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    Entries in homemade is best (67)

    Friday
    Aug262011

    The Flying Dutch... Pancakes?

    Think you can only get a ‘Dutch Baby’ at one of those pretentious breakfast places that has a line out the door on the weekends?  Wrong.  With just a few ingredients and a little bit of knowhow, you can avoid the crowds, and enjoy fabulous Dutch pancakes with your family in the comfort of your own home, for a fraction of the price.

     

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    3 eggs
    ½ cup milk
    ½ cup flour
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    2 Tablespoons sugar
    2 Tablespoons butter

     

     

     

    First thing, set your oven to 425°.  Crack your eggs into a mixing bowl, or a large measuring cup.  Seriously, if you don’t have one of these , you really should get one.  It’s so nice to be able to measure, mix, and pour with one container. 

    Using a hand mixer or whisk, beat the eggs until they get nice and foamy. 

    Stir in the milk, vanilla, and sugar, then sift in the flour. 

    Whisk until it’s fully incorporated with no, or at least very few, lumps.  Your pan needs to be hot before you add the batter, so throw it in the oven for a few minutes.  When it’s hot, throw in the butter and swirl around to coat the whole pan as it melts. 

    When it’s completely melted, pour your batter right into the middle of it. 

    Now pop it into the oven and set your timer for 15 minutes.  (I’m using a 10” skillet.  If you use something smaller, add a couple minutes)  While that’s cooking, I have to give a big thanks to my mom.  I just moved all the way across the country from her, but one of the very few things I brought with me was the huge bottle of vanilla she brought back from Mexico for me.  When I say huge, I mean it, which is a good thing, because I use lots of vanilla.  I put my other bottle of vanilla next to it for context. 

    I finally cracked into it, and my whole kitchen smells amazing now.  Mexican vanilla has such a rich, sweet flavor, and its aroma makes me tempted to try drinking it straight from the bottle.  It is my absolute favorite.  But it doesn’t stop there.  I got rid of my crocheted pot holders when I moved, and couldn’t find replacements here, so I asked her if she might make me a pair.  Well, not only did she make me a lovely set in my kitchen colors (Yay!!), but she also made two dish cloths to go with them.  What a great surprise that was when my package arrived. 

    Aren’t they beautiful?  Thanks Mom!  I miss you. 

    Ok, back to our pancake in the oven.  If you have a window in the door of your oven, you can watch the magic happen as it bakes. 

    See how it’s growing upwards on the sides?  I know, it’s a bit hard to make out through the dots on the oven door, but you CANNOT open it right now.  A cool draft could kill the whole thing.  Ok, so after your timer sounds, check on it through the window, or if you don’t have a window, you’ll have to risk a quick peek by opening the door just a crack.  It should be… well…

    How cool is that!!  So, aside from the amazing stunt your eggs pulled in the oven, it should be nice and brown around the edges and maybe even starting to just brown in spots in the middle as well.  Unfortunately, it will deflate rather quickly and lose some of its wow factor, but that’ll hardly matter while you’re eating it. 

    My favorite way is just topped with lots of butter and powdered sugar.  It is traditionally also served with lemon wedges to squeeze over the top.  This time I added a dollop of fresh whipped cream and some berries.  No matter how you top it, it’ll be fabulous.  I promise.


      
    **If you don't have an oven safe skillet, you can also use a pie pan, or any round, oven safe pan, really.  Just make sure it's hot and buttered before you pour in the batter.          

    Tuesday
    Aug162011

    Teddy Bear Picnic

    Ah, dinner. That meal I used to cook with leisurely ease.

    I had a whole three hours to make dinner last night (well, all night really, but I was getting hungry) and I ended up with a stirfry. Tons of time and I make a super fast dinner. I am highly amused. It was one hell of a tasty stirfry, and based on a dish I used to have at a little Asian fusion place on the island. It’s actually gained a lot of popularity and you can find it as a “tapas” sort of dish all over the place now. It’s fun to eat, totally sharable, and a little on the messy side, but that just makes for tasty sticky fingers to lick, which is always fun on date night. ;)

    But it’s not just a stirfry, it’s a wrap that you build as you eat. Think tacos, but with lettuce instead of tortilla shells, and stirfry instead of meat, beans and cheese… mmm… tacos…

    Stirfry. That’s what I made (but I may need to make tacos some time soon)

    The place on the island used a wicked hoisin sauce in theirs. Hoisin is like bbq sauce, but with Asian flavours. It has all the same elements: a base (usually tomato in the west, beans in the east), some salt (soy works), some sour (rice vinegar rather than cider or white), some sweet (brown sugar is what I usually see in bbq, but honey sometimes too), and then the seasonings.

    Black bean paste is the typical base for hoisin, but peanut butter can work to. And since I was fresh out of bean paste, I opted for the pb. And before I start, I have to admit to a bit of a guilty pleasure.

    So, when I was a kid, my mom refused to buy this one kind of peanut butter that I was sure that aaaalll my friend’s moms bought. And now that I’m a reasonable hand drawn facsimile of a grownup, I can buy what ever kind I want. So there. I know it’s going to make Taneasha have half a heart attack, and so I apologize in advance for my love of sugar sweetened, partially hydrogenated oil stabilizied, Kraft (*cringe*) peanut butter. I know the all natural stuff is better for me. I don’t care. I want the one with the bears on it.

    Chicken Stirfry in Lettuce Wraps with Home Made Hoisin Sauce

    What You Need:

    Hoisin


    •  4 tablespoons soy sauce
    •  2 tablespoons peanut butter or black bean paste
    •  1 tablespoon honey or molasses or brown sugar
    •  2 teaspoons rice vinegar
    • 1 clove garlic
    •  2 teaspoons sesame oil
    •  1 tsp Sriracha cock sauce

    Stir Fry:


    •  1 clove garlic
    •  1 bit of minced ginger
    •  1 tbsp peanut oil
    •  a few drops sesame oil
    •  1 chicken breast
    •  1 large red bell
    •  ½ small onion
    •  a few mushrooms
    •  ½ c cashews
    •  1 head lettuce

     What You Gotta Do:

    Dump all of the ingredients for the hoisin into a bowl much bigger than you need.You can leave out the hot sauce and add it a bit at a time once it’s mixed.

    Mixing the hoisin doesn’t take long, but it really looks strange at first.

    Don’t worry, keep whisking and it’ll all come together. See.

    Add as much or as little (or none if you insist) of the hot sauce as you like. Dip a bit of lettuce in to taste as you add.

    There, you just made hoisin sauce. Fancy schmancy. It really does work well on the bbq too.

    Since the stirfry cooks really fast, it’s best to have everything chopped and ready to go before you start heating the pan. Start with the chicken, then grab a fresh cutting board.

    I used a head of romaine for my wraps. I like the boat shape of them. The restaurant where I first had this dish served it with a quarter of a head of iceburg. Use which ever lettuce you prefer, but make sure it’s one that will hold up under the weight of a warm stirfry.

    Rinse the lettuce and dry it well. I lay my leaves out on a teatowel and roll them up. Works just fine, and keeps them out of the way while I’m cooking.

     

    Chop the onion, pepper and mushrooms into less than bite sized pieces, and mince the garlic and ginger.

    Heat a dry pan over medium heat, add the cashews. Those are some wrinkly nuts.

    Shake them around from time to time so they don’t burn, just get nice and toasty brown. Dump them out of the pan and back into the bowl.

    Add some peanut oil and add a few drops of sesame oil to the hot pan. Peanut oil has a really high smoke point, and sesame oils is probably one of the lowest. Combining them tempers sesame’s tendency to burn before you can get anything else into the pan.

    Sautee the chicken in the oil until the pink is all gone,

    Then add the veggies.

    Shove them around in the pan until the onions are just barely translucent and have lost their crunch.

     

    Add about half of the hoisin sauce. The rest can be stored in the fridge for… probably as long as the shelf life of the ingredient with the shortest shelf life. I dunno, it’s never lasted more than a week or two in my fridge.

    Mix in the sauce then add the cashews. Cashews will soften quite a bit in a saucy stirfry, so you only want them in there long enough to get them coated.

    It looks good, but it seems to be missing something…

    I haven’t been able to find cilantro or beansprouts to save my life lately, so I scrounged a half wilted green onion from the bottom of the veggie drawer.

    That did it. Cilantro would have been much better, but this'll do.

    Serve the stirfry in a bowl, with the lettuce leaves on the side.

    Hold a leaf in your hand and spoon in a bit of the stirfry. Just like building a taco.

    mmm…. Tacos….


    What are you bringing to the teddy bear (peanut butter) picnic??