Four Clan Kitchen

What we eat everyday

Archive for July, 2010

Belgian Apple Waffles

Posted by fourclankitchen on July 30, 2010

There are tens of waffle recipes out there and they are not that different.  This is the one I like the best, because it contains lots of grated apples, So this is a bit weird: you don’t really get the apple crunch with these as you might expect.  Instead the apples just melt into the waffle batter and provide a flavor and texture boost, leaving the waffle soft on the inside and cruncy on the outside.  Really nice.

Belgian apple waflles [adapted from the manufacturer’s (Vitantonio’s) recipe]

2 cups all purpose flour

3 tsp sugar

1/2  tsp salt

1 tbs baking powder

1 stick butter, melted (8 tbs)

3 eggs

1 tbs. vanilla essence

1-1½ cups milk

1 large apple cored and grated in the food processor (about 1½-2 cups)

Preheat your waffle iron (at least 10 min or according to the manufacture’s instructions).  Grate the apples in a food processor and set aside.  Beat eggs in a food processor until thick.  Beat 1 cup milk, melted butter and vanilla into eggs.  Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Then add the dry ingredients into the food processor and pulse till thoroughly mixed.   Pour the batter into the  bowl used for mixing the dry ingredients.  Add the apples. If your batter is too thick, add more milk till it just barely pours off your spoon. Add a 1/3 cup of the batter to the iron, smoothing it out over the mould to ensure even coverage.  Waffles are done in 1 ½ to 2 ½ min or when properly browned. You can dress these up with the usual embellishments: warmed maple syrup, berries and sweetened whipped cream.  I like breakfast simple, so I eat them with some homemade freezer jam.

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Peach-Blueberry Pie

Posted by fourclankitchen on July 23, 2010


Peach Blueblueberry Pie

Peach season is in full swing here and the freestone peaches from Fredreicksburg are everywhere in Farmer’s markets around town. They simply cannot be denied.  To get away from a peaches only orgy, I took substituted a cup of peaches with blueberries.  The filling actually tastes quite different from an unadulterated peach pie.  I have to say I liked this version very much.

Ingredients:

Crusts for two- 9” pies

Use your favorite crust.  For this pie, I used crusts purchased from Whole Foods- they are pretty good. The recipe below is adapted from various sources including Betty Crocker and Bon Appetit.


Filling:

5 cup peaches peeled, pitted and sliced

1 cup blueberries whole

2/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup flour

1 tsp lemon juice

2 tbs. honey

2 tbs. strawberry jam (or any other jam- not marmalade)

2 tbs. butter sliced into thin pieces.

Preheat oven to 425˚F.  Mix all ingredients together.  Taste your filling and adjust the sugar if needed.  If using your own crust, roll it out to a 12” round and place in pie plate (I might prefer a metal plate, more on this once I have confirmed this).  For either kind of crust, prick the pie crust in several places and pour the filling into it. Dot the filling with butter. Then roll out the second pie crust to a 12” round and transfer to the pie.  Crimp the edges of the top and bottom crusts, making sure the edges are uniformly thick. Cut a hole or a cross at the center of the top crust to vent the pie.

Cut 3 pieces of aluminum foil 2-3” wide and cover the edges of the pies to prevent overcooking.  Sprinkle some granulated sugar on top of the pie- the sugar caramelizes on the pie crust and tastes very very good (omit this step if you don’t like caramelized sugar).  Place the pie on top of a cookie sheet on the center rack of the oven and bake for 45 minutes till the filling is bubbly and the crust has properly browned.  Remove the foil for the last 15 min. of baking and let the edges of the crust crisp up. Allow the pie to cool to room temperature before serving. This allows the fruit and flour to congeal together, so that the pie is not liquidy and can be cut to produce the proper pie shaped morphology.


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How to caramelize onions

Posted by fourclankitchen on July 18, 2010

Caramelized Onions

There is nothing quite as satisfying as caramelized onions.  Caramelizing them takes patience, but once you have done it: wow!  Their sugars burn just a little and add a divine dimension to everything from French Onion Soup to Indian curries to mashed potatoes. They are easy to make if you are patient.  Here is how:

Ingredients:

1/2 to 1 stick (1/2) cup butter (depending upon your intended use, see below);  Can substitute 1/2 oil + 1/2 butter.

2 large onions, thinly sliced (use a food processor)

Salt to taste.

sugar (optional)

Use the largest frying pan you have:, a 12″ pan is good.  Melt the butter on a low flame.   When all the butter is melted, add the sliced onions to the pan and stir to completely coat the onions with  butter. Add salt and mix again. The onions should form a monolayer and should not be piled on top of each other.  Save any  onions that do not fit for another use.

Turn the flame to LOW and let the onions cook.  You can go about your business,  just come back  every 5 minutes or so,  turn the onions over and walk away. Repeat.  Depending on how low you go on the flame, full caramelization will take between 20 min- 1 hr. The onions are done when they are a rich caramel brown, taste sweet and mellow and are not  crispy. You definitely don’t want crispy. You can also add a bit of sugar (1-2 tsp per 2 onions) to speed up  caramelization.

If you need the onions immediately, stick around instead of walking away and cook the onions on a medium flame with frequent stirring.  The cooking time can be reduced by half if you do this.  When the onions are perfectly done, taste and adjust the salt.  Use as a garnish on pilafs, on soups, on top of burgers, kebabs or as I said above, in mashed potatoes.  I use a full stick of butter if I plan to freeze the onions or to make mashed potatoes.   I just dump the onions and all of the butter into my boiled potatoes which taste absolutely wonderful.  However, if I were using these to garnish say a burger, I would use the lower quantity of butter, dry them on paper towels before use.

The onions can be frozen in the cooking butter for a couple of months and used as needed.

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Honey Glazed Peach-Blueberry Tart

Posted by fourclankitchen on July 11, 2010

Peach-Blueberry Tart (adapted from Bon Appetit, 2003)

Texas peaches are really good and demand to be consumed in copious quantities. This peach tart does just that.  If your peaches are not quite there or have a watery taste, this recipe also fixes that by adding peach preserves, lemon rind and honey to the tart filling.  Add to that an unadulterated butter crust and you have got heaven!  This recipe pretty much follows the original one in Bon Appetit, except that to intensify the flavors, I have added peach preserves to the filling and followed it up with a peach preserve glaze.  Also, I needed to get rid of some blueberries, so I sprinkled a handful on top. The original recipe also calls for a mascarpone cream topping, but I think that is a distraction from the intense “in season” peach flavor of this tart, so I have omitted it.

Ingredients:

Crust

1 ½  cups all purpose flour

3 tbs. powdered sugar

¼  tsp. salt

½  cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

3 ½ tablespoons (about) ice water or less

Filling

¼  cup sugar

3 tablespoons all purpose flour

2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

8 ripe medium peaches, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices (~4 cups)

1 tablespoon fresh blueberries

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

2 tablespoons sliced almonds

2+2 tablespoons peach preserves, melted

For crust:
Blend the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Add the butter, using on/off pulses, until the flour resembles the texture of coarse cornmeal.  This should only take a few min.  Will the food processor running, add enough ice water  (I added 2 ½ tbs) by tablespoonfuls, until the dough comes together in 1 or more clumps. Gather up the dough into a ball. The dough should feel silky to your touch. Wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a 12-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter tart pan with a removable bottom.  You want to have a 1” overhang.  Fold the overhang in and press to form sides that are twice as thick as the bottom so that they don’t burn during the long baking. You can decorate the edges by gently indenting it the tines of a fork. Next, pierce the bottom of crust with fork. Refrigerate 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400°F and place a rack in the center of the oven. Bake the tart crust until golden, about 25 minutes

For filling:
Mix sugar, flour, and lemon peel in large bowl. Add the peaches, blueberries, peach preserves and toss to coat. Taste the filling; if it is not sweet enough, add a little more sugar.  Pour into the baked crust. Drizzle honey over peach mixture; dot with butter and sprinkle with almonds. Bake until peaches are tender, about 35-40 min. Brush fruit and almonds with peach preserves melted in the microwave for 15 sec. Cool 15 minutes before serving. The tart can be served at room temperature.

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