Sunday, January 23, 2011

Best Ever Pancakes

That is the actual name of this recipe written on my little yellow recipe card.  This recipe is, perhaps, perfection.  I refuse to eat Bisquick pancakes because of these pancakes. If you ever go out to brunch/breakfast with me at a restaurant, you will notice that I will never order normal pancakes. It's because of this recipe.  I have been at friends houses in other states and called my mom for it.  My mom's cookbook (I think it was a Pillsbury one, it was old when I was little) is missing pages in this area and the page with the base recipe is torn out and barely legible.

I have been helping make these pancakes for as long as I can remember.  I remember being so excited that there was a secret ingredient that my mom and grandma added, I thought no one else knew. On time when I was maybe 5ish, I accidentally added twice as much milk as necessary which resulted in the need to double the recipe, which, to me, was the most brilliant idea ever.  From that point on I "accidentally" added too much milk so that we would have to double the rest of the recipe.

Below is the recipe as I made it today( the full recipe).  Lately I have been adding wheat flour for half of the normal flour and I typically half it now, unless I am making it for several people.  This round I also added some raspberries since I was in the grocery store this morning.

The Best Ever Pancakes
  • 1 cup of Flour
  • 1 cup of Wheat Flour
  • 5 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 3tbsp Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/3 cupButter
  • 2 cups Milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • about a cup or so of Raspberries
  1. Mix the liquids and dry ingredients in separate bowls.
  2. Slowly add the dry mixture into the liquid mixture and stir until combined then and raspberries. 
  3. Pour 1/4 cup in to a skillet or griddle on medium to low heat.  Flip over when bubbles are forming all over the pancake.  Let rise and turn golden brown and remove from heat.  Repeat and repeat and repeat. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Coconut & Beef Curry with Noodles

Monday night was time to cook with something completely new that I had not tried ever in any form.  I had two new ingredients in this recipe, coconut milk and Vermicelli.  The recipe came from my new cookbook Fresh Flavor Fast from Everyday Food.
It was really easy and quick to make once I sliced everything up.  I have to be annoyed here for a moment: all recipes these days have the amount of time it takes to cook, but they don't account for the time it takes to cut, dice, mice, slice, etc before you get to "thinly sliced lengthwise."  All that cutting takes much longer than 25 minutes.  Returning to your normal blog post: It was totally worth the time.  It was really good, the only change I would have made was adding some of my brothers dried chili mixture.  I also screwed up, as usual, I thought I had curry paste, but I had roasted red chili paste instead, so I guess it wasn't really curry.  I will have to try it with actual curry sometime. 
Since I didn't feel like cutting the recipe in half or quarter, I made the full 4 servings and saved it for lunches this week.  I am picky about my leftovers, I hate it when things start to fall apart, will not eat leftover burgers or hot dogs, the list continues. I was worried that the peppers might be kinda gross soggy, but they were fine and the flavor was still great. 
Coconut & Beef Curry with Noodles
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 8 oz. vermicelli (rice noodles) 
  • 2 Tbsp. corn oil
  • 1 lb. beef sirloin, cut into thin 2-inch strips
  • 1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1 Tbsp. Thai red curry paste ( I used roasted red chili paste)
  • 1 can (14 oz.) coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add a generous amount of salt. Cook noodles until tender according to package instructions. 
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1 Tbsp. oil over medium-high. Season beef with salt and pepper; add half the beef to the skillet. Cook, without stirring, until browned on one side, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate, and repeat with remaining beef. Set beef aside, you will cook it more later.
  3. Add onion, bell peppers, and ¼ c. water to skillet; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Add curry paste stirring and  scraping bottom of skillet, until fragrant and combined, about 1 minute.
  4. Return beef to skillet, with any accumulated juices, and add coconut milk. Simmer until sauce thickens slightly, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in lime juice (f you have fresh basil some of it in too), and season curry with salt and pepper.
  5. Serve beef curry over pasta.
I really need to get better at making food look more appealing like they do in the books...

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Monkey Bread!

I had a strategic planning planning today at noon for AFHny.  I figured we could use something delicious to get us through a few hours of thinking, planning, talking, strategizing. I was thinking ambitious planning on making caramel rolls, but I didn't have the time yesterday and I was not getting up earlier than I do for work to make them today.  Instead I made a tasty alternate, Monkey Bread aka Pull Apart Cinnamon Rolls. 

I couldn't find frozen dough at the local grocery store, so this time I actually made the bread dough via Betty Crocker, which was pretty easy.  The only problem was the dough kept getting stuck in hand mixer and slowing or stopping it or pulling the beaters out.  Just another sign that I really need a KitchenAid Mixer, even if it would take up half my counter space. 

Monkey Bread 
  • 2 loaves of Bread Dough (see below) or 2 loaves of Frozen bread dough, thawed
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted 
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2- 3 oz packages cook & serve vanilla pudding
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 2 Tsp cinnamon
  1. Do not let your dough raise very much! Break one loaf into pieces and place in a greased 9x13 pan.
  2. Mix butter, sugar, pudding mix, milk and cinnamon together.  Pour over loaf in pan. 
  3. Break up remaining loaf into pieces and place on top. 
  4. Let Rise (all though I did not let them raise very long in my haste and they turned out fine)
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until tops are golden brown. 
I forgot to take a picture when they came out of the oven. This is post meeting.

2 loaves of bread dough
  • 6 to 7 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp shortening
  • 2 packages regular or quick active dry yeast (4 1/2 tsp)
  • 2 1/4 cups very warm water
  1. In a large bowl, stir 3 1/2 cups of the flour, the sugar, salt, shortening and yeast until well mixed. 
  2. Add warm water and beat with electric mixer on low speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently.  Stir in enough remaining flour, 1 cup at a time, to make dough easy to handle. 
  3. Place dough on lightly floured surface. Knead about 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and springy. 

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Winter Warm-up: Stew

I have arrived back in Brooklyn in one piece and have spent most of the week eating out or eating things like ramen noodles because I was too busy to get to the grocery store the first few days and too lazy to actually cook anything the rest of the week.  Yesterday it was snowing and pretty cold.  I was sitting by the window of my favorite coffee shop freezing, and decided I wanted something delicious, hearty, and warm and my recent craving for beef vegetable stew cropped up.
So, with many other things to do, I set home to find a recipe and head to the grocery store instead.  I couldn't find a recipe that had everything I wanted in my fantasy stew in my cookbooks or online. I started with this Irish Beef Stew recipe from Simple Recipes and added extra veggies from a Beef-Vegetable Soup recipe in my Betty Crocker cookbook that had similar proportions of other ingredients.
The result was two or three hours of cooking and some yummy stew. It was really flavorful and full of vegetables like I was hoping. I still feel like it was missing something... maybe it need to have barley in it, or maybe just salt and pepper cooked in.  I haven't figured it out yet.  Even so, I guess my first attempt at mashing up recipes was a success.

Vegetable Beef Stew

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds chuck beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 6 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 cups beef broth ( I made mine with bullion cubes and boiling water)
  • I cup of Guinness beer
  • 1 cup of red wine
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 5 russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 5 cups)
  • 1 bag of pearl onions (about 1-2 pound bag- I forgot to look before throwing the label away)- make sure to follow the package instructions to peel the little guys
  • 2 cups (about 4 medium) carrots, cut in 1/2 pieces
  • 2 celery stalks, cut in 1/2 pieces
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1 cup frozen cut green beans 
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Heat olive oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Lightly salt the beef pieces. Working in batches if necessary, add the beef (do not crowd the pan, or the meat will steam and not brown) and cook. Continue to cook until all sides are browned, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add beef stock, Guinness, red wine, tomato paste, sugar, thyme, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaves. Stir to combine. Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, then cover and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  2. 2 While the meat and stock is simmering, melt 2 Tbsp butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add 1/2 of the potatoes, onion and carrots. Sauté vegetables until golden, about 20 minutes. Set aside and melt remain butter and repeat with remaining potatoes, onions, and carrots. (if you have a large pot or skillet and can do this all at once, go for it, I am utensil challenged in that area)
  3. Once the beef mixture is finished simmering, add the potatoes, onions, carrots, corn, celery, peas and beans. Simmer uncovered until vegetables and beef are very tender, about 40 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Tilt pan and spoon off fat. 
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste.
I realize that this doesn't look that appetizing but it is!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Risotto alla Brianzola

I didn't make this dish but it was made for me (I might have stirred the risotto a time or two). It was my 25th birthday this weekend, and I hate making plans. Everyone is usually all partied out from New Year's Eve the night before, so going out isn't anyone's idea of a good time. My boyfriend Kurt loves to cook (and is quite excellent at it), so over brunch I bestowed upon him the task of providing me a homemade dinner of his choice. His eyes lit up and he immediately began looking up recipes on his phone and we searched out a grocery store that would be open on New Years Day.

Our trip to Italy! See more here.

When Kurt was a younger lad, he spent a year doing an exchange in Italy. He lived near the town of Merate, outside of Milan, in the region known as Brianza. The north gets a bit colder in the winter, so dishes are often heartier (Kurt tries to tell me they just work harder there, so they need more substantial meals). Apart from the lovely Italian language, Kurt also picked up some great cooking skills during his time there. He was thrilled to try out this recipe particular to the region where he lived. Kurt and I visited his friends and host families in Italy last summer, so I was also excited to get a further glimpse into Italian culture. And of course it was delicious. Grazie mille, Kurt! I had a wonderful birthday!

Risotto alla Brianzola 
1 onion, chopped
1/2 lb sausage
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 cup dry red wine (divide into 1/2 cup portions)
5 cups broth (we used chicken broth)
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1-1/2 cups arborio rice, yellow if you can find it
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads (about 20)
Parmesan cheese for garnish

In a small frying pan, break apart sausage, add 1/2 cup red wine, and sauté meat until browned. Set aside. In a large frying pan, heat butter with olive oil, cook onion and garlic together until soft. Bring broth to a boil in a sauce pan. Add rice and remaining wine to the onion pan. Cook and allow wine to evaporate. Gradually add broth in stages to rice mixture and stir constantly as it is absorbed. (The rice should puff up and develop a creamy sauce.) Once all the liquid has been absorbed, add sausage mixture and saffron to rice. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.

Wine pairing: Chianti or a dry red wine (We drank a Zonin Chianti from 2006 as suggested by the owner of our local wine shop)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Last Dinner Creation in South Dakota

 Tomorrow is my last full day in South Dakota until who knows when.  I am really going to miss the kitchen that is larger than my kitchen and living room combined in New York.  I am also going to miss a kitchen filled with many random ingredients and utensils and gadgets that your lucky if you use once a year, but I still want them. And not doing anything days on end, although I must admit that I am starting to get cabin fever.  Especially since a little blizzard ruined my night out for New Year's Eve. 
Anyway, back to the subject, all three of us older kids will be leaving on Monday, and my pickier-than-me little sister was on a "date" tonight so we decided to make tonight the last "new" meal of my trip.  She claims to be suffering from all these "different" meals that she has had set in front of her the last two weeks.  (Sunday's dinner will be calm and nice like the tocos last night.)
 Tonight I made something with peas, garlic, and onions. Mixed together.  I present you with Chicken and Dumplings. We changed a few things, but this was base recipe.  We thought we had some red and green peppers to add in, but my brother finished them off last night.  It was really good and even my brother ate it with out added more salt and pepper or salsa or sour cream.  I especially like the dumplings, I think I am going to add sage to some simple biscuits.
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen green peas
  • 4 cups cubed cooked chicken
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 3 tablespoons butter, chilled
  • 3/4 cup milk

  1. In a large saucepan, saute the onion and garlic in butter until tender. Stir in the flour, sugar, salt, basil and pepper until blended. Gradually add broth; bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 1 minute; reduce heat. Add peas and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in chicken. Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish.
  2. For dumplings, in a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and basil. Cut in the butter until it resembles small crumbs.  Stir in milk with a fork until moistened. Drop by tablespoonfuls into mounds over chicken mixture.
  3. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 30 minutes. Cover and bake 10 minutes longer or until a toothpick inserted in a dumpling comes out clean. 


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Barbecue Chutney Chicken

While on my snowed in cooking spree, I decided to try another slow cook recipe from Jenn's book. While flipping through the pages, I was hoping something would jump out at me. It's funny how we gravitate towards flavors or ingredients and choose recipes accordingly. While I have limited experience with it,curry is one that intrigues me. Additionally, I have a big jar of curry that I am hoping to get some use out of.

Note: All curries are not created equally. I am the furthest thing from an expert on the subject, but I do realize that the Muchi Curry I purchased from Whole Foods is one of the spicier varieties. It is full of strong flavor but also makes me sweat and my nose run. Get comfortable with whichever curry you have and use responsibly :)

My meat-phobia also extends to poultry. The original recipe called for various chicken pieces (bones included). While still a little gross to handle, boneless, skinless chicken breasts are more my speed (no surprises), so I just cut the raw chicken into bite size pieces.

Barbecue Chutney Chicken

1 medium onion, cut into wedges
3 pounds chicken pieces (I used boneless skinless breasts, but feel free to use bone-in pieces)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup mango chutney
2/3 cup bottled barbecue sauce
1 teaspoon curry powder
hot,cooked rice

Place onion in the slow cooker. Add chicken pieces and sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, combine chutney, barbecue sauce, and curry powder. Pour over mixture in slow cooker and combine. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours or high for 3 to 3-1/2 hours. Serve chicken mixture over rice.

Pumpkin Ginger Scones

I have had this recipe in my binder and there is a recipe for Honey Wheat Bread on the same page.  I am not sure if I ripped it out of the magazine for the scones or bread but the scone beat out the bread because of my mom's baking adventures today.  She decided to make her pumpkin dessert, which is amazing, and had left over pumpkin.  I decided to use the extra pumpkin to make Pumpkin Ginger Scones.  

I have heard the scones are easy to screw up and have never made them before.  These were super easy to make, although have a pastry cutter would have been nice when I was cutting in the butter, and to top it off I didn't mess them up. They are really yummy and not heavy like some scones are, I highly recommend trying them out. 

These are really the ones I made!

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 7 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar, divided
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 5 tablespoons cold butter, divided
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, 7 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, ginger and baking soda. Cut in 4 tablespoons butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. (this was really not coarse at all, I just mixed it with a fork until the butter was in small pieces with a lot of flour mixture that appeared unmixed)
  2. Combine the egg, pumpkin and sour cream; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. (the mixture was still pretty crumbly until I started kneading it)
  3. Turn onto a floured surface; knead 10 times. Pat into an 8-in. circle. Cut into eight wedges. Separate wedges and place on a greased baking sheet. Melt remaining butter; brush over dough. Sprinkle with remaining sugar.
  4. Bake at 425° for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.