Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Mark Bittman's Perfect Pancakes

This is my Part 3 project of my blueberries!...pancakes! Who doesn't love pancakes? ...especially when they are homemade, and it's so easy to make. Why would you want to buy the boxed kind? Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything is my "Bible" of cooking. Everything is simplified, just like the book title says: "Simple Recipes for Great Food"...it is so, so, true. I have the huge paper book version of this fabulous book, and it was the best thrift find of my entire life...that's how strong I feel about it. Got the book at Goodwill store for a mere $.79 (79 cents...a steal)
I have mentioned this last year on my blog. There is no way "under the sun" you can ever find a brand new paper book at Goodwill for this price...at least, not at my local store. Now they are selling them on E-Bay, so that's the end of that!
Finally, I was able to copy and paste the recipe...sorry for any inconvenience!

From the book How to Cook Everything (Completely Revised 10th Anniversary Edition) by Mark Bittman

Basic Pancakes

Serves 4 to 6

Total Time 20 minutes



Introduction

Fast, easy, and fluffy, these pancakes should make you forswear boxed mix forever.



Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 Tbsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. sugar

1 or 2 eggs

1½ to 2 cups milk

2 Tbsp. melted and cooled butter (optional), plus unmelted butter for cooking, or use oil

1 tsp. vanilla (optional)



Steps

Preheat a griddle or large skillet over medium-low heat while you make the batter.

Mix together the dry ingredients. Beat the egg(s) into 1½ cups of milk, then stir in the 2 tablespoons melted cooled butter and vanilla (if you are using them). Gently stir this into the dry ingredients, mixing only enough to moisten the flour; don’t worry about a few lumps. If the batter seems thick, add a little more milk.

If your skillet or griddle is nonstick, you can cook the pancakes without any butter. Otherwise, use a teaspoon or two of butter or oil each time you add batter. When the butter foam subsides or the oil shimmers, ladle batter onto the griddle or skillet, making any size pancakes you like. Adjust the heat as necessary; usually, the first batch will require higher heat than subsequent batches. The idea is to brown the bottom in 2 to 4 minutes, without burning it. Flip when the pancakes are cooked on the bottom; they won’t hold together well until they’re ready.

Cook until the second side is lightly browned and serve, or hold on an ovenproof plate in a 200-degrees oven for up to 15 minutes.


This is The Basic Pancakes recipe by Mark Bittman, and I have followed this exactly...and adapting it a little by adding the blueberries...oh, so yummy. The secret of not bruising the delicate berries is: do not fold the berries into the batter...just follow my step-by-step method!..
Note: The important thing I wanted to explain, is I don't fold the blueberries into the batter, so it doesn't get smashed, or bruised, I add them separately piece by piece into the individual pancakes, and when I turn them over gently it stays nice and firm...does not get squished.
1Tbsp butter added to 1/4 cup Agave syrup, heated in microwave

or not!...yesterday, I spent at least 2 hrs. on my step-by-step photos post at my beach apartment...as you know, I'm house/dog watching for my daughter Lora (Cake Duchess) while they are vacationing in Italy, but I do not upload photos on their computer..I only use theirs to check e-mail, and comments on theirs.

 If you are familiar with Zemanta program, which highlights the words, and you can check the sources, also puts the words for your "labels" in for you...but beware of the actual symbol "Zemanta"...once you delete that while it's on your post, you will delete your own content, and photos, to have to upload them again...sigh!
That's exactly what happened to my step-by-step-recipe photos.
I copied and pasted Mark Bittman's recipe for you...didn't even know it was out there...sigh of relief...phew!...

Friday, June 24, 2011

French Toast filled with Blackberries...Friends!




I was so inspired by another food blogger who posted a berry stuffed French Toast...as usual, I have been mentioning lately and actually following through that I would like to make it also, and link it back to the blogger who inspired me...but my memory "failed" me...can't remember who it was because I did not receive a reply, or having the person comment back on my blog. I feel so weird about this, because now, I actually made the French Toast...not the same way, but being inspired with the use of the berries.
My second inspiration came from my friend Mari, @Mari's Cakes...all the way from the Dominican Republic. She was inspired from my previous post from the Father's Day breakfast we had out at Howley's...again, the French Toast, and the home fries. She wrote to me in e-mail, that she made it, and even included photo of it...I was so hungry this morning, so right after reading her e-mail, I wrote her back, that I'm inspired as well, to make the plain French Toast, and the home fries, since I have everything on hand. I used the medium sized red potatoes, and left the skins on....mmm...so good! Thanks for the inspiration Mari, and to all my food blogger friends who constantly inspire me with your delicious, and amazing dishes, and desserts. I just wish I could make a different dish and dessert every day!


Monday, June 20, 2011

Chocolate Eclair Cake, and Father's Day!


I realize that I should have uploaded Part 3 of my blueberry creation, and after that was a blackberry creation...just wanted to take a little brake from all the berries, and concentrate on this super yummy dessert that inspired me from Lizzy's blog...That Skinny Chick Can Bake!!! 
I mentioned to her that I cannot get the Whip it whip cream stabilizer, although I did want to make this dessert desperately. She is such a wonderful and caring friend, she sent me a couple packets of the product that I was supposed to receive it by Saturday so I can make this for Father's Day. Unfortunately, I had to make drastic measures to find a different route of make stabilizer for whipped cream, other than the gelatin method.

 Stabilizer Whipped Cream
source: Rose Levy Beranbaum
 
For 1 cup of heavy whipping cream, use 2 Tbsp of powdered sugar, and 1 teaspoon of cornstarch and add 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract.
Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and simmer for just a few seconds, until liquid is thickened. Scrape into a small bowl, and cool completely to room temperature. Now, add the vanilla, and stir. When you are ready to whip your cream, beat 3/4 cup of heavy whipping cream, until it starts to thicken, and add in a slow stream, the cornstarch mixture, and whip until stiff peaks form when the beater is raised.

I followed Lizzy's exact recipe...the only difference was, that for the whipped cream I substituted corn starch, powder sugar, diluted with heavy whipped cream (not whipped) and when cooled, added to the custard.
So if I can inspire you with this amazing delight that truly looks like an eclair cake, and also reminds you of Napoleons, but really...just think! perfect summer dessert...a NO-BAKE...without the excessive heat in the kitchen.
I have never made a custard without eggs, or pudding powder...the custard in these layers are from pure heavy cream, butter, pure vanilla, delicately layered with...of all things, graham cracker cookies!

 I just went downstairs to check my mail, since I saw the mail truck pull up, and wouldn't you know?...Yeayy! I got my Dr. Oetker Whip it ...stabilizer for Whipping Cream:D I am so, so, happy that I have such nice and generous friend. Thank you so much Lizzy!... so gracious and kind to help me out, but I already made it from my homemade "scratch" stabilizer, so I will use it next time. I'm telling you this dessert looks like you "slaved away" for hours making this droolworthy dessert, with the decadent chocolate smooth as silk, ooey, gooey topping, and the cream is heavenly.
I could not wait for six hours to cool off, I made space in the freezer and chilled it for nearly an hour. So, if you want to try this dessert, click on the recipe.. and I guarantee you will stay on to browse for more of her amazing dishes, and fabulous desserts!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Lemon Blueberry Bread, Part 2...(forgotten awards)

Here we are, in the midst of a beautiful summer for most of us...I should say for all of us?...with all the scorching heat everywhere, we shouldn't complain here, in South Florida, because our record temperatures only go about as high as 95 degrees, and most of the time a nice breeze, especially by the ocean, or the Intracoastal  waterway, where you see people line up on the bridge, fishing, from morning till night. We are having an abundance of berries all over, not just here, but just about all over the globe. I'm noticing more and more berries recipes on food blogs.
Having the huge container of blueberries...
I was not about to waste one berry, and determined to make 3 different recipes with it, so here we are on Part 2. a light, lemony, blueberry bread, topped with yummy crunchy topping...a bread that also doubles for  a "fragrant tea cake" with crunchy topping. Here's the recipe, I promised!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Blueberry Scones...Part 1, and Awards!


All right class...I hope you've done your homework, because I'm going to quiz you on it! I made these amazing and yummy scones, based on a recipe by my dear friend Emma, from Australia,@ Sunflower Days.

On her recent previous post, she made these incredible rustic raspberry scones, that caught my eye, and I simply fell in love with it. I mention to her on my comment, that I would like to make the scones, but I don't have raspberries, so she encouraged me to make it, even though I have blueberries...and mind you I had tons, and tons of it. If you shop it Costco, you know exactly the sizes their product come in. Well, the blueberries came in a huge plastic container that was 908 grams=32 ounces...how do I know how many ounces? ...it was written on the package, but I did my homework, knowing I have to do some converting the Metric measurement on
Emma's recipe. Click here, for the recipe, and click back to my blog for the measurement conversion.
I did the multiplication, just to prove a point, 908g. x .0353, and it's exactly 32 ozs.

Just when you thought you've seen really nice blueberry recipes...check out my friends, Brenda's and Kathy's amazing...
 Blueberry Lemon Pound Cake ...@Brenda's Canadian Kitchen
 Blueberry Pound Cake... Bakeaway With Me

Here's the Conversion list again, just in case you need it!

ounces to grams: multiply ounce figure by 28.3 to get number of grams
grams to ounces: multiply gram figure by .0353 to get number of ounces
pounds to grams: multiply pound figure by 453.59 to get number of grams
pounds to kilograms: multiply pound figure by 045 to get number of kilograms
ounces to milliliters: multiply ounce figure by 30 to get number of milliliters.
cups to liters: multiply cup figure by 0.24 to get number of liters

In one day, I made three different recipes with my beloved blueberries, which is in the same group of my favorites of the berries, as strawberry, on top of the list, and blueberries close second, and of course raspberries, which are equally as good, but they are ever so expensive, just as the blackberries. I love them all, but I will stay with my first two choices to combine them in a wonderful dessert. Notice how flaky they are? I followed Emma's recipe to a "T" and wouldn't you know?...I actually added one egg, to 1 cup of the buttermilk, to have enough to brush this beautiful egg wash glaze on it!
Have you ever seen such perfect, gorgeous, huge, and juicy blueberries?...Costco has them, and then some!!!
Getting off the subject, now...the time has come once again, as in every year at this time; some of us get to go on vacations, while some of us stay here, now for the third year...boo, hoo...almost crying...well not exactly! I am so fortunate to be living in one of the most beautiful, tropical, and most desirable place in the world!!! We have sunshine every single day, have the most beautiful beaches, in-ground swimming pools, just about every one has a pool, all the best local eateries, that won't put a "hole" in your pocket...very affordable, the local fun outdoor restaurants that are right on the water, live outdoor theaters, most of them free, we have City Place, right here in West Palm Beach, where you can spend an hour, or spend the entire day...an outdoor mall, but of course better than
a mall, so leisurely, so magical, I've already posted several photos of it in my previous posts!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Chicken Piccata...Restaurant Review, and Awards!

I only have this one photo of the Chicken Piccata, because I was not going to post this, because it was one of those simple dinners that I did not even feel like making a side dish with it other than the sauteed Broccoli Rabe, with browned garlic.

For the recipe click on the link from one year ago! Chicken Piccata
Yesterday, I shared a leftover feast with another friend of mine...which was Paella that my son-in-law, Chef Fabrizio made for dinner on his day off, for their dear friends, from next door...Dr. Eric, and his wife, children and in-laws. I did not join them, sometimes it's nice to be alone, and just chill, but I regret now, because I missed the lobster too, which I haven't eaten in such a long time! This was an incredible Paella, chicken and sausage was mostly missing, but there were plenty of mussels, and shrimp!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Homemade Garlic Rolls, and Conversions!

I finally made the long awaited garlic rolls Sunday morning, and shared it with my family...only to get complaints by the little guys...my 4 little grandchildren. "What's all the green stuff?"...and too much garlic! Although, it was a hit by everyone else...meaning, the adults. Well, at least, all the rolls were gone, in one sitting....and as you notice, they are not tall, but at least they are fluffy, but short, packed full of chopped fresh garlic, Italian parsley, and rosemary.
The reason they are "little short guys" ...no excuses...but one. I used my Le Creuset large lasagna pan to bake the rolls in, and instead of 8 rolls, I had enough for practically double at least 14, so I sliced them thinner.
So thank you Suhaina for the amazing dry yeast from Singapore, and thank you, for the inspiration. Now, I can make this again, with less garlic, and omit the herbs, so my grandchildren will not complain...and make them taller,
using a smaller bake pan.
For the recipe, click on to Suhaina's My Singapore Kitchen
I didn't have cilantro, or sesame seeds, but I did have the parsley and rosemary, which I used, and also sprinkled grated Romano cheese on the top before I baked it. Also, the baking time took a little longer, because 350 degrees F. was not high enough for the heavy duty bake pan, so I raised the temperature to 375 degrees F. for a total of 35 minutes, instead of 25 minutes.
I must confess, I have never made these type of rolls before, so I have to pat myself on the shoulders that because of the fantastic yeast, and the step-by-step instructions, I did OK! I'm always marveling at Roxana's beautiful yeast rolls, and bread that make it to the Foodbuzz Top 9... Mina's amazing sweet breads, and rolls, and just recently, Mari's gorgeous 4 braided Challah bread, and Swathi's beautiful  whole grain and rye breads...it's a shame for me not to pursue more yeast dough baking. My daughter Lora makes quite a lot of delicious yeast breads, and perfect pizza dough, so I do have a good excuse to be lazy about my own yeast baking. Enough of that!

I'm linking this to Hearth and Soul Hop #51

I always had a bit of shying away from Metric measures, but I have a real helpful hint from the back of my New Basics Cookbook....so get your little calculator out, and start multiplying, and dividing!

ounces to grams: multiply ounce figure by 28.3 to get number of grams
grams to ounces: multiply gram figure by .0353 to get number of ounces
pounds to grams: multiply pound figure by 453.59 to get number of grams
pounds to kilograms: multiply pound figure by 045 to get number of kilograms
ounces to milliliters: multiply ounce figure by 30 to get number of milliliters.
cups to liters: multiply cup figure by 0.24 to get number of liters


There are more conversions and equivalents, but these are the most important ones to remember when you need to convert from Metric to the American system, and vica-versa.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Salmon Burger...a Winner, and Blogaversary!

First things, first...I have so much to share with you today. !st. is the winner of my giveaway!. On Random.org, the #18 came up which is Lizzy, from That Skinny Chick Can Bake!!!
Congratulations Lizzy! Hope you will enjoy this fabulous book and I know you will find some really nice dishes in there to make. Will contact you for the mailing address.

Just would like to let you all know, that yesterday, on June 3rd, 2011 was my 1st. Blogaversary...my First Anniversary of my blog, which really started out as just a few foods, and more thrift finds.I came a long way since last year, making friends with other food blogger around the world, and locally.

I do appreciate the support and friendship from my fellow blogger friends, and follower who have supported me throughout this past year. Without your support and kindness, I would never have made it this far. It's a lonely place out there in "blogsphere" when you have no one commenting, and for that, I do have the Foodbuzz community to thank for and all the members who have befriended me. So, I just want you to know that I'm planning, and hoping to hang around here for another year longer at least...and who knows how long after that! So just bear with me, I will take you along on more of my food and life adventures.
Love to all! ...
Do check out my first post!
Also, I did want to announce that I am attempting to make my first...ever...homemade garlic rolls, filled with delicious garlic and herbs. This should have been my post, showing of my homemade delicious (hopefully)...garlic rolls, with "dry active yeast" 125 g. that comes in the cutest little canister, sent to me by my new and sweet friend, Suhaina, living in Singapore, and at this moment, on vacation to her homeland in Kerala, India.

I was so inspired by her homemade garlic rolls, that I was so determined to make it... so she sent m the yeast that she uses, all the way from Singapore. I was totally in "awe" but mostly shocked, because not very often do we find such amazing good hearted people who do not know you from "Adam" that would want to do something like this for you. Please check out Suhaina's fabulous Garlic Rolls and be sure to click on the HOME...to get you back to the current page of My Singapore Kitchen. She is such a talented cook, and baker, and she makes the most amazing breads, and rolls, as well.
Truly a blessing from this gracious and beautiful lady, who became my dear friend:DDD

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

"Perfect Brownie Pan" Brownie...and a Giveaway!

In all my years of baking brownies, I have never come across a brownie bake set called, Perfect Brownie Pan. It's a
bake, slice, and serve pan, with a cooling rack, that is included with it. Just to prove how easy it is, I put my 5 year old granddaughter Mattia to the test...but first check out this gadget!

Hi friends-here's the link to Wal-Mart for the Perfect Brownie Pan Set


I'm linking this to: Full Plate Thursday, 6-2-11 @ Miz Helen's Country Cottage
I did not purchase this brownie pan...my friend Barbara gave this to me as a gift. They sell it at Wal-Mart and she said it literally flies off the shelves. She should know, because she works there. Now, if you take a good look, the way the slice that I featured on the first photo...is a "fluke"...really, it turned out that way because I decided to take the cutter insert out of the pan before I baked it, and then put the divider back into the brownie pan, so when the brownie was done, some of the slices came out with little borders around them that was kind of cute!
Actually, the brownies turned out extremely yummy...recipe book that was included with the brownie pan has a nice selection of brownie and other sheet cake recipes.