Saturday, May 30, 2009

Butter Makes Everything Better

A friend of mine once gave me some basil-butter she made at home after tasting it a restaurant. It was amazing! Another friend used to make a compound butter with tarragon to use in her wonderful savory tea-sandwiches. Both of these altered-butters turned something simple into something memorable.

This article from: NYT Food News via reminded me to try making some compound butters of my own.

The basil-lemon-garlic butter would be wonderful melted on a nice steak or some simple pasta, while the sweet honey-orange-vanilla butter sounds ideal for breakfast breads like scones, cinnamon rolls, muffins, etc...

They don't give a recipe but you'd hardly need one: Soften the butter, chop up the add-ins, put it all in the food processor, wrap it up and freeze it until needed.

Lavender Almond Cake with Lemon Verbena Syrup

Clicking from here at The Kitchn, to here at The Kitchn, then to Lucy's Kitchen Notebook blog. I found the following in the comments...

"I poured your lemon verbena syrup onto a lavender cake made with semolina and ground almonds." - Anonymous

Ever since I read that comment, I have been intrigued with the idea of it and am determined to find and/or make a recipe for it one day! A possible starting point might be this cake recipe from Epicurious.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

My First Bagels

I made bagels! They were great! I'm a convert, and will never purchase bagels again. They even freeze well... One less thing to buy at the store.

JO GOLDENBERG’S PARISIAN BAGELS adapted from Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads (Simon and Schuster), initially found through this fantastic article on Slate... Scratch That: How cost-effective is it to make homemade pantry staples?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Lemon Pancakes

The following recipe is from a commenter on Mark Bittman's NYT pancake recipe post. I generally never make recipes found randomly on the web and posted by unknown sources, but this one just sounded so good. They were described as being a bit crispy on the outsides. So let's see: sweet crispy lemony pancakes? Oh yes. I am definitely making these!

"Random Comment" Lemon Pancakes*

In a large bowl, sift together:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

In another bowl, whisk together:
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Zest from two lemons
3 Tblsp melted butter
1 lg egg
1-1/2 tsp vanilla

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients in the large bowl, and fold until combined. Pour or ladle 1/4 cup onto a hot griddle. Flip as soon as they are cooked through. Makes about 10 small pancakes. Keep warm in 170° oven until ready to serve.

My Notes: Went together very easily. Delicate cakes. Use care when flipping. Do not have the pan too hot! They will burn easily. Seem to cook faster than regular pancakes. Great flavor. Served with maple syrup and fresh fruit on top.

*To Jerry Popolis (commenter #21 on December 26, 2008 at 9:27 am), where ever you are... I say thank you for these lovely pancakes!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Yogurt and Beyond

Who knew yogurt could be so fascinating? Or taste so good! It's got to be homemade though. I'll warn you, once you do this there's no going back to store-bought. Even yogurt-hating Hubs says he likes it! Here are a few great links on the subject from when I was poking around researching it...

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Homemade Yogurt

Easy Homemade Greek-Style Yogurt
I will never buy yogurt from a store again. Ever. I'm so in love with this yogurt just as is, that the only thing I've done with it so far is change the type of fruit I eat it with. Seriously though, I have used it to sub for sour cream in a recipe; and one time, I strained it too long and ended up with "yogurt cheese". I spread that stuff on my bagels and fell in love all over again. Way better than any cream cheese could be. Now, whenever I make yogurt, I have to decide whether to make it for spooning or spreading! Oh yeah... I save the whey that gets drained off to use when I make bread or bagels. It's evidently super nutritious. Waste not, want not!

My Yogurt Formula (adapted from Harold McGee's article)

heat 1 qt milk--> 180°-190°
cool --> 115°-120°
temper and add: 2 Tbsp starter*
warm + still --> 4 - 8 hrs

More yogurt articles and recipes...
This recipe from the NYT:backstory blog article is basically the same as McGee's. And here is the article from the New York Times Magazine that it references.

Alton Brown's yogurt recipe is not quite as simple yet has lots of positive feedback. I'll probably not make it, but only because I don't happen to have on hand all the things it calls for. He does have some yogurt-based recipes that sound good.

And speaking of what to do with all the fabulous bacteria you just grew... the New York Times lists a ton of recipes featuring yogurt; from dip to dressings, soup to sorbet.

*Yogurt starter is just plain yogurt from the store initially, then reserve 2 Tblsp of the homemade yogurt to use as starter for the next batch.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Herb-Infused Sea Salt

Two ways to use two of my favorite garden herbs: rosemary and lavender. Combine them with sea salt to make Rosemary Sea Salt or Lavender Sea Salt. Or even, Rosemary-Lavender Sea Salt. Pulverize it all together in a food processor and use as a finishing sprinkle of salty goodness on meat or veggies... or even on popcorn. Should be easy to make and would be nice for gifts too.