Saturday, April 19, 2014

Sourdough Toast with Green Onion Pesto and Hard Boiled Eggs

You guys.  

Peeling hard boiled eggs is the equivalent of getting a root canal for me.  Except getting a root canal is much more pleasurable and relaxing. 

I have read and done every hard boiled egg tutorial known to man, my eggs were weeks old, I have tried salt in the water, peeling under cold water, blah, blah, blah, and, for me,  it's still the toughest job in the kitchen.  I just can't do it without pulling off large chucks of the white flesh.  And I accept that.  I am at peace.  And although I love to eat them, I just don't make them often because of my rage issues.

(Just kidding.  I don't have rage issues.  Until I begin to peel hard boiled eggs, then yes.)

But I suffered through a batch yesterday, because for the last month I've been toying around with a recipe idea in my brain, and I finally made it yesterday.  And let me tell you, it did not disappoint.  

This green onion pesto screams spring to me.  I can always find green onions at the store and they are fragrant and flavorful and, I think, a little under-appreciated item in the produce section.  And making them into pesto is the perfect condiment for your Easter table and for all those leftover hard boiled eggs you will have.  Green onion pesto on some toasted and buttered sourdough bread topped with hard boiled eggs is a lovely, lovely, breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Or snack.  

I bet you will have some leftover hard boiled eggs this weekend, right?

Have a blessed and happy Easter Sunday, my friends!  

My notes:

--This pesto is kind of creamy.  I didn't think it would be, but it is.  It's lovely, really.

--I used a mini food processor because that's all I have.  If you had a larger food processor with a chute, you could drizzle in the olive oil at the last, like it's traditionally made.

--You can adjust the amount of olive oil to make it thinner or thicker.  Mine was pretty thick.  You could also add a little bit of water to thin it out.

--You could also use a different type of nut.  Pine nuts are traditional in pesto, but I used pecans.  You could also use walnuts.

--I think this would also be delicious on chicken, fish, or pasta.  But I love, love my sour dough toast.

Green Onion Pesto

1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 package (5.5 ounces) green onions, trimmed, washed, and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons lime or lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon water

Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until creamy and a spreadable consistency.  Serve immediately.  

Serve on buttered sourdough toast, then top with sliced hard boiled eggs.  Also great on chicken, fish, or pasta. 

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Maple and Oat Banana Ice Cream Sandwiches

Happy spring, everybody!

This is what spring looks like in Mississippi:

These pictures also represent someone who had been completely irritated and annoyed for a solid week and is trying really hard to think peaceful and kind thoughts in her mind.

The struggle is real, folks.

I didn't think I would be so happy to see spring because I love winter so much, but, yes, I am happy spring is here. Spring has won me over. *Standing ovation by blogger for spring*

And since the days are getting warmer, I've got a great little recipe today that will cool you off,  Maple and Oat Banana Ice Cream Sandwiches.


This recipe is pretty darn healthy. (And no doubt, when it is published, the healthy police people will stop by and leave a comment about how I messed up and what I did was not 'really' healthy, and blah, blah, blah.)

But I am still going with my thoughts that although this recipe may not be perfect, we really liked it, there are some healthy things in it, and I feel really good about.  So there.  Baby steps.

Here are my notes:

--You will absolutely need to line your pan with foil, to lift out the frozen layers.

--You could probably leave out the 5 teaspoons of maple syrup in the ice cream part if you want--the banana ice cream is sweet enough without it, but I just wanted a subtle maple flavor throughout.

--You could probably substitute with honey instead of maple syrup.

--I am proud of myself because I didn't use any sugar other that the maple syrup. *big cheesy grin*

--I used 5 bananas, but that could probably be adjusted depending on how thick you want your middle layer to be.

Maple and Oat Banana Ice Cream Sandwiches

4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup maple syrup
3 cups quick oats
1 1/2 cups finely chopped walnuts
5 medium very ripe bananas, peeled and cut into small chunks and completely frozen
5 teaspoons maple syrup
  1. Heat butter and 1/2 cup maple syrup in a small sauce pan, whisking until melted and smooth. Place the oats and walnuts in a large mixing bowl. Add the maple syrup mixture and mix to evenly coat.  
  2. Line two 8 x 8 inch square pans with foil letting foil hang over sides, then lightly spray with cooking spray.  Divide the oat mixture between the two pans, pressing firmly and evenly into the bottom of the pan.  Freeze until very firm, about 3-4 hours in deep freeze.
  3. Place the bananas in a food processor with 5 teaspoons maple syrup and process until smooth and creamy. 
  4. Immediately spread the banana ice cream evenly over one frozen oat layer.  Carefully lift the other frozen oat layer out of the pan by using the foil, then peel the foil off and place on top of the ice cream, pressing down slightly.  Freeze until firm.  Remove from pan using the foil to lift it out, then cut into bars quickly.
Tip:  I peel my very ripe bananas and freeze them on a baking sheet that has been lightly sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.  When they are frozen they go into a ziplock bag to store in the freezer for smoothies or ice cream. is my grandson and his freckles.  Because I can.

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Easy Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

These.  These are better than the box variety, I promise. And they're not hard to make. Basically, it's like making macaroni and cheese but with potatoes. No biggie. Except it will be big to your family who will appreciate you just a little more.

And you know you could use some appreciation.

Yeah, me too.  *hugs*

This is such a simple, basic, but delicious recipe.  You can even make it ahead of time and store it in the fridge until you're ready to bake it.  (See my notes.  I have a note about that.)

Listen, friends don't let friends eat scalloped potatoes from a box.  They just don't.

My notes:

--You can use all milk if you'd like.  I have before.  But I prefer part half and half and, yes, I can tell the difference.

--I have actually assembled this the day before and stored it in the refrigerator to bake the next day.  Be aware that salting the potato layers is going to pull out a lot of water from them overnight, though.  Mine were very watery the next day when I put them in the oven, but the water did cook out and they tasted great.

--This is just a basic, although delicious, recipe.  There a a million things you could add.  Parsley thyme, onions, garlic, chives, bacon, ham, different cheeses...the list goes on and on.  Do something wild.  Or not.

--I much prefer to shred my own cheese from a block than to buy pre-shredded cheese.  I think it melts much better and the shredded cheese in the packages just seems waxy and weird to me.

--You are going to have to cook this until the potatoes are tender, and that is going to probably be over an hour.  Just stick a fork in them to make sure their done.

--Let this cool and sit for at least 20 minutes before you serve it.  This is really important because A) this stuff is scalding hot, and B) the sauce will be super runny and it will thicken a little as it cools.

--The thinner the slices, that faster it cooks.  Slice them as evenly as possible.

Easy Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

1/4 cup butter plus extra for buttering the baking dish
1/4 cup flour
2 cups whole milk
1 cup half and half
3 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper for seasoning
3 1/2 pounds potatoes (russet, red or golden) washed and scrubbed, peeling left on

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large, heavy saucepan, melt 1/4 cup butter over medium to high heat; add flour and whisk for 1 minute.  Gradually whisk in the milk and half and half; continue to cook over medium to high heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly.  Stir in 3 cups of the shredded cheese until melted.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Remove from heat.
  3. Meanwhile, slice potatoes thinly, no more than about a 1/8 of an inch thick.  Generously butter a 13 x 9 inch or equivalent size baking dish.  Place 1/3 of the potatoes in the bottom in an even layer.  Season with salt and pepper.  Pour 1/3 of the sauce evenly over the top.  Repeat twice, then sprinkle the top with the remaining shredded cheese.
  4. Bake for 60-75 minutes OR until potatoes are fork tender all the way through and the top is golden brown.  (If top starts getting too brown before the potatoes are tender, cover with foil.)  Let cool for about 20 minutes before serving.

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