Some Delicious New Finds - Heidi's Book of Noms Blog at - 116441

Heidi's Book of Noms

Some Delicious New Finds 
Aug. 2, 2009 6:35 am 
Updated: Aug. 5, 2009 4:42 pm
Discovering a new delicious recipe is like reading a great book, but better in the sense that you can enjoy it over and over again.

Most of the time my food will at least be decent enough to the point where you can eat 1 serving, but may not go back for more. Occasionally, 90% of it gets thrown in the trash along with a few laughs. Often it is good, but misses the WOW factor.

Last week I found 2 WOW recipes, and several good ones.

Panzanella (Italian Bread Salad, aka a good way to use stale bread)

Dressing (I think the dressing is fairly standard for panzanella but I saw it credited to Ina Garten)
1 t finely minced garlic
½ t Dijon mustard
3 T red wine vinegar (or any good wine vinegar)
½ C olive oil
½ t salt
¼ t freshly ground pepper

4 C (200g) cubed toasted stale French or Italian bread
Basil or Italian Seasoning
Garlic or Onion powder
2 C (1¼ lb) large-diced tomato, seeded
1/3 C diced red onion
2 T minced garlic
1 (8oz) diced seeded cucumber
1 (6 oz) diced red pepper
1 (6 oz) diced green pepper
1/3 C coarsely chopped basil
2 T (¼oz) coarsely chopped parsley

Optional additions but excellent:
3 oz diced fresh mozzarella, or to taste
2 T drained capers

1. Toast bread in pan lightly coated with olive oil or cooking spray. Sprinkle with seasonings to taste.
2. Combine salad ingredients.
3. Shake dressing well in a tightly covered container. Toss salad with dressing to coat.
4. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour to let flavors blend.

Panzanella is great for a picnic. It's cold, flavorful, and goes well with grilled foods. It takes some time to chop everything but well worth it! The quality and type of bread you use is important. It should be a denser loaf because it soaks up the dressing.

This Chicken in Sour Cream was amazing. We licked our plates like barbarians. I made a few modifications - 1 T fresh minced parsley instead of dill, an onion sliced in wedges, and some chicken broth and chopped dried onion instead of the soup mix. It was creamy, it was savory, the chicken was tender, it was a meal made for thighs! I was happy that fat-free and low-fat sour cream/cream of mushroom didn't compromise the taste. You could easily double the sauce the recipe calls for. We just had enough with 5 thighs.

I also found a great new way to use up old bananas - Banana Cookies. The recipe came from a cookbook I got while vacationing in Colorado, so I was excited to try it out. They're soft, like little pillows!

1 C butter or margarine
1 C sugar
3 eggs
9 T canned milk
1 1/2 t vanilla extract
4 ripe bananas
3 1/2 C flour
1/2 t baking soda
3 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 package chocolate chips (~12 oz)

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, milk, and vanilla extract. Mash in bananas. In a separate bowl, sift together dry ingredients. Slowly stir that into the batter, 1/2 C at a time. Stir in chips. Drop by soft spoonfuls on  greased cookie sheet (or one lined with parchment paper). Bake for 10 minutes (NO MORE!) at 400F.

The cookies should be soft, just brown enough on bottom to lift from the cookie sheet. The cookbook says they're great frozen. I halved this recipe (to save some of my bananas for an upcoming ice cream :D) and these were my modifications - keep in mind this is from half of the above: 2 eggs instead of 1 1/2, and no milk. 3oz semi-sweet chocolate squares chopped roughly.

Sometimes I get tired of banana muffins and banana bread...this is really a nice new banana recipe in my arsenal!

I would be posting about scrumptious corn ice cream HOWEVER the freezer isn't cooperating...the freezer container for my ice cream maker isn't getting frozen all the way. I suppose it's not cold enough. :( Maybe that was the reason why my vanilla ice cream came out more like soup. Me and my boyfriend felt guitly for drinking the stuff. .A good freeze turned it into iced cream, but the texture isn't quite the same.

A trip to IKEA yesterday made me curious about the possibility of making meatballs ahead of time, freezing them, and then plopping them in sauce or whatever for a quick mid-week meal...not that I have a lot of room in the freezer right now. I really need a bigger better one! This coming week I'm going to attempt to clean out the freezer.
Banana Cookies
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Photo Detail
Chicken in Sour Cream
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Aug. 2, 2009 7:13 am
I made Panzanella for the first time a few months ago...was surprised at how good it is...great way to use up bread!
Aug. 2, 2009 8:30 am
Altho I've read about the Panzenella salad lots of times (Pixie raved about it and lots were trying it) I have never made it. I just happen to have the ingredients on hand now and you've pushed me over the edge. Will be trying it today. Thanks
Aug. 2, 2009 8:42 am
The chicken sounds interesting, and my hubby would kill me if I made one more thing w/ bananas! Have fun cleaning the freezer... I just threw out lots of bread ends from mine that I was saving to making stuffing. Hubby went gluten free a month ago so I won't be making the stuffing I guess. Now I have more room in the freezer for chocolate chips & coffee!!
Aug. 2, 2009 8:49 am
Well, I just got back from viewing some of your amazing photo's. Love the cat and flower close ups. Did you like the carrot soup? I'm always on the look out for good veggie stuff.
Aug. 2, 2009 11:57 am
I have saved the Panzanella recipe a while ago because so many people are saying how great it is, but still have had a chance to make it. Now it's on my list for next week. Thanks!
Aug. 2, 2009 10:21 pm
Great blog, but for goodness sake, you REALY need to add photography to your hobbies in your profile!!! Anyone who can a hard boiled egg look gorgeous is amazing!
Aug. 5, 2009 12:26 pm
Good luck to everyone trying panzanella! It's worth finding the right bread, I will reiterate that. @CookinArgentina: You should try it - carrot soup is simple and pretty. My veggie soups usually taste the same and I'm not sure why. So the last time I made carrot soup I roasted the carrots and onion with kosher salt/bit of olive oil in the oven, then made the soup from homemade veggie broth. That makes a good flavor. Some recipes call for tomatoes but then its just tomato soup. They over power the carrot. The last time I made carrot soup I added tarragon and lemon juice. It made a big difference.
Aug. 5, 2009 4:42 pm
Thanks Heidi!
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About Me
I enjoy trying new recipes and unusual ingredients. There are few foods I will turn down without a second thought - sweets is one of them, and fiery hot spicy food is the other. As I'm getting older that is changing, though. I love reading cook books and doing research about food. It fascinates to no end! I usually create a recipe from several different ones. On the non-cooking side of things, I'm a Christian, native Texan and faithful Longhorn with two cats and a great boyfriend! I love the outdoors and spending time with my family and friends. I'm also somewhat obsessed with the nuclear winter and extreme survival situations.
My favorite things to cook
In general I try to cook from scratch. Any kind of bread - rolls, loaves, boules, baguettes, buns, biscuits, quick breads - will catch my eye. Pastas, soups, and cookies. I am absolutely in love with cake batter. Once I had a party in middle school where we just made a bunch of cakes and ate the batter.
My favorite family cooking traditions
The Thanksgiving and Christmas turkey/waldorf salad/mashed potatoes with gravy by my mom, buttermilk biscuits on Sunday morning before church from my Dad, grilling hamburgers in the summer in the backyard, black eyed peas for new years dinner, decorating sugar cookies on Christmas Eve with my sister, coffee any time of the night.
My cooking triumphs
I can rival my dad in his biscuit making ability. I have the perfect dinner roll recipe - my very own. I taught myself how to make jam and jelly. I taught myself how to make bread!
My cooking tragedies
dense as a stone wheat bread, homemade condensed milk tastes weird key lime pie, onions and sugar have no place hanging out together in mashed sweet potato, there's nothing puffy about my lemon meringue, and the bottom of the fish tank poached salmon.
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