Monday, August 29, 2011

Recipe: Banana Bread

If you're like me and keep bananas around on a regular basis (but are the only person responsible for eating them), you inevitably hit that phase where you're having to devour three a day to keep them from getting too ripe.

You don't have to go on a potassium binge. Make banana bread! Or banana pancakes. Or any of the many possibilities that allow you to use up overripe bananas.

If you have overripe fruit but can't use it right away, you can put it in the fridge for a couple of days. The peel will turn almost black, but the fruit inside is ok - it will continue to ripen very slowly.  If you don't have enough fruit for a recipe, mash the bananas and toss them in the freezer to use when you have more. If you do this, the outside layer of the mashed bananas will turn brownish from oxidization, but it tastes perfectly fine in the bread. Just stir it up and no one is the wiser!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Recipe: Chipotle Tostadas

First, a hugely important (for me, anyway) announcement: Project cookbook is out of my hands!! It has been completely written, edited and photographed and is now being designed and laid out by my wildly talented friend, Holly. 

In celebration of this project being so very close to a printed version, I'll be sharing all of the recipes from it (that aren't already on the blog) over the next couple of weeks. I hadn't wanted to post them all here while the book was still in production to make sure some of it was still a surprise for my sister. Miss Kathleen is 7 days away from her birthday (not that she's counting...) and shortly after that she will have a hard copy of this little project. 

A few weeks ago, I came across this recipe on Taste Spotting. It was one of those that you see and cannot wait to work into a meal rotation. I hoped it might be one I could add to the cookbook because it seemed very fit for Kathleen. Simple, spicy and no "funky" vegetables! I made it for her when she visited a few weeks ago and we both absolutely loved it. 

I served these topped with queso fresco and Greek yogurt and a side of caramelized corn and black beans. Try swapping this out for your usual recipe next time you have a taco night!

Chipotle Tostadas
35 minutes, 15 minutes unatteded
Serves 4
Adapted from Vittles and Bits

  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 chicken breasts (approx. 1 lb. meat)
  • 3 cups water
  • ½ can of chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 1 regular can of diced tomatoes
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 8 corn tortillas

1.   Place half of the onion, half of the garlic, the chicken and water in a large stockpot.
2.   Bring the chicken to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 20-25 minutes.
3.   While the chicken is cooking, place the remaining onion and garlic and chipotles, sauce and tomatoes into a blender and blend until mostly smooth.
4.   When the chicken is finished cooking, remove from the water and shred with a knife and fork. Drain the water from the stockpot and add the chicken back in over low heat.
5.   Toss the shredded chicken with the blended sauce.
6.   In a medium skillet, heat a teaspoon of vegetable oil over medium high heat. Cook a corn tortilla for one minute on each side. Repeat with an additional teaspoon of oil for each tortilla.
7.   Spoon the seasoned chicken over the tortillas and serve.

Tips and Tricks:
  1. You can find chipotle peppers in adobo sauce with other Mexican foods in most grocery stores. Look for a small aluminum can alongside cans of other peppers.
  2. When the chicken has finished cooking, you can reserve the cooking water and use as chicken stock.
  3. As each of the tortillas gets cooked, set aside and dab with a paper towel to remove any excess grease.
  4. Serve with toppings on the side such as queso fresco, sour cream or guacamole.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Peaches in Fig Vinegar (and natural lighting)

Remember when I told you all about how life-altering fig vinegar is? It's back! You knew this was coming. Do you think I like making myself look like a sucker by going straight to the store I left to make a purchase I just politely turned down? I mean, I don't like it, but obviously I'm the kind of lady that does it from time to time.

The sample of the fig vinegar I initially had was with a peach and is still one of my favorite applications for it. The dressing used on these peaches was 2 Tbsp. fig vinegar to 1/4 tsp. of vanilla. It works best if you refrigerate it for a little while to let the dressing thicken a bit. I tend to think balsamic would work almost as well, though you may want a bit more vanilla to balance it out.

More importantly than the vinegar (yes, there is something more important) is the fact that I ate these during daylight hours on a sunny afternoon.  Which meant I could break free from the atrocious lighting of my kitchen and utilize natural light from my kitchen window to do this photography. When most of your cooking happens around 10 PM (Don't even ask me why I cook at that hour. I mean, it's not when I eat dinner. I am still trying to figure it out.) natural light is not an option.

Peaches are plentiful at the market these days! Grab yourself a few and top with a vinegar and vanilla mix. Hopefully you too can enjoy them with some sunshine. It kind of makes even delicious things taste better.
Check out this shine! It's all in the vinegar, people.

Pardon my filthy table and dull paring knife.
I was distracted by the foreign source of light.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Recipe: Chipotle Yogurt

Remember this guy from way back when I put a bunch of pictures up of delicious things I promised I'd tell you how to cook?

Today is the day you get to meet chipotle yogurt. Just a word of warning, don't make this with tortilla chips in the house. Because you probably won't have any left.

This sauce is great on sandwiches, salads or as a dip. Try swapping it out for mayo whenever you'd like to save some calories and take the heat up a notch.

Chipotle Yogurt
5 minutes
Makes approx. 2 ¼ cups of yogurt

  • 2/3 cup light plain cream cheese
  • 1 ½ cup greek yogurt
  • 1-3 chipotle peppers
  • 1-3 tbsp. adobo sauce

  1. Blend the cream cheese and greek yogurt together in a food processor.
  2. Add the peppers in one at a time with 1 tbsp. of the sauce, tasting in between until proper spice level is achieved.

Tips and Tricks:
  1. Where can you find chipotle peppers and adobo sauce, you ask? Check with the Mexican foods at your grocery store. You should be able to find a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.
  2. Adding in the peppers and sauce one at a time will allow you better control over the spice level. 1 would be a medium, 2 would be a hot, 3 a very hot, etc. If you accidentally make it too spicy, you can balance it out a little by adding more cream cheese.

Need an idea for using the yogurt in a meal? Try this out:

Brush a pita lightly with olive oil. Place in a skillet on medium heat and sprinkle chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper on the oiled side facing up. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until crisped. Serve topped with black beans, sliced tomatoes, onions, lettuce and chipotle yogurt drizzled over the top.