Monday, May 30, 2011

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Pancakes with Mixed Berry Compote

I am now halfway finished reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett. The book has greatly improved and picked up from the initial 80 pages, but it was very hard to keep focused long enough for me to gain interest in the book.

The book kept me up until well past 3am last night. Today I've accomplished pancakes, organizing my office/guest room, cleaning the deck and carport, and watching Harry Potter year 1 and 2. I would have watched the third one but when I put in the disc, it plays Polar Express!? Needless to say I was not happy. I am also too lazy to go back to Wal-Mart and exchange it today. That will be added to the list of things to accomplish tomorrow evening. 

This morning's breakfast was a quick, throw together type of pancake because its the end of the month and I have not been to the store recently. I was using what few things are still left in the fridge, freezer, and pantry.

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Pancakes With Mixed Berry Compote

1 C Mixed Berries
3 Tbs Sugar
1/8 C Water
1 Tbs Cornstarch
2 Tbs Water

In a medium sauce pan, over medium heat, combine berries, sugar, and 1/8 C of water.

Bring just to a boil, stirring occasionally. Mix together cornstarch and water, stir into berry mixture. Continue to cook until thickened.

1 C All-Purpose Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
Dash Salt
1 Tbs Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Egg
2 Tbs Unsalted Butter, melted
3/4 C Milk
1/2 C Red Raspberries
1/4 C Dark Chocolate Chips (I prefer Ghirardelli Chocolate)

Mix together dry ingredients in a medium bowl, whisk in vanilla, egg, melted butter, and milk. Fold in raspberries.

Cook over medium heat in a lightly greased skillet.

Flip when edges are set and cook until both sides are golden.

Top with mixed berry compote and enjoy!

Strawberry Rhubarb Pancakes

A quick trip to the grocery to return a RedBox movie rental and pick up some lettuce for a salad, I came across rhubarb. The first signs that summer is almost here!

The possibilities are almost endless on what to do with it. But I like to be different. Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie. Raspberry Rhubarb Muffins. Dessert Bars. Oatmeal-Rhubarb Squares. The list goes on...

When in doubt, turn to Google. I love Google. Everything you want in a few simple clicks. Well almost everything. Breakfast dishes using this wonderful vegetable are extremely limited.

I found lot of recipes for rhubarb syrups to pour over my beloved breakfast dish. Is it because vegetables in a breakfast pancake just sounds weird? Is that why nobody has done this? I was greatly disappointed at the lack of results Google showed me.

I found Allotment 2 Kitchen's Recipe but didn't want to mess with cooking the rhubarb first. I'm a simple kind of girl. I don't like a lot of steps. Especially first thing in the morning. It's simply not possible to follow a recipe with multiple steps before my coffee has taken effect. I'm a throw it in a bowl and stir type of breakfast person. Save the detailed things for brunch.

Further searching resulted in flavorless a baked pancake with chunks of rhubarb. It didn't impress me.

This brought me to my question, how can there be almost no recipes for a rhubarb pancake? I decided I needed to correct this problem. So here it is....

Strawberry Rhubarb Pancakes
1/2 C Whole Wheat Flour
1/4 C All Purpose Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
Dash Salt
2 Tbs  Sugar
2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
3/4 C Milk
1 Egg
2 Tbs Unsalted Butter, melted
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 C Strawberries, diced
1/2 C Rhubarb, finely diced-saves you from cooking it first to make it tender

In a medium bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, and cinnamon. Whisk in milk, egg, butter, and vanilla. Fold in strawberries and rhubarb.

Cook over medium heat in a lightly greased skillet or griddle. When bubbles begin to form one the surface and bottom is golden brown. Turn and cook on second side until golden.

**If your rhubarb is exceptionally tough, use the butter and sugar from the recipe to first saute it until tender. Allow to cool to room temperature and then stir into the batter before adding the strawberries. **

Serves 2. 

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Apricot Walnut Pancakes

This morning started off to be a slow day. I woke up at 5am. Who wakes up at 5 on a Saturday?

I think my internal clock operates in a different time zone.

Waking up obnoxiously early, I typically get a lot done. Laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping when nobody is out in the store to annoy me. This morning however, I did none of that. I made pancakes, pulled a blanket out of the closet and curled up on the couch to watch I Love Lucy.

I LOVE I Love Lucy. It is the best t.v. show ever!

That brings me to my cooking adventure this morning. These were inspired by the superb apricots I picked up at the local Harris Teeter store this morning.

Apricot Walnut Pancakes

1 C Whole Wheat Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
Dash Salt
1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
3 Tbs Molasses
1 Egg
1 C Milk
1 Apricot, diced
1/4 C Walnuts, finely chopped

Mix together the dry stuff. Stir in molasses, egg, and milk.

Chop the walnuts until they are of a desirable size.

Chop the apricot into small pieces.

Fold into the pancake batter.

Cook in a lightly greased skillet over low heat until browned on both sides. I had so much fruit and nuts in my batter, there wasn't room for bubbles to appear. Also the molasses makes these pancakes tend to get dark easily, but they aren't burnt.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Help & Brown Sugar Oatmeal Pancakes

My morning started almost an hour earlier than I wanted it to. So much for getting rest. I am starting to believe that I am incapable of sleeping.

My mind doesn't stop. It just keeps going and going. Like  the Energizer Bunny. It never stops.

I tossed together a quick pancake batter, cooked up some wonderful pancakes, and ate them while reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett.

The pancakes were delicious, the book started off rather boring. :-( Nothing all that mind blowing. Definitely a slow starter. 80 pages later, I am finally starting to get into it. Guess we'll have to see how it turns out.

This morning's breakfast: Brown Sugar, Oatmeal Pancakes

3/4 C  Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 C Quick Cooking Oats
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
Dash Salt
1/3 C Dark Brown Sugar
1 Egg
2 Tbs Unsalted Butter, melted
1 C Buttermilk
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. I stir it with a fork to remove the lumps from the brown sugar. Add in the egg, butter, buttermilk, and vanilla. Whisk together well.

Cook over medium heat in a lightly greased skillet.

Turn pancakes when golden brown on the bottom. Mine never formed bubbles on the surface, so watch the  edges carefully for when they set.

Serve and enjoy! (Serves 2-3)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Fresh Strawberry Pie

I went away for the weekend, completely neglecting the fact that I had a one pound package of strawberries still hiding in the fridge. How could I forget about such a wonderful little delicious treat?

I was very disappointed in myself.

I came home to find still edible, but very soft, not so pretty berries waiting on me. I had two choices toss them or figure out what to do with them that would accept their not-so-perfect condition.

I had to make a trip to the store for the basics anyways and they happened to have strawberries on sale, so I picked up another one pound container of *fresh* berries that were still pretty and decided I needed a strawberry pie.

Yummy! Half of it disappeared within 12 hours of making it. I live alone. Oops, maybe I pigged out just a bit.

Fresh Strawberry Pie
2 lbs fresh strawberries (or more for a 10inch pie pan)
3/4 C Water (divided)
3/4 C Sugar (or more if your berries are tart)
3 Tbs Cornstarch
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 pre-baked 9inch pie crust

Arrange your best looking berries in your pre-baked crust.

Cut up remaining strawberries. (I just cut most of mine in half.) Add to a medium sauce pan, along with sugar, and 1/2 cup of water.

Bring to a boil over medium heat. Smashing berries as you go. Simmer for 15 minutes or until berries are easily smashed and sugar is dissolved.

Dissolve cornstarch in remaining 1/4 cup of water. Stir into smashed strawberry mixture. Cook until thickened, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Immediately stir in vanilla extract.

Pour over the berries in the pie crust. The hot mixture will soften the other berries. Allow to cool to room temperature before refrigerating. Serve chilled with whipped cream.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Cold Morning and Masala Chai.....

I feel like I am in slow motion this morning. Time is in even slower-motion. It does not help that I woke up extra early and went to sleep extra late last night.

After crawling out from under the cat that was nestled on my feet and receiving only minor scratches from disrupting her sleep, I made my way into the kitchen.

I fell asleep last night, leaving all the windows open, allowing rather chilly 58 degree air into my house. It was definitely a great morning for a hot breakfast and a hot cup of masala chai, better known in the USA as "chai tea".

Anywho...the tea reminded of a recipe I saw on Baking Serendipity. So I set off this morning to create this lovely recipe for chai pancakes.

Chai-Spiced Chocolate Chip Pancakes
1 C All-Purpose Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
Dash Salt
2 Tbs Chai Spiced Instant Tea (or 1 K-Cup of Chai Latte by Cafe Escapes)
1 Egg
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
3/4 C Milk
1/3 C Chocolate Chips

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and tea mix. You can buy a small canister of the tea mix at most Wal-Mart stores. Get the instant mix that you either just add milk or water to.

Add in the egg, vanilla and milk. Whisk together well. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Cook in a lightly greased skillet over medium-low heat. Flip when the bottom is browned and the edges are set. My pancakes formed very few bubbles on the surface to indicate it being ready to turn.

My pancakes actually puffed so much in the center, it cracked on the top! (Hard to see in the picture but it did.) I've never had that happen in 15 years of making pancakes. They were absolutely the most wonderfully spiced, fluffy pancakes. Love them!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Exploding Coffee, Pancakes, & Water for Elephants

It's been one of those mornings. You know the type, you want to go back to bed and try starting all over.

Life is kicking my ass. Couldn't sleep. At 4am Kit (my HIGHLY spoiled kitty) decided to have a one cat race through the house.

She ran. And she ran. And she ran over me. Then she attacked her toys. She picked out the only one that has a bell in it. She played with it for a good hour. I HATE that bell.

When I finally admitted defeat and realized I wasn't going to get any more sleep, I headed towards my favorite kitchen gadget. My Keurig coffee maker. A wonderful device that makes perfect coffee every time. Well almost every time. Today it kind of exploded.

Instead of coffee dripping out the hole at the bottom, it kind of sprayed out of the top. It takes talent to do that. A talent that only I possess.

At least the pancakes were a success. The perfect breakfast for a lousy, rainy day.

Today's pancakes came from Joy the Baker's Vegan Jam Swirled Pancakes. Absolutely delicious! However, mine aren't vegan.

Jam Pancakes
1 C All-Purpose Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
Dash Salt
1 Egg
3/4 C Milk
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 Tbs Unsalted Butter, melted
2 heaping spoonfuls of your favorite jelly or jam

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the center and add the egg, part of the milk, vanilla extract, and the melted butter. Mix it together, adding remaining milk to help eliminate the lumps and bring the batter to the right consistency.

Add in 2 heaping spoonfuls of your favorite jam or jelly. I used FROG jam that is from a local fruit market by my parents house in Ohio.

I prefer a jam that has lumps of fruit in it to add more texture to the pancakes. However if it is a thicker jam, warm it slightly first so that it mixes into the batter easier.

Make sure your skillet is lightly greased, the melting jam in these pancakes will cause them to stick. Cook over low heat and flip the pancakes when the surface is dotted with bubbles.

Brown evenly on both sides.

Top with additional jam and/or syrup and enjoy!

Serves 3. It made 18 silver dollar sized pancakes for me.

I ate 15 of the pancakes. I blame the book. I was reading Water for Elephants (which I finished!) and just kept eating and eating. I lose track of things when I'm reading a good book.

For those who haven't read the book, I highly recommend it. Something about a masturbating midget is just hilarious and makes you keep reading the book to find out what other "surprise" scenes are going to pop up!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Pomegranate White Chocolate Chip Pancakes

A few weeks ago I stumbled across two wonderful food blogs. Joy the Baker and Baking Serendipity. Both are amazing and have some amazing recipes.

Today's breakfast came from Baking Serendipity. Pomegranate-White Chocolate Pancakes

If you can get past the color the batter changes from the juice, they taste delicious. A very nice switch from pancakes made with milk.

Here is my twist on these pancakes:

Pomegranate White Chocolate Chip Pancakes
1 C All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
2 Tbs Sugar
1 Egg
3/4 C POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice
1/2 C White Chocolate Chips

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar. Stir in the egg and pomegranate juice.

Quickly fold in the white chocolate. Allow the batter to set for a couple minutes. The acidity in the juice makes these pancakes super puffy.

In a pre-heated skillet, cook the pancakes, making sure to turn only once as to keep them super fluffy.

If you watch carefully, you can actually see the pancakes puff up when you flip them.

Great recipe!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Rice Cakes

Have you ever seen a cookbook from 100 years ago?

First off, if you can get past the huge difference in formatting and wording, you need to rely on Google so that you can figure out what in the heck some of the measurements are. Things are measured by the pound, by gills (pronounced "jill"), glasses, teacupfuls, pints, quarts, and spoonfuls.

I've made European recipes that use weight as the measurements. I have made older recipes that measure flour and sugar by the pound. I have NEVER once used a "pound of eggs."

The basis for today's recipe is from page 103 of a 1832 cookbook entitled Seventy-Five Receipts for Pastry, Cakes, and Sweetmeats by Miss Leslie, of Philadelphia. 4th Edition.

 Put half a pound of rice in soak over night. Early in the morning boil it very soft, drain it from the water, mix with it a quarter of a pound of butter, and set it away to cool. When it is cold, stir it into a quart of milk, and add a very little salt. Beat six eggs, and sift half a pint of flour. Stir the egg and flour alternately into the rice and milk. Having beaten the whole very well, bake it on the griddle in cakes about the size of a small dessert-plate. Butter them, and send them to table hot.

Sounds interesting. Also sounds like it would feed a lot of people. Just out of curiosity, I cooked a half pound of rice, it cooked up to over 4 cups. I foresee rice pudding and fried rice in my near future....

These turned out very good, almost like a pancake version of rice pudding.

Rice Cakes
1 C Cooked Rice (I use a long grain white rice)
4 Tbs Unsalted Butter
2 Tbs Sugar
Dash of Salt
1 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Egg, Beaten
1/2 C All-Purpose Flour
3/4 C Milk

In a medium bowl combine rice and butter. If the rice is hot, just cut the butter into bits and stir in. Otherwise, melt the butter and add to the rice. All this mixture to cool to room temperature.

Add in the sugar, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla. Stir until well combined.

Stir in the egg and flour. It's very important to beat the egg before you add it to the mix. Add the milk in parts until a batter with the texture of pudding is formed. More or less milk may be required.

Cook in a lightly greased skillet over medium-low heat. These seem to absorb the oil so it is important to use only what is necessary to keep them from sticking.

These don't get nice little bubbles on the surface. They don't dry out around the edges. They just get browned on the bottom. You have to watch them carefully.

They were absolutely delicious though! It made 6 medium sized pancakes.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Cornmeal Molasses Pancakes

Hello. I'm Sarah. I have a problem. I'm addicted to pancakes.

I swear, I really do eat other foods. I even take pictures of the stuff I make. It just never seems to make its way onto here.

I guess I should work on that. Maybe this weekend I'll post something non-pancake.

I recently discovered Joy the Baker's Blog. She has tons of great recipes.

Joy was my inspiration for my breakfast this morning.

Cornmeal Molasses Pancakes with Blueberries

I love fruit in my pancakes. Blueberries happens to be what is in the freezer at the moment so they are getting used a lot.

1/2 C Cornmeal
1/2 C Whole Wheat Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
Dash salt
3 Tbs Molasses
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Egg
3 Tbs Unsalted Butter, melted (if you use salted, leave out the salt)
1 C Buttermilk

I'm lazy, I hate doing dishes, so I rarely use more than a bowl, a spoon, a skillet, and a spatula when cooking pancakes. If you've made as many as I have, it is not hard to skip the measuring steps. If not, at least I can tell you how to save on using extra bowls to whisk, sift, and otherwise combine wet and dry ingredients.

Begin with a medium sized mixing bowl, toss in all the dry ingredients. (Cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.) Stir these together with a spoon or whisk.

Make a "well" in the center. Otherwords, push all the floury stuff to the sides of the bowl. Crack the egg into this void. Poke at the egg with the spoon or whisk to break the yolk. Stir it around a little bit trying to avoid the flour mixture as much as possible.

Add the molasses, vanilla, and melted butter into this "well" also. Then start whisking the entire mixture together. Add the buttermilk in several parts. This helps to eliminate the lumps in the batter.

Allow the batter to set for a few minutes so that the acidity of the buttermilk can react with the baking soda and baking powder and make the batter fluff up. (I folded in a generous 1/2 C of blueberries before allowing the batter to rest.)

Cook these pancakes in a well-greased, pre-heated skillet over a low-medium heat. The moisture of the molasses causes these pancakes to cook slower and if the heat is too high you'll scorch the bottoms before they are set up enough to turn.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Yogurt Pancakes with Blueberries

I have learned two things this week so far. The first being that pistachios are irresistible. I've eaten a lot. I mean A LOT. The second, that nobody what, I am NOT a photographer. My pictures come out the same rather I take them with my phone, my cheap pink camera, or with my friend's thousand dollar camera that does everything but aim itself. I give up. You'll have to deal with my inability to take pictures. At least my finger isn't in the picture. Thats a plus.

This morning's adventure? Pancakes when there is no milk in the house. I substituted yogurt in place of the milk. I was very doubtful at first. The pancake batter was very thick.

I put two spoonfuls in the skillet. It looked like I just put two spoonfuls of biscuit mix in my skillet. I had to spread the pancake with the spoon. It puffed up nicely though.

Then I went to turn it....that was tricky. The batter melted. The pancake ran off the side of the spatula. My skillet ended up with pancake batter cooked to the sides. What a mess!

But you know what? It tasted delicious! It has that wonderful, melt in your mouth texture that is so comforting when you're forced awake earlier than you'd like by the obnoxious alarm clock that didn't get set correctly.

Then I had to add blueberries to it. What's a comforting pancake without blueberries?

The end result was a not-so-attractive mess where the juice from my frozen blueberries swirled into my batter. It wasn't the prettiest pancake, but oh my did it taste heavenly!

Yogurt Pancakes-With Blueberries
1/2 C All-Purpose Flour
1/4 C Whole Wheat Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
Dash Salt
1 Egg
1 C Vanilla Yogurt (or Plain and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
3 Tbs Unsalted Butter, melted
1/2 C Blueberries, thawed if frozen

Put a skillet on to heat over medium low heat. Slow cooking these pancakes helps them to set up.

In a mixing bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Stir in egg and yogurt. Mix well. Stir in cooled butter. Fold in blueberries.

Cook 1 pancake at a time in your skillet as these spread as they warm up. Make sure your skillet is warm and well greased. Cook pancake until bubbly on top. Mine never set up on the edges, so I had to check the bottom multiple times to make sure it was appropriately browned. Turn carefully and cook until both sides are golden brown.

Serves 2.