Kanel Aebleskivers

 Aebleskiver is the Danish word for apple fritter. It is a type of pancake or donut. This is a Rocky-Mountain version of Danish apple fritters, derived from a recipe provided by Harry J. Goodro.

kanel_aebleskivers You will need:

1- Danish aebleskiver pan (Lodge makes the best cast-iron aebleskiver pans)

2- a gas-fired stove, or induction cooktop

3- electric beater or whisk-type beater

4- cutting board with chopping knife

5- butter – at least a stick

6- fresh apples

7- cinnamon powder

8- vanilla-flavored almond milk

9- eggs (from a chicken grower who uses only vegetarian feed)

10- all-purpose flour

11- natural cane or granulated sugar

12- sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)

13- sea salt (do NOT use any “free-flowing” concoction)

14- cream of tartar

15- large mixing bowl with soup-size spoon

16- medium whipping bowl

17- melting cup

18- fork, knitting needle, or wooden chopstick

19- serving plate

Peel and core three or four large apples. Choose a variety that is crisp and juicy, rather than “delicious” – soft and pithy. Chop the apple fruit into small bits. Separate two fresh eggs: put the whites into the beater bowl, and the yolks into the mixing bowl. Discard the shells.

Whip the egg whites on high speed until they start to peak. Add 1.2 ml cream of tartar, and continue whipping until peaks hold stiff.

Use a melting cup to melt 1 stick (125 ml) of butter. A Pyrex measuring cup and a microwave oven will also do fine. The melted butter should not be so hot that it burns your finger.

In the mixing bowl, add 300 ml almond milk, 3 ml sodium bicarbonate, 500 ml flour, 3 ml sea salt, 5 ml cinnamon powder, and 60 ml white sugar. Stir together well to form a batter, then add the melted butter. Stir the butter completely into the batter.

Add the chopped apples, and stir completely into the batter. Gently stir the whipped egg whites into the batter. Heat the aebleskiver pan over medium heat for a few minutes, then smear some butter generously into each cup. I use a fork stuck into a cold stick of butter. If the butter burns quickly, reduce the heat slightly. The center cup tends to be the hottest; you may want to avoid using it until you’ve cooked a few rounds in the outer cups.

Using the spoon, place scoops of batter into each cup. Try to fill no more than 2/3 full. When the edges are brown, use the knitting needle or chopstick to turn. Push one edge gently toward the pan bottom, so that the ball “rolls over”. If it doesn’t turn completely over, don’t fret. Let it cook for another minute, then roll it a little more onto the area that didn’t quite cook.

Remove the aebleskivers from the pan, and place on a serving plate. Always smear some fresh butter into each cup before adding fresh batter to the pan.

There are countless ways to serve aebleskivers. You can roll the cooled aebleskivers in powdered sugar. You can dip the hot aebleskivers into maple syrup. You can cut one in halves, and smear your favorite jelly on it. You can make a warm glaze or icing, dip the aebleskivers into the icing, and allow to harden.

Zumi Rice

zumirice
Preparation:

I used a Lodge brand flat-bottom 5-quart dutch oven for this recipe. Used to be, all Lodge Cast Iron was made in Tennessee, but no more. More stuff is imported from China. So what happens if we send all our money to China? Just curious.

If you have trouble getting your rice to stay fluffy, but not sticky, parboiled rice is the trick. You may use ordinary rice here, but only if you’re already familiar with how your rice behaves.

When you stir this recipe, use a wooden spoon. If you must scrape the edges of your pan with a metal spoon or spatula, something’s wrong. It may be your pan, it may be your recipe, it may be YOU. Think about it.

Don’t freak out about my unconventional presentation. I will list ingredients as I give the instructions.

Let’s start the food part of the recipe here.

>250 grams of sliced sausage (that’s a half pound, Yankee)

Fry the meat in the bottom of a 3.5 liter dutch oven. Retain all fat and juices. If your meat is “extra lean” and you don’t see any juice or fat, use a drizzle of olive oil to make up for it.

>125 ml dry parboiled rice

Spread the rice out over the cooked meat. That’s right. Same pot.

>175 ml water, 30 ml olive oil, 10 ml (2 tsp) buffalo seasoning, 1 chopped yellow onion (large), 1 chopped bell pepper (choose your own color).

Add these ingredients right on top of the meat and rice. Same dutch oven pot. Bring the water to a boil. ¿How do you tell? Well, you might have to peek down through those pieces of onion and bell pepper. While you’re peeking, ¡DO NOT stir this stuff! Let it get really bubbly, then cover the pot. I mean, put a lid on it. Immediately, reduce the heat to a low simmer. Let it cook thus for 10 minutes. Nine is cool. Eleven is acceptable. Eight is stretching the limits of reason.

>1 large fresh chopped portabella mushroom. You could substitute about 8 ounces of sliced baby bella mushrooms. Rinse well before adding to the pot.

Keep the pot on the low heat, and add the mushroom. Now stir it up. Stir the bottom, the sides, the middle, the edges, the fringes, the corners, the top. The rice should appear soft by now, and the water should be gone. Put the lid on it again, and let it simmer for another three minutes. Now remove the heat. Turn it off. Take the pot out of the fire, or off the electric stove. Last thing is, let the pot sit covered, with the lid on, for 10 minutes.

Some folks like it a little saltier, so you can add some sea salt to your plate only. When I call for sea salt, there is no substitute. Cheap table salt may have silicoaluminate mixed in.

Chicken Cabbage Salad

I first learned about this recipe from Tonnette, before she became my wife. Her recipe included “Accent” which is a brand of MSG; poison to me. So I figured out a better way to season it, and this version elicited praise from my hard-to-please roomate.

First Group Ingredients:

* chicken breasts – 2 large. Partially frozen.

* lemon pepper seasoning – 3 teaspoons. No silicon dioxide, no sand.

* sea salt – 1/2 teaspoon. No silico aluminate.

* soy sauce – 4 Tablespoons.

* vegetable oil – 3 Tablespoons.

Many frozen chicken parts have water added. Allow your chicken meat to partially thaw in the refrigerator, in a covered dish. Dump off the liquid, then cut into small chunks. It will be easier to cut if it’s partially frozen.

Stir in the lemon pepper, sea salt, and soy sauce. If your lemon pepper already has salt included, you might hold off on the sea salt. Cover and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for a few hours.

Cook the chicken in a skillet over medium high heat, with the vegetable oil. I use olive oil, but you can use any good cooking oil. Do NOT drain off the soy sauce. Stir with a wooden spoon to break apart the chunks. Make sure it is well done, and any liquid has boiled off. Allow to cool.

Second Group Ingredients:

* dry ramen noodles – 2 packages.

* raw sesame seeds – 3 Tablespoons.

* blanched slivered almonds – 1/2 Cup.

* vegetable oil – 3 Tablespoons.

Gently crush the ramen noodles in the package, using the heel of your hand, or a wooden rolling pin. Don’t reduce it to powder, but crumble it so it’s small enough to chew. Then open the packet and pour the noodles into a non-stick skillet. Discard the seasoning packets; toss them into the garbage.

Add the vegetable oil, sesame seeds, and the almonds to the skillet, and place over medium heat. Stir, stir, stir, gently. Keep this stuff moving, so it doesn’t scorch. It should only be lightly toasted, or browned, and this should happen slowly, as you stir. If it gets brown suddenly, get your skillet off the stove now. Allow to cool.

Third Group Ingredients:

* green  cabbage – 1 large head.

* green onions – 8; about 1 bunch.

Cut the core out of the cabbage and discard. Cut the remainder into bite-sized chunks, and put into a large salad bowl. Wash and chop the green onions, including about two inches of the stalks with the bulbs. Pay attention to the bulbs, that they get chopped finely. Add to cabbage.

Now add all prior ingredients to the bowl of cabbage. Don’t need to stir it yet.

Fourth Group Ingredients:

* rice vinegar – 1/4 Cup.

* grapeseed oil – 1/4 Cup.

* natural cane sugar – 1/8 Cup.

* sea salt – 1/2 teaspoon.

You can substitute olive oil, or sunflower seed oil, for the grapeseed oil. You can substitute white wine vinegar for the rice vinegar. Stir the vinegar, oil, salt, and sugar together in a cup, then pour over the salad.

Stir up the salad well, and refrigerate for about 1 hour.

Cucumber Tickles

Tickles

Cucumber harvest is upon us here in Boise. Lots of people prepare home made pickles of one sort or another, and they always taste better when they come from your own garden.

My wife’s family has made this a sort of family tradition – one of the more memorable foods I “married into”. Problem for me was that when I inquired for the recipe, there wasn’t one. Or let’s just say, my wife makes up her own recipe, as she goes. No need to get complicated.

I’ve seen Hispanic street vendors do some interesting things with cucumbers. Once in Chicago, I ordered a bag of fresh cucumbers with lemon juice, salt, and cayenne. It was quite good. Tonight I started asking my wife about the ingredients she uses. I figured, if I could at least get a list of ingredients, I could slowly figure out the measurements.

Since this is not an exact science I will probably make some adjustments in the weeks ahead. And I welcome comments on your own experiences.


Cucumbers –> 2 or 3 medium sized

Sliced onions –> 1/2 Cup

Apple cider vinegar –> 1 Cup

Water –> 1/2 Cup

Cane sugar –> 2 teaspoons

Sea salt –> 1 teaspoon

Ground peppercorns –> 1/4 teaspoon

Crushed red pepper –> 1/2 teaspoon

• The objective here is NOT to produce a fully pickled product. Just add a tickle of flavor to ordinary cucumbers.

• So  lets start by choosing some nice cucumbers. Peel them, and cut them into slices about 1/8 inch thick. Or, thick enough to bite into, but thin enough to chew easily.

• Slice up a small onion. If you like rings, you can keep it in rings. If you like it chopped up small, then chop it up in small chunks. Doesn’t matter. If you like green onions, or pearl onions, chop up a bunch of them instead.

• Put the onion & cucumber into a large bowl. We use a deep Rubbermaid container, so we can cover it and refrigerate it. Pour in the vinegar and water, then stir in the sugar, salt and pepper.

• Let it marinate for a few hours in the refrigerator before serving.

Guava Zinger

The Ocean Spray Company produced tropical beverages under the Mauna La’i brand name. These were sold in Salt Lake County, before the year 2000, when the brand was sold to Mott’s. I loved their Guava flavor, which was a sweetened blend of guava juice, lemon juice, and water.

I lost interest in the beverage for several years, until I was traveling as a truck driver, and was browsing at a strange grocery store. I found a bottle of something with the Mauna La’i name on it, but it wasn’t what I remembered. Someone had changed the recipe, so that it was mostly a blend of apple, pear, and white grape juices, with a smidgeon of guava flavor.

I decided that I could mix my own juice, and it would taste even better. The trick to having a delicious guava zinger beverage is finding good guava nectar. Mostly the stuff I could find was a guava flavored corn syrup. In some cases, the guava flavor was artificial.

Find a real guava nectar – which includes some of the pulp – and pour it “on the rocks” into a tall glass, just until it’s about half full. Add Simply Lemonade to fill the remainder. Stir and enjoy.

In summary, all you need for this is ice, a spoon, a tall glass, lemonade, and guava nectar.

If either your guava nectar or lemonade is too sweet to begin with, add about 1/3 water to dilute it.

The Mystery of Chili Powder

When I see a recipe that calls for chili powder, it makes me wonder, ¿What brand of chili powder are they talking about? Yes, exactly what do they mean by chili powder? Actually, dried ground cayenne is one type of chili powder. Dried ground jalapeño is another type of chili powder. Beware, that’s probably NOT what the recipe author had in mind. The point here is I want to know which chili peppers and how much I’m using in a recipe, I do not want some mysterious blend of cayenne, sweet peppers, paprika, and sand.

If you want my advice, don’t buy anything called chili powder. The best chili powder I’ve found is not even called chili powder. It’s made by Yellowstone Seasoning based in Idaho Falls. Their Spicy Buffalo Blend was once offered at dining tables in Gardiner, Montana. I tried it on my fries, my buffalo burger, and wanted more, so I purchased a few bottles.

A couple years later, I was sitting in my kitchen in Emigrant, with my last jar of the Spicy Buffalo Blend wondering how I could get more of the stuff when it was gone. I had searched every joint in Gardiner, and nobody there was offering it any more. Sure, I could order directly from the company, but getting mail delivered in Emigrant was a tricky business. There was no regular mail delivery to my house, and I was uncomfortable with UPS because of prior bad experiences with them.

So I wondered, ¿Why not mix my own seasoning blend? Indeed. There was nothing preventing me, except that I had no spices on hand, and it was a long drive to the nearest grocery store.

I wrote my shopping list before I got to the grocery store, and decided I would need to purchase a spice grinder.

This is the Buffalo Blend recipe I came up with.

  • Bob’s Red Mill Sea Salt, 6 teaspoons
  • chipotle chili powder, 3 teaspoons
  • garlic powder, 3 teaspoons
  • onion powder, 3 teaspoons
  • ground cumin seeds, 3 teaspoons
  • ground black peppercorns, 3 teaspoons
  • ground celery seeds, 2 teaspoons
  • ground savory, 2 teaspoons
  • cayenne powder, 1 teaspoon

This recipe fits very nicely into an empty, used glass spice jar of 2.5 ounces. Ideally, every spice should be fresh ground, for the best flavor, but let’s be practical. Grinding 8 spices by hand is a real pain in the elbow. And the wrist. And some of these spices are not available un-ground. For instance, chipotle pepper is really smoked, dried jalapeño. ¿Who wants to process a fresh jalapeño into chipotle powder? Not me.

There are some people who think it’s cool to buy spices a gallon at a time. If you run a restaurant, go for it! If you’re a plain dude who lives with his mother, use some restraint. You don’t need a five year supply of spice blends, taking up space. Keep in mind that dried ground spices start losing flavor after they’re unsealed. Garlic and onion powders go stale rather quickly, say within 15 months.

You may want to adjust the recipe for your own taste. Let me suggest the most critical ingredients are the first two. Too much salt, and the other flavors will get lost. Too much chipotle will numb your taste buds and your throat.

My favorite way to use this spice blend was thus:

Take two large slices of fresh white Hutterite bread [¿And have you ever seen small slices of Hutterite bread?]. Spread each with mayonnaise or miracle whip, sprinkle on a liberal amount of the Buffalo Blend. Add fresh tomato slices, sweet onion slices, and sweet pepper slices, and serve as a sandwich.