Thursday, February 11, 2016

Popovers: from the Kitchen of Patty

I’ve had a popover pan for years. Literally years.


I received the pan as a gift from one of our favorite people after he’d spent a summer “nannying” his niece and nephew on the East Coast. They’d made a trip to Acadia National Park where they supposedly serve world-famous popovers - or at least make some extra cash selling popover pans as the perfect souvenir. Of course, I LOVED the gift (if I recall, this particular friend also brought some high-quality, uber crafty beer, a gift we were pleased to receive, yet an area of indulgence we’d yet to foster - a foreshadow of beer love to come I suppose). I was certain I’d be busting out the best popovers in a matter of weeks.


However, as time often does, time for my goals/plans/desires eluded me. I found a home for the pan, read over the attached recipe and then forgot all about them or relegated them to the “some-day” pile.


Before “some-day” arrived, life was calling us overseas, implying that many of our beloved belongings were to be boxed up, stored and saved for another, yet undetermined life. Fast forward through the Korea years and the settling into business owning life as a Burlington-ites, where this ever-present popover pan sits in my awkward pantry, reminding me of the things I once planned to conquer in the culinary world.


A little pantry re-organizing brought the Popover pan back to the forefront of my mind and soon the Popover pan weaseled it’s way into the Culinary Goals of year 2016.


I did a bit of Pinterest searching and read up on Popovers. But THEN, I was on the hunt for a recipe box recipe to prepare in January and came across of recipe for Popovers from the kitchen of my dear mother-in-law. I eventually learned that Mike would frequently request Popovers as a reward for good grades, important moments, etc. Thus, with great anticipation I set about preparing the Popovers of Mike’s youth.


Fortunately, I’d read up on enough recipes to realize that the recipe, as recorded on the recipe card I had on hand, was short on ingredients and could surely not produce the fluffy, airy, custard-y cup I desired. I compared the recipe card to the recipe from Better Homes and Gardens and quickly realized the missing ingredient was milk, an easy add-in and an easy enough ingredient to add to the recipe card. With ingredients and motivation confirmed, I set about making popovers for the first time.


The results were simply perfect. Served hot with melty butter, boysenberry jam and hard chai lattes I understood completely the perks and allure of this simple breakfast item and will not hesitate to throw a batch of these together on future brunch occasions.




2 Eggs

1 C. Flour

1 C. Milk

½ tsp. Salt

1 Tbsp. Oil




Preheat oven to 450* F. Generally grease a popover pan or 8-tins of a muffin pan. Beat eggs slightly - add in flour, milk, salt and oil. Fill cups ¾ full and bake for 20 minutes, decrease the oven temperature to 350* F and bake an additional 20 minutes until the custard pops over the tin. Serve warm with butter, jam and/or honey (or plain, because they are simply delicious no matter what!)


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

White Chocolate Lemon Scones

I always schedule doctor appointments on Tuesdays. Even if I could work half a day, I enjoy the opportunity of lounging around my house and pretending it’s a weekend. So, when I had a late, Tuesday afternoon eye appointment, I figured it was the perfect opportunity to pretend like it was a Saturday. I woke up early enough to indulge in coffee and the joy of baking with fresh lemon juice and zest.

Side note: since living in Laramie and attending the Farmer’s Market there every late spring and summer, I grew a strong affinity for the combination of Lemon and White Chocolate, particularly in bread (if I can throw in a bit of mint, all the better!). One of my favorite indulgences of the Farmer's Market and an eating experience that made my heart do a double heel click was an Artisan Loaf of bread studded with white chocolate chunks, lemon zest and fresh mint. Bread, to me, is the body of Jesus, and White Chocolate Mint bread is nothing short of heavenly.

Thus, when the opportunity to combine these flavors presents itself, I answer with enthusiasm and anticipate the joy that will soon be mine and that of my tastebuds.

My only regret in putting these scones together was the lack of fresh mint I had on hand (I’d recently trimmed off some dead leaves and was awaiting regrowth from my window sill “garden”) Thus, I shall have to schedule yet another doctor's appointment so that I can pack these already delicious morsels with even more delicious goodness.

Recipe adapted from: Ashlee Marie


4 ½ C. Flour

⅔ C. Sugar

2 Tbsp. Baking Powder

1 tsp. Salt

Finely grated zest of 2 Lemons (I LOVE using my Pampered Chef Microplane for this!)

6 Tbsp cold Butter, cut into ¼ inch pieces

1 ½ C. Heavy Cream

1 Egg Yolk, beaten slightly

10 Tbsp freshly squeezed Lemon Juice


Preheat oven to 400* F. Sift/Mix together Flour, Sugar, Baking Powder and Salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the Lemon Zest and mix again. Cut in the Butter until mix resembles fine crumbs. Pour in cream, yolk and lemon juice; blend together until the dough holds together. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface, knead gently three-to-four times. Create four equal sized balls. Flatten each ball into a disk about ¾ inches thick, then cut into 6 wedges (24 scones in total). Bake in the center of the oven until golden brown, fluffy and delicious, about 16-18 minutes. Enjoy!


Monday, February 1, 2016

Grocery Aisle Challenge: Canned Kadota Figs

I'm not sure if it's fair for my first Grocery Aisle Challenge to make use of an item I definitely purchased in 2015, however, it was an item I'd never used but for which I was forming big plans.

I love figs. Or, everytime I've had something with figs, I've enjoyed it - Newton's, fancy pizza, appetizers, etc. But, truth be told, Wyoming is not a bustling environment for fresh figs - neither the climate nor the population lend themselves to the availability of such delicacies. Thus, the local Albertson's provides them in canned form. I imagine there are some strong opinions on this front, but I'm just here, working with what I've got...

I didn't know that canned figs were an option, but I'm not going to kid you, I was excited to see that I could play around with this seemingly exotic fruit at my own convenience. I conducted numerous searches on Pinterest and Allrecipes until I had determined some of the best foods to pair with these sweet little morsels. Since I had originally purchased the canned figs in hopes of using them on a pizza I continued forth on that path of thinking and opted to create a pizza special which would feature what I had deemed would be the perfect combination of flavors to compliment these Kadota Figs canned in light syrup.


The result? The Perfect FIGure. A pizza built on our signature garlic olive oil topped with a five-cheese blend, bacon, caramelized onion, feta cheese, sliced kadota fig and finished with a rich drizzle of balsamic glaze. As we served this particular pizza for a week, I found myself comparing the creation to a super-gussied up version of the beloved Hawaiian style pizza - the sweetness of fruit, saltiness of cured meat and then all the gussiness of deep, rich, classy flavors - for me, it was absolutely impossible to go wrong!

I've never been afraid to experiment with new recipes or ingredients, but it is definitely fun to go to the store with the distinct task of seeking out a new item to be used in a new recipe or a play on a classic recipe. My most recent trip had me gazing at the fresh herb section and lighting up upon seeing lemongrass in a convenient squeeze container...right in the middle of nowhere, Wyoming!


Monday, January 4, 2016

Culinary Goals for 2016

I'm a sucker for goals and to-do lists. I love the process of recording down hopes and goals and going back to look over those lists and seeing what was accomplished, what remains and what no longer captures my fancy.


I'm also a sucker for food. I love cooking. Even with a restaurant to manage on a daily basis, I look forward to nothing more than finding the perfect pockets of time to cook at home. Whether that's frequent meals at home on a Tuesday night or the ever lovely Sunday Brunch prior to work at The Burlington Place; I love plotting out new menu items, relying on old favorites, or improving on a concept that I simply enjoy.


As the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year began, I was able to put into place a few food routines: menu planning, Tuesday lunches, Tuesday dinner, Sunday Brunch and a weekly crock-pot meal that will feed us in between all of the pizza and beer.


So, having conquered a few things to make Abode 212 Kitchen feel a little more reflective of 519 Kitchen, I began plotting some Culinary Goals for 2016. These can be broken down into a few sections:


Things I've Never Made, but Want to...

Ever have those moments where you realize you've never made this or that, but you have no good excuse. It's not something intimidating, others have conquered the item numerous times, you yourself just haven't gotten around to it...yeah, I have that moment a lot and sometimes it's embarassing. These are the things I'm looking forward to making for, surprisingly, the first time in my culinary career:


  • Meatballs
  • Mustard
  • Ketchup
  • Stuffed Shells
  • Prime Rib
  • Leg of Lamb
  • Popovers
  • Skillet Cookie
  • Lattice/Decorative Pie Crusts
  • Bagels


Recurring "challenges" to Hone my Skills and Bring me Joy...


I like the idea of throwing in some new ingredients to my regular cooking routine, a la Chopped. There are also some items that I know can be done numerous ways and I simply want to master the basics and then go crazy playing around with flavor variations. In particular, I'm hoping to attempt:


  • A monthly brûlée, in part, I just want to own a torch. But, I also think Creme Brûlée is 100% decadent and has so many variations that make me swoon, so I think I'm going to focus some energy in that direction
  • Grocery Aisle Challenge. Every grocery trip will be much more exciting if I challenge myself to grab one new item each visit. I'll choose from a different aisle every time and let my imagination or hearts desires lead me to the next greatest meal.
  • Montly Recipe/Menu Planning Check List: One recipe per month will be from the following; a magazine, a cook book, Pinterest and my recipe box


Embrace Being "Green" and Retro...


A few kitchen goals are among those things which I've wanted to do for a long time and I'm feeling like this just might be the year to do them, they all seem a bit reflective of "green" trends and the things grandparents did, so green and retro, here we go!:


  • Compost! I really, REALLY want to beg my husband to build a composter or buy one, it's just time to get something of the sort going
  • Grow/Maintain more herbs and greens for regular use in recipes; things that can be grown inside all year as well as a few good garden concepts
  • Conquer some new preserves --- specifically Wine Jelly. Also, consider submitting something (such as preserves) into the county fair, because that is clearly retro!


Research and Development...


  • The research (and purchase) of a grill is on the list of priorities so that as spring rolls around and summer sets in we can eat the best foods outside, perfectly cooked and easily shared. We have a dreamy backyard space and a decent stock pile of beef, two reasons we need to hone in our grilling skills.
  • I very distinctly remember eating a Chocolate Cake in Daejeon, South Korea that was consistenly perfect, left me on the verge of tears and never disappointed. I need to have a comparable go-to in my repertoire, because if food is so good it brings you near tears, that's a sign of a life being well lived.
  • In leiu of discovering the perfect Chcoolate Cake, I want to organize a list/recipe collection of my "go-to" items. A couple Thanksgivings ago I mastered a Rumchata Cheesecake that's delectable! It's a go-to holiday dessert, but I'd love to have a few other go-to items for those potluck situations that don't have me eager to try something new, sometimes, I just want the tried-and-true stand-by (but in my world of hyper-food-creativitiy, that's a bit tricky).



Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Lombardy Risotto with Zucchini

I feel I have too much experience in the kitchen to not have tried out a Risotto until I was 27 years old...but the truth is, I had never made a Risotto until this very year.

And there's always been a lot of hype regarding Risottos.

And now I get it.
I totally get it!

Freaking. Delicious. Nuff. Said.


Growing up, a common weeknight meal centered around pan-fried meat, a canned veggie and box of either Rice-A-Roni or Pasta-Roni.

Risotto is like Rice-A-Roni. On steroids. With pizzazz. And without preservatives.

Every bite was a heavenly reminder of what childhood family dinner was...or could have been.

(Honestly, not complaining - I had the luxury of consistent meals, AT HOME...WITH MY FAMILY, that's pretty awesome and my parents actually taught me a lot about cooking and loving food, so more power to a box of Rice-A-Roni!)


From  Cuisine of the Alps

Remove stems from 3 small Zucchini and slice thinly. In a large skillet melt 2 Tbsp. Butter over medium high heat. Add the zucchini slices, saute 2-3 minutes until golden. Remove from skillet and set aside. Add 2 more Tbsp. Butter and saute 1/2 cup minced Onions and 1-2 cloves of crushed Garlic for 5 minutes. Add 1 cup short-grain Rice, saute until grains become golden. Pour in 2 cups of Broth. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Add 1 more cup of Broth, the zuchini, and 1 cup finely chopped Parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking until all the liquid is absorbed. Add remaining 1 cup of Broth. Continue cooking a little longer, until the rice is just tender. Stir in the remaining 1 Tbsp. Butter and 1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese. Serve while still moist and creamy.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Avocado Salad with Bacon Dressing

So, something I wanted to do with all of our foods this year was include foods with aphrodisiac qualities - I apologize if you didn't really want to know that about me or us, but it's the truth of how I went about planning this meal. So I conducted some research and discovered loads of great recipes, including this recipe for Avocado Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing.

Interestingly enough, we had filled up on all the other dishes of the night and didn't have room for this one one top of stuffed peppers, slices of bread topped with apples and brie, stuffed figs and wrapped asparagus. So, it became the following days lunch. And it was oh-so-delicious.


The Avocado salad is easy, just thickly slice an Avocado.

For the dressing, you'll need to cook 1/3 lb. Bacon in a large skillet and let cool/drain on paper towels. This isn't the time for soft, chewy bacon, you definitely want it to be a bit crisp. Now, you'll need to save at least 2 Tbsp. of Bacon Fat for the dressing, although, if you just pour it all into a glass jar or tin can, you could save it up and make delicious things like Tortillas...or even cookies, but that's up to you.

Heat the bacon grease in a small sauce pan and add 1-3 cloves of minced Garlic (three is REALLY strong, but that's what the original recipe calls for - so adjust as desired), 1/4 cup Water, 2 Tbsp. Lemon Juice (or Homemade Vinegar...or not homemade) and 1 Tbsp. Sugar, simmer until sugar is dissolved.

Season with Salt and Pepper and stir in 2 Tbsp. of chopped Parsley.

Drizzle over Avocados and ENJOY!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Pancetta and Puff Pastry Wrapped Asparagus


And then we made these.

And they were DELICIOUS.

Step 1: Steam the Asparagus
Step 2: Roll our Puff Pastry, sprinkle with salt, pepper and Parmesan. Slice. (enough strips per stalk of Asparagus.


Step 3: Wrap Asparagus in Pancetta.
Step 4: Wrap Pancetta wrapped Asparagus in Puff Pastry.
Step 5: Brush with Egg Wash and sprinkle with Parmesan.


Step 6: Bake at 325 (or whatever is recommended by the puff pastry package) until golden.
Step 7: Enjoy...there's no other choice.

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