here and there

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Breakfast Pizza with Cottage Cheese and Egg Filling

 Breakfast pizza caught my eye as some of the recipes use cottage cheese as a topping.  Some of these pizzas have cottage cheese cooked on the pizza where as others add cottage cheese with fresh fruit or vegetables at the end as a topping when the pizza is cooked.

I always have pizza dough in the refrigerate and decide to make Breakfast Pizza and layer with cheeses and a raw eggs on the pizza dough. Since I like a runny yolk, I precooked the pizza dough and then I could watch the timing on cooking the eggs.  

I liked to pre-cook the dough shells when serving a group as then you can assemble the topping on the pizza and have it ready to go before the guests arrive. This also worked good for my kids' birthday party as their friends could then assemble what ever they liked on a pre-cooked shell.  As a joke once, I had cut up a hot dog wiener and found that all the kids loved adding this to their pizza! 

Using a rectangle cast iron pan, I pre-cooked the pizza dough.  I mixed about half a container of Cottage Cheese, dash of Italian seasoning and pepper.  Spread this on the shell and add bacon or thin slices of porchetta as I did in this case.  Grated Mozzarella and parmesan cheese was added next. 

Into little indentations made with a spoon, add raw eggs into this hole. 

Bake the prepared pizza at 500 degrees.  I watched the eggs closely and found that I needed to cook the eggs, 14 to 15 minutes so that the egg yolks were still runny. 

Adjustments I would make is to not add the Italian seasoning to the cheese mixtures as I found it was too strong of a flavor and better to sprinkle the Italian spice on the shell.  I also would caramelize onions and add it as the first layer.  A layer of Spinach and Mushrooms would be nice as would a fresh Tomato Salsa or slices of tomatoes as a side. 

Just had the other half of the pizza for Breakfast.. I must say it was delicious, my husband loves cold pizza but I did heat mine up.. As I was eating it, I thought of the potato pizza my daughter loved in Rome! Thin slices of pre-cooked potato added over the caramelized onions would be awesome! 

This could be added to a make ahead Menu as everything could be frozen, except for the raw eggs. There is a Christmas Breakfast pizza that is assembled the day before but unbaked pizza are easily frozen and certainly saves the hassle of preparing this on Christmas Eve. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Cornbread Stuffing with Sausage and Smoked Oysters

A recipe that was featured on Antonio Taylor's Facebook page was the following picture but no recipe.  Having been successful with the corn beard topping for the Mexican pie, I added this to my Christmas planning list. 

Here is the picture for my inspiration from his site! 

He made a crawfish gravy and to the Cornbread stuffing he added Smoked Oysters and Sausage.  

Christmas Dinner

I used the cornbread recipe that I used for the Mexican Pie and added a tin of smoked oyster to the mixture. I left sausage meat out as wanted this to be a vegetarian dish. I think the sausage to the cornbread would have been delicious, along with fresh chopped Jalapeño.  

To the Vegetarian Gravy for the cornbread , I added small cooked shrimp!

Herring under Fur Coat! Oseledetsʹ pid shuboyu

With the help of my sous chef Hubby I made this for Ukrainian Christmas Eve on Jan 6th.  I have had this twice before, once served on Christmas Day, the other was brought to my house for the 6th.  Both time, this salad had been served in a pie plate…I never tasted it at Zoryanna’s place as thought it was a dessert, then it was all gone. She had used herring for the dish.  This salad is called Herring under a Fur Coat.  "Oseledetsʹ pid Koshoha". It really is a layering of root vegetables   Some of the recipes adds mayo to each layer, I only added Mayo to the potato layer and topping using mayo and sour cream.  The dish brought to my place had mushrooms in place of herring, which I did in this case.

Grated beets, grated carrots, grated potatoes, mixture of beefs and mayo, chopped eggs.
The vegetables can be either chopped or grated for this recipe. One of the recipes had added grated Granny Smith apples. 

A mould was used to assemble the salad.  The size of the mould could have been smaller as served as a side with the traditional Christmas Eve meal.  The large size was 3 1/4 inches, where as the smaller size was 2 1/2. The smaller size is in the middle of the plate.  

This was a very tasty way to present root vegetables.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Baked Camembert with marinaded oranges and pomegranate

Before Christmas, I came across a picture on Instagram that Baked Camembert with Marinaded Oranges and Pomegranate 

Not sure in what the oranges where marinaded in it, but since I had Pomegranate Molasses, I decided to use this. 

Pomegranate Molasses is a syrup made from the juice of Pomegranate.
Delicious, tangy with great flavor.  Awesome on pork Ribs!
The dish was assembled in a small cast iron skillet, covered with foil and baked! And forgotten about!

Now this did look a lot better on Instagram, as it was not baked as long! It was still delicious! 

Christmas Turkey Sliders

Another idea seen on Facebook was ideas for sliders that use tray buns, assembled together in a tray and then baked until the cheese is melted.  I imagine that these ideas for different sliders came from "Funeral Sandwiches" which had originated in the Southern states years ago.  

For the funeral sandwiches, the buns are sliced in half, placed on a cookie sheet or cake pan, layers of ham slices, grated or slices of cheese and pickles, then the other half of the buns is placed on top. A sauce of melted butter, Worcestershire sauce, dijon mustard is brushed to the top of these buns, covered in foil, baked and then uncovered to bake until the tops have browned.  One of the sites said that these buns can be made ahead of time, 4 to 24 hours and refrigerator before baking. 

I had purchased tray buns before Christmas and had intended to make Breakfast Sliders;with scrambled egg, bacon, cheese and spinach. However, on Boxing day at lunch, this seems like a perfect time to try out these sliders using leftover turkey. My son took over after I had sliced the buns in half, added mayo on the bottom layer, then slices of turkey, leftover tangy cranberry sauce, crumbled soft cheese on top, fresh spinach leaves, then the top buns. I had mixed Olive oil with chopped fresh parsley and minced garlic to brush on the top. The buns were covered with tin foil and baked for 10 minutes, then the foil taken off and baked for 5 to 10 minutes, until the sandwich was hot and bubbly. 

These sandwiches disappeared quickly. The only thing I didn't like was the heaviness and thickness of the purchased buns. Need a better solution here! 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Cheese Fondue

This has been an all time favourite in our house for many years! The birthday meal for my daughter, along with Chocolate Fondue was always Cheese Fondue. 

Thus was also a staple dish during the winter and lent. The cheese I used was very much 
what I had on hand.  For special occasions, I like to use Gruyere cheese as it has a creamy nutty taste but any hard or semi hard cheese will do. In my early cook books on Fondue, Swiss cheese was suggested, as were many other cheeses.  Since my kids like Cheese Fondue, I always and still use milk in place of wine.  I prefer the taste as did our Swiss friend's Mom, much to her surprise.  

The first time, I was invite to a Cheese Fondue, I was in awe of the beautiful table setting along with the creamy cheese sauce in a ceramic pot my coworker's Austrian husband had prepared. What a lovely and intimate setting for four people.   At the end, Ernie had dropped a raw egg to clean the pot of all the burned cheese at the bottom. He used a piece of bread on a fondue fork and by whisking the egg around the pot picked up bits of cheese stuck to pot. This was equally shared with all of us. Delicious!

For Christmas, my now husband bought me a stainless steel Fondue pot which we use for Meat Fondue or Fondue Bourguignonne. I had used this pot with a boiler section, but I do prefer the earthenware pots for Cheese Fondue. 

I like to toast cubes of bread on a cookie sheet for the Cheese Fondue.  A platter of vegetables and fruit like apples can also be added, but the traditional way is to use only bread cubes.

The bases of my Cheese Fondue is a White Sauce that is easily made in the Microwave or on the stovetop.  For this Christmas party, I used the two smaller pots so that it was easy reach for dipping into the pot.  I placed a fondue pot between four people.  I made three cups of white sauce to which grated gruyere and old white cheddar was added.  A clove of garlic had been added to the white sauce as it was cooking, fresh grated nutmeg was also added to the sauce at the end.  

The sauce did take a while to come together, but just be patience and slowly heat the sauce minute by minute in the microwave or on the stove top until the sauce comes together. Do not over heat!  Adding heated milk to the sauce, also speeds the process.   The cheese was slowly added to the sauce while mixing the cheese in until melted.    

Because of the richness of this meal, a Caesar salad was also made.  Loaded Caesars started the meal as the Cheese fondue was prepared. 

Meat Fondue or Fondue Bourguignonne with Béarnaise Sauce

It's been a long time since we have had meat fondue for New Year's Day, but this year my daughter requested it as her husband has never had it.

We used to always have this as a fun and celebrating meal on New Year Day when the kids were teenagers.  A great way to start the year!  My husband was always in charge of the pot of hot oil.  
Peanut oil is the best as it smokes at a higher temperature than other oils, canola works well too. Both oils are also lower in saturated fat and high in polyunsaturated and monosaturated fats, making it healthy to use.

Yet this information doesn't make me any more comfortable having a hot pot of boiling oil on the table!

The set up is easy, cutting a marbled piece of meat into cubes. Then everyone cooks their own meat using fondue forks. The rule is not to over crowd people around the table.
We usually use only beef, but have had chicken, pork and shrimp included to be deep fried.  

As sides, one needs a salad and potatoes.  Make a lot of salad as it does go well with the fondue. This year in place of roasted potatoes, we used the Twice Baked Potatoes   

Along with the sides, an assortment of condiments makes the fondue more interesting

Little dishes were filled with dijon mustard, hot sauce, regular mustard, mayo with the favourite being Béarnaise sauce. 

The tiny dishes hold Béarnaise Sauce. 

This year, in place of Sterno Cooking fuel cans, we used our tabletop burner.  Before, we had to continually heat the pot of oil on the stove as the temperature was not keep hot using the cans of sterno.  With the tabletop burner, the heat was kept more constant but needed to be turned right down to decrease the sound of sizzling hot meat! 

Twice Baked Potatoes and Caesar Salad

My husband has been making Béarnaise sauce from "The New Complete Book of Cookery" by Tee Vee Books first published in Canada 1970. From the chapter on sauces by Neville Baker, my husband has successfully been making the Béarnaise Sauce and did again this New Year's Day

The caption under Béarnaise Sauce is that this sauce was made for Henry IV of France and can be used with many dishes. It is a lovely sauce with great taste, does go very well with beef and does impress!

Béarnaise Sauce 

2/3 c white wine
2 T vinegar
2T finely chopped onion
1/2 tsp dried Tarragon
1 tsp finely chopped parsley 
2 peppercorns crushed
4 eggs yolks
1 c calcified butter

Combine wine, vinegar, onion, tarragon , parsley and peppercorn in a small sauce pan, simmer until reduced to 1/3 of the original amount.  Cool

Mix the egg yolks and place in a double boiler over simmering water and the strained vinegar, wine mixture, stirring constantly.  Gradually add the clarified butter, stirring continuously until it is a thick consistency.  

You know that it is a good recipe if it has handwritten notes and stains

The original recipe used 3 egg yolk, but the size of eggs seems to be smaller, so 4 yolks are used
If the sauce curdles or separates, add  2-3 T of cold water and whisk hard to emulsify the sauce or until it becomes smooth again.
My husband also mentions for best results make the full quantity 
This year, I ran out of tarragon and all though it suggested pinch of fennel seed or anise seed for each teaspoon of Tarragon, my husband used oregano.  Although not as great a flavor you get from tarragon, it was lovely with beef. 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Cheese bread

One of the appetizers, I made over the Christmas holiday  I saw come through as a video  on Facebook using Raclette and Camembert cheese and a loaf of bread. 

Cut out three squares in the bread and then cut the pieces of scooped out bread into strips.
Mix olive oil, minced garlic and chopped parsley in a small bowl
Toss bread strips in this oil mixture

Each pocket has a different garnish.

1 Onion chopped and caramelized 
Fresh rosemary chopped
4 to 6 strips Bacon, cook and crumb when cool
Sautéed mushroom would have been nice too

Slice the cheese in half and use one of the above garnishes

Brush olive oil on the loaf, wrap in tin foil and bake at 325 for about 20 to 30 minutes. 

Surround the loaf with pickles and vegetable along with the bread strips to scoop out the cheese.

Would I do this again? Probably not as it did take a lot of cheese and not as impressive looking, although it did disappear quickly. The thickness of this bread was too thick, so thinner bread would probably work better.  Using other cheeses, like cheddar and mozzarella would make this appetizer less costly.   

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Twice Baked Potatoes

When my cousin from Thunder Bay texted me that she was making Twice Baked Potatoes to freeze similar to the ones she buys at M&M saying they were more work than making Pyrohy, it certainly got my interest.  My Mom made twice baked potatoes using left over oven roasted potatoes but never froze them. My cousin used grated cheese, bacon, onions along with the mashed potatoes to fill the potato shells. 

I did do a test run and froze a few potatoes using my Mom's recipe and found that they were delicious reheat. This was added to my Christmas Planning Menu 2016.

Whole potatoes were washed, pierced with a knife, oiled and then baked on a cookie sheet at 375 degree until fork tender, about an hour.

The potatoes were cooled and cut in half, removing the cooked potato.  

Add the cooked potatoes to a large bowl.
Mash the potato with sour cream, adding milk a bit at a time until potato fluffy

One chopped onion was added to the potatoes mixture. The onion was caramelized for extra flavor. The shells were filled with the filling, dots of butter were added to the top. Using a grater with cold butter works beautifully. Dust with Paprika!
The above is Mom's basic recipe

I did add a container of Cottage Cheese to the potato mixture but this is not necessary.

One could also add bacon, ham, grated cheese to the potato mixture, but the Twice Baked Potatoes are delicious without adding this. 

Swedish Meatball

Swedish Balls were a staple in my Mom's kitchen growing up and were and are still seen at fall super and weddings.  
Swedish balls are small meatballs served in a creamy sauce.  Delicious as a side dish with Thanksgiving and Christmas Turkey, disappearing quickly especially with the children

 I use my ebelskivers cast iron pans to cook the meatballs. Yes, I have two which I was going to give one pan away as a gift until I made meatballs in this pan. The pan forms perfectly shaped meatballs!   Nothing like making Swedish Meatballs using a Danish cast Iron pan! 

Swedish Meatballs can be prepared to be reheated in the oven and freeze well.  I like to mix ground pork and ground beef together for extra flavor. 

Swedish Meatballs 1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground beef
1 egg
1/2 c bread crumbs (optional)

Mix lightly and form one inch balls.  Brown the meat balls until cooked.  I use my ebelskivers  cast iron pan. 

Perfectly shaped meatballs
Once the meatballs are cooked, place in a dutch oven or slow cooker. Add a simple white sauce to the meatballs or two cans of good quality mushroom soup. 

 White Sauce

This was the first recipe I was taught when we bought our first Panasonic Microwave in 1981. Madame Benoit classes came with the purchase of the Microwave.

The bases of the recipe is equal ratio of flour and butter, increasing the ratio depending on amount of sauce needed. 

2 T flour
2 T butter
1 C milk 
Melt butter, 30sec in microwave
Add flour to butter and mix well
Heating the milk before adding to the butter and flour mixture speeds the process.
Whisk the heated milk into the flour and butter mixture
Beep mixture at 1 min intervals and whisk in-between until the mixture thickens
Add white sauce to meatballs and heat until meatballs are warm
Mushroom can be added to the meatball mixture

Spoon meatballs into containers or casserole to be frozen.  The casserole is ready to go, reheat until hot before serving.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Mexican Pie with Cornbread topping

This casserole is packed with flavor and easy to prepare with a corn bread topping! The casserole can also be dressed up with Fresh Avocado, Fresh Tomatoes, Guacamole, Salsa or fresh salsa and sour cream.    It was a crowd pleaser as I made it twice during the holidays for the two waves of house guests!

This is another casserole that was prepared ahead of time and frozen for the Christmas holidays. The topping was added just before baking.

My recipe is very much like a chili with a cornbread topping.  In other words, use your favourite chili recipe.  I also did another casserole without meat which went well with everyone

Spicy Chili

1 ch onion
I package ground meat, optional
2-3 T taco seasoning
1 can  diced tomatoes
1 can corn
1 can Black Bean
1 Bell Pepper
1 hot pepper

Can add;
Mushroom, celery stack, carrot

Caramelized one chopped white onion.

Chop Sweet Bell peppers 

Add Ground meat to the caramelized onion.  Fry until the meat is cooked. Mushrooms can also be added at this point.

Add a tin of diced tomatoes to the mixture.

Add a couple of tablespoon of Taco Seasoning or Chili seasoning 

I did add a diced hot pepper to the meat chili but left the vegetarian chili plain.  

Spoon the chili into a prepared casserole dish

Freeze until ready to use. Thaw out before preparing the cornbread topping and baking at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes

Cornbread Topping
I forgot how good this is! My Grandmother used to make a Johnny Cake with raisins which I loved hot from the oven as a kid!

Start with two bowls that you can use for the dry and wet ingredients

 In one bowl mix;
2 eggs
1/4c oil
1c buttermilk, (add 1 t of vinegar to milk to sour it)

In another bowl mix;
1 c Cornmeal
1/2 c flour
2 Tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda

1 Onion,chopped and caramelized
1 can of corn
1 Bell Pepper 
 1 hot pepper 

Mix wet ingredients int dry
Add onion, peppers, and corn

Note you can also add grated cheese to the mixture or sprinkle some on the topping before baking! optional
Bake at 350 fro 30 to 35 minutes.