Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Daring Bakers: No Go

Unfortunately, I didn't get to do the Daring Baker's Challenge this month. With work, a conference for work, and Lee's parents coming over for a week and half I just couldn't get it done. Right now I'm getting ready to go on a vacation with my family. I hope to see the other DBers posts a bit today and when I come back.

I look forward to next month's challenge!

You can check out the Daring Bakers who made some fabulous cakes this month by clicking on the blogroll on the sidebar.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Recipes to Rival: Thank George's Bank

This month I was able to co-host the challenge for Recipes to Rival with Lori from Lipsmacking Goodness. We made Thank George's Bank from The Black Dog Summer on the Vineyard Cookbook. I had bought this cookbook a few years ago on a trip to the Vineyard and have tried several of their dinner recipes with great success, but had never tried one of their breakfast ones. I wasn't sure how many people would think of a challenging breakfast recipe for their turns to host, so I thought a breakfast recipe would be a good choice.

Since so many people only really have time on the weekends for a cooked breakfast, I think many people, including myself, made this for a brinner (breakfast for dinner) to complete the challenge. I was glad I made this for dinner rather than a brunch or breakfast, it took a lot longer than I thought it would to make! It wasn't that the recipe itself is a long, involved recipe, it would actually be a great special occasion brunch or breakfast, it's that I had a few problems.

The recipe for the fishcakes is pretty runny. I tried forming patties and ended up with this:

I found that using a ladle to pour the batter onto the non-stick skillet and cooking them like pancakes (the American kind, not English) did the trick.

I then moved on to poaching eggs. I have never poached eggs before and was so scared! It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I tried both cracking the egg right over the water and dropping it in, then cracking the egg into a bowl and pour it from the bowl into the pan, but that worked about the same. Jeanette of Cooked from the Heart mentioned cracking the egg into a ladle and allowing it to begin to set before pouring it into the liquid helped prevent feathering and Temperance of High on the Hog mentioned using muffin tins to create a hot water bath and cooking them in the oven (she recommended 350°F) for cooking larger batches. I think I would use large muffin tins for this, I'd worry about the smaller ones. I'll have to give each of these a try. The only problem with the muffin tins would be how to get them out....I used a fine mesh skimmer to get my eggs out of the pot, but I guess a slotted spoon would work for the muffin tins?

When melting the butter, I put it in a plastic container and it popped and the butter sprayed over the whole microwave!! It was a mess to clean up (sorry, not the best picture, eggs and fishcakes were done and all I had to do was hollandaise sauce and was ready to just be done with it all!!!).

We both really liked this dish. I'd love to make it again for guests.

Black Dog Fishcakes

(this says 4 patties, but even with wasting a lot on mistakes, I still got 6. I think this more closely yields 12)

These fishcakes are a popular Black Dog alternative to bacon or sausage. These are excellent for using up leftover potatoes!
2 cups cooked potatoes, mashed
1 pound skinless and boneless codfish
1 cup diced yellow onion
1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme (1 teaspoon dried)
1 teaspoon white pepper
1-2 teaspoons salt
1 egg, beaten
½ cup cream
2 tablespoons butter

1. If you don’t have leftover mashed potatoes, peel and dice two large potatoes. Boil in salted water for about 20 minutes or until soft. Mash and set aside.
2. Place fish in a steamer, cover with diced onion and seasonings. Cover and steam for 10-15 minutes or until the onion is cooked.
3. In a medium bowl, combine cooked fish and seasoned onions with the mashed potatoes. Mix in the egg and cream, divide into four patties.
4. Sauté the fishcakes in a sauté pan in butter over medium heat until browned.

Easy Hollandaise Sauce
(yields ½ cup)

2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
¼ pound (1 stick) butter, melted
splash Tabasco sauce
dash cayenne pepper
dash salt
1. Combine egg yolks and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor.
2. Turn on the food processor and slowly add the melted butter.
3. Allow to run until the sauce emulsifies.
4. Add Tabasco, salt, and cayenne pepper.

Alternately, you may use this hollandaise sauce from The Joy of Cooking (yields 1 cup) (for those without a food processor):

10 tablespoons (1¼ sticks) butter
3 large egg yolks
1½ tbsp cold water
½-2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
dash of hot pepper sauce
salt and white pepper to taste
1. Over low heat, melt the butter.
2. Skim the foam off the top and keep warm.
3. In a double boiler (or a bowl on top of a saucepan), place the egg yolks and water.
4. Off the heat, beat the yolks with a whisk until they are light and frothy.
5. Place on top of saucepan or double boiler and whisk continuously until eggs are thickened, 3-5 minutes, making sure the eggs don't get too hot.
6. Pour into a separate bowl to cool, and while whisking continuously, slowly add the butter, omitting the milk solids.
7. Whisk in the lemon juice, hot pepper sauce, salt, and white pepper.
8. If sauce is too thick, add a few drops warm water.
9. Serve immediately or you can keep it warm up to 30 minutes by placing the bowl in warm water.

Thank George’s Bank
(serves 2)

4 Black Dog Fishcakes
2 teaspoons white vinegar
4 eggs for poaching
½ cup hollandaise sauce
toast or breakfast bread of choice
1. Prepare fishcakes and hollandaise sauce.
2. Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add white vinegar and reduce the heat to a simmer.
3. Crack and gently drop in the eggs.
4. Simmer about 3-5 minutes or until whites are firm and yolks are done to your likes.
5. To serve: place each poached egg on a fishcake, cover with hollandaise sauce. Serve with your favorite breakfast sides.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Chicken with Apples

I've had pork with apples before, but for this Zaar World Tour recipe, I tried chicken with apples. I'd never heard of doing that before!

This was a recipe for Eastern Europe. I'm not quite sure what makes this Eastern European, but it was delicious anyway. This would make an excellent weeknight meal in the winter. It's warming and comforting (may be where the Eastern European comes in with cold winters?) and it's very quick, only taking about ½ hour from start to finish!

I had Fuji apples leftover from doing the Daring Bakers Danish, so I used those in this recipe. They also hold their shape well when cooked, so I didn't have to worry about them getting mushy or looking more like apple sauce than apples.

I've said before how much I love vanilla beans now. I learned I love vanilla beans with apples. I think next time I try this, I'll see how it does with some vanilla bean and cinnamon. I'll let you know how it goes!

I'm posting the recipe how I made it. I kept the sauce the original measurement, because we love saucy things. I didn't peel the apples and it tasted great. If you'd rather peel, by all means do! You can make this look Christmasy by using 1 red apple and one Granny Smith. You can view the original at Recipezaar.

Chicken with Apples

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cooking apple
¼ cup butter, divided in half
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup apple juice
1 teaspoon thyme

  1. In a sauté pan, melt half the butter and pan fry the chicken breasts.
  2. While the chicken is cooking, peel (if you want), core, and slice the apple into 16 slices.
  3. When chicken is brown and done cooking, remove from pan and cover with aluminum foil. Set aside.
  4. In the same pan you used to cook the chicken, add the remaining butter, apples, and thyme.
  5. Cook apples until tender. If using a firm apple like Fuji, it will still retain its shape.
  6. Place apples on top of chicken, recover to keep warm, and return pan to heat.
  7. Deglaze the pan with the juice.
  8. Add the cream and cook until slightly thickened.
  9. Serve with the cream sauce poured over the chicken and apples. (I also put the chicken on top of a bed of rice and the sauce was delicious with that as well!!)

Friday, July 4, 2008

Stardust Chocolate Pancakes

I've mentioned the Zaar World Tour before. It's winding down, but I haven't been good about posting some of the recipes I've been making.

For the Germany/Benelux region, I found this recipe for Stardust Chocolate Pancakes. I'm not sure how authentic these are, but they were the cookbook for that region and I enjoyed them!

I made these one morning while Lee was at work. He's not a big fan of chocolate at breakfast, while I love me some chocolate chip pancakes or waffles!

These were delicious, but so sweet that I felt finished after eating just one and a half. After eating them, I think they are good for either a kid's breakfast or a dessert pancake. I think they are too rich for most adults' breakfast tastes!

These won't go well with maple syrup. I served these with a dusting of powdered sugar (hence the "stardust" part of the name).


Made by Lena