Sunday, April 28, 2013

Lemon Olive Oil Banana Bread

Seems there's a wide variety of banana bread recipes available these days.  Having tried many recipes,  my favorite still remains Mrs. Flint's.  Mrs. Flint was my good friend Larry's mother. Something about a recipe that's been around for probably a hundred years, just makes it hard to beat.

When I ran across this recipe,  I was intrigued by the use of lemon and olive oil, so I decided to give it a try.   I love the flavor lemon adds to the bread and the chunks of chocolate give it an extra richness.  If you're looking for a new take on banana bread, give this recipe a try,  it's delicious. 

Lemon Olive Oil Banana Bread
Recipe courtesy of 101 Cookbooks
1 cup / 4.5 oz / 125g all-purpose flour
1 cup / 5 oz / 140g whole wheat flour
3/4 cup / 4.5 oz / 125 g dark muscovado or dark brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup / 4 oz / 115 g coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate
1/3 cup / 80 ml extra-virgin olive oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups / 12 oz / 340 g mashed, VERY ripe bananas (~3 bananas)
1/4 cup / 60 ml plain, whole milk yogurt
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the glaze:
1/2 cup / 3 oz / 85 g sifted dark muscovado or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup / 2 oz / 55g confectioners' sugar
4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 350° F, and place a rack in the center. Grease a 9- by 5- inch (23 x 13 cm) loaf pan, or equivalent.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add the chocolate pieces and combine well.
In a separate bowl, mix together the olive oil, eggs, mashed banana, yogurt, zest, and vanilla. Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture and fold with a spatula until just combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until golden brown, about 50 minutes. You want to get that beautiful color on the cake, but at the same time you don't want to bake all the moisture out of it. So the minute you're in that zone, pull it. Erring on the side of under-baking versus over.
Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn the loaf out of the pan to cool completely.
While the cake is cooling, prepare the glaze. In a bowl, whisk together the sugars and the lemon juice until smooth. When the cake is completely cool, drizzle the glaze on top of the cake, spreading with a spatula to cover.

I am linking this to On the Menu Monday, Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday and Foodie Friday.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Smoked Mac n Cheese

Tim recently purchased an electric smoker.  Foods prepared on the smoker are delicious but with a charcoal smoker they require so much tending!  An electric smoker is a breeze, you still have to check the wood and keep an eye on the temperature but it's not a project like with charcoal.  There's a great site, Dadgum That's Good,  hosted by John McLemore of Masterbuilt Smokers.   Looking for the ins and outs of smoking, we found this recipe for Four Cheese Smoked Mac n' Cheese!  Mac and cheese kicked up with bacon, four cheeses and the added flavor of smoke, well I just can't resist saying it "Dadgum That's Good!".

Four Cheese Smoke Mac n Cheese
Recipe courtesy of Dadgum That's Good

1 (16 ounce) package elbow macaroni
1/4  cup butter
1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 cups milk
1 (8 ounces) cream cheese, cut into large chunks
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups extra sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
2 cups Gouda cheese shredded
1 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1. Load the wood tray with one small handful of wood chips and preheat the smoker to 225° F.
2. Cook pasta according to package instructions. In a medium saucepan, melt butter, and whisk flour into the butter. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes, until sauce is bubbly and thick. Whisk in milk and bring to a boil.  Cook 5 minutes until thickened. Stir in cream cheese until mixture is smooth. Add salt and pepper.
3. In a large bowl, combine 1 cup Cheddar, 1 cup Gouda cheese, Parmesan cheese, pasta, and cream sauce. Spoon mixture into an 11 by 9 ½-inch aluminum roasting pan coated with nonstick cooking spray.  Sprinkle top with remaining Cheddar cheese and Gouda cheese.
4. Place in smoker and cook 1 hour at 225° F, until brown, bubbly and delicious.

I am linking this to On The Menu Monday and Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Morning Glory Muffins - Secret Recipe Club

It's Secret Recipe Club (SRC) reveal day!  I was assigned The Tasty Cheapskate, as she says "where tasty and cheap eat together (and hopefully remember to write down the recipe)".

In my quest to continue to choose something besides a dessert recipe for SRC, I chose Morning Glory Muffins.  One of my favorite restaurants in town has a fabulous selection of muffins and Morning Glory is one of my favorites.  Never having made Morning Glory Muffins or even looked at a recipe for them, this month's choice was made!!!

These muffins have fruit and vegetables in them, so as muffins go, they're better for you.  If you adapt the recipe to reduce the sugar and the oil, they would be even better for you.  I didn't have whole wheat flour, so I used all purpose and substituted dried blueberries for the cranberries or raisins.  These muffins are delicious, very moist with a nice crunch!!! 

Morning Glory Muffins
Recipe Courtesy of The Tasty Cheapskate

Makes about 20 muffins
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Cost: $3.60 with nuts. About $1.00 less without
(whole wheat flour: .20, flour: .10, sugar: .15, coconut: .25, raisins: .25, apple: .30, pineapple: 1.00, walnuts--I didn't use, but I'm guessing 1.00, eggs: .20, oil: .15)

1 1/4 C whole wheat flour
1 C all-purpose flour
1 C sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C shredded, sweetened coconut
3/4 C raisins or cranberries (optional)
1 large apple, peeled and grated
1 C crushed pineapple, drained (about on 15 oz. can, drained)
2 C grated carrots
1/2 C chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
2 eggs
1 C vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 and line your muffin tins.

Whisk together flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.

Add coconut, raisins, apple, pineapple, carrots, and nuts. Stir to combine. (I shredded my carrots and apple in the food processor, which was speedy. If you've got a food processor, you could probably use fresh pineapple too and just sort of puree it in the food processor before you change it to 'shred.')

Add eggs, oil and vanilla. Blend well.

Spoon batter into muffins tins. Bake about 17-25 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.

I am linking this to On the Menu Monday and Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Smoky Blue Cheese Potato Soup and Beautiful Wine Glasses

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Wine Enthusiast wondering if I would like to receive a set of wine glasses.  Anyone who knows me knows I love a glass (or two) of wine, so of course I said Yes!!!  Next question, would I prefer white or red?  Normally a white wine drinker,  I chose white.  Wine Enthusiast sent me these beautiful Fusion Whirl wine glasses.  They're designed for the ultimate swirl.  I love swirling my wine!  Not necessarily for the reasons wine aficionados suggest you swirl your wine, just because it's fun.  If you're a red wine drinker, Wine Enthusiast has a great selection of red wine glasses, too!  Thank You, Wine Enthusiast!

Tim and I are attending a series of wine and cheese pairing classes at our local HyVee store.  It's so interesting to see how the different cheeses affect the taste of the wine.  Perfect timing to try a recipe using a cheese we tasted and enjoy a glass of wine in the new glasses.  One of our tastings was a smoky blue cheese and a white wine.  One our favorite restaurants in town serves a fantastic blue cheese burger.  I picked up some smoky blue to use in burgers.  Knowing the burgers wouldn't use the entire package of cheese, I began searching for another recipe to use the rest of the smoky blue.  I settled on this recipe for Smoky Blue Cheese Mashed Potato Soup.  A little smoky blue goes along way, so be careful with the crumbles for the top, you don't want to over power the delicious creamy mashed potatoes! Paired with a sandwich or salad, this makes for a comforting meal!

Smoky Blue Cheese Mashed Potato Soup

Recipe Courtesy of Wisconsin Cheese Talk
Serves 4
4 bacon slices
1 medium onion, diced, about 2 cups
2 cloves garlic, minced
Two 14.4-ounce cans low-salt chicken broth or 3 1/2 cups homemade broth
3 cups mashed potatoes (see recipe below)
1/2 cup Blue cheese, crumbled, about 3 ounces
4 scallions, minced
1/4 cup smoke-flavored Blue cheese, crumbled, about 1 1/2 ounces
Cook bacon in heavy, large pot over medium heat until brown and crisp. Transfer bacon to paper towels. Crumble bacon and set aside to use as a garnish.
Spoon off all but a tablespoon of bacon drippings from pot. Add onion, celery and garlic, season with salt.  Sauté over low heat for 10 minutes or until onions are golden, but not brown.  Add chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5-10 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
Blend in the mashed potatoes and Blue cheese. Puree soup in batches in a blender or use an immersion blender directly in the pot. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls. Garnish each bowl with Blue cheese, bacon and scallions just before serving.
Mashed Potatoes
2-3 large potatoes, about 1 1/2 lbs
1/2 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Peel the potatoes and cut into small chunks, place in a pot, cover with cold water. Boil until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the water, then add the butter and milk and mash with a potato masher in the pot. Season with salt.

I am linking this to On the Menu Monday, Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday and Foodie Friday!!!

Wine Enthusiast sent me a set of Fusion White Wine glasses!  All opinions expressed are my own!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Individual Lemon Cheesecakes

My son's girlfriend, Lily made these for Thanksgiving. I couldn't get enough of them. They're light, lemony and delicious. This recipe is so versatile, you can change the toppings or the crust! I made a raspberry coulis for the topping.  Bet you can't eat just one!!!!

Individual Lemon Cheesecakes
Recipe Courtesy of Joy of Baking 

1 cup (100 grams) graham wafer crumbs or crushed digestive biscuits
1 tablespoon (15 grams) granulated white sugar
4 - 5 tablespoons (55-65 grams) butter, melted

 Filling: 2 - 8 ounce (454 grams) packages of full fat cream cheese, room temperature
2/3 cup (130 grams) granulated white sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
 1/2 cup (120 ml) sour cream, room temperature (I used greek yogurt)

 Cheesecakes: Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C) and place oven rack in the center of the oven. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. (Can also use silicone baking cups.) For Crust: In a small bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter. Press a heaping tablespoon of crumbs onto the bottoms of the 12 muffin cups. Cover and refrigerate while you make the filling. For Filling: In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the cream cheese on low speed until creamy and smooth. Add the sugar and salt and beat until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Add the vanilla extract, lemon zest, and sour cream and beat until incorporated. Remove the crusts from the refrigerator and evenly divide the filling among the 12 muffin cups. Bake for about 18 - 22 minutes or until firm but the centers of the cheesecakes still wobble a little. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack. Let cool and then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate (a few hours or even overnight). To serve, gently peel off the paper liners and place on your serving plate. Serve with strawberry or raspberry sauce, fresh berries, or drizzle with melted chocolate. These cheesecakes can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for several days. Makes 12 individual cheesecakes.

I am linking this to On The Menu Monday, Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday and Foodie Friday.