Sunday, September 30, 2007

Filled Pancakes

These filled pancakes are definitely a fun and easy twist on the normal pancake. The pan is the key to the round shape and can be found here. The filling is up to you, so far I've tried blackberry jam, strawberry jam, peanut butter, and chocolate chips...nutella will be next. Our family favorite would have to be the chocolate chips, although the strawberry ones were a close second with me.
The cuteness factor alone is definitely worth spending the extra dough for this specialty pan. I know I enjoy eating these little beauties much more than a normal flapjack...which actually might not be a good thing, come to think of it!

Buttermilk Pancakes
1 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1 T sugar
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
2 T vegetable oil

Fill each depression with 1 T batter. Sprinkle 4-5 chocolate chips or 1 heaping tsp of filling onto batter. Push filling into batter slightly. Cover with up to 1 T more batter. Cook unil edges appear bubbly and slightly dry and then flip over. I use a small offset spatula to help flip them. Cook an additional minute or two until both sides are golden and then remove with a spoon. Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar and enjoy. Makes about 18 filled pancakes.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

A New Pan and Madeleines

Since starting this food endeavor of mine I have found so many interesting food blogs (not to mention the actual bloggers) that I am constantly being inspired by all of the goodies that I see out there each day. I drool over the wonderful pictures, bookmark more recipes than I can ever get to, and dream about the tastes of those things that are foreign to me. Sometimes I'll see a post on another blog and I won't be able to get it out of my head for months.
This is exactly what happened with the madeleines. I hadn't ever seen, much less tasted one before discovering the world of food blogging and then at one point there seem to be an explosion of posts on them. Since then I have been so curious to try one that I couldn't shake the thought. So, when I happened to be in Williams Sonoma getting another specialty pan (one that you will no doubt be seeing shortly) I decided to finally break down and buy a pan that is specific to this one type of cake.
I can not believe I waited so long. They are wonderful. Wonderful! They are my new favorite thing. I baked up a batch tonight and we scarfed down 8 of them in mere minutes. Gabe nearly had 3 by himself. I made a plain batch, nothing other than a little vanilla for flavoring, mainly so we could get the base taste sensation. We loved the crisp seashell side coupled with the light cakiness. I saved some for breakfast...but I'm almost certain that I will be making another batch this week. Yum Yum!

adapted from Bea of La Tartine Gourmande

160 g flour
100 g soft butter
100 g sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp baking powder
2 pinch of salt

Preheat your oven temp. 300 F .
Cream the butter, salt, and sugar in a bowl. Add one egg at a time, mixing well between each addition. Add in vanilla.
Add the flour and the baking powder.
Place in buttered madeleine molds and bake for about 20 mns.
Take out and let cool.

Friday, September 28, 2007


We recently had dinner at our local Heaven on Seven and ever since I have been craving more of their famous gumbo. I found this recipe courtesy of ABC Chicago News station and I have to say it is really good. Even without a few ingredients, namely the okra, clam juice, or lobster base, this was a winner. I'm sure if I had the last few ingredients it would be stellar, but I can still recommend my version. It is a little redder than the original but that is because I added more tomato paste than called for simply because I didn't want to waste it.
I'm simply reposting the recipe as given, however I made less than half a batch for us.

Jimmy Bannos of Heaven on Seven gumbo recipe

2 Pounds Chicken Thigh Meat- Diced
2 Pounds Sausage- sliced
1 Gallon chicken stock
1 Cup green peppers- diced
1 Cup celery- diced
1 Cup onions- diced
32 Ounces clam juice
3 Ounces crab base
2 Ounces lobster base
1/4 Cup cajun seasoning
1/8 Cup cayenne pepper
1 Cup tomato paste
1/4 Cup corn starch
2 Cups cut okra
2 Cups frozen shrimp-medium
Sauté diced chicken in sauce pan. Bring chicken stock to a boil. Add green pepper, onion, celery, cooked chicken, and sliced sausage.
Stir in cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper, tomato paste, crab base, and lobster base. Let simmer, then add clam juice. Simmer while stirring occasionally for 30 minutes.
Add okra and shrimp.
Cook for another ten minutes and add corn starch (diluted) and gumbo file.
Serve over rice

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Crabcakes are one of my favorite things, but it is often hard to find a good one that is chock full of crabmeat. This recipe makes a crab cake that is virtually all crab. We enjoyed these with a bowl of gumbo, a scoop of rice, and some tartar sauce.


8 ounces crabmeat
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/4 jalapeno, diced
1/4 cup bread crumbs (I use panko)
1/4 t lemon zest
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 c mayonnaise
1 egg
a pinch of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

Mix everything except the egg in a bowl. Taste and adjust seasonings and then add the egg when satisfied. Shape filling into 2 inch crabcakes. Roll the cakes in bread crumbs and then refrigerate for about an hour to firm up.
Heat 1/4 cup of canola oil in a shallow pan and cook cakes for about 3 minutes per side, try to turn them only one time. Serve with your favorite tartar sauce or aioli.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Homemade Tortillas

Today was one of those days that you can only wish to relive again. The entire day was such a joy. Gabe awoke in his crib at a quarter to 7 and then joined me in bed where we played and tickled one another for half an hour before getting up for good. We came downstairs and enjoyed a nice breakfast of eggs, toast, and fruit. Then we set up the tee for T-ball and played in the living room for awhile before giving that up for other toys.
Later in the day Gabe and I took a 6 block walk (with the little popcorn popper toy trailing behind us), we lounged around on the front porch smelling flowers and climbing up and down the steps, and then we came inside and we made fresh tortillas together. Gabe was very interested in the whole process and he sort of took over at one point and I amused myself by documenting the chef at work. He kneaded the dough, pulled it into separate pieces and then rolled the pieces out. It was so interesting to watch him work so diligently. I had to laugh to myself a couple of times because his little face was contorted into such a grimace as he tried to figure out how to use the rolling pin. He did eventually figure it out and seemed to be pleased with himself. He even surprised me by eating an entire cooked tortilla and then he even asked for more.
I have waited a long time to enjoy cooking in the kitchen with Gabe and I'm glad to say that it finally happened today. He loved the whole process and we were actually able to spend a pleasant hour side by side. I can't wait for our next cooking session!

Flour Tortillas courtesy of Homesick Texan.
We enjoyed these with our carnitas - a recipe found in the comment section of Elise's Simply Recipes.

(Pork) Carnitas
Put the following in a crock pot and cook for 6 to 8 hours on low.
2-3+ lbs pork butt
A bottle of mexican beer, enough to almost cover the meat (we use Corona)
1 jalapeno- cut in half
2 limes- cut in half (juiced over the meat)
cilantro (as much or as little as you like)
several garlic cloves halved
salt and pepper

The meat will be fork tender when done. Shred the pork and return the shredded meat to the crock pot with a small amount of the remaining cooking liquid to help keep it moist. Serve with fresh tortillas, diced onion, shredded lettuce, salsa, and sour cream.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Apple Danish

Fall is coming! I'm so excited since it is my very favorite season. I love the fact that I can dress in long sleeves and wear my favorite jeans all the time. I love the colors and the crispness. I love that sweat does not pour down my back while lightly playing outside. I also love apples and anything made with them sweet or savory. I like them cooked in pies, topping my pancakes, or even in my porkchops and stuffing.
I got a jump on fall yesterday when I picked up a few pounds of apples and made a wonderfully easy apple danish/tart. I used the same tried and true method my mother taught me for making apple danish except I left out the double crust method and made it into an easy rustic tart. We like this so much that we eat it for dessert and turn around and eat it for breakfast the next morning.

Apple Danish

5-6 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thin
2 T sugar
2 t cinnamon
1/2 - 1 c dry cereal (we usually use rice krispies, but we've used corn flakes or chex in a pinch)
1 T butter
Enough pie dough for a 12 inch circle
2 T milk
1 t vanilla
Powdered sugar

Roll pie dough into a circle and transfer to a parchment lined pizza pan or baking sheet. In a large bowl combine apple slices, sugar and cinnamon. Spread cereal onto bottom of pie dough (this layer will soak up the juices and allow you to eat this dessert with one hand which is how we always did it - no forks necessary). Pour apple mixture on top and dot with butter. Bring edges of dough up around the sides of the apples and bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned.
Allow to cool and then mix vanilla and milk in a small bowl. Add in enough powdered sugar to form a thick icing and drizzle over cooled tart.

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