Monday, February 27, 2012

Coffee Caramel Banana Muffins

This week's challenge is "coffee". There are so many things you can do with coffee. It can be savory or sweet. Since I am trying to waste less, I looked around the kitchen to see what I already had, that I could work with on this challenge. The only thing that I had to buy for this was espresso powder, so it was kind of a no-brainer. 

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 cup over ripe bananas (I used 3 to get this.)

Caramel squares

Combine the dry ingredients, except the sugar in a small bowl. 

Cream together the butter, sugar, eggs and bananas. 

Start adding the dry ingredients, one large spoonful at a time, to the wet ingredients and mix until just wet.

Spoon about 1/4 cup of batter into each muffin tin, then top with a caramel, pressed into the center.

Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. (Not from the center, because of the caramel.)

This yielded 13 muffins.  I did the first 12 as directed, then added a sprinkle of sea salt to the last one. I wish I had done that to them all! It was so yummy!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Slow Cooked Short Ribs and Mushrooms

Week 8 is slow cooking, so I decided to use my crock pot. This looked yummy, smelled yummy and tasted yummy. Too bad it felt weird. I have to blame the butcher for this fail. Every bite we took felt like it had tiny shards of bone in it, so we all finally gave up and got something else to eat. :(
I swear it looked better in person. It just didn't photograph well. Anyway, here is what I did Wednesday morning...

I diced a yellow onion and put that in the crock.
 I quartered a package of baby bellas and a half a package of button mushrooms and added them.
I minced about 8 cloves of garlic and added that along with some fresh cracked black pepper and a few sprigs of fresh rosemary.
Next I cut the short ribs into single pieces, then floured them and did a quick sear to brown them.

I added 4 cups of beef broth, then started laying the short ribs in the crock.

I topped it all with a few more sprigs of rosemary, put on the top, set it to low and went to work.

I came home to this...
Looking and smelling good, I decided to debone it.

I skimmed the fat off the top of the liquid, added the mushrooms and onions to the meat, and decided to reduce the sauce that was left.
I steamed some rice and made a carrot and ginger puree to serve with the short ribs, and then I settled in for what I thought would be a nice dinner. Too bad there were bone shards in every bite. The whole thing was a huge waste of time and money. Can you tell I'm still bitter?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Love Inspired Surf and Turf

Week 7 is a "love inspired" dish. I really had to think about this one before I finally decided what to do. I know that sounds weird, but for me, almost every dish is love inspired. I really didn't want to do some cheesy Valentine's dinner. Hubby and I really don't do Valentine's day. I don't need a special day to know how much he loves me, so we just don't really participate.

One of my biggest cooking influences was my great-grandmother. "Mom" is the best person I have ever known, and if she fed you, you knew she loved you. Mom was not a great chef, but she could always make you something filling and semi-healthy. Her specialty was roast beef with mashed potatoes and some kind of green veggie. Meat, potatoes and a veggie. And heaven forbid she forget the rolls! We sat down to dinner one night, and she realized she had forgotten the rolls. "Oh my Lawd, the rolls!"  Now, someone says that at every family gathering. Mom is missed, but we will never forget the love she gave us and all the food she made us.

I decided that my "love inspired dish" would be something I would make Saturday evening. Our friend Bill was coming over, and it had been far too long since we had seen him. Plus, we love him. :) Unfortunately, our plumbing decided to have major issues Saturday, so we had to reschedule Bill for Sunday. I won't go into the plumbing mess since we're talking about food here. I really wanted to make something wonderful for Bill, so I decided on surf n turf.

This isn't a recipe, just a run down of what I served. I bought a pre-marinated petite fillet of beef that we grilled. We made some bacon wrapped shrimp with horseradish. This was skewered and grilled. I made mashed potatoes, kale sauteed with bacon, and sauteed some button mushrooms and yellow onion in a little butter. Meat, potatoes and a green veggie. It was a wonderful meal, and it was great to catch up with Bill.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Berries with Champagne Cream

This week's baking challenge is "elegant". That can be interpreted so many ways. I have many websites that send me daily emails with recipes, and this was one that came in this week. It looked so pretty and "elegant" that I decided to give it a try.
Here is the recipe.The only thing I did different was cut the recipe in half and I added about 1/4 cup of sugar to the whipped cream.
Hubby and I enjoyed this, so I will be making it again at some point.

Brazillian Inspired Grilled Flank Steak with Fresh Salsa

Okay, so I was sick for most of the week, and while I am feeling better, I am seriously lacking motivation right now. Probably because Hubby and I went out for lunch and I ate a whole Reuben, most of my fries, and drank two beers. So now, I'm not even hungry, but I have to cook dinner and write a blog post. 

This week's challenge is Brazilian. (Insert waxing joke here, since every time I say it, Hubby giggles like a school boy.) I had a hard time deciding what to make this week. I finally found a recipe for Brazilian style flank steak that looked yummy, so I decided to use this for inspiration.

For the flank steak...
1.5 lb flank steak
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt

For the salsa:
1 tomatillo
2 plum tomatoes
2 hearts of palm
2 thick slices of red onion
2 serrano peppers
red wine vinegar
juice of 1 lime

First, I got the flank steak marinating, then I got to work on the salsa. Sorry there aren't very many pics, but like I said, I'm lacking motivation right now.

While the flank steak marinates, put together the salsa.

Get your grill up to about 400 degrees, then cook the steak for about 8 minutes per side for medium. When it comes off the grill, let it rest for about 5 minutes on a cutting board, covered with foil.

When it's done resting, cut it in thin strips, across the grain.

I served this with the salsa, black beans, and some white rice.
 You should also serve this with a caipirinha. I will make this again, but the salsa was too spicy. Next time I'll only use one serrano, and maybe add more hearts of palm and tomatoes. Maybe I'll even add a little sugar. We'll see.

*Editing before posting, a day after I cooked this. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Shrimp Scampi and Pasta in a White Wine Sauce

I'll have to finish writing out the direction later. I am sick and really can't concentrate, but I needed to get this up to post on Reddit.

1.5 lbs jumbo shrimp, peeled, and de-veined
1 bulb if garlic, minced (Yes, a whole bulb. We have to keep the vampires at bay!)
2 Roma tomatoes, diced and de-seeded
the juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp of butter
dry white wine
salt and pepper
linguine, cooked according to package directions
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish

On medium heat, melt the butter, then add the garlic. Saute garlic for about 3-4 minutes, but do not let it burn. Add the lemon juice, and some wine, about 1/2 cup. Let the liquid come up to temp, then add the shrimp and tomatoes.

Edit 2/12/12, Little to no chance I will finish this post. I'm still very tired and to be honest, it wasn't my best scampi. It was edible, but really lacked something.