Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bread Pudding - White Chocolate Cherry Flavor

So here is the bread pudding recipe I promised. It's in "kitchenspeak" so you might have to translate a little.

Yield = 1/2 hotel pan (about 14 x 10 x 2 inches)

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
6 yolks
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
Zest of 1 orange
2 cups dried cherries, soaked (soak in cherry liquor if you have it)
1 cup white chocolate chips
croissant or brioche cut in very small pieces. enough to fill the hotel pan.

Grease the ramekins or hotel pan very well! Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Scald milk/cream mix.
Whisk yolks and sugar until ribbon stage.
Temper the cream into the eggs and let cool to room temperature.
Add vanilla and orange zest.
Add drained Cherries and chips to bread cubes. if you used the cherry liquor, add a little of that to the mix.
Mix custard into bread cubes in batches and wait for the bread to absorb the custard.
The consistency should be like gooey oatmeal. pour into ramekins or into the hotel pan. Bake for 30 minutes at 375 and check for doneness. the puddings should puff up a bit and be GBD. (Golden Brown and Delicious!) Maybe another 10-15 minutes depending on your oven. The recipe is forgiving, but don't overcook it.

Serve warm with some whipped cream or ice cream.

You can unmold these from the ramekins and serve on a plate or serve them in the ramekin. If you make this in a pan, you can cut squares when its cold, and then reheat before serving.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Quick Yummy Lunch Stir Fry Chard with Farro

Today for lunch I made some Farro (well that was left over from the other night) and baby rainbow Swiss chard that I sauteed with shallots and garlic and then finished with Tamari and Siracha hot sauce. SOOOO GOOD! Oh it was so yummy I couldn't stop eating it. This is going to be my new quick stir fry recipe.

I'm sure you are asking what is Farro? From what I have been able to find out, its an old Italian grain, similar to whole wheat. it is also called Emmer Wheat. It cooks quickly (about 25 minutes) but uses a 3:1 ratio instead of rice or quinoa that uses a 2:1 ratio of liquid to grain. Although, I have seen recipes that call for a 2:1 ratio for the Farro. I made 3:1 and it is wonderful!

3 cups vegetable stock
1 cup farro
1/4 cup minced onion
1/4 cup minced green pepper (use red or whatever color you have)
1 clove garlic smashed, but left whole
salt and pepper to taste
2 T olive oil

heat olive oil over medium high heat in a sauce pot with a tight fitting lid, add onion and green pepper, saute for a few minutes. Add garlic clove and saute for a minute more. Add Farro and stir for a few minutes. Add hot or room temp stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 20-25 minutes. Check for doneness. Farro should be tender, but a little toothy, NOT al dente. Remove from heat and cover and let sit for a few minutes if there is still some liquid to be absorbed. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove garlic clove.

Add ins:
a couple of handfuls of spinach, some artichoke hearts, roasted red pepper OR use it as a base for the stir fry, and season with soy sauce, sesame oil and scallions.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Cocktail Party Prep - before the snowstorm

I made my shopping list and prep list. This shouldn't be too bad. Well if I can get everything before the snow falls that is! The party is Friday night and hopefully I will have everything done in advance and all I have to do is show up and cook everything.

This is a hors d'oeuve buffet, so everything is self serve, no fancy passed items. It just wasnt that type of party. The main attraction for the buffet is spice rubbed tenderloin. I'm serving that with rosemary balsamic carmelized onions and traditional horseradish sauce on garlic crostini.

I'm making my favorite nuts from Ina Garten. Her cashews are to die for!
Here is the recipe:
20 oz salted cashews (I use raw ones, unsalted)
2 T chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 tsp. cayenne
2 tsp. dark brown sugar
2 tsp kosher salt (I use sea salt)
1 T melted butter

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Place nuts on a baking sheet and toast for about 10 minutes until they are warm. While nuts are in the oven, combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
Take the warm nuts out of the oven and toss in the bowl with the mixture.

These store very well too. Make them for your holiday party and watch them disappear!

I'm also planning Christmas dinner for my family which should be so much fun this year. We are doing a Frontera Grill inspired meal. Guacamole, Ceviche, pulled beef tacos, roasted tomato salsa, tomatillo salsa, spicy mushroom tamales, achiote roasted vegetable tacos, black beans, rice, and for dessert: Mexican Wedding Cake cookies and Swirlz Cupcakes. My mouth is watering already!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Favorite Cookie

Favorite Holiday Recipe: Mexican Wedding Cakes from Betty Crocker's Cookie book. We call them Pecan Crescents. We make these every year and actually fight over who gets to make these cookies and who makes the best ones. I think mine are the best. I really wanted to make them this year, but my niece called "dibs" first.

We are doing a Fontera Grill Inspired menu for Christmas this year. I borrowed my sisters cookbooks to do some research for recipes and traditional Mexican holiday dishes. I'm really excited to have something other than turkey...again!

So far we have: ceviche, guacamole, pomegranate mojitos...really, what else do you need...LOL. more to come on recipe research and beverage recon....