Oh My Moussaka!!! In an effort to diversify my recipe portfolio I decided to have “Greek Night” at home last week. I prepared a Hummus Trio with Pita Bread, Stuffed Grape Leaves and Moussaka.
For those of you unfamiliar with this delicious little dish, Moussaka is the Greek version of an Italian lasagna, layered with eggplant, meat sauce and béchamel sauce.
My nephew walked in on Greek Night and asked “what’s for dinner?” I said Moussaka and the look on this 9-year-old Oklahoma kids face was priceless.
It took me back to the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding when she talked about all the other girls taking Wonderbread Sandwiches to school and she took Moussaka and the other girls said, “Moose Kaka, ewww” haha. But obviously these girls, nor my nephew had ever had Moussaka because there is nothing “eww” about it!
I convinced him to try a bite because Aunt Whitney made it. Two plates full later I think he changed his mind about Moussaka!
Ingredients (serves 6)
2 large eggplants (sliced, unpeeled)
4 tbsp olive oil (divided)
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp black pepper (divided)
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 yellow onion (diced)
3 cloves garlic (crushed)
1 lb ground beef
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup red wine
1 cup whole, peeled canned tomatoes (chopped)
2 bay leafs
3 tbsp butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups (2% or whole) milk
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup pecorino romano
1/4 cup feta cheese
Slice the eggplant and place on a large foil lined baking sheet. Next, drizzle with 2 tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp salt and pepper.
Next, cover the eggplant with foil and roast in the oven at 475°F for 25 minutes.
Now cover a baking dish with cooking spray, then sprinkle the breadcrumbs on the bottom to form the crust of the Moussaka.
Now begin preparing the meat sauce.
Start by cooking the onion in 2 tbsp olive oil for 3-4 minutes. Next add the garlic, cook for an additional 1-2 minutes then add the ground beef.
Once the ground beef is cooked through add the ground cloves, cinnamon, allspice, oregano and 1/2 tsp black pepper.
Next add the tomato paste, red wine, tomatoes and bay leafs.
It’s about this time the house starts smelling REALLY good! Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes.
Now begin making the béchamel sauce. Start by melting the butter in a small skillet.
Next, add in the flour and whisk well.
Remove from the heat and add the milk.
Pour the mixture into a separate container to cool.
While the béchamel sauce is cooling, start assembling the moussaka.
By this time the eggplant should be out of the oven and nicely roasted. Start by layering the slices on top of the bread crumbs.
Next, remove the bay leaves from the meat sauce and add a layer to the dish.
Then, another layer of the eggplant.
Another layer of meat sauce and then it’s time to finish up the béchamel sauce to pour on top.
Once the béchamel mixture is cool, add the egg and egg yolks. Whisk together well then pour on top of the Moussaka.
Finally top with the pecorino romano and feta cheese.
Place in the oven at 350°F for 45 minutes or until the edges begin to brown.
As a food blogger I have an ongoing list of dishes I want to make. Either I’ll see something on the Food Network, eat something out that I want to re-create or come up with a random idea to make crouton baskets while taking a shower!
Inspiration for the blog comes from everywhere and the list keeps growing!
This particular dish has been on the list so long that I don’t even remember where the original inspiration came from! It would be a safe bet to say the Food Network though. It’s always on at my house!
When your daughter is a food blogger, you not only get Fathers Day Brunch, you get Fathers Day Dinner! I told my Dad to let me know what he wanted for dinner. He finally decided on my Mexican Meatloaf (with a little persuasion from me, it is just so good!)
I decided to change it up with a couple new sides including these delicious Spicy Eggplant Stuffed Peppers.
Ingredients (makes 3 stuffed peppers)
1 tsp olive oil
1 large eggplant (peeled and cubed)
1/2 red onion (diced)
1 jalapeño (de-seeded and diced)
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
3 bell peppers (color(s) of your preference)
1/4 cup queso fresco
1 tbsp fresh cilantro (chopped)
Start by heating the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the eggplant, onion and jalapeño and sauté 3-4 minutes.
Add the chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper and sauté an additional 2-3 minutes.
Evenly distribute the mixture into three bell peppers.
Place the peppers standing in an oven safe dish. Bake at 375° for 35-40 minutes.
Remove from the oven and top with the cheese.
Place back in the oven for an additional 5-10 minutes. Remove, top with the cilantro and serve.
A little close up of these colorful beauties!
These could be easily made for 2 or 20 and add a colorful and flavorful dish to any Mexican dinner or fiesta!
I was always too intimidated to make my own crepes. Will they be thin enough? How will I flip them? But on Fathers Day I got up the courage to make them… for my Mom!
Yes, it seems a little backwards, but my Mom (the picky eater) doesn’t like eggs and since I was making the Farmers Market Mini Egg Omelets for my Dad, I wanted Mom to be able to join us for brunch, thus I added the crepes!
Total Time: 20 minutes
Ingredients (makes 8 crepes)
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tbsp sugar (divided)
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp butter (divided)
2 tsp cinnamon (divided)
Start by mixing the flour, baking powder, 1 tbsp sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon in a small mixing bowl.
In a separate bowl melt 2 tbsp of butter and add the vanilla, milk and eggs.
Combine the wet and dry ingredients together and mix well until all lumps are gone.
Pour a small amount of batter into a skillet heated to medium, lift and turn the skillet to thin out the batter.
After 2-3 minutes use a spatula around the edges to loosen it up, then flip.
Remove from the skillet and spread each crepe with the additional tablespoon of butter. Mix together the additional tbsp of sugar and tsp of cinnamon and sprinkle on top of the crepe.
When leaving the Caprino Royale goat farm, the owners handed me a half-dozen fresh eggs from their chickens. I knew I had to make these the star of a new dish, and what better time to make a new star dish than Fathers Day!
I also visited the Farmers Market in my hometown of Edmond, OK before the big brunch.
While it was a bit smaller than the Los Angeles Farmers Markets I’m used to I did get some beautiful vegetables to use with my farm fresh eggs!
I combined eggplant, red onions and green tomatoes for a miniature egg dish packed with flavor!
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 35 minutes
Ingredients (makes 9 mini omelets)
1 large eggplant (peeled and diced)
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 red onion (diced)
1 jalapeño (de-seeded and diced)
1/4 cup milk
1 tbsp parmesan cheese
1 tsp black pepper (divided)
1 tsp salt (divided)
1 tomato (chopped)
Start by cooking the eggplant in olive oil, 1/2 tsp of pepper and 1/2 tsp salt.
After 3-4 minutes add the jalapeño and onion.
While the vegetables are cooking down prepare the egg mixture.
Those are some beautiful fresh eggs there! Now add in the milk, parmesan cheese and additional salt and pepper.
Next add the chopped green tomatoes to the mixture.
At this time the vegetables should be cooked down. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray for easy removal of the mini omelets. Place a small amount of vegetable mixture in 9 spots of a muffin tin.
Fill approximately 1/3 full.
Next, add the egg mixture to each.
Place in the oven at 350°F for 35-40 minutes or until egg is cooked through.
Use a small knife around the edges to remove the mini omelets and serve.
June is an eventful month around the Bond household with the birthdays of my Mom, Dad, Brother, Aunt and Brothers girlfriend, as well as Fathers Day and my parent’s wedding anniversary (34 years today!)
After completing a successful gluten-free birthday cake for my brother, it made sense to make the cake again for his girlfriends birthday. But being the girl who has to make everything a little bit different I decided to turn his delicious Chocolate Gluten-Free Cake into a work of OKC Thunder basketball art. Enter, the Russell Westbrook Birthday Cake.
Russell has been talked about a lot in the playoffs for his interesting press conference attire. It started with the lense-less red glasses, which led to an article on the front page of The Wall Street Journal “Fashion Plates of the NBA Make Specs of Themselves: At Finals, Hoops Stars Also Compete Over Stylish Eyeglasses; No Lenses Needed”.
Then came the Lacoste fishing shirt which sent sales for the popular clothing brand through the roof when everyone in Oklahoma decided to emulate the look. And I mean everyone!
I met this amazing older couple during the Western Conference Playoffs and they told me they were “trending on Twitter”, the look had definitely caught on!
My first idea was to just add the red glasses onto the cake, then I decided I had to add the shirt as well!
Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting (simply use 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 cup cocoa instead of 2 cups sugar)
6-8 Gummy Worms
After the cake is baked and cooled use a piping bag with the cream cheese frosting to make the shirt design.
Next, add the chocolate frosting to a separate bag and pipe onto the remaining parts of the cake not covered by the cream cheese frosting.
Next, add about 6-8 gummy worms to the shirt.
Now, to make the glasses place a toothpick between each end of a Twizzler, slide through until the two ends meet and the toothpick no longer shows. Repeat this step to form the two lenses. Next place another Twizzler on top and attach with the trimmed off ends of 2 toothpicks. Place the glasses gently on top of the cake and voila! The Russell Westbrook cake is complete!
Everyone, including the birthday girl, loved the cake! Just another fun way to celebrate OKC making it to the NBA Finals! Game 3 tonight, Thunder Up!!!
Pulling up to the Caprino Royale farm is like pulling into an adult petting zoo. We were greeted at the door with a glass of wine, excited doggies, chickens running everywhere, cock-a-doodle-doing roosters and a 10 day old baby goat.
Now that is my kind of welcoming!
Although I grew up in Oklahoma, we were definitely more city folk than country folk, there were no goats, cows, pigs or roaming buffaloes in our back yard.
The closest thing we had to wildlife were some goldfish I bought at Walmart!
When I started planning my “Summer Blogging Adventure” I knew I wanted to take some time in Oklahoma and Texas to see where the meat and dairy I was consuming came from.
I was given my first opportunity to do so when I met Eric Tippit. I knew it was meant to be, when he told me his farm was named after the James Bond movie Casino Royale. My name is Whitney Bond y’all! Eric invited me out to his farm and the rest is goat milking history!
It’s amazing how much your level of appreciation for food rises after visiting a farm. There are about 1,000 components that go into making that little block of goat cheese for your favorite dish.
From feeding the goats to milking the goats to turning that milk into cheese and the hundred things that come in-between each one, these farmers are working around the clock, 365 days out of the year to make the cheese we all love so much!
At Caprino Royale, husband and wife team Eric and Karen are taking things to a whole new level with the time and love they give to their goats.
As a consumer of food, we should all know where our food is coming from and what we’re putting in our bodies.
I believe in eating meat and dairy, I’m not a vegetarian or vegan. With that said, I do believe in buying local meat and dairy from farmers that treat their animals with love and respect. I believe you can taste the love put into the animals, just how you can taste the love I put into all of the dishes I create! And if love is a key ingredient in great cheese, than Caprino Royale may just have the best cheese out there!
Each goat is called by name and fed and milked individually twice a day, yeah that’s 24 goats each given individual love and attention = 5 hours of milking and feeding a day!
That’s 35 hours per week, that’s 1,825 hours per year, just for the milking and feeding, we haven’t even gotten to the actual cheese making yet!
While I was at the farm they let me attempt to milk one of the goats… and this happened!
Well now that we’ve all had a good laugh for the day, lets meet some of my farm favorites!
This little guy was only 10 days old and so sweet!
He was so cute and playful, I could have just hung with him all day and been so happy… but he needed his rest!
While he rested, the other kids came to play!
And for my favorite picture of the day…
Thank you so much to Karen and Eric for introducing me to all the goats and a special thanks to Cachet the goat for allowing me to attempt my first goat milking experience on her!
This was one of those items on the Summer Bucket List that’s been on the life bucket list for years now. It took a random meeting with a pilot in Los Angeles that lived in Oklahoma to finally make it happen.
That pilot, my friend Chad, not only took me on the jet, he also took me to an OKC Thunder playoff game in San Antonio. Needless to say he is on the top of my “favorite people” list right now!
Boarding the plane, Texas bound!
I love the little GPS video tracker so we knew where we were in the air at all times!
Gotta sport my “Westbrook glasses” on the way to Thunder Up!
Landed in San Antonio after a perfect flight with my favorite pilot!
We headed down to the Riverwalk for a margarita, then over to the game!
Definitely a day I will never forget and will always be grateful to Chad for turning this bucket list item into a reality!
When this summer journey began I planned to interview chefs and bloggers about food, cooking and all that comes with it. My first chef interview led me to something much bigger.
Chef Chad Houser of Parigi Restaurant wanted a way to help the Dallas Youth Village and he found that way through a new and innovative culinary program. As he explained the concept to me, the famous Chinese Proverb came to mind, “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”.
The concept of Cafe Momentum is to give the members of the Youth Village, non-violent criminal offenders ages 10-17, an opportunity to work in a restaurant and gain the experience, references and confidence to pursue a career after their time in the Youth Village.
Chad introduced me to Chris Quadri, Director of Opeartions and Development at Youth Village Resources of Dallas. Chris is responsible for developing programs such as the nutrition and culinary arts and horticulture at the Dallas Youth Village.
He invited me to see first-hand where the young men are growing several herbs, vegetables and organic farm raised Tilapia, and to meet the young men currently enrolled in the culinary program and watch as they prepare a meal of poached chicken with fried green tomatoes and mixed greens.
The tour began at the Hoop Houses which are home to several important items in the horticulture program.
Inside the hoop house are things like green tomatoes which the young men used in their dinner that evening.
They also had a crop of jalapeños which I was very jealous of!
And some delicious cucumbers.
The next hoop house was home to the impressive contraption containing the organic tilapia.
They place plants on the top two levels which filters in the fish water that is extremely nutritious for the vegetables growing up top. So cool!
They had just harvested the plants up top, but you get the idea!
Now lets check out those fish!
They also just harvested a huge crop of the first organically grown garlic in the area. It smelled so good!
The Italian girl in me wanted to just dive in and start making lasagna right then and there!
We next visited the crops growing outside.
It was a warm Texas day out there! I give these boys props for all their hard work in that Dallas summer heat!
Many of their herbs and these beautiful squash blossoms are growing out here.
Chris timed it just right for us to meet up with the young men right as they were plating the dinner they had prepared during their culinary class.
From slicing the chicken, to plating the fried green tomatoes and mixed greens.
And to the other side of the kitchen where they were serving up the dessert.
The presentation was beautiful and the pride the young men put into the details was impressive.
In the two years since Cafe Momentum was first developed the participation by young men in the program has reduced the re-offense statistics from a state average of more than 50 percent, down to just 14 percent.
Over 156 young men have graduated from behind-the-bars culinary classes since the program began, and that number continues to grow monthly.
This program works and the statistics speak for themselves. Eighty percent of the young men have never had a legal means of income before entering the programs provided by the Youth Village Resources of Dallas.
After participation in one of the programs and within one year of release from the Dallas Youth Village, 73 percent are employed. Saving just one youth from becoming a chronic offender results in $1.7 million to $2.3 million in avoided lifetime costs to taxpayers and victims.
At this time Cafe Momentum holds monthly “Pop Up Dinners” at local Dallas restaurants sponsored by different chefs each month. The goal is to soon open a permanent location where young men released from the Dallas Youth Village will be able to intern for a year building important relationships, learning valuable life skills and culinary expertise. Once operational, the restaurant will be able to self-sustain without any additional donations.
To join the cause visit www.cafemomentum.org and donate today! You can also follow the organization on Facebook to learn more about their “Pop Up Dinners” and upcoming projects.
Pulling in double duty today on the blog with a new recipe and another cross off the summer bucket list!
Almost a year ago my brother was diagnosed with Celiac disease. Although I’ve learned how to incorporate a gluten-free diet into most recipes I cook, I was yet to bake gluten-free.
I decided it was time to go big or go home and attempt my first gluten-free baking experience with my brothers 30th birthday cake!
Growing up my brother was always a chocolate addict so when I asked him what kind of cake he wanted, of course his answer was chocolate. That’s when the Gluten-Free Double Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Fudge Frosting was created!
1 1/2 cups gluten-free baking flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
5 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp vanilla
1 cup almond milk
Start by combining the flour, cocoa, baking soda and baking powder in a small mixing bowl.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the 2 sugars, eggs, vegetable oil and vanilla. Add the almond milk.
Then add the flour mixture and combine well.
Spray an 11 x 7 baking dish with olive oil cooking spray (be sure not to use a “Baking Spray” as it has flour in it. Almost had a catastrophe with that one!)
Next, pour the cake batter into the dish.
Now it’s ready to go in the oven at 350°F for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Not going to lie, this was the longest 30 minutes of my life! Since I had already tasted the batter, I knew the flavor wasn’t the problem. The problem was, will it rise?
And it did! You should have heard the screams when I opened the oven door to view this beautiful baby basking in the oven lights!
Now it was time to let it cool down before I frosted it up!
To make the Chocolate Fudge Frosting:
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup milk
Start by melting the butter in the microwave or on the stove. Remove the butter from the heat and stir in the cocoa and vanilla.
Next, alternate mixing in milk with powdered sugar until you get to your desired consistency. The measurements I listed worked for me, but if you want a thinner or thicker frosting you can add or take away milk or powdered sugar.
Now it’s time to frost that delicious, fluffy, gluten-free cake!
I felt like a proud Momma looking at that cake!
Brother made his birthday wishes (pretty sure he wished for his little sister to get a show on the Food Network because he was so excited about the cake! 😉 )
Then it was time to slice it up and dig in!
Thick and rich just like a normal chocolate cake with NO GLUTEN!!
I feel like I found the 8th wonder of the world by making this cake 😉 (and the way I’ve been bragging about it, you would think so too! haha)
While I loved “Meatless May” I am very excited to re-introduce meat to the blog now that it is June!
The idea for this recipe came from a combination of my favorite pizza in Oklahoma and Pinterest.
I saw a pin for avocado with goat cheese wrapped in prosciutto, then the following day I had a slice of “Maui Magic” from Hideaway Pizza in OKC which combines pineapple, mandarin oranges and Canadian bacon, and that’s how the Pineapple Goat Cheese Prosciutto wraps were born!
I decided to pair the delicious wraps with a Honey Lime Mint Glaze to give it that extra fresh, light, summer flavor!
Ingredients (makes 15 wraps)
1/2 fresh pineapple (cubed)
4 oz goat cheese
3 oz prosciutto (sliced)
Honey Lime Mint Glaze (makes app 3/4 cup)
3 tbsp honey
3 tbsp lime juice
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp fresh mint (finely chopped)
Start by slicing the prosciutto and cutting up the pineapple. Next, take a small piece of goat cheese and place on a cube of pineapple.
Then wrap the prosciutto around the pineapple and goat cheese.
And repeat 14 times.
Next, make the glaze by whisking together the 4 ingredients.
Drizzle the glaze over the wraps or serve on the side for guests to pour on their own.
In the 18 years I lived in Oklahoma I never made the three hour drive down country roads to the town of Woodward, so today I was in for a treat. A new adventure AND an interview with the artists that brought me my new favorite song!
Adventure it was. This is not like a “hop on one highway and be there in 3 hours” kinda drive, it’s more like a “blink and you’ve missed the next road that you were supposed to turn on because they all have 15 signs and they all look the same” kinda drive!
Yes I realize it’s ironic that I can maneuver around Los Angeles with the worst traffic in America but finding my way through the Oklahoma countryside was nearly impossible!
Although the roads were a little difficult to maneuver it was a beautiful drive that took me past the rows and rows of giant windmills (alternative energy, yeah we’re hip in Oklahoma!)
It also took me past many of the animals that make up the majority of the population in Oklahoma… yes, cows… and no I did not tip any!
Three hours later I arrived to meet Chris and Daniel Castor to talk all about “the Beard”, the sweet dance moves in the music video and how the “Beard Like Harden” sensation all came about! Check out the interview here:
The video for their new original hit song, Came to Play, is now on YouTube and the song is available for download on iTunes.
Looking forward to keeping in touch with these hometown celebrities to see what they come up with next!