Monday, September 20, 2010

The Woodland

Though not posted on their website, The Woodland does do Sunday brunch! It's a place I've always wanted to go, and while I still need to go back for dinner, brunch was a great introduction.
It was a tough choice between French toast or biscuits & gravy. Ultimately the biscuits won out, and I was pleased! I think they use a combo of butter and shortening in the dough, as it was a very nicely layered biscuit with a faint hint of butter taste. The gravy is nice and peppery, not at all glue-like, and it's a nice touch that they add large pieces of sausage into the gravy, rather than smaller crumbles. I also had a side of grits, which was a huge bowl, and also very tasty! Lots of pepper in them too.

Both my friends had variations on the well-named The Morning Wood breakfast, where you get 2 eggs any style, and 4 sides with it. Then the pregnant friend was still hungry, so we had the coconut cream pie and chocolate pecan pie (she ate most of both of them!). I especially liked the coconut cream one.... good coconut flavor, and not overly rich. I liked the method on how they did the edges of their pie crust, kind of a double layer along the sides, but didn't care as much for the flavor or texture of it.

I really liked the atmosphere of the place, and really need to get back for dinner. Soon.

Sourdough Ableskivers


What's an ableskiver, you say? They're delicious! (Do you really need to know more?) Ableskivers (or ebleskiver....or "puff pancake") are a Danish pancake, though not flat like the pancakes most of us know, but rather about the size and shape of a golf ball. The pans are traditionally cast iron or non-stick, and have seven deep indentations in them. While typically served with a Scandinavian treat like lingonberry jam, they can be made sweet or savory. I was first introduced to ableskivers by my friends in Denver over Easter weekend (you can see my previous post here), and when I was at the Williams Sonoma/Pottery Barn/Restoration Hardware store at the outlet mall recently, I picked up a pan and some mix. 
 Then I started checking the internet for other recipes. And a few more months down the road, I thought, surely there must be a sourdough version. Surprisingly, there's not much out there! I only came across one sourdough ableskiver recipe, and with a few tweaks, here's mine.

Sourdough Ableskivers
yield: 18 golf balls

1/2 cup sourdough starter (mine is from a somewhat anemic starter, and was mostly the stuff you scoop out before feeding it)
1/2 cup half and half
1 egg
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 stick (4 Tbsp.) butter, melted and cooled slightly
3/4 cup AP flour
1 tsp. baking powder 
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
Chocolate disks for filling (about the size of a quarter)...or jam/peanut butter/whathaveyou of your choice... I'd say for beginners, the chocolate disk is the easiest
butter for cooking

-- Combine the starter, half & half, egg, vanilla, sugar, & butter in a medium bowl.
-- Combine the flour, powder, soda, salt in small bowl.
-- Mix the dry ingredients into the wet, and gently incorporate it all.
-- In a hot ableskiver pan, put a dot of butter in each well.
-- Fill each well to almost the top of the pan.
-- When they become bubbly on the top, place a chocolate disk in the center & flip.*
-- Once fully cooked on both sides, remove to a cooling rack. Can dust with powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar. 

*There are different methods to flipping them over, as well as how what to use. Some people like a chopstick or knitting needle; I found a small paring knife was easier than the chopstick. The original recipe from which I based mine from likes to rotate the balls 90 degrees, and then a final 90; I found they didn't really stay standing up at the first 90 degree turn (they look like Pac-man), so it was just easier to put the chocolate in, and slowly flip them a full 180 to finish cooking. Just see what works best for you!

Mine had a nice slightly sour taste to them. One chocolate disk fills it perfectly, two might be good, but I didn't try it. Actually, I bet 1 1/2 would be perfect! Doing jam or pb takes a bit of quickness to get the filling in before overcooking them. Can't wait to make some savory ones, like with some herbed goat cheese & pork bits!