Puff Pancakes

Puff Pancake in a 12″ Iron skillet

I have heard of puff pancakes forever but never bothered to try them. i believe another name for them is ‘Dutch babies’. Now that I’ve tried them, I think they are the best breakfast food ever and we should eat them every day for breakfast. Every. Day. It isn’t sweet on its own but has a salty buttery goodness from all that melted butter. The iron skillet is, no surprise, wonderful, heating evenly and giving it a golden crust of perfection.

It took very little time to make. Even less effort and it almost tastes like a crepe. Cut it into 6 or 8 slices, fill it with jam or syrup or cheese or nutella with sauteed bananas or berries or whatever. Or even eat with just a sprinkle of powdered sugar. You know, like crepes.

preheat oven to 425 degrees.

you will need:

4 Tbsp. of butter

1/2 cup of flour

1/2 cup of milk

2 eggs

a pinch of nutmeg

Melt the butter on the stove top in the cast iron skillet.

In the meantime, mix the rest of the ingredients in a mixing bowl until just mixed. No need to get rid of all the lumps. They go away on their own.

Once the butter is bubbly, pour in the batter and pop into the oven.

In 15-20 minutes it will be golden brown and puffy. Take it out of the oven (carefully) and sprinkle it with powdered sugar. Pop back into the oven for just a few minutes more then take out. It will sink, leaving a high edges almost like a lumpy pie crust. Slice it, fill it, eat it. Eat some more. And when no one is looking, eat the rest.

Then make it tomorrow and invite me!

Fork? Whose kidding who. I just picked it up and ate it like a slice of pizza.

Bourbon Street Chicken

Here is an example of substitutions and making due. When this recipe calls for apple juice, and we hadn’t any, I found a bottle of Marinelli’s left over from some holiday or other! Bubbly apple juice but still apple juice, am I right?. Out of soy sauce? How about liquid amino’s? Those work almost the same, just stronger so I used less.

I haven’t posted anything new on here in quite a while, if you count almost forever quite a while. I woke up today with energy for the first time on over a week, (been nursing a cold) and had to start the day with something new. So it was puff pancakes (aka Dutch Babies) which I had never tried and now I never want to live without. That recipe I already posted.

Then for dinner it was just a twist on something old, so not exactly new. But it turned out great and after I realized I had never posted it, well… I felt the need to share with my buds, my fam, my peeps.

I took a long cut on this and soaked the chicken bits in egg whites whipped with corn starch, to give it a bit of crunchy coating. But it took frying it up in 4 batches which was pretty time consuming. Plus I discovered something about coconut oil. We have always loved coconut oil, ever since I found out it is a miracle cure for your dogs fur and eyes. We put it in the dogs food. Then we use it in all kinds of sautee and baking. But Dave, in his brilliance (and desperation) discovered the wonders of frying in coconut oil! While in Australia recently, he wanted to make tacos for his friends there and the only oil they had was coconut oil. Turns out corn tortillas fried in coconut oil come out light and super-uber crispy! The part I discovered was the spattery mess it makes! It goes beyond spattery. Is there a word for it? The kitchen had a coconut oil sheen over it, like the ocean on a summers day after tourists, slathered in coconut sunscreen have finished swimming for the day. (only mine was easier to clean).

Well, I lugged out the rice cooker for some rice. I rummaged in the fridge and found a zucchini, half a red bell pepper and an onion, which I sliced and diced. I fried the chicken and made the sauce. Then assembled.

I used the same skillet that I fried the chicken in to saute the veggies briefly, until crisp-tender. Then I dished up rice, veggies, chicken and sauce. I hope you enjoy.


you will need:

as much chicken as you care to use. I had about 1 1/2 lbs of chicken breast meat. Thigh meat would work well here too. Dice the meat bite size.

1/2 cup apple juice (or pineapple juice)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup ketchup

2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup water

2/3 cup soy sauce, tamari sauce or, in my case, 1/3 cup Bragg Liquid Aminos. Its stronger than soy sauce so I use less.

a pinch of red pepper flakes…or…

1 Tbsp. A1 sweet chili garlic (Optional and only because I had it on hand, but yummers!)

oil of your choosing. I used coconut (in case you skipped down and missed the whole coconut story)

vegetables of choice, slivered or cut into bite size pieces. Zucchini, mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, broccoli…

Now, saute your diced chicken in a Tbsp of hot oil. brown on all sides. you will probably have to do this in batches.

You do not need to coat it like I did. But if you want to, I used 2 egg whites and about 2 Tbsp of corn starch whipped together and soaked the chicken in it for about 10 minutes. Then I fried it in at least 1/4 cup of coconut oil or more. Who measures? I just dolloped it in with a big spoon. Fry the chicken in batches. And it spattered. All over the kitchen. The counters, the floor, the stove, other pots and of course, me. Once they were done, I held them in a warm oven on a cookie sheet until I was ready.

Anyway, while that cooks, put all the sauce ingredients into a saucepan and heat until it thickens up and is warm.

When the chicken is done, add whatever vegetables you have chosen to the messy but empty skillet and saute them until crisp tender.

Now I put the chicken in a mixing bowl and poured some of the sauce over it, mixing it in to coat.

Then each pasta bowl got some rice, a scoop of vegetables, a scoop of chicken and extra sauce poured over the whole thing. Then topped with scallions.


PS. now that I think of it, toasting some sesame seeds to sprinkle on top would have been a nice touch. Or just sprinkle with Trader Joes “everything but the bagel” topping. (Which I put on soooo many things folk! Love that stuff! Chicken, focaccia bread, vegetables…)

Non-stick Cast Iron? Where do I sign up? How to season and maintain your cast iron.

IMG_9102(I am updating this post from years ago, since I recently spent time with my son in NY seasoning his cast iron pans. He is a happy camper with the results. So I’m adding seasoning tips. This was first published in 2012.)

A few years ago I was researching cast iron . I had read an article in “Cooks Illustrated Magazine” about them. I dislike the idea of the chemicals involved in nonstick pans and the fact that you need to buy new ones every time you turn around. I don’t care how much I spend on them, within a year they are discolored and starting to stick. Okay, maybe I am just harder on pans that the average person. All the more reason to use something sturdier, with lasting power, durable and tough.

I have a set of stainless steel pans, pretty nice ones, heavy enough, that do the job nicely. With proper oiling they are fairly non-stick, but not so much as cast iron pans.

I was hankering for some cast iron, like grannie used to have. And where do you look for durable cast iron? Lodge Cookware. American made and doing so for over 100 years. (yes, some people collect vintage one made by other companies back in the day. See what I found below.)

And get this! They come pre-seasoned now! Even so, I still recommend seasoning them when you get them and then when necessary. How do you know when they need to be seasoned? When rust spots start showing up. Scrub off the rust and re-season. Or when its just sticking more than usual, it may need to be scrubbed out and re-seasoned. If you use soap on them when you clean them, it will wash out the seasoning too. All good times to re-season.

Bring on the ‘manly breakfast’ Willl-maaa!

Seasoning could not be easier. Turn the oven on to 350. (and get this, people have seasoned them in ovens as cool as 250 and up to 400 so there is really  no wrong way to do this. Unless you forget to turn on the oven. That would be the wrong way.)

Wash the pan about to be seasoned. You can use soap this time because you are seasoning it. Usually when you wash cast iron, you do not use soap. You just scrub. You can also get this little piece of chain mail thing to scrub them out with. My son has one and I really want one too. Works surprisingly great. But if it has rust, if you are restoring one you found at a garage sale, use soap, scrubbers, whatever it takes to get it clean.

Using a rag or paper towel, rub crisco or lard into the pan. Some people use other oils as well, like coconut, soy, canola, etc, but this is what I use. Rub it into the insides, outsides, sides and handles. Wipe off excess.  Place the skillet (or two or three) into the oven upside down. Put a sheet of aluminum foil on the rack below the pans to catch drips. Let heat up for an hour or two. I take them out while still slightly warm to wipe off any excess dripage with a paper towel.  Otherwise it will leave splotchy spots on the finish and get sticky.

Now you are done. Let it cool and cook with it. Or, just to be safe, you can start again, after its cooled and re-season it twice.

When I use one of my skillets, I give it a double whammy of oils, if its something delicate like eggs. If its something that has fat in it, like sausage, then one layer of fat is enough.

I rub in some coconut oil, heat it up, then add butter or a bit more oil if it is something sticky like eggs. I think I use this pan every day. No kidding, every darn day! This particular 8″ skillet is actually a  duel skillet/lid. But I hardly ever use the  pot it goes with.  Its a deep fryer or with the lid, a dutch oven. The set cost under $60 these days and last, oh, I don’t know, they never wear out, so how could you know how long they would last? Unless you left them out in the rain for about a year. They would get pretty rusty and need work scrubbing and refinishing. But even then, they could still be redeemed. And to think, you get some iron in every serving to boot! No more iron poor blood, no sir. Oh, should we mention the arm muscles you develop from lifting these heavy pots and pans? Oh, maybe not.

I keep this smaller one above on a hook attached to my bakers rack. That and a little 6″ skillet I use a lot as well.

Then there is this one:

12″ Scout version.
12″ Boy Scout skillet

Cool, huh? So for a Christmas present a few years back, DH ordered 4 pieces of cast iron and I have never looked back, never lacked for just the right pan.

Not that I don’t love my stainless too. (Don’t want to hurt their feelings you know.) They each have their place.

Keep them nice and oiled. Add some oil after the pan is hot and they will be virtually non-stick and last forever.


Just don’t try to open a coconut with one. DH had a story he remembers from when he was little. How his dad was trying to open a coconut. He took one of his wife’s cast iron skillets, figuring they were indestructible. Set the coconut on the walkway, swung high and WHAM! Knocked a coconut sized hole right through the middle of the skillet. Wish I could have seen that one.

So don’t get any ideas along those lines.


Look at this cool one I found at an antique shop in Paseo Robles. I didn’t even know what it was for! I just thought it looked cool. But when we got it home we all looked at it for a while, trying to guess. Round golf ball eggs? Round muffins?

Griswold, an American cast iron company from 1865-1957

Turns out its an Ebelskiver or ‘Aebleskiver’ pan for making Danish pancakes. Whats not to love about that? You can fill them with jam! I’ll let you in on it when I finally brave making them.

a 7 boobied monster?


Caesar Salad Bread in “A Passion for Baking”

(I thought this needed to be dusted off and brought out again. Its a wonderful bread to go with a salad, a nice dinner, or soup for lunch. I call this my ‘Italian Cheese Swirl Bread.)

This has to be one of my favorite over-the-top baking books.

And this particular bread is one of the best recipes in this book.

And that’s saying something, because her book is pretty full of wonderful recipes. I have even tried the popcorn bread, yep.

But before I get started, I have to snap out of this funk. Its a ‘I-took-seasick-pills-last-night-because-we-were-supposed-to-go-sailing” funk. The kind that, when I woke up this morning, my eyeballs kept rolling back in my head. And since its a holiday, I didn’t really have to get up for anything. So I didn’t. When I finally rolled out of bed like a sloth, my brain felt like it was wrapped in cotton batting. Not to say this is a particularly bad feeling. No, not at all, just not very productive. I put on my robe and slippers, schlupped into the kitchen and actually made a big ol’ breakfast. Hubby was putting on the pressure ’cause collage son is home for weekend. We need to fill him up to last a while. Okay, so my kitchen is still a mess, with dregs from last nights festivities that didn’t get cleaned yet and now breakfast madness. I just won’t acknowledge its there. Maybe the dish fairy will come and it will all go away. Continue reading “Caesar Salad Bread in “A Passion for Baking””

Cream Puffs

Cream Puffs.


You may not remember, but I wrote up how to make crepes here once long ago. A kind, enthusiastic woman I met from Paris taught me and it was so easy! At least as easy as pancakes. How had I been missing this? And we have had Saturday morning crepes ever since.

Then in Alabama once, visiting my Aunt at the Mistletoe Bough, we had a cream puff emergency! (Just because you’ve never had one, don’t scoff-its a real thing!)

A group of discerning ladies having a luncheon at the Inn, expecting cream puffs for dessert and none where to be found at the stores or bakeries. Cream Puff emergency! Continue reading “Cream Puffs”

Apple Walnut Streusel Muffins

(Ha, spellcheck tried to turn ‘streusel’ into ‘stressful’. I can’t imagine muffins being stressful. Really? They are anti-stressful if you ask me. The cure for stress. A couple of these and some tea? Or a glass of milk or even coffee…)

First, Happy Mothers Day to all Mothers, grandmothers, foster mothers, God mothers, and anyone involved in mothering. 


Since it was Mothers day, I figured I would make some of my own personal favorite muffins, apple walnut, although I do not have a go-to recipe really, like I do for some other recipes. This one is always hit and miss. So I dug through some of my favorite baking books.

This one is a hit! Continue reading “Apple Walnut Streusel Muffins”

Carrot Cake

This was a recipe originally from Taste of Home that I found so long ago, I had it written down on a recipe card.

hummdinger cake

You know, not printed up on a computer or anything like that. Just hand written. Straight out of magazine I probably borrowed from my mom.

Its a great cake, a favorite among cake eaters, easy to whip up and-did I mention?- its got carrots so fiber, right? And pineapple! And nuts! Heck, this is practically a breakfast food, probably better for you than a bowl of cereal!

I print it here, now, just for you. So you can make your basic and delicious and much requested carrot cake. Continue reading “Carrot Cake”

A gratin of leeks, potatoes and cheese cooked in the French style

Here is a satisfying recipe and review submitted exclusively for La Petite by a  guest blogger, (and sweetie), author of “Thread and Bones”.


“The other week I was on a plane and decided to re-watch the movie Julie and Julia, which, if you haven’t seen it, is an excellent though fatally flawed film starring the amazing Meryl Streep as Julia Child, who’s life is fascinating and delightful, written by the lovable Nora Ephron, and heavily featuring Food, in all it’s glory. Continue reading “A gratin of leeks, potatoes and cheese cooked in the French style”