Sunday, March 30, 2014

Twice Baked

When life hands you a flopped popped Paska,
make Bread Pudding....

I just found out that I need a LOT more 
practice when making Paska.
I blame the fact that I'm trying to adopt
this delicious Easter bread into my
Swiss German Mennonite tradition....
not to mention my lack of practice.





This is what happens
when you try to get fancy and
bake it in tin soup cans.
A bit too much dough in each
can and letting it rise too much,
do ya think??
The top of one popped right off
in the oven!
The other two sort of withered
after pulling them from their cans.











Maybe it can be rescued
into a bread pudding?
After all it had a nice 
"crumb" as they say, and it 
smelled absolutely 
wonderful - just wasn't
pretty.





I decided to use a basic bread pudding recipe,
throw in some frozen raspberries 
and make it for Sunday Supper!



Basic Bread Pudding:
6 slices day-old bread (or flopped Paska) cubed
into a buttered 8 X 8 baking dish.
2 Tbsp. melted butter sprinkled on top.
Mix together and pour over top:
4 Eggs beaten with 2 Cups Milk,
3/4 Cup sugar, 1 tsp. cinnamon, and
1 tsp. vanilla extract.
Add raisins, some frozen fruit or thinly sliced apples
if desired.
Push down with a fork till the bread is moistened.
Bake at 350F for 45 minutes or
until top springs back when lightly tapped.








Back to the baking of the Paska...

Thankfully I had only made a half batch.

So I had half an orange and
half a lemon that were just waiting
to be used.
Why not - so I started over, determined to
do it properly this time and use
more traditional containers.

Success,
not perfection, but much better this time!!!



To be successful at making the perfect Paska,
one needs to
follow the experienced tutorial of

(page 132-133)
or on their amazing blog

and not try to get too fancy before you've got some experience!

It's all good!!!!!
I now have some delicious bread pudding
for supper and
some wonderful looking Easter Paska in the freezer.

Besides doing some baking and such in preparation
for Easter - I'm trying to prepare my heart too
for this most special time of year!




Till next time - what special preparations are you making for Easter this year? Is March going out like a lamb where you are?


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Cooking School

Last week the Farmer and I
had the privilege of attending a local
Cooking School - Relish Cooking Studio
 for a work related
fun evening with some of his corporate colleagues.





The Italian menu included:
Insalata Caprese
Spaghetti with Zucchini
Veal Saltimbocca
Sautéed Sweet Peppers
Sicilian Cannoli

This was a "hands on" class and we all
took part in the prep and cooking of the food.
We ate heartily after each
course was prepared!



The tasty salad on a bed of
Arugula
was finished 
with Maldon Sea Salt Flakes
and a drizzle of an award winning
Olive Oil - Otto EVO
The sweet tomatoes are grown in
a local green house.






Next we enjoyed the 
Pasta Course!
The spaghetti was a tasty
Basil spaghetti cooked to perfection,
topped with lightly fried
zucchini slices,
Fine Sea Salt,
grated Parmesan Cheese,
torn basil leaves, butter
and lemon wedges.
I may never use tomato sauce
on my spaghetti ever again!
It was that good.



Veal Saltimbocca was new to me
and this was the dish that 
we helped make. The veal was
pounded into thin rectangles,
topped with a slice of prosciutto,
some sage leaves, and shaved Parmesan cheese!
We then rolled each one up tightly and 
secured it with a toothpick.
The veal was sautéed in oil and butter
and the pan deglazed with Marsala Wine and
lemon juice. Oh, the wonderful flavour!
Not to be outdone was a side dish of sautéed 
peppers drizzled with sugar and cider vinegar
for an extra special taste.






The dessert was cannoli shells
stuffed with a lemony ricotta cheese
filling and dipped into chocolate
chipits - need I say more....








To top off this fantastic meal
we were served a small glass of Limoncello
which was handmade by the chefs.


This is a menu that we will be making again and again,
especially now that I have the farmer trained to pound out
the veal and roll up the Saltimbocca - in fact
we made it today for Sunday Dinner.
We substituted the Cannoli with some
left-over Pecan Pie.

Not only that, we decided to make our
own Limoncello - Ellen take note!
It will be ready sometime in
May - just in time for Summa'
I'll let you know how it turns out.





What a great idea for a Corporate Event.
Thanks go out to Jennifer and Brad
and the Relish Cooking Studio Chefs!!


Till next time ................ enjoy this first week of Springtime wherever you may be!


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Soaked Note Cards

My first ever Link
to Vee's Note Card Party.

'Tis!

I'm using an Irish theme for March
reminiscing about our 2012 trip
to this beautiful Emerald Island.

These pictures were recreated/soaked
with my Waterlogue IPhone App.


Vee's March Note Card Party.......

(Be sure to click on the above link to see all the wonderful Note Cards in the Party)


Liffy River Bridge in Dublin


Beautiful Galway Bay

Slea Head Coast near Dingle

Breathtaking Cliffs of Moher


Box Top Collage with Irish Blessing from
 http://www.thegirlcreative.com/2012/02/26/irish-blessing-subway-art.html


Till next time ........ hoping everyone had a wonderful St. Patrick's Day!






Sunday, March 16, 2014

Pannakuakku



Pannakuakku
(I don't know how to pronounce this)





A busy Saturday ahead, 
while putting away the groceries,
the fridge needing to be reorganized and cleaned,
and no room for the beautiful bag of apples
I had just purchased at our local Martin's Apple Farm,
I made the decision to set them in the back deck room
for now!
Oops.....I should have know the temperatures
were going to dip down way below freezing once again
this Spring (did I say Spring????)
Where is Spring?

Back to the apples......I remembered what I had done on
Sunday morning and yes, they were slightly frozen.
What to do?

Then I thought of a delicious
recipe that Vee shared on her
fabulous blog called A Haven for Vee
It's the Finnish version of a Dutch Baby (I think).

I could make this and top it with
some delicious sautéed apples.....right?





It was yummy - but definitely a recipe for four
people! Next time I will half the recipe.
An addition, Vanilla Yogurt or Whipped Cream would
have made it even better.

You've got to try this.
It's wonderful to watch as it bakes and
transforms into a giant fluffy soufflé like pancake.

Well, that took care of 3 apples,
9 more to go.



Recipe for the Pannakuakku:
4 Tbsp. butter
4 eggs
1 Cup Flour
1 Cup Milk
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla and
A sprinkle of cinnamon

Melt the butter in a 8 X 11 baking pan. Mix together the eggs,
flour, milk, salt and vanilla and pour onto the melted butter.
Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake at 450F for 20 minutes.


Make sure to visit Vee's blog
and read her comical description of this recipe ......



Till next time ........... be mindful of where to store your apples this time of year!




Saturday, March 15, 2014

Pot 'o Gold


Yukon Gold spuds it tis!!




St. Patty's Day is just a few days away,
thus a "crock" of golden leek and potato soup!




We love this soup.
It's easy to make - no real recipe but
this is how I make it.....




Leek and Potato Soup

2-3 leeks - trimmed and cleaned thoroughly.  Leeks are grown in sandy soil and need to be washed well. Just use the white and pale green parts. Chop them quite fine.
6 or soYukon Gold potatoes - chopped
2 carrots - chopped
1/2 sweet onion - chopped
2 stalks carrots - chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp. thyme
4 Cups chicken stock
3 Tbsp. butter
1 Cup cubed cooked ham (optional)
Parsley for garnish

Melt butter in a large pot. Add the leeks, onions, carrots, and celery. Season with salt, pepper and thyme and sweat the veggies till softened. Pour in the chicken broth and add the chopped potatoes. Simmer till the potatoes and vegetables are soft and tender. Taste test for seasoning. Put some of the soup into the blender or use a hand blender to blend the soup slightly - leaving some chunks of potatoes and vegetables. Add in the cubed ham if using. Garnish with parsley and enjoy with some fresh baked bread or biscuits!

Now I should head off to bake me some
to go with that soup!


Top 'o the Mornin' to ya!
Have a fabulous St. Patrick's Day Weekend


Pure Gold Memories of Ireland 2011
that have been transformed with my Waterlogue app!





Till next time - eat something green and/or Irish this weekend if you can ....



Saturday, March 8, 2014

What I learned on Google - Oven Bacon

I have a glass top stove
and I've never liked it!!!
That's another story.
The worst part is that it is shiny black
and every speck or fingerprint shows.....

Having said that,
I don't make bacon very often
mostly because it's so messy.

So I googled how to make bacon without the mess
and, as Jeff Hutchison on Canada A.M. says,
"this is what I learned on the Internet today"
I'm calling it WILOG
(What I Learned on Google)



Place the uncooked bacon
on a foil lined pan and 
set it into a cold oven.

Turn the oven to 400F,
set the timer for 17 minutes and
go ahead preparing the rest of 
breakfast!
(it may take a few minutes longer depending
on the thickness of the bacon slices)








Voila - it stayed flat and oh so
fragrant and delicious!
No splatter to clean up
and the stove top was
free to fry the eggs etc.







I realize that this isn't Rocket Science
and that you probably already knew how to do this
but for me it was WILOG today...

Now the trick is to learn
not to eat too much on a Saturday morning!

Thanks - Google!


Till next time ........ do you have a glass top stove and do you like/dislike it???



Thursday, March 6, 2014

Feeling So Sew


I love to piece quilts
when I have time,
or when I take a class!
Needless to say - I don't get too many done.
As of now I have at least four tops sewn
but, alas, have not attempted the quilting part.
I do have my Mom's quilt stands that were
made for her by my Grandpa Gerber
so there really isn't an excuse - sigh!




On Saturday I dusted off my sewing machine,
and went to a quilt piecing class.
The pattern is called "Magic Tiles".

There were four of us "students" in the class
and each one had chosen the most interesting
fabric combinations...







One was a Grandmother who's Grandson
picked out the striking blue and green combinations for
his quilt to be,










a young mom who chose
the beautiful batik fabrics
to make a charming quilt
for her daughters "big girl bed",






and a young woman who was making an
ambitious queen size black, red, and white quilt.










We got all the pieces cut and were able
to get one block finished before it was time
to wrap it up.
What fun ...... a whole day of creating!



Today I stayed home from work with one of the worst
head colds I've had in years - so out came the quilt blocks,
the kleenex box, the hot tea,
and it all seemed to go quite well - could be because
of the drugs I'm on!?

Just the borders to go and then
it's ready to quilt.......

Now if I could just kick this fever, runny nose, and cough.....
A warm quilt to wrap up in would sure feel good.


Till next time ......... what are you creating these cold wintery days?