Happy New Year from The Gorge!

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beginner’s banana bread

November 17, 2011

It’s a sad day when good fruit goes bad.  Except for bananas.  When they turn all brown on the outside and smushy on the inside they transform into super bananas!  Pop a few into a freezer bag and they make the perfect basis for your next breakfast smoothie.  Or prepare this totally easy recipe for a warm treat great for any breakfast or snack time.

Banana Bread Ingredients

  • 1-3/4 cup flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup ripe bananas, smashed (2-3 medium bananas)
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350°.

Oh oh oooh, oh oh ooh, oh oh oooh, The White Stuff.  Whisk it together (sugar, baking powder baking soda, salt and 1 cup of flour) in a large bowl.

*Glorp*  Smashed frozen ripe bananas isn’t exactly the most attractive  substance on the planet, but think about what deliciousness this ooze turns intos!   Add smashed bananas, butter and milk.  Beat with a mixer on low speed until blended, then on high speed for a couple minutes longer.

Add eggs and remaining flour, beat until blended.

Get a little nuts!  Then fold them into the batter.

Whoa.  It’s getting majestic in here.  Pour batter into greased loaf pan (8x4x2).

Bake for 55-60 minutes or until a centrally stabbed toothpick removes clean.

Cool for 10 minutes.  Remove from loaf plan and cool thoroughly.  Wrap and store overnight before slicing.  Use this time to think about all the delicious ways you can eat your homemade banana bread.

With melty Nutella!

Or creamy cream cheese, sprinkled with brown sugar and cinnamon!

And if there was any left I would have attempted more options.  Like french toast.  Or – holy wow – can you imagine BANANA bread pudding!  Wowzers, time to start collecting hyper-ripe bananas for the next loaf.

bacon and egg cupcakes

July 22, 2011

Although not technically a cupcake in the traditional sense, these bacon wrapped eggs from Recipe Cards are a cute and impressive addition to any brunch spread – not to mention a total breeze to make using minimal ingredients and taking less than 20 minutes to whip together!

So many wonderful recipes are written to make enormous batches, leaving a lot of lonely leftovers.  These fantastic little “cupcakes” are made individually so you only have to make exactly how many you want right now; for your family, your breakfast-for-dinner party, or just you.

Bacon and Egg Cupcakes Ingredients

  • eggs (one per cupcake)
  • bacon (approximately 1 1/2 strips per cupcake)
  • cheese (shredded or crumbled – use your favorite, mine is cheddar jack)
  • chopped herbs (thyme, chives, rosemary, dill – anything you like, I like basil)
  • salt and pepper (pinches each, per cupcake)
Preheat oven to 400°.

Cook bacon until browned, but not crispy.

In a greased muffin tin, line a muffin cup with a full strip of bacon.  In this “cupcake” the bacon acts as the liner – holding the delicious goods all together with no need to peel off and discard, just eat it right up!

Tear about half a strip of bacon into little bits and fill the bottom of the muffin tin.

Crack an egg into each tasty bacon cup.

Season with salt and pepper.  While you’re at it, take a moment to appreciate the song styling of Salt-N-Pepa.

Fill each cup with cheese and sprinkle with herbs.

Cook for 10-15 minutes (mine were good around the 12 minute mark).

Remove from oven and allow to cool for a minute or two.  Two of these self-contained breakfast vessels make for one sturdy serving.

Serve with sliced tomato, fresh fruit, home fries, Bloody Marys and you’ve got another delightful reason to get out of bed on a Sunday!

And if this wasn’t easy enough to follow, check out this beautiful video from Recipe Cards:

summer bread pudding

June 20, 2011

My own dear dad was beyond thrilled way back in March when I made bread pudding for the first time, so I decided to revisit the dish with a summertime twist this Father’s Day.

For scheduling reasons, I fixed up a brunch spread for the occasion, telling my brother’s family I was preparing a “baked french toast thing” because bread pudding just sounds so blah and bland.  Both my dad and my brother have extraordinary  sweet tooths (sweet teeth?) and since it was their special day, I heightened the sugar factor by using dried bing cherries in place of the raisins and amaretto in place of the whiskey for the sauce.

Served with a fresh cantaloupe and blueberry salad, a pound of bacon, and a pitcher of orange juice, the fathers in my family were delighted with my efforts (almost as much as watching my brother’s three-year-old twins use their forks to spear blueberries one by one by one).

Happy Father’s Day, for the man who introduced the concept of breakfast-for-dinner, I gave him the gift of dessert-for-breakfast!

Cooking for one leads to a lot of interesting leftover options (I’ve been making a ton of brownie sundaes and there’s still half a tray to go).  Sometimes brinner happens, and it’s ALWAYS a great idea.

french press coffee

March 19, 2011

In the rush and go of the workweek routines are set and it becomes difficult to try something new.  First alarm goes off, go back to sleep for another hour.  Second alarm goes off, fill the coffeemaker, push the button, into the bathroom, pour the coffee, make lunch while eating breakfast, get dressed, etc.  Deviating from this daily schedule can lead to catastrophe (like that time I turned the coffeemaker on without the pot underneath because I didn’t have my glasses on yet and had forgotten it was still on the drying rack from the night before – oops).

Weekends are for trying out different things (or even for just trying things differently).  I had purchased a french press years ago at a home goods store’s going-out-of-business sale, but since I’d never used one before, it had been resigned to becoming a display item in my kitchen.  This morning, the first attempt at brewing coffee in a different way came out to wonderful results.  At this point in my life, I’m generally seeking caffeine content over flavour in the mornings and therefore I get by with the lesser quality coffees that are friendlier on my wallet.   However, since the filtering process in a french press involves a fine mesh and all the technology of a plunger, the results taste less like the coffee has been strained through a paper bag and the actual flavours of coffee aren’t stuck back with the grounds.

Another delicious experiment is to switch up how you take your coffee.  Instead of a vanilla flavored coffee creamer, this morning I opted to use brown sugar and whipping cream (left over from the chocolate ganache portion of the Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes) with delightful results.