easter

Recipe: Easter Bunny Cake

Easter is just around the corner and this year why not delight the kiddies with this adorable Easter Bunny Cake courtesy of the Food Network Kitchens.  Are you a cupcakster? Food Network can be in your pocket or in the kitchen with the Cupcakes! app for iPad and Android tablets. Cupcakes! has tons of frosting tips, videos, and recipes you can use for projects that are fun to bake with your family and friends.  For more Easter inspiration visit Food Network’s Easter Center (HERE) to get more fun cake and cupcake designs and recipes as well as tips and tricks from Melissa d’Arabian on the perfect hardboiled egg for Easter.

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Recipe: White Chocolate Bread Pudding with Margarita Hard Sauce

I don’t know why I am on the bread pudding kick right now but if I had to guess it was the catering job we did a few weeks ago at Bay City Grill.  I made four pans of Bread Pudding with a Spiced Rum Hard Sauce.  People loved it.  Then when Studio 10 called last week I thought I could finally demo my French Toast Bread Pudding.  Tonight I was sitting here thinking of other variations.  I had some leftover dinner rolls, plenty of cage-free eggs, organic milk and demarerra sugar.  I also had some white chocolate I had planned to use to make Christmas Tree Bark.  The result of my tinkering was this little gem:

White Chocolate Bread Pudding with Margarita Hard Sauce
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Stuart Reb Donald
Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour 30 mins
Serves: 8
Ingredients
    White Chocolate Bread Pudding

  • 2 cups demarerra sugar
  • 5 large beaten eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups French bread, cubed and stale
  • 1/2 pound white chocolate chips
  • Hard Sauce

  • 1/2 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • 2 TBL Key lime juice
  • Tequila to taste
Instructions
    Bread Pudding

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (American).
  2. Grease a 13 by 9 by 2-inch pan with butter.
  3. Whisk together the sugar, eggs and milk in a bowl then mix in the vanilla. Pour over cubed bread and set aside for about 10 minutes.
  4. Pour bread mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle white chocolate, mix and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until set. Remove from oven.
  5. Hard Sauce

  6. Mix together the nectar and butter in a saucepan over low heat.
  7. Stir together until well blended.
  8. Add the Key lime juice, stirring well then the tequila.
  9. Pour over the top of the bread pudding.

Thanksgiving Dinner Southern Style – White Truffle Butter

Norman Rockwell ThanksgivingThanksgiving dinner is one of the great unifiers of Americans.  With few exceptions we all eat on the same day, enjoy the same dishes and have the same responses (falling asleep).  Granted there are subtle regional differences like wild rice in Minnesota or hatch chilies in New Mexico so I intend to look at some things customary to a Turkey Day menu in the South but I’m not doing it alone.

My good friend Gene Fox of Deep South Cooking Outfitters will show us how to deep fry a turkey without deep frying our house (HERE).  Chris Lilly of world famous Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q in Decatur, AL will be talking turkey, well actually pies – grilled pies..  Chris is fresh off his appearance on Best in Smoke on the Food Network and winning Grand Champion at the 2011 Memphis in May.  Also lending a hand will be Richard Rosenfeld of premium tea company Two Leaves and a Bud because no Southern Thanksgiving table is complete without a pitcher of Alabama Table Wine – iced tea.  And I’ll be Going Coastal with dressing made with plenty of cornbread, Andouille sausage and Gulf oysters.

415WMlqRNZL. SL500 AA300  Thanksgiving Dinner Southern Style   White Truffle ButterIn the coming days I’ll be dropping each of these little nuggets on you but today I’m going to discuss making a great compound butter.  A “compound butter” is real butter flavored with herbs or spices.  Making a compound butter is easy – just let a stick or two of real unsalted butter come to room temperature, add it to a mixing bowl and using an electric mixer cream the butter like you would for frosting.  Then add your flavor additive, a pinch of salt and cream it just long enough to combine.  Spread the butter onto some wax paper or plastic wrap and shape into a log.  Seal tightly and refrigerate for at least two hours.  Serve for topping hot dinner rolls or cornbread.

You can use any fresh or dried herb or spice mixes like Cajun seasoning or Tabasco sauce.  In this instance I am making an elegant and luxurious compound butter like you might find at one of those great Southern white tablecloth restaurants in Charleston, Savannah or New Orleans. White Truffle Butter.

White Truffle Butter
Recipe Type: Condiment
Author: Stuart Reb Donald
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 2 hours
Total time: 2 hours 5 mins
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 1 pound unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 TBL white truffle oil or to taste
  • 2 pinches of salt or to taste
Instructions
  1. Place room temperature in a mixing bowl and using an electric mixer cream the butter like you would for frosting.
  2. Add your white truffle oil, a pinch of salt and cream it just long enough to combine.
  3. Spread the butter onto some wax paper or plastic wrap and shape into a log.
  4. Seal tightly and refrigerate for at least two hours.

Easter Brunch Recipe: Seafood Gumbo

In the South it is not at all uncommon to find seafood gumbo as part of a traditional meal like Christmas dinner or Easter brunch.  It is the official soup of the Gulf Coast and highlights the local ingredients especially oysters and crawfish which are at their peak in early Spring.  Before giving you my recipe for gumbo I’ll invite you to watch this short film from the Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off in which Alton Brown was in attendance and even offered his approach to making roux.  If you don’t care to watch the video just scroll on down for the recipe.

Recipe: Seafood Gumbo

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 lb shrimp
  • 1 lb crabmeat
  • 1 lb crawfish tails
  • 1 pint oysters
  • 1 med onion, diced
  • 1 bunch celery stalks, rough chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 lb okra, sliced
  • 1/2 bottle Louisiana Hot Sauce- a whole bottle if you like it HOT!  Omit for sissies.
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • Salt, cayenne pepper, File’, white pepper, & black pepper to taste
  • Bay leaves
  • 1 quart fish stock or shrimp stock

Instructions

Gumbo

  1. Boil rice in well salted water with a bay leaf and set aside.
  2. In a large stockpot melt butter and add flour to make a roux cook until chocolate brown, roughly 20 minutes.
  3. Add onions, celery, bell peppers, and a little water if needed and simmer a few minutes then add hot sauce, tomatoes, bay leaves, salt, both peppers and fish stock. Simmer for about half an hour.
  4. Add okra and seafood and simmer about another twenty minutes.
  5. Remove bay leaves. Serve hot over rice, and garnish with a sprinkle of file’.

Quick Notes

Gumbo is the African word for okra therefore okra is the one ingredient that cannot be omitted from the recipe.  However you can get creative with it if you just are not a fan like pulverizing it in a food processor or using fried okra as a garnish.  Also, smoked sausage or the French summer sausage Andouille are common additions.

Be sure to check out my full Easter Brunch Menu HERE.

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less

Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards

2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up

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