Strawberry Panna Cotta

If you use non-dairy milk this is a vegan treat because it sets with kanten, the seaweed gelatine. 

Combine and let sit in saucepan for 10 minutes:
2 C pureed strawberries
1 C milk (rice milk, strained almond milk, or cream or milk)
3/4 tea kanten/agar-agar powder
1-2 TB sugar (to taste)

Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer for a few minutes, stirring until kanten is incorporated.

Pour into lightly greased individual ramekins. Chill until set (40 min to an hour).

When ready to serve, carefully remove panna cotta from ramekins and invert onto serving plates.


Ways to use old bread

Don't throw it out! May be able to spritz with water and microwave to (partially) revive. Or if it's too stale for that, make:
  1. crutons/croutons: great for punching up salad, tossing over soup, eating out of hand like chex mix
  2. bread crumbs: use for breaded goat cheese or for breading and baking fish (breaded cod) or chicken
  3. bread pudding: see bagel bread pudding or molasses bread pudding- you can really sub any type of bread in, just be careful about breads with garlic or strong herbs
  4. sauces
  5. bread salad: tomato salad with chunks of bread that soak up the tomato juice and dressing
  6. dips: Lori's heavenly roasted red pepper dip

What to do with egg yolks or whites and leftover eggs

I tend to make recipes where you use part of the egg and you end up with extras left over! Here is a collection of ways to use extra eggs.

Ways to use any leftover eggs (yolks or whites):
  1. Use extra eggs in an omlette, quiche, fritata, or scrambled eggs. You can even use the cooked eggs/fritata in a sandwich like Lovejoy Bakery's fritata sandwich. Or in eggy quesadillas.
  2. french toast batter
  3. bread pudding batter

Ways to use egg YOLKS:
  1. Mix extra yolks into sweet/rich bread doughs, like cinnamon rolls, brioche, crescent rolls
  2. Add to pudding, like earl grey pudding, tapioca or chocolate pudding before cooking
  3. pastry cream
  4. Add to yellow cake for richness
  5. souffles
  6. lemon curd or lemon bars or these strawberry lemon bars

Ways to use egg WHITES:
  1. meringues: mini meringue cookies, meringue topping for pie or baked alaska
    1. meringue cookies: whip until foamy, then slowly add 1/4 C powdered sugar for each egg white and 1/2 tsp baking powder, whip until stiff peaks. Then spoon onto parchment lined baking sheet, bake 250 F for 1 hour and then let rest in turned off oven for a couple hours to dry. 
  2. marshmallows
  3. coconut macaroons
  4. coating nuts, like coconut roasted almonds
  5. egg wash over rolls and breads or cookies
  6. beaten to peaks and added to waffle batter
  7. beaten to peaks and added to white cakes like lavender cake, milk tea cupcakes, angel food, roll cakes, or chiffon cakes


Chocolate Cream Pie

This is a great make-ahead pie, and won't heat up your kitchen, so it is perfect for the summer! The most work is making the filling, which is chocolate pudding in this case, or you could use a flavored pastry cream for the filling instead of the chocolate and make other flavors of cream pie.

Make the cookie crumb crust
Crunch chocolate grahams, wafer cookies or sandwich cookies into crumbs, then pour in melted butter until forms a sort of dough.

If you don't have cookies or grahams for the crust, you can make cookies and then crumble them into the crust.

Press cookie crust into the pie pan and set aside. Or you can put the cookie crust into the bottom of individual glass cups or tumblers.

Chocolate Pudding
Chocolate cream pie filling is really just a rich chocolate pudding (see below), or you can make a "chocolate fool" which would be more of a chocolate sauce folded into whipped cream.

Put 7 oz of bittersweet chocolate and 2 TB butter in a heat proof bowl and microwave gently until mostly melted. Stir until the entire bowl of chocolate is combined and melty. Now add 1 TB vanilla, stir and set aside.

Mix together until combined in a large saucepan on the counter:
4 egg yolks
1/4 C cornstarch
2/3 C sugar
1/2 tea salt

Now add in a stream 3 cups of milk or cream while whisking. I used 1.5 C half and half, 1 C heavy/whipping cream, and 0.5 C rice milk, but the original recipe called for 3 C whole milk.

Put the saucepan with the milk mixture on the stove, over medium heat. Bring to boiling, stirring occasionally to scrape the scum off the bottom of the pot.

Once it boils, turn heat down a little to simmering and cook, stirring/whisking constantly for 1-2 minutes, until it thickens up a bit.

Turn off heat, pour chocolate into saucepan and stir to combine.

Pour pudding into another bowl, cover with wrap (plastic wrap or wax paper) and chill until set, 1-2 hrs.

Assembling the Pie
Pour the chilled pudding/filling into the crumb crust, either in individual cups or a pie pan, spooning to level out the pudding. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

When ready to serve, start whipping cream in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, adding vanilla and 1 TB sugar once it is half-way whipped.

Top slices of pie with whipped cream, melted chocolate, cream anglaise sauce, or serve as is!


Crescent Rolls over the BBQ

Crescent rolls do not sound like something I'd like at all. But that's where silly childhood memories come to help round out food likes and dislikes. I remember rolling the canned crescent roll dough around sticks (with aluminum foil of course), then baking over the campfire when I was a kid. It tasted so good, I was almost compelled to buy some of the crappy stuff in the can from the store, until I realized I could try making the dough! I started with this recipe and made the usual modifications for whole wheat flours.

Crescent rolls are really good as is or with butter, jam, guava or apple butter. Serve with hot tea, iced tea or coffee.

1/2 oz (2 packets) dry yeast
3/4 C warm water

Now add and mix lightly to break up the egg:
2 TB to 1/4 C sugar
1 tea salt
2-3 eggs

Add and mix to combine, using your hands to incorporate the shortening:
1 C whole wheat pastry flour
3 C all purpose flour
1/2 C shortening

Mix and knead until forms a consistent stretchy dough, about 4 minutes. Cover and let rise for 1.5 hrs.

Split dough into two balls. Flatten each ball and roll out until 1/4" thick. Cut into triangles.

Cover flat dough and let rise 20-30 minutes at room temp. Prepare some large sticks with aluminum foil on the end to cover the stick. Roll dough around the aluminum covered stick, and place over hot coals or fire until golden brown and done.

Coat the top of the flattened dough with melted butter. Roll up from the widest side of the triangle to the shortest, forming a crescent or croissant shape. Let rise for 30 minutes.

Bake at 400 degrees for 10-14 minutes until golden brown.

Variations- fill the crescent dough with the following before cooking:
  • garlic, oregano, seasoned salt, parmesan cheese and finley chopped nuts (hazelnuts or almonds)
  • cinnamon and nuts (pecans, walnuts)


Banana Cake (with cream cheese frosting)

This is a really delicious way to use up old bananas-- and it is better than banana bread, I promise!
Once bananas start to go bad, I just toss them in the freezer. When you are ready to make banana bread, muffins, or this cake, you can just thaw them for 20-30 seconds in the microwave and then gently peel to remove the banana flesh.

I like this recipe because it uses buttermilk, and has a cream cheese frosting. Editorial note: cream cheese frosting is the only way to go, especially with bananas!
My friend from Lorisan Cooks and I used this recipe, and baked for 35+ minutes in two 8" circular pans.

Cutting each layer into two thinner slices yielded a 4 layer cake. Like my mother, I use the "wax paper method" for keeping a clean cake pan- see this photo for details:
The frosting in the recipe made quite enough to frost all 3 layers and the top and sides. We added vanilla beans to the frosting, which was nice but not necessary.

Carrot Juice!

Just because it is fun-- carrot juice is delicious! This particular batch was several carrots, an apple, and some ginger. Yum!