Saturday, August 27, 2005

the last banana bread you'll ever make! (aka: my grandmother's banana bread)

½ cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
¼ cup milk or buttermilk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 2/3 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 3)

In the bowl of a large electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar. Mix in eggs, vanilla and milk.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add to butter mixture, a little at a time, and beat until smooth (do not over mix). Fold in bananas until thoroughly mixed.

Generously butter and flour a loaf pan. Tap out excess flour. Scrape batter into pan. Sprinkle with a little more sugar. Bake at 350-degrees for one hour, or until a tester, inserted into the centre, comes out clean. Place on a rack to cool for 15 minutes before turning out. Let loaf cool before serving.

grilled corn on the cob with dijon and sweet chilli butter

12 or more cobs of fresh corn

½ cup butter
2 tbs grainy Dijon mustard
3 tbs sweet chilli sauce

For the corn: Peel back husks and remove silks. Fold husks back over the corn and place in a large container in which they can be covered with cold water (a bucket or a clean dish bin work well). Let soak for an hour (this will help prevent the leaves from burning on the grill and allow the corn to steam inside the leaves).

Place cobs on grill that’s been preheated to medium-hot. Cook until corn is tender and leaves are charred. Remove leaves and serve hot with butter.

For the butter: In a small pot, melt butter. Add Dijon, sweet chilli sauce and salt and pepper. Drizzle or brush over roasted cobs of corn.

roll kuken with watermelon

3 eggs
¾ cup cream
1 cup milk
2 ½ tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
4 ½ (approx) cups flour

Whisk together eggs, cream, milk, salt and baking powder. In the bowl of an electric mixer, add flour, a cup at time, to make a medium-soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly-floured surface and knead for another minute. Place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap; let rest in fridge for an hour.

Heat a few inches of canola oil in a deep, wide pot, to 375-400 degrees.

Meanwhile, roll dough out, one third at a time, to ¼-inch thick. Cut into rectangles, approximately 3 by 5-inches. Cut a short, lengthwise slit in the centre and fold one end through. Place, two at a time, in the hot oil, turning to cook both sides to a light golden brown. Remove to a baking sheet covered with paper towel to drain and cool slightly. Serve with spears of watermelon.

Note: Roll kuken go stale by the next day, but the dough freezes well, and can be pulled out for small fresh batches all summer.


For each s’more:
2 Graham crackers
1 large marshmallow
2 squares Hershey chocolate

Stick marshmallow on a bamboo skewer that has been soaked in water (to prevent the wood from burning). Gently toast marshmallow over flame (although, an electric stove element will do just as well). Top one Graham cracker with two squares of chocolate, and use it, along with another cracker, to remove marshmallow from the skewer. Wait a few seconds for chocolate to begin to melt.


Pretzels (makes 16)
2 cups warm water
1 tbs sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tbs butter
1 large egg, plus another for glaze
5 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tbs active dry yeast
2 tbs baking soda (for poaching)
coarse kosher salt

For bread maker: In the mixing bowl of a bread maker that is large enough to accommodate 2lb loaves, add water, sugar, salt, butter and egg. Add flour so that the liquid is covered, then add yeast. Program machine for dough setting.

When cycle is complete, turn dough out onto a lightly-floured surface and knead a few times to work out air bubbles. Incorporate a little more flour if dough is too sticky to work with. Divide dough in half, then each portion in half again until you have 16 equal pieces. Roll one piece at a time into a 20-inch rope and cross the ends over twice. Fold over into a pretzel shape. Let rest about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, fill a large pot with 2-inches of water and bring to a boil. Add baking soda and reduce to a simmer. Carefully drop in 3-4 pretzels at a time and poach for one minute. Transfer to 2 large, Silpat-lined baking sheets.

Whisk egg together with 1 tsp of water and brush over pretzels. Sprinkle with salt and bake at 450-degrees for 12 minutes, until golden. Transfer to a cooling rack.

2-bite burgers

500g wild Koho (or other) salmon fillet
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup fine bread crumbs
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 tbs capers, chopped
dash Tabasco sauce

Remove skin, de-bone and finely chop or grind salmon and place in a medium mixing bowl. Fold in remaining ingredients until combined (don’t over mix). Divide into 10-12 portions and shape into patties. Pan sear before grilling (this will help keep their shape so they won’t fall through the grill on your barbeque).

500g lean ground beef
1 large egg, lightly beaten
¼ cup fine bread crumbs
2 shallots, finely chopped
¼ cup grated smoked cheddar

In a medium mixing bowl, combine ingredients. Shape into 10-12 patties. Pan sear before grilling.

(Onion rings for beef burgers)
Slice one small-to-medium red onion into thin rings. Place in a small bowl and cover with buttermilk. Set aside while preparing burgers. Drain, then dredge in a mixture of ¼ cup flour and 2 tbs cornstarch. Deep fry until golden.

new creamed potatoes with baby dill

New creamed potatoes with baby dill
1 ½ lb new baby potatoes
1 tbs butter
1/3 cup sour cream
1 tbs chopped, fresh baby dill

Gently scrub or rinse potatoes and place in a large pot. Cover with cool water and add a tbs of salt for cooking. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to med-high. Cook until potatoes are easily pierced by the tip of a sharp knife. Drain potatoes and replace them to the still-warm pot (place back over element that’s been turned off if necessary). Add butter and stir gently with a wooden spoon until the butter is melted and has coated the potatoes. Add sour cream and stir to coat. Stir in dill, salt and pepper and serve.

strawberry shortcake

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
2 tbs sugar, plus more for sprinkling
6 tbs cold butter
¾ cup buttermilk
3 pints fresh garden strawberries
¼ cup sugar
200g container Devon Cream
whipped cream (1 cup cream, whipped with 1 tbs sugar)

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and sugar. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the centre and add buttermilk, using a fork to loosely bring ingredients together. Turn out onto a lightly-floured surface and knead 5-6 times. Pat into a 9x9-inch square, using a bench scraper (flat plastic tool, used to scrape up flour and pastry from countertops, available in kitchen shops the world over) to help create straight edges and eliminate waste. Cut into 9 even squares and sprinkle with more sugar. Place on a Silpat-lined baking sheet, at least 1-inch apart, and bake in a 400-degree oven for about 12 minutes, until shortcakes are puffed up and just lightly golden on tops. Let cool at least 10 minutes before serving.

To serve, split each shortcake in half horizontally. Spread bottoms with Devon Cream and line with sliced berries that have been macerated in sugar for at least 10 minutes. Top with whipped cream and top halves of shortcake.

veggies with spiced salt

veggies with spiced salt
3 tbs kosher salt
1 tsp cayenne
¼ tsp black pepper
grape tomatoes
new radishes
cucumber spears

Stir together salt with cayenne and pepper until well mixed. Serve in a condiment dish to sprinkle or scantily dip the fresh veggies.

lemon salt
¼ cup kosher salt
zest of 3-4 lemons

Pulse together in a clean coffee grinder that is only used for spices. Use to sprinkle over chicken or fish.

Trivial Pursuits: The taste buds of chefs become desensitized after years of service. As a result, they tend to add more salt to their own servings than other people might.

fresh pasta with classic alfredo

Basic Fresh Pasta
2 cups all-purpose flour, preferably stone ground or organic
3 large eggs

Measure flour onto a clean work surface and make a well in the centre. Crack eggs into well and, using your fingers, gradually incorporate the flour into the eggs. Press loose dough together into a ball and knead for about 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest for an hour.

Divide dough into four equal pieces. Working with one at a time, knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Flatten, and roll through pasta machine set on thickest setting. Fold in half, and roll again. Repeat folding and rolling several times until dough is very smooth and elastic, dusting with a little flour as necessary.

Roll dough through pasta machine, adjusting setting to a little thinner with each pass, dusting with a little flour as necessary. Continue rolling through machine on smaller adjustments until a desired thickness is reached. To make fettuccine, roll dough through fettuccine cutter, dusting with a little flour to keep from sticking. Hang fettuccine on a pasta rack until ready to cook, or dust with flour and set aside in nested bundles. Boil in plenty of water for a few minutes, until cooked. Serve with your favourite sauce, such as the ever-popular, very rich, Alfredo (so plan for your atonement at the same time!).

Classic Alfredo Sauce
Melt 8 tbs butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Drain pasta and add to the skillet, along with 1 cup heavy cream, 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Toss over low heat until the pasta is well coated. Serve immediately.

carrot cake with coconut cream cheese frosting

1 lb carrots, trimmed, peeled, grated to make 3 cups
2 cups sugar
¾ cup butter
8 oz can crushed pineapple in juice (don’t drain)
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
4 large eggs
1 tbs vanilla extract
½ cup each flaked coconut, chopped walnuts & raisins
1 tbs cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
3 cups all-purpose flour

Prepare a 12-cup bundt pan (do not try this in any other pan, or it won’t cook through). In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together sugar and butter. Add pineapple with juice and applesauce and beat until well incorporated. Add eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla and carrots and beat on high for 1 minute. Whisk together flour, baking soda and cinnamon. Reduce mixer to low speed and gradually add dry ingredients. Beat 2 minutes, until well blended. Scrape into prepared pan and bake at 350-degrees for 65-70 minutes, until a tester inserted in middle of cake comes out clean. Cool completely in pan, on a rack. Invert onto a serving plate and frost with cream cheese frosting.

Coconut cream cheese frosting
8 oz cream cheese, softened
3 tbs butter
1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
1 ½ tsp grated orange zest
1 tbs fresh orange juice
½ cup flaked coconut

In a medium bowl, with mixer on medium, beat all ingredients, except coconut, until smooth and creamy. Fold in coconut and frost cake. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

Where to find it: If you’re shopping for a bundt pan for this cake, consider a silicone model. They’re flexible and naturally non-stick, so don’t need to be buttered and floured before being battered (just peel them away from the baked cake). Place the soft silicone pan on a baking sheet for support, and bake according to the same directions. Got mine at Superstore.

seared buffalo salad wity papay-mango vinaigrette

½ cup each chopped fresh papaya and mango
¼ of 1 red onion, finely chopped
2 tbs fresh papaya seeds
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
¼ cup champagne (or white wine)
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp soy sauce
salt/pepper to taste
striploin buffalo steaks, 1 per serving
mixed organic greens

In a medium bowl, whisk together first 9 ingredients. Set aside to let flavours mingle for about an hour.

Grill or oven-cook buffalo steaks to desired doneness. Slice and fan over a bed of mixed organic greens. Drizzle with papaya-mango dressing and serve.

Notes: Being, as it is, leaner than beef, choose quality cuts of buffalo, such as striploin or tenderloin, and don’t overcook. If you’re accustomed to well-done, you may find buffalo toughens up, so consider trying it a little pinker than usual. You’ll find, whether buffalo or beef, that a rarer finish equals more flavour.