Archive for July, 2009

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Mini Banana Poppy Bites

July 29, 2009

Today I was thinking about how excited I am to be heading home in a week.  My sister really REALLY likes banana bread, and I had a few very ripe bananas sitting around.  Then when I got home, I found the next disc of Mad Men in my mailbox, which reminded of my friend.  We call her Poppy.  So what could be more perfect than Banana Poppy Muffin Bites???

I made one batch of mini muffins and had enough batter left for 3 regular ol’ muffins.  They came delightfully caramelized on the outside and deliciously moist and chewy on the inside!  I can’t wait till they cool.  Then I’m gonna freeze a bunch to bring home next Wednesday!  Easiest way to freeze them is to let them freeze unwrapped for about an hour, and then pop them in a freezer-safe bag.  They should keep for awhile, and you can microwave them to get them all warm and toasty again!

Banana Poppy Bites

Banana Poppy Bites

  • 1/4 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 2 t nutmeg
  • 1-2 T poppy seeds
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 3 or 4 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup cold milk
  • 1 t vanilla extract (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 and grease your muffin cups (I used a tray of 24 mini muffins and a few regular muffins too).
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and poppy seeds.
  3. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar well.  Beat the eggs and add them, mixing well.  Mash and add the bananas.  Mix in the milk and vanilla.
  4. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, just until mixed.
  5. Drop the batter into the muffin cups and bake for 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick in the middle comes out clean.  (Regular muffins will take about 10-15 minutes longer!)

These would also be really scrumptious with some finely chopped nuts thrown in!


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Seafood Pot Pie

July 28, 2009

I’m a huge fan of pot pies, and when I’m away from home, I am constantly wishing for great seafood.  Sitting at work today, I decided to try making a seafood pot pie.   It took a little bit of time to put together, because I made the crust from scratch.  If you aren’t feeling that adventurous, you could just pick up the pre-made ones from the refrigerator section of the grocery store.  You can also use whatever seafood you enjoy.  I used some bay scallops, shrimp and a small can of lump crab meat (but I wish it’d been a lobster tail!).

If you want to make your own crust:

  • 1 c whole wheat flour
  • 2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ t salt
  • 1 T Italian seasoning (or your fav)
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 16 T cold unsalted butter, diced (2 sticks)
  • ½ to 2/3 c ice water
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 T water, for wash
  1. Mix the flour, salt, seasoning and baking powder in a food processor fitted with metal blade.  Add the lard and butter and pulse 10 times, until the fat is the size of peas.
  2. With motor running, add ice water; process only enough to moisten the dough and have it just come together.
  3. Dump the dough out on a floured surface and knead quickly into a ball.  Wrap in plastic and allow to rest for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
Whole Wheat Crust

Whole Wheat Crust

Then you need to make the filling:

  • 3 T butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¾ c fennel, chopped (~1 bulb)
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 leek, washed and chopped
  • 3-5 baby potatoes, diced
  • 5 T all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 t nutmeg
  • 2 t thyme
  • 3/4 c dry white wine
  • 1/2 c stock (I used seafood stock, but take your pick)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 c milk or cream (I used 2%)
  • 1/2 lb shrimp
  • 1/2 lb scallops
  • 1 small can lump crab meat
  • ½ c frozen peas
  • ½ c frozen small whole onions (or more to taste)
  • Salt & pepper
Cooking Veggies

Cooking Veggies

  1. In a large pan, sauté garlic, fennel, carrot, celery, leek and potatoes in melted butter until just softening.
  2. In a small bowl, combine 3 T flour with nutmeg and thyme.  Add to sauté pan and stir to evenly coat filling mixture.  Add wine and stock and bring to a simmer, allowing it to reduce slightly.
  3. Remove pan from heat.  Add up to a ½ c of milk/cream, depending on your preference taste and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the shellfish, peas and onions in a large bowl.  You don’t need to cook the seafood or defrost the veggies.  Toss with 2 T all-purpose flour, cayenne and paprika until evenly coated.  Pour the sauce from the sauté pan over the top of the seafood mixture.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350°
  6. Use pre-made crust  OR divide dough in half and, on a floured surface, roll out each half to fit your baking dish (9-inch round baking dish that’s 2 inches high works easiest).  Place 1 crust in the dish and pour in the filling.
  7. Top with 2nd crust.  Crimp the crusts together and brush with egg wash.  Dust with paprika (or favorite herbs).  Make 4 or 5 slashes in the top crust to allow steam to vent, and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the top is golden and the inside is bubbly.
Ready to Bake!

Ready to Bake!

Because I had some around, I grated some fresh Parmesan on top of the filling before I put the second crust on.  Yumm!  It’s in the oven now!

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Sunday Summer Salad

July 26, 2009

At the end of a hot, sticky weekend, all I wanted was a bright summer salad.  Simple.  Easy.  Full of flavor.

I started by gathering up my ingredients:

  • 2 handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 handful of Genoa salami
  • 1 handful of baby bella mushrooms
  • 1 handful of brussel sprouts
  • Goat cheese
  • Herbs —  Paprika, onion powder, salt, pepper, sesame seeds, red pepper flakes

Then, I chopped up the mushrooms and quartered the sprouts.  A few minutes in a pan with a little butter, salt and pepper, and they were softened and just beginning to caramelize.

Mushrooms and Sprouts

Mushrooms and Sprouts

In a salad bowl, I mixed up baby spinach, diced tomato, slices of avocado, chopped salami and the cooked mushrooms and sprouts.   I usually have a small jar of homemade honey mustard vinaigrette sitting in my fridge for nights like this, but you could use your favorite dressing.

Avocado

Avocado

The next step is what makes this salad a perfect end to a summer weekend.  I really liked baked goat cheese.  You cut 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices and then roll them in whatever herbs and spices make you happy.  Pop them in a 350° oven for about 10 minutes.  Let them sit on the baking sheet for a few minutes before you try to move them, or they’re likely to crack (still tasty…just less pretty).

Sunday Summer Salad

Sunday Summer Salad

This would be perfectly paired with a glass of white wine and some garlic bread.

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Hello world!

July 23, 2009

After much deliberation, I decided to share my adventures in the kitchen!  It’s one of my favorite ways to relax and unwind at the end of the day, that this seems like the natural next step.  If you’re interested in “guest starring” or being a happy helper/taste tester, just let me know.  Then again,  that will probably happen anyway 🙂

I can’t wait to read your comments and hope you will walk away with at least one new idea to try out on your own.   Off we go!

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