Archive for March, 2011
I lost my mom to cancer a few years back and anytime I am especially missing her, which is often, I make a meal that reminds me of her. She was an absolute ace banana bread maker and often packed my school lunches with her banana bread sandwiched between cream cheese. Here I used mom’s recipe and added some oats and honey. I also replaced the cream cheese with a mascarpone honey. Although the ingredients are slightly different, the taste is much the same and so is the comfort of mom’s food. As a side note, Ellie, my chocolate lab, also appreciated these little sandwiches. While preparing to take a picture for this post she swooped in and ate 5 sandwiches. Her initial fear of my wrath was clearly calmed by the taste of the sandwiches as she made a second attempt at her food thievery. She is now sleeping on my feet with a very full belly and little regret.
Makes 12 small sandwiches
- 4 cups flour
- 1 cup oats
-2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 7 ripe bananas
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), at room temperature and cut into 1 tablespoon pieces
- ½ cup mascarpone cheese
- 2 tablespoons honey
Pre-heat the oven to 350°.
Combine the flour, oats, salt, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. In the bowl of a standing mixer combine the eggs, sugar, honey and bananas. Mix on medium-low until the bananas are fully incorporated. Continue to mix on medium-low speed and add the butter one piece at a time. Once all the butter is added, mix for 2 additional minutes. Now add the flour mixture on cup at a time and mix until fully incorporated with the wet ingredients.
Butter and flour 2 loaf pans. Equally distribute the batter into each pan and transfer to the oven. Cook for 1 hour at which point insert a tooth pick into the middle of each loaf to test if done. If the tooth pick comes out clean it is done. If the toothpick comes out with batter on it continue to cook for 10-15 minutes.
Remove the pans from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the loaves from the pan and transfer to a wire cooling rack. Cool the bread the rack for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the spread by combining the mascarpone and honey in a small bowl.
Cut the bread along the width of the loaf into ½” thick slices. Spread the honey mascarpone onto one piece of bread and sandwich it with another piece of bread. Cut in half for smaller tea sandwiches and enjoy.
In typical fashion, I forgot to buy celery for my chicken salad and decided to substitute with the pears that were being ignored in the dark reaches of my refrigerator. The result is a twist on a classic dish with a hint of new flavors and a delicious spring meal.
- 4 chicken breasts, trimmed of fat
- 1 cup Ponzu Sauce
- ¼ cup chopped scallions
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 2 pears
- ½ cup light mayonnaise
- ½ cup cream
- 1 head butter lettuce, leaves removed and cleaned
Place the chicken breasts in a shallow bowl. Combine the Ponzu Sauce, scallions and ginger in a small bowl. Pour this mixture over the chicken. Cover with cellophane and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, pre-heat oven to 375°. Cut the pears in half and remove the core. Place the pears on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes, flip and cook for 5 more minutes. Remove the pears and let cool to room temperature. Chop the pears into ½” cubes and set aside.
Remove the chicken from the refrigerator. Use tongs to transfer the chicken from the marinade to a medium sized baking dish. Reserve the marinade. Bake the chicken at 375° for 12-15 minutes. Cut into the chicken to ensure it is thoroughly cooked. Remove the chicken from the oven and let cool to room temperature.
While the chicken is cooling measure ¾ cup of the remaining marinade and transfer to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to a simmer over low heat and stir in the cream. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat
Once the chicken has cooled to room temperature, use a fork to shred it into thin strips. Place the chicken in a large bowl and fold in the pears and mayonnaise. Place a few large spoonfuls of the chicken salad onto each piece of lettuce. Drizzle the sauce over each lettuce wrap and serve.
Soft boiled eggs, or “cracked eggs” as I called them as a child, have long been my favorite comfort food. From sick days as a kid to the much anticipated first homemade meal after college finals, these eggs have always hit the spot and made me feel at home. Here I have combined my cracked eggs with a maple syrup brushed toast, ham and cheese. So simple, so pretty and so tasty.
- 1 loaf fresh whole grain bread
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 8 eggs
- 8 slices black forest ham
- 8 slices Swiss cheese
- 4 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
- Kosher salt for seasoning
Set oven to broil.
Fill a large saucepan with enough water to cover an egg by 1/2”. Transfer to the stove and bring to boil.
While the water is heating, slice the bread into ½”- ¾” resulting in 8 pieces. Place the bread on a cookie sheet and use a pastry brush to coat one side of the bread with the maple syrup. Place in the oven and broil until golden brown. This will happen quickly so don’t take your eyes off the bread. Remove the bread from the oven and top each piece with a slice of ham and a slice of cheese. Return to the oven and broil until the cheese is fully melted and bubbly.
Using a slotted spoon or a ladle, gently lower each egg into the boiling water one at a time. Cook for two minutes without disturbing the eggs. Use a spoon to rotate the eggs and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes, 2 minutes for a runnier egg, 3 for firmer eggs. Spoon the eggs out of the boiling water and transfer to a bowl of cold water for 30 seconds or long enough so you can handle the eggs with your hands. Now for the cracking. Take each egg and gently crack it in the middle with a butter knife. Open the egg and scrap out the insides on top of the toast – one egg per piece of toast. Top each egg with a sprinkle of parsley and salt. Serve right away.
I love cooking with corn husks. They provide a subtle smoky flavor and look great on a plate. Here I have used these gorgeous cooking vessels with shrimp and a simple corn and olive spread. This recipe makes enough of the spread so you can enjoy it the next day on a sandwich or bruschetta.
- 1 cup pitted olives
- 1 cup corn, canned or straight off the cob
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1.5 LB’s shrimp, shelled and deveined
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
- 1 large tomato, roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- Dash of sugar
- 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 cup sour cream
- 8 dried corn husks
Pre-heat oven to 400°.
Combine the olives and corn in a food processor and pulse until a paste-like tapenade forms.
Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a large sauté pan. Add the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes, turning once. Stir in ½ a cup of the tapenade. Add the garlic, cilantro, lemon juice, tomato, paprika, cumin, salt and sugar. Continue to cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat. Spoon the shrimp mixture into the corn husks. Spread 2 tablespoons of sour cream on top of the shrimp, followed by a small handful of cheese. Close the corn husks around the shrimp and place on a large baking dish. Bake the husks for 15-20 minutes, at which point they should be golden brown. Serve immediately.
Every birthday or special event of my youth was accompanied by my mother’s carrot cake. I will never forget the morning after our celebrations and the sound of my father sneaking into the kitchen to nab another piece of cake for breakfast. It seems only suitable that in the month of both of their birthdays that I make a cupcake reminiscent of mom’s.
Makes 16 large cupcakes
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 cups grated carrots
- ½ cup grated coconut
- 1.5 cups white sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2.5 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 8-ounce package cream cheese
- ½ cup room temperature butter
- 3 cups confectioner sugar
- 1.5 teaspoon vanilla
Pre-heat the oven to 350°.
Cream the eggs, oil, carrots, coconut, cream and sugars in a large bowl. In another bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until well incorporated. Spoon the mixture into a cupcake pan fixed with cupcake holders. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. When done, allow the cupcakes to cool for 5 minutes before removing from the pan and transferring to a cooling rack for 20 minutes.
While the cupcakes are cooling make the icing. Combine the butter, cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of a standing mixer. Mix until fully incorporated, about 1-2 minutes. Spoon the icing into a pastry bag fitted with a fluted attachment. Pipe the icing onto the cupcake starting from the outside of the cupcake top and working to the interior. Serve right away or refrigerate for up to 5 days.
These ribs look just slightly charred in this picture and believe me when I say I intended them to be that way. I like a nice crunch on my ribs and these provided just that. My alcohol cabinet came in handy again with the beans for a nice kick of whiskey flavor along the ribs.
- 1 rack pork spareribs
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup Worchester sauce
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons Coleman’s mustard
- 2 cups dried Lima beans
- 4 pieces thick cut bacon, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ cup cream cheese
- 1/2 cup whiskey
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
Start with the barbeque sauce. Combine the sugar, Worchester sauce, tomato paste, honey, rosemary, olive oil and mustard in a medium size bowl. Place the ribs on a large serving plate and generously brush with the barbecue sauce. Transfer the ribs to the refrigerator and let marinate for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, start with the beans. Pre-heat the oven to 400°. Cook the beans according to package instructions. While the beans are cooking heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until slightly crunchy. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon pieces and place on a paper towel to drain. Discard the fat from the pan. Return the bacon to the pan as well as the cooked beans over medium-high heat. Stir in the lemon juice and salt. Fold in the cream cheese and stir constantly until fully melted. Pour in the whiskey and cook for an additional 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and spoon the bean mixture into a small casserole dish. Top the beans with the bread crumbs and cover with tin foil. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove the tin foil and continue to cook for 15-20 minutes or until the bread crumbs are golden brown.
While the beans are cooking, heat your grill to medium-high heat. Cook the ribs for 30-40 minutes, turning and basting with barbeque sauce every 10 minutes. Cut into the ribs at 30 minutes to see if they are done. If the ribs are still pink, continue to cook. Once the ribs are tender and white on the interior remove from the grill and lay out on a large cutting board. Turn the ribs so that the meaty side is facing down. Cut along the contour of the ribs. Serve a few ribs alongside the lima beans.
Much like short ribs, oxtail requires a long braise to produce the tenderness and flavor we have come to love. Here I used a thick lager for the braising liquid and the result is this perfect weekend lunch or casual dinner. Just a note, plan ahead with this dish and start the braising early. This leaves you with very little to prepare around meal time.
- 6 LB’s oxtail
- 1 cup flour
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 7 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup freshly grated horseradish
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- ¾ teaspoon sugar
- 3-5 12 ounce lager beers
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 red bell pepper, sliced
- 2 yellow bell pepper, sliced
- 1 cup grated Gouda cheese
- 6 sough dough rolls
Make sure your oven racks are positioned to allow room for a Dutch oven. Pre-heat oven to 325°. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven. Place the flour in a shallow bowl. Thoroughly coat each oxtail with the flour and dust off the excess. Add the oxtail to the pot and brown on both sides- about 4 minutes per side. You might need to do this in batches depending on the size of your pot. Stir in the onions, garlic, horseradish, salt and pepper. Continue to cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. At this point, pour in the beer so that is covers the top of the oxtails by 1 inch. Bring to a boil, cover and transfer to the oven. Cook for 3.5 hours or until the meat is visibly falling off the bone. Remove from the oven.
Using a slotted spoon remove the meat from the pot and let cool for a few minutes. Set the Dutch oven aside and retain the remaining liquid for later use. Using a fork or your hands pull the meat off the bone. Discard the fat and the bones. Set the meat aside.
In a large sauté pan melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the peppers and sauté until slightly browned. Spoon one cup of the remaining beer mixture from the Dutch oven onto the peppers. Now fold in the meat, followed by ½ cup of the cheese. Stir until the cheese is fully incorporated into the meat. Reduce the heat to low and cover.
Meanwhile, turn the oven to broil. Slice the buns in half and broil on both sides until slightly browned. Remove the buns from the oven and fill with the meat and pepper mixture. Top each sandwich with a sprinkle of the remaining cheese and a dab of mayonnaise. Enjoy!
I’m a big fan of pureeing root vegetables of all kinds and I almost always end up with a rich and delicious side dish. Note the term “almost always.” A few months ago I pureed carrots and sweet potatoes together resulting in a neon orange mush that prompted my husband to say, “What in the heck is this?” Fortunately, this horseradish and celery root puree received a very different reception. Here I have matched it with a very basic baked swordfish for a simple meal with strong earthy flavors.
- 1 large celery root, cleaned, outside removed and chopped into 1”cubes
- 3 tablespoons freshly grated horseradish
- 1.5 cups cream
- ¾ – 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 4 large swordfish steaks
- ½ cup pine nuts
- ¼ cup capers
- 1 lemon
Bring a large stockpot of water to a boil. Add the chopped celery root and return to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 20-25 minutes.
Meanwhile, pre-heat oven to 450°. Lay the fish steaks out on a large non-stick baking dish. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze a touch of the juice on each steak. Discard any seeds that fall out. In a food processor pulse together the capers and pine nuts until paste-like. Spread a large spoonful of the caper-pine nut mixture on top of each piece of fish. Bake the fish for 15 minutes at which point the caper-pine nut topping should be nicely browned and crusty.
While the fish is baking, drain the celery root in a colander and transfer to the bowl of a standing mixer. Add to the bowl the butter, horseradish and ½ cup of the cream. Mix on low-medium speed while steadily pouring the remaining cream. Add ¾ teaspoon of salt and continue mixing. Taste for flavor and add more salt id desired. Continue to mix until lump less puree has formed. Return the puree to the stockpot and re-heat on low heat.
Plate on piece of fish on a cup of the puree and serve immediately.
Okay, so I have been fairly absent from the world of the Thirty Year Old Housewife and for that I am sorry. Somehow I convinced myself that setting out on a road trip for northern Montana with the dogs in tow would inspire me to jump in the kitchen and utilize the local treats of my new surroundings. False. If anything, the 24 hours of driving from Chicago to Montana were fundamentally uninspiring. Perhaps it was the ever present heat of one chocolate labs very bad breath at the nape of my neck or maybe it was the 9 hours of white out conditions through the state of South Dakota. Dare I suggest my lackluster attitude was the result of my chlorine saturated indoor pool view motel room which provided for only 3 hours of sleep before another day of driving. Whatever the source, I arrived in my beloved Montana annoyed, tired and relying on the local restaurants to feed me. I did eventually manage to punch out a few meals during the trip and this in one of them. In spite of my grim attitude, this dish was fantastic and made even the punchiest girl relaxed and happy.
- 1 tablespoons butter
- 2 cups sweet corn
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 3 tablespoons scallions
- 2 tablespoons cilantro
- 1 LB mild sausage, removed from casing
- ½ cup feta cheese, chopped
- ½ cup low-fat ricotta
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup cooked butternut squash
- 2 tablespoons tequila
- 1 medium sized tomato, roughly chopped
- ½ cup finely chopped tortilla chips
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
Pre-heat oven to 400°. Slice the squash in half and remove the seeds. Place the two halves on a baking sheet, skin side facing down. Brush with a touch of melted butter and cook for 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the corn and coat with the butter. Cook for 2 minutes then stir in the garlic, cilantro, tomato and scallions. Continue to cook for 3 minutes, string frequently. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the sausage. Use a wooden spoon to break up the clumps, while incorporating the sausage into the corn mixture. Once the major clumps are broken down and the sausage is browned, stir in the cream, the cheeses, tequila, paprika and salt. Bring to a slight simmer, string constantly. Continue to simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.
Remove the squash from the oven, let cool and remove skin. Cut into ¼ cubes and add 1 cup to the sausage mixture. Keep the remaining squash for future meals.
Change the oven setting to broil.
Place the chips in a small Ziploc bag. Add the olive oil and coat the chips evenly.
Spoon the sausage mixture into ramekins and sprinkle the chips on top. Return to the oven and broil until the chips are nicely browned-about 3 minutes. Remove and serve!
- 12 tortillas
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups spinach
- 2 cups grated white cheddar cheese
- 1 cup grated fonitna cheese
- 8 ounces smoked salmon
- 2 tablespoons capers
- Sour cream or crème faiche
Heat a teaspoon of the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Lay down one tortilla on the pan. Place one layer of salmon on the tortilla, followed by a generous handful of the cheeses, a handful of the spinach and a sprinkle of capers. Top with another tortilla. Use a spatula to flip the quesadilla once the tortilla touching the pan is golden brown. Continue to cook on other side until golden browned as well. Complete this process with the remaining tortillas and ingredients. Cut the quesadillas into pie shape pieces and plate along a dollop of sour cream or crème fraiche. Serve immediately.