Toad's Kitchen

(mostly) healthy recipes for the family

Archive for the month “August, 2013”

Yeasted Pancakes…or, I don’t live under a rock any more

I have always made pancakes. Everybody in my family loves all the types of pancakes I make, ranging from crepes to pannekoek/pannkaka to fluffy ones. But always, they are made with baking powder and/or soda. I am always on the lookout for good pancake recipes, as our little grandson, Ben, loves them cooked in his special “jungle animal” mini-pancake pan 🙂

Before attending our youngest son Dane’s wedding in Oahu recently, we spent a week in Maui – just the two of us. I am now in love with Hawaii, and I love the different foods and drink I got to try! Our favourite breakfast/lunch place there, the Kihei Caffe, had many delicious offerings. One of their specialties was recommended to us by oldest daughter (and former flight attendant) Camille, who had enjoyed many yummy meals at this establishment while on layovers…”you guys *have* to try their pancakes!” Indeed, said pancakes come with all sorts of “not-so” to “quite” exotic toppings…I had banana and macadamia nut, which was lovely, but the pancake itself was what grabbed my attention. There was this lovely, yeasty aroma to them and the texture was bubbly and different from the pancakes I make at home.

So, once back at home, I wandered the internets looking for recipes to try, and there were so many! How had I missed them?! I make lots of yeast breads and cakes and don’t know how that happened. Anyway. I found this recipe on a great blog called Food Wanderings, and they stated they had adapted it from a Red Star Yeast recipe. I like this recipe as it does not need to stand very long, and the flavour is wonderful. I also like that they are quite impressive looking when done – they hold their round shape and rise nicely.

Adding a handful of blueberries to the batter didn’t hurt!

2 cups flour
2-1/4 tsp. active dry yeast (one-1/4 ounce packet) – I used “instant” yeast for bread machines
2 heaping tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1-1/4 cups milk
1/4 cup water
2 eggs
1/4 cup melted butter
pinch salt
oil for the griddle/pan (I used coconut oil with great success, and it adds a little “je ne sais quoi” to the pancakes!)

In a large bowl, combine one cup of the flour with the yeast and one tablespoon of the sugar, and whisk well. Heat the milk and water together until very warm and add to the flour mixture. Whisk until all ingredients are well incorporated. Cover and let rise for one hour.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs well. Add the melted butter to the eggs and whisk until combined.

In another bowl, combine the remaining one cup of flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, baking soda and salt.

Heat your pan/skillet over medium heat until a few drops of water dropped on it bounce before evaporating. You want the griddle hot but not *too* hot, which would result in the pancake overcooking on the surface but remaining raw inside.

Beat down the yeast mixture, and add the egg/butter mixture and whisk until blended. Add the flour/sugar/soda mixture gradually to it, stirring gently just until incorporated.

Scoop about 1/3 cup of batter per pancake, over medium heat. They will remain uniformly round and will brown beautifully. Flip the pancakes once bubbles appear on the surface and the edges look dry-ish. They flip nicely, and are firmer than “regular” pancakes (as I am not the most talented pancake flipper, I really appreciate this).

The recipe also doubles nicely.

Serve to your favourite people, with all the favourite toppings and lots of maple syrup! ♡

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Chickpea Garden Salad

This recipe started out as Jamie Oliver’s recipe, but ended up being morphed into something a bit different (as usual!). His “Summer Chickpea Salad” involved a bit of cooking but for a hot weather fast salad I thought this one was pretty good, and I had to sub out some of the ingredients, anyway.

I love Jamie’s recipes because they are generally so flexible and his style of writing them is so inspiring. I hope you like my “mods”!

1 small onion, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 large tomatoes
1 yellow pepper
large can (around 500mL) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
handful fresh mint, cut in ribbons (chiffonade)
handful fresh basil, cut in ribbons
200g feta cheese, crumbled
juice of one large lime
olive oil (EVOO)
sprinkle chili pepper flakes (to taste)
dash Tabasco (to taste)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Combine first eight ingredients in salad bowl, mixing well. Dress with remaining ingredients, adding “hot” ingredients sparingly until you get the “heat” you like – you don’t want to overwhelm the other flavours in the salad.

Enjoy al fresco!

Boozy (not really) Banana Bread via Nigella

This is a tip from the lovely and talented Nigella Lawson…I just tried it, and it is great!

Before making your favourite banana bread recipe, take 1/2 cup or so of raisins (for one loaf) and put them in a small saucepan with 1/3 cup dark rum. Bring to a boil, remove from heat immediately and let cool.

Mix up your loaf, and stir these babies in. Nigella said to drain them, I didn’t – just dumped the whole lot in, there wasn’t much to drain as the raisins had soaked most of the rum up.

The resulting banana bread was elevated from “very yummy” to “Mmmmmmmmmmmyummy”. I recommend using a recipe (like mine) that uses butter rather than oil, for an extra rich taste.

Try it! So simple and so good. Thank you, Nigella!

For those of you who do not have a “go-to” basic Banana Bread recipe, this is mine:

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar (can cut back to 3/4 cup)
2 eggs
3 medium bananas (ripe), mashed
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
pinch salt
(optional: 1/2-3/4 cup raisins/craisins and/or chopped pecans)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream butter and sugar together. Ad eggs one at a time, beating until smooth. Add bananas and vanilla, and blend until combined. If you are adding rummy raisins, add them now.

In second bowl, stir dry ingredients together. Add to wet mixture, stirring only to moisten. Transfer to greased loaf pan (9″x5″) and bake for 1 hour or until done.

Remove from pan after ten minutes, cool on rack and try to leave it alone until the next day. Banana bread always is better the next day!

Mmmmushroom Mmmmmoussaka

Moussaka is delicious in its various forms, which almost always include meat. This version is equally wonderful, very flavourful and satisfying, and we allow the little lambs to frolic another day.
It is not difficult to make but it is a bit time consuming to make in one go. Try to make the time for it, though…it is totally worth the effort!

2 medium-sized eggplants
salt
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
grated Parmesan (about 1/4 cup) OR about 1 cup of the pre-grated “pizza mix” cheese
4 medium potatoes, boiled and cooled, then sliced about 1/4″ thick (optional)

Mushroom/Tomato Sauce:

3 tbsp. olive oil
750g chopped mushrooms
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp. dried oregano
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
lots of freshly ground pepper
1 cup dry red wine
6-7 fresh tomatoes, chopped coarsely (could use 19-ounce can of diced)
1 can tomato paste
1/2 cup chopped parsley

Cheese Sauce:

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups cottage cheese

Cut eggplants into 1/4″ slices crossways,layer in colander over bowl or sink, sprinkling each layer with salt. Let stand for 30-60 minutes. This removes excess water, and prevents that bitter taste eggplant sometimes has.

In the meantime, prepare the sauce. In a large frying pan, fry the mushrooms, onion and garlic in the olive oil until softened. Mix in the remaining ingredients except parsley, and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated – when you draw a spoon along the bottom of the pan, the sauce will not fill in much when it is ready to use. This will take a while. When it is done, stir in the parsley and set aside.

While the mushroom-tomato sauce is reducing, make the cheese sauce. Make a roux with the butter and flour, whisk in the milk over medium-low heat and cook until it is thickened and smooth. Stir in the cheeses, then the eggs (add eggs last so they don’t start cooking – the mixture will have cooled with the addition of the cheeses).

Turn on the broiler element in the oven.

Drain and rinse the eggplant, and pat dry. Brush with olive oil and set on baking sheet. Broil until translucent and golden, turning once – about 8-10 minutes total.

Change the oven to heat to 350 degrees.

Now to assemble: spread half the mushroom-tomato mixture in a greased deep 9×13″ pan/lasagna pan. Dab a little cheese sauce over this (about 1/4 of it), distributing evenly. Layer half the eggplant over this, overlapping if necessary. Repeat layers (adding a layer of sliced potatoes in there if using), and end with a nice deep layer of cheese sauce. You can cover and freeze it at this point if you like. Top this layer with either the grated parmesan, or the cup or so of pizza cheese, then sprinkle with breadcrumbs.

Bake for 60-70 minutes in oven, or until browned and bubbling. Let stand for 15 minutes or so, then cut into squares. Will make about 8 servings. A nice red wine, a simple green salad and crusty bread make nice accompaniments 🙂

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