Everything smells like Peaches

PeachStrawberryMuffin1

The stars are in some sort of an alignment today. I know they are. The house smells of freshly baked peaches and we just ate something so incredibly good that I heard an exclamation of “that is the best muffin I’ve ever had!” I am very smugly pleased with myself.
 
We’ve been going seriously strawberry crazy for the past few weeks. You don’t even want to know how much friendly fire there has been. Strawberries are low in calories and loaded with vitamins and minerals. They are delicious on their own, sun kissed and juicy. But lately, these wonderful gems have been attracting all sorts of fat and calories from the most incredible shortcakes ever with rum scented whipped cream (which didn’t stay in the house long enough for pictures or blog entries, even though we went through five rounds of them), to all manner of breakfast goodies (we’re talking waffles, french toast and any number of variations on pancakes). The strawberries somehow got ahead of the cooking this week. We already had two baskets of them in the fridge when I thought it was a good idea to buy another three pack on Sunday. When I got to the seriously ripe berries today, I saw casualties and it wasn’t going to get any prettier.
 
Most people’s first instinct in this situation is to make jam or some sort of sauce. I kept thinking about the outrageous scones I ate at a long closed down seaside café years ago. The scones were baked with a layer of fresh bananas, strawberries and peaches. An odd baked good, the scones were a bit mushy from the fruit, but the flavor and freshness of the just baked fruit was outstanding. I was so sad when the café closed down. I have been thinking about those scones for years. It got me thinking that the berries would be good baked into something.
 
I started looking online for a scone or muffin or quick bread recipe. I found a recipe for strawberry muffins that looked pretty basic. The comments from readers of this website agreed that the muffins had potential but were bland until the person did this, or that, or this other thing or yet another thing. Armed with a dozen suggestions the basic recipe and my usual idea of what ingredients a muffin should contain, I set to work. I realized that I had a peach sitting in a bowl on the counter that was now soft but needing to be used. Once I was done, my recipe had nothing to do with the original recipe.
 
The house, where ever you go, in any room now smells like freshly baked peaches. The muffins are amazing. The texture is moist for a whole grain muffin, the flavor is almost erotic with the heady scent of spices and the sweetness of the fruit and orange zest. The tops baked high and became crispy when they browned. Yes, I agree. These are the best muffins I have ever had too.
 
PeachStrawberryMuffin2
 
 Peach strawberry muffins 
 
 2 ¾ cups whole grain pastry flour
 
½ cup brown sugar
 
¼ cup evaporated cane juice or granulated sugar
 
2 tsp baking powder
 
¾ tsp salt
 
1 tsp cinnamon
 
½ tsp powdered ginger
 
¼ tsp allspice
 
Zest of one orange
 
2 eggs, beaten
 
¼ cup orange juice
 
1/3 cup olive oil
 
½ cup milk
 
1 tsp vanilla extract
 
¾ cup peeled, diced fresh peach
 
¾ cup diced strawberries
 
Olive oil spray
 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray two six up muffin tins liberally with olive oil spray.
 
In a large bowl, mix flour, both kinds of sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and orange zest until combined.
 
In another bowl, mix beaten eggs, orange juice, olive oil, milk, and vanilla extract until well combined.
 
Toss the fruit into the flour mixture, taking care to make sure the fruit is covered in the flour mixture. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and stir carefully with a rubber spatula until the ingredients are just combined being careful not to over mix or damage the fruit. Divide the batter evenly between the twelve muffin cups, filling to the top. Bake 25 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the muffins comes out clean.
 
Let the muffins cool for just a minute and then carefully (don’t burn yourself) remove the muffins from the tins and transfer to a wire rack. (Taking them out of the tins will keep them dry and crunchy). Let them cool a bit. Enjoy warm or completely cooled.

Mmmmmmm! Pancakes!

Orange Sourdough Pancakes

It’s time to cook with another blogger.  This yummy recipe for orange sourdough pancakes comes from Biker Chickz recipe blog.  I stumbled on to this recipe one day when looking for new things to do with sourdough.  I cook a lot of pancakes and tend to stick to my old classics so I kept forgetting to try something new until today.  I’m really glad that I tried these!

Since I always want my pancakes to be a little more whole grainy than most, I made some of my typical changes to the recipe.  I used whole wheat pastry flour for the additional flour (my starter is white flour), I used half the sweetener and substituted honey for sugar and then I used olive oil in place of the butter.  For the original recipe and what looks like a very tasty orange syrup go here (we had these with real maple syrup).

Despite my monkeying around with the recipe before I can even try it out, the pancakes came out beautifully!  They were thin and crêpe like.  The flavor of the sourdough was malty and grainy yet wonderfully enhanced by the orange juice.  The pancakes came out a yellow golden color from the fresh orange juice.  We were going to eat the pancakes with yogurt and strawberries, but I had to strip my plate down to just maple syrup and pancakes.  The pancakes were too delicious on their own to be covered up by competing flavors.

Thank you Becky the Biker Chick.  I’ll make these pancakes again and again!

Orange Sourdough Pancakes redux

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

1 tbsp honey

2 eggs

1 cup active sourdough starter

1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice

3 tbsp olive oil

In a large bowl, stir together whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  In another medium sized bowl, beat the eggs.  Whisk the following into the eggs:  honey, sourdough starter, orange juice and olive oil.  Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just moistened.  Let stand for 5 – 10 minutes.  Batter will be bubbly!

Preheat an electric griddle to 325 degrees.  Ladle out the pancakes so that they are about 4” in diameter.  Let cook until dry and bubbly on the sides (about 2 -3 minutes).  Flip pancakes and cook for about another minute until golden brown.

The best use for a tiny ciabatta roll

smoked-salmon-ciabatta

Since I baked up my teensy ciabatta rolls, people all week have been telling me that size doesn’t matter.  I decided to listen to them and enjoy them in the form of a diminutive breakfast sandwich.  After all, I love tea sandwiches and they make up for their size by sheer force of will.  Any good tea sandwich will be loaded with creamy, sweet, smoky, meaty, eggy flavors.  A tea sandwich is so rich that a smaller size is almost required so that the eater is not overwhelmed.

 

I haven’t gone to a favorite breakfast place of mine in awhile but that particular restaurant had the best bagels I have ever had (which probably isn’t saying much since I have never had a New York bagel, but trust me, these were pretty amazing bagels!).  One way they served their delicious bagels was as a smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwich.  I decided the mini ciabattas would make a great stand in for those wonderful bagels and once I heated them in the oven so that the crusts crisped back up and the insides became warm and soft from the heat, I had an amazing breakfast on my hands. 

 

Most smoked salmon sandwiches seem to be made with the kind of smoked salmon that comes in slices.  I prefer the chunks of smoked salmon instead.  I am lucky to have Trader Joes where I live and they currently have wild caught smoked king salmon.  The salmon is merely cut into half-pound slabs of salmon filet on the skin and then smoked.  I prefer it this way because the salmon seems meatier yet delicate in texture.  That texture is just right for such a rustic sandwich as this.

 

Smoked Salmon Sandwich

For each sandwich:

 

1 mini ciabatta roll, small multigrain bagel or two diagonal slices of

baguette (or the bread of your choice)

 

2 oz smoked salmon filet

 

1 tbsp whipped light cream cheese or regular cream cheese

 

Thinly sliced red onion to taste

 

Capers to taste

 

If using the ciabatta roll or a bagel, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  When the oven has warmed, put the bread in the oven to warm for about 3-5 minutes.  Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool slightly before slicing it open.  If the center of the bread is still very hot, let it cool slightly, then spread cream cheese on both halves.  Sprinkle the thinly sliced red onions onto the sandwich halves and then top with sliced salmon.  Sprinkle liberally with capers.  Enjoy!

 

Weekend pancake blogging

I’m back if only temporarily. I’m working out one of life’s “little” challenges and have been eating restaurant food more than food from my own kitchen.  So… not a lot to blog about.  I really miss doing this and hope that anyone still hanging on out there, having patience with me, will keep being patient and wait for my life to become something vaguely resembling it’s former self. 

 

I have to admit something to you.  I have been holding back a pancake recipe.  It’s actually something I put together years ago and it is the recipe I go to often.  These are two-grain pancakes but the second grain is surprising. I created a whole-wheat pancake but switched out some of the flour for brown rice flour.  Brown rice flour has no gluten so using it in these pancakes gives the finished product a lighter texture and a nuttier flavor.  These pancakes can be made with buttermilk, which makes them thin, and almost crepe like.  The best way to make them however is to mix one part plain nonfat yogurt with one part milk for the liquid in the recipe and let the batter stand a few minutes before cooking the pancakes.  You will be rewarded with a thick, tall pancake with amazing flavor and texture.  Perfect for stacking.  Perfect for loading up with goodies. 

 

Today’s breakfast featured bananas cooked inside the pancakes until they caramelized.  We had the sweetest fresh strawberries so we generously loaded them on top of the pancakes with yogurt, maple syrup and wheat germ.  As the summer progresses, use any fruit that tickles your fancy either on or in the pancakes.  All berries except strawberries can be cooked into the cakes.  Stone fruit such as peaches and nectarines are also excellent cooked in the pancakes.  Toast pecans, walnuts or almonds to sprinkle on top.  You deserve it.

 

Mimi’s wheat and rice cakes 

 

½ cup brown rice flour

1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour

½ tsp baking powder

¾ tsp baking soda

1 egg

1 cup nonfat yogurt mixed with 1 cup low fat milk until smooth, or 2 cups buttermilk

2 tbsp olive oil or canola oil

Butter for frying

Thinly sliced fruit or whole berries (optional)

 

In a large bowl mix together the brown rice flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder and baking soda.  In another bowl, beat the egg.  Add the egg, milk/yogurt mixture or buttermilk and oil to the dry ingredients.  Mix well to make sure the wet and dry ingredients are incorporated but don’t over mix.  Let the batter stand at least ten minutes before you fry the pancakes.

Preheat an electric griddle to 325 degrees.  Melt butter on the griddle (for crispy edged pancakes).  Ladle the pancakes onto the griddle. If you want to add fruit, do it as soon as you ladle the pancakes onto the griddle.  Just sprinkle the fruit onto the surface of the cakes and lightly press it in.  Cook the pancakes until they look bubbly and dry on the edges.  This should take three or four minutes.  Turn the pancakes and cook them another two or three minutes.

 

The pancakes may have to be cooked in two batches.  If you are not serving the first batch right away, store them on a cookie sheet in a warm oven (200 degrees f.) or store them in a covered glass dish.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Waffles. Need we say more?

I have no idea what is wrong with me this week.  I have been allowing myself a maximum of five to six hours of sleep per night the entire week. All week I have had trouble waking up.  I have been tired, and grumpy.  My normal brainpower has been very impaired and I’ve felt horrible all week.  This morning, with no responsibilities and no expectations, I slept and slept a luxurious sleep that allowed me to wake naturally at a quarter to ten this morning.  Mmmmm.  It felt so good.  My boyfriend was very patient and did not try to wake me up.  But after I dilly dallied browsing a Gourmet magazine and the internet, the pleasant sound of my boyfriend’s guitar gave way to a low rumbling chanting of “pancakes, pancakes, pancakes, pancakes…”   It must be time for the poor guy to be fed.  Time to set to work.

 

I was reading the February issue of Gourmet this morning when I noticed that I put a crimp on a certain page weeks ago when I got it.  The page had four different kinds of breakfast yummies on it.  By some chance of fate, I had sour cream in the house (my boyfriend dislikes sour cream so we don’t use it as a topping for anything, it is usually a rare ingredient in my actual cooking).  The recipe that caught my eye was for Cardamom sour-cream waffles with lingonberry preserves.  I had all of the ingredients except lingonberry preserves.  I do however; have a really exceptional jar of raspberry and cranberry preserves, which I thought should be tart sweet enough to stand in for the berries in the recipe.  I consulted with my boyfriend and he felt adventurous enough to give them a try.

 

The recipe was a hit.  The only problem I had was my normal problem that I can’t seem to make a crispy waffle to save my life.  I’m not sure if it is me, the phase of the moon or my waffle maker but my waffles always come out soft.  I suspect it is the olive oil that I fill my mister with.  I should probably oil the waffle maker with polyunsaturated oil.  But the waffles were sooooo good anyway!

 

Boyfriend:  These are so good.  You won’t forget to write this recipe down, will you?

As I shake my head and chew, I’m thinking: I hope I’ll remember to make these again.

Boyfriend:  Aren’t you going to blog these?  Will you remember to make these?

Chewing, I get up and find the camera.  As I keep thinking, I don’t want to get up, I don’t want to let these get cold, I already blogged a couple of days ago, grrrrr….

 

Click

 

Click

 

Click….

 

Cardamom sour cream waffles

 

Cardamom Sour-Cream Waffles

Adapted from the February issue of Gourmet Magazine

 

1 ½ cups whole-wheat pastry flour

1 ½ tsp baking powder

¾ tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground cardamom

¼ tsp salt

1 cup lowfat milk

1 cup sour cream

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tbsp dark honey

2 large eggs

3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

 

Serve the waffles with yogurt, maple syrup and preserves (lingonberry if you can find them, if not any tart berry preserves such as raspberry cranberry preserves will do nicely.  You want a good berry flavor to compliment the floral flavor of the cardamom)

Preheat your waffle iron.

 

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom, and salt.  In another bowl, whisk together milk, sour cream, vanilla, honey, eggs and melted butter.  Mix wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just well combined.  Spray or brush the waffle iron with oil.  Cook waffles according to your waffle iron’s instructions.  Store waffles in a slightly warm oven until all of the waffles are cooked and you are ready to serve them.

     

On my way back to normal

Carrot Cake Pancakes

Over the past few weeks, this has been anything but a food blog and my diet has been anything but healthy.  During the weeks I was away, my Mom and I ate a lot of restaurant/fast food and hospital food.  The stress made us too tired to take care of ourselves properly and there was really no time to take care of the day-to-day chores like grocery shopping and cooking.  My Dad is back at home now and getting stronger every day.  I called him a couple of days ago and asked him how he was.  He boisterously replied “TERRIFIC!!!”  Which is his standard answer to that standard question.  I instantly knew things were now normal.  Things will be o.k.

 

I have been cooking a few things since I have gotten back but we have gotten into a bad restaurant habit again.  Work has been stressful since I have been back so I have been easing my personal life slowly back to that place called normal. 

 

Today was the first day I really felt home.  It was the first day that I really got excited about getting back into the kitchen.  I woke up and wanted to make pancakes.  If you have been browsing around this blog, you know that Saturday mornings mean breakfast at my home.  Saturdays are all about sleeping in late and then settling into a yummy plate of something sweet or savory and very filling, a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice and a mug of something hot, bitter and steamy.

 

I wanted pancakes and after brushing off the remnants of a strange dream where I was traveling somewhere on a Greyhound bus and my Mother was loading an unending supply of plastic bags of groceries onto the bus for me, my mind was ready to use the energy from that dream state and come up with something beautiful in the real world.  For some reason, I began to think of carrot cake and how wonderful pancakes would be if they were carrot cake instead.  I found a small bunch of thin, sweet carrots in the vegetable drawer of our fridge.  They were too small to peel, so I scrubbed them well and shredded them.  Using a favorite recipe for sweet potato pancakes as a general roadmap, I came up with some fragrant dried fruit and vegetable pancakes that take getting your first serving of vegetables for the day to another plain of experience altogether.

 

Carrot Cake Pancakes

 

2 cups of shredded carrots

 

2 tsp. finely grated orange peel

 

2 large eggs, beaten

 

2 cups milk

 

1 cup currants

 

4 tbsp olive oil

 

1 tbsp dark honey

 

2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour

 

4 tsp baking powder

 

1 tsp salt

 

2 tsp cinnamon

 

¼ tsp nutmeg

 

¼ tsp ginger powder

 

½ tsp allspice

 

Butter for frying

 

Maple-cinnamon yogurt (recipe follows)

 

Toasted Walnuts

 

In a large bowl, combine shredded carrots, orange peel, eggs, milk, currants, olive oil and honey.  In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice.  Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients.  Let the batter stand for at least ten minutes.  (This will result in a fluffier pancake with softer currants).  If using an electric griddle, preheat the griddle to 350 degrees F.  Melt butter onto griddle surface.  Ladle batter onto griddle.  Cook pancakes until bubbles form and the edges begin to dry out about 3-4 minutes.  Turn pancakes.  Cook second side until lightly browned, about 1-2 minutes more.

 

This recipe makes a lot of pancakes, even with a large electric griddle you will need to make two batches.  Keep the first batch warm in a covered dish or a preheated 200 degree F. oven  Serve these with Maple Cinnamon Yogurt, Maple Syrup and toasted walnuts to get the full effect of carrot cake for breakfast.

 

Maple-Cinnamon Yogurt

Maple-cinnamon yogurt

1 cup of plain nonfat yogurt

 

1 tsp ground cinnamon

 

1 tsp maple syrup

 

 Combine yogurt, cinnamon and maple syrup with a whisk until smooth.

Winter fruit on my breakfast

Maple roasted apples

After months of unusually hot weather, we are finally beginning to get the kind of winter chill that makes me think of Christmastime even though the sky is still clear and blue and the air is dry.  That’s California for you.  No change of season when you think about it.  It’s either dry and hot or dry and cold.

 

Our local farmer’s market also reflects the season.  We have persimmons, oranges and apples and that’s about it.  Some enterprising farmers dried their summer and fall bounty so plenty of dried fruit is also available.  With that in mind, I wanted fruit on my pancakes but the kitchen was looking pretty sparse.  We have plenty of Fuji apples in the fridge so playing off of a recipe for maple roasted yams that I love, I decided to maple roast some Fuji’s to top our pancakes with.  This was an impromptu effort on my part so the following recipe is just an approximation.  I don’t think it would be easy to mess these up even with my “pinch of this, pinch of that” instructions.  These apples were fabulous on our favorite cornmeal pancakes with yogurt and toasted walnuts.  I think they would also make an excellent side dish for pork chops as well.

 Apple topped pancakes

Maple roasted apples

4-5 Fuji apples, peeled, cored and sliced

 

Lemon zest from ½ a lemon, approx. 1 tsp

 

1-2 tsp lemon juice

 

A generous amount of cinnamon

 

A miserly amount of nutmeg

 

Ginger to taste

 

A generous handful of raisons

 

2-3 tbsp grade B maple syrup

 

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

 

Toss the apple slices with lemon juice and zest.  Combine apple mixture with raisons and cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and maple syrup to coat.  Roast the apples in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes or until the raisons are plump and the apples are caramelized and soft and lightly browned.

Unusual for breakfast…yes, but unusually tasty

tofu-scramble.jpg

Sorry.  I know the picture I took is terrible.  It was dark when we sat down to breakfast this morning and I knew I wanted to write about something that is enjoying a renaissance in our kitchen.  It is something that I have never cooked myself.  This is something my boyfriend used to cook all of the time for his own breakfast but it is something he stopped eating years ago.  All of a sudden this tasty breakfast item is back and even though I never get to have it, I was treated to it today. 

 

 Sunday morning is grocery-shopping day or I should say grocery-shopping hell.  Although we love eating home cooked meals, we don’t like to shop.  I don’t like to go by myself and my boyfriend sees it as something that wastes perfectly good weekend relaxing time.  Both of us are committed to shopping at our farmer’s market because the produce is mega fresh and reasonably priced and we love the idea of eating local and supporting the farmers.  But…the farmers market adds time to the whole shopping experience, which includes two stores.  Why two stores?  Well, the best meat, cheese and dairy products come from our local high end grocery store but we are cheap bastards who would rather pay much less for staple items so we hit Trader Joes too.  Thus, shopping hell.  Things are crowded, and our tempers begin to flare in anticipation of the whole ordeal.  So the picture is lousy because we decided to add making French toast and this yummy scramble to the already stressful, time strapped morning.  I don’t feel bad about the picture.  This tasty breakfast entrée is impossible to photograph anyway.  It looks soupy, it has strange angles, which catch the light in odd ways. It is completely unnatural looking.  There was really nothing I could do about the photo.

 

So… ew…what is it?  My friends, you are looking at tofu scramble (with a side of non-vegan sprouted grain French toast).  Now before you decide to go find another blog to look at, hear me out.  This stuff is really, really good.  The whole story starts in the early 90’s with a natural foods market on the east side of Santa Barbara.  The store called Follow your heart started out as a tiny whole foods store up the block from where it ended up.  It had a really great deli in the old days.  In the early 90s a shopping center was built up the street from them and a space was made for a full size grocery.  They moved into the space and opened a restaurant to go with the excellent deli.  The restaurant was open for breakfast and we went there often because they had the most amazing vegetarian breakfast items I have ever seen in my life.  I was so, so sad when they finally closed their doors a few years later.  One thing they did well was tofu scramble.  It had spices and a wonderful yellow color.  They served it as a scramble, in benedicts and burritos.  I managed to stumble onto a recipe that produced a very similar product in the kind of magazine they give you for free at the health food store and my boyfriend who loved tofu scramble began making it at home.  During the week, I am a bowl of cereal kinda gal.  My boyfriend has to have more than cereal, so tofu scramble became his recipe, which is always made during the week.  So today was a treat for me.  He cooked it for me!  I was happy to have it.

 

As I said, my boyfriend suddenly began making tofu scramble again.  Out of the two of us, he is the one who consistently keeps a healthy outlook.  He gets regular exercise and eats very healthfully.  I asked him why he became interested in making tofu scramble again.  He told me it is because it contains brewer’s yeast, which is difficult to add to your diet in other ways.  Brewer’s yeast is loaded with B vitamins and he wanted a dietary way to ensure he was getting enough B vitamins. 

 

Aside from how healthy it is, tofu scramble is also delicious.  This recipe has plenty of onion powder and garlic powder and miso paste.  It is creamy and flavorful and it is filling.  The other day we had leftovers.  I sampled a little bit of the leftovers cold.  Although I haven’t tried it yet, I think cold leftover tofu scramble would be wonderful as a substitute for another egg favorite.  It would make an incredible egg-less egg salad sandwich.

Tofu Scramble

One 14-16 oz container of firm or extra firm tofu, drained

 

4 tbsp nutritional yeast

 

4 tbsp water

 

2 tbsp light miso

 

½ tsp turmeric

 

½ tsp onion powder

 

Garlic powder to taste (optional)

 

Pepper to taste (optional)

 

Olive oil for sautéing

 

Coarsely crumble the tofu into a bowl.  Sprinkle yeast over tofu and stir to coat.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients except for the optional pepper.  Set aside.  Heat a lightly greased skillet over medium high heat.  Pour in the tofu mixture and then pour in the miso mixture.  Sauté and carefully turn the mixture with a flat wooden spatula or spoon.  You don’t want to break up the tofu too much.  The mixture should turn a nice uniform yellow color.  Cook until completely heated through.  Season with pepper if using and serve immediately.

  

How to use the autumn tomato

broiled-tomatoes.jpg

For a few years, I had the pleasure of accompanying my best friend and her husband to a Canadian lodge each fall for their anniversary.  It was the perfect vacation.  A kind of a summer camp for grown ups.  You get to sleep in a cabin.  You can participate in different activities such as kayaking or tennis or bike riding.  You can be incredibly lazy and read and nap all day long if that’s what you are into.  This place feeds you well several times per day.  The reason I bring this up is that breakfast could be a choice of light fare or you could choose to put together a giant stick to your ribs feast.  Since Canada is part of the United Kingdom, the breakfast choices included some English seeming choices.  One of which is the choice to have a grilled tomato with breakfast.  Once I discovered this option, I had to have it most mornings that I stayed there.  It was quite delectable with eggs, indeed.

 

After I stopped going on vacation with my friends to Canada, I forgot about grilled tomatoes as a breakfast side dish.  One weekend at the “In laws”, my boyfriend’s step mom made broiled tomatoes as a side dish for dinner.  They were so good that I had to have seconds.  They were broiled tomatoes with herbs and Parmesan sprinkled on top.  Oh, they were so very yummy.  Roasting the tomatoes for 15 minutes and then broiling the cheese on top gives the tomatoes a wonderful sweet flavor.  They are divine!

 

I use tomatoes a lot when they are in season and it is rare for me to buy them and then not finish them up for whatever their intended purpose was.  I am a Virgo and adhering to a shopping list and the ensuing plan for the groceries during the week is a must or else I start going a little crazy.  You don’t really want to see me if I start getting a little crazy.  This week I somehow managed to buy too many tomatoes.  When I went in the kitchen to figure out what to eat for breakfast, I realized that if I didn’t do something, I would lose them.  They would eventually spoil.  On the rare occasion that I have tomatoes just milling about the kitchen, I have improvised my own version of broiled tomatoes.  They are amazing as a side dish to eggs and toast.  Just add coffee and a cold glass of OJ and it is fine dining.

 

I know it is late in the season to be posting a recipe about roasting tomatoes but we are still lucky enough to have the last of the fall tomatoes.  I hit the Farmer’s market after breakfast and decided to replace the tomatoes I used up this morning with a fresh batch.  The heirloom tomatoes are definitely on their way out after a week of chilly, foggy weather.  If you can still get some tomatoes locally or you are someone who doesn’t care how far your tomatoes travel to get to you, roasting them in this fashion should yield a tasty, flavorful side dish even though the tomatoes are starting to be a pale facsimile of their glorious summer selves.  If you have any of these roasted tomatoes leftover, you should use them for a tasty vegetarian sandwich.  I don’t think you’ll end up with any leftovers.

Roasted and broiled tomatoes

3 or 4 large ripe tomatoes, sliced horizontally into 2-3 thick slices.

 

2 large garlic cloves, minced

 

Dried basil to taste or fresh basil, minced, to taste

 

Dried oregano to taste or fresh oregano, minced to taste

 

Pepper

 

½ to 1 cup of shredded hard cheese such as Parmesan or Romano

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Use a broiler safe pan that is large enough to accommodate the amount of tomato slices you will have.  I use a well-seasoned iron griddle.  If the pan you are using is something that is not seasoned and sticking could be an issue, oil the pan.  Place the tomato slices on your pan.  Sprinkle them with garlic, basil, oregano and pepper.  Top each herbed tomato slice with a generous mound of cheese.  Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.  Turn on the broiler and broil until cheese melts and browns slightly.  Serve immediately.

These pancakes are like eating an oatmeal cookie for breakfast… seriously!

oatmeal-pancakes.jpg

Ah.  There is nothing like a lazy Saturday morning for sleeping in late and then leisurely puttering around the kitchen to make something yummy.  I know I am beginning to become in danger of having to rename this blog: “Mimi’s delicious pancake blog”, but as I have said before, breakfast is one of our favorite meals around here and we love our carbs!  Besides.  After eating the uber healthy Uncle Sam cereal with its rolled wheat flakes, whole flax seeds and amazing 10 gm of fiber per serving every morning in a rush before work, you want something good on the weekend!  And after a daily infusion of 10 gm of fiber each day, we deserve something better.  (Watch the fiber comments on my blog R.  I’m watching you! Hee, hee, hee!)

 

I want to give you a recipe that originally came out of the February 2002 issue of Bon Appetit.  I found this recipe through Epicurious awhile back and made a bunch of healthy changes to it.  According to my notes, I originally used this recipe exclusively with dried blueberries instead of the raisins called for in the original recipe.  I was nearly out of dried blueberries today so I used a few tablespoons of dried blueberries and made up the rest of the cup of dried fruit with currants and cranberries.  These were pure heaven this morning!  With a cup o’ Joe, and a glass of OJ, these cakes really hit the spot!  The bananas make them really moist and the oats give them a chewy, hearty texture reminiscent of oatmeal cookies.  Yum!

 

One suggestion I want to make that I have learned along the way in my pancake-making journey.  Once the batter is mixed up, let it sit for around ten minutes before you make the pancakes.  Many pancake batters will rise a bit due to the action of the baking powder and baking soda and you will get fluffier pancakes.  In the case of these pancakes, letting the batter sit for a few minutes will help the raw oatmeal and dried fruit soften a bit so that you will get a better texture to these pancakes than if you were to immediately ladle out the batter for cooking.

Banana, dried fruit and oatmeal pancakes

Adapted from the February 2002 issue of Bon Appetit

 

1 cup old fashioned oats

 

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

 

1 tbsp brown sugar

 

1 ½ tsp baking powder

 

½ tsp baking soda

 

¼ tsp cinnamon

 

2 large eggs

 

¾ cup plain yogurt

 

¾ cup milk

 

½ tsp vanilla extract

 

2 ripe bananas, mashed

 

1 cup dried fruit (blueberries, currants, raisons and cranberries are all good.  Use one kind or a combination)

 

¼ cup olive oil

 

butter for frying

 

In a medium bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, brown sugar, baking power, baking soda and cinnamon.  In a larger bowl, beat the eggs and then whisk in the yogurt, milk and vanilla.  Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined.  Fold in the mashed bananas, dried fruit and oil.  Mix until well combined but don’t over mix.  Let the batter sit for about ten minutes.

 

Meanwhile, heat an electric pancake griddle to 325 degrees or heat a skillet over medium heat.  Melt a small amount of butter over the surface of your griddle.  Ladle batter onto griddle and cook the pancakes until the edges form bubbles and look dry.  This should take three or four minutes. Turn the pancakes and cook for another one or two minutes.

  

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