Sunday, November 13, 2011

Bananas Foster Oatmeal

Maybe this is how blogging is supposed to be. I took this picture on the spur of  the moment, after I took one bite, looked down and thought, " That's beautiful." So I decided to post it and share my creation with you. It started out as banana nut oatmeal, which I had made before and my husband loved. As it's his birthday today, I wanted to create something extra special for him and bananas foster oatmeal was born.

Up until now, I've posted recipes that I thought would be delicious, or would take a good picture. I would spend days, and even weeks and months trying to find the perfect recipe. And nothing would get posted.  I have a lot less time these days to cook since I've started working two jobs, so that's affected my blogging/cooking/baking routine, too. But even more than that, I would try to plan, to perfect the dish and the plating and photography in my head so I would have something "blog worthy". But I'm going to try to be more organic in my posts, sharing what I make because it's something I think everyone needs to have in their lives. This is one of those things. It's a decadent bowl-- definitely something for special occasions and it's quite possibly the most elegant way to dress up your breakfast ( or brunch, if you're like us and wait until 12:30 to think about eating on a Sunday). I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Bananas Foster Oatmeal
serves 2-4

3 c. water
1/2 t. salt
1 c. stone-ground oats (we love Bob's Red Mill brand)
1/2 c. walnuts, toasted
3 T. butter, divided
2 ripe bananas, sliced at an angle
scant 1/4 c. dark brown sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 t. cinnamon
grated nutmeg
milk/ cream, to taste

Bring water and salt to a boil in medium saucepan. Add oats slowly, whisking to prevent clumps. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook 10 minutes. Meanwhile, melt 2 T. butter in pan. When foam subsides, add bananas and cook 3-4 minutes and turn over. They should be softened and warmed through, but not mushy. Add brown sugar, pinch of salt, cinnamon and a few gratings of nutmeg; stir gently to melt the sugar, being careful not to mash bananas. Cook 3-4 minutes longer, stirring gently, then add 1 T. butter and continue to stir until melted and smooth. When oatmeal is cooked, taste for seasoning. I like to add a little more salt and a bit of sugar to bring out the flavor of the oats. Stir in milk or cream to taste ( a creamy oatmeal will balance the sweetness of the topping). If you like, stir in about half of the caramel from the bananas, leaving just enough to coat them and some extra for drizzling. Portion oatmeal into bowls and top with bananas, caramel sauce and toasted walnuts.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pumpkin-Swirl Brownies

I've always been on the fence about the combination of chocolate and pumpkin. I will almost always choose peanut butter or caramel.... but this recipe made me change my mind. This most definitely works and if you've ever wondered why people insist on putting these two flavors in the same pan, well, this is why. It's delicious. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Peach Pie

When is pie more than just a dessert? When it becomes a legacy. When it becomes the symbol of one of the most influential people in your life. When it has meaning. That's what this picture represents. It's who I am and who I would like to become. Come along with me on my journey....

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Chipotle Fish Tacos with Cilantro-Lime Cream

Is there anything more perfect for summer than a fish taco? We don't think so, unless it's eating ice cream by the quart or making cheeseburger sliders with mini pretzel rolls. But for this post, I wanted to share a creation/bastardization of a recipe I had tried before and tweaked slightly to make my own. As much as I love a fried piece of fish, I'm a little wary of deep-frying things in my tiny kitchen. So I took my favorite breading for pan-frying fish and gave it a Baja twist.

Besides the crispy fish fillet, the other star of this dish is the lime-cilantro cream. Imagine, if you will, a cool, creamy tzatziki sauce with a Mexican accent and you will have an idea of how delicious this sauce is. You could easily use any leftovers as a dip for vegetables and it's so easy, you will want some of this on hand and within easy reach. Just three ingredients: sour cream, lime juice and cilantro (and I added some lime zest as well because you can't have too much lime!), season to taste and you're ready for taco night.

I love the colors of red and green cabbage. You could just as well have one or the other, especially if you're only serving a few for dinner. But extra cabbage in the refrigerator means coleslaw at your fingertips and I am nothing if not a coleslaw fiend. That, also, is a summer staple and I've never had a home-made coleslaw I didn't love.

Here is where I got creative with the original recipe. The first time I made these, the instructions directed me to coat the fish with minced chipotle chiles and cook until blackened. The problem I ran into was that the moisture of the chiles in their delicious adobo sauce was that it was far too moist to actually sear and blacken the fish. It was tasty, but there wasn't any texture. So I decided to take the cornmeal coating of my favorite catfish recipe and apply it here. I brushed the fish with the adobo to make the cornmeal adhere and fried until well and truly crisp and golden. I won't be making fish tacos any other way.

Chipotle Fish Tacos with Cilantro-Lime Cream
Serves 8
adapted from Bon Appetit

1 c. sour cream
1 c. finely chopped cilantro, divided
2 T. lime juice
zest of 1/2 lime

1 T.  cumin 
1 t. salt
1 can chipotles in adobo
       (sauce only, reserve chiles for another use)
1 c. yellow cornmeal
1 1b. basa/ tilapia fillets
1 T. vegetable oil

16 6" corn tortillas
1 stick butter, melted
2 c. shredded green cabbage (1/4 of a head)
2 c. shredded red cabbage ( 1/4 of a head)
2 c. chopped plum or cherry tomatoes

Whisk sour cream, 1/2 c. cilantro, lime juice and zest in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Whisk cumin, salt and cornmeal in a shallow dish ( such as a pie plate). Lay fish on a large plate and season lightly with salt and pepper.  Working with one fillet at a time, brush/ smear adobo sauce over both sides of fish, then coat with cornmeal mixture, pressing to adhere. Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add fish and cook until golden and crisp, about 3 minutes per side. Move to a paper towel-lined plate to drain and sprinkle with a little more salt, if desired. Heat another skillet over high heat. Lightly brush one side of each tortilla with melted butter. Working in batches, place tortillas, buttered side down, in skillet. Cook until soft, about 20 seconds per side. Arrange tortillas, buttered side up, on a platter. Break/ slice fish into small portions and divide amongst tortillas. Top with cabbage and sprinkle with tomatoes and rest of cilantro. Drizzle with cilantro-lime cream and serve.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Monster Cookie Bars

Um, hello again. I really did not mean to be gone for that long. Funny how a few weeks can turn into a few months. So many factors contributed to my absence.... a new computer with a new version of iphoto that I needed to get used to... a sense of dissatisfaction with my photography skills.... the impending loss of my current job.... I guess I just lost my motivation somehow but the truth is, I've missed writing about food and taking pictures of it, even though I wish they were better. But I'm going to forge on and share with you the perfect bar cookie to make for your end-of-summer picnics. Meet my new friend, the monster cookie bar.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sushi Bowl

This is the recipe that made my husband fall in love with brown rice. Over and over again he would turn up his nose at brown rice and whole wheat bread and I would try to accommodate him as much as I could. But then I found this recipe by Heidi Swanson ( a favorite blogger of mine) and I decided to make this as is, except making chicken instead of tofu. He'll never be a vegetarian, but I'm so thankful he is open to trying new things and eating healthy foods. Like this dish, for instance. It's short grain brown rice tossed in a citrus-soy dressing, with toasted sheets of nori and toasted sesame seeds, asparagus and avocado. All the delicious Asian flavors I love, without the hefty price tag of actual sushi.

Friday, May 13, 2011

FFWD: Spinach and Bacon Quiche

This is a winner of a quiche. So simple (yes, even the pastry..) and so delicious. There is nothing like the combination of fresh spinach and bacon. It's a match made in heaven and I never get tired of it.  I'm a big fan of breakfast dishes and will happily eat things like omelettes for dinner, so I was very excited to try this elegant and eggy treat.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Lenox Almond Biscotti


If you've never made your own biscotti before, you're missing out on something wonderful. If you've only had them from a box, or one that was massed produced and handed to you with your morning coffee, there's a whole new world of deliciousness awaiting you. I'm a big fan of crazy flavors in my biscotti, but for this, my first biscotti post, I had to share my favorite: straight-up almond.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

FFWD: Bistrot Paul Bert Pepper Steak

This pepper steak was delicious. I'm a big pepper fan and I can still remember the first time I used freshly ground pepper to cook with. I was in my first apartment and cooking for myself. I had bought my very own salt and pepper set and I could not get over how aromatic that pepper was. I had no idea it could smell so fragrant or that it could be spicy. The powder in the spice rack I was used to was nothing like this.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Baked Sunday Mornings: New York-Style Crumb Cake

What do you get when you streamline a coffee cake down to its bare essentials? This cake. It's the contrast between the rugged, sugar crunch of the topping with the tender softness of the sour cream cake that makes it so special. No nuts to take away from the brown sugar sweetness, no chocolate, no swirl. I love a good minimalist, if you can call the glorious excess of this crumb minimal, that is.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Mushroom Sauté

Spring vegetables are what I have been craving for weeks. Because of my schedule, I haven't been able to cook on Mondays like I usually do, so today I jumped at the chance to try one of Heidi's new recipes from her cookbook that just came out, Super Natural Every Day.  My husband gave me Super Natural Cooking for my birthday and we both loved the recipes I made from that one. This is another winner. From front to back, the book is filled with recipes that make you want to eat and instructs you step by step to the dish you knew you wanted, but didn't know was waiting for you behind a mere handful of ingredients.

Friday, April 15, 2011

FFWD: Mocha Éclairs

As hard as I try for perfection, sometimes it just isn't meant to be. If I had a large family or more friends to practice on, I might have done a practice run with this recipe. But what you see is what we got. I couldn't decide what flavor I wanted to use, so I made coffee and chocolate. The end result wasn't quite what I had pictured in my head, but they were delicious, if not the most beautiful eclairs I've ever seen.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Baked Sunday Mornings: Carrot-Coconut Scones with Citrus Glaze


It's not too soon for another scone post, is it? I hope not. I never get tired of scones. I could be classified as an addict. And I'm totally addicted to these coconut scones. Adding coconut to a scone was a first for me. These really are a bit like a glorified cookie, but made with a biscuit formula. But if it looks like a scone and tastes like a scone, that's enough for me. I love the cragginess that holds the citrus glaze like tiers of lace. It doesn't get much more beautiful than this. Or more perfect for the arrival of spring!

Friday, April 8, 2011

FFWD: Garlicky Crumb-Coated Broccoli

Dressing up a vegetable is always a good idea. Not that I need any extra incentives to eat vegetables; I love the way they taste and I will rarely cover them up with sauce.  However, this dish kills two birds with one recipe. Both broccoli and the bread crumbs get a little fancy here and I love it when a few ingredients make such a difference in the flavor of my food. The texture of the dry bread crumbs is a perfect topping for steamed broccoli, which are tossed in a lemon-garlic-spiked butter that gives new life to a pantry staple.

Simplicity is a beautiful thing. That's why I love Dorie's recipes and why this book is becoming one of my favorites to cook from. It's the everyday meals that give me the hardest time. What can I throw together after a day at work that will still taste good? Around My French Table answers that question and lets us have the best of both worlds: elegant French components that will work for any occasion, from a casual dinner to a celebration meal. For more variations on the broccoli, check out French Fridays with Dorie and join us next week for Vanilla Eclairs. This is one recipe that I'm very, very excited to make.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Meyer Lemon and Dried Blueberry Scones

Summer seems so far away. It is, actually, a long way off, but I have good news. You can have a delicious blueberry scone months before June, when they are actually in season. The secret is dried blueberries. These are tiny, flavorful wild blueberries and they're here to jog your memory. Remember sunshine? Remember twilight fireflies? It's just around the corner. Thank goodness for dried fruit to bridge the gap. They may not be juicy, but they are jammy, concentrated, bits of summer flavor.

Friday, April 1, 2011

FFWD: Quinoa, Fruit and Nut Salad

Would you believe me if I told you this was my very first attempt at making quinoa? I know! Where have I been the last, I don't know, five years? What's even worse is that I have had a box of quinoa in my cupboard for months. Maybe I was just waiting for the right recipe to come along before I jumped in. And was this ever a good recipe to start off with! I'm in love with quinoa and I regret having waited so long to try it.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Satisfying Sleek

With most blog posts, you will see the lead photo of the finished dish in all its glory. Well, whoever gave this recipe the name "Satisfying Sleek" was probably talking about how you feel after eating it, rather than the svelte appearance of the dish itself. This is a delicious meal, it's good for you and it's easy. It is not, however, gorgeous. Not like Rainbow Swiss Chard, anyway. Chard should get more airtime than it does; it's nutritious and simple to cook. Just chop and wilt. The flavor has a mineral sort of earthiness and is perfect in this mixture of spices, beans and grains.

You'll have to read to the end to see the finished product and take my word for it: you'll be wanting this filling, slightly exotic, yet effortless plate of goodness and you won't be able to stop thinking about it until it's yours. I'm only speaking from personal experience here.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Baked Sunday Mornings: Malted Crisp Tart

Who needs a candy bar when you could have a tart like this? I have been waiting for a Baked malt recipe to make like a five-year-old waits for Christmas morning. Or maybe a birthday cake. Because this was my birthday present to myself and it pretty much made my week. This is top-to-bottom malty, chocolate nirvana. I've made chocolate chip malt cookies before, but this takes the soda shop flavor to a whole new level.

Friday, March 25, 2011

French Silk Pie


Everyone needs a show-stopper in their repertoire. This one is mine. Or maybe I should say, it's my mom's. She's known for this pie (and a few other desserts I'll share in the future) and I'm so happy I can call it my own. I've watched her make it hundreds of times, but I've only made it twice. But I feel like I can take ownership now. This pie is me. It's part of my history. I love this pie because it reminds me of my mom and because it's delicious, but also because I like to be known as a girl who can make a pie like this....


Monday, March 21, 2011

Pan-Fried Basa with Andouille Succotash

It's time for dinner. Part of this blog was supposed to be motivation to find quick and easy dinner recipes for weeknights. Ideally, I would find fast, yet delicious recipes that I could cook after a long day at work, then share that gold mine with you. But I'm a baker at heart, I suppose, and pies are so much prettier on a computer screen than some things. Then I found this recipe for the tastiest, easiest fish and a side with colors that give buttercream a run for it's money.

Friday, March 18, 2011

French Fridays with Dorie: Salted Butter Break-Ups


Have you ever wondered what shortbread would be like if it was soft, instead of crispy? Well, this is it, in all of it's buttery, flaky glory. The middle is tender and melting, like a cookie and the edges are crisp and shattery like the best shortbread you've ever had. Because it came out of your oven and it's remarkably simple to put together.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Banana Bread with Oatmeal Cinnamon Streusel

This bread is how I became a blogger. It's an interesting story, actually. I have collected quite a line-up of food blogs that I visit on a regular basis. One of them is Heidi Bakes. This woman knows how to tempt me. When I saw this recipe on her blog early last summer, I decided I had to make it. Unfortunately, I made it wrong. Really wrong. As in, bread batter all over my oven, wrong.  Fortunately for me, she is a patient, encouraging and understanding woman. She returned my questioning e-mails and was full of concern, compassion and helpful hints to baking success.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Baked Sunday Mornings:Salt 'n Pepper Sandwich Cookies

Oreos for the adventurous. That's what these are. Re-imagined, re-made, remarkable. I'm so impressed by these cookies because they changed my mind. You see, at first, I didn't like them. The combination of heat and sweet didn't do much for me. Sweet and salty? You bet. On board. Sign me up. Sugar and pepper? Mmmm... I don't know....

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Meyer Lemon Bars

It's time for some sunshine. I'm so ready for spring, but it's going to be a little while yet.... there are still some piles of snow left on the ground and it's been a chilly, rainy day. So I decided to take some action and bring the sun inside. I found Meyer lemons at the grocery store and snagged two bags to hoard in my refrigerator. If you could taste sunlight, this is it. Imagine standing in a field of citrus-scented blossoms and you get an idea of what the Meyer lemon experience is like, except that you can taste that heady aroma, too. Their season is so short, but that makes the joy of finding them and the pleasure of using them so satisfying. 

Friday, March 4, 2011

French Fridays with Dorie: Savory Cheese and Chive Bread

Welcome back to French Fridays at FlavorSings. I've been absent from the group for a bit; I wasn't feeling inspired by the braised ribs, or the green beans. To be honest, I almost didn't make this recipe either. But I'm so glad I did. A quick bread didn't feel very French to me, and maybe I wanted more of a challenge--an adventure or a profound story to tell. There isn't one. This is as easy as it looks, but a thousand times more delicious than words could convey. This bread comes together like any coffee cake or banana bread you've made before. The big difference is the addition of olive oil, cheese and herbs to make a savory snack. I love how adaptable this can be to what you may have on hand. I used white cheddar and chives, but I'd like to try a Swiss and dill version of this, or maybe Parmesan and fresh basil when our garden gets started again. The texture is soft and moist and would show off any combination of flavors nicely.

Now that I think about it, sliced thinly, this bread might make an amazing grilled cheese sandwich. Because there is no such thing as too much cheese. A glass of white wine would be perfect with it, as would a bowl of soup. This bread is just waiting for ways to be used creatively. Don't forget to see how the other cooks over at French Fridays with Dorie did with their bread. I'm looking forward to seeing the variations and getting some fun ideas.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Devil's Food Cupcakes with Angel Frosting


And here we are back to sweets on Sundays. No regrets. I'm so in love with these cupcakes- they're moist, full of rich chocolate flavor and the halo of fluffy meringue is, well, icing on the cake. For as much as I love cupcakes, I've only baked my own once before and they were just okay. These, however, I will bake again, but maybe with a buttercream frosting next time. I'm very glad I made this one; it's the kind my mom always made for the angel food cake my brother always requested for his birthday, but hers was made by DreamWhip. Homemade is so much better.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Broccoli Crunch


This is something I've wanted to make for quite a while now. I'm a vegetable lover, really, even though you wouldn't know it from this blog. So I wanted to take the time to give some love to the vegetables. It's their turn. Starting with broccoli, which, when cooked properly, is delicious. This ensemble has everything I want in a salad: texture, flavor, and color. Ever had a creamy, too-sweet broccoli salad at a pot-luck and wished you hadn't bothered? Well, this is a distant, more sophisticated, healthier relation.  Grab a fork and dig in.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Baked Sunday Mornings: Red Velvet Whoopie Pies


About this time last year, I made Red Velvet cupcakes and was hoping to fall in love. They were o.k. I meant to try that recipe again, hoping that it was me, not the cake. But now I probably never will. Look no further for the perfect way to say "I love you." These are easy and delicious and stunning. What more could you ask for in a cookie? I've always wanted to make the classic layer cake, but I've fallen hard for this twist on the Southern classic.

Friday, February 11, 2011

French Fridays with Dorie: Orange-Almond Tart


This tart embodies everything I love about French cooking; French pastries in particular. It has a buttery, flaky shortbread crust, a pastry-cream/frangipane-type filling using my favorite nut, the almond, and it showcases a simple fruit that takes center stage like it was born for it. I'm not sure mine would make the pastry shop window, but the flavor was incredible. The orange is unusual and that's why I love it so much. Anything a little bit different catches my eye and I have to try it.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Baked Sunday Mornings: Double Chocolate Loaf Cake with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Spread


This post is a little late for the Baked Sundays, but I wanted to participate in these blog groups more than I have lately. They have been sneaking up on me and catching me unprepared.... and I have been intending to cook more with vegetables and grains in an effort to eat better. But then this cake came up on the schedule and it's chocolate. And it's got peanut butter with it. I had to make it. Unfortunately, it didn't want to come out of the pan. In an attempt to make the best of a bad situation, I cut a slice in half and spread the peanut butter cream cheese one one side to make a little sandwich. It was delicious. I'll definitely be trying this recipe again; it reminds me of Dorie Greenspan's World Peace Cookies- there's cocoa powder, chocolate chunks, brown sugar and a generous amount of salt. This just happens to be soft (and in my case, crumbly) instead of crispy and crumbly. Same flavors, different application. You can never have too many options for your chocolate, can you?

There will be other pictures of beautiful chocolate loaf cakes on the Baked Sunday Mornings home page. Check out what this treat was supposed to look like and get the recipe there, too!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Shrimp with Saffron Rice and Fennel Salad

Have I mentioned how much I love bistro-style cooking? I'm not sure how to define that, exactly, but I would direct you to this dish and tell you that this is the kind of food I get excited about. This is comfort food that is a little more sophisticated, a little different, very fresh-tasting and not very complicated. Think of this as a tower of building blocks. Every component is part of a whole and when they are all put together, it's something to be very proud of indeed.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Classic Italian Lasagna


One of the reasons I love winter is the comfort food that you only crave when it's cold. Well, it might be the only reason I love tolerate winter (and the wind that goes right through my wool coat). Mid-January can be pretty bleak. Thankfully, there is a remedy: Layers of noodles and creamy, cheesy sauce. Baked pasta is the king of comfort food and my absolute favorite baked pasta is lasagna.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Bear Country Cookies


Everyone needs a favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. This one is mine. It's only recently come into my life-- I had these for the first time about a year ago and I haven't been able to stop thinking about them since. I consider these a Christmas present from my brother's girlfriend Jamie ( thank you! thank you!) because now I can make them myself instead of going to Utah for my fix. Don't think that didn't cross my mind. I would have found them eventually.