Monday, April 14, 2014

Veggie Gratin using up what's hanging out at home

Vegetable Gratin with Eggplant, Zucchini, Potato, and Ricotta Sauce

So sometimes I'm a vegetarian, not always, I do like meat, for the most part, there exceptions, but sometimes the whole environmental impact of a meat based diet gets to me and I go off it. It's fine for the first few weeks, but eventually I'll start thinking about something meaty. Sometimes it means the end of vegetarianism, and sometimes it means creating a meat-free version. This was supposed to be meatless moussaka, but white sauce is actual work and ricotta based toppings are not, so, here we are, a great way of using up veggies. Sub out anything that does well precooked in oven.

Ingredients

1 eggplant, sliced thin
2 zucchinis, sliced
1 lb potatoes, peeled and sliced
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper

1 cup Tomato sauce
1/2 cup Shredded Gruyere cheese mix

Sauce

1 cup ricotta
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1/3 cup parmesan
salt
pepper

Extra parmesan for topping

Preheat oven to 400

Lay eggplant and zucchini out on a sheet pan, drizzle with oil, salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes, flip and cook for 10 more minutes.
Lay evenly in a baking pan.


Top with tomato sauce



Lay potatoes on sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes, flip over and cook ten more minutes, Lay on the Eggplant and zucchini. Reduce oven to 350.



Sprinkle with gruyere.

Mix together white sauce ingredients, spread on top of gruyere. Top with a little extra parm.


Bake in 350 oven for 30 minutes or until nicely browned,


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Best Ever Gluten Free Pancake Mix

So we're not really 100% gluten-free, it sort of comes and goes, but from years of this erratic behavior we have held onto a few products that the gluten free alternative is just ever-present. There are two meals in particular where the wheat content is high enough to put us to sleep, one is pasta, I'll get to that one day. The other is pancakes.
Best gluten free pancake mix

We tried a few brands available at regular grocery stores, while ok, they were not comparable to the really thing. Homemade from scratch buttermilk pancakes is what were used to, although we do use this kind of buttermilk, I suppose I lose points for that, but it is good, and once opened is store in the fridge much longer than the wet stuff.

Best gluten free pancake mix

Anyhow pancakes, I finally gave in and decided that I had to risk the bulk order of the interweb. I crossed my fingers, hit checkout and ended with this awesome pancake mix. It doesn't taste gluten free, which may be the highest compliment a GF product can get, or healthy (though they are pancakes, so unless you go for the just eggs and banana route, how healthy can they be?)


One of the best bits is that like all mixes it can take add ins easily. I've done salted banana caramel pancakes, and extra lemon-y poppy seed pancakes, and of course blueberry and chocolate chip.

Having said that package instructions work great as well


and flip


Serve.

Best gluten free pancake mix


Friday, March 28, 2014

Quick Snack Attack: Cucumber Bites

Fancy Cucumber cheese sandwich in baguette with chevre and swiss


Sometimes you feel like something simple, a fresh piece of bread inspires much.

Start the morning off right, with a quick cucumber bite.


One firm cheese


One soft.


A few slices of English.


Don't forget the salt, maybe pepper.

All on piece of fancy fresh bread makes everything better.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Improved Egg Salad Sandwich

Improved Egg Salad Sandwich with sprouts

Happy Spring!

I was in Wales in October, and while for the most part had pretty good food, there was this one egg salad sandwich in Cardiff that was absolutely not my thing. No texture, bland, and way too much mayo, completely disappointing, now having said that I have had many a similar sandwich in delis in the US, and the solution is absolutely not the tuna salad route of celery, after all the gentle nature of eggs can't take that much crunch, so the solution below is alfalfa sprouts.

Improved Egg Salad Sandwich with sprouts

Even though I didn't want the crunch of celery, the flavor helped brighten it up in the form of celery salt. I also prefer to use mustard powder to avoid the extra vinegar, there already is a little acid in mayo, and I don't want it taking over.


Monday, March 17, 2014

Irish Soda Bread with Whiskey Soaked Raisins


I think this is the first time I've been organised enough to make something for St. Patrick's Day in this to post. I was trying to create something with a rainbow, but then came across the idea of soaking the raisins in whiskey idea, and all was lost. I knew I was going to be making this.


And then things took a turn towards the let's also make, I ended up with a mini batch of blueberry jam, and a little whiskey butter for the spreading, but I'll go into those later, First Irish Soda Bread, 

So traditionally made with only four ingredients, I believe flour, baking soda, buttermilk and butter, (or maybe salt?), today's version is completely Americanised. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Plum Crumb Coffee Cake

plum crumb cake

Of all the fruit to bake with, plums may be the most breath-taking. I always make some version of this German cake called Zwetschgendatschi. (Has anyone ever typed that word in, and not copy + pasted it?)
This is the current favorite recipe, you can of course take the almond extract out, if it's not your thing, my sister would prefer I did, but I love the pairing of almond and fruit.

Ingredients

Cake:

1/2 cup butter, room temp
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 egg
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp sugar *depending on sweetness of plums
2 cups plums, pitted and sliced

Topping

6 tbsp butter, room temp
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar

Mix sugar and butter until creamed.
Add extracts and egg.
Add flour and baking powder
Place in a greased cake pan.

Top with plums,

Top with sugar and cinnamon.

Mix together topping ingredients.

Top cake.

Bake at 375 for 30 minutes, or until pierced knife is clear.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Fall Time's for Three Stingy Apples Cake


I love pie, especially apple pie, there is nothing else quite like it, but, it takes up a lot of apples. six even seven, and I rather hoard my apples, and to be honest, peeling six takes too long for me. I lost a good peeler in a pile of apple peels once. Never got over it. With this cake, and it's a stingy three apples, I have four left, see in the background those beautiful Galas (that were replace a few days later with Pink Ladies, I am a multi-colored apple person. The greens are sour and the reds are soft, and once cut mere seconds from browning.)

My mother used to make an apple cake, she loved it, and she did lay out the apples nice and pretty like with this one, there are very few exposed apple baked goods I like, the apples usually look dried, sort of pale and poorly.


Three Apple Cake

3 apples, peeled and sliced
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp sugar

1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup oil
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp lime juice (or lemon)
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Heat oven to 350.

Mix apples with sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and let them hang out, so the juices run a little.

Shift dry ingredients.

In a mixer, mix oil and sugar. Add lime juice, (or lemon if that's what you have on hand, or anything else that's acidic, you need something for the baking powder to react with.) Add vanilla and eggs.

Add dry ingredients to the wet and mix until incorporated.

Grease a small bundt pan (or a large one that you wont fully use.)

Add half the dough, then half the apples (the uglier slices go here)

Then add all the walnuts

Then the rest of the dough and lay out the walnuts.

They shouldn't sink.

Pour any remaining juices over the top, helps bring out the color.

Bake at 350 for around 50 minutes, (My slow oven on 365 needed a little over an hour, you learn to live with what you have.)

Wait until it cools to flip it out, helps prevent cracks where the inner layer of apple lies.

This is one of those cakes that just makes you think, yup I'm home. There's something about fall produce that does that.