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24 March 2014

Eggy Cheesy Toast

My new favorite breakfast, like fried eggs already assembled with bread and cheese.



Eggy Cheesy Toast
1 slice sturdy bread (I used rosemary bread from our local bakery brushed with a little olive oil, fluffy white bread probably won't work)
1 egg
2 slices of cheese, enough to cover your piece of bread
(I liked mozzarella the best, but cheddar was good too)

Preheat the broiler.

Place the bread on an oiled pan (I use my cast-iron pan) break the egg on top, put the cheese on top of the egg, put the pan in the oven, not to close to the broiler flame (I put the rack on the 2nd shelf, about 7" away from the flame), let it cook for a few minutes. The cheese will get nice and bubbly and toasty, and you can cake it out when the egg is at your desired level of cooked-ness, you can let the yolk get firm or take it out when it's still runny. Let it cool off a little before you bite into it, and enjoy.


I'm thinking next time I'll put some caramelized onions between the bread and the egg, that would be good.

13 March 2014

Getting Ready for Pi Day with Crustless Apple Pies

Tomorrow is Pi Day (3.14...  --> 3/14) and it's such a great excuse to make and eat pie, since pi is about circles, and pie is in the shape of a circle, it's only appropriate. (Although I guess there are other treats shaped like circles, but it's not the same. And apparently January 23rd is always National Pie Day, but we always forget about that one.) So, I'm really excited, we should have a lot of pies tomorrow at the office. (I LOVE my work.)

I'm planning to make apple and rhubarb tarte tatin (which I've wanted to try for a long time) based on this recipe, and I kind of want to try a buttermilk pie, because I have buttermilk in the fridge, and maybe I would add orange zest to it. That sounds good, right? I have my pie crusts made, and I did them differently this time, using this recipe, except I used buttermilk instead of sour cream, because of all the buttermilk in the fridge, so we'll see how that turns out. (Don't worry, I did some research, and there is such a thing as buttermilk pie crust, so it should be fine.)

And tonight, to get ready and share the joy of pi(e), I made these Crustless Apple Pies (because these are circles, too). I changed it up a little, we were feeding a gluten-free person, so no flour and no oats because oats are often processed in the same facilities as flour, and are often contaminated with gluten.



Mini Crustless Apple Pies (I'm calling them mini because the apples were pretty small)

6 granny smith apples, cut in half and cored (or any good type of baking apple)
handful of dried pitted dates
honey (sorry, I didn't measure it, maybe 1/8 cup, possibly even less, honey is super sweet)
1 tsp tapioca flour (you could use cornstarch or flour, but if you can get tapioca flour I recommend it, I use tapioca for thickening all my fruit pies now)
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of cardamom
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
about 1/2 - 3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut
2 Tbsp butter, melted

Scoop out the innards of the apple halves with a melon baller - I never would have thought a melon baller would work so well on apples, but it's perfect, it's also just the right size for coring the apple halves - leaving about 1/3" of flesh inside of the peel, set aside the scooped out innards, treat the apple shells and pieces with lemon juice to keep them from browning while you work (I didn't have enough lemon juice so I filled up a bowl with cold water and a little white vinegar and let the cut up apples hang out in it).

Soak the dates in boiling hot water for a few minutes to let them get soft, cut into smallish pieces.

Mix together apple-innard pieces (you might want to cut these a little smaller than melon-baller size) and soaked dates, pour on some honey until it looks good (taste a piece of apple to see if its at a good sweetness level), add the tapioca flour, spices, lemon zest and lemon juice, stir it all together.

Place the hollowed out apple halves on a baking sheet, stuff this delightful mixture into each shell, dividing equally between all of them, it should be a little mounded up, but not overfull in each.

Mix together the sweetened coconut and melted butter (I whizzed the coconut through my spice blender for a few seconds to get it into finer pieces, I don't love the texture of it in long shreds), and divide out spoonfuls on top of each apple half.

Bake at 375 for about 40 minutes, the juices will be going all over, and the coconut topping will be crisp, and the apples shells will be getting soft , but not collapsing. Let cool a little and serve, maybe with ice cream or whipped cream.






11 March 2014

Korean Style Vegetable Pancakes

Do you have in your life, or are you one of those difficult people with some kind of dietary restriction? Vegetarian? Gluten free? Lactose intolerant? Here's the recipe for you: meat-free, dairy-free, gluten-free. And tasty and pretty filling. (Not vegan, though, sorry vegans.)



The basis for this recipe is from Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian," and I am loving it (I've probably made these 4 times in the last month). I multiplied it the original by 1 1/2 and should have done even more, because if you're going to stand over a stove cooking stacks of pancakes, might as well go big, like when you make crepes, always double or triple the recipe, you know they'll get eaten. 

This would be a good recipe for using up leftover difficult vegetables. You could probably even use one of those bags of prepped coleslaw or broccoli slaw mix. This time around I used shredded carrots, chopped onions, and slightly steamed cabbage. I think putting green onions in it gives it more of the Korean vibe, and I particularly like it with sauteed mushrooms, to give it a little meaty-ness. And it's an easy recipe to adjust, the egg : flour : water ratio is simple (1 : 1 : 3/4) and doesn't require complex math to scale up or down. And these are good the next day, and the next day after that, they just need a little rewarming, so go ahead, scale it up, and turn on a TV show or find a good book to read while you do some serious pancake cooking.



Korean Style Vegetable Pancakes

3 eggs
3 cups rice flour  **see note at bottom 
2 1/4 cups water
salt to taste
pepper to taste
any other spices you like (chili powder, coriander, paprika, basil, garlic, etc) to taste
about 3 cups? ( I didn't measure, oops.) chopped or shredded vegetables (carrot, summer squash, green onion, slightly steamed cabbage, peppers, regular onions, sauteed mushrooms, broccoli, etc)

Whisk together eggs, rice flour, water, salt, pepper, and any spices you want. Add your chopped and shredded vegetables. There should be plenty of vegetable per batter, I wish I'd measured for you. 

Heat up a skillet to medium or medium high heat, lightly oil the skillet and scoop out some vegetable/batter onto the hot skillet. I used about a cup, maybe a little less, of the mixture in my 9" cast iron pan. There should be enough batter-iness to the batter to completely encase the vegetables, but it should still be plenty vegetable-y. I found that I had to quickly move rearrange clumps of vegetables to get them evenly distributed among the batter. 

batter in the pan a couple minutes before flipping

pancake in pan after flipping


Let it cook for a few minutes, the bottom should get getting a little color, and the top will probably be dry, carefully flip it over and let it cook a few minutes more until the top gets a little color on the parts that stick out, then gently scoop it off onto a plate. Repeat with remaining batter. Be sure to flip gently, and don't flip before it's ready, especially if you are doing all rice flour, they will be more delicate than the regular breakfast pancakes you might be used to, because there's no gluten to hold it all together.

Cut into triangles and serve with soy sauce, sriracha, Thai sweet chili sauce (my favorite), or whatever else floats your boat. This size batch made 6 9" pancakes. 

**Mark Bittman says you can use all or part wheat flour, but I like the texture of using all rice flour best, and then you can feed it to your gluten-free friends or self. I get rice flour at the Asian or international grocery store, I think you can also get it at Whole Foods or in the special healthy section of a grocery store if you have a good grocery store.



05 March 2014

New Cookbook

Hello Friends. I noticed today on my blog aggregator that my own blog has become a dead feed. I haven't posted for at least 5 months.

Disgraceful!

So I wanted to share quickly, I just acquired a new cookbook! In between high school and college I worked at a cafe, it was a pretty great job, we made some awesome food, with some amazing recipes. My favorite was the chocolate pound cake with chocolate sauce and raspberries, and I've been looking for a long time for a similar recipe, but nothing I could find looked like it. And then, good news! My old boss has compiled and printed the most popular recipes, all the best ones, I bought a copy last week and I've already made 2 things from it, including, of course, the chocolate pound cake.


(I made it as extra large cupcakes instead of bunt cake. And I messed up the chocolate sauce trying to be clever, it didn't turn out saucy.)

I can't wait to make the Caribbean chicken and Thai chicken wraps again (sans chicken for me) and try the India wrap, a new-to-me recipe with lentils and yogurt dipping sauce, sounds delightful! And have fond memories of the spinach lasagna, and all the muffins, and the carrot cake, and the apple cake with caramel sauce and pretty much everything else. Mmmmm.

You can buy the cookbook from Linda by emailing msacookbook (at) gmail (dot) com.  Oh, and this is not a sponsored post, I am not being reimbursed for my opinions. :)

And, no promises, but soon I would like to put up directions for homemade ricotta, as well as 2 recipes to use your fresh homemade ricotta, let's see how long that takes me to get those up, shall we?


14 October 2013

Leftover Egg White Ideas and Macaroon Redux

I have a friend who told me that she was working on a spreadsheet that shows which recipes have only egg whites or yolks, and how many of each, so that it would be easy to plan ways to make lots of awesome stuff without wasting half an egg. Good idea, right? I'm inspired to label blog posts in this way, maybe it will be easy to find egg white/egg yolk companion recipes.

After making the lovely tiramisu which uses 4 egg yolks and no egg whites, and not wanting to just throw away the egg whites, I brainstormed ways to use them all:

-Make an egg white omelet
-Make 2 more batches of tiramisu, and use the 12 leftover egg whites for angel food cake
-Use in pancakes/waffles instead of whole eggs
-Make macaroons --> the winner!

If you have any more ideas, please share in the comments :)

I doubled my macaroon recipe, and I thought I would re-do the recipe for you with better instructions, but no pictures.


Macaroons
3 c. unsweetened coconut
1 c. finely chopped almonds
1 c. sugar
4 egg whites

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a cookie sheet. 

Chop up the coconut finely - I do this in my awesome spice grinder about 1 cup at a time; it just takes a couple seconds and I shake the grinder while it works to get everything ground evenly, but not turned it into powder. Place the chopped coconut, finely chopped almonds and sugar in a bowl, mix all together. Add egg whites, mix well. This last time I made the cookies, I beat the egg whites for a couple minutes until they were frothy before adding them, and it was easier to mix them evenly into the dry ingredients, and I think it gave the finished cookies a better texture.

Scoop small balls of the mixture onto the prepared cookie sheet, only about 2 tablespoons per cookie, or use a small ice cream/cookie scoop things for easy evenly sized cookies. Bake for about 10 minutes, them set on the pan for a couple of minutes, then scoop them off and let them cool on a rack.

These cookies will not spread out, you can place them very close together on the pan and they will not grow into each other. I fit this whole (double-)batch onto one cookie sheet. 


04 October 2013

Tiramisu for Mormons

While the government is shut down, Lovemuffin is home, video gaming, catching up on dental work, and watching Downton Abbey (but you didn't hear that last one from me). I suggested that he make this treat for me to come home to after my long day of work (someone's got to bring home the vegi-bacon), it's called Sinfully Sinless Tiramisu and it has no coffee or rum in it. (No judgment if you go for the Tiramisu with rum and coffee - everyone is welcome here :) )

I saw it first on my friend's blog, and the original recipe is here, You'll have to click over to one of those links for the recipe, it's too many steps for me to write it all out for you. But don't be put off by the many steps and components. It was pretty easy for us to do it, and we even made it together, which usually is more difficult. (Lovemuffin thinks I'm bossy when I want him to cook with me, and doesn't like that. What?!?)

Instead of copying the whole recipe for you I "documented" the process.

Lovemuffin dipped the ladyfingers in the chocolate mix and arranged in the pan (and looked super serious the whole time).


I made the custard part. I've never made a real custard from scratch over the stove before. Here are my Special Instructions for other custard first-timers: read and follow the instructions, re-read as needed, and google search for descriptions and images of "custard back of spoon" for more insights to help you know when it's done.

We forgot to document the whipping of the cream, the mixing together of the custard and the mascarpone cheese and then the whipped cream, the layering construction and sprinkling of cocoa powder, you'll have to use your imagination. But here is the finished product after chilling in the fridge, ready for (Mormon) consumption!




This was amazing, so delicious, super rich and decadent. It is definitely going to become part of my repertoire.  

A couple more notes: 

1) Someone (not me) really likes the rum flavor, so he doubled the rum extract, I thought that was too much, but it wasn't terrible or inedible, just more rummy than I like. I also would have been happy with just vanilla extract added. The hazards of cooking with others.

2) At first Lovemuffin was afraid that he had soaked the ladyfinger cookies too long, so he took out the extra saturated ones and replaced them (I suspect he mostly wanted to taste test the soaked cookies), but when we cut into it the cookies were pretty crunchy still, next time we will probably soak them for longer. But I imagine that the further in advance you make the Tiramisu, the more moisture the cookies can soak up, so that's something to take into account. I'll have to test this theory tomorrow at breakfast. Haha! 
*edit* After eating this dessert all weekend, I recommend that if you are making it ahead of time, give yourself enough time to let it chill/set up overnight, closer to 12 hours. The custard/mascarpone will set up more and hold the pieces together, instead of what you see in our pictures, where all the cookie parts are falling apart and the custard is oozing everywhere. And I was right, the ladyfingers will get properly softened after a longer chill time. But if you just CAN'T WAIT extra time to dig in, it of course tastes just as good after a short 4 hour set-up time. 

Bonus points to anyone who can tell me what is up with these faces I'm making here. Lovemuffin sure knows how to catch me at my best. (Oh yeah, and check out my shirt, I made that shirt, you should see the stripe matching! BAM!) (Also, bonus points for me for the number of parentheses used in this post.)



11 August 2013

Another Summer Salad

I recently rediscovered a fancy pumpkin seed oil and quince balsamic vinegar set that was given to me a while ago, the bottles were hiding in the outside fridge, lonely and forgotten. I read something online about eating pumpkin seed oil with heirloom tomatoes, and it sparked a memory -- I have pumpkin seed oil! It was very exciting. So this is the salad that I made:

About 3 large tomatoes, diced
2 small-medium sized cucumbers, diced
a few basil leaves, chopped
1 can of small white beans, drained and rinsed well
drizzle of pumpkin seed oil, to taste
drizzle of quince balsamic vinegar, to taste
sprinkle of salt

Combine everything in a bowl, toss it all together, and eat.

We ate this with corn on the cob for a light dinner. No pictures - our camera has been missing for 2 weeks. It will turn up, but prepare yourself for some more picture-less posts, I actually have things to share.

Also, thank you, Laura, for your comment, it's always nice to see that I still have readers, even after a long break between posts. :)