The Kitchn looked at make-ahead breakfasts this past week, and pointed me toward this recipe at Chocolate & Zucchini for Oatmeal Clafoutis. I never like to eat too soon after waking up on a weekday morning, so having something quick and portable to throw in my bag saves me time and money. This is a great recipe to make a big batch of on a weekend morning to freeze for the week. It calls for relatively few ingredients and was in the oven before my coffee had finished brewing. Next time, I am making a double batch.
I made a few changes to the recipe. I'm not a fan of raisins in most baked goods, so I omitted any dried fruit. I also don't peel fresh fruit unless there is a good reason to. I think the apples with their peel work wonderfully here and look visually pleasing as well. For the nuts, I used about half a cup of sliced almonds. This recipe accepts modifications and substitutions well and your final product can highlight what you have on hand. Next time I am going to try adding some frozen berries to the mix. The clafoutis taste great either warm or cold, so these are a great breakfast option even for those without a microwave at work.
This past Saturday I joined students, parents and chefs at
CHIC to watch 25 talented high school seniors compete in the 16th annual
Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) Chicago Cooking Competition. This
inspiring nonprofit helps public high school students train and compete for
scholarships to renowned culinary schools. In addition to Chicago,
C-CAP has programs in Arizona, Virginia, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.
The students were asked to
prepare a two-course French meal for a panel of notable judges, including
Graham Elliot Bowles of graham elliot, Carrie Nahabedian of Naha, and Mark Mendez of Carnivale.
This week marks a year since I began running. I've come along way from huffing and puffing to get through a mile and a half. With support from friends, family and even some of you lovely readers, I participated in the AIDS Marathon training program last summer to run the Chicago Half Marathon. This weekend I am running a 10 mile race that will bring my year total to 570 miles -- And I am signed up to run the full Chicago Marathon this October (don't worry, no fundraising this year).
I'm not one to use fancy sports drinks on a regular basis, but for longer runs they certainly help. Yet, at nearly $2 a bottle for artificial dyes and high fructose corn syrup, the cost is a bit hard to swallow. A few weeks ago, Lifehacker pointed me toward a recipe for rehydration drinks on WebMD and I decided to give it a try as I increased my mileage. I don't think I will ever go back to the store bought brands again.
Pomegranate Rehydration Drink
(Please note that, according to WebMD, these drinks are only for adults and all ingredients should be measured precisely to prevent adverse effects. In the recipe below I decreased the sugar and water and added fruit juice. Please reference the original recipe and use your own judgement to make your drink.)
Combine all the ingredients in a 1 quart mason jar. Screw on the lid and shake to combine. I leave my mason jar of energy drink in the refrigerator and sip on it after my runs throughout the week.
(*The lovely folks at Pom Wonderful sent me some of their juice to try recently. You could use any type of juice here, but I would try to avoid juices with additives and lots of sugar. **Make sure it is potassium-based. I had to search around a bit, but eventually found a brand called No Salt at my local Whole Foods.)
My father has a surplus of fresh chives in his garden right now. Over the holiday weekend we used them in numerous dishes, including the ubiquitous deviled egg. Hard-boiled eggs kept refrigerated will last up to five days. So for those of you wondering what to do with unused Easter eggs, this timely recipe might inspire you.
3 T mayonnaise
3 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp hot or sweet paprika, plus extra for garnish
1 T chopped fresh chives
Salt and pepper
To hard-boil your eggs, I recommend using Elise's excellent instructions at Simply Recipes. This is what I follow and the results are perfect. Once boiled and cooled, peel the eggs carefully and cut lengthwise.
Ease out the yolks and place them in a small bowl with the mayo, mustard, paprika and half the chives. Mash with a fork and season to taste with salt and pepper. (You can add a bit more mayo or mustard if you'd like the mixture creamier. I usually add more mustard to give them a sharper flavor.)
Fill the egg white halves with the yolk mixture and finish with a light dusting of paprika and the remaining chives. Serve immediately or refrigerate until use.
I'll be spending Easter with my family this weekend. I'm looking forward to seeing Neil Simon's Barefoot in the Park at our beautiful local Opera House with my mother, going for a long run on low-traffic rural roads, meeting the new baby my cousin and his wife recently added to the family, and spending time with my paternal grandparents who just returned from their winter sojourn in California. And all this will take place before Easter Sunday.
Growing up, Easter was the big holiday that my family hosted. We are light on culinary traditions, but the house was always full of family and well-hidden Easter baskets. Our numbers have dwindled over the years as people move away or add to their own families. This year we are having a small group and my mother is hoping no one fusses too much over the food. She has the menu mapped out, but I may still try to sneak one or two of my favorite recipes into the spread. How does one best travel by train with a popover pan?
For those of you planning your holiday table, here are a few recipe ideas that may complement your main course.
When the sweet, late-spring carrots start arriving at your local market, consider these delicious cupcakes. While any old carrot will do, try finding small, fresh bunches with their greens still attached for a flavorful, seasonal treat.
This recipe was inspired by an older Cook's Illustrated recipe for carrot cake that called for emulsifying the oil with sugar and egg to create a lighter crumb. This is a brilliant technique that I highly recommend.
2.5 C flour 1.25 tsp baking powder 1 tsp baking soda 1.25 tsp ground cinnamon 0.5 tsp freshly grated nutmeg 0.5 tsp salt 1 lb carrots, peeled and finely shredded 1.5 C sugar 0.5 C packed light brown sugar 4 large eggs 1.5 C vegetable oil 8 oz cream cheese, softened 0.5 C maple syrup
Preheat oven to 350F and line two muffin tins with baking cups.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
In a food processor, process the sugars and eggs until frothy and thoroughly combined, about 20 seconds. With machine running, add oil through feed tube in a steady stream. Process until mixture is light in color and well emulsified, about 20 seconds longer. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl. Stir in carrots and the dry ingredients until incorporated.
Pour into the baking cups and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 18 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking time. Remove the cupcakes from the pans and set aside to cool.
Mix the cream cheese and maple syrup together. Frost the cupcakes when they reach room temperature.