Saturday, October 10, 2015

Food and rest

Day one of vacation is in the books, and it has been all about basic needs.

When I got home from work last night, I was utterly exhausted. Up too late several of the previous nights, and out the door even earlier in the morning than usual. That, plus the knowledge that the end of the workday signaled the start of a week of free time, signaled my body to just.let.go.

Even that tired, my body insists on waking itself up at the usual time. Who needs an alarm clock? My initial plans for the day included being at the eye doctor when they opened at 8 a.m. to pick up contact lenses and chose/order new glasses, but after checking email and reading the paper online, I made the executive decision to go back to bed. It's the time of year when sitting at the desk in the loft in the early morning in pajamas is a bit chilly, but not cold enough to grab the robe. So much easier to just get under the still warm covers again.

"Late" is relative: I was up again just before eight. Time to start vacation with a special breakfast.

Dutch baby pancakes (or pancake, singular, as it makes one really big one) are super simple to make, and provide a lot of filling options. The basic recipe:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Put 2 TBS of butter in an 8 or 9 inch pie plate and put it in the oven for the butter to melt.

While that happens, mix the following:
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs (milk and eggs should ideally be at room temp - who has the patience to wait?)
a dash or two of salt
a bit (I used about half a teaspoon) of sugar

Once all that is well mixed, add 1/2 cup of all purpose flour, mixing just until the lumps are out.

Carefully take the hot pie plate with the melted butter out of the oven. Swirl the butter around so it covers the bottom of the plate AND the sides. Pour the batter in, then put the pan back in the oven.

Bake for 15 - 17 minutes. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR DURING BAKING.

The batter slides itself up the sides of the pie plate, but doesn't run over the edge. It just sort of continues to grow vertically, until it curls over itself towards the center of the dish. Turn on your oven light to check through the window close to the end of the cooking time - you want this risen part to be golden to brownish.

When you take the pan out of the oven, the pancake should slide right out onto a platter. The sides will collapse a bit.

Now comes the fun part. You can fill the center with all sorts of goodies. My recipe actually uses bacon bits in the batter, then has you fill the finished pancake with apples sauteed in butter and maple syrup. Sprinkling with powdered sugar is pretty traditional. You could also fill it with jam, rather than fresh fruit. How about sliced up breakfast sausage sauteed in maple syrup? Whatever floats your boat.

Me? Too lazy to do the apples, I stuck a spoonful of Nutella in the center to melt. Heaven.

Then off to chores. Laundry, garbage gathering, unload/load the dishwasher, do the hand wash dishes. Somewhere in there stop to watch some NCIS and read a bit. Do the every-so-often bleaching (porcelain sink, both sides, other - ahem - porcelain).

About three o'clock realize you've not eaten since breakfast. Decide to try a new-to-me, but probably familiar to moms everywhere dish: Cheesy chicken, rice and broccoli. Saute half an onion. Add a pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast cut in small chunks. Brown it a bit. Add minced garlic. Push all to side of pan, add a little more olive oil and a cup of (brown, in tonight's case) rice. Saute the rice until it starts to look translucent. Add appropriate amount of chicken broth for the amount of rice. Stir, bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover and walk away. Ten minutes before the rice should be done, add three cups or so of frozen broccoli.

When the rice is done and the broccoli hot, remove the pan from heat and stir in a cup or so of cheddar cheese. Put another half cup on top of the dish, put the cover on and let it sit a minute or so. Remove cover and enjoy.

In the process of making dinner, I discovered two horrifying facts: 1) there were only two onions left in the pantry, and 2) there is no mild or medium cheddar cheese in the refrigerator, only aged, sharp vermont white cheddar. The casserole tasted fine with the sharp cheese (which I love), but aesthetically it would have looked nicer with cheddar colored cheddar (beige rice, beige chicken, beige cheese and little islands of green - not exactly haute cuisine)

Now, upstairs to peruse the open enrollment materials (short story, premiums up 6%, maximum out of pocket limit up 140%) and plan for the rest of the week. I'm trying out the bullet journal system, and while I've been using it for over a month, I think I have a few ideas that will make it work better for me.

That is pretty much it for the first hopes the next eight will be about more than sleep and food.

1 comment:

melissa said...

Never have made Dutch Baby pancakes, but it does sound pretty cute and yummy. Your cooking always inspires me.

Oldest daughter named tomorrow Taco Tuesday, so the girls cook. I do so love it when someone else cooks. And reading about someone else doing it. :) I enjoy it, but do love being fed.

You take care. Enjoy each day of your holiday. Maybe you be refreshed.