Category Archives: Tasty Bites

TASTY BITES // roasted tomato + eggplant flatbread

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When we originally made this dish I don’t think I gave it enough credit. Sure, the recipe is quite easy to follow, and can be pretty quick to make. But it is so much more! We are talking classic flavors here. It really does not get much better than eggplant and tomato in our book, and this preparation is about as close to perfect as we can think of. Hearty and healthy. Tangy and full of flavor, but with minimal ingredients. What’s not to love? Pair these roasted veggies with your favorite flatbread, pizza crust, or even pita and you’ve got yourself an awesome meal. Honestly though, you could just skip the bread all together. Put it on your eggs, spread it on a sandwich, eat it on a cracker, dip a carrot in it. Hell, eat it straight out of the pan! It’s so deliciously versatile, you’ll figure it out after just one bite.

roasted tomato & eggplant flatbread

  • 1 med eggplant
  • 1 32oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 Tb lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  •  your favorite flatbread, etc….


for garnish:


  • feta cheese
  • flat leaf parsley
  •  cilantro
  • toasted cumin seed

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rub a small amount of oil on a 9×13 pan. Slice eggplant in half lengthwise, sprinkle with kosher salt, and place skin side up on the pan. Combine together tomato, lemon juice and spices, add to pan. Place pan in oven and roast for 45-50 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully scoop out the eggplant from skin. Add eggplant back to tomato mixture, mix well. Spread mixture onto bread/crust, top with feta and return to oven. Bake until golden brown. Garnish w/ parsley, cilantro, cumin seeds, and a sprinkle of kosher salt. Eat that thang!

Want more Tasty Bites? Go here. If you are on Instagram, be sure to follow @birdandclever for more delicious photos.

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TASTY BITES // caramel apple mini pies

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Hello, again MK readers! How was everyone’s weekend? Hopefully it was as good as ours—with as much fun, relaxation, and tasty food as we could pack into it! Along with all of the usual suspects that regularly fill our weekends, we were also invited to attend a fantastic birthday party right next door. Obviously, we would never dream of attending such an affair empty handed. So the question remained, what to make? When in doubt, it never hurts to ask the birthday girl.  In this particular instance, she suggested apple turnovers.

And so it was. Inspiration was born. We opted to add some salty caramel goodness, and used our favorite pie crust recipe. Voila! Perfectly personal birthday treats. And from the looks of the dessert table, our neighbor wasn’t the only one who shared a great love for flaky, apple-y, goodness. No sooner did we set the platter down, and it was empty. So, let’s hear it for super weekends, happy birthdays, and the power of homemade.

caramel + apple hand pies
(makes 10 pies)

for the crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  •  2 sticks cold butter
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

for the caramel:

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt

for the filling:

  • 5 fuji apples, cored and diced into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup raw sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • pinch of salt

additional ingredients:

  • raw sugar for sprinkling
  • 1 egg, beaten for wash

Combine flour, salt, and sugar. Whisk to combine.  Grate cold butter over flour mixture.  Toss to distribute butter.  Add cold water, a little bit at a time, until mixture comes together.  Turn out onto counter and knead dough a few times.  Wrap in plastic and chill for at least one hour.

While dough chills, make the caramel and filling.

To make the caramel, cook water and sugar over low heat until dissolved. Add butter and bring to a low boil.  Continue cooking until mixture turns golden brown. (Keep an eye on it during this entire process. It may take awhile)

Once the mixture is a coppery golden brown, remove from heat and add  heavy cream.  The mixture will bubble. **BE CAREFUL the sugar will be extremely hot.**  If you have an overeager child or spouse, be sure they do not attempt to stick their finger in the molten sugar at this point. Seriously, folks. It’s HOT.

Whisk the mixture well over low heat and add in sea salt.  Set aside to cool.

To make the filling, add the apples, sugar and lemon juice to a small saucepan.  Cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and apples are just cooked.  8-10 minutes.  Remove from heat and cool.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Divide dough in half, and set aside dough you aren’t working with.  Roll dough into 1/4 -1/8 inch thickness.  Using a 4 inch biscuit cutter (I used a bowl ) cut into circles.  Lay flat on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Repeat with remaining dough.
Place filling in the center of each pie. Top with a teaspoon or so of caramel. Fold over and pinch edges closed.  Place pies in freezer for 10 minutes to chill before baking.

Remove from freezer, poke two or three slits in each pie, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with raw sugar.
Place in the oven and bake until golden brown, 15-20 minutes. Enjoy!

Want more Tasty Bites? Go here. If you are on Instagram, be sure to follow @birdandclever for more stunning photos.

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TASTY BITES // The Sophisticated Sno Cone

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Hey guys. Lindsay and John from Bird and Cleaver here. We have said before that we are really thrilled to be a part of M.K, right? Well, we really and truly are. This little site never ceases to amaze us with fantastic little snippets of things we had all but forgotten. Kind of funny how one picture can bring back a whole flood of memories. So, as kind of an homage to this idea, we whipped up a simple little recipe born from some of our favorite summers of the past.

Who doesn’t like a shave ice? Back then we called it a sno cone. Or was it a slushie….or slurpee? Well, whatever you call it, I am sure we all have at least one good memory about this sweet, icy little life saver. Whether it was a quick trip to 7-11, a post beach dessert, or something you only did with your “cool uncle”. If you were really lucky, you may have been blessed with a machine to create them at home. One awesome summer, my brother and I actually acquired the Snoopy Sno Cone Machine and proceeded to plow through our entire stockpile of Kool-Aid, trying to create the perfect sno cone flavor. Pretty sure we just ended up making a mess! Every once in a while, our mom would break down and buy us a bottle of  sno cone syrup to share. Mmmmmmm, artificial sugar syrup. Of course, we loved it! We were hot…it was cold. We were kids in the 80’s…it was neon. Match made in heaven!

These days, we still love a good shave ice. There is a little stand right around the corner where we are certainly not strangers. However, this is not the 80’s, and we cannot deny that anything made almost entirely of colors not found in nature should not really be ingested on a regular basis. So, as with most things in the Cheesebrew house, we err on the side of moderation. We used a few non-radioactive ingredients, and made our own syrup. And I have to say, I think we are onto something. Also, being at home means you can turn these into a slightly more adult treat. And that’s pretty great too! So here’s to summer memories, and to staying cool! Cheers!

boozy blackberry + lime sno cone {shave ice}

makes enough for 4 servings

( 1 cup each)

for the syrup :

  • 1 cup fresh blackberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • pinch of salt

additional ingredients:

  • vodka
  • blackberries for garnish
  • mint for garnish

special equipment:

  • shave ice maker (you can get an electric Shave Ice Machine for around $28….not too bad!)

Combine blackberries, sugar, water, lime juice and pinch of salt in small saucepan.  Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until mixture has cooked down into a syrup. Remove from heat and strain through a fine mesh sieve.  Allow to cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile shave your ice.  Place in bowls.

Combine syrup and vodka.  We used a 2 part syrup to 1 part vodka ratio, but feel free to adjust according to your personal taste preference.  Or of course you can leave the vodka out entirely for a more kid friendly treat!

Pour over shaved ice and garnish with a fresh blackberry and mint sprig.  Enjoy!

We’ll see you next week….

Want more Tasty Bites? Go here. If you are on Instagram, be sure to follow @birdandclever for more stunning photos.

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TASTY BITES // We Say SOUP for Summer!

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Sure, we all love seasonally appropriate foods. Especially this time of year when there are so many amazing options to choose from! Although sometimes, doesn’t it feel good to go against the grain every once in a while? Like making your way to the back of the shed in the deep of winter, in searching for charcoal because nothing but BBQ will do. Or firing up the stove because maybe, just maybe, you find yourself craving a nice cup of soup in the middle of July. “Soup in July??” Yep. Stick with us on this one folks. We won’t steer you wrong! Honestly, even this time of year, this soup is pretty swell. The broth is light and spicy. The flavors satisfying, but not heavy.  And everything in it is good for you.  Hearty but not dumpy.  Not to mention the fact, that you can top it off with just about any of your favorite summer veggies, fresh from your garden. Perfect for an easy mid-week dinner—or quite possibly the new magic cure-all for over-imbibing (assumption. not proven).

Grab a bowl and head outside. Because we all know that everything tastes better sitting outside on the patio.

spicy black bean + quinoa soup

6 cups stock (we used chicken but feel free to use veggie)
2 tablespoons salsa verde
1-2 tablespoon lime juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
salt to taste

1 1/2 cups quinoa, cooked
1 1/2 cups black beans, cooked
1 small, thinly sliced jalapeno, divided
1/2 cup thinly sliced grape tomatoes
1-2 ripe avocados
2 green onions, thinly sliced
plain yogurt, optional for garnish

In large pan, combine stock, salsa verde, lime juice, garlic, cumin and portion of jalapeno (we used half because we wanted it spicy.  feel free to use as much or as little as you wish).  Bring to a simmer.  Add quinoa, black beans and green onion. Continue to simmer until heated through.  Add salt to taste.

Fill bowls with soup and add slices of tomatoes, avocado, jalapeno and cilantro. Add a dollop of yogurt for garnish.

Enjoy! We’ll see you next week!

Want more Tasty Bites? Go here. If you are on Instagram, be sure to follow @birdandclever for more stunning photos.

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TASTY BITES // buttermilk pudding + strawberry coulis

OK folks, this one is urgent! So, hopefully you read fast, otherwise it might be too late. It’s July. And this is the golden hour; that small window of opportunity when amazing things happen to otherwise normal produce. Sure, you can get supermarket tomatoes and corn-on-the-cob in November. But how do they taste? Ah ha! Trick question! The answer is, they have no taste! Especially if you compare these shamefully bland and mealy specimens to a bushel of their freshly picked counterparts from July and August. They are not even in the same league! So, despite the efforts of science and all of its modern conveniences, they will never best mother nature in the veggie department! Sunshine>Greenhouse.  Got it? Good!

Sorry, we’re getting slightly off track here. In fact, this recipe doesn’t even have anything to do with corn or tomatoes! But, it does have to do with appreciating the amazing qualities that you can only get from produce that is truly “in season”.

As far as fruits that hit their peak quickly and then fade away, strawberries probably take the cake. The window to pick these guys at their best is only a few weeks. Every year we go to our favorite “U-Pick” farm just outside of town and load up a couple flats before they are gone. As soon as we get home (or sometimes before) the feasting begins. It’s always the same thing, “they are so sweet!” and “can we have these for dinner??” or just “oooohhhhmmmmm!” It’s the simplicity of the berries that is always so striking. You don’t have to do much of anything to make them taste incredible.

So, that’s what this recipe is about. Showcasing all that natural strawberry goodness! I suppose that you could argue that no recipe is even necessary, and that if you really wanted to get the full “golden hour” effect you should just cut up some strawberries and go to town. And while that may be true, we also happen to really really like pudding! Who doesn’t!? The pudding itself is intentionally basic—really creamy and just a little tangy. The perfect accompaniment to those little red beauties! Plain and simple…just how we like it! So, go ahead and try it already, before it’s too late!

buttermilk pudding

1 cup heavy cream
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp gelatin
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup sugar
 Add gelatin over 1/4 cup of cream in a small bowl and let soften, about 1 minute. Add remaining 3/4 cup cream, vanilla and sugar and bring just to a boil over medium heat, stir until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat. Add gelatin mixture to hot milk mixture, stirring until dissolved. Quickly cool mixture in freezer or ice bath, stirring occasionally. Let mixture cool,  but not become thick, about 5-10 minutes.

Stir in buttermilk, strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl , discard solids. Pour into serving cups and chill until set. That is, if you can wait that long.Top with coulis and additional strawberries.

*recipe adapted from epicurious

strawberry coulis

2 cups strawberries + additional for garnish
1 tsp lemon juice
2 Tb water
Zest of 1 lemon
1-2 Tb sugar

Combine all ingredients in processor or blender. Mix until liquified, strain through sieve to remove solids.

ENJOY! We’ll see you next week.

Want more Tasty Bites? Go here. Also, if you are on instagram, be sure to follow @birdandclever for more stunning photos.

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