Category Archives: breakfast

Raisin and Ricotta Cheese Blintzes

My livejournal was started years before I thought of writing a blog. There are lots of fun recipes there that I’d like to share here, but rather than rewriting them from scratch, I’m going to copy and paste a few of my favourites with minimal changes, interspersed with new material. My tamales post(s) was the first time I did so. I’ll also share recipes that I posted before I had a camera.

A basic crepe recipe can be modified in many ways to produce savoury and sweet dishes like the meat-filled Hungarian dish, Hortobágyi palacsinta, or Italian crepe manicotti, like this spinach and mushroom version.

This breakfast item, however, makes a great dessert.

My mom worked in the kitchen of a Jewish deli for over 20 yrs. In that time, she learned to make a LOT of Jewish dishes. She even cooked some of them for us. 🙂 But she never made these cheese blintzes, even though she obviously knew how to make amazing crepes.

You can use cottage cheese and cream cheese/mascarpone in the filling, but I went with an Italian ricotta cheese, as well as raisins.

Because blintzes are pan-fried in unsalted butter (or vegetable oil) before being served, the crepes are often only cooked on one side. You put the filling on the cooked side, wrap it up and then, when you fry the outside, it doesn’t get too brown. It also makes the crepes easier to roll, as they’re more flexible if only cooked on one side.

Raisin and Ricotta Cheese Blintzes – makes 10 blintzes

10 9-inch sweetened crepes, cooked on only one side
475 gm (~1 pound) ricotta cheese, well drained
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp lemon zest
1 egg
1 cup raisins (omit if you don’t like them)
1-2 tbsp unsalted butter

Garnish: powdered sugar, fruit sauce or sour cream

NOTE: I only added 1/2 tsp vanilla and 1 tsp sugar to the basic crepe recipe.

In a small bowl, add raisins and pour 1 cup boiling water over them. Let sit for 15 minutes, then drain well (pat dry in a double thickness paper towel, if you wish) and let cool to room temperature.

Combine ricotta cheese, brown sugar, lemon zest and egg. Stir in raisins and refrigerate until ready to fill the crepes.

Divide the cottage cheese filling evenly among the crepes. You’ll probably use 3-4 tbsp for each one.

To assemble, spoon the filling in a rectangular block, in the central third of your crepe. Fold the bottom third up and over the filling. Fold in both the sides like you’re making an envelope and then fold the top third of the crepe down over the filling.

Assembly – Step 1

Assembly – Step 2

Assembly – Step 3

Assembly – Step 4

In a 9-10 inch non-stick pan, melt 1 tbsp of unsalted butter over medium-low heat.

Blintzes ready to fry – See how pale they are? They won’t be that way for long. 🙂

Put 2-3 filled blintzes, or as many as will fit comfortably, in the pan. You want to leave at least an inch between the blintzes so that you can flip them with a spatula. The crepes themselves are fragile, and the filling will be soft, so they may open and the filling will spill during flipping, if you’re too forceful.

Fry on each side, about 1 1/2-2 minutes, or until golden brown and the filling is cooked through. (If you’re concerned that the filling may not be set, since it’s still quite soft while hot out of the pan, place the finished blintzes on a microwave safe plate and cook for 1 minute on high. If feeding a crowd, you can arrange all of the pan fried blintzes on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350 deg F oven, for 8-10 minutes.)

Fried blintzes

You may serve these blintzes warm out of the frying pan, or at room temperature, with icing sugar sifted over the top.

I like a spoonful or two of fruit topping over my blintzes, like this mixed berry sauce, but there are people who prefer sour cream

Re-imagining Basic Recipes pt 2

I like recipes that you can modify for different dishes or presentations like the basic pasta dough recipe below. It’s based on the proportions used in the spinach pasta I made a while back.

A 10 oz batch of pasta coloured with 1/8 and 1/3 cup of beet puree, respectively. The colour isn’t dramatically different but I’m hoping the cooked pasta on the more concentrated batch will end up being much darker than in my first posts. And then maybe I can do a tricolour pasta dish.

 

Some adaptations are better than others. I used the last of my sourdough starter to make a batch of chickpea flour (besan) crackers. I added some nanami togarashi (7 spice chili blend) to flavour it. The crackers were tasty enough but I didn’t really taste the chickpea flour. The flavour may have been overcome by the all-purpose flour sourdough starter. Next time, I’ll use all chickpea flour and some baking powder for leavening.

The chocolate cookie cups were filled with various items from vanilla ice cream (topped with sprinkles) to homemade caramel sauce poured over chopped nuts (I used walnuts but pecans would be lovely) and then topped with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce. And finally, mixed citrus curd lightened with whipped cream and topped with some more ice cream. I think a chocolate chip cookie (minus the chocolate chips), or even a gingerbread cookie, dough would give me a more versatile/neutral base for filling, but this was a good first attempt of the technique.

 

 

 

April Clear-out

I haven’t done much cooking in April, certainly nothing post-worthy, but I thought I’d share some of the tasty things I made.

Barbecue meal of giant hamburgers and sausages, with mac and cheese and corn side dishes, and a Mexican beer to wash it down.

Burgers (ground beef and pork) and sirloin tip steak, chicken breast basted with Jamaican barbecue sauce and Grill ’em sausages

Baked chicken drumsticks with the jerk bbq sauce, mac and cheese, onion rings and raw broccoli with ranch dressing

Oven baked pork chop and baked potato

Hot Italian sausage and broccoli over pasta

Thin crust pepperoni and mozzarella pizza

I picked up some frozen chicken cutlets and used them in several dishes including a Chicken Alfredo salad and a Mexican chicken and rice wrap with Taco Bell hot sauce.

Breakfast burrito with a pepperoni omelette, home fried potatoes, Mexican rice and avocado

Sushi – fake crab legs and avocado or cream cheese filling. I also made an attempt at a Caterpillar/Dragon roll with a garnish of spicy Mayo with flying fish caviar.

Orange curd and …

an orange loaf cake

Cheddar cheese straws and bars

January Round-Up

WARNING: PICTURE HEAVY

Lest you think the last half of January was all about dessert and bread, I made a couple of pasta dishes this past weekend. I had 4 hot Italian sausages (~3/4 lb) in my freezer, along with most of a 2 kg bag of shucked clams. I was going to combine them in a tomato sauce to serve over pasta, then decided to go with a simple sausage/broccoli olive oil and garlic sauce instead. Then I changed my mind AGAIN and did both. The sausage/broccoli (I also added some fennel seed and dry red chili pepper flakes to the sauce) was served over rigatoni pasta. I combined half of the meat mixture with 1/2 pound of the clams and ~1 1/2 cups of a jarred Classico tomato and basil sauce and served it over fettuccine. If I’d had another couple of sausages, and another stalk of broccoli, I would have added it to the pan.

Great meals but not exactly needing a recipe write up. 🙂

And there were some odds and end meals like this prime rib (from my British Christmas menu) on a pretzel bun with roasted potato wedges, onion rings (bought frozen) and Caesar salad.

The last pork tenderloin (1 lb) in my freezer was cut up and turned into pork souvlaki and pork vindaloo. The souvlaki was served on couscous with roasted sweet potato while the vindaloo was served over basmati rice with chickpea curry.

I was tempted by a sale on boneless skinless chicken breasts and bought six which I turned into cutlets and a bunch of chicken fingers.

   

The cutlets were individually wrapped and frozen away. Some of the chicken fingers ended up in buns as sandwiches while a few more were part of a more complete meal. A couple of lamb shoulder chops (from a package of 6… I can’t resist a sale) were marinated with chimichurri butter and roasted for another tasty meal.

A couple of meals featured eggs. The chorizo cornbread with giblet gravy came out of the freezer. In the 2nd meal, a more traditional breakfast, the sourdough starter pancakes also came out of the freezer as did the last of the bacon. A bit of mango added fresh fruit to a diet that’s usually lacking. 🙂

I’ve got some Stilton cheese left over from my Christmas supper so I played with an idea for a cheese puff/gougere ring which could be cut in half and filled with chicken/turkey or shrimp/crab salad. Unfortunately, the ring ended up resembling a relatively flat pull apart gougere ring. Next time, I add another egg to the choux pastry, spoon the choux pastry much close together or smoosh it together into a round. Still, the gougeres tasted good, especially eaten with some of the sparkling wine from New Year. I had enough wine left in the bottle to toss about 1/2 cup into the earlier sausage/clam tomato sauce I made this past weekend. But that was sheer coincidence, not good planning on my part.

I made a batch of lemon curd early in January to use up some softening lemons from my fruit crisper drawer and, between the tarts (leftover pastry from the mincemeat tart bake), the sweet cream puffs filled with whipped cream mixed with the curd and just spooning it over ice cream, it’s all gone now.

I think that about covers my January.

Sourdough Pancakes

If you ever get the impulse to create a sourdough starter, you’ll periodically have starter to discard. That’s wasteful … but you can use this excess starter to make a batch of delicious pancakes. So get out your cast iron frying pan and get to it.

Sourdough Pancakes – 10-11 pancakes

2 eggs
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 cups sourdough starter
1 /2 tsp baking soda**
1 tbsp water

** The original recipe used 1 1/2 tsp of baking soda but I found that gave the pancakes a bitter taste.

In a very small bowl, measure out the baking soda and reserve.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs. Add the salt and sugar and beat until the sugar is dissolved.

Add the sourdough starter to the egg mixture.

Add the water to the baking soda, mix well to dissolve and pour into the bowl with the egg and sourdough mixture.

Beat quickly with a whisk until you get a homogeneous mixture. Do not whisk too long.

Preheat a griddle or non stick pan, lightly brushed with a paper towel dipped in vegetable oil, over medium heat.  Spoon the batter onto the griddle in 1/4 cup amounts.

When bubbles appear on the top of pancakes, turn them over.

Cook until golden brown on the second side as well.

Serve with syrup, jam or however you’d like

Picspam: Home Made Breakfast Sausage, Egg and English Muffins Sandwiches

So, a couple of weeks ago I was stumped because I had nothing in the fridge for work lunches. But I had some home made breakfast sausage patties in the freezer and I had a package of English muffins in the fridge. And, I always have eggs.

So, I got creative.

I dug out the same bottomless and topless tuna can that I’d used to cut out the sausage patties (I have two tucked away), and fried a couple of eggs at a time in them.

When the whites were set, I ran a butter knife around the inside of the can to free the egg, removed the can, and flipped the egg over so I could cook the second side

Then I assembled my sandwiches: bottom of the muffin, sausage patty, fried egg and half a slice of American cheese and finally, the top of the muffin.

DONE!!

Wrap up in food wrap and tuck away in the fridge or freezer … Now, isn’t that better than going to that ‘place’ and buying them?

What brought this to mind? Well, yesterday I ran across a post on one of the blogs I follow where someone made their own English muffins. They even used the same type of rippled biscuit cutter than **I** have in my cupboard.

Hmmm… maybe I’ll make my own English muffins next.

“Huevos Divorciados” and Turkey Mole Chilaquiles (Re-imagined)

Huevos divorciados, or “divorced eggs,” is a Mexican breakfast dish featuring two fried eggs separated by a column of chilaquiles. The eggs are each served on a different coloured sauce … red (salsa roja) and green (salsa verde).

I’ve made chilaquiles before, even if it should have been called a Tex-Mex migas in being combined with scrambled eggs. For those unfamiliar with chilaquiles, it’s a dish of hardened corn tortillas (toasted or fried) cooked in a sauce (typically salsa roja or salsa verde) to soften the tortillas and with various toppings as a garnish. Refried beans are an optional component. For meat lovers, shredded poached chicken may be added as well. I had some braised turkey leg meat in my freezer so I’m using it, for convenience.

In today’s dish, I’m using tostadas from the pantry instead of frying (you can bake them too) corn tortillas for convenience. I’m also using leftover mole sauce from my freezer since I’m using each of the 2 salsas under the fried eggs. Instead of incorporating the tostadas into the chilaquiles, I’m going to use them as a base for the eggs and sauce which will soften them.

Usually Mexican rice or fried potatoes are also found on the plate but I wasn’t hungry enough to make any and, for a change, I didn’t have any leftovers tucked away in my fridge or freezer. Surprising, I know. 🙂

The Two Components of the Dish – serves 1

1. Huevos Divorciados

2 eggs, fried sunny side up
2 tostadas
2 tbsp red salsa (salsa roja)
2 tbsp green salsa (salsa verde)

2. Chilaquiles with Turkey Mole

1/2 cup refried beans, warmed
1/4 cup shredded turkey leg
2 tbsp mole sauce

Combine the shredded turkey meat with the mole sauce and warm through.

Optional garnishes

shredded cheese (Monterey Jack, pepper Jack, cheddar) or queso fresco (crumbled feta may be substituted)
sour cream
guacamole or diced avocados
diced tomatoes
cilantro

Assembly

Place the 2 tostadas on a large plate, overlapping slightly in the middle if necessary. Spoon the refried beans in a line down the middle of the plate, creating a ‘wall’ between the tostadas. Spoon the mole turkey on top of the refried beans.

Spoon 2 tbsp of salsa over each tostada. Red salsa over one and green salsa over the other. Place a fried egg on top of each tostada. The refried beans and turkey mole will prevent the two salsas from mixing and the salsa will soften the tostadas.

Garnish as desired with the optional ingredients listed or ones you may prefer.

If serving for a brunch, a glass of Mexican beer or a margarita is a great accompaniment. This is also a pretty good late night/early morning hangover dish.

Classic Waffles

I’ve finally got the hang of my waffle iron.

After a period of seasoning, the generous application of vegetable oil to the preheated iron before each batch … and a recipe that includes more butter/oil than a pancake recipe, I’ve finally managed a full batch. If I fill the grids with batter, I get 4 rectangular waffles, while if I add about 1/3 of a cup of batter to each side, I get 2 round-ish waffles … enough for one generous serving.

Classic Waffles – makes 5 servings (of 4 rectangles or 2 rounds each)

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla sugar or extract
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup melted unsalted butter, shortening or vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups milk, warmed slightly
2 eggs, slightly beaten

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.

In a second bowl, mix together melted butter and warmed milk. Add beaten eggs.

Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix.

Pour into waffle iron, sprinkle fresh berries or chocolate chips over the top of the batter, close the lid and cook until done. My waffle iron takes 3-3 1/2 minutes to cook the waffles perfectly. (I listen for the hissing sound to stop.)

Fresh raspberries were added to the waffles in the center while the ones at the top right of the picture had chocolate chips sprinkled over the batter. The other waffles were left plain.

Serve with butter, maple syrup, fruit sauce or however you prefer.

I wonder if I can do something savoury with some of the waffles. Do YOU have any ideas?