Daring Bakers February 2012: Quick bread


The Daring Bakers’ February 2012 host was – Lis! Lisa stepped in last minute and challenged us to create a quick bread we could call our own. She supplied us with a base recipe and shared some recipes she loves from various websites and encouraged us to build upon them and create new flavor profiles.

Quick bread! Yay! I love  Quick bread.  I make zucchini bread a lot, and my mother used to make “babovka” all the time (which is a marble  quick bread but she bundt’s it).  So many options.  I was determined to take this baking challenge by storm, and I made THREE different flavours of quick breads.  One turned out well enough, one flopped horribly, and the last was magnificent.  I have no pictures of the flop, and I was very upset with it, but I will share my experiences anyways.

Lemon Loaf (Adapted from Recipe Girl’s Meyer Lemon Loaf)

  • 2 and 2/3 cups flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • zest of 3 lemons
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 and 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup + 1 tbsp butter, melted and cooled

pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees

flour and baking powder in one bowl. Thank you Sous- chef!

Sugar, eggs, lemon peel, whisk! You'll know when its ready, it will be a delightful sunshine colour

Add the Flour and baking powder in groups until mixed well, then add the butter in parts and mix well again. Put in greased loaf pans

bake for 50-55 minutes. Start checking on it around 45 minutes just incase. When the knife comes out clean from the center you're done!

  • SIMPLE SYRUP:
    ½ cup granulated sugar
    ½ cup (120 ml) water
  • Juice from 1 medium lemon

bring water and sugar to a boil until sugar is noticeably dissolved, take off heat, add lemon juice, glaze your hot loaves that are cooling on a rack

What did I think of my lemon loaf?  It tasted fantastic.  I had the same problem with it though, that I always have with loaves.  Density.  My baking powder is old, and therefore less potent, but I’ve watched my mother use baking powder that could be up to years old and still get super fluffy Babovky.  Hmmm….

Audax Artifix Pizza Quick bread

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar (I omitted. Sugary pizza?? In hindsight maybe it would have helped)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese (I omitted)
  • 1/4 chopped Sun-dried tomatoes (+ 2 tbsp oil)
  • 2 tbsp italian herbs
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 sausage fried
  • few strips of pre-cooked, chopped bacon (I added that on my own)

Pre-heat to 325, do the usual.  Mix flour and Baking soda, set aside.  Fry your onion with your sausage, and bacon, mix those with the tomatoes, eggs, buttermilk, herbs, sour cream.  Then sift in the flour mixed and bake for around an hour.  My fail was this: It was the super bowl.  I thought my husband and his friends would enjoy a nice, strong, pizza flavoured quick bread.  He had chilli on the stove.  My oven cannot multitask. Half the burners only work at half power if the oven is on, and half won’t even work if the other two are on.  One hour passed, not done.   One and a half hours passed, it looked done, passed the knife test because the outside was so crispy so I took it out and allowed it to cool.  The moment I flipped it on to my rack it broke in half and the middle, completely raw, oozed out, and in a panic I tried to get it all back in the pan and back in to the oven.  That’s when my husband said I looked like a child because I was sulking and stomping my foot, honestly I don’t blame him. LOL! So, after another I dunno, another Hour? I finally took it out for good and though it did taste quite good, it had the texture of my mothers thanksgiving stuffing.  Over moist and super dense.  Fail fail fail!!  I need redemption.

Pumpkin Loaf with Maple Cream Cheese Filling

Makes three 8”x 4” (20 x 10 cm) loaves
Adapted from Dana Ramsey’s recipe

filling:

  • 2 packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

Pumpkin Bread

  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 1 3/4 cup pumpkin puree (NOT PIE FILLING!!)
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cloves

Pre-heat your oven to 350, grease THREE loaf pans

First things first, make the filling.  Beat the cream cheese with the sugar, egg, milk until creamy (you know, when it no longer resembles cottage cheese lol!) then add your syrup, blend it, and put it away.

beat sugar, eggs, pumpkin oil and water

mix all your ingredients, MINUS THE BAKING SODA AND BAKING POWDER**

in groups, add the dry to wet

when it's all blended, THEN add your baking powder and soda, and just stir gently until incorporated. Pour in your loaf pans, 1/4 full. Spoon cream cheese down middle, put more batter on top to cover it.

Bake it for 50 minutes – 1 hour. Keep and eye on it, my oven made me keep it in longer, but my oven is on its last legs.  Now if you want to know why I left the lifters (baking powder, and soda) til the end, it’s because I finally listened to my mother.  That is how she does it with her cakes, and no matter how old her baking powder is it always seems to work perfectly.  She attributes it to using it as late as possible in order to keep it from “wearing off”.  She doesn’t know the actual science to it, obviously I don’t either, but that’s just how she was taught so that’s how I did it.   How did it work out for me?

You tell me!

My loaves SWELLED up.  I have never had this kind of lift in ANY of my baking before! and the crumb? Well… Hello Breakfast!

mmmmm. No filling on the first slice, awww

What a wonderful challenge.  I can’t wait to use what I learned in my other baking ventures!

Slow Cooker chicken in Oyster Sauce


My lordy! We all know how much I love my slow cooker.  Love! Well, the other day, the cord turned out to be freyed at the bottom because of the awkward manufacterer placement, and it blew a hole in my countertop.  My dad couldn’t even fix it and he could teach McGuyver a thing or two about creating stuff. So my mother ran over her slow cooker she never uses, and i’m very happy for it but it is so small! Hardly big enough for a family of four, but needless to say today i’m giving it a test drive.  I bought Oyster sauce over the weekend for a challenge recipe, but it turns out I was reading the wrong recipe. I’m glad to have it in the house though, i’m a big fan of the asian flavours and sauces so I’m going to try something and hopefully it turns out just right.
Slow Cooker Chicken in Oyster Sauce
  • 2 chicken breasts, defrosted and cut in to chucnks
  • 1/2 cup oyster sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp honey or brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • white pepper to taste
Toast your pine nuts at 325 for about 15 minutes. Keep an eye on them!
Put the chicken in first, then mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and pour over the chicken. High for 4 hours, low for atleast 6.  I served it over noodes, but I wish I had rice.  Rice is perfect to soak up the wonderful flavour of the sauce.  About 30-40 minutes before they’ll be finished you should add a paste of 1 tsp corn starch + water to thicken it up a little. It will only thicken if the contents are boiling.  Serve over your rice (or macaroni hah!) and eat!

Pasta with Broccoli, roasted galic, and pine nuts


I love thrift stores. Its not even the clothes and such that I like when I go to thrifting with my friend, its the books I get lost in.  Books and Pyrex.  Yes, its true, I collect milk glass pyrex. Back to the books, I can’t even name how many book series I’ve completed in my library through thrift stores and the cook books they have are unreal. Vintage old cookbooks, new cook books, cook books you never even thought existed. Lucky me, I found two cookbooks that peaked my interest greatly. One was a french country fare cookbook, very french traditional country meals. It had lots of sauces, stews, pot pies and thick pastry recipes, it even had recipes for rabbit and squab! So I had to pick it up, especially since it was $0.99. How can you say no? Aside from that, I picked up “The White Queen” by Phillipa gregory, which is a book I lost when moving, and I picked up a quick from scratch pasta cookbook.

What caught me about the pasta cook book, is that it has all these pasta night recipes, yet almost everything in here I already have stashed in my pantry regularly. So, This recipe is coming straight from the cookbook callled “Food and Wine Magazines Quick Pasta from Scratch” (tho, none of the pasta in the book is made from scratch.. go figure.)

Pasta Shells with Broccoli, Roasted Garlic and Pine Nuts

  • 1 head garlic, seperated in to cloves and roasted
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 lbs broccoli florets
  • eyeball up your Rotini
  • 1/4 cup parmasan, plus more for serving

*The recipe itself calls for Orecchiette pasta, which is prett much large shells.  I did not have this, and it is a blizzard outside so rotini it is.

Garlic in oil, roast at 325 for 30 mins, throw in the pine nuts at the 15 min mark so they toast for 15 minutes

mmmm. they'll look like this when they're done. Be careful not to overtoast the nuts, nuts taste baaaaaad burnt

Our delicious ingredients. mmm! Broccoli. At this point you want to squeeze the pulpy part of the garlic out of the skin in to the oil. Remember to make sure the garlic is cool enough to handle when you do this. Burnt fingers in oil -> no good.

boil the broccoli til just finished, and cook your pasta. I used rotini because it was all i had

boil the broccoli til just finished, and cook your pasta. I used rotini because it was all i had

Drain pasta, reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water. Combine everything, plus 1/4 cup pasta water and the parmasan. If the pasta looks dry, add the remaining 1/4 cup pasta water

Now mange mange mange!

 

So… What did I think of this recipe.  Well the pine nuts were the star.  The garlic didn’t lend enough of its flavour to this meal in my opinion, though you’d get a few bursts of that delicious roast garlic here and there.   I left out the seasoning of the garlic oil because I’m not a fan of a lot of salt in my meals but in hindsight I may keep it next time.  Other than that, it was good tasting. Fresh, and nutty.  I liked it!

French Onion Salisbury Steaks


In keeping with what I learned this month about patties, I thought since its valentines day I would make a special dinner for the ones I love.  I got this recipe from the challenge itself, but it isn’t part of my entries for the challenge itself. I didn’t have overly high hopes, I find just basic beef patties to be quite flavourless, much like the Karbonatky my mother used to make all the time, but it was absolutely delicious! So flavourful, and spicy from the changes I made. Oniony.  Mmm!!  I was going to lay the patty on a slice of toasted Baguette with cheese, but my darling husband didn’t get home in time.. Also, he forgot the baguette. Sheesh!

French Onion Salisbury Steaks

Courtesy of Cuisine at Home April 2005 edition, tweaked to what I had in my cupboards.

  • 1 lbs ground beef
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped (close to 2 cups atleast)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp chilli paste
  • 2 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • some more salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves

Mix the ground beef with the green onion, salt, pepper, and parlsey

Oil in pan, get it hot then lightly dredge 4 patties you make from it in flour, and put it in the oil. 3-4 minutes each side should do, just need to brown them.

Remove from heat when nice and browned, I put them on a rack over paper towel so that the oil can drip off some

Throw the onions and sugar in the pan, and let those sautee for 5 minutes

after 5 minutes add the chilli paste, mix around and sautee another minute

add the broth, and the remainder of the seasonings. Return the patties to the broth mixture and simmer for 20 minutes.

Yum!

I was so surprised with how delicious this turned out.  My husband is going to be bowled over by this dish, and the kicker was it really wasn’t hard at all!  Happy Valentines everyone!

Daring Cooks – February 2012 – The Pattie!


 The Daring Cooks’ February 2012 challenge was hosted by Audax & Lis and they chose to present Patties for their ease of construction, ingredients and deliciousness! We were given several recipes, and learned the different types of binders and cooking methods to produce our own tasty patties!

Audax adapted a number of popular recipes to come up with the challenge patty recipes and Lisa has chosen to share two recipes – California Turkey Burger adapted from Cooking Light Magazine, and French Onion Salisbury Steak adapted from Cuisine at Home magazine.

So, this months cooking challenge is the Pattie!  Pause now, if you listen carefully you can hear my husband screaming and cheering for this.  Daring cooks, Audax and lis, he is giving this a standing ovation!  Ever the meat fan, the burger fan, I can hear his enthusiasm, and in his eyes I can see stacks and piles of homemade burgers, full of bacon and cheese and other endless combinations of heart stopping ingredients.   What have I gotten myself in to?

I must admit though, after seeing some of the  variations and knowing that I definitely could use patty preparation practice (thats almost a tongue twister), I was thrilled to attempt a variation that not only has ZUCCHINI in it, but it will finally give me an excuse to have prosciutto in the house!  So here we go,  Patty making a la Darrrrrrrring.

Zucchini, prosciutto & cheese fritters

Servings: makes about 8-10 two inch (five cm) fritters
Recipe can be doubled
adapted from http://smittenkitchen.com/2011/08/zucchini-fritters/
  • 2 medium sized Zucchini’s
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ cup grated cheese (A sharp cheddar was recommended)
  • 5 slices prosciutto, cut into small pieces
  • ½ cup all-purpose (plain) flour plus ½ teaspoon baking powder, sifted together
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp chilli paste
  • 1 tsp black pepper, freshly cracked
  • 2 tbsp oil, for frying

Grate your zucchini in to a bowl, add the salt and set aside for 10 minutes atleast

pan fry your Prosciutto, when thats done, back to the zucchini. Squeeze drain it thru a cloth or towel. You'll get a lot of liquid. Discard the liquid

add all your ingredients together, leave the egg til last. Remember to lightly beat it. Then preheat the oil in your pan

Scoop some batter in to the hot pan, I used an ice cream scoop. Flatten them down. If they're too thick, they won't cook properly. Fry for 3-4 minutes, 3 was on the dot for me, and flip. Fry other side for 2-3 minutes

I pat dryed them with some clean paper towel after frying. I hate oil puddles on my plates. Then serve! Well recieved


So this challenge surprisingly went off without a hitch.  Not a single issue, not a cooking problem, nothing.  This was my first time trying prosciutto (I know, the horror) and to be honest cooking it made the room smell like dog food a little, but it tasted really good.  Like very salty bacon.

I think my next attempt will be more adventurous! Maybe i’ll succumb to my husbands demands and make some form of stuffed burger patty,  OR, I could always spite him by making the turkey karbonatky.

Easy Moms Sundried Tomato Pasta


Laid back night here in the homestead.  I didn’t take any meat out, was thinking it was a kraft dinner night, but I decided I would just pantry up something yummy.  So here it is! Easy Moms Sundried Tomato Pasta. This recipe is somewhat of an adaption of a recipe a woman I used to live with made all the time, except she used 2 containers of flavoured cream cheese, spaghetti, and no tuna or onion.  I never really liked the addition of cream cheese as a sauce, it felt too heavy, but I thought if i used less it could work out better.  Less is more, right?  It turned out wondeful.

Easy Moms Sundried Tomato Pasta

  • 1 handful sundried tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 tbsp oil from the sundried tomato jar
  • 1 can tuna
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese (or half a brick)
  • salt/pepper to taste

Boil some water for your pasta of choice, I used rotini, feel free to improvise on the pasta front and cook that however you would cook normal pasta.  In a frying pan, put the 2 tbsp oil in and heat, then salt the oil.  Add chopped onion and let it cook until it becomes opaque, a few minutes, and add the tomatoes.  Cook that around for a few minutes to let the oils mix around with the onion, it will become a reddish brownish colour from the tomatoe.  Add the can of tuna, and cook more, and salt/pepper to taste.   Keep that going for a few minutes at med-med low until the pastas nearly ready and then add your cream cheese.  I pushed the cream cheese around with a wooden spoon until it melted as best it would and mixed it all together.  Spoon it out on to your pasta and eat. Delicious.  I could never figure out why I stayed away from sun-dried tomatoes so long.

Meatball Sunday


To continue with the princess food, I really don’t see it but according to my daughter, Meatballs are the epitome of princess fare.  I think this was more because she saw my dad had bought me a box of pre-cooked meatballs because they were on sale and he owed me $10.  Slow cooker meatballs sounded like exactly the effortless dinner I needed to make after baking all afternoon.  So I mixed all my ingredients in the slow cooker on off, then added the frozen meatballs, and put it on high and mixed the hard ice balls around til they looked sauced up.  This is the sauce a made, I like to refer to it as the “fridge door” sauce, since everything I used can be found in the fridge door, keeper of condiments.

Fridge Door Meatball Sauce

  • 1 box frozen meatballs (about a pound)
  • 3 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 spoons chilli paste
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup beef broth
  • 1/4 cup HP steak sauce
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • just over 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce (or westershestershurshetsher lmao)
  • 3 heaping spoons of strawberry jelly
  • salt and pepper to paste

So basically its as I said above. Mix it all in the slow cooker to save time, minus the jelly, then pop in the meatballs and sauce them up a little. Put the heaping spoons of jam on top of different areas of meatballs, the heal will make it melt so don’t worry about stirring it in immediately. Let them cook on high for 4 hrs, or low for 6.  Once they’ve defrosted they’ll be easier to sauce.

When they finished they were delightfully spicy, but not overspicy, with a small hint of sweetness.  Delicious!