Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Emily's Date/Almond/Bacon thingies

My sweet, pregnant, daughter-in-law, Emily decided to make a little dish for our family to enjoy. I'm not sure if there is an official name, so I'm just calling them the date/almond/bacon thingies.

Guess what the ingredients are?You guessed correctly: Dates, almonds, and baconI'm not sure if Gabe was saying he wanted 2 of them, or if he wanted his sweet wife to make 2 batches, or if he was saying "PEACE, BROTHER", or if he just wanted to be in the picture.Emily started by stuffing an almond in each date.
This worked best on a Texas cutting board.See how snug those almonds are? Kind of like a baby in utero...nice and snug inside its mama. Um, wonder what made me use that analogy?

Gabe felt he needed to supervise, or give advice...not sure. It doesn't appear that Emily was appreciating this...assistance.
Once the almonds were stuffed inside their cocoon, Emily cut the bacon into just the right size. I think she basically cut off the fattier ends...of course, this was done on a Texas cutting board.You may notice that Emily is left handed. I wonder if my little King will be left handed... or right handed like his daddy? We'll have to wait to find out.Emily began to roll the dates in the bacon. She told me we COULD use fancy toothpicks, but since we only had regular-ole-normal-colored-plain toothpicks, we skipped that step.
She sprayed the cookie sheet with PAM.
Here's what the raw, rolled product looks like.
Emily just lined them up on the cookie sheet.
Again, her 'wanna-be assistant' came to check things out.
He tried to do a taste test. Emily put her foot down and informed him that eating raw bacon wrapped around dates stuffed with almonds would probably make him sick. So, he just smiled for the camera.

I think he felt unwanted, unneeded... so he began to walk away. As you can see, Emily was relieved.

Here you can see these little date/almond/bacon thingies getting ready to be popped into the oven.

Now Emily put the oven on BROIL... a medium broil. She said we'd have to watch them since we weren't sure how much time it would take.
One of them tried to move around a bit as she was putting them in the oven...no problemo, she just adjusted their line up.
Gabe's back.

He informed his sweet, pregnant wife that she needed to wash her hands after handling the bacon.

She already knew that.
Let's check on these appetizers...

Looks like some of them are about done. We were looking for the bacon to be cooked.
Yum, yum... I think this one needed a little extra time, but once they were done, they were TASTEY!
The combination of the nutty, sweet, salty flavors.... definitely a treat!

Thanks, Emily! Those were delicious!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Buttermilk Pancakes by Chef Joshua

"Hey Jutze, hop out of the way while I make some 'cakes. "

Those were the words of Joshua, the new Pancake Chef. Erica was delighted...I think she and Thalia will expect a bit more in the breakfast department from now on.

Chef Joshua used a recipe I've made for years... like 30 years. He figured he needed to double the recipe so he started by cracking 4 eggs.Next, he found the oil and added 5 Tablespoons. Lindsey said she never uses as much as the recipe calls for so I told him to use a 'scant 5 Tablespoons.'

We had to explain 'scant' to the new Pancake Chef.
Chef Joshua had Thalia read him the ingredients...and double it. She told him he needed 2 cups of buttermilk...no, wait, we're doubling it, so we need 4 cups.

"Buttermilk?" he asked.

"Yes, Josh."
Thalia told Joshua to stir the eggs, oil, and buttermilk together.

"Hey Jutze, where's that whisk thing?" the chef asked his blogging mother.

Next came the dry ingredients. The recipe called for 2 cups of flour... which when doubling, means 4 cups.

Notice the scoop? That belonged to my Mimi.
Chef Joshua carefully measured each cup.
Ignore the vino... I wouldn't recommend it with pancakes. Coffee or juice pairs best with pancakes.
Enter Lindsey.

She IS a master chef... I'm not sure if she was trusting that her elder brother was doing it correctly. She decided to check out the situation and I do believe it met her approval.
Along with the 4 cups of flour, Chef Joshua added: 2 teaspoons of baking soda, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 2 Tablespoons of sugar. (Without doubling, this would be 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1 Tablespoon of sugar - I figured I'd do the math for you!)
Now it was mixed together with the whisk.
"Mix it up, Josh," he was instructed.
Chef Joshua decided to test out his creation. We definitely let him know he could not do that again...at least until he washed his hands!

"Taste great, Jutze," was his verdict.
Now it was time to cook... notice the grill? It's perfect for pancakes. This grill was actually a gift from Gabe and Emily a few years ago. (Thank you again, Gabe and Emily!)
I told Chef Joshua to watch for little bubbles. Then he would know it was time to flip them.
He got a bit creative and threw some M&M's on one of them for Thalia.
Once these pancakes are cooked, some like to put maple syrup on top. This would be PURE maple syrup, none of that imitation stuff is allowed on these pancakes!

Some, like my guy, also love jam on top. (That would be instead of maple syrup, not both! Well, I guess you could put both, but I don't recommend it.)
As you can see, the Johnston home is rather quiet as all seats are filled with pancake eaters.
Lindsey checked out some oatmeal, debating on whether to eat that or some of her elder brother's 'cakes. The cakes won. Do you notice that little pooch on her? That's not from eating too many pancakes.
Here's the recipe...as I have it written in The Cook's Notebook, a cooking journal given to me over 25 years ago.
In case you can't read it very well, here's the recipe:

Pancakes via the Johnston Chronicles

Mix together:
2 eggs
2 1/2 Tablespoons oil
2 cups buttermilk

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon sugar

Mix and cook over medium heat until golden - flipping once.