February 5th, 2010

bacon banana buttermilk pancakes

bacon banana buttermilk pancakes

i usually don’t get up early enough during the week for breakfast, but on the weekend, all bets are off. i like 2 eggs, home fries, sausage, toast, orange juice, coffee…you get the idea. sometimes we switch it up and make waffles, but nothing beats homemade pancakes.

bacon banana buttermilk pancakes

if you don’t like getting up early even on the weekends for breakfast, you can do what we often do around here, which is make breakfast for dinner. in fact, the very first time i had the girl over to my place in college (on valentine’s day if i remember correctly), i made her pancakes, sausage, home fries and eggs…ok, maybe a little too much food for a romantic evening in retrospect, but it must have worked at least a little bit.

bacon banana buttermilk pancakes

so back to these pancakes. i know, i know, bananas, and bacon, and buttermilk. but here’s the good thing – you can leave out (or substitute in the case of buttermilk) any of these and still have a seriously delicious breakfast (or dinner). the basis for them comes from mark bittman, and in a cookbook with millions of recipes, his basic pancake recipe is one of the few i have bookmarked.

bacon banana buttermilk pancakes

bacon banana buttermilk pancakes

the crumbled bacon does give the pancakes a smoky flavor without being too overwhelming, but what really helps push the pancakes over the top is actually cooking them in bacon fat. needlessly decadent? possibly, but in addition to providing flavor, the fat gives the pancakes a perfectly crispy outside.

bacon banana buttermilk pancakes

as i write this, dc is scheduled to get a ridiculous amount of snow over the next few days, so there’s a good chance we’ll be stuck around the house. i’m predicting some snow day pancakes in our immediate future…

bacon banana buttermilk pancakes

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January 24th, 2010

00 flour pizza

pizza again

we’ve made our own pizza several times before, each time a little differently. the first time, i was trying out my baking stones, and this past summer, we tried making pizza on the grill. each time, i was amazed at how easy the process went and how delicious the end result was. this time around, i had a secret weapon to make the pizza even better – 00 flour.

pizza again

the flour came from Kalustyan’s, a specialty foods store we visited in new york city. the place is basically a warehouse of spices, jams, mixes, olives and anything else you might have a hard time finding at your local supermarket. seriously, check out their website, and prepare to salivate.

pizza again

in italy, flour is classified by how finely it is ground, from most coarse (2) to most fine (00). the classifications go deeper (there are even myriad types of 00 flour to choose from in italy), but the general rule is that 00 is best for pizza and pasta. i wanted to try it out and see how it compared to ordinary all-purpose flour.

pizza again

everything i read about 00 flour before getting started assured me that it would extremely easy to use, which proved to be very true. the dough came together extremely quickly and cleanly, even as i mixed it with my bare hands. after a few rises, it was easy to shape into rough discs. handling the dough as little as possible results in a chewy, crispy crust, while overworking it gives you a dough that’s too dense and tough. luckily, these kept their shape without too much trouble.

pizza again

one of the biggest challenges of making pizza at home is getting the oven hot enough (most home ovens don’t reach 800 F). when the girl and i moved into our new place last summer, i was skeptical that the electric oven we would now be using would stand up to the gas oven we had become accustomed to previously. to the contrary, the electric oven has heated more quickly and evenly, and in the case of baking pizza, finally gave us the just blackened melty mozzarella cheese we wanted.

pizza again

here’s one with a pesto base, caramelized onions, mushrooms and mozzarella cheese. these pictures are making me hungry again.

pizza again

this pizza (one of the favorites of the night) was topped with a bean salad, mexican cheese and cilantro. overall, the difference in taste between the 00 flour crust and the all-purpose flour crust (both recipes below) was pretty minimal. regardless, it still may be a fun idea to try again, either with a different 00 flour brand, or incorporating it into pasta rather than pizza.

pizza again

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January 17th, 2010

baked egg

baked egg

when the girl and i moved in together this past summer, we knew we’d have some doubles of kitchen equipment, but it didn’t become apparent how bad it was until we filled two giant plastic storage bins with extra utensils, plates, pots, broiling pans, and stand mixers (to be fair, the two stand mixers we have actually both belong to me). despite the excess, we somehow keep finding kitchen “things” that we didn’t know we needed – like mini ramekins. until recently, i figured they were only good for a) crème brulée and b) filling with mise en place on cooking shows. it turns out you can also use them to make an incredibly simple, fast and delicious breakfast.

baked egg

you can see here the basic ingredients for a baked egg (ironically my mise en place is not in ramekins). the original recipe i found used some fresh herbs and cheese, but i quickly realized this was an opportunity for me to bring back an old tradition. you see, back in college, my roommates and i made a lot of chicken parmesan. when we finished breading and frying the chicken, the two things we were always left with were eggs and bread crumbs. so, while the cheese melted on the chicken, we scrambled the eggs with the leftover bread crumbs, dubbed it “breggs,” and ate it as an appetizer.

baked egg

this is sort of a grown-up version of breggs. it can be fun to customize each one with different toppings – but any topping that requires cooking should be cooked beforehand, as they’re only in the oven for a few minutes. if you make a baked egg just right, breaking through the crust will reveal a perfectly runny yolk. it’s a deceptively easy breakfast that looks elegant yet rustic and tastes completely delicious. what are you waiting for?

baked egg

continue reading and get the recipe »




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