Salade-aux-Lardons Pizza

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This is one of my all-time favorite pizzas. And it’s so perfect to feature on my blog, because it truly illustrates how reformed my once-picky palate has become. Growing up, pizza was always in the “special treats”, or “indulgences” category. We didn’t have it all the time, by any stretch. So as you can imagine, when it was permitted, I wasn’t about to let any veggies get anywhere near my slices! The cheesier and meatier, the better.

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It wasn’t until my late twenties that I started to come around and realize that oh, vegetables on a pizza isn’t some horrific crime against humanity, and that it really can be quite tasty. Not that you’ll ever hear me complaining about the meat lovers variety, but I truly have come around to genuinely appreciate different pizza toppings.

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And now, as a mature adult, salad atop a pizza is honestly one of my favorite things on earth. If only that little kid in the buffet line at Cici’s Pizza, scowling at the mere presence of the veggie supreme pizzas, could see me now…

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So this pizza basically takes the most basic and classic of French salads, which is greens dressed with a mustard-based vinaigrette and sprinkled with crispy bacon, and deconstructs it into a pizza. Dijon mustard is spread on the dough, with Swiss cheese on top. Then crisped, bacon bits are scattered on top of the melty cheese and the greens are dressed simply with vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. When the pizza is cooked completely you take it out of the oven and toss the greens on top, then dive in immediately. (Hey, the French haven’t solved all the world’s problems – the greens will eventually wilt.)

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And you dig in. All those French flavors come together in each bite. And it’s so delicious. I hope y’all enjoy it.

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Source: adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine, Issue June/July 2010

Ingredients:
1 lb. ball of pizza dough
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
8 oz. Jarlsberg, or Swiss cheese, grated
6 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium shallot, sliced thin
4 cups baby arugula, or other light greens of your choice
1 tbs white wine vinegar
3 tbs olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper

Directions:
Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Oil the grate.
Roll out the pizza dough into a large rectangle that will still fit on your grill surface. Carefully transfer the dough to the hot grill and grill for about 4-5 minutes until the underside is getting some good grill marks. Carefully transfer the dough to a baking sheet, uncooked side down.
Spread the cooked side with the mustard, leaving a 1-inch border. Sprinkle the cheese on the mustard.
Transfer the pizza back onto the grill, uncooked side down. Close the lid and cook another 5-8 minutes, until the dough is cooked through and the cheese is melted.
While the dough is grilling, make the bacon bits. Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon pieces and cook, stirring, until bacon is crispy and the fat has rendered. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate.
Pour out all but 1 tbs of the bacon fat. Add the shallot to the remaining bacon fat in the skillet, over medium heat. Saute until softened, about 2-3 minutes. Set aside.
When ready to serve, remove the pizza from the grill and sprinkle the bacon pieces evenly over the top. Transfer the shallots to a large bowl. Add the vinegar and olive oil, then the arugula. Toss to combine, then immediately place the salad on top of the pizza. Cut into squares and serve right away.

Genoa Salami and Kalamata Olive Calzones #SundaySupper

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Welcome, welcome, it’s time for some #SundaySupper, y’all! Our theme this week is Stuff, Roll, and Wrap, which seemed perfect for me because I’ve been craving burritos like nobody’s business lately. But then I realized that by sheer coincidence, or fate, or something, this week’s Sunday Supper lined up with my already planned Pizza Week. So I just can’t do a burrito for today. It has to be a calzone. Hopefully, you understand…

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Calzones fall into that irritating category of foods that usually smell and look better than they actually taste. You order one out, the smell is intoxicating, you’re all but drooling when it’s served to you, you take a bite…. Annnnnndddd, disappointment. The taste is usually quite a let-down.

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Not so with this one, my friends. Turns out, this problem is fairly easy to rectify at home. in fact, I’ve always found calzones to be so easy to make at home, and to make really well at home, that I really can’t fathom how restaurants and take-out places manage to screw them up so much.

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As you can probably guess, this one is really amazing. Cheesy, gooey, salty, and full of flavor. Try it soon. You’ll love it. Promise.

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And please do not forget to check out the rest of my wonderful #SundaySupper crew!

Source: adapted from Weeknights with Giada by Giada de Laurentiis

Ingredients:
Cornmeal, for dusting
Flour, for dusting
1 lb. pizza dough
8 oz. fontina cheese, shredded
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for dusting
4 oz. thinly sliced Genoa salami, chopped
1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped
¼ cup pitted Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
¼ cup olive oil
1 large egg, beaten
Fresh ground black pepper
8 oz. tomato sauce
½ tsp dried oregano
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions:
Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450 F. Sprinkle a heavy baking sheet with cornmeal.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out your dough into a 13-inch circle, about ¼ inch thick. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet.
In a large bowl, combine the fontina, parmesan, salami, roasted red bell pepper, olives, and olive oil. Spoon the mixture onto half of the prepared dough, leaving a 1-inch border.
Beat the egg lightly in a small bowl, then use a pastry brush to lightly brush the egg around the border of the dough.
Carefully fold the unfilled side of the dough over the filling, and pinch the edges together to seal. Brush the top with egg, then sprinkle with black pepper and parmesan. Use a sharp paring knife to cut a few slits across the top of the calzone, to let steam escape.
Bake the calzone for 20 to 25 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes. While the calzone is baking, make the dipping sauce by combining the tomato sauce with the oregano, salt and pepper. Pour into a bowl or into individual ramekins.
When the calzone is ready, cut into slices and serve with the dipping sauce. Enjoy!

Starters and Snacks

Entrees and Mains

All things Sweet

Potato Waffles with Bacon and Chives

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And today is Day 5 of, and the conclusion to, WAFFLE WEEK! It’s been a delicious week, and today’s offering is no exception. This is basically mashed potatoes in waffle form. Who wouldn’t love that? They are indescribably light and fluffy, with a distinct potato taste. There’s also the onion-y bite from the little flecks of chives and the salty, crunchy, smoky bite from the bacon running throughout, all of which serve to just take these waffles over the top.

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I guess these waffles are slightly more complicated than just throwing together a batter and dumping it in the waffle iron, but they really aren’t difficult to pull off. And so completely worth it!

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And now without further adieu, let’s recap WAFFLE WEEK!

First up we went Tex-Mex and savory with some Crispy Cornmeal Waffles that we drenched in a spinach queso sauce. There are no words…

Crispy Cornmeal Waffles with spinach queso sauce

 

 

 

 

 

On Day 2 I recounted a fun little trip visiting my mom in Cambridge, MA, where I dined at Flour Bakery (twice!) and made Joanne Chang’s Perfect Waffles with a Lemony Twist in honor of that. With the lemony twist being mine.

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On Day 3 I gave you a dessert waffle recipe – Fudge Chocolate Waffles no less. They were divine.

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Then yesterday, I couldn’t do a week of waffles without including the soul food classic, Chicken and Waffles. And if you’ll recall, this is seriously the best version of Chicken and Waffles I have ever tasted.

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And don’t miss these lovely waffle recipes running around the food blogosphere!

Recipe Round-Up:

Bacon Cheddar Cornmeal Waffles from Simply Scratch
Banana Buttermilk Waffles from The Texan New Yorker
Beer Waffles with Cinnamon Apples and Caramel Sauce from The Texan New Yorker
Black Pepper Bacon Waffles from The Texan New Yorker
Buttermilk Grits Waffles from Southern Souffle
Cheddar Dried Basil Waffles from in Jennie’s kitchen
Cranberry Orange Waffles from The Texan New Yorker
Malted Waffles from The Texan New Yorker
Seven Layer Nacho Waffles from Scarletta Bakes
Tangerine Waffles from Farm Fresh Feasts
Waffles with Southern Comfort Praline Sauce from Confections from a Foodie Bride

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Source: The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion

Ingredients:
1 medium russet potato, about 12 oz.
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs, separated
2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
3 tbs minced chives
4-6 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled

Directions:
Peel the potato and cut into chunks. Place in a small saucepan and cover by about 1 inch with cold water. Place over medium-high heat and let it come up to a boil. Continue to boil for about 8-10 minutes, depending on the size of your potato chunks. They are done when a sharp paring knife can be inserted in the center of a chunk without resistance. Drain the potatoes, then place back in the pot.
Working in batches if necessary, press the potatoes through a potato ricer into a large bowl. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
To the bowl of potatoes, add the salt, butter, egg yolks, and buttermilk. Whisk immediately and quickly to combine (working quickly ensures your egg yolks won’t scramble). Whisk in the flour mixture, a little at a time, until just combined. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold in the chives and bacon crumbles.
Using a whisk or electric mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Dump the egg whites into the batter, and gently fold them in with the rubber spatula.
Pour the batter into the preheated waffle iron and cook according to manufacturer’s instructions. Serve warm.

Chicken and Waffles For Two

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We’re at day 4 of WAFFLE WEEK! And this one is a really good one. I couldn’t do a Waffle Week without including this iconic classic. If you’ve never tried chicken and waffles, which is the exact boat I found myself in until my early thirties, well, please know it’s a bad boat in which to be. Get yourself out of that boat, pronto! Everyone simply must try this dish at least once in their lives.

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Chicken and waffles is classic soul food. The exact origin of the dish in uncertain, but what is agreed upon is that it rose to popularity in the 1930’s in Harlem, NY. Harlem had tons of jazz clubs then, and the musicians would be done with their sets either very late at night, or very early in the morning, depending on your perspective.

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So, the local diners and restaurants smelled a potential profit opportunity and started serving these musicians and fans a combination of dinner and breakfast! It worked out quite nicely, not only for the jazz club patrons and restaurant owners and employees who dined and served back then, but for those of us living outside of Harlem in modern times, too. Because this dish is really unbelievable!!

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No lie, no exaggeration, this particular version of Chicken and Waffles that I’m blogging today is, hands down, the BEST plate of chicken and waffles I’ve ever tasted. Now, don’t get me wrong, I haven’t had this dish too many times in my life – only a nice handful. Which my waistline appreciates, I’m sure. This is a bit of a splurge dish, which is why I wanted to adapt it to serve only 2 people.

But, I have had this dish at a well-known restaurant in Harlem, and that plate of food wasn’t as good as this one I made at home. Seriously, this one is tops. I’m extremely pleased to have this on my blog, and to share it with you.

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Source: adapted from Farm to Fork: Cooking Local, Cooking Fresh by Emeril Lagasse

Ingredients:
BLACK PEPPER MAPLE SYRUP:
¾ cup maple syrup
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tbs Crystal hot sauce
1 vanilla bean, split and cut in half crosswise

FRIED CHICKEN:
¾ cup well-shaken buttermilk
2 tbs Crystal hot sauce, or any other Louisiana style hot sauce
¾ tbs sugar
¾ tbs kosher salt, plus extra
½ tsp sweet paprika
3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
2 whole chicken legs, bone-in, skin-on, separated into thigh and drumstick
1 to 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
Canola oil, for deep frying

WAFFLES:
¾ cup cake flour
1 ½ tbs sugar
1 tbs yellow cornmeal
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 large egg
¼ tsp vanilla extract
4 tbs unsalted butter, melted

Directions:
First, make the MAPLE SYRUP so it can steep while you’re preparing the rest of the meal. Add the maple syrup to a small saucepan and keep it over low heat on a back burner of your stove. Add the black pepper and hot sauce; stir to combine. Throw in the vanilla bean pieces and let it steep while you make the chicken and waffles.
For the FRIED CHICKEN: in a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, hot sauce, sugar, salt, paprika, and garlic. Place the chicken pieces in a large, resealable plastic bag. Pour the buttermilk mixture over the chicken and massage the bag so that all the chicken is coated. Seal the bag, place it in a bowl or baking dish. Place it in the refrigerator and let it marinate at least 8 hours, and up to overnight.
In a medium sized bowl, add the flour and a couple pinches of salt. Take the chicken out, and remove the pieces from the marinade, allowing the excess to drip off. Place the chicken pieces in the flour and dredge thoroughly. Tap off the excess and lay them on a plate. Do this in batches if necessary.
Heat a couple of inches of canola oil in a wide, deep-sided skillet. Use a candy thermometer to bring the oil up to 350 F. When it’s ready, carefully slide the chicken pieces into the oil and deep fry them, about 16 minutes total, until the coating is golden brown and crispy, turning once, and the chicken is cooked through in the center.
Remove the chicken to a paper towel lined plate and let the excess oil drain off.
While the chicken is working, make the WAFFLES. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cornmeal, baking soda, and salt. In a 2-cup measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. Add the butter and whisk again until just combined.
Preheat your waffle iron. When it’s ready, grease it well and pour the waffle batter in. make the waffles according to manufacturer’s instructions. Work in batches if necessary.
To serve, place 1 or 2 waffles on a dinner plate (depending on whether your waffle iron makes larger round or smaller rectangle waffles). Place a fried chicken thigh and a fried chicken drumstick on the waffle(s). drizzle the maple syrup over all and dig in.

Fudge Chocolate Waffles

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What do y’all think about waffles for dessert? Now there’s an idea. The concept behind these waffles reminded me of being in Brussels with Matt a couple years ago; Belgians are unlike Americans in that they never eat waffles for breakfast – they are dessert only over there. Of course these waffles are not the same style of the ones you can get from all the street vendors in Brussels. Those are yeasty and not chocolate. These do not have yeast and have a lot of chocolate. But the dessert aspect is very reminiscent.

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And of course these were delicious! Rich and chocolaty, with the slight crunch of chocolate chips and the walnuts, it was like making brownies in your waffle iron. Sort of. I mean, they were still distinctly waffles.

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While this isn’t really a make-ahead dessert, it is a terrific single-serving dessert for a small group of people. I could definitely see busting this out at the end of a small dinner party for a unique and impressive sweet ending to the evening. And I suppose you could certainly make the batter ahead of time, then cook up the waffles after dinner. I only served these to myself and Matt, so I can’t say for sure, but I think your guests would be happy and impressed. Matt was on a work call when I plated these up for us, and he all but hung up in the person’s face to get to these. Just sayin’!

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Source: adapted from The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion

Ingredients:
1 large egg
6 tbs unsalted butter, melted
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup all-purpose flour
6 tbs granulated sugar
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
Pinch of kosher salt
Pinch of ground nutmeg
¼ cup chopped walnuts
¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Vanilla ice cream, for serving
Chocolate syrup, for serving

Directions:
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the egg, butter, and vanilla. Beat with a whisk until light, about 1-2 minutes. Blend in the buttermilk, then flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. Gently fold in the walnuts and chocolate chips with a spatula.
Grease your waffle iron and cook the waffles according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Serve 1 waffle per person. To assemble, while the waffle is still warm, place a scoop of ice cream in the center. Drizzle chocolate syrup to taste over the ice cream and the waffle. Garnish with extra walnuts, if desired. Dig in!
This recipe as written will make 4-5 waffles, depending on the size of your waffle maker.

Joanne Chang’s Perfect Waffles with a Lemony Twist

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My mom is a college professor, which means many different things, of course, but in particular it means that she goes to a lot of conferences. The vast majority of her conferences are not in Dallas, where she lives and teaches. So I’m always keeping tabs to find out where her next conference is, to see if it might happen to be in my neck of the woods.

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Wouldn’t you know, hardly any of them are. Over the years I’ve come to surmise that the East Coast is just not a popular locale for music theory collegiate conferences. Until last fall… when she had to attend a conference in Cambridge, MA! Of course I didn’t hesitate to jump a train to visit her for a few days.

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One thing I *had* to do while visiting Cambridge was to eat at Flour, Joanne Chang’s bakery made famous by Bobby Flay on “Throw Down” a few years back. I grabbed breakfast there while my mom was at a session, and was so impressed that I took her there for lunch. We dined on delicious salads for lunch, then treated ourselves to Flour’s outrageous Boston Cream Pie (when in Rome, am I right?)

It was such a fun trip and visit! Thank you so much Mom! And maybe you’ll have more conferences up here in the future…

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So let’s chat about these waffles. When you read the ingredient list, you aren’t terribly blown away. It’s very interesting and somewhat baffling that such a simple ingredient list could yield such a ridiculous, insane, over-the-top, perfect waffle. Because these may just be the most perfect waffles I’ve ever tasted. I can’t really explain it, so you’ll just have to make them and see for yourself!

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Source: slightly adapted from Flour, Too by Joanne Chang

Ingredients:
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
3 tbs packed brown sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¾ cup buttermilk
½ cup heavy cream
¼ cup lemon or citrus flavored club soda, at room temperature
4 tbs unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract
Honey or maple syrup for serving

Directions:
Preheat your waffle iron. You want it really hot to get the crispy exterior on these waffles.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, heavy cream, club soda, melted butter, eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the well. Using a whisk and a folding motion, gently fold the wet and dry ingredients together until combined.
Grease the preheated waffle iron, then ladle the batter into the bottom of it. Cook according to manufacturer’s instructions. Remove the waffles to a plate and serve. I preferred honey on these, but maple syrup would be fine too. Enjoy!

Crispy Cornmeal Waffles with Spinach Queso Sauce

Crispy Cornmeal Waffles with spinach queso sauce

Welcome one and all to ……. WAFFLE WEEK!! Recently I’ve complained about mentioned that we’re redoing our apartment, and part of that redo included me updating my waffle iron. Yea!!

Crispy Cornmeal Waffles with Spinach Queso Sauce

My old waffle iron was a sweet wedding present Matt and I received well over 8 years ago, and I have completely worn it out. Matt and I adore waffles, and we try to make brunch at least once on weekends, not to mention we both love having breakfast for dinner. As you can imagine, that poor thing received a lot of abuse over the years. It was time.

crispy cornmeal waffles with spinach queso sauce

These waffles I’m sharing today were the inaugural run of the new waffle maker. I was jonesing for something savory, and if you give anything a Tex-Mex spin, then of course I’m all in. Obviously these waffles fit that bill.

crispy cornmeal waffles with Spinach Queso Sauce

Have you ever had queso on a waffle before? I’d never experienced such a thing, which I decided was just wrong on so many levels after my first bite. Clearly, I’ve been missing out. A lot. A lot, a lot, a lot. The sauce was spicy, creamy, bursting with flavor, and of course uber cheesy; we liberally doused it on waffles that were reminiscent of savory cornbread, with a crunchy exterior and a smooth, bready interior. The flavor was full of corn and the texture was pleasantly gritty. Love!

Crispy cornmeal Waffles with spinach queso sauce

Stay tuned this week, because I’m showing you what all your waffle maker can do! It’s gonna be delicious.

Source: slightly adapted from The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion

Ingredients:
WAFFLES:
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tbs sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chipotle chile powder
1 ¾ cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1/3 cup canola oil

QUESO SAUCE:
½ cup salsa, homemade or a good quality store bought brand
8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Monterey jack cheese
¼ cup snipped fresh chives
1 (10 oz.) package of frozen spinach, thawed and liquid squeezed out in a clean dish towel

Directions:
To make the waffles: in a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cumin, and chipotle chile powder. Set aside.
In a large measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, and oil. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and whisk until most of the flour mixture has been incorporated into the wet ingredients. Use a rubber spatula to combine the last little bit. This prevents over-mixing, which results in dry waffles. The batter will be very thick.
Grease your waffle iron and spoon the batter in; cook according to manufacturer’s instructions. Remove the waffles to a plate and work in batches if needed.
Meanwhile, make the queso sauce. Place a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the salsa, cream cheese, and grated cheese, stirring until the mixture is smooth. Add the chives and spinach, and stir until combined.
To serve, spoon a generous amount of queso over each waffle and enjoy!

Banana Chocolate Whoopie Pies

Banana Chocolate Whoopie Pies

I have a dream…. A dream that one day…. I will live in a household…. where the people in that household actually *eat* the bananas in the few days after they’ve been purchased. When those bananas are still yellow. When those bananas are actually ripe and perfect for peeling and eating.

banana chocolate whoopie pies

I have a dream…. A dream that someday…. me and my household will not consist of people who always let bananas sit on the counter, neglected, until they go black. That someday, me and my household will not forget that the bananas were even purchased in the first place. That someday, me and my household will no longer be people who only notice the bananas’ very existence when they are overripe and only acceptable for baked goodies.

banana chocolate whoopie pies

But, today, my dream is still only a dream. A couple of weeks ago, I bought a bunch of five beautiful, still-slightly-green bananas; I ate one; the other unnamed person in my household ate none. And that explains why, a couple days ago, I noticed four black bananas on the counter. And what could I do but make these whoopie pies?

banana chocolate whoopie pies

So here I am, sharing with you yet another baked creation that exists only because me and my household cannot seem to manage to eat our bananas. Maybe we subconsciously feel we do not need potassium. Or maybe we subconsciously (and consciously!) like the banana baked treats. Because we do keep buying bananas, despite our abysmal track record. In the meantime, please enjoy these delicious and positively addictive cookie sandwiches.

Banana Chocolate Whoopie Pies

To prove my point, here is a list of other banana baked treats made because I let bananas go black:

Banana Split Brownies
Banana Dark Chocolate Mini Muffins
Iced Banana Cookies
Banana Buttermilk Waffles
Banana Pecan Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Banana Split Cheesecake Bars
Bourbon Banana Bread
Strawberry Banana Bread

Banana Chocolate whoopie pies

Source: adapted from The Good Stuff Cookbook by Spike Mendelsohn

Ingredients:
COOKIES:
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
4-5 overripe bananas

FILLING:
6 oz. cream cheese
3 tbs half-and-half
2 scant cups granulated sugar
2 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate

Directions:
First make the COOKIES. Preheat your oven to 350 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or silpats. Set aside.
In a medium to large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cloves. Set aside.
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. With the stand mixer on medium-low, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Peel the bananas, then, with the mixer still running, break them up into chunks and add the chunks, one at a time, to the mixer. Let them become completely incorporated into the batter.
Now, with the mixer still on medium-low, add the flour mixture a little at a time, until it is just incorporated into the batter. Shut off the mixer.
Grease a cookie scoop or a couple of larger cereal spoons and drop the batter onto the prepared baking sheets by tablespoonfuls. Bake in the preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until the tops of the cookies spring back when gently touched and the edges are golden brown.
Transfer the cookies to cooling racks and cool completely before assembling the whoopie pies.
In the meantime, make the FILLING. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, combine all the filling ingredients. Stirring occasionally, let them all melt together until smooth. Remove from the heat and cool completely. You can refrigerate the filling for a bit if desired.
When everything has cooled, assemble the whoopie pies. Take one cookies, and spread some of the chocolate filling on it. Top with another cookie and place on a plate or cooling rack. Continue, until all have been assembled.
Eat one, and try to stop at that. An hour later, call someone to come take the needle out of your arm.

Carrot Cake Pancakes

Carrot Cake Pancakes

Happy Friday!! We are wrapping up Carrot Week on an extremely delicious, breakfast-y note. Carrot. Cake. Pancakes. Oh, yes, I went there.

Now, I always loved pancakes growing up. They were probably my number one favorite breakfast food that my mom would make. But it wasn’t until adulthood that my eyes were opened to all the pancake possibilities that exist out there. For most of my childhood and adolescence, I figured pancakes came in two forms: plain, or blueberry. Of course that was very wrong.

shredded carrots

And I’m quite happy to have added these carrot cake pancakes to my I’ve-eaten-that list. Because they are insanely tasty. Instead of maple syrup, you spread cream cheese frosting on them, like you would an actual carrot cake. It’s just divine. And very impressive – you could definitely bust these out for company.

carrot cake pancakes

And now for our usual week recap!

We began the week with Nocello-Spiked Carrot Cupcakes, so now I can check the box of having put a carrot cake on my blog. These are quite lovely thanks to the addition of walnuts and the walnut liqueur.

Nocello-spiked Carrot Cupcakes

 

 

 

 

 

Next we made Vegan Carrot Soup, a lovely rendition of a classic that non-vegans will scarf down enthusiastically.

Vegan carrot soup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next up: if you can have carrot cake, why not Carrot Pie? You can have it. It’s a thing. And it’s delicious.

Carrot Pie

 

 

 

 

 

And then yesterday, we had a cooked carrot side dish which we glazed with whiskey, butter, and brown sugar (oh, my!). Whiskey Glazed Carrots would make a beautiful side dish to any Easter spread.

Whiskey glazed carrots

 

 

 

 

 

And be sure you check out these carrot recipes from the food blogosphere!

Carrot Cake Scones from Rachel Cooks
Carrot “Fettuccine” with Lemon-Thyme Sauce from In Jennie’s Kitchen
Carrot Salad with Harissa, Feta, and Mint from Smitten Kitchen
Healthy No Sugar Carrot Cake Muffins from Farm Fresh Feasts
Pickled Carrot Sticks from Smitten Kitchen
Spiced Carrot Kale Muffins from Hezzi D’s Books and Cooks
Super Moist Carrot Cake from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Enjoy this lovely breakfast/brunch, y’all!

Carrot cake pancakes

Source: slightly adapted from Joy the Baker Cookbook by Joy Wilson

Ingredients:
PANCAKES:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
Generous pinch of ground ginger
1 large egg
2 tbs brown sugar
1 cup buttermilk, well shaken
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups grated carrots
3 tbs butter, for the griddle

FROSTING:
4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
2-3 tbs whole milk
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Dash of ground cinnamon

Directions:
First, make the pancakes. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, brown sugar, buttermilk, and vanilla. Stir in the carrots.
Pour the buttermilk mixture, all at once, into the flour mixture. Whisk until mostly incorporated, then switch to a rubber spatula to combine the rest of the way. Let the batter rest 5 minutes while you make the frosting.
For the frosting: in a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese until it is smooth and fluffy. Add the confectioners’ sugar, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon. Beat until smooth. Set aside while you make the pancakes.
Preheat your skillet or griddle over medium heat. Add a pat of butter and smear it around to melt it and cover the whole surface. Ladle about 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake into rounds on the skillet or griddle. Cook, flipping once, until golden on both sides and cooked through in the middle. Transfer the pancakes to a plate or platter. Repeat until all the batter is used up.
To serve, spread each pancake with a dollop of cream cheese spread. Stack them if desired. Consume immediately. :)

Whiskey Glazed Carrots

Whiskey Glazed Carrots

I’m continuing Carrot Week with a nod to my blog’s tagline (Confessions of a Formerly Picky Eater). Believe it or not, carrots were not on the banned list for my childhood self’s palate. I actually enjoyed snacking on raw carrot sticks, what with its satisfying crunch and neutral-ish flavor that didn’t offend me. Cook those same carrots, though, and now we have a problem.

Whiskey glazed carrots

Man, I hated cooked carrots as a kid. My mom made them on occasion, and I complained bitterly each and every time. So when I devised Carrot Week for the blog, it only seemed fair to revisit a side dish of cooked carrots. In all honesty, cooked carrots are a dish to which I haven’t paid much attention in the past decade or so; I tend to still prefer them raw and dipped in ranch dressing. So I was curious as to what my now-adventurous adult palate would think. I glazed them with butter, brown sugar, and whiskey, and I made sure not to over- or undercook them. And they turned out quite delicious, I’m happy to report.

whiskey glazed carrots

Maybe I might have even not balked at these as a child. See, Mom, when you made cooked carrots, you should have glazed them with a bunch of whiskey – then I would’ve liked them! Or, at the very least, I would have fallen asleep and shut up about it….

I hope y’all can enjoy these, child and adult alike. I had a thought that they would make a perfect side dish for an Easter or Passover dinner spread…. See what you think!

Whiskey Glazed Carrots

Source: slightly adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food From My Frontier by Ree Drummond

Ingredients:
¼ cup unsalted butter
1 lb. carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch rounds
6 tbs whiskey
6 tbs brown sugar
Kosher salt and black pepper
Fresh thyme leaves, for garnish

Directions:
Melt 2 tbs butter in a 10” skillet, preferably cast-iron, over high heat. Add the carrots and stir to brown them, about 2-3 minutes.
Remove the carrots to a plate with a slotted spoon. If using a gas stove, turn off the heat. Pour the whiskey into the skillet. Let it bubble up and cook for about 3 minutes, or until slightly reduced. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the remaining 2 tbs butter. When it’s melted, add the brown sugar and stir to combine. Add the carrots back into the skillet and cook for another 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently. Add salt and pepper to taste, and I’d advise adding more black pepper than you usually do to cut the sweetness in this dish.
Continue cooking until the carrots are to your desired softness. Sprinkle some fresh thyme around and serve immediately.