Jack is Cooking Pannekoeken with Apples

Well Hello Internet!

Pancakes are one of my favorite things, in fact just last night i had a fantastic dream about blueberry pancakes, filled to the brim with blueberries in a way that is only possible in a dream.  This is a recipe for apple pancakes, called Pannekoeken due to its Dutch nature.  It would be possible to make this with almost any fruit, the spices can be adjusted accordingly.

Fresh out of the oven

The first time i ate a pancake like this was in Amsterdam, and have always wanted to make them at home.  It is almost easier than regular pancakes, but it involves the oven.  The batter is very different from american pancakes, and is basically just a sweet version of yorkshire pudding – or a popover.

delicious caramelized apples

You will need a skillet that can go on the stove, and in a hot oven.  Cast Iron is good, or something that is all metal and won’t melt.  Nothing with a rubber grip basically.

Here’s what you will need:

4 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk

1 apple of your choice
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon dark rum

Preheat oven to 450°

1.  In a bowl, mix the eggs, flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and milk together.  Whisk until its bubbly, cover and let it sit for about 15-20 minutes

2.  Cut the apple into slices.  if you want you can remove the skin, but i left it on.

3.  Melt the butter in the skillet over medium heat.  Throw in the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla.  Stir until its bubbly, and the sugar has started to caramelize a little.  Cover with the apples, so the apples are evenly distributed over the sugary butter.  Toss the rum in, careful not to let it ignite.  (you could if you want to, and have a little Flambé action going on!)

4.  Pour the batter over all the apples, but do not stir.  Let it cook for about 30 seconds on top of the stove, and then put it in the oven for 15 minutes.  Do not open the oven at all during these 15 minutes, or it will deflate.

5.  Turn the oven down to 350° and let it bake for another 5 minutes.  Remove from the oven and enjoy immediately!  You can eat this with syrup if you like, but the sweetness of the apples due to the caramelization is enough on its own, and it is extremely delicious on it’s own.

a perfect saturday breakfast

Jack is Cooking Persian Rice

Well Hello Internet!
I recently discovered the deliciousness of persian cuisine.  One of the things i liked the best was the way this particular method of cooking rice creates a delicious crust of rice on the top.  Hidden inside can be all sports of delicious meats, fruits, and vegetables.  I investigated some recipes, and before long i had figured out my own delicious version of it.  There are quite a few steps to it, but each of the steps is relatively straight forward.  The rice is cooked very differently from my Perfect Rice recipe, which was an interesting thing to discover.  All together this takes about 3 hours.

Heres what you will need:
For the Filling:
1 lb Merguez Sausage with no casing (look for Jack’s Merguez Sausage at Herondale farm)
1.5 Onions (sliced)
1 cup prunes (chopped up0
1 small bunch of kale (finely chopped)
3 cloves of Garlic (finely chopped)
a few strands of saffron
1 teaspoon turmeric

For the Marinade/Crust
2 cups Yogurt (Especially good with Greek yogurt, but any yogurt will do fine.)
9 or 10 strands of saffron – soaked in 1/4 cup boiling water
zest of half an orange
salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
2-3 cardamom pods (cracked open and ground)
1 tablespoon honey

For the Rice
3 cups basmati rice (cleaned and rinsed until the water is clear)
2-3 tablespoons ghee
1/2 onion
3 egg yolks
salt and pepper.

To Prepare the Filling

1.  Mix all the ingredients from the marinade together

2.  Take the sausage and place in a pan with 1 onion, 2 cloves of garlic, saffron and turmeric,  cook over medium heat until the sausage is cooked, and the onions are tender.  Leaving the juice in the pan, mix the cooked sausage and onions into the marinade.

3. Heat back up the juice in the pan, and add the other half an onion plus 1 clove of garlic.  Cook until its starting to get soft, then add the kale.  Toss for a few seconds, then add the salt and pepper, plus the prunes.  cover and cook for about 5 minutes.   Set aside.

To Make the Rice
1.  Preheat oven to 375°

2.  Fill a large pot of water and bring to a boil.  Add 3 cups of rice stir making sure all the grains are separate from each other (kind of like cooking pasta).  Cook for maybe 4 minutes, then strain the rice out through a sieve.  You want the rice to be soft on the outside, but still crunchy on the inside.  Its going to be cooked some more in a little bit.  Run it under cold water to stop the rice from cooking.

3.  Remove the meat from the marinade, and set aside.  Add 3 egg yolks into the marinade and whisk together.  Mix in about 1/3 of the rice.

4.  Take a Pyrex dish (it could be round or square), and add 2 tablespoons of ghee.  place in the oven for to heat up the pan and melt the ghee.   ( about 5 minutes)  Remove from the oven

5.  Spread the rice mixture into the bottom of the hot pan.  Try to make a nice even layer that goes a little up the sides.  Keeping mostly to the middle of the pan, spread out a layer of about half of the spinach and prune mixture.  Then a layer of all the meat followed by another layer of spinach.  Finally cover everything with the rest of the rice, fully encasing all the meat and spinach.  sprinkle with any leftover marinade and juice, salt and pepper.

6. Cover with a layer of greased wax paper, followed by 2 or 3 tight layers of tinfoil.  Press down on the rice mixture to make sure everything is good and compacted.  Place in the oven for about 1.5 hours.

7. After about an hour and a half, take a look at the underside of the rice, through the pyrex.  it should be turning a nice brown color.  At this point i like to turn the oven up to about 450° for the last 20 minutes or so.  This will make the crust nice and dark golden brown – and nice and crispy..

8. Remove from the oven and let it sit for 15-20 minutes still covered.  Remove the wax paper, and tinfoil.  carefully run a knife around the edges to separate the rice on the sides.  Place a serving plate over it, and flip the rice out onto the plate so the brown side is up.  Garnish with some fresh parsley, and serve.

Jack is Cooking Sausages with Pepper and Onions

Well Hello Internet!
Today i have a simple recipe for Sausage with Peppers and Onions.  It’s very easy and fast to throw together for a good lunch, or dinner.  Also it is good to eat with beer, as a good beer is one of the ingredients.
Here’s what you will need:
1 lb Sausages (Herondale Farm Sweet or Hot Italian!)
1 Onion
1 Red Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Herbs de Provence
1 pinch Fresh Rosemary
Good Beer. (maybe a cup)  I used a Weihenstephaner.  
A Baguette
1. Slice the onion and peppers so they are the same size.  Open the Beer.
2.  First Brown the sausages in a skillet, until they are nicely brown on all sides.
3.  Using the same pan as for the sausages, heat the oil back up and add the onions and the peppers, and cook until they are a little brown.  Add salt and pepper to taste, and a little herbs de provence (maybe 1/2 teaspoon), as well as the rosemary.

4.  Add the sausages back to the pan, and just enough beer, so that the sausages are halfway covered.  let simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until reduced 3/4 of the way down.  

5.  Serve on piece of baguette, with the rest of the beer.