From the kitchen of: Paula Ramirez, Proprietor of Historic Mankin Mansion
I am so excited to showcase our very first recipe submitted by a Pretty Tasty Things reader, Meghan Ely. I fortunately know Meghan outside of Pretty Tasty Things though my 9-5 job. She is definitely a go-getter, so driven and just a talented individual. She is the owner of OFD Consulting, a wedding marketing and pr services firm. Meghan shares with us a little background on Historic Mankin Mansion’s famous blueberry bread pudding:
Paula’s blueberry bread pudding is a family favorite, passed down to her from her own mom while growing up in California. The secret, Paula says, is allowing the concoction to be refrigerated overnight so that the flavors blend and, of course, to be sure to make it with love. Paula’s mother claims that, as a baby, “blueberry” was her very first word!
Historic Mankin Mansion opened its doors as a wedding resort and Bed and Breakfast in 2006, after extensive renovations to bring the property back to its early 1900s splendor. The blueberry bread pudding was one of the first items on the breakfast menu and has been a staple ever since. Some travelers contend that their stuffed french toast may rival the longtime favorite but for now, the bread pudding continues to reign supreme.
cubed sweet bread, approximately 3 -4 cups
3 cups frozen blueberries
18 farm fresh eggs
2 ½ cups half and half
2 tbs pure vanilla extract (recommend Pure Madagascar Organic Vanilla Extract by McCormick for its rich flavor)
1 tbs. cinnamon (we love Penzey’s Korintje Indonesia Cinnamon)
1 cup of sugar
1. Combine the bread and blueberries. Spray bottom of baking sheet casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Place cubed bread and top with berries.
2. Mix the wet ingredients together. In a separate large bowl, combine the eggs, half and half, vanilla and sugar. Whisk until combined smoothly.
3. Pour wet ingredients over bread mixture. Combine the wet and bread mixture together. Allow the bread to soak up the liquid. Sprinkle the top with Cinnamon. Cover and place in fridge overnight.
From the kitchen of: Isabel Canfield
Special guest writer: Sharon Ramos, my older sister, attended VCU from 1998 to 2003 (super senior) and is a huge Joey Rodriguez fan.
VCU, Rams, Skaka, “Boo Boo” Joey, black and yellow have been on the news a lot lately, don’t you think? All of a sudden, VCU’s alumni have come out of hiding wearing their black and yellow for their beloved school and team. As an alumna of VCU, I remember VCU’s basketball team well. When I was a freshman, the basketball team played their home games in the Franklin Street gym, which was more like a high school facility before it went under major renovations. It was a stone’s throw away from the Hibbs Cafeteria.
I don’t think I ever had a class with a basketball player, but I always came across them at Hibbs. A favorite dish for freshmen was the Belgian waffle. There were only two waffle irons that were brought out for breakfast. The staff provided batter and you’d make the waffle yourself. There was always a line for the waffle station and there was always a basketball player in line. Most students there, including myself, did not wake at 7 a.m. before class, but we came after long all-nighters of finishing essays and study sessions. The waffles were a great way to fill our stomachs before turning in our papers and taking a test. Waffles at Hibbs, good times at VCU.
In honor of VCU’s run in the tourney, Isabel makes her own version of the Hibbs’ Belgian waffle – in black and yellow style using blackberries and mangos in the compote. And it was just as good as my days at VCU Hibbs.
3 cups of Krusteaz Belgian waffle mix
1/3 cup of vegetable oil
1 1/2 cup of water
2 pints of blackberries
1 mango, largely diced
3 tablespoons of lemon
1/4 cup of sugar or less
1. Make the blackberry and mango compote. Combine the blackberries, mango, lemon and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir to combine and cook for about 10-15 minutes until liquid thickens and the berries become nice and soft. You can substitute the sugar for honey, and can use whatever fruit you like. And depending on how sweet you like it, add a little less than 1/4 cup if you don’t like it too sweet.
2. Make the Belgian waffle batter. So why make it from scratch if you know there’s something out there that tastes just as good? My all-time favorite mix for Belgian waffles is Kruteaz. Just like their box says, it’s light and crispy. Follow the directions for 4-5 waffles. Easily combine 3 cups of mix, eggs, oil and water. Use a whisk to create a smooth batter.
3. Cook the Belgian waffles. Be sure to preheat your waffle machine. I use Pam butter spray to prevent the batter from sticking. Works really nice. We were lucky enough to get a pro waffle machine for our wedding from our dear friend, Erin. It was one gift we used right away! My machine came with a handy measuring cup that scoops out the perfect amount of batter. Scoop batter onto the iron plates, close the lid and leave to cook until the light turns green!