Sunday, March 31, 2013

Brown Butter Soda Bread



Brown Butter Soda Bread

Every Saint Patrick's Day, my family has to have Irish Soda Bread. It's tradition, and you can't mess with tradition. I typically bake a large batch in the morning for breakfast, where my family and I eat the bread hot from the oven with salted's truly to-die-for.  And then that night, we dip the bread in our corned beef and cabbage or stew or whatever Irish dinner we're having. Then, we have the leftovers for breakfast the following morning reheated with butter -- that is...if it makes it that long.

And I am pleased to announce that this is officially my favorite soda bread recipe. Why? Because of the browned butter

If you've never browned butter in a recipe before, here is your chance (and if you seriously haven't tried my Brown Butter Cookies, you really haven't lived yet). By browning the butter, you end up with a toasty, rich aroma that tastes so flavorful and savory. The rich flavor compliments the rosemary perfectly, and the whole wheat flour gives the bread an amazing texture. By brushing the top of the bread with olive oil before baking, you end up with wonderfully crisp edges, while the interior stays soft and fluffy.  You also get a delicious burst of sea salt and black pepper with every bite.

This is definitely going to be a staple in my house every Saint Patrick's Day!

*adapted from Epicurious

Yield: 2 loaves


  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried rosemary (or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper plus additional for topping
  • 1 3/4 cups buttermilk
  • Olive oil, for brushing
  • Sea salt

1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. 
2. Stir butter in heavy small saucepan over medium heat until melted and golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
3. Stir flour, oats, sugar, rosemary, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper in large bowl to blend. Pour buttermilk and melted browned butter over flour mixture; stir with fork until flour mixture is moistened.
4. Turn dough out onto floured work surface. Knead gently until dough comes together, about 7 turns (the goal is to work it as little as possible -- for a fluffy texture. If you work it too much it will become dense). Divide in half. Shape each half into ball; flatten each into 6-inch round. Place rounds on ungreased baking sheet, spacing 5 inches apart. Brush tops with olive oil. Sprinkle lightly with ground black pepper and sea salt. Using small sharp knife, cut 1/2-inch-deep X in top of each dough round.
5. Bake breads until deep golden brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40-45 minutes. Cool breads on rack at least 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Sweet Potato Oranges

I made these this past fall and I am SO excited to finally be posting them! When I was a baby, my favorite food was sweet potatoes -- I gobbled down so many baby food cans of mashed sweet potatoes...I just couldn't get enough! And now...I still LOVE them. I don't understand why people love regular baking potatoes so much. They are just bland and tasteless unless you add a bunch of cheese and sour cream, especially when compared with the magnificent sweet potato.  I was extremely happy with the flavor in this recipe; the potatoes compliment the oranges very well. And not only do these taste amazing, but they look absolutely fabulous and oh-so-impressive! Don't get me wrong...they were a bit of work -- having to scoop out the flesh of the oranges wasn't so easy. But it was totally worth it. The orange flavor is subtle and the brown sugar topping caramelizes the nuts, while seeping into the mashed potato mixture below. The result? Pure sweet potato bliss.

Yield: 6 servings

6 medium/large oranges
3 cups mashed, cooked sweet potatoes
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup loosely packed light brown sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup butter, softened, divided
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup (largely) chopped pecans

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Prepare oranges by cutting tops off, 1/4 to 1/2 inch down. Spoon out the flesh, leaving a shell.
  3. In a large bowl combine sweet potatoes, sugar, orange juice, eggs, vanilla extract, 1/2 cup butter and grated orange peel. Spoon mixture into orange shells. Place in a deep casserole dish.
  4. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine remaining 1/2 cup butter, brown sugar, flour and pecans. Cook until sugar dissolves in melted butter. Spoon over oranges. Fill casserole dish with water to reach 1/2 inch in depth.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Beef Bourguignon (Beef Stew With Red Wine)

Beef Bourguignon

Unfortunately, I do not know how to pronounce "Bourguignon." I wish I did.

However, I do know that this soup, despite the rather intimidating name, is fabulous. My mom declared it "the best beef stew [she has] ever tasted." The red wine gives this dish such a rich, flavorful, and soul-satisfying taste that will be sure to impress a crowd. After making this, I not only fell in love with the soup, but I realized that I absolutely adore pearl onions! They are so sweet and tasty, with a satisfying crunch that I had never experienced before. Also, t
here are a few key details to remember when making the stew: Be sure to brown the meat well in the beginning, use a good quality red wine that you would happily drink, and, if possible, make it a day in advance to let the flavors develop. Unlike a soft, mushy, murky stew, the components of this bourguignon stay intact just enough - so that you know what you're eating, but it still feels cohesive. My family be making this in big batches all winter long.

4-6 servings

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic, diced
1 teaspoon dried, crushed thyme
2 pounds cubed stewing beef (chuck or sirloin tip)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups red wine
1 cup beef broth
1 tomato, seeded and diced
2 cups pearl onions
1/4 pound bacon, cut into 1/2-inch strips
1/4 pound mushrooms quartered
2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
Buttered Egg Noodles (optional)


Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a Dutch oven or ovenproof stewpot, and sauté the onion, carrot, garlic, and thyme over medium heat until browned, 8 to 10 minutes. When the vegetables are nicely colored, transfer them to a bowl. Wipe out any little bits of vegetable clinging to the pan so they don't burn when you sear the beef.

Pat the meat cubes dry and season them with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Add 1/2 tablespoon of the oil to the pan and sear the beef in batches over high heat until it is a rich mahogany brown on all sides. This will take approximately 5 to 7 minutes depending on the thickness of the meat. Cubes tightly packed in the pan won't brown properly. Clean out any juices which are released before the next batch. Over high heat add 1/2 tablespoon of oil for each batch, then sauté the meat until browned on all sides.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Return the vegetables and the meat to the pan, dust the meat and vegetables with the flour, and cook for 2 minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently. Toasting the flour helps to develop the overall flavor of the stew. Add 2 cups of the red wine to cover the beef and bring to a boil. Add the tomato and season the stew with the rest of the salt and pepper. 

Place the stew in a crock put set for low and cook 7-8 hours, or until the meat is tender. (If as the stew simmers the wine reduces below the meat, add a little water.)

After at least 3 hours, bring a medium pot of water to a boil. To peel the pearl onions, trim the roots and make a small X with a paring knife in the other end. Boil the onions for 3 minutes, spoon them out, and set them aside to cool. Then squeeze the onions out of their skins. In the same water, blanch the bacon pieces for 3 to 4 minutes, and keep any grease.

Heat a separate medium skillet, add the remaining oil, and brown the bacon and onions. Add the mushrooms and cook over high heat until golden brown. Pour any excess fat into the slow cooker.  Add the final cup of red wine to the vegetables, and simmer until the onions are tender, about 10 minutes. Add this mixture to the slow cooker.

When the beef is tender, pour the stew into a warm bowl, dust with the minced parsley, and serve with buttered noodles if desired, or crusty bread.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Italian Cream Pancakes

Italian Cream Pancakes Recipe

I know I haven't posted in a while...I've been super busy with school work (junior year is killing me), but now it's FINALLY time for Spring Break! I will try my best to post at least one recipe each day because there are so many recipes I've been meaning to post and I know I am super behind. For my first post in a while, I have decided to present to you these incredible, sweet, nutty pancakes topped with a decadent cream cheese glaze. 

Yes, they are just as delicious as they sound. I promise.

If you've never tasted Italian Cream Cake, then you totally need to. Like...immediately. can start with this breakfast recipe! These pancakes seriously taste just like Italian Cream Cake, only hot and in heavenly pancake form, with warm glaze oozing all over them. Coconut, cream cheese frosting, and pecans are the most perfect combination perhaps in the entire world, and they taste scrumptious in this recipe.  Not to mention, toasting ] the pecans give the pancakes a wonderful nutty-ness that tastes so warm and comforting.

There were no leftovers when I made these for my family, and I'm sure the same thing will happen for you.

You can find this decadent recipe here.