Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

















What an elegant treat to make for such a low cost. And how easy can it get? I love serving a dish of chocolate covered strawberries to my friends when they come to visit. White chocolate is my favorite!

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
5 ounces white chocolate, chopped
15-20 large strawberries with stems

Put the dark and white chocolates into 2 separate medium bowls that are heatproof. Fill 2 medium saucepans with about 2 inches of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Turn off the heat; set the bowls of chocolate over the water to melt.

Stir the chocolates until smooth and then remove bowls rom the heat. Line a cookie sheet pan with parchment or waxed paper. Holding the strawberry by the stem, dip the fruit into the chocolate, lift and twist slightly, letting any excess chocolate fall back into the bowl. Set strawberries on the parchment paper.

Repeat with the rest of the strawberries until all are covered in your choice of chocolate. Then Dip a fork in the chocolate and drizzle the white over the dark and the dark over the white. Set the strawberries aside until the chocolate sets.

Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.

Be like the single blade of grass.



“Be like the single blade of grass. For she too, has been trampled on, mowed down, and hit with such bitterly cold stretches that she had to shut down to survive. Yet still she stands upright with dignity, knowing that she endures, and still she dances with the wind.”

~Sandra Kring

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Pay It Forward

Good morning friends. I want to share a pay it forward story with you today.

There was a woman and her little girl at a check out line at a local supermarket here in town. The clerk had totaled up her grocery bill for the food she had already bagged and with her hands on her hips and a judgmental smirk on her face, she was impatiently waiting for the rest of the balance to be paid.

A stranger, who was standing nearby, was watching as the woman dug through her purse and her pockets nervously searching for any left over cash or change or food stamps that might finish paying the balance the clerk so loudly stated that she still needed to pay. The woman continued to say how sorry she was for thinking the total would be less and for holding up the line, but the clerk continued to tap her fingers on the counter and roll her eyes so the other customers in line could see her frustration. The young woman began to cry and asked if she could go through the bags and return a few things that would have to wait until next month.

At that point her little girl looked up at her Mother and touched her cheek to wipe away a tear. "Please Mommy, don't cry, I have some money." The little girl reached in her little pink vinyl purse and attempted to hand the irritated store clerk several sheets of play money. She looked at the clerk and said, "Take this money and keep the change. My Mommy is sad and I need to get her home."

The clerk completely ignored the little girl and yelled out for someone to call a Manager. People in line began shaking their heads and going to other check out lines to pay for their items. The stranger saw all of this and went to find that Manager. They stepped aside and chatted briefly and then walked back to the manager's office.

In a few moments an announcement was made over the loud speaker for a stock clerk to go to checkout line 10 to assist a customer. When the young man reached the woman and her little girl, he asked her if he could help her load her groceries into her car. The young mother said, "We have a problem, because I was unable to finish paying for my items."

The young man shook his head and immediately said, "no Ma'am, your daughter more than covered the remaining balance. You even have some change coming your way."

He then proceeded to count out $500 in store credit vouchers for future purchases. The woman looked at him in disbelief and began to cry. She then followed the young man out to her car. The stranger continued to look on as the manager relieved the cashier of her duties for the day.

The stranger smiled and remembered a quote that she had read at some time in her life. It said, "I learned not give because I have much....but because I know exactly how it feels to have nothing."

Pay it forward my friends. The feeling that you will walk away with is incredible. The stranger was me this morning and I cannot even describe how it felt to see that little girl's face as she comforted her Mother and told her it would be okay. I found more joy in that single moment that I have found in the last year.

Pay it forward today my friend.... it doesn't have to be with money....my Mom used to say, "Smile at a stranger today or say something nice. You just never know when something you say or do might fit perfectly in the empty space of someone's heart."
~Marty
Story is copyrighted and the property of  Welcome Home

Three Cheese Broccoli Bake
























Here's a simple and easy to make dish that can dress that plain old broccoli up and make it delicious!

Three Cheese Broccoli Bake

2 large heads of broccoli (enough to fill a 9×13 baking dish)...
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons thyme
1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 cups Monterrey Jack cheese, grated
3 cups Cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Trim broccoli of heavy stems and cut into florets. Place them in baking dish. Over medium heat, warm up cream, stirring frequently. Dissolve bouillon cube in the cream, and add thyme, stirring to blend. Pour cream mixture over the broccoli and sprinkle with the onion. Season broccoli generously with salt and pepper and garlic powder.

Cover the broccoli with 3/4 of the Jack and cheddar cheeses. Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and bake until tender, approximately 30 min. Cover with remaining cheese, and sprinkle the Parmesan on top. Bake just until the top layer of cheese melts, approximately 5 minutes. Add additional cream on top of broccoli after serving if desired.

*** Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.

Pineapple Topped Cheesecake
























Oh Yum.  A wonderfully creamy cheesecake topped with quartered pineapple rings on top of a graham cracker crust that melts in your mouth. Enjoy it with friends and family or keep it all for yourself!  That's why I like to make these perfect little 6 inch cheesecakes.  I have included a link at the bottom of the recipe so you can find the little spring form pans I use.


Pineapple Topped Cheesecake 

3 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons sugar
1-1/2 sticks salted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the graham crackers, sugar, and melted butter until moistened. Pour into a spring form pan. Press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan and about 1-inch up the sides. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

























Cheesecake

  • 5  pks (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1  3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In large mixer bowl, blend cheese, sugar, flour, lemon and orange zest and vanilla at high speed.  Beat in eggs and yolks, one at a time; beat until smooth, occasionally scraping bowl with spatula.  Next beat in cream until batter is smooth and creamy.

Pour batter into your prepared crust and bake in a water bath at 325 degrees for about 45 minutes depending on the size of your pan. The cheesecake will be slightly brown around the edges. It will be slightly wobbly just at the center. Allow the cheese cake to cool on a wire rack at room temperature.

When completely cool remove the cheesecake from the spring form pan by running a sharp knife around the outside edge before removing the sides of the pan and then run a knife under the crust to release it from the pan’s bottom. Drizzle with glaze. 





















Glaze and Topping                                          
           
1 small can of pineapple rings, cut in sections
1/3 cup of pineapple jam or preserves
2 teaspoons water

Place the jam or preserves in a small saucepan. Heat the saucepan over low to medium heat on the stove, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Add water and stir constantly over low heat, until the sauce becomes thinner, pourable consistency. Add more water if necessary to get a consistency of thin honey-like syrup which you can easily brush over the pineapple with a pastry brush. Let it cool for 10 to 15 minutes or until it's still thin enough to pour but no longer piping hot. Generously brush over pineapple and allow it to run down the sides of the cheesecake.







If you are interested in these little 6 inch spring form pans you can click on this link to find them. Remember, anything you purchase on Amazon through Welcome Home will go to the NO KILL Advocacy group to help save the lives of dogs and cats who are killed unnecessarily while waiting for their forever homes. Note the Welchome08 in the link.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0000DIX7U/ref=as_li_ss_sm_fb_us_asin_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=213733&creative=399837&creativeASIN=B0000DIX7U&linkCode=shr&tag=welchome08-20&qid=1378240341&sr=8-1&keywords=6+inch+spring+form+pans

Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.


Squeak


Good morning friends. It's bright and sunny but very cold here in Maryland this morning. I could see my breath this morning when I went outside to feed my cat. Yes, I have a cat...her name is Lola but I call her squeak because she doesn't... meow like most cats. She opens her mouth like she is going to meow, but this little squeak comes out.

I rescued Squeak last fall when she and her three siblings were left on my back deck by their mother who never came back to feed them. That is a whole different story that I won't get into right now. All died except for Squeak who I bottle fed and kept alive. I had her spayed and vaccinated and a chip put in her ear and bought her a pink rhinestone collar. She grew up to be a long haired, green eyed beauty and the sweetest cat I've ever known.

She was an outdoor cat then and is an outdoor cat now. I brought her in over the winter months last year and provided her warmth and shelter and lots of food and toys and all the luxuries that indoor cats usually don't appreciate. Nor did she...she was miserable all winter and cried all the time to go out. The vet said let her outside, so this past April, I let her out on the deck and within a second she was gone. I searched everywhere. I put up posters and called out her name for days. But she was nowhere to be found and I cried and blamed myself and mourned her loss.                                                                                            

  

Then, 9 weeks to the day, she came back. There she was, sitting on the back deck waiting for me. She looked tired and worn out as if she had gone through a lot trying to find her way back home. She had become very feral in nature and didn't trust anyone to come near her. But after a week or so, she jumped in my lap one morning when I was sitting out having my coffee. And she's has never left since. Every morning she greets me with a squeak to say she's hungry and we sort of hang out together out in the garden.

But now it's getting cold and I worry about Squeak. So I went out and bought one of those Igloo dog houses. I packed it full of blankets and a heated pet pad to make it all cozy and warm. I bought a swing door for it so she could go in and out when she wanted. I put it up high on my table so she would feel safer. I put in her favorite toys and some treats and munchies and waited to see what she would do.

Didn't take long for her to get in and start her cat ritual of kneading the blankets and snuggling up with her toys. She loved her new accommodations instantly and sleeps there peacefully every night and most of the day. She peaks out and squeaks each morning when I bring out her breakfast. I pick her up and she is toasty warm and happy after a good night sleep and she purrrs and let's me know how grateful she is that we came up with a solution. Squeak is happy. All is well.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Chicken Ravioli in Mushroom Marsala Cream
























I love to experiment in the kitchen. Sometimes I imagine a dish and the way I would like it to taste and then set out to make it. My Mom always said the best cooks are fearless in the kitchen. I made this for lunch today and it turned out... just the way I imagined. So elegant and yet so easy to make. Especially when you start off with a good quality frozen Ravioli.

Chicken Ravioli in Mushroom Marsala Cream

1 bag or box of frozen chicken ravioli ( I only use Buitoni)
1 lb baby Bella mushrooms
1 1/3 cups Marsala wine
1 small onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/3 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups sliced Portabella mushrooms
salt and pepper

Fill a large pot with about 4 quarts of water. Set the burner to high. When water begins boiling, add the frozen ravioli to and boil for 6-8 minutes. The ravioli are done when they float to the top of the water. 


























While cooking your pasta, make your sauce. In a large skillet, over medium heat, saute onion, garlic and mushroom in olive oil until tender, about 3 minutes. Next, add the Marsala wine and bring to a full boil for about 2-4 minutes. Slowly stir in heavy cream and simmer for 5 minutes until heated. If sauce is thicker than you'd like, add a little milk until you thin it out the way you want it.

Drain ravioli very carefully with a slotted spoon onto plate or bowl. Spoon mushroom Marsala sauce over ravioli and serve. Enjoy!

NOTE: I used Buitoni frozen Chicken Marsala Ravioli for this recipe. You could also try Buitoni Cheese Ravioli or their Wild Mushroom Agnolotti, which would be just perfect fro this dish. If you're feeling real ambitious and have the time, make your own ravioli from scratch!


 Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Homemade Won Ton Soup
























I always order won-ton soup when I go out for Chinese food. I just love the broth and those wonderful little pillows of goodness. So one day I decided to try and make it at home. I went to the store and bought some won ton wrappers and googled how to fill and fold them. Then I put together a recipe for my own broth and in no time flat I had the best soup! It ended up being so easy to make and even better that what you get in a restaurant. Now I can have Won Ton soup whenever I want. You will love this recipe.

Homemade Won Ton Soup

For the pork filled wontons:

1/2 lb ground pork
1-2 scallion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
30 wonton wrappers
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup cool water

For the Soup:

2 quarts (8 cups) low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
salt to taste

Stir together pork, scallions, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, salt, and white pepper in a bowl in 1 direction with your hand until just combined (do not overwork, or filling will be tough).


Put 1 wonton wrapper on a work surface (keep remaining wrappers covered with damp cloth). Spoon a teaspoon of filling in center of square, then brush cornstarch slurry around edges. Lift 2 opposite corners together to form a triangle and enclose filling, pressing edges firmly around mound of filling to eliminate air pockets and seal. Moisten opposite corners of long side. Curl moistened corners toward each other, overlapping one on top of the other, and carefully press corners together to seal. Make more won tons in same manner.



























Fill a medium sized pot with 6 cups of the chicken broth. Bring broth to a boil over medium-high heat. Add wontons and stir lightly to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pan. When the broth begins to boil again, add another cup of broth. When water begins to boil again, add the final remaining cup of broth. When the broth boils for the final time, the won tons & should be done. Serve hot.
























Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.

Shrimp Bisque






















I love seafood and especially in soups this time of year. I make my base rich and creamy and fill it with wonderful buttery crab, shrimp and lobster. Typically, a shrimp bisque has a thin base with just the taste of shrimp. I make mine thick with chunks of shrimp in every bite. Try it. I think you'll like it!

Shrimp Bisque

1 pound cooked shrimp, peeled and chopped
2 cups half and half (half milk/half cream)
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 stick butter (1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons of onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of flour
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning (more if you want a kick)

Saute onion and garlic in butter until tender. Blend in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Gradually add half and half and stir until base starts to thicken. Add cream and the tomato paste and stir until thick and creamy. Stir in salt, paprika, old bay seasoning and chopped shrimp. Check seasonings and add more if desired. Add more Old Bay seasoning taste. Garnish with whole shrimp.

*** Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.

You don't know what you have until it's gone?"

You know that saying...."You don't know what you have until it's gone?" The truth is...you knew exactly what you had. You just thought you'd never lose it.

~Marty

From my book, "Life's Lessons" (What God Would Have Wanted Me to Learn By Now)....

Note: You can download any of my ebooks to your computer, your iPhone or iPad or Android smartphone, for only $24.99. Hard copies are also for sale.

http://store.blurb.com/ebooks/195682-life-s-lessons

Proceeds from the sale of my All my books go to the NO KILL Advocacy Group to support their efforts in saving the lives of dogs and cats who are killed unnecessarily while waiting in a shelter for someone to rescue them. Over 6 million dogs and cats will die this year. We can change that.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

♥ White Chocolate Key Lime Pie

White Chocolate Key Lime Pie

1 cup whipping cream
1 bag white chocolate morsels
1 tablespoon sour cream
1/3 cup key lime juice
Zest of one lime
one pre-packaged graham cracker crust
sliced limes and canned whipped cream for garnish

On the stove, heat whipping cream and morsels on medium heat, stirring continuously until melted, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add sour cream, key lime juice and lime zest. Stir well until smooth. Pour mixture into pie crust, cover and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight. Garnish with dollops of whipped cream and lime slices.




♥ Fresh Roasted Asparagus

Fresh Roasted Asparagus

1 bunch of Asparagus, washed and ends trimmed
olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper
freshly grated Parmesan cheese
fresh squeezed lemon juice

Place Asparagus on large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and roll asparagus around in the oil. Sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper. Place in a 400 degree oven and roast for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with freshly ground Parmesan cheese. Return to the oven and roast for 5 more minutes until tender. Add lemon if desired.


http://sunflowersupperclub.blogspot.com/2012/03/fresh-roasted-asparagus.html

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

♥ Pecan Upside-Down Cake


Pecan Upside-Down Cake

½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla extract...

1½ cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 cup chopped pecans
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
¼ cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup pecan halves
1 recipe Brown-Sugar Brandy Sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Sift twice. Add fl our mixture to butter mixture, alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with fl our mixture. Fold in chopped pecans. In a medium bowl, combine melted butter and brown sugar, mixing well. Add cream, stirring until smooth.

Pour brown-sugar mixture into bottom of a 9-inch cake pan. Arrange 1 cup pecan halves in brown-sugar mixture. Spoon prepared batter over pecan halves. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of cake pan to loosen cake edges. Immediately turn cake onto a serving dish. Serve with Brown-Sugar Brandy Sauce if desired.

Brown-Sugar Brandy Sauce

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
¼ cup brandy
¼ cup heavy whipping cream

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add brown sugar, whisking to combine. Add brandy, whisking to combine. Add cream, whisking until smooth. Cook, whisking frequently, until sauce is heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Sauces can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator. Reheat in the microwave before serving.
http://www.tasteofthesouthmagazine.com/content.aspx?id=21176

♥ Chicken 'N Dumplin' Soup


I love this soup! It's not my traditional chicken and dumplings that I made for dinner but close. This is a soup that is full of good things that comfort the soul on a cold winter day. I made this over the weekend and who's waiting for winter?
I am having it now as I type this up for you! 
Chicken 'N Dumplin' Soup

Soup

4 cups chicken stock or broth
4 carrots, diced small
1 stalks celery, diced small
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
2 cups chopped chicken breast (I use a rotisserie chicken)
1/2 cup heavy cream

For the soup: In a large pot or Dutch oven, over medium high heat, mix the chicken broth, carrots, celery, garlic, basil, oregano, and celery salt. Add the diced chicken and the cream and lower the heat to medium and simmer for at least 30-40 minutes until soup is thick and creamy. In the meantime, make your dumplings.

Dumplings:

2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 to 1 cup milk

For the dumplings: For dumplings, combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir in egg, butter and enough milk to make a moist stiff batter. Set aside and when soup has finished cooking, drop dumplings teaspoonful's into soup. Cover and cook without lifting the lid for 18-20 minutes until dumplings are tender.

Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.

♥ She's Strong




She's strong because she knows what it's like to be weak. She keeps her guard up because she knows what it's like to cry herself to sleep at night

♥ Fried Potato Pancakes


















I love making these little potato pancakes as a side dish instead of french fries or baked potatoes. They are so easy to make and so crisp and delicious.

Fried Potato Pancakes

2 large russet potatoes (or a bag of refrigerated hash browns...
)
½ large onion
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoons all-purpose flour
salt + pepper to taste
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
2 tablespoons of butter

If you are using whole potatoes, peel, rinse and then grate them or shred them over a large bowl. Then place them in a bowl of cold water and let them soak for a few minutes. Drain potatoes using a colander and then squeeze out as much water as you can by pressing them against the colander walls with paper towels. If you are using a bag of hash brown potatoes, you can skip the soak and just press squeeze the moisture out as much as possible.

In another bowl, grate onion on the smallest holes of the grater. Then mix in the potatoes, egg and salt and pepper and flour and mix well so that everything is blended together.

Heat oil and butter together in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Spoon potato mixture into oil and then flatten slightly with a spoon. I make mine small for a side dish but you can make them as large as you'd like. Fry until golden brown about 3 minutes, then flip over fry the other side. Remove potatoes from skillet and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with fresh chopped chives and serve with a dollop of sour cream.

Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.

♥ Buttermilk Fried Chicken Strips
























I can remember whenever my Mom planned to fry chicken, she would always soak it first in buttermilk. It is truly amazing how that buttermilk breaks down the chicken and makes it so moist and tender. Don't worry, you don't taste the buttermilk. But you get the best fried chicken ever!  

 
Buttermilk Fried Chicken Strips

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 egg beaten
1 cup of butter milk
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
pinch of cayenne pepper (more if you want some kick)
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups of oil

Mix the egg, buttermilk and garlic powder, and cayenne and set aside. Place chicken in a large bowl or a large Ziploc bag. Pour buttermilk mixture over chicken and seal tightly. Keep in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours.

In a shallow dish used for dredging, mix the flour, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and baking powder. Remove chicken from refrigerator and shake off buttermilk mixture. Dredge chicken in flour and prepare to fry.

Heat oil in a large, deep and heavy skillet. I use cast iron for perfect even frying. When oil is hot and shimmering, carefully place coated chicken in hot oil and fry until golden brown and juices run clear. Drain on paper towels and serve with your favorite sauce. I serve mine with Sweet Baby Ray's Hickory and Brown Sugar Sauce.

Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home

♥ Chocolate Eclairs with Vanilla Custard Filling
























Why pay so much for pastries when you can make them at home yourself? An eclair like this one would be so expensive at a bakery or super market. These are really easy to make and of course out of this world delicious! Try them. By the way, you might want to click on this photo for drool mode...but first grab a napkin. 

Chocolate Eclairs with Vanilla Custard Filling

1 Cup of whole milk
1 Cup of heavy cream
1/3 Cup sugar
1 tablespoon of corn starch
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
4 egg yolks
1/2 Cup of butter
1 Cup of water
1 Cup of all purpose flour
4 large eggs
1 1/2 Cup of semi sweet chocolate chips

Custard:

Combine both the whole milk and the heavy cream in a saucepan and place over low heat for about 5 minutes. Do not allow it to boil or overcook. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a heatproof medium bowl, whisk egg yolks with a tablespoon of cornstarch and the sugar until well blended. Next whisk just a little of the warm milk with the egg mixture to temper the eggs. Then whisk in 1/2 cup and whisk constantly while doing so. Slowly pour the rest of the milk mixture over egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Add the mixture to your saucepan and over low heat, cook stirring constantly until sauce thickens and coast the back of a metal spoon. Watch your custard carefully so that it doesn't boil or overcook. Cover custard and set aside in the refrigerator to cool.

Puffed Pastry:

Next, make the pastries. Start by putting the cup of water and the 1/2 cup of butter in a medium saucepan and heat up until the butter is completely melted. Add the flour in and mix thoroughly until it becomes a round ball. Next add the dough to a big bowl and with a hand mixer on medium speed, add in the 4 eggs, one at a time until well blended with the dough.

Next, put dough in a piping bag or in a Ziploc bag with the corner snipped out. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper land pipe your eclairs to whatever size you want. I usually make mine about an inch wide and maybe 4 inches long. Bake in a 400 degree F preheated oven for about 20 to 25 minutes or until golden. Take out of oven and let them cool completely.

In the meantime, melt your chocolate in a small saucepan on low heat, mixing constantly. Pour your melted chocolate in a wide bowl for dipping your eclairs.

With a sharp knife, slice the top of your eclair from end to end, deep enough to be able to stuff it with a lot of custard but not all the way through. Put your custard in a piping bag and pipe your eclairs. Then you are ready to pick them up and dip the tops in chocolate. Place back on your parchment paper and allow them to set before serving. Oh Yum!

Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.

♥ Panko Crusted Haddock


I love fried fish coated in light and crispy panko bread crumbs. I usually go with flounder or haddock because I like a mild white fish that is tender and flaky. 

It is important to make sure you buy fresh fish that has no smell whatsoever when you open the package. I get all my seafood at Costco because I know it is fresh, the skin and bones have been removed, and because the cost ends up being less than any place else. This haddock is just delicious and so easy to make.

Panko Crusted Haddock

4 fresh haddock fillets (or you can use cod, flounder or any other firm white fish)
1 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
1 cup of heavy cream
1 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon of Old Bay Seasoning
salt and pepper to taste

Soak fillets in heavy cream for about 10 minutes. Mix panko with Old Bay and salt and pepper and set aside. Melt the oil and butter in large heavy skillet over medium high heat until hot and shimmering. Dredge fish fillets in panko mixture and pat down to get as much panko on as possible. Panko will stick nicely because you added the thick cream. Turn down heat to medium heat and fry until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. It is easier to fry one or two fillets at a time so that you leave yourself enough room to turn them easily. Once fish is golden brown and crispy on the first side, use a wide spatula to flip to other side and do the same thing. At this point, fish is very flaky and tender and can break apart if you are not careful when turning. Allow fish to continue frying until it flakes easily and nice and golden brown. Remove from heat and serve.

Note: you can also bake this fish at 400 degrees for about 8-10 minutes but I prefer pan fried personally.

Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.

♥ Panko Crusted Salmon in Lemon Cream Sauce


This is by far one of my personal favorites of all the recipes I share here at Welcome Home. I love the tender moist salmon with it's light and crispy panko coating. The sticky rice is perfect mixed with the rich lemon cream sauce. It's just awesome.


Panko Crusted Salmon in Lemon Cream Sauce
4 fresh salmon fillets (I buy Sockeye salmon at Costco)
2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
1 cup half and half or cream
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. If you have salmon fillets that still has the skin you will need to remove it or ask to have it removed at your seafood counter before purchasing. Place cream or half and half in a bowl and add the fillets to soak or marinade. Set aside for about 10 minutes.

In a large oven proof skillet, melt butter and olive oil over medium high heat. In a separate shallow bowl or pan, add your Panko and dredge the salmon fillets making sure to completely coat both sides well. I usually pack it on with my hands. Lay the fillets in the skillet and turn down your heat to medium so that you can brown your fillets on each side. Make sure you keep checking them as Panko can burn quickly....I usually cook mine for only about 2 minutes per side. You only want a light crispy golden crust on each side. Once you have browned the salmon to your liking, set skillet in the oven for no longer than 10 minutes until salmon is light and flaky in the middle.

Sticky Rice

2 cups long-grain white rice
3 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt

Place rice in fine-mesh strainer set over bowl. Rinse under running water, swishing with hands until water runs clear. Drain thoroughly. Bring rinsed rice, water, and salt to boil in saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, uncovered, until water level drops below surface of rice and small holes form, about 5 minutes. Do not stir the rice as it cooks. Next, reduce your heat to low, cover your pot, and cook until rice is tender and water is fully absorbed, about 15 minutes. NOTE: You can buy frozen sticky rice already prepared and you can just pop it in the microwave for perfect sticky rice. It's called InnovaAsian Frozen Sticky Rice and you can find it at Wegmans.

Lemon Cream Sauce

1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon of lemon pepper
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon minced parsley
½ teaspoon kosher salt

Place the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat- reduce by half. Add the remaining ingredients, and taste for seasoning. Pour sauce around sticky rice on dish for dipping with each bite!
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