April 10th, 2012

Whole Wheat Puff Pastry

Closeup of the Salmon and Rice in Puff Pastry - demonstrating the flaky pastry layers!

Would you look at that buttery flakiness??

Hello, dear ones! How did your Spring Holiday Time go? Between the Equinox, Easter, Passover, and forgive me for not knowing what else, the last few weeks have been busy for everyone, right? Full of family and the joy of new life.

I’ve been doing some necessary Spring cleaning in my home, and working on promoting my freelance business and finding work.  We have also had The Sprout at our house a lot more often lately, and while that’s pretty much the joy of my life, it’s very draining and time-consuming.  I still have to figure out how to balance work and home while working from home! :eek:

Because life is always so busy, you know how much I love my time savers.  However, this is not one of them.  Puff pastry is not something you make when you want a quick meal.  I suppose you could make it and freeze it, but I’ve never tried that.  Most I’ve done is make it a day ahead.

That being said, most of the time spent is inactive time, but it does require you to be nearby.  There’s the cutting, the rolling, and the surprisingly cathartic folding, but then there’s the waiting before you do it all over again.  And again.  And again.  You see, in order to have those beautiful, buttery layers, you have to actually make them by folding it over itself and rolling it out – multiple times.

But it is worth it.  Oh, is it worth it to have homemade puff pastry instead of paying an arm and a leg for store-bought which frankly, can’t even compare in taste.  Please throw out right now any notions you have of whole wheat things being more dense or tough than those made with white flour.  This puff pastry is made with slightly more whole wheat pastry flour than half all-purpose flour, keeping it tender, flaky, and still full of whole grains and that subtle nutty flavor.  If you prefer, you can switch the amounts of the flours.

There are so many things you could make with this!  You could make the previously-mentioned Salmon and Rice in Puff Pastry, or you could use it to cover a Chicken Pot Pie, or even make a rich dessert with it.

What are your favorite uses for puff pastry?

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September 12th, 2011

Savory or Sweet?

Pumpernickel-Rye swirl toast topped with creamed leeks and an over-easy fried egg.

Another enormously rare moment of beautiful plating! How my fingers accomplished it I'll never know...

How do you like your breakfast: savory or sweet? As huge a fan as I am of scones, I actually tend to prefer savory breakfasts: eggs, toast, bacon, cheese, or even miso soup.  And sugar first thing in the morning really isn’t good for you.  We need lots of protein to start the day! Being hypoglycemic, I especially try to eat a protein-filled breakfast and limit sweet breakfasts to once or twice a week.

This is one of my favorites.  You start with a piece of perfectly-done toast (and toast should be toasted, please, not just warmed bread), no butter.  Then you top it with creamed leeks and one organic egg (if you want that gorgeous golden yolk, your eggs should be organic or at least free-range), over easy or sunny-side-up.  A sprinkling of sea salt and a quick grating of pepper, and voila. Delicieux.

Egg and Creamed Leeks on Toast

Note: If you want the edges of your egg to be crispy and crackly like mine, fry the egg in a little bacon fat.

  • For each person:
  • 1 slice of whole-grain bread
  • 1 egg
  • ½ med. leek, rinsed thoroughly and chopped.
  • ½ tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream
  1. In a small sauté pan over medium heat, melt butter. Add chopped leeks and sauté until very lightly browned, 3-5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the cream and cook, stirring, another 2 minutes, or until the leeks are thickened and creamy.
  3. While the leeks are cooking, toast the bread until golden brown and crunchy. Don’t worry if you like softer toast (blasphemy!), it will soften a bit under the leeks.
  4. Spoon the leeks onto the toast, and in the same pan melt more butter (or bacon fat). Fry an egg until the bottom is just set enough to flip it, then slide the spatula under and flip, careful not to break the yolk. Or, you can just cook it without flipping until the white on top has just set.
  5. Slide it on top of the leeks. Sprinkle it with salt and pepper, and admire the beauty before you.
  6. Dig in like a ravenous wolverine.

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August 14th, 2011

Orange Spice Muffins

delicious with raspberry jam

Yesterday: Cool? Why wait until they're cool? Today: Why does my throat hurt?

The other day when my kitchen was filled with glorious natural light (the combination of hazy Western Massachusetts skies and houses being so freaking close together just does not work), I made that wonderful Grilled Chicken and Peach Salad for lunch.  These muffins preceded it for breakfast.

They are based on these gorgeous muffins by Pinch My Salt, but for some reason mine just did not come out looking nearly the same.  This could be because I did not have flax seed meal or walnuts, but I don’t think that would make that big of a difference.  Maybe because I used spelt flour in place of the flax seed meal (to keep the same amount of dry ingredients, not because they’re anything alike)?

Orange Spice Muffins

They're not very pretty...but they sure were good!

Who knows.  All I know is that ugly as they were, they were very good and The Grump and my coworkers enjoyed them.  I highly recommend you take a little trip over to Pinch My Salt & try her recipe, as posting my version would probably net you the same less-than-pretty results.

On a side note: that platter in the above photo? That is part of the “Plum Blossom” set that belonged to TG’s grandparents and he inherited.  We shipped it to ourselves while we were in California last month.  Some pieces broke en route which saddens me quite a bit as this pattern is no longer in print and it’s gorgeous! I love earthy, Japanese designs.

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February 27th, 2011

It’s so fluffy I’m gonna die!

Last weekend my best friend, Robert, sent me a text with a picture of 6  horrifically flat pancakes stacked on one plate and the message, “My pancakes are all flat…why they be hatin’?” I had to stop for a minute and force myself to ignore the fact that he had already begun eating six pancakes at once (homeboy’s got issues with the concept of moderation), and focus on the fact that his pancakes were indeed, shall I say, flat as a pancake.

After some brief probing (“did you use baking powder?”) I learned “Jiffy Mix didn’t say to use it, maybe it’s already in there?”  :eek: Boxed mix.  Problem ascertained.

This made me think of a pancake recipe I’d actually just recently been testing (three times in one week, I thank you) which I have found to be quite delicious, easy, and very fluffy.  So fluffy, in fact, that it reminds me of the scene in Despicable Me with the fluffy unicorn.  If you’ve seen it, you know what I mean.  If you haven’t, you need to.

So yeah.  Pancakes.  Poofy, healthy, multigrain pancakes.  And Robert.  I told him to nix the Jiffy and of course, culinarily inept as he is (although he’s amazing at building and creating things, photography, and design, his kitchen prowess is limited to possibly washing dishes), he asked what he could possibly do without his beloved mix.  I told him to check his email.  What follows is the email I sent him, almost verbatim.

Dramatic, me? Noooo….of course not…

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January 13th, 2011

Lemon Cream Scones

freshly baked lemon cream scones

I attempted to use natural light, so just ignore the resulting bluish tint to the plate, kthx.

Yesterday I told you how to prepare scones a day or two ahead so you can bake them when you need them.  I showed you pictures of the flat, flaccid, unbaked scones and gave you a step-by-step how to do it.  Today I present to you a photo of those same scones right out of the oven, sitting on my clothes dryer (which for some reason the architect decided needed to be in my bedroom, across the apartment from the washer), next to a window.  Natural light doesn’t enter this apartment, but that’s a post for a later day.

Today I also present to you a recipe for make-ahead scones, one that is very easily adapted to other flavors.  This one just happens to be lemon-cream.

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