Sunday, February 27, 2022

Breakfast Grilled Cheese with Soft Scrambled Eggs and Pesto

  Tieghan Gerard's newest cookbook, Half Baked Harvest Every Day, was due to be released this week but has been postponed for another month or so (probably due to covid, labor shortages, shipping issues, and who knows what else these days). I'm really excited to get my hands on the book, but I can handle waiting another month. There are certainly enough recipes on her site to keep me busy until then.

Lately I've been taking inspiration from what I have on hand when it comes to picking my recipes. A quick search through my pantry reveals an abundance of pesto, jars upon jars of basil pesto and sun-dried tomato pesto. I do a quick search for pesto-based recipes on Tieghan's site and find her Breakfast Grilled Cheese with Soft Scrambled Eggs and Pesto and the rest is history!

Tieghan makes this sandwich with the standard basil pesto, but I was in the mood for sun-dried tomato pesto. I buy the Rao's version and it is one of my favorite things on the planet to eat! If you haven't ever tried it, you should (it is heavenly with burrata on toast). 

I love a regular ol' egg and cheese breakfast sandwich, but I also love to change it up from time to time. I knew this one would be a hit before I even tasted it. I mean buttery sourdough, soft scrambled egg, sharp cheddar, and harvarti, with some of my heaven-sent sun-dried tomato was ooey gooey deliciousness! I could start my day with this sandwich every day and be a happy camper! In fact, I have all the ingredients on hand so I just might start my day with this sandwich before work this week!

My co-workers and friends think it's funny that I wake up early enough to make myself a home-cooked breakfast every morning. They say they prefer to sleep in and grab a packaged breakfast bar or yogurt. Not me! I like to treat myself and get my day off to a good start!

 Breakfast Grilled Cheese with Soft Scrambled Eggs and Pesto

Adapted from Half Baked Harvest Blog

Serves 2

4 large eggs

salt and pepper

4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

crushed red pepper flakes, to taste

4 slices sourdough bread

1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 cup shredded havarti or fontina cheese

1/2 cup basil pesto*


1/2 cup sun-dried tomato pesto*

2 tablespoons fresh chopped chives or green onion

honey, for drizzling

Whisk together the eggs and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the eggs and cook, undisturbed, until a thin layer of cooked egg appears around the edge of the skillet. Using a rubber spatula gently push/move the eggs around the skillet until fluffy and barely set, about 2 minutes. Immediately remove from the skillet and sprinkle with crushed red pepper flakes.

Spread the outside of each slice of bread with butter. On the inside of half of the slices of bread, evenly layer the cheese, eggs, and pesto. Add the top piece of bread, buttered side facing up.

Place the sandwiches, one at a time, in the skillet and cook until golden on each side, about 4-5 minutes per side. Serve topped with chives, honey, and sea salt.

Celebrating w/ HBH! @ IHCC



Sunday, February 20, 2022

Ina Garten's Lemon Yogurt Cake

Here's to me ticking another recipe from the old archives...Ina's Lemon Yogurt Cake. I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to make this Lemon Yogurt Cake or the other Lemon Cake Ina is known for. Each and every time I wanted to make this I was without the blasted yogurt or buttermilk. Each and every time!

But no more! I actually had the foresight to procure the ingredients ahead of time. Now to decide between Ina's recipe for Lemon Cake made with buttermilk or her recipe for Lemon Yogurt Cake. They both have great ratings, but this Lemon Yogurt Cake had a lot more reviews so I went with the yogurt version. 

The Lemon Yogurt Cake was just my style... easy! No mixers or equipment needed, only bowls and whisks. That kind of baking is right up my alley. I baked the lemon loaf, then made the lemon syrup to drizzle over it, then made the lemon glaze to drizzle on top. This was lemon loaf perfection! The kind of thing that turns out perfect and everyone loves.

Love was in the air last week, so I shared the lemon loaf with my family, in-law's, and friends. Everyone absolutely loved it!

Lemon Yogurt Cake

Adapted from Food Network

by Ina Garten

Serves 8-10

1-1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/1 teaspoon salt

1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt

1-1/3 cups sugar, divided

3 large eggs (Ina uses extra large)

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the Glaze

1 cup confectioners' sugar

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease an 8-1/2 by 4-1/4 by 2-1/2 inch loaf pan (that is so specific - use any loaf pan you like). Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan. (Note: I have a lemon loaf pan that is decorative (see pics) and I cannot line with parchment. I just greased and floured).

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it's all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake.

 Love Is In The Air @ IHCC

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Ina Garten's Brownie Pudding


I remember the episode way back when when Ina first shares her Brownie Pudding. It was at least ten years ago. There are some contractors restoring the old town windmill and Ina brings them lunch along with this rich dense brownie pudding that looks delectable. I feel like I can even remember her saying that it is a big hit with men! Right along with her infamous line, "how good does that look?"

It makes for a good episode, but I'm curious how many of you have taken food to contractors or had as many parties as Mrs. Garten? It has value for the show and I appreciate that, but it just never seems like real life.

Well, I don't have any contractors or publishers coming to my house for a party. I also have to laugh because most of us are in the throes of the pandemic and haven't had people to our house in ages. HOWEVER...we have to treat ourselves occasionally, especially with the Superbowl and Valentine's Day following so close together, SO....

I finally got around to making Mrs. Ina's famous Brownie Pudding. It is quite simply 10 years in the making! I have always been drawn to this recipe because the ingredients are so pantry-friendly and it feels like this recipe is just waiting to be whipped up.

In short, all you need are butter, eggs, cocoa powder, sugar, vanilla, and very small amount of flour. One of my New Year's goals was to use the gluten free flour more so that my son (who has celiac's disease) can enjoy foods alongside us. It is pricey, but I have found that I like the King Arthur Measure for Measure Gluten Free Flour. 

Since the recipes is so rich, and calls for only 1/2 cup flour, I felt this was a good recipe to sub the gluten free flour as it wouldn't change the overall texture of the dish.The gluten free flour worked well and if you're looking for a gluten free option, I would say this recipe is a good one to adapt!

This Brownie Pudding is very much like a Chocolate Lava Cake...with a crunchy coating on the top! If you are a serious chocolate lover then you will absolutely love this. It is very rich and decadent and definitely screams for vanilla ice cream. Ina says it serves 6. I say it is SO RICH that it could serve 12, or more. My family loves rich foods and even at that, we could only eat a small portion. While this was not our favorite dessert, it was a good solid dessert, especially considering it came together really quickly with pantry based ingredients that everyone has on hand. 

Brownie Pudding

Adapted from Food Network

by Ina Garten 

Serves 6

1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, plus extra for buttering the dish

4 extra large eggs, at room temp

2 cups sugar

3/4 cup good cocoa powder

1/2 cup all-purpose flour*

seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean (or vanilla bean paste)

1 tablespoon framboise liqueur, optional*

vanilla ice cream, for serving

Note: I used King Arthur Measure For Measure Gluten Free Flour with great results. I didn't have the Framboise Liqueur so I subbed extra vanilla instead.

Preheat the oven to 325F. Lightly butter a 2-quart (9x12-inch) baking dish. Melt the 1/2 pound of butter and set aside to cool.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugar on medium-high speed for 5 to 10 minutes, until very thick and light yellow. Meanwhile, soft the cocoa powder and flour together and set aside.

When the egg and sugar mixture is ready, reduce the speed to low and add the vanilla seeds or paste, framboise, if using, and the cocoa powder and flour mixture. Mix only until combined. With mixer still on low, slowly pour in the cooled butter and mix again just until combined.

Pour the brownie mixture into the prepared dish and place it in a larger baking pan. Add enough of the hottest tap water to the pan to come halfway up the side of the dish and bake for exactly 1 hour. A cake tester inserted 2 inches from the side will come out 3/4 clean. The center will appear very under-baked; this dessert is between a brownie and a pudding.

Allow to cool and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Soul-Soothing Dishes @ IHCC

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Bittman's Rich Orange Shakes


Three weeks ago after I shared my Berry Shake and submitted the post, I came down with a fever. A horrible high fever that turned out to be covid. I knew the new CDC rules of people being out for only 5 days was bound to get me. Just a couple days back to work and I was positive. Thanks, CDC!

I was lucky. I do know that. But...I don't ever get the short or easy version of any illness. I had to take two weeks off work and do nothing but rest. I pretty much coughed up my lungs and for awhile I was low oxygen. Lucky for me, just as that became rather scary territory, it got better.  I coughed and hacked my way through the next two or three weeks. I couldn't smell or taste, which was way worse than it sounds. I am just now starting to feel human.

I'm starting my 4th week and my taste and smell have mostly come back. I am still coughing and tired. Feeling much better, but still not like my usual self. It has been a good thing we've gotten so much snow and ice lately. The snow days have saved me from having to work full weeks. I still don't think I could work a full week.

During my time off, I was able to rest, take my meds, eat tons of oranges, and drinks lots of OJ. I have lived on oranges and popsicles and all manner of fluids.

I remembered this Rich Orange Milkshake in Bittman's How To Cook Everything and figured it was a recipe I could manage for my first week back to blogging. Something easy. Something orange. Something cool, and creamy, and delicious and not overloaded with sugar.

Please take care of yourself! It is fair to say that with those brainless CDC rules, Covid is everywhere. I am completely healthy and covid knocked me for a loop. I never expected to be low oxygen. Not for a few days, not for a day, not even for a minute. I have completely healthy lungs. You just never know how it will hit you.

Take your vitamin C, get rest, and wear the mask or do whatever you can to avoid it!



Rich Orange Milkshake

Adapted from How To Cook Everything

by Mark Bittman

Serves 4

4 cups orange juice

1 cup milk or half-and half

1 cup water

1 teaspoon vanilla

sugar, or simple syrup, to taste

1 cup crushed ice

Combine all ingredients in a blender and whiz until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning by adding more vanilla, sugar, or sugar syrup if necessary.

Blend It Up @ IHCC