Archive Page 2

03
Nov
12

mmmmmmm……..coffee cake!

Fall is in full swing in the Pacific Northwest.  We’ve been having almost non-stop rain in Portland for the entire month of October.  As we enter in to the month of November, Katie and I are still eating bounty from our garden and enjoying the fruits from the trees.  I’m especially happy about the crop of fresh figs we have this year.  Last year the tree was loaded with fruit, but none of it ever ripened.  This year it’s falling on the ground, there is so much of it!

That being said, what does one do with so many fresh figs?  Well, some of them get sent to work for our co-workers to enjoy.  I made some fig bars one weekend, mostly to try the recipe and then ship off to our respective jobs.  Everyone approved.  During this week I cooked a bunch of figs down with some added honey and sugar.  Not having a plan for this fig jam, I just let things evolve, as I do.  This morning the fig jam had a purpose.

Chop up fresh figs, throw ’em in a pot, add sugar and honey to your taste and just let it cook down. If it’s still chunky, you can puree it; I used a stick blender to smooth this.

As most of you know, I love Ruth Reichl.   I am still sad about the demise of Gourmet magazine.  It was far superior to Bon Appétit, in my humble opinion.  Thank goodness I held on to tons of my old Gourmets.  One thing I am especially happy I saved is the Letter from the Editor page that I ripped from the December 2001 issue.  It is safely wrapped in a protective plastic sleeve and inserted into my binder of often used recipes.

One usually does not find a recipe on the Editor page, but good ol’ Ruth shared this one from Marion Cunningham’s The Breakfast Book.  It is a very straightforward, simple, delicious coffee cake.  The addition of fig is my contribution to the recipe.

A beautiful, basic coffee cake. This smells so good!

FIG COFFEE CAKE

2 STICKS UNSALTED BUTTER

1 CUP SUGAR

3 EGGS

2 ½ CUPS ALL PURPOSE FLOUR

2 TEASPOONS BAKING POWDER

1 TEASPOON BAKING SODA

1 TEASPOON SALT

1 CUP SOUR CREAM

5 TEASPOONS VANILLA

FIG JAM

Pre-heat oven to 350°  Cream butter and sugar together in the bowl on a standing mixer.  Add eggs, one at a time, until incorporated.  In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add this to the butter mixture.  Stir sour cream and vanilla together and add to the batter.  Mix just until everything comes together to a smooth, thick batter.

Grease a non-stick 10 inch bundt pan.  Spoon half of the batter into the pan, smoothing evenly.  Make a sort of ditch in the center of the batter.  Fill the ditch with fig jam.  Spoon the remaining batter over the top and spread evenly.  Bake for about 45 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes;  remove cake from pan.  You can serve this warm or at room temperature.

You can serve it plain. Plain sounds pretty ordinary, but this is not ordinary coffee cake.

Or you can dress it up by drizzling a little honey over the top while it is still warm. This was soooo good!

27
Oct
12

Bingo and Brownies

I’ve been thinking about my paternal  grandmother lately. She has long been a coffin muffin, but still, memories of her are always with me.  Just yesterday, as I was surfing the web, I ran across this site called Foxy Bingo.  I was drawn to the fox’s snappy suit and wondered where I could get such an outfit.  It would make a good Halloween costume, as I would like to be Prince this year or a disco dude.  Then I started to think about my Grandma Ferguson and how much she loved playing Bingo and slot machines.  I wonder, if she was alive today, would she get into the Internet gambling fun?

Grandma loved to dance.  Folk dancing in particular.  If I recall correctly, she taught us the song called Bingo.  Does anyone else know that song?  “A big black dog sat on the porch, and Bingo was his name.  A big black dog sat on the porch and Bingo was his name.  B.I.N.G.O., B.I.N.G.O., B.I.N.G.O.  and Bingo was his name.”  We used to do some folk dance to that song.  I loved it.  Maybe my grandmother liked that song so much because of her love of playing bingo?  I’ll never know.

Grandma Ferguson was not a cook, as I recall.  She was totally addicted to sugar.  Perhaps that’s one of those things I liked best about her; she always had gum and hard candy in her purse.  There was always Kool Aid in the fridge because she said the tap water was undrinkable (and this was in the 60’s!).   Boxes of brownie and cake mix were always present in the cupboard, as well as a pan of brownies on the counter.  All I can remember eating at Grandma’s were sweets.  And not the homemade variety, I can assure you.

The only home I remember her living in was a converted garage in Lemon Grove, California.  I loved that place!  It was so tiny that you had to turn sideways to get through the bathroom door.  Her friend Thelma, a large woman, would have to go down the street to the gas station if she needed to use the facilities, as she could not fit into Grandma’s toilet.  There was actually an upstairs in that garage where we would find all sorts of treasures that she had pack ratted (as my mother would say) away.  I recall finding a cool violin there and begging my grandma to give it to me.  She wasn’t as soft hearted as I had hoped.

Some of my grandmother’s proclivities certainly run through my veins.  I share her love of thrift store shopping, sweets, sewing and creating and a Peter Pan attitude for life.  My mother was always so annoyed with her mother-in-law.  “She’s like a little kid” my mom would complain.  She was embarrassed to go into thrift stores with her. I remember her telling us that Grandma wanted to go to Girl Scout camp with my cousins, making a big deal about it, like Grandma was crazy.  I believe my grandmother had the right idea.  She was living life the way she wanted to.  She was following her bliss, each and every day.  With every swig of Kool Aid and bite of brownie, she was celebrating life.  And if she were alive today, I know she would grab her bag and go with me to the thrift store in search of that foxy suit.  Bingo!

 

P.S.  After watching this clip on YouTube, I’ve decided to be this fox for Halloween!

 

19
Oct
12

whatever, I need a grilled cheese!

With the return of the cooler weather here in the Pacific Northwest, the fall season has begun.  People are busting out their sweaters and umbrellas here in Portland.  Katie is sporting her leg warmers and fingerless gloves and I am craving comfort food.  I have no need for the warm clothing, as I am a hot blooded, menopausal woman.  What I do have a need for is melted cheese.  That’s warming, right?  No, I do not apply it to my body, although it does manage to find it’s way to my thighs, butt and stomach region.  Oh, and probably to my grandmotherly fat arms.  But, like the squirrels in our yard, I need a little extra padding for the winter, or so I tell myself.  Whatever, I need a grilled cheese sandwich.

So, today when I came home from work, I celebrated my Friday with a tasty grilled cheese and apple sandwich.  I figured since people like cheese melted over their apple pie, well some people do, then a sandwich made with cheese and apple might be pretty good.  I was right!  It’s pretty basic really, just bread, cheese and apple.  I used Havarti cheese, an apple from our tree in the back yard, I believe it is called a King apple, Dave’s Killer Bread and coconut oil.

The perfect fall lunch!

Up close and personal

This sandwich would be good with any kind of cheese, apples or bread.  The King apple was super crisp before I grilled the sandwich, but it did not snap when I bit into it.  The Havarti and apple just married perfectly.

Don’t be afraid, or turn up your nose, just try it. It’s not weird, it’s good.

17
Apr
12

Waffles. They’re not just for breakfast.

I love waffles.  I never realized how much I love them until I received the ultimate waffle maker.  Katie gifted me with this fabulous beauty for my birthday this year.

The Kitchen Aid Pro Line

I always coveted the fancy flippy Belgian waffle makers in restaurants and hotels.  Now I have one of my very own and use it weekly.  I thought people were kidding when I read reviews online saying that they make waffles everyday.  Really?  Well, Katie eats a waffle almost every day.  A quarter of one, at least.  They make a great snack.  Just heat them on a low setting in your toaster to re-crisp.  I make a batch on the weekend and freeze them.  Individually wrapped and placed in a freezer bag, they stay fresh for at least a month or two.  Although, we go through them pretty quickly.  I made a big batch to send to Katie’s work for a breakfast function her department was hosting.  All she had to do to re-heat them was place them directly on the oven racks of a pre-heated oven for five minutes and they were good to go.  I heard a lot of the food was left over, but all of the waffles disappeared!

Best waffles I've ever tasted

I’ve made whole grain waffles and chocolate chip waffles.  On Valentine’s Day I made chocolate waffles and served them with a scoop of Hagen Daz Vanilla ice cream and warm cherry sauce on top. But our favorite waffles are the spicy savory kind.  They don’t need topping at all!  I’ve added a few extras to the recipe that came with my waffle maker and they are soooo good.  Try it and you be the judge.

Spicy Cornmeal Cheddar Waffles

 1 ½ cups flour

½ cup cornmeal

1 1/3 cups shredded cheddar cheese (or cheese of your choice

1 tablespoon baking powder

2 teaspoons sugar

½ teaspoon salt

½ -1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

 

1 2/3 cup milk or non-dairy milk (I use soy)

2 eggs

1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil

 

1 serrano pepper, chopped

1 jalapeño pepper, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 – 3 tablespoons soyrizo

In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, cheese, baking powder, sugar salt and cayenne pepper.  In another bowl combine milk, eggs and oil.  Add liquid to dry ingredients; mix gently unitl moistened.  Gently fold in the remaining savory ingredients.

Cook in a preheated waffle maker according to instructions.  They are usually done in about 3 ½ to 4 minutes.

Light, crispy, spicy goodness

 

05
Jan
12

Nothing says Christmas like camping at the beach

This is how we chose to celebrate Christmas 2011. For the past three years we have opted out of the tree, the presents, the stress and hassle. This year was a little different. Instead of no tree we were surrounded by trees. Beautiful, living breathing trees! And the Pacific ocean. Our gifts were the sound of the surf, a walk on the beach on Christmas Eve and a short hike on Christmas morning. Camping in a yurt for Christmas was brilliant! We were toasty warm in that yurt, sipping hot chocolate and watching silly movies on our computer.

Look at this beautiful coast! Katie wandered out on the rocks in search of starfish in the tide pools.

Beverly Beach State Park on the Oregon Coast is a perfect place to get away from the holiday hub bub. But even in the woods, people still decorated their RV’s and yurts. As we were strolling around the camp loop we passed a yurt that was totally tricked out in lights and a decorated tree.

I had never been in a yurt before, have you? It’s this totally cool already-set-up-for-you round tent. It has a locking door, a wood vinyl covered floor, a heater, a sky light, wood frame that ‘s covered in a heavy canvas. Yurts are amazing good fun! Ours had a table with 2 chairs, a futon couch, a coffee table (that became my kitchen) and a bunk bed with a full size mattress on the bottom and a twin on top.

Katie on the front porch of our yurt

We brought our bedding and camped in style with 1000 thread count sheets, a brand new mattress pad cover, down pillows and our down comforter. We were plenty comfortable.

Did you know you can make a pizza without an oven? I did it while we were camping. So easy, so cool, so tasty.

All you need is a pre-made crust and some toppings

I placed a pre-baked crust (Like a Bobali) in a wide skillet. I spread a layer of jarred pesto sauce over the crust, sprinkled some grated cheese, added chopped onion, jalapeño, soyrizo, black olives and tomatoes and more cheese over the top. The pan went on the hot plate, covered it with a lid and turned the heat on to the lowest setting.

Low heat and a lid - could not be easier

Then you just wait for the crust to get hot and all the cheese melts. The pizza will heat all the way through, the bottom gets a little toasty, but not burnt. I checked it periodically as it heated, just to be sure the bottom wasn’t getting too crispy. It was perfect.

There you go, Camp Pizza!

The cheese doesn’t get browned like in a conventional oven, but it the flavor was wonderful. After all, we were roughing it!

This is my portable kitchen, complete with 2 burner hot plate and an electric tea kettle!

We always have more food than we need!

Vampire Gran enjoying the beach on Christmas Eve - look at that beautiful blue sky!

Well, that’s the Readers Digest version of our Christmas at the Beach weekend. I hope you enjoyed the photos. You should do all of these things at least once in your lifetime: Camp in a yurt, walk on the beach and make pizza in a skillet. Happy New Year everyone!

01
Jan
12

2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 16,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

06
Nov
11

On Board the Crazy Train of Inspiration

Inspiration. I love that word. I love the idea of inspired thoughts and action. As human beings we are inspired by our world around us, every day, every moment. We just have to be aware of it.

For example, a few weeks ago as I was quickly breezing through the produce department on my way to the time clock, I overheard a snatch of a conversation between two co-workers. They were talking about Ozzy Osbourne. Bam! It hit me. I knew what I was going to be for Halloween this year. It was that simple and inspired.

Vampire Gran as Ozzy

Ozzy as Ozzy

A little scary

I’m not the only one lookin’ a little old

This was everyone’s favorite shot

Looking at some over ripe bananas in the fruit bowl this morning, I knew some baking had to occur today. Would it be muffins or waffles? I’ve fallen in love with two recipes lately and have been making them weekly. The muffins won the mental coin toss, so I commenced to prepare the pan, mash bananas, and gather my ingredients. The last time I made these muffins I added some sweetened flaked coconut. Everyone raved. I always put chopped nuts in the muffins, usually walnuts or pecans. Inspiration reared up and the bright light came streaming in. I heard the faint angelic voices in my head sing out in unearthly splendor. What if I add cocoa powder today? Chocolate, coconut and pecans = German chocolate goodness. German Chocolate Banana Muffins!

 

Holy breakfast break though, Batman! These are some fantastic treats. But are they really muffins? Or are they naked cupcakes? Cuppins? Muffcakes? (oh, that sounds kinda naughty). Breakfast cupcakes? Whatever we call them, they are inspired goodness. You be the judge.

German Chocolate Banana Muffins

1 ¾ cups spelt flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt (Kosher or sea salt)

¼ cup cocoa powder, sifted

1 ½ cups ripe mashed bananas (about 3 large or 4 medium bananas)

2/3 cups pure maple syrup

1/3 cup canola, sunflower or extra virgin coconut oil, melted

½ cup chocolate chips (use dairy free if making vegan muffins)

½ cup chopped pecans

1 cup flaked coconut

Turbinado sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 375° Prepare 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners or light coating of oil

Whisk together flour, baking powder, soda, salt and cocoa powder in large mixing bowl.

In a smaller bowl mash bananas, oil, and maple syrup together.

Stir wet into dry ingredients until just mixed. Add chocolate chips, pecans and coconut.

Divide evenly into the prepared muffin pan. Sprinkle tops with turbinado sugar.  Bake for about 25 minutes until toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

Store in airtight container for up to 3 days. These freeze beautifully. Double wrap individually in plastic wrap and store in a freezer Zip Lock baggie.

Crazy full of chocolaty coco nutty Germany goodness




Foodbuzz

Foodbuzz
Quantcast

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 102 other followers