Every Fall it seems like Oktoberfest celebrations pop up all over the place. The real Oktoberfest takes place in late September/early October in Munich, Germany…but that doesn’t stop all of the celebrations and festivities in other locales. Heck, sometimes my wife and I host our very own Oktoberfest! (By host, I mean purchase delicious Oktoberfest beer and enjoy every sip. Lederhosen optional.) But of course you can’t have tasty Fall beers without traditional bar snacks, right? These Classic Soft Pretzels are one of my absolute favorite snacks!Continue Reading »
Eggplant gets a bad rap. Sure, it has a somewhat spongy texture that is a bit odd. But it’s also loaded with all sorts of good nutrients, too! And on top of that, eggplant can be delicious when it’s prepared well. A couple of years ago, I had some delicious eggplant “meatballs” which really changed my opinion about this veggie. The eggplant was cooked down, mixed with a number of spices and other ingredients, and then fried into a delicious meatball. I remember thinking at the time that the meatballs would make a delicious burger. I finally got around to trying it out the other day, and it tasted amazing!
These burgers are somewhat similar to the classic eggplant Parmesan, but the difference here is that the eggplant is cooked first. Then the eggplant is blended with spices before being shaped into patties. I’ve tried eggplant both ways, and I strongly prefer this style…I feel like the strange spongy texture of the eggplant isn’t as noticeable when the eggplant is cooked first. I find these “burgers” so much tastier than a traditional eggplant parm sandwich!
I put these Eggplant Parmesan Burgers squarely in the middle of the comfort food category…which means they are perfect for chilly Fall and cold Winter days. Regular readers of Spiced will know that I am a huge fan of grilling and smoking all sorts of food, but there’s something about a foot or two of snow that kinda dampens my interest in grilling burgers or making pulled pork! I suspect that these “burgers” will be a good alternative as the days get colder. And if burgers aren’t your thing, then just form the eggplant mixture into meatballs instead of patties and serve them over a steaming plate of pasta and tomato sauce! (If you’re looking for more traditional burgers, I suggest taking a look at these Smoky Whiskey BBQ Burgers or these Spicy Buffalo Chicken Burgers.)
I have a confession to make. I didn’t like pumpkin until just a couple of years ago. As a kid, pumpkins were things you carved every Halloween. Sure, we sometimes toasted the pumpkin seeds, but I never understood why people ate pumpkin. I remember wondering why someone would want to eat the stringy stuff that you pull out of the pumpkin before carving it. My sister and mother loved pumpkin pie and pumpkin cheesecake, but I distinctly remember steering clear of the stuff.
Fast forward a few years. I finally broke down and decided I needed to understand the pumpkin craze which takes over every Autumn. I remember my first pumpkin anything was a homemade pumpkin muffin…and it was delicious! Holy cow, why had someone not introduced me to this stuff before!?! (I’m fairly certain my sister had tried, but when you’re a kid, you should never trust your siblings. She also tried to convince me to pay her a quarter to see her toy troll doll collection.) Not only did I love the flavor of pumpkin, but most pumpkin baked goods also include my two favorite spices ever: cinnamon and nutmeg. Needless to say, I’ve been making up for lost time by eating any and every pumpkin baked good that crosses my path!
This pumpkin bread is one of my absolute all-time favorite Autumn baking recipes. This bread works great as muffins, but I think my favorite is in loaf form. (Who am I kidding here? I devour these guys no matter what form they’re in.) And of course, no self-respecting pumpkin muffin or loaf is complete without a tasty, cream cheese frosting! This particular cream cheese frosting features brown sugar because…well, why not? This Pumpkin Bread shows up in our kitchen quite regularly throughout the Fall. We’ve even used these as neighbor and co-worker gifts for the holidays, and everyone always asks for the recipe. And here it is!
I love weekend breakfasts. There’s something about a hot cup of coffee (I’ve been loving Green Mountain’s pumpkin coffee lately!) and a delicious baked treat that makes me want out of bed and get the day started. (During the week I usually stick to yogurt and granola…which is delicious, but it just can’t top a special weekend breakfast yum.) As I’ve mentioned many times in recent posts, we are in the midst of apple season here in upstate NY. And with all of the apple-related recipes coming out of my kitchen lately, you might think I’d be over apples by now. Nope. Not even close! I’ve always been a fan of stuffed French toast, so this past weekend I pulled out the griddle and made this delicious Cinnamon Apple Stuffed French Toast for breakfast.
The beauty of this Cinnamon Apple Stuffed French Toast recipe is that it really is quite easy to make. The apple filling can be made in advance, or if you’re really short on time, you can use canned pie filling. I’ve seen stuffed French toast in the past that features two slices of French toast with delicious filling in between. But I’ve always been confused by this. That’s like a French toast sandwich, not stuffed French toast. Several weeks ago, I came across the idea of using an extra-thick slice of bread and cutting a “pocket” into the center for the filling. Let me tell you…this worked great! I found that it was easier both to cook and serve this style of stuffed French toast. Just don’t cut all the way through the extra-thick slice of bread. And also make sure to not cut the slice too thick, or else you might have a hard time cooking your French toast all the through.
In case you were wondering, it is totally acceptable to make this Cinnamon Apple Stuffed French Toast for dinner. I’m a big fan of breakfast for dinner on occasion…especially when it starts to get cold outside! Speaking of cold nights, is anyone else as excited as I am about the return of our favorite Fall tv shows? Between reruns and the lack of good sports (sorry, baseball), I find the summer to be a bit boring at times. (That’s usually when I head outside and fire up the grill!)