Tag-Archive for ◊ Easter ◊

20 Apr 2012 Ham Bone Bean Soup

I love Honeybaked ham.  Love it, love it, love it; but have you heard the definition of eternity? Two people and a ham!  Thank goodness I have a panini press for grilled ham and Swiss sandwiches.  Thank goodness I know how to make and enjoy ham and pineapple pizza. Finally, the last of the ham appeared, the bone,  and now it’s time for Ham Bone Soup.

I could NOT find a recipe on the Internet that I liked.  I knowwww, shocking!  So I took a bit from this and a bit from that and came up with this recipe.  It tastes good,  looks good, and is fibrously good for you with lentils, split peas, yellow peas, 4 kinds of beans, tomatoes, onions, celery and carrots plus chicken broth and ham broth. The spices came from a soup on the Honeybaked Ham website, cinnamon, cumin and thyme. I knowwww, sounds odd, but it’s what gives this soup it’s depth.

Enjoy.  (BTW, The new definition of eternity?  One person and a vat of Ham Bone Soup!) This makes a LOT of soup, about 6 quarts. “Fortunately” a friend of mine broke her ankle, so I was able to take one-third of it over to her.  Now I  should check my Facebook to see if anyone has had a baby lately*

Ham Bone Bean Soup

  • 4 cups chopped ham from the ham bone
  • one ham bone plus assorted root veggies and peelings, covered with water
  • 1/4 cup lentils
  • 1/4 cup split peas
  • 1/4 cup yellow peas
  • 2-3 cups water
  • 1 large onion, diced ( approx. 2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (approx.)
  • 2 cups diced celery (include some leaves)
  • 1 leek sliced
  • 4-5 carrots, peeled and sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 3-4 quarts broth (mixture of ham bone broth and chicken broth)
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2  teaspoon black pepper
  • salt, to taste (depends on saltiness of chicken broth) maybe about 1 teaspoonful
  • 4 or 5 16 oz. cans beans (use your favorites, of course)  I used 2 cans white beans plus one can each black beans, pinto beans, and pinquito beans (all my favorites)
  1.  First off, cut the meat off the hambone, so that you have 4 cups diced ham, set aside.
  2. Now make some stock from the ham bone. Put the ham bone in a large pot, cover with water and add a whole quartered onion (peel and all), a handful of carrots (or the peelings), some coarsely chopped celery, and any other extra veggie you have on hand.  Bring the mixture to a boil and then simmer for 4 hours.  When cooked, strain the broth. Discard the bone and veggies.  Keep the broth. (The broth can be made one or two days in advance, just refrigerate cooled broth until ready to use)
  3. In another pan, boil the lentils, split peas, and yellow peas (or all lentils, or all split peas) in about 2 cups of water until very soft, about 45 minutes.  Add more water to pan if necessary.  Let cool, and then blend into a liquid.  This puree will thicken the soup (and hide the “icky dried stuff” from picky family members).
  4. Heat olive oil in a large skillet.  Add in chopped onion.  Gently sautee until onion is cooked through and slightly caramelized.  Stir in chopped celery and sliced leek, saute for an additional 3 minutes or so.
  5. In a large soup pot, pour in the ham bone broth and enough chicken broth to equal about 3 quarts.  Stir in crushed tomatoes and lentil/split pea puree and spices (cinnamon, cumin, thyme, bay leaves, salt and pepper). Bring to a boil. Stir in carrots. Simmer until carrots are almost tender, about 20-30 minutes.
  6. Drain and rise the canned beans.  Add to simmering broth.  If soup seems too thick, stir in up to one additional quart of chicken broth.  Simmer for an additional 30 minutes.  Remove bay leaves.  Let soup cool, then refrigerate overnight (if possible, soup always tastes better if refrigerated overnight).
  7. When ready to serve, reheat soup, add diced ham, and simmer for an additional 15 minutes.  Taste broth.  If necessary add more salt, pepper, and cinnamon.  Serve hot with some nice bread, foccacia, or cornbread.

Hope you like this. Hope it was just the soup you were looking for but couldn’t find anywhere else on the Internet.

*Update:  Woke this morning to find the empty soup pot on the kitchen counter and three dirty soup bowls stacked in the sink along and dredges of sourdough toast everywhere.   Looks like my son and two friends had a late night snack after I went to bed.  They emptied the pan; there’s no more Ham Bone Soup left.  Should I put a happy face icon after this update, or a sad face icon?!

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today!

 

 

18 Mar 2012 Salmon Spinach Breakfast Roll

I’m pretty sure this recipe will make my Top Ten list for 2012.  It’s certainly the best recipe I’ve come across so far this year–and the one that has gotten me back into the business of blogging, which was no small feat. This is a delicious make ahead special occasion breakfast/brunch dish.  Keep it in mind for Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Graduations, as well as anytime you have overnight or early morning guests.

My friend Karin made this at our Cookbook Club’s Snow Holiday.  I ate it the morning she made it, and had it again for the following three mornings! Loved it.

Karin learned to make  this from her cousin in Germany who had made it for an Aunt’s milestone birthday celebration. The original recipe is full of German words, quantities stated in grams, and a few ingredients mentioned in the directions but not in the ingredient list, but we’ve fixed that for you. Truthfully, both Karin and I wouldn’t have made this if we hadn’t eaten it before reading the recipe.  Cream cheese and eggs never appealed to me, and neither did the thought of eating cold omlette. Just overlook those things!  Be smarter than we would have been. This recipe is a winner. Don’t hesitate to make it. Remember to plan ahead;  make, assemble and roll this the night before your special occasion.

Since I ate this for four days, I know it stays fresh and delicious for at least that long, but I probably wouldn’t push it  much longer than that.

I know this is thinking a bit far ahead, but wouldn’t the green spinach, the “red” salmon, and the make-ahead-ability make this perfect for Christmas morning?   Salmon Spinach Breakfast Roll

  •  approx. 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 oz. fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 3 green onions, sliced (can substitute some finely diced and sauteed onion or shallots)
  • 6 whole eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 oz shredded swiss or gruyere cheese (about 1/2 cup)
  • 8 oz. cream cheese with herbs, divided use, at room temperature (don’t even be tempted to try to make this with cold cream cheese)
  • 8 oz. thinly sliced lox-style salmon
  • Bagels, toast, or mixed greens, to serve
  • a few teaspoons of capers, optional, for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. (200 degrees C.)
  2. Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper and lightly spray with Pam or spread with butter.
  3. Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese onto the parchment paper.
  4. Beat 4 oz of the softened cream cheese and then beat in the eggs. Stir in the chopped spinach, sliced green onions,  the Swiss or Gruyere cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.  Stir well. (It will probably look like you have used  too much spinach, but it’s OK. The spinach will reduce significantly when cooked.)
  5. Pour egg mixture carefully over the Parmesan cheese onto the parchment lined jelly roll pan. Bake  at  375 degrees F.  for 10 min.
  6. Remove cooked eggs from oven. Let cool in pan.
  7. When cool, flip omlette over and onto a long piece of plastic wrap.  Remove parchment paper.
  8.  Spread remaining softened cream cheese on top of eggs.  Lay thinly sliced smoked salmon over the cream cheese, covering the entire omlette.
  9. Roll egg-cheese-salmon omlette tightly in plastic wrap–you can roll from either end, making a bigger spiral serving fewer people or a small spiral serving more people with lighter appetites– and place in refrigerator overnight (at least 8  hours).
  10. Remove roll from refrigerator about an hour before serving (just to remove the chill). Slice, arrange on platter (sprinkle with capers, if desired) and serve. (The first day we put this on lightly toasted bagel halves, the following days on slices of sourdough toast. Can we also served on a bed of greens as a light salad.)

THANKS for stopping by my kitchen today.  Aren’t you glad there was a new recipe posted?  Me, too! I hope there’s another one tomorrow…or the next day.

 

 

21 Aug 2011 Lemon Layer Cake

I haven’t been doing too much cooking lately.  It’s been too hectic.  My beloved “empty nest” imploded.  My two youngest moved back home for the summer, and brought with them all their stuff, most of it unwashed and unsorted. One of them brought a living and breathing human house guest for the summer, and had other friends stay with us for upwards of a week, too.  The other one had frequent overnight guests, four or five a week.  Then my elder daughter, her son and boyfriend moved in for a week, out for a week, then back for three weeks, then finally they moved into the house seven houses down.  They drop in at least twice a day, dropping off and picking up my grandson.  Borrowing my mixer.  Picking up some boxes they left in the garage.  Checking out the contents of the refrigerator. Then our house guest left. Then my younger daughter left, too.  She went to Ghana.  Yes, Ghana, Africa.  Not all her stuff fit into the two suitcases she was allowed to take.  She packed 93.7 lbs of stuff into those two suitcases.  She left her other ton of belongings here, unwashed and unsorted. Tomorrow my son moves out and into an apartment with three other boys, four hours from here.  He was going to go today, but not all his laundry is done.  All of his laundry may never be done.  He’s taking most of his stuff with him.  And a lot of my stuff, too.  Plus I’ve been trying to teach him how to cook before he goes. I can’t have him starving to death or trying to survive on convenience foods…

So, cooking for me has been down low on my list, but cookbook club sent out an e-vite.  It was time for a “Signature Cake” meeting.  I had to start cooking, and it had to be good, and it was probably going to have to be a little bit complicated.  A “Signature Cake”,  as I see it, is show-y cake,  one that we might become known for (remembered for?!), a special cake our family and friends might look forward to–even ask for–on birthdays and occasions; a from scratch layer cake, with a filling, and a frosting.  I had seen the recipe for “Lemon Layer Cake” in several America’s Test Kitchen magazines (YES, several!  Did you know ATK cycles their recipes through various publications?  I didn’t either, but I have this recipe in two magazines, and neither one of them is a “Best of…”!  I was a little surprised-and yes,  disappointed- to discover this little secret.)

Anyway, after being soooo busy and not cooking, I suddenly had to jump into creating a “Signature Cake” and the one I chose really was a bit of a project.  But it’s worth it!  It looks spectacular.  Look!

The white cake is delicious, very tender, not overly sweet, and sturdy enough to support the lemon filling without compressing. The lemon filling has a perfect texture, with a spot-on, bright and tangy lemon flavor.  The frosting is a “seven minute” or boiled frosting, which I had never made before, but I fell in love with it’s marshmallow-y creaminess which was a wonderful foil to the tangy lemon filling.  (I also loved the fact that the frosting had no butter and no powdered sugar.) I will definately be making this cake again. But I’d have a plan.  I’d do it in three parts.  Day one, make the lemon filling.  Day two, bake the cakes.  Day of party, make the frosting and assemble the cake.

A few other hints:

First thing, before you get everything else ready, cut 1 cube of butter into 1/2 inch pieces, and put in the freezer.  You will need to use these frozen butter cubes in the lemon filling.

I was tempted to grate the rind of a few lemons to add to the lemon filling.  I am so glad I didn’t.  The lemon filling was tangy enough as it was.  I think adding lemon rind would have ruined it.

Don’t be afraid of the frosting. You’ll need an instant read thermometer, a double boiler, and an electric mixer…but it’s really pretty easy to make (and it’s fat free and yummy!)

I frosted this cake the night before it was to be served, I don’t think that was a good idea.  The frosting seemed to loose a bit of it’s volume.  I think you could layer the cake with the lemon filling the night before, cover with plastic wrap (or a cake dome) and refrigerate, but I think the frosting needs to be made, and applied to the cake, just a few hours before the cake is to be served.

Lemon Layer Cake

America‘s Test Kitchen

For the filling:

1 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 6 lemons) (you’ll need an additional 1T. of lemon juice for the frosting)

1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (less than one package, so measure out a teaspoonful)

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1/8 teaspoon table salt

4 large eggs

6 large egg yolks (reserve all of the egg whites for the cake)

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and frozen

For the cake:

2 1/4 cups cake flour, plus more for dusting the pans

1 cup whole milk, at room temperature

6 large egg whites, at room temperature (leftover from making the filling from the six egg yolks)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, softened but still cool

Fluffy White Icing

2 large egg whites

1 cup granulated sugar (7 ounces)

1/4 cup water

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from 1/2 lemon)

1 tablespoon corn syrup

Begin by Preparing the Filling: Measure 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice into a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the top to soften.

Heat the rest of the lemon juice, the sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is hot but not bubbling. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk the whole eggs and egg yolks until blended. Slowly whisk the lemon syrup into the eggs, then return the mixture to the saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 170 degrees on an instant read thermometer  Stir in the softened gelatin until completely dissolved.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the frozen butter until the butter has melted and the mixture is smooth. If desired/necessary, pour mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a non-reactive bowl (I skipped this step). Cover the surface with plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least four hours or up to two days. Stir mixture to loosen before spreading on cake layers.

To Make the Cake: Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.

In a large measuring cup, whisk together the milk, egg whites and vanilla. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt at low speed. With the mixer running on low speed, add the butter pieces one at a time until the mixture resembles fine, even crumbs. Stop the mixer and add all but about 1/2 cup of the wet ingredients. Beat the batter at medium speed until it is pale and fluffy, about 1 1/2 minutes. With the mixer running on low, slowly pour in the rest of the wet ingredients, then crank the speed back up to medium and beat for 30 seconds more. Scrape down the bowl and beat for 30 more seconds.

Divide the batter equally among the two cake pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 23 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean–do not overbake. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove the cakes from the pans, peel off the parchment and cool completely, right side up.

When the filling has chilled and the cake layers are cool, begin assembling the cake. Slice the cake layers in half horizontally. Place one layer golden side down on a serving platter, and tuck a few strips of parchment paper under the edges of the cake to protect the platter. Spread a third of the lemon filling on the cake layer, leaving a 1/2 inch border around the edge of the cake. Repeat twice more with cake layers and filling. Place the top layer of the cake golden side up.

To Make the Icing: Combine all ingredients in bowl of standing mixer or large heatproof bowl and set over medium saucepan filled with 1 inch of barely simmering water (do not let bowl touch water). Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture registers 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove bowl from heat and transfer mixture to standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 5 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high and continue to beat until mixture has cooled to room temperature and stiff peaks form, 5 minutes longer. Using icing spatula, spread frosting on cake. Serve.

Notes From ATK… Leftovers can be stored covered in the refrigerator, with the cut side of the cake covered tightly with plastic wrap, for up to 3 days.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today. I am glad I was home and cooking.  I hope you make this cake for an upcoming special occasion. It’s worth the effort…and you may become “famous” for it!

Polly

31 May 2011 Yes, I am baaaaack…

I’ve been gone so long, I don’t know what to say. Perhaps an explanation??  OK…

…all of a sudden I was planning my daughter’s wedding.  She gave us nine weeks from announcement day to wedding day.  Not a whole lot of time for a do-it-yourself wedding.  Not a whole lot of time to do anything other than make invitations, programs, wine and water bottle labels, menus, bake cookies and dips and pastas, shop for dresses and all the other clothing bits plus shoes, food, plates…, and ask for HELP!

Handmade invitations.

Fooling around while dress shopping. NO, I am NOT the one  supposed to be getting married.

How many dozen cookies did we make for the Cookie Shoppe thank you gifts?  I think we got up to 20 or 30 dozen.

Then my Aunt-from-England arrived to celebrate Easter with us and to attend the wedding and–stay with me for five weeks.  She turned out to be pretty high maintenance, and firmly attached to my hip.  With being a good and attentive hostess to a much loved aunt,  and doing all sorts of wedding stuff, spending any significant time cooking, photographing, and blogging  was out of the question.

My son gave me a fuzzy pink toilet seat cover for Easter.  When I asked him why, he said it was egg shaped and the right color!!!  Didn’t I think it was brilliant, too?! My next question he couldn’t answer, “What was a 20 year old boy, sorry, man, doing in the toilet seat aisle in Target?”

Then,  just ten days before the planned “I do”s, the wedding was suddenly CANCELLED =:O.

The Ring Bearer shirt arrived too, too large.  Not an issue now though….

The shower for the wedding that never happened.

We didn’t quite make it to the church on time…

Then my Aunt-from-Scotland arrived to attend the now not happening wedding.  Then my Mom arrived from San Diego to attend the not happening wedding.  We were all in shock and totally incapable of anything other than watching the Royal Wedding.  Twice.  No, three times. We stayed up all night to watch it, then we watched all the repeats the next day, and then again the next day.  The day after that my Dad started having tizzy fits so my Mom and Aunt-from Scotland had to fly down to San Diego ahead of schedule to tend to him.

Enjoying the Royal Wedding from San Jose!

Then my daughter left on her honeymoon, which was now not a honeymoon, but I still got to watch my two and half year old grandson while she was gone.  For a week. He’s a handful.  Wonderful, but a handful. Not much time to do much of anything other than count his break dancing head turns, play cars, feed, bathe, change and try to get him to go to bed-which turned out to be a nightmare.

My grandson in his usual motion.  He LOVES to run…and break dance…on his head.

Two days after my daughter returned to pick up her son, my Aunt-from-England and I went on a 10 day cruise to Alaska.  Now that was fun.  In the down time, of which there was a lot, I read 6 novels (only one I would recommend, “Room” by Emma Donoghue, and one Alaskan cookbook (wonderful, can’t wait to try out some Asian influenced Alaskan seafood dishes), but Internet access on board was seventy-five cents a minute, and s-l-o-w.  Plus, although I was eating three or four course meals four times a day (breakfast, lunch, tea, and dinner), I was not cooking a thing.  I did receive instruction on how to make Gravlax though.  I can’t wait to try my hand at that and hopefully post some very successful results.

Two tourists in Alaska. (Never trust a skinny cook!)


Five desserts on one plate! Am I in heaven?  BTW, the Pavlova was the best.

Gravlax!  The Head Chef of the cruise ship shared his recipe and method.  I took lots of notes.

After the cruise we were home for about forty eight hours, attended Cookbook Club (fondue!)  and a Dining for Women meeting (our second year anniversary!),  repacked our suitcases, and then headed down to San Diego for five days.  San Diego was heaven, but again, limited Internet access, and I was so busy going out for expensive lunches I had no time to cook or blog anyway!  Then home for two days, my Aunt-from-England had a meltdown, and I put her back on the plane to England with a very heavy heart.

Butterscotch Fondue

Some of the wonderful women from my Dining For Women chapter. We are doing what we can to assist impoverished women and children around the world out of poverty and into self sustainability, and we are doing it one grassroots project at a time, one dinner at a time.

One of the decadent open air lunches in San Diego, this one with my mother at the Hotel Del Coronado.

Now I have been home, alone, more-or-less, as my two college age children have returned home for the Summer, and it’s been bliss, but the only thing I have cooked is a s’more at my elder daughter’s home after a Memorial Day BBQ!  Tonight, another house guest arrives.  I’ve never met him.  My daughter invited him to stay with us, for the Summer, because he had nowhere else to go.  Um…what???? OUR house?  Are we a half-way house now?  I barely have enough bedrooms for my two returning students and ME!  We are adding one more now?  WHERE???  But I digress, this is tomorrow’s story, not yesterdays!

So today I am moving furniture around to accommodate one more summer resident and I am flipping through the cookbooks and magazines I have bought over the last few weeks, in hopes and anticipation of the day and time I will get back into the kitchen…which seems to be SOON!  Maybe this afternoon!  I have an cheese enchilada dish I want to remake, and lollipop steaks, and anything at all from my newly purchased David Lebovitz cookbook “Ready for Dessert”, and the previously mentioned Alaskan seafood cookbook, “Fishes and Dishes”.  I’ve made butterscotch fondue and Grand Marnier marshmallows, and Microwave Marmalade that I want to remake and photograph, along with my Blackberry Ribs, and recent sorbets that my Aunt-from-England enjoyed every afternoon.  And there’s the Blueberry Hot Chocolate I tasted in Alaska that I want to create for my non-coffee drinking daughter, and the Strawberry-Mango Meringue Pie my daughter and I want to perfect.  So much fun stuff to do…and hopefully I will have all Summer to do it.

Blackberry Ribs.

Pie with promise, Strawberry-Mango Meringue.

It’s good to be back!  Hope you missed me.  Now let’s start where we left off!  Where to begin, where to begin?

 

20 Jan 2011 Veggie Breakfast Casserole

Do you have a breakfast casserole in your repertoire?  Breakfast casseroles are great (but they don’t photograph well).  The bulk of the work is done the night before.  The casserole rests in the refrigerator while you sleep, and is taken out and baked in the morning. Breakfast casseroles are a wonderful thing if you are entertaining overnight house guests.  They are  convenient to make for groups of friends sharing a snow condo or the beach house.  They are a must for family gatherings such as Christmas morning and special occasion-baby shower, Valentine’s Day-brunches.  Breakfast casseroles are popular at potluck brunches.  You just gotta have one or two in your repertoire!

Here’s a good one to start with.  It’s based on a Spinach Strata recipe from epicurious.com, but I increased the spinach, added mushrooms, decreased the mustard and the eggs, and changed the method! I guess that means this recipe is adaptable.  Don’t like all that spinach? Use half and then add something else that you do like, diced and drained tomatoes, chopped artichoke hearts, sauteed diced zucchini, maybe?  Want to add in a ¼ cup chopped bell pepper or spicy peppers? Go ahead!  Don’t have the specific cheese mentioned? Use what you like and what you have on hand (just don’t use all cheddar or you will have a greasy mess).  Want to saute fresh spinach instead of using frozen spinach?  Go for it! You could also add some browned sausage but I really think a few slices of good bacon on the side would be better. Be sure to add some citrus on the side, too, so that all the iron from the spinach can be absorbed!

My one problem with this recipe is that it makes soooo much! Breakfast casseroles are filling, a 9 x 13 inch pan full serves a crowd of 12 or so (variable of course, depending on how many hale and hearty men and teenage boys you have in the crowd), which is good for many occasions, but not so good for a  quiet brunch at home.  If you are making this just for you and your immediate family, half the recipe and bake it in a 9 inch square pan for a bit less than the stated cooking time.  Leftovers reheat well in the microwave and I have enjoyed this for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

I think you’ll enjoy having this recipe in your repertoire.  If you get hooked on breakfast casseroles, I have a smoked salmon one to share, too 🙂

Veggie Breakfast Casserole

  • 2 (10-oz) packages frozen spinach, thawed
  • 1 lb. mushrooms, diced
  • 1 ½ cups finely chopped onion (1 large)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided use
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon  nutmeg
  • 8 cups stale cubed (1 inch) French. Italian or Sourdough bread (1/2 lb)
  • 2 cups (about 6 oz) coarsely grated good melting cheese such as Gruyère, Jack, Smoked Gouda, Mozzarella, cheddar (the combo used will affect the taste of your casserole, of course.  For the best taste, mix your cheeses.  Definitely don’t use a full 2 cups of SMOKED Gouda (overpowering smoked taste) or cheddar (too greasy).
  • 1 cup (about 2 oz.) finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 2  ¾ cups milk (I used 2%)
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  1. Defrost spinach in the microwave and let cool.  Then squeeze–and I do mean s-q-u-e-e-e-e-z-e handfuls of spinach to remove as much liquid as possible.  At least half your “spinach” will be green water.
  2. Cook onion in 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon in a large heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in spinach and ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and nutmeg.  Cook, stirring, for a minute or so and then remove from pan.  Add diced mushrooms and another tablespoonful of butter and olive oil to the pan.  Saute mushrooms until cooked, about 5 minutes.  Raise heat, and boil off excess moisture.  Add mushrooms to onion spinach mixture.
  3. Pour bread cubes into a very large bowl.  Stir in cooled spinach mixture and cheeses.
  4. In another bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, mustard, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.  Pour this mixture over the bread-veggie-cheese mixture in the large bowl.
  5. Pour mixture into a 9 x 13 inch pan.  Spread mixture evenly into corners and smooth the top. Chill the casserole, covered with plastic wrap, overnight (8 hours or so).
  6. Preheat oven to 350°F while casserole stands at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  7. Bake breakfast casserole, uncovered, in middle of oven until puffed, golden brown, and cooked through, 45 to 55 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Enjoy your breakfast casserole with some great coffee, sliced fruit and a slice or two of really good, salty bacon and thanks for stopping by my kitchen this fine, fine morning!

14 Jan 2011 Milk Chocolate Coconut Macaroons

Ever had a “Bounty” Bar?  If  you are a coconut lover, I sure hope you have!   “Mounds” bars and “Almond Joy” bars are OK in a pinch, but if you are a serious coconut lover, search out a Bounty Bar! It’s an English candy bar, so it is often found at stores like Cost Plus World Market, English specialty stores (of course) and grocery stores with a well developed International Foods section (I’ve seen them at larger Safeways), and I just found them hiding out at Indian grocery stores (and there is an Indian grocery store within walking distance of my home…!)

Did you find one? Good! Now that you’ve tasted a Bounty Bar, you  know the appeal of these Coconut Macaroons.  You know the joy of a creamy coconut filling enrobed in some seriously good milk chocolate. And I know you’ll want to make these, because you’ve realized that if you continue to pay exorbitant US prices for a UK Bounty Bar you are going to go broke rather quickly.  And, I know that you want to share the joy!

You’ll notice that some of my macaroons don’t have milk chocolate on them.  What was I thinking?!  LOL!  I was making a batch to share, and I thought that some people might not want chocolate on their macaroon.  I was wrong!

I found the original recipe at The Brown Eyed Baker (one of my favorite recipe websites) who adapted the recipe from a combination of Joy of Cooking and Baking Illustrated recipes.  I changed the chocolate to make it so this macaroon more closely resembles a Bounty Bar.

The Brown Eyed Baker said this recipe yields about 3 dozen cookies.  I got half that many.

Milk Chocolate Coconut Macaroons

For the macaroons:

2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 large egg white
1½ teaspoons vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
3½ cups sweetened flaked coconut

For the chocolate dipping & drizzle-ing:

1 large Cadbury Milk Chocolate bar, chopped (about 4 oz)

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, stir together the sweetened condensed milk, egg white, vanilla and salt until combined. Stir in the coconut until well blended.

3. With a small scoop, drop the dough by tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto the cookie sheets.

4. Bake, one sheet at a time, until the cookies are light golden brown, 15 to 2o minutes.

5. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets until slightly set, about 2 minutes; remove to a wire rack with a wide metal spatula.

6. Melt the chopped chocolate in the microwave on 50% power for 2 to 3 minutes.  Stir well.

7. Dip the bottoms of the macaroon in the melted chocolate.  Scrape off the excess chocolate. Place the macaroons a wax or parchment paper covered plate.

8.  Drizzle remaining chocolate over the tops of the macaroons.

9. Refrigerate the macaroons until the chocolate sets, about 15 minutes.

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