06 August 2007


As I said, we had guests during July! This meant that B and I had to actually sit down and plan meals. We've got the lunch and dinner thang down for the moment, but what's for breakfast? Normally, we're pretty low-key on this front: just coffee, oatmeal, or, for a change, Pillsbury orange sweet rolls (growing up, we had these every Christmas morning). When family and friends are visiting, however, something a little more special is in order. As you will see, these recipes are definitely not low-calorie, and they are really, really good. "Serves" information is approximate, of course. How do they come up with that anyway?

Swedish Baked Pancake
(serves 4)

4 tablespoons butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Melt butter in ovenproof skillet. Whisk eggs, flour, and milk together in small bowl. Pour into skillet on top of melted butter and bake for 15-20 minutes. Pancake will puff up beautifully and brown nicely on the bottom (although it may not be brown on top). Cut into four wedges and serve with syrup or confectioners sugar and jam.
(from an excellent Web site to which I used to belong and probably should still belong, cheapskatemonthly.com, but originally probably from an article in The New York Times)

Pecan Waffles with Sautéed Bananas and Cinnamon Honey
(serves 8–10; actually, if you double the recipe, it serves 8–10 maybe)

Keep in mind that these waffles will cook a little bit faster than a flour waffle because of the honey in the batter. If you don’t have a waffle iron, try using the batter for pancakes. Top with toasted chopped pecans, if desired.

2 cups unsalted raw pecans
4 large eggs
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing the waffle iron
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt

Sautéed bananas
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon coconut oil or vegetable oil
3 very ripe bananas, sliced
1 cup honey
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Preheat a waffle iron according to the manufacturer’s directions. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. In a food processor, pulverize the pecans until finely ground. Add the eggs, butter, honey, vanilla, baking soda, and salt, and blend well. Grease the waffle iron with oil or butter (I used a pastry brush to brush a little vegetable oil on the iron). Add 1/4 cup batter and cook for a few minutes, until golden brown. Set cooked waffles right on the oven rack to crisp up and keep warm while you cook more.

For the bananas, melt the butter with the oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the bananas and cook for about 6 minutes, turning once, until golden brown. Set aside. Mix the honey and cinnamon until well blended.

To serve, place the waffles on warmed plates, top with the bananas and honey, and serve.
(from a great cookbook recommended by my friend Gina at the office: Kendall Conrad's Eat Well, Feel Well, a collection of recipes geared toward people on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet)

Baked French Toast
(serves 12)

French toast
1 (1 pound) loaf French bread, cut diagonally in 1-inch slices
8 eggs
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups half and half
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 cup butter
1 1/3 cups brown sugar
3 tablespoons light corn syrup (or maple syrup)

Butter a 9x13-inch baking dish. Arrange the slices of bread in the bottom. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, milk, cream, vanilla, and cinnamon. Pour over bread slices, cover, and refrigerate overnight. (You may end up with more liquid than you need or the pan will accept; the last time I made this I cut down on the milk and half and half somewhat.)

The next morning, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a small saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar, and corn or maple syrup and heat until bubbling. Pour over bread and egg mixture. Bake in preheated oven, uncovered, for 40 minutes.
(from allrecipes.com)

01 August 2007

phlox 'n' roses

Alan, you put me to shame! Your roof garden looks beautiful in mid-July. Herewith a photo of Phlox paniculata "David" and a variety that might well be "Blue Paradise" behind it, along with a lovely pink rose whose name I will also have to confirm with Alan.*

To me, the gentle scent of phlox in bloom is the smell of summer. Drowsy. Dusty. "Honey, pour me a Coke, and I'll tell you a story."

On our drives into Salem every Saturday morning to pick up our mail, we pass a small white house with a side garden that must be 30 feet long and 15 feet wide. It's jammed full of every imaginable color of phlox—and only phlox—which is a beautiful sight. But can you imagine how powerful the scent of all those massed flowers must be?

And now a fuzzy shot of one of Alan's Lilium "Casa Blanca." Those red stamens! That orange pollen! Honestly, the combination of those two colors against the white petals is quite something, isn't it?

And then Alan's Helianthus "Lemon Queen." Remember the slip it was on 12 June? Here it is on 11 July, which is when I took all three of these pictures. What a monster! I'll post a photo of the first bloom, and then another when it's in full bloom.

. . . You'll see. It will be cuh-ray-zy.

* I asked Alan about the other phlox and the rose. He says he bought both from Jackson & Perkins. The phlox is Phlox paniculata "Jessica," although I searched and couldn't find mention of "Jessica" online, although I did find a lilac-colored "Miss Jessica." I wonder if they're the same variety? The rose is a variety called "Pink Simplicity."