Cornmeal Bread

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Labor day weekend is here!  I always have such mixed emotions about this weekend – the end of summer is sad, but I LOVE fall.  It is my absolute favorite season.  I can’t wait for cooler temperatures, gorgeous fall leaves, and pumpkin everything!  TheBetterHalf can’t wait for Notre Dame football to start (tomorrow!).  But I will enjoy this one last summer weekend 🙂 I always love to bake bread when I have a little extra time on the weekends. If you are the same, I have a great recipe for you to try this long weekend!  The name is kind of confusing – this is NOT corn bread.  It is a fluffy yeast bread with cornmeal in the dough. It is very similar to white sandwich bread, but the cornmeal gives it a nice texture and flavor.  There is just a hint of sweetness from some dark brown sugar, which I always love in my bread.  We have been eating this bread all week for sandwiches and toast and have been loving it!  The recipe comes from a great little bread cookbook that my aunt gave me, Beard on Bread.  I have made so many delicious breads from this book. Hope you have a great long weekend, and Go Irish!   Continue reading

Peach Yogurt Bread with Cinnamon

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I love peaches. They are my absolute favorite fruit (strawberries are a close second) and I really can’t get enough of them in the summer when they are so sweet and juicy.  Growing up in St. Louis I was always so excited when the Eckert’s (a local farm with all kinds of fresh fruit) peaches were in season.   I actually brought a bag of them back with me from St. Louis last week!  Now that is dedication. Or obsession…  Continue reading

Osteria Francescana – Modena, Italy

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TheBetterHalf, Chef Massimo Bottura, CateyLou

CateyLou and I like to go out to eat.  A lot.  This may come as no surprise to loyal readers of the blog but our recent trip to Modena was the first time we actually picked a travel destination based on a restaurant.   In our defense, we’re not just talking about any restaurant.  Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy is by all accounts one of the best restaurants in the world.  It has three Michelin Stars and in 2013 was ranked as the #3 restaurant in the world by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants.  Its chef and proprietor, Massimo Bottura, has won various domestic and international chef of the year awards.  Our experience at Osteria Francescana was truly memorable and definitely worth a special trip to Modena.   Continue reading

ChezCateyLou is a Finalist for Immaculate Infatuation’s EEEEEats of the Week!

#Approved @chezcateylou @amandaclaudio @mylovelyladyhompe @lovelydalin Check back tomorrow for the official #EEEEEATS of the Week.

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Skinny Peanut Butter Brownies

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After the not-so-light recipe I posted earlier this week, I have something a little bit healthier for you today.   But I promise, these skinny brownies taste amazing!!  I was skeptical when I first saw this recipe  – I mean how can you make a brownie without oil or butter?  But I was intrigued so decided to try it out.  And wow, am I glad I did.  These brownies are amazing!!  They are so moist and fudgy – and the peanut butter swirl just puts them over the top!  As a bonus, they are so pretty!  I felt like a kid in art class making the marble swirl of PB on top of the batter.   Continue reading

Gooey Butter Cake

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I spent this past weekend visiting my family in my hometown of St. Louis, Missouri.  I always like to bake something when I am there (more people to eat my food!) so I decided to make a St. Louis original  – Gooey Butter Cake!  This cake is usually eaten as a breakfast coffee cake, and as the name indicates, it is rich!!  The legend of the Gooey Butter Cake is that it was first made in the 1930s by accident.  A German American baker in South St. Louis reversed the proportions of sugar and flour while trying to make regular cake batter, and the rest is history. (Read more about it here).  There are several different recipes out there for this cake. The version that I grew up eating has a thin layer of dense, moist cake on the bottom and then is topped with a gooey, buttery filling.  Yes, it is made with cake mix which some people might think is cheating.  But I say why not take a little help when you can get it!  This recipe came from my mom’s cousin, although it is very similar to Paula Dean’s recipe    Continue reading

Villa Armena – Tuscany

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For our time in Tuscany we stayed at Villa Armena in Buonconvento.  The Renaissance style villa was completely restored in 2012 and consists of 10 unique and well appointed guest rooms.  It is located just 20 miles south of Siena and not far from the popular wine towns of Montalcino, Montepulciano, and Chianti.

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Bacon Bread

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The title of this entry says it all for this one:  Bacon.Bread. Delicious, fluffy bread with tons of bacon baked inside.  Does it get any better?  I really don’t think so.  I’m pretty sure TheBetterHalf would be happy if this was the only bread I ever baked going forward.  I mean what is not to love about three quarters of a pound of bacon being added to your bread dough?  And imagine the sandwich possibilities with this loaf.  A turkey sandwich…on bacon bread.  A grilled cheese with tomato…on bacon bread.  A BLT!….on bacon bread. What doesn’t sound better when you put it on bacon bread?  I think even a PB&J would be phenomenal on this bread. I may or may not have tried that….TheBetterHalf was grossed out, but I thought it was amazing! The sweet and salty combo, mmmm. Continue reading

Peachberry Buckle (Peach Blueberry Coffee Cake)

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My absolute favorite fruit to eat in the summertime is a ripe peach (or nectarine – to me they are interchangeable!).  They are so sweet and juicy – I just can’t get enough of them.  And berries are a close second, so when I saw a recipe for a peachberry buckle on King Arthur Flour, I just knew I had to make it!  They made up a word that fuses together my two favorite fruits, how could I not try it?!  If you are wondering what the heck a buckle is, it is just a coffee cake made with fresh fruit.  This version has a very light and fluffy cake layered with sweet peaches and berries and topped with a delicious cinnamon crumb topping. It is heavenly!  The fruit keeps the cake moist and gives it an amazing flavor. You can use any kind of berry that you want.  I used blueberries in mine and it turned out really well.  The crumb topping has a splash of almond extract – you can omit this if you aren’t a fan of that flavor. This buckle / coffee cake is a perfect way to highlight summer’s delicious fruits!   Continue reading

Tuscany – Montalcino and Montepulciano

DSC00778The next stop on our Italian vacation was Tuscany.  Despite what the Maestro told us about there being no vacancies in Tuscany, we were lucky enough to snag a room at the lovely Villa Armena in Buonconvento (more on that later).  Buonconvento is located a half hour south of Siena and close to the famous wine regions of Montalcino and Montepulciano.  After the jump, some thoughts on our wine tours, along with the misadventures of TheBetterHalf driving a rental car in Tuscany.  Continue reading