Tuesday, June 16, 2009

An easy but special Sunday breakfast

Just look at how it puffs!

Regardless of weather or not I've done the week's groceries yet, I always have the necessary ingredients on hand for this weekend favourite.

It's the 20-minute supper club's version of a dutch baby, and it's very good and easy to make. It's also a lot of fun. (As a general rule: If a recipe has "puff" in the name, you're pretty much guananteed a good time.)


2 cups peeled and thinly sliced Granny Smith apples
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
6 tbsp granulated sugar
4 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
Pinch salt
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
3 tbsp unsalted butter
Maple syrup, optional


Preheat oven to 425ยบ. In a bowl, combine apples with lemon and 3 tbsp granulated sugar, set aside.
In another bowl, combine eggs, flour, milk and salt; whisk until smooth.

In a third bowl, combine remaining sugar with cinnamon, set aside.
In an ovenproof dish, add butter, then place into oven until butter begins to sizzle. Remove from oven and pour batter into dish.

Arrange apple slices on top and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Bake 20 minutes or until golden and puffed.

Serve with maple syrup.




Egg tips or "One bad egg do ruin the whole batch girl"

Tip 1

This is the best way to remove that little piece of eggshell that found its way into your broken egg. I know there's some scientific basis for why this works, but researching and explaining would take away some of the magic.

The tip: use half of the broken eggshell to scoop out the rogue piece of shell. As the half in your hand approaches the piece of shell, the smaller piece will draw itself closer. This magnetism makes removal very easy and hassle-free.

Tip 2

It's always a good idea to crack your eggs in a ramekin or other mise-en-place before adding them, one at a time, to a recipe. This will save your dish from potential ruin by a bad egg. (Watery egg white and a strange odor are two sure signs that you have a bad egg on your hands.)




Sunday, June 7, 2009

Last week's leftovers: Week of 5/31/09

The Colbert Report
Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Cheating Death - Cheerios, Soda Paralysis & Oprah's Crazy Talk

Colbert Report Full Episodes
Political Humor
Keyboard Cat

Colbert chimed in on Cherrios' legal woes on Monday. (Canadians will have to view the longer clip here.) And, he grilled Eric Schlosser on his new film Food Inc.

For those of you who were shocked by the calling into question of Cherrios' health claims, you should probably also know that Crunchberries are not real berries.

If you are looking to fill the gaping void left by the season finale of In Treatment, Cake Boss is probably not for you. If, however, you like loud workplace confrontations and mob humour, and don't mind the use of the term "fridgerator," then Cake Boss might very well be for you.

Doughnut Day (Friday) got a surprising amount of press coverage.

Eating in Ottawa? Go to Big Easy's — 4 1/2 stars!

The verdict on Ben and Jerry's "If I had 1,000,000 flavours": Awesome, and I found it on sale, but 300 calories for a 1/2 cup?!?!




Making seitan (aka "wheat meat")

A while back I told you that I was going to try a seitan recipe from GOOP. The reason that I didn't do this sooner is that it was that I haven't been able to find seitan. Anywhere.

I started to think that maybe it was something that didn't come ready-made, or at least not in Ottawa. So, I decided to make my own.

There were several different methods that I found on the Internet. I followed these (more or less).

Here are the basic instructions with pictures:

Combine gluten flour with soya sauce and spices until it forms a rubbery ball.

Knead the ball; let it rest for 5 min; kneed again.

Form into ¾-inch thick “steaks.” Note: the seitan will fight you on this.

Boil for about an hour in a broth. I used 8 cups water, ¼ cup soya sauce, ¼ cup ketchup and a few slices of onion. One seitan recipe cautioned to not be alarmed if the seitan looks like “brains” while cooking, so, I remained calm.

Once the steaks were done (or so I surmised) I made the recipe below, adapted from GOOP.



Seitan steaks
½ cup flour
2 tbsp breadcrumbs
2 pinches salt
4 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1 onion, sliced thin
2 lemons, juiced
½ cup white wine
1/3 cup water
Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper


Fill a covered dish or a baggie with flour, breadcrumbs and salt. Shake the seitan around. Sprinkle off the excess flour mixture as you put them in a pan with two tablespoons of the olive oil and garlic. Fry till golden. Set on a plate and cover to keep warm.

Add the onion, garlic and two more tablespoons of olive oil to the pan you just used to cook the seitan. When the onions soften, add the lemon juice, white wine and water. Add the liquids slowly and reserve a little in case you need to add more. Cook for a few minutes until thickened.

Verdict: Okay. It tasted and looked more like Salisbury steak than anything else, probably owing to my broth, which made it a bit of an odd combination with the lemon sauce.

Also, the seitan was a little spongy, which I heard it should not be, so maybe I didn’t boil it (or knead it?) long enough, or something. I really can’t be sure.

I don’t think I’ll be making this again anytime soon, but I am still on the hunt for the ready-made kind.




ETA: I just tried seitan at a gourmet vegan restaurant and it tasted just like mine. I feel validated.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

If I had 1,000,000 flavours...

....I'd eat the tub.

The aptly named flavour combines vanilla and chocolate ice cream with peanut butter cups, chocolate-coated toffee chunks, white chocolate chunks and chocolate-coated almonds. And, I'm not ashamed to say that that sounds awesome!

Ben and Jerry's is offering the flavour, for a limited time only, and only in Canada.

Canadians can visit http://www.benjerry.ca/, to download free Barenaked Ladies music and enter to win great prizes (not the least of which is a year's supply of Ben and Jerry's).

Proceeds will go to support the ABC CANADA Literacy Foundation. Because, if you're going to indulge on this grand a scale, you better have a pretty good excuse.

Note: To enter the contest you must "flavourize" yourself. (Don't worry, it's a fairly painless process.)