Category Archives: Bread

Bruschetta

We are up to our ears with fresh tomatoes, and that is never a bad thing. What I love about planting tomatoes, is really the excitement I see when I bring a large bowl into the kitchen and watching my wife’s expression. See, she is really the one who loves tomatoes. I stepped in my grandfather’s shoes where I’m not the biggest fan, but I do eat them. It took me years to actually love eating tomatoes, and when I say that, I mean in my late twenties when my wife and I were together. She is the one who gave me the nudge, and I probably started to really enjoy them when she turned me on to serving sliced tomatoes with a bit of soy sauce, and cracked black pepper, along with rice. With that said, we are sitting on a load of tomatoes, and it has been my goal to create recipes with them. That’s where bruschetta comes into play.

Bruschetta Recipe

I know people who simply love bruschetta, pronounced as Brusketta, and it is some of the simplest and pure things to make. Perfect for this time of year when you have an abundance of tomatoes. You can go as far as you want when making bruschetta, but to me, it’s the simple route. Tomatoes, a bit of basil, garlic, salt, and pepper, all topped on a crostini.

I am not adding amounts here as you basically want to have a substantial amount of tomatoes on each crostini. You could make 3 or you can make 20 if you know what I am saying. I fed a party of 8 adults and used about 12 small tomatoes, and 5 leaves of fresh garden basil.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Italian loaf of bread, sliced into 1 1/2 inch rounds
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 5 leaves of fresh basil, torn
  • salt, to taste
  • cracked black pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese, optional

Start by heating a skillet on low heat. Add the butter, olive oil, and garlic. Melt and simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes. The goal is to infuse the butter and oil with great garlic flavor. Now you can skip this step if you want, and simply rub some of the toasted bread with fresh garlic, but I really enjoy the butter and oil combination, with just a hint of great garlic.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

To a parchment lined baking sheet, add the sliced bread. Brush both sides with the garlic butter and oil mixture. Sprinkle with some parmesan cheese. Place in the oven and toast for about 12-15 minutes, or until lightly golden.

How to make bruschetta

During this time, quarter the tomatoes, and then chop into a small dice. Add the tomatoes to a bowl, and add in the torn basil, not chopped basil. Season with a pinch or two of salt and pepper, and stir. Cover and place in the refrigerator for about one hour.

You will notice juices extract from the tomatoes. That’s fine. Reserve that if you want and use it in some sauce, or bloody mary’s. Your call.

Take a crostini, and using a slotted spoon, add the tomato and basil mixture on the top of each crostini.

Plate and serve.

The result is nothing more that pure greatness. It’s simple. It’s fresh, and delicious, and you get everything you could ever want in fresh garden ingredients. Are you a fan of brushcetta? Do you ever change it up from the basics? Hope you enjoy!

Rhubarb and Strawberry Jam

One of my first visits to the local Farmer’s market this year yielded a bunch of rhubarb. I do not often cook with rhubarb, but I like to buy a little bit of everything from the market to support the farmers. I remember growing up and having a small bunch of rhubarb growing in our small back yard, and I remember eating it raw, and recalling the tart flavor and the texture being somewhat similar to celery.  With that said, I wanted to use the rhubarb and pair it with a bunch of strawberries I had, and that’s when I thought of creating a jam.

Rhubarb and Strawberry Jam

The great thing, besides how awesome the flavor is, about this recipe is that it is so easy to make, and I did not find anyone that did not fall in love with it. It’s a great use of rhubarb during the late spring time.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of chopped rhubarb
  • 1 quart fresh strawberries, chopped, hulls removed
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced and zested

Start by adding the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, and water into a sauce pot on medium heat. Cook until the fruit begins to break down and all of the juices begin to extract from the fruit, about 25 minutes or so. Using a stick blender, blend the mixture. I like the stick blender because you do not have to strain anything or pour it into a blender.

rhubarb-strawberry-jam-ingredients

Once blended, reduce the heat, and add in the lemon zest and lemon juice. Stir. Continue to cook until the jam thickens. I typically measure the thickness by running a wood spoon in the jam and seeing how well it sticks to the spoon. Once thickened, remove the jam from the heat, and let cool on the stove.

Rhubarb and Strawberry Jam Recipe

Once cooled, pour into a large mason jar, and place in the refrigerator. My wife and kids loved this jam, and heck, so did I. I’m not much into sweet stuff, but this was a bit addicting. I should say my friends and neighbors loved the rhubarb and strawberry jam as well. You can can this if you are into canning, however I just placed in the mason jar. It lasted for several weeks.

One of the uses beyond spreading this on toast or peanut butter sandwiches was to spread it on some brie cheese and warm it in the oven until the cheese starts to melt. I served that with some chopped apples for an appetizer. It was heavenly. If you are looking for ways to use rhubarb, give this one a shot.

Loaded Breakfast Stromboli

This past week, a couple of my colleagues and I took a nice long walk to a local pizza place that we love near work. Sal’s Pizza to be exact. We typically head there for a slice (or two), but on occasion we will take on one of their stromboli’s. These things are awesome, and they make a really great stromboli. I’ll admit theirs can probably feed a family of three, and you can load it how you want it. The result is a perfectly crisp and garlic butter exterior, loaded with your favorite pizza toppings, and then a bowl of marinara served on the side. It’s genius, and I love them.  But that got me thinking, while conversing with my coworkers, and the topic came about regarding the endless stuffing’s you could come up with, and that led me to making a loaded breakfast stromboli.

Loaded Breakfast Stromboli

I’m a big fan of utilizing leftovers so this breakfast stromboli was right up my alley. You can use whatever ingredients you desire that you love for breakfast, but here was my take as I had plenty of things just laying around waiting on me.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients for the Pizza Dough:

  • 3 3/4 cup of bread flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 3/4 tsp table salt
  • 3/4 plus a pinch of sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups of room temperature water

Make the dough by adding the flour, yeast, salt, and sugar. Mix. Add the water, and with your wooden spoons, or hands, mix until blended. I use my KitchenAid for this process to keep everything in the bowl during the rising process. Mix for about 30 seconds. The dough should be a bit stiff. Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature until the dough has doubled in volume, about 2 hours.

Ingredients for the stuffing:

  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1/2 cup of onion, diced
  • 1 cup cooked steak, chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 whole serrano chili, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cooked asparagus, chopped
  • 1 yukon gold potato, cubed, and cooked until tender
  • 1/2 cup corn, cooked
  • 1/2 cup of sauteed mushrooms
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt, to taste
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1/4 cup grated cheese
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried parsley flakes
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite marinara
  • Grated parmesan cheese, optional

Again, use what you want. Much of this was from the previous night’s dinner, with the exception of the potato and eggs, so it was pretty much a throw together for me.

Preheat your oven to 500 degrees, with pizza stone if you have one, otherwise a pizza pan, or cooking sheet.

Start by heating a skillet on medium heat. Add in the oil, bring to temperature, then toss in the onion, peppers, and garlic. Stir, then toss in the mushrooms, potatoes, corn, asparagus, eggs, and steak. Season with the salt and pepper, add the cheese, and reduce the heat and cook for about 5 minutes, just to warm things through.

How to make a loaded breakfast stromboli

Add the butter, and garlic powder to a small bowl. Heat until melted. Toss in the parsley and set aside.

Lightly sprinkle a work surface with some bread flour, or all purpose flour.

Next, take about half of the batch of pizza dough, and work your dough on the surface, making about a 12 inch diameter. Add the toppings onto the middle, and spread out a bit, only to leave some room for folding and sealing.  Seal all edges, slide onto the pizza stone, then liberally brush with the garlic butter.

Place in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove, shower with parmesan cheese, and serve with a small bowl of marinara.

The result is awesome. This is a gut buster so be ready to share with hungry kids. You get the great smell off the bat from that garlic butter, and when sliced into you get all sorts of great textures from the soft potatoes to the slight bite from the peppers, steak, and onion. If you are looking for something new and fun to make for breakfast or brunch, give this a shot. Hope you enjoy!

Loaded Breakfast Stromboli
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast, Brunch
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-4
 
Ingredients
  • Ingredients for the Pizza Dough:
  • 3¾ cup of bread flour
  • 2½ tsp active dry yeast
  • ¾ tsp table salt
  • ¾ plus a pinch of sugar
  • 1⅓ cups of room temperature water
  • Ingredients for the stuffing:
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • ½ cup of onion, diced
  • 1 cup cooked steak, chopped
  • ½ green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 whole serrano chili, chopped
  • ½ cup cooked asparagus, chopped
  • 1 yukon gold potato, cubed, and cooked until tender
  • ½ cup corn, cooked
  • ½ cup of sauteed mushrooms
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt, to taste
  • 2 whole eggs
  • ¼ cup grated cheese
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried parsley flakes
  • ½ cup of your favorite marinara
  • Grated parmesan cheese, optional
Instructions
  1. Make the dough by adding the flour, yeast, salt, and sugar. Mix. Add the water, and with your wooden spoons, or hands, mix until blended. I use my KitchenAid for this process to keep everything in the bowl during the rising process. Mix for about 30 seconds. The dough should be a bit stiff. Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature until the dough has doubled in volume, about 2 hours.
  2. Again, use what you want. Much of this was from the previous night’s dinner, with the exception of the potato and eggs, so it was pretty much a throw together for me.
  3. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees, with pizza stone if you have one, otherwise a pizza pan, or cooking sheet.
  4. Start by heating a skillet on medium heat. Add in the oil, bring to temperature, then toss in the onion, peppers, and garlic. Stir, then toss in the mushrooms, potatoes, corn, asparagus, eggs, and steak. Season with the salt and pepper, add the cheese, and reduce the heat and cook for about 5 minutes, just to warm things through.
  5. Add the butter, and garlic powder to a small bowl. Heat until melted. Toss in the parsley and set aside.
  6. Lightly sprinkle a work surface with some bread flour, or all purpose flour.
  7. Next, take about half of the batch of pizza dough, and work your dough on the surface, making about a 12 inch diameter. Add the toppings onto the middle, and spread out a bit, only to leave some room for folding and sealing. Seal all edges, slide onto the pizza stone, then liberally brush with the garlic butter.
  8. Place in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove, shower with parmesan cheese, and serve with a small bowl of marinara.
  9. The result is awesome. This is a gut buster so be ready to share with hungry kids. You get the great smell off the bat from that garlic butter, and when sliced into you get all sorts of great textures from the soft potatoes to the slight bite from the peppers, steak, and onion. If you are looking for something new and fun to make for breakfast or brunch, give this a shot. Hope you enjoy!

 

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

This past holiday break was well needed. I think that everyone in my house needed the break, and rest for that matter. With that said, I was off my normal morning routine for the most part in terms of breakfast. For the most part, I skipped breakfast which I normally never do. My normal routine typically consists of making a fruit filled smoothie consisting of a banana, lots of blueberries, a bit of yogurt, and some milk and juice. The bananas looked at me every morning, and began turning color and getting pretty darn ripe. When that occurs, I can only think of doing one thing, and that is making bread with it. It is one way I can get all of the kids eating bananas, yes, it’s that bad when it comes to the banana. My kids love banana bread, so I figured I would take a different approach, simplify my recipe, and add a bunch of chocolate chips. It could have been the best banana bread I’ve made thus far, and the kids would agree.

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 4 very ripe bananas
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • bread pan

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

To your mixer, add the bananas, sugar, butter, egg, and vanilla. Mix until everything is combined, then add in the baking soda, flour, salt, and chocolate chips.

How to make chocolate chip banana bread

Butter your bread or loaf pan, then pour in the mixture. Cook for roughly one hour, or until a butter knife runs clean when inserted in the middle.  Remove from the oven, and let cool, for about one more hour.

The end result is a super moist banana bread that is perfectly balanced with the chocolate, and who doesn’t love that?  I hope you enjoy.