Banana Bread Blam!

November 27, 2012 § 6 Comments

So, Thanksgiving is done. How was yours? Oh, you had turkey? And your grandpa said something racist? NEAT!

Anyway, that’s over, and now a month of rampant consumerism and cold winds and awful music about wanting snow and then we get snow and everyone all, SNOW SUCKS IT TOOK ME TWICE AS LONG TO GET TO WORK TODAY.

But look, at least it’s baking weather, amirite? After Thanksgiving, we had some ripened bananas hanging around, because who the shit eats bananas on Thanksgiving. So, I thought, “I’ll make some banana bread, and I’ll put some mother fucking streusel on it.” Because if I had my way, there’d be streusel over everything.

Everything.

What You’ll Need How Much
ripened bananas 4
sugar 3/4 c
vegetable oil 3/4 c
eggs 2
vanilla 2 t
flour, all-purpose or whole grain 2 c
baking soda 1 t
baking powder 1/2 t
salt 1/2 t
For the streusel topping
dark brown sugar (make your own!) 3 T
sugar 3 T
flour, all-purpose 1/2 c
cold butter, unsalted 5 T

What You’ll Do

1) I know it’s been awhile, but you all remember me raising hell about getting together your mise en place (see the Glossary if you don’t know French) before you start cooking, yeah? Well, do it.

2) Then, preheat your oven to 325 degrees, and make ready for the goods by lubing up a 9″x5″ loaf pan with some butter or vegetable oil. Use the old school aluminum if you know what’s good for you. Non-stick bakeware is for dummies who like to burn their shit.

3) Now it’s time to get down with the get-down. We’re going to make the streusel. In a medium bowl, combine the 1/2c flour, and 3T each of brown and white sugar. Toss it all together good. Then, cut the butter into it with a pastry cutter until it looks like delicious pea gravel. Like so. Then, set aside in a cool place.

STREUSEL OVER E-VER-Y-THING

4) Now for the main attraction: in a large bowl, add the sugar and the bananas, and mash the holy goodness out of them. Use a wooden spoon, ya puss. Leave the Kitchen Aid alone for this one.

5) Add the wet ingredients, which is the vegetable oil, vanilla, and eggs, you know, if you’re stupid and don’t know what “wet” means. Stir it all up good, until the oil is well incorporated into the mashed ‘nanners.

6) In another bowl, combine the dry goods: flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Then, dump it all at once into the large bowl of ‘nanner-mixture.

7) Stir this until just incorporated. Stir gently. If you stir too much, even with a wooden spoon, you’ll get the glutens all worked into a tizzy, and you don’t want that. The less tizzied the glutens, the more kick ass the ‘nanner bread.

8) Pour the batter into the greased loaf pan, and dump all that streussely wonderbutter on top.

9) Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

10) Wait. WAIT! Let it cool about 20-30 minutes in the pan. Use a knife to cut around the edges, and dump it out on to a cutting board.

11) Now, cut’chu off a slice, and put it in your face. Blam.

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Buttermilk Coffee Cake

June 21, 2012 § 6 Comments

I’ve recently made a pact with myself to only eat 2 heavy desserts a week. Heavy desserts qualifies as ice cream, cake, brownies, etc. You know. Stuff that’ll stretch your belt buckle. Fruit and granola and stuff like that is fair game.

This coffee cake.

This coffee cake is not fair game. I’m warning you. But, I’ll follow that disclaimer with, “But it’s fucking delicious.”

I mean. How could it not be? It’s sugar and butter and cinnamon and flour. You could take a shit on this coffee cake, and it’d only serve as a topping. It’s that good. And moist. Not like other coffee/crumb cakes that kind of crumble into a dry mess of powder. This is not that kind of cake. This has 2 sticks of butter in it. I mean. Come on.

What You’ll Need How Much
all-purpose flour 3 c
brown sugar (make your own!) 2 c
butter 2 c
baking powder 2 t
baking soda 1/2 t
ground cinnamon 1 1/2 t
ground nutmeg 1/2 t
eggs, beaten 2
buttermilk 1 1/2 c

What You’ll Do

1) Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 13″ x 9″ aluminum baking pan.

2) In a large bowl, use a fork to mix the flour, brown sugar, and salt.

3) Use a pastry cutter to cut in the butter (You let it come to room temperature, right? No? Well, go here for a protip on how to soften the butter without microwaving it.) until it resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside 1 cup of the crumb mixture.

4) Stir the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg into the remaining crumb mixture.

5) In another bowl, combine the beaten eggs and buttermilk.

6) Add the egg mixture to the crumb mixture all at one time until just incorporated. Don’t overwork that shit. You’ll stiffen the glutens, and no one wants stiff glutens in their cake. No one.

7) Spoon the batter into the greased pan. Remember that cup of crumb mixture we set aside? Grab that and give the batter a good, even dusting with that goodness.

8) Toss that in the oven and let it go for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean from the middle.

9) Serve that shit warm out of the oven. Serve it with coffee.

10) You heard me. Put it in your face!

Did Deez Call Last Night: Candied Walnuts

April 26, 2012 § 8 Comments

It’s going to be so hard not to giggle like a middle schooler throughout this entire post. I’m going to do my best to refrain from the obvious jokes, but I make no promises. Sometimes I can’t help myself.

Do you remember the salmonella peanut butter outbreak a few years ago? I remember, I was driving home from work one day during that whole news cycle. NPR was doing a piece on it, and the reporter used the phrase, “tainted nuts” at least a dozen times. I think I peed a little. I was laughing so hard. It was stupid and immature and completely wonderful.

That summer/fall of the tainted nuts I was moonlighting as a wedding bartender at a resort just outside Indy. The chef at the resort, Lois, made batches of these candied walnuts and kept them on hand in the kitchen, and I swear I ate at least 2 gallons of them over the course of that summer.

Here we go.

What You’ll Need How Much
shelled walnuts 1 lb.
egg whites 2-3
brown sugar 2 c
cinnamon (optional) 1 t

What You’ll Do

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9″x13″ aluminum baking pans.

2) In a large bowl, whisk egg whites until white and frothy, like so.

3) Stir the brown sugar and cinnamon into the frothy egg whites until well incorporated.

4) Fold the nuts into the candy mix. (I recognize as a man the phrase “fold the nuts” is inherently painful.)

5) Pour the nuts into the two baking pans, and spread evenly.

6) Bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until the nut mixture is a light golden brown.

Golden brown nuts.

7) Remove to cooling racks, and allow to cool completely. The candied mixture will become brittle enough to crumble into clumps of nutty goodness.

8) And, the moment we’ve all be waiting for: put deez nuts in your face!

Makes a little over 1 lb. of nuts.

Store them in canisters, or go to Whole Foods and ask where they keep their nut sacks, usually in the bulk section. This is a type of sack specifically made to keep nuts at the perfect temperature and humidity for optimal shelf life and taste.

Boof Chow Wong, Peanut Chicken Chow Mein

April 19, 2012 § 2 Comments

My wife still has friends from elementary school, friends she keeps in regular touch with. Like, we just had dinner with a few of them last week so one of them could spring on us a grainy photo of what looked like a peanut growing in her belly. I don’t even understand it (how she’s maintained these friendships for so long, not pregnancy, though I often fail to understand pregnancy, too.).

These friends of hers, they were a trifecta, and they had names for each other: Boof, Chow, and Wong, respectively. My wife was Boof.

This is a huge digression. I wanted to talk about peanuts. Not the kind that grows in bellies, because there are laws against cooking those. At least, I think there are. I hope there are.

Peanut sauce was one of the greatest inventions of Thai-kind. You can put the stuff on next-to-anything and it’ll be immediately better than it was before. It’s like ketchup, but better, which is weird. In this recipe, I cheat. I’ll admit it. I use a pre-made sauce, all Sandra Lee style, and I hate that bish as much as you do (except my friend L who for some reason loves her Halloween specials), but when I’m just trying to get down with the get down and put something in my face, a sauce in a bottle works just fine. But if you insist on being bougie about it, fine. This peanut sauce recipe looks pretty legit.

So let’s get it on.

What You’ll Need How Much
Udon noodles 8 oz
Asian stir fry oil 2 T
boneless, skinless chicken breast, chopped into thin strips 1 breast
red bell pepper, chopped 1 c
Crimini mushrooms 1 c
carrot, julienned 1/2 c
broccoli, chopped 1 c
onion, chopped or diced (optional) 1/2 onion
peanut sauce (bottled is fine, haters gonna hate) 1/4-1/2c

What You’ll Do

1) Mise en place. Seriously. Do it. This is a stir fry. Get your shit together. This includes boiling the udon noodles according to the instructions on the package.

2) Heat a wok over medium-high. Add the Asian stir fry oil. Take a second to nurse the aroma boner you get when that infused gingery smell hits your nose.

3) Add the chicken. Stir like a mad (wo)man until the very surface of the chicken has begun to looked cooked.

4) Add the red pepper, broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, and onion.

5) Stir, stir, stir. Seriously, if you let those things sit on that heat for longer than a few seconds without stirring, I will smack your mouth. Stir fry for 3-5 minutes, or until chicken is just done. You’ll probably be 2nd-guessing whether you’ll get salmonella, but you won’t (I’m legally obligated here to say that you assume all risk of eating undercooked meat, and don’t ride a bike without a helmet).

6) Turn the heat down to medium, and add the cooked udon noodles and the peanut sauce. Stir to coat all that goodness with peanut sauce.

7) Serve it piping hot into your favorite noodle bowl, and put it in your face.

Should feed 2-3 faces.

(Please forgive these photos; they’re actually pretty old, from before I really started trying to learn food photography.)

The Classic 1/4 Pounder with Cheese

April 1, 2012 § 2 Comments

Nothing inspires more nostalgia for this foodie than a classic quarter-pounder with cheese from McDonald’s, just like the parents used to feed me when I’d throw a tantrum. So this weekend, to celebrate my birthday, I decided to try to recreate that feeling of victory when my parents finally gave in to my flailing and wailing, “I WANT CHEESEBARGER!!!1!!1!one!!1!,” loaded me into the car, and took me to see that glorious clown. I was a fat little shit of a child.

What I found was it’s really not difficult at all to make a quarter pounder with cheese exactly the same way McDonald’s does.

What You’ll Need How Much
Dollars 5
Quarters 2
Dimes 2
Pennies 4
Debit or credit card (optional) 1
Chosen mode of transportation 1
McDonald’s Restaurant 1

What You’ll Do

1) Gather your mise en place. It doesn’t have to be exactly the same dollars and coins, so long as it equals $5.74 (prices may vary). Or, you can simplify the prep by using a credit or debit card.

2) Using your chosen mode of transportation, travel to the nearest McDonald’s restaurant. I prefer a car, because I don’t plan on having kids so there’s no reason for me to care about the planet.

3) Queue up at the counter or in the drive-thru, and when it’s your turn, say, “Give me a number 2, with [insert chosen beverage and whatever modifications to the sandwich you’d like].” Don’t bother to say please.

4) Throw your money at the cashier, because you sincerely believe it’s their fault for how awful you’re going to feel in 30 minutes when your stomach starts trying to make sense of what you’re about to put in it.

5) When your order is ready, take it to the table or if you ordered to go, wherever you’d prefer to eat your fat nostalgia.

6) Settle into your seat, open the cardboard box containing your 1/4 pound grease pellet, and put it in your face. If you eat at the restaurant, be sure to leave all your trash and shit on the table for one of the employees to clean up. You gotta make sure they’re earning that minimum wage.

Happy April Fools, fuckers!

Bachelor Week: Cheater’s Gumbo

February 27, 2012 § 10 Comments

Last week the wife went on an impromptu road trip with a friend, leaving me at home like a bachelor for 5 days. Without her to cook for I shamelessly regressed in my eating habits, subsisting mostly on various forms of meat, ice cream, and beer while watching almost 50 episodes of Psych. Whaaat?

In this fit of meat sweats and beer belchery, I managed to scrounge up the creativity to throw this dish together using chicken sausage, salsa, and some leftover rice from a stir fry last week. It was fast, simple, and it went down easy with a Red Stripe or 4.

I know I’m going to catch hell from my NOLA pals for calling this gumbo of any sort, but it got the job done. No process shots on this one because it’s so damn easy — just simple, kick ass bachelor food. Suck on this.

What You’ll Need How Much
Your favorite dinner sausage, 1/4-1/2″ slices 1 link (3-4oz.)
baby Portobello mushrooms, quartered 1/2 c
extra virgin olive oil 1 T
leftover rice, cold 1 c
Your favorite salsa 1/2 c
green onions, chopped fine 2 T
Cajun seasoning To taste
Chipotle hotsauce, optional To taste

What You’ll Do

1) Heat olive oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and sausage, and saute for 5-7 minutes, until mushrooms are tender and sausage is cooked.

2) Lower heat to medium. Add rice, salsa, Cajun seasoning, and half the green onions. Stir often until everything is warmed through.

3) Taste it. Spicy enough for you? No? Add more Cajun seasoning and/or hot sauce. Taste it again. Repeat.

4) Dump that goodness on a plate, and get frilly using the rest of the green onions as a garnish. Eat with your eyes.

5) Eat with your face.

Should feed 1 face. To impress your girl or friends, simply multiply recipe by how many faces you’re feeding.

Vegetarians: This recipe is uber-simple to veggify. Just nix the sausage, and add 1/2 c of both chopped red pepper and onion. Or, you could even substitute red beans for a more Cajuny vibe.

Meatless Peanut Butter Cookies

February 20, 2012 § 1 Comment

Adapted from La Dolce Vegan! by Sarah Kramer

Sometimes I feel bad for my vegan pals. It’s like they’ve become so accustomed to having to defend their food that no matter how delicious a dish might be, whenever they inform their non-vegan friends, family, or co-workers that it’s vegan, they seem to automatically to follow up with, “But it doesn’t taste vegan,” as though anything without meat or animal in it is worthless.

To prove that’s not the case, I decided to leave the pulled pork out of this peanut butter cookie recipe, and instead of an egg, I snagged some Ener-G egg replacer, which is basically potato starch and some proteiny stuff that when you mix with water and bake it, it acts mostly like an egg. You can find it in the baking aisle.

What You’ll Need How Much
vegan margarine, room temperature 1/2 c
peanut butter 3/4 c
sugar 1 c
egg replacer to equal 1 egg
water 3 T
flour 2 c
salt 1/4 t
baking soda 3/4 t

What You’ll Do

1) Preheat the oven to 350F.

2) In a medium bowl, cream together margarine, peanut butter, sugar, egg replacer, and water until smooth.

3) Stir in the flour, salt, and baking soda until well mixed. Add another tablespoon of water if the dough seems a bit dry.

4) Roll dough into balls, put them on a cookie sheet*, and flatten them with a fork. Feel free to do that classic cross-hatch thing or pentagrams or whatever you want, really. (Britt said she used to add a bit of sass to them by dipping the fork in some sugar between each pressing.)

5) Bake the cookies on the center rack for 8-10 minutes, or 10-12 if you’re like me and roll some fatty cookies.

6) Let them cool (or not) and put them in your face, naturally.

Makes 15-20 cookies, depending on the size of your balls.

*Do yourself a favor and leave that non-stick coated bakeware on the curb for the trash man. Get you some good old-fashioned aluminum bakeware. For cookie sheets, I recommend that Air Bake kind.

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