19 April 2018

Oven Barbecue Pork Ribs

Oven Barbecue Pork Ribs / www.delightfulrepast.com

Oven Barbecue Pork Ribs hadn’t even entered my mind in recent months. But when I was checking out the meat counter at my local natural food store, I saw two packages of pork back ribs on sale for 30% off as this was their sell-by date.

I always make a point of buying humanely raised, non-GMO, antibiotic-free, etc, etc; and that’s a lot more expensive than supermarket meat, so I always look for the sales. And many times that turns my menu plans upside down!

The two packages each had a little slab weighing about 3/4 pound, perfect for the two of us. Then I just guesstimated how much dry rub and sauce I should make, and it worked out perfectly, with no waste.

The ribs turned out soooo good, I kind of don't care anymore that we haven't gotten around to replacing our outdoor grill. They steamed to tender perfection in the foil wrap and then developed the sticky, crusty finish unwrapped.

Of course, barbecued (oven or otherwise) ribs are like meat candy, so I don't eat a large serving or have them very often. 

Mr Delightful was really happy with these ribs, so I'm going to be making them again. They really call for my Perfect Potato Salad, but that wasn't happening, so I diced some potatoes and fried them nice and crispy. And next time, Daddy's Broccoli Salad instead of peas. Are you a rib fan?


Oven Barbecue Pork Ribs / www.delightfulrepast.com
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Oven Barbecue Pork Ribs


(Serves 2 or 3, but recipe can be easily multiplied)

1 1/2 to 2 pounds (0.68 0.91 kilograms) pork back ribs

The Dry Rub

2 tablespoons (0.875 ounces/25 grams) dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground dried chiles (I make a little mixture of my own)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon cayenne

The Barbecue Sauce

(Makes about 1/3 cup)

1/4 cup organic ketchup
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon country Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Pinch of cayenne

1 Preheat oven to 250F/120C/Gas1/2. Tear off a piece of 12-inch-wide aluminum foil about 18 inches long, fold it in half and place it in a 13x9x1-inch quarter sheet pan. Tear off a 9-inch long piece for the “lid.”

2 In a small bowl, stir together all the dry rub ingredients.

3 In a small bowl, stir together all the barbecue sauce ingredients.

4 Put the rack(s) of ribs meat side down on foil. Peel off the tough membrane, if there is one, on the bony side of the ribs. Prick the back of the ribs with a knife in several places. Apply dry rub all over. Put the top piece of foil over the meat-side-down ribs and fold the edges to wrap tightly. Place the quarter sheet pan with its package of ribs in the preheated oven for 2 hours.

Note: May be made ahead to this point, refrigerated and finished the next day.

5 Remove from the oven; turn the heat up to 350F/180C/Gas4. Remove the top foil and carefully drain off all the liquid. Brush a third of the sauce on the meaty side, put it back in the oven with the foil open for 15 minutes. Repeat twice, cooking for a total of 45 minutes.

6 Let ribs rest for 5 minutes before cutting apart. 

Jean

12 April 2018

Intermittent Fasting 16/8 - It's Not Just About What You Eat, But When You Eat

16/8 Intermittent Fasting (this photo - loose leaf black tea, the only thing I consume during the fasting) / www.delightfulrepast.com
Why a photo of loose leaf black tea? Because it's the only thing I consume during the fast.

Intermittent fasting is something I've been researching for several months (I don't like to rush into things!). Other than my emphasis on sustainable, local, organic whole foods, I don’t follow any particular diet or have a lot of food rules. Just three:
Always interested in maximizing my health and preventing problems before they occur, I’ve always believed something Mark Hyman, MD, said so succinctly: The most powerful medicine is at the end of your fork.

I do a bit of daily exercise, including weight training, to prevent the loss of muscle mass that starts occurring much earlier in life than you might imagine. According to WebMD: Physically inactive people can lose as much as 3% to 5% of their muscle mass each decade after age 30. Even if you are active, you'll still have some muscle loss.

The other key to avoiding muscle loss is maintaining healthy insulin sensitivity. And that is what got me interested in intermittent fasting, specifically 16/8 intermittent fasting.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor of any kind, have no formal education in the field of diet or nutrition and would suggest that anyone who is under a doctor’s care for any condition should consult their doctor about dietary changes as their medication dosages will likely need adjusting. According to Dr Fung (see next paragraph), people who should not fast are those who are: underweight, malnourished, children, pregnant or breastfeeding. And if you’ve ever had any sort of eating disorder, consult your doctor. I'm not an expert, I’m simply telling you what works for me.

But there is plenty of information out there from people who are experts. Here is a YouTube video of nephrologist Jason Fung, MD, being interviewed by Dr Mercola. Especially if you or someone you love is diabetic, please watch this video.

This is not “a diet”—I don’t believe in temporary diets—it is a way of eating that can be done for a time or for a lifetime. So I spent months researching it before deciding to do it. I learned it has many benefits and is really quite easy to do. You can choose any 16 hours to fast, including however many hours you sleep. If you sleep 8 hours, that’s half of it right there.

Since I had already stopped after-dinner evening snacking a few years ago, it was really just a matter of postponing breakfast until 10:00 in the morning. So I do all my eating between 10 am and 6 pm. This might mean packing a breakfast to have at work—something with lots of protein, not Starbucks and a donut!

But no need to get obsessive about it. If the 16/8 schedule won't work for you some days, just make it 15/9 or even 14/10. It's all good!


Intermittent Fasting 16/8 - It's Not Just About What You Eat, But When You Eat / www.delightfulrepast.com
Black tea - my beverage of choice during the fasting hours
(and every other waking hour!)

Benefits of 16/8 Intermittent Fasting

  • Regulates insulin and glucose, lowering the risk of diabetes, obesity, fatty liver disease, fatty pancreas
  • Stimulates metabolism for slow, steady loss of body fat (including that dangerous excess visceral fat) rather than loss of lean body mass
  • Improves lipid profile and heart function
  • Stresses the brain in the same (good) way that exercise stresses the body, reducing amyloids in the brain and lowering the risk of stroke, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and dementia
  • Increases human growth hormone and boosts immune system
  • Reduces oxidative stress and stimulates the body to maintain and repair cells and tissues
  • Increases energy level
  • Eliminates food cravings
If this is something you think you might like to try but think it's going to be difficult, I'd just like to tell you it's really quite easy. If you like, you can build up the number of fasting hours gradually. It's compatible with any diet (vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, keto ...), compatible with any schedule and doesn't require willpower.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on fasting, dieting, nutrition and health. And don't worry, I'll be back with a really good comfort food recipe next week!

Jean

05 April 2018

One-Pan Skillet Lasagne

One-Pan Skillet Lasagne / www.delightfulrepast.com

I was craving lasagne this week but was not inclined to go all out and make my classic Lasagne. And I really wanted to make it a true one-pan thing, so for the first time in my life I picked up some no-boil lasagne. Now I’m kicking myself in the heinie for not trying it sooner!

Just be sure no pieces of the pasta are sticking up out of the sauce when you pop it into the oven because they will come out just the way they went in. Of course, if I’d baked it with the lid on for the first 15 minutes, maybe I wouldn’t have had that one uncooked bit? Next time.

I decided to use cream cheese instead of ricotta because it’s easy to use up the rest of an 8-ounce package of organic cream cheese, but the rest of a 15-ounce container of ricotta would have gone to waste around here this week. And I really hate that!

My favorite thing about one-pan dishes like this? You use just one pan! My regular lasagne would have used the skillet, the big pot and colander and the baking dish. Do you like one-pan dishes?


One-Pan Skillet Lasagne / www.delightfulrepast.com
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Skillet Lasagne


(Serves 4 to 6)

Sure, my full-on classic Lasagne has a few things this doesn’t, but it’s a process I’m just not up for this day/week/month. So this is my quick, no-muss-no-fuss version, meaning it is baked right in the skillet.

The Meat Sauce

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 pound extra lean ground beef
2 tablespoons tomato paste, optional
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1/2 cup drinkable dry red wine or water
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
A pinch to 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf

The Pasta

4 ounces (113 grams) no-boil lasagne, broken into 3 or 4 pieces

The Cheese

3/4 cup (2.5 ounces/71 grams) shredded Parmesan
3 ounces (85 grams) cream cheese
3 ounces (85 grams) mozzarella or unsmoked provolone slices, cut or torn into about 4 pieces

1 In large oven-proof skillet (I use the All-Clad 5112 Stainless 12-Inch Fry Pan), heat oil and cook chopped onion for about 5 minutes, or until very soft. Add ground beef and cook, breaking up the meat, until it is well browned. Take the time to cook off most of the liquid. With extra lean ground beef, there will be no excess fat to drain off. Stir in the tomato paste, optional, cooking for a few minutes to "toast" it. Stir in remaining sauce ingredients. Bring to a simmer. Simmer, loosely covered, for about 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaf. Taste and adjust seasoning.

2 When you start the simmering, preheat oven to 350F/180C/Gas4. Off heat, stir the broken lasagne noodles into the sauce, leaving them sort of spread out flat and evenly distributed throughout the sauce.

3 Sprinkle on the Parmesan. Pinch off little chunks (about 25 or so) of cream cheese and distribute evenly. Add the pieces of sliced mozzarella, tucking some of them in over the chunks of cream cheese and placing some of them on the top.

4 Bake for about 25 minutes, or until crusty and bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing and serving, or just scoop out.

Note: Can be assembled the day before. If I did that, I'd probably pour on about 1/2 cup of water just before putting it in the oven. 


One-Pan Skillet Lasagne / www.delightfulrepast.com


Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites.

Jean




29 March 2018

Quinoa Chickpea Salad

Quinoa Chickpea Salad / www.delightfulrepast.com

We have one or two nights a week when we need to have a no-muss-no-fuss, almost-no-cleanup-afterward, make-ahead meal. And since it's spring and we really do need to start eating more salads, I’ve been thinking of making one of them a Salad Night.

There’s always quinoa in the cupboard, though I haven’t actually cooked any in months. And there’s always canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans). Together, a cup of quinoa and a can of chickpeas has about 45 grams of protein, making this a great vegan main dish.

And since quinoa is actually a seed rather than a grain, Quinoa Chickpea Salad is a suitable dish for those on grain-free or gluten-free diets. This is really one of those not-a-recipe recipes, so you can add and subtract vegetables and seasonings at will.

What is your favorite salad ingredient?

Quinoa Chickpea Salad / www.delightfulrepast.com

Quinoa Chickpea Salad


(Makes 3 main-dish servings or about 10 side servings)

1 cup (6.35 ounces/180 grams) quinoa
2 cups (16 fluid ounces/473 ml) water
1 15-ounce (425 grams) can chickpeas
1 large (about 12 ounces/340 grams) English cucumber, chopped
12 ounces (340 grams) tomatoes, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, most of stems removed
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

1 Rinse quinoa in a large fine-mesh strainer with cold water. Pour it into a 1.5-quart saucepan and add the water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes until all the water is absorbed. Set aside to cool.

2 Put cooled quinoa in a large (at least 3-quart) bowl. Rinse and drain chickpeas in the strainer and add to the bowl. Add cucumber, tomatoes and cilantro. Pour the remaining ingredients directly into the bowl or, if you prefer, make the dressing separately and mix it in. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Quinoa Chickpea Salad / www.delightfulrepast.com


Note: You might also like my Tabbouleh - Made with Quinoa Instead of Bulgur.

Jean

22 March 2018

Toasted Teacakes - English Teacakes

Toasted Teacakes - English Teacakes / www.delightfulrepast.com

English teacakes are delightful warm from the oven, but they really come into their own when they’ve cooled and been split and toasted, up to two days later. Here in the US, various cookies and cakes are called teacakes, and in Scotland a teacake involves marshmallow and chocolate.

But in England (most of it, anyway), a teacake is a lightly sweetened and spiced, currant-filled (you can also use sultanas or other dried fruits) yeast bun, usually served toasted and generously buttered. Also enjoyed at breakfast, they are perfect for elevenses and afternoon tea.

I imagine myself in a cozy English cottage toasting them over an open fire. But having neither an open fire nor a set of toasting forks (never mind the English cottage!), I make do with a toaster or broiler.

The teacakes are split and toasted on the cut sides only under the grill (UK)/broiler (US). Fortunately, our two-slice toaster has what the manufacturer calls a bagel button that toasts just one side. Put the cut sides facing out, push down the lever, then press the bagel/teacake button.

Spread your toasted teacake with lashings of organic unsalted butter—no need for jam—and enjoy with a nice cup of tea. Have you ever had toasted teacakes? If not, start the lovely tradition today!

Toasted Teacakes - English Teacakes / www.delightfulrepast.com

Toasted Teacakes – English Teacakes


(Makes 12)

1 (8 fluid ounces/237 ml) milk
3 tablespoons (1.5 ounces/43 grams) cold unsalted butter
3 dip-and-sweep cups (15 ounces/425 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour, divided
1/4 cup (1.75 ounces/50 grams) sugar
2 teaspoons (0.25 ounce/7 grams) instant yeast
1 teaspoon mixed spice*
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (5 ounces/142 grams) currants
1 large egg, room temperature, beaten, 1 tablespoon reserved for eggwash and mixed with 1 tablespoon milk and refrigerated until needed

* Since the mixed spice, a ready-made blend popular in the UK, is not readily available elsewhere, you may have to make your own. The amount to make depends on how frequently you’ll be using it. I usually stir up enough for 3 batches of teacakes, but just multiply these amounts if you’d like to make more: 3/4 teaspoon each allspice and cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon mace or nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon each cardamom, cloves, coriander and ginger.

1 In 1-quart saucepan, heat the milk just until tiny bubbles start to form around the edge of the pan. Add the chunk of cold butter and stir until melted.

2 Measure 1/4 cup (1.25 ounces/35 grams) of flour and set aside. In 2-quart mixing bowl (I use this 2-quart glass measure – makes it easy to see when dough has doubled), whisk together 2 3/4 cups (13.75 ounces/390 grams) flour, sugar, yeast, spice and salt. Stir in currants, separating any that are stuck together. Make a well in the center.

3 Pour the warm milk mixture and beaten egg (don't forget to take out 1 tablespoon of it) into the well. Mix the flour in to form a soft, but not overly wet, dough. The dough should not be sticking to the bowl too much, but come away fairly cleanly.

4 Working from the remaining 1/4 cup (1.25 ounces/35 grams) of flour, lightly flour the work surface and turn the dough out onto it, Clean out the bowl (no need to wash it) and lightly oil it. Knead the dough, using flour from the 1/4 cup, until it is very smooth and silky, about 5 to 10 minutes. Put the dough into the lightly oiled bowl, cover,* let rise until at least doubled, about 2 to 3 hours.

* If you're using plastic wrap, tear off a 15-inch long piece so that you can use it again to cover the shaped teacakes.

5 Line baking sheet (I use this heavy-duty half sheet pan) with parchment paper. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces--I, being who I am, 😁 weigh the batch of dough in grams (on this food scale) and divide by 12.  Shape each piece into a ball. Give it a little roll on the unfloured counter, a motion sort of like moving a computer mouse around, to make a smooth ball.

6 Place in 3 rows of 4 on prepared baking tray. Flatten each gently into a 3-inch disk about 3/4 inch (2 cm) thick. If using plastic wrap, spray with cooking spray the same piece of plastic wrap you used to cover dough, cover* buns lightly and let rise about 1 hour or so. They will not be doubled, just puffy.

* I use this half sheet pan cover for proofing buns.


Toasted Teacakes - English Teacakes (this photo - teacakes proofing) / www.delightfulrepast.com

7 During last 15 or 20 minutes (depending on your oven), preheat oven to 400F/205C/Gas6.

8 Just before popping them in the oven, brush the buns with the reserved eggwash. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove buns from baking sheet and place on wire rack to cool.

9 Then just split, toast, slather with butter, and Bob's your uncle!

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites.

15 March 2018

Classic White Sandwich Bread

Classic White Sandwich Bread / www.delightfulrepast.com

Classic white sandwich bread came to mind this week because I was craving simple bread and butter tea sandwiches with my tea. But I couldn’t actually make it (or anything else) because I just had hand surgery. Then I thought about the blog—what am I going to do about this week’s post?

I don’t like repeating posts, but under the circs, it seemed necessary. And besides, this bread was one of my first posts eight years ago, so none of you probably even saw it. But I wanted to tell you anyway, in the interests of full disclosure and all.

Unlike store-bought white bread, this bread is very flavorful. But typing with one hand is getting pretty annoying, so without further ado …

Classic white sandwich bread is something anyone who wants a reputation as a cook needs to master. Even if you really can't cook a lick, if you can make yeast bread everyone thinks you're some kind of cooking genius. Seriously, yeast bread (and pie crust) really impresses people. Master these and you'll be able to fake it as a cook for the rest of your life.

If you've never made bread before, just follow my can't-fail step-by-step below. If you prefer to use a heavy-duty stand mixer for mixing and kneading bread dough, here is the same Classic White Sandwich Bread - Stand Mixer Method.

Classic White Sandwich Bread


(Makes 2 loaves)

5 dip-and-sweep cups (25 ounces/709 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour, divided
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 cups (16 fluid ounces/473 ml) milk or water, room temperature
2 tablespoons (1 ounce/28 grams) melted unsalted butter or extra virgin olive oil

1 In large bowl (a straight-sided 4-quart bowl makes it easy to tell when dough has doubled), whisk together 2 cups flour, sugar, salt and instant yeast. With dough whisk or large wooden spoon, stir in liquid and butter or oil until thoroughly mixed. Stir for 1 or 2 minutes, then stir in 2 1/2 cups flour a half cup at a time. Finished dough will be shaggy and sticky.

2 Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 1 hour at room temperature, then refrigerate for 24 hours. (Back when my grandmother made this bread, instead of using yeast, she would just keep back a small piece of dough from one batch to leaven the next, which also added flavor. In this updated version, I've added flavor by mixing the dough the day before.)

3 Remove dough from refrigerator and let rest for 1 hour to warm up a bit. Scrape dough out onto lightly floured (from remaining 1/2 cup) surface. Knead for about 5 or 6 minutes, adding more of remaining flour as needed to keep dough from sticking. Cover dough with plastic wrap and let rest a few minutes while you clean out and oil bowl for second rise.

4 Flatten out dough and continue kneading for another 5 or 6 minutes, or until dough is soft and smooth. Place dough in oiled bowl, turning dough to oil surface and pressing it flat. Cover with plastic wrap and set in warm (82F/28C is ideal) place to rise until doubled, about 1 hour. If house is cool, heat oven to 200F/93C, allow to heat for 2 minutes, turn off oven and put dough in to rise.

5 Lightly oil two 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-by-2 1/2-inch (also called 1-pound) loaf pans. Turn risen dough out onto lightly floured (still from that remaining 1/2 cup) surface, flattening gently to break up any large bubbles. Divide dough into two equal pieces. Press each piece into a 9-by-12-inch rectangle. Fold in short ends of dough until piece is about 6 inches long. Roll from one rough edge, pinch seam to seal and roll gently to form a tight log the length of pan.

6 Place seam-side down in prepared pans and press dough into pans so that it reaches sides, ends and corners. Cover loaves with oiled plastic wrap and let rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until dough rises just above top of pans and springs back just a little when lightly poked with a floured finger. (I put the pans and a mug of hot water under an 11-by-17-inch baking sheet held up by a 1-pound can in each corner and covered with a towel.)


Classic White Sandwich Bread (this photo - improvised proofer) / www.delightfulrepast.com
Just one of the ways I improvise a makeshift proofer

7 During the last 20 minutes, heat oven to 450F/230C/Gas8. Put loaves in oven and reduce heat to 375F/190C/Gas5. Bake for about 45 minutes or until loaves are golden brown, shrink from sides of pans, and bottoms of loaves sound hollow if tapped. Remove immediately from pans and let cool on wire rack for 1 hour. Wrap well as soon as bread has cooled thoroughly. Store at room temperature or freeze in zipper freezer bags. Yields 2 loaves.


Classic White Sandwich Bread / www.delightfulrepast.com


Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. 

08 March 2018

Perfect Scrambled Eggs - Review and Giveaway Le Creuset Nonstick Fry Pan

Perfect Scrambled Eggs - Giveaway Le Creuset Nonstick Fry Pan / www.delightfulrepast.com

Perfect Scrambled Eggs—Now there’s a claim! This is one of those dishes that even experts can’t agree on. It all comes down to what you like. If you are perfectly happy with your scrambled eggs, skip right on down to the Le Creuset pan. I won’t be offended.

But if you’re not quite sure your scrambled eggs really are the be-all and end-all, stay with me here. Of course, all you’ll get is my opinion. For every so-called expert who insists you must do or add something, there is another of equal stature who insists on just the opposite.

I like scrambled eggs that finish in soft, fluffy folds rather than tiny pieces of egg that look like a pile of gravel on the plate. They should look slightly moist, but not wet or gooey. If they look matte/dry or, heaven forbid, browned, they are overcooked and rubbery.

How is this "perfection" accomplished? I’ll tell you in the recipe, but let’s start with the pan. A slope-sided (rather than straight-sided) pan of the proper size for the number of eggs is key. I’m usually scrambling 4 to 6 large eggs, so a 10-inch pan is perfect.

Should you beat the eggs in a bowl or right in the pan? Beat them in a bowl, vigorously, with a whisk, for 30 seconds or so, right before you pour them into the heated pan. Add milk, cream or water? None of the above! Just eggs. Salt or other seasonings? No. Just eggs.


The Pan


As I’ve said before, such as in my How to Make Crepes post, maybe it's one of those anti-everything all-natural organic old hippie chick things, but I'm not crazy about (translation: I hate) nonstick pans. But ... I do use a well cared for, high-quality nonstick pan for a few things—omelettes, scrambled eggs, crepes and pancakes (or gluten-free pancakes).

My everyday skillet is uncoated tri-ply stainless steel, my preferred pan for cooking steaks, chops, anything I want to brown. And I’ve actually perfected the art of cooking eggs in it with almost no sticking, but it takes a lot of concentration! The nonstick version doesn’t give me a problem even if I’m distracted or half asleep!

And, squeamish as I am about ingesting chemicals or fumes, I’m quite confident that a properly used and cared for, high-quality nonstick pan used occasionally is not going to hurt me. Of course, I treat my nonstick pans properly because I also don’t like having to throw things away because, as you know, there is no "away."

A few general tips for using a nonstick pan:


Unlike with other pans, never preheat empty or over high heat. Rub a little oil or butter (I use about 1/2 teaspoon) onto the cold pan—don’t use cooking spray—and heat over low to moderate heat.

Use non-metal utensils that are not sharp or rough so as to not scratch or nick the nonstick surface. Once you’ve damaged the nonstick coating, it’s all over for that pan.

Allow to cool completely before immersing in water or filling with water. Hand-wash with a sponge or cloth. And never stack another pan inside a nonstick pan. If you must stack, put a dishcloth between the pans.

Now for the recipe. Oh, and do tell me how you like your scrambled eggs. And be sure to enter my giveaway of a Le Creuset Stainless Steel 10-Inch (26 cm) Nonstick Fry Pan, a heavy tri-ply pan that retains and distributes heat evenly so there are no hot and cold spots!


Perfect Scrambled Eggs - Giveaway Le Creuset Nonstick Fry Pan / www.delightfulrepast.com


Perfect Scrambled Eggs


(Makes 2 servings)

4 or 5 large eggs
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 In 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, melt the butter.

Note: Actually, Number One is make sure everything else is ready and the diners are at the table before you even start. If you're having toast or whatever, it needs to be done before the eggs go into the pan. There's nothing worse than scrambled eggs that have been waiting around!

2 In a 1-quart bowl (I use a 4-cup glass measure), whisk the eggs vigorously for 30 seconds or so.

Note: I had a friend who insisted that whisking the eggs right in the pan with a fork was the way to go, but her scrambled eggs always had white streaks - a big major unappetizing no-no for me. 

3 When the butter is bubbling (but not browned), pour the eggs into the center of the pan. Do not stir.

4 Cook over medium-low heat, without stirring, until eggs begin to set at the edges.


Perfect Scrambled Eggs - Giveaway Le Creuset Nonstick Fry Pan / www.delightfulrepast.com
The eggs pictured in this post are actually not as "Perfect" as usual because I cooked them a little too long before starting to push them around with the silicone spatula. But that's how it goes when you're trying to cook and photograph at the same time!


5 When the edges are starting to set, draw a heat-resistant silicone spatula across the bottom of the pan. Uncooked egg will flow into that area. Wait several seconds. Repeat a few times, forming large curds.

6 When the eggs look about one minute away from done, take the pan off the heat; the eggs will continue to cook. Plate; sprinkle with salt and pepper; garnish with chives, cilantro, flat-leaf parsley or tarragon, if you're being fancy; and serve right away.


Giveaway Le Creuset Tri-Ply Stainless Steel Nonstick Fry Pan / www.delightfulrepast.com
Don't forget to Pin it!


Le Creuset® Nonstick Fry Pan Giveaway


This giveaway is open to US residents* 18 years of age or older. Leave a comment below (one entry per person, plus see below for ways to get up to two bonus entries). First comment should be about the first thing you'll make in your 10-inch nonstick fry pan. Please include your email address in the body of your comment. Must enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday March 14.

* If you are outside the US but would like to have this sent to someone you know in the US (you would have to send them a gift card separately on your own), go ahead and enter!

Winner will be chosen by random drawing and be announced here in the comments before noon Eastern time on Thursday March 15. If I don't hear back from the winner of the random drawing by noon Eastern time Sunday March 18, another drawing will be held and a new winner selected from the original entrants (those who commented before the giveaway deadline).

For up to two bonus entries (each in a separate comment):

  • follow Le Creuset on Twitter and leave a separate comment below with your Twitter name. (Must include Twitter name!)


Disclosure: Le Creuset provided a pan for review purposes and one for the giveaway. The views expressed here are entirely my own. I always tell my readers what I really think!



01 March 2018

Banana Upside-Down Cake

Banana Upside-Down Cake / www.delightfulrepast.com

Banana Upside-Down Cake came up into my “queue” because I’ve been craving bananas lately. Wonder what that means? Anyway … I’ve made my Small-Batch Banana Muffins a couple of times lately (love them!), so thought I should do something different with the bananas today.

Usually, if I add nuts to an upside-down cake, it’s walnut or pecan halves worked into the pattern of the fruit on the bottom (that will be the top), but I had finely diced walnuts left over from my muffin-making and thought I’d just throw those into the batter.

If you’re allergic to nuts, you can leave them out of the recipe without having to make any adjustments to it. We enjoy the cake with some unsweetened (you might prefer lightly sweetened), softly whipped cream. A 1/8-of-the-cake serving comes in right at my daily sugar allowance!

If you like it, I hope you'll share the link on your social media and with all your friends, relatives, coworkers and assorted pets! And do leave a comment and tell me about your favorite ways with bananas or whatever! 


Banana Upside-Down Cake / www.delightfulrepast.com
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Banana Upside-Down Cake


(Makes one 8-inch round cake, 8 servings)

9 tablespoons (4.5 ounces/128 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
1/2 firmly packed cup (3.5 ounces/99 grams) dark brown sugar
3 medium (about 18 ounces/510 grams, total unpeeled) perfectly ripe bananas
1 dip-and-sweep cup (5 ounces/142 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (3.5 ounces/99 grams) sugar
1/4 cup (1 ounce/28 grams) finely diced walnuts or pecans, optional
2 teaspoons aluminum-free non-GMO baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces/118 ml), room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg, room temperature

1 Preheat oven to 350F/180C/Gas4. Grease a 2-inch deep* 8-inch round Pyrex baking dish or cake tin with unsalted butter or cooking spray. Line the base with a round of baking parchment. In small saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter, mix the brown sugar into it, then spread the mixture evenly over the baking parchment. Place banana halves, cut side down, in a pleasing pattern over the sugar. Set aside.

* It is important that the pan be 2 inches deep. If it is shallower, the batter might run over. 

2 In 1-cup glass measure, stir cider vinegar into milk; let stand a few minutes while you proceed with recipe. In mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and mix on low speed for one minute to blend. Add the 5 tablespoons softened butter, milk, and vanilla. Mix on low speed for 1 1/2 minutes, then add the egg and mix 1 1/2 minutes longer.

Note: Or do it by hand, as I usually do. Just whisk together the dry ingredients; use your fingers to work the butter into the dry ingredients; add the milk, egg and vanilla; beat by hand for a minute or two. Couldn't be easier!

3 Spread the batter evenly over the bananas. Run a knife through just the batter, not disturbing the bananas, a couple of times to break up any large air bubbles. Bake for 35 minutes. Do not underbake. You're going to be turning it out onto a plate while it is hot, so a nice crusty top (that will be the bottom) is not a bad thing!  

4 Remove from oven, loosen edges with knife, and invert immediately onto a plate. Let it cool completely before serving with whipped cream (unsweetened or lightly sweetened, with a dash of vanilla extract).

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites.

22 February 2018

Faux Tuna Salad

Faux Tuna Salad - Made with Garbanzo Beans - Vegetarian / www.delightfulrepast.com

I really like a good tuna salad sandwich, but the kind of tuna I like, the solid white albacore, has even more mercury (nearly three times as much, I recently read) than the light tuna from the smaller skipjack. And sometimes I just like to eat vegetarian. So I started looking through the pantry to see if it would spark an idea for a substitute.

First thing I spotted was a can of organic garbanzo beans (also called chickpeas), and I thought, hmm … chopped up and mixed with my favorite tuna salad ingredients … And, of course, it would make a delightful tea sandwich, especially when there’s a vegetarian on the afternoon tea party guest list.

Then I decided to google it. And shoooot! It’s already a “thing.” Anyway … I don’t mind. If something’s a good idea, it’s a good idea, even if somebody else already had it! And, no, it does not “taste just like tuna salad.” Similar, due to the other ingredients, but it’s not going to fool anyone. It tastes good, and that’s what counts.

But if, like Mr Delightful, you insist on the real, not faux, thing, here’s Tuna Salad. What do you think - are you ready for faux tuna salad? This sandwich was made with my Sourdough Sandwich Bread we always have on hand.


Faux Tuna Salad - Made with Garbanzo Beans - Vegetarian / www.delightfulrepast.com


Faux Tuna Salad


1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup diced celery
1/4 cup diced carrot
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup diced sweet pickle
2 teaspoons capers, drained and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon chopped lemon (juice is a bit too liquid for the salad)
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (omit for vegetarian or vegan)
1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 cup mayonnaise or vegan substitute
2 teaspoons country Dijon mustard

1 Turn your rinsed and drained garbanzo beans out onto a cutting board and chop them coarsely with a large knife. You’ll notice the skins coming off the beans. You don’t have to, of course, but I found myself unable to resist pulling the large pieces of skin out of the pile and discarding them. And I like to put a half cup or so of the beans into a small mixing bowl and mash them up before adding the chopped ones.

Note: How finely you need to chop the garbanzos and vegetables depends on whether you are making regular sandwiches or tea sandwiches.

2 Add remaining ingredients. Stir well. Taste and adjust seasoning. Cover and refrigerate.

15 February 2018

Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins

Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins ( this photo - 6 muffins on a white ceramic tray) / www.delightfulrepast.com

Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins should not, to my mind, have half flour and half cornmeal; that ratio is for cornbread muffins. I don’t want sweet cornbread with berries in it. I like just enough cornmeal to give the muffins a little something extra in the flavor and texture department.

So, while these muffins have some cornmeal, they retain the lightness a blueberry muffin should have. And my recipe has the maximum amount of sugar I like in muffins. Know what I call muffins with more sugar than this? Cupcakes!

If you want unsullied batter, you must use fresh blueberries. I’ve tried every trick in the book to keep frozen blueberries from turning the batter blue and, while some work better than others, none of them really work. But when blueberries aren’t in season, I use frozen but not thawed.


Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins / www.delightfulrepast.com


Not keen on blueberries? Or cornmeal? Here are a few other muffin recipes that might be more to your liking: Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins, Small-Batch Banana Muffins, Raspberry Muffins with Lemon Glaze.

I clearly like lemon, so why no lemon zest in the Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins, you might ask. The flavor of the small amount of cornmeal is very subtle and, I think, easily overwhelmed by the addition of lemon.

Muffins are always best while still warm from the oven, so I often make just 6 rather than 12. This recipe is super simple to cut in half even for those of us who aren't mathematics geniuses.

What's your favorite muffin? And favorite beverage to go with it?



Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins / www.delightfulrepast.com


Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins


(Makes 12 standard size muffins)

2 teaspoons cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice
Milk to make 3/4 cup (6 fluid ounces/177 ml) milk
1 1/3 dip-and-sweep cups (6.67 ounces/189 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 dip-and-sweep cup (2.5 ounces/71 grams) fine stone ground yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup (3.5 ounces/99 grams) sugar
2 teaspoons non-GMO baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon mace or nutmeg

6 tablespoons (3 ounces/85 grams) unsalted butter, coarsely shredded or cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups* (6.25 ounces/177 grams) blueberries, fresh or frozen (do not thaw!)

* You don’t have to, but I like to set aside about 3 dozen berries to put on top after I’ve filled the muffin cups, just to make sure some pretty berry-ness shows.

1 Preheat oven to 400F/205C/Gas6. Grease a standard 12-muffin tin or line it with paper bake cups. 

2 In 2-cup glass measure, stir together vinegar or lemon juice and milk; set aside to thicken a bit.

3 In large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and mace or nutmeg. Take out 2 tablespoons of the flour mixture to coat the berries before adding them to the batter. Work in the butter with your fingertips until the flour mixture looks like coarse meal or rice.

4 Add eggs and vanilla extract to soured milk; whisk until combined. Add thoroughly whisked wet mixture to thoroughly whisked dry mixture. Stir as little as possible, just until dry ingredients are moistened. Using a silicone spatula, gently fold in the berries.

5 Using a 1/4-cup measuring cup, scoop the batter from the edge of the bowl so as not to further mix the batter and evenly fill the 12 muffin cups just about to the top. With spoon or spatula, get every drop of batter out of the bowl. I hate waste; so I calculate all my recipes so that there is no leftover batter. 

6 Bake for about 20 (with fresh berries) to 25 minutes (with frozen berries) or until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in a center muffin comes out clean. Let stand in tin on wire rack for 5 minutes, then turn muffins out onto wire rack to cool for a few more minutes before serving. 

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