banana · bread · breakfast · brunch · brunch ideas · burger · burger patty · french toast · fresh bread · ripe bananas · stuffed

Fresh Bread Smells and Stuffed Food Smiles

fullsizerender-21This weekend I spent some time remembering the smell  of fresh bread walking down the streets of Paris. Since lately I’ve been on this kick of eliminating artificial preservatives I decided to do some research and make my own bread at home, bring the smell of Parisian bakeries to my home. So, I started with one goal in mind, dinner. Ever since last summer, I’ve wanted to try to duplicate the a delicious pork burger I tried at Yard House while visiting Southern California. So I decided to take this pork deliciousness to another level and make some brioche buns for it.

I found a recipe on The New York Times Cooking page. The recipe makes 6-8 buns so since I was only cooking for two I ended up making my own brioche loaf with oats and flax seeds on the side. The outcome? Two beautiful golden brown buns and a delicious loaf of bread with pretty hues of gold and oat shimmer.

I utilized my fresh bread in two different ways: for dinner and brunch the next day. It has been a while that I’ve wanted to make bread so I’m super excited that I got over my fear of yeast and can make it now whenever I want. Note: The only challenge with making bread is time. The amount of time the dough needs to rest is what may discourage, but believe me when I tell you that it is worth it!

img_5467My version of the burger from Yard House: A fresh brioche bun burger with a pork patty stuffed with mozzarella cheese, blueberry ketchup, non spicy candied bacon and spinach.  I think I liked my version much better. Perhaps it was the fresh bun or the pork burger patty that I stuffed with mozzarella cheese; all I know is that I am adding this one to my must-have burgers this summer.

The next day I was looking for something to satisfy my sweet tooth. There were two things I absolutely needed to use, 2 ripe bananas that have been begging me to use them before they go back and my fresh loaf of bread. I’ve probably never mentioned this, but even though my boyfriend loves everything I make, there is one thing that he’s never liked and that is my french toast. Now, maybe it’s because I enjoy a good challenge or perhaps my competitive nature kicked in, but today would be the day to make him change his mind. Honestly, the thought of my french toast not satisfying anyone has bugged me for years!

My strategy going in was to use the loaf of bread (you can’t deny the power of homemade), stuff it with a banana and maple syrup mix (2 ripe bananas and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup), and revamp my egg mixture. img_5466I replaced my old egg mix with this: 2 Eggs, 1/4 tsp cinnamon and sugar, a splash of almond milk ( which I made a couple of days ago), a pinch of nutmeg, 1 tsp of vanilla-bourbon extract and a splash of heavy cream. First I cut slices of the loaf of bread, about 1 inch. Then I cut down the middle to create pockets for the mashed bananas/maple syrup mixture. Once I stuffed the bread slices, I dipped in my new and improved egg mix. I buttered a pan and cooked in medium heat for about 5-8 minutes making sure each side is evenly cooked.

Once done I sprinkled with some powdered sugar, fresh blueberries and maple syrup. img_5463-1

These were absolutely delicious and just in case you’re wondering I wasn’t the only one to think so. Yup! after all these years, the french toast redeemed themselves! Ah, the sweet smell of victory is almost as good as the sweet smell of fresh bread. Or is it?

basil · cheese · chicken · fresh bread · pesto · quick dinner · sandwich · sunday dinner · weekday weekend

Love Basil-Everything Chicken Sandwich

Sundays for me are usually days of rest at home. I want to relax and do as little as possible. However, for dinner I always crave something delicious and comforting. The kind of meal that would require hours of prep and cooking. That’s why  I like to cook up something quick and easy, but also something that will fully satisfy my need for an effortless delicious meal. In this case it’s a grilled chicken sandwich with pesto. The secret? The bread and cheese! (My two best buds!)

Let me start by telling you about the bread. In order for this to be satisfying, the bread has to be fresh. I’m going to tell you how I accomplish this without running to the bakery on my lazy day. I like to buy the half-baked ciabatta rolls or baguette that Trader Joe’s carries. I store these in the freezer when I buy them until I am ready to have fresh bread. It takes about 10-15 min to finish them off and you have crispy, fresh bread to give this sandwich the ultimate fresh bread bite experience (you all know what I’m talking about and yes I want to make sure you know that it really will taste like fresh bread!).
Before I move on to talk about the cheese, let me just say that I also love this sandwich without cheese. The thing about cheese though is that it adds comfort to anything. Ooh and that gooey-ness that comes from cheese is not to be compared. I used Brie this time around, but mozzarella, havarti or provolone are all wonderful choices.  After you grill your chicken on a grill or pan, place over the pesto spread bread. Lay the cheese over the chicken and place in oven so the cheese melts. Once that cheese melts, assemble the sandwich. 
Want to try? This is what I used and how I used it:

  • TJ’s Half-Baked Ciabatta Rolls
  • TJ’s Pesto Alla Genovese (spread 1 teaspoon on each side of the bread)
  • Olive oil -optional (lightly sprinkle some over the pesto to keep it from tasting dry)
  • Brie (but mozzarella, havarti or provolone all work great too!)
  • Chicken Breast (filet in half or pound out so these are not too thick)
  • Salt & Pepper (to season the chicken breasts)
  • Tomato slices
  • Basil leaves (you can chop or leave as full)
Let me know if you tried this or if you tried your own version!

Love my Basil!