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Archive for the ‘Fruit’ Category

Here’s a dessert I really enjoy and is simple to make.  While this site usually advocates using produce in season, here’s a recipe that is fairly forgiving if the strawberries are not at their peak – though of course, in season tastes better and costs less.  Also remember to clean your strawberries well as they are listed among the fruits with the highest levels of residual pesticides.  Beginners: slice off and discard the tops.

This is recipe is a mild variation on another web recipe but this time the changes are few but significant.  The original recipe calls for ¾ cup of vegetable oil.  Here I cut the oil in half and compensate by increasing the amount of strawberries.  Strawberries when they bake give off a lot of water so do not be concerned that your batter will be barely moistened when you add in the strawberries.  A note for dieters – even with cutting the oil in half, the entire recipe is about 2700 calories – which per serving (no matter how small you serve) is not slimming.IMG_0318

The other change is that I use an 8×8 pan rather than a loaf pan.  The best parts of this recipe are the top and the sides (the rest is very good too).  Also cooking in a flatter pan also reduces baking time and you do not get that gooey middle that sometimes forms when oil based breads take a few days to eat.  If you want, a 7×11 pan should work well too.  I find that many dessert breads turn out better in an 8×8 pan than a loaf pan.

Oatmeal Strawberry Bread – 1 Rolling pin

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup oats (I have not tried the quick variety)
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • ½ tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 pound strawberries roughly chopped (about 3/8 “ dice +/-)

Cook:IMG_0314-2

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease an 8×8 glass pan.
  • Stir together in a large bowl: flour, outs, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt
  • In a smaller bowl, whisk together the oil and the eggs until well mixed
  • Stir the oil-egg mixture into the dry ingredients until all the dry ingredients are moist
  • Fold (stir) in the strawberries
  • Place batter in the pan, spreading it out evenly
  • Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 50 – 60 minutes (check out 45 minutes if using a 7×11 pan).
  • Cool on a wire rack.

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I like to search for recipes on the internet.  One of the advantages of many internet recipes is that you can read the comments made by those who have already tried the recipe.  Not only do they tell how good the recipe is, but they also talk about changes or variations to the posted recipe that they have made.  And then there are the comments seconding or reviewing those changes.

The banana chocolate chip cake recipe posted here today epitomizes finding a well received recipe and adjusting it significantly based on the recommendations and feedback to the recommendations as well as my own experience baking.  The ingredients and/or quantities listed below vary from the original recipe so much that I have no trouble labeling the recipe my own.   Only 3 of the 11 ingredients are unvaried from the original recipe; even the pan is changed.

Now on to what matters: the cake.  Although I often try to make cakes recipes that use canola oil rather than butter, I cannot deny that butter makes a better tasting cake and this recipe uses butter – but not quite as much as the original recipe called for.  I also use low fat buttermilk, but you can substitute any variety of milk you prefer.  Since this cake is not frosted, you are not getting the overdose of saturated fat most cakes have.  As to the chocolate chips, try it with standard sized chips or the minis and please let us know which you enjoyed most.   All pertinent feedback is welcome.  You’re even welcome to guess which 3 ingredients are unaltered from the original recipe (and no, flour is not one of them).

Some cooking hints: I find the best way to mash bananas is to place them in a wide soup bowl and mash them with a fork.  Of course, this depends on how overripe your bananas are and the strength of your fork.  A nice feature of this cake is being able to visually tell when it is ready to come out of the oven.  Since the cake is not frosted you want the top to appear golden in color.  Yes, the toothpick may come out clean sooner but the extra minute or two to get that nice appearance is worth it and does not impact the result.

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Banana Chocolate Chip Cake – 1 Rolling pin

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup white granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ½ tablespoon baking soda (1.5 teaspoons)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup mashed bananas
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ cup low fat buttermilk
  • ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips

Cook:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a 9 inch round cake pan
  • In a large bowl, mix flour, sugars, baking soda, and salt
  • In a separate bowl, combine bananas, egg, melted butter, buttermilk, and vanilla extract
  • Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture until blended.  Be careful not to over mix.
  • Stir in chocolate chips
  • Pour into 9 inch round pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean (see cooking hints above).
  • Remove cake from oven and allow the cake to cool before removing it from the pan.

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I really wanted to crank this post out before the fresh citrus disappears from grocery store shelves.  There is nothing like in season citrus to make any recipe sing.  These scones are nice and tasty and go well with tea, coffee, or are a great anytime snack.  I made them a while back for a tea party and they were a huge hit – especially when paired with clotted cream.

When these were made I used an electric mixer, however you can mix these by hand, it will just take some elbow grease.  Otherwise as scones go this is a fairly basic recipe.  It does take some time and work but like most recipes is worth it in the end – especially when you are looking for a vehicle for clotted cream.

If you need a use for the remainder of the orange I highly recommend the beet and orange salad on this site.  Or just eat the orange as-is, up to you.

 

Orange Cranberry Scones – 2 Rolling Pins (Adapted from Food.com)

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups flour (also have additional to flour for shaping the scones)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest (from one medium-large orange)
  • 3 sticks cold unsalted butter (very important that it’s cold)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup flour (this is additional to coat the cranberries)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

Prep:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400° Fahrenheit.
  2. Wash the outside of the orange to remove any possible pesticides and wax and dry it.  Using a grater, zest the peel of the orange.  You only want the orange parts, not the white pith.
  3. Set aside 1 tablespoon of the zest.
  4. In a bowl whisk the eggs so they are well beaten and set aside.
  5. Measure the cup of cranberries and ¼ cup of flour into a bowl and mix gently to coat the berries.
  6. Right before you are ready to start mixing everything, cut the butter into a dice.  Taking one stick out of the fridge at a time, cut it lengthwise into three long pieces, turn on its side and cut into three pieces, then cut down the length to make small pieces.  Set these aside.

Bake:

  1. In a large bowl stir the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and orange zest together.
  2. Add the butter to the bowl and mix at a low speed (or gentlyly if by hand) until the butter is the size of peas.  This means the butter will not be fully incorporated into the flour mixture, but only partially.
  3. Add the heavy cream to the eggs and mix the two together.
  4. Gradually add the cream and egg mixture to the flour and butter, mixing on low speed.
  5. Add to the dough the floured cranberries and mix until just combined.  At this point the dough should look lumpy, and you will still see pieces of butter throughout.
  6. Flour a clean countertop or cutting board and place the dough on it.  Gently knead the dough into a ball.
  7. Take a floured rolling pin and roll the dough so it’s about ¾ of an inch thick.
  8. Use a floured cookie cutter or biscuit cutter (about 3 inches) to cut out the scones.  If you don’t have a formal cutter you can flour the top of a cup and use that to shape the scones.  Any dough scraps should be combined and re-rolled to cut more scones.
  9. Place the scones on a parchment-lined baking sheet about an inch or so apart and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
  10. Allow the scones to cool, serve and enjoy!

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Cranberry sauce is a staple of Thanksgiving.  There are two camps, people who like whole-berry and people who like the jelly in a can.  I like both.  There is something about how the jelly holds the can shape that makes it a holiday classic.  At the same time the whole-berry just has a little more of that great cranberry zing.

This recipe is ridiculously simple and is as basic as it gets for cranberry sauce.  It will hold up well in the fridge for a few days, so you can make this well in advance of Thanksgiving Day allowing more time that day to focus on other dishes.  It is also so tasty it might just convert some of the jelly folks over to whole-berry…

 

Cranberry Sauce – 1 Knife

 Ingredients: 

  • 1 bag fresh cranberries (like Ocean Spray)
  • 1 orange
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ½ cup sugar
  • water

Prep:

  1. Rinse the cranberries in a colander.
  2. Wash the orange and remove any wax that might be on the skin.
  3. Zest the orange to yield about 1 teaspoon of zest.
  4. Using the same orange, juice it into a measuring cup.  It should come to short of ½ cup.  Add water until you get ½ cup of liquid.

Cook:

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat combine the cranberries, orange zest, juice and water, cinnamon stick, and sugar.  Stir well to incorporate all of the ingredients.
  2. Allow the content to come to a rolling simmer, stirring occasionally.
  3. Cook for 15-20 minutes until the cranberries have broken down and the liquid has thickened.
  4. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.  Once room temperature remove the cinnamon stick and transfer into another container to cool in the refrigerator.
  5. About an hour before you want to serve the cranberries remove them from the refrigerator so they can come up to room temperature.
  6. Transfer the cranberries into a serving dish, serve and enjoy!

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I love it when a delicious recipe is beyond stupid easy.  It makes me happy.  Why should good food have to be difficult?  This banana bread recipe is as easy as it gets when it comes to baking.  The best part is you can add goodies like chocolate chips and walnuts to it to add flair.

When baking with bananas you want them to be over ripe, but not yet rotten.  It’s a fine line.  But a banana with lots of brown spots usually is perfect for baking.  You want it to be super ripe and soft so that mashing it is easy.

 

Banana Bread – ½ rolling pin

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick butter (plus additional to grease the pan)
  • 1 1/3 cup brown sugar (you can also use regular sugar instead)
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 cup bananas (about 2 large bananas)
  • ½ cup chocolate chips (optional)
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Prep:

  1. An hour before baking set out the butter to soften.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
  3. Using spare butter grease a loaf pan (about 8 x 3½ x 4 inches) on all sides.
  4. In a bowl mash the bananas with a fork until they are well mashed and gooey.  Set aside.
  5. Break the eggs into a small bowl, making sure no shells fall in with the eggs.  Then beat the eggs with a fork and set aside.
  6. Measure out the yogurt and set aside.

Bake:

  1. In a large bowl beat the butter with a fork until creamy.
  2. Add the sugar and stir to combine.
  3. Add the eggs to the sugar and butter and mix until fluffy.
  4. In a separate bowl combine the flour and baking soda.
  5. With a spatula stir in 1/3 of the flour to the butter and sugar and mix until incorporated.
  6. Next add the yogurt and stir until mixed in.
  7. Add another 1/3 of the flour and stir until mixed in.
  8. Add the bananas to the bowl and stir until well incorporated.
  9. Add the last of the flour and stir until well mixed.
  10. Add to the bowl the chocolate chips and/or walnuts if you are including them and stir until they are mixed in.
  11. Pour the batter into the greased loaf pan and bake in the oven for one hour.
  12. Allow the bread to cool in the pan before serving and enjoy!

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The peach harvest this summer is off the hook. They are at the farmers market every single week, no exceptions.  They smell and taste amazing, are juicy and just perfect. One of my favorite recipes for peaches combines them with another summer staple: basil.  While they may not seem like a natural combination the two together are mind-blowing.

For this recipe I wrote it for one whole peach.  I like to save the extra juice/sauce to pour over vanilla ice cream.  The goop is that good it really is worth saving.  I also think you could serve vanilla ice cream with the peaches themselves.   They can be served hot, room temperature or cold – totally up to you.  If saving the peaches in the fridge make sure to cover them with plastic wrap.

 

Basil Poached Peaches – 1 Knife

Ingredients:

  • 1 peach
  • ½ cup white wine
  • ¾ cup water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 sprig of basil (about 10 leaves)

Prep:

  1. Cut the peach in half and discard the pit.
  2. Wash the basil and remove the leaves from the stem.

Cook:

  1. In a wide bottom sauce pan combine the sugar, wine and water over medium-high heat.
  2. Allow the mixture to come to a boil and let simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Add to the mixture the basil leaves and the peaches cut-side down.
  4. Cook for 3 minutes, and then using a slotted spoon turn the peaches and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
  5. Remove the peaches and place in bowls.
  6. Let the syrup to cook for 1-2 more minutes.
  7. Allow the peaches to cool a little and then using spoons, a fork or your hands carefully remove the peach’s skin.  Discard the skin.
  8. Using a slotted spoon remove the basil leaves from the syrup and discard.
  9. Drizzle the syrup over the peaches, serve and enjoy!

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The other week I wanted to make peach chutney to top my fried green tomatoes.  I couldn’t find any recipes I liked online and decided to wing it.  And I really winged it. I wound up grabbing random stuff off of my shelves that “felt right.”  I wasn’t even sure it would taste good to others, and so foisted it upon objective eaters and they said it was good.  So, based on their word I’ve decided to post it.

 

Curried Peach Chutney – 1 Knife

Ingredients:

  • 1 peach
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 thin slices of white onion
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of ground black pepper

Prep:

  1. Remove the skin from the peach and cut in half to remove the pit.  Cut the peach into a small dice.  Do this by cutting the peach into slices, then cutting the slices into sticks, and finally cutting the sticks into little cubes.  Set these aside.
  2. Remove the peel from the garlic and chop into a mince or use a garlic press to mince the garlic, set aside.
  3. Remove the skin from part of the onion and chop off two ¼ inch thick slices.  Cut these slices then into a dice by cutting across horizontally and then vertically.  Set aside.

Cook:

  1. Heat up the olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat.
  2. Once hot add the onions and cook 3-5 minutes until translucent.
  3. Add the garlic to the pan and cook for another minute.
  4. Add the curry powder, salt and pepper and stir to mix with the onions.
  5. Add the peach to the pan as well as the sherry and vinegar and stir to combine all of the ingredients.
  6. Allow to cook for about 5 minutes or until the peaches are cooked through and the liquids from the sherry and vinegar are thickened, stirring occasionally.
  7. Add the honey and stir well.  Cook an additional minute.
  8. Transfer the chutney to a serving bowl and enjoy!

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