Tag Archives: Cooking

Mini French Toast

It seems that every time I buy a baguette I can never seem to finish it before it becomes stale–fresh bread really only has a 1 or 2 day window–so most of the time I end up with no choice but having to throw out the rest of the baguette! Not able to find a baker nearby who makes a half-sized baguette, I came up with an idea the other morning to use up the rest of my still-fresh bread… Mini french toast!

What you’ll need:
Leftover baguette
1-2 eggs
Cinnamon
Splash of milk
Maple syrup
Berries for garnish (optional, but highly recommended!)

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Slice up your bread into 1-2 centimeter slices. Whisk together 1-2 eggs, splash of milk, and teaspoon or so of cinnamon. Soak each piece of bread in the egg/milk/cinnamon mixture. Heat a cast iron griddle pan (we have this one) on medium-high heat, lightly grease, and cook each side of the bread until golden brown. Serve immediately with maple syrup and berries!

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Enjoy!  PS – Doesn’t that strawberry look amazing? One of the many perks of living in California is the most amazing fruit ever!

Sunday Dinner

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I love a nice, hearty Sunday Dinner in the winter, but in the summer I just have such a hard time pulling myself away from the beach! By the time we make our way off the sand and back home the sun has gone down and we’re super hungry! A quick and easy dinner is what I look for in the summer so I can get something tasty on the table in a flash. Earlier on Sunday morning I headed over to the Newburyport Farmer’s Market to pick up a few items, hoping to have everything ready to go for that night. Here’s what I picked up:

Fresh wild garlic scapes linguini
1 carton of cherry tomatoes
2 chicken breasts
A bunch of kale
Small ball of fresh mozzarella

I left everything in the fridge and headed to the beach! When I got home I threw on a pot of water and hopped into the shower quickly. When I got out I threw in the pasta — only 1.5 – 2 minutes cook time if its fresh! When it was finished I drizzled it with olive oil (so it wouldn’t stick) and left it to cool. I sent Doug outside to grill the two chicken breasts, and since the rest of the dish was so full of flavor we just seasoned them with a little S+P.

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Inside I prepared the kale. I have a cheat method in the oven to making “sautéed kale” when I don’t want to splatter my stove top with oil. Just tossed in a little olive oil and salt and placed on a cookie sheet inside the oven for a few minutes at 350* until they are wilted. Keep a close eye on it, because you don’t want them to turn into kale chips! I tossed the kale and pasta and set it aside while I sliced up my cherry tomatoes. Just tossed them in after adding some nice color to the dish!

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Just as the chicken was finishing up on the grill I chopped up my mozzarella. (This I actually picked up at the Joppa Fine Foods store right next to where the Farmer’s Market is — they have a super legit cheese section that looks like it was right out of France!) I always add them right before we eat because if you add them in too soon the warmth from the pasta or chicken might heat them up and make them a little rubbery.

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Don’t forget to pour yourself a little glass of wine to enjoy while you’re cooking! Hope you have a great week!

PS – If you don’t finish it, this pasta dish tastes fantastic cold the next day for lunch! xx

Doug’s Stuffed Peppers

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Doug made me these stuffed peppers a few months back and I loved them so much that they have become a weekly staple in our house. Made with lean ground beef from our local farm, fresh veggies, and only a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese, these have definitely fit into my healthy eating/no added sugar diet! Here’s what you’ll need:

3 peppers (2 cut in half to stuff, and 1 to chop up)
1 Onion
1 lb. lean, grass-fed ground beef
Fresh basil leaves
Mozzarella cheese
Paprika
Cayenne Pepper
S+P
Avocado or homemade guacamole to garnish

Dice the onion. Heat a little bit of olive oil in a frying pan and when hot add the onion.  Slice 2 of your peppers in half to create 4 pepper “bowls”.  Dice up the remaining peppers and set aside. Add salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and paprika to the onions and stir to coat.

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Once the onions start to become translucent, add in the ground beef and begin to break it up using a spatula. You can add a bit more S+P, cayenne pepper, and paprika if you’d like.  Doug usually does! Once the beef is mostly cooked, add in the diced peppers and cook for a bit.  Then, very carefully, drain out as much oil and water as you can from the mix.

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While you’re cooking the beef, place the pepper halves into the broiler to help “dry” them out a bit. This tends to be quite the messy dish, so draining out as much of the liquids as possible from the peppers and the beef mix helps a lot. Once you’ve drained your beef/onion/pepper mixture, you can add it to your pepper bowls!

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Once you add in the beef mix, top it with some pieces of fresh basil — I think this makes the dish! Its the “secret ingredient” if you will, because it adds such great flavor. After you can top with some shredded cheese and stick it back into the broiler for a few minutes. Make sure to watch the cheese carefully to ensure that it doesn’t burn!

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Once you try these you’ll be making them every week too!

Butternut Squash Lasagne

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Doug and I had been in a bit of a dinner rut lately, so I did some digging on the internet (of course) and found a few new recipes. When I came across Butternut Squash Lasagne I knew that I had to give it a try.  A few of you commented on Instagram wanting the recipe, so here it is! Adapted from Epicurious.com:

Butternut Squash Lasagne

  • 1 lb diced butternut squash
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, cooked, cooled, and squeezed dry
  • 1 large egg
  • 9 lasagna noodles
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Salt and pepper

 

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

For the butternut squash, place squash in a large pot with enough water to cover the squash by 2 inches. Add 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until soft, about 12 to 14 minutes. Remove butternut squash with a slotted spoon and place in a blender with 1/4 cup of the liquid it was cooked in. Reserve an additional 1 cup of liquid and set aside.

For the lasanga rolls, in a medium nonstick skillet, add the oil and saut¿he shallots and garlic over medium-low heat until soft and golden, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add pureed butternut squash, season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and a pinch of fresh cracked pepper adding about 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of the reserved liquid to thin out the sauce until smooth. Stir in the parmesan cheese and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the spinach, egg, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and some mozzarella cheese.

Ladle about 1/2 cup of the butternut sauce into the bottom of your baking dish.

Put a piece of wax paper on a work surface and lay the cooked lasagna noodles out on it. Make sure the noodles are dry. Spread some of the spinach mix over each noodle. Carefully roll them up and put them seam side down in the baking dish. Ladle the remaining sauce over the lasagna rolls and top each some shredded mozzarella. Tightly cover the dish with foil.

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Bake until the inside is heated through and the cheese is melted, about 40 minutes.

I tailored the recipe a bit since I do not like parmesan or ricotta cheese, so I only used mozzarella and not too much of it.  I used enough to keep the rolls together, but not so much that I would not enjoy the dish.  For additional flavor, I used a bit of rosemary in the butternut squash sauce, and I topped the dish with some smoked mozzarella.

Enjoy!

Cooking with La Cuisine Paris

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When planning my trip to Paris I not only enlisted the help of BeFrnch for my packing my suitcase, but also for some real-life French things to do around the city!  Having already visited most of the popular tourist attractions in Paris, I wanted to do something a little more unique, so when Jessica suggested taking a French Market Class with La Cuisine Paris I jumped at the opportunity.

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We started off the class by visiting a local market! We met our chef, Emilie, right outside the Marché Maubert where we did some quick introductions and started to explore the market! Emilie walked us through the market stopping at all the different stalls and explaining to us all the important things to look for when choosing our foods. For example, you should always buy your rabbit whole, and fish should still be “stiff” when you hold it, and the eyes should not be dried out. We settled on white fish with Béarnaise sauce, fingerling potatoes, turnips, onions, and pumpkin squash with a strawberry and pistachio creme dessert.

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When we got back to the school we tied on our aprons and got to work! We all had jobs to do — prepping the potatoes, chopping and baking the squash, filleting the fish, mixing the pistachio creme, everything!  I volunteered to stuff the potatoes with rosemary and bay leaves while Doug tried his hand at fish filleting.

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We sat down to enjoy some wine and eat a cheese and salad course while Emilie put some finishing touches on the meals. I’m not fond of cheese, but the group seemed to really love the selection that Emilie picked out. And lucky for her none of use seemed to want to eat the foie gras and she was so happy to take the rest home!

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Our finished dish looked and tasted amazing! We wrapped the fish in these little aluminum foil packets which helped keep them from drying out in the oven. The turnips were pretty good — and a new vegetable for me as I had never really tried it before!

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And the dessert…. amazing! I felt bad because I couldn’t really enjoy it since I was so full, but it really was quite amazing. Strawberries, a layer of fresh creme, another layer of pistachio cream, and then topped with pistachio brittle that we made earlier in class. Fantastique!

La Cuisine Paris
80 Quai de l’Hôtel de ville
75004 Paris

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