Dutch Baby Pancakes

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My friend, Susan, introduced me to these versatile breakfast treats. This oven pancake, which is more like a popover, has many names, like Dutch Baby, German Pancake, Dutch Pancake, or Dutch Puff. I like making them because they are easy and adaptable. You can add any fruit (fresh or frozen) or topping you like (although, I don’t think citrus fruit would be good). I have made Dutch Babies with apples (sprinkled with cinnamon), blueberries, cherries, cream cheese, strawberries, and pears. My favorite is made with frozen cherries and dotted with cream cheese. My oldest son’s favorite is made with strawberries. They are also perfectly fine just plain. Dust with powdered sugar and serve with syrup.

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Dutch Baby Pancakes

3 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter
fruit, fresh or frozen, sliced if necessary (about 1/4 to 1/2 cup), optional
powdered sugar
syrup

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Blend all the ingredients except the butter (and fruit topping) in a blender until smooth. Alternatively, whisk ingredients together in a large bowl until smooth. You will have a very wet batter.

Once the oven is preheated, place the 2 tablespoons butter in a cast iron skillet and place in the oven until melted. Pull the skillet out of the oven and add the batter. Don’t overdo it. Sprinkle your fruit (or other toppings) evenly over the batter. I’m using strawberries and cream cheese (on half) for this one.

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Bake for 25 minutes until puffed and deeply golden. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve immediately.

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Here are some pictures of other Dutch Baby Pancakes I have made:

Pears (with cream cheese on half):

Pictures 3238

Apples with cinnamon:

Dutch Pancake 2 - sm

Cherries and cream cheese:

Dutch Pancake - sm

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Mushroom Palmiers

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I made these mushroom palmiers to take to Christmas dinner at our friends’ house. They were a delicious and easy appetizer. The flaky pastry and the savory mushroom filling makes for a nice combination. I like that they can be served at room temperature.

Mushroom Palmiers

3 tablespoons butter
1 package (8 ounces) fresh mushrooms
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (I like Texas Pete)
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 package frozen puff pastry, thawed (recommended  Pepperidge Farm)

In a large skillet, heat butter over medium heat. Add mushrooms and onion; cook and stir until tender. Stir in lemon juice, hot pepper sauce and salt. Cool completely.

Unfold one pastry sheet. Spread the mushroom mixture to within 1/2 in. of edges. Roll up the left and right sides toward the center, jelly-roll style, until rolls meet in the middle. Cut into 24 equal slices.

Place slices on greased baking sheets. Bake at 400° for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.


4 Bean Vegan Chili

One of the main concerns new vegans (and perhaps their family members or friends) often have is whether they will be able to get enough protein in their diet. If they eat a variety of foods they will get plenty of protein.

Protein is in most foods, but plant protein (with the exception of soybeans) is incomplete, meaning it does not contain all of the essential amino acids that the human body needs. This is not a problem if you know a little bit about food combinations that create complete proteins.

Each plant has different essential amino acids. If you combine the right plants in your meal, you will be able to get all the essential amino acids you need. It’s not complicated. Basically you just need to remember:

legumes + grains = complete protein

and

legumes + nuts or seeds = complete protein

Here are some examples of plant food combinations to create a complete protein:

.beans and rice

.peanut butter on bread

.beans in a flour or corn tortilla

.hummus (garbanzo beans and tahini)

.black bean and corn salsa

.lentil and brown rice salad with almonds

Luckily the plant food combinations that create complete proteins are pretty tasty together, but you do not have to eat the foods together to get all the essential amino acids you need.  Incorporate legumes, nuts, seeds, and grains into your vegan diet on a daily basis and you will be fine protein-wise.

By the way, legumes are beans, peas, lentils, soybeans, and peanuts (yes, peanuts are legumes and not nuts).

This chili is a perfect example of how food combining to create a complete protein can be delicious. The addition of hominy and corn to this bean chili ensures you are getting all the essential amino acids you need.

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4 Bean Vegan Chili

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 bell pepper (color of your choice), chopped
2 chiles (serranos or jalapenos), seeded and minced (optional)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 15.5 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15.5 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 15.5 oz. can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 15.5 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 15.5 oz. can hominy, drained
1 cup frozen corn
1 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne (or to taste)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, bell pepper, and chiles. Cook until the vegetables start to get soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Stir in the ground cumin, chili powder, and paprika. Add all the beans, diced tomatoes with juices, hominy, corn, and water. Stir well and allow to just come to a boil. Season with the salt and pepper and turn the heat down to low. Simmer for 30 to 45 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the chili is thickened. Stir in the chopped cilantro and serve.


Cornbread

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This is currently my favorite cornbread recipe. This is not like the cornbread I grew up with in Texas. The dense Southern-style cornbread my parents and grandparents made never had flour nor sugar included in the recipe. It was always made with buttermilk. The very addition of sugar makes this  “Yankee” cornbread. I actually like the lighter, sweeter, more cake-like Yankee cornbread. I also like beans in my chili. Shhhhh…..don’t tell anyone.

Cornbread

1 cup corn meal
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a cast iron skillet or 9 inch pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

Combine corn meal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.

Combine the milk, oil, and 2 eggs in a small bowl.

Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing until just moistened.

Pour into prepared pan and bake in the preheated oven 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.


Crusty Bread

crusty bread

Isn’t this a beautiful loaf of crusty bread?

I found the recipe on Pinterest. This crusty bread is incredibly easy to prepare and it is comparable to something you would pay $4 or more for at a bakery. All you need to prepare this impressive loaf is an enameled cast iron pot with a lid.

I mixed up the bread dough and let it sit overnight. I baked it the next day. The bread bakes in the lidded enameled cast iron pot at 450 degrees F. That’s a pretty high temperature. There was a chemical/plastic smell in the house while the bread baked.  I’m pretty sure it was the handle of my enameled cast iron pot. My particular pot (Lodge brand) is oven safe to 500 degrees F., but I will probably remove the handle when I make this bread again.

I’m just going to post a link to the blog where the recipe originated. Janet at Simply So Good has detailed instructions on making the bread, along with fabulous pictures and many bread variations.  She also has a Q & A section for the recipe. Apparently, it is very, very popular. I can see why….this bread is amazing!

http://simplysogood.blogspot.com/2010/03/crusty-bread.html


New Year’s Day Soup (Black-eyed Peas with Rice and Spinach Soup)

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3 out of 4 of us are starting 2013 with a yucky cold. I had planned on cooking a pot of black-eyed peas today, but soup sounded better.  Black-eyed peas for good luck and greens for good fortune are traditional and a must for January 1st, so I had to use those ingredients in my soup.  I’m not sure if the type of greens matter. I happend to have spinach in the fridge so I used it. Collard greens (or cabbage) would be good in this soup too, just add it earlier (along with the black-eyed peas, tomatoes, rice and broth). I served the soup with cornbread hot out of the oven. The soup hit the spot. New Year’s Day tradition and comfort rolled into one.

New Year’s Day Soup (Black-eyed Peas with Rice and Spinach Soup)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15 ounce) can black-eyed peas, drained
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juices
1 package long grain and wild rice (Uncle Ben’s Original Recipe recommended) with seasoning packet
6 cups vegetable broth
6 ounces fresh spinach, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion, celery, and bell peppers and saute until tender. Add the minced garlic and cook 1 more minute. Add the drained black-eyed peas, tomatoes with their juices, the rice and its seasoning packet, and the vegetable broth. Bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes or until the rice is tender. Add the spinach and cook 5 more minutes Season with salt and pepper and serve.

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