February 27, 2011 16:07 by Suzy

Who doesn't love pancakes on a Sunday???

Pancakes were one of the first things I ever learned to cook.  My mom showed me the recipe in her big blue copy of Joy of Cooking and let me go from there.  I remember making them for my dad and felt so proud when he raved about them.  Dad didn't generally rave about food so that was pretty cool.  I still love to make pancakes for special people in my life.  JD is the lucky one now.

adapted from Mara at What's For Dinner?, who adapted the recipe from Alton Brown

3 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 eggs plus 1 egg white, lightly beaten
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons melted butter

Combine all dry ingredients together in a large bowl.  In medium bowl, beat eggs with milk and melted butter.  Pour wet ingredients into bowl with dry ingredients and stir until just mixed.  The batter will be lumpy.

Heat oven to 200 degrees and put an oven-safe plate in there to warm up.

Heat pan over medium to medium-high heat.  Flick some water drops in the pan; if they dance, the pan is ready.  If the water immediately evaporates, the pan is too hot.  If the water just sits and bubbles, the pan is not hot enough.  Lightly grease pan with canola oil.

Pour batter into pan (whatever size you feel like making).  Flip pancake when edges are set and bottom is golden brown.  Cook on second side until set.  Keep all pancakes in the warm oven until you serve them.  Re-grease the pan as needed until all the pancakes are done.

Melt some butter and heat up some real maple syrup...drizzle both over your pancakes and have at it.  Repeat as necessary.


Lemon Pound Cake

February 21, 2011 18:44 by Suzy

Sick of winter?  Tired of cold and ice?  Ready to pack away your coats and sweaters?

This cake won't move the calendar, but it will definitely bring thoughts of summer to you.  Lemony and refreshing, moist and buttery.  Close your eyes while you eat it and dream of green grass, warm sun, and bringing this cake to a cookout.

Lemon Pound Cake
adapted from Cook's Illustrated

2 sticks (1 cup) butter, plus more for greasing the pan
1 1/2 cups cake flour, plus more for dusting the pan
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
4 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 9"x5" loaf pan with butter and dust with flour.

In medium bowl, combine cake flour, baking powder and salt.

Melt butter in microwave or in saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk to reincorporate any milk solids.

Put sugar and lemon zest in food processor and process in five 1-second pulses.  Add lemon juice, eggs, vanilla and process 5 seconds or until combined.

With machine running, pour butter through food tube in a steady stream until combined.  Pour mixture into a large bowl.

In three intervals, sift dry ingredients over egg mixture, gently whisking after each addition just until combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes.  Reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake for an additional 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown and tester inserted in center comes out clean.  Set pan on wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.

While cake is cooling in the pan, make the glaze:  Heat sugar and lemon juice in small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Reduce heat to low and simmer 2 minutes.

Turn out cake from pan onto wire rack set in a sheet pan (to catch drips).  Use a toothpick to gently poke holes all over the surfaces of the top, sides, and bottom of cake.  Carefully turn cake upside down and brush with 1/3 of the glaze.  Turn cake right side up and brush remaining glaze on all sides and top of cake.  Let cool completely before slicing.

Lemon Pound Cake

Risotto with Butternut Squash and Mushrooms

February 20, 2011 17:20 by Suzy

We made this risotto in last week's cooking class, and my kitchen partners and I were amazed with our success.  Every once in a while, you make a dish that tastes so incredible, so delicious, that you can't help but feel like a real chef.  Or at least that you should be getting paid for making it.  This is one of those dishes.

Risotto with Butternut Squash and Mushrooms

1 cup diced butternut squash
8 ounces mushrooms, quartered
olive oil
3-4 cups chicken stock
1 cup finely diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
chopped parsley for garnish

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in saute pan.  Add squash and a sprinkle of kosher salt.  Saute until the squash is tender and lightly browned.  Remove from pan and set aside.  Repeat with the mushrooms.

Bring chicken stock to a boil in saucepan, reduce heat and let simmer, covered.

In another saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons butter over medium to medium-high heat.  Add onions and sweat until softened, 3-4 minutes.  Do not let onions brown.  Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add rice and stir until rice is evenly coated with butter.  Saute for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until rice becomes translucent at the edges, 3-4 minutes.

Add white wine, stir, and cook until evaporated.

Begin adding chicken stock, a ladle at a time, allowing rice to absorb stock before adding next ladleful.  Stir frequently and keep the risotto at a simmer...not a fast boil.

After about 15 minutes, add squash and mushrooms to risotto, stir to combine, and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Taste risotto and check for doneness.  The grains should be tender but with a little bite and the risotto itself should be creamy but not soupy.

Add 1 tablespoon butter and Parmesan cheese and stir.  Taste for seasoning and add salt if necessary.

Pour into serving dish, sprinkle with chopped parsley, and serve immediately.

Be prepared for rave reviews, bribes for the recipe, and marriage proposals.

Beef Barley Soup

February 14, 2011 20:07 by Suzy

OK, I am officially sick of winter and ready for spring.  I know I am not alone on this, but this is notable because I generally love winter and prefer cold over hot.  This year, however, has been brutal.  Way too cold for way too long.  Snow, ice, wind.  Ugh.  I don't think I have ever longed for flowy skirts and sandals like I am now.

Since I can't make spring get here any sooner, I'll just keep making soup.  For poor JD's sake, I hope it warms up soon.  He doesn't really like soup, and that's all I've been in the mood to make lately.

Beef Barley Soup
adapted from Real Food Has Curves

2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pound sliced mushrooms
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 cup dry Madeira
1 1/2 pounds stew meat, cut into small pieces
1-2 pounds meaty beef ribs
3 cups beef broth
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup barley
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
1 tablespoon minced fresh sage leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Worcestershire sauce

Heat butter in large pot over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until translucent.  Add mushrooms, carrots, and celery.  Stir and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms release their moisture.

Add Madeira to the pot and cook, stirring, until the liquid has been reduced and thickens to a glaze.

Add stew meat, ribs, beef and chicken broths, and barley.  Bring to a simmer.  Add thyme, sage, salt and pepper.

Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 3 hours.  Remove the beef ribs and scrape/cut the meat from the bones and return the meat to the pot.

Season with a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce, and add salt and pepper to taste.