Monthly Archives: February 2012

Cleaver Contest 10 Winner Announced……

You guys must really love Gooseberry Patch! What an overwhelming response……

I so enjoyed reading all of your stories, comments, and recipes….You truly make this page what it is. Thanks for sharing!

The winner, chosen by, of the Gooseberry Patch “Big Book of Homecooking” goes to…..



She told us about her Irish Colcannon Dish with potatoes and cabbage….YUM!

Cheryl please email your mailing address to to claim your prize.

Keep your eyes peeled for the next contest for another chance to win 🙂

Signing Off,
Modern Mrs. Cleaver


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Pot o’ Beans and a Backache…..

What do YOU do for fun? Ya know those times where you’re sitting down with a moment of spare time and thinking to yourself…”I really need to DO something”.

What kind of “somethings” do you normally gravitate towards?

Building a fire in your indoor fireplace for the sole purpose of cooking a pot of beans all day long?

OK……so in all reality I’m probably alone on this one!

My husband can be a pretty spontaneous man, and I test him on that OFTEN! He even rolls with MOST of my crazy hair-brained ideas, I truly can’t love him enough!

Sometimes though, when he walks in from a hectic day at work, and I’m standing at the top of the stairs waiting like a giddy little school girl…..Those are the days he should DEFINITELY turn around and run for the hills. Rest assured, I’ve got a whopper cooked up in my head.

Recently, we/he experienced once such moment. {I present to you….the BEAN story! Which I will narrative style for dramatic effect}

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Pain Perdu w/ Berries and Chambord Cream

I’m going to let ya in on a little secret of mine….. {I’ll hang my head for good measure}

After I cook, I ALWAYS serve my husband first, then my children, then myself. It’s the way I was raised and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

HOWEVER, {deep breath} I am more than just a wife and mother…I am also Modern Mrs. Cleaver! And as such, I MUST take pictures to tempt taste buds. Having to do that, I MUST make the photo plate the most spectacular looking plate. {are you seeing where I’m going with this yet?}

Since I have to take the photos, I am ALWAYS the last to eat and therefore get the honor of eating the picture / best plate….something the rest of the family doesn’t normally see. I am truly ashamed…but only because I know my husband will read this at work and begin to connect some serious dots.

Honey….I’m sorry, you can have the photo plate tonight!

Last night my photo plate pushed me over the “guilty” ledge and I had to fess up. But not before I devoured my plate of pain perdu!

I found an amazing deal on strawberries a few days ago and have been trying to decide what I wanted to make with them. A good deal on berries is a treat where I live, so I decided to make a TREAT. I ended up serving it for dinner, simply because I couldn’t wait for breakfast.

Alrighty guys and gals…if you wanna blow someone’s socks off, or treat that someone special to somethin’ special, follow along 🙂

~NOTE~ I made a large batch of the berry sauce and whipped cream so I could create KILLER sundaes later. If you are not interested in having leftovers, cut the ingredients in half.


1 round loaf Hawaiian bread

6 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Berry Sauce

1 pint strawberries

2 1/2 ounces Chambord Liquer

5 teaspoons sugar

Chambord Cream

3 cups heavy cream

3/4 cup sugar (I use superfine sugar here, but regular works too)

2 ounces Chambord Liquer


Grab the metal mixing bowl that fits a stand mixer, or other metal bowl if you have a handheld mixer, and place it and the whisk attachment in the freezer. Having super cold bowls and whisks is an important step to making great whipped cream later.

If you’ve never used the Hawaiian bread before, OoOoOo Hoooo you’re in for a treat! The bread itself is sweet and eggy…when you turn it into French Toast it takes your breath away. Below is a picture of the bread you’ll want to find at the store.

Slice the bread gently with a serrated knife into long slices that are about 1 – 1 1/2 inches thick. Be careful not to smoosh the bread when you slice, it’s VERY soft. Next, cut each slice in half and lay them out while you prepare the berry sauce. This allows them to harden ever so slightly. “Pain Perdu” actually refers to saving bread that has begun to harden by dunking in egg and frying.

Now for the berry sauce….Reserve four berries for slicing and garnishing. Slice the tops off the remaining berries and place them into a blender.

Add 2 1/2 ounces of Chambord and 5 teaspoons of sugar. Blend until fully incorporated and smooth. Pour into a bowl and set aside.

Now for my favorite part…..Have you ever put a liqueur in whipped cream? It’s in a whole other dimension really, it puts me at a loss for words…not easy to do!

Place your chilly metal bowl and whisk on your mixer and add the heavy cream. Beat on high-speed and gradually add the sugar. I use superfine sugar when making whipped cream, always have and always will. Granulated sugar works as well, so if you don’t have superfine in your pantry don’t fret!

When you notice the cream beginning to thicken, slowly add in the 2 ounces of Chambord. Do not overbeat the cream….Check your progress by lifting the whisk out of the cream and check for peaks. When the cream sits light and fluffy on the whisk and holds its shape….STOP

This picture doesn’t quite do the cream justice….What you end up with is a delicate whipped cream that is slightly black cherry colored. Go on…..get a spoonful and give yourself a minute. Are you starting to envision all the things you can put this on? That’s why I made a large batch 🙂

Set the bowl of cream back in the chill box as you prepare the bread.

In a shallow pan, mix together the egg, milk, and vanilla.

Heat a griddle to 375 degrees. When heated, dunk the bread pieces in the egg and gently turn over to coat, then place on the griddle. I never have a problem with sticking on my griddle so I don’t use any butter or oil.

After a few minutes, gently lift the edge and check for color. When you see a nice golden crust on the bottom, gently flip them over. Allow them to cook for a few minutes on the other side, and when both sides are golden brown, remove from the griddle.

I don’t like to let french toast or pancakes set too long, so I take a moment in between batches to serve what is ready.

To assemble, stack 2 or 3….or FOUR pieces onto a plate. I stack them so each piece is turned a different way, I can’t control myself when it comes to plating. I often spend more time DECORATING a plate then I do actually preparing the food.

Slice the reserved berries and place them around the edges. Drizzle the berry over the bread and top with a sinful amount of the chambord cream. I drizzled a little extra sauce over the cream just for good measure.

You’ll notice the cream starts to slowly melt and ooze over the bread while you eat. It’s crazy good! My son added some warm maple syrup to his plate, which I didn’t think would be very good….but it was fantastic too.

Are you wanting to see a finished product???

If you’re going to the store for ingredients…ya might want to pick up some ice cream! Just incase you need a way to use those leftovers 🙂

Signing Off,

Modern Mrs. Cleaver

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Halibut Olympia

This is probably one of my favorite ways to prepare halibut. Creamy and cheesy with a splash of good Chardonnay flavor, how can you go wrong?

I’ve seen people make Halibut Olympia many different ways….This is the way I’ve been doing it for years and I’ll never change! (Not sure if that makes me stubborn or partial)


2 small halibut filets (should equal about 1 1/2 lbs when skinned and cubed)

1 small onion, chopped

7 Tablespoons butter

A few splashes of a good white wine (I use chardonnay)

1/2 lemon juiced

Salt & Pepper

Garlic Powder

Fresh Thyme (3-4 sprigs)

1 cup Mayonnaise

1 cup Sour Cream

8 oz. box Panko

Shredded Cheddar (about 1 lb.)

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Reuben Melt….with a twist!

Take what you know about Reubens……

Add what you know about Patty Melts…..

Now squish em’ all together and hike up yer’ britches, this one’s gonna be fun with a side order of crazy!

When my husband and I get in the kitchen together, crazy things happen! We laugh, we sidestep and twirl around each other in moments of chaos, and in the end ALWAYS create something magical. This was one of those nights!

*Warning: One of the techniques in this recipe WILL blow your mind….it sure did mine!

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Wine Poached Pears on Creme Anglaise

What’s that??? You need a dessert that will knock the socks of your special Valentine?

I got ya…..boy do I got ya!

My husband and I aren’t HUGE into Valentines Day, meaning we don’t go spend hundreds on chocolate, flowers, and stuffed animals. But what we DO do…(saying do do is just weird…everytime) is celebrate Valentines OUR way! We make some lavish, over the top crazy good food and we LOVE every bit of the preparing and eating of said food.

So this year I decided to make something just a few days early and share it with y’all 🙂

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Coconut Green Curry Chicken Stew

It’s Friday….let the celebrating begin! I believe it’s a movie marathon kinda weekend, with all day pajamas and junk food. But before we get on to THAT…we gotta talk about THIS!

Say it with me…Coconut Green Curry Chicken Stew. Over jasmine rice of course 🙂

If you are not a fan of curry, promise me you’ll try this! A lot of people say they don’t like curry (my husband included) because they’ve had BAD curry. It’s out there, it exists! But there is also GOOD curry, a mild flavor that doesn’t blow your taste buds apart.

My husband and I had a rare moment of eating alone last night, just the two of us, and it was out of this world good! It would be equally impressive to serve to a group of guests. It’s a one pot wonder dish that tastes like you slave away creating flavor. Can it be better than that? Well….it’s ready in 20 minutes! {Hello easy weeknight meal}

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Italian Chicken Roulades

If this doesn’t have you singin’…..”That’s Amore” I don’t know what will!

Disclaimer: Making roulades can be a wee bit tricky if you’ve never done them before but with a little patience, a good sense of humor, and some laughing gas (just kidding on the last one) you will have it down pat in no time. Once you taste it, you will want to roll EVERYTHING up 🙂

I’ve learned a couple of tricks over the past few (few meaning A LOT) years that make for perfect chicken roll ups. Keep in mind, this recipe is a launching pad…You can use this same technique to make chicken rolls with spinach and cheese inside, or any other combination you can dream of as long as the ingredients roll nicely.


4 chicken breasts (see note below for a chicken tip)


shredded mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup flour

salt and pepper

1 cup panko breading

seasonings (because I was going Italian I seasoned the breading with basil, oregano, and thyme)

1/2 teaspoon dried minced garlic

2 tablespoons melted butter

3 eggs

olive oil

*Tip* When I know that I am going to make chicken roulades, I tend to buy the cheaper chicken breasts. Often times I find them in large five-pound bags and the breasts tend to be semi-flat to begin with…This makes pounding the chicken a whole lot easier. If you cannot find these, make SURE you get the chicken fairly flat, which can be difficult with a super thick breast.

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Honey Mustard Artisan Bread

I once watched a movie (I believe it was called “What About Bob”) and heard Bill Murray proclaim….

“There are two kinds of people in this world…Those that LIKE Neil Diamond, and those that DON’T”

In my world…These are the two kinds of people: Those with fantastic neighbors, and those that have neighbors that make you want to build a shanty in the middle of nowhere and peacefully live out your days!

In the past year I have had both. Being new to our city we had decided to rent for a bit before deciding what area to settle into. Our first neighbors…..o man all mighty! To make a very long, blaring music, cop calling, up all night, praying for peace, story short…we HAD to move. It was that or someone would need bailed outta jail 🙂

Anywho… several months ago we found a new home and new neighbors. These folks were out-of-town when we moved in, however over the past few weeks we have at long last gotten to know them…that is to say we exchanged quick pleasantries while running to our doors in the -20 temperatures.

These folks are the ones that you want to make a pineapple upside down cake for. Neighborly in a way that makes you breathe a sigh of relief.

While I didn’t make a pineapple upside down cake…I DID make a loaf of my favorite bread and take it next door, warm out of the oven. My ten-year old went with me and regaled them with a 30 minute oration of his ripstick (like a skateboard with 2 wheels) skills and informed them that our small dog barks…..A LOT!

A ten-year old’s energy can test even the most patient person at times…they listened with interest and made my son’s night, which I crushed like only a parent can when I dropped the phrase…. “It’s bedtime!”

Below is my bread recipe, should you feel inclined to spread some neighborly love of your own….


1 1/2 cups flour, plus 1-2 more cups for making dough and kneading (I use all-purpose or cracked wheat)

1/2 cup oats

5 sprigs of thyme (leaves stripped from stems)

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup honey

2 tablespoons dijon mustard

2 tablespoons softened butter

2 1/4 teaspoon dry yeast (I buy in bulk so I measure, it’s the same as one packet)

1 cup very warm water

1 egg

egg wash (1  egg white mixed with 1 tablespoon water)

sea salt

2 sprigs thyme (leaves stripped from stems)


Tip: Start this in a mixing bowl that fits an electric mixer. I started mine in a glass bowl for the sole purpose of taking pictures that allowed you to see into the bowl 🙂

Into a mixing bowl, dump the 1 1/2 cups flour, oats, salt, honey, dijon mustard, butter and yeast. Stir together until incorporated.

Pour in the warm water and beat with electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Add in the egg and continue to mix for an additional minute. Remove bowl from the mixer and, in 1/2 cup increments, add additional flour and stir by hand until a soft dough is formed that is easy to handle. You don’t want your hands looking like a swamp monster while trying to work the dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead for ten minutes.

Try not to work too much additional flour into the dough. Keep the counter very lightly floured, and if the dough begins to stick add just enough flour to allow the bread to pull away cleanly. By keeping your hands lightly floured you can avoid adding excess flour to the kneading surface. The dough should stay slightly tacky throughout the entire kneading process.

If you don’t have a lot of experience with kneading, trust me when I say it is CRUCIAL. Here is a link that describes the process of kneading should you want.–1117/kneading-dough-hand-kneading.asp

Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning over once so that the greased side of the bread is up. Cover the bowl and let rise in a warm area of the house for an hour.

In Alaska, that comment makes me laugh. Creating a “rise worthy” environment for bread involves preheating the oven to 170 degrees than shutting it down, boiling a large pot of water….placing the steamy water in the oven with the bread dough and keeping the door closed. {welcome to my world}

This dough does NOT rise a huge amount…but if it rises in a warm environment you’re doin’ just fine!

After an hour, punch the dough down and shape the dough into a ball. Grease the bottom and sides of a pie pan and place the dough in the pan. Flatten the ball of dough slightly to resemble a disk, brush the top with the egg wash and sprinkle with sea salt and fresh thyme leaves.

Cover the top of the pie pan with a kitchen towel and allow the dough to rise again for about 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees while the bread rises.

After the second rising, bake the bread for 35 minutes. The top will be golden brown in color and smell HEAVENLY!

Remove from the pan…I run a butter knife around the edge to make sure none of the egg wash has attached the bread to the pan. Allow the bread to cool on a wire rack then slice and serve.

And now it’s time for me to go make another loaf…I kinda didn’t tell the kiddos that I was giving away the first loaf and they KINDA encouraged me to make another one!

Signing Off,

Modern Mrs. Cleaver


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Cleaver Contest 10 and Giveaway….

It’s that time again….time to roll out a new contest 🙂

I’m tickled pink about this giveaway, as I grew up reading cookbooks from these lovely ladies…..The prize is

Whamo Blamo!

The BIG BOOK of Homecooking from Gooseberry Patch…a 368 page hardcover book, filled to the brim with 450 family pleasing recipes and over 200 photos.

When the ladies at Gooseberry Patch do things….they do em’ right!

Now on to the contest rules…..

We all have a dish that we’re known for, some like to call it a “Signature Dish”.

You might hear your kids saying, “My mom makes the best _______”

Or, “My dad makes a mean _______”

Maybe you have a recipe you remember someone ELSE making….”Nothing tops Grammy’s ______”

Whatever it might be, tell me about YOUR dish! Go ahead and brag a little….what do OTHERS say about your dish?

I will randomly select a winner on February 29th…HOORAY LEAP DAY!

Can’t wait to read all your submissions 🙂

Signing Off,

Modern Mrs. Cleaver


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