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Burrata and White Peach Crostini

7/21/14


Hamptons, I can't quit you and your quaint farm stands everywhere you turn.  We went back for a quick weekend trip, and this time I picked up some freshly baked bread, homemade Burrata cheese, juicy white peaches, locally made honey and some fresh basil.  And then I turned it all into a delicious appetizer!  Carson, who is not usually one for the sweet and savory combination, LOVED this.  Everything just came together perfectly.  White peaches aren't overly sweet, but drizzled with a little honey, on top of creamy, salty cheese, on top of crispy bread... it was perfect.  A little earthiness from the basil and a sprinkle of coarse sea salt topped it all off.  I want more.

(**Which isn't saying much, because I want EVERYTHING right now.  Only 4 more weeks left in this pregnancy and I want to eat and sleep the days away... healthy, huh?  Don't worry, though, that's not happening because I'm constantly running after my 22 month-old and there is no more room left in this belly for food.  Move over baby!  Mama wants a thousand cookies.)  


Burrata and White Peach Crostini 

Loaf of french bread, thinly sliced on a diagonal
Burrata cheese (ricotta or goat cheese would work well too, me thinks)
Extra virgin olive oil
White peaches, thinly sliced
Honey
Fresh basil, cut into thin strips
Coarse sea salt

Preheat oven to 350.  Brush both sides of bread with olive oil, and place on a baking sheet.  Bake for roughly 15 minutes, flipping bread halfway through cooking process.  Remove from oven when top of bread is lightly golden.  Spread cheese on toast and top with peach slices and basil strips.  Drizzle a small amount of honey and extra virgin olive oil over each and sprinkle with a small amount of coarse sea salt.   



Pizza Dough turned into Ciabatta Bread

7/18/14


I love making homemade bread (oh my, remember this), and even my own pizza dough (seen here), but let's face it - with two small kids, a third on the way, and the desire to shower OCCASIONALLY, I don't always have the time.  One of my favorite short cuts is to ask my local pizzeria to sell me some pizza dough.  They will!  And now that I live in New York, I can say things like "my local pizzeria" and sound more legit.  So here's an easy way to turn store-bought pizza dough into something that resembles ciabatta bread:

Preheat oven to 425.  Divide dough into thirds.  Shape with lightly oiled hands into 4-inch rounds, roughly 1/2 inch in thickness.  Place on lightly oiled, parchment-lined baking sheets.  Poke all over with a fork.  Sprinkle with Italian seasoning, coarse sea salt and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.  Bake for 10-15 minutes, keeping an eye on the bread, until it's nice and golden on top.         


This are delicious solo, or sliced in half and used as a vessel for this.

TODAY tonight: Lemon Pesto Shrimp Rolls

7/17/14


When Carson started working on The Today Show, he acquired a job perk that I'm totally not jealous of at all (nope).  Which is, EATING INCREDIBLE FOOD MADE BY INCREDIBLE CHEFS.  Not jealous!  He comes home, almost daily, and tells me he had "the best" this and "the best" that.  However, instead of pouting over this perk, I've decided to take advantage of the inspiration he offers me with these new ideas by creating a series I'm going to call "TODAY tonight."  When he raves and raves about what he ate at work, I'm going to recreate it, and I started last night with Giada De Laurentiis' Lemon Pesto Shrimp Rolls

As a regular contributor to the show, Giada has made many things Carson has loved, but this was a particular favorite.  This is shrimp, poached in a flavorful broth, tossed in a vibrantly fresh pesto sauce, accompanied by crunchy celery and smooth cannellini beans, served on delicious bread.  A perfect summer lunch or dinner, in our case.  She made two other meals that day (click on link above), all based on these five basic ingredients:      

  

Look at that color below!  My favorite.  The lemon and Italian parsley in this pesto made it so bright and delicious, and it came together in minutes...


Have you ever poached shrimp in a bowl on the counter?  I hadn't!  Just pour a hot poaching liquid consisting of wine, broth, oil and herbs over the fish, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit...




This is homemade bread too, by the way, that I made from store-bought pizza dough.  
I'll talk about that tomorrow : )  


Thank you Giada, thank you Carson, thank you Today Show! 
(I sound like an Alanis Morissette song).  

S'mores Banana Bread

7/15/14


The Internet ruins everything.  I'll show you how.  Think of an amazing idea - the best idea you've ever had - then google that idea, and you'll notice thousands of other people have had that very same thought.  Gee, thanks Internet, for stripping us of our originality and making us feel BOR-ING.  But I'll show you, I will.  The next time I wake up at 3am and think of combining s'mores with banana bread I will loudly proclaim Google DEAD TO ME and make up my own recipe (while waking up Carson and the kids with my middle-of-the-night proclamations).

But not this time.  I can't take credit for this ridiculous banana bread creation.  When I googled "my idea" and found this recipe, it just looked too good not to try out.  I happened to have 3 ripe bananas and all the other ingredients too, so, much to Carson's dismay (we still have half a Lemon Cake in our kitchen), I set off to bake this crazy thing, as my Instagram feed will show you...  



That's my big belly.

So.  This is moist, chocolate chip banana bread, lined with a graham cracker, cinnamon sugar swirl, topped with roasted marshmallows.  Breakfast?  HA!  Maybe, if you're camping and you woke up early to jog 15 miles.  Which is how I camp, yeah, sure.  You should definitely make this though, because it's summer, and s'mores should be combined with everything.  Kale S'more Salad?  BRILLIANT IDEA, IT'S MINE, DON'T GOOGLE IT.




More creative S'mores here, here, here and here.    

Easy Roasted Baby Potatoes

7/14/14


I rarely make potatoes.  Not because I don't love them (in fact I had a mad craving for baked potatoes my first pregnancy), but I guess I feel a guilt associated with eating them.  WHAT SILLINESS.  Come on, people, let's eat potatoes occasionally!!!  I don't feel guilty eating brownies for breakfast, so why should I feel guilty about eating a food packed with vitamins and minerals?!  Especially when they are roasted, not fried.  Carson made the most delicious steak over the weekend, and for a quick, easy and delicious side I roasted these baby potatoes.  Slightly crispy on the outside, perfectly tender on the inside, lots of herbs (and a hint of butter)... yum.  Thumbs up for potatoes!


Easy Roasted Baby Potatoes
(Serves 6)

1 lb. baby potatoes
2 T olive oil
2 T unsalted butter, melted
1 T fresh rosemary, chopped
1 T fresh thyme, chopped
1 T fresh chives, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425.  Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water.  Add a generous pinch of salt, and bring potatoes to a boil.  Let cook for 7-10 minutes, until potatoes can be pierced with a fork, but aren't falling apart.  Drain and run under cold water.  Make sure they are very dry, I like to dab mine with a paper towel.  Place dried potatoes in large bowl.  In a small bowl, stir together oil, butter, herbs and garlic.  Pour mixture over potatoes and stir.  Season with a generous amount of salt and pepper.  Place on a baking sheet (so that the potatoes are completely spread out) and roast for 20-25 minutes.   

Lemon Cake with Candied Lemons

7/11/14


I love when you people send me recipes.  Sometimes I get stuck, and tend to visit the same online sites for inspiration, so new ideas are ALWAYS welcome.  Especially delicious ones, that include butter and sugar (I promise I won't be pregnant for much longer).  A friend of mine (who also happens to be pregnant) sent me this lemon cake and said a chocolate lover declared this the "best cake he's ever eaten."  Well, as a fellow chocolate lover, I knew I had to investigate such a bold statement.  So I took my GOOD butter, eggs and buttermilk from the Hamptons and set off to bake a cake... (why am I talking like a hobbit on some epic adventure).       


Well, I'm still a chocolate girl, but it IS delicious.  Not overly sweet, perfectly moist, with wonderful lemon flavor.  I decided to use this Vanilla Butter Cream frosting, because I thought that the subtle saltiness in it would balance out the sweet, tartness of the lemons.  I was right!  I love being right.  Also, I don't know if the candied lemons on top are necessary, but they sure are purrrty...  







Vacation

7/10/14


It is rare that we find days in a row where Carson has time off from his 17 jobs and we have nothing else going on, but that is exactly what happened these past few days.  We jumped on the opportunity and headed to the Hamptons, where Carson's friend has a home he let us stay at.  It, was, magical.  Let me first explain that I have never been to this area, only seeing it in movies and of course on Barefoot Contessa with Ina (when we drove into town I sure did stare at every stranger walking down the street, hoping it was her... I sure did).  It was so quaint, and remote, and vast, and BEAUTIFUL.  Farms and gardens and fresh produce stands and markets everywhere.  I now understand why Ina always says, use GOOD this, or GOOD that... because everything in the Hamptons is good.

Expensive, but oh so good.    


A highlight of our stay, other than relaxing at the beach or pool, was stopping at this little market and picking up a chicken that was alive days before and fresh, pasteurized eggs.  I roasted the chicken (via this recipe) for dinner and made soft boil eggs (via this recipe) for breakfast.  Everything tasted so good... I'm considering becoming a farmer.  

Look, the kids don't even need toys on the farm!  Just tiny pebbles...     



Back home now, but feeling refreshed and inspired.  And off to make a cake with the GOOD butter, eggs and buttermilk I brought back from the magical land of Ina.    

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