German Apple Pancake

January 1, 2012

I don’t often write about my cooking, especially with two friends that have completed culinary programs and do amazing things in the kitchen.  But I am so pleased with my dessert for New Year’s Eve dinner that I can’t resist.

I expect that I have made this pancake at least 100 times.  Sometimes with apples, sometimes with pears (or apples and pears), sometimes with blueberries and strawberries.  Most often for breakfast and very occasionally as a dessert.  The pancake batter is simple:  3 eggs, 3/4 c milk and 3/4 c flour and 2 T of sugar.  After melting a couple of tablespoons of butter in a cast iron pan, add the batter, then bake for 15 minutes at 425 and 10 more minutes at 350.  A common past frustration is that about ten minutes into things, bubbles will form and I have to keep poking holes with a fork to keep my pancake from becoming a very odd souffle.  And despite my cast iron pan being pretty well seasoned, there are occasional sticking problems.  This often requires me to curse.

We are in Whistler.  I had never made it here.  Partly because until two years ago we had no cast iron in the kitchen.  But just before my trip to Creekside Grocery, inspiration struck, and I added apples to my shopping list.

My key decision…at least I think it led to the excellent result…was to use convection baking, always a feature of our oven here.  (I’m excited to get back to Seattle and try this there in our new oven, hoping for the same result.)  So 15 minutes at 400, 10 minutes at 325.  No bubbles.  Fully detached from the pan.  Sautéed the apples in butter, added some sugar.  “Poetry on a plate”

The pancake after baking...


Prepping the apples

Ready for dessert!

Happy New Year!

OmniFocus Multi-focussed

October 22, 2011

I’m in Whistler today for a meeting of the council of our strata (US readers, condo association).  Was a must-do with a coming special assessment after 11 years of benign budgetary issues.  I drove up last night and could go home this evening, but there is a Husky game to watch.  So early tomorrow.  And after all I have bandwidth here.  And with bandwidth, I can be much more effective in getting things done.

Which leads to OmniFocus, perhaps the best known software of the Seattle-based OmniGroup and my way of Getting Things Done (GTD).  In a too rare act of using “Context”, I found a significant task at Whistler:  “Master French Onion Soup”.  This has been lingering for ~18 months.  And master in this instance means actually make it for the first time, which might then lead to improving and mastering.

This recipe seemed like a fine starting point, lots of 5-stars.  I read perhaps 20 of the 395 reviews.  The idea this would take 65 minutes seemed wrong from the outset, but a reviewer had suggested considerably longer times.  I found 45 minutes with the onions, 20 minutes reducing, and 10 minutes with the flour step about right and it is now simmering.  Somebody suggested I let it rest after simmering for several hours, then finish it off.  As excellent as this advice might be, it is my dinner and I plan to eat it at half-time.  I tasted about 30 minutes ago and added some pepper, but I think I’ll like the result.

The last piece of multi-focus is watching the Stanford-Washington game (and doing dueling commentary with Casey Rose on FB.) As I type this sentence Stanford 31-Washington 14.  I bet (well better said regret) that our commentary slows down.

TSA and the Buddha

June 13, 2010

As we passed through airport security at Bob Hope Airport (aka Burbank, BUR) this morning, I was greeted just beyond the metal detector by a glove-clad, TSA supervisor who informed me (and I must say this wasn’t recorded and I think I captured its content faithfully, but so it only counts as my best recollection):

I’m going to need to apply an unusual random protocol.  May I rub your belly?

What the heck.  Sure.  I wanted to be on the plane.  All above the belt.  He rubbed my belly.  Took two seconds.  He thanked me nicely.

But now Tobae and I are having a debate.  (Debate might not be the right word, but it is best I not appear to be irritable).  Was I profiled for the paunch over my belt?

I never quite got up the nerve to ask my seat neighbor on the flight whether he received similar treatment.  If he didn’t, profiling is surely ruled out, for he could have blown up the plane and more.


December 26, 2009

Leslie correctly pointed out that while I deserve precedent for Skypetailing (TM), I was far from the first to gather for a social cyber cocktail.  And so it is with Skypedining (TM), which I have now coined and a Google search backs me up on this being a new word.  Admittedly though fully evident that there have been many Skype-enabled dinners.

Its origins:  last night we very much enjoyed sharing our traditional Christmas dinner between myself, Tobae and Mark in Whistler and Daniel in Portland (although truth be told he asynchronously ate spaghetti–missing my rib roast of beef prepared on the BBQ, classic McDuff family rice pilaf, and some quite good, though pricey, asparagus from Creekside Market.)  Daniel sat at one head of the table, and while it would be good if the camera on the MacBook Pro was a bit wider angle, it worked well enough, enabling us to gather the family.

Pizza in the Back Country

November 22, 2009

I enjoyed Leslie’s post on her first adventure making pizza. Looked great!  With many tips on improving my own.

My pizza is never made at home, but only in the back country.  Not the typical fare.  Here’s how I do it.

Not quite from scratch:   Jiffy pizza crust mix.  Contains flour and yeast and more (lots more, Tobae clearly hasn’t been paying attention as the nutrition cop).  The toppings are healthier.  Parmesan cheese grated at home, tomatoes that Tobae has dried, and Contadina/Buitoni pesto with basil sauce.

To make the crust, I boil up a little water, carefully measure the required 1/2 cup, and mix in the “oven pan”.  I bring along a little extra flour so I can knead the dough, and then I set it in the sun.  This doesn’t especially help keep it very warm, but it rises some.  I press it out to make a deep dish style crust.

Ready for baking

Time for baking.  I fire up the camp stove and get the shield and heat deflector in place.  Then the pan and lid.  Then the aluminized cover.  I throttle the heat, mostly by experience, so that things heat up reasonably quickly.  I have no idea what the temperature is…the thermometer has three divisions “Warming Up”, “Bake”, “Burn!”.  Probably not 525 F exactly.  Experience tells me that I’ll need about fifteen minutes to crisp it up enough that the toppings can be added without making it a soggy mess.

Baking is underway...

Keeping an eye on the "temperature" in the oven

Off comes the alumnized cover, off comes the lid, and I spread pesto sauce and top with sun dried tomatoes, then the grated cheese.  Lid on, alumnized cover on.  Just 10 minutes to go.  And voila.

Pizza is ready

The crust is always passable, though on the dense side.  I’ve learned how not to burn it.  Mighty tasty addition to cocktail hour.

Camp in the Enchantments