Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wednesday Fun #76 - I Don't Make That

Ack! Once again the time difference and Chinese studies have interfered with me getting this posted at a reasonable time. Sorry.

Last night we were trying to decide what to have for dinner. Do we order in (always a challenge here), go out, or do I make something. In the end, I made burritos. But, there are many food items that I just don't like to make and rather go out for. Pretty pastries or other complex desserts come to mind.

Granted, if we all had the money, we would probably prefer to go out most of the time or have our own cook, right? But, in general, what meals/food items do you prefer to have out?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Bananas brulee

The other night Puck and I were watching Iron Chef America, Battle: Figs!, and Mario Batali made a fig brulee. At the judging table, he commented sort of offhand, how it was good with bananas too.

Puck looked over with an unholy gleam in his eye (if you've met Puck, you know the one I mean), and I knew this dish would be appearing in la Casa de P&P in the near future. Sure enough, tonight he trotted out to the garage for the propane torch. Wow. Can I just say, YUM!

Bananas brulee
Peel and split a banana the long way
Sprinkle it with sugar
Torch it to golden, caramel perfection

Puck thought it would be even better with a dusting of cinnamon on the banana before the sugar was added, and I think he's right. I also think it should maybe be served with a teensy scoop of good vanilla ice cream. But for a 2-ingredient, 30-second dessert that's 90% fruit, this is phenomenal. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Chicken & Corn Summer Chowder

This is my first recipe post and I've been sitting on this soup for awhile now, I didn't know if I'd be breaking rules by posting soup in the breakfast month. However, Big D has now had this soup and has demanded that I post it to Recipeeps.

I keep reading Tweets, Facebook statuses and Blogs about spring arriving in the Midwest, so I thought perhaps you'd all like to try this chowder that we make year round here! It's not nearly as heavy as the chowder's I'm used to having back home. I'm a soup lover and this one is now in my top ten!

2 slices bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 Tablespoons flour
1 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
6 cups chicken broth
4 cups shredded cooked chicken (from a 2 ½ - 3 lb. roasted chicken)
3 cups sweet corn (approx kernels cut from 3 ears of corn)
¼ - ½ cup heavy whipping cream

2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 avocado, pitted, peeled and chopped
1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
2 limes, cut into wedges
Freshly ground black pepper

In a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat, cook bacon until fat renders and meat starts to brown. Add onion, reduce heat to medium, and cook until soft (about 3 minutes). Sprinkle with flour and cook, stirring, until flour smells cooked (you should get a whiff of baked piecrust) but hasn’t started to brown (about 3 minutes).

Add potatoes and broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to keep mixture simmering and cook until potatoes are barely tender (about 5 minutes). Add chicken and corn and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and stir in cream to taste. Heat through (about 2 minutes).

Serve in soup bowls, garnished with tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, fresh lime juice, and pepper to taste

Saturday, March 21, 2009

7 Layer Bars

Made these for a party last night and I was shocked at how much folks loved them. Despite being one of Wog's favorites and tasty, they are so simple, everyone back home has this recipe type of recipe. But, if you don't here you go. Super easy.

1 - 1 1/2 c crushed graham crackers (about one package of crackers out of a box)
1/2 c melted butter.

Pat this onto bottom of 9x13 pan. Will be a very thin layer, don't worry.

On top of crust put ingredients in this order
1 c. chocolate chips
1 c. butterscotch chips
1 c. flaked coconut
1 c. chopped nuts (I use walnuts, but nuts altogether are optional)
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk poured/spooned over the top. You do NOT have to evenly spread it, but try to avoid putting a lot right at the edge or the edges will be hard to get out of the pan.

Bake at 350 for 30 min.

The first bar you take out will probably crumble a bit, but after that you should be able to take them out no problem.

Cool website - Hungry Girl

Found this cool site today that takes fatty, high-calorie meals and makes them into slimmer, tasty alternatives. It looked good, check it out.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

That OTHER easy, yummy, fancy-seeming pork recipe

The other day while menu planning, I thought, "Oh, I want to make that seems-fancy-but-isn't-hard pork chop recipe on Recipeeps! The one with the black olives and capers!" So I dutifully pulled up the "pork" tab and found Allknowingjen's Boneless Pork Chops in a Shallot-Fig Reduction Sauce. Now, the ingredients didn't quite match up with what I'd been thinking, but whatever. Put 'em on the grocery list and move on.

Then I went to make the recipe and realized that - delicious, and wonderful, and highly recommended though her wonderful dish is - I had actually been thinking about THIS recipe from my Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2002.

(But AKJ's is really, really good, and I didn't regret making it at all! You should make it, too. Or, you know, this one. *grin*)

Pork Medallions with Olive-Caper Sauce

1 lb. pork tenderloin, trimmed
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 Tbl. olive oil, divided

1/2 c. dry white wine
1/2 c. chicken broth
1/2 c. coarsely chopped pitted kalamata olives (regular black are ok, but probably less intense)
2 Tbl. capers
2 Tbl. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Cut pork crosswise into 8 pieces. Place each pork piece between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap, and pound to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Sprinkle both sides of pork with salt and pepper. Place flour in a shallow bowl. Dredge pork in flour; shake off excess flour. Heat 1 1/2 tsp. olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of pork, and cook 2 minutes on each side or until done. Remove pork from pan, and keep warm. Repeat procedure wth remaining 1 1/2 tsp. oil and pork. Return pork to pan. Add wine and broth; bring to a boil. Stir in olives and capers; cook 4 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley. Yield: 4 servings.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Oven-Easy Omelet aka Egg Bake

This is another recipe I got from my mom, but it's infinitely easy to adapt. In fact, I don't know the last time I actually looked at the real recipe (other than now!). In case you were ever at a GAW when we made individual Egg Bakes, yeah, this is it.

1 1/2 c. shredded Swiss cheese
1 1/2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
2 Tbl. flour
6 slices bacon, fried & crumbled OR some ham OR some sausage
3 Tbl. diced fresh red peppers OR 2 Tbl. cut-up canned pimento
2 Tbl. parsley leaves (opt.)
8 large eggs
1 c. milk

Heat oven to 350F. Toss together cheese & flour. Spread cheese mixture in bottom of greased 8" baking dish or casserole. Scatter bacon, pepper, and parsley over cheese. Beat eggs and milk together. Pour egg mixture over ingredients in baking dish. Bake 30-45 minutes (depending on size/shape/depth of dish) until puffed and completely cooked. Serves 6.

This can also be made in small loaf pans, especially if you want to let people choose their own toppings. Also, faster cooking!

Now, FYI, in my head, the recipe for Egg Bake goes more like this:

Mental Egg Bake
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Put a LOT of shredded cheese (various kinds or just Cheddar) in bottom of greased pan; stir in big spoonful of flour so cheese doesn't stick together. (Don't forget the corners if it's a square pan!)
  3. Toss on sliced mushrooms and/or cooked bacon and/or ham chunks and/or diced bell peppers and/or diced onion and/or any other food you might put in an omelet. (Good way to use up ends and bits of leftovers or homemade pizza toppings!)
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together some eggs with quite a bit of milk. Pour over cheese and toppings. Realize you didn't mix together enough eggs/milk since most of the topping is still sitting there high and dry, so mix together a few more eggs with some milk. Add to dish.
  5. Stick in oven for what seems like a long time because it always smells good and makes me hungry well before it's ready!

Wednesday Fun #75 - It's Not Just For Food...

While looking through and old cookbook the other day I found a recipe for something I used to LOVE to make as a child that isn't food. What was it you ask? A Crystal Garden of course.

Did any of you make these when you were young? They're so much fun!

Hence, today's fun post of what non-food items do you have recipes for? Super salty and safe for kids to eat Play-doh maybe? A good recipe for big bubbles? Finger paints? Do share!

Crystal Garden
4 T salt
4 T water
4 T laundry bluing
1 T ammonia

Combine ingredients and pour over some pieces of coal, brick or clean stones in pan. (We always used charcoal, and a disposable pie tin works well for the pan.) Sprinkle a FEW drops of various food coloring over the mix. Do not disturb. In a few hours, tiny, colored crystals will begin to form and will continue to grow for a few days.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Coffee Cake

Finally broke down and called my mom for this wonderful recipe. This is my simplified version as I hate mixing dry ingredients separate and then adding them to wet. Throw it all in at once I say! Turns out just fine!

This makes a 9x13 pan.

1 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Beat this till creamy and then add:
2 c. flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
dash of salt
1 c. sour cream

3/4 c brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp all spice (optional) (or any other spice you like. Cloves and or nutmeg are also good to add IMHO)
1/2 c chopped nuts (optional)

Put 1/2 or a bit more of batter in a greased 9x13 pan. The batter will be rather thick, so you will have to spread it out.
Put 1/2 of filling on top of batter. Then place rest of batter in the pan (again, a bit tricky to spread) and top with remaining brown sugar mix.

Bake for 30 min at 350.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wednesday Fun #74 - Tricks of the Trade

Brown sugar here is CRAZY expensive. So, imagine my surprise when I ordered some brown sugar from the commissary in Japan only to find it packaged in wax paper and a cardboard box! (C&H brand). I mean, shouldn't it always be put in an airtight package to prevent it from turning into a block?!? Sheesh!

When it did turn into a hard block, I placed the brown sugar in a Ziploc along with an unpeeled, but scored in 2-3 places, apple for two days. Voila! Soft brown sugar again.

I remember learning this trick in 7th grade Home Ec (The class was actually called "Foods" and was a requirement for everyone. I still have the cook book.)

Anyway, this got me to thinking, what other tricks have you used in the kitchen to possibly save some food item, clean baked on grease, whatever? Feel free to post them as a response or in a seperate post with the tag "Tips and Hints".

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Cinnamon-Raisin Whole-Wheat Waffles

This is probably our favorite waffle recipe so far. It comes from Waffles from Morning to Midnight by Dorie Greenspan. It makes 4 or 5 waffles.

3/4 c. plump, moist raisins [really good with chopped mixed dried fruit or dried berry mix instead or halvsies!]
4 Tbl. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 c. all-purpose flour
2/3 c. whole-wheat flour
1 Tbl. double-acting baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 Tbl. firmly packed light brown sugar
2 Tbl. granulated sugar
1 3/4 c. buttermilk
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs

1. If your raisins [or dried fruit mix] aren't moist and plump, place them in a heatproof bowl [or Pyrex cup] and pour boiling water over them. Let the raisins steep for a minute, drain, then out onto a paper towel, and pat dry. Set aside.

2. Preheat your waffle iron. If you want to hold the finish waffles until serving time, preheat your oven to 200F. [My waffle iron heats fast, so I wait until I'm about ready to mix the dry and wet ingredients to start it.]

3. Melt the butter; reserve. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon until combined. Whisk in both sugars. In another bowl, beat together the buttermilk, vanilla, and eggs with the whisk until well mixed. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. Fold the raisins and melted butter into the batter.

4. Lightly butter or spray the grids of your iron, if needed. Brush or spray the grids again only if subsequent waffles stick.

5. Spoon our 1/2 to 2/3 c. of batter (or a little more than your waffles' manufacturer suggests) onto the iron. Use a metal spatula or wooden spoon to spread it almost to the edge of the grids. Close the lid and bake until browned and set. Serve the waffles immediately or keep them, in a single layer, on a rack in the preheated oven while you make the rest of the batch.

[Extras, especially if a little undercooked, keep well in the freezer for homemade frozen waffles!]

Winter Vegetable Cobbler

This vegetarian main dish is just the thing for a cold, rainy, cloudy, crappy end-of-winter day. It's basically a vegetable casserole topped with cheesy biscuits/scones. It comes from the same cookbook (Classic Vegetarian Recipes) as the Crisp-Fried Vegetables I posted a while back, so it's got the same metric/imperial measurement system. I made ours in our Dutch oven since it could handle stovetop and oven, plus this makes a pretty ample amount, though it says it serves 4.

(Ok, yeah, you could/should brown it a little more, but we were HUNGRY!)

1 Tbl. olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
8 small onions, halved [I think they might mean pearl onions, but I did 3 or 4 very small ones from our CSA.]
2 celery stalks, sliced
250 g/ 9 oz swede, chopped [That'd be a rutabaga. I just picked a medium one.]
2 carrots, sliced
1/2 small cauliflower, broken into florets
250 g/ 9 oz. mushrooms, sliced
400 g/14 oz. can chopped tomatoes
60 g/ 2 oz. / 1/4 c. red lentils [I used green 'cuz it's what I had.]
2 Tbl. cornflour (cornstarch)
3-4 Tbl. water
300 ml / 1/2 pint / 1 1/4 c. vegetable stock [I used chicken broth.]
2 tsp. Tabasco sauce
2 tsp. chopped fresh oregano or parsley
sprigs of oregano, to garnish

Cobbler Topping:
250 g / 9 oz. / 2 c. self-raising flour**
60 g / 2 oz. / 1/4 c. butter
125 g / 4 1/2 oz. / 1 c. grated Cheddar
2 tsp. chopped fresh oregano or parsley
1 egg, beaten
150 ml / 1/4 pint / 2/3 c. skim milk

1. Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the garlic and onions for 5 minutes. Add the celery, swede [rutabaga], carrots and cauliflower and fry for 2-3 minutes.

2. Remove the pan from the heat and add the mushrooms, tomatoes and lentils. Mix the cornstarch with the water and add to the pan with the stock, Tabasco sauce and oregano or parsley. Bring to the boil, stirring, until thickened. Transfer to an ovenproof dish, cover and bake in a preheated oven, 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 20 minutes.

3. To make the topping, sift the flour and a pinch of salt into a bowl. Rub in the butter***, then stir in most of the cheese and the herbs. Beat the egg and milk and add enough to the dry ingredients to make a dough [Leave a tiny bit for the egg wash]. Knead and roll out to 1 cm/1/2 inch thick. Cut into 5 cm / 2 inch rounds. Remove the dish from the oven and increase the temperature to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6. Arrange the rounds around the edge of the dish, brush with the [leftover] egg and milk and sprinkle with the cheese. Cook for 10-12 minutes. Garnish and serve.

** I looked that up, and according to, you can make self-raising flour by adding 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to each cup of all-purpose flour.

*** Like in the Orange Butter Scone recipe: Basically you stick your hands in the floury stuff and rub the small pieces of butter into it until it gets kind of crumbly... the texture will be sort of like Bisquick? This takes a while, and you could possibly get a similar effect by just using a pastry cutter, but it wouldn't be as well-distributed.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Apple- Raisin Breakfast Bread Pudding

Apple- Raisin Breakfast Bread Pudding

You might call this baked French Toast ... you might call it Breakfast Bread Pudding ... but it's simple and delicious. Plus it includes our friend, Heavy Cream, yay! Great for brunch.

Prep Time: 20
Cook Time: 45
Servings: 12

1 (16 oz) loaf of cinnamon-raisin bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored (and diced, but don't dice until next morning to keep it from turning brown)
6 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract


In a large bowl, mix together cinnamon, brown sugar and melted butter. Toss sliced apples in mixture to coat.
Grease a 9x13 baking dish. Arrange sliced apples on the bottom of the baking dish in a single layer.
In another large bowl combine eggs, nutmeg, milk, heavy cream and vanilla. Whisk to combine. Stir in bread cubes to coat with egg mixture. Let bread and egg mixture sit for 5 minutes for the bread to soak up the eggs. Pour over the sliced apples, cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees (F). Remove dish from refrigerator, dice the final apple and sprinkle the apple over the top of the bread pudding.
Bake at 375 for 40 minutes. Remove foil, turn on broiler and broil for 5 minutes. Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Cambodian Pancakes

This is really more of a tip than a recipe, but is something I like to make every once in a while and reminds me of our wonderful trip to Cambodia.

There was a restaurant there where you could get crepes or pancakes. I would often get the pineapple pancakes (they also had banana, apple, etc).

Here's the deal.

Use any pancake batter you wish (I usually just do the Bisquick thing).

Thinly slice some banana or pineapple (If using canned pineapple you will need to thin the slices or chunks).

Poor batter onto the hot griddle.

Place the thinly sliced pineapple (or banana) on the batter and then use the existing batter on the griddle to cover the slices you just put down. You will probably also need to spoon a bit of extra batter on top of the slices.

Cook as usual.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wednesday Fun #73 - Coffee Cake Requirements

Sorry for the late post. Between the time difference and another bad sinus infection, this one is coming to you late on your Wednesday.

Today's theme is coffee cake. What are your coffee cake requirements? For me, I don't like it when all the spices etc. are mixed into the batter. I like my batter buttery, but the cinnamon etc. needs to be in a crumble either on the top or in the middle (or both!) of the cake. Not as part of the batter.

Do any of you have any coffee cake requirements? (ex: Coffee cake is meant to be spicy and not fruity.) Or, another breakfast food that you are strangely picky about?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Kristina Kringler

This is another family favorite and great to bring to a morning coffee or meeting. I usually make it in the morning before I take is somewhere as it is best eaten same day. It is almost always gone and someone is asking how to make it.

What I like best is it is made out of staples so you can always make this one without shopping.

¼ pound butter
1 C. flour
2 T. water

1 C. water
¼ lb. Butter
1 C. flour
3 eggs
¼ t. salt
½ t. almond extract

1 T butter melted
1 C powder sugar
½ t. almond extract
cream/milk small amount

Step 1: Cut ¼ lb. butter into 1 cup flour. (I have always used my mixer.) Divide dough in half. On an ungreased cookie sheet, press dough using the heel of your hand into two 3-inch strips the length of the cookie sheet.

Step 2: Mix 1 cup water with ¼ lb. butter and bring to a boil. Take off the stove and add 1-cup flour. Beat in 3 eggs one at a time; then add ¼ t salt and ½ t almond extract. (I always use my mixer.) Spread on the first mixture and bake 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

When cool, frost with 1 T butter to 1 Cup powdered sugar. Add ½ t almond extract and enough cream to make the right consistency to spread.

Buttermilk Pancakes

This is my Grandmother’s recipe and we just love them.
For a special treat we eat them with ice cream and strawberries on top.

Large Recipe
1 qt buttermilk
2 t. salt
3 T sugar
6 eggs
2 t. baking soda
4 C. plus flour
4 Tbls melted butter

Mix together and fry. If you do not fry these all the first day, store the mix with some cling wrap right against the batter as the air will start to turn it green. It is still fine just does not look as good.

Swiss Potato Casserole

I will be asking my mom to make this for me when we get to the US as I can't buy hash browns here (and sour cream is hard to come by).

This dish works as a breakfast, with a side of ham or bacon, or as a potato dish at dinner. It can be mixed the night before and put in the oven later, but if you do this you may wish to reduce the onion. It also re-heats well.

2, 1 lb packages hash browns (I recommend Simply Potatoes)
1/2 C. melted butter
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 c. chopped white onion
8 oz sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
10 + oz grated cheddar cheese

Mix hash browns with all ingredients in large bowl. Blend well. Place in a greased 3 qt casserole or 9x13 pan (I always use the 9x13 pan). Top with a sprinkling of paprika.

Bake at 375 for 50-60 min, covered. (till center is very warm)
Remove cover and bake 15 min more.

Enjoy! (Man I miss this!!!)

Swedish Oven Pancake (Plus Bonus Recipe)

This puffed egg pancake is wonderful with a side of ham. I usually make it for guests and it always gets rave reviews. Recipe can easily be halved, put in an 8x8 or 9x9 pan, and then will serve 2-3 depending on how hungry you are.

I serve with sliced fruit, usually strawberries, and whipped cream. But, below I am posting an alternate recipe along with an apple topping.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

6 eggs
1 tsp salt
1/2 c. sugar
3/4 c. flour

Add slowly while beating: 2 1/2 c. milk

Put butter the size of an egg into a 9x13 pan and melt. (I use a glass pan.) Pour butter into batter and then patter into pan (or you could just spray the pan and then add the melted butter to the batter I guess).

Bake 1/2 hour.
Serve right away (it will deflate). Top with fruit and whipped cream that are on the side. Enjoy!

Below I am also posting an alternative puffed oven pancake recipe from Great Cooking for Two. This version is heaver/thicker as it doesn't use as many eggs or as much milk. It's still good and is for 2 people.

Spray 8 1/2" pie pan with non-stick spay
Heat oven to 400 degrees.

2 eggs
1/3 c flour
1/3 c milk
dash of salt.
Put batter into pan and bake for 25 min. Serve right away.

Spiced Apple Sauce (for 2 people):
1 med to large apple, thinly sliced
1 T raisins (optional)
2 T butter
2 T brown sugar
2 T apple juice, apple cider or water
2 T half-and-half, light cream or milk
1 T apple brandy or orange juice
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon or apple pie spice
2 T chopped nuts (optional)

In medium saucepan cook apple, raisins and butter until apples are almost tender, stirring frequently. Add brown sugar, apple juice (or cider or water), half-and-half (or milk), apple brandy (or orange juice), and cinnamon (or other spice). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 min. Stir in nuts.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

March's Theme - Breakfast

March's theme has been revised to be breakfast foods. YUM! Thanks, Diplowhat, for the suggestion and thanks to everybody who weighed in on the poll. I'm looking forward to getting some new breakfast/brunch ideas. (And trying to make some of the fancy pancakes that have been promised!)

We do have a label for "breakfast" and now one for "eggs" as well. Let's keep the "eggs" one for dishes that are primarily egg-based or eggs are a big component - omelets, egg bakes, frittatas, breakfast burritos, etc.

  • Pancakes are a classic breakfast food, and here's Pusher's recipe for Ricotta Pancakes.
  • Nectarine's Pumpkin Spice Muffins would be nice to have on hand for those mornings when you're running out the door and need a quick-to-grab, eat-during-the-commute breakfast.
  • Pusher posted a Wild Rice, Asparagus, and Goat Cheese Frittata a while back that might be a lovely brunch dish (or supper or lunch or breakfast!).
  • These Orange Butter Scones aren't quite your typical scones, but they are delicious, if I do say so myself!
Looking forward to hearing YOUR breakfast/brunch recipes!