Chocolate Cheesecake Bread Pudding

Bread Pudding 2

Happy Valentine’s Day! With all that has been going on this year, the holiday snuck up on me, but I have a great recipe for just such an occasion. It is simple, quick and uses ingredients you likely have about the house but is also a decadent twist on a familiar desert. We are going to make Chocolate Cheesecake Bread Pudding; it is a very rich dish so it is perfect for the holiday. Also, when it is finished it looks like you did a ton more work then it took, so it always impresses.

When I made this, I had a lot of the ingredients and so made a large batch. If you are just making this for you and your S.O., you can cut the recipe in half and it should make a nice big dessert, with a little left over to enjoy later.

The best breads to use are sweet white breads like challah or brioche, but any white bread works well. You can even use brown, whole wheat, or gluten-free breads, but they make for a mushier bread pudding.

This recipe serves 6-8

Ingredients:

Cheesecake:

8 oz cream cheese

1/3 cup sugar

1 egg

1/4 tsp vanilla

Chocolate Bread Pudding:

6 oz dark chocolate

2/3 cup sugar

2 cups milk

2 eggs

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 medium loaf bread, cut into bite-sized pieces

Directions:

1)      Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2)      Combine the cheesecake ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Let sit.

3)      Melt the dark chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave (in 10 second intervals to prevent burning).

4)      Add the sugar to the chocolate, and then add the milk, eggs, and vanilla. Mix well.

5)      Add in the bread and let soak for about 10 minutes.

6)      Place a layer of bread pudding in the bottom of the baking dish.

7)      Ladle a layer of cheesecake over the bread pudding.

8)      Add another layer of bread pudding on top of the cheesecake.

9)      Top with a drizzle of cheesecake.

10)   Bake for about 25 minutes, until the bread pudding is set and firm.

11)   Let sit for at least 10 minutes before eating.

12)   Serve and Enjoy!

Kimchi Pancakes

Kimchi Pancake 2

It looks like I have only one thing on my mind lately: pancakes! So let’s make another, completely different pancake from the last one, Kimchi Pancakes (kimchijeon or 김치전, in Korean). Actually, I haven’t been going through a pancake phase; my photographer has some experience with Korean cooking and I asked her to make me a few dishes for the site. I asked for this dish in particular because they make a delicious treat. Kimchi pancakes, which are not really pancakes at all, are a wonderful Korean appetizer or make a great light meal or snack.

This dish is all about the kimchi, so I recommend you find one you like. When you make it up, it will be a lot less spicy then the original kimchi, so I like to get the spiciest I can find. If you don’t like kimchi raw, you might like it better cooked in a pancake since it mellows it out a lot. You can also add in green onions, bell peppers, or other ingredients if you’d like.

This dish makes 2-4 pancakes depending on the size and is a good appetizer for 4-8 people or  a light meal for 2 people.

Ingredients:

1 c kimchi, cut up into bite-sized pieces

1 egg

1 c flour

¾ c water

¼ tsp salt

Soy sauce

Directions:

1)      Mix all the ingredients except the soy sauce until well blended.

2)      Heat some oil in a medium sauté pan.

3)      When the oil is hot, add about half of the mixture to make a pancake about 1/4 inch thick.

4)      When it has cooked half way through (about 3 minutes), flip it over carefully.

5)      Cook on the other side till cooked through.

6)      Serve with some soy sauce to dip into, and enjoy!

Squash Pancakes

Squash 1-2

About a month ago, my landlady asked me if I wanted a blue hubbard squash. To be perfectly frank, I wasn’t really sure what one was. To say the least, I was a little overwhelmed by its size and weight, and I wasn’t at all sure what to do with it. Not to mention that although you can’t tell from the picture, the outside it so hard, it may as well be encased in cement. So I searched the net a little for ideas and advice about how it tastes and how to prepare it. One hint I got was that the easiest way to crack it open was to put it in a clean garbage bag and drop it on the floor. While this sounded fun, I had no bags large enough and it also sounded a bit messy. So I took a cleaver to the squash instead, and overall that went very well.

Squash 2-2

Once inside, everything went a lot easier.

Squash 3-2

I read that it is easier to clean out the seeds, roast it in the shell, and then remove the flesh once soft, but I just cut out the flesh since I wanted it raw for my recipe. This proved to be surprisingly difficult, since it is rather tough when raw. Once I was done with this, I made my puree and began the easy part: making the pancakes!

Squash 4-2

This recipe makes about a dozen small cakes, enough for 2 people.

Ingredients:

1/2 c pureed blue hubbard squash, kombatcha, or pumpkin

1 egg

1 Tbsp + 1 tsp powdered sugar

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp vanilla

4 Tbsp flour

Directions:

1)      If you start with raw squash, puree about 1 cup of cubes with 1-2 Tbsp water in a food processor to make a smooth paste.

2)      Mix ½ c of puree with the egg until incorporated.

3)      Add the sugar, salt and vanilla, and blend well.

4)      Mix in the flour until well incorporated and no lumps remain.

5)      In a sautee pan, heat a small amount of butter or oil over medium high heat, until hot.

6)      Add in one large spoonful of batter at a time to make small round pancakes.

7)      Cook for about 30 seconds per side, until they are cooked through and look like little pancakes.

8)      Garnish with a little more powdered sugar

9)      Serve and Enjoy!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Brussles sprouts 2

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a wonderful New Year’s celebration and you all stayed out of trouble. I also hope you all made a wonderful resolution; I managed to keep mine last year so I may have to set loftier goals this year, but I still haven’t decided what mine will be.  That said, I know it’s stereotypical but, a lot of people pledge to lose those pesky holiday pounds and I dedicate this recipe to them.  Today we are making Roast Brussels Sprouts.

I know a lot of you probably think you hate Brussels sprouts.  I know I thought I did. However, that was before I tried roasting them. If you roast them until they get nice and dark, almost burnt, the nutty sweet flavors come out and the bitterness is subdued. They also get a nice crunchy skin on the outside and are soft and smooth on the inside. If you swore you’d never try Brussels sprouts again, try these. I promise this simple recipe will change your mind.

This recipe makes enough for 3-4 people as a side, or if you like them as much as me, enough for 2.

Ingredients:

1 lb of Brussels sprouts

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 clove garlic

1 tsp salt

Directions:

1)      Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2)      Peel the outside leaves off the Brussels sprouts.

3)      If they are small, leave them whole.  If they are larger then a big grape, cut them in half.  If they are huge, cut into quarters.

4)      In a large bowl, toss the Brussels sprouts with the rest of the ingredients until well coated.

5)      Roast for about 30 minutes, until the outside is dark and they are easily pierced with a fork.

6)      Serve and Enjoy!

Spiced Beef Stuffed Cabbage

Stuffed Cabbage 2

Happy Holidays everyone! It has been a while, but things are finally settling down a little in the rainy north. There was a spell of various computer problems keeping us from posting which I think are resolved, so hopefully the site will be updated regularly from here on out.

For our welcome back recipe, I wanted to do a simple, warming meal for these cold months ahead, spiced beef stuffed cabbage. This recipe takes a little skill to make, but it looks great when finished and it tastes divine. The hardest part you will find is taking the cabbage apart. Just be patient and accept a few flawed rolls, and you will be fine. It is definitely a case where slow and steady wins the race.

This recipe makes about 10-15 stuffed cabbage, depending how large you make them.

Ingredients:

1 head of cabbage

1 lb of ground beef, or a mix of half pork/half beef

1 Tbsp tomato paste

½ tsp salt

½ tsp cumin

½ tsp turmeric

½ tsp fenugreek (optional)

½ tsp pepper

2 c tomato sauce (optional)

Directions:

1)   Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

2)   Carefully remove the core from a head of cabbage by inserting a skinny knife (such as a boning knife) just outside the core and cutting around it till it can be removed.

3)   Boil the cabbage for 20 minutes, until the leaves are nice and soft.

4)   Let cool for 20 minutes, so it can be handled.

5)   While it is cooling, sauté the meat with the remaining ingredients until cooked through.

6)   Remove individual leaves of cabbage and fill with the meat mixture.

7)   Carefully roll like a mini burrito

8)   Eat them as is, or top with the tomato sauce and bake for 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven to heat through.

9)   Serve and enjoy!