Sunday, April 19, 2009

Banana Bread

I love the flavour of bananas but I can only eat them in things, for some reason I hate the feeling of biting into a banana with my front teeth. Bizarre, I know. But cut them up and put them on toast with peanut butter or in a cream pie and I love them! So obviously I'm a big fan of Banana Bread. One trick I learned which will actually make your banana bread sweeter is to obviously let them turn brown and them put them in the freezer to save until you are ready to make Banana Bread.

3 well ripen bananas (use 4 if they are frozen since they lose moisture)

2 eggs

2 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla

3/4 chopped nuts (I like pecans but walnuts are good too)

Preheat oven to 350F. Prep a loaf pan or a bundt pan with Pam. Smash bananas and combine with well beaten eggs and vanilla. Add in sugar, salt and baking soda and stir well. Stir in flour 1/2 a cup at a time, then mix in nuts. Pour into pan and bake for 1 hour.

Remove from oven and cool on a rack. Once cool wrap will with cling wrap and it will stay fresh for 2 to 3 days. One great way to use old Banana Bread is to use it to make French Toast.

Crepes with Blueberry Cranberry Compote

Blueberry Cranberry Compote

I try to keep some form of frozen berry in the freeze all the time as they are handy for salads, smoothies, desserts or sauces. This is a really easy compote to make that can go on anything.

2 cups blueberries
1/2 cup cranberries
1/2 lemon, juiced
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar

Toss everything into a small pot, bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 to 45 minutes until thickened. Put it on the stove before you start making the crepes and they will be ready at the same time


2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
1 cup flour
2 tbsp melt clarified butter (just skim off the foam as it melts)

Beat eggs well, add in milk and melted butter, beat well. Add in sugar & salt then flour half a cup at a time. Mix well. For ease you can do the whole thing in a blender. Let batter stand covered for 30 minutes. Then ladle into a greased crepe or omelet pan over medium high heat. Swirl to cover the bottom of the pan, if batter is too thick add a little bit more milk. Flip when edges are golden and bubbles have formed, about 90 seconds.

Keep warm in a 250F oven.

Broccoli Crown Salad

This is sort of a broccoli slaw that I first tried in Newfoundland years ago that was very tasty but a little too heavy on the mayo for my taste so I've modified it to keep it creamy but bring down the fat content a smidgen. Also I really like sweet with my salty so I added raisins. Since BBQ season is approaching this is a great summer recipe.

1 large broccoli crown, chopped into small pieces
1/2 large red onion finely chopped
1/2 cup mayo (I like Hellman's light)
1/2 cup yogurt (I use Liberty Organic Bio Yogurt)
1/2 cup shredded extra old or sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 real bacon bits

Chop broccoli up in 1cm pieces, basically you want really small florets and chunks of stalk. Toss in onions, bacon, cheddar. Stir yogurt and mayo together and then add to salad. Mix well and season to taste with pepper. Don't add salt! The bacon and the cheddar have more than enough salt to make it tasty. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes. Goes great with BBQ pork chops.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Mixed Meat Loaf with Mushroom Gravy and Scallopped Celeriac

Mixed Meatloaf

I don't think I've made meatloaf in years but tonight I totally wanted it, plus I really liked the idea of meatloaf sandwiches for tomorrow. When I was a kid I hated meatloaf, it was suspicious looking, and always contained unidentifiable items but as my palette grew so did my taste for meatloaf. This recipe is not your mom's typical dry meatloaf with Lipton's Onion soup (sorry Mom) its a bit more complex and definitely won't be dry.

2lbs mixed ground meat (extra lean beef, veal, pork, lamb, moose) use 2 or more kinds. Today I used extra lean gr beef, pork and veal in about equal portions.

2 finely minced shallots
2 finely minced jalapenos
4 cloves crushed garlic
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups fine bread crumbs
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup red wine
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350, grease loaf pan with a spray of Pam. Prep ingredients and then throw them all into a large mixing bowl. Wash your hands and prepare to get dirty, the only way to really mix everything together is to use your hands. Get in there and work the meat until it's all mixed to a fairly even consistency. If to dry add a bit more wine or another egg, if to moist throw in another 1/2 cup of bread crumbs. Press firmly and pack down into loaf pan. Sprinkle with Smoked Spanish Paprika if you like, La Chinata is a very tasty brand. Bake for about a hour in 350 degree oven. The meatloaf will pull away from the sides of the pan and form a nice crust but should also have lots of juices flowing around it.

Let it cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serve with gravy.

Mushroom Gravy

This is a nice quick simple gravy

2 tbsp butter
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 mince shallot
2 tbsp red wine
2 cups beef broth
1 tbsp flour

Saute shallot and mushrooms in butter until soft, sprinkle in flour and cook for 2 minutes to create a rue. Deglaze pan with wine and mix until a nice paste forms. Gradually add in beef broth 1/2 a cup at a time and mix well, this will prevent lumps. Once all the broth has been added simmer on low to reduce into desired thickness, about 5 to 10 minutes. Salt & pepper to taste.

Scalloped Celeriac (Celery Root)

Ian's not big on potatoes so I try to mix it up a little and celeriac is a great alternative.

1 large celery root
4 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
About 1 1/2 cups milk or cream
salt & pepper
cheese of your choice (Gruyere, Edam, cheddar, Parmesan are all yummy)

Trim off the outside of the celery root and clean it up until no brown is remaining. Cut into quarters and the thinly slice the root. Store the slices and the root in water to keep it from browning while you are preparing everything.

Butter a large Pyrex baking dish, the more surface area the better. Layer slices in the pan so they are overlapping. Sprinkle with salt & pepper, dust with 1 tbsp of flour and then dot with half the butter. Repeat with final layer. Then pour milk over top until top layer is almost covered.
Bake for about a hour in 350 degree oven, until the milk has evaporated and the edges are slightly golden. Top with grated cheese of your choice and return to oven until melted & bubbling.