Recipes

Celebrate the Taste of New Orleans with King Cake!

King Cake PicThe King Cake is a New Orleans tradition that involves a party, as pastry, and a plastic baby baked in a cake. Really, that’s it. As the tradition goes, a small plastic baby is hidden inside the cake; the person who gets the slice with the baby baked inside is the party host the following year.

It’s no secret that I love sweets, but I’m an average baker – at best. Below is a super awesome recipe I found some years ago, it’s easy enough and tastes great. This recipe makes a standard 8 serving cake. You can double the ingredients if you’d like to make more than one cake. If you have a favorite recipe, send it my way. I’d love to try something new too!

PASTRY:

1/2 cup milk

2 tablespoons butter

1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast

1/3 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)

1/4 cup white sugar

1 egg

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

FILLING:

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/3 cup chopped pecans

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup raisins

1/4 cup melted butter

FROSTING:

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

1-1/2 teaspoons water

Directions

Scald milk, remove from heat and stir in 2 tablespoons of butter. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature. In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in the warm water with 1 tablespoon of the white sugar. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

When yeast mixture is bubbling, add the cooled milk mixture. Whisk in the eggs. Stir in the remaining white sugar, salt and nutmeg. Beat the flour into the milk/egg mixture 1 cup at a time. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 2 hours, then punch down the dough.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper.

To Make Filling: Combine the brown sugar, ground cinnamon, chopped pecans, 1/4 cup flour and 1/4 cup raisins. Pour 1/4 cup melted butter over the cinnamon mixture and mix until crumbly.

Roll dough out into large rectangle (approximately 10×16 inches or so). Sprinkle the filling evenly over the dough and roll up tightly like a jelly roll, beginning at the wide side. Bring the ends of each roll together to form an oval shaped ring. Place the ring on a prepared cookie sheet. With scissors make cuts 1/3 of the way through the ring at 1 inch intervals. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Push the doll into the bottom of the cake. Frost while warm with the confectioners’ sugar blended with 1 to 2 teaspoons of water. Sprinkle with purple, green and gold sugar, or decorate with whole pecans and candied cherries.

Note: Be sure to tell everyone to inspect their piece of cake before they begin eating it. To be extra careful, use a plastic toy baby that is too large to swallow!

A Jigg’s Dinner Recipe for Beginners

St Patricks Day CatAh, St. Patrick’s Day! Is there anyone that doesn’t love this holiday? This year, I’ve decided to retire the green bear and shamrock shaped sunglasses, for a traditional Jigg’s Dinner. For those of you who don’t know, Jiggs’ Dinner – also known as boiled dinner – is a traditional meal that consists of salt beef, various root veggies, pea pudding, and more often than not, some kind of dessert.

In light of my ignorance to the whole affair, and with St. Patrick’s Day around the corner, I thought it would be interesting to see what it was all about. I mean, “boiled dinner,” how hard could it be? As it turns out, much harder than you might think if you want the real Newfoundland version. In addition, I have a strong aversion to meat that comes in a can, as salt beef does.

Luckily, I found a New England version that requires just one pot and consists of corned beef or plain beef brisket with cabbage, carrots and potatoes. Below you’ll find the very beginner-friendly recipe I intent to follow this St. Paddy’s Day.

Ingredients

1 corned beef brisket with spice packet (3 pounds)

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

2 bay leaves

2 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered

3 medium carrots, quartered

1 medium onion, cut into 6 wedges

1 small head green cabbage, cut into 6 wedges

Prepared horseradish or mustard, optional

Directions

  1. Place the brisket and contents of spice packet in a Dutch oven. Add the peppercorns, bay leaves and enough water to cover; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 2 hours or until meat is almost tender.
  2. Add potatoes, carrots and onion; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add cabbage, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Discard bay leaves and peppercorns. Thinly slice meat; serve with vegetables and horseradish or mustard if desired.

Yield: 6 servings.

How to Plan a Mother’s Day Celebration

BrunchMother’s Day is right around the corner and you know what that means? Food!

My brother, sister and I celebrate Mother’s Day with our respective families, and then we head over to our parent’s house to celebrate our mom. We literally feast the entire day. I couldn’t ask for a better way to celebrate being a mom.

Thinking about celebrating the fabulous lady in your life? Here are a few steps for planning the best brunch, lunch or dinner before the weekend:

  1. Scout out recipes. My family loves brunch so I love to Pin recipes that we haven’t tried or start digging through my cookbooks in advance. I like to offer something sweet, and salty, and tater tots…with my family there is always tater tots. Check out Burkett’s Pinterest Board for weekend breakfast ideas. Also, I’ve included two recipes that will be part of my Mother’s Day brunch this year at the bottom of this post.
  2. Plan your menu. Once you’ve bookmarked, dog-eared, and pinned all the delicious recipes you can find, pick 3-4 options you want to make. I like cooking, but my sister prefers her kids cook for her. There are plenty of meals that are easy for kids to help make. Add one or two to your menu.
  3. Develop a meal prep timeline. There is nothing worse than not being able to enjoy yourself during a party or gathering because you’re stuck in the kitchen. Develop a plan of attack and start getting tasks out of the way a couple of days ahead.  Serving drinks? Make the mix the day before. Sausage patties? They can be frozen one or two days ahead. Baking a cake? Store it unfrosted in an airtight container for up to 24 hours. Get yourself organized so you can enjoy the day!

Ready to start shopping? Get to the grocery and pick up the necessary ingredients. Ensure you have the appropriate kitchen supplies as well. Burkett Restaurant Equipment carries all the baking supplies, catering equipment and cookware you could ever need. Now get your mother some flowers and get to work!

As mentioned above, here are two recipes from my Mother’s Day brunch this year.

Tex-Mex Migas:

Migas con huevos is a delightful and simple Tex-Mex breakfast made of scrambled eggs and tortilla strips. Don’t be intimidated by this list of ingredients. I like mine chock full of veggies, but you can tweak it to meet your preferences.

1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium white onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
2-3 green onions, white and green parts, chopped
1 medium jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed and finely chopped
8 eggs, beaten
4 large handfuls of tortilla chips, lightly broken up
kosher salt
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until lightly browned. Add pepper, green onions, and jalapeño and continue to cook until softened, 2-3 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the eggs in a large bowl and whisk until smooth.  Lower the heat to medium-low, add the eggs and stir to incorporate. Add tortilla chips and gently stir breaking up the eggs to create a scramble. Season with salt, sprinkle with cheese, and serve.

Giant Chocolate Chip layered cookie cake

I found this recipe from Martha Stewart here.

4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs plus 2 egg yolks
3/4 heavy cream
2 cups chocolate chips
2 pounds (4 8-ounce packages) cream cheese
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Put butter and brown and granulated sugars into mixer bowl; mix on medium until pale and fluffy. Mix in vanilla, eggs, and yolks. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with the cream. Stir in chocolate chips.
  2. For each of the 5 layers, drop 1 level cup batter onto center of a baking sheet lined with parchment (keep unbaked dough refrigerated). Using a small offset spatula, spread into an 8-inch circle. Bake until edges are pale golden brown, about 12 minutes. Remove from oven. Use offset spatula to reshape circle. Return to oven; bake until edges are golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes more. Transfer to wire rack; let cool. Can be stored airtight up to 1 day.
  3. Mix cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar in clean mixer bowl on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Spread onto 4 cookies. Stack cookies, placing unfrosted cookie on top. Refrigerate until frosting is set, at least 20 minutes or up to 4 hours. Serve at room temperature.

Beer Bread Recipe Made with Draft Beer

A well-poured mug of beer is not just for drinking (although it sure does taste delicious!). There are a variety of recipes that can be made with beer. From Beer Dip, to Beer Bread and even Chili, beer adds a bit of a kick to many recipes. Here’s one of my favorite recipes for Beer Bread. Keep in mind this can also be made with bottled beer or Alcohol-Free Beer if you prefer.

Swiss Beer Bread (Makes 1 loaf)

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces Swiss cheese
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 12 oz Draft Beer (or bottled or Alcohol-Free Beer)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
Directions:
  1. Divide cheese in half. Cut half of cheese into 1/4-inch cubes. Shred remaining cheese.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and pepper. Stir beer into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in cheese.
  3. Transfer to a greased 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pan. Drizzle with butter.
  4. Bake at 375° for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. 

Making Guacamole Is Easy With A Versatile Immersion Blender

Avocados have seen a resurgence in recent years, including having their own national holiday. Whip up large batches of guacamole, salsa or refried beans to tantalize your customers’ taste buds anytime with the help of the incredibly versatile immersion blender.

Guacamole (Makes 2/3 cup)

  • 1 Clove Garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 Green Onion, trimmed, cut in 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 Jalapeño, seeded, cored and cut in 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 Ripe Avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 1T Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1/4t Cumin Powder
  • 1/4t Coriander
  • 1/4t Salt
  • Chopped Tomatoes, Red Onions, and Queso Fresco, for topping
  • Tortilla Chips

Directions:

  1. Insert Waring WSB33X Immersion Blender into a mixing bowl.
  2. Add garlic, onion, and jalapeño to bowl and pulse 10-12 times. Add avocado, lime, cumin, and salt. Pulse 10 times to chop avocados. Then blend continuously in 20-30 second intervals until desired consistency is reached.
  3. Scoop into a serving bowl.
  4. Chill for 30  minutes.
  5. Serve topped with tomatoes, red onions, Queso Fresco and a side of tortillas.
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