Maple Apple Pancake

General No Comments

I’m going to make this for breakfast/brunch this weekend.

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1/4 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 c heavy cream
  • 1/4 c maple syrup (the for-realz stuff)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp butter (unsalted)
  • 1/2 large firm eating apple, cored and thinly sliced
  • confectioner’s sugar & cinnamon for dusting

Method

Heat oven to 425º F.

Combine eggs, flour, cream, maple syrup, and salt in a blender. Blend on high to combine well.

Melt butter in an 8″ oven-proof non-stick skillet. Add apple slices and saute until soft and slightly browned.

Blend batter again until frothy. Pour batter into skillet and evenly distribute apple slices. After a few seconds, transfer skillet to oven.

Bake until pancake is puffed, golden, and set (12-15 mins). Remove and let cool in the pan for a few mins (it will deflate).

Transfer to cutting board and dust with confectioner’s sugar and cinnamon. Cut into wedges and serve warm.

Source: fine Cooking magazine, Feb/Mar 2006 issue.

I think this would go nicely with some scrambled eggs with cheddar, and maybe a few links of sausage. Mm.

The sad truth about TV broadcasting

Television No Comments

Goddammit. Two (TWO!) weeks of Lost reruns. Stupid Olympics.

The sad truth about bookstores today

Books 14 Comments

Last night I went to Chapters, fully intending to spend some money on books. I had a short list of specific books I was looking for, and I figured that I’d be able to find at least one or two of the dozen or so on my list. Such was not the case.

Since I couldn’t find any books I was actually looking for, I just browsed the fairly enormous selection of books they had on hand. I ended up buying nothing.

The reason is this: brick and mortar bookstores do not have handy, book-specific reader reviews or “related” links. Each time I picked up a book, I wanted to read more about it. What did other people think of the book? Were the recipes well tested and reliable? What was the average reader rating of the book? How many people had bothered rating it at all? Were there other books I might like instead of or in addition to this book?

In short, I have become absolutely reliant on Amazon.ca. Not only do they almost always have the book(s) I’m looking for “in stock” (ranging from 1 day to 6 weeks for delivery), but they’ll usually give me a 20-40% discount off the top, package it up nicely, and send it to my door. They also provide a huge amount of additional information about the books from editorial and reader reviews to the ability to “search inside” the book for specific keywords.

The traditional bookstore is utterly doomed. It’s already obvious — bookstores are no longer just bookstores, they’re also movie stores, music stores, random gift stores, magazine shops, and coffee shops. There is absolutely no reason, whatsoever, to go to these places any more. More often than not the books I’m looking for are things I’ve read about on the web, and the web usually includes a handy link to Amazon so I don’t even have to search for it. Click once to read all about it, then click again to put it into my shopping cart.

Amazon is not only more convenient than a regular bookshop, it’s also more useful, more comprehensive, and more responsive. I can’t remember the last time I’ve gone to a bookstore and found what I was looking for. Usually I come away disappointed, thinking “well, I’ll just go order it on Amazon”.

This used to make me sad, but now it’s just how things are. Book selling has evolved. Not entirely in good ways (Amazon isn’t “cozy” or “friendly” in the way good bookstores can be), but in enough ways that the brick and mortar stores are approaching the level of being quaint throwbacks to an earlier, less convenient day.

New mailing lists/newsgroups

Work 4 Comments

After some discussion and seeing where the MDC topics weren’t covered by the existing mailing lists and newsgroups, we decided to add five new lists/groups. As always, the newsgroup and mailing list each have the same content — messages posted to the mailing list are sent to the newsgroup and vice versa, so you only need to sign up to one.

mozilla.dev.ajax / dev-ajax

AJAX as a design philosophy or development methodology, including AJAX frameworks, toolkits, advancements, optimization, debugging, and development techniques.

mozilla.dev.tech.css / dev-tech-css

The use of and development with Cascading Style Sheets.

mozilla.dev.tech.html / dev-tech-html

All topics related to using HTML and XHTML.

mozilla.dev.tech.javascript / dev-tech-javascript

JavaScript programming and use.

mozilla.dev.web-development / dev-web-development

General topics related to web development, including web standards.

I hope you find these new discussion forums useful. If you have any questions or issues, please email me at deb@dria.org. Thanks.

Today’s Links

General 2 Comments

Dumplings

Food, Recipes 6 Comments

I love dumplings. All kinds, really, but in this particular instance I’m talking about Chinese dumplings — little plump pillows of pork and napa cabbage, or beef and celery, or mushrooms and shrimp. It’s one of those foods I love so much it seems I can eat an infinite amount of them — one after another, dipped in a mix of vinegar, soy, and chilis.

Today I decided to trying making my own for the first time. I wasn’t going to, because I’ve never been able to find the pre-made packaged wonton wrappers that seem to be the key to keeping them simple (making my own dumpling wrappers has crossed my mind, but that seems like a lot more effort than I’m likely to put in regularly). Inspired by a silly Texan, however, I decided to venture forth into the world (by which I mean “to the other grocery store 4 bus stops up the street”) to see if I could find any.

And I did. Glee!

So, armed with a packet of wrappers and a recipe, I gave it a shot.

The result? 60 somewhat-oddly-shaped but omg-they-look-awesome little pillows of hopefully-joy. I took a picture:

Making these was a lot easier and more fun than I expected. If they work out (ie: taste good, don’t kill us, and don’t fall apart completely when cooking), then I anticipate a lot of dumpling-making in my future. Mm.

My next trick might be making my own roasted butternut squash and goat cheese ravioli, since I know where I can buy sheets of fresh pasta.

Cooking is totally fun.

Update! The dumplings are insanely yummy. Holy crap.

A picture is worth a 1000 words

Microsoft 10 Comments

Here’s the compose mail UI from Apple’s Mail.app (this is how I use it every day):

Here’s what is apparently the compose mail UI from Microsoft’s upcoming Outlook 12:

Key staples

Food No Comments

Here’s a random list of things I usually have in my pantry/fridge that I tend to use fairly often:

  • Sauces — soy, fish, hoisin
  • Vinegars — rice, white wine, red wine, balsamic
  • Oils — olive, sunflower, canola, corn, peanut, walnut, toasted sesame
  • Dried pastas — spaghetti, fettucini, and tortiglioni
  • Rice noodles (“pad thai” style flat noodles)
  • Canned tomatoes — diced, crushed
  • Canned beans — chickpeas, red kidney, white kidney, black
  • Canned soup — chicken noodle (for sick days in front of the tv), tomato, cream of mushroom
  • Rice — Short-grain organic brown and basmati
  • The various powders – flour, baking soda, baking powder, corn starch
  • Sugars — white granulated, dark brown, confectioner’s
  • Cheeses — cheddar (2 yr old, usually), real parmasean in chunks, havarti, St. Andre, goat (herbed and plain), swiss, asiago, provolone, emmenthal, and (yes) Kraft Singles
  • Tortilla chips
  • Salsa (Muir Glen Organic — this stuff is so, so much better than the regular jarred stuff you see)
  • Salts — kosher, sea, table
  • Buckets and buckets of black peppercorns
  • Various spices, flavourings, and dried herbs — Chinese Five-Spice, curry powder, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, paprika, dried thyme, dried oregano, red chili flakes, vanilla extract (the real stuff), bay leaves, ground ginger, ground allspice, ground cloves, ground nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom…etc.
  • Ketchup (Heinz)
  • Mustards — French’s (I’m a staunch traditionalist when it comes to French’s on a pastrami and rye), Dijon, whole-grain, balsamic mustard, chipotle-lime mustard, etc. We go through mustard probably 10x faster than we go through jams and jellies.
  • Fresh lemons, limes, garlic, and ginger root
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Bacon
  • Maple syrup

Having all this stuff on hand makes it pretty easy to put together a quick meal. I still usually have to go to the grocery store to get fresh meats and/or vegetables, but without much forethought I can throw together a quick tomato sauce for pasta, a stir-fry (shitake mushrooms + bok choy + any given meat over noodles or rice), the ultimate comfort food of grilled cheese sandwiches with cream of tomato soup, or a killer vinaigrette for salad. Yum.

Chicken Stock Results

Food 6 Comments

Ok, so, making a basic chicken stock is as easy as falling down. Seriously. I aced this first try, with the resulting stock being a beautiful not-fatty, not-salty, golden amber liquid that tastes quite simply of chicken. It’s really good.

I took some pictures.

Image 1: Chicken bits, post-sweat. Tons of juice was drawn out of the chicken during the sweating stage, which I guess is the point.

Image 2: Post-sweat, pre-simmer. I had just added the boiling water and bay leaves and given it a stir.

Image 3: Post-simmer. After an hour or so of a very slow simmer, the fat had all floated to the top and the broth was clearer, deeper colour.

I failed to take any photos of the straining/restraining/cooling/defatting stage. The defatting process was easy, but wasn’t so much “peeling” the fat layer off the top, but more a “scraping the fatty goop off the top”. It was super easy and took about 5 mins with a soup spoon. It did, however, take a full 24 hours for the stock to cool and set well enough to do the defatting. Don’t rush it.

What was under the fat surprised me. As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve never made stock before so I was expecting there to be liquid under the fatty layer. Not so! The stock had set into what can only be described as Chicken Jello. Seriously, it was all gelatinated and wobbly and awesome. Here’s a picture of it, after I’d put it into a pot to warm/melt so I could get it into bags/ice cube trays for freezing:

Image 4: There’s always room for J-E-L-L-O.

And there we have it, my first great stock-making adventure. It went so well (seriously, it’s some damned yummy stock), that I’m already trying my second stock, this one a little more complicated:

Image 5: Pre-simmer stock #2.

This one’s made up of turkey necks/wings and hunks of beef shank (with bone) that I roasted for a couple of hours before putting in the pot. Also included are 2 carrots, 1.5 celery stalks, 1.5 onions, 15 peppercorns, 2 bay leaves, and 10 sprigs of parsley. I’ll be simmering this one for at least three hours, and it already smells incredible. Mmf.

If you’ve never done it, you should seriously try making stock. It’s ridiculously easy.

White Bean Soup

Cooking, Food, Meatless, Recipes 1 Comment

Inspired by my apparent chicken stock success, and completely starving since I forgot to eat all day, I just made this: Creamy Italian White Bean Soup. It is absolutely phenomenal.

Recommendations: Use low-sodium chicken stock and lots of parmasean cheese. Also consider either separating out the “reserved beans” straight from the can or puree it all and add more beans afterwards. Trying to separate the beans from the onion/celery isn’t worth the hassle.

Don’t neglect the lemon juice. It’s not much but it does make a difference. Yum.

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