Baked Parmesan Hash Browns

April 27th, 2016

Hash Browns 1

We have many visitors at the lake during the year.  Because of that, I am always looking for recipes to serve to a crowd.  Breakfast hash browns take time and when you are juggling eggs and bacon, it is just one more pan that has to be watched.  I found this simple baked hash brown recipe on Pinterest.  You can even prep it the night before.

We went for our first boat ride of the season last week.  Spring on the lake is so beautiful.

LL Kissing Alligators

The iconic view of Lake Lure is one of our favorites.  We call this the “kissing alligators” view.  The mountain to the right is obviously an alligator head.  The mountain to the left is a little obscured, but definitely looks like an alligator head.  Our cottage is next to the orange boathouse on the right.

LL French Chateaus 2

I have several favorite houses on the lake.  Surprisingly they all have a French Chateau look to them.  I got in trouble a few years ago peeking into this house when it was under construction.  There were “No Trespassing” signs posted, which I ignored.  The owner was next door and was not happy with me.  I tried to explain that I was a decorator and could not help myself; it fell on deaf ears.

LL French chateaus 1

This stucco house with French blue shutters is for sale if anyone is interested.  Here is a link.  By the way, I am happy to say that we have just sold our Florida house.  We will be returning to Florida soon to arrange an estate sale.

Hash Browns 2

Returning to the subject of these hash browns, I used frozen hash browns from Trader Joe’s.  I like them because they have no artificial ingredients.  Like I said before, you can prep them the night before in the pan and cover with plastic wrap for the morning.  It couldn’t be easier, and they would look great on a serving platter.

BAKED PARMESAN HASH BROWNS ( Recipe from Delicious Table )

1 bag frozen hash brown potatoes
4-5 sliced green onions
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

Spray a muffin tin with non-stick spray.  Press dry potatoes in a large mixing bowl with paper towels, this helps them crisp.  You can also use a salad spinner to help dry the potatoes.  Mix all ingredients in the bowl.  Scoop into muffin tin and press with spatula or a spoon.  Bake 45-60 minutes at 400 degrees until crispy.

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Cranberry Orange Scones

March 21st, 2016

Orange Cranberry Scones 1

While our friends were visiting, I made a batch of scones.  Scones have all of the qualities of good biscuits but with the sweetness and flavor amped up.  Orange and cranberry flavors are just right.  This is an Ina Garten recipe, so what else do you need to know?  They are so darn good. Plus they are so easy to make because they are blended in the Kitchen Aid Mixer.  Just add the flour, flavorings, butter and turn on the paddle attachment.  I actually made these scones ahead of time and reheated them for breakfast.  It couldn’t have been easier.Orange Cranberry Scones 2

Flakey, impressive and just the right kind of breakfast accompanied by fruit.  I have been known to make decadent breakfasts for this group of friends, but we are all getting older, trying to eat better and much more aware of our health.  The guys went on to eat crazy lunches at bike week venues, but we girls had a lovely lunch in St. Augustine, one of my favorite locales.

Penny ST. Augustine 3

St. Augustine has such a unique vibe.  It is a small city with the historic fame of being one of the first settlements in the United States.  The historic district is charming and the shops and restaurants are quaint.  After lunch we walked around the cobbled streets and I was drawn to this small outdoor eatery.  Love the ladies dining in straw hats.  It was a beautiful Spring day.  What more could you want?

Please try Ina’s Cranberry Orange Scones.  You will be as happy as we were.  My friend Barbara is making them for her Easter Brunch.

CRANBERRY ORANGE SCONES

4 cups plus 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons grated orange zest (2 oranges)
3/4 pound (3 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
4 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup (1/2 pint) cold heavy cream
1 cup dried cranberries
1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water, for egg wash
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
4 teaspoons freshly squeezed orange juice

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix 4 cups of flour, 1/4 cup of granulated sugar, the baking powder, salt and orange zest. Add the cold butter and mix at the lowest speed until the butter is the size of peas. Combine the eggs and heavy cream and, with the mixer on low speed, slowly add to the flour and butter mixture. Mix until just blended. The dough will look lumpy! Combine the dried cranberries and 1/4 cup of flour, add to the dough and mix on low speed until blended.

Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and knead it into a ball. Flour your hands and a rolling pin and roll the dough just under 1 inch thick. You should see small bits of butter in the dough. Keep moving the dough on the floured board so it doesn’t stick. Flour a 3-inch round plain or fluted cutter and cut circles of dough. Place the scones on the prepared sheet pan. Collect the scraps neatly, roll them out and cut more circles.

Brush the tops of the scones with the egg wash, sprinkle with granulated sugar and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are browned and the insides are fully baked. The scones will be firm to the touch. Allow the scones to cool for 15 minutes, then whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and orange juice and drizzle over the scones.

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Leek and Gruyere Bread Pudding

March 1st, 2016

Leek and Gruyere Bread Pudding 1

The inspiration for this leek and Gruyere bread pudding came from a side dish that I had in a restaurant in Washington DC last month.  It was served with roasted chicken and a light gravy.  One of the recipe sources that I use quite often is Epicurious.  Both my Daughter-In-Law and I think highly of the recipes found on this source.  It doesn’t hurt that the recipe came first from Thomas Keller.  It was outstanding.

You should use a brioche or challah bread.  The eggy bread adds richness to the casserole.  I adapted the recipe.  I used the same amount of leeks and cheese, but halved the rest of the recipe.

Leek Bread Pudding 2

At the restaurant the bread pudding was served as an individual cake.  So I experimented with cutting rounds out of the finished casserole with a biscuit cutter.  It worked very well and we enjoyed the scraps for another meal.  As an aside, we have not been eating much bread lately, but we made a happy exception for this delightful dish.

LEEK AND GRUYERE BREAD PUDDING (Adapted from Epicurious)

Recipe shown as written.  I used the same amount of leeks and cheese and halved everything else.

INGREDIENTS

    • 2 cups 1/2-inch-thick slices leeks (white and light green parts only)
    • Kosher salt
    • 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    • 12 cups 1-inch cubes crustless Brioche or Pullman sandwich loaf
    • 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
    • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
    • 3 large eggs
    • 3 cups whole milk
    • 3 cups heavy cream
    • Freshly grated nutmeg
    • 1 cup shredded Gruyere Cheese

PREPARATION

    1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
    2. Put the leek rounds in a large bowl of tepid water and swish so that any dirt falls to the bottom of the bowl. Set a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat, lift the leeks from the water, drain, and add them to the pan. Season with salt and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes. As the leeks begin to soften, lower the heat to medium-low. The leeks will release liquid. Stir in the butter to emulsify, and season with pepper to taste. Cover the pan with a parchment lid, and cook, stirring every 10 minutes, until the leeks are very soft, 30 to 35 minutes. If at any point the butter breaks or looks oily, stir in about a tablespoon of water to re-emulsify the sauce. Remove and discard the parchment lid.
    3. Meanwhile, spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 20 minutes, rotating the pan about halfway through, until dry and pale gold. Transfer to a large bowl. Leave the oven on.
    4. Add the leeks to the bread and toss well, then add the chives and thyme.
    5. Lightly whisk the eggs in another large bowl. Whisk in the milk, cream, a generous pinch of salt, pepper to taste, and a pinch of nutmeg.
    6. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the cheese in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Spread half the leeks and croutons in the pan and sprinkle with another 1/4 cup cheese. Scatter the remaining leeks and croutons over and top with another 1/4 cup cheese. Pour in enough of the custard mixture to cover the bread and press gently on the bread so it soaks in the milk. Let soak for about 15 minutes.
    7. Add the remaining custard, allowing some of the soaked cubes of bread to protrude. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup cheese on top and sprinkle with salt.
    8. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until the pudding feels set and the top is brown and bubbling.

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Candied Pecan Sour Cream Coffee Cake

January 1st, 2016

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Happy New Year everyone.  We are still visiting with friends in Hilton Head.  Meal preparation is a shared endeavor when we are together.  It was my turn to make breakfast yesterday.  I found this recipe for a candied pecan sour cream coffee cake with eggnog cream filling on Pinterest a few weeks ago and decided that it would make a great “do ahead” breakfast dish.  I made the cake layers and froze them.  All I had to do when it was time to make breakfast was to prepare the filling.  I also froze the remaining candied pecans to sprinkle over the whipped topping when served.  With the coffee cake I served bacon, scrambled eggs and fruit.IMG_6767

The only thing I would change in the recipe is to possibly use real whipped cream instead of the Cool Whip.  But otherwise it is a wonderful breakfast coffee cake.

New Years 2016 galsBarbara (third from left) is making Paula Dean’s Breakfast Casserole today.  It is a decadent French Toast dish. It is one of our traditional recipes.  We are looking forward to a day of eating and cooking.  What a perfect way to start off the New Year.

CANDIED PECAN SOUR CREAM COFFEE CAKE ( From Melanie Makes )

INGREDIENTS
Candied Pecans:
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 teaspoons water
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups chopped pecans
Sour Cream Coffee Cake:
2 cups flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Eggnog Cream Filling:
1 1/4 cups eggnog
3.4 oz. box instant vanilla pudding
2 teaspoons cinnamon
8 ounces whipped topping
INSTRUCTIONS
Candied Pecans:  In a small bowl, stir together brown sugar, water, vanilla and salt.  In a large skillet over medium heat, add pecans and toast until pecans are fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.  Pour sugar mixture over pecans, stirring constantly for one minute and nuts are evenly coated.  Pour pecans onto parchment and allow to cool completely.
Sour Cream Coffee Cake:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add vanilla and mix until combined.  Add flour mixture alternately with sour cream to butter mixture.  Mix after each addition until batter is smooth.
Divid batter evenly between two greased 9″ round baking pans.
In a small bowl, stir together 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 cup candied pecans.  Divide nut mixture evenly, sprinkling half over each cake round.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until set.  Allow to cool completely before assembling coffee cake.
Eggnog Cream Filling:  In a medium bowl, whisk together eggnog, instant pudding and cinnamon.  Let sit for 5 minutes.  Fold in Whipped topping.
To Assemble Coffee Cake:  Place one cake round on serving plate and top with half of Eggnog Cream Filling, spreading evenly to edges of cake.  Place second cake layer on top of filling.  Served wedges of cake with a dollop of additional eggnog cream filling and candied pecans.
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Honey-Pumpkin Cornbread and Warming Soup

November 3rd, 2015

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Taking a break from detailing our Italy trip, I wanted to share with you a tasty combination that I made on a recent cold and blustery day.  With thoughts of Thanksgiving in my mind, the idea of a cornbread with the addition of pumpkin sounded like a good combination. As it turned out, it was a good idea; moist, golden and lightly sweetened with honey.  The soup that I made with it came from one of my favorite blogs, Manger.  It is a combination of French lentils, farro and lots of vegetables.

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The feeling I am trying to express in this post is that of warmth and comfort.  The food is the starting point, of course.  But I would like to give you a few more visuals to explain how I am feeling. Perhaps, because I am still dealing with the aftermath of surgery, I need to concentrate on what makes me happy and secure.

Tuscan Villa 1

This Tuscan kitchen made me happy.  There were logs in the fireplace ready for an evening fire on a cool night. ( Wide angle lens tends to make people appear wider).  The gas stove was a dream to cook on and I could have spent an entire vacation in this charming villa.  I wanted to forego the motorcycle touring and just hang out here.

Tuscan Villa 2 View

This was the view from the window.  The church bell rang on the hour all day and all night.  Who needs a watch?

Dream room

This picture is small.  I saw it on Pinterest.  Although it is not necessarily my style these days, it is just like the house that I have seen in my dreams.  I don’t know about you, but I dream about houses.  In my dreams I always have this other house that I have neglected, but that I am very proud of.  I encourage my dream guests to make themselves at home, even though it is cluttered and dusty.  And I wonder to myself in my dream why I do not live there.  It is cozy and comfortable but a little bizarre.  This room lacks that bizarre element, but it is close to my vision.

I am on the mend.  Stitches taken out today.  Life is returning to normal and I am back in the kitchen.  If you are in the mood for some comfort food you will love this cornbread and Mimi’s Soup.

HONEY-PUMPKIN CORNBREAD

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Lightly butter a 9-inch square-baking pan.
  2. Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Whisk together the pumpkin puree, eggs, butter, honey, buttermilk and orange zest in a separate bowl. Stir the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture until moistened; transfer to the prepared baking pan.
  3. Bake until the cornbread pulls away from the sides of the pans and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20-22 minutes. Cool in the pan 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and cook on a wire rack at least 10 minutes before cutting.

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© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.