Favorite Things

Celebration Spring Supper

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Spring has finally sprung!   Time to get all of your family and friends out of hibernation and into the dining room to enjoy a special Spring celebration dinner.   This delicious menu also is terrific as an Easter buffet.  (Find my story with additional recipes in the front page of the April 9, 2017 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel food section)

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Spring Pea and Preserved Lemon Mash Crostini

For starters, wow your guests with a bright green crostini made with smashed spring peas and preserved lemons.   Although preserved lemons are easy to make, they do take about 6 weeks in the frig before they are ready.  Luckily many specialty food stores carry this delicious tart Moroccan culinary treats.

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Roast Salmon with Herbes de Provence Bread Crumb Coating

For a change of pace from the traditional lamb or ham spring dinner, try your hand at preparing a delicious roast salmon.    Roasting the fish makes it easy to prepare for a large group.   The addition of herbes de Provence (a French blend of savory, thyme, rosemary, basil and lavender) adds a nice crunch to the dish.

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Spring Easter Egg Nest Cake

Finish off the meal with a stunning dessert – a spring Easter egg nest cake.    A simple white cake with white buttercream is transformed into a spring showpiece complete with an edible nest made with green candy straw and filled with speckled malted milk ball eggs.   Who knew that edible Easter grass existed?   I found mine in the Easter candy section of my local Walmart.   It even came with cut-out edible bunnies.

Wishing you and your family all the best for a delicious spring supper.   Bon Appetite!

Posted in Appetizers, Desserts, Entrees, Favorite Things, Holiday & Entertaining, Recipes, sides

Cooking for the birds

I have a special affinity for birds.   My father, Earl Reitz, along with my grandfather Mathew Reitz, ran a successful feed company in Hammond, Indiana when I was growing up.   Making bird seed blends for various national companies was one of the many items the company produced.  As an homage to my late father and grandfather and a tribute to their company, MGR Feed, I frequently make homemade bird seed wreaths formed in, what else, a bundt pan.

You probably have seen decorative bird seed wreaths in fancy gardening catelogs or garden shops.    With a bag of bird seed, a packet of Knox-brand unflavored gelatin, a few tablespoon of corn syrup and some flour, you can make your own bird seed wreath with your trusty fluted Bundt pan.

The gelatin and flour mixture becomes an edible glue that, when mixed with your favorite bird seed blend, creates a mixture that gets tightly packed into the greased tube pan.   Let the wreath dry out for a minimum of 24 hours in a cool place in your home.   It may look dry sooner, but trust me, it won’t be ready.   A 5-pound bag of bird seed will yield 3 bird seed wreaths.

Once dry, simply unmold (I unmold mine on a sheet of parchment or waxed paper to pick up any excess bird seed) and tie with decorative ribbon.  A perfect gift for the bird lover in your family as well as a delicious treat for those backyard feathered friends.

20161219_205514405_iOSBirdie Bundt Wreath
Makes 1 8-inch wreath

1 packet (¼ ounce) unflavored gelatin
½ cup warm water
¾ cup flour
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
4 cups birdseed mix
½ cup dried red fruit like dried cherries or cranberries

  • In a large bowl, mix gelatin and water.  Add flour and corn syrup; stir with rubber spatula to form a thick paste.   Add bird seed; mix to coat all seeds.
  • Spray top and side of a 12-cup bundt or fluted tube pan with non-stick food spray.  Distribute dried fruit on bottom of pan.  Press seed mixture firmly into pan.
  • Place pan in cool area; let dry for 24 hours.   Carefully flip pan and remove wreath.  Tie ribbon on top of wreath.  Hang on tree branch for birds to enjoy.

 

Posted in Favorite Things, Holiday & Entertaining, Recipes

Start the New Year with a lobster soufflé!

So you think your holiday cooking is over?  Wrong……

Just when you’ve cleaned up your kitchen and waived at that last relative’s car pulling out of the driveway, New Year’s Eve creeps up on you.   

Make something special this New Year’s Eve.   Try my stuffed lobster tail recipe.   You can use a smaller, less expensive lobster tail for this recipe.   Plus, it can be used as a terrific first coarse (just one half needed per person) or as an entree (alone or with a small filet for a surf and turf.)   You can make the stuffing ahead but not stuff the tails until about one hour before cooking.

I have had a terrific 2014 and hope you have too!  See you in 2015……..

STUFFED LOBSTER TAILS
Serves 6 entrée portions or 12 appetizer portions to serve with a surf and turf

  • Six 4 to 5-ounce lobster tails
  • 2 large egg whites
  • Approximately 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 3 tablespoons softened melted butter
  • 2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning, divided

To prepare the lobster soufflé- Cut the lobster tails in half.  Carefully remove the meat.  Set the shells aside. shell side down, on a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet.

Place the lobster meat into the processor.  Pulse about 15 seconds.  Add the egg whites.  Slowly add 1/2 cup of the cream and pulse until smooth.  Do not over pulse.  Add 1/2 cup of the Panko along with the salt, white pepper and 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning.  Pulse just to combine  The mixture should be soft, but stiff enough to make a “peak” when lifted with a spoon.  If needed, add a little more cream or a little more Panko to get a mixture that peaks when you put a spoon in it and lift up.   Because the size of the lobster tails differs, it is hard to provide an exact measurement.

Place in bowl and season the chopped chives.

 Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush the lobster shells (inside) lightly with the softened butter.

Fill each shell evenly. Place on the prepared baking pan.  Sprinkle with remaining Old Bay seasoning.

Bake until lightly browned on top and cooked through ….. about 12 – 14 minutes depending on size of the tails. 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Entrees, Favorite Things, Holiday & Entertaining