Archive / Posts by Tim

RSS feed for this section

All posts by Tim

#Chocolategives by Seattle Chocolates

Every now and again we have the opportunity to participate in a real sweet deal, this is one that we’re really excited to share with everyone. Seattle Chocolates, out of, yup you guessed it Seattle, Washington has a brilliant campaign called #Chocolategives. The brilliance is in the simplicity, and the genuine good nature of the promotion, one post of #Chocolategives or purchase between now and the end of December 2014 and it equals one serving to one in need. Read more about it from Seattle Chocolates page #Chocolategives about this incredible offer.

Chocolategives

We have a tasty looking box of goodies that we can’t wait to dive into – look for a review on these chocolates in the coming weeks.  In the mean time, be sure to tweet #chocolategives or make a purchase from Seattle Chocolate and help spread the word – it doesn’t get much sweeter than that!

A little more on Seattle Chocolates, they have Truffle Bars in wide range of flavors from traditional chocolate(s), to toffee, peanut butter to more contemporary offerings like Cake Batter and a Here’s to You bar, which is Dark chocolate with popping candies on it!  They also have more traditional, bite sized truffles in all of the conventional offerings and more curious flavors like Champagne, Cosmopolitan, Margarita, Mimosa and Egg Nog.  If you can’t make up your mind, after all who could, they have a great selection of gift baskets and bundles that will make the process of finding your favorite delicious and fun!

Seattle Chocolates

I’m really excited to dive into the back breaking part of this review, the tasting!  Remember #chocolategives or buy a little something sweet this holiday season from Seattle Chocolates.

 

Tribute to John Hickernell

I knew so little about John, but what I knew I truly relish.  I only knew him for 2 years, in fact we never met in real life but I think about him and remember specific things about him often.  We’ve only spoke a few times, most of our communications were via instant message or email.  Nearly 2 years after passing I find myself thinking about him and our friendship often.  What’s funny is our friendship was very situational, meaning we always discussed what was going on, very rarely did we discuss how we arrived where we were at this moment in time.

What little I knew was what impressed me, he wanted to do or at least try nearly everything before ruling it out as a possibility.  I think a small taste of this is evident from this blog, some of his posts were not the sort of glamorous things that most food blogs write about, a great example of this is his Baking Powder Experiment.  Sure I may have been curious about if there really was a difference but there’s no way I would have gone through the testing he did!

I look back to how we met and I have to chuckle, we met through a Craigslist ad that I had run for a business that was a total flop.  John and I kept in touch and kept working on little projects here and there and we happened to create this blog.  I always enjoyed John’s comments and his ambition, he was always looking for the next project or task.  Not the sort of guy who liked to sit still, though I think he made time for that as well.

Thank you for your friendship, contributions to this site and for being a man I’ll cherish knowing for the rest of my life – here’s to you John!

Kernel Season’s Popcorn Spritzer – Review

In a previous post John shared his secret to make Perfect Popped Popcorn, it is a very good method to make a healthy, low cost snack.  For the longest time I didn’t like popcorn, but lately I’ve been a ravenous popcorn addict, sneaking a small pot here and there just to get me by until I could make a big pot.  It has become my favorite snack in a hurry.

I like my popcorn with butter and salt, both of which are not known for being healthy.  Well I think I’ve solved the butter problem.  Enter Kernel Season’s Popcorn Spritzer!  I saw this in the popcorn section of our grocery store when I was gathering kernel’s to feed my addiction but I ignored it, thinking it would taste chemically, artificial or just bad.  In a day of weakness I picked up a bottle to try when my craving was at it’s peak.  Below is the product you are looking for in all of it’s splendor.

kernel seasons popcorn spritzer

I came home and made a small batch just to test this spritzer out, I didn’t know what to expect.  It was FANTASTIC!!!  The flavor is very close to real butter without the fat, calories and cholesterol.  No chemically, funny or otherwise displeasing taste or smell.  It is “lighter” is the best way I can explain it, it doesn’t have the dense feel butter leaves on popcorn.

I really enjoy the aerosol concept of applying it, it just seems like a good idea to me.  However that is one drawback, it seems to have too much propellent and comes out almost violently.  They suggest doing short bursts, which I agree with but I wish it was a gentler misting style discharge than an aggressive mist.  My other complaint would be that it does leave your fingers greasy and I don’t like that.  I’m not entirely sure about if this increases or decreases salt/seasoning adhesion or not.  They claim it does, however I notice a lot of loose salt on the bottom and sides of the bowl.  This could be the seasoning/salt adhering to the overspray on the bowl but it seems fairly loose.  Whatever the case it’s not enough of a short coming for me to have it disuade my usage.

I’ll stress the technique mentioned in John’s post about using fine salt.  We have the Perfex Salt and Pepper Mills which allow the user to control the size of the grind, from powder to whole peppercorns or sea salt crystals falling out as you turn the handle.  While these are expensive, I’ll certainly admit that, they are the last salt and pepper mill you will ever buy.  If you’re purchasing special salt this will pay for itself quickly and you can use it for other cooking as well and who doesn’t love cool cooking toys!  If you have to John’s food processor method is a good substitute, but I prefer sea salt/kosher salt to iodized salt, it has a mellower flavor and is more forgiving.

On the salt/seasoning front I’m going to continue testing the seasonings I find and report back with any findings worth sharing.  I’m also looking into salt substitutes, but so far they all taste “off” but I remain optimistic that I’ll find a way to make this a healthy snack!

Any suggestions of toppings I should try?  Lets take popcorn to the next level!

Basic Review of Ebelskivers

First of all we want to apologize to all of you for our lack of posting last month, we also want to send a HUGE thank you to John for keeping things going.  Tiffany and I got married last month and it had taken a lot of our free time and unfortunately Lukewarm Legumes suffered.  The great news is we are happily married and have a lot of great posts just waiting to be composed!  Now to your regularly scheduled post about Ebelskivers.

I first heard of Ebelskivers in 2009 from Food Networks “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” series.  Celebrity Chef Aaron Sanchez  raved about this delectable little stuffed breakfast style pastries from Denmark.  I’ve wanted to try them or make them ever since, and recently that dream had become a reality.  Tiffany and I were out shopping and stumbled into Williams Sonoma, and picked up their Nordic Ware Ebelskiver Pan while a little pricey it’s a very well constructed pan.  My only complaint would be the design is not favorable for glass top ranges, which is what we have.  That said, as long as you are careful then I don’t think it’s a huge concern, but don’t come complaining to me if you scratch your glass cooktop.  This is more of a stationary pan, bring it up to temperature and leave it there, the only time it is moved is when you are removing the finished ebelskivers and returning it to the stove.

Before we jump too far ahead we want it to be known that we really enjoy ebelskivers and this is the first of a few posts you’ll see on the topic.  We’ve only made them 6 or so times now and all have been sweet, we have yet to gravitate towards the savory, but we will eventually!

The basic ebelskiver batter we use is very similar to pancake batter.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon(s) Sugar
1/2 teaspoon(s) Baking powder
1/4 teaspoon(s) Salt
2 whole(s) Eggs Separated
1 cup(s) Milk
2 tablespoon(s) Butter Melted and slightly cooled

Combine the dry ingredients, in separate bowl whisk together egg yolks, milk and butter, then combine with the dry ingredients – the batter will be lumpy.

Here is a picture of batter before folding in the beaten egg whites – please note this is a half batch.

ebelskiver batter

Whip the egg whites until stiff, fold in 1/3 at a time.

That’s it!

We typically add an extract to our batter, we’ve enjoyed coconut extract and vanilla extract but your creativity in balancing the filling to the batter is totally in your hands.  If you’re planning on a savory Ebelskiver then don’t use any extracts.

Next comes the cooking part, different people have different techniques but what I’ve found works best is to heat the pan to a med-low heat, have your filling ready, use a nonstick cooking spray or butter in the pan and then spoon in a generous tablespoon of batter into all of the ebelskiver openings. I’ve found it’s much better to under fill with batter than over fill, remember when you add your filling it displaces batter and fills up the rest of the cup.  Once the batter is in the pan quickly get your fillings into as close to the center of the batter as you can.   If you find you’re rushing too much turn the heat down a little.  As I mentioned before it’s much easier to have them a little on the small side than overly huge, however, as you’ll see in the image below the cups do fill up when you add the fillings.

Ebelskivers cooking

Another little trick I’ve been using since our first batch is that once the fillings are in I use my finger and kind of push the filling down and make sure it’s covered with batter.  The reason I do this is it typically produces an ebelskiver that is less likely to leak.  The image above is a cherry and chocolate sauce in coconut extract infused batter.

You’ll notice some bubbles when they are cooking, unlike with regular pancakes this is not an indication that they are ready to turn, even when the bubbles remain.  This just takes a little practice but after your first pan full you’ll have it down.

They sell a pair of sticks to flip/turn ebelskivers at Williams Sonoma for $13, we opted to just use wood skewers, the kind you use for grilling.  We also tried a high temperature slim silicon spatula and it didn’t work at all!  To flip them all you do is gently poke along one side and they should sort of start turning on their own, carefully help it make the complete flip and if you’ve over filled them gently, and carefully squish them into the pan.  You’ll know what I’m talking about if you do it, if you over fill them this is where it will become a problem.  When you try to flip an over filled ebelskiver it doesn’t fit back into the pan, the baking soda reacts and they grow when cooked.  If you do this and don’t squish them into the pan you end up with a most likely leaking ebelskiver that resembles a mushroom – they still taste great but it’s not a great demonstration of the technique used create what should be a uniform and sealed ebelskiver.

I typically plan for a single turn, that’s not to say you can’t flip them back over if you think they need more cooking but it shouldn’t be necessary if you are patient enough.  The finished product looks like what you see below.

ebelskiver's

 

You’ll notice some of these leaked and there is some uneven cooking, this was 100% my fault, this batch is one of our very first batches and we’ve gotten a lot better.  You can dip them in syrup, eat them as is, dust them with powdered sugar, whatever you feel is appropriate.

As I mentioned earlier we have become a big fan of these and we will follow up with additional posts on our success and failures (there have been a few), in the mean time we strongly suggest giving these tasty little stuffed pancakes a shot!