Breakfast


On Wednesday I posted a picture of pannekoeken I made for dinner. Pannekoek is a Dutch pancake, kind of like a thick crepe and is served flat rather than rolled. It uses more milk and less eggs than crepes and can be topped with sweet or savory foods.

Pannekoek restaurant in The Netherlands.

My husband’s grandma, Hermine (or Omi), and her husband, Lodewijk. Omi ate the entire pannekoek, and drank all her milk!

I like making it for weekend breakfasts, which gives me some time to experiment with ingredients to see how to make the perfect pannekoek. This recipe below is simple and satisfying, and I think that’s what makes it perfect!

Weights and Measures. This is probably the only repeat recipe where I use a kitchen scale to measure the flour. This should be the ideal way to measure any dry ingredient in baking (which I don’t always do) but even with a simple recipe like this, it’s good to be consistent.

Hey, batter, batter! I can tell you that spelt flour, or a combination of spelt and all-purpose flour, does not make a good pannekoek. Neither does substituting soy or almond milk, but you can certainly get away with using 1% lowfat milk.  Also, be sure to not over mix the batter. By pouring the egg and milk mixture into the middle of the flour “well”, you can stir and grab flour from the sides (see photo below). If you feel the urge to give that batter a good beating, just stir with your opposite hand to slow it down. :)

Take five…or fifteen…or thirty. The recipes I come across doesn’t instruct you to let the batter rest, but one day while my husband was fixing the car (or lawn mower, or something mechanical), I let the batter rest for a good half hour until he was ready for breakfast. This waiting period allowed the flour to absorb the liquids, the gluten to develop, and air bubbles to escape to freedom. The result: tender-er pannekoeken!

There’s a pouring technique?  There is also a technique to pouring the batter into the pan that I like: instead of pouring a pool of batter and letting it spread out in all directions, I pour the batter in a spiral pattern. Does it make the pannekoek cook more evenly? I think so!

That’s about it for my way of making a simple comfort dish. Hope you give it a try!

Pannekoeken

Pannekoeken met Appel en Krenten (Dutch Pancakes with Apples and Currants)
2 servings, makes four 10-inch pannekoeken

150 grams all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
300 mL 1% lowfat milk (2% and whole milk is fine, too)
2 large eggs, beaten, less 2 teaspoons
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (for cooking apples and oiling the pan)
3 apples, peeled, cored and sliced 1/4″ thin (Fuji apples are good, as well as Comice pears)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2-1/3 cup currants or chopped raisins, divided
cinnamon
stroop (Dutch syrup), maple syrup, or amber agave syrup

Directions:

In a medium bowl, combine flour and salt with a whisk. Make well in center. Add egg to milk & combine. Pour into center of flour mixture, gradually mix wet ingredients into dry, do not over mix. Let batter sit for 15 minutes (you’ll see air bubbles forming on the surface.) Transfer the mixture back into your measuring cup, you should have two cups of batter. (Add more milk, if needed.)

Apples are caramelized with butter and brown sugar.

While batter rests, in a heavy skillet melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. When butter starts to bubble and begins to brown (about a minute) add sliced apples and cook for 3-5 minutes until the undersides begin to brown. Turn over pieces, sprinkle in brown sugar, 1/4 cup currants and another tablespoon butter, if needed. Cook for 5 minutes more or until tender and apples are nicely caramelized, stirring frequently. Transfer to plate and scrape pan of any remaining sauce with rubber spatula. Set apples aside while you make pannekoeken.

These cook fast so add the currants as soon as the batter is poured.

In same pan, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Pour 1/4 cup batter into pan and immediately sprinkle on about 1 teaspoon currants. Cook for about 45 seconds to 1 minute or until underside of pannekoek begins to brown and top begins to firm up. Turn over and cook for 1 minute more. Top with 1/4 of cooked apples and currants, sprinkle with a pinch of cinnamon and lightly drizzle with syrup of your choice. Transfer to plate and make second pannekoek. (NOTE: since these cook really fast, my husband and I ate the first two, then I finished making the other two and then we eat those.)

I hope you give this recipe a try for your weekend brunch. It’s a nice alternative to regular pancakes, and grown ups and kids will love ’em. Eet smakelijk!

Since the pan wasn’t hot enough when I made the first pannekoek the texture was “doughier” and more pliable. I filled it with apples and currants, rolled it and re-fried it. Still delicious!

Our theme for October’s Recipe Redux has to do with one of my favorite colors: orange! “Orange You Glad It’s Fall?” I certainly am!

Markets are plentiful with the colors of autumn including pumpkin, carrots, squash, sweet potatoes and even golden beets. Not only are these produce bursting with fall flavors but they are also chocked full of carotenoid antioxidants.

No matter how they look, pumpkins are loaded with carotenoids!

What’s a car…carrot…caroten…that thing you said? ker-ROT-n-oids are plant pigments that your body converts into vitamin A. Fruits and veggies in red, orange, and yellow (hey, fall colors!) have various concentrations of this. Even leafy greens like kale and spinach contain the yellow carotenoid hidden beneath a healthy concentration of chlorophyll. Vitamin A helps protect your cells against damaging free radicals, improves your immune system…and you know the old saying about how carrots are good for your eyesight? Well with all that beta-carotene,  there just might be some truth to what mom used to say at dinner time!

After making the Chocolate Pumpkin-Coconut Pudding for the “How to Tofu” challenge sponsored by the National Soyfoods Council, not only have I been eating a lot of tofu (and scrapping several failed recipes), I’ve been craving the delicious taste of pumpkin. So much so that I’d like to share two pumpkin recipes with you today!

Recipe 1: Pumpkin Coconut Muffins
I love baking with spelt flour. It’s more substantial than regular white flour but can still result in tender cakes with the addition of fats, such as coconut oil. Plus, if you’re sensitive to wheat products but not allergic, spelt flour is easier on your stomach. Here I’m using several coconut ingredients: coconut extract, coconut milk, coconut oil, and dried coconut. Am I coo coo for coconut? You bet!

I asked my husband what he thought of these and he said, “It tastes like windmill cookies (spekulaas)…in cake form!”

mini pumpkin coconut muffins

Pumpkin Coconut Muffins
These tender muffins are filled with warm spices and delicate coconut flavor. 

Ingredients:

2 cups spelt flour (or regular all-purpose flour)
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon*
1 teaspoon ground ginger*
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg*
1/2 teaspoon allspice*
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup organic (or non-organic) pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1/2 cup organic virgin coconut oil, melted (or cooking oil)
1/2 cup organic coconut milk, such as Native Forest Organic Coconut Milk (or almond milk, soy moo or moo juice)
unsweetened coconut flakes

*alternatively, use 4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray muffin tins with nonstick spray or line with paper baking cups.

In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients with a wire whisk. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine wet ingredients until well blended. Add to dry ingredients (mixture will be thick).

Spoon mixture into prepared muffin pans until 2/3 full. Sprinkle with coconut flakes. For mini muffins, bake for 10-12 minutes. For regular sized muffins, bake for 12-15 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of muffin comes out clean. Makes  approximately 20 regular muffins, 40 mini muffins.


Recipe 2: Pumpkin Risotto:
After buying a few pumpkins at Frog Pond Produce Stand to decorate our front door I had pumpkins on my mind…again. I wanted a cozy, comforting pumpkin dish for dinner. What could be cozier than a creamy risotto?

Warm up a chilly evening with this creamy pumpkin risotto.

Creamy Pumpkin Risotto, serves 2
Sage, nutmeg and allspice makes this dish warm and savory with a bit of heat from red pepper flakes.

Ingredients:

1/2 pie pumpkin, seeded (about 1 – 1 1/2 pounds)
cooking spray
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup white onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup arborio rice
1 quart (32 ounces) chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon dried sage, divided
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In an 8″x8″ pan, add 1/2″ water. Place pumpkin cut side down in pan, carefully score with a knife. Spray outside with cooking spray. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until soft. Let cool for a few minutes, drain any remaining water from baking dish. Peel off pumpkin skin (I actually like to eat it!) and mash the filling in the baking dish with a fork. Set aside.

After the roast.

Pumpkin is very tender, removing skin and mashing with fork will be a cinch.

In a large frying pan, heat cooking oil over medium heat. Add chicken, cook for 1 minute. Add sage and salt, cook 2 minutes more, stirring frequently. Add onions, cook for 1 minute. Transfer to bowl and set aside.

In the same frying pan over medium heat, add risotto and 1/2 cup chicken broth. Stir and cook until liquid is absorbed, adding 1/2 cup more each time but don’t let the pan dry out. Stir frequently and keep adding broth and cook for 20 minutes. Risotto should be chewy, almost done.

If you like, replace 1/2 cup of the broth with a wheat beer or white wine.

After 20 minutes add half of roasted pumpkin (about 1 cup) to risotto, stirring well. Add rest of pumpkin, remaining sage and salt, and red pepper flakes and nutmeg, stirring well for 2-3 minutes. Stir in cooked chicken and onions and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes more. Add more salt to taste.

Serve on a bed of spinach or lightly steamed kale, topped with roasted pumpkin pieces. Enjoy!

Check out other nutritious fall favorites from fellow Recipe Redux members:


In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month the Soyfoods Council is challenging Recipe Redux to inspire family, friends, and readers to add more soy foods to their diet by creating recipes using one of the most versatile soy foods available–tofu!

If you’ve been following my post for the last week, you’re already familiar with my Creamy Tofu Alfredo and Chocolate Pumpkin-Coconut Pudding recipes I made in an attempt to add more tofu to my (and my husband’s) diet(s). You also may have checked out other Recipe Reduxers and their tofu-riffic recipes here, but if you haven’t, take a look and you’ll see some soy-licious recipes!

My third experiment: cauliflower pizza crust meets tofu patty

Background: I made a cauliflower pizza crust recipe for dinner and was very happy with the flavor, but not so happy with all the cheese. I came across some recipes that used tofu in place of cheese, which seemed like a very good idea to cut calories and fat. By using some lite tofu I was able to reduce the amount of cheese, but this would give the pizza crust an entirely different texture. Rather than making a limp crust, I decided to make a batch of patties…skinny tofu patties!

The verdict: The success is in the seasoning. Oregano, basil, and a little bit of red pepper flakes made this a very flavorful dish. The tofu and egg create a  chewy, slightly spongy texture, sort of like a thin omelette. I had a few patties left over from dinner and they were great for a light lunch. Matter of fact, I think I prefer them cold.

Skinny tofu patties

Skinny Tofu Patties
They’re great hot or cold, with a salad or by themselves. Perfect for an on-the-go meal.

Ingredients:

1/4 block firm light tofu
1 cup cauliflower florets with stems on, steamed (I used pretty orange cauliflower here)
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
3 mushrooms, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried pepper flakes
2 eggs, beaten

optional toppings:
mushrooms, thinly sliced
chopped tomato
asparagus

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with silpat or spray with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, add tofu, oregano, basil, salt, and dried pepper flakes and mash with a fork. Add shredded Parmesan cheese and mushrooms, stir to combine.

grating orange cauliflower (white and purple work equally good!)

Using a box grater, grate steamed cauliflower florets, holding by the stem end. Eat stems! Mix everything together, add eggs and mix well.

Drop heaping tablespoons of mixture onto prepared baking sheet and spread until thin and 4″-5″ in diameter. Top with mushrooms, tomatoes or asparagus. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until top starts to brown. Makes about 10 skinny patties.

Disclosure: by posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by The Soyfoods Council and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Be sure to check out the other tofu-riffic recipes at The Recipe Redux: http://teaspooncomm.com/teaspoonofspice/2012/10/grilled-tofu-blt-sandwich-giveaway/.


Happy WIAW!!! My apologies for the lack of food posts, I only had time to post my Insanity workouts (which are actually written 2 weeks in advance) and my husband’s parents are visiting from Germany! Our first official house guests in our new home, and it’s pretty fun and exciting. But in addition to receiving guests, we were also able to meet up with some newlywed friends from Hawaii, who moved to Germany, who were visiting family in Boston.

This month’s WIAW theme is making us Fall into Good Habits. Jenn at Peas and Crayons kicked it off with some incredibly delicious-looking photos of her healthy eating, and be sure to check out what other bloggers have to share as they take the fall, all in the name of habitual goodness!

I’m going to be sharing some stuff I did the past couple of weeks, and one good habit to have is to have FUN! We met up with friends at Catamount Adventure Park, located an hour’s drive south of Albany. We spent a good 4 hours testing our physical prowess and conquering our fear of heights (or should I say our fear of falling!) as we enjoyed traversing swinging bridges, pinky-thin cables and zooming across the forest on zippy zip lines!

View of the main platform where you start.

My friend balancing on the high wire!

My husband coming up the swing-like steps.

Zip lining!

We would definitely do this all over again so for any of our Hawaii friends that wanna visit Upstate NY during the summer, be prepared to be dragged to Catamount Adventure Park!

Later on we enjoyed some much anticipated and long awaited Vietnamese food at Vans in downtown Albany:

I had the Vietnamese pancake filled with veggies, my husband had beef pho (I couldn’t finish it.)

On Saturday we picked up my husband’s parents who are visiting from Germany. Since the airport was 3 hours away, we took advantage of this special trip to Newark and stopped at Ikea, The Wine Library, Costco (just to cash in on our reward$) and Sephora. We came home about 1am…and look at all the goodies they brought us!

Chocolates…..

28 bars of chocolate, 1 huge bar of Ritter Sport, two bags of daim chocolate clusters.

…and beer!

12 bottles of Augustiner…matches the glasses we brought back on our last visit.

Indulging in chocolates and beer may not be the best for this month’s theme of “Falling into Good Habits,” but gift-giving certainly can!

Another good habit you can fall into is to share a favorite recipe with friends and family. My in-laws cooked some dinner for us last week. This one is a rich, creamy, delicious avocado sauce with pieces of pork served with rice. My mother-in-law made this with chicken a couple of times, but the pork tastes much better:

Here is a dish I call “Quark Cakes” because I keep forgetting the German name, Quarkkäulchen. My father-in-law enjoyed it as a child and it’s one of those comfort foods that will sure to bring back cozy memories.

Some of us may be familiar with this kind of Quark:

Or even this kind:

But it’s actually made with this delicious creamy stuff:

Quark is a type of soft cheese, almost like cream cheese in texture as well as flavor. Here is the recipe for Quark Pancakes, or Quarkkäulchen. It’s rich and filling, and can be enjoyed with fruits for breakfast or with a green salad for brunch, lunch, or dinner. Quarkkäulchen have a soft, tender texture dotted with sweet raisins and a lightly sweetened batter, all contained within the crispness of the golden fried dough. Topped with a light sprinkling of sugar, Quarkkäulchen is an indulgent comfort food.

Quarkkäulchen, with and without sugar.

Quarkkäulchen
This recipe is courtesy of my father-in-law, who had the pleasure of enjoying his mother prepare it for him as a child…with lots of sugar and love. :)

Ingredients:
250 g yellow potatoes or red potatoes, boiled, peeled & cooled overnight
90 g flour, more if needed
1/2 tablespoon salt
50g sugar, plus extra for sprinkling on top
250 g quark
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup raisins
vegetable oil for frying

Directions (I have to make this up, since it wasn’t included in the hand-written recipe!)
In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, and sugar. With a potato ricer, process potatoes into bowl (alternatively you could probably use a pastry cutter to break apart potatoes into very small pieces.) Stir well. Add quark and eggs and stir to combine. Dough will be really sticky, like thick pancake batter. Add raisins and stir gently to combine.

Heat about 1/4″ vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. On a large cookie sheet, sprinkle flour and keep about 1/2 cup flour in a dish nearby. Flour hands and begin to form dough into small cakes (or patties) about the size of your palm and the thickness of your thumb. Place on floured cookie sheet.

When oil is hot, carefully add patties to the skillet using a large wooden or metal spatula. Cook on one side for about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, or until golden brown. Using two spatulas, carefully turn patties over, being careful not to splash oil (I actually splashed myself on the neck and arm!) Cook for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes more or until golden brown. Transfer to paper towel-lined rack or plate and repeat with remaining cakes. Change oil if it gets too dirty.

Sprinkle patties with more sugar and serve hot. Bon Appetit!

Soft, tender Quarkkäulchen dotted with raisins.

Most of us think of healthy eating and exercise when asked about having good habits. But what else can be a good habit? How about randomly picking up trash and disposing it properly? Spontaneously doing jumping jacks when you feel lethargic? Brushing your hairy cats so they don’t make tumbleweed-hairballs all over the living room? That sounds like a good habit to pick up. Will I stick to it? Only if it becomes a habit. ;)


Happy WIAW! Jenn at Peas and Crayons is over the moon now that her husband, Paul, is back form deployment (hooray!) But she still had time to serve up gorgeous food photos, and even one of her ferret! Check out her blog to see the happy couple, happy food, and a bunch of happy bloggers sharing their midweek treats!

Summer staples from last week included some zucchini that have been producing nicely in my garden, and this week I’d like to include yet another prolific producer–cucumber!

I love the taste and crunch of a fresh cucumber, and if you also like yogurt then yesterday’s Easy Tzatziki recipe is right up your alley. Vanilla Cucumber Smoothie might sound like some kind of body cream, but it’s a real, drinkable smoothie that has the clean, refreshing taste of cucumbers and the smooth sweetness of vanilla. I had one for breakfast, and it was a delicious and light post-workout snack:

Vanilla Cucumber Smoothie

Refreshing, packed with nutrients, and low in fat, carbs, and calories–just around 250 for 30 ounces of deliciousness (this glass is only 12 oz…refills!)

Lunch was another fruit & veggie yogurt bowl:

Cucumber, apple, pineapple, strawberries, blueberries, and fat-free Greek yogurt mixed with vanilla protein powder & cinnamon. Celestial Seasonings Imperial White Peach tea.

Dinner was leftovers from the previous night, chicken tikka with biriyani:

Another good source of low-fat protein: chicken, yogurt marinade, brown rice and split yellow peas.

Dessert was an assortment of sweets, including some Dutch cookies sent by my husband’s grandma from the Netherlands (thank you, Omi!) We couldn’t eat everything, but it’s just nice to look at a bunch of assorted cookies:

Clockwise, top, L-R: spekulaas (traditional Dutch cookie, tastes like Xmas,) stroopwafel (“syrup waffle”,) roomboter bitterkoekjespencee (thick cookies filled with buttery, pasty filling,) Riesen chocolates, vanilla oreos, roomboter Fondantsprits (butter shortbreads,) fudge coconut oreos, Amarettini koekjes (tastes like almond cookies,) and gezouten drop (salted licorice.) Served with rooibos thee!

This smoothie recipe can be adjusted to your taste, and is yet another great way to use up all those extra cucumbers and zucchini piling up in your fridge. The mild flavors of the veggies add freshness, plus they provide fiber for bulk. The banana also helps thicken it up and gives it some sweetness. The vanilla protein powder gives it the creamy, vanilla flavor.

Vanilla Cucumber Smoothie
A thick layer of foam forms at the top, just stir gently to incorporate all the yummy goodness!

Ingredients:

12 ounces cold water
4 ounces almond milk (or milk, soy moo, more water)
1 1/3 scoops vanilla protein powder, or your favorite flavor protein powder
2 handfuls baby spinach leaves, rinsed and squeezed out
4″ cucumber, sliced thin
4″ zucchini, sliced thin (more cucumber is okay, too)
1/3 ripe banana, sliced
ice cubes (optional)

Directions:

In a blender, add water, milk, protein powder. Blend on low until combined, about 10 seconds. Add the rest of the ingredients except ice. Blend on medium to medium-high until veggies are chopped up, 15-30 seconds. Add ice cubes and blend on high for 10 seconds until crushed. Makes about 30 ounces.

Vanilla Cucumber Smoothie-2

The bulk from the veggies makes this shake thick enough for a straw to stand up

Any favorite post-workout smoothies? What’s the greenest smoothie you ever tried? :D

« Previous PageNext Page »