Friday, June 13, 2008

Kitchen Klutzes of America, Unite!

Today being National Kitchen Klutzes of America Day, I decided to do something simple. Yet special. So for each meal of the day, I prepared something that's simple enough for a klutz to prepare, but special enough for a holiday.


Crepes are one of those kinda fancy things that look fun, taste great, and are fairly simple to make. The only drawback is that you cook them one at a time, so they are a bit time-consuming. But totally worth it!

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups milk
2 tbsp. melted butter or margarine
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir in milk, melted butter, eggs and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Lightly butter a 6- to 8-inch skillet and heat over medium heat. Pour about 1/4 cup batter into skillet and immediately rotate skillet until the batter is a thin, even film over the bottom. Cook until the batter is no longer shiny and the bottom is lightly browned. Do not flip. Remove the crepe with a spatula or by inverting the pan over a plate. Repeat with remaining batter. This recipe makes about 15-18 crepes, depending on the amount of batter you use for each crepe. Serve with pudding, fruit, powdered sugar, pie filling, and/or jam. I chose pistachio pudding and bananas. Crepes can also be used as a main dish with meat and/or vegetable fillings.

Prepare filling before making the crepes. That way you can serve and eat them as they come off the pan. They're better fresh.

Note: This recipe is not entirely klutz proof - you need to keep an eye on it. I forgot about the last crepe and left it on for too long:

Rotini Bolognese

I chose this for the fancy name. Now, this is definitely not a traditional bolognese sauce. I looked up bolognese sauce just before writing up this post, and it is an Italian meat-based, slightly tomato-y sauce usually served over spaghetti. This recipe, originally titled "Bolognese on a Budget" has no meat. It features lentils, canned tomatoes, and onions. That being said, I still liked this sauce. I've never had real bolognese sauce anyway, so I don't think it really matters either way.

Rotini Bolognese
1 cup lentils
1 3/4 cups water
2 (14.4 oz) cans diced tomatoes
1 onion, chopped
2 cubes bouillon (I used 1 chicken and 1 beef)
Salt and pepper to taste
Cooked rotini (or pasta of your choice)

Rinse lentils under cold running water and drain. Place the water and lentils in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until lentils just begin to soften, about 20 minutes. Stir the tomatoes and onions into the lentils; bring to a gentle simmer. Crumble the bouillon cubes into the lentil mixture and stir until it's dissolved. Simmer for about 15 minutes more, stirring frequently. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over pasta.

Cheese Fondue

This was my favorite meal today. I've never made fondue, but hey, there's a first time for everything. I had fun with this meal - it was really easy, and tasted fantastic!

Cheddar-Swiss Fondue
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup beef or chicken broth
1 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. ground dry mustard
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
1 1/2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
Extra flour
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese

In a medium saucepan over low heat, mix together milk, broth, Worcestershire sauce, ground dry mustard, garlic and flour. Heat until almost boiling. Toss extra flour with cheese, just enough to coat the cheese (only about 1-2 tbsp, add it slowly. This wasn't in the original recipe, but helps to improve the texture of the fondue). Gradually stir cheese into milk/broth mixture. Continue heating until all the cheese has melted. Transfer to fondue dish (or crock pot) to keep fondue warm and cheese melted. Serve with stuff like vegetables, bread cubes, or meat.

I thought that this fondue would be fantastic with bread cubes. The only problem was that we had no bread in the house. We don't buy bread anymore, and I just didn't have any made. Well, I searched online for a quick bread recipe that was fast, simple, and not sweet or crumbly. After looking over several recipes, I found one for yeastless focaccia, and decided I had a winner. I skipped all the herbs on top because it was to be used for dipping. When I made it, I fell absolutely in love - this was the easiest, quickest bread recipe I've ever made! (though it wasn't exactly the prettiest...)

Yeastless Focaccia
1 cup water
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan.

Stir together water, flour, baking powder, and salt until it forms a ball of dough.

Plop dough into greased baking pan. Using oiled fingers, spread dough to 1/2-inch thickness. Dough will be sticky and elastic. It does not have to be perfectly even, but make sure there are no holes. Rub the top and sides of dough with olive oil.

Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until just golden.

Let cool slightly, the cut into cubes to serve with the fondue.

To make this into a more traditional focaccia loaf, sprinkle with cayenne pepper, garlic salt and basil before baking. After it's baked for 20 minutes, remove from oven and sprinkle with Parmesan, then return to oven for final 5 minutes.

All in all, we've had a great day, eating great foods that were easy and fun to make. Happy Kitchen Klutzes of America Day!

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