Tuesday, March 31, 2009


2 eggs
1 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup salad oil

1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tbl. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt

3/4 cup milk 

Preheat waffle iron. I like the Belgian-style waffle iron. Spray with non-stick cooking spray. 

While the waffle iron is heating, mix the eggs, yogurt, and oil. Sift the dry ingredients and add them with the milk. Mix all well. Add a bit more milk if the mixture seems too thick. 

Pour batter carefully into the waffle iron. If you get too much in, it will overflow and make a mess. My waffle iron takes about 4 minutes per double waffle. 

Yield: 3 double waffles

Monday, March 30, 2009

Fresh Mushroom and Parsley Salad

Giada De Laurentis of the Food Network kind of freaks me out. I imagine that one of those weird lizard creatures from the movie V is hiding inside her skin or something... As a cook, however, Giada has good recipes. This recipe is what finally convinced me. It's simple to make and refreshing.

--1 pound large button mushrooms, trimmed, cleaned and thinly sliced
--1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
--1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
--1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
--Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
--2 ounces freshly shredded Parmesan cheese

In a medium salad bowl, mix together the mushrooms and parsley.

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil and lemon juice until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Add the oil mixture to the salad bowl and toss until all the ingredients are coated. Toss in the Parmesan cheese.

Tomato, Cucumber and Garbanzo Bean Salad

After college, my friend Kiyash and I lived in a run-down old building in Washington Heights, just north of Harlem in Manhattan. Together we elevated budget living to a science, shopping for food at the local 99-Cent store or at "Super Extra Meat Market," the local grocery where people danced the merengue with their shopping carts to the blaring music. We'd go home with two or three dollars worth of food, then experiment. In my opinion, Kiyash often crossed the line. I came up with this:

-- 1 Can Garbanzo Beans, fully rinsed (How I discovered Goya!)
-- 1 Cucumber, diced
-- 2 or 3 Tomatoes, diced
-- Dill (fresh is best, but dried is fine too)
-- The juice from 2 limes
-- Olive Oil
-- Kosher Salt
-- Freshly Ground Black Pepper

In a medium salad bowl, mix together the beans, veggies, and the dill.

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil and lime juice until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add the lime vinaigrette to the salad bowl and toss until all the ingredients are coated.

Refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes to let the flavors mellow out a little bit. This salad is also best served really cold.

VARIATION: Instead of dressing the veggies, beans, and dill with the lime vinaigrette, add a little plain yogurt. Refrigerate longer while the flavors blend. I'm sure that my mom used to make something like this.

Oven-Fried Chicken II

Rinse and pat dry one frying chicken, cut up.

Dip chicken pieces into plain yogurt, then roll in crushed corn flakes. 

Spray a roasting pan with non-stick cooking spray, add chicken pieces and bake at 375 for an hour, turning pieces over after 30 minutes. Be sure that juices run clear when chicken is poked with a fork. 

Note: This recipe can be made with boneless, skinless breast of chicken. Total baking time will be around 45-50 minutes. 

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Oven-Fried Chicken, I

Rinse and pat dry one frying chicken, cut up

Dip into a beaten egg with a bit of milk added. 
Toss chicken pieces in a mixture of flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika that you have placed in a plastic bag. 
Remove chicken pieces and let them dry for a few minutes. 

Melt 1/4 cup of butter in a roasting pan. Add chicken pieces and bake at 375 for an hour, turning pieces over after 30 minutes. Be sure that the juices run clear when the chicken is poked with a fork. 

Note: This recipe can be made with boneless, skinless breast of chicken. Total baking time will be around 45-50 minutes.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Mom's Meatloaf

This is the homeliest of home cooking, but Ben wanted the recipe...

1 lb. ground beef
2 eggs
1 or 2 garlic cloves, peeled and put through a garlic press
A shot or two of catsup
A pinch of oregano
A lot of fresh ground pepper (no need to add any salt)
Enough Italian bread crumbs to make a firm mixture

When everything is well blended, put the meat mixture into a greased loaf pan or casserole dish. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes; spread more catsup* on the top and bake for 15 minutes more. 

Note to Ben: Baked potatoes are a good accompaniment, and just happen to bake for 1 hour at 350.

*New discovery: Top with some Spicy Indian Ketchup instead of regular American ketchup/catsup

Friday, March 27, 2009

Mini Pizzas

As a little boy, this was the first food I can remember constructing on my own. My growth-spurt instincts instructed me to constantly sneak around in the kitchen, foraging for sustenance. I can't remember where I found the idea for this recipe, but it represented my 2001 moment, combining ingredients for the first time in a giant evolutionary step... PIZZA!!

It's ghetto fabulous for sure. I'm almost ashamed to be posting it as an "appetizer" for fear that I will be blamed when this gets served to company. But it's a great simple recipe for kids and a delicious snack for anyone. The basic concept is also very flexible (English muffin + any sauce + heat = crazy delicious). Below is just MY version, but YOU should play around, substitute ingredients, add, subtract... Explore the kitchen, kids! Just don't burn your mouth.

-- 1 English Muffin
-- 4 Tbsp. Pasta Sauce, warm (Marinara works well)
-- Pinch of Oregano
-- 2 Slices of Cheese (Mozzarella works well)

Split the English muffin. Spoon 2 tbsp. of sauce onto each half and spread it around, filling the little holes. Crush a pinch of oregano between your thumb and pointer finger, sprinkling over everything. Lay a slice of cheese over each half.

Broil in a toaster-oven if you have one or your oven broiler if you're an adult. Remove when the cheese is completely melted and slightly golden in color. Don't forget to unplug the toaster afterwards!

Homemade Pasta

1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup flour
2 tbl. water

Combine flour and  salt. Make a well in the flour and add the egg. Mix well, adding water as needed. Turn out onto lightly floured surface.

Knead dough for 3 to 4 minutes. Hand roll or put through a pasta machine. Cut into strips. Dry for at least 20 minutes before cooking. You can store the dried pasta in air tight bags and freeze it, if you wish. 

Homemade pasta seems to cook faster than store bought, so check it often for doneness. 

We used to spend Saturday afternoons making pasta--fettucine, linguine, and ravioli. We would hang it on an old-fashioned wooden laundry dryer, but that had to go up on top of a table because our old collie, Leafy, just loved those noodles. 

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Andy's Sliced Roast Pork

When my childhood friend Andy May comes to town, we head over to Rai Rai Ken, an East Village Ramen Noodle joint. When I say "Ramen Noodle," I'm not just talking about Oodles-of-Noodles. This place serves up the real deal, a hearty soup for the body and soul. But Andy and I have been obsessed with another item on the menu: the sliced roast pork. Andy, a budding chef, has been trying for some time to figure out how it's made. Here's his version:

-- A pork sirloin roast, the back part of the loin, near the hind leg
-- Sesame Oil
-- Dark Soy Sauce

Sear the pork roast. Then roast at low heat (275 degrees) for 4 hours, basting often in its juices. Remove from oven and cut the roast into 1/4 inch slices. Re-sear these slices with a marinade of sesame oil and dark soy sauce*. Then eat it all in one sitting.

*Rai Rai Ken also includes coursely chopped scallions in this marinade.


Corn tortillas, heated on a dry grill 
Ground beef, cooked and seasoned with chile powder, cumin, salt, pepper, and garlic powder
Chopped up tomatoes
Assorted greens 
Cream cheese
Chopped onions, white or green, raw or sautéed, optional
Chopped avocado, optional

After warming the tortillas, place a tablespoon or so of cream cheese on each, fold, and keep warm in the oven while preparing the other ingredients. Let everyone assemble their own tacos. 

You can use grated monterey jack cheese instead, but the cream cheese is a recent discovery and is delicious.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sauteed Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Onions

Thanks mom for letting me join this blog as a collaborator. And, of course, thanks for giving me a few hundred recipes to re-tune my taste buds and re-live fond childhood memories. It's been nice to print up the recipe cards (using Avery Postcard Stock #5889 and the corresponding word processor template), put them into my little wooden box, and enjoy the family culinary legacy...


Sauteed Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Onions

Brussel Sprouts were one of those vegetables that I always heard my parents speak about with a "Yuck" and a shudder. Since it was so universally hated, this notorious green thing was never served to me as a child, not even with the sick vengeful glee that inspired dinners such as Liver and Onions.

It turns out that what my parents' generation hated so much was an over-boiled and mushy thing from a freezer bag. No wonder they hated vegetables so much! On a whim one day, my ex Marsha and I decided to get brave and see what the fuss was all about. The resulting experiment of a recipe was something that even my step-dad will eat without complaint.

-- 1 small to medium Yellow Onion or Vidalia Onion, diced
-- 4 Rashers (strips) of good thick-cut Bacon, chopped-up into tiny pieces. An apple-smoked or maple bacon works best. Don't skimp on the quality.
-- 20 whole FRESH Brussel Sprouts, with any loose leaves removed and stem cut off, then quartered
-- 1/4 of a cup (approximately) of Apple Cider Vinegar. Marsha suggests Red Wine Vinegar
-- 1/2 cup Dried Cranberries (Optional)

Heat a skillet at medium to low heat and saute up the onion and bacon. Don't rush this because you want to slowly render the fat out of the bacon before the onion gets too cooked. If there isn't too much fat in the bacon, a tiny pat of butter or olive oil can be added.

Once the onion turns translucent, add the brussel sprouts. Turn the heat up high. The goal now is to carmelize the onions and brussel sprouts a bit. You don't want to burn the hell out of them, but don't be afraid of a little singe. At the very least, brown the edges for a minute or two.

When the pan is hissing from the heat and you're worried you've gone too far, pour in the vinegar, but be careful of the resulting steam. The liquid will cool and deglaze the pan, but not all the liquid should burn off. Throw in the dried cranberries (if you're using them) and cover the whole thing. Keep covered so that the whole thing can steam. If the liquid all evaporates, add some water. Cook the sprouts until they are al dente.

Brownie Pudding

Hey, Ben, this was one of our favorite desserts when you were a little kid. It's fun to make--you put together a cake-like batter, spread it in a pan, sprinkle some stuff over, and cover it all with hot water. After it comes out of the oven, the stuff on top has magically turned into pudding and has migrated to the bottom, under the now crusty and delicious cake that tops it. 

I first knew this dessert as a child when it came out as a mix. We loved its trickiness and magic. 

This version comes from my old, falling-apart Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, 1965 edition. We always called it "the red and white checked cook book."

Brownie Pudding

1 cup sifted flour
3/4 cup white sugar
2 tbl. cocoa
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk
2 tbl. salad oil
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 to 1 cup chopped nuts
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1 3/4 cups hot water

Sift together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Add milk, salad oil, vanilla. Mix until smooth. Stir in nuts. Pour into greased 8" x 8" x 2" pan. 

Mix together the brown sugar and cocoa, sprinkle over batter. Gently pour hot water over all. 

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. 

Note: You can substitute cold leftover coffee for some of the milk and for some of the water that gets poured over the top.   

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Chocolate Chipotle Brownies

Note: These are best accompanied by a glass of cold milk, to put out the little fires in your mouth

2 squares unsweetened chocolate
1/3 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
½ tsp. vanilla
¾ cup flour
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts
2 chipotle chiles,* chopped fine

Melt the butter and chocolate in the microwave. Add the remaining ingredients, stir well (be sure the chiles are well distributed!). Bake in a greased 8” by 8” pan at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. Glaze while still warm with:
Chocolate Glaze
½ square unsweetened chocolate
1 tbl. butter
1 cup powdered sugar
½ tsp. vanilla
Tiny pinch salt
A little strong coffee

Melt the butter and the chocolate in the microwave, add sugar, vanilla, salt. Beat the mixture well, adding a bit of coffee, until it is the consistency you want.

*Chipotles: Buy them in a can. They are called Chipotles in Adobo Sauce. Store leftovers in a glass jar in the refrigerator. They will go a long way. 

Monday, March 23, 2009

What To Put On or In Your Pannekoeken

The Dutch Pancake Café (Nederlandse Pannekoeken Café) in Stowe, Vermont serves their pannekoeken in the traditional Dutch way, with the added ingredients cooked into the pancake. Their mouthwatering menu, quoted below, will have you packing your bags for Vermont. In the meantime, this list will give you some ideas for your own pannekoeken.

"We serve over 80 varieties of 12 inch sweet and hearty Dutch Pancakes. Dutch pancakes are specially prepared, crepe-like pancakes with a variety of ingredients baked in. Pancakes range from apples, cinnamon and bacon to chocolate chip with cream to shredded potato, onion and cheese."



Apple Cinnamon: Fresh Apple slices sprinkled with cinnamon.

Blueberry Cream: Maine blueberries with whipped cream.

Chocolate Chip: Plain pancake with chocolate chips.

Apple Blueberry: Fresh apple slices with Maine blueberries.

Banana: Fresh sliced bananas cooked inside.

Coconut Chocolate Chip: Plain pancake with chocolate chips and sprinkled with shredded coconut.

Banana Blueberry: Fresh sliced bananas with Maine blueberries.

Banana Chocolate Coconut: Fresh sliced bananas cooked in then topped with chocolate chips and toasted coconut.

Apple Raisin: Fresh apple slices with raisins.

Fresh Strawberry Banana: Plain pancake topped with fresh sliced strawberries(seasonal) and bananas finished with whipped cream.

Banana Pineapple: Fresh sliced bananas with diced pineapple.

Strawberry, Chocolate, and Cream: Fresh sliced strawberries (seasonal) on top of pancake drizzled with chocolate sauce and whipped cream.

Maple Walnut: Pancake topped with walnut-infused maple syrup.

Banana Walnut: Fresh sliced bananas with chopped walnuts.

Pineapple Almond: Diced pineapple topped with toasted almonds.

Lemon Butter: Spread with lemon compound butter and sprinkled with confectionary sugar.

Pineapple Coconut: Diced pineapple sprinkled with shredded coconut.

For an extra special treat add a Belgian chocolate truffle cup of Vermont's own Ben & Jerry's French Vanilla ice cream.


Shredded Potato, Onion and Cheese: Sautéed potato and onions cooked into the pancake with cheddar cheese. Served with sour cream and applesauce.

Italian Sausage, Peppers and Onions: Sliced Italian link sausage with sautéed red and green bell peppers and onions.

Bacon, Cheese and Tomato: Crumbled crispy bacon, cheddar cheese and fresh diced tomato.

Tomato, Onion, Mushroom and Cheese: Fresh diced tomato and onion with sliced mushrooms and cheese.

Ham & Swiss: Diced ham and Emmanthauler Swiss cheese.

Spinach, Onion, Mushroom and Bacon: Sautéed fresh spinach, onion, mushroom slices and crumbled bacon cooked into the pancake.

Sausage Gravy: Plain pancake served with a side of southern style sausage gravy.

Apple Bacon: Fresh sliced apples and crispy crumbled bacon.

Broccoli and Swiss: Sautéed fresh broccoli florets and Emmanthauler Swiss cheese.

BaconCrumble: Crispy bacon in pancake.

Potato, Broccoli, Ham and Cheese: Sautéed fresh red potatoes, broccoli florets and ham topped with cheddar cheese.

Pineapple Canadian Bacon: Diced pineapple accompanied by thin slices of Canadian bacon.

Canadian Bacon and Cheese: Thin slices of Canadian bacon and cheddar cheese cooked in pancake.

Bacon and Cheese Crumble: Crisp bacon and cheddar cheese cooked in the pancake.

Vegetarian Canadian Bacon and Pineapple: Thin slices of soy based Canadian bacon and diced pineapple.

Vegetarian Italian Sausage, Peppers and Onion: Spicy Italian vegetarian sausage with sautéed bell peppers and onions cooked in the pancake.


Breakfast Pannekoeken: Eggs and bacon or sausage cooked in the pancake and topped with cheddar cheese.

The Rembrandt: Apple, shredded potato, pineapple, raisins, ham and cheddar cheese seasoned with curry.

Farmers Pannekoeken: Sautéed shredded potato and onions with tomato and cheese.

Nor-Easter Pannekoeken: Apple slices with walnuts and raisins sprinkled in.

Vegetable Fantasy: Basil pesto, artichoke hearts, sliced black olives, tomato and cheese.

Hawaiian Pannekoeken: Ham, pineapple and Swiss cheese.

Pina Colada Pannekoeken: Pineapple, banana and toasted coconut pancake topped with whipped cream.

Fresh Fruit Pannekoeken: Featuring the freshest in seasonal pickings layered on top of a pancake.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Pannekoeken Recipes

My son suggested that I include some pannekoeken recipes as a part of this series. These are the real Dutch Pancakes, as opposed to those delicious Dutch Babies that also appear on this blog.

Rich Vermunt, on his delightful web page called Dutch Cooking, which is part of his larger site Going Dutch, tells us that the best pancakes are made with yeast. The first recipe below is another variation which uses lots of eggs instead of yeast, and the yeast pancake recipe is also given (in Rick's words). Be sure to visit his website--it's a very entertaining and informative introduction to The Netherlands.

Ingredients for one large pancake:
1 cup flour
2 large eggs or 3 medium (fills ½ cup when beaten)
1 cup milk
at least ¼ cup butter or margarine
(multiply the above recipe with the number of pancakes you wish to make)

Put the flour and salt in a bowl, make a well in the middle and add the beaten eggs. Mix to a smooth batter. Add the rest of the milk. Melt half the butter in a heavy skillet. Pour the batter into it. Turn these pancakes frequently, each time adding some butter. They should then become golden brown and crisp at the sides.

Gewone Pannekoeken (Regular Pancakes).
This recipe makes 4 big pancakes.
4 cups of flour (or 4 cups of proprietary pancake mix if available)
1 cake yeast (60 grams) [or 1 tbl. dry yeast]
4 cups lukewarm milk
butter or margarine

Put the flour and the salt in a bowl. Make a depression in the center. Add the diluted (with a little milk) yeast. Add 2 cups of milk and mix to a smooth batter. Add the rest of the milk. Leave to rise for three quarters of an hour. Heat enough butter in a heavy skillet. Pour in part of the butter and fry the pancake on both sides. You can toss the pancake in the air for turning, if you like. Try out with someone standing by to catch them is advisable if this is your first attempt ! :-) Otherwise use a spatula. Keep them hot in the warming drawer and serve with sugar or molasses, golden syrup or treacle.

Tomorrow: Some serving suggestions for pannekoeken.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Pancakes For Your Face

You wouldn't think there would be many pancake videos, would you? Take a look at Scottish songwriter/video producer James Provan's second one. You'll see that he has a much fancier kitchen now, and I suspect that has to do with his video successes. Check out his YouTube page for more of his works and his biography.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Cheese Blintzes

In the 1950s, Cheese Blintzes were a big favorite at luncheons for the ladies. I don't have a copy of my mother’s recipe, but I found this one on Cooks.com.

Cheese Blintzes

2 eggs, well beaten
1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. milk
1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 lb. hoop cheese [dry cottage cheese] or Ricotta
1 small package cream cheese
2 egg yolks, beaten
1 tbsp. butter, melted
1 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Dash of cinnamon

Make batter by adding milk to salt and eggs. Sift in flour gradually until smooth. Heat 7 to 9 inch iron skillet, grease with butter. Pour in enough batter to cover bottom of pan, tilt quickly to cover evenly. Cook on one side until it blisters. Do not turn. Quickly turn out onto towel-covered board.

Filling: Leave cheeses at room temperature. Mix with fork, combine with rest of ingredients. Place heaping tablespoon of filling onto uncooked side of blintz. Fold envelope style. Cook in heavy skillet in small amount of butter until lightly browned on both sides.

Serve with sour cream and/or strawberry jam.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Just when you thought there couldn't possibly be any more pancake videos, I bring you one showing the right way to make pancakes. This comes to you from startcooking.com, a great place to learn basic techniques.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Best Pancake Recipes

A few days ago I gave you my best yogurt pancake recipe. Today I would like to direct you to some other "best" recipes. Here are some sites to start with:

101 Cookbooks.com: My Favorite Pancake Recipe

Recipezaar: The Best (No Kidding) Buttermilk Pancakes 

Baking Bites: Crepes for Pancake Day

For a nice big list of every kind of recipe from everywhere—India to Ireland—and with every kind of ingredient from sour cream to lavender and from matzoh meal to red lentils, go to the Global Gourmet and search the word "pancakes."

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Pumpkin Pancakes in Sugar Season

Back in New Hampshire during maple sugar time, we sometimes took the family on the beautiful drive to the Monadnock region to visit Parker's Maple Barn. There was always a line to get in for breakfast, so we would get our place reserved and then head over to the sugar house to watch the syrup-making process. It was usually freezing cold, and often snowing or raining, so when we got too chilly we would warm up in the gift shop. When our names were finally called over the outdoor loudspeaker, we would step into the big restaurant/barn that smelled of wood fires, maple syrup, and breakfast.

My favorite was the pumpkin pancake breakfast. What follows is not the Parker's recipe, but one that I put together that reminds me very much of the great breakfasts we had together there.

Pumpkin Pancakes

3 eggs
1 cup yogurt
¼ cup molasses
1 cup cooked or canned pumpkin
2 tbl. melted butter or vegetable oil
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. each: cloves, mace, ginger
Strong coffee

Mix first five ingredients together in a large bowl; sift the dry ingredients and add to the pumpkin mixture, stirring in enough coffee to make the batter the consistency you like.

Serve pancakes with warm applesauce or maple syrup.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Healthy Whole Wheat Pancakes

This recipe verges on being good for you, except for the sauce. Perhaps you can come up with a healthier orange alternative.

Whole Wheat Pancakes with Orange Sauce

2 cups whole wheat flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tbl. brown sugar or honey
3 eggs, separated
2 cups milk
½ cup oil

Sift flour with baking powder, salt, sugar. If using honey, add it to the milk and oil. Beat milk and oil into beaten egg yolks.

Combine wet ingredients with dry, fold in stiffly beaten egg whites. Cook on griddle, serve warm with orange sauce.

Orange Sauce: Combine ½ cup butter, 1 cup sugar, ½ cup frozen orange juice concentrate. Bring just to a boil, stirring constantly.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

French Crepes

Long ago, my then-10-year old son studied a breakfast menu carefully in a restaurant and announced to the waitress in a clear and carrying voice that he would like to order "the French creeps, please." I believe this recipe is what he was thinking of, because it was always a popular one in our home. It comes from an older edition of The Joy of Cooking. I hear that the new edition no longer contains this recipe. I can’t imagine why they would leave it out.

French Pancakes (or Crepes)

Sift these dry ingredients:
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp powdered sugar

Mix these ingredients in a bowl with a whisk:
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla, or a little grated lemon rind
1/3 cup water

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir a bit, just until the dry bits disappear. Lumps are ok as they will disappear during the cooking. Spray a little cooking oil in the pan, or wipe quickly with a paper towel scrunched up and dipped in vegetable oil. Pour in a couple of tablespoons of the batter and swirl the pan to spread it around. Cook until a peek underneath shows that the pancake is brown, flip it over to finish cooking, and put it on a plate to keep warm in the oven.

These can be rolled up with jam; or with powdered sugar, butter, and/or lemon juice.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Dutch Babies

Here is a treat for a special breakfast. These pancakes are simple to make but impressive to serve, as they puff up beautifully.

This will make one 8-9 inch pancake.
2 eggs
½ cup flour
½ cup milk
¼ tsp. salt
2 tbl. butter

Put the butter in a Pyrex pie plate, place the plate in a preheated 400 degree oven for 3-5 minutes to melt the butter. Beat the eggs well in a bowl and add the flour, salt and milk; stir or whisk until smooth. Take the hot pie plate out of the oven and pour the egg mixture into it.

Return the pie plate immediately to the oven and bake 25 minutes or until the pancake is puffed up. Remove from oven and sprinkle with powdered sugar or topping of your choice. Serve immediately.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Pancake History

The Food Timeline website is written by Lynne Oliver, a reference librarian with “a passion for culinary history.” Here is a tiny taste of what Oliver has to tell us about pancakes.

"Pancakes, as we Americans know them today, were "invented" in Medieval Europe. Throughout history, pancake ingredients (finest available wheat flour, buckwheat, cornmeal, potatoes), cooking implements (ancient bakestones, medieval hearths, pioneer griddles perched on campfire embers, microwave ovens), social rituals (Shrove Tuesday crepes, Chanukah latkes, mass quantities for community fundraisers) and final product (thick or thin, savory or sweet, slathered with butter and smothered with syrup, or gently rolled around delicate fruit) have reflected regional cuisine and local customs. Cake-like galettes [France], thick potato pancakes [Germany], Boxty [Ireland], paper thin crepes [France], palascinta [Hungary] drop scones [Scotland], coarse cornmeal Indian cakes [colonial America], flapjacks[19th century America], rich blini [Russia], poori [India], qata'if (Middle East) dadar gutung [Indonesia], bao bing [China] and simply-add-water instant mixes [late 20th century] are all members of the pancake family."

To learn more about pancakes and how they are cooked, the place of pancakes in cultures around the world, and for a sampler of historic pancake recipes, go to the Pancakes & Crepes section of the Food Timeline.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

It's Time for Pancakes!

Did you know? Shrove Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday and is sometimes known as Pancake Day or Pancake Tuesday. Its date varies from year to year, as it is linked to Easter, which also varies. It usually falls in February, or sometimes in early March. 

Here is my favorite pancake video in the world. It has the best pancake song ever. Big warning: The song is extremely addictive and I predict that it will get stuck in your head. I know I always sing it when making pancakes now. By the way, the producer of the video is James Provan, screen name "GiR."

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Yogurt Pancakes

Here is my very best pancake recipe ever. It evolved from a 1960s Sour Cream Pancakes recipe, but this version is much better for you.

2 eggs
¾ cup plain yogurt
2 tbl. vegetable oil

1 ¼ cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 tsp. sugar

Milk or water to blend.
Mix the first three ingredients. Sift the dry ingredients and add to wet mixture. Stir in milk or water until the batter is the right consistency. I'll leave the cooking part up to you, but I hope you'll use a very hot griddle.

Optional: Add blueberries, fresh or frozen.

Monday, March 9, 2009


I never understood why people made such a fuss over snickerdoodles. I had no childhood snickerdoodle memories to endear them to me, and since they weren't chocolate they were of no interest. Until... I found this recipe, baked up a batch, and took them to my knitting group for a snack. What a hit they made--and no wonder. They were crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, and full of subtle flavors.

You will find a more elaborate and beautifully illustrated version of this recipe on Letters from a Hill Farm, a blog you really must visit.

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk

3 cups flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

1 tablespoon cinnamon mixed with 3 tablespoon sugar

Cream sugar and butter together. Add the milk, eggs, and vanilla and beat well. Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cream of tartar, and nutmeg. Add to sugar/butter/egg mixture and mix well.* Form into balls the size of walnuts and roll the dough balls in the cinnamon and sugar.

Bake on greased cookie sheets for 12 minutes at 350. Makes about 3 dozen.

*You can chill the dough for a couple of hours at this point or you can stick it in the freezer for a bit, but it isn't absolutely necessary if you are in a rush. If you are forming the balls without chilling the dough first, I've found that it helps to moisten your hands frequently under running water.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Roman Meal Muffins

Roman Meal cereal used to be common in grocery stores, but we haven't seen it for a few years. It is still available online, however.

1 1/3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup shortening
1 cup Roman Meal
1 egg
1 cup milk

Sift flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar together; stir in Roman Meal. Cut in shortening. Combine egg and milk and stir until just moistened. Spoon into greased muffin tin.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Hawaiian Pork Chops

1 cup soy sauce
1 1/2 cups unsweetened pineapple juice
1/4 cup sugar
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp. ginger

Mix all together and use as a marinade for pork chops. Refrigerate chops and marinate for 4 to 24 hours. Grill meat until well done. Discard marinade. 

Friday, March 6, 2009

Emerald Bisque

2 cans cream of potato soup
1 soup can of milk
1 soup can of water
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped spinach
Dash of nutmeg

Combine all and heat.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Sesame Seed Dressing

Scant 1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp. tabasco sauce
1/4 tsp. worcestershire sauce
3/4 tsp. dried minced onion
1 cup salad oil
1/2 cup wine vinegar

Combine all in blender, mix well. 

Add: 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds.
Whisk all together until well mixed. Serve over salad of your choice. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Sourdough Starter and Sourdough Bread; The Recipe and Notes

I've mentioned this recipe before, which comes from that nice Judy's blog, Recipes From A Southern Country Cook. This time I am quoting the whole thing--Judy's words are in italics, so that I can add my own notes as necessary.

Sourdough Starter
3 tablespoons instant mashed potato flakes
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast or one package

Combine all ingredients in a glass container, stir with wooden spoon. Cover with clean dish cloth or cheese cloth and let sit for 5 days, stirring daily with wooden spoon.

On the morning of the 5th day, feed the starter 3 tablespoons instant potatoes, 3 tablespoons sugar, and 1 cup warm water. Stir and cover and let stand until evening or at least 6 hours.

Remove one cup of starter and place the bowl in the refrigerator covered with saran wrap leaving a small opening on each side of the wrap. The starter needs to be able to breathe.

Every 5 days repeat feeding instructions and remove 1 cup and discard or make bread.

Sourdough Bread Recipe

1 cup sourdough starter
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup corn oil (can use vegetable or canola)
6 cups all-purpose flour

Mix sugar, oil, salt, water and starter in a large bowl. Add flour. Turn out onto floured surface and knead several times until forms a ball adding flour if needed. Place the dough into a large, oiled bowl, turn once so that dough will be greased, cover with clean dish towel and let rise overnight.

The next day, punch the dough down, turn out onto floured surface, knead for several minutes, divide in half, place in 2 greased bread pans. Cover and let double in size. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Turn out to cool.

This bread makes your kitchen smell great while cooking and makes two great loaves of fresh bread for your family.

My Notes

3/2/09: I still have my starter going from last October. After a couple of months it started to smell strange to me--sweet, with an overripe banana kind of scent--and it wasn't sour at all. Following my sister's lead, I stopped adding the 3 tbl. of sugar and 3 tbl. of potato flakes along with the cup of warm water every week. Instead, we add a tiny pinch or two of sugar and some flour (maybe 1/4 cup), plus the occasional bit of potato flakes, all of which is well whisked in, then the water is added. The starter is placed in a warm bowl, uncovered, in a slightly warmed oven--I preheat slightly at the lowest temp available, turn off the heat and turn on the oven light. The starter can stay in there all day or all night. It's getting way more sour and the bread is getting better and better.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are buttery, thin, and almost lacy.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup flour (add more flour if you want a thicker, firmer cookie)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup chocolate chips

Mix the first 5 ingredients together; blend well. Sift the dry ingredients, add to the butter mixture. When well mixed, fold in the chocolate chips. Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. 

Bake at 375 F. for 8 to 10 minutes. These will be soft when taken out of the oven, so you may want to leave them on the cookie sheets for a minute, but any longer on the sheet will make them harder to remove.  Makes 2 dozen. 

Monday, March 2, 2009

Carrot Sunflower Seed Cake

I honestly don't understand why carrot cake recipes call for so much oil. After a lot of searching over the years, I've settled on this version, which uses less oil than most of the others. However, 3/4 cup still seems like a lot to me. I always hope it is offset by all that good whole wheat and yogurt.

You can add some crushed pineapple to the batter, if you wish. Maybe even a little coconut.

2 eggs
1/2 cup honey
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 1/2 cups firmly packed grated raw carrots
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tbl. cinnamon

Beat eggs, honey, oil, and yogurt. Blend well, then stir in the carrots and seeds.

Sift together dry ingredients. Fold these into the carrot mixture, blending well (do not beat).

Pour into a buttered 8" square pan. Bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes.

Remove from the oven and cool until the edges separate from the pan. Carefully turn out onto a cake cooling rack. This cake freezes well.

To serve, thaw (if previously frozen) and frost with cream cheese icing, if you wish.

This recipe comes from The Nine Seasons Cookbook, by Pat Haley.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Auntie's Old World Rye Bread

1 tbl. dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water

1 cup warm water
1/2 cup molasses
1 tbl. salt
1 tbl. olive oil

2 cups rye flour 
1/4 cup cocoa
3-4 cups of unbleached wheat flour, or amount needed
Caraway seeds (optional) or grated orange rind (optional)

Dissolve yeast in the half cup of warm water. 

Mix water, molasses, salt, and olive oil. Stir. Add rye flour, cocoa, and yeast mixture. Stir. Add caraway seeds or orange rind, then add wheat flour until you have a dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Knead on floured board until smooth. Place in a greased bowl to rise. 

When risen to double, turn out on floured board, knead, shape into two loaves. Let rise in greased loaf pans until double. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes or until done.