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Pandoro Bread Pudding with Chocolate and Orange

Pandoro Bread Pudding

Pandoro is a sweet Italian Yeast Bread it’s traditionally served around the holidays and every year I buy one that I make bread pudding from. It’s similar in texture to a brioche but a little sweeter, so if you cannot find Pandoro using brioche will also work.  This bread pudding is not heavy, its very light and you can almost characterize it as fluffy. I added a little orange and chocolate because they go so well together and the end result is a creamy bread pudding with melted chocolate and just a hint of orange. This is best served warm so the chocolate is soft. Garnish with some whipped cream if you like, but I found this needs nothing its delicious on its own.

Makes 3 ramekins 3×1 1/2″

8 ounces Pandoro cut into large cubes

6 eggs

1/4 cup sugar (If you use brioche increase the sugar to 1/3 cup)

2 cups half and half

1 cup heavy cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

soft butter for the ramekins

3 tsp orange marmalade

4 oz dark chocolate chopped

Boiling water for the bain marie

Cut bread or Pandoro into cubes, break eggs into large mixing bowl, add the sugar and whisk until combined. Add the half and half, heavy cream and vanilla and whisk well, you don’t want the sugar to pool at the bottom of the bowl. Add the bread cubes and let sit while you prepare the ramekins.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees, put your kettle on to boil the water. Butter each ramekin then place a tsp of orange marmalade in each and spread on bottom and half way up the sides. Chop the chocolate and add to the soaking bread and stir. Spoon it into each ramekin. Place ramekins in large roasting pan and pour the boiling water carefully so that it comes a little less than half way up the ramekins. Carefully place in oven and bake for 35-40 minutes until the custard is set. Remove from oven let cool about 15 minutes and enjoy. Alternatively, you can use a medium size rectangular baking pan if you do not want to use ramekins.


Ricotta Polenta with Mushroom Tomato Sauce

Creamy Polenta with Tomato and Mushrooms

I made home made ricotta the other day and had 4 cups of the delicious whey left, discarding it was not an option, adding to breads, cakes are all great options and I will definitely do that for my next batch. I used Jennifer Perillo’s recipe for ricotta and it’s amazing. I wanted something quick, nutritious and easy to prepare. Polenta is creamy and comforting and is a nice change from pasta or potatoes. I used all the whey that I had and also added the left over ricotta. If you don’t have whey using water works just fine. The sauce takes only minutes to make I had some pretty nice tomatoes and cremini mushrooms I needed to use so I incorporated them into this quick sauce with some shallot and garlic and finished with a nice handful of fresh italian parsley. The parsely give it a fresh taste that I really love. Grate some cheese on top and you have yourself a quick and delicious meal in minutes.

4 cups whey or water

1 cup polenta (corn meal) I used stone ground

pinch of salt

1/2 cup ricotta (well drained)

2 tbs butter

black pepper (2 or 3 turns of the pepper mill)

In saucepan add the whey or water and pinch of salt, bring to a rolling boil. Whisk in the polenta, don’t dump it all in add slowly while you are whisking it thickens very quickly. Lower heat to low and continue whisking until its done. It takes approximately 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat add the butter and stir, now add the ricotta. Stir until its all incorporated. Cover pan and set aside while you make the sauce.

8 oz cremini mushrooms sliced

1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes

1 clove garlic peeled and minced

1 shallot peeled and chopped

handful italian parsley chopped

olive oil for pan

salt and pepper to taste

Put some olive oil in a saute pan and heat on medium high. Add the shallots and cook until they become soft and translucent. Add the garlic and continue to cook until they start to caramelize. Now put the mushrooms in and continue to cook until the mushrooms become soft and lightly browned, add the tomato and cook until the tomato becomes soft and cooks down. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat. Add the chopped parsley.

Spoon some polenta on the plate and top with the sauce. This is a great meatless Monday option, I am making some sauteed kale to go with it.

Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Who doesn’t love a grilled cheese sandwich, melty gooey cheese, grilled bread, whats not to love. I participated in Lets Bake and Made Rustic Italian Bread and what better platform for a grilled cheese than home made bread. In keeping with the theme of the Italian Bread, I used pesto, fresh mozzsrella and oven roasted tomato. I am not happy just slicing a tomato on this sandwich so I  roasted them in the oven drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I guess this is kind of like a grilled Mozzarella Caprese, it has all the components.  This is a pretty basic sandwich, nothing elaborate but its delicious and makes a wonderful meal.

Hot off the grill

For 1 sandwich

2 slices bread sliced 1/2 inch thick

2-4 slices tomato cut 1 inch thick (tomato is not in season use the best you can find plum or campari are a good choice)

1 tbs pesto

4 slices fresh mozzarella

Olive oil

Heat oven to 425 degrees, lay some parchment on small sheet pan, put tomato slices on parchment sprinkle each side of the tomato with salt and pepper, drizzle some balsamic vinegar and olive oil on each slice. Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until tomato becomes soft and starts to caramelize. Remove from oven and set aside.

Slice the bread, spread pesto on one side of each slice. Add 2 slices of mozzarella, lay tomato on top of mozzarella and add the other 2 slices of mozzarella. Place skillet on med/high heat and let it get hot. Put your sandwich together and brush the top slice of bread with olive oil. Carefully place the olive oil side down in the skillet now brush the other slice with oil. Let it grill until its golden brown then flip it over and grill the other side.


Featured Recipe-Asian Inspired Salmon

Every week I am going to feature a great recipe that I have made and I feel you should know about. Inpatskithen recipe for Asian Inspired Salmon is the perfect quick and delicious meal. The glaze is outstanding. Sweet and spicy, with just the right amount of acid to balance it. It compliments the salmon perfectly. I love that the glaze is also the marinade, I used a blood orange marmalade and added a little lemon zest (I love lemon in just about everything).  Pat is an active homecook and you can see her many recipes not only on her blog but on food52. This recipe was also a finalist in Whole Foods salmon contest. You can visit her blog or view her other recipes at

Asian Inspired Salmon by Inpatskitchen

Serves 4

1 1/2 pounds skinless salmon fillets cut into 4 equal pieces

1 13 to 14 ounce jar orange marmalade

1/4 cup rice vinegar

2 crushed garlic cloves

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons sesame oil

Hot cooked white rice

3/4 cup sliced green onions

  1. Combine the marmalade, vinegar,soy sauce, garlic, red pepper, ginger, salt, sugar and sesame oil in a small sauce pan and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  2. Let the marinade cool and then pour about half of it over the salmon fillets and marinate them for about 1 hour in the fridge.
  3. Broil or grill the marinated fillets for about ten minutes or until flaky.
  4. Reheat the remaining marinade and serve the salmon over the hot cooked rice drizzled with the warm marinade and topped with green onion slices.

Open Face Steak Sandwich-Day 3 “Lets Bake”

Open Face Steak Sandwich

On day 3 of “Lets Bake” I put my final loaf in the oven and wondered what kind of sandwich I can make with this fabulous bread. I had a small rib eye steak that I got from the CSA and decided to do a quick steak sandwich. The steak is dry brined with salt,peppper and garlic flakes and pan seared. I made a citrus herb mayo, sliced some tomato and piled on some micro greens (from the CSA) and it was absolutely delicious. The soft, still slightly warm bread with the tender juicy steak and veggies made a satisfying and hearty sandwich.

1 rib eye steak (grass fed and organic)

garlic powder granulated (good one like from Penzy’s)

salt and pepper

1 tbs mayonaise

some parsley,taragon and lemon zest (for the herbed mayo) you can use whatever you have and like

sliced tomato

lettuce or some sort of greens

Take steak out of the refrigerator, pat dry and sprinkle the salt, pepper and garlic flakes on each side of the steak and let it come to room temperature about 15-20 minutes for one steak. Get your fry pan hot, add a little olive oil and put your steak in, let it cook undisturbed for 4 minutes. While your steak is in the pan, chop the herbs and mix with the mayonaise, grate a little lemon zest in and stir. Clean your greens and slice the tomato. Turn the steak over and sear for 4 minutes. When it’s done take it out of the pan and lay on cutting board and let rest for 15-20 minutes. Slice a nice size piece of bread, slather with herbed mayo. Lay slices of tomato and a handful of greens. After steak has rested slice thin pieces and lay on top of the greens.

I can’t think of a better way to use this great bread than a hearty sandwich.

Day 3 loaf Rustic Italian Bread

Whole Foods DC – I am a finalist!!

I submitted a recipe for Beef Short Rib Stew with eggplant and roasted potato and I was chosen as a finalist. If you don’t mind please vote for my recipe. Here is the link to the contest:

Whole Foods Picture of the Stew

  • 6 beef short ribs
  • 1 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 medium size onion chopped
  • 2 dried limes or juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 eggplant peeled and cut into rounds that are about 1/2 inch thick
  • 2 medium size yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1 clove garlic peeled and left whole
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4-5 cups water or flavorful beef stock

  • Coat dutch oven with olive oil and heat on medium high, add your chopped onion and garlic and cook until onion is soft and translucent. Add the short ribs and brown on each side, remove from pan and add the tomato paste and cook until it starts to caramelize stirring frequently, put the short ribs back in pan and stir, add your stock or water, dried limes or lemon juice and reduce heat to medium, cover with lid slightly ajar and let slow cook for approximately 4 hours stirring occasionally. If you have whole dried limes with sharp knife poke 2 or 3 small holes or slits in them before adding to the stew. Watch the stew and add more water or stock if you notice the liquid getting low.

  • While stew is cooking, heat the oven to 425, toss the potato cubes with some olive oil and lay on parchment lined sheet pan, sprinkle with some salt and pepper and roast in oven until potatoes are browned, you will need to stir them occasionally. When they are done remove from oven and set aside. Reduce oven to 375 and lay slices of eggplant on same parchment lined sheet pan, brush each side with olive oil, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Roast for approximately 20 minutes on each side. The eggplant should be nicely browned and soft. Remove from oven and set aside.

  • When the meat is tender and the liquid is thick take the short ribs out, remove the bones and cut meat into chunks and add back to pot, add the eggplant and potatoes and simmer for another 15 minutes. Adjust seasoning. Serve with basmati rice.

The Mission – Lets Bake

The mission should I choose to accept it (ok, its corny but I just saw the new Mission Impossible flick)  is to bake an Italian Boule or loaf, the call to arms or I guess whisks came from “The solitary Cook” and we all are to bake a loaf or boule of her fabulously delicious Italian bread. Truth be told since she posted this recipe I have already made 8 loaves (see an earlier post on my site) and no one has to twist my arm to make more, its just that good.  Visit The Solitary Cook at  her wordpress website: and Lets Bake!!

Preferment on it’s way to the fridge to rest overnight

I took the preferment out of the fridge this morning, let it come to room temp and made the dough. It came together so nicely, I just love this recipe. Just took the finished loaf out of the oven. Tomorrow, with the rest of the dough I will make two boule. Here is a link to the recipe:

Finished loaf of Rustic Italian Bread

Roast Chicken

So delicious!

This method of roasting chicken may not be the norm, I remember my Mother steam roasting a chicken in her black and white speckled graniteware pan and it was always so delicious.  I love  preparing the chicken this way, not only is it delicious but because you allow the chicken to steam undisturbed it’s not necessary to baste often and you are free to do whatever else you have to do.  The meat is tender and juicy and every bite is full of flavor.I stuff the cavity with aromatics, herbs and citrus, you can add what you like.  Essentially, I steam the chicken which locks in the flavor and ensures that the chicken does not dry out and when its almost done remove the lid or foil and brown the skin. Make sure that you let the chicken rest before carving, the juices will re-distribute. When you steam the chicken the juices do not evaporate it also speeds up the cooking time.  Serve with potatoes, (mashed are great) vegetables and you have a delicious comforting meal. The leftovers make an amazing sandwich.


1 organic chicken (mine weighed 4+ lbs)

1 lemon cut in half (remove visible seeds)

1 shallot (or small onion) peeled and halved

Fresh herbs (I used parsley and thyme)

2 cloves garlic (peeled and left whole)

olive oil to rub on the skin

salt and pepper

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  Wash and rinse your chicken and pat dry. Place in roasting pan (on a rack if you have one) and salt the cavity, stuff with the lemon, shallot, garlic and fresh herbs. Rub the skin of the chicken with some olive oil, sprinkle salt and pepper generously.  Cover roasting pan either with the lid or with foil making sure its well sealed. Place in the oven and roast undisturbed for 90 minutes for a smaller chicken or larger you will have to adjust the time, if you use a thermometer the internal temperature should be 160-165 before you brown the skin. Take the pan out of the oven, raise the oven temp to 425 degrees, remove the foil or lid, spoon some of the pan juices over the chicken and put it back in the oven for approximately 20-30 minutes,or until the skin is golden brown, about half way through baste again. Remove from the oven check the temperature it should register 170-175, tent with foil and let it rest for 30 minutes before serving.

NOTE: If you don’t have a thermometer steaming a chicken (approximately 4 lbs) for an hour and a half is sufficient. It will be almost completely cooked and putting it back in the oven to brown the skin will ensure a fully cooked chicken.

Orange Angel Food Cupcakes With Chocolate Orange Buttercream

Chocolate and Orange Delicious

Orange scented angel food cake with a creamy chocolate orange buttercream pairs perfectly. I submitted this to a food52 recipe contest the theme is citrus and these cupcakes deliver citrus in every bite. I adapted Grace Parisi’s angel food cupcake recipe to include the orange zest and I adapted Martha Stewarts Chocolate Buttercream recipe.


1 1/4 cup egg whites at room temperature

1 tsp cream of tartar

1 tsp orange zest

1 cup cake flour

1/2 cup confectioners sugar

1/2 tsp salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Set 12 jumbo foil muffin cups on a rimmed baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine the cake flour with the confectioners’ sugar. In a large bowl, combine the egg whites with the salt, orange zest and cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the whites are firm and glossy. Sift the flour mixture over the egg whites in 2 additions, folding gently until incorporated.
  2. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups filling to the top. Bake for 15 minutes (checking on them starting at 13 minutes), shifting the pan from front to back, until the cupcakes are springy and golden. Transfer the cupcakes to a rack to cool.

The Buttercream:

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate (70%) broken into small pieces

1 tsp orange zest

4 egg whites from large eggs

1/2 cup +2 tbs granulated sugar

8 ounces unsalted butter cut into pieces at room temperature

Place chocolate and orange zest in microwave safe bowl, microwave for 30 seconds, stir and microwave another 30 seconds, it may need another 30 seconds to melt. Stir until all the chocolate is melted set aside to cool.

Combine sugar and egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water; whisk until the mixture feels hot to touch and the sugar is completely dissolved, about 3-5 minutes. Transfer the bowl to the mixer stand. Using the whisk attachment, beat the mixture on medium-high until cooled, about 15 minutes.

Add the butter a piece at a time beating continuously until its all added, now add the cooled chocolate and beat until combined. Use immediately.

Spread a thin layer of the marmalade on top of the cupcake, pipe some of the chocolate buttercream in the middle. Enjoy!

Roasted Garlic and Broccoli Rabe Pizza


I entered this recipe in a Whole Foods contest for roasted garlic. It makes a great pizza but just as easily converts to a low carb vegetable dish by eliminating the pizza dough entirely. I used a whole garlic bulb, that may sound like a lot but when you roast garlic it loses the pungent, sharp flavor that raw garlic has and you can use considerably more to get that garlic taste.

First I roasted the whole garlic bulb, I love the smell of garlic and my kitchen was filled with the aroma.

1 whole bulb garlic

Olive Oil

Pre heat oven to 375 degrees. Cut 1/2 inch from the top of the bulb of garlic. Add about an inch of olive oil to a bowl and place garlic cut side down in the olive oil. Let sit for 15 minutes. Lay a sheet of foil on baking sheet. Place garlic on the foil and pour the rest of the olive oil directly onto the bulb. Fold into a packet and put in the oven. Bake for 40 minutes then turn the oven off and leave the garlic in the oven until it cools, approximately 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and squeeze half of the soft garlic into a mixing bowl, mash with a fork.

The roasted garlic

To make the pizza you can use your favorite recipe for pizza dough or a prepared dough that you can get from your local pizzaria or supermarket.


1 lb broccoli rabe

Mashed half bulb of roasted garlic

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 tsp lemon zest

pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

salt and pepper to taste

pecorino romano or your favorite type of cheese (grated and shaved)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 2 tbs salt, clean the broccoli rabe and remove tough stems. When water is boiling put the broccoli in and boil for 10 minutes. Prepare an ice bath, take the broccoli out and place directly in ice bath. Lay some paper towels on the counter and when the broccoli has cooled lay out in one layer on the paper towel so it can dry.

To the bowl with mashed garlic add the 1/4 cup olive oil, lemon zest, crushed red pepper and some ground black pepper (add salt if you like but be careful not to add to much as the cheese is salty. Stir and set aside.

Heat oven to 500 degrees

Press pizza dough onto your pizza pan, brush with some olive oil and sprinkle grated pecorino romano on the dough. Arrange the broccoli rabe and shave some cheese on top. Bake for 20-25 minutes the pizza crust will be golden brown. Remove from oven, grate little more cheese on top and drizzle with olive oil.