Peanut Butter Waffles with Cocoa Whipped Cream

When I was in NJ last weekend we had brunch on Saturday morning at Hoboken Bar & Grill. Brunch is probably my favorite meal, so I was excited to see what they had on the menu. I was torn between two delicous sounding items, so my brother’s girlfriend and I decided each to order one so we could share. I ordered an amazing Apple Vanilla French Toast stuffed with cream cheese, carmelized apples and strawberries. Soooo good! My brother’s girlfriend ordered the Peanut Butter Belgian Waffles. I’m so glad she ordered these, they were so so good! They came topped with whipped cream, chocolate sauce, and bananas. I knew I wanted to try and recreate these when I got back home.

In recreating this item and making it my own, I knew I wanted to make the waffle batter peanut butter based. I’m not entirely sure if the Bar & Grill version did, it appeared and tasted like a normal Belgian waffle topped with the peanut butter. I used the basic waffle recipe that came in the instructions of my waffle maker. Instead of drizzling the waffle with the chocolate syrup, I wanted to top it with a chococlate whipped cream. I heard on Paula Deen’s Best Dishes show a few weeks ago that when she makes a chocolate whipped cream she likes to use cocoa powder, while her son prefers to use chocolate syrup. I decided to combine the two and use a little of both for my version. I like it because it has a cocoa flavor, but is not overly sweet. It blends well with the maple syrup and peanut butter flavors! Since this turned out so well, I may try and tackle their Apple Vanilla French Toast!

-1 cup flour
-1 tablespoon sugar
-1/2 tablespoon baking powder
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 egg
-1 cup milk
-3 tablespoons melted butter
-2 tablespoons chunky peanut butter
-1/3 cup whipping cream
-1 tablespoon chocolate syrup
-1/2 tablespoon cocoa powder
1. Preheat your waffle iron. In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Whisk in the melted butter, milk, and egg. Whisk in the peanut butter. Pour in waffle iron and cook 5 minutes.
2. For the whipped cream, combine the whipping cream and chocolate syrup in a bowl. Begin beating with an electric mixer on low and gradually increase speed. Add the cocoa powder and continue to beat until peaks form and desired consistency is reach.
3.  To serve waffles, spread a little more chunky peanut butter on waffles to melt and top with chocolate whipped cream.

Hawaiian Bruschetta

Cooking can be exhausting, as Sous Chef Bailey knows all too well. Sometimes it’s nice to put down the whisk and just bask in the sun for a bit. Thankfully, it’s supposed to be sunny and in the 80’s this weekend! I plan on laying out at the pool tomorrow and soaking up some rays. I still have some color left from my spray tan last week, so I shouldn’t be blinding everyone with pasty white skin!

Most people have certain recipes that they love from their childhood. One I always remember is my mom’s grilled ham steak because of the delicious glaze she would put on it before grilling! Using that glaze was how I got my husband to eat a ham steak (he claimed he hated ham steak prior to eating it). I like to take recipes like that and see how I can put a different spin on it, which led me to create the Hawaiian Bruschetta. I love the combination of the diced pineapple and the ham glaze is so savory! I recommend diced the pineapple as small as you can so it makes it easier to bite. You can substitute Allspice for the cloves and nutmeg. Enjoy!

-1/3 cup maple syrup
-1/8 teaspoon dry mustard
-1/8 teaspoon cloves
-1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
-5-6 slices Canadian ham, diced small
-3-4 pineapple rings, diced small
-thin sliced French bread slices
-EVOO for drizzling
1. Drizzle the slices of French bread with a little EVOO. Either grill to crisp, or place under the broiler for 4-5 minutes.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine the syrup, dry mustard, cloves, and nutmeg. Add the diced ham and stir to coat. Spoon on top of the crisp bread slices and place under broiler 2-3 minutes to warm. Remove from oven and top with a few pieces of diced pineapple.
A Seasoned Greeting Original Recipe

Sous Chef Bailey and Cucumber Cups

So I’ve mentioned briefly in my 1-year blogging post that I have an adorable black cat named Bailey. I’ve had him for just over 4 years and he has been the best little companion to have around the house. I’ll admit it, I’m obsessed with him, and I tell myself he loves me as much as I love him. Anyway, when it comes to the kitchen he is my little sous chef. He usually perches on the bar and just watches me as I cook, and occasionally tries to sneak onto the counter to sniff the ingredients (as if I’m blind to a 12 pound black cat slinking across the counter). Bailey has some pretty refined tastes, and has a list of items that he doesn’t care for. I don’t feed him people food, but I do let him take a few licks of something just to see if he likes it. On his list of “Don’t Like” is: coffee, tea, cinnamon, and anything spicy. Sous Chef Bailey will now be appearing regularly in blog posts.

A while back, I found on Food Buzz’s Top 9 a delicious looking recipe for a cucumber cup. I thought it was such a creative idea, and perfect for a little bite-sized appetizer. These little cups contain a delectable combination of caramelized shallots, bacon, garlic, and chives. These are sure to impress your friends and guests at your next cocktail party!

-2 cucumbers cut into1 1/2 inch pieces
-2 tablespoons diced shallots
-1 tablespoon EVOO
-2 teaspoons chopped chives
-3 tablespoons sour cream
-1 tablespoon cream cheese
-3 strisps very crispy bacon, diced into small crumbles
-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
-salt to taste

1. In a frying pan, heat the EVOO and add the shallots, saute about 20-30 minutes until carmelized.

2. Scoop out the center of the cucumber cups for the filling using a melon baller. Make sure your cucumber pieces are big enough to leave a base for the cups after you scoop most of the meat out.

3. Combine the caramelized shallots with the sour cream, cream cheese, and chives in a bowl. Add the bacon pieces, garlic, and salt. Spoon the filling into the cucumber cups and garnish with extra chopped chives if desired. Serve cold.

Source: Lemons & Anchovies

Fettuccine Alfredo with Nutmeg

As simple as it is, Fettuccine Alfredo is by far my favorite pasta dish. Of course, since its packed with cream and cheese it isn’t exactly figure-friendly, so I don’t normally eat this all the time. Over time as I’ve tried numerous Fettuccine Alfredo’s from Italian restaurants I began to notice that certain dishes were far superior to others. When I purchased an Italian cookbook last year, I found the recipe for their Fettuccine Alfredo and it jumped out at me what the special ingredient is: nutmeg! I love the warmth and depth in flavor it adds to this creamy dish. It really helps break up the thickness and makes it much more than a simple cream-based pasta sauce.

-2 tablespoons butter
-2 cups heavy cream
-4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
-1 teaspoon nutmeg
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1.2 teaspoon pepper
-Fettuccine noodles

1.Melt butter in a saucepan and stir in the cream. Add the Parmesan cheese and stir to melt. Add the salt, pepper, and nutmeg and bring to a boil. Simmer to reduce, 30 minutes.

2. Add cooked Fettuccine to sauce and service immediately. Garnish with a dash of nutmeg.

Source: Betty Crocker’s Italian Cooking

Croque Madame

Wow, I cannot believe how bad I’ve slacked off with my blogging!! I had the recipes and photos taken, but I never got around to loading them onto my computer. At least now I have a bunch of posts ready to go so I have no excuse for taking another long break from posting!

A few weeks ago I made this delicious Croque Madame for breakfast. I love making a more fancy meal for breakfast as a nice way to start a Saturday or Sunday. I modified this by making it an open-faced sandwich you eat with a fork and knife to save on the carbs. Also, the original recipe called for a bay leaf, but since I didn’t have that I substituted 1/4 teaspoon of thyme and I substituted Swiss cheese for Gruyere.  My husband and I really liked these and I’ll definitely be making these again for brunch. Allow yourself about 15-20 minutes to prepare these since you have to make the cheese sauce.

In non-food news, I just got back from a quick trip up to Hoboken, NJ to surprise my brother! He is in the New York Choral Society and they were performing at Carnegie Hall. Initially, I didn’t think I was going to be able to fly up, but after some rearranging of the schedule, I saw that I could go after all!! With the help of his girlfriend and my extended family, we were able to pull off the surprise! The look on his face when I arrived at his front door was priceless! The performance that evening was amazing and I’m so glad I was able to go and support him. Hopefully he’ll be coming down here soon and maybe I can whip him up a scrumptious meal!

Ingredientsfor 2 sandwiches
-2 tablespoons butter
-1 tablespoon flour
-1/2 cup milk
-1/4 teaspoon thyme 
-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
-1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
-2 slices french bread
-2 slices Canadian ham
-2 slices Swiss cheese
-1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
-2 eggs
-freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the broiler. To make the bechamel sauce, in a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly for 2 to 3 minutes. Do not brown. Add the milk and thyme and cook until the mixture thickens like a soup, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the salt and Parmesan cheese. Transfer to a bowl to cool.

2. Arrange the bread on a baking sheet and broil about 2 minutes to crisp. Top each with a slice of Canadian ham.  Spread a  the cheese sauce on top of the ham and add a slice of Swiss cheese.  Spread a little more cheese sauce. Place under the broiler to melt Swiss cheese, 5-6 minutes.

3. In a frying pan, fry the 2 eggs. Remove sandwiches from oven and top each with a fried egg, serve immediately.

Source: Kitchenette

Mahi Nuggets

Since my husband occasionally goes offshore fishing, he can bring me back some mahi mahi for me to enjoy! There’s nothing like eating fresh fish, and by fresh meaning is was swimming just hours before I can eat it. I normally prepare it in a pretty simple way, but this time I wanted to try something a little different. I love battered popcorn shrimp so I wanted to take that same concept and apply it to mahi mahi. The breading is just something I created and it’s very versatile for you to add whatever you want to make it unique to your tastes. I served this with a little lemon sauce for dipping.

– 1 mahi mahi filet, cut into nuggets
-2 tablespoons oil for frying
-1 tablespoon white wine
– Egg wash for dredging
-3/4 cup flour
– 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
– 1/4 teaspoon salt
-1/4 teaspoon pepper
-1 lemon
1. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
2. Season the flour with the garlic, salt and pepper and about a teaspoon of lemon zest. Dredge nuggets in the flour, then the egg wash, then back in the seasoned flour. Place evenly in frying pan and cook 3-4 minutes, flip, and add the white wine and 1-2 teaspoons of lemon juice. Cook an additional 3-4 minutes.