Toad-in-the-the-Hole over Sautéed Kale, Bacon, and Leeks

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Okay, so let’s talk about the name of this dish for a second. Toad-in-the-Hole is not only a somewhat unappetizing title, but it’s also historically inaccurate. This British dish became popular in the early 18th century and was traditionally made with sausages baked into Yorkshire pudding, giving it the look of a toad poking it’s head out of a hole. But somewhere along the way us sneaky Americans took that dish, changed it up, and made it our own; very much like driving on the wrong side of the road, scrapping the metric system for the super confusing Imperial system, and removing the “e” from the ends of words like theater (this one actually makes sense, “theatre” should be pronounced thee-ah-trey, should it not? I think we’ve got you on this one, Brits.). Soooo…in our quest to gain independence from England and establish ourselves as a new nation, we swapped the sausages for eggs and the Yorkshire pudding for toast, and Bam! we instantly became leaders of the free world. Okay, maybe it didn’t happen exactly that way, but close enough. 
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Roasted Red Pepper, Asparagus, & Goat Cheese Bread Pudding

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Thanksgiving is less than one week away and for all of you, like myself, who are just starting to put together your Turkey Day menus, let me offer a suggestion; why not try something new this year? It’s crazy, I know, to break away from tradition and consider something other than the obligatory stuffing (or dressing, if you’re not putting it into the bird), but I’ve got something else in mind for you. This incredible side dish will go with whatever meat or meat substitute (Tofurky anyone?) is the customary centerpiece at your table. (Side note: I just learned that many Texans serve ribs on Thanksgiving. How awesome is that?!) Anyway, regardless of what other lovely foods grace your plates next Thursday, this savory bread pudding will make you and your tastebuds very thankful. Continue reading

Caramelized Onion and Gruyère Flatbread

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Some weeks I head to the grocery store with a solid plan of what I want to make. I have a detailed list and a mission. I walk in, get what I need, and leave. And then there are those weeks when I have no idea what I want, and I cross through the sliding glass doors feeling completely purposeless. I spend more time than I’d like aimlessly meander through the aisles looking for inspiration, hoping that something spectacular will jump out and grab me. Last week was just such a week. Continue reading

Stuff My Kid Eats: Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Frittata

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As promised, here’s another creation from my Mother’s Day smoked salmon gift, this time coming to you in the form of a frittata. I just recently started making frittatas again after a couple year hiatus. I used to make them once a week when my husband and I were first married and had very little money. We called them “Frittata Fridays” because by the end of the week we’d be out of groceries, out of cash, and out of creative ides for dinner. The only thing we’d have left in the fridge were some eggs (which we somehow always had plenty of), a leftover piece of chicken or a few uneaten shrimp, and a couple of sad looking veggies in the crisper. Tired and discouraged, I’d whip everything up, throw it into the oven, and 20 minutes later we’d be sitting down to eat. Now no longer poor, (although still tired and sometimes discouraged), my love for frittatas was renewed when my daughter became a toddler. Her obsession with eggs (fried, scrambled, hard boiled, you name it!) made me want to cook up this old favorite and share it with her. I guess distance – and a picky toddler – makes the heart grow fonder. Continue reading

Smoked Salmon Focaccia with Asparagus & Eggs

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I realize this is an old topic, but for Mother’s Day this year I was the fortunate recipient of a pound of smoked salmon from Dean & DeLuca (one of my favorite New York food purveyors). After a couple mornings of piling it on the obligatory bagel and cream cheese, I found myself wanting to do something more interesting with my catch — I was picturing something healthy that I could serve my family for dinner. As luck would have it, my weekend trip to the Kansas City farmers’ market left me with a loaf focaccia bread, a bunch of asparagus, and a dozen farm-fresh eggs that were just begging to be used. After quickly cooking the eggs and asparagus, I heaped everything onto the focaccia, shoved it in the oven for a couple minutes, and what came out was a light and fresh meal that was still substantial enough to require a fork and steak knife to eat.

Smoked Salmon Focaccia with Asparagus & Eggs

Serves 4

  • 1 focaccia loaf
  • ½ bunch of asparagus, tender parts only
  • 4 large eggs
  • 5-6 oz. smoked salmon, thinly sliced
  • Kosher Salt and fresh cracked black pepper
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh tarragon, chopped (or another fresh herb like dill, chives, parsley, or marjoram)
  • 1 tsp. truffle oil (optional)

Turn oven on to 350°F. Place focaccia on a baking sheet and cook for 10 minutes or until focaccia is warm throughout. Remove from oven and set aside. Turn oven temperature up to broil.

Meanwhile, fill a medium saucepan halfway full of water and boil. Add asparagus and blanch for 1 minute. Immediately transfer asparagus to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Once cool, dry and set aside.

Lay smoked salmon on focaccia, spreading evenly, then top salmon with a single row of asparagus.

Lightly mist a medium skillet with cooking spray then set over medium-high heat. Once the skillet becomes hot, crack eggs into skillet and cook until the whites just set (the eggs will continue cooking under the broiler). Using a spatula, carefully place eggs over asparagus. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with parmesan and chopped herbs. Place under the broiler and cook until cheese is bubbly, about 2-3 minutes (yolks should still be runny). Remove from oven and transfer to a serving platter, then drizzle with truffle oil if using.IMG_7493

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Check back later this week for more smoked salmon recipes!

Baked Coconut French Toast for Mother’s Day

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My husband is great at a lot of things, but surprising me for Mother’s Day isn’t one of them. I get flowers, of course, and a card, but after a few years experience I’ve given up the hope that he’ll make me Poached Salmon Eggs Benedict, or have the foresight to call ahead for 11am brunch reservations at my favorite restaurant (sorry, honey). That’s why this year I decided to take matters into my own hands and come up with a French toast recipe that I can make the night before then pop in the oven the next morning. So this Mother’s Day when my husband wakes up at the annoying hour of 6am (which he does every morning), I will roll over and lovingly whisper in his ear, “350° for 20 minutes,” and know that when I get out of bed, my perfectly crafted French toast will be hot and ready.

Baked Coconut French Toast

Serves 6

  • 12 thick slices of French bread
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 cups shredded, sweetened coconut

Butter the bottom and sides of a 13×9-inch baking dish. Line bottom of dish with bread, overlapping pieces slightly so that bread fits to the edges of the dish.

In a medium bowl, whisk together coconut milk, eggs, and sugar. Pour egg mixture over bread and use a spoon to help distribute the liquid pressing down on the bread so that it fully absorbs liquid. Allow to set for 15 minutes or up to 12 hours, covered in the refrigerator. (If refrigerating overnight, bring dish out and set on the counter for an hour before baking to allow to come to room  temperature.) Sprinkle the shredded coconut over the bread and press down slightly with your hand so that it sticks to the top.

Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes or until egg mixture has set and coconut is golden brown (the bottom of the dish will be custardy). Allow to rest for 5 minutes before cutting and serving.

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More Ice Cream Muffins

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This weekend I changed up the ice cream muffins that I posted last week by trying a new flavor – and they were even better than the first. Check it out!

Ice Cream Muffins

Makes 12-14

  • 2 pints ice cream, softened* (I used Häagen-Dazs Pineapple Coconut for these muffins, but any flavor will do)
  • 3 cups self rising flour (not to be confused with all-purpose flour which won’t work in this recipe at all!)

Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly mist muffin tins with cooking spray, then wipe away residue with a clean paper towel, or, alternatively, line tins with paper muffin cups.

In a medium bowl, beat ice cream and flour until combined. Using a spoon, drop muffin batter into cups, dividing evenly. Top each muffin with with a sprinkle of sweetened shredded coconut and a banana chip, or just Sugar In The Raw.

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