Gingerbread Waffles from King Arthur Flour

My Baking Sheet from King Arthur Flour arrived on Friday.  As with my recent copy of Entertaining from Cook's Illustrated, there are many recipes in this issue I'll just have to try.  I started with the Gingerbread Waffles with Apple Brown Sugar Syrup.

A month or so ago, maybe it wasn't that long, I made pumpkin pancakes with cinnamon syrup from the Noble Pig.  They are to-die-for I kid you not!  It's like having dessert for breakfast.  Would these waffles be as good?  I like gingerbread and I'm a little "pumpkined out" right now so I was hoping these would be good.

The syrup was easy.  I sauteed some diced apple in butter then added brown sugar, water, corn syrup and the "optional" ingredient, rum!  I asked Dave to go get me some rum from the bar.  He asked if I wanted the 151.  Um, no honey, I want this to taste good!  The only reason we have 151 in the house is so we can make Butterscotch Bananas with Vanilla Ice Cream.  So some good dark rum went into the syrup!

I've made lots of waffles and most recipes call for whipped egg whites.  This one didn't so I was a little worried I'd get a really dense waffle.  The waffles call for both regular unbleached flour and whole wheat flour.  Yay!  They're "good for you!"  OK then you add four eggs, 6 tablespoons of butter, milk and sour cream.  So they are just kind of good for you?  In addition to the must haves like baking powder, baking soda and salt, the waffles are flavored with ginger, nutmeg, cloves and molasses.  The batter is beautiful!

Into the waffle iron they go and a few minutes later out comes a crunchy on the outside, light and fluffy on the inside waffle that tastes like Christmas!  Dave took a bite and said "Mmmm, gingerbread cookie with rum sauce!"  He approved.  I thought they were very good as well.  Though I didn't think they tasted like a gingerbread cookie.  They aren't that sweet.  There's a light ginger flavor that goes beautifully with the sweet apples and syrup.  If it were just for me I'd leave the rum out, I'm not a big fan of rum, but Dave thought the syrup was perfect.

I joked about how good, or not so good, these waffles are for you.   King Arthur Flour always puts the nutritional information for each recipe with the recipe.  So if you're curious, the waffles are 222 calories each with 7g protein, 23 carbs, 11g fat and 2g fiber.  That, of course, is if you make 10 waffles out of this batter.  Our waffle iron is a Belgian variety so we only got 5 waffles out of the batter.

One final note, after consuming this delicious breakfast I took the dogs out for their walk.  When we got home the house still smelled wonderful! 

New recipes, over excitement, spoiled dinner!

A few weeks ago the latest issue of Cook's Illustrated Entertaining arrived at our house.  As usual I couldn't wait to open it up and by the time I was through I had 13 pages marked!

I got over excited I think.  I do that with new recipes sometimes, try to do too much new at one sitting.  This is one of those times, and I destroyed some perfectly good steaks!

I was going to make a wonderful dinner.  Three brand new recipes that all sounded so good.  They all had thyme in them.  They were going to go together perfectly!  We've been eating so well lately that I was sure this was going to be another dinner that was a smashing success.

What was I making?  Well, in the magazine was a recipe for horseradish crusted beef tenderloin.  It sounded interesting and had flavors both Dave and I love like horseradish, shallot, garlic and thyme.  And it had something new I'd never tried before, making "breading" from grated potatoes!

We don't need a big tenderloin for just the two of us and we still had some great Butternut Woods steaks in the freezer so why not crust a couple of those?  So that's what I did.

Step one was to salt the meat, wrap it in plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for an hour.  Step one, that's where my dinner disaster started.  I didn't think.  I wasn't making a big tenderloin, I was making a couple of grass-fed steaks.   You don't salt grass fed steaks.  I know this.  I knew it then.  I didn't think.  The steaks were already ruined, I just didn't know it yet.

So with my steaks wrapped in plastic I started on the rest of the dinner which would include caramelized onion and potato gratin and maple glazed Brussels sprouts.

The potatoes would take the longest so I got those started.  As the name suggests you need to caramelize onions.  Lucky for me, Mr. Kimble and the rest of the Cook's staff figured out how to caramelize the onions more quickly than the normal 45 minutes.  The addition of a little brown sugar does the trick!

Once the onions are browned they are set aside and the cream is made.  This was pretty easy too.

The potatoes for this dish need to be thinly sliced.  I love my mandolin for this.  It makes very quick work of slicing or shredding just about anything.  I use it all the time!

I shingled half the potatoes in the dish, added the onions, then the rest of the potatoes, poured the cream over the top then topped with shredded cheese.  The recipe called for Gruyere which would have been amazing but I had a lot of manchego in the house from another recipe so I just used that!  It worked just fine, and unlike my poor steaks, the potatoes were quite good.

Once the potatoes were in the oven I got back to my steaks.  I had to make the horseradish crust.  This was the most interesting "crust" I've ever made.  There were 8 ingredients in the dry part of the crust alone!  Panko is browned in a little olive oil.  Once cooled it is tossed with horseradish, parsley, shallot, garlic and thyme!  And we're not done yet!  Next was the most interesting ingredient.

Have you ever fried (like deep fried) russet potatoes then crumbled them up as part of a breading?  Me neither!  That's exactly what you do here.  I got out my trusty mandolin again and grated potatoes.  These are then fried in, according to the recipe, a cup of vegetable oil!  Yea, no I'm sure it didn't need a cup.  And it didn't, half a cup worked just fine!

Once the potatoes are well browned they are allowed to cool.  Once cool you put them in a plastic bag and crush them and finally they are added to the panko mixture.  That's a lot of ingredients in a breading!

The meat is seared then allowed to rest on a rack over a baking sheet.  This is so the "juices can drain off before applying the paste and the crumbs".

My already ruined meat was patted dry and brushed with a mixture of mayo, Dijon mustard and unflavored gelatin.  Supposedly the gelatin helps keep the breading on the meat when you cut it as opposed to it just falling off.

I coated my steaks with the gelatin mixture then coated them in the breading and placed them on a broiler pan.  They were supposed to cook on a rack in a sheet pan but none of my racks are oven safe.  Yes, that will go on the wish list!  Again, I wasn't thinking.  The reason for the rack on the pan was so that juices could run off and not make the crust soggy.  My poor meat was so dried out at this point it was almost jerky and I was still not thinking!

The final dish for this wonderful dinner was maple glazed Brussels sprouts.  There wasn't much to these.  The sprouts are browned in a dutch oven and then a little maple syrup, cider vinegar and herbs are added.  They are simmered until soft, the liquid is then evaporated off and a little more vinegar and some butter are added.  These were delicious.  I really enjoyed the bite the vinegar gave them!

So dinner was served.  I'd been in the kitchen for almost 3 hours and I was ready to eat.  I cut my steak.  Well, I tried to cut my steak.  Why was it so hard to cut?  Why is it so hard to chew?  I know these were good steaks, we've had them before?  Why is this so awful?  And then I thought.  I thought about all the steps and what I had done to my poor steaks!  I won't do that again!

Barring the destroyed meat, I wasn't terribly thrilled with the crust.  I thought it was overwhelmingly horseradish flavored.  Don't get me wrong I love horseradish but with all the other ingredients in the crust, including the fried potatoes, I was expecting a bunch of flavors to come out and all I really got was horseradish.

So I ate potatoes and Brussels sprouts for dinner!  The potatoes were good, though I really didn't get much flavor from the caramelize onions so I'm not sure I'll make the effort to make them again.  The Brussels sprouts were very good but I can just add a little vinegar (maybe even balsamic) as a finish after roasting and they will be just as good.

It's been over a week since this disaster in my kitchen.  I had all the pictures from making dinner and I couldn't wait to tell the world about it.... well, here you go!  I guess everything can't come out perfect!  I'll admit I'm a little worried about trying all the other recipes I flagged now.  I just have to remember to think!

Onion Rolls from Noble Pig - Addicting!

If you frequent this blog then you know I'm addicted to recipes posted on the Noble Pig website.  Not one has been a disappointment!  Which is something I wish I could say about Cook's Illustrated this weekend, but that's another story....

Because we've been enjoying so many of the Noble Pig recipes and I've become somewhat of a Noble Pig stalker, we decided it might be time to try the wine.  Dave really likes Pinot Noir and he especially likes Washington and Oregon pinot noirs and the more they taste like the dirt in which they are grown the better.   I like some pinot noirs and I prefer they taste like the grape!

A few weeks ago I ordered some Noble Pig wine (ok, yes, I joined another wine club, don't tell my mother!) and I didn't think it would be right to drink it out of any old glass so I ordered a couple Noble Pig wine glasses as well.  Imagine my surprise and delight when they were Riedel Pinot Noir glasses!  Yes, there's a special glass just for pinot noir.  If you haven't taken a Riedel class to learn which wines taste best in which glasses I highly recommend it.  You will be amazed at how differently the wines taste based on the glass from which you drink it.

This week the wine and the glasses arrived and I planned a "Noble Pig Dinner".  I was definitely making Hoisin Pork Tenderloin, it's one of our absolute favorite preparations for pork tenderloin.  I hadn't made the Salt and Vinegar Potatoes in a while either so they went on the menu.  For our vegetable I made Roasted Brown Sugar-Five Spice Butternut Squash.  We've had all of these before so I wanted to add a new one.

We absolutely love the onion bread served at Joan's in the Park and as luck would have it Noble Pig had an onion roll recipe so that was that, I made No-Knead Onion Rolls.

This is a  no knead recipe which makes it simple to throw together.

You start by caramelizing the onions in a little oil and sugar.  I used my Nocellara olive oil from the Olive Grove of course.  What smells better than sauteing onions?  Not much!

Bloom a little yeast in warm water (those of you who fear yeast need not, just sprinkle the yeast over the water and wait 5 minutes).  To this eggs, butter, sugar, salt, 3/4 of the onions and flour are added until a "sticky" dough is formed.  Let me just elaborate on that, a very sticky dough!

This is allowed to rise for an hour before you form it into 16 rolls.  The recipe says to use well-floured hands to make the rolls.  I'll elaborate again, very well-floured hands!

Once you have the rolls in your greased 13x9 pan you are supposed to sprinkle the remaining onions on top.  Well I missed that step and went right into the second rising.  No worries, I added them after the dough had risen and they turned out just fine!

Once the rolls have risen a second time pop them in a 400 degree oven and out come the most wonderful onion rolls.  They smell so good, fresh baked bread combined with caramelized onions!  And the flavor is so good, sweet bread with sweet and slightly salty onion.  I just couldn't stop eating them!

What will I do different next time?  I'll make them half the size.  These are pretty big rolls.  And that way, as an added bonus, I won't feel so bad when I eat two (or three) of them.  I wonder if they make good French toast like the Joan's in the Park bread?  I might have to try that!

Our Noble Pig dinner!

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

I like chicken pot pie.  I never make it because to make it "right" you need heavy cream and a lard crust and my hips don't really need anymore heavy cream or lard!  So when I saw this recipe from SkinnyTaste I decided to try it.  I thought it would be a perfect thing to make that would be easy to throw in my lunch for work.

This recipe is very simple!  Here's a LINK.

The soup is started by simmering milk and a little water.  To this chopped celery, onions and mushrooms (I left those out, I don't like mushrooms!) and a bag of frozen vegetables are added along with a little chicken bouillon, pepper and thyme.  I found this great medley of asparagus, corn and baby carrots!

Once the veggies are soft, two chopped potatoes are added and the soup simmers some more.  Finally the chicken is added with salt and pepper to taste.  The recipe calls for a pound of cooked chicken breast and even suggests poaching raw chicken in water for 15 minutes if you don't have cooked chicken (yuck!).  I was lazy and didn't want to throw some on the grill (which is how I would probably cook the chicken if I wasn't being lazy) and just bought a rotisserie chicken and used that.  Simple.

The soup is then thickened with a mixture of flour and water and viola, chicken pot pie soup!  I served it with a little sourdough bread.

This soup is easy and delicious and filling!  A cup was plenty.  I think the rotisserie chicken added great flavor.  I have enough for an entire week's worth of lunches which is even better!  What would I do differently next time?  Well, I'd use the same bag of mixed veggies but add more baby carrots.  Oh and peas!  It needs peas!  I'm also thinking that pearl onions would be fun rather than chopping regular onions!

Jack-O-Lantern Candy Bucket Cake - Practice!

I knew I was going to make this cake the day my FoodNetwork magazine arrived.  I love their fun cakes and I've done several of them including the Cheeseburger Cake, Candy Bar Cake and perhaps my favorite, the Spaghetti and Meatballs Cake!

This was my practice effort at this cake.  I will be having a drawing later in the month as a fundraiser for my Breast Cancer 3-Day walk.  For a small donation to my walk I'll be giving away chances to win an exact (well not exactly, I'll do better next time!) replica of this cake.  How fun will that be at your Halloween party?

So how do you make it?  You start with two Bundt cakes and an 8" round.  My Bundt pans aren't identical, one is an old metal one and the other is Pampered Chef stoneware so they came out a little different in shape but the same diameter which was good!

Once the cakes are baked and cooled the bottom of the "pumpkin" is frosted.  Add the middle layer, the 8" round cake, and frost the top of that.  Next time I'll do a 9" round however.  The 8" round left a big gap that I had to fill with frosting.

Finally add the second bundt to the top and frost the entire thing with orange frosting.  At this point the cake weighs a ton!  Into the frig it goes to firm up a bit while you make the fondant.

I made the fondant as directed.  Next time I won't.  I think I'll roll it thinner for one thing.  Who actually likes the taste of fondant?  And I won't taper the edges as much as they showed in the pictures, especially at the bottom!  It left big gaps.  I noticed that their cake was on a plate that had a high edge so you can't see the bottoms of their strips!  This particular unsightliness will be fixed for the "real" cake. 

Next you cut out the face and fill it in with chocolate frosting.  I'll admit I rushed this tonight so it's a little sloppy but this was just for practice right?

The other thing I changed from the FN directions was the top.  In their directions they say to cut a one-inch deep circle in the top of the cake.  This is after it's frosted and there's no instruction to refrost!  So next time I'll cut the hole out before I do the fondant and frost it so lots of treats will fit.  This time I just put a little plastic wrap in the hole to keep the candy wrappers clean.  It worked!

So what do you think?  Want one of these for your Halloween party?  Watch my 3-Day Blog site for details!

Mmm Mmm Good & Good for You Apples & Cinnamon Breakfast Quinoa

My husband and I are heading back to the wine country of California for Thanksgiving this year.  I can't wait.  I love it there.  When we win the lottery we're moving to Healdsburg!  But until then we just have to visit every once in a while.

In order to make sure I can zip my jeans, sit down, and breath all at the same time, I'm trying to get a few extra pounds off before we go.  When I need great recipes that are good for me and made with real ingredients (non-fat cheese is not cheese... I'm not even sure if it's really food!) I gravitate to the SkinnyTaste blog.  On that website you will find great recipes for snacks, any meal of the day and desserts!  I plan on making the Chicken Pot Pie Soup later today!

I've had the Apples & Cinnamon Breakfast Quinoa on my list of things to try for a while.  It's a cold, drizzly day here today, perfect for a nice warm comforting breakfast.

Here is a LINK to the recipe.  I made a few adjustments to suit our tastes.

First, I didn't have a full cup of red quinoa (our favorite) so I mixed it with regular old quinoa.  Pretty, right?  Make sure you rinse the quinoa well.  If you don't it tastes a little bitter.

Also, Dave and I aren't big fans of golden raisins so I don't stock them either.  We used regular old raisins!  Instead of the gala apple I used a Honeycrisp (I love them!) and lucky for us I had made homemade applesauce last week!

The recipe called for pecans as well.  I like them toasted so I added that step.

It all comes together pretty easily.  The quinoa, a little cinnamon and a little vanilla are boiled in water for about 15 minutes.  To this yummy mixture you add the applesauce, raisins and some warmed milk.
Top it off with the apples, pecans and a sprinkle of cinnamon and breakfast is served.

I really liked this!  The quinoa itself has a little nutty flavor then you'd get a punch of nut with the toasted pecans.  In one mouthful you get all that nutty flavor, but also sweet from the apples and raisins and who doesn't like a little cinnamon this time of year!  The quinoa is soft but not mushy and the apples and nuts are crunchy so you get everything in this little dish!

My husband loved it two, he went back for more twice!

A serving is 316 calories with 8 grams of fat and 53 grams of carbs.  But it also has 6 grams of fiber and 9 grams of protein so theoretically it should keep you full.  Theoretically.  I found myself wanting more!

Homemade Pita Bread

Jalapenos have come in at Farmer's Market which has me thinking of all recipes jalapeno.  I'll probably can some too, but that will ...

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