Monday, October 29, 2012

Pumpkin Pancakes with Cinnamon Sauce and Cream Cheese Icing

As I mentioned in my last post, I visited my daughter in Montana for Parent’s weekend. In order to squeeze as much time together as possible, I insisted my daughter get up “early” on Sunday, so she could have breakfast with Lynn and me before we left. She didn’t protest since there was going be more shopping involved as well. We didn’t have time to research breakfast places (when we travel, we like eat at places where we can’t eat at home), and since Lynn and I had to get to the airport before noon, we decided to eat at Ihop.

Lynn and I had some delicious pumpkin pancakes, and my daughter got the French toast Cinnastacks. We shared bites of our breakfast, and my daughter let me dip my pumpkin pancakes in her Cinnastack sauce. Her French toast was delicious with topped with the cinnamon sauce, but the pumpkin pancakes were amazing dredged in the sauce! They tasted like pumpkin cinnamon buns. I knew I needed to recreate the sauce.

There are a few sauce recipes out there, and I don’t know where the recipe for this sauce originated since it was in so many places. After trying this sauce, I think it is a good match for Ihop’s sauce. Serving the cream cheese icing on the pumpkin pancakes along with the cinnamon sauce is absolutely gilding the lily, but my husband insisted it was worth the effort.

Pumpkin Pancakes
Printable Recipe
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of clove
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1½ cup milk

Whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and clove in a large bowl or 8 cup measuring cup. In a small bowl, mix together butter, pumpkin, eggs and milk. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the well. Stir together until just incorporated. Do not over mix.
Heat a non-stick griddle on medium-high heat. Add the batter to the pan for desired-sized pancakes. Cook until bubbles no longer flow to the surface of the batter, then flip. Serve with Cinnamon Syrup and Cream Cheese Icing or maple syrup.

Cinnamon Syrup
¼ cup butter (salted)
¾ cup dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons half & half
1 tablespoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
pinch of cloves
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Heat butter, brown sugar, half & half, cinnamon, salt and cloves until bubbly and smooth. Add the flour and cook another minute or until thickened. Serve warm.

Cream Cheese Icing
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1¼ cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat together the cream cheese and powdered sugar. Add the lemon juice and vanilla extract, and beat for another few seconds or until the glaze is smooth and creamy.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Country Salad with Barley

Change and loss are the two words best describing my last few months. August saw us packing up my daughter and moving her across a couple western states to drop her off in Montana for college. Then, three weeks after leaving my daughter in Montana, my dear father passed away. His death was not unexpected, but it was very sudden, and it broke my heart.

One thing that has kept me going in my season of loss and change (besides the support of my family and friends of course) has been cooking. When I first got back from Montana, I jumped into what I described as my "therapy" baking. I made some amazing sweet treats like Southern Living’s Mississippi Mud Cake, Brown Sugar Pecan Coffee Cake, and German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars.

All of these sweet treats were delicious, and the precise measuring, stirring and timing baking requires, soothed me. But, there were only so many baked goods my family or co-workers could consume, so I had to move on to more savory fare.

I have recently been fascinated by Rachel Ray’s Week in a Day show on Food Network. I loved the idea of devoting a whole day to making food for the rest of the week, so a couple of weeks ago, I organized myself and tried her method. I woke up early on Sunday and made Split Pea Soup with Lemon, Andouille Sausage and Butternut Squash Gumbo, Green Pastitsio, and a big batch of this Country Salad with Barley.

Country Salad with Barley is my own take on a Trader Joe’s salad Les and I both love. I worked on the recipe until the salad tasted like the Trader Joe’s Salad, and I have it on good authority that I “nailed it.”

The original salad has a base of cabbage the grain salad rests on. I chopped the cabbage and mixed it into the salad. I also used barley rather than bulgur because I like the texture of barley better than bulgur, but be sure not to overcook the barley as it becomes gummy. The dill and cumin mix with the balsamic vinegar to create a deliciously unique salad with a nice chew from the barley and a crunch from the cabbage. I make a big batch of this salad so we can have it for lunch during the week, and it keeps really well.

I spent the weekend in Montana with my daughter and Lynn (my late dad's wife), and we had a great visit. I think with time and a lot of cooking I will start to feel less raw, and I'll feel even better when my daughter comes home for Christmas break (she will love this salad)!

Country Salad with Barley
Printable Recipe
4 to 6 cups of cooked barley (I use this technique for cooking the barley)
6 cups chopped cabbage (from one medium head)
1 cup of chopped cucumber
1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 roasted red pepper, chopped
1 14oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

½ cup olive oil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoons ground cumin
2 Tablespoons chopped dill
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Stir together the barley, cabbage, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, red pepper and garbanzo beans in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, cumin dill and salt. Pour the dressing over barley mixture and stir to combine. Chill the salad for at least one hour to let the flavors combine. Serve.


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