Archive for the ‘Breakfast and Brunch’ Category

Corn Waffles

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

cornboy2web

 
Today is Shrove Tuesday, a.k.a. Mardi Gras, a.k.a. Pancake Tuesday.
 
Pancakes are a traditional food on the day before Ash Wednesday since they contain several substances Christians traditionally gave up for Lent—milk, eggs, and butter.
 
My family has rechristened the day Waffle Tuesday so that we can eat our newest breakfast creation, Corn Waffles. We first made them last week to help my nephew Michael study for a test.
 
Michael lives in Virginia. Recently in school he has been studying Virginia’s past—specifically, the state’s part in the Revolutionary War.
 
The other day we were quizzing him on material he had been asked to learn.
 
He did a great job mimicking John Paul Jones and declaring, “I have not yet begun to fight.”
 
He knew where Thomas Jefferson lived even though we have yet to visit Monticello. (I hope we’ll get there in the spring!)
 
For some reason, however, he had trouble remembering details about the Battle of Yorktown—specifically, the name of the British General who surrendered at Yorktown to George Washington, Lord Cornwallis.
 
In order to make Cornwallis’s name more memorable we started calling him Lord Corn Waffles.
 
Soon we decided to reinforce the lesson by allowing Michael to taste the general’s namesake.
 
The rest, as they say, is history……
 
cornwafflesweb
 
Corn Waffles
 
Ingredients:
 
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) sweet butter
1-1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs, separated
2 tablespoons sugar
 
Instructions:
 
Melt the butter and set it aside to cool slightly while you assemble the other ingredients.
 
In a medium bowl use a whisk to combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, and baking soda.
 
In a larger bowl combine the buttermilk, milk, and egg yolks. Stir in the dry ingredients.
 
In a clean bowl beat the egg whites until they hold soft peaks. Beat in the sugar. Gently fold the sugared egg whites into the milk combination.
 
Cover the batter and place it in the refrigerator overnight. (You may just let it stand at room temperature for a few minutes, but your waffles will be fluffier if the batter can stand overnight, and the cornmeal will be better blended.)
 
The next morning take the batter out of the refrigerator and let it stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.
 
Brush your waffle iron with butter and preheat it. Cook the waffles as needed (usually 3 to 5 minutes, depending on your waffle iron).
 
Serves 4 to 6.
 
 
The Surrender of Cornwallis by John Trumbull (Architect of the Capitol)

The Surrender of Cornwallis by John Trumbull (Photo Credit: Architect of the Capitol)

 

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I’m Honored

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Kreativ Blogger Award2

 
Bloggers love a little recognition. So I was thrilled yesterday to learn that Mattenylou of the charming blog On Larch Lane has given me the Kreativ Blogger Award. Thanks, Mattenylou!
 
This award is designed to share news of fun blogs. Each recipient is asked to post seven interesting things about herself (or himself, of course) and to pass the award on to seven other bloggers.
 
Mattenylou very sweetly wrote to me saying that if I didn’t have time to post seven things about myself she would understand. Naturally, I responded that for an egotist like me the problem would be finding ONLY seven things to write about!
 
Things about Tinky (they may be of interest only to me, but here they are!):
 
1. Let’s start with guilty pleasures: I read category fiction. This means I love mysteries and even the occasional romance novel. (I have also been known to TiVo “Ghost Whisperer” on television; I can’t figure out why, but it’s there in my queue every week.)
 
2. I have had crushes on a number of movie stars, including the following (not in order): Matthew Broderick, Fred Astaire, and Walter Pidgeon. Also Walter Cronkite (maybe there’s something about the name Walter?)
 
3. There are days on which I would kill for a truffle.
 
4. I talk to my pets constantly. I am certain that they talk back.
 
5. When I’m really frazzled I take a walk in the woods.
 
6. I love my friends and my family. I wish more of them played bridge with me, however; I haven’t played bridge in years! And it’s my favorite team sport.
 
7. I would love to be better organized. Also rich and famous, but better organized actually comes first!
 
Seven of My Favorite Blogs
 
These were really hard to narrow down. I read and enjoy a LOT of blogs.
 
1. Commonweeder, which muses year round on gardens and community.
 
2. Food & Think from the Smithsonian, which mixes science, food, culture, and fun.
 
3. Walking Off the Big Apple, the thinking woman’s (and man’s) guide to New York.
 
4. History Hoydens, in which historical-romance writers talk about their research and their writing with wit and passion.
 
5. Sugar Apple, which blends Southern American and island cuisines to maximize color and flavor.
 
6. How Does Your Garden Grow, which concentrates on local eating and doable recipes in my native New England.
 
7. Today at Mary’s Farm, in which journalist Edie Clark shares insightful essays on country life.
 
Please take a look at them—and, if you like, leave a comment to tell me about some of YOUR favorite blogs. I’m always looking for new reading material.
 
Before I go I have to post a recipe since National Oatmeal Month is almost over and I HAVEN’T POSTED A SINGLE AVENACEOUS RECIPE this January!
 
This recipe comes from Jody Cothey. I’ll tell you more about her in my next post, which will feature another of her favorite foods.
 
For now I’ll just let you know that she and her husband Edward own Tregellys Fiber Farm in my hometown of Hawley, Massachusetts. They have a longstanding interest in Tibetan and Nepalese people and culture.
 
The Cotheys learned to make this oatmeal dish from Nepalese friends and eat it frequently at this time of year. In Nepal it’s sweetened with honey, but in Massachusetts the Cotheys (and I!) tweak it with a little maple syrup.
 
If you like bananas and oatmeal, try this combination. It is surprisingly silky in taste and texture.
 
Porridgeweb
 
Nepalese Porridge
 
Ingredients:
 
1 cup milk
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1 pinch salt
2/3 banana, cut into small pieces
maple syrup to taste
 
Instructions:
 
In a small saucepan combine the milk, oats, salt, and banana pieces. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the porridge reaches the consistency you like (for me this is about five minutes).
 
Serve with maple syrup. Serves 1 to 2, depending on appetite.
 
por2web

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Am I Blue?

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Blueberry Snap cut web

 
Nationally, July is blueberry month, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Here in the hills of western Massachusetts, however, blueberry month falls in August.
 
I know that blueberries are a super food–all those antioxidants!–so I grudgingly eat the big ones in July. I bide my time, however, until the tiny, low-bush berries make their appearance a month later. Locally we find most of these in Heath. This town near my own Hawley is high in elevation and rich in good cooks.
 
Heath’s little blue pearls look prettier, taste sweeter, and freeze better than their jumbo counterparts.
 
For years neighbors just ate them, preserved them, and enjoyed them. Lately local food producers have been using Heath’s blueberries to make tasty, useful products. The Benson Place, a Heath grower, makes something called Wonderfully Wild (and it is!) Blueberry Spread.
 
Bart’s Homemade Ice Cream in Greenfield recently began a limited run of a new flavor called CISA Berry Local Blueberry Ice Cream. The company gets its berries from three Heath farms–the Benson Place, Tripp’s, and Burnt Hill. I asked Bart’s president Barbara Fingold about the origins of the project.
 
She reported that her husband and business partner, Gary Schaefer, is on the board of CISA, the Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture. The organization is interested in making more durable products that use local crops, according to Barbara. In fact, she noted, the blueberry ice cream is “a prototype for future products made by Bart’s Homemade, as well as other local producers.”
 
CISA’s workers helped come up with the name of the ice cream and have assisted in publicizing it. A portion of all sales goes toward CISA’s work promoting local farms and farmers.
 
Barbara informed me that the company hopes to try making local peach ice cream soon. I can’t wait! Meanwhile, my family is savoring the current flavor. According to Barbara, its limited run will end in mid-September–or when the company runs out of the ice cream; she called the response “overwhelmingly positive.”
 
We can’t eat ice cream ALL the time, although some of us would like to–so here’s a simple coffee cake to add to your blueberry repertoire. Make it with large berries if you must, but the tiny ones will make it more delicious. It’s easy to bake and serve when you don’t have a lot of time or energy.  
 
Seasonal Heaven: CISA Berry Local Blueberry Ice Cream (with a few peaches!)

Seasonal Heaven: CISA Berry Local Blueberry Ice Cream (with a few peaches!)

 
 
 
Blueberry Snap
 
Ingredients:
 
1/2 cup (1 stick) sweet butter at room temperature
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-3/4 cups flour
1 cup milk
1 to 2 cups tiny blueberries
1/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/3 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup finely chopped almonds
 
Instructions:
 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by9-inch baking pan. Cream together the butter and white sugar. Beat the eggs together and then beat them into the butter-sugar combination. Beat in the extract; then add the baking powder and salt.
 
Add the flour and the milk, alternately, to the butter-sugar-egg mixture, beginning and ending with the flour. Fold in the berries.
 
Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish, and top it with the brown sugar, cinnamon, and nuts (if you are using them). Bake for 50 minutes. Serves 9 (with big pieces) to 12 (with tiny pieces).
 
 
snap in pan web

A Salute to the Hidden Harriet

Friday, July 17th, 2009
Harriet Hilliard Nelson (Courtesy of MortysTV.com)

Harriet Hilliard Nelson (Courtesy of MortysTV.com)

 

Tomorrow the matriarch of “America’s favorite family” would have turned 100.

 

Born Peggy Lou Snyder on July 18, 1909, Harriet Hilliard Nelson grew up in a theatrical family that used the name Hilliard (definitely classier than Snyder!). She worked as a chorus dancer and an actress before trying her hand as a singer and nightclub mistress of ceremonies. In 1932 she started singing with bandleader Ozzie Nelson’s orchestra, beginning a professional and personal partnership that would last until Ozzie’s death in 1975. (Harriet herself died in 1994.)

 

In the 1930s Harriet still worked solo from time to time. Her biggest role came in the 1936 Astaire-Rogers film Follow the Fleet, playing the romantic second lead opposite Randolph Scott. One can glimpse the singer she was—and the actress she might have become—in that film, where she is attractive and has a sultry if smallish voice.

 

Increasingly, however, she worked only with Ozzie. After the birth of their two children, David (in 1936) and Eric (known as Ricky and later Rick, in 1940), the couple began performing on the radio. This medium enabled Ozzie and Harriet to maintain a more stable home life than nightclub work could offer.

 

They launched their signature radio program, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, in 1944. The program allegedly followed the real-life story of the couple and their sons. The latter were played on the radio by actors. When the Adventures expanded to television in 1952, David and Ricky were brought in to portray themselves.

 

The televised Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet became one of the best known American situation comedies of the 1950s and 1960s. The program is sometimes irritating to view today. (I had to watch A LOT of episodes while doing research for my dissertation so I should know!) Like Ozzie’s rather bland orchestra, it tended, in the words of one critic, to “[border] very much on the Babbitt.”

 

By the time they hit television Ozzie and Harriet were primarily actors rather than musicians, although they sang in a few episodes. Young Rick sang increasingly beginning in 1959, when under his father’s watchful eye he became a recording star.

 

Even after Rick emerged as a singing sensation the major emphasis of the television program was on family life—specifically on the dilemmas of males, both grown up (Ozzie) and growing up (David and Ricky). Ozzie’s character was awash with insecurity. He was never sure he was brave enough, strong enough, or rugged enough— in short, masculine enough. In the final analysis, then, the only character in the program who seemed like a true grown up was Harriet.

 

Although her character was allowed occasional wisecracks, she generally represented reason and stability. Harriet Nelson played this character with grace and a certain amount of charm, but I frequently find myself wondering what the televised Harriet might have been like freed of Ozzie and the boys.

 

The same question comes to mind about the offscreen Harriet Nelson. She was portrayed in magazines and newspapers of the 1950s as a quiet homemaker who viewed her work on the family’s show as an old-fashioned pre-industrial cottage industry, a suitable accompaniment to her collection of early-American antiques. Nevertheless, no true personality peeks out of those pages.

 

Ozzie was described in the press as an efficient producer and director of the show; one can sense the iron hand with which he ruled the family as well as the program. The younger Nelsons were described as fairly normal boys who just happened to be the stars of a television show. While this was undoubtedly an exaggeration, they had definite personalities. The “real” Harriet disappeared from press coverage, however, just as her earlier vivacity disappeared from the television program. Behind the pretty smile and the smooth, tailored dresses lurked an enigma.

 

I hope the Harriet we never really knew managed to enjoy herself. I like to think that her on- and offscreen rationality and blandness camouflaged a busy, happy existence.

 

In any case, I use the recipe below to salute her competence as an actress and her status as one of America’s best known television personalities. (A 1965 New Yorker cartoon celebrated the Nelsons’ iconic status; in it a TV-watching wife tells her husband, “I’ll make a deal with you. I’ll try to be more like Harriet if you’ll try to be more like Ozzie.”)

 

The recipe was inspired by the episode “Pancake Mix” in the televised Adventures’ first season. In this half hour Harriet tries a new product, Hasty Tasty Pancake Mix. The Irrepressible Ricky (as he was often called by the program’s announcer) tries to get rich by exploiting the promise of the Hasty Tasty company to refund twice the purchase price of its product if the mix doesn’t make the finest pancakes the eater has ever tasted.

 

Ricky learns his lesson (sort of) when the pancake-mix president shows up at the Nelson home with a retinue and prepares a batch of pancakes on the spot—adorned with chocolate ice cream, strawberry jam, whipped cream, and a cherry.

 

Naturally, Ricky declares that these are ABSOLUTELY the finest pancakes he has ever tasted. Mine weren’t bad, either—or so my nephew Michael told me. He ate them with maple syrup. I was careful not to mention the trimmings Ricky enjoyed until after we had finished eating!

 

Enjoy them—and think of Harriet in her perfectly pressed apron, competently flipping them on her Hotpoint kitchen range….

 

Courtesy of Kathleen O'Quinn Jacobs

 

Hasty Tasty Pancake Mix

 

You may double this recipe easily. In fact, you may make up to EIGHT TIMES as much mix as the recipe suggests; just make sure that it is well mixed together.

 

Ingredients:

 

1 cup flour
1/4 cup buttermilk powder (in larger grocery stores under “baking needs”)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder

 

Instructions:

 

Sift together these ingredients, and whisk them as well to make sure that they are thoroughly combined. Store the mix in an airtight container until it is needed (but not for more than 3 months!).

 

To make a batch of pancakes: In a bowl whisk together 1 cup water, 1 egg, and 2 tablespoons melted butter. Gently stir in the pancake mix. Do not overmix the batter.

 

Heat a frying pan or skillet to medium heat (about 375 degrees), and melt a small amount of butter into it. Dollop just under 1/4 cup batter onto the pan for each pancake.

 

Turn the pancakes after a minute or two, when they are nice and bubbly on the surface and easy to lift; then cook them on the other side. Add a bit more butter as needed to prevent sticking. Remove and serve with butter and warm maple syrup—or ice cream, jam, whipped cream, and a cherry. Each recipe makes about 10 pancakes.

 

The Irrepressible Michael contemplates a Hasty Tasty Pancake (I think he's ready to utter Ricky's favorite line, "I don't mess around, boy!")

The Irrepressible Michael contemplates a Hasty Tasty Pancake. (I think he's ready to utter Ricky's favorite line, "I don't mess around, boy!")

 

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Joan and Bill’s Sunday-Brunch Pancakes

Monday, July 13th, 2009
Joan Morris and William Bolcom (photo by Katryn Conlin)

Joan Morris and William Bolcom (photo by Katryn Conlin)

 

 

Intent on continuing my culinary tribute to Mohawk Trail Concerts, I got in touch with the couple who are the audience’s hands-down favorite year after year (they make an appearance at every summer concert series), Bill Bolcom and Joan Morris.

 

Bill is a Pulitzer-prize winning composer as well as a sensitive pianist and accompanist. Joan is probably our country’s leading practitioner of musical cabaret. She has a rich mezzo-soprano voice and a capacity to put across any type of song—funny, tender, bawdy, earnest: you name it, and she can do it.

 

When I asked Joan for a recipe, she replied, “Well, you’ve hit on the closest thing to my heart–after music, of course–which is FOOD!”

 

She explained that she makes these relatively low-carb pancakes every week. She added, “Sometimes I’ll add blueberries, which I did yesterday. If we’re feeling virtuous, we’ll have them with apple butter or no-sugar-added jam, but since we’ve been coming up to Charlemont we fell in love with Grade B Maple syrup from Gould’s Sugar House, and, OK, we have that, too, sometimes.”

 

My mother, Truffle, and I tried the pancakes for Sunday brunch yesterday and were very pleased. They’re a cross between a pancake and an omelet—not unlike a crepe or a blintz. A little fruit and sour cream (Greek yogurt for the healthy!) would make a nice accompaniment, but we went for the traditional maple syrup. It seemed to me that they took a little longer to cook than traditional pancakes–but the wait was worth it!

 

Bill and Joan will be featured this weekend at Mohawk Trail Concerts. Saturday night concertgoers may also support the Federated Church, the concerts’ venue (and my church; I sang a FABULOUS solo at yesterday’s morning service!) by attending the Chicken Barbecue before the concert. The highlight of the barbecue is always the homemade pies; my mother and I are contributing a couple of key-lime beauties.

 

Meanwhile, here is Joan’s recipe:

 

Ingredients:

 

3 eggs, beaten
1 cup cottage cheese
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 to 1/3 cup flour
salt to taste (Joan uses about 1/2 teaspoon; I like a little more)
a small amount of butter for cooking (Joan didn’t mention this, but my pancakes needed it)

 

Joan’s Instructions:

 

After beating the eggs in a bowl, add the other things. I’ve learned to measure out the flour first (the recipe [from which it was adapted in The Low Blood Sugar Cookbook] calls for oat flour, but any will do), then the cottage cheese, so I don’t have to wash out the measuring cup after the cottage cheese.

 

You pretty much dump everything else in, stir it up, and spoon out about 4 small pancakes at a time on a griddle pan, if you have one of those. The recipe says it makes 10 to 12 pancakes, but I’ve stretched it out to about 16 small ones.

 

They’re yummy! They come out nice and crispy round the edges. Now you know how come Bill stayed with me all these years!

 

pancakesweb