Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Chunky Monkey Pancakes!

I have made several other recipes from Our Best Bites and they have all been a hit. So I was not surprised when I tried their Chunky Monkey Pancakes and they turned out heavenly!

I follow Our Best Bites on Twitter and read their blog a lot. The two friends that journal their recipes are just so sweet and they seem trustworthy to me so I feel very confident that their recipes will be delicious. And they always are.

I made Chunky Monkey Pancakes on Saturday and they we were like eating a sweet dessert for breakfast, which I loved! It's a good way to start a Saturday.

Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes with Peanut Butter Syrup

1 1/2 C flour
3 Tbs sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 C buttermilk *
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbs canola oil
1 large or extra large egg
2 small-med ripe bananas
1/4 C mini chocolate chips (or reg. chips roughly chopped) tossed with 2 tsp flour
Cooking Spray or butter for pan

1 C maple syrup
1/2 C peanut butter

*As a substitute for buttermilk, place 1 1/2 Tbs lemon juice or vinegar in a 1 1/2 C measuring cup and then fill the remainder with milk.

Combine flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl and whisk together. In a separate bowl combine buttermilk, eggs, oil, and vanilla and whisk well. Add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix just until moistened and combined. Place bananas in a bowl and roughly mash with a fork. Fold into batter. Add the chocolate chips that have been tossed with flour and stir.

For syrup, heat peanut butter in the microwave for 30 seconds. Add maple syrup and gently whisk to combine. Heat in the microwave for another 30 seconds, whisk, and then set aside.

Heat a nonstick griddle or skillet to medium heat. Coat pan with little butter and then pour on pancake batter. Use1/4 C batter for large pancakes (4-6') and 2 T for kid-sized ones (2-3'). Wait until bubbles form and edges are set and then flip.

Reheat syrup if necessary and pour over warm pancakes.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Friday Night Dinner

After a long week last week, Adam and I had no plans for Friday evening and we were so excited to do nothing and just stay at home. But we couldn't decide what to have for dinner. We wanted something easy and delicious - like always. So we turned to Mary and asked her for ideas. She suggested grilled steak topped with Boursin cheese. We thought that sounded perfect so we stopped at the store on the way home.

Of course we grabbed some asparagus too - Adam's new favorite vegetable - and potatoes.

Our dinner right out of the shopping bag:

And 30 minutes later on our dinner plates:

We got 2 T-bone steaks, seasoned them with McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning and cooked them on a hot grill. We then ate every bite of the meat with Lite Herbed Bousin cheese - very rich and creamy -which you can find in the specialty cheese department of most grocery stores. The Lite cheese was very tasty! And good thing we got lite because we ate over half of the little tub!

I roasted the asparagus in a 400 degrees oven with salt and pepper and olive oil for about 5- 8 minutes.

For the potatoes, I peeled and cubed 3 potatoes. I put them into boiling salted water and allowed them to cook for 5 minutes. While they were boiling, I heated 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. After 5 minutes, I drained the potatoes and added them to the hot oil in the skillet. Then I just let them fry for about 15 minutes or until they get to be browned to my liking. Then scoop them out of the oil onto a paper towel lined plate and add salt and pepper.

A great go-to potato side dish for all meals of the day.

This was a very yummy dinner a a little splurge to kick off the weekend. I have been thinking about it a lot since Friday... Are you hungry now too??

Friday, October 22, 2010

Savvy Grouse Post

Check out my Savvy Grouse post about Spiral Path Farm in Loysville, PA.

Photo from Spiral Path website

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My Birthday Party

October 2nd was my birthday and as a special treat, my parents, Bec, Jesse, Adam and I went to Cafe Bruges in Carlise, PA. Cafe Bruges is a casual Belgian restaurant and we not only sampled some great Belgian beers, we had a feast, beginning with amazing frites and ending with a waffle. YUM!

Bec took these cute pictures and I just couldn't wait to share them! It was a fun night!
From left to right - Adam, Hope, Mom, Dad, Jesse and Rebecca who is behind the camera (I am sad she's not in the picture)

And the most delicious part of the evening - fries fried in beef tallow with honey mustard sauce, ketchup, spicy Asian sauce and homemade mayo. These were the tasties and crispiest fries I've ever had. I have been craving them since we left. I need more.

Fried cheese croquettes... yummmm

Herbed cheese toasts - local Quark (fresh soft cheese from Keswick Creamery in Newburg, PA) with fresh herbs and sliced radishes on rye toast

For dinner I had moules in the Bruges style sauce (white wine and herbs) and more frites

Bec also had the moules; Adam had steak frites, Jesse and my dad had waterzooi (Dutch word for stew) of fish and my mom had stoemp (a mash, this time of poatoes) served with various saucisse (sausages). Everyone loved their meal!

And for the grand finale, a Belgian waffle with apple compote, whipped cream, powdered sugar and 72% Belgian dark chocolate sauce.


And I am so sad I didn't get photos of the beer. Everything we tried was great and this restaurant only serves Belgian brews which is so unique.


Next time we visit Cafe Bruges, I think we will get frites, a waffle and beer!


Then we headed over to Bec and Jesse's house where they planned a little party for me. The theme for the party was letter B.

We played a game of Boggle.


And Bec planned a Boto Boot, or photo booth.

This is my favorite photo from the that evening!! I just love it! Maybe it's because of the flying cat...

And a DELICIOUS brownie cake with peanut butter filling! Heavenly!

Thank you sooooooo much, Bec for the great evening you planned. You're such a wonderful friend!!


Monday, October 18, 2010

City Tavern, Philadelphia

Backing up to two weekends ago, Sunday October 10, Adam and I were walking around Olde City of Philadelphia when we decided to have lunch at the City Tavern. As you remember, I have met the head chef, Walter Staib, 3 times - twice at Taste of the Nation and once in Hershey. I have two of his cookbooks and am a fan of his 18th century cuisine.
Usually I only talk about dining experiences that I love but this time, I wanted to write about this tourist trap. The ambience of the City Tavern is beyond charming: The waitress and hosts were period outfits, you drink out of pewter cups and enjoy your meal in the beautiful old building.
Sadly, our dining experience was less than stellar. We had soup and salads and they were very mediocre and over priced. As you can see in the turkey noodle soup photo below, the chicken was of the cubed, preprocessed variety, which totally grosses me out.
So if you're debating this restaurant, I recommend going for drink and/or dinner. The raspberry shrub and the tavern cooler, along with the homemade breads were wonderful!! I ate here a few years ago, had the rabbit for dinner and loved it!

Adam perusing the menu

The dining room

Cute table setting - you will see the bread and
my raspberry shrub (vinegar, sugar, water and champagne)

Turkey noodle soup

Apple cider with rum, brandy and whiskey
I have to remember this combo!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Johnny Appleseed Meatballs

I know a photo is worth a thousand words so I am very sad to report that I did not take a picture of these meatballs. I had a very hungry boy to feed and all I'm thinking about when cooking is getting dinner on the table.

But these meatballs are very tasty and moist and worth a try this fall.

I had some very ripe apples so I peeled, cored and sliced them, put the apples in a saucepan with some water and cooked them down to applesauce for this recipe. I didn't even pass the sauce through a seive - the small apple chunks were tasty with the meat!

I found this recipe in the Adams County Apple Cookbook. The apples I used were from Adams County too!

1 pound ground beef
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup ketchup
1/3 cup water

In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, egg, bread crumbs, salt and applesauce. Shape into about 20 meatballs.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.

Once oil is hot, add the meatballs and brown until almost cooked through. If your skillet isn't large enough to cook all the meatballs at once, do them in batches and let the cooked meatballs rest on a paper towel lined plate.

Reduce heat to medium, add ketchup and water to pan with the meatballs, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.

We ate our meatballs with egg noodles!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sweet Ending Yogurt in Philadelphia

Over the weekend Adam and I went to visit my sister Arielle in Philadelphia. She goes to school at Temple University and on Saturday we ventured into center city to have lunch and go shopping in the Rittenhouse Square/Walnust Street area.

Here we are having yogurt from Sweet Ending (like my new makeup look from MAC? A little too tan, huh?). This is my new favorite ice cream/frozen yogurt place! You walk in, get a dish and then serve yourself whatever flavor of frozen yogurt you'd like and then add your own toppings. I had the original yogurt topped with fresh pomegranate seeds, mango chunks, banana slices, lychees, and honey. Arielle got some green tea and mango ice cream and also topped hers with fruits, what fruits I can't remember.

This was a great afternoon treat. We will definitely be going back to visit Arielle soon :)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Country Fried Steak from Pioneer Woman

This recipe is from the Pioneer Woman Cooks cookbook. I thought it looked like the ideal comfort food and have been anxious to try it. I saw cube steak (round steak that has been tenderized) at the store and immediately thought of this meal.

I need more practive with making the gravy though. Mine turned out thick even though I was adding milk. I think I rushed the process and my heat was too high and I didn't whisk long enough - just a warning for when you try it!

Adam said this is one of his top 10 favorite things I've made for him!

3 pounds cube steak
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk, plus 2 cups for the gravy
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus about 1/3 cup for the gravy
2 teaspoons seasoned salt, such as Lawry's
3/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 teaspoons seasoned salt
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil for frying

Begin with an assembly line of 4 deep plates
1. with the steak
2. with the eggs and 1 cup milk - beat with a fork to combine
3. with 3 cups flour, seasoned salt, paprika, cayenne and black pepper - stir gently
4. an empty plate for the breaded steaks

Lightly season a piece of meat with salt and pepper, then dip it into the egg-milk mixture. Flip to the other side to coat. Next, place the meat on the plate of the seasoned flour. Turn over to coat thoroughly. Now place the meat back in the egg-milk mixture, turning to coat. And finally dredge in flour one more time. Place the breaded meat on the emply plate until ready to fry. Repeat with all steaks.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is sufficiently heated (drop a few sprinkles of flour in the skillet - it's ready if it sizzles), fry 3 pieces of meat at a time. Cook one side until the edges start to look golden brown, about 2 1/2 minutes. Turn over and cook for 2 or 3 more minutes until the other side is golden. Don't over cook or the meat will be tough.

Remove to paper towel-lined plate. Repeat until all meat is cooked.

To make the gravy, pour off all the grease into a heat-proof bowl.

Without cleaning the pan, return it to the stove over medium-low heat. Add 1/4 cup grease back to the pan. Allow the grease to heat up.

Sprinkle 1/3 cup flour evenly over the grease. Using a whisk, mix the flour, creating a golden brown paste. This is known as a roux, and you want the roux to attain a deep rich color. If the pastes seems more oily than pasty, sprinkle in another tablespoon of flour. Whisk again and check the consistency.

After a couple of minutes, the paste will start to turn golden brown, then, whisking constantly, pour in 2 cups of milk. Whisk to combine then let the gravy come to a slow boil.

The gravy will thicken gradually, but if it seems to thick at first add splashes of milk as needed, whisking to combine.

The total cooking time should take 5 to 10 minutes. Then generously season with salt and pepper.

Serve steak with mashed potatoes and cover all in gravy!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Milkshake

I just love pumpkin so much! Pumpkin anything really. Pie, ice cream, cake, coffee, pasta sauce. But when I saw the pumpkin pie milkshake recipe on Our Best Bites, I started foaming at the mouth! I found this recipe quite a few weeks ago. I went to 2 different stores and they were both sold out of pumpkin - maybe a sign that I should be making my own pumpkin. But last week I finally got my hands on some and we made these shakes twice in one week! They are creamy and crunchy; sweet and spicy!

Recipe from the Our Best Bites website:

1/3 cup (or 2 heaping spoonfuls) pumpkin puree, canned or homemade
1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of ground cloves
pinch of ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 cups vanilla ice cream
1 or 2 graham crackers, crushed

Put everything except the ice cream and crackers in a blender and blend until well mixed. Then, by hand, mash in the ice cream and stir until incorporated. You may need to let the ice cream sit out for a while to let it soften. I find this method the best because my blender won't blend a thick milkshake. You can add more milk if you want it to be less thick.

Pour into a glass or two and top with graham crackers. I then like to stir my graham crackers in because I like to eat the shake with a spoon and get some crackers in each bite!

Next pumpkin recipe will either be whoopie pies from Brown Eyed Baker or sausage pasta from The Culinary Couple.

Friday, October 1, 2010

As Seen In The Patriot News

Two Sundays ago you could fine the Fall 2010 Wedding Style insert in the Patriot News.

If you flip through the book to page 12. You will find this:

Yes, that's a story about Rebecca's wedding shower featuring my food blog and her photography blog!

A big thank you to the staff at the Patriot News for featuring us!