My search for the perfect banana bread ended years ago.  There are plenty of recipes out there, but none that fit my tall list of criteria.  So many have a dead bland banana flavor, others are too dry, or full of overpowering seasoning.  This recipe, which is my standby banana bread, is to my taste, the best. It has just the right amount of sweetness (not a lot), a crispy , crunchy, buttery crust, a moist bananay interior, and a delightful tang from the baking soda.   Chunks of dark chocolate melt into the bread making it just a little more special.

This is why, though I attempted to give another recipe a try last weekend, I simply could not find another one worth baking.  Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread, developed from years of tinkering, is the one for me.   We ate this bread for dessert after a disappointing football game, the rest served as a happy surprise in my son’s school lunch.

Read the rest of this entry »

Breakfast Pizza

January 15, 2012

Pizza for breakfast is nothing new, but generally it conjures up images of bleary-eyed rifling through the refrigerator for something to eat after a late night.  Since we make pizza nearly every Friday night, it is not uncommon for someone in our family to nibble on a slice while waiting for the “real” breakfast to be served.  “Real” breakfast at our house is more commonly pancakes, waffles, eggs of some incarnation, or perhaps a muffin or scone.  (We eat our fair share of cereal as well).

Friday nights are usually pizza night at our house.  However last week, our Friday night plans changed at the last minute and all I could think of was how we could make pizza for breakfast instead!  The dough was already in the refrigerator, we have frozen pesto in the from last summers’ garden basil explosion, and a lug of bacon I could not pass up at the store the other day.   Pizza for breakfast was inevitable.

Breakfast Pizza earns its sincere place at the breakfast table because it boasts both eggs and bacon, quintessential breakfast foods.  On the tossed dough round, pesto creates a base of flavor and color.  The cheese is somewhat lightly scattered, to allow the egg to take center stage.  Cook the bacon until crispy before chopping it and tossing it on the pie.  The eggs are not cooked in advance, simply crack them on top.  I used four which seemed to fit nicely on both the pizza and our plates (there are four of us).  For those of you who do not equate broccoli with breakfast (like half of my family) feel free to leave it off.  I like any chance to toss veggies into every meal and our garden is overflowing with broccoli right now.  Like any pizza there are a million variations.  Pesto could easily be replaced with roasted garlic sauce, tomato-based pizza sauce, or simply a brush of olive oil.  Change out sausage for the bacon or leave them off altogether for a vegetarian meal.  Not into broccoli? Try asparagus in the spring or tomatoes in the summer.  Nothing even says you have to eat this for breakfast, it would be a great lunch or dinner as well.

This post is featured on Yeastspotting.

Read the rest of this entry »

2011 was not my favorite year, which seems silly when I think of all the giggles and thrills that graced the last 12  months.  My son learned to swim, my daughter to climb trees with ease, our family to adventure by canoe.  We ate a lot of very good food.  The many good moments cannot, unfortunately, overlook the abundance of unexpected misfortune and challenges that betook my family and friends. We are all looking forward to a better 2012.

I am hard up to think of a better way to start a day (or a year) than with a tall steaming stack of pancakes.  Way back when, I asserted my love for pancakes in my first post on this blog.  Those Buttermilk Pancakes continue to be our weekly standard, but sometimes we are craving something a little different (or do not have any buttermilk in the house).  On those days we have Buckwheat Blueberry Pancakes.  Buckwheat blends with whole wheat and all purpose flours to produce a pancake that has the characteristic blue hue of buckwheat, but the lightness of a regular pancake.  A touch of yogurt in the mix gives them a pleasant moist quality.  I like to dot the top of each cooking pancake with blueberries, but they are also very good with a mashed banana mixed into the batter.  Stack the pancakes with just a touch of butter between the layers and stream Mixed Berry Syrup over the top.  I am off to whip up another batch to welcome my family into the New Year!

Read the rest of this entry »

The holidays are upon us.  Anticipating a busy couple of weeks, we have transformed our home into a full-fledged  Christmas scene.  The tree is up, Santa Lucia is perched on the buffet, and the winter mugs in the morning coffee rotation.  While trying to convince the over-eager children that it is too early to start hanging ornaments on the advent calendar (whose idea was it anyway to decorate for Christmas in November?), we have been brainstorming ideas for edible holiday gifts.

I love making edible gifts for just about any occasion. Cooking for others is a way to treat those we appreciate with a delicious treat and share a bit of ourselves in the process.  It is best to plan ahead and start cooking early so that the making and giving does not become a stressful burden.  Riding the food hangover following Thanksgiving, our first foodie gift to make was Cranberry Cashew Granola Bars.

These granola bars are just sweet enough to count as a treat, but full of wholesome ingredients so they are also right at home in your little one’s school lunch bag.  The bars hold together pretty well, better than other granola bars I have tried.  Any crumbly bits taste tremendous sprinkled atop yogurt and fruit for breakfast.  Feel free to change up the types of nuts and dried fruit, just be sure to use equal quantities.  If you are using roasted nuts or toasted wheat germ, do not toast them again in the oven, instead add those items to the bowl with the cranberries.

Read the rest of this entry »

Super Tasty Home Fries

November 14, 2011

Home-fried potatoes seems so simple, yet for years they eluded me.  The challenge lies in achieving a crispy browned exterior on the potato without having to use copious amounts of oil.  Starting with raw potatoes, I always found that the outside browned before the inside could cook through.  Since I always used oil rather judiciously, the potatoes would stick to the pan and we would miss out on the flavorful, crispy skin.  After much trial and error, I developed this recipe which results in perfectly seasoned potatoes with just the right amount of crunch, all with only a little bit of oil.

Super Tasty Home Fries start with cooked potato.  You can either boil them briefly or use leftover baked potato.  Either work well.  I used russet potatoes for the picture, but really any type of potato works well. The dish begins on the stove-top and finishes in the oven.  It works best with a cast iron skillet, but any oven safe pan will work.  In a pinch, you can spread out the potatoes on a baking sheet.  Saute the onion with the spices, then add the potato and toss in the oven.  For a cheesy touch, melt cheddar over the top of the potatoes in the final minutes.  These home fries are a staple at our house.  They really are super tasty!

Read the rest of this entry »

%d bloggers like this: