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Easy Sunday Popovers
Sep 25th, 2011 by

A light and fluffy treat.

A light and fluffy treat.

If you have 30 minutes before the gang wakes up, try this easy popover recipe. They’re great with butter and jam for a breakfast or brunch treat, but also good to have with dinner.

The scary part is you can’t open the oven to check on how they’re doing. You have to have faith. And this being Sunday, what better day is there to make this recipe?

Ingredients:

  • Eggs (2 large)
  • Milk (1 cup)
  • Butter (1 tbspoon)
  • Flour (1 cup)
  • Salt (1/4 tsp.)

What I did:

Butter muffin pans.

Mix all of the ingredients until thoroughly blended, but don’t overdo it.

Half fill the muffin tins and put them in a cold oven.

Turn the oven on to 450 degrees and bake for 15 minutes.

Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 15 minutes.

DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN WHILE THEY COOK, OR THE POPOVERS WILL FALL.

Remove from pan and serve with butter and/or jam. Makes 8 to 10 popovers.

Find more recipes in the Food section.

Vegetable and Cheese Strata For a Breakfast Meeting
Aug 1st, 2010 by

The strata took center stage at last week's breakfast meeting.

The strata took center stage at last week's breakfast meeting.

Working from home has its benefits and one of them is being able to plan a breakfast meeting in your own backyard.

Last week I held an editor’s meeting in the great outdoors. No sterile company conference room or institutional cafeteria for us.

Since we’re a new company, the purpose of this meeting was for everyone to meet each other and share notes on how best to get started with the work at hand. Everyone learned from each other and I believe the seeds of friendship were sowed amid laughter and free flowing conversation that lasted more than two hours.

That’s right, a two-hour meeting that was productive and fun. I like to think the food (see below) and music (Beatles) had something to do with that.

Here’s the menu:

Vegetable and Cheese Strata

Fresh fruit bowl

Lemon/Cranberry Scones (OK, I bought these. No recipe here) with butter and strawberry jam.

Fresh Iced Tea

Coffee

Vegetable and Cheese Strata (Recipe from the Feb. 1991 edition of Gourmet Magazine):

Don't tell my son, Gabriel, we borrowed his mug for our meeting.

Don't tell my son, Gabriel, we borrowed his mug for our meeting.

  • Ingredients/Shopping List:
  • Onion (1 1/2 cups, chopped)
  • Scallions (1 cup, chopped)
  • Mushrooms (3/4 pound)
  • Olive oil (3 tbsp.)
  • Red bell pepper (2, about 2 cups, cut into thin strips)
  • Green bell pepper (2, about 2 cups, cut into thin strips)
  • Italian bread (About 1 loaf; enough to measure 9 cups, cut into 1-inch cubes)
  • Extra-sharp cheddar cheese (10 oz or 2 1/2 cups, grated)
  • Parmesan cheese (1 cup, grated)
  • Large Eggs (12)
  • Milk (3 1/2 cups)
  • Dijon-mustard (3 tbsp.)
  • Tabasco (6 or 7 dashes or to taste)

What I did:

Cook the onion, scallion and mushrooms in oil over low heat, stirring until the onion is softened.

Add bell peppers and salt and pepper to taste. Cook over moderate heat, stirring for 10-15 minutes or until liquid evaporates and peppers are tender.

Arrange half of the bread cubes in a buttered shallow (4 1/2-quart) baking dish.

Spread half of vegetable mixture over bread cubes and sprinkle half the cheddar and half the parmesan cheese on top.

Arrange the remaining bread cubes over the cheese layer.

Top with remaining vegetables and then the remaining cheese.

In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, the milk, the mustard, the tabasco, and salt and pepper. Then pour this evenly over the strata.

Chill the strata covered, overnight.

Let the strata stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before baking it in the middle of a 350-degree oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour or until it is puffed, golden and cooked through.

This recipe serves 8.

Find more recipes in the Food section.

(Note: If you’d like to print this recipe, click here or on the headline on this post and then use the print button at the bottom of the post. In other words, print from the “permalink” not from the homepage.)

Emancipation Proclamation Breakfast Cake
Jan 18th, 2010 by

This is quick and easy to make, but joyfully messy with blueberries and honey.

This is quick and easy to make, but joyfully messy with blueberries and honey.

I believe that food can play a role in people learning and appreciating each other’s culture. And with that thought in mind, I’m celebrating Martin Luther King’s birthday by making something from one of my “go-to” cookbooks: The Black Family Reunion Cookbook.

This is Emancipation Proclamation Breakfast Cake. An older cookbook published in 1958 with a nearly identical recipe states, “The Emancipation Proclamation New Year’s Day 1863 is celebrated in all parts of the United States.”

However, The Black Family Reunion Cookbook published in 1991 has a note from a woman in Virginia who writes, “In my home state we have commemorated the Emancipation Proclamation on the 8th of August…with basket dinners. Former slaves and descendants of slaves would come from around the country for this grand day of celebration.”

Of course, none of this describes what this pastry tastes like.  So here’s my attempt to describe its delights: If a blueberry muffin and a honey bun had a baby, this would be it.

Ingredients/Shopping List:
  • Butter Flavored Crisco (1/3 cup)
  • Sugar (1/3 cup)
  • Large Egg (1)
  • All-purpose flour (2 cups)
  • Baking powder (1 tbsp.)
  • Salt (1/2 tsp.)
  • Cinnamon (1/4 tsp.)
  • Milk (1/3 cup)
  • Blueberries, fresh or frozen (1 1/2 cups)
  • Honey (1/4 cup)
  • Grated orange peel (from 1 orange)
  • Grated lemon peel (from 1 lemon)
What I did:
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 9-inch pie plate.
Combine Butter Flavored Crisco and sugar in large bowl. Beat with electric mixer until creamy.
Beat in 1 egg.
Combine flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in another bowl. Add alternately with milk to creamed mixture.
Fold in the blueberries
Pat dough out to 1/2 thickness on a lightly floured surface.
Cut into nine 3-inch rounds.
Place one round in the center of the pie plate. Arrange the other eight tilted and overlapping around the center dough circle.
Spread honey over the top. Sprinkle the orange and lemon peel on top.
Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until the dough in the center is thoroughly baked. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Find more recipes in the Food section.
Breakfast for Dinner: Gingerbread Pancakes
Jan 12th, 2010 by

The bold flavor of gingerbread in one of the lightest pancakes you'll ever eat.

The bold flavor of gingerbread in one of the lightest pancakes you'll ever eat.

A friend on a skiing trip in Vermont raved about some gingerbread pancakes she ate at a restaurant up there. I emailed the place to see if they’d be willing to share the recipe with the RootsLiving community. But alas, they wouldn’t give it up.

So I did some searching and found this recipe in a cookbook I was given for Christmas this year: “Comfort Food: Warm and Homey, Rich and Hearty.” I made them for dinner tonight and found them to be very light, fluffy and brimming with gingerbread flavor.

Ingredients/Shopping List:

  • All Purpose Flour (1 1/4 cups)
  • Baking Powder (1 tsp.)
  • Baking Soda (1/2 tsp.)
  • Kosher Salt (1/2 tsp.) (I’m sure if you don’t have Kosher, regular salt will do.)
  • Ground Cinnamon (1 tsp.)
  • Ground Ginger (3/4 tsp.)
  • Ground Cloves (1/8 tsp.)
  • Large Eggs (2)
  • Dark Brown Sugar (1/4 cup, firmly packed)
  • Unsulfured Light Molasses (2 tbsp.)
  • Unsalted Butter (2 tbsp, melted, plus more for serving)
  • Brewed Coffee (1/4 cup, at room temperature)
  • Canola Oil (enough for cooking)
  • Pure Maple Syrup (For serving. I didn’t have pure maple syrup so I used Aunt Jemima Original. I know, sacrilege!)

What I Did:

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.

In another bowl whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, molasses, the 2 tablespoons of melted butter, coffee, and 1/2 cup of water.

Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir until combined. Don’t overwork it.

Get a frying pan hot enough so that water flicked on it will sizzle and skitter across the surface.

Brush a light coating of the oil over the pan and then pour about 1/4  cup of the batter onto it. Cook pancake until bubbles form on the surface (about 2 min.). And then flip it over until the bottom is golden brown (about 30 seconds to 1 min.)

Transfer pancakes to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven.

Serve hot and with plenty of butter and syrup.

Find more recipes in the Food section.

Pane alla Cioccolata (Chocolate Bread)
Jan 5th, 2010 by

This light, fluffy bread with chocolate chips takes several hours to make because the dough needs to rise twice.

This light, fluffy bread with chocolate chips takes several hours to make because the dough needs to rise twice.

This lightly sweetened bread is great with a cup of coffee or a glass of red wine. The recipe comes from “The Italian Baker” cookbook, by Carol Field.

I’ve made this several times before but this time it tasted better than ever. The texture was light and more like soft Italian bread. In the past, it’s had more of a cake consistency. I think the difference was sifting the flour (actually I don’t own a flour sifter and instead push the flour through a fine sieve with a butter knife) and using a food processor (instead of working it all by hand).

And oh yes, in the past I’ve spread cream cheese over each slice but this time I splurged and used Mascarpone. I’ll never use anything else or make it any other way.

Recipe: Makes 2 round or oval loafs

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (2 1/2 tsp) active dry yeast
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/3 cup, plus 1 tbsp, warm water
  • 4 1/2 cups of unbleached, all-purpose flour (sifted or pushed through a fine sieve with a butter knife)
  • 1/2 cup, plus 2 tbsp, sugar
  • 1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • 1 1/4 cups of warm water
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp butter, at room temperature, cut up into four pieces
  • 1 cup of semisweet chocolate chips

What I did:

Stir the yeast and 1/2 teaspoon of sugar into 1/3 cup, plus 1 tbsp of warm water in a small bowl. Let stand until foamy (about 10 min.)

Put the flour, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a food processor fitted with a dough blade. Process with several pulses to mix well.

Stir 1 1/4 cups of cold water and the egg yolk into the dissolved yeast.

Put the pieces of butter ontop of the dry ingredients in the food processor.

With the food processor running, pour the yeast mixture through the feed tube as quickly as the flour can absorb it and process it until the dough gathers into a ball.

Process for another 40-45 seconds, pouring the chocolate chips through the feed tube during the last 10 seconds.

If necessary, knead dough a little more on a floured surface until it is velvety, elastic, and moist.

First Rise: Put dough in an oiled bowl and cover it tightly with plastic wrap. Let it rise until doubled (about 2 hours).

Second Rise: Punch the dough down and cut it in half on a lightly floured surface. Shape each piece into a round or oval loaf and place on an oiled baking sheet. Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled (about 1 hour).

Heat the oven to 450 degrees and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees and bake 30 minutes longer.

Cool completely on a rack before slicing.

Spread Mascarpone cheese on a slice and enjoy. Makes a good dessert or breakfast treat.

Find more recipes in the Food section.

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