Sunday, November 24, 2013

Thanks Benedict on Stuffing Cakes with Sage Hollandaise

When I think of Thanksgiving, stuffing is definitely the first thing that comes to mind. I enjoy turkey and all the other fixins, but it's the stuffing that I find the most comforting and satisfying.  Of course Thanksgiving is all about having lots of leftovers and and every year I get inspired to create something new. Last year I was inspired to serve a fried egg over my leftover stuffing and I thought this creation was a match made in heaven ...until this year when I watched Giada make this Thanks Benedict on Stuffing Cakes with Sage Hollandaise.  Stuffing, pancetta, a poached egg and some hollandaise sauce?  Why didn't I think of this sooner?
This is a fun dish that is easy to put together with your Thanksgiving leftovers.  The stuffing cakes take little to no time to prepare, the pancetta crisps up quickly and even the hollandaise is easy and quick to put together in the blender.  However, to be honest, I don't even think making the hollandaise is necessary.  I think leftover gravy would be just as good drizzled over top the Thanks Benedict. We found this dish to be very hearty and robust and really enjoyed the Thanksgiving-inspired take on the traditional Eggs Benedict.  This dish is certainly pretty enough to entertain with if you have guests over the holidays.
 Thanks Benedict on Stuffing Cakes with Sage Hollandaise
Recipe adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
found on Food Network
 Makes 6
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon freshly chopped sage
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Stuffing Cakes
2 cups leftover stuffing
2 eggs
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 thin slices pancetta
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon kosher salt
6 eggs, at room temperature

For the hollandaise: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat or in the microwave. Combine the yolks, sage, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender and pulse to incorporate. Carefully drizzle the hot butter into the processor and keep blending until the sauce is thick and creamy. Pour the sauce into a small bowl and set aside.

For the stuffing cakes:
Place the stuffing in a large bowl, breaking up any large clumps. Add the eggs and breadcrumbs and stir to combine, making sure all of the stuffing is evenly coated with the eggs. Scoop 1/3 cup of the stuffing into your hands and shape into a patty, about 3-inches wide and 1/2-inch thick. Repeat to make 6 stuffing cakes. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat and cook the cakes, two at a time until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate and repeat with the remaining cakes. Loosely cover with foil to keep the cakes warm.

Cook the pancetta:  Place a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and cook the pancetta until browned and crispy, about 4 minutes on each side. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate.
Poach the eggs: Fill a small saucepan with 3 inches of water, and add the lemon juice and salt. Bring the water to a simmer over medium heat. Crack an egg into a small heatproof bowl and use the bowl to slowly slide the egg into the water. Use a wooden spoon to carefully stir the water around the egg. Cook the egg until the white has set and the yolk is still soft, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Remove the egg from the water with a slotted spoon and drain it on a paper-towel-lined plate. Repeat with the remaining eggs. 
To serve:  Place one stuffing cake on a plate. Top with 2 slices of pancetta, a poached egg and a generous drizzle of hollandaise sauce.

Happy Thanksgiving!!


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Donna Hay's Pumpkin Pie with Brown Sugar Mascarpone

I am crazy about pumpkin pie.  Every year around this time I start craving a slice of pumpkin pie with a dollop of whipped cream on top.  Since no one else in my family likes pumpkin pie I usually resort to picking up a slice from a bakery.  This year I decided I was going to treat myself and make a pumpkin pie.  By the end of the week I was an expert at rationalizing.  I manged to convince myself that a slice of this pumpkin pie was a perfectly suitable breakfast.

Thankfully, this pumpkin pie is very light and would be perfect to follow a heavy Thanksgiving dinner.  It's sweet, but not overly sweet, and is lightly spiced compared to other versions.  I fell in love with the smooth and creamy texture of this pie.  Normally I like a touch of whipped cream on top of my pumpkin pie, but when I saw the recipe for this brown sugar mascarpone topping I was very curious. Let's just say I love the brown sugar mascarpone.  I'm fairly certain you will too.

Pumpkin Pie
Adapted from Modern Classics Book 2
by Donna Hay
Serves 8

1 sheet of storebought pie crust or homemade, recipe below*
1 cup pumpkin puree or butternut squash puree, recipe below*
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs 
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
freshly grated nutmeg for serving, optional

*Notes: Donna's recipe actually calls for her homemade sweet shortcrust pastry, but I opted to use a store-bought pie crust because I had one on hand. The recipe also calls for 1 cup of pureed butternut pumpkin, directions for that below, but I opted to use 1 cup of canned pumpkin puree because I also had that on hand. 

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface until 1/8 inch thick.  Place in a 9 inch tart ring.  Line the pastry with non-stick baking paper and fill with pastry weights or uncooked rice or beans.  Bake for 10 minutes, remove the weights and bake for a further 10 minutes or until the pastry is golden.  Reduce the oven temperature to 300F.

To make the filling, place the pumpkin, sugar, eggs, cream and cinnamon in a bowl and whisk to combine.  Pour into the tart shell and bake for 50 minutes or until the filling is set.  Cool in the tin.  Sprinkle with nutmeg, slice and serve with brown sugar mascarpone.

*For the Butternut Squash Puree: Peel, chop and steam 1 pound of butternut squash until cooked.  Cool completely and puree in a food processor

*For the Sweet Shortcrust Pastry:  Process 2 cups plain all-purpose flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, and 5 ounces of cold chopped butter in a food processor until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.  While the motor is running, add enough iced water to form a smooth dough and process until just combined.  Knead the dough lightly, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface or between sheets of non-stick baking paper until 1/8 inch thick, or whatever thickness required, and line the tart tin.  Bake as directed.

For the Brown Sugar Mascarpone:  Combine 2 cups mascarpone and 1/2 cup brown sugar in a bowl.  Spoon on top of the pumpkin pie or serve on the side.

Theme:Are You Calling Me A Tart?

***12 Weeks of Winter Squash***

This pumpkin pie is being linked to the 12 Weeks of Winter Squash Event hosted by my friends Heather and Joanne. Feel free to link up your winter squash dishes during the week at the linky below--or on one of the other participating blogs. Linky will open up at 12:01am on 11/18/13

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Brie and Crispy Bread Salad with Cranberry Dressing

Brie cheese is so heavenly and creamy and smooth and delicious.  If I happen to spot a recipe using Brie then it's pretty much guaranteed I'm going to feel compelled to make it.  Such is the case with this recipe for Donna Hay's Brie and Crispy Bread Salad with Cranberry Dressing

This recipe is for those of you, who like me, look for a way to make a sensible meal out of bread and cheese.  And by sensible I mean that I convinced myself this salad was healthy because it called for spinach and contained fruit.  Because really...all that brie cheese was just a little over a serving, right?  And that bread, well we have to have some carbs every once in awhile, right?  

However you rationalize it, this salad was delicious.  It hits a multitude of flavor and texture combinations and is very comforting and satisfying.  Plus, it is rather festive with the cranberry dressing.  Perfect for this time of year!

Brie & Crispy Bread Salad with Cranberry Dressing
Adapted from Donna Hay website
Serves 4

2 pieces flatbread*
olive oil, for brushing
250g brie, sliced
2 cups arugula or spinach leaves

Cranberry Dressing
¼ cup roughly chopped sweetened dried cranberries
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste

*Note: I couldn't find flatbread so I used good quality country bread and grilled it in a pan

Every Sunday @ Kahakai Kitchen

Theme: In Season

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Lamb Sausage Rolls

My mind gets the best of me on a regular basis.  These Lamb Sausage Rolls are a perfect example.  In my mind I picture thawing and rolling out puff pastry.  Then I start thinking of what a pain pastry can be when it sticks and rips and tears.  I picture flour on the counter, a big mess, and lots of frustration.  Before you know it I have talked myself out of making anything with pastry of any sort, which is totally a shame.

The funny thing is that puff pastry couldn't be easier to work with.  You simply thaw it and it is a dream to work with.  It never ever ever gives you fits.  Even though I know this to be true my mind still gets the best of me.  It's as if I'm waiting for the day puff pastry totally lets me down.  Thankfully, it hasn't happened yet and I can't imagine it will.  These rolls couldn't have been easier to make.  Could I really be learning to trust puff pastry? 

These Lamb Sausage Rolls were even better than I anticipated.  The puff pastry creates a very flaky and buttery exterior while the inside of the roll is soft and meaty.  At first I questioned the use of tomato sauce for dipping, but it all works together splendidly.  These rolls are very reminiscent of stromboli, but the use of lamb makes them quite unique and all their own.

Lamb Sausage Rolls
Serves 8

½ cup (35g) fresh breadcrumbs
1 pound/500g lamb mince
1 small brown onion, grated
½ cup finely chopped mint*
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind
1 egg
 salt and pepper to taste
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, extra, lightly beaten (for brushing on the rolls)
Optional garnish: sesame seeds, salt, pepper, parsley, mint, garlic, etc..
For serving: tomato sauce
Note: I omitted the mint only because I didn't have any on hand