Oh these photos were making me want another one of these today for lunch :) The instigator for this fancy sandwich? Landana Asparagus Gouda from my favorite cheese shop, Murray's at Kroger. Fresh, green, spring flavor with that characteristic creamy ...
Oh these photos were making me want another one of these today for lunch :)
The instigator for this fancy sandwich? Landana Asparagus Gouda from my favorite cheese shop, Murray's at Kroger. Fresh, green, spring flavor with that characteristic creamy texture but a bit saltier than some Goudas. Unfortunately, it is a seasonal cheese. So why am I posting this in fall? Because tuna and asparagus can be found all year long and this panini is too delicious to put off until next spring. There are so many wonderful melting Gouda cheeses, you could try a different one each month til spring arrives again :)
Much like a dressing makes the salad, a sauce makes the sandwich. Tarter with a couple of twists.
I am a lifetime subscriber to Julia Child's concept of, a little wine for the recipe and a lot more for the chef:) The White Knight Viognier has enough body to stand up to the rich cheese, mayo, and buttered toast.
It's musky note works well with asparagus, and a melon citrus fruity balance to cleanse the palate and compliment the sauce and tuna. Viognier in general is fantastic with asparagus, a food that can be challenging to match with wine. Tarragon is one of my favorite herbs when I cook asparagus, whether in an omelet, stir fry, or sandwich form.
See how light and airy this bread is....Nice and crisp!
Now for the tuna...I live in a coastal seafood town so it really annoys me to find seafood from all over the world in my local grocery stores, a situation that is primarily money driven. I want it fresh, not frozen whenever possible, or at least from the U.S.A. So I've started purchasing Sushi grade tuna because it's never frozen. It's also milder, less gamey and wild in flavor, with a more moist texture.
I also love the sharp taste of Yellow fin and will hungrily eat it if fresh caught. Personal preference, so choose whatever kind of tuna you enjoy. I used a sour dough bread that had a transparent airy sort of texture. Better than a real dense slice because it will get a fabulous crisp surface, a must with a panini.
Not the prettiest picture but the best part for the chef/photographer :)
Ingredients For Viognier Tarragon Sauce
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon sweet relish
1 tablespoon White Knight viognier (or other dry white wine)
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 1/4 teaspoon fresh Meyer lemon juice
pinch of pepper
Ingredients For Panini
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 pound Sushi grade tuna, forked into large pieces
salt and pepper to taste
10 asparagus spears, blanched for 2 minutes, then placed into ice water to cool and retain bright green color
.25 lb. of Landana Asparagus Gouda (or other melting cheese if you can't find this one)
4 slices sour dough bread
About 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons butter (I melt half in the pan and brown one side, then while it's cooking spread the rest on the other side and flip)
Directions For Viognier Tarragon Sauce
Whisk all ingredients into a bowl. Set aside.
Directions For Panini
Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook tuna approximately 3 to 5 minutes on each side, depending on thickness and how you like your tuna. Fork into large pieces.
While tuna is in the pan, blanche asparagus for 2 minutes. Then place into cold water. Drain before placing onto sandwich. Cut to fit the length of the bread. The ends make great snacks :)
When tuna is done, slice and divide cheese between all 4 pieces of bread. This becomes the glue that holds everything in place when it melts. Place tuna onto one side of bread. Set asparagus spears over tuna.
Heat skillet over medium low heat and melt half of the butter. Carefully close the sandwiches. Brown on one side until golden and crispy. Spread the rest of the butter on the other side, flip and brown until golden and the cheese has melted.
Remove sandwich from pan and cut in half. Spoon some sauce into a bowl and dip away. You get a nice dollop of deliciousness in every bite!
What kind of panini creations are you whipping up in your kitchen? Please share in the comments below!
In the beer world there are the bold IPA lovers, the mellow cidar sippers, adventurous consumers of unique craft flavors, and the traditionalists of the tried and true trio, Bud, Coors, and Miller.
Then there are chefs like me that look at Banana Bread Beer and have naughty visions of French toast dancing in my head :)
Admit it, if you're reading this food blog you're guilty of those fantasies too...custardy bread topped with bananas, dripping in sticky brown sugar and rich butter. Oh and what would a dream like this be without a little chocolate spread across each soft slice...Okay, snap out of it so I can tell you where the beer comes in!
A little twist on the original bananas foster by adding beer to the egg mixture. I know beer and eggs may be too strange but stay with me. The edible end result is so worth it! Instead of the theatrical pour of dark rum send your tender sugar laden fruit for a swim in Wells Banana Bread Beer!
It's a classic ale, subtle banana flavor with that slightly bitter hops finish, so not a sweet fruity drink. Perfect contrast to the decadence featured on this plate. And to me, bananas say tropics and nothing accents that region more than macadamia nuts:)
No holding back - take a big bite full of moist custard drenched bread coated in Nutella, stacked with sugary smooth banana, dripping in beer syrup with a buttery macadamia finale...Oh yeah, now that's a brunch worth crawling out of bed for ;)
I love the Pepperidge Farm seasonal breads for French toast. For this, I chose the chocolate banana. But if you can't find that one use their chocolate chip or even banana bread, or Challah would work! Just get some Banana Bread Beer and give this Bananas Foster French toast a try. It will create a deliciously memorable mark on your friends and families palates!
Ingredients For French Toast
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup Banana Bread Beer
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
pinch of salt
4 slices of Pepperidge Farm chocolate banana bread
8 teaspoons Nutella (more if you prefer)
1/3 to 1/2 cup macadamia nuts
Ingredients For Banana Bread Beer Syrup
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 bananas, peeled and cut into thirds and then sliced down the middle
1/3 cup banana bread beer
Directions For French Toast
Whisk together first 5 ingredients into a mixing bowl. Heat a skillet over medium heat and melt butter. Thoroughly soak each slice of bread in the egg custard. Place in skillet and bake until each side is golden brown. It's not very thick but turn the heat down to medium low if necessary so the inside of the bread cooks as well.
Directions For Banana Bread Beer Syrup
Heat another skillet over medium heat. Melt butter. Add in brown sugar. Blend with the butter into a gooey syrup. Toss the bananas in and coat completely in the sugar. Pour beer over, raise heat to medium high for just a couple of minutes to reduce alcohol. Allow to thicken a bit. Keep warm until toast is ready.
Plating It All Together
Layer Toast onto a platter or individual plates. Spoon that delicious syrup evenly over the top of each slice. Sprinkle with macadamias. Pour some java for everyone and enjoy :)
Have you welcomed the craft beer craze into your kitchen? Please share your favorite flavors and recipes in the comments below!
I realized these were wine inspired cookies when I was using the same delicious words to describe them that I use to illustrate my favorite wines.
Bold dark fruit. Smoky flavors layered with spice. Deep richness that lingers on the palate. Natural sweetness in the 'fresh from the farm' berries. Rustic mouth feel with the seeds giving the jam a lot of chew. All nestled into the well of a soft cookie!
And how fun they were to share at wine tastings
They even traveled to Cullipher's Farm, the wonderful people that grew and harvested these amazing blackberries!
Most commercial jam/jelly is too sugar laden for me, with more syrup than fruit. So I prefer to make my own with just a little sugar.
This little gem is the star in my blackberry jam. And oh how I'll miss you.
Cullipher's Market has ruined me for ever being able to enjoy a store bought blackberry. There is no comparison. There's were the sweetest and largest berries I've ever had, even from other local crops.
I'd pass by the frig and grab some for a snack or spoon some coconut cream Greek yogurt, walnuts, and Kashi cereal over top. A breakfast my African Grey parrot and I both indulge in. One berry at a time, he does his part :)
Of course I could always go with the excuse that the blackberry moonshine needed to be used;) Not only is the shine blended into the jam but it really makes its presence felt in the drizzle. Fruity and just a touch of sweet to offset the tangy jam and spicy cookie!
Sugar does help to preserve the jam and because I'm using less than normal it will not last as long. Keep it for only about 1 week in the refrigerator and approximately 1 month in the freezer.
The cookies freeze well but not with the jam. It oozes into the crevices, which is delicious but once they thaw out it makes the cookies soft and they fall apart. So make the cookies and jam ahead of time but combine them right before serving them. Leftovers can be stored in the frig but again, they will soften. They're so scrumptious though you probably won't have any left :)
Ingredients For Blackberry Jam
3 cups fresh blackberries
3/4 cup blackberry moonshine
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup fresh cinnamon basil (whole leaves)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
Ingredients For Molasses Cookies
2 1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 cup butter, softened (1/4 cup salted and 1/2 cup unsalted)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup molasses (not blackstrap)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Turbinado sugar to roll each cookie in
Ingredients For Drizzle
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons blackberry moonshine
Directions For Blackberry Jam
Add all ingredients except cornstarch and the 2 tablespoons of water into a sauce pan. Bring to a boil for 2 to 3 minutes to let the blackberries start to break up. Then turn down to medium or medium low and cook until it starts to thicken, about 30 to 45 minutes. In the last 10 minutes or so, blend cornstarch into water. Stir into jam. It will continue to thicken as it cools. Cool completely before adding to cookies.
If you decide to add more sugar and make your jam sweeter you may not need all or any of the cornstarch mixture.You want it to be thick enough that it won't drip across the cookie.
Directions For Molasses Cookies
Whisk together dry ingredients into a bowl. Set aside.
In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar for about 3 to 4 minutes, until it's pale and fluffy. Add molasses, egg, and vanilla. Blend together, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure it's all incorporated. Gradually add the flour and beat until just incorporated. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 1 to 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Gather the dough using a medium sized cookie scoop, roll in Turbinado sugar, and place each one about 2 inches apart on the parchment. Bake for about 9 to 10 minutes until they are a light golden brown. They may seem like they aren't done but once they cool they'll be crisp on the outside and chewy in the middle.
As soon as you remove them from the oven while they're still soft, take a 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon and gently massage a small well into the middle of each cookie. Be careful not to go all the way through. Leave them on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes, then transfer to racks to finish cooling.
Cool completely before adding the jam and drizzle. Makes 28 cookies. If you have extra jam it's delicious on biscuits, English muffins, and ice cream :)
Directions For Drizzle
Whisk sugar and moonshine together into a drizzling consistency. Add more of either ingredient to thin or thicken as needed.
Many different fruits would play beautifully with a molasses cookie.
Here's a summer peach version...same cookie, peach moonshine jam with cardamom and vanilla, YUM :)
A spicy, floral, fruity combination that you can still enjoy with fresh peaches!
Run to the store...it's worth it!
Ingredients For Peach Moonshine Jam
2 cups fresh peaches, diced small
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup peach moonshine
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
Directions For Peach Moonshine Jam
Add all ingredients into a sauce pan except cornstarch and the 2 tablespoons of water. Bring to a boil for 2 or 3 minutes. Then turn down to medium or medium low until thickened, About 20 to 30 minutes. In the last 10 minutes or so, blend the cornstarch and water together. Stir into peach mixture and cook until it's thick enough to spoon into cookies without spilling over. It will continue to thicken as it cools. Cool completely before adding to cookies.
Already brainstorming a fall version of these fabulous cookies. What so you think would be a delectable holiday filling alongside molasses and ginger? Please share your ideas or experiments in the comments below!
One mason jar of 100 proof cherry moonshine, gorgeous sweet cherries, and these tender little summer butter beans inspired this cheesy crunchy amazing 2 bite appetizer!
Only recently did I jump on the hummus train, as I wasn't a bean fan until the last few years. Now, I enjoy chickpeas roasted for a snack in salads, soups, and of course, hummus smeared on Stacy's pita chips.
For my first homemade hummus I wanted to create something original, especially since it was going to hold beautiful moonshine spiked Bing cherries in place on my new bruschetta recipe. The potent juice from one of my liqueur tastings is a tart and sweet accompaniment to the fresh fruit!
I started with fresh summer butterbeans, not canned or frozen. I cooked them in chicken stock with onions and fresh herbs, so right from the beginning this dip is packed with flavor.
Instead of tahini, I toasted sesame seeds and walnuts and ground them together with the beans and onions to make a paste. From there, fresh oregano, garlic, zesty red pepper flakes, lemon juice to brighten it up and walnut oil instead of olive. I love the mild nutty taste. I like the hummus selections with oregano, pine nuts, and roasted red peppers so I wanted some of that complexity in mine.
Every season I play a mix and match game of what produce, cheese, meat, alcohol, herbs, and spices I have and decide what I want to combine into novel recipes. I thought the earthy dry texture of the butterbeans would be a beautiful contrast to juicy succulent Bing cherries. I try to let the fruit shine on its own as much as possible. Just a little saute in coconut oil then deglaze in cherry moonshine to bring out the natural sugars.
Now for that cheesy delicious cap. I always refer to my friends at Murray's for cheese recommendations. They have such a fantastic selection and so much knowledge! I describe what I'm cooking and they come up wiht the best cheese pairing. Estate Gouda with its dense, dry texture and nutty caremelly flavor has the perfect tang and meltability. Also, it would be a fabulous pizza cheese. With the fresh oregano, olive oil brushed crostini, and cheese, it smelled like I was baking a pie:)
You can use any crostini. Kroger sells this bake yourself loaf that I prefer. Slice, brush with olive oil, and toast on both sides...perfection!
The whole mini package is smooth, earthy, nutty, sweet, juicy, and spicy with oregano and red pepper flakes.
Ingredients For Hummus
1 cup fresh butterbeans cooked with chicken stock, onions, thyme, and rosemary
1/8 cup sesame seeds, toasted in a skillet over medium low heat until slightly browned, about 15 to 20 minutes
1/3 cup walnuts, toasted over medium low heat for about 8 to 10 minutes
1 garlic clove, minced
2 to 3 sprigs fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon walnut oil
Ingredients For Cherries
1 teaspoon coconut oil
16 cherry halves
4 fresh thyme sprigs
1/4 cup cherry moonshine
Ingredients For Bruschetta
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 - 10 inch loaf of French bread, sliced in 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices
16 thin slices of Estate Gouda cheese
Directions For Hummus
Place butter beans, sesame seeds, and walnuts into a food processor. Pulse a few times. Then blend into a paste. Add next 4 ingredients. Pulse until combined and the herb is chopped. Drizzle oil in while mixing continuously to a smooth texture.
Directions For Cherries
Heat coconut oil over medium heat. Saute cherries and thyme sprigs for about 5 minutes. Pour moonshine over and continue heating until alcohol evaporates. Remove from heat, take thyme out, and cool.
Directions For Bruschetta
Heat oven to 350. Slice bread into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices. Brush both sides with olive oil. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, turning half way through, until crisp and lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Spread hummus on each slice of bread. Top with 2 cherries and a slice of cheese. Gently press the cherries int the hummus to secure them. Heat under the broiler until cheese is melted and bubbly. Doesn't take long so watch carefully. Enjoy right away while the cheese is ooeey and gooeey :)
French toast is a decadent experience that deserves time to savor.
A memorable moment where you sigh between each succulent bite, swallow the guilt, and resolve to eat lettuce and water the rest of the day. Especially when it comes to a sinfully chocolate, Kahlua and vodka spiked, expresso cream topped encounter like this!
Vodka left from a liqueur tasting led me to blend some Kahlua. My homemade Kahlua led me to make a White Russian. That succulent, creamy cocktail edged me into the temptation of dreaming up other ways to enjoy the same tantalizing combination of flavors, beyond the glass. A perfectly natural progression.
Back to our featured White Russian...The java topping, oh my goodness! So simple with three ingredients but it lends such a rich flavor to this dark chocolate cake.
Then there's the star, the reason I created this must try french toast, my homemade Kahlua.If you have a couple of hours to let this simmer on the stove, no need to buy Kahlua again. With a few inexpensive ingredients and a yield of almost 2 quarts, it's worth the time.
And the deep coffee liqueur is a beautiful partner of chocolate.
That fabulous kahlua, vodka, cream theme threads throughout this French toast :) As soon as you have time to stop and savor every bite of brunch, make this french toast!
Ingredients For Kahlua
3 cups white sugar
4 slightly rounded tablespoons instant coffee (I use Folgers)
4 cups water
1/5 (750 ml) vodka
1 tablespoon vanilla
Ingredients For Cream
4 ounces mascarpone, softened
1/2 teaspoon expresso powder (I bought expresso and ground it into a fine powder)
1/2 tablespoon powdered sugar
Ingredients For French Toast
2 thick slices of chocolate pound cake (refrigerated so it's easier to soak without falling apart)
1/2 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon vodka
2 tablespoons Kahlua
powdered sugar for garnish
Directions For Kahlua
Add sugar, coffee, and water into a saucepan with no lid. Simmer gently for 2 hours. Cool. Then pour in vodka and vanilla. Store tightly in bottles. Good right away but it gets even better with time!
Directions For Cream
Blend cream, expresso, and powdered sugar together. The amount of expresso and sugar can be adjusted to taste and served chilled or room temp.
Directions For French Toast
You can use store bought or home made cake. Just slice it thick and refrigerate it so it's sturdy enough to handle the custard coating.
Melt butter in a skillet over medium low to medium heat. Whisk egg and next three ingredients together in a bowl big enough to dunk cake in. Gently soak each slice in egg mixture and cook until browned on each side. You'll want to cook slow enough that the cake heats all the way through without burning on the outside.
Place each slice on a plate, top with expresso cream, a generous drizzle of Kahlua, and a sprinkle of powdered sugar! Oh so divine :)