hopeful aebleskivers

aebleskivers

I have been a blogging slacker as my relationship and my gaining of relationship/knee injury weight has increased exponentially. Hopefully I will increase my blogging and decrease my TV watching and weight gain… hopefully it will be a lot of “cooking light” ….hopefully my knee is a little better so I will have to get off my butt (as I sit here blogging and drinking a beer).

Today I am blogging my joy in the of the acquisition of a new toy; an aebleskiver pan! I’m reclaiming roots that I didn’t even know I had.  I’m Danish on the paternal line so if my great-great grandmother made these, it was a lost tradition, because my great grandfather didn’t.

They are actually quite small like little jelly filled donut holes but the batter is more pancake like. You could call them  “round danish pancakes” I providentially had some lingonberry jam to fill them with!  I’ve only made one batch so far but there will be more, sweet and savory of all kinds!! Wahoo!

Easter (Bread) Coffee Cake 2014

 

rhubarbcoffeecake

I know, I know I haven’t blogged for months but it is Easter bread day and it feels like a tradition and I was able to go outside and take a photo with lovely lighting.  It was also very delicious,…but is not really bread. It is strawberry-rhubarb coffee cake (this recipe is basically the same one I used).

This breaks some of my rules; luckily they are my rules so I can break them. I don’t really buy strawberries or rhubarb off-season and I also don’t buy them from the supermarket. To me they are the bounty of early spring/summer to be anticipated, eaten to exhaustion while found each week fresh and delicious from the farmers market, then forgotten about until the following year. But I wanted this coffee cake today! It just tastes like spring to me and we all need a little spring around here. I found some fresh, although really really large, rhubarb and then used a combo of fresh and frozen strawberries, all from the store.

Even with the inferior fruit, it was still very delicious (btw coffee cake is all butter)… still not really bread. I ate a lot of it. Rob and Ron ate some but I really ate the lion’s share. I just can’t say no to strawberries and rhubarb! To be extra spring-tacular it was so nice outside we ate our Easter brunch on the porch. Happy.

beta carotene cravings

So while I was in Vegas I ate pretty decent food. The problem is that there weren’t a lot of actual vegetables.  I said something to one of my fellow conference attendees and they said, “but today we had a salad for lunch.” Huh?! It was romaine lettuce with steak, cheese and croutons… I guess that technically romaine lettuce is a vegetable but I don’t really count it.

So on my first trip to the grocery store when I got back; I went on a carrot binge. I bought a huge bag of whole carrots and a liter of carrot juice…also a butternut squash, brussel sprouts, mushrooms, a bunch of spinach and broccoli rabe.

The next day I started with breakfast. I know…you can’t see the carrot juice but it is in there. Also the zest and juice of an orange and some wheat germ.  I ate them with Amish table syrup (corn syrup basically) and Greek yogurt.  They were also really good warmed up in the oven and spread with homemade apple butter the next day.

carrotwaffles

cold-bound

Trapped at home, phlegm-y, wheezy, coughing? Have you been wearing the same sweatpants for 48 hours and you’re wondering if you can take NyQuil during the day?  Me TOO!

This is what I did… I cleared out my cabinets. I made some oatmeal with shredded apple for breakfast. Used all the odds and ends I could find to make blueberry-coconut-cinnamon-pecan-hazelnut-muesli-granola.  There are also flax-seeds, rolled oats, rye flakes, quinoa flakes, and black forest honey…maybe more. The NyQuil-phlegm fog in my head is still pretty thick.

Finally muffins, which I made because I have a Rachael Ray recipe that calls for store-bought lemon poppy seed muffins and I do not “buy” muffins. I did have to bathe and leave the house to buy some buttermilk for those muffins this afternoon. They were kind of delicious…buttermilk-lemon combo is excellent.

Pepitas! I forgot there are also pepitas!

hipsterlicious cookies

I really like making biscotti for some reason. They are hip cookies. Chocolate chip, snicker-doodles, oatmeal? Ha! They are kid stuff.

Really… look, these contain almonds which some people are allergic to and aniseed which boring people don’t like (Sorry… I mean just boring in culinary sense I’m sure you are fascinating in many other ways.)

And you can say “Bis Co0aaa tee” which makes you sound all European/Italian and then you can dip them in foodie beverages like espresso or a sweet dessert wine…. they are hipsterlishous and you know it.

Here is a really similar recipe if you are also feeling hipsterlishous today…and like aniseed: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Anise-Almond-Biscotti-102706

Brunch for one.

1. I get up late (I said brunch not breakfast) and make myself some coffee, french press of course.

2.  I see what I have in the fridge…probably not much because it is Saturday morning and I tend to do my grocery shopping for the week on Saturday afternoon. Maybe I find a zucchini and some mushrooms.

3. I go in search of a cookbook …it is was probably under the couch. I have to clear out 3 pairs of shoes and a couple empty wine glasses to get to it.  This is a good opportunity for clearing away the ring of items that slowly grows in a semi-circle around my couch over the course of the week.

4. So I pick a recipe out, maybe out of Judith Jones, and decide on my substitutions while sipping my coffee…finally I will get started

5. I grate the zucchini, salt it and leave in a strainer over a bowl and then go grab my second cup of coffee which I sip while I sort through the clothes that I piled on that chair all week: laundry hamper, hang back up, or maybe the dry cleaner pile.

6. When that is done I go back in the kitchen and chop up some mushrooms and scallions and set aside, because by now it is time to make another pot of coffee.

7. Then I grab the zucchini, literally, and squeeze as much liquid as out as I can. It is kind of fun.

8. I melt some butter in a skillet (skillet is a fun word) and cook the mushrooms and the scallions a bit. Then add the zucchini and cook that a bit. Add a couple tablespoons of cream

9. When it is almost cooked I put it in a little casserole/gratin dish. I then will realize that I forgot to preheat the oven.

10. I drink more coffee and read a bit more of my bon appetit mag or The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire while I wait for it to preheat.

11. Then I go back, make an indent in the zucchini mixture, and break in a couple eggs. I drizzle with a little more cream, season with salt and pepper, grate some parm over it and put it in the oven

12. 15 minutes later, I eat my brunch.  it will probably be about noon by now.

when to buy expensive cookware…

I have purchased a very expensive crepe pan. I had buyers remorse while I was buying it. It isn’t like I make crepes all the time! Of course my every previous attempt at making crepes had failed miserably and I didn’t really want a repeat of that.

These are actually Galettes Bretonnes au Sarrasin (Breton buckwheat galettes).  I just could not find any buckwheat flour. Yet I had just purchased a very expensive crepe pan! There is no way that I was giving up. I found it at the 4th store.

And guess what. My over-priced-Danish-non-stick-crepe-pan and a small offset spatula for spreading the batter did something amazing…it allowed me to successfully make crepes! Not perfect ones by any means but at least they are recognizably crepes and not pancakes or chunks of mostly cooked dough. I wrapped the stack in plastic wrap and put them in the fridge.

Every evening last week, I would pull a couple out, throw one back on the crepe pan, top it with shredded Gruyere, sliced ham, some leftover broccoli, an egg… various things I found in my fridge and heated it up.  It is nice to re-live that feeling of success every night after a long often frustrating day at the work AND get a fast, easy, delicious dinner.

Galettes Bretonnes au Sarrasin (per Ann Willan)

1 3/4 cup buckwheat flour
1 3/4 cup unbleached white flour
2 tsp salt

1. Sift into a bowl

2 cups milk

2. Make a well in the dry ingredients add 1 cup of the milk. Whisk to a paste. Add 2nd cup of milk stir well. Cover and let rest at room temp for 30-40 minutes

2 cups water

3. Now beat in the water. Beat in more milk if necessary to get a “consistency of light cream” (I’m not sure I know what that is… thin enough to make a crepe I guess)

1/4 cup of clarified butter

4. Stir into batter

5. Heat the crepe pan until it is really hot, add some batter spread with palette knife. Cook 30-60 seconds until lightly browned and flip remove and stack on a plate. (The recipe called for another 1/4 cup of clarified butter for greasing the pan between each crepe but with my nonstick pan that was not necessary.)