Sunday, September 27, 2009

Apple Blintz Pancakes

I love pancakes. I love all kinds of pancakes, and when I saw this recipe in Real Simple magazine, I knew Don and I would like it. The cottage cheese adds some protein and cuts the carbs a bit, and since the only sugar is the little bit added to the apples, it's not as sweet as if we'd had syrup on our pancakes. The original recipe in Real Simple called for applesauce; I wanted to use some of the apples we got in our organic produce distributions. The filling is simple: dice up a couple apples (don't worry about the peel - I never peel apples in any recipes), and sauté them in a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of brown sugar (I used Splenda Brown Sugar Blend) until they're softened but not mushy.

Next, make the pancakes:

1 cup pancake mix (I used Trader Joe's multigrain baking mix, but any pancake mix will do)
* 1 egg
* 1/4 cup cottage cheese
* 1 cup whole milk
* 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
* 3/4 cup sour cream

Place the pancake mix in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, cottage cheese, milk, oil, and ¼ cup of the sour cream. Stir the wet ingredients into the pancake mix and whisk just to combine. Let the batter rest according to the pancake-mix label directions (or for 5 minutes if you make your own mix). Place a nonstick griddle or skillet coated with oil, butter, or cooking spray over medium-high heat. Spoon or pour about 1/3 cup of batter for each pancake onto the griddle. Turn when bubbles rise to the surface and the edges look cooked. Repeat with the remaining batter. Before serving, spoon some of the apples onto one half of each pancake; fold in half and top with some of the remaining sour cream.

The ONLY way to cook fresh Bonito

Bonito is a kind of fish very closely related to tuna. There are some places that even call bonito "skipjack tuna," but the two are not the same thing. Last weekend Don went fishing out of San Diego, and in addition to 10 nice calico bass, he brought back four bonito fillets. We eat bonito grilled, and of course, fresh. I put it in the marinade Sunday morning, and we grilled it that afternoon - not even 24 hours off the boat.

Here's Don all geared up for the grill - notice the requisite beer? He cannot grill anything without a couple beers to keep him company.

Grilled Bonito

1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup lime juice
four to six bonito fillets

Mix melted butter, Worcestershire, and lime juice in a gallon-sized zip bag. Add fillets, and marinate at least 4 hours. Remove fish from bag and grill in a grill basket until done (about 10 minutes on each side).

Pioneer Woman's Coq Au Vin

I'm not EVEN going to post my photo of the Coq Au Vin I made last week. Mine looks pale and washed out. Do you want to see what it really should look like? Go HERE.

Regardless of how mine looked, it tasted fabulous. I've never tried the "traditional" version of Coq Au Vin, but when I saw Ree's version, I had to try it. So rich and tasty.

Coq Au Vin
from Ree Drummond - Pioneer Woman

1 whole cut up fryer chicken (this is a whole chicken the butcher has cut into pieces.)
4 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
½ medium onion, diced
½ cup roughly chopped carrots, washed and unpeeled
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons butter
1 lb. sliced white mushrooms
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups Burgundy wine
1 lb. pasta (egg noodles or fettuccine)
2 tablespoons butter
Fresh minced parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste
Sautee bacon pieces in a large skillet over medium low heat until fat is rendered. Remove bacon from the skillet and set aside. Increase heat to medium.
Salt fat site of chicken pieces, then place chicken, fat side down, in skillet and cook in bacon grease until both sides are nice and golden brown. Remove from pan and set aside in a 2-quart baking dish, skin side up.
Saute onions, carrots and garlic in bacon grease until onions are translucent, about 3 minutes. Remove from grease with slotted spoon and set aside.
In a separate skillet, saute mushrooms in 2 tablespoons butter until golden, about 3 minutes. Set aside.
Layer half of the bacon pieces, carrot/onion mixture, and mushrooms in pan with chicken.
Drain most of the grease from the large skillet, then place over medium heat. Add flour to make a roux. Pour in 2 cups Burgundy wine, using a wire whisk to scrape loose all the burned/brown bits. Lightly salt liquid and allow to cook for 3 minutes. Pour over chicken and vegetables. Cover and bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 1/2 hours.
Cook pasta until al dente. Drain and toss with 2 tablespoons butter.
Serve chicken in a pasta bowl with noodles, sprinkling minced parsley over the top. Spoon juice from baking dish over the top of everything.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Chicken in the Crock Pot - a new (to me) recipe

The best crock pot recipes, in my opinion, are those that don't require any browning or pre-cooking of the ingredients. I want to be able to just put things in the crock pot, turn it on, and come home to a finished dish. This recipes fits in that category, except for the rice that needed to be made when I got home.

Brown Sugar Chicken

2 lbs. boneless chicken pieces (I used 4 boneless thighs and 2 boneless breasts, which I cut in half)
1 cup packed brown sugar
⅔ cup vinegar
¼ cup lemon lime soda (this could probably be omitted)
2-3 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper

Place chicken pieces in your slow cooker. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over the top of chicken. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Serve with rice.

Note: If you'd like thicker sauce you could add a cornstarch-water slurry (1 Tbsp cornstarch + 2 Tbsp cold water) about 20 minutes before serving to the liquid in the crockpot.

Verdict: A definite keeper; a recipe we'll have again and again. The chicken almost fell apart - even the breasts are tender instead of dry and tough.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Another Donna Hay recipe: Chicken Roasted on Eggplant and Tomatoes

I was first "introduced" to Donna Hay about 3 years ago when I participated in a Donna Hay cooking challenge. This recipe is from her book the instant cook, which has simple, quick recipes with very few ingredients. I spent this afternoon with my daughter at a car dealership (shoot me NOW) and needed something that came together quickly yet would feed my hungry hubby. With a green salad, this was a tasty, low-carb dinner.

Chicken Roasted on Eggplant and Tomatoes
from Donna Hay

1 small eggplant, thickly sliced
2 roma tomatoes, sliced
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
salt and coarse ground pepper to taste
2 chicken breast fillets, cut in half
½ cup grated Parmesan
½ cup grated mozzarella cheese

Preheat the oven to 350˚. Line a baking tray with baking paper (I used Reynolds' Parchment). Place the eggplant slices on the tray and top with the tomatoes, oregano, salt and pepper. Top each pile with a chicken breast fillet and sprinkle with the parmesan and mozzarella. Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese is golden and the chicken cooked through. Serves 2-3.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sour Cream Cake - a childhood delight

When we lived at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, when I was in junior high school, a woman named Carol Scott lived upstairs from us. She gave Mom this recipe - in 1971 - and this cake became a Floyd family favorite. Mom included the recipe in an album of recipes she gave all of us kids about 18 years ago - and I can't believe that I've never made it until now. It is, in Don's opinion, "the best pound cake I have ever had!" I guess it's a pound cake. But it's better than any pound cake you can buy or make. Really.

Sour Cream Cake
Carol Scott, Ramstein AB Germany, 1971

1 cup butter, soften
3 cups sugar
6 eggs, separated
3 cups flour, sifted
1 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 300˚. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time. Add flour, alternating with the sour cream, until all is well-blended. Wash the beaters well, and in a separate bowl, cream the egg whites until stiff. Fold the egg whites by had into the cake batter, and pour into a greased and floured bundt pan. Bake at 300˚ for 1 hour (check at 50 and 55 minutes with toothpick). Cool on wire rack about 15 minutes, then turn out onto a plate. Store covered.