Waffles are a favorite food around the world and wherever you go you are sure to find a local favorite. They are definitely one of my favorite foods. Waffles need not be only a breakfast food. They can be used as a base for toppings for lunches, brunches or even dinners. There are Belgian or Brussels Waffles, there are Sourdough Waffles, there are Corn Waffles, Sweet Waffles, thin waffles, thick waffles, cookies that are made on waffle type irons and so on and so on.
A newly discovered favorite of mine is the Egg Waffle that is sold as a street food in Hong Kong. This waffle looks like a Belgian Waffle but is so soft that it can be rolled up and eaten. The traditional way to serve it is to spread it with Peanut Butter and then sprinkle sugar on it. I discovered a stove top iron that is made for this type of waffle. The grids, instead of being square look like round balls. Because it has so many eggs in it and has beaten egg whites in the batter that provide extra air, the waffle comes out very soft, but at the same very strong.
The Hong Kong Waffles is sweeter than most waffle batters. When I made it, I reduced the sugar by 1/3 and even then, it is still quite sweet. Besides providing sweetness, the sugar also helps to make the waffle softer than the usual everyday waffle. Because of the sweet quality this waffles is really only good for breakfast, as a snack or as a dessert. If the sugar is reduced too much, some of the soft quality will be lost.
This waffle is fun to make, fun to serve and fun to eat. Try them for yourself and see what different kinds of toppings you can come up with. My version combined fresh berries and sweetened whipped cream. I used a regular Belgian Waffle Iron to make these waffles and they came out fine. Even with the berries and cream, I was able to fold them and eat them without the use of a fork and knife. You can try this version or the traditional version which is to spread them with peanut butter or Nutella and then sprinkle them with granulated sugar. Try them and see! For the recipe, check under our recipe section/desserts.
Do you love Sweet Potatoes and Macaroons? This Makeover is a dish that combines the two into one. In our family we love both Sweet Potatoes and macaroons, so what better than to combine the taste of both into one dish? When I make Sweet Potatoes I always make an extra one. A leftover Sweet Potato is good for lunch or breakfast and it can be made into other dishes. For this makeover we are going to make Sweet Potato Pancakes ‘breaded’ with Macaroon Coconut. Macaroon Coconut is very finely cut Coconut. It is so finely cut that it almost looks like confetti.
For our dinner tonight I made Pork Tenderloin and Sweet Potato goes very well with
pork. But since we had sweet potatoes with our salmon dinner the other night, I wanted to remake them so that we would have a different dish incorporating the sweet potato flavor. For Sweet Potato Pancakes, you will need the following:
- At least 1 large cooked Sweet Potato
- ¼ cup minced Onion
- 1 tsp. Salt
- ¼ tsp. freshly ground Pepper
- Pinch freshly ground Nutmeg
- 1 Egg, beaten
- ¼ cup All Purpose Flour, Rice Flour or Bread Crumbs
- Macaroon Coconut for ‘breading’ or Panko Crumbs (Japanese Breadcrumbs)
Peel and mash the Sweet Potato and combine with the remaining ingredients. Mix well to incorporate everything into a homogenous mass. If the mixture seems too soft, you can add more starch to bind it together. Shape into patties, using a #30 food scoop or a heaping soup spoonful. You should have 4-6 croquettes.
Put the Macaroon Coconut on a large platter or into a pie pan. Coat each patty generously with the coconut. The patties may be refrigerated before cooking.
When ready to cook, heat some Olive Oil or Peanut Oil in a medium size skillet; when the Oil is hot (350 degrees), carefully place each patty in the pan. Cook until golden brown then carefully turn over each patty and cook on the other side. Drain on paper towels. Serve while still warm either with Maple Syrup or just by themselves as a side dish with your favorite meat such as pork, fish or chicken.
The Sweet Potato Croquettes may also be made for breakfast along with some bacon or cooked ham. Other leftover vegetables can be used in this manner and may even be an incentive for the non-vegetable lover to eat their share. If you don’t want to make croquettes from your leftover Sweet Potato you can make muffins or even bread. Check our recipe section for a generic fruit bread recipe in which you can use any kind of fruit including the sweet potato. http://sylveeeskitchen.com/recipes/baked-goods/breads/fruit-muffins/ This recipe will work well as a quick bread or as muffins.
We had Classic BLT’s for dinner the other night and that got me to thinking of all the ways in which the BLT can be altered. How many versions can you think of or create? Well, that is what I am planning to do with this blog. The Classic BLT is simply Toast with Lettuce, Tomato, Bacon and Mayonnaise. While the Classic BLT is very tasty, the ‘not so classic’ versions are really much more interesting and tastier. Anyone can come up with their version of a BLT but for starters I will list and describe a few below.
Our favorite is the BALT which is a Bacon Avocado, Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich. Our bread preference is rye or Challah (Egg Bread) and we like it lightly toasted. Mayonnaise goes on the bread with sliced Avocado next and then the Bacon, Tomato and Lettuce. You can go a little further and add some sweet Vidalia or Maui Onion slices and create a whole new taste sensation. Another item that can be added is sliced Black Olives. Where can you go from here? Add your favorite condiments and the taste changes yet again.
Another favorite version of mine is an Egg Sandwich on Rye with Bacon and Tomato and of course Mayonnaise. Go a step further and add a slice of cheese to the hot Egg before adding the bacon and you have the nice sensation of melted cheese along with the Egg and Bacon.
How about a BLT on a French Roll with sautéed Onions and Red & Yellow Bell Peppers? Instead of regular Bacon, try it with Canadian Bacon, Proscuitto or Pancetta. (Pancetta is Italian style Bacon.) Add some sliced Turkey or grilled Chicken Breast and you have a Club Sandwich. Get a little more daring and add some Peperoncini or sliced Jalapenos to the Roll.
Create a different kind of sandwich and wrap the Bacon, Tomato and Lettuce in a Tomato or Spinach Tortilla and have a BLT Wrap. In this case, some mashed Avocado spread on the Tortilla before it is wrapped around the other ingredients would be very good.
Have you ever tried a BLT with Peanut Butter spread on the bread? If you are a Peanut Butter lover and a BLT Lover, you would get two of your favorites in one sandwich. If anyone out there tries it, please let me know how you liked it.
One last thing, don’t forget the Grilled Cheese BLT. There has been a big resurgence of Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and nothing adds to the flavor of Cheese more than Bacon does. You might want to leave out the Lettuce on this one, so you would have to call it a Grilled Cheese BT. Whichever way you make yours, enjoy!
Note: For Bacon Cooking Instructions, please see our Recipe Section
I love creating new dishes out of leftovers. The act itself is a creative challenge and the results are always unique. This time is no exception. On Wednesday, I had a group of friends over to play Mah Jong, a challenging and interesting game, once played only by men in the Orient. When we get together the hostess always provides several snacks to nibble on. Needing to try out my recipes for my upcoming teen culinary camp, I made a hot Artichoke/Spinach Dip and served with crispy tortilla chips. This dip is also good with French Baguettes or croustades which are usually very thin baguettes, sliced and lightly toasted.
Since there were only five of us playing and there was more than one type of snack to nibble on, I only put out half of the dip that I made. The other half stayed in the refrigerator on hold. Since we never had to go into the second half, I now had more artichoke dip which my husband and I could probably have a meal of. Rather than do that, I decided to make Artichoke Turnovers. The dip was made with artichoke hearts, spinach, jack cheese, onions and garlic and is very tasty and would go well with the puff pastry I make turnovers with.
Turnovers can be made with pie crust, a quick puff pastry or purchased frozen puff pastry. The type of frozen puff pastry that is sold in the freezer case in the market is usually rolled and has to be thawed (in the refrigerator) before using. Since I have an upright freezer in my garage with lots of shelf space, I usually buy a 25 lb. box of puff pastry]. The pastry keeps indefinitely in the freezer and I only have to take out what I need, one sheet at a time. It takes only about 5 minutes to thaw out to be pliable enough to use for turnovers. To roll the pastry, you would have to let it thaw a little longer.
The puff pastry I use is 10 x 15 inches wide, thereby allowing me to cut it into 6 equal 5” squares. The best way to do this is totake an 18” ruler or yardstick and nick the dough at 5” intervals on all four sides. All you have to do the is to take your knife, start at one end and then look where you want to end up. If you keep you eye on your finishing point, your cutting line will turn out straight. If course, at the same time, you want to make sure you keep your other hand out of the way of the knife.
Once you have your squares cut, you need to line a baking pine with baker’s parchment paper or a silpat® sheet to place your pastries on. Also have on hand, a small dish of cold water to moisten the edges of the pastry so that they will stick together when you fold them in half diagonally.
Once you are ready to make your turnovers, turn each square of dough so that it looks like a diamond. Place a moderate amount of the filling on the lower half of each diamond. In the case of the Artichoke Dip, I placed a scoop of the dip plus some additional shredded cheese on top. Moisten two adjoining edges and then fold over to create a triangle. Use the tines of a fork to crimp together the edges so that when the pastries are baked, the filling will stay inside. Use the same fork to poke holes in the top portion of the pastry to allow steam to escape when baking.
Once you have all your pastries filled, you can then either bake them or freeze them. During the summer when the fruit on the trees have ripened, I usually make a lot of turnovers and freeze them for use throughout the year. When you are ready to bake the turnovers, preheat your oven to 400 degrees (375 for convection). Before baking, brush the tops with an egg white. For savory turnovers, such as the artichoke dip, you can lightly sprinkle some flavored sea salt on top. For fruit turnovers, sprinkle with Coarse Brown Sugar. (This is usually marketed as raw sugar, but it actually isn’t) When the desired heat has been reached place the pan in the oven and set the time for 20 minutes. When the turnovers are done, then should be a nice almost dark golden brown. The high heat is needed to make the puff pastry puff.
Puff pastry is made by incorporating a butter block into the prepared pastry and then rolled, folded, refrigerated and then rolled, folded and refrigerated about 4 more times – The multiple rolling and folding creates hundreds of layers, thereby making ‘puff pastry’ which when made correctly is a wonderfully flaky and delectable treat.
If you are baking only one pan, place the on the middle rack of the oven. If you are baking more than one pan, then you should use levels two (one from the bottom) and four Once the turnovers are finished baking, remove from the oven, place on a cooling rack and allow about 5 minutes before serving. Turnovers taste best when eaten fresh out of the oven. Puff pastry is handy to keep around and can be made to create all kinds of turnovers including meat, cheese or fruit or even vegetables. Try creating your own and see what you can come up with. Leftovers can give you all kinds of ideas asto what do make them from – the possibilities are endless.
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Even though meatloaf has long been a mainstay in the American diet, it has its origins in Europe. The Romans as early as the 5th Century had a version of meatloaf. Every European country as well as the Philippines seems to have its own version. Meatloaf is versatile, filling, nourishing and makes great sandwiches.
Meatloaf can be made from a variety of meats and can include a large number of other ingredients as well. The basic ingredients would be chopped or ground meat and depending on the origin this could include beef, pork, veal, lamb or venison. Today it is common to use ground turkey or chicken as well. A binder such as eggs is used to hold the meat together and usually a filler such as bread crumbs, matzoh meal or oatmeal is used. Salt, pepper, mustard and/or A-1 Sauce, tomato sauce, barbecue sauce or horseradish can also be used.
In addition to the meat, binder and filler, a variety of vegetables can also be used to give the meatloaf more interest and nutrition. For my meatloaf I use chopped onion, shredded carrot, diced celery, minced red & yellow bell peppers as well as parsley and garlic and sometimes basil. For the seasoning, I use salt, pepper and mustard. Some people like to use hard-cooked eggs baked into the loaf and this does allow for more interest, but the loaf is much easier to slice without the addition of th eggs. When I make meatloaf, I always make twice as much as we are going to need. One loaf is baked for dinner with enough left over for sandwiches and the other loaf is frozen for a later date. I always freeze it unbaked so that we have a freshly baked loaf when we get around to using the second one. Another thing you can do with the half batch to freeze is to shape the mixture into meatballs and use it for an entirely different different such as Spaghetti and Meatballs or Meatball Stroganoff.
Meatloaf can be baked in a loaf pan, but better results are obtained if the loaf is free formed and then put in a baking pan. This allows the juices and fat to be released without collecting on the sides of the loaf. If desired, when the meatloaf is finished baking, it can be transferred to a serving dish and then gravy can be made from the drippings. The meatloaf gravy can be used for another dinner for hot meatloaf sandwiches.
Our menu tonight included meatloaf, mashed potatoes and a green salad with a lemon/vinaigrette. The leftover meatloaf will be made into cold sandwiches with pickles, mustard, mayonnaise, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and sprouts.
The next time you make meatloaf try using your imagination and pleasing your tastebuds. You can do just about anything you want. One variation is baking the meatloaf with strips of bacon on top. This will give an additional flavor boost if you like the taste of bacon. Youo can also try using soy sauce, cilantro and ginger for an Asian flavor. Cooked or minute rice can be used instead of the oatmeal or bread crumbs. Whichever way you do it, enjoy!
Chef Tim and I are going to make Sfogliatelli tomorrow night with his Professional Class in Westlake Village, CA. When we made plans to make these, neither one of us had ever made them. This was to be a first for both of us, however I decided that it might be prudent if at least one of us had tried it out before the class so I decided to do so. The dough which is made simply from flour, salt and water should be made about two hours ahead of time. The instructions I had said to run the dough through the widest opening of a pasta roller for about 12 – 15 passes. I decided that making the dough in the food processor and running it for 2 minutes instead of the usual 1 minute that the food processor recommends would do the trick. I think it did. Once the dough is made flatten it into a round disk and wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
While the dough is refrigerating, you can make the filling which consists of cooked Semolina (this creates a thick custard that will not run during baking) ricotta cheese, sugar, egg yolks, vanilla, cinnamon and candied orange peel. This is then put into a shallow dish (I used a glass pie plate) and refrigerated until set.
When the dough is firm enough to roll, remove it from the refrigerator, unwrap and flour generously. Then cut it into four pieces. Keep three of the pieces refrigerated while you are rolling out the first piece. The best way to do this is with a pasta roller – running it through every other setting twice. Start with the widest setting, run the dough through twice, then skip to the 3rd one and then run it through twice again. Once you get to the last setting the dough should be thin enough to make the sfogliatelli. Once all the pieces are rolled, then take softened or melted butter and cover the first piece of dough with a thin layer of the butter.
Starting at the narrow end, tightly roll the dough into a cylinder. Brush the next piece with butter and place the first roll on top and then roll it up in the new piece of dough. Continue in this manner until all the dough is used up. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Now you are ready to make the sfogliatelli (clam shells). The cylinder of dough is cut into half inch pieces and then each piece is flattened and then stretched to for a cone. The cone is filled with the custard mixture and then placed on a parchment covered baking sheet. The sfogliatelli are baked at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a deep golden color. The shells are supposed to be brushed with more butter before and during the baking process, but I find that they end up being too greasy with the addition of more butter. There is definitely enough butter that is put between the layers of dough.
The resulting pastry is crispy, buttery and the filling is quite good. A delicious pastry, but alas, filled with many calories. The photos below depictthe different steps in the making of sfogliatelli. I will take more photos tomorrow and we will see if the second try comes out any different than the first one. See the next post for the remaining pictures from this article.
It is Pizza Time Again! Last time it was Pita Pizza to use up the extra pita bread we had in the refrigerator. This time it is traditional pizza to use up the fresh tomatoes that won’t last much longer without being cooked.
Some of you may think that making your own pizza is very time consuming and too much work, however, it can be made rather simply and in a short amount of time. If you make your dough from scratch, you can figure on about an hour and a half of preparation time including the time needed for the dough to rise. So if dinner is planned for 6 PM you would probably want to start by 4 PM with the dough preparation. (The rising time for the dough depends on the air temperature surrounding it)
You can also purchase readymade dough from stores such as Trader Joe’s, Fresh & Easy or your local Italian deli. I find that making the dough is so simple and tastes so good (when you make your own) that I always make my own dough. What happens though when you are going to spend most of the afternoon out and will not be home until an hour before dinner is to be served? Here is my solution:
- Make the Dough ahead, allow it to raise and then refrigerate it or you can let it rise in the refrigerator.
- Prepare all your toppings ahead and refrigerate.
- If you bake your pizza on a stone place the stone on the lowest shelf of your oven and set it for delay (if your oven has that option) to go on an hour before you get home.
- If your oven does not have the delay feature, then bake your pizza in a good quality black surface retains more heat and makes a crispier crust) on the lowest shelf of your oven.
- When you get home, finish the preparation and bake your pizza.
The pizza I made for dinner this evening was made as follows:
- Dough was made earlier in the day in my food processor with the plastic dough blade.
- Dough was placed in a greased bowl and refrigerated.
- Vegetables and herbs were washed and put in a colander to drain.
- Husband removed dough from refrigerator an hour before I got home, but if no one is there to do it for you, just take it out when you get home and microwave for no longer than one minute. This will warm it up sufficiently for it to be shaped.
- Upon arriving home, I cored and seeded the tomatoes and then sliced them into the desired pieces. (These were Romas and I ended up julienning them.
- Sliced the Mushrooms, Bell Peppers and Olives in the food processor.
- This time I used fresh Mozzarella which needs to be sliced by hand.
- Sliced the salami pieces in half.
- Sprayed the pan and shaped the Dough.
- Minced the herbs (basil and oregano) in the food processor with the metal chopping blade.
- Combined the herbs with Olive Oil and spread them over the dough.
- Sprinkled parmesan cheese over the herbs.
- Added the sliced Mozzarella and then the tomatoes.
- Ground Sea Salt and Fresh Pepper over the tomatoes and then added the salami.
- Baked for 15 minutes in an oven preheated to 500 degrees and then added the remaining vegetables. This prevents too much liquid from leaching out of the vegetables and making your pizza soggy.
- Baked for an additional 5 minutes, removed from the oven and allowed the pizza to set for 5 minutes.
- Transferred to the peel and brought to the table. Dinner is ready!
Postscript: In the photos there is a piece missing from one edge of the pizza; the dough didn’t quite stretch this far & I eventually gave up trying to force it. Doesn’t change the taste, only the aesthetics.