I wanted to do some cooking while we were at Sea Ranch. I like to cook but cooking dinner from the fridge after work with limited time and energy is different than planning a recipe, having an open-ended time frame and nothing else to do!
We made a batch of macaroni and cheese from The Mac + Cheese Cookbook that Rem got for Christmas and it was good but I didn’t make the best choice in the cheeses I bought. The cheese I picked out was pretty mild and the overall dish was rich and creamy but fairly bland. But good, as my dad used to say! We’ll try it another time with different cheese and maybe some other tweaks.
This Sunset magazine was in the magazine bin and when I saw the recipe for Dutch Baby, that was my choice for my birthday breakfast. It is baked in the oven and should puff up rather dramatically, but our smaller version didn’t get that puffy. It was very good and I’ll try it again in a different baking vessel, perhaps a round pie plate. I didn’t add sugar to the batter but I suggest you do if you try it and I’ll add it when I make it again. I looked at several other recipes and some had sugar in the batter. I’ve added it to the ingredient list.
Adapted from Sunset Magazine
Note: This is for a 2-3 qt. baking dish, ours was 2 quart – Sunset suggests a shallow, oven-proof pan, no more than 3 inches tall – see recipe link for a larger version.
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons sugar
Powdered sugar, lemon wedges, honey, and fruit as desired.
Pull out oven rack(s) so only lowest rack remains. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Put butter in 2 to 3 quart baking dish (see note, above) and set in oven to melt.
While butter is melting, mix batter. Put eggs in a blender or food processor and whirl on high speed for 1 minute.
With motor running, slowly add first the milk. Then, still slowly, add the flour and the sugar.
Continue to process for 30 seconds. (If you don’t have a blender or food processor, you can mix the batter in a bowl, beating eggs until blended and frothy; gradually beating in the milk, flour and sugar.)
Remove the baking dish from the oven, the butter should be melted by now, pour in the batter and return pan to oven.
Bake until puffy and well browned, about 20 to 25 minutes.
Dust pancake with powdered sugar. Cut into wedges and serve with lemon wedges, more powdered sugar, fruit such as blueberries and a drizzle of honey.
I expect to try this dish again and will post if I create a more puffy pancake. It really was a delicious treat with a side of apple sausage and some beautiful blueberries on top.
For dinner I concocted something that was good but a little quirky and not really quite what I had in mind. I don’t have a recipe because I was throwing it together. Rem had enjoyed ravioli for our anniversary dinner and I thought we could make giant ravioli using won ton wrappers or skins, like my niece Miriam used when she was on The Sam Livecast cooking contest.
The filling was a combination of pork sausage (I would have picked plain ground pork if the grocery store carried it), minced fresh ginger, finely chopped cilantro, green onion and arugula and some soy sauce. It ended up being fairly salty (we had a little leftover filling and I made some small meatballs that we cooked up and ate), but with the pasta, it wasn’t too much.
Each ravioli was made with two won ton skins and sealed with egg white. We made them in the afternoon and lay them out on baking sheets covered in foil sprayed with non-stick spray. I put them in the refrigerator until we were ready to cook them.
For the sauce (this is really where I got off base), I sauteed some diced vegetables (onion, carrot, celery and fennel) until they were nice and caramelized, then added some red wine and cooked it until it was reduced by about half. I strained out the vegetables and wasn’t really delighted by the resulting sauce. I ended up adding some brown sugar and some soy sauce and made it into a terriyaki-type sauce. It was pretty tasty but didn’t work that well with the pasta of the ravioli/won tons.
I also roasted butternut squash, carrots, onion and fennel and Rem sauteed kale. We boiled salted water to cook the giant ravioli about 5 or 6 at a time, each took about 5 minutes to cook, maybe a little less. I drizzled the sauce over the won ton and the roast vegetables, and added a spoonful of the diced veggies I’d strained out of the sauce to the kale. Green onions garnished the won ton.
I had some leftover won ton for my lunch. A few splashes of soy sauce and toasted sesame oil were delicious and exactly the right sauce for the dish. I’ll look up more recipes using reduced wine sauces and see if I can come up with a better combo for future kitchen adventures
The biggest success of the day was dessert. I thought about different things I might make: chocolate souffle and chocolate lava cake were two ideas that came to mind. But for the two of us in super-relaxed Sea Ranch mode, I wanted something more simple.
Back to the Sunset Magazine 25 Best-Ever Recipes article. This one looked pretty wonderful: Coffee Sundaes with Salted Peanut Butter Caramel. I love coffee ice cream and I don’t have it very often. When we have ice cream at home we almost always get vanilla because we both like it. But for my birthday I decided I wanted coffee ice cream!
The recipe in the printed magazine had a side-bar recipe for caramel sauce. The online recipe has you start with purchased caramel sauce. But I did a little searching on the Sunset Magazine site and found the caramel sauce that is the starting point for the Salted Peanut Butter Caramel. They call it DIY Caramel Sauce.
Since I came home, I’ve looked at quite a few other caramel sauce recipes online and there are many to read. In fact, I’ve made another caramel sauce that is different than the one I used for this sundae and it is also wonderful. But it makes a thicker sauce and since our end result includes peanut butter, it is better to start with a thinner sauce.
That said, when I make it again, I think I will try it with a little less heavy cream because it was a pretty thin sauce. Thin but good. This is the recipe, from Sunset Magazine. You may want to try it with 3/4 of a cup whipping cream.
DIY Caramel Sauce
2/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup whipping cream
Put sugar and butter in a heavy saucepan and cook over high heat, stirring until is has an amber hue, 2 to 4 minutes.
Slowly stir in whipping cream. It will bubble up. Cook, stirring until it boils.
My mixture was somewhat separated and I noticed some of the caramelized sugar and butter mixture wasn’t emulsifying with the cream to form a cohesive sauce, but was in hard lumps. I was able to get most of the lumps out with cooking and stirring, pressing lumps with the back of a wooden spoon. I ended up pouring the sauce through a fine mesh strainer to remove a few lumps that didn’t seem like they were going to come out.
Keep leftover sauce in the refrigerator. (If you are anything like me, you won’t have leftovers for long).
Let the caramel sauce cool, and then go on to transform it into the luscious sundae topping. Actually, let me be very clear: it is luscious and sundae-worthy as is. But if you like peanut butter, you will probably want to go all the way with this recipe.
Coffee Sundae with Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce
Adapted from Sunset Magazine
Note: The original recipe is called “Salted Peanut Butter Caramel;” I tasted the sauce before adding salt and didn’t think it would benefit from a teaspoon of salt. However, if I’d been at home, I would have sprinkled on a few flakes of Maldon or other sea salt over the sundae (before the whipped cream).
2/3 cup caramel sauce (homemade from recipe, above, or good-quality store bought)
1/3 cup chunky old-fashioned peanut butter
1 pint coffee ice cream
1 cup sweetened whipped cream
1/4 cup salted, roasted peanuts
Optional: A pinch of Maldon or other sea salt
Heat caramel sauce in a small saucepan over medium heat until sauce is warm but not boiling.
Stir in peanut butter until incorporated.
Scoop 1/2 cup of ice cream into each bowl.
Top with 1/4 quarter cup peanut butter caramel sauce, a sprinkling of sea salt flakes (if desired), 1/4 cup whipped cream, and 1 tbsp. peanuts.
This combination of flavors and textures had me scraping the bottom of the bowl. I had a second (smaller) sundae the next day after lunch. We were heading home and the coffee ice cream wasn’t coming with us. Before the end of Birthday Month, I’ll buy another pint and make another batch of Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce.
Thanks for your visit.