I have been absent from the blog for a while but it’s time to return. Like the rest of the world, I have some more personal time on my hands. My commute is considerably shorter and I’ve been confined to my bungalow for weeks now. Day 20 for me, to be concise. I’m not complaining. It’s a wonderful rainy day, Downton Abby is on the T.V., coffee is in my cup and I’m quite content.
The only thing that would make this moment better would be to have something to eat. Mmmmm, I think of what I want and then decide it’s really the only choice for the day. I gather my ingredients, flour, milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, dash of salt, butter and a skillet. What’s that? It’s time for a Dutch Baby Pancake!
If I had to rank breakfasty types of desserts, it would be pancakes on the bottom, french toast, then waffles and now I place the dutch baby pancake at the top. I think they might be used as a simple dessert often but they should just be adapted for use for anytime. Perhaps I have starved myself of carbs for too long, but I love that you can taste all of the decadent ingredients especially the butter in this effortless food.
My recipe came from the master, Martha Stewart, originally.
3 tablespoons butter 3 large eggs 3/4 cup of milk 1/2 cup of flour 1/4 teaspoon of salt 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
Preheat oven to 425 degrees add 2 tablespoons of butter to nonstick, oven proof skillet I used my cast iron skillet but if you don’t have that just make sure you use an over proof skillet.
Combine the rest of the ingredients, save the last tablespoon of butter to put on top of the dutch baby when it’s cooked.
I combined the ingredients to a lumpy form then decided to put it in my cuisenart to whip it up. You could use a blender for this as well. You want the mix to become slightly frothy if you can but at the very least make sure it’s smooth. Unlike pancakes, you want this batter to be smooth and frothy.
Pour the mix into the skillet where you have the melted butter. Bake for about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and you can add the remainder of the butter, sprinkle with powdered sugar and some fresh lemon juice.
It’s such a wonderful basic flavor that it will go with any topping that you choose. Looks beautiful with fresh berries or perhaps even nutella and banana if you want a indulgent dessert.
Try this. You won’t be disappointed and when this quarantine is over…I’m having you all over for a Dutch Baby Pancake feast! Until then, virtual hugs and kisses to you all!
I went camping this year. I even have witnesses. It’s not a regular occurrence for me, but occasionally I like it. To be clear, I like the outdoors – the scenery, most of the smells, trees and stuff. I’m not an avid camper though, so I have no equipment to make camping easy. I have a sleeping bag that my brother gave me that he wasn’t using. If you asked him to go camping, he’ll respond, “Why would you do that when there is a perfectly good hotel not far away?” He didn’t need his sleeping bag, so I took it. I own nothing else to help myself to live outdoors even for a night.
Growing up, I haven’t had a lot of opportunity to go camping. I can count on one hand all of my camping experiences including the one this past year. My first camping experience was to Camp Happily Appley with my brownie troupe. There, I was forced to drink water that tasted like dirty armpits, pretty much got bucked off of a horse and was traumatized changing clothes in the outdoors without any doors anywhere, but people everywhere. (I was a modest 9 year old). Let’s not talk about the dreaded out houses where there could be a rattle snake waiting for you? This trip took me out of my comfort zone.
My next camping trip came in high school when my youth group was going to McGrath State Beach. This beach camping trip sounded great in theory as it was 5 minutes from my house and I really loved the beach. I used to go really frequently to the beach back then. For this trip, I had nothing with me except a blanket. Everything was fine and taken care of by our leader such as food and campfires etc, until it came time to sleep. Without a tent or a sleeping bag, I slept with my blanket in the youth group van by myself. You might think this would be alright but I was a frozen popsicle by morning. I have no recollection of the trip after that but I think I got picked up and defrosted at home?
So after that, I went camping one or two more times and if there was a rock, inevitably my head would find an uncomfortable pillow. I also managed to position myself sleeping downhill? I’m not the most coordinated person, so I associated well with Lucy in the movieForever Darling.
Needless to say, I eagerly signed myself up for camping with friends this past Spring! I warned them all of my lack of camping knowledge and basically told them to take care of me. Thankfully, they did. We also rented an RV, so there was no chance of a rock pillow or downhill sleeping arrangement. My reference for RV camping was also Lucy in a movie called, The Long Long Trailer. I’ve obviously watched more movies than camp.
My lack of experience lends itself to romanticizing and associating camping with classic things like…singing around a campfire, lots of flannel, star gazing, and of course S’mores. My friend Lucas found a recipe on pinterest for home made marshmallows which I was certain would make us the most popular campsite for miles around. He said he’d make them, so I didn’t argue! We thought they’d be perfect around the campfire. He made dozens of fluffy white yummy marshmallows.
Lucas and Vito, Eagle Scouts, were on the trip. They were more than capable of building a campfire but this Brownie criticized the fire for not being big enough because I compared it to others around us and “movie” campfires where they seem a bit more dramatic than ours? They assured me our campfire was exactly right and appeased me a little with a few more flames to get that film quality that I envisioned.
Campfire was set, stars were in place and now those homemade marshmallows were going to be roasted. There were four of us in on this campfire experiment. We skewered our marshmallows while our salivary glands anticipated the sweet mouthwatering delicacy. Each person had a different roasting method which pretty much garnered the same outcome. Marshmallows were melting quickly and falling off the skewer into the fire. New plans were quickly derived to catch marshmallows in graham crackers before falling.
It was a messy endeavor but when you finally got a marshmallow in your mouth, it was a confectionary delight. We tried to eat more than one but it wasn’t easy, even for a sweet tooth connoisseur. They had to have been the best marshmallows that I’ve ever had but a bit more richer than the average store bought brand.
Ingredients for marshmallows:
About 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 1/2 envelopes (2 tablespoons plus 2 1/2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
1 cup cold water, divided
2 cups granulated sugar (cane sugar worked just fine)
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites or reconstituted powdered egg whites
1 tablespoon vanilla (alternately: 1/2 of a scraped vanilla bean, 2 teaspoons almond or mint extract or maybe even some food coloring for tinting)
To follow the full recipe for Springy, Fluffy Marshmallows from smittenkitchen.com, click here.
The next encounter with THE marshmallows were at a Palm Springs trip. As you know we frequently make a visit to Palm Springs as it’s close and relatively inexpensive for a group of us to go. This time I found a recipe for Skillet S’mores which I thought would be better because it eliminated the game of twirling the skewer to keep your marshmallow on it. The idea is that the chocolate and the marshmallows are in a skillet where you can dip your graham cracker or spoon the concoction on your graham cracker.
Ingredients for the skillet s’mores:
1 cup chocolate chips
8 large marshmallows or fill the skillet
graham crackers for dipping
To follow the full recipe for Indoor S’mores from dessertfortwo.com, click here.
In the future, I would make an adjustment to this recipe though. I suggest melting your chocolate and adding some cream and maybe some butter in a double boiler first to make loose viscous texture then pour into a skillet and bake the marshmallows on top. Nobody found fault in the way that I served this per the recipe but I think it would have made for easier dipping and less chance of burning the chocolate before you put the marshmallows on top to bake.
I’m usually up for most adventures. I probably would have slept on a rock on a hill as long as there was promise of these treats again but I’m certainly glad there was a moderately comfortable bed for this princess and the pea. I hope you have sweet dreams if you take this recipe with you on your next camping trip or just at home watching movies.
For me, food and recipes connect me to family and friends. Smells of chicken and garlic always transport me to my dad’s kitchen while just chopping broccoli gives me giggles reminding me of prepping for a Jackson party!
My best friend’s mom recently passed away and I will always think of the great times that we shared this past year especially at the Isle of Palms and Las Vegas where she made the craps table cheer everytime she was the shooter! She gave us all some wonderful memories to hold in our hearts for the remainder of our days on earth until we reunite.
Mary Ann was the matriarch of this fun-loving, wacky family. I went to visit this extended family in Tennessee in 2011 where we celebrated, partied and bonded with each other through tons of food and drink as Southerners have taught me. We ended that wonderful trip with a family dinner at Mary Ann’s. One of the ulterior motives of this dinner was to be able to watch “the master” make her cornbread.
2 cups corn meal
1 cup milk
2-3 teaspoons oil (heated in pan)
Mary Ann had a cornbread skillet, well used and seasoned after years of making the beloved recipe. It had about eight wedges built into the skillet and was perfect for cornbread. This California girl had never seen a skillet like this!
She had the skillet on the stove warming on a low heat and poured in well over the recommended amount of oil! (Her daughter in law ended up removing some, so I suggest using the appropriate amount in the ingredients listed).
After combining the corn meal, egg and milk, you pour the mixture in the oiled skillet. Set your oven to 400 degrees, place the skillet on the middle rack and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until golden brown.
If you don’t have a separated skillet like Mary Ann’s, you can use a standard skillet. She would use a standard skillet and flip the cornbread through the baking to get both sides a beautiful golden brown all over.
This recipe is best baked in a skillet but if you don’t have one, a cake pan will work but it won’t get the lovely Southern fried golden crusting that happens in the skillet. This is a simple recipe but the flavor comes from essentially frying in the oven.
It could be that this recipe was made with love each time and that was its main ingredient. Thankfully we are blessed with indulging in memories of every bite and smell that comes from recipes like Mary Ann’s cornbread. If kitchen walls could talk, they would divulge thousands of emotions, hundreds of calories and most of all, decades of love. We can take comfort in cornbread today and continue traditions for tomorrow.
“She loved YOU best!”
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