Monday, August 29, 2011

Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

If I was one to eat cookies for breakfast (ok, so maybe I am) it would definitely be these cookies. They are like a muffin-cookie hybrid.They have cookie exterior, but the inside is fluffy like a muffin, a delicious banana chocolate chip muffin. They keep really well, better than you would expect for a soft cookie, just seal the left overs in an airtight container for later enjoyment (assuming you have any left). So if you need a post hurricane pick-me-up, that's quick and easy to throw together, try these. Next time I am throwing a batch of these in my emergency kit. I truly hope that everyone is safe and dry from the storm.

Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies:
1 stick of butter, melted
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 overripe banana
1 egg
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups of flour
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of baking powder
1 cup of milk chocolate chips

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and position rack in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars, until smooth. Mash in the banana and mix on high speed until most of the lumps are gone and mixture is fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and mix until incorporated. Add 3/4 cup of flour, salt, and baking powder and mix until just combined. Add remaining cup of flour and repeat, do not over mix, the batter will be more runny than the average cookie dough. Stir in chocolate chips. Line to cookie sheets with parchment paper and spray with non-stick. Scoop batter by heaping teaspoon and drop onto cookie sheet. Drop 12 cookies, evenly spaced per sheet. Cook until puffy and golden, rotating between the racks halfway though. About 10-13 minutes total. Makes about 3 dozen. (adapted from Food+Words)

Happy Eating.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Tandoori Grilled Chicken

I haven't cooked a whole chicken in awhile, well that's not entirely true. It's just in a different form. Summer's version of the whole chicken, is grilling a whole, split chicken. A split chicken is a wonderful thing, it's just a regular chicken with the backbone removed and chopped in half. Then you can easily grill the two halves, which lie flat on the grill. This is my FAVORITE marinade for the chicken. The yogurt keeps the chicken super moist and it's got a lovely smokey, slightly spicy flavor. You can eat the grilled skin, or pull it off and the chicken tastes amazing either way. The leftovers make a wonderful lunch sandwich or salad topper.

Tandoori-Style Chicken:
1 Split chicken, about 4-5 lbs
3/4 cup of Greek yogurt
1 lemon
2 tsp of paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp of cumin
1/4 tsp of ginger
1/2 tsp of salt
1 tsp of pepper
Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides and put in a freezer bag. In a bowl, mix together the yogurt, lemon and seasonings. Add to the chicken bag, and seal the bag. Shake, and press the bag until the chicken is coated. Marinate in the fridge overnight. Pre-heat the grill. Place chicken on the grill skin side down, and cook for 20 minutes, flip the chicken and cook on the meat side until chicken is cooked through, about 10-15 minutes, but will vary based on the size of the chicken. Let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Happy Eating.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Classic Crumb Cake

Cake for breakfast. In a perfect world, this would always be acceptable. In fact, ever meal would come with a slice of cake. Somehow, I don't think this would help with the obesity problem, so we will just have to stick to special occasions and the occasional piece of this buttery treat with your morning cup of coffee (or afternoon cup, I'm not picky). This is a million times better than the boxed crumb cakes that are so often served, the cake is light and fluffy and the topping is dense, sweet, lightly spiced, and wonderfully buttery. It's truly the perfect breakfast cake.

Crumb Cake:

2 tbsp of canola oil
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups of flour
1/2 cup of sugar
2 1/2 tsp of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup of light-brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp of nutmeg
1/2 tsp of salt
2 1/2 cups of flour
2 sticks of butter

Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees, and position rack in the center of the oven. Melt butter for the topping and set aside to cool. In a medium bowl mix together the canola oil, egg, butter milk, and vanilla. Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt and stir until just combined. Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish and spread the batter into the dish using a spatula. The batter will look too thin and this will be somewhat difficult. Take the melted butter for the topping and add to it the brown sugar, spices and flour (all of the topping ingredients). Mix until the mixture is crumb like and combined. Sprinkle the topping over the cake so that it is covered and even. Bake until a fork inserted comes out clean, about 20 minutes, rotating the cake halfway. Cut into brownie size pieces for serving. (adapted from Martha)

Happy Eating.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Roasted Garlic and Sausage Pasta

Do you ever just crave something really garlicky? I don't know what it is but for me that flavor is the ultimate in deliciousness and the ultimate in comfort food. As this extreme rain seems intent on keeping me away from the grill, I am back to the stove and the oven for dinners. So I decided to whip up some delicious pasta with a fresh "sauce" in honor of the beautiful head of garlic I was staring at, and the brand new bottle of truffle oil gracing my shelves. Roasting the garlic first, makes the flavor shine but not over power and it goes perfectly with mushrooms and delicious, wonderful truffle oil. Enjoy!

Also, congratulations to Deb from knitstamatic, for winning the Coconut Oil Giveaway!

Roasted Garlic and Sausage Pasta:
1/2 head of garlic
2 Pork Sausages
2 tbsp of olive oil
1/2 lb of spaghetti
5 oz of gourmet sliced mushrooms (1 package)
1 lb of tomatoes
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
3 oz of fresh mozzarella cheese
salt, pepper
truffle oil (optional)

Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees. Roast the garlic (whole and unpeeled) for an hour until the garlic is soft. This can be done ahead of time. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the sausages. Pour the olive oil into a small bowl. Peel 3 cloves of the roast garlic, smash them lightly and add to the oil. Make the spaghetti according to the package directions for al dente. Brown the sausage on all sides and cover with a lid to cook almost through, about 6 minutes. Remove the sausages from the pan and add half the garlicy oil. Add the mushrooms and cook until they soften, about 3-4 minutes. Chop the tomato and add that to the pan as well. Add the crushed red pepper. Thinly slice the rest of the roasted garlic and add to the pan. Slice the sausage and return to the pan, cook until opaque through out, then turn the stove off. When pasta is cooked, reserve 2 tablespoons of the cooking water and add to the sausage, drain the pasta and add to the pan. Pour in the rest of the garlic oil and season with salt and pepper. Serve with fresh mozzarella and a drizzle of truffle oil.

Happy Eating.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Short Ribs and Barley

This recipe is a little out of season, I'll admit it. It's a little more fall/winter comfort food, than light summer fare. But it's been raining almost non-stop here and somehow it feels like fall is right around the corner (I can't believe how fast this summer went). This easy, slow cooker feast is so incredibly delicious that I know I will be making it all fall and winter. I bought bone in short ribs by accident and I am so glad that I did, the bones add so much beefy flavor to the broth, and by the time it's done cooking the meat falls clean off the bone. So if it's wet and cold where you are, make this right now, and if it's still summery, definitely keep this deliciousness in you back pocket for when fall comes.

Don't forget to enter the Coconut Oil Giveaway before Friday!

Short Ribs and Barley:
1 medium yellow onion
1 shallot
5 oz of mushrooms, shitake or exotic blend (1 package)
2 cloves of garlic
4 cups of beef stock, low sodium
1/4 cup of dry sherry wine
1 cup of pearled barley, raw
1 tsp of pepper
1/4 tsp of salt
1 1/2 lbs of bone in short ribs, 2 or 3 ribs
Olive Oil
Salt, pepper

Heat a small pan over high heat. While it's heating, thinly slice onions and shallots and add to a slow cooker. Add in mushrooms. Mince garlic and add as well. Pour in stock and sherry and stir. Add barley, salt and pepper and stir. Run the short ribs with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Sear in the pan on all sides until brown, about 2 minutes per side. Add to the top of the slow cooker and press down into the liquid. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours. Remove meat from the slow cooker and pull out the bones, this will be extremely easy. Shred meat. Serve a bowl full of barley topped with some meat.

Happy Eating.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Sesame Chicken

One of my least favorite things about moving is having to figure out new take out places. You have your go to pizza place, and your never fail Chinese after trying every single place in a 5 mile radius, and then all of the sudden you move and you have to start over. We moved in May, and while we have the pizza situation under control, we are still working out the Chinese. So after a handful of disappointments, I decided to take matters into my own hands. This was delicious! Better than any of the take out places we've tried. I'm sure we will continuing questing for that perfect Chinese takeout (I haven't mastered lo mein yet), but in the meantime this is a pretty delicious (and much lighter) substitution.

PS: Don't forget to enter for a chance to win a 32 oz jar of Virgin Coconut Oil.

Sesame Chicken:
1 lb of boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 egg whites
1/4 cup of corn starch
3 tbsp of soy sauce
2 tbsp of honey
1 tbsp of rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp of sesame seeds
salt, pepper
Canola oil
Heat a large skillet over high heat, and lightly coat the bottom with canola oil. Cut the chicken into 1 inch pieces and season with salt and pepper. Whisk together the eggs and corn starch in a medium bowl. When smooth, add chicken in and stir to coat. Pan fry chicken, in a few batches being careful not to over crowd the pan. Flip chicken occasionally, until golden all around and opaque throughout, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate and cook remaining chicken. Meanwhile, make the sauce by stirring together the soy sauce, honey, and vinegar. When all the chicken is cooked return it to the pan and stir in the sauce. Cook until the chicken has rewarmed and sauce is distributed, about 1 minute. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve with rice or veggies (or both). (adapted from Martha)

Happy Eating.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Maple Coconut Cookies and a Giveaway

It's Give Away time!!! I am so excited to be hosting a giveaway for one of my favorite products, Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil. Tropical Traditions has generously offered to give a 32 oz jar to one of my lucky readers. I first tried this amazing oil back in March, when Tropical Traditions sent me a bottle, and I promptly whipped up a Coconut Chicken Stir-Fry. Since then, it's been a savory and sweet love affair. The oil isn't sweet at all, but has such a wonderful coconut aroma and a subtle tropical flavor, it makes it perfect for sweet and savory concoctions. I use it all the time and I particularly love baking with it. Swapping about half the butter in these cookies for the coconut oil really gave them a flavor punch, while incorporating some healthy fats in the cookies. So enjoy the recipe and now onto how to win, which I know is what you are all waiting to find out. This Give away will be open until next Friday, and the winner will be randomly selected. This giveaway is open to people in the US only.

First: Like me on Facebook, follow me on twitter, or subscribe to blog (if you already do so that counts too)

Second: Follow Tropical Traditions by one of the following 3 options
Subscribe to our email Sales Newsletter here:
follow us on Twitter @troptraditions
“Like” Tropical Traditions on Facebook (Please no, “I was sent by…” posts or posting a link to your blog, they will be removed)

Finally: Just post a comment here letting me know that you completed steps one and two and your entered.

Good Luck! You can check out more great ways to use the oil on Tropical Tradition's Recipe Page.

Maple Coconut Cookies:
1 1/2 cups rolled oats oatmeal
3/4 cup unsweetened shredded desiccated coconut
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon table salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
5 tbsp of butter, melted
1/4 cup of Virgin Coconut Oil, melted
3 tbsp pure maple syrup
2 tbsp corn syrup
1 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp boiling water
1/2 cup of almonds

Pre heat the oven to 300 degrees position racks in upper and lower thirds of the oven. In a medium bowl mix oats, coconut, flour, and salt, and sugar. In a large bowl, combine the butter, coconut oil, maple syrup, and golden syrup while butter and oil are still hot. In a small bowl, combine the baking soda with the boiling water. Immediately stir this mixture into the melted butter until combined. Stir in the the oat mixture. Fold in almonds. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and grease lightly. Form balls, by heaping tablespoon and space evenly on a cookie sheet. Press down on the balls to flatten to about 1/4 inch thick. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes, rotating trays halfway through. (adapted from Martha)

Happy Eating.


Monday, August 8, 2011

Peanut Butter Cookies

When I was little, I really disliked peanut butter. I was never a picky eater (and certainly am not now), but I can remember being at camp and demanding plain jelly sandwiches for lunch. Now, I eat peanut butter everyday, I love it and I can't get enough. Maybe because of my youthful aversion, I never really got into peanut butter desserts. But after how much I loved those Peanut Butter Snickers Cookies, I new I had to try some more peanut buttery treats. So, my expansion of the cookie horizon continued as I whipped up a batch of these peanut butter cookies. I baked the extremely delicious Malt Chocolate Chip Cookies for the same BBQ, but to my surprise it was the peanut butter cookies that I kept me running back to the cookie plate.

Peanut Butter Cookies:
3/4 cup of creamy peanut butter
1 stick butter, softened
1/3 cup of light-brown sugar
1/3 cup of sugar, plus more for rolling
1 large egg
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1/2 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups of flour
Pre Heat the oven to 350 degrees, and position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. In a large bowl, mix the peanut butter and butter on low speed until combined. Add the sugars and mix until smooth and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until combined. Add the baking powder, baking soda, salt and flour and mix until just combined, do not over mix. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper, and spray with non-stick. Put some sugar in a small bowl for rolling cookies. Scoop dough by the tablespoon and roll into a ball, roll in the sugar and put on the cookie sheet. Space 12 cookies evenly throughout the sheet. Bake until cookies are golden brown, 15-17 minutes. Makes about 3 dozen. (adapted from Martha)

Happy Eating.


Friday, August 5, 2011

Papas con Chorizo

This was a delicious meal. It was hearty and satisfying, yet unmistakably summer. And the best part? Almost all of the vegetables came from my small garden! Beautiful and plump orange cherry tomatoes, a delicious and gigantic zucchini, a few small, but tasty peppers, and they were all grown right in my back yard. It's summer time and local eating at it's best! There is something immensely satisfying about eating something you grew. It's like using chopsticks for Chinese food, it just makes it taste better. Even if your backyard isn't overflowing with tomatoes, this delicious concoction is still worth whipping up, for a fast and delicious summer dinner.

Papas con Chorizo
1 tbsp of olive oil
1 large russet potato (about 2 cups diced)
1 medium yellow onion
1 zucchini
1 bell pepper
1 small jalapeno
2 chorizo style sausages
1/2 cup of chicken stock
1/2 tsp of pepper
1/2 tsp of paprika
1/4 tsp of chili powder
1 cup of cherry tomatoes, chopped
1 clove of garlic
Avocado and cheddar cheese for serving

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, over medium-high heat. Chop the potato into small pieces, about 1/2 inch. Add to the oil and stir. Let potatoes brown slightly, while you chop the other vegetables, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Chop the onion, zucchini, and bell pepper into roughly the same size pieces as the potatoes. Add to the pan and stir. Dice the jalapeno and add. Squeeze the Chorizo from it's casings into the pan and break up with a wooden spoon, while the chorizo is browning. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender. Add the stock, pepper, paprika, and chili powder. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until all the liquid is gone. Chop the tomatoes into halves or quaters and mince the garlic, stir into the pan and cook 1-2 minutes more until tomatoes are warm. Add salt to taste. Serve topped with chopped avocado and cheese.

Happy Eating.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Peach-Blueberry Crisp

I'm very lucky, I don't have an allergies or food sensitivities. I can eat anything (and will, at least once). Luckily for people who do have food troubles, there are a lot of great options and alternatives this day. And lucky for my visiting friend with Celiacs, I am willing to bake her up some Gluten Free. This easy crisp lends itself to that easily, the hardest part for me was keeping everything clean to avoid cross contamination with the non-gluten free things I had baked earlier. This crisp tastes amazing, whether or not you are Gluten Free. Enjoy!

3 lbs peaches
1/2 pint of blueberries
3 T. Tapioca starch
1 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of golden brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt

1 stick butter, melted
1 cup almond flour
1 cup of rolled oats
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
1/4 cup golden brown sugar
1/2 cup of almonds, sliced

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut peaches into medium thick slices. In a large bowl, mix together the peaches, blueberries, tapioca, sugars, and salt. Let stand while you prepare the topping. In a medium bowl mix together the butter, almond flour, oats, salt, cinnamon, and sugar, until the butter is incorporated and you have a crumbley mixture. Stir in the almonds. Lightly grease a 9 by 13 inch baking dish and pour in the peach mixture, spread so it's even. Cover the peaches with the topping, distributing evenly, most will be covered but there will be some holes. Bake until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is golden brown, about 40-50 minutes. Serve plain or with ice cream, hot or cold.

Happy Eating.


Monday, August 1, 2011

White Sangria

Today is an Eat, Knit, Grow first. I have a drink for you, the fun grown-up kind! I am not a big drinker at all, which is probably why there haven't been any cocktails on here yet, but on a hot day at a big BBQ, a glass of sangria sounds delicious and refreshing. This sangria was scoffed at by my Spanish pseudo family who was visiting for being made with white wine, because it's not really Sangria (they still drank it happily though). The other guests loved it for being not too sweet or fruity and perfectly refreshing. Plus as a bonus, once your glass is devoid of liquid, you can nibble on the delectable vodka soaked fruit. This is really the perfect drink for all these hot summer days!

White Sangria:
3 cups of orange flavored vodka
2 Plums
2 Apricots
2 Peaches
2 Gala apple
1/3 cup of sugar
4 bottles of white wine, Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc

Pour the vodka into a large bowl or pitcher. Chop the fruit into small square pieces and add it to the vodka, stirring so all fruit is coated. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for at least 1 hour, or refrigerate overnight. Stir sugar into the vodka and divide between two pitchers (or pour all into 1 big container). Add wine to vodka and stir. Serve over ice.

Happy Eating.