Sunday, December 20, 2009

Easy Company Coffee Cake

I got the idea of using Pillsbury biscuits as the base of coffee cake from Paula Deen. Because I don't use as much butter as she does, and I prefer cinnamon and sugar to coffee and citrus, I changed up her recipe to create my own deliciousness. This is seriously easy to make...and it's perfect for breakfast when you have company.

2 T butter, melted
1 (16.3-ounce) can refrigerated biscuits (recommended: Pillsbury Grands Flaky Layers)
1/4 cup minced walnuts
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons milk, or more, as necessary

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan.

Separate the biscuit dough into 8 biscuits. Place one biscuit in the center of the pan. Arrange the remaining biscuits around the center.

In a small bowl, combine the walnuts, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Add melted butter. Mix well. Sprinkle over biscuits. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

In a small bowl combine confectioners' sugar, cream cheese, and milk. Blend until smooth adding more milk, if needed, to thin. Drizzle glaze over the warm coffee cake and serve.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Panzanella Salad

When we were in Italy in April 2008, I fell in love with Panzanella salad (Tuscan bread salad). I'd never had anything quite like it, and haven't since. Every place I order it has soggy bread or it's too bland. So I created my own without soggy bread, the freshest veggies, and just the right amount of texture. In Tuscany, though, you won't get it with cucumbers and it'll have basil instead of parsley. You will love this recipe!

1/2 loaf day old French bread
1 pint grape tomatoes
1 cucumber, cut into bite sizes
1 container of mozzarella balls
2 T garlic
1/4 C balsamic vinegar
1/4 C olive oil

In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, cucumber, mozzarella, garlic, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. Stir until well coated. Let marinate at least an hour; can be kept overnight.

In a large skillet, warm up enough olive oil to coat the bottom. Cut the bread into bite sizes and, working in batches, cook on all sides until golden brown. Transfer to plate and season with salt and pepper. Do the next batch - you'll likely have to add more olive oil - until all of the bread has been toasted and seasoned.

Place the bread on the bottom of a medium-sized platter. Using a slotted spoon, place the marinated veggies and cheese on top. Add the liquid from the bowl on top and around the sides, just enough to season the bread, but not make it soggy. Top with parsley for color and serve.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Blue Cheese Crusted Steaks

I don't have a photo of this new concoction, but next time I make it, I'll take one and load it up then. I also haven't measured the ingredients, which I'll also do next time, but have had several people ask me for the recipe so you'll get it without exact measurements right now.

A few weeks ago, we were at Whole Foods, trying to decide what to have for dinner. I was hanging out with the cheese monger, trying different blues. Kelly wanted a steak so he got a N.Y. strip and I got my cheese and we came home. I ate the cheese and decided to crust his steak with some of it, as well. Following is the deliciousness it became.

Moody blue cheese (get the Moody blue - it makes a huge difference)
Bread crumbs
N.Y. strip steak

Season the steak with salt, pepper, and garlic salt on both sides. Let sit for 15 minutes. Then cook or grill the steak as you like it (about four minutes per side for medium rare). In a small bowl, crumble enough blue cheese that it looks like it will cover the top of the steak. Then pour in enough bread crumbs to mix with the blue cheese, but only about 1/4-1/2 the amount of the cheese. You just want enough to hold the cheese together. Then press it gently into the top of the steak. Under a broiler, melt the cheese on the steak. Just long enough that it begins to brown. Serve immediately.