Saturday, February 20, 2010

Overnight French Toast

Meals that require time, patience and following a sequence of steps are in some way more decadent and relished than the quick-fix 30 minute dish. Folks automatically know that time, thought and love went into preparing it. Think about it; homemade ice cream, prime rib or marinated steaks, good wine, and fresh baked bread. The same is true for this wonderful Overnight Baked French Toast. Please note that you can alter this recipe in many ways. I like to crisp fry 6 slices of bacon and crumble into the cream mix. You may also add sliced apples, other fruit or pecans.

You will need the following ingredients:

1 lb. loaf of Texas Toast (or thick sliced bread) cut into large sized cubes
8 eggs
3 1/2 cups half-and-half cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

for the syrup (to be poured over the next morning before baking):
3/4 cup butter
1 1/3 cup brown sugar
3 TBSP. light corn syrup
*(Optional: can add chopped pecans over the syrup if you like)

Butter a 9 x 13 baking dish. Arrange bread slices in the bottom. In a bowl beat the eggs, cream, vanilla and cinnamon. Pour over bread slices making sure all slices are saturated. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, heat the oven to 350. Combine butter, brown sugar and corn syrup in a saucepan and heat to boiling. Pour this over the egg/bread dish.

Bake uncovered for 40 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar for the "pretty" effect.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Salmon Pastries with Dill Pesto

This was a 2008 General Mills Contest Bake-Off winner. The contestant's name is Edgar Rudberg from Saint Paul, MN. Jim and I enjoyed making these together. They are simple yet elegant.

1/2 cup dill weed (fresh if you have it)
1/3 cup light olive oil
1/4 cup walnuts (can use pine or diced macadamia also) 1/4 cup lime juice
1 clove garlic

1 TBSP. Dijon mustard
2/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

1. Heat oven to 400.
2. In a food processor with a metal blade process the above ingredients to a smooth pesto consistency.

3/4 lb. salmon (skinned, boned and cut into 1# cubes--about 24 cubes)
1 box refrigerated pie crust, softened

3. Lightly roll out crust to 12" circle. Cut 4 rows by 3 rows to make 12 rectangles. Repeat with the other crust (24 squares).
4. Spoon 1 tsp. dill pesto onto center, top with a cube of salmon. Bring 4 corners of each rectangle over filling to center and pinch at top; pinch corners, leaving small opening on side to vent steam. Place on ungreased cookie sheet 1" apart.
5. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
6. Place remaining dill pesto in a plastic bag, snip the tip of one end of the bag. Decorate serving plates with a drizzle of the pesto, serve warm pastries on top of pesto.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

PDQ Fresh Mozzarella Cheese

I LOVE cheese. I really do. I could live without sweets, bread, potatoes, even chile, but NOT cheese. I just learned to make mozzarella cheese and am making a lovely Zambini Pizza for SuperBowl Sunday. The Zambini is a fabulous pizza recipe I stole from the Flying Pie Pizzaria in Boise, ID in 1993. It is made traditionally from a sourdough crust (I am using Jamie's Crust .... see an older post for this fabulous crust recipe and the sauce (also from Flying Pie and can't be beat, except for my Putanesca Sauce found in Pizza Pizzazz )...both freeze EXTREMELY well, so no worries on the crust or sauce) topped with Italian sausage ( I am using moose Italian sausage), jalapenos, purple onion, sun dried tomatoes and I add a mix on Fontina and my own new homemade mozzarella cheese. Please do look back at the older post for that wonderful pizza sauce...I've never found anything to replace this recipe.

How to make Mozzerella....(recipe from Type in 30 minute fresh mozzarella cheese recipe. Also look at the YouTube 30 minute will help.

Go Saints!!!!

1/2 rennet tablet (find this in the baking section of the grocery store....near the canning stuff)
1/4 cup cool cholrine-free water
1 gallon milk (use 2%)
2 tsp. citric acid (find this in the health food section, bulk the seasonings stuff)
salt, optional...(but I like salt)

Crush the rennet and add to the water. Pour milk into a non-reactive pan (no aluminum or cast iron). Place over medium heat. Sprinkle citric acid over milk and stir a couple of times. Heat the milk to 88 degrees. It will begin to curdle.

At 88 degrees add the crushed rennet tablet and stir every few minutes until mix reaches 105 degrees. Large curds should appear. Either strain through a mesh strainer or scoop out with a slotted spoon into a glass bowl. Press curds into a ball and drain off the whey (liquid). Cool.
Microwave 1 minute and drain off whey. Make into a ball again with a spoon. Microwave again for 30 seconds, drain. Do this one more time.

In the meantime. Heat the whey (that nasty looking greenish fluid) to 175 degrees. Massage/knead the cheese until smooth. If needed, (crumbly and not pliable) dip in the heated whey for a few seconds and knead. Store in a solution of 2 tsp salt to 1 cup water (I used a quart jar).