Banapple bread

I have the best of intentions with bananas, buying them as I cruise the fruits/veggies section at the grocery store,  thinking I’ll have a healthy, portable snack for work in the week to come. But I hardly ever get the whole bunch  taken care of (I buy like, 3 at a time) before they go all Mr. Burns on me. So I freeze the things, they pile up in the freezer like dead slugs, and I eventually decide to make banana bread or some other variation of banana food stuff.  Well, this week I had 2 apples going all soft and wrinkly too, so I decided to dice up the apples and dump ’em in with the naners.

Behold,  banapple bread. It tastes pretty much like regular banana bread, but there’s an added  moisture, and an added sweetness. I used my food processor to  dice up the apples real fine, but next time think I’d like to have a bit more mass to them.

I used my favorite banana bread recipe, from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, then just added my apples into the  wet mix that goes into the dry.  Since I made muffins instead of  a loaf, I only  baked the batter for about 35 minutes.

Banapple bread

2 C flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/4 t cinnamon
1/8 t nutmeg
2 eggs
3 ripe bananas
1 C sugar
1/2 C cooking oil

First, mix all your dry ingredients except for the sugar.  The above recipe is the BH&G one, but I always add some ground ginger to my mix, about a 1/4 or 1/8 t.  In another bowl, mix the wet ingredients and the sugar.  Since my bananas came from the freezer, they had thawed and  were very wet. If you use this method, make sure to drain some of the liquid from the bananas before mixing all the other ingredients in. In addition to the above, you’ll also add your diced apples– I had 2 on hand, so that’s what I used, but I think the other elements of the batter would be ok if you had another apple or two.

Once you’ve mixed the wet ingredients with the sugar, dump that into the dry ingredients’ bowl, and stir. Batter will by lumpy, but you don’t want any flour clumps, either.  After you’ve given it  a few good mixes, spoon your batter into muffin tins or a bread loaf. Bake about a half hour (give or take, depending on muffin size, altitude, etc.), and voila! Banapple bread. Slather with butter and consume heaven.


Baco-chip cookies

This weekend is  BaconFest, a local fundraiser event hosted by our local roller derby team, and even though I’m not taking the bacon & maple cheesecake I’d hoped to experiment with (I didn’t experiment with anything of the sort), as I’d intended, I still have this bacon idea on the brain. And a slab ‘o meat in the fridge that needs cooked up too.

So, as experiments go, here’s the results of this one:

First, dredge 5 strips of raw bacon through gently heated brown sugar ( I zapped mine in the micro for about 20 seconds, til it was warm and sticky but not “wet.” Put your pig parts on a cookie sheet and pop into a 375 degree oven for about twenty minutes, or whatever it takes for the bacon to become crisp and carmelized. Let it cool, then snap it up into little bite-size pieces. It’s a good thing I used five strips as two of them burnt beyond that carcinogenic yumminess crispy bacon has, so I didn’t have quite as much as I wanted. Oh well.

Next I made a regular chocolate-chip cookie dough, thank you Better Homes and Gardens for your recipe.

Mix 1 1/2 sticks butter and 1/4 C. shortening. Add 1/2 C. sugar, 1 C. packed brown sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla together.

Add 3/4 tsp. baking soda and 1/2 tsp. salt.  Add 2 eggs and beat until combined. Mix in 2 1/2 C. flour, then add your chips (I used 1 C. chocolate and 1 C. white chocolate ) and then add dried cherries or cranberries (that’s not part of the BH&G recipe).  Add the bacon. If you want to add nuts, dump them in now.

Give ‘er a good mix, then spoon out onto your cookie sheet in little ball-shaped mounds.

Bake for about 8 minutes and let cool a bit on the sheet. By my estimate this recipe makes about 30  cookies.  The bacon flavor wasn’t as noticeable throughout in the cookie I sampled, but I think it would have been, had I not lost two pieces of bacon to the overzealous oven. When I did bite into that perfect  intersection of chocolate, white chocolate and bacon however, the combo was delightful.

Tofu-Oatmeal cookies

Back when my friend Kristen and I lived together I used to make these tofu cookies with dried cranberries and white chocolate  chips. That  was a good 5 years ago, and the other day Kristen, who is now 7 months preggers, called me and said “I’ve been having a real hankerin’ for those tofu cookies you used to make. ” We had made plans to hang out on Sunday, and we figured we’d spend the day baking something. When she called, we hadn’t decided on anything yet, but I knew we’d have to bust out  some of these   yummers.  They are the white cookie on the right.

Now, I don’t make your “standard” anything very well. I fuck up chocolate chip cookies every time I make them (I think I overstir the  ingredients), and I usually make omelette scrambles instead of straight up omelettes.  But I’ve never ruined a batch of these guys, and I think my Quiche always turns out lovely.  The point is, these cookies sound exotic, but really, they’re  pretty simple.

Kristen came over, we dished about the men in our lives (her husband, my boyfriend), our family members) and I handed her the recipe card. She’d been eating these cookies often enough that I figured it was time for her to make them.  Now you can too.

Mars”s Tofu-Oat mealcookies

2. 1/2 C plain oatmeal

2 C flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 block of silken tofu

1 stick butter  softened

1 C brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

12 oz (or whatever you have) white chocolate chips

a couple handfuls of dried cranberries

preheat oven to 375.

process oatmeal till crumbly, but not fine. Add to a small bowl, add flour, baking powder and soda. Set aside while you process the tofu until smooth.  In another larger bowl, beat the butter for 30 seconds, then add sugar. Beat in the tofu and vanilla next. Add as much of the dry mix as possible with  mixer, then stir in the remainder. Add your chips and fruit; nuts too (a handful), if you want.

Roll your dough into little balls, then flatten them between your hands. Bake 8-10 minutes on a cookie sheet. If you want cookies larger than a slightly large Oreo, make larger  dough balls, as these don’t expand much and are the perfect bite-size cookie.

Stay near for the next recipe, Chocolate-cherry crunch cookies (those dark lovelies to the left of the tofu snackers above).


Couscous, Crimini mushroom and Red Pepper burgers

I love making mistakes. Well, mistakes like the couscous mushroom and red pepper burgers I made last night. Yes, it was an accident, but damn if these falafel-like patties aren’t tasty.  Being someone who does eat meat, but also loves the nutrition of veggie burgers, I was planning on experimenting with couscous, mushroom and red pepper burgers when I messed up a batch of artichoke hummus.

marinated artichoke hearts

marinated artichoke hearts

My blender wasn’t cooperating with me, and the chickpeas were not pulping up as nicely as I wanted them to. So with chunks of chickpea staring me down, I combined the mash, the red peppers and mushrooms I already had cooked, and some couscous hanging out in my fridge. Yes, that’s right, I added leftover couscous to this stuff too.  I wanted to use all of these leftovers, and had it turned out terribly—or not at all—all of these foodstuffs would have gone in the trash. Which I hate.END OF AUGUST 016

I didn’t use any egg as a binding agent, so these patties were threatening to fall apart in the pan as I cooked them, but they did stay together to the very end. Eaten plainly as a patty these are quite tasty, throw them in a pita with some hummus or ranch dressing, and you’ve got yourself a hell of a dinner.

My ingredients are all eyeballed, but I think this is pretty close.

1 c. Crimini mushrooms, diced

1/3 red pepper, diced

Three large circles of onion (probably ¼ cup), diced

2-3 large cloves garlic

2 c. chickpeas, cooked and drained

1 c. cooked cousous

¼ C. marinated artichoke hearts

2 tbsp tahini

1 tbsp lemon juice

½ packet taco seasoning mix

1 tbsp flax powder

1/8-   ¼ tsp cumin powder

1 C. breadcrumbs

Oil for frying

1/8- ¼  tsp paprika

Process chickpeas, artichoke hearts, tahini, lemon juice, 1-2 cloves garlic, cumin and paprika until mostly smooth but not perfectly.

Set aside.

Saute onion, red pepper, mushroom and 1 clove garlic in olive oil until nicely browned but just a bit crisp. Add this to the chickpea mash, add the taco seasoning, flax and the couscous. Stir until combined.

Form patties about 3 inches in circumference, 1 in. or less in thickness. Roll these in breadcrumbs and fry in about an inch of hot oil. Cook about 2-5 minutes each side, depending on how well they’re staying apart (seems like a bit more heat helps them stay together).