Easter Brunch: Egg Strata, French Toast Casserole, and a bunch of other stuff

I am going to start by saying that I did not get very good pictures of this brunch.  I have never hosted a holiday before, and I was a little preoccupied by preparing it, so I kept forgetting to take pictures.  I apologize for that. However, things did go well.  I was not entirely sure what I wanted to make for brunch.  Plus, we were headed to Easter Service so I needed stuff that I could make ahead of time.  I decided on doing a breakfast casserole, an egg strata, deviled eggs, and a bundt cake.  I also had coffee, tea, orange juice, and stuff to make Arnold Palmers (pretty much the best drink ever).

First the bundt cake.  I made the lemon one I invented not too long ago.  Here is the link to that recipe:

https://meteaandlucy.com/2011/04/12/lemon-bundt-cake/

This time I added one cup of milk to the recipe.  It did change the consistency.  This cake was much denser and more moist.  However, it was lacking the nice crumble of the other.  Both were good; I think I may leave the  milk out in the future.

Next up is the French Toast Casserole.  This recipe is from the newspaper a number of years ago.

Ingredients:

1 loaf cinnamon bread (with or without raisins depending on preference)

6 eggs

1 1/2 cups half and half

1 1/2 cups milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

5 teaspoons butter

1 cup nuts (walnuts or pecans)

Method:

Cut the loaf of bread into cubes.  Take about 1 cup worth of the cubes and set aside.  Put the rest of the cubes in a greased 9″ by 13″ Pyrex baking dish.  Meanwhile mix the eggs, milks, and vanilla together.  Pour the egg mixture over the bread making sure all the cubes are moist.  Put the in the fridge overnight.

The next morning, melt the butter and add the set aside bread cubes and the nuts.  Mix until all moist and sprinkle over the egg/bread mixture in the pan.  Bake at 375 for about 45 minutes.  Serve with syrup and strawberries (optional).

Ideas: I would have liked it to be a little sweater so I would not have had to add syrup in the end.  I wonder if adding brown sugar to the egg mixture would have that desired effect.  I also think it would be good if you added some apples to the dish. I might try that next fall when apples are in season again.

Egg Strata:


This one I made up, and it worked great.  The above picture is the strata before it was baked.  I don’t have a picture of it baked.  Sigh. This is a dish that you can personalize easily.

Ingredients:

10 eggs

1 cup cheese

1 cup milk

about 1/3 of a baguette, cubed

vegetables (I used potatoes, onions, asparagus, red bell peppers)

sausage (optional though good)

salt and pepper to taste

Mix the eggs and milk together until well blended.  Mix in the cheese and bread cubes.  Make sure the bread all gets moist.  Fold in the vegetables and sausage.  I pre-cook the  potatoes and the sausage, but I put everything else in raw.  The vegetables end up cooked but still crisp that way.  Pour the mixture into a greased 9″ by 13″ Pyrex casserole dish.  Bake at 375 for 45 minutes.  You can put a knife in the center and it will come out clean when the strata is done.

Note: I have made this pre-made this strata and let it sit overnight.  I have also made it and baked it immediately.  I honestly can’t tell much of a difference (sitting overnight might have a slight advantage, but it is slight).  I would just do what is more convenient for you.

Finally here is a couple of funny picture of Lucy in her Easter dress:

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Weird Recipe of Yesteryear: Tomato Soup Cake, actually less gross than you would imagine

My friend Anna found a bunch of old recipes in a drawer she bought at a thrift shop a while back.  A couple of the recipes were dated from 1940, so we are assuming most are from about that time.  Many of the recipes are huge, enough servings to serve 100 people or more.  Perhaps they are from a church kitchen? A number of the recipes are also weird.  We are going to make a recipe from this collection probably once a month and post it on here.  We decided to start with one of the strangest recipes in there: Tomato Soup Cake.  The only problem was, it wasn’t so much a recipe as a list of ingredients.  However, we have made enough cakes to guess how it went together.  The big question was how long to bake it and what type of pan it should go in.  We ended up doing a 9 inch round pan, and it baked for about 4o-45 minutes.

The end result was similar to pumpkin spice cake, but not as good.  I am not sure if you could tell the difference if you didn’t know about the soup.  After we had made it, I went online to see if other people made this cake (not sure why I didn’t try this before).  I did find similar recipes, believe it or not.  The recipe originates from 1925–it was an invention of the Campbell’s Soup Corporation, no surprise there.  Campbell’s still has a modified recipe on their website!  I think we probably should have made the cake in a loaf pan–that seems to be a more common way to make it.  I was pleased to see that topping it with cream cheese frosting was also common, which we decided to do just looking at the ingredient list.

All in all it was a fun adventure.  Will I start making this cake on a regular basis? No.  It was not that good.  It was better than I thought it would be though, and it would be a good conversation starter I suppose.  Or maybe if there is a big run on pumpkin someday, and you really want a pumpkin spice cake, you can look this up and make it.

Ingredients:

1/4 pound shortening (we used butter instead, and it worked fine)

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 can or tomato soup

1 teaspoon baking soda–put in the soup

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cloves

2 teaspoons baking powder

Method:

We started by creaming the butter until nice and fluffy.  Add the sugar and mix well.  Add the egg and mix well.  Put in the tomato soup/baking soda combo.

Meanwhile we mixed all the dry ingredients together.  Once the wet ingredients were well mixed.

Lucy was helping out with the cake too

Bake the cake at 350 degrees.  The baking time will vary on your choice of pan.  For a 9″ round bake for about 40 minutes.  If you do a loaf pan, maybe try about an hour?

Now for the frosting:

The frosting was really good, and it made the cake better I think.  Mix up 3 ounces of cream cheese (at room temp), half stick of butter (at room temp), 2 teaspoons of vanilla, and 2 cups of powdered sugar.  Blend together until light and fluffy.  I found this recipe from my Better Homes and Garden’s Baking book–a classic.

Once the cake has cooled, put on the frosting:

And finally, cut a slice and enjoy…

Lemon Bundt Cake

Most people may not think that a bundt pan is a necessary item for a kitchen.  I would beg to differ.  Of course there is the issue of me being a Minnesotan, and like all Minnesotans, I have a bizarre pride surrounding all things related to our state.  Perhaps it is compensation for the fact that  we live in a state that is cold 9 months out of the year, or maybe it really is just that great of a place to live.  Either way, the bundt pan was invented by Nordic Ware right here in Minnesota for a group of German-Americans.  The shape of the pan makes the cake look finished without frosting, and bundts are usually so rich on their own, they rarely need it anyway.

The following bundt recipe is my own invention.  I wanted something lemon flavored.  This is essentially a lemon pound cake in a bundt pan.  It is moist and especially lemony because I use both zest and lemon extract in the recipe.

Ingredients:

Zest of 2 lemons (you can use more or less according to taste)

2 1/2 cups of sugar

1 1/4 cup butter (that is 2 and a half sticks, this is not a health cake)

5 eggs

2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon almond extract (if you would rather use vanilla, add two teaspoons instead of the one almond)

2 teaspoons lemon extract

Method:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

With your fingers, rub the zest into the sugar until it is moist and fragrant, set aside. Mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt, set aside.  In a mixer, cream the butter until light and fluffy.  Slowly add the sugar mixture.  Add the eggs one at a time, make sure to beat well after each egg.  Add in the extracts.  While the mixer is running, slowly add the flour mixture.

Scoop the mixture into a prepared bundt pan.  Use Baker’s Joy cooking spay on the pan.  Something like Pam will not cut it–you will have a bundt that won’t come out of its pan.  In fact, I love Baker’s Joy.  I use it on all my pans–nothing sticks to that stuff, nothing.

Bake the bundt for 60-70 minutes.  When done, take out of the oven and let it cool in the pan for about 15 minutes.  Then it should slide right out.

The bundt is then ready to serve.  It is good both warm or cold.  It is good the next day too.

Here is a warning though: don’t eat too much at once.  I have a bit of a stomach ache from eating half a bundt cake in less than 24 hours.  One last thing, bundts are nice to give to people because they travel well.  Perhaps some of you may one day get a bundt from me (and actually some of you already have).

Oatmeal Pancakes

I love breakfast food.  I would love to go out for breakfast every weekend.  Alec does not particularly like breakfast food, and he certainly does not want to get up on weekends to go get some.  The result is I usual have some oatmeal standing in the kitchen talking to Lucy in the mornings.  Not that there is anything wrong with that–oatmeal is a good healthy way to start your day, but still.  This evening I decided to make some pancakes for dinner because Alec was out with some friends (if he is going to have any breakfast food, he usually prefers waffles), and I have been craving pancakes for the past couple of days.  After thinking about which type of pancakes, I went with some oatmeal ones.  I originally got the recipe from my mom, and I am not sure where she got it.  It is a nice recipe because it is quick–it only took about 10 minutes to make dinner–and tasty.

This is probably the simplest and least exciting recipe I have posted, but it is a good standard pancake.  I ate mine with a little butter, syrup (the cheap store-bought stuff which I actually prefer to maple syrup for some reason), and blackberry jelly.

1/4 cup flour
1 cup quick cooking oats
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 large egg

1.  Combine the first 7  ingredient in medium bowl  Stir with whisk.

2.  Combine buttermilk, melted butter and egg.  Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist.


3.  Cook pancakes on greased griddle over medium heat.  Makes about 12 pancakes.

P.S. If anyone wants to go out for breakfast some Saturday with me and Lucy–let me know! I am in the mood for some Eggs Benedict!

Coconut Macaroons

The other day my aunt Cheryl asked me if I had any coconut Macaroon recipes.  I had two, and I did not know which one was better. I decided to do another bake-off like I did with the Madeleine cookies.  One recipe used unsweetened coconut (Martha Stewart) and the other used sweetened coconut (America’s Test Kitchen).  There was no clear winner in this contest.  There were good things about each.  I had three cookie testers, and all three thought the sweetened had a slight edge, and I remain undecided.  The sweetened did have a more pleasant texture.  Those cookies were a little softer and fluffier seeming.  The unsweetened I thought had a slight advantage in taste, but it was minimal.  Both are good cookie recipes, and I think you would be happy with either one.  Plus, if you save egg whites (I had 14 in the freezer–all the shortbread tart shells) this is a great way to use some of those up.  Another benefit of these cookies: they are very quick and easy to make.

Left: sweetened coconut; Right: unsweetened coconut

Unsweetened Coconut Macaroon Cookies

3/4 cup sugar

2 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut (you can find this either in the bulk section of your grocery store or in more natural stores like co-ops or Whole Foods)

2 large egg whites

1 teaspoon vanilla

pinch of kosher salt

Method:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment

Mix all the ingredients together–by hand works best.  Roll them into little haystacks or little balls, about 1 1/2 inches.  Place on the baking sheet.

Bake for about 15 minutes.

Transfer (while still on the parchment) to a wire wrack to cool.

Sweetened Coconut Macaroon Cookies

5 cups shredded sweetened coconut

6 egg whites

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon almond extract (could substitute vanilla if you don’t have almond)

Put the coconut in the food processor and pulse until the  texture is fine.

Coconut after processing

Take out the coconut and put in a large bowl.

Put all the other ingredients into the food processor and pulse until frothy.  Add the egg mixture to the coconut and mix until combined. Put in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment.

Roll the coconut mixture into little balls or haystack shapes.  I did bigger cookies and smaller cookies the next batch, and the smaller ones baked up better.  So I would stick to 1″ cookies.

Bake for 13-15 minutes or until the macaroons look slightly golden brown.

Let them cool before serving.

In the above picture the unsweetened macaroon is on the far left.  The larger sweetened macaroon is in the middle, and the small sweetened macaroon is on the right.

To fancy these up a little, you could melt some chocolate and dip the bottom of the cookies into the chocolate and let them cool completely on some wax paper.  Though, these cookies are plenty sweet without the additional of chocolate.

I was a little disappointed, I originally was going to have a recipe for a Caribbean Chicken recipe and fried plantains too.  But when I went to make it yesterday, my chicken was bad, so we went out for some Indian food instead.  I promise I will put some cooking up again.  One cannot survive on baked goods alone.\

Note: if anyone has any recipes they would like me to try and blog about, feel free to email them to me at jennie.hornyak@gmail.com.  I am always looking for new ideas.

Madeleine Cookies

I have been wanting to make some madeleine cookies since I had them in Paris last summer.  I recently got the pan for them and started looking for recipes.  I found two different recipes, one in my Dorie Greenspan book and the other in America’s Test Kitchen Baking book.  The recipes were so different I made both to see which one was better.  Both had very good taste, but the ones from Dorie were much prettier.

You can see the difference in the two cookies in the above picture.  Where the one from Dorie is plump and golden brown (left), the one from the America’s Test Kitchen (right) is a little lighter, and it did not puff up as much.  The taste is very different as well.  Both were basic madeleine cookies, but Dorie’s has a lemon flavor, and the other has a rich vanilla/almond flavor.

All in all, I prefer the ones from Dorie Greenspan.  However, they are both good cookies. Plus the America’s Test Kitchen madeleine is much quicker to make, which is nice if you don’t have about 4 hours to wait until the cookies are done.

The America’s Test Kitchen Madeleine Cookie:

1 cup (4 ounces) cake flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1 large egg yolk

1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract (if you prefer, skip this and add an additional teaspoon of vanilla; I personally like the almond flavor so I tend to add it)

10 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted and cooled)

Method:

Heat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a 12-cookie madeleine cooke mold.  Whisk the flour and the salt together in a small bowl.

The madeleine mold

With a stand mixer or an electric mixer, beat the eggs until frothy, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Beat in the sugar and vanilla until very thick.  With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the flour mixture, followed by the melted butter.

Spoon the batter into the prepared mold, filling to the rim.  Bake the cookies for 10 minutes (I found that they actually needed to be baked more like 12-13 minutes, but it will vary depending on your oven).

Let the cookies cool in the mold for 10 minutes then move them to a cooling wrack.

cooling in the moldsAbove: Cookies cooling in the molds

Below: Cookies cooling on the wrack

Makes 24 cookies (although it actually make about 20 cookies for me)

Dorie Greenspan’s Traditional Madeleines

2/3 cup all-purpose

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt

1/2 cup sugar

zest of one lemon

2 large eggs at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Method:

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Working in a mixer bowl, rub the sugar and the zest together until sugar is moist and fragrant.  Add the eggs to the bowl.  Working with the whisk attachement, beat the eggs and sugar together on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes.  Beat in the vanilla.  With a rubber spatula, very gently fold in the dry ingrediants, followed by the melted butter.  Cover and refridgerate for at least 3 hours.

After the 3 hours, heat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 12-cookie madeleine mold (I used Baker’s Joy which works great).  Spoon the batter into the molds, filling each one almost to the top.  Bake for 11-13 minutes.  To remove the cookies knock the mold on the counter and they will slip out.  You can use your fingers for the ones that don’t want to cooperate.

Cool before serving.

Makes 12 cookies

Other comments on the cookies:

Both types of madeleines are best eaten the day they are made.  Because of this fact my friends Katie and Anna both got cookies today (Alec and I weren’t about to eat 36 cookies today).  Many people have not had madeleines before, so I will describe what you are looking for in a end product.  They are almost like tiny shell-shaped cakes.  The best way to describe them is kinda like a lighter pound cake with a crisp outside.  They are a wonderful little snack on their own or with some tea or coffee.

Cuban Nights and a Tropical Rum Tart

On Saturday some friends from school and I got together with our significant others for a nice dinner.  At my somewhat joking suggestion, we had a Cuban theme to the get-together.  My friends John and Cassie graciously hosted, and everyone brought a dish.  Not surprising, I brought the dessert.  We had chicken with flaming pineapple, beans and rice, a cucumber and avocado salad, the tropical rum tart, and mojitos.  Everything was wonderful.

I decided that we should dress a little tropical for the dinner, although not required.  We got Lucy dressed in a cute little flowered dress.


Here are a few other photos from the night:

Here is Katie and Dave making Mojitos.  Katie made a pretty fantastic drink.

Here is Katie and Richard who will be tying the knot this July, yay!

And here is John and Dave bringing in the tart.  Apparently Dave wasn’t enjoying the picture taking.  And that is about when Lucy started getting fussy, so that is where the pictures stopped.

Here is the recipe for the tart:

I was looking through books trying to find a recipe that I thought would work for this dinner, and I couldn’t find anything just right.  So, I decided to make up a recipe.  I used the basic shortbread tart shell which I used in the tarte noire (I am going to add that to a basic recipe section on the site soon, so it will be easier to fine).  Then I made a rum flavored pastry cream for the filling, and topped it with mangos and kiwis.

The Run Pastry Cream:

Ingredients:

2 cups whole milk

6 large egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup corn starch

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

3 1/2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons rum

Method:

Bring the two cups of milk to a boil.  Meanwhile mix together the egg yolks, sugar, and corn starch in another sauce pan.  Once the milk boils, add about 1/4 cup to the egg mixture to temper the eggs.  Slowly add in the rest of the milk, stirring constantly.  Once mixed together, put back onto the burner and boil for a minute or two until thick.  Add the vanilla and the rum.  Let sit for 5 minutes.

Because this recipe makes enough pastry cream for two tarts, I decided to split the cream in half and add rum to one and Chambord to the other.  In the above picture the rum is on the left and the Chambord is on the right.  I will come back to the Chambord cream in a bit.

After you add the vanilla and liquor, let sit for five minutes.  Add the pieces of butter and whisk in.  Put in the fridge to cool for 4 hours.

Once the cream is cooled, spoon the mixture into the baked and cooled tart shell.  Smooth out with a spatula.  Add fruit to the top.  For the rum tart I cut up kiwi and mangoes.

To the Chambord tart I added fresh blackberries.

Lemon Cream

I wish someone would have told me about Lemon Cream earlier in life.  It is a bit like lemon curd but silky and smooth.  You can use it in a variety of ways.  Since I have been into tarts lately, I made a lemon cream tart.  However, you could use it in between layers in  cake or use it in a pie.  With a little imagination, I am sure you could find plenty of uses for this delicious sweet.  If you are a fan of lemon, you need to try this recipe.

The recipe is actually a little easier than it sounds, but you need to have about 30 solid minutes where you won’t be interrupted to make the cream.  It is a bit temperamental and you need a thermometer, a double boiler, a fine strainer, and either a blender or a food processor.  I almost did not make it yesterday because I thought it seemed like too much trouble, but I am glad that I did it.  It is worth the work.

Ingredients:

I cup sugar

Zest of 3 lemons

4 large eggs

3/4 cup lemon juice (about 4 lemons)

2 sticks, plus 5 tablespoons butter (I know that is a lot of butter), cut into tablespoon sized pieces

Have all your equipment ready: food processor, strainer, thermometer.

Bring a few inches of water to a boil in a sauce pan.  Get a heatproof bowl that fits into the top of the pan.  This will make the double boiler.  Do not put the bowl on the heat yet.  Put the sugar and the zest into the bowl.  Using your fingers, rub the zest and the sugar together until fragrant.  Whisk in the eggs and lemon juice.

Now set the bowl over the saucepan.  Attach the instant thermometer.

My thermometer didn’t attach to the side, so I tried to tape it.  That really didn’t work very well.  I will do something different next time.  It kept falling off.  This is the part that is a little tough because you need to stir until the mixture reaches 180 degrees.  As it gets closer to 180 degrees it will thicken.  Once you hit that mark, take if off the heat and strain it into the food processor/blender.

The cream is thick at this point so it take a little work go get it through the strainer, but you want to get the zest out of it.  I used a spatula to push it through the strainer.  Now once the cream has cooled to 140 degrees, which for me was very quick, turn on the processor and add the butter about 5 pieces at a time.  This is the step that actually makes the cream creamy.

Let it blend for three minutes after the butter has all been added.  Remove the cream from the processor and put it in a bowl.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours to set it.

Before it was chilled
After it was chilled

For the tart, I made the same shell as I did when I made the Tarte Noire (see a few posts ago).  Make the shell and let it cool completely.  The cream recipe makes enough to fill two tart shells.  It would be enough to fill one pie crust, pre-baked and cooled.

French Sables and the current situation involving Macarons and Pierre Herme

As many of you know, I have been really into making shortbread since I learned how last month.  Shortbread cookies were always a special treat that I never though to actually make.  Turns out they are quite easy, and homemade ones are much better than store-bought ones.  I have made these French Sables three times now.  I should probably stop making them, but they are so good.  The recipe follows.

On other baking news, a while ago, I decided I wanted to make French Macarons–those lovely little brightly colored sandwich cookies that decorate every bakery in France.  While I was there, I ate an amazing fushia colored chambord flavored one.  Every since, I have wanted to make them.  There are few books written in English that are for French Macarons.  I read reviews on them on Amazon and ended up not buying any.  Today I decided that I was going to buy the one by Pierre Herme, the famed French Pastry chef.  The issue and reason I didn’t look to buy it before: it is written in French.  I took 4 semester of French in college, and I did okay while in France, but is complicated cooking in French really within my ability?  There is only one way to find out.  However, when I went to buy it, the cheapest I could find it on Amazon was $150.  Forget that idea.  I did end up buying the book he wrote with Dorie Greenspan (though I am under the impression she is more a translator??? I could be wrong), which I am now waiting for.  That book is in English, so that is a bonus I suppose, but I am not sure if Macarons are in it.  Reviews state that the recipes in this book are hard, but worth it.  We will soon see how good my baking abilities have gotten.  In the meantime, here is the rather simple recipe for Sables…

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large egg yolks, at room temperature (save the whites in the freezer, I will have future recipes using only egg whites)

2 cups all purpose flour

decorating sugar (optional)

Method:

Using a mixer, beat the butter until smooth and velvety, not light and fluffy (if it gets light and fluffy, you have beat it too long).  Add in the sugars and salt, beat until well blended. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time.

Turn off the mixer and pour in flour all at once.  Drape with a kitchen towel to protect yourself from flying flour.  Pulse the mixer about 5 times for a couple of seconds each time.  Remove the towel and mix until the flour in incorporated.  Be careful not to over mix! The dough should look like this…

Gather the dough into a ball and divide in half.  Use plastic wrap to roll into logs about 9 inches long.

Put in the fridge for at least 3 hours up to 3 days.  Once they are chilled take them out of the plastic wrap.  This is where you can use a pastry brush, coat the dough in egg yolk and sprinkle with decorative sugar.   I have done this with clear sugar each time, but I am not sure if it is all that necessary because you can’t really see the sugar.  However, around the holidays I think it would look very nice with some colored sugar.  Cut the logs into discs about 1/2 inch thick.

Place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment.  Bake for 17-20 minutes at 350 degrees.

When done, they should be lightly browned on the sides and bottom of the cookie.

Coming up in future blog posts: Madeline cookies and recipes by Pierre Herme–keep reading!

Dill! Biscuits and Vegetable Salad

The other day I got a bunch of fresh dill, and I have been making good use of it ever since.  Two of the better things I made were dill buttermilk biscuits and a dill vegetable salad.  Both reminded me that once again summer will come, as will my organic farm share, and I will be able to eat fresh herbs and vegetables all the time.  I can’t wait!

Dill Buttermilk Biscuits:

This recipe makes about 6 biscuits.  It is made in the food processor so it is nice and easy.  It is important that you eat this biscuits right away; that is when they taste by far the best.

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 T. fresh dill (can use more or less depending on taste)

1/4 cup buttermilk (can use sour milk if you don’t have buttermilk)

1 T. sugar

2 t. baking powder

3/4 t. salt

1/2 t. baking soda

1 stick butter, cut into 8 pieces

a little more than 1/2 c. whole milk

Method:

Heat the oven to 450 degrees

Pulse the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a food processor to combine.  Scatter the butter over the dry ingredients. Pulse until it looks like course meal.

Transfer the flour/butter mixture into a bowl.  Pour the milks over it and stir until the dough comes together.  Be careful not to over mix! Pour out the dough and knead for about 30 seconds.

Using a biscuit cutter, or in my case, a low ball bourbon glass, cut circles out of the dough.  It should be about 1 inch thick and 2 and a half inches wide.  Space them out on a cookie sheet and bake for 5 minutes at 450, then reduce the heat to 400 and bake another 12-15 minutes.

Cool slightly on a wire rack.  But do eat while still warm, they are much much better.

We made little sandwiches out of these biscuits.  We put ham, dill mustard, and white cheddar on them.

Vegetable Salad

I have made this salad many times, but I had never made it with dill before (usually I use tarragon or sage).  It is a great salad that you can make with a variety of different vegetables.  This time I used broccoli, cauliflower, and black olives, but other favorites include orange peppers and artichokes.

1/2 head of broccoli

1/2 head of cauliflower

2/3 can of black olives

1/3 cup olive oil

1/2 cup vinegar (I generally use white wine vinegar, but you can use whatever kind you like most, though I would avoid balsamic)

3 T. mustard (for this recipe I used dill mustard)

1 T. sugar

salt and pepper to taste

Steam the vegetables so they are still crisp.  You can use a steamer if you have one.  Since I do not, I put a strainer in a pot of water and steam them that way.  It works pretty well.

I mix all the non-vegetable ingredients together with an immersion blender, a regular blender would work just fine.  Pour it over the steamed vegetables and let marinade for at least three hours in the fridge.