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Showing posts from February, 2017

Buttermilk Pancakes with Maple Blueberry Sauce

Today is Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras is the final day of the Carnival celebrations, beginning after the feasts on Epiphany and culminating on the day before Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday,” so-named for the typical feasting that occurs on this holiday before the 40 days of Lenten fasting. Today is also called Shrove Tuesday in some countries, which derives from the word shrive, which means “to absolve by way of confession.” Most relevant to this food blog, however, is that this day is also Pancake Day. In countries the world over, people are making pancakes tonight. Pancakes are traditional for Mardi Gras because they use up stores of rich foods that were forbidden during Lent including eggs, milk and butter. In addition, pancakes are said to symbolize the four pillars of Christian faith: “eggs for creation, flour as the mainstay of the human diet, salt for wholesomeness and milk for purity.” I love tradition, and I love breakfast for din

Potatoes Fondant

I bought duck fat the other day. In fact, I bought lard for my Cuban bread, and saw duck fat and beef tallow right next to it. I scooped them all up, feeling a little silly over my joy of newfound animal fats. Would you be surprised if I told you that lamb tallow, chicken schmaltz and goose fat are now on my amazon wish list?  With my newly purchased duck fat tucked away in my cupboard, I started to scour my favorite blogs for a suitable recipe. I have heard many times that there is nothing like potatoes roasted in duck fat, so I started looking for potato recipes. I was not content, however, with a simple recipe. I wanted something unique; something I had never tried before. Chef John has posted a lovely recipe on Potatoes Fondant, but it did not include duck fat. I decided to replace half of the butter in his recipe with duck fat and see if I liked my results. Oh boy- did I ever.  You must try this potato recipe; it is crispy and creamy, has a butter sauce to serv

Copycat Star Crunch

I really love Little Debbie snacks but I very rarely have them. I don’t like eating things that are full of unpronounceable ingredients and preservatives. Plus, I greatly prefer to make things myself. My favorites have to be Oatmeal Creme Pies and Star Crunch. I am still looking for a perfect Oatmeal Creme Pie copycat recipe, but this recipe for Star Crunch is absolutely perfect. These cookies are a fantastic combination of caramel, chocolate, and crunchy crisped rice cereal. They keep in a sealed container for a week, or in the fridge for a month. Next time you crave  Little Debbie Star Crunch, try your hand at making your own! Ingredients: Recipe Credit: Adapted from Stella Parks 1/2 cup water 1 cup sugar 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 1/4 cup heavy cream 1 tablespoon vanilla paste 3 ounces of milk chocolate chips (use a chocolate for baking; some versions of “eating” chocolate contain too much fat. When your combine this chocolate and the caramel together, the

Molten Lemon Lava Cakes

If you love the bright tang of lemon and the pudding-like consistency of a molten lava cake, this is the recipe for you. Instead of your typical chocolate lava cake, this recipe is for a lemon lava cake. It’s a wonderful twist on a classic dessert favorite.  I highly recommend making your own curd for this recipe. You can buy a prepared one, but they tend to have a lot of preservatives and stabilizers to make them shelf stable. If you make your own, the pure lemon flavor shines through with nothing to dilute it. Your homemade lemon curd will pump up the flavor of your cakes much more than a store bought one would. This is a really fun recipe for a dinner party or date night. You can make the curd days in advance, and the cakes themselves come together in about 15 minutes. You can set them aside to bake when you are ready to serve your guests. They are easy to make yet impressive to serve; the best of both worlds. Enjoy! Ingredients: Recipe adapted from Land o

Thumbprint Cookies

I first had jam-filled thumbprint cookies at an apartment warming party in college. A classmate and friend of mine had moved in upstairs with her boyfriend, and she invited almost all of the vocal majors over to see her new digs. She is an impeccable decorator; while my apartment downstairs was full of mismatched furniture and plastic storage tubs, she had a matching couch and sitting chair set, framed artwork on the walls, a beautiful rug, and even a fireplace grate to disguise the ugliness of the radiator heater. Plus, she threw an adult party; at an age when having a drink meant ordering the cheapest thing at the bar, my friend was serving a signature cocktail at her soiree, with canap├ęs, and best of all, homemade jam-filled thumbprint cookies. There may have been other desserts, but after one bite, I only had eyes for these cookies. I was too shy back then to ask my friend for her recipe, and so I searched high and low for a knock off of her cookies. I found the Land o’ La

Oatmeal Cream Pie Copycat Cookies

With this recipe, I make great use of my digital kitchen scale. I found this recipe when I was searching for a Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pie Copycat. Onlinepastrychef, like the name implies, is a very precise chef that gives her measurements by weight rather than volume. Weight measurements are by far the most accurate; measuring flour by the cup can get 2 bakers very different results depending on if they pack their flour into the cup, spoon and level it, or sift it. I love the precise nature of this recipe because I am trying to exactly replicate a beloved cookie; the weight measurements ensure the greatest likelihood that the result I get is a perfect match.  I did tweak this recipe ever so slightly to my tastes. Onlinechefpastry does not use vanilla, which is truer to the Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pie, but I prefer the taste of vanilla in my cream filling and in my cookie. I also decrease the amount of cocoa powder by half compared to hers; the first time I made the
Gnocchi Meat Lovers Skillet Pizza Most of the time, I like to make things from scratch. I love fresh pasta, and making a big batch of marinara is a great Sunday activity. (Don’t get me started on bolognese…….) However, after a long day of work, sometimes all I want is comfort food fast. In comes skillet meals. One-skillet meals mean less clean up, and generally less cooking time. You could certainly make your own gnocchi and tomato sauce for this recipe. But, there is no shame in using store-bought, either! I love using gnocchi for this. The lovely texture, the creamy bite, crisping it up in the pan before cooking it in tomato sauce- heaven! The nice thing about gnocchi is that they cook in very little time and do not require that you add additional water, like one-pot recipes that use dried pasta.  The red pepper, onion and zucchini add some lovely flavor and texture to the sauce. Feel free to reduce the amount of sausages you use and add another zucchini i
Beer-braised Short Ribs (Carbonnade Flamande) with Duchess Potatoes This is a meal that is sure to impress, but takes very little skill to make. The Carbonnade Flamande, while very fancy sounding, is an extremely simple recipe with very little activity demanded from you; your oven does most of the work. The Duchess Potatoes merely require the most basic of piping skills, yet the end result looks like you slaved over your starch. There are four ingredients that will elevate your beer-braised short ribs; the beer, the mustard, the stock and the pomegranate molasses. Please make sure to use a Belgian-style ale to braise your beef; if you use and IPA, for example, your flavor will be off and slightly bitter. Make sure you use a dijon mustard; your classic yellow or honey mustard will not fit the flavor profile. If you have your own homemade beef stock, use that. It will give you the richest, best flavor. If not, purchase a salt-free chicken stock at the store. Store-bought