Monthly Archives

October 2016

book review, recipe

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child + Exploding Truffles

As though magically conjured, the library book I placed a hold on back in July finally became available last weekend – just in time for Halloween! I wasted no time starting (and finishing) the long-awaited Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, better known to some as “Harry Potter #8.” As with all the others, I read it as quickly as I could, though thankfully this was much shorter than Deathly Hallows.

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For a moment, it was nice to be back in Harry Potter’s world. But I quickly realized it wasn’t the world I know and love. Yes, there was Harry and Ron and Hermione. There was Hogwarts and Professor McGonagall. There was even Draco Malfoy. What was missing was the actual intricacies of the world that J.K. Rowling created, the details that immersed me from the very first chapter of the very first book.

True, this is the script of a play rather than a book. I’m sure a lot of the magic comes across in the costumes, in the acting and on the stage. I can understand that and forgive that it’s just the nature of a play to have less description than a novel.

What makes me wish I hadn’t read it is that being an adult is relatively unmagical – even, oddly, in a magical world. Our famous trio is all grown up. They have jobs and children. They have bad eyesight. It was weird to read, and not just because their adulthood felt pretty much like it does in the muggle world. I think I would’ve been happily comfortable leaving Harry, Ron and Hermione right where we left them (before the final book’s epilogue) – in a magical world full of possibility.

Upon finishing, I decided that the only cure for how I was feeling was chocolate. Everyone knows it has mood-enhancing properties, even in the wizarding world. And, in true Halloween (and Weasley) fashion, I thought it would be fun to make something that was both a trick and a treat – Exploding Truffles.

Since this was my first attempt at making candy, I was a little nervous but mostly excited. Surprisingly, finding the Pop Rocks was the hardest part of the task; it turned out to be a very easy recipe to make. ( if you’re having as much trouble as I did finding Pop Rocks, even at the height of Halloween candy madness, I suggest a trip to Party City.) You can choose whichever flavor you like. I chose strawberry, which worked really well with the chocolate.

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I began by chopping my chocolate into smaller chunks, while my heavy cream simmered on the stove top.

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Once the cream is hot, pour over the chocolate pieces and whisk to melt it until together they form a well-combined and smooth mixture. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 3 hours to firm up. (You could probably read the entirety Cursed Child while it’s chilling.)

After it’s chilled, scoop the ganache into small balls (about ¾ inches) and then roll them between your palms to round them out. This doesn’t really get as messy as it seems like it would.

Pour 4 of the Pop Rocks packets onto a plate or into a bowl, leaving one packet for decorating with later. Roll each truffle ball in the candy until it’s well-covered, setting each completed one on a baking sheet covered in aluminum. It’s best to work quickly so that the Pop Rocks are exposed to the air as little as possible (especially if it’s humid). Mine began crackling as soon as I took them out of the package!  

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Once finished, plate the truffles in the freezer while you prepare the dipping chocolate (I chose dark chocolate). When that is melted and ready, lower each truffle into the bowl of chocolate using a fork and coat well. Be sure to remove any excess chocolate, which can be done by tapping the fork against the side of the bowl.

Place each truffle back on the foiled baking sheet. While the chocolate is still melted – it dries quickly, so I would do it immediately – sprinkle a few Pop Rocks from the last packet on top.

The original recipe suggests letting them sit in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes to set, but I was impatient and they tasted great as soon as the chocolate was set!

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These delicious truffles would be an excellent addition to any Halloween party, Harry Potter-themed party, Harry Potter-themed Halloween party. They are also fun to spring on unsuspecting coworkers in October, or just enjoy them on your average weeknight at home!

Exploding Truffles

  • Servings: 24
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From About.com

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate (about 1 cup chopped)
  • 4 ounces heavy cream
  • 5 .33-oz envelopes popping candy, like Pop Rocks [I recommend 6 to be on the safe side]
  • 12 ounces chocolate candy coating [I recommend dark chocolate]

Directions

  1. Chop the chocolate into small pieces and place it in a medium heat-safe bowl. Place the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring it to a simmer.
  2. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and allow it to soften the chocolate for a minute. Use a whisk to blend the cream and chocolate together. Stir until you have a smooth, homogenous mixture. Press a piece of plastic wrap on top of the ganache and refrigerate it until it is firm enough to scoop, about 3 hours.
  3. Scoop the ganache mixture into small balls, about 3/4″ in diameter, and roll them into circles between your palms. If the ganache starts to melt and stick, use a little cocoa powder on your palms to prevent sticking.
  4. Once they’re rolled into balls, open 4 of the Pop Rocks envelopes and pour them into a small bowl. (Do not open them early, as the humidity in the air will start to make them sticky once the package is opened.) Roll a truffle ball in the Pop Rocks, then roll it briefly between your palms to embed the candy into the ganache. If the rocks don’t stick, briefly roll the truffle between your palms to soften the chocolate, then roll it in Pop Rocks.
  5. Set the coated truffles on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil, and repeat with remaining truffles and Pop Rocks. At this point you want to dip the truffles as quickly as possible, to avoid exposing the Pop Rocks to air for an extended amount of time. However, the ganache might be a bit too soft for dipping, so I recommend putting the truffles in the freezer while preparing the dipping chocolate.
  6. You don’t want to freeze them, just chill them quickly for about 5-10 minutes. If you do not plan on dipping them immediately, do not put them in the freezer, just wrap them well with cling-wrap and refrigerate until you dip them.

  7. While the truffles chill in the freezer, place the coating chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted, stirring every 30 seconds to prevent overheating.
  8. Once the coating chocolate is smooth and the truffles are firm enough to dip, it’s time to dip the truffles. Use dipping tools or a fork to submerge a truffle in the chocolate. Remove it from the chocolate and tap the fork against the bowl several times to remove excess chocolate. Replace it on the foil-lined baking sheet, and, while the chocolate is still wet, sprinkle popping candy from the remaining envelope on top. Repeat with remaining truffles and chocolate.
  9. Allow the chocolate to set in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes. Store Exploding Truffles in an airtight container in the refrigerator, but for best taste and texture, serve at room temperature. Because the popping candy does absorb moisture, these are best eaten within 24 hours of making them, although they will still pop up to 3 days later.

book review, recipe

Blood, Bones and Butter + Lamb Chops

I don’t just enjoy cooking and eating (and writing) about food, I also enjoy reading about it – whether it be literature, a piece of nonfiction or another blog. Most often in my case it comes in the form of a memoir, like my latest read, Blood, Bones and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef. This was buried pretty deep on my to-read list (it’s been hanging out there since 2013) when Goodreads Deals brought it back to my attention. I finally added it to my collection and dug in.  

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For me, nothing compares to extremely detailed descriptions of food that actually existed in real life, food that was often so life-changing that it has made its way to a book, tempting readers from the page. Gabrielle Hamilton’s memoir begins with one such powerful food memory.

She walks us through the preparation for her family’s annual lamb roast, which happened every spring when she was a child. Gabrielle describes her bohemian father, who brought her along to the butcher and later basted several whole lambs with a flavorful, dripping marinade over a crackling open fire. She talks lovingly of her now-estranged French mother who “instilled in [Gabrielle and her siblings] nothing but a total and unconditional pleasure in food and eating.”

Gabrielle didn’t set out to be a chef, but that’s exactly what she becomes. Out of desperation as a teenager, she begins working in a local kitchen, mostly learning on the job. A series of kitchens, a trip around the world and a Masters degree in writing later, she finds herself with an unexpected opportunity to open her own restaurant, and so she does.

Though full of descriptions that made my stomach rumble, Blood, Bones and Butter is about more than just cooking and kitchens. It’s about the family that Gabrielle came from, the family she works with, and the family she is beginning to make.

I kept coming back to the lamb roasts of her childhood. Lacking the backyard to roast an entire lamb, I found a recipe for French-inspired lamb chops and accompanied those with new potatoes and Brussels sprouts, both fresh from the farmers’ market this weekend.

The potato recipe calls for them to be peeled, and so I began there, knowing it could be a little time-consuming. It was, and it was also a little dangerous.

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Tiny potatoes leave little room to hold onto them while wielding a peeler. On top of which, once the skin is removed, they’re quite slippery. Potatoes were flying all over the counter! I eventually made it through (unscathed), cut them in half and put them in a small pot of water, covered by 1-inch.

Then I preheated the oven to 400 degrees F and began prepping the Brussels sprouts. Cut off the bottoms and remove the outer, dark green leaves, chopping the larger ones in half. (I prefer to keep small sprouts whole, but feel free to cut them in half as well.) Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Toss on a foil-covered baking sheet until well-coated. They should roast for about 30-40 minutes, according to your preference. I recommend tossing/stirring about halfway through, so they brown more evenly. (Here they are pre-roasting.)

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With the sprouts in the oven, I began boiling the potatoes and focused on making the butter mixture for the lamb chops. Using a fork, I mixed together the softened butter, mustard, fresh thyme, lemon zest and salt and pepper. Once finished, I put the compound butter in the fridge to stay chilled. (Check the potatoes here and if they’re boiling, reduce heat to a simmer. Set timer for 10-12 minutes.)

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I readied my broiler pan, as directed, and placed the lamb chops on top. I seasoned generously with salt and pepper on both sides.

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With the broiler on high, I put them in for 8 minutes and set my attention to the shallot mixture for the potatoes. I minced a large shallot and mixed it with lemon juice and salt. I let this sit until the lamb chops were finished (about 15 minutes), before tossing with the chopped parsley and cooked potatoes.

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Having never made lamb chops, I found them easier to pull off than I initially expected. I also couldn’t get enough of the rich, buttery potatoes – those will definitely be going in the regular rotation!

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Happily, everything came together to make a fancier-than-usual weekend meal and the perfect addition to Scott’s birthday weekend. In a meal based on Blood, Bones and Butter, it became clear “you can never have too much butter.”*

Lamb Chops with Lemon, Thyme & Mustard Butter

  • Servings: 4
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From: Fine Cooking

Ingredients

  • 4 TBS unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp whole-grain Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, lightly chopped
  • ¾ tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • ⅛ tsp kosher salt; more as needed
  • ⅛ tsp freshly ground black pepper; more as needed
  • 8 lamb loin chops (1-1/2- to 2-inch-thick chops; about 3 lb.), trimmed

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, mash together the butter, mustard, thyme, zest, salt, and pepper until well combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Position an oven rack 5 to 6 inches from the broiler element and heat the broiler to high. Line the bottom of a broiler pan with foil and replace the perforated top part of the pan. Arrange the chops on the pan. Season both sides of the lamb generously with salt and pepper.
  3. Broil until the first side is well browned, about 8 minutes. Turn the chops over with tongs and continue to broil until they’re well browned and the center is cooked to your liking, 3 to 5 minutes longer for medium rare (cut into a chop near the bone to check).
  4. Transfer the lamb to serving plates and top each chop with a dab of the flavored butter. Serve hot.

New Potatoes with Butter, Shallots & Chervil

  • Servings: 6
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Ingredients

  • 2 ¼ lb. small (2-inch) new potatoes, such as Yukon Gold or Yellow Finn, peeled and halved lengthwise (about 14 potatoes)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 large shallot, minced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 6 TBS unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces, softened to room temperature
  • 2 TBS chopped fresh chervil or flat-leaf parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Put the potatoes in a medium pot, add water to cover by 1 inch, and season generously with about 2 TBS salt (the water should taste almost as salty as sea water).
  2. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and gently cook the potatoes until tender when pierced with a fork, 10 to 12 minutes. (You want them to maintain their shape, so be careful not to overcook them.)
  3. Meanwhile, combine the shallot, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt in a small bowl, and let sit for at least 10 minutes (up to 2 hours).
  4. Drain the potatoes and return them to the warm pot. Immediately add the shallot mixture, butter, and chervil or parsley and gently stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.


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*From the wonderful movie, Julie & Julia – thank you, Nora Ephron

book review, recipe

Pumpkin: The Curious History of an American Icon + Pumpkin Pie

Last fall, my cousin Nora and I campaigned hard for Pumpkin: The Curious History of an American Icon at our Good Reads & Good Eats book club – primarily so we could pair it with dinner at The Jolly Pumpkin. We were the only two who voted for it.

Still, the book stayed on my mind, and this fall, I decided to buy a used copy of it – primarily so I could make my very favorite dessert for the blog. Not that I didn’t want to learn the history and virtues of pumpkins; I just really wanted an excuse to make pumpkin pie.

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As the title promises, Pumpkin: The Curious History of an American Icon is chock-full of facts about pumpkins. In fact, as someone’s Grandma Jane wrote in the note that fell out when I opened my new-to-me copy of the book, it contains “absolutely more than you’ll ever remember about pumpkins!”

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Grandma Jane was right! There is way more information than I could ever remember, or that I ever needed to know. I’ll share a few:

In the very early days of farming, pumpkins and squash were basically interchangeable, in name as well as use. They were prized for their ability to grow abundantly in almost any condition and were often fed to livestock. Sweet pumpkin pie originated in the late eighteenth century and  was included in the first American cookbook by Amelia Simmons. By the time manufactured products became widespread, canned pumpkin made using fresh pumpkins in the kitchen seem like “an old-fashioned novelty.” And, even though canning made it possible to eat pumpkin year-round, Americans continued to prefer to eat it in the fall, particularly as part of the Thanksgiving meal.   

That’s probably why I was so looking forward to making pumpkin pie. The fall harvest has arrived – just look at all of the beautiful pumpkins and squash on display at Eastern Market this past Saturday!

I dug up my trusty pumpkin pie recipe, which I love because it’s well-seasoned. There’s nothing worse than a pumpkin pie that tastes like straight-out-of-the-can pumpkin. Though it’s called Scratch Pumpkin Pie, I’ve never actually made it from scratch because I’m way too impatient to spend 4 hours prepping and baking a pie before it’s ready to eat, and this time was no different.

For the crust, though, I shirked my usual go-to (the store bought frozen kind) and decided to go the homemade route. Despite my fear of additional prep time, the homemade crust really didn’t add more than 15 minutes or so. Plus, it tasted better. I used a recipe from one my very first cookbooks (courtesy of my mother, while I was in college), Anyone Can Cook.

I stirred the flour and salt together and then used my pastry blender to cut in the shortening. I filled a small prep bowl with cold water and grabbed a fork and tablespoon to begin moistening the dough.

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I probably ended up using closer to 6 or 7 tablespoons, but the recipe suggests 4-5 tablespoons. Use your best judgement – it shouldn’t be wet but should definitely be well-moistened.

I formed the dough into a ball and flattened that into a thick disk before rolling it out. As directed, I used the rolling pin to help lift the dough into the pie dish. I trimmed the edges where needed, folded any overhang underneath, and pressed the dough to fit the scalloped pattern of my dish.

When not using fresh pumpkin, the prep for the custard filling is easy. I use only 1 can of pumpkin puree (15 ounces), then add in the sugar, salt, spices and eggs. Once that’s combined, stir in the can of evaporated milk. I usually just use a wooden spoon, but you could use a whisk or hand-mixer if so desired.

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If you’re using store bought frozen pie crust, this makes too much filling. Fill the pie to almost the top of the crust; put any leftover filling in a small oven-safe bowl to bake separately in a water bath like a custard. (This is an excellent way to test your filling before you serve it, though I’ve never had any complaints with this recipe!) You’ll also need to watch the cook-time on the smaller portion, as it may not take as long as the whole pie.  

Because I used homemade crust in a larger pie dish (10-inch), this amount filled the pie up perfectly. I covered the edges in foil, so they didn’t brown too quickly and put it in the oven for about 80 minutes. (If using a smaller pie dish or a frozen crust, cook-time will be closer to the original recipe at an hour.)

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I did want some color on my crust, so I removed the foil with about 20 minutes left. You’ll know the pie is done when a knife or cake tester comes out clean. Allow it to cool, and enjoy!

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Pumpkin Pie

  • Servings: 6 to 8
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Adapted from: Cheri B’s Scratch Pumpkin Pie, Food.com

Ingredients

  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 pie shell, 9-inch deep dish up to 10-inch (homemade or store bought)

Directions

  1. In medium bowl, add pumpkin puree, sugar, salt, spices, eggs. Mix until combined, then carefully add evaporated milk and stir.
  2. Pour into pie shell, foil edges, and place on foiled, cookie sheet and bake 350°F for 50-60 minutes. Give knife clean test. If not clean, bake longer. [Larger pie dishes will require longer baking times. My 10-inch pie baked for 80 minutes.]
  3. If using a smaller pie crust/dish, pour leftover pumpkin pie mix into a greased oven-safe dish (up to 1-quart) and bake in a water bath like custard. [This may take less time to bake than the pie.]

Pastry for Single-Crust Pie

  • Servings: 1 pie crust
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From Better Homes & Gardens Anyone Can Cook (Book 20, published in 2007), page 470

Ingredients

  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ cup shortening
  • 4-5 tablespoons of cold water

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, stir together all-purpose flour and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening until pieces are pea-sized.
  2. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of cold water over part of the flour mixture, gently tossing with a fork. Push moistened dough to one side of the bowl. Repeat moistening flour mixture, using 1 tablespoon at a time, until all the flour mixture is moistened.
  3. Form pastry into a ball.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a circle about 12 inches in diameter. [Or larger, if needed to properly fill/cover your pie dish. Mine was closer to 15 inches.]
  5. Wrap pastry circle around the rolling pin to transfer it; unroll circle into a 9-inch pie plate. [Mine was a 10-inch dish.] Ease into pie plate without stretching it.
  6. Trim pastry ½ inch beyond edge of plate. Fold under extra pastry. Crimp edges as desired.

book review, recipe

The Couple Next Door + Coffee-Glazed Banana Bread

From serious memoir to childhood favorite to suspenseful thriller – my last three books have been a little sporadic. The Couple Next Door is certainly more adult than The Secret Garden, but secrets still abound. After a shocking ending to a dinner party with (not surprisingly) the couple next door, Marco and Anne’s seemingly perfect life begins to unravel.

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Shari Lapena’s The Couple Next Door was fast-paced, with new revelations at nearly every turn of the page. With a cast of characters that included an inappropriately flirtatious neighbor, a stay-at-home mom with a questionable past, and a power-hungry stepfather, no one’s motives were clear but everyone was suspect.

As the plot twisted here and turned there, food didn’t play much of a role. Despite starting with a dinner party, nothing much was mentioned aside from coffee. Uncertainty breeds sleeplessness, and the best cure for that is caffeine. In one instance, Lapena points out that the two main characters were “both living mostly on coffee and despair.”

In an effort to impart some comfort on a decidedly uncomforting storyline, I opted to make banana bread – with a coffee glaze. Comfort meets caffeine, thanks to this recipe from A Latte Food.

Like most quick breads, this one is pretty easy to get together. The really hard part is waiting for the baking (and cooling!) before you can finally eat it.

I had already-brewed coffee ready to go, but if you don’t, I suggest starting that process before you make the bread. I began by mashing up the bananas, which is always fun to do first thing in the morning. (Make sure your bananas are ripe. See them pre-mashed below; and mashed, with Beta looking on, wondering why she can’t have some of her favorite fruit too.)

I creamed the softened butter together with the sugars, adding the eggs and vanilla extract once the mixture was light and fluffy. To the wet ingredients, I slowly incorporated the flour, salt and baking soda. Once all was well-combined, I added the mashed bananas, stirring until just mixed.

Once in the prepared loaf pan, I let it bake in the oven for about an hour. With a few minutes to spare before the bread came out of the oven, I began the glaze so I could pour it over the loaf before it cooled completely. I whisked together the powdered sugar, brewed coffee and vanilla extract to form a light coffee-colored glaze.

I drizzled it over the still-cooling banana bread, with a plate underneath to catch any sugar-y drips.

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For those of you who don’t know me, I have a confession to make: I don’t like coffee. (Rory Gilmore would be horrified, I know.) I do, however, love banana bread. I thought the glaze tasted exactly like coffee, but Scott – who loves coffee – thought it tasted more like sugar. When I brought it to work, consensus all around was that it tasted good. If you actually like coffee, and prefer a more coffee-flavored glaze, I would suggest adding the espresso powder.

Or just enjoy it with a cup of coffee.

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Coffee-Glazed Banana Bread

  • Servings: 1 loaf
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Very slightly adapted from: A Latte Food

Ingredients

    Bread

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 3 to 4 medium or large bananas
  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract
  • Coffee Glaze

  • 2 TBS strong coffee, brewed
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp espresso powder (optional)

Directions

    Bread

  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan.
  2. In a small bowl, mash bananas. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter sugar, and brown sugar together until light and fluffy.
  4. Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add in vanilla extract, and mix.
  5. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl. Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, and stir until just combined.
  6. Add in mashed bananas, and mix until combined. Pour into prepared loaf pan.
  7. Bake for about 60 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean with just a few moist crumbs stuck to it.
  8. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Move to a wire cooling rack.
  9. Glaze

  10. While bread is cooling, mix together powdered sugar, vanilla extract, espresso powder (if using), and 2 TBS brewed coffee. If the glaze is thicker than your desired preference, add in additional brewed coffee. [I used 2 TBS of coffee and no espresso powder and it was a perfect thickness; according to many, however, the flavor was not enough like coffee. Additional liquid may be required if adding the powder, but taste as you go to ensure a flavor you like.]
  11. Pour the glaze evenly over the loaf. Allow the glaze to harden completely before cutting into slices.

book review, recipe

The Secret Garden + Baked Oatmeal

I’ve watched the movie The Secret Garden countless times since I was a child (it came out when I was about 7), but until now, I had never read the book. While looking for a “palette cleanser” after my last read, I was delighted to find this on my shelf. I immediately dove in.

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A children’s classic, The Secret Garden has been around since 1911. Orphaned in India, Mary Lennox is brought to live at her reclusive uncle’s mansion in England. She is pale and very thin and has a sour disposition. With some prodding from Martha, the housemaid who brings her meals, Mary begins exploring the grounds. She learns of a secret garden that no one has set foot in for ten years and becomes determined to find it.

Spending time outdoors fuels Mary’s appetite, causing her to put on weight and gain some color in her cheeks. Not only does her health improve, her disposition begins to improve as well. Following the sounds of his cries one night, Mary encounters a cousin she didn’t know she had, a sickly boy named Colin. He is spoiled as she once was, moody and prone to tantrums. He has spent most of his life in his bedroom.

Mary tells him about the secret garden and he too becomes invested in finding it. When she’s not outside in the garden, she regales him with stories about the friendly robin, who shows her the way inside, and Martha’s brother Dickon, who helps her bring it back to life. Colin longs to see it himself and covert arrangements are made so that he can visit it nearly every day.

With fresh air and a renewed spirit, Colin, like Mary before him, begins to regain his health and become more agreeable. The cousins notice, proudly, that they are both getting fatter and stronger by the day. When they are not sneaking roast potatoes and eggs in the garden, they are gobbling down meals of sizzling ham and snow-white eggs at meal times. 

For me, Mary’s first breakfast at Misselthwaite Manor has always been memorable, and I was pleased to see the scene in the book is similar to the one in the movie. When Martha presents her with the porridge (served with “a bit o’ treacle” and a “bit o’ sugar”), she refuses. As she finds her appetite, Mary happily finishes her porridge (and anything else!) when it’s presented to her.     

I found a recipe for Baked Oatmeal with Brown Sugar and Molasses, and decided to make iit on our first chilly, fall morning last weekend. Nothing like a cozy bowl of porridge and a cup o’ tea to warm you up.

A very simple recipe, it’s easy to make even when you’re sleepy first thing in the morning. First, I combined all of the dry ingredients (oats, cinnamon, sugars and baking powder) in a small bowl.

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To that mixture, I added the wet ingredients – molasses, butter extract (which smelled delicious), vanilla extract, milk, water and apple cider vinegar. I know adding the vinegar sounds odd, but as the original recipe warns, do not skip it. Despite adding it, I still found the final product quite sweet and I can’t imagine it without. You can’t even taste it, I promise.

I poured it into two prepared single-serving bowls and baked for about 25 minutes. The bowls I had (or, actually, borrowed from a friend – thanks, Deanna!) were only oven-safe up to 350 degrees, so I couldn’t broil as recommended for the last 3-4 minutes and was left without the crispy top. The oatmeal was excellent anyway, but if you’re able and so inclined, give the broiling a try.

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Baked Oatmeal with Brown Sugar and Molasses

  • Servings: 2 half cup servings
  • Print


Adapted from: Food Faith Fitness

Ingredients

  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 TBS brown sugar
  • 2 TBS sugar
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ cup 2% milk
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 TBS molasses
  • ½ tsp butter-flavored extract (optional)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Spray 2 small baking dishes (single serving sized) with cooking spray and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the oats, cinnamon, brown sugar, sugar and baking powder.
  4. Add in the milk, water, molasses, vanilla extract, butter extract, and apple cider vinegar.
  5. Pour into prepared baking dish and bake for 25 minutes.
  6. If able, turn oven to HIGH broil and broil for the last 3-4 minutes, making sure it doesn’t burn.
  7. Let cool for 5 minutes so you don’t burn your mouth off and then devour!