November 15, 2012

Truffled Bread Pudding with Brioche and Gruyere

I hope to  continue my series on recipes that picture "Pure Michigan"  however, I haven't had time to develop anything new this week.
In searching through my old recipes in preparation for the holidays, I was excited to come upon another favorite.
 I read the recipe through, and my heart started beating in anticipation.  Not many recipes do that! Well.... not too many!  Don't be intimidated...Try it.  It's not  labor intensive, just a few extra steps in the process. I also added a lesson on cooking poached eggs.  Maybe I'll start a series on eggs...I'm in the mood now.  Eggs Benedict anyone?

6 servings


For the Truffle Bread Pudding

  • 1 pound loaf brioche(Challah is an option as well)
  • 4 cups milk
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 truffle, sliced, optional (You may use a favorite FLAVORFUL) mushroom
  • 2 cups sliced morel mushrooms
  • 2 cups chopped button mushrooms
  • 2 cups sliced oyster mushrooms
  • 1 shallot, minced 
  • 4 cups grated Gruyere cheese
  • Salt and freshly grated black pepper
Poached Eggs
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
 For the Salad Garnish
  • 1 cup microgreens ( you can use baby greens, spring mix, Arugula, frisee)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1 tsp. agave nectar
  • splash of vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


For the mushroom and cheese brioche:
  1. Cut the brioche into 1-inch cubes.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk and eggs.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the cubed brioche, truffle peelings, and chopped thyme to the bowl.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight.

  1. In a skillet over medium-high heat, saute the morels, button, and oyster mushrooms with the shallots for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Add 1/2 the Gruyere cheese to the brioche mixture, then add the mushroom- shallot mixture to brioche and cheese mixture.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  1. Pour the bread pudding mixture in an oven-proof baking dish.
  2. Add the remaining cheese. Season with salt and pepper. 
  3. Bake for 45 minutes or until puffed and golden brown.

For the poached eggs:
Fill a saucepan with 3-inches cold water, add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil.

  1. As the water reaches the boiling point, reduce the heat and allow the water to simmer.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon vinegar to the water.
  3. Swirl the water around.
  4. Break the eggs into a small plate or bowl and gently slide it into the water with care,
  5. holding the plate as near to the water as possible before allowing the
  6. egg to slowly slip into the water.
  7. Once the eggs are in the water, you can help shape it using a spoon or spatula. Let the eggs cook for 3 to 3 1/2 minutes, allowing for the size of the egg and the preferred doneness of the egg yolks.
  8. Remove each egg with a slotted spoon and drain for a few seconds on kitchen paper.
  9. Trim any stringy or dangling bits with a knife or scissors, if you wish.

Serve the poached egg on top of the truffle bread and garnish with a little bit of the dressed microgreens

 Chefs note:
For your first attempt at preparing poached eggs, you may want to carefully break each egg onto a small cup, ramekin, plate or bowl before adding it to the water.

A perfectly poached egg has a lovely rounded shape, a soft yet firm white and a deliciously runny yolk. Time is of the essence when it comes to poaching eggs.

Problems will most definitely arise if the eggs are cooked at a temperature that is too high, if the eggs are not very fresh or if there is not enough water in the saucepan.

Use a saucepan or a deep frying pan, which allows you to fill it with about 3-inches of water. The eggs should be covered with water during cooking and the 3-inch depth of water ensures that the eggs will not stick to the pan.

Poached eggs must be cooked in water that is very gently bubbling or simmering. The water is first brought to the boil and then by turning the heat down on the cooker, is allowed to gently simmer. The eggs are carefully added to the pan at this point. If the water is boiling too fiercely, the eggs will be forced to move around too much, causing them to break up and lose their shape. A gentle simmer allows the egg to sit in one place throughout cooking and cook nicely.
By using the freshest eggs possible, eggs that are less than 4 days old, you are more likely to achieve a perfectly poached egg that keeps its shape. With a fresh egg, the white will stay close to the yolk and should not spread out thinly.

Vinegar should be added to the water as it begins to boil, as this will help the egg white to coagulate more quickly and form a neat and compact shape. Without the vinegar, disaster may occur. Use about 1 tablespoon vinegar for each pint of water. Bear in mind that the vinegar may slightly flavor the eggs, so do not use too much or a vinegar that is too strong, if you are not so keen on a vinegary tasting eggs.

November 2, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012 Menu

Roasted Brined Turkey
Baked Sweet Potato Casserole

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Mashed Potatoes
Corn Casserole

The Turkey 
Must begin process 3-4 days before roasting
A meat thermometer would be helpful.

As you read the instructions it might seem a bit overwhelming with lots of steps.  It’s not difficult at all and the best reason to do it this way>>>> you don’t have to  worry about the turkey while it is cooking.  It really is the best turkey I have made or tasted.  I learned everything from Alton Brown.  Here is a link to a video 

1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young  turkey

For the brine:

  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 gallon vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
  • 1 gallon heavily iced water. 
  • A large bucket or cooler to fit the turkey in
For the aromatics:
  • 1 red apple, sliced
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 6 leaves sage
  • Canola oil
Directions  2 to 3 days before roasting:
Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F. This will probably take 2- 3 days
For the brine:
Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.

The night before you'd like to eat:
  • Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket.
  •  Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.

  For Roasting: A meat thermometer would be very helpful

1.      Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.
2.      Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.
3.      Aromatics: Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes.
4.      Add steeped aromatics to the turkey's cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with canola oil
Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes.
5.     Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees F.
6.      A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting.
7.      Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving. 

Gravy (you can make this while your turkey is “resting”)
1.      Keep the drippings from your turkey
2.     Pour everything, including aromatics, into a sauce pan. 
3.      Bring to a boil. 
4.      Combine ½ cup flour and just enough water to make a runny paste. 
5.     Reduce heat and slowly add flour mixture, whisking to combine.  You may not need all of the flour mixture.  Use to a desired consistency. 
6.      Drain through a sieve. 
7.      You may also add about ¼ cup heavy cream
8.      Salt and pepper to taste. 

Sweet Potato Casserole
(Based on Ruth’s Chris recipe)

  • 1 ½  cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1 ½  cup chopped pecans
  • 1  cup butter -- melted  
Sweet Potato Mixture
  • 6 cups mashed BAKED sweet potatoes
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 ½  cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup  butter

1.  Combine brown sugar, flour, nuts and butter in mixing bowl. Set aside.
2.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3.  Combine sweet potatoes, sugar, salt, vanilla, eggs and butter in a mixing bowl in the order listed. 
Mix thoroughly.
4.  Pour mixture into buttered baking dish.
5.  Sprinkle the surface of the sweet potato mixture evenly with the crust mixture.
6.  Bake for 30 minutes. Allow to set at least 30 minutes before serving.
7.  This can be easily doubled

Homemade Cranberry Sauce
  • 2 cups cranberries
  • Juice and chopped zest of 1 orange
  • 1/4 cup Port
  • 1/2 cup sugar, or more if needed
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1teaspoon cornstarch
  1. In a small saucepan combine cranberries, orange juice and zest, port, sugar and cinnamon. 
  2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmering and cook until cranberries are tender, stirring occasionally. 
  3. In a small cup make a slurry with cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water. 
  4. Whisk cornstarch mixture into cranberry sauce and cook, whisking, until sauce thickens. 
  5. Taste and add more sugar, if necessary. 
Note:   I like small amounts of cooked fruit, so I pulse this in a blender or food processor before serving.  

Mashed Potatoes


·         4 pounds golden potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
·         1 bay leaf
·         2 cups heavy cream
·         6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
·         Salt and pepper to taste
·         2 tablespoons chopped chives  

  1. Put the potatoes into a large pot, add the bay leaf, 2 tablespoons salt, and cover with cold water. 
  2. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
  3. Drain them well and remove the bay leaf. 
  4. Meanwhile, heat the cream and 3 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan. 
  5. Mix the potatoes with hand beater or stand mixer to desired consistency. 
  6. Add remaining butter to help with beating. 
  7. Add the hot cream and season with salt and pepper.
  8. Top with chives.
Note:  I spoon the potatoes in a casserole dish, top with cold butter pats and place them in  the oven.  It keeps them warm and also forms a light “crust” on the top.  Garnish with chives just before serving. 

Corn Casserole


  •  1 can whole kernel yellow corn, undrained 
  •  1 can cream style yellow corn
  •  1 (8 oz.) carton sour cream
  •  2 eggs, beaten1 box
  • Jiffy corn muffin mix 
  • 1 stick butter, melted

Mix all together and pour into large, lightly oiled casserole dish. Bake at 350°F for 55 to 60 minutes.
I double and triple. 

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