Monday, August 27, 2012

Strawberry Shortcake with Custard

This is our favorite type of shortcake which is a biscuit type recipe instead of a sweet cake recipe. So if you are looking for a sweet cake, don't use this one.

1/4 cup sugar
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup butter
1 beaten egg
2/3 cup milk

Stir together sugar, flour, and baking powder. Cut in butter till mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Combine egg and mild; add all at once to dry ingredients. Stir just to moisten. Spread into a greased 8x11/2-inch round baking pan, building up edge slightly. When I double the recipe, I put it in a rectangle baking dish. Bake in a 450 degree oven for 15 to 18 minutes or till toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Split into 2 layers. Spoon the fruit and whipped cream between layers and over the top. Serve immediately. Serves 8.

For a twist on this shortcake recipe, we like a custard filling between the layers with the fruit, and the whipped cream with the fruit on top. The custard recipe is:

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
3 cups milk
4 egg yolks, slightly beaten
2 T. butter softened
1 T. vanilla
Mix sugar, cornstarch and salt in a pan, add milk and cook on medium heat stirring constantly or cook in a double boiler to keep it from burning on the bottom. When it becomes thick, whisk a little of the mixture into the egg yolks. Continue adding more of the mixture while whisking until the eggs become warm/hot. Pour the egg mixture into the hot pan and stir until it slightly boils. Cook for 1 minute. Add the 2 T. of butter and 1 T. of vanilla. Stir.  Pour the custard mixture into another bowl that is sitting in ice water. Cover with plastic wrap as it it cooling to prevent a hard film on the top. Once it is cooled, put a dollop of custard between the shortcake layers with a few sliced sweet strawberries (if you want to put a little sugar on the strawberries to sweeten them up, go ahead. We usually don't unless the strawberries are really tart). Put more strawberries on top with fresh whipped cream. 
Eat and enjoy!!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Mom's Best Ever Macaroni and Cheese

This is our favorite all-time Mac and Cheese recipe. It is truly addicting!! Enjoy!

8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for dish
6 slices good-quality white bread, crusts removed, torn into 1/4-to-1/2-inch pieces
5 1/2  cups milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 1/2 cups (about 18 ounces) grated sharp white cheddar cheese
2 cups (about 8 ounces) grated Gruyere or 1 1/4 cups (about 5 ounces) grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 pound elbow macaroni

1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish, and set aside. Place the bread pieces in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Pour the butter into the bowl with the bread, and toss. Set the bread crumbs aside. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, heat the mild. Melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter in a high-sided skillet over medium heat. when the butter bubbles, add the flour. Cook, stirring, 1 minute.

2. Slowly pour in the hot milk while whisking. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick.

3. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 3 cups cheddar cheese, and 1 1/2 cups Gruyere or 1 cup Pecorino Roman. Set cheese sauce aside.

4. Fill a large saucepan with water. Bring to a boil. Add macaroni; cook 2 to 3 minutes less than manufacturer's directions, until outside of pasta is cooked and inside is underdone. (Different brands of macaroni cook at different rates; be sure to read the instructions.) Transfer the macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well. Stir macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce.

5. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle remaining 1 1/2 cups cheddar and 1/2 cup gruyere or 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano; scatter bread crumbs over the top. Bake until browned on top, about 30 minutes. Transfer the dish to a wire rack to cool 5 minutes, and serve with love and anticipation.