Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Last Friday in June

Friday nights usually mean dinner with my great uncle and aunt. Now that my grandparents are in town, our recent dining expeditions to hit the best new restaurants, as named by a magazine, are on hold. Instead it means we're back to good ol' home cooking.

Yesterday I was finally able to try a batch of ice cream, since on my birthday, which my mom was going to get me an ice cream maker for, she found the old one hidden behind a cappuccino machine and some silver trays. I checked out some books from the library, and tried my hand at a hazelnut gelato. Not the easiest thing to make, but I figured, if I was going to use an ice cream maker, why not make something that is worth the effort (it was either going to be that or what sounded like it would be like eating a dark chocolate bar- but in ice cream form). Uncle Larry voted for hazelnut when I saw him yesterday for lunch, so hazelnut it was. The gelato started with hazelnut milk (whole milk that was steeped in toasted, skinned hazelnuts, pureed, and strained through cheesecloth) that was then mixed with cream, egg yolks, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt to make the custard base for the gelato. After cooling overnight in the fridge, it met the ice cream maker tonight right as we sat down for dinner. It may have been able to spend a bit longer in the ice cream maker, but I thought it was done and took it out. It was just soft at the top from all the salt falling to the bottom of the canister. Mom's considering getting one of the gel ice cream makers, but I'm not sure if it would work any better, it would just be easier since it wouldn't require ice or salt to use, though it would require thinking hours ahead (though that is sort of required anyways with a custard base to chill it thoroughly.) Unfortunately, my pictures turned out blurry, but everyone said they liked the gelato, which dad topped with some dark chocolate shavings. I kind of was regretting choosing hazelnut because it doesn't pair well with fruit (at least not in my mind), because I automatically am programmed to associate it with chocolate. I blame nutella for that. The next ice cream I make (or gelato, or maybe even a sorbet or sherbet) will be something more summery to take advantage of the abundance of fresh fruit around. Ice cream really is not all that difficult to make. It just isn't something to do on a whim.

But I had no energy to figure out dinner that would appeal to everyone. Actually, I knew what I wanted to make, but it was spicy and my grandmother doesn't like spicy food. So instead, the salmon recieved a garlic rub and the corn was just grilled by itself. Mom suggested a cucumber-tomato salad, so she made that to go along with it, and the dressing was equal parts yogurt and and spicy salsa. We also had the leftover bean salad.

I look forward to Friday nights, though next Friday I know I'll be doing something else. Maybe I'll go to the Art Institute, since Friday nights are FREE!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Overnight Salad

The weather took a turn and now sitting outside is pleasant, almost springlike. As was my lunch. I realize it is almost July and I should be getting red for meals of red, white, and blue. Luscious raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, macerated atop a slice of angel food cake with a heaping dollop of freshly whipped cream.

Sorry, I'm getting a bit ahead of myself. As well as not considering the limited possibility of that scenario occuring (my father's birthday cake) since I've been branching out and making him different things (last year it was a freeform plum tart). I won't say what I have planned for this year (though it will require some new pans) for fear he may actually read this.

But back to the weather. I'm sitting outside right now, so I can say with certainty, that in my backyard, the weather is enjoyable. And perfect. Bright but not sunny, cool but not cold, warm but not hot with an indifferent breeze. Not a stale breeze like those last week, but a slighly cool, almost indifferent one.

So it really does feel like spring is in the air. And the salad I ate at lunchtime, felt like late spring too, with green beans and a light acidic dressing. Though I'm ashamed to say, I ate it inside while reading the movie review for Ratatouille. I made the salad Wednesday night after dinner so that we could have it on Thursday before whatever we were going to have for dinner. I forgot that my parents would be gone, so there were just three of us and a nice large mixed-bean salad. I didn't realize how acidic it was going to be, but I liked it still, after I got over the slight shock. Part of it depended on if the bean had been actually sitting in the dressing, or was drier from the top since the salad marinated overnight. It was super simple to make and reminded me a bit of LMGs Just Grab It salads (at a Sunflower Market near you... if there is one).

Mixed Bean Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing
serves 8
from Vegetarian Times May/June 2007 p36 by Patsy Jamieson

2 cups frozen shelled edamame beans (10-ounce package, but I can never find that size)
12 oz green beans, trimmed and cut in half crosswise (3 cups)
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2 medium shallots, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon honey
1/4 cup vegetable oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1 15-oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add edamame and return to a boil. Add green beans and cook for about 6 minutes or until edamame is tender and green beans are crisp tender. Drain and rinse with with cool water.

In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, shallots, poppy seeds, mustard, and honey. Gradually whisk in oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Stir in edamame, green beans, and kidney beans. Refrigerate overnight or up to two days, though beans will start to discolor after a day.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Na Na Na Naan

You can't catch me, I'm the melting gingerbread person.

Sorry, I couldn't resist. This is not a recipe to try when it is in the sticky upper-80s and humid outside and you are enjoying the wonderful coolness of being indoors. But I'd never really been affected before.

The first time mom flipped through her 30-Minute Indian book that she picked up at a Borders Outlet, I was sitting next to her and noticed the recipe for Naan. I was surprised (30 minutes?), but I soon noticed after flipping through the book that while the recipes take 30 minutes, they have other parts that make them take longer. I also don't prep nearly as fast as any magazine, cookbook, or television show thinks I can.
But today I finally got around to making the bread. But I don't trust the recipe in the book, and while the only other time I've made anything with yeast, it was not a total success, I still trusted my intuitions while making this recipe and strayed a bit (there was not nearly enough liquid in it.)

While I am not sure what I made is naan in the traditional sense (I don't think it usually involves a broiler, olive oil, or rolling pin, but I know very little about Indian cuisine), whatever it was that I made was tasty, especially fresh out of the oven.

Our broiler gets hot and cold (maybe because I open and close the door a lot so it tries to adjust, I don't know), so I had to keep a close watch on the bread to keep from burning. It would go from dough to almost burnt in seconds sometimes and minutes other times.

Despite the careful eye, this is far easier to make than scones and involves ingredients that are, when we've remembered to go grocery shopping, on hand. And the warmth and cuddliness of fresh naan certainly beats that of the store-bought kind, which seems overpriced.

makes 8 4-inch oval loaves

220 g all-purpose flour (around 1 cup)
5 g/1 teaspoon baking powder
5 g fast-action yeast
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon toasted cumin seeds
2 Tablespoons yogurt
1 Tablespoon olive oil, plus more for brushing
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup warm water

Turn oven on to 200F unless you have a warm place in your house.

In a warm bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, yeast, salt, cumin seeds, yogurt, and 1 Tablespoon olive oil. Knead in the milk and water and shape into a large ball. Cover with a greased sheet of plastic wrap and let sit in oven (turned off and with door cracked) or in other warm place for 25 minutes.

Prepare broiler.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a few minutes or until smooth. Divide dough into 8 portions and roll into balls. With a rolling pin, flatten each ball of dough into about a 4 or 5 inch by 3 or 4 inch ovals. Brush with oil.

Working one or two at a time, place dough a few inches under broiler on rack using tongs and/or a metal spatula. Broil each side for 2 or 3 minutes or until browned.

Brandishing the Carrots

Yesterday, on our way to buy a new refrigerator (one of ours died two weeks ago, and the other likes to fluctuate between 38 and 50 if you don't shut the door tight enough), we went to Hackney's. I'm not a burger person (so I have no idea why I was excited to go, wait, yes I do. It is the onion rings. I'm totally on a fried food kick. Today I had falafel...But I digress. So at Hackney's, after the onion rings, I actually had to have a meal. And it came with what appeared to be a carrot bran muffin. I was motivated to use the carrots in the fridge (though this is not the right time of year for them. They're sweeter in the winter.)
I've been wanting to make a more flavorful bran muffin, and here it is. At first I couldn't decide on whether there should be raisins, but the consensus seems to be that they should be there.

Carrot-Walnut Bran Muffins
makes 16 muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1 cup wheat bran
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cup finely grated carrot (about 3-4 carrots)
2/3 cup walnuts
2/3 cup raisins
2 large eggs
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
1 1/12 cups buttermilk
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 Tablespoons nut, canola, or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400F. Spread walnuts on a baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes, or until toasted. Once cool, coarsely chop or break up. Leave oven on.
In a medium bowl, pour hot water over raisins. Let sit 5 to 10 minutes. Drain.

Grease or line 16 muffin cups.
In a large bowl, whisk together flours, wheat bran, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir in shredded carrot.
In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, brown sugar, and honey for about two minutes or until thick and paler. Whisk in buttermilk, applesauce, oil, and vanilla.
Stir liquid mixture into carrot-flour mixture until just moist. Fold in walnuts and raisins; divide among prepared tins.
Bake 15 minutes or until spring back when lightly touched on top.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

I'm No Domestic Goddess, but with an Afternoon of Tea comes Domesticity

Today is (was?) my birthday. And it was a good day. There's no sob story coming from me about my sixteenth birthday. I couldn't have asked for a better day. (Not the weather, but I was inside and it was cool out, so the rain doesn't matter.)

My birthday cake, which I was originally going to make, was the Devil's Food Cake with Mint-Chocolate Ganache from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook, but my cousin Tiff wanted to make me a cake for my birthday, so I told her what I was going to make (definately a decadent treat) and she made it for me. And it was rich.

As for the tea itself, we had tea sandwiches (salmon, chive & cream cheese on white; prepared LMG curried chicken salad, and watercress on pumpernickel; cucumbers with lime, mint-chile butter, on thin white) that Mom made with a little help from Maddy and me, freshly baked scones, angel-food cake bites with lemon curd and raspberries that Granma helped assemble, and pea salad cups that Granma and Maddy put together for me.
It makes me feel like I almost didn't have to do anything. And it was relaxing, with all the help my family put in.

My aunt even made a gorgeous poster of a tea pot for a game of "put the lid on the teapot", a spinoff of "pin the tail on the donkey" that was a hit.

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And now that I have a cart to go shopping, and an apron prettier than most of the clothes I own, I can go to the grocery store and venture to the kitchen with even fewer limits.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Unexpected Fluffy Answer

For next weekend, I want to make scones. Dad likes the miniature ones from Whole Foods, so he didn't see the point in me making homemade ones and spending the time on them when there are other things I could be doing. (I said the same thing about lemonade, but we're planning on buying a 5 lb bag of lemons today anyways.) The batch of scones I whipped up while he was in the shower, they made that statement past tense. He likes them! I now have permission to make scones for next weekend. And a good reason to beg for a pastry blender. And dough scraper.

Cran-raisin Scones
makes 20 miniature scones

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons lemon zest
3/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons whole milk + more to brush tops
1 large egg
1/2 cup raisins.
1/4 cup dried cranberries
turbinado sugar for sprinkling tops

Preheat oven to 425F. Grease a baking sheet.
Soak raisins and cranberries in hot water for 10 minutes. Drain and pat dry.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest, and salt. With pastry cutter or fingers, cut butter into flour mixture until resembles coarse meal with some larger pieces.

Whisk together cream, milk and egg and stir into flour mixture with a wooden spoon until just mixed. Fold in raisins and cranberries. Collect dough and turn onto a well-floured surface. Knead 4 or 5 times. Shape into a 7 by 8 inch rectangle and cut into 20 triangles (but don't separate). Transfer to a baking sheet and brush tops with milk and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes or until tops and sides are golden brown.

Remove from oven and cool on rack.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Easier Than Pie (but not exactly smooth sailing)

I decided to try to make a tart today. Completely on a whim. So on a whim that I was at the grocery store without even knowing I was going to make a tart. Then I saw the cherries and remembered the recipe I photocopied out of this month's Everyday Food on Wednesday and just knew that I had to make it.

So I started dashing around the store and between check-out aisles looking for the magazine since I knew I'd need cream cheese in addition to the cherries, but wasn't sure if it called for cream and anything else I might be missing. I did forget to buy the raspberry jam and realized that halfway home. But when I got home, I found that we had boysenberry jam, so there was nothing to deter me from my tart.

I even have a tart pan that I bought in December to make a peppermint-whipped cream tart that I bought all the ingredients for but never made. (I'm glad I just looked at that recipe. That explains the mysterious unopened corn syrup I keep seeing but don't remember buying.)
But back to the cherry tart. I had everything I needed. So as soon as I finished making the shells for pea salad cups I started on my tart. Then I read the last sentence of the recipe. "Refrigerate at least 30 minutes or up to 1 day."
I was going to surprise Dad with the tart on Father's Day. I guess Father's Day will be a day early now.

And despite having never made a tart before (though this is more of a cheesecake in the shape of a tart), the tart came out looking okay. Though not without some mishaps.
First, the tart pan was 10", but I didn't want to open another bag of graham crackers, and it looked like enough crust anyways.

But what I didn't think of was the filling, until after I'd poured it all in. I could have easily made a little bit more, but then I noticed I was having trouble using my brand-new offset spatula to spread the tart because it was too low in the pan. The pan! I had completely forgotten to remove the tart from the pan! I'm not sure if I was supposed to, but it was getting heavy, and with a graham cracker crust I was worried it would collapse. And the crust was way higher on the sides than the filling. So while removing the crust from the pan, I cracked it in a million places (but I'm not sure where, other than the circumference appeared to get larger - the filling sort of hid the damage, except for along the edges). I tried to get the edges off, but some fell on top of the filling instead of onto the plate. But then my spatula could do its job and spread the filling. I felt better. And once the cherries were put on place and the glaze dabbed on, nobody could be the wiser.

Except that I have a big mouth and just blabbed all about it. But that's okay. I've never been good at keeping my mouth shut about things people wouldn't want to know. Like when I grated my finger along with the zest making cranberry relish for Thanksgiving last year.

Fresh Cherry Tart
makes one 9" or shallow 10" tart
from Everyday Food June 2007, with some changes in preparation (to keep from using a stove)

9 graham crackers (2.5" by 5")
2 tablespoons + 1/4 cup sugar
6 Tablespoons butter, melted
6 ounces neufchâtel cheese or cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 pound fresh sweet cherries, pitted and halved*
1 tablespoon seedless red jam

Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a food processor, pulse graham crackers and 2 tablespoons of sugar until finely crushed. Add melted butter and process until mixed. Press graham cracker crust into a 9 or 10-inch tart pan and up sides with a measuring cup. Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes or until golden browned. Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack. (I'm still not sure if you leave it in the pan or not...)

Meanwhile, in a medium or large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream cheese and vanilla on medium speed until creamy. Slowly beat in heavy cream until soft peaks form. Pour into cooled crust and smooth top. Scatter cherries on top.

In a microwave-safe bowl, mix together red seedless jam of choice and 1 teaspoon of water. Microwave on low for 20 second-bursts, stirring between, until liquefied. Dab over cherries with a pastry brush.

Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 day.

*The magazine suggests halving and pitting the cherries by running a paring knife around the cherry starting at the stem and then twisting the cherry apart and using the knife to remove the pit. I sort of did that - only I used my pointer finger to pull out the pit.

Monday, June 11, 2007

These Are a Few of MY Favorite Things

And no. They do not include crisp apple strudels or schnitzel with noodles.
What they do include are reading good young adult books and not-so-great teen romances, my camera, Sandy.
Oh, and I forgot to mention: apple-oat muffins and khoresh-e karafs.
When two of your favorites are as diverse as those two, it probably isn't the best idea to try to combine them. But as I mentioned before, the celery in the fridge was calling to me, our stove died (a new one's coming soon) and I don't want to use the scary looking ones upstairs or the burner on the grill (it's hot out and khoresh takes forever!), and Bababozorg is coming in a week, and he is the king of khoresht-e karafs. There's no point in even trying (though maybe I can watch him like a hawk and learn to make it, but I'm impatient.)
So I decided to try to take the flavor of khoresht-e karafs and put it into a muffin. Now using rice instead of oats would have made it better (more like the real deal?), but rice requires the stove... plus, why add an extra cooking step to the muffins?
The only parts of khoresht-e karafs that made it into the muffin are the celery and the parsley, because to be honest, I'm not quite sure what goes into khoresht-e karafs other than that, meat, salt, pepper, and some more green stuff (mint? but I overtrimmed what was growing in the backyard).

But I'll hurry it up and say that Karafs Muffins are yummy. And worth the hour to make them. Though I wouldn't eat them for breakfast necessarily...

Karafs Muffins
makes 10 to 12

2 cups diced celery (about 4 stalks)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1 cup rolled oats (quick might work, but I've never tried. It might make them mushy)
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
pinch turmeric
1 cup plain yogurt
3 fluid ounces (6 tablespoons or 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) milk
1 large egg
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 400ºF and grease 12 muffin cups.

In a large bowl combine flours, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, salt, pepper, and turmeric.

In a small bowl whisk together yogurt, milk, egg, oil, and parsley until smooth.

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Pour in yogurt mixture and stir until moist. Stir in celery until combined. Be careful not to over mix the batter.

Using a size 12 scoop (or not), divide batter among prepared cups. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until lightly browned and the indentation made when lightly pressing on the top of the muffin springs back.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Greasy Bag

It's summer. Well, not the season, but that span of approximately three months between a year of school and another year of school. FREEDOM! I have more time than I know what to do with (read: time spent doing nothing when there is plenty I could be doing.) Mostly I read cute teen romance novels that require little of my cognitive skills and stay inside the air conditioned house except to walk to the library. That being said I'm not at my sharpest. Nor at a loss for time.

Which I guess somewhat explains how after seeing Ocean's Thirteen and splitting up from some friends I ended up walking home with a white paper bag containing a delicious dinner that contained foods that I only wish I could make at home in hopes that they'd be hotter.

At eight o'clock I faced a dilemma I very rarely face at that time: what to do for dinner. Usually I've either eaten by then, or long ago decided what my plans were. I was standing on a busy street corner, and knew I had to get home since darkness was fast approaching and my (unofficial) curfew is nightfall when I'm out and about. I didn't have much time. Ben and Jerry's looked so tempting - but I know an ice cream sundae was not exactly the healthiest nor satisfying dinner, not to mention it looked a bit crowded. And there's food at home. I just couldn't remember, other than a roasted pepper, cucumbers, zucchini, some mixed greens that may or may not be any good still, celery, and yummy dressing (actually, I remembered the dressing right after I'd purchased my dinner.) I could easily make a meal out of the stuff we had at home, because there's more than just what I listed, but I was too tired to think what I could make out of it, and the frozen meal seemed to similar to my lunch today (which was leftovers from last night's meal-not a frozen meal).

I took the easy way out. I decided on fast food: a falafel sandwich and baba ganoush. can't go wrong with that. (Except for the whole fact that cold falafel sandwiches aren't nearly as yummy as when they just make them and the falafel has just been fried.)

Bran Muffins (sans banana)

I don't have any idea how I managed this. I had a beautifully ugly overripe banana staring me in the face, and searching through the muffin books I checked out from the library last night (not for the first time either), I managed to select a recipe to try that did not involve bananas. Which considering how easy it is to throw bananas into anything, was quite a feat. It took lot of self-restraint to keep myself from chopping up (though it was so soft it would have ended up mashed) the banana and tossing it into the batter.
I just figured maybe I should give the bananas a break since it'll be a while before I make any more apple-oat muffins and maybe should branch out a bit and find another recipe I can love just as much. Though I was considering trying it with celery and allspice... but we didn't have enough yogurt, so it'll have to wait another day. But don't fear, it will be soon, because the celery in the fridge is on its way out.

As for the bran muffins, they shine. And taste like bran muffins, unlike the banana-wheat muffins I usually make (they just happen to contain bran, but are not to be confused with bran muffins. Minus my mistakes (these are not meant to spill over the tops of the muffin cups, and raisins on top-they burn EASILY) that were not in the original recipe from The Ultimate Muffin Book by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, this recipe is a keeper.

Bran Muffins
makes 12-18 muffins
adapted from The Ultimate Muffin Book

nonstick spray
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1 cup wheat bran
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup raisins
1 cup hot or boiling water

Preheat oven to 400ºF and grease muffin tins. Soak raisins in hot water for about ten minutes or until plump; drain.

In a large bowl, whisk together flours, bran, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, and honey for about 2 minutes until smooth. Whisk in buttermilk, applesauce, oil, and vanilla extract. Add raisins.
Stir liquid mixture into flour mixture until just moist.

Fill muffin tins 2/3 of the way full. Bake for about 15 minutes or until browned and springs back lightly when touched in center (or the toothpick method- with a crumb or two). Remove from pan and cool on cooling rack.

Monday, June 04, 2007

So... This is how I study

Bananas. I know, they aren't exactly a fruit I should be proud of loving - for environmental and political reasons. While supposedly they're cleaning up their act, banana growers don't exactly have the best reputation. They harm biodiversity, use pesticides that kill the rain forest and those who work around them...
Not to mention UFCo, and their bananas, led to the CIA intervening in a decent government and replacing it with none other than an oppressive one. Those problems still aren't resolved...

However, those little potassium powerhouses are perfect for baked goods... and I'll admit, I put them in almost everything. Not to mention they go great in cereal when they're almost ripe, and as they get riper, oatmeal, and then overripe- puree or mash them and toss them into just about anything where they can hide or dominate.

I even keep some in the freezer from times when I've bought them but had other fruits around to eat. I'm not going to throw out bananas that have so much left in them.

While banana bread is no longer at its peak of popularity, I can totally see why it was. Though I'm much more of a muffin girl, the first scratch-made muffins I made were banana-nut. Though I usually make banana-wheat with chocolate chips because its fun to have a treat every once in a while with chocolate in the muffins.

Banana-Wheat Muffins
makes 10-12 muffins
Adapted from Vegetarian Times, March 2006
I think they are tastier using hand chopped bittersweet chocolate instead of the mini-chocolate chips because it has a smoother texture. If I don't have enough bananas once they're all mashed, I also sometimes top it off with applesauce (you lose some flavor though).

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1 tsp. baking power
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (2 to 4 ripe bananas)
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup wheat bran
3 Tablespoons oil, such as walnut oil
1 large egg white
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup (50 g) miniature chocolate chips
a handful or two of walnuts, if desired

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease 12 muffin tin cups.

Combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
Combine bananas, buttermilk, sugar, wheat bran, oil, egg white and vanilla in a medium bowl; stir until blended.
Add banana mixture to flour mixture and stir just until moist. Add chocolate chips and stir until distributed.
Divide batter among prepared cups (I use a #12 scoop). Top with walnuts, if desired. Bake 13-17 minutes, or until golden brown and spring back when touched in center. Remove from pan and cool.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Rhubarb, anyone?

The farmer's market started up yesterday. I'll be honest though, it is known for its doughnuts, and I had to give them a try. But the verdant stalls also caught my eye.It is finals week though, sp I didn't want to buy all the delicious things, like fresh garlic and green onion, because I wasn't sure what I'd be doing as far as cooking this week and didn't want anything to go to waste. I also only bought 1/2 lb of rhubarb, planning to use it for dessert. But I got sick so it was put off until tonight.

My cousin approved of it, and thought having it with her ice cream was like "fresh strawberry ice cream." I thought the texture and sourness seemed almost like I'd just cooked up some raspberries.

I'm hoping though that there's still rhubarb next week since it is probably coming to an end soon, because this is definately worth making... I'm thinking topping my waffles with it.

Rhubarb-Strawberry Compote
makes ? cups, but enough to use as a topping for 6-8 people
Prep: 5 minutes Cook: 10-15 minutes

1 lb rhubarb
1 pint strawberries
1-2 Tablespoons sugar
ice cream, to serve

Cut rhubarb into about 1-cm thick slices crosswise. Toss into a saucepan with about a tablespoon of water over medium-high heat and cover. Reduce heat to low when it starts to boil and stir occasionally.
As rhubarb starts to cook, quarter the strawberries. When rhubarb is softened, add strawberries and stir occasionally until soft and thickened.

The sauce is also good on waffles, even if the waffles themselved aren't wonderful, or over pancakes. I heated it up before topping the waffles with it.