Hand Held Blueberry Pies

Sliding in to Thursday on a Sweet Note you Good Folks of the InterWeb! I tried and tried to carve out time to make these yummies with my three golden grandchildren…alas, I was so lazily enjoying their hugs and conversation the last couple of times that we were together that I ended up making them on my own last week. But check out that cute little car that Liam left here 7 1/2 years ago; it still lives in my kitchen window sill. So that’s my garnish and nod to my grands, and the children in all of us who love a hand held pie memory from our youth! Yum.

Filling:
3 cups blueberries
1/2 cup granulated sugar 
3 Tbs cornstarch 
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon 
1 t vanilla extract 
Pastry
3 sheets frozen puff pastry (from two packages, such as Pepperidge Farm), thawed
1 large egg beaten with 2 Tbs water
Glaze:
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 

For the filling:
Combine blueberries and granulated sugar in medium saucepan over medium heat.
Bring to boil, reduce heat, and cook, stirring, until sugar is melted, and berries start to burst.
Stir together cornstarch and lemon juice in small bowl until combined.
Add to the blueberry mixture.
Add lemon zest and vanilla and continue to cook until glossy and thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the pastry:
Preheat the oven to 400°.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
To make the pies:
Unfold the thawed pastry and roll out to 10-inch squares.
Cut each square in quarters, making four 5-inch squares from each.
Spoon 1 1/2 Tbs of cooled filling onto one corner of each square.

Brush around the squares with the egg wash.
Fold the pasty over the filling on each to make a triangle, pressing lightly to remove air pockets. Crimp the edges shut with a fork.
Put the pies on the prepared baking sheets.
Brush the tops of pies with egg wash.
Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Transfer to a cooling rack set over a baking sheet.
For the glaze:
Mix powdered sugar, vanilla and 1/3 cup cold water in a bowl until smooth.
Drizzle glaze over pies and let set until dry.

Grape and Goat Cheese Bruschetta

I mean seriously, have you ever seen the cooking show Naughty and Delicious? There is a wonderful Brit gal that is as charming as the English countryside…for me, that means the city of London… I’ve been watching her for a while now and hoped to bump in to her on my three day layover in London last year! Alas, that didn’t happen. But to satisfy all of us until I do meet her, here’s a great easy on the cook Bruschetta, reminiscent of her.

Dodge those raindrops outside!Appetizer Grape Goat Cheese Bruschetta
1/2 small sourdough loaf, cut into six 1/2″ slices
1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, cut in half
1 1/2 cups red seedless grapes, cut in half lengthwise
1/2 cup green seedless grapes, cut in half lengthwise
6 fresh mint leaves
3/4 cup soft goat cheese, room temperature
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon

Preheat oven to 400°.
Brush both sides of bread slices with oil.
Toast on middle rack 1 minute.
Turn and cook another minute until bread is crispy on both sides.
Rub each slice of hot bread with cut garlic clove as it comes out of the oven.

Add 3 Tbs oil to skillet over medium heat.
Add red grapes and sauté until warm and softened, about 3 minutes.
Add green grapes and toss just to warm. Remove to a bowl.

Add mint leaves to the hot oil and fry until crisp, 15 to 20 seconds.
Remove to paper towel to drain.

Spread goat cheese over one side of each piece of toast.
Top with mound of warm grapes.
Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.
Top with a mint leaf.
Zest the lemon generously over each slice.

Avocado Toast with Yogurt and Honey

This is the best simple breakfast that you will EVER serve your overnight guests, or just your adult children and grandchildren. I promise!!! The vanilla yogurt makes it just a little sweet for the little ones, and the rest is just yummy right down to that tummy. First thing in the morning…it’s a lot better to wait a few minutes before consuming the slight acid in our favorite coffee. Get revved up with that caffeine after you coat that little tum tum. Happy Day My People!
Brunch Avocado Toast with Avocado and Honey

You’ll be so darn happy!

4 slices multigrain bread, toasted
2 avocados, halved, seeded, peeled, and sliced
1 cup low fat vanilla yogurt
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup pomegranate arils
1/2 t salt

Arrange avocado slices in single layer on toast.
Spoon yogurt over avocado, spreading slightly.
Sprinkle zest over yogurt.
Drizzle with honey.
Sprinkle with pomegranate arils.
Sprinkle with salt.

YUMMY!!!!

Cinnamon Elephant Ears

 

I had a special pajama clad helper in the kitchen one Sunday morning recently. No makeup, hair unbrushed…but it was magically delicious! I always thought these “elephant ears” were a short cut from a French pastry. Contrarily, my research revealed that it’s adapted from the Native Americans’ “sweet fry bread”…Either way, it’s quick, delicious, and this little three year old did most of it on his own!
A job opportunity awaits!

1 cup sugar, divided
Pinch kosher salt
1/4 t cinnamon
1 sheet puff pastry, defrosted

Preheat the oven to 450°.

Combine 1/2 cup of sugar and salt.
Pour it over a flat surface such as a wooden board.
Unfold the sheet of puff pastry onto the sugar mixture.

 

Combine 1/2 cup of sugar and the cinnamon.
Spread it evenly on the puff pastry.
(This is not about sprinkling, it’s about an even covering of sugar.)
With a rolling pin, lightly roll the dough until it’s a 13-inch square and the sugar is pressed into the puff pastry on top and bottom.
Fold the sides of the square toward the center so they go halfway to the middle.
Fold them again so the two folds meet in the middle.
Then fold one half over the other half as though closing a book.
You will have 6 layers.
Slice the dough into 3/8-inch slices.
Place the slices, cut side up, on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

Bake the cookies for 6 minutes, or until caramelized and brown on the bottom.
Then turn over with a spatula and bake for another 3 to 5 minutes, until caramelized on the other side.
Transfer to a baking rack to cool.
Brunch Elephant Ears VI

Fairy Bread

Fairy Bread ParkerFairy Bread has been a popular children’s birthday treat for generations in Australia. Simple as can be. So as you prepare for the Memorial Day weekend and the onslaught of family members, you may want to try this special and yummy treat!
Simply spread softened, room temperature butter on fresh bread (That acts as the glue). Top with any sprinkles or colored sugar desired…or let the children decorate their own! That’s what we did in the RockDamKitchen a couple of weekends ago. My grands LOVED making it and eating it! “Art doesn’t always fit in a frame”…nor do sprinkles! PS It was a sugary mess on the kitchen counter! Enjoy.

Fairy Bread Lucy IIjpgBrunch Fairy Bread IFairy Bread L L P

Apple Bacon Toast

Just the perfect little brunch/lunch…and in my sunroom as a bonus…and with sweet Curry sniffing around as a double bonus.

Brunch Apple Bacon Toast2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
3 Tbs low fat vegetable cream cheese
4 slices cinnamon raisin bread, toasted
1 apple, thinly sliced
Maple syrup, for drizzling

Spread cream cheese evenly on 4 slices of toasted bread.
Spread apple slices evenly across toast.
Top with crumbled bacon.
Drizzle with syrup.

A dear friend introduced me to Ezekiel bread; now it’s my “go to”. You can find it in the freezer section of your neighborhood grocery store!
Brunch Apple Bacon Toast Ezekiel Bread

Bacon and Egg Bánh Mì

Cooking around the globe…my favorite passion! Last February we chased our culinary dreams (and a few very fine golf courses for the don!) to Vietnam. The darling gal pictured here was our guide throughout the charming town of Hoi An, their market, and the Red Bridge Cooking School. Sensory overload is a total understatement! IMG_4455 (2)One easy take away was the Bánh Mì; that’s Vietnamese for bread, more specifically the baguette, which was introduced by the French during the colonial period in Vietnam. Unlike the traditional French baguette, the Vietnamese baguette is made with rice flour, making it airier. In Vietnamese cuisine, Bánh Mì is typically made into a sandwich, commonly including pickled daikon radishes, carrots, cucumber slices, cheeses and cold cuts of choice. I mixed it up a little bit here! But first, a couple of fun market images…

IMG_4474

IMG_4471 (9)

And since I’m hooking you up with an egg Bahn Mi recipe, here’s our Market egg lady!

4 large carrots, shredded
6 whole radishes, sliced
6 slices jalapeño peppers, diced
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 Tbs sugar
1/4 t salt
1/8 t pepper
6 slices bacon
4 crusty French bread rolls, split open
1/2 English cucumber , thinly sliced, lengthwise
4 eggs
Bunch fresh cilantro

Brunch Bacon and Egg Bahn Mi
Preheat broiler.
In medium bowl, toss together carrots, radishes, jalapeños, vinegar, and sugar.
Cook bacon and remove to plate to drain and cool.
Cut into halves.
Arrange bread cut side up on baking sheet.
Drizzle with bacon grease.
Top with salt and pepper.
Broil until golden, 1 to 2 minutes.
Top one half of each bread roll with cucumber slices.
Top with bacon halves.
Top with veggie mixture.
Cook eggs in skillet with remaining bacon grease.
Top veggie mixture with eggs.
Top with cilantro.

P to the S…I made this with sausage, since there was no bacon in my fridge. I also spread a bit of ricotta (flavored with fresh lemon juice) and additional veggies on the other side of the bread, just because!

Irish Soda Bread

Bread Irish Soda Bread IIt’s the day to celebrate the Irish, right? So let’s enjoy some Irish Soda Bread, recipe compliments of Bobby Flay…the guy credited with creating everything filled with “flayvor”. This is a simple prep and packed with good-for-you fiber. It’s a dense bread, so I prefer mine toasted crispy and spread with the wonderful orange butter in this recipe, or a dab of cream cheese. The Don likes his drizzled with honey! Any way you like it, it packs a punch. May you go out and find lots of four leafed clovers today; and drink a Guinness (or two) while you’re out there!

Here’s What You’ll Need!
Irish Soda Bread:
3/4 cup golden raisins
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cake flour
1/2 cup semolina flour
1 1/2 t baking soda
1 1/2 t cream of tartar
1/8 t fine sea salt
2 Tbs sugar
3 Tbs very cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 Tbs roasted, salted fennel seeds or regular fennel seeds
2 t finely grated orange zest
1 1/2 cups very cold buttermilk
2 Tbs butter, melted

Buttermilk-Orange Butter:
1/2 cup cold buttermilk
2 t finely grated orange zest
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
Pinch sea salt

And Here’s How You Do It!
Place the raisins in a bowl and cover with hot water.
Set aside until softened, about 30 minutes.
Drain and pat dry.
Preheat the oven to 375°.
In large bowl, sift together all-purpose flour, cake flour, semolina flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt.
Stir in sugar.
Cut the 3 Tbs butter into the flour until it resembles a coarse meal.
Stir in fennel seeds and raisins.
In a small bowl, stir orange zest into the buttermilk.
Add buttermilk/zest mixture to flour mixture.
Stir with a fork just until a dough comes together.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead briefly, until the loose flour is just moistened.
The dough will look shaggy and uneven.
Form the dough into a 6-inch round and place in a 10-inch skillet.
Using a sharp knife, score a deep cross into the top of the loaf.
Bake until nicely browned and a skewer inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes.
Remove from oven and brush with the 2 Tbs melted butter.
Cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing.

While the bread bakes, make the buttermilk-orange butter:
Whisk together buttermilk and orange zest in a small bowl.
Put butter and salt in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
Beat until smooth.
Slowly pour in buttermilk mixture and continue beating until just incorporated.
Spread into a ramekin.
Cover, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours to allow the flavors to meld.
Serve slices of warm or toasted soda bread with the orange butter.

Bread Irish Soda Bread II

Raw Dough in the Skillet, Marked with a Cross

Bread Irish Soda Bread III

Ahhh…The Finished Product!

PS…a little history lesson here; just keeping us sharp!
What About The Cross On Top?
Before baking, a cross is traditionally cut on the top of the soda bread loaf with a knife – often said to ward off the devil and to protect the household.
Legend and symbolism aside, there’s a practical reason for the cruciform shape to be cut into the top of the dough. Slashing the dough lets heat penetrate into the thickest part of the bread and allows the bread to stretch and expand as it rises.
Slashing a round loaf with a cruciform shape ends up dividing the bread into quadrants that can be easily broken apart (the breaking of the bread). But, since Ireland is a Catholic country, the symbolism of the cross can also be interpreted as blessing (crossing) the bread and giving thanks.                                                From EatOutEatWell.com

Spring Onion Soup

Sun streaming through the breakfast room window on my little Spring Onion Soup!

Don’t be sad thinking you can’t have your beloved French Onion Soup just because the winter is over! I’ve skinnied it up for you! This comes in under 200 calories for a full cup and a half serving. So sharpen your pencil and take note of this. I’m playing for keeps good people, and cooking in a lively Spring has Sprung manner.

1/2 stick butter
3 sweet onions, sliced
1 cup dry sherry
6 cups water
6 envelopes of Herb Ox granulated beef bouillon*
1 t Worcestershire sauce
1/4 t salt
1/2 t dried thyme
6 slices French bread, toasted on both sides with olive oil, salt, and pepper
6 oz shredded Fontina cheese
Snipped chives for garnish

(This is a duo serving; hence the onions are scarce! Don’t want to mislead anyone.)

Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat.
Add onions and cook 12 to 15 minutes, or until onions are soft and lightly browned.
Stir in sherry and cook an additional 2 minutes.
Bring water to boil in soup pot.
Add in bouillon and stir to combine.
Add onions to broth pot.
Add Worcestershire, salt, and thyme.
Cover and cook on low 30 minutes.

Preheat broiler.
Ladle soup into 6 ovenproof ramekins.
Top with bread slice.
Sprinkle with cheese.
Broil until cheese melts.
Sprinkle with chives before serving.

*I use sodium free broth whenever I can. Do you know that one serving of canned broth can carry 800+ mg of sodium. SNAP. Who needs that? Am I right!

Topping the soup with toasty French bread slice

And then, the cheese please

Cinnamon Sugar Crisps (Mexican Toast)

A little sweetness for your morning or evening. Here’s the perfect little “pick me up” after a long day of errands that is inherent this time of year. And the bonus…your smallest children and grandchildren can participate in the creating. Spread the joy. Share the love.

dessert-mexican-cinnamon-toast-iii

1/2 stick butter
6  7 inch tortillas
2 Tbs sugar
1/4 t cinnamon
Pinch of salt

Place oven rack in center position of oven.
Preheat oven to 500°.
Melt butter in shallow baking pan in oven, about 2 minutes.
Spread tortillas in baking pan, overlapping slightly and turning each to coat both sides with butter.
Stir together sugar, cinnamon, and salt.
Sprinkle evenly over tortillas.
Bake until golden and puffed in spots, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Watch carefully!dessert-mexican-cinnamon-toast-iv

Slice into wedges and watch them disappear.