Category: Recipes

We try donuts made with Greek yogurt

We try donuts made with Greek yogurt

Bon Appetit recently published a delicious recipe for cake donuts made with Greek yogurt, which they called “yonuts.” The yogurt gives them just a little tang, and they are quite simple to make. You can probably have warm donuts for breakfast in about half an hour.

So, their recipe is

  • 2 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tb melted unsalted butter, cooled
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5-6 cups vegetable oil for frying (peanut or canola)
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Zest from ¼ lemon
  • ¼ cup water (or less)
  1. Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl
  2. Mix the egg yolks, yogurt, melted butter together with a whisk
  3. Mix in the granulated sugar and vanilla extract.
  4. Slowly add the flower mixture and mix with a whisk, or eventually a wooden spoon. The batter will be a bit stiff.
  5. Roll out the batter on a flour board or floured parchment. You may need to flour the top side, too.
  1. Cut out the donuts using a donut cutter, or a circular cookie cutter. In the latter case, we found you could dig out the donut hole with a cookie scoop. Dust off any excess flour before frying.
  2. Heat the oil to 350˚ F (use a thermometer) and cook the donuts 3-4 at a time. BA suggests 2 minutes per side, but we found that a bit too long. We recommend 1 to 1 ½ minutes per side. Turn them when they are brown.
  3. Drain the donuts on a wire rack until cool.
  4. Meanwhile, mix the powdered sugar with water until it is thin enough to dip the donuts in, but don’t overdo it. Mix in some zest from ¼ lemon.

frosting

  1. Dip both sides of each donut in the icing and let them dry briefly.  Eat at once.

We ate them as soon as we could. This recipe makes 9-10 donuts. They are still pretty good the second day. You should probably rewarm them in the microwave for 15 seconds or so.

Meal kits: we try out “Gobble”

Meal kits: we try out “Gobble”

Previously we have written about Freshly, a meal delivery service that provides completely prepared, microwavable meals, and we weren’t all that thrilled. This article is about meal kits, which send you the ingredients and simple preparation instructions.

There are an awful lot of meal services out there trying to get you to subscribe, and one of the better rated ones is strangely named “Gobble.” Their slogan is “Make dinner in 15 minutes,” and this seems to be about right. We ordered three meal kits for two, for $73.93, or $24.64 each. They come delivered iced, but not frozen and so well sealed, they lasted nearly a week in the refrigerator until we’d tried all three. You will probably need a couple of cooking pans, a bowl or two, and perhaps a knife to chop up salad ingredients.

Spring Pot Roast

The first one we tried was “Spring Pot Roast,” with fava beans and asparagus. The meal kits come in several little sealed packages, one for the beef, one for the legumes. The asparagus was loosely packaged, but fresh, and the other envelopes were a red wine demi-glace, a shallot-garlic confit (which seemed to have little flavor), lemon gremolata and fried garlic bits.

Putting this one together was pretty simple. You put the beef cubes, red wine glace and some water in a covered pan and cook for five minutes.  Meanwhile, you cut the asparagus into short “batons.” You saute the beans as asparagus in a little oil and then add the garlic confit.

You put half of the beans-asparagus mixture on each place, divide the beef mixture over them and garnish with the lemon gremolata and fried garlic.

I found it pretty good, although my wife didn’t agree. Each portion was nominally 560 calories, and it left us feeling hungry. Of the three dinners, we liked this one the least.

Fortunately, the overall package came with two cookie dough puck that you could bake into cookies in 14 minutes, and we did.

Miso Glazed Pulled Pork Sandwich

pork plated

Our second meal was the miso glazed pulled pork sandwich with Gochujang aioli. It was really simple to put together. First you toast the brioche bins in a pan for a few minutes and set them aside. You heat the shredded pork, add the miso glaze and heat 2-3 minutes more. You chop up the lettuce, slice the Persian cucumber and mix with the shredded carrots to make a bit of a salad that you dress with Nuoc Cham (fish sauce). This salad was also to contain the cilantro which we decided to omit.

Then you put the supplied mayonnaise in a small bowl and add the gochujang paste, a mild Korean fermented red pepper paste. To assemble, you put half the salad on each plate, the buns on top, spread the mayo over the buns and distribute the pork among them. You can put a little salad on top as well, but there is so much pork it doesn’t all fit.

We thought these sandwiches were outstanding, and at 1120 calories each, were plenty filling.

Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

chickn plated 2

This pasta dish also came with spinach and broccoli, and that same shallot-garlic confit the first meal also utilized. For this dinner, you brown a couple of small chicken breasts in a pan, and then roast them in the oven along with the broccoli at 450˚ F for six minutes. Then, you take out the chicken, simmer the broccoli with some water while covered, and then plate the broccoli while keeping the chicken warm. Oh, and that pan that was in the oven is going have a really hot handle, and burning your hand when you put the lid on is not improbable. And I’ve been cooking for 50 years! I think it might be better to steam the broccoli in a small saucepan instead.

Then, you boil the fettuccine, drain it and put it in the pan and add the spinach leaves and the alfredo sauce, along with that garlic confit. Finally, you plate the pasta and sauce and add the slice chicken breasts on top. You sprinkle with sone grated cheese, and most important, add the packet of chili flakes to keep the dish from being bland. We thought is was very good, and at 1050 calories it should have been more filling that it turned out.

Probably, my only real criticism with Gobble is that they are a weekly meal kit delivery service, but the deadline to make changes or skip a week is a whole week before. So, I ended up with another set of meals we hadn’t planned on arriving this evening, including one with a diminutive piece of salmon that looked like it wasn’t even enough for one. It says it weighs 10 oz.

Overall, we think Gobble is a very good meal kit service, and we will probably order more in the future.

 

 

 

 

Quick lava cake in the Instant Pot

Quick lava cake in the Instant Pot

This very easy recipe was suggested by another (unsigned) online one. This is a simplified and briefer version. Even if you don’t want to go shopping just now, you probably already have the ingredients for this simple dessert. You just need chocolate chips, eggs, butter and sugar. There is no problem mixing some partial bags of various types of chips you might have around: they’ll all work fine.

  • ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • ¾ cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 Tb flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  1. Put the butter and chocolate chips in s medium mixing bowl and slowly melt them together in the microwave. I suggest 2 minutes at halt power and then may 30 seconds at full power. Stir with a wooden spoon. Add another 30 seconds if needed.
  2. Whisk in the sugar.
  3. Mix in the 3 eggs, one at a time and add the egg yolk,
  4. Add the vanilla
  5. Add the flour and mix until smooth. This whole thing will take about 5 minutes.
  6. Butter 4 ramekins or spray them with non-stick spray.
  7. Add batter to each ramekin using a large cookie scoop. We used two scoops for each one. Leave enough room for them to rise.

  1. Add 1 cup of water to the Instant Pot and set the four ramekins on the trivet.
  2. Close the pot and cook at high pressure for 9 minutes in a 6-quart pan, or 7 minutes in an 8-quart pan.
  3. Release the pressure quickly and let the cakes set for a couple of minutes.
  4. Run a knife around the rim of each ramekin and invert each one onto a plate. They should come right out.
  5. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream, with a side of slice strawberries of you have them.

cake uncut

You can make the batter ahead, or serve the cakes on two days, but the lave cakes are best served warm. But even cold, they are still pretty good!

ramekins

Bob’s Bunz: breakfast in the Keys

Bob’s Bunz: breakfast in the Keys

Should you be staying in the Florida Keys, anywhere near Islamorada, around mile 80, you should skip your hotel or resort breakfast and head for Bob’s Bunz. They are both a bakery and a restaurant, and are open from 6 am to 2 pm, every day. They are noted for their fantastic cinnamon buns as well as delicious breakfast items, such as the fried eggs and Eggs Benedict we had this morning. The service is quick and friendly and the food excellent.

eggs

benedict

We’ll go back at least once more just to have the buns!

pastries

The easiest way to poach eggs

The easiest way to poach eggs

Forget egg poachers! Forget those rubber cups!

The easiest way to poach eggs is in a pan of simmering water. You slowly slip each egg into the pan of simmering, salted water and cook for 2 ½ to 3 minutes. We demonstrate it in the video below.

We also repeated it adding a little vinegar (2-3 Tb) to the water to keep the white from spreading. The vinegared version then requires that you rinse off the eggs before serving in a bowl of warm water.

Both methods work great and easily scale. You can get 4-5 eggs in a 3-quart pan and 8 or more in a larger frying pan.

Below is a photo of the vinegared version.

vinegared version

Filet Mignon Stroganoff

Filet Mignon Stroganoff

You may think of Beef Stroganoff as a sort of noodle casserole with tough pieces of indifferent beef included. Perhaps a church supper favorite, but nothing memorable.

Well, thanks to the inspiration of a chef at the long gone Christopher Inn in Columbus, I have an entirely different recipe in mind that you will love. You make it with Filet Mignon.

OK, this isn’t a church supper dish, and may be a little more expensive, but it is now a fancy meal with medium rare beef in it. And since filet mignon has no bones or fat, you really don’t need a lot of it per person: maybe ¼ to 1/3 pound each.

  • 1 lb filet mignon ( to serve 4) cut into small cubes.
  • ½ lb mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 scallions, minced
  • 4 Tb butter
  • 1 medium onion, minced coarsely
  • 12 oz beef broth
  • 2 Tb dry sherry
  • 1 pint sour cream
  • 2 tsp dill weed
  • 2 Tb minced parsley
  • 1 cup rice, cooked

  1. Heat 2 Tb of the butter until it foams, and add the sliced mushrooms.
  2. When the mushrooms begin to give up their water, add the minced scallions, and saute until they soften.
  3. Remove the mushrooms and scallions to a bowl.
  4. Add more butter and saute the minced onion until softened. Remove onions to the bowl.

  1. Pour back any butter from the bowl, and saute the beef a few pieces at a time until just browned. Leave them medium rare.
  2. Remove the beef to the bowl and add the beef broth. Reduce the broth to less than half a cup, add the juice from the meat, and the sherry and cook down briefly.

  1. Add the sour cream and stir until warmed.
  2. Add the dill weed and the beef and mushrooms and heat through.
  3. Place the stroganoff in a serving bowl and sprinkle with the chopped parsley.
  4. Serve over rice.

Mom’s mac and cheese

Mom’s mac and cheese

My mother never made macaroni and cheese from a box for us, even though that blue box was created back in 1937, before I was born. She always made it from macaroni, milk, cheese and a little flour to thicken it. She also usually included wieners in the mix  and backed it in the over until it was brown and bubbly. So we’ve been making it mac and cheese based on her model ever since.

Mom probably include a bit of onion in her cheese sauce, and we always have. And sometime in the last couple of decades, we started added a little chopped green (and red) peppers to pick the flavor a little. But it still is a quick meal, taking just over half an our from start to finish.

I think she always used elbow macaroni, because all the other cool shapes weren’t yet available. We’ve settled on shell macaroni, but you can use any shape you like. Our latest revision of this recipe uses heavy cream instead of making a bechamel sauce. If you go this route, be sure to NOT use light cream, which will curdle when you bake it.

  • 1 lb macaroni, any shape you like
  • 1 lb wieners
  • 1 sweet green pepper or a mixture of any colors you like, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • Olive oil
  • ½ lb cheddar cheese (or any mixture of cheeses you like), cubed
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 1 Tb Worcestershire sauce
  • Breadcrumbs
  1. Preheat oven to 375˚
  2. Bring 2 quarts of salted water to a boil and cook the macaroni until tender. Avoid stopping at al dente as the pasta will soak up the cheese sauce while baking.

3. While the pasta cooks sauté the onions and peppers in the olive oil until tender,
4. Add the cream and Worcestershire sauce.
5. Stir in the cubed cheese and stir and heat until melted.

6. Slit the wieners lengthwise so they will heat through and lay in a casserole dish.
7. Add the just-cooked macaroni, but don’t over fill the dish.

8. Pour the cheese sauce over the macaroni, and sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
9. Bake 20-25 minutes until the cheese sauce is bubbling and hot.

baked

Serve at once.

Egg Foo Yung: an easy dinner

Egg Foo Yung: an easy dinner

This simple recipe can be considered a “Chinese omelet,” with meat and vegetables. It takes very little time to prepare and served with rice makes quite a satisfying meal. This recipe is derived from one by Joyce Chen.

ingredients

  • 7 eggs
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • ½ cup celery, cut in thins strips
  • ½ cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 cup cooked pork or chicken
  • 1 Tb sherry
  • Olive oil

Gravy

  • 1 cups chicken stock
  • 1 Tb soy sauce
  • 2-3 Tb flour mixed into 1/3 cup of water

If you are using pork, cook it briefly so it is still tender. We found that if you use a boneless pork chop, you can cook it most effectively by placing the chop on the trivet of an Instant Pot with 1 cup of water. Cook for 1 minute and do a slow release for about 5 minutes. This should give you pork at about 138˚ F. You can then cook the rice in the pot while you are making the Egg Foo Yung.

  1. To make the gravy, heat the chicken stock in a saucepan and add the soy sauce. Mix the flour and water together in a small cup and slowly add to the stock with stirring until the gravy is thickened. Discard any lumps.
  2. Cut the pork or chicken into strips and then into small pieces for the “omelet.”
  3. Cut up the mushrooms and mince the onion.
  4. Cut the celery by shaving strips off the stalk so they are similar in size to the bean sprouts.
  5. Put the bean sprouts, celery, mushrooms, onion, sherry and pork in a mixing bowl and add the 7 eggs.

6. Mix the eggs gently with the meat and vegetables using a rubber spatula so as not to break up the pieces.

7. Heat the oil in a wide frying pan and scoop out about ½ cup for each patty. Fry on both sides until browned lightly.

Serve with rice and gravy.

 

 

 

Rustic Bread: Great bread with almost no work!

Rustic Bread: Great bread with almost no work!

I am grateful to Bob Scrofani for pointing out this simple bread recipe published on YouTube as Rustic Bread by “Flavors of Spain in the Southwest.” This is an experience report on how I did it and how you can, too.

The recipe is embedded in the video and in the comments, and it assumes you have a kitchen scale. There are hundreds of reasons to have one around, but I give the U.S. measure equivalents as well. The recipe uses all-purpose flour, and I use King Arthur for this. The cup/weight equivalent may vary for other flours.

This recipe takes very little work, but a bit of time, include 4 episodes of folding, 20 minutes apart. and a slow 12 hour rise.

  • 1000 g all purpose flour (7 ¾ cups)
  • 20 g salt (1 Tb plus ¼ tsp)
  • 1/8 tsp yeast (they suggest 1 g, but yeast particles vary a lot between vendors)
  • 780 ml water (26 oz) at 80˚
  • A plastic storage container (with lid) that holds at least 12 cups.

You will also need either a 4 qt cast iron Dutch oven or an equivalent casserole dish. We used a 2.5 quart Corningware casserole dish, and it was plenty big enough. Our storage container held 21 cups, and the dough never rose more than halfway inside the container.

  1. Weigh out the flour in the storage container, and add the salt, yeast and water. Mix with your gloved hand. You can try a wooden spoon, but it doesn’t pick up the flour along the bottom as well. Mix until all the dough is cohesive. Cover for 20 minutes.

2. After 20 minutes, you can begin folding the dough over itself inside the container until it is together in the middle. Try to stretch it each time you pick up a corner. You can do this best with a moistened hand. Cover for another 20 minutes.

stretch

3. Repeat folding after 20 minutes

4. Repeat folding the 4th time after another 20 minutes.

5. Cover and allow to proof/rise for 12 hours. If you can’t bake it at that time, refrigerate the dough, covered until you can.

6. When you are ready to begin baking, put the casserole or Dutch oven into a 475˚ F oven to heat.

7. Turn out the dough on flour board and divide it into two. Fold and stretch each one into a ball, and put each ball in a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap or a plastic bag and let it rise for an hour.

8.  Remove one dough ball and flour it. Take out the baking dish and cover. Lay one dough ball into the disk, cover it and put immediately into the oven.

9. Bake covered for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 more minutes.

in casserole10. Remove the bread to a cooling rack. Make sure it is done by tapping on the bottom. You should hear a hollow sound. Be sure to let the dough cool at least 30 minutes.

11. Reheat the baking dish and cover in the oven and bake the second loaf the same way.

Even after all this baking and cooling, it is possible that the bread may be slightly damp.   I suggest you slice it half an hour ahead of dinner to make sure the slices dry out.

sliced

If you have left-over bread, you can make it into very good toast. In fact, you can slice the whole loaf, freezing the slices and take out a few for toast any time you want.

toast

 

The best way to cook corn on the cob!

The best way to cook corn on the cob!

Boiling, microwave, Instant Pot. Which is best?

There isn’t much to cooking corn on the cob: you just shuck each ear, maybe cut off some of the stem, peel off the corn silks and drop them into boiling, salted water, and cook for 5 minutes. That’s it. The water should be salted enough that it smells like the ocean, and it is easiest to use kosher salt to achieve this. Serve with butter and salt on the side.

boiling

What’s wrong with this? Nothing except you might need a big pot for a large crowd. And, of course, you are steaming up your kitchen.

But some people rave about using the microwave or the Instant Pot for cooking corn, so we compared all three methods.

Microwaved corn

Some people claim that the microwave does the best job and you don’t have to heat up the kitchen with a pot of boiling water, so we tried this.

We cut the base off an ear of corn, but left the husk on, and using our best Internet research, microwaved the corn for 4 minutes. Taking a hot ear of corn out of the microwave requires hot pads and some care, and removing the hot, steaming husks is a challenge. And, all the silks come off smoothly, unlike the other methods.

The disadvantage again, is one of scale: you can only microwave a few ears at a time and removing the steaming hot husks from a bunch of them is best done with gloves or oven mitts. And, frankly, the corn tastes awful! (more below)

In the Instant Pot

2 in IP

Lots of people are enthusiastic about corn on the cob cooked in an Instant Pot. You have to shuck the corn as usual and pull of most of the silks by hand, but you can probably get 4-6 or more ears in an Instant Pot at once. We recommend putting the ears on the little trivet so they don’t stick to the pot. Add a cup of water and cook the ears for 3 minutes. Of course, by the time the water in the pot comes to a boil, this actually takes at least as long as boiling the water on the stove would, but you can cook a lot of ears quickly, and you don’t have to deal with scalding yourself on the husks.

How do they compare?

group

  • Cooking the ears in a pot of water tastes the best.
  • Ears cooked for 4 minutes in an 1100 watt microwave are hot and hard to handle, because the cobs are very hot, too. Further the corn takes on a bitter, cobby taste from the cob being heated. Actually they are really terrible.
  • We repeated the experiment, cooking the corn for only 3 minutes and this removed some (but not all) of the bitter aftertaste.
  • Our best corn came from cooking for 4 minutes at 50% power, where the bitterness is least apparent.

Surprisingly the corn cooked in the Instant Pot was little better.

  • Pressure cooking the corn for 3 minutes also cooks the cob, and some of that bitter aftertaste was present in the Instant Pot corn.
  • So, we repeated the corn cooking at low pressure instead of high pressure, which removed nearly all of that bitterness. But 3 minutes was  not nearly enough. Six minutes at low pressure seems better. Quick Release either way.

Best results

  • 5 minutes in boiling, salted water
  • 4 minutes at 50% power in an 1100 watt microwave
  • 6 minutes at low pressure in an Instant Pot

Some recipes suggest adding sugar and butter to the water in the Instant Pot. This probably doesn’t do much, because the water doesn’t touch the corn, and sugar is not volatile.

We found that spreading solid butter on the hot corn gives the bets flavor. Butter is an emulsion and melted butter usually leaves out the aqueous part.

stalks