Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Pfannekuchen (A German wrap or pancake)

This recipe was shared with me by one of my friends, Regina, who is German from the area near Frankfurt.  She says that the recipe originally came from her Grandmother's 1957 Bertelsmann Kochbuch.

For this recipe you will need:

2 1/2 cups Flour
2 1/2 cups Milk
3 Eggs
Salt to taste

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.  It's ok to put the bowl in the refrigerator if you can't cook them off right away.  You do want to make sure your batter doesn't have any lumps & that it's thinner than what is shown in my picture below.  Just keep adding Milk.  It's ok if you need more than what the recipe calls for.  You want it to be like a very thin pancake batter, slightly thicker than crepe batter.

You will add about 1 1/2 Tbsp. oil & 3/4 c. batter to the pan to make one "pancake".  Make sure that your pan is over a medium high heat.  You don't want it on high or you will burn one side of your pancake before you have a chance to flip it. 

Put your oil in the pan & spread it over the whole surface.  Ladle or use a cup measure to put your batter into the pan and roll the pan to get it to spread quickly. 

As you can see from the pictures, the batter gets darker as it cooks.  Use a spatula or tongs to make sure that your Pfannekuchen isn't sticking.  The easiest way to flip it is to slide it towards the front of the pan & flip it in the air catching it back in the pan.  Kind of like what you see some of us chefs do with an omelette.  You can probably try flipping it with a large spatula, let me know if it works for you.  Regina flipped it, so that's how I do it.  Just keeps things simple.

Once flipped, let the other side cook & then place on a plate in a stack or on a cooling rack in a stack.  Here are what a couple of mine looked like.  My pan was getting a bit hot as you can see from this bottom pic.  I like the lighter brown coloring like above better, but they both tasted good.

Now, what to fill it with....well for this time I used a round steak because I had one in the freezer.  I cooked it in that same 375 F oven that I had used for the cauliflower & brussel sprouts.  I put salt & pepper on it and cooked it for about 20 minutes or so. 

I then sliced it thin and put some onions & mushrooms I cooked up with it.  I'll post the recipe for those next. 

Fill it kind of like you would fill a tortilla for a fajita.  Roll it up & enjoy!  We did.

Other ideas for filling these?  How's about grilled chicken or steak, lunch meat & cheese with lettuce and tomato, a vegetarian option with roasted vegetables.  My friend Regina also does one with Nutella that she sprinkles on the top with cocoa powder & powdered sugar.  You could fill them with pie filling, chocolate chips, peanut butter & bananas.  You could also  turn them into a breakfast on the go with a slice of bacon and eggs or part of an omelette with cheese or the possibilities just keep on going.  Let me know what combinations you come up with!

A reader's question: What kind of potatoes did you use for the mashed potatoes?

Well, the answer to this question is I'm not sure.  I used either Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes.  They work really well with both.   We get a produce delivery box bi-weekly from Full Circle Farms, and I know that's where my potatoes came from.  If you decide to sign up please tell them Catherine Skinner sent you so we can both get a $10 credit. :)

Anyhow, back to the potatoes.  The yukon golds are usually a bit more yellow fleshed, so I'm inclined to think that I used russet potatoes.  I'm guessing I used around 3#.  I also tend to roast the yukons since they are a bit more delicate, creamy potato.

I also did have another question that I've answered in the comments section of the post.  The brussel sprout recipe also has some good comments/questions as well.

Finally, feel free to enjoy the cauliflower roasted on its own.  Add some herbs or garlic if you like!  Hope this clarifies things a bit.  Keep the questions coming! 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Roasted Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

Here is another side dish we had with our dinner the other night.  For some odd reason, my kids won't eat mashed potatoes that don't have roasted cauliflower in them.  So, here is a small head of cauliflower that I've prepped to go into the oven with salt & pepper and drizzled with olive oil.

I already had the oven set to 375 F for when I was making the brussel sprouts, so these fit in the oven just fine.  I baked them for 35 - 40 minutes until it was nice and tender.  You can check it by looking at the nice lightly browned color & when you insert a knife it should go in easily.

 Once I got the cauliflower in the oven, I got the potatoes boiling.  A lot of the time when I make mashed potatoes, I also roast the potatoes, but this time I decided to boil them.  Once your salted water with the potatoes in it starts to boil, it usually takes about 20 minutes for them to be cooked.  Again, an inserted insert knife should go in easily.  Drain & return them to the pan & burner that it was on (this will help the butter to melt & the potatoes to stay warm).

Yes,  I also left the skins on this time as well.  You can peel them before you boil them if you don't want the skins in your mashed potatoes. When I roast them, I leave the skins on and then peel them before mashing.  I freeze the skins and then pull them out for loaded potato skins for lunches.  

Now here's where I'm going to tell you NOT to do what I did.  I don't make mashed potatoes all that often & I forgot I needed to separate the cauliflower and put them into a separate food processor with some milk.  Once those are processed into a fine paste they can go into the pot.

What did I do?  I used my immersion blender & that wound up creating too much shear for the potatoes, making them a bit on the gummy side.  They were still tasty, but the texture would have been better if I had used my old fashioned hand masher & added in the already pureed cauliflower.

Here is what my final product looked like.  I used 1 stick of butter and a generous 1/2 cup of milk in this batch.  I also added salt to taste.  Sometimes I also add pepper, this time I didn't.  Some purists chefs will say to only use white pepper so you can't see it as much in the potatoes.  I say use what you & your family like.

All in all, this batch turned out pretty tasty, and we have been enjoying leftovers warmed up in the microwave with some melted shredded cheese on them.  You could also add some bacon crumbles, sour cream, green onions, or whatever you have on hand that you like to have with potatoes.

Let me know what you all think of these & what combinations you come up with to use the leftovers with!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Caramelized Brussel Sprouts

Thought I would share a recipe that several people have asked me for after trying these at my house.  I know that my husband always thought he didn't like brussel sprouts until I started to make them this way.  Now, he would eat them every night of the week if I made them that often.

First things first, do yourself a favor & buy some FRESH brussel sprouts.  Take a small amount off the bottom, remove any outside leaves that still look dirty after washing, and cut them in half.  For this recipe, I'm guessing I used about a pound of sprouts, but I didn't weigh them first.

Place them in an oven safe saute pan, add a Tablespoon or two of Olive Oil, some salt and pepper.  Preheat your oven to 375 F.

Turn the heat up to Medium Hi, almost Hi and toss them around ever minute or so, just not constantly.  You want your sprouts to get some browning/caramelization going on them.

 When the sprouts have some nice browning on them and start to stick to the pan a little, it's time to deglaze the pan. 

 Add a little bit of water to the pan & toss around your spouts a bit (or use a spoon).  For a batch this size you really don't want to use more than 1/4 cup of water.  You really don't want to make the sprouts soggy.  Most of the water should steam off instantly really leaving no water in the pan (like in above picture).

 Place the pan in your preheated oven and let them finish cooking for about 20 minutes. 

This is how mine looked after they came out of the oven last night.  They usually turn out a little brighter, so I'm thinking I got a touch too much water in my pan.  They were still good & we had no leftovers, so they must have been acceptable.  My daughter has even decided that she likes sprouts from time to time.  My son is still working on it...

Hope you all enjoy this easy side dish.  Give them a try, you just might like it!  You can put a little more olive oil on them before you serve them & adjust the salt & pepper to your taste.  I'm looking forward to hearing your comments & questions!