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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Eye Popping Popovers


As Christmas approaches and the feasts begin, I would like to give you a recipe for something a little different but that can be incorporated into your holiday meal. Popovers! These are puffy muffin-size bread with a crisp brown crust and a somewhat hollow, moist interior. They are absolutely delicious for breakfast, tea, dessert, or anytime in between, and are ridiculously easy to make. This recipe is for a sweet popover with apples and cranberries but you can also make savory ones by adding cheese, herbs or spices and substituting them for traditional rolls. They are called popovers because as the batter bakes and expands it “pops over” the sides of the pan and results in a very impressive looking puff ball that will wow your guests.

Please enjoy and happy holidays!

Juicy Apple Popovers
Yield: 10 to 12

2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup all purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons plus 8 tablespoons butter
1 Granny Smith apple or similar, peeled, cored, and cut into ½ inch cubes
1 cup raisins currants or cranberries (whichever you prefer)

1. Heat the oven to 450 degrees
2. Add eggs, milk, four, salt, sugar and 2 tablespoons melted butter in a blender and blend well until everything is combined
3. In each cup of a regular sized muffins tins, divide cold butter, apple and raisins. Place the muffin tins in the oven for 5 minutes to melt the butter and cook the apples slightly.
4. Remove the tins from the oven and pour the batter into each cup filling them half way up. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325 degrees and bake until puffed and golden brown, 15-20 minutes more. Serve hot.

Recipe courtesy of Sur La Table

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Fruitful Delight


"I think the most disappointing cake has to be fruitcake. You think that would be better, it doesn't add up. Fruit-good, cake- great, fruitcake, nasty crap."
- Jim Gaffigan

. Fruitcakes are a traditional winter holiday cake made with an assortment of candied fruit, nuts, spices and liquor. They are baked slowly and, after cooling, usually covered in cheesecloth moistened with liquor or brandy and tightly wrapped in foil. This is what gives them the ability to outlive your dog.

. Fruitcakes date back to ancient Rome where the ingredients consisted of pomegranate seeds, barley and raisins. This was before the addition of neon colored maraschino cherries and canned pineapples.

. In the past, fruitcakes were used as wedding cakes in England. Single female guests would supposedly take a piece home and place it under their pillow to bring about a dream of their future husband.

. In 1878 a woman named Fidelia Ford baked a fruitcake to be eaten on Thanksgiving. Unfortunately she died before the holiday and because her relatives couldn't bear to eat it they saved it... The cake is now over 125 years old and made an appearance on the "Tonight" show with Jay Leno where he sampled a bite.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Kernels on my mind


Its finally happened. I've become addicted to something. Popcorn. I don't know how or why it happened. The days turned cold, the holiday shopping nerve-racking, my dwindling social life unbearable, and somehow, popcorn just seemed to make it all go away. It began as so many other addictions. Occasionally as a special treat. But as my roommate and I grew increasingly intoxicated by the warm bowl of comfort, we spiraled out of control. Once a week became 3 which then lead to a daily snack. I tried to make rules- Popcorn can only be consumed on nights we watch a movie, not television. But there were loopholes. "Oh look, there's 20 minutes left of Elf on HBO, hurry there's still time!" Or one of us would make a bowl regardless of what was on and the other would exclaim in weak protest, "but it's not a movie night!" as they sunk their hands greedily into the bowl of savory goodness. Now you're probably thinking, "what the hell is she talking about, it's just popcorn!" But you're wrong, because I'm not talking about just popcorn, I'm talking about yeasty popcorn.

Ok I know that may sound gross but I promise, it isn't. This popcorn is absolutely delicious and has been around since Hippies roamed the earth. The yeast which gives it a bold and nutty flavor is high in protein and vitamins making this a healthy snack, especially since it is cooked on the stove with olive oil and not in a chemical filled bag in the microwave. So the next time you are craving a cozy movie night, be adventurous and follow this simple recipe below.

Yeasty Popcorn Recipe
(for every day of the week)

. 1/4 cup olive oil
. 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
. 1/2 cup Brewers yeast
. salt to taste

1. In a medium pot add oil over medium high heat. Heat for 1 minute
2. Add in popcorn kernels and shake pot so kernels are coated in oil. Cover with lid leaving a small gap for air to escape
3. Stay by the pot and wait for the kernels to begin popping
4. When the popping slows, turn of the heat and place the popcorn in a bowl, season with salt, and add yeast. Shake the bowl so the salt and yeast are evenly distributed.

Please enjoy responsibly.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Childhood Cravings


You could say cartoons inspired my obsession with food. I was 8, a meat virgin, with a mother who told me Doritos were invented by Satan. Growing up with no sugar or processed food and soggy tofu dogs for lunch, cartoons became my food porn. Most girls would be able to tell you what color Daisy Duck's dress was, but not me. My eyes weren't on her outfits or long lashes, they were focused on the pies. Those delicious looking pies she carried so delicately in her feathered hands. What kind of pie was that? How did she make that perfect crust with the slits cut so evenly? What did those steamy lines that rose from the pie smell like? The fantasys were endless. I spent my childhood imitating the way Donald ate corn like a typewriter and Bugs swallowed carrots like circus swords. Its easy to remember that Shaggy and Scooby's 4 foot high sandwiches consisted of lettuce, cheese, bologne, pickles and hot dogs but I cant tell you the color of their mystery van. The dozen hamburgers Wimpy consumed made me weak in the knees while the cheese oozing pizza that Michelangelo ordered after battling Shredder brought drool to my chin.

It's not that i'm particularly proud of this, but I thought you should know the truth. Since then I've graduated from culinary school, worked 4 years in the food industry and continue to indulge myself silly in foods simple pleasures. I'm no longer a meat virgin. I love fish, tolerate chicken and have a disturbing weakness for bacon. I believe food should be fresh and healthy but that indulging in its pleasures is one of the most enjoyable activities in life. I don't think we should harm the earth, animals or our bodies to satisfy our stomachs. I haven't had a soggy tofu dog in 9 years. This is my blog.

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