Sunday, February 28, 2010

Cornmeal-Blueberry Pancakes

This is what I was dreaming about when I woke up this morning.  However reality set in when I remembered the plan was to go grocery shopping after breakfast and I was missing buttermilk and eggs.  So off to the local diner for a quick breakfast and a trip to the grocery store.  I may have to make these tomorrow using raspberries just to see if it works out.  When I made this batch I used blue cornmeal because it was what was in the house, however I think yellow or white would actually look better.  There is a little something unnerving about blue food.  Sprinkle with maple or vanilla sugar if you have it and load it up with real maple syrup.  Yum!

Cornmeal-Blueberry Pancakes


2 cups frozen blueberries
3 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 ½ cups stone ground cornmeal (I used blue because that’s what I had)
1 cup pastry flour (I used all-purpose)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 lemon
2 cups buttermilk
¼ cup water
Cooking spray


Rinse the blueberries in a colander to help them thaw. Spread on a paper towel, pat dry, and set aside to finish drying.

Melt the butter and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, lightly beat the egg. Finely grate the zest from about three-quarters of the lemon and add to the egg. Whisk buttermilk, water and melted butter into the egg mixture. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Gently stir until just combined. If mixture is very thick, add 2 to 4 additional tablespoons of water.

Preheat a large skillet on medium-low to medium heat. Coat generously with cooking spray. Pour 1/4 –cup portions of batter into skillet, spreading slightly if needed. Dot pancakes with blueberries. Cook until bubbles begin to appear in batter and bottoms of pancakes are golden brown. Flip and cook until opposite sides are golden and pancakes are cooked through. Coat with additional cooking spray for each bath. Serve right away with maple syrup.

Made 18 pancakes

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Wisconsin Cheese-Trio Fondue

I am waiting as we speak for the man to call me to tell me he is bringing my oven home.  I feel like I have been without it for 100 years!  That may be a slight exageration.  100 years... 2 weeks... give or take a day.  Whatever, it's been a while and my body is begining to protest to the junk I have been eating.  Not to mention I don't like to leave large electrical plugs bare for the children or animals to touch.  It's one thing to be without an oven, it an entirely different thing to worry about your cat electrocuting itself on a nightly basis.  It has been stressful.  More stressful is that they cannot figure out what is wrong with it.  It worked perfectly for them... of course!

I hope it works for me because I just received my copy of ad hoc at home, I know I know... that's sooo last year, but I have issues spending $50 on a cookbook.  Especially when I heard that the average number of recipes one cooks out of a cookbook is 3-5.  Of course that does break down to about $10 a recipe... that's so bad when you are talking Thomas Keller.  Really not so bad considering I already tried out the Fennel Mustard recipe... lovely, and the chocolate brownies... DIVINE!  I can't wait to cook up some homestyle comfort food.

Until then, we must make due with food that does not require an oven.  I realized I never gave you the recipe for the cheese fondue from the fondue night.  This is AMAZING.  I use all caps because I am shouting at you.  YOU MUST TRY THIS.  Seriously I think I would have licked the pot if there hadn't been company present.

Wisconsin Trio Cheese Fondue


6 oz. shredded Butterkäse cheese, [can be found at Whole foods, but you can also substitute Gouda
          if you can't find Butterkäse, I found Beerkäse and used that].  Always measure cheese by weight.
6oz. shredded Fontina Cheese (6oz)
3 Tbsp flour
¾ cup white wine
¼ cup dry sherry
2 tsp chopped shallots
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 oz. crumbled blue cheese
2 Tbsp chopped scallions


Toss the Butter(Beer)käse and Fontina cheese with the flour in a bowl. Place a metal bowl over a saucepan filled with 2 inches of water. You may also use a conventional double boiler. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and pour the wine and sherry into the bowl. Sit in the shallots using a fork. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.

Add half the cheese blend and cook until the cheese is melted, stirring constantly. Add the remaining cheese blend a small amount at a time, stirring constantly in a circular motion after each addition until the cheese is melted. Fold in the pepper and Blue cheese. Pour into a warm fondue pot and keep warm over low heat. Garnish with the scallions.

NOTE: The cheese is shredded and tossed with flour to aid din thickening and to improve the viscosity of the fondue. The fondue should be the consistency of warm honey when completed. Monitor the cheese carefully as it is being added. Not all of the cheese may be needed, and, in some cases, more cheese may be needed to reach the perfect consistency.

Recommended dipping accompaniments: Variety of breads (however not the pecan one that I tried.  Cheese goes with many thing, but not cinnamon... ewww.  Thought it was just a nut loaf.), green apples, mixed vegetables.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Southwestern Brisket

Once again I have NO OVEN!  LOVE IT!  Feel free to sprinkle that sentence liberally with sarcasm.  As much as you have to be exact.  When one has no oven one will quickly run out of things to make.  Well maybe you wouldn't but I do and have.  I have begun to rely more and more on the slow cooker because I have no other options really.  I am about two seconds away from buying a toaster oven. 

So I was looking for a BBQ ribs recipe or a short rib recipe to make in the slow cooker.  I came across this recipe for a Southwestern Pulled Brisket.  I have never made a brisket and have always wanted to so I was excited that I didn't have to smoke it or roast it or braise it.  I just had to sear it and throw it into the slow cooker.  My favorite kind of slow cooker recipe.

But what does one serve with a brisket?  I was thinking maybe corn on the cob, or baked beans.  So I did a little google search... and guess what I found?  Smitten Kitchen had already made this recipe.  Not just a brisket but the SAME brisket I was planning on making.  I give up, seriously she's made everything and more than likely much better than me.  I highly suggest giving her a google.  I also jumped ship from my google search and just made what she made.  Laaaaaazzzzzzzzzzzzzy.  Just in case you were wondering she served a green onion slaw by Bobby Flay.  

I was up at 6:30am this morning with Mr. Man.  A little apple juice, a little Blues Clues and ta daaaa a happy occupied baby while I prepped the dinner.  It was a little odd to start dinner before sunrise (see below), but it was going to have to cook for 10 hours. 

Well the recipe said 8, but Deb from SK said 10 and I trust her (or her mother-in-law I think she said) and once again she was right.  I made a few minor adjustments to the recipe.  I used Sorhgum instead of molasses because my husband got very excited when he saw it so we bought that instead... whatever, I have no idea why I've never seen the stuff before.  Secondly, I used 28 oz of whole tomatoes instead of 14oz, because  all I had was a large can and I mean to only use half but I completely forgot.  I told you it was first thing in the morning, pre-coffee and all.

In Loving Memory of my grandfather, Paul Brown Sr. (1927-2010).  A man who loved good food and instilled in me a love of cooking.  I will miss you dearly.

Southwestern Pulled Brisket
adapted (accidentally) from Food Network


3 1/2 pounds beef brisket
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
5 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 Spanish onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, with their juices
2 chipotle chiles from the the can with adobo sauce.  I chopped mine roughly
2 bay leaves
3 tablespoons sorhgum
soft tortillas
Pickled jalapenos


Season the beef generously with salt and pepper, to taste. Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and heat just until beginning to smoke. Add the meat and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 10 minutes total. Transfer the meat to the slow cooker; leave the skillet on the heat.

Add garlic, onion, chili powder, coriander, and cumin to drippings in the skillet and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add vinegar and boil until it's almost gone, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Stir in water and pour the mixture over the brisket. Crush the tomatoes through your fingers into the slow cooker; add the tomato juices, chipotles, bay leaves, and molasses. Cover the cooker, set it on LOW, and cook the brisket until it pulls apart easily with a fork, about 10 hours.

I pulled the brisket out of the slow cooker.  Drained the liquid of the slow cooker through a strainer (per suggestions from blogger extrodinaire) and reduced it a bit.  I didn't bother to cool it and skim the fat, I just blotted the top with paper towels, because it as getting late and I have a little munckin to feed that is not patient.

I then shredded the meat with two forks.  Dunked it into the souce and put in the tortilla.  Topped with quick pickled onions (smitten kitchen) and jalapenos.  If you like brisket you must try this.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Spicy Pickled Eggs

I posted photos of the last time I made pickled eggs, and while much prettier they were sweet. I am not a person who really believes that sweet and egg is a fabulous flavor combo. In fact I prefer to keep sweet and protein separate. I do not like pineapple on my ham, I do not like sweet and sour anything and I most certainly do not want to see an apple or an orange segment in my chicken salad... gag.

Having vented let me just say finding a recipe for Spicy Pickled Eggs sounds easier than it is. Back in Vermont you can find these little guys at bars, hunting camps, and even corner stores. Out here in the Midwest I have yet to see a pickled egg outside of my fridge. Although they think putting gravy on fries is odd out here too so there you go.

I could not find a recipe that sounded anything like what I wanted to make, okay that is a small lie... I found one and promptly lost it and could not find it again, so I had to improvise. Here was the recipe I came up with.

Spicy Pickled Eggs
adapted from my brain


1 dozen eggs, hardboiled, cooled and peeled
2 cups apple cider vinegar
4 oz. hot sauce
12 oz. jar hot jalapeños, with juice
2 bay leaves
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3 teaspoon salt
1 small onion, quartered
handful of baby carrots whole
dash of mustard seed
dash of dill weed


This is a revision from the way I did it. I placed everything in a pot and boiled it until the salt dissolved. I do not recommend putting jalapeño juice or hot sauce in vinegar before you boil it. It is effectively macing yourself repeatedly for period of time.

Placed cooled eggs in jar along with your vegetables, jalapeños with juice, mustard seed, and dill weed.

Place water, vinegar, salt, bay leaves, and garlic powder in pot. Boil until salt dissolves. Cool to room temperature. Add hot sauce. Mix thoroughly. Pour into jar until all eggs and veggies are covered. Place cap on. Shake. Place in the refrigerator for 30 days. Test. I have heard they are good for up to a year... but ewww. Being that it does take a minimum of a week I haven't tested these out yet, but they don't appear too different from all the recipes people love so I am hopeful. I'll keep you posted.  PS... I also used two jars.  One large emptied pickle jar and this mason jar. Give the jars a little shake whenever you think about it while they are developing their flavor.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Smoky Maple-Chipotle Wings

I have never made real wings before.  I had always made boneless wings, or my version of boneless wings which while acceptable to me (a low-fat version) really wouldn't fly at a gathering of any sort except maybe a weight watchers meeting where people are dying for a wing fix of any kind.

This year I wanted to bring chicken wings to a super bowl party but there were so  many choices, which kind should I make?  I did a small poll and threw in this one just because it sounded different, and it won hands down for the flavor of choice.

A few things shocked me about these wings. 

One, they didn't come all nice and prepared like they do at a bar.  They came as a whole wing as you can see below and had to be prepped.  The husband was giving the baby a bath so that left me with the fun of breaking joints and attacking this poor piece of meat with a heavy clever and a really sharp knife.  I am happy to say all of my own digits are still present, however my psyche did not escape so unharmed.  I'm a little traumatized.

Two, they were baked not fried, but you would never know.

And three, they were super easy, fast (aside form cooking time), and delicious!  In fact I had to make my husband take them to work so I wouldn't be left in the house with nothing but these wings and my flimsy will power.

Smoky Maple-Chipotle Wings
Adapted from Food and Wine


2 Tablespoons flour (use rice flour for gluten-free)
1 teaspoon salt
2 pounds chicken wings
2 ½ Tablespoons franks chili-lime sauce
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon sage
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons chipotle peppers in adobe sauce


Open your can of chipotle peppers in adobe sauce. Place into blender, chopper, or food processor. Pulse until fairly smooth, use 2 tablespoons of this and then place the rest in the fridge for future use.

Preheat oven to 500o. Line a large baking sheet with foil and spray with vegetable oil. In a bowl, mix the flour with the salt and sage. Add the chicken and toss to coat, (I whisked the dry ingredients in a bowl, then put them in a Ziplock bag with the wings, it’s easier just to shake the hell out of them, coats evenly, wipe out the bowl and use it for the sauce step).

Spread the chicken on the baking sheet in a single layer and spray with vegetable oil. Roast the chicken for 45 minutes (35 for my oven), turning once halfway through, until browned and crispy.

In a bowl, toss the chicken with the hot sauce, butter, maple syrup and pureed peppers in sauce; serve.