Tag: easter

Caesar Salad Dressing

Stephen loves Caesar salad. It is his all time favorite meal. Caesar salad used to be our traditional anniversary dinner. That was until we went to the Pasta Moon in, our anniversary vacation spot, Half Moon Bay and tried their Risotto Sea Scallops and tomato 

Biscuit 101- The History of…

In the South the term “biscuit” often refers to a light, fluffy, flaky, buttery bread usually served with breakfast. In England and other places around the world however, a biscuit is more like a hard scone or “cookie” served with tea or single serve coffee 

Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta & Onions

Brussels Sprouts notoriously have a bad wrap. Usually those claiming to despise them have never tried them or worse were scarred for life the first time they tried a mushy slimy sprout or cabbage.

Brussels sprouts are small little cabbage like sprouts that grow on a stalk. Brussels sprouts are part of the cruciferous family that includes: broccoli, kale, cabbage, mustard, turnips, rutabagas,and wasabi and horseradish. They were believed to have originated in Belgium near Brussels (hence the name) but there is some uncertainty to the claim. Based on historical records we do know that they were first introduced to France and England during World War I where they continue to be a popular food. French settlers who settled in Louisiana in the 1800’s brought them to America. Today brussels sprouts are mainly produced in California and Europe. They are a hardy plant tolerant of poor soil. When eaten regularly they may help prevent certain cancers and improve circulation.

Never ever buy frozen brussel sprouts or asparagus for that matter. Always buy fresh. Sprouts still attached to the stalk are preferable. Avoid sprouts that are discolored (yellow or brown leaves) or loose. Choose instead the smaller sprouts that are green. Brussels sprouts have a very short shelf life. Try to use within a few days of purchase.

The best way to prepare sprouts is roasted with a little oil. First wash then trim the bottom root part off. Not too much that too many leaves fall off. Next slice in half. Toss with a little oil, season with salt and pepper. Some recipes like this one suggest steaming them first. I am not a fan of steamed because they tend to loose flavor and can quickly turn too soft and rubbery.

If you skip the steaming part it will take about 10 to 15 minutes to brown. Ideally I this is your first experience with brussel sprouts cook the onions and pancetta as called for then toss in the sprouts turning to coat. Transfer to an oven safe pan and cook in a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes. They should be tender enough to pierce with a fork but not mushy.

Source: Woman’s Day
1 1/2 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
4 oz pancetta, diced
1 large onion, quartered and thinly sliced crosswise
1?2 tsp kosher salt
1?4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar (optional)

Bring 1-inch of lightly salted water to a boil in a large, deep skillet. Add sprouts and simmer, covered, until crisp-tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain and run under cold water to cool.

Wipe out the skillet. Add pancetta and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towel–lined plate.

Add onion to drippings in skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden, 8 to 10 minutes.

Increase heat to medium-high. Add sprouts, salt and pepper, and cook, tossing, until heated through, about 3 minutes. Add pancetta and vinegar, if using, and toss to combine.

Use leftovers in an omelet the next morning.

Spinach Nicoise Salad

Nicoise is a type of salad historically made with raw vegetables. The Nicoise salad is believed to have originated at the start of the 1900’s on the French Rivera in Nice, France. Traditionally Nicoise Salad contained anchovies, artichoke hearts, olives, tomatoes and peppers, with a dressing made of 

Cranberry Orange Baked Oatmeal To-Go Bars

Next to pancakes oatmeal is our second favorite breakfast food. What I love most about baked oatmeal however is it is portable. Wrap some up to take on a hike or make a batch for an afternoon snack. Reheat the leftovers for breakfast the next 

Banana Oat Pancakes

Yum, yum pancakes. Oatmeal banana pancakes. I so love pancakes. I think my son could eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. He is a picky eater. Occasionally he will surprise me like the time he ate hummus with carrots. He did not start out picky. In fact, when he started solids the more gourmet the better. Pancakes is one area I have made gradual changes. I swapped out the all-purpose flour for oat flour, added wheat germ and ground flax seed and omitted the sugar. I feel better knowing he is getting some nutrition. He ate these banana pancakes without a single peep. Be sure to visit Simple Bites to read the post for Banana Oatmeal Pancakes. You will find a few more suggestions to placate a picky eater.

The addition of ground oatmeal flour gives the cakes a nice hearty texture. Be sure to puree the banana it helps it blend in nicely with the other liquids. I was worried about the strong flavor of the honey but you cannot even taste it.

Source: Simple Bites
makes about 20 pancakes
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tablespoon ground flax seed
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups low-fat milk
1 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
3 tablespoons melted butter or canola oil
1/3 cup honey
1 1/3 cup puréed ripe bananas, about 4 medium bananas
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat a large skillet over low heat.

Add the oats to a food processor and process until very fine. In a large bowl, whisk together the whole wheat flour, ground oats, flax seed, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate medium-sized bowl, combine the milk, yogurt, cooled butter or canola oil, honey, banana, and eggs. Hand whisk until thoroughly combined, but do not beat.

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Pour the liquids into the bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until well incorporated. Do not beat the mixture. Just stir until moist and combined.

Turn the heat on the pan or griddle up to medium-low. Grease with cooking spray, oil, or butter according to your preference. Add the batter 1/4 cup per pancake to the pan. Cook until golden brown on the bottom before flipping.

You can usually tell it is ready to flip because the top will start to bubble. Pancakes can be kept warm in a 150 degree oven on an oven-safe plate or cookie sheet while the remaining cook. Serve with sliced banana, your favorite jam, honey, or syrup.

To freeze leftovers: Cool on a cookie cooling rack completely. Then, place pancakes in gallon-sized zip top bags. To reheat, warm in a toaster oven or microwave.

– Swap oats for instant oatmeal and process as directed. Or use oat flour, no need to process.
– Use sour cream in the place of yogurt.
– Replace the wheat flour with all-purpose or gluten free mix.
– Add chopped or broken pecans to the batter or sprinkle on each pancake after you pour the batter onto the hot griddle.
– Swap the banana puree with pumpkin puree, sweet potatoes or applesauce.

Recipe for a simple version of Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes.

Family Togetherness: A Tradition of Handicrafts

A tradition of family handiwork has a long history. In centuries past mothers passed on the art of sewing to their daughters. Fathers taught their sons to hunt and fish. In today’s society there is a plethora of resources available for instruction in every facet 

Garlic Prime Rib

The common consensus regarding the proper way to season Prime Rib is a little salt and pepper. The meat is so flavorful that nothing else is needed. I agree. The worst experience I had with prime rib was at a restaurant whose chef covered the 

Panettone French Toast

Panettone {Pan e toni} (meaning large bread) is an Italian sweet bread, studded with dried fruit that has been soaked in liquor, commonly associated with Christmas. Historians are unclear as to the exact history of Panettone; however, it is said to have originated during the 15th-century in Milan Italy, when the ancient Romans used honey to sweeten breads. Writings dating from the 18th-century associate the bread with Christmas; yet, it was not until the early 20th-century that panettone became a widely shared Christmas tradition. Today Panettone is shipped all across the world and not only at Christmas time but Easter too.

There are just as many legends as there are versions of the bread. The first story tells of a young noble man, Toni, and his love for the baker’s daughter. To win the heart of his true love he disguised himself as apprentice to her father. One day he made a special domed bread that impressed the baker and the daughter so much that the baker sanctioned his daughter’s hand in marriage.

The second tale occurs one Christmas Eve at a lavish banquet held at the court of Ludovico Sforza. The cook accidently burnt the dessert. A kitchen hand, named Toni, saved the evening by making a sweet bread using the remains of the burnt cake and adding dried fruit, spices, eggs and sugar.

How ever Panettone came to be this rich buttery sweet sensation is a world wide Holiday favorite. Panettone is often toasted and served alongside coffee. You will also find recipes for Panettone stuffing and bread pudding in addition to this version of Panettone french toast. Panettone is not a fruit cake although it does contain dried fruit. Freshly made is always preferred over store bought but if it is not available at the local bakery try finding the brands by Bauli or Flamigni.

Source: Williams Sonoma
1/2 Panettone, about 1 pound
3 eggs, lightly whisked
1 cup milk
Grated zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1 tbsp Cointreau (optional)
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Softened unsalted butter for brushing
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
Warm Maple syrup for serving

Slice off the end pieces and discard. Cut panettone into 5 or 6 vertical slices then slice pieces in half.

In a bowl, whisk eggs, milk, orange zest, orange juice, Cointreau, granulated sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour into a large shallow bowl; add bread slices. Soak, turning once, 10 seconds per side.

Heat griddle on medium heat; brush with butter. When the butter foams, add a few bread slices. Cook, turning once, untl lightly browned, 3-5 minutes per side. Turn slices over again; cook a few minutes more per side. Transfer French toast to serving plates. Place in oven; turn oven to 200 degrees. Cook remaining slices.

To serve dust with confectioner’s sugar. Serve with maple syrup.

Serves 4 or 5.

Keep any left overs refrigerated. Reheat in the oven, spread with butter and eat with a cup of hot chocolate. Mmmmmm.

Family Togetherness: Traditions

Artwork: Home Dinner II (Family Series) by Yau Bee The smell of the hall closet in my home growing up is one of my favorite smells. The closet is where my mom stored all the Christmas boxes. I remember as a child becoming so anxious