14 Hour Bake-a-thon

Have I mentioned my dear friend Julie?  She invited me over for a baking day.  I thought, sure, sounds like a blast.  We can sit and catch up, bake a little, do some dishes and hang out.  Yeah, except I forgot that Julie does nothing by halves.  As you can guess by the title, we did very little hanging out and a whole hell of a lot of baking and dishes.  She bought $200 worth of supplies for us to bake with at Sam’s Club.  This included a bake of Nestle Morsels the size of my pillow.  I don’t know where our shared husband Henry gets the energy to keep up with her.  The supplies are pictured below:

When Super Woman shops

It was a long, grueling day.  We needed a pizza or three at the end just to stop breathing in the sugar.  We made 5 or 6 different types of cookies, two types of bark, two types of bread, two types of bars, two types of cheesecake, and one cupcake recipe.  There may have been more, but I am attempting to block it.  Julie tried to help me keep up with her with a constant supply of blended and iced coffee.  She also made a yummy and healthy chicken salad that I now have developed a slight addiction for.  It was made out of cubed chicken, craisins, celery, pecans, mayo and a hint of Dijon mustard rub-YUM!

Oops

I made some biscotti, on accident, that smelled remarkably like charcoal.

Had to toss that experiment out.

But all in all it was a great day, and I appreciate Julie letting me come over and play in the kitchen all day.  I thought I would share one of the recipes that we made, it was just really hard to make a choice.  One was the ginger cookie that I shared in a previous post, so that would be silly to redo.  I finally decided to share the Hummingbird Bread recipe that Ms. Julie found in a magazine.  I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it, especially since we had to mess around with the recipes as Julie’s family had eaten the bananas she had bought to put in the bread.  We substituted maraschino cherries for the bananas and it still turned out.  I, personally, think that the bread is awesome enough to stand without either, but you can decide for yourself.

Pineapple Hummingbird Mini Loaves

Ingredients:

Bread
  • 1 packages – yellow cake mix
  • 1 packages – vanilla flavor instant pudding, 3.4 oz.
  • 4 – eggs
  • 1/4 cups – vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoons – ground cinnamon
  • 1 cans – Dole crushed pineapple, juice drained, 1 cup reserved
  • 2 – medium ripe bananas, well mashed (1 cup)-we used a half a cup of chopped  maraschino cherries here
  • 1/2 cups – chopped walnuts
Cream Cheese Glaze
  • 2 ounces – cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tablespoons – milk
  • 1/2 cups – powdered sugar

Directions:

Bread

Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Combine cake mix, dry instant pudding, reserved pineapple juice, eggs and oil in large bowl with mixer for 2 minutes, or until blended. Add crushed pineapple, bananas and nuts; mix just until blended.

Pour prepared batter into 5 foil mini loaf pans sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Bake 40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool completely.
Cream Cheese Glaze
While bread is baking you can make Cream Cheese Glaze:
Combine 2 oz. softened cream cheese with 1 tablespoon milk and 1/2 cup powdered sugar; drizzle over cooled loaves.
Drizzle Cream Cheese Glaze over cooled loaves.

Super Tasty even before we added glaze!

A Much Needed Success in the Cornbread Department

Ever have a person in your life that was like a bad cigarette habit?  You know that the best thing for you is to quit, and you know that irreparable damage is being done to yourself, but you have invested so much of your life in that habit, and you really enjoy parts of it, even now.  In light of the current stress and to avoid spending the next 6 weeks sobbing into my pillow, drinking unhealthy amounts of vodka while relearning how to smoke and putting the Bridget Jones DVD on a loop, I am turning to my kitchen for therapy.  Look out dieters, here I come.

Day one of kitchen therapy. I recently read a lovely free book about Soup and Bread.  This has inspired me to go out and purchase a 16 quart stock pot so I can learn how to make soup.  Clearly I am reaching out for comfort, as I have never felt that urge before.  The book also contained the seeds for the cornbread recipe that may be “the one”.  If you have been following my blog, and if not why not?, you know that I have been trying to find a great cornbread recipe.  The recipe that follows is just about perfect.  Super moist, not too cakey, and just sweet enough.

The cornbread was served alongside a basic turkey chili.  I know that there are purists in the chili department who will cry over the lack of beef or the beans.  To them I would say that there is enough divisiveness in the world, just look at any race for public office.  Let it go.  I won’t force you to eat beans, people from Cincinnati won’t force me to serve with noodles and we can all enjoy our own version of chili in peace.  This recipe is for a mild, fairly plain chili.  That is the beauty of it, you can add more/different spice as your personal preferences call for.

Corn Bread

Ingredients

1 cup flour

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1/3 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 eggs

1/4 cup melted butter, cooled

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°.  Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with vegetable oil.  In a large bowl whisk the dry ingredients (flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt) together.  In a separate bowl, whisk the wet ingredients (butter, eggs, buttermilk, heavy cream) together.  Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients.  Stir just until combined, taking care not to overmix.  Let the batter rest for 5 minutes, then spoon into muffin tin, filling each cup 3/4 full.  Bake 18-20 minutes, or until muffins are golden on top.
Basic Turkey Chili

Ingredients:

1.5 lbs lean ground turkey

1/2 cup reduced sodium chicken broth

1/2 medium onion, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, crushed

2-15.5 ounce cans of kidney beans, drained and rinsed

2-14.5 ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes, crushed

2-15 ounce cans tomato sauce

1/4 cup chili powder

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 bay leaves

1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1 dash cayenne powder

Directions:

Add turkey, onion, garlic, and chicken broth to a large pot.  Brown the turkey until cooked completely.  Add remaining ingredients to the pot.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for at least 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.  The longer the chili simmers the more the flavors blend together. Remove the bay leaves and serve with whatever toppings work best.

The Eternal Search for Cornbread

I am on an eternal (or so it feels) search for a cornbread recipe.  Now I know what you are thinking, that your future grandmother is already showing signs of early dementia.  I do realize that there are cornbread recipes everywhere, I am just searching for the perfect one.

One of my favorite things that my Grandma Jane made was cornbread stuffing.  One of my favorite meals as a kid was when my dad would make us cornbread for supper.  He would bake an 8×8 pan of cornbread and serve it with sausage links.  My son (the man you will know as dad) is pretty skeptical, but an 8×8 pan of cornbread and one package of frozen sausage links used to feed our family of 6.  You have to love the power of such a simple dish to invoke so much nostalgia.

I love the idea of cornbread, and am sooooooooo ready to settle down with a recipe of my own, if only I could find it.  Luckily, your future dad is only 18 and has not started dating a future mom, so I have some time.  The recipe below, shared on food.com, was not the perfect cornbread that resides in my imagination.  It was moist, not too sweet, and my dad would probably approve, but it just wasn’t the one.  This recipe called for an 8″ cast iron skillet.  I do not happen to own a cast iron skillet, there are only so many kitchen tools one can own when you have a kitchen the size of a tiny walk-in closet.  I used an 8″ baking stone and skipped preheating it and adding the oil, as the stone is seasoned enough to be nonstick.  I can tell you that the fun of not following instructions well is that when you neglect to stir the eggs and buttermilk together first, you can find bits of cooked egg in your cornbread!  Ah well, cooking, like life, is an endless adventure.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup yellow corn meal
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 450° F
  2. Heat oil in an 8″ cast iron skillet for 5 minutes (or skip this step like I did and use a baking dish)
  3. Combine all dry ingredients in a medium bowl, making a well in the center
  4. Stir together the egg and buttermilk (oops) and pour into the well made into the dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened
  5. Pour into the hot skillet and bake for 20 minutes or until golden

Cornbread trial #832

Blueberry Streusel Bread

Every summer Saturday I try to make it to the West Bend farmer’s market.  I just love wandering up and down the street imagining what I could cook that week with what is available.  It is inspiring to see the potential that is being offered by the bushelful.  There is a lady that grows 30-40 varieties of garlic.  Who knew there were so many delicious ways to enjoy turning off vampires?  She is one of my favorite stops.  The other is this kind gentleman who sells fruit.  He has cherries that look so amazing you would swear they were fake.  More importantly, he also sells blueberries.  He is so well-known for these berries that he needs 2-3 helpers each week to take care of the line that snakes around other stalls and through the park.  I love being able to pick up a few pints and make one of my mother’s favorite treats, blueberry streusel bread.  I originally got the recipe from the Cooking Club website.  I altered it just a touch, as mom is allergic to nuts.  I hope you all enjoy, and let me know what your favorite family blueberry recipe is.

Ingredients

  • BREAD

    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 cup butter, chilled, cut up
    • 2/3 cup buttermilk
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1 egg, beaten
    • 1 cup fresh blueberries
    • dash of cinnamon
  • TOPPING

    • 2 tablespoons uncooked oatmeal
    • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
    • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    Instructions

    1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 9×5-inch loaf pan or spray with nonstick cooking spray. In large bowl, stir together 2 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With pastry blender, cut in 1/4 cup butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs.
    2. Stir in buttermilk, vanilla and egg until dry ingredients are just moistened. Gently stir in blueberries. Spoon into pan.
    3. In small bowl, stir together all topping ingredients; sprinkle over batter in pan.
    4. Bake 1 hour 5 minutes to 1 hour 10 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely on wire rack.