Thursday, April 24, 2014

Queen's Bread Pudding with Cold Fruit Soup


When I was given this recipe to prepare, I had no idea what I was going to be making.  I knew it was for dessert and I knew that I loved bread pudding and fruit soup sounded adventurous, so it had to be good.  My assumption was correct, this was very tasty.

I have to admit that I wrinkled my forehead when I saw that it was made from leftover donuts. Who has leftover donuts?  Not me.  If we had any in the house, they certainly wouldn't last long enough to be called leftover!  It looked like a trip to the bakery.

I did learn that you do not go to the bakery in the afternoon and expect to find enough of any one thing.  I was also skeptical, I mean who uses leftover Danish or donuts to make bread pudding?  I couldn't imagine using jelly donuts or maple bars so I opted for four cake donuts and did I mention that there is nothing left at the bakery in the afternoon....so, I had to add four old-fashion donuts and two butterhorns to even it out....a little glaze couldn't hurt.

There are a lot of things going on when making this pudding.  I would suggest that everything be prepped to make things go smoothly....and of course, read everything before doing anything!

Queen's Bread Pudding with Cold Fruit Soup
adapted from Robert Irvine

Yield:  6 servings

Bread Pudding
1 Tbsp butter
4 cups donuts, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 cups whole milk
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/2 cup craisins, chopped
1/2 cup Amaretto
3 eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Soup
1 cup fresh strawberries, cleaned and hulled
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
1/2 cup fresh blackberries
1 banana, peeled, cut into quarters
1 peach, peeled, pit removed, cut into quarters
1 lemon, juiced
1 pint frozen vanilla yogurt

Garnish
Mint sprigs

Grease a 2 quart baking dish with butter.  (Be sure to select a baking dish that can fit into another pan as this will bake in a water bath.)  Spread the cubed donuts evenly in the prepared dish.

In a small saucepan, heat the milk until scalding.

In a small saucepan, heat the apricots and craisins in the Amaretto and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes.  You are waiting for the fruit to soften.

In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Add the hot milk, a little at a time, to the egg mixture and whisk together to temper the mixture by combining gently and gradually without cooking the eggs!

Spread the fruit evenly over the donuts in the baking dish.  Pour the milk and egg mixture into the baking dish.

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Allow the baking dish to stand for about 20 minutes so that the bread absorbs the liquid.

Place the baking dish into a larger pan or baking dish and place in the oven.  Pour hot water into the outer dish until the level is midway up the smaller pan.  Be careful not to splash water into the pudding!

Bake 50 minutes to an hour, until the pudding is firm and puffs up.  It is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and the water bath.  Let the pudding rest for ten minutes.  Serve warm or cold.

Fruit Soup

While the pudding is baking, prepare the fruit soup.  Place the strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, peeled banana pieces, peach quarters and lemon juice into a blender.  Blend until smooth and strain into a bowl.  Return the strained fruit to the blender and add the softened frozen yogurt, blend to combine.  Serve the soup as a topping or along side in demitasse cups.

Printable Recipe


I am sharing at Full Plate Thursday at Miz Helen's Country Cottage and Foodie Friday hosted by Michael at Rattlebridge Farm.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Rose Tea


For years we had a little tea room that served marvelous soups, salads, sandwiches and a delicious Rose Tea.  It was one of those places that I reserved for special lunches...those celebration moments.

Sadly, the Country Rose Tea Room closed and it is sorely missed by many of us.  Their Rose Tea, though, will live on in our memories as a special treat.  For years I tried to figure out the recipe. I must admit that I came pretty close, just didn't have a ringer. I was excited about being close....but then, close only counts when playing horseshoes.  What's next...when you really enjoy something, you just have to keep trying.

I had always been told that it had apple juice in it...okay, but then what?   Then, I tried Ina's Herbal Iced Tea.  It was close but didn't quite have that special flavor I was seeking.   It seemed to be beyond me until it dawned on me that I was overlooking the obvious.  And what is the obvious?  .....Rose Water, of course!

I can drink an entire pitcher of this stuff...how many calories are in a pitcher of apple juice...forgot about that....it can't be that much...so I will have another glass.

Rose Tea

4 Lemon Zinger tea bags (Celestial Seasonings Natural Herb Tea)
4 Raspberry Zinger tea bags (Celestial Seasonings Natural Herb Tea)
4 cups boiling water
4 cups pure apple juice (I used Martinelli's Pure Apple Juice.)
4 tsp. Rose Water (I used about 1/2 tsp per cup)
Lemon slices

In four cups of boiling water, steep the eight tea bags for about 10 minutes.  Remove the tea bags and pour the tea into a pitcher.  Add the apple juice and rose water.  Refrigerate until cold.  Serve over ice with lemon slices.

Note:  The amount of Rose Water is personal preference.  I added and tasted.  I also squeezed three lemon slices into the tea just before serving, as I think lemon adds a nice finish.

PRINTABLE RECIPE


This is a special tea and would be a lovely addition to a Mother's Day brunch.  I served it at our Easter dinner and it was enjoyed by all.

I am sharing today at Full Plate Thursday hosted by Miz Helen's Country Cottage and Foodie Friday hosted by Michael at Rattlebridge Farm.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Parmesan Potato Rounds

As I was debating about what to do with a potato for dinner tonight, a memory came flashing forward...it was really a flash from the past...Parmesan Potato Rounds!  I hadn't made them for ages and they were going to be perfect with dinner!!

The recipe comes from an Oregon Cookbook...the centennial edition of Flavor of Florence.  On the inside I saw the date...August 1993!  I usually buy a cookbook when traveling and those of you who have followed the blog for a few years know that we love to go to Oregon as often as possible.

The potatoes are so simple to prepare....quick and easy exactly what I needed....so without further adieu, I present the Parmesan Potato Rounds!


Parmesan Potato Rounds
Flavor of Florence

Yield:  6 servings

1/3 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
6 medium potatoes, scrubbed, sliced into rounds 1/2-inch thick
Italian seasoning to taste

Preheat the oven to 375° F.

Pour the melted butter into a large baking dish. Large enough so that the potato slices can lay in a single layer.

In a plastic bag, combine the flour, cheese, salt and pepper.  Shake a few potato slices at a time in the bag to coat them with the flour mixture.  Place the potatoes in a single layer over the butter.

Bake for 30 minutes.  Turn the slices and sprinkle Italian seasoning .  Bake the potatoes for another 30 minutes or until tender.

PRINTABLE RECIPE


I am sharing today at Full Plate Thursday hosted by Miz Helen's Country Cottage and Foodie Friday hosted by Michael at Rattlebridge Farm.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Chicken Tacos with Avocado Tomatillo Salsa

I have come to appreciate the tomatillo!  The tomatillo is like a small green tomato, "tomate verde", but it is covered with a husk.  The tomatillo has been cultivated in Mexico and Guatemala since pre-Columbian times and there has even been evidence that the tomatillo was used as food dating back to 900 BC - AD 1540!  The tomatillo or husk tomato has withstood the test of time as it is still a major part of the Mexican and Guatemalan cuisine.

While the tomatillo is primarily used in sauces frequently combined with chilies to enhance the flavor of a dish, it is also said to stimulate the appetite.  Whether you choose to use the tomatillo raw or cooked, it makes a wonderful puree to add to meat dishes.  This puree or chili sauce is commonly known as salsa verde (green sauce) and it does enliven the flavor of any meat dish!

Today, though, I used the tomatillo raw to make an Avocado Tomatillo Salsa! The salsa accompanied chicken tacos with a squeeze of lime and a cold brew!  Trust me, you want the brew...the punch thrown by the salsa (because I didn't remove membrane and seeds) was enough to knock one off the chair!  It wasn't enough, however, to keep me from having seconds!


Today is Secret Recipe Club reveal day and I was assigned The Bad Girl's Kitchen.  What I learned from perusing the blog is that the blog is an open forum, so to speak, it was established as a spot where folks may share recipes for family and friends....so far 36 cooks contribute their tried and true recipes to the blog.

I selected a recipe that one of the bloggers raved about.  She had gotten the recipe from the 2012 Food and Wine Annual Cookbook...great source for some delicious meals, I might add.   The recipe was Fried Chicken Tacos with Avocado-Tomatillo Salsa.  While we rarely fry chicken we do love to try different salsas so Mr. T. and I agreed that this would be a great recipe to prepare.

We elected to grill some boneless, skinless chicken breasts for the tacos and we were not disappointed!  The chicken was moist and tender....just perfect in thin slices for the tacos.



Chicken Tacos 
with Avocado Tomatillo Salsa

Yield:  4 servings

1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
Kosher Salt
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, (pounded to about 3/4-1 inch thickness, even cooking)

1/2 pound (3 to 4 medium-sized) tomatillos, husked, rinsed and roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
Hot green chilies to taste:  1-2 serrano chilies or 1-2 jalapeños, stemmed, (membrane and seeds removed, if desired), roughly chopped
1 small onion, coarsely chopped (I used 1/3 of a medium purple onion.)
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 ripe Haas avocado, pitted, flesh scooped out and cut in a 1/2 inch dice

Large pinch of cayenne pepper
Large pinch of chipotle chili powder

Artisan Style Tortillas, Corn and Whole Wheat Blend
Lime wedges

Prepare the chicken breasts by pounding for evenness.  Combine 1/4 cup of lime juice with 1 teaspoon of salt, stirring until dissolved.  Add the chicken breasts and lime mixture to a large plastic bag, seal.  Turn to coat.  Refrigerate for two hours.

Combine the tomatillos, garlic, serranos, onion, and cilantro leaves in the bowl of the food processor or blender.  Process to a coarse puree.  Transfer the salsa to a bowl.  Gently fold in the avocado (reserving a few pieces for the top) and 2 Tablespoons of lime juice.  Add salt to taste. Place in the serving bowl and garnish with cilantro leaves, the remaining avocado dice and a slice of lime.

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and lay on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle the chicken lightly with cayenne and chipotle chili powder.  Grill the chicken on a medium-high grill until done.

(If you elect to fry the chicken you should:  Combine 1/3 cup flour, the cayenne, salt and pepper and dredge the chicken in the mixture, shaking off any excess.  Heat oil in a large skillet and fry the chicken over moderately high heat until well browned and crisp.  Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.)

Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and thinly slice into strips.  Serve the chicken in warm tortillas topped with salsa and a lime wedge.

PRINTABLE RECIPE


The salsa keeps for a day or two with the avocado not turning.  We managed to enjoy more chicken tacos for dinner the next day...it is way too good!  I see these appearing on the table in the future!  I might try roasting the tomatillos first next time, just for fun.



Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Lemon Strawberry Loaf Cake

Have you ever looked at a recipe and had such a strong visual that your mouth waters?  A recipe where your expectations for a wonderful. flavorful bite are bursting forth so fast that you cannot get the mixer out fast enough?  That is the way it was was with this recipe.  I mean...lemons, strawberries, glaze...sounds delightful...doesn't it?


Pretty, isn't it?  I think so...I could hardly wait to cut into it!  


Very moist...very dense...but.....it was not what I was expecting.  In looking at the recipe, I immediately thought of Ina's Lemon Loaf Cake with the addition of strawberries....but, it wasn't.  I had expected this wonderful marriage of the sweet strawberry and the tangy lemon flavors.....alas...I didn't think that there was a strawberry flavor. Mr. T who has had quite a sweet tooth of late was not impressed.  He had one piece and his comment was, "It's okay."  The cake just kind of sat there on the serving plate until it made it's way to the trash bin. That's sad.

Then my friend texted saying that she saw I was making a Strawberry Lemon Loaf and would I share the recipe...she had made one that didn't impress her family and she wanted to try again. Sadly, it seems we both used the same recipe.

I doubt that either of us will be making this version of the cake again.  If you have better luck, let me know.  I keep looking at the recipe trying to figure out what to adjust.....and maybe I will figure it out.  The idea of this cake is worthy of entertaining....  I am looking for the keeper!!

Lemon Strawberry Loaf

Preheat oven:  350° F.

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla (I used vanilla bean paste.)
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups plus additional for dusting the pan and 2 Tbsp for the berries
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup diced strawberries

Glaze
2 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice

In a mixer bowl, cream the butter and sugar.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition.  Add in the vanilla.

Combine the fresh squeezed lemon juice and the buttermilk.  Set aside.

In a medium size bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

Alternately, add the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture to the batter, combining after each. Continue until both are combined with the batter.

Shake the diced strawberries with 2 Tablespoons of flour until well coated.  Gently fold the strawberries into the batter.

Spoon the batter into a well greased and floured loaf pan.  Bake 45-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center, comes out clean.  Let the cake rest in the pan for 20 minutes.  Invert on a wire rack to finish cooling completely.

Prepare your glaze.  Combine the powdered sugar and lemon juice to the consistency and flavor that you like.  (This can be over-powering...taste as you add the lemon juice...add additional powdered sugar as desired.)  I added additional powdered sugar as well as 2 Tbsp of milk.

Spread the glaze on top of the cooled cake.  Garnish with additional strawberries.

PRINTABLE RECIPE


I am sharing today at Full Plate Thursday hosted by Miz Helen's Country Cottage and at Foodie Friday hosted by Michael at Rattlebridge Farm.




Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Roasted Beet Salad with Horseradish Cream Dressing

I discovered roasted beets a few years ago...I am so sorry that I have only been able to enjoy them for a short period of time.  I guess I will need to make up for lost time!

At our gourmet group we had a wonderful salad featuring roasted beets with an amazing dressing....Horseradish Cream.....so good.


You are in for a treat with this salad. The creamy horseradish dressing was not overpowering and a great compliment to the sweet beets.  Be sure to use a hot horseradish or the dressing will be on the mild side...

The changes that we made to the salad made the flavors pop....the beets were tossed with a vinaigrette after baked and sliced.  The onion was pickled.

Roasted Beet Salad
with Horseradish Cream Dressing

Yield:  10 servings

6-8 beets, roasted, sliced, tossed with a vinaigrette
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons hot prepared horseradish
1 small sweet onion, sliced and pickled
1-2  heads boston lettuce 
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Wash and trim beets, but do not peel.  Place on a large piece of foil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, and then fold up in a loose package sealing seams tightly.

Place foil package on a baking sheet and roast for 1 hour or until beets are tender.

Let cool, then peel and thinly slice the beets.  Toss the beets in a bit of vinaigrette then refrigerate until serving.

Whip the cream until thick but not stiff, fold in sour cream and horseradish. Season with salt and pepper.  Refrigerate until serving.

Slice the onion and pickle.  Refrigerate until serving.

To serve, divide lettuce among serving plates.  Then, 
add a layer of the pickled onion rings.

Top the salad with beet slices and drizzle with dressing.

Sprinkle dill on top.

Note:  There was not a particular vinaigrette that was used...just basic.  The onions can be pickled in whatever way you prefer.



Prepare yourself for a delicious burst of flavor!  

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Smørrebrød: A Danish Open-Faced Sandwich

Our friends recently went to Copenhagen for their daughter's wedding!  How exciting for them to meet their daughter's new family and also get to sample some wonderful new foods.  They had quite an adventure.  When they got home, they were ready to hit the kitchen to prepare some of the wonderful dishes that they sampled.  How lucky were we that they are in our gourmet group and we got to enjoy a wonderful meal!

I learned that bread is an important part of the Danish diet.  Bread and pastries are in abundance!
Denmark's bread is usually a dark, heavy, sourdough rye bread.  It is normally sliced and used as the base for the ingredients used to make Smørrebrød, the Danish open-faced sandwich.

It is only fitting then, that our first course was Smørrebrød.  This Smørrebrød was an appetizer with Blue Cheese, Apples and Bacon!  Would you believe that there is a blog dedicated to just Smørrebrød?  Well, there is and that is where the recipe came from....


Smørrebrød:  Danish Open-Faced Sandwich
Blue Cheese with Apples and Bacon



Sandwich Layers
Danish rye bread, thinly sliced
Savory spread (recipe follows)
Bacon slices, fried
Apple, sliced
Danish Blue cheese, sliced
Chives or green onion (green part, thinly sliced)

Savory Spread Ingredients
10 ounces bacon, coarsely chopped
1/2 onion, sliced
1 apple, peeled, cored, and sliced
3-4 sprigs of thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
Fry the bacon over medium heat until most of the fat is rendered out of the bacon.
Remove the bacon placing it on paper towels to drain.  Set aside to use later.  Leave the grease in the pan.  

Add the onion, apple, and thyme to the bacon grease.  Cook over medium heat until the onions are brown and the apples are very soft.

Pour all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Cool thoroughly.

Assembly
Spread each bread slice with thin layer of the savory spread.  Top with a slice of Blue Cheese, an apple slice, and a piece of bacon.  Garnish with chopped chives.

PRINTABLE RECIPE


These were quite tasty!   We enjoyed them with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc....mmmm....what a nice start to a great meal!!

We think that they would actually make a nice light lunch, also.  It is a win either way!