Month: April 2015

Spring Brunch Cooking Class–Master Quiche Recipe, Homemade Sausage, and Sam Sifton’s Glorious Bananas Foster Bread Pudding

Spring Brunch Cooking Class–Master Quiche Recipe, Homemade Sausage, and Sam Sifton’s Glorious Bananas Foster Bread Pudding

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Upcoming cooking classes:  see above, top right corner-CURRENT CLASSES. Come cook and eat.  No shopping and no cleanup.  I promise.

NOTE:  After this post, More Time will be on vacation for a wee while. I’ll see you when I get back!  

About once a year I invite folks for a slow-down-your-life, stay and chat Sunday brunch for which the menu is short and sweet: a few quiches–each different, all made ahead and warming as folks have a first drink, a big bowl of fresh fruit cut up and maybe mixed with some fresh mint, a basket of muffins and/or rolls or a skillet of crispy potatoes (recipes below), and a choice of “osas” (OH-sahs)—MIMosas, POMosas, Bellinis, CRANmosas, and so on (choose your own juice or fruit and top with sparkling wine.) A big pot of coffee is turned on just before guests’ arrival, brunch music is tuned in, and everything is laid out on the table or counter all happily self-serve. Plates are at the start, food in the middle, and flatware is wrapped and tied in napkins, placed in a basket at the end of the buffet so no one must juggle plate, flatware, and dishing up food all at the same time. Drinks are set-up in their own stations and guests sit wherever they like, moving around at will, as conversations wax and wane, or when they’re hunting seconds.

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Recipe for Whole Wheat Cranberry Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins (above)

Recipe for Blueberry Muffins from my book  (below)                IMG_5693

This class, taught at Mountain High Appliance (formerly Shouse) in the Jenn-Air Kitchen (or at home if I have just four students!) focuses on the main portion of a basic make-ahead brunch that you can embellish (i.e.muffins, coffee cake, green salad, bloody marys), but also gives you the happy opportunity to create your very own breakfast sausage and a warm, boozy bread pudding for dessert–which, according to Ina Garten, is what people will remember anyway.  (I think people will remember the comfort of being together.) The Menu, then, which can be divided between guests for potluck, looks like this: Continue reading “Spring Brunch Cooking Class–Master Quiche Recipe, Homemade Sausage, and Sam Sifton’s Glorious Bananas Foster Bread Pudding”

Mozzarella French Toast Sandwiches with Marinara Dip and Asparagus-Fennel Soup with Pistachio Pesto

Mozzarella French Toast Sandwiches with Marinara Dip and Asparagus-Fennel Soup with Pistachio Pesto

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This week’s cooking class, SPRING BRUNCH, still has an opening for Wednesday, 4/29, 5-8pm; let me know!  Make any quiche,  then make your own favorite breakfast sausage. Top it off with Bananas Foster Bread pudding with Caramel Sauce.  List of upcoming classes and registration info located at the top, right corner of blog under CURRENT CLASSES. Can’t wait to cook with you.

When the rest of the country appears to be celebrating spring, we in the beautiful state of Colorado experience snow, hail, rain, thunder, and more all in one day.  The day before it was sunny and 65, but that didn’t mean peas were blooming or asparagus was ready; it just meant the tumbleweeds weren’t dry and blowing yet and the small pot of hopeful pansies was being very faithful indeed.

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I don’t think we get depressed about it because, after all, we probably have the best weather overall in the country.  We have temperate winters, rare rainy days, cool summer nights, and a continually changing western view as the clouds decide what they’re going to do with the mountains at any given time.  But we may need to occasionally think like spring.  And when we do, we make comforting skillets full of warming goodness because spring can be damned cold here.  A wet 45 is colder than a dry 10.  Last Thursday night when I came out of work after teaching the FRENCH NIGHT AT HOME class, I had to clean off inches of snow from the car and ruined my shoes in the wet frozen slush. Life has loveliness to sell, as Sara Teasdale says.  We’re thankful for the moisture because we live in fire country… Continue reading “Mozzarella French Toast Sandwiches with Marinara Dip and Asparagus-Fennel Soup with Pistachio Pesto”

One-Pan Orzo “Risotto” with Asparagus, Fennel, and Cherry Tomatoes

One-Pan Orzo “Risotto” with Asparagus, Fennel, and Cherry Tomatoes

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Still have some openings in upcoming classes, which begin next Thursday, April 16, 5-8pm at Shouse Appliance in Colorado Springs.   There are  two available spots each in the FRENCH CLASS, April 16 and in the BRUNCH class (we’re learning how to make homemade sausage!), April 25, as well in the rest of the series.  Click at top on CURRENT CLASSES for list and registration info. Can’t wait to cook with you!

Orzo, the tiny rice-like pasta, and vegetables is a favorite combination of mine and you’ll see it on the blog a time or two. Or more. This particular comforting oh-so-green pasta dish, which is easily made vegan, seems to catapult spring vegetables such as asparagus, fennel, and baby spinach way up onto their long-awaited pedestal.  It also feels and nearly looks like risotto minus the questionably constant stirring, angst, and jaw-clenching risotto seems to engender. While it bubbles away nearly untended, you can look to other occupations like pouring wine, chatting,  setting the table, or if you’re like me, petting Rosie–just spayed and not too happy with it. Poor baby. She does like the pills that come all wrapped up in cream cheese for easy swallowing.

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For other meals, I cook orzo separately and make a heartier dish or pasta salad, adding feta, tiny tomatoes, celery or peas, basil or parsley, and a vinaigrette. Either variation is easy to make ahead early on a warm day for a potluck or as a bed for that night’s grilled fish, shrimp, chicken or chops. You can find regular orzo easily in the pasta aisle of your B-flat grocery store, but there are also some brands that sell the whole-wheat variety, which adds fiber and protein.  Try this:

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ONE-PAN ORZO “RISOTTO” WITH ASPARAGUS, FENNEL, AND CHERRY TOMATOES

Continue reading “One-Pan Orzo “Risotto” with Asparagus, Fennel, and Cherry Tomatoes”

Cream of Pea Soup with Mint, Scallions, and Sharp Cheddar or Easter Leftovers

Cream of Pea Soup with Mint, Scallions, and Sharp Cheddar or Easter Leftovers

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Note:  an Instant Pot version of this soup was posted in April of 2018.  The printable recipe on this post includes instructions for both the stove top and Instant Pot versions.

It is a joy and at times a true puzzle to figure out how to use up leftovers, but a good cook lets nothing go to waste.   Or, as Winston Churchill said,

Never let a good crisis go to waste.

And it is at times a “crisis’ in the fridge:  2 boiled eggs, two pieces of bacon, a quart of milk nearly gone bad, a bowl of boiled potatoes, and one piece of sad stale baguette are in your direct view every time you open the door.  Why isn’t there a lovely fillet of salmon, a great bottle of Chardonnay, and deeply-green spinach just out of the neighbor’s garden? Instead of a fresh fish meal, you make a quick potato soup topped with toasted breadcrumbs and then chop together a little egg salad for crackers as a side. And often you’re happier than if you’d cooked from scratch. (Aside: In Seattle, you’re fined $25 if food is found in your garbage.  You must use and eat or compost.)

below:  dogs all dressed up for Easter

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Tuesday morning’s “crisis” (OH DEAR) was a bit of cold Asparagus Vinaigrette with Chopped Eggs I had taken to friends for an Easter Eve supper.  Holiday leftover crises are somewhat worse than the traditional what’s-in-that-tupperware? problem.  Well,  I just heated a small plateful in a skillet and cooked two eggs on top for my breakfast:

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Continue reading “Cream of Pea Soup with Mint, Scallions, and Sharp Cheddar or Easter Leftovers”

Good Friday–Hot Cross Buns and Clam Chowder

Good Friday–Hot Cross Buns and Clam Chowder

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The last days of Lent are full between w51bOCZagW9L._AA160_orship, study, shopping, cooking, and baking.   I often read THE LAST WEEK by Borg and Crossan…day by day or occasionally a couple of days at a time. (Read my Lenten blog Good Friday post here.)

Good Friday is, for me, Hot Cross Bun day and this year I used a new recipe from the BBC Good Food site by master baker Paul Hollywood. (Original recipe here. Scroll down for a printable copy of my  adapted American version.)
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I adore these new buns and have now changed my recipe allegiance to Mr. Hollywood. (Here’s my old one.)  Where else would you look for a Hot Cross Bun recipe?  (Read about the famous buns’ history here.) Make some and cement friendships as well as protect yourself from evil!  Or just make them because they’re good.  Sing along to “Hot Cross Buns.

Rosie has kept herself busy “chasing” deer from one window to the next as I bake.  Tucker isn’t so energetic and knows the deer will be back soon. We’ve all been waiting for Emily to come home and she’s here!  I’ve made Clam Chowder for lunch to go with the buns.IMG_7408

d5e69-emily-graduationseminaryHere’s a photo from nearly two years ago now when she graduated from seminary and we sang in the choir for her service.  We’ll have to grab some pics this weekend, which is already feeling too short.

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ADAPTED HOT CROSS BUN RECIPE– AMERICAN PRINTABLE VERSION HERE.

ABOUT MY BUNS–just in case you use the original BBC recipe:

1. The recipe uses metric measurements mostly, but not totally.  You’ll need to weigh your flour, sugar, etc.  I didn’t do the conversions to cups, etc., because I don’t mind baking like this.  If you don’t have a scale and need a chart for comparison/conversion, use this.  The recipe is worth it. (Soft, fluffy, flavorful rolls studded with gorgeous raisins flavored with orange and cinnamon. Sigh.)

2. The recipe calls for 3 proofs or rising.  I used two, refrigerated the dough in the middle, and found that worked fine.  In other words, I let the first rise go for a little more than an hour, punched down the dough, put it into a zip-lock bag, and threw it into the fridge overnight.

3. Next morning, I added the apples, cinnamon, orange rind (skipping the rest of the dried fruit–no loss) and formed them into rolls.  Onto  parchment-lined pans they went covered with oiled plastic wrap to rise again on a stove with the oven on preheating.  (See my printable recipe for a another version of making the dough a day ahead as I’ve now done this a few times!)

4. After reading the recipe reviews, I didn’t make my crosses with flour paste, but rather made a simple vanilla buttercream icing and piped the crosses on with a quart plastic bag that I clipped a corner from. I like them better that way.

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And just in case you’d like to make the chowdah….

QUICK CLAM CHOWDER  serves 4

This is so simple I didn’t see a reason to write out the recipe totally. Ingredients are in italics. Read through and you’ll have the idea.  You can embroider this Friday Fish Soup with added chopped asparagus or chopped tiny green beans. In my book (and here), I add fresh green peas. No bacon or salt pork in this recipe, though; it’s still a Friday in Lent.  Or try grating  some sharp cheese into each bowl — a nice addition.

Melt two tablespoons of butter in a 6-quart pot. Add a finely chopped onion, two each stalks of finely chopped celery and carrots, and a minced garlic clove.  Season with two teaspoons dried thyme, a bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper, and a pinch of crushed red pepper.  Cook covered over medium heat, stirring, until softened. Add 4-5 chopped new unpeeled red potatoes and heat through.  Pour in 1/2 cup white wine and let cook down a couple of minutes.  Pour in two bottles of clam juice and the juice from one 5-ounce can of clams. (Save clams to the side for a few minutes.)  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until potatoes are tender.  Mash the potatoes just a bit with a potato masher.  Throw in a handful of chopped parsley.  Pour in 2 cups  milk and 1 cup half an half and heat through without boiling. Stir in clams; warm through. Season with a few drops of hot sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve hot with oyster crackers. (Whoever gets the bay leaf has good luck until Lent begins again.)

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If you observe Good Friday traditions, I hope your day goes exactly as you need it to.  If you do not, just make some good bread and soup and enjoy.

Sing a new song,

Alyce