Baking · Cooking · Food · Surprise

Is That Brioche?

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So creamy and delicious

My husband and I are huge fans of bread pudding. During one of our dinners at Kres is Orlando, the chef had sent out bread pudding for us to try after the incredible dinner he had prepared. What a surprise and enjoyment to taste this amazing creation. It was made with Brioche!

Brioche is amazing bread. So light and a little sweetness that you just can’t resist, or at least it is hard for me. When I was shopping at The Fresh Market in Kissimmee I picked up a package of their cinnamon swirl brioche tray. It is like a cinnamon roll without the icing and extra sugar. Such a nice balance of the brioche with the cinnamon. Tasted so good warmed up with a little butter on it. The next day I had a piece toasted with fresh fruit.

Tonight, after the brioche had been in the refrigerator for a couple of days I decided to fix my husband a little surprise of bread pudding from the cinnamon swirl brioche. Now there are a million recipes for bread pudding out there. But this recipe is mine. So, you’re getting my little secrets I don’t normally share.

1 loaf of cinnamon swirl brioche
4 eggs beaten
4 cups of heavy whipping cream
½ cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cinnamon and a little more to dust the top
½ cup dried cranberries
1 cup dried strawberries diced
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut brioche into 1-inch cubes and place in large bowl. In another bowl combine the sugar, beaten eggs, heavy whipping cream, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon making sure it is mixed well. Pour mixture over brioche cubes and let soak for 30 minutes. (Brioche is not toasted or dry, so you don’t need to soak any longer than that. If you do have dried brioche, then soak at least an hr.) Fold in the cranberries and strawberries. Spray casserole or baking dish with Pam or you can use butter. Pour mixture into dish, sprinkle with cinnamon and bake in oven for 45 minutes to an hour.

Allow the bread pudding to cool. You can top with whatever whiskey sauce, chocolate sauce, vanilla sauce, fresh fruit or ice cream of your choice.

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Out of the oven and cooled

As I mentioned, I used dried strawberries in this one. You can use whatever dried fruits you would like and nuts as well. Here in Central Florida we are huge on the strawberries and if you haven’t tried dried strawberries, you should. It is like a little fruit leather (fruit roll-up) still in the fruit. There are recipes on Pinterest with directions for drying strawberries. You don’t need extra sugar with them as the drying process brings that out. But once you have one, it is hard to stop eating them.

Tonight, I had some fresh strawberries I need to use up. I cut them up and add a little sweetener (I use Swerve instead of sugar 90% of the time) to them (about a tablespoon) and let them sit in the refrigerator while I made the bread pudding. Then I added an oz of both vodka and Chambord to the strawberries. Gave them a little mix and put them back in the refrigerator. When I gave the bread pudding to my husband, I topped it off with the drunk strawberries. Now here is a little secret, take the strawberries (4 cups worth), leave them whole but remove stems and place in a Ziploc bag. Add the sugar, ½ cup fresh orange juice, vodka, and an oz of Grand Marnier. Let the strawberries sit for about an hour turning every 1/5 minutes. Serve the strawberries in a nice stemmed glass with a little sprinkle of rock sugar on top and some whipped cream. Taste incredible with a scone or shortbread cookie on the side and a nice cup of coffee.

Enjoy!

 

Cooking · country life · Family · Food · Party · summer

Grandma Treva’s Potato Salad

Potato salad is one of my favorite foods to make when you have a cookout or large gathering. It brings back such great memories of watching my grandmother make it. She would make it for church functions and to go with fried chicken. I have not tasted potato salad like hers anywhere else. It is very refreshing and different.

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Grandma Treva’s Potato Salad

It has been a while since I have made it. I had to pare it down for just the two of us this time. I think it is pretty good even if I say so myself. There are no true measurements, so you will kind of have to take a light hand and add more if needed. But give it a try and let me know what you think.

Grandma Treva’s Potato Salad

5 lbs of potatoes cleaned, peeled and chopped into bite size pieces
½ a large onion finely chopped
1 large bell pepper finely chopped
1 apple peeled and finely chopped
2 celery stalks cleaned and finely chopped
2 eggs boiled and finely chopped
1 tbsp prepared mustard
½ cup to 1 cup of mayonnaise
1/3 cup to ½ cup of apple cider vinegar
1 tsp of salt or more to taste
Paprika

Put potatoes and salt in large pot with water covering potatoes by 2 inches. Boil until just done so a fork can easily pierce through the potatoes. This should take about 20 minutes. Drain potatoes into strainer and sprinkle vinegar on potatoes making sure to cover all and let drain. Put potatoes in a large bowl with onion, bell pepper, apple, celery and eggs. Add mayonnaise, mustard and gently combine. Add more salt if needed but taste it first. Place in serving bowl and sprinkle gently with paprika.


** I switched out the usual vinegar with an apple balsamic vinegar. It gives it a deeper flavor. The sweetness of the apples and the tart of the vinegar makes this such a light salad. No sugar, pickles or relish is added!! You don’t need it. I have used granny smith apples and even ambrosia apples so use the one that you like the most. And being from the south, I have also been know to use Miracle Whip/Mayonnaise combo if I don’t have enough mayo.

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New vinegar for my potato salad. Unbelievably wonderful!
Cooking · Food

Buttermilk Heaven

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Yummy buttermilk pancakes with fruit compote!

Breakfast in my house is very simple. My husband has what he wants, and I have whatever I want. Normally anything heavy or big is saved for the weekends or special days. It’s not unusual to find him drinking a protein shake while I am trying to fold my breakfast taco without my salsa dripping out. What can I say, I am Texas girl who loves her tacos anyway I can have them.

This weekend I decided to make my husband his favorite buttermilk pancakes. This recipe is one dating back to my home economics days in junior high. Tried and true recipe that can be tweaked to please any palate. From adding chocolate chips to chia seeds, I have manipulated this basic recipe so many times over the years. This includes making it lactose free, fat-free and dairy free. This is a good base and basic recipe that also is incredible as a waffle since the buttermilk can make it thick.

Buttermilk Pancakes

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
1 ½ cup buttermilk
¼ cup oil
2 tsp vanilla

Shift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Combine the egg and wet ingredients in medium bowl. Stir liquid ingredients into dry ingredients until moistened.
Preheat griddle or large skillet to 325 degrees or medium heat. Lightly grease your griddle/skillet. Pour about ½ cup batter onto the hot griddle for each pancake. Cook until the tops are bubbly and seem to be look dry. Turn and cook until browned. That usual takes a couple of minutes.

 

I happen to not be a big syrup fan and we try to eat as healthy as we can muster. I am a big fan of either making your own fruit syrup or compote. Mixed berries are what I chose to make for these pancakes. Strawberry, blueberries and blackberries is what you will find in the recipe, but you may use whatever combination you want or just one type. I have been known to also do a pineapple compote. If you try that I suggest adding a little cinnamon to your pancakes. Great combination of flavors.

Fruit Syrup

1 cup of strawberries sliced
1 cup of blueberries
1 cup of blackberries
1 tbsp. of orange juice
2 tbsp. of honey
1 tbsp. of vanilla extract
1 tsp nutmeg
1 cinnamon stick

Combine the fruit and orange juice in a sauce pan over medium heat stirring as the fruit begin to cook. As the fruit starts to break down and release their juices, add honey. You may need more depending on how sweet you like it and the sweetness of the fruit. I try to use fruit that is ripe to almost too ripe. They have the most flavor and juices. Add the nutmeg and cinnamon stick. Allow fruit to simmer until cooked and you have a thick syrup. Remove from heat and add the vanilla. Stir and it is ready to serve either hot or you can let it cool.

 

I don’t cook the pancakes, my husband does. He is great at making eggs and cooking pancakes so why change it now. These pancakes can also be kept in the freezer if you have leftovers and so can the compote.

 

I hope you enjoy these fluffy treats!

Cooking · Food · Grilling

Ah Shish Kabob!

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Yum!

It is lunch time and I am grilling my dinner already. My husband works late so I pack his dinner from what I make the day before. He generally eats out for lunch with his business partner or clients but working late requires dinner. I don’t want him having to eat at 9 or 10 o’clock at night so I pack his dinner. And today with the rain expected this evening I am making a simple Shish Kabob.

I picked up a 4-pound roast when I went shopping just for this. I would normally use venison, but I am down to just a little left and don’t want to use it on my kabobs. When you use a roast try to get one with good marbling but not too much fat. Otherwise, use a good marbled steak. Without the fat it is going to be tough even when you use a marinade.

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Making Shish Kabobs

I don’t like marinades if it overpowers the food. There are so many marinade recipes on Pinterest and the internet. But I stick to what I know and love so that the flavor of the meat takes center stage. For my ‘marinade’ I use a cup of beef bone marrow broth (or you can use canned beef stock but add rosemary and thyme to it). To that I add 2 tablespoons of chopped garlic, 1 tablespoon of Tony Chachere’s, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce and 2 tablespoons fresh cracked pepper. I cut the roast into squares and place in a vacuum seal container with the marinade. Once sealed I marinade overnight or at least 6 hours.

I prefer to use wooden skewers when cooking red meat. Metal skewers tend to heat up and cook the interior of the meat too much. I like our meat medium rare so to avoid overcooking I use the wooden skewers and soak them for at least an hour before using.

Today I am using large chopped onions, bell peppers and mushrooms with my shish kabobs. I don’t season the vegetables. The marinade and meat along with the smoky grill will add the right flavors to the vegetables without clashing with the meat.

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Ready for the grill

I skewer the meat and vegetables alternating them allowing the meat to be separated to cook evenly. After heating the grill to 450 degrees, cook the skewers turning them after 3 to 5 minutes allowing the meat to sear without overcooking. And there you go, beef shish kabobs! Later I will serve it with rice and squash for my dinner. I made more than enough, and I will show you what I do with the leftovers. I won’t let good meat go to waste.

Cooking · Food

Sous Vide Me

Cookbook Collection

I thought I would talk a little about cooking with you today. Cooking is one of my favorite things to do. It is how I show my feelings and how I like to take care of people. I had written a cook book for my daughter, at her request, and then my computer crashed. I didn’t back it up! Rookie mistake to say the least. When I went to rewrite her another one, by this time she was now severely lactose intolerant. So, I had to set about changing recipes and making new ones to accommodate her needs. I will send her recipes at her request from time to time and started saving them along the way. So, one day, I will have a new cook book ready to go. Until then, I try to make sure I write it down and take pictures of the recipe to have additional backup of my creations.

Growing up in Texas, Tex-Mex and authentic Mexican food are my favorites. Grandma made great biscuits, but the refried beans and tortillas were my favorites for breakfast. Our mother made great German style foods. Italian was my go to as a teenager. Mother had a great marinara sauce, but I like mine even better. I loved taking Home Economics in school. It helped expose me to different types of food and how to make a kitchen function well. Trust me, if the kitchen set up doesn’t flow well, neither will your cooking.

As we grow up and get exposed to more cultures, our food sphere expands. I love food. I love figuring out the spices and learning different ways of cooking. From drinks to desserts, I am always excited to taste new things and how it is made. Learning what wines to pair with food, and how to make those cute little bubbles of spirits makes cooking so much more exciting. There is a wine or liquor for every course, I just love it!

I also love setting the table properly. I don’t get many occasions to do that anymore with the kids all grow up. So anytime Marie wants to have a party, I am right there with her. I miss setting the full array of dishes for a table. Berry bowls are one of favorites. Few know what they are, and I love explaining the history of it. My husband and I have yet to really buy a nice set of dishes since we married (both previously divorced). So, you will see a lot of pictures with my deer dishes from good old Bass Pro. But Marie, Marie is the collector of dishes. Part of that is my fault for giving my old china to her. It makes for great occasions when you have an array of different dishes to use and expands your décor options for the parties. To me a good set of dishes/China just makes the food taste better. It can be dishes from the dollar store but if you put in the effort to set a nice table, the food just stands out.

Recipe Collection 1

Both Marie and I are collectors of cookbooks. Some we both have, and some are unique to the other. I have been known to take all my cookbooks and stack them up beside my chair for a day of inspiration as I thumb through them. I love to feel the pages in my hands and sometimes the little stores that go along with them are written with the recipe. Don’t get me wrong, Pinterest is great for a quick idea and go to source. But nothing beats a good old cookbook in your hand.

Marie and I are both collectors of kitchen gadgets. Whether it is new or an antique, we both love our kitchen gadgets. KitchenAid has made it even easier with their mixers and all the wonderful attachments. Things as simple as a rolling-pin to a garlic press are so much fun. Pastry cutters and a simple mandolin can take a pie from good to great. One of my favorite ‘gadget’ you could say is my sous vide machine. I love it! My husband’s friend made his own sous vide from a YouTube video. Yeah, that didn’t work out too well. Then another friend who happens to be an incredible chef in his own right, showed me his set up. Again, the set up was homemade but far superior to the other. I opted to buy the actual whole machine for myself. They make an incredible countertop version. You would be amazed all the things you can make in it and how much it will help when it comes to throwing parties.

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Sous Vide supreme

One of my husband’s favorite meals, venison with a Bordelaise sauce, I use my sous vide to cook. I decided to cook it and share with you how easy it is to make. Since my husband’s hunting and fishing supplies roughly 90% of our meat, I always have something wonderful on hand. With the meat defrosted, I prepared the sous vide machine by filling it with water and setting the temperature. I like my meat medium rare, so I set it for 134 degrees. As the water heats up I season the meat with my go to seasoning of granulated garlic (fresh garlic seems to go rancid when sous vide too long) and Tony Chachere’s Spicy Blend. Then I vacuum seal the venison loins in two separate bags making sure to double seal the ends. Once the water reaches the 134 degrees I place the sealed meat in the rack and set the timer for 4 hours. The venison would be ready in an hour if need be, but I wanted this for dinner, so I set it for 4 hours. The machine will cook the meat to the 134 degrees but never go beyond that and hold it at the temperature until ready to eat.

 

Bordelaise sauce is a fair easy sauce to make. There are many different versions you can find on the internet. I prepare it the way I was taught by a chef friend of mine. I use half of a large shallot chopped (about 2 tablespoons), 2 cups of beef bone broth (I make my own but you can used canned broth and add a demi-glace to it), one tablespoon of butter, 2 cups of red wine (I used a Cabernet, but I prefer a Merlot), fresh cracked pepper and thyme (I showed a bottle of thyme but remembered I just planted some fresh so used it instead). Sauté the shallots until tender then add the thyme (roughly ½ a tablespoon). Then add the wine, broth and cracked pepper to taste (I like a lot of pepper so about a tablespoon). Simmer until reduced by half, strain the sauce before serving.

 

While the meat was cooking I prepared a butternut squash for the oven. Peeled, diced and seasoned with rosemary, garlic and Tony Chachere’s Spice N’ Herbs seasoning. I prepared a baking sheet with foil and sprayed it with avocado oil spray. Oven heated to 425 degrees, I cooked the squash for 20 minutes turn them halfway through the process.

 

Once the meat was ready, I removed it from the bags and let it sit for a couple minutes. Normally I would have prepared the grill to sear the outside, but it was raining. Instead I heated my skillet until it was hot and seared the outside of the meat. I like the lines the pan makes but I don’t want to cook the meat. I remove it from the heat and use a torch to make the lines darker on the meat and give it a little crunch on the outside. Perfectly medium rare!

 

Finished off the meal with some English peas and I have a happy husband. Have you tried Sous Vide cooking yet?

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