I love the touch of savory with dessert trend that has been popular for the past year or so.  Salted caramel or chocolate anything makes me happy because the salt prevents the rich chocolate and/or caramel from becoming too overwhelming.  There is a pizza restaurant that my husband and I love that has olive oil ice cream with sea salt for dessert and they serve it with warm chocolate chip cookies.  The sweet with the salt is just enough to be dangerously addictive.

One of my other favorite savory additions to dessert is balsamic glazes or reductions.  I particularly enjoy this savory accompaniment with berries.

Lemon Poppyseed Blueberry Bread with Blueberry Balsamic Sauce {Satisfy My Sweet Tooth}

You can make a simple sauce of balsamic and berries and pour it over ice cream for an effortless, yet decadent dessert.  The fine people at Mandarano sent me their award-winning Balsamic Glaze and I have used it in so many ways.  The Mandarano Balsamic Glaze is so great drizzled over sandwiches, pasta or salmon.  I made a simple caprese panini and this glaze kicked it up a notch and made it taste very gourmet and sophisticated.  It is the perfect condiment because it is made with high quality balsamic vinegar that has already been reduced and is ready to use.

Lemon Poppyseed Blueberry Bread with Blueberry Balsamic Sauce {Satisfy My Sweet Tooth}

One of the best ways I have used this glaze is to make this Blueberry Balsamic Sauce to top this perfect Lemon Poppyseed Blueberry Bread.  As you make the blueberry balsamic sauce, the balsamic glaze infuses the blueberries so that when you bite into one of them, the subtle rich flavor of balsamic vinegar bursts into your mouth.  It really is the perfect addition to this sweet and tart lemon bread which even on it’s own is so moist and delicious.

Lemon Poppyseed Blueberry Bread with Blueberry Balsamic Sauce {Satisfy My Sweet Tooth}

Lemon Poppyseed Blueberry Bread with Blueberry Balsamic Sauce

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Yield: 1 9-inch loaf

Sweet and tart lemon poppyseed bread bursting with juicy blueberries and drizzled with a decadent blueberry balsamic reduction

Ingredients

    For the bread:!
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 Tbsp poppy-seeds
  • 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • For the glaze:!
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 4 Tbsp sugar
  • 4 Tbsp water
  • 4 Tbsp balsamic

Instructions

    For the bread:!
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray a 9-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl, mix sugar, oil, lemon zest and lemon juice.
  4. Mix in buttermilk and eggs.
  5. Mix in flour, baking powder and salt until well combined.
  6. Mix in poppyseeds and blueberries.
  7. Pour into prepared baking pan and bake for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted into bread comes out clean.
  8. Cool in pan on wire rack.
  9. For the glaze:!
  10. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for about 6 minutes or until mixture has thickened.
  11. Serve sauce poured over bread.
  12. Bread recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour Baking Companion

mix sugar, oil, lemon zest and lemon juice

Lemon Poppyseed Blueberry Bread with Blueberry Balsamic Sauce {Satisfy My Sweet Tooth}

mix in buttermilk and eggs

Lemon Poppyseed Blueberry Bread with Blueberry Balsamic Sauce {Satisfy My Sweet Tooth}

mix in flour, baking powder and salt until well combined

Lemon Poppyseed Blueberry Bread with Blueberry Balsamic Sauce {Satisfy My Sweet Tooth}

mix in poppyseeds and blueberries

Lemon Poppyseed Blueberry Bread with Blueberry Balsamic Sauce {Satisfy My Sweet Tooth}

pour into prepared baking pan and bake

Lemon Poppyseed Blueberry Bread with Blueberry Balsamic Sauce {Satisfy My Sweet Tooth}

Lemon Poppyseed Blueberry Bread with Blueberry Balsamic Sauce {Satisfy My Sweet Tooth}

for the sauce, combine all ingredients, bring to a boil and reduce

Lemon Poppyseed Blueberry Bread with Blueberry Balsamic Sauce {Satisfy My Sweet Tooth}

Lemon Poppyseed Blueberry Bread with Blueberry Balsamic Sauce {Satisfy My Sweet Tooth}

*Mandarano provided me with their balsamic glaze, however, all opinions are, as always, my own.

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Who doesn’t love pizza in any form?  Around Super Bowl time, I was seeing all kinds of pizza dips popping up as suggestions for game day fare.  Football is not a huge deal at our house and so I had to wait for another occasion to make a version of pizza dip.  Hosting book club last week happened to be the perfect reason to give it a try.

Many of the recipes that I have seen for pizza dips involve cream cheese, mayonnaise and sour cream as a base layer.  One of my favorite swaps for mayo and sour cream that makes dishes healthier is nonfat plain Greek yogurt.  It is tangy, thick and creamy without being heavily laden with calories and fat.  I also cut down on a few calories and grams of fat by using reduced-fat (part skim) mozzarella cheese.

This dip is plenty flavorful even with these healthier modifications.  Top the dip with a variety of vegetables and you’ll really have a popular dip that you can feel great about serving.

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combine cream cheese, yogurt, garlic powder and Italian seasoning

spread cream cheese mixture into pan

top with pizza sauce

sprinkle cheese over the sauce

top with chopped veggies (and meat, if using)

bake until cheese is melted and serve

 

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I’m declaring a savory week here on Satisfy My Sweet Tooth.  A few weeks ago, I made Vegan Gluten-free Brownies and then a few hours later proceeded to make Babybel-stuffed meatballs.  I love all food.  I don’t discriminate.

I grew up eating my grandmother’s to-die-for Italian red sauce with meatballs.  Since she is gone 🙁 no one can quite replicate the amazing flavor of her “gravy” but I am able to take myself back to sitting around her table with these meatballs.  My grandmother did not stuff meatballs with cheese but Giada does, so I figured combining two of my favorite cooks versions of meatballs could only result in a small meaty miracle in the shape of a ball.  And I was right.

Pasta is easily my single favorite savory food and while I do not feel the need to add a protein to top my noodles, my husband is never quite content with a meatless dinner (Waah).  So, as I mentioned after experimenting with vegan gluten-free baking during the first part of the day and watching his nose turn up with the addition of each “weird” ingredient, I knew that a meaty meal was the way to his heart.

Babybel cheese wheels are a favorite of mine.  I can remember my mother packing them in my lunchbox as a child and even now when I am hungry for a snack I love to eat a couple of the Babybel Lights for a low-calorie high-protein snack.  I wasn’t sure how the Babybel would melt in the cooked meatballs, but I was pleasantly surprised when I cut into a meatball and was met with a gooey string of cheese.  Cook up some pasta with your favorite red sauce and whip up a batch of these meatballs and you will be satiated and comforted in no time.

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dry ingredients

quarter Babybels

combine all ingredients, roll into balls and make indentation into each ball

stuff quarter of a Babybel into each ball and roll to seal

bake


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I love spring rolls but for some reason I had always feared the sticky rice paper and been too scared to make them myself.  All that has changed thankfully.  A good friend and I recently attended a cooking class and spring rolls were on the list of dishes to make.  I have always recognized that the ingredients are simple, but I have had negative experiences with rice noodles in the past and I thought that getting that rice paper wet would leave me with a sloppy clump of frustration.  Much to my surprise, rice paper is relatively easy to work with and even if minor tears do occur, it all gets rolled up anyway!

So to make fresh spring rolls, you can basically just choose the vegetables (sprouts, lettuce, peppers, carrots, etc.), protein (tofu, shrimp, chicken, pork, etc.) herbs (basil, mint, cilantro) that you like and you could even stuff in some rice or rice noodles in if you would like.  The ingredients you choose need to be sliced very thin.

Let me tell you about rice paper in case it causes you anxiety like it did for me.  The rice paper may be kept in the produce section of your grocery stores by wonton wrappers and other specialty ingredients.  Each sheet is very thin and somewhat brittle.  To soften the rice paper, all you need to do is put some hot (not warm) water in a large shallow bowl and place one sheet of rice paper at a time into the bowl until it is soft and pliable (just a few seconds).

Once the paper is pliable lay it out on your work surface (I used a plastic cutting board).  Now let’s think of the rice paper as a clock face.  Line up your thinly sliced vegetables and protein at 6:00.  Then sprinkle your herbs around the rest of the clock.

Now for the folds.  First, fold 3:00 and 9:00 sides of the rice paper in toward each other.

Next, begin folding at 6:00 and roll up to meet 12:00.

That’s it!  Wasn’t that easy sweet teeth??  Now for a super simple and delish dipping sauce, mix soy sauce, sweet chili sauce and sriracha (or garlic chili paste).

Ok, so now you have a fabulous appetizer.  May I suggest this Shrimp Pad Thai for your entrée? (recipe from Bake Your Day)  It is the best Pad Thai I have made at home.  (In the photo below, I did not have rice noodles on hand, so I used whole wheat spaghetti which works great too.  And I prefer to double the sauce in the recipe).

 Get the Pad Thai recipe here

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Aug 26
2011

Bar La Grassa

Bar La Grassa has earned itself quite a reputation around the Twin Cities.  The Italian restaurant has boasted several local and national “best” restaurant awards over the past couple of years.  And Chef Isaac Becker was named the 2011 James Beard Best Chef in the Midwest.  Awards like that are nothing to overlook.  The atmosphere at Bar La Grassa is exactly what you would hope and expect to find at an Italian restaurant in the warehouse district of Minneapolis.  It is hip, packed and loud (in a good way).

I always enjoy the feeling of an open kitchen with a bar that allows you to belly up and watch the masters at work.  I went to Bar La Grassa last weekend expecting to have quite a wait since I had not made a reservation, but I was pleasantly surprised to be offered immediate seating at the bar overlooking the kitchen.

When we sat down we were met with some marinated peppers and butter beans and wonderful focaccia that had a topping of salt and herbs.

After ordering some wine, it was time to explore the menu.  Bar La Grassa is known for it’s homemade fresh pastas among other things, and being the pasta lover that I am, I knew that I wanted to sample some fresh noodles.  However, that did not narrow down my decision much as the restaurant offers about 12 different fresh pasta selections.  We decided to start with the Crispy Insalata Saporoso Vinaigrette which was a lovely green salad with frisee, fennel, pine nuts and cheese.  It was an unique, fresh and light way to begin our meal.

I was lucky that my company also wanted to sample fresh pasta dishes.  That way I got to try 3 different pastas without feeling totally gluttonous.  I had read about the Mushroom and Taleggio Agnolotti, so that was the decision for me.  The rich flavor of the mushrooms was amazing, but I am glad that the plates come in half or whole orders because a little bit of this dish goes a long way.

My mother is unable to eat cheese, so the Crab Ravioli was perfect for her.  The Ravioli was paired with a rather simple cream sauce.

Finally, my husband needed some meat and so he sampled the Pappardelle with Veal Ragu.  The sheets of fresh pappardelle were perfectly delicate and light, but the veal ragu was sweet, somewhat one-note and left me wanting for something:  salt, spice, garlic, something.

We were too stuffed for dessert, but lucky for me, Bar La Grassa Satisfied My Sweet Tooth anyway.  The check was brought with some almond brittle with a hint of chili pepper for a surprisingly warm and lovely slow burn.

What is your favorite pasta dish and/or restaurant?

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