Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Lemon Pancakes



Sunday is egg day. We always have eggs for breakfast on Sunday. But as we approached this last Sunday I noticed that we only had three eggs left. One short of our usual pair of two-egg omelettes. What to do?!?

I remembered a memorable breakfast that was served to us when we spent a weekend at our friends' house near Chicago. They made us a wonderful pancake breakfast one morning. We're normally not big pancake fans but these were unique, fluffy, and flavorful. Fortunately, I got the recipe and it called for three eggs. A plan was falling into place!

A Saturday afternoon trip to the store provided any missing ingredients.

Lemon Pancakes

Ingredients:
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/2 stick melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (just do the zest of 1 small to medium lemon)
Preparation:
  • Preheat the oven to 250 degrees
  • Separate the eggs into two bowls
  • Beat the egg whites until they hold stiff peaks
  • Add flour, cottage cheese, butter, sugar, salt, and lemon zest to the egg yolks
  • Beat the mixture until well mixed
  • With a large spatula, fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture
  • Stir until they are well mixed with no clumps of white or yellow
  • Heat a griddle or skillet over medium heat
  • Grease lightly and spoon 2-3 tablespoons of batter for each pancake
  • Cook slowly for about 90 seconds and then flip and cook on the other side for 60 seconds
  • Keep the pancakes warm in the oven until ready to serve
Serve with warmed raspberry syrup and powdered sugar on top. The original recipe calls for some berries on top of the pancakes. I added a ripe banana this time just because it needed to be eaten. Any good fruit will work. Use what you have on hand. It will all be good.

Oh, and those are Morningstar veggie
sausages.




Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Roasted Pear with Fig Jam and Goat Cheese with Port

The latest Vegetarian Times magazine had a series of recipes all based around pears. The article opens up with an excellent quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson:

There are only 10 minutes in the life of a pear when it is perfect to eat.

So true. When we get pears, it's too easy to think that they will last the way an apple or an orange will. But then you bite into a "mealy mouthful of overripe pear" and you realize you should have used that pear earlier.


Lately, I've been getting better with the pair of pears that have been in our box for the last few weeks. I dice one up in the morning, pour some vanilla yogurt on top, and take it as a part of my lunch. The yogurt and pear combo is a good one in my book.


The VT spread had an intriguing recipe for Roasted Pear Salad with Chevre and Fig Vinaigrette. I made it fairly close to the original using Maiche instead of watercress or arugula. While quite good, we thought the roasted pear was good enough on its own that it didn't need to be a salad. It made a perfectly good, palette-cleansing last course. A variation of the fruit/cheese course. The fig and the pear complement each other quite well. And the cheese gives it a bit of creaminess. More importantly, it makes the perfect course with which to enjoy a glass of quality port. This will show you that a pear should never go to waste.














Roasted Pear with Fig Jam and Goat Cheese (with Port)


  • 1-2 pears, halved and cored
  • fig jam (I found fig jam at Whole Foods in the jelly/jam part of the store. But over in the cheese section they were selling a jar of "Organic Adriatic Fig Spread" which I opted to get. Both were equally expensive.
  • goat cheese, sliced
  • olive oil
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • Place pear halves cut side up
  • Spoon 1 teaspoon jam in the center of each pear half
  • Top with goat cheese
  • Lightly drizzle with oil
  • Bake pears for 30 minutes, or until cheese begins to brown
Serve warm with a glass of port and enjoy!

There's also room to add your own variations. Maybe some roasted nuts with a touch of honey sprinkled over the top might add another dimension. A stronger cheese like blue cheese would also be interesting. Just put "roasted pears" into Google and see the possibilities.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Peach Clafoutis


Everyone's clafoutis is a little different.

A clafoutis is traditional french dessert and a great way to use up that summer fruit. It is quick and easy to make. The ingredients are simple and not overly unhealthy for you. It lies somewhere between a pancake and a custard. It's not sweet and sugary like a pie. Instead, it has an old world simplicity that takes you back to a time before mega-sweet desserts were the norm. Traditionally, it was made with cherries but you can also make it with berries, plums, sliced peaches, nectarines or apricots when in season.

I've made two in the last two weeks in an effort to use up our backyard peaches. The first one was just straight peaches. Then, the following week, I made it again but also added blueberries. I knew that the addition of blueberries would make look more attractive (and add another dimension in taste).

There are plenty of recipes online (I've included some below). You'll find variations in the amount of some of the key ingredients but it's easy enough to make you can fine tune it to your palate.

Here's where I started but it may evolve.

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4-6 peaches
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • With a kitchen blender or a hand mixer, whisk together sugar, flour and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk in eggs one at a time. Whisk in milk and vanilla, just until incorporated.
  • Slice the peaches into 8ths. Peel them as you cut them (You can also drop whole peaches in boiling water for one minute and then transfer to an ice bath. The skins come right off then). But the peaches in my backyard were easy enough to peel as I sliced them.
  • Butter a 9 inch pie dish and pour just enough batter so as to cover the bottom of the dish.
  • Artfully arrange the peach slices evenly on the bottom of the dish. Pour the remaining batter over peaches.
  • Bake at 375 for 10 minutes. Then lower the heat to 350 and cook until it puffed and brown. A fork should come out clean in the center, 45 to 60 minutes,
  • Sift powdered sugar over top and cut into wedges.
The first time we just enjoyed it as is. The second time we we enjoyed it with a little high quality vanilla ice cream on the side.

Here are some sites where you can find more variations:

This site uses a little heavy cream in the batter.

This site adds the heavy cream and then amaretto which sounds yummy.

This site says it's Julia Childs recipe who adds a little cardamon.

Cooking with Amy also says it's Julia's but it's different from the last one.

This one uses brown sugar instead.

This one adds a little meyer zest which sounds interesting.

Have fun!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Drunken Peaches

My peach tree had a great crop this year. But peaches don't have a great shelf life so I needed to find some ways to use them up. However, I found that most recipes for peaches either call for a stick of butter or 3 cups of sugar--something I would like to avoid. I found peach pie, peach crisp but what I wanted was a simple way to prepare the peaches. Ultimately, I found a handful of recipes that weren't sugar or butter laden and I'm trying to make one each night until I run out of peaches.

I know I need to learn how to can peaches but that will come at a later time.

In my research, I found an intriguing recipe on the Food Network for Peaches and Sauternes. I went to the dessert wine section of my local supermarket but I couldn't find any Sauternes. I ended picking up a Riesling dessert wine instead. I assumed any dessert white wine will work but I would like to come back and see if the Sauternes makes a difference. For now I'll call it:

Drunken Peaches

Ingredients
  • 6 to 8 peaches
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 375 ml. bottle good dessert white wine
  • 1 tablespoon orange-flavored liqueur (recommended: Grand Marnier)

Directions
  • Bring a pot of water to a boil
  • Meanwhile, pour the wine and liqueur in a large bowl, add the sugar, and stir to dissolve
  • When the water is boiling, immerse the peaches in the water for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Remove them with a slotted spoon and place them in a bowl of cold water and ice cubes to stop the cooking.
  • Peel the peaches and then slice them in wedges off the pit and into the bowl.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight. Serve cool but not cold.