Blender Dutch Babies
Serves 4 to 6.
Note: These puffy, eggy pancakes are about the most versatile, quick and easy things you can make in a skillet — and if you don’t have the 8-inch skillets called for here, you can bake all the batter in a single 9- or 10-inch ovenproof skillet, or use a pie plate. Here, the batter is barely sweetened and flavored, with optional toppings that work for breakfast and dessert. The eggs need to be close to room temperature order to maximize their rise in the oven. Adapted from “The Minimalist Kitchen: The Practical Art of Making More With Less,” by Melissa Coleman.
For the pancakes:
• 3 eggs
• 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
• 3/4 c. flour
• 3/4 c. whole milk
• 1 to 2 tbsp. sugar
• 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
• 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
For the optional filling:
• 1 c. frozen cherries, preferably tart
• 1 heaping tbsp. sugar
For the optional topping (your choice, or a mix):
• Plain Greek yogurt
• Pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
• Maple syrup
• Toasted slivered almonds
• Powdered sugar
To make the pancakes: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the eggs in a bowl of warm tap water for 5 minutes, or until they are close to room temperature.
Divide the butter between 2 (8-inch) cast-iron or ovenproof skillets; transfer to the oven. Watch closely so the butter melts, but do not let it brown or burn.
Beat the eggs in a blender on medium-high speed for 5 seconds, until frothy, then add the flour, milk, sugar (to taste), salt and vanilla extract. Blend on low speed to incorporate, then blend on medium-high for 5 seconds.
Remove the hot pans from the oven and swirl the melted butter so it coats the sides. Immediately pour in the batter, dividing it evenly between the pans; bake (middle rack) for 13 to 15 minutes, until puffed and golden brown at the edges, which should curve and rise above the rim. Turn off the oven, and let them sit there for 5 minutes. This will help the pancakes keep their structure.
To make the optional filling: Combine the frozen cherries and sugar in a small saucepan; cook over low heat for about 10 minutes, or until juices coat the back of a spoon. Turn off the heat.
Use a thin spatula to dislodge the Dutch babies from their pans; they should slide out. Cut into halves or wedges. Top each portion with some of the stewed cherries and an optional topping or two, if desired. Serve right away.
Nutrition information per each of 6 servings with filling:
Calories 200 Fat 10 g Sodium 280 mg
Carbohydrates 21 g Saturated fat 5 g Total sugars 9 g
Protein 6 g Cholesterol 110 mg Dietary fiber 1 g
Exchanges per serving: 1 ½ carb, 1 medium-fat protein, 1 fat.
Mango Cheeks in Lime and Ginger Syrup
Note: Depending on how careful you are at detaching the flesh on either side of the mango pit, you can then cut the fruit into slices and hold them close together, creating a “cheeky” effect. This is a particularly nice dish with a menu that features spicy foods. The syrup can be refrigerated for a day or two in advance. Adapted from “How to Eat a Peach,” by Diana Kennedy, who found the original recipe in a cookbook by Antonio Carluccio..
• 6 limes, divided
• 1 1/2 c. water
• 3/4 c. sugar
• 1 1/4-in. piece peeled fresh ginger root, cut into thin slices
• 3 large, ripe mangoes, peeled
Use a Microplane grater or a bar-tool zester to remove the zest from 2 of the limes; wrap in plastic wrap and reserve.
Use the grater to finely grate the zest of another 2 limes, letting it fall into a small saucepan. Juice all the limes into the saucepan as well, then add the water, sugar and sliced ginger. Place over medium-low heat; cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. The mixture should look syrupy. Transfer to a container, cover and refrigerate until chilled.
Cut off the 2 rounded “cheeks” from each mango; there may be more flesh around the pit, which you can cut away and reserve for another use. Place the cheeks, cut sides down, on the cutting board, then cut crosswise into thin slices, holding onto the mango flesh so the sliced cheeks hold their shape.
Carefully transfer each set of sliced cheeks to serving bowls. Pour the chilled syrup (with its ginger and zest) over the fruit, then sprinkle the reserved lime zest on top.
Nutrition information per serving:
Calories 220 Fat 1 g Sodium 6 mg
Carbohydrates 57 g Saturated fat 0 g Total sugars 51 g
Protein 2 g Cholesterol 0 mg Dietary fiber 3 g
Exchanges per serving: 2 fruit, 2 carb,
River Cafe Zucchini Soup
Serves 4 to 6.
Note: This is a River Cafe classic — seasonal, easy and delicious. It is served with zucchini flowers; when they are available, they add a wonderful dimension to the soup. Adapted from “River Cafe London: Thirty Years of Recipes and the Story of a Much-Loved Restaurant,” by Ruth Rogers, Rose Gray, Sian Wyn Owen and Joseph Trivelli.
• 2 1/4 lb. zucchini, trimmed
• 2 tbsp. olive oil
• 2 garlic cloves, chopped
• 2 1/4 c. chicken broth, preferably no-salt-added
• Sea salt
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 5/8 c. (5 oz.) heavy cream
• Leaves from 1 small bunch fresh basil, chopped
• Leaves from 1 small bunch fresh mint, chopped
• 4 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
• Zucchini flowers, for serving, optional
Cut the zucchini lengthwise into quarters, then across into 1/2-inch-thick pieces.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and zucchini; cook for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very soft.
Pour in the broth, then season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes until the broth is warmed through, then remove from the heat.
Transfer three-quarters of the mixture to a food processor and purée until smooth. Return that to the saucepan, then stir in the heavy cream, basil, mint, cheese and the zucchini flowers, if using.
Serve at room temperature, or transfer to a lidded container and refrigerate until well chilled.
Nutrition information per serving:
Calories 230 Fat 18 g Sodium 330 mg
Carbohydrates 8 g Saturated fat 9 g Total sugars 5 g
Protein 11 g Cholesterol 40 mg Dietary fiber 2 g
Exchanges per serving: 1 vegetable, 1 medium-fat protein, 2 ½ fat.