This weekend, our more adventurous friends, Kim and Mike, suggested that we, along with our friends Matt and Amanda, join them on an excursion to the unknown territories of, you guessed it, New Jersey. Our mission: to go on a little hike. We went to Alpine, which I just looked up and learned is one of the richest towns in America, but hey, us regular folk can go hiking there, too, so thanks rich people for letting us stink up your town. We went through the Palisades, which was really cool because you have the Hudson on one side and the woods on the other side, as well as some old foundations and “ruins”, if you want to call them that, of mansions that used to exist along the cliffs. I don’t think I had been on a hike since I lived in Arizona, where hiking is totally different (see: trudging through the desert), and after this trip I’d definitely go again. After we got home, Kramer and I both napped, then we grabbed dinner with our friends Jeena and Jess before stopping by our friend Travis’ seance-themed birthday party. There was black rosé and everything – very fancy, indeed. Then, yesterday, after sleeping in, we went to our friends Russ and Sarah’s house in Park Slope to enjoy their gorgeous new roof patio, see their daughter, Esmé, and eat a grilled feast of sausages, broccoli salad, and caprese salad, along with plenty of spicy margaritas. We had quite the weekend, indeed, and now it’s Monday. S I G H. That’s okay, though. I’m ready to get back to it.
Look at this group of healthy, active young people.
Speaking of getting back to it, just looks at this beautiful fried mozzarella toast. Over the next five days, I’m going to sharing five recipes with you, courtesy of Tabasco and i am a food blog. I, along with 10 other bloggers, were tasked with creating five recipes using only 10 ingredients (including Tabasco sauce, obviously). Those ingredients were ciabatta, mozzarella, eggs, chicken, honey, fennel, zucchini, rice, rigatoni, and, you guessed it, Tabasco. At first, I found this challenge a little daunting, but then I got into it and I had a lot of fun! I felt like I was on a TV show, being forced to get creative by limiting what was available for me to use. The Tabasco provided a surprising amount of flavor, so my initial fear of not having enough spices and whatnot to create something delicious was vanquished early on. I decided to go simple on this first dish. Fried toast has long been a dirty little secret of mine – they serve it at a few restaurants in New York, and it’s just the perfect thing to sop up a night of drinking or a great way to get energized for a long day of work ahead. The bread is wonderfully crunchy and crisp, and whatever you top it with it sure to make it even better. I went for gooey mozzarella this time, along with a good drizzle of sweet honey and spicy Tabasco. Kramer and I greedily ate almost all of what I fried up, then I had to stop myself from making more, because it was dangerously good. Come back every day this week to see what else I come up with during this challenge, and be sure to check out what others are making by going through #TABASCO10 on Twitter and Instagram!
Kramer enjoying a rope swing.
Your ingredients. I got the ciabatta from Northside Bakery.
Just look at that golden fried bread.
That’s the business.
- 1 cup vegetable oil, for frying
- 1 loaf ciabatta bread, sliced into thick 1-1/2 inch slices
- ½ pound mozzarella, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons honey (or more, to taste)
- 1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce (or more, to taste)
- Heat your vegetable oil in a large, heavy bottomed pan (like a cast iron pan) over medium-high heat. Once hot, add in your bread, frying on one side until golden, about 3 minutes (you will probably have to work in batches). Flip the bread and place the mozzarella in one thin layer on top of the toasted side of the bread. Cover the pan and allow the other side of the bread to toast and the mozzarella cheese to melt.
- You can keep the pieces of toast warm in a 200 degree F oven while you work through the rest, then when they're all ready, drizzle with honey and Tabasco sauce, then slice (if desired) and serve hot, though the crunch on this fried bread will remain for a while, so it's still pretty good room temperature!