Category Archives: Bread

Chocolate Panettone Bread Pudding

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Hi friends!

I haven’t forgotten about you. I swear. Things are a bit backed up here–partially because of my schedule and partially because my camera’s having uploading issues. Hopefully, all will be resolved this weekend. Til then, here’s a quick recipe for a chocolate-studded panettone bread pudding. Sorry for the lack of pictures–these are the only ones that would load!

Happy eating!

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Buttermilk Chicken Biscuits

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It was FREEZING yesterday.

For those of you living outside of the U.S./not obsessed with American politics, yesterday was kind of a big day. First of all, it was Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which is always a wonderful reminder of how far our country has come and the incredible efforts of people like Dr. King to get us where we are today. On top of that, it was the Inauguration–a.k.a. the one day every four years that D.C. shuts down and really celebrates. There are serious benefits to living in this city.

First of all, the Obamas are awesome. Second of all, Michelle's bangs looked fantastic.

First of all, the Obamas are awesome. Second of all, Michelle’s bangs looked fantastic.

Also, I love Joe. And Jill's boots blew my mind. Total props to her for wearing and walking in those.

Also, I love Joe. And Jill’s boots blew my mind. Total props to her for wearing and walking in those.

I was lucky enough to get tickets to the Inaugural Parade from a good friend of mine, so my friends Travis, Christina, Andrew, and I made the quick walk to the White House from the law school around 7.30am in the hopes of getting good seats. Which we did. We also proceeded to freeze for the next 8 hours until the parade finally got underway. What we discovered was that (a) the presence of direct sunlight can instantly improve one’s body temperature, (b) we all need to invest in thicker socks, and (c) the chicken and waffles truck may be the greatest invention known to man. That truck was actually a lifesaver, and it just goes to show how fried chicken can really hit the spot sometimes.

We were super cold. This, however, was before I lost sensation in my toes.

A rare moment of sunshine! This, however, was before Travis and I lost sensation in our toes and wandered off to find the waffle truck.

This past weekend, I made a mini appetizer involving fried chicken for a dinner that I attended. It was a “mini foods” themed potluck, with everyone contributing their favorite bite size foods. There were taquitos, taco-filled pastries, pigs in a blanket, bacon-wrapped poppers, toasty sandwiches, lil smokies, and my little biscuits. While these may seem highly involved, they were actually very easy to make. The marinade is simple and keeps the chicken incredibly tender. Using buttermilk as your base, add your preferred herb (I like thyme) and some spices (in my case, cayenne and garlic). I bet this would taste delicious with a cajun-inspired blend or even with some Mexican seasoning thrown in!

Happy eating!

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Brunching: Lavagna

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Brunch Buddies

You’d be hard-pressed to find people who love brunch as much as my friends and I do. My love of brunch fits perfectly with my love of almost all breakfast foods and bubbly drinks. So when my friend Jocelyn and I were trying to come up with a time to meet up, brunch seemed like a natural solution. We invited my friends Amanda and Christina along for the ride and wound up at Lavagna over by Eastern Market.

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Cheesy Garlic Bread

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All right folks, I’m going to let you in on a secret. This is probably the one recipe that I make which always gets compliments, and I’ve long suspected that it’s the primary reason I get invited back to dinner parties. I have never made this bread and not witnessed it be entirely devoured before the meal is halfway over. Seriously, it is that good.

As you’ve probably noticed, I have a thing for Italian food. Having studied in Florence, my appreciation for Italian cuisine grew exponentially, and I love the use of fresh, seasonal ingredients and simple take on food. Italians don’t make garlic bread like Americans do. For them, it’s a simple piece of toast, rubbed with a piece of raw garlic that accompanies soups. It’s fresh. It’s healthy. And it really showcases the garlic.

But, sometimes. . .well, sometimes you need some good ol’ cheesy “American-style” garlic bread. And that is where this recipe comes in. It’s from America’s Test Kitchen. I haven’t a clue if the recipe is still available online somewhere, but I have made this so many times that I no longer look it up–and I’m fairly certain the measurements are quite different at this point. It’s cheesy. It’s buttery. It’s so bad for you that it’s good. It’s basically the polar opposite of actual Italian garlic bread.

But you know what? Sometimes. . . sometimes I’m ok with that.

I hope this scores you many dinner party invites and provides you endless happiness as you lament the fact that Ben Affleck didn’t receive an Oscar nod for directing Argo (I’m bitter). Happy eating.

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Cinnamon Apple Banana Bread

They say necessity is the mother of invention, and this recipe is proof of that statement’s veracity. I always have fruit, and I most definitely always have bananas. It’s one of those habits that I picked up from my mother. Actually, that last bit is more the result of my father’s insistence on making sure we all got our “daily dose of potassium,” but the point is that I always have fruit. One person can only eat so much fruit, however, and I constantly wind up with a couple of pieces that I cannot consume before they get too ripe to eat.

Having too much fruit, however, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It gives me ample excuse to make fruit-filled pancakes, smoothies, and desserts. My favorite way to use up ripe fruit, however, is by making banana bread. I use my mother’s recipe and have wonderful memories of making loaves of banana bread with her when my dad bought way too many bananas.

When I realized that I had two very ripe bananas earlier this week, my instinct was to make some banana bread. Here’s the problem: my mom’s recipe calls for three bananas. Solution? Add an apple. I didn’t want to lose the banana flavor, however, so I decided to roast my bananas to intensify it. I also cooked the apple pieces for a few minutes so that they wouldn’t release too much water while baking and create a soggy loaf. Working off of my mother’s recipe, I noticed that the substitution of the apple for a banana made the batter a bit too thick. Solution? Add Greek yogurt. The result was an incredibly moist (Horrid word. I know. Apologies) treat that made for a pretty awesome breakfast solution this week.

Maybe it’s not such a bad thing to lack ingredients after all. Happy eating!

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Sweet Potato Biscuits

I know this is a terribly timed post as it is still 90 degrees out, but I woke up wishing it was fall.

Maybe I was too warm this morning. Maybe it’s the fact that school starts in a few days. Who knows? What I do know, however, is that, when I was scouring my mother’s kitchen for something “fall-like” for breakfast, I happened across some sweet potatoes.

And then this happened.

Enjoy!

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“Stardust” Chocolate Pancakes

I walked into CVS yesterday morning and immediately spotted a wide array of bright pink and red decorations, cards, and bags of candy. Needless to say, it’s almost Valentine’s Day. It’s not difficult to get annoyed by the messages advertising “Couples Specials” or suggesting new ways to surprise one’s significant other. That being said, I’m not one of those people who completely shuns the holiday. I used to love Valentine’s Day as a kid. You got a ton of cards from people telling you how great you are, and all of those messages were conveyed through images of your favorite cartoon characters. What was not to love? Sure, it’s commercialized and makes me ever cognizant of the fact that I am, in fact, single, but it also gives me an opportunity to express my gratitude to all of the people that I love and to enjoy the general feel-good, happy thoughts floating around society. So, no bitterness here. That being said, I do still want a Lisa Frank card with a unicorn on it, so, if anyone feels the need to indulge, feel free to pass one along.

Anyway, here’s an idea for a cute V-day breakfast–either for yourself or for someone special. This recipe makes a lot of pancakes, but extras can be popped into a Ziploc bag and thrown into the freezer. Just toast them when you are ready to eat. Now, I must warn you, these are not the sweetest pancakes. In fact, I’m sure some of you may want to add more sugar. Feel free to do so! I personally like my chocolate on the more bitter side, so these suit me just fine. Plus, if you top them with fruit and powdered sugar, they’ll be sweet enough. As always, happy eating!

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Revamped Thanksgiving Staples

Recently, I’ve had a few people ask me, “Megan, do you have any good Thanksgiving recipes?”  Well, boy do I.  I have lots of terrific, tried, tested, and approved recipes for Thanksgiving, and I would love to share them with you.

Now, years back, when we used to live in DC, we would drive to Ohio for Thanksgiving and spend it with our families.  As guests, we usually didn’t do much cooking, but one year, I asked if I could try my hand at preparing the turkey.  My mother-in-law was kind enough to allow me to do so, and I was able to test Martha Stewart’s recipe for a brined turkey that I had been dying to try.  It was my first time fixing a turkey, and I was nervous—especially since generations of family members were doubting my techniques—but in the end, it was a total success.  The bird was moist and flavorful with a crispy skin.  What more could you ask for?

Once we moved to New York, however, Thanksgiving changed.  Instead of returning to Ohio to be with our families, we fix a feast here and invite friends over.  It has been a lot of fun, and it has allowed me to be as OCD about Thanksgiving dinner as I want to.  You see, I grew up not loving Thanksgiving.  I mean, I loved the family togetherness, but I’m not a mashed-potato-lover, and yams covered in marshmallows don’t get me excited.  In fact, the only food I really looked forward to on Turkey Day was the pie.

But once I got full control of the menu, I was able to revamp it and reinvent the “perfect Thanksgiving dinner.”  I stay true to the basics—turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberries, etc.—but prepare them in a more modern, if you will, fashion.

Below is a list of links to my favorite recipes.  These are recipes that will, no doubt, be on my Thanksgiving table this year.  I hope they make it on yours as well!

Brandon's lovely "tablescape"

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Chepati


I have been insanely busy finalizing all the details for this year’s Diplomatic Ball, and my hectic schedule this semester has prevented me from visiting my family as often as I would have liked. This has led to a severe craving for my mother’s Kerala-cuisine, and I spent last night lamenting my inability to make proper Indian food. She is now bringing me yummy curries on Sunday (Thank God for my mother!).

So, to satisfy my craving until I can get my hands on some of my mom’s delicious food, I decided to try my hand at making chepati. Think of these as Indian tortillas. Ever since we were little, my sister and I have been helping our mom roll these out – although some wound up looking more like the Indian subcontinent than they did circles; I like to think my rolling abilities have improved with age. These are actually incredibly simple to make, but I have always been hesitant, as we’ve always made them with chepati flour at home. Solution: google a substitute!

They are delicious by themselves or served with any sort of curry. I ate these with the Sesame Eggplant with Tofu recipe that Megan posted a week ago. Sorry the pictures are so dark in this post; our lights are dying and our landlord has yet to bring the replacements!

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Biscuits from a Guest Chef

Cooking runs in my family. My mother is a fantastic chef. She can honestly make almost any dish that she attempts, all while adding her own touch. Her forte tends to be Indian food and other savory dishes. I honestly love coming home, as I know a warm, spicy meal always awaits.

My sister, Liz, is an expert in her own right, but her focus as of late has been on baking. From remarkable cakes (examples: here, here, here and here) to delicious brownies and cookies, I will readily call my sister a kitchen goddess. The fact that she does all of this as a sleep-deprived, medical student? Insanity.

Today’s post features my sister’s go-to recipe for biscuits. She uses Dorie Greenspan’s basic biscuit recipe and sometimes adds to the dough as she sees fit (for example, she put some cheese in today’s leftover scraps of dough). The biscuits are incredibly fluffy, and her experience indicates that letting the dough rest for a few minutes before baking causes them to rise more in the oven. Liz also recommends brushing the biscuits with a little bit of butter before putting them into the oven, then, with two minutes remaining, giving them another light coat. It helps you get that golden crust.

So, go forth. Make biscuits. Your friends around the breakfast table will thank you.

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