Office Hours

image from http://www.istockphoto.com

I’ve been toying with the notion of changing the hours I keep here at BAH. Something about my experiment with posting Monday through Friday has made my hobby feel more like an obligation.  Much like I can walk past a sink full of dirty dishes and tell myself the dishes don’t exist, I’ve been mentally ignoring the blog, pretending I don’t see the empty spaces that need to be filled.

So instead of a new offering being served up M-F, the BAH kitchen will be open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  It feels like I’m back in college, trying to find the perfect scheduling combination that will let me avoid 8am anything and still get done by 2pm so I can get back to my apartment to watch the As The World Turns.

Don’t want to miss a single pithy offering here at BAH?  Subscribe to the rss feed or sign up for email delivery of new posts.  It’s as close as you want to get to me actually showing up on your doorstep in my robe and fuzzy slippers.

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NiceCream

Ice Cream Shooter

I’m usually late to try the newest, hottest, trendiest recipes.  But somehow, I found myself jumping on the Single Ingredient Ice Cream bandwagon before it passed me by.  Actually, I feel like I couldn’t turn around on the interwebs without running into it.  So I gathered the necessary ingredient(s) to see what all the fuss was about.

I thought I had found a long term replacement for Ben and Jerry’s until one of my friends pointed out that bananas are uber high on the glycymic index which means that for my South Beachish eating habits, they really aren’t the best food choice on a regular basis.  That’s a shame because with enough peanut butter and cocoa powder to mask the banana, it really is an enjoyable treat that you’d swear was ice cream.

So while I lament yet another failure in my quest to be one of the hip kidz, you might want to click on over here, and here, and here to see what all the dang fuss is about.

Cucumber Tzatziki

I’ve officially given up on trying to grow any vegetables here at the BAH compound.  My experiment in container gardening was a complete disaster and my failure to remove the offending containers from the back porch is a daily reminder of that.  The only thing that I was able to propagate was a bumper crop of weeds.

In that perfect world of mine, I would have a wee patch of garden overflowing with tomatoes, squash, peppers, and cucumbers.  Universe, are you listening?  I get it.  In my life, I may never add master gardener to my list of accomplishments.  Clearly, you have other life lessons in store for me that take precedent.  So I will quit fighting it and rely on the generosity of those who aren’t horticulturally challenged when they offer to share the bounty of their garden with me.

Cucumber Tzatziki

BAH Note: Slather this on your sandwich, use it to dip fresh veg, or gobble it up on toasted pita.  There really isn’t a wrong way to enjoy this.

Adapted from Bon Appetit

  • 28 ounces plain yogurt (not low or non fat)
  • 3 medium cucumbers, peeled and seeded
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • kosher salt
  • ground celery seed
  • ground corriander seed

Place a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and line with several layers of cheesecloth or paper towels.  Empty the container of yogurt into the lined strainer and let stand at room temperature for 3 hours to drain.

Meanwhile, coarsely grate the cucumber and place it in a second strainer placed over a bowl.  Let stand for 3 hours to drain, squeezing out any excess moisture after 3 hours.

Once the yogurt has thickened, transfer it to a medium bowl and discard the liquid.  Add the grated cucumber and dill and mix well.  Season to taste with kosher salt, celery seed, and corriander seed to taste.

{printable recipe}

Yeasted Waffles

Overnight Waffles

Have I mentioned that I used to have a fabulous memory?  Yes, I used to.  But somewhere along the way, my brain cells have stopped processing information.  It’s a shame.  I forget a lot of things – whether I’ve fed the cat, if I set my alarm, are my car keys in my purse.  It’s a real accomplishment that I manage to get myself out of the house on a daily basis.  Mostly, I try and hide this flaw from public view.  I write myself notes.  I keep three separate calendars.  I set two alarms each night.  But some details just don’t stick.  Like the fact that my friend Anne does not eat meat.

Not that this fact comes into play on a regular basis in my world.  But on the occasions that she is in town and at my house to enjoy a meal, it really would behoove me to remember that pasta with meat sauce or chicken pot pie isn’t really going to appeal to her. Like the other week when it wasn’t until the pot pie was in the oven that I remembered I wasn’t sure if Anne ate chicken or not.  And I did not immediately have a Plan B.

Thanks to my current obsessive/compulsive fixation with waffles, I managed to turn this potential dinner disaster into a major save.  See, I had recently made a batch of overnight waffles and had some leftovers lurking in the freezer.  So when Anne confirmed that chicken pot pie sounded lovely but that she didn’t eat chicken, my mind quickly started to take a mental inventory of what other choices were available.  Since I can’t seem to remember squat, I had to start opening cabinets, cupboards, refrigerator bins, and the freezer to see what our options were.  It was there that I spotted my frozen waffley salvation.

The beauty of the frozen waffle is that it goes from freezer to plate very quickly.  So as the pot pie was finishing up in the oven, frozen waffles went into the toaster and some eggs got scrambling.  By the time the waffles and eggs were plated, the pot pie was ready to be served.  Anne felt bad that I made a separate meal for her but what she didn’t realize was that A) I should have made sure I inquired about any dietary restrictions and B) I totally scored by having more chicken pot pie leftovers.  And if she’s reading this post, I hope she knows that it was my pleasure to give her some breakfast styled dinner and any additional pot pie leftovers were merely an unintended bonus.

I’d also like to thank her for giving me the idea for this post.  She left a comment on the Sour Cream Waffles asking if they were the ones she had at my house.  I said no, but that I hadn’t been able to come up with a story for the ones she had.  And in that moment, I knew what this story would be.  It would be about a superhero (overnight waffles) saving a  damsel in distress (me) from a villainous rascal (my ever failing memory).  If only I were an artist, I could totally turn that into a comic…the Adventures of (Waffle) Iron Man.

Yeasted Waffles

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

BAH Note: Generally speaking, I liked these waffles.  I liked that the batter could sit in the fridge for up to 24 hours which made them a great weeknight breakfast for dinner option.  I liked that the exterior was thin and crisp but I found that as I worked my way through the batter, later waffles were dark on one side while pale on the other.  Earlier waffles were evenly browned on both sides.  I didn’t detect a difference in the taste of these later waffles.  I got about 14 regular sized waffles from one batch of batter.  So plan on either feeding a lot of people or storing well wrapped leftovers in the freezer for later enjoyment. When choosing your bowl, remember that the batter will approximately double in size.  So make sure that you give yourself enough room for the batter to grow without turning your refrigerator shelf into a yeasted waffle swamp.

  • 1 3/4 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon spiced sugar (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package yeast
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine the milk and butter in a microwave safe bowl and heat on 50% power until the butter is melted.  You want the liquid warm but not boiling.  Let cool for five minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in a large bowl.  In a second bowl, whisk the eggs and vanilla.

Slowly add the cooled milk mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until the batter is smooth.  Add the egg mixture to the batter and mix until all ingredients are completely combined.  Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.

When ready to cook, remove the batter from the refrigerator while you heat your waffle iron.  Whisk the batter until it has deflated and the ingredients have been reincorporated.  Using an ice cream disher, place one scoop of batter into each waffle mold and cook according to your waffle maker’s instructions.

Leftover waffles should be cooled completely before wrapping in a double layer of plastic wrap for freezing.

{printable recipe}

Flashback Friday – Did Someone Say Pie?

Flashback Friday

The following originally appeared on 7/16/08 at Exit 51

Did Someone Say Pie?

It’s almost lunch time and I foolishly checked out the Washington Post Food Section.  Give me a moment while I clean up the slobber that is smeared all over my monitor.

Now, I can’t vouch for these recipes but when you’ve got Rose Levy Beranbaum and the Washington Post involved, I’m thinking the recipe is going to be pretty good.

Yes, this does mean that I will be taking home recipes for flaky cream cheese pie crust, cherry lattice pie, and perfect peach pie. Lord have mercy on me.

Stuffed Portobellos

I don’t often choose meatless meals.  If I’m presented with the opportunity to choose a dish, I’m usually inclined to go with something that at one time roamed the earth.  Chicken, beef, fish, and seafood?  These are all good things to me.  I would make a terrible vegetarian because I like my bacon and steak too much to give them up.  So while I appreciate the value others put on being meatless, I appreciate even more that they don’t try and convert the world to that lifestyle.  That lack of pressure makes my occasional (mostly) meatless discovery all the more enjoyable.

Stuffed portobellos, how exciting could they be?  I’d say they are exciting enough to prompt one of my friends to ask when she could get a dinner invitation after seeing that picture on my flickr.  If it weren’t for the fact that she lives in Boston and I’m in Baltimore, I imagine she might have jumped in the car and come over looking for some leftovers.  Here’s what I told her:  each bite is a different set of flavors – smooth and creamy from the cheese, smokey from the bacon, sweet from the tomato, earthy from the mushrooms, and sharp from the balsamic.  I don’t know about anyone else but that description makes me wish I had a stuffed portobello right now.

You could make this a completely meatless dish.  You could.  Me, I like it with bacon.  Like I said, presented with a choice, I’m going to choose bacon each and every time.  And I’m ok with that.

Stuffed Portobellos

Adapted from Jen @ How To: Simplify

BAH Note: You’ll want to serve this in a shallow bowl.  Once you cut into the mushrooms, the juices mix with the cheesy filling to make a rich broth in your bowl.  I recommend you use some french bread to soak it all up.  As you start eating the the dish, it will look like a train wreck on your plate.  But it will be delicious.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 4 large portobello mushroom caps, stems removed
  • 3 shallots, diced
  • 1/4 cup chevre or other soft goat cheese
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced (1 generous cup)
  • 1/2 pound ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 pound bacon

Heat your oven to 350 degrees and line a sheet pan with aluminum foil.  Place the mushrooms on the sheet pan.

Whisk together the olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl.  Using a pastry brush, brush the tops and bottoms of the mushrooms with the vinegar and oil.  Place the pan in the oven and cook the mushrooms for five minutes, flip the caps over so that the gill side is facing up and cook for ten more minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large frying pan until it is crisp.  Let the bacon cool and then crumble it into a medium bowl.  Drain the bacon grease from the pan into a small bowl.  Wipe out the inside of the frying pan and return one tablespoon of the reserved bacon grease to the frying pan.  Add the shallots and cook over medium heat until they just start to soften, approximately three minutes.  Add the zucchini and cook until they are tender and begin to become translucent.  Transfer the shallot/zucchini mixture to the bowl with the bacon.

Add the diced tomatoes and cheese to the bowl with the bacon and vegetables and gently stir until the cheese has completely melted.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and then scoop the vegetable/cheese mixture into the mushroom caps.  Return to the oven for 5 minutes to heat through.  Serve immediately.

{printable recipe}

Korean Style Marinated Skirt Steak

Once upon a time, my brother and I used to get a subscription to Games Magazine as a gift from our grandmother who lived in Detroit.  She used to send all kinds of cool story books, puzzle books, picture books.  She was all about the books which may explain my (genetic ?) predisposition to curl up with a book and shut out the rest of the world.

I don’t remember a whole lot about Games Magazine except that there would be these picture puzzles that I could never figure out.  How the hell is a 9 year old supposed to understand that showing a line drawing of rope with the two ends coming together represents ‘making ends meet’.  Or that the drawing of two doctors is a ‘paradox’.  Clearly, my lack of understanding those picture puzzles left an impression on me because all these years later, that’s all I remember about the magazine.  So what does Games Magazine have to do with cooking?  Nothing except that when it came time to tell you about Korean Marinated Skirt Steak, I didn’t have a single picture of my dish that I wasn’t completely mortified to post.  I might not have understood those picture puzzles as a kid but they sure are coming in handy right now.  And let’s all be glad that Grandma did not send us a subscription to MAD Magazine instead of Games.  I can only imagine what lesson I would have taken away from that.

Korean Style Marinated Skirt Steak

Adapted from Fine Cooking

BAH Note:  The notes that I hastily scribbled down on the page I ripped out of Fine Cooking said ‘tender, balanced flavors, hell on my grill pan’.  We really did like the flavor the marinade gave to the meat.  I’d have to say it was salty sweet with some ginger heat.  But be prepared to have to scrub the hell out of your grill pan afterwards.  If a recipe calls for soy sauce, I typically start with half as much as the recipe says and add more a teaspoon at a time.  With this recipe, the 3 tablespoons called for is just right.

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 5 scallions, minced
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 pound skirt steak, cut into 4 portions
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

Combine the sugar, soy sauce, scallions, ginger, and sesame oil in a small bowl, mixing until the sugar is completely dissolved.  Pour the marinade into a ziplock bag, add the meat, and let them sit for 20 minutes at room temperature.  Turn the bag after 10 minutes.

Coat a grill pan or nonstick frying pan with the vegetable oil and heat over a medium high flame until the oil just begins to smoke.  Remove the meat from the marinade and let any excess drip back into the bag.  Place the meat in the pan and cook for 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium rare.  Work in batches if you have to in order to avoid steaming the meat instead of searing it.

Transfer the steak to a cutting board to rest, covered with foil, for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

{printable recipe}