Recipe

Creamed Mushrooms over Garlic Confit Toast

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These are SO GOOD that I’m struggling to find words for them.  Creamy mushrooms, cooked down with wine and thyme served over a buttery, garlic toast that just soaks up that mushroom-loaded sauce.  How’s that?

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I’ve added an excessive amount of pictures of basically the same thing because these toasts are excessive and I also couldn’t decide which pictures were best because I basically loved them all and everything about this and I need to stop for a breathe now.

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Funny story while making this recipe: the oven quit working and locked my garlic bread inside, turning it to a very dark (read: basically burnt) toast, while I frantically ran around looking for the breaker box to kill the power.  I was able to salvage the bread after scraping off all the burnt parts.

Also, I was the luckiest person alive on that day because chanterelle mushrooms were in season and I found them at the store and I wasn’t going to waste those golden beauties on some burned bread.  Side note: you can definitely eat these mushrooms alone if your oven quits working and burns your bread too.

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I saw a version of this recipe on Half Baked Harvest and just knew I had to make it (garlic, cream, mushrooms, Parmesan and bread are on my short list of favorite foods).  Apparently, the original recipe comes from Gjelina restaurant in Los Angeles and is one of the most popular items on the menu.  Some day I will go to this magical place and have the original version, but for now, I will be juuuuust fine with this one.

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Creamed Mushrooms over Garlic Confit Toast

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

 

1 baguette, thinly sliced on the diagonal

6 tablespoons butter

6 to 8 garlic cloves, coarsely minced

1 sprig of fresh oregano

Pinch of red pepper flakes, to taste

1 cup (4 ounces) finely grated Parmesan cheese

1-1/2 pounds mixed mushrooms, trimmed and coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme

1/3 cup dry white wine, plus a splash to finish

1/3 cup crème fraiche

1/3 cup heavy cream

Olive oil, as needed

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Preheat the oven to 425°.  Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.

 

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat.  Add the garlic and oregano and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until the butter is golden-brown and caramelized.  Mash the softened garlic into the butter and add a pinch of red pepper flakes.

 

Place the bread on the prepared baking sheet.  Spoon the garlic mixture on top of each piece, spreading to cover with the back of a spoon.  Reserve 1/4 cup of Parmesan to sprinkle on top before serving; sprinkle the rest over the bread slices.  Bake for 7 to 8 minutes, until light golden brown. 

 

Preheat the same skillet over medium-high heat.  Add two tablespoons of olive oil and, when hot, add the mushrooms, stirring to coat.  Cook, undisturbed, for 3 to 5 minutes, until softened and golden brown on the bottom.  Season with salt, pepper and the minced thyme.  Stir the mushrooms and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes, until golden brown and caramelized.  Add the wine and cook for 1 minute, until most of the liquid has evaporated.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the crème fraiche, heavy cream, and a splash of wine to taste.  Season with salt and pepper.  Spoon the mushroom mixture over the toasted bread.

 

Inspiration: Caramelized Garlic Butter Toast with Pan Fried Mushrooms on halfbakedharvest.com

Recipe

Banana Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Have some old too-brown-to-eat bananas lying around on your counter or in your freezer?  Come on, I know you do.  Here’s that classic banana bar recipe that we all know and love with that perfect, fluffy, not-too-sweet cream cheese frosting to crown that golden cake.

This is the banana bar recipe my mom has used for as long as I can remember.  These have been breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert for me many a time.  I don’t remember my mom baking a lot, but banana bread and bars were two of her staples.  While this recipe comes from Taste of Home, I always think of these as “Mom’s Banana Bars”.  Recipes are like that, aren’t they?  They may have originated from someone or somewhere else, but when they are delicious and oft-requested or cooked, they quickly become associated with the person who made them for you.  My mom has a collection of Taste of Home cookbooks, which are the cookbooks I grew up paging through and some of the first recipes I learned to cook.  There’s a bit of nostalgia in these banana bars for me because of those memories.

Since I started making them myself, I prefer a slightly thicker bar, so I have multiplied the original recipe slightly and added a little more banana to increase the moistness of the final product (so scary to alter a baking recipe, but nothing can compare to my mom making these after a few cocktails and combining two completely different recipes to create an inedible hybrid banana bar-pudding-completely uncooked batter result).  I like my cream cheese frosting a little less sweet than most, so unfortunately (wink wink) you’re going to want to taste your frosting as you are making it and add more/less confectioners’ sugar to your desired taste.

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Banana Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: 24 to 30 bars 

 

3/4 cup butter, at room temperature

2-1/4 cups granulated sugar

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1-1/2 cups (12 ounces) sour cream

1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 cups all-purpose flour

1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1-3/4 cups mashed ripe bananas, about 5 bananas

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:

12 ounces (1-1/2 packages) cream cheese, at room temperature

3/4 cup butter, at room temperature

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

4 to 5 cups confectioners’ sugar

 

Preheat the oven to 350°.  In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, sour cream and vanilla and mix to combine. 

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; gradually add to the liquid mixture, stirring just until combined.  Stir in the mashed bananas.

Spread into a greased 15 x 10 x 1-inch baking pan.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the top is lightly golden and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  DO NOT OVERBAKE!  You will be so sad if you do.

For the frosting, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla in a large bowl until fluffy.  Slowly beat in enough confectioners’ sugar to reach your desired consistency and sweetness.  Frost the bars once cooled.  Store in the refrigerator.

 

Inspiration: Banana Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting on tasteofhome.com

Recipe

Burrata Whipped Potatoes

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Burrata + mashed potatoes=a combination meant-to-be.  But let’s be real, what doesn’t burrata go with?!  I know the burrata craze is a little overdone but the cheese is so popular for a reason.  Soft and creamy inside, with that fresh mozzarella shell we all know and love; it makes a great addition to your mashed potatoes.  See that creamy speck in the lower right corner?  A perfect burrata splotch.

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I had these at Wayfare Tavern in San Francisco a few years ago and I still think about them.  They were SO CREAMY.  I can’t even imagine the quantity of butter/cream/milk/burrata that might be in the restaurant dish.   See picture below for reference (and motivation for if you should find yourself in San Francisco or anywhere near Wayfare, YOU SHOULD GO GET THEM.)

I can’t say this is an exact approximation of that dish, but these are so delicious and will give you a glimpse of those potatoes.

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Burrata Whipped Potatoes

Yield: 4 servings

 

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

6 to 8 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

2 to 2-1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

1/3 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup whole milk

1 to 2 balls burrata

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives

 

In a small saucepan, combine the olive oil and garlic; cook over low heat for 30 to 40 minutes, until the garlic is very soft and golden in color. 

 

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat.  Once boiling, season with 2 teaspoons kosher salt and carefully add the potatoes.  Gently boil over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until the potatoes are fork-tender.  Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water and drain the potatoes.  Return the drained potatoes back to the pot and, using a hand mixer, whip the potatoes until mashed.  Add the olive oil, softened garlic cloves, cream and milk to the potatoes and whip until light and fluffy.  Pull the burrata into small pieces and add to the potatoes.  Stir in with a wooden spoon until stretchy and melted.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  To serve, sprinkle the chives over top and, if desired, drizzle a little extra-virgin olive oil.

Recipe

Buttery Tuna Melts

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Remember when I shared that open-faced tuna melt a few weeks ago and also shared about my fear of canned tuna most of my life?  I had the most delicious tuna melt and my mind was forever changed.  This is my attempt at recreating that sandwich.

My best friends always used to order tuna melts at this sandwich shop we would sometimes go to in Chicago.  I don’t know why this memory stands out to me so much; maybe it’s because of their obsession with it or my disgusted reaction every time they got it (canned fish?! cheese and fish combined?!) but I think of them every time I see a tuna melt.  Sorry to my girls, it may be a weird thing to be associated with.

Creamy tuna salad spiked with sharp capers, lemon, shallots and Dijon mustard cut through the richness of the buttery toasted bread and melty cheddar.  Some tomato slices thrown in make you feel a little healthy.

 

Buttery Tuna Melts

Yield: 2 sandwiches

 

TUNA SALAD:

1/3 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons capers, coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 small shallot, finely chopped

Two 4-ounce cans Italian oil-packed tuna (can substitute with 5-ounce cans water-packed tuna), drained

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

FOR THE MELTS:

4 thin slices of good-quality bakery bread

4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

4 slices ripe tomato

6 to 8 slices sharp Cheddar cheese, depending on the size of your bread slices

 

For the tuna salad: mix together all of the ingredients, taking care not to break up the tuna too much.  When the bread is toasted, scoop half of the tuna salad on each slice and spread to the sides.  Sprinkle 1/2 of the Cheddar cheese on the tuna salad and arrange the jalapeño slices on top.  Bake for 7 to 9 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the tuna salad is warmed through.  Sprinkle with chopped chives before serving.

Preheat a large skillet over medium-low heat.  Spread 1 tablespoon of butter over each slice of bread.  Flip the slices so the buttered sides are down and spread the tuna salad over two slices.  Top with the tomato and cheddar slices.  Place the remaining bread slices on top and press down lightly. 

Once the skillet is heated, toast the sandwiches until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden brown and crisp, about 5 to 6 minutes per side. 

Recipe

Meyer Lemon-Blueberry Buttermilk Scones with Browned Butter Lemon Glaze

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Forgive me, friends, for I have sinned.  It’s been exactly 43 days since I last shared a recipe for scones.  That’s 42 days too long!  And Meyer lemons are still in season, so we gotta get ’em in while we can.

I don’t know what it is about them, maybe it’s the moist, flaky pastry, how easy they are to throw together or the endless varieties you can make but I gravitate towards them.  It’s so easy to make a dry, flavorless scone that you could break apart with a hammer, so when I find a great recipe, I feel it’s my duty to share it with you.  This recipe combines the classic lemon-blueberry flavor combo, but you could use the base recipe to make any flavor combination you want.

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Meyer Lemon-Blueberry Scones with Browned Butter Lemon Glaze

Buttery, flaky scones dotted with blueberries and with the fresh zing of Meyer lemons!

  • Author: Amanda
  • Yield: 10 to 12 scones
  • Category: Breakfast Sweets

Ingredients

  • 4-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) plus 1 tablespoon cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1-1/2 cups buttermilk, plus more as needed
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • Zest of one Meyer Lemon
  • Heavy cream, for brushing before baking
  • Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling before baking

GLAZE:

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • Zest and juice of one Meyer lemon
  • 3 tablespoons butter

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400°.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

To make the dough, combine the flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a large mixing bowl.  Add the sugar and salt and stir to combine.  Cut the butter into the flour mixture using a pastry blender or fork.  The mixture should be coarse with pea-sized lumps of butter visible.  Add the buttermilk, blueberries and lemon zest all at once, and gently stir with a rubber spatula until the dough just comes together, taking care not to break up the blueberries.  Add more buttermilk if the mixture seems dry.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and pat together in a long rectangular log, about 18 x 5 inches and 1-1/2 inches thick.  Cut the dough into 10 to 12 triangles and transfer to the prepared baking sheet.  Brush the tops with heavy cream and sprinkle generously with turbinado sugar.

Bake the scones until the tops are lightly browned, about 25 to 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before glazing.

To make the glaze, add the confectioners’ sugar, zest and juice to a small bowl.  In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  It will melt, separate into milk solids and clear butter, foam and then start browning.  It will take longer than you think it will, but do not venture far and stir often, because once it starts to brown, it will go quickly.  Once the butter is browned and smells nutty, remove from the heat and add to the glaze ingredients.  Whisk to thoroughly combine.  The glaze should be free-flowing, and easily pourable, but not too thin.  You can add more lemon juice, cream or water to loosen the glaze if necessary.  Drizzle over the warm scones.

Notes

Inspiration: Buttermilk Scones from Tartine by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson

Recipe

Sweet and Buttery Green Beans

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When’s the last time I told you how much I love Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings cookbook?  I think it’s been a few hours, so I’ll tell you again.  This is probably my favorite cookbook out of my (ahem! thousand) cookbooks.  This recipe took a few tries; I could never quite get that perfect sugary glaze from the original recipe.  I’ve reduced the water and added a little extra butter because…butter.  These green beans never last long; fingers will be in and out of the bowl, grabbing a few extra until all that’s left is sugary, syrupy butter at the bottom, which you should get a spoon and eat.  Or just lift the bowl up to your mouth and go on with your bad self.

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 to 1-1/4 pounds haricots verts, or regular green beans (trim ends if using these)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter, plus extra for serving
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted over medium-low heat until light golden and fragrant
  • Flaky sea salt, to finish 

In a large skillet, combine the water, sugar and 1 teaspoon kosher salt.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, swirling the pan to ensure the sugar and salt are dissolved.  Add the green beans and cook over medium-high heat for 6 to 8 minutes, until the sugar-water becomes thick and glazes the beans, and the beans are crisp-tender (don’t overcook!).  Taste the beans towards the end of the cooking time.  Stir in 2 tablespoons of butter and allow to melt and coat the beans.  Transfer to a serving dish and top with a small pat of butter.  Season with coarse flaky sea salt and a few coarse grinds of fresh pepper.  Sprinkle the almonds on top. 

Inspiration: Buttery Glazed Green Beans by Chrissy Teigen, Cravings

Recipe

Honey Mustard-Ranch Chicken Sandwiches

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Remember when I told you I would give you some recipes using those beautiful sesame buns so you will have a reason to make them?  Here’s one!  This is a safe sandwich, taste-wise, for just about anyone.  Honey mustard and ranch are two of the most popular dressings, so why not combine them into one super dressing?  If you have any leftovers, you can make this salad.  Honey mustard-marinated chicken, crispy bacon and melty cheddar cheese round out the ingredients list.

Also, remember when I told you how the first time I made these buns, I baked them in a muffin top tin and they looked WEIRD?  Here’s a visual.  I made these sandwiches using the first batch of buns and because I’m trying to balance my perfectionism with my sanity, I decided to share the picture with you instead of re-making this whole sandwich.  Even though it was delicious and totally worthy of a re-do.

 

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Honey Mustard-Ranch Chicken Sandwiches

  • Author: Amanda
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Category: Sandwiches, Chicken

Ingredients

CHICKEN AND MARINADE:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup grainy Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Juice of 1 lemon

TO ASSEMBLE:

Instructions

For the chicken: on a cutting board, cut each chicken breast in half horizontally, to form 4 thinner chicken pieces.  Combine all of the marinade ingredients together in a lidded bowl and add the chicken breast pieces, flipping to coat completely in the marinade.  Marinate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

Preheat the oven to 400°.  Lay the bacon in a single layer on an aluminum-foiled lined baking sheet and bake until crispy, about 12 to 16 minutes.  Drain on paper towels.  Reserve the bacon fat.  Cut the bacon in half when cooled slightly.

When ready to cook the chicken, preheat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add about 2 tablespoons of bacon fat and cook the chicken breasts for 3 to 4 minutes per side.  When you flip the chicken breast, place 4 halved pieces of bacon and a small handful of cheese on top.  Cover the pan and allow to melt while the chicken finishes cooking.  Alternatively, you can melt the cheese in the oven, if necessary.

To assemble the sandwiches, spread the Honey Mustard-Ranch Dressing on each side of the buns and layer the spring greens, onion and tomato slices on the bottom.  Place one piece of chicken on top and repeat with the remaining sandwiches.

Notes

Inspiration: Ranch Chicken Sandwiches on foodnetwork.com