Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

With the sun coming up earlier and going down later everyday, it now feels safe to think of places with temperatures twice as warm as here. Places with warm water crashing on white sand, and exotic tropical fruits at every turn. Through the historical dirty dealings of businesses and the US government, both teaming up to take over our neighbors to the South, we have consistent and cheap access to one of these exotic fruits - the banana. Not just a pop culture image, a musical phone, or a noted phallic object, it is also a tasty and useful fruit. For better or worse (local foods-wise, that is), I used it in its latter function for these delicious banana chocolate chip muffins.

The nutmeg and cinnamon give these muffins a warm taste, while the banana evokes images of warm island nations. I like to imagine that the combination leaves the impression that you are on an tropical island rather than in the middle of the country, in the middle of winter. Plus, the inside has a nice color - brown and a pale yellow.

Recipe below!

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
(Makes 12)

3/8 cup white sugar
3/8 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
3/4 cup banana, mashed
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup chocolate chips (add more or less to taste)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In larger bowl, mix wet ingredients (the first 6). In separate bowl, add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Whisk together. Add about 1/3 of dry ingredients to wet, stir a little, add second third, stir a little, then add final third and chocolate chips and stir until all wet ingredients are absorbed. Spoon mixture into greased or lined muffin tin, and put in oven for 18-22 minutes. You can check to see if the center is done by sticking a spaghetti or toothpick into the muffin. If it comes out clean, get those muffins out of the oven!

Wait until they are cool enough to eat (this is the hardest part), then enjoy!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Vegetable Korma Curry

Ah, curry. An important part of vegetarians' diets everywhere. I had a hankering for Indian food, which, fortunately for me, was pretty easy to satisfy since I had a bunch of vegetables and newly purchased korma curry sauce. This was the result:

Like all things brown and chunky, it was hard to make it look good.

I used this curry sauce...
and really liked it. It wasn't very spicy, which is my preference anyway, and had a really wonderful cardamom-clove-coconut flavor. The vegetables I used - potatoes, cauliflower, tomatoes, and carrots - went really well with the sauce.

Vegetable Korma Curry

olive oil
2 large or 3 small potatoes, parboiled and diced
1 carrot, diced
1/2 can diced tomatoes (can use also use fresh)
1/2 cup cauliflower (frozen or fresh)
1 bag korma curry sauce (directions also on bag)

Sauté vegetables until mostly cooked, beginning with potatoes and carrots since they take longer. Then lower heat, add curry sauce, and simmer for 8-10 minutes.

Serve over rice - brown basmati is nice.

Summer Better Than Others

Potatoes, summer tomatoes, mozzarella (and not the subpar shredded kind). Drooling yet? Either way, take a gander at one of my favorite things to make during the summer:

This picture is from summertime, obviously.

"I just see a pizza," you say. But it has lovely, lovely parts that serve to make a greater whole. Those are fresh, juicy summer tomatoes just purchased from the farmers' market. The potatoes, too, have just been pulled from the ground. The cheese is freshly shredded. All this, plus oil, garlic and herbs, are on top of a pizza crust from Le Quartier. It is, in short, delicious. Here is how it's done:

Summer Pizza

1 large or 2 small local, organic tomatoes (because who needs that pesticide taste?)
1 large or 2-3 small local, organic potatoes, peeled and parboiled
(*I actually usually use spinach instead, but there's no picture of that. In any case, it's an easy substitute.)
4 ounces mozzarella, grated or sliced
Olive oil
2 cloves garlic
Herbs of choice - in the picture, I used dried thyme and rosemary.
1 Le Quartier Pizza Crust

Heat oven to 325° F.

Prepare vegetables by slicing potatoes into 1/2-1/4 inch pieces after they've been parboiled, slicing tomatoes to desired size, and mincing garlic.

Spread olive oil evenly on top of pizza crust. Add minced garlic, then potatoes (or spinach or both). Then add tomatoes. Top with cheese and herbs.

Put in oven for 10-15 minutes; take out after cheese has melted.

This is actually a very simple recipe, and one could substitute a number of vegetables that are available at your local farmers' market for what would certainly be a delicious meal. And, that, my friends, is why I miss summer.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Cooking Up a Storm

Hello, my friendly friends!
I've decided to join the food blog craze. Now that I'm all graduated and have enough free time to be nocturnal AND sleep 10 hours every day, I also have enough time to make tasty treats and share them all with you! Follow me on my fantastic food forays!