Irish Whiskey Cake

This year I got a little carried away with making Irish recipes for our St Paddy’s Day dinner.  Here today, we have the meal’s finale; Irish Whiskey Cake.

Irish Whiskey Cake

Irish Whiskey Cake

You might be tempted to call this a “drunken cake” because of the whiskey content.  But fear not, the alcohol content evaporates with cooking, leaving behind the flavor of the whiskey.  To be really authentic, you should use Irish Whiskey, but having none in the house, I used what I had, which was an American brand of whiskey.   Can’t say I noticed a hugh difference in flavor….it’s just plain good no matter what brand you use.  Oh, and it’s very OK to adjust the amount upward if you’re so inclined.

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When you look at this cake you would not suspect what’s hidden inside.  It looks like a nice golden poundcake, unassuming and quiet-like.  But wait…..what’s that ribbon of moistness lying along the bottom of the cake?  and what IS that white, crusty, crunchiness on top?  That folks, is the whiskey glaze that slowly seeps through the cake from top to bottom carrying all the whiskey flavor throughout the cake and making it super moist.  Scattered throughout my cake are finely chopped walnuts, but you could also use pecans.   For those with nut allergies, you can leave them out and still be totally satisfied with the results.

Note how the glaze pools in the recesses of the cake.

Note how the glaze pools in the recesses of the cake.

The recipe for this cake calls for baking it in a round tube pan or bundt pan, but I wanted to share the cake with another family, so I baked it in two loaf pans, and split the amount of glaze between the two cakes.  There was no problem in doing that, they both came out fine.

IRISH WHISKEY CAKE

Yield:  1 round bundt cake, or 2 smaller loaf cakes (8″ x 4″)IMG_9423

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 1 box yellow cake mix (without pudding added)
  • 1 small box instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 oz. whiskey of choice ( or more?)
  • 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup milk ( skim is OK)
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)

For the glaze:IMG_9431

  • 1/2 cup whiskey
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350*F.  Generously spray a bundt cake pan or 2 loaf pans with non-stick spray, and then flour well, shaking out the excess flour.

2.  In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the cake mix, pudding mix, and eggs.  Beat well…this will be a thick mixture.

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3.  In a large measuring cup or bowl, whisk together the oil, milk, and whiskey.  Add to cake mixture and continue to beat 3 minutes.  Lastly fold in the nuts, if using.

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4.  Pour batter into prepared pan(s) and bake for 60 minutes.   Loaf cakes may take a little less time.  Start timing at 45 minutes and watch and test for doneness.  Mine took about 50 minutes.

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5.  While cake is baking, make glaze.  Place whiskey glaze ingredients in a sauce pan over medium heat.  Cook on stove top just until it begins to bubble and boil.  Set aside.

6.  When cake is out of the oven, pour the glaze slowly over the cake while it is hot and still in the pan.  It helps to absorb more quickly if you make holes all over the top of the cake with a chop stick or other fine wooden tool.  Let cake stand in the pan for at least 2 hours before removing to a rack to finish cooling.

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7.  Once completely cooled, remove cake from pan.  Wrap in foil and refrigerate 12 hours or more for flavors to permeate throughout the cake.  Keep leftovers refrigerated.

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SOURCE:   The Ranting Chef

 

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(The Best) Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

For something so simple as Irish Soda Bread, there certainly are a lot of recipes out there for making it.   Luckily for me, I have a recipe for the best ISB I’ve ever tasted and so it’s the one I keep returning to time after time.

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Generally speaking, Irish Soda Bread recipes seem to fall into two categories; those with raisins and those without.  Most all of them call for caraway seeds.  Since I am not fond of caraway seeds, I always leave them out, but we love the bread with raisins.  They add just a touch of sweetness.

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This recipe was submitted by a church member when we were putting together a recipe book of favorite recipes by women of our church.  It contains raisins and NO caraway seeds.  Besides the usual baking soda and buttermilk combination, this version has three eggs in it also, so it raises up nice and tall.  It will fill a 9-inch round pan to the top, with a nice high crown.  The eggs also make the texture of this bread more cake-like.

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When I have this bread around I want to keep having a piece, with coffee, with tea, with just about anything.  I especially like it in the morning with some fruit for breakfast.   Making this bread only once a year for St. Patrick’s Day is way too long to wait to enjoy this wonderful bread.  Once you taste it you will want to make it much more frequently than that.  I promise you’ll be craving it all year ’round.

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Butter spread on warm bread makes it just a little better!!

 

BEST EVER IRISH SODA BREAD

Yield:  1  9-inch round loaf, approximately 12 servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour (I used white whole-wheat flour)IMG_9406
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, chilled
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, chilled
  • 1 1/2 cups raisins

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Grease a 9-inch round cake pan.

2.  Whisk together all the dry ingredients, flour through sugar.

3.  Using a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until well combined.

4.  In another bowl, whisk the eggs, then add the buttermilk and combine well.

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Lightly beat into the flour mixture.  Stir in the raisins.

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Place dough into the prepared pan.

5.  Bake in 350* oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the bread has risen and the top is golden brown.  A knife inserted into the center of the bread should come out clean.

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Cool the bread in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing.  Serve warm.

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SOURCE:  Feeding the Flock

Guinness Braised Corned Beef

Guinness-Braised Corned Beef

Guinness-Braised Corned Beef

The St. Paddy’s Day parade took place downtown, the restaurants and bars were overflowing with folks wanting to celebrate and have a good time, and wearing something green made everyone Irish.

I don’t know what it’s like in other parts of the country, but it is traditional here in the Northeast to have corned beef dinner for St. Patrick’s Day.  We had ours this weekend when I had the time to prepare it and we also had the time to enjoy a leisurely dinner.  I’m so glad I did that, so now I can tell you all how wonderfully good it was!!  Along with the corned beef dinner I also made Irish Soda Bread and Irish Whisky Cake.  You’ll be reading about them in upcoming posts, so stay tuned.

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This meal begins with a piece of corned beef packaged in brine with a packet of seasonings included.  With Guinness being the traditional beer of Ireland, it is fitting that Guinness is used as part of the liquid in which the beef slow cooks.

The slow cooker is the perfect way to cook this cut of meat since it requires long slow cooking to achieve it’s perfect tenderness.  I started it in the morning and let it cook on HIGH for about 8 hours.  The meat and all the vegetables were falling apart they were so well done and tender, and the flavor was “out of this world”.  This was the best corned beef I have ever cooked.

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GUINNESS-BRAISED CORNED BEEF

Yield:  Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup waterIMG_9400
  • 1 (14.5-oz.) can beef broth
  • 2 cups Guinness stout (if using one bottle, make up the difference with water)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. dried dill
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 large onion, cut into wedges
  • 3-4 carrots, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 4 red-skin potatoes, halved
  • 1 (3-pound) cured corned beef brisket, with seasoning packet
  • 1/2 head cabbage, cut into wedges

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Directions:

1.  In a large slow cooker, begin by stirring together all the liquids, then adding the brown sugar and tomato paste, Stir to combine well.  Add the seasonings, including the packet with the corned beef.

2.  Put in all the vegetables except the cabbage.   You may choose to add other vegetables you have on hand.  Some people like turnip in this mixture  or parsnips.

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3.  Lay the corned beef brisket on top of it all.  Cover and cook on HIGH for 8 hours or until beef is tender.  Add wedges of cabbage when there is 1 hour of cooking time remaining.

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Remove beef, slice diagonally across the grain into 1/4-inch slices.  Serve surrounded by the vegetable mixture.  Discard the broth mixture.

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SOURCE:   AllRecipes.com

Impossible Coconut Cream Pie

 

Coconut Cream Pie

Coconut Cream Pie

Tomorrow is Pi Day, folks!

In case you are not aware of it, the first three digits of the mathematical constant pi are 3.14; so March 14th has earned the title Pi Day.  Since the date this year is March 14th, 2015, we have the first five digits of pi, 3.1415, an extra special day for celebrating.   And it’s so nice to have another food holiday (besides Thanksgiving) to celebrate each year.

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Of course, we love our pies for Thanksgiving, but most of us stick to the traditional ones–pumpkin, apple, pecan, etc.   I like Pi day because it gives me a reason to make a pie (#1), and because it gives me a chance to bake a new pie I haven’t tried yet (#2).  As I do each year I browse through many pie recipes, mulling over the choices in my mind, considering both sweet and savory options.   This coconut cream pie just got stuck in my head and wouldn’t let me rest until I made it.  I don’t remember trying coconut cream pie before this.  Newsflash—-it’s fabulous.  Don’t be thrown by the name.  This pie is not impossible to make, just impossibly good!

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Naturally since this is my first attempt at coconut cream pie, I have no basis for comparison, but we do love this pie.  The coconut custard filling is silky smooth and luscious without being too rich.  A cap of freshly whipped cream on top makes almost any pie better, and this is no exception.  I decided to go the extra mile and toasted some coconut chips for a garnish—so fun and so pretty.  I just love the way it looks.

Will you be celebrating Pi Day with pie?  I’d like to know what flavors you all are making!

IMPOSSIBLE COCONUT CREAM PIE

Yield:   Makes 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 9-inch pie crust, unbaked ( your favorite recipe or a refrigerated pie crust)
  • 2 eggsIMG_9361
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup non-sweet coconut milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Grease and flour a 9-inch pie plate.  Set aside.

2.  Flour a work surface and roll the pie crust out to fit your pie plate.  Carefully place the crust in the pie plate, flute the edges and refrigerate until ready to fill.

3.  In a large bowl, beat the eggs well.  Add the sugar, flour, baking powder, salt , milk, vanilla and melted butter.  Mix well.  Fold in the coconut.  IMG_9362

Fold in the coconut.

Fold in the coconut.

4. Pour into the pie crust.

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Bake  at 350*F. for 45 minutes or until lightly browned and edges are set.  The center may still be a bit jiggly.  It will become firm as it cools.  Allow to cool at room temperature about 2 hours, then refrigerate.

Baked, and lightly browned at the edges.

Baked, and lightly browned at the edges.

5.  Serve with a dollop of whipped cream on top and garnish with some coconut flakes that have been lightly toasted.  You can easily do this when the pie is cooked and out of the oven. Leave the oven on and toast the coconut flakes for 2-3 minutes. Watch carefully that they do not become too brown.

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Looking for more Pi day inspiration?  Be sure to check the Pie category—there are many more options to choose from.

 

SOURCE:   adapted from a recipe by Penzey’s Spices

 

Shrimp and Corn Chowder

Shrimp and Corn Chowder

Shrimp and Corn Chowder

This is a thick and creamy chowder without all the added fat that chowders are usually prepared with.  Using a combination of chicken broth and low-fat milk lowers calories, and blending part of the soup helps thicken it.

Great flavor is achieved by sautéing lots of celery and onion in a small amount of butter till softened, then adding the flour and cooking to incorporate it.  Add the corn, diced potato, chicken broth and seasonings and cook until potatoes are tender.  Then about 1/3 of this mixture is blended in a blender and returned to the soup kettle along with the milk and shrimp.

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To make this a gluten-free meal, omit the flour.  The soup may be a tiny bit less thick, but still deliciously seasoned and filling.  This makes four generous servings with calorie count only 394/serving, and fat at 8g.

We love this soup, and summertime is the perfect time to make it with summer corn at it’s sweetest.  However I made it recently because I ended up with an opened package of frozen corn to use up.  Mr. D. suggested I make corn chowder, so that’s the back story of why I made it now.  Although frozen corn is not ideal, it still gave thickness and corn flavor that was satisfying.

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At serving time I added some chopped green onion, (green parts only) and chopped celery leaves for garnish.  A salty cheese would also be good sprinkled on top such as queso fresco, cojita or feta.  This will add calories and fat so be mindful of that if you are counting calories.

SHRIMP AND CORN CHOWDER

Yield:   Makes 4 servingsIMG_9182

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
  • 3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cups fresh or frozen corn
  • 3 medium or 4 small potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepperIMG_9184
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups low-fat milk
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 bunch scallions, green parts only, chopped
  • celery leaves, chopped

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Directions:

1.  Melt the butter in a soup kettle or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Stir in the celery and onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until they begin to soften.

2.  Stir in the corn and potatoes, then stir in the flour until incorporated.  Cook for about 2 minutes.  Add the chicken broth, thyme and bay leaves, plus 1/2 tsp. salt and a few grinds of black pepper.  Cook until potatoes test done.

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3. Remove bay leaves;  transfer about 1/3 of this mixture to a blender and puree until smooth, then return to the pot.

 

IMG_9187 Return to a simmer, add the milk, and shrimp.  Reduce heat to low, and cook until shrimp are pink, about 4 minutes.  Season with additional salt if needed.  Soup may be thinned with additional chicken broth if it’s too thick.

4.  Divide among serving bowls and sprinkle with chopped scallions and celery leaves.

Shrimp and Corn Chowder

Shrimp and Corn Chowder

 

SOURCE:  a major adaptation of a recipe from Cooking Light

 

Italian Lemon Almond Cake

Italian Lemon Almond Cake

Italian Lemon Almond Cake

Call me sentimental, folks, but I think there’s something downright romantic about the way all those bright oranges, lemons, grapefruit, and limes show up in the produce aisles just when we’re needing them most.  When the wind is whipping and we haven’t seen green grass since I don’t know when, who couldn’t use a little warm weather fling to reminder them of warm, sunnier times?

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No matter if stirred into a salsa, or baked under a fluffy layer of meringue, these seasonal beauties remind me of how much I long for the sunshine, and so I do my best to incorporate citrus fruits into our diet and our lives whenever the opportunity presents itself.   I would never turn away from the kiss of citrus.

This grain-free lemon cake (also known as Torta Caprese Bianca) is just perfection in my mind.  I would like to say it is “to die for”, but that phrase is so over-worked, that I won’t use it, but you get my meaning, I’m sure.

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The cake is made with almond flour and is full of lemon flavor!  It’s yellow, like a ray of sunshine, a happy color.  Just the thing to cheer you up as this winter weather drags on endlessly.  If you love lemon, this is a dessert you will love.  There are three sources of lemon flavor;  lots of lemon zest, lemon extract, and limoncello ( or lemon juice).

After baking it may look a bit underdone in the middle, that’s what gives the cake its dense texture.  When you remove it from the oven it will be puffed up, but slowly sinks as it cools. It that doesn’t suit you, you can bake it a tad longer.  I loved the edges of the cake–kind of crispy and kind of chewy!   The texture reminds me of marzipan, but with the flavor of lemon.   We loved this cake so much, Mr. D. is asking when I’m going to make it again (his favorite flavor is lemon.)

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 ITALIAN LEMON ALMOND CAKE

Yield:   Serves 8 – 10

Ingredients:

  • 320 Gm (about 1 1/2 cups) almond flour, or blanched almonds ground into flour
  • 200 Gm ( a little over a cup) white chocolate, chopped ( I used white chocolate chips)IMG_9198
  • 2 Tbsp. cream or milk
  • 180 Gm butter, softened     1 stick + 4.5 Tbsp.
  • 130 Gm granulated sugar    about 1 cup
  • zest of 2-3 lemons,  2 Tbsp.
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 tsp. lemon extract
  • 40 Gm (about 2 Tbsp.) limoncello or lemon juice
  • powdered sugar for garnish

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Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Grease a 10-inch round pan ( a spring-form pan is good) and line it with parchment paper.

2.  Combine the white chocolate and cream/milk in a microwave-safe bowl.  Heat in 30 second intervals, stirring after each, until melted and smooth.  Set aside to cool.

3.  In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and 100 Gm sugar (3/4 cup) until fluffy.

4.  Add egg yolks, lemon zest and extract and beat to combine.

Add eggs, zest and extract.

Add eggs, zest and extract.

5.  Add almond flour and melted chocolate.  Add limoncello and beat to combine.

6.  In a clean bowl, with clean beaters, beat the egg whites to soft peaks,  slowly adding remaining 1/4 cup (30 Gm) sugar.  Fold into almond batter and combine gently.

Beat whites to soft peaks.

Beat whites to soft peaks.

Spoon into pan and bake for 40 – 45 minutes.

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A toothpick is not a reliable test for doneness, as the center may still be moist.  The cake should be golden brown, puffed, and spring back when touched.  As it cools it will sink in the center a bit.

Baked when golden brown and springs back when touched.

Baked when golden brown and springs back when touched.

7.  When cool, invert onto a cake plate and dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

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Note:  This recipe can be halved easily.  What you see here in my photos is half a recipe.  To bake the smaller volume, use a 7-inch round cake pan and bake for 30 minutes.  Unfortunately I do not have a 7-inch round pan, so I used an 8-inch cake pan, thus my cake is thinner than it should be.  A 7-inch pan will give you a taller cake.

P.S.  I will love this cake in any size 🙂

SOURCE:  Texanerin Baking

Sauteed Mushrooms with Baked Eggs

Sautéed Mushrooms with Baked Eggs

Sautéed Mushrooms with Baked Eggs

Mushrooms and eggs are a classic combo, and with good reason–they compliment each other so well.  This vegetarian dinner stars beefy, juicy sautéed mushrooms along with baked eggs and toasty croutons.  If you enjoy mushrooms and eggs separately, you will certainly enjoy them when combined like this.IMG_9255

Toasted flatbreads such as pita or naan add some crunch to this dish and help round it into a full meal.  Add a green vegetable or salad, you’re ready to sit down to a meatless, but “meaty” entree.

Toasted flatbread adds crunch.

Toasted flatbread adds crunch. This is whole-wheat flour tortilla.

A variety of mushrooms may be used here.   Almost all mushrooms available at the supermarket are cultivated, not wild, and are available year round.  The most common ones are the white button, cremini, or earthy portobellos.  A combination of mushrooms adds variety and a more complex flavor, so if shiitake or oyster “shrooms” are available they can be added also.

Round out your meal with a salad.

Round out your meal with a salad.

Sauteed Mushrooms with Baked Eggs

Yield:  Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 6-inch whole-wheat flatbread, such as naan, pocketless pita, or whole-wheat tortilla
  • 3 Tbsp. EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)

    Sliced mushrooms--any kind will do.

    Sliced mushrooms–any kind will do.

  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 small shallot, diced fine (optional)
  • 1 pound mixed mushrooms, trimmed and sliced 1/8-inch thick
  • coarse salt
  • red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 425*F.  Toast flatbread over the flame of a gas burner or under broiler.  Tear into 2-inch pieces; set aside.

2.  Heat oil and garlic in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat, stirring, until garlic is fragrant but not browned, about 1 minute.

I added a little chopped shallot to mine.

I added a little chopped shallot to mine.

Increase heat to medium-high, add mushrooms, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden brown, about 10 minutes.

Add mushrooms to skillet.

Add mushrooms to skillet.

Season with salt and red-pepper flakes, if using.  Add wine, scraping up browned bits.  Stir in flatbread and thyme;  remove from heat.

Add flatbread and thyme.

Add flatbread and thyme.

3.  Make 4 shallow depressions in mushroom mixture and crack 1 egg into each depression.

I used only 3 eggs.

I used only 3 eggs.

Transfer to oven and cook until egg whites have just set, about 4 minutes.  Season eggs with salt and pepper.

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Note:  Try to keep the egg yolks runny.  When broken, they become an instant sauce that coats the crisp-edged flatbread and mushrooms.

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I served it with a salad consisting of romaine, avocado, and orange sections with  a ginger-sesame dressing.

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SOURCE:   Martha Stewart Living

 

 

Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf

Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf with Ketchup Sauce

Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf with Ketchup Sauce

Meatloaf, you got that right.  Meatloaf wrapped in bacon.  All the men I know love meatloaf,  and they love bacon.  Well, women do too.  This is another one of those times when bacon just makes it better.  Bacon that gets all crispy surrounding a thick, meaty meatloaf that’s been baked with a catsup sauce over it.  (Please excuse the drool, here.)

This is a recipe from The Pioneer Woman, of The Food Network.   It’s superb!  And it’s an equal opportunity dish;  equally comforting to both men and women–and kids, too.

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This recipe is very easy to make, and takes very little time to put together.  You bake it on a broiler pan so the fat drips away into the pan below, allowing the loaf to bake faster, and gives the bacon a great crisp.  You can bake this in one big loaf, or divide it into two smaller ones and freeze one for a night when you need something quick.  If you have a big family you’ll need it all, and don’t count on leftovers.

Put some foil in the bottom pan to catch the drippings and make clean-up easier.

Put some foil in the bottom pan to catch the drippings and make clean-up easier.

When I made it I used a package of meatloaf mix that was about 1.25 lb. and halved the other ingredients so it stayed proportional.  For two people we ate about half of it,  and I promised Mr. D. a meatloaf sandwich on a hard roll for his lunch.  He just about swooned at that!  See, the psychology here, is that if I make one for him, then I can have one too, and not feel guilty.  🙂

BACON WRAPPED MEATLOAF

Yield:  4 – 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 6 slices white bread ( any bread will do, even whole wheat)
  • 2 pounds ground beef (can also use 1 pound each ground pork and beef)
  • 1 heaping cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
  • 1/2 tsp. regular salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup flat leaf parsley, minced
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 10 slices bacon, thin, not thick cut.

For the sauce:

  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • Tabasco sauce to taste
  • (reserve 1/3 of the sauce for serving)

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Line the bottom of your broiler pan with foil and spray the top part with non-stick cooking spray.  Have it ready to go.

2.  Place bread slices in a large bowl.  Pour milk over bread.  Allow it to soak for a few minutes.

3.  Add ground beef, onion, Parmesan cheese, salts, pepper and parsley to the bowl with the bread.  Lightly beat the eggs and pour over all of this.

4.  With clean hands, dig in and start squishing and mixing it up until everything is well-blended.  Shape the meat mixture into a loaf, (or two smaller loaves) and place on the broiler pan.   Now lay the bacon slices over the loaf, tucking the ends underneath the loaf.  If you made two loaves, cut the bacon slices in half.  You may need to stretch them a little, but thinner bacon slices will become crispier.

Wrap meatloaf with bacon slices, stretched thin.

Wrap meatloaf with bacon slices, stretched thin.

Note, I didn’t have enough bacon to completely cover the loaf, so I wrapped lengthwise.  If you have enough bacon, wrap crosswise, so the meatloaf is completely covered by the bacon.

5.  Once the meatloaf is wrapped, take 2/3 of the ketchup sauce and spread it over the loaf with a spoon or spatula.

Spoon ketchup sauce over the meatloaf to cover.

Spoon ketchup sauce over the meatloaf to cover.

6.  Bake for about an hour and a half, if making the full recipe.   This is great served with mashed potatoes.

You won't be able to wait for dinner when this is on the menu.

You won’t be able to wait for dinner when this is on the menu.

SOURCE:  The Pioneer Woman via The Ranting Chef, then modified

 

Dutch Baby with Fruit Compote

Dutch Baby with Fruit Compote

Dutch Baby with Fruit Compote

Have you ever thought about how many different breakfast foods you can create using just milk, eggs, and flour?  This one is an interesting example.  Especially considering it’s name.

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This baked, puffed egg dish is neither Dutch, nor does it have anything to do with babies.  Sometimes called a German pancake, it has very little to do with Germany, either.  Said to have been invented by German immigrants who settled in this country, and who were referred to as “Deutche”, this is most likely how it got it’s name.  But no matter,  it is delicious whatever name you may give it.

Dutch Baby

Dutch Baby

Another example of this same type of baked item is the pop-over.  Same ingredients, but baked individually in little cups, a popover is generally eaten with dinner, whereas a “dutch-baby” is usually served as a breakfast item with syrup or fruits spooned over it.

Trying to come up with something a little different for a weekend breakfast, I made this recently.  I served it with sliced strawberries and blueberries spooned over it.

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DUTCH BABY WITH FRUIT

Yield:  Serves  4

Milk, eggs, butter and flour, plus a blender makes this easy!!

Milk, eggs, butter and flour, plus a blender makes this easy!!

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour,
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1 Tbsp. confectioners’ sugar, or to taste
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries, or a mixture of blueberries and strawberries

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 425*F.

2.  Blend milk, flour, eggs, vanilla and salt together in a blender until batter is smooth.

3.  Melt the butter in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet (or other heavy oven-proof skillet)until bubbling;

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Pour batter into the center of the skillet.

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4.  Bake in the oven until puffed and golden, 20 to 25 minutes.  Remove from oven and sift the confectioners’ sugar over the top and serve warm with fruit.

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5.  Prepare fruit topping by washing and slicing the berries, picking over the blueberries.  Sprinkle with sugar to taste and add a splash of balsamic vinegar.  Stir to mix and let stand while Dutch Baby bakes.

 

 

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SOURCE:   adapted from AllRecipes.com

5 Reasons Why You Should Eat Avocados

Avocado and Egg on Toast

Avocado and Egg on Toast

Avocados will make you healthier right now!!  And here’s 5 good reasons why…..

1.  They protect your eyes from disease.  Avocados have a very high content (more than any other fruit) of the carotenoid lutein, which protects agains cataracts and macular degeneration–a leading cause of blindness.

2.  They will lower your cholesterol.   Avocados are high in beta-sitosterol, a natural substance that has been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol.  In one study, 45 people saw an average drop in cholesterol of 17% after eating avocados for just one week.

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3.  They help regulate and reduce blood pressure.   Avocados are a great source of potassium, containing even more than bananas.  Studies confirm that eating foods high in potassium (and low in sodium) can lower blood pressure and reduce your risk of stroke.

4.  They are a great source of vitamin E.  Avocados are the greatest fruit source of vitamin E,  an antioxidant that protects against many diseases and helps maintain overall health.

5.  They will moisturize your skin.  Avocado butter and oil, two deep-conditioning emollients, will soften skin, eliminate dry patches, and restore your skin’s elasticity.  Try some beauty products enriched with avocado butter and oil.

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Now to get you started on the road to eating more avocados, here is one of my favorite ways to eat them.  Most mornings I grab my coffee, a hard boiled egg and some fruit, or a nutrient dense muffin, but when I’ve got a few extra minutes, this is the breakfast I love.  It starts with whole grain or rye toast with mashed avocado spread on it.  That is topped with a runny egg, either fried or poached.    There’s something about the combination of crispy toast, creamy avocado, and runny egg that is so satisfying.  It doesn’t get any better than that, and it keeps me going all morning.

AVOCADO and EGG ON TOAST

Yield:   Serves one

Ingredients:

  • 1 slice of whole grain bread, toastedIMG_9085
  • 1 oz, mashed avocado ( about 1/4 small avocado)
  • splash, fresh lemon or lime juice
  • 1 large egg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  •  hot sauce, optional

Directions:

1.  Mash the avocado in a small bowl with a splash of lemon or lime juice and season with salt and pepper.

2.  Heat a small non-stick skillet, or egg poaching pan, over low heat.  Spray with cooking spray.  Crack the egg into the skillet or cup of poaching pan.  Cover and cook to your liking.

My old egg poaching pan still does the job!

My old egg poaching pan still does the job!

3.  Spread the avocado on the toast, top with the egg, and add a splash of hot sauce, if desired.

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Love this breakfast!

Love this breakfast!

SOURCE:   Health.com