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Friday
Jan212011

Hash brown avocado egg breakfast

I often tell people that I am a breakfast person, yet I'm not much of a breakfast person. Stop confusing us, Pip! Ok, ok, allow me to explain. I love breakfast food. I adore it. Eggs of any kind, bacon, hash browns, toast, pancakes, cinnamon rolls, French toast, muffins, ham, cereal, omelets, waffles, oatmeal. I love it all. In fact, I love it a little too much, so I only allow myself to indulge on weekends. Either I go all out or I eat none of it. I need breakfast therapy.

My husband creates delicious breakfasts on most Saturday and Sunday mornings, and I eat every speck off my plate. Monday through Friday mornings I stay away from breakfast like it's a drug. So, I love breakfast, but I don't consistently eat it. There's no need to remind me why I should eat it every day, "even if it's just a piece of toast or a granola bar." Yes, I get it.

Anyhow, here is a delicious little creation we made a while back. Mmmmm. Is it the weekend yet? Ahhhh, tomorrow is Saturday!

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add 12 oz. of frozen hash browns.

Cook for 5 minutes or until hash browns are lightly browned.

Add:

1/2 of an onion, chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste

While the hash browns are sizzling in the skillet, mash 1 avocado in a small bowl with a fork. Season with salt and pepper and place in the refrigerator.

Cook the hash browns until they are crispy.

Divide them in half and form into two patties.

Cook two eggs, sunny-side up.

Place the hash brown patties onto separate plates. Top each with half of the mashed avocado and one egg.

Thank goodness for weekends.

Click here for a printable recipe!

Wednesday
Jan192011

Smoky tomato soup with maple-candied bacon

This is Week #3 of my 2011 cooking challenge! Click here to view all recipes from this challenge. All recipes created for this challenge come from the Food & Wine Annual Cookbook 2010.

This is the first recipe I have created for this challenge that I didn't love. Not at first, anyway. With a few small changes, it went from being just okay to delicious!

I will write the recipe exactly as it is written in the cookbook and I will also tell you my suggestions. If you enjoy soups with a heavy orange flavor, make the recipe as it is! If you do not (I personally do not), then heed my thoughts.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Arrange 8 slices of thick-cut applewood-smoked bacon over the parchment/foil and bake for 8 minutes in the preheated oven. Drain the oil and sprinkle the bacon with 2 tablespoons of maple sugar or light brown sugar.

Bake for 8 more minutes, or until the bacon is glazed. Set aside.

Chop 1 small onion and mince 3 cloves of garlic. My three-year-old stole my beautiful new head of garlic from the fridge and misplaced it (ahhhh, can't wait to find that!), so I used the 2 lone cloves I could find in the drawer and a dash of garlic powder instead.

In a large saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter and 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil over medium heat.

Add the chopped onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.

Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of tomato paste and cook, stirring, until darkened, about 2 minutes.

Stir in:

3 tablespoons granulated sugar (I suggest using 1-2 tablespoons)

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon grated orange zest (I suggest omitting this entirely)

1/2 teaspoon piment d'Espelette (I was not able to find this ingredient. Heat-wise, it is often compared to paprika, so I added a dash more of that instead.)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Cook for 30 seconds. Add 1/2 cup of dry rosé or white wine and bring to a boil.

Add 2 15-oz. cans chopped tomatoes, with their juices (I recommend using 3 cans).

Bring to a simmer and remove from heat.

Stir in 2 cups of water..

..and 1/4 cup fresh orange juice (I suggest using half of the recommended orange juice and replacing the other half with water).

Add 3 tablespoons of sour cream (I ended up using double this amount. I also added about 1/2 teaspoon of dried basil at this point.)

Working in batches, puree the soup until it is smooth. Return the mixture to the saucepan and season with desired amount of salt and pepper. Reheat and ladle into bowls. Top with the candied bacon, chopped into bits.

Don't be scared away by my initial thoughts. With the revisions I made, it turned out to be a delicious soup! My three-year-old even ate it, served over saltine crackers.

I should mention that the cookbook lists the "ready in" time as 30 minutes. It took more like 1 hour for me, from start to finish.

Click here for a printable recipe!

Wednesday
Jan192011

Appetizer recipe contest!

Ebby and I have a Bloggy Day coming up, which means we are going to cook massive amounts of food in one day for the purpose of sharing recipes and photos on this blog. We will be hosting a few ladies at my house later that evening to share our newly-created goodies with them.

We thought it would be fun to create one of YOUR favorite appetizer recipes that day to share with our guests. In fact, why don't we make it TWO of you! We will feature both recipes on our blog and give each winner full credit for the recipe. We will also send each winner one of Ebby's favorite kitchen utensils, a microplane grater!

We are looking for delicious appetizers that will please our guests and that will be a good addition to our blog. Perhaps something unlike anything we currently have here on our blog? Or something we already have, but better? Ebby and I will read through all submissions and choose the two we agree on to be the winners.

Either leave a comment on this post with the full recipe or send it to us in an email (subject: appetizer contest) via the Contact Pip & Ebby button on the right side of your screen.

Contest ends February 5th, 2011, at midnight.

Exciting! We can't wait to read through your recipes!

Tuesday
Jan182011

Knit bunny

I have mentioned before that my mother is one of the most talented people I know. Artistic ability oozes from her. Everything she touches turns out amazing. I hope to eventually share some of her drawings (her favorite medium) on this blog, but in the meantime I will share this cute bunny! It is something she "whipped up" for my 7-month-old and gave to me when I was in California last week. All Samson wanted to do was excrete mouthfuls of slobber onto it, so I placed it in an out-of-reach location in order to preserve it. Isn't it cute? I love the colors. She could totally sell these, don't you think?

Thanks, Mom!

Tuesday
Jan182011

Tomato pesto bites

I love popping a scrumptious biteful of something into my mouth. Finger foods are so much fun! Sometimes I daydream about what it must be like to have a butler wandering around my home, offering me a tray filled with delicious finger foods. He then retreats to my over-sized kitchen so my personal chef can replenish the assortment of goodies. And then I wake up from my dream, with only a messy kitchen and a living room that resembles tornado carnage in my sight.

Where was I? Oh, finger foods!

This fun little tomato finger food recipe contains pesto, of all things, and would be one that I would request adorn my butler's tray.

Start by cutting both ends off of 30 cherry tomatoes. Cut the base of the tomato smaller than the top, as this cut is merely intended to keep the tomato upright on the serving platter. Gut the tomatoes, using a small knife to separate the seeds from the side of the tomato.

Tomato guts. I threw them into a big bowl of salad so as to not be wasteful.

(Source: Better Homes & Gardens magazine)

Invert the tomatoes on a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Set aside to allow for the tomatoes to drain.

For the filling, combine the following ingredients in a food processor:

1/2 of a medium avocado, peeled, seeded and chopped

2 oz. cream cheese

1 Tbsp. basil pesto (I used spinach basil pesto)

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Cover and process until just combined.

Place tomatoes on a serving platter and spoon the filling into the tomato cups. If needed, cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 4 hours. Sprinkle with chopped fresh basil before serving.

If you see my butler, please tell him he is late for work.

Click here for a printable recipe!