Tuesday, September 29, 2009

This One's for you Mom

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Some of my earliest memories are of me baking with my mom in the kitchen. Climbing up on a chair to help her and trying not to fall off as I would reach across the counter for things. And her specialty was Banana Bread. It got to the point where she had to buy extra bananas and just let them over ripen because we asked for the bread so often. This bread is light and so moist that it almost falls apart. And it definitely falls apart if you aren’t patient and wait for it to cool, which let’s face it do you know any 6 year olds who really have the virtue of patience nailed down. I know I didn’t so we would be begging her to cut it after about 5 minutes.

I have tried for years to duplicate this recipe. Why can’t I just get the recipe from my Mom, well I can but its made with wait for it, wait for it BISQUICK. Gasp, I know. And since my house is a mix free house, 99% of the time this would just not do. So I have been trying and trying and had actually given up and just found another banana bread that P and I liked and that held up better to other applications such as French Toast! Then I made these Blueberry Cream Cheese Buns. And something about their fantastic texture reminded me of something and I couldn’t put my finger on it. Then as I looked at the bananas dying to be made into banana bread sitting on my counter it clicked, and Gwen popped into my head. This ish is Bananas, BANANAS. Sorry gotta have the Radio Edit for my Mom and all, she hates swearing :). They were pretty damn close to the texture of my Mom’s Banana Bread. So I give you the closest damn thing I have found to my Mom’s Banana Bread.

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Best I can do Banana Muffins adapted from Bake or Break

1 3/4 cup of AP Flour, divided
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
8 oz of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup of unsalted butter, softened
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of sugar, divided
2 eggs 2 ripe bananas, smashed
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/4 cup of half and half 1 banana, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 regular muffin tin with paper liners. In a bowl combine 1 cup of flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the cream cheese, butter and1 cup sugar until fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time and mix in the smashed bananas and vanilla. Add in the flour mixture and alternate with the half and half. Add in the remaining flour and mix until combined. Fill the cups up 2/3 full and top with a slice of banana and sprinkle with some of the remaining sugar . Bake for 18-22 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.

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And this was entered in Family Recipes, so check it out!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Loving Me Some Fall

3938999727_24b493e135_b I would have to say Fall is my favorite time of year, its the perfect weather and I’m a huge fan of comfort food and cooler weather means comfort food comes out in full force. Every year P and I try to hit up the Local Apple Orchard for 2 reasons really fresh apples and apple cider donuts. He goes for the apples, I go for the donuts! I only order 6 1 for myself and then go to help him pick out the apples. I love apples, especially from an orchard they are just so fresh and keep for so much longer in the fridge than store bought apples do. And there are so many more choices at the orchard so we always taste test a few and then pick out a bag. I will let you in on a little secret though. You just have to promise not to tell P, Ok. I always find reasons to use up the apples quickly, breads, cakes, etc. Not because I love apples and fall flavored baked goods, even though that is true. It is actually because then we have to go back to the orchard and what does a trip to the orchard equal, yep you guessed it Apple Cider Donuts. I’m like a junkie getting my fix, I just have to have them. So while perusing my latest Penzey’s catalog for some new spices I saw this recipe and the light bulb went off. I could use up quite a few apples with this so that donut fix would be that much closer. But this bread was awesome so I was able to hold off on my donut fix while this was at the house. But I think pretty soon I’m going to start Jonesin for a donut hardcore.

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Apple Spice Bread – Adapted from Penzey’s Catalog.

Bread:
4 Cups apples, peeled, cored and chopped 4 eggs
1 Cup of Canola Oil
2 teaspoons of Vanilla Extract
2 teaspoons of baking soda
2 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons of Penzey’s Apple Pie Spice 3 Cups of AP flour
2 Cups of sugar

Topping:
3⁄4 Cup of AP flour
1⁄4 Cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of Apple Pie Spice 1 teaspoon of Cinnamon
1⁄2 Cup of butter, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350. Spray two standard bread loaf pans with non stick spray. Peel, core and slice the apples. Cut into good-sized chunks, about 1 inch in size. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with an electric mixer until fluffy.
Add the oil and beat until combined. Add the vanilla, baking soda, salt and apple pie spice. Beat until combined. Next, add the flour and sugar and mix on low just to combine. Turn the mixer to high and beat until mixture is smooth. The batter will be very thick. Fold in the chopped apples, mixing by hand so the apples do not get broken up. Divide the mixture between the two pans. Since the batter is so thick, it is easiest to
spoon the batter into the pans.

To prepare the topping, combine flour, sugar, apple pie spice and cinnamon in a small bowl. Cut the butter into the mixture with a fork until all ingredients are moist and crumbly. Sprinkle equal amounts of topping on each loaf. Bake for 55- 65 minutes. The loaf should feel fairly firm when touched in the middle. Remove and place on a cooling rack. Let cool for 5 minutes before removing from the pans.

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My Love Hate Relationship with Costco

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I don’t know about you but I love Costco. Honestly I think anyone who bakes as much as I do would be crazy not to shop there for things like eggs, butter, etc. But I also have a huge weakness for their produce, because sometimes one small pint of berries won’t cut it, but often times the package of produce is to large but I buy it anyway. Not being one to waste I spend my whole week figuring out what to do with the produce, and that is when I start to Hate Costco. Why is it so tempting to buy these mass quantities? I can never figure it out, but by the time I need to go again all that hatred is gone and I’m in a love fest. I always end up buying some kind of produce, even if I don’t need it or have any real plans for it. I think I drive P nuts sometimes with my need to buy it, because it often sits in the fridge for days just taking up space while I figure out what to do with all of it! So I froze the rest of the berries so I could enjoy some summer fruit later.

So as an ode to the last day of Summer I made these blueberry muffins. They were some of the best blueberry muffins I have ever had, the batter is so thick that the crust you get on top is fantastic! I can’t believe how fast this summer has gone by and I’m going to miss all the wonderful summer produce but Fall is one of my favorite seasons. The Apples, the spices, and of course my favorite Pumpkin. So Good bye Summer and Hello Fall. (Please stay around for longer than 2 weeks, Please)

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Blueberry Sour Cream Muffin adapted from Coconut and Lime

2 cups of flour

2/3 cup of sugar + sugar for sprinkling

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1 cup sour cream

1 large egg, lightly beaten

2 teaspoons of vanilla

2 cups blueberries

1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled

Preheat oven to 400. Line a regular muffin pan with paper liners. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, stir together butter, sour cream, egg and vanilla until blended. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet. Stir until just mixed (batter will be thick) then fold in blueberries. Spoon batter into tins and sprinkle with remaining sugar. Bake 15-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Remove to rack and let cool at least 2 minutes before serving.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

My Favorite Place In San Francisco

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I Love San Francisco. It is just a place that speaks to me, the people, the weather, the food community. If I could live there I would. So while P and I were visiting over Labor Day Weekend we hit up a few places we love and a few new places. If you haven’t guessed already my Favorite Place is the Ferry Building and its Saturday morning Farmer’s Market. I’m like a kid in the Candy Store, looking at everything, wanting to get one of everything and getting a little upset that I can’t have it all. So I knew that we would have to go again this trip and this time take Full Advantage of the Market and pick up a few things for a picnic. Basically just an excuse to buy produce since I didn't have kitchen I could use there.

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These tiny grapes were everywhere and people where snapping them up.

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They had Peppers in every color I could think of. At this Point I wished I had a Kitchen.

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Another thing I never see at our Farmer’s Market, Huge Bunches of Fantastic Smelling Lavender.

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Every type of peach, plum, pluot, and more hybrids I had never heard of.

IMG_2428 Again Wishing I had a Kitchen to use, but I bet the bill would have been higher than it already was!

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Check out Frog Hollow Farm and say Hello to Cameron. He will let you taste all of the jams and conserves and give you great conversation as well!

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P’s new favorite Breakfast, Chilaquiles. He is in love.

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How can you resist free cheese? Especially when it is good cheese.

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Cowgirl Cremery. I think I could have stayed there all day tasting cheese, the cheese monger that helped us was wonderful and helped us pick out the best cheese for our picnic at The Presidio.

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They were packed with people, I think the sign that Chefs vs. City was there didn’t hurt!

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Miette, so cute and how can you resist macaroons?

Now can you see why it is my Favorite Place in San Francisco. It has it everything you would ever want and lots of things you never even knew you needed.

Again I’m just saying if some one opened up a kitchenette rental area near by you would make a killing.

Other Highlights of the Trip were eating dinner at Gary Danko, and seriously if you can afford to eat there or even if you have to save up for years to eat there I would recommend it. The best dinner of my life, Hands down and even P loved his food. I wish we could have eaten there twice. I would have taken pictures but the lighting in there was horrible for food shots, perfect for dining, and maybe if I had brought my point and shoot it would have been a different story. Lesson Learned.

Tartine was good, super crowded on a Saturday afternoon and really really hot inside the store. We got some sandwiches to go and ate at the Park near by. I loved the choices and the baked goods but our sandwiches while much larger that I thought they would be were alright, needed a little something extra.

Bi Rite Creamery, I was a little scared as there was a line that was atleast 20 people long, but in my personal opinion people don't wait in line for mediocre food so it had to be good. So wait we did and lucky for us since we were full from Tartine we got one 2 scoop which to my surprise you could have 3 flavors. So we had Salted Caramel, Roasted Banana, and Ricanelas (cinnamon with snickerdoodles). All of which were very very good. But I would have to say that Roasted Banana was my favorite!


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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wordless Wednesday


I Figured I would join this Blog Movement. So Here is my First Wordless Wednesday. Its from my recent vacation to San Francisco.


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Monday, September 14, 2009

Help leftovers are taking over my fridge

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I don’t know about you but my Fridge is always, packed with food at the beginning of the week. You have to move about 5 things to get anything in and out of it. We eat a lot of fresh food and lets face it that takes up space. We shop at Costco for a lot of produce because we need that much. And its just P and I but we still buy the 2 + bag of fresh spinach and go through it every week. So when it gets towards the end of the week I start having quite a few left over veggies that I have made for lunches and dinners. So I always have to figure something out to do with all of them. So while trying to figure out what to make for lunch, I decided to clean out the Fridge a little. At first I thought Quiche but with only 2 eggs that was going to be hard to do, so I gathered what I thought would work mixed it all together and hoped for the best. What came out was this wonderfully cheesy and decadent quiche like dish.

Now I love cheese, that might be an understatement. I really really love cheese, I could find a reason to put it on almost anything. Doesn’t cheese just make things better. Its the ultimate fix all, casserole isn’t pretty slap on some cheese to hid it, marinara sauce is lacking, sprinkle parmesan over it and hope that no one notices. But this I will tell you was super cheesy, I could only muster the strength to eat one piece. But it was good really good, so if cheesy goodness is your game this will not disappoint.IMG_2345[2]

Clean out the Fridge Already Pie

1 pie crust, store bought or home made what ever suits you

8 oz of Cream cheese, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups of sharp cheddar cheese

2 large eggs

1 cup of sautéed portobello mushrooms

1 1/2 cups of sauteed fresh spinach

1 tsp of salt

1/2 tsp of black pepper

Preheat oven to 350. In a 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom lay the pie crust and press into the sides. Push the extra dough over the top of the sides to remove it. Prick the tart all over with a fork and bake for 15 minutes on a baking sheet. In a bowl combine the cream cheese, eggs, salt and pepper. Mix until well combined. Add in the spinach, mushrooms and cheese. Mix until combined and pour into the crust. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the center has set up. Let it cool slightly before serving or let it cool completely and serve it at room temperature.

This will work with any left over veggies that you have in the fridge.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

And the winners are

Sorry for the Delay on this, I'm still trying to re group from my trip to San Francisco. There will be a post about that soon.

So the winners are...........Drum Roll Please................................

5,29,31 (Thanks Random.org)


5 - SKM said...

Happy two year anniversary to you! I'm very tough to surprise, so when my boyfriend now husband proposed, I was quite surprised. He had hidden my engagement ring behind his set of "The Lord of the Rings" books. Although they are some of my favorites, he knew I'd never look there. :)


29 - Kristin said...

I tweeted, too!!
twitter.com/gourmetwithme


31 - moondiva said...Katie...Happy 200th post and 2 Years!!!! I have you bookmarked in my favorite favorites.

Best surprise ever...first year Aubrey and I were married, we had known each other less than a year and immediately moved from LA to NJ. I had admired a wonderful Native American crafted necklace in a local shop. Christmas morning there it was tucked inside a flannel gown. And I still love it!


So I put all 3 numbers in a hat and let P choose the surprise package winner and he drew.........

5

So congrats!!!!!! If you could email me your address so I can send out the packages!!!



Thursday, September 3, 2009

Changes and a Celebration

Vanilla Extract

There have been a lot of changes around here! How do you like my new digs? Well I love them! It was a lot of work and quite a few hiccups and changes along the way but its all done and I’m really happy with the results!

It is also my 2 year Blogiversary, well actually it was in August but with all of the changes on the website. I decided to wait and celebrate everything together! It doesn’t feel like it has been 2 years at all. I feel like a newbie most days! And in addition to my 2 year Blogiversary I am also so close to 200 posts, so since I celebrated that late I’m going to celebrate 200 posts early to even it all out.

So what am I going to do to celebrate my Blogiversary? I’m going to give 3 lucky readers a present! I know its backwards, and you should be giving me a present, but I’ll let it slide this one time.

So what can you hope to win! Well 2 lucky winners will win a bottle of my Hand Crafted Vanilla Extract! And the 3rd and luckiest of all winners ever, will win that and a surprise basket full of goodies from me. That is right a surprise, I’m not telling! And why 3 winners, well if you ever watched School House Rock then you will have your answer. If not look it up!

So are you chomping at the bit yet?

Good, Because you have until September 7th at 8pm Central time to Enter! The only Restriction is it is Limited to US and Canada only. And Please make sure that you leave me a way to contact you!

To Enter -

1. Leave a Comment with the best surprise you ever got! And if you don’t have an amazingly awesome one, You can make it up. I’ll never know and just think that your parents really did buy you a baby tiger for Christmas.

2. Tweet this @saltandchocolat Win some Hand Crafted Vanilla Extract or a Surprise! http://bit.ly/BfcGS

So You can do both of those each day until the deadline!

Good luck! And Thanks for a Great Last 2 Years!

My Saucy Winners!

 

Thanks to Random.org for giving me my winners and with out further ado the winners are……..

6,1,16,19

6 -

 Jamie said...

My simple dinner is actually pizza. I keep everything in the fridge and then just have to make the dough ahead of time. What's not quick is clean up, but that can always wait till tomorrow. And everybody is happy.
I also have a super quick yet super luscious chocolate layer cake for when I need a quick snack or dessert cake.

1 -

Kendra said...

My favorite simple dinner is grilled cheese. Nothing fancy but sure is good! Would love to try one of these sauces.

16 -

Maria said...

I love watermelon in the summer. I know not a big dinner, but my favorite:) Thanks for the giveaway!

19 -

Krista said...

These paninis look so good! My favorite go-to simple recipe is tacos. To keep it healthy, we use ground turkey and wrap them up in lettuce shells instead of taco shells. Add black beans, brown rice, salsa, and a bit of cheese- Voila! instant yumminess!! Or, if I'm feeling extra lazy, I'll just do mac & cheese with tuna. Sounds gross, but hubs and I love it!

So Email me your Address, and which Marinade you would like to try!