These apple pancakes are my favorite Sunday morning breakfast. They look beautiful and have a sort of special occasion air about them. The flavor of the apples and walnuts really shine through and juxtapose the texture of the egg batter that surrounds them.
They are delightfully different from everyday pancakes and perfect for a pampered Spring morning. So, thanks to Uncle Steve (who first taught me how to make them!) I have the perfect breakfast in bed meal for my mom on Mother’s day. Pair them with a cappuccino, vase of fresh flowers and a hug to let mom know how much you love her.
German Apple Pancakes
From: Chrissy Esposito
2 apples (pick firm, sweet apples that are a little tart like Honey Crisp, Braeburn, Pink Lady, Gala and Empire)
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
4 Tbs butter
½ tea cinnamon
2 Tbs sugar
1 cup flour
¼ tea kosher or sea salt
1 cup milk
First, prepare the apple filling. Peel and dice the apples and place in a small pan with 2 tablespoons of butter. Add 1 tablespoon sugar and ½ tea cinnamon. Sautee on medium heat for about 10 minutes (the apples will begin to soften and will develop a sort of cinnamon/sugar syrup)
While the apples are softening, sift together the flour, salt, and remaining tablespoon of sugar.
Add the eggs and milk into the flour mixture, being careful not to over mix (a few lumps are okay).
When the apples are done stir in the walnuts and take off the heat.
Grease two 9 inch cake spans (spring-form pans are ideal) by putting one tablespoon of butter in each pan and placing the pans in the oven for a few minutes until the butter melts. Swirl the butter around so it covers the entire bottom of the pan and goes up the sides of the pan too.
Pour the flour and egg batter into the pan. Spoon on the apples and walnuts so they are evenly dispersed.
Bake for about 25 minutes at 425°until the edges start to become golden brown and curl up. The eggs will fluff and rise in the process.
Now, this part is a bit tricky. If you used the spring-form pans, release the spring and with a spatula transfer the pancakes to a place. If you used a normal pan, trace the edges of the pancake with a knife before transferring it to a plate.
I wrote about how I earned my first tip by making this breakfast in my blog last week. What I did not say though, was that this breakfast actually came out of desperation — our car battery had been dead for a week, and of course grocery trips were suspended indefinitely.
Saturday morning, I woke up to an empty fridge. Well, not entirely empty. There was still a couple eggs left, and that was it. I turned to the freezer, and was so happy to dig out a package of thick-cut bacon and a bag of hash browns. Yay!
I was too hungry to defrost the bacon in the fridge (didn’t even have the patience to use the cold-water method). I popped the entire package in to the microwave and waited, impatiently, for a whole two minutes. As soon as the bacon is separable, I threw three slices in a pan over medium-high heat. Soon enough they started sizzling, and the kitchen was filled with a wonderful aroma. Hmm, who needs coffee to wake up?
The beauty of cooking bacon in the morning is that you get a lot of tasty bacon fat to cook with, which was what I used to transform the frozen hash browns into a tasty side. Even better, crack an egg into bacon fat and your sunny-side-up will be just as good as it can get.
I could hardly wait to put everything on a plate and have a bite. Instant gratification! I learned something here: desperation can be the best inspiration sometimes, and that simple food can (and often does) taste great. Now I just wish a fairy would make this breakfast so I could wake up to it every single day!
Thick Cut Bacon, Parsley Hash Brown, and a Sunny-Side Up Egg
From: Danti Chen
3 slices thick cut bacon
1 cup thinly sliced potato sticks (or frozen hash browns)
1 tsp chopped parsley
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp crushed pepper
salt and pepper to taste
Heat up a pan on high, and fry up 3 slices of bacon. Reduce the heat to medium and cook on each side for about 7 minutes.
Take about a table spoon of bacon fat, and put it in another pan on high heat. Throw in a cup of thinly sliced potato.
Add the garlic powder and crushed pepper to the potato. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on top. Add the chopped parsley.
In a separate pan, add about 1 teaspoon bacon fat, heat it up till sizzling.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and crack an extra large egg into the pan. Crack some pepper and add a pinch of salt on top. Cover, and turn off the heat. Let it sit while the potato and bacon finishes cooking, for about (15 & 14 minutes total). The egg should cook for no more than 6 minutes total with the heat off.
Francesca just had surgery yesterday and while it was a pretty low-key procedure, she was supposed to be out of commission for about a week. We had grand plans to lift her spirits and nurse her back to health, so it was a bit unsettling to find her running around the house this morning and having her drag *me* out of bed this morning. She appears to be the healthiest person in the house right now. That said, we had already promised her a special breakfast this morning so even though she’s doing a terrible job proving she deserves it, we’re committed to french toast and bacon, at least for brunch (oh how we suffer).
Right before my birthday this past spring, I spent a beautiful weekend in Dingle, Ireland also pretending I needed to get well. I was thoroughly fake-stressed, and wanted a weekend of complete relaxation to welcome my 22nd year in style so, when the impending time came, I’d be ready to face the real world head-on. I spent the weekend biking, listening to traditional Irish music, and chatting with strangers in cozy pubs, but a large portion of the credit for the weekend’s “healing” powers goes to the Goat Street Café’s French Toast with Brie and Maple syrup. I swear that no combination of flavors has ever sung so beautifully and harmoniously together – they resonate through your heart like music from a particularly good traditional music session, and with similarly strong healing powers (as long as you don’t have an actual illness). You would never think to put these musicians together, but boy can they play. So to celebrate the art of pretending to get well, we’re putting an East Coast spin with Challah French Toast with Brie and Maple Syrup – and we’re adding a trad playlist to play while you eat. Whether you’re recovering from the Tired Tuesdays or post-sleep hunger, I assure you this is just the cure you need.
And we want to know – what makes you feel better when you’re pretending to be sick? Or do you have any fun spins on traditional breakfast foods? We want to hear all about it!
I grew up in a family where virtually nothing was wasted. My mother would save the tiniest sliver of Breyers ice cream that used to come in a square container, and sometimes, oh my God, we’d even take leftovers to amusement parks. I of course wanted those horrible hot dogs rolling around on those metal tubes all day. I often think how almost criminal it is that we have three refrigerators in our house that are so stuffed with food we can’t even see what’s growing in the back of each of them. Yes, I teach cooking classes so there’s always a lot of ingredients needed for classes and testing recipes, but it’s still no excuse for wasting precious food.
I decided that instead of dreading the monthly clean-out of moldy bits and pieces and the slimy gook from spilled jars, I should stage our own version of Chopped, where contestants are given a handful of secret ingredients and they have to come up with some brilliant dish. The difference of course is that I won’t try to make a four star dinner out of cheese doodles, octopus, gelatin and some sort of spiky fruit. I’m challenging myself to search the freezers and fridges each week for several ingredients and to figure out a dish in one hour. This kind of self imposed contest forces you to use a variety of skills – it could be searing, braising, frying or roasting, or whatever – in new ways and to really work the spices you have on hand.
Okay I admit, this first week I had a head start. I just finished doing a week of cooking demos on back to school healthy snacks and lunch options on Fox News (link to avocado video) and had great lime jalapeno guacamole left over. I had also had a huge package of 12 inch tortillas from making low fat baked tortilla chips on air. Quesadillas anyone? So I searched the fridge and found perfectly ripe yellow heirloom tomatoes, Iberico cheese and smoked prosciutto (similar enough to Iberico ham). Perfect ingredients to make a Spanish-ish Quesadilla. Here’s the recipe:
In Germany it’s an old and absolutely loved tradition to bake Christmas biscuits. There are million different kinds of biscuits. And we love to make them. With friends, with family, with children, … There are families, who bake 10, 15 or 20 different kinds. And every little biscuit gets some chocolate on top of it, or jam or any other decoration. Weihnachtsbäckerei…. That means „Christmas bakery“, but it means so much more: a warm kitchen, the smell of Christmas, children with flour in their faces, a Mum preparing the dough, .. I’m sure, you get the idea.
My uncle, my grandfather, my great-grandfather, my great-great-grandfather, … were bakers. Their name was „Hubener“ and they had a little bakery in a little village. Every year they made Christmas biscuits to sell them (I loved those days, because we children always got a little piece of dough to make our very own biscuits). For generations they made the same ones: Hubeners Butter-S. Today I want to share this old family-recipe with you.
Hubeners Butter-S – German Christmas Biscuits
From: Sophia Hermann
250 g butter
250 g sugar
500 g flour
1 pinch of baking powder
Mix those ingredients till you get a nice dough.
Then you need something to form the biscuits. We usually use a masticator or a mincer or how ever you might call it. It helps you to get pieces of a line, which you form in a S-shape. That’s just important for the name, but doesn’t really matter.
Then put them in the pre-heated oven at 200°C (392°F) for about 10 minutes.
When they are cooled down, dip them in melted dark chocolate. To melt the chocolate, I have one advice: put the chocolate in a bowl and the bowl in hot water. Then it’ll work out fine.
Enjoy the German „Weihnachtsbäckerei“ and let me know, if you like my family’s butter-S. Merry Christmas!
Before Thanksgiving, we were all so geared for that first taste of the turkey, gravy, stuffing and mashed potatoes. The second and third bites were pretty fabulous too and I for one was really looking forward to The Sandwich the next day. But by day three leftover turkey is a challenge and most of us just want to see it disappear. When my producer asked me to come up with a leftover cooking demo for the last day of the Thanksgiving TV extravaganza, I thought turkey puff pastry turnovers. It took a lot of trial and error (do you add stuffing or not, I wondered) to come up with the perfect combination. These turnovers are both beautiful, easy, and practical because you can also freeze them and pop them in the oven when whenever you want. And they include bacon too so how could you go wrong? They were a huge hit with Mark and the girls, and the staff at WTIC went crazy over them too. We hope you like them as well!
Question of the Day: What did you do with your leftovers from Thanksgiving?
Turkey Cranberry Puff Pastry Turnovers
From: Heide Lang
1 sheet puff pastry sheets defrosted
All purpose flour for rolling out the dough
1 egg, whisked
1 pound or more leftover turkey cut into 2 inch pieces
8 or more tablespoons leftover gravy
8 tablespoons homemade or canned whole berry cranberry sauce
6 strips cooked crispy bacon, crumbled
2 teaspoons finely chopped sage or rosemary (optional)
1/3 cup or more crispy shallots* (see our recipe for butternut squash soup for recipe)
Roll out one sheet of puff pastry out on a floured surface to 14X14 inches. Square off the edges of the dough using a pizza cutter or sharp knife.
Cut both the length and width of the dough in half so there are 4 equal parts. You will have four 7 X 7 squares.
Whisk 1 teaspoon water and 1 whole egg in a small bowl or ramekin and set aside.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Carefully move the puff pastry squares on to a separate piece of parchment paper.
Place two to three ounces of turkey and two tablespoons each of both gravy and cranberry sauce on each diagonal half of the square. Sprinkle evenly with bacon, shallots and ¼ teaspoon of herbs (optional) on each half of diagonal halves as well, leaving a 1/2 inch border around the square.
Brush the entire border of each square with egg wash and fold over
Use a fork to seal the edges and to assure the filling won’t leak out while the turnovers bake.
Cut the parchment paper around each turnover leaving a 2-inch border. Carefully pick up each by the edges of the parchment paper and place them on the cookie sheet (they will be very fragile, and tend to lose their shape if you lift them with your hands on to the cookie sheet.)
Carefully brush each turnover with egg wash.
Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.
Serve immediately with a green salad and roasted vegetables.
This Pumpkin Fondue is one of our absolute favorite recipes of all time. We’ve posted this one before, but in light of the demo it on TV the other day, I decided to bring it back from the archives. It’s too important to miss! If your Thanksgiving menu is still flexible, we highly encourage you to check this one out! Scroll down for the recipe and a video of the TV segment!
Pumpkins Stuffed with Everything Good – Our Way
From: Heide Lang, Adapted from Dorie Greenspan
8 strips bacon (¼ cup shallots may be substituted for vegetarian version
¼ pound stale bread cut into cubes
¼ pound cheese, such as gruyere, emmental, cheddar, smoked gouda, asiago, parmesan, or any combination, cut into ½ inch cubes
3 cloves of garlic pressed or minced
1/8-1/4 cup fresh chives or scallions
2 teaspoons or more fresh herbs (i.e., parsley, rosemary, thyme)
½ cup dried cranberries (optional)
1 sugar or Cinderella pumpkin weighing about 3 pounds
1 cup or more heavy cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Sautee shallots until they are crispy (about 15 minutes), or fry bacon until crispy. Set aside.
Combine chunks of bread and cheese, along with dried cranberries (this is optional, but will add beautiful color to the fondue). Season with salt and pepper.
Add bacon or shallots to the bread and cheese mixture. Combine well.
Add any herbs you choose, along with the chives or scallions, and garlic. Toss well.
Using a very sturdy knife, cut off the cap of the pumpkin, just as you would a jack-o-lantern.
Scoop out the stringy pumpkin and the seeds and generously salt the inside of the pumpkin.
Pack the filling tightly into the pumpkin (there shouldn’t be any air pockets).
Pour in cream until the bread mixture is saturated and there is a bit of liquid on top (but be careful not to have the bread “swimming” in heavy cream).
Put the cap back on and bake until the pumpkin is soft, about 60-90 minutes. Check the pumpkin after 45 minutes to see how soft it is. Continue baking until the ingredients are bubbling and the meat of the pumpkin is tender enough to be pierced with a fork. Do not let it burn, or the pumpkin will turn black and collapse as it cools. You don’t want all your good work ruined!
Place a large spatula under your creation and move it gently to a beautiful platter.
Serve as a side dish or an appetizer on small plates.
Few will admit this, but preparing Thanksgiving dinner stresses people out. We are living with non-stop information overload and everywhere online, on television, and on billboards we see pictures of that annoying perfect turkey with all the flawless trimming and a relaxed happy host just waiting for their guests to arrive. Nope! We tell ourselves it doesn’t matter, but it’s hard not to feel a little judged because, well, you probably are being judged kind of a little, or maybe even a lot depending who is coming. It’s like going to the hairdresser. Why we care what people think of our hair I’ll never know, but we often do!
So when WTIC Fox News Connecticut asked me to do a Thanksgiving cooking extravaganza for the next eight weekdays in a row starting today, I jumped at the chance to show viewers and our blog friends just how satisfying and easy it can be to host Thanksgiving (Ironically, I’m not hosting this year, but that’s okay because after this series my family will have had about a dozen trial turkey day dinners!). Each day, I will share the recipes and the videos with you, and give you clever ideas meant take the stress out of the day (don’t carve the turkey where people can see you).
We’ll start with appetizers, starters, side dishes and dessert, and work our way up to taking the fear out of carving and what to do with all that turkey meat come day three of leftovers when major boredom sets in.
Yesterday, we made Butternut Squash Pumpkin Soup with Crispy Shallots and Fig Goat Cheese Caramelized Shallot Squares made with puff pastry. These recipes are both huge crowd pleasers and don’t require a ton of time or skill. Watch today’s video to learn how to make these winner recipes as well (http://foxct.com/2013/11/18/try-a-new-thanksgiving-side-dish/)
Also, we’d also love to hear about your Thanksgiving success and disasters (especially if they’re funny. What are your favorite and worst Thanksgiving memories?
Fig Goat, Cheese, and Caramelized Shallot Squares
From: Heide Lang
1 ready-made defrosted puff pastry sheet
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons canola or olive oil
2 ½ cups of thinly sliced shallots (4 large shallots, or 6 small ones)
½ teaspoon salt
12-14 whole dried figs (3 ounces)
3 teaspoons honey
5-6 ounces crumbled goat cheese
¼ cup coarsely ground walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Roll out the puff pastry to a 10 X 13 rectangle. Poke a few holes in pastry with a fork (so it doesn’t puff up while baking.)
Pre-bake the puff pastry until it is just slightly browned, about 5-7 minutes.
In the meantime, melt the butter with oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and add the shallots.
Cook the shallots on medium heat until they are soft and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Stir frequently, especially if you are not using a non-stick pan.
Add the salt, and season to taste with pepper. Set aside.
Place dried figs in hot water for 5 minutes. Drain and dry figs.
Slice figs 1/8 inch thick, and then coarsely chop them (you should have ½ cup of sliced figs). Mix with honey and set aside
Spread the shallot mixture evenly over the pre-baked pastry.
Sprinkle the goat cheese, followed by the figs and the walnuts.
Bake until the crust is golden and the cheese starts to bubble, about 15-20 minutes.
Let cool and cut into squares. Serve warm or at room temperature.
From: Heide Lang
3/4 cup olive or canola oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 ½ cups sliced shallots (6-12 shallots, depending on size)
Heat oil and butter in a 12-inch saucepan over medium heat until it starts to bubble.
Reduce the heat to low and add the shallots.
Cook until golden brown, about 30 minutes (add more oil if the shallots start to burn) stirring frequently.
Remove the shallots with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels. Pat down to remove excess oil. Once the excess oil is absorbed, place the shallots in an airtight container and use to garnish soups, vegetables, potatoes, and sandwiches.
Butternut Squash Pumpkin Soup with Crispy Shallots
From: Heide Lang
4 tablespoons canola oil
2 cups leeks, chopped
1/3 cup shallots, chopped
2 1/2 cups fresh butternut squash cut in 1-inch cubes
1 can pure organic pumpkin puree (no sugar added)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground pepper
1 tablespoon cane sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons fresh ginger finely minced
¾ teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1 Bartlett pear, peeled and chopped into 1-inch cubes
5-6 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1/3 cup sour cream or crème fraiche
4-5 tablespoons crispy shallots (see recipe below)
1/3 pound pancetta, sliced thin (optional)
Heat canola oil in a 6-8 quart pot. Sautee shallots and leeks over medium heat until they are soft and glassy, but not yet brown, about 5 minutes.
Add the butternut squash and sauté for 5 minutes.
Add the pumpkin puree and stir well.
Add salt, pepper, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and cayenne pepper. Stir and cook over medium heat for one minute.
Add the pear and broth and bring to a boil. Once the mixture is hot, turn down the heat to a steady simmer on a low-medium flame. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the pears and squash are soft.
Puree in a food processor, or with an immersion blender (you may also use a blender, but be sure to let the soup cool to lukewarm first).
Add sour cream and mix well.
Fry pancetta (optional) in a small frying pan over medium-high heat, until crisp, and pat between two towels to absorb grease.
Serve with crispy shallots and/or crumbled pancetta on top.
“Sometimes, the best meal requires you to forget that time exists”
–Elizabeth Bauermeister, The School of Essential Ingredients
Cooking is all about time. When to throw in the pasta, when to take out the casserole, how to make a dinner for a family of six in forty-five minutes. But what happens when there is no limit on time? When you have all day to make a meal, as if time doesn’t exist.
For Neapolitans and their immigrant descendants, what happens is Genoaise. Or, for those not familiar with Neapolitan dialect, sauce Genovese. Genovese is a mysterious sauce, steeped in time and history. No one can agree on the origins of a dish named after Genoa but created in Naples. Perhaps it’s the mystery of the dish that makes it so alluring. For me, it’s the magic of leaving onions, pork, and stock to simmer and discovering three hours later that something new and comforting has taken its place.
There are dozens of variations of Genovese sauce (mine clearly being the best!) but all Neapolitans agree on one thing: that Genovese sauce is not meant for Spring and Summer. It is not a dish that you serve to friends at a picnic or for a buffet. Genoaise is Fall and Winter. Fall for when you need a dish to slow you down and bring the colors of the leaves outside your window to life. Winter for when you need a warm, long hug after a day of snow shoveling and driving on half-plowed roads. Genovese nudges you to discover coziness and revel in it as if nothing else existed.
So, I will leave you to try this sauce for yourself, with a reminder to take things slow every once in a while and let the simplicity of fresh pasta, grated cheese, and cooked down onions heal you.
From: Christina Esposito
1.5 – 2 pounds boneless pork loin roast
2 Tbs vegetable oil
1 or 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 pounds yellow onions, sliced 1/8” thin (about 6 small – medium sized onions)
4 – 4.5 cups of beef stock or broth (enough to cover the meat and onions)
Splash of tomato sauce (1/8 cup) – Optional
Pecorino Romano grated cheese
1 pound fresh pasta (fettuccine)
Sear the meat (you can use either beef or pork, but I’m partial to pork because it tenderizes so beautifully with this sauce). Put a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a medium sized sauce pot and jack the heat up to medium high. While the oil is warming, salt and pepper the meat. Then, when the oil is shimmering, like seeing heat in the desert, add the meat. This should make a loud noise, but that’s good- it’s the noise of juices being sealed into the meat. Remember to rotate the meat around to get all the sides nicely browned. The goal is to brown the meat, not fully cook it.
When the meat is seared, add ¼ cup of the beef stock to scrape up all the bits of meat and ‘brown stuff’ from the bottom of the pan. This brown stuff is ‘fond’, the meat drippings that will melt into your sauce and make it go from good to great.
Add the garlic. Let it cook for just a minute so it releases its scent.
Add the onions and rest of the beef stock (so that the onions and meat are just covered with stock). Throw in a dash of tomato sauce too if you have it and simmer away! Let the sauce simmer for as many hours as you have to give, stirring it every now and again. If the stock evaporates and sinks way below the onion level add some more. Don’t forget to season and remember that the stock may already be salty.
When the onions and meat are beyond tender, it’s time to puree the sauce (at least two to three hours later). Take the meat out and set aside. Then, with either an immersion blender, food processor, or regular blender, puree the onions and broth together.
Mix sauce with the fresh pasta and serve with the cut meat on the side. Sprinkle liberally with Pecorino Romano. Sigh with happiness.
Last night, my Sharia class had the most depressing movie party a class could ever have. I had briefly mentioned I might make Baklava, to lift the mood but (spoiler alert) Baklava takes like a year make, and I had literally no time. Cookies, on the other hand, take 10 minutes and de-stress like none other. I can’t write a real post because I still have no time. So, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies, speak for yourselves.
Do you have no time? Do you make cookies? Tell me all about it in the briefest comments you possibly can 😉
2 tsp vanilla extract (optional because I forgot to buy it and it turned out fine) (not really optional though) (also, I suspect Jack Daniels or Jameson would make a great substitute – somebody should try it out)
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 cups dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350
In a medium-large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder and soda and spices.
In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, mix butter and sugar on high, until fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
Mix in egg, vanilla and pumpkin also for about 3-4 minutes, until blended. Don’t freak out if it looks curdled, it will do that, and it will be ok.
Slowly add the dry ingredients until just mixed. Then slowly mix in chocolate chips.
Drop cookie dough by rounded tablespoons onto cookie sheet.
Bake until edges are golden brown. The recipe I was working off said 10 minutes, mine took like 25. Start checking at 10 – you’ll know.
Cool on sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer to baking rack and eat them all!