AMAZING Pancakes!

I was intrigued by the write up of this recipe, from Southern Living. Celebrating with pancakes instead of champagne?? Outrageous! I’ll let you check it out for yourself, because I didn’t make any changes to the recipe at all.

I only made a half batch, using 1 Tbsp white vinegar per 1 cup minus 1 Tbsp of whole milk as a substitute for buttermilk (Mix and let it sit while you get the rest of the stuff ready).

For some reason, I never get as many pancakes as advertised, out of whatever recipe I make. So, I didn’t get 10 instead of 20 — and I really really wished that we had at least 4 more to eat for our breakfast! So, don’t be stingy — if I’d had any leftover batter, I would have cooked them all up and re-heated, another day soon, in the toaster oven. You’ve been warned.

http://www.southernliving.com/food/kitchen-assistant/pancake-recipes

The ingredients all look “normal,” but the results are pretty much divine. Looking forward to making them again soon.

 

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Smoothie of the Day

This summer morning’s breakfast smoothie 

 

  • Half of this pretty yellow melon  (I don’t know what kind it is, but it smelled so sweet at the market!)
  • One slice of watermelon, left over from the photoshoot yesterday

 

  • A couple of scoops of full-fat Greek yogurt, half a cup or so?
  • A tablespoon of local honey
  • 1/8 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • Something like 2 tbsp mint, I used mostly mint flowers this morning.
  • Two hands full of ice cubes. 

Blend. Yum!


The mint was purchased on Friday from the beautiful BUGS garden. BUGS (Boise Urban Garden School) provides school and youth groups with learning experiences in their garden, kitchen, farm stand, and classroom. It’s their first growing season in their new location which is just gorgeous. 

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Mixed Berry Cornmeal Cake

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We had a berry binge at the farmers’ market yesterday! To make a dent in our supply, I made this cornmeal cake with a generous amount of mixed berries. Adapted from Martha Stewart

Dry ingredients:
1 1/4 cups flour (I used a mix of whole wheat and organic white), spooned and leveled.
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal (Bob’s Red Mill is what we have)
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2/3 to 3/4 cup sugar (the original recipe calls for 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons; I used organic cane sugar), plus 1/8 cup to sprinkle on top

Take about 1/8 cup of flour out of the dry ingredients before stirring together. Then stir together the dry ingredients.

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Wet ingredients:
1/2 cup buttermilk (milk of any kind plus 1 1/2 tsp vinegar; do this first and let sit. I’ve used coconut milk, too)
2 large eggs
7 tablespoons butter, melted, plus 1 tablespoon for the skillet. Yes, this is a whole stick!

Mix the wet ingredients together in a smaller bowl.

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2 containers fresh blackberries (5.6 oz each) — instead, I used a mix of blackberries, raspberries and blueberries, a total of 13 oz.

I’m using my kitchen scale more often these days! I wanted to know if it turned out to be too many berries–it’s not. There’s enough batter to go around.

Sprinkle the reserved flour on the berries and toss them gently so they are all covered. It’s not a deep cake but flouring the berries helps keep them from sinking during baking.

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•  Preheat oven to 375. Mix the dry ingredients in the larger bowl, then the wet ingredients in another. Pour into dry ingredients and combine gently. Martha suggests a whisk. Don’t overmix.

•  Put remaining 1 tablespoon of butter into a 10-inch skillet (preferably cast-iron; I used my mom’s old 12″ cast-iron pan–which makes for a flatter cake), and put into the preheated oven until the butter is melted and the skillet is hot, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and swirl to spread over the bottom of the pan.

•  Pour batter into skillet, put berries on top and sprinkle with the additional 1/8 cup of sugar. I used demerara but regular sugar is fine.

•  Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, with a baking sheet on rack below to catch any drips (could be important if you are using a 10-inch pan). Let cool slightly, about 30 minutes. Run a knife around the edge to loosen; cut into 8 pieces. Serve warm or at room temp.

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It’s Lassi Time — Summer’s Arrived!

Summer’s here right on schedule, in time for Memorial Day Weekend. It’s time to load up the butter bell. I also dug out some seltzer water and club soda to keep cold in the fridge. Thundershowers have been building up in the afternoons for several days; all’s right with the world.

We had our first lassis of the season for a weekend breakfast: mango-cucumber-mint-ginger (I think that’s all), with whole milk, full fat yogurt, ground ancho chili pepper and a little local honey.

I’m loving this new-to-my-supermarket milk: Organic Valley Grassmilk–mmmmm, good! There’s a whole lump of cream in there that I can feel when I shake it.

I bought a fresh batch of bulgur wheat and red lentils this weekend. I love how quickly you can turn these items into something good to eat. The only debit card I had with me wouldn’t work when I was ready to pay (it turned out I hadn’t activated it yet), and the nice young clerk handed me the receipt and said, “Come back and pay us next time.”  Since I don’t get into town regularly, I didn’t want to do that. Luckily, I found one check stashed somewhere–but I was so impressed that he offered me that option. (Ishtar Market and Restaurant, Overland Road, Boise ID. Their restaurant serves delicious, authentic Iraqi food.)

Ok, the last thing to show you are these gorgeous foxtail lilies that I’ve been buying at the farmers’ market around the corner from us. They are so cool! They last about a week. I was late to market on Saturday and they were already sold out, so I picked up these peonies instead, right at the end of their season. I’ve never grown them–too hot in L.A. and no dirt here in Idaho–a friend here had to tell me they smell good. And they do!

  

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A Springtime Treat

I love social media! Friends in the next town posted a message, with photo of a huge patch of arugula in full bloom, saying their arugula was out of control and that anyone and everyone who wanted some should come over right away.

I commented that I wanted some—and late afternoon on the very same day, I found this by my door:

Sweet!

We had to put this special treat and unexpected gift to good use right away.

Aren’t the flowers pretty? Wait til you taste them! Peppery but more delicate than arugula leaves. Sometimes you hit a sweet one, too. Mmm!

I bought a mango earlier in the week, to try this trick which worked like a charm, exactly as advertised. When you try it, watch that you don’t tear the skin as you get started, and don’t leave too much of the mango flesh attached to the peeling. Much too tasty to waste!

Green Salad with Arugula Flowers, Mango, and Avocado
             — special thanks to Scott & Mark P for blooming arugula from their garden

Serves 2, entree size

Salad ingredients:

  • 6-8 leaves of romaine lettuce, torn into pieces
  • Handful of arugula leaves
  • Arugula flowers, at least 1/3 to 1/2 cup, very loosely packed
  • 1/2 to 1 avocado, bite-sized cubes
  • 1 to 1-1/2 mangoes, diced (try that cool peeling tip, for fun)
  • 1 small Persian cucumber, unpeeled, in bite-sized strips
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted if you have time and inclination

Dressing ingredients:

  • 1 to 1- 1/2 tablespoons of your best-tasting olive oil
  • a 2-finger pinch of salt & freshly ground pepper
  • lemon juice (start with about 1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons)
  • lemon zest  (I use about 5-6 light short swipes of a whole lemon on a micro planer. Don’t grate the bitter white part)
  • honey  (about 3/4 teaspoon or less to start)

Assembly:

Place dry lettuce and arugula leaves in salad bowl. Add salt now and toss to mix through.

Add everything else except lemon zest and almonds. Save them for later. 

Add olive oil sparingly and toss gently. Taste to see if you’ve got enough. 

Squeeze lemon juice over the top and toss some more. (Start with about 1/3 of the amount of olive oil you used. Taste and see if it’s lemony enough) 

Add all this, all to taste:

Salt and ground pepper

Honey — I dipped a plastic chopstick into the honey jar and drizzled most of what stuck to it over the top of the salad. Don’t overdo it!

Lemon zest and slivered almonds.

Toss gently but well and serve.

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Chile & Potato Stew

I was happy to find this recipe is a keeper. Slightly adapted from FOOD52’s post of Deborah Madison’s Potato and Green Chile Stew. Other than the poblano, chances are good that you already have everything you need to make this quick delicious dinner. Big L had seconds, I only had one serving, and there is about 1 cup left for next time. I think we could have finished it off!

Easy to double or triple, I’d think. Tasty as can be. Cheap to make. What more could you ask for?

INGREDIENTS:

1 poblano chile, roasted and peeled (I set it on top of the gas burner, rotated it all around with tongs, and stuck it in a plastic bag to steam. Um, overnight. I forgot. Better to take the skin off when first roasted, I believe)

2 T cooking oil (I used avocado oil from Costco. Takes high heat)

3/4 med onion, diced (more would be fine)

1/2 tsp whole coriander, ground up with mom’s mortar & pestle

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 garlic clove, minced (add more)

russet potatoes (I used 1.1 lb, two medium russets), peeled and chopped into 1 1/2″ chunks

ADDITIONS: whatever you’ve got that sounds good. I added 1 small zucchini, chopped, a few tomatillos, a few green cherry tomatoes, a few orange cherry tomatoes — whatever is hanging around : )  I may try some chopped greens, which are good to add to anything, right?

Salt & Pepper

chicken stock or water (I used some of both, at least 1 1/2 cups. Start with 1 cup and add more if needed)

To garnish: sour cream or yogurt, chopped cilantro

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DIRECTIONS

Chop the chiles, coarsely. Heat the oil in a larger cooking pot. Cook onions, any additional veggies. Add cumin and coriander and let it sizzle. Cook a while, then add garlic, potatoes and cook some more,add 1/2 tsp salt. Then add liquid (stock or water or combo), and the chopped chile, bring to a boil, then let simmer, covered, for 20-30 min. Don’t let the potatoes get too soggy. Mash some of them to thicken the broth. Garnish as desired (I forgot to, and it was fine). Forgetting is a common occurrence whilst cooking!

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Summer Beauties!

I’m really enjoying my first CSA subscription ever, from Wissell Farms in Nampa.

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Here’s what came this week: Plums, pears, peaches, peppers (not shown: 3 big green peppers, 3 red potatoes and more jalapenos and 6 ears of sweet corn); the personal size watermelon–so cute!, a huge cantaloupe, which already went in the refrigerator. The melons have been really sweet, and we love them nice and cold right out of the fridge.

Shown in the photo, but actually from the neighborhood co-op garden over on 15th Avenue (we live on 12th Avenue): the tomatoes, green beans and summer squash.

 

 

2014-08-18 12.57.49 In related—and very exciting—news: We rather suddenly have an additional refrigerator in the kitchen! This is a 4.4 cubic foot beauty from Costco. It was installed as a built-in underneath the kitchen island, next to the old fire hydrant (yes, you read that right) which was previously responsible for holding up the countertop (lest dancing break out on the island some fine evening).

The new refrigerator holds all our greens and veggies, and some condiments will probably making their way into the door shelves, coming over from the big fridge little by little. This frees up LOTS of space in the main refrigerator, so that it can be better organized. I hope to do a better job of getting our leftovers eaten because I’ll be able to find them more easily.

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