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French Waffles for Mother’s Day

15 May Fresh French Waffles, a Chef Sarah original!

Mother’s Day was last Sunday and I was lucky enough to get to spend it with my mom back home. I didn’t make plans of what to cook, so on Sunday morning I asked my mom what she wanted and she said, “You’re not suppose to ask, just do.” So I said I would make French Toast. Except they had run out of bread. WHAT?! I was a little perplexed that my parents were out of bread. But my dad said there were waffles in the freezer. So I said I would make French Waffles. (It made perfect sense in my head.) My mom looked at me like I was a little crazy and then tried hard not to laugh. She was utterly confused, but I now had a great breakfast idea and nothing was going to stop me. The secret to great French Toast is really good bread. Brioche is the best, so I figured using waffles would be an interesting substitute. And it was. We gobbled them up! Happy Mother’s Day Momma!

Helen Bauer, Mother's Day, amazing moms

My AMAZING mom, aka Mama Bauer

FRENCH WAFFLES (serves 3)

  • 6 Waffles
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • About 3 Tbsp Milk
  • 1 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 Tsp Allspice
  • Butter
  • Toppings of Your Choice

In a baking dish crack your eggs, add in your milk and whisk together. Add in your cinnamon and allspice and whisk again. Soak three waffles in the mixture. Make sure you coat both sides. Let them sit for about a minute or so. Meanwhile, heat a large nonstick pan and add about a tablespoon of butter. My mom had lemon butter she had made so I used that. (We also used it on the finished product-yum!)

Once the pan is hot add in your soaked waffles. Let cook for a few minutes then flip over and cook for another 2 or 3 minutes. Repeat for each waffle you have. If you have extra egg mixture then cook it up to serve with the rest of your breakfast. (Trust me, they’re really good!)

Serve hot with your choice of toppings. We used more of the lemon butter and topped with what my mom called Baklava Honey. Honey that has been infused with cinnamon, cloves and allspice that she uses when she makes baklava (a Greek dessert). What do you like on your French Toast (or waffles)?

Fresh French Waffles, a Chef Sarah original!

Fresh French Waffles with Lemon Butter and Baklava Honey, a Chef Sarah original!

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Cheesy Chicken and Roasted Potatoes

13 May Cheesy Chicken and Roasted Potatoes

One of the things my parents taught me was to always have certain things stocked in my freezer and pantry. If you open my freezer you will always find chicken breasts. If you’ve been following me for a while you’ve probably noticed all the chicken dinners I make using a chicken breast. They are very versatile when it comes to cooking and they’re fun to experiment with. And that’s what I did one night for dinner. I had baby potatoes that were starting to sprout eyes so I knew I wanted to roast them. Once those went in the oven I had to figure out what to make for a protein. There wasn’t much in my fridge so I knew I had to get creative for dinner. I wasn’t going to blog about this (which is why I don’t have any of the potatoes before they went in the oven), but then I realized that it’s these dinners that I create on the fly that are some of my favorites. I hope you enjoy my cheesy chicken too!

Spinach and Mozzarella Cheese, Chicken breast, salt, pepper, dried rosemary

Spinach and Mozzarella Cheese, Not pictured: Chicken breast, salt, pepper, dried rosemary

CHEESY CHICKEN WITH ROASTED POTATOES (serves 2)

  • 1 Chicken Breast
  • About 1/4 Cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • Olive Oil
  • Fresh or Dried Rosemary
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • About 1/4 Cup Fresh Spinach Leaves
  • About 1 Pound Baby Potatoes

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. While you’re waiting for it to warm up, cut your potatoes into halves or quarters, depending on the size of the potatoes. Spread out on a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and some of the rosemary. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until fork tender.

While your potatoes are baking make your cheesy chicken. If your chicken is frozen defrost in the microwave. Then slice up in about 2 inch long pieces.

Cut up your chicken breast into about 2 inch pieces

Cut up your chicken breast into about 2 inch pieces

In a small to medium size fry pan, heat about a tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat. Once hot, place your chicken pieces in the pan and season with salt, pepper and rosemary.

Saute your chicken breast and season with salt, pepper and rosemary.

Saute your chicken breast and season with salt, pepper and rosemary.

Let cook for about 5 to 7 minutes then turn them over and sprinkle with cheese. After about 5 minutes add fresh spinach and finish cooking for another minute or two. The cheese should melt nicely and the spinach will wilt and combine with the cheese. Remove from heat.

cheesy chicken, mozzarella cheese, fresh spinach, chicken breast

Turn the chicken, add cheese, let it melt then add spinach

Roasted rosemary baby potatoes.

Roasted rosemary baby potatoes.

Once potatoes are finished, remove from oven, serve with your chicken and enjoy!

Cheesy Chicken and Roasted Potatoes

Cheesy Chicken and Roasted Potatoes

Spicy Chicken and Sauteed Vegetables

21 Jan Brussel Sprouts, Yellow Squash and Mushrooms

When it comes to cooking and baking, most people, including myself, use a recipe. Sometimes it’s to the letter, sometimes substitutions are used, and sometimes they are used merely as inspiration. We must remember that cooking is ultimately a science and every recipe comes from someone playing around in the kitchen. So every now and then I like to try to figure out something new. This time I took a little inspiration from my “Three and Four Ingredient Cookbook“. They had a chili-spiced poussin recipe. Poussins are, traditionally, young chickens that weigh between 14 and 26 ounces. I used boneless and skinless chicken breasts instead and sautéed some vegetables as a side dish. Unfortunately I cooked them in the wrong order so my brussel sprouts were a little under done. Oh well, only I was eating them so no one complained 😉 In the recipe below I put it in the correct order. Enjoy!

Spicy Chicken and Vegetables Ingredients L-R: Olive Oil, Summer Squash, Brussel Sprouts, Fresh Rosemary, Mushrooms, Chicken Breast, Chili Powder, Ground Cumin, Salt and Pepper

Spicy Chicken and Vegetables Ingredients L-R: Olive Oil, Summer Squash, Brussel Sprouts, Fresh Rosemary, Mushrooms, Chicken Breast, Chili Powder, Ground Cumin, Salt and Pepper

SPICY CHICKEN WITH WINTER VEGETABLES (serves 2)

  • 1 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
  • 1 Tsp Chili Powder
  • 1 Tsp Ground Cumin
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 3 Large Brussel Sprouts
  • 1 Small Yellow Squash
  • 3 Mushrooms
  • Salt and Pepper To Taste
  • Rosemary (optional)

Cut up your chicken breast and then marinate in one tablespoon of olive oil, chili powder, cumin and salt and pepper. Let sit while you prep your vegetables.

Sliced chicken breast marinating in olive oil, chili powder, ground cumin, salt and pepper

Sliced chicken breast marinating in olive oil, chili powder, ground cumin, salt and pepper

Depending on the size of the squash, slice either the whole thing or half of it into coins. Slice your brussel sprouts and mushrooms as well. In a large saute pan (preferably with a cover) heat one tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Once hot add in your brussel sprouts first (this is where I screwed up, I put in my squash first), stirring occasionally. After about 2-3 minutes add in your squash coins and continue to stir for another 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Brussel Sprouts, Yellow Squash and Mushrooms

Brussel Sprouts, Yellow Squash and Mushrooms

Sauteeing Yellow Squash

Yellow squash in the pan. (remember, do the brussel sprouts first!)

After adding in your squash, in a small fry pan heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Once hot add in your chicken pieces. After about 3 to 4 minutes, once the chicken starts to cook (look for the whiteness to start going up the sides of the chicken) turn over and continue to cook for another 3 to 4 minutes until done. Once done, remove from the heat.

Sauteeing spicy chicken

You can see the chicken turning white on the sides. It’s ready to turn over in about 1 minute.

Sauteeing spicy chicken

The chicken is almost done!

After you turn over your chicken add your mushrooms to the brussel sprouts and squash. Season your vegetables with salt and pepper, continuing to stir occasionally. After I added the mushrooms I sprinkled with rosemary then turned the heat down to medium and covered with a lid and let them steam for about a minute or two. They’ll be done when the squash have become translucent, the mushrooms have become a darker brown and the brussel sprouts have wilted.

Sauteeing vegetables

The vegetables are just about done!

Serve half the chicken for each person and a healthy scoop of vegetables, then enjoy! If you wish, you can also make rice or another starch side dish. Either way, enjoy!

Spicy Chicken and Sauteed Vegetables

Spicy Chicken and Sautéed Vegetables all done!

Alternative Pumpkin Pies

5 Dec Persimmon Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Tofu Pie

A little less than 2 weeks before Thanksgiving I asked my Facebook followers if they had any questions for me about Thanksgiving cooking and a friend asked about a pumpkin pie made with tofu. I thought “Tofu?! Never!” But I knew that she couldn’t be the only one who ever wanted to know about a tofu pumpkin pie. I told her that I had never done it, but that I would find recipes from trusted cooks for her to try. And find I did and sent them to her to try out. Then I posed to her that if she liked, she could document her own cooking adventures and be a guest blogger. She agreed with gusto and over the holiday weekend I received the following post from her. So from Jessica’s kitchen to yours, enjoy a tofu pumpkin pie and a persimmon pumpkin pie!

Persimmon Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Tofu Pie

I asked Sarah for some recommendations for a good Tofu Pumpkin Pie recipe. Not only did she recommend a great recipe from AllRecipes.com but she also recommended to try a Persimmon-Pumpkin Pie recipe from Giada de Laurentiis. Below you will see how my cooking adventure turned out.

Jessica Clara Sousa

Guest Blogger, Jessica Clara Sousa

TOFU PUMPKIN PIE (as made by Jessica Clara Sousa)

For The Crust (Vegan):

  • 2 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 Cup (2 sticks) Earth Balance Butter, cut into 1/4″ cubes and refrigerated about 15 minutes
  • 2 Tbsp Powdered Sugar
  • Ice Cold Water (have about 1/3 cup handy, but only add enough as needed)

Pie Filling:

  • 1 Package (10.5 oz.) Silken Tofu, drained
  • 1 Can (16 oz.) Pumpkin Puree
  • 3/4 Cup White Sugar
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Tsp Ground Ginger
  • 1/4 Tsp Ground Cloves

THE CRUST

  1. Place all the ingredients except the water in a glass or steel bowl. Using a fork, mix the ingredients.
  2. Slowly drizzle the cold water, a tablespoon at a time, over the flour mixture, mixing with the fork quickly until the dough starts to clear the sides of the bowl and comes together.
  3. Shape the dough into a disc and wrap in cling wrap. Place the dough in the refrigerator for at least an hour or longer. The dough can also be frozen and used for a later date.
  4. Once the dough is set, remove from fridge and push into pie pan so it goes all the way up the sides.
Vegan pie crust for pumpkin pie

Vegan crust for pumpkin pie

vegan pie crust

Vegan crust for the pumpkin pie ready for the oven!

THE FILLING

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees, then start the filling.
  2. Place the filling ingredients into a blender and puree until smooth. You may need to use a little bit of water to help it puree.
  3. Once smooth, pour into the pie crust.

    Tofu Pumpkin Pie

    Tofu Pumpkin Pie ready for the oven

  4. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and continue baking until a knife inserted into the mixture comes out clean, about 40 minutes more. Cool before serving.
tofu pumpkin pie

Tofu Pumpkin Pie ready for serving!

Bloggers Note: This recipe is great but I felt it needed some more spices (about a teaspoon more of cloves, tablespoon of cinnamon and and added teaspoon of nutmeg) and I used agave instead of sugar. Also, to do the decorative braid, roll out the remaining dough and cut into strips. Using the three strips make a braid. Add more lengths of the braid as needed to fit around the entire rim.

PERSIMMON PUMPKIN PIE

For The Crust:

  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 1 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon fine salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, diced
  • 3 tablespoons mascarpone cheese, chilled
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons apricot preserves

Pie Filling:

  • 1 cup canned pure pumpkin
  • Two 6- to 7-ounce ripe Fuyu persimmons, trimmed, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (or 1 cup of persimmon pulp from two 6- to 7-ounce very ripe Hachiya persimmons)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup mascarpone
  • ⅓ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting

THE CRUST

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a 9-inch-diameter glass or ceramic pie dish with vegetable oil cooking spray.

In a food processor, blend the flour, sugar and salt until combined. Add the butter and mascarpone cheese and blend until moist clumps form. Gather the dough into a ball. Drop 2-inch pieces of dough over the bottom and sides of the pie dish. Using moist fingertips press the dough together to form a smooth crust. Using the tines of a fork, prick the dough all over.

persimmon crust2

Bake the crust until the edge is browned and the center of the crust is pale golden, about 25 minutes. Transfer the crust to a work surface. Brush the bottom and sides of the crust with apricot preserves.

persimmon crust3Bloggers Note: This crust shrinks so make sure you have the crust all the way to the top of the pan and over the lip if you can.

THE FILLING

In a food processor, combine the pumpkin and persimmon. Blend until smooth. Add the sugar, mascarpone, cream, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt and eggs. Blend until smooth. Pour the filling into the cooked crust.

persimmon pumpkin pie filling

The filling for the persimmon pumpkin pie.

Bloggers Note: Make sure to have a great working food processor/blender otherwise it will take forever to blend all of the ingredients. I sadly have a lame blender so I sat and waited……

Bake the pie until slits or cracks appear around the edge and the center is set, about 35 minutes. Cool the pie on a rack. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Bake and cool to room temperature. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate.)

Just before serving, dust the top of the pie with powdered sugar, which I obviously forgot to do, oops! Cut into wedges and serve.

persimmon pumpkin pie

Persimmon Pumpkin Pie ready for serving! Enjoy!

Grilled Chicken with Roasted Pepper and Tomatoes and Sweet Corn

15 Aug

Growing up summer always meant barbecue. And corn. While I can’t exactly barbecue in my apartment, I can now grill on my stove. And the corn was just calling my name at the store so I couldn’t say no. But what sauce to put on the chicken? That’s always the big question. And that’s where you can get creative. Don’t be afraid to experiment, especially when you’re cooking for yourself. I had roasted peppers left over from when I made my steak salsa as well as plum tomatoes that would soon go bad if not used soon and part of an onion. All veggies I liked and all veggies that go well with chicken, so I decided to combine and make my own improvised sauce. (note, I was going to use chicken broth, but I changed my mind once I started cooking, lol.) Don’t be afraid to improvise in the kitchen. Every recipe started somewhere, and who knows where your cooking improvisation will take you. Have fun!

Grilled Chicken with Tomato and Pepper Sauce Ingredients L-R: Olive Oil, Garlic, Plum Tomato, Onion, Sweet Corn, Chicken Broth (which was NOT used), Chicken Breast, Parsley, Salt & Pepper

Grilled Chicken with Tomato and Pepper Sauce Ingredients L-R: Olive Oil, Garlic, Plum Tomato, Onion, Sweet Corn, Chicken Broth (which was NOT used), Chicken Breast, Parsley, Salt & Pepper

GRILLED CHICKEN with ROASTED PEPPER AND TOMATO SAUCE with CORN ON THE COB (serves 1)

  • 1 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast
  • 1 Roasted Pepper or 2 Halves
  • 1 Small Plum or Roma Tomato
  • 1/4 of an Onion (any variety, but white or yellow is best)
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • White Wine or Chicken Broth
  • Olive Oil
  • Garlic Clove
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Parsley for Dressing
  • Ear of Corn
Marinating my chicken breast in balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt & pepper

Marinating my chicken breast in balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt & pepper

In a small bowl or container, combine about a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and a tablespoon of olive oil along with about 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Mix and then add your chicken breast and coat well. Let sit. You can also mix in a plastic bag and let sit in the fridge all day. Heat up your grill on medium high heat and place your chicken breast in the middle. Cook each side about 7-9 minutes depending on the heat of the grill.

grilled chicken

The chicken is on the grill!

grilled chicken

Grilling the chicken

Start a medium pot of water filled to a couple of inches away from the top. It should be full enough for the corn to be fully submerged. Remove the husk and add the corn to the boiling water. Let cook for about 6-9 minutes, or until the corn kernels have all turned yellow. You might have to turn the corn if it was poking up through the water.

sweet corn

Corn in the water. Because it’s poking out I flipped it later.

Make your sauce last. Dice up your tomato and set aside. Slice up your onion and roasted pepper(s) and set aside. Peel and chop up your garlic. In a small pan heat about a tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat. Once hot add in your garlic and let cook for about a minute, you should be able to smell it, then add in your onions and saute for a few minutes until translucent. Add in your tomatoes, turn down the heat to medium and cook for a few minutes, then add in your roasted peppers and saute for a few more minutes. Turn heat to simmer if you’re still waiting for your corn and/or chicken to finish cooking to keep the sauce warm.

Roasted Yellow Peppers, Plum Tomato, Yellow Onion

Roasted Yellow Peppers, Plum Tomato, Yellow Onion

Sauteing the onions, garlic and tomatoes

Sauteing the onions, garlic and tomatoes

Roasted Yellow Peppers, Plum Tomato, Yellow Onion

Tomato and Pepper Sauce almost done!

When the chicken and corn are done move to plate and serve the sauce warm right over the chicken. Chop up some fresh parsley or cilantro and sprinkle on top. Serve your corn with butter, salt and pepper and enjoy! Preferably with a glass of wine!

Grilled Chicken with Tomato and Pepper Sauce and Sweet Corn

Grilled Chicken with Tomato and Pepper Sauce and Sweet Corn

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