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…

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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.

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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.

Onion and Pasta Soup

End of Summer Bummer? I don’t think so! Pep up sweet people. As we are officially in the final week of Regular Season Baseball, I give you one of my favorite soups, yummy in baseball weather, and on into the fall and winter. Then bring it out again for Spring Training next year! It’s just that and a bit more. To honor Big Papi and his retirement from the Red Sox this year (more on that coming soon!), Liam and I made this with pasta in the shape of a baseball glove. H.E.L.L.O. lunch or dinner for all Four Seasons. Grand Slam!

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Look at that sneaky pea that jumped out of the bowl and on to the plate!

Here’s what you need!

1/2 stick butter
1 Tbs olive oil
1 sweet onion, sliced
1 large leek, white part only, thinly sliced
2 cups frozen peas
4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
4 cups water
1 (or more) cups small pasta
1 t kosher salt
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon
8 torn basil leaves
Lemon Sour Cream for garnish, optional
Fontina Toast for garnish, optional

And here’s how you do it:

In 4 quart Dutch oven, heat butter and olive oil over medium low heat until butter is melted.
Add sweet onion and cook 15 minutes until translucent, stirring occasionally.
Add leeks.
Cook, covered 10 minutes.
Stir in peas, chicken broth, water, pasta, and salt.
Bring to boil.
Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered 5 minutes.
Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice, and basil.
Serve with Lemon Sour Cream and Fontina Toast.

Lemon Sour Cream:
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbs lemon juice
Season with salt and pepper.
Mix all together in small bowl.

Fontina Toast:
Sour dough bread, sliced
6 slices Fontina cheese
Arrange bread slices on baking sheet.
Top with cheese.
Broil 4 inches from heat for 1 to 2 minutes, until cheese is melted.

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Liam sorted the pasta, as we wanted to use only the natural color since there would already be green in the soup with the peas and basil. Sweet little sous chef!

 

Pumpkin Bread

©PEGhardee

©PEGhardee

Here’s your destination for holiday inspiration! SO happy to have a full house for the week of Thanksgiving, that I’m doing things now that can successfully be completed in advance. Admittedly the kitchen is my sanctuary most of the time, but I want to get out there and play with my gang..driveway hockey, big wheels, Heads Up, Hardee Pardee, and who knows what else. This is a fab breakfast bread. Bonus…it freezes fabulously (I tested that). Now just sit back and wait for the oohs and aahs. Note: Recipe doubles beautifully. And, I made a pan of mini loaves as well (see pic below) reducing baking time to 25 minutes. Can’t wait for the smiles!

2 cups all purpose flour, divided
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
1/8 t ground cloves
1 T baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup butter, melted
2 eggs

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©PEGhardee

Preheat oven to 350°.
Combine 1 cup flour and all other ingredients in mixing bowl.
Beat with electric mixer at low speed until blended.
Increase speed to high for 2 minutes.
Gradually add remaining flour while on low speed until well blended.
Pour batter into greased 9 x 5 loaf pan.
Bake 50 to 55 minutes, until knife inserted comes out clean.

Slice and savor!

Jalapeño Cornbread

Get back in the real world! Try this weekend warmer and you are sure to please yourself and anyone else fortunate enough to share in the goodness. Mmmm  mmmm Good!Bread Jalapeno Cornbread II1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
2 large eggs
3 Tbs nonfat sour cream
8 3/4 oz can cream style corn
12 slices of jalapeno peppers, drained and chopped
1 1/2 t vegetable oil
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400°.
Heat an 8” empty oven proof skillet in oven for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine cornmeal, baking powder, and salt.

In a separate bowl, combine eggs, sour cream, corn, jalapeno peppers and oil.
Add to dry ingredients, stirring until moistened.

Remove skillet from oven, and coat with cooking spray.
Pour batter into hot skillet.
Return to oven and bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Allow to cool 30 minutes.
Invert on to your hand or a plate.
Place right side up on serving plate.
Cut into wedges.Bread Jalapeno Cornbread