Monday, May 30, 2011

Dreamy Orange Waffles

I've known my best friend since we ended up in a split grade class in grade school. I was in third grade, she was in fourth and after a fight to start out with, we settled into a best friendship that's lasted for way longer than I'd like to admit to. But considering my blog is called "Growing Up and Having Fun After 40", my age can be pretty much guessed at. I've known J for 37 years and beside being bookworms, we're also foodie fanatics. Although our preference of cookbooks varies...when we went shopping, she picked out a Bisquick book, I picked out a Macaroons cookbook...we both love good, simple food especially when we have to be out the door on a Sunday morning at a reasonable time.

This was a recipe both of us nearly drooled over when we were checking out breakfast recipes and I am really craving another one right about now. Simple enough to put together on a Sunday morning especially with the ingredients being ones that you're likely to already have in the pantry.

Rated: A. The batter tasted great even with using gluten free bisquick but the syrup is absolutely delightful.

Dreamy Orange Waffles
Adapted slightly from:  Best Bisquick Recipes Cookbook

Orange Syrup
1 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 cup orange juice
1 can (11 oz) mandarin orange segments, drained
Chopped Pecans (optional)

Waffle Batter
2 cups Gluten Free Bisquick mix
1 1/4 cups milk
2 tbsp butter melted
1 tbsp grated orange peel
1 egg

Heat brown sugar, cornstarch and orange juice to boiling over medium heat until slightly thickened and mixture is clear. Remove from heat and stir in mandarin orange segments. Keep warm while making waffles.

Heat waffle maker. Mix ingredients until thoroughly combined. Pour batter into center of hot waffle maker and bake for 3-5 minutes or until waffle maker stops steaming. Pour sauce over waffles and enjoy.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Tropical French Toast

After a day of being cooped up in the house due to some miserable weather outside, I was in the mood for something yummy that didn't require going outside. And as always in situations like this, whatever I'm in the mood for for the most part is nowhere to be found in the kitchen. Of course, as always in situations like this, there is my inherent tendency to say "well that seems close enough." Such as in telling myself that 3 eggs will work just as well as 4.

Due to the modifications I had to make with the sauce, this is a pretty sweet caramel...the recipe calls for heavy cream which I did not have so I made do with a  half cup of sweetened condensed milk and half a cup of whole milk. This was a little sweet, even for me (although I made do nicely and tasted it many times to make sure of the sweetness), with the sauce but overall, I liked it and would make this again...just maybe  reading the instructions a little more closely especially with the  french toast recipe (note to self..soak both sides in egg mixture) and turning down the heat a little with my electric oven for a more even brown on the toast. The french toast tasted better than I had thought it would using gluten free bread so I'm a little more cheered up about possibly needing to stay gluten free for awhile.

Grade: B

Tropical French Toast

French Toast
Adapted from: The Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook by Elana Amsterdam

8 slices gluten free bread

1/4 cup coconut milk
2 tbsp agave nectar 
3 large eggs (recipe calls for 4)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger (recipe calls for cinnamon)
Cooking spray
Shredded coconut for garnish (optional)

In medium bowl, whisk together coconut milk, agave nectar, eggs, vanilla extract, salt and ginger until thoroughly combined. Pour mixture into 13X9 inch baking dish and soak slices of bread in mixture for 5 minutes on each side. Coat pan with cooking spray. Cook for 3-5 minutes on each side until golden brown. Transfer to plate.

Banana Caramel Syrup
Adapted from: Seduced by Bacon  - Joanna Pruess

1 cup sugar
14 cup water
1 whole banana sliced thin
2 tbsp corn syrup
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk with 1/2 cup whole milk
(or 1 cup heavy cream if you have an organized kitchen)
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp rum

Combine sugar, water, corn syrup and banana over medium high heat in medium sized heavy pan. Cook, stirring frequently until sugar is dissolved. Bring mixture to a boil and cook undisturbed until sugar turns golden. Swirl pan to color evenly and cook until sauce becomes a rich amber color.

Remove pan from heat. Carefully stir in cream or milk mixture which will bubble up. Return to heat and bring sauce back to boil. Remove from heat. Stir with wooden spoon until smooth. Stir in butter, vanilla and rum. Serve warm.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Lemon Chicken

I've been intending to make this dish for awhile now. I even went so far as to defrost the chicken a couple of times and picked up green scallions at the store (which slowly faded away in the fridge during its long wait to be used). But while I was in the kitchen today baking with the Sweet Melissa Bakers with Cherry Clafouti Tart, I figured I might as well go for broke while I was throwing my kitchen into complete chaos with dirty dishes and clutter.

So glad I did. Curiously enough, I've never ordered lemon chicken when I have Chinese food. I think I might have had some bits of leftover versions of it after an event at work, but for some reason, this recipe piqued my interest some weeks back and I've had the page marked ever since then.

Although the chicken never really browned like it was supposed to do (I'm not sure if it was the gluten free flour coating or just not having the oil hot enough) the chicken did get crispy enough to work wonderfully with the lemon sauce. That delightful, tart and sweet lemon sauce that could be dangerous if I made that often enough - I could seriously see myself making a batch of that for one lonely chicken breast and managing to finish the sauce off.

Grade: A. Would made this again without a second thought. Now if I can only leave the rest of the chicken alone so I have leftovers to take to work tomorrow.

Lemon Chicken

From: Quick and Easy Chinese by Nancy McDermott

1 1/2 cups all purpose gluten free flour
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken

Lemon Sauce
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 cup chicken stock
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp chopped fresh ginger (optional)
1 tsp gluten free so sauce 
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tbsp thinly sliced green onion (garnish)

1/3 cup vegetable oil

Combine flour, salt, and pepper in medium bowl and whisk well. Cut chicken breasts crosswise for wide, thin pieces.  Dip each piece of chicken in flour to coat well and gently shake off excess. Arrange pieces on large plate and set by stove.

Combine water and cornstarch in small bowl and mix well. In medium saucepan, combine chicken stock, sugar, ginger, soy sauce and salt. Bring to gentle boil over medium heat and stir to dissolve sugar and salt. Bring to gentle boil and add lemon juice. Bring sauce to boil again and add cornstarch mix. Cook, stirring often, until sauce turns clear and thickens to shiny glossy state, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and keep warm while preparing chicken.

Heat oil in large deep skillet over medium high heat. Working in batches, cook chicken 1 to 2 minutes until golden and crisp and cooked through. Transfer to serving platter and keep warm.

Pour hot lemon sauce over chicken and sprinkle with green onions. Serve hot.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

SMS: Cherry Clafoutis Tart

First things first: thanks, Tessa,  for a great recipe pick this week!

It's been way too long since I've been able to bake along with everyone over at Sweet Melissa Sundays.  But one thing I don't turn down whenever given the opportunity to devour/eat it, is a custard pie. So off I went to the grocery store this morning (nothing like some last minute procrastination to start my day) only to find out that my local Jewel was not carrying cherries, fresh or frozen. If they were, they were hiding them. Very very well I might say. So after twenty minutes of frustrated shopping, I grabbed a couple cans of cherries and hoped for the best.

My biggest modification for the recipe apart from the cherries was to swap out the crust and exchanged it for a gluten free pie crust (which surprisingly was actually really nice and flaky at least in the parts where it wasn't burned on the bottom). I also opted due to time restraints to use raw slivered almonds instead of toasted. And my time restraints, I mean I was hungry and wanted to eat the tart now. Okay, so that's actually quite a few changes for a fairly straight forward recipe. But, despite all of my best intentions (which usually do not turn out so good when it comes to baking) I ended up with a tasty pie. Some of my cherries migrated during the baking process so that half the pie ended up with more then their fair share, but fortunately for me the drained canned cherries worked well with the custard. But I would still like to try this recipe again with fresh cherries as I'm pretty sure this would be an amazing dessert with them.

Please check out Tessa's blog, The Cooking Chemist, for the recipe which should be posted there shortly. And check out the other bakers over at Sweet Melissa Sundays for their experiences with the recipe.