Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Caprese Panini

One of my favorite kinds of sandwiches is a Caprese sandwich (tomato, mozzarella, and basil), or a slightly modified Caprese (replacing the basil with basil pesto). The sandwich is very good cold, but I tried making it out on my panini press and it was even more delicious!

The steps are very simple: butter one side of two slices of bread, and spread pesto on the other side. Place one slice of bread on the panini press, butter side down. Top with sliced tomato and fresh mozzarella, top with the other piece of bread (butter side up). Grill for about 3-4 minutes or until the sandwich is warm and has brown grill marks on it. Simple, easy, delicious!

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

This is a great chocolate chip banana bread recipe that I made recently. The bread is very moist and dense, so even a tiny square is filling. This recipe also has a LOT of chocolate chips, so its great if you're a chocoholic like me, or if you're planning to eat this for dessert instead of breakfast.


1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
4 overripe bananas, mashed
1 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour
dash of salt
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1 and 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Directions: Mix together the butter and sugar. Add the egg and milk, and then the mashed bananas. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture. Stir in about a cup of the chocolate chips. Transfer the mixture to a lightly greased loaf pan (if you don't have that, a brownie pan works just as well). Top with remaining chocolate chips. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Cheese Fondue

OhmsAndFarads had a lot of leftover cheese from an event last weekend, so the roommates decided to do fondue night. We were also going to do chocolate fondue, but ended up stuffing ourselves on cheese and did not get around to the chocolate. :P

We borrowed Elise's recipe for cheese fondue, with some extreme modifications.

Cheese Fondue
4 cups crumbled Gouda cheese
4 cups crumbled Colby jack
1 cup white wine
1 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp corn starch
1 Tbsp brandy
herbs to taste (we used nutmeg, oregano, and pepper)

Anything you want! We used celery sticks, sliced cremini mushrooms, sliced bread (cut into squares), and cubed Granny Smiths. Kabob skewers sufficed for dipping utensils.

1. Bring the wine and lime juice to a slow simmer. Over low flame, slowly add the cheese, stirring to keep it from burning.
2. When the cheese has melted, mix the brandy and cornstarch in a small bowl and add until the cheese is thick enough for fondue. Add herbs/seasonings to taste.
3. Remove to fondue setup. We used a can of Sterno fuel gel and propped a pot high enough off it to not burn the cheese instead of going out and buying a fondue set.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cheesy Pesto Chicken

If you're a pesto freak like me, you're going to love this easy, tasty recipe.

The steps are incredibly simple and the total prep time takes about 10 minutes.
Melt some butter in a bowl (I find about half a stick works well for a pound of chicken).
Dip slices of boneless, skinless chicken breast in the butter and then cover in bread crumbs.
Place the breaded chicken slices in a buttered casserole dish.
Spread pesto on top of the chicken pieces, and top with your favorite cheese (I like fresh mozzarella).

The chicken ready to go in the oven.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes for thinly sliced chicken, even more for thicker chicken.
Cut into chicken to make sure it's done before serving, because ovens vary, and its hard to tell from the outside appearance if its fully cooked.

See? Totally simple, and totally delicious! The butter and the pesto keep the chicken nice and moist, and the pesto, cheese, and breading combine to give a delicious flavor!
This dish is really easy to make in large quantities, so its great for having friends over, or if you live alone (like me) to make on the weekend and then eat throughout the week.

Add some vegetables and bread for a very quick, very complete meal!

Saturday, October 17, 2009


One of my favorite restaurants in Maine, the Jordan Pond House, is famous for their homemade popovers. Popovers are a light hollow roll that is made from an eggy batter. If done correctly, they "pop" up while cooking, leaving the middle of the pastry filled with air. They are delicious served by themselves with butter and jam, or they can be stuffed with ice cream or chocolate to make a dessert, or with fish or meat to make an entree. The last time I was in Maine I bought a popover pan and popover mix, and today I finally attempted to make them.

A popover pan is similar to a muffin pan, except the cups are a little deeper, and they are separated to give the popovers room to expand. In theory, popovers can be made in a muffin pan, but I highly recommend a popover pan if you've never made them before.

Making the batter was very easy. I mixed 2/3rds cup milk with one egg, and then folded in 2/3rd cup of the popover mix I bought. I don't believe the store-bought mix is essential; since the only ingredients in it are flour and salt. There were a few tips on the side of the popover mix that were very helpful, however.

First of all, the egg(s) should be at room temperature before you use them.
Second, you should use whole milk instead of skim or low-fat. This prevents the popovers from burning. I used skim because it was all I had, and the popovers did come out a little brown, so maybe next time I'll try to pick up some whole milk.
Third, you should chill the batter for 30 minutes before baking it.
Fourth, you should warm the popover pans in the oven for a few minutes before pouring the batter into them.

After chilling the batter, I preheated the oven to 450 degrees per the instructions on the mix, warmed the pans for a few minutes and filled each popover cup 1/3rd full. (The amount of mix I used made 4 popovers). The instructions said to cook the mix at 450 degrees for 25 minutes and then lower the temp to 350 and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes. However, after about 20-22 minutes at 450 my popovers had clearly popped and were looking nice and golden brown, so I took them out of the oven.

The fifth important thing to remember is not to open the oven door while baking! If you need to peek at them, use the oven light. The popovers will not rise correctly if you open the door.

My popovers turned out looking (and tasting!) absolutely delicious! The second picture shows the inside of the popover, nice and hollow! Definitely a successful experiment :)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Easy Vegetable Tempura

Tempura is one of my favorite things to order in Japanese restaurants, so I decided to finally attempt to make it at home.
I found a very easy recipe on-line, the 1-1-1 recipe. Mix together one cup of flour, one cup of (very cold!) water, and one egg. Dip any vegetables you like in it (I used one of my faves, asparagus) and fry in a frying pan with about one inch of oil in it. A small pan works best for this, because you can use less oil to achieve the same depth.

I'm not sure how I feel about this recipe. It was very easy and quick, came out looking pretty decent, and tasted fine...but not great. There was just something missing. Oh well I guess I will just have to experiment with more recipes...


In general, I prefer chocolate chip cookies to blondies, but this recipe looked yummy and I was feeling like switching things up, so I tried it out the other night.

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Mix butter and sugars in a large mixing bowl. Whisk in egg & vanilla. Add flour and salt, stir until moistened. Add half the chocolate chips. Spread evenly in a greased 8x8 pan, add remaining chocolate chips on top. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Makes 16.

Very easy and very tasty!

Thursday, October 15, 2009


For my birthday this past May, I received a panini press and I just recently got around to trying it out!
I decided to make one of my favorite sandwiches, a chicken/avocado/mozzarella combination.
The sandwich was simple to make and took less than 5 minutes with the panini press.

Take two slices of bread, butter one side of each slice. Plug in the panini press, put one slice of bread on the press, butter side down. Top with pieces of chicken (previously cooked in whatever style you prefer, I baked it), one half of an avocado sliced up, and a few pieces of fresh mozzarella. Place the other piece of bread on top, butter side up. Shut the lid on the panini press and grill for a few minutes or until golden brown.

The photo does not do it justice, but it was really yummy! Obviously the same thing can be achieved in a frying pan, but the panini press makes it so much quicker and easier. And warm sandwiches with nice melty cheese are always preferable to cold sandwiches :)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Best Cheeseburger Ever!

One of my favorite places in the entire to world to get a cheeseburger is Shady Glen, a "dairy store"/diner in Manchester, CT. It's pretty well known and has been featured on the "Road Food" website ( They rated it "worth planning a day around" and although I don't know if I would go that far, it's certainly worth a visit if you're driving through Connecticut on I-84.

The cheeseburger is made using 4 slices of american cheese layered over the cheeseburger. The cheese directly on top of the patty gets nice and melted, while the cheese that hangs over the edge of the patty comes in to direct contact with the gridle and gets fried, turning nice and crispy. If you're a huge fan of cheese like I am, it's a must-try!