Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Blueberry Blossom Pancakes

Well today's the day ... the first day of school.  I can't even warp by brain around that fact that summer is over and school's starting already.  The house is going to seem awfully quiet today. 

What better way to send everyone off to their first day of their new school year than with a stack of blueberry blossom pancakes?  These pancakes might just make getting out of bed at 6 AM a little bit easier on my teenagers.  Fluffy, buttermilk pancakes with fresh blueberries baked inside, topped with warm blueberry syrup, fresh blueberries and a homemade oatmeal streusel - unbelievable!

By the way, I made half of these pancakes with strawberries instead of blueberries.  In case you were wondering - they're just as fabulous.

Blueberry Blossom Pancakes
Blueberry Syrup
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup blueberries

1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 cup flour
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
4 Tablespoons butter, melted

1 cup flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup blueberries

Syrup: Puree syrup and blueberries in blender until smooth.  (I made blueberry and strawberry syrup.)

Combine oats, flour and brown sugar.

Drizzle melted butter over mixture and stir to combine.

Bake 15 minutes at 350 until golden brown.

Pancakes:  Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Whisk together egg, buttermilk and butter. 

Whisk wet ingredients into dry ingredients.

Heat a skillet and lightly coat with oil or butter.  Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto hot skillet.

Top each with 2 Tablespoons of berries.

Cook until pancakes are browned on the bottom.  Flip.

Serve with warmed blueberry syrup, fresh blueberries and streusel.  

 And of course, let us not forget about the strawberry pancakes. 

Nobody was very happy about going back to school but blueberry (and strawberry) blossom pancakes made it a little more bearable.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Faux Potato Salad

Anyone remember the mashed cauliflower incident?   (It's worth revisiting that blog post just for a laugh.)  I only wish that I had captured the kids faces in pictures when they realized that I had served them mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes.  My kids STILL remind me of how cruel of a joke that was to play on them.  I may never live that down.   It's been almost a year and a half since I pulled the cauliflower prank on my family - I think it's time to pull another cauliflower/potato swap - don't you?

I found a recipe for faux potato salad in my Cooking Light magazine.  My first thought was that it sounded delicious.  I was curious about how a potato-less salad would taste and I knew that my family would get a kick out of another sneaky cauliflower dish.

Faux Potato Salad
1 head medium cauliflower, broken into florets
1 carrot, sliced
2 hard cooked eggs, chopped
4 green onions, chopped
1 celery rib, sliced
1/4 pitted green olived, halved
1/4 cup chopped dill pickle
1/4 cup fat-free mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Bring 1 quart of water to a boil.  Add cauliflower and cook for 5 minutes.  Drain.  Pat dry with paper towels.

Add carrot, eggs, green onions, celery, olives and pickle.

In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper. 

Add to cauliflower and toss to coat.

So it didn't take long for my family to realize that the bowl of potato salad that I put on the table, didn't actually have any potatoes in it.  I recently forgot to put the chicken in a pot of chicken soup so they naturally assumed that I had just forgotten to add the potatoes to the salad.  It took more than a little convincing to get them to understand WHY I had intentionally left out the main ingredient in the potato salad.  Once they tried it, the review were mixed.  Ben and I thought it was delicious.  Yes, even Ben thought the potato-less potato salad was a hit.  My daughter tasted a bite but it was obvious from her face that she wasn't a big fan. My son didn't want to have anything to do with my cauliflower salad.  (Still upset about the previous incident I suspect.)

At only 61 calories and 2 grams of fat per serving, I can enjoy this faux potato salad without guilt.


Monday, July 29, 2013

Mint Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

Evening trips to the ice cream shop is what summer is all about.  My kids love to go out for ice cream and most nights, I can resist the temptation to indulge in a big scoop of creamy goodness UNLESS it's mint chocolate chip ice cream.  For some reason, I just can't seem to resist that wonderfully delicious flavor combination.  As if mint chocolate chip ice cream weren't tempting enough, I decided to turn my favorite ice cream flavor into a cupcake.  I think these may be even more delicious than mint chocolate chip ice cream. 

Mint Chocolate Chip Cupcake
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs + 2 egg yolks
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Mix sour cream and baking soda together.  Sift together flour and cocoa.  Beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Add in salt and beat until combined.  Add in eggs.  Add in egg yolks and vanilla.  Add in sour cream, alternating with flour with a spoon.  Divide batter among cupcake liners.  bake 20-25 minutes at 350.

Mint Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
6 egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
pinch salt
2 cups butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup crushed Andes mints

Combine egg whites, sugar and salt in bowl of mixer.  Put over double boiler and whisk over simmering water until sugar melts and mixture is warm.   (130 degrees)  Attach bowl to mixer and whisk meringue 5-7 minutes until thick and fluffy.  Meringue should be cool.  Remove whisk and attach paddle attachment to mixer.  With mixer on medium speed, add butter 1 Tablespoon at a time.  Add vanilla and continue beating until buttercream is thick and smooth.  Stir in Andes mints.

I tried several times to pipe this frosting onto the cupcakes and the tips kept getting clogged with mint pieces.  I thought I had them small enough to go through the tips but it turned out to be a frustrating experience so I ended up getting out my ice cream scoop and scooping a dollop of buttercream on top of each cupcake.  I kind of like the way it looks like a tribute to it's icy counterpart - the mint chocolate chip ice cream cone. 

These are really yummy.  The mint in the buttercream melts in your mouth just like an ice cream cone.  If you're a mint chocolate chip ice cream fan - you will be a mint chocolate chip cupcake fan too.