Saturday, January 31, 2009

Heaven on a Bun

Sarah's last day eating solid food for a little while. She had her wisdom teeth out this am. Her mom says "You are one tough nugget." Just like gold. Sarah wanted something delicious for her "last" meal. We have made these fantastic burgers a few times and we can't get enough.

Burgers with Blue Cheese

1 1/3lbs ground beef - use ground beef that has a little fat in it (80/20 or 85/15)
1/2 onion chopped fine
2 garlic cloves - minced
1 tsp finely choped cilantro (we used 1 Trader Joe's frozen cube thawed)
1 tsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper

We used Neal's Yard Colston Stilton this time. Use the best blue cheese you can for this recipe. It makes all the difference in the world. The last time we made these we used a similar styled cheese from the local farmer's market. Yummy!

Mix the ground beef, onions, cilantro, garlic, olive oil, a dash of salt, and ground pepper in a bowl until you get a consistent mixture. Form the mixture into 4 same sized patties approx 3/4" thick. The burgers will be about 1/3lb each.

Heat your frying pan to medium high and add a drop of olive oil to the pan.

When the pan is hot fry the burgers for about 3 minutes on one side. Flip the burgers and then cook for another 2 minutes. Add crumbled cheese to the burgers, cover and cook for another 2 minutes or so. Remove from the pan when the cheese is melty.

Let the burgers rest for a few minutes to let them really get juicy.

We served ours open-face on one side of a bun.

These burgers do not need any sauce or condiments. They are delicious on their own.


Monday, January 26, 2009

Sunday Morning Crepes

We were bummed we didn't put out the Trader Joe's chocolate croissants. So, after debating for a bit over cereal, bacon and eggs, breakfast burritos, and possibly sausages we kept coming back to chocolate. We had bananas for smoothies and when you put them with nutella you get crepes! YUMMERS!! The batter was pretty lumpy - I think next time we would put the liquid into the dry and mix more slowly. We mixed for a while to get it to a smoother consistency. We found a recipe and it sounded like too much so we made a third and we made about 5 crepes.
On to the recipe:

Banana Nutella Crepes

makes approx 5 crepes

2 tbsp butter
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
2 tbsp sugar (plus a bit more)
a pinch salt


1 banana sliced

Heat your pan to medium-high heat with a little butter.
Our pan is a 10 inch non-stick anodized pan.

We used a 1/4 cup scoop to pour the batter into the pan. The first crepe was a little thin and too large to flip without tearing so we used a little less than three scoops of batter to get a good thickness and let it set before flipping. We cooked them until they weren't runny anymore on top and then flipped.

We spread Nutella on top with slices of banana and rolled 'em up. Mmmmmm.
A simple easy breakfast. really!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Chicken Dumpling Soup

Last night we made Chicken Dumpling Stew. Sarah saw the recipe in the Cook's Illustrated magazine she bought the other day. All of the recipes looked great. We had a hard time deciding which one to make. We had a few friends over to share and after the meal was over we regretted not having any leftovers. We modified the recipe a little from the original, just to try new things.

Chicken Dumpling Stew
6 cups chicken stock low-sodium
4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 carrots peeled, sliced and cut 1/4 inch thick
2 stalks chopped celery
1 large onion chopped
1 teaspoon salt
3 cloves of garlic chopped fine or minced
6 tablespoons all purpose flour
3/4 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon thyme - next i might try adding just a little more
2 bay leaves- dry are just fine
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons parsley

for the dumplings
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups heavy cream.

So, one of the new things we learned from making this is how to poach really tasty chicken. Before we had always done it in water. But this time we tried it in the chicken broth that we used for the soup. So first bring the broth to a boil in a large stock pot or dutch oven and when it's boiling add the chicken. Let it cook covered at medium heat for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes take the chicken out (tongs work great) and place on a plate with tin foil over to keep it warm. Also transfer the broth to a bowl and set aside. When it is cool you should use a fork to pull it into pieces or just use your good old clean hands.

Using the same pot melt the butter and then add your veggies; carrot, onion and celery and cook for about 7 minutes. Then add your garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, you will smell the deliciousness.

Now you want to add in the flour, it can get a little lumpy but no worries, just keep stirring and then add in the broth that you set aside earlier as well as the cream, thyme, bay leaves and pepper. Bring it back to a boil and then cover and reduce heat to low and cook for at least 20 minutes. While this cooking you can make the dumpling mixture.

Take out the bay leaves and then add the chicken, if you have more time let it cook until about 20 minutes before you want to serve and then you will drop the dumplings in, which are very fast.

To make the dumplings mix the dry and then add in the cream. It will be lumpy, thick and shaggy. Then form the batter into about 18 balls that are an inch in diameter.

When ready drop the balls in and cook for 15-18 minutes or until they have doubled in size.

Serve. Your guests will be going back up for seconds...ours did.


This is our first entry. How exciting. We have been thinking about starting a blog for a while now and we are excited to share our cooking adventures with you! We have tried about five recipes for pancakes from scratch and we think we found the winner. So here it goes:

Buttermilk Blueberry Pancakes

Makes approximately 14 pancakes.

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs (lightly whisked)
3 cups buttermilk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted

1 cup blueberries fresh or frozen and thawed. We included the juice after thawing.

We mixed all the dry ingredients and the wet separately before mixing them together.
It is ok to have lumps in the batter - don't overmix. Heat the pan to a medium / medium high heat. Use a very small amount of butter in the pan to keep the pancakes from sticking. We used a 1/3rd cup measure to scoop the batter and pour into the pan. Cook the pancake on the first side until the sides start to look slightly cooked and the center of the pancake bubbles. It might take a few tries to get this right based on the heat of the pan. It is pretty easy to get this down to a science after a couple tries.

We froze our leftovers and reheated in the microwave for a minute or two. The leftovers make a good easy breakfast before work.