Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Apple Pie Pancake

I woke up in the mood to make something special.  Everyone agreed this oven pancake was a special breakfast treat that we will enjoy again.  We drizzled cream on top (yes, real cream!), but it didn't necessarily need it.  I'd like to try pears next time.

3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2 baking apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
3 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
creme fraiche or heavy cream for topping, optional

Preheat oven to 400F.  In a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat, melt butter. (A black cast-iron skillet works well)  Stir in sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Add apples and saute until slightly tender, 6 to 7 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs.  Add milk, flour, baking powder, and salt and whisk until blended.  Pour egg mixture over apples.  Bake until puffed and golden, about 18 minutes.  Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes.  Cut into wedges and serve topped with creme fraiche or heavy cream, if desired.

recipe found in Maryana Vollstedt's Big Book of Breakfast

Friday, June 21, 2013

Hoisin Pork Noodles

In my mind, this is the Asian version of Taco Salad.  Star with your noodle base, add some marinated meat, and then top with whatever else you like!  The sauce is delicious, so I use just enough to cover the meat I'm marinating and save the rest for serving.  

⅓ cup soy sauce
¼ cup water
3 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil or canola oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon sugar
1 dash fish sauce
3 tablespoons vinegar + a squeeze of lime if you have it
5 cloves finely minced garlic
1 piece fresh grated ginger (1-2 tablespoons)
1 minced hot pepper (i.e. jalapeno, chili pepper, etc)
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
3 tablespoons peanut butter
1½ lbs. pork cut into thin strips
9 oz. rice noodles
grated carrots, chopped scallions, chopped peanuts, cilantro

Whisk all the sauce ingredients together (soy sauce, water, oil, honey, sugar, fish sauce, vinegar, garlic, ginger, peppers, hoisin, and peanut butter).  You could also puree the sauce in a food processor or Vitamix to get the garlic, peppers, and ginger smooth.

Marinate the pork in the sauce overnight or for at least a few hours.  

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat and stir-fry the pork until browned on the outside.  Discard remaining sauce.

Cook your rice noodles according to package directions.  Keep a little bit of liquid with noodles to insure they don't dry out.  Top with pork, carrots, scallions, peanuts, cilantro, and extra sauce of choice (more hoisin, soy sauce, sweet chili garlic sauce, sesame oil, etc).  This is definitely a build-your-own kind of thing - just throw whatever you like in there with the noodles.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

One Pot Wonder - Tomato Basil Pasta

This is my recent favorite throw-everything-in-and-cook-it meal.  That's literally what I did.  The pasta absorbs most of the liquid, leaving you with thick and flavorful noodles.  Plus, a little sauce lines the bottom of the pan, made with help from the starch the noodles leaked out.  I will definitely make this again and would be happy to it serve to friends.

12 ounces linguine pasta
1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes with liquid
1 large sweet onion, cut in julienne strips
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
2 large sprigs basil, chopped
4 1/2 cups vegetable broth (I used homemade chicken stock)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Parmesan cheese for garnish
Place pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic, basil, in a large stock pot. Pour in broth. Sprinkle on top the pepper flakes and oregano. Drizzle top with oil.
Cover pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer and keep covered and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes or so. Cook until almost all liquid has evaporated – I left about an inch of liquid in the bottom of the pot – but you can reduce as desired .
Season to taste with salt and pepper , stirring pasta several times to distribute the liquid in the bottom of the pot. Serve garnished with parmesan cheese.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Three-Grain Pancakes

My regular Saturday morning pancakes are much more fluffy than these were, but I didn't hear any complaints from the crew.  I like that these are high(er) in fiber and sweetened with a little honey.  Pile 'em up!

1 cup plus 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
2 Tbsp cornmeal
1 Tbsp oat bran
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
1 2/3 cups milk
3 Tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla

In a medium bowl, combine flours, cornmeal, oat bran, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.  In a large bowl, whisk egg.  Add milk, honey, and vanilla and mix well.  Add dry ingredients and mix well.

Preheat a nonstick griddle or skillet over medium-high heat.  lightly spray or brush with vegetable oil (who am I kidding - I always cook my pancakes in butter!).  Pour 1/4 cup batter onto griddle for each pancake.  Cook until bubbles form on the surface, about 2 minutes.  Turn and cook until golden on the other side, 1 minute longer.  Serve with toppings of your choice.

Recipe taken from The Big Book of Breakfast by Maryana Vollstedt

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Fresh Cherry Cake

For some reason, my middle gingersnap got it in her head that she wanted cherry muffins.  Fresh cherries.  She kept asking for them for a couple weeks and was with me at the store when she spotted some.  Fresh cherries, that is.  We brought them home and I suggested we make cherry chocolate muffins.  Nope.  She just wanted cherry.  (I'm still working through that one with her)  We ended up agreeing that a cherry cake sounded nice.

I consulted a few different recipes and this is what we came up with.  It was very much like a moist coffee cake topped with cherries.  The crumb topping is an added treat and, although it doesn't need the cream, who doesn't like a dollop of whipped cream to finish things off?  

1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
4 Tbsp milk
6 Tbsp butter, melted
1-2 cups pitted cherries, halved

1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3 Tbsp cold butter, cut into small chunks

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a round cake pan. 

Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and sugar into a bowl. Make a well in the center and add the egg, milk and melted butter.  Combine with a whisk.  Beat well to make a thick, smooth mixture. Spoon into the pan and spread evenly.

Scatter the cherries over the batter and gently press them in.  It's okay if they're touching or overlapping a little.  They'll shrink as they bake.  

To make the topping, put all ingredients into a medium bowl. Using two knives or a pastry cutter, cut in butter until mixture begins to form a crumbly texture.  Scatter the topping evenly over the cherries.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the middle clean.  Let cool completely in pan. Top with a little powdered sugar or whipped cream for an extra treat.  It tastes best on a sunny day shared with someone you love.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

BLT salad

I made this for dinner last week and have already made it again.  Simple, filling, yummy, and healthy.  No one in my family complained about seeing it on the table twice in ten days.  I'm thinking it's going to be my summer go-to meal.

1/2 head romaine, chopped
2-3 large handfuls spinach, chopped
1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 cup corn
4 oz. feta, crumbled
5-6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (I just do as many slices as I can fit in my pan at once)
1-2 avacados, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 Tbsp olive oil
fresh lime juice

In a large bowl, combine lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, and corn.  Toss well.  Gently mix in avocados, feta, and bacon.  Drizzle olive oil on top and season lightly with salt and pepper.  Add a splash of lime juice and toss to combine everything.  Serve with fresh lime slices and some crusty bread.

adapted from here

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sweet Potato and Lentil Stew

This was a win with the whole family.  Some thick slices of crusty bread on the side and we were good to go.  The stew is hearty and healthy, low in calories but big in taste.  My son, who is studying "healthy choices" in school, was excited when I told him his dinner contained something from every food group.  "Where is the dairy?" asked my intelligent husband.  "Coconut milk," replied the wife who typically runs out of brain cells around 6:00 just as everyone sits down to eat.  My husband just looked at me.  Wait for it . . . wait for it . . .  Right.  So we're missing dairy.  Anyone want ice cream for dessert?

1 cup lentils, rinsed
4 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon turmeric
14.5 ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
2 teaspoons fresh minced ginger
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
one or two pinches of red pepper flakes (use more for more heat)
⅔ cup regular coconut milk
salt, to taste

Pour lentils, broth, and sweet potatoes into a large pot. Bring to a boil and then simmer on low, covered, for 20-25 minutes, or until lentils and sweet potatoes aren't quite done cooking.  (Don't overcook or everything gets mushy.  No one wants mushy lentils.)  Add the turmeric, tomatoes and ginger to the pot and cook for another 10 minutes.

While lentil mixture is cooking, heat the oil and butter in a large skillet. Add garlic, onion, and a dash of red pepper flakes (more if you want a stronger kick). Saute for 5-8 minutes, or until onions start to lightly brown. 

Add onion mixture to lentil pot and stir in coconut milk.  Season with salt to taste and serve with warm bread.  Over brown rice would be good as well.

adapted from here
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