Summer Berry Buckle

June 13th, 2016

Summer Berry Buckle 1

Our hearts are hurting right now with the senseless loss of life in Orlando, Florida.  I try to keep my blog free of political comments so you will hear none of that from me, but the tragedy that took so many lives has nothing to do with politics.  It is just a sad commentary on the hate that seems to permeate our otherwise great country.  The hate needs to stop.

When the world seems too much to bear, baking cookies for your neighbors or making a breakfast cake to share can be a small token of friendship that can tell people that you care.  Please do not lambast me for such a silly response to what has happened. I fully understand the complexity of our problems and the great loss.  We are trying to deal with it by being actively involved in finding solutions.  But no act of kindness is too small. Besides, baking is good for the soul.

Summer Berry Buckle 2v

This summer berry buckle is a fruit studded coffee cake.  It is more fruit than cake, but the combination is a wonderful summer treat.  Add whipped cream or ice cream and you have the perfect dessert to enjoy on the porch or deck.  Or serve it for breakfast with juice and coffee.  You may think that 4 1/2 cups of fruit is too much but it is not.  I used a pint of washed and dried blueberries, 1/2 pint of washed and dried raspberries and 1/2 pint of washed and dried blackberries.

Katie Praying

My nephew and his family live in Orlando and Paul’s daughter Katie made this sign to honor the fallen victims of the horrible tragedy.  Katie has a big heart.  It is not right that our young children should have to endure such horrors.  We all need to unite, without animosity, to find a solution.

Summer Berry Buckle close

Bake this Summer Berry Buckle to share with friends.  It is a small gesture of good will.

SUMMER BERRY BUCKLE ( The New York Times )

  • ½ cup/114 grams (1 stick) butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing pan
  • ½ cup/100 grams granulated sugar, more for sprinkling
  • ¼ cup/55 grams light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon/5 grams finely gratedlemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon/5 milliliters vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cups/156 grams all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 ½ cups summer berries (a mix of blueberries, raspberries, blackberries or use any one kind)
  • Cinnamon, for dusting (optional)
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, add butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, then add lemon zest and vanilla and mix until combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, nutmeg and baking powder, and whisk to combine. Add dry ingredients to egg mixture and mix until just combined.
  4. Gently fold berries into the batter, then spread batter in pan and sprinkle lightly with more granulated sugar. Bake 40 to 50 minutes, or until top is golden and cake is cooked through.
  5. Allow cake to cool, then sprinkle with cinnamon, if using, and confectioners’ sugar.

Buttery Breakfast Casserole

June 7th, 2016

Breakfast Casserole 1

I have cobbled together a picture of a breakfast casserole that I served to company.  My life has been rather cobbled together lately.  From selling our Florida house, to pulling a u-haul back to North Carolina, to a major get together with friends, the one thing I did not need was to get sick.  But sick I was.  I developed a hacking cough, headache, fever and laryngitis. David dragged me to the Doctor last Wednesday.  All I could croak out were the words “I can’t afford to be sick.  I have 16 people coming tomorrow for 4 or 5 days.” I am so impressed with our Nurse Practitioner.  She prescribed an antibiotic and words of wisdom.  She said be sure your friends have clean sheets and towels, but forget about the rest of the house.  No one will notice or care about a bit of dust or a less that neat house.  So true.  Everyone pitched in and we had a wonderful time.

Malt Shoppe Memories Beach

The occasion that brought us all together was the annual Lake Lure Lakefront Home Owners Association annual dinner and meeting.  David and I were in charge of the entertainment.  We booked our good friends from Florida who have a doo wop group called Malt Shoppe Memories.  They perform all over Florida and are also known in our area from previous visits.

Malt Shoppe Memories Dancing

The concert was held on the beach and a fun time was had by all.

Malt Shoppe Memories S'moresThe hotel even arranged to serve S’mores on the beach.

Malt Shoppe Memories Boathouse

 

The party was held on Saturday night.  On Sunday evening the group performed on the top of our boathouse and people were encouraged to come by boat to sit back and enjoy the concert.  The acoustics on the water and between the mountains are something special.

Malt Shoppe Memories Kitchen

It was great to have so much help in the kitchen.  We did a pot luck on Sunday and everyone contributed wonderful dishes.

Breakfast Casserole 2V

I made this casserole on Saturday afternoon when I was feeling better. I tucked it into the refrigerator and baked it on Sunday morning.  It couldn’t be easier.  What you see here are the leftovers. It is a special breakfast casserole because it uses croissants instead of bread (thus the buttery description) and because it comes from The New York Times.  All of their recipes are first rate.  I will be adding this to my permanent recipe file.  The sausage, Gruyere cheese, sage and green onions just add to the goodness.

BUTTERY BREAKFAST CASSEROLE

  • 1 pound croissants (about 5 to 7), split in half lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, more for baking dish
  • 1 bunch scallions (6 to 7), white and light green parts thinly sliced, greens reserved
  • ¾ pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage
  • 8 large eggs
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces Gruyère, grated (2 cups)
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

 

PREPARATION

  1. Heat oven to 500 degrees. Spread croissants on a large baking sheet and toast, cut side up, until golden brown, 5 to 10 minutes (watch carefully to see that they do not burn). Let cool, then tear into large bite-size pieces.
  2. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add sliced scallions and sausage meat; cook, breaking up meat with a fork, until mixture is well browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in sage, and remove from heat.
  3. In a large bowl, toss together croissants and sausage mixture. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, cream, 1 1/2 cups cheese, salt and pepper.
  4. Lightly oil a 9- x 13-inch baking dish. Turn croissant mixture into pan, spreading it out evenly over the bottom. Pour custard into pan, pressing croissants down gently to help absorb the liquid. Cover pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
  5. When you’re ready to bake the casserole, heat oven to 350 degrees. Scatter the remaining grated cheese over the top of the casserole. Transfer to oven and bake until casserole is golden brown and firm to the touch, 45 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes. Garnish with sliced scallion tops before serving.

Printable Recipe

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.

Printable Recipe

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.

PRINTABLE RECIPE

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.

Printable Recipe

 

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