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The other day I found this recipe for chocolate banana bread. I tried it, it was a hit at our house, even among those that didn’t like banana bread.

Personally, I think the chocolate did the trick. How can anyone not like chocolate?

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If you’re interested here is the link to the recipe, which can be found at www.cookinglight.com

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Tim and I went blueberry picking and I may go again today since one of the blueberry pick-your-own places indicated on FB that today is the last day of picking for the season. We came home with two bags full of blueberries and I made a blueberry muffin cake. The original recipe is from Fine Cooking but I tweaked it just a bit to add a streusel topping, the same as on the blueberry muffins that I make. It definitely took the cake, which was delicious without the topping to a different level.

For those of you that asked, here is the recipe:

Blueberry Muffin Cake (adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine recipe)

Cake:

  • 4 oz. (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly; more for the pan
  • 9 oz. (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 lb. (2 cups) fresh blueberries

 

Topping:

  • 4 oz. (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 t. cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar

Procedure:

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Butter or spray the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round springform pan.

Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the butter, milk, eggs, and vanilla. Using a silicone spatula, stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Fold in the berries. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly. Tap the pan on the counter once or twice to break any air bubbles.

Mix together the topping ingredients which should make crumbles. Spread the crumbled streusel topping over the cake batter.

Bake until golden-brown and a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.  The original recipe says the cooking time is 45-55 minutes which is what worked without the streusel. With the streusel topping, add an extra 15-20 minutes, check occasionally until a tester comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes. Run a paring knife around the edge of the cake and remove the side of the pan. Transfer the cake to a serving plate and serve warm or at room temperature. Ours didn’t make it to the cooling phase. It was steaming still when we removed it from the pan to eat with a cup of tea the other night for dessert.

 

Enjoy.

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Doesn’t this look delicious? Let me tell you that it tasted as good as it looks. Okay, maybe it even tasted better than it looks.

I adapted this recipe from Bon Appetit magazine’s recipe for Braised Brisket with Bourbon-Peach Glaze. Start with a 3-4 pound beef brisket.

Part 1 – The Rub

Mix together

1 T plus 1 t kosher salt

1 t. ground black pepper

1/4 tsp. smoked paprika

1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon

Rub on the brisket and refrigerate for two hours or overnight. Then remove from refrigerator and let stand on counter for one hour.

Part 2 – Brisket

INGREDIENTS

2 T. olive oil, divided

3/4 cup chopped onion

3 garlic gloves, crushed

4 cups beef broth

1 12 oz bottle of stout beer

3/4 cup bourbon (I didn’t have and used scotch instead — not a great differentiator of the brown liquors)

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup soy sauce

Thyme 1 tsp.

2 celery stalks chopped

1 carrot chopped

1 T. balsamic vinegar

THE PROCESS

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Heat 1 T oil in an oven proof large pot. Sear brisket on both sides, about 5 minutes each side. Remove brisket to plate and cover to keep warm. Heat remaining oil in pot, add onions and garlic, stir until onion is slightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients to pot, return brisket to pot, cover and place into oven. Cook for approximately 4 hours, brisket should be tender but still together. Remove brisket from pot, use stick blender to puree remaining braising liquid. Remove 1/4 cup of braising liquid and reserve. Return brisket to pan.

Part 3 – The Glaze

Take 1/4 c. reserved braising liquid, add 1/2 c. apricot or peach preserves ( I didn’t have peach and apricot worked just fine) and 2 T. bourbon (I skipped the bourbon/scotch in the glaze and it tasted just fine to me)

Mix together with stick blender or regular blender. Spread over brisket (fat side should be up and cross-hatched). Return to oven and broil for approximately 10 minutes until glaze has caramelized.

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This was delicious! We served it over jasmine rice with scallions on top and it was absolutely great. A lot of oven time but well worth it in the end. Highly recommend.

 

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Lately, when I am searching for a recipe, either for some new ingredient I want to use or simply to find a different way to make the same old ingredients, I find myself clicking on the “Images” link in Google instead of sifting through the recipes themselves. I mean, we all essentially eat with our eyes, don’t we? If something is visually appealing to us, it is more a recipe that we might give a whirl. I don’t know about any of you, but personally a cookbook without pictures (with the exception of my Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook) is a waste of good money. I want to see what the finished dish is supposed to look like before  I attempt to cook it. I do not understand why cookbooks don’t have lots and lots of pictures. It would seem to me cookbooks sporting mouthwatering photos are more likely to sell than those that require you to imagine what the finished recipe is supposed to look like.

For example, don’t these just make you want to eat these?

Or these?

or this?

or this?

Our first connection with our food, is usually its visual appeal. This is one of the reasons that presentation of food is all so important in restaurants. If it looks visually appealing and makes a nice presentation, we are eager to dig in and taste it, so we can confirm with our taste buds what our eyes are telling us.

Are you hungry yet?

What’s one to do with all the apples that we have literally lying around here? We’re not big applesauce fans so little sense to take the time and effort to can them into applesauce. While pie is a definite, I just haven’t really had the time to make pie and really not many have been around to eat it.

I have been trying a few different apple cake recipes to find the one, in the words of Little Bear, that is “just right”. Here are pictures of the latest incarnation.

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Tomatoes are everywhere. I have two bowls of tomatoes from the garden on my counter. It hardly seems that those tiny little plants that go in the ground at the beginning of summer can produce so many tomatoes, but damn if they don’t do it every time. I took a whole bowl of those cherry tomatoes that I picked the day before, washed them, cut them in half, seasoned them with a little salt, some oregano and a couple whole unpeeled garlic cloves and tossed them with some extra virgin olive oil. I put them on a parchment lined pan and into the oven. 220 degrees for about 4 hours.

Oh my goodness! The house smelled delicious.

Here’s one tray down and only…..about a half dozen more to go with this last batch of picked tomatoes anyway.

This batch I put into pint sized mason jars and filled them with olive oil and into the fridge they went (only after I took quite a few for last night’s pasta). I think that I will freeze the other batches in labeled ziploc bags for use at a later date.

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you were at my house for breakfast this morning?

See, when I can’t sleep for whatever reason, I usually get up. No sense staring at the ceiling for hours. Then, when I’m up, I usually bake. Someone should benefit from my insomnia, don’t you think?

This morning I baked cinnamon buns from a recipe I got from WhatsCookingAmerica.net. They are some of the best cinnamon buns that I have made or tasted. I have adapted the recipe for my own taste.

Cut pieces getting settled in to rise a second time

Recipe – Ingredients (Buns)

1 cup milk (heat 1 minute in microwave)
1/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 eggs
, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar

5 cups bread flour
3 teaspoons yeast

Process –

1. Mix together all ingredients in order given in stand mixer until well blended. Knead for approximately 3 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic. Remove from mixing bowl, place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled. About 1 hour.

2. After dough has risen, roll out into a rectangle about 13 x 9.

3. Use butter from filling recipe to spread across entire surface of dough.

4. Spread filling over butter.

5. Roll dough up into a log.

6. Cut into 14 pieces.

7. Place 7 pieces into one round 9 inch cake pan. Place the other 7 pieces into the other cake pan. Make sure that they are not touching.

8. Cover and let rise again, about one hour until they have doubled and are touching each other.

9. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

10. Cook buns in oven for approximately 20 minutes until golden brown.

11. Remove and frost with glaze (recipe below).

Ingredients – Filling

1/2 cup softened butter

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

5 T. cinnamon

Mix together the cinnamon and sugar to form a cinnamon sugar. You will sprinkle this over your dough after you spread with the butter.

Ingredients – Frosting

1/4 c. softened butter

2 t. vanilla extract

4 cups confectioners sugar

2-3 T. milk

mix all ingredients together until a glaze forms. Add more milk if necessary to make a nice smooth glaze, but only add a little at a time or it will be too watery. Pour the glaze on top of the cinnamon buns and spread evenly. (I don’t use cream cheese as in the original recipe just because I don’t really care for the taste of it in my cinnamon bun)

Out of the oven

 

Frosting being mixed together

Bring on the frosting

When you have fresh strawberries and you have a baking commitment that requires something finger-food friendly, what do you do?

Strawberry scones!

Before they went into the oven…..

The end result.

And for those of you who would like chocolate……

Tim and I made some sourdough pretzels from a King Arthur Flour recipe. I must admit however that since I was also cooking dinner at the time, Tim is really the sole person responsible for these pretzels. They turned out really well for a first effort and tasted just as good. We might try this again over the weekend. Here’s the recipe.

 

This was lunch. It was delicious. If I do say so myself. Tom tells me that the things that I whip together in about five minutes from what’s hanging around the fridge are probably some of the better things that I cook. Today, I would have to agree.

I took a chicken breast, a few thin slices of red onion, a handful of snow peas and some leftover rice. Sauteed it with a little vegetable oil, sesame oil, chili oil and soy sauce. I chopped a couple scallions, a small handful of cilantro and some lemon juice and topped it off with some black sesame seeds that are relegated to the rear of the pantry since my youngest son is allergic to sesame. So, anything that can incorporate sesame oil and sesame seeds in the same meal is a special, special treat in our house.

All I can say is yum. It was good.

What’s for dinner when you have a load of broccoli in the fridge? Broccoli Cheese Soup of course!

Ingredients

  • 3 large broccoli crowns, rinsed and roughly chopped including stems
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 1 medium onion
  • 12 cups chicken broth
  • 2 T butter and 1/4 c. butter
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 c. milk
  1. Chop onion and celery in a food processor, place into stock pot with 2 T. butter, saute over medium heat until softened.
  2. Add chopped broccoli and chicken broth
  3. Simmer until broccoli is tender.
  4. In a separate pot, melt remaining butter and add flour, making a roux. Then add milk and stir over low heat until the mixture thickens.
  5. Remove 1/2 of broccoli mixture, without broth to a bowl.
  6. Add milk mixture to stockpot.
  7. Use blender or stick blender to puree soup in stockpot.
  8. Add reserved broccoli back into stockpot.
  9. Salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Garnish with shredded cheddar cheese.

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:
  • 5 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 2-3 leeks
  • 12 cups chicken broth (or enough to cover the vegetables)
  • milk or cream (about 1 cup)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Process:
  1. Split leeks down the middle and wash thoroughly. Thinly slice all the leeks and place into a dutch oven with about 2 T. canola or vegetable oil.
  2. Saute leeks over medium heat until they are soft but do not brown. About 10 minutes.
  3. While leeks are sauteing wash potatoes and cube into bite size pieces.
  4. Add cubed potatoes (skins and all) to the pot. Add chicken broth enough to cover the vegetables.
  5. Add ground black pepper to taste.
  6. Cover and cook on medium low heat for about 1 1/2 hours or until potatoes are cooked through.
  7. Remove one third of the potato leek mixture and place in a separate bowl to be added back into the soup later.
  8. Add milk or cream to the remaining soup. Blend with a stick blender or by putting batches into a stand blender until a creamy consistency.
  9. Return potato leek mixture to the soup.
  10. Taste for salt and pepper.
  11. Serve and enjoy!

Evilwife on the move

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http://tammyheff.wordpress.com
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