Friday, April 12, 2019

EASTER BRUNCH - SAUSAGE-STUFFED FRENCH TOAST

Looking for a delicious, but easy, entree for your Easter brunch?  This is a tried and true recipe, and all of it can be made ahead the day before.
















SAUSAGE-STUFFED FRENCH TOAST
Serves 10.
*  1/2 pound pork sausage, cooked and crumbled (I prefer to use hot Italian sausage.)
*  4 ounces cream cheese, softened
*  1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
*  1 (1-pound) loaf French bread, cut into 1-inch slices
*  8 eggs
*  1/2 cup half-and-half
*  1 recipe Maple-Praline Sauce (See recipe below.)
*  GARNISH:  Toasted, chopped pecans (optional).
     In a medium bowl, combine sausage, cream cheese, and red pepper, stirring well.  Spread mixture evenly over half of bread slices.  Top with remaining bread slices to form a sandwich.  Place in a single layer in a large baking dish.
     In a small bowl, combine eggs and half-and-half, whisking well.  Pour mixture over sandwiches.  Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours, turning sandwiches once.
     Preheat oven to 400 F.  Grease a rimmed baking sheet.  Place sandwiches in a single layer on prepared baking dish.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Serve with Maple-Praline Sauce.

MAPLE-PRALINE SAUCE  - Yield:  Approximately 1-1/2 cups.
Can be made ahead and reheated/microwaved for serving.
*  1/2 cup butter
*  1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
*  1/2 cup maple syrup
     In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.  Add brown sugar and syrup.  Bring to a boil, reduce head, and simmer for 2 minutes.  Watch carefully or the butter will separate.  Serve warm.

Recipe adapted from:  Christmas Cooking Southern Style

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

VALENTINE'S DAY TREAT!

When I saw this magazine cover...


… I was reminded that I had some left-over puff pastry in the refrigerator that needed to be used.  What a simple idea:  

RECIPE:  Slightly roll out the pastry, cut into squares, cut hearts out of the center of half of the squares, add jam (in this case, blackberry jam) to the center of the non-heart square, brush the rim on the same square with an egg wash (one egg, a bit of water, whisked) so that the pieces stick together, top with the heart square, stretching a bit to match all edges, use a fork to press the two pieces together, brush the top with the egg wash, and bake for about 12-15 minutes in a 425ºF oven.  


This is how much one sheet of puff pastry makes.

Voila!  These Valentine Treats are ready to eat!  Made them yesterday...all gone today.  




Just in case you're wondering, the recipe in "Better Homes & Gardens" uses regular pie pastry - NOT puff pastry as I've done here.  In all events, this is a pretty and simple use for left-over pastry!

Monday, November 5, 2018

!!!!!VOTE!!!!! *****VOTE***** !!!!!VOTE!!!!!

Tuesday, November 6.  Today is the day to do the one, most important thing that we can do as citizens of our great country... go VOTE!  If you don't vote, you don't get to complain, because you have not done what you can do to have a voice in what is going on in our country.  We are at a very critical time in our history, perhaps more critical than at any other time.  Why?  Global warming.  That is the single most crucial issue that we are facing, and we must elect to office those persons most willing and able to take action on our behalf.

PLEASE REVIEW THE CANDIDATES POSITIONS, THEN GO VOTE.  Thank you.

Enjoy these vintage postcards...







Sunday, November 4, 2018

PUMPKIN BANANA MOUSSE TART

It's that season of fall foliage, pumpkins and squash, and Thanksgiving!  

Although pumpkin pie is a staple of Thanksgiving meals, sometimes it is fun to do a one-off on a tradition, particularly when you are dining with a foodie.  This recipe, by Ina Garten (a/k/a The Barefoot Contessa), fits the bill and is truly delicious!  We don't typically think of pumpkin and banana together in a recipe but, trust me, this works!

PUMPKIN BANANA MOUSSE TART
This serves more people than a pie would, and can be made the day ahead.

For the crust:
*  2 cups graham cracker crumbs (14 crackers)
*  1/3 cup sugar
*  1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
*  1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

For the Filling:
*  1/2 cup half-and-half
*  1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
*  1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
*  3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
*  1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
*  1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
*  3 extra-large egg yolks
*  1 package (2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
*  1 ripe banana, finely mashed
*  1 teaspoon grated orange zest
*  1/2 cup cold heavy cream
*  2 tablespoons sugar

For the Garnish:
*  1 cup (1/2 pint) cold heavy cream
*  1/4 cup sugar
*  1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
*  Orange zest (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
CRUST:   Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter in a bowl and mix well.  Pour into an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom and press evenly into the sides and the bottom.  Bake for 10 minutes and then cool to room temperature.
FILLING:  Heat the half-and-half, pumpkin, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water until hot, about 5 minutes.  Whisk the egg yolks in another bowl, stir some of the  hot pumpkin into the egg yolks to heat them, then pour the egg-pumpkin mixture back into the double boiler and stir well.  Heat the mixture over the simmering water for another 4 to 5 minutes, until it begins to thicken, stirring constantly.  You don't want the eggs to scramble.  Remove from the heat.  
     Dissolve the gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water.  Add the dissolved gelatin, banana, and orange zest to the pumpkin mixture and mix well.  Set aside to cool.
     Whip the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment until soft peaks form.  Add the sugar and continue to whisk until you have firm peaks.  Carefully fold the whipped cream into the pumpkin mixture and pour it into the cooled tart shell.  Chill for 2 hours, or overnight.
GARNISH:  Whip the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form.  Add the sugar and vanilla and continue to whisk until you have firm peaks.  Pipe or spoon the whipped cream decoratively on the tart and, sprinkle, if desired, with orange zest.  Serve chilled.