Picnic-Perfect Mortadella Sandwiches

A no-mayo sandwich for picnics

A No-mayo Sandwich For Picnics

Summer makes me excited about picnics at the park, at an outdoor cinema, at a concert, or all of the above. This picnic-perfect mortadella sandwich travels great and tastes even better at room temperature. Since it is a no-mayo sandwich, you don’t have to worry about it being under the warm sun.

A no-mayo sandwich for picnics A no-mayo sandwich for picnics A no-mayo sandwich for picnics

Make the pickled onions the night before! I usually have some lying around in my fridge because I love them so much and add them to lots of different things. I love the acidity and the crunch of the pickled onions and the pepperiness the arugula adds as well.

Mortadella is a grown-up bologna (and I hate bologna). But mortadella is so delicious! It’s smooth, super flavorful and is fatty enough to not need any mayonnaise. Sometimes it’s speckled with pistachio. It’s also inexpensive! You can find it where prosciutto and salamis are sold in your grocery store.

This is also a sharing sandwich. After assembling it, cut it into little cubes and share with your friends.

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Savory Bread Pudding

Savory Bread Pudding with Butternut Squash and Kale

savory bread pudding with butternut squash and kale

This savory bread pudding recipe is made with butternut squash, kale and chicken sausage is perfect for breakfast or brunch. I’ve even had it as a side dish to my dinner as it’s similar to stuffing during Thanksgiving. It’s a great make-ahead meal. You can make it the night before and warm it the next morning.

You can definitely substitute what you have available in your fridge. I imagine bacon, and any hearty veggies would be good in this also. It can also be made vegetarian if you leave out the sausage or bacon. I then covered the dish in gouda cheese and baked it until melted.

savory bread pudding recipe

First, I cooked all the veggies and meats and toasted the bread. I then combined everything in a large mixing bowl with the cheese and custard.

sesame seed loaf for savory bread pudding recipe

I used a 12″ sesame loaf from a local baker. Any crusty bread like french bread or country bread will also work fine.

gouda cheese in savory bread puddingsavory bread pudding with butternut squash, kale and chicken sausage Continue reading “Savory Bread Pudding”

S’more Summer

S’more Summer

Summer officially ends next week. Nooo! This time of the year always makes me a little solemn; the days get shorter, the sweet summer fruit disappears from grocery stores and we go back to school. Although I haven’t been in school for years, that feeling still stays with me. Maybe that feeling will change for the better when my kids start going back to school and I’ll have the house all to myself again.

Oreo-Smore
Hand toasting marshmallows using a small culinary torch

To celebrate the end of summer I made s’mores – the quintessential summer snack. But not just any s’mores, gourmet smores with various fillings and cookies. Oreo, lemon meringue, and fluffernutter s’mores! Yes! scroll down to see how.

Oreo-smore

As simple as a marshmallow and an Oreo cookie. The creme filling creates its own melty filling. Open up the cookie and place the toasted marshmallow inside and press together

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Andrew loves lemon meringue anything, so I made this one for him. Spread a thin layer of jarred or fresh lemon curd inside two Meyer lemon cookies. Place toasted marshmallow inside and gently squish together.

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If there is any other pairing that comes close to marshmallow and chocolate, it’s marshmallow and peanut butter. I don’t know why it’s called fluffernutter but it’s really fun to say. Go ahead, try saying it! FLUFFERNUTTER!

For this version, I used almond butter. Feel free to use anything you have on hand. Nutella or Speculoos I imagine would taste amazing on this a well.

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What I like about these unique s’mores is that they don’t have chocolate. I always find it difficult to melt chocolate over a fire without the help of some sort of specific s’more making device or foil. The marshmallow is the only thing getting toasty here.

However you want to savor summer, these treats can definitely be made in the fall as well. So, what are your plans for this last week of summer? Let me know in the comments or tag my handle, @feedmysole, on your Instagram pic!

How to Make Baby Food

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Once you get your pediatrician’s approval to feed solids to your infant, it’s not difficult to make baby purees. With the right tools (and during the baby’s 30-minute nap) you can make fresh and healthy baby food for your little one. Not to mention it saves so much money, and you know that your little one is eating the freshest and healthiest food. Here are my steps on how to make baby food and what kind of foods to start with.

Tools Needed:

A food processor or blender, a saucepan, and a spoon

                         

Most likely you have these tools already. I like using the food processor over the blender because it gives a smooth consistency and it’s a great tool for home cooks because it can do several things whereas a blender just, well, blends. Which is fine for making baby food, but look into a food processor if you don’t have one already. I use mine for making pesto, salsa, nut butter, rice flour, pie crust, grating cheese, slicing veggies and so much more!

I would stay away from purchasing fancy baby food processors specifically for baby food because they have small capacities and it’s just another appliance in my kitchen that I won’t use after baby grows up. Same goes for a baby food steamer and blender-in-one. What will you use it for after the baby turns 1? Take that money and buy a real food processor or blender with a larger capacity you can use for years to come. You won’t regret it! Even this Cuisinart one is cheaper than a Baby Bullet.

Foods to Start With:

I like to introduce babies first to fruits because of the high sugar content similar to breast milk and formula. Some good ones to start off with are a banana, avocado, apple or pear, and even some sweet veggies like sweet potato and butternut squash.

Microsoft Word - how-to-make-baby-food.docx Here is a recipe chart as a guideline for how to start. I started the chart at 6 months but you can begin once your pediatrician gives the OK. Begin with 1 ingredient purees when introducing solids to infants. Switch the ingredient every 3 days to look out for possible allergies. After a couple months of trying out some new foods, add a new ingredient to the recipe. After another couple of months, you can try some proteins and nut butter. Since nuts are high on the list of allergens, start with just a 1/4 teaspoon to the recipe.

Prepare, Serve and Store:

1. Boil hard vegetables and fruits for 5 minutes or until they are fork tender. A pinch of salt is optional but I recommend it for veggies. Never feed honey to infants under 1 year.

2. Blend ingredients with a little bit of the cooking liquid to retain as many vitamins and nutrients back into the food. For more nutrition, you can use breastmilk or formula instead of the cooking liquid. I like using breastmilk/formula with baby’s first foods because they are already familiar with the taste.

3. Serve at body temperature. If you microwave to warm the food up, do so in 20-second intervals while stirring in between.  Or place the baby’s bowl on top of the bottle warmer for a gentle heat. I check the temperature by putting the food on my inner wrist to feel for temp or taste it with a clean spoon.

If you’ve made a batch, serve what you think your baby will eat in one sitting and throw away any uneaten food so you don’t contaminate the rest of the batch with bacteria from baby’s saliva.

4. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days or the freezer for up to 2 months.

That is a basic introduction of how to make baby food. I’ve been having fun trying things on Drew lately and love watching her facial reaction when she tries something new. Peek over to my recipe for Broccoli and Avocado Baby Food to see how I make it at home.

Berry Tart with Lemon Cookie Crust

Berry Tart with Lemon Cookie Crust

Fourth of July is coming quickly and I always associate this summer holiday with barbecues and a fresh berry treat. This summer berry tart is perfect for the holiday. It carries all the patriotic colors and it’s fresh, cool, and delicious.

I’ve switched it up by using a Meyer lemon cookie crust. You can get some at on Amazon – I got mine at CostcoBut even a graham cracker or Nilla wafer crust will do. I think the lemon cookie crust adds a bit more sunshine to this summer dessert.

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Ingredients:
Crust:
10 oz Salem Baking Meyer Lemon Cookie Thins
1/4 cup white sugar
8 Tbs melted butter

Pastry Cream Filling:
2 cups whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbs cornstarch
2 large eggs
4 Tbs unsalted butter cut in 4 pieces
2 – 8oz carton raspberries
1 – 8oz carton blueberries
zest of 1 small lemon

Meyer Lemon Cookie Crust
In a food processor, slightly grind the cookies until course. Add sugar and melted butter and pulse until the ingredients come together to look like wet sand. Pour the crust into a spring-form pan or a tart pan and flatten out. If you’re using a spring-form pan (like me cause I don’t have a tart pan), bring the crust up the wall of the pan halfway to hold in the fillings. Bake at 350 degrees Farenheight for 15 mins. Cool in room temperature once it’s finished.

Filling
Cut the vanilla bean in half length-wise. Scrape out the glorious caviar inside each half of the bean. In a medium saucepan slowly heat the milk, vanilla bean, and sugar under low heat. Go ahead and throw in the empty vanilla pods in there too to get all the vanilla flavor out of the bean. Constantly stir the milk making sure it does not burn at the bottom. Once milk burns you have to start fresh, and that’s just a waste of vanilla beans! Do not let the milk boil. Turn it off once you begin to see little bubbles forming around the edges. Take out the vanilla pods.

In a medium mixing bowl, crack the eggs and whisk. Whisk in the salt and cornstarch. Temper the egg mixture. Meaning, pour about 1/3 of the warm milk into the eggs and stir. Then pour the egg mixture into the saucepan back with the milk. This prevents the eggs from getting shocked by the heat and scrambling. Turn the low heat back on. Now we want to slowly simmer this custard so the cornstarch activates and can thicken the mixture. Again constantly stir and keep an eye on the simmer. Once it comes to a simmer and begins to thicken you can turn it off and pour it in a mixing bowl as it will continue to cook. Take a tablespoon of butter and whisk it in until it melts. Repeat until you do all 4 tablespoons of butter. Place plastic wrap directly on top of the custard to prevent a film from forming and refrigerate for 2 hours.

After everything has cooled, it’s time to assemble! Pour the chilled custard into the tart crust. Spread out evenly with a spatula. Place fresh raspberries one at a time on top of the custard covering the entire surface. Sprinkle blueberries in the gaps. Zest a lemon over the entire tart. This is where I would tell you to chill the tart for another couple hours before cutting into it but I didn’t becuase I don’t have strong will power. So I’ll let you decide.