Sunday, December 31, 2006

Blackberry French toast

1/2 loaf day-old French baguette bread, sliced into rounds
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
dash cinnamon

2 cups blackberries
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp powdered sugar

Mix eggs, milk, vanilla and cinnamon. Dip bread rounds in egg mixture, letting soak for about a minute on each side.

While waiting, pour blackberries, lemon juice, and powdered sugar into a saucepan. Heat slowly, crushing berries gently to release juices.

Place rounds in hot skillet (med-high heat). Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side, or until golden and brown around edges.

Serve warm, topped with blackberries.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Carrot cake

Super moist and rich, this cake is even better after being refrigerated overnight.

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg

Mix separately, then add:
4 beaten eggs
3/4 cup oil
2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla

3 1/2 cups grated carrots OR 2 1/2 cups grated carrots and 1 cup grated zucchini
1 cup chopped nuts (opt)3/4 cup raisins (opt)

Pour batter into greased 9x13 pan. Bake 40-50 minutes at 350 degrees until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool, then frost with cream cheese icing. Sprinkle icing with cinnamon or pumpkin spice. Decorate the center of the cake using a think slice of carrot (use a carrot peeler) and thin, short pieces of zucchini for a green carrot top.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Cake doughnuts

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk
3 eggs
about 4 cups flour

oilfor frying
powdered sugar for dusting

Mix dry ingredients together.

Beat sugar and sour cream until light and well mixed. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add just enough flour to form a soft dough. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for 20-30 minutes.

Roll dough on a floured surface to 3/4 inch thick and cut with floured cutter (or if you don't have a doughnut cutter, cut around the bottom of a glass to get a circle and cut out a center hole). Do not handle the dough more than necessary or it will become tough.

Heat oil to 350° F. Fry doughnuts in oil, turning once, until golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels and roll in sugar.

Makes about 2 dozen

Monday, December 11, 2006

Blackberry streusel muffins

1 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups frozen blackberries

Streusel topping (recipe below)

Grease 12 muffin cups, or line with paper cups.

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. In a seperate bowl beat the egg, then add milk, oil, lemon juice and vanilla, mixing well. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients' bowl. Stir until just moistened - lumpy batter is good. Stir in blackberries.

Spoon batter into muffin cups until 2/3 full. Sprinkle streusel topping on each muffin. Bake in preheated oven at 400 degrees for 18 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Streusel topping:
3 Tbsp flour + 3 Tbsp brown sugar + 1/2 tsp cinnamon + 2 Tbsp butter + 2 Tbsp chopped nuts

Mix until crumbly.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

French 'boule' bread

Back to the promised No-Knead Bread. It's really not news since it's been covered in over 200 blogs now, but in case you haven't heard - listen up. It all started when Mark Bittman, known as The Minimalist, of the New York Times wrote about a recipe for a yeast bread that didn't require kneading. Hence the name. The fact that it didn't require kneading didn't really pique my interest that much since I enjoy making bread. But those photos. I couldn't resist a recipe that apparently produced such a good looking French style 'boule' loaf. Especially since one thing I would tell people moving abroad (or to Fort Benning) is to get out and taste the local food, then learn how to make it yourself. I tried making a baguette once. The results were...ehh.

Three ingredients

But this was different. This simple recipe truly captures the taste, texture, and rustic appeal of the 'boules' from the boulangerie on the corner. Who knew it only took three ingredients and water? Oh, and 20 hours. That's right. It rises twice - once for 18 hours, then for another two. I timed how long I was actually spending hands-on to make the bread: 4 minutes the first day + 11 minutes the second day. That includes the commute from living room to kitchen to preheat the oven and check on it a few times.

The key to this recipe is the long rise time and high heat baking. A quick note on high heat cooking. Be sure your bakeware can handle it. The lid on my dish cracked after about five minutes at full heat. Fortunately, it's easily replaced here. But keep that in mind as you choose your baking dish.

Stirring until just mixed

Here are the ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
11/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups water

For instructions, go here. You can even watch a how-to video here. And once you get the fever, read this follow-up article on variations and tips.

18 hours later

So who should make this bread?
- Anyone looking to impress friends.
- Anyone who loves French bread or wants to know what the real thing tastes like.
- Anyone afraid of traditional yeast recipes.
- Anyone making a sandwich today and French toast tomorrow. (Since there's no oil or preservative ingredient, it only keeps for about two days max.)

After second rise and a dusting of flour

Who should not make this bread?
- Anyone wanting to learn how to make yeast breads. It's a great starting point and confidence booster (and did I mention delicious?) but won't teach you what you 'knead' to know. (I crack myself up.)

Fresh out of the oven

A very big merci to Jim Lahey, the owner of Sullivan Street Bakery on West 47th Street in Manhattan, who shared his recipe with Mark Bittman. You did a very good thing.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Caramel popcorn

Voted number one midnight snack at the Masson house!

1 batch sauce caramel
1 large bowl popped popcorn, in buttered bowl
peanuts (opt)

Carefully drizzle warm caramel over popcorn. Stir gently with wooden spoon until evenly mixed. Sprinkle with salt and peanuts, if desired.

Let cool until hardened. Dig in!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Rosemary green beans with mushrooms

In my ideal world, this would be "Rosemary mushrooms with green beans," but I know I need my green veggies. It's just that the rosemary-mushroom combo is so good!

3 handfuls fresh (or frozen) green beans, broken into bite-sized pieces
1 handful sliced fresh (or frozen)button mushrooms
1/2 tsp beef bouillon
1/8 tsp rosemary
2 dashes garlic powder
salt and pepper
sprinkle of water

Put all ingredients in a skillet. Cook over medium heat until desired doneness. We like ours crunchy and bright green.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Southern girl's cornbread

I rarely wear my 'Southern Girl' badge as proudly as when there's cornbread in the oven. This recipe came from my mom, and really can't be beat.

1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup plain yogurt or buttermilk (or plain milk, if you don't have either)
2 eggs, beaten

Mix the dry. Mix the wet. Pour wet into dry and stir til just mixed. Pour into cast iron skillet. Bake in preheated oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Serve warm, drizzled with honey or with a big scoop of chili or chicken a la king over it!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Winter squash soup

Just the right amount of savory and sweet, with loads of vitamin A and beta carotene. Freezes and reheats well.

3 cups winter squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 small onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 tsp butter
1 apple, cored and cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cups chicken broth OR 2 cups water + 2 tsp chicken bouillon
1/2 tsp sage
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp rosemary

Saute squash, onion, and celery in butter for 10 minutes or until just softened. Add apple, broth and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer until apples are soft.

Using a stick blender, puree the mixture until smooth. Serve with cream on top.

Note: the original recipe called for 1/2 cup apple cider added with broth. The apple taste was good, but we both thought it was too sweet. Do what you want!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Dessert crêpes

1 cup flour
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tbsp oil

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and the eggs. Gradually add in the milk, stirring to mix. Add the salt and oil. Beat until smooth. Let the batter sit one hour, then whisk again before cooking.

Heat a lightly oiled frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each crepe. Tilt the pan with a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly.

Cook the crêpe for about 2 minutes, until the bottom is light brown. Loosen with a spatula, turn and cook the other side. Serve hot, with filling. As a general rule, dessert crêpes are folded in half twice to make a triangle. Savory crêpes are rolled.

Filling ideas: Nutella, granulated sugar, maple syrup, fruit, whipped cream, peanut butter (very American, but good on French crepes!), jam, etc...
This recipe makes about 8 crêpes. See recipe for savory crêpes here.

French hot chocolate

This recipe makes 4 small cups, but as it is so rich and heavenly, a small cup is just right.

2 cups milk
5 ounces dark chocolate (ideally at least 70 % cocoa), finely chopped
a few grains of salt

Heat the milk in a saucepan. As the milk warms, whisk in the chocolate and salt, stirring until melted and steaming hot. The hot chocolate actually improves if made ahead and allowed to sit for a few hours. Simply reheat slowly before serving.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Pepperoni & mushroom pizza

We figured out that this homemade pepperoni-mushroom pizza costs just under 3 euros (about $3.75) to make.

1. Prepare crust.
2. Make sauce.
3. Roll out dough. Bake 15 minutes in preheated oven at 350 degrees.
4. Top with sauce, toppings, then cheese.
5. Bake 30 minutes in preheated oven at 350 degrees.


2 tsp honey
2 tsp yeast
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
3 cups flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp oil

Dissolve honey in warm water. Add yeast. Let sit ten minutes or until foamy. Whisk well. Add 2 cups flour, wheat germ, and salt. Mix until dough pulls away from edge of bowl. Turn out onto floured surface. Knead well, mixing in the remaining flour. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place dough in oiled bowl, turning to coat. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size. You'll know the dough is ready when you poke it with your finger and the indention stays.

Roll the dough out onto a pizza stone or baking sheet. Brush the top with milk. Put it in a cold oven. Turn it on to 350 degrees. Bake 15 minutes.

Marinara Sauce:
3 cups tomato puree
1/4 cup Italian Seasoning mix
1-2 cloves crushed garlic
1/2 tsp sugar

Mix all ingredients and let simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.

Papa's Coleslaw

I know this sounds weird, but the cabbage at the market has been beautiful lately. I'm not usually a huge cabbage person, but last week they were just so pretty - light green with perfectly formed tight leaves. I couldn't resist.

So here's the first recipe I made. This coleslaw recipe came from Jonathan's dad. It's just the right amount of sweet and tangy, creamy and light.

Cabbage coleslaw

2 Tbsp mayonnaise
2 Tbsp milk
2 Tbsp white vinegar
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp mustard
1/4 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper

Mix all ingredients well. Pour over one bag of coleslaw mix, or do what I do and shred 1/2 head cabbage and 2 carrots. Let sit at least 2 hours before serving.

Cabbage 2: Immune-boosting soup

This soup is great on a cold day, but not just because it warms you up. It has loads of vitamin C, vitamin A, and even a natural antibiotic from the garlic. Based on the ingredients, I thought it might be bland, but it was very good!

1/2 head cabbage, shredded
2-3 carrots, shredded
1 onion, chopped
3-6 cloves garlic, crushed
4 cups chicken broth or 4 cups water + 2 tsp chicken bouillon
freshly ground pepper
herbs of your choice (I like rosemary)

Optional: chopped green pepper, chopped celery, sliced mushrooms cut green beans, can crushed tomatoes, 1 package onion soup mix...

Place vegetables in a large saucepan and cover with broth. Boil until cabbage begins to wilt. Remove from heat and add herbs and pepper. Cover and let cool. Reheat just before serving. Better the secodn day. Freezes well in Ziploc bags.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Country sausage

I've been hoping to find a recipe for pork sausage seasoning that a) had ingredients available here, b) tasted like American sausage. Here it is! I was afraid it would be too spicy, but turned out just right.

1 1/2 lb boneless pork roast, cut in one inch cubes
1/4 cup water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp dried sage
1/4 tsp rosemary
1/4 tsp thyme
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp hot sauce
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Place half of pork in food processor. Pulse until coarsely ground. Put in a large bowl. Repeat with other half. Add remaining ingredients. Mix very well until blended. Refrigerate overnight.

Shape into patties. Cook over medium heat for 5-10 minutes, or until completely cooked. Can also be frozen in bulk or patties.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Molasses bread

1 c very warm water (110 degrees)
1/4 c molasses
2 tsp yeast
1 egg
1/6 c oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup cooked bulgur
1/4 cup wheat germ (optional)
3-4 cups flour

Dissolve molasses in warm water. Sprinkle in yeast. Stir once, then wait 5-10 minutes until yeast begins "exploding" into foamy bubbles on the surface. Add eggs, whisking well. Add oil and salt, whisking again. Stir in 2 cups flour, wheat germ, and bulgar.

Turn dough out onto floured surface. Knead dough for 8-10 minutes, adding flour as needed to keep from sticking too much. The dough will become smooth and elastic, without "rips" in the surface.

Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning to coat. Cover lightly with plastic wrap. Let dough rise in a warm, draft-free place until it holds finger indentions when you poke it, probably about 45 minutes.

Punch bread down with your fist. Shape into a loaf and place in loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until one inch above pan.

Remove plastic wrap and place in oven. Turn it to 350 degrees. Bake until crust is brown and it sounds hollow when you tap on it.

Brush top with milk to make a nice crust. Remove from pan and let cool before slicing...if you can wait!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Jonathan's spinach Florentine

2 cups frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1/4 cup cream
4 eggs
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp salt

Mix spinach, cream, and seasonings. Pour into a flat ceramic backing dish. Using a spoon, shape four indentations in the mixture. Crack an egg into each hole.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until eggs are just set. Serve with toast.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Chai tea

1 black tea bag
1 cinnamon stick
3 whole cloves
1/2 mug water
1/2 mug milk

Heat water, milk, cinnamon, and cloves on stove until barely steaming. Add tea bag and let steep five minutes. Remove from heat and pour into mug. Add sugar to taste.

This recipe is posted in honor of my tea-guzzling sister-in-law, Kate. Mugs up!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Americana meatloaf

1 lb ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup applesauce
1 egg
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp mustard
1/2 tsp Worchestershire
2 dashes liquid smoke
1/4 tsp thyme
1/2 cup ketchup

1/4 cup tomato paste
1/8 cup water
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon mustard
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
dash ground cloves
2 tablespoons vinegar
Mix together, cover and simmer 10 minutes.

To make meatloaf, mix all ingredients in a bowl with 1/4 cup ketchup. Using hands, mix well. Place in a cast iron skillet and shape into a loaf. (Or put in a loaf pan.) Spread remaining 1/4 cup ketchup on top. Bake at 350 degrees until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. Let sit 10 minutes before slicing.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Cilantro pesto

1 large bunch cilantro, washed with stems removed
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp oil
2 cloves garlic

Mix all ingredients in blender. Pulse until smooth. Freeze in ice cube trays until ready to use.

Serving suggestion: Toss 1 tsp cilantro pesto with cool spaghetti. Top with shredded Gouda or other cheese of your choice.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Fall applesauce

All apples, with a dash of cinnamon. No sugar needed, but you can sweeten it if you prefer. I do 2 lbs of apples per batch. These are Reine de Reinette apples, but any firm cooking apple works well. It's great served warm or cold, and also with a splash of cream. Freezes easily.

Wash, cut and core apples.

Cook over low heat, covered, for one hour or until soft. Stir occasionally.

Mash with wooden spoon.

Puree with hand blender.

Sprinkle with cinnamon. Voila!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Pizza verdure

I used to work in an Italian pizza restaurant and wanted to recreate and elaborate on their amazing Pizza Verdure. It's a labor-intensive meal, but so delicious! Even better reheated the second day...if there is any!

1. Prepare crust.
2. Caramelize onions.
3. Make sauce.
4. Prepare remaining toppings.
5. Roll out dough. Bake 15 minutes in preheated oven at 350 degrees.
6. Top with sauce, toppings, then cheese.
7. Bake 30 minutes in preheated oven at 350 degrees.


3 tsp honey
3 tsp yeast
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
3 cups flour
1/4 cup oatmeal
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp oil

Dissolve honey in warm water. Add yeast. Let sit ten minutes or until foamy. Whisk well. Add 2 cups flour, oatmeal, and salt. Mix until dough pulls away from edge of bowl. Turn out onto floured surface. Knead well, mixing in the remaining flour. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place dough in oiled bowl, turning to coat. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size. You'll know the dough is ready when you poke it with your finger and the indention stays.

Marinara Sauce:
3 cups tomato puree
1/4 cup Italian Seasoning mix
1-2 cloves crushed garlic
1/2 tsp sugar

Mix all ingredients and let simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.

Caramelized onions
Confits de tomates
Sauteed eggplant, zucchini, and green peppers

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Jonathan's 4-step Italian sandwich

1. Slice Turkish Elmek bread or baguette in half.
2. Spoon confits de tomates on bread.
3. Top with sliced Gouda cheese.
(3.5. Jonathan likes to then add a sprinkle of Mrs. Dash)
4. Broil until bubbly and just burnt on edges.

Sweet-n-sour pork

Adapted from the famous red and white checkered Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook

1. Mix the following and let marinate 30 minutes:
1 pound boneless pork shoulder or country style ribs, cut in small cubes
2 Tbsp mirin or dry sherry
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame seed oil (or 1 tsp sesame seeds sauteed in a few drops of oil)

2. Heat 1 cup oil over med-high heat in a saucepan.

3. Pat the pork dry, then dredge through the following mixture:
1 beaten egg
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup chicken broth

4. Fry pork pieces in oil, 4-5 minutes or until no pink left. Keep warm.

5. Microwave the following on high for 3 minutes, or until crisp-tender:
3 medium carrots, thinly sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
2-3 Tbsp water

6. Whisk the following, then cook until bubbly and thickened over med-high heat:
1 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 Tbsp soy sauce

7. Add 1 cup drained pineapple to sauce. Add vegetables and pork.

8. Serve over hot rice.

Cheesecake à la food processor

12 Petit Beurre cookies, or 5 "sheets" of Graham Crackers
3 Tbsp butter
2 dashes cinnamon
dash salt

Put cookies, butter, cinnamon and salt in food processor. Process on high with steel blade until crumb mixture is even. Pour into baking dish, spreading out evenly across the bottom.

Rinse food processor bowl and blade.

1 box Kiri cream cheese squares (or 1 lb cream cheese)
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup light cream
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla

Put all ingredients in food processor. Process on high until smooth. Pour on top of crust.

Bake in preheated oven at 475 degrees for ten minutes. Reduce heat to 200 degrees. Cook one hour without opening oven door. After one hour, turn off heat. Do not open door. Let the cake sit one hour. Remove and let cool fully. Refrigerate overnight before serving. Oh. Yum.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Curried chicken pot pie

A warm twist on an old favorite.

Prepared pastry crust (1 or 2, your choice)
1-2 cups chopped chicken
2 cups broth (or 2 cups water + 1 cube chicken bouillon)
1/4 cup light cream
2 chopped carrots
1 sm chopped onion
1 cup cauliflower florettes
1 chopped apple
1/2 cup peas
1/3 dried coconut
1/4 c finely chopped green pepper
2 Tbsp curry powder
12 tsp salt
dash cayenne pepper
dash cinnamon

Roll prepared crust out into pie pan or cast iron skillet. In a saucepan heat all remaining ingredients. (Note: the pie would still be very good without all of the listed vegetables and fruits. Feel free to make substitutions for your favorites.) Once hot, pour into crust. Fold excess crust over the filling.

If using a second crust, lay it on top, pinching edges with bottom crust to seal. Cut slits in top crust to allow steam to escape.

Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, or until crust is golden and filling is bubbly. If the crust begins to brown too much, put a piece of aluminum foil over it to deflect the heat.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Black bean quesadillas

1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cornmeal
2 tsp baking powder
2/3 tsp salt
1 cup boiling water
1 Tbsp oil

Mix dry ingredients. Pour water and oil in at once. Mix well until dough begins to pull away from sides of bowl. Knead dough well for about 5 minutes. Cover with a wet towel and let sit at least 30 minutes. Divide into 12 pieces, shaping them into balls then covering with the wet towel. Roll the first piece out thinly using a rolling pin.

Heat a cast iron skillet to med-high. Cook tortilla for about one minute on either side, just until spots begin to appear. Repeat with remaining 11 dough balls.

Stack cooked tortillas on a plate, covering them with a damp towel.

Black beans and corn filling:

1 can black beans
1/2 cup corn
2 Tbsp taco seasoning
dash liquid smoke (opt)

Heat beans, corn, and seasonings. Scoop one large spoonful (about 1/4 cup) into a tortilla. Grate Pepper Jack or Gouda cheese over the filling. Fold tortilla and layer them into a 9x13 baking dish. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until tortillas begin to crisp.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Orange pumpkin muffins

These spiced muffins are quick to make, make the house smell great, and are light and moist with a hint of citrus.

3 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup applesauce
4 eggs, beaten
4 cups pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
1 cup raisins (opt)

In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger and cloves.

In a large bowl, mix sugar, oil, applesauce, and eggs. Stir in pumpkin, orange rind, and raisins (opt). Slowly blend the flour mixture into pumpkin mixture. Pour the batter into muffin cups, filling 2/3 full, or two loaf pans. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven for 30 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pans.

Freeze very well!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Toasted gouda, pear, and bacon 'wich

An excellent toasted sandwich with a new twist

1 loaf French bread or Turkish Elmek Bread, sliced in half
Slices of Gouda cheese (or white cheddar)
Crumbled bacon
1-2 pears, sliced thinly
Thyme (optional)

Spread butter on the inside of the bread, then place bread butter-side down in skillet over medium heat. Lay slices of Gouda on the bread. Sprinkle crumbled bacon and thyme over cheese. Once cheese has melted, top with sliced pears. Smush two pieces together, and voila!

(recipe adapted from this excellent site.)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Sauce caramel

Such simple ingredients make a rich, smooth caramel sauce in under 15 minutes.

1 cup of sugar
6 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Before making the caramel sauce, gather the measured ingredients and have them ready to go. Once the sugar begins to caramelize, you have to move quickly!

Pour the sugar into a heavy-bottomed saucepan, at least 2-3 quarts - trust me. Over high heat, melt the sugar, stirring with a wooden spoon. When the crystals have dissolved into a dark amber liquid, add the butter. Be careful! It will bubble up and can burn you if you're not carefule. Continue to stir or whisk until well-mixed.

Once the butter has melted, remove the pan from the heat. Add the cream, being very careful again. Mix well, until smooth and even. Let cool a few minutes, then pour into a glass jar and let sit until room temperature. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Serve warm over pies, drizzle over ice cream, or dip your apple slices in it. Whatever you do - do not put a small spoonful in your coffee! It's highly addictive and should only be attempted by those of us who can handle it.