Apple Pie Roses

apple pie roses
So I saw this really fun video circulating on Facebook a few weeks ago and like everyone else, it gave me the confidence to try it out myself! These little roses are so much fun to make and they are so beautiful! I thought they’d make an excellent special occasion type dessert. I did the recipe exactly like the video said and I was pleased with the process but not really the results. I mean, they’re okay, but they are definitely prettier than they are tasty. And I honestly think that’s the point. It was a super fun and easy “cooking craft” to do with Olive and so I’ll give it points for that because not every baking recipe is truly kid-accessible. But I decided to alter the recipe to be as delicious as it is beautiful. Here’s a couple problems the original recipe has:

1. The bake time is long and the thin apple slices burn on top, so we cover them during part of baking.
2.They stick like dadgum superglue to the muffin pan and get ripped apart when you take them out, therefore…
3. I fixed that by removing them from the pan while they were still super hot, but…
4. There’s the problem with eating super-baked tiny shreds of apple peel. It gives it that rose look, however…
5. The apple peel feels like tough strings in your mouth. Not really two adjectives you want for your baked goods.
6. The apples snap in half from the original recipe, so I fixed that by soaking them in hot lemon water instead of cold.
7. They just fall flat, taste-wise, so I added a bit of scrumptiousness into the filling along with the apple slices by adding cinnamon roll type flavors.
8. Also, I’m a pie crust junkie, so I switched to pie crust instead of puff pastry and it was indeed more delicious, but…
9. The falling apartness was magnified with the pie crust, so you fix that once and for all by…
10. Using greased muffin liners to bake these babies in. Voila. Most of the problems solved.

So my suggestion for the final round of 100% deliciousness is to peel the apples. How to fix the “but they don’t look like a rose, anymore!” problem? Add a couple drops of red food coloring to the warm water while the apples soak, OR pomegranate or cranberry juice and BOOM! Red roses. I didn’t do this for my final pics because everyone in my house was getting rather sick of eating these tiny apple roses, BUT I did color some apple slices in pomegranate juice and they were BEAUTIFUL. So I’ll try them like that again and make a special Christmas rose wreath edition of this recipe for those who care. Which I think might be 5 people, total. In any case, I present to you:
apple roses Apple Rose

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Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies

Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies3
Hello there! This is a delightful little cookie that takes no time at all to make and is so much fun for little helpers! I had this idea a while back whenever I saw powdered peanut butter in the grocery store and have wanted to try it out. It took a little tweaking, but I loved the texture of the cookie itself. One word of advice: don’t use jelly! I know, I know, it’s a riff off of peanut butter jelly sandwiches, but use something a little thicker like a jam or preserve. I used grape jelly because it’s iconic and it really ran out of the cookies more than I would have liked. This did not stop them from being utterly addicting; it just kept them from looking super pretty.

Thumbprint cookies have always been a favorite of mine and this version is so fun and really makes you feel like a kid again. With Thanksgiving and Christmas around the corner, I think this would be a great recipe to have for a cookie exchange! Drizzle it with a bit of white or dark chocolate to make it even more fancy! Enjoy!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies2

Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies

makes about 2 dozen

1 cup salted butter, softened
½ cup confectioners’ (powdered) sugar, plus ¼ cup more for dusting
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup peanut butter powder

about 1/2 cup fruit preserves or jam

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, blend butter and sugar until fluffy and light, 2 minutes. Add vanilla and salt, scraping down bowl as needed. Pick up the baby, who has been crying at your knee for the past ten minutes and hold her while you try to measure out peanut butter powder. Let her sneeze into it. Do everything with one arm tied behind your back. Switch to low and gently mix in flour and peanut butter powder, just until combined.

Roll tablespoonfuls of dough into 1-inch balls. Create some interest by making some pea-sized and some into the shape of a carrot. Pretend to eat them, but then actually do. Place dough balls on parchment lined baking sheets. Press down the center of each ball with your thumb, making a slight depression, or a hole clean through to where you can see the bottom of the baking sheet.

Fill cookie centers with a teaspoonful of preserves and be sure to lick the spoon between each cookie. Makes it better. Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown and puffy, but take care not to over-bake. Let cool a few minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to finish cooling on wire rack.

When cookies are completely cooled, eat seven or eight with a glass of milk while singing every song you know in your best cat voice. Cookies can be kept in airtight container at room temp for a few days. Emphasis on “can.”

*recipe adapted from Chew Out Loud

Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies

Chicken in a Biskit Fried Chicken on a Biscuit

fried chicken and cream biscuits with maple butter
You read that right. Buttermilk-brined chicken thighs, breaded in ground up Chicken in a Biskit crackers and fried. Served on top of a fluffy cream biscuit and finished off with a spread of salted maple butter.
I make no apologies. For any of it. It was one of the best little chicken sandwiches I’ve ever had. And it really wasn’t that difficult! We had the idea a while back and thought it was too good of a play on words to not do it. So we did it! Matt put the chicken thighs in the brine the night before but the meal itself took less than an hour from start to finish. And a made a side of carrot “fries” to go along with everything.
Have you ever had Chicken in a Biskit crackers? If you haven’t, you should try them. Oddly addicting. They have a sweet/savory flavor combo that I’ve tasted in other crackers, but this one, in my opinion, was the first of its kind and remains the best. It’s an old cracker (well, not literally, but the brand is old!) I can remember these crackers as a kid and I honestly hadn’t bought a box since, but for this little project, it’s well worth it.

Start this the night before you want to eat it so that you can get your chicken in the brine. The rest doesn’t take that long – about an hour from baking the biscuits through frying the chicken.  Enjoy and let me know if you love it as much as we did!

Chicken in a Biskit Fried Chicken and Biscuits with Maple Butter

Chicken in a Biskit Fried Chicken on a Biscuit

  • Servings: 6-8 sandwiches
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For the Biscuits* (taken from Smitten Kitchen – which looks a lot like the scone recipe I use from America’s Test Kitchen – both are awesome and yield similar results):
3 tablespoons (45 grams) melted butter
2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the surface
1 tablespoon (15 grams) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon (15 grams) sugar (optional)
1 1/2 cups (355 ml) heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Melt butter in a small pot or microwave dish, and set aside. Sift two cups flour, the baking powder, salt and (if using) sugar into a large bowl. Fold in 1 1/4 cups cream. If the dough is not soft or easily handled, fold in the remaining 1/4 cup cream, little by little. (I ended up using two additional tablespoons, or half the unused cream.)

Turn dough onto a floured surface, mound it into a ball and, using your hands, press it to a thickness of about 3/4 inch. Cut into rounds, 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Gather dough scraps and continue to make rounds. Dip the top of each round in melted butter and arrange on the baking sheet. Bake until golden, 12 to 15 minutes.

chicken in a biskit fried chicken on a cream biscuit

For the Chicken:

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs; trimmed and cut in half
Buttermilk brine (we use Serious Eat’s Southern Fried Chicken for nearly every fried chicken recipe we do):
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg

For the Dredge:
1 cup flour
1 egg + 1/4 cup buttermilk
1 box Chicken in a Biskit crackers, pulsed fine in a food processor

vegetable oil for frying
Combine the paprika, black pepper, garlic powder, oregano, and cayenne in a small bowl and mix thoroughly with a fork.Whisk the buttermilk, egg, 1 tablespoon salt, and 2 tablespoons of the spice mixture in a large bowl. Add the chicken pieces and toss and turn to coat. Transfer the contents of the bowl to a gallon-sized zipper-lock freezer bag and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, and up to overnight, flipping the bag occasionally to redistribute the contents and coat the chicken evenly.

Take the chicken out and pat dry with paper towels. Dip the thighs in the flour first, then the egg/buttermilk mixture, then the cracker crumbs. I double dipped each piece to get lots of crunch (so dip once more in the egg and then the crackers.) Set aside till you’re done with all the pieces before frying.

Preheat your oven to 200F. (Your oven should still be hot from the biscuits! You’ll keep your fried chicken pieces in the oven to stay warm and crispy while you finish setting your table or wiping kids’ butts or whatever it is you have to do while you try to make dinner.)

Heat about an inch of oil in a skillet over medium high heat until it’s shimmering. Fry each piece of chicken for about 4-5 minutes per side, until the chicken is golden brown and registers 170F on an instant-read thermometer. If you’re thinking you’re about to burn the breading, transfer the chicken pieces to a baking sheet and finish cooking in the oven.

maple butter

For the Maple Butter:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Combine all ingredients until thoroughly incorporated. Spread on biscuits and top with chicken pieces. We also doctored the sandwiches up with a bit of mustard, hot sauce and candied jalapenos, but just the chicken, biscuit and butter are enough.

Lamb Burgers with Cucumber and Mint

Lamb Burgers
Burgers are a favorite dinner item in this house. I can put nearly anything on a burger and my three year old will eat it. She may pick it off after a bite or two, but it’s almost like the word “burger” justifies just about anything included. I couldn’t quite sell her on having the tangy mint and cilantro lime yogurt on top, but I figure as long as she is willing to try something that looks like this, we are doing good.

I don’t really cook with lamb all that often. It’s not on my carnivore radar, but it really is deeply flavorful and lean at the same time. Because of it’s low fat percentage, I added an egg to the meat mixture, kind of reminiscent of a meatball recipe. We topped the burgers with cool slices of cucumber, lots of chopped mint and cilantro and the zesty yogurt sauce and called it a success. I think bits of feta incorporated into the patties would’ve been even better – there’s always room for creativity and error in creating a burger and that’s why it’s one of the most enjoyable dinners to make around here. Not to mention everyone can top them in their own way, so a particular palette doesn’t get ridiculed.

lamb burgers with mint, sour cream and cucumber

Lamb Burgers with Cucumber and Mint

1 pound ground lamb
1/2 sweet onion, diced fine (about 1/2 cup)
1 egg
1/2 cup chopped cilantro and mint, divided
1/2 cup full fat plain yogurt or sour cream
1 tablespoon lime juice
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cucumber, sliced
buttered onion rolls

In a medium bowl, combine the lamb, onion, egg and half the cilantro and mint. Add a teaspoon of salt and pepper and mix well to combine. Form into somewhat loose patties and cook on a buttered grill or griddle about 2 minutes per side and an instant read thermometer reads at least 160F.

Combine the yogurt, lime juice and other half of the cilantro and mint and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve on top of burgers with sliced cucumbers on buttered onion rolls.


Rustic Tomato Tart

Rustic Tomato Galette

rustic tomato pie

Deep Dish Tomato Pie
Deep Dish Rustic Tomato Pie
There’s no better time than the middle of October to post about a beautiful, summery tomato pie. :P In my defense, my tomato plants were late bloomers and didn’t really start ripening until the end of September. But I can see this amazing pie going either way: an homage to the bright, sweet, summertime flavors, or being comforting and warming with a depth of rich tomato flavor fitting for the colder months. I can not vouch for this recipe if you use tomatoes from the grocery store, but I would imagine it wouldn’t be half bad, considering the bake time and the way the tomatoes almost go sun-dried in flavor on the top layer. If you do that, make sure the tomatoes you buy are pretty soft and ripe and maybe just stick to Roma tomatoes to be safe.

This pie has a bright, peppery and tangy whole-grain mustard on the bottom of the tomatoes and the smooth, chewy layer of cheese in the middle and then topped with two layers of extra ripe heirloom, beefsteak and Roma tomatoes. I decided to use half whole-wheat flour in my usual crust recipe because whole wheat absorbs more moisture and I knew this pie would be pretty juicy. And it is quite juicy, but I decided to stop thinking it had to be like a tart and started to embrace the tomato for what it is: a fruit to be used in a fruit pie! And every fruit pie I’ve ever had, has an adequate amount of juiciness throughout. Why should a tomato pie be any different? So if you will embrace it, too, I think you will really love this recipe. The flavors are electric. And I hope that you have some good tomatoes left in your garden. And if you don’t, you’re more than welcome to stop by and pick some from mine! Happy October :)

Rustic Tomato Tart Rustic Deep Dish Tomato Pie

Rustic Tomato Galette

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: 2hrs
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1 recipe fool-proof pie crust with half the flour being whole wheat
About 3 pounds fresh tomatoes in an assortment of sizes and varieties
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
2 cups low-moisture mozzarella (shred it yourself – don’t buy pre-shredded or it won’t melt right)
dried oregano
salt and pepper
1 egg, whipped

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Slice the tomatoes into 1/4″ slices and lay out on paper towel-lined sheet pans. Sprinkle with kosher salt on each side of the tomato and let them sit and drain for a few minutes this way. This draws out excess moisture. Let the tomatoes drain while you handle the crust.

Roll your pie crust out and gently form it into a 10″ cast iron pan, letting the excess hang over the edges. Spread the whole grain mustard evenly on the bottom of the crust. (I used this brand and yes, it looks like nothing but mustard seeds!)

Spread the shredded mozzarella over the mustard and then give the cheese a generous sprinkling of dried oregano.

Arrange the tomato slices evenly over the cheese in an overlapping pattern. Sprinkle that layer with oregano and then finish up with the rest of the tomatoes. Gently fold the overhanging pie crust over the tomatoes. It doesn’t have the be perfect. “Galette” is French for “I stopped caring how this looks.” So you get a free pass. If the crust breaks off, just pinch it back together. Really, this is forgiving and you want the extra crust to be there. It’s a buttery, flaky, tomato-juice-absorbing wonder.*

Place the pie on a rimmed baking sheet and brush the crust with egg. Bake for an hour, until the crust is golden brown and the pie is bubbling like crazy. Place a sheet of tin foil over the pie and let it bake another 15 minutes. Let it sit for ten minutes before slicing and serving.

*At this point, you can chill your pie overnight if you’re making this ahead. If you do that, increase your bake time to an hour and a half (or even longer – you’re just wanting a deep brown in your crust and an almost caramelized top layer of tomatoes.)

Apple Crisp: Food Memories

Fall Apple Crisp
I’ve done a few posts on food memories from my own family and ones from friends and I love those posts more than any other. They are more than just recipes – they are links to the past and to feelings that can’t be accessed any other way. Food is such a tie to our heritage, to our families and to the love we felt when we first experienced those memorable dishes. I never tweak these recipes because it’s my job to post about and honor the memory, not the recipe itself. My dear friend, Becky, had this picture of her grandmother’s hand written recipe on her Instagram account and when I saw it, I knew I had to make it.

Last year, Becky invited me over to look through her grandmother’s things before they had an estate sale in the wake of her passing. I had the honor of taking home a patchwork quilt she had made. Not only do my girls play on it outside nearly every day, but I used it as a backdrop for the photos I took of the final dish. I hope it makes this post that much more meaningful for my friend.

The recipe itself is completely delicious and comforting and full of the essence of the fall season! I love that it calls for “oleo” – a sure sign the baker lived through the 50s :) So this was the only tweak I made by using butter instead. I also topped the apple crisp with cinnamon horchata ice cream because I was all out of whipping cream. I’m sure if Nana could have tasted the ice cream, she wouldn’t mind the substitution.

I asked Becky to share a few thoughts about her Nana and this recipe. She also provided this amazing picture and it makes me wish I’d known her. She looked so joyful.

My Nana (Oma Lee) was the 5th of 6 kids born in 1926 to a generous, kind-hearted family. They took in the homeless, cared for the sick, fed the hungry. They also laughed more than most.

For a couple of years while I was in college, I got to live with her and got to know her on a deeper level. She was a counselor to me, a friend, comic relief, an adult when I acted like a child. We watched Miss America pageants and Hallmark movies together and ate dilly bars from DQ.

Nana shared an apple “pie” recipe with me during that time, and it’s the only apple pie I’ve ever made, because its kinda fool proof (I need that) and darn tasty.

I made it for her once and she went on and on about how delicious it was. When I reminded her it was one of her recipes, she laughed for the longest time then said in a straight voice, “well that’s why it’s so good”. Man, I miss her.

Apple Crisp 2

Apple Crisp

6 cups peeled, sliced apples
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons melted butter
For the streusel topping:
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup butter

Whipped topping or ice cream to garnish

Preheat the oven to 375F. Mix together apples, sugar, cinnamon, salt and melted butter.  Place in a greased 8″ square baking dish. Set aside.

Combine the 3/4 cup sugar and flour and then cut in the butter until the texture is fine crumbles. Sprinkle over the apples. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until apples are tender*. Serve warm with dollops of whipped topping (or ice cream!)

*Becky advised that I brown the apple crisp for a few minutes under the broiler because it doesn’t really get brown during baking.

Buffalo Chicken Tacos with Blue Cheese Celery Pico

Buffalo Chicken Taco
Buffalo sauce and blue cheese always make me think of football season. Maybe because this combination, for me, is rooted in the Superbowl array of gastronomical craziness or the fact that I see buffalo wings as “dude food” and one of my husband’s favorite flavor combinations. Whatever the reason, buffalo chicken and blue cheese is pretty darn delicious and these tacos make a more dinner-friendly version than the messy buffalo wing, fifteen-napkins-needed standard. (Guess who is Type A in our relationship?)

These tacos are AMAZING. Frying strips of boneless chicken thighs makes for extra tender pieces. We tossed the fried chicken in our standard tangy buffalo sauce, then topped them with some crunchy blue cheese celery pico and blue cheese sour cream. We did a non-buffalo version for our little girl and it was still delicious! I highly recommend this recipe for the fall season of football game get-togethers!

Buffalo Chicken Tacos buffalo chicken tacos with blue cheese cream and pico Fried Chicken Taco with Pico

Buffalo Chicken Strips We used this exact recipe, but we used boneless chicken thighs and cut them into strips before marinating and breading. I’ll post the recipe below in case you don’t want to click :)

  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 1/2 pounds bone-in, skin-on breasts, legs, drumsticks, and/or wings (We used boneless thighs cut into strips here)
  • 1 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 cups vegetable shortening or peanut oil

    Combine the paprika, black pepper, garlic powder, oregano, and cayenne in a small bowl and mix thoroughly with a fork.

    Whisk the buttermilk, egg, 1 tablespoon salt, and 2 tablespoons of the spice mixture in a large bowl. Add the chicken pieces and toss and turn to coat. Transfer the contents of the bowl to a gallon-sized zipper-lock freezer bag and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, and up to overnight, flipping the bag occasionally to redistribute the contents and coat the chicken evenly.

    Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, 2 teaspoons salt, and the remaining spice mixture in a large bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of the marinade from the zipper-lock bag and work it into the flour with your fingertips. Remove one piece of chicken from the bag, allowing excess buttermilk to drip off, drop the chicken into the flour mixture, and toss to coat. Continue adding chicken pieces to the flour mixture one at a time until they are all in the bowl. Toss the chicken until every piece is thoroughly coated, pressing with your hands to get the flour to adhere in a thick layer.

    Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350°F. Heat the shortening or oil to 425°F in a 12-inch straight-sided cast-iron chicken fryer or a large wok over medium-high heat. Adjust the heat as necessary to maintain the temperature, being careful not to let the fat get any hotter.

    One piece at a time, transfer the coated chicken to a fine-mesh strainer and shake to remove excess flour. Transfer to a wire rack set on a rimmed baking sheet. Once all the chicken pieces are coated, place skin side down in the pan. The temperature should drop to 300°F; adjust the heat to maintain the temperature at 300°F for the duration of the cooking. Fry the chicken until it’s a deep golden brown on the first side, about 6 minutes; do not move the chicken or start checking for doneness until it has fried for at least 3 minutes, or you may knock off the coating. Care- fully flip the chicken pieces with tongs and cook until the second side is golden brown, about 4 minutes longer.

    Transfer the chicken to a clean wire rack set on a rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven. Cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 150°F and the legs register 165°F, 5 to 10 minutes; remove the chicken pieces to a second rack or a paper-towel-lined plate as they reach their final temperature. Season with salt and serve—or, for extra-crunchy fried chicken, go to step

    Place the plate of cooked chicken in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, and up to overnight. When ready to serve, reheat the oil to 400°F. Add the chicken pieces and cook, flipping them once halfway through cooking, until completely crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack set on a rimmed baking sheet to drain, then serve immediately.

    *taken from Serious Eats

For the Celery Pico:

2 stalks celery, sliced
1 jalapeno, diced
1/4 cup diced tomato
1/4 diced white onion
1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
squeeze of lime
pinch or two of celery salt
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all these things and adjust seasoning to taste!

For the Buffalo Sauce:
One bottle of Frank’s Red Hot
1 stick of butter
Salt to taste
1 tsp worchestershire sauce
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Combine the hot sauce and butter in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and adjust seasoning to taste.

Blue Cheese Sour Cream

Kinda self explanatory. Just take a half cup of sour cream and add in 1/2 cup blue cheese dressing and 1/4 cup fresh blue cheese crumbles. Adjust to taste with salt and pepper and lemon juice.


Crusty Country French Toast

Crusty Country French Toast
Everyone needs a good French toast recipe in their pocket. Especially if you are a home baker (or are married to one) and always have a stale butt-end of a loaf of bread on your counter. Matt makes bread all the time and it’s this really amazing, crusty, rustic sourdough that we plow through, typically, with only the tiniest bit on the end that dries out brick-tough that we give to our dog. But occasionally, he will make two loaves and I will have a bit more than I can use in a week. I wanted to have a French toast recipe that I didn’t have to look up – one that was easy to memorize – for just such occasions. I wanted it to work with a bread as crusty as a non-enriched loaf can get. (Enriched refers to added sugar, oil or butter that makes bread soft like sandwich bread, and makes bread less apt to get rock hard when it goes stale.) Matt just uses his sourdough starter, flour, salt and water. It makes an amazingly chewy, crusty bread, but it’s not exactly conducive to a pb&j for a little person.

This recipe will work with bread that is really tough and even soft bread like challah (the ultimate French toast bread). The difference is the soak time. If you’re using really soft, not-so-stale bread, just leave it in the mixture for less time. I left this bread in the mix for almost an hour, flipping them over after thirty minutes. I got up early to feed a baby, then she went blissfully back to sleep, so I had an hour :) So the French toast had that sought-after custardy interior that is very easily obtained by using a softer loaf. Whatever bread you have, this recipe will work. Tuck it away for the weekend and try to memorize it – it’s worth it.

Country Bread French Toast Country Bread French Toast with Bananas

Crusty Country French Toast

8 thick slices of stale bread
4 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream (you can honestly use whatever milk you have, but the richer the better, obviously)
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste (or regular vanilla extract – I like vanilla)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (1/4 tsp table salt)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/8th of a teaspoon of almond extract

A few tablespoons of butter for frying

Preheat your oven to 200F.

Arrange the slices of bread in a 13×9″ dish and squeeze them in or cut them up into smaller pieces if you have to (or work in two batches if you have a smaller dish). Combine all the other ingredients in a large bowl and whip up till very well incorporated. Pour mixture over the bread and let the bread soak it up for 10-30 minutes per side, depending on the staleness of your bread. If you’re using a soft bread like Texas toast, just let it soak a few minutes per side until it oozes out if you poke it. For a rustic loaf that’s near crouton-consistency, let the slices soak for a good thirty minutes per side. If you have lots of leftover mixture (the thickness of your bread will determine this), you can save it in a sealed container for a week and use it again next weekend. Or just makes lots of batches and freeze the leftovers to pop in the toaster on another day!

In a non-stick skillet over medium high heat, melt a tablespoon of butter and work in batches, frying the toast until golden on each side, about 3-5 minutes per side. Keep the toast in a single layer in your oven to keep warm until you’re done cooking the rest. Serve with melted butter and your favorite topping. Shown below with my homemade peach preserves – hooray for summer! :)

Crusty French Toast

Potatoes That Taste Better Than The Chicken

Roasted Chicken and Potatoes
Fall is around the corner, my friends. The beginnings of fallish things are happening from the wonderful cooler temperatures and crisp mornings to the not-so-wonderful appearance of Christmas decorations ALREADY. I’m not one to start up the Christmas music until the day after Thanksgiving and I’m not one to drink a pumpkin spiced latte until it can actually do its job of warming me up because I’m cold from natural causes (as in, I didn’t sit in my car with my AC on full blast to get the same effect. That’s cheating AND rushing the perfect moment, which I feel, should come about authentically.) My friend Libby is rolling her eyes at me because she LOVES rushing fall and pretending it’s cold outside. In fact, she already had a pumpkin spiced latte! :) I’m fine with seasonal enthusiasts. Honestly – whatever makes you happy! But as for me and my household, we won’t decorate for Christmas until Thanksgiving is over. :)

Another thing that makes me happy is starting to think about fall dinners. I love the braising and stewing and the simmering of heavy, warm spices on the stove. One meal that gets me to thinking about the warmth of the winter is this simple and yet divine dish: roasted chicken on top of potatoes. We made this recipe a loooong time ago by Jean-Georges Vongerichten. His recipe was so delicious, we’ve done it a few dozen times since and have varied and simplified and it’s always delicious and always perfect. I never mess this recipe up and it’s always so amazingly delicious. And let’s not ignore why: the potatoes are cooked in schmaltz. You’d also be delicious if you were roasted in chicken fat.

I also love this recipe because it is one of those dishes that everyone can agree on. Add a salad or some braised greens and you’ve got yourself a complete meal!

Potatoes Cooked in Chicken Fat Chicken Potatoes

Potatoes Taste Better Than the Chicken*

1 whole chicken, about 3 lbs
2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
coarsely ground salt and pepper
butter to coat the pan and chicken
1 head of garlic, sliced in half
sprigs of thyme, rosemary, whatever you have

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Butter a large cast iron skillet and place the cut potatoes in a single layer. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Pat your chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. Rub with butter and then stick the halved garlic head into the chicken cavity and add whatever herbs you like. Place the chicken on one of its sides on top of the potatoes.

Roast for 20 minutes. Turn the chicken onto its other side and roast another 20. Then, turn the chicken breast-side up and continue roasting until juices run clear and an instant-read thermometer says at least 165F, about 15-20 minutes more. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes and carve on top of the potatoes and serve them along with the chicken. Beautiful.

*adapted from Jean-Georges Vongerichten

Curried Corn Fritters

Curry Corn Fritter
Last week I posted a recipe for Curried Cream Corn and today I want to share with you what to do with the leftovers! In our house, we still have leftovers on a regular basis. With just two adults and one three year old who eats like a bird, we don’t usually use up side dishes in one meal. I transform a side dish into probably four different things by the time the week is over. I might start off with simple roasted corn at the beginning of the week and by the time it’s gone, it’s become part of a chicken wrap, a hash, an omelette, a souffle or perhaps just made into baby food.

With this curried cream corn, however, the flavors stack up perfectly to become a tasty little fritter. This is another recipe where I just eyeballed the amounts, but I think it’s pretty fool proof and I do have amount approximations for you to follow. Serve these fritters with a bit of sour cream and a side salad for a light(ish) Meatless Monday!

Curry Corn Fritters

Curried Corn Fritters

  • Servings: about 12 fritters
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2 cup of leftover curried cream corn
1 cup flour
1 egg
chopped chives
1/2 tsp kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
ooo, jalapenoes would be good!

In a large bowl, combine your creamed corn, flour, salt and pepper, egg and chives (and whatever else you think sounds good!) and whisk to combine. You may need more flour depending on how much liquid your curried cream corn still had remaining. You may have cooked off more than I did, so depending on how liquidy it is, add a bit more flour so that your mixture resembles thick cake batter. If it is dry, thin it out with a little milk.

Heat olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat until it shimmers and drop the fritter batter by tablespoons and let them fry about 2 minutes per side, or until dark brown on both sides. Remove and let them drain on a paper-towel lined baking sheet and keep them warm in a 200 degree oven until you’re ready to serve.