22 June 2010

GF Pancakes

That means "Gluten Free" by the way. In honor of my GF SIL (Sister in Law), I found this scrumptious oatmeal pancake recipe that doesn't use any wheat flour (it's very similar to the other oatmeal pancakes I blogged about). I found out this afternoon that they are yummy cold from the fridge when you get home from work tired!

Be careful with these as with all other oatmeal pancakes that you cook them over medium LOW heat so as to allow them to set at the center without burning on the outside. A little long on the cooking time when I had four (plus mine) hungry mouths to feed. They were actually very sweet and non-demanding, of course.

15 June 2010


Can I tell you how absolutely thrilled I am to have found a pastry recipe that doesn't demand the utmost strictness concerning the temperature of the butter? And still turns out nice and flaky every time.

Well, I am thrilled.

No more ice cube water. No more over-watering and over-mixing my dough. No more cries of agony at the crumble-factor as I engage in a pastry vs. rolling pin war where the pastry only gives up when I throw it in the oven (even then it scores a smug victory by coming out thin and tough).

I found a recipe for a hot water pie crust here on allrecipes.com. It does mix up pretty soft, so I generally refrigerate it for about 10-15 minutes before rolling it out--don't over-chill it or it will be too hard to roll! I use all butter for the shortening too, so it has great buttah flavah! It's simple enough to whip up fairly quickly and makes a versatile pastry.

Last week we were putting these in it . . .

. . . and with that little-bit-that-comes-off-the-edges
I did a mini zucchini tart in a souffle cup! Sauteed zucchini,
some cottage cheese, pizza sauce, and mozzarella.

I also used this recipe when I made samosa's with Michelle. That time I used a bit of whole wheat. Just because. It gives all that butter a healthy edge.


If you've ever been frustrated with making pastry, try the hot water recipe. I find it keeps me from overworking the dough once I add flour at the end. And it's so easy! And it really does make a flaky crust!

*(not guaranteed to make all your wildest dreams come true, but pretty close if you're dreaming about pie)

10 June 2010

Chop Salad

Two bits of inspiration here:

1. A real foodie of a co-worker who's always saying "Alton Brown-this or that" reminded me of my favorite TV chef, Jamie Oliver (okay, so I don't watch TV so it's not a high honor, but I like his style).

2. Hordes of lettuce in the garden. No kidding.

So I went online to watch some Jamie Oliver cooking videos for some culinary inspiration (which, as you can see from the infrequent blogging, had been somewhat lacking around here). I watched a few, including a video for "chop salad". If you want to watch click here. So cute! I love his expressions, especially "It looks like a bit of a dog's dinner" about the salad because it's not very pretty!

If you don't watch the video, the idea is just to get all your salad ingredients together on a big cutting board and start chopping them together. I did this for my home group and had a few avid onlookers.

Once you've given everything a first, rough chop, you add the lettuce and do a fold-chop-fold-chop deal until you have the consistency you want. Dress it, toss it with your fingers, slap it in a bowl and eat! Not much to it, but delicious with all the fresh garden veggies coming in now and fun to make!

07 June 2010

Scones, Again

I really outdid myself on Saturday with all the baking/cooking projects I had going on. Read: "I made a HUGE mess of my kitchen!"

The upside of all the mess was a lot of good food and some material for my sadly-neglected-of-late cooking blog. I actually posted my basic scone recipe awhile back, but I was so enamored of the scones I made on Saturday that I have to write about them. anyway Actually, this post could also be called "Toaster Oven" because I was as pleased about using mine to bake the scones as I was about the scones themselves. Only the toaster oven doesn't hit your tongue with that soft, cake-like texture and velvety, melting chocolate-y goodness as a scone does, see?

But when you feel like baking something small-ish on a hot-ish day, there is much praise to be sung in honor of the humble counter-top oven. No heat waves pouring into the kitchen and onto your skin. No enormous waste of energy just to bake one small pat of scones. No half hour waiting for it to heat up. Yay! I love our toaster oven (many thanks go to my husband's late paternal grandmother for this inherited treasure).

So, scones in the toaster oven; a killer combination. In less than 30 minutes, you can go from raw ingredients to delectable breakfast (including coffee brewing time). Have I convinced you that you want to:

a. buy a toaster oven?
b. make scones?
c. bake scones in your toaster oven?
d. all of the above?

If so, read on. If not, read on.

Another one of the great things about scones (besides the close-to-immediate-gratification factor) is the ease and simplicity of forming them. You could spend some time and lots of flour patting them out and cutting them into cute shapes to bake them. But the truth is they taste just as good if you dump the dough on your greased baking sheet (in this case, the toaster oven tray insert), pat them into any odd shape, and score them into the approximate size you want to ingest them in. This past Saturday I made an flat ovally shape, scored them into rough squares, and slapped them on in the oven. No need for fussiness here.

When those babies came out I immediately drizzled them with some orange-chocolate icing I had on hand, and I thought they looked kinda pretty.

(Can I insert another ode in praise of scones? They are so deliciously versatile! Put in them whatever you have on hand in the way of dried fruits, nuts, spices, flavorings. Really, the basic recipe is that: basic. You get the fun of making them uniquely tasty each time you whip up a batch. These have cranberries, chocolate chunks, and vanilla in them.)

I waited awhile for my taste-tester to get back from a project he was working on, but I couldn't hold out for long against the alluring smell of these gems. Mug of coffee nearby, and camera in hand, I did some serious damage to a few.

"the last bite"

Now do you want scones?

Basic Scones
(makes two rounds, depending on how you form them--these pictures show a half recipe)

1 3/4 cup flour (may subs. other flours for texture, fiber, etc.)
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
5 TBSP butter
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup yogurt

Instructions: Sift flour, baking, powder, sugar, and salt into a bowl. Cut in butter until it is in pea-size chunks. Stir in any dried fruit/nuts. Add milk and yogurt, and stir minimally! Dump dough onto greased baking sheet, push into desired shape and score with a knife. You may brush them with milk/egg if you want a shiny finish. Bake at 400F for 15 minutes.

02 June 2010

Boxed Goods

I was literally dragging myself up from an afternoon snooze today, trying to disperse the brain fog and come up with a dinner plan, when I heard the sound of a vehicle stopping in front of the house and a door opening and shutting. Glancing out the window, my mental fog magically thinned as I was absolutely thrilled to see the harbinger of summer produce--Radell's truck.

We finally decided this year to put our money where our mouth is (in quite a literal way) by subscribing to our friend's CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Each Wednesday June-August we will be the very happy recipients of a crate of seasonal vegetables from Season's Bounty farm, half of which we are giving to some dear friends as a wedding present.

This week's box contained: two heads lettuce, green onions, potatoes, carrots, radishes, a small head of broccoli, and a bag of edible-pod peas, which I immediately dug into. Next to fresh garden tea, this tastes as much like summer as anything!

I called our friends to let them know that the box had arrived (just a day after they arrived home from their honeymoon!). In the end I invited us over to drop off vegetables and share in a potluck leftovers dinner which was accompanied by a bowl of edible-pod peas and a huge garden salad! Walking home a few hours later, I was a little giddy with the glow of shared food, shared resources, and the thought of a summerful of these inspiring produce crates which will force me to eat with the season and get a little extra creative in the kitchen (since I don't know what will be in the box from week to week)!