Wish Upon A Dish

August 22, 2016

Eggplant Margherita Bar Pie ♥ Vacation Inspired Dish - #thereciperedux challenge, August 2016

I finally had enough heirloom tomatoes to make two margarita bar pies.
I also picked two white eggplants and thinly sliced one to top MY bar pie.

Turns out The Nudge almost ate 3 qtrs of mine before I told him only one had the eggplant, and I had yet to eat one piece.

He is a pizza junkie. That is why I made these pies.
When we were in No. Carolina checking out the landscape for future retirement, we ate at this local pub in Wilmington called the Copper Penny where Wednesdays are Margarita Bar Pie day.
There was no way we were leaving there before Wednesday nite!

It just made sense when The Recipe Redux challenge for August was to recreate a vacation inspired dish, that pie would be my choice.

While I am not a pizza monger, I will eat certain pies in a handful of places, top of that list being from my own kitchen. This dough recipe is so good, pizza is on the menu once a week now and with ripe juicy yellow and red heirlooms ripe for the picking, guess what we had last night?

So simple to make, they bake in 15 minutes and we have been eating this original version all summer.
While calling for a homemade pizza sauce, we were really counting the days when we would pick heirlooms with tommy's from our deck garden.

(basic margarita)

You really can not get anything tastier or easier than sliced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil but adding the eggplant put it over the top for me.

The best part? they bake in cake pans. No special stone or pan required. I will never bake a pie in my oven any other way than this way.

Let's get cooking:

You will need two 9" metal cake pans.
Preheat oven to 500°.

In a processor or bread machine, place all the ingredients into the bowl and run the blender until the mixture comes together in a ball and then a few more minutes to knead it.

Cut into two balls and cover to rise for at least 30 minutes. Press the dough into the pan that is coated with EVOO, add the toppings and bake for 15 minutes.

Really, is there anything easier than that. Perfect for the kids to do as long as you slice and grate the ingredients.

makes 2 (9") crusts

* 1 2/3 cups (8 1/3 ounces) AP flour
* 1 teaspoon rapid-rise yeast
* 1 tablespoon sugar
* 2/3 cup water
* 1 1/2 teaspoon EVOO
* 3/4 teaspoon salt

8 oz grated mozzarella, divided
Assorted vine ripened tomatoes, sliced at least 1/4"
Small white eggplant, thinly sliced on a mandoline
Fresh chopped basil for garnish after baking
Additional sprinkle of really fruity olive oil before serving, optional



August 16, 2016

Banana Cinnamon French Toast in a Travel Mug ♥ I LOVE this!!!

A few months ago, I was checking out a few of the Recipe Redux blogger's monthly challenge posts when I ran across this post: Meal Make Over Moms Blueberry Banana French Toast-in-a-Mug.

I have seen various cake in a mug posts, a few eggs in a mug recipes but not one on French Toast in a Mug. While reading the info, I got the idea to take their idea and transfer it in a disposable travel coffee cup for The Nudge to take to work.
Right now he takes a Rubbermaid sippy cup filled with a weekly smoothie I always have in the fridge.  I was tired of them everyday and thought he might like a change.

This seemed like a great idea so the gals over at Makeover Moms told me to try it and let them know how it went.
I bought the To Go cups at Wally World at a decent price and finally got a break to work out the details.

Knowing that the mixture would be packaged the night before presented some concerns about the paper of the cup. It might soften with the egg & milk mixture and the bread would be over saturated to the point that the final texture would really be a bread pudding and not a "toast".

I needed a plan.

For the bread to remain intact (as French Toast is), I would have to toast it before cooking, then cut it to fit into the bottom of the cup.
I made two circles using 2 cookie cutters, one that fits snug in the bottom and the other the next size up to fit where the cup is larger. The small pieces that where not large enough for my smallest cutter, were torn into 1" pieces and became the gravel on the bottom.

I then made the egg/milk mixture and it fit perfectly into a large condiment cup and that sits on the toast. In a smaller condiment cup, I filled with maple syrup and that sat on the egg mix.

The lid is domed so the syrup fit on top perfectly.
Try to find the cups with the domed lid. I'm pretty sure all the ones I looked at were domed but double check just to be sure.

I wrote the cooking directions on the cup and placed it in the fridge.
I did my part, now it was up to The Nudge to do his.
I really hoped it worked. I know he will like having a change in the usual smoothie.

I am happy to post that the experiment was a huge success and The Nudge was the talk of the break room!!
I know he enjoyed that but did remember to give me some credit.....lol

Banana French Toast In A Mug
makes one serving, but two would fit in the travel cup
Adapted slightly from Meal Make Over Moms Blueberry Banana French Toast-in-a-Mug
* 1 egg, beaten
* 1/2 a medium banana, smashed, ripe but not mushy
* 1 tablespoon milk, any kind
* 1/4 cup fruit (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries) I used dried Sugar-free Craisins.
* pinch of salt
* 1 slice cinnamon swirl bread, cut to fit the vessel

Maple syrup, optional

1. Mix the egg/milk mixture with the banana and berries (if using).
2. Place the bread in the mug/cup and microwave for 90 seconds.
3. If the egg is not set microwave in 10 second intervals until the bread starts to rise.
4. Remove and cover with the lid to set for about 5 minutes (also lets the berries cool down).
5. Pour the syrup over and eat.

The Nudge's Review: It cooked up perfectly. I wished I had poured the egg mixture down the sides of the bread because the bottom pieces were firmer than the others. I don't mind that but others might. I have no problem rotating this with egg mug omeletes for breakfast at work.

So happy it worked like a charm and I have gotten a request to change up the fruit when the seasons change (apples, pears or anything that you would pair with French Toast).

I also think chocolate mini chips would be a nice surprise and instead of the banana, a spoonful of favorite jam (maybe even a swirl of peanut butter).
So many possibilities.

August 14, 2016

SunGold Kiwi Jam Topped Goat and Blue Cheesecake ♥ Zespri SunGold #Sponsored Recipe Challenge

Can I have a raise of hands from those of you who have purchased kiwifruit?
No, those decorated fruit tarts with a few green kiwi slices do not count. I am talking about these little beauties......

Until the Recipe Reduxers were challenged to create recipes using the Sungold kiwifruit, I had never purchased green or yellow kiwi.
As a matter of fact, I couldn't explain what one tasted like when The Nudge asked.

I was so curious about these egg-shaped fruits that I immediately signed-up to participate.

“I received free samples of Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Zespri Kiwifruit and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time."

Something new to the fruit world, SunGold kiwifruit is a new variety from Zespri and is one of the fastest growing new fruits worldwide, doubling its volume in North America this season (June-October). SunGolds are a natural cross between gold varieties of kiwifruit and like their green cousins, are non-GMO.

Another distinctive characteristic between the two, green kiwifruits have a fuzzy skin, while the skin of a SunGold is as smooth as a baby's bottom.
A great snack to eat on the run, kiwifruit is perfect because it is easy to eat! Just cut in half with a knife and scoop with a spoon. That’s it – just cut, scoop, and enjoy!

I have to tell you that the SunGold kiwifruit is naturally sweeter than the traditional green we all know, and one serving (2 kiwifruit) of SunGold provides three times more vitamin C than an orange and as much potassium as a medium banana. They are also an excellent source of antioxidant Vitamin E.
After making this recipe, I started thinking about using SunGolds in a savory application and immediately a jam or chutney came to mind, and from there is was an easy leap to pair that up with cheese. Yes, just like figs.

Since I could not choose goat or blue cheese, I combined them both.
Hey, it's always better with more cheese.

The SunGold jam needed to be easy with minimal ingredients so the kiwifruit could shine.
These yellow kiwis are loaded with natural sugar, so I was able to use less honey and I had to stop myself from eating all the samples.

The recipe makes enough for an 8-9 inch savory cheesecake but being a family of two, I got the idea to use my 6" pan, leaving enough mixture to fill 12 silicone baking cups. This way I could also share with friends and family.

I added the cups halfway into the baking time for the spring form pan. Super easy.

I spooned 1 tablespoon of jam in 9 of the cups and slices of the kiwifruit in the remaining 3.
I prefer the silicon cups to paper liners. The paper line will not cleanly peel away from the cheese.

Don't tell anyone but I ate two of these mini cakes before I took their picture.

Let's get cooking.......

SunGold Kiwi Jam Topped Goat & Blue Cheesecake
makes 24 servings
1 (8") springform pan or 24 muffin cups

SunGold Jam:
* 2 SunGold kiwifruits, chopped
* 1/4 cup aged balsamic vinegar
* 2 tablespoons honey
* 1 tablespoon caster sugar
* Freshly ground black pepper
* 1 star anise
* 3" piece cinnamon stick
* 1 bay leaf

1. Place all the ingredients in a non-reactive saucepan and simmer until the mixture coats the back of a spoon, but is still runny. It will firm as it cools. If the mixture should get stiff, add warm water and stir. Remove the bay leaf, cinnamon stick and star anise.
2. Check for sweetness and add more honey to taste.

* 3 large eggs, room temperature, separated
* 3 tablespoons honey
* 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
* 6 ounces (140g) plain goat cheese, room temperature
* 2 ounces blue cheese
* 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons AP flour
* 3/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
* 1 ounce goat cheese crumbles

Preheat oven to 250°. Prepare an 8" springform pan by buttering the sides and covering the bottom with a circle of parchment paper.

1. Evenly spoon the jam into the bottom of the spring form pan and then sprinkle with the goat cheese crumbles.

2. Beat the egg yolks with the honey and sugar, then the melted butter until the mixture is smooth.
3. Add the cheeses and the flour and beat until smooth. Add the flour, mix and then the milk, a little at the time. Mix until smooth.
4. Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks and using a whisk, gently incorporate them into the batter.

8" spring form pan:
Pour the batter over the jam and bake for 55 minutes. When done, it should wobble. Bring to room temperature and set it to chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Serve chilled.

Silicon cups:
Spoon 1 tablespoon jam into 12 of the cups and 1 slice of kiwi into the other 12 cups. Spoon the batter just shy of the top.
Bake for 15-18 minutes. The top should be slightly puffed and brown on the edges.