Saturday, July 29, 2017

Buttermilk Pancakes

The author of "Oh, Sweet Basil" did some experimenting with buttermilk pancakes, and her "melt-in-your-mouth" recipe lived up to its reputation.

Melt in Your Mouth Buttermilk Pancakes
Serves: 8-12 pancakes (3-4 servings)

1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups of sifted flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs, slightly whisked
2 cups of buttermilk
2 tablespoons butter, unsalted and melted

Preheat a griddle to medium heat.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the salt, baking powder, baking soda, flour and sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and buttermilk. Drizzle in the butter as you continue to whisk.
Switch to a wooden spoon and make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients. Pour in the wet ingredients and stir until almost completely combined. Please remember, the more you stir pancakes the more flat and tough they will be so please mix until a few streaks of flour are remaining.
Butter the griddle and scoop ⅓ cup of batter and cook until bubbles begin to form, flip and cook until golden. Serve immediately.

Note: We tried it again, cutting the recipe in half, for just the two of us, and since we didn't have 1 cup of buttermilk, but only 1/4 cup, I just added regular milk to makeup the difference, and it turned out just great.

Another note: Cutting the recipe into a third works well also, making four large pancakes which is perfect for two non-teenage-boy people.

2/3 cup flour
2 teaspoons sugar
2/3 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons butter (melted in measuring cup)
1 egg, beaten
2/3 cup buttermilk

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Pot Pie or Dumplings?

I didn't feel like making what was on the menu today. Actually, I didn't feel like making anything. I imagine we all have days like that. So, I googled "what to make for dinner tonight" and took a quiz. It wasn't very helpful either.

Yesterday I roasted a turkey and this morning I boiled the frame, so I had plenty of turkey and broth, but I didn't really want to make soup. It is July, after all! After spending too much time trying to come up with an idea (can we say "procrastination"?), I decided I liked the idea of tukey pot pie. However, I didn't feel like making a pie crust (mainly because it isn't terribly healthy), but figured dumplings would be a good compromise. Although it is July, it has been a very rainy day, so comfort food sounded quite appealing.

That's a nice long story to say here's what we had for dinner!

Basically I combined turkey and vegetables, shook some turkey broth and flour together to make a sauce, added a bit a cream just because I could, plus some herbs and spices, poured the hot mixture into a casserole and topped it with biscuits.* I baked it at 400 degrees for 15 minutes and it turned out quite nicely.

I would copy the recipe here, but this is one of those "adjust to your liking" "doesn't need a recipe" recipe, so I won't. Have fun creating your own version!

*In my surfing I saw the suggestion to substitute cornmeal for part of the flour, and since I had corn in the filling I did. However, next time I'd stick to just regular flour.

08/29/2017 - Today I decided to do the long version, making two pot pies and freezing them for later. Once again, it's really still a process - make a turkey gravy and mix in cooked turkey and vegetables, season as desired (I used thyme, sage, marjoram, salt and pepper), plop into a pie crust and bake. You can also freeze first; here's the recipe I looked at for inspiration - Freezer Chicken Pot Pie.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

The First Drink!

The recipe said to use a large wine glass, but 1/4 cup of liquid doesn't fill it up very much.
The first drink we tried was Bataan Royale which calls for gin, white rum, cherry liqueur, triple sec, grenadine and lime juice.

Those first four ingredients contain alcohol, so we made some substitutions and came up with this.

Virgin Bataan Royale 

1 tablespoon juniper berry infusion (see here)
1 tablespoon white grape juice
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon cherry syrup (from a can of cherries)
5 dashes grenadine (or 5/8 oteaspoon)
3 dashes triple sec* (or 3/8 of a teaspoon)
Orange slice

Mix everything except the orange slice and shake to combine well. Serve over ice in a large stemmed glass and garnish with an orange slice.

*I found a non-alcoholic version (basically water, corn syrup, and orange extract) at the grocery store, but you could also use orange juice.

It would be nice to have a back stories for these drinks, but the cook book doesn't include them. All I know is that Bataan is a province in the Philippines. I guess we'll have to imagine our own story for how this drink got its name.

Wayne felt like he was doing a science experiment, and he looked like it, too, with all the different jars and measuring cups and spoons. It turned out to be a pleasant experiment, definitely a taste combination we've never had before, kind of light and refreshing, and we're looking forward to seeing what the next drinks taste like. 

Friday, July 7, 2017

Clam Linguine

We first tried this recipe over 15 years ago. That's how long we've been trying to improve our diets and do more "low-fat" cooking! It's a good one, and quite festive if you use red peppers. (Today I'm using yellow ones.)

Linguine with Clam Sauce

3-4 ounces uncooked linguine, cooked and drained
1-2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper (or yellow or orange)
1 teaspoon flour
1 can minced clams, drained and liquid reserved
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Cook garlic and pepper in oil until crisp-tender, then stir in flour. Add clam liquid, salt, pepper and oregan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, then stir in clams and peas. Heat through. Serve over pasta and sprinkle with cheese. 2 servings.

P.S. Did you notice from the picture that we used fettucini instead of linguine this time. It really doesn't matter!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Garlic Basil Tortellini

We had some tortellini in the fridge, and here's the recipe I decided to use. It turned out well.

Tortellini with Garlic Basil Sauce

32 ounces chicken broth divided
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 (16 ounce) package frozen cheese tortellini
4 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic minced
2 teaspoons dried basil
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese for garnish
Minced fresh parsley for garnish, optional

In a large pot, bring 2 ½ cups broth to a boil. Add cheese tortellini. Return to a boil and cook about 5 minutes. The tortellini will float to the top when cooked and the internal temperature should be 165ºF for at least 15 seconds. Drain completely. Meanwhile, whisk together remaining 1 ½ cups broth with corn starch. In a large non-stick skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat until foaming. Stir in garlic and basil and cook about 2 minutes. Add broth-cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil; simmer until the mixture thickens. Add the cooked tortellini to the skillet and toss to coat. Pour into a serving dish and garnish with Parmesan cheese and parsley, if desired.