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?

bacon · chicken · delicious · dinner · food · micro greens · produce · sour cream · spinach · stuffed · sustainability · waste

Chicken Stuff and a Bacon Hug

Lately, I’ve been more mindful of my grocery shopping. After reading an article published last month about all the food that goes to waste, I decided to do my part and balance the scale a least a little bit. I know sometimes fruits and vegetables are not the most perfect looking. Some have bruises others come in slightly different shapes than the flawless images we all grew up seeing in ads, books, magazines, etc. So I’ve been very careful with the quantities of my purchases and how I use everything in my fridge.  Sure sometimes it takes more creativity than others, but we all have to do our part and being creative in my cooking doesn’t seem like that much of a sacrifice.

Last week I had some bacon, micro greens, cherry tomatoes, sour cream, and spinach that I absolutely needed to incorporate into a meal soon. In one week these ingredients would have gone to waste along with the 1.6bn tons of food that goes to waste globally each year. I came home one evening and found a defrosted piece of chicken breast that I had to use (apparently my guy was helping me prep for dinner, but didn’t have a plan for the piece of poultry). So there I was with a chicken breast and these must-use ingredients. I decided to take the spinach, mix it with sour cream, some Gorgonzola cheese, onions, garlic salt, and pepper to make a stuffing for the chicken breast. I salted the breast, then I took the last pieces of bacon I had and wrapped it.

I cooked in in the oven for about 40 minutes in 350 degrees and on an iron skillet (set at high) I finished it so that bacon could be nice and crunchy. What I got (to my surprise) was a pretty darn good piece of chicken. It was moist on the inside and crunchy on the outside. I then took my micro greens and placed them on top like a little green hat. It was beautiful and delicious.

I served it with a simple cherry tomato salad to add more freshness. This meal, though totally improvised, was amazing and will definitely be adding to my cooking repertoire. Not to mention, I was able to save some poor fruit or veggie from a horrible destiny in that horrible place called WASTE.