Waffles or Pancakes

Waffles or Pancakes

I don’t remember having flap jacks or waffles growing up, they just weren’t mom’s thing. Eggs were our go to breakfast routine. Dad recalls growing up with crushed pineapple waffles that my great grandpa ate by the stack and struggled to share. I am sure you will see my version of them soon. Unfortunately, my kiddos prefer pancakes. Me, I am a waffle girl. So, me, being the head chef I get to choose and I frankly I thinks its apples to oranges. Pancakes are more cumbersome to make, flat and lack a little character. Waffles on the other hand have a crisp exterior, soft interior and perfect little sections that hold your warm butter and rich maple syrup. A no brainer comparison for me!

Here is my go to recipe for waffles. Don’t worry if you don’t have buttermilk, as I often don’t. Just use the same amount of milk (I like whole milk) and squeeze some fresh lemon juice in it to sour it. I ALWAYS, have lemons in my kitchen.

Buttermilk Waffles

10 oz. all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

½ tsp baking soda

1 ¾ cup buttermilk or kefir soured milk

2 large eggs, separated

4 T unsalted butter, melted cooled slightly

Combine dry ingredients.  Combine milk, yolks, and butter.  Whip whites to stiff peaks.  Mix the dry ingredients with wet then fold in whites.

Cook in waffle maker.

Makes about 5-6 waffles depending on how generous you are.

*The blueberry syrup pictured above is just one container of blue berries, a little water and a little sugar heated up until a few of them popped.  Yum.

LET’S GET COOKING!

SUZANNE

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SUZANNE

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Garbage Pizza

Garbage Pizza

Here is the link to my food column this week in the Daily Sentinel. Enjoy!http://www.gjsentinel.com/lifestyle/articles/garbage-pizza-sometimes-the-best-pizza-ingredients

 

LET’S GET COOKING!

SUZANNE

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SUZANNE

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Simply Asparagus

Simply Asparagus

During this morning’s hike there was no doubt that spring was in the air.  The air was crisp, the sun was bold and there was trace evidence of warmth among the dirt and rocks.  After the hike, I ran into the market to grab a few items and what do I see front and center? Beautiful spring asparagus!  Now I know asparagus is not quite emerging on our ditch banks yet here in Colorado (the tags did say Mexico) but nonetheless, I was feeling it and made the purchase.

I don’t remember loving asparagus as a child. I can not recall when the affair started but now I can not think of spring without asparagus being a part of it.

Over the years, asparagus has appeared in many of my menu creations but truly, my favorite preparation of asparagus is simply roasted.

Make sure to buy crisp, pretty green stalks. I won’t go into the politics but some like it big and some like it small. Your choice. I just don’t like it woody and I do prefer the flavor of the thinner stalks.

Snap of just the bottom end where it naturally snaps. Don’t use a knife and guess! You will cut too much or too little. Let the asparagus tell you where it wants to break.

Preheat the oven to 350 or up to 400 if you have other cooking to do. Place the washed, trimmed asparagus on a sheet pan with room to breathe.  Lightly coat with your favorite olive oil (a good on here and one that is relatively high heat tolerant). Sprinkle with coarse kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper (I prefer Tellicherry peppercorns).

Roast until tender. Depending on the size of your asparagus and your desired doneness this can take 10-15 minutes. Simply perfect!

Now, if you want to “turn up” your asparagus a little you can drizzle it with a little good balsamic vinegar and or fresh grated parmesan while it cools. Yum!

LET’S GET COOKING!

SUZANNE

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SUZANNE

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Fresh Herbs

Fresh Herbs

It’s February and according to the little fuzzy fellow we are in for another six more weeks of winter. However I don’t think we experienced the first six weeks of winter this season. I visited my herb garden today only to find more signs of spring. My rosemary is lush and green, there are green leaves on my thyme, and oregano is popping up! Since I have no control over our weather patterns I guess I will just be excited that I soon will have fresh home grown herbs on the table.

I am a huge fan of the word fresh. In the culinary world fresh is best. That being said, I am surprised how undervalued fresh herbs are to some home chefs. People think fresh tomatoes, fresh garlic but quickly grab dried basil or parsley. They are not the same as fresh! Now, I am not suggesting that you quickly go to your spice pantry and throw out your dried herbs, no I am not. I am merely hoping to create more awareness and help home chefs expand their use(s) of fresh herbs. Fresh herbs are easy to grow here in Colorado, they are inexpensive, they are packed full of nutrition and they can really turn up your home cooking. We all eat with our eyes first and fresh herbs not only greatly enhance the overall flavors of a dish, but visibly make a dish more desirable.

Let’s look at parsley. Flat leaf parsley is one of my favorites and is pretty much a universal herb. Parsley is an easy to grow herb. Once established it may return. If not, plant it again. I can assure you a parsley plant is a minimal investment compared to its overall benefits. If you don’t have an herb garden or a green thumb, no worries, parsley is available year round at the supermarket. Parsley is packed full of over 80 nutrients and can be used in almost any soup, salad, or entrée. I do recognize that it can be a bit of a pain to wash then chop and always have on hand so I have I want to share a tip that keeps fresh chopped parsley on hand all week.

Purchase one whole bunch organic parsley and wash well. Dry it the best you can. I love using flour sacks for this. I wrap the parsley up in the flour sack, then roll it up and squeeze the water out. Drier parsley is easier and less messy to chop. Trim off most of the stems to the point where leafs begin to grow. (Save the stems for stock or another use). Run your chef’s knife through the parsley, rocking back in forth until you have minced all the parsley. (You can go as small as you want here…) Once the parsley is minced place it on a small section of cheesecloth and wrap up. Twist the cheesecloth tightly to secure the parsley then run the bundle under cold water in the sink.  While the water is running, squeeze the bundle of parsley continually. The water will be green from the parsley then turn clear.  Once the water is almost clear you are done. Squeeze well to get rid of excess moisture. Keep the parsley in the cheese cloth bundle in your fridge and sprinkle on anything from morning eggs, salads, soups, to dinner! Not only will your plates visually be brighter and tastier but you will little by little be gaining numerous health benefits!

This technique does not work for more delicate herbs like basil. Once fresh basil is chopped it begins to oxidize immediately turning its delicate leaves brown. Fresh basil should be minimally chopped and prepped right before service. However, other popular herbs like oregano, rosemary, thyme, sage, cilantro and tarragon are easier to manage.

As spring approaches and we begin to crave fresh greens get creative and explore the different uses and varieties of herbs. Be sure to smell and taste them before using and begin with small amounts at first.

A general rule to follow when using herbs is to use dried herbs in the beginning of a dish and fresh herbs at the end. Dried herbs need heat and moisture to blossom and fresh herbs are best used with minimal cooking time to ensure their delicate flavors don’t get lost.

Here is a quick guide of common herbs and their pairings to get you started:

Fresh Basil – Italian, Mediterranean and Thai cuisine.  Including tomatoes, bell peppers, cheeses, lemon, garlic, watermelon, squashes, eggplant, salads, dressings, soups, eggs, chicken, lamb and fish.
Fresh Cilantro – Asian, Indian, Mexican and Thai cuisine.  Avocados, peppers, coconut, garlic, ginger, limes, mint, tomatoes, yogurt, chicken, fish, and pork.
Fresh Dill  – German, Greek, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Russian, Scandinavian, and Turkish cuisine.  Beets, cabbage, carrots, cilantro, cucumbers, eggs, parsley, pickles, potatoes, tomatoes, yogurt, beef, fish, and shellfish.
Fresh Oregano – Greek, Italian, and Mexican cuisine.  Basil, beans, bell peppers eggs, eggplant, garlic, lemon, mushrooms, olives, potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini, beef, chicken, fish, and pork.
Fresh Rosemary – French, Italian, and Mediterranean cuisine.  Beans, bell peppers, breads, cabbage, eggs, eggplant, garlic, lavender, lemons, beef, chicken, duck, fish, rabbit, and lamb.
Fresh Sage – European cuisine.  Apples, asparagus, beans, breads, cheeses, cherries, eggplant, garlic, mushrooms, onions, peas, potatoes, rosemary, sausages, squash, thyme, tomatoes, chicken, duck, game birds, goose, pork and fish.
Fresh Tarragon – French cuisine.  Beets, carrots, cheeses, chives, eggs, fennel, grapefruit, lemons, limes, melons, mushrooms, parsley, potatoes, chicken, fish, lobster, pork and rabbit.
Fresh Thyme – French, Italian, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern cuisine.  Bay leaves, beans, carrots, cheese, chives, corn, eggplant, lemons, mushrooms, onions, oregano, parsley, potatoes rosemary, tomatoes, chicken, fish, lamb, and pork.

 

LET’S GET COOKING!

SUZANNE

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SUZANNE

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Favorite “Oldies but Goodies”

We all have routines in the kitchen which tend to include the “go to” meals that can be considered last resort, quick, or so familiar that it takes no mental energy to throw together.  In our house I would have to say that pasta and burritos fall into that category.  However, sometimes I sit down to the computer and skim through my online recipes and discover an “oldie but goody” that we have not had in a some time, then bam! Suddenly an old familiar simple dish becomes remarkable due to its absence.  Not too unlike a loved one taking a vacation for you to realize how much you miss them.

Welcome back Brown Sugar Bourbon Flank Steak my old friend!  Add this to your “easy but delicious” routine and it will make you happy. Promise.

    

Also sharing this plate is my house salad; extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice and fresh grated lemon juice with rustic (skin on) garlic mashed Yukon Gold potatoes topped with spring chives. I get scorned for not serving mashed with any juicy steak :0)

Brown Sugar Bourbon Flank Steak

2-3lb Flank steak

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup favorite bourbon

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

1/4 cup sliced scallions

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Fresh ground black pepper

1/2 tsp cornstarch

Place the first 8 ingredients in a sealable bag and marinate for several hours or overnight.

Preheat the grill.  Drain the steak from marinade and pat dry, reserving the marinade.  Place the marinade in a small sauce pan and add the cornstarch.  Bring the marinade to a simmer for about 3 minutes until thickened.  Keep warm.

Grill steak over medium high heat until internal temperature reaches 125 degrees. Remove from heat and let rest 5-7 minutes before slicing thinly against the grain. Serve with sauce.

 

LET’S GET COOKING!

SUZANNE

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SUZANNE

Foodie | Home Chef | Author

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