Friday, April 28, 2017

Nourishing Custard

Nourshing Custard 1

I know the word custard just made a whole buncha people leave. I get it. Custard, Flan, Cream Brulee, it's not for everyone. It's a textural thing for lots of folks. I understand. I happen to love all things custardy.

I get in a breakfast rut. I eat a lot of eggs for breakfast, and try and stay away from carbs which is so hard cause almost all breakfast food is delicious carbs!! There are only a few kinds of breakfast cereal I'll eat because most are just a bowl full of sugar and GMO ingredients. When you think about it, not the best way to start the day off! So in my never ending quest to mix it up and not have the same 4 things for breakfast every morning I did a little online research and found this Nourishing Custard.

This is not a sweet custard that you'd have as a dessert, although if you wanted it to be all you would have to do is add more sweetener to it. I make up a batch of this on a Sunday so I'll have breakfast (and sometimes a snack) all week. For breakfast I'll mix in fresh fruits to really make it a meal, so a snack I'll add a little sweetener like a touch of maple syrup or a sprinkling of Truvia. It's enough to satisfy my sweet tooth and not send me into a sugar coma.

This has become a breakfast I look forward to! With all the fresh fruits that will be available soon I've already decided that I can cook some of them down and make a fruity syrup to mix into the custard. Possibilities endless! You could even call this pudding and I bet your little ones would love it!

This recipe makes a lot of custard, but you can easily half it. I like to make a big batch so I have it at the ready all week. Mix up your breakfast and try this silky custard!

Nourshing Custard

BASIC NOURISHING CUSTARD
slightly adapted from a recipe at Eat Outside the Bag
PRINTABLE RECIPE
6 eggs, from pastured chickens
1/4 cup organic maple syrup or local raw honey (double this for sweeter custard)
2 teaspoons vanilla or 2 vanilla beans
4-6 sticks cinnamon
5 cups milk
dash of salt
ground nutmeg or cinnamon for top if desired

Preheat oven to 325 F for a dish or 350 for cups.

If you want extra healthful and flavorful custard, steep milk with vanilla beans and cinnamon sticks. You can skip this step but it makes the custard pretty darn tasty. Whisk eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla if using in bowl, stir in milk. Pour into a glass baking dish or six custard cups. Sprinkle top with nutmeg or cinnamon if desired. Set the baking dish(es) in a pan of hot water.  Containers nested in a rectangular glass baking dish for large single servings. Bake large dish at 325 degrees for 1 hour; bake cups at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes. Custard is done when a knife inserted off-center comes out clean. Serve warm or cold, add an extra drizzle of maple syrup if you want it sweeter.

You can also make this even more healthful by adding some pumpkin to make pumpkin custard. Essentially all you need to do is swap out half the milk for pureed pumpkin. What a wonderful way to get a serving of vegetables first thing in the morning.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Swedish Almond Cake

Swedish Almond Cake slice BLOG VIN

I love a cake that can be make with everything that you have in your kitchen. A cake you can whip up in the morning when you have an unexpected guest over, or just because you want a little sweetness to end your day.

I have a Swedish Almond Cake under my belt already. One that I quite frequently. That recipe was given to me by a dear friends mother, Marion Bird. You need a special little pan to make that one in, but boy is it delicious! Click here for that recipe.

Back in the late 80's I worked with a Swedish woman named Ferrell Dewell. What an unusual name huh? Ferrell was a sweetheart and she kind of took me under her wing when I first started working. She shared quite a few recipes with me over the years. She even knit a giant stocking for my first born son back in 1995 just before she retired.

Ferrell passed away many years ago. I still think of her every year when I pull out that giant stocking from my Christmas decorations. I stumbled upon a recipe for Swedish Almond Cake that she gave me many years ago. Whenever she would bring a treat into work, she'd type up the recipe to pass out with a piece of whatever goodness she brought.

I'm so glad I have this recipe to share with you and that I still have a little piece of Ferrell with me through it.

This gorgeous little cake has a crispy outer crust and a soft, tender cake in the middle.

Swedish Almond Cake BLOG VIN

Swedish Almond Cake
recipe from Ferrell Dewell via Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary
PRINTABLE RECIPE
1 cup white granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 stick butter, softened
2 eggs,beaten
1 1/2 teaspoon PURE almond extract
Slivered almonds for sprinkling on top

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly spray a glass pie plate with cooking spray. In a large bowl, stir together sugar and flour. Add in the butter. This won't be like most cake batters. It's almost like you're making a strudel topping, so add the softened butter and then get in there with both your hands and keep crumbling it until it starts to come together. The mixture will be crumbly and that's ok.

Mix the eggs and almond extract together in a separate bowl. Add to the batter and stir to combine. The batter will be almost dough like. Spread evenly in the pie plate. Sprinkle the slivered almonds on top. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Let cool. Cut into wedges to serve.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Irish Cream Brownies

Irish Cream Brownies BLOG

Oh. My. Word.

Just take a look at that brownie.

I had started a Pinterest board for Easter and as the months passed I'd see something that I thought would be delicious on our Easter table and I'd I pin it and kind of forget about it except when I saw these brownies I didn't forget about them.

As with most recipe that I haven't made before, I like to do a trial run with them to make sure the recipe is good. Nothing worse than trying a new recipe out on a group of people and finding out it's a flop.

These are not flops! A chocolaty brownie topped with a creamy layer with a hint of Irish cream, then topped with Irish cream ganache. My word, it was amazing. I had to give most of it them away so we wouldn't keep them all and eat them!

These will definitely be on our Easter table!

Irish Cream Brownies bLOG 2


Irish Cream Brownies
Recipe by Spend With Pennies
PRINTABLE RECIPE

1 Boxed Fudge Brownie Mix 9x13 size, plus box indicated ingredients or your favorite homemade brownies

For the Frosting
¾ cup unsalted butter (12 tablespoons), softened
⅓ cup Baileys Irish Cream
3 cups powdered sugar

For the Ganache
¾ cup semi­sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons heavy cream
½ cup Baileys Irish Cream

Prepare brownies according to package directions. Cool completely. I found a great organic brownie mix at the store, or you could use your favorite brownie recipe.

For the Frosting:
Beat butter on medium speed until fluffy. Add in Baileys and mix well. Add powdered sugar a little at a time until completely incorporated. Beat until soft and fluffy. Spread over brownies and refrigerate while making the ganache.

For the ganache:
Combine Baileys and heavy cream in a sauce pan over medium high heat. Put the chocolate chips in a large glass measuring cup (at least 2 cups). Bring the cream just to a boil and immediately poor over chocolate chips. Let sit 5 minutes without stirring. Don't touch it! Once the 5 minutes are up whisk until smooth and creamy and spread over frosted brownies. Chill until ganache sets.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Maria's Stuffed Mushrooms (Spinach & Linguica Stuffed Mushrooms)

Marias Stuffed Mushrooms blog 2

I always say the best recipes are handed down from generation to generation. You know the recipe must be good if people want to make over and over again, decade after decade. So when I find one, I want to help preserve it.

The reason I started this blog over a decade ago was because I wanted to have something to pass down to my boys. A written history of the food that makes memories in our family. I swear I'm going to try to start looking at getting a cookbook written. It's something I really need to do.

Until then I'll help pass down delicious recipes like these. My friend Jillian posted a photo of some stuffed mushrooms that she had made, and I immediately asked her for the recipe. I was so happy when she shared the recipe with me, and even happier when I found out it was from her Nonna Maria.

I know Linguica might not be a sausage that is readily available everywhere, so feel free to substitute your favorite sausage in it's place.

These are so tasty mushrooms. Thanks Jillian and Nonna Maria. This recipe lives on a little longer.

Marias Stuffed Mushrooms blog

Maria’s Stuffed Mushrooms
Recipe from Jillian O’Connor's Nonna Maria
PRINTABLE RECIPE
3 - 6oz packages of portobello mushrooms 
10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/2 cup of ground linguica, (uncooked)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup panko or Italian style bread crumbs
3 tablespoons freshly grated pecorino romano cheese
3 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
Shredded mozzarella for topping
Olive oil for brushing on top

Remove the stem from the mushroom and clean with a damp paper towel to remove any dirt. Place on a parchment or foil lined sheet pan. 

Add the spinach to a large bowl, breaking it up a bit so you don’t have clumps. Add in the linguica and breadcrumbs. Mix until combined. Add in the pecorino romano and parmesan cheese and stir to combine. Beat the egg slightly and add to bowl. Give it one more good stir. Before stuffing, brush the tops of the mushrooms with olive oil. Stuff each mushroom with the mixture. Put a good amount in each mushroom. I used a teaspoon and really packed the stuffing into the mushroom and then piled it up and used my hand to mound it on top. Sprinkle each one with a bit of mozzarella. Bake at 375 for 25 min or until cheese is hot and bubbly!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Peanut Butter Filled Sandwich Cookies

Peanut Butter filled sandiwch cookies BLOG

My husband doesn't ask for much in the way of food from me.

He's a man that eats pretty well and doesn't complain about much. I still can't get him to love eggplant, but I can forgive him that one food aversion.

He does like his cookies though, and he enjoys nothing more than sitting down at the end of a long day with a big glass of milk and some cookies. I don't make sweets every week and I certainly don't make cookies every week, so when I saw him almost grab a package of cookies from the store, I cringed. No, we won't be buying any of those thank you. So he put them back and asked if I would make him some cookies, and I couldn't say no to that.

So I scrounged through some old recipes and found one for these beauties. Now I'm not a big peanut butter fan so I had to rely on my husband for feedback. He took one bite and said "oh my God these is amazing!" He quickly devoured the cookies and proclaimed "that was one fantastic cookie". I'd say based on those reactions, we have a winner.

Just a last note, the filling, which I had all over my hands after filling these, was not sickeningly sweet. Just the perfect peanut butter/confectioners sugar balance.

Peanut Butter filled sandiwch cookies BLOG. 1JPG

Peanut Butter Filled Sandwich Cookies
recipe from Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary
PRINTABLE RECIPE
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 stick butter (1/2 cup), softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs at room temp
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Peanut Butter Filling
1 1/4 cups creamy peanut butter
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups Powdered sugar
2 -4 tablespoons heavy cream or milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a stand or electric mixer, cream peanut butter and butter together until very smooth. Add sugars and continue to beat until very creamy. Add in eggs and vanilla and mix until well combined. In a separate bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and baking soda together. Mix dry ingredients into peanut butter mixture just until combined – don’t over mix!

Roll dough into 1 tablespoon balls and place 2-3 inches apart on a baking sheet. I used a cookie scoop and they all came out the same size. Bake cookies at 350 for 12-15 minutes or just until edges are golden (mine took exactly 15 minutes but my cookies were a tad bigger than a tablespoon). Let cool for 5-10 minutes before transferring to cooling rack. Let cool completely.

Peanut Butter Filling:
Meanwhile, make the filling by beating peanut butter and butter together until creamy. Gradually mix in powdered sugar. Mix until well blended. Add the heavy cream or milk a few tablespoons at a time until mixture becomes creamy and spreadable. Add in more cream or milk if needed to reach desired consistency.

When cookies have cooled, spoon a heaping tablespoon of the filling onto the bottom side of half the cookies; top with remaining cookies right side up and push down to spread filling.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Maple Mustard Balsamic Dressing

Maple Balsamic Dressing blog 1

I always feel like a bit of a mad scientist in the kitchen when I'm making dressings. There are bottles and ingredients all over the counter and I'm mixing a little of this and a little of that until I get the perfect potion. I hit a home run with this one.

I love balsamic in everything and anything so the addition of it to this dressing was a no brainer for me.

I tend to like my dressing a little more on the tangy side, so I have to stop myself from making a dressing so tangy that no one else will want to eat it but me.

I always have Simply Asian seasoning my pantry, if you don't have it, no worries. This dressing is just as scrumptious without it. You can always throw a few sesame seeds in for good measure if you have them on hand, or add any kind of spice that you like.

Feel free to make this dressing your own. You can also use any kind of light oil that you like and you can substitute the maple syrup for raw honey or even agave nectar. Make it your own! Add a little of this and a little of that, taste it along the way, make notes, and in no time you'll have a dressing perfect for your taste!

This should keep in the fridge for well over a week, but probably won't last that long!

Maple Balsamic Dressing blog 2

Maple Mustard Balsamic Dressing
recipe Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary
PRINTABLE RECIPE
1/4 cup pure maple syrup (not pancake syrup please!)
3 Tablespoons of Dijon mustard
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup flavorless oil (vegetable, canola, sunflower, etc)
1 tablespoon Simply Asian Sweet Ginger Garlic seasoning (optional but delicious)

Put all the ingredients in a jar and shake! Store in refrigerator.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Italian Orzo Soup with Sausage and Spinach

Italian Sausage Orzo Soup BLOG 2

I'm at it again.

I'm making soup.

Most Sundays during the winter I make a big pot and we eat it throughout the day and then eat the leftovers, if there are any, for supper Monday night. It's become a little tradition for us. Since we have a blizzard headed our way, I made soup on Sunday for tomorrow. Just prepped everything but the pasta. I'll cook that up separately and we'll be good to go. Thankfully I have a gas stove, so if we lose power, I can still use the stove top.

A few weeks ago I made this Italian Wedding Soup -----> click. Last week I made a little u-turn and turned it into Italian Orzo Soup with little sausage bites in it. So yummy!

The hardest part about making this soup was rolling the sausage into little balls. I cooked up the sausage in the morning so that part of it was out of the way. The rest was a breeze.

Italian Sausage Orzo Soup BLOG

I cooked a whole pound of orzo because we really like our soup with lots of pasta in it, you can cut back on that amount if you'd like it more brothy.

Italian Orzo Soup with Sausage and Spinach
recipe from Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary
PRINTABLE RECIPE
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb. ground Italian sausage rolled into bite­ sized pieces
1 small onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1 lb orzo pasta
6 cups reduced ­sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
4 cups lightly packed baby spinach (optional)
Salt & pepper to taste

Add some olive oil to a large pan and lightly brown the sausage. Don't worry if they are a little pink inside. When you add them to the hot soup it will cook the meat. Move to a paper towel lined plate or bowl and set aside. Add a bit more oil to the same pan and cook the onion, celery and carrots until just tender.

Meanwhile in a large dutch oven heat up the chicken broth. See my notes on how to make quick, delicious chicken "stock" below.  Season with salt and pepper, and 1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning. At this point I add in about 4 cups of baby spinach leaves. This is optional, but highly suggested! Slowly bring to boil.

While that is cooking, I boiled some salted water and cooked the orzo until it is al dente. Once the soup comes to a boil, lower the heat, add in the sausage and the orzo, give it a good stir, heat for another 5 - 10 minutes then serve!

Note* You can certainly buy chicken stock but I like to make a quick chicken "stock" by boiling a small 3 - 4 pound chicken carcass. You can even do this with a rotisserie chicken. Just pick the meat off the bones and then throw all the bones and skin into a soup pot, bring to a boil and simmer an hour. Remove the chicken bones and you have a fast chicken stock! I save the chicken meat for another meal or freeze it for my next batch of chicken soup.