marți, 1 februarie 2011

Life's Short .. Eat Dessert First

Blueberry Cream Cheese French Toast

For weekend brunch guests , we like to be just a touch extravagant. We made this for Saturday brunch recently and it was fabulous. Best of all, it was quick and easy. We used blueberries for this recipe. Try your favorite berries—maybe strawberries or raspberries. If you feel adventuresome, try puréed apricots, mangoes, or wherever your imagination takes you.

The bread shown in this picture is Knobby Apple Cinnamon Bread which makes fabulous French toast—with or without the filling. In a sweeter bread like this, don't put too much filling in your toast so that it is not overwhelming.

1 eight-ounce package of cream cheese
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
8 slices of bread


1. In a blender, mix the cream cheese, sugar, berries, and extract.
2. In a flat dish, mix the eggs, milk, and nutmeg.
3. Spread the filling between two slices of bread as if making a sandwich. Place the sandwich in the egg mixture, let it soak for a moment, and then repeat on the other side.
4. Cook on a hot grill as for French toast. The temperature should be slightly lower than normal to allow the heat to penetrate to the filling.

Serve with fresh berries and a dollop of filling on top of the toast.

Morning is for Muffins
Blueberry and Currant Muffins
Waking up early to whip up these muffins for our guests
makes 12 to 16 medium muffins

3 cups flour
3/4 cup cane sugar
1 1/2 T baking powder
1 1/2 t salt
1/2 cup honey
4 eggs
1 T vanilla extract
1 t orange zest
8 T (1 stick) unsalted butter*, melted
1 pint fresh or frozen blueberries
1 pint fresh currants

*I’ve stopped using store-bought butter. Instead, I just use heavy cream and whip it up in my mixer, past the whipped cream stage, until it becomes thick and the palest yellow. It’s really easy, tastes great, and lets you control the amount of salt.

Start by removing the current berries from their stems.

Preheat the oven to 375F. If not using silicone, use a bit of butter to grease the sides of the muffin tin.

Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together into a bowl and set aside.

In another bowl (if you are using a mixer, use that bowl), combine the eggs, vanilla, honey, orange zest and milk, and whisk for about a minute. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low for about 2 minutes or until the dry ingredients are just incorporated. Don’t over mix.

Start slowly drizzling in the butter, continuing to slowly mix. When all the butter is well incorporated (no visible butter streaks), fold in the berries with a spatula. Try not crush them.

Fill each cup of the muffin tin to the top, carefully wiping off any spillage from the top of the pan. Place in the middle rack of the oven, and bake for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle of the middle muffin comes out clean.

Allow to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, and then gently loosen the sides with a knife or fork, and turn the whole pan over to remove the muffins. Allow them to cool a few more minutes on a wire rack

The Sweet Smell of Strawberry Success

Probably nothing beats the taste of a just-picked, sun-ripened strawberry. Strawberries are loaded with natural sugars, but these sugars rapidly convert to starch once the berry is picked. Strawberries can be grown in a greenhouse year-round, but not without a little help from you . Owning a greenhouse has been a way of providing our guests here at the Fish Creek House B&B with quality, fresh and mostly organic fruits and vegetables.

Strawberry Bread
(makes 2 loaves)

3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, beaten
1-1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups fresh chopped strawberries
1 cup chopped walnuts
In large bowl, combine first 5 ingredients. Add egg and oil; mix well. Stir in berries and nuts until evenly distributed - batter will be thick. Grease & flour two 9" loaf pans and divide batter evenly into each. Bake at 350 approx. 1 hour. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Invert onto wire rack to cool completely.

And of course, being a native New Yorker, cant resist whipping this up Montana style for breakfast or brunch

Big Apple Pancake Montana Style
4 tablespoons butter
1 large Golden Delicious apple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4" slices
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 large eggs
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons confectioners' sugar to dust when done

Preheat oven to 450

Melt butter in 11" oven proof skillet over medium heat, then transfer 2 tablespoons to a blender. Add apple wedges to skillet and cook, turning over once, until beginning to soften, 3 to 5 minutes.

While apples are cooking, add milk, flour, cinnamon, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt to butter in blender and blend until smooth.

Pour batter over apple and place skillet in the oven. Bake until pancake is puffed and golden, about 15 minutes. Sift confectioners sugar over the top and serve.

And of course, always appropriate for breakfast... a "justifiable" dessert, and pretty much a regular here.

Danish Pastry
¼ cup warm water,
2½ tsp dry yeast
½ cup milk, room temperature
1 egg, room temperature
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp salt
2½ cups AP flour
8 ounces unsalted butter, cold, cut into ¼-inch thick slices
Danish fillings of choice

In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over the water.
Allow to stand for 5 minutes, until yeast begins to froth.
Add milk, egg, sugar and salt.
Set aside.
In another large bowl, cut the butter into the flour using a pastry cutter or two knives. Alternatively, you can also use a food processor: Put flour into food processor, add butter and pulse (8-10 times) until butter is cut into pieces 1/2 inch diameter- no smaller.
Empty contents of food processor/bowl into the bowl with the yeast mixture.
Very gently turn the mixture over with a rubber spatula until the dry ingredients are moistened.
Cover bowl and refrigerate overnight (or up to 4 days).

Lightly flour work surface, turn the dough out and lightly flour the dough.
Pat into a rough square.
Note: If at anytime the dough becomes too soft, cover with plastic and chill for 15-20 minutes.
Note 2: I rolled out my dough as best I could, so I didn’t use the following measurements, but you can if you’d like a guide.

Roll out to 16" x 16".
Fold in thirds like a business letter and turn so that the closed fold is on your left.
Roll again to 10" x 24".
Fold in thirds again, turn so the closed fold is on your left.
Roll into a 20" x 20" square.
Fold the square in thirds and turn so that the closed fold is on your left.
Roll into a 10" x 20' rectangle, fold in thirds again.
Wrap dough in plastic and chill at least 30 minutes (up to 2 days).
Dough can be frozen for 1 month.
Thaw in refrigerator overnight.