Good Mornings.

So many new and exciting things are happening.  I am leaving for Italy in about 6 days.

I don’t know if I will do much posting in Italy.  But until I know, here is a quick recipe.

In 2005 I spent a couple of months living on my friends couch.  Claire and Dee were awesome enough to let me sleep in the comforts of their cozy little home.  It was also during this time that I ran into another friend Victoria McKillop, she lived in a very cute little studio apartment on the bottom floor of a San Francisco Victorian, just around the corner from us.  I came over one morning, and she whipped these delicious soft, and just hauntingly comforting crepe like pancakes.  She whipped them up so fast that I was thoroughly impressed with the ease of the recipe.  She didn’t even need to measure!  We ate them simply with extra butter and a little sugar, and I don’t even remember using plates.  I have always been fond of this recipe, and it is up to the cook to add more eggs, and or milk and adjust to their preferred consistency.  Victoria’s Swedish grandmother made these, and she too was fond of very them.  I love most just how easy this recipe is.  It’s quite a non-fussy recipe that just requires some basis ingredients.  Clarified butter isn’t even needed to brush the pans, regular butter is fine but be careful to watch the heat so that the butter does not burn.

These aren’t like your normal American pancakes that are fluffier and sometimes even a bit dry.  Those that need the assistance from maple syrup to flavor and or to moisten them.  Instead enjoy these delicate and satisfying Swedish Pancakes just as they are or adorned with seasonal fruits. They are a great recipe to have in your entertaining repertoire.   These would also be great savory, stuffed with cheeses, or vegetables, and to do this exclude the vanilla and sugar.

Swedish Pancakes 
 
*This makes a small batch fit for an intimate brunch party of 4-6.
 
2 C. AP Flour
4 Eggs
1 1/2 C. Milk
1 T. Vanilla Extract
1/4 C. Sugar 
1/2 C. Melted Butter
pinch of salt.
Softened butter for brushing the pan.  
 
Melt butter, just enough to liquify.  
 
In a separate bowl, add milk, eggs, sugar, melted butter flour and vanilla extract with a pinch of salt. Whisk till thoroughly combined.  Add more milk as needed, you will be looking for a fairly thicker crepe batter.  Thin enough to swirl but thick enough to fold without breaking when they are cooked.  Not as fragile as a crepe.
 
Heat pan, lightly brush bottom and sides with clarified butter.   
 
Add batter and swirl around until bottom surface of the pan is evenly coated.  Let cook till edges brown, or top of pancake is dry to the touch.  Fold in half, then in half once again (as seen in the picture), and overlap.   Serve with fruit compote or jam of your choice.   Or simply with powdered sugar and lemon juice. 
 
*The pancakes pictured above were served with warm bourbon apples. 
 
 

Chicken and Clams

Nothing goes together like chicken and clams.  Nevermind…

Surf and turf they call it.  Long associated with stained red lobster claws and tails, a hunk of juicy aged steak butter and potatoes.  Nothing says steak house like good ol’ drawn butter a bib and meat.   I like the flavor that clams and other seafood creatures lend to land critters when thrown together in a pot.  Just when I thought I was cooking for two, I then found out that I would be welcoming a third, so I decided to head down to my local seafood monger and bought some clams.   As I tasted the broth I knew that clams would be a great addition, not only would it stretch my meal but it would also give the braise additional broth when the clams open.

There is a heavy Italian influence here.  The kitchen staples to work, aromatics to start with and creating an inviting and aromatic dish.  This recipe allows the avid home cook to gain access to cooking a basic and delicious nonchalant dinner.  From this simple dish you can add olives, lemons, different meats,  different herbs.  Allow yourself to experiment with other root vegetables, as well as spices,  as well as using canned verses fresh tomatoes.

The marjoram and fresh herbs in this dish as well as the freshness of the tiny plum tomatoes sweeten and freshen the braise.  Instead of a braise it becomes a juicy stew, and thus is lighter than a thick and unctuous sauce.   Served over rice, or over pasta, maybe cous-cous, and even polenta it creates a delicious dinner for a mildly breezy summer night.

My pantry needs, Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper, Lemons, Onions, Garlic, eggs, herbs, and canned tomatoes.  If I have that I can make and create a dinner in no time.  .

Chicken and Clam Stew w/Plum Tomatoes and Herbs over fresh Tagliarini
Serves 2-4
 
3-4 Chicken Legs
12-16 Manila Clams
1 C. Red Wine
1/4 C. Red Wine Vinegar
1 Medium Yellow Onion
1 C. Carrots
3 Cloves Garlic
1 T Each – Marjoram, Oregano, Thyme
Capers
1 1/2 C. Plum or Cherry Tomatoes
Olive Oil 
Salt 
 
You will need a pot that could go from stovetop to oven.   Salt and pepper chicken, let sit, pay dry.  Heat pan, add Olive Oil.  Add chicken and brown well.  
Remove chicken when skin side is well seared and browned.  Remove some fat from pan.  Add a bit more olive oil, and add onions and garlic and salt.  After about 4 minutes, add red wine, vinegar scrape pan.  Add herbs, carrots, tomatoes and 1 C. of water-cover and simmer on low for 20 minutes till tomatoes blister and pop.   Assist the popping by puncturing the tomatoes with a fork if needed.  Add Chicken, capers continue to cook for another 20 in a 375° oven. Take out of oven and add clams, place back into oven for another 10 min or so just enough until the clams pop open.  
 
Place atop fresh pasta and drizzle with some young olive oil. Yum.
 
 
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