Thursday, July 29, 2010


Ready for how easy this is??

I have been making this exact same recipe since I was a little girl.
I have it memorized.
My mom taught me and Dad taught her. 
(She did NOT grow up cooking so Dad had to teach her some basics...)
It's super simple and takes under 20 minutes to prep and bake!

If you want to fancy-it-up a bit, add creamed corn, jalapenos, or sausage for a twist!

Oh, and one more disclaimer:  this is sweet cornbread, not johnny-cake.

Makes 1 8" cornbread, serves around 8.
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Mix all and pour into a greased 8" cake pan.  Bake at 425* for 15-20 minutes, until golden.  Flip over onto a plate and serve! 
(I personally like it with butter and fresh honey...yuuuum!)

Monday, July 26, 2010

wedge salad with green goddess dressing

Green Goddess dressing is traced back to 1923 and was really popular on the West Coast.  It's what my grandmother served at dinner parties and my mom used to eat as a kid.
As with many things, the wedge salad and green goddess dressing is making a come-back!
So, let's go retro!!


Wedge Salad with Green Goddess Dressing
Serves 4, with plenty dressing to spare.
1 head iceberg lettuce
1 pint cherry tomatoes, washed, dried and halved or quartered
1 cup good mayo
1 cup chopped scallions, whites and greens
1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup sour cream

Begin by quartering the lettuce and removing the tough, inner core.  Set a quarter on each salad plate and distribute the tomatoes evenly.
In a food processor or blender, combine the mayo, scallions, basil, lemon juice and garlic and process until smooth.  Add the salt, pepper and sour cream and blend to combine.
Pour over the wedges and serve!

Friday, July 23, 2010

black bean soup

This easy soup has delicious spicy flavors just scream for some lime and a beer, right?
And it's super healthy so have a couple bowls!

Black Bean Soup
Serves 4.
3 cans black beans, drained and rinsed, divided
4 cups homemade or store-bought chicken stock (or veggie), divided
1 onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 cup salsa (I use super spicy!)
1/2 cup white wine
1 can diced tomatoes with chiles (I use extra hot)
Shredded cheddar cheese, optional
Sour cream, optional
Diced avocado, optional
Tortilla chips, optional

In a food processor or blender, puree 2 cans of the black beans with about 2 cups of the stock until smooth.  Set aside.
Saute the onion and bell pepper with the butter over medium heat, for about 5 minutes, until softened and golden brown.  Add the spices and let toast until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add the bean puree to the mix, a little at a time so it doesn't splatter you.
Add the rest of the ingredients, including the other can of beans and the rest of the stock.
Bring to a boil and reduce to low to simmer for about 30 minutes.
Top with the cheese, sour cream, avocado, crumbled tortilla chips, etc, and enjoy!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

wet walnut banana cake

I know, I know....looks like a lot of ingredients.  But this really makes a fantastically moist cake!
(And don't judge my bananas...they were preserved in the freezer and just now defrosting in this picture.  They are not moldy.)

Wet Walnut Banana Cake
Makes one bundt cake.
1 1/2 boxes Duncan Hines Deluxe banana cake mix (1/2 box = 2ish cups)
1 package instant banana pudding
1 package instant french vanilla pudding
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup pear nectar
1/2 cup water
6 eggs
2 large, ripe bananas
1 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat your oven to 300*.
With a hand mixer, blend cake mix and puddings with oil, nectar, and water for two minutes on medium.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each one.  Add bananas and beat for an additional minute.  Fold in walnuts.  Grease and flour a bundt pan (I really don't know what size....just normal :) ).  Bake for one hour and 20-45 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool in pan for about 10 minutes.  Flip over onto serving dish and ice while still a bit warm.  (You really want to seal in all that moist goodness!)

Caramel Icing

1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 stick margarine
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Dash of table salt

Combine milk, brown sugar, and margarine in a medium saucepan and let come to a boil over medium-low heat.  Let boil for about a minute and then take off heat.  Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth.  Add the vanilla and the salt and drizzle all over warm cake and down the sides.  Enjoy!!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

chipotle hummus

Hummus is one of those things that you know is easy but have never made, right?
Why not?
The only weird ingredient (I promise!) is tahini, which is a sesame seed paste that you can get at your local grocery store.  It really adds something to the hummus so you really need it.
I mean, tahini is mentioned as an ingredient of Hummus Kasa, a recipe transcribed in an anonymous 13th century Arabic cookbook.  
If it's from the 13th century, then you know you've got to have it.

Chipotle Hummus
Makes about 2 cups.
2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 chipotles in adobo
2 large garlic cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 (7 ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained
6 sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pita bread, to serve

In a food processor, blend all ingredients until very very smooth.  Transfer hummus to medium bowl. Cover and chill until ready to serve. Bring to room temperature before serving. Accompany with warm pita or pita chips. Enjoy!

Alternatively, which I will probably blog about in the future, is lemon garlic hummus.  Use the same recipe, switching the chipotles, roasted red peppers and sun-dried tomatoes, for a head of roasted garlic and another 1/4 cup of lemon juice and zest.  Delicious!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

GD cooking class - supreming a grapefruit

Do you know what supreming is?

In my second year of college, when I reeeeally got into cooking (and not just homestyle stuff....the real, try-to-be-gourmet stuff), I found that I didn't know a lot of the culinary terms that professionals use. 

I didn't know what a bechamel was.  (It's a simple white sauce)
I didn't know a chiffonade was.  (It's a technique to cut herbs or veggies into long, thin strips - like confetti)
And I didn't know what supreming was. 

Well, let's take a cooking class and I'll show you ;)

Supreming a Grapefruit (or any other citrus, for that matter)

One grapefruit
One sharp paring knife

Begin by taking a grapefruit and cutting off both ends.

Stand the grapefruit up on it's end.

Using your paring knife, carefully cut down the sides of the flesh, removing the skin and retaining as much of the flesh as possible.

It might not be perfect but you get the gist :)

Now, over a small bowl, cut in between each segment to remove the flesh.

Once you have worked your way around, squeeze the leftover "skeleton" and get all that good juice out. 

And you're finished!  You've just mastered supreming!  Use in pasta salads, fruit bowls, or for breakfast!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

egg rolls

Do you like egg rolls?
I do.

We have been making these egg rolls for years.
Mom requests them for every birthday and Dad fries them up for her.
I never really realized that people didn't make their own egg rolls at home until I got to college.
These are really really easy and better than any take-out that you can find!

Egg Rolls
Makes 2 dozen.
1 beaten egg
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 cups milk
1 3/4 cups water
1 pound spicy pork sausage
1 onion, chopped
1 can water chestnuts, drained, rinsed and chopped
1 head cabbage, shredded
2 carrots, peeled and shredded
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1/2 pound bean sprouts
2 packages egg roll wrappers
Soy sauce, red pepper flakes, chili oil, etc, for dipping

Begin by combine the first eight ingredients in a large mixing bowl, whisking until smooth.

In a large wok or skillet over medium heat, brown sausage with a dab of vegetable oil.

Add onion and water chestnuts and saute until golden.

Reduce heat to low and add cabbage.  Saute until just wilted.

Add carrots, green onions and sprouts and saute for another minute.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Now, the fun part!
Set up an assembly line:  take a wrapper, turn it so a pointy end is facing towards you.  Spoon about 1/4 cup of the filling on the lower third of the wrapper.  Brush some of the flour dipping mixture on the top-most corner.  Now, wrap like a burrito: fold the pointy end near you up towards the top and tuck under filling.  Fold in the two sides on top and roll the whole thing up.  Press the sticky corner that you brushed with the flour dipping mixture into the egg roll to seal.  Repeat with remaining filling and wrappers until you have a whole stack!

Meanwhile, heat about 2-3 inches of vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven to medium heat.  Dip each egg roll in the flour dipping mixture and fry for about five minutes, turning to brown both sides.  Remove from heat and let drain on some paper towels.  You can keep the finished egg rolls in a warm oven until you're finished.
Serve over rice with some soy sauce and enjoy!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

chocolate banana bread

I always have leftover bananas. 
Is this a problem for anyone else out there?
I think most of my problem is, that while I love bananas, I only eat them at a certain stage.  
As in the green stage.
Not bright green, but absolutely NO black marks yet.
They have to be greenish-yellow and no marks.
So, this is maybe why I always have a ton of bananas that I don't deem good enough to eat.  

But the upside is that I'm always trying new recipes for overripe bananas and coming up with some pretty good ones :)
Like this!

Chocolate Banana Bread
Makes one loaf.
1/2 cup toasted walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped (I used a mix!)
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 ripe bananas, mashed well
1 teaspoon vanilla

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