Sunday, March 18, 2012

Cinnamon Prune Bread

Sometime back, I had put together a jar of brandied prunes for Cookbook Sundays. I chose that recipe for a couple of reasons, first I love prunes (I am a dork that way.....) and second, it was quick and easy and I could participate in the event. What I have learned about brandied prunes is, they don't go bad. Apparently there is an almost magic preservation factor involved in being soaked in brandy. Who knew?


When I first put the jar together and waited the time suggested in the recipe, before enjoying, they were too strong for my tastes. So back into the "far reaches" of the refrigerator they were sent. I love that part of the refrigerator it is part prison for foods that you are not sure you want to eat, but cannot throw out and part cold storage for things that must age and you absolutely know that someday you will use. In the case of the prunes it was a little bit of both.......


Since we will be moving in a couple of months, it is time to eat the refrigerator and pantry down to bare minimums to make the move easier. However I have also learned that sometimes it is helpful to start fresh with basics when you move, if for no other reason to have a time frame of the purchased date. Because I have had a conversation like the following, " Honey how old is this ( insert food type here )?" " I don't know Dear, when did we move into this house?' See, I told you dorks......

And now,

Cinnamon Prune Bread
Adapted from:
Family Circle Breads and Sweet Rolls Cookbook
350 degree oven

cooks wisdom:  up the cinnamon! For cinnamon lovers, use 2 teaspoons, for other folks use at least 1 full teaspoon. 

1 c snipped pitted prunes (from a 12 oz package)
1/2 c boiling water
1 1/2 c flour
1 1/2 c spelt or whole wheat flour
4 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 (I used a rounded measure) cinnamon
2/3 c packed brown sugar
grated zest from one orange
1 c chopped pecans ( I did not use, but the next time, oh yeah!)
1 egg
1/3 c oil
2/3 c milk

Pour boiling water over prunes and let sit. For this brandied loaf I snipped 1 c of the brandied prunes and covered them in their own liquid, to substitute. 

Stir together the flours, baking powder, salt and cinnamon, combine well to distribute the baking powder. Add the zest, pecans and brown sugar, mix again.


Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, add the egg, oil and milk. Whisk the center to combine the liquid ingredients and break of the egg. Then mix in the dry ingredients from the side of the bowl.


Fold in the prunes and the liquid. Turn batter into a prepared 9X5 loaf pan. Bake approximately 1 hour or until done in your oven. Let cool 10-15 minutes in the pan, turn our to cool completely.


As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. I appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!

Recipe rating:  Oh Yes! (will make again)

this post will be shared with:

cookbook sundays @ couscous and consciousness
hearth and soul @ premeditated leftovers



Thursday, March 15, 2012

Colcannon, Recipe rewind because some things are too good to miss!


Recipe rewind, because in the beginning there is a blogger who has no readers. She still posts great food in hopes that the readers will come..........you can also view it here in the archives  Saturday March 21, 2009.


Right now on the stove is a pan with diced kale, sliced potatoes and some water; the kale is simmering and the potatoes steaming. I am making colcannon. Our local paper ran an article about a hearty dish that could be eaten by vegetarians on St Patrick's day, and still be festive. I thought the article missed the boat, because festive starts from within; for vegetarians and meat eaters alike. However the recipe for the potato and kale dish looked good, and I wanted to try it.

I am a bit lazier than the cook who wrote the article, I am not using 2 separate pans to cook the vegetables. I put the kale in the bottom to simmer and the potatoes on top to steam.

Oh and St Patrick's day is long gone, so we are having a roasted chicken to go with this dish.

Colcannon
adapted from:
The Columbian Newspaper, Vancouver, WA

1 bunch of kale, diced small
4 - 6 potatoes peeled and sliced
1 c water

2 T butter
1/2 t garlic salt
1/2 t fresh grated nutmeg
1 t leaf thyme, crushed
2 green onions sliced thin
2/3-3/4 c milk
salt and pepper to taste

Place kale in bottom of the pan, add sliced potatoes and water. Cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook 20 minutes. Remove pan lid and boil away any excess water (may not be necessary). Add butter and seasonings, start with the smaller amount of milk and mash the mixture. Add more milk if needed. Taste and adjust salt and pepper.

Serves 4-6

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. I appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!

this post is shared with:
full plate thursday @ miz helen's
hearth and soul @ premeditated leftovers
and
gallery of favorites @ premeditated leftovers

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Friday Night Kitchen Date Ice Box Dessert

I love a creamy dessert as much as anyone, maybe more. There is something so easy and satisfying about a delicious layered dessert just waiting in your ice box, to be enjoyed. This one has been around for years, but I had forgotten about it until I noticed it again on Pinterest.......

And of course that is all it took, a quick click to "pin", saved for later, and now made today. I did change up the name a bit, because I like aka names, as we all have them. Not only am I Melynda, I am aka Mom, Grandma, Sister, Aunt, Friend, and Wife.

I know you get the idea because my guess is, you too, have a few  aka names.

Today was a good day to put this together, even if it is not Friday or night time. You might be wondering why today is a good day to enjoy a delicious dessert like this one. Well that would be because today is the day, we are signing papers on the house!  Oh and we also had snow, and I have Granddaughter was here to help me before she goes out to play in the snow and then leave for school.


Lets get started shall we.....

Friday Night Kitchen Date aka Sex in the Pan
adapted from:  Jo Cooks
350 degree oven

Crust:
1 c flour
1/2 c butter
1/4 c sugar
1 c pecans, chopped


 
Combine until crumbly, press into the bottom of a prepared 9X13 pan, you will need a "deep dish" style pan or just use one slightly larger. Bake 15-20 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Cream Cheese Layer:
2 8oz packages cream cheese
1/2 c sour cream
1 c powered sugar

Beat until smooth and creamy, spread over cooled crust.

Chocolate layer:
 2 - 3.9 oz  OR 1- 5.1 oz package of chocolate instant pudding*
3 c milk

Whisk until smooth and creamy, carefully spread over cream cheese layer.

Vanilla layer:
2 - 3.9 oz OR 1 - 5.1 oz package of vanilla instant pudding*
3 c milk

Whisk until smooth and creamy, carefully spread over chocolate layer.


Note:  You will notice my dessert is not in a "deep dish" style pan, simply covered with plastic wrap right after the vanilla layer is added. Whipped cream and chocolate sifting sugar garnish will be added at serving time.

* I prefer the firmer texture of using 2 - 3.9 oz  packages.

Whipped cream layer:
1 pint whipping cream
1 T vanilla
1/2 c powered sugar

Whip on until thickened and mixture mounds up in a spoon. Spread carefully over the vanilla layer.

Cover and chill at least 1-2 hours.

Chocolate sifting sugar:
1/4 c powdered sugar
1 T dry baking cocoa





Sift together until lump free and combined. Decorate by sifting a light covering over the top. You can also dress up the serving plate, sift a small amount on the plate before placing the dessert on the plate.

Serves 16-20 appreciative people aka your family!

Recipe rating:  Oh Yes! (will make again)

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. I appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Braised Meat Loaf, Recipe rewind because some things are too good to miss!

Recipe rewind, because in the beginning there is a blogger who has no readers. She still posts great food in hopes that the readers will come..........you can also view it here in the archive, Monday March 28, 2011.

 This is so good, catsup is not required!

I know, what on earth could I be talking about? How can anyone not be friends with meatloaf? Well, uhmm, that would of been me. But hold on, I can explain, you see.......

Meatloaf is so, well it's solid, and thick and big. You know a big loaf of meat. That's why we did not get along. When there are only a couple of folks eating, a standard sized meatloaf lasts forever! Most meatloaf recipes are usually 2 pounds of ground meat, which will yield about a 3 pound loaf when you factor in the filler, eggs, milk, etc. That my friends is a lot of, yep you guessed it, meatloaf. We (OK, me especially) are tired of it, before it is gone.

I can and do get creative. I have made spaghetti sauce with leftover meatloaf, I have sliced it and used it in a rice casserole in place of any thing else called for. I have sliced it, covered it with a sauce/gravy and baked it again to re-present it as a new dinner. Leftover meatloaf has been turned into lasagna, hash with eggs, and sandwiches.

There are probably a few more creations, but I think you get the general idea. I myself do enjoy a sandwich of warm meatloaf on buttered bread with mustard. Add some pickles and a celery stick or two and you have a great lunch. A delicious sandwich, but one, maybe two in a week are plenty.

Then I found this recipe, for a stove-top braised meatloaf at Olla Podrida and what a great find it was! One pound of ground beef, braised on top of the stove, a richly flavored pan reduction. Yep, meatloaf heaven! And it is just the right size for small families. Pattie's recipe is dinner guest special. When I got past the wow factor (and wiped my chin!), I concentrated on the technique and the yield. Introducing........

Everyday Braised Meatloaf
adapted from:  Olla Podrida

1 slice bread
2-4 T milk
1 pound lean ground beef
1 egg
1 T finely minced onion
1 T catsup (this touch of sweet will carry the rest of the flavors, you won't taste it separately)
1/2 t garlic salt
fresh pepper to taste ( 4-6 "grinds")
2 T dry bread crumbs
1/3 c Parmesean cheese
2 T finely chopped, ham or salami or  prosciutto or mortadella

1/2 - 3/4 c dry (fine) bread crumbs, plain or Italian flavored

1 T olive oil
1T butter

1/2 c dry white wine
1/2 c beef stock or water
1 small tomato, finely diced
1 small carrot grated ( if desired)
1 T minced onion (if desired)

Place slice of bread and 2 tablespoons of the milk in a skillet, warm gently, stirring until mixture is a creamy mass. You may need up to the full 4 tablespoons of milk, however do not use more. Let cool.

Combine the cooled bread mixture and remaining ingredients for the meatloaf. Mix together gently. On a large sheet of plastic wrap, turn meat mixture out and begin forming a log, approximately 2 1/2 inches thick. Wrap and chill for an hour or place in the freezer for 15 minutes.




In a shallow bowl, add dry bread crumbs. For ease I cut the log in half to make the process of coating and browning easier. Coat the meat mixture in bread crumbs, taking care to maintain the meat loaf shape.

Heat butter and oil in large shallow pan, saute meat loaf piece(s) until golden brown, turning to brown all sides. Take care to not break the loaf apart. I cut the uncooked loaf in half to better fit the pan I was using.

The added vegetables during the braising will add body and additional flavor to the pan sauce reduction.

Add wine, stock and diced tomato, carrot and onion if using, braise covered on low/simmer 1 hour. Remove from pan, set aside. Sieve pan drippings to remove skin and seeds from tomato and another other solids that you do not want in your reduced pan sauce. Skim fat, return to pan and boil down to concentrate and thicken. Serve the reduced pan sauce over the meatloaf or with mashed potatoes.
Serves 4-5

As always thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. I appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!

this post is shared with:
full plate thursday @ miz helen's
hearth and soul @ premeditated leftovers
taste this thursday @ hear the bells
weekend potluck #8 @ the country cook

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Brownie Walnut Bread (yeasted), Recipe rewind because some things are too good to miss!

Recipe rewind, because in the beginning there is a blogger who has no readers. She still posts great food in hopes that the readers will come..........you can also view it here in the archives, Wednesday July 28, 2010.

 


This bread has such a sophisticated flavor that I wanted to share it with everyone again!

As written this is not a sweet bread, it is delicious and with the amount of sugar listed in the recipe it would also be a wonderful sandwich bread. This bread would make an unbelievable good chicken sandwich. 
IF you want a sweeter bread, increase the brown sugar to 1/2 cup. And it goes without saying, this would be wonderful rolled up with a spicy cinnamon swirl in the works!
I have noticed "chocolate" bread in various places, and as it turns out, in one of my very own cookbooks! Honestly when I first noticed this bread, my first thought was meh. But then one day I decided to try it, don't know why, so very glad that I did. It turns out it is not only good, it is delicious and not at all like I thought it would be, it is so much better!

Brownie Bread with Walnuts
adapted from: The All New Ultimate Bread Machine Cookbook
by Tom Lacalamita

1/3 c warm water
2/3 c milk, warm slightly
5 T butter, cut into small chunks
1 t salt
1/3 c brown sugar (1/2 c for a sweeter dough)
1/3 c unsweetened cocoa
3 c flour
2 1/4 t yeast

2/3 c chopped toasted walnuts

Layer ingredients into bread machine pan in order given. Leave walnuts for later. Process on dough setting.




When dough is done mixing and going into the final rise, add walnuts to side of pan, where they will warm to the same temperature as the dough.

 (I could not get my machine to turn back on to knead the walnuts into the dough, when the cycle ended, and worked them in by hand)

Restart machine when cycle ends to work in nuts, or turn dough out and work the walnuts in my hand. Shape into a loaf, place in prepared pan, let rise final time.


When dough has doubled in size, preheat oven to 350,

Bake 35-40 minutes or until done. Let rest 10 minutes in the pan, turn out to cool completely.

Don't wait too long to make this bread, seriously! It will be a year round favorite in your family.

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. I appreciate your time and your wonderful comments.

this post is shared with:
full plate thursday @ miz helen's