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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Apple Dutch Baby Puff Pancake

My daughters and I were discussing pancakes the other day. Well, we really were discussing our dislike of pancakes.

Maybe the reason why I don't like traditional pancakes is because I'm not good at making them.  I don't flip them, I destroy them.

Or maybe the reason why I'm not good at making pancakes is because I just don't like them.

However, I'll take a Dutch Baby Puff Pancake any day.

Especially if it's an Apple Dutch Baby!

You could whip one of these up in the same amount of time that it would take you to measure, mix and pour a batch of traditional pancakes.  And as far as flipping goes---no flipping required!

Today's Playlist

  • "Kick Drum Heart"...The Avett Brothers
  • "She"...Green Day
  • "Dirty Little Secret"...The All-American Rejects
  • "All Day And All Of The Night"...The Kinks
  • "That Time Is Gone"...The dB's
  • "Listen To Her Heart"...Tom Petty
  • "Run-Around"...Blues Traveler

Apple Dutch Baby Puff Pancake (Serves 2-4)
Printable Recipe

  • 3 Granny Smith apples (peeled, sliced & roughly chopped)
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar, divided (3 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 5 eggs
optional:  confectioners sugar for topping

Gather your ingredients.  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Peel your apples.  Slice the four sides off.  Discard the core.

Thinly slice into 1/8-inch slices.  After all of your apples have been sliced...

...roughly chop the slices into pieces approximately 1-inch long.  Don't stress about being exact here! Just roughly chop and then move on.

Place the butter into a deep oven-proof skillet (or a pie plate), and place the skillet into your oven for 3 minutes or so (until the butter melts).

While you're waiting for the butter to melt, mix your spice ingredients.  In a small bowl, place 3 tablespoons of sugar, and the cinnamon and nutmeg.

Stir with a fork to combine.

Check your skillet in the oven to see if the butter has melted.

Remove your skillet with the melted butter from the oven.  Swirl it around to make sure the bottom of the skillet is coated with butter.

Sprinkle the brown sugar over the butter.

Sprinkle the apples over the brown sugar/butter.

Sprinkle the spice mixture over the top of the apples.  Put the skillet back into the oven for 12 minutes.

Place the flour, remaining tablespoon of sugar, salt and nutmeg into a medium bowl.  Whisk to combine.

Add the milk, whisking constantly (or use a hand mixer on a low speed) until incorporated. 

Add the vanilla and beat in the eggs, one at a time.

Whisk vigorously for two minutes (or, if using a hand mixer beat on medium speed for one minute), until the mixture becomes a bit foamy.  Set aside until the apples are ready.

When your oven timer goes off, check your apples.  You'll know they are ready if the sugar is bubbling around the edges.

Pour the milk/flour batter over the apples.  Continue to bake for approximately 21 to 24 minutes--the center should be set and the sides will be nicely browned and really puffed up.

Like this!

After you take it out of the oven it will quickly deflate.

Give it a couple of minutes for the steam and hot air to escape--it will be easier to slice and serve when it's not all puffed up.  

You can tell by looking at this picture that the pancake has seriously de-puffed in five minutes since it was removed from the oven!

Serve it warm.  Apples and cinnamon taste best when warm, don't you think?

Add a dusting of confectioners sugar if you like.

Or you can top it with a bit of whipped cream.  Or ice cream!


Monday, June 15, 2015

Cooking Show: College Cuisine!!

We filmed another episode of the cooking show a few days ago.

I was cheerfully assisted by two college students, Becky and Natalie.  They are friends of my daughter, Erin, and they enthusiastically helped me prepare a few dishes that we felt would be a hit with the college crowd.

My dining room was packed to capacity with more college friends, and when we finished filming the show, everything you see in this picture was happily devoured.

I wish I that I had taken a photo when they were through.

We started with Chunky Guacamole.  Becky and I both agreed that we like our guacamole with chunks of avocado.  If you prefer your avocados smooth, however, go ahead and mash 'em up.

Here's the link for the printable recipe.

Click here for the printable.

(Chipotle Knockoff) Steak Burritos, with cilantro-lime rice, black beans, pico de gallo and all the other necessary accompaniments (sour cream, Monterey jack cheese, avocados).

 I made a double-batch and crossed my fingers that it was enough. (It was.  Phew.)

I don't yet have a blogpost written with step-by-step photos, but you can click here for the printable recipe.

And finally, No-Bake Strawberry Icebox Cake.  I think everyone was surprised by how quick and easy this was to prepare.

And maybe not so surprised by how quickly and easily this disappeared.  Here is the printable recipe.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Quick & Easy No-Bake Strawberry Icebox Cake

If you can't get enough of strawberries in the springtime and you're looking for recipe ideas, here you go!

No baking required.  Hardly any prep.  The most time-consuming step was washing and slicing the berries!

Today's Playlist
  • "Ain't No Rest For The Wicked"...Cage the Elephant
  • "I'm Shakin'"...Jack White
  • "Scar Tissue"...Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • "Dead!"...My Chemical Romance
  • "Seven Nation Army"...The White Stripes

No-Bake Strawberry Icebox Cake (8 to 10 servings, in an 8 x 8-inch pan)

  • 1 box (4-serving size) instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (I used 1%, use what you like)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 24 lady fingers
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2-ish tablespoons confectioners sugar
  • 1-lb strawberries, hulled, washed, dried and sliced

Gather your ingredients.  

Missing: the confectioners sugar, which was an afterthought that I added as I was whipping the cream.

Confession: I've never bought or used lady fingers before!  I don't even think I've ever eaten one, either.  

I've always seen them displayed by the strawberries, but I've never been tempted to buy them.  I don't know what came over me this time, they were in my cart before I had a chance to think about what I was doing.

Okay, back to our recipe.

Whisk the pudding and a splash of vanilla with the milk.  

Set it aside, so that it can thicken as you prep your other ingredients.

Whip the cream until it's light and fluffy.  I usually add in the confectioners sugar when it starts to foam up.  You want to whip it until it just starts to hold stiff peaks.

You can skip the confectioners sugar if you like.  I usually add a tiny bit of confectioners sugar because unsweetened whipped cream can sometimes taste a bit sour when contrasted with sweetened desserts.

Remove the hulls, wash and slice your strawberries.  I put them onto a paper towel after I slice them so that any excess moisture can be absorbed.

Time to assemble!  You will need an 8 x 8-inch baking pan. 

And you will notice in the following pictures, I did not use an 8 x 8-inch pan!  I used a couple of smaller dishes, one to keep and one to give away.  

There are no hard and fast rules!

To assemble: arrange half of the lady fingers in a single layer in the bottom of your dish.

You can see in the above photo that the pudding has thickened nicely.  I gave it a quick whisk just to make sure it was smooth.

Spoon half of the pudding onto the lady fingers.  The lady fingers will absorb some of the moisture from the pudding and plump up nicely!

Layer about half of the strawberry slices on top of the pudding.

Now repeat the layers!

Another layer with the remaining lady fingers.

Topped with all of the remaining pudding.

Save a few slices of strawberries to top the cake with, and put the remaining slices on top of the pudding layer.

Spread the whipped cream on top.

Finally, top the cake with the strawberry slices that you had put aside.

I hope you're more imaginative with your garnishing than I am.  This is the best I could come up with.  

You can either slice and serve your cake immediately, or refrigerate it and give the lady fingers a bit of time to soak up some of the pudding.

And in typical scatterbrained-fashion, I did not capture a picture when I actually cut this cake.

Fortunately, we filmed a cooking show a few days ago and guess what happened to be on our menu? Strawberry Icebox Cake!  How convenient, as I was able to snap a photo to put a finish on this post.

(I'll be posting about the cooking show and its menu soon.)


Sunday, May 31, 2015

Blueberry-Peach Sangria

Even though it isn't officially summer yet... is my official summer drink.  It's my favorite sangria.  Blueberries and peaches and moscato. With a touch of simple syrup, peach juice and peach schnapps.

I don't think you even need a playlist while you are preparing this.  It's so quick and easy to prepare, just throw the ingredients into a pitcher and stir.

I realize, however, that playlists are a tradition on this blog so I will give you the one and only song that will put you in the mood to make this sangria:

Today's Playlist
  • "Peaches"...The Presidents of the United States of America

Blueberry-Peach Sangria
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 2 peaches, sliced
  • 1 (750-ML) bottle Moscato (or your favorite sweet white wine)
  • 8 oz (1 cup) peach juice
  • 1/2 cup peach schnapps
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup simple syrup (prepare in advance)*
*to make simple syrup:

Microwave 1/4 cup water on HIGH for 1 minute.  Stir in 1/4 cup sugar.  

Continue to stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.  This should take about one minute. 

After the sugar has dissolved, refrigerate the syrup.  You don't want to add it to your sangria while it's still boiling!  Nobody wants warm sangria.

After your syrup has chilled, prepare your sangria.

Gather your ingredients.  Slice your peaches.

Place the sliced peaches into a pitcher, and add the blueberries.

Pour in the bottle of Moscato.

Why Moscato?  Because it's sweet and fruity.  Perfect for sangria.

Add the peach juice.  My supermarket was out of peach juice this time so I bought mango juice.  It worked out fine!

Finally, pour in the peach schnapps.  It adds extra peachiness.  Or is it schnappiness?  What is a schnapps, anyway?

Okay, I just googled that question ("What is a schnapps"-- I left off the "anyway."  I didn't think google would appreciate my attitude).  Google has informed me that schnapps are technically a fruit brandy, less sweet than a liqueur.

Now that we've learned what schnapps is, stir up your sangria.   You're done!