Tag Archives: Recipe

Breakfast Rising — Apple Pancake or Puff Pancake or Dutch Baby

10 Jan

I know that everyone says “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”  And some people write entire books and blogs, just about breakfast. But I must confess: I’m not a regular breakfast eater.  I have nothing against the meal mind you.  It’s just that I’m really not that hungry until a few hours after I wake up, and by that time, I’m at work and it’s easier to wait for lunch time to roll around.  Someone once suggested that I just wake up earlier.  That suggestion  was a non-starter; as much as I love food, I love sleeping more.

In stark contrast to myself, Tania is a breakfast lover.  She eats breakfast pretty much every day, and it’s usually the same thing: oatmeal with bananas, cinnamon, Splenda, and vanilla.  Woe is it to the one who gets between her and her oatmeal; there are very few things that could tear her away from a bowl of hot oats.  If there is one thing that could do it however, it’s a dish that she calls “apple pancake.”


I’ve written at length about my own family food traditions.  Apple pancake is one of Tania’s.  Most commonly referred to as a Dutch Baby, sometimes as a puff pancake, and occasionally as an oven pancake, the apple pancake is akin to a large popover.  If done properly, it will tower above the pan in which it is cooked.

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Warm and Hearty — Crock-Pot Moroccan Chicken Stew

3 Dec

It’s winter time, which means ‘tis the season for hearty meals—like soups and stews.  Actually, apparently Mother Nature has made a liar out of me.  The calendar may read December, but here in Ohio it feels like anything but.  With the warm, rainy, days we’ve had recently it feels more like April than anything else.


This past weekend, pretending that it was winter, I hauled out the Crock-Pot.  Crock-Pots (or slow cooker for those of you with models from other brands) seem to be perfectly designed for winter meals.  You can get them started, head out into the cold for some exercise or other event, and then return to a ready and waiting meal.

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Quick and Comforting — Chicken Thighs with Mushrooms and White Wine

30 Oct

I’ve discovered a bit of a silver lining to the early winter, when winter rolls in and the days get shorter and the nights get colder.  That is, because the dark and cold conspire to keep me inside, I’m forced to look elsewhere for evening entertainment and ways to pass the time.  While spring and summer is often filled happy hours, patios, and outside activities, I’m not nearly as motivated or willing to leave home on the weekdays after I’ve returned from work.

The result? I end up spending more time in my kitchen preparing evening meals. (If this were the NY Times or another form of modern journalism then I would have used the word “upshot.”  For whatever reason, “upshot” is everywhere the past couple of years.  Has anyone else noticed the proliferation of the word? Better yet, can anyone explain it? It kind of annoys me to be honest.)

I digress.

The fall here in Columbus ended in traditional style.  Which is to say, schizophrenically. Less than a week ago, the high was 80 degrees.  This morning, there was snow.  And so it was, as much of the east-coast hunkered down at home, involuntarily sheltering in place, I did the same.  But unlike them, it was of my own volition.

Not too long ago, I came across a fantastic sounding recipe for Chicken Thighs and Mushrooms.  Not only did the picture make it look incredibly appetizing, but the instructions also made clear that it was relatively easy and quick to make.  I love elaborate cooking as much as the next guy, but when it’s a cold Monday night, sometimes you just want something that will come together without much effort.  If it looks and tastes like it required greater work and skill?  That’s just icing on the cake. (Or sauce on the chicken?)

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A medley of flavors — Balsamic Vinegar Chicken with Almonds and Peppers

9 Sep

Tania and I have just recently returned from quite the adventurous vacation, and while that experience will inspire several future blog posts, right now I’m just enjoying the comforts of home and of the familiar. In light of that, when the time came to select a recipe for dinner recently, I opted for something tried and true: Balsamic Chicken with Peppers and Almonds.

Originally taken from Cooking Light (I think), this recipe has become a reliable component of my cooking repertoire.  The blend of sweet and salty stemming from the combination of peppers, raisins, toasted almonds, and balsamic vinegar make this a recipe that covers all of its flavor bases.  Add to that the flavor complexity provided by the Parmesan cheese in the breading on the chicken, and the result is a recipe that is sure to please.  As should be obvious, this isn’t an especially fancy or gourmet recipe.   But does that really matter when it tastes good?

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Better than takeout — Chicken Szechwan and Peanuts

4 Aug

The finished project

Can you call something a secret family recipe if before being “secret” or becoming part of a family’s repertoire it was first published in a newspaper?  I ask, because if you can, what follows can best be described as a secret family recipe.  If you can’t, it’s just old and obscure.  Either way, unlike David Blaine, I’m about to reveal to you  the secrets of a recipe that is delicious, and as a result of that deliciousness, has become a staple in my family.

This recipe was clipped from a food column in either the Baltimore Sun, the Chicago Daily News, or the Chicago Sun Times while people still did such things, long before newspapers began their inexorable decline. (My parents can’t decide which paper it actually came from. They sometimes disagree about things.) The paper is yellowed and brittle, its frailty obvious from the first touch.  It calls out to be handled with the care of an archivist, and yet, it is regularly called into service, age taking a back seat to matters of taste.

Known only in my family as “chicken and peanuts,” some have suggested that it is a recipe for Kung Pao Chicken.  Perhaps on some level it is.  But I can tell you this: It tastes like no Kung Pao Chicken I’ve ever eaten.

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