Archive for March, 2016

Cod a Braz, fresh cod with eggs and crispy potatoes

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

Bac-2

This is a fascinating Portuguese dish that demonstrates that culture’s affection for a pile of crispy potatoes. Cooked cod is mixed with a warm pile of delicate homemade french fries, and then scrambled with a batch of eggs, a fabulous culinary study in texture. Probably born from a hungry fisherman with too many eggs on his kitchen counter, Bacalau a Braz has become a classic in Portuguese cuisine. In this recipe a “salsa” of roasted cherry tomatoes, lemon, olives and parsley adds a fresh garden finish to the dish.

The gleaming vegetables on top of a mountain of golden eggs, cod and potatoes looks magnificent. The soft texture of fish and egg mixed with the satisfying crispness of the potatoes is wonderful, and not something our often segregated plates of meat, vegetable, and starch usually offer.

Originally made with salt cod – “bacalau” – fresh cod is substituted for convenience here; the recipe is so delicious, and the principals of the composition so interesting, it would be a shame not to make it because one is daunted by soaking fish. That said, if you have the time and inclination to prepare this with bacalhau, the textures and flavors are wonderful in a new way.

Ingredients

2 cup cherry tomatoes

8 tablespoons olive oil, divided (perhaps more to fry the potatoes.)

1/2 cup pitted black olives

4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, divided

1 large or 2 small lemons, sliced, divided

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 lb. fresh cod

3 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into thin strips like very skinny french fries

1 large onion, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon oregano

8 large eggs

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

1.Make the roasted cherry tomato sauce: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss tomatoes in olive oil, and spread in a baking dish. Roast for fifteen minutes, or until just beginning to crack and brown. Remove from oven, and allow to cool a bit.

Toss into a medium sized bowl, and mix in about 6 lemon slices (reserving at least 3 for the fish), 1 tablespoon olive oil, 3 tablespoons parsley, olives, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Stir gently together and set aside.

To make the gratin: Fill a shallow skillet with one inch of water. Bring to a simmer and add lemon peel, pepper corns, 1 teaspoon of salt, bay leaf and fish. Cover, and simmer for seven to ten minutes, or until fillets begin to flake. Remove fish from broth and cool. Flake the fish, checking for bones.

Heat four tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet and fry potatoes in batches until brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels, sprinkle liberally with salt, and start the next batch, adding more oil if necessary. Drain that oil, but then return one additional tablespoon of fresh olive oil to the same pan.

Add the onion and saute until golden brown, about ten minutes. Stir in the oregano, a sprinkle of salt, and reduce the heat to low Gently stir in the fish and fried potatoes, reserving a good cup of potatoes for garnish. Whisk together the eggs with salt and pepper, red pepper flakes, and one tablespoon parsley. Pour the eggs over the fish, onion and potato mixture, and stir very gently until the eggs are cooked, about 3 minutes. Do not let them stick to the bottom of the pan and brown. Serve hot with a healthy spoonful of tomato mixture piled on top, and then the reserved fried potatoes.

Kuku Sabzi, a star in the Persian New Year feast.

Friday, March 25th, 2016

Kuku

 

Kuku sabzi are just one of many stars of Nowruz, the Persian New Year for which a feast of beautiful dishes is prepared. Nowruz is a celebration of the vernal equinox, and marks the first day of the the Iranian calendar year.

Kuku can be a variety of frittata-like dishes heavier on the delicious fillings than eggs. “Sabzi” means herbs in Farsi, and this Kuku is densely packed with parsley, spinach, cilantro, dill, and leeks. Add to those saffron, barberries and fenugreek. Unlike a frittata, Kuku have a small amount of flour and baking soda, giving them just a tiny amount of elevation so that they are less flat and eggy than a frittata. Fragrant with herbs, that welcome verdure color, and slightly crunchy with walnuts, Kuku sabzi would be as appropriate at an Easter brunch as a Persian feast. (That little bit of leavening might eliminate them from a seder, unfortunately.)

saffron & barberries

greens & barberries

unbaked

baked kuku

I would say however you choose to celebrate an equinox (and it’s a little late for that now, but don’t let that stop you from making these) Kuku are the perfect dish to serve. I had them room temperature beside a pan of mustard and lemon baked Dabs from Cape Ann Fresh Catch on a cold spring Thursday night with spring bulbs still oomphing themselves out of frozen soil; the vernal equinox received a warm “thank you!”

Kuku

Kuku Sabzi

Ingredients:

4 strands saffron crushed

1 TBS hot water

1 small leek rinsed & chopped

1 cup chopped flat leaf parsley, packed (approx. 1 bunch)

1/4 cup chopped cilantro, packed

1/4 cup chopped dill, packed

1/2 cup chopped spinach, packed

2 tsp fenugreek or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh celery leaves

1/4 cup walnuts chopped

2 tablespoons barberries *

1 tablespoon flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

8 large eggs

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350ºF and adjust rack to upper-middle position.

In a small bowl combine saffron strands and hot water. In a separate bowl stir together leek, parsley, cilantro, dill, spinach, fenugreek or celery leaves, walnuts, barberries, flour, baking soda, vegetable oil, salt and pepper.

In a third bowl mix until just frothy the 8 eggs. Stir in the saffron.

Pour this into the herbs, and mix gently together. Spray 9-inch ceramic pie dish with cooking spray. Pour egg mixture into prepared pie dish. Bake for 40 minutes, until a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean. Let it cool for 15 minutes prior to serving, or let cool completely and serve at room temperature.

In Cod We Trust & The Wenham Tea House. This is happening –

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

tea house sign

Fresh Food Cooking Show
April 21, 2016,6:00-9:00pm
Fresh Food Cooking presents…“Fish Tales”

Please join us as we welcome local author/food blogger Heather Atwood and our Executive Chef Peter Capalbo (formerly chef and owner of Tryst, Beverly) from the Wenham Tea House Kitchen as they let you in “behind the scenes!” Learn how to prepare and cook some of the fishiest – and most interesting – recipes from Heather’s cook book “In Cod We Trust.”

Be the first to experience a casual behind the scenes cooking extravaganza as Heather narrates the history of the New England recipes and Chef Peter prepares them, putting  his own creative culinary twist on dishes from the cookbook, like Hingham Pickled Shrimp, Clams Bulhao Pato served with Portuguese bread, Bacalao a Braz, Browned Skate with Bacon Jam, and Grilled Octopus.

Christopher Keohane, owner of Fresh Food LLC, will be pouring wines to compliment the seafood. This is a novel opportunity to be in the kitchen witnessing the talents and humor of Chef Peter while tasting dishes as they slide right out of the pan or off the grill, all while enjoying the Portuguese wines selected especially for the night.

You will learn about the fishing industry on the North Shore and Coastal New England and walk away with an expanded palette on how to prepare a rich array of seafood.

The Wenham Tea House is delighted to bring passionate foodies together who know how to share great food, wine and laughter!

tea house

Date: Thursday, April 21st,
Time: 6:00-9:00
Price is $60 includes wine, food and dessert

Menu:

Hingham Pickled Shrimp

Clams Bulhao Pato (a classic Portuguese preparation of little necks with garlic and lemon)

Browned Skate with Bacon Jam

Bacalhao a Braz (a Portuguese favorite: salt cod with crispy potatoes)

Chef Peter’s Grilled Octopus

Quejeidas de Leite (milk tarts, a Portugese sweet custard)

 

Limited space available, make your reservation early! 978-468-1398

You can purchase your personal signed copy of “In Cod We Trust” during the night of the event.

About Heather Atwood
Heather Atwood is author of the blog “Food for Thought” and the weekly column by the same name syndicated in a number of Massachusetts newspapers. For the online cooking site Cook123 Ms. Atwood hosts cooking videos featuring regional Massachusetts chefs and cooks. This combined work has created a web of connections in the New England food community, allowing Atwood a prized familiarity with Finns in W. Barnstable who still make fruit soup, the Gloucester Sicilians who bake their own zeppole, and day boat fishermen who sell pearly scallops from coolers out of the back of their cars. She reveres the people who preserve and energize the New England food landscape.

Her cookbook, “In Cod We Trust, the Celebrated Cuisine of Coastal Massachusetts,” explores the cultures that have made this ragged coastline home, and the meals they prepare.

ICWT cover

About the book: When people think of dock-side dining in Massachusetts they imagine buttery toasted lobster rolls, steaming bowls of creamy fish chowder, and alabaster-white slabs of baked cod piled with bread crumbs, but its rich and varied cuisine reflects all who have come to call these seaports home. Cultures including, Sicilian, Portuguese, Finnish, and Irish that fished and worked the granite quarries there a century ago were so tightly bound that generations have stayed and continue to leave their culinary mark on coastline. In Cod We Trust features over 175 recipes that celebrate the area’s unique place in the culinary world, and is a photographic journey for both people who love the area and those who hope to visit one day.

Spiran Lodge Pancake Breakfast, March 20th.

Sunday, March 20th, 2016

new Spiran signs

Spiran Lodge, a regional division of the Swedish American fraternal organization “Vasa,” is as much a part of Rockport’s history as quarries and Motif #1, and the Spiran Lodge Pancake Breakfast has become as much a sign of spring as the window boxes in town freshly planted in pansies.

There is a Pancake Breakfast in the fall, too, but in March that bright orange Dahala horse standing squarely on the corner of School St. and Broadway Ave. cheers like the first fat tulips in Harvey Park. The spring arrangements on the tables inside, the hum of Rockporters meeting over slices of Nisu and coffee, and those soft coins of pancakes dolloped with lingonberries feel that much more special after months closed in by winter.

Founded 110 years ago by Leonard Persson as an aid society for the many Swedes immigrating to Rockport to work in the quarries, Spiran Lodge began as a center for this strapping tribe, ready and able to break stone, but unable to speak English. These arriving Swedes needed assistance with housing, banking, and health care. Later in the 20th century Spiran allowed English to be spoken behind the Lodge doors. And later, as the Rockport Swedes and their families integrated, and no longer needed such a secure sanctuary, Spiran voted to include other Scandinavians, which opened membership to the Finns who had settled in the Lanesville area of Gloucester.

Today, the Spiran Lodge monthly meetings reflect the long roots of Rockport’s Swedish heritage as the grandchildren of those first immigrants reminisce about growing up in households where only Swedish was spoken at the kitchen table. Finns and Swedes tease each other amicably, referring to the now dissolved prejudices they witnessed between Lanesville and Rockport Scandinavians. But the meetings also reflect a new face of Rockport. Eva Korpi moved to Cape Ann after growing up in Sweden, and then living all over the world, including Hawaii. Eva has re-energized the Spiran Lodge singers; monthly meeting begins with not just the Swedish national anthem, but the Finnish, and the Icelandic. Asgeir Benedicktssen, a specialist in old world fish processing like smoking and salting, moved to Rockport with his family a few years ago from Iceland, to manage the Whole Foods fish smoking process. (Now Benedicktssen works for the fish processor Mazzetta.) He and his family are active new members of Spiran Lodge, and the Icelandic anthem, lead by Asgeir, is sung with pride. The Bennedictseen’s teenage daughter (along with mine!) participated in this year’s St. Lucia pageant.

As a non-Scandinavian but a Rockporter interested in the town’s authenticity, I belong to Spiran Lodge, too. Spiran lodge now opens its membership to non-Scandinavians, people like me who are interested in braiding Nisu, flipping Swedish Pancakes, and participating in events like Julfest that began as ways for an immigrant community to remember their departed land, but which have become distinctively important Rockport traditions.

The Spiran Lodge Pancake Breakfast is Sunday, March 20th from 8:00 to 11:00. An army of volunteers begin their mission mixing dough, braiding loaves, and turning the delicate pancakes (more like a crepe than a pancake) on Friday, a complicated set of tasks directed by Claire Franklin.

It has been noted at meetings this past winter that while some Vasa organizations are struggling to stay relevant and retain members, the Rockport order is not just thriving but growing, with new members joining every year. And they are adapting, willing and open to asking what will be the organization’s purpose heading into the 21st century.

That cheerful Dahala horse has been re-papier-mached and painted by Spiran member Jeff Rask and his daughter Erika. If you haven’t noticed, the Spiran Lodge clapboards have received a fresh coat of white paint. Jeff Rask also replaced the old Spiran Lodge sign, as faded as its Swedish aid society history, with two brightly painted ones, one for each side of the buildings corner. Spiran Lodge is ready to be a fresh face of Rockport culture.

If you can’t make time to attend the Spiran Lodge Pancake Breakfast, make time to make Lodge member Muriel Lovasco’s Swedish Apple Pie, published first in the Spiran Lodge monthly newsletter. Basically a “crumble,” this makes an emphatically crunchy, nutty topping to a pie dish layered with sweet, soft apples.

 

Swedish Apple Pie

Muriel Lovasco’s Swedish Apple Pie

Ingredients

About 5 Cortland apples, peeled, cored and sliced (about 3 cups)

1 cup flour

1 egg

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup chopped nuts

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup melted butter

salt

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Layer apple slices cylindrically into a buttered 10” pie plate. In a small bowl mix cinnamon, butter, sugar, flour, egg, nuts, and salt. Crumble over apples. Bake for 45 minutes or until the top is well browned.

Marinated Mussels, The Provincetown Seafood Cookbook

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

mussel illustration

(illustration by Howard Mitcham, Provincetown Seafood Cookbook)

 

Howard Mitcham is the Herman Melville of cookbook authors; this is Mitcham on sea clams, or Spissula solidissima:

“Unlike the peaceful quahaugs and steamer clams, the sea clams love the wild pounding surf and the ‘live’ sand that moves and shifts around. They live on exposed outer beaches just below mean low water line, and love the channels that form between the small bars below low water mark.”

“You haven’t really begun to be a Cape Tip gourmet until you’ve learned how to make stuffed sea clams and that delicious classic, sea clam pie. All of the chowders and minced clams that you buy in stores are sea clam products, there aren’t enough quahaugs and steamers available anymore to keep a clam factory running. But the delicious clam loses so much of its sparkle in the canning process that they really ought to label the cans something else. You won’t find a recipe in this book beginning, ‘Take a can of minced clams…’

While Mitcham has a fine recipe for stuffed sea clams – (2 dozen large sea clams, 2 loaves hard bread, garlic, onions, green peppers, celery, parsley, saffron, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, white wine, and sherry) – and a recipe for Sea Clam Pie, you won’t find them published in this blog. As I’ve written, I’m reprinting recipes from The Provincetown Seafood Cookbook to frame how much the seafood industry has changed since Mitcham published this book in 1975. Today, some people can find sea clams in a channel beside a sand bar just below the mean water mark, but most some clams come from the sea clam industry, in which the sea floor is hydraulically dredged, both a violent assault to the sea clam’s home and big money.

A January 15, 2015 article in the Cape Cod Times describes a battle over this practice being fought right off the shore of Mitcham’s beloved Provincetown: sea clam vessels dredging thousands of shellfish from a 2-square-mile area off Herring Cove Beach in a month, netting $120,000 on about 12,660 cubic yards of clams. The Provincetown Conservation Commission is trying to stop what looks like pillaging but is still authorized by the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries.

http://www.capecodtimes.com/article/20150112/News/150119877

The article quotes Provincetown harbormaster Rex McKinsey on dredging: “The practice of shooting 50 to 100 pounds of water pressure into the sand to release the clams disturbs the ocean floor and damages the habitat for fish, clams and other marine life.”

I’ve seen the conditions in a sea clam factory. The cold, wet, slimey work is done mostly by immigrant women. Now work is work, and I’m sure everything in this factory is legal, and the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries gives hydraulic dredging its blessing, so this “industry” is all above board, but that’s not to say we should support it. When the scale of things gets multiplied by a factor of a thousand – thousands of pounds of sea clams are removed from the ocean, processed and shipped around the world every day – things get messed up. The environment gets assaulted and work conditions get ugly. This is not a pretty industry, in my eyes, but it’s a big one. Think about how often you see clam products – minced clams, frozen clam chowder, cans of clam chowder – and then remember China loves clams. This is a lot of clams being removed from that “live” sand.

I really couldn’t dig my own sea clam, and I wasn’t going to purchase any sea clam products – even fresh processed – to make Mitcham’s stuffed quahaugs, although I’m sure they’re delicious. So I skipped that chapter and went to blue mussels, or Mytilus edulis.

According to a U.S. Fish and Aquaculture website, mussel shells have been found in kitchen middens as far back as 6,000 B.C. They have been farmed from wooden poles called “bouchots” in France since the 13th century.

Mussels have been like the kale of the oceans; their resilience to salinity and temperature allow them to grow almost anywhere from warm brackish semi-fresh waters in intertidal zones to deep, cold seawaters, even able to survive long periods of sub-zero temperatures. Some mussels can live up to 18 – 24 years old. Wild mussels (once) settled in wide open spaces called mussel beds. But that “once” is the issue.

While farmed mussels are having their day, wild mussels, which once defined the Atlantic coastline, are virtually gone. An article from last summer in the Portland Press Herald discussed Maine’s drastically changed coast, void of gleaming ebony and purple mussel croppings.

http://www.pressherald.com/2015/08/30/where-have-maines-mussels-gone/

There are a number of villains in this tragedy, but the fattest, reddest arrow points to green crabs, Carcinus maenas, listed as one of the top 100 most invasive species in the world. Here’s a link to my own story on the green crab,

https://heatheratwood.com/blog/tag/green-crab-stock/  – but there are many more out there.

I knew it wouldn’t be difficult to purchase a package of commercially produced mussels for my Mitcham Marinated Mussel recipe; farmed mussels are everywhere from fish markets to large grocery stores. They are as easy to source as sandwich bread, the fluffy spongy kind. I purchased a net bag of mussels from Moosabec Mussels, Inc, a family owned business which claims to have “the largest single lease of ocean bottom for the aquaculture of mussels in the State of Maine.” But this company also claims to harvest “native, naturally grown” mussels, which must mean “wild.” My bag of mussels were tagged as “wild,” harvested from the Pleasant River on 2/22/16.

So, it may be a good thing that, while the wild mussels are mostly disappearing because of green crab infestation, companies like Moosabec Mussels – and many others  – are farming mussels, and finding ways to protect their crop from that biblical invasive species.

tag toothpick

farmed mussels

 

draining mussels

 

But, I will say I didn’t love these mussels. They were small and flavorless. I mean flavorless, as in if you tasted them blind you wouldn’t know what they were.  Also, Mitcham includes a small detail about how it’s important to remove a mussel’s beard, the stringy tendrils called byssal threads that allow mussels to attach to the ocean floor, to wooden posts, and to each other.  Those tendrils have been studied by scientists for their resistance to seriously harsh conditions; byssal threads are basically a fabric that will not degrade in moving salt water.  And yet, ocean acidification is affecting even byssal threads.  According to an article in Scientific American, byssal threads on mussels in Washington St. have weakened by as much as 40 percent when exposed to PH levels as low as 7.5, which scientists there have seen.  This isn’t good news for wild or farmed mussels.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/mussels-lose-footing-in-more-acidic-ocean/

The recipe itself – lots of onion, garlic, powdered mustard, and parsley – was delicious. This makes a bright, interesting appetizer or a wonderful sauce in which to toss rigatoni, as the small mussels catch in the tubes. Maybe you can find better mussels than I can; this would be an entirely different dish made with plump, orange wild mussels that have been declared history only in the last five years.

marinated mussels

Marinated Mussels Provincetown Seafood Cookbook

(I prepared 2 pounds of mussels, and basically quartered the recipe.  It still made plenty of marinade.)

1 ten quart bucket of mussels

1 cup vinegar

1 cup olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1/2 cup fresh parsley.

4 cloves garlic, minced

dash of Tabasco

2 tablespoons powdered mustard

salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Instruction:

Steam the mussels and shuck them.  Beard them.  Soak then in a marinade made from the rest of the ingredients, combined.  Since the mussels themselves are so mild, this marinade should have the bong of a kettle drum.  Chill before serving ask an hors d’oeuvre.

shucked mussels

Nancy Reagan and Monkey Bread

Monday, March 7th, 2016

monkey bread

 

I will occasionally be working on a series entitled “Stories Served Here,” featuring recipes with a really good story behind them. To some it may be unbelievable, but the ever fashionably waifish First Lady Nancy Reagan, who died this week, has a great food story.

Nancy Reagan will be remembered by many as the steely wife, as thin but as strong as a nail, standing ever loyally beside her smiling husband. She will be remembered for her work with Alzheimer’s Disease and for “just say no.” But I, and a few other cooks who know this first lady’s story, will remember her for the great contribution she made to brunch. Nancy Reagan brought Monkey Bread, that tender, buttery loaf of bread with the surprising architecture, to the White House, where it grabbed the attention of cooks nationwide, and its appeal has never really waned.

The Monkey Bread story seems to have begun in southern California in the 1940’s. Common names for pieces of dough baked together in a pan back then include bubble bread, bubble loaf, jumble bread, pull-apart bread, pinch-me cake, pluck-it cake, monkey puzzle bread, monkey brains, and monkey bread.

What made Monkey Bread – and a lot of others soft, sweet breads – possible is the pan. That story began a century before. Bread pans are actually very new. For most of history as we know it, bread was grain mixed with water baked on a skillet or a flat pan – tortillas, chapati, injera – or as a free form loaf on the floor of an oven – boules, baguettes, Poilane.

Sometime in the 17th century, people began putting dough into a Dutch oven to bake. Baking in a vessel like this suddenly allowed for soft, eggy, buttery breads to be contained; the idea took off and specific pans for certain loaves happened: Brioche. Kugelhopf. Sandwich Bread.  The design of a Kugelhopf pan – a fluted tin or ceramic round with a hole in the center, for the first time allowed a buttery-rich bread dough to cook through in the center without collapsing or having to cook so long the top burns. – that’s what the hole is for, to be able to circulate the heat into that center, cooking it from the inside out, so to speak, creating a second “crust” in the center of that soft dough.

Monkey Bread (and Bundt Cakes) borrowed from those Eastern European bread pans. They need that hole in the center to make sure the sweet, buttery dough cooks all the way through without burning on the top.

But balls of soft dough cooked together in a pan had already been happening by the turn of the 19th Century – Parker House rolls, created in the Parker House Hotel dining room in the 1850’s, were balls of soft buttery-rich dough baked together in a sheet pan. They come out of the pan warm and fluffy, each ball requiring a light tug to free it from its neighbors before retiring it to one’s bread plate and slathering it with butter.

It’s very likely that this Parker House roll idea, new to kitchens in the 1890’s, slowly morphed into the idea of placing these balls into a larger pan, a bundt pan or ring pan that would allow packing the balls densely but still cooking the whole loaf all the way through.

The Monkey Bread story stops being history and starts being as fun as its name in the 1940’s with film and stage actress Zasu Pitts. Pitts was a comedic star of silent film, and later movies, drama, even vaudeville and radio. She was best known as a flustered, fretful spinster. Her last role was as the telephone operator in Stanley Kramer’s comedy “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.”

In the 1940‘s Pitts was touring with a stage play called Ramshackle Inn, when a newspaper discovered that “Zasu Pitts loves to cook!” – and wrote a story with that title about Pitts’ cooking affection. Pitts really did love to cook, and had a special kitchen designed without any corners because she wanted to be able to move around it fluidly – frankly, a brilliant idea. In this famous article Pitts not only describes how much she loves to cook, but offers her recipe for Monkey Bread.

Another actress on the Ramshackle Inn set at the time (It was this actress’s first professional job, arranged for her by Zasu Pitts), was Nancy Reagan. The two actresses were good friends; Nancy must have shared Zasu’s Monkey Bread warm from the oven, and fallen in love, calories be damned.

When Nancy Reagan arrived at the White House in 1981, she brought Monkey Bread with her, making it a standard fare on the White House Christmas buffet. Best of all, according to food historian Gil Marks, Nancy arranged for Monkey Bread to be served to her husband on the night before his testimony before Congress for the Iran Contra Hearings. As legend goes, Reagan said that night, “Mommy, I may go to prison, but I’ll always remember this Monkey Bread.”

Won’t we all.

Nancy Reagan’s Monkey Bread

Ingredients

1 package dry yeast

1 to 1 1/4 cups milk

3 eggs

3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

4 1/2 cups flour

6 ounces butter, room temperature

1/2 pound melted butter

1 (9-inch) ring mold

Instructions

  1.  In a bowl, mix yeast with small amount of milk until dissolved. Add 2 eggs and beat. Mix in dry ingredients. Add remaining milk a little at a time, mixing thoroughly.
  2. Cut in butter until blended. Knead dough, let rise 1 to 1 1/2 hours until doubled in size.
  3. Roll dough onto floured board, shape into a log. Cut log into 24 pieces of equal size. Shape each piece of dough into a ball, roll in melted butter. Place 12 balls in the bottom of the buttered and floured mold, leaving space between. Place remaining balls on top, spacing evenly. Let dough rise in mold for 30 minutes.
  4. Brush top with remaining egg. Bake in preheated oven at 375 degrees until golden brown, approximately 25 to 30 minutes. Recipe courtesy of First Ladies’ Cookbook