Recipe: Mother’s Day Treat Bread Pudding with Fruit

Second Life Bread Pudding and Fruit
Mother’s Day Treat Bread Pudding and Fruit

So what do you do with the leftover egg mixture after making that Mother’s Day Treat French toast?

Throw it away, you may say.  But what if I say you can easily make a dessert out of it, by adding an extra cup of milk?

You can make a delicious bread pudding out of it!  You can even save some French bread from the toast and use in it.  One effort, two different recipes, one for brunch, one for dessert.  Ultimate cooking optimization!  Gotta love it!

I’m assuming you have already made some Mother’s Day Treat (Freezable) French Toast, and have about a cup of egg mixture left.  You don’t?  No worries!  You can still make this recipe from scratch, following the instructions underlined below. (Or you can choose to make both at once, starting from the French toast recipe, and freeze it all.)  This amount should be enough for a family of 4 for a little dessert after dinner.

Mother’s Day Treat Bread Pudding with fruit

  1. Add 1 cup milk and 1 TBS melted butter into leftover egg mixture from Freezable French Toast. (You should already have about 2/3 – 1 cup left).  Alternatively, mix 2 beaten eggs, 2 cup milk, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1 TBS melted butter and cinnamon in a bowl if you are starting from scratch.
  2. Add peeled, grated and drained apple and 1/4 cup chopped dried fruit and/or raisins into the egg mixture.
  3. Break white bread into bite-size pieces and place them in a buttered 5 to 6” baking dish or individual ramekins. (Remove the crust if it’s very thick) Pour the egg mixture and let it soak completely.  Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on top.
  4. Place the baking dish into a larger baking pan, and pour hot water into the outer pan to about half of the height of the egg mixture.  Bake in a 375-400F oven until set, and top is golden brown.  Serve warm or cold, with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, or without.

Optional: Omit apples/raisins/dried fruit if you don’t have any.  Or use melted bitter or semi-sweet chocolate instead.

So there you have an easy dessert for Mother’s day (or Mother’s Day prep-day) too!

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Aunt Else’s Aebleskiver Pan and Mix Review & Starter-Kit Give Away

   

Thank you so much for your comments on what do you think the pan is for, and what would you fill in these…
I was amazed by your creativity, and all the possibilities the pan offers.  Your answers certainly made me (and many others) very hungry… 

The answer is….  As quite a few of you guessed, Aebleskiver pan!   

You may ask “What is Aebleskiver?”  Aebleskiver are Danish round pancakes that are often eaten before Christmas. (<- Click here for Wikipedia definition of Aebleskiver.) 

As some of you may remember from my post of FoodBuzz Blogger Festival in November, the guy in the red outfit, living somewhere very cold up North sent the pan and mix around Thanksgiving as early Christmas presents.  This is one of the perks as a Featured Publisher at FoodBuzz.  I get to try many cool things and restaurants and write about it. 

This is my Skiver Santa, Chad Gillard from Aunt Else’s in Minnesota.  

   

I’ve been having fun with this every weekend, which I call Skiver Saturday or Skiver Sunday.  The best part is, these Aebleskivers are great not only for traditional apple slices, but with almost anything.  As you know, I love varieties and experimenting!  That’s why you may have already seen a few photos of them with many different things on top on Facebook, etc.  I never get bored.  And now I have even more ideas, thanks to you, I will be able to have fun with it for a very very long time! 

When I’m at home, these are the things I gather on typical weekend.   

Gorgonzola cheese, cheddar, chicken, sliced turkey, shrimp, cramberry apple batter, sauteed mirepoix and sauteed leeks. And of course one each of apple, banana and nutella.   

   

When we tried this first at our friends over Thanksgiving, I didn’t want to bother our friends with their computer password, I wanted to try so bad, I didn’t watch the video on AuntElse Website, they stuck really badly, and some of the got burnt as well.  Since then, My Skiver Santa has given me a pointer from the Northern land, so I now heat the pan for 10-15 min at low-medium heat as soon as I wake up.    

As soon as we pour the batter, it puffs up pretty quickly, so I put all these fun and different fillings in each well. Can you tell I pefer savory food to sweets, and lots of varieties?   

   

The trick is to:   

1. Season the pan well in advance, and use enough oil.   

2. Heat the pan at medium low heat for 10 – 15 minutes until hot. (Set the timer and prepare the filling during that time. If you still have time, watch the video one more time, and learn how to turn.)   

3. Aunt Else mix puffs up a lot quickly.  I recommend pouring about 2 TBS batter in each well, starting from the four corners, then middle four, and the very center well at the end.   

4. After adding the filling, if it doesn’t come up to the rim, add a little more. (The amount on the photo is a bit on the generous side, especially on the top row.  In my opinion,i t’s easier to turn if there’s no batter going outside of the well.)   

5. For perfectly round skivers, do the quarter turns as in the video. If you try to flip the entire thing 180 degrees, you’ll end up with half dome shaped skivers. : (   

It’s really important to pull the skivers UP 90 degrees, then they release itself like a magic!   Before I was trying to separate the balls from the wall, and that made them stick toghether more.  Every minutes or so, I pull them up another 90 degrees, and when you are finished with all four turns, you will have a perfectly round Aebleskivers!   

   

Just like these!   

   

Look at all these different fillings!  So much fun!   

   

Our favorites were:   

  • Trader Joe’s Cranberry Apple Butter 
  • Gruyere Cheese 
  • Apple slices  
  • Caramelized onion and gruyere cheese (Like French Onion soup) 

Sounds strange but defintely my favorite:   

  • Green onions, drops of Kikkoman soy sauce, and gruyere as filling, home-made mayonnaise on top (below).  I also tried Japanese takoyaki or okonomiyaki style with green onion and cabbage mixed into batter (I made more traditional Japanese style batter for this instead of AuntElse’s Aebleskiver mix for this) with seafood etc in it.  That was quite delicious as well. 

Aebleskivers are very similar to pancakes or crepes, so you can fill with anything you’d wrap with your crepes.  With so many options, this can be eaten for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner or dessert.  I told you, I love things that can be flexible and optimized.  I like the fact that you can have so much fun making it too.  This definitely passed my test!  Next time, I’ll try sauteed mushrooms, seafood with cream sauce etc. (Use leftovers, since you need so little.)  My husband thought I’m weird, but I’m contemplating using a meatball or quail egg as well.  You know, just like a Scotch Egg!  Will see.   

In terms of savory or sweet question, I found Aunt Else’s mix very versatile, it works for both…  just like a good crepe batter!  You can certainly add more sugar or salt if that’s what you prefer, but I found it just right.  

If you like it sweet, my guess is Japanese anko — sweet red bean paste will be great in Aebleskiver.  We have similar street snacks called Tai-yaki (Tai Snapper shaped pancake sandwich with anko in it) and Dora-yaki (two round pancakes filled with anko), and Imagawa-yaki (Flattened version of Aebleskiver?)  Click each link to see the photos to see the difference.   

   

For 2 of us, we just do one batch (1/2 of the amount of the smallest batch measurement on the back of the bag), and that’s plenty for brunch.  All you need per batch is one egg, 1 cup of water, and a scant cup of Aunt Else’s mix, which is made of organic whole wheat flour.  Even though you don’t have to whip up the egg white like some other Aebleskiver mix, it’s perfectly fluff.  It works great for both savory and sweet fillings.  It’s really fun activity especially with kids (of all ages).   

So in our household, Saturdays and Sundays are Skiver Days!     

Can I tell you a funny story about this?  

In my determination to not to break that new tradition, and my desire to share this fun activity with our niece and nephew, I even dragged that heavy cast iron Aebleskiver pan from the Bay Area to Milwaukee for our Christmas visit.  The problem is, the suitcase that had our pan in it decided to spend some time in warmer climate, and ended up in El Paso, TX.  The good news is, after spending 2 days of us worrying about the whereabouts of my favorite new toy/kitchen tool, our luggage was found at the snowing, fridged door steps of my in-laws. (Geez, guys!   It has something very VALUABLE!)  Well, this is surburban Milwaukee, not Oakland, CA.  Fridged means there’s no one hanging out to steal it.  Plus, these people are very friendly and nice, they often don’t even lock their door!   

Anyway, I found this note in our luggage… and the box we had the skiver pan was opened, and searched… These curious inspectors might have even made a few batches of Aebleskivers…  Who knows?  Well, it was the same day (Christmas day) when they had the fire scare in the plane, so I consider it a good thing.   

   

When we were in Milwaukee, we only tried some apples, pears, bananas with powdered sugar, apple sauce, and some cranberry sauce. Everyone loved them, kids, grandparents and adults.  I guess they realized that I too could make some sweet, more traditional dishes. (I am known to suggest something “weird” like new vegetables, flavors, or spices (Japanese food anyone?) to cook during our holiday visits in my attempt to add variety to casseroles — their kind of Christmas meals.)  

Thank you, my Skiver Santa, Chad Gillard from Aunt Else’s!  With this, everyday (OK, weekend) is like Christmas! 

Oh…  Our generous Skiver Santa wants YOU to have fun with your own Skiver set.  One lucky reader will get an Aunt Else Aebleskiver Starter Kit (both pan and the mix)!    

He also want you to learn more about Aebleskivers and ask questions.  So I am hosting a phone interview with Chad Gillard (aka Skiver Santa), the President of Aunt Else’s Aebleskivers and you are invited!  Don’t miss this unique opportunity. Invite your friends and family too.

All the details will be posted next week, including how to increase the chance of winning. (Wouldn’t you be most curious about this?  I would!)  Make sure to subscribe to Secrets of the Kitchen Wizard by email (sidebar, scroll down just a bit), so that you will be the first one to know.

 In the mean time, please write to our “Skiver Santa” at C.O.mment Box of this post about:

1. What you may want to do with the Skiver Starter Kit? 

2. Why you should be the one to win the kit? 

Again, one comment counts as one point.  Come up as many ideas and keep posting comments. You are welcome to go back to these 2 posts about  1. Aebleskiver pan , and 2. filling, and post more ideas.  

Santa is watching….

Good luck and have a great weekend! 

 

 

The World’s Easiest Cranberry Relish Your Family & Guest Will Love

One of the (very few) dishes my husband taught me is a Thanksgiving side-dish recipe that has been handed down from his grandma Henrietta.  She passed long before we got married, soInever had the honor of meeting her nor eating her dishes.  However, her husband – Keith’s grandpa – Park who lived till 101 told me how great of a baker Hanky (that’s what he called her) was, and excruciating details of her German cakes which he missed dearly.

This is actually a very simple cranberry relish recipe using a box of jello, yet the power of this should not be underestimated. It is very refreshing, and can double as a dessert. Both children and adults love it alike.  On top of that, it’s healthy — it has a lot of fruits such as apples, pears and oranges, in addition to cranberries, and doesn’t require cooking – I can say this is highly optimized. And it’s bright red, it’s festive and surely adds color to the table. If you have a food processor, it’s super easy.  It requires all familiar ingredients that are really cheap! Probably the most exotic and expensive ingredient is cranberries.

Whenever we make it, people always ask for the recipe and nowadays it became so famous, we get Thanksgiving invitations with the requests for this.

So I decided to post the recipe on my blog. My husband first resisted — “Nooo! It’s MY family’s secret recipe!”.  But those who eat it always ask for this recipe! And I grew up in Japan where’s there’s no traditional Thanksgiving celebration, I needed this for my readers!  So I asked “Wouldn’t it be great if your grandma’s recipe is enjoyed by more people in the world, not just by your immediate family?”

So here it is.  Kitchen Wizard is revealing another cooking secret, this one from her extended family.

Grammy Hanky’s Cranberry Relish

Ingredients:

  • 1 Small box of red jello (we like raspberry. Strawberry is a bit too sweet.)
  • 1 cup hot water (Do not add the second of batch of water, which is suggested on the box.)
  • 1 bag cranberries
  • 2 large oranges, peeled and segmented
  • 2 large apples, cored and cut in bite size pieces
  • 2 large pears (should be relatively firm), cored and cut into bite size pieces

Directions:

  1. Mix jello with hot water to dissolve. Put bit-size pieces of fruit in the food processor and pulse several times to grind roughly to about 1/4″ cubes or smaller.  Make sure the cranberries are ground up well — if they are not, it could be tart.  Depending on the size of your food processor, you may need to do it in two batches.
  2. When the jello is room temperature, add all the fruit including its juice. Mix well.  Chill in the refrigerator until set. (Because of the amount of fruit, it may not set completely.)

We love serving it with turkey in place of regular cranberry sauce or relish, or you can eat it as dessert as well, with or without whipped cream. We normally make a double batch, using the large jello box, and using 1/2 – 2/3 for the actual Thanksgiving, and save the rest for us to eat later.

Oh, this is also great when you are sick! When I had flu and pneumonia 2 months ago and didn’t want to eat, I asked my husband to make this, and I ate it everyday.

So there you have it.  Try it and leave me a comment on how you and your guests loved it.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Food Rescue 911: Apple Preserve

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Do you have less than perfect apples at home?  Just like the one on the right, a bit wrinkly and looking sad that they havebeen ignored?

Give them a second chance!  There is an easy way.

My apples were actually looking even sadder than the one on the photo — probably the wrinkles were much more visible.

And here’s how they look now.  Happy, sweet and full of life, and everyone’s friend.  Who’s to know that they were once neglected and were about to be dumped. It was a very quick turn-around.

Apple preserve

Apple preserve

Apple Preserve

Ingredients:

  • Apples,  2
  • Lemon juice
  • Sugar, 1/4 – 1/2 c (depending on how sweet the apples are to start with)

Directions:

  1. Core apples and cut into wedges.  Drizzle with lemon juice to prevent from oxidization and toss. Slice them thin and place them in a microwavable container.  Add sugar, toss gently and let it stand for 3-5 min.
  2. Cook on high in microwave for 5 minutes.  Toss gently and cook another 5 min. Repeat until the apples are cooked and translucent. (Should take total of 15 min or so.)  Let it cool.  Mash with wooden spoon if you like more jammy consistency.

Note: You can make this on stove top, yet it’ll take longer and you’ll have to watch and keep stirring it.

They are great on toast, top with yogurt, pancakes, crepes…  They are super easy, so try it, and leave us a comment on  what did you make with it!

Apple preserve with yogurt

Apple preserve with yogurt

Video — Easy and Fast Tuna and Chickpea Salad Recipe

As it gets hotter, sometimes we want to have something substantial that doesn’t need to be cooked.

I’ve shared this recipe before, and this may be a good time to do so again….this time with a video!

This is my favorite salad.  It requires staples that everyone has in the pantry, yet it’s healthy AND delicious!  Great all year around! When you already have chopped onions and/or dressing in your fridge, it will take less than 5 minutes. If you don’t, make extra chopped onions and dressing to save time later.

Directions

  1. Chop ½ onion.
  2. Cut 1 apple (I recommend Fuji) into eighths, and slice them thin. Sprinkle with wine vinegar or lemon juice.
  3. Combine chopped onion and 1 can tuna (in olive-oil preferred), and 1 can chickpeas. Mix well.
  4. Add apples and minced parsley (optional).
  5. Add dressing made with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Wine vinegar, Salt and Pepper and mix gently.  Or just add about 2-3 TBS of wine vinegar, S&P.

Note: For a vegetarian version, omit tuna.

Tip: If the tuna is the water-packed kind, you may want to pour extra virgin olive oil on the drained tuna first…  Make sure to taste the mixture and add the appropriate amount of vinegar and salt to balance the flavor.

For other uses of chopped onions, please refer to the post dated March 27, 2009.

Usage for extra dressing: various salads, dipping raw and steamed vegetables, etc.

This is a crowd pleaser which only takes 5 minutes.  Great for any time, and any occasion.  I often serve this for brunch, dinner parties and potluck!  You HAVE TO try this!

Let me know how it like it!

Ultimate Leftover Makeover recipe: Second-Life Bread Pudding with Fruit

Second Life Bread Pudding and Fruit

Second Life Bread Pudding and Fruit

 

So what do you do with the leftover egg mixture after making that French toast?

Throw it away, you may say.  But what if I say you can easily make a dessert out of it, by adding an extra cup of milk.

You can make a delicious bread pudding out of it!  You can even save some French bread and use that in it.  One effort, two different recipes.  Ultimate cooking optimization!  Gotta love it! (Or is it just me?)

I’m assuming you have already made some Freezable French Toast, and have about a cup of egg mixture left.  You don’t?  No worries!  You can still make this recipe from scratch, following the instructions underlined below. (Or you can choose to make both at once, starting from the French toast recipe, and freeze it all.)  This amount should be enough for a family of 4 for a little dessert after dinner.

Second-life Bread Pudding with fruit

  1. Add 1 cup milk and 1 TBS melted butter into leftover egg mixture from Freezable French Toast. (You should have about 2/3 – 1 cup left).  Alternatively, mix 2 beaten eggs, 2 cup milk, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1 TBS melted butter and cinnamon in a bowl if you are starting from scratch.
  2. Add peeled, grated and drained apple and 1/4 cup chopped dried fruit and/or raisins into the egg mixture.
  3. Break white bread into bite-size pieces and place them in a buttered 5 to 6” baking dish or individual ramekins. (Remove the crust if it’s very thick) Pour the egg mixture and let it soak completely.  Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on top.
  4. Place the baking dish into a larger baking pan, and pour hot water into the outer pan to about half of the height of the pudding.  Bake in a 375-400F oven until set, and top is golden brown.  Serve warm or cold, with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, or without.

Optional: Omit apples/raisins/dried fruit if you don’t have any.  Or use melted bitter or semi-sweet chocolate instead.