Oh, hey! I haven’t been around for awhile. Don’t worry, I still love my blog and my food. It’s just that we recently moved (need I continue?). The house is amazing. BUT, it needs lots of paint and love to become our dream home! So foodie Steph has temporarily become cleaning-unpacking-priming-paining-designer-handy woman Steph. And if that isn’t enough to keep me busy, I’m trying to keep my on-the-move son away from new fun things like brick fireplaces and steps to the basement. It’s a fun, crazy life!
The other day among all the house reno work, I told Travis I needed to make cookies. I’m pretty sure he knew I was serious. I needed a break. No joke. Baking and cooking are my go-to rejuvenation activities and luckily I have a husband who would never turn down a cookie. Never ever. So Travis and I spent time together baking, and it was just what I needed. And he got cookies. Win, win. We made chocolate chip cookies and they made everything better.
You know what else would have made everything better? You guessed it…this peach and blueberry galette. Maybe you don’t know what a galette is and that’s perfectly fine. In fact, if you would have asked me a year ago what a galette is I probably couldn’t have told you. It’s just a super simple open pie. That’s it! You could impress any guest with the seemingly complex dessert that takes about 5 minutes to throw together. It’s such a beautiful dessert even though it looks, for lack of a better term, rustic. The homemade, rustic look is charming in this case…so use it to your advantage if you have difficulty making a typical pie look picture perfect!
You know what takes this dessert to the next level? You guessed it again (you’re on fire today!)…ice cream. You take this gorgeous peach and blueberry galette out of the oven and serve it warm with cold vanilla ice cream piled on top. The fruit is juicy and sweet. The crust is crisp. The ice cream melts into the crevices. Stop. Just stop. I can’t even handle it.
I just have to say that, like those chocolate chip cookies, this galette is a guaranteed pick-me-up. So take that much-needed break, find some ice cream to top this pile of deliciousness with, and you eat it like you deserve it. Maybe even find someone to share it with. Because, you know what they say…the only thing better than eating a galette is eating a galette with a friend. That’s not a real saying. I really just made that up right now. BUT, so much truth to it. So find a friend and eat a galette!
If you missed my love story about focaccia, you can read it here. The love is real. So real, in fact, that my recipe makes 2 whole loaves of the magical bread. That’s stupendous if you are having guests for dinner. It might even be stupendous if you are super duper hungry and plan to eat an entire loaf in one sitting. Don’t judge, please. I can neither confirm nor deny that this may or may not have happened.
However, since it’s currently just Travis and I typically eating the focaccia recipe at our house, we usually have plenty of leftovers. Perfect for creative leftover recipes like this focaccia grilled chicken sandwich! I’d like to say that this is a totally Italian take on a chicken sandwich…But then I threw some guacamole in there and made it a bit of a mutt of a recipe. Sorry I’m not sorry about that. It’s too delicious to be sorry.
Why is this focaccia chicken sandwich a winner? The bread is salty and rich, the cheese and guac are creamy, and the chicken and veggies are fresh and delicious. Oh, and then throw some herbs/spices on there and BOOM! You have a taste explosion. In your mouth.
So, first make the focaccia and enjoy it for all it’s worth with some pasta or whatever you may desire. Then, take what’s left and make yourself a sandwich that will leave you asking for more.
Focaccia Grilled Chicken Sandwich
Chicken sandwich with an Italian twist...focaccia bread, mozzarella cheese, and Italian herbs
Slice the focaccia loaf into quarters. Slice each quarter in half so there is a top and bottom half.
On a parchment lined baking sheet, place the bottom halves of the focaccia topped with the grilled chicken, mozzarella cheese, oregano/Italian herb blend, and red pepper flakes. Put the top halves of bread on the baking sheet next to the bottoms halves, cut side up (so they can toast).
Broil on high until the cheese melts and the bread is lightly toasted, about 3-5 minutes.
I’ve had a handful of meals that I would consider particularly memorable in my life. The meal after Travis and I got married in Savannah, Georgia immediately comes to mind as well as the meal Travis and I ate in a revolving dining room overlooking Niagara Falls. Then there’s the meal I shared with my family at Pinocchio’s restaurant at Disney World overlooking the It’s a Small World ride. Hey, just because I was probably 8 and eating chicken fingers doesn’t mean it wasn’t life changing.
I’d have to say that definitely in the top 5 most memorable meals in my life so far was the meal Travis and I shared in Rome in a little plaza overlooking the Pantheon. There are things that just don’t fade in your mind such as the red gingham tablecloth, the fact that it was probably 45 degrees but the heat lamp next to us kept us warm, the view (of course), and the FOOD. Focaccia was served along with my entree of Fettuccine Alfredo in a Parmesan cheese bowl. Yes, best day ever.
prepared biga (I could have used a larger bowl)
Let’s think about this a little longer to let it sink in. There was a basket of focaccia served to us, perfectly crisp from being smothered in olive oil before baking. There was Fettuccine Alfredo, possibly one of my most favorite dishes. There was a BOWL made out of Parmesan cheese. A BOWL, people. It was wonderful and I loved it. I ate it all. You don’t let focaccia and Parmesan bowls go to waste when you’re in Italy. You just don’t.
I won’t pretend that this focaccia can come close to the memory that I have of that meal. I have to face the fact that I do not live in a plaza next to the Pantheon so it’s a bit hard to recreate the mood. BUT, I will say that the time that goes into this bread is worth every last mouth-watering bite. You will not be disappointed. The ingredients are so simple but scrumptious when combined the right way. The bread isn’t greasy from the olive oil. It’s rich and crisp and wonderful. I have nothing more to say than go now. Go now, and make this bread. Now. Please.
Prepare the biga the night before baking the focaccia - combine 3/4 cups of lukewarm water and 1/4 teaspoon yeast in a medium bowl. Stir to dissolve. Mix in 1 1/2 cups of the flour. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in warm spot for at least 8 hours.The biga should be light and airy when it's ready.
Combine the remaining 1 3/4 teaspoons of yeast and 1/4 cup water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the biga, 1 cup of water, 3 cups of flour and 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix for about 2 minutes on low, add 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt, and mix for another 3 minutes on low. If the dough is sticky, add the remaining 1/2 cup of flour in small increments until it is no longer sticky.
Place the dough in a large bowl coated with olive oil and cover with a damp kitchen towel.
Let it rise is a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes. Knock down the dough and fold it over a few times before covering again and letting it rise another 45 minutes.
Coat two 9" metal* cake pans with olive oil (about 1/2 tablespoon each). Split the dough in 2 and place half in each of the cake pans. Spread the dough out until it reaches the edges. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let rise for about 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Use your fingers to poke indentations in the dough. Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil over each focaccia (this will pool in some of the indentations). Sprinkle the rosemary and sea salt (I used pink sea salt but regular sea salt is good too) over the focaccia and bake for about 20 minutes, until golden brown.
Cool on wire racks before serving.
Make sure to start the biga for this recipe the night (or at least 8 hours) before trying to make the bread. It's a long process, but worth it!
Pretty much everything in this recipe is divided! Please note the amounts needed for the biga and for the bread-making process in the directions.
*I tried this recipe in a glass baking dish and it did not come out as crispy as when I used the metal pans. However, you could use an 8x8" or 9x9" metal baking dish if you do not have round cake pans.
You want to know a secret?? I. LOVE. CHEESE. It’s actually not really a secret. I’d happily tell everyone I could that I love cheese. I just had to get your attention somehow…sorry :). If you have the same affinity for cheese that I do, you will most definitely love these white chicken enchiladas. No joke. I had a hard time photographing these enchiladas because they basically look like a pile of melted cheese all said and done. *sigh* Ok, yes, there are worse things in the world than too much cheese. But still, a real struggle to photograph.
This is a recipe I grew up on…not sure where my mom got it to be honest. But it was something relatively easy, quick, and tasty. Also, apparently with kids you make what they like and will eat. Speaking of which, my little one is finally eating some real food and it seems like he already has his opinions at 5 months old. I guess I thought for some weird reason that he would love everything but he tends to favor grains and avocado (and milk, of course!). Hmm. Sounds like me now that I think about it. I think we must be related or something…
This is really just the most basic form of this recipe, and it’s perfectly wonderful the way it is. However, you can spice it up a bit if you so choose. My mom would add chopped onions to the “adult” enchiladas because my sister and I were too grossed out by onions as children apparently. I’m starting to like onions more and I’ve found if you puree or grate the onions that you really only get some delicious flavor without too much of the texture of the onion. I’m sure you could add beans to this recipe, or your other favorite taco/enchilada fillings. When it comes down to it, it’s really all about the sauce and the cheese. You could cover a piece of cardboard with this sauce and cheese and it would be delicious…yeah, that was too far. Don’t attempt that. You get the point though.
If you love cheese, or chicken, or enchiladas, or anything good in life, then these are worth a shot. Perfectly creamy and cheesy with a little kick from the diced green chiles…yum!! Comfort food at its finest.
16 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese (or a Mexican cheese blend)
10 flour tortillas
Salsa or cilantro, optional, for serving
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Melt the butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Stir in the flour, chicken broth, sour cream, and green chiles. Stir constantly until it comes to a simmer and thickens slightly. Remove from the heat.
Add a scoop of the sauce to the bottom of a 9x13 glass baking dish (about 1/4 cup) to keep the tortillas from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Fill each tortilla with a little cheese and chicken (you will need to split the cheese so that you end up with a little extra for the top, but use all the chicken between the 10 enchiladas). Roll, and place seam side down in the baking dish.
Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas.
Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees until heated through. Add any remaining shredded cheese on top and put back into the oven until the cheese melts.
Serve with salsa, cilantro, or your favorite toppings.
*To cook my chicken breasts, I coated them in olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted them in a 400 degree Fahrenheit oven on a foiled-lined baking sheet for 25-35 minutes.
Sometimes I can't fit all 10 enchiladas in one pan, so you can use two smaller pans instead (this freezes well once prepared).
Flavor From Scratch http://www.flavorfromscratch.com/
I know I’m a bit late here but I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and new year celebration! I find it hard to write 2017 on anything without wondering where 2016 went. Thinking back, this past year has sure been one to remember. Travis and I suddenly transformed from a couple to a family of 3 in a blink of an eye when our little guy arrived in August. There have been so many sleepless nights and diaper changes and too little time for cooking but we’ve made it so far!
Our first 2017 adventure involves wondering if we need a larger house. It’s funny how a house that seemed to work so well with the 2 of us gets loaded down so quickly with endless things for a tiny human being. He’s SO little…yet he requires SO MUCH stuff. My mind is baffled by that. Between looking what seems to be nonstop at houses online and a couple houses in person, I have to admit that I haven’t had a lot of extra time to come up with new and exciting recipes. What do I do when I have no time? I revert to my “go to” dishes that are simple and quick. Tacos are just that. And this taco seasoning can’t get much more simple!
My favorite part of this seasoning is that if I have ground meat (which is usually something I have in my freezer), I can make tacos with the spices already in my pantry! Don’t have tortillas?? What to do, what to do? I make them with this also simple but *amazing* recipe!
I’m sorry that I’m making it hard for you to come up with excuses not to make tacos. I’m not really sorry though because it’s hard to be sorry for something like that. I mean, they’re delicious. Top these tacos with a little salsa, guac, lettuce, and cheese and you’re on your way to an amazing meal. If you’re feeling fancy, make some rice or beans as a side and then it’s an extra special taco night!
So whether you’re busy like I am, or have all the time in the world, here’s to a new year with new adventures and more cooking!
Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl. Store in airtight container or spice jar.
To use with taco meat, brown 1 pound of ground turkey or beef in a skillet. Drain the excess fat. Add 1.5-2 tablespoons of taco seasoning and a splash of water (about 1/4 cup) to the skillet along with the ground meat. Combine until the meat is coated with seasoning.