08 March 2011

Mardi Gras Banana Pancakes

In honour of Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday for you non-Frenchies):

Pancakes are my favourite thing to have for breakfast. Here’s a great recipe for banana pancakes.

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 bananas, sliced

Sift together your dry ingredients in a large metal bowl and make a well in the middle for your milk, egg, and melted butter. Mix everything together until it is smooth. My secret for light, fluffy pancakes is letting the batter rise with the help of heat before cooking. Place your metal bowl (very important that it is metal, plastic will potentially melt) on your stove while you are heating your griddle or frying pan, turning and stirring often.

Another one of my secrets is to preheat your oven to 250° to keep your pancakes warm while you’re cooking the next batch. This is especially helpful if you are using an electric griddle, as your oven will be warm, and the batter will still rise when placed on the stove top. Use an oven-safe plate or dish to hold the finished pancakes in the oven until you are ready to serve.

Once your pan is heated over medium-high heat and lightly oiled (I use canola oil), pour your batter into the pan using ¼ - ½ cup depending on how large you want your pancakes. Place a few slices of your bananas on top of the freshly poured pancakes in your pan, and gently press them down into the batter. Cook on both sides until brown like you would any other pancake, remove from pan and place them in the oven.

When you’re finished all your pancakes, you can serve and top anyway you like! I like to put a couple extra slices of banana on top and smother in syrup.

Sifting icing sugar is another great topping.

An alternative to slicing the bananas is mashing them up and mixing with the wet ingredients before adding them to the dry mixture.

Bon Appétit!

17 February 2011

Meatless Sloppy Joe's

In October 2010, I decided it was time to go vegetarian. Again. In my teens I tried to be vegetarian, but it is really hard when you don’t do the grocery shopping and those who do are unsupportive. Now that I *shock* am an adult and living on my own, vegetarianism was an obvious choice. The only downside is I still enjoy and want to make things that require meat. Enter Yves Veggie Ground Round!

This meatless wonder comes in a variety of styles like original, Italian, Mexican, and Asian. Yves’ Ground Rounds are a pre-cooked soy-based crumble that can replace meat in any dish like lasagna, tacos, shepherd’s pie, chili … You get the idea. It also comes in original chicken.

  • 2 packages of Yves Veggie Ground Round
  • Hamburger buns
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 3 teaspoons brown sugar
  • salt to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste

Break up your ground round in a pan and add the pepper and onion. You may also want to add a little oil to help your veggies since the ground round doesn’t have the fat ground beef would. Ground round has ZERO trans- and saturated fats, ZERO cholesterol, and is actually a good source of protein and fibre. (I only wish I was sponsored by them. It is actually that great of a product.)

Once you’ve got your ground round and veggies heated up (remember, it’s pre-cooked!), you can add your garlic powder, mustard, ketchup, and brown sugar, stir, and simmer for 30 minutes. I’m not a big fan of sweet things, so I only use one teaspoon of brown sugar.

While that is simmering, I like my buns toasted.

You can season your meatless meat with salt and pepper to taste, and serve!

You can also go the easy route and just use the canned stuff with the ground round. I won't judge :P

Bon Appétit!

06 January 2011

Baking Bread

My inspiration for baking my own bread came from Jorge Garcia's blog Dispatches from the Island. (He has since started a new blog, Further Dispatches.) There's a general consensus that baking bread is incredibly difficult. I can remember as a kid in the mid 90's my mom had one of those bread makers where you put all your ingredients inside and it would mix, rise, and bake the dough without you lifting a finger. The thing made a God-awful noise when mixing the dough, and the bread came out looking and with the density of a brick (sorry mom). The recipes also called for what I now know to be extraneous ingredients like sugar and powdered milk.

There are only FOUR THINGS you need to make a great loaf of bread.


That's it!

I get my bread recipes from Jim Lahey's book my bread. It's a great book, his No-Knead method is so easy, and the bread tastes great. There's something very satisfying in successfully baking bread and it makes your house smell great. In order to avoid copyright infringement, I will not be posting the full recipe here, but you can find it here on another blog, The Wednesday Chef.

Aside from the four ingredients, there are other supplies you will need.

A dutch oven is the most important (the red pot with lid pictured above). It's your oven in an oven and will bake your bread to perfection.

Mixing your ingredients according to the book's instructions, you leave it to rise for at least 12 hours, preferably 18 or 20 at room temperature, away from drafty areas.

Pre-risen dough

Risen and shaped into ball

After letting your dough rise, you shape it roughly into the shape of a ball and, seam down on a cotton cloth, allow it to rise further for two hours.

Preheat your oven at 450 degrees about a half hour before your dough will be ready. Put your dutch oven in your oven as it heats. When your dough is ready, slide your hand under the cloth and flip it seam side up into your warm (hot! Don't burn yourself!) ceramic pot. Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on, and 20 - 30 with the lid off.

Once your loaf is ready to come out, cool on a rack. As it cools, you'll be able to hear it sing! This was the coolest part for me. Lahey describes it as the last phase of cooking. I know you're tempted to start slicing the bugger right away, but you have to let your bread cool on the rack for at least an hour. As it cools, the crust shrinks and cracks, and steam from the inside - what is known as the crumb - escapes through the cracks. This solidifies the crumb as the moisture escapes and makes the crackling noises known as singing.

Bon Appétit!

Brand new day

I'm not one to make New Year's resolutions. I generally subscribe to the belief that if there's something in your life needing to be changed, you would change it as soon as you realized you needed a little course-correction and not wait for the beginning of a new year to get off your butt and do it. This year, however, I think I'm going to make an exception.

My 2011 Resolution.

I'm going to blog my little heart out.

I hope you enjoy what's to come.