Saturday, August 1, 2015

Saturday in Anneliese's Kitchen - A Critter Party

I was scrolling through my personal blog when I came across photos of the boys' critter party  
we had a year ago, just before some cousins moved far away. 
It was an event planned to balance the fact that the girls got a tea party.

The idea of doing something with turtle cream puffs came about from some I'd seen in a pastry shop
in Indonesia and I knew there would not be a boy who would not want to eat that kind of turtle. 

It continued into a safari theme, using simple dollar store props, rocks, garden greenery and
a cream puff caterpillar to add some variety.

So . . . you have probably figured out by now what to do . . .

I went to my basic cream puff recipe . . . for 10 - 12 turtles or caterpillars (or half and half)
  • 1/2 c butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 c water
  • 1 c flour
  • 4 eggs
  1. Bring butter, salt and water to boil in a small pot.
  2. Remove from heat and quickly add 1 cup flour, stirring vigorously, until it completely loosens from sides of pot.
  3. Beat in eggs, separately, with whisk - until smooth. It will slither about a bit, but keep stirring until each egg is mixed in well.

For turtles:
  • Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 450 F
  • Using a small glass, lightly outline a circle and place legs and head, using a baby spoon.
  • Using a large spoon, place body in the center. Bake for 15 minutes, then turn down temperature to 350 F and bake another 25-30 minutes.

 For caterpillars:
  • Add a knife tip of Wilton's moss green food coloring to pastry
  • Fill a piping bag with pastry and press seven quarter to loony sized circles touching each other. Or just use a teaspoon, placing tiny cream puffs side by side. 
  • Bake at 450 F for 15 minutes, then turn down oven to 350 F and bake 25 minutes.

For Filling: (you can use instant pudding or make this low sugar custard)
  • 2 cups milk, divided
  • 4 Tbsp flour
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream, whipped and added later
  1. In small saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups milk to boil.
  2. In small bowl, mix flour, sugar, 1/4 cup milk and egg yolks until well blended, then another 1/4 cup milk. 
  3. Whisk into hot milk just as it begins to boil and stir until it bubbles. Add vanilla. Cool. Mix with whipped cream
Cut tops off turtles and slice caterpillars in half. Scoop mounds of custard into bodies. Decorate with melted chocolate. (Melt chocolate chips. Cool slightly and place in piping bag. Place each caterpillar on a cut-to-size piece of parchment paper so you can transfer them, without the feet falling off, onto individual plates.)

TIP: you can make the bodies ahead and freeze them. On day of party, fill them and refrigerate them uncovered so they do not get soft. You can also store them in a large fridge drawer. Dust lightly with powdered sugar if you like.

No girls allowed - except for Grammy!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Breakfast Bake with Roasted Red Pepper and Sausage - Flashback Friday

For Flash Back Friday, I'd like to bring back a favourite breakfast casserole.
I was recently asked to bring this to a baby shower brunch 
and it was enjoyed by all the guests.
The addition of roasted red peppers and fresh basil adds extra flavour and 
brings this "Wifesaver" to company status.
  • 6-8 slices thick sliced bread, white or whole wheat (I like to use Whole Wheat French bread or a Rustic loaf.)
  • 1/2 of a link (approximately 3/4 lb.) smoked farmer sausage, skin removed *
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 jar roasted red peppers, drained 
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup half and half cream
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped or 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (I used Cheddar, Gruyere  and Swiss)
* If you are using raw farmer sausage, crumble it into a pan and fry it until cooked. Cool and use as directed below.

    1. In a buttered 9"x13" pan or casserole dish, lay out bread slices, fitting them tightly together in the bottom of the dish.
    2. Cut 6-8 slices from the sausage and set aside.
    3. Using a table knife or 2 forks, coarsely shred the rest of the sausage meat and lay over bread.
    4. Saute' onion in butter until softened and spread over sausage.
    5. Lay out roasted red peppers on a paper towel to blot out some of the liquid, then cut them into a 1/2" dice and arrange over onion.
    6. Sprinkle with chopped basil.
    7. In a large mixing bowl beat eggs until frothy. Then add milk, cream, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, mixing well.
    8. Pour over bread and sausage in dish.
    9. Top with shredded cheese and arrange sausage slices on top.
    10. Cover with foil or plastic wrap and  refrigerate overnight.
    11. The next morning, remove casserole from fridge, then preheat oven to 350ยบ F.
    12. Bake casserole for 1 hour or until knife inserted in middle comes out clean.  
    13. Remove from oven and let it rest 10 minutes before serving.
    14. Serve with a fruit salad and muffins if desired.

    Thursday, July 30, 2015

    Rhubarb Cake

    To me there is something about a simple rhubarb cake that just says home to me.
    Give me delicious moist cake with a good cup of coffee and fellowship anyday. You don't need to spend hours in the kitchen to come up with a tasty dessert.

    • 1 1/2 cups sugar
    • 2 cups flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 cup sour cream or greek yogurt (I used yogurt)
    • 3 cups diced rhubarb
    Crumb Topping:
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 cup flour
    • 1/2 cup butter or hard margarine
    • 1 tablespoon milk or cream (optional)

    1. Whisk together in a large bowl the first four ingredients.
    2. Add in Rhubarb and make sure all the rhubarb gets covered in the flour mixture. (It helps the rhubarb from settling at the bottom of the cake).
    3. Beat the eggs and sour cream or yogurt together. 
    4. Fold the sour cream mixture into the flour mixture until all the flour is incorporated. This is a very thick mixture. 
    5. Pour the cake into a greased and floured 9 x13 pan. 
    6. For the crumbs, mix the flour and sugar together. With a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour until you get large crumbs. (adding the milk or cream helps hold the crumbs together, but that is optional.) Sprinkle on top of the cake. 
    7. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 for 45 minutes or until the center is done. Test it with a toothpick. If it comes out clean, it is done. 

    Wednesday, July 29, 2015

    Empanadas / Pastelle

    My husband was born in Paraguay and it almost seems that every street corner sells Empanadas. Even though the ones made in Canada are tasty, I will be the first to admit that the ones from Paraguay are outta this world! Maybe they taste better there because we are immersed in the culture and flavors of the land. The native Paraguayan people are such friendly people, and we were welcomed with such gracious hospitality. No matter how poor some of them are, what they have is yours and we were made to feel very welcomed. We haven't been there since 1986 but would love to take our family there someday. In the meantime my family gets to enjoy these. They don't get these very often but when I do make them they are devoured in no time at all. I make enough for the family to enjoy one day and a few extra to pack for lunches the next day. Depending on how big you want them will determine how many a recipe makes. I made a double batch yielding in 32 the size of my hand. The following recipe is one recipe. 

    • 4 cups flour
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup hot milk
    • 3/4 cup melted lard or shortening.
    1. In a bowl combine the flour, salt with the hot milk and lard.
    2. Mix until well combined. Knead the dough just until all the flour is absorbed about 8- 10 times and holds together well. You do NOT want to overwork the dough.
    3. Divide the dough into 16 balls. 
    4. On a lightly floured surface roll into circles. 
    5. Fill with the filling and seal.
    *If you want to make more than one recipe I have found it is best to make the recipe one batch at time. 

    Filling: I make the filling the day before so it has a chance to cool completely.

    • 1 1/2 pounds of lean ground beef
    • 2 onions, minced
    • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
    • 1 green or red pepper (optional) I didn't have any this time
    • 1 teaspoon of cumin 
    • salt, pepper, pepper flakes to taste. 
    • 3 hard boiled eggs, chopped
    • 1/2 cup of fresh parsley, chopped
    1. Brown the ground beef with the onions and garlic in a bit of oil, then add the seasonings to taste. 
    2. Cool the mixture before adding the cooked eggs and parsley. 
    3. Fill and seal the empanadas. 
    4. Heat the 3 inches of oil in a pot or deep skillet on medium high heat. 
    5. Add empanadas a few at a time. You do not want to crowd the pan, turning only once until you reach a golden brown color. 
    6. Drain on paper towels. 
    7. Cool for several minutes before serving as they are very hot. Serve with hot sauce on the side. 
    *Tip, If you find you have extra dough, fill the remaining empanadas with grated mozzarella to make cheese empanadas. Very good! 

    Tuesday, July 28, 2015

    Honey Fried Freshwater Pickerel

    Pickerel are my favorite fish and now is the season to get them fresh. My daughter and her family went on a fly in fishing trip to Gammon River and came home with as many fillets as allowed. I was so happy to be the recipient of some of these delicious fish. My usual way to prepare them is really simple, I fry them in a bit of butter with salt and pepper to taste and a sprinkle of lemon juice on top. This time I decided to try something else and I may just have found a new favorite!
    • 1 egg
    • 2 teaspoons honey
    • 1/3 cup flour
    • 1 cup saltine crackers, crushed finely (approx 18 crackers)
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne, increase amount if you like a little more heat
    • 4 pickerel fillets
    • Extra honey for drizzling
    • Lemon wedges.
    1. In a bowl, beat egg and honey.
    2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cracker crumbs, salt, black pepper, and cayenne.
    3. Dip fillets in egg and honey mixture and then coat with the crumb mixture.
    4. In a frying pan heat just enough oil to cover the bottom.
    5. Fry fish in the pan over medium high heat, 3 minutes per side or until fish flakes easily with a fork and has a nice golden brown color.
    6. Drizzle with extra honey and lemon. Serve with coleslaw or a salad.

    This is my daughter Brenda with a nice catch of pickerel.

    Monday, July 27, 2015

    Strawberry Ice Cream and Oreo Crust Pie

    Here is another super quick  no bake dessert for a hot summer night.

    • 1 1/4 cups oreo crumbs
    • 1/3 cup melted butter
    • 1 can sweetened condensed milk 
    • 1 1/2 cup cold whipping cream
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 1/2  - 2 cups strawberries, pureed in blender or food processor to make 3/4 cup
    • red food coloring (optional)
    1. Combine oreo crumbs and melted butter and press on the bottom and sides of a deep dish pie dish.  Refrigerate while making filling.
    2. Combine sweetened condensed milk, whipping cream and vanilla in a large bowl and beat on high until soft peaks form.  
    3. Add strawberry puree and stir together gently until combined.  Add a drop of red food coloring to enhance the pink if desired. 
    4. Pour into chocolate cookie crust and freeze until firm. 
    5. Garnish with whipped cream and sliced strawberries.

    Sunday, July 26, 2015

    Bread for the Journey

    There are times when we can't make a whole lot of sense of things that happen around us. With the passing of time...things sometimes become a little clearer.. And sometimes not. But one day we will see the whole picture...and then everything will be crystal clear. For now...we often look through the smog.

    This is how we have viewed our favorite mountain peak at times this past month. Through the smog! As the smoke from one of B.C.'s many forest fires wafted our way...the mountains all but disappeared in the haze.  It was hard to tell the colour of the barn just down the road...and the mountain peak was barely visible in the distance.

    A photo taken a few months ago at the very same spot gives a clearer perspective. Then it was obvious that the barn was red! And the snow capped peak of Mt. Cheam was clear and seemed so much closer.

    Sometimes it is a matter of perspective. Sometimes it is the passing of time. And then there are those things that will just never make any on earth. But one day...the smog will all be lifted!

    Now we see a blurred image in a mirror. Then we will see very clearly. Now my knowledge is incomplete. Then I will have complete knowledge as God has complete knowledge of me.
    ~ 1 Corinthians 13:12