Sunday, June 30, 2013

Almond-Filled Breakfast Rolls


As I mentioned to you in this post, I have been going through the pantry with reckless abandon.  For the most part, I have a pretty good handle on what I have and where it is located, but when I came across a can of Almond Cake and Pastry Filling it gave me pause.  I have no idea when I bought this, or why.  None.  Whatsoever.  My best guess is that I thought I was buying marzipan.  I have been known to use that in the past, but not pastry filling.  I was a bit puzzled as to what to do with this, so removed the label, as directed, and took a gander at the recipes on the back.  One was for a tasty, though labor intensive, shaped cookie, the other was for a similarly tasty sounding cake, baked in a tube pan.  I do not own a tube pan.  I just never saw much of a need to make something in a tube-like shape.  So, remembering the recipe for Cinnamon Rolls that I had printed out from, I decided to adapt it and use almond filling instead of cinnamon, and top them with an Amaretto glaze.  Oh, boy, are these good!  If you like almond as much as I do, you will love these.  Made in the bread machine, they are easy to prepare, but, as with all ABM recipes, they can be made by hand as well.

Almond-Filled Breakfast Rolls

1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup water
2 1/2 tablespoons vanilla instant pudding mix (save the rest and come back tomorrow!)
1 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups bread flour
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast

1 12.5 ounce can Solo Almond Cake and Pastry Filling

1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons Amaretto (or other Almond-Flavored liqueur)

Place ingredients into the bread machine following manufacturer's instructions and set for dough cycle.  After completion of cycle, remove from machine and roll out to a17x10-inch rectangle on a floured pastry board.

Spread almond filling over dough to the edges. Roll tightly from long end, pinching edges closed when finished. Slice into 1-1/2 pieces and arrange in a greased 9 x 9 pan.  Allow to rise until doubled.

Bake at 350°F for 15-20 minutes, until golden.  Drizzle glaze over the top while warm, and again after the rolls have cooled.

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Speculoos Pancakes

I have been hearing a lot about Speculoos Cookie Butter lately, and have pretty much ignored most of it.  You see, I had heard a lot about Nutella® as well and, it turns out, I wasn’t wowed.  I love chocolate, and I like hazelnuts, but somehow this combination of a chocolate-like substance (Is it really chocolate?) and hazelnuts left me cold.  I know that I am in the minority here, and I accept that.  So, after buying a  jar of Speculoos Butter during a recent trip to Trader Joe’s I expected to have the same reaction.  No!  Yum!  I am talking serious yum!  This stuff is great.  I taste-tested it right from the jar, and could have been satisfied with that alone, but then the St. Louis Post-Dispatch published a recipe for Speculoos Pancakes, and I was off and running.  This is pancake heaven -- slightly spicy, slightly sweet, and totally delicious.  If you haven’t decided what to make for Sunday breakfast, the decision has been made.

You can read the recipe online here, but for the sake of convenience, I have reprinted it below.

Speculoos Pancakes
 Yield: 10 pancakes

1 cup flour

¾ cup buttermilk
¼ cup whole milk
½ cup Trader Joe's Speculoos Cookie Butter, plus more for serving
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon each: baking soda, salt
1 large egg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Vegetable oil

Combine all ingredients except vegetable oil in mixing bowl; whisk lightly. It’s OK if there are small lumps and streaks.

Heat 2 teaspoons vegetable oil in a large skillet over high heat. When hot, wipe away excess oil with a paper towel, leaving a thin film on entire surface. Reduce heat to medium-high; add batter in ¼ cup portions. Cook until bubbles appear at edges. Flip; cook other side. Repeat with remaining batter, adding more oil as necessary.

Serve pancakes topped with more Speculoos spread, along with maple syrup and sliced bananas, if you like.

If you can’t find Speculoos cookie spread in your grocer, there is a recipe for making your own here.

Per pancake: 169 calories; 9g fat; 3g saturated fat; 27mg cholesterol; 18g carbohydrates; 4g protein; 209mg sodium; no fiber.

Recipe adapted from The Chicago Tribune Good Eating Cookbook by former Good Eating writer Pat Dailey from a recipe by Ina Pinkney at Inas Kitchen.
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Brussels Sprouts Bisque

Inasmuch as I love salads and find the endless variety to be the perfect accompaniment to a summer meal, sometimes I like to mix things up a bit and start with soup. At the dinner I hosted a few nights ago with the Grape Glazed Meatloaf, I began the meal with a soup as unique as the main dish. I refused to reveal the ingredients until getting a thumbs up from diners all around. The inclusion of mace and nutmeg threw people a bit with guesses from pumpkin to leek to sweet potato.  No one guessed that the main ingredient was Brussels Sprouts. That seconds were requested suggested that this recipe is definitely a keeper. 

I'd like to be able to lay claim to the recipe (my sole contribution was the bacon and chopped chives), but it is actually from the delightful book Is It Soup Yet? A Cookbook for Soup Lovers by Dot Vartan.   The book is a visual as well as culinary treat with illustrations by Shelley Reeves Smith. Rather than type out the recipe, I am reproducing it below. Enjoy this meager glimpse of a delightful book, and the tasty soup as well. 

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Glazed Grape Meatloaf

People collect some strange things: bugs, bottle caps, twist ties, beer cans, the list could go on forever. Me?  I collect meatloaf recipes. If the recipe has an unexpected ingredient, all the better. It never ceases to amaze me all of the delicious variations that can be made from a pound of ground beef, an egg, and breadcrumbs. That's why this recipe, sent to me by a friend, captured my attention. Never in all of my meatloaf-making days did I ever make one with grape jelly. The original recipe called for a pound and a half of ground beef and a cup of bread crumbs, a ratio that didn't quite seem right to me, so the following version is my own adaptation.  (I kicked up the horseradish as well.). Mr. O-P's nephew from New Jersey joined us for dinner. He loved the meatloaf, in fact, he is still talking about it.
Glazed Grape Meatloaf

1 pounds ground chuck
2/3 cup Italian bread crumbs
1 extra large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup grape jam or jelly
1/2 cup ketchup
1 T prepared mustard
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish

In a medium bowl, combine bread crumbs, eggs, onion, salt and pepper; whisk together to blend well. In a separate bowl combine jam, ketchup, mustard and horseradish; whisk to blend. Add half the jam mixture to bread crumb mixture, stir to blend.  Crumble the ground chuck into this mixture, and mix until all is incorporated.

Shape meat into a loaf. Place in a shallow baking pan. Spoon remaining grape mixture over top. Bake, uncovered, in a 400° F oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until meat is done.

Makes 4 servings

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Friday, June 21, 2013

Zucchini Bisque

My inability to grow zucchini is legendary.  It wouldn’t bother me, not one bit, if it didn’t happen to be one of my favorite vegetables.  Thank heavens for the good people at Melissa’s and their organic zucchini!  It allows brown-thumb zucchini gardeners to enjoy it year round in one taste tempting recipe after another.

This bisque is a wonderful soup for summer.  The delicate flavors of zucchini and mushrooms pair nicely with equally delicate additions of seasonings.  Served hot, cold, or at room temperature, it is a great starter, pairs nicely with a summer salad, or with a hearty roll or slice of Tomato Basil Bread makes a meal.

Zucchini Bisque

5 tablespoons butter, divided
2 medium zucchini, sliced into 1/8 rounds
1 8-oz. package button mushrooms, sliced
1 cup chopped onion
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons flour
¼ cup white wine
¾ cup heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon onion salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
Few gratings of fresh nutmeg

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat in a heavy, 3-quart saucepan.  When butter is melted, add zucchini, mushrooms, onion, and parsley.  Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender-crisp (5-8 minutes).

While vegetables are cooking, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat in a 2-quart saucepan.  Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute until smooth and bubbly.  Add broth and wine, and continue cooking until mixture has thickened (5 to 7 minutes).  Stir in cream, seasonings, and zucchini mixture.  Divide soup in half and whir half in a blender (or blend with an immersion blender).  Combine blended and unblended mixtures.  Return to heat and cook until heated through. Serves 4.

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Zucchini, Bacon, and Gruyère Quiche

A welcome addition to the weekend paper during the past year has been the Dash Magazine.  Assembled by the people at Parade, it contains recipes culled from Bon Appétit, Gourmet, and, seasonally and attractively presented. 

As zucchini season is in the offing, or perhaps in full swing, depending upon where you live, I decided to give this quiche recipe, from the May 2013 issue a try.  I did not halve the zucchini, but sliced it into 1/8 rounds instead, in order to get more ample slices into each bite.  Perfect!

Zucchini, Bacon, and Gruyère Quiche

1 (9-inch) pie dough round (from a 14- to 15-oz package)
¼ lb. bacon, coarsely chopped
2 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
½ tsp. kosher salt, divided
¾ cup heavy cream
¾ cup whole milk
¼ tsp. black pepper
3 large eggs
2 oz. Gruyère, coarsely grated (½ cup)

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Fit pie dough into a 9½-inch deep-dish pie plate. Lightly prick dough all over. Bake according to package instructions. Cool on a rack. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.

While crust bakes, cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 6 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a paper towel–lined plate, reserving fat in skillet.

Add zucchini and ¼ tsp. salt to fat in skillet and sauté over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until zucchini is tender and starting to brown, about 5 minutes, then transfer with slotted spoon to plate.

Heat cream, milk, pepper, and remaining ¼ tsp. salt in a medium saucepan until mixture reaches a bare simmer, then remove from heat.

Whisk together eggs in a large heatproof bowl, then slowly and gradually whisk in hot cream mixture until combined. Stir in bacon, zucchini, and cheese and pour into piecrust. Bake until filling is just set, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool quiche on rack, about 20 minutes, before cutting.

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