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Isanti, MN 55040

Phone: 763-444-8206
 


 



Phil

Guys Bread Pudding Recipe

Guys Bread Pudding Recipe

Bread PuddingLast year’s recipe, baked apples (see November '09 archives), was a great hit (no-one complained), so I thought this year I would share another one of my dessert recipes.  This one is for the best bread pudding ever.  I have made it at least a half dozen times.  Of course, what makes bread pudding so great is the sauce, so I'm also including directions for making a couple of them.

I wanted to get this out before Thanksgiving so you could serve it and ace out whoever brought the cranberry sauce or the sweet potatoes.  Use it again at Christmas and then again at New Years.  If people start to tire of it (hard to believe), then switch to the baked apples.

  • Lube a cake pan (the one in the photo is slightly oval and measures 14" by 11") and fill it with bread cubes.  Best to use a variety of light and dark breads.  The older and dryer the better (cut off the green stuff when no-one’s looking).

 

  • Scatter a half cup or more of raisins over the top.

 

  • Then, if you’re the nutty type (like me) scatter a half cup or more (emphasis on more) of walnut pieces.  Otherwise omit the nuts and much of the flavor.

 

  • Separately,  scald a couple of cups of milk.  (That means bring it just to a boil without having it boil over and making a mess for your spouse--this is not the time to go check on the game).  Then remove from heat and

 

  • Drop in a half a stick of butter

 

  • Also scramble a couple of eggs with a fork and add them in.

 

  • Then add like, say, a half cup of sugar.

 

  • Plus a tich of salt--maybe a fourth of a teaspoon.

 

  • Plus a big T of cinnamon.

 

  • Pour the mix over the bread cubes trying to hit them all.  Then sprinkle on some more cinnamon.  And then some more--that's what makes it really good.

 

You should put this cake pan into a larger one with hot water in it before putting it in the oven.  The bread pudding  will stay much more moist.  It will still work without the water, but it will be more of a bread bake than a bread pudding.  Even so, the sauce can fix that.
 
Usually 45 minutes or so at around 350 degrees will do the trick.  Stab it with your pocket knife, if nothing sticks, you're done and back to the game.

The Sauce

Here are the directions for making two different sauces.  The first one, Lemon Sauce, is for the teetotalers of the family (and the kids, but they never eat this stuff anyway).  The second one is for the people who like to party.  Of course, if there is a really good game on, you can always cheat and serve it with whipping cream (there are limits to cheating--whip your own from real cream, don't use the canned or frozen stuff)

Lemon Sauce:  Believe me this good, good, good.

  • Start with a couple of cups of boiling (not just hot) water.

 

  • Add in a cup of sugar

 

  • Add in 2 tbs. of cornstarch

 

  • Now for the tricky part.  Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens and gets bubbly.  Try to get the lumps out as you stir.  When you think it's ready (not when you're ready), remove from heat and stir in:

 

  • 3/4 stick of butter
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (again, don't cheat--squeeze the lemon, don't use the bottled stuff.)   Place lemon in your workshop vice, turn the handle while holding a cup underneath.

 

  • Grate the lemon rind and add in as much as you can get.  Since you're in the workshop anyway, just use a rasp.

 

  • Bonus tip:  I like it as lemonly as possible so I also dig out the insides (pulp) of the lemons and throw that in.  It also helps hide any remaining lumps.

 

Rum Sauce:  Believe me this is better, better, better.  And easier to make.

Over low heat, combine:

  • A one pound tub of sour cream

 

  • 3/4th cup of sugar

 

  • 3 Tbs of water (or more if you want it thinner--but wait until you have added the rum and then see).

 

Remove from heat then add a half cup of rum (more if you're brave, less if you're chicken).  Be sure the heat is off!  What's the point in adding the rum if you burn off the alcohol!  Sure the flavor is great, but you also want the zing.

One last tip--double the sauce recipes and serve the bread pudding in a cereal bowl, not a dessert plate.  Then you can drown the pudding the way it should be.  I hate to order bread pudding in a restaurant and have a drizzle of sauce over it, I want a ownpour.  Better yet, put the sauce in a pitcher and let everyone add their own (just don't let me go first).

ENJOY!!!      Phil


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Phil

Staying Warm This Season

This season we have added a new gas fireplace in the gift shop.  Hopefully, it will be a great place to mingle and warm up a bit after (or meybe before a hike through the trees.  Most importantly, there is a new eight foot double arched railroad bridge above it.

 


Phil

500 Year Anniversary of the Christmas Tree

This year, 2010, is the 500th anniversary of the first recorded use of a Christmas tree.  The tradition apparently started in Riga, Latvia in the year 1510.  In honor of this event Helen made a wall hanging or table runner which was raffled off at the recent National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA) convention as a fundraiser for the Christmas Spirit Foundation.

 

Helen with banner

 

The foundation was established by NCTA to help sponser programs which benefit kids, families, and the environment.  Currently it’s largest program is the Trees for Troops program now entering it’s sixth year.

 

More information can be found at:

    www.ChristmasSpiritFoundation.org

    www.TreesForTroops.org


Phil

MNCTA 2010 Summer Field Days

Phil, Helen, and Greg  attended the two day MNCTA field days held this year at Turck’s Tree Farm near Litchfield.  As opposed to the more marketing oriented convention held in February (see earlier post), the summer convention is heavily focused on the growing aspects of Christmas trees.

We had specialists in diseases, insects, and plant pathology from the University of Minnesota walk through the fields with us to help identify issues and corrective actions.  We also had equipment demonstrations by several vendors.  Helen also attended a wreath making session.


People often ask us how did we learn to grow trees.  The short answer is through meetings such as this where you can meet and discuss problems with the experts and, most importantly, share your experiences with other growers.  The long answer is now 27 years long–we planted our first trees in 1983.

 


Phil

Our New Mascot!

We now have a new mascot.  Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) he’ll be sleeping somewhere when you come to visit us at Christmas so you won’t see him around.

 

The Blue Spruce are great, but I think I'll look around some more.

 

 

Maybe I'll just bypass the Balsam Fir for now.

 

 

Think I'll cross the creek and instead check out the Fraser Fir.


Phil

Planting the Class of 2010

Every Spring we commit ourselves to staying in business another 10-12 years and this Spring is no different.  Our seedlings arrived in mid-April and we spent the next couple of weeks planting.  We are now done with that and are now mulching each new tree.  The next job is to get the drip irrigation connected up.  Below are before, during, and after photos.

 


Phil

Trees for Troops 2009

If you have been to the farm at Christmas and seen the postors you know we participate in the Christmas Spirit Foundation Trees for Troops program.  The results for last year (2009) are now in.

  • Christmas tree growers nationwide donated 16,651 trees!
  • There were about 800 participating farms from 29 states.
  • Trees were delivered (by Fed Ex) to 52 military bases representing all branches.  In addition, 280 trees were delivered to Iraq and Afghanistan.

 

Trees for Troops tree finds a home

The Minnesota trees including those from Pinestead Tree Farms were delivered 
to Ft. Campbell, Kentucky.

More information can be found at:

        www.christmasspiritfoundation.org

        www.treesfortroops.org


Phil

MNCTA 2010 Winter Conference

We attended the Minnesota Christmas Tree Association winter conference last weekend.  It is held each year about this time (a summer convention is also held each July—more on that at that time).  The winter conference is focused on presentations and panels while the summer conference is focused on field activities.  This year we had both private industry and Univ. of Minn. speakers on topics as diverse as current economic conditions, business fundamentals, and web site requirements.

 

Helen especially liked a seminar on wreath making in which the speakers demonstrated making square wreaths for framing a window.  My favorite was the round table discussion sessions where growers could share insights and respond to the questions and concerns of other growers.  Spending time with fellow Christmas Tree growers always psychs me up for the spring planting season which is now only a little over a month away.

 


Phil

Christmas Season 2009

The Christmas season is now over for another year and the fields are now sleeping under a blanket of snow.  As a kind of close out for the 2009 season we thought we would share a few of our favorite photos.
 
 
This is Greg, his wife Katie and daughter Ellie, and his mother Helen being recoginzed by Gov. Pawlenty.   Greg won the Grand Champion award at the 2009 Minnesota State Fair with a 9′ Fraser Fir.  Behind Gov. Pawlenty is an 11′ Fraser Fir that we donated to the Governor’s reception room at the State Capital.  

 

Guess which one is old enough to know that Santa can bring good things?