Fluffy, oat-fortified pancakes to greet the day.
When I was growing up, my oldest brother and I would often wake up early on Sundays to stir up a big bowl of batter for waffles for the entire family.
Nowadays, with my husband’s predilection, it’s pancakes all the way.
Are you Team Waffle? Or Team Pancake?
It’s funny how most households seem to favor one or the other.
“Toasted Oatmeal Pancakes” might just satisfy both camps. That’s because of the toasted steel-cut oats that not only fortify the batter, but get sprinkled on as each pancake cooks, lending bits of crunch here and there like the edges of a waffle might.
The recipe is from “Big Bad Breakfast: The Most Important Book of the Day” (Ten Speed Press, 2016) by John Currence, the James Beard Award-winning chef who owns Big Bad Breakfast in Alabama. You might also know him from his appearances on “No Reservations,” “Mind of A Chef,” and “Top Chef Masters.”
Of course in this case, the operative word “bad” really means “good.” This is breakfast done boldly, with plenty of excess. Among Currence’s “Ten Commandments of Breakfast” is “Thou shalt slather with butter,” and “Though shalt hold no meal higher than breakfast.”
A splash of balsamic vinegar hides in these strawberry muffins.
The title of this cookbook represents two of my favorite food groups: “Muffins and Biscuits.”
So how could I not fall for this Chronicle Books cookbook, of which I received a review copy?
It’s by Heidi Gibson, chef and co-owner of The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen in San Francisco.
You might think, what does a grilled cheese sandwich maker know about biscuits and muffins? Plenty, it turns out. After all, in addition to those ooey-gooey sandwiches, the restaurant also sells fresh-baked muffins, biscuits and other baked goods.
Muffins and biscuits are among the easiest things to make. The trick is to use a gentle hand. You don’t want to overmix or overwork either of them, lest they will wind up tough.
A cake for nut lovers.
Sometimes you feel like a nut. Sometimes you don’t.
In my case, I always do. I’m the person who won’t even dive into a box of See’s candies unless it’s “nuts and chews.” For me, it’s M&M’s with nuts all the way. And I can happily munch on almonds by the handful, day or night.
This is a cake that appeals to nutty folks like me.
“Polenta Cake with Brutti Ma Buoni Topping” is from “Mozza At Home” (Knopf), of which I received a review copy. It’s the newest cookbook by Nancy Silverton, the chef who helped kick-start the modern-day artisan bread revolution. She’s also the chef/co-owner of Pizzeria Mozza, Osteria Mozza, and Chi Spacca, all in Los Angeles.
As Silverton writes in the book, this cake is the happy marriage of a classic polenta cake, and a traditional meringue and nut cookie called brutti ma buoni, which means “ugly but good.”
Personally, I prefer “distinctive” over “ugly” because I think that’s what this bumpy-topped cake is, owing to a profusion of almonds and hazelnuts mixed with egg white, honey, vanilla and orange flower water that’s strewn over the cake before it finishes baking.
A slice of heaven for Valentine’s Day.
Chocolate and long-stemmed roses signify Valentine’s Day to many.
For me, though, it’s all about banana cream pie.
You see, when I was dating my husband, he actually took the time and effort to make a banana cream pie for the first time just to surprise me. To understand how out of character that is, just consider that his nickname is Meat Boy, not Pie Boy. Grilling and smoking mega hunks of meat is second nature to him. But making pastries and desserts? Honestly, most times he’d rather eat a second helping of meat than end a meal with a sweet. So, when I saw him turn on the oven and pull out the butter, sugar and flour to mix the dough, it was a shock.
A beaut of a pie.
What made it even more memorable? He made it and then took the cream pie proudly to my parents’ house to share with them.
Now, that’s love.
A sophisticated brownie with the intense taste of almonds.
Include a little Dorie Greenspan in your Christmas to ensure it’s a sweet one.
Greenspan is a baker extraordinaire who also happens to be great at savory cooking too. She can do it all, and it shows in her many cookbooks, Washington Post column, and her wonderful Everyday Dorie blog that’s followed by legions around the world.
Her newest cookbook, “Dorie’s Cookies” (Houghlin Mifflin Harcourt), of which I received a review copy, is a 518-page comprehensive cookie trove.
Cookie fans are sure to find something to love. Cookie Monsters like myself will be beside themselves trying not to make every single recipe at once.
There are bar cookies, drop cookies, butter cookies, and even savory cocktail cookies. I’ve bookmarked so many of the recipes, including “Princeton Gingersnaps,” “Devil’s Food Wafflets with Chocolate Sauce,” and “Triscuity Bites” (yes, savory cookies made with cream cheese and crumbled Triscuits).