Sunday, March 30, 2014

Chicken in Spicy Red Sauce (lal shorve vala murgh)

     It's always nice to find a flavor-packed recipe that comes together quick enough to use as a mid-week meal. This particular recipe was a fine way to use up a big pack of discounted chicken thighs that was taking up room in the freezer. You are welcome to use any cut of chicken you'd like. While the recipe comes together in less than an hour, it does qualify as a PITA, since it requires constant vigilance until you get to the simmering stage. It's worth it. We served it up with a side of Stir-Fried Green Cabbage with Fennel Seeds. This makes for a satisfying meal that's mercifully low on calories. As always, any notes or changes are in blue.

Chicken in a Spicy Red Sauce
lal shorve vala murgh
via Madhur Jaffrey's Quick and Easy Indian Cooking
Ingredients

  • 2-1/4 pounds chicken pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 7 large cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped (we grated ours, since chopping ginger is more trouble than it's worth)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • Generous pinch asafetida optional (this is a powder that's available at Indian grocers. Alternately, you can get it at The Spice House online.)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 inch stick cinnamon
  • 6 cardamom pods (didn't have the pods on hand. I did have cardamom seeds. I used about a dozen)
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 3 dried, hot red chiles (I used my own dried cayenne)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (don't be a wuss, use 1/4)
  • 1-1/2 cup canned, chopped tomatoes (I used canned whole tomatoes. They'll break up during the cooking)
  • 12 ounces potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-1/2 inch chunks (I'm pretty sure we cut ours into 1/2 inch chunks because I don't read directions particularly well)
Directions
  1. Sprinkle the chicken pieces lightly with salt and black pepper and set aside.
  2. Put the garlic and ginger into a blender, along with 3 tablespoons water and blend into a paste.
  3. Put the oil in a wide, nonstick pan and set over medium high heat (I used my enameled Dutch oven. I figured there's be a lot going on here and I didn't want everything spilling over the sides of my pan. The Wife will abide a small mess, but nothing extravagant). When the oil is hot, put in the asafetida if using. A few seconds later, put in the cumin seeds. Wait 10 seconds and put in the cinnamon stick, cardamom, cloves and chiles. Stir for a few seconds until the large spices begin to turn darker. Add the garlic and ginger paste. Stir and fry it for about 2 minutes. Add the chicken, turmeric and cayenne. Stir and fry for another minute (nothing like dozens of tiny time constraints to make you want to order a pizza). Add the chopped tomatoes, potatoes, 1-1/4 cup water and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer. Cover and simmer gently for 25-30 minutes or until the chicken and potatoes are tender (I'd be more concerned with the chicken being done. An undercooked potato won't kill you). 
Good times!


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Smothered Beef (or Pork, or Lamb if you're a Rockefeller)

     "Smothered" foods always struck me as unfortunately named. "Smothered beef" conjures images of someone in a field holding a pillow over a cow's face. This particular smothered dish comes by way of Madhur Jaffrey. This is just packed with all sorts of wonderful flavors and made for a tremendous meal when served over some basmati rice. If you haven't given Indian food a try, I can't recommend it enough. As always, any notes or changes are in blue.

Smothered Beef 
labdhara gosht
via Madhur Jaffrey's Quick and Easy Indian Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 pound boned shoulder of lamb (AHAHAHAHAHA! I'll have the butler get that out of the fridge as soon as he's done wiping my ass with hundred dollar bills. I used stewing beef. Pork will work, too) cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped (we just grated it to save time)
  • 1 medium sized tomato, peeled and finely chopped (can't be bothered peeling. We just chopped it)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1-2 fresh, hot green chiles, cut into fine rings (leave the seeds in there, you big baby)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Directions
  1. Put all the ingredients except the oil, garlic and black pepper in a bowl and mix well (I love recipes that are basically "throw all the shit together and apply heat.")
  2. Put the oil in a Dutch oven and set over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and stir until the pieces turn medium brown.
  3. Throw in the meat mixture and stir a couple times. Add the 1/2 cup water. Bring to a simmer and cover. Cook for about 90 minutes, or until the meat is tender. 
  4. Uncover and turn heat to high until sauce is thick. Sprinkle in black pepper to taste.
Good times!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Thai-Style Curry Chicken Soup

     We are always on the lookout for quick and easy weeknight meals. If they are low in calories, even better. If it tastes good, too, that's a bonus. The Betty Crocker 300 Calorie Cookbook yielded a recipe that filled all the criteria! It also filled out stomachs, which was nice. Is this an authentic Thai soup? Probably not by a longshot. However, it's a fair approximation and comes together in under 30 minutes. The curry and jalapeno give it a nice bite. This is a good soup for a cool weeknight dinner. It's also a good way to use up leftover chicken. As always, notes and changes are in blue.

Thai-Style Curry Chicken Soup
via Betty Crocker 300 Calorie Cookbook
Ingredients

  • 1 carton (32 ounces) chicken broth (we rustic types don't use broth from a carton. We use real chicken stock we made from real chicken carcasses)
  • 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 small (about 1/2 cup) red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small jalapeno chile, seeded, finely chopped (leave the seeds in if you want extra heat. I went ahead and seeded mine because it was a much larger than the "small" the recipe calls for)
  • 2 cups chopped cooked chicken. 
  • 2 tablespoons chopped, fresh cilantro (I used 2 teaspoons dried)
Directions
  1. In a large saucepan, stir all ingredients except chicken and cilantro. Heat to boiling over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium. Simmer uncovered 3-5 minutes or until pepper is crisp-tender.
  2. Stir in chicken. Cook 1-2 minutes or until chicken is hot. Stir in cilantro just before serving.
Good times!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Stir-Fried Green Cabbage with Fennel Seeds (Bhuni Bandh Gobi)

     We do enjoy our cabbage in our house. There is a certain glory to downing a couple big plates of cabbage and then retiring to the bed to try to blow the blanket off the bed. Indian cooking also provides some incredible gastric events. When you find an Indian cabbage recipe, you know you're in for something special. This is a very flavorful dish that makes a great side for chicken. The ingredients aren't something you are likely to have in the cabinet. Or maybe you're one of those people who always has cumin seeds on hand. You probably have Gruyere and lamb in your fridge, too. Nobody likes a show-off. As always, any notes or changes are in blue.


Stir-Fried Green Cabbage with Fennel Seeds
(Bhuni Bandh Gobi)

via Madhur Jaffrey's Quick and Easy Indian Cooking
Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 pounds green cabbage
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1 medium-large onion, peeled and cut lengthwise into fine half rings
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (fresh from the plastic bottle out of my fridge)
  • 1/2 teaspoon store-bought garam masala (I am truly glad she specifies store bought. I know how to make home made garam masala but it is a PITA. I'm glad to spend the little bit of extra money to use pre-made)
Directions
  1. Remove the coarse outer leaves of the cabbage. If you have a cabbage half, cut it in half again lengthwise, and then core the sections. Now cut each section lengthwise into very long shreds. A bread knife is ideal for this. You could also use a food processor (Or you do like I to and just cut shreds from the head until you have the core left over. I worry that a food processor could reduce the cabbage to mulch).
  2. Put the oil in a wide, preferably nonstick pan, and set over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, put in the cumin, fennel and sesame seeds. As soon as the seeds begin to pop (she's not fooling. Those little bastards really do pop! If you're not paying attention, you get a nice little scare when the seeds start exploding and spraying hot oil. Cooking is fun!), put in the onion. Stir and fry for 3-4 minutes or until onion has browned a bit.
  3. Put in the cabbage. Stir and fry for about 6 minutes or until the cabbage has browned somewhat (this takes me closer to half an hour to get the cabbage brown. This is likely due to the fact that I tend to pack the shit out of any pan I use.
    Case in point.
  4. Put in the salt and cayenne. Turn down the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring now and then for another 7-8 minutes or until the onions appear caramelized and soft (like I said, the it takes me close to half an hour from start to finish to get the cabbage to look the way they ask). Add lemon juice and garam masala. Stir to mix. 
Good times!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Slow Cooker Creamy Ham and Potatoes by The Wife

     In a feat of scheduling wizardry, the school districts where the husband and I work PLUS the school district in which we live all have their Spring Breaks at different times. Last week, Joel was on break. This week, I am on break. I don’t even know when our town has break; I just know it wasn't this week or last week because the buses were running. Anyway, my being home alone means I’m expected to do some cooking. Joel requested ham and potatoes (we've been working through a ten pound Honey Baked ham for 2 weeks now), and I found this REALLY easy Creamy Ham and Potatoes recipe (as always, notes and changes are in blue):

Slow Cooker Creamy Ham and Potatoes
via Taste of Home Slow Cooker
Ingredients
  • 4 medium red potatoes, thinly sliced (Potatoes are potatoes. We didn’t have any red ones, so I used what we did have – I don’t even know what they were. To thinly slice the potatoes, I used the mandolin.)
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped (Mine were of the smaller variety. Regardless, they had me crying.)
  • 1 ½ cups cubed fully cooked ham
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard (Yeah…Somehow that’s not what I read this morning. I used a teaspoon of spicy brown mustard. No harm, no foul.)
  • ½ teaspoon salt (Omitted. I think the ham and the can of cream soup contributes plenty of salt, thank you.)
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 can (10 ¾ ounces) condensed cream of celery soup, undiluted (I made an executive decision here. This is called Creamy Ham and POTATOES. I had a can of cream of POTATO soup. That’s what I used even though cream of celery was available.)
  • 1 1/3 cups of water (Just fill the soup can with water.)
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese – optional (Cheese is never optional.)

Directions
  1. In a 3-qt slow cooker (I actually used the right size!), layer potatoes, onions, and ham.
  2. In a large saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour, mustard, salt (omitted), and pepper until smooth. Combine soup and water gradually into flour mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Pour over ham.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours (8 hours was more than enough time for the potatoes to completely disintegrate) or until potatoes are tender (disintegrated). If desired, sprinkle with cheese before serving (only a Communist doesn't desire cheese).
Good times!




Monday, March 17, 2014

Chile Shrimp with Butter Beans and Lemony Couscous

     I'm always a bit leery about picking a recipe based solely on reviews. I've worked in retail long enough to know that people generally only come forward with complaints. That's because most people are fucking morons. This particular recipe came out of a Food & Wine magazine. I checked online and it had a 2-1/2 star review by the public. If Roger Ebert has taught me anything, it is that 2-1/2 stars does not mean it is bad, or even below-average. It means it did what it set out to do, but some people (fucking morons) will not like it. Those are likely the same people who ate paste as children. The Wife and I loved this dish. It had a great combo of flavors. It had heat from the chile, and a salty, lemony bite that appealed to The Wife. As a bonus, this dish comes together in a hurry, so it's great for a weeknight dinner. As always, notes and changes are in blue.

Chile Shrimp with Butter Beans
and Lemony Couscous

via Food & Wine
Ingredients
  • 2/3 cup couscous
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound shelled and deveined medium shrimp (as I never have fresh shrimp in the house, I went with a pound of frozen. I kept the tails to make shrimp stock for later use)
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (that's the same thing as margarine, right? Because that's what I used)
  • One 15-ounce can butter beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (fresh from the bottle!)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley (we hadn't started growing our own yet, so I used 1 teaspoon of dried)
Directions
  1. In a bowl, stir the couscous with 3/4 cup of boiling water (if you want a little more depth, boil the shrimp tails in this water for 10 minutes before you add the couscous. Make sure to remove the tails before adding the couscous, because leaving them in would be dumb) Cover with a lid and steam for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
  2. Meanwhile, in a nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the shrimp and crushed red pepper and cook over moderately high heat until golden, 2 to 3 minutes; transfer to a plate. Add the butter to the skillet. Add the beans, capers and lemon juice and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
  3. Fold the bean mixture, parsley and remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil into the couscous; season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with the shrimp.
Good times, baby!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Flaugnarde with Pears

     Every now and then I like to dabble in food that is bordering on pretentious. Not surprisingly, that food is usually French (ZING! I just lost my French fans). Usually one of the more reliable sources for pretentious food is Food & Wine Magazine. I skimmed a few issues and found this recipe for Flaugnarde. If you're curious, it's pronounced "flow-nyard," not "flawg-nahrd." My pronunciation sounds more Nordic. This is certainly not a Nordic dessert, otherwise it would feature some form of whitefish (ZING! There go my Nordic fans).  While this recipe is not particularly labor intensive, it is time intensive, taking around four hours from start to finish. It's actually worth it. The end result is very much like a Dutch Baby (the pancake, not an actual Dutch baby). As always, any notes or changes are in blue.

Flaugnarde with Pears
via Food & Wine
Ingredients
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup cake flour (I use all-purpose flour when I make cakes, so I imagine it's the same as "cake flour." Don't bother explaining any difference. I already used the all-purpose)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (I used "donut flour" here. I'm kidding. I still used all-purpose)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum (don't think for a minute that I didn't fix myself a cocktail while the bottle was open)
  • 3 tablespoons superfine sugar
  • 2 ripe medium Bartlett pears— peeled, cored and thinly sliced (no fresh pears on hand. I used 2 cups of pears I canned in bourbon syrup the season before. You can never go wrong with more booze)
Directions
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, cake and all-purpose flours, salt and 1/4 cup of the milk until smooth. Whisk in the remaining 3/4 cup of milk, the rum and 1 1/2 tablespoons of the sugar. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 3 hours (3 hours to kill and an open bottle of rum sitting right there...
    ...and why am I laying on the kitchen floor?
  2. Preheat the oven to 450° (230C, Gasmark 8) and coat a deep 9-inch cake pan with half of the butter. Pour the batter into the pan and arrange the pear slices on top. Dot with the remaining butter and bake in the lower third of the oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 400° (200C, Gasmark 6) and bake for 30 minutes longer, or until the flaugnarde is puffed and deeply golden (this actually cooked according to the time on the recipe, but your time may vary) Let cool for 2 minutes, then sprinkle (use a sifter unless you like the big clumps I ended up with) with the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar and serve.
Good times!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Shepherds Pie

     Shepherds Pie is a deceptive dish. It looks like it would be really simple. However, there's a fair bit of work that goes in to making this dish. It doesn't quite qualify as a PITA, but it's close. This particular version comes from my dear friend, Gordon Ramsay* over at Channel 4. While this dish is not terribly difficult to make, it is a bit labor intensive. It's worth the effort, as you end up with a delicious meal. As always, any notes or changes are in blue.
Shepherds Pie
via my close, personal friend, Gordon Ramsay
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper (I actually have sea salt on hand! Amazing!)
  • 1 lb. minced lean lamb (um...no. I'll be using lean ground beef. I'm not made of money)
  • 1 large onion, finely grated
  • 1 large carrot, finely grated
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree (I hope that meant tomato paste, because that's what I used)
  • Handful of thyme sprigs, leaves picked (not a chance. I used 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 sprig of rosemary, needles chopped (I used dried here, too)
  • 1 cup red wine (I used a dry. I hate drinking dry wines, so I use them for cooking)
  • 1-1/4 chicken stock
  • 2 pounds Desiree potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks (I don't think that kind of potato is even real. I think Ramsay just made that up and figured nobody would call bullshit. I just used Russets)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Parmesan, for grating (or a handy plastic jar, for shaking, since I don't keep block Parmesan on hand)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 350F (180C, Gasmark 4)

2. Heat the oil in a large pan until hot. Season the meat and fry in the oil over moderate to high heat for 2-3 minutes. Stir the onions and carrot into the mince then grate the garlic in as well. Add the Worcestershire sauce, tomato puree (paste) and herbs and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour in the red wine and reduce until almost completely evaporated (if you opened a new bottle of wine for this recipe, just go ahead and drink it while you cook. That way, if you screw up, you'll be too shitfaced to care). Add the chicken stock, bring to the boil and simmer until the sauce has thickened

3. Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender. Drain, then return to the hot pan over low heat to dry out briefly. Pass them through a potato ricer (that's a gadget I do not own. I just went ahead and mashed them with my trusty masher) then beat in the egg yolks, followed by about 2 tbsp grated Parmesan. Check for seasoning (don't just point to it on the counter and shout, "There it is!" Add it to the potatoes if needed). 

4. Spoon the meat into the bottom of a large ovenproof dish. Using a large spoon, layer the mashed potato generously on top of the meat, starting from the outside and working your way into the middle (if you try to layer from the middle out, you'll rip a hole in the universe. True story). Grate some extra Parmesan over and season. Fluff up the mash potato with a fork to make rough peaks. Bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes, until bubbling and golden brown.

Good times!
*Gordon Ramsay is currently unaware I even exist. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

     I don't know why I don't bake cookies more often. Actually, I know exactly why: the wife and I tend to stand in the kitchen and stuff them mindlessly into our faces until we swell up like ticks. Fortunately, I've got my trusty copy of Taste of Home Everyday Light Meals to hook me up with 90 calorie cookies! If you like the chocolate/peanut butter combo, these are right up your alley. The peanut butter flavor really comes through. If you wanted to really do peanut butter overload, you could always swap in peanut butter chips! As always, notes and changes are in blue.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies
via Taste of Home Everyday Light Meals
Ingredients

  • 1 cup chunky peanut butter (I used creamy. Fair warning, if you use natural peanut butter, the batter will be extremely oily. This is nothing to worry about; the cookies will come out fine)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil (I used corn oil)
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips (I used full sized and learned why I shouldn't. The cookies are pretty small. Full sized chips tend to just fall out when you're scooping the dough. Either make the cookies bigger or use the miniature chips).
Directions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine peanut butter and oil. Add brown sugar and white sugar; mix well. Add vanilla an eggs; mix well (I did all the mixing in the Kitchenaid).
  2. In  another bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add to peanut butter mixture; mix until blended. Dough will be sticky (as I said, my dough was more oily than sticky). Stir in chocolate chips.
  3. Drop by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten slightly with a glass (I have made these cookies three times and only now have I noticed the part with the glass. Obviously, you can just skip that. No need to dirty a glass unless it's to put booze in it).
  4. Bake at 350F (180C, Gasmark 4) for 8-10 minutes or until set and tops are cracked (if you want a softer cookie, take them out at 8 minutes. If you prefer a crunchy cookie, go the full 10) Cool for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks (no fooling with this part. When the cookies come out, it's going to look like they're not done. They will be notably soft. They will firm up during the cooling).
Good times!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

     I am a sucker for deals. One of my favorite deals is the sack of ripe bananas at the grocery store. They will pack nearly 3 pounds of ripe bananas into a sack and charge you one dollar. How can I walk past that? Most of the time we end up dehydrating them for banana chips. Sometimes they end up in banana bread. This time they ended up in muffins with chocolate chips. The recipe for these muffins came from my much abused copy of Taste of Home Everyday Light Meals. These muffins came out great. They were moist with a great banana flavor. These will serve as a great quick breakfast during the work week. As always, any notes or changes are in blue.


Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins 
via Taste of Home Everyday Light Meals
Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup wheat bran (this is on the master list of Shit That Is Never In My Pantry. I substituted with 1/2 cup additional whole wheat flour)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder (am I the only one who repeats "baking powder, baking powder" to themselves as they walk to the pantry, then come back to the counter with baking soda anyway?)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup fat-free milk (you might as well just use water at that point. I used 2%)
  • 1-1/3 cup (2-3 medium sized) mashed ripe bananas 
  • 1/3 teaspoon unsweetened applesauce (we used our own homemade applesauce, which is sweetened. I see no harm in sweetened applesauce here unless you have a dietary concern about the additional sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips (we used an additional 1/4 cup, but did not add it to the batter. We stuffed those chips in our faces as we made these muffins)
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans (omitted. We're not huge fans of nutty breads or muffins)
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375F (190C, Gasmark 5)
  2. In a large bowl, combine the first seven ingredients (don't think I didn't consider being an asshole and listing the ingredients out of order up top just to screw things up. I didn't. Or did I?)
  3. In another bowl, combine the egg and milk; stir in the bananas, applesauce and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients until moistened. Stir in chocolate chips. 
  4. Coat muffin pans with nonstick cooking spray; fill 3/4 full with batter. Sprinkle with pecans (if using pecans. Otherwise just jam another handful of chocolate chips into your mouth)
  5. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean (this time ours finished in 20 minutes. Cooking times may vary). Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.
Good times!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Banana Bread

     You just can't beat a well made banana bread. What a noble bread. Selflessly using bananas that would otherwise be thrown away, banana bread is perfect any time of day. This particular recipe comes by way of The Wife. She says she got the recipe from one of those "1,000,000 Recipes of Which Maybe 12 Are Any Good" CD-Roms. This is, indeed, a good recipe. The bread is moist and delicious. You could probably get away with adding some nuts to this recipe, but we're not much for nutty breads. Do what you want; we're not here to judge. As always, any notes are in blue.

Banana Bread
Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup (2 medium over-ripe) mashed bananas
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • For topping: 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 2 teaspoons white sugar
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F (180C, Gasmark 4). Spray a 9x5" loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Beat butter with sugars until light and fluffy (if you don't have a Kitchenaid or electric mixer, this will be a PITA). Add egg and beat well. 
  3. In a large bowl, mix flour with baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. In another bowl, mix banana with milk.
  4. Add half the banana mixture to the butter mixture, mixing until smooth; add half the flour mixture and mix until smooth. Repeat process with second half of the banana and flour mixtures. 
  5. Pour batter into loaf pan. In a small bowl (just use the bowl you used for the flour. No sense in dirtying a third bowl), mix the 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon with 2 teaspoons white sugar; sprinkle over top of batter. 
  6. Bake at 350F (180C, Gasmark 4) for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean (cooking times will vary). Remove immediately to a wire rack to cool. 
Good times!