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Healthy(ish) Pancakes

Makes about 16 4-inch pancakes

1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 cups skim milk
2 cups AP flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons ground flax seed
1 large egg
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen, preferably wild)
1-2 teaspoons vegetable oil for pan

  • Whisk lemon juice and milk together in a large measuring cup; set aside to thicken while you prepare the other ingredients. If you have buttermilk, you can use it instead of the milk and lemon juice combo…but if you don’t want to run to the store for buttermilk on a Sunday morning, use lemon juice and skim…it still tastes great!
  • Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and flax seed in a medium bowl to combine.

 

  • Whisk the egg, mashed bananas and melted butter into the milk until combined (make sure the butter is cooled enough that it won’t start to cook the egg or make the milk rancid). Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients in the bowl. Pour in the milk mixture and mix very gently until just combined. A few lumps should remain—do not overmix!
  • Heat a 12 inch nonstick skillet over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. * Add 1 teaspoon of oil and brush to coat the bottom of the skillet evenly. Pour ¼ cup batter onto three spots on the skillet. Sprinkle 1 Tablespoon of blueberries over each pancake just after pouring batter into the pan (some people add them to the mix at the beginning, but adding them later keeps the berries intact and bleed free).
  • Cook the pancakes until large bubbles begin to appear—about 1 ½ or 2 minutes. Flip the pancakes using a wide and thin spatula and cook 1 ½ to 2 minutes longer. Add more vegetable oil only if necessary.
  • Serve Immediately**

*Is the pan hot enough? Make a test pancake about the size of a half dollar (use 1 Tablespoon of batter.) If, after 1 minute, the pancake is blond in color, the pan is not hot enough. If it’s golden brown, the pan is the right temperature. If you try to speed up this process by heating the pan at a higher temp, your pancake will be dark and unevenly cooked and you will be full of shame. Don’t do it.
**If you want to serve all the pancakes at the same time, put them on a greased rack set on a baking sheet in a 200 degree oven. Do not cover. They will hold for about 20 minutes before they get soggy so cook quickly!

Shellfish with Thai Red Curry Broth*

Steamed shellfish is always a great way to make a quick dinner.  It’s been a crazy week, and I knew this Foodie Family would need a speedy supper tonight.  I modified this recipe by Bobby Flay for my dish and it was very tasty.  I usually make mussels with white wine and garlic, but I was in the mood for something a little spicy tonight so I decided to use Thai flavors in the broth.  I forgot to take a finish of the finished product, but the mise en place was beautiful, and the entire dish PLUS homemade chocolate chip cookies was ready in less than 30 minutes.  Winner, winner shellfish dinner!

 

Ingredients

2 tablespoons peanut oil
3 tablespoons ginger, minced or finely chopped (I grated mine on a microplane)
1 stalk lemongrass, crushed
1 tablespoon chili paste (be careful…add a little at a time)
1/2 cup white wine
1 can unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup chicken broth (optional)
2 tablespoons fish sauce (nam pla)
2 fresh limes
.75 pounds cockles, scrubbed
1.5 pounds littleneck clams
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro stems, plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
4 tablespoons chopped Thai basil or Italian basil leaves

Directions

Heat the oil in a heavy Dutch oven on the grates until shimmering.  Add the ginger and stir until fragrant.  Add the lemongrass, chili paste, wine, chicken broth, coconut milk, fish sauce, and lime juice and bring to a simmer, whisking. Add the clams, cover the pot, and let steam 2-3 minutes.  Add cockles, and steam an additional 1-2 minutes until the shells open. During the last minute of cooking, add the cilantro and basil. Serve from Dutch oven into individual bowls, discarding the lemongrass.  
 
Serve with crusty bread and a delicious wine (I recommend Riesling or Zinfandel with this dish)
 
*This dish was originally titled “Clams and Cockles in Thai Red Curry Broth” but Food-C was worried it might entice people looking for a different kind of website…

Spice is the…..Spice of Life!

How does your (herb) garden grow?  My herb garden always outgrows my needs so last year I roasted the bushel basket of peppers (very hot peppers) and dried the rosemary and oregano. I had plenty to share with the entire foodie family and a use for those glass herb jars I have been saving for years!

The spice of summer kept the spice of life in our food during the cold winter.

Tip on pepper roasting- keep the oven fan on and use gloves to handle the peppers. 

Make your own Pizza Party!

 

Wednesday seems like a L-O-N-G time ago.  Probably because I’ve been in a little slice of paradise called the San Ysidro Ranch  since Thursday and coming back last night was sort of like walking into the full-on midday sun the morning after your 21st birthday…with no sunglasses.  Okay, maybe not that bad.  But I didn’t want to leave.  More about that in my next post.  This post is dedicated to the good time I had before I left!

We had our neighbors over for dinner on Wednesday night.  Basically, I generically invited them over the week before for dinner and swimming, and then I forgot to actually follow up with a date.  Once I remembered, I was already booked for dinner the rest of the week.  I invited them to come over on Wednesday the following week (which was last week…are you lost yet?) and then began brainstorming what kind of dinner I could make that had little (no) cleanup and would satisfy both kids and adults.

About that time, I opened June’s Cooking Light to the “Fresh Summer Pizzas” section and decided we would bring back an old party we used to throw all the time in Law School: Make Your Own Pizza Night!  We have an amazing pizza stone that’s designed for our grill, and if you buy the dough, making your pizza is a snap.  I think Cooking Light said it best: “Invite friends over, scoop up some fresh ingredients, and throw and easy pie party…start with the dough.  Fast and simple means store-bought, not homemade.”  Exactly, CL, you’re speaking my language.  We called a local pizza joint, Pie Hole and ordered 5 large doughs.  Tuesday night, I roasted eggplant, squash, zucchini and onion.  I also bought mushrooms (which I sauteed Wednesday), kalamata olives, pepperonis, canadian bacon, shredded and whole mozzerella*, parmasean, romano, ricotta, tomatoes**, spinach (also sauteed), garlic, tomato sauce and pesto.  

I left the pizza dough out when my husband brought it home and that made it easy to stretch into pizza form.  Then, I put it on a cookie sheet covered with corn meal (to prevent it from sticking) and let my guests team up to make their pizzas.  They could add whatever toppings they wanted, and then we baked the pizzas for about 10-15 minutes!  I made the Three Cheese Pizza with Spinach and thought it was pretty good.  My husband and another guy made a “man pizza” which came to be called the “POTN” (pizza of the night).  The kids had fun making “patterns” with the pepperoni and tomato.

 

One of our neighbors brought Sangria.  I will ask her for the recipe to post it, but I know the primary ingredient was Carlo Rossi jug wine.  It was dangerously delicious.

 

I also made a three berry pie for dessert.  My husband said it wasn’t “real” pie because it had a crumble on top instead of a lattice top, but I thought it was delicious.  I got the recipe from Nepenthe in Big Sur, and I’m calling it Hippie Pie because the instead of a cook time, the recipe advised to bake until “the top is golden and bubbles rage”. HA!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Mozzerella is so squashy it’s really difficult to cut without it completely losing its composition.  I found that freezing the mozzarella in the package and then taking it out when it’s hard (that’s what she said) makes it way easier to slice.

**Put the sliced tomatoes on a jelly roll pan lined with paper towels for 20 minutes before you put them on the pizza.  It makes the pizza less soggy.

Three-Cheese White Pizza with Spinach and Tomatoes

Hippie Pie

 

Taco Tuesday!

Esta noche comimos los tacos!

And in my expert opinion, they were…eh.  I invented the recipe on the fly and HB added ingredients with every walk by.  We make street tacos all the time, but this time we were trying to replicate some tacos we ate at a hole in the wall a few miles away called Tacos El-Rinconcito.

Last time we went to this particular taco tienda, we ended up asking for our food to go because on Saturday, Tacos El-Rinconcito has a strict “we only serve people with neck tattoos” policy and we had Foodie Baby with us.  We love the tacos at El-Rinconcito (we usually eat there during the week) because they shred the chicken instead of chopping it, and it seems like they must add it back into the pan with onions and garlic just before putting it on the tortilla because it is always very juicy and a bit crispy.

When I was putting together the ingredients for this dish, I realized that the El-Rinconcito secret isn’t in the shredding method, it’s actually in the TYPE (or more specifically, part) of the chicken they use.  Instead of using the healthy chicken breast like the other tacos places, El-Rinconcito uses chicken thighs!  That’s why they’re so juicy! AHA!

In order to keep it authentic (wink) I also decided to use chicken thighs.  I started with onions, garlic, poblano pepper and jalapeno and sauteed it with olive oil for about 2 minutes.  Then I added the chicken.  At which point HB entered the kitchen and added: salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and sriracha.

I let the chicken thighs simmer for about 5 minutes on each side, covering the pan after I flipped the chicken.  While the chicken was cooking, we steamed corn tortillas using our super sophisticated steaming method* and chopped the cilantro.

The meal was easy and flavorful.  We ate it with lime rice and a salad with avacado, feta and mixed greens.  I thought it was just ok, but HB really enjoyed it.  Maybe I just needed some wine to enjoy it properly…or a few neck tattoos.

*Super sophisticated tortilla steaming: Place a veggie steaming basket inside a pot.  Fill the pot with about 1/4 inch of water and bring it to a boil.  Balance the tortilla atop the steamer basket for about 20 seconds.  Repeat.

Hip-E’s Street Tacos El-Rinconcito 

  • 2 lbs. chicken thighs
  • 1 sliced poblano pepper, divided
  • 1 sliced jalapeno, divided
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped purple onion, divided
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup tomato, chopped
  • a few shakes of cayenne pepper
  • a squirt of sriracha
  • salt and pepper
  • corn tortilla
  • 2 T olive oil

1.  Sautee the 1/2 of the jalapeno and poblano peppers, 1/4 cup of onion, and garlic in 2 Tablespoons of olive oil, about 2 minutes.

2.  Add chicken in a single layer.  Meanwhile, chop the cilantro and begin the super sophisticated tortilla steaming (see method above).

3.  After about 5 minutes, flip the chicken.  Cover the pan with a lid.

4.  Chop the chicken into small pieces, place atop the tortilla and top with raw onion, tomato and cilantro.  Muy bueno!