Saturday, 30 November 2013

Choco-Banana Bread Bites

My son loved these, my daughter thought they were ok…for my family of picky eaters that is pretty good.  These are a nice moist cookie that really does taste like a banana bread.

3/4 cup Evaporated Milk
2 tbsp vinegar
1 cup ripe mashed bananas (2-3 medium)
1 banana, sliced 1/4" and quartered (about 2/3 cup)
1 tsp baking soda
1 egg
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
36 banana chips, optional

  • Preheat oven to 350F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Combine evaporated milk and vinegar in a medium bowl.  Stir well.  Mixture will thicken.  Add mashed bananas, sliced bananas and baking soda.
  • Whisk egg, brown sugar, oil and vanilla in a separate large bowl.  Stir in flour and baking powder.  Add banana mixture and stir until mixture is well combined.  Add chocolate chips.
  • Drop 2 tbsp of dough on prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.  Place a banana chip on top of each cookie.
  • Bake in preheated oven, 13 to 15 minutes until the edges are lightly golden.  Let cool, 5 minutes and then transfer to wire cooling rack.
**Add some crunch with 1/3 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Friday, 29 November 2013

Spicy Collards and Kale

I wasn't able to find collards at my little grocery store but I did find Swiss Chard and substituted it.  It worked out really well.  I haven't had a chance to try collards but will give it a try when I get a chance.  This is a great spicy dish with lots of flavour and texture.  I also didn't have Nando's Peri-Peri sauce but used good old Tabasco sauce instead.  From Fresh Juice Magazine 2013.

3 medium cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 bunch kale, washed and centre stems removed
1 bunch collard greens, washed and centre stems removed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 medium red pepper, cut in 1/2 inch cubes
1 1/2 tsp Nando's Peri-Peri Sauce

  1. On chopping board using back of knife or with mortar and pestle, mash garlic and salt until coarse paste; set aside.
  2. Stack kale and collards in bunches, roll tightly lengthwise, like a cigar, and slice thinly crosswise; set aside.
  3. In large skillet over medium, heat oil.  Add onion and garlic paste; stir until soft and starting to become golden, about 2 minutes.  Add red pepper; stir for about 45 seconds. Add kale and collards; cook for about 1 minute, using tongs to separate ribbons of greens and fold in with onion mixture.  Add hot sauce; toss to combine.  Cook until greens are slightly wilted and vibrant green, 3 minutes.  Remove from and adjust seasoning to taste, if desired.  Serve warm.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Parmesan Crusted Chicken

This is super easy and delicious!  The recipe is for chicken but it works on fish and pork as well.  Use real Parmesan and grate it yourself - you will never buy cheese product again!

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
4 chicken breast halves
4 tsp italian seasoned bread crumbs

Combine mayonnaise with cheese.  Arrange chicken on baking sheet lined with foil and top with mayonnaise mixture.  Sprinkle with bread crumbs.  If you want to change it up add some chopped fresh herbs or your favourite spice sprinkled on top.

Bake 20 minutes at 425F or until cooked through.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Pasta and Edamame Salad

Thanks to this recipe I am now a big fan of Edamame!  If you haven't tried them give this a shot.  This is a simple and healthy salad.

3 cups frozen edamame or green peas, defrosted
3 cups cooked pasta (your choice but a smaller shell pasta works well)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp white balsamic or white wine vinegar
zest of one lemon, finely grated
2 stalks of celery, diced finely
200g cherry tomatoes, quartered
150 g Harvarti or medium Cheddar cheese, diced finely (I used Balderson 5 year white cheddar - I get this from Costco and love it!)
1/3 cup fresh basil, sliced finely on the diagonal
Chili powder to taste (optional)

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together gently and season to taste.

Makes 6 servings

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Blueberry Streusel Muffins

Love the streusel crumble on the top of these.  A nice breakfast or snack.

1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup Oats
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp butter, melted

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk (I just add about 2 tbsp white vinegar to 1 cup milk)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 egg
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.   Grease a 12 cup muffin pan or line with paper liners.
  2. TOPPING:  Mix topping ingredients in a small bowl.  Reserve
  3. MUFFIN:  Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.  In a separate large bowl, whisk buttermilk, brown sugar, oil and egg.  Stir into dry ingredients.  Stir in blueberries.
  4. Spoon batter into prepared muffin pan.  Sprinkle with reserved topping.
  5. Bakin in preheated oven, 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in centre of muffin comes out clean.  Cool on wire cooling rack.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Classic Carrot Cake

I brought this cake into work and got very good comments on it.  It is simple to make and has everything a carrot cake should have, a little spice, moist cake and a light but tasty icing.

1 cup canola oil
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
4 eggs
2 cups all purpose flour (I always use unbleached)
2 tsp each; cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 cups carrots finely grated (approx 454 g)

1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup regular or low fat cream cheese, softened
4 cups icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp milk, if necessary

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease two 9" cake pans
  2. CAKE: Beat oil and sugars together in a large bowl with an electric mixer until combined.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. Combine flour cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a separate large bowl.  Add flour mixture to egg mixture.  Mix just until combined.  Fold in carrots.  Divide batter evenly into prepared pans.  Bake in preheated oven, 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in centre of cake comes out clean.
  4. Cool in pans, 20 minutes.  Remove and cool completely on wire cooling rack.
  5. ICING: cream butter and cream cheese in a large bowl of an electric mixer.  Add icing sugar, 1 cup at a time.  Beat well after each addition.  Add vanilla.  Continue beating until fluffy.  Add 1 tbsp milk at a time to thin out icing if necessary.
  6. ASSEMBLY:  Place one cake on serving dish.  Spread with icing. Top with remaining cake layer.  Spread top with remaining icing.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Potato Sourdough Bread

This is an old fashioned hearty bread.  It uses a sourdough starter so it takes some time to make.  The flavour is wonderful and it goes well as an accompaniment to soup or stew or on its own in the toaster.  From Food & Drink Winter 2012

(enough for 2 large loaves)
1 medium baking potato such as Idaho, about 175g
1 1/2 cups cold water, divided
1 1/2 tsp instant or traditional yeast
1 cup all purpose flour

1 tbsp yeast
1 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 cups water, just warm to the touch
1/2 48 hour starter mixture, about 1 cup
2 tsp salt
3 1/2 to 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour.

  1. To make starter, peel and dice potato; add to small pot with 1 cup cold water.  Bring to a boil, cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes or until potatoes are very soft.  Pour in 1/2 cup cold tap water.  Whirl in a blender or food processor until a thick liquid; cool to lukewarm.
  2. Turn potato liquid into a large steel or glass bowl; stir in 1 1/2 tsp yeast ( no need to proof this starter yeast) and flour.  Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap and a tea towel.  Let stand at room temperature for 48 hours.  Stir occasionally; starter is ready when it smells slightly sour and looks curdled.  Starter amount is enough to make 2 large loaves.  When ready, cover starter with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, stirring occasionally, or divide into 2 portions, 1 to use now and another for the freezer.
  3. To make loaf, proof 1 tbsp yeast by stirring sugar into water and sprinkling yeast overtop, then setting aside for 5 minutes.  Then stir to dissolve yeast completely.
  4. Meanwhile stir about 1 cup starter (half of the original mixture) with salt in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer with dough hook attached.  Stir in 1 cup of flour; then proofed yeast mixture.  Continue adding flour until dough is becoming hard to stir.  Then turn out onto a well floured work surface.  Or continue using stand mixer to knead dough.
  5. Begin to knead dough, adding flour slowly as needed to have soft yet well formed dough, from 5 to 10 minutes.  All flour may not be needed.  Turn into a large, generously oiled bowl; turn dough ball in bowl so all is coated with oil.  Loosely cover with a piece of plastic wrap; let rise for 50 to 60 minutes or until doubled.  (If making to bake later, cover well and chill for up to a day.  While in the refrigerator, dough rises slowly; punch down occasionally.)
  6. Preheat oven to 375 F
  7. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface.  Lift outer edges into middle while pressing down to burst large bubbles.  Shape into a round ball.  Place smooth side up on parchment lined baking sheet.  Evenly press down until about 2 inches thick.  Or for 2 medium loaves divide dough in half and shape to fit 2 greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pans.
  8. Generously coat top with flour; loosely cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise for 30 to 40 minutes or until dough has doubled.  (Refrigerated dough takes approximately 1 1/2 hours to rise.)
  9. Remove plastic wrap.  Using a serrated knife gently placed on top of loaf, draw knife at an angle along top to shallowly slice a pattern of 3 or 4 slashes.
  10. Bake round or loaf pans in centre of preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until quite golden and smell of baking bread is very evident (love this smell). A tap on loaf bottom sounds hollow.  Cool on a rack without pan.  Bread is best on the day it is made.