Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wordless Wednesday #104: Supper Club, Brunch Edition

Brunch Spread

Maple-Bacon Biscuit Bake
Maple-Bacon Biscuit Bake

Cuban Avocado, Watercress, and Pineapple Salad
Cuban Avocado, Watercress, and Pineapple Salad

Monday, April 22, 2013

Piña Colada Pancakes

Pancakes…my total and utter weakness. I usually keep things simple with plain buttermilk pancakes drizzled with maple syrup. But I decided to have a little fun with some leftover pineapple and a can of coconut milk in my pantry, and made these amazing Piña Colada Pancakes.

Coconut Pancakes

Rather than using all buttermilk in the recipe, some coconut milk was used in the batter instead to enrich the pancakes with some coconut flavour. The addition of the shredded coconut added a wonderful textural quality to the fluffy pancakes. And instead of maple syrup, a very tropical and delicious pineapple-rum sauce was served with the pancakes, topped with some whipped cream flavoured with—you guessed it—more rum.

This is a decadent brunch entrée for sure, but I promise you, these will make any weekend morning that much more special (and worth getting out of bed for)!

Coconut Pancakes

Piña Colada Pancakes
Makes 8 pancakes

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
1/4 cup coconut flakes or chips, lightly toasted

For the pineapple-rum sauce:
1/2 pineapple, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon water
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt

For the rum cream:
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon rum, or to taste

Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and shredded coconut.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. Slowly add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just incorporated. Do not overmix; your batter should still be a little lumpy. Set aside the batter to rest for 10 minutes.

Heat some oil or butter in a cast-iron pan or heavy skillet over medium heat. Drop a small ladleful of batter into the centre of the pan and let cook until bubbles begin to pop in the centre, about 2 minutes. Flip pancake and cook for an additional minute or two, until golden brown.

Keep the pancakes warm in a very low-temperature oven while you finish cooking the pineapples. Pile a couple of pancakes onto a plate, and serve with pineapple=rum sauce and rum cream.

To make the the pineapple-sauce: Heat 3 tablespoons sugar and a tablespoon water in a small, heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar has melted. Allow the sugar to simmer for about 2 to 3 minutes, when it just starts to brown. Add the pineapples and toss to coat, and allow to cook for about 2 minutes, to allow the pineapple to soften a bit and release some of its juices. Sprinkle in some salt and cinnamon and stir. Remove the pan from the heat and add the rum. Carefully hold a lighter close to the pan until it catches, return the pan over the heat, and allow the fire to burn off the alcohol. Cook for another 30 seconds, and serve with the coconut pancakes immediately, and some rum whipped cream.

To make the rum cream: Put all the ingredients into a bowl and whisk until stiff peaks form (or use an electric mixer). Keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wordless Wednesday #103: Buca

Orecchio di Maiale
Orecchio di Maiale - crisp pig’s ears with wild fennel salt

Baccala - Aleutian islands cod, fresh chive and bergamot zabaglione freddo

Anatra - thinly sliced duck breast with house-made ricotta salata,
pickled orange, fennel pollen and anise-scented taggiasche finished
with a salt cured duck egg

Monday, April 15, 2013

Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake

I’m obsessed with rhubarb. Every spring, in the short eight- to ten-week window of the season, I load up on stalks of rhubarb at the market. There's something I love about those reddish pink stalks, and their refreshingly tart flavour.

Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake

I often like to roast the rhubarb with a bit of sugar and lemon juice to make a quick and easy compote, and serve it with my morning yogurt and granola. But when I came across this recipe from Saveur Magazine for a Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake, I couldn't resist with the fabulous local rhubarb at my disposal.

Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake

This cake is prepared à la tarte tatin method, in which the rhubarb is caramelized in a cast-iron pan before the batter is added and baked in the oven. At first, I was worried the cake wouldn’t turn out, as the batter was super thick and hard to spread around the pan. What I ended up with was a pretty sloppy looking cake with syrup seemingly running everywhere before it went into the oven. But I decided to let it do its thing, walked away for half an hour, and when I came back, the cake baked beautifully!

The crumb of the cake is rather dense, almost like a shortcake, with the sweet hint of vanilla. The caramelized rhubarb on top is melt-in-your-mouth tender, and the tartness counterbalances with the sweetness of the cake perfectly.

Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake

This cake is best served warm, with some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Any leftover cake should be kept at room temperature to keep it soft and moist; refrigerating it will harden and dry it out. (And it's the best excuse to have cake for breakfast!)

Get the recipe for Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake from Saveur Magazine here.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wordless Wednesday #102: Dubon Chicken Pop-up

Dubon Chicken Pop-up

Dubon Chicken Pop-up

Fiery Pepper KFC

Monday, April 8, 2013

Blood Orange Macarons with Orange Bitters Buttercream

I picked up some beautiful blood oranges from the market a few weeks ago, and in my continued love and fascination for macarons, was inspired to make Blood Orange Macarons (with BraveTart's macarons acting as a creative muse).

Blood Orange Macarons

I attempted to make these a few weeks ago but failed, so I’m delighted that my second attempt turned out beautifully. The recipe I used is an adaptation of the one I often turn to from I Love Macarons by Hisako Ogita. The juice of a blood orange was boiled down to a concentrated syrup, which went into flavouring the macaron batter with some zest. Powdered food colouring was used to give the macarons shells their gorgeous salmon pink hue.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Wordless Wednesday #101: Rose and Sons

Rose & Sons

Fried Rice

1/2 Lobster

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