Saturday, October 6, 2018

Orange French Toast

We love to enjoy brunch at home.
It's a no rush, relax and listen to music while
we prepare something delicious and brew
the coffee kind of morning.
I LOVE the smells of breakfast:
coffee, pancakes or French toast, and
 bacon which create the best aromas. 
 Start by letting your skillet preheat to
medium/medium-low and turn the oven
to 350º. It doesn't take long to get
things going.
 Combine the batter ingredients in a shallow
 dish. I cut this recipe in half for the two
of us, so a pie dish was a perfect size.
Cut the French bread into 1" thick slices.
Day old bread works best, but you can
just let the cut slices sit on the counter
 while you set up. Then soak the slices for
 2  minutes on each side.
(tip: I buy French bread and slice in 1"
thick slices then slide it back in the bag
and pop in the freezer. That way I can
 always make French toast or garlic bread
removing just how many slices I want)
 Brown them in butter then remove and put
on a cookie sheet in a 325º oven and bake
for about 15-20 minutes. This crisps up
the outside. Put your plates in the oven
for the last minute to warm them.
It makes such a difference to serve
breakfast on heated plates. Serve with a
dusting of powdered sugar and
a side of warm maple syrup.
This is a nice brunch for 2 or 12.
Perfect since it's all ready at the same time.
I cut the recipe in half for the two of us. 
Double the recipe for a large group. 

Orange French Toast
1 C orange juice
1 C half and half
4 eggs, beaten
2 T sugar
1 T Grand Marnier
1/2 t vanilla extract
1/2 t orange extract (if you have it)
1 lb loaf day-old French bread

Mix together the first 7 ingredients in a
big shallow dish. Cut the bread diagonally
into thick 1" slices. Soak bread 2 minutes
on each side. Heat a large skillet over medium
heat then add butter to coat the bottom. Brown
the slices on  both sides then transfer to a large
cookie sheet (in a single layer) and bake in a
325º preheated oven for 15-20 minutes.
To serve: dust with powdered sugar and
                serve on heated plates with warm
                maple syrup. Serves 6.


*recipe adapted from Susan Branch

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Shrimp and Grits

I love finding a new recipe to add to my 
collection of favorites.
This one is from the book 
"Whiskey In A Teacup" by Reese Witherspoon.
I cut the recipe in half for the two of us and 
followed it exactly, making only a slight change
to the procedure. The full recipe with all 
the other menu sides would serve 6-8
for entertaining. But, it's easy enough
for any day's dinner. 
1. I added the water and Worcestershire sauce
   along with the tomatoes, then added the shrimp. 
2. I keep tomato paste measures out in 1 T scoops 
    in the freezer, so it's always easy to add to a
    recipe. It melts right in with the liquids. 
3. The grits definitely needed more water. 
    Her directions call for only 3 C water. 
     I used the package for guidelines. 

Reese's menu suggestions:

southern dinner party
Cheddar Biscuits
Shrimp and Grits
Sauteed Baby Kale
Mud Pie Trifle
Cowboy Cookies

Shrimp and Grits
2 T olive oil
1 T butter
1 medium onion chopped
1 small green pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes with liquid
1 t Cajun/Creole seasoning 
   (Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning) 
2 T tomato paste
1/2 C water
2 t Worcestershire sauce
2 lbs medium-large raw shrimp, peeled
Salt to taste
chopped green onions for garnish

In a large skillet, add the olive oil and butter
 over medium-high until the butter is melted.
Add the onions and green pepper and saute until
softened, about 4 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
Stir in the tomatoes and their liquid, the
  tomato paste, creole seasoning, water, and 
Worcestershire sauce. Cook for 2-3  minutes. 
Add the shrimp, stirring for 4-5 minutes until 
the shrimp turn pink. Remove from heat. 
Taste and add salt if needed. 

Serve immediately over warm grits. 
Garnish with chopped green onions. 

1-1/2 C grits (not quick-cooking)
1 t salt
4 T butter
3-4 C water
Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. 
Stir in grits and salt. Bring back to a boil, 
stirring occasionally, then reduce the heat 
to low, stir in the butter, and simmer for about
 15 minutes. The grits will absorb all the water,
 so you need to stir them occasionally and 
add more water if they become too thick. 


Monday, September 17, 2018

Fluffiest Pancakes

Welcome to my new favorite pancake recipe.
What's a weekend morning without pancakes?
It's a variation of my Everyday Pancakes,
but with a buttermilky taste and fluffiness.
You want light and fluffy buttermilky pancakes,
  but you don't have buttermilk. No problem!
These will satisfy your cravings and they're
super easy to make any day of the week.
Gather ingredients. Today we're having
blueberry pancakes.
Combine the milk and vinegar and let sit 
for about 5 minutes to get soured.
Whisk the egg into the milk and stir
gently into the dry ingredients. Stir
in the butter. 
Letting batter rest for at least 10 minutes
undisturbed. It's what gives you
fluffier pancakes.
Meanwhile, heat your pan to med-hi,
  put your plates in a warm oven,
and start the coffee.
You will see bubbles in the batter.
Do not stir the batter. This is key
to get the fluffiest pancakes.
Just scoop out using a ladle or a
1/4 C measure per pancake in a sprayed
and buttered heated pan. You can also
use oil. Add blueberries before flipping.
(or mini chocolate chips)
Small bubbles will burst on top and
the edges will look set, about 2 minutes.
Flip and brown the other side for a minute.
These are so good with or without blueberries.
They're even good plain, so moist and tender. 
I've also made them with a few chocolate chips.

This recipe serves 2-4 which is perfect for us.
I save the leftover cooked pancakes then 
 microwave them the next day. Just as good. 

Melt in your mouth pancake goodness!

Fluffiest Pancakes 
3/4 C milk
2 T white vinegar
Mix in a measuring cup and let sit 5 miuteswhile
you proceed

1 C flour
2 T sugar
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
Whisk dry ingredients in a medium bowl

1 egg
Add the egg to the milk and whisk with a fork
Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and whisk
gently to combine. Do not overmix.

2 T melted butter (more for the cooking pan)
stir into the batter

Let the batter rest for at least 10 minutes or longer.
Use this time to heat plates in a warm oven,
make coffee, heat the griddle or large pan to
med heat, that's #6 on my stove.

Use cooking spray on the pan. I add a little butter
for flavor. You can also use vegetable oil.
Do not stir the batter, just scoop out using a small ladle
or 1/4 C measusre to add the batter into the hot pan.
It should sizzle a bit. Cook about 2 minutes until
small bubbles burst on top and the edges look set.
Now is the time to arrange a few blueberries on top.
Peek under the pancakes with a spatula and when
golden brown flip and let cook on the other side
for another minute.

Remove to the warm plates in the oven.
Serve with butter and maple syrup

4 servings

Click on the links to see other pancakes recipes.
Easy Everyday Pancakes
The BEST Buttermilk Pancakes
The BEST Fluffy Blueberry Pancakes

Monday, April 2, 2018

Bolognese Sauce...the Italian way!

 Here are a few helpful tips when 
cooking bolognese that will make this a 
“truly tasty Italian meal”
    1. This is slow food. Do not skip, or rush
 through the ingredients or the process. 
          2. Allow your sauce to cook very gently for 
several hours to deepen the flavors.
      3. Use bacon,  because it truly enhances the flavor
   4. Use the combo of ground meats.
I  use 1 lb beef. and 
1/2 lb Italian sausage
  5. Make sure your ground meats are finely 
 broken up as you brown them.
   6Let the wine reduce by half
     6. Use Tagliatelle Noodles or fettuccine pasta- 
cook al dente- do not overcook
 7. The proper way to serve- is to toss 
the pasta with enough sauce to coat
then dish out and add more sauce to each serving. Sprinkle it with 
the cheese and chopped fresh parsley.
  8. Play a little Frank or Dino while cooking – 
with a big glass of Chianti of course!
10. Most of all,  enjoy the process. 
First, you'll need to get in the mood. Put on your bib
 apron because you're about to do some cooking!
Yes, and get out you Dean Martin CD or playlist.
Gather all the ingredients;
bacon  (or pancetta),
chopped and ready,
Have all the herbs and spices measured and
ready to add.
Use your large heavy pot. Cook the bacon and remove.
Saute the vegetables in the bacon drippings.
Add the garlic.
I'm using ground beef and Italian sausage.
Brown the meat well. Add the seasonings.
Add the tomato paste.
Add the wine.
Add the reserved bacon, crumbled.
Add the tomatoes.
Add the butter, parsley, and cream.
Keep warm until ready to serve.

Bolognese Sauce
1-½ lbs ground beef, 
or (½ lb each beef, veal, sausage)
4 slices of bacon
1 T olive oil
1 large onion, (1-½ C chopped) 
2 carrots (¾ C diced) 
2 celery stalks (¾ C diced)
2 garlic cloves (1T diced)
1 t salt
 ½ t pepper
2 bay leaves
½ t thyme
½ t oregano
½ t cinnamon
½ t nutmeg
2 T tomato paste
1 C red wine
28 oz can diced tomatoes
14 oz can tomato sauce
1 C beef broth
½ C cream
2 t sugar
2 T butter
1 lb fettuccine  pasta
3 T chopped fresh parsley
1 C Parmesan cheese
In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat.
Add bacon and cook until browned, 4-5 minutes.
Remove the bacon to a plate and add the onions, 
carrots, and celery to the drippings. Cook until 
soft4-5 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, bay leaves, thyme, oregano, cinnamon, and
nutmeg; stirring for 30 seconds to blend. Add
 the ground meat, breaking up to cook until 
browned, about 5  minutes. Add the tomato 
paste and cook, stirring for 1-2 minutes. Add the
 wine, stirring to deglaze the pan and remove any 
browned bit from the bottom of the pan. Reduce
 by half, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes,
 tomato sauce, beef broth, and sugar. Bring to 
a boil then reduce heat to medium low and 
simmer, stirring occasionally until thickened, 
about 1-½ hours. Stir in the cream, butter, 
and parsley. Simmer for 2 minutes. Remove the
 bay leaves, and adjust the seasoning to taste; add
 more salt if necessary. Remove from heat, cover pot 
and keep warm until ready to serve.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water 
to a boil and cook the pasta for 8-10 minutes. 
Serve with sauce and top with parmesan cheese 
and fresh parsley.