Thursday, January 21, 2016

Hot Toddy for a Cold Winter

It’s cold and snowy here in Kansas, which is perfect weather for a Hot Toddy. This warm beverage is one I’ve heard of my whole life, usually in books where a ski lodge is the setting. I also think of it as a feel-better drink when you have a cold or are dealing with the winter blahs.

Traditionally made with water, honey, lemon, cinnamon, and spirits (typically whisky, rum, or brandy), some Hot Toddy recipes also include tea, which is how I like it. (It seems more British that way, which pleases this Anglophile’s heart.) It’s a comforting drink sure to take the chill off the most dismal winter evening.

Hot Toddy
Serves 1
1 cup hot water
1 tea bag
1 cinnamon stick
1 small knob of fresh ginger (optional)
1 ounce brandy
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 of a large lemon
Lemon slices, for garnish
Bring the water to a boil. In a cup, place the tea bag and cinnamon stick. Pour in the boiling water and allow the tea to steep until it reaches your desired strength.
Remove the tea bag and add the liquor and honey. Squeeze in the juice from 1/4 of a large lemon. Add a lemon slice. Serve.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

German Pancake for One

What does it take to inspire a busy food writer to post on her blog? For me, it was the windfall of new kitchen items I received for Christmas, thanks to my wonderful mom who shopped via my Amazon wish list.

I picked these items based on their rankings by the folks at Cook's Illustrated magazine, who are also responsible for the America’s Test Kitchen and Cook's Country television shows. Anything I’ve ever bought based on their recommendations, be it a gadget or ingredient, has never been a disappointment.

Mom’s generosity gave me:

A Victorinox chef’s knife, which cuts like a dream and feels wonderful in my hand.

Cuisipro Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons, which fit perfectly into a spice jar or tin.

A Vollrath baking sheet…just like all the pros have on television.

T-fal Professional Non-Stick Fry Pan…also makes me feel like a pro.

Nordic Ware Naturals Nonstick 9-inch Cake Pan.  

To test out my new cake pan, I decided to make a German pancake. Most recipes are made in a skillet, but I saw this one on the Smitten Kitchen blog made in a pan.

I love pancakes, but most recipes make more than this one person can eat for breakfast. This is the perfect alternative. Plus, it’s easy to make. Just mix the batter in a blender (or, since I don’t own one, with a hand blender), pour it into the cake pan, and bake.

There are many topping options for a German Pancake. Berries, sautéed apples, a sprinkling of powdered sugar, and whipped cream are common choices, but I went with the traditional pancake condiments of butter and real maple syrup.   

German Pancake for One

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/3 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place a 9-inch cake pan into the oven to get hot.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.

Place the eggs into a blender and mix until light yellow fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the milk, vanilla, and flour mixture. Blend until well mixed, about 1 more minute.

Working quickly, remove the cake pan from the oven. Place the softened butter into the pan and use a pastry brush to coat the bottom and sides with the melting butter. Pour in the batter from the blender, and return the pan to the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, and then reduce the heat to 350 degrees F. Bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until the pancake is golden brown.

Remove the pancake from the pan onto a plate. Serve with favorite topping.