Sunday, July 22, 2012

Homemade Herb Croutons

I know that croutons are not really a meal, but knowing how to make them is vital, especially when you have crusty bread lying around. I bought a loaf of sun-dried tomato bread at the farmers' market and now it's a little too crusty to eat on its own. Making croutons is extremely easy, and it's upcycling at its finest.

Prep time: 5-10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes

Crusty/day-old bread -- about half of a loaf, but really just whatever you have left over
Three (3) tablespoons of olive oil -- you can substitute with melted butter if needed
One (1) teaspoon of minced garlic
One (1) teaspoon of dried parsley or other herbs
One (1) teaspoon of onion powder
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 300F degrees.
Slice bread into small squares, or if your bread is really crusty, break into bite-sized pieces with your hands.

In a medium
mixing bowl, combine oil, garlic, herbs, onion powder, and salt. Mix until blended.
Toss bread pieces in mixing bowl until evenly coated.
Bake on baking sheet for 15 minutes.

At the 15-minute
mark, remove from oven and stir croutons around, so they bake evenly.
Bake for another 10 minutes.
Remove and let cool completely.
Store in a sealed bag or container and enjoy!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Balsamic-Roasted Red Potatoes

I went to the Baltimore Farmers' Market today and it was awesome, as always. The farms are producing so many great fruits and veggies right now, not to mention all of the bread, cheeses, hummus, etc. If you live in Maryland, I highly urge you to check out the closest Farmers' Market to you using this website. If you're outside of Maryland, you can look up your own local markets here. Even highly urban areas usually have markets that showcase the surrounding agricultural areas. The markets are great for picking up old favorites (like the potatoes that I use in the recipe below) or buying new fruits and veggies for an experience. If you've recently picked up awesome new produce and want to request that I make a recipe using it, leave me a message in the comment section.

This recipe was originally found at The Baking Beauties website, and can serve about two people.

Pair with: red wine

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes

Two (2) tablespoons of olive oil
One (1) pound of red potatoes, quartered
One (1) tablespoon of green onion, finely chopped
Four (4) garlic cloves, minced
One (1) teaspoon of dried rosemary, crushed
1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat your rosemary, oil, and garlic
before tossing in the veggies
oven 400F degrees.
Heat oil, garlic, and rosemary in a pan on medium-high heat.
Toss in potatoes and green onions for two to three minutes, until potatoes are heated.
Transfer food from heated pan to casserole dish.

Bake potatoes in oven for 25 minutes, or until potatoes are golden.
Add balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper and toss.
Bake 5 minutes longer.
Let cool and enjoy.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Zucchini-Potato Frittata

Again, I'm trying to make recipes with foods that I have on hand. My coworker gave me a beautiful zucchini from her garden, I picked up gorgeous onions from the farmer's market this weekend, and I had some red potatoes in my pantry. This frittata was meant to be. The original recipe was posted here, but I made some changes to fit my preferences. This will make enough for dinner and then breakfast the next day. I hope you enjoy!

Pair with: a hard cider like my favorite, JK Scrumpy's.

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 30-40 minutes (some cook & prep time will overlap)

Potatoes & onions ready to be cooked
One (1) medium zucchini, sliced
One (1) teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
Three (3) tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
One (1) pound of red potatoes, sliced
One (1) large onion, halved and sliced
Zucchini ready to be cooked
One (1) cup of sharp cheddar, shredded
1/2 cup of  sun-dried tomatoes

Seven (7) eggs, beaten
Garlic to flavor and taste


Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
Sprinkle salt over zucchini slices and set aside in a colander. After about 20 minutes, pat dry with a paper towel.
Heat oil in a skillet and toss in the potatoes and onion, over medium-low heat.
Cook potatoes for about 20 minutes, or until soft.
Increase the heat and saute the potatoes and onion for another five minutes.
Remove the potatoes and add the zucchini and sun-dried tomatoes to the skillet, and cook for five minutes.
Add beaten eggs and pepper to a greased casserole dish.
Stir in potatoes, zucchini, onion and then add cheese to the mixture.
Bake in oven for about 30 minutes.
Let cool, slice, and devour.

Ricotta Blueberry Pancakes

This weekend is all about creating recipes based off of food I already have on hand. Luckily, I had some delicious juicy blueberries in my fridge (cheers to the summertime!) and leftover ricotta from my ricotta-basil muffins. I can't think of a more cozy breakfast than ricotta blueberry pancakes. This recipe is cut in half from the original and yields six pancakes.

Pair with
: your morning coffee or tea

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

Make sure to smother your pancakes in delicious syrup!
1/2 cup of ricotta cheese

3/8 cup of milk -- I used almond milk
Two (2) large eggs
5/8 cup of flour
One (1) tablespoon of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

Small handful of fresh blueberries
Pinch of salt

Whisk milk and eggs together in a mixing bowl.
Mix in flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
Slowly mix in ricotta cheese. If you'd like chunks of ricotta in your pancakes (trust me -- delicious!), then make sure to swirl it in, but not to blend it.
Portion out in a griddle or pan and top with a few blueberries.
Cook and flip halfway through cooking time.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Ricotta-Basil Muffins

I just found Baker Street's Muffin Monday posts and I couldn't be more excited (no, really, I pretty much told everyone in my office about all of the awesome types of muffin recipes). I made a list of the ones I want to try, and this one was on the top of the list. I have a basil plant at home, so it worked out really well. The original recipe is here, and I made some changes based on what I had on hand. This yields 12-16 fluffy, savory muffins!

Pair with
: a homemade strawberry-basil lemonade
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

Two (2) cups of all-purpose flour
One (1) tablespoon of baking powder
Two (2) tablespoons of fresh basil, finely chopped
One (1) teaspoon of salt
1/4 tablespoon of pepper
One (1) cup of ricotta cheese

One (1) cup of milk
One (1) large egg
Three (3) tablespoons of olive oil
One (1) tablespoon of canola oil

Preheat the oven to 375F degrees.
Combine all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, basil, salt, and pepper). Mix until blended.
In a separate bowl, mix all other ingredients (ricotta cheese, milk, egg, oils). Whisk until blended.
In the bowl with the dry ingredients, make a well  in the center and pour wet ingredients into it.
Use a fork to mix all of the ingredients together.
Spoon dough into lined cupcake/muffin pan.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Let cool & enjoy fluffy goodness.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Homemade Poptarts

Making homemade Poptarts has been on my to-do list for over a year, since I tried Ted's Bulletin's Poptarts, and then again when I tried Woodberry Kitchen's Poptarts. If you use pre-made pie crust, like I did, this is totally easy. This recipe makes six Poptarts.

Pair with: Ice-cold milk

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

Two (2) 9" premade pie crusts
Six (6) teaspoons of filling -- I used homemade strawberry jam from a good friend, and Nutella
Egg wash
Sugar to top

Preheat oven to 375F degrees.
Roll out pie crust and cut into rectangles.
Spoon one teaspoon of filling onto a rectangle and top with another rectangle.
Crimp the edges.
Repeat until all of your pie crust is gone.
Brush all Poptarts with egg wash.
Place all Poptarts on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove and let cool.
Brush lightly with egg wash again and top with sugar.

Nutella doesn't melt very well, so if you want to use it, make sure to spread it around, rather than just spooning it in. You can also use chocolate chips for a much more melty experience.