Garden Glow at Missouri Botanical Garden

The Thursday before Christmas, when the weather was lovely and almost warm, I headed to see Garden Glow with knitting friend Grace.

It was fun & I quite enjoyed seeing all the lights in the garden – it’s on for a few more days, so check it out if you get a chance.

Garden Glow at MoBot

These photos all came from my phone, as my actual camera I took failed completely at being able to capture anything.

Garden Glow at MoBot

Garden Glow at MoBot
Hogwarts!

Garden Glow at MoBot
Stuck in the Labyrinth.

Garden Glow at MoBot

Garden Glow at MoBot

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In the Kitchen: Roasted Brussel Sprouts

One new recipe I tried for Christmas dinner is something that would be good any time. It has also made me realize that my favorite way of preparing vegetables is to roast them – just a little drizzle of olive oil & sprinkling of salt (or other seasoning) makes for a delicious pan of roasted vegetable goodness.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

I found the recipe in a list of holiday sides on the Southern Living website. As their picture was enticing & I was looking for something simple but delicious, I decided to try it out.

It’s easy enough to make:

  1. Get about 2 pounds of brussel sprouts & cut them in half (I used frozen & they worked fine).
  2. Drizzle with about 2 tbsp of olive oil & a little salt & pepper in a baking pan (I used a 9×13 Pyrex pan).
  3. Bake at 425 about 20 minutes (or a little longer for frozen – I think I went about 30).
  4. While baking, fry about 8 slices of pancetta, bacon, or prosciutto until crispy.* Crumble & set aside until sprouts are done.
  5. Top finished sprouts with a bit of parmesan cheese & the bacon crumbles.
  6. Enjoy!

I would suggest maybe cutting the recipe in half if you’re only cooking for two or three people. Otherwise you may wind up with leftovers. They reheat just fine, but if you’re like me and forget you have leftovers in the fridge, it would be better to keep them to a minimum.

*I used prosciutto on accident – I grabbed the wrong package in the grocery store & didn’t realize what I’d done until I was cooking on Christmas day, so I went with it & it worked out just fine.

In the Kitchen: Creme Brulee French Toast

On New Years Day, I went to a small brunch gathering at Mindy’s place. My traditional brunch potluck contribution is a baked french toast – this is not the first time I’ve made this one, but I’ve not shared the recipe before.

When I was shopping for the ingredients for this french toast, I wondered what it would be like with an apple-studded breakfast bread. Or maybe even a blueberry one? I was tempted, but went with the traditional Challah this time.

Creme Brulee French Toast

The Creme Brulee French Toast doesn’t look like much straight out of the oven – the best part of it is on the bottom of your pan, so you can’t see anything special until you get it on your plate. Even then, the thin glaze of brown sugar, butter, and syrup doesn’t look like much. You can pour a little maple syrup over the top or just let the glaze do the talking for you. (I went for the syrup myself.)

Creme Brulee French Toast

Creme Brûlée French Toast
Serves 6-8
Recipe originally from Stonecutter Tricia

2 TBS dark corn syrup
1/2 Cup butter
1 Cup brown sugar, packed
1 Loaf Challah or white bread, thickly sliced
5 Eggs
1-1/2 Cups half & half
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp Grand Marnier-optional
1/4 tsp salt

In a small saucepan combine the corn syrup, butter and brown sugar; simmer until sugar is dissolved and consistency is syrupy. Pour into a greased 9×13″ baking pan. Slice the loaf into thick slices, and place on top of the syrup.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, vanilla, Grand Marnier and salt. Pour evenly over the bread. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, leave the casserole at room temperature while the oven preheats. Bake at 350°F uncovered, for 45 minutes. Cut into squares and serve immediately.

Serve with maple syrup and butter.