Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sausage-Mushroom Breakfast Bake

My Mom got this recipe from her trusty Taste of Home subscription, courtesy of one Diane B. from Ludlow, Massachusetts. I think our family has been receiving Taste of Home since I was eleven years old. Nothing like testing out home-cooked goodness from across the country!


1 pound bulk pork sausage (try to get local or organic if you can.)
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
6 cups cubed bread
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
10 eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups milk
2 teaspoons ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper


In a large skillet, cook sausage and mushrooms over medium heat until meat is no longer pink, then drain off excess fat.

2. Place half of the bread cubes in a greased 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish; top with 2 cups sausage mixture and half of the cheese and tomatoes. Repeat layers. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, milk, mustard, salt and pepper; pour over bread mixture.

3. Bake, uncovered, at 350°F for 50-55 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Voila! Breakfast for the gang, and maybe some lunch too.

Ina Garten's Cheese Danishes

This recipe can be found online at The Food Network or in Ina's great book, Barefoot Contessa At Home. Either way, this is not something you want to miss.


8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
2 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
2 sheets (1 box) frozen puff pastry, defrosted
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Place the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and cream them together on low speed until smooth. With the mixer still on low, add the egg yolks, ricotta, vanilla, salt, and lemon zest and mix until just combined. Don't whip!

Unfold 1 sheet of puff pastry onto a lightly floured board and roll it slightly with a floured rolling pin until it's a 10 by 10-inch square. Cut the sheet into quarters with a sharp knife. Place a heaping tablespoon of cheese filling into the middle of each of the 4 squares. Brush the border of each pastry with egg wash and fold 2 opposite corners to the center, brushing and overlapping the corners of each pastry so they firmly stick together. Brush the top of the pastries with egg wash. Place the pastries on the prepared sheet pan. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry and refrigerate the filled Danish for 15 minutes.

Bake the pastries for about 20 minutes, rotating the pan once during baking, until puffed and brown. Serve warm and all of them will vanish. It's like a magic act!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Flat and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe is adapted from Amanda Hesser's The Essential New York Times Cookbook, via Saveur.

Also great for bringing in to your friends at work.


2 cups flour
1 scant tbsp. kosher salt
1 1⁄4 tsp. baking soda
1 1⁄2 cups packed brown sugar
1 1⁄4 cups sugar
16 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
12 oz. finely shaved bittersweet chocolate
8 oz. finely ground walnuts


(Note: Before starting, I tried various methods of "shaving" chocolate. I found the best was to just take a knife and cut/chop the chocolate to my own preferred consistency, with lots of small shavings and a few good chunks as well.)

Whisk flour, salt, and baking soda in a bowl, then set aside. In another bowl, beat sugars and butter with a mixer on medium speed until fluffy, 1–2 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time; beat in vanilla. Add reserved flour mixture, chocolate, and nuts; mix until just combined then chill for approximately one hour.

Heat oven to 325°. Divide dough into 1-tbsp. portions; roll into balls, transfer to parchment paper–lined baking sheets spaced 3" apart, and flatten with your hand or back of a spoon. Bake until set, about 15 minutes.
 (Be careful not to over-bake as that will lead to flat and crispy, not chewy, cookies.)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Bratwurst Bites with Beer Mustard

Adapted from Bon Appetit.

These little guys are like making savory bratwurst-y meatballs. So good! Also, I'm a big mustard fan. And adding beer to a "German Style Mustard" makes life pretty delish.

For Bratwurst Bites


1 1/2 pound ground (and fatty!) pork (from your local farmer's market is best.)
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon ground mace
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 bottle's worth of lager beer


Gently mix sage and next 5 ingredients into ground pork. Stir in 1/4 cup beer. Cover and chill 6 hrs to overnight. When chilled, form pork mixture into 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inch meatballs, and place on a baking sheet.

Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Working in batches if necessary, add sausage meatballs to skillet and cook until browned on bottom, about 5 minutes. Turn meatballs over and cook until brown on bottom, another few minutes.  Place the browned meatballs in an oven-proof pot and add the rest of the beer to the meatballs.  Cover with foil and place in a low-heat oven, around 250 to 300 degrees F for 30 to 45 minutes until guests arrive.  (The beer and steam will make sure the meatballs are tender and cooked all the way through.)

Serve with Beer Mustard and soft pretzels. Ja!

For Beer Mustard (quick version)


1 cup stone ground or whole grain Dijon mustard
1/4 cup regular Dijon mustard
1/4 cup prepared white Horseradish
1/4 cup lager beer


Mix ingredients together in a small bowl to blend. Chill. Can be stored in an airtight container for up to one week. And there you have it. Beer mustard!

Braised Red Cabbage with Apples and Caraway Seeds

Adapted from The All New Joy of Cooking, via Orangette.

I know a lot of you might shrink back in a weird fear of braised cabbage. I did at first too, but this is good. Like, really good. I can't wait to make some more of it. Tart and sweet, you'll never look back.


2 Tbs olive oil
3 Tbs finely chopped red onion
1 small head red cabbage (about two pounds), quartered, cored, and very thinly sliced
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and coarsely grated
3 Tbs apple cider vinegar
2 Tbs honey
1 tsp salt
1/8 to ¼ tsp caraway seeds


Heat oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook until translucent and slightly golden. Add cabbage, apple, vinegar, honey, salt, and caraway seeds. Cover pan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is very soft but not falling apart, about an hour.

Serves roughly 4. Delicious warm, at room temperature, or cold. Enjoy!