Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Fluffy Pumpkin Buttermilk Waffles and Mini Donuts with Ginger & Pie Spice Butter & Maple Whiskey Glaze

I have been itching to get back to blogging ever since I returned from our honeymoon and perhaps that's why this post features the same batter not one but two ways, with a sweet, spicy, boozy glaze recipe that's simply magical. It all starts with fresh pumpkin puree and a special ginger and pumpkin pie spice butter that doesn't seem to photograph well, but nevertheless is absolutely divine! The butter is actually a wonderfully all purpose fall dessert addition--try it in your next apple or pear crumble or in your next apple or pecan pie.

Initially, I wanted to use the puree I got from roasting my own pumpkins for baked donuts in my new mini donut pan. But then my waffle maker arrived. The idea of pumpkin waffles just wouldn't quit haunting me, so I decided to try adding them to a buttermilk waffle batter, to make them extra fluffy. Then I thought "why cook up an alternate batter when the pumpkin buttermilk waffle batter will probably bake up fluffy and moist?" It was a good idea, so I went with it. I knew the short cooking time for waffles and mini baked donuts would hardly allow any spices added to the batter to toast properly and reach their fully toasted potential, so I decided instead to make a ginger and pumpkin pie spice butter to top the waffles. Alternatively you could toast the spices in the butter you're using for the batter before cooling it off and adding it in.

When I served the waffles I slathered on a generous amount of ginger spice butter and lots of real maple syrup. I served the Donuts glazed generously with the Maple Whiskey Glaze I made by using the maple syrup, some whiskey, some confectioners sugar and the ginger spice butter.

Pumpkin Buttermilk Waffles/Donuts and Ginger Spice Butter & Maple Whiskey Glaze

Pumpkin Buttermilk Waffle & Donut Batter

1 cup all purpose flour, sifted
1 cup whole wheat flour sifted (or you can use all all purpose flour)
2 Tablespoons Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1 cup packed pumpkin puree
3/4 cup well shaken buttermilk
1 cup whole milk
4 1/2 Tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
2 extra large eggs
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Sift all dry ingredients together in a medium sized mixing bowl.
2. Whisk together eggs, milk, buttermilk, vanilla and pumpkin.
3. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir just enough to combine.
4. Add sugar, then butter and stir only enough to combine.
5. Bake in mini donut pan or use in waffle iron immediately.
6. If you're making waffles, spread with spice butter (see recipe below) and serve with warmed maple syrup. If you're making donuts drizzle with glaze (recipe also below).

Ginger & Pie Spice Butter

1/2 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2" piece of ginger, peeled & grated
4 Tablespoons butter
6 spice cloves (round parts only), crushed
1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg
1/4 Teaspoon allspice

1. In a small saucepan over very low heat, melt butter
2. Add spices and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.
3. When you can smell the spices in the kitchen they've been incorporated. Remove the butter from the heat and allow to cool.
4. Serve on your waffles and/or use part of it to make donut glaze.

Ginger Pie Spice Maple Whiskey Donut Glaze

1 Tablespoon ginger spice butter, melted but cooled
1 Tablespoon Confectioners' sugar
1 Tablespoon Grade B Maple Syrup
2 Tablespoons good whiskey

1. In a bowl combine whiskey, spice butter and syrup.
2. Whisk confectioners sugar in until the glaze is smooth.
3. Ladle generously over donuts.

I hope you enjoy this flavor of fall recipe and I welcome your feedback!

Pics of the waffles to follow, as soon as I take a satisfactory one.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Ginger Congee (Savory Rice Porridge) w/ Sliced Marinated Chicken

Rarely do I have all of the text pre-written for a blog post, but as it happens this post was inspired by a participatory event on (what else?) Google Plus. September was cook-a-book month and as I searched the internet and my memory for any references to food I could make some time to cook during this hectic part of my life. Then, as I was reading an installment of one of my favorite detective series, inspiration struck. A seemingly easy food; a comfort food; a breakfast, lunch and dinner food; it was cheap and nourishing, both a side and a main (depending on preparation) and for some evocative of childhood and days in bed, home sick. That's right: this dish is even considered by many to be medicinal. What is this miracle dish? Well, it is a savory rice porridge and a version of it is made in many Asian countries, but I am sharing with you one of the Chinese versions: Congee.

And it came from:

Ruddy Gore a Phryne Fisher mystery by Kerry Greenwood

The Honourable Phryne Fisher, with the help of her clever companion Dot, solves murders in 1920's Melbourne with unflappable panache. She drives a racing auto, flies planes and solves mysteries and through it all manages to keep her exquisite clothing intact. She also rather enjoys a good meal.

Ruddy Gore sees her solving the mysteries of the death of a leading man playing in the title Gilbert & Sullivan opera, a ghost in the theater and uniting a father and daughter previously unknown to one another.

"Phryne accepted a delicate porcelain bowl of what looked very like library paste and took up her spoon.
'What is this?' she asked, sipping at a smooth, bland soup.
'Rice gruel--the French call it congee. It tastes better than porridge, I think.'"

Brown Rice and Ginger Congee with Chicken

Everyone around me seems to have the sniffles. It's understandable, as the weather gets colder. My first time trying congee I was told it was often given to someone to help recover from illness, so I thought it would be a perfect post to (hopefully) squeeze in to the cook a book event. I washed my rice five times, covering it in plenty of water each time, then using a whisk to agitate the water and rubbing the grains vigorously between my palms. After 5 such rinses the rice water was finally clear instead of cloudy and the rice clean enough to make congee with. I also used a couple of ice cubes of a zesty mushroom stock I made and froze awhile back to kick up the flavor a little.

Brown Rice Congee w/ Ginger and Sliced Chicken

approx 360 grams boneless, skinless chicken
1" ginger, peeled
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup short grain rice (I used brown)
8 cups water
1/4 onion, roughly chopped
2 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 1/2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce, or to taste
1/4 Teaspoon sesame oil
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Wash the rice repeatedly using the method described above. When the water is clear even after whisking and rubbing the rice in it drain the rice and set aside.
2. pulse the onion, 1/2 the ginger, garlic and sesame oil in the blender with a very small drizzle of soy sauce.
3. In a large, heavy-bottomed stock or pasta pot, combine water, stock, soy sauce and onion/ginger/garlic paste.
4. Bring to a boil and add rice.
5. Turn down to a lazy boil and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, about 90 minutes. The grains should lose a lot of their shape and form a very thick broth by this point.
6. Trim the fat from your chicken and thinly slice it. Marinate it for 15 minutes in a drizzle of soy sauce, the remaining ginger (grated) and a crushed clove of garlic.
7. Add the chicken to the pot, cover, and cook for another 15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Serve hot and garnished with your favorite garnish (ours were garnished with green onions, sliced thai chili, rooster sauce and cilantro).