Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Blueberry Raspberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast

My sister and BIL have this thing about birthday parties starting super early in the morning.  I mean 10:30 am, and I live 2 hours away!  They do brunch, and the BIL loves this stuffed french toast casserole that I made a few years ago, and so it's requested every time.

Blueberry Raspberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast 
1 Loaf French Bread 
1 cup blueberries
1 cup raspberries 
18 eggs 
2 Tbsp vanilla 
12 Tsp cinnamon  
8 oz block of cream cheese 

Preheat oven to 350 and spray bottom of casserole pan with cooking spray.  Chop the bread into little squares, do the same with the cream cheese.  Layer bread, cream cheese, and berries throughout the pan. In a side bowl, beat the eggs with vanilla and cinnamon together.  Pour over the top of the bread mixture until thoroughly soaked.  

Bake at 350 for 50 minutes.  Serve warm - syrup optional!

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter Sauce

Friday night Gimpy and I decided to stay in.  I did a crazy 2 hour Zumba class with the girls, and arrived home sweaty, exhausted, and ready to pass out from hunger.  Gimpy had been sick, and we had my nephew's 3rd birthday very early the next morning, so it seemed like a good idea.

I had gotten some delicious frozen butternut squash ravioli, and made sage brown butter sauce.

Sage Brown Butter Sauce
4 Tbsp Butter
8 Fresh Sage Leaves

Heat the butter over medium heat until it begins to brown.  When it begins to turn brown, about 8 minutes, I added 8 sage leaves and continued to cook for 2 more minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the ravioli until tender poofs.  The important thing to remember when cooking ravioli is to bring the water to a rolling boil, but then turn the heat down and cook them when the water is medium heat.  Also, salt the water liberally.  This is the only time you can flavor the pasta!

Pull the sage leaves out of the butter sauce and pour it on top of the ravioli.  Top with parmesan cheese and garnish with fresh sage leaves.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sometimes a Storm Makes Date Night Even Better...

Last night Gimpy came over for date night just as a storm was rolling in.  The sky got dark, the wind picked up, and a big storm rolled in.  I was busy at the stove making risotto, which is what I'm giving you a recipe for tonight!  In spirit of the cutest boy ever, that probably no one will ever appreciate as much as I do, Gimpy was standing by the sliding glass doors to the patio and turned to me.

"Do you know what I love?" He said.  "What's that?" I replied.  "That when you cook, you stand on your tip toes as you move around the stove."  Cue me melting deep inside... I really love that boy.

Truffle Risotto
1/2 a sweet onion
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp truffle oil
1/2 cup wine
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup asiago cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oils together and add the onion.  Cook 8 minutes until translucent.  Add rice until just a tiny white spot appears in the center.  Add the wine - use whatever you are drinking with dinner to really enhance the flavor of your meal.  Cook until absorbed.

Add 3/4 cup of the chicken stock, and cook until absorbed.  Continue adding the stock 1/2 a cup at a time (I use a ladle and keep adding scoops) until all of the liquid is absorbed and the risotto is creamy.  Add the cheese and stir till well mixed.  I also added a cup or so of cooked peas as well!

To add to our dinner, I bought 8 huge diver scallops.  In a frying pan, I put 1 Tbsp olive oil and another 1 Tbsp of truffle oil and heated thoroughly.  When the oil was hot, I added the 8 scallops.  Cook until the bottom of the scallops are a nice golden brown, and the scallops appear milky instead of translucent.  Flip, and then cook until the other side is golden!

Place 4 scallops on top of a heap of risotto, and serve.  Drizzle with a little additional truffle oil.  Yum!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Roasted Red Pepper Pesto Pizza

One of my favorite memories of Texas was a wine tasting shower I threw for some friends.  We had 6 bottles of wine, and food pairings to go with each course.  One of my favorite new recipes from that day was a pizza I haven't made since.

Roasted Red Pepper Pesto Pizza with Manchego, Feta, and Chicken
1 Boboli Crust
1/4 Cup Roasted Red Pepper Pesto
1/4 Cup Feta Cheese
1/2 Cup Manchego
1/2 Cup Rotisserie Chicken

Preheat oven to 350.  Put pesto all over the boboli crust.

Top with the manchego and feta.  Add the chicken scattered around, and bake for 25 minutes.
Slice and serve!  Yummm.....

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sometimes I Really Hate Men...

I should preface this post by saying it is in no way, shape, or form about Gimpy.  He's an amazing boyfriend, and I wake up every morning wondering how I ever managed to be so lucky as to end up with him.  This post is about another guy entirely...

So I have a friend from grad school at TCU, a sweet little girl named B.  We met in our first grad school class a few years ago, and became fast friends and running buddies (while I lived in Texas).  She was there for me all the time when my ex and I broke up, and she was always on the look-out for her Prince Charming.  In January 2009, she called me excitedly because she thought she'd met him.  The Hamburgler was everything she had ever dreamed of (with the exception of his family being huge OU fans).  I met him that February when MM and I went into town early for another friend's wedding, and he seemed like a really, really good match for her. 

Cue to the next December, when I had this feeling deep down in my stomach, I just needed to call B.  I was wandering through Target, and she picked up right away - she was beyond estatic - the Hamburgler had just proposed!  That was followed by a weekend trip to Texas in March to pick out her dress, our bridesmaid dresses, and to meet her other girls. 

Last night I was laying in bed with Gimpy after yet another eventful weekend full of parties, puppy sitting, and fun, and my phone starts to vibrate with a text. 

"Just wanted you to know, I'm not ready to talk about it yet, but The Hamburgler called off our engagement tonight."

It makes me furious.  I hate it, I hate him, and I am so mad I am 2000 miles away and can't be there for her right now. 

Thanks for letting me vent. 

Thursday, September 2, 2010

An Afternoon Down the Connecticut Wine Trail

For the past two years that I've lived back home in CT, my friends and I have been talking about renting a minibus and going for a tour of the Connecticut Wine Trail.  Shockingly, there are 23 vineyards in our little state, and they have a convenient way that you can plan your trip from one to the next.

So after waiting for two years for one of my friends to do something, I finally sat down with B at the beginning of August and we mapped out our schedules for the rest of the year.  We had a free weekend in October, so I made some calls, found a mini-coach that seats 24, have 22 solid committments so far, and we are going wine tasting! 

The plan is to hit five vineyards, and then come back to my place for a wine and cheese party.  I'm super excited because my newly married cousin and her husband, and my sister and her husband are all coming down!  Now if only my girls V and M could fly in from Chicago and Alaska... but there's always next year!