Monday, January 17, 2022

The Egg, Bite Sized

And by bite-sized, we mean just perfect for popping for a quick, but delicious and wholesome breakfast. Megan Brown, better known as The Bakermama, stopped by Tonia's Kitchen for a quick tutorial on how to whip up the fastest-gosh darn breakfast this side of cowboy country. She says these egg bites are packed with protein, bacon and organic ingredients, making for a daybreak treat you'll be happy to get up early for. Not only are these easy to make, but they keep, making them very economical in these times of high inflation. You can store them for up to 5 days in the refrigerator, or up to two weeks in the freezer. Because you can pre-make them, they're ready to go in the morning. No need for store-bought or Starbucks here. Instead, make your own!

  • 7 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 11/2 cups shredded Monterey jack & cheddar cheese, divided
  • 3/4 cup real cooked bacon bits
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 24-cup mini muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs until smooth. Add the salt, milk, 1 cup cheese and bacon bits and mix until well combined.
  3. Spoon the mixture into the mini muffin cups, filling each one 2/3 full. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup cheese evenly over filled muffin cups.
  4. Bake for 23-25 minutes or until the tops and edges start to turn golden. Let set in pan 5 minutes before gently lifting each one out with a table knife.
  5. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat in a warm oven or in the microwave for 20-30 seconds.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

A British Classic Meets the Old West


That classic is none other than Shepard's Pie, and the modern twist; using Bison meat and sweet potatoes.  Kristen Johnson, who wrote the cookbook Target To Table stopped by Tonia's Kitchen with her ideas on this cold-weather classic that people having been warming up to for years.  Kristen told Tonia that she also uses onions and garlic...along with another twist: taco seasoning.  Kristen also says she uses coconut milk to give the pie a cream texture.  This update works very well, but it still does the job, keeping its eater happy!

3 large sweet potatoes
1 large onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
3 gloves garlic, minced
1 lb. Pederson’s Wenzel All Natural Ground Bison*
1 pkg. Simply Organic Southwest Taco Seasoning
1 (14.5 oz.) can of organic diced tomatoes
2 cups shredded Crafton Village 2 Year Aged Vermont Raw Milk Cheddar Cheese, divided
½ cup of coconut milk
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.  Place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and bake for 90 minutes or until sweet potatoes are soft.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet heat 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion, pepper, and garlic.  Season with salt and pepper and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes.  Remove vegetables to a plate and set aside.
  3. Add bison to skillet and sprinkle with taco seasoning.  Heat until cooked through and browned.  Add in the cooked vegetables and canned tomatoes. Cook for 5 minutes or until mixture comes to a low boil.
  4. Preheat oven to 400°F and spray a large casserole dish with cooking spray.
  5. When potatoes are cooked, peel off skin and scoop the flesh into a large bowl.  With a hand held mixer blend in coconut milk until creamy.  Stir in 1 cup of cheese.
  6. Spread bison mixture evenly on the bottom of casserole dish and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.  Spoon the sweet potato mixture evenly over top.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes and let sit 10 minutes before serving.  Now that’s comfort food!

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Not a "Prickly" Pear


When thinking of fruit desserts, does the pear come to mind?  Author Susie Middleton says it should. Susie wrote the cookbook Fresh from the Farm and says once you try her Little Pear Crostatas with Hazelnut Crisp Topping, it might just become your favorite!  Susie told Tonia's Kitchen says the dough is extra buttery, and says beyond the Bartlett pear base, the ingredients list is simple and basic. The taste is anything but!  Find out more about Fresh from the Farm here.

Little Pear Crostatas with Hazelnut Crisp Topping

Makes 4 crostatas; serves 8

For the Dough
2 cups (9 ounces) unbleached all-purposed flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon table salt
1 cup (1⁄2 pound) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes (keep cold if working ahead)
4 tablespoons ice water

For the Crisp Topping
1⁄4 cup unbleached
all-purpose flour
1⁄4 cup very finely chopped, toasted, skinned hazelnuts (see Cook’s Tip, p. 226)
3 tablespoons light
brown sugar
1⁄8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Table salt
2 tablespoons unsalted
butter, diced

For the Filling
3 ripe but firm pears (about
6 ounces each), peeled,
cored, and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1⁄8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1⁄8 teaspoon ground ginger
Table salt

To Assemble
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons heavy cream
3 tablespoons very finely chopped toasted hazelnuts (see Cook’s Tip)

Make the dough
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Pulse briefly to combine. Add the cubes of butter and use your fingers to toss them carefully with some of the flour. Pulse about 20 times, or until the butter particles are quite small. With the motor running, add the ice water in a stream. Process until the dough is beginning to come together (but it will still be loose—if you pinch some together it should form a clump). Don’t over process. Turn the loose dough out into a big mixing bowl and knead it briefly to finish bringing it together. Use a scale to weigh the dough and portion into 4 equal pieces (about 5 ounces each). Shape each piece into a disk about 3⁄4 inch thick, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate or freeze.

Make the topping
Combine the flour, hazelnuts, brown sugar, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt in a small mixing bowl. Add the diced butter and rub it in completely with your fingers until a fine, crumbly topping forms. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Fill and assemble the tarts
Remove the dough disks from the refrigerator and let them sit at room temperature for 30 to 40 minutes. Heat the oven to 400°F. Line two heavy-duty rimmed baking sheets with parchment.

When you are ready to assemble the tarts, put the sliced pears in a mixing bowl. Sprinkle with lemon juice and sugar, and then add the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and a pinch of salt. Toss until thoroughly mixed.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and heavy cream and
set aside.

Sprinkle a light dusting of flour on a rolling surface. Roll out a disk of dough into a round about 71⁄2 to 8 inches in diameter, sprinkling flour as necessary to prevent sticking. Transfer the dough to one of the parchment-lined sheet pans. Repeat with the remaining three disks of dough, so that you have two rounds on each sheet pan.

Sprinkle about 2 teaspoons of the hazelnuts over the middle of each round (in a rough circle, leaving a 2-inch border). Portion the pear mixture evenly among the 4 rounds, arranging it in the center of the dough over the hazelnuts and leaving a 2-inch border of dough around the fruit. Pleat and fold the edge of the dough up and over the outer edge of the pear filling. Brush the top of the dough (and under the folds) with the egg mixture. Arrange a quarter of the crisp topping over the fruit in the center of each tart, letting little pieces of crisp topping spill over onto the dough as well.

Bake for 32 to 36 minutes, rotating the sheet pans halfway through until the crostatas are nicely golden all over and crisp and brown on the bottom. Let cool on the baking sheets and eat warm or at room temperature. Store, covered with plastic, at room temperature for a day or so, or wrap well
and freeze.

Cook’s Tip

To get the best flavor from hazelnuts, buy them whole and toast on a baking sheet in a 350°F oven until the skins darken and crack. Rub the nuts in a clean dishtowel until most of the skins come off. If you’ve got time, pop them back on the baking sheet and toast until golden all over. To chop them very finely, use a small coffee grinder. Just remember to stop before you make hazelnut butter!

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Just Because It's Winter Doesn't Mean You Can't Eat Tropical


And by tropical, we mean coconut. There's no question, the more fruit you eat, the healthier you probably are!  But fruit need not be boring!  In fact, you can take a tropical trip with something that's as simple as a salad. Patricia Green, who co-authored the book Grain Power stopped by Tonia's Kitchen with her Toasted Coconut Fruit Salad.  She starts with 2 cups of Quinoa, along with seasonal fruit. Add a generous amount of toasted coconut and toss with a mixture of pineapple and lime juices.  It's a tropical treat that won't leave you worried about getting into a swimsuit!   For more details, visit Patricia's website

  • 1 1/3 cup water
  • 2/3 cup quinoa seeds
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup unsweetened, dried coconut
  • 3 ripe kiwis, peeled, quartered and each quarter cut into thirds
  • 1 cup diced strawberries
  • 1 can (14 ounces) pineapple tidbits, drained, 1/3 cup pineapple juice reserved
  • 1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice (about 1 lime)


Combine the water and quinoa in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook with the cover on for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside, with the cover off, to cool completely.

Preheat a sauté pan on medium heat. Add coconut. Stir constantly until it turns a golden color and is fragrant (about 1 to 3 minutes). Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, toss the quinoa, kiwis, strawberries and pineapple with the reserved pineapple juice and lime juice. Sprinkle with coconut just prior to serving.

Monday, January 10, 2022

The Monte Cristo-New England Edition


It's called the VER-MONTE Cristo (see what we did there?)Today we travel north to Vermont, to learn about an artisan cheesemaker take on a breakfast classic, French Toast.  But now we add the element of creamy cheddar cheese.  Margarita Martinez with the Cabot Cheese Creamery of Vermont came by Tonia's Kitchen to talk about their cookbook, appropriately named Cabot Creamery Cookbook and recipe in particular, the Ver-monte Cristo.  Essentially, its French Toast with sharp cheddar cheese, sautéed onions or shallots, brought together in a sandwich, topped with maple syrup and maybe served with sausage or ham.  It's both sweet and deliciously salty, quite the combination!

  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 4 slices favorite local bread, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons Cabot Unsalted Butter, divided
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and sliced
  • 1 whole shallot or very small onion, julienned or thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 4 ounces Cabot Sharp Cheddar, grated (about 1 cup)
  • 2 large cooked sausage patties or thick slices ham


  1. In medium bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half and vanilla. Add bread slices, turning to coat with mixture, and set aside to soak.
  2. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in small skillet over medium-high heat; add apple slices and shallot or onion and cook until tender. Add vinegar and cook for one minute longer. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Melt remaining butter in large skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Remove bread slices from egg mixture (discard remaining egg mixture) and cook in skillet for about two minutes on each side.
  4. Layer cheese, sausage or ham and apple mixture evenly over two of bread slices. Top with remaining two bread slices.
  5. Cook for one minute or until golden on underside. Turn sandwiches over and cook for one minute longer, or until sandwich is golden on second side and cheese is melted. Cut in half and serve warm.