NIGHTWOOD: Brunch Heaven

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FEB_NIghtwood

http://www.nightwoodrestaurant.com

Nightwood is located at 2119 S Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60608 and way too close to our home.  They make the best donuts on earth and since that’s what I am craving during this pregnancy… guess who gets to eat them?  Pictured here is a cream filled donuts with chocolate glaze and crunchy nibs, oatmeal pancakes with lemon curd and blueberries ( amazing combo), and Swedish meatball omelette with their “tots”.  These tots are shredded potato packed into a ball and then deep fried to perfection.  They always serve their toast from the wood burning oven with homemade jams, Intelligentsia coffees and fabulous house made cocktails.

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Oatmeal Pancakes with Blueberry Lemon Maple Compote

2014 Food Blog0201Sunday morning, it’s the best day for breakfast of the week.  Sleeping in and baking hearty pancakes with berry drizzled goodness on top was at the top of our short list of accomplishments today.  I love making healthy pancakes, that don’t taste healthy.  They fill you up, have great texture and flavor and won’t leave you starving an hour later when you are busy accomplishing other tasks for the day.  Our favorite combination over here lately has been lemon and blueberries. I made muffins just yesterday including these two favorites as well.  It’s a fantastic combo that brings a bit of bright fresh summer in these bleak cold winter days.  These pancakes were adapted from The Flour Sack blog, I altered many things to make it perfect for our tastes. Enjoy!

Make 12 pancakes

Ingredients

1 cup Quick Cooking Oats

1/2 cup Orange Juice

3 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled slightly

1 1/4 cups fat-free milk

1 tablespoon unsulphered molasses

2 eggs, beaten

3/4 cup wheat flour

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

Directions:

In a medium bowl combine oats and orange juice, let sit for 3 minutes.  Meanwhile in another medium bowl sift together the flours, sugar, baking powder and salt.  In your liquid measuring cup, slightly beat the eggs, add to small bowl with oats, stir to combine.  Add melted butter, milk and molasses to the bowl egg/ oat mixture.  Add the wet to the dry mixture, stir together gently until combined, the batter should be slightly thick with air bubbles popping at the surface.

Preheat oven to 250 and place a pie plate in the oven, this will keep your pancakes warm as you continue to cook them all.

Heat a 10″ pan over medium heat until water sizzles when splashed on the pan.  Add a small amount of butter or cooking spray to the pan.  Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, mound batter in to the pan, 3 should fit nicely at this size.  Let cook for 3-4 minutes until bubbles are forming at the top then flip and cook for 2-3 additional minutes.  Then transfer to the pie plate in the oven and continue to cook the remaining batter.

Blueberry Lemon Maple Compote

Ingredients

1 cup frozen blueberries, divided

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

1/4 cup water

1 lemon, juiced and zest

Directions

In a small saucepan combine 1/2 cup blueberries, syrup, water, lemon juice and zest.  Bring to a boil and let simmer for 8-10 minutes, to thicken.

Remove from heat and strain the mixture through a small mesh strainer over a liquid measuring cup.  Press and mash berries into the strainer to extract all the juices.  Add the remaining 1/2 cup berries to the syrup to combine.  Serve over pancakes.

 

Christmas Morning: Cranberry, Orange Cinnamon Breakfast Rolls

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MerryChristmas_2013Christmas is a special time of year where making memories, celebrating traditions, spending time with friends and family , and enjoying delicious meals all come together.  Every year we take the time to celebrate together, just us ( our little growing family) in our own way.  It’s our way to take the time to make our own traditions, and making food is a big part of it.  We pick recipes that include our favorite things, that you wouldn’t ( or couldn’t) make regularly.  Mostly, we enjoy the precious time together and reminisce on all the years past and look forward to the next ahead.  These rolls are the perfect way to start your Christmas morning, and are part of the tradition to bake something decadent for breakfast to eat while opening gifts with coffee, and this year a little snow falling and a few baby kicks made it that much more perfect.

Cranberry-Orange Breakfast Buns, adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Dough adapted (mostly in technique) from Alton Brown

Tart cranberries muddle with just enough brown sugar that they sweeten, but are miles from toothache-level sweetness. Orange zest blooms inside a buttery, tender, rich dough. And there’s just enough orange icing to cap the buns, not drench them in candy. I’d call them grown-up cinnamon buns.

This is an overnight recipe; the dough will rise for the first time when you make it, and the second time in the fridge overnight. I thought this would be annoying, but it’s actually perfect. You don’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn to make breakfast buns, and the slow rise in the fridge overnight makes for a very well developed flavor.

Yield: 12 buns. This recipe could be halved and baked in a 9-inch round or 8×8-inch baking pan.

Dough:
4 large egg yolks
1 large whole egg
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
6 tablespoons (85 grams) butter, melted, plus additional to grease pan
3/4 cup (175 ml) buttermilk
Zest of 1 orange, finely grated (to be used in dough and filling, below)
3 3/4 cups (470 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting counter
1 packet (7 grams or 2 1/4 teaspoons) instant dry yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse or kosher salt, or more to taste
1 teaspoon oil for bowl

Filling:
1 1/2 tablespoons (20 grams) butter

1 cup (190 grams) packed light brown sugar

1 cup (115 grams) fresh cranberries

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Orange zest leftover from above

Icing:
3 1/2 tablespoons (55 ml) orange juice

2 cups (240 grams) powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 tablespoons vanilla greek yogurt

Make the dough: In the bottom of the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter, buttermilk and 3/4 of the orange zest together (saving the rest for the filling). Add 2 cups of the flour along with the yeast and salt; stir until evenly moistened. Switch to the dough hook and add the remaining 1 3/4 cups flour and let the dough hook knead the mixture on low speed for 5 to 7 minutes. The dough should be soft and moist, but not overly sticky. Scrape the dough into a large, lightly oiled bowl (I usually scrape my dough briefly onto the counter, oil the mixing bowl, and scrape the dough back into it) and cover it with plastic wrap. Let dough rise at room temperature until doubled, which will take between 2 and 2 1/2 hours.

[Don’t have a stand mixer? Stir the mixture together with a wooden spoon, then continue stirring and beating it about in a large bowl for several minutes, until it comes together. Turn the dough out onto a floured counter and knead it for another 5 minutes. It will stick; don’t sweat it. Just scrape everything up and into the oiled bowl when it’s time to let it rise. Try to resist adding extra flour when it sticks; it will only toughen the dough. That would be sad.]

Prepare the filling: Melt the butter and set it aside. In a food processor, pulse the whole cranberries until they’re ground to a coarse rubble, but not fully pureed. You’ll need to scrape the machine down once or twice. Set them aside.

[Don’t have a food processor? Just hand chop them very well, as if to coarsely mince them.]

Assemble the buns: Butter a 9×13-inch baking dish, a heavier ceramic or glass dish is ideal here. Turn the risen dough out onto a floured work surface and roll it into a rectangle that is 18 inches wide (the side nearest to you) and 12 or so inches long. (It’s okay if it goes longer/thinner.) Brush the dough with the melted butter. Sprinkle it with the brown sugar. Scatter the ground cranberries over it, then the remaining orange zest.

Roll the dough into a tight, 18-inch long spiral. Using a sharp serrated knife, very, very gently saw the log into 1 1/2-inch sections; you should get 12. Arrange the buns evenly spread out in your baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or up to 16 hours.

The next morning, bake the buns: Take your buns out of the fridge 30 minutes before you’d like to bake them, to allow them to warm up slightly. Heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Bake your buns until they’re puffed and golden (the internal temperature should read 190 degrees F), approximately 30 minutes.

Transfer pan to a cooling rack and let cool slightly. Make the icing by whisking the orange juice and powdered sugar together. Spread a little on each bun, or drizzle it over the whole pan. Serve immediately.

Apple Cider Pancakes with Cinnamon Sugar Topping

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Pinterest is the devil, and is amazing all at the same time.  You see these gorgeous pictures of delicious food and I don’t know about you, but I go straight to the store and get what I need to make them.  I grew up eating buttered toast with cinnamon and sugar sprinkled on top, and lately I’ve been craving random childhood foods… This recipe has whole grains, healthy fat, and yogurt with that fall cider and apple, and is decadent at the same time.  I would definately cook down a cup of cider next time to concentrate the flavor and add chunks of diced apple as well, I wanted  more apple.  But the pnacakes were a great texture, thin light and cakey at the same time.

Apple Cider Pancakes + Cinnamon-Sugar Topping

adapted from: Tokyo Terrace Blog

*This recipe makes a large batch. If you are making these for 2 or 3 people, just save the extra dry mix as I’ve indicated below. This way you’ll have plenty for the next time you decide to make pancakes! If you’d prefer not to use whole wheat flour, use white flour instead.

3 cups whole wheat flour
3 cups white flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon salt

Place ingredients in an airtight container and store until ready to use. Or continue with the recipe below, which makes  nice amount of pancakes for 2 very hungry people or 4 not so hungry people:

1 cups dry pancake mix

1 egg, separated
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup buttermilk (or buttermilk substitute)
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoons honey
1/2 cup apple cider (or apple juice if you can’t find cider)

Unsalted Butter (both for cooking the pancakes and topping them when they are finished)

3 Tablespoons sugar + 1 1/2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon

Place the 1 cup of dry mix in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the egg white, buttermilk, yogurt, honey and cider. In another small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and olive oil. Whisk the wet ingredients in one bowl until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry mix and stir until just combined. Lumps are good! Don’t get rid of them!

Heat 1 tablespoon of butter or vegetable oil in a medium pan. Measure 1/3 cup of the batter and pour into the pan. When you start to see small bubbles on the top of the pancakes and the edges are beginning to cook, flip the pancake. Be sure to add more butter or oil as needed so the pancakes don’t stick.

While the pancakes are still warm, top with some butter and allow it to melt over the top of the pancakes. Sprinkle with the cinnamon and sugar mixture and eat!

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Just the title is enough, really, but then LOOK at that photo.  Who doesn’t want to enjoy these decadent, fall sweet warm gooey breakfast treats?  Growing up, my sister and I made a lot of these, out of a can, and even though I will always treasure those memories, nothing is better than the real thing- ever.  Cinnamon is one of those smells that brings fall and winter to a beautiful place…  it’s HOME, it’s love and it’s aroma baking something delicious in the oven is enough to bring everyone to the table eager to see what you’ve created.  The pumpkin is very subtle and has just enough hint of flavor to know these aren’t ordinary but extraordinary.  These rolls are made from simple pantry ingredients, and made the night before, they are very easy to make.  This is the second time this kitchen has made them, the first time they turned out just a bit drier then I would prefer, so this time I’ve tweaked the recipe to make them gooey ooey tender light and perfect.  I found the dough very easy to work with, I didn’t even need a rolling pin this time, the dough was so tender and pliable that I just stretched it to the size needed on a very well floured surface.  Here’s the thing- this isn’t going to be a quick recipe, it takes time to rise and time to assembled and more time to rise, but it IS easy and the ingredients are easy so do not be intimidated.  I made these last night and when indicated, stored them in the fridge to make today AND tomorrow for our sleepover guests!  It serves 10 people total, or 6-8 very hungry people… heheheehee  Now, go bake!!

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
Adapted from Baked Elements

Dough
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, to be divided
2/3 cup whole milk, warmed (but not over 116 degrees)
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (from 1 .25-ounce or 7 gram envelope yeast)
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out
1/4 cup (packed) light or dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2/3 cups pumpkin puree, canned
1 large egg
Butter for coating rising bowl

Filling
3/4 cup light or dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon table salt
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Glaze
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons milk
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Make your dough: Melt your butter in a little saucepan, lightly brown it for extra flavor: when the butter has melted, keep cooking it over medium heat for a few additional minutes. It will become hissy and sizzle a lot, then take on a nutty flavor as golden bits form at the bottom of the pot. Remove from heat and pour in to a clean small bowl- set aside to cool slightly.

Combine your warmed milk and yeast in a small bowl and set aside. After five to seven minutes, it should be a bit foamy. If it’s not, you might have some bad yeast and should start again with a newer packet.

In the bottom of the bowl of an electric mixer combine flour, sugars, salt and spices. Add just 1/4 cup of your browned butter and stir to combine. Add yeast-milk mixture, pumpkin and egg and mix combined. Switch mixer to a dough hook and run it for 5 minutes on low.

Scrape mixture into a large buttered bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside for 1 hour in a draft-free place; it should just about double.

While it is rising, line the bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans (8-inch round should work too, as does an 8-inch square) with parchment paper and butter the sides of the pan and the paper.

Assemble buns: Scoop dough onto a very well floured surface and flour the top of it well. With a rolling pin, roll the dough to an approximately 16×11-inch rectangle. Brush reserved melted/browned butter over dough. Stir together remaining filling ingredients and sprinkle mixture evenly over dough. Starting on a longer side, roll the dough into a tight spiral. It’s going to make a mess because the dough is crazy soft and some stuff spills off the ends; don’t sweat it. It will all be delicious in the end.

Here’s how to cut cinnamon rolls without squishing their pretty spirals: With a sharp serrated knife, using absolutely no pressure whatsoever (only the weight of the blade should land on the dough) gently saw your log with a back-forth motion into approximately 1-inch sections. When a soft dough like this is rolled, it tends to grow longer, which means that you’ll have the option to either make more buns (say, 18 instead of 16) or just cut them a little larger (in generous inches).

Divide buns between two prepared pans. You can sprinkle any sugar that fell off onto the counter over them. Cover each pan with plastic wrap and let rise for another 45 minutes.

If you’re doing this ahead of time, you can now put them in the fridge overnight. In the morning, leave them out for an hour to warm up and finish rising.

15 minutes before you’re ready to bake them, heat the oven to 350°F. Meanwhile, you can make the glaze. Beat your cream cheese until it is light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Drizzle in milk until you get the consistency you’re looking for, either thick enough to ice or thin enough to drizzle.

Finish your buns: Remove the plastic and bake buns for 25 minutes, until puffed and golden and the aroma is intoxicating transfer pans to wire cooling racks and drizzle/schmear with cream cheese glaze, and ENJOY every sticky finger licking bite.

Blueberry Muffins in progress

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Blueberry muffins are a delicious way to share breakfast with your family- I have been spending a lot of time helping my sister and her husband out at their house while they get the hang of a new baby schedule!  I made these from the King Arthur “Baker’s Companion” bible that we bought Chris ( the pizza/ bread making enthusiast) for Christmas last year.  A few notes from my learnings, I would absolutely use buttermilk if you have it in place of the milk, and zest of one whole lemon.  I think lemon and blueberries are an incredible flavor combo, but that may have been since I used 1/2 whole wheat flour that these needed a kick in the muffin top!  Also, because of the enormous and wonderful amount of blueberries that went into this- heavily Pam, or grease you muffin pans.  Otherwise, enjoy these tender, cake like muffins loaded with fresh blueberries.  The tops get a fabulous crunch from the sugary cinnamon, mmmm mmm good,

Classic Blueberry Muffins
pg 68 of The King Arthur Baker’s Companion

1 stick butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups flour ( I used 1 c. whole wheat and 1 c. all purpose)
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
cinnamon + sugar for the top

Preheat oven to 375. Cream together butter, sugar, and salt. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the baking powder. Then add the flour alternately with the milk, beating well after each addition. Mash 1/2 cup of blueberries and add them to the batter. Stir in the vanilla at the end, along with the whole blueberries.

Mound the batter into 12 lightly greased or paper lined muffin cups, filling each completely to the top (actually, over the top; the batter is thick enough that it’ll hold its shape). Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake for 30 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Remove muffins from the oven, and after 5 minutes remove them from the pan to cool completely on a rack, or gently flip them sideways in the pan.

 

*** A special thanks to our dear friend Heidi for keeping us posting through this busy time in our lives, and for keeping us real, much love **

Multi-Grain Raspberry Pancakes

There really is no better vehicle for raspberries then a pancake, those finicky seeds get lost in the soft fluffy layers of cakes, and permeate they’re sweet goodness throughout.  We found a pint of these pretty berries at the grocery store for $.98 and they were pretty much ready to be be eaten pronto.  So, first thing Sunday morning, was to relax with some coffee and some of these.  It was a great start to a fantastic Sunday- these are packed with nutrients, but taste SO light and SO good.  They’ll keep you feeling fuller longer and get you through your 3 mile run + hot yoga class or a chilly Bears game!  🙂
Recipe:
Mix together the dry ingredients in a small bowl:
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 cup corn meal
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Mix together the wet ingredients in a medium bowl:
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1 1/4 cups fat free milk
zest and juice of 1 lemon
Combine the wet and dry in the medium bowl, batter will be lumpy, then fold in 1 pint of fresh raspberries ( chopped up), you can reserve a few for garnish.  Set your oven to “warm” and place a pie plate on the middle rack.  Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat, spray with cooking spray.  Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop mixture and pour onto hot pan, leaving at space between each pancake.  When the batter bubbles, they are ready to flip.  Cook an addition 1-2 minutes and then place on a pie plate in your oven to keep warm while you finish up the rest.  Serve stacked with real maple syrup and fresh raspberries ( good to-go rolled up with a dab of peanut butter and slices of banana!)