Monday, June 28, 2010

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms with Artichoke Puree & Roasted-Corn & Tomato Topping

This recipe is quite yummy, particularly if you have a grill. We made it exactly as written and it was lovely. It isn't anything exciting, so it's doubtful we'll make it again, but I'd highly recommend it to those of you who have gardens. What a wonderful, summery way to enjoy fresh produce! I really enjoyed that aspect of this. I probably won't make it again, but it is yummy! Maybe next year when I grow tomatoes. We did use our own basil, so that's a start!

mushroom

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms with Artichoke Puree & Roasted-Corn & Tomato Topping
Shape, July 2008

For the Artichoke Puree:
3/4 cup artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 clove garlic
Sea salt

For the Corn-Tomato Topping:
2 large tomatoes, seeded and diced (about 2 cups)
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic -- pressed (optional)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 ears corn in their husks
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Mushrooms:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 large portobello mushrooms, stems and gills removed
Sea salt (optional)

1. Place the artichoke hearts, oil, thyme, garlic, and a small pinch of salt in a blender and pulse until smooth. Add more salt to taste. Set aside.

2. Preheat the grill to medium heat. Meanwhile, place tomatoes in a bowl and drizzle with oil. Add garlic (if using), basil, and parsley and toss gently to combine. Set aside.

3. When grill is hot, cook the corn, turning frequently, about 10 minutes, or until husks are charred and pulling away from cobs. Let stand until cool, then strip husks and remove silk by rubbing with a dish towel. Cut kernels off cob and toss them with tomato mixture; sprinkle with salt and pepper.

4. While the corn is cooling, grill the mushrooms. Pour oil into a small dish. Using a pastry brush, lightly coat both sides of each mushroom with oil. Place mushrooms on grill, gill side down, for about 8 minutes. Flip mushrooms and continue grilling for 6-8 minutes more, or until edges begin to brown. Lightly sprinkle with salt, if desired.

5. On a large serving platter, place mushrooms gill side up and spread artichoke puree over them. Top with corn-tomato topping and serve.

Servings: 4

Watermelon Cake

Well, it's my birthday. I am 26. Yesterday I made a cake for myself while our friends were here. It is pretty good but isn't as wonderful as I'd been envisioning over the past month since deciding on the recipe. It could probably be tweaked to be pretty good. I don't know. I liked eating it but I wouldn't make it again.

cake

cake

Note: all typing, typos, and notes are from the original post that I got the recipe from! I am too lazy to edit it all right now.

Watermelon Cake
Blue Willow Inn Cookbook, by Jane and Michael Stern
Posted on CLBB (Valchemist)

Val's Notes: while this cake does not need refrigeration and tastes very good at room temperature, I kind of like it chilled from the fridge for that cold watermelon effect. it would be fine sitting out at a BBQ though.

1 tbsp flour
1 box white cake mix -- 18.25 oz
3 ozs mixed fruit flavored gelatin
3/4 c vegetable oil
1 c cut up watermelon
4 eggs
frosting:
1/2 c butter -- softened
16 ozs powdered sugar
1/2 c cut up watermelon -- (1/2 to 1 cup)

Preheat oven to 325. In a large bowl, sprinkle flour over cake mix. Add gelatin, oil, and watermelon. Mix with electric mixer, adding eggs one at a time. Pour into 2 greased and floured 8-inch round cake pans. Bake 30 minutes or until cake begins to pull away from sides of the pan and springs back when lightly touched in the center. (val's note: I used a 13x9 pan and baked at 350 until done, about 28 minutes). Frost cake when completely cooled.

For frosting: mix butter and sugar until smooth. gradually blend in watermelon (I used about 3/4 cup) until spreading consistency is reached. if desired, add red food coloring for effect (I used food color. the color without it is pinkish orange -- peachy, sort of).

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Orange Brownies

This title is misleading. They are not even a little bit related to brownies. There is no chocolate. They are just bar cookies that taste like a little bit of orange-infused heaven.

The general concensus at my birthday gathering last night was that they taste like Froot Loops, minus the "weird sketchy aftertaste." (That's good.) The icing is imperative because it makes the top kind of crispy and delicious. It is definitely very buttery and I wouldn't make it again unless I could figure out a way to make it with some kind of substitute. But yum! And they're still delicious the next day.

oranges

Orange Brownies
Paula Deen

"I've had the opportunity to make so many new friends in the restaurant. Robin Wilson from Altamonte Springs, Florida, is one of those. Robin recently was one of a hundred finalists in the 39th Pillsbury Bake-off, where she won a side-by-side refrigerator and a trip to San Francisco. As she and her husband were enjoying lunch at The Lady and Sons, she mentioned her Orange Brownies, and she was happy to share the recipe. Thanks, Robin, and good luck to ya in your next bake-off! Get that gold, girl!" - Paula Deen

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp salt
2 sticks butter, softened
4 eggs
2 tsp pure orange extract
1 tsp grated orange zest
Glaze:
1 cup confectioners sugar
2 Tbsp orange juice
1 tsp grated orange zest

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Grease a 13 by 9 by 2-inch pan and set aside. In a mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, and salt. Add butter, eggs, orange extract, and orange zest and beat with a handheld electric mixer until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until light golden brown and set. Remove from oven and pierce top of entire cake with a fork.

3. Glaze:
Combine all ingredients in a bowl, stirring until smooth. Pour glaze over cake. Cool cake and cut into squares.

Yield: 2 dozen

Spaghetti Pie

When I was growing up, my mom made chicken enchiladas that my dad loved. He thought they were the best things ever. I remember them as being pretty good as well. Any time we had company, my dad always insisted my mom make her chicken enchiladas. It was like what she became "known" for (besides her sugar cookies, of course). We don't ever really have company so I always wondered what my "you must try Lauren's ____" dish would be. Apparently, it is Spaghetti Pie.

So, since we have visitors, last night I made Spaghetti Pie. Gibby insisted. I was afraid to feed them soy crumbles because they all are big meat eaters. SUCCESS! Steve said, "I am so confused. You say it isn't meat, but it looks like meat... and it tastes like meat... but it's not?" Hooray! I do love that this recipe is enjoyable even to people who aren't vegetarians.

White Strawberry Sangria

Wow, it's been awhile since I posted! We've had friends from out of town visiting so we have been eating out a lot. Last night we celebrated my birthday (which is tomorrow) and I tried out this recipe for sangria. Now, we are not really drinkers but we do enjoy sangria. I thought this was an interesting, summery take on it. We all thought it was very sugary, despite subbing strawberry vodka for the strawberry schnapps. If I made it again (which I would), I'd make a little bit of simple syrup and mix that in rather than adding just regular sugar. It's very good, though. Definitely let it chill for 4+ hours so the strawberry flavor can spread. We really liked it and it was gone very quickly.

sangria

White Strawberry Sangria
CLBB (Missindi)

1 750 mL bottle dry white wine
1/2 cup strawberry schnapps or creme de strawberry
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups sliced strawberries (or 1 bag frozen strawberries)
Ice

In a 2-quart pitcher stir together wine, strawberry schnapps, and sugar until sugar dissolves. Add strawberries and chill for 1 to 4 hours. Serve over ice. If desired, garnish with whole strawberries. Makes 5 or 6 (about 8-ounce) servings.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tandoori Tofu

I've had the tofu to make this recipe for awhile now and every time I plan to make it, it rains. Tonight it rained, too. So I decided to just skip the grill and make it on the Griddler. It worked out nicely. This was a nice meal. We had it with some long-grain brown rice and it was very tasty. Gibby said it should be a make-again but I didn't love it enough to make it again. It's good, it's just not anything special.

tofu

Tandoori Tofu
Eating Well

A tandoori-inspired spice rub and smokiness from the grill flavor these tofu “steaks.” While you’re there, grill some vegetables, too, to serve alongside. Serve with: Grilled eggplant and cherry tomato skewers and brown basmati rice.

Kitchen Tip: To oil a grill rack, oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the rack. (Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill.)


2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon salt -- divided
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon lime juice
28 ounces extra-firm or firm water-packed tofu -- drained
2/3 cup nonfat plain yogurt
6 tablespoons sliced scallions or chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

1. Preheat grill to medium-high.

2. Combine paprika, 1/2 teaspoon salt, cumin, coriander and turmeric in a small bowl. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, lime juice and the spice mixture; cook, stirring, until sizzling and fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.

3. Slice each tofu block crosswise into 6 slices; pat dry. Use about 3 tablespoons of the spiced oil to brush both sides of the tofu slices; sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. (Reserve the remaining spiced oil.)

4. Oil the grill rack (see Tip). Grill the tofu until it has grill marks and is heated through, 2 to 3 minutes per side.

5. Combine yogurt with the reserved spiced oil in a small bowl. Serve the grilled tofu with the yogurt sauce, garnished with scallions (or cilantro), if desired.

Servings: 6

Monday, June 21, 2010

Cake Balls

My dad loves Pillsbury Funfetti cake. LOVES IT. I bought him a Yankee Candle at Christmas called "christmas cupcake" because it smells like Funfetti, and he'd just sit there sniffing it. He is a fan. So for Father's Day, instead of just baking the cake, I went one step further and tried out cake balls.

Cake balls, you see, are so easy that they do not require a recipe. I will type one for you. I first heard about them from my classmate, Emily, during grad school. Then I heard about them again on Bakerella. Then my coworker made them. And then I decided I should make them.

I made ours with Funfetti cake, reduced-sugar vanilla frosting, and Ghirardelli white chocolate chips. They turned out PERFECTLY. They traveled well, tasted delicious, and got a seal of approval from my dad. Definitely a make-again in many varieties. I will need to find a frosting that is trans-fat free though :( I was very upset that I couldn't find any in the grocery store so I sucked it up and bought some anyway. I just have to delude myself into thinking I didn't ingest as much trans fat as I actually did. Sigh. But yum!

balls

P.S. For a ton of fun variations, like Cake Pops, go to Bakerella. TONS of cake pop and cake ball ideas.

My dad and his cakeball:
dad

balls

Cake Balls

1. Make a sheet cake using a boxed mix of your choice.
2. Crumble it up in a bowl and mix it up with a whole 16 oz can of frosting.
3. Roll into little balls, the size of your choice (ours were like ping-pong balls). Stick them in the freezer for a bit to harden up.
4. Melt some chocolate chips or baking chips in the microwave (30 seconds, stir, 30 more seconds, stir). Roll the balls around in the chocolate, then put back on a baking sheet and put in the refrigerator.
5. Eat.

Pecan & Mushroom Burgers

I've really been enjoying experimenting with different veggie burgers, utilizing different grains and ingredients rather than just beans (even though we love our bean burgers!). This one is interesting because it uses bulgur, pecans, and mushrooms to make a delicious burger patty. We used some high-quality locally made blue cheese for the sauce, which is important depending on how strong or mild you'd like it. If you bought some prepared chunky blue cheese dressing, though, that would probably be just fine too! We really liked this. I made the full recipe so I made extra patties and froze them. I foresee eating them in the future!

burger

Pecan & Mushroom Burgers
Eating Well

Filled with toasted pecans, vinegar-splashed mushrooms and bulgur, these burgers have an earthy, nutty character that pairs perfectly with the luxurious Blue Cheese Sauce.

Make Ahead Tip : Prepare through step 6. Wrap patties individually and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before cooking.


2/3 cup bulgur
3/4 teaspoon salt -- divided
1 cup boiling water
6 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil -- divided
8 ounces white or brown mushrooms -- stems trimmed, wiped clean and chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped onion -- (1 large)
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup pecan halves
Blue Cheese Sauce -- optional (recipe follows)
1 large egg -- lightly beaten
1/2 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
Freshly ground pepper -- to taste
8 whole-wheat buns -- (optional)
Watercress -- for garnish

1. Place bulgur and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Pour the boiling water over, cover and set aside until the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Drain in a sieve, pressing out excess liquid.

2. Meanwhile, heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms, onion and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring, until the vegetables are softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in vinegar. Immediately transfer the mixture to a plate and let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

3. Toast pecans in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring, until fragrant, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.

4. Prepare Blue Cheese Sauce, if using.

5. Combine the vegetable mixture and pecans in a food processor; pulse briefly until coarsely chopped. Add egg and the bulgur; pulse briefly, scraping down the sides if necessary, until the mixture is cohesive but roughly textured. Transfer to a bowl; stir in breadcrumbs and pepper. Mix well.

6. With dampened hands, form the mixture into eight 1/2-inch-thick patties, using about 1/2 cup for each.

7. Using 2 teaspoons oil per batch, cook 4 patties at a time in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until evenly browned and heated through, about 4 minutes per side. Meanwhile, split and toast buns, if using, to serve the burgers on. Garnish the burgers with watercress and the cheese sauce, if desired.

Servings: 8

Blue Cheese Sauce
1/3 cup nonfat plain yogurt
3 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese, (1 ounce)
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Combine yogurt, blue cheese and vinegar in a small bowl and blend with a fork to make a chunky sauce.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Linguine with Spicy Red Clam Sauce

Tonight I made the super-quick Linguine with Spicy Red Clam Sauce and heated up some frozen texas toast. Nothing really fancy. I've been in a horrible funk lately, not feeling like cooking like 96% of the time. Honestly, if I didn't have this blog to give me some semblance of accountability (to who? I don't know) I probably wouldn't even be cooking as much as I am right now! Poor Gibby has to deal with me coming home on a regular basis insisting we eat frozen food or order in. Which, obviously, is not economically acceptable. But sweetpeas, I am trying! I'm getting some things in my life more under control and I'm hoping that I'll get out of this soon so I can get back to my ultra-super-cook habits.

Streusel-Topped Key Lime Squares

I meant to make these last weekend but couldn't find key lime juice. I refuse to make it with regular lime juice! I am such a key lime snob. For example, it MUST be yellow. If it isn't yellow, it means they added food coloring and god knows what else to make it green and thus "lime"-looking. Ugh. No. I am often asked what my favorite pie is (really - I really am often asked that) and, while I love all pie, key lime is my favorite. So. Don't mess with the key limes. I finally found some Nellie & Joe's at Weis and away we went.

I made this yesterday on my day off. It's still delicious today. Brought some in for my coworker and she liked it, and I definitely love it. I heeded some review recommendations to put more crust on the bottom to make it thicker, rather than saving so much of it for the streusel top. So just eyeball it and divide it how you see fit. Reviews also suggested using bottled key lime juice (which I did) so it isn't too tart. We really liked this. I would make it again.

bars

Streusel-Topped Key Lime Squares
Cooking Light, June 2005

If you can't find key limes, you can use regular Persian limes, but the squares won't be quite as tart.

1/4 cup butter -- softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon grated lime rind
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon lemon extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
Cooking spray
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup fresh key lime juice
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Place first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until creamy (about 2 minutes). Lightly spoon 1 cup flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Gradually add 1 cup flour to butter mixture, beating at low speed until mixture resembles coarse meal. Gently press two-thirds of mixture (about 1 1/3 cups) into bottom of an 8-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray; set remaining 2/3 cup flour mixture aside. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes or until just beginning to brown.

3. Combine 2/3 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, baking powder, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add lime juice and eggs, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Pour mixture over crust. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes. Remove pan from oven (do not turn oven off); sprinkle remaining 2/3 cup flour mixture evenly over egg mixture. Bake an additional 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Remove from oven; cool in pan on a wire rack. Sprinkle evenly with powdered sugar.

Servings: 16

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sette Luna

Tomorrow is our anniversary (2 years! Can you believe it?!) but I'm working late tomorrow night so we went out tonight. We went to a little restaurant called Sette Luna in the "good" part of our town. It's been highly recommended to us before so we were excited.

It's definitely yummy! To start, I got calamari fra diavolo (calamari in spicy tomato sauce) to start, but was a little surprised that they weren't fried like usual. It was kind of like eating tortellini, actually. Eh. Gibby had wood-fired baby artichokes in olive oil and white wine. That was very hard to eat but very yummy. I think there is no classy way to eat an artichoke.

For main dishes, Gibby got a NY Strip Steak with blue cheese - big chunks of a delicious blue cheese. Yum! I got grilled jumbo shrimp over vegetable risotto. The shrimp were delicious but it was not very exciting.

Dessert was the shining point of the meal: white chocolate panna cotta with strawberries and crumbled amaretti cookies. It was kind of like a creme brulee without the brulee. Just the creamy custardy yum-yum. We split that and immediately wished we'd ordered more. SO good.

We're looking forward to coming back on a night when it isn't pouring so we can sit outside!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Volcano Scallops with Thai Curry Sauce

Wegmans was having a sale on locally gathered scallops so I took advantage of that to try out this recipe. Who wants to guess what happened? Who? I didn't like it. Big shock! The scallops just feel weird to me and make me uncomfortable! They don't taste like anything. The curry itself was ultra-spicy which was fun but probably not more than once. This was good, especially if you like scallops, but I wouldn't make it for us again.

scallops

Volcano Scallops with Thai Curry Sauce
A Taste of the Tropics by Jay Salomon
As posted on Pepperfool.com

1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon water
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 pound sea scallops
2 teaspoons minced fresh lemongrass
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
2-3 chile peppers, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons green curry paste
1 cup coconut milk, fresh or canned, unsweetened
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 cup bok choy
6-8 broccoli florets

In a small mixing bowl, combine the cornstarch and water and set aside. Heat the oil in a wok until it sizzles, coating the sides. Add the scallops to the wok and cook for about 7 minutes, until the centers of the scallops are clear and white. Stir occasionally. Remove to a warm plate. Add the lemongrass, ginger, chile peppers, garlic, and green curry paste to the wok and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the coconut milk and soy sauce and bring to a simmer. Stir in the scallops, bok choy, broccoli, and cornstarch mixture. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Serve over rice.

Yield: 3-4 servings

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Festive Strawberry Nut Salad

I so very much wanted to serve a salad to go along with the twice-baked potatoes, and C is so picky with salads! So I said screw it and picked a salad that I wanted. No Caesar here! C could eat Caesar forever. He would, too, if I didn't make him try new things. So this salad sounded particularly delicious to me, and thus it ended up on our plates.

Wonderful! It is so very delicious! I'd never had the poppy seed salad dressing before but I love it. It's wonderful with the strawberries, which are wonderful with the greens and the nuts. DON'T skimp on the nuts. They are really good. C ate all of his! He said, "It's like candy... candy that just kind of happens to be a salad too." Dork. It's delicious. I'd make it again.

salad

Festive Strawberry Nut Salad
Kraft Foods

For a fruity change, substitute tart fresh raspberries or sliced peeled fresh peaches for the strawberries.

1/2 cup PLANTERS Sliced Almonds
3 tablespoons sugar
2 cups packed fresh spinach leaves
2 cups packed Boston lettuce
2 cups halved strawberries
1/3 cup KRAFT Creamy Poppyseed Dressing

1. TOSS almonds with sugar in nonstick skillet; cook on medium heat until sugar is caramelized, stirring constantly. Spread into single layer on greased baking sheet or sheet of wax paper; cool. Break into small pieces.

2. TOSS spinach, Boston lettuce and strawberries in large bowl.

3. DRIZZLE with dressing just before serving; toss lightly. Sprinkle with almonds. Serve on chilled plates.

Servings: 6

Karen's Famous Potatoes

When we went to Florida in April, we had dinner over at my uncle's girlfriend's house. She made the best twice-baked potatoes ever of all time! I asked her for the recipe last week and immediately decided to put it on the mealplan for the week.

Now. Her recipe calls for everything to be full-fat (full-flavor, am I right?!), and it is delicious her way. Oh my, it truly is. I just couldn't bring myself to do that. So... I slimmed it down. I baked two potatoes, then added a tablespoon of butter. Just one. A bit of the half-and-half, and.... reduced fat EVERYTHING. I'm Lauren! What do you expect!?

Of course they didn't compare to Karen's, but they were still truly excellent. It's a great recipe for some yummy, yummy potatoes. We would definitely make these again!

potato

Karen's Famous Twice-Baked Potatoes
As written by Karen


You bake idaho potatoes without tin foil. Split them in half. Scoop out potato into bowl when done. Then you just make mashed potatoes with extra stuff. I do it to taste. Once all potatoes are scooped (try to keep them hot. I take one out oven at a time. If not they get lumpy.) Add half and half, (enough to mash the potatoes and get them creamy) 8 oz sour cream lots of butter and one 8oz. cream cheese. I use all real stuff, no low cal. This is trial and error. Sorry I don't have exact measurements. It's harder to put the potato mixture back in the shell, so if you don't want to do that you can put the mixture in a casserole dish. Once complete, sprinkle with paprika and top with cheese. They can be made the day before. Heat at 350-400 for about 30 minutes or until hot.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Halushki

Oh, Halushki, you are so freaking delicious. I love you. You are wonderful to make on weeknights because you take like 10 minutes, and you are comfort food at its finest. Thank you for existing.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Classic Banana Bread

Today for lunch I went out with Laura to New York Bagelry in West Lawn, PA. I got an egg salad sandwich on a multigrain bagel. Sounds pretty simple, right? Wrong. My multigrain bagel had...raisins. What? And no one told me when I ordered?! That was bizarre. Luckily they weren't very noticeable and the bagel didn't have any cinnamon, so it was all still edible. The egg salad itself was very good.

Tonight I made our favorite shrimp po'boys, along with some creamed leeks. I think the key to making them awesome was, in fact, to 'accidentally' over-brown them like I did before. They were just alright this time around.

And then....

BANANA BREAD! I've purposely been super-ripening some bananas all week to make a good banana bread, and this one is insanely simple. It does not have walnuts in it, which is fine with me because I prefer it without walnuts (though I think we all know I'll eat it regardless), and is incredibly moist and springy from the bananas and yogurt. I loved this. I would make this as a gift for people! It's such a great, standard, light recipe. Definitely a make-again.

bananas

Classic Banana Bread
Cooking Light, September 2003

We love this bread's moist texture and simple flavor. Banana bread should form a crack down the center as it bakes--a sign the baking soda is doing its job.

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter -- softened
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana -- (about 3 bananas)
1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt, stirring with a whisk.

3. Place sugar and butter in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 1 minute). Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add banana, yogurt, and vanilla; beat until blended. Add flour mixture; beat at low speed just until moist. Spoon batter into an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

Yield: 1 loaf

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Caribbean Coconut Rice

So tonight I made our favorite Cheesy White Chili with Cauliflower and it was delicious.

Last night I made the Korean-Inspired Sauteed Tofu again and then tried out this new side to go along with it. I questioned the ease of the recipe but was quite surprised. It's also very yummy and not overtly coconutty (especially since I omitted the toasted coconut - though I'd like to include it for myself next time). It's really good and was indeed surprisingly easy. It isn't all pretty white like it was in the magazine because the cinnamon colored it a bit, but whatever. I liked it a lot. I would make this again.

rice

Caribbean Coconut Rice
Vegetarian Times, April 2009

This fragrant rice pilaf goes especially well with Indian, Asian, and Caribbean entrées. It’s so good and so simple, though, you’ll probably find yourself making it often to accompany week-night meals.

2 teaspoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 clove garlic -- minced (1 tsp.)
1 3-inch cinnamon stick
1 cup jasmine rice -- rinsed and drained
3/4 cup light coconut milk
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon grated lime zest
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 cup toasted shredded -- unsweetened coconut, optional

Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Add ginger, garlic, and cinnamon stick, and sauté 1 minute, or until fragrant. Stir in rice, and sauté 2 minutes, or until rice grains are opaque. Add coconut milk, sugar, salt, lime zest, white pepper, and 3/4 cup water, and bring to a simmer. Stir once, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 15 minutes. Fluff rice with fork, cover, and let rest 5 minutes. Garnish with toasted coconut, if using.

Servings: 4

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Southwestern Confetti Salad

This is quick, easy, and full of vegetables and healthy stuff, so I thought I'd make it for a quick weeknight meal. That would be fine if it weren't so entirely boring. We're also not so much a fan of the cold/tepid main dishes (I definitely did NOT refrigerate it. I did leave it out to sit for 30 minutes though, does that count?). It was boring. Gibby didn't like it at all. Not a make-again.

confetti

Southwestern Confetti Salad
Cooking Light, 7/08

This recipe was one of my husband's staple meals during college. I've made it fresher and healthier by using fresh vegetables and substituting brown rice for white rice. —Karen Waldman, Brookfield, Connecticut

1 cup cooked brown rice
1 cup fresh corn kernels -- (about 2 ears)
1 cup coarsely chopped zucchini
1 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup diced plum tomato
1/3 cup diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped green onions
2 tablespoons diced red onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon minced seeded pickled jalapeño peppers
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
15 ounces black beans -- rinsed and drained

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, stirring well to combine. Cover and chill at least 1 hour before serving.

Servings: 6