Monday, September 19, 2011

Best Ever Pancakes

I don't try to make it any secret that everything I do at home is homemade. Before we moved to Oklahoma City when I had an actual kitchen with an actual oven, I even went so far as to make our own hamburger  buns and pretzel buns for those times we had Black Dog Brats at home.

I like being in control of the ingredients in the food we eat. I like being in control of the quality of the ingredients of the food we eat! Not to mention everything is so much better when it is homemade. This really didn't take an extraordinary amount of extra time for me. I worked two jobs and still managed to make everything homemade. I guess the issue here is whether or not it is a priority to you and for me, it is a priority.

At any rate, I pretty much despise any form of box mix baked good. It's lazy and often times you can make it for cheaper and better! I'll admit it, my husband and I are complete and total food snobs. We just prefer to think we like and know good food.

Before I get into the pancake recipe, I have to share a good food find here in OKC, The Wedge Pizzeria. We had the pleasure of eating dinner there last night and it was pretty amazing! Of course I think any pizza that has truffle oil sprinkled over the top has got to be pretty amazing! When we pulled up they had a garden of their own, which automatically made them awesome in my book! Then I ate their food and they are completely awesome! We had a pizza called Truffle Shuffle; truffle oil, sage, crimini mushrooms, spinach, roasted chicken, Parmesan and mozzarella. We also had the Prosciutto Wrapped Pears as an appetizer; pears with goat cheese wrapped in proscciutto atop a bed of greens drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vingarette. Of course we split a cesar salad too with homemade croutons and nice, big shavings of parmesan! They have an A from me and I can't wait to go again!! 

Now, on to the pancakes!! We always had a nice breakfast on the weekend growing up in my house. It was usually a Sautrday morning tradition, my mom would get up and make us something fabulous! Often times it was pancakes, french toast, biscuits and gravy or eggs benedict. To this day, breakfast is still my favorite meal of the day! 

I did a little google searching and found a recipe that seemed good and of course tweeked it for myself, to get something I know we would enjoy. Without further ado, the best ever pancakes!

I like to cook my pancakes on an electric griddle, but however you like to do it. My recipe reflects a preheated electric griddle at about 325 degrees and sprayed with PAM. Other items you'll need are a mixing bowl, whisk, measuring cup, 2+ cup measuring cup to pour batter, spatula and measuring spoons. 

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt 
1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon granulated sugar or raw sugar which is what I use
1 cup of whole milk
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 egg
3 Tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 

Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix together with whisk. Add the wet ingredients until all combined and smooth.

Pour batter into your 2+ cup measuring cup and drop by the 1/4 cup onto pre heated electric griddle. The pancakes will practically double in size before flipping and you won't see the traditional bubbles that you normally see. So basically you'll just want to wait until they are really puffy and take your spatula and look at an edge to see how they are, before flipping.

They are the best pancakes I have ever tasted! They are so good!! Top with some butter, some pure maple syrup and you have a great Saturday morning breakfast! They would even be good topped with some Pan fried apples

Friday, September 16, 2011

Trials and tribs in OKC

Well howdy there y'all, finally updating from great and wonderful OKC. That is some pretty thick sarcasm if you couldn't tell!

We have been here in OKC for about 2 months and I find myself half way done with my prision sentence of middle america hell or what I so lovely refer to as the buttcrack of america.

There are very few redeeming qualities about this city. But first, I have to talk about the food right? I don't think I have mentioned my extreme distain for Walmart. Suffice it to say, I think they are the root of all evil! Lucky for me, that is all there really is in this place! Walmart and Sam's Club! OHHH I would kill for a Costco.

We spent our first couple of weeks buying groceries from Walmart before we finally discovered a nicer place that carries some organic things. I couldn't even find a shallot in this freaking town for about a month!! Apparently, Okies don't have very refined taste.

After my first two weeks here I went on a road trip with my mother in law, it was a very nice break away from this place! I ended up going to Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. The most memorable places we ate were at the Bavarian Inn in Frankenmuth, Michigan they serve a famous chicken dinner and I have to say, they were pretty awesome! PIG in Memphis, Tennessee was my other favorite. Great BBQ in a pretty cool atmosphere, of course it's on Beale Street, it doesn't get much cooler than that.

I've been back from my second road trip of the year for about a month now. My husband and I are settling into a groove living in our temporary housing (aka Studio 6 hotel in the ghetto, oh wait that is ALL of OKC). I am getting use to cooking in our tiny little kitchenette, but I absolutely hate not having space and cuss constantly and continuously about it. My poor husband. It only lasts while I'm actually cooking and/or doing dishes and then I'm done with it.

We have had some good dining experiences here though, we went to Cattleman's for our anniversary. It is a pretty famous steak house here in OKC and it has been featured on triple D (Diner's, Drive-In's and Dives). There is a BBQ place here that isn't half bad, called Earl's. I got to explore my first bakery in OKC and it was also featured on Triple D, it's called Ingrid's Kitchen. They had some pretty amazing baked goods! We have also hit up a local pizza place called The Hideaway, which I can't ever hear without thinking of a dive bar in Lewiston, ID that has the best fried chicken known to man.

I just bought a toaster oven last week because I was getting really sick of having to make everything in a pot or a pan, it really limits your creativity man! I have lovingly dubbed it my adult easy bake oven. I made my first baked good in it today which was a vanilla pound cake. I am still getting use to my dear adult easy bake oven though, jeeze things cook so much quicker in that bitch! However, its nice to bake a piece of wild caught salmon in. WHOA....hold the phone, back up! Did I just say wild caught salmon, in OKC? Yup, thanks to a local place called Braum's! I was so happy when I found that beautimous thing!

So now I should explain Braums. It is a fast food/ice cream/fresh market. Say what? Yeah, its kind of awesome actually. They own their own dairy farm, make their own ice cream, sell their own milk in their store. It's actually pretty freaking awesome and probably one of the ONLY things I will miss when I leave OKC.

I think that's about all I've got for today, you feel all caught up now? Maybe I will actually jump into some recipes next time. Oh, but I forgot to mention I am competeing in Oklahoma Sugar Artists competition at the Tulsa State Fair, I am doing a tiered cake and making some cookies. Wish me luck! Cross your fingers I'm not out of my league and I'll catch y'all next time!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Long time no blog!

Hey guys!! I know it has been a while, but life got hectic working two jobs! Things are looking to slow down now that we are moving to Oklahoma City for 4 months! And lots of new and exciting changes for us!

I thought I would make my blog a place to talk about all things food! From foods I experience on the road, to cooking in temporary housing with a two burner stove, microwave and coffee pot! It will be an adventure! But it could also be useful and a tad bit humorous!!

The journey starts next week! I can post via text from my iPhone and we'll see how this adventure works out! Are you guys ready?? I'm ready to start blogging about food again!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

2nd Day of Baker's Dozen Day's of Christmas!

Oh! Us lazy blog hosts have to make it easy on ourselves sometimes!! A lot of cookie doughs are really versatile and you can make multiple types of cookies with them! Well, at Christmas time when you are making a ridiculous amount of cookies to share with loved ones, why not make it a little easier on yourself?

When I was thinking of the cookies I wanted to make for this project, I reached about 10 and started to draw a blank! Of course, my husband ever eager to throw out some input suggested M&M cookies with the Christmas colors instead of the traditional multi-colored. I thought it was a great idea! And would show how you can take one cookie dough and do two things with it!

So without futher ado, I present to you the 2nd day of Baker's Dozen Day's of Christmas! And uh, it's going to be really easy for you and me! It's the Snickdoodle Wheelie's dough!

The Cast:
Sheet pans
parchment paper
cooling rack
kitchen aid fitted with paddle or mixing bowl and beaters

The Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, room tempertature
3 ounces of cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 2/3 cup all purpose flour
1 cup candy coated chocolate candies, like M&M's

The Procedure:

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees and line your cookie sheets with parchment

Like any good baker, you know you should cream your fats and sugars first! Get those kitchen aids going! Cream together your butter, cream cheese and sugar. After they are nice and combined add your vanilla and eggs. Then add your baking powder and flour when half way incorporated add the M&M's.

Portion  your cookie dough with your scoop or into about walnut size pieces of dough. You are going to want to push them down significantly!

I baked them for about 10 minutes and they were perfect! 

You could easily double this recipe and make half snickerdoodle pinkwheelies and the other half M&M cookies! Enjoy!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Baker's Dozen Days of Christmas Cookies!

Everyone does the 12 days of Christmas in cookies, well I thought I would be different! Part of my challenge to myself is to come up with unique and different recipes, well why should that exclude original ideas! Sure, someone else thought of 12 days of Christmas cookies, but I thought of The Baker's Dozen Days of Christmas Cookies!

*sung to the tune of 12 days of Christmas* On the first day of Baker's Dozen, my pastry chef made for me, Snickerdoodle Pinwheelies! 

A new and unique twist on a favorite! I don't traditionally make Snickerdoodles at Christmas, however, I couldn't resist the new spin (HA GET IT!) on snickerdoodles!

The Cast:
Sheet pans
parchment paper
cooling rack
plastic wrap
kitchen aid fitted with paddle or mixing bowl and beaters

The Ingredients:
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, room tempertature
3 ounces of cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 2/3 cup all purpose flour
3 Tablespoons butter, melted

Melt the 3 tablespoons of butter

Like any good baker, you know you should cream your fats and sugars first! Get those kitchen aids going! Cream together your butter, cream cheese and sugar. After they are nice and combined add your vanilla and eggs. Then add your baking powder and flour until combined.

From here you divide the dough in half and roll it out on a well floured surface to about a 12X8 rectangle. Then brush the dough with the melted butter, top with the cinnmon sugar mixture and roll like a cinnamon roll. This is how I roll yo! I start it off by rolling over about a 1/2 an inch into the middle and then from there I just put my hands on both ends of the dough and push forward! Easy, peasy, lemon, squeezy!

Repeat with the other half of the dough and then wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate the rolled up cookie dough for at least 4 hours. This is what I do! I make all the dough that needs to be refrigerated in one day, so that the next day I can just bake all the cookies at once! Makes sense no?

When it comes to baking, you want the oven at 350 degrees, use parchment lined sheet pans! Trust me, your elbows will thank me when you don't have to scrub off any of the sugar that leaks out of these cookies onto a bare sheet pan.

Slice the cookies with a knife to desired thickness, I went with about 1/2 an inch or so. They are a nice bite size. 

Since the dough will be cold you should allow a little extra time for baking, mine took about 15 minutes.

I hope Santa enjoys the Snickerdoodle Pinwheelies!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Meyer Lemon Sugar cookies!

It's that time of year again when the meyer lemon's start to show up in your grocery store! I love the taste of them, but I am always left wondering what I should do with them? I've done the limoncello, I've even made lemonade in the bitter cold with meyer lemons! It's time for something new!!

When I was younger my mom use to buy the Krusteaz Lemon Bar mix and make them into delicious lemon sugar cookies. I always loved them, well I thought I would do the same thing with meyer lemons, only it would be homemade!

The Cast:
sheet pans
parchment paper
mixing bowl and mixer or kitchen aid with your beater blade
measuring cups (I always forget this on the cast, but maybe because it's a given?)
portion scoop
cooling rack

The Ingredients:
2 sticks (1 cup) of room temperature unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons juice from the meyer lemons
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
4 meyer lemons, washed
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

extra sugar for dusting
extra meyer lemon juice for dusting sugar

The Procedure:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and place parchment paper on your sheet pans.

Start by creaming your butter and sugar together. After they become lighter and fluffier, add the eggs, zest your lemons right on top of the bowl into the wet ingredients and then squeeze the juice from the lemon and add 2 Tablespoons. Mix the eggs, juice and lemon zest just until they are incorporated and then add your flour and salt until they are just incorporated.

Mix the extra sugar and a tablespoon of the left over meyer lemon juice in a seperate bowl. It will look clumpy, but try and get as many clumps out as possible. Portion the cookie dough with a scoop into the meyer lemon sugar. Place on your sheet pans an inch apart and press down on the top of the dough, you don't want it completely flat, but enough that they won't come out of the oven looking like dough balls.

Bake the cookies for 11 minutes and allow them to continue to bake on the cookie sheets for another 5 minutes until you can transfer them to a cooling rack.

I'm fairly happy with the results! Little cookies that melt in your mouth and have a great citrus flavor!! 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Fresh baked bread!

Is there anything better in the world than the smell of fresh baked bread? I can attest that there is not. It has been snowing here in Seattle all day long! This is very unusual for Seattle, but a great time to be inside baking some bread!!

This bread is an Italian bread and is similar to the "french" bread that they sell at most grocery stores. I am using it for my Thanksgiving day stuffing! I will cut it up into cubes and bake it in the oven until it is nice and dry! It seems like such a waste of a beautiful loaf of bread, but that the dressing will be just as good!

The Cast:
Mixing bowl or your kitchen aid with hook attachment
sheet pans
parchment paper
lame (if you have one)
plastic wrap
cooking spray 
thin kitchen towel
oven safe dish

The Ingredients:
1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
2 cups lukewarm water
3/4 teaspoon barley malt syrup
5 cups of bread flour
1 Tablespoon salt
1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil

The Procedure:
 Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

In your mixing bowl add the yeast and then pour in the lukewarm water and barley malt syrup. While this is blooming, measure out your flour and salt into a bowl. Allow the yeast, water and barley malt syrup to bloom until it is looking a little foaming on top and then add your flour, salt and olive oil.

Mix all the ingredients together and mix until the dough feels elastic. Another way to test this is to take a piece of dough and spread it with your fingers to see if the gluten is developed, if it is, it will stretch apart and not break.

After it is mixed and desired elastic consistency, spray your bowl with some cooking spray and put the dough in and wrap with plastic wrap. Let bulk ferment for at least an hour. My favorite place to let it bulk ferment is in my laundry room with the dryer running! It get's all warm and humid in the room, which is perfect for fermenting bread.

Once it has done it's magic in your laundry room, take it out of the bowl, expelling the gases and cut the dough in half. Roll the two pieces of dough into about 10"-11" loaves. Place on parchment lined sheet pans with the seam side down and cover with a thin kitchen towel and place back in your warm, cozy place. Again, it is going to take about 45 minutes to an hour for it to reach to desired "double in size".

Check on the bread at 45 minutes and then slash with your lame.

After slashing let them proof for another 10 minutes or so. Then remove the towel and place in 425 degree oven with your oven safe dish filled with about an inch of water. Bake for 25 minutes. The bread should be a nice golden brown on the outside and give a nice hollow sound when thumped. 

The end result will be two beautiful loaves of bread that you can proudly butter and eat! This bread is great for sandwiches, dinner bread and for just plain eating! Enjoy! 

Edited to add: If you brush the bread with a nice, thin layer of olive oil you get a nice chewy artisan like crust!