Dutch Baby

Posted: March 28th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Breakfast, Dairy-free, Vegetarian | Tags: | 7 Comments »

Look! I made a crazy thing!

Dutch Baby

Look at the lift on this thing!

It’s called a Dutch Baby. It’s not actually Dutch, but German. The theory is that “Dutch” is an Americanized version of the word “Deutsch” (German). The baby part? I have no idea. I don’t know about you, but I don’t generally put babies in the oven.

Last weekend my friend Rick made dutch babies as part of a manly start to a manly day. I was so taken with his photographs that I knew I had to try one of my own. He sent me this recipe, which has a great picture tutorial. I followed it (mostly) and my baby came out great, just like it was supposed to. I was kind of amazed that it actually puffed. Some sort of crazy kitchen alchemy I tell you.

The recipe is basically the same as the Swedish Pancakes recipe I grew up with, except that it has three times as many eggs — hence the puffiness. The dutch baby batter is also completely unsweetened and unsalted, and as a result I felt its taste was slightly lacking. Next time I think I’ll add a pinch of salt and a couple tablespoons of brown sugar, per the swedish pancake recipe. Hopefully that won’t mess with the chemistry that leads to the puffiness. I also feel it could’ve done with a lot less butter. Edit: Tried it with the salt, brown sugar, and less butter. Marked improvement! Also, putting the butter in the oven for a few minutes to brown is makes it even awesomer.

Of course you can top a dutch baby with anything you think of. I went with simple maple syrup, but lemon juice/powdered sugar is also recommended, as is fruit, or jam. Yum!

Dutch Babies (aka German Pancakes)

From German Pancakes – Dutch Babies by WhatsCookingAmerica.net

Feeds 2-4 people

INGREDIENTS:

3 eggs, room temperature (it is important that they’re room temp, not cold)
1/2 cup milk, room temperature (I used soymilk)
1/2 cup sifted bread flour or all purpose flour*
1/8 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1-2 tablespoons butter (or margarine)
generous pinch salt
3 tablespoons brown sugar

* Bread flour gives the dutch baby more lift, but I used all purpose flour and it worked beautifully.

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Pull your eggs and milk out of the fridge and let sit till room temperature. Start the oven preheating to 450F. Place 10-12″ cast iron skillet (or other oven-safe frying pan) in the oven while it’s preheating. Use a pan that has sides that are at most 3″ tall.
  2. While the oven’s preheating, mix the batter. In a large bowl, whisk eggs till light and frothy. Add milk, flour, vanilla, cinnamon (and salt and sugar); whisk 5 more minutes till lumps are gone or mostly gone.
  3. Using a pot holder, pull the skillet out of the oven. Put butter into skillet and swirl it around until it’s melted, being sure to get it up on the sides of the pan. Stick it back in the oven for another 5 minutes or so, to get the butter a little browned.
  4. Pour batter in pan all at once and immediately return to the oven. Bake 20-25 minutes till puffed and golden brown. I know it’s tempting, but don’t open the oven midway through to check!
  5. Serve immediately with maple syrup, fruit, jam, or lemon juice and powdered sugar. The sky’s the limit when it comes to toppings!

Mushroom Spinach Quiche

Posted: March 25th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Pies, Vegetarian | Tags: , , | 3 Comments »

Mushroom Spinach Quiche

Those bacon recipes are a hard act to follow since they were just soooooo decadent, but my friend Dani and I made something delightful tonight, so I just have to share! I know, I know, mushroom spinach quiche — boring, right? No, actually it turned out completely delicious. There’s a reason quiches are so popular. Plus it was really fun cooking with Dani, tasting things along the way and getting slightly starry-eyed together.

To make this quiche, I ended up pulling together two recipes I found on the internet:

  1. Quick Spinach Mushroom Quiche from AllRecipes.com, by Mindy Spearman
  2. Mushroom Quiche from SimplyRecipes.com

In the first recipe, I wasn’t big on the packaged soup seasoning or the crescent rolls, so I trolled the comments for suggestions for substitution. MAVENZ99 recommends 1/2 tsp salt, black pepper, a pinch of thyme, and 1/2 tsp. dry mustard. Sounded good to me, so I went with that. I added a bit of nutmeg too, thanks to the second recipe — and shallots instead of green onions.

I used a Mrs. Smith’s frozen pie crust. Not exactly the healthiest thing in the world, but better than Pillsbury — at least with Mrs. Smith’s the hydrogenated oil only showed up in the “less than 2%” section of the ingredients, after baking soda (it was the second or third ingredient in the Pillsbury crusts!). I could have gone for the super healthy organic whole wheat crust but I wanted that light flakiness that you can’t really get with whole wheat flour. And yes, I could have made my own crust, but honestly, I don’t have time for that on a weeknight! Sorry guys.

I liked the method from the second recipe better, so I followed that for the most part. I also made some modifications of my own. I used soymilk instead of half & half in deference to my lactose intolerant boyfriend. In my experience that kind of substitution doesn’t make much of a taste difference, but it sure is healthier! Feel free to use half & half though, if you prefer. I’m sure it’d be awesome. Lastly I used Jarlsberg (a kind of swiss cheese) instead of Monterey Jack or Gruyere, and put a dash of sherry in the pan with the mushrooms to reduce. Mmm.

Spinach Mushroom Quiche

Adapted from Quick Spinach Mushroom Quiche from AllRecipes.com, by Mindy Spearman, and Mushroom Quiche from SimplyRecipes.com.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 frozen 9″ pie crust, or make your own
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (or butter or margarine)
  • 2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms (I used large brown ones)
  • 2 cups torn spinach leaves, packed down a bit
  • 2 medium shallots, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste for seasoning mushrooms
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • pinch dry thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup soymilk (or milk or half & half)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup shredded Jarlsberg (or cheese of your choice)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375F (190C). Pull out pie crust and let thaw for 15 minutes. Bake for 15 minutes till golden brown but not too dark. If you want, you can line it with tinfoil and fill it with dried beans to prevent it from puffing, but we didn’t do this and it worked just fine. I just poked the puffiness down a bit. Let cool completely (it should be done by the time you’re done with everything else).
  2. Chop all your veggies and shred your cheese while the pie crust is baking.
  3. Heat olive oil in skillet (I like cast iron) over medium heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring, for a few minutes until translucent and slightly brown. Add mushrooms; season with salt & pepper. Cook, stirring, until the mushrooms have released some liquid and it has evaporated — about 8-10 minutes. Turn the heat up to medium-high to caramelize them a bit. They should be dark golden brown. Splash a bit of cooking sherry in and stir the mushrooms around in it till the sherry is all evaporated — shouldn’t take long. Add the spinach and cook, stirring, until it’s significantly reduced — about 3 minutes.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the soymilk and spices and continue whisking till combined.
  5. Spread half the cheese in an even layer over the bottom of the pie crust. Add the spinach/mushroom combination in an even layer over the cheese. Add the rest of the cheese in another layer. Pour the egg mixture over the top.
  6. Put quiche on another pan to catch the drips. Cook in 375F oven for 30-35 minutes until the center is just set (not jiggly). You may need to put tinfoil over the crust partway through to prevent it from burning, but we didn’t run into any problems with that. Let cool 10 minutes before cutting.

What we ended up with was a delightful, faintly sweet but still quite savory pie, rich and filling but not in a way that makes you feel like you might have a heart attack any moment. We enjoyed a few slices with a nice salad and had a lovely, completely satisfying meal together.


15 minutes, and then some

Posted: March 23rd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Other | Tags: | No Comments »

Tamara Palmer at the SF Weekly made a great SFoodie blog post about BaconCamp today: Saturday Gluttony: BaconCamp. She talks about my ice cream and cookies!

“The grand prize of the day (again, as decided by the people) went to Heather Lynch for her Maker’s Mark ice cream with a maple caramel swirl and bits of candied bacon, the recipe for which she generously shares on her delicious food blog Mooflyfood. The ice cream was long gone before I could get a crack at it, but I did get to taste her pecan bacon lace cookies, which were the best bites I had the whole time. Here, pecan did most of the work, with the bacon providing a pleasingly faint background note. Her delicate restraint in balancing these flavors was refreshing compared to some of the heavier handed efforts. Luckily, she posted the recipe for that one too, so we’re all winners here.”

That’s exactly what I was going for! I’m so glad that I succeeded, and that so many people got to try the results. Thanks for the write-up, Tamara!

Okay, so this isn’t just another post about my damn ice cream…

Tonight, instead of being responsible and doing my taxes, I went out and ate:

  • Muscovy Duck
  • Frisee with bacon and goat cheese
  • Some sort of AMAZING pork
  • Spicy potatoes
  • Kale with lemon and garlic
  • Prosciutto wrapped asparagus (asparagus in California is incredible right now)
  • Pear tart
  • Chocolate pot de creme and a flourless chocolate mini-cake with strawberries
  • Tiramisu
  • A lovely bottle of Cigare Volant (2003?) from Bonny Doon

All from The Corner (a new small plates restaurant from the same people who brought you Weird Fish) shared with my buddies Reed, Star, and Jane. Wish I could tell you exactly what everything was seasoned with like the menu did, but from what I can tell, they don’t have a website or post their menus online (and I was too busy nomming to write it down). It was amazing, as was the service. I love it when you feel like the waiter is a friend. I’m definitely going back again. And again. And again. Just don’t tell too many people about it… ;)

Yesterday, I got to try a slice of $120/lb cured ham. No kidding! And that was marked down from $180/lb! I had no idea such a thing existed, but it does: it’s called Jamón ibérico, made from a wild boar that lives in Spain and feeds only on acorns. It was AMAZING. Melts in your mouth buttery salty indescribable… I’m not even sure it qualifies as meat. I was thrilled when Edward, the gentleman behind the deli counter at DeLessio Market & Bakery offered to give us a taste, and I can honestly say my palate has never been blessed with such a delightful meat in all my life.


A thing of beauty. Photo by Edrabbit, my partner in crime.

It has been a good few days for food.


BaconCamp: A smashing success!

Posted: March 21st, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Other | Tags: | 4 Comments »

I just got back from BaconCamp, which was great fun. So many great people, so many awesome bacon dishes. I had a blast passing out my ice cream and cookies to eager people. I’m presently in a bacon coma from all the delicious porky goodness I consumed. I loved Joy’s bacon blue cheese dip and Nathalie’s bacon apple pie. Rick and Burstein‘s divinely spiced home cured bacons stole my heart: I think between the two of them they brought 5 different kinds! Unfortunately I didn’t get to try Mike Perry’s chicken fried bacon, which got rave reviews and came in at a close second place– we’ve made a pact to have a dinner party where his dish is the entree and mine is the dessert.

The best part was, I WON!! My Maker’s Mark ice cream with candied bacon bits and maple caramel swirl took the grand prize, with 40 votes from the audience! And the judges all liked it too: all 5’s except for one 4 because the ice cream itself didn’t taste bacony (it wasn’t supposed to). I am just tickled. I don’t know what to do with all the compliments! But I have to say, making food that people like puts a grin on my face like nothing else.

Many, many thanks to Karen who organized the event but sadly couldn’t come, and to the rest of the folks that made it happen too: Diva, Juicy, Steve, Massive Bri, Cubes, Nina, Kevin, Dennis, Micah and many others who I don’t know. Thank you also to Scott at Bac’n for providing many of the prizes and also doing some of the judging, and Nermo for doing on-the-spot silk screening!


Dishing out the ice cream to the judges. Why yes I did store it in margarine containers. Photo by Edrabbit.


Me with all my loot. Photo by Edrabbit.

Grand Prize!

BaconCamp Photo Round-up!


Pecan-Bacon Lace Cookies

Posted: March 20th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Cookies, Dessert | Tags: , | 9 Comments »

Pecan-Bacon Lace Cookies

These delicate cookies are LACED (har har) with unexpectedly salty, smokey chunks of applewood smoked bacon. How can you resist?

Recipe adapted from Everyday Food (March 2009) by mooflyfoof for Bacon Camp.

Pecan-Bacon Lace Cookies

INGREDIENTS:

5 slices thick-cut applewood smoked bacon
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup light corn syrup
salt
1 cup pecans, finely chopped
2/3 cup cake flour, spooned and leveled

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Chop bacon into 1 cm squares and cook till done (but not overdone!) on the stovetop. Let the bacon bits drain on a paper towel.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat sugar, butter, cornsyrup, pinch salt over medium heat, stirring, until sugar has dissolved, about 7 minutes.
  3. Remove pan from heat; stir in pecans, bacon, and flour. Transfer to a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until dough is firm, about 2 hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment. Drop teaspoons of dough about 2 inches apart — 6 per sheet. Don’t be tempted to add more to each sheet; they will all melt together! Roll dough into balls.
  5. Bake until cookies are a dark golden brown and “lacey” looking, 10-12 minutes. They will harden as they cool. Transfer from parchment to a wire rack and let cool. Repeat with remaining dough.

(If you’re not feeling adventurous, you can leave out the bacon and they’ll be… nearly as delicious.)


Maker’s Mark Ice Cream with a Maple Caramel Swirl and Candied Bacon Bits

Posted: March 20th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Dessert, Ice Cream | Tags: , , , | 20 Comments »

Maker's Mark Ice Cream with Candied Bacon Bits

I came up with the idea for this particular ice cream for this weekend’s Bacon Camp, an event put on by Karen (and…?). I wanted to make something decadent and amazing that no one had tasted ever before. I was inspired by a few sources. Kasey’s bacon-infused Maker’s Mark came to mind (so smoky!), as did Doc Pop’s limited edition fro-yo with Cinnamon Toast Crunch, bacon bits, and maple syrup on top. I had the pleasure of having a bowl of it last week. Utterly delicious.

When I got on the web to start researching how to put this recipe together, I found that I was not the first to attempt this bacon ice cream thing. The recipe to which I owe the greatest credit was David Lebovitz’s Candied Bacon Ice Cream. It even has a bit of alcohol in it, though it is less of a focus.

I ran into trouble with his recipe, though. The bacon didn’t candy as I’d hoped it would. The problem was that the technique didn’t allow the fat and moisture to drain at all– American bacon has a LOT more fat than French bacon, judging from the pictures. What I got, even after cooking for an additional 10 minutes, was delicious sticky gooey floppy bacon, not crisp little bacon bits encased in hard sugar as I’d hoped. I tucked those away in the fridge for, uh, safekeeping and moved on to the next candied bacon recipe— this one posted on epicurious, care of Gourmet magazine, February 2007. I used brown sugar instead of demerara sugar, and chopped the bacon into bits before cooking them.

Though it was better than the last, this recipe failed me too. I found that even after I drained the pan, the residual oil and crusty bacon stuff stuck to the bottom of the pan caused the sugar to melt unevenly and not cover the bacon very well. Ultimately, the result tasted burnt–partly, I think, because the sugar burnt slightly (being brown sugar, I couldn’t tell when it was caramelized), and partly because the bacon stuff on the bottom of the pan burned. The bacon bits also stuck together, and the candy surrounding them was slightly tacky on the tooth, rather than being crisp, like I wanted. Lastly, the bacon was overdone. Still pretty tasty, but not good enough.

Armed with my newfound knowledge, I devised a plan of my own: cook the bacon bits to perfection, let them drain on paper towels. In a small, clean sauce pan, melt regular white sugar just until the sugar is dissolved. Add bacon bits and quickly coat them, then pull them out and put them on parchment paper. Third time’s the charm; it worked beautifully! Well, mostly. When the sugar cooled almost instantly as it hit the bacon, it all stuck together into a giant bacony, sugary glob. This made it difficult to get even coverage. I spent a while painstakingly separating the bits into more managable pieces. While it could have been a little better, the result was close enough: slightly crisp, slightly tender bacon bits encased in a crisp sugar shell.

For the ice cream itself, I used David Lebovitz’s recipe, with a few slight alterations: I used 1/4 cup Maker’s Mark* instead of a mere 2 teaspoons, I added 1 1/2 teaspoons molasses, and I nixed the cinnamon. One very important thing I learned when making the custard was not to let the initial butter/brown sugar/half & half mixture get too hot. It will curdle and you will have to throw it away. I somehow managed to do this TWICE. Don’t let it boil, heck don’t let it bubble at all. Just warm it up. Be similarly careful you’ve added the eggs in, too.

*Note: don’t be tempted to try to reduce the bourbon in an attempt to get the ice cream to freeze better. It just ruins the bourbon, which will make you very, very sad. The ice cream will freeze just fine, I promise.

Lastly, I had to make the maple caramel swirl for the ice cream. I used this recipe–also from epicurious/Gourmet November 1998–and substituted maple sugar for the light corn syrup. It didn’t turn out perfectly. I believe I didn’t let the sugar/syrup/water mixture boil for long enough because I couldn’t tell when it was an appropriate “deep golden caramel” color– the color of the maple syrup threw me off. A candy thermometer would help with this, though I don’t know what temp to bring it to. I ended up adding the cream/vanilla mixture too soon, and it didn’t seize up like it said it would. I try to cook it for a long time after the cream had been added to compensate, and in the end I got a caramel that was the perfect consistency, except it was a bit grainy in texture. I’m not sure if that’s from the milk solids curdling or the maple syrup crystalizing, but it still tastes DELICIOUS (and maple syrup is expensive) so I decided to keep it.

Tonight I finally put it all together. It is divine. The ice cream/caramel is ridiculous just on its own, and the bacon is wild– it totally throws me off! So salty-sweet and crunchy. Now we just have to see if the crunchiness will stick around after the bacon bits have been immersed in the ice cream for a while.

“Shut up Heather, just give us the recipe already!” you’re saying. Okay okay, here it is:

Maker’s Mark Ice Cream with a Maple Caramel Swirl and Candied Bacon Bits

[Note: Please do not copy and paste this recipe into your blog without asking me first. Do feel free to link to it and post excerpts or rewritten/tweaked versions! Thanks!]

Adapted in part from David Lebovitz’s Candied Bacon Ice Cream recipe, and Gourmet’s Coffee Caramel Swirl Ice Cream recipe.

This is a multi-step, two day process, so be sure to allot enough time!

INGREDIENTS

For the ice cream custard:
3 tablespoons salted butter
3/4 cup (packed) brown sugar
2 3/4 cup half-and-half (make sure the kind you get has no added carrageenan)
5 large egg yolks
1/4 cup Maker’s Mark bourbon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons molasses

For the maple caramel swirl:
pinch sea salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup water
7 tablespoons heavy cream (again, no added carrageenan)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

For the candied bacon bits:
5 slices thick-cut, applewood smoked bacon
1/3 cup sugar
Parchment paper (or a brown paper bag)

Day 1:

Make the bacon bits:

  1. Cut the raw bacon into 1cm squares — cutting each strip in half lengthwise, and several times crosswise.
  2. In a heavy skillet over med-high heat, cook the bacon bits until slightly crisp but still a bit chewy, being careful to not burn or overcook them.
  3. While the bacon is cooking, prepare a plate with paper towels on it to drain the bacon, and lay out a piece of parchment paper for the candied bacon.
  4. Place bacon bits on paper towel to drain; pat off excess fat. Pour off fat from pan and save it for some other tasty treat.
  5. Pour 1/3 cup sugar into a small heavy saucepan. Over low to medium heat, melt the sugar just until all the crystals are dissolved and the sugar syrup looks homogeneous. Be careful as you’re doing this; sugar melts slowly but burns quickly — keep heat lower rather than higher. As soon as sugar has dissolved, immediately add the bacon bits and stir to cover. Place bacon bits on parchment paper and separate from each other. (There may be a better way to do this, like to dip each bacon bit individually, or add them in small batches, or pour the sugar over them, or something. I haven’t tried it.)
  6. Allow bacon bits to cool on the parchment.

Make the maple caramel swirl:

  1. In a heavy saucepan, boil sugar, maple syrup, water, and a pinch sea salt over moderate heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Boil mixture, without stirring, gently swirling pan, until it is a deep golden caramel color. (Note: this is difficult to tell with the maple syrup. A candy thermometer might help, but I couldn’t tell you what temperature to bring it to.*)
  2. Remove pan from heat and carefully pour cream and vanilla down side of pan (mixture will vigorously steam and caramel will harden). Simmer mixture, stirring, until caramel is dissolved. Remove pan from heat and cool caramel. Caramel swirl may be made 1 week ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to room temp before using (heat slightly if too stiff to pour).

*I added the cream too soon, so I just continued boiling the mixture until it was the correct thickness. I tested thickness by dropping a bit of it on a cool plate and letting it cool to room temp. Then I ate it.

Make the ice cream custard:

  1. Pour half of the half-and-half (about 1 and a little more than 1/3 cup) into a large bowl and set it in an ice bath.* Set a mesh strainer over the top of the bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, lightly whisk together 5 egg yolks.
  3. Melt 3 tablespoons butter over low heat in a heavy, medium sized saucepan. Stir in the brown sugar and the other half the half-and-half and whisk it till the brown sugar is somewhat dissolved. Heat just to warm, and keep a close eye on it. Too hot, and the half-and-half will curdle and you will have to start over.
  4. Gradually add the warm brown sugar mix to the eggs, whisking constantly as you pour. Pour the entire mixture back into the sauce pan.
  5. Cook over low to moderate heat, constantly stirring and scraping the bottom with a heatproof spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula.
  6. Strain the custard into the half-and-half, stirring over the ice bath until cool.* Add the 1/4 cup bourbon, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 1/2 teaspoon molasses. Stir till well mixed.
  7. Place in sealed container and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Overnight is best — it allows the flavors to really mix.
  8. Make sure your ice cream maker’s bowl is in the freezer so that it’s frozen by the next day.

*Note: I skipped the ice bath because I didn’t have any ice, and it worked fine.

Day 2

Putting it all together:

  1. Pull the caramel swirl out of the fridge and bring it to room temp.
  2. Put together the ice cream maker, turn it on, and pour in your ice cream custard. Freeze in the ice cream maker for 1/2 hour, at least, until it’s nearly doubled in volume and seems as frozen as it’ll get. It will still be soft — home made ice cream needs to go into the freezer for a few hours to really set.
  3. Working quickly, stir in the bacon bits while the ice cream is still in the frozen bowl. In a few smaller containers (I used margarine containers), put down a layer of ice cream. Add a layer of caramel swirl. Add another layer of ice cream, then another layer of caramel swirl, then another layer of ice cream. Put the lids on and place ice cream in freezer to finish freezing.

YOU’RE DONE! Lick the bowls, if you’re not already sick to your stomach from having done just that for 2 days in a row! ;)


Welcome to Mooflyfood!

Posted: March 20th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Other | No Comments »

This is where I’ll be posting my recipes, and maybe a few pictures (if I remember to take them before devouring it all).  For now, check out my other (much-neglected) food blog, Milk Is For Mutants.


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