricotta Bread. While I debated going full savory with vanilla, and also debated going crafty with vanilla (bad idea), in the end I decided to go with something somewhat familiar in order to lessen the odds of full failure. I had made a ricotta bread a few months ago, pre-move, but it was just a bit blah. I had expected the ricotta bread to have a sweetness to it, nothing as crazy as ricotta cookies – but maybe somewhat close. Which led me to the awesome decision to add vanilla extract to the bread, and it worked!
This bread was fantastic fresh, awesome toasted with butter and jam, and scrumptious with nutella.
Banana Sourdough Bread
Hello again! Sorry for the long delay in posting, I thought I had two recipes set to go up while I was out of town but apparently something went wrong. While I’m not exactly sure what happened I do know that I have a bunch of delicious recipes to share, as well as some updates on what all is going on in the world of Dancing Veggies. This first recipe has become a new stand-by as it used two ingredients that need weekly attention: sourdough & bananas. Normally the bananas just get tossed in the freezer for future use but this time I decided to try adding some smashed bananas to my standard sourdough recipe and see what would happen!
This wound up being the perfect breakfast bread, just toasted with some butter and cinnamon as well as using the few remaining pieces for French Toast. Writing this post up I’m tempted to toss the ingredients in my bread machine in order to insure I have some of this weekend!
I missed Random Recipes last month thanks to a total spaz on my part so I made sure to get to work on my recipe this month as soon as I got back. This month the theme is “bread” and as I only have one bread book I knew that was the one I was working with. As for the recipe it was randomly selected my a friend who was coming for dinner, who requested sourdough. Once I was narrowed down to the sourdough section I had my hubby pick the page number which led me to the basic Sourdough Bread. This is a bread I have made many (MANY!) times because it is simply amazing. I’ve had my sourdough starter going for a few months now so every loaf is getting better and better. Gunther, as my sourdough is loving called, might not be the fanciest starter on the block but he’s the first I’ve had survive past the few month so he’s a winner in my book. One day I might attempt to make a loaf fully by hand but until then I’m a HUGE fan of my bread machine and use it at least once a week.
This bread can easily be enhanced by adding various herbs and spices to the dry ingredients – my favorite is 1 tbsp of dry oregano but a combination of thyme, rosemary, and basil also gives amazing results. As for serving the bread I’ve used it for everything, it makes an outstanding sandwich bread and if it lasts long enough it also makes a delicious french toast. For more bread recipes be sure to check out Belleau Kitchen and the rest of May’s Random Recipe entries.
Baguettes and Crostinis
I’ll be honest, I put this 52weeks challenge off until the last possible moment because I knew what I wanted to post, and I knew when I was going to be able to do it. This week the theme is appetizers and since I was planning to host a Downton Abbey Viewing Party I knew I would be making some type of finger food. I debated a number of recipes, trying to find something that either the Upstairs or Downstairs folks of the early 1920s would have enjoyed at a gathering. In the end I decided to make some French Baguettes and transform them in to crostinis for a variety of toppings. Crostinis have been around for a few hundred years, and were one way to use up stale bread. The toppings on the other hand vary depending on location and time period, ranging from the ever popular bruschetta to squash puree to watercress egg salad and everything in between. I decided to keep it simple with a classic roasted tomato bruschetta and an eggplant dip.
While doing my recipe search I also found a few classic soup recipes that called for crostinis, so I have a feeling I know where the leftovers will be going. I also want to do more research about the Downton Abbey time period to find out more about what food they enjoyed then, see if I can combine my love of food with my love of history. I’m not sure where that will go, but will most certainly be posted here!