Recipe: Flapjacks

Idly flipping through the pages of the March Bon Appetit, I happened upon this recipe for British Flapjacks, a cookie vaguely resembling Rice Krispie Treats in technique and granola bars in results. But don’t mistake me, they’re the most delicious granola bars I can imagine–and I don’t even like granola bars. Since butter, sugar, and quick-cook oats are things we always have on hand, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try Flapjacks. We expected to pick up some golden syrup at the Woodstock Safeway (which actually has a British aisle), but that didn’t happen. Instead, I substituted molasses with dark corn syrup to thin it slightly (if you go all-molasses, be careful: the cookies will be much, much harder; corn syrup keeps them somewhat soft by preventing the sugar from crystallizing). For a more interesting texture, you can sub half the quick-cook oats for regular old-fashioned oats. Continue reading

we’re on Slashfood!

We love a nice surprise, and finding one of our pictures from Eli’s birthday dinner at BEAST on Slashfood in celebration of National Bouillabaisse Day was a very nice surprise indeed!

the bouillabaisse in question

Validation is swell, isn’t it? Happy holidays!

Recipe: Not-Mincemeat Pie (Spicy Apple & Dried Fruit Pie)

The combination of sweet, savory, and above all, spicy found in mincemeat hearkens back to the pre-modern kitchen. Finely chopping (mincing!) meat and mixing it with suet, fruits, and spices not only used up leftover, odd bits of meat but stretched the available protein. The use of late apples and dried fruits made it a perfect winter dish, and it was a Christmas specialty by the sixteenth century. Gradually, less actual minced meat was included in the recipe (though suet is still commonly used), and by the mid-nineteenth century, mincemeat in both England and the Americas was what we would recognize today.

I didn’t grow up with it, but I sure do love me some mincemeat. I don’t think it’s common in Hawai’i at all, but every Christmas when we were shopping at Kahala or Pearlridge, Mom and I would stop by See’s Candy for mincemeat and marzipan chocolates (they have since discontinued their mincemeat candies, due to the lack of a reputable supplier. Jerks.). I loved them; they were so foreign, so exotic, and yet so quaint, something out of a Louisa May Alcott or L.M. Montgomery novel. I didn’t get to try a mincemeat pie until I was twenty-one, and visiting my relatives in Western New York (Buffalo). My Cousin Johnny Stevenson’s Quebecois then-wife baked one for my little sister and I, and it was a revelation (she also introduced me to turnips and rutabagas–oh, my!). I was in love at the first bite, and have often been baffled that mincemeat pies are so unpopular in the Pacific Northwest. After all, they use some of our finest ingredients, such as apples and dried berries. When I found this pie in November’s Sunset Magazine, I knew I had to make it for Thanksgiving.

For my pie, I used half Calville Blanc and half Newtown Pippin apples, both heirloom varieties I picked up at the Portland Nursery Apple Tasting Festival this year. They made for a phenomenal pie, with perfect taste and texture. This is a very messy, bubbly pie, so be sure to either place a foil-lined cookie sheet on the rack beneath your pie, or line the floor of your oven. This is a very rich, intensely-flavored pie, not for the faint of heart or full of stomach. Continue reading

Recipe: Apple Crumb Pie with Nut Crust

After the Apple Tasting Festival at Portland Nursery, I found myself in need of some apple pie–amazing how that works out. I couldn’t find the recipe my sister Maiya gave me last year, so I looked for a patty-pan crust and nice crumb topped recipe to try. The first one I came across that looked delicious and trustworthy was Martha Stewart’s Apple Crumb Pie with Almond Crumb Crust. This worked out nicely since I had some walnuts I wanted to use up before they got rancid, and well, apples and walnuts go really well together. This also gave me the perfect opportunity to use my little nut grinder, which I so dearly love. I used a few Newtown Pippins and  two Spitzenberg apples; you’ll remember the latter from last year’s Apple Tasting, but the Newtown was a runner up, only picked because they were out of Cox’s Orange Pippin and all the new heirlooms I wanted to try (save the Calville Blanc, which is excellent). They were fantastic in the pie, with a complex sweet-tart flavor.

I must say, this was not only the best apple pie I have baked, it might be one of the best I have ever tasted. I don’t know whether it was the perfect combination of apples, nuts, and recipe, or what, but everything came together marvelously. The filling was almost custard-like in its rich smoothness, but the apples retained their bite. The crust was like a nutty shortbread, and not at all soggy. The only improvement I would try would be to use brown sugar, but I was out of it. Guess I’ll just have to make it again! I wanted to try a hazelnut crust, or even the original almond, anyways …. Continue reading

October is …

Eat Country Ham Month
International Microwave Month
National Apple Month
National Applejack Month
National Caramel Month
National Chili Month
National Cookbook Month
National Cookie Month
National Dessert Month
National Pasta Month
National Pickled Peppers Month
National Pizza Festival Month
National Popcorn Poppin’ Month
National Pork Month
National Pretzel Month
National Seafood Month
Vegetarian Awareness Month

And don’t miss . . .
National Chili Week (1st Week)
American Beer Week (2nd Week)
National Food Bank Week (2nd Week)
National Pasta Week (2nd Week)
National School Lunch Week (2nd Week)
National Kraut Sandwich Week (3rd Week)
Pickled Peppers Week (3rd Week)

And mark your calendars for . . .
October 1 – Pudding Season Begins
October 1 – Homemade Cookies Day
October 1 – National Frappe Day
October 1 – World Vegetarian Day
October 2 – National Fried Scallops Day
October 3 – National Caramel Custard Day
October 4 – National Taco Day
October 4 – National Vodka Day
October 5 – National Apple Betty Day
October 6 – National Noodle Day
October 8 – National Fluffernutter Day
October 9 – Moldy Cheese Day
October 9 – National Dessert Day
October 9 – Submarine – Hoagie – Hero – Grinder Day
October 10 – National Angel Food Cake Day
October 11 – National Sausage Pizza Day
October 11 – World Egg Day
October 12 – National Gumbo Day
October 13 – National Peanut Festival
October 13 – National Pumpkin Festival
October 13 – National Yorkshire Pudding Day
October 14 – Chocolate Covered Insect Day
October 15 – National Chicken Cacciatore Day
October 15 – National Mushroom Day
October 15 – National Roast Pheasant Day
October 16 – National Liqueur Day
October 16 – World Food Day
October 17 – Four Prunes Day
October 17 – National Pasta Day
October 18 – National Chocolate Cupcake Day
October 19 – National Seafood Bisque Day
October 20 – National Brandied Fruit Day
October 21 – Caramel Apple Day
October 21 – National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day
October 22 – National Nut Day
October 23 – Canned Food Day
October 23 – National Boston Cream Pie Day
October 24 – Good And Plenty Day
October 24 – National Bologna Day
October 25 – National Greasy Foods Day
October 26 – National Mincemeat Day
October 27 – American Beer Day
October 27 – National Potato Day
October 28 – National Chocolate Day
October 28 – Wild Foods Day
October 29 – National Oatmeal Day
October 30 – Buy a Doughnut Day
October 30 – National Candy Corn Day
October 31 – National Candy Apple Day

What We Ate: Chicken Paprikas

After reading Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian, I was in the mood to travel Central Europe. Not having quite the budget for that, I opted instead to make us chicken paprikas for dinner.

Unfortunately, I have no idea what I did with the recipe.

September is …

National Biscuit Month
National Bourbon Heritage Month
Better Breakfast Month
National Chicken Month
National Cholesterol Education Month
National Honey Month
National Mushroom Month
National Organic Harvest Month
National Papaya Month
National Potato Month
National Rice Month

Wine Season and Oyster Season Begin September 1

First Week – National Waffle Week
September 1 – National Cherry Popover Day
September 2 – National Blueberry Popsicle Day
September 3 – National Welsh Rarebit Day
September 4 – National Macadamia Nut Day
September 5 – National Cheese Pizza Day
Second Week – Biscuit and Gravy Week
Second Week – Vegetarian Awareness Week
September 6 – National Coffee Ice Cream Day
September 7 – National Acorn Squash Day
September 8 – National Date Nut Bread Day
September 9 – Weinerschnitzel Day
September 10 – TV Dinner Day
September 11 – National Hot Cross Bun Day
September 12 – National Chocolate Milkshake Day
September 13 – National Peanut Day
September 13 – Snack a Pickle Time
September 14 – National Cream Filled Donut Day
September 14 – Eat a Hoagie Day
September 15 – National Linguini Day
September 16 – National Guacamole Day
September 17 – National Apple Dumpling Day
September 18 – National Cheeseburger Day
September 19 – National Butterscotch Pudding Day
September 20 – National Rum Punch Day
Fourth Week – National Wild Rice Week
September 21 – International Banana Festival
September 21 – National Pecan Cookie Day
September 22 – National Ice Cream Cone Day
September 23 – National White Chocolate Day
September 24 – National Cherries Jubilee Day
September 25 – Crab Meat Newburg Day
September 26 – National Pancake Day
September 27 – National Chocolate Milk Day
September 27 – National Corned Beef Hash Day
September 28 – Strawberry Cream Pie Day
September 28 – Drink Beer Day
September 29 – National Coffee Day
September 30 – National Hot Mulled Cider Day