Week 6 – Espresso Chip Pancakes and Parmesan-Basil Chicken Patties

picstitch

Another week brought more of a routine and a more normal-looking life.  Thank goodness.  Life has just been exhausting (yet exciting!) this year  My highlight was that the Arlington Pure Barre studio (finally) opened.  If you’ve never tried pure barre I must say, it is extremely effective.  However it’s also extremely expensive.  I did it for a month at their Capitol Hill location because I was lucky enough to score their pre-opening special.  And then I heard they were opening a studio closer to my home and jumped on that studio’s pre-opening special.  When this month is over I have no idea what I’m going to do.  Probably buy their DVDs or something because I cannot justify $25/class or $250 for an unlimited month.  It’s insane to me. Insane.  But if you have the money or can get a new client special or something I highly recommend it.  I did it the month leading up to my wedding and my body hadn’t been that toned since I trained for the Chicago half marathon my senior yr of college.  Except this time I didn’t have to subject myself to the misery of running in the summer heat to get those results.  Anyway, yay pure barre opening!

Other highlight – we also took advantage of Jazz in the Garden for possibly the last time this summer (yay busy season starting…).  That husband of mine sure can pack a picnic.  It’s great, he gets fancy cheeses and summer sausages and baguettes from Wegmans after work and then we’re good to go.  For those of you who don’t know what Jazz in the Garden is, it’s a thing DC does in the summer.  Every Friday a different jazz artist performs in the garden at the National Gallery of Art.  People bring picnics into the garden, and the cafe there also sells food and pitchers of beer and Sangria.  I think they sell wine too, but who wants that when you can have Sangria?!  It’s also the most perfect excuse to use one of my favorite wedding shower gifts – this adorable picnic basket! (thanks for probably the 10th time, Kelly!)

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Anyway, on to this week’s recipes…We started the week right with some espresso chip pancakes.  We whipped these bad boys up after church on Sunday.  They’re pretty easy and we had everything except buttermilk.  So we bought some and got to work.  I’m sure you could use regular milk but after 5 minutes of google research I decided it was best to follow the recipe, and that’s why the pancakes were so fluffy and delicious! I didn’t tell Matt that the recipe came from a blog called “dessert for two” until after we were each half way into our second pancakes and he was commenting on how rich (yet delicious!) they were.  

Our new dinner recipe for the week was a Blue Apron one.  For those of you who don’t know about my obsession with Blue Apron, it’s real.  Blue Apron is a service that will send you 3 meals a week at $9.99/person (so just under $60 for a week for Matt and I).  They send you portioned out ingredients for three meals that you’d never think to make yourself.  Another cool feature is that after you pay for so many deliveries (I think 3), they give you free weeks to give to your friends (which I know doesn’t benefit you but it helps you share the wonderfulness!).  Anddd all their recipes are online so when you don’t feel like getting a whole week you can still get the delicious recipes and make it yourself (like me this week).  But good luck finding some of the ingredients if you do it this way.  It usually requires a trip to whole foods and some modifying..  But it’s still delicious and new so we have no problem! Here’s the original recipe, or use our modified version below!  On top of all that they’ve released a cookbook (which I pre-ordered) so expect more great and seasonal recipes coming up.

Espresso Chip Pancakes

Servings: 4-6 pancakes (depending on how big you make them)

Ingredients:

For the Pancakes:

  • 1 tablespoon butter (for cooking)
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk (low-fat is fine)
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup mini chocolate chips

For the espresso glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2-4 teaspoons of buttermilk as needed
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder

Directions:

  1. Heat a griddle or large skillet over medium heat with 1 tablespoon of butter. Let melt.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, espresso powder and salt. In a small cup, whisk together the buttermilk and egg. Pour this liquid into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined, do not over-mix. Lumps are fine.
  3. Check the griddle for heat: you should be able to hold your hand a few inches from the surface for 5 seconds. Ladle heaping ¼ cups of pancake batter on the griddle. Immediately sprinkle with mini chocolate chips.
  4. Let pancakes cook on one side until bubbles form around the edges, and the underside is brown when you peek at it. Flip the pancakes, and cook another few minutes until done.
  5. While the pancakes cook, make the glaze: whisk together the powdered sugar and buttermilk until a runny sweet sauce perfectfor drizzling over pancakes forms. Just before serving, stir in the espresso powder. I wait to stir in the powder before serving so that the espresso granules stay crispy. I love the bite. But, if you would prefer a smoother sauce, stir the espresso powder in with the sugar.
  6. To serve, divide the pancakes between two plates and drizzle with espresso glaze. Dig in.

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Parmesan-Basil Chicken Patties with Braised Romano Beans & Barley

Servings: 2 (but we doubled the recipe to have leftovers!)

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Bunch Basil
  • 1 Tomato
  • 1/2 Bunch Green Onions
  • 1/4-1/2 regular onion (I added this because we didn’t have spring onions like in the original)
  • 1/2 lb Green Beans
  • 3/4 Cup Barley
  • 10 Ounces Ground Chicken
  • 1/4 Cup Breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

1. Prepare the ingredients: Wash and dry the fresh produce. Heat a small pot of salted water to boiling on high. Peel and mince the garlic. Pick the basil leaves off the stems; discard the stems. Medium dice the tomato. Cut off and discard the roots of the onions; thinly slice the onions on an angle, separating the white bottoms and green tops. Thinly slice the regular onion. Cut off and discard the ends of the beans; cut the beans into 2-inch pieces.

2. Cook the barley: Add the barley to the pot of boiling water and cook 16 to 18 minutes, or until tender. Drain thoroughly and return to the pot. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper to taste, and stir to combine. Set aside as you continue cooking.
 
3. Cook the aromatics: While the barley cooks, in a large pot, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium until hot. Add the garlic, white bottoms of the onions, and regular onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 2 to 3 minutes, or until softened and fragrant.
 
4.  Braise the vegetables: Increase the heat to medium-high and stir in the beans, tomato and ½ cup of water. Season with salt and pepper and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, 22 to 24 minutes, or until the beans are tender. Turn off the heat and stir in a drizzle of olive oil, half of the green tops of the onions and half of the basil (roughly chopping the leaves just before adding); season with salt and pepper to taste.
 
5. Make & cook the chicken patties: While the vegetables braise, in a medium bowl, combine the chicken, breadcrumbs, all but a pinch of the Parmesan and the remaining basil(roughly chopping the leaves just before adding). Season with salt and pepper. Using your hands, form the mixture into four ½-inch-thick patties. In a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium until hot. Add the chicken patties and cook, loosely covering the pan with aluminum foil, 4 to 6 minutes per side, or until browned and cooked through. Transfer the cooked patties to a plate.
 
6. Plate your dish: Divide the barley between 2 dishes and top with the braised vegetables and chicken patties. Garnish with the remaining green tops of the onions and remaining Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
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