Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Serves: 12
Prep Time: 20 minutes (15 minutes of soaking)
Cook Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

2 cups milk (or half and half)
2 large eggs
1 can pumpkin puree
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
6 slices stale bread
4 King’s Hawaiian Rolls

Preparation:

1. Combine all ingredients except bread and whisk until combined. Add bread and allow to soak for 15 minutes.

2. Pour mixture into baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Recipe adapted from Epicurious.com.

I had stale bread left over from the Avocado Toasts I made the other day and one of my favorite ways to do that is bread pudding. I didn’t have enough left over bread for a whole recipe so I added some Hawaiian rolls that I had for dinner. I found this recipe and also had left over pumpkin so it was perfect! The spice mix was good and the custard was the right consistency. Some bread puddings can be dry, but this was nice and custardy. Yes, I just invented that word. This is delicious and I will enjoy eating it for breakfast tomorrow.

Taco!

Avocado Toasts with Roasted Tomatoes and Hummus

Avocado Toasts with Roasted Tomatoes and Hummus

Serves: 6-8
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

6-8 slices bread, cut into squares or circles and toasted
3-4 plum tomatoes, cut in half and seeded
3 avocados, pitted and mashed
1 small container regular hummus
Salt and pepper
Balsamic vinegar
Olive oil

Preparation:

1. To prepare tomatoes, spread on baking sheet, open side up. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in oven at 450 degrees for 25 minutes, or until tomatoes begin to caramelize.

2. Spread a thin layer of hummus on toasts, add avocado and top with a tomato.

Recipe adapted from Eat, Live, Run.

I planned on making these for a picnic pot luck for school but since I had to buy $600 worth of food at Costco that day for the picnic and make sure everything was prepped, I didn’t have time. So I made them this weekend instead. I was very intrigued by the roasted tomatoes and they ended up being delicious! The toasts were great. The creaminess of the avocado and hummus were a nice contrast to the bite and sourness of the tomatoes. The ones I made were a little big as finger foods and needed either a big hand or a fork, but I used them as a side anyway. I made all the tomatoes I had and therefore had a lot left over so I mixed them with chicken that I marinated in balsamic. Very tasty and great for a party! Don’t forget to check out How to Treat Your Avocados with Respect to make sure you know what to do with the avocados.

Taco!

Pumpkin Mascarpone Pie

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Serves: 8
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes

Ingredients:

Filling
1 cup pumpkin purée
1 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp lemon juice (about half a lemon)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 (8 oz) container mascarpone
Salt

Whipped Cream Topping
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup mascarpone
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbs sugar
Salt

Preparation:

1. With a mixer, beat sugar and pumpkin until combined. Add all other filling ingredients, except mascarpone, and mix until smooth. Add mascarpone and mix until combined.

2. Place mixture in a prepared crust (I used a store bought graham crust). Bake on 350 degrees for about 55 minutes, until filling is set. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack. Allow to cool completely (at least one hour).

3. For whipped cream, combine all ingredients and beat until stiff peaks form, about 4-5 minutes. Serve on top of cooled pie.

Recipe adapted from Epicurious.com.

It was another one of those days where I had mascarpone (happens a lot) and no idea what to do with it. I was at the grocery store and with my handy Epicurious app looked up mascarpone. This was the first recipe that popped up and I knew I had to try it. That was a great decision. This is DELICIOUS and incredibly easy thanks to my handy dandy hand mixer. The picture is a little off because I wasn’t patient enough to let the pie cool completely but it was tasty none the less. I also realized I should have made the whipped cream right before serving because my stiff peaks became not-so-stiff after a while in the refrigerator. Again, not the prettiest thing on the planet but DELICIOUS. You should definitely try this. It’s a bit of a combination of pumpkin pie and cheesecake. It has the flavor of a cheesecake while having the consistency of pumpkin pie. That’s a pretty great combination if you ask me.

Taco!

Potato Soup with Bacon

Potato Soup with Bacon

Serves: 4-6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

5-6 small russet potatoes, peeled and cut into pieces
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
5 slices bacon
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 (14 oz) can chicken stock
1/4 – 1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes
Sharp cheddar for topping, shredded

Preparation:

1. Place chopped potatoes in a large pot. Cover with water, salt and boil until potatoes break apart easily when stuck with a fork. Drain and set aside.

2. In the same pan, cook bacon until crisp. Place cooked bacon on a paper towel to drain.

3. Drain bacon fat, leaving about 3 tbs of fat in the pot. Cook onions and garlic in pot until translucent. Add wine, making sure to stir to get the bits off the bottom of the pot. Cook until most of the liquid evaporates.

4. Remove pot from heat. Add potatoes and mash. Add stock and cream and stir. If it’s not soupy enough, add more cream or water. Season with pepper and red pepper flakes (if desired). Return to heat until heated through. Chop/crumble bacon. Serve soup in bowls with cheese and bacon on top.

Recipe is an original.

I ended up with a very large bag of potatoes in my kitchen and my first thought was to make soup! Potato soup was always one of my favorite things my mom would make growing up and I wanted to try to make my own. This was an experiment that turned out well. I just added stuff as I went along and it worked! The soup was nice and rich and still tasted like potatoes. This would also be good with sour cream, scallions and all kinds of things as a topping. My mom also told me her technique for making this, which I will try next time. She boils the onions with the potatoes and makes sure the potatoes are barely covered with water. Then she uses the water instead of stock and doesn’t have to drain the potatoes. She said to keep checking on the water level to make sure the potatoes don’t burn. I will definitely try this the next time I make soup, which may be soon since I have so many potatoes! I am very proud of this recipe and I definitely recommend giving it a try!

Taco!

The Mill on MacArthur: A Review

Artichoke Po Boy with Sweet Potato Fries

Where: The Mill (MacArthur Ave. Richmond)
What: American Cuisine, Vegetarian
Number of People: 3
Total Cost: $100
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

It was a celebrating kind of day so some friends and I headed to The Mill. I had never been there and was shocked considering I used to live across the street and I go to school around the corner. The food was excellent. They have a large variety of vegetarian and vegan options and today was Vegetarian Monday. I had the artichoke po boy, which was yummy. The artichokes were very well cooked and they came on chibatta with tomato, lettuce and a Cajun remoulade. I had a side of sweet potato fries and the house wine to drink. The sandwich was great. There wasn’t enough spicy so I got some remoulade on the side and it was perfect. The fries were great as well. We had two appetizers, vegetable pot stickers and fried oysters. The pot stickers were good. There wasn’t a lot of filling but the wrapper didn’t take over the taste. The oysters were delicious and came with some of the remoulade. Scott got the meatloaf and liked it. He had issue with the fact that his green beans were crunchy, but that’s how I like them. Sandy got the pasta primavera and also seemed to enjoy it. For dessert they had ice cream from Bev’s so I had the tiramisu gelato, which is always delicious, along with some decaf.

The atmosphere was very welcoming. There was a lot of light and everything was very simple. The waitress was very nice and attentive. She even offered another dessert to Scott since his cupcake was the last one and potentially a little dry. It was a wonderful meal and I will definitely be returning and introducing more people to this place.

Don’t Look Back (Taco Bar): A Review

Bean, Rajas and Chicken Tacos

Where: Don’t Look Back (W. Cary St., Richmond)
What: Tacos
Number of People: 2
Total Cost: $50
Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Adam and I heard of a new place in Cary Town that was the result of Nate’s Taco Truck, which was a big hitter on VCU’s campus for a while. We knew it had a strange name and it turns out we were right. It also turns out that the people who said the tacos were amazing were also right. The tacos were delicious. There are a variety of options on the menu, including vegetarian. They had all the basics, chicken, shredded beef, fish, carnitas and some nice additions such as bean, peppers, soy, and chorizo. They also had burritos, tostadas and the like. We tried a chicken, shredded beef, bean, peppers (Rajas), fish and chorizo with some guacamole on the side. Each taco is $3 and can be served traditionally (onions, cilantro and lime) or gringo (sour cream, cheese, salsa, lettuce) and either with corn or flour tortillas. We had corn on everything except the bean and mixed up the styles depending on the filling.

Tacos!

My favorite was definitely the fish taco. The fish was delicious and the cabbage slaw and sauce were just how I remember fish tacos. All of the others were also delicious. I definitely prefer traditional style because it’s simple and let’s the flavors show. Plus I’m a bit of a snob and want them to be as authentic as possible. The guacamole was also good and I’m picky about my guacamole.

I would definitely recommend this place to any one looking for a good, upscale Mexican restaurant in Richmond. The atmosphere was very modern with loud music in a tight space with TVs playing various shows and sports. They had a good beer selection and we hit at happy hour. The service was pretty good but not perfect, hence a missing star. I will certainly be going back in the future and taking a lot of friends.

Fish Taco

A Little Taste of Home: Scrambled Eggs

Serves: 1
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

3 eggs
1 tbs butter
Salt
Red pepper flakes
Cheese of your choice

Preparation:

1. Crack eggs and mix with a fork in a bowl. Heat butter in a pan. Add eggs when butter is melted and mix with a spatula until eggs reach desired consistency. Remove from heat. Season and grate cheese on top.

Recipe is an original.

Some times you have a craving and since I’ve been fighting a craving all day to eat an entire box of Samoas, I figured I would indulge at least one craving which just happened to be for scrambled eggs. I learned how to make scrambled eggs when I was little from a babysitter and even though I don’t remember her name or really any other time I spent with her, I remember how to make eggs. It’s quick, easy, delicious and easy to dress up with red pepper and some fancy cheese (I used Prima Donna Aged Gouda and Manchego because they were in the fridge). I’ve been feeling down and missing my family all day and it’s amazing how food can help your mood. Some times all you need is a little taste of home.

Taco!

Curry Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

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Serves: 4-6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients:

3-4 lbs butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
2 cups chicken stock
2 Macintosh apples
1 yellow onion
3/4 tsp curry powder
3/4 tsp cinnamon
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

For Topping:

Scallions, white and green parts chopped
Cashews, chopped
Toasted sweetened coconut
Bananas, diced

Preparation:

1. Coat inside of squash, apples and onions in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. On a cookie sheet lined with foil, place squash inside facing down and scatter apples and onions around. Roast for 40 minutes at 425 degrees. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. Scoop out insides of squash.

2. Heat chicken stock in a pot. Add vegetables to stock. Use immersion blender until smooth.

3. Add curry, salt, pepper and cinnamon and stir. Heat through. Serve hot with toppings.

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten at FoodNetwork.com

I decided to buy a butternut squash a few days ago and see what I could do with it. Adam’s mom told me about roasting them and using them in soup so I did some research and found Ina Garten’s recipe online. It. Is. Amazing. The soup was the perfect consistency and so easy to do with the immersion blender. The flavors were excellent. The onion and curry gave a nice spice while the apples and squash and cinnamon gave it a good sweet flavors. The toppings were an excellent idea. I was thinking of ignoring them but when I read the reviews of the recipe I knew I needed to try them. The reviewers were right. The onions give flavor and crunch, along with the cashews. The coconut adds a little more sweet and the banana gives a smooth texture and a taste that goes well with curry. Overall this was an excellent dish that I will certainly be making again. Especially because it gives a good serving of vegetables in a tasty way! Keep in mind that butternut squash are ridiculously difficult to cut. But it’s worth it. You can also peel and slice the squash and roast them along with the apples and onions. I found just slicing them in half and scooping out the insides to be pretty easy. Definitely give this one a try!

Taco!

PS: I’m now using Instagram and tend to post pictures of my food in process. Feel free to follow me at srice22.

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Pat’s King of Steaks: A Review

Pat's Philly Cheesesteak

Where: Pat’s King of Steaks (1237 Passyunk Ave, Philly)
What: Cheesesteaks
Cost: $10 per person
Number of People: 5
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Adam and I are in Philadelphia for Passover and its tradition to go to Pat’s for Passover. As long as you’re not eating Kosher, of course. I was leery about cheesesteaks because traditionally they’re made with Cheese Wiz and my experience with Cheese Wiz has never been good. But I was definitely moved to team Cheese Wiz. We walked up and the line was ridiculous but it only took about 15 minutes. We realized why when we got there and they were practically throwing cheesesteaks at us. We ordered and two seconds later we had a cheesesteak. It was stressful but we soon didn’t care because we were chowing down on amazing cheesesteaks. Cheap bread, cheap meat, cheap cheese with some onions and mushrooms turned out to be a delicious meal. Fast food at its best!

A few things you need to know. They only take cash and you definitely want to have your money ready. There are specific ways to order. To get a mushroom cheesesteak with wiz and onions you would say mushroom cheese wiz wit. Wit-out for no onions, mushroom pepper cheese to add sweet peppers and of course you can add different kinds of cheese but that’s sacrilegious.

If you’re in Philly you should definitely head to Pat’s.