Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Gone Bananas!

I love baked goods, especially breads and cakes, but the only thing I really use my oven for is an occasional frittata. (That reminds me, I need to add quiche to my list of "to cook" items.) Last night I looked over at the bunch of overripe bananas sitting on my counter and had a flashback from childhood. My mom's friend had given her a banana bread recipe and she had saved that recipe on an index card for over a decade. I called her in hopes of getting the recipe, but sadly that 3"x5" card was long lost.

In browsing through various recipes, I realized they all had one thing in common -they all mentioned "creaming" butter and sugar (or shortening and sugar). A newcomer to the baking world, I had to look up the definition and found that this is the technique of blending ingredients — usually granulated sugar — together with a solid fat (butter or shortening). The dry ingredients are mixed or beaten with the fat until it becomes light and fluffy and increased in volume, creating tiny air bubbles. These air bubbles remain in the final batter and expand during baking.

Creaming butter and sugar.

this recipe is based on one by Julia Child:
2 cups flour
2 eggs
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 ripe bananas
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 cup sugar

In separate bowl, combine flour, salt and baking soda. Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs, vanilla extract and mix. Mix in flour mixture. Fold in chocolate chips. Spoon into greased pan. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

Banana batter, just before the chocolate chips.

And...the finished product.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Tilapia Curry

You can use any firm, white fish for this recipe. I happened to have tilapia on hand.

1 tbs butter
1/2 small brown onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 of ginger, sliced thinly
2 cups chicken broth
1 can light coconut milk
3 tbs tomato sauce
lemongrass, two stalks, sliced diagonally
cilantro, several sprigs, chopped
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 tbs madras curry powder
1 tbs fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tsp salt
black pepper to taste

In saute pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and cook until browned. Add garlic and ginger, stirring occasionally. Add remaining ingredients -except for the fish- and bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add fish and allow to cook on low heat for another 10 minutes.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Sweet Beginnings

Ok, so I can't take any credit for making this scrumptious delight -all I did was take photos. Well, I ate it too. A dear friend made this for brunch one day and I can still smell the warm, buttery sweetness of that morning like it was yesterday...

French toast baked in honey-pecan sauce

4 large eggs, beaten
3/4 cup half-and-half
½ tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6** (2-inch thick) slices day-old French bread or crusty bread
1/4 cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Ooey-gooey goodness!

Combine eggs, half-and-half, brown sugar and vanilla extract in a small bowl. Pour half mixture into a baking dish. Place bread into pan; top with other half of egg mixture, making sure all parts of bread are saturated with the liquid. Refrigerate, covered, overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. To melt butter, place in 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking dish and set in oven. When melted, stir in brown sugar, honey, maple syrup and pecans. Set soaked bread slices on top of pecan mixture. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Remove with spatula, and invert slices on two serving plates. Spoon any extra syrup and nuts on top.

*The original recipe called for only 4 slices, but we found that there was enough of the honey, maple mixture for 6-8. Original recipe can be found in The New InterCourses: An Aphrodisiac Cookbook.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Not Your Mom's Fish Filet

I don't generally indulge in croissants when making sandwiches, but today I was in the mood for a little splurge.

Grill swordfish steak on grill pan, about 4 minutes each side. Thinly slice half of a small onion. Heat one tsp olive oil, then add onions. The key to caramelizing onions is to cook them slowly over medium heat, and do not leave them alone! Stir until golden brown. Some like to add a bit of sugar to help the caramelizing process along, but I've never felt the need to...just let the natural sugars of the onions slowly caramelize themselves.

Toast croissant and spread horseradish mixture* on each side. Top with swordfish and onions.

*mix together equal amounts of light mayo and horseradish.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Dill and fennel salmon

I made this for dinner one night while one of my girlfriends and I were staying at a cabin at Donner Lake. We had five days away from the city -enjoying nature, walking, soaking in the sun, reading, cooking, drinking wine ...and just being. It was a little slice of heaven.

Salmon: Thinly slice three garlic cloves and two fennel stalks. Heat two tablespoons olive oil. Add garlic, cook until just browned. Add fennel slices and cook until slightly browned. Salt and pepper to taste.

Salmon, two fillets, skinned. Rinse fillets and pat dry. Heat non-stick pan. Spray with cooking spray. Rinse and pat fillets dry. When pan is heated, place fillets next to each other. Let cook for two minutes. Add dill on top of each fillet. Squeeze two tablespoons fresh lemon juice on each fillet. Add salt and pepper to taste. Using plastic spatula, turn over each fillet. Pour four tablespoons white wine (I used a sauvignon blanc). Turn over fillets once again and cook for another minute or two, or until firm. Mix in the cooked fennel.

Side I: sauteed peppers and onions
one large red bell pepper, 1/2 green bell pepper, one red onion -each sliced uniformly. Heat two tablespoons olive oil. Add peppers and onions, saute slowly over medium heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Saute for several minutes, until just tender (but careful not to overcook the peppers).

Side II: fennel and cucumber salad
-one large cucumber, sliced
-1/2 large fennel bulb, sliced
-1/2 red onion, sliced
-several sprigs dill, chopped
-juice of 1/2 a large lemon
-salt and pepper to taste
-1 tbs olive oil

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Scallops w/corn and cilantro salad

I love scallops. I absolutely adore them. If there are scallops on the menu, I'm always tempted to order them.

This is a quick and easy way to prepare them:
Pat scallops dry. Heat olive oil in nonstick skillet. Place scallops in pan not touching one another. Dash of salt, cracked pepper, cook 2-3 min on each side. Bon appetite!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Quinoa w/Mushrooms in Ponzu Sauce

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • ponzu sauce
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms
  • green onions, sliced lengthwise
In saucepan, bring to boil 1 cup quinoa with 2 cups water. After a minute, cover and reduce to simmer for 10-15 minutes, until water is gone. In saute pan, heat 2 tbs olive oil. Add mushrooms and green onions. Add cooked quinoa and stir. Add 4-5 tbs ponzu sauce, 1/2 tsp sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste. Top with fried egg, over easy.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ground Chicken Curry

There are few things better on a cold night than a bowl of steaming curry.

1 lb. ground chicken
bunch fresh cilantro
1 large potato
red curry paste
1/2 can coconut milk
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/2 inch fresh ginger

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Spaghetti Al Limone

Inspired by a dish from Terroni's in West Hollywood.

My version -garlic sauteed in olive oil, generous amounts of chopped flat-leaf parsley (stems and leaves), sea salt, fresh lemon juice, grated parmesan.