May 30, 2009

Great Grannies Egg Custard

Egg custard is my father’s favorite sweet treats. I remember as a kid having it served with dinner at least once a week.

It’s one of those comfort foods that I’m finally able to enjoy again- as my first trimester refrained me from eating much, especially when it came to eggs.

This dessert is just sweet enough for a light dessert and perfect alongside just about any dish! The recipe comes from my Great Grandma Garrison.

Grannies Egg Custard
3 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup sugar (sprinkle very slowly)
Pinch of salt
1 ½ cups milk
½ tsp. vanilla
Sprinkle nutmeg on top

Bake at 325 degrees in a glass dish (a 9x9 works well). Place glass baking dish in a pan of water (hot water bath) for 20 minutes.

May 26, 2009

Poached Pinot Noir Salmon

Here’s a great dinner for two recipe that we enjoy around our home that is not only simple, but also very healthy (especially for the pregnant belly).

If you are worried about the alcohol in this dish- not to fret. The alcohol will burn off during the cooking process.

Pinot Noir Poached Salmon
1 salmon fillet or 2 salmon steaks, approximately 1-inch thick
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Coarse kosher salt
Coarsely ground pepper
1 cup Pinot Noir wine
1 cup water
1 to 2 tablespoons butter

Wash salmon and pat dry; squeeze lemon juice over the top of the salmon, sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper.

In a skillet or frying pan that is 2-inches deep, add wine and water; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low. Add salmon in a single layer (skin-side down if using a filet). Cover and simmer approximately 8 to 12 minutes or until a meat thermometer registers an internal temperature of 140 degrees F. (salmon will be slightly opaque in thickest part). Remember the salmon continues to cook after it is removed from the heat source. Carefully remove salmon from pan and transfer onto individual serving plates.

Approximately cooking times for salmon:
1/4 to 1/3-inch - 3 to 4 minutes
1/2 to 3/4-inch - 4 to 6 minutes
1 to 1 1/2-inch - 8 to 12 minutes

Let the liquid boil until reduced to approximately 1/3 cup. Remove pan from heat. Add the butter and mix it in by swirling the pan. Pour the sauce over the salmon just before serving.

May 6, 2009

Morel Mushrooms…More for the Taking

I have found the draw back to being pregnant- not being able to eat morel mushrooms.

I used to go mushroom hunting every spring with my dad in search of the biggest morel mushroom bag one could find. I never ate morels as a kid or even as a young adult- but after I entered college I became more of an adventurous eater.

The appearance of morels varies from year to year, depending on the timing of spring weather, soil temperature and moisture. Many days of warm temperatures following a rain may trigger the emergence of morels.

I didn’t go mushroom hunting – but I did buy some beautiful morels this past Saturday at my area Cole County Farmers’ Market. My husband was talking to a few of the vendors at the market while I was finishing up some shopping and I came back with some mushrooms and said, “I can’t wait to fry these up tonight.”

I then found that I would not be enjoying in these delicate shrooms- as I was informed by both my husband and a farmer that us pregnant women shouldn’t eat them. I thought they were saying that at first- just so my husband could have more for the eating- but then found out from a friend that it was true. (Thanks Lubbering)

But, the morels didn’t go to waste- I still cooked them up and my husband ate every single one of them!

If you’ve never tried morels before here is a quick easy recipe for the beginner.

Fried Morels
By Lane

8-10 morels, cleaned and cut longwise in half
1 cup flour
1 tsp salt
½ tsp. pepper
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp parsley
Butter, for greasing sauté pan

Melt butter in pan over medium heat. In a small bowl mix flour, salt, pepper, paprika and parsley. Dip the already moist morels in the flour and press mixture onto the mushrooms. Drop into pan.

Cook until golden brown, turning only once.

May 4, 2009

The True Way to a Pregnant Woman’s Heart

I have discovered the way to any pregnant woman’s heart - that’s right. And there’s no rhyme or reason to it.

I was making Red Velvet Cupcakes the other night for a co-workers wedding shower when I discovered the way to my heart- Red Velvet Cake! After frosting one of the delicate little bright red cupcakes with loads of homemade cream cheese icing I decided that I needed to taste one of my homemade treats- just to be sure that it was kitchen approved.

As I slowly enjoyed the first bite my taste buds came alive! WOW- Red Velvet cake had never tasted so good. I finished eating the cupcake and began to ice the rest of my cupcakes. My husband was laughing at me- knowing that I would just have to go back for one more cupcake eventually. (And he was right)

I iced a few more cupcakes, then put a glass in the freezer. I iced some more cupcakes and then decided it was time for another cupcake- paired alongside my frozen glass of milk. WOW!

I ended up having three cupcakes that night and two frozen mugs of milk- but it was so worth it!

Here is the recipe for the Red Velvet Cake (which by the way is now officially my favorite cake). This is a wonderful recipe because the cake calls for buttermilk. I also get cake recipes that call for buttermilk because the buttermilk makes the cake crumbs so soft and flaky. Hope your taste buds agree that this cake is a winner.

Red Velvet Cake
2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons liquid red food coloring- don't skimp on this or your cake will not have that pretty red color
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda
Cream Cheese Frosting
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 -8 ounce cream cheese, room temperature
1 - 8 ounce tub of Mascarpone cheese, room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners' (icing or powdered) sugar, sifted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place rack in center of oven. Butter two - 9 inch round cake pans and line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper. Set aside.In a mixing bowl sift together the flour, salt, and cocoa powder. Set aside.

In bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until soft (about 1-2 minutes). Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined. In a measuring cup whisk the buttermilk with the red food coloring. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.In a small cup combine the vinegar and baking soda. Allow the mixture to fizz and then quickly fold into the cake batter.

Working quickly, divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans and smooth the tops with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 25 - 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Place a wire rack on top of the cake pan and invert, lifting off the pan. Once the cakes have completely cooled, wrap in plastic and place the cake layers in the freezer for at least an hour. (This is done to make filling and frosting the cakes easier.)