Showing posts with label Recipe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Recipe. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

{14/52 & 15/52}: mulligatawny

{14/52}: bike trailer season!

{15/52}: sisterly love

The weather lately is wicked crazy. It can't decide whether it wants to be warm, cold, windy (correction: it is always windy), or raining. I feel for the poor weather experts who have to try to predict these doozies. Luckily we have had a few days of sunshine--enough for us to burn even while wearing sunscreen--so my need for vitamin D has finally be satiated.

It rained and was hella-windy today, so it seemed like a good day for soup. I like to tinker in the kitchen, and recently I discovered I love curry in soup. First I tried this curried sweet potato soup, which was completely delicious, even to the person in our household who lists sweet potatoes as the only food he won't eat. Next I decided to try mulligatawny, which was equally delicious.

It would be impossible for me to talk about mulligatawny and not mention Seinfeld. It's a great word and a great episode and a great soup. All great! My first introduction to mulligatawny was in a little middle eastern restaurant called Lulu's in Madison, Wisconsin (it's closed now, sadly). That restaurant offered not just my first introduction to the soup but also my first introduction to Middle Eastern food of any kind.

I learned when deciding to write about mulligatawny that it's actually a product of Anglo-Indian cuisine rather than authentically Indian. Also I learned that most recipes (including the one in my 1950's Betty Crocker cookbook) call for chicken and apples, which is such a strange combination to me. Because, you know, there aren't apples in India.

But perhaps the best part about mulligatawny is that you can make it whatever way you like, with whatever ingredients you have on hand. And it's so much more fun to say mulligatawny than "curried pea soup."

The reason I tried mulligatawny now is that I happened to discover "vegi soup mix" by Bob's Red Mill, and somehow the split peas, barley, lentils, and veggie pasta seemed to cry out for curry flavoring. I happened also to have a coconut curry chicken broth on hand, so I used it, but regular chicken stock or veggie broth would be fine too.

Pic quality isn't great, but yk, does lentil soup ever look good?


mulligatawny
serves 8

Ingredients:
few Tbs. of butter & oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 large carrots, diced
2 good-sized potatoes, diced (or whatever other veggies you like)
2 c. Bob's Red Mill vegi soup mix (or a combo of the beans above)
8 c. chicken stock or veggie broth
1 Tbs. curry powder (a mix of coriander, fenugreek, turmeric, red pepper, and onion)
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
salt and pepper (if you have citrus salt on hand, this is a good time to use it)
parsley
lemon

Directions:
1. Saute onion and carrots in butter & oil in Dutch oven over medium heat for 10 minutes, until onions are translucent.
2. Add potatoes, soup mix, broth, and spices (everything except parsley and lemon), and cook covered over medium-low heat for approximately an hour or until the peas have all but disappeared and the lentils are soft. Remove from heat and stir in parsley and lemon juice to brighten it up.



Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Uncle Ronnie's chicken bog {& a list of freezable meals!}

I sat down here to write an update on the Ranger household. But rather than jot those deets, I veered off the path to share another recipe for comforting chicken stew (that makes two in a row).

Because sometimes your pal Jenny--a wonderful friend and beautiful person inside and out--asks you for easy, freezable meal ideas in anticipation of her first bundle of joy, and you must answer the call. Once a boat mate, always a boat mate. So I hope you'll forgive me for sharing this recipe instead of an update today, and I believe you will once you've learned how easy and delicious it is.

Only picture of me (2nd from left) and Jenny that I can find right now. She's the badass on the right.


My uncle that I was telling you about the other day--Uncle Ronnie of the sorghum syrup--is a wealth of information about recipes from the old south. He usually gets the tips from his Dad, who is an even greater wealth of information on the topic. So you can see, I've tapped into a great wellspring of recipes for you folks.

My latest discovery via Uncle Ronnie is chicken bog, a stew from the eastern Carolinas. Perhaps it would sound more tasty if I called it chicken and rice stew, but I prefer to let the title lie as is in all its odd, humble glory. Although the name is quirky and less than delicious-sounding, chicken bog is neither of those things.

A recipe as simple as this one deserves to be left without the decoration of superfluous adjectives, so I'll just tell you it is GOOD. And if you're a soon-to-be mom, you should also know that it is easy and definitely freezable. All you need is time, but if you're anything like I was during the nesting phase, you're spending lots of time rewashing the layette anyhow and can spare a few minutes for waiting and stirring.

Uncle Ronnie's dad dictated few instructions. Mainly he said to cover the chicken with water, simmer until it is falling apart, strain the stock into a container, top the chicken with 2 c. white Carolina rice, pour in 2-3 c. of the saved liquid, and simmer 15 more minutes. You can certainly do it as simply as that, but I added a few fussier ingredients thanks to this recipe by Vivian Howard of A Chef's Life.


Uncle Ronnie's chicken bog
serves 8

Ingredients:
1 whole chicken, skin-on and cut into parts
1 onion, quartered
bay leaf
fresh thyme
salt & pepper
2 c. white rice (I can get Carolina brand at the regular grocery)
butter

Directions:

  1. Place chicken pieces in a Dutch oven. Cover with water and throw in the onion, bay leaf, a few sprigs of thyme, and 1 Tbs. salt and a few teaspoons of fresh cracked pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer the chicken over low heat for about an hour and a half or until chicken is falling apart. You will have rendered the fat off the skin, and even the breast meat should come right apart if poked with a fork.
  2. Turn the heat off and let it sit covered in its liquid for 30 minutes. Remove the chicken pieces to a cutting board to cool. Strain the stock into a container. Shred the chicken, leaving some big pieces of breast meat, and discard the skin bones. [Note: If you are freezing the recipe, stop here. Put the shredded chicken into the stock, label it with the name and date, and put it in the chest freezer. When you're ready to use it, defrost it overnight in the refrigerator, and move on to step #3.]
  3. Return chicken to the Dutch oven. Top with 2 c. white rice if you're serving 8 people (if you're serving 4, save half for later in the week at step #2, then cook fresh rice at that time). Don't rinse your rice before putting it in, since the extra starch is helpful for thickening. Follow rice directions for how much liquid to add (usually 2:1 ratio of liquid to rice). Simmer for approximately 15 minutes until rice is tender. Careful not to simmer too long, for though you want the chicken soft, you want the rice to maintain a bite. Drop in a pat of butter and maybe some lemon juice or parsley if you like it fussy. Just do me a favor and don't tell Uncle Ronnie's dad.

For Jenny & the other moms-to-be out there, here's a list of freezable recipes from the blog:

My one and only piece of advice when it comes to post-baby food is this: invest in a chest freezer! I promise you won't regret the investment even if you don't cook that often. Last I checked, they sell a reasonably large model for around $100 at Home Depot.

Good luck, Jenny! And snuggle that baby. They grow all too fast.
xoxo,
~J

Monday, March 31, 2014

{12/52 & 13/52}: chicken 'n' dumplings


One thing you should know about me is that I love chicken 'n' dumplings.

{12/52}: sickies

And I knew it was time to make a batch when the girls spent a day looking like they do in the picture above. They had a nasty cold all week.

****

Before I get more into my love of dumplings, I'll share a brief story from a recent tot class. [Aside within an aside: when they call a class "jiggle and jive" and then make the moms jump around a lot, are they trying to inspire us to go to the gym more?] We were singing a song, and I had that experience that happens to me so frequently up here where I get lyrics to simple children's songs wrong. Apparently there are often regional differences in the words, which I never knew until having my own littles. It's an interesting experience to slip and slide through conversations with locals, knowing you might mess up even the most basic of childhood rhymes. Playing eenie meanie with Vivi the other day, she says, "That's now how it ends, Mommy! You're supposed to say 'Out goes Y-O-U.'" Or else I might stop singing "Ring Around the Rosie" after one verse, and everyone else continues a second verse that includes words like "buttahcups" and "thundah."

This time it happened, though, I walked away thinking the adapted New England lyrics to, "She'll be coming around the mountain" are really missing out. They replaced "We'll have some cake and ice cream," instead of "We'll have some chicken 'n dumplings," and I simply will not stand for such a variation without attempting to rectify the situation.

****

I love Cracker Barrel. Because I can't untangle their food from my happy childhood memories--of stopping there to eat with my grandparents on our way to Birmingham to visit my cousins, of selecting paper strips of candy to buy, of playing checkers and that weird golf-tee ig-nor-a-moose game, whatever it was called--I know my love is potentially blind. But I don't care; I will go on with my positive view of Cracker Barrel, no matter any evidence to the contrary that comes my way.

Whatever you say about Cracker Barrel's food, you'll probably appreciate their chicken 'n dumplings if you give 'em a try. Some people prefer dumplings to be giant matzo-like puffy orbs, but I come from the school of thought in which dumplings are flat rectangles of dense dough. That's why I call this recipe "Cracker Barrel chicken 'n dumplings," although it's only authentic in that it mostly tastes like their version to me. {Note: I added an alternative way of making puffy-orb dumplings at the bottom of the recipe because I know some people like eating them the wrong other way}.

There are faster ways to cook chicken 'n dumplings than this recipe.


If you want a real shortcut, you can do the 10-minute car-camping version: Put a drained can of chicken, a 15 oz. can of chicken stock, and a little water/flour slurry in a pot; let it come to a boil, drop in cut-up biscuit dough from a can, wait 5 minutes; et voila, dinner is served.

Or you could do the middle-of-the road 30-min approach: Dredge 6-8 chicken thighs and drumsticks in flour. Saute in oil in a Dutch oven until brown. Submerge with chicken stock (2-3 cups), cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare 1 c. of Bisquick according to package directions, drop tablespoons of dough into stew (on top of the meat), adding more stock as desired, and cook 10 minutes uncovered, then cover and cook 10 more minutes.

But I find that even going all-the-way from scratch isn't time-consuming or difficult prep. The part that takes up the most time is cooking the chicken to make chicken stock. Whether you want to roast your chicken first to add a depth of flavor to the finished dish is up to you. If you're pressed for time or simply feeling lazy like I often am, you can just start with raw chicken in the pot. The only thing that changes is your cooking time.

I usually divide the task into two days. On the first day, I cook, cool, and shred the chicken (using the same method described in my chicken & rice soup post), then put it back in the stock and into the fridge overnight to marry flavors.  On the second day, I heat up the soup, add a slurry, season to taste, and cook the dumplings. If you want your kids to get some extra veggies, drop in frozen peas at the very end.


chicken 'n dumplings, the {sorta} Cracker Barrel way
serves 6

Stew Ingredients:
1 whole chicken, skin-on, cut into parts
1 carrot, broken in half
1 stalk celery, cut in half
1 onion, quartered
3 cloves of garlic, lightly smashed
handful of black peppercorns
salt & pepper
few stems of flat-leaf parsley
2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. whole milk (half & half or heavy cream work too)

Flat Dumpling Ingredients: {see below for fluffy dumplings}
1c. all-purpose flour, sifted
2/3 c. water
large pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Add chicken, veggies, garlic, peppercorns, a large pinch of salt, and parsley into a large Dutch oven or stock pot. Cover with water (approximately 8-10 cups, depending on the size of your pot) and bring it to a boil. Quickly turn the heat down to simmer and let it cook until the chicken reaches 175ºF with a meat thermometer, approximately 45 minutes. {Note: Alternatively, you can let it come to a boil, turn the heat off, and leave it for an hour to an hour and a half if you need to go somewhere during this time.}
  2. Put the meat on a cutting board to let it cool. Meanwhile, strain the stock into a bowl and discard the veggies. Shred the chicken, discarding the fat and bones {Note: This is where I stop for the day if I'm dividing the recipe in two; you can save the bones for another round of stock-making}. 
  3. Make a slurry by whisking together 2 Tbs. flour and milk; set aside. Return the shredded chicken to the pot. If you want a soup, add all the broth back; if you prefer the dumplings to be in a thick sauce instead of soup, add half the broth back (~2 c.) and more as needed. Add the slurry and bring the mixture to a boil.
  4. Combine water, a large pinch of salt, and 1 c. flour in a small bowl. It will make a sticky dough. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and roll until it is 1/4 inch thick. Cut the dough into 2"x1" rectangles, add to the boiling liquid, and cook for five minutes or until the dumplings rise to the top. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and add frozen peas if desired.
alternative fluffy dumplings (via Betty Crocker)

Ingredients: 
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour, sifted
2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
3 Tbs. lard, shortening, or unsalted butter
3/4 c. milk, preferably whole

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Drop by spoonfuls into the boiling liquid. Cook 10 minutes uncovered, then cover pot, turn down heat to simmer, and cook 10 more minutes.

{13/52}: on the mend!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

oatcakes

Author's Note: In honor of the Family Breakfast Project, I am sharing seven days of easy family breakfast recipes. At the end of the week, I'll write about how the project went for our family. You can try it out too! Sign up for emails, click through on the web, or download the whole guide here
{Disclaimer: I am not being paid for sharing the program; I just think it's a great way to help you share breakfast with your family.}

Our favorite local Scottish restaurant--and to be honest, the only Scottish restaurant I know about in Boston--serves oatcakes upon arrival. We go for brunch, and I love their Prosecco cocktails and gigantic egg sandwich. What was I talking about?

Oh right, oatcakes. I'd had these a few times in England too, enough to know that I love any device that allows me to get more butter and jam in my mouth. Oatcakes fit that bill nicely, indeed. I've enjoyed noshing on them any time of day with homemade jam (mostly from this book; the winners in my opinion are apple cranberry jam, vanilla rhubarb jam, and slow cooker blueberry butter) and Kerrygold butter.


Thursday, March 13, 2014

overnight oatmeal

Author's Note: In honor of the Family Breakfast Project, I am sharing seven days of easy family breakfast recipes. At the end of the week, I'll write about how the project went for our family. You can try it out too! Sign up for emails, click through on the web, or download the whole guide here. {Disclaimer: I am not being paid for sharing the program; I am mentioning it because I think it's a great way to help you share breakfast with your family.}

Yesterday I told you that roughly half our breakfasts are yogurt. Well, I'd wager another good 40% of our breakfasts are oatmeal. Sometimes I just make rolled oats in the microwave, and other times I'll make Bob's Red Mill 10 Grain Hot Cereal (also a favorite for bran muffins: carrot raisin and cranberry orange).

Hot cereal is a favorite of our whole family, and we call it "porridge" to distinguish from grits and microwave oatmeal. I love steel cut oatmeal, but I used to lament that 30 minutes is just too long to spend on a breakfast that's so similar to one that can be accomplished in less than 10. Then my Uncle Ronnie told me about how you can get around that lengthy cooking time, which brought steel cut oats back into our weekly repertoire. You just boil oats and water for a minute, cover the pot, and let it sit overnight on the stove. In the morning, a quick zap in the microwave or a few minutes on the cooktop gives you a meal in the same amount of time as the quick stuff but with fantastic texture.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

how to make yogurt at home {with no fancy gadget}

Author's Note: In honor of the Family Breakfast Project, I am sharing seven days of easy family breakfast recipes. At the end of the week, I'll write about how the project went for our family. You can try it out too! Sign up for emails, click through on the web, or download the whole guide here. {Disclaimer: I am not being paid for sharing the program; I am mentioning it because I think it's a great way to help you share breakfast with your family.}

After the first two days of breakfast recipes (read: buttermilk biscones and breakfast cookies), you might believe I start every morning with a fresh, sugary pastry. But actually, our breakfast breakdown looks more like this:




Thursday, January 16, 2014

5-ingredient "stupid" chicken

My mother-in-law first shared the recipe* with me back when we were in college, so it's been with us since the very start. It reminds me of a recipe my Aunt Joan used to cook when I was a kid that she called "Stupid Chicken" because of how easy it was to make, so that's what I'm going to call this recipe now. I think hers involved white wine and black olives, but the good thing about this recipe is how easy it is to change. You can add salsa to make it spicy or wine and olives if you want to fussy it up.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Dublin coddle: a St. Paddy's Day classic

Author's Note: I updated this recipe, originally posted on March 16th, 2012, with some improvements to make it easier and more delicious. I hope you'll try it this St. Paddy's Day!
Mmmmm, Dublin Coddle

Remember when I said I was looking for more Irish recipes? Well, I found a great one! This recipe for Dublin coddle landed in my lap at just the right time, via my monthly email from our CSA farmers. Sweet potatoes are Charlotte's absolute favorite food, and I've been looking for ways to jazz them up apart from the usual routine, which includes variations on butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and white pepper (my mom puts soy sauce on her sweet potatoes...oh, and Italian dressing on her baked potatoes). Plus, it's almost St. Patrick's Day, and you simply cannot live in Boston without getting into the holiday spirit. [I must stop here to tell my friends and family from the south that they SELL clover here, like, in grocery stores. I know!].

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

resolution salad, crockpot cassoulet, & a cookbook review

Author's Note: This post is not sponsored or paid. I just really like this book and think you will too.

I've been interested in Laurie David ever since I read an article about her in Outside Magazine eight years ago. Okay, so a confession is at that point I thought/hoped she was a real live version of the fictional character portrayed on Curb Your Enthusiasm (read: she's not).

Anyhow, I eventually learned to love her for her great environmentalist work, and when I heard she wrote a book about family dinner, I was intrigued to find out more. The book is called The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time.

Friday, November 22, 2013

{day 10}: kids & mealtime, chowdah, review & giveaway


Author's note: This post includes the Day 10 encouragement for those following the 12 Days of Minimalist Holidays series, as well as a review and giveaway of The Family Flavor: 125 Practical Recipes for the Simple and Delicious, and a recipe for creamy chicken soup from the book. Enter the giveaway below and then scroll to the bottom to find out what it's about.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Thursday, November 21, 2013

{day 9}: meal planning, sprouts, giveaway


Author's note: This post includes the Day 9 instructions for those following the 12 Days of Minimalist Holidays series, as well as a recipe for Firecracker Sprouts, and a review and giveaway of a Craftsy cooking class. Enter the giveaway below and then scroll to the bottom to find out what it's about.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Tuesday, November 19, 2013

yummy little pigeons (aka stuffed cabbage rolls)

Author's Note: I originally posted this recipe on August 26, 2011. It is the one I make most often in the winter that reminds me of my family. These cabbage rolls are a delicious labor of love.

Relax, it's not really a pigeon. My mom's father was Polish, and we grew up eating my grandmother's "gwumpki," spelled golabki in Polish, which means "little pigeon." Gwumpki, galumpki, etc. are cabbage rolls stuffed with pork/beef and rice and topped with tomato sauce. Sounds gross, right? I think they are delicious, but members of my family disagree on the subject. We're as divided in how to eat them as we are in their taste. I'll eat them any way at all, plain, salted, ketchuped, whatever. One of my uncles is known to unroll them and drench them in ketchup, claiming this is the only way they are edible. What can you expect from the baby in the family? Nate loves them as much if not more than I do, and I'm convinced it was my mom's gwumpki that sealed the deal on our marriage.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

goop + sk = harvest salad

Gorgeous local beets. Charlie kept saying "Wow, BEAUtiful!"


I picked up Gwyneth Paltrow's new cookbook It's All Good a while back, and I am as happy with it as I was her first book of her father's recipes. Actually I am happier, considering these days--i.e. the "pre-holiday purge" days--I'm more inclined to make healthy salads than cheeseburgers. Nothing against cheeseburgers, which are completely and engrossingly delicious. In fact, I would stop writing right now to scarf a cheeseburger down if presented in front of me.

What was I saying? Oh right, salads. Haters gonna hate GP, but honey badger don't give a damn. Yes, I too snorted at some of the ridiculous lines in the book. And no, I would not agree that Vegenaise is "out of control" good (not that I've ever tasted it). But laughing at her is part of the fun in following her goings-on, right? I think she's a real person, and people don't like the pretty ones expressing who they really are if who they really are seems holier-than-thou. So she eats vegan food, so what? There are some delicious vegan recipes out there.

Smitten Kitchen, on the other hand, is a breath of humble air. I can't believe I've had her book for a year and haven't written about it yet! (Although, I remember I did mention a word about the wonderful Dutch baby that changed breakfast in our household possibly forever.) Her book is as fantastic, beautiful, and creative as you'd expect if you've followed her blog. Personally, I can't wait to make her apple cider caramels again this season (that is, when my no-sugar cleanse is over) and then unwrap and eat them one by one by myself in a dark, quiet corner of my house.

Truth be told, my style of eating is much more in line with Deb's than GP's. I particularly love that in sk's butternut squash salad recipe, she makes a frank admission that she doesn't eat salads because they're healthy but because she likes them. Ditto, sister.


When I saw GP's arugula salad with roasted veggies, I immediately remembered sk's salad, which I've loved and made several times over the past year. I was intrigued about the idea of adding beets and shallots, but I also liked sk's use of sherry vinegar (tho apple cider vinegar is great in fall too) and farro. Thus, I combined the two recipes. And it was all good.


Monday, October 28, 2013

kids cook Monday: beanie weenies


I have no idea when or where I came across the handy, unpretentious 1994 Washington Cookbook, Volume 2, but I'm glad I did. Who could keep from smiling at such entries as "John McCain's Baked Beans"?

Friday, October 25, 2013

Aunt El's cinnamon rolls

Aunt El as a WAVE, Miami, FL, 1941

Author's note: I originally published this post on February 8, 2012. In honor of yesterday being Food Day--which encourages us to get kids cooking--I am reposting my Aunt El's recipe for cinnamon rolls (and dinner rolls) today. It is my children's favorite dish to help me make. I love it because I get to play with them and tell stories about Aunt El, allowing me to--as Kim John Payne says in Simplicity Parenting--"emphasize the importance of now while introducing the infinite."

My Great Aunt Eleanor is one of my favorite people. I happen to believe she was one of the best people ever to have graced the Earth, but I suppose I'm a bit biased. My family ascribed to whatever knowledge El shared with us as the absolute, 100%, golden truth. Perhaps it is because she was the big sister, or because she raised six children, or because of her big personality. Perhaps it was a little of all of those, and it didn't hurt that she always gave darn good advice.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

food day 2013: pickled red cabbage & more

Last week I mentioned it was World Food Day. Today we're celebrating a nationwide Food Day, with a particular focus on helping children cook real food. Spread the word! The more we can get the conversation started about real, local, sustainable food, the better.

In honor of the occasion, today I'm putting up (canning & freezing) a bounty of soups, chutneys, and jams with the season's harvest. I'm also sharing my three year old's favorite recipe for pickled red cabbage. This recipe originally came from The Joy of Pickling, but I've modified it to make it my own. I love having the blog to document all of my quirky home recipes, but I only share the adaptations that I think make the recipe better. Otherwise I just link to or cite the original source.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

world food day: vegetarian quinoa chili

Today Oxfam celebrates World Food Day, the anniversary of when in 1945 the Food and Agricultural Organization was formed as part of the UN to eradicate world hunger. In honor of the cause, I am sharing a simple and easy vegetarian recipe for quinoa chili that utilizes local, seasonal ingredients (minus the spices and quinoa from overseas, which we are grateful to be able to get from so far away).

Here's a snippet from the Oxfam America website, discussing what you can do today to help address this issue:
This World Food Day, use your power as a consumer to change the way some of the world’s biggest food companies do business. As demand for sugar increases, so does the rush for land to grow it. Oxfam has found that companies that supply sugar to Coke, Pepsi, Associated British Foods and other food and beverage giants are kicking poor farmers off their land and robbing them of their rights – leaving many homeless and hungry. 
Land grabs are the sugar industry’s bitter secret. But we can change this. You’re a consumer - big food and beverage companies care what you think. Get the facts and take action at BehindTheBrands.org. - See more here.

Monday, October 14, 2013

pumpkin griddle cakes {dairy-free} {gluten-free & vegan variations}


Although we adore the Trader Joe's pumpkin pancake mix, I've always thought it needed more cowbell pumpkin, so I created my own recipe that ramps up the pumpkin flavor. (Note: If you like less pumpkin, just back it off and substitute applesauce).


We love our learning tower!

Side note: This recipe is an adaptation of a blueberry banana pancake recipe I've been making ever since we lived in England. The whipped egg whites, applesauce, and pumpkin provide moisture, eliminating the need for dairy. It's a useful recipe when you have about a half a can of pumpkin needing to be used up (usually I do after making "cheez-it bread"). It's a simple recipe that even the kids can help make; we're making griddle cakes this morning to participate in the Kids Cook Monday movement.




With the addition of buckwheat flour and cornmeal, these cakes are healthy by pancake standards and have a toothy bite to them. I know some people use the terms "griddle cake" and "pancake" synonymously, but in the south, griddle cakes have a cornmeal component. I grew up eating them in the mountains and love that slight crunch, but you can omit the cornmeal in favor of more flour if you prefer.

 photo f6765cae-f7a2-4d0c-b310-25ffa6623eaa_zps9356fc50.jpg


pumpkin griddle cakes {dairy-free} {gluten-free & vegan variations}
serves 4 (10-12 small pancakes)

3/4 c. pumpkin puree
1/2 c. applesauce or mashed banana (~ 2 bananas)
2 Tbs. unrefined organic sugar
2 tsp. lemon juice
2 eggs, separated*
1/2 c. white whole wheat flour**
1/4 c. buckwheat flour
1/4 c. yellow cornmeal (we like Bob's Red Mill yellow corn grits/polenta)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
pinch of pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and cloves)
1 Tbs. melted coconut oil
1 c. pecans or chocolate chips (optional)

Whisk together flours, baking powder, salt, and spices in a small bowl. In a medium bowl, mix together pumpkin, applesauce/banana, sugar, juice, egg yolks, and cornmeal. Let it sit a few minutes so the grits soften. Fold flour mixture into pumpkin mixture. This batter can sit in the fridge/freezer until you are ready to use it.

When you are ready to make the griddle cakes, whisk egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff. Fold into pancake batter.
Keep folding



Needs some water.

If the batter is still too thick (like mine was), add a few teaspoons of water until it has a still-thick but pourable consistency.

Heat a griddle over medium heat. Grease with coconut oil. Drop on a heaping tablespoon of batter. Smoosh it down into a pancake shape with the back of a silicon spatula. After one minute, sprinkle in a few pecans if you like, or chocolate chips if you want to gild the lily. They will take longer to cook than a standard silver dollar pancake, and you can't rely on the bubbles to tell when they're done. I treat them like any baked good and give it the old toothpick test after about 5 minutes on each side. I also cook them on lower heat after the initial sizzle to avoid burning the outside before the center is done.

While they are delicious with maple syrup or whipped cream, our preference is to top them with spiced applesauce (recipe from the Food in Jars book).  They're also fabulous drizzled with cranberry syrup (another recipe from the wonderful Food in Jars book). After conducting a quick Google search, I'm seriously considering making cranberry apple brandy syrup or pumpkin syrup. If you're going for dairy-free all the way, you might try whipping some coconut butter.

These griddle cakes are even flavorful enough without a topping; I find that I can make them ahead, then heat them and stash them in a handkerchief for a breakfast-on-the-go, which is great for Sundays when we get up and go quickly, heading straight from church to choir practice. 

*If you need the recipe to be vegan, substitute 2 Tbs. flax seed meal and 1/4 c. + 2 Tbs. water. Add this mixture when egg yolks are called for, and omit the egg white whipping step. Be sure to cook them at a low temperature so they are given a chance to cook through before burning on the outside.

**If you need the recipe to be gluten-free, substitute oat flour for whole wheat flour. Despite its misleading name, "buckwheat" flour is gluten-free.

Author's note: This recipe was shared with the Homestead Barn Hop, Real Food Wednesday, and Fight Back Friday.

Monday, August 26, 2013

{34}: latin pickles


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013."

On the Range
August 20 - 26, 2013

{On the Range} is my weekly series where I discuss what we're doing, reading, and eating. It's a little bit 52 project and other photo projects, and a little bit {Did you Read?} and {In the Ranger Kitchen}.

Media

  • Another reason to love The Oatmeal. As if I needed one.
  • I of course agree with the author of this article about dolls that are too sexy for our little girls. It's tough to choose which doll is most revolting. What ever happened to the rag dolls of my childhood? Why does it seem everyone if becoming brainwashed into buying these horrific examples of sexualization? It's a hard pill to swallow that even if we avoid them as we are earnestly attempting to do, we will still have to deal with others purchasing them. 


Meals


I made these taco pickles this week, but I wasn't completely satisfied with the recipe. After some googling, I landed on this version on the NY Times that included cauliflower and cumin seeds, and I was inspired to alter the recipe a bit to make them crunchier and more complex. What I ended up with is deliciously spicy and saltier than the original (her "salt to taste" direction ended in failure the first time), and it's different enough that I decided to share my creation. I hope you enjoy them!


latin pickles

1 bunch of radishes
1 large carrot
1/2 head of cauliflower
2 fresh jalepenos
handful of cilantro, whole or chopped
2 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1 c. cold water
1/2 c. white vinegar
1/4 c. cider vinegar
1/4 c. sherry vinegar
1/4 c. sugar
1 Tbs. cumin seeds, toasted
1 dried pepper (we prefer arbol)
2 cloves garlic (optional)




Thinly slice all the veggies or put them through a mandolin. Depending on how spicy you want your pickles, you can either seed the jalepenos first or cut them into rings with the seeds intact (which is what we do). Toss the cut-up veggies with the salt in a large bowl and set aside. Meanwhile, bring the vinegars to a simmer in a medium saucepan, add the sugar, and stir until it dissolves. Remove the mixture from the heat and add the water. Let it cool on the counter or in the refrigerator. 

Toast the cumin seeds and add them and the dried pepper, and garlic if you are using it, to the bottom of a QT sized mason jar. Top with the veggies and cilantro. If you like the idea of eating the cilantro with your pickles, chop it up; otherwise, you can leave it in whole, which results in less cilantro flavor but a cleaner-looking brine. 

Once the liquid has cooled, pour it over the veggies until it covers them. Store them in the fridge and eat within a few weeks. As the original recipe creator said, they are great on tacos, and they also pair splendidly with tamales, burritos, and other recipes where latin flavors and acid are appreciated.

Friday, April 05, 2013

rage, rage against the scattering of the jewelry

A few days ago I sat down to dinner with the family with a sort of smug satisfaction. All food groups were represented, it was on time and delicious, and Charlie had just wowed me with her cuteness by coming downstairs to dinner dressed like this:


But the mood would change suddenly a few minutes later when I noticed Vivi wearing a ring from my jewelry drawer. I let the fork drop to the plate, stunned for a few moments, which was long enough for Vivi to figure out what was happening and blurt, "Charlie took your jewelry, Mommy!"

I raced upstairs, and sure enough, in the place where I keep my engagement ring, my mom's wedding ring, and my great grandmother's cameo necklace, there was nothing. Instead, my ring was on the floor in the hallway, and all of the other various pieces of jewelry were scattered to the wind, amidst sheets and under toys. Oh Lawdy be!

Reader, I would love to report to you that I had a very calm and rational discussion with the girls about Mommy's personal belongings that are not to be played with, etc., but I think we know that isn't the case. I'm not proud of my reaction; as I've said before, I sometimes have trouble caging my inner tiger. On the plus side, I do try after a blow up to explain later that sometimes grown-ups misbehave and need to be reminded of the rules, and that I want them to let me know when they feel sad about the way they're being treated. If we can't be perfect, at least we can be honest.

I have since made our bedroom "off limits," and the point seems to have gotten across because I haven't seen either child step foot in that room again. Today Vivi said to me, "Mommy, I wish I could dig a hole into your room from the bathroom so I could sneak in there." Oh, sweet child of mine! I really didn't want to place a no-entry limit on them. I love the idea of them being able to come in there and lay on mom's big bed and peek into my closet. Hopefully in a year I'll be able to reinstate our room as a fly zone, but while I have a toddler who knows how to use a step stool but doesn't know how to employ self-control, it's probably a good idea to ban entry for a while.

I have more stories to share with you from the week. I missed you, friends! For now, I'm going to share one of my favorite dinners to eat when I'm spending an evening alone, as I am tonight. I'm eating a Spanish omelette, which is really called a tortilla, but I call it an omelette so as not to confuse my brain. Please don't bother telling me how many calories I'm ingesting when I consume this meal. I know, and I don't care.


fatty omelette for one

3 eggs
dash of milk
oil
1/2 c. pre-cooked diced potatoes
smattering of caramelized onions
grated cheese
enormous glob of sour cream
salsa

There are some time-savers in my omelette process. When I have red potatoes on hand, I dice most of them up right away and either freeze them or par-boil them and put them in the fridge for the week. You'd be surprised how useful they are. I do this prep work because organic potatoes go bad very quickly (note: If you don't yet eat organic potatoes, here's why you should consider it).

Another time-saving step is that I caramelize onions while I'm making dinner for the girls or doing dishes, whatever. Y'all know how to do that, right? Cut an onion in half and then slice thinly. Start a skillet over low heat with some oil, add the onions, and let sit nearly untouched for 10 minutes. Then add some salt and mix them up. Cook for a total of about 45 minutes at the lowest heat setting, stirring only every 7-10 minutes or so. These are another item that I can put into almost anything, and it adds an extra layer of deliciousness.

Whisk eggs together with a smidgen of milk, then add to a preheated skillet coated with oil. Season with salt and pepper. In the first minute, push the eggs toward the center in a few places to allow the runny egg to move around the cooked egg. Sprinkle the omelette with potatoes and onions. Cook over medium on the first side for about 4 minutes total. Make sure it is loose, then slide onto a plate, invert the skillet over the top, and flip the omelette back into the hot pan to cook the second side. Sprinkle some cheese on top and let cook for 3-4 more minutes. Slide it out onto a plate and top with too much sour cream, salsa, and more salt and pepper. Eat it while you watch Midnight in Paris again. It's a little less fun the second time, but a glass of red wine helps.

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