Tag Archives: cinnamon

Pear Bread

Last night was my annual Christmas party; it was a blast and I am not just saying that because I threw it but we always have so much fun eating, drinking and singing around the piano. Once we make it through all the usual festive Christmas songs out comes Billy Joel, Elton John, James Taylor show tunes and even Abba yes we rocked Super Trouper. We generally average around 50-60 people, some stay a couple of hours, most stay for several hours and some even stay the night. Last night we had a full house; there was a no vacancy sign out front (if we had one) for the tower 🙂 as you can tell SF I am borrowing your comment from this morning. Another comment from one of my overnight guests “I should blog about this” on how to throw an awesome party; thanks for thinking so BF.

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party aftermath photo

 

My best recommendation is prep prep prep as much as you can the day before; and finish everything off the day of the party and that includes having breakfast mostly completed before the party. No one wants to make breakfast for 12-15 people while nursing a little after party slowness. A couple of breakfast casseroles, a bread item and some fresh fruit as well as coffee and juice and voila!

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Here is a bread item that was a nice surprise for me. Sometimes I guess you can call it over prepping; I have a grand plan of making something different to serve a crowd and I just never get there, this past Thanksgiving it was poached pears, mind you for the first time and I just ran out of steam, time and ambition; it happens to the best of us. What to do with a dozen pears that you know were going to all ripen at the same time; you can only eat so many pears in a day. I personally am not a fan but my guys love them; but even they were done after day 2. I put them in the fridge to slow them down a bit but time was ticking. Poaching pears was out, now they were only good for a baked good or the trash or maybe the compost pile, yeah so far we here in New Hampshire are having a crazy mild December. I know I will regret putting that in writing.  If this winter is anything like last winter, we are in for some serious weather come January.

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I looked online to see what others had done with their over ripen pears and where I have seen many a pear cake recipe I have never heard of pear bread I figured why not? We love banana bread and zucchini bread. I was not disappointed, it was moist, flavorful and a bonus was I didn’t have to throw away any pears. I really didn’t have a backup plan if this didn’t work out. Our usual use for fruit on its last leg is to make a smoothie for breakfast but I didn’t even photograph my pears for you, they were pretty ugly.

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The bread was a hit with the family and I would make it again no questions asked. though I didn’t make this for this mornings breakfast; I would have if I had leftover pears.

Pear Bread – makes 2 loaves

3 eggs
1 ½ cups sugar
¾ cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
4 cups finely chopped peeled ripe pears (about 4 medium)
1 tsp lemon juice
1 cup chopped walnuts

Directions pre-heat oven to 350’
In a large bowl or your mixing bowl combine eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla; mix well. Combine flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder and soda. Stir into the egg mixture just till moistened. Toss pears with lemon juice stir pears and walnuts into the batter.

Fill about half way into 2 greased 9×5 in loaf pans. Bake for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pans to wire racks. Freezes well too!

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photo prop silliness me and my girlfriend

15 Minute Doughnut Holes

If you are anything like me and I can only assume you might be slightly since you are reading this? I see a recipe that sounds delicious so I either end up printing it or ripping it out of whatever I am looking at. However I do tend to steer clear of ones that look difficult; you know the ones that have the never ending list of ingredients and pages of steps.  I just don’t have the time or the energy to even attempt them.

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I am however not afraid to pick up an ingredient or two that is generally not on my shopping list. I purchased a jicama to try to make deviled eggs that I had at Coastal Flats in VA. I bought a Chinese cabbage to make dumplings. Just this week I bought some buttermilk to make a Texas Sheet cake (recipe 3/31/2014) The good news is I was able to make what I wanted; the bad news is what to do with the leftover ingredient? I hate to waste anything so I will either come up with or look for something I can make with it before it goes bad. I‘m pretty sure I passed the waste not thinking onto my husband; or maybe he came like that? He saw one lonely ripe banana on the counter this morning and made banana pancakes for us for breakfast.

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I am currently soaking some chicken thighs in some of the buttermilk, and I have a little left, OK I made sure I had enough left over to make some doughnut holes. I found a 15 minute doughnut-hole recipe online quite a while ago. They are easy and pretty damn good. I cut up the rest of the jicama added  some diced carrots and broccoli for a vegetable medley for dinner one night and the Chinese cabbage stays really well in the fridge for at least a couple of weeks in the veggie drawer. Cut off what you need at a time, it adds great crunch to a salad.

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15 Minute Doughnut Holes – it makes a couple dozen

1¼ cup AP flour

2 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

Whisk the above in a medium bowl

¼ cup milk

¼ cup buttermilk

¼ cup sugar

3 tbs melted butter

Whisk the above in a small bowl

Add wet to dry mixture just till combined

½ tbs – shape into a ball (try not to handle too much)

Place in the hot oil; fry to golden brown, turning over once – about 3-4 minutes

Vegetable oil for frying at 350’

Cinnamon and sugar for shaking

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Buttermilk Fried Chicken

6 Bone in skin on chicken thighs

Buttermilk to marinate

½ cup flour seasoned with salt and pepper

Soak chicken in buttermilk for several hours or overnight. Heat oil to 350’ dredge chicken in flour fry for 15-20 minutes turning once

Tomatillo Chili w/Pork and Hominy – or as I referred to it as running with scissors

I am definitely open to trying new things; I actually encourage everyone to at least try something before you decide “I don’t like it”. Which is a far cry from how I grew up; I had a strict rule I would not eat anything that was green; except iceberg lettuce. Thankfully I have changed my ways or life would certainly be pretty boring and I would not have a damn thing to write about.

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This week I totally went out on a limb; at least for me.  I have never bought tomatillos, hominy or Poblanos before.  I will also confess I have never heard of hominy before until I heard Guy Fieri say he LOVED them. So I at the very least I wanted to try them. I think that is HUGE growth for me and I won’t say love just yet; but I definitely liked them.

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Tomatillo

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Poblano Pepper

This recipe is another with some prep up front you can let the slow cooker finish the job.  If you don’t have a free night during the week than try this on the weekend!

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Tomatillos 15-20 medium, husks and stems removed, rinsed well, dried and halved

1 large onion, cut into 1 inch pieces

4-6 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp cumin

Pinch of ground cloves

Pinch of ground cinnamon

3 tbs vegetable oil

2 cans white or yellow hominy, drained and rinsed

2 ½ cups chicken broth

2-3 poblano chilies, stemmed, seeded, and minced

3 tbs minute tapioca – I found mine in the baking isle of my local grocery store

2 tsp sugar

2 bay leaves

1 4lb boneless pork butt roast, trimmed and cut into 1 ½ inch chunks

Salt and pepper

½ cup minced fresh cilantro

Position oven rack 6 inches from broiler, toss tomatillos, onion, garlic, cumin, cloves and cinnamon with oil and spread onto aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Broil until vegetables are blackened and begin to soften. 8-12 minutes rotating pan halfway through.

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Let vegetables cool slightly, pulse vegetables along with juices in a food processor until almost smooth. About 10-15 pulses; transfer to slow cooker.

Stir hominy, broth, poblanos, tapioca, sugar, and bay leaves into slow cooker. Cover and cook until pork is tender, 9-11 hours on low or 5-7 on high.

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Let chili settle for 5-10 minutes, then remove the fat from the surface, discard bay leaves, stir in cilantro, season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with your favorite chili toppings.  Shredded cheese, sour cream and salsa it’s all good!!!

Signing off to watch the super bowl – GO PATS!!!!

Problem sweet bread – make bread pudding

For as many zucchini breads I make I messed up a batch a couple of weeks ago.  Maybe it was karma for me forgetting an ingredient on my initial post and a friend’s bread did not work out for him. SF sorry this post is too late for your sugarless bread. My error was I forgot to add baking soda; it is edible but pretty dense. I being a true frugal New Englander can’t just throw out the bad loaves but I can transform them into something pretty yummy!

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I will admit I have never made bread pudding before; I did have the most amazing one for dessert at my favorite local restaurant a couple of years ago. They made banana bread pudding that was just incredible; in talking with our waitress she said they made it a pudding because of a failed attempt at banana bread. I have always wanted to try making one but just never pulled the trigger till this morning.

I took a couple of the smaller loaves out of the freezer chopped them up and made my first bread pudding.  I am calling them a success.  It definitely transformed the dense bread into something warm and yummy.  I think I will try to make the same with my next loaves of banana bread. I will try not to mess up the banana bread recipe so I HAVE to make pudding but I feel pretty confident if I do mess it up I can transform it into something pretty good.

You could have it with your morning Tea or Joe or dress it up with some homemade whipped cream or even Vanilla Ice Cream.  My mouth is watering!

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Pudding

3-4 eggs

1 cup of milk – or similar volume to the eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp sugar – you can omit it your bread is already to sweet OR add a little more if it is not sweet enough

Zucchini or similar bread chopped into cubes – dry bread works best – if you need to you can grill or pop the bread into the oven for a couple of minutes to dry out.

Greased/spray whatever vessel you are using, add cubed bread, mix first 4 ingredients, pour over bread set aside while the oven is pre-heating to 350’. Once pre-heated bake bread for 30+ minutes. My ramekins took about 35 minutes in my oven.

Whipped Cream

Carton whipping cream or heavy cream

Tsp vanilla

2 Tbs sugar

You can do this by hand; if you are looking for a workout but I add all ingredients to my Kitchen Aid with the whisk attachment.  I do place a kitchen towel over my mixer because it can be messy when it first starts out.  Start out on 2 and then increase to 3 for about 2 minutes.  lift the towel to not over whisk, you want stiff peaks.

Zucchini Bread

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Peppers in the middle on the garden closest to me just terrible

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Zucchini, Summer Squash, Cucumbers, Tomatoes and Butternut Squash all looking good!

broccoli - garden 046 Our gardens are doing really well this year for the most part.  The only disappointments are my peppers, both the bell and jalapeno’ peppers are just not growing or producing.  We have had a bumper crop of zucchini, summer squash and cucumbers.  We have been getting a ton of cherry tomatoes and plenty of roma; I fear all of my beef steaks will all turn red at once.  That will be another weekend of processing.  I am not complaining I am actually very grateful we are having a great year.  My favorite, for 20+ years, supermarket is on strike here on the East coast.

Fortunately I was able to harvest some garlic this year, the bulbs are much smaller than I would like but there were around 70 of them; I had planted 120 bulbs in the fall but I will take whatever I can get considering the last two years I lost all of it.

Today was pickling cucumbers and baking zucchini bread day.  I pickled 8 jars of kosher dill and 34 loaves of various sized zucchini bread – I doubled the recipe below 3 times to get the 34 loaves. So far so good!

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I started blogging a little over a year ago; a few of you, since there were just  few of you at the start; may remember me posting this zucchini bread recipe around the same time last year however SO many more people have come on board with me since.  Technology is a pretty amazing tool. I was just looking at some of my blog stats and just today I had 3 people from 3 different countries check me out.  Colombia, Brazil and Italy I find that SUPER cool. Also I had barely started my first paragraph tonight when my daughter faced time me from the Philippines; she is there vacationing with a friend of hers from Japan. The world is getting smaller and smaller.

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Zucchini Bread – bake 350’ 45 minutes or so – depends on what size the pan is.  The recipe easily doubles and freezes well

2 large eggs

½ cup vegetable oil

½ cup apple sauce

2 cups sugar

2 tsp vanilla

2 tsp cinnamon

1 package vanilla pudding mix

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

3 cups AP flour

2 cups shredded zucchini that you have squeezed out most of the liquid – I put it all in a colander, place a plate and something heavy on it in the fridge few a couple of hours.  I still had to go to the store so it worked out great.

In a stand mixer add the first 8 ingredients and mix well, add the flour till combined and then add the zucchini.  Spray grease whatever you are using and fill to about ¾ full.  Bake for about 40-50 minutes and let cool for a bit, remove from your dish and wrap or bag.  These freeze really well.  We literally just ate our last loaf from last year just the other day.

If you are using a kitchen-aid with their 5 quart sized bowl you can double this recipe, however it will be very close to the top, so heed my instructions on when to add ingredients, it helps make sure all the ingredients get mixed well.

Thanks for listening

Curly Cues

You know when you have a craving for something sweet and your cupboards are missing one of two of the vital ingredients for that cool new recipe you found online or even one of your own sweet staples.  I had zero intention of going anywhere today its way too cold and windy outside. It was a very nice day to stay in and do much of nothing. But I still had a craving for something sweet.

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So around 4 o’clock I finally got a little motivated so I decided to start cooking; I have a roaster chicken in the oven; potatoes, carrots and pea’s ready to go on top of the stove.  But what I really wanted was something sweet and easy to make.  It has been quite some time since I made them and they are far from a healthy snack so I wouldn’t make them all the time; BUT they are pretty damn good once in a while.

I have no idea where the name came from, or even where the recipe came from.  For as far back as I can remember these were a sweet treat from my childhood. They were always made from left over pie dough.  While I don’t use this dough for anything but curly cues now, when I was younger the women in my family used to use this recipe for pies all the time.  I have tried other dough’s for curly cues and nothing works quite like this very simple recipe.

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Dough

2 Cups Flour

½ Cup Vegetable Oil

½ Cup Cold Water

Mix well and pour out to a lightly floured surface

You want to use a rolling pin and roll it into a rectangle; it doesn’t have to be perfect

Stick of butter or margarine

Cup or so of Sugar (I cover the butter/dough)

Tablespoon or so of Cinnamon (as much or as little as you like)

I doubled the batch which makes what you see in the pictures about 18

Bake for an hour at 350’

Note – if you have a silpat use it, if not you are going to want to make sure you use cooking spray and clean the pan while it is still a little warm. If you wait too long it turns to rock candy.