Herb & Cheese Frittata

We officially kind of have a house.  Technically the house isn’t completely ours yet because of slow processing on the bank’s end that led our 10am closing to take place at 5pm.  As such, the deed work was not completed in time, so we won’t get the deeds and keys until Monday.

My herbs

Our official move-in day isn’t until the 14th anyway, so this very minor hiccup really isn’t a problem.  I felt a little awkward at the closing though because I didn’t actually have to be there.  Luke is the sole purchaser of the house since we aren’t married yet and buying it jointly would have meant adding my student loan debt would have affected our financing options.  Ew.

So my name is nowhere to be found.  But I’ll get added on after the wedding, so that’s exciting…I guess.  What was exciting was the walk-through we did of the house before going to the closing meeting.  It’s such a cute house, I can’t wait to move in!

Now I just need to start packing, which also means trying to empty out the fridge, freezer and pantry.  I’m realistic; I know I can’t use up everything, but I can do my best to only buy groceries we absolutely need for the next two weeks, and make meals like this frittata, that use up extra ingredients lying around.

Frittatas are wonderfully versatile in that you can pretty much throw in whatever meats, vegetables, cheeses or herbs that need to be used up.  Make sure of course that your meats and veggies are cooked properly first.  I just wanted to use up some scallions, cheese and herbs.  Mission accomplished.  Now on to the pantry…

Herb & Cheese Frittata

Adapted from Cookie and Kate

Makes one 9” frittata, about 6 servings

6 eggs

½ -1 cup of shredded cheese (I used Monterey jack)

2 Tbsp milk

Vegetables and spices of your choice

I used scallions, shiitake mushrooms, a handful of mixed fresh herbs, salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Grease a 9-inch springform pan or 9-inch square baking dish or 9” oven proof skillet.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, cheese, milk, vegetables and seasonings.  Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.

Bake until golden and puffy and the center feels firm and springy, about 25 minutes or more.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool and serve warm.


Banana Bread Snickerdoodles

Heads up guys, this post is a wee bit introspective, so feel free to skip to the recipe.  For those of you still with me, I’ve been turning over a question in my mind recently.

That question is about voice.  Specifically, my voice and how I represent it here on Bashful Bao.  Sometimes I feel like my writing style is everywhere at once, but at the same time, I find it difficult to pick one mode of writing and stick to it.  There are times when I want to tell stories punctuated with phrases like oh-muh-gawd and other spelled-out colloquialisms, and there are times when I want to describe a dish to you in a manner that would speak to your inner foodie.

I can’t decide, so you guys are stuck with both.  Perhaps a blurring of the two is where my style lies, though it stills feels like I’m trying to figure it out.  Please bear with me folks, and in the meantime, enjoy some cookies.

I’ve made banana cookies in the past, but these are definitely my favorite thus far.  The ones I’ve made before were sometimes too soft, to the point where after a day, the outer layer of the cookie was so moist, it would come away if you touched it.  These, on the other hand, are moist but not excessively so, with a subtle banana flavor that tickles the palate.  I added cinnamon chips because, well, I like cinnamon with my bananas.  Feel free to add chocolate chips, or perhaps candied walnuts.

Banana Bread Snickerdoodles

Adapted from Mind Over Batter

Makes over 4 dozen cookies (feel free to halve this recipe)

3 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp ground cloves

large pinch of nutmeg

3 medium sized very ripe bananas, peeled and sliced

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

¾ cup sugar

½ cup packed light brown sugar

1 large egg

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 Tbsp banana syrup (from reduced banana juice)

 For the sugar topping:

½ cup light brown sugar

1 ½ tsp cinnamon

      In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, spices and set aside. Place sliced bananas in a microwave safe bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and make several slits in the wrap. This will allow steam to vent. Microwave on high until the bananas are soft and have released liquid, about 2 1/2 minutes. Transfer the bananas to a fine mesh strainer set over a small bowl and drain, stirring and mashing the bananas with a fork to release the liquid. You are going to end up with a bit less than ½ cup of liquid, and about ¾ cup of banana puree. Transfer the banana puree to a small bowl and set aside.

Transfer the reserved banana liquid to a small saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Cook until the liquid is syrupy and reduced to about 2 Tbsp, about 3-4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the liquid to cool.

In a large bowl, cream the butter until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add sugars and the banana puree and mix until well combined. Add the egg, vanilla extract and banana syrup.  Carefully add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients about one cup at a time. Mix just until incorporated after each addition. Cover dough with plastic wrap and chill at least an hour, or until dough becomes slightly firm.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats and set aside. In a small bowl, mix cinnamon and brown sugar.

Remove cookie dough from refrigerator, and using a large spoon, scoop out dough and roll into balls. Roll the balls in the cinnamon sugar, making sure the dough balls are well coated. Place sugar-coated dough balls 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Use a glass with a flat bottom or your palm to flatten the balls. If desired, sprinkle additional sugar on the flattened cookies.

Bake the cookies for 10-14 minutes, or until they are slightly firm to the touch.  Allow cookies to cool on baking sheets for about 5 minutes, and then move them to a wire rack to cool completely and enjoy!

Everything Drop Biscuits

Ever have a day that makes you want to collapse on your bed/couch/floor the minute you get home?  Yesterday was one of those days for me.  What was the cause of this horrific day, you ask?  Well, even if you weren’t asking, I’m going to tell you anyway.  It all started with an oil change.

A simple oil change, or so I thought.  Sometimes I feel like going to the mechanic is like taking a loved one to the doctor.  After an examination has been completed, the mechanic comes out to tell you what he’s found.  He sits in the chair next you with his clipboard, uses jargon you don’t really understand, delivering his bad news apologetically.

My baby…I mean car, had an oil leak, the exhaust pipe was at the end of its life, and my tires were badly worn, to the point where one had started cracking.  But what can one do in a situation like that?  The repairs must be made.

Four hours later.  I am starving, unable to concentrate on the book I brought because of hunger, so I stare reproachfully at everything and everyone, showing my disdain at how long I have been sitting in an uncomfortable chair.

My car is in much better shape now (it runs so quietly with its new exhaust pipe) so thankfully there was an upside to the day.  I only wish that I had the forethought to grab a biscuit on the way out.  At least I remembered to grab a book.

These biscuits are soft, tender and super yummy.  I especially like how some pieces of cheese don’t melt away into the biscuit dough, and you find these little cheese pockets during your noshing.  It’s wonderful.

Everything Drop Biscuits

Adapted from How Sweet Eats

Makes about 20-24 biscuits (I halved the recipe and got 11)

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ cups whole wheat flour (or more all-purpose)

½ tsp sugar

4 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 ½ sticks (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 ¼ cups milk

6 ounces freshly grated mozzarella cheese (or cheddar)

For the everything topping: 2 Tbsp melted butter, ½ Tbsp dried minced onion, ½  Tbsp sesame seeds, ½ Tbsp poppy seeds, 1 tsp dried minced garlic, 1 tsp ground sea salt.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Mix dried onion, garlic, sea salt, poppy seeds and sesame seeds together in a small bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and soda, and whisk until combined. Using a fork, pastry blender or your hands, add butter pieces to the flour and mix until coarse little crumbles remain. Add in cheese. Pour in milk and stir with a spoon until just combined; do not overmix. Use your hands if needed to bring the dough together, it might be easier.

Use a large spoon to drop batter onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat, then use a biscuit cutter to shape the dough into rounds. (I didn’t bother with this step, since I like the shape of drop biscuits.)  Brush with melted butter, then sprinkle each biscuit with the everything topping. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until biscuits are golden brown.  Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack and let cool.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Dark Chocolate Pudding

Did you know rabbits could lie down like that?  With all their little limbs splayed out in every direction?  Well apparently they can, and it’s pretty darn cute.

We have high hopes for turning Izzy into a truer house bunny than she is now once we move to the new house.  We plan on limiting her to the first floor (where there’s no carpeting) but that’s still a vast upgrade from her current living situation in her pen.  It may be awesome; it may be a disaster, only time will tell.

While I’ve been luxuriating in the cooler weather we’ve been having over the last few days, I know that it will not last.  So, I’m trying to make some desserts now that are naturally on the cooler side.

Pudding is a great example.  Sure, it takes heat to make pudding, but if you make enough of it, you can have a fridge full of cool, individually sized pudding jars in no time.

I wanted to make something simple, but rich, so chocolate seemed the right way to go.  Plus, I knew Luke would enjoy it more than vanilla.  He’s one of those people who believe in the bifurcation of those who like vanilla and those who like chocolate.  I run the middle ground, sticking my spoon into whatever flavor suits me at the time.

We kind of fought over these puddings.  I may have gotten spooned in the eyeball over the last jar in the back of the fridge.  But then I probably grabbed that spoon and flung it across the room, thus asserting my dominance and earning myself the last chocolate pudding.  Except now I need to go make more pudding.   Should have seen that one coming.

Dark Chocolate Pudding

Adapted from Scientifically Sweet

Makes 4-6 servings (depending on container size)

1 ¾ cups 2% milk

½ cup half & half

1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp sugar, divided

3 Tbsp unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

pinch of salt

2 Tbsp plus 1 tsp cornstarch

4 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

In a medium saucepan, combine milk, half & half, 1/3 cup of sugar and cocoa powder. Whisk vigorously until there are no lumps and then heat it until just before it begins to simmer and steam forms at the surface.

In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk together egg, 1 Tbsp sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Sift in cornstarch and whisk vigorously until smooth.

Slowly pour in hot milk mixture in a thin stream while whisking constantly. Pour mixture back into saucepan and bring to a gentle boil over medium-low heat. Once boiling, boil for 3 solid minutes, whisking constantly. Add chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Pour into small ball jars or ramekins, cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface (unless you enjoy pudding skin like me!) and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until set, about 3 hours or overnight.  Top with whipped cream, chocolate sprinkles, and serve!

Homemade Pizza Snacks

I love pizza.  You love pizza.  Who doesn’t love pizza?  Even the weird people who don’t like cheese and pull it off their pizza still…eat pizza.  Though I don’t think I’d call that pizza anymore, it’d call it a sad mess.

I like tomato sauce and melted cheese on just about any baked grain surface.  It’s amazing how many things you can turn into “pizza” by just adding these two simple toppings.

Just so we’re clear on things though, these pizza snacks involve more than tomato sauce and cheese.  There’re also some extra onions and garlic thrown into the mix, making them even better.

Though I should admit, I was a little skeptical about how these would taste at first.  Would wonton wrappers stuffed with pizza toppings actually fool my taste buds into thinking there was real pizza in my mouth?

Yes.  I was shocked.  And quite delighted.   They totally taste just like pizza, only they’re smaller, so you can eat like 10 of them at once.  The edges of the wontons get crispy, but the middle stays soft because of the filling, creating its own notion of a “pizza pocket.”

At first I made a half recipe with leftover wonton wrappers from my curried shrimp wontons.  Later, I made a full recipe, and still have a container of them in my fridge.  Before you make them, I should warn you: they are addictive, and are really tasty late night snacks.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Homemade Pizza Snacks

Adapted from Back to Her Roots

Makes about 45-50 pieces

3 Tbsp olive oil, divided use

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small onion, finely diced

2 cups marinara sauce

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (or whatever cheese you want really)

1 package wonton wrappers (about 48 wraps)

In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat until hot. Add in garlic and onion. Cook until softened, about 6 minutes and remove from heat. Stir in marinara sauce and cheese.

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Line two baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.  On a work surface, work with one wrapper at a time.  Using a finger dipped in water, run along all the edges of each wrapper.  Spoon about 1 tablespoon of filling into the middle, and then fold wrapper in half and press down to seal.  Continue until baking sheet is filled with pizza rolls (spaced about 1″ apart). Brush the tops of the wrappers with remaining olive oil and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until rolls are golden and crispy. Repeat process with remaining wraps and filling.

Let cool 5-10 minutes before serving and enjoy!

Lemon Poppy Seed Donuts

This could possibly be our last full week in our apartment.  While this thought is incredibly exciting, it’s also a tiny bit unnerving.  It will be our first move with actual furniture, (moving in and out of dorms really don’t count) since when we moved into the apartment we didn’t have a bed or couch.

Now we do.  We’ve also just got a lot more stuff, not to mention our precious livestock.  Starting today, I have to get moving (hah!) on our packing, though I can’t say I’m looking forward to it.

Needless to say, I’ll be packing all the kitchen equipment last, and it will most likely be the first thing I unpack at the new house.

I can just picture it now, I run straight into the kitchen to hang my beloved pans on the pot rack and arrange my various small appliances in the cupboard space while my clothes sit wrinkling in their suitcases and Izzy cowers in her pet carrier.

Just kidding.  I’d at least let Izzy out to explore her new domain.

But let’s return to the present where we have some fabulous donuts waiting for us.  Lemon and poppy seeds are like the chocolate and peanut butter of the breakfast world to me.  Not that I wouldn’t mind eating the later combo for breakfast.

Anyway, these donuts are a prefect manifestation of the “proper” breakfast combination, topped with a sweet, but tart, lemony glaze.  Basically sunshine encapsulated in donut form that would look great on your breakfast table.

Lemon Poppy Seed Donuts

Adapted from The Novice Chef

Makes about 12-15 donuts

1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp milk (whole or 2% is preferred)
2 Tbsp sour cream
1 ½ cup all purpose flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
½ cup sugar
1 large egg
zest of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp poppy seeds

For the icing:
juice of 1 lemon (about 2 Tbsp)
1 ½ cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease donut pan(s).

In a small bowl, whisk together milk and sour cream; set aside.  In another small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In large bowl, or stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar. Add egg and lemon zest.  Beat for 30 seconds, scrapping down the bowl as needed.

Add in the flour mixture, alternating with the milk mixture, stirring only until just combined after each addition. Do not over mix. Fold in the poppy seeds.

Fill each donut indention 2/3 full. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the donuts are slightly browned and spring back when touched. Remove from oven, transfer to a cooling rack, and cool completely.

For the icing:

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and powdered sugar until smooth. Dip the top of each donut into the glaze and transfer to a wire rack to dry. Lay a cutting board or wax paper underneath to catch drips.  Let set for 10 minutes and serve!

Chocolate Stuffed Red Velvet Cupcakes

Yesterday I had an idea.  In an earlier post this week, I semi-vented, semi-complained about the very different tastes Luke and I possess, and how I find ways to deal with it.  I do most of my meal planning on two virtual post-it notes on my Mac dashboard, which means Luke has no idea what I’m making unless I announce it, or he arrives home and it’s sitting on a plate for him.

If it’s the former situation, he often forgets what I tell him I’m going to make.  So I came up with a solution.  Yesterday we bought a white board calendar where I now write down what I plan to make on each day.  This way he doesn’t have to keep asking, and we’ve even decided to let him make requests…twice a month.

I think I like this new system, especially since I’m a pretty compulsive planner.

I made these cupcakes for my friend Kelly’s birthday.  I remembered her telling me that she likes red velvet cake, and this recipe immediately came to mind.

I’m normally not a huge fan of red velvet cake, (it’s a dumbed-down chocolate cake with red food coloring…what’s so amazing about that?) but the addition of the little ganache balls in the center of each cupcake was quite enticing.

I used the leftover ganache to glaze the tops of the cupcakes as well, making the treat a little bit more decadent, since the original recipe called for a topping of raspberry jam.  I’m not a fan of raspberries and all their little seeds that get caught in my teeth, so I went the extra-chocolate route.  Whichever route you chose, I’m sure you will like these cupcakes.

Chocolate Stuffed Red Velvet Cupcakes

Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens, February 2012

Makes 12 cupcakes

1 cup chocolate morsels (I used semisweet)

¼ cup heavy cream

¼ cup (half stick) unsalted butter, softened

1 large egg, at room temperature

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder

¼ tsp salt

¾ cup sugar

2 tsp red food coloring

½ tsp vanilla extract

½ cup buttermilk

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp vinegar

First make the chocolate filling.  Put the chocolate pieces in a small, heatproof bowl.  In a small saucepan heat the cream until it just starts to simmer.  Pour the cream over the chocolate and let it sit for 3 minutes, then stir to combine the two together.  Cover and freeze for 1 hour, until it has the consistency of fudge.  Scoop out 12 small portions, roll them quickly into balls, place on a plate lined with wax paper and return to the freezer.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a muffin tin with paper liners.  In a small bowl, stir together flour, cocoa powder, and salt.; set aside.

In a medium bowl, beat the butter until it is creamy.  Gradually add the sugar, and continue beating until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg, food coloring and vanilla extract.  Alternate adding the flour mixture and buttermilk, beating until just combined after each addition.  In a small bowl, combine baking soda and vinegar (so cool) and stir into batter.

Divide half the batter among the prepared cups.  Place a ball of the chocolate filling in each, then spoon the remaining batter on top.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until tops spring back when lightly touched.  Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes.  If you have extra chocolate from the filling, microwave it for 10 seconds, give it a stir, then dip the tops of each cupcake in it.  Top with sprinkles and enjoy!