Shrimp Dutch Baby Pancake

A Dutch baby pancake is a cross between a fluffy style pancake and a soufflé. Its less work than standard pancakes and less complicated than a soufflé.

If you follow our blog, you probably have seen other versions, both sweet & savory featured on it. Dutch baby’s are such an easy meal to make, they are a regular in our meal rotation, not to mention how delicious they are.

Dutch baby recipes work best in cast iron pans because they retain heat and cook evenly. If you don’t have cast iron cook-ware, I find pyrex bowls will work as a substitute.

Because of the delicate nature of the batter, you can only add your toppings once the batter has baked. For some toppings, this will require cooking these ingredients on the stove top while the eggy batter bakes.

Be careful with recipes that instruct you to mix chopped veggies and meat directly into the batter. The combination of weight and moisture will prevent the batter from cooking and puffing up as it should. One exception to this would be finely grated Parmesan cheese. To help create height, bring the eggs to room temperature before mixing into the batter.

Being seafood lovers, this meal really works for us.

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Shrimp Dutch Baby Pancake
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Instructions
Dutch Baby Pancakes
  1. In a bowl, whisk together eggs & milk. Add flour & whisk until incorporated then whisk in parmesan cheese, scallions, parsley, thyme, salt & pepper. Set aside in refrigerator until sauce & filling are made.
Gouda Sauce
  1. In a small saucepan, melt butter; sprinkle with flour & seasonings. Mix well; add milk & broth, stirring until sauce becomes thickened. Blend in cheese; set aside
Shrimp Filling / Baking
  1. Peel & devein shrimp (you can chop into pieces if you prefer). Prepare filling veggies for cooking.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  3. Place 2 Tbsp butter in each of TWO 7-inch pyrex baking bowls (alternately you can use one 10-inch cast iron skillet). Place bowls in hot oven to melt butter (and heat the bowls for baking pancakes in). Once the butter is melted & the bowls are hot, divide the batter between them. Bake for 25 minutes.
  4. The Dutch Baby will puff up during cooking, but once its removed from the oven & starts to cool it will deflate slightly. At this point its nice to do the final sautéing of your filling so that when the pancakes come out of the oven you are ready to fill & serve.
  5. In a large skillet, sauté zucchini, onion, mushrooms & garlic in oil until tender-crisp. Combine soy sauce with water in a cup; add to vegetable mixture along with shrimp. Gently stir fry ONLY until shrimp is cooked, then fold in Gouda sauce.
  6. When Dutch Baby pancakes are finished baking, remove from oven & transfer to 2 serving dishes. Divide filling between the 2 pancakes & serve hot.

Spring Butterfly Cookies

Although these cookies may look a bit difficult to make, the secret is really just patience. These ‘butterflies’ are just another variation of the classic pinwheel cookie popularized in the late 1920’s.

I remember my mother making the original version of chocolate/vanilla. Many families have a go-to recipe on hand that’s been passed down for generations. The basic recipe is very adaptable in that you can make them fruity or full of chocolate and nuts. You can also change them up just by switching the flavoring extract you use. For spring, lemon gives a citrusy flavor or use peppermint for holidays and maybe some maple for fall. Of course, almond or vanilla works for almost any occasion.

Another way to vary them is by different colors. Red and white for Canada Day, red and green for Christmas, Black and orange for Halloween or green and white for St Patrick’s Day. I wanted to create a spring inspired treat, so what better way than making some colorful butterfly cookies.

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Spring Butterfly Cookies
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  1. In a bowl, whisk flour, cornstarch & salt. Beat butter & sugar in another bowl until very fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. Add milk & lemon extract & continue to beat for another minute. Sift in half of the flour mixture, then fold in with a spatula until just combined. Repeat with remaining flour mixture. Divide dough into 2 balls; set one ball aside.
  2. Divide the other ball into 6 pieces. Color each piece in one of the six food colors listed above.
  3. Sandwich the beige (uncolored) dough between 2 sheets of lightly floured parchment paper & roll out into a 10x12-inch rectangle.
  4. Roll each colored ball of dough into a sausage shape & line them up on another sheet of lightly floured parchment paper. Make sure to line them up so that the long edges only have one color of dough & the short edges show all 6.
  5. Gently press together & place another sheet of parchment paper on top. Roll out into a 10x12-inch rectangle. Stack the sheets on a baking sheet & place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove the top sheet of parchment paper from both sheets of dough & flip the rainbow dough on top. Trim the edges.
  7. Position the dough with the long edge facing you & roll the dough away into a spiral. Cut the roll in half horizontally; forming 2 rolls. Place the rolls opposite each other, slice in 1/4-inch sections then, using your fingers, squeeze dough together at bottom third to form butterflies. Lay 'butterflies' on a parchment lined baking sheet & place in freezer for about 30 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to 325 F.
  9. Remove cookies from freezer & bake for about 12-14 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack.
  10. Dust with powdered sugar when cool if you wish.

Blackberry & Lime Curd Cupcakes

CELEBRATING MOTHER’S DAY!

As we celebrate Mother’s Day, many special memories come to mind. This day is our time to reflect and show gratitude to the women and mother’s who have been mentors and caregivers; ultimately those who have helped to shape us into who we are today.

This blog is especially to honor: the special memories of my mother for her endless giving of selfless love – my mother-in-law, Dolores, for her kind ways and raising that ‘special’ man I love sharing my life with – to my sisters, who have given so much of themselves to be such great moms.

Spring is here and although the pandemic keeps us close to home, it doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate Mother’s Day as well as one of the most ‘fruitful’ seasons of the year by baking something special.

The focus on food shifts to lighter recipes with fresh flavors and colors. Simple ingredient additions or substitutions can make spring and summer desserts stand out. Lime gives sweet dishes more complexity, adding a tart note. Substituting refined sugar with honey or maple syrup changes the texture and sweetness. If you have a recipe in mind and want to give it a spring touch, replacing the main ingredient with a seasonal fruit can be quite effective.

I love fruit curds as they differ from jam by having less sugar. Curd is a sort of cream or custard. The most famous is the lemon curd, although it can be made of orange, grapefruit, tangerine, passion fruit and of course lime. Curd is neither too runny nor thick; it is pourable when hot and soft once cooled. It can be used as a filling for tarts, as a spread for scones or toast or inside cakes or muffins.

I think blackberry lime cupcakes are the epitome of fresh flavor not to mention the beautiful visual presentation. Although lime curd can be purchased readily, preparing your own homemade version is not hard but does take a bit of time.

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Blackberry & Lime Curd Cupcakes
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Instructions
Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 8 muffin cups with paper baking cups.
  2. In a large bowl, combine oatmeal, yogurt, honey, milk, butter & lime zest; mix well. Let stand for 10 minutes then stir in egg whites until blended.
  3. In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda & salt; mix well. Add to oat mixture all at once; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. (do not overmix).
  4. Place a spoonful of the batter in each cup. Top with a small dollop each of blackberry preserve & lime curd. Divide remaining batter between the 8 cups.
  5. Bake for about 20 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool cupcakes in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove from pan & cool completely.
Lime Whip Topping
  1. Prepare as directed on pkg envelope, being sure to measure your lime juice in with the milk (omit the vanilla).
Recipe Notes
  • I had originally though I would top these cupcakes with a cream cheese frosting but thinking they might be too sweet, I went with the lime whip topping instead. 

Wheatberry & Turkey Stuffed Cabbage Cake

For many of us, stuffed cabbage rolls bring back memories of a true comfort food. Historically this iconic meal has roots in ancient Middle East and spread to Eastern Europe as trade routes developed and people migrated.

Many cultures claim to have invented stuffed cabbage …. Persian, Russian, Ukrainian and Polish. As with many dishes, there seem to be hundreds of recipes. This humble food probably originated as most comfort food has, from leftovers and the ubiquitous cabbage.

Fillings vary from beef, lamb or pork seasoned with garlic, onion and spices. Other additions to the fillings consist of rice, breadcrumbs, eggs, vegetables, legumes, etc. The sauces used vary widely by cuisine or personal taste.

Instead of making individual cabbage rolls today, I thought it would be something different to make it as a layered cabbage ‘cake’. For the filling I went with ground turkey. What is unique about this filling is that it uses a combination of wheatberries and bulgur, some fresh herbs, leeks, celery and apples.

Wheatberries add such a nice chewy and nutty flavor. We both really enjoyed this savory cake.

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Wheatberry & Turkey Stuffed Cabbage Cake
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Instructions
Stuffing
  1. Place wheat berries in a saucepan & cover with about 3 inches of water. Bring to a simmer over medium high heat, stirring once or twice. Cover, reduce heat to medium low & simmer until tender, about an hour. Drain & transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, put bulgur in another saucepan & cover with about 3 inches of water. Bring to a simmer over medium high heat. Cover, reduce heat to medium low & simmer until tender, about 10-12 minutes. Drain & transfer to same bowl as wheat berries.
  3. Heat 1 tsp of oil in a skillet. Add turkey & cook, breaking up into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in 1 Tbsp of sage, 2 tsp of thyme, 1/2 tsp salt & 1/8 tsp pepper. Cook, stirring, until turkey is coated with herb mixture, about 1 minute; transfer to bowl with wheat berries & bulgur.
  4. Heat remaining teaspoon of oil in same skillet. Add leek & celery; sauté until vegetables are almost tender, about 6 minutes. Stir in apple & sauté until apple is light golden, about 4 minutes. Stir in broth; bring to a simmer until apples & vegetables are tender, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in remaining herbs & spices. Add to the bowl of wheat berries & bulgur mixture; combine. Set aside
Parmesan Sauce
  1. In a saucepan, combine flour & broth until smooth; gradually stir in the milk, salt & pepper. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook & stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Add 1/2 of the grated cheese, stirring to combine. Add to wheatberry/bulgur filling mixture.
Cabbage
  1. Core & separate leaves from the head of cabbage. Place in a steam basket over boiling water & cook until tender. Drain, pat dry.
Assemble & Bake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Grease bottom & sides of a deep casserole dish & arrange the largest cabbage leaf on the bottom. Place another leaf on top of that & up the sides of the dish all around. Place about a 1/2 an inch of filling on top the cabbage leaves on the bottom of casserole. Place a layer of cabbage leaves on top & repeat until you run out of filling.
  3. Finish with cabbage on top making sure to tuck it in the dish all around. Drizzle the top with oil & a sprinkling of salt & pepper. Bake for about 40-50 minutes. Let it rest for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Place a serving dish over casserole; flip over to release cabbage cake. Top with zesty red pasta sauce & sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cut into slices & serve.

Swiss Roll w/ Ube Halaya

Ube (pronounced ooo-bae) originated in the Philippines and refers to a bright purple yam. Ube is a very versatile ingredient. It is not a purple sweet potato or taro, it is a purple yam. Its unique taste reminds one of vanilla, pistachios or chestnuts. The vibrant purple color inside and out is uniquely photogenic.

Fresh ube seems to be fairly difficult to find in North America but with a little persistence it is possible. There are a few different forms it is sold in. Dehydrated powder, extract, ube halaya (or paste) or as a grated frozen product. Ube is not an exotic ingredient in the Philippines but a common everyday staple.

This brings us to today’s recipe. Rolled cakes have been around for years but still have such a unique and modern look to them. In North America the terminology evolved from Jelly Cake (1852), Roll Jelly Cake (1860), Swiss Roll (1872), Jelly Roll (1873) and Rolled Jelly Cake (1876).The name ‘Jelly Roll’ was eventually adopted. I recall my mother’s version as a yellow sponge cake with a red jam rolled inside.

In the Philippines a rolled variant has a very simple filling of sugar and butter. Modern versions, however, are commonly frosted and can include a variety of fillings flavored with ube.

My love for ube continues as this is now my fourth blog centered around it. It seems that unique flavor and gorgeous lavender color is finding its way into an endless variety of desserts these days.

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Swiss Roll w/ Ube Halaya
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Ube Halaya (Jam) Filling
Course dessert
Cuisine Filipino
Servings
Ingredients
Ube Halaya (Jam) Filling
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Instructions
Ube Halaya (Jam)
  1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Add coconut & condensed milks; stir until heated. Add thawed, grated ube & stir everything together. This process takes about 40-50 minutes until the ube is cooked. The mixture will be thick & sticky. It is important to stir the mixture often during cooking process to prevent it from forming a crust. When cooked, transfer the ube halaya to a container. Cover it with plastic wrap, making sure it is touching the ube paste to prevent a skin from forming & set aside. I find, making this filling a day ahead makes everything come together a lot easier.
Roll Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 10x15x1-inch jelly roll pan with parchment paper (bottom & sides). Lightly grease the parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the yolks with a hand whisk until lighter in color. Add 1/4 cup sugar & continue to whisk the mixture until it has slightly thickened. Add the milk, oil & vanilla to the bowl. Whisk until incorporated.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour & baking powder. Gradually add this mixture to the yolk mixture & beat with the hand whisk until smooth & lump free.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat egg whites until frothy. Add the cream of tartar & beat until soft peaks form. Add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar gradually while the mixer is running & continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Fold the beaten egg whites (meringue) into the yolk batter in three additions using a rubber spatula until the color of the batter is uniform.
  5. Pour half of the batter into another mixing bowl. Gently fold in some violet food color. Spread the plain batter on the pan, using a rubber spatula to help spread it evenly. Gently pour the colored batter on top of the plain batter. Spread this batter out very gently so the two batters don't get mixed together.
  6. Use a chopstick & start drawing a pattern horizontally first in a continuous motion & then vertically in a continuous motion as well. Gently tap the baking sheet on your work surface once or twice to release air bubbles. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. While the cake bakes, grate the cheese; set aside.
  7. Remove the cake from the oven & lift it out of the pan immediately to a cooling rack & peel off parchment paper from the 4 SIDES. Let it cool for about 5-6 minutes then place a new piece of parchment paper, larger than the cake, on top of the cake & flip over to the other side. Peel off the parchment paper from bottom.
  8. Use a serrated knife to trim about 1/4-inch of the 4 edges. This makes rolling the cake easier. You should roll parallel to the direction of the last hurricane line you drew earlier or the pattern won't show when you cut it. If you trim the side that will be on the bottom at an angle, you cake will sit better when its rolled up. On the side you are going to start rolling, make 4 shallow slices about an inch apart. This helps the cake to roll easier without cracking.
  9. Spread the ube halaya on the surface of the cake. You want to spread most of it near the side you are going to roll up from. There should be less filling towards the other end because as you roll up, the filling will get pushed forward & by the time you roll to the other end, it should be just the right amount of filling.
  10. Very gently use one hand to lift the parchment paper up to help you roll the cake up until you reach the other side. Remove the parchment paper & place the cake on a serving plate. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Loosely tent cake with parchment paper being careful to not have it touching the surface of the cake. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Decorate & Serve
  1. When cake is cool & 'set', decorate with additional ube paste & slice. Serve.
Recipe Notes
  • I used about 2 cups of the ube filling for inside the roll. Don't worry if you have extra when your finished decorating, it is so good you will probably enjoy eating any leftovers by the spoonful!

Leek, Turkey & Mushroom Quiche w/ Rye Crust

At one time, the typical North American pantry included a single cannister of flour. Today, supermarkets stock a host of milled options, reflecting increased consumer demand for diversity in the baking aisle. Whether you are exploring health trends, culinary interests or ethnic cuisines, when it comes to flour, there are more choices than ever.

I chose a mixture of rye and all purpose for my crust today because I think rye pairs well with these quiche ingredients. Rye flour is almost malty and sweet in flavor with hints of molasses. Rye also has the benefit of being lower in gluten than wheat flour, which means the dough can be handled longer before becoming tough as compared to traditional pastry. Rye pastry, besides being flavorsome and flaky, is great paired with both sweet and savory fillings.

One of the things I find most fascinating about working with food, is that even if you’ve been doing it for a long time, there’s always something new to try, or a new way to try something you’ve already perfected. Food is amazing!

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Leek & Mushroom quiche w/ Rye Crust
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Rye Pastry
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Rye Pastry
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Instructions
Rye Pastry
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together flours & salt. Using your fingertips, rub in butter until coarse meal forms & small lumps remain. Slowly sprinkle dough with cold water, 1 Tbsp at a time, quickly stirring with a fork or your fingers until the dough becomes sticky & begins to clump together.
  2. Form dough into a disk & wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate for at least one hour. Once chilled, roll out dough on a lightly floured surface. Carefully transfer the dough to a quiche pan & neaten edges.
  3. To avoid a soggy quiche crust, prebake the crust on 400 F. Using a fork, lightly prick the bottom of the crust. Take a sheet of aluminum foil & layer it on top of the pie crust, gently nudging it down so its snug on the bottom & the sides. Fill the foil covered crust with pie weights to hold it in place. Bake 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven & remove pie weights & foil.
Filling
  1. Cook rice; set aside. In a skillet, brown ground turkey. Transfer to a plate & set aside.
  2. Wash & trim leeks well. Dry with paper towel & slice thinly. In the skillet, heat oil & butter combo. Add the leeks & a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic & mushrooms & saute until browned.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 F. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, milk & seasonings. Grate cheese.
  4. Place cooked ground turkey on bottom of crust. Top with cooked rice & a small bit of the cheese. Next add the leek/mushroom mixture. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Carefully pour egg/milk mixture over the entire quiche.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes or until set & just beginning to brown on top. Remove from oven & allow to sit for at least 15 minutes before serving.
Recipe Notes
  • I divided my pastry & made 2 individual quiches instead of one 9-inch size. Just a matter of personal preference.

Pistachio Limoncello Cookies

Its hard to say if its the bright color of the fruit or the crisp flavor …. lemons just remind me of spring. I think, when you incorporate some limoncello liqueur into dessert recipes it takes them to a whole new level. Its tangy, refreshing and balances the sugary sweetness of cookies, cakes and many other confections.

Our first introduction to the taste of some authentic limoncello was in the town of Sorrento on the Amalfi Coast of Italy. In 2013, Brion & I had a wonderful holiday travelling throughout Italy. The Amalfi coast is known for its production of limoncello liqueur. It is only here, thanks to the Mediterranean climate, lemons grow with a thick skin that is rich with essential oils, fragrant and with a strong aroma. The lemon skin is the most important ingredient when it comes to making limoncello.

Stunning Amalfi , with its electric blue sea, terra cotta rooftops, bright white sand beaches, emerald hillsides and lemon tree lined streets, will be forever etched in our memories.

The hint of limoncello in the icing gives these simple little shortbread cookies such a nice flavor.

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Pistachio Limoncello Cookies
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Limoncello Shortbread
Limoncello Icing
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Ingredients
Limoncello Shortbread
Limoncello Icing
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Instructions
Shortbread
  1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch & salt.
  3. In a large bowl, beat butter & sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy & aerated, 4-5 minutes. Add milk & limoncello liqueur; beat for 1 minute.
  4. Sift in half the flour mixture, then fold in with a spatula until just combined. Repeat. Spoon half of the shortbread batter into a piping bag fitted with a large, open star tip.
  5. Pipe batter into 1 1/2-inch wide rosettes, 1 inch apart on a prepared sheets.
  6. Bake shortbread ONLY until edges are lightly browned, 15-16 minutes. Let cool for 3 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool.
Limoncello Icing
  1. While shortbread cookies are baking, combine powdered sugar & limoncello. Drizzle over warm cookies. While icing is still wet, sprinkle the chopped pistachios over the tops. Allow to set before serving.
Recipe Notes
  • Trace 1 1/2 inch circles onto parchment paper. Flip the paper over & use circles as a guide when piping rosettes.

Rum & Raisin Hot Cross Buns

The ultimate Easter bun! Who doesn’t love hot cross buns?! Given the baked good’s long history, legends and superstitions have had ample time to develop and grow around them.

Hot cross buns are inseparably linked to Easter and to Christianity. But in reality, they probably have pre-Christian origins. Cross buns were baked to celebrate ‘Eostre’, the Germanic Goddess after which the season of Easter is said to be named.

Over the years, the bun has evolved and changed. Victorian recipes suggest various glazes to top the bun with after baking, including molasses or a honey/turmeric combo. The buns have become spicier too, with the addition of mace, caraway seeds and even coriander.

While some hot cross buns appear on grocery and bakery shelves as early as New Year’s Day, the sweet bun is usually associated with the end of Lent.

Every year I like to try and make a different version of these traditional, seasonal treats. This year I’m going with a ‘rum raisin‘ idea. Should be good!

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Rum & Raisin Hot Cross Buns
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BUNS
Ingredients
Rum/Raisin filling
Bun Dough
Cream Cheese Filling
Egg Wash
Rum Glaze
Cross Paste
Servings
BUNS
Ingredients
Rum/Raisin filling
Bun Dough
Cream Cheese Filling
Egg Wash
Rum Glaze
Cross Paste
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Instructions
Rum & Raisin Filling
  1. In a bowl, combine raisins, warm rum & sugar. Cover with plastic wrap & allow to sit for at least 40 minutes. Strain, discarding liquid.
Bun Dough
  1. In a large bowl, combine lukewarm milk, yeast & 1/4 cup sugar. Let stand until mixture is frothy, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together 5 1/3 cups flour, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg & allspice. When yeast mixture is ready, add half of the flour mixture to it, beating until just combined. Beat in melted butter, eggs & rum/raisin mixture. Gradually add remaining flour mixture, kneading until smooth dough forms. Add remaining 1/3 cup flour if needed as the dough should not be sticky.
  3. Grease a large bowl, place the dough in it& turn to grease top. Loosely cover & allow to rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Cream Cheese Filling (Balls)
  1. In a shallow dish, combine sugar & cinnamon. Cut cream cheese into 12 cubes. Roll each into a ball shape then roll them in the cinnamon sugar, coating evenly. Divide dough into 12 pieces. Place a cream cheese ball in the center of each piece of dough, pinching to seal seam. Roll each piece of dough into a ball & place in PARCHMENT lined muffin cups. Cover & let stand in a warm, draft-free place for about 20 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  3. In a small dish, whisk together egg & a Tbsp milk. When buns are ready to bake, brush with egg wash. Bake until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. While the are baking prepare RUM GLAZE & CROSS PASTE.
Rum Glaze & Cross Paste
  1. In a small saucepan, place water, spiced rum & sugar. Over medium heat, bring ingredients to a simmer & allow to bubble gently for 3-5 minutes. The volume of the mixture should drop by at least half. Remove from heat & set aside until ready to use.
  2. In a small dish, whisk together cornstarch, flour, sugar & water until a thick paste forms. You want your paste to be stiff enough to be able to pipe in a clean line, but still manageable.
Finishing Touches
  1. Brush warm rolls with rum glaze & allow to cool. Using a pastry bag fitted with a piping tip, pipe paste over top of buns to form a cross.
Recipe Notes
  • If you prefer, don't hesitate to make these buns without the cream cheese inside. I'm sure they will be just as good --- they're hot cross buns!!

Pork Chops Cordon Bleu

Today, March 21st, our family honors the memory of my father. He passed away at the age of 92, sixteen years ago. As a teenager, I never realized what a special privilege growing up as a farmer’s daughter really was. Coming home on the school bus and having to do ‘chores’ seemed so boring as opposed to being able to spend after school hours with your friends. As I look back on those times now, it all comes clear as to how treasured and valuable those life lessons were.

To be a successful farmer takes a tremendous amount of strength and courage. I think back to those days with great admiration and appreciation of the special man he was.

If you follow my blog, you’ve probably noticed I love ‘all things stuffed’. I have always been under the impression that ‘cordon bleu’ was a French invention. It seems it actually originated in Switzerland as a schnitzel filled with ham and cheese. The first reference to it in a cookbook came in 1949.

Thrift is often the best catalyst for for culinary invention and as the story goes, this meal originated in a restaurant in Brigg, Switzerland, when two large bookings turned up and the cook did not have enough portions to serve everyone.

The resourceful lady came up with the idea of making schnitzels and filling them with ham and cheese, ensuring there was enough to accommodate both groups. The restaurant owner was delighted with the cook’s creation and offered her ‘Le Cordon Bleu’ (the blue ribbon) used in France to recognize an excellent cook.

Being extremely modest, the cook said she did not need a blue ribbon, but suggested instead that it would be the ideal name for her invention.

Stuffing pork chops elevates them from ordinary to a special meal. It would have been a meal my Dad would just have loved.

SPECIAL MEMORIES OF OUR WONDERFUL FATHER TODAY

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Pork Chops Cordon Bleu
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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Slice pork chops horizontally throughout the middle. Insert a slice each of cheese & bacon. Seal edges with a toothpick.
  3. On a plate, whisk together egg & milk. On a separate plate, combine Panko, salt & pepper.
  4. Season pork chops with extra salt & pepper, then lightly dust in flour. Dip in egg mixture. Immediately dip into Panko, pressing into pork chops.
  5. In a skillet, heat oil & brown pork chops on both sides until golden. Transfer to a baking pan with a rack & continue baking until cooked, approximately 30-40 minutes.
  6. Nice to serve with a steamed green vegetable, French fries, mashed potatoes or rice.

Pot of Gold Cupcakes

HAPPY ST PATRICK’S DAY!

It’s that time of year when everything goes green in honor of Ireland’s patron saint. What was once simply a religious feast day back in the 17th century has somehow evolved into a grand celebration of Irish culture.

Of all the Irish myths that exist, the story of the leprechauns and their pots of gold, seems to have infiltrated American culture the most. There are many old European stories describing fictitious creatures that hoard treasures. In Irish folklore, fairies put a pot of gold at the end of each rainbow with leprechaun’s guarding it.

These moist cupcakes use fresh avocado in the batter then are filled with raspberry filling & topped with a lime cream cheese frosting. I think they definitely make a real ‘pot of gold’ treasure fitting for St Patrick’s Day.

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Pot of Gold Cupcakes
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Course Brunch, dessert
Cuisine American
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Avocado Cupcakes
Course Brunch, dessert
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Avocado Cupcakes
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Instructions
Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line muffin pan with 8 cupcake liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking powder & sugar. Add butter to dry ingredients & rub in until it resembles crumbs.
  3. In a blender. place avocado, egg, milk & lime juice; blend until creamy & smooth. Stir into flour mixture until JUST mixed.
  4. Divide batter between the 8 paper cups. Bake 20-25 minutes or until they test done. Remove from oven & allow to cool before filling & frosting.
Lime Frosting
  1. In a bowl, using a hand mixer, cream avocado with butter & cream cheese until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar. Once all the sugar is incorporated, add the lime juice & vanilla. Add milk as needed until frosting is light & fluffy. Beat on medium spread for 5 minutes.
Assembly
  1. When cupcakes are cool, cut a cone shape out of the center of each cupcakes with a sharp knife. Fill a piping bag, fitted with an opening that the raspberry will pass through. Pipe filling into each cupcake. Cut a small piece (of cake) from your cake 'cones' & place over filling.
  2. Fill another piping bag (fitted with a star end). Pipe a swirl of lime frosting on top of each cupcake. Sprinkle your little 'pots of gold' with some gold pearls & lime zest if you wish.