Just a Bite

Brian and I attended a lovely potluck picnic in the park this weekend. Sure, we had lots of ideas for yummy things to make, but none of them were quite right for this event. We needed something that wouldn’t melt (chocolate desserts were out), didn’t need utensils to be enjoyed (who knew what the hosts would have on hand), it needed to be super portable (we were going to have to walk to our destination) and we needed to whip it up the morning of the event. I decided to experiment with a cheddar corn muffin that I’ve made dozens of times before. But this time, I added in some fresh basil (thanks to my coworker’s garden) and a bit of tomato paste and reduced the serving size.

Tomato, Cheddar and Basil Bites

Tomato, Cheddar and Basil Bites by somethingwewhippedup.com

The end result was quite fun. The mini muffins had a flavor reminiscent of a fancy pizza, but the basil really freshened up the whole experience. The size of these also turned out to be a bonus. The potluck was filled with so many yummy treats that everyone wanted to try. I’m glad they could enjoy just a bite of our dish and then go back for seconds if they had room later. I came home with an empty tray, so I guess they did!

Tomato, Cheddar and Basil Bites

Makes about 3 dozen

  • 1 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh basil leaves

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Fill a mini muffin pan with paper liners and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Mix until well combined and set aside.

3. In a large bowl, combine the eggs and buttermilk. Slowly whisk in the cooled melted butter. Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in two batches, mixing well between each. Stir in the tomato paste until well combined and then fold in the cheddar cheese and basil. Fill prepared muffin pan with batter (each cup should be 3/4 of the way full) and cook for 11 to 13 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove to a cooling rack. Repeat until remaining batter is used up.

SWWU Tip Make sure these have plenty of time to sit before you serve them, about 6 hours. If you dig in too soon (like I did), they won’t have enough time to cool and the paper liners will stick.

Like what you see? Follow us on twitter @SWWUblog and like us on Facebook for bonus photos and content.

Unexpected Treats

It’s funny what we do and don’t know about our coworkers. I once knew the ins and outs of a former colleague’s tumultuous relationship all because she spoke just a little too loudly while she was chatting on the phone with her girlfriends. Sure, it’s an interesting story, but please, leave your drama at home. This week, I learned something much more appealing about one of my current coworkers: she has a green thumb. A really green thumb! Check out the treasures she shared with me from her home garden:

Unexpected Treats by somethingwewhippedup.com

Unexpected Treats by somethingwewhippedup.com

I was so excited to get the beautiful tomatoes and fresh herbs (including rosemary, basil and parsley) home so I could whip something up. Brian was out for the evening, so I had the kitchen and the menu planning all to myself. Instead of going straight for the tomato-basil combination, I decided to make something that would highlight the fresh rosemary. I had a sheet of puff pasty in my freezer and some shallots and goat cheese hanging around, too. This is how they all came together:

Summer Tomato Pastry Puffs by somethingwewhippedup.com

Summer Tomato Pastry Puffs by somethingwewhippedup.com

I paired the pastry puffs with a small salad and a glass of crisp white wine. It was the perfect summer dinner to treat myself with. I recommend you do the same sometime soon.

Summer Tomato Pastry Puff

Makes 6 puffs

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 7 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • good quality olive oil
  • sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat. Divide the pastry dough into six equal rectangles (see picture below). Place on prepared baking sheet, brush with the egg and sprinkle rosemary on top. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden and puffy. Remove from oven.

2. Meanwhile, place the garlic and butter in a medium pan and heat over medium until butter is melted. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until caramelized. Once browned, remove to a paper-towel lined plate and set aside.

3. To assemble, top each puff with a bit of the goat cheese and caramelized shallots. Arrange tomatoes on top of each. Drizzle olive oil over the top and sprinkle with sea salt.

SWWU Tip: Don’t care for rosemary? You can substitute any fresh herb when prepping the puff pasty pieces: thyme, flat-leaf parsley and, of course, basil, would all be delicious.

Like what you see? Follow us on twitter @SWWUblog and like us on Facebook for bonus photos and content.

Going Green

My secret ingredient for adding a little something special to my homemade pizza is a bit unconventional. For me, nothing perks up a pie quite like a sprinkle of fresh cilantro leaves. Yes, I know the taste of this herb can be very polarizing, with many people claiming to “hate” the ingredient. But I think this versatile herb deserves a bit more credit. The leaves can instantly add freshness to the dishes it’s added too and it provides an unexpected burst of flavor.

Fresh Cilantro (somethingwewhippedup.com)

Fresh Cilantro (somethingwewhippedup.com)

But you know what? I’ve never had a problem with any of my friends clearing their plates—and they usually go back for seconds—when I serve my now-famous Summer’s Bounty Pizza. It’s topped with all the goodies currently tempting you at your local farmers’ market (including cilantro) so this is a pie you can feel good about eating.

Summer's Bounty Pizza by somethingwewhippedup.com

Summer’s Bounty Pizza by somethingwewhippedup.com

Summer’s Bounty Pizza

Makes 1 pizza

  • 1 round premade pizza dough
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound summer squash (we usually use a mix of pattypan, yellow and green), cut into a 1/4-inch dice
  • 1/4 cup jarred tomato sauce
  • 1/2-pound fresh salted mozzarella, diced
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

1. Peheat oven to 475°F. Roll out the prepared dough onto a pan (I usually make our pizzas sort of rectangular, but you can form dough into any shape you like) and brush with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cook for 6 minutes or until lightly browned (pop any bubbles that form with a fork). Remove from oven.

2. Meanwhile, place garlic and remaining olive oil in a pan and heat over medium for 1 minute. Add the squash and cook, stirring occasionally for 10 to 15 minutes or until browned. Set aside.

3. Top the pizza crust with the tomato sauce, then evenly distribute the cooked squash. Evenly top with the mozzarella and tomatoes and sprinkle with cilantro.

4. Cook for 7 to 9 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove from oven and let sit for 3 to 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Like what you see? Follow us on twitter @SWWUblog and like us on Facebook for bonus photos and content.

Summer Side Show

I wish I could take credit for this idea, but Brian was making this refreshing summer salad long before I came into the picture. It regularly makes an appearance at family get-togethers and a slimmed-down version sometimes pops up as a weeknight dinner side. If you time it just right (usually sometime in July or August) you can get all of the ingredients while they’re at their peak for freshness and flavor.

Brian's Summer Salad by somethingwewhippedup.com

Brian’s Summer Salad by somethingwewhippedup.com

We recently whipped up a big batch and it was gone in less than 48 hours. Yes, it’s that good. Go ahead, make some and see for yourself.

Brian’s Summer Salad

Makes about 8 to 10 servings

  • 1 pound sugar snap peas, ends trimmed
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 5 ears corn, cooked and cooled
  • 2 pints grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, diced
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the sugar snap peas and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove from heat and plunge into an ice water bath to stop the cooking process, drain and set aside.

2. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, white balsamic vinegar and sugar. Whisk until sugar is dissolved and set aside.

3. Cut the corn from the cobs and place in a large bowl. Add the sugar snap peas, grape tomatoes, basil and mozzarella. Top with dressing and toss to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix well to combine. Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow flavors to develop.

SWWU Tip 1: We’ve also prepared this salad with string beans instead of sugar snap peas. Both are equally delicious. Just choose whichever one looks the freshest. 

SWWU Tip 2: This salad also makes a lovely topping for mixed greens. 

Like what you see? Follow us on twitter @SWWUblog and like us on Facebook for bonus photos and content.