“Bread pudding? I don’t know…” That was a comment we heard yesterday when we were serving lunch.
And then they tried it.
“This isn’t anything like my Grandma’s bread pudding! And that’s a good thing!”
Bread pudding a sweet dessert that is a favorite in many countries, including the United States. Would you be surprised if I told you that Canadians make it with maple syrup? Puerto Ricans soak their bread pudding overnight in coconut milk and serve it with a guava rum sauce. In Louisiana, they serve it with a whiskey or a rum sauce. No such luck here, but the vanilla sauce is quite delicious!
To make this bread pudding, you can use whatever type of bread you have around the house. A thick, tasty bread works well. Mark actually used dinner rolls for his recipe this week, but dried out cinnamon rolls would work really well also (first you have to have leftover cinnamon rolls, right?).
Of course, the kicker is to make sure you use whole milk. I’m a fan of skim milk when I’m having it with a meal, but in order to get your sauces to thicken correctly, you really do need to use whole milk.
My only change would be the raisins. Do they really have to exist in such a tasty dish? Can we cut what it calls for in half? Mark obviously didn’t think so. Oh well. They seem to be pretty easy to pick out.
And really. Who says you have to wait for dessert to have bread pudding? A dish of warm bread pudding actually makes a pretty good breakfast too! Why not? It’s just like having French Toast.
We occasionally get calls to do appetizer parties which is great! It gives us a chance to try new things on a small scale that could be made large scale as well. This appetizer is one such recipe.
Sliders are such a fun little burger. You can put most anything on one and, though it is little, it can pack a mighty punch. Today’s recipe is a Brie Burger Slider.
The first time I grilled one, I hadn’t seen the recipe so I was slightly unprepared for the blueberries in the meat, but truthfully, I never tasted the blueberries. There is simply a sweet taste to the burger. The brie, while not my favorite cheese, compliments this burger well. And the grilled onions…well, in my opinion a burger is never complete without grilled onions!
Even better though, this slider not only makes a great appetizer, but it can also make a spectacular regular sized burger, which may have to make it’s way into our regular Backyard BBQ options!
I love punch. Ice cream punch. Fruit punch. Lemonade. Nothing better than taking a drink and quenching your thirst with something fun, fruity, and delicious (except that it’s always served in such small glasses).
This week’s recipe is Fruitie-Licious Punch, named after one of my favorite cereals that it tastes like: Fruity Pebbles (don’t judge, I love sugary cereals). It is super-easy to make and, if the occasion calls for it, can even include vodka; otherwise, it makes a perfectly yummy non-alcoholic and family-friendly drink to serve anywhere.
And that’s it! Doesn’t get much simpler than that. Enjoy!
I spent the weekend in Des Moines with Stacie and while she and her friend were off shopping (my least favorite activity), I spent all day Saturday in the hotel working on paperwork and getting ready for this week’s catering jobs. A far more exciting activity in my opinion.
So I text Mark and asked him to send me his recipe of the week. Yankee Salad. OK? Not one I had heard of before, but that’s part and parcel to this experience for us: to try new things. So we do.
Then Monday rolled around and I took a look at his salad: he had made my favorite salad from our restaurant days!
Without realizing it – by using a different pasta – he had made Frog’s Eye Salad.
OK, technically not. He made Yankee Salad because of the pasta choice in this salad: Orzo. Here’s the recipe:
The first time our salad lady made her version of this salad (frog eye salad), I was definitely skeptical. But that first taste then was the same as I got yesterday when I put the Yankee Salad in my mouth: Heaven. It was like coming home.
The chilled whipped topping held together by the Orzo pasta puts a completely different texture than you are expecting in your mouth. Then you throw in the mandarin oranges and the pineapple and you have your sweetness factor (I’m a huge sweet-eater) brought to the forefront.
This is a thick, heavier salad, mostly because the whipped topping chills and is thickened by the pasta. It doesn’t get that whipped, light taste that you expect a salad with whipped topping to have. I think that’s another thing I like about it, that it doesn’t conform to expectations of a whipped fruit salad.
What can I say? It reminded me of our days in the restaurant and begging Mark to make that salad for me even after we were no longer in the restaurant business.
I spent five days in Grand Rapids, Michigan, over the Fourth of July. I attended a handbell festival and played in a three-choir handbell concert in front of 500+ music ministry professionals from around the nation. It was an amazing experience and I learned so much while I was gone!
But I never go very far without trying new foods and looking for recipes for Mark. I came home with an amazing idea for a burger, a green chili cheeseburger, for Mark to use as a special in the food truck. But what would be a good side? I mean, we couldn’t very well share his new recipe for the green chili sauce! A caterer has to have SOME secrets!
Back to the drawing board (or Pinterest) and I came across a recipe I had pinned to have him try: Fiesta Corn Salad! The original recipe (Mexican Chopped Salad) was posted by Chris Scheuer from thecafesucrefarine.com but of course, Mark made a few changes to make it his own.
Now if I was making it, we all know I’d skip the black beans, however, they are a crucial ingredient to Mexican-fare so I suppose Mark did the right thing by not following my advice. Again, he chose romaine hearts instead of heads because he prefers how those hold up under the dressing. We opted for frozen corn, although this time of the year you can start finding some good fresh corn.
The dressing really makes the salad though! With a tangy sensation from the lime and cumin, you throw in the sweetness from the honey and get just a spectacular blend of flavors that mixes with the salad ingredients for a delicious and tasty side to any meal.
This week Mark decided to share his Italian Pasta Salad that he makes. This pasta salad can be made with or without meat giving you the option of saving a little money in the preparation. Here is the recipe:
Colored rotini gives salads a little extra color, but really, any kind of rotini will work. Plus, with lots of colors from the onions, tomatoes, and green peppers, you may find you don’t care about colored rotini. Mark also prefers black olives to green olives in his salad, but that would really be a preference choice of yours to make. Green olives tend to be more potent and will gain strength in taste and smell as the salad sits.
Five quarts will feed approximately 40 people, so unless you are having a huge party, you may want to cut his in half or you will be enjoying Italian Pasta Salad for a week!
Feel free to place an order or try your hand at this simple salad and let us know what you think!