Saturday, January 13, 2007

Dutch Baby

David made this for breakfast today, and it was by far the best Dutch Baby (puffed oven pancake) that I've ever had. Both girls devoured their portions; Mary said it was the best pancake she had ever had. He used whole wheat flour instead of the traditional white flour, and I really loved the more substantial texture that gave the dish, as well as a heartier flavor. He also cooked it in our indispensable cast iron Dutch oven, rather than in the cast iron frying pan that I usually use. I think this made the sides crispier.

A husband that likes to cook is a beautiful thing. A husband that cooks Saturday breakfast when everybody in the family is sick is priceless.

1/4 c. butter (I prefer salted in this recipe)
3 eggs
3/4 c. milk
3/4 c. whole wheat flour

*Note: this was just right for the three of us and the baby; if you are cooking for more, just scale the recipe up.

*Preheat oven to 425. Place butter in pan, preferable cast iron, and set in oven to melt.
*Beat eggs until light and lemon colored. I've always used a blender for this, but David mixed by hand this morning. If using blender, whirl at high speed for one minute. Gradually pour in milk, then flour, then whirl for an additional 30 seconds (or beat by hand til well-combined).
*Pour directly into hot, melted butter in pan. Return to oven and bake until puffy and well-browned, 20-25 minutes.

Serve immediately. It's traditionally served with powdered sugar and lemon juice. I also like it with salsa and sharp cheddar cheese (good for dinner), or with syrup. Today we had it with powdered sugar and lemon, and our blueberry-vanilla bean syrup on the side.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The creamiest ever, stopetop, mac'n'cheese

This amazingly good, decadent, rich and creamy recipe is from Cook's Illustrated in the original The Best Recipe; the recipe in the New Best Recipe is not the same (side note vent here: I HATE it when a new edition of a cookbook I love comes out. I write all over my cookbook, adding comments, mentioning when I served the dish, suggestion alterations. When the new edition of a book I love comes out, I have to decide to buy it, and either start all over again transferring comments, or stay with the old one and risk missing something new and wonderful. It's especially bad when the new edition leaves out some of my favorite recipes from the old edition. So much for trying to simplify; now I own both). I don't think you can even buy the cookbook anymore (new, that is).

It's a stovetop recipe, my daughters both love it, it's very easy, and the keys to making it insanely creamy are:
*evaporated milk
*having part of the cheese (half for me, usually) be smooth-melting American, which I normally avoid like the plague

You can saute some bread crumbs in butter and garlic and or parmesan if you'd like, to serve on top. If you do that, run the pan briefly under the broiler to brown the topping. I never even bother.

2 large eggs
1 can evaporated milk, divided
1/4 tsp tabasco
2 tsp salt, divided
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp dry mustard, dissolved in 1 tsp water
1/2 lb elbow macaroni
4 tbs unsalted butter
12 oz cheese (I use half sharp cheddar, half american) grated

*Mix eggs, 1 cup of the milk, tabasco, 1/2 tsp of the salt, pepper, and mustard mixture in small bowl and set aside.
*Bring 2 quarts water to a boil in large, heavy saucepan. Add remaining salt and macaroni; cook until tender. Drain and return to pan over low heat. Add butter and toss to melt.
*Pour egg mixture over noodles along w/3/4 of the cheese; stir until thoroughly combined and cheese begins to melt. Gradually add remaining milk and cheese, stirring constantly, until mixture is hot and creamy (5 minutes or so).

Serve immediately.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Mulled Wine (Gluehwein)

You know, you do what you need to do to get through the holidays. Other people pray or go to therapy or exercise or climb to the tops of belltowers. We like this recipe. It's for those nights where regular wine just isn't doing enough for you and you need to get some extra sugar and alcohol into your system.

Thanks to "A Cook in Seattle" who posted this recipe in a review of a not-loved mulled wine recipe on Epicurious.

*2 bottles of red wine; cheap is fine
*zest or orange part of peel of two oranges (leave the bitter white behind)
*6-8 cinnamon sticks
*8-10 whole cloves
*8-10 whole allspice (allspices?)
*2 star anise
*1 cup sugar
*1/2-1 cup of dark rum

Slowly heat the wine with everything but the rum-don't let this boil! Keep at heat for 10 minutes or so. Remove from heat and add rum to taste. It works well to put this in a crockpot on low heat for serving at a party. You can strain it, if you'd like.

Poblano Corn Pudding

I suppose this recipe isn't really in keeping with the alleged theme of my blog, as many kids wouldn't eat these spicy chiles. You could adapt the recipe and use a milder chile (though poblanos are pretty mild) or a regular bell pepper. The non-pepper bits of this were loved by our baby.

Thanks so much to my sister for the suggestion of this recipe. She made it for a book club and for Christmas dinner w/her boyfriend's family; I made it for husband's work party and a New Year's Eve party. Adapted from

*4 poblano chiles
*4 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed (or fresh, in season), divided
*4 large eggs (I've made this w/egg substitute and it's fine)
*1 cup unsalted butter, melted, cooled slightly
*1 1/2 tsp salt
*2 large pinches baking powder (1/4 tsp or so)
*2 cups light sour cream
*1 cup masa (corn tortilla mix)
*3 oz prosciutto or Serrano ham, diced (optional)
*2 cups grated smoked cheddar

-Place chiles on baking sheet under preheated boiler. Watching carefully, broil until blackened, turning so each side is done. Remove and place in brown paper bag; roll top to seal and allow to steam for 15 minutes.
-Carefully peel charred skin from chiles. Remove stem and seeds. I used plastic bags on my hands the second time doing this, as the first time the chile oil was very difficult to remove (not a great thing when you have a nursing baby). Dice chiles and set aside.

-Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9x13" dish.
-Combine 3 cups of the corn, eggs, butter, salt, and baking powder in a blender; blend until smooth. Place in large bowl and add masa, sour cream, ham, cheddar, chiles, and remaining corn. Stir to blend and spoon into baking dish.
-Bake for 40-45 minutes, until golden and puffy.

No-Knead Bread

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This bread is sweeping the food blogging world (man, is my life exciting! Always on the cutting edge). According to, it " Appeared in the article The Secret of Great Bread: Let Time Do the Work by Mark Bittman in the November 8th, 2006 New York Times

Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery"

Allow at least a full 24 hours to make this, possibly more. It takes very little hands-on time during that period, but I found it needed close to 24 hours to sit the first time, and then a several hour rising period at the end of it, plus baking time. It was probably only 15 minutes of hands-on time in that period, including cleaning pots and pans. The long rise lends a wonderfully yeasty flavor (and there is a very small amount of yeast in the recipe). The bread is slightly sour and has a wonderfully flaky, crispy crust.

I baked it in a 6 qt stockpot, oven proof. Notmartha recommends a smaller pan, 4 quarts or so, but I didn't have one the right size and the loaf I made turned out beautifully. Wonderful dipped in olive oil, or toasted with butter and honey.

Recipe, with notmartha's and my adaptations:

Time: About 1 1/2 hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising

- 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting (I have had good luck with both kinds of flour, and also with substituting one cup of whole wheat flour)
- 1/4 teaspoon instant [aka Rapid Rise, QuickRise, Instant Active Dry, Perfect Rise, or Bread Machine Yeast] yeast
- 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
-1 1/2 cups water
- Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed for flouring towels (I use cornmeal).

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees. [I put it on top of my fridge.]

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice-cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes (I've always skipped this step with no problems).

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with cornmeal (what I use), wheat bran, or rice flour; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart [about a 4-quart pot is preferred] heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 10 or 15 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Yield: One 1 1/2-pound loaf.