Thursday, January 29, 2009

Buckwheat pancakes

I had other plans for dinner tonight, but someone came home and said he was in the mood for pancakes. So we pancaked it. :)

2 eggs
1 tablespoon oil
1 1/4 cup milk + 1 Tbsp vinegar
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup buckwheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, oil and buttermilk.

In another bowl, combine the flours, baking powder and sugar. Add the egg mixture and stir until the flour 'disappears'.

Place a nonstick frying pan or griddle over medium heat. When a drop of water sizzles as it hits the pan, spoon 1/2 cup pancake batter into the pan. Cook until the top surface of the pancake is covered with bubbles and the edges are lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Turn and cook until the bottom is well browned and the pancake is cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Repeat with the remaining pancake batter.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Honeyed PB and and bananas

4 slices sandwich bread (we used buckwheat and flaxseed bread)
1-2 bananas
natural peanut butter

Spread peanut butter on each piece of bread. Top with sliced bananas. Drizzle honey on top. Smush together to make a sandwich. Should probably grab a napkin.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Boeuf Bordeaux

I've heard of boeuf bourguignon, so got inspired when we had beef and a little Bordeaux in the fridge

1 lbs beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch pieces
3-4 carrots, cut into thick rounds
1 lg onion, cut into 1/8ths
1-2 cups Bordeaux
2 tsp beef bouillon
bay leaf
1/2 tsp thym
1/2 tsp sage
1/2 cup flour
1 Tbsp oil
salt and pepper

Season the beef with salt and pepper, then roll in flour to coat Heat oil in a heavy saucepan over high heat. Brown the meat. Once all sides are browned, add the wine to deglaze the pan, scraping all the brown bits with a wooden spoon.

Add bay leaf, thyme, sage, bouillon. Add enough water to cover most of the meat. Cover and reduce heat to just a simmer and cook two hours.

Add the carrots and onions. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, then cover. When the carrots begin to get tender, remove the lid and cook, stirring occasionally, and until meat is very tender and sauce has thickened. Serve over rice.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Blackberry pear cobbler

1 cup blackberries, rinsed
2 pears, cut inot bite-sized pieces
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 recipe Southern Girl's biscuits

Toss fruit with cinnamon and sugar then pour into baking dish. Dot with butter. Drop biscuit mix onto fruit by spoonfuls. Bake in preheated oven at 350° until gold and bubbly.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Vegetable pot pie

1 small can white beans, drained
1 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
3 carrots, cut in half lengthwise then sliced thinly
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1 medium potato, cubed
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1/4 tsp thym
1 tsp chicken bouillon
2 tsp butter
2 tsp flour
2 cups milk
1 prepared pastry crust

Place potato, carrots, rosemary, thym and bouillon in a saucepan and add enough water to barely cover them. Bring to a gentle boil and cook until just tender. Add celery and beans. Cover and turn off heat.

In a large frying pan, melt the butter over low heat. Stir in flour with a wire whisk. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly. Do not allow the mixture to brown. Gradually stir in milk, whisking constantly. Cook over low heat for 3-5 more minutes until sauce begins to thicken.

Once the sauce thickens (think gravy) stir in the cooked vegetables and liquid from cooking. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Stir until mixed evenly.

Roll pastry crust out and place in a slightly undersized baking dish so that the edges stand above by about 1/2 inch. Pour filling into crust, then gently bring the edges in to wrap over filling a little.

Bake on 350° 25-35 minutes until browned and bubbly.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Peanut butter cookies with chocolate chips

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1 1/4 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Cream the butter. Add the sugars, then cream for two minutes. Mix in the peanut butter and egg. In a separate bowl mix together the dry ingredients - flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir into the creamed mixture, then stir in the chocolate chips.

Spoon the dough onto a cookie sheet. Space the cookies abour 2 inches apart. Bake in a preheated oven at 350° for 8-10 minutes or until golden and browned on the edges.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

10 vegetable soup

A delicious, flavorful soup that goes great with buckwheat and flaxseed bread . I used sweet potoatoes instead of white potatoes to boost flavor and nutrition. The carraway seeds give it a refreshing lift that goes well with the kick from hot sauce.

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, cut into thin rounds or small quarters
1 large sweet potatos, cut into small pieces
1 cup green beans, trimmed and cut into small pieces
2 zucchini, cut into thin rounds or small quarters
1 red or yellow pepper, diced
1 cup kernel corn, drained
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 lg can whole or crushed tomatoes
1-2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp chicken bouillon
freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp hot sauce (Scotch Bonnet)
1/4 tsp carraway seeds
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp thyme

Heat the olive oil in large, heavy-bottomed stockpot over medium-low heat. Once hot, add the onions, celery and garlic. Cook until they begin to soften, around 5 minutes. Add the carrots, sweet potatoes and green beans and continue to cook for 4 to 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.

Cover vegetables with water and increase the heat to high. Bring to a simmer. Once simmering, add the tomatoes, tomato paste, zucchini, red or yellow peppers, corn and kidney beans. Add bay leaf, thyme, carraway, hot sauce and black pepper. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 25 to 30 minutes. Serve hot.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Cheryl's cassoulet with merguez

A North African twist on a French favorite, using spicy Merguez sausages

1-2 tsp bacon fat or oil
4 merguez sausages
1 carrot, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 large can white beans
1 cup crushed tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp sage
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4-1/2 tsp salt
pinch of sugar
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs (crushed biscottes)

Heat bacon fat or oil in a cast-iron skillet on medium-high. Once hot, cook merguez sausages until dark and crispy. Set sausages aside. Cook onion, carrots and garlic in oil. Once onions are soft and start to brown, add white beans and tomatoes. Stir in herbs, salt and sugar. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.

Cut sausages into bite-sized pieces and add to beans. Sprinkle bread crumbes evenly over top. Bake at 300° for 20 minutes.

Serve hot with French bread and green salad.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Moka pot coffee (stovetop expresso)

The moka is a simple device that uses steam pressure to force water through a strainer to make espresso.
The flavor of moka pot espresso depends greatly on bean variety, roast level, fineness of grounds, and the level of stovetop heat used. Due to the higher pressures involved, the mixture of water and steam reaches temperatures well above 100°C, causing a more efficient extraction of caffeine and flavors from the grounds, and resulting in a much stronger brew when compared to that obtained by drip brewing.

Fill to line with cold water.

Place the filter in the base. Scoop finely ground coffee into filter. Do not pack it.

Screw on the upper half of the carafe. Place on stove and turn on heat to medium-high. After a few linutes, you will hear the coffee filling the carafe. When you hear it sputter (air coming out) remove from heat and serve immediately.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Buckwheat and flaxseed bread

2 1/2 tsp yeast
1 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 cups water
3 cups flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup wheat bran
2 Tbsp flaxseed
1 1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp balsamic vinegar
Oil for bowl

Pour water into a large microwave-safe bowl and heat to 120° (test it with your pinkie - it should be hot, but not so hot that you can't keep your finger in it). Stir in the sugar, then add yeast. Let sit a few minutes until foamy.

Add 2 1/2 cups of the flour, buckwheat flour, wheat bran, flaxseed, salt and vinegar to the yeast mixture and mix well with a sturdy spatula or wooden spoon. Add the last 1 cup of flour and stir in as much as possible. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. The dough will be smooth and elastic, not sticking to your hands, but maybe to the counter still a bit.

Oil the bowl and place the dough in it, rolling it in the oil. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise until doubles in size, about an hour.

Punch down the dough and shape into a ball or loaf, depending on your pan. Place in pan then quickly cut two or three slashes on the the top with a sharp knife. Cover again lightly with plastic wrap. Let rise one hour.

Heat oven to 375°. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the internal temperature is 200°.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Roasted vegetables

2 large potatoes, washed and cubed
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 onion, peeled and quartered
4-5 cloves garlic, crushed
1 lb green beans (fresh or frozen), trimmed
1-2 Tbsp chicken drippings (could use bacon fat)
salt and pepper
lemon slices

Put large ceramic or glass baking dish in oven and heat to 425°. When hot, melt chicken drippings in pan and quickly spread around with a spatula to coat edges and bottom. Add potatoes, carrots, onions and crushed garlic. Stir once or twice to mix vegetables and coat with drippings. Bake for 25 minutes or until just beginning to soften. Stir occasionally.

Add green beans on top of other vegetables and bake for another 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve with lemon slices.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Ceebu jen (Senegalese fish and rice)

There are about as many variations for spelling ceebu jen (thieboudienne, thiep bu dinenne, ceebujenn...) as there are to making it. This rice (ceeb) and fish (jen) recipe is the national dish of Senegal and can also be made with beef (ceebu yapp). If the dish looks familiar, it's because it's a descendent of paella.

Ingredients for 4 people:
2/3 to 1 cup oil
3 cups broken or small round rice
3-6 Tbsp tomato paste
4 wedges of cabbage, about 2 inches at thickest point
4 carrots
2 potatoes, sweet potatoes or other tubers, peeled (opt)
1-2 small eggplants (opt)
1-2 zucchini (opt - not authentic, but we like it)
1-2 onions sliced
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 bunch fresh parsley
dried red pepper flakes
Scotch Bonnet hot sauce, or the hottest you have
fresh lemon wedges
A word about the fish. I used four filets of smoked herring that worked really well for flavor. You can also use fresh fish, whole or filets. (If you live near an African market that sells dried, smoked fish - that's the jackpot. Add just a small handful along with the veggies.) For quantity, that's up to you. Traditionally the Senegalese would use less fish than the average American meal because of high prices and over-fished waters.

Moving on...Below are two cooking methods. The Pro version is more authentic if you're using whole fish, but the Amateur version is the way I've modified it.

Pro version: Crush together garlic, parsley, pinch of salt and pepper and dried hot pepper. Rinse the fish. Make 3-4 holes in the fish and stuff with seasoning mixture. Heat oil in large saucepan. Add sliced onions and pinch of salt. Cook for five minutes.

Amateur version: Heat oil in large saucepan. Fry fish filets until golden. Add onions and garlic, chopped parsley, dried hot pepper and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for five minutes.

Dilute tomato paste with 1/2 cup water and add to pot. Add 6 cups water and largely chopped vegetables. (I put the cabbage wedges on top to keep them from breaking up too much.) Let simmer over medium heat until veggies are tender. Remove veggies and fish and 1/2 cup liquid.

Use the remaining broth to cook the rice. Add rice and cover. Reduce heat and cook until all liquid is absorbed and you begin to smell the rice on the bottom of the pan toasting.

Once cooked, Spread the rice out on a large platter. Arrange the fish and veggies in the center, then sprinkle the remaining 1/2 broth over top. Sprinkle with lemon juice.
Normally you eat from this common bowl, not from individual plates, with your right hand. The hostess will divide up the fish and veggies on to each person's rice portion in front of them. Take a piece of fish or veggies and some rice in your right hand. Squeeze to make a ball and pop it into your mouth.