How does Salvador Dali start his mornings?

With a bowl of surreal.

Admit it, you chuckled.

This summer has been wonderful, but oh-so busy. I wouldn’t have it any other way, I’m just saying it cuts into my creative cooking time. I’m still cooking, it’s just on an “I’M SO HUNGRY, GET IN MY BELLY NOW” level. Which means, not too much time for pretty pictures. Just time to cook and eat.

So, I wanted to do something quick and easy and fun. First thought? Cereal treats. I mean…marshmallow and cereal? How can you go wrong.

The answer is you can’t. They are great every time.

Every. Time.

I went to the cupboard and found that I didn’t have enough ingredients to make a full batch, but I DID have enough to make a recipe for two–if you’re feeling inclined to share. Or a single serve recipe if you’re not in a generous mood…and when it comes to cereal treats, I understand.

The great part of this recipe is that you can pick which ever cereal you like best. Don’t have the tradition rice krispies? Use cheerios. Don’t have those? Use fruit loops. Whatever man, it all works, and it all tastes great.

I used coconut oil in mine. I like the flavor. You can use real butter if you prefer.

Cereal Treats for Two, or Maybe Just You.

Ingredients
½ a tablespoon of butter or coconut oil
4 large marshmallows, or 1/3 c mini marshmallows
1 cup of cereal (rice puffs, oat o’s, you get the idea) c1Method

  1. Start by melting ½ a tablespoon of butter or coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl.
  2. Then add four large marshmallows, or the mini marshmallows, and microwave again for about twenty more seconds.
  3. The marshmallows will start puffing up, so keep an eye on them so they don’t come over the edge of the bowl.
  4. Once you remove the bowl from the microwave, they will deflate again.c2
  5. Stir the melted butter or oil and marshmallows together until smooth.
  6. Mix in 1 cup of cereal and stir until well blended.c3
  7. You can let them set for 5 minutes, or eat right away. (I suggest right away!)c4
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Don’t let your gourd down…

Summer is in full swing, and with it comes an abundance of summer squash. r6

I love squash of all varieties, but when zucchini and yellow squash come around….that means one of my favorite foods….ratatouille. You know, that French summer vegetable stew that is super simple to make, and is delicious with pasta or couscous or rice?

It’s quick. It’s easy. It uses up that over-abundance of squash your garden produced (or that you bought on sale at the farmer’s market). It’s something different. It’s delicious. It freezes beautifully. r5

Really there’s no losing with this recipe…unless you don’t enjoy veggie stews. In which case….why did you make it? Silly.

I’ve shared a grilled version of ratatouille before, but this is the more traditional stew version. It still isn’t Carolin’s grandmother’s version…but I don’t know if I want to attempt that and tarnish the memory.

This recipe is probably the easiest you will ever encounter. Chop everything up. Throw it in a pot. Season. Bring to a boil and boil for 2-3 minutes. Done. r4

I know. Insanely simple. Perfect for those nights, or afternoons, when you just aren’t feeling like doing much. And it’s delicious. And good for you.

So eat up.

The Easiest Ratatouille Ever

Ingredients
2 pounds unpeeled zucchini, sliced
2 pounds eggplant, cubed (peeled if you desire)
3 medium tomatoes, cored and cut up
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 medium red or yellow pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp fine herbs (I use oregano, basil, thyme, etc)
1 tbsp salt
2 cups of water

Method

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a large pot. Cover and bring to a boil for 2 to 3 minutes.r3
  2. Stir once. r2
  3. Serve immediately with pasta or rice, crusty bread or couscous.r1

Two bakers had a contest and the heat was on!

Today I would like to bring you to the alter and have you worship homemade cream puffs. This recipe was passed down to me from my Italian grandmother. She made the best cream puffs that I can remember eating. They were huge, and glorious, and stuffed to bursting with homemade almond flavored cream that got everywhere. And it was worth every bite.

The base dough recipe that she used is basically a simplified pate a choux…or a light, airy dough that is used for cream-puffs, eclairs, etc. Delicious. Her trick though….not an ounce of flavor goes into the dough. It is literally just a vehicle for filling. And, you are definitely going to want this filling.

I make cream-puffs for parties and special occasions. They are simple and beautiful; but they are tedious. Since they are meant to be small and bite size, there is a lot of baking, filling, arranging.

They are worth every effort, however, so don’t let that put you off.

I had a birthday party this past weekend, and made these puffs two ways: sweet and savory. I love recipes that can pull double duty like that; they are wonderful (and such fun.) Today’s recipe is for the sweet cream puffs because, let’s be serious, dessert first is always the best option.

Mimi’s Cream Puffs

Ingredients

Doughc12
1 stick butter
1 c water
1 c flour
4 eggs

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 375.
  2. Place the butter and the water into a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. c11c10
  3. Remove the pan and the dough from the stove. At this point, I like to  throw the ball into an electric mixer and turn it on. Then add the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated. c9
  4. Using the two spoon method, or 1 inch cookie scoop, scoop out portions of dough onto a lined baking sheet.c7
  5. Bake the puffs at 375 for 30 minutes.
  6. Cool completely before filling.c6

Almond cream filling

Ingredients
Now you can do this two ways. You can make your own pastry cream, and flavor it with almond, which is what I usually do. The recipe from The Kitchn is a good one. But, if you’re pressed for time, or don’t feel like picking up the daunting task of making your own, you can do what my grandmother did….use a pudding mix. It comes out great, and that’s really all that matters.
I’m giving you the recipe for the lazy version.

2 boxes instant pudding mix, (I use vanilla usually, but you can change that depending on what flavor you want your filling to be)
2 1/2 c milk
2 tsp almond extract
1 container of cool whip (8 oz)

Method

  1. Add the first three ingredients and blend until thick. c5
  2. Fold in the cool whip until evenly combined. c4

Assembling the puffs

After filling a frosting bag with the cream filling, you can fill the puffs as follows:

  1. Cut the tops off of the pasty, fill with cream, and replace the tops. Place on the serving dish.
  2. Puncture the bottom of the puff with the metal tip of the frosting bag, fill with cream, place on the serving dish.c3
  3. Puncture the bottom/side/top of the puff with your thumb and fill with the cream. Place on the serving dish. c2

Once all your puffs are filled and placed, sprinkle with a dusting of powdered sugar. Try not to eat them all before your event. Or, if they are just for you, go to town! c1