Hey folks! It’s Brian from A Thought For Food and I’m so happy that I was asked to play around with a BHG recipe!
When I was first approached about writing a post, I immediately knew what I wanted to make. Panzanella, the Italian bread and tomato salad, was something of a revelation for me when I learned of its existence only a few years ago. You see, for me a salad can never just be lettuce and chopped up carrots and cucumber. I need something substantial on my plate. Give me cheese or fish or eggs… or bread! Needless to say, when I first came upon the panzanella, I was elated.
The original BHG recipe is outstanding on its own, but I’m the kind of cook who likes to mess with tradition. Initially, my only modification to the recipe was to include some chopped kale, but when I tried it, I thought, “Eh, that’s okay, but it’s still missing something.” The night before was July 4th and we had a ton of leftover grilled corn in the fridge. I sprinkled a bit of that in and chopped up some roasted red peppers we had around. At this point, I knew that I had something special… a recipe that took the panzanella to the next level (not that it needed a whole lot else).
You can try out the original BHG panzanella recipe here. Leave it as is or add in some of these additional items. Totally up to you. You really can’t go wrong.
Brian Samuels is a Boston-based food photographer and writer and is the creator of the food blog A Thought For Food. He is also the co-creator and Editor-In-Chief of the cocktail blog, The Boys Club, which recently won the Saveur Food Blog Award for Best Cocktail Blog. Brian’s work has been featured on Saveur.com, The Wall Street Journal, Edible Boston and the Improper Bostonian. Follow Brian on Facebook and Twitter.
Hi all! It’s Lisa Appleton, Associate Editor with special interest media here again. It’s finally spring! I couldn’t be happier, but you should know a few things about me before I go any further. 1) I LOVE breakfast foods. I will make breakfast food any time of the day, but I always go out of my way to make something fun on Sunday mornings. 2) Asparagus is my favorite vegetable. Every spring when it’s back in season, I just can’t get enough. I will always go out of my way to find new ways to use asparagus.
It’s a wonder it even took me this long into the season to combine the two, but last Sunday I did just that. I had some asparagus on hand and some asiago garlic French bread I didn’t end up using for another recipe last week. I immediately thought of our Ham-Asparagus and Cheese Strata. In case you don’t know, strata is a layered breakfast casserole that typically has day-old bread, eggs, and cheese with any meat or vegetables of your choosing. It turns out like a savory bread pudding.
I went straight to bhg.com and found this recipe for Ham-Asparagus and Cheese Strata. I had a three-cheese blend of shredded cheese, so I used that instead of the Gruyere it suggests. The only other element I was missing was ham. I had Canadian bacon and didn’t want to run to the store, so I substituted that too.
Not only was it delicious, it was also super easy to make. Asparagus is pretty simple to cook with. Just remember to snap off and discard the woody base of the spears by bending them. The spears can be cooked whole, but this recipe required chopping into 2-inch pieces. After you’ve chopped the rest your ingredients, blanch the asparagus for just a few minutes, and layer everything in a greased baking dish. Blanching is a cooking technique. Vegetables are cooked in boiling water for just a few minutes and immediately cooled in an ice bath to stop the cooking. It brings out the bright green color in asparagus. Whisk up some eggs and milk to pour over the dish, and you’re nearly finished.
This might be the best part. Strata is at its best when it’s chilled overnight. You don’t have to bother making this in the morning before a fun brunch with your friends or family. Prepare it up to this point and chill it overnight. In the morning, baking is easy. After 30 minutes, take it out of the oven to quickly add the six eggs to the top and then it’s right back in until it’s finished. This would make a great dish for Mother’s Day! You’ll spend more time with your Mom and less time in the kitchen on her special day.
In my mind, there is no better vegetable in spring than asparagus. This was perfect for a lazy Sunday breakfast, and it’s already on my list to make again.
Get the recipe for Ham-Asparagus and Cheese Strata.
Happy New Year from The Forest Feast! Out here in the woods, the celebrations continue so I am making these breadsticks for a gathering this weekend. They are super easy, and will wow your guests when served warm, fresh out of the oven. You can buy pizza dough, or make your own.
- 1 package refrigerated pizza dough (approx 14 oz)
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 – 3 tablespoons seeds or nuts, chopped (I used cashews and sunflower seeds)
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly grease two large baking sheets. Unroll pizza dough on a lightly floured surface. Using your hands, shape dough into a 12×9-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with some of the egg. Sprinkle with seeds and lightly sprinkle with salt. Use a floured long knife or floured pizza cutter to cut dough crosswise into 1/4- to 1/2-inch wide strips.
2. Place strips on prepared baking sheets. Bake, one sheet at a time, for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire racks. Makes about 24 breadsticks.
The Forest Feast is a blog by Erin Gleeson full of simple, colorful vegetable based recipes with photos and watercolor illustration. After working for many years as a food photographer in NYC, Erin moved to a cabin in the woods where she is currently working on The Forest Feast Cookbook.
Seasons greetings, everyone! Jessica Christensen, senior editor with Better Homes and Gardens special interest titles here to welcome you to December—the busiest baking time of the year. I love baking during the holidays (and any time, really) but with my 9-month-old son demanding the majority of my time this year, my baking is going to be more structured and organized—as in make-ahead everything!
Which leads me to last weekend. When my son’s nap time rolled around, I set to work on a batch of rolls to freeze for Christmas dinner. My choice: Feather Rolls, a time-tested recipe from our BH&G archives. Like the name implies, these rolls are soft, tender, and light as a feather (thanks to the secret ingredient of mashed potato!).
However, since I don’t eat dairy products (long story), I had to find a substitute for the butter. My solution to that problem: Earth Balance margarine, the best non-dairy, high-fat margarine on the market for baking. It contains 100 calories per tablespoon, just like butter, so it behaves in much the same way. It’s also free of hydrogenated oils, which is not true of most margarines.The dough came together beautifully—made from flour, sugar, margarine, mashed potato, water, salt, and yeast. Once the ingredients were mixed together, it was a simple matter of kneading the dough until it formed a smooth ball.
Now here’s a big perk of the Feather Rolls recipe—the dough can rise in the refrigerator for 2 to 24 hours. So when I got completely distracted for the rest of the day playing an endless game of peekaboo, it was no big deal. The next day I turned the dough out, cut it into 16 pieces (the recipes says 15 pieces, but it’s much easier to get equal sizes from an even number of bread pieces), formed each piece into a rough ball, and placed the pieces in a 13×9 pan to rise for 40 minutes. The awkward 16th piece of dough had to squeeze in on one end of the pan, but I’m OK with that. Then it was just a hop, skip, and a jump to hot and yeasty baked rolls.
Once the rolls were cool, I wrapped them up in a layer each of plastic wrap and foil, and then placed them in a larger baking dish with a tight fitting lid. Then off to the freezer they went, where they will stay until the big holiday festivities later this month. I plan to pull them out of the freezer the morning of the feast to thaw and then bake them for about 10 minutes at 350°F to warm them up.
Then, because I was “on a roll” I decided to make up a double batch of Mini Focaccia. I used half of it to make a large focaccia round, and then split the other half of the dough up to make mini focaccia. I topped it with fresh rosemary (from a summer plant I brought inside that is now struggling to survive in my window). I learned long ago that this recipe needs to either be eaten immediately or frozen to keep it from getting tough and dried out. Fresh bread doesn’t last nearly as long as store-bought. So after it was baked off to the freezer it went.
Three cheers for planning ahead! What baked goodies are you going to prep and freeze for the holidays this year?
Delish Dish, In the Test Kitchen | Tags:
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