Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Ham, Egg and Cheese Strata


I made a large Strata a few years ago when my brother was in town and it was well loved by everyone. I decided it was time I gave it another whirl. It is easy and I am letting it sit overnight and then I will just pop it in the oven tomorrow, pair with some fresh fruit and I am done!

Super easy breakfast if you are having friends over or even for Christmas Morning!

You can mix and match the meats and cheeses to your liking and to make it even more healthful you can use fake egg product.

1 loaf french bread
12 eggs
1/2 cup half and half, (or you can use 2.5 cups whole milk and skip the half and half)
2 cups whole milk
1 ham steak cubed
1 Jalapeno, diced small (optional)
3 cups Shredded cheese of your choice I used a cheddar jack mixture
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp Cayenne
1/2 tsp tarragon
1 tsp dried or fresh chives
1 red bell pepper cubed
bunch of green onions chopped

You will need a 9X13 pan, greased and pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

cut the bread into thick slices and butter each slice, then cube, place into greased pan, continue until the bottom of the 9X13 baking dish is completely covered and then some

Sprinkle your ham, onions, red bell pepper over the bread

Sprinkle on a half of your cheese

In a bowl, break your 12 eggs and add your milk and heavy cream and spices and beat until well incorporated. Pour over the bread mixture it should come to the top edge of the bread/ham/cheese.

Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until your knife comes out clean, place the remaining cheese on and remove from oven. Let sit for 5 minutes or so and the cheese will melt and the strata will firm up.

(or do as I did and after combined leave in the fridge overnight and cook at 350 degrees for 50 to 55 minutes or a knife comes out clean)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Popovers


I am a fiend for Popovers and my husband who is my weekend Chef/Slave makes super gourmet breakfasts for me on the weekends.

He finally broke down and purchased a Popover Pan, what a difference it makes, they are huge and really puff up.  We used to use a cupcake pan, but it is worth the money to get a Popover Pan even though we don't normally buy single use kitchen tools!

Ingredients

3 tablespoons melted butter, divided (hubby used melted Coconut Oil)
2 eggs
1 cup milk, warmed for 30 seconds in the microwave (should be lukewarm to warm)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
(We like to fill them with fresh Strawberries or Homemade Strawberry jam!

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Using a pastry brush, coat 8 muffin cups with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter (we used melted Coconut Oil) and put the tin in the oven for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the eggs in a blender until light yellow. (we just used a bowl and whipped them very well)

Add the warmed milk and blend. Add the flour, salt and remaining melted butter (we used Coconut Oil) and blend until smooth.

Pour the batter into the warmed muffin tin and return it to the oven to bake until golden, about 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve warm.

Note: I found 35 minutes was too long and they were a little dark, next time we will do 30 minutes.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Milk Chocolate, Heath Bar Cake with Whipped Cream Frosting


I have a dear friend and I make him a birthday cake for his birthday every year. Each year I try to outdo the previous year.  For his 2014 cake, I decided it would be 4 layers, and  a Golf themed cake.  He is an avid golfer.  This particular cake was made with Milk Chocolate Cake Mix, 9 Heath Bars, nearly a jar of Caramel and tons of Whipped Cream Frosting.

I start with Boxed Cake Mix, and I don't care what anyone says, it is pretty hard to taste the difference.  My Aunt made hundreds of wedding cakes and used a box mix on every one of them. Instead of the water I use Coffee, it amps up the Chocolate flavor.

If you want your cakes to be nice and flat and not dome up, you need to do two things, cook it at 325 degrees or less and cook it longer.  Also, you need some Bake Even Strips, you wet them and put them around the cake pans and the moisture in the strips helps keep your pan cooler and it will cook more evenly!

I baked the cakes the day before assembling and let them sit in the refrigerator overnight

Ingredients for a 4 layer cake

2 Boxes Milk Chocolate Cake Mix
9 Heath Bars crushed
1 quart Heavy Whipping Cream
1 pint Heavy Whipping Cream

Notes: 

1. Golf accessories were bought at a craft store
2. I also purchased a special tip for my piping bag that makes grass
3. You will need Whipped Cream Stabilizer which you can buy at a cake or craft store

Make your cakes the day before, I used 2 nine inch cake pans.

First thing you need to do is carefully cut each cake in half, they have a special tool or you can use a large bread knife.

Get your base on the presentation platter or plate.  You may need to trim a bit off the tops to make them flat

Make your frosting, use a very cold bowl and beaters.  Read the instructions on the Whipped Cream Stabilizer to find out how much of that and how much sugar to use.  It calls for Powdered Sugar but I used regular and it worked just fine.

In between the 1st, 2nd and 3rd layers, I used frosting and sprinkled on the crushed Heath Bars.

Prior to frosting the 3rd layer, use a chop stick and place holes in the cake all the way to the bottom, then gently drizzle the caramel into those holes, they will fill right up, keep drizzling until they are full.

Place your layer of icing on top of the holes and place the top or 4th layer.

Frost the entire cake as you wish.

I saved back some frosting which I mixed with green gel food color to make the grass and a star tip for the edge around the bottom.



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