Thursday, June 27, 2013

Blueberry Cobbler with an Almond Crumble Topping

            It’s official: summer has arrived. Not because June 21st has passed or the parkway is now jammed Friday & Sunday evenings or that my hairdo is a “mop on top” bun every day. I know summer is here because I have begun to overbuy produce and am doomed to continue this with each visit to the farmers’ market. You see, for me summer means getting all the best Jersey has to offer. And while this definitely includes the beaches and boardwalks, it undoubtedly translates to damn good fruit and veggies for my household.

            So here is a quick and delicious recipe I served for Fathers’ Day a few weeks back. I originally wanted to serve beer cupcakes but when I saw the price of blueberries at the market and the sparkle on all of them, I bought a few pints. Correction, I bought too many pints. The week following Dads’ Day, I had blueberries in everything from cereal to salad and from on toast to on ice cream. Eh, things could be worse, right?!? 

            With that said, I hope you get out to one of the many farmers’ markets this summer, your belly and wallet will be grateful. So here’s to summer 2013 and loving all our local treats! Enjoy…


Blueberry Cobbler with an Almond Crumble Topping
Serves: 6-8
Slightly adapted from: Real Simple

OBJ: TCW be able to put those Jersey blueberries to good use

3 half-pint containers fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
2 cups pancake mix (I used Bisquick®)
1 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
 Whipped cream
¼ C crushed almonds
2 TBS sugar
1 TBS brown sugar

1. Preheat oven to 375° F
2. Butter an 8-inch square baking dish. Add the berries and confectioners’ sugar to the dish and toss
3. In a large bowl, combine the pancake mix, milk, and eggs until no lumps remain
4. Pour the batter over the berries
5. In a small bowl, mix all the topping ingredients well and place all over batter
6. Bake until the crust is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes
7. Remove from oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes or serve at room temp.
8. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream



Thursday, June 20, 2013

Low & Slow Grilled Pizzas

          Notice the title here: Low and Slow. This means low flame and slow to cook. Unfortunately, I don’t dabble in this style of cooking. I don’t know where I got this trait from but nevertheless my default oven temp is 420 and my flame is usually bon fire like. Eh, we all have things to improve on, yes?

            So since I didn’t cook these pizzas as I am recommending to you, my dinner was, well, a bit charred. I quickly learned my lesson and vowed to tame the flame from now on… needed J Anyway, I used grilled vegetables because I love them but if you prefer to roast yours, go ahead. The end result will be something that is quick, tasty and quite healthy too.

            In the future, be creative with this…..I go with goat cheese and marinated artichokes for some new flair. Hubby likes prosciutto with arugula and extra sharp provolone while my mom spreads pesto all over these. The beauty is that you really can’t mess up too much. What is the worst that could happen? Hockey puck pizza, soggy crust……eh, nothing that some melted cheese couldn’t fix! Enjoy…


Low & Slow Grilled Pizzas
Serves: 2

OBJ: TCW be able to keep the kitchen cool by continuing to grill everything

2 round flatbreads, or large pocket less pitas
8 slices eggplant, sliced thin and grilled
Zucchini, sliced and grilled
Vidalia onion, sliced thick and grilled
6 mushrooms, sliced
8 slices tomatoes, thinly sliced drained atop paper towels
½ - 1 C shredded mozzarella
¼ C freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 TBS olive oil
S & P: salt and pepper
Red pepper flakes, optional

1. Preheat your grill over low flame
2. Cut up the eggplant and zucchini into small quarters or halves. Cut up the onion into small slivers
3. Assemble the pizzas: Top each flatbread with tomatoes then layer the eggplant and zucchini. Top those veggies with onions and mushrooms (try to get into the crevices so your pizza isn’t mile high). Sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan. Drizzle 1 TBS oil over each and season with S & P and red pepper flakes
4. Transfer to grill
5. Grill, covered for 5-10 minutes or until crust is dark brown and cheese has melted.
6. Top with additional Parmesan, slice and serve!


Thursday, June 13, 2013

I went to the Circus!

            I don’t know about you, but for me there are 3 types of women out there: ones who can cook, ones who can clean, and ones who can craft. In my opinion, these traits rarely converge on one lady unless they are Wonder Woman.  I am of the cooking kind, clearly. I can clean, but goodness knows I am no clean-it-till-in-shines type of gal nor will you ever think to yourself, “HHHmm, is that Pine-Sol she’s wearing?”  Ha, not going to happen. As for crafting, I think the only person who thinks I’m crafty is my Mom. Yes, I realize this means I’m terrible as mothers thinks everything their child makes deserves a spot at the MOMA.

            So since I can’t craft or clean, I find it very admirable when I find people who can. And since finding really clean things to blog about would be beyond boring, I’m more than glad to bring a post where you can see how crafty and talented some people really are.

            Enter my good pal, Juli. Check out this spread she put out for her son’s 1st birthday party. I heard this was going to be off the hook (am I dating myself?) from my Hubby who works with her Hubby. Word travels fast when men travel together, who woulda thought?!?  Anywho, this circus-themed party was just amazing…..and when I say amazing; I mean that I honestly don’t think the girl slept for weeks leading up to this party. Juli….I hope you have since rested up.

            Let’s look at this up-close……

The above photo was the main-spread. The details are ridiculous….


Below was one of a few, “treats” stations. Soft-pretzels, cotton candy, caramel corn, it just keeps getting better and better….


And of course, there are favors……personalized and perfectly placed….

The adults got to pick from this “thank you” shelf unit. Yes, I wrote shelf unit….

So you want to play games? You’re at the circus, of course you do...
Winner, winners, pick your hand-wrapped prize….

And no party is complete without a cake….

and the birthday boy...

            So what do you think? Is this not the most incredible party you’ve seen in a while? Aren’t you jealous you weren’t invited?!? Haha, joking joking…..Little Jack seemed to have a ball at his fiesta, although I don’t know how much he’ll remember. Oh wait, the 1-year photo shoot pics will remind him, duh!

            And as for Juli, she is in the process of starting her own site. I’ll post that info once it’s ready so you can look to her for ideas, inspiration or, if you’re like me, for hire! Enjoy…

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Calzone Stromboli

          I can’t say I love these pictures. In fact, I know my food photography skills are undetectable here. But with the pics from last week’s Food Truck event, I know your still salivating. So even though these visuals aren’t drool-worthy, they are blog-worthy. Blog-worthy translates to you should make this and you’re welcome in advance for me sharing J

            Seriously, who doesn’t like stromboli? It’s a quintessential snack that most kids and adults can’t resist. I associate it with pepperoni and greasy-goody mozzarella oozing out. With this recipe though, I tweaked it a few ways so that it was more like a calzone who walked into an Italian deli. The meat and ricotta inside made for one insanely good appetizer. Hubby, who loves anything with ricotta and Italian meats, mentioned it was, “Your best stromboli yet,” to me the next day. Now I know I’ve made some darn delicious strombolis in the past, so with that comment and my reliance on his reviews, I knew this was a keeper. My dad actually forwent dessert after eating too many pieces. Might I add that dessert was apple crumble pie from the one and only Delicious Orchards? Yes, the stromboli had him sidelined for our final course.

            So with Matt placing this on his “best ever” list and Dad opting out of dessert, I can’t urge you enough to make this. It’s easy, feeds a group and can be done ahead of time. Oh and of course, you might not even have to make dessert that night! Enjoy…

Calzone Stromboli
Serves: 4-6

OBJ: TCW be able to combine everything she loves about calzones into a stromboli

1 prepared pizza dough
½ C sliced Sopressata, or any other Italian meat you prefer
½ C – 1 C shredded mozzarella
½ C – 1 C whole milk ricotta
6-8 fresh basil leaves, torn or coarsely chopped
¼ C freshly grated Parmesan cheese
S & P: salt and pepper
1 egg, beaten
2 TBS sesame seeds

** If dough is frozen, let sit out in large bowl, covered, at room temp. to rise for at least 6-8 hours. If defrosted, let sit out in large bowl, covered, at room temp. to rise for at least 2-4 hours. This makes huge difference!**

1. Place pizza stone on bottom shelf of oven and preheat to 425 degrees
2. Use a rolling pin to roll out dough so that it measures about 18 inches long by 10 inches in width
3. Spread ricotta thinly on dough, leaving about 1 inch border
4. Sprinkle mozzarella over ricotta
5. Place Sopressata, or other toppings, evenly on top of mozz
6. Sprinkle Parmesan, basil and then S & P all over , it should resemble this...
7. Starting at the long end, roll up and make sure to pinch the seams well when you reach other end. Curl or twist ends under
8. Remove pizza stone from oven and transfer stromboli to stone in the shape of a (fat) ½ circle
9. Use a sharp knife to cut 3 small slits on stromboli- one at each end and one in middle
10. Brush egg all over and sprinkle with sesame seeds
11. Place stone with stromboli back on bottom shelf of oven and bake for about 20-24 minutes, or until golden brown. It may slightly ooze, no worries, you can restuff when you remove and ready to serve!
12. Remove stone from oven, place on cutting board and let stromboli sit for about 5 minutes
13. Use a pizza cutter to slice and serve!