Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Bourbon Bread Pudding

I’ve been craving comfort food all day, and I figured only bourbon would fix that or atleast a batch of bread pudding with warm, creamy, oooey, gooey, buttery, bourbon sauce.

It’s the kind of dessert you want to savor with a good book or in my case, red box DVD’s and plenty bourbon sauce to go around.

Serves 8 to 10

1 baguette, torn into 1-inch pieces or 1 loaf of day old bread
4 egg yolks
2 ½ cups heavy cream
½ cup whole milk
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup raisins
½ cup bourbon

Note: Traditionally, bread pudding is made with stale bread, but if you don’t have day old bread in the pantry, you can toast up a batch so it’s dry enough to soak up the custard.

1.      Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F and Butter baking dish, and set aside.

2.      *if you don’t have day old bread* Arrange the bread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until crisp and brown, about 12 minutes, turning pieces over halfway through and rotating the baking sheet front to back. Let bread cool. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees F.

3.      Meanwhile let’s plump those raisins back up by covering with ½ cup of bourbon and heat in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until bourbon begins to simmer, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and strain the mixture, placing the bourbon and raisins in separate bowls. (Reserve the bourbon for the sauce)

4.      In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks, sugar, milk, cream, vanilla, nutmeg and salt.

5.      Toss in the toasted bread until evenly coated. Let mixture sit until bread begins to absorb custard, about 30 minutes, tossing occasionally. If the majority of the bread is still hard when squeezed, soak for another 15 to 20 minutes.

6.      Pour half the bread mixture into the prepared baking dish, and sprinkle with half the raisins. Repeat with the remaining bread mixture and raisins. Cover the dish with foil, and bake for 45 minutes.

7.      Remove foil from pudding, and bake, uncovered, until custard is just set, 20 to 25 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees F and bake until top of pudding forms golden crust, about 2 minutes.

8.      Let the pudding cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Serve with Bourbon Sauce.

Bourbon Sauce
Serves 1 cup

1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
¼ cup bourbon
¾ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch salt
2 teaspoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1.      In a small bowl, whisk cornstarch and bourbon until well combined.
2.      Using a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the cream and sugar until the sugar dissolves.
3.      Whisk in cornstarch mixture, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, & cook 3-5 minutes until or sauce thickens.
4.      Take the pan off the heat, and stir in salt, butter and the additional bourbon from the raisins. (extra bourbon optional of course)
5.      Drizzle warm sauce over bread pudding, sit back relax and enjoy
Print Friendly and PDF

Friday, March 16, 2012

Guinness Corned Beef Brisket

Want some rave reviews on your St. Patrick’s Day dinner this year?

Then try this Guinness Corned Beef recipe, this will be a favorite request every year. Of course you’ll earn all the bragging rights and I'm sure you won’t disagree J 

And the added bonus is, its perfect in the crock pot, just toss everything in, set it and forget it.

Now you just have to figure out what to with all that extra time you have on your hands; maybe treat yourself to a glass of wine or a manicure. No one will know you really didn’t slave over the stove all day to prepare such a perfection.

Serves 4

2 pounds corned beef brisket
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 12-ounce can Guiness Stout

Course Peppercorn Packet (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Rinse the beef completely and pat dry.
  3. Place the brisket on a rack in roasting pan or Dutch oven.
  4. Rub with brown sugar thoroughly, then pour the bottle of stout over it
  5. The peppercorn packet that comes with the beef is optional, its tasty with or without it
  6. Cover and bake for 3 to 3 1/2  hours.
  7. Allow to rest 15 minutes before slicing. 

    Print Friendly and PDF

    Spaghetti Alla Carbonara

    Carbonara is one of the simple Italian comfort dishes you can make any night of the week. Traditionally you would use pancetta but let's face it, that stuff can get pretty expensive so if you don’t have that in your pantry, a good piece of bacon can be used also. I use a little cream in my carbonara because I like the silky taste it gives, and I also use freshly ground pepper; which gives it that nice subtle kick to the senses, so that’s non-negotiable.

    Serves 4

    • 1 pound dry spaghetti
    • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 4 tablespoon heavy cream
    • 4 ounces pancetta or slab bacon, cubed or sliced into small strips
    • 4 large eggs
    • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    • Salt to taste

    Note: Prepare the sauce while the pasta is cooking to ensure that the spaghetti will be hot and ready when the sauce is finished; it is very important that the pasta is hot when adding the egg mixture, so that the heat of the pasta cooks the raw eggs in the sauce.

    1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender yet firm
    2. Reserving ½ cup of the starchy cooking water to use in the sauce if you wish. Drain the pasta well then return the pasta back into the hot pot. The residual heat in the pot, will keep the pasta warm enough to thicken the sauce
    3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium flame. Add the pancetta and sauté for about 3 minutes or until its crisp and the fat is rendered
    4. Remove from oil and let sit for a few minutes to cool off (reserve half for garnish on top)
    5. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs, add in the Parmesan cheese, beat well for a minute then add in ½ of the pancetta, then add the cream, fresh ground pepper and salt to taste, stirring well to prevent lumps.
    6. You'll have to move fast at this point. Add the hot, drained spaghetti to the bowl and toss quickly for 2 minutes to coat the strands with the mixture.
    7. Keep stirring to mix the cheese and egg evenly and the sauce will be thickened and silky smooth. Add a bit of the pasta water if needed until it reaches your desired consistency.
    8. Season the carbonara with several turns of freshly ground black pepper and taste for salt only if needed.
    9. Mound the spaghetti alla carbonara onto a plate; add the reserved pancetta and extra parmesan  cheese
    10. Serve immediately
    Add In: you can easily make this dish your own by adding in mushrooms, sundried tomatoes and some red pepper flakes, cooked diced asparagus.

    Print Friendly and PDF

    Wednesday, March 14, 2012

    Jalapeno & Cheese Pinwheels

    I always pick up a pack of crescent rolls when I grocery shop for those quick fix appetizer nights, but I never get the chance to use them up. Well today while surfing the refrigerator I found myself with 4 tubes of unopened, unused crescent rolls. 

    Hmmm, it’s past breakfast and brunch, so I decided to make pinwheels with a kick, it only takes a few ingredient and I already had everything on hand.

    These are perfect little anytizers, a little pick me up that everyone will enjoy. You may want to double or tripe the batch because they wont last long once they leave the oven.

    8 oz cream cheese, softened
    cooked & chopped bacon or bacon bits
    3  tablespoons finely sliced jalapeño chilies (fresh or from jar)
    1 tablespoon of sugar
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated crescent dinner rolls

    1. Heat oven to 375°F.
    2. In small bowl, mix together cream cheese, sugar, bacon, jalapeno and salt until well blended; set aside.
    3. Unroll crescent dough; separate into 2 long rectangles. Place 1 rectangle on long cutting board; press perforations to seal.
    4. Spread cream cheese mixture on dough rectangle to within 1/2 inch of edges.
    5. Starting with one long side, roll up rectangle; press seam to seal.
    6. Cut roll into 8-10 slices; place slices, cut side down, on ungreased cookie sheet.
    7. Repeat with remaining dough rectangle.
    8. Bake 14 to 16 minutes or until light golden brown.
    9. Immediately remove from cookie sheet and serve warm.

    *note: if it seems difficult to slice, place log into the freezer for a few minutes to firm up, then remove, slice and bake

    Print Friendly and PDF

    Monday, March 12, 2012

    Corned Beef & Cabbage

    Since it’s officially close to St. Patrick’s Day, people are looking forward to lots of Irish Traditions, mostly green everything and of course Corn beef and Cabbage.

    Since the early 1900s, Americans have embraced corn beef and cabbage as their meal of choice on St. Patrick’s Day, which is celebrated on March 17th.

    Corned beef got its name before refrigeration, when meat was preserved using coarse grains of salt, called 'corning'. Today, beef is corned with spices strictly for flavor, not for preservation, so the meat must be refrigerated. Whether you're a wee bit Irish or not, boost your luck by celebrating St. Patrick's Day with friends and family Irish Style.

    3 pound corned beef brisket
    4 cloves garlic, peeled
    Fresh ground black pepper
    2 Tablespoons pickling spices
    3 bay leaves
    1/4  cup sugar
    1/4  cup cider vinegar
    1 large onion, peeled and quartered
    1 head cabbage, cored and chopped  

    1. Place corned beef brisket in a very large soup pot. Fill pot with cold water to cover meat. Add sugar, cider vinegar, pickling spices, bay leaves, and garlic.
    2. Bring to a boil over rather high heat. Boil for 5 to 6 minutes, skimming off the any salt scum that rises to the surface with a large spoon.
    3. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover the pot, and let simmer for 1-2 hours. Test the meat for tenderness with a large fork, it should have a little resistance, be careful not to overcook corned beef or the meat will become dry and stringy. If fully tender turn off the heat and let the meat rest in the liquid.
    4. One hour before serving and before the meat finishes, steam your cabbage in the same pot for 20 minutes.
    5. Slice only as much meat as you will immediately serve, keeping the rest in one piece for future use. Serve with a variety of mustards and horseradish.

    Luck of the Irish to Ya!
    Print Friendly and PDF

    Friday, March 2, 2012

    Green Eggs & Ham

    (Tribute to Dr. Suess Birthday March 2nd)
    Green Eggs and Ham is a best-selling and critically acclaimed book by Dr. Seuss, first published on August 12, 1960.

    I grew up reading Either Dr. Suess, and now its my daughters favorite author and even though she has graduated from reading Dr. Suess books, she knows most of them by heart and is still her favorite reading book.

    In honor of Dr. Suess Birthday that fell on March 2nd, I made Green Eggs and Ham. We got so carried away with the idea, I made 3 different various to appease the children

    4 eggs
    1 Tbsp milk
    Sliced Ham
    1 drop green food coloring or 2 Tbsp+ spinach juice
    Dash of salt
    Shredded Mozzarella or Monterey Jack cheese, optional

    1. Beat the eggs in a bowl.
    2. Stir in the milk, food coloring and salt.
    3. Mix in the shredded cheese.
    4. You can add more food coloring until the eggs reach your desired shade of green.
    5. Lightly coat a pan with butter and heat it over medium heat.
    6. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and cook to your desired liking, (scrambled, omelet or just fried.
    7. Remove eggs from pan
    8. In the same pan, lightly brown the pieces of chopped ham.
    Plate and Enjoy !

    *If you are not comfortable with using food coloring, spinach juice works great also, without the spinach taste

    *To make spinach juice: defrost frozen spinach and warm in the microwave, then using a cheese cloth, squeeze juice from the leaves (the kids wont even know the difference if you don’t tell them) J

    My daughter wanted to know if we cracked an egg onto the already colored egg,if it would change color.. there was only one way to find out :)

    Print Friendly and PDF

    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...