Breakfast Ideas

NATIONAL BREAKFAST MONTH

Pineapple & Pork Fried Rice

 

Here we are again talking about Breakfasts.  Since September is ‘National Breakfast Month’ this is a good format to use – Breakfast is the most important meal of the day – simply because you are breaking a long fast between the last meal of the day before and the first meal of the current day.  Your body, like your car, needs fuel to run on and your brain especially needs that fuel to keep you thinking straight.  In the last blog I talked about Western Style Breakfasts – that is the Breakfast as we know it in American and also in parts of Europe.

 

Pictured above is Pineapple and Pork Fried Rice – this would make a good and healthy breakfast for any culture so try having an Asian Style Breakfast sometime if you have leftovers.

Today I am going to be talking about Asian Breakfasts.  People in Asia, for the most part,  do not have special foods that they eat for Breakfast.  Usually it is food left over from the day before.  However, in China, Congee, a porridge made from Rice is the preferred Breakfast.  Usually leftovers of vegetables, fruit or meat are added to the Congee.  Interestingly, the last time we were in Thailand our Hotel served a Breakfast Buffet every morning.  Since a considerable number of Chinese people visit Thailand, along with Westerners, the Hotel served a Chinese Breakfast.  Congee with a large number of different items that could be added to it.  They also served a Western Breakfast.  I always have a habit of observing what other people are eating and I noticed that the Chinese guests were eating the Western Style Breakfast.  I who always eat a Western Style Breakfast at home was eating the Congee or the Chinese Breakfast.  I guess people all over the world do like a little variety in their food.

 

Japanese people usually eat whatever is left over from the night before as do the people of Thailand.  Even though Breakfast Foods per se are not common among the Thai people there are plenty of restaurants in Thailand that do serve a Western Style Breakfast.  That being said, if you are Thai you probably have Rice along with perhaps some Pork or whatever happens to be available.  When my Sons and Daughter- in – Law were here visiting, my Thai Daughter – in – Law fell in love with Breakfast Jacks.  She also loves to make a Thai Omelet which isn’t necessarily eaten for Breakfast.  A Thai Omelet is similar to Egg Foo Young but is still different.  It is quite delicious and can be eaten for any meal of the day.

 

Chicken Fried Rice

Chicken Fried Rice

 

Kaui Fried Rice

Kauai  Fried Rice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Fried Rice Photos just to the left.   The  top one is Chicken-Fried Rice – a good way to use up leftover Chicken and the one on the bottom is Fried Rice I made when we were in Kauai.  There is a strong Asian influence in modern Hawaiian Food and Rice is frequently eaten for any meal.

 

 

For Western Breakfast Ideas please see the previous post ‘Breakfast’ in this Blog.

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Posted by sylveee - 2014/09/19 at 12:58 PM

Categories: Asian, Breakfast Ideas, Main, National Food Days   Tags: , , , , , , , ,

BREAKFAST

 

 

September is ‘National Breakfast Month’ and this is a particularly good time for it.  With the kids back in school, it is a good time for parents to emphasize the fact that Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  The word Breakfast literally means to break a fast.  That Fast is the time between when you eat your last meal of the day and the first meal of the next day.  This usually is a period of 10-12 hours.   This is the reason that your body needs to replenish its fuel supply to run and to feed your brain.  Automobiles can’t run without fuel and neither can the human body.  Therefore, skipping breakfast is not good for your body or your brain.

A healthy Breakfast should contain some Protein and some Carbohydrates.  If you eat wholesome nutritious foods they will also contain the vitamins you need along with essential fatty acids.

All cultures have a breakfast menu, although some do not call it as such.  Breakfast foods as we know them in the West are not necessarily what people in the Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures eat.  The typical American Breakfast is actually based on the English Breakfast which traditionally consists of Eggs, some kind meat such as sausage or bacon and maybe potatoes plus fruit and a beverage.  And don’t forget the toast!

In Asia most breakfasts include rice of some kind.  In China, it is Congee, a porridge made with rice but in other Asian countries rice is just used as one of the ingredients for the breakfast.

Since we could elaborate for miles and miles on the different breakfasts around the world I am going to stick with the Western Variety.  This would include, of course European Countries as well as North America.

In Spain and Germany,  the first meal of the day is usually just a cup of coffee and a pastry and a larger more elaborate breakfast is eaten a couple of hours later.

In American, many families have opted to have dry cereal for breakfast along with milk poured onto it.  This is certainly faster for people in a hurry, but it is not necessarily the best or tastiest way to go.

My favorite breakfast stems back to my childhood when my parents and my brother and I usually had eggs for breakfast.  To this day, Eggs are still my favorite food for breakfast.

Since this is ‘National Breakfast Month’ we will devote one blog a week to Breakfasts around the world.  This month will be American Breakfasts such as we know them.  The traditional American Breakfast at least as I knew it was Fruit Juice or Fresh Fruit, Eggs, Toast and Milk or Coffee for the Adults.  Of course, there are many other variations such as Pancakes, Waffles, Crepes (one of my favorite filled with fruit), cooked Oatmeal (with Raisins! or dried Apples!) and the proverbial dried Cereal with Milk and fruit such as Bananas added.

Whatever your favorite Breakfast, just don’t forget to eat it!  Remember, Breakfast is the most important meal of the Day!  Especially for children who go to school and need the fuel and brain power that a good breakfast provides!

 

To give you some ideas and recipes for Breakfast Items check out the Breakfast/Recipe section of this Blog:  recipes/breakfast-items/

 

 

 

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Posted by sylveee - 2014/09/06 at 10:36 PM

Categories: Breakfast Ideas, Cooking for Everyone, Cooking for Kids, Main   Tags: , , , , , ,

ADVENTURES IN CHEESE MAKING – CHEESE BLINTZ

Now that I had a batch of fresh homemade Ricotta Cheese the next step was to make something with it.  I decided to make a batch of Cheese Blintz to serve for Sunday Brunch with fresh Strawberries.  The crepes for the Blintz are easiest to work with if the Batter is made at least 1 hour ahead of time and then allowed to rest in the refrigerator.  If you try to make the Crepes right after making the Batter there will be too much air in the batter for the pancakes to form properly.  Now as far as I am concerned, the thinner the crepes the better, but of course you do need to have them thick enough to hold the filling without tearing.  You can use the Sweet Crepe Batter Recipe under the Recipe/Dessert Section of this Blog.  deserts/sweet-crepe-shells/ Just reduce the Sugar in the recipe from 1 Tbsp. to 1 tsp.

 

I made the Crepe Batter with the residual Whey from the production of the Ricotta.  This reduces the waste that normally would result from making the Cheese.  To make the Crepes, the Filling and the topping just follow the procedure below.

 

#1 – Make the Batter and refrigerate for at least one hour.

#2 – Rinse, dry, slice and sugar the Berries.  If using Blackberries, Boysenberries or Raspberries eliminate the slicing procedure.  Place the Berries in a bowl and squeeze the juice of 1/2 of a lime (for every pint of berries) over the Berries and then toss with 1/4 cup of Superfine Sugar.  Taste and add more Lime Juice and/or Sugar as desired.

 

Strawberries

#3 – Make the Cheese Filling for the Blintz.   /deserts/cheese-filling/

 

Ricotta Cheese Filling for Blintz

 

4.  Make the Crepes –

 

Heat the crepe pan until a drop of water splashed on it sizzles;  melt the Butter and stir into the  Batter.

  • Use approximately ¼ cup of Batter (the exact amount depends on the size of the pan)
  • While you are pouring in the Batter, tilt the pan with your other hand to cover the bottom of the pan.
  • When the edges begin to dry and bubbles appear on the crepe surface, turn it over with a heat-proof spatula and cook a few seconds more on the turned side.  (Cook one side to a light brown and the other just enough to set the batter.  This side should still be almost white when you remove it from the pan.) 
  • You will be browning the Blintz in Butter before serving them so you do not want the second side to be cooked too long.

 

5.  Filling the Blintz –

  • Lay the Crepe Shells on a flat plate or work surface
  • Place a scoop of the Cheese Filling in the middle
  • Fold in the sides and then fold over the top and bottom.  You should have a square package.

 

Filled Blintz

Filled Blintz

 

6.  To Serve –

 

  • Melt enough Butter to make a thin sizzling layer in the bottom of a medium to large frying pan.  When the Butter starts to sizzle add the Blintz, leaving about 1/4 – 1/2″ between each one.
  • When the bottoms brown gently turn and cook the other side.

 

Browned Cheese Blintz

Browned Cheese Blintz

  • Serve while hot with the sliced Strawberries and Sour Cream or Whipped Cream as a Garnish.

 

Cheese Blintz with Strawberries and Sour Cream

Cheese Blintz with Strawberries and Sour Cream

 

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Posted by sylveee - 2014/07/29 at 11:38 PM

Categories: Breakfast Ideas, Cheese, Cooking for Everyone, Cooking for Kids, Dairy, Dessert Ideas, Lunch Ideas, Main   Tags: , , , , ,

DINING ON MAUI – (cont’d.)

Tuesday we lunch at a Storefront Restaurant called Coconuts Fish Cafe.  Even though it was storefront restaurant, the food quality was excellent and the décor was very attractive.  In the photo above, the car is reflected in the door’s windows.  (Not great photography, but the only photo I have)  The tables and benches were all made in the shape of Surfboards as were the recipe boards.  The fish was all very fresh and prepared quite well.  Ev wanted Fish and Chips;  these were not your ordinary Fish & Chips that one would get Stateside.  The meal consisted of Ahi and Mahi and the Fries were skinny and crispy.  I ordered their signature dish which was Fish Tacos.  Again these were no ordinary Fish Tacos – the Fish was not breaded, just grilled and good and was again Hawaiian Fish.  Diced Mango, Lettuce and Tomato were also on the Tacos. The order consisted of two Tacos and each was served on a separate plate.  This meal was so good that we visited this Restaurant again before we left for home.

Fish and Chips at Coconut

Fish and Chips at Coconuts

Fish Tacos at Coconut

Fish Tacos at Coconuts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday night, since lunch was sufficient to call dinner we decided just to stay in and cook a simple meal for ourselves.  Dinner or Supper consisted of Bacon and Eggs, Grilled Pineapple and strips of Baby Jicama.  If you have never had Baby Jicama do try it during the summer when the Farmer’s Markets Vendors are bound to have.  It is tender and sweet and the skin is much thinner than in the more mature varieties.

 

The next day was Wednesday and we spent most of the morning at Hosmer Grove in Haleakala National Park.  The object of course, was to look for Native Birds and we did see the birds we set out to see – the I`iwi, `Apapane, `Amakihi and Maui Creeper as well as the  Redbilled Leiothrix.  On our way back from the Mountain we stopped and picked up lunch of Roast Beef Sandwiches and Potato/Mac Salad.  The Potato/Mac Salad is an Hawaiian traditional side dish.  Potato/Mac Salad is as it sounds:  Potato Salad with cooked Elbow Macaroni in it – in this way you get two salads at once – Potato and Macaroni.

After exerting a lot of energy on the Mountain we went back to the Condo and spent the afternoon resting.  I tried out the Hot Tub at the poolside and treated myself to a Shave Ice – another favorite specialty in the Hawaiian Islands.  For dinner we went to a Restaurant called Pizza Madness and had a  Pepperoni/Vegie Pizza.  Even though it was only a medium it was so large that we had enough to take home for lunch the next day.

 

Pepperoni and Vegie Pizza

Pepperoni and Vegie Pizza

 

 

 

 

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Posted by sylveee - 2014/05/19 at 8:23 PM

Categories: Breakfast Ideas, Dinner Ideas, Fruit, Lunch Ideas, Main, Pizza   Tags: , , , , , ,

DINING ON MAUI

 

 

 

Just about one year ago, I blogged about our Food Odyssey on the Hawaiian Island of Lanai.  This year we spent our tropical vacation on Maui and did eat some very good food so I am going to talk about it here and display some photographs.  Maybe even give some recipes.  Hope you will enjoy this tropical respite.

 

Since we live on the west coast of the United States during the Daylight Savings time we are 3 hours ahead of Hawaiian time or Pacific Standard Time.  Our plane left Los Angeles at approximately 8:30 PDT and arrived in Maui at 10:30.  Even though we had eaten at the Airport and had some snacks on board, my husband was still up for breakfast.  We stopped at the Azeka Plaza and ate our Sunday Brunch at Amigos Mexican Restaurant.  Ev had the Banana/Macadamia Nut Pancakes (definitely Hawaiian style) and I had the Shrimp Ceviche.  Ceviche is very similar to the Hawaiian Poke (a marinated fish dish) so I really was right in keeping with the tropical food theme.  The pancakes huge which made me glad that I didn’t order them because I would only have been able to eat about half.  The Avocado Shrimp Ceviche was perfect for me.

 

After eating we went to our Condo Complex and checked in.  Fortunately, even though we were early our unit was ready for us.  We had a fantastic garden and ocean view with palm trees waving and two fountains operating.  After unpacking and resting a while, we went out to pick up some food essentials for our stay here.  Before shopping, we decided to eat dinner and ended up in a small place called King’s Chinese Barbecue.  We had delicious Roasted Duck and Vegetable Chow Mein.  The seating was outdoors and was right across the street from the beach, so again we had the ocean view and the palm trees waving, even though there were cars driving down the street in front of us.

 

Vegetable Chow Mein

Vegetable Chow Mein

 

We purchased Blueberry Muffins, Hawaiian Vanilla/Macadamia Nut Coffee, Half & Half, Turbinado Sugar (grown and processed on Maui) and a few other things such as juice and soft drinks.

 

The next day after a Breakfast of Cornflakes and Coffee we went to the Kealia Ponds which have been designated as a bird refuge.  One of our major hobbies is ‘birding’ and when in the tropics (or any vacation for that matter) we try and see as many birds as possible.  The last time were here, the ponds were half dry, but this time they were quite full.  As a result, we saw many more birds this time than we did last time.  After our birding venture we drove up to a Tropical Plantation that we like to visit when we are here.  One of the reasons we decided to go this day (Monday) because my list of Farmer’s Markets said that they had one on Monday.  Wrong, when we got there the sign said Tuesday.  No loss though, because we did get to see more birds as there are plenty of ponds in this venue as well as beautiful tropical plantings.  They also had a store where we could purchase tropical food items.  One of the things which I bought was a bag of Pineapple/Coconut Caramel Corn – this was very yummy!

 

On the way back from the Tropical Plantation we stopped at an ‘Open-Air Market’ on Kihei Road and purchased some fresh Tropical Fruit which included Papaya, Maui Gold Pineapple, Apple Bananas, Baby Jicama and a lime which was almost pink in the middle.  Our next stop this morning was the Market again where we purchased ready-made sandwiches (one thing we noticed this visit is that all the Markets and ABC Stores and Whalers Stores have a very nice Deli Counter and you can get almost anything for any meal.  Competition I’m sure the restaurants don’t like)  In addition to the sandwiches we  purchased Cornflakes which managed to last us most of the 11 days that we were there.

For dinner we went to the Five Palms Restaurant which was just down the street from our Condo.  Not only was the food delicious but the view was fantastic.  In addition to the foregoing they also have a very good ‘Happy Hour’ that lasts from 3PM until 7PM.  We got there about 5 PM and since it was so busy and the patio was full we were seated inside and had great comfortable seating and a great view.

 

View-at-5-Palms

View-at-5-Palms

We ordered California Roll, Coconut Fried Shrimp and Chicken/Lettuce Wraps along with Beverages.  Not necessarily Hawaiian Food except for the Shrimp but nonetheless very good.

 

Calif. Roll at 5 Palms

Calif. Roll at 5 Palms

Coconut-Shrimp-at-5-Palms

Coconut-Shrimp-at-5-Palms

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lettuce-Wrap-at-5-Palms

Lettuce-Wrap-at-5-Palms

 

 

The next day for Breakfast we each had a half of a Papaya filled with cubed Pineapple and sliced Bananas sprinkled with a little Turbinado Sugar and sweet Lime Juice as well as Hawaiian Coffee.

 

Papaya Halves filled with Pineapple and Banana slices.

Papaya Halves filled with Pineapple and Banana slices

 

To make the Fruity Breakfast simply slice a ‘ripe’ Papaya in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds (a delicious Salad Dressing  – popular in Hawaii can be made from the seeds), squeeze a little lime on the fruit and then fill with fruit of your choice such as sliced Bananas and Pineapples or whatever your preference is.

 

Check back for more on our Maui Food Adventures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by sylveee - 2014/05/16 at 4:27 PM

Categories: Breakfast Ideas, Dinner Ideas, Lunch Ideas, Main, Tropical Food   Tags: , , , , , ,

TURKEY MONTH

Funny that November is recognized as the following Food Month –

Honoring many types of food, but not of all things the Turkey.  Why not?  November is Thanksgiving and Turkey is the main highlight of most families dinners on Thanksgiving.  So like October which I have declared ‘The Month of the Pumpkin’ I am now declaring November as Turkey Month.  Everywhere you go, there are turkeys for sale,  Frozen Turkeys, Fresh Turkeys, Heritage Turkeys, already prepared Turkey Dinners, etc.

Before we go any further does anyone know why the Turkey is called the Turkey?  What did the Indians call the Wild Turkey that was prevalent when the first Pilgrims came over?  Does anyone know?  And why did the Europeans call Turkeys, Turkeys?  Well it seems that the Europeans thought the Turkeys were related to Guinea Fowl which were transported to Europe via Turkey.  Therefore, they called the Wild Bird they found in the New World, Turkeys.  That name has stuck to this day.

Benjamin Franklin thought that the Turkey should be the National Bird but the Bald Eagle has and probably always will be the Bird Symbol for the United States.  However, three States including Massachusetts have adopted the Turkey as their State Bird.

Most of us will be making or Eating Turkey for Thanksgiving Dinner.  There are many ways to cook Turkey;  Smoking, Frying, Barbecuing but the traditional and most ways to cook Turkey is still to roast it fully packed with Stuffing.  But preparing Turkey for Thanksgiving Dinner is not the problem.  It’s what to do with the leftovers that presents challenges.  The best and probably favorite way is the ‘Turkey Sandwich’.  My preference is with Mayonnaise, Pickles and Lettuce.  Some like to put Stuffing and Cranberries on their Sandwiches, but whichever way you make it, I would venture to say that the Sandwich is the favorite way to use Turkey Leftovers.

Another use, though probably not usually thought by most people is a Turkey Frittata turkey-frittata/.  The Frittata can be made for Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner and is a good way to use up those little pieces of Turkey that fall off the bone or crumble from the slices.  The Frittata is an omelet with  Meat, (Turkey) Vegetables and usually some kind of Cheese.  The Frittata is very tasty and a great use for leftover anything, including Turkey.

 

Another good use for Turkey leftovers are Turkey Croquettes.  /turkey-croquettes/   Great for  Brunch, Lunch or Dinner the Croquette can be varied to suit your individual taste palette.  Either good old American, Italian, Mexican or even Asian.  With just one or two additional ingredients the flavors can be easily varied.

One more use for leftover Turkey is the Turkey Pot Pie.   turkey-pot-pie/  Delicious and warming in the cooler weather of Fall!

The above are just a few of the things that can be done with Turkey Leftovers.  You can probably come up with more ideas on your own.

And don’t forget!  November is ‘Turkey Month’!!

 

 

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Posted by sylveee - 2013/11/05 at 4:21 PM

Categories: Asian, Breakfast Ideas, Cooking for Everyone, Cooking for Kids, Dinner Ideas, Holiday Ideas, Holiday Meals, Holiday Tidbits, Italian, Leftovers, Lunch Ideas, Main, Mexican, National Food Days   Tags: , , , , , , ,

WORLD EGG DAY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second Friday in October is ‘World Egg Day’.  This is certainly fitting, because Eggs are probably the one major food that is consumed by people all over this planet.  The majority of Eggs consumed are Chicken Eggs, but Duck Eggs are very popular in China and the South Eastern Asian Countries.  The photo below was taken at an outdoor market in Thailand.

 

 

Duck Eggs & Pink Colored Pickled Duck Eggs

Also popular in Asia are un-hatched Eggs.  As kids we used to love them in Chicken Soup but health laws forbid the sale of them here in the States, at least in California.

 

 

Un-hatched Chicken Eggs

 

Quail Eggs are used in Gourmet Cooking, more for looks and ‘Eye Appeal’ than for nutrition as they are so small.  In the picture below Quail Eggs were baked in Mini- Pate Choux Cups (Cream Puff Shells) by the Teen and Pre/Teen students in our Summer ‘Basics Culinary Camp’ at Let’s Get Cookin’ in Westlake Village, CA.

 

Quail Eggs in Pate Choux Cups

Turkey Eggs are probably consumed too as well as Ostrich Eggs which definitely top off the list of ‘large’ Eggs.  One Ostrich Egg would probably feed a dozen people, if not more.  Since this is World Egg Day, there will follow a short list of Egg Dishes consumed Globally by people all over the world.  By far, the most popular use for Eggs is for Breakfast, but Eggs are one of those foods that can be consumed for Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner.  The Egg is probably my all-around most favorite food.  I can eat it any time of the day.

 

Brazilian Omelet -this Omelet is made with Cream Cheese, Bacon, Pineapple and Avocado.  Different, but tasty.  The Brazilian Omelet is good for Brunch, Lunch or Dinner.

 

Brazilian Omelet

Denver Omelet  (USA) – made with Bell Pepper, Ham and Cheese.  A popular Southwestern Dish.

Egg Foo Young  (Chinese) – a popular dish in Chinese Restaurants – made with Vegetables, Bean Sprouts, and occasionally Shrimp.  Sometimes served with a Brown Sauce.

 

Egg Foo Young

 

Eggs Benedict    – Eggs Benedict is an American breakfast dish that consists of two halves of an English muffin, topped with ham or bacon, poached eggs, and Hollandaise sauce.

French Omelet – usually folded in half and somewhat moist inside.

Frittata (Italian) –  started in the pan and finished in the oven – the amount of ingredients in the Frittata make it difficult to turn so the top side is baked or broiled.

 

 

Broccoli Frittata

 

 

Thai Omelet – similar to Egg Foo Young – contains Vegetables and sometimes meat – fried in oil in a Wok or pan.  Results in a thin, crispy, tasty omelet.

Salami Eggs (Jewish Deli Food) – salami cooked into the Omelet

 

Salami Eggs Cooking

Salami Eggs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tortilla (Spanish Omelet)– in Spain, the Omelet is called a Tortilla – usually cooked with sliced Potatoes in it – the American version with Tomatoes and Peppers is not really a Spanish Omelet.  The Spanish Explorers probably named the Flat Bread ‘Tortilla’ because it looked like a Spanish Omelet.

 

Whichever way you enjoy your Eggs or whatever kind of Eggs you like, do indulge.  Eggs are a healthy food, which contain the best complete protein.  Even though the yolks may contain cholesterol, they also contain lecithin which helps to reduce cholesterol.

 

Lastly, don’t forget that Eggs are essential in most baked goods.  For more info about Eggs see ‘The Versatility of Eggs’ under Archives June 2013.

 

Whisking the Eggs

 

 

 

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Posted by sylveee - 2013/10/11 at 10:50 AM

Categories: Breakfast Ideas, COOKING CLASSES, Dinner Ideas, Main, Mexican, National Food Days, Pre-Teen Classes   Tags: , , , , , , , ,

MONTH OF THE PUMPKIN

 

October boasts of 13 different food Titles.  Except for two (Eat Country Ham Month and Vegetarian Awareness Month), all are National Food Months) A few among them are ‘National Caramel Month’, ‘National Popping Corn Month’ and ‘National Chili Month’.  However, I think one item is missing and that this should also be ‘National Pumpkin Month’ or at least ‘Pumpkin Month’.  This is the time when the Pumpkins are making their way into the markets for Halloween and Thanksgiving and possibly even December Holiday Meals.  Therefore I am declaring October the ‘Month of the Pumpkin’.

Think of all the things that can be done with Pumpkin and I am not just talking about ‘Jack O’ Lanterns for Halloween.  I am talking about ‘foodstuffs that can be made with Pumpkin’.  There are at least two different types of Pumpkin on the market.  One are the larger Pumpkins which are used for carving ‘Jack O’ Lanterns’ and other Fall Decorations.  Then there is the ‘Sugar  Pie Pumpkin’ which is used for baking and cooking.  This is the Pumpkin that this blog will be dealing with.  For those of you who think that Pumpkin does not taste good, you have another guess coming.  Combined with spices, sugar and other ingredients Pumpkin can be very tasty and quite delicious.  Pumpkin is rich in Beta Carotenes which provide Vitamin A, a necessary nutrient for ‘Night Vision’ and other bodily functions.

 

Just what is a Pumpkin?  Well, first of all it is a fruit that belongs to the squash family.  All squash are classified as fruit because they bear seeds thereby making the shell that contains the seeds the ovary.  The meat inside the shell (skin) is edible and can be cooked as is or chopped or ground or pureed and can be baked, stewed, or made into Ice Cream, Shakes and Smoothies.  My favorite use for Pumpkin is in Pumpkin Bread or Pumpkin Waffles.  Roasted Pumpkin Seeds are also a favorite among many people.  In addition, the seeds contain Oil which is also used for culinary purposes

 

 

Listed below are just some of the table items that can be made with Pumpkin.  Listed below are some of the many foodstuffs that can be made with Pumpkin. (In Alphabetical Order) During the month of October, this blog will post various recipes and photos made with Pumpkin.  Please do try out some of these items for your family meals.

 

Pumpkin Bread & Muffins                                   Pumpkin  Pasta

Pumpkin Biscuits                                                Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Waffles                                                Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin Cornbread                                           Pumpkin Stew

Pumpkin Ice Cream                                           Pumpkin Turnovers

Pumpkin Milkshakes

 

Starting today you can check for recipes to try.  For starters, go to the links below.  These are delicious for your Thanksgiving Dinner or Breakfast.

 

pumpkin-yeast-biscuits/

breads/pumpkin-cornbread/

double-duty-pumpkin-waffles/

pasta/ravioli-de-zucca/

                                                                            

 

 

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Posted by sylveee - 2013/10/01 at 10:23 PM

Categories: Baking, Bread, Breakfast Ideas, Dinner Ideas, Halloween, Holiday Tidbits, Main, National Food Days, Pasta, Pastry   Tags: , , , , , ,

APPLE SEASON – HOMEMADE APPLE STRUDEL

Baked Apple Strudel

 

Even though our normally very abundantly producing Apple Tree has had a smaller than normal crop, we still have enough Apples to more than meet our needs.  Our needs are specifically baked goods to store in the freezer to be ready when an occasion arises, such as visiting family or friends or just the desire for baked goods loaded with Apples for a scrumptious breakfast.  Our tree is a ‘Beverly Hills Apple’;  one that was developed for the area we live in.  No, not Beverly Hills but close enough to be within almost touching distance.  (As the crow flies, that is)

The Apples produced by our tree are green with blushes of red stripes and are tart when picked early and much sweeter when allowed to remain on the tree until late August or early September.  This year, there is no chance remaining on the tree to sweeten as they have decided to fall off before fully ripening.  In order for us to have some Apples before the Rabbits get them all, I do have to pick them before they fall.

Already in the freezer is a batch of Apples, sugared with Cinnamon and thickener ready for our Thanksgiving Apple Pie.  All I will have to do is to drain off the liquid (freezing makes the cell walls break down and cause them to liquefy) into a saucepan and cook it down to the desired thickness.  This will prevent the pie crust from getting soggy.  And of course, I will have to make the Pie Crust, roll it out and ease it into the pan.  Add the Apples and top Crust, Bake and Voila there is the Apple Pie all ready to serve and eat.

Enough about Apple Pie.  The last batch of Apples that I picked, we decided that Apple Strudel would be in order.  If you are ambitious and want to spend several hours making your own Strudel Dough, that is fine, but if not, purchased Phyllo (sometimes spelled ‘filo’) works very well.  If fresh Phyllo is available in your neighborhood (usually at a Middle Easter Market) that would definitely be superior.  If not, frozen work well too.  Just be sure and buy a good quality frozen dough and defrost it in your refrigerator overnight.

Phyllo Dough is very thin and fragile and requires careful handling.  When your filling is ready and you are ready to wrap the fruit up in it do the following:

 

  • On your work surface or a large sheet pan, place a damp clean kitchen towel.  On top of the damp towel, place a clean dry kitchen towel. 
  • Carefully unwrap and unfold the Phyllo Dough and place on the dry towel.
  • Place another clean dry kitchen towel on top of the Dough and then place a clean, damp kitchen towel on top of the dry towel.  (This procedure will help to keep the dough from drying out and tearing – if it does tear slightly, don’t worry.  Just wrap another layer of dough around it)

To make your strudel, prepare the fruit.  Apples are the common fruit for strudel but other types of fruit such as Apricots or Peaches may also be used.  Since we do not use pesticides on our trees, our Apples usually have worms that are attracted to the fruit.  If this is the case with your homegrown Apples, do not let that deter you.  If the worms are there, the Apples are probably pretty good.  Just be prepared to cut away the worms (probably dead) and any debris that may be inside.

Traditional Apple Strudel usually contains Walnuts and/or Raisins in addition to the Apples.  While I do like Raisins but not Nuts, I usually do not put them in.  Since we like the taste of the Apples so well, I usually also leave out the Raisins.  Save them for something else!  So, here is the procedure that I followed in making my Apple Strudel:

Select the Apples you are going to use and then wash and dry them.  Even if you plan to peel them, I always wash them first, especially if they just came off the tree.

Apples ready for Peeling

 

Next peel the Apples and then cut them into quarters.  Remove the seeds and any blemish portions there may be (including worms), then rinse them again with cold water and dry them well withpaper towels.

 

Peeled Apples

Peeled and Quartered Apples

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the Apples are peeled and quartered, slice each quarter into 3 to 4 pieces.

Sauté the Apples in melted Butter along with Sugar (I use Brown Sugar) and Cinnamon.  Once the liquid has been released from the Apples, cover with a lid and cook for 10-15 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed.  Our Apples contain very little moisture so it only took about 5 minutes to cook out most of the liquid.  Even though I make Apple Pie with raw Apples, Apples Strudel should always be made with cooked Apples.  The reason for this is that the Strudel Dough is very thin and fragile and soggy apples will just make the Strudel soggy.

 

 

Cooked Apples

Place the cooked Apples on a non-reactive tray and allow to cool.  Melt your Butter (unsalted Butted – at least 1/4 lb) and place it next to your prepared Phyllo Dough.  You will need a flat surface to place the Dough(a large pastry board is perfect).

Have all your ingredients and equipment close by, once you are ready to assemble your Strudel.

  • Carefully place two sheets of Phyllo Dough on your work surface and gently brush with the melted Butter.
  • Add two more sheets of Phyllo and brush again.  (Notice that there are slight tears in the dough – these will be covered up when you wrap the Apples in the Dough.

 

 

  • Spread  the filling along the length of the dough about 3 inches  from the edge; leave at least 3” at either end free.  (DO NOT OVER-STUFF THE DOUGH – YOU WILL PROBABLY HAVE ENOUGH APPLES FOR AT LEAST TWO STRUDEL.  IN THE RECIPE I USED, I MADE 4 MINI-STRUDEL AND 1 FULL-SIZE ONE)
  • Fold the 3” piece over the filling and then fold the whole thing over until all the dough is completely wrapped around the filling.  Butter the dough as you  fold.  Fold the corners of the edges in and under the strudel.

 

Wrapping the Apples

 

 

  • Carefully transfer to a parchment covered baking sheet.
  • Bake in the middle of a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes or until the dough is baked through and crisp.  It should be a dark golden brown.

Note:  The complete recipe can be found under the recipe section of this blog /pies-pastry/apple-strudel/

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Posted by sylveee - 2013/08/20 at 7:40 PM

Categories: Breakfast Ideas, Dessert Ideas, Fruit, Main   Tags: , , , , , , , ,

THE VERSATILITY OF EGGS

June 3rd is ‘National Egg Day’, so what better time than to celebrate the Chicken which we should we revere, because without those eggs, there would be so many things lacking from our diets.

What we would ever do without Eggs?  We eat them for breakfast, sometimes lunch and even dinner!  We bake with them, we cook with them and they provide us with complete protein as well as Vitamin A and Lecithin. 

The most commonly eaten eggs are Chicken Eggs, but there are also Duck Eggs (popular in Asian Cuisine) which are larger and richer tasting than Chicke Eggs.  There are also Quail Eggs which are very small and  are poopular in Gourmet Cooking and Sushi Restaurants.  At the opposite extreme there are Ostrich Eggs which are so hugh that one would probably feed a whole family or more.  Of course, unless you have an Ostrick farm, the eggs would be somewhat difficult to get hold of.

Listed below are some of popular uses for eggs, most of which will probably be familiar to you.  Just don’t take eggs for granted;   think about all the things that they do for our cuisine!

  • Scrambled –  add a little milk or cream and whisk with a fork to incorporate a lot of air and cook in a hot pan with melted butter.  Great for breakfst.  Add some chopped Scallions, bacon bits or ham pieces or whatever your fancy and voila, you have a dish that is healthy, full of protein and satisfying!
  • Omelets – the variety of omelets are endless,  There is the classic French, the Western Denver, Italian Frittata or even a Dessert Omelet.

Broccoli Frittata

  • Soft – Soft-cooked Eggs make a good breakfast but they are not really my favorite.  However, because they are cooked without the use of butter, they are often used by people on soft diets or those who are tryng to lose weight.
  • Hard -Cooked- ‘cooked’ not boiled are wonderful for salads, sandwiches, creamed dishes, etc.  The best way to hard cook an egg is to put it (them) in a pot of cold salted water.  Bring it to a boil over high heat and immediately shut the heat off.  Allow the pot to remain on the burner (lid on) for 12-15 minutes.  Drain and cover with cold water.  The Eggs will be perfectly cooked.  Over-cooking Eggs will result in a hard and green yolk that will have a sulfurus taste.  Ever smell an over-cooked hard -cooked egg?  Not to pleasant!
  • Deviled – made with hard-cooked – the yolk is removed form the white halves and mixed with your favorite ingredients – start with mayo, mustard, chopped Spinach and Bacon, then stuff them back into the shells.
  • Salad -another use for Hard -Cooked Eggs.

Egg Salad with Kalamata Olives

  • Poached – used for Eggs Benedict which is that French Egg dish which is sinfully good;  that is because the Eggs and ham and muffins are covered with Hollandaise Sauce which is made with more Eggs and Butter.  Yummy, but laden with Cholesterol!

 Listed below are some of the baked goods you cannot make without Eggs!

Popovers – Pate Choux which is the basis of Cream Puffs, Éclairs and Beignets require Eggs for the leavening process.  The Eggs are beaten into the product and it is this beating that incorporates air.  The protein in the eggs hold in the air.  When the product is baked (or fried) the air escapes but leaves behind a pocket which can then be filled with your favorite custard, pudding, fruit or ice cream.  The Cream Puffs below are filled with Lemon Curd which requires Egg Yolks to be made.

 

Creams Puffs filled with lemon Curd

 

Bread – Not all bread requires eggs, but the ones with eggs are certainly tasty and delicious.  These include brioche, and Challah (Egg Bread).

Challah (Egg Bread)

Muffins

Cookies

Cupcakes

Cakesa cake would not be a cake without eggs.  It would be hard tack!

Sponge

(Angel Food)                                                               

Air beaten into Egg Whites

                                                            

Angel Food Cake

 

Shortened

Pound

 

Custard, Soufflé and Mousse.

Shown above are just a few of the uses for Eggs.  Eggs are essential to our Cuisine and it would be difficult to get along without them, although if one had to, one could.

 

 

 

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Posted by sylveee - 2013/06/02 at 8:24 PM

Categories: Baking, Bread, Breakfast Ideas, Dinner Ideas, Lunch Ideas, Main, National Food Days   Tags:

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