08 June 2010


Chris and I have been back from visiting family for all of two days now, and neither one of us has gone to get groceries. So I was thumbing through the cookbook to see if there was something pancake-y/soufflé-y like that I could make with just eggs, flour, and very little else. (I don't like griddle cakes with no milk, or else those would have been just the ticket.) Soon enough, I came across Nöckereln, which just sounded like souffléd  eggs in pancake format.

Wrong! Pure dessert, I assure you.

So, while I was surprised at the outcome (and it didn't make a great meal), it was still pretty tasty. It has the sweet aroma that's all dessert, but with an egginess that I never really do expect...which probably means I need to make soufflés more often...hehehe...

Adapted from Joy of Cooking
Serves 1

1 large egg, separated
1 tablespoon + 3/4 teaspoon sugar, divided
1/16 teaspoon almond extract
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoon flour (I used pastry)

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Separate the egg, putting the yolk in one bowl and the white in another.

Beat the white 'til almost stiff, then slowly beat in 1 tablespoon of sugar 'til very stiff and shiny. Add the vanilla extract, and beat that in.

In the bowl containing the yolk, add 3/4 teaspoon of sugar, as well as the almond extract. Beat until light and smooth.

Sift the flour over the whites and fold in, then gently fold in the yolk mixture as well.

Over a low burner, heat a small, oven-safe skillet with just enough butter to coat the bottom. When the butter becomes fragrant and begins to brown, pour the batter into the pan.

When the bottom of the Nöckerel begins to brown (it said three minutes, I found it to be 1-1/2), place in the oven. Leave there until the top browns lightly, 5-10 minutes. It should still be soft inside.

Serve immediately, and with warmed preserves (preferably a stone-fruit jam, i.e., cherry, brandied apricot, or ginger peach).

04 June 2010

Strawberry and Rhubarb in Many Ways

Oh goodness! Strawberries! Strawberries! Strawberries! We picked nine quarts of strawberries on Wednesday. Nine! And thus there was Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, Strawberry Rhubarb Jam, Rhubarb Jam (well, sort of, it was supposed to be butter, but the rhubarb was too fresh for butter making--but the week old rhubarb was perfect for that application), Strawberry Jam, and for good measure some Orange Rhubarb Butter with fruit in the fridge that hadn't been eaten before we picked. And we have at least five cups of strawberries frozen. Oh, and might I say, the food processor that Chris's mother has was key in making this go quickly.

So let's get right to the onslaught of recipes.

    Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
Yields: 6 to 6-1/2 cups

2 cups thinly sliced rhubarb (~6 stalks)
2 cups thinly sliced strawberries
(optional) 1/4 cup lemon juice
5-1/2 cups of sugar
1 box pectin

General jamming directions apply (and will follow).

    Strawberry Jam
Yields: 8 cups

5 cups thinly sliced strawberries
7 cups sugar
1 box pectin

General jamming directions apply (and will follow).

      Rhubarb Jam/Butter
    Yields: 3 cups for jam, 2 cups for butter

    4 cups thinly sliced rhubarb
    2 cups sugar

    For this recipe, you mix the sugar into the rhubarb and macerate overnight in the fridge.

    Dump it all in the pot, bring to a full rolling boil for at least one minute (until it reaches the jamming point [222°F]) or, if doing a butter, until it reaches an appropriate consistency.

    Then you jar as normal.

    What makes this a jam versus a butter is the variety and freshness of the rhubarb. For instance, the rhubarb that I had picked only the day before (processed that same day, macerated overnight, and did up) turned into a jam.  The same variety of rhubarb, picked the week before (and buried in the fridge) turned into butter.

      Orange Rhubarb Butter
    Yields: 1 cup
    Adapted from FoodinJars

    2 cups thinly sliced rhubarb
    1/2 cup sugar
    1 cup (fresh-squeezed) orange juice

    Mix everything together, bring to a simmer, and let butter. Or, if you're impatient and like a darker butter, turn up the heat and stir constantly 'til it reduces into a butter. This is particularly pretty if the rhubarb is more red than green or if you have some honey tangerines to squeeze in there (if you didn't know, these are nearly fluorescent orange).

    And, of course, jar as normal.

    General Jamming Directions

    1. Wash and rinse the jars, rings and lids

    2. Place the jars and accessories into your water bath canner (aka, a really big pot), make sure the water comes to about 1 inch above the top of the jars and bring the pot to a boil

    3. While that is coming to a boil, measure the fruit into your jamming pot (I use a 1.5 or a 2 gallon pot) and your sugar into a separate bowl

    4. Stir the pectin into the fruit

    5. Bring the fruit to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly

    6. Dump the sugar into the boiling fruit all at once and stir quickly until it is all incorporated

    7. Bring back to a rolling boil, stirring constantly, and hold it there for one full minute

    8. Pull off the heat, and take a spoon to skim the foam off the top (to eat with ice cream later)

    9. Pull the jars from the boiling water, pour the hot jam into them, cap tightly, and place back into the boiling water canner (be careful not to overflow it if you poured the water from the jars back into the pot like I do) for 10 minutes (assuming you're using half-pint or pint-sized jars)

    10. After that, pull them out onto a towel covered counter and leave them alone for 24 hours

    01 June 2010

    Cherry Pie

    While I was visiting my family, my sister wanted me to make some cherry pie for her boyfriend. I was thinking about getting frozen cherries, since it was a little early in the season round my hometown for cherries just now, but my hometown is also pretty much an armpit of the state, there was nowhere to buy frozen cherries either. I ended up making the pies with cherry pie filling--alright, but far from amazing. I made it up with using my lovely pie crust with a half substitution for butter and double sugar.

    However, toward the end of my visit (and after the second rendition of cherry pie filling pie, I was looking through the freezer for something to put in the small pie I had made of the leftover crust. What should I happen upon, of course, but cherries! Needless to say, I made up another cherry pie, and it did not go to my sister's boyfriend!

    The cherries had to be pitted, and I could tell that they had some sugar before freezing, though I didn't have a clue how much. But this is what basically went into the pie:

    Cherry Pie
    ~2-1/4 cups cherries + juice
    scant 2/3 cups sugar
    1/4 cup lemon juice
    3 tablespoons cornstarch

    I heated it all in a pan on the stovetop so that I could taste the end filling to make sure the acid/sugar ratio was appropriate. And boy! was it ever! I don't think that I ever had such an amazing cherry pie. I just wish that I knew what kind of cherries they were. My dad thinks that they were black cherries, and I tend to agree, but whatever they were, it was certainly a heavenly pie!

    Never-Fail Pie Crust

    So, I'm surprised that I haven't posted this before now. It's really the only pie crust recipe that I have ever made. It just works so wonderfully: It's not fussy, you can use a number of substitutes, and it always turns out nice and flaky. Here's the basic incarnation.

    Never-Fail Pie Crust

    4 cups flour
    1 tablespoon sugar
    1 teaspoon salt
    2 cups shortening
    1 large egg
    1/2 c cold water
    1 tablespoon vinegar

    1. In mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt

    2. Cut in shortening until crumbs are pea-sized or smaller

    3. In smaller bowl, mix egg, water, vinegar until in a single phase

    4. Mix wet ingredients into dry until most of the flour is incorporated. Toward the end, you might need to gently knead the dry ingredients into the dough.

    5. Separate into 4 balls, then roll on lightly floured surface (I like to use wax paper for ease of transportation to pie pan) and use as any pie crust

    Now, for notes.

    While this pie crust is supremely unfussy, in a warm kitchen, it's still nice to put it in the fridge for 10 minutes or so if it's a bit sticky. Alternately, you can use a bit more flour (it can stand it, but it's better to just fridge it).

    For substitution on fats, you can use all butter, but it's quite sticky. If I did that again, I'd cut by 1/4 cup-ish. I much prefer substituting only half of the shortening for butter if I want a butter-y crust. I also know that my great-grandmother used lard, but the closest I've gotten to that is using the animal fat based shortening (pretty close, but I don't know how close for handling purposes). Honestly, that was the easiest fat to work with that I have ever used in this recipe.

    When halving this recipe, still use 1 egg, but reduce the water to 1/8 cup instead of to 1/4 cup.

    If I know that all the pie crust is going to dessert pies, I like to double the sugar. I've also accidentally doubled the salt (when doing a half recipe), and that's perfectly fine. It doesn't help anything, but if you do have a brain-fart like I did, it really is fine to go ahead with the half recipe.

    For flour, I've not done a lot of substitutions, but I know that if you're using pastry flour, only substitute half! Otherwise it turns out very wet. It's salvageable by throwing in more flour (at that point I used whole wheat flour), but it made a bit of a mess. I haven't tried completely using whole wheat flour, but substituting up to a quarter is excellent.