Thursday, October 28, 2010

Barefoot Bloggers: Popovers

The second Barefoot Blogger pick of the month was popovers. At first I was going to skip it since I didn't have a popover pan and didn't really want to get one. Then I read the recipe and it said I could use custard cups. Since they would go good with the potato chowder I was making I decided to give it a try.

They were very easy to make and came out perfectly. They are a little differently shaped than ones made in a popover pan, a little more short and squat, but they taste just the same.

Make 12 popovers

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus softened butter for greasing pans
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups milk, at room temperature
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Generously grease aluminum popover pans or Pyrex custard cups with softened butter. You’ll need enough pans to make 12 popovers. Place the pans in the oven for exactly 2 minutes to preheat. Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, salt, eggs, milk, and melted butter until smooth. The batter will be thin. Fill the popover pans less than half full and bake for exactly 30 minutes. Do not peek.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I was never very good at Spanish in high school but I decided to give it another go and have been taking a community ed class in Spanish. It is still just as hard as I remember. Time will tell if I manage to learn enough Spanish to be valuable but I am having some fun in the class. Last week we had a lot of fun since we had a pot luck to celebrate Spanish heritage month.

I was one of the last ones to get to pick an item to bring so I was thrilled when desert was still available. I signed right up but was not sure what I was going to bring. My first thought was Tres Leches. The only deserts I really knew were tres leches and flan. After doing some research on the internet I found something called Flancocho which is a layer of cake and a layer of flan with the caramelized sugar on top. It said it was a Puerto Rican desert so I thought that it might be kind of cool to make since my teacher is from Puerto Rico.

The hard part turned out to be finding a good recipe. Most recipes were in Spanish and they varied a lot. Seems the traditional way to make it is on the stove in a double boiler, but there were also recipes that bake it using a water bath. Some recipes put a cooked cake in the raw flan then cook it, some crumble a cake into the flan and then cook it, and some put the raw cake batter on the raw flan and cook it. I saw cooking times anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours. Anyway, I combined what I thought would work with the equipment I had and I think it came out pretty good.

The cake was super moist and the flan was good and creamy with the caramel sugar on top. The teacher went back for seconds and I got a few compliments in class so I was not the only one who thought it was good. The teacher said she was not used to the flan with the cake so it must just be from certain regions or something.

Here is what I came up with:

Serves 12-15


For the caramel
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
For the flan layer
  • 1 12 ounce can evaporated milk
  • 1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
For the cake layer
  • 1 yellow cake mix and ingredients for mix

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees and place rack in middle of oven.
  2. Heat some water (about 8-10 cups) to boiling to use for the water bath.
  3. Mix the sugar and water together in a small microwave safe bowl. Heat in microwave on high until a light golden color (5-6 minutes). Do not allow it to get to dark or it will taste bitter. You can also heat on the stove. If you heat on the stove do not add the water. As soon as the caramel is cook pour it into a bundt pan and tip to coat all the sides as much as possible. It will start to harden immediately.
  4. In a medium bowl or standing mixer, mix all of the ingredients for the flan until well mixed, about 2 minutes.
  5. In another medium bowl prepare the cake mix as directed on the box.
  6. Pour the flan mixture into the bundt pan on top of the caramel. Pour the cake batter on top of the flan mixture (Don't worry - it will float).
  7. Place the bundt pan into a roasting pan or cake pan to use for the water bath - use the smallest tall sided pan you have that will fit the bundt pan. Pour the boiling water into the outer pan to go up the side of the bundt pan several inches.
  8. Place in the oven and cooking until a toothpick inserted in the cake layer comes out clean (60-70 minutes).
  9. Allow the cake to cool on the stove for about 15 minutes. Loosen the sides of the cake with a knife and allow to cool to room temperature. Flip the cake onto a deep serving platter. Cool in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Barefoot Bloggers: East Hampton Clam Chowder (Not Really)

No Barefoot Bloggers last month but it looks like it is back now. The first pick of the month was for East Hampton Clam Chowder. I love clam chowder but, unfortunately, my wife does not. I decided to adapt this into something she would eat by getting rid of the clams and adding a little bacon for some extra flavor.

I am sure I would have loved the clam chowder even more but it was fantastic this way as well. Thanks to Laura at Family Spice for this pick. I love the look of her blog.

I'll post my version of the chowder without clams but if you want to try out the version with clams you can see it here on the site. Hopefully I get to try it some day.

Potato Chowder
Serves 6-8

  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 8 tablespoons (1 sticks) unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
  • 2 cups medium-diced celery (4 stalks)
  • 2 cups medium-diced carrots (6 carrots)
  • 4 cups peeled medium-diced boiling potatoes (8 potatoes)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 quart (4 cups) chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • Shredded Chesse (optional)
  1. Cook the bacon in a large heavy-bottomed stockpot or dutch oven until just crisp. Remove the bacon to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.
  2. Pour off all but 4 tablespoons of the bacon greasefrom the stockpot. Add the onions and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until translucent. Add the celery, carrots, potatoes, thyme, salt, and pepper and saute for 10 more minutes. Add the chicken broth, bring to a boil, and simmer, uncovered, until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
  3. In a small pot, melt the remaining 8 tablespoons of butter and whisk in the flour. Cook over very low heat for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Whisk in a cup of the hot broth and then pour this mixture back into the cooked vegetables. Simmer for a few minutes until the broth is thickened.
  4. Add the milk and about 3/4 of the bacon and heat gently for a few minutes. Taste for salt and pepper. Garnish with the rest of the bacon and some shredded chesse if you like. Serve hot.