Sunday, June 15, 2014

Marinated Tomatoes

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One of my favorite things about food is all the food memories that are tied to it.  The way eating your grandmother's pie always reminds you of the holidays or how a picture of smores remind you of your favorite camping trip.  Most people have loads of memories that are evoked from food.  A smell can tell a story and a taste can bring back an old emotion, food and food memories are a powerful thing.

When I was around 17 years old, I went to a family reunion for my mother's side in New York.  One day I came into the kitchen to find my dad, aunts, great aunts and consins all standing around a counter talking in loud excited voices.  Moving closer I heard them exclaiming how great whatever they were eating was.

So, I moved closer still and saw it was some sort of tomato dish.  I wasn't a fan of tomatoes at the time, so I back away.  I listened for a while as my dad went on and on about how tasty something so simple was.  My dad tried pulling me into the conversation and the food.  "Just try it" he said.  "This is what it's all about Brittany, just one bite."

Who was I to say no, I've spoken often on here about how picky I used to be and fruit, pasta and bread were starting to get redundant.  So I gave this tomato dish a whirl.  It just be true that sometimes fathers know best.  This crazy dish I was so afraid of was something as simple as sliced tomatoes, basil leaves and gorgonzola cheese for an appetizer.  Sprinkle that with a little salt and black pepper and you have bite-sized perfection (or two bite perfection for big tomato slices).

That day changed the way I thought about tomatoes though, and most importantly the way that I thought about food.  The ingredients were so simple, but they are pairings that have gone together for years.  It's something I will never forget because it taught me that simplicity must never be over rated.  Sometimes letting a few ingredients stand alone together is the best thing you can do for a dish.

Since then I have grown to use tomatoes a lot more in my cooking.  This recipe came to be because my dad's birthday was coming up and I wanted something to honor the memory that meant so much to me.  It's a mix of that fateful dish in New York, a tomato recipe my mom sent me and my love of balsamic vinegar.

~~~Seems just right to post this recipe on Father's Day given my dad's profound influence.  So to him I say I love you and wish you the happiest of day.  Thanks for always getting me excited about food, even when my food groups consisted of fruit and carbs and your a meat guy.  And happy Father's Day to all the other dad's out there!

Enjoy :)

Marinated Tomatoes
Makes about 2 cups (24 appetizer pieces)
15-20 basil leaves, chopped
1 bunch parsley, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 sprigs thyme, leaves removed
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
6 Roma tomatoes, quartered
1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp. kosher salt
Blue cheese crumbles or feta cheese *
1 baguette, sliced thinly on a bias, grilled or toasted

1.  In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients except the tomato wedges, cheese and baguette.
2.  Add in the tomatoes wedges and toss to coat.
3.  Marinate at room temperature for 2-4 hours, stirring the mixture every 45 minutes to an hour.  Serve with grilled baguette slices.

*You can use your preference for the cheese, I made this for my dad and his favorite is blue cheese, but I have also used feta as well (which is the cheese that is pictured).

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Strawberry Drinks

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It's strawberry season!

Love love love strawberries, and not just in my desserts but in salads, salsas, sauces, and sandwiches (the 4 S's!!).  But most of all I love myself a little strawberry action in my drinks.  It's the perfect flavor and it pairs beautifully with so many other fruits, juices or other flavored drinks.  

So while looking for yummy summer cocktails to make that used strawberries, I decided to just do a round-up and post of the strawberry drinks that I was looking at.  There's a little bit of everything going take a look and enjoy and hopefully it will inspire you guys to try some strawberry drinks of your own.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Cake Batter Butterscotch Cookies with Lemon Curd Icing

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Simple and easy is the name of the game today....I'm taking semi-homemade style.

Everyone once in awhile, a girl just wants an easy recipe.  Something that takes most of the work out of the job and leaves you with something that is quick and easy and most importantly....delicious!

Inspired by Gimme Some Oven's Strawberry Lemonade Cookies, this is my take on a cake batter cookies.  I've added butterscotch chips to my batter, but you can go with white chocolate (which is what I am doing next time, I LOVE white chocolate) or any other kind you prefer.  Change it up and make it your own, I promise it will still be oh-so-yummy.

For the icing I cheated again and bought store-bought frosting.  I gave it a little personality by adding in some of my homemade Lemon Curd and ended up with delicious tiny little cookies to enjoy.  There is even enough so that you can share with others...if you choose too. :)


 Cake Batter Butterscotch Cookies with Lemon Curd Icing
1 (15.25 oz.) box vanilla cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1-2 cups butterscotch chips
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup vanilla frosting
4 tbsp. lemon curd

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2.  Using a large bowl, pour in the vanilla cake mix.  Add eggs and vegetable oil to the cake mix and mix until well combined.  Fold in butterscotch chips so they are evenly distributed throughout the batter.  Cover and refrigerate to firm slightly, about 20 minutes.
3.  Remove batter from fridge and using a tablespoon spoon out portions and roll into a ball.  Place dough balls in a bowl with the powdered sugar and roll around to lightly cover in powdered sugar.  After place on parchment lined sheet tray, about 2 inches apart.  Repeat with remaining dough.
4.  Bake for 10 minutes, until they are just slightly golden and cooked through.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.
5.  Lemon Curd Icing:  In a small bowl combine the vanilla frosting and lemon curd, stirring to completely combine.  When cookies have cooled slightly, drizzle icing over cookies and ENJOY!