kale and sausage bread pudding

kale and sausage bread pudding | A Brown Table

Visiting M's parent's on their little farm out in Virigina, is always a treat! It's quiet, the internet is slow so you're basically cut off from the world but in many ways it's a blessing. You get to disconnect from everything else that's going on and you're forced to relax. You get to appreciate everything you have in your life a little more and start to pay attention to things around you. In many ways it's the best gift we could give ourselves. A brief respite from our lives. 

For some reason, it was apparently colder in CA than it was here on the East Coast, this Christmas. It's been raining like crazy, the fields were soaked in water and there were many moments that I almost slipped and broke my behind in the muck when I went to visit the mules and animals on the farm. M's mom loves her animals and raises goats that she milks herself to make goat milk soap. A couple of years ago, she taught me how to milk a goat, it's an interesting experience! I don't even know how to describe it. They now have two donkeys and they protect the goats from coyotes! I had no idea donkeys could scare coyotes off. 

Christmas morning, I baked a batch of popovers from Bon Appetit Christmas issue and some cheddar biscuits with herbs. Basically, we've been eating constantly every day. There is no rest for the tummy when we go to visit family. I think it is the general theme of our family vacations for both of us as we don't visit that them often so our trip transforms into a daily request of all our favorite dishes that we've missed.  

On one morning, I baked a kale and sausage bread pudding with M's mom. So here she is cooking with me in the kitchen and we're cooking a savory bread pudding (in many ways this is also a casserole). 

I'm also giving away this gorgeous baking dish from Le Creuset! All you need to do is a leave a comment and tell me what you want to cook in it and I will pick a randomwinner! The contest is only open to legal US residents and ends on January 3rd 2016 at 12 pm. Have an amazing New Year friends!!!

Mouth of Wilson, Virginia | A Brown Table
Goats and Sheep, Mouth of Wilson, Virginia | A Brown Table
Mules at Mouth of Wilson, Virginia | A Brown Table
Mules at Mouth of Wilson, Virginia | A Brown Table
Mouth of Wilson, VA | A Brown Table
Mouth of Wilson, VA | A Brown Table
Christmas at the Farm Mouth of Wilson, VA | A Brown Table
Christmas Day Breakfast Scene | A Brown Table
Jersey Cows and a Donkey, Mouth of Wilson, VA | A Brown Table
kale and sausage bread pudding | A Brown Table
kale and sausage bread pudding | A Brown Table
kale and sausage bread pudding | A Brown Table
kale and sausage bread pudding | A Brown Table
kale and sausage bread pudding | A Brown Table
kale and sausage bread pudding | A Brown Table
kale and sausage bread pudding| A Brown Table
DSC_4377 - Version 2.jpg

Here are some kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this dish;

  • I added less salt than I normally would since the sausage I used was heavily seasoned. Adjust your salt amounts if you know that how the sausage will taste. I prefer to stick to the lower amount because you can always sprinkle a little salt later over the pudding when serving.
  • Use whatever type of kale or bread you like. Mustard greens and chard leaves will also work well in this recipe. 
kale and sausage bread pudding | A Brown Table
Peacock in Virginia | A Brown Table

kale and sausage bread pudding

yields: 2 servings

ingredients

2 1/2 cups whole-wheat or rye bread country style, diced into 1" cubes

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup cooked Italian breakfast sausage (I used spicy pork)

2 cups whole milk

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground

1 cup packed kale leaves, torn (midrib discarded)

5 fresh sage leaves, julienned

1. Place a wire rack at midlevel in the oven and preheat to 375F. Take a baking sheet and line it with parchment paper. Mix the cubes pieces of bread along with the olive oil in a large mixing bowl. Spread this out on the lined baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes until the bread is browned and crispy. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack. 

2. Take a medium-sized skillet and heat on medium-high heat. Crumble the sausage and cook until the sausage is completely cooked and lightly browned.  Drain the fat and keep the sausage aside. 

3. Lightly butter a 1 quart oval baking dish and keep aside. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk the milk, eggs, baking powder, salt, cayenne pepper and black pepper. Fold in the kale, sage, and sausage. Carefully fold in the toasted croutons. Pour the mixture into the baking dish, lightly wrap with cling film and refrigerate for 45 minutes to 1 hour. 

4. Place a wire rack at midlevel in the oven and preheat to 400F. Remove the cling film and bake the pudding for 30 to 35 minutes until the center is firm to touch. A knife should come out clean from the center of the bread pudding. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes on a wire rack. Serve warm. 

Disclaimer: Thank you to Le Creuset for sponsoring this giveaway. All opinions expressed are purely my own.

peppermint mocha bundt cake

peppermint mocha bundt cake (butter free) | A Brown Table

The week before Christmas and especially if you're traveling is kinda intense in every way. I wanted to get the bathroom remodeled before we left but that was too grand of an ambition. So it's going to be pushed to my list of things to focus on next year. Next week, I'll be visiting family and friends in Virginia, my MIL wants me to make her Sam's cake, I have to let our youngest nephew play in cake batter because he has a kid's chef set and likes to stir things (I'd be happy if he likes to wash dishes too), and one of my SIL's wants me to make her something I cooked for her a while back but to make it spicy, the problem is none of us can remember what it was. I'm really excited about visiting my in laws, sleeping in late and doing nothing at the farm. I'm looking forward to antique store shopping with my MIL (who encourages this much to M's vexation) and eating a lot of Southern food. Even though, I don't care for snow that much, I'm looking forward to the possibility of it snowing hard at the farm so we can go sledding down the hills. I'm excited to go back to Virginia after two years!

If you're looking for some wonderful baking ideas and treats, I have a biscotti a recipe in the holiday special issue of King Arthur flour's magazine Sift. And the magazine is a Christmas treat in itself for any baker!

Holiday baking | A Brown Table

I'm used to making most of my cakes with butter or nut oils or avocado but never coconut oil as the sole source of fat. The butter swap turned out to be trickier than expected and with coconut oil, I'm always a little concerned about the fragrance that it might impart to whatever dish I'm using it in. Thankfully with chocolate it's easy and in this peppermint mocha cake, it's practically undetectable!

Every Christmas I look forward to a few traditional things, some of them being eggnogg and peppermint because they taste delicious! Califia Farms makes some tasty versions of these drinks and for this holiday season, I've used their peppermint mocha drink to make a very chocolatey and "pepperminty" flavored bundt cake. Since, I'm not a huge fan of sugar frostings, I used a chocolate ganache type of frosting to decorate the cake and then studded the top with crushed candy canes. This might be the closest, I'm getting to making a very cutesy cake this year.

I've also realized as M has pointed out to me on multiple occasions, I keep referring to candy canes as peppermint sticks! I gotta stop making that mistake. 

peppermint mocha bundt cake (butter free) | A Brown Table
peppermint mocha bundt cake (butter free) | A Brown Table
peppermint mocha bundt cake (butter free) | A Brown Table
peppermint mocha bundt cake (butter free) | A Brown Table
peppermint mocha bundt cake (butter free) | A Brown Table
peppermint mocha bundt cake (butter free) | A Brown Table

Here are some of my kitchen tips when preparing this cake:

  • Do not over mix the flour in to the batter, the cake uses coconut oil and if you mix it too much, the final texture can be dry. I noticed that in the second iteration of this recipe.
  • You can use cake flour in this recipe, just keep the weight the same as it is for the whole wheat pastry flour.
  • I used regular cocoa powder over dark because that gets very intense in this combination. 
  • Store the cake at room temperature in an airtight container, avoid refrigerating it as coconut oil will harden making the texture of the cake a bit hard.
peppermint mocha bundt cake (butter free) | A Brown Table

peppermint mocha bundt cake

yields: 12 servings (one 2 quart bundt cake mold is what I used)

ingredients

226gm coconut oil, melted but cooled + 2 tablespoons to grease the mold

3 cups (726gm) whole-wheat pastry flour

1/4 cup (30gm) unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon fine grain salt

1 cup Califia peppermint mocha milk

3 large eggs + 1 large egg yolk, cold

1 1/2 cups (340gm) finegrain/baking sugar

1. Grease the bundt cake pan with the two tablespoons of melted coconut oil. Then Take 1 tablespoon of the flour and dust the pan with the flour evenly. 

2. In a large mixing bowl, dry whisk the remaining flour and all the dry ingredients up to the salt. Keep aside until ready to use.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the eggs, sugar and remaining coconut oil. Whisk on medium-high speed until pale yellow, this should take about 4 minutes. Replace the whisk with the paddle attachment, then add half of the whisked dry ingredients and half of the peppermint mocha milk into the batter. Whisk on low-speed until just combined, then add the remaining flour mix and peppermint mocha milk to the cake batter. Pour this batter into the prepared bundt pan and bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking process. The cake will rise and should be firm to touch when done. A skewer when inserted should come out clean through the center. 

5 . Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then flip the cake over onto a plate lined with parchment paper and let it sit in the mold for 5 minutes. The cake should release easily, transfer the cake to a wire rack and allow cool completely to room temperature before glazing it.

chocolate ganache and peppermint glaze

yields: about  1 1/2 cups

ingredients

1 1/2 cups semisweet dark chocolate chips

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1/4 cup crushed candy canes, coarse

1. Melt the chocolate and the coconut oil in a thick bottomed saucepan placed over a bowl of simmering water. Stir until the chocolate is smooth and has a shiny sheen. Pour the hot melted chocolate glaze over the top of the cake while it is sitting on a wire rack. You can use a parchment paper to collect the extra chocolate that drips to the bottom. 

2. Sprinkle the crushed candy canes over the top of the cake and allow the chocolate to set before cutting. 

 

Disclaimer: A big thank you to Califia Farms for sponsoring this post. All opinions expressed are solely mine.

peppermint white chocolate ice cream and gingersnap cookie crust pie

peppermint white chocolate ice cream and gingersnap crust pie | A Brown Table

One of my favorite parts about working in the city is working close to the Williams-Sonoma store by Union Square and during the holidays, it's a fun time because the store overlooks the tall Christmas tree in the square that's lit from top to bottom. Sadly, the founder Chuck Williams who recently celebrated his 100th birthday, passed away over the weekend. He was one of the early pioneers in the food industry, who traveled around the globe to find quality kitchen tools that we are now accustomed to and love. He helped make our cooking experiences richer and even more exciting by researching and introducing new kitchen tools and appliances, he will be missed!

Two layers, one dark and one white and embedded in it, a layer of red and white stripes. Peppermint bark, you're the best! Though, I have many holiday desserts that are favorites, peppermint is on my list and this one from Williams-Sonoma is probably one of the best I've tasted in a while. The chocolates (white and dark) are both smooth, the peppermint is cool and doesn't get sticky by absorbing moisture from air. Consequently, it's quickly become a part of my arsenal when it comes to pimping up my holiday desserts. This time, when I decided to make a holiday dessert with the peppermint bark, I knew it should involve pie and ice cream because holiday ice creams are a special category in themselves. But an ice cream pie is well, pie made better especially if it's all that ice cream is loaded up in a gingersnap crust!

I keep a small pot of peppermint growing and even though I've had it for over a year, I have to say, I'm almost a little ashamed that I've done absolutely nothing with it until now. Fresh peppermint makes amazing ice cream, it's one of the strongest infusions that's sweet but not harsh. So always try to keep some growing if you can!

I've adapted the basic ice cream recipe from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams while the cookie pie crust recipe is one that I adapted from King Arthur.

peppermint white chocolate ice cream and gingersnap crust pie | A Brown Table
peppermint white chocolate ice cream and gingersnap crust pie | A Brown Table
peppermint white chocolate ice cream and gingersnap crust pie | A Brown Table
peppermint white chocolate ice cream and gingersnap crust pie | A Brown Table
peppermint white chocolate ice cream and gingersnap crust pie | A Brown Table
peppermint white chocolate ice cream and gingersnap crust pie | A Brown Table
peppermint white chocolate ice cream and gingersnap crust pie | A Brown Table
peppermint white chocolate ice cream and gingersnap crust pie | A Brown Table
peppermint white chocolate ice cream and gingersnap crust pie | A Brown Table
peppermint white chocolate ice cream and gingersnap crust pie | A Brown Table
peppermint white chocolate ice cream and gingersnap crust pie | A Brown Table

Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this ice cream pie,

  • Waterproofing the pie crust by brushing with about 2 to 3 tablespoons of melted white chocolate can help to protect the crust from getting too soggy (I didn't do it this time).
  • The ice cream should be soft and pliable to work with.
  • Use your favorite gingersnaps, however, I will recommend skipping those that contain chunks of ginger as it might be overwhelming when it comes to balancing the flavors of the dessert.
  • I use fresh peppermint leaves but you can also use add 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract (edible grade) to the ice cream base once it is chilled.
peppermint white chocolate ice cream and gingersnap crust pie | A Brown Table

peppermint white chocolate ice cream and gingersnap crust pie

peppermint white chocolate ice cream

yields: 1 quart

ingredients

2 cups whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup sugar

2 to 3 tablespoons fresh peppermint leaves, chopped

1/4 cup white chocolate chips

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons plain full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature

1/4 cup peppermint bark, chopped1. Place all the ingredients from the milk to the white chocolate in a medium-sized thick bottomed saucepan and heat on medium-high heat. Bring the contents to a rolling boil and cook for 3 minutes with constant stirring, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.

2. While the contents of the saucepan are simmering, quickly whisk the cornstarch and water in a small mixing bowl. Increase the heat to medium-high and quickly whisk in the cornstarch slurry, allow the mixture to boil for about 2 minutes with constant stirring until it thickens and acquires a thick custard like consistency. Remove from stove and pass the liquid through a strainer to remove any peppermint leaves and clumps.

3. Whisk the hot ice cream base slowly into a large bowl containing the cream cheese and whisk until smooth and completely combined.  Transfer the ice cream base to a gallon ziploc bag and keep it in an ice cold water bath. Prepare the ice cream using the chilled ice cream base by following your ice cream maker's manufacturer's instructions. Fold the chopped peppermint bark in to the prepared ice cream. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer proof airtight container and freeze until ready to use. 

gingersnap cookie crust pie

ingredients

yields: one 9" crust

260gm gingersnap cookies

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted + a little extra to grease the pie pan

2 tablespoons fine-grain sugar

1/2 cup peppermint bark, finely chopped

1. Place a wire rack at mid-level in the oven and preheat to 350F. 

2. Place the cookies in a food processor and pulse for about 20 seconds, four times until you get a fine powder. Transfer the powder to medium size mixing bowl.

3. Using a silicone spatula mix in the melted butter and sugar to form a "dough".

4. Lightly grease a 9" oven and freezer safe baking pan with the extra butter. Line the base of the pan with a circle of parchment paper cut to size. Transfer the cookie "dough" to the pan and press it gently with your fingers pushing it gently to coat and cover the pan. Level the edges of the crust with a small offset spatula. 

5. Bake the pie crust in a preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until you can just smell the gingersnap cookies. Remove the baked pie crust from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Wrap the crust in the pie pan carefully and freeze for at least 2 hours before using. 

6. When ready to assemble, soften the peppermint white chocolate ice cream in the refrigerator for about 30minutes. Unwrap the pie and transfer the ice cream, flatten it out using an offset-spatula. Freeze the pie for one hour. Decorate the outer edge of the pie with the chopped peppermint bark by sprinkling it to form a circular border that's around 1 inch in width. Wrap the pie and freeze for at least 2 hours until firm. Cut the pie using a warm and sharp serrated knife.

Note: A huge thank you to Williams-Sonoma for sponsoring this post as part of their #BarkYeah campaign. All opinions expressed are purely my own. 

You can find most of the products I used in this post at Williams-Sonoma: Cuisinart Ice Cream maker , Offset Spatualas, Christmas Dessert plates ,and All Clad Saucepans