Wednesday, March 15, 2017

FULL CIRCLE FRIENDSHIP DINNER

I feel so blessed to have wonderful new and old friends and neighbors.  Recently I found out my dear neighbor next door was having a medical procedure so I thought it would be nice to fill a basket with dinner for her. This post is a testament to friendship that has come full circle - if that makes sense? One friend gave me a beautiful loaf of Panettone for Christmas (from a wonderful artisanal bakery in Amador City, CA, I will provide a link in resources later), another friend gave me a jar of the best lemon curd I have ever had (this is an Idaho product, information in resources too) and I combined the two to make lemon bread pudding to pass on to my dear neighbor for the dessert in her dinner basket. We had delish French toast with about half of the Panettone and I put the rest in the freezer. We had tried some of the yummy lemon curd on some scones but had most of the jar left to use in the pudding.
This is a recipe from King Arthur flour and is easy and delicious.  If you read this blog you will know I often mention that King Arthur is the only flour I use (except for wonderful Wondra). At one time it could be hard to find but not anymore - all the stores in my area carry their flour including the ubiquitous Walmart.  I love their self-rising flour, especially for biscuits, but it is harder to find.  However, once in a while they will have free shipping - woohoo, and that is when I load up and try things I might not want to pay shipping on but when it is free....! I will also add information for Mactaggart's Brand products - another Idaho company who makes simply the best products ever - they ship! Of course information in resources later.
Really a simple recipe - nothing hard here and the result is so good.  Whisk together the eggs,half & half, sugar, vanilla and Fiori - a word about Fiori di Sicillia - literally means "Flowers of Sicily" and is used as a flavoring.  It has this delicious citrus flavor and is sold in specialty stores, King Arthur sells.  I have theirs and I also have Mactaggart's Brand and I must confess that Mactaggart's Vanilla Fiori di Sicillia is just the best and once I tried, it is the one I use, it just adds a beautiful flavor - add it to a plain vanilla cupcake when it calls for vanilla and the cupcake is so elevated with an additional flavor profile.

Soak the cubed Panettone. You can find Panettone all year round in specialty stores and online but it will not be like the Panettone I had so if you try this you might want to add some toasted, slivered almonds.  I think this is such a good pudding recipe that even store bought Panettone will still be good.
Half in the pan...
Time to spread the lemon curd.  Thanks to my dear friend Debby (or as hubby affectionately calls her "Debby with a Y.") I now know tht Sticky Fingers Bakeries lemon curd is actually made here in Boise by Dorothy's and labeled Sticky Fingers Bakeries.  We took a field trip to where the items are manufactured and it is really an Idaho thing - fun to go and shop there and find more of her delicious jams, jellies, etc.  I recently purchased a large container of sourdough pancake and waffle mix Dorothy makes - no starter needed.  I am so eager to try as thanks to my dear, late father-in-law I love sourdough waffles but always forget about the starter and it ends up this flat, stinky thing in the back of the fridge.
The rest of the bread mixture....
Sprinkle the top with a little sanding sugar and ready for the oven...
Makes a big heavy loaf - I shared most with my neighbor but kept some for us and hubby who loves bread pudding was a little apprehensive about the addition of lemon curd but in the end loves this dish.
So into a good size gift bag with some homemade soup and rolls and our favorite butter, the pudding and some of Magner's hard apple cider.  At least she did not have to cook dinner.

Panettone Lemon Curd Bread Pudding Recipe:

Ingredients:
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups half & half (fat-free is fine), light cream, whole milk, or a combination of milk and cream
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia, to taste; optional
  • 9 to 10 cups diced (generous 1" cubes) panettone or other bread
  • a generous 1/2 cup prepared lemon curd, for filling
  • coarse sanding, for sprinkling on top; optional
  • Instructions
    1.     Whisk together the eggs, half & half, sugar, vanilla, and Fiori.
    2.   Put the cubed bread in a bowl, and pour the egg mixture over it. Stir to combine. Set the mixture aside for 30 to 60 minutes, so the bread can absorb much of the liquid.
    3.   While the bread is soaking, preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 5" loaf pan.
    4.   Stir the bread again, then spoon half of it into the prepared pan.
    5.    Dollop the lemon curd over the bread/custard. Spread it out if it's not too sticky; though leaving it in clumps is fine, too, as it'll melt a bit and redistribute itself as the pudding bakes.
    6.   Top with the remaining bread/custard, patting it down gently.
    7.    Sprinkle with coarse white sparkling sugar, if desired; this creates a crunchy/sweet topping that plays well with the pudding's smooth interior.
    8.   Bake the pudding for 40 to 50 minutes, until it's golden brown. Remove it from the oven, and let it rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, in order to set, before slicing and serving.
    9.   Sift confectioners' sugar over the top of each slice; serve with a bit of whipped cream or ice cream, if desired.
                       Yield: 8 to 10 servings.

Resource

Recipe: Adapted from King Arthur Flour
Mactaggart's Brand Products: Link
Dorothy's Products: Link
Andrae's Bakery, Amador City, CA: Link


Thank you for stopping by!








Monday, January 9, 2017

ZUPPA TOSCANA MADE HEALTHIER

A quick lunch at Olive Garden with my hubby while shopping at Christmas reminded me just how much I love their Zuppa Toscana.  There are many copycat recipes out there for this soup and most of them call for cream, etc.  I decided to give it a try "my way" using turkey sausage and 2% milk and the results were just delicious.



Once you have all your ingredients ready this is a very quick soup - my turkey sausage was in a meat carton not a roll so I just cut it with my knife into little cubes and cooked it that way so it came out with these nice little hunks - depending on your brand of sausage you may have to add a little olive oil to the pan when browning the sausage.
Back into the same pan the onion, the bacon and then when they are translucent...

add the garlic for a minute or two, just make sure to not burn the garlic.
 Slice your spuds in half and then into half moons.
Add in the chicken broth...
At this point I place the soup into a soup pot and cook until the potatoes are fork tender.
Add the milk and the Wondra flour...
Then the kale - I love that you may now purchase the kale in a bag, cleaned and chopped - how easy is that?

Ready for lunch with a little bread! Oh, so good on a cold winter day!
My head test pilot - hubby! Shhhh, he had no idea I took the photo! 

Recipe for lower calorie Zuppa Toscana Soup




Ingredients

  • 1 pound turkey mild Italian sausage
  • 4-5 medium russet potatoes, cut in half and then in half moons
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large white onion, chopped (or two medium)
  • 4-5 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups kale or more, be sure and pack the kale down in your measure container
  • 3 cups 2% milk, could use 1% or FF.
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 T of Costco crumbled bacon (30 cal per TBSP)
  • 1 t red pepper flakes (you may omit if you do not like a bit of heat)
  • 1-2 T Wondra Flour

Directions

  1. Place Italian sausage in a large skillet and cook over medium-high heat until browned on all sides. About 5 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Add the onion and bacon, sauté until softened and translucent. 5-6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. During the last minute of cooking, add garlic and sauté, stirring frequently so it doesn’t burn, will take a minute or two.
  4. Pour in chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until potatoes are fork tender.
  5. Add 1-2 T Wondra flour to the milk and whisk until all smooth, add to the pot.
  6. Return sausage to pot and add the kale. Cook until leaves are wilted and sausage is warmed through. 3 minutes.
  7. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if necessary
  8. Ladle into serving bowls and serve immediately.

Cooks note:  Depending on the size of the potatoes, the amount of kale you add, you may have to add a little more chicken broth so you have sufficient broth to make this soup!



 Thank you for stopping by.











Tuesday, January 3, 2017

I LOVE NAAN - USES FOR THIS WONDERFUL BREAD

I love naan the Indian flat bread, it is the most versatile of breads.  My new favorite is the one from Costco.

 
This is the one from Costco and they are smaller than others and of course being Costco there are lots in the package.
Besides being so versatile the bread is also healthy - 130 calories, low sugar and 4 grams of protein. There are virtually thousands of recipes using this bread from pizza (fun to make individual pizzas) use to make fajitas, chicken recipes, sandwiches, it's good toasted and good to put things inside like bacon and eggs and on and on...I am going to talk about the two things that I love to do with naan - using leftover taco filling and as I did last week leftover beerock filling (or bierock). I will post a link below for a blog post I did on making beerocks.
So simple, heat the leftover filling in the microwave or the stove-top.
If you like cheese or need a little more protein (I used reduced calorie cheddar) grate some cheese.
I like to wrap the naan in between a clean kitchen towel before heating in the microwave - two of them about 15 seconds, give them a check and a few more seconds if necessary. They will stay warm for a bit in the towel.
With both leftover taco filling and leftover beerock filling I like to top with angel hair Cole slaw. It is not expensive in the bag already shredded very small - one of those things that is nice to not have to do and it makes the process so much faster.
I don't have a recipe when I make this so this time I measured to make the dressing for 3-4 sandwiches.

2T mayonnaise, regular or reduced calorie
2 pkgs of Stevia
1/2 T apple cider vinegar
2 t fat free half & half

Whisk it all together until it is smooth and creamy - may need to add a little more half and half.  I was out of poppy seeds but I would normally add some to this dressing. Toss the dressing with some of the slaw and you are ready to put your sandwiches together.
Fill the heated naan with the leftover filling of your choice, top with some cheese and then the Cole slaw - a toothpick holds it together very well.
One for me and two for hubby with some carrots and he was a happy camper.

Resource

Beerock recipe and instructions, Link