pantry pancakes

whole wheat strawberry pancake

For sometime now, I’ve been experimenting outside my comfort zone with my own variations on recipes–a fusion, so to speak, between the original and my own tastes and preferences. That’s how I came up with a fusion between Thai style basil chicken and shepherd’s pie a few summers ago.

Necessity, it is said, is the mother of pancakes. I didn’t have any all purpose flour. I had one large egg, whole wheat and cake flours, lots of strawberries, and a deep reluctance to use butter. Still, I can’t throw things in a bowl et voilà, it’s a meal. I guess you could say I’m not ready to give up exact measurements! So inspired by Foodie Pam’s strawberry pancake recipe, I made up this delicious breakfast pancake using what I had on hand in my pantry. The pancake turned out filling, fluffy, and oh-so fine with a little maple syrup drizzled all over it.

Whole Wheat Strawberry Pancakes

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

Ingredients
1 large egg
1 cup nonfat milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon almond oil
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup cake flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
Cooking spray

Preparation
In a large bowl, beat the egg. Add the milk, vanilla, and oil. Blend well. Add wheat flour, cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir until well combined. Fold in the strawberries.

Spray cooking spray in a 10 inch skillet. Heat over medium heat until the skillet sizzles when a drop of water touches the surface. Pour half cup of batter in the center of the skillet, spread it a little bit,  and cook until little bubbles appear in the surface. Flip. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until the underside is browned, and the top of the pancake, when pressed, is firm to the touch, but not “squidgy” as Nigella would admonish.

What do you have in your pantry to make these pancakes? Here are my suggested ingredient swaps:

  • Canola, vegetable, or extra virgin olive oil
  • Almond extract to ramp up the almond flavor
  • Blueberries
  • Chopped banana
  • Whole milk for nonfat
  • Sprinkle cinnamon sugar or confectioner’s sugar on top
  • Serve with chopped fresh fruit sprinkled with a little stevia, if you like

humpday supper, gluten free too

gluten free chicken tenders with cabbage salad with miso-ginger dressing

What’s not to like about humpday? The temperature went up to a very spring-like 54 degrees today! So of course (why not?) I tried these two new recipes. The chicken was juicy and tender. I loved the taste of the Parmesan cheese with the almond flour.  But the coating unfortunately, was soggy. Hmm. I need to work on that one. Anyway, this meal is also delicious with roasted vegetables: zucchini, summer squash, carrots, and baby bellas tossed in olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. I always do the veggies first, because I never want to forget chicken breast tenders in the oven.

Crunchy Cabbage Salad with Miso-Ginger Dressing
(Adapted from a recipe by Weird & Ravenous via Food52)
The miso-ginger dressing was full of flavor, but I couldn’t taste the ginger very much. So, if you love ginger as I do,  ramp up the flavor.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: —

Serves 4

Ingredients
1-2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
2 medium garlic cloves, finely minced or put through a garlic press
2 tablespoons miso paste  (I used 1 tablespoon Chinese soy bean paste)
2 tablespoons rice vinegar (or rice wine vinegar, your preference)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons water
3 cups finely shredded cabbage (about 1/2 a small cabbage)
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into very thin matchsticks
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds, toasted (I used white—the black would have made a pretty contrast with the white cabbage and the orange carrot)
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon scallion, sliced thin on the diagonal

Preparation
In a small bowl, whisk together the ginger, garlic, miso, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil and water. Set it aside.

In a large bowl, toss the cabbage, carrots and sesame seeds together with the dressing. Serve immediately if you like it very crunchy or let it sit covered in the refrigerator for up to a few hours if you prefer it more slaw-like.

Garnish with cilantro and scallion.

Gluten-Free Chicken Breast Tenders in Almond Flour (adapted from allrecipes.com)
For this recipe I swapped 1/2 cup of butter for the egg dip. To save even more calories, I recommend using 2 egg whites. To solve the problem of a soggy coating, I read somewhere that if you let the breaded chicken dry for a few minutes on a wire rack before baking, it will bake up crispy. I haven’t tried this at all so I don’t know how well it works.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS:
1 cup almond flour
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried basil, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, or to taste
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into strips
1 egg, well beaten
1 tablespoon water

Preparation:
1. Preheat oven to 400˚ F (200˚ C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

2. Mix almond flour, Parmesan cheese, basil, thyme, salt, and pepper together in a bowl. In another bowl, mix the egg and water.

3. Dip chicken strips in the egg mixture; press strips into almond flour mixture until completely coated. Transfer coated strips to the prepared baking sheet.

4. Bake in the preheated oven on the middle rack until strips are golden brown and no longer pink in the center, at least 20 minutes or until the tenders reach an internal temperature of 165˚F.

hawaiian paradise cake, version 1.0

hawaiian paradise cake

Since I discovered this recipe on flourtrader.blogspot.com a few months ago, I’ve been so intrigued, not only by the colors but also the concept. It’s actually a chiffon cake baked in layer pans instead of the traditional angel food cake tin. And ever since I saw it, I’ve been planning how to make it.

This is a copycat recipe, so called because it attempts to duplicate a famous recipe, in this case the signature cake of King’s Hawaiian Bakery & Restaurant in Torrance, California, whose recipe, unfortunately,  is a secret. King’s Hawaiian Bakery’s technicolor cake originally featured three layers: guava, passion fruit, and lime. The top layer is pink, the middle is orange, and the bottom is green.

I had intended to bring the nectars for the cake with me from New York but I forgot. So I had to go with the juices available here in Bangkok. The top layer is strawberry, the middle is orange, and the bottom is guava. In Thailand, guava is a bland green fruit  known as farangIt is eaten sliced with a spicy dip prik kleua or chili-salt which names two of the three main ingredients in this dip, the other being sugar. But I digress.

I wanted this cake to be made with all natural ingredients. So I brought natural food colors with me from Whole Foods in New York. As you can see, the colors are not as vibrant as the artificial food colors. I did not want to use artificial flavoring so I used the zest of the farang and the zest of an orange to boost the flavor of the juices in those layers.

So with the dissertation drafted and submitted to my sponsor and committee just before New Year’s Eve, I decided to try this recipe today.  The strawberry flavor is distinctive, and so is the orange, but unfortunately, the farang flavor is barely there. I loved the whipped cream icing–light and slightly sweet without being overpowering. I call this version 1.0 because I am quite sure I am going to tinker with this recipe again until it is perfection.

Have at room temperature:
Ingredients
1 tablespoon butter, melted
2 1/4 cups flour plus 1 tablespoon
2/3 cups white superfine sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup (2 oz) key lime juice
1/4 cup (2 oz) guava nectar
1/4 cup (2 oz) passion fruit nectar
5 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 teaspoon each flavoring, optional
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
liquid food coloring: yellow, red, and green (I recommend natural food coloring)
8 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup white superfine sugar

Preparation
1. Preheat the oven to 325˚F. Get 6 mixing bowls together and 3 eight- inch spring form cake pans, preferably non-stick.  Do not grease and flour the sides or the bottoms. Set aside.

Cake Baker’s Note: I had followed the original recipe and greased and floured three 9-inch cake pans. Mistake. Chiffon cakes are too delicate to bake in greased pans.  They sag under their own weight. Better to use ungreased springform pans.

2. In a large bowl, sift flour with 2/3 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a second bowl, beat together oil, water, yolks, vanilla, and lemon zest until just combined. Mix yolk mixture into flour mixture until smooth. The consistency will be thick, like cookie dough. Divide the batter into thirds and place in separate bowls. In one bowl of batter, add the key lime juice. In another, add the guava nectar. In the third, add the passion fruit nectar. Add flavoring, if using. Next, add the food coloring: green for the lime layer, red for the guava layer, and orange for the passion fruit layer. Make the colors darker because the addition of the egg whites will lighten the batter. Do not mix until the nectar/juice, flavoring, and coloring have been added.

Cake Baker’s Note: Here’s a sampler for mixing colors–
Orange: 2 drops yellow, 1 drop red (passion fruit, mango)
Green: 1 drop yellow, 3-4 drops blue (farang/guava, lime)
Yellow: (banana, pineapple)
Red: (guava, strawberry)

I unintentionally over-mixed the orange and guava layers, which is why they are not as fluffy as the pink layer. I should have mixed the colors separately and then added them to the batter. I used about 5 drops red for the pink layer, a total of 9 drops for the orange, and after mistakenly adding red to the green, I think 9-12 drops will do it. I omitted the lemon zest and added 2 teaspoons orange zest to the orange layer and 1 tablespoon farang/guava zest to the farang/guava layer.

3. Using a clean bowl and beaters free of grease, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Slowly add the 1/2 cup sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Divide the whipped egg whites by thirds and add each third to the batter. Fold. Pour each one into a prepared cake pan.
4. Put each pan in the oven. Bake 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Remove pans from the oven and place upside down on wire racks to cool completely. Re-invert pans and run a thin sharp blade around the edges to loosen the cake. Remove the sides. Invert the cake and remove the bottom using a sharp thin blade. Insert the blade between the cake and the pan bottom and press away from the pan. Once the cake is released from the pan bottom, re-invert the cake for filling and frosting.
5. Fill and frost with whipped cream icing and glaze with fruit syrup (recipes to follow).

Fruit Syrup

Ingredients
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2/3 cup white superfine sugar
1/2 cup nectar or juice
5 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons water

Preparation
Mix the corn syrup and juice in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. In a small bowl, mix water and cornstarch until dissolved. Mix cornstarch mixture with sugar/juice mixture. Let cool. You can also put this in the fridge for 45 minutes to speed up the process

Whipped Cream Icing

Ingredients
1 8-oz package cream cheese, at room temperature (reduced fat will work too)
1/2 cup white superfine sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups heavy cream

Preparation
Combine cream cheese, sugar, and extracts in a mixer. While the mixer is running on medium speed, add the cream. Whip on high speed until stiff peaks form. Fill and frost the cake then refrigerate it until ready to slice and serve.

Serving suggestion:
Slice the cake and spoon the fruit syrup over each slice just before serving. Serve each slice with a spoonful of fresh fruit, such as sliced berries, mango, and kiwi.

teddie’s apple cake

IMG_0269

Teddie’s Apple Cake (from Food52)
I’m stuck. It’s the last chapter, the conclusion, and I’m stuck. I’ve taken numerous breaks; sorted my jewelry, did the laundry, and I baked this cake. We’re going to a friend’s house in Chaeng Wattana for dinner tonight, and I’m bringing the dessert. It’s filled with almonds and apples. I don’t know who Teddie is but this bundt cake filled the house with the warm smell of apples baking. I haven’t tried all the variations yet, but I put them in there because I think caramel sauce or a vanilla hard sauce are perfect accompaniments for a warm apple cake. Thanks, Teddie.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter for greasing pan
  • 3 cups flour, plus 1 tablespoon for dusting pan
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups peeled, cored, and thickly sliced tart apples like Honeycrisp or Granny Smith
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (substitute almonds or pecans), if using
  • 1 cup raisins (substitute cranberry raisins), if using
  • Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream (optional)
  • Confectioner’s sugar (optional)

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Melt 1 tablespoon butter and add 1 tablespoon flour. Grease and flour one 9-inch tube pan with the mixture. Set aside.
  2. Beat the oil and sugar together in a mixer (fitted with a paddle attachment) while assembling the remaining ingredients. After about 5 minutes, add the eggs and beat until the mixture is creamy.
  3. Sift together 3 cups of flour, the salt, cinnamon and baking soda. Stir into the batter. Add the vanilla, apples, walnuts (if using) and raisins/cranberry raisins (if using) and stir until combined.
  4. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. Tap pan lightly on the counter to remove any air bubbles. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan 10 minutes before removing.  Dust the top of the thoroughly cooled cake with confectioner’s sugar, if desired. Serve at room temperature with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.

Variation

  • Instead of whipped cream, serve the cake with crème fraîche. To make crème fraîche, in a large bowl, add 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, 1/2 cup sour cream, and 2 tablespoons sugar. Refrigerate 15 minutes. Whip until stiff peaks form. Serve by the spoonful with the cake. Refrigerate any leftovers.
  • Top with a caramel glaze.
    • 4 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks
    • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
    • 1/3 cup heavy cream
    • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 3/4 to 1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar

Put the butter in a medium saucepan with the brown sugar, cream and salt and set over medium heat. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil for one minute exactly, and then pull it off the heat.

Leave the pan to cool for a couple of minutes, and then gradually whisk in the powdered sugar until you have a thick, but pourable consistency (you may not need all the sugar). If the mixture seems too thick, just add a splash of cream to thin it out a little. Immediately pour the glaze over the cake, moving slowly and evenly to cover as much surface area as possible. Let the glaze set before serving the cake.

  • Top with vanilla hard sauce.
    • 1 cup half and half
    • 1 stick unsalted butter
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the sauce: combine the half-and-half, butter, sugar and salt in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar and butter are melted and the sauce is smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Serve the sauce warm over the warm pudding.

caramel apple cake

caramel apple cake

Caramel Apple Cake
Years ago, one of Andy’s co-workers at Allen-Bradley in Cedarburg, WI, gave me this recipe. It’s always been a favorite at our house–on any continent!  It’s great with coffee or tea as a morning coffee cake, or add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and serve it as a dessert. It’s great warm or cold and it’s sticky and sweet! The caramel sauce–which I halved–is very rich. But that’s its appeal, that sinful richness that we gladly pay for later?

1 cup vegetable oil ( I used half almond oil and half canola oil)
2 cups  superfine sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups apples, peeled, cored, sliced (use any crisp sweet apple such as Gala)
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Caramel Glaze (I recommend halving the following recipe)
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Melt 1 tablespoon butter and add 1 tablespoon flour. Mix well. Use this butter-flour mixture to grease and flour one 9×13 inch pan.

Combine oil and sugar. Add eggs, salt, vanilla. Sift flour and baking soda together Add flour mixture to sugar mixture in three additions. By hand, stir in apples, walnuts (if desired) and 1 tablespoon flour. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Tap pan lightly on the counter to settle the batter. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until done. Remove the cake from the oven.

Make the caramel glaze while the cake is still hot. To make caramel glaze, melt butter in a saucepan. Add sugar and milk and stir until blended and all lumps have dissolved. Bring to the boil over medium heat. Pour at once over the cake. Slice into squares and serve.

caramel apple cake

“where’s the recipe?”

Image

Brandi had asked me this question about the rosemary loaf cake. Unfortunately, I wasn’t ready to publish because it didn’t have the height or the texture I expected. This is because I tried a new recipe with a new stand mixer. (I’m used to hand-held mixers.) I have always taken my baking tool–the mixer I used–as a consistent part of my baking, not a variable that needs to be controlled. Now I’ve learned that even with a good brand mixer, I need to figure out its quirks and limitations, or it will affect the product quality.