Monday, November 20, 2017

ChezCindy: Save the Day Trifle

Blackberries and Yellow Cake Trifle with Raspberry Icing and Whipped Cream

So, you have been called into duty to provide the next birthday treat for the office.  Let's say you've decided to make a favorite cupcake recipe, but oh no!  You left the cupcakes in the oven just a bit too long and they are overbaked.  No problem, just add lots of icing to camouflage that dry cupcake.  But now, its still an overbaked cupcake with too much icing.  What to do?  Turn those sad cupcakes into trifle and look like a dessert hero.
Basically a trifle dessert is cake, icing or pudding, sweetened whip cream and fruit.  And best of all, it presents an appearance as a impressive dessert you spent hours on.  Not just that, it tastes like you spent hours making it. 

Making a trifle is more of a process than a recipe.  Although, I do recommend making your own whipped cream and not using the stuff from the plastic tub.  Store bought cake is okay to start with.  You don't always need to begin with a baking disaster. 

Here's how you do it. 

You will need cake or cupcakes broken into pieces.   You can use angel food cake, pound cake, gingerbread cake or your own home baked chocolate or yellow cake.  Pudding or icing to compliment the cake.  Fresh whipped cream and fresh fruit such as berries, peaches, cherries, or bananas.

Working with a large glass bowl or individual jelly jars as shown in the picture.  Layer pieces of cake together with pudding or icing, drop in a few pieces of cut fruit or berries, top with fresh whipped cream.  Repeat the layers until you reach the top, ending with whipped cream and a scattering of fruit. 

Keep the trifle chilled until ready to serve. 

Fresh Whipped Cream
2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Pour the heavy cream into a chilled bowl.  Using a mixer, whisk the cream until soft peaks begin to form.  Add in the sugar, 1 tablespoons at a time, whisking until incorporated.  Whisk in the vanilla.  The cream should be whipped until the peaks just begin to hold shape.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

ChezCindy: Classic Potato-Leek Soup

Classic Potato-Leek Soup

Potato-leek soup is a classic soup.  It became somewhat elevated to a vogue status by Julia Child with the cold soup, Vichyssoise.  There is debate on the origin of the cold potato-leek soup as to whether it is French born or American invented.  It most likely was a soup of necessity in Europe when food was scarce and potatoes and onions were inexpensive staples of the kitchen. 

Traditional recipes most often include butter and cream, a nod to the French no doubt.  However in the recipe provided below, I use no dairy for an updated version of the classic, with no sacrifice to the flavor.  And, I serve it as hot soup.  If you were to make this recipe with intentions to serve it as a cold Vichyssoise, I would advise the use of butter and cream, as cold soup requires a greater depth of flavor since chilling dulls the overall taste. 

Leeks are a flavorful vegetable with a taste related to onions and garlic, but uniquely milder.  They will need a thorough rinsing as dirt hides within the layers.  To rinse them, cut off the darker green part leaving only the pale green and white.  Leaving the root-end intact, cut through the leek lengthwise, splitting from the root to the top.  Rinse under cold water separating the layers to rinse away the dirt.  Drain cut side down on paper towels. 

Classic Potato-Leek Soup
2 tablespoons oil
2 large leeks or 3 small
1 small white onion
2 large russet potatoes (1 1/2 pounds)
5 cups of chicken stock
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper

Working with a large heavy bottomed pan, add the oil, set over medium high heat.  Rinse the leeks thoroughly and cut into thin slices.  Cut the onion into thin slices.  Add the leeks and onions to the oiled pan, along with 1 teaspoon of salt.  Cook until wilted but with no browning, about 4 minutes.  Peel and dice the potatoes, add to the pan, stirring to coat.  Add the chicken stock, remaining salt and white pepper.  Cover, lowering the heat to medium low, and cook for 25 - 30 minutes until the potatoes are very tender.  Remove from heat and cool soup for 5 minutes.  Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth and silky.  Taste to adjust the seasoning as necessary.  Serve hot. 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

ChezCindy: Savory Wild Brown Rice Bread Pudding

Savory Wild Brown Rice Bread Pudding

Bread pudding is often thought of as a delicious dessert, served with a warm butter rum sauce or a rich vanilla crème anglaise.  Here I have taken a savory twist on bread pudding, which could be thought of as dressing as served with Thanksgiving dinner.  This recipe is a great way to use leftover bread and rice to make a complete meal with poultry, fish or even tomato soup. 

Savory Wild Brown Rice Bread Pudding
4-5 cups fresh bread cubes (1/2-inch)
2 cups cooked wild brown rice
1/2 cup chopped shallot
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 1/2 cups cream
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs
    any combination of parsley, rosemary, sage, chives, thyme
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Butter a 9x13-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon of butter.  Set aside.

Place the cubed bread onto a large baking sheet.  Toast in the oven for 5 minutes until lightly brown.

In a large sauté pan melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, add the chopped shallots.  Sauté the shallots until wilted, but not browned, roughly 4-5 minutes.  Remove from the heat.  Add in the 2 cups of cooked brown rice; stir to combine. 

Working with a small bowl, combine the cream and 4 eggs to make the custard.  Whisk to combine. 

In a large bowl, add the toasted bread cubes, 2 tablespoons chopped herbs, salt and pepper.  Add the custard mixture to the large bowl with the bread cubes; stir well to combine.  Add the rice and shallot mixture; stir to combine.  Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish.  Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese evenly over the top.

Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes until golden brown and the custard is set.  Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.