Baked Chicken w/ Tomato Bacon Relish

CELEBRATING FATHER’S DAY!

Honoring your father on Father’s Day doesn’t require his physical presence. I feel what is more important is just the act of doing it. I am very grateful to have had a father who was such a strong role model in my life. Everything he did was driven by his commitment to provide and care for the family he loved.

My father passed away in 2005 and Brion’s in 2011. Both our dads loved to talk and tell stories from their lives. We often wish we could retrace that time and hear their voices again. It seems you never fully appreciate your parents until they are no longer on this earth. It is so important to appreciate every hour they are in your life.

Brion & I eat a lot of chicken, so I’m always interested in another way of serving it. This recipe gives you not only crispy chicken but a flavorful tomato bacon relish to compliment it.

If you’re a bacon lover, it probably goes without saying, but bacon goes well with everything. Tomato bacon relish sounds like it would be savory, but it’s actually pretty sweet, just like other fruit jams! However, it does have a lot more complexity thanks to the bacon and spices.

The concept may sound strange, but it tastes like caramelized tomatoes–richer, sweeter, and more mellow than their fresh counterparts, balanced by the savory and smoky flavors of the bacon and smoked paprika. A little vinegar and mustard add a subtle tang, and you’ll get a hint of heat at the end from red pepper flakes.

It’s perfect spread on toast, in an omelet or a grilled cheese sandwich, on roasted veggies, next to cheese and crackers on a charcuterie board, or spread over cream cheese or brie for a party appetizer, etc. etc.

My special meal in honor of our dad’s on this Father’s Day is baked chicken tenders with bacon tomato relish.

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Baked Chicken w/ Tomato Bacon Relish
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Instructions
Chicken
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. In a shallow bowl, mix bread crumbs, 2 Tbsp thyme & 1/4 tsp each salt & pepper. Place flour & egg in separate shallow bowls. Dip chicken in flour; shake off excess. Dip in egg, then in crumb mixture, patting to help coating adhere. Place chicken on a greased rack in a 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Bake about 15 minutes or until no pink remains.
Bacon Tomato Relish
  1. In a skillet, over medium high heat, fry bacon until crispy. Remove bacon to plate. Drain all but 1 Tbsp bacon drippings.
  2. In the same skillet, sauté onions in reserved bacon drippings until onion starts to soften, about 4 minutes. Add garlic during last minute of sautéing.
  3. Add bacon & all remaining ingredients; stir to combine. Increase heat & bring mixture to a boil.
  4. Decrease heat & simmer, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are tender.
  5. Serve over baked chicken tenders.

Manchester Tarts

The Manchester tart is an English baked treat with its roots tracing back to none other than the vibrant city of Manchester, England. This retro tart has a shortcrust pastry base that’s layered with raspberry preserves, custard, desiccated coconut and sometimes glace cherries. The combination of sweet preserves, creamy custard, and coconut creates a wonderful balance of flavors and textures.

The Manchester tart was a staple on school dinner menus until the mid-1980s and is now a staple in bakeries and home kitchens, cherished for its simplicity and delicious taste.

Over the years, the Manchester Tart has undergone numerous adaptations and variations, with some recipes incorporating different fruits, toppings, or pastry bases. However, its essence remains rooted in the tradition of British baking, symbolizing comfort and nostalgia for many who have enjoyed it throughout generations.

For my adaptation of these tarts I made a pastry cream to give a lightness and added some fresh raspberries to give some tang to balance the sweetness of the preserves. Instead of using the traditional glace cherry on top, I went with a few more fresh raspberries.


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Manchester Tarts
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Course dessert
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TARTLETS
Ingredients
Tart Base
Pastry Cream
Raspberry Preserves/Fruit
Topping
Course dessert
Servings
TARTLETS
Ingredients
Tart Base
Pastry Cream
Raspberry Preserves/Fruit
Topping
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Instructions
Tart Base
  1. Combine the flour, powdered sugar, cornstarch, salt, & vanilla in a large bowl. Add the butter and mix with your hands until the butter is broken down into pieces the size of peas and the ingredients are well combined. Add the egg and mix with a spatula until the dough is smooth and the egg is fully incorporated. Don’t overmix.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a large piece of plastic wrap and gently shape it into a ball. Wrap the dough in the plastic wrap and flatten it into a disc. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight, until cold but still pliable. It should have the texture of clay.
  3. When the dough has chilled, unwrap the dough and place it on a silicone baking mat on your work surface. Roll it out into a rectangle about 1⁄8 inch thick, using a second silicone sheet on top. The silicone mat makes it easier to lift the rolled-out dough onto the sheet pan later. Make sure to work quickly so the dough doesn’t get too warm.
  4. Place the silicone mat with the dough on a baking sheet.
  5. Using the tart rings, cut out 18 circles of dough. Remove the rest of the dough from around the rings.
  6. Reroll remaining dough between 2 sheets of parchment. Using a sharp knife, slice strips about 10 inches long & 1- inch thick. These strips will make the sides of each tartlet.
  7. Working with one at a time, transfer a strip of dough to one of the tart rings and press it to the sides. Use your fingers to slightly push the bottom of the sides to the dough circle (to seal it). Repeat with the remaining strips of dough. Use a small knife to cut the edge to the rim of the rings.
  8. Transfer the baking sheet containing the tartlet shells to the freezer & freeze for at least 20 minutes.
  9. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  10. Bake tart rings for about 15 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven & take off rings to allow them to cool.
Pastry Cream
  1. Heat the milk over medium high heat & bring it to a simmer, almost to a boil.
  2. While heating the milk, place the sugar, egg yolks, cornstarch, vanilla & salt in a bowl. Whisk until you have a thick, smooth mix then set aside until the milk comes almost to a boil.
  3. As soon as the milk starts to steam or simmer, remove it from the heat. Slowly pour about a half of the hot milk in a thin stream into the egg mix, WHILE WHISKING CONSTANTLY to temper the egg mix. When the eggs have been tempered, add the egg mix back into the hot milk in the saucepan.
  4. Heat the custard base, over medium heat, while whisking vigorously until it starts to thicken – this should take about 1 – 2 minutes. Make sure to reach the corners of the saucepan so that the custard does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
  5. While whisking, let the custard come to a boil (the custard will release bubbles). You may need to stop whisking from time to time for a few seconds to see if the custard is ‘bubbling’. Look for big bubbles breaking the surface of the custard.
  6. Lower the heat and cook for a further 1 – 2 minutes after you see the first bubbles break the surface, and make sure to whisk constantly.
  7. Remove from the heat & add the butter. Whisk in the butter, until it’s completely mixed in.
  8. Pour the custard into a bowl & immediately cover the surface with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic wrap is touching the whole surface. This is to prevent a custard ‘skin’ from forming on top. You can also choose to pass the custard through a sieve to remove any lumps.
  9. Let the custard cool down to room temperature & then let it chill in the fridge for a few hours, until it’s completely chilled.
  10. The custard will have ‘set’ after chilling. So, it is important to whisk the pastry cream to make it smooth before using.
Assembly
  1. Once the base & custard have cooled, spread raspberry preserve over the bottom of pastry cases. Spoon in the custard, then sprinkle with the coconut & chill. Decorate with raspberries and a final sprinkle of powdered sugar on the berries. Serve.
Recipe Notes
  • I used two sizes of tart rings - 2 1/4 + 2 1/2" for these.

Mushroom Galette w/ Roasted Garlic & Thyme

Roasted garlic is the secret weapon to so many great dishes. Whole heads of garlic, roasted in olive oil and a bit of water until they’re as tender as warm butter, became enormously popular in the 1980s. Before long, roasted garlic began appearing in all sorts of foods, from spaghetti and meatballs to pizza.

As far as near-magical transformations go, roasted garlic should get a standing ovation. Through the simple alchemy of hot oven heat, garlic starts off raw and crunchy and astringent, and it emerges soft and caramelized with a gentler flavor that borders on sweetness. It’s like night and day.

Roasting processed ‘naked’ garlic cloves doesn’t work as well because they have no skin to protect them and so they can become quite tough.  The creamy consistency produced by this roasted garlic recipe relies on the skin acting like baking paper.

This galette is amazing as roasted mushrooms always produce great flavor and even more so when you squeeze and smash roasted garlic into the mix.

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Mushroom Galette w/ Roasted Garlic & Thyme
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Cornmeal Pastry
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SERVINGS
Ingredients
Cornmeal Pastry
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Instructions
Pastry
  1. In a small bowl, combine sour cream & ice water; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar & salt. Using a pastry blender or fingertips, cut in butter until mixture resembles both coarse crumbs & small peas. Sprinkle the cold sour cream mixture over dough, 1 Tbsp at a time, tossing with a fork to evenly distribute it.
  2. After you have added all the sour cream mixture, dough should be moist enough to stick together when pressed; if not add additional cold water, 1 tsp at a time. DO NOT overwork dough. Press dough into 2 disks & wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Filling
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Pre-roast your garlic ahead of time by cutting off the top portion of a whole bulb, placing it in tin foil & liberally covering it with olive oil, some salt & pepper & a couple of thyme sprigs. Wrap it up and place in the oven for around 30- 40 minutes or until golden & soft.
  3. Raise oven temperature to 400 F.
  4. Place mushrooms on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with thyme leaves & drizzle with oil. Pre-roast mushrooms until all the moisture is out and they start to caramelize. When mushrooms are done & while the baking sheet is still hot, squeeze & smash in the whole bulb of roasted garlic, tossing gently until incorporated, season with salt & pepper to taste.
  5. On a piece of parchment that will fit a baking sheet, roll out your pastry to around 12 inches, then place the whole thing onto a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle the cheese mixture on the bottom of the pastry leaving an inch and a half border all around, reserve 2 tablespoons of the cheese mixture to dot on top of galette.
  6. Spread the mushrooms all around the top of the cheese mixture, covering it completely. Fold up the edges of the dough all around the filling. Put reserved tablespoons of cheese on top of mushrooms dotting it in sections.
  7. Whisk egg then brush the folded up edge with it. Sprinkle some thyme on the crust edge along with grated parmesan and black pepper. Bake galette for around 30 to 40 minutes or until deep golden on bottom and crust.
  8. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Spiced Upside Down Peach Crisp

Fruit crisp is a classic dessert that has been around for centuries. The first known recipe was published in an 1828 cookbook. The recipe used frozen fruit instead of fresh and while fresh fruit is often used in baking, frozen fruit is a great alternative. 

Fresh fruit always has such appeal. It brightens the fridge and counter with cheery colors and sweet scents. Frozen fruit allows for some flexibility by extending a typically short shelf life. Both have their place in the kitchen.

 Frozen fruit may not have the same crispness or texture as it’s fresh counterpart but there are some great benefits to using it.

  • It’s available all year round
  • You can use it straight from the freezer
  • Convenience – it’s already washed and ready to go
  • Frozen fruit is generally quick-frozen at its peak and as soon as it’s picked

This peach crisp is amazing! The frozen peaches are enhanced with fresh lemon juice and flavorings and the spiced oatmeal topping has toasted pecans to add a little crunch. Yum!

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Spiced Upside Down Peach Crisp
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Course dessert
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Crisp Topping
Spiced Cream Topping
Course dessert
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Crisp Topping
Spiced Cream Topping
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Instructions
Fruit
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line & lightly grease a 9-inch spring form baking pan with foil.
  2. In a large bowl, combine thawed & drained peaches, lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, almond extract & salt. Set aside.
Crisp Topping
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together brown sugar, flour, oats, pecans & spices. Add butter & mix with a wooden spoon until topping is crumbly.
Assembly
  1. Into prepared baking dish pour peach mixture. Sprinkle the crisp topping evenly over the peaches. Bake for 40 - 45 minutes or until top is golden brown. Remove from oven & allow to cool. When cool enough to handle, remove outside ring from pan then flip crisp over on a serving plate & slice.
Spiced Cream Topping
  1. Add heavy cream to a chilled bowl & beat until stiff peaks are just about to form. Beat in vanilla, sugar & spices until peaks form.
  2. Serve crisp with spiced cream topping or vanilla ice cream if you would rather.
Recipe Notes
  • Since there are just two of us, I made only half of the recipe, that's why mine is quite thin in the picture. Still gave us 10 pieces!
  • I baked it long enough to really caramelize the peaches. Yum!

Strawberry Cookies w/ Strawberry Chocolate Topping

If there’s one berry most people have a fondness for, it’s strawberries. Even though available year-round, strawberries’ full flavor shines best beginning in May through late summer, the prime seasons for strawberries. Advances in transportation and refrigeration have allowed for strawberries to become a seasonless fruit.

Winter is done and we’re ready to embrace all things springtime! Spring is about rebirth, sunshine, new life, things in bloom, etc. With bright colors, fresh flavors, and interesting designs, spring cookies are the perfect way to welcome in the warmer weather and say goodbye to the winter blues. 

Today I thought I would start with a crisp shortbread type cookie and add some ‘pizzazz‘ with some strawberries, white chocolate and a few pistachios. I think you will like these!

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Strawberry Cookies w/ Strawberry Chocolate Topping
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COOKIES
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Garnish
Servings
COOKIES
Ingredients
Garnish
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Instructions
Cookies
  1. In a large bowl, cream together butter & icing sugar. Add egg & strawberry extract & mix well.
  2. In a separate bowl, sift together flour & baking powder. Add to the wet mixture a little at a time until well incorporated. Wait approximately 30 minutes before working with the dough as it will firm up slightly.
  3. Roll the dough between baking paper & put it into the fridge for a few hours to help it from spreading. When dough is a bit firmer, take it out of the fridge & cut into butterfly shapes.
  4. Place the cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet & return to fridge again for another 1-2 hours, this will also help prevent spreading.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  6. Bake cookies for approximately 10 - 12 minutes or until lightly browned on bottoms.
  7. Allow cookies to cool completely on a wire rack while you prepare the 'toppings'.
Strawberry Topping
  1. Slice dried strawberries thinly. Place white chocolate chips in a small bowl. Heat heavy cream until simmering, then pour over chocolate chips. Let stand for 1-2 minutes, then add 1/4 tsp strawberry flavor & tiny bit of gel food color. Stir swiftly until all the chocolate chips are melted & smooth.
  2. Using a piping bag, place about a teaspoon of strawberry flavored chocolate. Gently press a slice of strawberry on top.
Lemon Drizzle
  1. In a small dish, stir together powdered sugar & fresh lemon juice until it reaches a drizzle consistency. Drizzle lines over half of the cookie then sprinkle with pistachio nuts or pepita seeds.
Recipe Notes
  • LorAnn's Strawberry baking & flavoring emulsion tastes like fresh ripe berries. Great for cakes, cookies, frostings, fillings, and desserts. Add it instead of using strawberries or in addition to the fruit to add a punch of strawberry flavor. Use in any recipe you would a strawberry extract and get more robust strawberry flavor!
  • 1 teaspoon baking extract = 1 teaspoon emulsion

Vanilla Butterflies

Spring, for many, is a symbol of new beginnings. When the first green emerges from the ground and the first bud opens, people the world over celebrate. The earth comes to life once more. The symbolic meaning of the butterfly is similar across most cultures, regardless of time, and is most commonly associated with the soul. Cultural myth and lore honor the butterfly as a symbol of transformation because of its impressive metamorphosis–from caterpillar to chrysalis and ultimately, the butterfly. Butterflies also symbolize spring, a celebratory time of year, and embody the beauty of symmetry, pattern, color and shape.

These colorful and vibrant, yet delicate creatures can imply freedom, endurance, inspiration, openness, change, joy, rebirth, patience, transformation and happiness. As Spring approaches, we can see trees and flowers starting to bud, birds beginning to sing, and bumblebees and butterflies returning to the landscape.

I have always loved butterflies… their beautiful colors, their presence in the outdoor landscape. The magnificent yet short life of butterflies serves to remind us that life is short and to make the most of each day we have.

When it comes to spring baking, butterfly cookies always seem to work their way into my kitchen each year. This is my creation for this season!

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Vanilla Butterflies
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COOKIES
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Servings
COOKIES
Ingredients
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Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, cream together butter & icing sugar. Add egg & vanilla extract & mix well.
  2. In a separate bowl, sift together flour & baking powder. Add to the wet mixture a little at a time until well incorporated. Wait approximately 30 minutes before working with the dough as it will firm up slightly.
  3. Roll the dough between baking paper & put it into the fridge for a few hours to help it from spreading. When dough is a bit firmer, take it out of the fridge & cut into butterfly shapes.
  4. Place the cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet & return to fridge again for another 1-2 hours, this will also help prevent spreading.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  6. Bake cookies for approximately 10 - 12 minutes or until lightly browned on bottoms.
  7. When cookies are completely cooled, personalize them with your favorite icing, colors & design.
Recipe Notes
  • Allow cookies to cool overnight or at least four hours if you have to decorate right away.
  • If you can, it is a good idea to wait until the cookies are a day old before decorating them to reduce the chance of oil from the cookie leaching into the icing & causing icing spots or butter bleeds.

Baked Cheesy Ground Beef Stuffed Potatoes

For the most part, a baked potato with a pat of butter and a little salt is just great on its own. But stuff them with an assortment of savory ingredients such as shrimp, oysters or ground meat and it easily constitutes a whole meal.

I think my first encounter with this idea came when the Wendy’s restaurant chain introduced the Stuffed Baked Potato to their menu in 1983. Their original goal was to give the customer another choice or alternative to the same old ‘fries’. I think it retailed for 99 cents at the time. The one I remember having a couple of times was with cheese sauce and fresh broccoli. It tasted great to me, not being a fried food lover.  Of course, since then the whole concept has been ratcheted up in both flavor and eye appeal.

This version is browned ground beef in a cheesy mustard béchamel sauce served over baked potatoes. Makes such a super good meal with a bit of steamed broccoli.

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Baked Cheesy Ground Beef Stuffed Potatoes
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Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 F.
  2. Wash the potatoes & pat dry. Prick with a knife or the tines of a fork, place on the oven rack and bake for approximately 45 minutes or until tender.
  3. While the potatoes are cooking, brown the ground beef in a large skillet. Season with 1/4 teaspoon of salt & set aside.
  4. In a separate pan, add 1 tablespoon of the butter & the diced onion. Cook on medium low heat, stirring often, until the onions begin to caramelize. Add the minced garlic, continue cooking for another minute and then remove from the heat. Add the cooked onion & garlic mixture to the cooked ground beef.
  5. In the pan, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter & whisk in the flour. Cook for a minute to make a roux. Slowly whisk in the beef stock, milk, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt, ground black pepper & shredded cheddar cheese. Continue cooking & stirring, on low heat, until the mixture begins to thicken. Add the beef mixture into the sauce.
  6. When the potatoes are cooked, slice open and pour on the cheesy beef mixture. Garnish with parsley if you wish. Serve hot.

Potato Lefse

From a traditional homemade staple to a quick on-the-go snack from a gas station to ferries or even a fancy dish at a wedding, the story of lefse is intertwined with Norwegian history.

The first lefse didn’t contain potatoes, they were made from flour. Women would travel from house to house, village to village to make lefse to last the winter months. The flour lefse would cook up like a cracker and be able to last through the season. Many households stored their lefse is wooden boxes covered in cloth or just stacked on shelves. When you were ready to enjoy some lefse it was dipped in water and soaked between damp cloth until softened.

Then came the introduction of potatoes, abundant and easy to grow. The potato was incorporated into many Norwegian foods. Like Ireland, Norway suffered from the effects of the potato famine in the mid-1800’s, which is about the time that many Norwegians came to North America. They brought their knowledge and rolling pins. The result is a Norwegian ‘potato bread’ delicacy that is part of a special tradition replicated in many Norwegian-American homes for more than 150 years.

In Norway, the lefse is sweet or savory, thick or thin, can be made from wheat or potatoes, and can be served with a wide variety of accompaniments. Recipes and even names vary considerably across Norway. 

In many parts of western, eastern and central Norway, lefse are used as an alternative to bread. They are eaten with savory, salty foods or with sweet foods.

Common savory fillings include cured ham and cheese. They can also be served as wraps, with fillings such as smoked salmon and cream cheese. Common sweet fillings are sugar and cinnamon. These are often served folded or rolled into tubes. As with waffles, the combination of brown cheese (or ‘brunost’ is a tan-colored ‘whey cheese’ with a distinctive caramel flavor) and jam is another sweet option.

There is no one best lefse recipe. You can choose to make thick, sweet lefse, or thin ones for savory wraps, with potato or without. There are so many options, not to mention the countless ‘secret’ family recipes handed down through generations.

I recall the first time I ever had the opportunity to try Norwegian lefse. I was in grade school and my friend asked me to come to her house for lunch. At the time, I wasn’t really sure what to make of it, but I remember it tasted good … just like a thin potato pancake!

Brion & I decided to use our lefsa as a wrap and make fish ‘tacos’ out of them. It turned out to be a great choice!

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Potato Lefse
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Course Main Dish
Cuisine Norwegian
Keyword potato lefse
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Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Norwegian
Keyword potato lefse
Servings
Ingredients
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Instructions
  1. In a pot, place potatoes & cover with cold water. Put a lid on the pot & bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer & cook until soft. Drain & put potatoes through a ricer (or grate fine) while still hot. Combine with butter & refrigerate until cool.
  2. Combine potatoes with the rest of the ingredients. Mix just until blended. Add milk only if needed to combine dough. Cover & chill thoroughly.
  3. Divide dough into 8 equal pieces & roll into balls. Between 2 sheets of dry waxed paper roll each ball to a 6-inch diameter.
  4. Heat a flat griddle to 400 F.
  5. Grill lefsa, flipping mid-way through, about 60 seconds on each side, or until freckled.
  6. Serve warm or at room temperature as is or with topping or 'filling' of choice.
Recipe Notes
  • The yield will vary depending on how much dough you use for each one.
  • SOME FILLING SUGGESTIONS:
  • Spread with butter & a sprinkle of brown sugar
  • Spread with mustard & wrap around sausage, brats or hot dogs
  • Spread with butter or cream cheese & wrap around leftover chicken, turkey, pot roast or your favorite deli meat. Eat hot or cold.
  • Use as a wrap for salads such as egg, tuna, chicken & salmon.
  • Spread with cranberry sauce, applesauce or Nutella.
  • Wrap around warm meatballs.
  • Wrap around scrambled eggs with or without crumbled sausage or bacon.

Onion Scones

You might imagine scones as a food that is only served with jam and cream, but there are many variations on this classic tea cake. This flaky treat can also come in a savory scone version with add-ins like cheese and chopped bacon or sun-dried tomato & basil etc.  A scone is closer to a pastry than it is to bread mainly because it doesn’t include any yeast and has almost identical ingredients to a short crust with different fat to flour ratios.

So why not onion scones?? Because onions really form the foundation of our cooking, they are often the first thing that goes in the pan, and they are the flavor base for everything from chicken soup to a quick skillet pasta. Cooked onions give dishes a rich savory flavor and a subtle sweetness — you don’t always know onions are there once the dish has been spiced and sauced, but you’d definitely miss them if they weren’t.

Scone ingredients prefer to be cold. All your starting components need to be kept as cool as possible – this will help to guarantee the soft, light and well-risen qualities of your next batch of scones.

North American or British scones – what’s the difference? British scones are served with butter/cream whereas North American scones or ‘biscuits’ are far butterier and are typically served alongside meat and veg style savory dishes.

These onion scones make such a nice addition to a beef stew meal.

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Onion Scones
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Course Main Dish
Keyword onion scones
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Course Main Dish
Keyword onion scones
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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the yellow onion, green onions, garlic & butter. Microwave on high for 2 minutes, then stir. Microwave for another 1-2 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Remove bowl from microwave & let the vegetables cool for 10 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cheese, sugar, baking powder, pepper & salt.
  4. Add the sautéed onion mixture to the flour mixture along with the light cream & egg. Stir JUST until combined.
  5. Gently press the dough together with your hands to form a ball.
  6. On an ungreased baking sheet, press the dough into an 8-inch circle. Cut the circle into 8 wedges. Separate the wedges slightly.
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until scones are lightly browned. Brush with more melted butter & serve immediately.

Chai Spiced Hot Cross Bread Pudding w/ Vanilla Sauce

CELEBRATING GOOD FRIDAY!

Bread pudding always gives me reason to remember good things. Truly a comfort food for those of us that recall it from childhood days. It’s not that the dish was invented here — that honor likely goes to clever medieval or even ancient cooks in Europe and the Middle East who had a surplus of stale bread on their hands. The perfect embodiment of the virtues of frugality and indulgence: day old bread, too precious to waste, is bathed in a mixture of milk and eggs and made into either a sweet or savory bread pudding (with a few other additions) and baked into something sublime. What makes it special is the blend of spices mixed into it and the sauce.

The chai spice baking blend, which is sometimes overlooked, adds a distinct warm flavor and depth. It can include a number of different spices. Cardamom is the most common ingredient, followed by some mixture of cinnamon, ginger, star anise and cloves. Pepper, coriander, nutmeg and fennel are also used but they are slightly less common.

This bread pudding combines hot cross buns with spices inspired by the world’s love affair with Indian chai. The origins of hot cross buns may go back as far as the 12th century. According to the story, an Anglican monk baked the buns and marked them with a cross in honor of Good Friday. Over time they gained popularity, and eventually became a symbol of Easter weekend.

Bread pudding, when done right, should have the perfect balance of gooey goodness and chewy texture. That’s why stale bread/buns are important. The bread needs a degree of crunch otherwise you will have ‘mush pudding’. For additional flavor, the pudding is served with a vanilla sauce. Who says bread pudding has to be boring!

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Chai Spiced Hot Cross Bread Pudding w/ Vanilla Sauce
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Bread Pudding
Vanilla Sauce
Servings
Ingredients
Bread Pudding
Vanilla Sauce
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Instructions
Bread Pudding
  1. Place cubed hot cross buns in a greased 9 x 9-inch baking dish.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the milk, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, spices & salt. Pour over buns, making sure that the bread is completely covered by the milk mixture.
  3. Cover & refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.
  4. Set out the chilled bread pudding while you preheat the oven to 350 F.
  5. Bake 40 - 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the pudding comes out clean. Remove from oven & serve with vanilla sauce.
Vanilla Sauce
  1. In a small saucepan, melt butter & add flour. Stir until mixture has a nutty aroma.
  2. Add salt, cream & sugar; stir until mixture becomes thick. Remove from heat & stir in vanilla.
  3. Spoon over servings of warm bread pudding.
Recipe Notes
  • You will notice I have only used 2 Tbsp sugar in the vanilla sauce to offset the sweetness of the pudding.