Friday’s Gift……Fill in the blanks and make your own crossword puzzle!

Crossword I designed for the child of a friend – kids LOVE this….because it is all about them!

There is a site I truly adore.  I adore everything about it….the aesthetics, the mission, the beautifully honest and charming way she speaks about everything that is who she is, what she makes, why it is important to her, her products and her wonderful sporadic blog (I gather she is quite busy!).  “She” is Lea Redmond and she is refreshing and so great!  Her site is filled with her products and many free projects – my favorite is one of her conceptual knitting projects called the “Sky Scarf“, in which you knit a row of whatever color the sky happens to be everyday; at the end of the year, you end up with a 5 foot long scarf that is a visual sky calendar of the past year.

One day while looking at her blog, I happened upon a link that generates a crossword puzzle with your own words!  -You also write the hints (obviously)!  Such a fun thing for birthdays, holidays…..or any day! Kids love it because it is all about THEM!! — and you can make the answers as simple as can be, so even a 4 year old can enjoy something like this as long as an adult is there to fill in the blanks!  NOTE: Sit down and come up with a list of questions and answers first – then go to the site and plug in your answers & questions!

** #2 across “An old ______ injury makes Eleanore’s (me) back hurt sometimes.”

Answer: Bullfighting (I have an old bullfighting injury that makes my lower back hurt – but only about once a year…..and it is waaaaay cooler than having an old tennis injury!  When I was pregnant and hurting because of it, my OBGYN just looked at me dumbfounded.  I said “I was not fighting a bull yesterday! It was 15 years ago – in Spain no less!!” … explanation didn’t seem to make a difference.)

Enjoy your weekend!

By Eleanore Macnish

Friday’s Gift….. Kitchen tips you will love – even if you don’t “cook”

Cook’s Illustrated is my favorite cooking magazine!  I love their scientific approach to cooking and how they explain WHY some things work and some things do not!  I also love, love, love their “Quick Tips” section of suggestions sent in by readers! Nine years ago, Cooks Illustrated published The Best Kitchen Quick Tips – 534 tricks, techniques and shortcuts for the curious cook – be still my heart! Filled with “Duh! I can’t believe I never thought of that!” and “Oh my gosh! That is a fantastic idea – I would have never thought of that!” tricks….at least that is what I think every time I pick it up to read a few pages!

“Friday’s gift” to you is a small collection of my favorite tips (below the photo)and this link to where you can buy this most amazing book!

Illustrations from Cooks Illustrated Best Kitchen Quick Tips

My favorite tips and tricks:

1. You know how cooking spray gets all over the place when you are spraying a pan? Open you dishwasher and place the pan on the opened door of the dishwasher and spray it.  Any “overspray” will get washed away the next time you run the dishwasher! Duh!

2. Line your brownie pan with two rectangles of parchment paper (make diagonal cuts on the corners to allow the paper to fold in on itself when you pour in the batter). Bake and lift out the brownies — you do not even have to wash the pan!  Yay!

Did you know you can get pre-cut stacks of parchment paper?  They are fantastic! Available on Amazon.

3. Twist a potato onto a corkscrew and use the corkscrew as a “handle” while you are peeling the potato = no cut fingers!

4. To remove hard boiled eggs from boiling water, use a pasta spoon – one of those things with the little fingers and holes for water to drain.  One would think I would have figured this out after cracking many an egg trying to remove them with a too shallow spoon or tongs!

One last tip – this one is my own. Add 1/4 teaspoon cayenne chile powder and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon to brownie batter for a wonderfully subtle and delicious mild spicy “heat”.

By Eleanore Macnish

Friday’s Gift…..David Eyre’s Pancake Recipe

I thought it would be fun to post a little “gift” every Friday…..a recipe, a fun website, a cool craft tutorial, etc.  Something fun to get the weekend started!

Today’s “gift” is this recipe for David Eyre’s Pancake Recipe from 1966 (with some changes/additions I have made).

Variations and names abound – Dutch Baby, German Pancake, or David Eyre’s Pancake – call it what you will, just be sure to try it!  It looks tricky but is the easiest thing in the world – I make it for my daughter before school, if that gives you any idea about the ease of making this dish!  It takes about 5 minutes to make and 20 minutes to bake – and works every time!  Be sure to scroll down for single serving ingredient measurements, other ways to serve it, and links to the original recipe!

Serves 2 to 4

1/3 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon whole milk

2 eggs, lightly beaten

Pinch of nutmeg

2-4 tablespoons of unsalted butter (***I only use 2 Tbs butter)

2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

Juice of half a lemon

  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Combine the flour, milk, beaten eggs, and nutmeg in a bowl. Beat lightly with a whisk. Leave the batter a little lumpy and let rest for 5 minutes.
  2. While the batter is resting, put 2 Tbs butter in a 12′ heatproof skillet and put skillet in oven for 3-5 min. – check at around 3 min. to make sure butter is not burning.
  3. When the skillet is very hot, remove from oven (careful!), swirl butter around bottom to coat and pour in the batter. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the pancake is golden brown.
  4. Sprinkle with the sugar and lemon juice, and serve with jelly, jam.
  5. Serve in the pan and rip off pieces (be sure to place pan on a heatproof surface!)

Single Serving 

(Single serving measurements are not exactly half of the full serving, but oddly enough they work. Also, be sure to use a smaller skillet.)

Scant 1/4 cup flour

1/4 cup milk

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Bake 15 minutes

Additional ways to serve: 

Brunch, lunch or dinner

After the pancake has been baked, add anything you would add to an omelet (shredded ham, mushrooms, spinach, etc) and a bit of shredded cheese to half of the pancake. With a spatula, fold over the other half and let it sit for a few minutes to allow the cheese to melt – or put it back in the still warm oven for a couple of minutes.  Cut into wedges and serve with a simply dressed spinach salad. Served this way, a pancake made in a 12″ skillet will serve three people. 

Links to the original recipe and a history of the family recipe from David Eyer’s daughter!

David Eyer’s Pancake from Food52

David Eyer’s Daughter’s Note – be sure to read this; it is so touching and provides a wonderful context for this recipe!  You will think of it each time you make this!

By Eleanore Macnish