Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Lemon-Blueberry Bread Pudding

Since I moved to Santa Cruz I am eating less and my bread started to get a few days old. My immediate reaction was to cook up a bread pudding for myself. I also had fresh blueberries in need of using and a couple of lemons that had been here a while. I made up a delicious bread pudding and ate it every night until it disappeared.

Butter an 8 inch square pyrex pan:

In a large bowl mix 3 eggs lightly, then add a pinch of salt, the juice of one large lemon, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 3/4 cup sugar, and 3 cups milk. Mix well and add 10 or 12 slices of day-old bread, cut into small cubes. As this soaks up the liquid add 1 cup fresh blueberries and combine gently. Pour into the buttered dish and sprinkle the top with a few more berries and a little cinnamon. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40-45 minutes. Cook until a knife poked into the center comes out clean.

Eat while it is warm. I like a little cream or whipped cream over the top. It gets a little firmer as it cools. Keep in the refrigerator.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Beef, Barley and Vegetable Soup

Ever since the weather has turned rainy this November, my thoughts have been filled with hearty one-pot meals and homemade soups. I made this soup on Friday night and we ate it for every meal until Sunday lunch. It tasted better the longer it sat in the refridgerator. By Sunday it was perfectly delicious and we were sad to see the last bowl of soup go.

1-lb thin cut round steak, sliced thinly across grain and then diced into tiny cubes of beef
2 or 3 stalks of celery, diced small
3 large carrots, diced small
1/2 large green bell pepper, diced small
3/8 cup of uncooked barley
1 box-4 cups of Low Sodium Beef Broth
4 cups water
4 large scallions, sliced small
2 Tablespoons dehydrated onion
1 large bay leaf
seasoning salt
ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
Worcestershire sauce-couple of dashes
2 Tablespoons tomato paste

Heat a little olive oil on med-hi in a soup pot. Add chopped beef, celery, bell pepper, and carrots. Saute until meat is browned. Add all other ingredients except the barley and

bring to a boil. Season to taste. Add barley and cover. Simmer on low for 45 minutes until barley is cooked. Serve with crusty french bread.

This soup tastes even better the next day and each day afterwards. The flavors mingle and it is even more tasty.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Joe's Special

This recipe is something my mother made often as I was growing up. It came from Original Joe's restaurant in San Francisco. The dish doesn't look very appetizing, but as children my brother and I loved it. Mother served it as dinner along with crusty French bread, and the adults had red wine with it. I recently saw it on a local menu in the Seattle area so I ordered it. It was pretty good, but not as good as homemade. The dish is a quick and easy meal. The recipe serves 4.

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 chopped onion
1 or 2 cloves of garlic, mashed
1/4 to 1/2 lb sliced fresh mushrooms
1 lb fresh spinach leaves, washed and dried
2 eggs, lightly beaten
salt & pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

Brown meat in a large skillet on med-hi heat in a little oil to keep from sticking. Add onion, garlic, and mushrooms. Lower heat and cook until onion is soft. Add 1-1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, the nutmeg and oregano. Add the fresh spinach and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Make a hole in the center of the mixture and add the eggs. Stir into mixture quickly and cook a couple minutes more until the eggs are done. Serve immediately.

This dish smells divine, looks horrid, but once you taste it you will be hooked.
For a low carb meal just use less onion.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Cream of Peanut Soup

With the fall chill in the air my thoughts have turned to warm and hearty soups. This recipe comes from one of my favorite books, full of comfort foods and traditional southern favorites. The book is The African American Heritage Cookbook by Carolyn Quick Tillery. If you love peanut butter this will be one of your favorite soups.

1/4 cup chopped celery
1 medium chopped onion
1/4 cup butter
2 teaspoons flour
2 quarts chicken broth
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, add more to taste
1 cup light cream
1/4 cup coarsely ground, unsalted peanuts, for garnish

In a large saucepan, over low heat, saute celery and onion in melted butter until onion is transparent. Add flour and blend until lump free. Slowly add chicken broth, continue to stir, and bring to a boil. Blend in the peanut butter. Add spices and simmer about 15 minutes. Just prior to serving, stir in cream and garnish with ground peanuts. Makes 4 to 6 servings.