fig, proscuitto and gorgonzola pizza

I know. What am I doing? Baguette french toast in all its golden glory yesterday, and now pizza today. This blog really is turning into a celebration of all things carbohydrate.

But I couldn’t wait to share this pizza. It’s gooood. Like really good. The perfect combination of salty and sweet, it’s best when served hot, just out of the oven, the slices dancing on your fingertips as you juggle them to cool, willing the cheese not to burn the roof of your mouth, blowing in short, rushed breaths just to get it cool enough to take a nibble.

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It has figs – yes, figs – but for those of you that have tried the goodness that is fig jam spread liberally on a baguette, topped with a smear of cheese, that shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Does the recipe look familiar? I can’t claim it – through work, I got a chance to watch a cooking demo at Matchbox recently. My pizza didn’t even come close to theirs, but it was still really good. So thank you, Matchbox, for the inspiration. Paired with one (or two) glasses of cabernet, it made for a delicious Monday Night Football evening.

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Fig, prosciutto and gorgonzola pizza

1. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees. Put a cookie sheet (if you don’t have a pizza stone) in the oven while it preheats.

2. Roll out the dough to your desired pizza (I love the Harris Teeter dough. I always get the whole wheat.) Rub with olive oil.

3. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese. Then, crumble gorgonzola cheese over the mozzarella.

4. Slicing figs in half, scatter them evenly over the top of the pizza.

5. Do the same with slices of prosciutto. Garnish with sprigs of arugula.

6. Bake for 8-10 minutes, depending on your oven. Serve hot!

baguette french toast with fresh berries

Sometimes I think this blog should be called Carb lovers only. Carb-a-holics. All Things Bread. I try and I try to give up white breads, and to give up sugar (I’ve been moderately successful. Sometimes I talk myself into whole wheat pasta and pizza dough. Baby steps!).

The thing is, it’s just too delicious. And then things like baguette french toast are born.

So, this recipe. I made it for my boyfriend on a lazy Sunday morning after we’d spent our anniversary celebration the day before picking berries at Butler’s Orchard. Prepare to see another berry recipe coming soon!

We had half a baguette leftover from a delicious Italian feast he’d made two nights before. It was from Lyon Bakery, in Union Market – I work for the Market, but my love for Lyon’s products is pure and without bias. #Carbs.

This recipe is really, crazily easy. No forethought required – no need to soak the bread overnight (though I bet that’d make it even more delicious). Just slice, dip and toast. I made it with a little less than half a baguette, but it only (generously) served one. My boyfriend can eat a lot, so his plate may serve two if you have small stomachs, or if you’re making other delicious food!

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baguette french toast with fresh berries

1. Slice half an old (slightly stale, but not rock hard) baguette into 1-inch slices

2. Whisk together three eggs and 2/3 a cup of skim milk

3. Mix in: two tablespoons of white sugar, one teaspoon of vanilla, 1/2 a teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/4 a teaspoon of nutmeg and 1/4 a teaspoon of salt.

4. Dip each slice of bread in the mixture, about 30 seconds – a minute on each side.

5. Cook on a buttered, nonstick skillet or pan until golden brown (I burned some pieces!) on each side.

6. Top with powdered sugar, fresh berries and maple syrup.

oreo whiskey banana bread

I read somewhere once that an easy way to clean up your finances and start saving more is to stop wasting food.

Seems simple, right? I sort of cringe when I think about the amount of milk I’ve poured down the drain after I’ve soured, the spotted vegetables that have met their demise in the trash can, the soft, moldy fruit I discover in the back of my refrigerator.

This is a gross way to begin a recipe post – and I apologize. But there’s a point, I promise. For most of your wasted food, there’s no fix. But sometimes, there’s this shining light – banana bread.

And is there anything better than banana bread warm out of the oven, with a little melted butter spread on top, soft in the middle with a crunchy crust?

Probably not. Except if you add some whiskey into your batter, giving it a rich bite as an undertone. And maybe you crush some Oreos on top, adding a sweet edge that pulls out the flavor of the banana.

Be right back – I’m headed to make this bread again.

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Whiskey banana bread

Adapted from The Smitten Kitchen

BONUS: for all my friends and readers who are just as lazy as me (Dishes? ain’t nobody got time for that) you can mix this WHOLE dough in one big bowl! More time for wine and reality television, am I right?

3 overripe bananas

1/3 cup melted butter (I used unsalted)

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 and 1/2 tablespoon whiskey

1 teaspoon baking soda

Pinch salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 and 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg

1 and 1/2 cups flour

3 Oreos

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, spray loaf pan with nonstick baking spray and set aside. (I made my bread in a traditional, 4×8 pan)

2. Mash the bananas, mix butter in. Add sugar, egg, vanilla and whiskey and mix well.

3. Add in spices and mix. Add baking soda and salt all at once, mix to combine. Lastly, add flour and mix until completely incorporated.

4. Pour into loaf pan. Using your hands (get messy!) crush the Oreos on top, scattering evenly.

5. Bake 40-45 minutes. Let cool enough to slide out of the pan – and enjoy!

peach proscuitto pizza

I’m not sure there’s a more perfect food than pizza.

 

You can literally do anything with pizza. Top it with fruit. Top it with cheese! With veggies! With meat! You can make a salad on top of a pizza, you can make an incredibly unhealthy pizza, you can even make a dessert pizza.

 

True story – one time I heated up leftover pizza until it was gooey and soft, sliced it into tiny pieces, and put each piece atop a tortilla chip. Pizza nachos. It happened. I’m not ashamed.

 

Another beautiful aspect of pizza? It’s a relatively easy dinner.
Say you’ve just walked in the door at 8 p.m. and you’re tiiiired. You’ve spent the day walking all over down, traipsing through D.C., shopping and people-watching and sipping cold drinks. And then you played a softball game with some friends, got good and dirty, even made it onto base once, but it took an hour to get home from that and now it’s Sunday night, nothing is ready for dinner and you’re hungry to boot.

 

Pizza.

 

Pre-oven, ready to be cooked!

Pre-oven, ready to be cooked!

 

You can make your own dough or you can use store-bought (I’m hopelessly addicted to the multigrain dough you can buy at Harris Teeter.)

 

Here’s a tip: while the oven preheats, put a cookie sheet inside of it. Meanwhile, roll the dough out into a piece of floured parchment paper. Make the pizza on top of the parchment paper. And then slip that paper onto the cookie sheet (use oven mitts!) and that way, when it’s done cooking, you can slide that parchment paper – with the pizza on top – right off! It cools much faster, meaning you can eat much faster. Excellent.

 

Last night, I made this peach prosciutto pizza. I’ve made it before. It didn’t make it to the blog for some inexplicable reason. So now, accept my apologies, and go make this fast, easy dinner for someone you want to impress.

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Peach prosciutto pizza (or Triple P Pizza) (P Cubed Pizza) (I’ll Stop Now)

 

  1. Crush two garlic gloves into ¼ cup of olive oil. Stir, and let it infuse while you prepare the dough.
  2. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees, and place a large cookie sheet or pizza stone inside the oven while it preheats.
  3. Make, or defrost, your dough. Roll it into your preferred shape, onto a floured piece of parchment paper that’s roughly the same size as your cookie sheet.
  4. Spread the garlic olive oil over the dough
  5. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese
  6. Slice two peaches and three slices of prosciutto. Scatter evenly over the dough.
  7. Sprinkle dried basil over the top
  8. Bake for 8-10 minutes and enjoy!

citrus cake

Hello!

A month. I know. A whole entire month, basically, between posts.

Here’s where I’ve been:

– Learning the work-life balance (it’s not easy!)

– Gradually turning my new place into a home

– On vacation for a week/in a wedding!

– Surviving a break-in…

To get it out of the way, yes, my house was broken into. My bedroom, more specifically. It’s unsettling and gross and sad (I haven’t been sleeping very well ever since), but I’m honestly super bummed about what they took—- my bike!

I had just shipped my bicycle down to D.C. and I was really enjoying having it for commuting, exercise and fun. (So if anyone knows anyone selling a women’s bike on the cheap, let me know. Desperate to replace mine!)

Onto happier things: my cousin Erica was married a few weekends ago, and I was lucky enough to be a part of her big day! It was a beautiful ceremony and reception and – of course- bride. Congratulations, Erica and Aaron!

I was trying to think about what both tied into a “sorry I’ve been gone so long” and a wedding and the answer was obvious- cake.

I lifted the idea for this cake from Apollinas, who does perhaps the coolest blog concept I’ve ever heard of – lifts patterns and inspiration from the runways and re-creates them in baked good form. Amazing.

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So the first thing I did was make my favorite yellow cake recipe. It’s from Martha, and I’ve used it before, most notably in my Super Bowl cakes. This time, I made two 9-inch rounds.

When they cooled, I spread lemon curd (my favorite!) in the middle as filling. I didn’t make my own lemon curd, but it’s easy enough to do.

lemon curd

Next up was a lemon buttercream. I put a crumb coat on, and then swirled the whooole lot of it over the cake. Here’s a little secret about me: I prefer the frosting to the cake. So when there’s a solid inch – or more – of frosting on a baked good, I’m a happy camper.

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Lastly, I used thinly sliced citrus fruits  (still loving my mandolin) to decorate the top. It looked adorable – though not as good as Apollinas’ – and was a big, big hit.)

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Frosting:

Lemon buttercream frosting

2 cups of unsalted butter, softened

5 cups confectioners’ sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract
Juice and zest of 1 lemon (I like my frosting to taste very lemon-y. If you don’t want this, adjust accordingly.)
* Milk or heavy cream, optional
  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix together the butter and confectioners sugar.  Begin mixing on low speed until crumbly, and then increase to high and beat for 3 minutes.
  2. Add vanilla extract and beat again for another minute until light and fluffy. Gradually and slowly mix in the lemon zest and juice.

balsamic glazed tomato and feta chicken roulade

Roulade.

It’s a very fancy name for a deceptively easy meal. It’s like a chicken roll-up, which makes me think of Fruit Roll-Ups. But it’s healthier and more delicious.

No, really. I made these for the number one junk food lover I know and he was a huge fan. Seriously!

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The steps can essentially be boiled down to this:

Slice chicken. Season. Make filling. Roll. Bake. Reduce balsamic. Throw it all together.

But because I’m nicer than that, I’ll give you a little more information.

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balsamic glazed tomato and feta chicken roulades

1. Slice three chicken breasts in half, length-wise. Rub with olive oil. Season each side with dried basil, oregano, salt and pepper.

2. Open a can (12 oz) of diced tomatoes into a pan. Cook over medium heat until the liquid is reduced by half. Midway through, add in half of a Vidalia onion, sliced. Cook until the onion is translucent.

3. Let cool slightly. Mix in a handful of crumbled feta cheese.

4. Place a few spoonfuls of the tomato mixture on each chicken breast half. Starting at one end, carefully roll each breast half up, securing with a toothpick through the middle.

5. Place all chicken rolls on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

6. While baking, gradually reduce about 1/4 a cup of balsamic vinegar.

7. When the chicken is ready – should be slightly golden on top – remove and plate by glazing the top of each piece of chicken with the reduced balsamic.

chocolate PB nutella cake

DISCLAIMER:

This is not health food.

This is not weight loss-friendly, it’s not kind to your swimsuit figure and it definitely won’t aid you in those skinny jeans.

It is pure decadence. It’s the kind of food that makes you want to eat a salad for every meal until the end of time, just so that you can eat a slice of this incredibly rich cake and not feel guilty.

Sometimes you need this kind of food. And there is a way to justify it: the end result is so rich (almost too rich) that just a tiny sliver will satisfy you.

Until you eat some more within the next hour.

It’s an easy cake though. Steps are as follows:

chocolate PB nutella cake 

1. Make your favorite brownie mix. Mine is my grandmother’s recipe, it involves sifting and melting chocolate over a double boiler. It’s great. Add peanut butter chips, or Reese’s Pieces, to the batter – because why not?

Bake the brownies in a sheet cake pan. This will make a very, veeeery thin end result, so make sure you spray the pan liberally with baking spray.

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2. While the brownies are cooking and cooling, whip a carton of heavy whipping cream into, well, whipped cream.

Fold Nutella into it. I used almost the whole jar because why not? Be gentle during this process, but make sure it’s mixed completely.

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3. When the cake cuts out, cut it in half, hamburger-style. Spread the top of one half with your Nutella mixture and stack the halves.

Cut the cake in half again. Trust me. “Frost” and stack again.

Now frost the sides. You’ll have a short and stubby chocolate cake. Four layers of goodness. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour so it can all set – and it should be stored in the fridge, too.

Feel free to get creative with sprinkles. And make sure you have a giant glass of milk on hand when you devour your end result.

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