Tag Archives: family
Post by Alison Hein.
Even though we like to stay in our PJs and lounge about in the bedroom all day, we recognize there are times when you need to stretch your legs and visit other parts of the house. That’s why we thought it might be fun to get you up and out once in awhile with a brunch recipe. J
If you are familiar with white asparagus, you will know it is exactly the same as green asparagus with one major exception – it is grown under mounded earth dams which prevents chlorophyll from developing and keeps the stalks white.
White asparagus also has a deep, mellow flavor and can be served in many forms. It’s delightful simply steamed and drizzled with butter or hollandaise. Delicious served cold in a niçoise-style salad, tucked neatly into a cheesy omelet, or puréed into a fragrant cream soup.
There is, however, one cardinal rule about this mysterious vegetable – you absolutely MUST peel the woody skins from the stalks for every preparation. This sounds tedious, I know, but once you get the hang of it the work goes fast. It takes a little patience, and a firm but delicate touch.
This soup is a favorite of ours and a surprise for guests. I always retain a few asparagus tips for garnish, and mix up a tangy Horseradish Cream Sauce for a little added kick.
3 pounds white asparagus
4 tablespoons butter
1 shallot, chopped
⅓ cup flour
1 package (32 oz.) vegetable broth
½ cup white wine
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper
Dash nutmeg (optional)
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon creamy horseradish
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
Cut off bottom inch of asparagus stems and discard. To peel skins, lay each spear on a flat surface. Peel one at a time using vegetable peeler. Gently hold asparagus tip, start about one inch below tip, peel off skin and discard. Coarsely chop asparagus spears and set aside. If desired, retain about 12 to 18 spear tips to be cooked separately and used as garnish.
Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot and sauté until soft, about 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in flour. Gradually add broth, stirring into flour mixture until smooth. Add wine, asparagus, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 25 to 30 minutes.
In separate small saucepan, simmer reserved asparagus tips in lightly salted water until tender, or about 10 minutes. Set aside.
Stir in heavy cream. Lightly puree in blender or food processor.
To make Horseradish Cream, mix sour cream and creamy horseradish together in a small bowl.
Serve soup warm, garnished with Horseradish Cream, reserved asparagus tips and chopped parsley.
Makes approximately 6 1-cup servings.
Post by Alison Hein.
Just last week, I had a long, fascinating conversation with my friend Tim who works for Charles P. Rogers – all about oatmeal!
“You need to do more with savory oatmeal dishes,” Tim said.
“Hmmm,” I stalled. “But I don’t really care for savory oatmeal.”
“That’s okay, but I want to get my kids to eat more oatmeal. It’s good for your health – you know, blood pressure, cholesterol – all that good stuff.”
“Well,” I said. “You’ve got to use the slow cook oats. Steel cut oats are very good. How about with a little cinnamon and fresh ground nutmeg? And, have you tried cooking your oatmeal overnight in a crock pot?”
“Oh,” Tim replied. “I like the sound of nutmeg. I’ll try it. You can cook oatmeal in a crock pot?”
“Yup. Start the night before, and in the morning, your oatmeal will be thick and creamy, with all the rough edges cooked out. I like to cook oatmeal with apples, maybe a touch of cider. But if you really like savory flavors, how about toss in a little cheese? Or a fried or poached egg on top?”
“This is a lot of oatmeal information,” Tim responded.
Oops. Sorry Tim! You know how excited I get about breakfast foods. How about something we can both enjoy? Savory oatmeal cakes, baked with just enough honey to keep them flaky and moist. You can top yours with a slice of cheese, Canadian bacon, or smoked salmon, and I’ll smear mine, hot from the oven, with fresh creamery butter and sweet raspberry jam.
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup (one half stick) cold butter
½ cup milk
1 tablespoon honey
Preheat oven to 400°. Lightly grease a baking sheet and set aside.
In large bowl, mix together oats, flour, baking powder and salt. Cut butter into small pieces and cut into dry ingredients until mixed in and crumbly. Add milk and honey to dry ingredients, stirring until just mixed in.
Turn batter out onto lightly floured board. With floured hands, divide into two equal pieces and shape into large balls. Press each ball into a flat round and cut into quarters. Place scones on baking sheet. Place in oven and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, until tops begin to lightly brown. Serve warm, with your choice of sweet or savory toppings.
Makes 8 oatmeal cakes.
Post by: Alison Hein.
What, you never heard of a BLP? Well it stands for “Bacon Loves Pineapple”. It’s true! All you have to do is take a look on Pinterest and you’ll see what I mean: there are bacon-wrapped pineapple skewers, some with shrimp, or jalapeño peppers or sriracha; bacon pineapple cheeseballs, made with cream cheese, walnuts or red onion; bacon pineapple pizzas strewn with mozzarella, cilantro, or chicken (this might be overkill); and even bacon pineapple upside down cakes and bacon pineapple doughnuts! Sure as day, these two ingredients are downright in love with each other.
My BLP is simple – just place some crispy bacon, a slice of Swiss cheese and some fresh pineapple on an English muffin. Pop it in the oven (or toaster oven) to warm, them broil it for just a minute, until the pineapple lightly chars and the cheese browns and crisps. Serve this morning treat hot from the oven over a bed of tangy baby arugula, breakfast in bed-style, and someone may just fall in love with you.
2 slices thick-cut or Canadian Bacon
1 English muffin
2 slices Swiss cheese
½ cup fresh pineapple
½ cup baby arugula
Preheat oven to 350°. Cook bacon in a heavy frying pan over medium low heat until crispy, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
Separate English muffin into two halves. Place half of the bacon on each muffin half, cutting to fit if necessary. Place a slice of Swiss cheese over the bacon on each muffin. Top each muffin with half of the pineapple, making sure the fruit is flat.
Place the prepared muffin halves on a baking tray and bake until muffins are warmed and cheese is melted. Turn on broiler and broil muffins, about 4 to 5 inches from heat, until pineapple and cheese start to crisp and brown, about 1 minute. Remove from oven, place on a bed of baby arugula, and serve immediately.
Makes 1 BLP Sandwich.
Post by: Alison Hein
Wonderful earthy undertones with hints of walnut make buckwheat an ideal substance for creating delicious little brown discs – Baby Buckwheat Cakes. Buckwheat was first cultivated in America sometime during the 1700s, and quickly became a popular ingredient for making pancakes. Sometimes these cakes were made with yeasted batter or sourdough starter. Oftentimes cornmeal was incorporated into the mix. Later, the cooking process became easier with the addition of saleratus, the predecessor of baking soda and baking powder. Buckwheat Cakes were a common choice on frontier menus, and back in the mid-1800s at the What Cheer Restaurant in San Francisco, you could get a whole plate of them, piled high and doused in sweet honey, for a mere nickel.
I’ve been thinking about babies a lot (as a result of welcoming my first-ever grandchild, Phoebe Rose, into the world on December 16th!). I’ve also been thinking about buckwheat a lot (we have caviar on Buckwheat Blinis every New Year’s Eve and I still have half a bag of flour left sitting on my counter.) Add to all of this that I have been helping my son and daughter-in-law with their grocery shopping during this busy time. My son’s list includes “those little frozen pancakes from Trader Joe’s”. So, I combined my jumbled thoughts into one cohesive baby pancake concept.
Since buckwheat is more closely related to sorrel and rhubarb than wheat, it is gluten free. Dough without gluten can be a little fussy – keeping the pancakes small helps. And, since there is absolutely no butter in the batter, its nice to serve your babies with a generous clump, with real maple syrup or honey for the topping.
With a new baby around, I’m pretty sure my son and daughter-in-law won’t be enjoying a leisurely breakfast in bed anytime soon. But with their freezer stocked with these buckwheat babies, at least they will be enjoying breakfast.
1¼ cups buckwheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon butter or vegetable oil, for cooking
Combine buckwheat flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Set aside. In a separate large bowl (or stand mixer), add the milk, eggs and honey. Beat milk mixture on low for about two minutes, until thick and smooth. While beating (or with mixture on low), add buckwheat flour mixture to batter. Mix for another minute or so, until batter is well-mixed and somewhat heavy.
Place pan or griddle on burner over medium heat. Melt a small amount of butter (or heat vegetable oil) in the pan for the first pancake. Use a tablespoon to spoon batter into pan and cook until small bubbles appear throughout pancakes. Flip once with thin spatula and continue cooking less than one minute until golden brown. Serve hot with butter and real maple syrup.
Makes about 40 2-inch diameter pancakes.
by: Alison Hein
Several years ago I purchased a set of six mini-tart pans. Since then, whenever I make a pie, I’ve gotten into the habit of rolling out any extra dough, plopping it into one of these mini-pans, and storing it in the freezer until I’m ready to use it. This process enables me to impress people with On the Fly Mini Quiches. The frozen shells take mere minutes to thaw, and the small number of ingredients required can usually be found in your cupboards and fridge.
It’s this simple – use the “mother” recipe as a guide – then fool around with fillings, cheeses and spices as you desire. This is a wonderful way to utilize small amounts of extra vegetables or meats.
Earlier this week I received an “on the fly” invitation to visit my daughter-in-law who is home with our brand new granddaughter! She’s tired and busy, so I decided to whip up a few mini quiches that she could use or freeze. I settled on Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato, and Mushroom Swiss (see ingredients below).
To further simplify, purchase pre-made pie dough, or try this easy recipe for pie crust. You can even make crustless mini quiche – just be sure to grease the pan well before baking.
They are so cute! You might want to admire them before tucking into your on the fly breakfast in bed!
On the Fly Mini Quiche
1 4-inch pie crust in pan, unbaked
¼ cup main filling
2 tablespoons cheese
1 tablespoon fresh chopped herb (or ½ teaspoon dried)
1 tablespoon cream or half & half
Preheat oven to 350°. (Thaw mini-pie crusts if frozen.) Place mini-pie crust on baking tray. Spread filling evenly across the bottom of the dough. Cover with cheese and herbs.
Whisk egg and cream together in a small bowl. Pour egg mixture over pie filling until covered and egg mixture reaches just below the rim of pie dough. Do not pour egg mixture above the pie dough rim – extra can be used for the next mini-quiche.
Bake quiche for around 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, and quiche is puffed up and golden.
Makes 1 serving.
Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Mini Quiche
¼ cup cherry tomatoes, sliced thin
2 tablespoons fresh mozzarella, shredded or sliced thin
1 teaspoon fresh chopped parsley or basil
Mushroom and Swiss Mini Quiche
¼ cup sliced mushrooms, sautéed in butter with salt and pepper
2 tablespoons shredded Swiss cheese
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves