Thursday, February 25, 2010

126. Blueberry Pancakes

Date Cooked: February 21, 2010
Page: 649
Rating: A

For those of you that follow my blog you may notice that I don’t often talk about my life beyond the meals that I cook. But today as I post this recipe I would also like to say that while I know how infrequent my posting has been it has been for good reason. On February 15th, my third child was born. I am no longer a father of two boys, now I am a father of three boys! I had better start learning to cook faster because in a few years I’ll be feeding a hungry little army.

Blueberry Pancakes is actually a variation of the Light and Fluffy Pancakes recipe in the book. Considering that the only difference between the two recipes is the addition of blueberries I figured this would be a great opportunity to cross both off the list.

The recipe is a rather basic pancake recipe. It calls for combining an egg with melted butter and milk thickened with lemon juice. Since I had buttermilk in the fridge and the recipe mentioned I could use it if it was available I went ahead and used buttermilk instead of the thickened milk. The dry ingredients were flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt. I folded the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until mixed and still lumpy (the key to fluffy pancakes).

I heated a pan until hot and then added my first quarter cup of batter. Let’s just say the batter was thick. The batter did not flow out of the measuring cup and looked more like muffin batter in the pan. I was smart though and only cooked one pancake. Once that had ‘cooked’ I devoured it to ensure quality and then thinned the batter out with another quarter cup of buttermilk. This was a lot more fluid and I began to produce pancakes like I was a factory worker. As the batter is poured into the pan blueberries are then sprinkled into the batter as it cooks. The finished products were stored in the oven, set at a low temperature, to keep warm.

Rating: A. These were tasty pancakes and they were definitely light and fluffy. This will be my go to recipe for pancakes, especially since both boys loved them. The only thing I need to do is find the right pan to cook them in. Since cooking these the first time I have already made them again. The second time I used my griddle and I am not exactly happy with it’s results. The griddle heats unevenly and the pancakes were spotty brown.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

125. Beef Chili with Kidney Beans

Date Cooked: February 7, 2010
Page: 443
Rating: B+

I’m going to start this post with a disclaimer. I am not a sports fan, a fact which has earned me a fair share of jokes from my family. That being said I don’t dislike sports, I just don’t have any real interest in watching them on TV. The Super Bowl and Stanley Cup finals are the exception of course. I can’t think of a single Super Bowl I have not watched since I was a child. So this year would be no different. I would sit down and watch the game whether anyone else cared to join me or not. And to enjoy the game I needed some good food. I figured chili was a good traditional Super Bowl choice.

If I had known how easy it would be to make this chili I would have done it much sooner. I made a quick trip to the overcrowded grocery store to pick up the fresh produce and meat needed. Apparently food and the Super Bowl go well together. The canned beans were completely gone (I’m guessing chili is a really common Super Bowl dish) so it was fortunate I didn’t need those. The chili powder was sold out, once again I already had that, and the ground meat was left to slim pickings. I was lucky there. With the ingredients I needed (plus some extra snacks), I headed home.

I figured it would probably be a wise idea to gather all the ingredients first and then prep them before cooking. I don’t do this often enough but I am glad I did because it really does speed up the cooking process. So with a pile of chopped onions and red pepper, a bowl of various spices (chili powder, cayenne, cumin, salt, oregano, coriander) and some garlic ready for the press I heated some oil in my dutch oven. With the oil nice and hot I threw in the vegetables, garlic and spices. I love the smell of cumin! I realize that it is the scent in southwest cuisine that make my mouth water! Anyway the mixture was nice and fragrant. Once the onions and peppers had softened I added the ground beef and cooked until the pink was gone (a tough task because the spices immediately make everything look brown).

When the beef was no longer pink I added the beans, diced tomatoes and crushed tomatoes. This simmered covered for an hour and then a further hour uncovered. That was it. Ready to serve with a little shredded cheese.

Rating: B+. It was easy and both my children ate some of it which was a real bonus. I found that the flavor profile was good but it did need more salt to round it out. It wasn’t overly spicy either which was great for the kids. My youngest mentioned that his mouth was sore but he kept eating anyway. Getting him used to spicy! My brother-in-law and his girlfriend came by to watch the game and they both enjoyed it. The recipe made quite a lot but by the end of the night there wasn’t even any left for me to take for lunch the next day. Guess I need to make more soon!
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