Peach Pesto Grilled Cheese with Smoked Mozzarella, Caramelized Onions, and Thyme

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This time last year: No-Bake Energy Bites (2012)

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My mom has this amazing tradition of going to the farmers market every Saturday morning.  I know a lot of people participate in this tradition, and that she is not necessarily unique in that, but it was new for me!

Sleep and I get along really well.

Regardless, my early-bird extremely productive mother gets up every Saturday, grabs a cup of coffee at one of the food stands, and strolls through the market, gently gathering her produce for the week.

I was home for the last few weeks of August, and managed to pull my sleepy-head self out of bed to join my mom on these early morning escapades. We strolled through the market smelling flowers, squeezing peaches, and drooling over the fresh baked bread.  It was really beautiful.

Although the calendar says that summer is coming to an end, you would not have been able to tell at the neighborhood market. The produce stands were overflowing, offering dripping peach slices into chubby children’s hands, and weighing down folding tables with pyramids of delicately balanced piles of sweet corn and ripe tomatoes.

As we gathered together fresh peaches, basil, tomatoes, zucchini, and herbs, this recipe was born.  There is something so wonderful in a simple grilled cheese sandwich. There’s something even more wonderful in dressing that classic recipe up with what’s in season- in our case, homemade pesto, fresh peaches, and thyme. I hope you like it as much as we did!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons chopped yellow onion
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • Two pieces of thick sandwich bread (I bought a fresh loaf of cheddar and pesto bread from a nearby bakery!)
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 4 ounces smoked mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 peach, cut into thin slices
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a small frying pan over medium-high heat.  Once warm, add the onion to the pan and cook for two minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar, stir, and cook for another minutes. Remove from heat.
  2. Assemble the sandwiches by spreading pesto on one side of the bread. Add a layer of cheese on each piece, and top with peach slices, the balsamic onion, and sprinkle with thyme.
  3. Close the sandwich and butter the outside pieces of bread.
  4. Cook the sandwich over medium heat until the cheese is melted. Serve warm and enjoy!

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Notes and Tips!:

  • Yield: 1 Sandwich
  • Source: A Rented Kitchen
  • Like this recipe? Try these other delicious recipes from A Rented Kitchen (Recipe Links found below photos!):

Baked Chana Masala Flatbread Pockets

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Imagine a Stromboli. Now remove all the fatty and greasy cheese, and replace it with potatoes, spinach, chickpeas, and a blend of incredible fragrant spices. Ta da! You have baked chana masala flatbread pockets!

I don’t know why someone did not think of this recipe earlier, or what I’ve been doing with my life, because these flatbread pockets are seriously amazing. Healthy, filling, delicious, already in perfect portion sizes, and great for leftovers! What’s not to love?!

My boyfriend is the one who deserves credit for finding this recipe a few weeks ago.  In that time we have made these guys twice, each time devouring them between the two of us, and only over the course of a few days.

This recipe does take a little pre-planning because you have to make the dough in advance.  However, you can make the curry mixture up to 3 days in advance, and the dough up to 2 days in advance, which allows for some flexibility. So give them a try! Your family and friends will love you forever, seriously, forever.

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Flatbread Ingredients:

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 4 ½ to 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Curry Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced small
  • 1 pound red potatoes (4-5 egg sized potatoes), diced
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced or grated
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons salt
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 10 ounces baby spinach

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Dough Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, combine the yeast, sugar, and warm water.  Allow to sit for about 10 minutes while the yeast develops.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Add the yeast/water mixture when ready, fully incorporating into the dry ingredients.
  3. On a clean and lightly floured surface, knead the dough for about 10 minutes, or until a smooth and slightly moist (tacky) ball forms. (If the dough ball is too sticky, add a little flour to the ball, incorporating while kneading.)
  4. Clean the original large bowl and evenly dab with a light layer of olive oil (I used a folded up paper towel to do so). Place the dough ball back in the large bowl, cover, and allow the dough to rise for about two hours. If it is not possible to use the dough immediately once rise, you may refrigerate it for up to two days.

Curry Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium sized skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onions with ½ teaspoon of salt and cook until the onions begin to brown. (charred-edges are quite alright!)
  2. Add the potatoes and an additional pinch of salt to the pan. Cook until the potatoes are almost cooked through but are not soft yet in the very middle. (this time will vary depending on how large your potato pieces are).
  3. Push the vegetables to the edges of the pan and add the spices with 1 teaspoon of salt to the center. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds, and then stir into the vegetable mixture.
  4. Add the tomatoes (and their juices! Do not drain the tomatoes!) to the pan, and allow for much of the liquid to simmer off. Stir occasionally.
  5. Add the chickpeas and spinach to the pan in 2-3 rounds, stirring into the mixture.
  6. If too soupy, allow the curry to continue simmering until thick, and then remove from heat.

Assemble:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425˚F, line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, and spray with a thin layer of non-stick spray.
  2. Clear a working surface, clean, and sprinkle with flour.
  3. Divide the dough into eight equal pieces.
  4. One at a time, roll one of the eight balls into a circle about 7-8 inches wide and ¼” thick.
  5. Place a few spoonfuls of curry onto one half of the dough, avoiding 1/2” inch around the edges of the dough.
  6. Fold the other half of the flatbread over and pinch closed.
  7. Use the tips of a fork to press into the pinched edges, creating a decorative finish. Then poke a few holes into the top of each flatbread.
  8. Arrange the flatbreads on the prepared baking sheet and cook for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown.

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Notes and Tips!:

  • Yield: Around 8 stuffed flatbreads
  • These flatbreads can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several days. However, when reheating (if reheating), the best method is to toast in a toaster oven, or cook for a few minutes in a preheating oven. The microwave does work, however often can cause breads to harden.
  • Source: The Kitchn
  • Like this recipe? Check out these other delicious vegetarian meals! Thai Peanut Vegetable Dip, Sweet Potato Thai Soup, Cabbage Salad, and Roasted Chickpeas!

Banana Apple Bread

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Every family has a handful of recipes that get passed around, repeated, tweaked, saved, and requested. For my family, banana bread is one of those recipes. Every one of my aunts has their own version- similar to the version my grandmother used to make, however slightly different in their own way. This is the version I grew up with my mom making. There used to be nuts in her banana bread, but somewhere along the way she replaced the nuts with apple slices, which totally transformed this recipe.

Right around this time of year, as an elementary school student, my mom would whip up two batches of her famous banana bread for my younger brother and I.  We would proudly deliver the loaves to our teachers on the last day of school before Christmas break, as if we ourselves had anything to do with them being prepared.

Now I am on my own, and have far too many teachers for semester-end gifts.  However, I could not let the holidays slip by without the smell of banana apple bread in the oven, so here it is, my mom’s very own recipe. Hopefully you have the opportunity to try it sometime, as well as make some of your own family favorites this holiday season.

Happy baking!

-Sarah

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Ingredients:

  • ½  cup shortening (I use Crisco!)
  • 1 cup sugar + ¼ cup
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup peeled and finely chopped apple (about ½ a large apple)
  • 1 cup mashed banana (about 3 brown bananas)*
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup Whole Wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, cream together the shortening, vanilla, and 1 cup sugar. Add the eggs one at a time.
  3. Add the banana, mixing completely. Then fold in the apple pieces.
  4. In a separate large bowl, combine the dry ingredients – the flours, baking soda, and salt. Mix well.
  5. Combine the wet with the dry ingredients and pour into the prepared bread pan.
  6. Bake for 45 minutes- 1 hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean and the top is starting to brown.
  7. Allow the bread to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before
  8. Optional Topping: While the bread is first cooling, stir together ¼ cup sugar and 1 Tablespoon brown sugar. Sprinkle the loaf with a light layer of the sugar mixture.
  9. Slice, serve, and enjoy!

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Notes and Tips!:

  • I always use red apples of some variety, but if you prefer green, try those as well!
  • Mash your banana in a separate bowl before adding it to anything, it is hard to mash once in the big bowl with other ingredients.
  • This recipe is easy to double and makes excellent gifts for the holidays!
  • While you’re at it, check out these other delicious bread recipes! Lemon- Blueberry Yogurt Bread and Blueberry Cinnamon Coffee Cake– perfect for holiday baking!