Today’s recipe takes the cake.
The coffee cake, that is….
Today’s recipe takes the cake.
The coffee cake, that is….
Celebrating Mother’s Day for the first time as a mom is kinda surreal. OK, VERY surreal. It hasn’t quite hit me yet that I’m included in the mom crowd this year. It makes my heart overflow and my eyes teary. Like, whoa. I. AM. A. MOM. What?! I’m still coming to grips with this fact despite my boy being seven months old!
I am actually hosting a family brunch this Sunday to celebrate. I had some resistance from family members, with some saying I should be relaxing on my first Mother’s Day, but cooking is my thang. There’s nothing I’d rather be doing…especially when family is involved. I’m making all sorts of yummy things, and I can’t wait to celebrate with my mom, mother-in-law, and sweet baby boy. I know it’s so cliche to say, but I can’t remember what life was like before this little guy entered our lives. He’s such a gift. The only gift I need (I KNOW. I am totally that person now.). All I want is to spend the day with my family, snuggling this little boy and kissing his chubby cheeks.
And eat lots of food. BRUNCH food, to be exact.
On the menu will be fun, brunch-y foods like this lemon chiffon with berries, peach bellinis, mimosas, egg and bacon strata, deviled eggs, watermelon and feta salad skewers, and cinnamon-sugar pull apart bread. Oh, and these adorable little quiches. Quiche is such an awesome brunch food. Heck, I’d eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and everything in between. It’s good hot, warm, chilled, or room temperature. Chilled may actually be my favorite way to eat it. Especially when bacon and caramelized onions are involved. Two of my most favorite things on this earth.
And because it’s a special occasion, why not take the extra step and make them mini!? They’re so cute, and everyone gets their own. I have said this many times before, but mini foods are just more fun. You could, of course, make this in a regular tart pan and just slice and serve it like a normal person…but I have to make things more complicated. Of course.
Really, though? It’s not that much more complicated. It just involves rolling out the dough like you would for a normal-sized tart pan and cutting six mini circles out of it. No biggie. All the other steps are exactly the same. The extra effort is definitely worth it. People will be impressed! They usually are when it comes to quiche, which is funny because it’s really easy to do.
I think it’s one of those foods a lot of people haven’t tackled before. Anything with pie/tart dough can be intimidating. I get it. If you’re not into making your own dough, or if you don’t have the time, just buy some pre-made dough! No one will know the difference. I’ve done it many times before. There are some really good pre-made ones out there now.
Either way, it’s all about the filling when it comes to tarts/quiches, anyway. And this filling has got it goin’ oooonnnnn.
Sweet caramelized onions, salty bacon, nutty gruyere cheese, a hint of nutmeg, fresh thyme, and a creamy egg custard to boot. It’s pretty much guaranteed that it’s going to be delicious.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there. Savor every second (and bite!). I know I will be.
Yield: 6 mini tarts
Tart dough or storebought pie crust (I used this recipe)
6 strips bacon, diced
1 tablespoon butter
2 large onions, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
1¼ cups heavy cream
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt and pepper, to taste
Roll the chilled dough out to ¼-inch thickness. Using your mini tart pans as a guide, cut out circles from the dough with a sharp knife. Carefully press the dough into the tart pans and poke the bottom with holes. Transfer the tart pans to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 375°F oven for 10 minutes. Allow to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, crisp the bacon in a large skillet and then remove and set aside. To the drippings, add the butter and the onions and cook over medium heat until the onions are soft. Reduce the heat to low and add in the thyme. Season with salt and pepper and partially cover the pan. Cook, stirring every now and then, until the onions are golden and caramelized. Allow to cool and then divide the onions over the par-baked tart shells. You want an even layer of onions in each one. Top with the crisped bacon.
Grate the cheese and divide that among the tart shells. Finally, whisk together the eggs and cream, season with a little nutmeg and very lightly with salt and pepper (the other ingredients have plenty of seasoning). Pour the mixture over the onions, bacon, and cheese in each tart shell. You want the ingredients to be just submerged in the custard.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the egg custard is set and the quiches are golden brown on top. Allow to cool before serving.
Hi there. Did you miss me?
It’s been over a week since I posted anything, and I’ve been feeling pretty guilty about it. Here’s the thing: real life got in the way.
These past couple months have been kind of stressful. When I returned to my job from maternity leave, my boss was gracious enough to allow me to come back part time. I work three days a week and have the other two off to devote solely to Kieran. Well, Kieran and the blog….and mundane things like laundry, cooking, and cleaning. My work load at my job is still very large despite my part-time status, and meeting some huge deadlines this past month was hard. I don’t mean to complain, though! Many parents don’t get a part-time option at all, so I am very grateful. I’ve just been spread a little thin these days.
And as any new parents out there are sure to understand, the baby has become my biggest priority. The blog (and everything else) has had to come second. I mean, I knew that this would be the case to an extent, but I was underprepared (duh) for just how much attention a 6-month-old baby requires. The days of long naps and happy satisfaction in the baby swing are over. Kieran is in this really fun (but high maintenance) stage where he MUST be entertained at all times when he is awake. Activities only keep him busy for 5-10 minutes at a time. It’s amazing to watch him grow and develop into this little person with such a BIG personality, but it leaves very little time for all the other…stuff. Kieran has also had some unique health issues that developed around two months of age. Nothing serious or life threatening, thank God, but still exhausting and stressful. Anytime your child has a problem, whether it’s big or small, it feels like the most gigantic challenge in the world. It’s all consuming, really. I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that he requires more attention than your typical baby (honestly, I STILL find myself coming to terms with this on a daily basis). Which also means that everything else will continue to receive far less attention.
On top of all that, I am a type-A person. Typical first-born child. I am a control freak. I don’t like to half ass anything. I want to be good at everything I attempt, and when I’m not, I then immediately hate said thing and want to quit. I tend to set very high standards for myself, and sometimes my expectations are out of scope. Along with new parenthood, this blog has been a challenge for me from the beginning. I ADORE doing it, but it’s hard work! It requires tons of planning, prep, cooking, cleaning, writing, and…oh yeah…photography skills. I am still learning…more slowly than I’d prefer, but learning nonetheless. I really wanted this blog to serve as a creative outlet, and I’m happy to say that it’s still managing to do that. The key for me is to remember that it is supposed to be FUN, not another chore to add to my seemingly endless list these days.
With that all said, letting the blog take a back seat has been hard. Heck, letting everything else in life take a backseat has been hard. But. This is parenthood. No one can fully prepare you for it. It is the most rewarding, amazing, incredible, fulfilling, selfless thing a person will ever do in his or her life, but IT.IS.HARD. A true feat. I feel like I would be doing a disservice to all those expecting parents if I didn’t put out there that it’s going to be tough at times (probably way more often than you’re prepared for). But it is still the best thing ever. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
OK, so now that I’ve rambled on and on about why I haven’t been posting as regularly as I would like (thanks for indulging me), it’s time to get to this incredible bagel situation. Bagels make everything better. Especially when you serve them with lots of topping options.
I’ve been wanting to try bagels at home for ages now. I finally took the plunge, and while they do require a little extra work, the result is pretty fantastic. Crisp exterior with that awesome chew inside. I made sesame seed bagels because they are my all-time fav, but you could top yours with anything you like: poppy seeds, “everything” seasoning, or even some coarse sea salt. Just like most things you make at home, the possibilities are pretty much endless.
I wanted to make homemade bagels and then give a few serving options, and these are what I came up with: toasted with orange-honey cream cheese; a lox, arugula, and pickled radish option; and the all-time breakfast bagel classic: bacon, egg, and cheese. And not to continuously and obnoxiously pat myself on the back, but they all came out AWESOME. Pick your fav or make all three! It’s totally fun to have options. My sister was visiting when I made these, and she and I tried a few bites of each and couldn’t pick a favorite. They’re all great.
OK, so that runny egg yolk maaaaaay just edge out the competition. But that should be no surprise given my obsession with eggs and their buttery, silky, golden centers.
Remember how I said I wouldn’t trade being a parent for anything in the world? Can I amend that statement to say…except maybe for a bagel? KIDDING.
Yield: 8 bagels
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1½ cups warm water
4 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoon barley malt syrup, divided
1 tablespoon sugar, for water bath
1 large egg white, beaten with a splash of water
Sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or coarse salt for topping
Strips of bacon, crisped
Sliced cheese (cheddar, American, etc)
Cooked eggs (fried, poached, scrambled)
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons honey
Zest of 1 orange
Pinch of fine salt
1 cup thinly sliced radishes
½ cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup water
¼ cup sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
Combine the yeast and water in the bowl of a stand mixer and let sit until frothy, about 5 minutes. Add the flour, salt, and 2 tablespoons of the barley malt syrup and mix on low for 10 minutes. The dough should be stiff and will hold is shape when the mixer is stopped. Remove the dough from the bowl, oil the bowl lightly, and then return the dough to the oiled bowl. Cover with a damp towel and allow to rise for 1½-2 hours.
Transfer the dough to a work surface, and divide it into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth ball and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover the balls with a damp towel and let them rise for another 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425°F and bring a large pot of water to a gentle boil. Add the remaining malt syrup and the sugar to the water once it is simmering.
Poke a hole through the center of each dough ball and then twirl the dough around your finger to stretch the hole to about 2 inches in diameter. Return the formed bagels to the parchment-lined baking sheet.
Boil the bagels in batches (I did 2-3 at a time) for 2 minutes per side. Return the boiled bagels to the prepared baking sheet. Once all the bagels are boiled, brush them with the egg wash and sprinkle with desired toppings.
Bake the bagels for 15 minutes, rotate the baking sheet, and then bake for another 10-15 minutes or until they are deeply golden brown and crisp. Cool completely before slicing.
Slice bagel in half and top with slices of cooked bacon, sliced cheese, and cooked egg. Wrap lightly in tin foil and bake for 5-7 minutes in a 350°F oven until warmed through and gooey. Eat immediately.
Whisk together all the ingredients for the cream cheese until well blended and smooth. Spread on toasted, sliced bagels.
Combine the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and peppercorns in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Meanwhile, place the sliced radishes in a heatproof jar or bowl. Pour the hot liquid over the radishes and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes. Transfer to the refrigerator if using at a later time.
Slice and toast a bagel to desired doneness and then spread with cream cheese. Layer lox, baby arugula, and the pickled radishes on top. Sprinkle very lightly with salt and pepper and serve.
Bagel dough recipe adapted from here.
Pizza makes everything better. Even Mondays.
Pizza is a staple in our house. We either make it or order it at least once a week, and we never get sick of it. Part of that involves switching things up from time to time…both at home and with the take-out options.
Mexican food also is something I never get tired of. I could eat guacamole, enchiladas, refried beans, tacos, etc. for days and days and never get sick of them. Margaritas too (preggo sad face)!
So, these mini Mexican pizzas were a sort of natural development for me. I merely took some of my favorite Mexican ingredients and flavors and slapped them on some pizza dough. Totally simple. Totally delicious. The best of all worlds!
I started with some spiced-up shredded chicken, which really couldn’t be easier to make. I did mine in the slow cooker because I couldn’t bear the thought of standing over the stove on an 85-degree day. Love the slow cooker for stuff like this. The chicken comes out perfectly: totally moist and delicious and falling apart with very little effort from me. Just what I’m looking for in shredded chicken.
Then, I added some refried beans (you can definitely make your own, but I just used canned beans. They’re delicious, in my opinion), CHEESE (because, well, DUH), and fun fresh toppings like lettuce tomato, pickled jalapeños, and my homemade pickled red onions. THEN, to take them absolutely over the top, I dolloped on some cooling avocado crema. Basically, I threw together all my favorite nacho toppings on a pizza and called it a day. YUM.
The fact that these are MINI pizzas makes me even more excited. They’re just so darn cute. Plus, mini things = you can eat more of them. Right? Completely sound logic, if you ask me. These are a really fun and cute appetizer to serve to friends and family at a party (they’d be a GREAT addition to your Fourth of July grillin’ menus)….
….or to make just for yourself on a Sunday evening when you don’t feel like cooking an actual meal for dinner (not that I’d know anything about that).
Mini Mexican Pizzas with Spicy Shredded Chicken & Avocado Crema
(makes approximately 16-20 mini pizzas)
For the Dough:
My go-to recipe (halved)
For the Chicken:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Salt and pepper
1 cup tomatillo salsa
1 cup regular salsa
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup chicken stock
For the Avocado Crema:
1 avocado, peeled and diced
Juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 garlic clove, finely minced
3 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup refried beans, warmed
1½ cups shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup diced Roma tomatoes
2 cups shredded lettuce
½ cup pickled jalapeño peppers
½ cup pickled red onions
Fresh cilantro, chopped
For the Dough:
Make the pizza dough according to the link above (or, alternatively, use store-bought pizza dough), allow to rest for 2 hours, punch down, knead until smooth, and allow to rise for another hour.
For the Chicken:
Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Pour the salsas, spices, and sugar into a slow cooker and stir to combine. Add the chicken and submerge in the salsa mixture. Add enough chicken stock to cover the chicken (for me, this was about 1 cup). Turn the slow cooker to HIGH and cook for 4 hours, occasionally stirring things around (alternatively, you could cook it on the LOW setting for 6-8 hours). Remove the chicken from the sauce and shred with a fork. It should fall apart very easily. Return the chicken to any sauce left in the pot and toss to combine.
For the Avocado Crema:
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Check for seasonings. Keep covered until ready to serve.
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Roll out the dough to desired thickness and using a 2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out mini pizza crusts. Continue until all mini pizzas have been made. Place the mini crusts on a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal and brush each with olive oil.
Top each pizza crust with a tablespoon or so of refried beans, then the shredded chicken, and then the cheese. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until puffed and golden around the edges. Top the warm pizzas with tomatoes, lettuce, jalapeños, pickled red onions, and a dollop of the avocado crema. Garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Hi There. I'm Molly. I'm a food-obsessed, self-taught cook and I can't wait to share my passion for all things culinary with you. My love for egg yolks is just the tip of the iceberg! Read More…