Come along with me as I journal about my latest cooking and gardening adventures. Discover what grows in my zone five garden, and see what new recipes I try from my cookbook collection each week.

As I share recipes and information from my kitchen, I invite readers to comment and share ideas along with me in this blog. I am looking to increase followers to my blog, so that I may learn more about cooking and gardening.

Since moving to Midland, Michigan, I have been reading and researching many cooking journals, cookbooks and collected recipes from the past thirty years. Organizing pictures of gardens I enjoy has also been a joy for me, as I continue to learn about garden design and horticulture.

angel food cakes

angel food cakes
this kitchen is seasoned with love

Thursday, December 2, 2010

flavored pancakes with syrup

although making pancakes from traditional ingredients is somewhat easy, i have found these stonewall kitchen mixes to be both simple to prepare and very tasty.  i highly recommend both of these flavors--toasted coconut or cinnamon apple.

these mixes produce fluffy pancakes that are full of flavor and taste. the cinnamon apple syrup is a wonderful choice for the apple pancakes and improves the taste over a customary maple syrup.  i highly recommend stonewall kitchen pancake mixes for a homemade taste with a great flavor for your next breakfast meal.

vanilla carrots

these thanksgiving dinner carrots were boiled with a vanilla bean.  i simply added the vanilla bean to the water as i cooked the carrots.  after the water was almost evaporated, i added one to two tablespoons of margarine with a couple of tablespoons of light brown sugar.

these carrots have a unique taste that is not top heavy on vanilla flavor, but the bean adds a wonderful depth of flavor to the carrots that complements the sugar.

french toast

i use several french toast recipes for various occasions, but this classic recipe is quick and easy to prepare.  typically for four servings, i mix three to five eggs with a flavor of choice.  i have used vanilla or almond extract, orange or lemon extract or even rum extract.  other choices would be coconut or maple. 

once the eggs and flavor are mixed, use thickly sliced firm bread.  i use a ciabatta or a round bread.  i like the longer slices of bread for the toast presentation. the success of french toast depends on the bread selection.  make certain the bread is firm and not soft.

using a griddle, spray with canola oil and heat the griddle to 350 degrees.  dip the bread in the egg coating and place on the griddle.  flip the bread when the egg coating is cooked on the bottom.  this process takes about 4-6 minutes.

keep the toast warm in the oven on a sheet pan while the rest of the toast is cooking.  i serve the toast with fresh maple syrup, powdered sugar and sometimes flavored syrup. warm the syrup before serving.  serve with a breakfast meat and fruit.

baked french onion soup

i have been using this recipe for french onion soup for years.  it came from a magazine and seems to have such a great flavor, taking less time than others i have tried from time to time.

using 10-12 medium sized yellow onions or a mixture of white and yellow onions, saute them in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large soup pot.  as the onions brown, they create a wonderful taste.  this process may take 10-15 minutes depending on the temperature of the stove burner.

after the onions brown, add the wine.  the recipe suggests adding Merlot, but i often add Cabernet to deepen the flavor of the soup.  add about 3 to 4 ounces. then, add the beef broth.  i usually make my own broth from bouillon cubes and have the broth warm to add to the onions.  this saves cooking time.  i typically add 4-6 cups of broth and continue to cook for 15 to 20 minutes.

add black pepper to taste and cook for another minute or so.  if you decide to use low sodium broth, you must add salt to this soup or the taste will be bland.

prepare crusty toasty croutons or bread slices for the top of the crocks.  using ceramic soup bowls, float the croutons over the soup and top with a combination of Swiss and Gruyere cheese.  bake for 10 minutes or place under the broiler for 3 to 4 minutes. 

this soup tastes like it has been cooked all day and will be a delight to your family.