Breakfast in a Crescent Sandwich

I love a big breakfast on the weekend–pancakes, bacon, grits, skillet potatoes–but on the weekdays, I like my morning meal to be a little more mobile-friendly. The sandwich that follows is a nice compromise between Sunday and Monday.

Breakfast in a Crescent Sandwich Sandwich

Ingredients:

Skillet Potato Filling

  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup onions, diced
  • 1/4 cup bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large russet or Yukon Gold potato
  • 1-2 tbsp(s) canola oil

Additional Filling

  • 5-6 slices of bacon
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 8 Crescent rolls, premade or from scratch
  • Shredded Monterrey jack and cheddar cheese, to taste
  • 1 scrambled egg, optional

Directions:

  1.  Line bacon on cookie sheet and sprinkle with pepper.
  2. Cook bacon in oven on 375 degrees for 12-14 minutes, flipping halfway through (or until bacon is completely cooked).
  3. Drizzle 1 tbsp of the canola oil into a large, nonstick skillet. Set aside.
  4. Chop potato into 1/4-1/2 inch cubes and boil over high heat for 5 minutes. Drain.
  5. Place potatoes into oiled skillet.
  6. Dice onions and bell peppers and sprinkle over potatoes. Add salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder to potato mixture.
  7. Cook potato mixture over medium-high heat for 8-14 minutes or until potatoes are thoroughly cooked, softened, and browned. Add additional tablespoon of canola oil as needed.
  8. Crumble bacon over potato mixture and thoroughly combine.
  9. Unroll crescent rolls into triangles. Scoop approximately 1 tbsp of potato-bacon mixture and place in the center of the crescent roll.
  10. Top mixture with cheeses, and roll dough into the shape of a crescent, repeating until all of the crescent rolls are filled.
  11. Bake at 400 degrees for 7-10 minutes or until golden brown.
  12. Serve with syrup or jelly for a touch of sweet!
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Chicken Mozzarella Melt

Like most good ideas, this one a) happened by accident b) is all Mom’s doing.

While dining on a Zaxby nibbler, Mom happened upon a stray slice of cafeteria pizza (best teacher ever, by the way). Not in the mood for pizza and a nibbler, she took some of the cheese off the former and added it to the latter. Her concoction–a cheese, chicken, and lightly marinara-sauced sandwich–turned out to be a glorious, bite-sized helping of Heaven. So, for this week’s Faraway Friday Meal, we put our heads together and came up with a Chicken Mozzarella Melt that will make the inner cheese god in you smile.

You’ll need the Pizzeria Style Sauce and the Favorite Pizza Dough recipe for this meal, so plan ahead.

Buttermilk-and-Herb Fried Chicken
from William-Sonoma’s New Flavors for Chicken: Classic Recipes Redefined with slight changes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • Half of 1/3 cup plus 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 tbsp red hot pepper sauce
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary, crumbled
  • 1 tsp rubbed sage
  • 1 tsp dried thyme*
  • 1 package of whole chicken breasts
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • Canola oil for frying
  • 1/3-2/3 cup(s) of bread crumbs
  • Pizzeria Style Pizza Sauce

Directions:

  1. In a large, nonreactive bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, 1/2 cup of salt, hot pepper sauce, marjoram, rosemary, sage, and thyme until blended and the salt is dissolved.
  2. Cut chicken breasts in half and rinse under cold water. Place in buttermilk mixture and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours.
  3. In a smaller bowl, mix together flour, pepper, baking powder, and 1/2 tsp of salt. Separate chicken into two piles. Pile One: dip chicken into the flour mixture one at a time, coating well. Shake to remove access. Place on a plate.
  4. Add 1/3-2/13 cups of bread crumbs to flour mixture and mix. Pile Two: coat remaining chicken breast slices in this mixture. Shake to remove access. Place on plate.
  5. Preheat stovetop to medium-high heat (a 7 for my stovetop). In a large, cast iron frying pan, add canola oil. Let canola heat until hot but not smoking.
  6. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
  7. Place no more than 3 chicken breast slices into the oil at any given time (don’t crowd the pan). Let chicken cook for 4 to 5 minutes and then flip to cook for 4 to 5 additional minutes on the other side. Drain (this is important), and place chicken onto a baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Repeat. Chicken should register 160 degrees  when done (or, you could just use the oh-it-looks-ready-lets-break-open-and-taste-test method. This is the preferred method.)
  8. Drain chicken. Cut into chunks.
  9. Place Pizzeria Style Pizza sauce into a small, lidded sauce pan. Add chicken chunks. Cover and simmer sauce over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Preparing the pizza dough

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Ingredients

  • Pizza dough
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp of garlic powder
  • 1/2 mozzarella cheese block
  • 1/4 cup 5 blend cheese (Asiago, Provolone, Mozzarella, Parmesan, Romano)
  • Cornmeal, for dusting

Directions:

  1. Dust cornmeal onto pizza stone.
  2. Roll out pizza dough into a (roughly) 10-11 inch circle.
  3. Using the bottom of your rolling pin (or some other small, circular object), press light indentations into the pizza dough.
  4. Drizzle olive oil onto dough. Massage into pizza. Sprinkle garlic powder onto dough.
  5. Top with a light layer of pizza sauce.
  6. Pre-bake for 5-7 minutes at 425 degrees.
  7. Remove from oven and top with remaining layer of pizza/chicken sauce. Add cheeses. Bake for 13-17 minutes or until dough is thoroughly cooked.
  8. Serve with a Caesar salad. Or a salad with Caesar dressing.

 

*I ran out of thyme when I was cooking. I laughed way harder than I should have at this.

Dragon Ball Sugar Cookies

I unabashedly love Dragon Ball Z. There’s a Piccolo action figure on my writing desk and a four star dragon ball buried in the basement of my parent’s house (for safe keeping). I grew up on the show, rushing home from school to catch it on Toonami, homework be darned. Geography could wait, but extremely long fight sequences could not, and even now, years later, the thought of Goku powering up brings a smile to my face.

To honor the wonderfulness that is Dragon Ball Z, I decided to make Dragon Ball Sugar Cookies (dragon balls are used to summon a wish-granting dragon). Be warned: much like the series I love, these cookies are a test of patience. There’s a lot of waiting involved (the cookies need to cool) but, just like DBZ, they’re worth the wait. And eating some of the dough helps.

Sugar Cookies:

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Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Beat butter and sugar on low speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add in the egg and vanilla and beat until well incorporated.
  3. Add flour, baking powder, and salt and mix until combined (do NOT over-mix).
  4. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (refrigerate overnight if you can).
  5. After the dough is ready, let it loosen on the countertop for 30 minutes. Lightly flour countertop and roll out the dough into a 1/2 or 1/4 inch thick sheet. Use cookie cutter or the rim of a glass to cut dough into circular shapes.
  6. Place dough onto a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Cook at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes or until cookies have (slightly)browned around the edges. Immediately remove the cookies from the pan to cool for at least 45 minutes.

I used King Arthur Flour’s Simple Cooke Glaze for the top coating. I mixed together red and yellow food coloring gel, adding a few drops at a time until the color was right.

Glazing:

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Ingredients:

  • Glaze
  • Cookies
  • A plastic spoon
  • Toothpicks

Directions:

  1. Scoop a teaspoon-sized drop of glaze onto the plastic spoon and drop the glaze onto the center of a cooled cookie. Using the bottom half of the spoon, make gentle circle motions, smoothing the glaze outward. Use toothpicks to pop any air bubbles that appear in the glaze. Repeat for each cookie.
  2. Once all of the cookies are glazed, set them aside to cool for 2-3 hours. I suggest watching Dragon Ball Z while you wait, preferably the latter half of the Cell Saga (or you could take a nap, whichever).

Wish-granting Stars: 

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Ingredients:

  • One sheet of red, edible decorating paper
  • Pink or light red fine tip edible ink marker
  • Kitchen scissors
  • Piccolo level of focus
  • Water, for dampening

Directions:

  1. Freehand or stencil star shapes onto the edible decorating paper using the marker. Repeat until your wish comes true (or until you have enough stars to fill all of the cookies).
  2. Lightly dampen the glaze of a cookie using the water. Peel back the clear plastic backing of the edible decorating paper and gently place the star on the center of the cookie.

 

All done. Now make a wish.

 

 

 

 

Look, Daddy! Cookies!

Look, Daddy! Cookies!

Cocoa Cinnamon Pull Apart Bread

I’m finishing up Junot Diaz’s This is How You Lose Her, a collection of stories about Junior and other young men who often find themselves going toward or pulling away from the women in their lives. To that end, I’ve decided to pair Diaz’s collection with pull apart bread.

Cocoa Cinnamon Pull Apart Bread

Ingredients:

Dough

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp vinegar
  • 4 tbsps butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 package of active dry yeast (about 2 1/4 tsps)

Filling:

  • 2 1/2 tbsps sugar (or 4 tbsps for sugar lovers)
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2-1 1/2 tbsps cocoa powder
  • 4 tbsps butter, browned

Directions:

  1. Load dough ingredients into bread machine, beginning with the wet ingredients. Add in sugar, flour, and salt. Make a small well in the sugar, flour, and salt layer and add in yeast, being sure that the yeast doesn’t touch the wet ingredients. Select dough cycle on bread machine (do not use delayed start).
  2. Remove dough from bread machine and place in a large bowl. Cover with a clean towel and let rest for 1 hour.
  3. Roll dough into a 12x 20 inch square onto a lightly powdered surface.
  4. Spread browned butter onto dough. Sprinkle sugar, cinnamon, and cocoa powder mixture on top.
  5. Using a pizza cutter, cuz dough into six vertical strips and stack the strips one on top of the other. Cut those strips into six strips.
  6. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan and add dough one stack at a time. Gently tug individual layers to touch sides of the pan.
  7. Cover with a clean towel and let rise for 45-50 minutes.
  8. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  9. Bake loaf for 30-35 minutes until bread is brown on top and done throughout.
  10. Sprinkle with confectionary sugar or drizzle with cream cheese icing if desired.

Happy reading, happy eating.

Guest Baker – Danni

Today I hung up my apron* for the greater good and served as sous chef for Danni, a friend who stopped by to bake a birthday cake.

Two hours and six games of 2048 later, here’s what she made:

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The cake turned out delicious (believe me, we baked a sample), and what’s really impressive is that 98% of the toffee bars actually made it onto the cake (the same cannot be said for the cream cheese frosting). You can find the Chocolate Toffee-Crunch (Cup)cakes recipe here.

Happy eating!

 

 
* I don’t actually own an apron, but if I did, it would have Batman on it.

Lazy Monday

I’d love to say that I’m preparing a feast (I’m not) or enjoying the sun (it’s gray out), but I’m honestly caught up in a Once Upon a Time Netflix marathon (don’t judge me).

But just because I’m marathoning it out instead of doing something productive (writing) doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a little lazy Monday snack.

Dark Chocolate Popcorn

Dark Chocolate Popcorn

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup popcorn kernels, cooked
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, drizzled on
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips, melted

Directions:

  1. Cook popcorn kernels using popcorn maker, saucepan, or microwave (try the brown paper bag trick if you go with the microwave. Place kernels in brown paper bag. Close the bag opening by folding it downward. Cook popcorn using microwave’s popcorn setting.)
  2. Drizzle popcorn with olive oil. Add sea salt.
  3. Using a baking spatula, drizzle melted chocolate chips over popcorn.
  4. Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes or until chocolate has set.

 

Now excuse me while I procrastinate.

What do you mean you aren't writing?

What do you mean you aren’t writing?

Bacon Tomato Sandwich

My mom and I cook together every Friday evening even though she lives in Birmingham, AL, and I live in Orlando, FL. One of us chooses a recipe, and we send pictures, walk one another through the steps–I had no idea how to cook steak. None.–and then call  to talk about how everything turned out.

Friday is my favorite day of the week, and this is one of the first recipes we made together.

Bacon Tomato Sandwich

Yields 2 sandwiches

There wasn't any room for the lettuce.

There wasn’t any room for the lettuce.

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices of Italian bread
  • 2 slices of muenster cheese
  • 2 slices of cheddar cheese
  • 8-12 slices of bacon
  • 1 roma tomato, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp of oregano
  • 1/2 tsp of parsley
  • 2 tbsps of olive oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Line cookie sheets with bacon and place in oven. Bake on either side for 6-7 minutes or until crispy. Drain and set aside.
  3. Slice tomato into ¼ inch slices. Toss in pepper, sea salt, oregano, and parsley. Place on baking sheet and cook for about 4 minutes on 350 degrees.
  4. Layer bacon onto two slices of Italian bread and top with one slice each of both cheeses (each sandwich will have two slices of cheese). Layer with tomato slices. Place other slice of bread on top to form sandwich.
  5. Heat stovetop to medium-high heat. Add olive oil to a large, nonstick skillet. Place sandwiches into skillet and cook on both sides until lightly brown.
  6. Serve with Parmesan fries.