Thursday, April 30, 2009

Pretty Pasta

Over the weekend, the temperatures reached into the low 90s. I hate when that happens in April because it normally means that New England will segue right from winter to mid summer. I hope not...

One good thing the hot weather ushered in was sun tea and pasta salad season. I made my first gallon of sun tea on Sunday afternoon and then to go with the salmon I had marinating for the grill, I decided to make a quick pasta salad that is a family favorite.

The salad couldn't be easier to make. You need five ingredients, pasta, a package of Good Seasonings Italian dressing, sugar, vegetable oil and white vinegar. You can add green, red, orange, yellow pepper, black olives, pepperoni, chicken, tomatoes, onions, cheese, or just about anything else you want to the base.

I like to use tri-color pasta for this salad because it looks so pretty,
Pretty Pasta
even in the colander.

The perfect side for anything you throw on the grill during the summer or for a stand alone lunch with a glass of sun tea with lemon.

Basic Pasta Salad

1 16oz box of pasta of your choice
1 package Good Seasonings Salad Dressing Mix
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup white vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta to al dente,drain and rinse with cold water. In large plastic container with lid, combine remaining ingredients. Add in pasta and stir until pasta is completely combined with the other ingredients. Put in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight.

Optional Adds: green, red, orange, yellow pepper, sliced black olives, pepperoni, chicken, tomatoes, onions, cheese

Monday, April 27, 2009

Daring Cheesecake Math

The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.

Tricky math here at The Sour Dough today, courtesy of the Daring Bakers.

What does one bag of crushed Chips Ahoys

Chips Ahoy crumbs for chocolate chip cheesecake

plus one infamous cheesecake recipe plus one double shot creme de cacao plus one half bag of mini chocolate chips plus a batch of frozen chocolate chip cookie dough equal?

Chocolate chip cookie dough in my cheesecake

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake, that's what!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake

There will be lots of different cheesecakes out there today as we were given liberty to make the base recipe our own. So, get your milk and go check out my fellow Daring Bakers creations.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I Can Die Happy Now...

Just returned from Taste of the Nation New Haven courtesy of Foodbuzz. What a fantastic event for a great cause, ending child hunger in the US with Share Our Strength. I'll be giving you the complete run down tomorrow but I just had to share a small moment with you.

Look what I came home with!

More Fast Food by Jacques Pepin

I've had Julia fondle my cheese and now I can cook with Jacques looking over my kitchen.

Jacques Pepin's Autograph in my cookbook

I stood there while Chef Pepin was signing my book gushing about how his tome, La Technique, taught me knife skills. What an blubbering idiot I must have seemed.

Still, it doesn't get any better than being the presence of one of your cooking idols.

Can you say Twenty-Seven Different Flours?!

Remember when I said I had twenty-six different flours in my pantry/fridge/freezer?




KA Italian Flour Order for Blog

It's Ilva's fault and that is the story I'm sticking to.

Don't forget that tonight is Taste of the Nation New Haven!

I'm going to be there and if you come join me for some noshing and nipping, you will be helping end child hunger in America. Tickets are available at the door of the event which is being held at the Omni New Haven Hotel at Yale. Doors open at 5:30pm. Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Bread Baking Babes: Ethiopian Dishes to Serve with Injera

Ethiopian food is spicy, for the most part. Almost all the dishes call for a spice combination called Berbere and a spiced clarified butter called Niter-Kebbeh. This spiciness is offset by the injera and by alternating mouthfuls of the stews and curries with a cottage cheese called Ayib Be Gomen.

If you make the Berbere and Niter-Kebbeh a few days before you want to make the full meal, it will take you about 4 hour to make two of dishes below. I suggest doing the Ayib Be Gomen the night before and allowing it to chill and set up completely. Do the Injera last.

To serve any of these dishes, with the exception of Ayib Be Gomen which is served in a separate bowl, you will need a platter or large dish (I used a 12" dinner plate) covered with injera. You then arrange in a circle, starting with the spiciest dishes on outside and the least spicy on the inside, spoonfuls of the curries and stews. Put a basket of rolled injera and the Ayib Be Gomen along side. I also provide a lap napkin and a finger napkin and finger bowl of water for each setting.

Table etiquette for eating Ethiopian is:
1. You always use your right hand,
2. When you want something from the other side of the platter you ask for the person closest to what you want to "turn the platter" and only after also inquiring if that is OK
3. If you are taking the last of anything, ask if anyone else wants the last bit.
4. Use the Injera that is not under the food first, then use the platter Injera, starting with the Injera not covered. (BTW, the Injera under the stews/curries is the best part)

If you really want to be authentic, eat on the floor with the platter on a low table.

Serve Ethiopian with either cold Tusker (beer from Kenya), Harar (beer from Ethiopian) or other African beer, red wine, or water.

One last thing fenugreek is really an important spice in Ethiopian food. There really isn't a substitute for it either. If you can't find it, just leave it out. The food you make will still be delicious.

Have fun!


2 sticks butter (16 ounces), unsalted
1/4 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ginger, grated,peeled,fresh
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
4 cardamom seeds, crushed
1 cinnamon stick
2 cloves, whole
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground fenugreek
1 tablespoons fresh basil or dried basil

In a small saucepan, gradually melt the butter and bring it to bubbling. When the top is covered with foam, add the other ingredients and reduce the heat to a simmer.
Gently simmer, uncovered, on low heat for about 45 minutes or until the surface becomes transparent and the milk solids are on the bottom.

Remove from heat and pour the liquid through a cheesecloth into a heat-resistant container. Discard the spices and solids.

Covered tightly and store in the refrigerator. Niter Kebbeh will keep for up to 2 months.

Note: A good quality olive or other oil may be substituted for the butter.


Note: This is the "heat" in all recipes. If you don't like it really spicy, reduce red chili pepper flakes to 1/8 cup. Or you can leave it out all together to make it not spicy at all.

1/3 cup red chili pepper flakes
2 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoons dried onion flakes
1 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoons ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground fenugreek
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Store mixture in an airtight container.

Ayib Be Gomen

1 1⁄2 lbs. collard greens, stemmed and
roughly chopped
1 lb. cottage cheese
1 1" piece peeled and sliced fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves
2 tbsp. Niter-Kebbeh
1 small yellow onion, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
to taste

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add greens. Cook until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain in a colander; press with bottom of a ladle or measuring cup to extract liquid. Finely chop greens; set aside.

2. Put cottage cheese into a strainer over a bowl; let drain.

3. Combine ginger and garlic in a mini food processor with 3 tbsp. water; purée. Set paste aside.

4. Heat Niter-Kebbeh in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent, 6–8 minutes. Add ginger–garlic paste; cook, stirring, until fragrant, 3–4 minutes.

5. Add greens and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring, until hot. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool; stir in cottage cheese.

Wot/Wet (Stew)

This is the base recipe for any type of stew you want to make: chicken (Doro), Beef (Key), lamb (Yebeg), Lentil (Yesmir), or Vegetable (Yetakelt)

Serves 4

I used boneless chicken thighs in my chicken version. Much nicer than pulling the meat off the bones, which is what is used in restaurants, while trying to handle it with a piece of Injera.

Stew Base:

1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons berbere
1 1/2 teaspoons sweet Hungarian paprika
2 tablespoons niter kebbeh
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 16oz can of diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cup vegetable stock
black pepper

For Doro (chicken), Key (Beef), or Yebeg (Lamb): 1 lb meat, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

For Yetakelt(Veggie):
1/2 cup green beans, cut into thirds
1/2 cup carrot, chopped
1/2 cup potato, cubed
1/2 cup tomato, chopped
1/2 cup cabbage, roughly chopped

For Yesmir:
1 cup red lentils, rinsed


In dutch oven or stock pot: Saute the onions, garlic, berbere, and paprika in the Niter Kebbeh for 2 minutes.

Add the meat or veggies, continue to saute for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Skip this step if making Yesmir Wot (Lentil Stew)

Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, and the vegetable stock (and Lentils if making Yesmir Wot)

Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes, or until all of the vegetables are tender and the stew is thickened.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Ethiopian Lentils with Yam
Note: This is a very mild dish

1 small onion, diced
3 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1 small sweet potato or yam, diced
1/2 red sweet bell pepper, diced
2 teaspoon niter kebbeh
1/4 cup lentils (split red), rinsed
1-2 teaspoon tomato paste
1 cup water
3/4 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground fenugreek
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
salt and black pepper

Saute the onion, garlic, ginger and yam in niter kebbeh at medium heat until the onions are almost translucent. Add the red bell pepper and saute for an additional minute. Add the lentils, tomato paste and water. Bring water to a boil.Add the paprika, coriander, allspice, fenugreek and ginger.Lower heat slightly and allow the stew to simmer for 20 minutes or until the lentils are tender and all the water absorbed. Add salt and black pepper as needed, and serve.

Eggplant Salad

2 medium eggplants, peeled, diced
Salt, Pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cup cooked black-eyed peas
2 teaspoons sugar

Place the diced eggplant in a bowl. Mix the salt and lemon juice together and pour over the eggplants. Let sit for 30 minutes.

Sprinkle on the oil and toss well. Gently stir in the garlic, beans, and sugar. Season with black pepper.

Prunes With Almonds and Raisins

1 lb. (450 gr.) soft prunes, pitted
2 cups dry red wine
½ Cup sugar
2 oz. (50 gr.) each peeled chopped almonds and seedless raisins
1 ½ t cinnamon
3 whole cloves

In a saucepan mix the prunes, almonds, raisins, cloves, wine, cinnamon and sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring regularly. Reduce the flame and continue cooking and stirring until the mixture thickens. Remove the cloves and transfer the other ingredients to a medium sized dessert dish. Place the dish in the center of the table and serve hot with small dessert spoons so that each guest may help him or herself. Ideally served with mint tea or strong Turkish coffee.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Meet Me at Taste of the Nation New Haven

I hope everyone is enjoying reading about the Bread Baking Babes excursion to Ethiopia with our injera and fantastic wots this month. I can tell you we had a lot of fun making the injera and there were great conversations back and forth amongst ourselves about various spices.

Of course we also had to suffer the obligatory jokes in poor taste from our friends and family about Ethiopian food and starving children. While we all laughed in good fun, there isn't really anything funny about starving children in Africa.

And, you don't have to look as far away as Africa, Indonesia, or South East Asia to find children who are hungry and undernourished. All you have to do is look around you at the mall, or while standing in line at the post office, or while driving down the street in any town in America.

Every year in America almost 12 million children go hungry or live in circumstances that leave them with little access to healthy food. Given the current economic situation in this country, that number is sure to grow and with state and federal government cuts to the social programs that serve the neediest amongst us, the outlook that the tide of child hunger can be stemmed is even more grim.

That is where Share Our Strength comes in. The good folks at Share our Strenght are out to conquer child hunger in America by raising the awareness level in communities at the grass roots level. Share Our Strength is the national organization behind such events as the Great American Bake Sale, Great American Dine Out, A Tasteful Pursuit, and the event that I'm promoting here tonight, Taste of the Nation.

taste of nation logo

Taste of the Nation events are happening all over America from now through the summer. Each event features local restaurants and drink establishments offering samples of their wares. You also have the opportunity to mingle with fellow foodies and meet some of the top chefs and food writers in the land. The price of admission to the events goes to help end child hunger.

I've been asked by the good folks at Foodbuzz to attend Taste of the Nation New Haven and write here at The Sour Dough about the event. I'm very excited because along with some of my favorite New Haven and Fairfield County restaurants will be the opportunity to have one of my two cooking heroes, Jacques Pepin, sign a copy of his latest cookbook, "More Fast Food My Way".

There will also be a silent auction and great live music. You can bet I'm going to be ponying up my $35 to purchase "More Fast Food My Way" to not only get Chef Pepin to sign my copy but, since 100% of the proceeds go to support hunger programs in Connecticut like City Seed and the Connecticut Food bank, I know my cookbook purchase is going to go towards making sure a few children in Connecticut have a healthy breakfast or lunch for a week.

If you go right now and purchase a ticket to attend Thursday evening's event at the Omni New Haven Hotel at Yale you can buy a copy of Jacques Pepin's new cookbook for him to sign and you can get to hang out with me! I'm going to be noshing and nipping at the vino and spirits and doing a little hobnobbing between taking pictures and talking to some of the sponsors. I'm also going to toss one more thing out here to entice you to join me at Taste of the Nation New Haven.

If you come to the event, I'll offer one of my readers who meets me, a loaf of my very own Sourdough bread made with Bob, the starter you've all watched grow up from a wee starter. All you have to do, is come find me at the event, introduce yourself, and give me your name and email address on a 4" x 5" piece of paper. To make it easier for you to find me, I'll be wearing my fabulous Foodbuzz button for The Sour Dough.

Foodbuzz Bag Buttons

Then, I'll have my favorite furry randomizer

LB Selecting A Raffle Winner

select one of the pieces of paper for one of your to receive the bread.

So, what are you sitting there waiting for?! A chance to meet Jacques Pepin and have him sign a cookbook for you, great food, wine and music, lots of fellow foodies, a chance to get a loaf of homemade sourdough bread AND you will be helping to make child hunger in America a thing of the past.

Clicky, clicky, clicky to get your tickets and I hope to see you there.

Bread Baking Babes Don't Always Knead Ovens And Eat With Their Fingers

It's that time of the month when the Babes come out of our kitchens and let all of you know what we've been chatting, laughing, and banging our heads on the table about all month.

This month the gang gathered around my tiny breakfast bar to find out if we really could make bread without using an oven and remember how much fun it is to eat with our hands!

Because, I picked Ethiopian Injera as our bread

BBB logo April 2009

and not only did I make all my fellow Babes find teff flour, make another starter, burn their fingertips before eating with them, but I also made them make a full fledged Ethiopian meal.

How and why did I pick Injera?

I love Ethiopian food, especially the eating method of ripping off a piece of the traditional spongy flat bread, Injera, and then using it to scoop up a some spicy and tasty curries and stews.

eating ethiopian food

I've always wanted to try to make this at home but everything I had read about it said that it was hard to make because you needed Teff flour to do it right.


So, a few months ago when I saw Teff flour in the mean the Whole Foods I knew I had to try to make it, some day.

Bob's Red Mill Teff Flour
And who better to share the fun with than my fellow Babes!!!

Basically, making injera is a three step process: starter (surprise, surprise), dough, and cooking. Yes I said cooking because you cook Injera on your stovetop. But, before you can get to the cooking you need to first make the starter.

The starter is absolutely vital to the taste and tang that Injera is known for and is made from teff flour, some yeast, and water. The good news here is that you will be using all the starter you make and there is no "tossing off" any of the starter when you feed it. You also only need to feed the starter three times before you can use it and you don't feed it every day. The starter will take five (5) days to be at the right stage to use in Injera.

Warning about this starter, it really has a very unpleasant smell. It is very grassy and earthy while it goes sour. So, if you are super sensitive to smells, get your clothespin out. Luckily, there are only 3 feedings over the 5 days (1st day, 3rd day, morning you want to make the dough).

Making the dough is a half day process. The dough has two ingredients: the teff starter and self rising flour.

If you can't find self rising flour, I'll be giving directions on how to make it from the AP flour you use and some baking powder/soda and salt. You will want to make the dough about 5 - 6 hours before you want to use it. So you will need to do a little pre-planning on the day you want to make this and the meal. This resting of the dough is important to let the "grassy taste" of the Teff blend with the flour and get milder.

Cooking is super easy. We are making a thick pancake/crepe batter. You cook it just like you would a crepe.

There is a really cool thing that happens after you cook the flat bread too, it doesn't immediately come out spongy. As it cools, it takes on the true characteristic of injera, it gets soft and spongy.


The flavor also gets milder.

To really enjoy Injera, you need to try it with some Ethiopian food.

I'm going to be giving you some recipes in another post tomorrow for a few different dishes to serve with the Injera. Ethiopian food is spicy but there are some dishes that aren't too spicy or can be adapted to not be spicy at all.

Finally, I know there will be questions about if Teff is really necessary. Over the past two months I've made about ten different batches Injera, some using teff but quite a few not using teff. I wanted to see if, by chance, someone could not find teff flour if there was a way to make it without using teff.

Unfortunately, not one of the non-teff flour recipes really turned out with the same texture as the teff injura. While the non-teff flour recipes looked like injera in many ways, they never became the spongy texture that is the true signature of injera. The closest was a rye/spelt/barley combo of flour that behaved like injera in many ways but had a very bready texture and grainy taste.

If you don't have a source for Teff, please reach out to one of us. I know Gorel and Karen found online sources in Europe. Also, Teff is gluten free so if you have a health store in your town or near you, you probably can find it.

One last thing, I wasn't able to find a cookbook dedicated to Ethiopian food so I found some really good online sources and adapted the recipes on them to match the Injera served at Lalibela (New Haven, CT) and Addis Red Sea (Boston) the two Ethiopian restaurants I eat at most often.

To check out all the various injera and to see what my fellow Babes made to go with their injera, go to the links over there on my sidebar under "Bread Baking Babes". I know from the photos and emails of the past month there were some fantastic meals out in Babeland.

I hope all you potential Buddies have as much fun as we Babes have had figuring out how to make this interesting and very unique bread. If you want to be Bread Baking Buddy with us this month, you have until May 9th to make the Injera and serve it with an Ethiopian meal.

When you are finished, email me with a link to your post. I'll email you a badge for your blog showing you were a Bread Baking Buddy for this month. I'll be doing a round up on May 11th. If you don't have a blog, you can still participate and be included in the round up.

Also, check out Yeastspotting at the end of the week! The Babes are always there on our posting week but we often have other yeastie goodness there too hiding amongst Susan's other fantastic participants breads.

Authentic Ethiopian Injera
Adapted from Burakeyae "Blessings" (a blog by a missionary in Ethiopia) and Ethiopian Restaurant.Com

This takes five days. If you want to have some starter left over to keep to make injera again, wait seven days.

3/4 cup water, room temp. (70 degrees)
1/2 cup teff flour
A pinch active yeast (about 1/8 tsp)


Day 1: Combine ingredients in a 4 cup container with a lid. Loosely cover the starter with the lid and let ferment for two days on the counter or someplace that is about 70 degrees. You should see some rising in about four hours.

teffstarter_day 1

Let alone for 2 days.

Day 3: Stir starter, you should notice a grassy yeasty smell and small bubbles should rise to the top.

teffstarter_day 3

Feed the starter 1/3 cup teff flour and 1/2 cup water and loosely cover with the lid. Let alone for 2 days.

Day 5: Starter should have separated into distinct layers.

teffstarter_day 5_prestir

Stir starter, it should be slightly fizzy and have a very strong grassy aroma.

teffstarter_day 5_poststir

Feed with 1/3 cup teff flour and 1/2 cup water. Loosely cover and allow to sit alone for at least 4 hours before using to make Injera. You should have about 2 cups of starter by now.

Note: If you go to Day 7, follow Day 3 instructions for Day 5. You will have left over starter to make Injera again in the future this way.


You will need a blender or food processor for this step. This is to get rid of the gritty feel of the teff flour in the starter. I used both my food processor (pulse with the mixing blade) and my blender. My blender did a better job on getting the grit gone in the starter but I didn't have a failure using the food processor.

2 cups Teff starter
2 cups Self Rising Flour
Room Temp Water (70 degrees F), as needed to make batter right consistancy

Stir the starter to combine in all the liquid and any "starter sludge" at the bottom. Rub a bit between three fingers. It will be very gritty. Place the Teff starter, one cup at at time in a blender or food processor and whiz starter until it doesn't feel gritty when you rub it between your fingers. Place whizzed starter in a large bowl and repeat with the other cup of starter.

Stir in self rising flour and add any water as necessary to get a medium thick batter.

injerabatter_pre rise

Loosely cover with plastic wrap or a lid and set in a warm, draft free place to rise for about 4 - 6 hours.

injerabatter_post rise


You will need a 8" pan and two large plates: one to cool the cooked Injera and the other to place the cooled Injera on. You will also need wax paper to place between each piece of cooled Injera.

Stir dough mixture. If it is too thick, add more water until the right consistency. You should have about 4 cups of batter

Right consistency for batter Movie: The music playing is Dave Matthews. I forgot to turn down my stereo

Heat on stove on medium heat, a 8" pan. Non-stick works best but if you don't have non-stick, have some peanut or neutral tasting oil in a small bowl and basting brush to brush oil on the hot pan when you cook the Injera.

Using between 1/8 - 1/4 cup of batter, pour into heated pan and swirl around as if making a crepe. Allow Injera to cook until entire top of bread is full of pockmarks.


Do not turn over. Remove when batter is fixed and all the bubbles have popped.


Using your fingers remove Injera from pan, set aside on a plate and allow to cool.


Injera will be stiff when removed from the pan but will get spongy as it cools. Like most crepes, etc the first few may or may not be the greatest.


Place cooled Injera on other plate and place a piece of wax paper between each Injera or they will stick to each other.

Repeat until all the batter is gone. You should get about 20 Injera from the batch. This is enough for 4 Injera to go on the serving platter and under the curries/stews

injera ready to serve

and to serve 4 people during the meal.

Self Rising Flour Recipe

2 cups AP flour
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp Baking Powder

Whisk ingredients together. Store in an airtight container until ready to use

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Brunch! with a Guest at The Sour Dough

A few weeks ago, I gave a copy of Gale Gand's fabulous new cookbook, Brunch!

Gale Gand Brunch!

to one lucky reader of The Sour Dough. The winner of the cookbook was a non-blogging reader, Sandra but I don't want to let her not having a blog let you read about her experiences. If you are like me, after you read about how much fun she had with Brunch! you'll head right out and get your self a copy and stop at the store on the way home to make some brunch!

Without further adieu, here is Sandra's write-up:

When Mary offered a contest on The Sour Dough for Gale Gand's "Brunch!" cookbook I figured I'd enter, even though I was sure I wouldn't win. But I did! Then came the really hard part, going through it and picking a recipe to test in time to write an entry for her blog. I wasn't sure I'd be able to do that (pick a recipe, not write a review :-)), but then I saw the recipe for corn and parmesan fritters and my search was over. I love corn fritters, and have tried *many* recipes, so there was no question this would be the first thing I made from the book.

The recipe was nicely laid out (though the size and color of the print used to list the ingredients made the fractions a little hard to read) and easy to follow. When nothing was stated about what to do with the cooked onions and garlic, I figured I was meant to add them to the rest of the ingredients (the garnishes are clearly mentioned later), and did so. The fritters were quite easy to cook, and boy were they tasty! I didn't bother with the salsa, but did top them with sour cream and bacon (as suggested). I wish I had a digital camera to show them to you, though I'm not sure any would have stayed around long enough to take a picture; we couldn't wait for them all to cook, and ate them as each pan was finished, along with some coddled eggs (also in the cookbook).


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Cookbook Spotlight: Gale Gand's Brunch! and Why I Don't Need Waffle House Any Longer

It's already well established here at The Sour Dough that I love brunch and breakfast. I could eat breakfast and brunch food every day, all day possibly for the rest of my life.

So, it was pretty easy to say yes to Cathy at A Blithe Palate and Stephanie at Dispensing Happiness when they asked me to participate in a Cookbook Spotlight of Gale Gand's latest cookbook, Brunch!

Gale Gand Brunch!

When I travel, the first thing I search out is where can I have breakfast and, if that travel takes place over the weekend, where is the best place for brunch. If that travel takes me South, that means at least one visit to Waffle House.

Now, after spending almost two weeks with Brunch! cooking several recipes, enjoying the lovely photos, and the stories about the recipes,

I find that I have to be honest with my breakfast and lunch love, Waffle House. After all when an affair of the heart cools, you owe it to break it gently but firmly.

So, it is with a heavy heart, I write this "Dear John" letter...

Dear Waffle House,

You know I have loved you ever since that day in 1993 when I stepped off the tour bus in Macon, GA, into your fluorescent sea of light, and sat down at your formica counter to taste my first pecan waffle, side of country ham, and hash browns.

But the time has come for me to confess I have finally found a replacement for your waffles, your eggs and your ham, your hash browns. They are found in my own kitchen.

You see, Waffle House, Gale Gand has your number. She has your number and more!

It started when the book arrived and I saw the cover. I knew right away I would have to make the Baked Egg and Ham cup. They look so elegant when they are done, even when getting packed to take to breakfast this week.

Gale Gand Ham and Egg Cups: After

but when I read that Gale had eaten them with her fingers while she was testing them, I knew they would fit right in at your counter too.

I made four different ones: per the recipe, one with black olive tapenade, garlic and Parmesan Reggiano, one with herbed goat cheese, and one with swiss and mustard.

Gale Gand Ham and Egg Cups: 4 types

But it was her recipe for Bacon Waffles that turned me from your yellow and black sign. The batter was thick and rich with buttermilk

gale gand buttermilk pancake recipe

and turned golden brown on my waffle iron.

gale gand bacon waffle

After drizzling some maple syrup on the piping hot waffle and just one bite, and I knew I had found a piece of heaven on earth. Before I knew it, the whole waffle was gone and I began to imagine the bacon goodness under a helping of southern fried chicken.

This morning, I tried the same batter but this time added pecans. My dear Waffle House, I have found a replacement for my beloved pecan waffles.

gale gand pecan waffle

These were better and fluffier. They had a sweeter taste and I could add as many pecans as I wanted. Best of all I don't have to wait until I am down South to enjoy them because thanks to Gale Gand, I can make them any time I want.

Oh, Waffle House. I hope we can still be friends. I will still see you now and then, like when I stop in Staunton, VA to get gas on my way down to Bristol, TN but, Waffle House, the love affair is over.


Thank you so much Gale Gand for writing such a wonderful book that I am most happy to add to my collection. Thank you so much Cathy and Stephanie for asking me to participate in this Cookbook Spotlight. It was wonderful to be part of the group. I can't wait to check out the round up on Wednesday!

My guest Blogger and winner of the Sour Dough reader copy of Brunch!, Sandra on Sunday evening. I hope she inspires you to run right out and buy yourself a copy of this cookbook.

Friday, April 10, 2009

WCB: Hippity Hoppity Down The Bunny Trail

We're hosting a special Easter edition of Weekend Cat Blogging this weekend and of course, Mom has left me to my own devices for the whole weekend. She headed south again to meet up with my grandparents Breadchick and Wren's mom for a big feasting on ham and all the trimmings.

Before she left, she let me play with the colored eggs she had thoughtfully left on the counter before going to work. I chased them around the living room and up on the couch

LB After Batting Easter Eggs Around Couch

before I got bored with the stupid colored eggs

LB Bored after playing with Easter Eggs

and then decided to go jump on the bed and nap on her belt.

LB Napping on My Belt

I guess I was hoping if I sat on the belt long enough she wouldn't be able to pack it. But she tricked me by opening a can of shrimp and when I hopped back up on the bed after eating my treat of shrimp, she had packed the belt.

I showed her though because I stomped on one of her eggs!

LB stomps on an Easter Egg

Anyways, we hope you have a good Easter or Passover this weekend. Leave us a link in the comments so we know what you are up to and if you found any goodies in a basket with green grass in it.

Since Mom won't be home until Wednesday and she took the computer with her, I won't be able to do a round up this time around. But make sure you check back on Sunday to see all the links from the other kitties.

Mom also promises next week to be a better food blogger now that her dumb project is almost finished. That will be good because she has been working too much which means she hasn't been cooking much and doesn't have any good bits of meat for me to eat during dinner.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Where in the World is Breadchick?

Sorry for the lack of posts the last week and a few days.

That pesky job that pays the flour bill has been a bit hectic again and when you combine the crazy job with a two day business trip that turned into three because of canceled flights, rental car blues, and one long road trip from Kitchener, Ontario to NYC, you have silence here at The Sour Dough.

Despite the hassles of travel at the end of the week, there are a few redeeming food related incidents to report. I had Weedhopper with me for this trip and, since he is as much of a food lover as I am, our free time was spent searching out food that was interesting and tasty.

This trip that meant introducing Weedhopper to the joys of eating a perfectly prepared juicy steak of good Canadian beef from Alberta, the finer points of maple crullers at Tim Hortons, and proper hash browns, country ham and the best waffles on earth at that place I fondly refer to as the red neck version of Denny's, Waffle House; not to mention the damn fine wings we had at the airport hotel in Buffalo where we regaled the bar with crazy stories about life on the road as audio engineers.

While none of that, Alberta beef excepting, is haute cuisine, sometimes stick to your ribs comfort food is just what a body needs; especially when the trip has taken on all the appearances of a sequel of "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles".

Because at the end of the day, when you roll into your hotel room at 2am sans half your luggage that the airline has "misplaced" and have to get up a few hours later to try and catch yet another flight home, what you really need isn't a salad and no fat turkey sandwich from the room service menu but the triple stack of chocolate chip pancakes lightly dusted with powdered sugar and a side of sausage links from the 24 hour IHOP right next door.