Archive for the ‘breakfast’ Category

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

Zucchinana Bread

What do you do if you don’t have enough zucchini for zucchini bread and you don’t have enough bananas for banana bread? You create a completely new bread that contains both, zucchinana bread.

I started with the basic quick bread recipe found in Michael Ruhlman’s Ratio and adapted from there. The result is a moist, yummy bread that is wonderful slathered with butter, or even better, peanut butter. Here’s the ingredients.

 

In one bowl mash the banana. I think the easiest way to do this is just to use your fingers (put a glove on first if you don’t like messy hands).

 

Then add the rest of the wet ingredients. In a second bowl combine all of the dry ingredients.

 

Stir each of the bowls contents well.

 

Stir the dry ingredients into the wet. Then stir in the toasted nuts. Divide the batter between two loaf pans, a muffin pan, or a combination of the two.

 

Bake at 350 degrees until a toothpick inserted into the bread (or muffin) comes out clean. This will take about 40 minutes for muffins and 50 minutes for a loaf.

 

Let cool before slicing. Enjoy plain or topped with butter. Or, be like Elvis and combine the flavors of banana and peanut butter for a delicious breakfast treat.

 

Zucchinana Bread
Author: 
Recipe type: Bread
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
Cut down on dishes by using a scale. Simply add an ingredient to the bowl then zero out the scale before adding the next one.
Ingredients
Wet Ingredients
  • 2 small ripe bananas (about one cup)
  • 2 small zucchini, grated (about one cup)
  • 3 eggs
  • 8 ounce milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 ounces (one stick) butter, melted and browned (browning butter is optional)
Dry Ingredients
  • 12 ounce flour
  • 4 ounce sugar
  • 2 ounce brown sugar
  • 1½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
Optional Ingredients
  • 4 ounces chopped nuts, toasted
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a bowl mash the bananas using your fingers or a fork. Add eggs and beat lightly. Add the rest of the wet ingredients and stir to combine. Set aside.
  3. In a second bowl, stir together all of the dry ingredients.
  4. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir to combine. Add the nuts is using and stir until the mixture is well combined.
  5. Divide the batter between two loaf pans, muffin tins or a combination of the two.
  6. Bake muffins for 40 minutes and loaves for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the bread comes out clean.
  7. Let cool before slicing.

 

 

Friday, April 15th, 2011

Eggs Benedict, from Scratch

At first glance, April’s Charcutepalooza challenge, hot smoking, seemed like an easy one. As an accomplished, year round grill user, I figured I could just throw it on the Weber grill, add some wood chips and be done. I’ve done it before, lots of times, so why would this be any different? One word, temperature.

I’ve never paid too much attention to the temperature of the barbecue. I’ve never cooked anything that needed to be quite so precise. I guess I never realized that even though I am using indirect heat, the Weber gets hot, 350 degrees or so. I tried adjusting the air flow to no avail. The lowest the temperature would get was 300 degrees. And I couldn’t close the vents completely without risking putting the fire out completely.

I knew that if I put the meat on the grill at a temperature of much more than 200 degrees, I risked the outside of the meat cooking to a much higher temp then the 150 degrees I wanted.

What to do?

I thought briefly about sending the husband on an after work errand to Home Depot to buy a smoker. Then realized that would probably not be very fiscally responsible (especially with two weeks out of  vacation looming). Plus, by the time the thing got put together and fired up it would be late. Too late. It definitely would not be the sunny 60 degree day that I was currently enjoying. It would be dark, and cold, and possibly raining (I do live in Seattle after all)

What to do?

I took a look at Mrs. Wheelbarow’s post on the subject and thought about McGyvering my wok so that I could smoke indoors, then realized two things. One, I did not have the “sawdust” style of wood called for. And two, if it didn’t work out, the house would smell like a campfire for days. While I like camping, campfire is a smell best left outside.

What to do?

I took another look at Charcuterie and noticed that Ruhlman said that the Canadian Bacon could be roasted in the oven, but that the smoke added another dimension to the flavor profile. What if, I thought, I combined the two methods. I figured that if I gave the pork loin a head start of say, an hour in the oven, it would raise the internal temperature of the pork loin enough so that it wouldn’t take as long for it to finish with the smoke on the grill. The outside might get a bit more done than I would like, but at least it would get some smoke.

An hour in the toaster oven brought the internal temperature of the loin from 36 degrees to 90 degrees. So, with 55 degrees to go, I moved the loin to the grill (which was still holding a fairly steady 325 degrees), added the wood chips and crossed my fingers (I was also attempting a smoked tomato confit, but alas, the temperature was too high for that).

Another 40 minutes on the grill and an internal temperature of 145 degrees had been achieved. I took the loin off the grill and waited (impatiently) for it to cool so that I could slice it open and check my work.

Success! Cooked through completely, but not too completely with a lovely salty, smoky flavor. Yum!

xxx

Now that I had finished April’s Charcutepalooza challenge I decided to take on Ruhlman’s make Eggs Benedict from Scratch challenge. No, I didn’t make my own butter. And though I would love to raise chickens for their eggs, my dogs will have nothing of the sort.

I did, however, make my own english muffins (free form since I didn’t have rings). I used buttermilk for half of the milk and thought it added an awesome tang to the muffins. These English muffins may be the best I’ve ever had. I may never buy English muffins again. I do wish that I had toasted them as part of my Eggs Benedict assembly. That would have kept the muffins a little less soggy.

One change I did make to the recipe, was to cook my eggs sous vide to 64.5°c rather than poaching them. It’s not that I don’t like poached eggs, I’m all for a good runny yolk, I just like the creamy sous vide egg yolk a little more.

To top it off, I followed the recipe for the blender Hollandaise found with the “from scratch” challenge. I followed the instructions precisely but the sauce ended up really thin. The husband also thought it was just a bit to tangy for his taste. At some point, I’ll probably try it again, but I’ll cut back on the lemon a bit.

We had our Eggs Benedict as breakfast for dinner (one of my favorite things) and it was delicious. Rich and satisfying on a rainy spring night.

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Breakfast Potatoes

I like to get potatoes in my CSA box because if you don’t get to them right away, they don’t go bad and turn into a pile of green goo in the bottom of the crisper drawer (not that that ever happens to me). They can sit for weeks and some would say that they even improve with age, growing sweeter as they wait for their chance to shine.

Plus, always having a stash of potatoes in the crisper means that an easy breakfast is right around the corner.

I’ll use just about any kind of fingerling or new potato in this recipe. Russets are okay, but I’d rather eat them baked or mashed. If you have some greens like kale or chard, you can throw them in too. Just add them at the end, a bit before the potatoes are cooked through.

Here’s the ingredients.

To start, put the potatoes in a microwaveable bowl and cover them. Cook them for about 3 minutes, or until they are just starting to get tender. If you don’t like to use the microwave, you could boil them for just a few minutes (but I am lazy and the microwave is easy).

While the potatoes are in the microwave, cook the bacon over medium heat until it is just about crispy.

At this point, you can spoon out a bit of the bacon fat (or not, I’m not your mother), then add the onion, par-cooked potatoes, thyme and sage and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.

Turn the heat up to high let the whole mix saute, stirring every so often until everything is golden brown and delicious (and the potatoes are cooked through), then sprinkle in the chives.

To really make it a meal. Fry up an egg and slip it down over the top of the potatoes. The runny yolk will combine with the potatoes and make a bit of a sauce.

Good, simple, tasty food. Serve with toast and some juice and you’ve got breakfast perfection.

xxx

BREAKFAST POTATOES
serves 2-3

I used my own home-cured bacon but commercial bacon will work just fine. Just be sure that it is thick cut or the bacon might burn while the potatoes cook through. I used red onion (because that’s what I had laying around) but any type onion will work.

1 pound fingerling or red potatoes
4 oz thick cut bacon, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon fresh sage, chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh chives, chopped

Place the potatoes in a microwaveable bowl and cover. Cook for about 3 minutes, or until they are just starting to get tender.

While the potatoes are in the microwave, cook the bacon over medium heat until it is just about crispy. If desired, use a spoon to remove some of the bacon fat from the pan.

Add the onion, par-cooked potatoes, thyme and sage and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.

Turn the heat to high and saute, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are cooked through and golden brown. Sprinkle with chives and serve.

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

Brandied-Pear Coffee Cake

Last weekend the husband and I had some friends over for brunch. The rule for this particular group (who all are, or used to be personal chefs) is that you are supposed to make a dish that you have never tried making before.

A few weeks ago I added some peeled and cored pears to some mediocre brandy to make pear brandy. I used the brandy to make Pear Brandy Sidecars (which, P.S., were delicious) and was left with two pears that were infused with brandy. I decided to try making a coffee cake that would take advantage of these brandy-soaked pears.

Since I am not much of a baker, I turned to Ratio by Michael Ruhlman and used the basic quick bread recipe. For the crumb portion of the cake, I used my go-to berry crumble topping (with just a couple of tweaks) and since my favorite part of coffee cake is the crunchy crumble, I made a lot of it. Lastly I decided a vanilla glaze would be pretty on top so I made a little of that too.

Here’s the ingredients for the crumble (along with the sliced brandy-soaked pears).

I combined all of the crumble ingredients in a bowl.

Then used my fingers to mix it together (and after years of making this I finally realized that if I put gloves on I wouldn’t end up with schmutz under my fingernails).

Then I set this aside and turned to the cake.

In one bowl I whisked together all of the dry ingredients. Then in a second bowl I whisked together the milk and eggs.

Then I added the melted butter and whisked some more. Adding the melted butter to the cold milk results in the butter getting firm again, but in tiny bits, which distributes the butter throughout the cake.

Finally I added the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.

And whisked some more, just enough to get rid of the big lumps.

I poured half of the batter into a springform pan, spread the sliced pears over the batter, then sprinkled about half of the crumble mixture over the pears.

Then I poured the remainder of the batter over the pears and crumble.

Finally I distributed the rest of the crumble mixture over the batter. It may seem like this was quite a bit of work, but this cake seriously come together in about 20 minutes.

The whole thing went into a 350 degree oven. I started checking it at 40 minutes, giving the pan a shake every 5 minutes and pulling it out when it didn’t jiggle anymore, which took a total of 55 minutes.

I let this cool for an hour or so and then put together the glaze.

I pushed the powdered sugar through a mesh strainer to get rid of all the little lumps, poured this into a bowl and then added the all of the vanilla and then the milk a tiny bit at a time until it was the right consistency for drizzling (it takes a surprisingly small amount of milk to make the glaze).

Finally I removed the sides of the springform pan and then drizzled the icing over the cake (over the sink to catch any drips).

I served the cake while it was still a little warm (the best way to eat coffee cake) and was very pleased with the results. The pears were a little strong for a couple of my guests, but most of us found them to be extremely tasty (they also kept the cake very moist). Next time you need a brunch treat, I highly recommend this cake.

xxx

BRANDIED-PEAR COFFEE CAKE
serves 10-12

Plain Bosc or Bartlett pears can be substituted for the brandied pears if you are not interested in making pear brandy. If you don’t have a springform pan. the cake can be made in a square or rectangular baking pan although the baking time might need to be adjusted.

For the pears:
2 bosc or bartlett pears which have been peeled and cored then steeped in brandy for 3-4 weeks, drained (reserving the brandy, of course) and sliced.

For the crumble:
2 oz flour
8 oz brown sugar
3 oz butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes and softened slightly
4 oz pecans, lightly chopped
1 1/2 oz rolled oats

For the cake:
6 oz sugar
12 oz flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 oz whole milk
3 eggs
6 oz butter, melted

For the icing:
4 oz powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 Tablespoon milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a springform pan with non-stick spray and set aside.

In a small bowl combine all of the crumble ingredients and use your fingers or a fork to mash together the ingredients until the butter is well distributed and all ingredients are well mixed. Set aside.

In a medium bowl stir together the dry cake ingredients. In a second bowl, whisk together the milk and eggs. Add the melted butter and continue to whisk to combine. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until the batter is just combined and there are no large lumps remaining.

Pour half of the batter into the prepared springform pan. Evenly distribute the pears over the batter then sprinkle half of the crumble mixture over the pears. Pour remaining batter over the pears and sprinkle with the remaining crumble mixture.

Bake for 45-60 minutes. Cake is finished when it no longer jiggles in the middle.

Let cake cool for at least one hour. Press the powdered sugar through a sieve to remove lumps. Stir in vanilla and just enough milk to create the proper consistency for drizzling. Remove the outside of the springform pan and drizzle the top of the cake with the vanilla icing (you may not need all of the icing). Enjoy cake while it is still warm.

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

Roasted Pepper and Cheddar Pie

As I think back on this summer, I realize that for me, it was all about getting better. I mean that literally of course as I refer to my recovery from ankle surgery. But I also invested quite a bit of time to make myself, my blog and even my cooking better.

Most recently I attended the International Food Blogger Conference which was held right here in Seattle. Two full days (and two evenings) chock full of panels, new (and old) friends and lots of tasty food. My favorite session was an inspirational slide show and talk from photographer Penny De Los Santos. She just made me (and I think everyone else there) want to be better. Because of her, you’ll probably be seeing a few more photo essays on the blog (much like this one from last Saturday) as I self-assign new photography projects for myself.

My other big summer project was a 5-week class series at Cornish College for the Arts called the Art of Food. Here’s the description:

A series of evenings in which different aspects of food + art get explored: food AND art, food AS art, artists and their food practices, food blogging, food as a medium for leading a creative life, food photography, the creative practice of gardening, art + food + sustainability. Participants include author and master forager Langdon Cook, Chef Becky Selengut, “Top Cheftestant” and artist Robin Leventhal, photographer Clare Barboza, food writers Molly Wizenberg and Shauna James Ahern, and Delancey owner and composer/dancer Brandon Pettit.

My favorite weeks were the two that were focused on photography with Clare Barboza and food writing with Molly Wizenberg and Shauna James Ahern. I’ve really been trying to improve my food photography over the last year and it was great to have input from a professional. Here’s a couple of the photos I took at class:

xxx

You can see the rest at my Flickr site here.

I also really enjoyed the week focused on food writing. I am always a little nervous about my writing and I am really trying to improve this as well. During the class we read examples of several popular food writers, Frances Lam, Jonathon Gold, MFK Fisher, Laurie Colwin and others. The piece from Laurie Colwin was titled “Tomato Pie” from the book More Home Cooking. It was a beautiful description of a recipe for Tomato Pie.

“I have never yet encountered tomatoes in any form unloved by me. Often at night I find myself ruminating about two previously mysterious tomato dishes, which I was brazen enough to get the recipes for. One is Tomato Pie and is a staple of a tea shop call Chaiwalla, owned by Mary O’Brien, in Salisbury, Connecticut. According to Mary, the original recipe was found in a cookbook put out by the nearby Hotchkiss School, but she has changed it sufficiently to claim it as her own. The pie has a double biscuit-dough crust, made by blending 2 cups flour, 1 stick butter, 4 teaspoons baking powder, and approximately 3/4 cup milk, either by hand or in a food processor. You roll out half the dough on a floured surface and line a 9-inch pie plate with it. Then you add the tomatoes. Mary makes this pie year round and uses first-quality canned tomatoes, but at this time of year 2 pounds peeled fresh tomatoes are fine, too. Drain well and slice thin two 28-ounce can plum tomatoes, then lay the slices over the crust and scatter them with chopped basil, chives, or scallions, depending on their availability and your mood. Grate 1-1/2 cups sharp Cheddar and sprinkle 1 cup of it on top of the tomatoes. Then over this drizzle 1/3 cup mayonnaise that has been thinned with 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and top everything with the rest of the grated Cheddar. Roll out the remaining dough, fit it over the filling, and pinch the edges of the dough together to seal them. Cut several steam vents in the top crust and bake the pie at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes. The secret of this pie, according to Mary, is to reheat it before serving, which among other things ensures that the cheese is soft and gooey. She usually bakes it early in the morning , then reheats it in the evening in a 350 degree oven until it is hot.

It is hard to describe how delicious this is, especially on a hot day with a glass of magnificent iced tea in a beautiful setting, but it would doubtless be just as scrumptious on a cold day in your warm kitchen with a cup of coffee.”

Her description was so lovely that I knew I just had to cook this dish. I made it for brunch for a group of friends (several of whom are, or used to be, fellow personal chefs) and it received rave reviews. Basically the pie was  tomatoes, cheddar cheese in a biscuit crust (and really, how could that combo not be good). It was obvious that this recipe was ripe for adaptation.

After the last class (the food photography session), many of the props (read leftover food) were divided among the students that had stayed to help clean up. I ended up with 2 mini cupcakes, one tomatillo, a lime and a bunch of bell peppers and hot peppers. So, after I ate the cupcakes, I decided to get to work on turning the peppers into something delicious. Of course, I would roast the peppers and make a version of that delicious pie.

Here’s the ingredients for the filling:

And for the crust:

I started by roasting the peppers. I roasted mine right over the flame on my gas stove, but they can easily be done on a grill or under the broiler. Just cook the peppers until they are blackened then through them in a covered bowl and let them sit for at least five minutes.

Once they are cool enough to handle the skins will peel right off. Try to keep the seeds out of the peeled pepper pile and no matter how much easier it would make things, do not run the peppers under water or all the roasty-toasty goodness will go right done the drain. Oh yeah, and notice the gloves, gloves are a must when you are seeding really hot peppers (because if you don’t wear gloves you will invariably touch your eye and then pain will ensue).

I cut the bell peppers into strips and then diced the smaller peppers (I wasn’t sure just how hot they were and I didn’t want to end up with a huge bite of “burn your mouth” hot pepper in the finished dish). Then I set this aside to work on the crust.

The crust comes together very easily in a food processor. Just whir together the butter, flour and baking powder until it looks a bit like fine sand. It doesn’t take long, maybe 10 seconds.

I added the milk and then gave it another whir. It will come together as a dough fairly quickly.

At this point I moved the dough to a very well floured work surface. This dough is very sticky so flour is your best friend. Flour your hands, flour the rolling pin, flour the work surface, trust me.

I divided the dough into two halves and rolled one of them out until it is large enough to cover the bottom and sides of the pan. In addition to being sticky, this dough is also very forgiving. Holes can be easily smushed back together.

Once the bottom crust was in the pan I laid in the peppers, the tomatillo (which didn’t add much to the mix so I’ve left it out of the recipe below) half the cheese and the chopped scallions.

I stirred together the juice of a lime and 1/3 cup of mayonnaise and drizzled this over the pie.

Then I added the rest of the cheese and topped the pie with the second half of the biscuit dough, trimmed off the excess dough, pinched together the edges and then cut a few vent holes in the top.

Into the oven (I used my toaster oven) for 25 minutes until the crust was golden brown and delicious and the pie was warm and toasty inside.

While I adored the tomato version of the pie that Laurie Colwin write so beautifully about this version was another lovely take. Sharp from the cheddar and tangy from the lime with a beautifully crisp and tender crust.

My friends who were over for yet another potluck (and belly dancing, but we’re not going to talk about that) all agreed it was delightful as well.

Next up I think a sweet version of this pie is in order. I think berries with goat cheese might be nice but it’s a little past berry season. Maybe plums…

xxx

ROASTED PEPPER AND CHEDDAR PIE

Crust:
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, cut into cubes
2/3 cup milk

Filling:
4 bell peppers
5-6 jalapenos, serranos or other hot peppers
1 1/2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese
6 scallions, chopped
1/3 cup mayonnaise
juice from one lime

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Roast and peel the peppers and hot peppers. Cut the peppers into strips and dice the hot peppers. Stir together then set aside. In a small bowl or measuring cup stir together the mayonnaise and lime juice.

In the bowl of a food processor pulse together the flour, baking powder and butter (it should resemble dry sand). Add the milk and continue to pulse until the dough come together. Divide the dough into two pieces. On a well-floured surface roll out half the dough and line a 9-inch pie plate with it.

Cover the bottom of the pan with the pepper mixture. Sprinkle on half of the cheese and all of the scallions. Drizzle the mayonnaise mixture evenly over the  scallions then sprinkle on the remaining cheese.

Roll out the second half of the dough, lay it on top of the filling, trim off the excess dough and pinch the edges of the dough together to seal them. Cut several slits in the top crust to vent.

Bake the pie for about 25 minutes or until the crust is golden and the filling is warmed through.

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

Five-Spice Pear Streusel Muffins

I don’t bake a lot. I find all the precise measurements a little tedious. But every once in a while I get an itch. Today was one of those days (technically the itch hit yesterday, but it was too late in the day to start).

I started the day by making “The Best Chocolate Sheet Cake, Ever” from the Pioneer Woman Cooks Web site and cookbook (and it is the best chocolate sheet cake I have ever eaten). And then moved on to these muffins.

Why muffins? Well I was spurred on to make muffins by an online photo “assignment” from Lara Ferroni. The assignment for June is “Take a Bite” in which you make muffins, take a bite, then take a photo.

I’ve had some pears kicking around my fridge for (literally) weeks. They were quite firm when I got them (and I got a lot of them) so I decided to stash them in the fridge until I was ready to eat them. Well, I guess I was never ready to eat them because they were still in there at least two months later. Thing is, they were still perfect, no blemishes, no squishy parts. I decided to make the pears the focus of my muffins.

I borrowed a bit from several chefs to create these muffins. I adapted a recipe for poached pears from David Lebovitz and used the recipe for Oat Streusel Topping from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything iPhone App. The batter itself was created using a recipe for basic quick bread/muffin batter from Michael Ruhlman’s great book (and iPhone app) Ratio. If you like to cook and don’t have this book you should make it your next purchase. Basically he breaks down recipes into their basic ratio (such as, muffins = 2 part flour, 2 part liquid, 1 part egg, 1 part butter) and then adds ideas for variations from there. It was the perfect jumping off point for my muffin recipe.

In the end, my muffins turned out a little ugly but very tasty. Very moist but with a nice crumb. The streusel on top added a lovely, sweet crunch.  I love using a five-spice mix in places where cinnamon might be used and this was no exception. The extra spices add a deeper dimension to the flavor that cinnamon alone can’t give you.

It’s going to be a good week for breakfast at my house.
xxxxx

xxxx
F I V E – S P I C E   P E A R   S T R E U S E L   M U F F I N S

I made the poached pears the day before I made the muffins, but they could easily both be done in the same day. Any extra pears can be stored in the fridge for up to five days and are lovely spooned over vanilla ice cream.


Poached Pears
adapted from a recipe by David Lebovitz
4 cups water
1 1/3 cup (265 g) sugar
4 Bartlett pears; peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 Tablespoon five-spice mix

In a large saucepan, heat the water and sugar until warm and the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the five spice powder and add the pears.

Cover with a round of parchment paper, with a small hole cut in the center. This ensures that the pears are kept under the surface of the liquid for proper cooking.

Simmer the pears until they are cooked through, 10-15 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon or a spider, remove the pears from the poaching liquid. Continue to simmer the liquid until it is reduced by about half, another 15 minutes or so.

Pour the liquid over the pears and allow to cool before storing in refrigerator.


Oat-Streusel Topping
adapted from a recipe by Mark Bittman

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup hazelnuts
1/2 teaspoon five-spice
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
pinch salt

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and smush them together using your fingers until well combined and crumbly. Alternately, you could get out a mixer or use forks to combine everything, but I find this to be easier (and it uses less dishes).


Muffin Batter
created using Michael Ruhlman’s Ratio
makes 6 regular size and 6 large muffins

1 recipe poached pears, drained, syrup reserved
12 ounces flour
5 ounces sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon baking powder
8 ounces milk
4 ounces reserved poaching liquid
3 eggs
6 ounces (1 1/2 stick) butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine milk, poaching liquid, eggs and melted butter. Whisk until eggs are well incorporated. Add the dry ingredients and whisk just until combined. Stir in drained pears.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin pans. Make sure not to over fill the cups or your muffins will spread out and overflow and you will be sad (trust me). Evenly top the batter in each cup with a couple of tablespoons of streusel topping.

Bake regular size muffins for about 30 minutes and large muffins for about 40 minutes, until toothpick inserted in the muffin comes out clean.

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

Bacon Buttermilk Pancakes

Mardi Gras has never really been a big deal for me. Maybe it’s because I’m a bit of a homebody (going out with a mass of drunken idiots just isn’t really my kind of fun). But I think it’s more likely that because I was raised Lutheran, and we never gave anything up for Lent, the idea of having to “get stuff out of my system” was never present.

However, In the past couple of years I made the discovery of Shrove Tuesday, also known as Pancake Tuesday. Well, an excuse to eat pancakes for dinner. That I can get on board with.

I used a recipe for Gale Gand’s buttermilk pancakes that I found online. They called for a cup of blueberries, but lately I’ve been hearing about bacon pancakes, and well, that sounded interesting. So I replaced the blueberries with crispy-cooked bacon.


The pancakes themselves were delicious. I don’t often make pancakes from scratch (probably because I usually make them in the morning when I am extra lazy and a mix is easier) but this was a great recipe. I was a little surprised that they weren’t baconier (is that even a word), it was more that they had a salty undertone (which was good, don’t get me wrong). The maple syrup was an absolute necessity and a delicious addition. I need more excuses to make pancakes for dinner, yum.

Here’s the recipe (adapted from Gale Gand’s Brunch!)

Bacon Buttermilk Pancakes

– makes 10 3-to 4-inch pancakes –

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 large egg
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for cooking
12 slices bacon, diced and cooked crisp

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. In a separate bowl, beat the egg with a fork and then mix in the buttermilk, milk, and melted butter. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and combine with a wooden spoon, leaving plenty of lumps. Transfer the batter to a pitcher with a pour spout.

Heat a griddle or a large skillet over medium heat (after you’ve cooked a few pancakes, you may want to turn the heat down to medium-low so your pancakes don’t brown too quickly. Melt 1 teaspoon butter on it (when the griddle starts to get dry as you’re cooking, add more butter, 1 teaspoon at a time) and heat the butter until it foams.

Pour about 3 tablespoons of the batter onto the griddle to make each pancake, leaving space in between for spreading. Sprinkle each pancake with about a tablespoon of bacon. When the top of each pancake is done bubbling and no longer looks wet and the underside is lightly browned (about 3 minutes), flip the pancake and cook it on the other side until golden brown, about 2 minutes.

Serve immediately, or keep warm on a plate in a 200-degree oven while you cook some more pancakes.

Sunday, July 12th, 2009

Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee

A couple of summer’s ago, I read this article in the New York Times about cold-brewed coffee and became quite intrigued. I decided to give the recipe a try and I absolutely loved it!

Now, as soon as the weather turns warm, I start making my cold brewed coffee mix. The only difference is, rather than the mason jar recommended in the recipe, I like to use a french press.

I also like to double the recipe so I have the coffee mix ready for a couple of days.

Put 2/3 of a cup of your favorite ground coffee in the french press.

Top this off with water, put the lid on the press (making sure the plunger is up) and let it sit overnight.

The next morning, push the plunger on the press.

Then put some of this mix into a glass (anywhere from 1/3 to 1/2 full depending on how strong you like your coffee).

Next add ice and cold water to fill the glass.

I like to add a splash of cream.

Enjoy.

About Me

I'm a personal chef living happily with her picky-eater (but willing to try anything) husband, neurotic black lab and a red heeler puppy.

I watch way too much TV and enjoy hip-hop more than any reasonable grown-up should.

I'm an avid swimmer and sometime triathlete (whenever I'm not nursing an injury).

Find out more about me here.

About This Blog

I started this blog at a time when my personal chef business was quite slow and I needed to keep my mind busy and my skills sharp. But now, business is booming so I've had to put the blog on the back burner. So, no new recipes for now, but please enjoy my archives.

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