Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Fresh strawberry

Munchie and I took a drive down 41A today in search of some home-grown strawberries. We missed the first turn off by the flea market and so we kept on driving until we got to another handmade sign near Novadell. A narrow road took us to an even narrower road where we met a half dozen Clidesdales pulling Mennonites on farm equipment. They pointed me to keep going and the road gave way to gravel as I weaved around piles of machinery and horse poop until we got to a little house, several coal burning stoves for sale and a bustling purple martin hotel. A young girl popped out the door when she hear us pull up.

I'm happy to say the berries are sweet, red all the way through and very tender!
Also, they make an awesome sandwich with my new Kroger version of nutella on white bread. It tastes like a pastry!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Pork spring rolls

I mentioned the never ending pork loin a couple of posts ago, right? Well, this yet another reincarnation.

Pork Spring Rolls
10 Rice paper wrappers
1 cup roasted pork loin, cut in thin strips
1/2 medium cucumber, cut into thin strips
1/2 romaine lettuce heart, shredded
10 basil leaves, chopped
1 cup rice, bean thread or tapioca vermicelli noodles, cooked

Soak one wrapper at a time in a casserole dish of warm water. To fill, place a small amount of each of the fillings in a neat and evenly distributed pile centered about 2 inches from the upper edge of the wrapper. Fold the upper edge over the fillings, then fold the sides inward before rolling as tightly as possible.

Dipping sauce:
I'm sorry, I didn't measure, but I used
Crunchy peanut butter
Thai chili sauce
brown sugar
soy sauce
rice vinegar

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Lemon Spice Bread Pudding

Sorry for the delay in posting the recipe... now humor me and read how this dessert came about:

Kroger is the main grocery store down here (if you don't do all your shopping at Wally World) and they often have "10 for 10" specials on things like frozen vegetables, some produce and this time, loaves of Kroger-brand bread. Usually I buy Bunny Bread Whole Wheat White-- sort of the local Wonder Bread. I like real bread a lot more than the fluffy stuff, but Bunny runs about $1.50 a loaf, and Joe will actually eat it. When I saw that yellow "10 for 10" sticker, like Pavlov's dog, my brain said "10 for 10...Must..buy..."

OK. It was horrible. Joe made a PB&J and the bread was disintegrating as he spread. I told him not to eat any more and I would turn it into French toast or something more palatable.

The bread sat in the cabinet, probably contemplating life as bread crumbs, while I busied myself with a bunch of other foods that needed eating... most notably the huge completely dried out pork loin that we cooked to an internal temp of 165 degrees --5 degrees less done than directed-- for 40 minutes longer than directed, and the rotisserie chicken Joe brought home on one of his impromptu shopping trips, and the sam's club chicken sausage featured in previous posts. Let's just say we had a lot of soups this week.

Then on Tuesday, amid drizzly skies and a day of longing for something sweet, Lemon Bread Pudding popped into my mind. I'd never made it or eaten it before, so I went first to my Amish cookbook. Sadly, no bread pudding recipes. Next I hit my copy of Joy of Cooking, which not only had plenty of versions to choose from, but several paragraphs discussing this history of the dessert. The best part-- the author said bread pudding is like a sponge that can absorb whatever extras you want to toss in. My kind of dessert.

So I followed the basic recipe, with some tweaks, and added lemon zest to satisfy my need for sunshine.

Lemon Spice Bread Pudding
12-16 oz stale bread cubes, crusts removed (this ended up being most of the loaf, minus heels and maybe 1 or 2 slices, I'm sure if you used a more substantial loaf of real bread, it would be less than a loaf)
4 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
3 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
grated zest of one lemon

Joy of Cooking called for 4-5 cups of 1/2 inch bread cubes, my fluffy stuff filled 6 to 7 cups, but I needed that much to absorb the egg mixture.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 2 quart baking dish, then add the bread.
Whisk eggs, sugar, extract, zest and spices. Then whisk in milk. Pour over bread. Joy says to let it sit for 30 minutes, pressing bread down with a spatula to make sure bread is thoroughly soaked with egg. Again, fluffy bread needs no coaxing, mine was pretty much beginning to dissolve after 5 minutes, so I stuck mine in the oven directly. Oh, not quite.

Water bath: Place a thin dishtowel in a 9 by 13, place bread pudding on top, set in the oven, then pour in enough scalding hot water to submerge pudding casserole 1/2 to 3/4 of the way in water. Cooking it this way is supposed to help the texture. I liked how mine came out, and I'm not sure what bad things would have happened if I didn't put it in a jacuzzi to cook.

Starry night drank my soup

Friday, May 01, 2009

Italian stuff at Sam's

Joe thought these Spinach and Asiago Cheese Italian Sausages were too zesty, but I thought they were pretty good with red pepper on Schlabach's dinner rolls. The links were among many things my mom and I bought at Sam's Club. I'm not a big fan of Sam Walton's big box stores, but when mom comes to town, it's almost a given we'll be making a stop at Sam's. One of the sample stations had this ADDICTIVE bruschetta called Reza. The samples were supposed to sell a giant twin pack of fresh mozzarella, but the tomato-olive oil-basil mixture also came home with us. I've been putting it on everything. Like this sauteed zucchini:

Sorry for the neglect

There's thunder outside, my son is occupying himself with a plastic cup and I'm feeling the extreme need to blog...