Holiday Recipe Cards (Breakfast Casserole)

December 22, 2010

Kimchi and Cucumber Salad

Sensing a terribly timed cold developing, I chose to work on an immune boosting meal consisting of a kimchi and cucumber salad with a miso brown rice soup last night, leaving me one less day to share my Holiday recipes with you. But don’t worry because a colleague of mine just recently brought in an amazingly delicious breakfast casserole, and I managed to get the details!

This is an awesome recipe for anytime of year for a bunch of reasons. The first is how convenient and easy it is. Most of the work happens the night before making your morning nice and relaxing. It would be perfect for that mad rush to the Christmas gifts! But secondly, this recipe (at least to me) is a base to add to. Think of all the delicious ingredients you could add to keep this dish new and exciting each time you make it. And that’s not even considering the taste. I just assumed I didn’t have to convince you on the combination of bread, eggs, ham, and cheese topped with crispy corn flakes. Intrigued? Well give it a shot and let me know how it goes!

SilverCaterersRecipeCards – GingersBreakfastCasserole


Holiday Recipe Cards (Breakfast and Dessert!)

December 21, 2010

Eggnog Bread Pudding

As I mentioned yesterday, all week-long I will be posting new recipe cards for the Holidays. And nothing makes holiday memories like a great breakfast or dessert…

While I have been promising the eggnog re-do for quite some time, it wasn’t until this weekend that these two dishes really came to fruition. Spending my Sunday watching the Eagles game at our good friends Mark and Kelly’s proved to offer quite a bit of inspiration. Because there was only one thing better than Desean Jackson’s winning touchdown: Kelly’s awesome breakfast. She whipped up some delicious bacon and kale that was just awesome with the over easy eggs. I wish I had taken a picture of the dish cause as simple as it sounds, there was something special about the execution. And while we enjoyed the meal during the first half of the game, Mark mentioned another breakfast gem: eggs baked in tomato.

Ouva in Brodetto

As you can see, all I had to do was combine these two dishes to get to this recipe card. And I think you’ll love the versatilty of the meal. It’s perfect for a crowd when frying up eggs in batches just won’t cut it. And even better when you add some avocados and black beans. Trust me, for Christmas morning or any other day, give this rich and delicious egg breakfast a shot! I’m sure you’ll love it.

But what about that eggnog? Well when you look at the ingredients that make up the thick and cloyingly sweet beverage, it isn’t hard to see why a bread pudding is a great option. Instead of using a challah or even a panettone which you can find a bunch of recipes for, I decided to go with a more earthy whole grain bread. Eggnog tends to be so sweet that I wanted something for balance. And it worked perfectly! Pair it with my cranberry ginger syrup and these individual puddings will be the talk of the dessert table.

SilverCaterersRecipeCards – OuvaInBrodetto

SilverCaterersRecipeCards – EggnogBreadPudding

Holiday Entertaining Recipe Cards (Snacks and Sides)

December 20, 2010

Beets and Greens with Blue Cheese Crusted Steak

Whether it’s a plate of cookies or a 7 fish’s dinner, most of us kick up our culinary involvement during the Holidays. And particularly for those entertaining large crowds of friends and family, you know how much time and energy goes into it. But I can’t personally think of anything more rewarding! Because cooking and sharing food is the ultimate gift!

But if you’re not buying my “trust me it’s worth it” speech, I’ve got a few recipes that will certainly ramp up your Holiday entertaining cheer. Because not only are they delicious, they are nice and easy!

Homemade Roasted Peppers

For a simple and flavor packed appetizer or hors d’oeuvre, try these roasted peppers. Because even though you’ve had roasted peppers before,  these take on a whole new identity when they are homemade. Make these early in the day and let them rest at room temperature and the flavor will only intensify! Pair them with slices of baguette, fresh mozzarella, and maybe some salami and you’ll know where to find your guests congregating. Because the heat from the long hot, and the richness of the olive oil come together perfectly. With just a touch of garlic and a nice sprinkling of sea salt, these peppers will become one of your entertaining go-tos. And while the festive red and green maybe an added bonus, it’s a nice touch your guests won’t miss!

SilverCaterersRecipeCards – Roasted Peppers

How about for your sit down Holiday dinner? Well, depending on your traditions, a wonderful cut of beef is a great way to ensure your meal is special. But with all the pre-requisite snacking and all the pending dessert devouring, think about these colorful sides of beets and greens (see above) as an alternative to the heavy starches and sauces. Because with this simple beet and cucumber slaw topping the blue cheese crusted steak, the fresh bite and sweetness will be perfectly balanced by the garlic heavy greens. Choose any cut of meat you’d like, because these two sides will go perfectly with them all!

SilverCaterersRecipeCards – Beets and Greens

These are a good start but I’ve got plenty more to come. So make sure to check back all week for more of my Holiday inspired recipes. Tomorrow: breakfast and dessert!

Holiday Shopping Guide – Rd 3

December 17, 2010

I know, I know. I owe you a new take on the Holiday classic Egg Nog. But trust me, when I share the recipe card on Monday along with a number of others, it will be worth the wait! So until then, here’s a few last minute Holiday shopping suggestions for the cook in your life…

One of the best parts of living in an apartment with a tiny kitchen (actually wait, it’s the only nice thing) is how efficient you can become as a cook. I’ve learned to streamline my approach to cooking in all facets of the process. From planning to organization to execution, sometimes its hysterical to think about the quantity of food that is produced in kitchens just like mine! But maybe most importantly, re-considering the need for “stuff” has made the biggest impact. I used to buy every pot, pan and accessory I could get my hands on. And I know many of you can relate to that!

So wouldn’t a pot that can be used for just about everything, from braising to roasting to sauteing to souping, sound like a perfect present! Well these Le Creuset dutch ovens are just that versatile. There’s no denying they are a bit on the pricey side but these pots are life long investments. And while I posted a link to amazon, there is an outlet on Long Island (and probably a few other places) that offer up some amazing deals!

But like I mentioned pots and pans are just one part of the problem; the kitchen gadget section of any store is where the real trouble begins! Because unless you’ve got limitless drawer space, how many spoons, peelers, juicers, and other gadgets do you really need. But that’s not to say there aren’t some fantastic items to own out there. Take these two items that have really made a difference for me; perfect for stocking stuffers, secret santas, or straight from under the tree.

These “lazy spoons” from Rachel Ray seem silly but they are actually pretty awesome. I was always one of those kitchen purists. “You can only make Risotto with a wooden spoon!” But all that is non-sense. These silicone based spoons are fine enough as spoons but being able to rest them on the edge of the pot during cooking is what makes them special. Unneccessary? Sure. But for efficiency and cleanliness, I’m’ a big fan.

And going right along with the “purist” theme, there was only ever two items I used to transfer my chopped ingredients: my hands and my knife! “Who needs a pie scraper?” Well I hate to admit it but I need a pie scraper. Because while dropping onions on the floor isn’t a major problem, it’s one a scraper can solve. Another great stocking stuffer!

So good luck with your last minute shopping and enjoy what I hope will be a great weekend!

Make sure to check back on Monday for a bunch of recipe cards…you won’t want to miss these!

A Taste of N’awlins

December 15, 2010

N'awlins Brown Rice Salad w/ Roasted Sausage

Looking passed the next few weeks of Holiday festivities, I’m beyond excited for our New Years Eve trip to New Orleans! Watching the ball drop in a crammed apartment or even worse, dropping hundreds of dollars at a bar in the city has never been that appealing to me. Which is exactly why we’ve been trying to plan trips away for one of the biggest party nights of the year. And considering New Orleans is one of the biggest party cities in the country, I think we’ve found a good fit.

But celebrating the New Year will only be a small part of this 4 day trip. Because as I’ve written about before, I go to New Orleans to eat! And eat I will!

As I’ve been thinking of all the places we’ve been and all the places we need to add to the restaurant list, my obsession with the rich flavors has been kicked back into high gear; my stomach gets full just thinking about it. But it would be pretty silly for me to try and re-create my favorite dishes leading up to the trip. It would be like reading Harry Potter before seeing the movie! (Just kidding…sorta)

But taking my favorite flavors and re-working them into lighter weeknight dishes? That I can do. Take this chilled brown rice salad: roasted red peppers, corn, cucumbers, cabbage, onions, and jalapenos were tossed in a spicy mustard and bacon vinaigrette reminiscent of rich and creamy jambalaya. The crunch of the fresh vegetables and the earthiness of the brown rice made for a great balance between bold and crisp flavors. And the only thing that made this dish better was to enjoy each bite with a slice of oven roasted pork and fennel sausage. Because what isn’t better with sausage!

Looks like it’s going to be a good few weeks for my belly!

So What’dya Eat?

December 14, 2010

Roasted Mackerel in Ginger Miso and Lime Broth

I’ve always been the pain in the ass that asks…”So what’dya eat?”. Sure I’ll take a look at your photos and listen to your stories but when push comes to shove, I’m just waiting for the food! Because whether it’s on a vacation away from home or at your favorite local standby, meals make some fantastic memories. And as an added bonus: I’m always game for some added inspiration.

So when Em’s Dad was discussing a fantastic French restaurant in Cape Cod, it was the roasted fish served over a flavorful broth that really caught my attention. Because while I’ve been cooking fish fairly frequently these days, I can’t remember ever trying this approach. So of course it was time…

While the inspiration came from French faire, it was the fusion flavors of Asia that really made this meal! The broth was made of miso, ginger, garlic and crushed red pepper finished with the brightness of fresh squeezed lime. With a dash of soy and a pile of wok seared green beans and shitakes over the rich Spanish Mackerel, this dinner was good to the last spoonful!

Good enough to keep me asking…. “So what’dya eat?” No seriously…Any truly inspiration meals out as of late?

Tis the Seaon to Feel Guilty?

December 13, 2010

Whether it’s on the morning news or in your favorite blog, by now, we’ve all been warned. Because if you have too much fun, or enjoy this holiday season too much, you’ll be sorry! While some may say “tis the season to be jolly”, more and more recently were being told “tis the season to feel guilty”. Guilty for eating too much, drinking too much, and over indulging to the point of no return.

And while it may be true that the Holiday season offers more opportunities to pig out and drink up, that doesn’t mean you have to feel bad about it. Just this weekend I read 3 or 4 blogs that offered up the “5 Best Tips” or the “Must knows” for eating/drinking habits for the upcoming weeks. They were all bogus. Because if avoiding drinking at parties and chewing gum to avoid over snacking are real solutions, then I’m screwed!

But what about this novel solution:

Focus on eating well (not to be confused with dieting) on a regular basis, enjoy the opportunities to socialize with friends and family (even if that means eating a cookie or two), and stay true to what we all know as “feeling good”. Because while no one has ever woken up after a flask of tequila and a 2 am chicken cheese steak feeling fantastic (don’t ask!), this is definitely not the point of no return. Trust me on this one. Sometimes all it takes is some outdoors time (go for a walk, a hike, or play some football in the cold) or a light and healthy dinner, to kick start that healthy feeling that I would argue is just as enjoyable as the buzz from the night before!

Take this spinach salad from last night’s dinner as an example. While this may not scream culinary ingenuity, it certainly packs the crucial components of a healthy meal. With a little bit of seared sirloin, a hard boiled egg, and some avocado, this salad was packed with protein and healthy fats that will give you a boost of strength (4 Loco is not an acceptable substitute). And paired with some roughage in the form of spinach, shredded carrots, and string beans, drizzled with a little bit of balsamic vinaigrette, this salad was delicious and nutritious!

Here’s to a guilt free Holiday season!

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