Monthly Archives: September 2010

Birthday Chocolate Chunk Sour Milk Pancakes

It was my dad’s birthday over the weekend, we were going to have brunch, there was buttermilk in the fridge, you do the math.

Oh and it’s my blog, so I can do what I want and I wanted to remind you that you can vote for me in Project Food Blog. I have advanced with your help to the 2nd round and my entry is my grandmother’s curried chicken and naan bread. Have a read please and click below.

Oh and if that doesn’t work, how about a picture of me being cute with some dogs? Will you click now?

Sooooo….where were we? Oh yes, I had leftover buttermilk in the fridge after making a super decadent Chocolate chocolate chip banana bread. So with buttermilk on the brain, I flipped open a cookbook that I knew with absolute certainty would have a recipe for pancakes involving buttermilk.

Thank you Joy Of Cooking

And of course, I found Sour Milk Pancakes and of course, I decided to chop up two ounces of semi-sweet chocolate into the batter.

Ready for flipping

Thankfully, the addition of the chocolate did not do anything to the batter other than make the pancakes even more delicious befitting a birthday brunch! Happy birthday Dad!

Chocolate Chunk Sour Milk Pancakes

Sour Milk Pancakes from the Joy of Cooking

Sift before measuring:

  • 1 cup cake flour (I used white flour and it turned out just fine)

Resift with:

  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon soda

Beat until light:

  • 1 egg

Add:

  • 1 cup buttermilk

Combine the sifted and the liquid ingredients with a few swift strokes. Beat in:

  • 1-2 tablespoons melted butter
  • This is where I added the 2 ounces of chopped chocolate

And since this is the Joy of Cooking, it has great instructions on everything, including how to “bake” them. Let me share a few classic tips with you.

  • Before baking, test the griddle by letting a few drops of cold water fall on it. If the water bounces and sputters, the griddle is ready to use. If the water just sits and boils, the griddle is not hot enough. If the water vanishes, the griddle is too hot.
  • To assure a well-rounded cake, don’t drop the batter from on high but let it pour from the tip of a spoon. After you pour the dough from the spoon, it will be two to three minutes before the cakes ae ready to turn. When bubbles appear on the upper surface, but before they break, lift the cakes with a spatula to see how well they have browned.
  • Turn the cakes only once and continue baking them until the second side is done. Cooking this second side takes only about half as long as cooking the first side. The second side never browns as evenly as the first.
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Filed under Birthday, chocolate, Joy of Cooking, Sour Milk Pancakes

PFB Challenge #2 – Classic Curried Chicken & Naan Bread with a little help

Fate is awesome. I was inspired to make something remarkable for Challenge #2 of Project Food Blog (which by the way, I owe everyone a big thank you for all your votes and wonderful comments) but I was frustrated that nothing was calling out to me. I had some ideas, but nothing that told a great story and as you know (or will soon learn), I enjoy telling stories.

For years, I’d never seen it, but my parents have talked about this recipe book that belonged to my grandmother, Hannah (A quick note, my dad’s parents didn’t like being called grandma and grandpa since they thought it made them sound old, so I grew up calling them by their first names, Hannah and Eddie). This recipe book of Hannah’s, which virtually covered her entire life, essentially tracks her culinary experiences throughout her life, including a classic note she wrote to my mother (when she married my father) about how he likes certain dishes prepared.  I suppose Hannah thought he would starve to death without special instructions on how to feed him! And as fate would have it, I held this book for the first time about 3 days ago and inside I found a treasure chest of inspiration.

Celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary and me and my awkward hair part in the background

I love butter chicken and if you give me a curry dish, I’ll be your friend for life, but I had never even thought about preparing these dishes. Cooking Indian dishes is a daunting task, I don’t know why, but it just is. Well, it was, until now. As I was flipping delicately (the pages are turning brown from age) through the book, I came across a recipe card for Curried Chicken. And not just any recipe, a recipe card that my grandmother had taken the time to type…on a type-writer.

Everything in that book is in there for a reason, so I was confident in my selection and after reading the recipe called for turmeric and cumin, I knew I was out of my comfort zone. But I like to complicate my life sometimes, I have a tendency to over think, so to further challenge myself, I was committed to making something that would perfectly accompany curried chicken and that would be none other than naan bread.

Homemade Naan Bread

Since I felt like I was going “old-school” with the recipe card, I decided to go “new-school” with the naan bread. To be honest, I didn’t even know if you could make naan bread at home, so I just tweeted it! The joys of Twitter brought me a bunch of replies, including a recipe from Elizabeth (p.s. thanks again!) over at the Guilty Kitchen. Not knowing my lack of baking prowess, she claimed it was easy to do and thankfully she was right. I’m happy to report my dough did what it was supposed to do, I more or less rolled the dough properly and I saw the bubbles form which meant it was time to flip the naan over. The end result, I made naan bread and most importantly, it even tasted like naan bread!

With the naan bread complete and my confidence surging I had time to reminisce while I was continuing with the curried chicken. The best part about attempting this recipe was the connection I felt to Hannah. I could feel her presence while chopping the onions and browning the chicken and I thought fondly back to our time together. I thought back to me and my sister being watched by her and Eddie when my parents would take a well-deserved night off or finally being able to return the favor and take care of her when I was older when she needed some of my help.

Reminiscing about Hanna and Eddie

Well, her presence must have helped me, because like the naan bread, I made curried chicken! Excuse all the exclamation points, but I never thought I’d write that sentence.

As I expected when I set out with this challenge, it’s tough to “whip up” some curried chicken in a matter of minutes. In all, from start to finish, the dish (and its 12 or so steps that fit on a recipe card) probably took about 80 minutes to prepare, but that includes a cooking time of 50 minutes where I was free to work on the rice, naan bread and some initially puzzling side dishes.

At the end of the recipe, it calls for the curried chicken to be served with rice and halved hard-boiled eggs, chutney, chopped peanuts, banana mashed with honey and raisins. Even though I checked and it’s not uncommon to see a hard-boiled egg with a curried dish, I passed on that option. I did do the banana one and I did not enjoy it, it was simply a strange texture with the chicken, but if I see it in a restaurant, I will likely order it, maybe I did something wrong!

As for the peanuts, they were great with the chicken and I chose a coriander chutney since the chicken was cooked with coriander seed, again, that was great. And as expected, the naan bread scooped and soaked up all the extra goodness on the plate.

Did I tackle a classic dish outside of my comfort zone? Absolutely, but I admit to having a little help along the way.

Voting for Challenge #2 of Project Food Buzz begins on September 27 at 9am EST and ends September 30th at 9pm EST. Check out my profile and thanks again everyone!

Hannah’s Curried Chicken

Curried Chicken Ingredients

Curried Chicken Directions and yes, I'm wearing a Maestro Fresh Wes t-shirt, purple shorts and an awesome Swatch watch

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Filed under Curried Chicken, Naan Bread

My Arsenal in Training – Chocolate Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

You have your “go-to” recipes, right? You know, the ones where virtually everything you need is always in your kitchen and you can whip it up with your eyes closed…yea, those recipes, the exact recipes I don’t have, until now!

Finished product...but not quite as intended

I decided I needed to build up my own arsenal of recipes. So with that in mind, I decided to begin with banana bread. Everyone needs a great banana bread recipe, so with “great” as my goal, I obviously went to visit my friend Joy The Baker. I’ve spoken about her before, she’s fun, her name is Joy, she’s a baker and she’s smiley (is that a word? well, it suits her, so there)

I went through all her amazing stuff and found a recipe she had used by Dorie Greenspan and it was “Chocolate chocolate chip banana bread.” I’m not a morning person and don’t typically eat breakfast, but banana bread with two “chocolates” in the titles, I could be persuaded to sit down and have a slice in the morning!

So I had everything I needed and I started the process. I began by sifting the dry ingredients like the recipe called for. I stopped for a second to take this picture. I liked the swirl of it all, I found it very calm and soothing and I blame this lapse in concentration since I obviously stopped paying attention for a second and totally showed my rookie baking status.

I sifted correctly!

Everyone, please forgive me.

I should have put the dry ingredients to the side. Instead, I tossed the butter in with the dry ingredients and mixed them together. Then I tossed in the sugar and beat it and then tossed in the eggs and beat them. At this point, I thought to myself, “wow, the eggs got mixed in really quickly with all that flour, that’s odd.” But I kept pushing ahead with the addition of the bananas and beat them.

And then, the recipe said, add the dry ingredients in three additions…and I said “uh oh”, except replace “uh oh” with a much harsher set of words!

Well, at this point, I re-read the recipe in its entirety and realized my error. I pretty much screwed up Baking 101 Rule #1. Live and learn though!

By mixing everything with the dry ingredients right away, I think I lost out on some fluff factor by beating the eggs and butter on their own. However, the batter did not look horrible, in fact it tastes good, just a little on the dense side. So I got myself back on track, re-focused and remembered I was doing this to learn and I have now learnt something!

With that positive spirit, I plowed ahead with the buttermilk and chocolate and had the batter ready for the loaf pan. The batter was CHOCOLATEY and thick, but it was still really good batter and I knew I had measured everything properly.

And the final result, a really tasty chocolate chocolate chip banana bread that may be a little on the heavy and dense side. But I know what not to do next time and it still came out really nice, so I can’t wait to do it again and properly.

P.S. Joy, sorry for letting you down. I’ll do you more proud next time.

Chocolate chocolate chip banana bread

For a baking mishap, I’ll still have this for breakfast…happily!

Breakfast time

Oh since this is my blog, here’s a little reminder to please check out and vote for my Foodbuzz entry in Project Food Blog. Think of it as the next Food Network Star for blogs! Thanks!

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Taken from Joy the Baker, who used Dorie Greenspan’s recipe from Baking: From My Home to Yours

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 stick (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar

2 large eggs

2 ripe bananas, mashed

3/4 cup buttermilk

3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter a 9×5 inch loaf pan and place it on an insulated baking sheet or on two regular baking sheets one on top of the other.  This extra insulation will keep the bottom of the bread from overbaking.

Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt and baking soda.

Working with a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed for about a minute  until soft.  Add the sugars and beat for 2 minutes more.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating for a minute after each addition.  At this point , the batter may look a little curdled it’s ok.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the mashed bananas.  Add the dry ingredients in three additions (my bold comments), mixing only until they disappear into the batter.  Still on low sweep, add the buttermilk, mixing until it is incorporated.  Stir in the chopped chocolate.  Scrape batter into prepared pan.

Bake for 30 minutes.  Cover the bread loosely with a foil tend to keep the top from getting too dark, and continue to bake for another 40-45 minutes (total baking time is between 70 and 75 minutes), or until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean.  Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for at least 20 minutes before running a knife around the edges of the bread and un-molding it.  Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.

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Filed under Banana bread, Dorie Greenspan

Tastes Better With Friends – A Case Study (PFB2010 #1)

Welcome to my first of ten (positive thoughts) posts for Project Food Blog (more details below).

With a nod to the great storyteller Sophia Petrillo of the Golden Girls…here is my first Project Food Blog entry.

Picture it…a pot-luck dinner in your home, tables and chairs thrown together and surrounded by a bunch of your wonderful friends. That thought alone makes you smile on the outside, but more importantly, on the inside. You’ve all been meaning to get together for a while now, but life seems to get in the way. As you sit down and enjoy each other’s specialty dish that was made with TLC, you all wonder out loud why you don’t do this more often and plan to do this again very soon. It’s tough to put your finger on exactly what makes these moments so special, but what you do realize is it always seems to tastes better with friends.

Tastes Better With Friends

I like making people happy. It makes me feel good. I’ve always tried to think outside the box like using a cutting board as the canvas for a homemade Valentine’s day card. When I began food blogging, it just made sense to use food as the means to make people happy. How have I done so far? Well, let’s have a look at some personal case studies…

Case Study #1 – Knowing virtually no one, I moved to Vancouver in 2009 to work for the Olympic Organizing Committee.  Soon enough, I had made some great friends who, like me had moved to Vancouver to showcase Canada and put on a show the world would not soon forget! When you move far away from family and friends, it’s the little things in life that you miss, like a home-cooked meal. So with that in mind, I invited a bunch of friends over and cooked for a full day to produce a menu of matzah ball soup, salad, roast, potatoes, roasted veggies and a honey cake that I was so proud of, my friends made me pose with it. It was such a fun night and for me it was satisfying to bring the comforts of home to all my friends, if only for one evening.

Me and my honey cake

Case Study #2 – Birthday’s are a time for extravagance and I decided to hook up a buddy for his birthday by making cheeseburger cupcakes (yes, you read that correctly). It was a win-win situation, I had a blast in the kitchen, produced fun material for my blog, enjoyed cheeseburger cupcakes with about twenty friends and most importantly surprised a friend on his birthday.

Cheeseburger cupcakes

Case Study #3 – When you live near water, it makes for a great place for a date. In an attempt to impress a girl, I made lunch and decided to create an interactive element to the picnic by showing her how to transform an asian pear into a bird.  The lunch was great, Hank the bird was created and I’m still single, well two out of three ain’t bad.

Interactive date

Case Study #4 – Even dogs think it tastes better with friends!

Tastes Better With Friends - Doggy-style

Case Study #5 – There are about 2,000 incredible food bloggers competing in Project Food Blog and we’re all winners, even though only one will be crowned champion.

We open our kitchens and hearts to each other and the world every time we hit “submit” to post our latest entry. I’ve met a ton of wonderful people through my blog and each of you have proven to me that real or virtual, it always Tastes Better With Friends and for that I thank you for giving me the confidence to enter and maybe even visualizing myself winning this competition. I have no idea where my Project Food Blog journey will take me, but I’m looking forward to the ride.

It’s the simple things in life that make the world a happy place and with the help of food and a little creativity, that’s what I try to do every chance I have.  As for winning it all and being the next food blog star, it always Tastes Better With Friends and I’m looking forward to bringing that message to all the pot-lucks, picnics and birthday parties out there.

Please click on my profile to learn a little bit more about me. Voting begins September 20 and ends September 23. I’ll put a little reminder next week just in case.

And finally, after all this and you’re asking yourself, what on earth is Project Food Blog? Well, it “is the first-ever interactive competition where thousands of Foodbuzz Featured Publishers are competing in a series of culinary blogging challenges for the chance to advance and a shot at the ultimate prize: $10,000 and a special feature on Foodbuzz.com for one year.”

The voting will be done by Foodbuzz Featured Publishers and a panel of three judges who have the task of reading every single entry! The brave souls are Dana Cowin, the Editor-in-Chief of FOOD & WINE Magazine, Nancy Silverton, the Founder of La Brea Bakery and the Co-owner of Mozza and lastly, Pim Techamuanvivit, the author of ChezPim.com and The Foodie Handbook. Voting will also be open to the general public but a Foodbuzz profile is needed.

Thanks for your support and good luck to all!

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Filed under Foodbuzz, Project Food Blog

Happy Birthday to Tastes Better With Friends

I’m a proud papa today. Happy birthday to my first post on Tastes Better With Friends! When I think over the last year, I’ve had an incredible time. Through Tastes Better With Friends, I’ve had the chance to share my cooking, restaurants, the Olympics, my travels and my random thoughts with friends and family.

I had a feeling I’d have the chance to share my experiences through the blog. But what I wasn’t expecting was the opportunity to meet great people along the way in the online world. Not only that, but I’ve met some of these wonderful people in the “real” world and hopefully I’ll meet more along the way.

In honor of this day, I wanted to throw a virtual birthday party. I’ve been meaning to do a Blogroll for a while now and I figured today would be a perfect time. Come join me in welcoming a bunch of friends to the birthday table.

If you want to make some amazingly Stupid Simple Snacks – Amy Blogs Chow is your girl.

Check out Lora the Cake Duchess, as she combines Florida and Italy and does it with flair.

Susy is a newbie to the blogging world and is a Food Lover, she tells great stories and just needs a little more confidence, so stop by and say hi:)

David Lebovitz needs no introduction.

Ken, the Hungry Rabbit is passionate about food and it is very obvious!

Her name is Joy, she is a baker and she makes magic happen.

New York City Mama is exactly what you think she should be. Carol is no match for New York!

Aimee is documents what’s going on Under The Highchair. I’ll let you click, because the header alone is worth checking out.

Amy says it’s all about the food and it is over at Very Culinary.

Anytime you’re in Vancouver, read what Victoria has to say about the restaurant scene. Chances are she’s been there or is planning on going!

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Filed under Friends

I’m competing in Project Food Blog!

When I began food blogging, my inspiration came from within and from those around me. I wanted to eat with friends and write about it. That inspiration is still there, but for the next 12 weeks, I have a new-found inspiration…to compete, have some fun and put myself in a position to win the first ever food blog competition, Project Food Blog!

Beginning next week, Tastes Better With Friends will be among 2,000 other food blogs from Foodbuzz.com that will compete in a variety of food blog challenges. Each round, a panel of judges and YOU will be given the opportunity to vote and slowly whittle down the contestants until there is one final food blog and blogger left standing.

My entries (yes, positive thinking so I’m saying multiple entries all the way to the finals in December) will always be posted on here and will be linked back to the Foodbuzz site for voting. For old and new friends, I’ve created my contestant profile page to get to know me a little more. Please have a read here.

Think of this post as a heads-up of many more to come. Get used to the image below, you’ll be seeing this in the weeks to come so you can link and vote for me as I attempt to become the next food blog star! A word of caution, you will have to register in order to cast your vote, hopefully you all don’t mind having one more username and password to remember. On the positive side, you’ll be able to vote and have access to thousands of amazing food blogs!

A big preemptive thank you to all of you for what should be a fun ride and good luck to everyone!

Project Food Blog - Ethan Adeland

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Filed under Food Blog, Foodbuzz, Project Food Blog

Friends of the Ivory Hut Unite

Can you imagine losing everything you own?

Sure, some things are replaceable, but all the insurance money in the world isn’t going to bring back your grandmother’s necklace, your children’s baby pictures, your external drive with your once-in-a-lifetime pictures and everything else that is priceless and you’d never ever part with.

Through Twitter, I learned this past Wednesday of a fellow food blogger named Erika (of the Ivory Hut) lost her home to a fire. Once her family barely managed to escape the burning home, her son run back into the house to rescue his sleeping grandmother before climbing out onto the roof to carry her down to safety. Her family has lost everything, except for their love for one another that is crucial in a time like this.

I don’t know Erika and will likely never meet her, but in reading her story and hearing how her friends have come to her aid, I bet she’d be at the front of the line to help me out if this ever happened to me.

As I read this nightmare of a story, I couldn’t help by think of all recent articles I’ve read lately about the International Food Blogger Conference (IFBC) that just ended last week in Seattle. By all accounts, the IFBC was an amazing success, in large part due to the passion food bloggers have and how tight-knit the community is. Incredibly, food blogs are now at 12,000 strong and growing and that’s not even counting the exponential reach on Twitter.

Well, food bloggers, quite simply, this is our chance to show that when it comes to one of our own, not only do we talk the talk, we absolutely walk the walk.

Erica’s friends have put together a site called Friends of the Ivory Hut to tell her story and allow people the chance to donate what they can. It won’t bring back the pictures, but it will help ease the pain and let Erica and her family know she’s got supporters out there. I donated and I’m thinking 12,000 x any amount is a pretty incredible statement of how amazing food bloggers can be and are!

I believe it truly does tastes better with friends and it takes friends at a time like this.

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Filed under Food bloggers, Ivory Hut