Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Yummy 'Instant' Buttermilk Pancakes

This is a recipe we saw while watching Alton Brown's show Good Eats.  This show is definitely worth your time, he has a plethora of practical information and is quite entertaining in his kookiness.  He always has the science behind the cooking, which we of course both love.  These pancakes are fabulous!  He says the reason for combining the eggs separated, one with buttermilk and the other with butter, and then together is due to the way fats bond, and while I can not remember the science behind that, make sure you do it just as he recommends.  We did and these were super yummy.  And while I do use powdered buttermilk for some baking, I do not recommend it for this, get the real stuff, baby!  We love breakfast for dinner and these sure hit our spot.  Do not overmix!!

Recipe courtesy Alton Brown
Show: Good Eats
Episode: Flap Jack Do It Again

6 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda (check expiration date first)
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar
Combine all of the ingredients in a lidded container. Shake to mix.
Use the mix within 3 months.

2 eggs, separated
2 cups buttermilk
4 tablespoons melted butter
2 cups "Instant" Pancake Mix, recipe above
1 stick butter, for greasing the pan
2 cups fresh fruit such as blueberries, if desired
Heat an electric griddle or frying pan to 350 degrees F. Heat oven to 200 degrees F.
Whisk together the egg whites and the buttermilk in a small bowl. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the melted butter.

Combine the buttermilk mixture with the egg yolk mixture in a large mixing bowl and whisk together until thoroughly combined. Pour the liquid ingredients on top of the pancake mix. Using a whisk, mix the batter just enough to bring it together. Don't try to work all the lumps out.

Check to see that the griddle is hot by placing a few drops of water onto to the griddle. The griddle is ready if the water dances across the surface.

Lightly butter the griddle. Wipe off thoroughly with a paper towel. (No butter should be visible.)

Gently ladle the pancake batter onto the griddle and sprinkle on fruit if desired. When bubbles begin to set around the edges of the pancake and the griddle-side of the cake is golden, gently flip the pancakes. Continue to cook 2 to 3 minutes or until the pancake is set.

Serve immediately or remove to a towel-lined baking sheet and cover with a towel. Hold in a warm place for 20 to 30 minutes.

Yield: 12 pancakes

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tuscan Mac 'N' Cheese

This is a super yummy, adult version of mac-n-cheese that is great as leftovers, too.  It's Kevin's favorite and was his father's day meal this year.  It comes from a magazine cooking contest in Better Homes and Gardens, and is definitely a winner in our house.  

8 oz. sweet or hot Italian Sausage, or turkey Italian sausage can be used
8 oz. elbow macaroni or gemelli pasta (2 cups) cooked and drained
8 oz. cream cheese, cut in cubes and softened
4 oz. crusty Italian bread, cut into 1 inch cubes (about 2 cups)
1 cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (4 oz)
1 Tblspn butter
1 Tblspn all-purpose flour
1 Tblspn fresh sage or 1 tsp dried crushed sage
1 tsp snipped fresh thyme or 1/4 tsp dried crushed thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups milk
1 medium tomato, sliced
2 oz shredded Asiago, Parmesan or Romano cheese (1/2 cup)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a skillet cook and crumble sausage, drain.  In a very large bowl combine sausage, cooked pasta, cream cheese, bread cubes, olives and mozzarella cheese.  Set aside.

In a medium saucepan melt butter over medium heat.  Stir in flour, sage, thyme, salt, pepper.  Add milk all at once.  Cook and stir until slightly thickened and bubbly.  Pour sauce over pasta mixture.  Stir gently.  Transfer mixture to a 2-quart casserole dish.  Bake, covered, for 35 minutes.  Uncover, top with tomato slices and Parmesan cheese.  Bake, uncovered for 15 minutes or until heated through.  Let stand 15 minutes before serving.  Sprinkle with additional thyme if desired.  Makes 6-8 servings.

We omit the olives, we are not olive people.  And the cream cheese can be added one of two ways.  If you like some clumps of cream cheese in the finished dish, do it the way the recipe says.  Or if you like it more melted through, warm up the large bowl of sausage, noodles and cheese before setting aside and stir gently to evenly coat with cheese.  

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Blackened Tilapia

I just made this tonight for dinner and was very pleased with the look and flavor. It was great with mashed potatoes! I normally do not like Tilapia as it can have a fishy taste, but with these spices this was quite tasty, not fishy tasting. Yum!

4-6 Tilapia
2 Tbls. Paprika
2 tsp salt
2 tsp lemon pepper
1.5 tsp garlic powder
1.5 tsp ground red pepper
1.5 tsp. dried, crushed basil
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 c. unsalted butter, melted


Heat iron skillet on high 5 minutes. Mix all seasonings in a bowl. Dip fillets in melted butter and coat with seasonings. Place fillets in hot skillet and cook 2 minutes on each side.