Saturday, July 30, 2011

Banana Cookies: Foods Made for Family and Friends

If things are going as they are supposed to, I should be back to visiting your blogs today. Surgery Monday; in bed Tuesday; able to sit for a while Wednesday. That is my plan. If you are still not hearing from me, assume that I am fine but not quite ready to sit up yet. (Since it is Saturday, you will surmise that things did not go quite as I planned - today is my first day sitting up. I will spare you the blood and guts of it, but it was not a pretty week. Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers.)

These cookies were made for a friend who was just out of the hospital. I love to make these because they have the same flavor of a good banana bread without the v e r y l o n g cooking time, and they come in nice, portioned servings.

Banana Cookies
3/4 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1 cup mashed bananas
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1. Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add egg and vanilla, blend well.
2. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Stir into sugar mixture. Add mashed bananas, nuts, and oats. Stir just until blended.
3. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto stone or greased cookie sheet and bake at 400F for about 12 minutes. Cook on rack.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Berry Muffins: Foods Made for Family and Friends

I made these muffins to take to a dear friend who just gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. Growing up, this was an easy recipe to make since I just had to go out in the yard and pick some mulberries from our tree. Unfortunately, I have never been able to find mulberries in Tennessee.  A frozen mixed berry combo (raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries) substituted nicely and gave the muffins a pretty purple color.

(Mul)berry muffins
Crumb Topping
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 tbsp margarine
1/4 cup margarine
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (mul)berries

1. To prepare crumb topping: mix flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Blend in butter with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles crumbs. Set aside.
2. To prepare muffin base: In a large bowl, cream butter and margarine. Beat in egg. Add milk and vanilla. Beat until nearly smooth.
3. In a small bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to milk mixture and stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Fold berries into batter.
4. Spoon batter into 18 greased or lined muffin cups. Top each with crumb topping and press down lightly. Bake at 400F for 12-15 minutes.

 Note from Stone (the Uploader): Angela is having a rather rough recovery. She appreciates all of your thoughts and prayers.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Delmonico Deviled Chicken: Foods Made for Family and Friends

Today I am having surgery- so I have pre-written all my posts in order to not feel totally out of the blogging world for the next few days. I decided to go with a theme this week: Foods Made for Family and Friends. I didn't intend at first to have a themed week, but it seemed that I had a lot of friends who were either celebrating something or recovering from something last week. It is human nature, I think, to wish to feed people who are experiencing a high or a low or a transition, so I did a lot of baking and slow cooking and roasting. The incredible reward was to be able to spend time with people I love.

I made this chicken for a friend who is recovering from an accident. She is one of the sweetest people I know, and made me feel welcome even from her sick bed.

Delmonico Deviled Chicken from In the Kitchen with AWA
3 lb chicken thighs
1 cup butter, melted
4 tsp mustard
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp white wine
1 tbsp paprika
2 cups bread crumbs

1. Place chicken pieces in baking dish.
2. Combine butter, mustard, salt, wine, and paprika. Pour over chicken. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over all.
3. Bake at 350F for 45 minutes.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Random Recipe Challenge - Oil Pie Crust and Japanese Fruit Pie

I was excited about Dom's challenge (you know Dom, of Belleau Kitchen) to find a random recipe from my favorite cookbook.  I happen to think that my favorite cookbook, In the Kitchen with AWA kicks culinary butt. It is a collection of recipes put together by American ex-pats in Malawi during the late 90's. Those women knew how to cook.

Imagine my complete and utter lack of enthusiasm when my husband (the random recipe flipper) opened the book to a pie crust recipe. Pie crust. Not even a pie. Just the crust. I really, really wished at that moment that Dom was not so strict on the "no bloody cheating" or that I was not a ridiculous goody-two-shoes who would feel bad about bloody cheating.

So, I made the stupid crust. I have tried dozens of recipes from this book. They have all been good. Except this one. Here is my attempt at rolling out the crust. also tasted ridiculously salty. (That might be because the salt in Malawi is not always salty; the recipe may have been adjusted for that.)

Oil Pie Crust from In the Kitchen with AWA
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup milk

1. Sift together flour and salt.
2. Pour oil and milk into a measuring cup but do not stir. Pour into flour mixture all at once and stir with a fork until blended.
3. Divide into 2 balls and roll out on a well-floured board.
4. Bake at 475F until browned.
5. Makes two crusts

What was I supposed to do with this mess? It wouldn't roll out into a crust no matter how I tried. I decided to just press it into the bottom of an 11x9 cake pan and pour filling over it. Thus ends the challenge portion of the recipe. Epic fail. Never make again. Don't know why I bothered typing it up because you shouldn't try it. Seriously, save yourself.

I did go ahead and make a filling, which is not part of the challenge. (What was I supposed to do, bake the crust and eat it plain? Not this crust, for sure.) The pie filling I chose to use was sure to be a success because the contributor was one of my mom's friends - I knew she would not let me down. As I suspected, it was brilliant.

Japanese Fruit Pie from In the Kitchen with AWA
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, well beaten
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 cup chopped dried fruit
2 tbsp vinegar

1. Melt margarine and add sugar and eggs, blended well. Add coconut, nuts, raisins, and vinegar.
2. Pour mixture into 2 unbaked pie shells. Bake at 350F for 40 to 45 minutes.

This is the finished "bar", since I couldn't exactly use my trust traditionally.

Are you ready for your mouth to water? Here is a slice.

It was so good. The texture was that of a traditional pecan or Derby pie, but the fruit and coconut added a richness that reminded me of old fashioned Southern ambrosia. I can imagine that it would be completely sinful if you added a crushed chocolate cookie crust.

My failure, then, was not so bitter since I had pie filling to make me feel better. However, I am hopeful that the next challenge will see me victorious.

I cannot post without adding a word about what is happening in the Horn of Africa. Those of us participating in this challenge are outrageously lucky. We are among the few people in the world who can open a cookbook and find in our cabinets or buy in our stores whatever ingredients we want. There are ten million people in the Horn of Africa who cannot even imagine that. All they want is enough food to keep their children alive another day. If you have even five dollars to donate to the cause, I urge you to do so. There is no good reason for anyone is this world to have to die for lack of something to eat. If you are concerned about where your money is going I can tell you that I lived for years within driving distance of one of the largest refugee camps in the world and, based on that experience, I trust UNHCR, UNICEF, SOS Children's Villages, World Vision International, and The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, among a few others, with my money.

Thank you for your time and better luck for me with the next challenge:)