French Toast with a warm Fruit Chutney

French toast isn’t so french. This meal can be traced back as early as ancient Roman times when cooks had to use every last scrap of food. Traditionally, french toast was made with stale bread, dipped in a milk and egg mixture fried in oil. So, french toast has had all different names and still does for example, American toast, German toast, etc. French toast has been a staple in my breakfast foods since I was a kid, especially on the weekends. The weekends were when my family got together and every Sunday morning there would be french toast of some kind waiting for my two brothers and I when we awoke. This meal is also significant for me because it was the one meal my mother cooked to perfection every time.

Ingredients ( Hannaford’s

100% Whole Wheat Bread – $2.50

2 Cans of Peaches – $1.25

2 Half Pints of Raspberries – $3.99 each

1/2 Gallon of MOO Milk – $3.69

1/2 Dozen of Eggs – $1.95

Total – $13.38

Directions

1. Bring sauce pan to medium to low heat. Cut peaches into small chunks and put in sauce pan. Let the peaches cook for about 5-10 minutes. While peaches are cooking put all the raspberries in a bowl and mash until they have a puree consistency or just use a blender. After the peaches have cooked add raspberries together and turn heat to low. Let simmer.

2. Place a frying pan on the stove to medium heat and add butter.

3.Then, beat all six eggs in a bowl and add a small amount milk. Add spices to taste cinnamon, and vanilla extract go very well with french toast.

4. Dip bread in egg and milk mixture and place in frying pan. Flip each piece when bottoms are golden brown.

5. When done frying place on a plate and pour the warmed peach and raspberry chutney over. Enjoy!

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Comments

At first, frying the bread was difficult; I added way too much milk in with the eggs. So, the bread would not fry right because it was too saturated in milk so it burnt and stuck to the pan. What a mess! Be careful not to make that mistake or you’ll just end up wasting bread unless you enjoy the strange combination of mushy and burnt. Another small problem I ran into was peaches. Hannaford’s did not have fresh peaches, only the canned crap. Excuse my french, but really take a second to think about this. Hannaford’s sells kiwis and dragon fruits in the middle of the winter, but I can’t get a fresh peach? That’s a little strange. Anyway, the chutney was still delicious, warmed peaches and raspberries compliment each other really well. Although, I would have preferred fresh peaches I guess you just can’t ask more of your local supermarket than to carry dragon fruit in the middle of winter. Bon appetit!

BLT!

Bacon, lettuce, and tomato who knew how simply delicious a sandwich could be? So, I feel as if the BLT does not need much of an introduction, but since I am nothing short of an avid perfectionist I’ll be happy give you one anyway. So, the actual name of this sandwich ‘BLT’ has no known founder, you could say it just happened. How the sandwich came about however is known; the BLT was a product of the late Victorian-era and was originally a sandwich that was eaten with tea (Olver). Anyway, on to the more important part of this post.

Ingredients

(All purchased from Edward’s Shop N’ Save)

Iceberg Lettuce – $1.99

Locally Grown Tomatoes – $2.99/lb

1 lb Bacon – $3.49

Mayonnaise 32 oz – $2.99

100% Whole Wheat Bread – $2.50

Total – $13.96

Directions

1. Saute entire pound of bacon on medium heat until done according to your preference.

2. While bacon is cooking slice tomato, lettuce, and toast slices of bread.

3. When bacon is finished, let cool only for a short time! You don’t want your bacon to be cold!

4. Finally, lather both slices of bread with mayonnaise and pile on the bacon, lettuce, and tomato. Enjoy!

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Comments

Other than wholesome deliciousness of such a simple sandwich, and the little to no time it takes to prepare the comments should be saved for enjoyment, but I do have to complain about one ingredient in particular: bread. I t recently has blown my mind how many loaves of bread in the supermarket contain enriched flour. The next time you find yourself picking out a loaf bread I would like you to take the time and look at the ingredients labels of all the bread that look appetizing to you. I guarantee that 99.9% of those loaves of bread you pick up will contain enriched flour and the first ingredient will be enriched flour. You might be asking ‘what’s so bad about enriched flour? Well, for starters it sounds like it should be good for you, ‘its enriched‘ well yeah, but with what exactly? Not vitamins and minerals that for sure. the enriching process is when some minerals and vitamins are extracted for a better texture and longer shelf life (Davis). This lack of nutrients and god knows what else is put into the enriched flour can all be avoided by purchasing 1005 whole wheat which always contains 100% whole wheat flour.

For more information go to:

http://www.processedfreeamerica.org/resources/health-news/48

http://www.stlouisholistic.com/Articles_EnrichedFlour.php

http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/enriched-white-flour/

Red Velvet Cupcakes & Cream Cheese Frosting for a Special Girl

March 21st, was my niece’s fifth birthday. So, I decided against the traditional ‘birthday cake’ and went with cupcakes. I cannot explain exactly why, but red velvet was the first thing that came to mind when I started brainstorming what to bake for her birthday. Baking is something I don’t do very often so  I really wanted to have fun with it and take advantage of my mothers kitchens while I was home visiting family. Plus, red velvet is a very moist cake mix and appealing to the eye especially with sprinkled frosting!

Ingredients

(Purchased at Brigido’s Marketplace)

Red Velvet Cake Mix

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Confectioners Sugar 1 box
  • Cream cheese 1 (8oz) package
  • Vanilla extract
  • Butter 1/2 cup

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Break out the cake mix, add the ingredients and get stirring! The box tells you to stir the mix for only 2-3 minutes so naturally I took my own approach and brought out the old electric cake mix. I mixed the batter for about 10 minutes to make sure all clumps were out so the cupcakes would be light and fluffy.

2. Place the cupcake wrappers in the pan and carefully pour cake mix into each wrapper 3/4 of the way full. Let bake for 20-22 minutes.

3. While cupcakes are baking start in on the frosting. Start with softened butter, cream cheese, and vanilla extract stir till smooth. Once smooth, slowly add in the whole box of confectioners sugar a little at  a time. Then, place in the fridge to solidify.

4. Then, remove cupcakes from the oven. MAKE SURE to let them cool!

5. After, all cupcakes have cooled begin frosting and decorating to your enjoyment.

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Comments

For not being a baker the cupcakes came out good, light, fluffy, and moist like I intended.  The only gripe I have, was with the cream cheese frosting. The recipe I used came from the back of the Domino’s box of confectioners sugar. The recipe only called for 3 oz of cream cheese and a WHOLE box of powered sugar! That’s just crazy, a whole box? Really? So, I made the frosting according to recipe and it came out as expected; way to sugary. So, sweet in fact I could feel cavities forming as I taste tested it. To drown out the overwhelming taste of sugar I added the other 5 oz of cream cheese. It did help the taste, but the frosting was still sweeter than I imagined a cream cheese frosting to be. So, next time I decide to get crazy and bake I will make sure to choose a different recipe for cream cheese frosting.

Beer Can Chicken: A Spring Break Adventure

As an assignment over spring break the class was asked to find a recipe, cook it, write about the differences between our results, and the recipes results. So, naturally I strayed from the path; the recipe I had picked needed a little modification. Modifications for the classic beer can chicken recipe was necessary considering the full access to a real stove due to my spring vacation trip to Rhode Island to visit my family. With the notions of beer cans and chickens dancing around my head I began preparing. A whole 4 lb chicken was purchased from the local supermarket and a twelve rack of Budweiser beer. The recipe from the Food Network that inspired me gives directions to:

“Open beer can and take several gulps (make them big gulps so that the can is half full). Place beer can on a solid surface. Grabbing a chicken leg in each hand, plunk the bird cavity over the beer can. Transfer the bird-on-a-can to your grill and place in the center of the grate, balancing the bird on its 2 legs and the can like a tripod.

 Cook the chicken over medium-high, indirect heat (i.e. no coals or burners on directly under the bird), with the grill cover on, for approximately 1 1/4 hours or until the internal temperature registers 165 degrees F in the breast area and 180 degrees F in the thigh, or until the thigh juice runs clear when stabbed with a sharp knife. Remove from grill and let rest for 10 minutes before carving.”

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/the-surreal-gourmet/beer-can-chicken-recipe/index.html?oc=linkback

Since, the only access had been to an oven I decided to:

1. Rinse the chicken off with hot water inside and out. Place it in a deep dish pot for roasting. Set the oven to 425° F. Fill a small pot with water and bring to a boil and add stuffing. Finish cooking the stuffing and set aside to cool.

2. Lather the in and outside of the chicken with spices of your choice. I decided to keep it simple: Italian seasoning, garlic, olive oil, black pepper, and salt. To add flavor and keep the chicken moist small slits were cut into the breast and chunks of butter were stuffed inside.

3. Once the stuffing has cooled begin to fill the inside of the chicken. Put a small amount of stuffing in, then pour some beer in with the stuffing and repeat till the chicken is completely stuffed(You are more than welcome to use more than one beer, but since the twelve rack of Budweiser was not mine, I only used one).

4. Then, close up the bottom of the chicken. I did not have those fancy ties so I used a small shish kabob stick just like you would use the chicken ties. After, pour the remaining beer over the chicken and into the dish.

5. Finally, place your chicken in the oven, covered, at 425 degrees F for thirty minutes. Then, reduce heat to 375 degrees F for 50-60 minutes. Once the juices run clear from all parts of the chicken it is done. If desired, place the oven on high broil for ten minutes to brown the skin. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes or so then slice and serve.

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For never making beer chicken before, it was delicious! The meat was juicy and full of flavor. It exceeded the expectations I always seem to have with chicken: dry, not much flavor, hard to chew and swallow. those negative expectation of chicken came from my childhood. My mother, afraid to under cook chicken in fear of salmonella, over cooked it every time. My uncle and cousin agreed too: The chicken was good! Do not even get me start on how good the stuffing was, that is a whole other blog post by itself!

Fried Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprout are among the many hidden delicacies within the produce section of the supermarket. Children weep in their presences and parents shrug in the slight ignorance of not knowing how to cook them. Do not fear any longer! After reading this post I can expect all parents to be running to their local food store and Brussels flying off the shelves! Before I go on I have to apologize my camera’s battery died last night so there will be no pictures this time around. Without further ado this recipe is simple, cheap, and delicious!

Ingredients & Costs

(From Hannaford’s in Belfast)

 

1 lb of Brussels Sprouts -$3.49

2 Sticks of Butter – $ 1.99

1 Bulb of Garlic – $0.49

 

Total – $5.97

 

Directions

1. First prep the Brussels by pealing back damaged and gross leaves. Then, cut off the remaining part of the stem at the bottom of the Brussels. Finally,with the same knife press and ‘x’ into the bottom where the stem was cut off. Chop as much garlic as necessary into small chunks and put aside.

2. Because prep for Brussels is very time-consuming do not heat pan on stove till about half way through prep. Place pan on stove top at medium heat add butter let the pan heat.

3. Add Brussels to the heated pan with butter, cover and let cook for about 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper (optional).

4. About half way through cooking (10 Minutes) add garlic. Stir occasionally to cook Brussels evenly and prevent garlic from burning.

5. Once finished let Brussels cool down for 5-10 minutes and serve.

 

Comments

The reason for the ‘x’ in the bottom of the Brussels allows each one to cook thoroughly. Brussels are much tastier when cooked all the way through. This one of the many reason I feel Brussels are not a common dinner food many people either burn the outside and under cook the middle or just under cook the entire sprout. So, next time you decide to not pick up Brussels sprouts for dinner remember pressing an ‘x’ into the bottom with a knife is a fool-proof way of cooking each one evenly and to perfection. Also, have you ever stuffed Brussels sprouts before? That’s right I said ‘stuffed’. It is possible and oh man they are delicious. Cut each Brussels in half and fry them in butter for about 10-15 minutes. After you let them cool down use a melon baller to gently scoop out the middle. Save the excess taken from the middle to add into the filling later. Leave enough outside leaves so the sprout will still be sturdy. Then, make a mix of cream cheese and sour cream, like you would for crab Rangoon, and put  in whatever you like. I put in mushrooms, garlic, the excess from the middle, and additional spices. Once the filling is whipped to a smooth consistency, use a teaspoon or a baby’s spoon to place the filling in each empty Brussels. This is the most time-consuming part of the recipe. Once all Brussels are filled, place them on a cookie sheet. Set the oven to around 420 degrees. While oven is heating sprinkle bread crumbs then Parmesan cheese over each Brussels and place in the oven till the cheese has melted and the tops are golden brown. This is a recipe that was created ‘off a whim’ last Christmas when I was trying to decide what I would cook and bring over to our holiday party.

 

Tomato, Artichoke, Feta, & Pesto Bruschettas

Delicious! This time around I wanted to recreate  an authentic Italian recipe. Recreating bruschetta was the right idea. I found this recipe on the Delallo website among many other delicious looking recipes. Bruchetta is an Italian dish usually served as an appetizer, to learn more check out Culture Discovery. I put a twist of my own on this recipe by using a french baguette instead of an Italian loaf.

Ingredients & Prices

(From Belfast Co op)

French Baguette – $3.19

Basil Pesto – $4.39

1 Large tomato $0.79

1 Jar of Artichokes – $3.89

Feta Cheese – $2.90

Total – $15.16

Directions

1. Heat skillet to medium heat, add olive oil. While pan is heating cut slice of bread 1 inch thick and chop garlic.

2. Once pan is hot add slices of bread. Add chopped garlic too, but keep a close eye on the garlic so it doesn’t burn.

3. Flip slices of bread until both sides are golden brown.

4. Once fully cooked, remove from stove top.

5. While the bread is cooling add fixings, chopped garlic goes first, than add a thin slice of tomato, artichoke, crumbles of feta, and a splash of pesto.

6. Leave the bruchetta to finish cooling down for about 5 minutes or so then serve and enjoy!

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Comments

To all who read this: You must make these bruchettas! They are like small bites of heaven. The only problem I ran into while preparing the bruchettas is trying to find the right mix of tomato, artichoke, pesto, and feta. What is the proper mix that everyone will enjoy? Luckily, my roommates are not picky when it comes to food. I’m not saying they are garbage disposals, but they are definitely not your traditional snobby food critic either. The wonderful benefit of cooking for this blog and having roommates is the so politely offered constructive criticism upon request. Upon that request I found any mix of tomato, artichoke, feta, and pesto is delicious. Unless, of course, you have a preference in which case that should be discussed before hand. Besides the ‘perfect mix’ dilemma the bruschettas went well. Preparation was easy, grill each slice of baguette and add your fixings! Oh! Don’t forget the garlic! Remember: There is never too much garlic!