Perfect Cinnamon Pancakes

August 21, 2010

Made-from-scratch cinnamon pancakes are one of the best things you can wake up to in the morning. Here is my recipe for making them perfect.

First, whisk together the dry ingredients in a big bowl until well combined:

2 cups all-purpose flour

3 Tbsp. sugar

2 Tbsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

Now add in:

2 beaten eggs

1/4 cup vegetable oil

milk (amount to be determined by you)

Stir in milk until you have a pretty loose batter. It should look something like this:

I usually use around 2 – 2 1/2 cups milk total. Now you’re ready to cook them up!

Use a large, dry non-stick pan. Turn the heat to medium-low and let your pan heat up for a good while before you put any batter in.

Use 2 heaping Tbsp. of batter for each pancake. Now just wait. Don’t flip them until lots of bubbles start to appear and pop and the edges look dry.

They should be this color when they are done.

 

Add the traditional butter and syrup or whatever topping you like. I like mine with almond butter, but I’m weird! You can also feel free to add whatever you like to the batter. Sometimes, I add a little vanilla extract or some banana. If you make these, please let me know how they come out. Have a great breakfast!

Adventures In Curry

July 28, 2010

My friend Heather M. gave me a bunch of veggies from her garden including lots of Japanese eggplant. Then she posted on facebook about a Thai recipe and it got me poking around the internet. My favorite Thai dish by far is beef panang. I thought why not make eggplant panang? I looked at several recipes that used premade red curry paste, but that’s not what I wanted. I wanted to make it from scratch. Finally, I stumbled across this recipe.

The next step was to find a place to buy the exotic ingredients listed in the recipe. I went over to Yelp and did a search for “Thai Market” in my area code. Bangluck Market seemed like the best place to go. I decided at this point to make green curry (a recipe from culinary school) later in the week as long as I was going out to get ingredients. Reviews of the market were mixed. Some said it was dirty. Some said they didn’t take credit cards and that the parking was a nightmare. I headed over to Bangluck, not knowing quite what to expect.

Got there and scored a parking spot right in front of the store. One obstacle down. Went in, got a cart and started looking around. The shelves and flooring were obviously old and well used, but definitely not dirty. I got to the dried chile section. The recipe calls for large red dried chiles. Well, that doesn’t really help because they had several kinds. I found an employee and told him I was making panang and asked which chiles I should buy. He asked one of the female employees at the front and here’s what I ended up with:

I found everything else I needed with no help except for the coriander (cilantro) root. I figured I’d just add extra ground coriander to the recipe and not worry about it.

Here are some of my other spoils. Lime leaves and galangal:

Thai basil and thai green chilies:

Coconut Milk, Palm Sugar, and Shrimp Paste:

I came home and started making the panang paste right away. The recipe said to use a mortar and pestle. I have tendonitis and carpel tunnel syndrome in both hands. That just was NOT going to happen. So I used my trusty food processor. I threw ALL the listed ingredients except the meat and the coconut milk into the machine. Whizzed it up and ended up with this paste:

Ta-da! I just fried up the curry in the coconut cream from the top of the coconut milk can, added the milk, a little chicken broth and put the eggplant in. I’m gonna let it braise until my husband gets home and then eat it up. I cheated and tasted the sauce and it is as good as it looks!

Dream Recipes

June 28, 2010

I do strange things in my sleep. Once, I made cupcakes. Honest. I woke up and the oven was open (and thankfully OFF) with cooked cupcakes inside. No one else had access to my apartment. Scary right?

Well, what’s not scary is when I dream about cooking and wake up remembering what I made. My dream a couple of nights ago involved an arugula salad and a cheese quiche. I decided to make them for dinner tonight and here are the results!

Arugula Salad with Honey-Mustard Balsamic Dressing:

A whole bunch of arugula  mixed with just a little chopped mint, sliced red onion, sliced cucumbers, thinly sliced tomatoes, a few marcona almonds and a couple shavings of a good quality ricotta salata (or parmesan if you can’t find it).

The dressing has about a tsp. of honey, a Tbsp. of dijon mustard and 2 parts olive oil to 1 part balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.

Four Cheese Quiche:

Either make your own pie dough or buy it. I had some left over from the apple pie I made for Father’s Day, so I used that.  This recipe is for a standard 9″ pie. As you can see in my picture, my pie plate is enormous so I used way more. More for us!

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 Tbsp. butter

4 eggs, beaten

2 Tbsp. whole milk

1 cup monterey jack cheese

2 Tbsp. cream cheese

1/4 cup cottage cheese

2 Tbsp. feta cheese

Cook the onions in the butter until very soft and brown. Put in the bottom of the prepared pie crust. Mix all the cheeses together with your hands, squishing them to make a smooth mixture. Then combine well with the beaten eggs and milk. Put the mixture on top of the onions and bake the whole thing at 375F for 50 minutes. Shake it gently and if the center doesn’t jiggle too much, it’s done.

Now if I could only dream up a couple of good recipes a night, I’d have a book out in no time!
Arugula on FoodistaArugula

BBQ Chicken Pita Pizza

April 16, 2010

This is a healthy recipe that also happens to be super yummy. We had it for dinner last night and really enjoyed it. If you’re just making one, you could even make it in the toaster oven instead of turning on the big oven.

Preheat oven to 350F

1 whole wheat pita

BBQ sauce to taste

thinly sliced red onion to taste

chopped cilantro to taste

3 oz. shredded cooked chicken (I buy “just chicken” from Trader Joes)

1/4 cup mozzarella cheese

Layer the ingredients in the order I listed them. Cook at 350F for 15 minutes. The pita will get crispy and the cheese will get melty!

Choreg

April 13, 2010

Choreg is a soft, sweet Armenian bread that we eat for dessert or breakfast or with appetizers. This recipe isn’t exactly like my great-grandmothers, but it’s close and it’s delicious.

5 cups flour

1 cup melted butter

1/3 cup sugar

3 eggs + 1 egg separated, beaten

2 packets of yeast

1/2 cup warm water

1/2 cup milk

1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

sesame seeds for sprinkling over the top

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and set aside. Melt the butter and beat the 3 eggs. Mix together the flour, sugar and salt well. Add in the butter, 3 eggs, yeast mixture and milk and mix together. You can knead it right in the bowl just until the dough comes together and isn’t sticking to the sides of the bowl anymore. Clean the bowl, coat it with butter or oil and put the dough back in. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 2 hours.

Now it’s time to shape the dough. Take a key lime sized piece and roll it out with your hands into a long worm shape. Bend into a horseshoe shape and then braid the two sides. Place on a greased aluminum baking sheet. Do not use teflon, non-stick or any other dark bottom pan or they will burn on the bottom.

Let rise 30 more minutes. Brush with beaten egg and top with sesame seeds. Bake in a 375 F oven for 13 minutes. Take out and eat warm. If you’re not going to eat them all at once, you can freeze them and microwave them to heat them back up.

Easy Strawberry Mascarpone Pie

March 22, 2010

There are a couple recipes for Strawberry Mascarpone desserts that I adapted this recipe from. Here is one and here is another. I got lazy and made mine easier so I thought I’d post the result here while admitting that the idea is not mine!

First off, I did not make my crust. Yes, I went to culinary school. Yes, I know how to make a simple tart or pie crust. But it was hot and humid yesterday and I didn’t want to have to turn on the oven so I bought a pre-made graham cracker crust. It turned out to be absolutely delicious.

One 9oz. pre-made graham cracker pie crust

2 lbs. fresh strawberries

1/2 cup regular sugar

zest of 1 orange

1/2 a small lemon juiced

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1/3 cup powdered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

1/4 tsp. salt

8 oz. mascarpone cheese

1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

Take the stems off the strawberries and quarter them. Mix well with the regular sugar, orange zest and half the lemon juice. Set aside for 30 minutes.

Whip the whipping cream, powdered sugar, vanilla, salt and remaining lemon juice, with an electric mixer. Once it’s good and whipped, add in the mascarpone cheese and whip again just until it’s well blended.

Open up that store-bought pie crust and spread the mascarpone mixture in it evenly. Now stick it in the refrigerator.

Your 30 minutes should almost be up now. Strain the juice from the strawberries into a saucepan. Put the strained strawberries on top of the pie and put it back into the refrigerator. Add the balsamic vinegar to the strawberry juices and boil it until it becomes a syrup. Take a pastry brush and brush the syrup over the strawberries until they are all glazed. You may not use all the syrup. I used about half. Put that pie back in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

We had to use a spoon and a knife to get ours out to eat it. You’ll definitely want that spoon to scoop up any delicious juices that have accumulated at the bottom. We had lots of juice and I was very surprised that the crust did not get soggy. Maybe it’s because we ate it so fast. I made it last night and here’s what it looked like this morning:

Yep, there are only 2 of us here. And I’m actually thinking about making another one tonight and saving half to take to my Grandma tomorrow morning. So let this be a warning to you. You will eat the whole thing in 2 days flat and you’ll still want more. It’s that good.

Cheese Boereg

February 18, 2010

Sometimes, cheese boereg is eaten as part of mezza (appetizers), but my family usually makes a meal out of them. They are crispy and cheesy and delicious. My favorite part is when the cheese oozes out the side and gets crispy on the pan. A little treat for the chef!

1 lb. package phyllo dough

1 stick melted butter

5 cups shredded jack cheese

1/3 cup cottage cheese

1/3 cup cream cheese

1 heaping Tbsp. feta cheese

2 beaten eggs

Get a big bowl and mix together all the cheeses and the eggs with your hands. Squish it all together until the cheese is all broken up and well combined with the egg.

Unroll the phyllo dough and brush the first layer lightly with melted butter. Put a small amount of the cheese filling at the bottom in the center.

Roll just one sheet of phyllo up a few times

Fold one third over toward the center

Roll up a couple more times

Fold the other third over toward the center

and roll up the rest of the way

Repeat until all the phyllo dough or all the cheese is used up. If you have leftover filling, you can freeze it for next time. Or you can spread it on pita bread and stick it under the broiler. Remember, it has raw eggs in it, so it must be cooked!

Place the cheese boeregs on a greased pan, brush the tops with melted butter and bake at 350 F for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Sweet Hadjin Choreg

February 5, 2010

This is my great-grandmother Mary’s recipe for sweet choreg. They are also called gata. This kind has a sweet filling called koritz. There are also regular choreg and gata without the filling, but I prefer these. We eat them for breakfast or a midnight snack. Actually, they are so yummy we eat them all the time!

Koritz (filling):

1 lb. butter

3 cups flour

4 tsp. cinnamon

1 cup finely ground walnuts

1 cup sugar

For the dough:

1/2 lb. melted room temperature butter

1/2 cup crisco

1/2 cup warm water

2 packets yeast

2 1/2 lbs. flour

2 tsp. salt

1 cup + 1 Tbsp. sugar

12 oz. can evaporated milk

2 beaten eggs

First, make the koritz:

Melt the butter on the stove over medium-low heat. Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon. Keep stirring and stirring until it is well blended and looks almost like dough. Turn off the heat and add cinnamon, walnuts and sugar and stir stir stir until the sugar is totally dissolved and everything is blended very well. Set aside to cool.

Now you can make the dough:

First, melt the butter. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Mix the flour, sugar and salt together well. Cut the crisco into the flour with a pastry cutter or just by using your fingers.

Dissolve 1 Tbsp. sugar in 1/2 cup of warm water. Add the 2 packets of yeast to this and set aside to proof for 10 minutes.

Beat the 2 eggs. Add the eggs, melted butter, yeast mixture and evaporated milk to the flour mixture. Mix with your hands (it will be messy) until it comes together as a dough. Knead just until it is completely blended. You can do all this right in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for at least 2 hours.

Now it’s time to roll them out! Divide the dough into 5 equal sized portions. Divide the koritz into 5 portions. Take 1 portion of dough and roll out into a square about 1/4″ thick. Spread 1 portion of the koritz all over it, pressing it into the dough with your hands lightly. Roll up into a tube like a jelly roll. Pinch and seal the edges with your fingers. Now gently flatten it out with a rolling pin, being careful not to let the kortiz ooze out. Cut on the diagonal into several rectangular pieces. Pierce each choreg with a fork in a couple places. Brush with beaten egg. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Repeat with each portion until you are done. Eat them hot out of the oven! Once they’ve cooled, you can microwave them for 15-20 seconds and they will taste fresh. They also freeze well if you want to save them.

Triple Chocolate Bundt Cake

January 13, 2010

This is the most moist, chocolatey delicious chocolate cake I’ve ever had. People go crazy over it! You’ll need a bundt pan for this recipe so get yourself one!

Spray the bundt pan with cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

3/4 c. water

3/4 c. oil

4 eggs

1 package small instant chocolate pudding

12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 package Devil’s Food Cake mix

8 oz. sour cream

powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Stir everything but the powdered sugar together BY HAND. If you use a mixer, the cake will turn out tough and dry. Pour the mixture into the bundt pan and smooth out the top with a spatula. Bake 50 minutes at 350 F.

When you take it out, let it cool for one hour, then invert the pan and the cake should just slide right out. Don’t let it cool more or less than an hour or it may not come out of the pan! It’s gonna be tempting to take it out before that hour is up but don’t do it! It’s worth the wait.

If you want, you can now make a design with powdered sugar like I did. Or just dust it lightly all over. Now go eat it and experience the bliss.

Simit

January 4, 2010

Simit are delicate, crumbly and slightly sweet. They’re a little like an English tea biscuit. I like mine with coffee or tea and my Grandma likes hers with string cheese.

You’ll need a dark non-stick sheet tray for this recipe. They stick to regular pans and don’t brown as well on the bottom.

3 eggs + 1 egg for brushing the top

1 cup  melted, clarified butter

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup milk

2 tsp. baking powder

5 1/2 cups sifted flour

sesame seeds for the top

Beat the 3 eggs in a mixer. Add the butter, sugar and milk and beat well at medium speed for a couple minutes. Add the baking powder and beat until it’s completely blended in. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand and get a spatula. Sift, THEN measure the flour. Fold the flour into the mixture gradually. Knead lightly until it just comes together into a dough.

Make a ball the size of a key lime. Roll each ball into a long worm-shaped strip. Now curve it around to make a horseshoe shape. Braid the two sides together, leaving a loop at the top. Transfer to the sheet pan.

Brush with egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake in the 350 F oven for 18-20 minutes or until golden. Makes approximately 40 simit.