Classic Bread Pudding

My husband requested bread pudding for his celebratory Father’s Day dessert this year. This classic dessert is second only to cheesecake in his heart. ❤

This isn’t technically another strawberry dessert… but the fresh strawberry topping definitely brought this fabulously creamy bread pudding to the next level.

The recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart.com. I omitted the raisins, modified the presentation, and added the fresh strawberry garnish. Delicious.

Yield: Serves 8 to 10

  • 2 T unsalted butter, softened, for baking dish
  • 12 ounces brioche or challah, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 4 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 1 T pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup raisins, optional (I omitted them)
  • 1 cup boiling water, optional (if using raisins), plus more for pan
  • fresh strawberry slices, for garnish, optional

Grilled Glazed Salmon & Bacon Sandwiches

More… Salmon! Easy and delicious. Grilled too. 🙂

This post is really belated. We ate these yummy sandwiches on Memorial Day… Thank goodness it’s still fabulous grilling weather! They were such a great alternative to standard holiday grilling menu items.

I served these sandwiches with German Potato Salad with Dill and Pasta Salad with Peas and Summer Beans on the side. For dessert, we enjoyed a Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie (a family favorite!), Milk Bar Sugar Cookie-Cake Squares, and ice cream, of course! I almost forgot to mention our New York Soft Pretzel appetizer- yikes! It really was an All-American feast.

This recipe was adapted from a Food and Wine “staff-favorite” recipe, contributed by Marcia Kiesel. I served the sandwiches on brioche rolls but would opt for potato rolls next time. Too much bread for me! 😉

Yield: Serves 4

For the Glaze & Salmon:

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup prepared horseradish, drained
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • four 6-ounce skinless salmon fillets
  • canola oil, for rubbing
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Light a grill.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the mustard, horseradish and honey.
  3. Rub the salmon with oil and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Grill the salmon over moderate heat, skinned side down, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes.
  5. Turn and grill for 3 minutes longer, until the salmon is almost cooked through.
  6. Turn the salmon again and spread each fillet with 1 tablespoon of the horseradish glaze.
  7. Turn and grill until glazed, about 30 seconds.
  8. Serve the remaining glaze on the sandwiches, below.

Note: As with any sweet glaze, brush the honey-horseradish-mustard sauce on the salmon in the last minutes of grilling, or else the sugars in it might burn.

For the Sandwiches:

  • 4 kaiser, brioche, challah, or potato rolls—split, toasted and buttered
  • 4 red lettuce leaves
  • 8 thick bacon slices, cooked until crisp, as below
  • 1/2 Granny Smith apple, cut into 12 thin slices
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Place the bacon in a single layer, divided between 2- 9×13-inch pyrex dishes.
  3. Bake for 30 or 35 minutes, until crisp. Remove from pans and place on a paper towel-lined, rimmed baking sheet to drain.
  4. Spread the remaining horseradish glaze from the Grilled Glazed Salmon on the rolls.
  5. Place a lettuce leaf, 2 crispy bacon strips and 3 slices of Granny Smith apple on each buttered roll and set a salmon fillet on top.
  6. Close the sandwiches and serve.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Three Years Ago:

Shrimp a La Mexicana Tacos

Let me tell you something… (This information may actually be quite obvious to some of you…) Cooking the shrimp in bacon drippings made this dish ultra-delicious. ULTRA. 🙂

I usually cook bacon in the microwave. (gasp!) I know that this may not be the best cooking method, but, as a complete neat freak, this method does eliminate a major cleanup. Fortunately, I pan-cooked a serious amount of bacon at some point in time and reserved the drippings. Yay! Perfect for these wonderful summertime tacos.

We ate these as a belated Father’s Day celebratory meal with skillet creamed corn, brown rice, and refried beans. The skillet corn consisted of fresh corn kernels which were also sautéed in bacon drippings. The mixture was then combined with a little bit of sour cream and seasoned with salt and pepper to taste. SO good.

My husband is a great dad and deserved a super tasty celebration. He always selects his menu and really wanted tacos on his special day for two reasons. Not only does he absolutely love tacos, but, after a thorough search, he gave me fabulous taco racks as part of my birthday gift- he really wanted me to use them ASAP. 😉

He found a local company that makes functional and pretty stainless steel taco racks: www.TacoRack.com. The racks make assembling and serving tacos so much easier. I have always needed such an item in my kitchen! A great birthday gift for me turned into a yummy Father’s Day meal for him. 😉

This recipe was adapted from Rick Bayless.com. Great.

I’m sharing with Angie’s Fiesta Friday #129 co-hosted by Jhuls @The Not so Creative Cook and Colleen @Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck. Enjoy!

Yield: Serves 4 generously

  • 3 T lard, vegetable oil, bacon drippings, fat rendered from chorizo, or even butter
  • 3 serrano OR one large jalapeño, stemmed
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 ripe medium-large tomato, cored and diced
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed, and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces (I used large/21-25 per pound shrimp)
  • a few sprigs cilantro, finely chopped
  • a big squeeze of fresh lime juice
  • 10-12 corn or corn & wheat tortillas, for serving
  1. Melt the lard or other fat in a medium-size skillet set over medium heat.
  2. Seed the chiles then chop them finely and add to the skillet, along with the onion and tomato. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion has softened but is not brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low.
  3. Add the shrimp to the skillet, letting the shrimp cook until they’re almost done through, about three minutes.
  4. In the meantime, warm the tortillas in a tortilla warmer or on a plate covered by a moist paper towel and plastic wrap. (I place a damp paper towel over the tortillas in my tortilla warmer, cover, and microwave for 1 minute.)
  5. Add a big handful of chopped cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime juice, then scoop into a warm tortilla.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Three Years Ago:

Spaghetti with Corn Carbonara & Crab

The first time I made this dish was for a special belated Father’s Day dinner. In the middle of cooking (thankfully on a gas stove…), there was a severe thunderstorm and resulting power outage. After my initial relief that I no longer needed electricity to complete the meal, I realized that I was in total darkness and couldn’t take a photo of this dish! Gasp! :/ We did really enjoy eating it by candlelight though. 🙂

I had an excuse to make this dish a second time when my mom was visiting- she LOVES crab. 🙂 This time I was able to use fresh local bicolor corn from our farmers market. SO good! The sweetness of the corn is very important in this dish as it is barely cooked. We ate with a green salad loaded with CSA veggies. Mmmmm… healthy deliciousness!

This seasonal and tasty recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Tim Maslow. I used a Vitamix to make the corn cream sauce and used pancetta instead of pork guanciale. The creamless corn sauce is not only healthy- it is unbelievably creamy. Lovely.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

  • 7 ears of corn, shucked
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 pound diced pancetta
  • 2 large shallots, minced
  • 2 to 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice, plus finely grated zest, for garnish
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound jumbo lump crabmeat
  • extra-virgin olive oil, for serving
  1. On a work surface, cut the corn kernels off of the cobs; using the sharp side of the knife, scrape the pulp off the cobs. You should have 4 cups of kernels and pulp. Transfer the kernels and pulp to a Vitamix or blender and puree until smooth.
  2. Strain the puree through a fine sieve, pressing on the solids.
  3. In a large saucepan of salted boiling water, cook the spaghetti until al dente. Reserve 2 cups of the cooking water, then drain the pasta.
  4. Wipe out the saucepan and melt the butter in it. Add the pancetta and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the fat is rendered, about 7 minutes.
  5. Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes.
  6. Add the spaghetti, strained corn puree, 1 1/4 cups of the pasta cooking water and the lemon juice.
  7. Cook over moderate heat, tossing, until the sauce is thickened and creamy, 3 to 5 minutes; add more of the cooking water if necessary.
  8. Season the pasta with salt and pepper and very gently fold in the crab. Transfer to shallow bowls and drizzle with olive oil. Garnish with lemon zest, if desired, and serve right away.

Note: The strained corn puree can be refrigerated overnight.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Father’s Day Dulce de Leche Pecan Ice Cream

IMG_9104

As much as I would have liked my husband to try something “new” for Father’s Day, he wanted our favorite tacos. I used my CSA chard and an entire bunch of local spinach in the filling- SO delicious!! The dessert was a surprise, so I could try a new recipe of a favorite flavor. 🙂

My husband and I were at the Montreal Jazz Festival listening to an outdoor concert the first time we tried Dulce de Leche ice cream. It was a Haagen Dazs version, on a stick. We fell so in love with it that I remember the moment. 🙂

I made this version with lightly toasted pecans to celebrate Father’s Day this year. I had made a gelato version in the past that required making homemade dulce de leche– this seemed like such a (wonderful!) shortcut version to incorporate store-bought dulce de leche into a custard base. It was really creamy and delicious. I ran out of time to make pizzelles and served it in waffle bowls instead!

This recipe was adapted from Williams-Sonoma Taste. Happy Belated Father’s Day to all of the Fathers and Grandfathers!  🙂

  • 1 pint (2 cups) whole milk, plus 2 tablespoons, separated
  • 1 pint (2 cups) heavy cream
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 13.4 oz cans Nestle LaLechera Dulce de Leche Caramel
  • 1 cup raw pecan halves
  • freshly ground pepper, optional
  1. In a small sauce pan, heat one pint of milk and cream over medium heat until bubbles appear around the edge of the pan.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium stainless-steel bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar; then stir in warm milk mixture.
  3. Return the custard mixture to the small sauce pan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until custard thickens and coats the back of a spoon, 170 degrees F, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  4. Immediately remove from heat and strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl. (While the custard is re-heating, I clean the original bowl and re-use it.)
  5. Using a whisk, stir 1 can plus about 1/4 of the additional can of Dulce de Leche into the warm custard. IMG_9106
  6. Once incorporated, set bowl over an ice bath. Stir occasionally until cooled.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly on the surface of the custard, and let cool completely in the refrigerator, chill minimally 1 hour to overnight.
  8. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spread pecans on a baking sheet; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of water and season with freshly ground pepper, if using.
  9. Roast until just toasted, 5 to 8 minutes. Let cool, then roughly chop. Set aside.
  10. Churn chilled dulce de leche custard in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  11. Fold in toasted pecans.
  12. In a small bowl, whisk remaining dulce de leche with 2 tablespoons of milk to loosen, then fold into ice cream; dulce de leche should be mixed in just enough to form a marbled effect.
  13. Place in an air-tight, freezer-proof container. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly to the surface of the custard. Freeze until firm, a minimum of 4 hours to overnight. Let come to room temperature for 10 minutes prior to serving.

One Year Ago:

Mustard-Herb Potato Salad

IMG_9016

My husband had to work on Father’s Day, so we planned to have his special dinner belatedly the next day. I wanted to surprise him with a delicious pre-Father’s Day meal as well. It rained on my parade though…. instead of grilled chicken thighs with cilantro pesto we had baked chicken thighs, along with our favorite corn salad, his favorite caesar salad, and this mustard-herb potato salad. It was great! He had leftovers to bring to work on Father’s Day too. 🙂

This recipe was adapted from Everyday Food. Steaming the potatoes allows them to really keep their shape and makes a nice presentation.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

  • 1 1/2 pounds red new potatoes, scrubbed and halved (quartered if large)
  • 1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley and/or dill
  1. Place a steamer basket in a saucepan filled with 1 inch water. Bring to a gentle boil. Add potatoes. Cover, and cook just until tender, 15 to 20 minutes, tossing occasionally.
  2. In a serving bowl, combine vinegar and Dijon; season with salt and pepper. Add hot cooked potatoes; toss. Let cool, tossing occasionally.
  3. Add olive oil and herbs to cooled potato mixture. Season with salt and pepper, and toss.

One Year Ago:

South Carolina Mustard Pulled Pork

IMG_3860

For a long time, I have been on a quest to duplicate the mustard-based pulled pork from the Piggy Park in Columbia, South Carolina. My husband has the FONDEST food memory of their pulled pork sandwich from his college days! This recipe, adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Sean Brock, was my most recent attempt.

I had really high hopes based on the title of the barbecue sauce– SOUTH Carolina sauce- which is mustard-based, not ketchup-based like North Carolina sauce (and most other barbecue sauces), and it is listed as a “staff-favorite” recipe. It was super-tasty with nice mustard flavor, but, different than the Piggy Park….

I slow-cooked the pork in a convection oven but I think that it would have had more pan juices for the sauce if I had used the slow-cooker- I had to add additional stock to my pan juices and drippings. The original recipe also required the pork to be smoked on a grill for 1 hour after it is slow-cooked in the oven. Even though this undoubtedly adds another layer of flavor, I skipped this step because we are not huge fans of smoky flavor. We ate it on brioche rolls with potato chips and coleslaw on the side. A perfect (almost perfect) Father’s Day celebratory meal. 🙂 Happy Father’s Day!

Serves 6 to 8

  • 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoons freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
  • One 5- to 6-pound boneless pork shoulder
  • chicken stock, as needed
  • South Carolina Mustard Barbecue Sauce, recipe follows
  1. Preheat the oven to 275°. In a medium bowl, whisk the mustard with the brown sugar, salt, pepper, paprika and onion powder. Set the pork shoulder, fat side up, in a roasting pan. (Alternatively, a slow-cooker could be used set on low.) Brush the pork with the mustard mixture. Roast, uncovered, for 6 to 7 hours (on convection), or 8 hours, covered, in a slow-cooker, until the meat is very tender.
  2. Tilt the pan and pour the roasting juices into a medium bowl; you should have about 3/4 cup. (I used stock to compensate for less pan juices.) Refrigerate the juices for 30 minutes. Skim off the fat before using.
  3. Transfer the pork to a work surface and let rest for 30 minutes. Discard the gristle and fat. Using tongs and a fork, or your fingers, finely shred the meat and transfer it to a large bowl. Toss the shredded meat with 1/8 to 1/4 cup of the reserved roasting juices and barbecue sauce to taste.

MAKE AHEAD The smoked pork shoulder can be prepared through Step 2 and refrigerated overnight. Break the pork into 4-inch pieces and bring to room temperature. Arrange the pork in a roasting pan, drizzle with 1/2 cup of water, cover with foil and rewarm in a 425° oven before shredding.

South Carolina Mustard Barbecue Sauce

  • 1/2 cup reserved roasting juices (with additional chicken stock, as needed, for consistency)
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar (I substituted red wine vinegar)
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika
  • sriracha, or other hot sauce, to taste
  • 1/2 cup yellow mustardIMG_3851
  1. In a medium bowl, (or in the roasting pan) combine roasting juices with wine vinegar and cider vinegar. Add dark brown sugar and sweet smoked paprika, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
  2. Stir in yellow mustard. Simmer over moderate heat for 30 minutes, until thickened slightly. Season with salt, pepper and hot sauce.

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