Showing posts with label Main Dish. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Main Dish. Show all posts

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Ranch, Rosemary, and Lemon Chicken Kebobs

In a whirlwind trip to Michigan lasting just forty-eight short hours, I managed to do a little antiquing, go kayaking with my nephew, spend time at the beach, watch an unexpected fireworks show over the lake, go out on a morning photo expedition on a boat, stop at a blueberry farm, pick up some souvenirs and gifts, run four miles, picked up some incredible smoked salmon and sturgeon, and drive to one of the lighthouses on the shore of Lake Michigan. But the best part of the trip was being able to spend time with my sister, brother-in-law, and the kids. Now that my niece and nephew are all grown up and each live a thousand miles away, any time spent with them is time treasured. The weather could not have been more perfect. Which meant the time spent worrying about the rain forecasted for one of the days was for naught. I managed to bring up a bottle of wine my wine-connoisseur sister thought was AMAZING (and what a vindicating relief that was!). And as hectic as my travel day going up to the lake was (baking chocolate chip cookies, packing clothes and the cooler, and cheering on friends at Fourth of July race before making the four hour drive), it was an incredibly relaxing, re-energizing couple of days. Just being near water feels zen.

My sister and I have had the same conversation every year for the last twenty years I come up to the lake. It goes something like this. Me: "What can I bring?" Her: "Nothing, just yourself." Me: "Are you sure?" Her: "Yes, we have plenty of food."  What makes this predictable dialogue so hilarious is we both know I am not going to listen or take 'no' for an answer. So this year, in addition to bringing up these chocolate chip cookies, this hummus, and the wine, I decided I would pack up everything needed to make Ranch, Rosemary, and Lemon Chicken Kebobs. Considering my brother-in-law is the grill master in the family, they were destined to make for the most perfect Fourth of July dinner. Well perfect is a relative term in my family as everyone is a food critic. A rating of 8 or above on a 10 point scale is what one hopes for as giving anything a 10 would be akin to finding a unicorn. But in all honesty, these kebobs should become one of the weeknight meal traditions at the lake going forward. Note to self: Buy my sister some metal skewers for Christmas this year.

If you are someone who loves chicken, especially grilled chicken, you are going to flip over these Ranch, Rosemary, and Lemon Chicken Kebobs. They are incredibly flavorful, tender, moist, mouthwatering bites of pure deliciousness. They have the potential to become habit forming. 

The secret to chicken kebob's moistness and flavorfulness is the marinade. A mixture made with olive oil, (bottled) ranch dressing, kosher salt, black pepper, sugar, white vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and freshly chopped rosemary. Skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into 1" to 1.5" cubes soak in the marinade for four to six hours. Using a ziplock bag for the marinating process makes clean up so easy. Note: Out of convenience, I assembled the marinade before I made the four hour road trip, putting it in the cooler along with the boneless, skinless chicken breasts (not yet cut up). Once I arrived at the lake cottage, I cubed the chicken and added it to the marinade. 

When buying boneless, skinless chicken breasts, look for ones on the larger size. If the Ranch, Rosemary, and Lemon Chicken Kebobs are going to be the main course, plan on half-pound servings for normal appetites and three-quarters of a pound for heartier appetites. Cut each chicken breast lengthwise into strips, then cut each strip into cubes. Note: I was able to get three strips from each chicken breast.

Thread the marinated chicken cubes on a metal skewer and place on a medium-high heat grill. Cooking time for the kebobs ranges from 10-14 minutes or until the inside of the chicken is no longer pink. Turn the kebobs over once so there are grill marks on both sides of the chicken. Grill slices of lemon while the grilled kebobs are resting. The lemon slices will grill up quickly. Keep them on the grill only until you have grill marks on either side of the slices. Arrange the Ranch, Rosemary, and Lemon Chicken Kebobs on a large platter and garnish with the grilled lemon slices and some sprigs of fresh rosemary.

Either this Lemony Potato Salad or this Calico Coleslaw would be a great compliment to the kebobs. Open a bottle or two of your favorite wine and you have a perfect, stress-free family and/or friends dinner. We are talking seriously perfect entertaining food.

Ranch, Rosemary, and Grilled Lemon Chicken Kebobs (slight adaptation to a recipe on Allrecipes)
Serves 6-8

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup good quality bottled ranch dressing
3 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
6 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1" to 1.5" cubes (approximately 3 3/4 to 4 pounds)
2 lemons
Several springs of fresh rosemary (optional)

1. In a large ziplock bag, combine the olive oil, ranch dressing, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, salt, vinegar, pepper, and sugar. Seal bag and shake to combine.
2. Add chicken cubes to the marinade and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours.
3. Thread 5 to 6 pieces of chicken on each skewer (recommend using 12" metal skewers). Discard marinade.
4. Heat grill to medium-high. 
5. Grill chicken skewers for 10-14 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in the center.
6. Cut lemons in half inch slices. Place lemon slices on grill. Grill until there are grill marks on each side of the lemon.
7. Place cooked skewers on a platter. Garnish with grilled lemon slices and rosemary sprigs. Serve immediately.

Notes: (1) Highly recommend using metal versus wooden skewers. However, if you use wooden skewers make sure you soak them in warm water for 20-30 minutes to prevent burning. (2) If any leftovers remain, remove the grilled chicken from the skewers and store in a sealed container. The chicken heats up beautifully in the microwave. (3) If making these kebabs for 3 to 4 people, cut the recipe in half. (4) I used Hidden Valley Ranch dressing in the marinade. 

Petite Point Au Sable Lighthouse (Little Sable Point Lighthouse) as sunset approached. Mears, Michigan, constructed in 1874 (July 2018)

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Fingerling Potatoes and Red Grapes

On the last day of the recent trip back east, we tried to pack in as much as possible yet not feel hurried or rushed. A leisurely early morning walk in the lush woods helped to set the pace for the hours we had left. With the sounds of birds and rushing water providing a kind of background music, it was impossible not to take in the unspoiled landscapes lying beneath the canopies of the trees. For a brief moment, with the light casting shadows on the trail and on the abundant greenery, it felt magical. Almost as if we had traveled back to another time in history. One much simpler and with limited distractions. Working up a bit of an appetite, we headed out to breakfast before driving to the beach for a last walk along the ocean. After having the woods all to ourselves, we were thrilled to discover, with the exception of a few seagulls, there wasn't anyone else there. For more than an hour we foraged for shells and lucky rocks as we walked along the shoreline. The public beach was our very own private beach. It could not have been a more perfect morning, more perfect end to the trip. Even getting temporarily locked out of house couldn't spoil the day. And yes, that would have been the fault of the most key obsessed person in the group. Me.

Sometimes when I return back from an ocean or mountain view trip, I wonder why I still live in the midwest. A place where neither of these zen-inducing landscapes exist. Unless you squint your eyes and pretend the clouds in the horizon look like a mountain range or drive to a lake having a sandy beach. Although there is a world of difference between a lake and an ocean. Maybe someday I can bring myself to get over the complacency hurdle I have my found myself in. Until then, I will have to figure out how to increase the number of days per year I spend in 'the happy places'.

A few weeks back, a good friend shared and gave rave reviews to the Food and Wine Roast Pork with Fingerling Potatoes and Red Grapes recipe. She made us all laugh when she said only she would consider turning on her oven to a temperature of more than 400 degrees (F) on a sweltering day. Little did she know, several of us would have done the same thing. Having made Lemon Thyme Roasted Grapes as an appetizer before, the combination of roasted pork, fingerling potatoes, and red grapes served in a single dish sounded like the perfect combination of sweet and savory. 

Using the Food and Wine recipe for inspiration, I decided to change it up a bit. Because why not turn a simple sheet pan dinner into a slightly less simple one?

To add even more flavor to the pork tenderloin, I made a marinade using dijon mustard, olive olive oil, chopped rosemary and chopped thyme. From my experience making pork, marinades infuse great flavor into the meat. And this one lived up to all of my marinade flavoring expectations.

After spreading the marinade evenly over the pork tenderloin, it's wrapped and refrigerated for at least 4 hours or up to overnight. If you are making the Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Fingerling Potatoes and Red Grapes for dinner, you can prepare the pork early in the morning or the night before and let the flavor magic happen in the refrigerator.

The overall baking time for this dish ranges from 30-35 minutes, with the most baking time given to the fingerling potatoes and garlic.

Before you begin mixing the potatoes, garlic, freshly chopped herbs, and olive oil together, place the large baking sheet in the preheating 425 degree (F) oven. A hot baking sheet will help to sear the (cut lengthwise) fingerling potatoes. With the potatoes roasting in the oven for 10 minutes, you have more than enough time to sear the pork tenderloin.

Using a cast iron pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Scrape the marinade off the pork tenderloin before placing the pork in the heated pan. Sear the tenderloin on all sides until just lightly browned. The entire browning process takes about 6-8 minutes. Not only does searing add color to the pork tenderloin, it seals in flavor and adds texture.

After giving a quick toss to the roasting potatoes, the seared, salt/pepper seasoned pork tenderloin and thyme/olive oil/red grape mixture are added to the sheet pan. Everything roasts for 20-25 minutes or until the internal temperature of the pork reaches 135-140 degrees (F) when a thermometer is inserted in the thickest part of the pork. 

For the juiciest pork tenderloin, allow it rest 8-10 minutes before slicing into thick 1/2 inch slices. While the pork is resting, keep the potatoes and grapes warm in the oven (immediately reduce the oven temperature to 200 degrees after removing the pork from the tray) as they cool rather quickly.

For a casual presentation of the Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Fingerling Potatoes and Red Grapes, return the sliced pork to the sheet pan and serve. For a slightly more dressed up version of this sheet pan dinner, arrange the pork slices, potatoes and red grapes on a large platter.  Note: If you go the sheet pan presentation route, have a basket of some great, hearty fresh bread available as some might want to sop of some of the highly flavorful pan juices or to schmear on the roasted garlic. 

If you ever needed a reason to turn the oven on to 425 degrees (F) on a hot, humid day, this Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Fingerling Potatoes and Red Grapes would be one of them.  In addition, to having great flavors, this simple, yet elegant dinner can be either a weekday and celebratory meal. 

If you have never had roasted grapes before, you are in for a treat as roasting intensifies their flavor to an incredible level of deliciousness. When picking out red seedless grapes at the farmer's market or grocery store, choose medium to large sized ones as you want the grape clusters to remain slightly intact during the roasting process.

Sheet pan dinners have been trending for awhile now and roasted grapes should never go out of style. The added tweaks of marinating and searing the pork tenderloin are ones you shouldn't skip. And consider the freshly chopped herbs non-negotiable ingredients. Fingerling potatoes roast up beautifully. Their crispy edges and creamy centers will cause everyone to fight over any remaining few. The pork tenderloin is tender, juicy, and rich in flavor. In other words, every element in this savory, sweet Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Fingerling Potatoes and Red Grapes works beautifully. Don't let a hot, humid day deter you from turning on the oven to 425 degrees (F) in order to make it. Because this dish is as blissfully perfect as being able to have the woods and beach all to yourself or shared with a few of your friends.

Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Fingerling Potatoes and Red Grapes
Serves 4 to 6

2 Tablespoons dijon mustard 
1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
2 Tablespoons olive oil

Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Fingerling Potatoes and Red Grapes
1 1/4- 1 1/2 pounds fingerling potatoes, cut lengthwise
1 1/4 - 1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin
1 to 1 1/4 pounds red seedless grapes, medium to large sized, cut into clusters of 4-5 grapes
8 cloves of garlic, peeled
5 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 Tablespoon  finely chopped fresh thyme
5-6 fresh sprigs of thyme
Rosemary sprigs and thyme sprigs for garnish
Kosher salt and black pepper

'1. Combine marinade ingredients in small bowl. Stir to combine. 
2. Brush marinade evenly over the pork tenderloin. Place tenderloin on dish. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or as long as overnight.

Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Fingerling Potatoes and Red Grapes
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees (F). Place baking sheet in the oven (at least 10 minutes).
2. Toss the grapes with 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and 1 Tablespoon of finely chopped fresh thyme. Set aside.
3. Toss the fingerling potatoes and garlic cloves with 2 Tablespoons olive oil and 1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary. Transfer potatoes (cut side down) to heated baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes.
4. While potatoes are beginning to roast, scrape the marinade off the pork tenderloin. Using a cast iron pan sear the pork tenderloin in 2 Tablespoons of olive oil until lightly browned on all sides. Remove pork from pan, season with salt and pepper, and place on the baking sheet with potatoes. Add grape mixture along with several sprigs of thyme to the pan. Return sheet pan to oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until an instant read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the pork reads 135-140 degrees (F). Note: Turn potatoes over before returning the baking sheet back in the oven.
5. Reduce oven temperature to 200 degrees (F).
6. Transfer the roasted pork to a cutting board. Allow to rest for 8-10 minutes. Keep the potatoes and grapes in the reduced temperature oven while the pork is resting.
7. Slice pork into thick (half-inch slices). Arrange pork slices on large platter.
8. Remove potatoes and grapes from the oven. Arrange on platter with the pork. Season potatoes with salt and pepper. Garnish with thyme and rosemary sprigs. 
9. Serve immediately.

Wilbur Woods, Little Compton, Rhode Island (June 2018)

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Mexican Chicken Salad

As soon as the weather turns warmer and humid around here, the oven is reserved primarily for baking. While the outdoor gas grill is used year round, it sees almost daily use during the summer. From making bacon for breakfast to grilling meats, chicken, or vegetables for dinner, the grill simplifies meal preparation and clean up. Although picking up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store makes life even easier. But more on that shortly. One of the other dramatic changes happening over the course of the summer is the significant increase in main course salads served for dinner. With an abundance of fresh vegetables available at the grocery stores and farmer's markets, salads become more even more appetizing, refreshing, and satisfying. Especially when they include a protein component.

With an increased love and appetite for salads in warmer weather, I am always looking for new and different ones to make. So when I recently discovered a recipe for something called a Mexican Chicken Salad, I knew it was my lucky day. Had it not been for my recently acquired a taste for cilantro (in small amounts only), I might have quickly decided not to make this salad at all or make it without it. 

All of the components of this salad sounded compelling to me, including the cilantro. From a salsa made with pickled jalapeños (the jarred, store-bought kind) to the avocado based dressing to the addition of jicama, I was finding it hard to resist making this Mexican Chicken Salad. I wasn't even going to let the recent scare about romaine lettuce going to be a deterrent.

As soon as I started making salad, tasting each of its' elements along the way, I knew it was a keeper. Not only is it visually appealing, it has incredibly great flavors and textures. 

Up until I read the recipe for the salsa in this salad, I never knew pickled jalapeños existed! Not only do they exist, but you don't have to make them. You can buy them in a jar! In addition, to the pickled jalapeños, the salsa is made with rinsed, drained black beans, freshly squeezed lime juice (is there really any other kind?), sea salt, and grape (or cherry tomatoes). The inspiration recipe called for cutting up two whole tomatoes, but I much prefer using smaller, sweeter tomatoes, particularly when making salsas.

I wanted this salsa to be on the chunkier side, so I cut the tomatoes in a combination of halves and quarters. However, if you cut both the tomatoes and pickled jalapeños smaller, this salsa would also be great served all on its own with some tortilla chips. 

As of late, I am avocado obsessed. So any salad dressing made with fresh, ripe avocados has my name on it. Using only a handful of ingredients, this salad dressing is beyond delicious. And like the salsa having another use, this salad dressing would be great served as a dip on a platter of fresh vegetables.

Using a small food processor, a whole ripe avocado, some sour cream, more freshly squeezed lime juice, a clove of garlic, some sea salt and black pepper are whirled together to create an incredibly luscious, creamy, uber-delicious salad dressing. When making this Mexican Chicken Salad, I would recommend you start by making the salad dressing and let it refrigerate for a little bit to let the flavors meld together. It will also slightly thicken, making it even easier to scoop with an ice cream scooper. Note: The salad dressing can be made earlier in the day or the day ahead. 

The heartiness for this salad comes from a shredded rotisserie chicken. Yes, the one you buy at the grocery store. You could roast your own chicken for this salad, but why turn on the oven when you don't have to! One rotisserie chicken will give you more than enough meat for this salad. But be generous with the amount of chicken used in this salad, especially if you are serving it for dinner. Hint: Shred the rotisserie chicken while it is still warm. If not using immediately, put in a ziplock bag and store in the refrigerator.

When making any salad, I like to everyone to see all of its' elements on the platter before tossing it together. Using a large, oversized platter or shallow bowl, begin making the salad by spreading out all of the romaine lettuce on the bottom. I like using baby romaine in most salads, but freshly chopped romaine leaves would work equally well here. On top of the romaine lettuce begin to layout all of the other salad components, saving the chopped cilantro, green onions, and dressing for the end.

The quarter inch slices of jicama not only add color but also a nice slightly sweet crunch to this Mexican Chicken Salad. If you have never had this Mexican potato before, you are in for a treat! 

When serving this Mexican Chicken Salad, you have several options. You can use a small ice cream scoop to strategically place dollops of the dressing on the salad, you could place small teaspoonfuls all over the top of the salad, or you could simply serve the dressing on the side. Any of these would work. Additionally, you could leave the salad untossed and let everyone take from all parts of it or you could toss it all together. But only after they see how beautiful it is.

I am willing to bet this salad will be making regular, repeat appearances on your table once you taste it. Make a pitcher of margaritas or palomas to go along with this Mexican Chicken Salad and I am willing to guess your friends and family will be wondering when they will be invited back again. You, however,  might be wondering if they will ever want to leave your table. 

Mexican Chicken Salad (slight adaptation to Nigella Lawson's Mexican Chicken Salad recipe in her cookbook "Nigella Express: 130 recipes for Good Food, Fast")
Serves 6-8 depending on portion size

Salad Dressing
1 large ripe avocado
1/2 cup sour cream
3 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 large clove garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 can (15 ounce) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 generous cup grape (or cherry) tomatoes, cut in either halves or a combination of halves and/or quarters
1/3 cup (140 g) jarred pickled jalapeños, cut in half or coarsely chopped
1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt 

4-6 ounces baby or chopped romaine lettuce
1 to 1 1/2 pounds shredded rotisserie chicken
1/2-3/4 pound jicama, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch matchsticks
2-3 green onions, green and white parts, sliced on the diagonal
1/4-1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
1 large ripe avocado

Salad Dressing
1. Using a small food processor, combine the avocado, sour cream, lime juice, garlic clove, sea salt and black pepper. 
2. Process until smooth.
3. Scrape dressing into a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate while assembling the other ingredients.

1. Rinse and drain the black beans. 
2. In a medium sized bowl, combined the black beans, tomatoes, jalapeños, lime juice and salt. Stir to combine. Set aside until ready to use.

Salad Assembly
1. Using a large platter or bowl, layer on the romaine lettuce.
2. Place shredded chicken on a slight diagonal down the center of the platter.
3. Spoon equal amounts of the salsa on either side of the chicken.
4. Place equal amounts of the jicama on either side of the salsa.
5. Cut the avocado in half, make even slices. Scoop out and place each half on either side of the platter.
6. Using a small ice cream scoop, strategically place dollops of the dressing on the salad. Alternately drop small teaspoonfuls over the salad or serve the salad dressing on the side.
7. Sprinkle on the sliced green onions and chopped cilantro.  
8. Bring to the table as arranged. Serving options: (1) Toss the salad together and serve or (2) Allow each person to take portions of the salad and place on their plates.

Notes: (1) Dressing can be made early in the day or the day ahead. It also works well as a vegetable dip. (2) If you chop the tomatoes and pickled jalapeños smaller, you could serve the salsa all on its' own with some tortilla chips. (3) Definitely wait to serve the salad before tossing it with the dressing. You want everyone to ooh and aah over it, before they start oohing and aahing after they taste it. (4) Shredding the rotisserie chicken is easier if done while the chicken is still warm.

Crabapple tree blossoms (May 2018)

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Blueberry Dutch Baby with Blueberry Sauce and Toasted Almonds

Earlier this week my twenty something year old niece called to say she had booked a flight and would be home for the Easter weekend! Hearing this news was like winning the lottery without having bought a ticket! Now only if her brother would surprise us all and fly home for the weekend too! Between their college schedules and living their new post-collegiate lives in two different states, it's been a long time since we have been all together for Easter. And an even longer time since we celebrated the holiday with a holiday feast and egg hunts. As exciting as this news was, I learned something else this week. Something that made my heart equally happy. When you unexpectedly learn the holiday memories created and experienced over the years continue to be remembered (without any prompting), your heart swells with joy. My heart swelling happiness came when my niece said she was expecting to see a lamb butter and chocolate covered poundcake eggs on the table along with an Easter Egg hunt having only pink and purple eggs. You see, when my niece and nephew were growing up, the Easter egg hunts were always ones where plastic eggs in every color were filled with coins and/or candy and hidden in the yard or in the house if the weather wasn't cooperating. There was one year when my then three year old niece walked right past the blue, orange, green, and yellow eggs nesting in plain view, putting only the pink and purple ones into her basket. That year I had to ask her five year old brother if he would give up his pink and purple eggs to his sister. I was simultaneously surprised but yet not surprised at all that he did. It would be one of the many times over the course of their lives thus far where they have unselfishly did something for the other. I think if you randomly ask some parents (or their aunts and uncles) what makes them proudest of their children, the answers for most of them might not only include a listing of their athletic, academic, or professional accomplishments. I am guessing most of their answers would also stories of the times their child(ren) demonstrated a character trait or value in unexpected moments. Grades on a report card, records set on the athletic field, or titles or awards earned in the workplace matter only for short periods of time in one's life. Possessing the character traits of kindness, thoughtfulness, generosity, unselfishness, honesty, fairness, integrity, and empathy matter throughout the course of one's life. As those are the things really defining who we are along with being a reflection of the many things we learned or observed growing up. 

Speaking of memories, meals are another way we create them. Dutch Babies make for incredibly memorable meals. Since the inception of this blog, I have shared five recipes for both sweet and savory Dutch Babies. This one will make it an even half-dozen. Clearly I have a thing for Dutch Babies. On the savory side there has been only one posting: the Herbed Parmesan Dutch Baby with Tomato Jam. All of the other dutch baby recipes have been on the sweet side: The Caramel Apple Dutch Baby ala Mode; the Dutch Baby with Creme Fraiche and Fresh Berries; the simple, unadorned Dutch Baby, At Last; and, even a Blueberry Dutch Baby. But this Blueberry Dutch Baby with Blueberry Sauce and Toasted Almonds is its' own unique version of one of my most favorite breakfast/brunch dishes. If you are looking to make new memories this Easter, make this Dutch Baby.

Unlike all of the other Dutch Babies served with fruit, this one has blueberries both infused into the batter along with being topped with them. The topping in this case comes in the form of a simple, easy to make homemade blueberry jam. If you love blueberries, this Dutch Baby has your name on it. 

I was a bit heavy handed with the blueberries when I made this Dutch Baby. I used almost 1 1/2 cups. Which may have been a half cup too much. So the recipe below recommends using only one cup of fresh blueberries. If you want to go full throttle with 1 1/2 cups, wait until after you make it with only one cup. You can always sprinkle a half-cup of fresh blueberries on top of the baked Dutch Baby.

The easiest way to make the batter for the Dutch Baby is to put all of the ingredients, except the blueberries of course, in a blender. Give a whirl for 45-60 seconds and it's done. After making a number of Dutch Babies over the years, I have learned two things. The first is let the batter rest for 10-15 minutes before pouring it into the pan. The second,  more valuable lesson, is to make the make the batter the night before. Giving it a whirl in the blender just before pouring into the hot pan. The resting time seems enhance the 'puffiness' of the baked Dutch Baby.

Using a technique shared by another blogger, the cast iron pan was placed in a pre-heated 450 degree (F) oven for 20-30 minutes. When the butter hits this really hot pan, it will sizzle, slightly brown and melt almost instantly. The lightly browned butter adds yet another flavor dimension to this dutch baby. Immediately after the butter melts, pour in the batter and and quickly get the pan back into the oven.

Baking time for this Dutch Baby is 20-25 minutes. Wait until you get close to the 20 minute mark before opening up the oven to check on it. You know it's done when the sides have puffed up and are golden in color. Additionally, the center of the Dutch Baby will have risen slightly and firmed up a bit. The weight of the blueberries will cause this Dutch Baby not to rise as high as those where the fruit is added after the baking process. Not to worry, it will still be a sight to behold when you bring it to the table.

A light dusting of confectionary sugar is all this Blueberry Dutch Baby needs. 

Finish with several dollops of the Homemade Blueberry Sauce and some lightly toasted sliced almonds and your Dutch Baby is ready to serve.

Don't forget to bring the extra blueberry sauce to the table when serving the Dutch Baby. To take it a bit over the top, you could finish the Dutch Baby with some lightly sweetened creme fraiche. But trust me when I tell you it is so blueberry-icious good it doesn't even need it.

There are several differences between this Blueberry Dutch Baby and the other one posted to the blog. Not only does is there a tad bit more sugar in the batter, but the addition of the cinnamon sends this one to a new level of delectableness. 

Forgive me if I am being a bit redundant, but everyone should own at least one cast iron pan. Why? Well because they make the absolutely best Dutch Babies. And a breakfast, birthday celebration, or holiday brunch doesn't get any better than when it includes a Dutch Baby. Especially this impressive, easy to make Blueberry Dutch Baby with Blueberry Sauce and Toasted Almonds. Bring it to any table, stand back, and enjoy the proverbial drop the mic moment.

Happy Easter everyone! May your baskets be overflowing with eggs in all of your favorite colors!

Blueberry Dutch Baby with Blueberry Sauce and Toasted Almonds
Serves 2 starving people, 4 hungry people, or 6 able to show restraint people

Blueberry Dutch Baby
3/4 cup (100g) all-purpose flour
3 large eggs 
3/4 cup (6 ounces) whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup (66g) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup fresh blueberries
4  Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into four pieces
Confectionary sugar
2-3 Tablespoons sliced almonds, lightly toasted
Optional: Lightly sweetened creme fraiche.

Blueberry Sauce

1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup caster or granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Blueberry Sauce
1. In a small saucepan, combine the blueberries, water, sugar, and lemon juice.
2. Bring mixture to a boil. Allow to boil for several minutes.
3. Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook until the sauce has thickened (approximately 10-15 minutes).
4. Transfer to a serving dish.

Dutch Baby
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees (F). Place a 10-11 inch cast iron pan in the oven for 20-30 minutes. 
2. In a blender, whip the milk, eggs, vanilla, sugar, salt, flour, and cinnamon for approximately 45-60 seconds. Allow mixture to rest for 10-15 minutes before adding the blueberries. Note: If not using immediately, cover and store in the refrigerator. Add the blueberries right before ready to add the batter to the pan.
3. Carefully remove pan from oven and add butter. As soon as butter has melted immediately pour the batter into the hot pan. Quickly return the pan to the oven and bake until the sides are puffed up and golden brown (approximately 20-25 minutes).
4. Remove the Blueberry Dutch Baby from the oven and place pan on a wire rack. Lightly dust with confectionary sugar. Spread a couple of tablespoons of the homemade blueberry sauce on the bottom of the Dutch Baby. Sprinkle with toasted almonds. (See notes below for an alternative presentation.)
5. Serve immediately. Don't forget to bring the remaining blueberry sauce to the table. 

Notes: (1) Batter can be made the night before but without the addition of the blueberries. Briefly pulse in the blender before pouring into the hot pan. (2) Use a 10 inch to 11 inch cast iron pan for this recipe. (3) Cover and refrigerate any leftover blueberry sauce. It's great on pancakes, waffles, and even ice cream. (4) For an over the top Blueberry Dutch Baby serve with lightly sweetened, lightly whipped creme fraiche. After lightly dusting with confectionary sugar, drop dollops of the creme fraiche on the just out of the oven Blueberry Dutch Baby before dropping dollops of the blueberry sauce. Finish with a sprinkling of toasted sliced almonds. (5) To make the lightly sweetened creme fraiche, whip together 8 ounces of creme fraiche, 2 Tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice, and 3 Tablespoons of confectionary sugar. Beat until the mixture hold soft peaks. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve if make in advance.

Sunrise in South Carolina