I can’t tell you how many times since I bought The Bread Baker’s Apprentice that I’ve put mashed potatoes aside promising my husband that I was making potato bread. But each time I got intimidated by the biga that has to be made a day before the bread. See, after a sourdough bread killed my stand mixer and my sanity recently, I’m scared of any bread that takes longer than a day to make.

I finally got the nerve yesterday and obsessively checked the biga to make sure it was rising. Then today I checked the dough every 3 and a half minutes to make sure it was rising. Everything worked fine. It really was a simple bread to make. A 2 day bread, but nothing was difficult. The bread is delicious, although I expected it to taste more like potatoes.

So… my bread is scored wrong, I know. This is what happened. When I shaped the dough it was really tiny so instead of making 2 loaves, I just decided to make one. Well, it rose. A lot. So I went ahead and separated it into 2 and decided to deliver one to someone special. But then my husband ate an entire loaf within an hour and made me swear I wouldn’t get rid of the other one. Hmph. I could’ve had one big pretty loaf!

I can’t tell you how many times since I bought The Bread Baker’s Apprentice that I’ve put mashed potatoes aside promising my husband that I was making potato bread. But each time I got intimidated by the biga that has to be made a day before the bread. See, after a sourdough bread killed my stand mixer and my sanity recently, I’m scared of any bread that takes longer than a day to make.

I finally got the nerve yesterday and obsessively checked the biga to make sure it was rising. Then today I checked the dough every 3 and a half minutes to make sure it was rising. Everything worked fine. It really was a simple bread to make. A 2 day bread, but nothing was difficult. The bread is delicious, although I expected it to taste more like potatoes.

So… my bread is scored wrong, I know. This is what happened. When I shaped the dough it was really tiny so instead of making 2 loaves, I just decided to make one. Well, it rose. A lot. So I went ahead and separated it into 2 and decided to deliver one to someone special. But then my husband ate an entire loaf within an hour and made me swear I wouldn’t get rid of the other one. Hmph. I could’ve had one big pretty loaf!

Potato Rosemary Bread

Ingredients

For the biga:
2 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour (11.25 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast (.055 ounces)
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons to 1 cup water, at room temperature (7-8 ounces)
For the dough:
1 1/4 cups biga (7 oz.)
3 cups + 2 tablespoons bread flour (14 oz.)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt (.38 oz.)
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper (.03) optional
1 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast (.14 oz.)
1 cup mashed potatoes (6 oz.)
1 tablespoon olive oil (.5 oz.)
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary (.25 oz.)
3/4 cup to 1 cup water (7-8 oz.)
4 tablespoons coarsely chopped roasted garlic (1 oz.)  (optional)
Semolina or cornmeal for dusting
Olive oil for brushing on top

Instructions

    To make the biga:
  1. Stir together the flour and yeast in a 4-quart bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer). Add 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the water, stirring until everything comes together and makes a coarse ball (or mix on low speed for 1 minute with the paddle attachment). Adjust the flour or water, according to need, so that the dough is neither too sticky nor too stiff. (It is better to err on the sticky side, as you can adjust easier during kneading. It is harder to add water once the dough firms up.)
  2. Sprinkle some flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter. Knead for 4 to 6 minutes (or mix on medium speed with the dough hook for 4 minutes), or until the dough is soft and pliable, tacky but not sticky. The internal temperature should be 77 to 80 degrees F.
  3. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and ferment at room temperature for 2 to 4 hours, or until it nearly doubles in size.
  4. Remove the dough from the bowl, knead it lightly to degas, and return it to the bowl, covering the bowl with plastic wrap. Place the bowl in the refrigerator overnight. You can keep this in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or freeze it in an airtight plastic bag for up to 3 months.
  5. To make the dough:
  6. Remove the biga from the fridge about 1 to 1-1/2 hours ahead of time to come to room temperature. Cut it into about 10 small pieces, cover and let sit for about 1 hour to take off the chill.
  7. Stir together the flour, salt, pepper and yeast in a 4 quart mixing bowl. Add the biga pieces, mashed potatoes, olive oil, rosemary, and the water. Stir with a large spoon (or mix on low speed with the paddle attachment) 1 minute or until the ingredients form a ball. Adjust flour or water as needed.
  8. Transfer dough to a floured surface and knead (or mix on medium speed with the dough hook) about 10 minutes (or about 6 minutes by mixer), adding more flour is needed, until the dough is soft, supple, tacky but not sticky. It should pass the windowpane test. If using roasted garlic, flatten the dough and spread roasted garlic over the top, then ather the dough back into a ball and knead it about 1 minute longer or until garlic is incorporated. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl; cover bowl with plastic wrap. F
  9. erment at room temperature about 2 hours, or until dough doubles in size.
  10. Remove dough to a lightly floured surface, degassing as little as possible. Divide into 2 equal pieces, or 18 pieces for dinner rolls. Shape into boules. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, sprinkle with semolina or cornmeal, and place the boules on the parchment, separating them so they will not touch, even after they rise. Mist lightly with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap.
  11. Proof at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours, depending on the size of the pieces), or until the dough doubles in size.
  12. Preheat oven to 400 degees. with the oven rack on the middle shelf. Remove plastic from the dough and lightly brush loaves with olive oil. You do not need to score these breads, but you can if you prefer.
  13. Bake the loves for 20 minutes, then rotate the pan 180 degrees for even baking. The loaves will take 35 to 45 minutes total to bake. Bake the rolls for 10 minutes, rotate the pans, and then bake for 10 minutes longer. The loaves and rolls will be a rich golden brown all around and the internal temperature should register at least 195. The loaves should make a hollow sound when thumped on the bottom.
  14. Remove the finished loaves or rolls and cool on a rack for at least 1 hour for loaves and 20 minutes for rolls before serving.
http://fakeginger.com/potato-rosemary-bread/


0

We’re a family of cheese lovers. One of the first food words Landon learned was cheese and whenever he sees me shredding cheese he stands next to me with his hand out saying “More cheese more!” until I give him some. So even though I’m not a fan of savory quick breads, I knew as soon as I saw this recipe in Taste of Home that I had to make it.

It’s very, very good. Different from other cheese breads, but not in a bad way. The original recipe calls for green onions to be mixed into the batter, so if you’re not a weirdo like me, add them in. I bet it would add to the greatness of the bread. Also, don’t be scared of all the black pepper. It’s not nearly as spicy as you would assume. I think the yogurt mellows it out.

Peppery Cheese Bread

from Taste of Home

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1 cup reduced-fat plain yogurt
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the first 6 ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, yogurt, oil, milk, and mustard. Stir into the dry ingredients just until moistened. Gently fold in cheese.
  3. Transfer to a greased 9 x 5 loaf pan. Bake 45 - 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing the pan to a wire rack.
http://fakeginger.com/peppery-cheese-bread/

6

I love banana pudding, you know the ‘nilla wafer one? So I had high hopes for this banana pudding. I was a little scared as I hate Bourbon, but I took a chance. And oh my gosh, am I glad I did.

Best. Thing. Ever.

Seriously, it was so worth the hours I spent waiting for pudding to chill. Or the 3 times I did dishes that day. It was even worth nearly ruining one of my favorite pots with burnt pudding.

The recipe is a little intimidating because it’s forever long, but trust me, your efforts will be paid off.

Bourbon Banana Pudding with Glazed Pecans

from Gourmet

Ingredients

For pudding and candied pecans:
3 large egg yolks
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoon packed light brown sugar, divided
3 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups whole milk
5 teaspoons bourbon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoon mild honey
1 1/2 teaspoon water
3/4 cup pecan halves
For spongecake and syrup:
3 large eggs
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoon sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup bourbon
1/4 cup water
For assembly:
3 ripe medium bananas
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon granulated sugar

Instructions

  1. Make pudding and glaze pecans:
  2. Lightly beat yolks in a medium bowl.
  3. Whisk together 3/4 cup brown sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a small heavy saucepan. Slowly whisk in milk, then boil over medium heat, whisking constantly, until pudding is thick, about 3 minutes. Gradually add hot pudding to yolks, whisking constantly, then whisk in bourbon and vanilla.
  4. Cover surface with wax paper and chill until cold, about 2 hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 350F with rack in middle.
  6. Warm remaining 2 tablespoons brown sugar with honey and water in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Stir in pecans, tossing to coat, then transfer to a lightly oiled 4-sided sheet pan.
  7. Bake, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and shiny, about 15 minutes. Transfer pecans with a metal spatula to a rack to cool. Coarsely chop, reserving 4 halves for garnish.
  8. Make spongecake and syrup:
  9. Preheat oven to 400F with rack in middle. Butter and flour cake pan. Warm eggs (in shell) in hot water 5 minutes.
  10. Whisk together flour and salt.
  11. Beat eggs, 1/3 cup sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer at high speed until tripled in volume and thick enough to form a wide flat ribbon that holds its shape on top of batter when beater is lifted, 7 to 8 minutes in a stand mixer or 14 to 16 with a handheld.
  12. Transfer to a wide bowl. Sift flour mixture, one third at a time, over batter, folding gently but thoroughly with a rubber spatula after each addition. Stir together butter and about 1/4 cup batter in a small bowl until combined, then fold butter mixture into batter gently but thoroughly.
  13. Pour batter into cake pan and smooth top. Bake until golden brown and edges start to pull away from sides of pan, 12 to 14 minutes.
  14. Meanwhile, bring bourbon, water, and remaining tablespoon sugar to a boil, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat.
  15. Transfer cake in pan to a rack, then run a thin knife between cake and side of pan and cool 5 minutes. Invert cake onto rack.
  16. Assemble dessert:
  17. Cut off one third of cake, reserving for another use. Brush remaining cake with half of bourbon syrup. Carefully turn cake right side up and brush with remaining syrup. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
  18. Cut cake into 1 1/2-inch squares. Thinly slice bananas.
  19. In 4 bowls or 10-oz glasses make 2 layers each of pudding, bananas, cake (use all of it), and chopped pecans, then top with a third layer of pudding, bananas, and chopped pecans.
  20. Chill, loosely covered, 1 hour. Let stand at room temperature 20 minutes before serving.
  21. Whip cream with sugar until it holds soft peaks, then dollop on top of each dessert. Garnish with reserved pecan halves.
http://fakeginger.com/bourbon-banana-pudding-with-glazed-pecans/
3

Continuing on with my pork theme, I’ve got a sausage recipe for you. Only it has nothing to do with pork since I used turkey sausage.

This is a very basic recipe that can easily be made with whatever’s in your fridge. It’s just your basic macaroni and cheese but with an Italian cheese blend and with turkey Italian sausage, mushrooms, and tomatoes. It’s like my favorite omelette but in pasta form!

Italian Mac & Cheese

adapted from Food Network

Ingredients

1 pound pasta (any kind)
1 pound hot turkey Italian sausage
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
3 or 4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups Italian cheese blend
1 can diced tomatoes, drained well
1/2 cup Parmesan

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt water and cook pasta to a chewy al dente, about 8 minutes.
  2. In a nonstick skillet, brown and crumble the sausage. Drain cooked crumbles on paper towel lined plate. Return pan to heat and add extra-virgin olive oil, butter, garlic and mushrooms. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Saute 3 to 5 minutes, until mushrooms are lightly golden.
  3. Preheat broiler to high.
  4. To mushrooms, add flour and stir, cooking 2 minutes. Whisk in stock, then stir in cream. Bring cream to a bubble, then stir in 2 cups of 4 cheese blend. When cheese has melted into sauce, add tomatoes. When sauce comes to a bubble, remove from heat and adjust seasonings, adding hot sauce if desired.
  5. Combine cheese sauce with sausage and pasta, transfer to baking dish, casserole or oven safe serving platter. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of 4 cheese blend and the grated Parmesan over the top and brown under hot broiler.
http://fakeginger.com/italian-mac-cheese/

3

You know how when you have an idea and then it turns into another idea which turns into another then another and then at the end it’s nothing like what you had initially imagined? That’s what happened with these guys. I went into the kitchen to make maple coconut granola and came out with bars that had no maple or coconut in them!

These turned out very well, much better than I expected. They were slightly chewy right out of the oven but they’ve firmed up considerably since then. I put quite a a bit of nuts in them because my husband will take these to work and he needs the protein but feel free to scale back. Also, use whatever nuts you like. Same with the dried fruit, I had dried cranberries but raisins, dried blueberries, dates, anything would work beautifully.

Cranberry Walnut Granola Bars

Ingredients

2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup honey
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup applesauce
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment or grease pan generously.
  2. Combine oats, brown sugar, wheat germ, cinnamon, flour, cranberries, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and salt in a large bowl. In a seperate bowl, combine honey, egg, applesauce, and vanilla extract; add to dry ingredients. Stir well to make sure everything gets moistened.
  3. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the bars start turning golden brown. Cut into bars shortly after coming out of the oven and allow to cool on cooling rack.
http://fakeginger.com/cranberry-walnut-granola-bars/

2

I can’t tell you how many times since I bought The Bread Baker’s Apprentice that I’ve put mashed potatoes aside promising my husband that I was making potato bread. But each time I got intimidated by the biga that has to be made a day before the bread. See, after a sourdough bread killed my stand mixer and my sanity recently, I’m scared of any bread that takes longer than a day to make.

I finally got the nerve yesterday and obsessively checked the biga to make sure it was rising. Then today I checked the dough every 3 and a half minutes to make sure it was rising. Everything worked fine. It really was a simple bread to make. A 2 day bread, but nothing was difficult. The bread is delicious, although I expected it to taste more like potatoes.

So… my bread is scored wrong, I know. This is what happened. When I shaped the dough it was really tiny so instead of making 2 loaves, I just decided to make one. Well, it rose. A lot. So I went ahead and separated it into 2 and decided to deliver one to someone special. But then my husband ate an entire loaf within an hour and made me swear I wouldn’t get rid of the other one. Hmph. I could’ve had one big pretty loaf!

I can’t tell you how many times since I bought The Bread Baker’s Apprentice that I’ve put mashed potatoes aside promising my husband that I was making potato bread. But each time I got intimidated by the biga that has to be made a day before the bread. See, after a sourdough bread killed my stand mixer and my sanity recently, I’m scared of any bread that takes longer than a day to make.

I finally got the nerve yesterday and obsessively checked the biga to make sure it was rising. Then today I checked the dough every 3 and a half minutes to make sure it was rising. Everything worked fine. It really was a simple bread to make. A 2 day bread, but nothing was difficult. The bread is delicious, although I expected it to taste more like potatoes.

So… my bread is scored wrong, I know. This is what happened. When I shaped the dough it was really tiny so instead of making 2 loaves, I just decided to make one. Well, it rose. A lot. So I went ahead and separated it into 2 and decided to deliver one to someone special. But then my husband ate an entire loaf within an hour and made me swear I wouldn’t get rid of the other one. Hmph. I could’ve had one big pretty loaf!

Potato Rosemary Bread

Ingredients

For the biga:
2 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour (11.25 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast (.055 ounces)
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons to 1 cup water, at room temperature (7-8 ounces)
For the dough:
1 1/4 cups biga (7 oz.)
3 cups + 2 tablespoons bread flour (14 oz.)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt (.38 oz.)
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper (.03) optional
1 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast (.14 oz.)
1 cup mashed potatoes (6 oz.)
1 tablespoon olive oil (.5 oz.)
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary (.25 oz.)
3/4 cup to 1 cup water (7-8 oz.)
4 tablespoons coarsely chopped roasted garlic (1 oz.)  (optional)
Semolina or cornmeal for dusting
Olive oil for brushing on top

Instructions

    To make the biga:
  1. Stir together the flour and yeast in a 4-quart bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer). Add 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the water, stirring until everything comes together and makes a coarse ball (or mix on low speed for 1 minute with the paddle attachment). Adjust the flour or water, according to need, so that the dough is neither too sticky nor too stiff. (It is better to err on the sticky side, as you can adjust easier during kneading. It is harder to add water once the dough firms up.)
  2. Sprinkle some flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter. Knead for 4 to 6 minutes (or mix on medium speed with the dough hook for 4 minutes), or until the dough is soft and pliable, tacky but not sticky. The internal temperature should be 77 to 80 degrees F.
  3. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and ferment at room temperature for 2 to 4 hours, or until it nearly doubles in size.
  4. Remove the dough from the bowl, knead it lightly to degas, and return it to the bowl, covering the bowl with plastic wrap. Place the bowl in the refrigerator overnight. You can keep this in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or freeze it in an airtight plastic bag for up to 3 months.
  5. To make the dough:
  6. Remove the biga from the fridge about 1 to 1-1/2 hours ahead of time to come to room temperature. Cut it into about 10 small pieces, cover and let sit for about 1 hour to take off the chill.
  7. Stir together the flour, salt, pepper and yeast in a 4 quart mixing bowl. Add the biga pieces, mashed potatoes, olive oil, rosemary, and the water. Stir with a large spoon (or mix on low speed with the paddle attachment) 1 minute or until the ingredients form a ball. Adjust flour or water as needed.
  8. Transfer dough to a floured surface and knead (or mix on medium speed with the dough hook) about 10 minutes (or about 6 minutes by mixer), adding more flour is needed, until the dough is soft, supple, tacky but not sticky. It should pass the windowpane test. If using roasted garlic, flatten the dough and spread roasted garlic over the top, then ather the dough back into a ball and knead it about 1 minute longer or until garlic is incorporated. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl; cover bowl with plastic wrap. F
  9. erment at room temperature about 2 hours, or until dough doubles in size.
  10. Remove dough to a lightly floured surface, degassing as little as possible. Divide into 2 equal pieces, or 18 pieces for dinner rolls. Shape into boules. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, sprinkle with semolina or cornmeal, and place the boules on the parchment, separating them so they will not touch, even after they rise. Mist lightly with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap.
  11. Proof at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours, depending on the size of the pieces), or until the dough doubles in size.
  12. Preheat oven to 400 degees. with the oven rack on the middle shelf. Remove plastic from the dough and lightly brush loaves with olive oil. You do not need to score these breads, but you can if you prefer.
  13. Bake the loves for 20 minutes, then rotate the pan 180 degrees for even baking. The loaves will take 35 to 45 minutes total to bake. Bake the rolls for 10 minutes, rotate the pans, and then bake for 10 minutes longer. The loaves and rolls will be a rich golden brown all around and the internal temperature should register at least 195. The loaves should make a hollow sound when thumped on the bottom.
  14. Remove the finished loaves or rolls and cool on a rack for at least 1 hour for loaves and 20 minutes for rolls before serving.
http://fakeginger.com/potato-rosemary-bread/


0

We’re a family of cheese lovers. One of the first food words Landon learned was cheese and whenever he sees me shredding cheese he stands next to me with his hand out saying “More cheese more!” until I give him some. So even though I’m not a fan of savory quick breads, I knew as soon as I saw this recipe in Taste of Home that I had to make it.

It’s very, very good. Different from other cheese breads, but not in a bad way. The original recipe calls for green onions to be mixed into the batter, so if you’re not a weirdo like me, add them in. I bet it would add to the greatness of the bread. Also, don’t be scared of all the black pepper. It’s not nearly as spicy as you would assume. I think the yogurt mellows it out.

Peppery Cheese Bread

from Taste of Home

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1 cup reduced-fat plain yogurt
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the first 6 ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, yogurt, oil, milk, and mustard. Stir into the dry ingredients just until moistened. Gently fold in cheese.
  3. Transfer to a greased 9 x 5 loaf pan. Bake 45 - 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing the pan to a wire rack.
http://fakeginger.com/peppery-cheese-bread/

6

I love banana pudding, you know the ‘nilla wafer one? So I had high hopes for this banana pudding. I was a little scared as I hate Bourbon, but I took a chance. And oh my gosh, am I glad I did.

Best. Thing. Ever.

Seriously, it was so worth the hours I spent waiting for pudding to chill. Or the 3 times I did dishes that day. It was even worth nearly ruining one of my favorite pots with burnt pudding.

The recipe is a little intimidating because it’s forever long, but trust me, your efforts will be paid off.

Bourbon Banana Pudding with Glazed Pecans

from Gourmet

Ingredients

For pudding and candied pecans:
3 large egg yolks
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoon packed light brown sugar, divided
3 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups whole milk
5 teaspoons bourbon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoon mild honey
1 1/2 teaspoon water
3/4 cup pecan halves
For spongecake and syrup:
3 large eggs
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoon sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup bourbon
1/4 cup water
For assembly:
3 ripe medium bananas
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon granulated sugar

Instructions

  1. Make pudding and glaze pecans:
  2. Lightly beat yolks in a medium bowl.
  3. Whisk together 3/4 cup brown sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a small heavy saucepan. Slowly whisk in milk, then boil over medium heat, whisking constantly, until pudding is thick, about 3 minutes. Gradually add hot pudding to yolks, whisking constantly, then whisk in bourbon and vanilla.
  4. Cover surface with wax paper and chill until cold, about 2 hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 350F with rack in middle.
  6. Warm remaining 2 tablespoons brown sugar with honey and water in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Stir in pecans, tossing to coat, then transfer to a lightly oiled 4-sided sheet pan.
  7. Bake, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and shiny, about 15 minutes. Transfer pecans with a metal spatula to a rack to cool. Coarsely chop, reserving 4 halves for garnish.
  8. Make spongecake and syrup:
  9. Preheat oven to 400F with rack in middle. Butter and flour cake pan. Warm eggs (in shell) in hot water 5 minutes.
  10. Whisk together flour and salt.
  11. Beat eggs, 1/3 cup sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer at high speed until tripled in volume and thick enough to form a wide flat ribbon that holds its shape on top of batter when beater is lifted, 7 to 8 minutes in a stand mixer or 14 to 16 with a handheld.
  12. Transfer to a wide bowl. Sift flour mixture, one third at a time, over batter, folding gently but thoroughly with a rubber spatula after each addition. Stir together butter and about 1/4 cup batter in a small bowl until combined, then fold butter mixture into batter gently but thoroughly.
  13. Pour batter into cake pan and smooth top. Bake until golden brown and edges start to pull away from sides of pan, 12 to 14 minutes.
  14. Meanwhile, bring bourbon, water, and remaining tablespoon sugar to a boil, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat.
  15. Transfer cake in pan to a rack, then run a thin knife between cake and side of pan and cool 5 minutes. Invert cake onto rack.
  16. Assemble dessert:
  17. Cut off one third of cake, reserving for another use. Brush remaining cake with half of bourbon syrup. Carefully turn cake right side up and brush with remaining syrup. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
  18. Cut cake into 1 1/2-inch squares. Thinly slice bananas.
  19. In 4 bowls or 10-oz glasses make 2 layers each of pudding, bananas, cake (use all of it), and chopped pecans, then top with a third layer of pudding, bananas, and chopped pecans.
  20. Chill, loosely covered, 1 hour. Let stand at room temperature 20 minutes before serving.
  21. Whip cream with sugar until it holds soft peaks, then dollop on top of each dessert. Garnish with reserved pecan halves.
http://fakeginger.com/bourbon-banana-pudding-with-glazed-pecans/
3

Continuing on with my pork theme, I’ve got a sausage recipe for you. Only it has nothing to do with pork since I used turkey sausage.

This is a very basic recipe that can easily be made with whatever’s in your fridge. It’s just your basic macaroni and cheese but with an Italian cheese blend and with turkey Italian sausage, mushrooms, and tomatoes. It’s like my favorite omelette but in pasta form!

Italian Mac & Cheese

adapted from Food Network

Ingredients

1 pound pasta (any kind)
1 pound hot turkey Italian sausage
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
3 or 4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups Italian cheese blend
1 can diced tomatoes, drained well
1/2 cup Parmesan

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt water and cook pasta to a chewy al dente, about 8 minutes.
  2. In a nonstick skillet, brown and crumble the sausage. Drain cooked crumbles on paper towel lined plate. Return pan to heat and add extra-virgin olive oil, butter, garlic and mushrooms. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Saute 3 to 5 minutes, until mushrooms are lightly golden.
  3. Preheat broiler to high.
  4. To mushrooms, add flour and stir, cooking 2 minutes. Whisk in stock, then stir in cream. Bring cream to a bubble, then stir in 2 cups of 4 cheese blend. When cheese has melted into sauce, add tomatoes. When sauce comes to a bubble, remove from heat and adjust seasonings, adding hot sauce if desired.
  5. Combine cheese sauce with sausage and pasta, transfer to baking dish, casserole or oven safe serving platter. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of 4 cheese blend and the grated Parmesan over the top and brown under hot broiler.
http://fakeginger.com/italian-mac-cheese/

3

You know how when you have an idea and then it turns into another idea which turns into another then another and then at the end it’s nothing like what you had initially imagined? That’s what happened with these guys. I went into the kitchen to make maple coconut granola and came out with bars that had no maple or coconut in them!

These turned out very well, much better than I expected. They were slightly chewy right out of the oven but they’ve firmed up considerably since then. I put quite a a bit of nuts in them because my husband will take these to work and he needs the protein but feel free to scale back. Also, use whatever nuts you like. Same with the dried fruit, I had dried cranberries but raisins, dried blueberries, dates, anything would work beautifully.

Cranberry Walnut Granola Bars

Ingredients

2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup honey
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup applesauce
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment or grease pan generously.
  2. Combine oats, brown sugar, wheat germ, cinnamon, flour, cranberries, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and salt in a large bowl. In a seperate bowl, combine honey, egg, applesauce, and vanilla extract; add to dry ingredients. Stir well to make sure everything gets moistened.
  3. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the bars start turning golden brown. Cut into bars shortly after coming out of the oven and allow to cool on cooling rack.
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