A Lil Nibble

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I wanted to welcome my foodie friend to the food blogesphere who just recently started her own food blog.  We’ve baked quite a few times together and very often get lost in food-talk, always exchanging ideas and tips.  Check out the blog, A Lil Nibble, it’s got great notes and tips. 

I’ve come to disliking eating things that come packaged in a box and I tryto avoid eating those items but I thought it was a waste of time to make your own pancake mix.  Bisquick makes it so easy, just add water!  Plus, when the pancake-maker in the house would make them from scratch, they would come out flat.  The best pancakes are nice and fluffy, like IHOPs.  I was converted just this past week into making my own pancakes.  I was at a friends place and they were going out of town.  I was helping them clean out their fridge and they had a pints worth of buttermilk.  I headed over to google to see what I could possibly make with that much buttermilk and common household ingredients.  I found a couple of recipes for buttermilk pancakes and thought they would go great with the strawberry jam that I had just brought over.  They turned out sooo scrumptiously fluffy (make sure you have good baking powder that’s not old) that I made them again at home a few days later with some fresh blueberries.  They were definitely a crowd pleaser.  

Buttermilk Pancakes

1 cup AP flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

2 tbs sugar

1 cup (or 1/2 pint) butter milk

3 tbs melted butter + extra butter for cooking

1 egg

1/2 cup fresh blueberries (optional)

Melt the butter either stove top or microwave.  I did mine in the microwave in 5 sec increments.  In a bowl mix the buttermilk, butter, and egg.  Add in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar.  Mix with a spatula just until combined.  (They key to having fluffy pancakes are not over mixing the batter.) In a small nonstick frying pan, melt a little bit of butter, about a quarter of a tablespoon or less.  It just has to slightly grease the pan.  Pour in the amount of batter to desired size.  Once little bubbles appear on the top, flip over the pancake.  Cook for 30 sec-1 min more and transfer to a plate.  Repeat till all batter is finished.  Enjoy with syrup, jam, or whipping cream.

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There was also a block of sharp cheddar in the fridge that needed to be put to good use to I decided to make some lunch by making some homemade mac and cheese.  Now I’ve only used Alton Brown’s recipe for my mac and cheese but I’m not really satisfied with it.  It probably needs some tweaking by using a combination of cheeses and not just sharp cheddar.  I just would like to have the sauce to be covering the pasta rather than being so segregated. 

Alton Brown’s Mac and Cheese

1/2 pound elbow macaroni

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon powdered mustard

3 cups milk

1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 large egg

12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Fresh black pepper

Preheat over to 350 F.  In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it’s free of lumps. Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, and paprika (making sure the whole time your whisking the mixture to avoid clumping). Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf.

Temper in the egg. (to temper the egg, beat an egg in a small bowl.  Add some of the mixture of the sauce into the egg and mix.  The reason for this is if you put the egg straight in, you;ll get chunks of egg since it’ll cook it right away.  Tempering the egg brings the eggs temperature closer to the sauces to avoid cooking into an egg) Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.

<Melt the butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.>  <—Optional ( I skipped this step)

Egg Pudding (sans caramel sauce)

4 eggs

1 cup milk

3 tbs brown sugar

pinch of saffron

Preheat over to 300 F. Beat the eggs together in a bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and pour into a small casserole dish 1-2 qts.  Bake for about 15 min until the mixture is soft and tender to the touch or by inserting a toothpick and having it come out clean. 

What to do with rotting bananas?  Make Banana Bread!  This recipe is from CulinaryConcoctions and when I was first getting into the food blogesphere, I was ADDICTED to her site.  Whatever I made from her always turned out great and her recipe for banana bread is the best I’ve had so far.  The graham flour gives it a significant texture and bight that I don’t think other recipes would be able to give you.  You can reduce the sugar to your liking but it’s never been a dessert-ish bread.  Go crazy and add nuts and flaxseeds to it to make it a little bit for hearty. 

Banana Bread (by CulinaryConcoctions)

1/3 cup shortening(don’t use butter or butter flavored shortening…it isn’t the same in this recipe)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup graham flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
1 cup or more of chopped walnuts (I leave this out :0)

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large bowl cream together the shortening and sugars. Add the eggs and beat well. Sift together the flours, baking soda, salt, baking powder and add to creamed mixture. Stir until mixed. Stir in bananas and walnuts.
Pour into well greased(and lightly floured) 9X5X3? pan. Bake for about 50 minutes or until done.

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One thought on “A Lil Nibble

    Nabiha said:
    August 10, 2009 at 3:14 am

    i’m not a huge fan of alton brown’s mac and cheese either. i feel like the onions overpower the entire dish. i was just thinking of making it today actually…i’m definitely going to try using a different combination of cheeses and perhaps eliminating the onions altogether?

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