07 January 2009

puffed apple pancake •

I know from reading food blogs and conversing on Twitter that a lot of you put a mighty fine dinner on the table every night. Unfortunately, I am not one of them. You will find me, more often than not, parked in front of the refrigerator or pantry at 6:00 p.m. staring blankly at what is inside. I have great intentions, of course. I read cooking blogs, bookmarking tons of recipes. I gather my cookbooks and read them for entertainment. I love to thumb through magazines drooling over photos, and conjuring up fabulous meals. In my dreams. The reality is that usually I am missing a vital ingredient, or I forgot to defrost, or I am just too tired to face that elaborate recipe. Yesterday evening was just that sort of evening. I came home from work tired, hungry and cold. The little darlings were circling the kitchen, stressing me out. I eyed the bright green apples on the counter in the stages of getting mushy. “Who wants a pancake?”

Puffed Apple Pancake •

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together:

1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup unbleached white flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon coriander (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a small mixing bowl whisk:

2 large eggs
1/2 cup wet okara (this is referring to the okara straight from your machine, not drained)
2/3 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients until mixed. Set aside.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cups sliced Granny Smith apples
1/4 cup brown sugar

Melt the butter in an iron skillet. Cook the apples and brown sugar (over medium heat) for approximately ten minutes. Pour the batter entirely over all the apples in the skillet. Place in hot oven and reduce temperature to 425 degrees. Bake until browned, about 15 to 18 minutes. Run a knife around edges of skillet, and flip over onto a plate or platter. Dust with Confectioners' sugar. Serve warm with maple syrup.

multigrain bread for bread machine •

I have been trying to come up with an okara recipe that I could use in my bread machine for quite some time. I have been making bread since I was in art school many (many) years ago. It was a wonderful stress releaser, spending all afternoon tending to that dough. Kneading and punching my way through my (as it turns out now) very small problems, which seemed catastrophic at that time. How I wish that my problems were that small and that I had all afternoon to tend to bread dough. Responsibilities change, and life throws you a curve ball (or two or three).  One of your children is diagnosed with a rare and incurable disease, your talented and creative husband is unemployed, your two used cars need major work, no health insurance. So you take on as much extra work as you can, your blog gets pushed to the back burner, and you start cutting deep corners on the grocery bill. Starting with a loaf of bread. I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time paying $4.00 on a loaf of healthy bread when I can make it myself for so much less (and it tastes so much better)! Since time is at a premium, I find myself in the kitchen every evening using my bread machine to bake those healthy loaves. One drawback - it is hard to resist that aroma rising out into the atmosphere. We have been known to tear into that steamy goodness right out of the machine, leaving us with a mangled mess. Over the past year, I have tried to increase both the whole wheat flour and okara with less than stellar results. However, this recipe will yield a loaf that is not too dense or stunted. Follow your machine’s instructions for layering wet and dry ingredients. All ingredients should be at room temperature or warm. I usually pour hot water into my bread pan first to warm it, assemble my ingredients, then empty the water. I layer my ingredients in this order:

Multigrain Bread for your Bread Machine •

1 cup buttermilk
1 cup wet okara (this is referring to the okara right from your machine, not drained)
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons honey
2-1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/4 cups whole wheat flour
2/3 cup rolled oats
2-1/4 teaspoons yeast

Use the setting on your bread machine for a large whole wheat loaf. When the bread machine kneads the dough, open the lid and check that it is coming together into a ball. If not, add warm water, a little at a time, waiting a few minutes in between. If the ball looks too sticky in the beginning of kneading, add some flour a little at a time. Enjoy!