Monday, October 25, 2010

Pina Colada Pancakes

This is my third recipe from the brunch section of The Newlywed Kitchen. There are still a few more I'd like to try from this section like the blueberry cinnamon streusel muffins, orange blackberry scones, and the chunky monkey banana bread, but I must stay on track and move onto the next section next weekend. I'm sure I will revisit these other recipes after this project.

Mark is usually the pancake maker. He's helping me pick out recipes and this was one of his selections. I had a feeling it was the one he was going to pick, but it was a tougher decision than I thought it would be.

This recipe is said to yield the softest, most tender pancakes and well, I would have to agree. I'm sure it had something to do with the combination of buttermilk, baking powder and baking soda. The addition of pineapple to the batter made the texture a little chunky but in a good and tasty way. The pancakes were topped with buttered coconut rum syrup which was quite easy to make using the recipe in the cookbook. They were also topped with toasted coconut which I'm not sure you can buy. I ended up buying the coconut flakes and toasting it myself in the oven for about 7 minutes at 325 degrees. The final topping was a couple of dollops of whipped cream.

Instead of making 6 pancakes, I made 4 large, plate sized pancakes and it was more than enough to feed the two of us. We were able to eat about 3/4ths of it along with a couple of strips of bacon and saved the leftovers for breakfast the next morning. They were just as good the next morning as they were the day before.

Crushed Pineapple
Making Syrup
Buttered Coconut Rum Syrup Toasted Coconut Flakes
Pina Colada Pancakes

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Salmon Frittata

Salmon FrittataThis was the second recipe made over the weekend from the brunch section of The Newlywed Kitchen Cookbook. It was my first time making a frittata and it really wasn't very difficult. I decided to use a large cast iron pan for it even though the recipe said to use a medium sized pan. I was thinking 6 eggs and all the other ingredients wouldn't fit in a medium pan. It turned out to be pretty thin and am thinking it might have fit in the smaller pan. It was a little difficult to slice the smoked salmon without it falling apart so I ended up crumbling the salmon over the top instead. We had some of the biscuits leftover from Saturday along with the frittata and it made for a good Sunday breakfast. Next time will try to fit it all into a medium sized pan as suggested.

Diced Red Onion Red Onion and Leeks
Smoked Salmon
Sliced Smoked Salmon

Monday, October 18, 2010

Bluemoon Burgers Fries

Bluemoon Burgers FriesI've been to Bluemoon Burgers a couple of times and always get the black and blue burger. If there's a burger on the menu with either blue cheese or gorganzola that's what I'll get, cuz it's the best! I would have liked to get a burger this time, but I had sushi making plans with Robin Leventhal's Handbuilt Feast class so I didn't want to get too stuffed before class. I was really only there for one thing this time and that was to eat the special fries that are supposed to be available for this month only. This month, Bluemoon Burgers are topping their fries with some of my favorite salt, chorizo sea salt from Secret Stash Salts. I pretty much always eat ketchup with my fries but these were so good, dipping them in ketchup didn't even cross my mind. I had my fries with a glass of red wine. Walking a block in the rain for these tasty fries was worth it! If you haven't had their fries this month, you better go and get some.
Blue Moon Burgers on Urbanspoon

Ham, Cheddar and Dill Biscuits

Ham, Cheddar and Dill biscuitsThis is another recipe from The Newlywed Kitchen Cookbook. Last weekend, I started on "The Morning After" section which consists of scones, biscuits & other brunch goodies. I got to say it was really hard deciding which recipes to make out of this section. So hard, that I am doing three instead of two which I had planned. There are still a couple more I would like to go back and try. I usually do one recipe a weekend but since I'm doing three, I decided to do two of them over the weekend. I will save the other one for tomorrow's blog post.

I don't think I've ever made homemade biscuits before. I have decided that I really should get a pastry blender. It would have been a lot easier. Instead I used a fork to cut the butter into the flour. Using two knives was the alternative given in the recipe but I found it to be too awkward and seems like it would have taken a long time. I suppose I could have used a food processor but didn't really think about it at the time so a fork worked out ok.

I wasn't really sure what the consistency of the dough should be but when all the ingredients were mixed together I knew it was to dry because it just wouldn't even form a ball or stick together so I added a bit more buttermilk until the dough would come together and form a ball. I didn't use a circle cutter to form the biscuits but instead just loosely formed balls with my hands and flatted them on the cookie sheet which is why the biscuits ended up not coming out perfectly round like the ones pictured in the cookbook. I also just realized there is a photo of the dough which looks a lot more moist than the dough I ended up with so I probably could have added even more buttermilk.

I think this is the first recipe I've done that had a photo of it in the cookbook and I think it is very helpful, especially for this recipe so you know what the dough should look like. It may have been helpful to mention in the recipe to either add more milk or flour if needed. It was obvious to me to do that but may not be to others.

The biscuits ended up coming out pretty well however, I didn't really taste the dill much. I probably could have used a bit more of it. Since mine were a bit more dry, eating them with some butter made them just right. We had some eggs with some of the left over diced ham with them for breakfast.

Biscuit Prep

Unbaked Biscuits Biscuit Egg Washing

Biscuits and Eggs

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Kale, White Bean and Sausage Soup

Kale, White Bean and Sausage SoupLast weekend I made Kale, White Bean and Sausage Soup from The Newlywed Kitchen Cookbook. Mark is helping me pick out recipes from the cookbook this time and this was one of his picks. It was a good choice.

I've never bought kale before and don't think I've ever eaten it either; I wasn't sure what to expect. I also didn't know how difficult or easy it would be to find since I don't remember seeing it at the grocery store. I decided to go to Whole Foods to look for some. If anyone had it, they would and boy was I right. Not only did they have it, but they had three different varieties. I ended up asking someone about the different varieties and he helped me decide on the curly kale. It has a stronger flavor than the other two and since it was going into a soup, it seemed to be a good choice. They also had a purple one and a lighter green one. Kale has a bitter taste, kind of reminds me a bit of dandelion leaves. I'm not a fan of bitter greens like that but in the soup the bitterness is not noticeable so it turned out to be a good choice. I'm not sure I would like it much in a salad. Maybe the milder varieties would be better in a salad.

During checkout, they commented on my choice of veg and how healthy and good it is for you. So, I did a quick Google search on kale and found it really is one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat. It's said to be useful for detoxifying your body, lowering your cholesterol, decreasing your risk of cancer, and more. You can read more about Kale and it's benefits on whfoods.org and healthambition.com. So I might start eating kale more often!

We both enjoyed it were happy there were more leftovers than we had with last week's tomato soup. Both of the recipes listed the serving size as 2 but there seemed to be twice the amount of soup in this one. The more the better!

Bunch of Kale 2 Kale
In the Stew Pot
Kale White Bean and Sausage Soup

Monday, October 04, 2010

Roasted Tomato Soup with Rosemary Croutons

roasted tomato soup with rosemary croutonsI made another recipe from The Newlywed Kitchen Cookbook. This recipe came from the category called "For Better or For Worse: Budget-Friendly Soups, Salads & Sandwiches". It's good timing for this section since Fall is here and I love making soups this time of year.

Tomato soup was never one of my favorite soups. I had my fair share of Campbell's Tomato Soup growing up, which to me was like eating watered down tomato sauce. I've never bought canned tomato soup since then and never made my own until last weekend. I have however had it in restaurants a couple of times and enjoyed it. It is one of Lorna's favorite recipes in the cookbook so I thought I would give it a try. Turns out, it's my favorite recipe from the cookbook so far!

I usually don't like putting bread or crackers in my soups but decided to try the croutons in it and it was the perfect combination. We also had the croutons on some salad with our meal and ate what croutons were left with our fingers from the bowl. By the end of dinner, the croutons were gone. I even ate the rosemary pieces from the bottom of the crouton bowl. They were that good! I was glad the recipe made extra croutons for nibbling on and wished there were even more. I have a little bit of the baguette left, so I may make some more.

My only complaint about the recipe is that it didn't make more. It only made 2-3 servings. Normally when I make soups, it makes a fair amount and there is plenty of leftovers to eat for lunch throughout the week, but not this time. There was only about a half serving left after we were finished. I'm sure I will be making this recipe again and when I do, I will be sure to make a double or even triple batch of it so I have plenty of leftovers.

Tomato Slices Roasted Tomato
Chicken Stock Pouring
Tomatoes and Herbs
Frying Rosemary
Rosemary Croutons
Spoonful of Soup