Monday, April 11, 2011

Pancakes (Multigrain)

Source: Pancakes? How boring. These are the BEST pancakes though. Much trial and error have gone into these.

Rating: Very Favorable

Notes: Add some multigrain flour, at least some cornmeal, in place of the white flour. You will very definitely not regret it. I always let the mixture sit a bit before I add the melted butter. This puffs it up, and adding the butter punches it back down again, but it seems to work best this way. Not too thin, not too thick, once they're baked.

  • 1 1/4 cups flour (white, wheat, cornmeal, multigrain-- a mix is best)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup milk

  1. Mix dry ingredients together. Measure milk, drop in eggs, and mix. Pour wet ingredients into dry, mix. Add melted butter. Mix well. Bake on a greased griddle (far better than the stove for consistency's sake) until bubbles appear, then turn over.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Shepherd's Pie

Source: My favorite not-particularly-easy recipe to make. Every time I make it I change something or other, so it's quite malleable. Just make sure to use lots of mashed potatoes for the top! Comfort food at its best.

Rating: Very Favorable

Notes: This time I put a spinach layer in between the mushroom gravy and the potatoes. I'd forgotten to freeze tofu in advance, so I used soy crumbles instead. And I didn't add the coriander.

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 cake tofu
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • pepper
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 lemon, juice of
  • 5 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 large potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 cups hot potato water
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 1/2 c. water

  1. Freeze, thaw and shred tofu (make sure to freeze a day ahead of time). Saute onion in 1 tablespoon oil with thyme, coriander, and some pepper. Add walnuts and shredded tofu. When heated through, add lemon and 2 tablespoons soy sauce.
  2. Peel, cube and boil potatoes and mash with butter and milk. Save the potato water!
  3. Saute mushrooms, 3 tablespoons soy sauce and some pepper in 1 tablespoon oil. Add hot potato water and bring to boil. Stir in cornstarch water. Stir until thick.
  4. Oil a casserole dish and put the tofu mixture in the bottom, then the mushroom gravy, and then the potatoes. Dot the top with butter and bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Winter Vegetable Hash

Source: This is adapted from an recipe, in my search for yet more yummy things to do with kale. I'd call this hearty peasant food that uses up a lot of food laying around or languishing in the freezer. It's even better with an egg on top.

Rating: Favorable

Notes: I didn't have any more fresh squash, so I bypassed it. I'm sure it's even better with it, although I'd use butternut before I'd use acorn. I also didn't have any fresh shiitake, so I used the rest of my button mushrooms and the rest of my dried mixed mushrooms from By the Pound.

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound potatoes, diced
  • 1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 small winter squash, acorn or other
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pinch pepper
  • 1 cup kale, chopped
  • 4 sprigs sage

  1. Place oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Melt butter and mix in potatoes, mushrooms, pepper, squash, shallot, and kale. Season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Cover and let saute and steam, about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender.
  2. Add sage to skillet. Continue cooking 5 minutes.
  3. Optional: fry an egg to place on top.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Scones

Source: Being on vacation means you get to eat a ton of awesome food in other places, but it doesn't allow you to update a recipe blog... (If I knew how Portage Bay Cafe made their waffles, you bet I'd post it here.) So it took a friend mentioning that she had just had some awesome pumpkin chocolate chip scones to remind me that I hadn't posted here in a while. It was not at all hard to find a recipe for this on the web. In fact, it was hard to choose one, but I ended up adapting this one. (If you make the glaze(s), let me know how they turn out. I was lazy.)

Rating: Very Favorable

Notes: It's looking like these are best the day you make them, light and fluffy and scrumptious. They're not bad the second day either, but already taste a little tougher. I'll take this opportunity to push another product I love: Silpat. I'm sure baking on silicone will eventually kill me and all those around me, but I could not live without these. Air bake cookie sheets? Still easy to burn your cookies. Silpat? Never.

  • 2 cups flour (better if you make it w. 1/2 c. being whole-wheat)
  • 7 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2-2/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3 tablespoons half-and-half
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2-3/4 cup chocolate chips

    1. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and spices in a large bowl. Use a pastry cutter or fork to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until mixture is crumbly and no chunks of butter are obvious; set aside.
    2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, half-and-half and egg. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Mix in chocolate chips. Form the dough into a ball. Pat out dough onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a 1-inch thick rectangle about 3 times as long as wide. The dough will be moister if you used more pumpkin, so add as much flour as you want to make it workable.
    3. Cut the pieces into triangles or other shapes so that you end up with about 12 pieces. Place on Silpat on baking sheet. Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until light brown. Place on wire rack to cool.

        Tuesday, February 8, 2011

        Potato Pancakes

        Source: I remember watching Julia Child as a teenager and being as amused by her as the rest of the nation. One important thing, though? She really, really could cook. I got this recipe by watching her old PBS videos and scrambling to take notes as she cooked. Naturally there's a lot of "and perhaps a little more butter...," and for this recipe it's essential. I could eat this every day. Then I'd be a whale, but a very happy whale.

        Rating: Exceptional

        Notes: As I say below, you gotta squeeze as much water as you can out of your shredded potatoes. Otherwise, your pancakes are going to fall apart and it will be a sad dinner. Use any hard cheese you'd like. We used a leftover chunk of probably-too-hard manchego. And I recommend the whipped cream cheese over the bar of cream cheese. It'll make your mixing much easier.

        • 2 cups potatoes, shredded
        • 4 oz. whipped cream cheese
        • 1/4-1/2 cup hard cheese, shredded
        • 1 egg
        • salt & pepper

        1. After shredding the potatoes, squeeze the water from them. This is essential! Mix all the ingredients together well until it looks like cole slaw.
        2. Add butter & oil to a large frying pan. Make sure there's plenty of fat in the pan for frying, at least 1/8 inch. Make pancakes by adding 1/2 cup of the batter to the pan for each pancake, and patting these down into disks. Fry each side for about 5 minutes. They should be nicely brown on each side, not golden brown.
        3. Makes about 9 pancakes.

        Saturday, February 5, 2011

        Baked Winter Squash Soup

        Source: I've actually made this one over and over again every winter because it is so creamy and scrumptious. Without adding an iota of cream. It's from The New Basics Cookbook: an oldie, but goodie, one of the first to use fancy ingredients for everyday cooking (this one does not, though). The recipe uses up random squash from Tantre or the Farmer's Market easily whether those are butternuts, buttercups, pumpkins, hubbards, you name it. Today? Everything that wasn't going to last another week in the basement.

        Rating: Very Favorable

        Notes: I have to plug Rapunzel vegetable bouillon cubes here. So many reasons to like these: they are delicious, they come in both no-salt and salt varieties, and they allow you to use as much stock as you like instead of scrambling to use it before it molds in the fridge. Also, they're vegan, if that's helpful. I've found them at Whole Foods, the Coop and sometimes By the Pound.

        • 4 medium winter squash
        • 1-2 tablespoons butter
        • 4-5 carrots, chopped
        • 1 large onion, chopped
        • 3 vegetable bouillon cubes
        • 7 cups water (add more if necessary)
        • 3/4 teaspoon ginger
        • pinch cayenne
        • salt & pepper

        1. Roast the squash (cut into halves or quarters) skin side down in a pan of water at 425 for 40 minutes. Let this cool, and then scoop the squash pulp out of the skins.
        2. Saute onions and carrots in the butter in a large soup pot. Add the spices, bouillon cubes and water and saute a bit longer. Add the squash, cut into smaller pieces if needed. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
        3. Puree the soup in batches in a blender.

        Tuesday, February 1, 2011

        Spinach and Leek Gratin with Roquefort Crumb Topping

        Source: I haven't a clue who this one is from. (Why don't I write this information on the top of the scrap of paper? That's a very good question.) Don't be put off by the fancy title, it's actually quite a simple recipe with very few ingredients. Again, perfect for using what you worked so hard to put up for the winter.

        Rating: Very Favorable

        Notes: This felt a bit like grabbing whatever I had handy, although I didn't actually make any substitutions.
        • I used whatever blue cheese was in the fridge; I'm fairly certain you don't have to use Roquefort.
        • My spinach and leeks came from the freezer, as mentioned, pre-cut, pre-wilted, etc.
        • I only used 1/2 cup heavy cream. You can even use less, probably.
        • My breadcrumbs were from some Paesano-type bread hiding at the back of the fridge.
        • Don't sweat not having horseradish Dijon mustard. Just mix about 1/2 teaspoon of horseradish to the mustard.
        It's a bit spicy, with that horseradish in it, but that's probably 50% of the reason we liked it so much. The other 50% is that cream, I'm sure.

        • 5 tablespoons butter, divided
        • 3 1/2 tablespoons horseradish Dijon mustard
        • 2 1/2 cups bread crumbs, fresh from French bread
        • 1 cup Roquefort cheese, crumbled
        • 3 9 oz. bags spinach
        • 1 medium leek, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise (about 3 cups)
        • 3/4 cup heavy cream

        1. Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Mix in 2 tablespoons of the mustard, then the breadcrumbs. Saute until golden, about 5 minutes. Cool briefly. Mix in the cheese.
        2. Toss 1 1/2 bags spinach in large pot over high heat until wilted (with a little water if not a non-stick pot). Wilt for 3 minutes. Transfer to sieve. Repeat with remaining spinach. Press on spinach to drain. (You can also do this in the microwave.)
        3. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium high heat in skillet. Add leek and saute for 4 minutes. Add cream, remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of mustard and the spinach. Toss until thick and blended, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
        4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Transfer spinach-leek mixture to a medium casserole or baking dish. Top with breadcrumb mixture and bake until bubbling, about 15 minutes.