Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Banana Squash Bread with Mascarpone Icing and Salted Walnuts

I forgot to take pictures. Yes, it's the ultimate no-no for blogging about food. I'm sorry, I was in a rush, it was late and then they were gone. Whisked away to my husband's office. But if I could just describe them for you, just maybe you'll get the picture.


"They were brown, little squares of soft bread flecked with spices generally reserved for the fall. Allspice, cardamom, nutmeg and cinnamon. Freshly ground to make that ubiquitous pumpkin pie spice. A beautiful, yellow squash (from a co-worker) finely grated and mixed with slightly over-ripped bananas made the heart of this bread. It was carelessly topped with a homemade mascarpone cheese blended with a bit of sugar and vanilla. Then on top of it all, just to make it more than you should even tempt, where broken bits of walnuts toasted in butter and then salted."

Can you see it? Can you taste it?

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I gave you 94, it'll have to do.

Even though no picture, I still feel I should share the recipe. Maybe when you make them, you can take a picture and send it to me?

Banana Squash Bread with Mascarpone Icing

26 muffins, adapted from Beard on Bread by James Beard.

  • 3½ cups sifted flour
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup melted unsalted butter and cooled to room temperature
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup rum
  • 2 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • large yellow squash, grated (bananas and squash together equal 15 oz)
  • 1 cup walnuts or pecans, butter toasted and chopped (optional)*

1. Butter 2 loaf pans. Line the bottoms with a piece of parchment paper or dust with flour and tap out any excess. Or line 36 muffin tins with wrappers.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees (350 degrees for loan pans).

3. Sift all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

4. Make a well in the center then stir in the butter, eggs, rum. Finally mix in the banana, squash and nuts (if using).

5. Bake the muffins 15 - 18 mins or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Bake the loaf pans 1 hour or until the inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Storage: Will keep for about a week, if well-wrap
ped, at room temperature. Takes well to being frozen, too.

*For 1 cup of nuts, I used about 2 tbl of butter and a generous pinch of salt. I was going for the saltiness of peanuts out of a can. Just heat the butter and nuts over medium heat, tossing frequently for about 5 minutes. Just before pouring out of the pan toss in a few pinches of salt. Let cool before placing on top of bread.

Mascarpone Icing

I made mascarpone (store bought can be used also) and the recipe can be found here: http://www.darcyeden.com/posts/2012/3/4/homemade-mascarpone.html?lastPage=true&postSubmitted=true

  • 8 oz. mascarpone, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar*
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 - 2 tbl heavy cream or half and half

Mix mascarpone, sugar, vanilla and salt. Add 1 tbl at a time of the cream or half and half until you have a spreadable consistency.

Spread on cooled bread and top with nuts.

*This is a very forgiving recipe, use more sugar if you want it sweeter or less if you want it tangier.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

TWD - Popovers

Well...what to say...popovers, ya. Oh, I did as I promised and followed the recipe. Well, I did not change the ingredients. I did change up the preparation just a smidge. Nothing too crazy, but I forgot to pull out my eggs before I started and they are supposed to be room temp. So I heated the milk and eggs together, but in my defense I had read that that helps them pop and oh did mine pop! I was pretty excited about them. I hadn't made popovers before, so I was 50/50 on the achievement of success. But success I achieved!

pop goes the popover

So when I pulled those beauties out of the oven and proceeded to crack one open, I looked inside and thought what happened? Where did the guts go? Well no guts, no glory. I was not enthralled with these. Apparently they are supposed to be slightly hollow, but where's the flavor? I ask you, please, tell me where is the flavor?

Maybe you could give this recipe a shot and tell me if yours have flavor?

Vintage Kitchen Notes http://www.vintagekitchennotes.blogspot.com/2012/08/popovers-twd.html

Bake with Amy http://bakewithamy.wordpress.com/2012/08/21/tuesdays-with-dorie-popovers/

Sorry for the short post, I'm sleepy.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

My Favorite Cookie

Nope, not chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin. It's not sugar cookies or snickerdoodles. It's a palmier. Yes, the palmier. Not easily found in the stores or bakeries or anywhere really, but it's the one.

Before when I was asked  the question if I was on a deserted island what would be the one food I wanted...I would state supreme pizza. It has a variety of toppings that I can choose to eat or not eat so that I don't get tired of the same food and I get a better balance of nutrition. If I'm ever at the pizza joint, I never, ever order a supreme. I don't like them, on a deserted island it's practical though.

Oh how I love thee.

But oh the palmier, it makes me want to throw practicality out the window! I know I wouldn't last as long on that deserted island, but it sure would be pleasant week.

Have you ever had one? No? Then quickly, quickly make these recipes below. If you have had one then quickly, quickly make these recipes below and have another.

We could share these together on a deserted island and I promise when we run out I won't eat you....maybe.

You, me, deserted island...be there in 10.

Fast and Easy Puff Pastry Dough
(It really is fast and easy, no need to use store bought...really!)
slightly adapted from http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/fast-and-easy-puff-pastry-recipe

  • 2 cups  All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut in pats
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt (honey yogurt works very well also)
Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add the butter, working it in to make a coarse/crumbly mixture. Leave most of the butter in large, pea-sized pieces.
Stir in the yogurt; the dough won't be cohesive. Turn it out onto a floured work surface, and bring it together with a few quick kneads and pat the dough into a rough log, and roll it into an 8" x 10" rectangle.
Dust both sides of the dough with flour, and starting with a shorter end, fold it in three like a business letter.
Flip the dough over, give it a 90° turn on your work surface, and roll it into an 8" x 10" rectangle. Fold it in three again. Then chill the dough for at least 30 minutes before using. 
Freeze dough for prolonged storage, up to 2 months. To use, thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • Fast and Easy Puff Pastry
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F and make sure your rack is in the center of the oven.

Mix the salt and sugar. Pour half the sugar mixture onto a work surface and spread out slightly larger than your dough. Place the chilled dough on top of the sugar. Roll out the dough to about an 8 x 10 rectangle then pour the rest of the sugar mixture on top. Spread the sugar out until it covers the dough. Roll the dough out until it is about a 13 x 18 rectangle. Your goal is to press the sugar into the dough. Trim the edges so that you have a clean rectangle. Finally take the two shorter edges and roll in towards each other until they meet in the center. If you look at the end you should see the shape of the palmier. Next, with a sharp knife, cut the rolled dough into 3/4 inch slices and lay them down on their cut side on parchment (or silpat) lined baking sheets. Place one pan in the fridge.

Bake the other pan of palmiers for 11 minutes and then turn each palmier over and continue baking for another 5 minutes (at this time pull the other pan out of the fridge). At the end of the second baking they should be golden brown. Immediately remove the palmiers from the pan onto a baking rack and let cool. Bake the second pan just like the first.

For step-by-step photos, check out Joy the Baker's photos. She does a dazzling job of showing you how to roll the palmiers!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Band Wagons and Kale

There was this bandwagon I saw the other day, it drove right past. Then a few days later I saw it again. And just the other day...one more time...right by. What bandwagon you ask? Well the kale chip bandwagon of course. Don't tell me you didn't see it zoom by? Maybe you jumped on. Maybe you were like kale chips, who are we kidding? It's kale, there's only one vegetable that can be properly called a chip. Even if you are in England, chips are still made of potatoes.

But you know when this bandwagon took another turn down pass my driveway, I jumped on. What the heck, I was at the farmer's market and needed to buy something so they would let me come back and I grabbed the kale. Never had it before, but the pressure of the surrounding healthy folks made me do it.

So there I had on my counter. Kale. Didn't know what it tasted like. I needed to do something good with it because it was kind of pricey...and then honk, honk. "What's that I hear?"

Bandwagon, "Kale chips, they are delicious and nutritious and you'll never want another potato chip again!"

Me, "Well I'm pretty sure that's not true, but what the heck, I've got kale and I'm hungry."

Well my little ride on the bandwagon was pretty good, it was salty and crispy and well, tasty. I guess some bandwagons are worth the ride even if they do cost more than a bag of chips.

crunch, crunch, crunch

Kale Chips

Adapted from every single kale chip recipe online

1 bunch of kale, washed

1 - 2 tsp olive oil

1/2 tsp salt or to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Removed the stems of the kale with scissors and cut the leaves into bit size pieces. Tos kale with olive oil and salt in a bowl then spread kale on a baking tray, try to give each piece it's space. You may need to use two baking pans.

Bake kale for 15 - 20 mins or until the kale just turns slightly brown and is crispy. Remove from oven and wait a minute or two and enjoy.

Will stay crispy for a day or two if you haven't eaten them all.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

TWD - Riesling Poached Apricot Marzipan Tartlets

Ok, I promise, pinky promise that the next TWD recipe I will follow to a T! I swear it! What is the next one...popovers...sure I can do that, I can make a recipe and not tinker with it or completely change it up so that it's not even recognizable. Sure.

Now let me explain. I didn't do the galette because last TWD I did a galette (mini galettes). I send my baked goods to work with my husband and there are about 50 or so employees and I just want to make it easy for each or as many as possible to enjoy a bite. I know it's easy to cut up a pie or a galette, but come on who cuts it up equally so that you can have 50 pieces. Ok, that doesn't make sense, but you see what I'm getting at, right?

And since I did mini galettes last week I needed to do something different this week. So I went back to pie/tart shape. I think this is technically a tart dough, but please correct me if I'm wrong.

But maybe you are asking why did I do tartlettes this week, when I could have done them last week and did mini galettes this week and followed closer to the recipe, huh? The answer: I dunno. Moving on.

As for using apricots and marzipan and not mixed berries, well I did not realize but berry season is long gone  here at the base of the rockies. So dried apricots and marzipan from the cupboard made sense. Plus I had a wee bit of riesling that needed to be used up. So toss some sugar, cardamom pods, crushed vanilla beans and the riesling in the pot with the apricots and tada!

Vintage year

Now this week I did use the dough recipe. My recipe from last week is the foolproof pie dough from Cook's Illustrated. I LOVE IT! It's so freakin tasty and easy to throw together, it's supper, dupper flaky and is just great to eat, but kind of hard to work with. This week's recipe is super easy to work with, the cornmeal is fun and it's nice and sturdy and it tastes good too. I think I shall add it to my repertoire.

To see this magical recipe, go here and here and then here. (That last one was just for fun.)

Even though this wasn't a 2 am genius moment, I think I'll still call Martha and tell her about these.

Adorable, right?

And they are really the cutest things ever, well almost.