Tuesday, July 28, 2009
But I remember there came to be a point in time where she made butter pancakes. And I just wanted them every time she made breakfast. I wanted to wake up and eat these buttery delights, that are slightly crisp and so tasty.
I remember visiting her in Chicago when she was on contract there, and the first thing I asked for in the morning was butter pancakes. I did the same thing in conneticut. I think any time I woke up and was sad by something (or, in most cases in high school, I stayed up all night and was sad over something) my mom would make me these.
There's nothing all that special to making butter pancakes, really. It's just making pancakes, then cooking them in a ton of butter. You can see above the butter cooking away on the edges of the pancakes. I think the butter gives them a crispy edging, as well as a lot of greasy flavor, of course. And who can say no to that?
When I make these I take a stick of butter and just rrub it around the hot pan until there's a nice coating. It tends to pool once you pour the batter in.
I think it may have actually been the first time I ever made these. In college I started eating better and usually when I make food I tend to stay away frorm cooking them in loads of butter (though I obviously do use butter and love it). So I was worried I'd burn them, or blacken them too much.
The recipe I used was a pretty generic pancake recipe. It first came out a bit thick so I mixed in a bit more liquids, but I was worried about overmixing it. According to Mr. Brown that's the number one pancake problem.
But in the end they were really good! They were super soft inside, thick, and fluffy, with a crispy and buttery exterior. No need to butter these babies up (Id hope), and with a little dab of syrup on the side they were deleeectable. The recipe I used made 2 batches, which was perfect for us (I kept the rest in the freezer and they were still tasty, though less crispy, when we reheated them.)
I loved the butter too because, as you can see, the outsides browned so nicely. They look almost like sand dollars-- the edges are all a nice color and the centers are perfectly golden brown. You can even see the crispness. Just typing this makes me wish I had more (but I'm glad I don't, in a way, because eating too many of these would be hazardous to your health).
Making these and eating them was so nice, it was a page out of my childhood, and it was nice to shrae it with Jeff. It almost makes me excited to have children so I could make them butter pancakes on the special occasion, letting them delve into buttery heart attack heaven. Then I'd make them eat salads for lunch.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 3/4 cups milk
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 stick of butter
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Mix in the milk, egg and melted butter and stir (gently) for a few minutes until well encorporated then just a few stirs longer.
Heat a pan over medium heat and grease it with the stick of butter, using it liberally. Pour in about 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake, try not to crowd the pancakes. Brown on both sides (flip the first side when bubbles start to form and the opposing side seems golden) and serve.
Also, look! I hit 10000 and I missed it. :) That's okay, expect a special post soon anyway. I know I'm behind but I have a lot of goodies to share!!
Sunday, July 26, 2009
I'm coming up on 10000 views!!! I want to make a cake for it, but I have no ideas for a design! Does anyone else have any? :)
Friday, July 3, 2009
When Jeff came back, I decided to make him a super Americany meal. We both went to school in the South, and I'd been eyeing this recipe for Bacon Chicken and Dumplings for awhile. So... well, I made it.
It would've been easier with bisquick, but I didn't, sigh.
But it was really rich, and tasty. The bacon adds a lot of flavour. The recipe originally called for corn, and I didn't have any so I skipped it. But I did add parsley, and I used sage in the dumplings before I dropped them in. I didn't have poultry seasoning so I added my own of garlic powder (as well as chopped garlic and onion), thyme, and "italian seasoning".
Those are canned green beans on the side, boiled with onions... They were good.
Bacon Chicken and Dumplings
Adapted from AllRecipes
When Jeff came back from France, before he went to Vegas (I know, so many trips, jeez!), I wanted to win him over and make sure he still <3d me, so I made him a fancy dinner of American food (chicken and dumplings), as well as some strawberry lemonade.
Strawberry lemonade, homemade, is super easy. I made it a little fancy by using a splash of sparkling water on top, and garnishing them with mint leaves and strawberries and rims of sugar.
I think lemonade is all up to the drinker. But for this, I took two or three fresh lemons, squeezed the juice from them and took some zest, and boiled it with some concentrate (like the squeeze lemons or just lemon) juice and about 1/2 pitcher of water with 1/2 of sugar. I strained it for seeds and zest then poured it over ice in a pitcher. It wasn't lemony enough, so I added more lemon. It wasn't sweet enough, so I added more sugar and shook it up.
I blended half a package of strawberries in the blender and poured that in. The lemon taste became dulled, so I added more lemon. I added a touch more sugar just to give it a bit more life--
It was done.
I had to chill it for awhile, and serve it with ice. Topped with sparking water, but it was and is still very good. Very summer.
Jeff took me on a surprise random trip to San Francisco!
Okay, okay, so it was my idea. I love going berry picking, and I went last year (resulting in boysenberry cupcakes and olallieberry jam, neither of which I blogged about), but this year between my job and Jeff's job (and cruise) there just wasn't a lot of time. So we were on my way back to my apartment from his when I said, how long would it take us to get to San Fran from here?
And then we went. We didn't have a place to stay, so we slept in his car. We just had breakfast and we didn't get to see any of our friends, but we did get to go berry picking. Boysenberries were already out of season (sadsadsad). But they did have tons of blackberries and olallieberries and loganberries, and even some raspberries that we got to pick up.
So when I came home I pulled out a recipe I was wanting to use my boysenberries for. This lemon and blackberry tart from Just There. As you know, because I've said it a million times I'm sure, once summer comes around I really want lemon things. I made that lemon honey chicken, but it was time for lemon desserts (and there's more on the way, as well as more berry desserts). So I took from the recipe and made my own thing.
In her recipe she used the blackberries to make a sort of syrup that laid underneath the lemon cream layer. Which is all fine and good, but that doesn't highlight the berries as much as I wanted, especially since these were farm fresh picked berries (by Jeff and I!)
So I decided to use blackberry jam on the under layer and then use the lemon cream, then top with blackberries. I actually ended up making two tarts, one which is topped with blackberries and the other one topped with olallieberries.
The berries were super good. Look at their rich color. The ones above are blackberries, the one below are olallieberrries. I think. It's kind of hard to remember now, but that seems right to me.
The blackberries were slightly sweet, rich, with a bit of crunch. Every one was juicy. The olallieberries were sweeter but I think I liked them better. It makes me sad that it's so hard to find them, because they're slowly becoming my favourite berry (boysenberries are my actual favourite).
The blackberry bushes had a lot more sticklies and I kept getting hurt as I picked them. I think the Loganberries may have been worse (I believe I'm going to make some loganberry almond bars out of those). I have the majority of them in the freezer right now, though these were taken before any of them were frozen.
Here you can see the multiple layers. The crust that this recipe makes is SO GOOD. It's rich and sweet and buttery and it compliments the other flavours so well. I liked the layer of jam beforre the lemon cream, it mirrored the flavours well. It was a very thin layer, so it was just enough to give it a bit of pop.
The lemon cream was rich and sweet and tart at the same time. Which is what lemon should be, to me. What's difficult is I changed the recipe somewhat and didn't write it down, so I'm going to have to try to remember it so all of you can make this recipe, because it was SO GOOD. We kept pieces of it in the freezer and ate it when Jeff got back from Vegas too. It stayed good no matter what we did with it. It made a tasty breakfast as well (I know, I know, but it has fresh berries, right??)
Lemon Blackberry (or Olallieberry) Tarts
Adapted from Just There
1 stick of butter
1 cup of flour
4 oz cream cheese
1 tablespoon sugar
A pinch of salt
Cream together the butter and cream cheese until fluffy. In a separate bowl mix together the flour, sugar, and salt. Combine all, and mix until well integrated. Press into a tart pan (actually, one large tart pan and one small tart pan is what I did).
Beat the egg with some water, and wash over the edges of the pastry. Dock the pastry bottom (stab it in places with a fork or a docker), so that it won't get too puffy.
Bake in a 350 Degree Oven for 15 minutes, then reduce it to 250 Degrees and cook for 15 or so more minutes. The smaller tart should be done by this point, the larger one might not be, if so cook until just golden brown.
Zest of 2 lemons
2 teaspoons lemon juice
4 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1/8 cup heavy whipping cream
Whip the heavy cream, cream cheese, and lemon zest until combined and fluffy. And the confectionres sugarand whip to combine. Add the lemon juice (and maybe half a pinch of salt), and continue whipping for 2-3 minutes. The texture should be rich and creamy. Taste it, if you want it more lemony or sweeter than that add a bit more lemon juice or sugar. Chill in the fridge for 2-3 hours.
Lemon Cream (chilled)
Olallieberries or Blackberries, or both
Blackberry Fruit Spread
Take the tart shell, once cooled, and spread a layer of blackberry fruit spread. Fill a pastry bag or a ziploc bag with the tip cut off and fill the tart shells with lemon cream. Sprinkle the berries with a very light sprinkle of sugar, and place them on top of the lemon cream layer. Garnish with twirls of lemon or lemon zest, or serve on their own.
Best when chilled. But always delicious.
While Jeff was gone I had a craving for Chicken Cordon Bleu! But Jeff likes chicken, breading, and ham! So I really wanted to wait for him, and I did. When he first came back I made a bunch of stuff (the cinnamon bun muffins of last post, and next post of a lemon blackberryish tart).
So yeah, I made Chicken Cordon Bleu! My mom used to buy these at the ready prep area in the grocery store. This and chicken kiev. They weren't the best, but I liked them growing up, and I figured that it didnt seem like it was that hard to make at home, so why not try?
They weren't so hard to make at home, though my chicken was a little dry. Jeff's a lot better at thawing them right and cooking them to when they're still juicy, and I usually do the seasoning. I'm not sure if I made the chicken dry or if it's just the chicken I bought (from Trader Joes, in a big bag in the freezer section). I liked the fresh lemon that I squeezed on it at the end, with a grind of fresh sea salt and pepper. Everything tasted nice and fresh and-- mmm, it makes me happy thinking about it. It made Jeff happy to eat it.
I served mashed potatoes, pureed simply with butter and cream, as well as green beans-- sauteed in olive oil (steamed a little too), and then seasoned with just salt and a lot of cracked pepper. This also took a squeeze of fresh lemon.
Chicken Cordon Bleu, I discovered, isn't a dish from France (harhar, really??). It was made in America, based on French dishes... and that's not really surprising. But it basically means blue ribbon chicken, which I could see... it's a simple dish, but definitely inspiring. I could see it winning some blue ribbons!
Chicken Cordon Bleu
2 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 thick cut slices of ham
3 thick cut slices of swiss cheese
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/2 cup flour
2 fresh sprigs of thyme
Oven at 375 Degrees Fahrenheit
Rub the chicken breasts with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. Flatten out with a meat hammer, until about 1/4" thick. Top each breast with half a slice of swiss cheese, one slice of ham, then split the rest of the swiss cheese among the two. Roll the breasts up and secure with toothpicks.
Prepare your breading station. Beat the egg with a little water in a shallow, wide bowl. Mix the flour with the poultry seasoning and salt. Mix the panko with a small splash of olive oil. Place the panko and flour each on separate plates.
Dip the chicken breasts in the flour, then the egg, then the bread crumbs, making sure to coat. Place on a sprayed or lined baking sheet and place a spring of thyme over each breast.
Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until juices run clear or the temperature has reached 165 Degrees Fahrenheit.
Serve with a little squeeze of lemon juice.
The blogger who runs The Crepes of Wrath somehow magically made more muffins than I did. My batter was thicker, probably, and didn't make as many-- but the outcome was still tasty. I can't say I'm as sold on them as I am on cinnamon rolls, but these are definitely an easy alternative that's tasty and fun to make.
Plus, they last awhile!
I made these when Jeff got back from his cruise. I actually spent a whole day just baking and cooking for him. I definitely present him with way too many food items. I'm like a food prostitute, I sell my food for love. ;)
Okay, that's not really a correct analogy, but it'll have to do.
As you can see I took a lot of photos. I liked these as my subjects.
These were yeasty and doughy on the inside. They were heavy, and kind of thick. I'm not sure if I allowed mine to rise enough (or if my yeast is dead). But I liked that about them-- Jeff said that they were exactly the same texture of a cinnamon roll, though I disagree since cinnamon rolls are a little smoother. I think next time I might add a little cinnamon to the actual batter part, but that's just my love of cinnamon talking.
Cream cheese 'frosting' would be super tasty too.
Cinnamon Bun Muffins
from The Crepes of Wrath
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoon active dry or rapid rise yeast
2/3 cup warm milk (100-110F; I used 1% milk)
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
2 tablespoons cubed butter, room temperature
2/3 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fresh or ground nutmeg
small pinch cloves (optional)
1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tbsp milk or cream
Grease and/or line a muffin tin. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Dissolve the yeast in a measuring cup filled with the warmed milk and butter.
Combine the milk mixture, vanilla extract, and egg into the flour mixture. Mix everything well, until it’s very smooth. Pour a bit less than 1/4 cup of the batter into each muffin cup in your prepared pan and let rest for 15 minutes.
While the batter rests, mix together the cubed, room temperature butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in a small bowl using a fork or my preferred method, your hands, until all the butter has been incorporated into the sugar and mixture is crumbly.
Sprinkle the topping evenly onto the rested batter and press the mixture down into the dough with your fingertips. Place pan into a cold oven, then set the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the cakes are lightly browned at the edges and the center springs back when lightly pressed. Some of the sugar mixture on top may still be bubbling.
Cool for at least 30 minutes before whisking the powdered sugar and milk together to form an icing and drizzling it onto the bread. Serve warm if you can, but they’re great at room temperature or cold, too. Leftovers can be reheated in the microwave as well.
I used the recipe I got on the blog, Choosy Beggers. Originally the recipe is for a Blue Cheese and Chive Souffle, but I'm not a big blue cheese fan, so I replaced the blue cheese with feta and extra sharp cheddar.
The onion, I admit, was kind of lame. Boiling it to remove the outside layers so as to fill it kind of took all the flavour out of it.... I wanted that fresh pungent flavour. I mean, I may have boiled it too long, or something-- or maybe baking it in the future would be better.
I'd never made a souffle before... actually, I don't know if I'd ever had a souffle before. But following the directions made it super easy. As you can see, it rose really well and looked all pretty! It was all tasty and cheesy too, which was nice.
I think Jeff might have liked these... but he was on his cruise still. I ended up eating them all within the day. A little really made a lot, because I basically halved the recipe... or even quartered it, and it was still so much. But each souffle isn't all that filling, at least not for me.
But yeah, I really liked these. I've been collecting the peels and things from my vegetables to make vegetable stock. So I was also excited to keep the chives that started turning and throw them into that pot. It's always worth it to have chives!
Chive and Cheese Souffle
Developed from Choosy Beggars
2 egg whites
3/4 tablespoon butter
3/4 tablespoon flour
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried mustard powder
1/2 tablespoon chives
1/8 cup crumbled cheddar and feta cheeses
Slice about a 1/4" off the root end of your onions, and about 3/4" off the top. Peel back the tough outer layers until you’re at the edible layers.
Boil the onions in salted water for 4-6 minutes, or until the outer layers are slightly tender but still firm. Remove the onions with a slotted spoon and cool them in an ice bath.
When the onions are cool enough to handle, gently loosen the outer two layers and press firmly up on the root end to pop the inside of the onion out. Be gentle so that you don’t rip the onion rounds that you need. Slice a thin round of onion off of the base and tuck this inside your onion cup where there is an exposed hole from the root end.
Carefully separate your eggs putting the whites in one bowl and the yolks in another.
Melt the butter in a small sauce pan. As soon as the butter has melted and flour and whisk it (quickly) to form a thick paste. Let this cook, whisking occasionally, for a minute until creamier in color, you don't want your roux to brown too much.
Slowly add the milk in a steady stream, whisking constantly. When the sauce has incorporated and smoothed out add the dried mustard, oregano, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Take the sauce off the heat.
Whisk your egg yolks until they’re combined and just slightly lighter in color. Add a spoonful of your white sauce to the egg yolks and whisk vigorously. Don't let the eggs harden up or scramble. Repeat this with another one or two spoonfuls to temper the egg mixture, and then whisk in the rest of the sauce.
Beat the egg whites until they form moderately stiff peaks. Once stiff,take a 1/3 of the egg whites and stir them into the yolk mixture. Take the next 1/3 and fold them gently into the rest of the mixture, followed by the last 1/3rd. Toss in the crumbled cheese and chives, then fold the mixtures several times until all mixed together (but remember, be gentle!)
I used one onion, and two souffle cups, which I nestled in a small pan so that they'd be snug together. I recommend doing the same thing. If you are using more than one onion, be sure to lean them against each other so nothing will fall. Spoon the souffle mixture into the onion cups/ramekins, I filled mine 1/2-3/4 full.
If you are using ramekins, butter them and sprinkle the inside with dry bread crumbs (I used panko, the only crumbs I have)
Bake the souffle in a 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes or until browned on top and there's a slight jiggle to them.
Serve the souffles immediately.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
I want to be able to give you the recipe for this. I mean, it wasn't great, it wasn't the tastiest thing I've made ever. But still, I've been very up to date to give everyone the recipes for everything I make (for the most part?).
I can tell you I was inspired by Kevin over at Closet Cooking. I liked the idea of honey and lemon, and I really wanted to do a lot of lemony things because... well, because when it gets to be summer time all I want to eat are avacados, berries, and lemons flavoured things. I often forget about "other foods". I also like leeks.
So I was totally into the idea of lemon and honey and chicken. I also wanted to do a breaded piccata like chicken. I'd been having a rough week (this was while Jeff was on his cruise) and that kind of heartiness really appealed to me....
I also wanted it to be decently healthy. I remember I defrosted the chicken and let it sit in a marinade of oil, lemon juice, salt, honey, and maybe some herbs (fuzzy there). After I let it sit for awhile I rolled it in a milk wash and then dipped it panko bread crumbs (unseasoned. I should have seasoned them).
I then pan fried them in a little bit of olive oil, trying to not burn the crust while cooking the interior. This has always been hard for me, and I get super nervous about undercooking chicken. Often the chicken'll still look pinkish when we coat it in crumbs or something like that, and it scares me, even though the 'heat reading' is fine and the 'juices run clear'.
From the... the drippings, or whatever, I believe I deglazed the pan with some wine, and cooked up some onions and garlic and did a lemon-honey glaze to pour over top the chicken. It was rich and tasty, I liked that part.
I sauteed up some asparagus on the side, seasoned mildly with a squirt of lemon juice and some sea salt and crushed mixed peppercorns. I liked them. Jeff doesn't like asparagus so I don't eat it as much as other vegetables... even though it's quite tasty. So this felt like the perfect occasion to have it. You can also see I boiled up some rotini (some of that Barilla Plus, I believe, which I like for the extra protein and stuff) to go along side of it, which was topped with a bit of parmesan cheese and pepper.
It was a tasty dinner, which I enjoyed. It wasn't difficult to make (though more difficult than some of our meals), and I'm only sorry I didn't write down the recipe-- stupid me!!-- to not only have for the future but to share.
Luckily, I don't really feel like it was SO GOOD that a few changes weren't in order. Hopefully I can use the same basis I had before and use it to make something new.
Also, I believe there was thyme in it.
I'm sorry for forgetting my recipe, sigh.
Lemon Honey Chicken
1/2 tsp thyme
1/8 tsp 5 spice
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/2 lemon squeezed of juice, with a little extra from the other half
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/4 c panko crumbs
1 tbsp olive oil
1/8 cup white wine
Mix together the marinade ingredients in a plastic bag. Set aside some of the marinade. Place the chicken breast in the plastic bag and allow to marinate for 1 hour.
Place the panko crumbs out on a plate. When the chicken breast is done marinating roll the breast in the panko crumbs.
Heat the olive oil up in a pan. Once heated, cook the chicken. I didn't time it, but I imagine it'll take 10-20 minutes total. Remove the chicken from the pan.
Using the crust from the pan and the set aside marinade, bring the sauce to a boil and add the wine and freshly ground pepper. Reduce until a thick glaze.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Well, that's not true. I made the gnocci, and I posted it. But after that I got distracted and worked a few days and then he came back (and left again, on a trip to France, for he won a contest at Mofilm. His is the AT&T spot, which they might actually use!), and then he went to Vegas. And to pass the time and ease my silly loneliness I played a lot of Sims 3 and hung out with friends.
I still baked and cooked though.
I just didn't post.
I'm sorry, my readers, I'm sorry. But during his cruise I got this massive craving for brownies. I mean, if you kind of miss your SO and you're playing a lot of video games and feeling a bit lonely, there's nothing better than like brownies and ice cream, right?
So I made the brownies!
Chocolate hazelnut is one of my favourite flavor combinations. When Christmas comes around I like to make a lot of this kind of stuff-- and frangelico also happens to be one of my favourite liqueurs. So I figured this would be a good chance to use some of the huge bottle I have sitting on top of my fridge (should that go in my fridge, I wonder?).
I originally meant to make half this recipe, but three quarters of the way through I added the "full amount" of an ingredient, so had to go back and double the rest of the ingredients to match it. I think I added too much flour-- and that would've been quite a bready brownie.
Now, I don't know about you, but I don't really like cakey brownies. I like fudgey brownies. My brownies should be like fudge with a little bit of floury-ness. Cakeyness. I like them best when they have a crackly top, but these didn't as much (I think they may have been too rich in oils). But I love it when the insides are warm and rich and gooey.
These turned out pretty fudgey, and were really good fresh. I even burnt the corners of 3 of them and they were still delicious. I gave a lot of them away (many of them to my friend Brian), and froze a few of them to give to Jeff when he returned. And they stood up well to the freezer test. That's two recent desserts I've tried that with and they've stood up well! I may have to freeze things more often, I often forget to use my freezer.
But yeah, these brownies really hit the spot. Dreamy sigh. I may have to make another batch soon.
Fudgey Hazelnut Brownies
Inspired in large part by the recipe on the back of the Hershey's Chocolate box. ;)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, melted
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
2 tablespoons hazelnut oil
2 tablespoons Frangelico
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Grease a 9" baking pan. Melt together the butter, hazelnut oil, and unsweetened chocolate. Mix in the sugar, vanilla, and Frangelico. Add eggs, and beat well. Stir together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Mix gradually into the egg mixture. Stir in chocolate chips, and spread batter evenly into the prepared pan.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until the brownies begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. Cool completely before serving (if you can manage to. ;) )