Better On Toast: Zingy White Bean Toasts and A Giveaway!

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There are few times when a toasty slice of bread slathered in butter and sea salt does not satisfy. When those rare instances do happen though, there are a billion ways to gussy-up (gussy? who am i?!) a slice of toast that will satisfy any craving–salty, sweet, and in between. My internet friend, Jill, wrote a book all about it! Her new book Better on Toast is out today and it’s like a love letter to all things toast. The book is packed with recipes and ideas for topping toast from snack and appetizer toasts, to meal-worthy toasts, and even some sweet fare as well. There are even toasting techniques, like pan toasted with parmesan.

The book is full of amazing photos and all sorts of delicious toast toppers, even a recipe for a gluten-free-bread for gluten-free toast making–because everyone deserves a good piece of toast! Included in the book is this super-tasty recipe for Zingy White Bean Toasts. It really jumped out at me because I love white beans and loved the idea of them in a garlicky, rosemary infused, tomato sauce on crunchy parmesan toasts. YUM. Plus, I pureed some of the leftover topping for Casper and he LOVED it. Snack for me and snack for my boo. WIN, WIN.

Better on Toast

Speaking of winning, since most of us love toast, Jill and I were thinking maybe you guys would like a chance to win a copy of Better on Toast? If you think you’d like something like that, comment below with what you think Brown: would be better on toast. For a second entry, tweet or tag @theculinistas on twitter or instagram with how you like your toast (be sure to reply to your comment here and let me know). The giveaway will run from March 31st to April 7th and I will message the lucky winner to ship them a copy from the publisher Harper Collins.

For other Better on Toast ideas and chances to win check out these other great blogs:

Feed Me Phoebe: Avocado Toast with Roasted Spring Vegetables and Tahini Sauce

The Yellow Table: 3 Easy Breakfast Toasts

Leanne Brown: Soy Sauce Marinated Tofu

**(Only entries from the US and Canada are eligible).

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Print Recipe

Zingy White Bean Toasts

Makes 8-12 appetizer sized toasts.

5 tablespoons olive oil

4 fresh rosemary sprigs

2 cloves garlic, minced

1, 15-ounce, can white beans, rinsed and drained

pinch of salt

1, 15-ounce, can diced tomatoes, drained (or 1 pint halved cherry tomatoes)

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

1 lemon, halved

4, 1/2 inch thick, slices rustic bread, Parmesan pan toasted (instructions below)

In a skillet over low heat, heat the oil and the rosemary sprigs until the rosemary leaves have fried but not burned, 5-7 minutes. Remove the rosemary and reserve. Set aside 2 tablespoons of the rosemary infused oil in a dish.

Add the white beans and the garlic to the remaining oil in the pan and turn up the heat to medium-high. Sauté for 4-6 minutes or until the garlic has softened. Add a pinch of salt. Add the tomatoes and cook them down, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the vinegar and cook an additional 2 minutes.

Squeeze the lemon onto the toasts and top with roughly 2 tablespoons of the bean mixture. Drizzle with the reserved rosemary oil and sprinkle with fried rosemary.

To make the parmesan toasts, spread each slice of bread on both sides with a thin layer of butter. Smash some freshly grated parm onto one side of each toast. Heat a skillet over medium heat. When the pan is hot place the bread, parm side down, into the pan, and toast until golden brown. While the first side browns, carefully press some more parm on the top sides of the bread. Flip and repeat. [/recipe]

 

Roasted Sausages with Red Grapes, Polenta, & Gorgonzola

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Guys. I made this recipe for Roasted Sausages with Red Grapes, Polenta, & Gorgonzola and realized a few things about myself.

1. I have a really difficult time photographing sausages. I mean, it’s just not the easiest thing to take a pretty picture of.

2. I have the maturity of a tween. I had a tough time not writing “hard” and “sausage” in the same sentence up there. And, there, I did it anyway. There’s also a bit in the recipe below about pricking the sausages and I just can’t even…I’m so sorry. Now you know, I’m secretly twelve.

Anyway, innuendo and (lack of) maturity aside, this dinner was one of my favorites as of late! I mean, it’s SO EASY. I really love and appreciate that these days. Few dishes, few ingredients, little hands-on time, and tons of flavor. WIN. Also, I’ve been super intrigued/terrified of all the cooked grape dishes I’ve seen around the internets. I’m super picky about my grapes, I like them firm (heh). I like a taught grape, okay? The thing is, when you roast them, there’s no worry about having grapes in their prime. They can be going south and it’s all good. I first delved into the cooked-grape-territory a few weekends ago with this number from Smitten Kitchen. So amazingly good as part of a cheese spread. After I learned how amazing a warm grape could be, I totally bookmarked this recipe from Molly of Dunk and Crumble’s book Sheet Pan Suppers. It’s a cookbook I will certainly be referring to often. It’s such a clever concept and I am totally in love with this recipe. I mean it’s so simple, savory, sweet, spicy, and delicious. Perfect for weeknight dinners, a little different, a little fancy, and great for pretending to be a mature-adult-person who doesn’t crack-up at sausage jokes and stuff.

[recipe]

Print Recipe

Roasted Sausages with Red Grapes, Polenta, & Gorgonzola

Serves 4

From the book Sheet Pan Suppers

Olive oil cooking spray

1, 18 ounce, tube prepared polenta

1 small red onion cut into 1/4-inch thick half moons

2 cups, stemmed, red seedless grapes

2 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

6 links hot Italian sausages (or mild if you prefer)

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

2 tablespoons crumbled gorgonzola cheese, plus an additional 2 tablespoons for serving

Preheat the oven to 425ºF with one rack about 4 inches from the broiler and the other in the center. Mist a sheet pan with cooking spray, or lightly brush some olive oil over the entire surface (this is what I did).

Remove the polenta from it’s packaging and slice into 1/4-1/2 inch rounds. Place in a single layer on the prepared sheet pan.

Toss the red onion and grapes with the olive oil and salt in a medium bowl. Scatter over the polenta and arrange the sausages evenly around the grapes and onions. Prick each sausage once or twice with a fork. Sprinkle with the fresh thyme leaves.

Bake until the sausages are cooked though and the grapes start to wrinkle, about 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and heat the broiler. Scatter 2 tablespoons of the gorgonzola over the sausages. Broil to melt the cheese and brown the sausages. About 3 minutes.

Serve the sausages over the polenta with the grapes and onions. Sprinkle with the additional gorgonzola to serve, if you like.

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Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad with Cranberries & Feta

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Quinoa and I have a tortured relationship. One that I am adament on mending. I have to admit, it may be my fault. Our introduction wasn’t entirely agreeable. I totally didn’t realize you were supposed to rinse quinoa, so the first few times I tried to force us to like this magical grain, we totally hated it. It tasted weird and soapy and gross. So, I left it alone for 2 solid years before realizing I was doing it all wrong. For shame!

Since, I’ve dabbled in quinoa. Adding it to bean burgers and turkey meatballs, letting it hang in the background, no longer hating it, but continuing to let it underwhelm me. Not giving it a fare shake. Recently, though, I’ve become obsessed with this “autumn couscous salad” from the deli of my favorite grocery store, New Seasons. I decided to remake it at home, but sub out the couscous for quinoa in yet another attempt at making it something we could love. And, hallelujah! I’ve done it!

This salad just gets me. It’s full of texture (my favorite) and perfectly balances sweet, nutty, salty, and tangy. I love the way quinoa retains some texture even after it’s cooked and sort of pops when you chew it. Plus it makes this salad so filling, making for a great lunch on its own.

[recipe]

Print Recipe

Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad with Cranberries and Feta

Make 4-6 servings

I like my vinaigrettes pretty tart and tangy, using a 1:1 ratio of vinegar and olive oil. If you like a smoother dressing, go ahead and reduce the vinegar by a tablespoon or so, to taste. The dressing also includes quite a bit of shallot, which makes for a chunky vinaigrette, but totally adds a ton of flavor to the salad without making for an overwhelmingly onion-y dish. There may seem to be a lot of vinaigrette, but the quinoa really soaks up the dressing. If you are worried, add half and see where you’re at before adding the rest to taste.

3 cups sweet potato, diced small (about 2 small sweet potatoes)

1 cup uncooked quinoa

1 1/2 cups water

2 cups baby spinach leaves

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/3 cup shelled pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

2 tablespoons fresh, chopped sage

1/4 cup finely diced shallot (about 1 medium shallot)

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup, plus 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

1-2 teaspoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon salt, divided

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Toss the diced sweet potato with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and about 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Spread the sweet potatoes in an even layer on a sheet pan and bake for about 25-30 minutes, stirring once after about 15 minutes, until tender and some pieces begin to brown. Meanwhile, rinse the quinoa well in a mesh strainer. Add it to a saucepan with the water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once the quinoa begins to boil reduce the heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until all of the water is absorbed. Let the quinoa stand, uncovered for about 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

While the sweet potatoes and quinoa cook, mix up the dressing. In a jar with a tight fitting lid, combine the shallots, with the red wine vinegar, remaining olive oil, mustard, maple syrup, the remaining salt, and pepper. Shake well to combine.

Add the still warm, cooked quinoa to a large mixing bowl and combine with the dressing. Fold in the cooked sweet potatoes, spinach, cranberries, pepitas, feta, and sage. Serve warm, room temperature, or cold. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 days. [/recipe]