Thursday, March 20, 2014

Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

This recipe was inspired by and adapted from Smitten Kitchen's Double Chocolate Banana Bread, and Anna Pump's Loaves and Fishes Banana Tea Bread. It's simple and goes together really quickly, and the results are deeeee-licious!  This would be a great way to sneak some bananas and whole wheat into the mouths of babes who might be a wee bit picky. :)

*Note: Feel free to add some chopped nuts if you feel moved to do so. :)  Try substituting 1/4 cup of applesauce and 1/4 cup of coconut oil for the oil (I will be giving this a whirl the next time I bake some.)  I would start checking the bread for done-ness at 45 minutes the first time you bake it; 50-52 minutes will likely be the "sweet spot" but all ovens are different.

2 eggs
1/2 cup coconut oil (See Note)
1/2 cup sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
3 ripe bananas, mashed (if they've been frozen, just snip the end off and squeeze them out of the peel)
1 t. baking soda
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup chocolate chips (or as many as you like :) )

Preheat the oven to 350*.  Beat the eggs, oil, sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer for three minutes -- it should look "creamy."   And the bananas and mix to combine.  Add the flour, baking soda, and cocoa powder, and mix until combined (you can mix the dry ingredients in a bowl before adding them to the batter, but it's not critical.)  Add the chocolate chips, and mix just until combined.  Pour into a buttered loaf pan, smooth the top, and bake for 50-55 minutes. (See Note, above.)

Let cool for a few minutes once it comes out of the oven, and then turn out onto a cooling rack.  (You may want to loosen the sides with a spatula or butter knife to help it "release" from the pan.)

Slice and serve.

And try not to eat the whole loaf in one sitting....

Enjoy!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Danish Gløgg (Mulled Wine)

The Husband's family is Danish (for reals, from Denmark!), and this year at Christmas he decided to try his hand at a traditional Danish holiday recipe, gløgg! (I asked him for another pronunciation lesson just last night -- he thinks it should sound something like "glooog" -- "glug" works just fine too!) After trying it, and seeing how easy it is to make, I thought, "Hey, this gløgg would be perfect for my blog! I should blog about gløgg!" (Plus, I just like saying gløgg and blog together as much as possible....)

Gløgg is a Danish mulled wine, served warm and usually around Christmastime, but it's a delicious warm beverage that works well all winter long! It's really simple to make, and is ready very quickly. We got this recipe from Husband's brother. I love old family recipes that are more "a pinch of this, a dash of that" than exact measurements -- and this one is no exception!

So, enough chit-chat, let's make some gløgg, shall we?!

Gløgg

Notes: If you are planning to make this around Christmastime, please buy the ingredients ahead of time, so you don't end up like we did, standing in the spice aisle on Christmas Eve staring at the empty rows where the cinnamon sticks and whole cloves are supposed to be. Face, meet palm. Oh, and Googling the difference between "tawny" and "velvet" port while standing in the wine aisle. Makes a good story though, right?! And the difference? Apparently regular port (some bottles say "porto") is the velvet kind, but none of them actually say velvet. The tawny ones do say tawny, though, so it's easy to figure out. Also, if you find that you don't have whole cloves, or cinnamon sticks, or cardamon seeds, you can sprinkle in ground cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom in a pinch -- it achieves a very similar (if not identical) flavor!

You will need:
Some Burgundy (wine)
Some Port (NOT Tawny)
An orange
Some whole cloves
One or two cinnamon sticks
Cardamon seeds, optional
Granulated sugar

Brother-in-law says, "Use one part Burgundy for every one part Port. Make sure you use the "velvet" Port, not the "tawny" Port, which is too intense. You can also use Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot in place of Burgundy if you need to.
Throw the wine together in a big pot, and heat it on medium-low. Don't heat it too much, or you will burn off the alcohol, which is, after all, the point. (hee hee)

For every gallon or two (they don't mess around!) of gløgg you are making, get an orange and push cloves through the skin of the orange.
The cloves should be spaced about a half-inch apart, so you should have 15 or 20 cloves in an orange (You can see from my photos that I used more than that -- it's not critical if you use more.)



(You basically want the orange to look like a landmine! haha)
Drop the orange in the pot,
as well as a couple of cinnamon sticks. You can also drop some cardamon seeds in there (without the shells), but that is a minor ingredient--not to worry if you don't have any around. (We don't have any so we have never used them - it's delicious without them.)

Finally, you will need to add some sugar. I know I will sound like Mormor (Danish for mother's mother, i.e. grandmother) here, but I don't have a measurement for you, and it is hard to tell how much. I would just throw in a tablespoon per gallon to start, and then taste it -- keep adding sugar until you think it tastes right. (I think we have used less than this and it tasted great, but sweeten it however much or little you like.)

When it is warmed and ready, you can use a ladle and serve it directly from the stove top, or use a strainer to get the orange, cinnamon sticks, and cardamon seeds out,
and a funnel to
pour it back into the bottles until you want to drink it."

"Skål! ("skoll" -- Cheers in Danish!) ~ The Newlywed Chefette

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Crab & Corn Chowder


Crab & Corn Chowder

This is a hearty chowder, inspired by Pioneer Woman's Corn Chowder with Chiles, that is perfect for a Fall or Winter day. It's warm, comforting, filling, and delicious, but best of all? It's easy to make, and freezes very well.

Prep/Cook Time: Approx. 1 hour
  • 3-4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (or smaller)
  • 1 medium potato (or a handful of Trader Joe's Teeny Tiny Potatoes), diced into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons butter (optional)
  • 1 whole white or yellow onion, diced
  • 5-7 ears corn, shucked, OR 2-3 bags frozen corn kernels
  • 2 whole chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 3-4-ounces canned diced green chilies
  • 3 cups of broth/stock, and 1 cup of white wine (or 4 cups broth/stock)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt (or to taste)
  • 3 pinches white sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 1/4 cups warm water
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups crab meat, flaked or chopped (fresh, frozen, canned -- whichever you prefer) -- you could also use shrimp
  • Optional garnishes: sour cream, creme fraiche, or plain yogurt, chopped chives or green onions, crumbled bacon
Note: shucking the corn kernels can be quite time consuming, so if you want to get this chowder onto the table for a quick dinner, use the frozen ones. The flavor develops as this chowder "sits," so if you have time, make it a day or two ahead of when you plan to eat it -- which is even better because dinner will be no-fuss that night!!

Turn your oven to broil. Spread the corn kernels in an even layer in a 9x13 glass pan, toss with a little olive oil (optional), and put them under the broiler while you prep the rest of the ingredients and start the chowder. You want them to roast, and for the top kernels to start getting brown/black.

Dice the potato and onion, and chop the chiles. Measure the cream and broth/stock/wine, and mix the cornmeal with water. Check the corn -- if it's not as roasted as you'd like, start the chowder, and keep roasting it until it's time to add it to the pot (checking every so often to make sure it doesn't burn.)

Put the bacon in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat, fat-side down. Cook for a minute or two, until the bacon starts to curl and some of the fat has melted -- then throw in the potatoes. Stir well, and then let it sit for at least 30 seconds, because you want the potatoes to fry a bit, brown on one side, and pick up some of the bacon flavor. Then stir as needed to prevent burning.

About 1 1/2 - 2 minutes after adding the potatoes, add the diced onion and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the butter (if using) and let it melt, then add the corn. Stir, let it cook for about a minute, then add the chilies and stir well.

Pour in chicken broth/stock, wine (if using), and cream. Sprinkle in the salt, sugar, and some freshly-ground black pepper if you've got it, stir well, and bring to a boil -- then reduce heat to low.

Pour the cornmeal/water mixture into the chowder and stir well. (Tip: if some of the cornmeal gets stuck in the bottom of the bowl/container, just scoop up some of the chowder mixture, swirl it around, and pour back into the pot -- the cornmeal will go with it!) Add crab, stir, and cook for 15-20 minutes at a simmer.

It's delicious served with toasted bread -- I love the bread with garlic baked into it -- or enjoy a big mug of it on a cold, blustery day (like we did yesterday as it was pouring rain!)

Enjoy! ~ The Newlywed Chefette

Thursday, January 6, 2011

My [New] Favorite Holiday Beverage: Hot Chocolate with Whipped Cream and Peppermint Schnapps

Photo credit: Google images

I don't know why I'm so 'tardy' to this 'party,' but I only just discovered the delicious holiday magic-in-a-mug that is hot chocolate with fresh whipped cream and peppermint schnapps! And, to give you a little idea of just how obsessed I am with this beverage at the moment, a story.

I went to bed before The Husband last night, so I was quite groggy by the time he rolled in. He gave me a goodnight kiss and I immediately mumbled "Mmmm, peppermint schnapps!" He was, not surprisingly, very surprised. "Huh, what? No, I just brushed my teeth...?" But I was already off in dreamland, imagining a big warm mug of cheer :)

And now, without further ado, the oh-so-simple instructions for your sipping pleasure.

Hot Chocolate with Whipped Cream and Peppermint Schnapps

Serves 1 (double/triple,/quadruple as necessary!)

3 heaping tablespoons of Hershey's cocoa powder
2 tablespoons of granulated sugar or simple syrup
1 cup milk
Whipped cream - as much as you like!
1/2-1 ounce, peppermint schnapps (omit for little ones)
Candy cane or peppermint stick for stirring, if desired

In a small saucepan, combine the cocoa powder, sugar/simple syrup, and 1/4 cup of the milk -- stir well to combine, and heat to boiling over medium heat. Boil for a minute, stirring constantly, then add the rest of the milk. Stir well, and heat to desired temperature. Pour into a big mug, top with the schnapps (or not, depending on the age of your audience!), and as much whipped cream (please use the 'real' stuff -- cream with vanilla and powdered sugar -- it makes a huge difference...promise!) as your little heart desires! Top it off with a candy-cane stir-stick if you've got 'em, and enjoy!

Cheers! ~ The Newlywed Chefette

Friday, August 27, 2010

Southwest (Side) Salad


I made this black bean salad last night and served it as a side with pulled pork sandwiches -- it's a great summer dish, with lots of color and crunch from fresh veggies. It would also go well with tacos (fish or otherwise), Chicken-Tomatillo Enchiladas, Carnitas, Chicken-Curry-Rice Casserole, or any Mexican dish, served as a salsa, or layered into a dip or casserole. Warm it in a tortilla with cheese, toss it with lettuce and some shredded chicken and cheddar for a zesty salad, or put a scoop of it on top of a bowl of chili -- it's also delicious on top of nachos! Or serve it with a big bowl of fresh tortilla chips and a Juan Daly on a hot day. I think it would be great for a potluck or a picnic, too. It's incredibly versatile, very tasty, and it goes together so quickly -- it's sure to become a regular in your "recipe arsenal" in no time.

Serves 4-6 as a side salad (recipe can be doubled, tripled, etc. as needed)

1 can black beans, rinsed
1 ear corn, uncood, kernels cut off cob
1/2 of a red onion, diced
2 roma tomatoes, diced (or 1 cup diced tomatoes, any variety)
1 roasted red pepper, diced
1 lime, juiced
1/4 c. of cilantro, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
salt and pepper (~ 1/2 tsp. of each)
Optional: diced avocado, diced jalapeno, diced green pepper

Put all ingredients in a large bowl and stir well to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.


I'd love to hear how you eat this dish!

Enjoy!

~The Newlywed Chefette

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Grilled Chicken "Croissantwich"

This summer I've been grilling a few chicken breasts each week just to have on hand, and it's worked out nicely. On nights when it's too hot to cook (we haven't had a ton of those but when it's hot, it's HOT), I can use them for chicken sandwiches, in salads, etc. I was able to make a bunch of sandwiches to take with us when we went out on some friends' boat over the weekend, and having the chicken already grilled made it really easy! Here's a sandwich that is a treat for your mouth, using a fresh croissant and lots of summer veggies!

1 chicken breast
1 fresh croissant
A few slices each of red onion, tomato, and avocado
A handful of arugula, spinach, or lettuce
Tzatziki sauce (I used Trader Joe's)

Grill the chicken breast if you don't have any pre-cooked (grill some extra while you're at it, to have on hand for later use.)

Split the croissant in half and toast it.
Spread some tzatziki sauce on each half -- as you can see, I love the sauce :)
Top the tzatziki with tomatoes, onions,
avocado, and arugula (or whatever leaves you are using), and chicken breast slices. Roasted red peppers would probably be delicious on this, too!
Et voila! A tasty, fresh sandwich that works very well as a summertime lunch or dinner, and travels well, too!
Enjoy!
~The Newlywed Chefette

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Simple Syrup

Simple syrup is just that: simple. It's sugar and water, cooked together to form a syrup. This is a great "staple" to have on hand if you like iced tea, iced coffee, mixed "adult beverages," and a myriad other uses that you'll discover when it's readily-available -- whenever you need a blendable/easily-mixed sweetener!

1. Start with 1 cup of white/granulated sugar and 1 cup of water.2. Put the sugar and the water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. I have a little All-Clad saucepan that we got as a wedding gift and it is the perfect size, but any saucepan will work just fine.
3. You can stir it a few times as it heats up and the sugar starts to melt/dissolve, but you can also just let it heat up on its own. See? Simple!
4. Bring it to a low boil, and stir it until the sugar is completely dissolved.
5. Once the sugar is dissolved, turn the heat down to medium and let it simmer for 5 or 10 minutes. I like to do this just to make sure it's "really, truly" combined -- but you can also just turn off the heat and let it cool. 6. Whether you choose to simmer or not, once it's done turn the heat off and move it to another burner to cool a bit. Once it's cooled (either completely or a bit), pour it into a jar or container and that's it!
I keep mine in this little sugar bowl. Just leave it out on the counter, and use as needed.

Enjoy!
~The Newlywed Chefette