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Monday, September 5, 2011

CABIN COMFORTS



This Labor Day weekend, I spent at my families cabin up on the North Shore. For years my family and I would spend almost every-other weekend up at the Lake. One of my fondest memories remains the elaborate meals we prepare together. My mother and I would mull-over the menu for the weekend and cook together in the kitchen chopping and dicing away. My dad would normally man the grill and my siblings would fill in when needed. This weekend, wasn't any different. My mother planned the dinner and I prepared Sunday brunch. For dinner, I helped my mother with her menu of grilled chicken with a honey mustard marinade, grilled romaine with blue cheese and bacon and homemade french fries with truffle oil. If that doesn't leave your mouth watering, than dessert will. Homemade tres leches cake, or in Spanish, "three milks" cake. Tres leches cake is my absolute favorite cake, for its moist texture and rich earthy flavor from using warm spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon and clove. For breakfast I made an asparagus and onion strata with a basil, broccoli emulsion. Below you'll see highlights from this weekends favorites. Hopefully you can start a similar family tradition with these recipes. I assure you that any family member hiding away in his or her room will come running when the smells of tres leches cake come steaming through the house. 



Beautifully grilled chicken

Good ole dad manning his station!

MAPLE-MUSTARD CHICKEN 
My mother found the recipe for the chicken in CookingLight magazine. The recipe recommended to place chicken in marinade for about two ours, but my mom decided to marinade her chicken overnight which I believe paid off in flavor. This is some of the best grilled chicken I have ever had. Be sure to take down this recipe! Click here for the recipe!



Ahh the lovely tres leches. This recipe is a bit time consuming, but well worth the hard work. Your guests or family will rave about this cake again and again. My mother found the recipe in Food & Wine magazine which can be found by clicking here!


Rachael's Asparagus and Onion Strata with a Basil and Broccoli Emulsion
(Serves 8-9)
*Must be prepared a day ahead

2 loaves french bread, broken into pieces
1 bunch asparagus, chopping into inch sized pieces
2 yellow onions chopped into rounds
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp minced garlic
3 tbsps olive oil 
2 tbsp butter
2 cups milk
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 dozen eggs
Blend of your favorites melty cheeses, about 2-3 cups
1 tsp salt, pepper, garlic powder and cumin

Heat large saute pan over med heat and add 3 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp butter, add onion and let simmer over med heat for 8 minutes, until softened. Add garlic, water and asparagus and saute over low heat for 10 minutes. In a mixing bowl, add milk, eggs, basil and spices and whisk until well combined. When vegetables are through simmering, cool for at least 10 more minutes. As vegetables cool, take out a large 11x17 cake pan and smear 1 tbsp butter on the bottom so as not to stick. Add a layer of french bread on the bottom. When veggies are cooled, add to egg and milk mixture until combined. Pour egg and veg mixture over bread, then add the rest of your bread pieces and push down with your hand so that all the bread is soaked. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. The next morning, preheat oven to 350. Add bake and cook 20 minutes. Take out of oven and add cheese to the top and cook 20 more minutes. Serve with emulsion over the top. Recipe shown below. 

Basil, Broccoli Emulsion:

1 bunch fresh basil
1 cup boiled broccoli (must be soft)
3/4 cup heavy cream 
1 tbsp butter
Salt, pepper

In small sauce pan, add cream over low heat. Add basil and butter and steep for 5-10 minutes, but don't bring to boil. Cool for 10 minutes. In food processor, add milk mixture, salt, pepper and broccoli and pulse until well combined. Pour over strata!








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