Sunday, September 26, 2010

Maple Butter Spiced Popcorn

I saw this recipe earlier in the week and spent a few minutes dreaming about how wonderful it would be. Unfortunately at that moment I was in the law library, and while this recipe is simple, it's not so simple that it can be made among the many stacks of Reporters and Shepard's volumes.

So this morning, when I sat down to read more civil procedure and Tom was settling in for an entire day of football and we looked at each other and said "I want a snack," this was the first thing I thought of. And boy am I glad I did!

I realize that microwave popcorn is soooo easy (4 minutes, no mess, etc.) and I am certainly not a popcorn snob. But recently I read a few articles about the chemicals in the microwave bags and, though it seems like everything causes cancer, making popcorn the old-fashioned way really is super easy (and fun!). So I got out the kernels and the big pot and a few pops later, this delicious treat was ours. And a few seconds later, it was all gone.

I will probably spend way too much time over the next few days thinking up some other flavor combos: brown butter & salt or chili-lime both come to mind. If you have any inspiration, please feel free to share!

Maple Butter Spiced Popcorn from theKitchn

1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon good maple syrup
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Lightly coat the bottom of a deep pot with vegetable oil. Pour the kernels in; they should cover the bottom in a single layer.

2. Turn the burner to medium heat and cover with a tight-fitting lid.

3. Melt the butter and whisk in the maple syrup.

4. Combine the cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.

5. Once the first kernels pop, shake the pot vigorously to keep the popcorn from burning. When the popping stops, remove from heat and empty into a large bowl.

6. Pour the melted butter/syrup mixture over the popcorn while stirring to get an even coat. Sprinkle the spice mixture while stirring. Serve hot.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Spinach, Tomato & Swiss Quiche

I'm going to start out with an apology, which maybe isn't the best beginning of a post, but it's honest nonetheless. I used a ready-made crust. Now that's not normally how I roll, but I wanted to make quiche and we had about an hour before we had to be on our way to Baltimore for the Yankees/O's game. (The Yanks lost by the way, which made for a happy husband and father-in-law, but not so much for a happy me.)

Anyway, so back to the quiche. It was actually super simple (especially if you cheat and use the ready-made crust) and it's a great vehicle for highlighting any in-season vegetables or flavors that you love; the possibilities are endless. I chose to focus on the incredibly delicious tomatoes that are cropping up all around and made one veggie (for my father) with spinach, tomato, and swiss and the other with all of that plus Canadian bacon.

It took less than 45 minutes to put it all together and making only one would easily shave some time off. The result was a great and significant breakfast, which you know, is the most important meal of the day. And my favorite!

Spinach, Tomato & Swiss Quiche
makes 2 quiches

1/4 lb canadian bacon

1 lb frozen chopped spinach, thawed

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

16 oz swiss cheese, grated

6 eggs

2 cups light cream

1 cup milk

2 teaspoons salt

a dash nutmeg

2 pie crusts (homemade or ready-made)

1. Heat the oven to 400°F; line the pie pans with crust and cover with fork holes; bake the pie crusts for 10 minutes, w/ a weight on top (to keep them from puffing up)

2. In a large bowl, mix the eggs, cream, milk, cheese, salt and nutmeg.

3. Once the crusts have baked, remove them from the oven and cover each with the spinach, tomatoes and bacon. (we did one with bacon, if you want to make both with bacon use a 1/2 lb).

4. Place the pie pans on a cookie sheet (trust me, even an expert pour will leak a little).

5. Cover each with half of the egg/cream/cheese mixture.

6. Bake at 450°F for 10 minutes.

7. Lower the heat to 325°F and bake for 20 minutes.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Apple Dutch Baby

I realize this is dangerously close to a pancake, which was the topic of my last post, but this really is very different. It has apples (yum!) and puffs up when you bake it (fancy!) and sooo much cinnamon-y goodness it was just screaming to be made on a day like today.

Do I dare say that fall has arrived?! I don't want to jinx it of course, but the air is crisp, there's a nice breeze, and I've unpacked my sweaters ... sounds like fall to me! :o) I love this time of year and I especially love when apples taste like apples again. Is there anything better than biting into a crisp juicy apple while wearing a scarf? I think not.

So here it is: an apple dutch baby (which is really like a big puffy apple custardy pancake) to herald in the fall. *cue the trumpets*

Apple Dutch Baby adapted slightly from theKitchn

2 fuji apples (you could use Granny Smith, but this is what I had in the fridge)
1/3 cup walnut pieces
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar

5 eggs
3/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat your oven to 400
°F. Melt the butter in your 8x8 pan or cast iron skillet. In a small bowl mix the sugar and cinnamon.

2. Peel and slice the apples. Once the butter is melted, sprinkle the brown sugar over it and arrange the apples and walnuts on top. Sprinkle the sugar/cinnamon mixture over top. Place the pan back in the oven.

3. Whisk the eggs until foamy. Add the flour, salt and sugar until just incorporated. Add the vanilla and milk and whisk until smooth.

4. Remove the pan from the oven and pour your batter over top. Sprinkle with a little more sugar and cinnamon.

5. Bake for 20 minutes. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Pancakes

There is very little that can't be fixed by pancakes. And this morning, I needed some fixin'. This past week has been INSANE. I mean, beyond what I could ever have imagined. Not only did I spend between 8-10 hours each day reading, but we had a super awesome extermination issue that needed attending to. I won't go into the gory details because this is a cooking blog and you came to hear about pancakes, not the most horrible thing ever, but when I say that ALL of our belongings are in plastic bags and totes, please know that there is no hyperbole.

Often my go-to pancake is this one from 101 Cookbooks. It's light and a little sweet and I can eat about 100 of them in one sitting. But I didn't need a light pancake. I needed a pancake with substance, one that I could wrap around myself like a blanket and forget about the plastic totes and civil procedure for just a little bit. Or until I ate it all. So where did I find such a recipe? Where my mother always told us to look with any food questions: the Fannie Farmer Cookbook!

If you don't have the Fannie Farmer Cookbook, I highly recommend it. It's a great general reference and I've never experienced a dud - so when I want to try something new I don't have to worry that I'm wasting time, ingredients, etc.

The only change I made was to add chocolate chips. Because, well, did you read above? My only regret is that I didn't double the batch, because there aren't any left...

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Pancakes from Boston Cooking School Cookbook, Fannie Merrit Farmer

1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons melted butter (I browned mine because, why not?)
1 egg

2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Mix milk, melted butter and egg in a medium bowl.

2. In a separate bowl sift the flours, baking powder, sugar and salt.

3. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and stir just enough to combine.

4. Add more milk if you need to (I added a splash). The consistency should be that of heavy cream

5. In a hot buttered skillet, pour nice sized blobs of batter. This recipe makes 6 to 8 smallish pancakes.