February 25, 2009

Muddy Buddies/Fudgy Wudgies

I have really fond memories of this snack. I didn't have it much, but when I did I insisted that we have it again--as soon as possible. Easy and delicious! Just try to stop eating it, I dare you.
  • 9 cups rice Chex, or off-brand to save some $
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  1. Measure out your rice cereal and set aside in a very large bowl (with high sides, if you can)
  2. In a medium-sized microwaveable bowl, add chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter. Microwave for 1 minute. Stir and microwave for another 30 seconds.
  3. While the chocolate mixture is microwaving, measure out your powdered sugar into a large freezer zip-lock bag.
  4. Add vanilla to chocolate mixture and stir to combine. Pour chocolate mixture over cereal and mix until well coated. Scoop the cereal into the freezer bag and shake, shake, shake.
  5. Chill until ready to serve.

February 22, 2009

Nana's Bananananana Bread

  • 5 Tablespoons of butter (softened)
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 Large egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 Cups mashed, very ripe bananas
  • 1 3/4Cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 Cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup choc chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350'F spray bottom of two bread pans with nonstick cooking spray
  2. Beat butter in large bowl with electric mixer set at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat well. Add egg, egg whites, and vanilla; beat until blended. Add mashed banana, and beat on high speed for 30 seconds.
  3. Combine flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder in medium bowl. Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with cream, ending with flour mixture. Add choc chips and mix well.
  4. Pour batter evenly into prepped loaf pans (expect dough to rise 2-fold) Bake until browned and toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. About 1 hour.
  5. Cool bread in pan on wire rack. Slice and serve.
  6. Enjoy warm and cold, two totally different experiences. And give the second loaf away to someone who deserves it :)

Iced Very Lemony Pound Cake

A recent dinner with friends had a theme: home. I used to always request lemon pound cake for my birthday when I was a child, so it was an easy choice for this gathering. I found the recipe my mom used in her original Moosewood Cookbook--and found out why it's called a pound cake. I looked at the ingredients list and decided I didn't actually want a pound of butter in my cake, thankyouverymuch. So, I turned to the internet. Recipes abound. Some use lemon extract or shortening--YUCK! I found this recipe on the Martha Stewart website, and since I feel like I can pretty much trust Martha at this point, I decided to give it a try. With a twist, of course.

The Cake:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
  • 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • Zest of 2 lemons, finely grated
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack in lowest position. Butter and flour a bundt pan or two loaf pans.
  2. In a small bowl, combine buttermilk with lemon zest and lemon juice. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
  3. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. With mixer on low, add flour mixture in three parts alternately with the buttermilk mixture in two parts, beginning and ending with flour; beat just until smooth (do not overmix).
  5. Pour batter into the pan and smooth the top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes (tent with foil if browning too quickly).
The Sauce:
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  1. Leave the cake in the pan and set it on a wire cooling rack. As soon as you take the cake out of the oven, poke small holes in the top with a toothpick. Drizzle half of the lemon sauce over the top, letting it soak into the cake.
  2. After the cake has cooled for 10 minutes, turn it out onto the cooling rack. Poke more holes in the top and drizzle the remaining lemon sauce over the top.
  3. Let the cake cool completely before icing.
The Icing:
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3-4 tablespoons lemon juice
  1. Whisk the powdered sugar to remove clumps. Stir in lemon juice in small quantities until all of the sugar is dissolved and desired consistency is reached. I used 3 tablespoons and still found it to be slightly runnier than I'd have liked.
  2. Set the cake's cooling rack over a baking sheet lined with waxed paper. Pour glaze over cakes, letting it run down the sides. Let dry, about 30 minutes--if you can wait that long. This cake is good warm, as well as cold the next day.

February 15, 2009

Patty's Famous Sunday Waffles

Waffle Sundays: better than church! Not every Sunday was Waffle Sunday, but waffles were always on Sunday. The waffles were the star, but typically my mom would also make delicious potatoes and serve sausages or other sides. It was always a feast, whether there were four people or 20. Mimosas pair well with Waffle Sundays.

Waffles are delicious, but they merely serve as a canvas for the toppings. Most people, waffle virgins I'll call them, don't know how this works. They add butter and syrup and think they are done. But not at my house.

Topping offerings usually look something like this: butter, peanut butter or even better almond butter, real maple syrup, vanilla yogurt, bananas, other season fresh fruit, chopped almonds or walnuts, shredded coconut, chocolate chips and whipped cream. (I'm sure I'm leaving something out.) My mom even used to add cream cheese, until she decided it was a little too much.

This version of Patty's Famous Sunday Waffles has been updated to include tips from an article that Patty sent to me years ago. This recipe will serve 3 to 4 people; you may want to double it for larger groups.

  • 1 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  1. Whisk together first 4 ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate medium bowl, mix buttermilk, milk, oil, vanilla and only the egg yolks. Reserve egg whites in a separate small bowl.
  2. Beat egg whites until soft peaks begin to form. Sprinkle in the sugar and continue beating until white and shiny and stiff peaks form.
  3. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring until just combined. Carefully fold in egg whites a couple dollops at a time. Let stand about 5 minutes. Plug in your waffle iron(s) and let them heat up while the batter rests.
  4. Make sure to lightly spray your waffle irons with non-stick spray before the first waffle and again after every other one. I think it's best to leave the waffles in the irons even after they say they are done, to get a crispier, golden brown waffle.
  5. How to prepare the prefect waffle (carefully developed over a lifetime): One hot waffle. Base layer of peanut butter or almond butter. A thin layer of vanilla yogurt. A liberal application of maple syrup. Sliced bananas or strawberries, a sprinkle of chocolate chips, shredded coconut. A good layer of whipped cream. Finish it off with a dusting of finely chopped nuts. Enjoy.
*We usually serve the waffles as they are ready (2 or 4 at a time, depending on how many irons you've got going), but the article suggests heating your oven to 200 degrees and leaving them directly on the rack in a single layer for 5 minutes (up to 20) so that they can all be served at the same time. This will also help the waffles to be crispier.

February 5, 2009

Cottage Cheese Pancakes

Breakfast for dinner, it's the best.  These are the pancakes my mom made me when I got my wisdom teeth pulled, and about every other special occasion.  They are so delicious and simple.

What's in it:
3 eggs
1 C cottage cheese
1/4 C flour
2 Tbl butter
1/4 tsp salt

How it's made:
Beat eggs lightly, add other ingredients and mix together.  Cook on a greased griddle, on lower heat.  Makes about 8 pancakes.  Serve with butter and cinnamon sugar mix sprinkled on top.

February 4, 2009

Rolling Pie Crusts

So this may not be the most interesting 'recipe', but I feel like I made a breakthrough last night while rolling crusts for pasties.  Making crusts from scratch is challenging for most of us, and for me personally, the hardest part is rolling it out.  Luckily my new food processor makes the mixing of a crust fairly easy.

Here's my tip on rolling crusts:

Start with a clean surface, or not.  Lay down a sheet of parchment paper large enough to work on your dough.  Sprinkle the paper with a generous amount of flour.  Roll your dough in a ball and set it in the middle of the paper, then press down a bit to flatten.

Tear off another piece of parchment paper about the same size as the first, and sprinkle it with flour.  Lay the paper (flour side down) on top of the ball of dough.  You now have a parchment paper dough sandwich.  Find a rolling pin or round bottle (I used a wine bottle - a recommendation from Davey).  Roll out the dough with the pin/bottle on top of the paper.  It should be fairly quick getting it thin, even and round.  Once it is the proper size, pull up the parchment paper, and lift up the rolled out dough.  If it sticks anywhere, just use a spoon or spatula to edge it off. 

This technique eliminated my frustrations with trying to roll out dough and having it stick to everything.  It also was super easy to roll out a thin circle.  I just couldn't let those darn pie crusts get the best of me.  I used Betty Crocker's pie crust mix, I highly recommend it (just add water!).

February 3, 2009

Avocado, Bell Pepper and Caramelized Onion Tuna Melts

What happens when you try to use whatever you have in your pantry...

  • 4 slices of bread
  • 4 slices of cheese (we had cheddar)
  • 2 cans of tuna
  • Mayonnaise and mustard to taste
  • 1 stock of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 of a white onion, sliced into long strips
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • Balsamic vinegar (optional)
  • 1 avocado, in thin slices
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat olive oil in a small saute pan to medium-low (around 4), add sliced onion and bell pepper. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper. Stir every once in awhile to make sure the mixture is cooking evenly. I added a splash of balsamic vinegar near the end. It's done when everything is soft and the onions turn a caramel color.
  2. Prepare tuna salad to your preference. We used a little mayo, some Sierra Nevada Porter mustard, salt, pepper and chopped celery.
  3. Heat a griddle (on about 3) and start toasting all four slices of bread. Flip the bread to toast other side and immediately add two cheese slices to two slices of the bread. Spread the tuna mixture over the other two slices. When the cheese has melted, remove both sides from the griddle.
  4. Spread the onion and bell pepper mixture over the tuna. Top with sliced avocado. Add a little more mustard to the cheese side and place on top.
* These are big sandwiches! We only had regular small bread and wished we had something a little bigger to hold all of the ingredients.

February 2, 2009

Carrot Cake Cookie Sandwiches with Cream Cheese Frosting

I came late to carrot cake. As a child, I was of the mind that anything with carrots in it had to be healthy, and therefore not as good as chocolate. I don't remember a specific moment when I realized how wrong I was (about both things), rather it must have been a slow awakening. I'm pretty sure it was the cream cheese frosting that really won me over.

My favorite carrot cake used to be the little personal cakes from The Upper Crust Bakery in Chico, California. After moving to Portland, my favorite happened to be the vegan carrot cake from Sweet Pea bakery that they sell at New Seasons market. (Go on Friday to make sure they still have some.)
Now, I'd rather just bake my own, whether from my vegan cupcakes to these scrumptious Martha Stewart sandwich cookies. The vegan carrot cake definitely works, but the cream cheese frosting in these cookies happens to be waaay better--the real deal. I present you with my evidence:

The Cookies
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temp.
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temp.
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (plus a little more for flattening cookies)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups finely grated carrots
  • 1 cup raisins
  • Cream cheese frosting! (recipe below)
  1. Beat butter and both sugars in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy--3 to 4 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until well combined.
  2. Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger together. Stir to combine. Add the flour mixture a little at a time to the butter mixture. Mix on low until just blended. Stir in oats, carrots and raisins. Chill until firm, minimum 1 hour.
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Scoop out dough into balls using a tablespoon. Place two inches apart on the baking sheets (these spread a lot as they bake). Using the lightly floured bottom of a glass, flatten cookies into circles. Try to keep them uniform so your sandwiches will match up.
  4. Bake until browned and crisp-- around 12-15 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Spread cream cheese frosting onto the flat sides of half of the cookies, then make sandwiches with the remaining halves.
The Frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temp.
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp.
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Place cream cheese in a mixing bow. Beat until smooth. Gradually add the butter and beat until well blended. Sift in the powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Stir in vanilla.
* The first batch of frosting I made with my electric mixer, the second with my spoonula. Both worked fine.
* I think these cookies are best the first day when the cookies are a bit crunchy. If you store them, the cookies absorb some of the moisture from the frosting and become softer, more like actual carrot cake.They are delicious both ways.
* I used much more frosting than was called for, since that's the best part.