Monday, June 28, 2010

My Favorite Homemade Pancake Recipe

Growing up, the only pancake I think I ever ate was a Bisquick pancake and ...I really don't care for them.  The older I got, the more I realized there were good pancakes out there to be eaten, so of course on my quest to be able to make anything and everything from scratch, here's the recipe I've developed for a light, fluffy, delicious homemade pancake.

These are some SWEET kitchen essentials.  A silicone spatula and an enameled Cast-Iron skillet.  I love being able to use my spatula in hot foods without it melting, and as for enameled cast-iron...well, it's pricey, but awesome.  You get that great heat conduction of the iron skillet without having to worry about the constant seasoning and rusting of traditional cast iron.   And Julia (Childs, that is) recommends enameled cast iron, so that's enough reason for me to use it!

Kelly's Buttermilk Pancakes (small batch)

3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 Tbsp melted butter
2 eggs divided
3/4 cup buttermilk (you can substitute yogurt for the buttermilk!)

Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl and mix with a wire whisk. Add the egg yolks, buttermilk and melted butter to the dry ingredients and whisk until well blended.  Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold into batter.  To fold do a bottom to top circular motion "lifting" the bottom of the bowl ingredients onto the top and "folding" over with a spatula.  If you choose not to beat the egg whites, your pancakes will not be as light and fluffy.  The buttermilk gives a great flavor to the pancakes.  Heat a heavy skillet (I use a large iron skillet) over medium low heat with a tablespoon of corn oil.  When the oil is not (not smoking), add the batter in 1/4 cup amounts.  Batter may need some shifting to create a circular pancake, but move quickly!  When the pancake has even bubbles on top, turn and cook the other side.  If you keep you heat low enough, your pancakes should not burn, but they do take longer to cook.
Note:  This recipe feeds 4 quite nicely. You can double this recipe for a larger crowd by doubling all ingredients except the eggs.  You only need 3 eggs when doubling.
My favorite pancake syrup is Log Cabin when I'm too cheap to buy real maple syrup.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Snow Pea Bounty

Look at these gorgeous things!  Aren't they beautiful!  And just as delicious as you would imagine.  I made a stir fry with them today that was divine.  The sauce turned out a little thick, though, so I'm going to try it one more time with some adjustments before I post the recipe.  But I can tell you that I used brown sugar, soy sauce, fresh garlic, sherry, fresh ginger and cornstarch.  The taste was magnificent.  I'll also be posting a terrific and quick recipe for marinated chicken thighs. The combination makes an impressive meal.
edited 7/4/2010 Here's the recipe I promised!  Snow Pea Stir Fry.

I killed the yeast!

Yesterday I tried another recipe from Bernard Clayton's book that required warmed milk, but I think I got the milk too warm.  I didn't check the temperature, went ahead and added it to the yeast mixture and I got NO RISE!!!  I was SO mad at myself for wasting all that flour and yeast.  AAAHHH!!!  A hard lesson learned!!
Don't kill your yeast with too much heat!  And it was kneaded so beautifully, too!  I will try that recipe again, and we're out of bread, but I was too depressed to try again and today my car needs to be cleaned.  And truthfully, I'm still recovering from the trauma.  I should have taken a picture to show you.

No-Knead Batter Bread

This was actually the first bread recipe that I have used multiple times.  It always turns out and it turns out best when done with all-purpose flour or with adding only 1/2 cup whole wheat flour in place of all-purpose.  But any more than that and the loaf comes out dry and crumbly.  I haven't experimented any further than with the flours.  This recipe is for only one loaf of bread, and since I make all (well, mostly all) the bread we eat, I like to bake 2 loaves at time.  But if you're a beginner, try this recipe!  I found it in a very old cook book (Sesqui-Samplings, 150 Years of Cooking in Indianapolis, 1821-1971) that was my grandmothers.  She was a great collector of recipes. 

No-Knead Batter Bread, William H. Kuntz

1 1/4 cups water (110-115 degrees)
1 package active dry yeast
3 cups flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. shortening (I use Crisco)

Dissolve yeast in water in mixer bowl.  Add salt, sugar and half of the flour.  Blend with paddle attachment.  Add shortening and beat 2 minutes at medium speed or 300 strokes by hand (don't do that, get a Kitchen Aid).  Scrape sides of bowl frequently.  Add remaining flour and blend with spoon until smooth.  Scrape batter from sides of bowl and spoon.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until double in bulk (about 30 minutes). Beat batter about 25 strokes
Place in greased loaf pan and cover.  Let rise until dough reaches top of pan.  Bake in a 375-degree preheated oven for about 40 minutes or until brown.  When done, the loaf should sound hollow when tapped with finger.  Remove from pan and place on wire rack to cool.  Brush top of loaf with butter if you desire a soft crust.  Cool before slicing.

Please let me know if you have success with this recipe!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Kelly’s Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Ranch Cookies

I’ve been looking for a cookie recipe for some time that used whole wheat flour and oatmeal. I found one by Mrs. Fields (Peanut Butter Oatmeal Ranch Cookies) that included whole wheat, oats, peanut butter, honey, sunflower seeds and raisins. AND it only used one stick of butter instead of the usual 2 sticks. You can find her original recipe in the Mrs Fields Cookie Book. And according to what I saw, you can get this book on Amazon for one cent!  Ah!  And she has some fabulous recipes in there!  I find that I'm always adding salt to her recipes...but what do I know? She's the millionaire cookie maker, not I.

My husband has high cholesterol, so I want to feed him as many oats and whole grains as possible. I really like the idea of only one stick of butter for that reason as well. I’m also a little stingy with my butter so a cookie recipe that tastes good and doesn’t use half my butter at once is a GREAT thing!

These cookies are not decadent, but they’re very good, and make a great “lunch bag” addition for my husband. He’s also the reason used chocolate chips in place of the raisins.  So here's my "tweaked" recipe.

¾ cup Whole Wheat Flour
¾ cup all purpose flour
½ tsp. baking POWDER
½ tsp. salt
1 cup oats (old fashioned or quick)
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
½ cup salted butter, softened
½ cup crunchy peanut butter
1/3 cup honey
2 large eggs
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
½ cup sunflower seeds
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 300° F.

Combine flours, baking powder, salt and oats in a bowl with a wire wisk and set aside.

In the bowl of your kitchen aid mixer, beat sugar and butter at medium speed to form a grainy paste. Add the peanut butter, honey, eggs and vanilla. Blend thoroughly.

Add the flour mixture, sunflower seeds and chocolate chips. Blend at low speed until combined. Be cautious not to overmix.

Drop the cookie batter by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake for 23-25 minutes until bottoms turn golden brown. Immediately transfer cookies with a spatula to a cool flat surface. © Kelly Rose 2010

Notes: I love, love love, my kitchen aid.  I've been dreaming of the meat grinder attachment. Every kitchen needs a kitchen aid...every cook, needs a kitchen aid, but truly, I would NOT be baking bread with out it.  I do NOT knead by hand, and I don't intend to start. Don’t eat these cookies when they’re hot, they fall apart too easily. Don’t overbake, because with the whole wheat, they get hard in a hurry if you don’t watch the time. Hint: Always put the timer a minute or two lower than recommended to check the cookies along the way to the finish line. That way, you’ll know exactly how long to bake YOUR cookies. Everyone’s oven and altitude is different. And again, these are not melt in your mouth decadent cookies..they’re good, and you can feel good about serving a cookie packed with healthy ingredients and lower fat content. But don’t be misled, this is not the place where you will always find healthy and low fat recipes. This is all about stuff I like.
The whole wheat I used in this recipe was from a friend of mine. We’re trading a bag of her locally grown organic whole wheat flour for one of my new Stampin’ Up! catalogs. Smile! I already have my flour, she doesn’t get her catalog until the new ones come out in July. Interested? Check my Stampin Up! website blog for info on getting yours!

Let me know what you think of the recipe...

My First Sucessful Loaf of Bread

I’ve attempted many different recipes for bread in the last year, but by far, this recipe for “The First Loaf” turned out the best. The loaf was tall and had great uneven holes all through out the loaf. The texture was just slightly dry, but it did not crumble. The taste was a little bland, but then it was WHITE bread, what could you expect? I do think that anyone who follows his instructions and reads the preceding chapters on Equipment and Ingredients before beginning will have a successful loaf of bread as I did. And it REALLY made me smile. The recipe can be found here.
The recipe came from Bernard Clayton’s Complete Book of Breads. It’s a book I checked out from the library, but I think I will purchase it. Although Clayton did not cover in his chapter on “What Went Wrong—An How To Make It Right” what I was looking for when I checked it out, I have learned quite a bit about the art of making bread from reading his book. What I wanted to “fix” with my bread is the texture. I have been unable to make a loaf of whole wheat bread that doesn’t crumble and fall apart. My whole wheat bread is also fairly flat and dense without the lovely uneven holes all throughout. I’ve made some marvelously TASTY breads, but none that don’t fall apart. He never addressed this issue…at least not in what I’ve read so far and certainly not in that chapter which I did read entirely. The book is 748 pages and has a treasure store of different recipes. That’s why I’d like to have the book. There are recipes for almost every kind of bread you can think of from every corner of the world. And his stories of how he got the recipes are quite interesting.

Yesterday I tried Clayton’s pizza dough recipe with an adaptation of my own. It was the best traditional pizza crust I have made to date, and pizza dough is not something I’ve struggled with. I’ve been quite happy with what I’ve made, but I’m even happier with Clayton’s recipe…well, Clayton’s recipe with my own twist.