Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Back to School 'Wild About Teachers' Brunch {Gourmet French Toast}

This year we bought the teachers 5K worth of supplies.  The budget cuts have been terrible, and they have to beg for the basics, like paper, and just hope the parents are generous.

Thank you to Starbucks for donating the drinks, and to Rosy's for a great deal on the flowers.

Melinda came up with the 'Wild About Teachers' theme.  She used a roll of wrapping paper among other things to pull off the look.  We thought it would have been cute if we all dressed in animal print tops.

This was my favorite dish:
Bananas Faster French Toast (Cinnamon Campbell)

Makes 8 servings


4 large eggs
1 cup of heavy cream
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of shaved nutmeg
1 teaspoon of vanilla
8 croissants, halved
Butter for cooking

Bananas foster sauce:

8 tablespoons of butter, divided
1 cup of light brown sugar, packed
1 /2 cup of dark rum, room temperature (cold liquor does not ignite)
6 ripe bananas, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
 In a bowl or stand mixer, whisk together the eggs. Add cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla and whisk ingredients for about 30 seconds.

Melt butter (about 2 teaspoons) in a 12" non stick fry pan, around medium heat. Dip halved croissant in egg/cream mixture and put in frying pan. You can repeat with three more halved croissants. Four halved croissants fit in a 12" non stick frying pan. Cook until the underside is light brown and looking toasty. When the underside is toasty looking, flip croissants over and press down on them with a spatula so that they become flat. Turn heat down to medium low and let cook for about 2-3 minutes. You can leave the croissants in the pan on low heat to keep them warm while you prepare the bananas foster sauce.

In a 12 inch non stick frying pan, melt the 8 tablespoons of butter, divided on medium heat. Add brown sugar and stir until a paste forms. Add the bananas. Remove pan from heat and add the dark rum. Put pan back on burner. Using a gas burner, tip the pan to ignite the rum. If you don't have a gas burner, a lighter will do. You are burning the alcohol off, but leaving the taste of the rum. Let the flames keep burning, tilting the pan back and forth or shake the pan slightly, to reach all the alcohol. When the flames have subsided, your sauce is done.


My friends Courtney Dana, Trisha Combe & Melinda Bertrand did an amazing job putting the brunch together!  The teachers LOVED it!  So much better than having it catered.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Fruit Bites & Mini-Raspberry Cupcakes

This is my favorite Mini-Raspberry Cupcake recipe:

Mini-Raspberry Cupcakes
         1 stick(s) (1⁄2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
         3/4 cup(s) sugar
         1 1/2 teaspoon(s) baking powder
         1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
         2 large eggs
         1 teaspoon(s) raspberry or vanilla extract
         1/2 cup(s) milk, & 5-6 fresh raspberries
         1 1/3 cup(s) all-purpose flour
Raspberry Buttercream
         1 stick(s) (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
         4 cup(s) confectioners’ sugar
         4 tablespoon(s) milk, and 2-3 fresh raspberries
         1 teaspoon(s) raspberry or vanilla extract
         1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
         Red or pink gel or liquid food color (optional)
1.            Heat oven to 350ºF. Line mini-- muffin pans with paper liners. (Don't worry if you only have one pan. After baking a batch, remove baked cupcakes to rack. Then place the pan in your freezer to cool quickly before lining and baking the next batch.)
2.            Beat butter, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl with electric mixer on high speed 1 minute. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each. Stir extract into milk. Beat in flour in three parts, alternating with milk, just until blended. Spoon 1 Tbsp into each muffin cup.
3.            Bake 15 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pan on wire rack 5 minutes before removing from pan to rack. Cool completely.

4.            Beat all ingredients in medium bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until blended. Then increase speed to high; beat until light and fluffy. Tint pink if desired. Frost cupcakes.  I love to use silicone, recyclable cake cups.  I let my kids top the mini-cakes with fresh raspberries for the final touch.  Enjoy!

These are pictures from a gathering my cooking club friend, Rupali hosted.  The theme was fruit desserts.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Beach Shrimp Bake {Moonlight Beach}

The chef's in our church congregation put on the most amazing seaside feast!  These men really know how to host a clam bake!  They had propane run burners boiling multiple pots of water, then threw in the ocean treasures.  It was AMAZING!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Cranberry Chicken Salad

My mom buys a chicken salad from a store called Great Harvest up in Utah.  I always look forward to eating that stuff.  It is simple and delicious.  If you're like me, you don't like crunchy celery or onions in your chicken salad - and the Great Harvest chicken salad is free from any unwanted crunch.  Well...we don't have a Great Harvest here in California and occasionally I get a craving for that yummy salad.  So - I decided to take a stab at re-creating it, and I think it's pretty darn close!

3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1 cup mayo
1 1/2 TBSP cider vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
pinch of sugar

Toss all ingredients in a bowl until combined.  You can serve immediately of let it chill in the fridge so all of the flavors mingle.  Serve on a bed of lettuce, a roll, crackers, sliced bread, or on its own!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Stew {An American Tradition}

About Saint Patrick’s Day:
St. Patrick’s Day was first celebrated in America 1737 and has long been synonymous with celebration. Once confined to Irish neighborhoods, this March 17th holiday has grown dramatically in popularity over the years with over 100 U.S. cities hosting St. Patrick’s Day parades this year.
Folklore Note:
Leprechauns are believed to secretly live and work as cobblers. If you follow the sound of their little hammers and lay eyes on a leprechaun, you must apprehend him so that he will tell you where to find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
St. Patrick’s Day Stew
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 pounds boneless stew meat, cut
into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 large onion, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and cut into large
4 cups beef broth
3 large potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
chopped fresh parsley for garnish
1. Heat oil over medium heat in a large stockpot or Dutch oven. Add beef pieces and cook, stirring gently, until evenly browned. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Add the onion, and carrots and cook gently alongside the meat for a few minutes. Stir in the water. Cover and bring to a boil before turning the heat down to low. Simmer for 1 hour or longer, depending on the cut of meat you used and if it is tender yet.
3. Stir in potatoes, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, before adding rosemary. Continue to simmer uncovered, until potatoes are tender but still whole. Serve piping hot in bowls garnished with fresh parsley.