The Dude Cooks: Banana Flour Pancakes

I love pancakes, but usually can’t having them in the morning. I don’t know why, for my first meal of the day, I crave savory food (though, I will make an exception for dipping maple syrup on my scrapple). So, what’s a girl to do but ask her Dude to make pancakes for dinner!

Want a fun, gluten-free twist on regular pancakes? Try some made with banana flour! The batter is a bit more savory than regular pancake batter, so feel free to add more of the sweetener. I really like the savory-ness though, and am itching to have the dude make them with chives or bacon or something. Another fun, sweet idea would be to add cinnamon or chocolate chips to the batter.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup banana flour
  • 2 tbsp gluten-free flour (we use King Arthur)
  • 1/4 tsp fine salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil or melted butter (plus more to grease the pan)
  • 1 tbsp agave or honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup almond milk

Method:

  1. Combine both flours, salt, an baking soda in a large bowl.
  2. Combine oil/butter, agave/honey, almond milk, eggs, and vanilla in another bowl.
  3. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until combined. (Gluten-Free fun fact: If something only as GF flour in it, mix to your heart’s content; there aren’t any glutens for you to over-develop, so you won’t end up with a tough batter.) When properly mixed, the batter should be slightly runny and similar in consistency to drinkable yogurt or keffir.
  4. Heat a non-stick pan or griddle over medium heat and grease pan with oil or butter.
  5. Pour batter into pan. You can make the pancakes as large or small as you like; we usually like ours to be circular and the size of a small saucer. The Dude recommends using a measuring cup for easy pouring.
  6. When bubbles develop all over the pancake (usually after 2-3 minutes), flip. Cook for another 2 – 3 minutes on the other side. The pancake should be golden brown and spring back if you gently poke at it.
  7. Repeat until all batter is used up. You can keep the pancakes warm in a very low oven or on a warming rack.
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The Dude’s Mole

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Mole chicken tacos with radish, guacamole, and pickled red onions.

The Dude loves making Mexican inspired food (his tortillas are delicious) and he seems to really love making mole. I won’t lie, the first time he made it, a large mess was involved. The mole itself was very tasty, but it took forever and seemed to splatter the entire kitchen. I still tease him about it. He’s gotten the process down pat, though, and it now only requires minimal cleanup.

Like all moles, the recipe does contain quite a few ingredients and steps. It’s really much easier than it looks, though, and is absolutely worth it. It’s a great go-to sauce and we love having it in the fridge or freezer. This mole is also a bit on the spicy side, but it’s really worth it and can easily be tempered  with crema, sour cream, or cheese. Plus, it’s mole – it’s supposed to have a kick! It works on pork, chicken, and fish (and probably on beef, but we didn’t try that).

Ingredients:

  • 2 dried guajillo chiles
  • 2 dried pasilla chilies
  • 2 dried ancho chiles
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp dried Mexican oregano
  • ¼ tsp allspice
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 2 tomatillos, quartered
  • ½ can (15 oz) fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Large handful toasted almonds
  • Large handful toasted pumpkin seeds
  • Large handful raisins
  • About 1 ½ cup of chicken stock, divided.
  • ½ cup black bean stock (substitute chicken stock if necessary)
  • 5-6 dark chocolate pieces (we used dark chocolate covered almonds)
  • 1tbs smooth peanut butter
  • Grapeseed, canola, or other non-flavored oil (olive oil is too strong)
  • Agave to taste

Method:

  1. Place a heavy pan (we used cast iron) over medium heat. While the pan is heating, remove the seeds from the chili peppers.
  2. Place the chilies in the pan and toast until fragrant. This only takes a few minutes, so watch them; they go from toasty and yummy to burnt very quickly.
  3. Remove toasted peppers and place in a heat-proof bowl. Cover with about ½ cup of hot chicken broth. Steep until peppers soften.
  4. Add 1-2 tbsp oil to the pan and toast almond and pumpkin seeds until fragrant and slightly darkened (about 2 minutes). Make sure to stir frequently and watch the pan! Set aside.
  5. Add the onion and tomatillo pieces. Sear 1-2 minutes on each side until charred.  Set aside.
  6. Add raisins to the pan and cook for about 1 minute until they plump up and change color.

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    Blend it up!

  7. Add all of the following to a blender:  softened peppers (with liquid!), charred tomatillos and onions, toasted almonds, pumpkin seeds, and raisins, fire-roasted tomatoes, garlic, cinnamon, oregano, and allspice. At this point, also add ½ cup black bean stock (cooking liquid – water and some baking soda – from black beans). If you don’t have this, just sub in some more chicken stock.
  8. Blend until smooth, adding more chicken stock if necessary.  It will take a little while if you have a cheapo blender like ours!
  9. Taste the mixture; it will likely need some salt and some sweetness. If you are using dark chocolate almonds (like we did!), add them and a pinch of salt now (we’ll add more salt to taste later) and blend again until smooth. If you’re using plan chocolate, just add some salt and wait until later to add the chocolate.

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    Time to strain.

  10. Now for the messy part – straining! Place a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl and add the mixture. Push the mixture through the strainer with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. This will take some time, but make sure you push everything you can through the strainer – it’s totally worth it! Discard anything left in the strainer.
  11. Add about 1 ½ tbs of oil to a large, heavy-bottomed stock pot over and heat on medium low. Add the strained mixture. Yes, it will splatter (told you this can be messy!). Cook down until the mixture resembles tomato paste, stirring frequently. Be patient with this part, it can take quite a while and you (and your kitchen) will get splattered.
  12. Once cooked down, add enough chicken stock to get the sauce to the consistency of a thick puree or thin applesauce. Simmer on low for about 15 minutes and salt to taste.

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    Reduced sauce. Notice we used a way-too-large pot to minimize splatter.

  13. Add 1tbsp of peanut butter. Also, if you are using chocolate pieces instead of chocolate almonds, add them now. Stir until incorporated.
  14. Taste again and add agave if you want it sweeter.
  15. Simmer for about 20 minutes.

 

Once your sauce is cooked, use immediately or cool and place in containers. It will keep for about 1 week in the fridge 3 months in the freezer.

 

 

 

Beef, Shitake, and Veggie Stir-Fry

I won’t lie, I was terrified to make this the first time. I get like that sometimes: worried that the recipe won’t live up to my (sometimes insane) expectations, I convince myself that something disastrous will happen and that we won’t have anything to eat and that I’m really just a horrible cook, etc. Then, I get completely overwhelmed and end up slumped on the kitchen floor where The Dude finds me and has to talk some sense into me (usually by ordering me out of the kitchen). BUT. The first time we made it, I only kind of freaked out, snapped myself out of it, and worked with The Dude to  make a truly satisfying meal. Now, it’s nowhere as good as Hunan (review forthcoming!), but it’s pretty darn tasty.

Feel free to substitute the asparagus and snap peas for other veggies of your choice (baby bok choy, broccoli, or snow peas would all work well).

Serves 2.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (we use tamari since it’s gluten-free)
  • 1/2 cup orange juice (pulp free)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 tsp corn starch
  • 1/2 lb of flank steak, sliced 1/4 inch thick (sliced against the grain, on a bias. Instructions from Serious Eats here.)
  • 7-8 medium to large shitakes
  • 8 asparagus spears
  • large handful of sugar snap peas
  • 3 medium cloves of garlic, finely diced
  • 1 1/2 – 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely diced
  • fresh chili pepper (to taste, so use whatever is best for you. we use a fresh cayenne chili), diced
  • grapeseed oil
  • 1 carrot, cut julienne style

Method:

  1. Combine soy sauce, orange juice, 1/2 of the garlic, 1/2 of the ginger, and 1/2 of the chili. Mix well.
  2. Pour half of the liquid over the sliced steak (tip: put steak in the freezer for 15 minutes to make it easier to slice!). Marinate the steak while you prep the rest of the ingredients, or for about 15 minutes.

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    Prepped veggies

  3. Heat grapeseed oil in a wok or coated cast iron pan.

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    Mmm… beef…

  4. Drain as much of the marinade off of the meat as possible (reserve for later!) and add meat to the pan. Quickly sear the beef in the pan (add any remaining marinade to the leftover soy and orange juice mixture). This will happen fast; keep the meat moving around to ensure proper cooking. Remove when it’s 3/4 cooked and put on a plate while you cook the rest of the ingredients.
  5. Add a bit more oil if necessary and add the rest of the ginger, garlic, chili, and scallions to the pan. Saute until fragrant and softened.
  6. Add asparagus and peas along with a splash of they soy and orange juice to the pan. Mix and cover to let the veggies steam a bit.
  7. After a couple of minutes, remove the lid and add the mushrooms. Stir and cover for another 2 minutes.
  8. While the veggies are finishing, add the cornstarch to the soy and orange mixture to create a slurry. Whisk well.
  9. Remove the cover from the pan and add the slurry. Mix well.
  10. Stir in the beef and julienned carrots. Transfer to a serving plate and serve immediately with brown rice.
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Finished stir fry – yum!

 

Skillet Masa Cornbread

Cornbread. Made with maseca. In a skillet. Seriously delicious. This recipe is courtesy of The Dude.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup maseca
  • 1 cup yellow corn meal
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp xantham gum
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 4 tbs softened butter
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 tbs honey

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degress F. Place cast iron skillet in oven (we used a 12 inch) so it can preheat with the oven.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients.
  3. Smoosh in (the technical term) all but 1 tbs of the butter.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine milk and honey.
  5. Add wet ingredients into dry. Mix well.
  6. (Carefully!) Remove pan from oven and grease with remaining 1 tbs of butter.
  7. Pour batter into pan and spread evenly.
  8. Bake for 21 minutes until golden brown.
  9. Serve immediately or place on rack to cool.

Finished Product:

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Next time, we’ll try adding jalapenos, cheese, and/or corn. Yum!

Braised Mediterranean-ish Chicken

This is my adaptation of a Martha Stewart Recipe (Braised Chicken w/ Olives, Martha Stewart Living, June 2002).
Serves 2-4, depending on appetite and thigh size (of the chicken, not the eaters)

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken thighs or two whole legs (bone in, skin on)
  • small to medium onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 rib of celery, diced
  • 1 pint cremini mushrooms, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 5 – 6 jarred or frozen artichoke heart halves, cut into bite sized pieces
  • handful of olives, pitted and cut into bite sized pieces
  • olive oil
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • bay leaf
  • 1/2 – 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup of chicken stock

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large oven proof skillet or dutch oven (make sure you use one where the chicken can comfortably fit in one layer). Saute the chicken skin-side down until browned and crisp (about 5 minutes). Saute same amount on other side. Remove from pan and place on a large plate (skin-side up!).
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low or low. Add more oil and saute onion, carrots, and celery until vegetables are translucent; be careful not to brown or burn anything!
  3. Add mushrooms and saute until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant.
  5. Add wine and degalze the pan using a wooden spoon to scrape up all the brown bits. Continue cooking until wine is reduced by half.
  6. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil.
  7. Add thyme and bay leaf.
  8. Add chicken (skin-side up!), cover, and transfer to oven. Braise for 45 minutes.
  9. Remove pan from oven and stir in olives and artichoke hearts.
  10. Return pan to oven and braise, uncovered, for an additional 20 minutes.
  11. Remove from oven, discard thyme and bay leaf, and serve with mashed potatoes or polenta.