Birthday Dinner and Beer Pairing

November 9th, 2017

Birthday Menu

Our Son Michael recently celebrated his 40th birthday at Crawford and Son restaurant in Raleigh.  It was a food and beer pairing executed by Chef Scott Crawford and Full Steam Brewery Executive Sean Wilson.

Birthday Michael and Kristen

Our wonderful Daughter-In-Law Kristen organized everything and it was a magical evening with 40 of Michael and Kristen’s friends and family.

Frisee Salad

The first course was a Frisee Salad with Smoked Trout, Honey Crisp Apple and Ramp Vinaigrette.  It was paired with Full Steam’s Deep Chatham Wild Paw Paw Ale.  The woodsy ale complimented the wild ramp and smoked trout salad.


The main course was Braised Beef Cheeks with a Mushroom Ragout and Campo Cheese Grits.  It was paired with Fullsteam Igor Imperial Stout.  The beer was deep and rich.  I loved the beef cheeks.  They were fork tender and cushioned by the very best cheese grits that I have ever tried.  Campo cheese is a semi-hard Spanish cheese that is a combination of cows’ milk, goats’ milk, and sheep’s milk. It is very similar to Manchego cheese.  I will be experimenting with this recipe.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

The dessert was a Pumpkin Cheesecake with Toasted Meringue, Hazelnut Praline and Caramel.  It was paired with a 2016 Persimmon First Frost.  The beer is fruit forward with hints of holiday spices, so it went very well with this pumpkin cheesecake.  Scott Crawford is an amazing chef.  Each course was executed flawlessly.

Chef Scott Crawford

We have a long history with Chef Scott Crawford.  At one time he was the Executive Chef at Heron’s Restaurant in Cary.  Since opening his own restaurant in Raleigh, Crawford and Son has gained a loyal following.  Kristen’s Mom, Darla and I have had our picture taken with him before.

Chef Crawford seven years ago.

This was taken 7 years ago at Heron’s.


As a beer enthusiast and home brewer, Michael was in his element at the restaurant.  Happy Birthday Sweet Son.  We enjoyed your celebration so much.  Some pictures courtesy of Darla A. and David W.

Easter Bread

April 12th, 2017

Easter Bread

We will be spending Easter with out family in Cary, NC.  There are so many memories in my mind of growing up with Easter traditions. The cute dress accessorized with hat and gloves, the Easter egg hunt, and the clove spiked ham on the table.  Things have changed somewhat from my 50’s memories.  Now we can attend church in whatever suites us; no gloves, no hat necessary. But this year I did buy a polished cotton flowered dress with coordinating sweater to celebrate the season.  At my age, I even might add a jaunty hat.  Our kids are on a trip right before the weekend, so I am not sure what our Easter dinner will entail. We may be eating out.  But I had to contribute something.  This bread came about because I had some leftover King Arthur baker’s cinnamon filling mix.  But don’t worry if you don’t have the mix.  You can get the same results with 1/2 cup softened butter mixed with 1 cup of brown sugar and 4 to 5 tablespoons of cinnamon.

Easter Bread

The bread looks complicated, but following the very simple directions you end up with a layered yeast bread with cinnamon swirls, bananas and dried pineapple.  The bananas and dried pineapple work well in this bread.  It is amazing toasted with the warm banana chunks and pineapple melting in your mouth.

Easter Bread

Whatever you have planned for your Easter holiday, I wish you well and encourage you to try this lovely bread from King Arthur Flour.  Have a great Easter weekend.

EASTER BREAD (King Arthur Flour)

This unusual sweet bread is stuffed with bananas and pineapple, plus rich cinnamon filling. The concept comes to us courtesy of Ricardo Neves Gonzalez, one of our Brazilian readers, who makes it at his bakery. Thanks, Ricardo!


  • 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup lukewarm water*
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 large eggs + 1 large egg yolk, white reserved for topping
  • 4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • *Use the greater amount in winter or in a dry climate; the lesser amount in summer or a humid climate.


  • 3/4 cup Baker’s Cinnamon Filling ( Or recipe in post using 3/4 cups.  No water)
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 medium bananas
  • 2/3 cup diced dried pineapple



  1. To make the dough: Combine all of the dough ingredients and mix and knead them, by hand, mixer, or bread machine, until you have a soft, smooth dough.
  2. Allow the dough to rise, covered, for about 2 hours, or until it’s puffy and nearly doubled in bulk.
  3. Gently deflate the dough, and transfer it to a lightly greased work surface.
  4. Pat and roll the dough into a rectangle about 18″ x 14″.
  5. Make the cinnamon filling: Mix the Baker’s Cinnamon Filling and water to make a smooth paste.
  6. Looking at the dough horizontally (so it’s 18″ long), spread half the filling down the center third of the dough
  7. Slice each banana into about 12 rounds. Space the slices atop the filling.
  8. Fold one of the end pieces into the center to cover the bananas and filling.
  9. Spread the remaining filling atop the piece of dough you’ve just folded into the center, and distribute the dried pineapple evenly atop the filling.
  10. Fold the other side of the dough over the filling to cover it. Pull the long side seam underneath, and tuck each end underneath, too. You should have a long, flat log with no filling showing.
  11. Use a sharp knife to cut 4 diagonal slashes atop the loaf, cutting through both layers of dough; this will allow steam to escape.
  12. Brush with the beaten egg white, and sprinkle with the coarse or Demerara sugar.
  13. Cover the loaf gently with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow it to rest for 1 hour. It won’t rise much, if at all. Towards the end of the resting period, preheat the oven to 375°F.
  14. Bake the loaf in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes. Tent with foil, and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, till it’s golden brown and a sharp knife poked into the center doesn’t reveal any raw dough.
  15. Remove from the oven, and transfer to a rack to cool.
  16. Yield: 1 large loaf, about 16 servings.

Printable Recipe

Christmas Favorites

December 6th, 2016

Braised Short Ribs for Christmas

It has been rainy days and clouds for the last week.  We are happy for it because it has stopped the raging fires that have endangered our lives for weeks.  We feel for the people affected by the fires in Gatlinburg, as they were impacted much more than our community.  Our community sent much needed resources to the firefighters in their area.  These few weeks have been a time of reflection, thankfulness and love of neighbors.

I haven’t had much time to cook. Photography ops show only grey skies and low light.  So, for at least for the moment, I will rely on previous posts to convey my love of the season.  The food in December is a labor of love.  A beautiful entree is required.  It shows your guests that they and the holidays are special. This first dish, above, is one that David made for Christmas a few years ago.  It is now our Christmas Beef Short Rib Recipe.  It looks like the season with the red tomatoes and green beans and is absolutely delicious.

Maple Glazed Stuffed Pork Tenderoind

One of my triumphs in recipe development is this Maple-Glazed Stuffed Pork Tenderloin that I entered in a Food52 recipe contest.  It was a finalist for the top spot.  This is a beautiful entree wrapped in bacon and drizzled with honey.  Your guests will love it.

Ham Loaf

The final entree is somewhat humble, but one of my favorites because it was what my Mother served to guests when she was entertaining.  It is a Ham Loaf with a thick sweet glaze that will have you licking your fingers.  It is simple but festive with the cross hatching and a glistening cloak.

I hope this brings you inspiration for the holidays.

Magic Bars

February 11th, 2012

This was a hit with the Hubs.  “What have you made ?”  he said, tasting.  “Holy sh#*t  Moly, these are good.”   What about the diet?”  ” Not to worry”, I said.  “These are for friends, not us”.  Weeping sounds.  “OK, maybe you can have just one more”, I replied.

I have to admit that these Magic Bars are something special.  The recipe has been around for a long time, but I had never heard about them before.  Last Christmas David bought me a cookbook at the suggestion of one of my OBFFC (Oldest Best Friend From Childhood).  Thanks Lyla!  She suggested the Neiman Marcus Cookbook and it has some terrific recipes in it.

The Magic Bars are nothing more than a layer of buttered graham cracker crumbs, chocolate chips, shredded coconut and nuts.  A can of sweetened condensed milk is drizzled over the top and they are baked until the chocolate is oozy and the crust is browned.

We are going out to dinner with a group of friends Sunday night to celebrate and they will each get a box of goodies.  Happy Valentine’s Day.

MAGIC BARS (Adapted from The Neiman Marcus Cookbook)

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups coconut
1 cup chopped pecans, walnuts or peanuts

Preheat oven to 350 F (325 F if using glass pan)

Melt butter and mix with graham cracker crumbs.  Pat mixture into a greased 13×9-inch baking dish.

Sprinkle chocolate chips over crust, then coconut, then nuts.  Pour the condensed milk evenly over pan.

Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned.  Let cool before cutting.

Store in fridge, or cut into pieces and freeze.

Printable recipe

Holiday Happenings

January 3rd, 2012

It has been a season full of love, laughter and awesome food.  We returned home yesterday and I have had little time to unpack, let alone cook, so I am offering you a pictorial review of our holiday.  Hope your holiday was as happy an occasion as ours was.

For our Christmas Eve dinner Kristen made Ina Garten’s Short Ribs.  The casserole was assembled with lots of root vegetables.

The short ribs were roasted to brown and then added to the casserole.

Cam Man, looking “oh so cool” and Gampy waiting for dinner.

Rachel and the neighbor kids toasting the holiday with sparkling grape juice.

Gampy reading Rachel a Christmas Eve bedtime story.  What makes it special is that it is one that Gampy wrote himself.  It is called Rachel and the Wizard of Lake Lure.

Michael and Kristen on Christmas day at the family celebration at her sister’s home.

Uncle Jeff’s 19 hour smoked brisket.  This is just a small portion of the 11 pound roast.  Just look at that beautiful smoke ring.  It was unbelieveably delicious.

We spent the New Years weekend in Charleston with our good friends.  On Friday night Johnny and Karen made a low country boil with shrimp, sausages, potatoes and corn.

We had mussels on the side.

Johnny also brought the appetizers.  With that grin he could do a commercial for Cheez-Its.

For New Years Eve we did steaks and baked potatoes.

Barbara made a delicious salad.

The cooks wish all of you a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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