Sunday, October 30, 2011

Coconut Lime Banana Bread

 UPDATE: This was the first post I posted on my blog....this was before I had formatted, added pictures, or knew what I was doing, wait, I'm still not sure exactly what I 'm doing....I'm just havin fun!
Below you'll find the originaly post I posted, but now I've added pictures.  This is BY FAR one of my favorite recipes to always comes out!  This time, I ran out of white I used a little wheat, and a little garbanzo.  When we went on vacation, I tucked the bananas into the refrigerator, so they'd be ready to bake when we got home.  I noticed I didn't have I used Creme Fresh.  Baking an exact science?  Science, schmeince....Make it they way you want.  Want chocolate chips, put chocolate chips in. you decide.  Lastly, I forgot to get loaf pans, so I used my cake pans.
We had some bananas sitting on the counter that were a little brown, so I decided to make my favorite Coconut Banana Bread with Lime Glaze. It sitting on the counter, where the bananas were....wonder if any one at work would like a slice, or if I should just freeze it? Hum....
Coconut Banana Bread
with Lime Glaze

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt
3 tablespoons dark rum
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup flaked sweetened coconut
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon flaked sweetened coconut
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime or lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350°.

Lightly spoon the flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt, stirring with a whisk to combine.

Place granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 1 minute). Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add banana, yogurt, rum, and vanilla; beat until blended. Add flour mixture; beat at low speed just until moist. Stir in 1/2 cup coconut. Spoon batter into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon coconut. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Combine powdered sugar and juice, stirring with a whisk; drizzle over warm bread. Cool bread completely on wire rack.

(Substitute apple juice for the rum if you prefer.) 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pineapple & Cucumber Salsa

Just about every year since 2000, we’ve visited our friend Glenda in Arizona, and during those visits, we always try to make at least one meal, as a trade for letting us stay with her.  More than once we’ve helped get ready for a birthday party, wedding, or even a Mother’s day celebration.  These celebrations are always a great time, and it’s truly a pleasure to visit with Glenda and her awesome family. 

This visit we planned a side trip to the Colorado river with her daughter and her family.  Although, I did take a few days off from cooking (a nice rest) Craig, my partner, stood in for me marking his specialty, Breakfast. And I must say we all had a great time.

On the ride back to the Phoenix area, from Parker, I was scouring magazine and my emails for recipes and ideas to help kick up my blog, when I came across a version of this recipe, that used canned items….so I added a few salsa related ingredients and made everything with fresh produce.  Let me tell you, it is AWESOME!

Tonight I served this Salsa over baked chicken breasts and green onion Basmati rice with steamed broccoli.

Consensus was…incredible!

Pineapple & Cucumber Salsa

2 medium tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 to 3 jalapeño peppers, stemmed, seeded and minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small red onion, cut into ¼ -inch dice
1 cup each:
      1/4-inch diced fresh pineapple,
1 peeled cucumber
1 bell pepper (any colors)
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Juice of 2 limes
Salt and pepper to taste


Stir together all ingredients in a medium bowl. Let stand for at least 30 minutes for flavors to mingle.
Makes about 3 cups.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Tom Kai Soup

Several years ago, a friend of ours, Virginia, invited us over for dinner.  She was serving a Vietnamese soup, she called Tom Kai.  It was such a different taste, I had to know what was in it.  She shared the ingredients and I was hooked, although Craig didn’t make a big deal out of it, so I thought he didn’t like it, and didn’t write the recipe down.  Well, that was just another cooking mistake I have made over the years….When we got home, all he could talk about was how great that soup was.  So using that new thing called the internet (I really don’t think it’ll last!), I looked up Tom Kai Soup…and WOW there were pages and pages of different versions of this soup.  So after spending a few hours looking on something close, I decided to contact Virgie and get her recipe.  So between a few of the recipes I found online, and Virgie’s I came up with the perfect, for me, Vietnamese soup.

Now I also mentioned that it has a different taste then items we are used to cooking.  That being said, typically we cook with garlic, basil, rosemary, and other Mediterranean spices, and flavors.  This soup is intense with lime, turmeric, ginger, lemongrass amongst other flavors.  Not your typical Chicken noodle soup!

[Please note I forgot to take pictures, so I will add pictures when I make it again.]

Tom Kai Soup
2 large Chicken Breast, thinly sliced (you can use thighs if you prefer)
4 Limes peel grated (or use 5-6 Kaffir Lime leaves, if you can find)
Juice of the 4 limes
Ginger, peeled 5-6 half dollar size slices
2 sticks Lemongrass
1 Large can, or box Chicken broth
6 small potatoes (I use Yukon gold), quartered
1 Tbsp Fish sauce
2 Tbsp Sesame oil (plus a little olive or other oil, to extend)
½ tsp Hot Chili oil, additional for serving
1 can Coconut milk
Dash Turmeric, for color
Dash Sugar
Red Chili, optional for spicier
Enoki mushrooms

Zest/grate green off lime into a larger bowl.
Slice Chicken into thin pieces.  The easiest way to do this is to place chicken into the freezer for at least an hour, but no more than 3 hours.  Take out and slice.  This will produce a thinner and more consistent slice of chicken.  You can use breasts, things or a combination of your preference. Place sliced chicken in bowl and toss to coat with the lime zest.  Juice the lime on top of the chicken, and allow to rest for about an hour.  (if you don’t have the time…..its ok, this step just tenderizes the chicken)
Peel and slice the ginger.
Peel off any brown or dry layers of lemongrass.  Slice into 1-2 inch sticks. Using the side of your knife, smash the lemongrass to release the flavor of the grass.  (For this step, I use a mesh basket, so I can remove the ginger and lemongrass.  I didn’t used to do this, until a guest got a slice of ginger, which wasn’t very appealing.)
Heat sesame oil in a large pot. Carefully slide chicken, zest and juice into pot and sauté, until chicken  in cooked, lime juice and natural juice are evaporated. About 10 minutes.
Add chicken broth, potatoes, ginger and lemongrass, and bring to a boil, reduce to low simmer.  Add in fish sauce, coconut milk, turmeric, sugar and hot chili oil.  Simmer for about 30 minutes.  Add in the Noki mushrooms and allow to heat up.
Serve in bowl with crusty bread, and top with hot chili oil, depending on how hot you like.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Spicy Pumpkin Soup

September marks the start of autumn.  With the cool sunny days and brisk evenings and LOTS of rain, the fall is my favorite time of year.  I haven’t started decorating for Halloween yet, but I am making plans to.  Besides the festive décor, and colorful falling leaves, the flavors of autumn, to me are some of the most important flavor of the year.  Squashes, pumpkins, apples, cinnamon and nutmeg to name just a few of the most delightful warm tastes of the fall.
Last night I was craving  something with fall flavor, so I decided on Spicy Pumpkin Soup.  Now the name is a little misleading, because it’s not really that spicy.  This is a velvety smooth soup with classic autumn flavors to satisfy your seasonal cravings




    4 Tbsp unsalted butter
    2 medium yellow onions, chopped
    2 teaspoons minced garlic
    1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
    2 teaspoons curry powder
    1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
    Pinch ground cayenne pepper (optional)
    3 (15 oz) cans 100 percent pumpkin or 6 cups of chopped roasted pumpkin*
    5 cups of chicken broth (or vegetable broth for vegetarian option)**
    2 cups of milk
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1/2 cup heavy cream
1 Melt butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add spices and stir for a minute more.
2 Add pumpkin and 5 cups of chicken broth; blend well. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
3 Transfer soup, in batches, to a blender or food processor. Cover tightly and blend until smooth. Return soup to saucepan.
4 With the soup on low heat, add brown sugar and mix. Slowly add milk while stirring to incorporate. Add cream. Adjust seasonings to taste. If a little too spicy, add more cream to cool it down. You might want to add a teaspoon of salt.
Serve in individual bowls. Sprinkle the top of each with toasted pumpkin seeds.
Yield: Serves 8.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Goon's Spaghetti

My Partner Craig does cook from time to time, and the few dishes in his cookbook, are, I must say, TO DIE FOR.  What he cooks is not edgy, deconstructed or experimental, it’s good old southern cooking from the heart.  From his “Day-after Thanksgiving” Rolls to Chicken Casserole to Pie in the Sky, the one dish I always look forward to when it’s on the menu, is Goon’s Spaghetti.

While the name of this recipe starts off with the name Goon, it isn’t a Halloween treat.  When Craig and his brother, Curtis were growing up, one day their dad was watching TV and Curtis was trying to get his dad’s attention, when he finally got frustrated and said, “you ol’ Goon, you never listen to me”, or at least that’s the story I’ve been told.  Well, the name stuck and their Dad has been known as Goon, ever since.  (His Mom is even known as Mrs. Goon.)  That being said, his Dad made the original Spaghetti recipe, thus the name “Goon’s Spaghetti”.

Goon’s Spaghetti

2 lbs Ground Turkey
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp dried oregano
1 medium white onion, diced
2- 6 oz cans tomato paste
2- 15 oz cans tomato sauce
2- 23 oz crushed or diced tomatoes
6 oz water
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp worcestershire sauce

Brown Turkey, add seasonings. 
Dice and add onion.
Add undrained tomatoes, sauce and paste.
Bring to a light boil, and reduce temp to a simmer.
Add lemon juice, brown sugar and worcestershire. Mix to blend and simmer, on low for a couple hours to allow the flavors of the sauce to mingle, but not hot enough to reduce in volume.

Serve over spaghetti.  Reserve about 1/2 of the sauce for another tomorrow I'm making homemade lasagne.