Showing posts with label brunch. Show all posts
Showing posts with label brunch. Show all posts

Friday, June 25, 2010

Anytime Fritatta

In keeping with breakfast recipes (see last weeks delicious 'big pancake')... I introduce you to Martha Stewart's Anytime Fritatta.

(noticing the cayenne sprinkled on top? whoops! forgot to add it. tasted fine on top, i thought)

Big pancake wasn't your thing last week? Too sweet? (if you answered 'yes' to that, I can't help you) No matter, this is EVERYONE'S thing. Unless you're vegan.

This is easy, it's quick (prep your potatoes the night before) and it's delicious. Great meal for guests, or to keep all to yourselves on a lovely Sunday morning. (Mmm, monday morning leftovers!)

Anytime Fritatta
from Martha Stewart Living

Serves 8

1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup water
4 leeks (about 1 pound), white and pale-green parts only, rinsed well and sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Coarse salt
8 large eggs plus 2 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese, drained
1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Brush a 9-inch square baking dish with oil. Bring water to a simmer in a medium skillet over high heat. Add leeks, garlic, and potatoes; season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, covered, until potatoes are just tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool.

Whisk together eggs, whites, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the cayenne. Fold in potato mixture and ricotta. Mix in 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Pour mixture into dish, and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan. Bake until edges are set, about 12 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees, and bake until set and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.

Let cool for 10 minutes. Cut into 8 squares.

Guten appetit!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Mushroom Quiche

I love the holidays and I love traditions. When we lived in Germany, people always asked if we were homesick, especially during the holidays. I wasn't. I could tell you with utter happiness what my family would be doing on Christmas day, exactly what they would be doing, in order, hour by hour. It's the same, every year.

I'm so excited to be back and to share family, our traditions and the holidays with our Chef's Helper. His first Christmas! We've wrapped a couple of presents for him, and a couple of books he already owned. I think I'm going to wrap a couple extra empty boxes, as I hear kids at this age just love to unwrap. The present thing wont really be understood by him.

While we won't be celebrating with Tim's family, we will be thinking of them and sharing some of their family traditions. Every Christmas, for breakfast, Tim's mom made quiche (amongst other foods). I love, love, love quiche. I made this quiche for last years festivities (recognize the German kitchen in the background?), and have since made it at least 10 times. It's a solid recipe. Plus, I find most people like mushrooms. Not so with spinach or meat.

As I don't own pie weights, I improvised... dried beans create the same effect, and then I store those used beans in a ziploc for the next pie crust need. You can reuse them for... years?

I hope you are enjoying the holidays, surrounded by loved ones. And I hope you are feasting in delicious traditions.

Happy, happy days to you!

Mushroom Quiche
from Simply Recipes

1 recipe pie dough
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
1 pound assorted mushrooms, quartered or sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 large eggs
Pinch nutmeg
6 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (1 1/2 cups) - I used emmentaler/swiss

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 12-inch circle. Fit into a 10-by-1 1/2-inch round tart pan (with or without a removable bottom)(Note from Laura: I used a 9 inch pie plate, worked fine), pressing dough into corners. Transfer to freezer to chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Line pastry with parchment paper, wax paper, or aluminum foil, pressing into the corners and edges. Fill at least two-thirds with baking weights - dried beans, rice, or aluminum pie weights. Bake first for 15 minutes, remove from oven and let cool a few minutes. Carefully remove parchment paper and weights. Poke the bottom of the pie pan with the tongs of a fork and return to oven and bake an additional 10 minutes or until lightly golden. (Fork holes are for any air to escape.) Transfer to a wire rack to cool while making filling.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add shallots, and cook, stirring, until translucent but not brown, about 1 minute. Add mushrooms, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until mushrooms first release their liquid and then liquid evaporates and mushrooms are dark golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes.

Place tart pan on a baking sheet to catch any run-off there might be (especially if you are using a pan with a removable bottom.) Sprinkle half the cheese evenly over the bottom of the crust. Spread mushrooms over the cheese and then top with remaining cheese. In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, cream, and eggs. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Pour over cheese. Transfer to oven, and bake until just set in the center, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes before slicing.

Serves 6-8.

Can't get enough quiche? Try these:
- Crustless Broccoli and Cheese Quiche
- Asparagus and Mushroom Quiche with Brown Rice Crust, from Fatfree Vegan Kitchen
- Spinach and Feta Quiche, from A Veggie Venture
- Zucchini and Tomato Quiche, from Chez Megane

Guten appetit!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Eggs in the Hole

This was one of my husband's favorite breakfasts growing up. Eggs in the hole... Simple. Fun. I like it.

Since we've been eating a lot of eggbeaters recently (I first tasted them while we stayed at Tim's mom's house, as that's all they eat these days), I made this on a day I was craving real eggs. Eggbeaters, if you haven't tried them, are very healthy (Tim's mom has high cholesterol), super fast (no cracking of shells, beating, etc) and taste great. I was a non-believer before, but I'm hooked now.

I can't say that I have a recipe for this dish... but I'll try to write one up. My only advice is not to make your hold too small. Otherwise, the egg wont fit and it spills out everywhere. No longer would you have eggs in the 'hole', you'd have eggs 'all over'. And that's no fun for the kids. Or you (we, big kids, like fun too).

Hope you enjoy!

Eggs in the Hole
from June

2 slices of whole wheat bread (we're trying to be healthy, remember!)
2 free-range, large eggs
Margarine (or butter, cause butter is not where I skimp to be healthy)
Salt & Pepper, to taste

Cut 1 large hold in the middle of each bread slice.

Heat a large non-stick skillet on medium, and add a dollop of margarine/butter (If you're using a non-stick pan, the butter is just for flavor. Although, my non-stick pans never seem to be TRULY non-stick, so I always grease 'em up).

Crack each egg into a ramekin and set aside.

Once the butter has melted, place 1 (or 2 if they fit) bread slice in the pan. Pour an egg into the hole.

At this point, your method may vary based on how you like your eggs cooked. Tim's mom likes runny yokes, where I like mine cooked all the way through. If you like your yokes cooked through, poke them so they break. If you like runny yokes, don't poke them.

Let the eggs cook on the first side until the majority of the white is opaque and cooked. You can also salt and pepper the egg at this point.

Flip the bread and egg, and cook on the other side, until the egg is fully cooked to your desire and the bread is browned (approx. 3 minutes).

Guten appetit!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Creamy Fruit Dip

My friend Sonya finds some great recipes. She's the type of person where, when eating dinner at her house, I'm usually in awe. Never walking away without at least one of the recipes from the evening.

Sonya is generous with her recipes, and friendship. She hosted my baby shower months ago, and had the most beautiful food spread... I was in awe. Again.

The shower was a brunch, and one of the dishes she served was fresh fruit, accompanied by a creamy sweet dip. Sonya was very aware of my pregnancy sweet tooth. Since you can't serve ONLY sweet, sugary foods, you almost always want to (or feel obligated to, because personally, I could have only had sweets! ha) have some fruit to round out the meal. A token strawberry on my plate does make me feel healthier. I can't lie.

Since the shower, I've served this dip at almost all of my breakfast/brunch gatherings. This dip is so ridiculously easy (the hardest part is cutting up the fruit), and so good, I expect it will become a part of your morning party repertoire too. No more store bought overly pricey pre-made fruit dip for you! Enjoy.

Creamy Fruit Dip
from Sonya

1 1/2 cups Sour Cream
2 tablespoons Brown Sugar

+ Fruit for dipping (I like strawberries, apple and cantaloupe as constants. Then I usually add another fruit that the store is carrying and looks fresh/good, such as: kiwi, blueberries, pineapple, raspberries or blackberries)

In a small bowl, whisk the sour cream and sugar until completely blended (1-2 minutes). Refrigerate up to 1 day in advance.

Cut and plate your fruit. Place fruit dip in a small serving bowl next to your fresh fruit.


Guten appetit!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Fresh Fruit Coffeecake

Tim just told me I was NOT allowed to plan anything for the next couple of weekends. Why such a strict mandate? He's exhausted. (Me too)

Being home is wonderful. We keep talking about how happy we are to be home. Yet... it's also overwhelming. We've been jam-packed with house, move, family, friends, etc to-dos every weekend. When it was just us in Germany, we had a lot of mellow down-time. Having a full calendar isn't bad, and we WANT to do it all. We just have to remember to also schedule 'chill time' for ourselves. Otherwise, our first-time-sleep-deprived selves are going to crack. And it wont be pretty.

So, you will find both tim and I at home this weekend. Chillin'. Anyone know of anything good on TV?

This recipe is from my favorite bakery in Seattle, Macrina. They have a line out the door every morning. You can sign-up for their monthly newsletter which includes recipes from their shop. Divine!

I made it a couple weekends ago for a brunch. One of our many weekend activities of late. It was scrumptious, and only a couple pieces were left (which means some folks had more than 1 piece, always a good sign!). It was moist, light yet dense (How can that be?! But it was!), and the perfect hint of sweetness. The blackberries were great, and I can't wait to try it with blueberries or perhaps huckleberries (as the Macrina newsletter suggested).

Other things worth mentioning... my fruit still fell to the bottom, despite rolling it in some of the flour mix. But I didn't mind. I also halved the recipe, and that made enough for 8 people and baked perfectly in an 8 inch round spring-form pan. Aaaannnd, I finally graduated to the big-kids baking world, with my own kitchenaid mixer. This coffeecake was my first time using it. Isn't she pretty?

If you like the coffeecake, maybe you'll have to visit us here in Seattle and go to Macrina yourself. What? You live in timbuktu? Macrina is worth the trip.

Fresh Fruit Coffeecake

from Macrina Bakery

Makes 1 Bundt cake

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups ripe fruit (whole berries or fruit cut into 1/2 inch pieces) - I used self picked blackberries!
12 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups buttermilk
Edible flowers and powdered sugar for garnish (optional) - I used powdered sugar and some of the leftover blackberries

Preheat oven to 350ยบ F. Oil a 12-cup Bundt pan.

Sift flour, baking soda and salt into a large bowl and toss with your hands to combine. Remove 1/4 cup of the flour mixture and set bowl aside.

In a separate medium bowl, combine fruit and the reserved 1/4 cup of flour mixture. Toss until fruit is evenly coated and set aside. Tossing the fruit in flour helps keep it from sinking to the bottom of the coffeecake - a true disaster!

Combine butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer. Mix with the paddle attachment for 5 to 8 minutes on medium speed. The mixture will become smooth and pale in color. Add eggs, one at a time, making sure the first egg is fully mixed into the batter before adding the other. After the second egg is incorporated, add vanilla extract and mix for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and mix for another 30 seconds to make sure all of the ingredients are fully incorporated. Remove the bowl from the mixer.

Alternately add small amounts of flour mixture and buttermilk to the batter mixing with a wooden spoon just until all dry ingredients are incorporated. Gently fold in the flour coated fruit making sure the fruit is evenly distributed through the batter. Spoon batter into the prepared Bundt pan filling two-thirds of the pan.

Bake on the center rack of the oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until top is golden brown (my small cake only took about 50 minutes to cook and brown on top). Check the center of the coffeecake with a skewer. It will come out clean when the cake is done. Let cool in a pan for 45 minutes.

Loosen the sides of the cake with a sharp knife. Place a serving plate upside-down on top of the cooled Bundt pan and invert the pan to remove the cake.

Guten appetit!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Dutch Babies, the 'Big Pancake'

This is another delicious breakfast recipe from my friend Sonya. While we stayed at her house, she made 'big pancake' one morning. Her kids loved it, and so did I!

It was so easy. No messing around with watching the pancakes, flipping the pancakes, making multiple batches because they don't all fit on the pan at once, etc. Heat oven, melt butter, stir 3 ingredients together and bake. Easy, easy, easy.

And what's more, this recipe would be fun to play with. Add a pinch of nutmeg or an 1/8 teaspoon of vanilla. Do as you please! But the basic recipe is so easy and tasty, it's hard to find the desire to change it. It's greatness is it's simplicity.

Toppings are the same, do as you please... fresh fruit with whipped cream in summer, organic maple syrup in winter, a light dusting of powdered sugar for those who prefer just a little sweet, or perhaps some strawberry jam. Yum! All of it. Yum.

Enjoy this one, it's one of our favorites.

Big Pancake
from Sonya

1/2 stick butter
4 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup flour

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place butter in 9x13 (or equivalent size) oven-safe baking dish. Put in oven, then remove once butter has melted.

In a large bowl, beat (use a hand mixer or whisk) the eggs until light. Add milk and mix, then flour and mix until well combined.

Pour batter into baking dish (no need to stir or mix with the butter), and place in the oven.

Cook for 20 minutes, or until browned and puffed up the sides. Serves 4-5 people.

Very easy to half the recipe, or to make slightly less: use 1/3 stick butter, 3 eggs, 3/4 milk and 3/4 flour and use an 8 inch pan.

More pancake recipes:
- Dee's Oatmeal Pancakes, from Simply Recipes
- Swedish Pancakes, from Anne's Food
- Buckwheat Crepes, from David Lebovitz
- Chocolate filled Crepes with Cinnamon Crusts, from 80 Breakfasts

Guten appetit!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Perfect Pie Crust (Savory or Sweet)

This crust truly lives up to it's name. Easy to make, and portions great into freezer friendly crusts for future. If you're going to make a pie crust, why not have some left over to make a future pie faster and easier to whip up? Make life easy on yourself.

I suppose, if it's a perfect crust, it also needs to taste great, right? It does. I've used it on both sweet (apple and pumpkin) pies, as well as savory pies (pot pie and quiche). They all tasted delicious!

The only trick I found, is giving yourself enough time to dethaw the crust, if you are using a frozen portion. Fresh is obviously no problem.

If using a frozen portion: Simply unwrap all but one of the saran wrap layers and lay it out on your counter to dethaw for approximately 20 minutes. If it's too hard, it will crack and be difficult to work with. It doesn't have to be completely thaw though, as it will still be malleable and small cracks can be pinched back together.

I got 3 crusts from the recipe, but should have been able to make 4. The crusts were a little thick. Tammy says you can get 6 (3 pies, with tops), but I don't see that. You'd have to roll really thin.

It's great if you are hosting a party where you need multiple crusts for your dishes. For example, you're hosting wedding shower and wanting to serve a couple quiches and a strawberry pie for dessert. Or you are making a quiche for Christmas morning, and an apple pie for Christmas dessert. Or, you're making a quiche, and want to make life easy on yourself down the road, next time you're making a pie or quiche. You wont regret using this crust.

Perfect Pie Crust

from Tammy's Recipes

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 3/4 cup butter or shortening
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 egg
1/2 cup cold water

In a mixing bowl, mix flour, salt and sugar. Cut in butter until pea-sized lumps remain. In a separate bowl, beat vinegar, egg, and water. Add to flour/butter mixture and stir/mix just enough to make a dough. Mixture will be sticky still. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes. (I usually refrigerate for an hour or more). Roll into shape (on floured surface) and use with fruit, pumpkin, or any pie requiring an unbaked crust. For pies requiring a pre-baked crust, bake at 425 degrees until slightly browned.

This recipe will make three medium-thickness 9-inch pie crusts (including tops). If you like a thicker crust, it will do 2 pies with tops. If you roll really thin, you can get 4!

Dough can be refrigerated up to three days or frozen until ready to use.

Delicious sweet pies you can make with this crust:
- Vegetable Pot Pie
- Blueberry Pie, from Andrea's Recipes
- Cindy Crawford's Strawberry Pie, from Not Quite Nigella
- Blackberry Pie, from Alpineberry

Guten appetit!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Buttermilk Cranberry Scones, for St. Patrick's Day

While visiting Ireland this past summer with my sister, I ate lots and lots and lots of scones. Scones and soup. Despite the fact that we visited in August, it rained and was chilly most days. No matter - more opportunities to duck into the nearest Irish pub for tea and scones. Yum.

Actually, as I think about it, I really like bread products in general - a good crusty olive loaf, banana bread, whole wheat english muffins, biscuits, bagels, and of course, scones! There must be something that causes me to crave carbs, not sure. I just love bread.

Well, what better to make for St. Patrick's Day, than scones?! (nevermind that it also feeds my carb cravings, I'm killing two birds with one stone here)

When searching for a great scone recipe, there were thousands. I liked this one, and this one looked interesting, or how about this? (sorry, you'll have to click on the link to see what I drooled over).

In the end, I settled on a basic Buttermilk Cranberry Scone, since in truth, I've never made scones before. Best to start off easy. This recipe also seemed to fit my mood at the time of baking.

If you're a bit weary of making scones, Pinch My Salt has a great 'how to make biscuits' tutorial that you can read through first. I also followed recommendations to read the complete scone recipe before starting, and to get all the ingredients prepared ahead of time. While Pinch My Salt touched on this too, another recipe explicitly stated: a hot oven is imperative for scones. So start pre-heating your oven asap.

You may be wondering by this point, how did they turn out? Oh, my, good, golly! Delicious. The perfect blend of cakey biscuit with a hint of sweet. And the cranberries, cut in small pieces, were little bursts of flavor. This is definitely a keeper recipe.

I also liked that the recipe is a manageable size. It makes 8 scones, although it would be easy enough to double for more. I didn't have a dough mixer, so I did everything by hand, and it worked great.

For any reason whatsoever, make these!

(I don't know if I should admit this, but after making this recipe the week before, I couldn't get enough and just made another batch. Loooove them)

Note: I made the lemon glaze and drizzled it on half the scones. I thought it made the scones too sweet and took away from their subtly sweet, cranberry flavor. But, that's just a personal preference.

Buttermilk Cranberry Scone
from Pinch My Salt

2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
1/2 cup buttermilk (I used the buttermilk substitute)
1 large egg
1/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries, chopped fine
Finely grated zest from one small lemon- about 2 teaspoons (I did not do this, totally OK)
Heavy cream (optional, for brushing tops of scones)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a medium bowl, whisk or sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, soda and salt. Add butter chunks and toss lightly with flour; place bowl in fridge.

In a small bowl, whisk together egg, buttermilk, and lemon zest; place bowl in fridge.

Get organized: measure out and chop the cranberries; set aside. Line a baking sheet with parchment; set aside. Lightly dust a counter top with flour. Pour a little bit of heavy cream in a bowl and have a pastry brush handy.

Remove bowls of flour and buttermilk from fridge. Cut butter into flour with a pastry blender or rub together with your fingertips until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add cranberries and stir to combine.

Add buttermilk mixture all at once to flour mixture and stir until the mixture clumps together. Dump mixture out onto floured counter top and, with floured hands, gather into a ball and knead once or twice to combine everything. Pat into a circle about 1/2 inch thick. Cut into 8 slices, like a pie, or cut with biscuit or cookie cutters into whatever shape you prefer. Put scones on lined baking sheet and brush lightly with heavy cream (optional).

Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 13-15 minutes until lightly browned. Remove to cooling rack.

Optional Lemon Glaze (see note above): Combine about 1/2 cup powdered sugar with a couple teaspoons of fresh lemon juice and whisk to combine. Adjust sugar/juice amounts to get the consistency you prefer. Drizzle glaze over cooled scones, and allow glaze to set.

More delicious, sweet scones:
- Irish Buttermilk Scones, from Albion Cooks
- Blueberry-Raspberry Honey-Butter Glazed Scones, from Baking and Books
- Strawberry Sunrise Scones, from Baking Bites
- Maple Oatmeal Scones, from Andrea's Recipes

Guten appetit!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Fruit Coffee Cake

I've been wondering lately what the blog will turn into after the baby is born (due end of January, so we're in the home stretch!). Will I keep up with all of these sweet recipes that have been satisfying my pregnancy cravings? My guess is, yes. At least, more than I used to pre-pregnancy. I seem to have caught a baking bug. I still think cooking is my preference and I 'cook' more often than I 'bake'. But I have a lot of fun trying out new cake, bread, or general baking recipes. A new era has dawned on me. Glad you could join me for the ride!

I had been wanting to make a coffee cake for quite a while. A rhubarb recipe caught my eye a few months back, but I missed rhubarb season. When I saw this recipe and it's flexibility of the fruit used, I decided to give it a go.

As you can kind-of see, I chose to use cranberries. Simply because they've been in season recently, and I was able to buy a fresh bag. Also, I'd never cooked with cranberries. I wasn't even sure what they tasted like. As it turns out, they're tart. Who knew?! (probably you, but no need to rub it in)

This recipe makes a very traditional, light and fluffy, not a lot of sweetness, fruit with crumble on top, coffee cake. For me, it was too bland. But I've never been a HUGE fan of coffee cakes, so take my opinion with a grain of salt.

For those who do not like overly sweet breads, this would hit the spot. The topping gives it a mildly sweet flavor, and it had a nice texture when it baked into and covered the cake. I think this recipe would hold it's own in a brunch, when paired with other savory breakfast foods. I don't think it's best served on it's own, with a cup of coffee or tea.

And in truth, I may have liked it better if I used a different fruit. Yes, back to the cranberries... I wasn't a fan of the tart flavor. It somewhat overpowered the cake and the slight sweetness of the topping. Next time I make this, I plan to use blueberries.

Make no mistake, the cake was eaten up and enjoyed. My mom's husband loved it. I just have a different preference for texture and taste in my coffee cakes, if I eat one at all.

Fruit Coffee Cake
from Tammy's Recipes

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup milk
1 cup blueberries, cranberries*, or raspberries
Topping Ingredients:
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup softened butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

In another bowl, beat eggs until frothy. (We use an electric mixer for this.) Mix in oil and milk.

Pour milk mixture into dry ingredients and stir. Fold in fruit. Pour batter into a greased 8-inch square baking pan.

Mix topping ingredients together (should be coarse crumbs/lumps of topping) and sprinkle over batter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes, until cake tests done in the middle. Cover cake loosely with foil if the top starts browning too quickly (I usually place foil over the cake after about 45-50 minutes).

Serve hot, or cool in pan.

Coffee cake recipes that caught my eye:
- Raspberry Walnut Coffee Cake, from Alpineberry
- Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Chocolate and Nuts, from Bake or Break
- Strawberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake, from Serious Eats
- Moist and Marbled Coffee Cake, from Cookbook Catchall

Guten appetit!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Oatmeal Apple Pancakes - Taste & Create

If you are a food blogger, or food blog reader, you've probably seen various food groups/monthly events around. There are the Daring Bakers, Tuesday with Dorie, No Croutons Required, Presto Pasta Nights, the Cake Slice Bakers, and many more.

I finally decided to jump in, and joined Taste & Create for December/January.

I was really excited to be paired with Hanne at Supper in Stereo. Her blog is beautiful - well laid out, fun posts, great pictures and very organized. And the recipes? Delicious! I had a hard time choosing just one. Some of my favorites that I contemplated: Rosemary Walnut Butter Cookies, Ciabatta bread, her Daring Bakers Party Cake, and the Pumpkin Pecan Madeleines.

In the end, I went with my breakfast craving (I can't tell if this is a pregnancy craving or not, since I simply love pancakes!) and made Oatmeal Apple Pancakes.

I read through the reviews and a couple other apple pancake recipes, to make sure I'd cook them to perfection. First tip I followed was to cook them on low heat. It may take a few extra minutes, but probably due to the oatmeal, you really need the extra time to cook them through. Second, I made the oatmeal thick. The two probably go hand in hand. If you try to cook too quickly or make runny oatmeal, you are bound to end up with a pancake that is mushy. These are not fluffy, but instead are delicious and filling, and a fun twist to your mom's buttermilk pancake!

And look at the reward:

Yum! Yum! Pile on the butter and syrup, please. I'm ready to feast!

Thanks for the great recipe Hanne. This will be a fun one to break out when bisquick (gasp!) just wont cut it!

Oatmeal Apple Pancakes
from Supper in Stereo

1/2 cup flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 large egg, beaten
1 1/2 cups cooked oatmeal (I use instant oatmeal, but this would be great with rolled oats)
1/2 cup milk
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated
unsalted butter

Preheat a skillet on medium heat.

Mix together flour, salt and baking powder. Add wet ingredients and mix gently.

Melt a pat of butter onto the skillet and pour batter in 1/4-1/2 cup servings onto skillet.

Allow to cook until bubbles show on one side (I waited until bubbles showed and when they popped, stayed open. I also waited for the edges of the pancake to start looking dry), then flip and cook on the other side until both sides are golden. Serve warm.

More for the pancake lovers:
- Fluffy Ricotta Pancakes, from Apartment Therapy
- Eggnog Pancakes, from Erin Cooks
- IHOP Copycat Pumpkin Pancakes, from Dine & Dish
- Banana Pancakes, from Food 4 Tots

Guten appetit!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Monkey Bread

Oh, sweet goodness... where have you been all my life?! From the second I saw the recipe and thought about this bread, I knew I was going to love it. And I did. I loved it the morning we made it, then again that afternoon and evening. And I helped myself to more the following day. I propose a name change to 'crack bread'. I've never felt so addicted to a food - I want it again, now. (Beware of denying pregnant women food)

Luckily, we made two batches of this delicious recipe. Otherwise, there could have been fierce battles over the sharing of 'my bread'. Not to make you think I'm a ginormous piggy, we only made two breads because we thought our first batch was a botch - the dough seemed really runny, and it was taking a long time to rise. But as soon as we started on the second batch, our first began to spring to life and so we had two monkey breads to feast on!

If you are hosting a brunch, shower, or holiday breakfast, please consider making this bread (and inviting me over!). Pretty please! Yes, I'm begging.

The bread is cinnamon gooey goodness, with a nice, fluffy doughy texture. Like cinnamon rolls, only better. I would rate the recipe difficulty as 'medium' (Only because of its time requirements, and multi-step process. But the recipe itself is a surprisingly easy, step-by-step process and worth every second of effort).

TIP: If you want to speed your prep time along, after putting the dough in a bowl and covering it with saran wrap to rise, heat your oven to 300 degrees and open the door. Place the bowl on the oven door, so it catches the heat from the oven. OR, you can turn on your oven to 400 degrees, after heated, turn it off. Place a cookie sheet of hot water on the bottom rack and your bowl with dough on the rack above, covered with a dry dishtowel. Shut the oven. Either way, your dough will rise twice as fast!

Monkey Bread
from my friend Sonya

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

For the dough:
3/8 cup warm milk (about 110 degrees F)
1/2 cup warm water (about 110 degrees F)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 package rapid-rise yeast
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 teaspoons salt

For the sugar coating:
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the glaze:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon water

Have all the ingredients at room temperature. Butter the monkey bread baking mold (a 10 inch round bundt pan) with the 2 tablespoons softened butter.

To make the dough, in a bowl, whisk together the milk, water, melted butter, granulated sugar, egg and yeast.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour and salt and beat on low speed just until combined. Slowly add the milk mixture and beat until the dough comes together, 1 to 2 minutes. Increase the speed to medium and beat until the dough is sshiny and smooth, 5 to 6 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 1 minute. Form the dough into a ball. Coat the inside of a large bowl with nonstick cooking spray, place the dough in the bowl and coat the surface of the dough with cooking spray. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour (see Tip).

Meanwhile, prepare the sugar coating. In a bowl, stir together the brown sugar and cinnamon. Put the melted butter in another bowl. Set aside.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and shape into an 8-inch square. Cut the dough into 6 equal strips, then cut each piece crosswise into 8 pieces to form a total of 48 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, dip into the melted butter and roll in the brown sugar-cinnamon mixture, coating well. Stack the balls in the prepared baking pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 30-45 minutes. Do not let the dough rise over the top of the pan.

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven. Place a piece of aluminum foil on the rack to catch any drips during baking. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove the plastic wrap and place pan in the oven. Bake 30 minutes, or until cake is slightly crunchy on top.

While the bread is baking, combine all glaze ingredients and whisk until smooth.

When bread is done, remove from oven. Place a plate on top of bundt pan (upside down) and flip so that cake falls out onto plate. Drizzle the glaze on top (you may not want to use all of the glaze, depending on how sweet you want it). Serve warm.

Serves 12-15 people.

Today, I have no other recipes to offer in place of this Monkey Bread. Nothing can compare. (pitter patter, goes my heart. growl growl, goes my stomach!)

Guten appetit!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Banana Bread

The smell of banana bread reminds me of waking up as a kid to delicious morning smells. I love the way it fills your house. My mom, aka 'Super Mom', made us breakfast every morning (and yes, she had a full-time job too). Waffles, oatmeal, pancakes, blueberry muffins... and banana bread (not all in the same day though!).

This isn't actually my mom's recipe, as I simply haven't asked her for it yet. But it tastes just like it, so my guess is that it will be pretty close. This one came from a friend, and it's HER mother's recipe. Go moms!

Mmm, delicious.

- As you gear up for the holidays, make a double batch and freeze a couple loaves to bring with you to brunches, family gatherings or as a hostess gift. You can freeze the loaves up to 6 months.
- To freeze banana bread, wrap tightly in saran wrap and then tinfoil or a ziploc sack. To eat a frozen loaf, you can thaw/warm it in the microwave or oven.
- Bought too many bananas? You can also freeze the banana's up to 3 months! They will turn dark or black in the freezer. When you are ready to make a batch of banana bread: remove bananas from the freezer and let thaw for 5-10 minutes, then peel them with a knife. You don't want them to go too soft, or they are very hard to peel. I also find that I need an extra banana to fill the cup portions required when using frozen.

Banana Bread

3/4 cup unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
3 cups flour
4 eggs
1/2 cups heavy cream
2 cups banana, sliced into small pieces
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans), toasted or raw *optional

Preheat oven to 350. Grease one 9x13 inch pan, or two 7x3 inch loaf pans.

In a medium bowl, mix the flower and salt together. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy (approximately 5 minutes). Then add the sugar and mix, eggs (one at a time) and mix, and finally the vanilla. Beat until everything is mixed well (an extra 1-2 minutes).

Then add the heavy cream and baking soda, and mix well. Next add the banana slices and mix until the banana has been mashed and fully integrated.

Add the flour/salt mixture slowly (1/2 cup at a time), while beating on medium speed. Be sure each addition is mixed in well before adding more flour. Mix a little longer past the last flour addition, and done.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 45-50 minutes. The bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Twists on tradition:
- Mocha Banana Bread, from Cooking with Amy
- Chocolate Chip and Sour Cream Banana Bread, from Closet Cooking
- Cherry Coconut Banana Bread, from Treat a Week Recipes

Guten appetit!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Morning Glory Muffins

I should do some guest posts and have my foodie friends contribute their household favorite recipes... I know some really good cooks!

This recipe comes from the east-side, Virginia yo. Michelle is one of 2 high-school best friends, and a seriously wicked cook. She participates in a cooking light supper club, hosts parties with their friends and has old-world italian recipes handed down to her from her grandmother, who lives in Lucca. Um, yeah. Yum! She e-mailed me yesterday to tell me about her mother's day plans, where she's hosting the celebration and having a mexican themed menu. I wish I could hide in her basement and have her sneak me plates of food.

But enough about my champagne wishes, and food dreams...

She happened to send me a muffin recipe 3 weeks ago, saying it was a household favorite (her 1 year old gobbles them up). Looking over the recipe, it reminded me of the Morning Glory muffins we used to buy at Macrina bakery in Seattle. If you EVER visit Seattle, do-not-miss Macrina bakery. Seriously.

After making my first batch, Tim said the same thing, reminded him of the Morning Glories and I was asked to make them again - immediately. Hey, when you know what you like, go with it! Since then, I've made this recipe 4 times. They are always gone within 3 days. Michelle said she freezes her batches and then can take 1 or 2 out of the freezer, warm them up with a pat of butter and have them ready for breakfast in a flash. I have no idea how she controls herself enough to put them in a freezer and wait to eat them.
Note: I incorrectly used cupcake cups in this picture. Unfortunately, they stick to the paper cups. Instead, grease your muffin tin, and pour the batter in directly.

If you make these muffins, would love to know how your family responds.

Morning Glory Muffins
(do not know the source)

1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour (I sometimes use whole wheat flour, or a combo- turns out great)
3/4 cup flaxseed meal (ground flaxseeds)
3/4 cup oat bran (I use a breakfast muesli, and works well. I think any oat would be OK here)
1 cup brown sugar (I dont like super sweet, so I cut this to 1/2-3/4 cup sugar)
2 tsp baking soda
1 ts baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups carrots, shredded (I use 2 medium-large carrots)
2 apples, peeled and shredded
1/2 cup raisins (optional, but I use craisins on michelle's recommendation- delicious!)
1 cup nuts, chopped (I like a mix of nuts and use raw almonds, sunflower seeds, and raw pecans)
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla

Pre-heat oven to 350 (176 in celsius!).

Mix together flour, flaxseed meal, oat bran, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl. Stir in carrots, apples, raisins and nuts.

Add milk, eggs and vanilla and stir until everything is moistened. However, do not over mix.

Grease a muffin pan (I use Pam). Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake at 350 F for 15-20 minutes. Yields 15 medium muffins.

You are probably sick of reading by now, but this is worth an extra minute - I promise!

I forgot to mention how healthy these muffins are. I was going on and on about the deliciousness, and I neglected to tell you the secondary reason they are so fantastic! Flaxseeds have an abundance of omega-3 fatty acids. The benefits of flaxseeds have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, helping with varicose veins, reducing blood pressure, reducing cholesterol, and acting as a possible benefit to arthritis conditions (click here for more info on omega-3 fatty acids). While you can gain the omega-3 fatty acids in fish (such as salmon), flax are SIX times richer than most fish oils. So go ahead, flax it up!

Guten appetit!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Crustless Broccoli Quiche

Eggs: there's something about them I crave on occasion. Oh yeah, protein.

I believe your body will tell you which nutrients you are missing in your diet, causing cravings. As a vegetarian, you have to be more conscious of where to get the necessary vitamins and minerals needed in order to fulfill those cravings in a healthy way.

In very loose support of my theory, a friend told me a couple days ago about a new study that linked artificial sweeteners with weight gain. Apparently, by focusing your diet primarily on 0 calorie foods/drinks with artificial sweeteners (being a diet coke-aholic, I was all ears to these new findings), you are depraving your body of the natural level of sugar it's looking for, and therefore you end up craving and seeking sugar in other areas of your diet. In the end, you could gain more weight by trying to avoid a few sugar calories vs. allowing yourself a moderated amount of natural sugar. Whether it's true or not (based on extreme situations, or how close you believe we are related to rats), I know I get certain food cravings due to my vegetarian diet choice. Not so much sugar, as I use 3 cubes in my tea each morning! (and I have 2 cups of tea) But that's my scientific story, and I'm sticking to it.

Enough chatter! Where's the recipe??

In honor of my recent egg/protein craving, I made a super easy and delicious quiche. If the ease and tastiness guarantee aren't enough incentive for you to grab some eggs and start cutting up broccoli, here are a couple other reasons:
* Nixing the crust certainly helps with prep, but also with the calories.
* W
ho knew broccoli was packed full of Vitamin C?! Hooray for broccoli!

Crustless Broccoli & Cheese Quiche (modified slightly from cookinglight)

teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup vertically sliced onion
1 garlic clove, minced
2-3 cups broccoli florets
Cooking spray
1 1/4 cups 1% low-fat milk
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat Swiss cheese (I use a mixed pre-shredded cheese bag)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 large egg whites, lightly beaten
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon grated fresh Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; saute 1 1/2 minutes. Add broccoli; saute 1 minute (be careful not to overcook, just saute). Spread broccoli mixture into a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray.
3. Combine milk and next 8 ingredients (milk through eggs) in a large bowl. Pour milk mixture over broccoli mixture; sprinkle with Parmesan.
4. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes or until top is golden and a knife inserted in center comes out clean; let stand 5 minutes.
5. Serve with toast or a side salad.

In addition to an easy weeknight meal, this quiche would be a nice brunch or potluck dish.

This hausfrau loves a good quiche! Guten appetit.