Hello! We're happy to have you!

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Souffle Pancakes

Souffle Pancakes 
  • 35 g cake flour
  • 20 g oat milk (or dairy milk, whatever)
  • 2 g baking powder
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 45 g sugar + a pinch 
First thing's first: heat your griddle on a medium flame. I have a cast-iron griddle, but that doesn't mean I don't need to give it a quick wipe with olive oil or shortening. These are incredibly fiddly, so a thin layer of fat will go a long way. If you don't have a griddle, you can use a nonstick pan, so long as it's large and rather flat. 

Next, set up a piping bag by cutting off the tip and standing it up in a tall measuring cup or large tumbler. Fold the edge over the lip of the cup to keep it steady. This is a good trick to have in your arsenal for buttercreams, as well!

Separate the eggs and whisk a pinch of sugar in with the milk and yolks in a medium bowl, while your egg whites and 45 g of sugar go into the bowl of a standing mixer. You can add a splash of vanilla paste or rum extract at this point, too, if you like. Whisk by hand to make sure it's quite frothy. If you have a sieve of some sort, I'd advise using this to fold in the dry ingredients to your yolk-milk mixture. If you don't, it's honestly fine if you simply whisk them in, so long as you use smaller increments. 

Whisk your egg whites for 30 seconds on low to dissolve the sugar. Turn up your whisk to medium until frothy, and then whip on high until you get quite stiff peaks. Add in a small dollop of your whipped meringue to the egg yolk mixture and stir in using the whisk. It's not important to necessarily preserve bubbles, but to just stir it in to get everything slightly lighter. Add in a larger dollop of meringue - about a third of the whites - and fold in gently using the whisk. You're going to repeat this process until you get to the last third of the whites, at which point you'll switch to using the spatula.

Once everything's folded in together, your griddle should be hot. Turn it down to the lowest flame possible. Did you remember to give a quick glaze with the fat of your choice? Did you find yourself the thinnest spatula you could? Oh, good, I'm so glad you did. Now that you've ticked that box, you may gently pour your pancake batter into your prepared piping bag.

Wok not included.

Pipe large mounds of pancake, as if you were creating a rounded mountain of fluff, a few centimeters apart, all on your now-hot griddle. Do leave some space between them as it'll make flipping that much easier. Now, go wash your hands with hot water and soap, as hot as you can stand it. Rinse well, and rinse again with cold water. Let your dripping wet hands, that are now gone of all soap residue, and splash a few droplets of water around each pancake to create some steam. Now set the timer on the oven (or on your phone) for 6 minutes.  If you didn't use up all of your batter in this go, turn on your oven to 200 degrees and put a couple of ceramic plates in there. These will hold your cakes until you're ready to eat.

I'm sure you, like I, are quarantined so you're likely going stir-crazy already. Shall I entertain you for six minutes? I'll do my best by telling you a fun few facts about things you can use to stretch your budget - or, rather, stretch the life of your goods already in your house so you needn't venture out.

Switch to loose-leaf tea. This may seem counterproductive, but trust me on this one - it's going to be a budget-saver. If you switch to loose-leaf tea, you can brew up to ten pots from the same leaves. No, seriously. Ten. All you do is introduce boiling water after each pot is drained and let steep a minute longer than usual. Black teas, for example, should be brought back to life with boiling water, and steeped for 4 minutes. On the second, third, and fourth brews? Just five minutes with boiling water will do. Once your tea leaves are all said and done, don't you dare throw them away. My favorite use is to wrap the leaves in a paper towel and use them to scrub the counters, especially around the corners and around the sink; this is especially a good tip if you have issues with ants. I've had good success with keeping ants away using this, and that's not the only thing. If you drop them in the toilet bowl and let them sit for a few hours in the water, give it a quick brush, and flush for a deodorizing and stain-lifting treatment without harsh chemicals. If you have a musty carpet situation, let the tea leaves dry again, crush them up and sprinkle them on the carpet and let sit for 10 minutes or so before vacuuming. You can use those leftover leaves to feed your house plants, especially acid-loving plants such as ferns or orchids.  

Keep those egg shells. Let them dry out and crush with your hands. Use them with a scotch-brite pad and a drop of castille soap to scrub off any scummy such grossness on your sink. You can also use them as a super-rough scour for your cast-iron. I highly suggest not throwing away egg shells anyhow, especially if you have a garden. Everyone knows you can use them for fertilizer, but did you know that it helps feed birds in the spring? They just laid their eggs, and they usually will eat their egg shells to help get calcium back. Finally, if you crunch them up and sprinkle them around garden plots, it'll help keep pesky neighborhood cats and squirrels away. They don't like the sharp bits! Isn't that fun?

Beep beep! That timer should go off any second now! Flip them gently, I say, using that thin spatula of yours and - I cannot stress this part enough - ever so gently press the pancake into the hot surface of the griddle to make a flat-ish surface. Sprinkle on some water for steam. Time to sit and read for another 6 minutes? Oh, if you insist. 

Save your vegetable scraps - except the brassicas. This means broccoli and cauliflower, and any cabbage...unless you want that in your stock. Yes, you're making stock! Carrot peels, onion skins, lemon skins, herb branches, celery tips, ginger skins...anything you're likely using that's got big flavor. When you're ready to make that stock of yours, I'd like to suggest that you should also add in a cinnamon stick, some whole peppercorns, and a couple of bay leaves. Simply bring to a boil, and then simmer this goodness for one hour. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer and either freeze in jars or in an ice cube tray. You don't need new mason jars, by the way. Simply wash any glass jar that has a screw-top lid (salsa jar, lard jar, whatever) either in the dishwasher or with soap and water, and boil both lid and jar in water to sterilize. If you do add this stuff into a jar, make sure you leave room for the stock to expand while freezing, so don't fill it absolutely to the brim. Most restaurants make things taste amazing using homemade stocks, and you don't have to be left behind by that. The way restaurants make everything taste amazing is by punching in as much flavor as possible into one dish, and then making sure that everything is harmonious. 

If you want to take up your remaining time on that timer to find a clean, large container to let hang out in the fridge that'll catch all of your veggie scraps and set it in the bottom of the fridge, go right ahead. 

Your timer should be done! If you need to make more, carefully transfer each pancake onto those warming ceramic plates in your warm oven, and repeat the process. If you need another project to occupy you for two 6-minute increments, check out what the local artists in my town are doing to fight the misery of this quarantine here! This is an adult coloring book made by the Kansas City Art Scene. Check it out! If you don't need it, however, go ahead and turn off your burner and let hang out while you get plates. I don't think you need butter for this, but please make sure it's already near-melted as you don't want cold butter spreading on these delicate babies. I personally think they did fine with just maple syrup. By the way, did you know that you can make syrup from the trees you probably have in your backyard? Yes, you can make syrups other than maple! Birch trees are common, as are sycmore trees in this area. Check out this video on how to make birch syrup while you eat.  Or, you know, watch it while you wait for your second batch of pancakes to cook.

Thanks so much for reading! I hope you wake up tomorrow, inspired, to make these for breakfast. I also hope that you make these souffle pancakes for dinner tonight. Why shouldn't you have pancakes for dinner? We're all in the middle of redefining what we think the rules should really be right now, so why not you? Have pancakes for dinner! Give yourselves a little joy and silliness because goodness knows you need a good laugh. A dear friend of mine told me recently that it is a radical thing to take care of oneself in times like these.

I hope these turn out! Happy cooking and happy eating!

Monday, March 23, 2020

Veggie Frittata

Is the struggle real? It doesn't have to be. 
Keeping my promise, here's the recipe for the frittata, before the anecdote.

Here's how I made mine, enough for 2-4 people


  • 5 large eggs from a local farmer
    • They're going for $4/dozen out here, but trust me, they're worth it
  • A heaping spoonful of mayonnaise
    • Use a soup spoon 
  • 1 tsp horseradish, ground
    • You can get these at most grocery stores that have a Jewish section
  • Half of a red bell pepper, left over from some other dish, diced fine
  • 3 scallions, sliced fine, all the way up to the greens
  • A good handful of diced up cheese
    • I used a vegan parmesan that I love - but you use whatever you have around
  • 1 Tbsp butter (or vegan solid fat) plus 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper
    • Pro-tip: mix it up with your peppercorns! Use half black peppercorns and half sichuan peppercorns in your pepper mill. Trust me, you'll thank me later
  • Any fresh herbs you've manager to procure
    • I have a sage plant in the garden that I snagged a few leaves off of
Preheat your oven to 400. Yes, preheat. This is very important to the dish that it goes in to a hot oven, otherwise your frittata won't be right. Heat is a factor for maximum fluffiness, which is exactly what you want. 

Invest in some good metal chopsticks - especially good for cooking and carrying around with you to eat with! Seriously, you want to avoid using single-use plasticware as much as possible anyhow.

Beat your eggs using a pair of chopsticks. Add your mayo, horseradish, and season with salt and pepper. Dice and slice your veggies, cheese, and whatever else you've decided to put in there. Think of your dish as a song that you're writing, and make decisions as to where things should go. Would you stick an oboe next to an electric guitar? You might, but what would the point be? The idea of the frittata is to use what leftover veggie scraps you have lying around and to transform it into something great. Make good decisions, especially when considering the size of your knife cuts. Everything should be the same size, so that way it all cooks evenly.

Speaking of knife cuts, have you ever done a chiffonade of fresh herbs? It's easy! Just take flat-leaf herbs, such as basil, mint, or sage, stack them up atop one another and roll them, as if you were rolling a cigar. Slice across as thin as you can, et voila! There we have a beautiful chiffonade, ready for garnish. 

Fresh herbs are cheap, but growing your own is cheaper. Use an egg carton to grow some in your kitchen window!

If you do buy herbs, however, keep them in the fridge standing in a tall glass of water, like you would keep flowers in a vase. They'll last for days and days longer!

Heat your butter and oil in a nonstick or cast iron pan until sizzling hot. Add your veggies and season heavily. Cook these on a high heat until soft and the color has just dimmed, about 1 minute or so, and add your egg. Use a spatula to stir in the middle, just so, and scrape once around the edge. The idea is to equally distribute the veggies, but quickly. Turn off your flame and add the cheese all around. Pop in your very hot oven and cook for 15 minutes. 

Once it's all done, run your spatula around once again to loosen it and it should slight right on to your cutting board. Cut into wedges, garnish with herbs and the scallion greens, and serve with some toast. Want to know how to make your own bread from scratch? I've written a few pieces on it here.

Don't let your stale bread go to waste, either! Chop it up, douse it with olive oil, and roast them at 300 degrees F to make croutons, which are wonderfully shelf-stable.
I love a good frittata because it's a perfect meal for a family on a budget that's been stuck inside during a global pandemic and that need to make every scrap of everything last. You can put just about anything in a frittata and have it still come out. The biggest factor you should consider is moisture - as in, please control how much you put in. 

I wouldn't use a big heaping spoonful of marinara in my frittata, nor would I put dry pasta. I might, however, put in the last few bites of lo mein from my takeout, or some taco meat and veggies. The only thing I have to do is to saute it first until I'm sure that there's at least not sopping moisture in the item. You can put cheese, veggies, meats and fish into a frittata so long as you keep ratios right.

The best part about this dish is that you can very easily save it for later, as it reheats well enough. In fact, you can chop up a leftover frittata, fry it quickly in some oil or butter, and serve it as a warm crouton in a garden salad. May I suggest a raspberry vinaigrette? If you don't have any vinaigrette, but have some last bits of jam in a near-empty jam jar, simply dump in some vinegar and oil in a 1:3 ratio and shake briskly. Yes, straight in the jar! You have an instant vinaigrette that's fancy and will save for later.

I hope you're all keeping your spirits up and staying strong during this global pandemic. What you can do now, since many of you are likely working from home or gainfully unemployed is find some good side hustles. You can also use this time to write or call your representatives for your local government and tell them exactly how you think they're handling this health crisis in your area. There's also a wonderful app and website called NextDoor, and if you feel like helping, they have a feature where you can tag your home - in your own neighborhood - to help out your elderly neighbors. 

The world is watching us. It'd be a very classy move if we used our spare time to show each other that community is a priority and that we are going to be there for each other in times of crisis. I'd also like to remind you to please not hoard things, especially for your elderly neighbors that may not be able to get to the grocery store. Old people need things like toilet paper and soap as well.

Is there something you'd like to see covered? Do you want help live for a certain something you're just not sure of in the pantry? Is your cupboard looking like an episode of "Chopped"? DM me on Instagram! I do 5 mins for $5, which is all I need from you to help get your a meal going. I do live chats, facetime, etc., any way you need help for your problem, right now.

Thanks so much for spending some time with me. Make sure you get outside and walk around your block at least once per day. Remember that exercise gives you endorphins, and endorphins make you happy. Let's not let this disease ruin us. 

Happy cooking and happy eating. 

Saturday, March 21, 2020


Good afternoon, all.

I was advised to write everything down as I see it during this quarantine. It's been about five days since then and it's now been called for a stay home order. This means that nobody leaves their home for 30 days, unless it's to go to work and the grocery store. Fortunately, this is meant to include restaurants, so we're going to hopefully be able to be open. I don't know what will happen, but I do know this.

I'm going to be stuck home now, so this means I'll be writing now.

I plan to write more often, with tips and tricks on how to run a house and not lose your sanity during this time.

It March 21st, first day of spring, and I spent the day with my husband, having a picnic out of the back of my car. We drove to Clinton Lake, I saw a bed of land snail shells. We watched the water and ate sandwiches and chips. This is likely the last normal day I'll have in at least 30 days, and I'm sure that I am not alone.

I've learned a lot over my last decade in the restaurant industry, and I want to share what ever knowledge I  can with you about surviving on a razor-thin margin of a budget. Here's what I'll pledge to you now:

Put the recipe first, and then put the story. If you feel like reading that while your stuff is cooking, awesome. If not, just like and comment on my post and tell me what you want to see next.

I'll put whatever survival stuff I can and update when I can.

Stay strong.

You're not alone out here.