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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Blackberry Limeade


I made a pretty awesome drink with blackberries and limes. The first time I made the drink, I made it with sour blackberries from my friend's garden. I wanted to post the recipe, but then I realized that the drink had WAY too much sugar in it to mask the sourness of the berries, so I remade the drink with store bought berries. You don't even want to know how much sugar was in the first batch I made...

Last night I made the blackberry limeade to go along with dinner. It's really tasty and refreshing - make sure to serve it over ice! Enjoy.

4 ounces of Blackberry Limeade over ice -
SO tasty & refreshing!

Recipe for Blackberry Limeade

INGREDIENTS:
For the blackberry syrup:
4 cups of blackberries (fresh, not frozen)
1 cup of granulated sugar
3 ounces of water
For the lime syrup:
1 medium-sized lime, cut in very thin slices
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1/2 cup of water
To mix in:
1/2 cup of freshly squeezed lime juice
5 1/2 cups of chilled water

DIRECTIONS:
For the blackberry syrup:
Put the blackberries in a medium-sized saucepan. Pour the 3 ounces of water and 1 cup of sugar over the berries, and gently stir. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat, and bring the mixture to a boil. Continue to boil for 5 minutes, stirring the mixture constantly. After 5 minutes, lower the heat to medium. Continue to boil the mixture on medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove the saucepan from heat and turn off stove. Carefully pour the mixture, in small batches, through a fine mesh sieve into a heat safe bowl. After pouring a small batch into the sieve, press down on the berries with a spoon or fork to extract as much juice as possible into the bowl, then discard the berries before pouring the next batch (you do not want any berries in the bowl, all you want is the liquid). Let the blackberry syrup cool at room temperature.
For the lime syrup:
Pour the 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar into a small saucepan. Put the saucepan over medium heat and allow the sugar to dissolve. Once the sugar dissolves and the mixture simmers, lower the heat. Add the thin lime slices to the sugar/water mixture, and arrange in a single layer. Allow the mixture to simmer on low for 20 minutes, flipping the limes over halfway through the process. After 20 minutes, remove the saucepan from heat and turn off stove. Carefully pour the mixture and limes into an airtight container and set aside to cool.

Once the blackberry syrup and lime syrup have cooled, pour them into a 2-quart drink pitcher. Make sure to add in the limes from the lime syrup. Add in the 1/2 cup of fresh lime juice. Pour in the 5 1/2 cups of chilled water. Stir. Put the pitcher in the fridge to chill for about an hour before serving. When ready to serve, pour into glasses filled with ice. I think 4 - 6 ounces is a nice treat - but Greg said he'd be able to drink 32 ounces of the blackberry limeade. Do what you think is best!

-Original Recipe-


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Cantaloupe Sorbet


Wow, it is hot for the end of August! I started back to work last week and it seemed like it was cooling down, but it is a much different story this week. I started working at a new elementary school, and I am in a "relocatable" - otherwise known as a portable or trailer. Today I had to walk back and forth between the "relocatable" and the school building all day long. Now I am home and I am craving something cool and sweet, so I think I'm going to make this cantaloupe sorbet. Greg has been working on difficult house projects and other tasks all day, and he deserves some sorbet too!

I first made this sorbet about a month ago, and it was really good. Greg's parents came for a quick visit and they gave us a cantaloupe that was on the verge of being too ripe to eat, so I decided to make the sorbet. The sorbet was best on the day it was made. Although it was still good the next day, it became pretty rock solid and was difficult to scoop! I'm excited to make it again. Enjoy!

Don't you think Greg deserves
some cantaloupe sorbet? I sure think he does!
Recipe for Cantaloupe Sorbet
INGREDIENTS:
1 large & very ripe cantaloupe, peeled and seeded
1 1/2 Tbsp. of freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 Tbsp. of cooking sherry
3 Tbsp. of sugar syrup (see directions below)
3 Tbsp. of cream

DIRECTIONS:
Cut the melon into 2-inch pieces and pulse in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade until smooth. Add in the lemon juice, cooking sherry, sugar syrup, and cream. Process until the mixture is completely smooth. Pour mixture into a bowl and cover. Refrigerate for at least one hour.

Once chilled, carefully pour the mixture into the bowl of an automatic ice cream maker and make sorbet according to ice cream maker manufacturer directions.

To make the sugar syrup: Combine 1/2 cup of granulated sugar and 1/2 cup of water in a small saucepan. Put the saucepan over medium heat and stir mixture until the sugar is dissolved. Simmer the mixture for about 5 - 8 minutes, or until it is syrupy. Allow the syrup to cool completely before using in the sorbet mixture.

Extra sugar syrup can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

Recipe Adapted from: The Pleasures of Cooking 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Peach Kuchen


Last week I spent some time with my parents, since I was trying to avoid the craziness of my home renovations. On Wednesday I went to PA with my parents and a friend. We lived large in York, PA. First we hit a discount department store, then we ate at Five Guys, and before we left town we stopped at not one but TWO farmer's markets. We came home with apples, nectarines, and tons of peaches.

My mom and I decided to make a peach kuchen, which is something my mom used to make years ago during the summer. It was delicious. I invited my aunt over to try the peach kuchen. At first glance, she told my mom she had never tried it before, but once she had her first bite the memories came rushing back. She told my mom that she could remember her making it and she recognized the taste. Dana described the peach kuchen on my Facebook page: "The peach kuchen was wonderful. Flaky pastry, creamy custard and sliced peaches. Tasted like summer on a fork!" Now, doesn't that make you want to go and make some peach kuchen for yourself? It doesn't get much better than summer on a fork!

Recipe for Peach Kuchen

INGREDIENTS:
For the crust:
1 1/4 cup of all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. of salt
1 stick of unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 8 pieces
2 Tbsp. of sour cream
For the custard filling:
3 egg yolks
1/3 cup of sour cream
1 cup of granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. of salt
1/4 cup of all purpose flour
4 ripe medium-sized peaches - peeled, pitted, and cut into thick slices

DIRECTIONS:
For the crust:
Put the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse briefly to just combine. Scatter the butter pieces evenly in the flour mixture. Pulse several times until the mixture resembles crumbs. Add in the sour cream and turn on the food processor; mix until a ball forms. Carefully take the dough out of the food processor. Shape it into a flat disc and then place the dough in a 9" removable tart pan. Press the dough evenly on the bottom of the pan and on the sides of the pan.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. While oven is preheating, rinse and dry the bowl of the food processor. Bake the crust at 375 in the center rack of the oven for 20 minutes. Remove the pan after 20 minutes and transfer it to a cooling rack. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
For the custard filling:
While the crust is cooling, put the egg yolks, sour cream, sugar, salt, and flour in the bowl of the food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse for several seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and pulse for about 10 - 15 more seconds. Pour 1/2 of the custard filling mixture over the cooled crust. Put the peach slices over the crust. Start on the outside and work your way in to the center, slightly overlapping the peaches as needed. Pour the rest of the custard filling mixture evenly over the peaches. Cover the outside edges of the tart pan with foil to avoid the edges of the crust from burning. Bake for about 50 - 55 minutes, or until the top is set and no longer runny. Serve the kuchen warmed or at room temperature. No need to top with any extras - it's perfect as it is! Enjoy.

Source: The Pleasures of Cooking 


NOTE: My mom taught me something new while we were making the peach kuchen. You can easily peel the peaches if you blanch them first. To blanch the peaches, bring a pot of water to a boil. Drop the peaches in the boiling water, make sure they are submerged, and boil for 40 seconds . Remove the peaches with a slotted spoon and let cool for about one minute. Pat the peaches dry with a paper towel. Now the peaches should much easier to peel!

*If you want a chance at winning an Amazon gift card, please check out my giveaway page!*

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Who Likes to Win Prizes? I know I do!


Oh, how I love these coconut truffles! It is definitely my favorite recipe that I have posted thus far. My favorite healthy recipe that I have posted would have to be these sweet potato tacos. Mmm!

I am so happy that I started this food blog. It has been a lot of fun to share recipes with you, and it is great to have a place for me to keep all of my favorite recipes. I wish I could just cook, blog, and eat all day long. Unfortunately, I have to go back to work.

My summer has ended. I am feeling totally bummed about this. I had tons of things that I wanted to accomplish over the summer, but they did not get done. I am overwhelmed about all the money we are spending on home projects (and hoping they get done right), starting back to work, and going back to SCHOOL for the first time in over 6 years! I thought it would be fun to run a contest - to help to cheer me up & maybe it'll cheer you up too. Because contests are fun!

I am giving away one AMAZON gift card, which will be delivered to the winner's email box. Do you want to win? If so, read on for contest details:

OFFICIAL RULES:
-The contest will start on Sunday, August 19th at 4:30 PM EST and end on Friday August 31st at 8 PM EST.

-You may enter by leaving a comment on your favorite recipe on the blog OR by pinning your favorite recipe to your Pinterest page (by the way, now everyone can register with Pinterest & you do not need to wait for an account invite). It can be either a favorite recipe that you have tried, or one that you want to try. 

-If you leave a comment on a blog post, please use your first name and last initial. If you leave it anonymously, I will not know who you are. If you pin a recipe to Pinterest, please leave a separate comment on THIS post to let me know you did so. 

-If you would like the chance to enter TWO TIMES, then you can leave a comment on your favorite recipe AND pin your favorite recipe. Remember to comment on this post if you pin a recipe. 

-You can also get another contest entry if you like Bake It and Make It with Beth on Facebook. If you already have liked the page prior to today's post, you will automatically qualify for this extra entry. Please note, you do not get one entry just simply by liking the page - you must comment or pin - this just qualifies you for an automatic extra entry.

-The winner will be selected by random on August 31st. I will post the winner on the blog shortly after August 31st, and the winner will be notified. 

-The grand prize will be a gift card to Amazon.com in the amount of $25, which will be delivered to the winner's email box.


I hope you will participate! This will be fun :0)

* This contest is fully sponsored by Bake It and Make It with Beth and is not affiliated with Amazon.com.*

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Corn Salad with Tomatoes, Basil & Mozzarella


For the past month or so, I have noticed a sign at the local produce stand that says "Sweet Local Corn." Since I'm always in a rush, I would pass the stand and make a mental note to come back later. I finally made it over there last week. My friend and I went out to get snow cones (yes, we're in our 30's and we get snow cones), and on the way back home we both decided to stop for the corn.

The local corn is incredible - it is sweet like sugar. Instead of making the usual corn on the cob, I decided to make a corn salad. I have always wanted to make a corn salad - and now I've made corn salad three times! This salad taste like summer. It is a good side to many summer meals. I made it the other night at my parent's house along side burgers and grilled zucchini, and last night I made it to go with grilled barbecue chicken and roasted potatoes. I might even make it again tonight, since it is so easy to make. I love this salad, and I hope you will love it too! Enjoy.

Recipe for Corn Salad with Tomatoes, Basil & Mozzarella

INGREDIENTS:
For the salad:
4 medium-sized ears of corn, husked and rinsed; silks removed
16 - 20 cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
1/3 cup of fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
3 ounces of mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/4" cubes
For the dressing:
2 Tbsp. of white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. of Extra-Virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. of kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS:
For the salad:
Carefully remove the corn kernels from each ear of corn. Stand a piece of  the corn up on a cutting board and hold with one hand; use the other hand to cut the kernels off with a large shearing knife. (You can also follow this tutorial). Put the corn into a medium-sized bowl. Add in the torn basil leaves and mozzarella cheese. Chop the tomatoes, but do not add to the bowl - leave them on the cutting board.

For the dressing:
Add the white wine vinegar, salt, and about 4 - 5 grinds of freshly ground black pepper to a small bowl and mix. Pour the olive oil in a steady stream into the bowl and whisk well. Pour the dressing over the corns salad and stir to incorporate. Cover the bowl and put in the fridge for about 15 - 20 minutes.

Just before you are ready to serve the salad, add in the cherry tomato halves and mix. Sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper, if desired.

*Makes 3 - 4 servings*

Recipe Adapted from: Food Network

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Chocolate Mint Ice Cream with Cacao Nibs


I am still thoroughly enjoying my automatic ice cream maker. One of the best ice cream flavors I have made is chocolate mint ice cream with cacao nibs. I had gotten some chocolate mint leaves from a friend, and at first I had no idea what to even do with them (this was before the ice cream maker). I used the chocolate mint leaves to make a refreshing beverage, and then after I got the ice cream maker I realized that I needed some more of those chocolate mint leaves. I begged for some more, and I got them!

I think the cacao nibs in this ice cream add a really nice touch. This ice cream can definitely be made with regular mint leaves too - the chocolate mint leaves just makes it extra special. Greg said it was the best ice cream he has ever tried. I really want to make this ice cream again, so I guess it's time to hit up my chocolate mint dealer...

See the dark chocolate pieces on the top of the ice cream?
Those are the cacao nibs!

Recipe for Chocolate Mint Ice Cream with Cacao Nibs

INGREDIENTS:
25 chocolate mint leaves (or regular mint leaves)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup of whole milk
1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp. of granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. of vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. or less of peppermint extract
a pinch of salt
1/4 cup grated SCHARRFEN BERGER bittersweet chocolate
1 Tbsp. of cacao nibs

DIRECTIONS:
Put the mint leaves in a small saucepan. Pour the cream over the mint leaves. Set the pan over medium heat and stir constantly, until the mixture begins to simmer. When the mixture begins to slightly bubble, remove the pan from heat.

Stir the cream mixture with a spoon. Pour it in to a heat-safe container, stir again, and cover. Set aside to cool.

While the mixture is cooling, combine the milk and sugar in a large bowl with an electric hand mixer on low speed. Mix for about 1 minute. Add in the vanilla extract, peppermint extract, and salt. Beat the mixture again on medium-low for several seconds.

Place a fine mesh sieve over the bowl with the milk and sugar. Pour the cream mixture into the sieve. Press down on the mint leaves with a fork to extract as much flavor as possible into the mixture. Discard the mint leaves. Beat the mixture again on low for a few seconds. Cover the bowl and put it in the fridge to chill for a least 1 1/2 hours.

Once chilled, make the ice cream according to ice cream maker manufacturer directions. About 5 minutes before ice cream is finished mixing, add in the grated chocolate and cacao nibs. When ice cream is finished, pour it into a freezer-safe container and stir it to better incorporate the chocolate and cacao nibs. Cover the container and put in the freezer. Ice cream will be ready to serve within an hour or less. Yummy!

Recipe Inspired by/Adapted from: She's Becoming DoughMesstic

NOTE: Wondering what cacao nibs are? Cacao nibs are the broken chunks of the cocoa bean that are used in making chocolate. Cacao nibs have a like texture to coffee beans and taste like a coffee bean with a subtle chocolate flavor. They are intense and delicious (and it has been said they are nutritious)! You can buy them from SCHARRFEN BERGER or you can also find some on Amazon.

*I've made this basic vanilla ice cream three times since getting the ice cream maker. It's also very delicious! To make it even more basic, leave out the vanilla bean & add in an extra teaspoon of vanilla extract.*

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Blackberry Cobbler


A few weeks ago, our friends sent us home with lots of blackberries from their garden. The blackberries are very sour and they really only taste good with gobs and gobs of sugar on top of them. The only person I know who can handle the sour berries is my friend's toddler son, who loves eating the unripe berries off of the bush!

My friend recommended a cobbler recipe to me. He said he served it to his family and that they all devoured it within minutes. I was sent home with enough blackberries to make two cobblers, which was great since Amy, Doug & the kids were in town.

The cobblers were delicious. I think it is perfect warm from the oven, but others seemed to think it tasted best after it had fully cooled. You can eat it plain or you can top it with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream! I hope you enjoy the blackberry cobbler as much as we did.

Recipe for Blackberry Cobbler

INGREDIENTS:
For the berries:
2 1/4 cups of fresh blackberries
1 cup of granulated sugar
For the batter:
1 cup of all-purpose flour
2 tsp. of baking powder
1/2 tsp. of salt
1 Tbsp. of granulated sugar 
1 cup of milk (2% or whole)
1 stick of unsalted butter, melted

DIRECTIONS:
Put the blackberries in a medium-sized bowl. Sprinkle the 1 cup of sugar over the berries and toss very gently. Let the berries and sugar sit at room temperature for about 25 minutes.

After the berries have sat for about 15 minutes, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, 1 Tbsp. of sugar, and milk. Add in the melted butter. Whisk the ingredients together until they are well blended. 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Pour the batter into an 8" x 8" baking pan (do not grease the pan) and spread evenly. Spoon the blackberry and sugar mixture in even drops on top of the batter.

Bake for about 50 minutes or until the dough has risen. It should be golden-brown in color. Let the cobbler cool for about 15 minutes, then cut into evenly sized squares. Can be served for breakfast or dessert! Enjoy. 

Recipe Adapted from: Betty Crocker

*If you like this blackberry cobbler recipe, I think you will also like this recipe for blueberry buckle.*





NOTE: Joseph sent me home with more blackberries last weekend! Instead of baking with them, I made a tasty blackberry limeade. That recipe will be shared soon!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Cherry Tomato Tart with a Basil-Garlic Crust


Today I am sharing one of my favorite summer-time recipes - a cherry tomato tart. I first made this tart last summer, and I was looking forward to making it again this year with the tomatoes from our garden. Sadly, our garden didn't produce enough tomatoes (those dang deer)! But, as my 5-year old nephew put it when he was 3, "the deer aren't so bad, at least they don't eat us." And, I guess that is true!

Luckily, my parents and friends have been nice enough to share their garden produce with me. My mother sent me home with tomatoes the other day, so I decided to make the tart. I made it while Greg was out sailing on the Laser with his friend George, and we all enjoyed it for dinner. I had made it with the intent to have leftovers, but I had forgotten how much George eats - and we had no leftovers.

The crust on this tart is made with basil and garlic and the flavor is incredible. The tart is topped with lots of yummy cheese and tomatoes, then baked until the cheese is bubbly. It's like a pizza, but better. I love the tart so much that I made it again for dinner last night (thanks, Sarah) - and this time there were leftovers! Greg brought a piece in to work today to eat for lunch, and a co-worker asked him for the recipe. So, I'm posting this today for Greg's co-worker. Enjoy!

Recipe for Cherry Tomato Tart with a Basil-Garlic Crust

INGREDIENTS:
For the basil-garlic crust:
1/3 cup of fresh basil leaves
2 cloves of garlic
1 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. of kosher salt
8 Tbsp. of cold butter, cut into 8 pieces (I put butter in freezer for about 15 minutes before using)
5 Tbsp. of ice cold water
For the filling:
10 ounces of fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced into 10 pieces
1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes, sliced thin
A dash or two of kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. of Extra-Virgin olive oil
1/4 cup of Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
1 Tbsp. of fresh basil leaves, torn in small pieces

DIRECTIONS:
For the basil-garlic crust:
Put the fresh basil leaves and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse the food processor until the basil and garlic are very finely chopped, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spoon as necessary. Add in the flour and salt to the bowl of the processor. Pulse very briefly to just combine. Add in the cold pieces of butter. Pulse about 10 times, until the mixture looks coarse and crumby (crumbs should be about the size of peas). Add 3 Tbsp. of the ice cold water to the mixture and pulse to incorporate. Add 1 more Tbsp. of the water and let the processor run. If the mixture does not leave the sides and form into a ball quickly, add the remaining water. Once the mixture turns into a ball, take the dough out and flatten into a disc. Wrap tightly in saran wrap and place in the fridge for at least an hour before handling.

While the dough is in the fridge, slice the tomatoes. Put the tomatoes in a colander set over a bowl. Add a dash of kosher salt to the tomatoes and stir gently. Add another dash of salt if necessary and stir again. This is done in order to try to get as much moisture out of the tomatoes as possible.

After dough has sat in the fridge, transfer it to  a lightly floured work surface. Roll it into a 12-inch circle. Transfer dough to a 9-inch tart or pie pan and press dough up onto the sides. Prick the dough all over with a fork, making sure not to go all the way through. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Bake at 425 for 15 - 17 minutes, making sure to watch and prick with a fork as needed if the dough is rising up. Remove the pan from the oven and lower the temperature to 375 degrees.

For the filling:
Layer the the crust with the mozzarella slices. Arrange the cherry tomato slices on top of the mozzarella in a single layer. Top with a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle the 1 Tbsp. of olive oil over the tomatoes. Top evenly with the grated Romano cheese and torn basil leaves.

Bake in oven for 15 minutes at 375 degrees, then rotate the pan 180 degrees in the oven. Bake for another 15 minutes. Let the tart sit for a few minutes to cool before cutting and serving. Yummy!

Source: Annie's Eats

NOTE:
I just pricked the dough with a fork before baking the crust, but the original recipe uses pie weights. I do not have any pie weights but I think they would be nice to have - it would make pie crusts so much easier! 

Monday, August 6, 2012

My First Frittata (recipe)


I made my first frittata the other night. It was a success, and I'm excited to share the recipe with you. I have seen many frittata recipes on some of my favorite cooking blogs, but for some reason I have always been intimidated by them. Why? I don't know. A frittata is actually pretty easy to make and it does not require too much time. I think I may have feared the frittata because it sounds kind of fancy. Greg was surprised that the dish mainly consisted of eggs. He said it sounded like it should have a crust and be fried. I agree. In cooking, names of recipes can be quite deceiving!

What I love about the frittata is that you can use a lot of different ingredients in the dish. If you are trying to use up veggies, cheese, or meat, consider the frittata! I had some chicken sausages, baby spinach, and bell peppers that were going to expire soon, so I looked up recipes that use sausage on Annie's Eats. It must had been my lucky day - I found this frittata recipe that uses chicken sausage, spinach, AND pepper! I was happy to be able to turn my baby spinach leaves into frozen spinach. I ended up using all of the spinach in the frittata, but it was good to know that if I had spinach leaves on the verge of going bad, that they could be transformed into frozen spinach. You can learn how to save your baby spinach too!

Greg and I thoroughly enjoyed the frittata for dinner on Saturday evening. It was my breakfast this morning, and Greg's lunch this afternoon. A frittata is a great way to eat your eggs, which are now healthy for you! I'm glad I tried out the frittata for the first time - I'll definitely be making another one soon! Enjoy.

Recipe for Sausage, Spinach & Bell Pepper Frittata

INGREDIENTS:
6 extra-large eggs
3 Tbsp. of milk
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. of crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. of freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. of unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. of olive oil
3 chicken sausages (precooked), sliced into 1/4-inch slices
3/4 cup of thawed frozen chopped spinach, drained
1/2 cup of red bell pepper, chopped small
1/2 cup of orange bell pepper, chopped small
1/2 cup of Pecorino Romano cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

DIRECTIONS:
Adjust your oven racks so that a large skillet will be able to fit on the top rack. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

Add the oil and butter to a large (9" - 10")  oven-safe/non-stick skillet. Put the skillet over medium heat, and allow the butter to melt. As you are waiting for the butter to melt, beat together the eggs, milk, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes in a medium-sized bowl.

Once butter has melted, add the sausage, peppers, and spinach to the skillet. Stir the mixture frequently and cook for about 5 - 6 minutes. Turn the heat to medium-low. Carefully pour in the egg mixture to the skillet. Top evenly with the cubed cheese. Cover the skillet and cook for about 3 minutes. The eggs should be set but the top will be runny.

Use an oven glove to carefully move the skillet from the stovetop to the top rack of the oven. Cook at 475 for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the top is set and no longer runny. Remove the skillet from the oven (make sure to use the oven mitt)! Let the skillet cool for a few minutes.

Once frittata has cooled, cut into 8 slices and serve. Top with extra freshly ground black pepper, if desired.

Have leftovers? The frittata will still taste good after a couple days!

Recipe Adapted from: Annie's Eats


Friday, August 3, 2012

Gorgonzola Salad (Inspired by the Tomato Palace)


The Tomato Palace restaurant in Columbia, Md is one of my favorite restaurants. I've been going there since it opened & I even had my rehearsal dinner there! I get together with two of my friends for lunch at the Tomato Palace a few times a year. Every time we go, Bonnie and Sandy ALWAYS order the Gorgonzola salad. I try to get something new each time I go, but the last time I went there I actually tried the gorgonzola dressing that goes on the salad. At that moment, I finally understood why Bonnie and Sandy refuse to order anything else from the menu.

Bonnie had said she tried to recreate the dressing at home without success. We decided to ask our friendly waiter what was in the dressing, and he asked the chef. The waiter came back and told us the chef said it was just "oil and gorgonzola cheese." So, obviously the chef didn't want us to know what was really in the dressing.

I took a bit of the dressing back with me and I looked up some gorgonzola dressing recipes online. I found one that looked similar, and within minutes Bonnie emailed both me and Sandy with the exact recipe, saying that she thought that it might be the one.

I followed the recipe that we found, and it tasted like the real thing. I made the salad to go along with dinner one night, and it was delicious. My husband told me that the salad was "really really good" when he was eating dinner. Then, later that night, he told me that the cheese was really strong and he wasn't so sure about the salad. So I guess he changed his mind about the salad, and he shall now be known as the moody-eater. Greg is right though, gorgonzola is a strong cheese. But it is so good - and I would say it is much tastier than blue cheese.

Don't worry Bonnie and Sandy, just because we now know how to make the gorgonzola salad it does not mean that we will no longer be meeting at the Tomato Palace for lunch! We still need to get our tiramisu fix...

Recipe for Gorgonzola Salad with Toasted Walnuts

INGREDIENTS:
For the dressing
1/4 cup of Extra-Virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. of white balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, pressed
1/4 cup of crumbled gorgonzola cheese
1/8 tsp. of kosher slat
5 - 6 grinds of freshly ground black pepper
For the salad:
3 cups of Baby Romaine lettuce leaves
3 Tbsp. of toasted walnut pieces
1/4 cup of crumbled gorgonzola cheese

DIRECTIONS:
For the dressing:
Pour the 1/4 cup of olive oil into a liquid measuring cup. Add in the vinegar, salt, pepper, cheese, and pressed garlic. Mix well. Pour the dressing into a container and cover. Put in the fridge until ready to use.
For the salad:
Toast the walnut pieces first. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle the walnuts evenly onto a baking sheet and cook in the oven for about 10 minutes. Take baking sheet out of the oven and let them cool.
Once walnut pieces are cooled, divide the baby romaine lettuce leaves onto 3 serving plates. Divide the 1/4 cup of gorgonzola cheese crumbles evenly between each plate. Sprinkle each plate with the toasted walnuts. Take the dressing out of the fridge and give it a good stir. Pour the dressing over the salads or serve on the side. Enjoy!

Gorgonzola Dressing Recipe Adapted from Tastebook

Bonnie, Sandy & me outside our favorite restaurant -
the Tomato Palace! 




NOTE:
Do you have a garlic press? I have wasted so much time in the kitchen cutting up garlic, but I finally got this awesome garlic press! It makes cooking (and my life) so much easier.