on the menu: birdseed bran muffins

On July 19, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

I enjoy cooking from flour, local chef Joanne Chang‘s first cookbook. It’s full of the kind of dessert-esque breakfast/brunch items I always want. This week I tried the addictive bran muffins (link to recipe), which won me over with the ‘birdseed’ topping.

flour bakery birdseed bran muffins

I made a few adjustments to work with what I had on hand, sour cream instead of crème fraîche, cream instead of milk, a little coconut flour and coconut oil just because, some mashed banana, some cinnamon, extra raisins. I also added white and black sesame seeds (to the prescribed flax seeds, millet, and sunflower seeds) to make things ultra-birdseedy. I also halved the recipe. With all these changes, the texture still came out nicely – to weather such haphazardness is a mark of a solid recipe.

One thing I would say is that the quantities are sometimes high. I think I routinely halve these recipes, and in this case I still made about 12 muffins, which is the yield given…so something is not quite adding up. But I don’t care, as long as the muffins are good.

flour bakery birdseed bran muffins

These are dense, not too sweet muffins, which seem not outright unhealthy, as is the case with certain muffins, and which improve with grilling or strawberry-rhubarb jam or both.

flour bakery birdseed bran muffins

Happy baking!

x

on the menu: banana coconut waffles

On June 12, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

The waffle experimentation continues here chez sphinx. Going strong with my All-Clad Belgian waffle iron.

banana coconut waffles

This time I substituted all of the oil for coconut oil and about 1/4 of the flour for coconut flour, then say 1/2 c of moisture for mashed banana. Buttermilk over milk every time. I also added sparkling water, which, in conjunction with the baking soda/vinegar (from the buttermilk) mix, makes the batter bizarrely fluffy, and the waffles deliciously fluffy (want to try it with sparkling wine later…). I adapted the buttermilk waffles recipe from the Cook’s Illustrated cookbook, which is often too elaborate for my taste but which is full of good techniques. I didn’t use buttermilk powder, for example, as the recipe suggests, I just used buttermilk.

1 1/2 c all purpose flour
1/2 c coconut flour
1 T coconut sugar
3/4 t table salt
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t nutmeg
1/2 c milk (to sit with 2 T cider vinegar for a few minutes*)
1/2 c mashed ripe banana
2 large eggs
1/4 t vanilla extract
1/4 c coconut oil
1 1/4 c unflavored seltzer water

*The standard buttermilk recipe is 1 c milk to 1 T lemon juice or vinegar but I love vinegar, so my ratio is more like 1 c of milk to 4 T vinegar…still doesn’t read as vinegar in the final product.

Whisk dry ingredients, mix wet ingredients excepting seltzer, gently add seltzer to wet ingredients, stir wet into dry being careful not to overmix (batter should be lumpy). Can add berries or chocolate chips at this point, or any other debris. Iron away.

banana coconut waffles

Jars Ceramics plate

It’s increasingly rare that waffles go wrong for me.

banana coconut waffles

Now if I could only work out pancakes, with which I find experimentation a risky proposition.

x

on the menu: eggs en cocotte

On May 17, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

Eggs en cocotte are a surprisingly quick and simple breakfast, all you need is the ambition to pre-heat the oven.

IMG_9202

A cocotte is formally a covered casserole or Dutch oven (any size) but is also often used as a synonym for ramekin. A cover isn’t at all necessary, so any ramekin or oven-proof teacup is fine here, 6-8oz is ideal. Even a muffin pan will work, though I prefer the ease of serving and the uniform heating of either porcelain or ceramic. Great for brunch as you can put them together in an assembly line, and your serving capacity is only limited by the number of cute little oven-safe dishes you have. It’s convenient if they are all more or less the same size, so they will cook uniformly.

IMG_9188

Adorable 8oz mini cocotte from Le Creuset in Caribbean

Add-ons will improve the situation, but eggs, butter and cream alone will do just fine. I like to include any combination of the following: bacon, ham, parsley, cilantro, asiago, gruyere, cheddar, parmesan, chives, scapes, dill, basil, scallions, caramelized onions, sauteed vegetables…anything you would put in an omelet, really.

What you do:

Pre-heat oven to 375°

Heat water in a kettle

Liberally butter (unsalted) the base and sides of cocotte(s), leave a little pat of butter in the bottom.

Layer add-ons into the cocotte as desired. Here I’ve layered scallions, garlic scapes, cooked bacon lardons (+ dash of bacon fat), cheddar, asiago.

Add one or two eggs, depending on the size of your cocotte and hunger levels. Add salt, pepper, and a grating of nutmeg. Pour in a dash (anywhere from 1 tsp to 1 Tbsp) of cream (cream on the bottom also popular). Add a little more cheese on top (this is non-traditional, but I like a lot of cheese).

Place cocottes in a casserole dish (I add a paper towel to the bottom so they don’t slide around) and pour hot (not quite boiling) water around such that the water level comes half-way up the sides of the cocotte. The water bath/bain marie helps keep the eggs tender and evenly cooked.

Cook 10-15 minutes, depending on your taste and the size of your ramekins. I like to cook for about 10-12 minutes and then broil for 1 to brown that cheese but still have the yolk soft. The broiler business is non-traditional and an easy way to overcook the egg, so be careful with this if you try it.

20150517_104610

Very little trial and error is required to figure out what the best cooking time is for your favorite kind of egg. It’s never too late to add more garnish at the end, either, herbs especially. I’ve been putting garlic scapes on everything to great effect lately.

Don’t forget the coffee.

x

breakfast in bed

On November 14, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

To have a big breakfast in a big bed, this is my idea of a satisfactory morning.

I seem to do most things in bed. It’s one of the only pieces of furniture I have. A bed and several bookcases. Various sets of drawers. A drafting table. No dining table. One small stool at my dressing table and one office chair on which I store a hatbox and a pile of scarves, and never sit. I am not to that point of grown-up-ness that involves the owning of much furniture. My tableware doesn’t match, either. This is surely all down to commitment issues.

IMG_6651

In the last few years I finally got all of the pieces together to have the white bed I’d imagined for so long (thanks, Ikea). I’d wanted it but hadn’t given it priority, so the buying of the ingredients kept slipping down the to-do list (usurped by skincare and jam and lipstick). Trying to do a lot of those things I’ve been meaning to do (ex. making baguettes today). I highly recommend this.IMG_6660

White on white on white. I cannot have too much white in a room. White walls, white ceiling, a mountain of white pillows, white duvet, white sheets. A sanctuary within a sanctuary.

IMG_6653

More spelt waffles! J Crew silk camisole, Victoria’s Secret flannel pyjama pants. A good silk camisole is a solid wardrobe staple. A wonderful all-purpose underthing, luxurious against the skin, simple and elegant as a casual top or sleepwear. If you like to lounge (I love to lounge, though there seems to be less and less time for it), upgrading your loungewear adds distinct charm to the experience.

x

on the menu: spelt waffles

On October 18, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

IMG_8893

These might be my favorite waffles yet. Flavorful, good texture, froze well…good waffles. I’ve been playing around with spelt flour lately with great results. It has a light nutty flavor and substitutes well for all-purpose, so it’s easy to experiment.

I read about six recipes (here’s the closest) and then did this, with the approach of maintaining a 1:1 ratio of dry to liquid ingredients:

1 c spelt flour

1/2 c all-purpose flour

1/2 c wheat flour

1/4 c almond meal

2 T bran flakes

4 tsp baking powder

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp cake spice (nutmeg, ginger, allspice, cinnamon, clove blend)

1/2 tsp salt

2 Tbs sugar

1/2 c yogurt (greek)

1/3 c coconut oil

1 c milk

1 mashed ripe banana

2 eggs

2 Tbs cider vinegar

1 tsp vanilla

Preheat and grease waffle iron (I preheated to a higher temp than I cooked, cooking finally at setting 3 of 7), mix dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately, stir wet into dry and let batter thicken 2 minutes. I like a consistency like quite thick cake batter.

Add heaping 1/2 cup of batter to iron and cook until golden, repeat. Makes about 8 waffles.

IMG_8894

This recipe is receptive to substitutions.

Enjoy!

x

Pages:123456»