A recipe for the fluffiest pancakes ever
I’ve been using this Alton Brown recipe for years now, and they are always fluffy and perfect. The most important point in the recipe is NOT to mix out the lumps in the batter.
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/instant-pancake-mix-recipe/index.html
tip : You can make the “instant pancake” mix and store it, or you can just make a third of the recipe for immediate use.

A recipe for the fluffiest pancakes ever

I’ve been using this Alton Brown recipe for years now, and they are always fluffy and perfect. The most important point in the recipe is NOT to mix out the lumps in the batter.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/instant-pancake-mix-recipe/index.html

tip : You can make the “instant pancake” mix and store it, or you can just make a third of the recipe for immediate use.

Prune-filled hamantashen (purim pastries)

pastry:

1/2 cup (125 gr) butter, softened

1/3 cup sugar (110 gr) 

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

2 tablespoons milk (or orange juice)

1/4 tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

2  cups (250 gr) flour 

For the Prune filling :

Soak 500gr (1lb) prunes overnight in cold water or for two hours in hot water. Drain and blend in a mixer with 1 tsp lemon rinda bit of sugar to taste, 1 tbsp lemon juice.

Pastry : Cream butter and sugar, and add egg.  Sift flour and baking powder together and add a little to creamed mixture.  Add milk, then remaining flour.  Mix in the vanilla. Roll dough out 1/8 to ¼ inch (2.5 to 5 mm) thick.  Cut into rounds, dot each with a spoonful of filling, form into triangles, and bake at 165-180 C (depending on your oven) for 15 to 30 minutes until barely golden, not browned.

Turkey Osso Buco with golden turnips and lemon
A recipe invented with the ingredients at hand : a sliced turkey drumstick, golden turnips, onions, wine and a lemon.
Recipe :
5 slices of turkey thigh, bone-in (you can ask your butcher for this cut, or use more readily available veal shank slices)
1 onion chopped
1 garlic clove chopped
1 glass of white wine
5 small golden turnips (you could use carrots or parsnips too)
Chicken stock (to cover)
1 untreated lemon cut in wedges
a small bunch of thyme
a small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped.
Brown the meat on both sides in a bit of oil in a casserole. Remove the meat from the pot and set aside. Add the onions, a bit more oil, and cook them SLOWLY, without letting them burn, for about 20 minutes until they are soft, transparent and sweet. Add the garlic for a minute, then pour in the glass of wine and pour one to drink while you cook. Scrape the bottom of the pan to get the flavor out - don’t skip this step. Return the meat to the pan and add the turnips the lemon wedges and the thyme. Pour in the stock until just covered, then cover the pot and simmer slowly until the meat is very tender (falls apart…). I left it about 2 hours. Remove the lid, throw in the parsley and if there is still a lot of sauce let it reduce a little bit.
Serve with rice or couscous or anything that will soak up the juices.

Turkey Osso Buco with golden turnips and lemon

A recipe invented with the ingredients at hand : a sliced turkey drumstick, golden turnips, onions, wine and a lemon.

Recipe :

5 slices of turkey thigh, bone-in (you can ask your butcher for this cut, or use more readily available veal shank slices)

1 onion chopped

1 garlic clove chopped

1 glass of white wine

5 small golden turnips (you could use carrots or parsnips too)

Chicken stock (to cover)

1 untreated lemon cut in wedges

a small bunch of thyme

a small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped.

Brown the meat on both sides in a bit of oil in a casserole. Remove the meat from the pot and set aside. Add the onions, a bit more oil, and cook them SLOWLY, without letting them burn, for about 20 minutes until they are soft, transparent and sweet. Add the garlic for a minute, then pour in the glass of wine and pour one to drink while you cook. Scrape the bottom of the pan to get the flavor out - don’t skip this step. Return the meat to the pan and add the turnips the lemon wedges and the thyme. Pour in the stock until just covered, then cover the pot and simmer slowly until the meat is very tender (falls apart…). I left it about 2 hours. Remove the lid, throw in the parsley and if there is still a lot of sauce let it reduce a little bit.

Serve with rice or couscous or anything that will soak up the juices.

The BEST Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Recipe for 18 large cookies, or 24 small. Prep time is 10 minutes, cook time 15 minutes, plus time in between for cooling the dough.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup unrefined sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Click here for the BEST ingredient conversions site.

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter and sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough 1 tablespoon at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.
  4. REFRIGERATE TILL HARD, OR FREEZE on parchment paper and store in freezer bags until needed. That way, if friends pop in for tea, you can have fresh cookies on hand…
  5. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. DO NOT LET THEM COOK UNTIL COMPLETELY BROWN, otherwise they will not be soft in the center. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

TIP : IF your cookies end up hardening when stored, you can heat the in the microwave for 30 seconds prior to serving so that they become warm and chewy again.

Braised vegetables in Lasagna

Recently I’ve been braising my vegetables. It seems to bring the best out in winter varieties. After slowly simmering whatever I have in the veg basket, I then used it to make various dishes. In this case it made THE BEST vegetable lasagna! Again, I used vegetables picked this week by a local farmer so I can’t guarantee this recipe for supermarket ingredients…

Braised vegetables :

I used the following, but I’m sure it would be nice with most things :

2 small onions cut into slim wedges

3 carrots diced

1 large golden turnip diced

6 mushrooms sliced

a quarter of a cabbage, finely sliced

1 jerusalem artichoke

1 bay leaf

stock or water

Sauté the onions and mushrooms a few minutes until the mushrooms have released their water and dried out a bit. (If you like lardons or italian sausage, add at this point). Add the rest of the veg, a bay leaf, a glass of white wine, then add stock or water until the vegetables are just covered. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring to the boil, then lower to a simmer and cover with a lid. Cook slowly for about 30 minutes or till everything is tender and sweet. Remove the lid and turn up the temperature if there is still a lot of liquid. You should be left with very little sauce and soft and shiny vegetables.

To make the lasagna, I used a béchamel sauce (infused with a bay leaf and a clove), and a jar of italian tomato sauce, which I layered with the braised vegetables. I even had some leftover broccoli florets which I added to the middle layer. The key to lasagna is to have a lot of sauce so the lasagna sheets don’t dry out on top.

This was definitely a highlight meal of the week!

Amazing Buttermilk Oatmeal Pancakes

This is a REALLY good recipe which I found on the Orangette blog. Thank you Orangette, this one’s a keeper. I made it today for breakfast after having soaked the oats overnight. I used half the recipe, which was just enough for two adults and one child and makes 12 small pancakes that were nicely textured : rugged edged and crisp on the outside, creamy and light on the inside.

Recipe for 12 large or 24 small pancakes.

2 cups (180gr) rolled oats
2 cups (475ml) buttermilk
½ (60gr) cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder (levure chimique)
1 tsp. baking soda (bicarbonate de soude)
½ tsp. table salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup (100g) unsalted butter, melted but not hot (if you add cold egg to hot butter it will make congealed lumps)
Vegetable oil or spray, for greasing the pan
Maple syrup, for serving

The night before:
Combine the oats and buttermilk in a medium bowl. Stir to mix. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

The morning of:
Take the bowl of buttermilk and oats out of the fridge. Set aside.

In another medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Add the eggs and melted butter to the oat mixture, and stir well. Add the flour mixture, and stir to blend. The batter will be very thick.

Warm a large nonstick skillet or griddle over medium-high heat, and brush (or spray) with vegetable oil. To make sure it’s hot enough, wet your fingers under the tap and sprinkle a few droplets of water onto the pan. If they sizzle, it’s ready. Scoop the batter, about a scant ¼ cup at a time, onto the pan, taking care not to crowd them. When the underside is nicely browned and the top looks set around the edges, flip the pancakes. Cook until the second side has browned.

Re-grease the skillet, and repeat with more batter. If you find that the pancakes are browning too quickly, dial the heat back to medium.

Serve hot, with maple syrup.

Soft fruit peeler.

I recently received this as a gift : a serrated peeler specifically designed to peel soft skin fruit without wasting too much flesh. So far I’ve successfully peeled a kiwi and a pear…I have yet to try a tomato, an avocado…grape? Good tool!

Golden Turnips

These have been cooked in a pressure cooker for 10 minutes. With a bit of butter or olive oil, these golden parcels are a satisfying alternative to steamed potatoes as a side dish for meat and fish.

Tip : Whenever I’m making a stew or other slow-cooked dish, I add a couple of chopped up golden turnips because it’s a miracle ingredient - the smokiness and depth of flavor blows me away every time!

Tzimmes or Braised Carrots with Prunes
Traditionally a Jewish specialty made for the New Year to bring in a sweet year, Tzimmes is a side dish I like to make throughout the long carrot winter season. Today I’ve made it for Chinese New Year - have a sweet one!
Recipe :
1 small onion chopped
500 gr carrots
a few pitted prunes (or other dry fruit)
1 bay leaf
water or stock (to cover)
1 tablespoon honey or brown sugar
salt & pepper to taste
Sauté the onion till transparent. Add the carrots and continue to cook until soft but crisp. Add the rest of the ingredients, reduce the heat, cover and cook for 30 minutes. Remove the lid, and if there is still alot of liquid, reduce the sauce on a higher temperature until the carrots are just braised and shiny (not steeped in sauce).

Tzimmes or Braised Carrots with Prunes

Traditionally a Jewish specialty made for the New Year to bring in a sweet year, Tzimmes is a side dish I like to make throughout the long carrot winter season. Today I’ve made it for Chinese New Year - have a sweet one!

Recipe :

1 small onion chopped

500 gr carrots

a few pitted prunes (or other dry fruit)

1 bay leaf

water or stock (to cover)

1 tablespoon honey or brown sugar

salt & pepper to taste

Sauté the onion till transparent. Add the carrots and continue to cook until soft but crisp. Add the rest of the ingredients, reduce the heat, cover and cook for 30 minutes. Remove the lid, and if there is still alot of liquid, reduce the sauce on a higher temperature until the carrots are just braised and shiny (not steeped in sauce).

Breadmaking challenge : Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Bread

Recipe Makes 3 loaves

Ingredients

680 gr (5 1/2 cups) bread or all-purpose unbleached flour

240 gr (2 cups) whole wheat flour

135 gr (1 1/2cups) rolled oats

60 ml (2 1/2 cups) water

10 ml (7 tablespoons) milk

3 tablespoons honey

5 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 tablespoon instant yeast

2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

100 gr (2 cups) soaked and drained raisins

Preparation

Half an hour before you begin, soak the raisins in warm water to prevent them burning. Just before adding to dough, drain out water.

Soak the oats in the 2 1/2 cups water for 20 to 30 minutes.

Mix the flours, yeast, milk, honey, oil, salt, and cinnamon into the oats. Mix well, until all of the flour is hydrated. Knead by hand for 5 minutes, then mix in the drained raisins. Knead until the raisins are distributed throughout the dough.

Cover the bowl of dough and allow it to rise for 1 hour. Then remove the dough from the bowl and fold it, degassing it gently as you do. Fold the dough like a letter four times then return to the bowl.

Again, cover the bowl and allow the dough to rise in bulk for another hour. Then divide the dough in thirds and shape the loaves.

Place each shaped loaf into a greased bread pan. Spray or gently brush each loaf with water and sprinkle with some more oats.

Preheat the oven to 450. Place the loaves in the center rack of the oven. After 5 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 375. Rotate the loaves 180 degrees after 20 minutes, and bake for another 15 to 25 minutes, until the tops of the loaves are nicely browned, the bottoms of the loaves make a hollow sound when tapped.

TIP : for a nice crust, it is good to create some steam when the bread first starts to bake : to do so, put a metal tray at the bottom of the oven for a couple of minutes, when it is hot, pour in some water and close the door quickly.

Note : This bread saw us through many breakfasts…it freezes well. You may need to adjust the amount of flour, as I did, once the raisins are added to the mix as they are soaked in water…