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Hagarita -  the love of cooking and sharing food

oh my god, these are the yummiest little things!!!

Amy B was here this weekend for a very short minute, and that was a great reason to cook and celebrate. On Sunday as a part of our way to convince Roi to come and help us with an ongoing bathroom renovation, and since Amy was in town, I cooked an elaborate brunch featuring these little cheesy puffs, called gougères, savory cheesy pastry puffs. oh my, they are so delicious.Being the gruyere lover that I am its sorta hard to be objective about any food that has this fantastic swiss work of art in it, but pairing these little yummies with some poached eggs was simply delightful, and it didn't require too much work either (it is rare for me to go for recipes that do...). It doesn't require using a mixer, nor it won't break your hand mixing it.

makes 8-10 servings

1/3 cup (3 oz/90 g) unsalted butter 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper pinch of cayenne pepper 1 cup (5 oz/155 g) all-purpose flour 4 large eggs 3 + 1 for brushing 1 1/2 cups (6 oz/185 g) shredded Gruyere cheese

pre-heat oven to 425°F (220° C), line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. in a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the butter, salt, white pepper, cayenne, and 1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) water and bring to a boil. cook, stirring, until the butter melts, 3-4 minutes. Add the flour and, using a wooden spoon, mix vigorously until a thick paste forms and pulls away from the sides of the pan, about 3 minutes. remove from heat. break 1 egg into the pan, using the wooden spoon, beat it into the batter until combined. repeat with additional 2 eggs. whisk in 1 cup (4 oz/125 g) of the cheese.

dip a teaspoon into a glass of cold water, then scoop up a generous teaspoonful of the batter and push it onto the prepares baking sheet with a fingertip. repeat with the remaining batter, spacing them 2 inches (5 cm) apart and dipping the spoon each time to prevent sticking. brush the tops off with an egg and sprinkle with the remaining of the cheese.

bake for 10 minutes, reduce oven temp to 350°F (180° C) and bake until golden and crisp, about 15 minutes. remove from the oven, pierce each one with a wooden skewer, and then return to the oven. turn off oven and leave the gougères in the oven for 10 minutes. serve at room temperature

Bon Appetit!

almond cardamon pancake in bluberry goodness

In the middle of making breakfast this morning we realized we only have enough pancake mix for 3 small pancakes, really small pancakes. oops. that wouldn't be a problem if it wasn't for the fact Roi and Nitzan were on their way. now what?In the pantry I got flour, almond meal, corn starch and condense milk... hmm.. that doesn't sound promising. let's mix some flour and almond flour, cinnamon, cardamon, lemon zest, sugar, vanilla and almond extracts, an egg, some almond milk and see what happens..

1 cup AP 1 cup almond flour 1 egg 1/3 cup sugar 2 tablespoon ground cinnamon 2 tablespoon ground cardamon 2 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 teaspoon almond extract pinch of salt zest of 1 lemon 1/2-1 cup almond milk (or regular milk)

mix all dry ingredients together, add milk and start whisking, add as much as you need to make the mixture liquid but not runny. make one small pancake and taste. personally I prefer using little sugar in the batter and more maple syrup on top, but that is up to you.

To top those lovely pancakes off I use 1 cup of frozen blueberries with 1/2 cup maple syrup in a pan over medium heat for about 5-10 minutes.

blueberry french toast

I learned this one from Jules, shortly after he had learned it from Matt and Kayla. This delicious variation of a french toast is simple and doesn't require frying, it's perfect if you are having some friends over for brunch.

You will need: 1 loaf of challah bread, sliced the night before and left out or lightly toasted in the oven - this step is important to help the bread soak up as much liquid as possible. 4-5 eggs, scrambled 2-3 cups of milk 1 pint of blueberries 2 Tbsp cinnamon 1 Tbsp cardamon 1 teaspoon vanilla extract pinch of salt powdered sugar for dusting maple syrup

baking dish, buttered

pre-heat oven to 400° in a bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and spices, cut the bread into pieces and soak in liquid, mix it with your hands to insure the bread is completely soaked. Mix in the blueberries, I like to use a lot of berries, about 3/4 of a pint. transfer the mixture into a baking dish, fluff it with your fingers and sprinkle a few more berries on top. place in the oven for about 30 minutes, covered, then remove cover and bake for 10 minutes more or until lightly golden in color. finish with some powdered sugar.

serve warm with pure maple syrup.

Open-Faced Treat

I love open-face paninis, much more than the ones with a second slice of bread on top, mostly because two slices of bread is just too much in my opinion, I'm a lot more excited about what's inside the bread anyway, and that second slice of bread  just takes up unnecessary space in my stomach.For brunch on  Saturday morning: Avocado, red onions, Gruyere, thick cut bacon and a sunny side up egg on a fresh toasted slice of sour dough. Delicious.

Meyer Lemon and Ricotta Pancakes

Sunday, it's noon and we are hungry. Last night we made Lasagna and I have some ricotta left, Tacuma wants pancakes... mmm... let me think..... I love Ricotta pancakes, and I don't need to be asked twice to make them, I also happened to have 3 Meyer lemons that been waiting to get used. perfect.

Now is the time to admit that I cheated when making the pancakes, I did use Pamela's Baking Mix instead of making the batter from scratch, but to my defense, it is so incredibly good that it just doesn't make sense not to use it. Especially on such a lazy Sunday.

for two people I used 1 cup of baking mix, I separated 2 eggs and added the yolks to the dry mix, then a 1/3 cup milk ( I used almond milk but you can use anything from water to cream), 1/2 cup of ricotta cheese, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, pinch of salt and the zest of 1Meyer lemon. mix well until combined with no lumps, if the batter is too thick or too thin adjust with either more liquid or more dry mix. I don't add sugar to the batter, simply so I can later drown it in maple. whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks and fold into batter. turn your oven on and set to 200°F. on a hot cast iron, oiled or buttered, or both, pour the batter using a spoon or a small ladle. once the pancake seem firm and you can see bubbles appearing throughout, gently lift with a spatula and flip. once golden brown on both sides remove from heat and keep warm in the preheated oven until all pancakes are ready to serve. In a bowl combine 1/2 cup or ricotta, juice of 1/2 a meyer lemon, 1/2 tablespoon of maple syrup, zest of 1 lemon and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. mix well and serve with pancakes.

Best served with.... Bacon!