Sunday, May 31, 2009

Why Steak Tartare?

As I was watching Iron Chef tonight, I wondered something - what is Steak Tartare, and why can we eat it?

Legend has, the Tartare tribe (who were so bad, that they are the reason the Great Wall of China was erected), were so busy causing mayhem, that they would carry cuts of meat seasoned with spices under their saddles. They wanted to eat, they whipped the meat out from under the saddle, and took a bite.


3 medium oil-packed anchovy fillets (optional, adjust salt if added), rinsed and minced
2 teaspoons brined capers, drained and rinsed
3 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 large egg yolks
10 ounces USDA prime beef tenderloin, cut into small dice, covered, and refrigerated
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley leaves
4 teaspoons olive oil
3 dashes hot sauce (such as Tabasco)
4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
3/4 teaspoon crushed chile flakes (optional)

Combine anchovies (if using), capers, and mustard in a nonreactive bowl. Using a fork or the back of a spoon, mash ingredients until evenly combined; mix in egg yolks.

Use a rubber spatula to fold remaining ingredients into mustard mixture until thoroughly combined. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately with toast points or french fries.

They advise that if you intend to serve the meat tartare style, to let your butcher know, so s/he can be certain to give you the freshest cuts.

At any rate, the trick seems to be in the cut and treatment of the beef, that allows it to be eaten in a raw state. Got to say - I hear you, but I'm not convinced I'd try it. I'll take a Vegetable Tartare, thanks. ;)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Things You Find In The Supermarket When Your Not Looking...

I found tea. It sounds so easy, I know.

There is a company called Honest Tea (get it? Say it out loud!), and they make a "Peach Oo-La-Long tea that is "just a tad sweet", that I think I like very much!

And guess who's on the label? Opus! The creator of Opus, Berkeley Breathed (Opus is a charector from Bloom County cartoons. I'm sure you'd know him if you saw him) used to put sweetener into their Honest Teas, so the creators made a deal that they'd sweeten their tea a little, if they could use Opus on the bottle.

Opus is a heck of a cover model. And likes his Oo-La-Long on ice, if your wondering.

Well, File This Under "Who Knew", For Sure!

Carpet bagging. I've heard the term before. To be honest, I'd always assumed it was slang for something naughty. What? Who knows!

Turns out, at least to our Australian friends, it's not only NOT naughty, it's a method of steak preperation!

Steak. Rock Oysters. Teriyaki marinade, and some toothpicks.

Cut slits in the steak, stuff with the oysters, "seal" with the toothpicks, marinade, grill and enjoy.

Who knew? Something my finance WON'T do with a steak. I'm curious enough that I'd probably give it a shot, but just looking at it on paper? I'm wicked squicked out. Heh.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Chef Caves To The Pressure...

...and gets a twitter.

Follow us as we tweet too! We're ChefBlog.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Chocolate Sugar Cookie Experiment

Last week, I decided I needed chocolate sugar cookies. No particular reason why. Just the curiosity of making a chocolate sugar cookie. You know - you can make chocolate cake and vanilla cake. Can you make chocolate sugar cookies?

I get my son enlisted in my chocolate sugar cookies, and I hit up my friendly neighborhood google, until I find a recipe. This is the one I pulled up:

Chocolate Sugar Cookies:

2 3/4 cups (355 grams) all purpose flour
3/4 cup (75 grams) unsweetened Dutch processed cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon (4 grams) baking powder
1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups (350 grams) granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder.

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 to 4 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture and beat until you have a smooth dough.

Divide the dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about one hour or until firm enough to roll.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in the center of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Remove one half of the chilled dough from the refrigerator and, on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch (1 cm). (Keep turning the dough as you roll, making sure the dough does not stick to the counter.) Cut out desired shapes using a lightly floured cookie cutter and transfer cookies to the prepared baking sheet. Place the baking sheets with the unbaked cookies in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes to chill the dough which prevents the cookies from spreading and losing their shape while baking.

Note: If you are not going to frost the baked cookies, you may want to sprinkle the unbaked cookies with crystal or sparkling sugar.

Bake cookies for about 10 - 12 minutes (depending on size) or until they are firm around the edges. Remove from oven and let cookies cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling. Frost with royal icing, if desired. Be sure that the frosting on the cookies dries completely before storing. (This may take several hours.) Frosted cookies will keep several days in an airtight container. Store between layers of parchment paper or wax paper.

Makes about 36 - 4 inch (10 cm) cookies.

So that's the recipe I pulled up.

Can I tell you - I didn't love it. And sometimes that sort of comes in the build up to something that you decide will be SO good, that by the time you get access to it, it's never as good as you want it to be. But still. It was kind of meh.

I was hoping for a nice, fluffy, cake-y cookie. It was a harder, firmer cookie, with much more snap to it then I was hoping for. Admittedly, I didn't hang with the "Let it settle in the refrigerator..." stuff in the recipe, and I just sort of made it work, so maybe some of that would change if I did it that way, but I can't imagine that it would have. And the reason I didn't hang with that stuff is simple - ever tried to tell a two year old that he's got to wait for a cookie? Yeah - you won't hang with that stuff either. Try it, and tell me I'm wrong!

So, overall, like I said - I didn't love it. I actually had batter left over that I didn't even bother to make. But the recipe is right - they do make a nice looking cookie:


I took my son James to the store, and we each got to pick a frosting to go with our cookies. Mine is the white (cream cheese) and his is pink (strawberry, don't ya know?). His pick was actually for the blue frosted sugar cookies that were already made, which would have taken this entry from "the chocolate sugar cookie experiment" to "how on earth did I eat the whole thing?!". Thank heaven for small favors. :D

Saturday, May 23, 2009

I Didn't Forget That I Forgot!

I haven't gotten up to any foodie trouble in the last few days, but I've got some fun pictures to post. I just need to find some time to do it!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Big? Single? Chef? Fox Wants To Find You Love!

We all know how well this goes, right? Right?! This is the unedited text of the email that was sent to me from some site that I can't figure out how to pry my email out of their address book.

We are looking for "A Real Man" that America can relate to.
Are you loveable guy?

Finally, a relationship show about real people looking for real love.
The Executive Producers of the hit show "The Bachelor"
along with 495 Productions is looking for a husky leading man for a groundbreaking new show on primetime TV called "More to Love." The Bachelors we are looking for can have any occupation. Example: Perhaps you are a single Police officer, EMT, Fireman or cook who would love to meet fantastic women who have your same passion in life?
Not necessary, just an example We are looking for a REAL leading man... an outgoing, charming, handsome, broad & big single guy who appears 25-35yrs old & who is looking for love!
(no six pack required )
We are looking for a man that America will love!
If you think you are a great candidate or know someone who would be a GREAT STAR on this groundbreaking, prime time series, contact us immediately. Forward on to all your friends and family. You can be located anywhere in the country.

If you are a bigger guy who loves women--curves and all--then you could be the star of your own show. The producers of "The Bachelor" are looking for YOU!

Include your full name, contact number, age, current pictures, occupation & why you think you're the perfect guy for the show. The more information the better!!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Theresa Finally Finds Out What Mille-Feuille Is

In one of my culinary classes, we went on a tour of the Oak Point Country Club. They had an item on their menu called "Mille Fueille", and that sounded so intriguing, that I wrote it down, so I'd remember to go find out what that meant.

I finally remembered to go look!

I found out a few things.

One, according to Google, they spelled it wrong. It was spelled on their menu as "Mille-Fueille", and Google immediatly corrected me as "Mille-Feuille". So there is that.

The second thing I found out? It looks amazing! It's slices of puff pastry, sandwiched with jam, cream, or confectioners custard. They are called "vanilla skies". Which I don't know French, but I'd imagine that that's what "Mille-Feuille" translates too, or close to it, anyway.

I pulled up a recipe, just for fun. Aww, technology. It won't let me copy the recipe. Google it. From the looks of the pictures, you won't be sorry!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Farmers Market Finds!

So, you know I love to come on and talk about all my delicious finds at the Farmers Market.

I was dissapointed that I missed the good people from Zingermans - I look for them every week!

I did find the Sansonetti Foods booth, which I had missed the last time I was there, and I was chatting up the woman a little, as much as the busy farmers market crowd would let me.

I told her that I had gotten their Michigan Apple Glaze, and I know I told you all about it last week, but I'll mention it again. The stuff is crazy good. I've tried it with everything I could think of - I've had it with Mexican food, I've had it with pizza, I've had it with Stir Fry. It's just really never NOT delicious!

Today, my son (my usual partner in crime) was with me, and we selected the Premium Marinara to try. Delicious as always. Smooth, mellow, and really tastes of fresh tomatoes, basil and garlic. I know that with spaghetti sauce, saying it tastes like tomatoes is like "Yeah, duh!", but sometimes you get spaghetti sauce that you have to doctor, or sauce that tastes more like chemicals and preservatives then the actual stuff in the sauce, and with my friends at Sansonetti's Gourmet Foods, you don't get that. They tell you tomato, they mean tomato!

It did get the two year old stamp of approval too. In fact, he asked for extra! If you've got any experience feeding a two year old, you know the two year old stamp of approval is no small feat!

I also made a stop off at the Pillar's Tamales booth. I had gone to their booth once before, and gotten Plantains, and kind of didn't understand the appeal. Not because of anything the lovely people at Pillar's did...just because I don't get the appeal of the plantain. If you've never seen one before, they look just like a overgrown banana, but they are a little more starchy, with a mouth feel kind of similar to a potato. If you can imagine a banana and a potato being cross bred to each other, the result would be a plantain. You can't eat them raw, they have to be cooked. So far, I've not come across a cooked plantain that knocked my block off. I've not come up on one I hated though, to be fair.

I got the Saturday Special at the booth. That included 2 tamales, fried plantains, black beans and rice, and a side the seemed to look similar to cole slaw, but was flavored differently. I also had a hibiscus tea to drink.

I gotta say - totally loved it. I finished my plate, and could have had another! I had the Vegan Tempeh for my tamale choice. No particular reason why - I'm not vegan - it just seemed like such an interesting choice. Even the plantains were really good. The only thing I might have taken a pass on seconds of was the slaw. Like I said - it looked like cole slaw, but it had a bit more of an herbal quality to it. I even took a picture of their menu so I could remember what it was, but of course, my camera is not with me right now. Figures.

The Hibiscus tea was a bit of an aquired taste - a little fruity, but with kind of a wooden note on the back of your tounge. It was an aquired taste, but I did come around, and found myself truly dissapointed when my cup was empty. The tea did not earn the two year old seal of approval. He took a drink, wrinkled his nose, and went "No, thanks!"

Two for two! I really just can't speak highly enough of the people from Sansonetti's. Love them, love their products. When I first found their products, I was told that their curry mustard is especially designed to go with Kogel Hot Dogs. Can't wait for the opportunity to have both of them in the same place at the same time!

Spaghetti Is The Perfect Toddler Food. It Is!

Today as I was making spaghetti for dinner, a thought occured to me. With a little jazzing up, spaghetti is the perfect toddler food.

Noodles for carbohydrates, mushrooms for vegetables, throw in a little meat for protein, toss some cheese on top. Perfection!

I got a $5 roast chicken for dinner last night. To be honest, it was just OK. I know I seem like I love all food...that chicken, I could have done without. Part of the deliciousness of those roast chickens are that they are so moist and delicious and this one kind of wasn't.

But, I didn't want to waste, right? So I shredded up a bit, and tossed it in the spaghetti. Can of mushrooms, handful of cheese on top, some good sauce. Perfect!

And speaking of kid nutrition, I found this article about sneaking in nutrition for kids. To be honest, many of these points just left me more confused then I started out.

The tips:

~ Most children will eat vegetables if they are a part of homemade soup.

~ Pass cooked vegetables in a food processor and add to hamburger patties, meatballs or meatloaf.

~ Finely grate zucchini or carrots and add to pancake batter.

~ Add finely chopped cooked vegetables to canned or packaged soup.

~ Add freshly juiced carrot juice to canned vegetable or tomato juice.

~ Add grated zucchini to square or muffin mixes.

~ Puree vegetables and add to chili or spaghetti sauce.

~ Add grated carrots to tuna or chicken salad.

~ Hide veggies in casseroles and main dishes.

~ Mix fat-free sour cream into a favorite salad dressing.

~ Serve raw vegetables with a favorite dip.

~ Mix regular peanut butter with freshly ground peanuts.

~ Use whole grain bread for grilled cheese sandwiches ~ the toasting will hide the color of the bread.

~ Go from white bread to 60% whole wheat for one month, then introduce whole-grain bread. You can make a sandwich using one slice of the 60% bread and one slice of the whole-grain bread. Serve with the lighter bread slice facing up.

~ Most children will eat a meal that they helped to prepare.

~ Let them make cookies with you. Use whole wheat and carob chips and they won’t know the difference, especially if they are the ones making the cookies. There aren’t too many children who will not eat their own baking.

~ You can create a desire to eat healthier treats by designating a new healthy treat as, mommy’s treat. You can say something like, "these are mommy’s very special yummy cookies, and you can’t have any, okay?" You can even place the cookies in a fancy cookie jar to increase the appeal. Let a couple days go by before ‘reluctantly giving in’ to their requests.

~ Sneak some whole-grain cookies into a bag of favorite mixed cookies, and eventually replace unhealthy cookies with healthier cookies.

~ Use cookie cutters to make fun sandwiches with whole-grain bread.

~ Mix whole-grain noodles into regular spaghetti or macaroni and cheese dishes.

~ Mix soaked soy bits in the ground beef. Slowly increase the soy/ground beef ratio in meals over time and they won’t notice that they are eating soy bits instead of ground beef.

To be honest, alot of these leave me confused. And I have a toddler, so I might be overthinking it, because I'm thinking in toddler terms, but really.

One of the points says to add fresh carrot juice to fresh vegetable or tomato juice. I don't know a kid that would drink tomato juice on a DARE. I'm 30, and I'd be pretty hard pressed to drink straight tomato juice. Oddly though, I quite enjoy carrot juice.

And what is mixing fat-free sour cream into your salad dressing going to accomplish, other then adding calories to your salad dressing? And adding peanuts to your peanut butter won't accomplish anything either. You may as well buy chunky, and save yourself the money it'll cost to buy the peanuts.

If we're talking the idea of sneaking more nutrition into a kids diet, letting them bake cookies seems sort of counterintuitive. Although I can speak to that - my two year old LOVES to get to bake!


So we all know by now that whenever I go to the Farmers Market, I love to come back, and talk about all the delicious things I saw.

Turns out, I credited one business incorrectly. I named a business called Pillar Farms, and it's actually Pillar's Tamales. And you should totally try her stuff if you see her on the farmers market scene, but I'll come back to that later. :)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Stephen Colbert Is Awesome, And Michael Pollan Eats Fruity Pebbles.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Colbert Platinum - $1,000 Dishes
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorGay Marriage

This is a clip of Stephen Colbert eating all the $1,000 dishes in New York. I'm a foodie, and I love to eat food, and I love to talk about it, but I can't fathom why I'd want to pay $1,000 for a Ice Cream Sundae.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Michael Pollan
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorGay Marriage

In a slightly more serious note, this is author Michael Pollan, discussing his new book "In Defense Of Food". Because The Colbert Report is a comedy show at it's core, it's kind of a hit and miss shot on how much real information is going to get out there, before it just turns into comedy. But Michael Pollans message seems to be that we eat too much processed foods, and we're just eating more then our bodies can handle. Which is a really interesting idea. In particular, he named formula. He says that we've spent over 100 years trying to synthesize formula to be more like breast milk, and that we can't get it right. Which ought to be an indicator that we got it right the first time, and that we're processing the formula too much. He said it in a more educated manor, but that was the gist. :D

The Koolickle Experiement. Or "No, Seriously. Don't Drink The Kool-Aid".

If you watched Feasting On Asphalt: The River Run, you probably remember the Koolickle. If you don't...imagine a bright pink pickle. Yeah.

To my delight, when I checked out Feasting On Asphalt: The River Run: The Book (I don't think that's the whole title, but it made me laugh to type it), they included the recipe for Koolickles, and you KNOW I had to try it out.

Alton and his crew stopped at Joe's White Front Cafe in Rosedale, Mississippi, and encountered the Koolickle for the first time. It looked scary, but according to ol' AB, is suprisingly delicious.

Now I know, your probably going "Koolickle?! What is that?!". It's what it sounds like it probably is - a pickle. Soaked in Koolaid.

The recipe:

1 gallon jar kosher dill pickles
2 packages unsweetened cherry Kool-Aid
1 pound sugar

Drain the liquid into a large container. Add the Kool-Aid mix and the sugar to the liquid and stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove the pickles from the jar, slice them in half lengthwise, and return them to the jar. Return the liquid to the jar of pickles. Not all the liquid will fit, but make sure the pickles are completely covered. Place in the refrigerator and let sit for one week.

Now, I wasn't willing to commit to a full gallon of pickles, because I was probably going to be the only person in my house willing to give this a shot, so I bought just a regular size container of pickles.

The evidence:


The juice. I used a half a cup of sugar, and one packet of Kool-Aid. I'm not much with the math, so I'm not sure if I cut it down right. We'll have to see, I suppose. No one has ever died from a pickle, so I assume I'm safe. ;)


The pickles, rejuiced. I'm not sure I'm going to be able to wait a week. Maybe we'll just go in 24 hour incriments.

And there's another restaurant pictured in the book with a sign advertising that they have "Southern Style Sweet Pickles" in Cherry, Strawberry and Grape. So the Koolickle experiment will continue, I trust. There's lots of Kool-Aid flavors!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Link Of The Minute!

I gotta give a shout out to my boy Ken in my Sociology class (What's UP?! lol!) for turning me on to this website. I said something about that I wanted to be a food writer (true story - I'm double majored in Culinary Arts and Journalism), and he said that his wife was totally into the same thing, and we got to talking about websites. He said one of her favorites was a site called Smitten Kitchen, which I'd never heard of.

Smitten Kitchen

Go ahead, I'll wait. ;)

That's an awesome blog. That's the blog that Chef hopes to be when it grows up! :O Actually, that's the blog Chef will be one day. Right now, it's pretty much just whatever I feel like talking about food, whenever I feel like talking about it (which is to say "Everything and all the time!"), but I'll get better with my camera, and all that jazz, and you'll totally see Chef grow up, right before your very eyes!

It'll be so exciting! lol!

So shout outs to Kens wife for finding the site, turning Ken on to it, and then Ken telling me about it! High fives all around! :D

TW Amigos! Bien!

There is a restaurant in Howell that I personally adore, called TW Friends. I've tried alot of food on their menu, and I love it all. I have fantasies about their Smoked Salmon appetizer. Kid you not.

At any rate, they have a sister restaurant called TW Amigos, and I finally convinced my fiance that we needed to go!

Nice restaurant. Sort of at an awkward place - the strip mall is a little weird to get into - but very nice. Open space, done in lots of rich wood tones. Nicely decorated.

I got the Ultimate Burrito. Refried beans, beef, chicken and chorizo. Smothered in lettuce, tomato, onion, sour cream, hot sauce and jalapenos. Kid you not, they actually request on the menu that you not alter it when you order it, because it's "already perfect".

I generally think that the word Ultimate is overused, and I won't lie, I think it was here too. It was large. Not really the best burrito I've eaten EVER. Pretty up there though. The flavors of the three meats meld much better then you'd think they would, well sauced, nice feel in your mouth, tasty and even.

And it was big enough that it lasted me through dinner on Sunday and lunch on Monday! Yeah, baby! :)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

More Delicious Farmers Market Finds!

Took another trip to the Ann Arbor Farmers Market this week. One of these times, I'll remember to take my camera, and take good pictures. Love the Farmers Market. LOVE!

Got another round of City Goat goat cheese from Zingermans Creamery. Good stuff. Good, good, good. I actually think about it all week. Is that weird? Probably. Hee! I get cravings for the stuff - really! There's tons of fresh asparagus at the market, maybe next week I'll try the two together? Aah, experiments! :)

Last time I was at the Farmer Market, I got some Apple Glaze from Sansonetti Farms, and I have to tell you - I missed them! They weren't there, and I was really looking forward to seeing them. I've seriously tried their Apple Glaze with everything I could think of - it's good with everything! I've tried it with Mexican food, I've tried it on pizza, I've tried it with Stir Fry. It's good stuff!

I did find a new booth at the market, Pillar Farms. They had authentic Mexican lunch - tamales, fried plantains, hibiscus tea (I'm not sure how authentic that it, but it sure sounds good!), and more. I didn't want to go for the full out lunch, because I had inlaws coming into town that I knew would want to eat, so I got a side of the fried plantains.

I gotta admit - I just don't get it! It's not my first time having plantains, and while I've never had them and thought they were downright horrible, I've never eaten them and gone "Oh, I can't wait until I get to have that again!"

So I'm sure the lovely girls at the Pillar Farms booth did nothing wrong, and I'll probably go back this week and try the full out lunch, but I just didn't get that excited about the plantains.

I also got a loaf of fresh bread. I actually made French Toast with it this morning. I had read in one of my books that the origins of French Toast were to use the milk and egg to rehydrate the bread so they could still eat it. I left the fresh bread on the counter in the bag overnight, and this morning sawed myself off a few pieces, and had some french toast.

So crazy good. Crazy, crazy good! :)

And naturally, I had my two year old with me, so we had to make a stop at the snow cone booth again. :)

Check them out online:

Zingermans Creamery

They are also on Facebook. Worth the trip, all by themselves! :)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Book Club At The Library...Oh, They Are Making This Too Easy!

So I was just at the library with my two year old, and they had the ads up for the summer time book club.

I am SO in the adult club.

For the adults, it's a series of books, audio books and seminars that you complete, and the ones with the highest completion rate win a special class.

Oh, did I mention that the theme for this summers book club is COOKING?! And that one of the seminars is on CHOCOLATE?! And the special class is a cooking class with a local chef?!

Oh, dude. Bring it on.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Interesting Pasta Lunch!

I've been a food slacker the last few days. Been cooking on the "let's make some space in the cabinets!" plan, so that tends to lead to pretty pedestrian stuff. Heh.

At any rate, I had a really interesting lunch today.

I went to Leo's Coney Island in Grand Blanc, MI, and I had a Pasta Greek Salad and Lemon Rice Soup.

Why is this interesting?

I have tried to take things that are traditionally salads, and turn them into pasta salads, and always failed.

Pasta Greek salad takes all the things you know about Greek salads - olives, feta cheese, beets, and the rest...and puts them on pasta. It worked suprisingly well! I couldn't stop eating it! The dressing was good, not to vinegary, the vegetables were fresh, and the noodles were soft. And I know that seems like a weird thing to say, but I've got a favorite restaurant where I can't order the pasta, because they leave it just a little north of al dente. Eesh. I know that it's supposed to stick to your teeth, but really?

Anyway, I'm all off track. Heh.

The Lemon Rice soup? I don't know why I keep trying. Lemon just isn't an appealing soup flavor! And I keep thinking it's going to get better, and it's just not! I need to stop!

Leo's Coney Island, for the note, is a good place. Good food, fast service, reasonable prices (I didn't see anything on the menu over $10). Recommended, for sure!

Now, having had the pasta greek salad, I TOTALLY want to copy the recipe! :)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Coffee Cake...In A Jiffy!

So I've blogged a couple of times about this funny Betty Crocker's Bisquick Cookbook that I got at the librarys booksale, and at end of the day, I just couldn't turn it down. I made the Banana Coffee Cake. The last few weeks, we've bought bananas at the store and not really eaten them, so I'm eyeing these rapidly browning bananas, and I went "Aah, what the heck?"

The recipe:

2 cups Bisquick baking mix
1/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp butter or margarine, softened
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
3/4 cup mashed ripe bananas
1/2 cup chopped nuts
Creamy Icing and chopped nuts for topping

Creamy Icing:

1/3 cup confectioners sugar
2 teaspoons milk

Combine baking mix, sugar, butter, egg, milk, banana and 1/2 cup nuts; beat vigorously 1/2 minute.

Spread batter in greased round layer pan, 9x11 1/2 inches.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes. While warm, spread with Creamy Icing and sprinkle with nuts. Serves 8.

Can I tell you guys - this recipe was crazy good, and crazy easy. Moist and soft, you could taste the banana running through it, and taste the nice warmth from the nuts. I used walnuts because that was what I had in the house, but you could totally vary the taste and texture by changing the nuts you use.

I also liked this recipe because it was SO easy. I have a two and a half year old, and he gets so excited to get to come in the kitchen and cook with mama, and this is one we could totally do together. And a hearty thumbs up for that!

I had to make some slight adjustments to the recipe - I found out after the batter was completely mixed that I didn't have a cake pan, so I had to bake in the five small bread tins that I had. lol - it's really true! So that threw off my baking time as well. So if you adjust like I did, watch out for that. At 20 minutes, my bread pans were basically still batter.

The only beef I really had with the recipe was the frosting. I just didn't feel like it added to it at all. The recipe called for the frosting to be applied while the cake was still warm, and it completely melded into the recipe - you didn't get any added sweetness, and the banana provided enough moisture on its own, so you didn't need the frosting for that either. So when I make this again, and trust me, I will, I'll probably take a pass on the frosting.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Cookbook Finds...

I went to the library book sale yesterday (and today!) and made some really interesting cookbook finds.

Betty Crocker's Bisquick Cookbook? Oh yeah, baby! Copyrighted in 1971, it's actually something I've never really seen before - the recipes are seperated out by Holidays. It includes jems like the "Christmas Biscuit Tree", "Orange Crunchies", "Hot Cross Buns", and most interestingly, a recipe for Chocolate Pudding that INCLUDES Bisquick. Say what?! That might be too interesting to not make. I have clogging practice tomorrow morning, and they always love it when people bring food. I might bring some Bisquick Chocolate Pudding. lol - am I the only one that kind of goes "Ewww..." when I read that?!

I also got Minnie Pearl's Nashville Country Cookbook, which I only flipped through real fast, but I'm sure promises to be really entertaining. :)

I also checked out the "Feasting On Asphalt: The River Run" by Alton Brown. Anyone remember the famous cherry pickles? The recipe is TOTALLY in the book. Kid you not. Cherry pickles. In the book. Oh yeah, baby!

I also got a book called "Cooking For Women In A Hurry" put out by the Culinary Arts Institute, or some such. That just looked so bizarre. I couldn't say no to it.

High five for cherry pickles and Bisquick Chocolate Pudding! I'm totally making them both. I just decided. :)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Cookbook Find Of The Week...

I love to go perusing my library for cookbooks - I run up to Staples and copy off all the recipes I want to find, in the case of one, I find myself chasing all over creation for specific ingredients from the book, and I even convinced the library to just outright give me one, because it was missing pages.

One was just too interesting to pass by. "You Won't Believe It's Gluten-Free!" by Roben Ryberg.

I think if you've got someone in your life living gluten free, they need this book. This book is cool.

There are recipes for everything a gluten free eater misses, and can't afford to buy the overpriced gluten free versions of - pie crusts, ice cream cones, fried chicken, baguettes, pancakes, onion rings, chocolate chip cookies, and more.

I also love that as she goes through the book, she gives different tips for Gluten Free eating, including one that I found especialaly interesting. From page 207 "Most charcoal in the United States is held together with a wheat-based binder. If you're not working with a gas grill, wood-based charcoal, or real wood, cook your serving in tightly sealed foil to avoid cross contamination", and another tip that when dining out for Chinese food, to bring your own soy sauce, and request that your dish is prepared using freshly washed equipment.

My only beef with this book, if I had to have one, is that some of the ingredients are going to be kind of hard to find. Most all the baking recipes require xantham gum, and unless you have a specialty shop in close proximity, that's going to be darn hard to come by. In the case of my mother in law in particular, it's going to take about an hour to get to some Xantham Gum. Boo for that! She also calls for things like rice flour, sorghum flour, and millet flour, which, again - if you don't have a specialty market near you, is going to be hard to come to find. So, like I said - if I had to find a beef with this book, it's that some of these ingredients might be real hard to come by, depending on where you live in the country.

Coming tomorrow, a trip to a rad grocery store, and I finally found an ingredient I've been looking for forEVER. And maybe we're baking up cookies all toddler style. We'll see. :)