Saturday, March 22, 2008
Mixed olives and rosemary crostini
Ham (heat and serve)
Roasted potato slices with homemade aioli
Steamed asparagus with lemon
M and I are celebrating Easter (at least the dinner part) one night early. Our family is leaving for a week long trip on Monday morning, and it seemed weird to do the big dinner right before a trip. This way we can have ham sandwiches tomorrow after T's egg hunt. Regardless, because this is right before a trip and it's just us, this is a pretty scaled back holiday meal for our house. It feels festive even though it's very low key. There are no recipes to post for tonight (yes, it's that scaled back). You warm the ham, blend minced garlic, lemon, salt, and pepper into some mayonnaise to make aioli, roast potatoes, and steam asparagus. Very easy. I hope all of you who are celebrating around now enjoy your feasts!
Time: 50 minutes, mostly unattended as potatoes roast
Make ahead: Yep. I like roast potatoes best fresh, but they can sit and be re-warmed if need be.
J: "Easter Vigil = easy, festive, and sinfully yummy!"
M: "Happy Easter!"
Friday, March 21, 2008
Poached stripper fish (recipe in the comments)
Whole wheat cous cous
Baby carrots, green beans, and wax beans
We always try to have something very simple on Good Friday. This years choice is both one of our simplest and also most loved dishes. Poaching fish is incredibly easy - it's almost impossible to do badly - and it's a very healthy way to cook fish. It was our second "go to" fish preparation after we perfected a variety of packet recipes, and I feel like it's even easier and certainly faster. We created this version of poached fish many years ago and rely on it when we're in the mood for a simple supper. That said, the flavors are so delicate and the preparation so easy to perfect, this is an ideal dish for company. Stripper is a new fish to us, but was featured in the Trader Joe's flyer. I was very impressed. It has a meatier texture than a fish like sole, and, thus, more presence on the palate, while maintaining the same mild taste. Even better it's less expensive than sole! Win win.
Difficulty: Super easy
Time: 20 minutes
Make ahead: I would do this all right before serving.
J: "Simply perfect."
M: "The best easy fish recipe in the world."
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Pear and blue cheese flatbread (recipe in the comments)
Spinach, white bean,and shallot salad
This is a new recipe from Cooking Light. I thought that their cooking directions were way off (far too long on the crust), but the blind baking (baking the crust with no toppings) followed by regular baking actually makes this more of a flatbread than a pizza. The crunchy result is very satisfying. M and I love pears and blue cheese and wanted to make this before pears were out of season. The pears are still very flavorful and, as we could get up to 10"of snow tomorrow, - after a week or more in the 40s!!! - a light, but winter-y dish seemed appropriate. Will spring ever truly be here?
Chopping: Red onion, sage, pears, shallots
Time: 30 minutes
Make ahead: You could pre cook the onions for the pizza, but I would do the rest last minute.
J: "Elegant enough to make a weeknight feel special."
M: "Surprisingly complex."
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Corned beef hash (recipe in the comments from 3/17)
Mixed collard, turnip, and mustard greens
Today is meal two from the St.Patrick's celebration. We had just under 4 lbs of corned beef to start, had it for dinner and then M had a lunch of it, so we only had 2 cups of corned beef, rather than the 3 cups this recipe calls for. But, hey, hash is all about stretching food, right? This is a great recipe for any sort of meat hash. We have had excellent results with turkey (using leftover mashed potatoes from Thanksgiving) and salmon. The salmon is especially unusual and very tasty. You can even use canned, boneless, skinless salmon for it. Easy and yummy. The recipe is very forgiving on amounts and if you'd like other vegetables in there, by all means add them. Some people like to make hash patties and fry them individually, more like potato pancakes. That would certainly work with this recipe. This is also a great breakfast/brunch option. As for tonight, the St. Patrick's celebration continues!
Chopping: Corned beef, onion,bell pepper, parsley
Time: 30 minutes
Make ahead: Saves great!
J: "We live in Hash House."
M: "Potatoes. Onions. Meat. Eggs. Need I say more?"
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Monday, March 17, 2008
Corned beef with carrots, potatoes, and onions (recipe in the comments)
Grainy mustard and horseradish
Boiled cabbage (recipe in the comments)
Guinness ice cream (Thank you Zingerman's!)
This is dinner one of three meals that will come from this one piece of meat! How very Irish! We make a crock pot corned beef with lots of vegetables and the slow cooking creates a wonderful broth, which we save. It freezes beautifully and in a few weeks will make an incredible corned beef broth soup. Later this week, we'll use the leftover meat to make corned beef hash. Yum, yum! All three recipes are included in the comments from today's post. Even though we're not Irish, we love this holiday and the amazing food we get to make to celebrate. Doing it in the crockpot just makes the preparation easier and the celebrating comes earlier in the evening - important when you have a 21 month old and it's Monday :)
Difficulty: Super easy
Chopping: Carrots, potatoes, onions, cabbage
Time: 20 minutes prep, 8-10 hours cooking (unattended), 15 minutes to cook the cabbage last minute (mostly unattended)
Make ahead: You bet your leprechaun.
J: "Maybe we are Irish."
M: "Faith and begorrah!"
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Penne arrabbiata (recipe in the comments)
It's another easy meal so that we can prep a crock pot dinner for tomorrow! Of course, tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day. I know the church officially moved it back to last Saturday so the happy feast wouldn't be during Holy Week, but, hey, it's the Monday of Holy Week, not Good Friday or anything. Anyway, we're having the American traditional corned beef and cabbage with trimmings. Last year we created a crock pot version of the traditional meal that actually turns into THREE dinners. But that's enough here about tomorrow, check in then to see what we do. As to today, we're having one of our oldest and most tried and true speed dinners - penne arrabbiata or angry pasta. A simple spicy tomato sauce over hot pasta. I have eaten this out in many restaurants as ours is one of my favorite dishes. Most of the time it's not very spicy or has way too many ingredients for my taste. This version is both spicy (and you can make it more so) and incredibly simple, not to mention incredibly fast to make. It's a good recipe to have in your arsenal, for nights when you are making two dinners (like us) or when you just don't have to oomph to do much more than this.
Difficulty: Super easy
Chopping: Garlic, parsley
Time: 20 minutes
Make ahead: You can make the sauce ahead and toss it with the pasta last minute.
J: "Speedy comfort with a kick."
M: "Spicy, speedy, and yummy!"
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Friday, March 14, 2008
Skillet tuna noodle casserole (recipe in the comments)
We saved this recipe for tonight this week as it seemed like a quintessential Lenten Friday meal. I happen to love tuna noodle casserole, but have never found a recipe that has enough kick for my adult tastes. Don't get me wrong - I'm not looking for this to be spicy, just more than tuna, noodles, peas, and cream of mushroom soup. We started with an Eating Well recipe that didn't include canned soup and altered it considerably to suit our tastes. I think I have previously fessed up to my dislike of mushrooms and they were a star ingredient in the original. We added spinach to the finish instead for bulk, color, and a bit of protein (not to mention an extra serving of leafy greens for the week!). Borrowing from a skillet turkey tetrazzini recipe we have, we added pimentos for a bit of flavor, yet more color, and added sauce thickening. Our end result was very good and we think with a bit more tweaking, it'll be the tuna noodle casserole we have been seeking! Our recipe (with a few additional suggestions) is the one posted. Let me know if you try it, as I'd love feedback!
NOTE: To make this the way we did you need a very large oven proof skillet. If you don't have an ovenproof skillet, you could make it without broiling the top and I think it would be fine. If you don't have a very large skillet, make it in a large Dutch oven.
Chopping: Onion, cheese
Time: 40 minutes
Make ahead: There is a make ahead preparation listed at the end of the recipe, but you do need to bake it for 65 minutes just before serving.
J: "This could be it."
M: "Shows promise as a grown up nuna and toodles."
Thursday, March 13, 2008
As the one star rating denotes, this dish was just okay. Edible, certainly, but nothing that knocked anyone's socks off.
Horrid. Kung pao should be nuclear hot so a real misnomer, the photo looks nice though. Blander than eating wallboard, if I ever had to eat that when I was starving. I even put 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes in it to spice it up since we only had plain sesame oil and it was still bland: a real loser, skip it or add like a TBSP of red pepper flakes or some sechuan peppercorns.
Really? "Blander than wallboard??? Then why are you eating it? Tasting what you're cooking is integral to cooking. If you don't like what you taste, work on it! Don't accept wallboard for dinner. Too bland? Try adding spices or pungent ingredients (like ginger and garlic). Salt is often called for (in moderation), especially if your recipe is denoted as "healthy", which can be code for bland. A small amount of salt (or soy or another salty ingredient) can make a world of difference. Something M and I are only just realizing is that sugar can also be (in small doses) an amazing flavor enhancer. It's especially good to help soften anything that is too tart or sour or bitter.
This all said, too spicy (or too sweet) is FAR harder to fix then too bland, so go easy with your modifications and wallboard can be a thing of the past.
Kung pao tofu (recipe in the comments)
This is the latest in our tofu quest. Sadly, right before we made it I looked at the online version of the recipe and noted that ALL the reader reviews were negative. They all felt like the finished product was tasteless! Uh oh. I was a bit skeptical of the reviews because several of them complained about it not being spicy enough and can easily fix that when taste testing as we cook. That said, I was on the lookout for flavorless and we made some adjustments as we went. We doubled the five spice powder and really increased the ginger and garlic. Last, we added a small amount of soy sauce. In the end, it ended up very tasty and we both really enjoyed it. That said, it wasn't that different from many stir frys we make and seemed like the prep was more intense than some others. I'm not sure where I come down on making it again.
Chopping: Tofu, bell peppers, ginger, garlic
Time: 35 minutes
Make ahead: I would do this last minute.
J: "Definitely not flavorless."
M: "I'm not sure this is that different from some of our other recipes."
We took some friends out with us to dinner at Cafe Habana. Again it was a GREAT experience. The downstairs mojito bar is one of the better bars I've been to in a long time and the food at the restaurant upstairs is phenomenal, not to mention extremely reasonably priced. What a great evening!
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
The only thing that wasn't perfect is that I used a recipe for the cupcakes I'd never used before and there was only enough batter for half the number of cupcakes they said there would be. Unsurprisingly, the cakes were pretty dense. I expect some ingredients were missing or the amounts were off or both. Even so, I don't think I've ever enjoyed a cupcake more. But with that downside in mind, I have inserted another pretty easy recipe for orange cupcakes (with the glaze and sprinkles we used) below to inspire anyone else who'd like to start cooking with their wee one!
Rainbow Cupcakes - J and Better Homes and Gardens New Baking Book
Makes 12 cupcakes
1 ¼ cups flour
1 ¼ t baking powder
¼ t salt
4 T butter, softened
1 cup sugar
¾ t vanilla
Zest from one navel orange
½ cup + 2 T milk
Glaze and topping:
1 ½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
2-3 T orange juice
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Put muffin papers in 12 muffin cups or 24 mini muffin cups.
Mix flour, baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl. Set aside.
Beat butter for 30 seconds. Add sugar, vanilla, and orange zest, beating until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat for one full minute. Add flour mixture and milk alternately, beating on low after each addition just until combined. Don’t forget to scrap the sides of your bowl. Dust out the flour mixture bowl to make the glaze in.
Risotto with Broccoli Rabe & Red Pepper Ingredients Cont.
Fill each muffin cup half way. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cupcakes have puffed and bounce back when you lightly touch the top with your finger. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then cool completely on a cooling rack.
Here's where T began to help:
Right before you’re ready to glaze, mix the powdered sugar with the orange juice until it’s a nice drizzling consistency. Use a spoon to drizzle glaze onto each cupcake. Do this on a plate or wax paper to catch drips. Shake a generous coating of sprinkles onto each cupcake.
Black eyed pea stew
Sauteed tri color peppers
We originally made this back in January and froze half of it for a later night. Our freezer has been filling up though, so we decided to eat it this week. We're basically repeating the dinner from back then. Interestingly, the freezing process softened the beans some more, but the consistency of the kielbasa suffered some. It was still good and made me want to try our version of the recipe (which is posted in the comments of the link above) soon! The best part of dinner though was the rainbow cupcakes, which deserved a post all their own ;)
Difficulty: Defrosting is always easy
Time: 20 minutes
Make ahead: Yep.
J: "Bean improvement."
M: "This *is* good."
Monday, March 10, 2008
Italian tryst soup (recipe in the comments)
The original recipe for tonight's soup was for a speedy version of Italian wedding soup that uses prepared meatballs (vegan or turkey seem like your best bets here). We have a bunch of things on the agenda for tonight so a quick and easy meal seemed warranted. I love Italian wedding soup, but had never had it with tomatoes, so was curious to try this version. Sort of like last night's "Benedict", this doesn't seem much like Italian wedding soup. So we re-tooled the recipe a bit, keeping the speed, and named it ourselves. It's an incredibly easy meal that is pretty good for you and very comforting. Enjoy!
Time: 20 minutes
Make ahead: I think this would be ok, but I would add extra broth when I reheated as the pasta and meatballs will absorb a lot as they cool.
J: "This soup is the bomb!"
M: "Italian comfort food."
Sunday, March 9, 2008
Artichoke-scrambled eggs Benedict (our version of the recipe in the comments)
Salad with tomatoes and lemon dressing
M and I love eggs Benedict, but never make them at home. This is far from a traditional version (note the lack of poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce), but it seemed exciting enough to try as our "home" version of this high-calorie favorite. We searched at several stores for the artichoke bottoms and finally found them, but in the end we both thought the whole attempt to be like eggs Benedict was distracting, as this is NOTHING like eggs Benedict. It's excellent, but you'll note the accompanying recipe is for artichoke scramble, rather than any sort of Benedict. I don't know how the presentation will come out on our version, but it will taste great. This turns out to be a very easy dinner that is incredibly yummy. It would be a good brunch as well.
Chopping: Oregano, tomatoes
Time: 30 minutes
Make ahead: You could probably roast the artichokes and pancetta ahead, but the rest should be last minute.
J: "Not Benedict, but definitely a winner!"
M: "The incredible, edible egg! (With artichokes and pancetta! Mmmmmm!)"
Saturday, March 8, 2008
Beggermans stew (recipe in the comments)
Irish-style salad with Shanagarry cream dressing
We're finally back to our continuation of the St. Patrick's Day season! We had to take a week off as we had a backlog of meals to make, but we're back on track now! This is our favorite vegetarian Irish meal. It's a root vegetable soup that we make with a mixture of broth and beer as the base. Yum yum. This is the same salad from our Christmas feast - yes, it is that special. This dressing is out of this world! And, of course, who could turn down soda bread. What a treat! We bought our seasonal 12-pack of Harp today and are ready to enjoy! We're ready after two winter hike/walks AND some sledding today in temps well below freezing. March in Michigan can make you earn your supper! Sadly,while tonight's soup was wonderful in most ways, my hand was FAR to heavy on the pepper and it was very spicy. So SAD! We'll ahve to make it again soon to recover.
Chopping: Rutabaga, onion, peel potatoes, parsley, lettuce, radish, scallion
Time: 45 minutes
Make ahead: The soup saves well, but the veggies do absorb a lot of broth.
J: "We're SPICY beggars!"
M: "Delicious, but too much spice isn't very Irish."
Friday, March 7, 2008
"I agree, I agree, I agree! I think that the sacredness of "breaking the bread" is often forgotten in the face of the countless competing demands life throws our way. This brings up a factor in the "ten dinners" issue - that of planning. M and I make it a priority to plan our dinners so we can keep our meals together sacred. I don't think that we could eat so many different things if we didn't plan our meals each week. In fact, we have a tradition to our planning (which I also find pretty sacred). On Friday evenings we always have a dinner that is pretty easy to prepare. Once T goes to bed, M makes us each a cocktail and he cleans the kitchen while I sit at our kitchen table talking with him about menu ideas and writing our list. When it's done we have dinner. We both often get a bit tipsy before dinner arrives, but it's a nice kick off to the weekend. We then get up early on Saturday (so we weren't THAT tipsy) and hit the farmers market, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe's before T's morning nap. It's a life and love sustaining tradition for us. I can't wait until T is older and he can have a kid cocktail and plan too!"
I think the other aspect of our diversity of meal options is that we have a steady influx of recipe ideas. We get Cooking Light and Eating Well magazines and I subscribe to an RSS feed from Whole Foods (which sends me regular recipe updates). I also read the weekly food section in our local paper and regularly pick up food magazines, recipe booklets, etc. I have made recipe hunting a hobby. We have a large notebook of all new recipes (yes, with tabs to organize by type of recipe) that I stick hole-punched torn pages from our magazines and print outs from Whole Foods into. When I get a new recipe I'm really excited about I stick it in my calendar to look at on the following Friday when we make the list.
By having a steady source of new ideas and planning meals for each week, we don't ever find ourselves asking, "What should we do for dinner?" If we did, we'd probably have less than ten ideas we'd come up with.
Black bean and queso blanco tamales (thank you Trader Joe's)
Spanish style rice
Steamed green beans, briefly sauteed and finished in salsa verde
We actually bought these tamales to have last week the night before M's mom arrived if we had a lot to do. Since we had our emergency Chinese take-out night, these got frozen and so we have a night of easy meal prep tonight. This is always appreciated on Fridays (see second post from today) when we make the grocery list and clean the kitchen before we make dinner. I love queso blanco (and queso fresco, that entire class of cheese, actually) and these sounded too good to pass up. They are also low in fat and pretty low in sodium - all good things in a prepared food. We both really liked them and would certainly have them again!
Time: 25 minutes
Make ahead: I expect so.
J: "I've never had better vegetarian tamales."
M: "Tastes like home cooking!"
Thursday, March 6, 2008
"The hourlong parade usually includes split-pea soup, pancakes, bacon and ham, pork rinds, omelets, eggs poached in syrup, baked beans, bread and pan drippings, pickled carrots and beets, maple-syrup pie and taffy — all washed down with an optional Molson."
Vacation plans in Quebec? I think so.
Spinach and ricotta manicotti (recipe in the comments)
Salad with pears
This recipe was inspired by one on a can of Contadina brand tomatoes. Recipes on packages are often really good, as they're hoping to sell you their product. That said, the original relied too heavily on prepared ingredients and didn't have enough spinach or punchy enough flavor. We also thought it wasn't saucy enough. At any rate, we came up with this version of spinach and ricotta manicotti and are really pleased with it. You'll note that the recipe still includes tomatoes with roasted garlic and tomato paste with Italian herbs. You can use these if they're easy to find or simply increase the garlic or herbs you add if you can't get the prepared versions easily. The stores we shop in these days only sell regular tomato paste, so we just add some extra basil, oregano, and parsley. I've always wanted to try this with fat-free ricotta, but seem to always hesitate. Maybe next time :)
I'd also like to plug this particular recipe for anyone who has a fear of the time commitment required for "stuffed" food. My mom refuses to make things that require stuffing (manicotti, pasta shells, dumplings, etc), which is a stance I can sympathize with. It does take an extra minute. That said, this is a simple recipe that requires almost no chopping, so the extra step doesn't really add much prep time. Besides, who could turn down a pan of fresh cooked manicotti?
Chopping: Garlic, Parmesan
Time: 30 minutes to prep, 30 minutes to bake
Make ahead: These reheat extremely well.
J: "There's nothing that says dinner like a big pan of cheesy goodness." (With apologies to my lactose intolerant readers. Is there a goat or tofu ricotta?)
M: "Stuffed goodness."
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Abruzzese lamb pasta (recipe in the comments)
Steamed broccoli with lemon
This is the recipe I prepped last night that prompted my post on my love of slow cookers. This is a pasta sauce recipe I got from a friend and was my first try at independent conversion of a conventional recipe to a slow cooker version. Such amazing early success has fueled my later attempts, most of which have been great. This recipe is much better as a crockpot dish, as the slow cooking allows the acid in the tomatoes to mellow and the rosemary and wine to really infuse the sauce. If you're not a lamb eater or ground lamb is hard for you to come by, any ground red meat would probably work. While I often substitute ground turkey or chicken for ground beef, I don't think they would be as good in this sauce, but if anyone gives that a try let me know how it goes!
Time: 20 minutes to prep, 8 hours to cook
Make ahead: Of course.
M: "Not Baaaaaaaa-d."
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
The slow cooker (the link is a photo of our model)
I know, you're saying to yourself, "She's pushing a crock pot on me? What is this 1973?" Regular readers know how often I use my slow cooker, but for those of you who aren't avidly digesting my every word, here's my plug:
It's a busy world. M and I are often exhausted when we get home and get T into bed. Do you have any idea how wonderful it is to quietly shut his bedroom door and smell a fully cooked dinner? When we've been running around all afternoon, how amazing it is to walk into our house and smell something wonderful already cooked? Can you imagine how relaxing an evening is when we simply cook some pasta or make a salad and that's ALL WE COOK? We are true foodies, but I cannot deny that cooking is time consuming and nights off are a blessing. After using my crock pot regularly for many years now (and even more so since having a baby), I have begun regularly converting regular recipes into crock pot versions to give us that ease of preparation and save precious evening time.
Of course, effective crock pot use requires planning. We either make these meals on the weekend when we can put them together in the morning (avoiding the pre-work rush hour when we don't have an extra minute to spare) or we make them the night before and refrigerate until the morning. Yes, you read that correctly - just add 30 -60 minutes to the cooking time of your recipe to make up for the extra chill the insert will have from being in the fridge. Since most of the slow cooker recipes we make simply involve a bit of chopping and mixing ingredients, we usually just do it on a night when we have made an especially easy meal for that night's dinner.
Here's the other secret that I was unaware of when I began cooking - you don't have to make traditional recipes in your slow cooker! There are vegetarian recipes you can make in a crock pot! You can make ethnic food in a crock pot! You can make spicy food in a crock pot! In other words you can make food we like and we eat regularly in a crock pot, just more easily than with conventional methods. Keep you eyes peeled for recipes to make your weeknights more relaxing...
Crab quesadillas (recipe in the comments)
Black bean soup
Avocado and tomato salad
What do you do when you make an amazing crab dip each Christmas that only requires a half a pound of crab meat and you buy a full pound can? If you're me, you freeze the remaining half a pound and use it later for another recipe. Tonight we revisit the crab from Comet's crab dip and make crab quesadillas. I love this recipe because crab quesadillas seem very luxurious - it's crab after all - but since you only need half a pound these won't break the bank. However, one should note that this isn't a huge amount of food so the black bean soup (either frozen homemade or some canned variety you like) really is warranted. Regardless this is a great, warming dinner and easy to make.
Chopping: Scallions, cilantro, garlic, jalapeno, cheese, grape tomatoes, avocado
Time: 25 minutes
Make ahead: Do everything except the soup last minute.
J: "Am I crabby? Yes, I am."
M: "A good follow-up to Comet's crab dip."
Monday, March 3, 2008
Bree's lentil soup (recipe in the comments)
Grainy bread and butter
Butter lettuce salad with baked goat cheese, dried cherries, and pecans
It was gloriously warm here today, but has turned rainy and the temperatures are dropping, prefacing a decent size snow fall over the next couple of days. Soup was an ideal dinner choice. Somehow lentil soup; though warm and perfect for this cold, damp night; reminds me of spring - a reminder I need in these early March days! This is a recipe we've had for a long time and that we both really like. The standard procedure is to saute everything and then simmer for an hour. This makes it a less than ideal dinner for a weeknight, and I have long wanted to convert it into a slow cooker recipe. Tonight was the night and I cannot believe how much better this is as a crock pot soup! I was simply hoping for more convenient prep, but the slow cooking really allowed the flavors to marry and made an incredibly tastier end product. Fantastic! The baked goat cheese was another new experiment. We sliced goat cheese and briefly broiled it to brown and then let it cool to room temp. Another success!
Difficulty: Long unattended simmering (in a crock pot or on the stove), but super easy prep.
Chopping: Onion, garlic, goat cheese
Time: 20 minutes prep; 1, 4, or 8 hours of cooking
Make ahead: This is excellent leftover and makes a huge amount, so it's great to freeze.
J: "I can't believe this is SO much better!"
M: "Chevre me timbers and lentil it be!"
Sunday, March 2, 2008
Ham and gruyere bread pudding (recipe in the comments)
Haricot vert, wax beans, and baby carrots in Dijon vinaigrette
We're back to the aborted Lenten dinner from Friday. This is from an Eating Well master recipe that had four variations, a regular feature they used to have in their magazine. They don't do this so often anymore, I think because it's hard to flip between the master recipe and the particular version you're making. That said, we made one version of this bread pudding (with chicken sausage and arugula) many years ago and really liked it. Of course, we haven't gotten back to this to make the ham and gruyere version until now, but it's obviously held it's place in our minds. Now that we've had it, the long wait feels like opportunities missed! While I remember liking the chicken sausage version a lot, this recipe reaches a new level of transcendence. The combination of the roasted red peppers and the fresh rosemary works a culinary magic that simply took my breath away. Especially with such easy prep, this is a knock out meal. The only down side is that it cooks for an hour and then needs to rest for about 15 minutes. This makes it a weekend style meal that requires some clever organization so you're not eating at midnight. Overall though a true winner that seems especially well suited to spring.
Difficulty: Very easy prep, but a long cooking time.
Chopping: Ham, gruyere, red peppers, bread, spinach, rosemary
Time: 30 minutes prep, 1 1/2 hours total
Make ahead: This should save very well.
J: "One of our best recipes ever."
M: "Savory and satisfying."
Pimento cheese spread
Five burger sampler (M)
North Carolina pulled pork, spinach (J)
Mac n' cheese with chicken, corn, and cilantro (Mn)
Ari's doughnut sundae (M)
Lemon chess pie (J)
Rocky road gelato (Mn)
It turns out that Mn has never been to the Roadhouse with us, so while we wouldn't usually go out twice in a visit with her, we decided she had to make a trip to such an amazing restaurant! We had a great time, ate way too much, and feel all the better for it. Another home run for our favorite local hang-out.
J: "I can't believe this place is down the street."
M: "A hell of a neighborhood restaurant."
Mn: "What a festive restaurant!"