Monday, July 2, 2012

Easy, Impressive Breakfast

It's nice to have a fancy breakfast on the weekend, but I don't always have the time or the energy to make one.  That's why make-ahead and fast recipes are best.  You can enjoy a delicious meal without jumping out of bed at the crack of dawn.

The other morning, I wanted something new for Sunday breakfast.  After getting some inspiration over at Pinterest, I decided to try German Pancakes.  They're also referred to as Dutch Babies, and there are a zillion variations on how to make them.  I opted for the King Arthur Flour recipe.  These take about a minute to prepare and bake up in about 15 minutes.  By the time you set the table and make coffee, breakfast is ready!

I served the German Pancake with a squeeze of lemon and a healthy dusting of powdered sugar.  You could be really fancy and make a stovetop fruit jam or cinnamon apples for the topping.  Cinnamon sugar, fresh fruit, maple syrup, or other berry syrups or jams would also work.

King Arthur Flour's Puff Pancake
Serves 2-4, depending on appetites

3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) butter
1/2 cup (2 ounces) All-Purpose Flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
small pinch of nutmeg (optional)
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (4 ounces) milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon lemon oil (optional)
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (juice of half a juicy lemon)
2 tablespoons (1/2 ounce) confectioners’ sugar

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Melt the butter in an 11" straight-sided skillet, or a 12" skillet with straight or sloping sides. Make sure whatever you use is oven-proof. Or melt the butter, and pour it into a 10" square pan, or 12" round deep-dish pizza pan. Yes, the size of the pan matters. Too small, it’ll overflow. Too large, it won’t puff as high. Try to find a pan or oven-proof skillet whose square-inch cooking surface is about 100 square inches.

Whisk together the flour, salt, nutmeg, sugar, milk, vanilla, lemon oil, and eggs till fairly smooth. Pour the batter into the pan. Bake the pancake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until it’s very puffy and golden, with deeper brown patches. Remove it from the oven, and sprinkle with the lemon juice, then the sugar.

Cut in squares, and serve immediately, garnished with fresh berries, if desired.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Gaga's Sauerbraten & Potato Dumplings

 Growing up, this was always one of my favorite meals. My grandmother would make this for holiday dinners or when the whole family got together. I loved mixing my dumplings with the meat and pouring gravy over top. Also, the leftovers were always amazing! This dish makes me think of her and all the times we had together. Please enjoy and if you make it, let me know how you like it!
4-5 lb beef (Chuck-Bottom Round)
2 cups water
2 cups vinegar
1 T salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 T sugar
2 medium onions, sliced
1 lemon
2 T pickling spices
2 Bay leaves
15 gingersnaps (broken in to small pieces)

Place meat in a large bowl. Heat vinegar and water. Dissolve salt, pepper and sugar in vinegar mixture. Top meat with sliced onions and lemon. Pour vinegar mixture over meat. Add remaining ingredients (except gingersnaps) to vinegar around meat. Cover and refrigerate for 3 or 4 days, turning meat daily. Remove meat and drain well. Strain liquid and save for gravy.

Sprinkle meat with flour and brown in oil in heavy pan. Add 3/4 cup of strained liquid. Cover and cook over low heat until meat is tender, about 3-4 hours. Add more liquid as needed. When tender, remove meat and keep hot. To make gravy add more strained vinegar mixture to juice in the pan to make 3 cups liquid. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve all brown drippings. Add gingersnaps, simmer and stir gravy until gravy is thickened and smooth.

Potato Dumplings
6 medium potatoes
2 eggs
Croutons - make by cutting bread (3-4 slices) in small cubes; saute in butter

Cook potatoes in jackets. Cool and pare. Put through ricer and sprinkle with salt. Add eggs and croutons. Add flour as needed, so they hold together. Drop in boiling, salted water.

Serves 6-8

Note: You can add raisins to the gravy if you like. Use 1/2-3/4 cups of raisins. Also, Bisquick dumplings can also be substituted for the potato dumplings, just keep them small when you make them.