Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Very Special Brunch: German Apple Pancake

The side poof!!!!

The grand finale!!!

Last night my lovely friend Anne stayed over at my place. This morning was spent in her cheerful company, chatting and laughing in our pajamas like we were a couple of tween girls! Nothing beats girlfriend time!!!!

The Lovely Anne

To make our morning complete, and because we were too lazy to put on clothes to go out to eat, we decided to cook something delicious...a HUGE German Apple Pancake was the result! Invite some friends over and whip this gorgeous dish up!!!

German Apple Pancake, from The Great Big Butter Cookbook

4 tbsp. butter
3 large (1 1/2 pounds total) Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced into 1/4" thick slices
1/4 c. dark brown, packed
1/2 tsp. nutmeg, fresh ground
1 tsp. cinnamon
6 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 c. buttermilk, at room temp
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
Confectioner's sugar, for garnish

Preheat oven to 375F.

Place the butter in a 9x13x2 glass backing pan and melt in the oven. Arrange the apple slices over the melted butter and return to the oven, baking until apples are soft, about 10 min.

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, nutmeg and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon. Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the apples with the brown sugar mixture; set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the eggs, buttermilk, flour, sugar, vanilla, salt and remaining 1/2 tsp. cinnamon. Mix with an electric mixer for 1 1/2 minutes. Pour over the apples.

Return the pan to the oven and bake for 35 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the apples rise to the surface. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with confectioner's sugar, and serve immediately.

The recipe says it serves 12...right! Try more like 4!!!! Enjoy!!!!

*Anne had a great idea!!! Crumble thick sliced maple bacon on top!!! TOOOOOOOOO delicious!!!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Pre-Holiday Feast: Corn Casserole

My fabulous friends, the Conradts, are hosting a Thanksgiving dinner tonight and I got invited!!!! To contribute to the meal I'm bringing one of my favorite dishes from the mid-west...Corn Casserole. My first introduction to this dish happened in northern Illinois on a snowy Thanksgiving afternoon. My first college roommate, Lisa, invited me to her house for the holiday and I was ready to see what would be on the table. In one dish there was this weird yellowish, pudding like substance and I was a little bit grossed mom was pretty hard core with fresh ingredients and casseroles were not part of my regular food intake. I asked what it was and Lisa explained that it was her gramma's corn casserole. They HAD to have it every just wasn't Thanksgiving without it. I figured that I should try it if I was really going to experience Thanksgiving in Illinois and I was super happy that I did!!!! The casserole was sweet and savory and comforting all at the same time. The butter & cheese made it the perfect holiday dish! Go mid-west farmers!!!

Below you'll find the best recipe that I've found for Corn Casserole. It's from Paula Deen...the Duchess of Butter...and it is simply fantastic! Happy holidays!!!

Corn Casserole

1 (15 1/4-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn
1 (8-ounce) package corn muffin mix (recommended: Jiffy)
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 to 1 1/2 cups shredded extra sharp Cheddar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, stir together the 2 cans of corn, corn muffin mix, sour cream, and melted butter. Pour into a greased 9 by 13-inch casserole dish. Bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and top with Cheddar. Return to oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Let stand for at least 5 minutes and then serve warm.

Side note: I have noticed that this works better in a smaller "9x13" so if you have one, go for it!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Mama Erin's World Famous Roasted Chicken

The buttery goodness:

After the roasting:

I love roasted chicken!!! It is a comfort food that is super easy to make and really delicious! Every time I make it for guests they swoon and want to know my secrets. There are two key things to making a really juicy roasted chicken: a HOT oven & butter! Here's how I whip up this tasty dish:

Roasted Chicken

1 5-6 lb. chicken
1 lemon, cut into wedges
1/2 onion, cut into wedges
a handful of flat leaf parsley
Salt & pepper
Old Bay seasoning
4-8 tbsp. butter

Heat oven to 425F. Prepare a roasting pan by lining it with aluminum foil (this just makes clean-up easier!) Rinse off your chicken, remove giblets & neck and then pat dry with paper towels. Salt & pepper in cavity and then stuff it with lemons, onion and parsley. Salt & pepper outside of bird & sprinkle with Old Bay, making sure to season the bottom of the bird as well. Place chicken in the roasting pan with breast side up. Put pats of butter in random spots all over the bird. Slide her into the oven!

Baste the bird with the melted butter every 20 minutes or so and roast until the bird is fully cooked 60-75 minutes. The skin should be a dark caramel color and juices from the leg joint should run clear.

Let rest for 5 minutes and then carve and devour!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Say it with me now...Chowder!!!

The other day I nearly fainted at the beautiful salmon that they had at Safeway! I typically don't get excited about the fish at Safeway but it was GORGEOUS! I got two lovely "filets" and was happily on my way. I realized that I had too much fish for just me unless I was creative and made something that reheated well (I can't handle reheated grosses me out.) What I came up with was Salmon Chowder!!!! It was easy and ever so delicious! So delicious that it didn't matter that it was 90F outside! I also made some drop biscuits to go along with it but you can whip up the Baking Powder Biscuits that I posted a while back.

Salmon Chowder

1/2 lb. red potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 lb. thick sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4 inch-wide strips
2 c. chopped scallions (2 bunches)
1 c. fresh or frozen corn
1 tbsp. finely chopped garlic (3 cloves)
1 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1/8 tsp. red-pepper flakes
3 c. whole milk
2/3 heavy whipping cream
2 lb. of salmon filets, bones, skinned and cut into one inch cubes
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Cook potatoes in a 1- to 1 1/2- quart heavy saucepan of boiling salted water until just tender, about 8-10 min. Drain and set aside.

Cook bacon in a 5-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 8 minutes. Add scallions, corn, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, and red-pepper flakes and cook over a moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until scallions are tender, about 5 minutes. Add milk and cream and bring just to a boil. Reduce heat to moderately low, then add potatoes, salmon, salt and pepper and cook, gently stirring occasionally, until salmon is just cooked through and begins to break up as you stir, 5-8 minutes. Discard bay leaf before serving.

*Note: If there is an excess of bacon fat feel free to drain some of it off but it is needed for flavor so don't do away with it completely! You can also add a squirt of lemon juice if you like.