I just came back from a lovely time in Napa, with delicious wine, a beautiful wedding, and fantastic food. Right outside of Napa is home to two of Thomas Keller’s most famous restaurants: French Laundry and Bouchon. While I would have loved to have visited both during my trip, reservations at both are like Christmas miracles. So I settled for the Bouchon Bakery in Yountville, right next door to the Bouchon restaurant. While of course everything was good, I have to be a slight critic and say that not everything that we got was as amazing as I had expected. However, there were two golden stars that I will never forget. The Strawberry Croissant and the Bacon Cheddar Scones. And so inspiration was born. I came home and immediately started checking to see how I could try to imitate these delicious treats on my own. While of course they are no Thomas Keller bacon and cheddar scones, I did get calls just about how tasty they are.
I am so excited for 2012. I have been looking at recipe after recipe and I’ve found some fantastic recipes (sweet and savory) that I plan on trying out this year. I can’t wait to share them all. To start off the new year following my resolutions, I’m posting a savory recipe. Half of you are probably saying “oooh I love tomato soup”. The other half is saying “Alicia, I don’t really like tomato soup. It’s so bland and blah tasting. I’ll read the next post”. To those nay sayers I want to let you know I used to hate tomato soup too. I wanted to love it. I see people eating their grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup and I wanted to enjoy it as much as they seemed to. However, I always felt it was too tomatoey (yes, I made that word up) and the soups never had that much flavor. Until I tried Campbell To Go Parmesan Tomato Bisque. It’s fantastic. I’m not even going to pretend that my soup compares. However, those little To Go cups are about $2 a piece. For a newcomer to the workforce like me, $2 for a little thing of soup is a bit frivolous. So I found a recipe, changed a few things and VOILA I have delicious tomato soup.
I love hummus. I think it’s one of the best things ever created. I like hummus on sandwiches, on vegetables, chips, pretzels, everything. But as much as I love hummus, I’ve very picky. Sometimes, the hummus that people make is just plain horrible. I always just assumed that this was because hummus was hard to make. I was wrong. This almost shouldn’t count as a full post because it so simple to make. Literally, there was no skill used to make this deliciousness. Therefore, I now refuse to settle for sub par hummus.
With this recipe it is important to get unsweetened pumpkin. While there is pumpkin in it do not worry it does not have a heavy pumpkin taste. My mother cringed at the idea at first, but once she tried she agreed it was wonderful.
In line with my goal of stepping up my baking, I’ve made my first pizza from scratch! As any good partially Italian girl, I am very picky about my sauces. So when I discovered that my local Costco makes the BEST pesto I have ever had in my life, all I want to do is cook with pesto (just as a reference, it’s Kirkland Pesto — it’s worth it to get a membership just to have it). Throw some feta, onions and cherry tomatoes on top and you get a delicious pizza. My mother was nervous about feta on pizza. She’s a classic pizza type of gal. But I’m proud to say I have turned her into a believer. Keep reading for the recipe….