Soft, Moist, Delicious: Sour Cream Banana Bread

Posted in Breads & Pastries, Breakfast, For Cooking Rookies

Soft, Moist, Delicious, Easy Banana Bread

Disclaimer: Remember a few months ago when I said that I was going to count calories and only prepare foods that had a decent nutritional value? Yeah – this isn’t one of those recipes. I included the calorie count for those of you that are interested, but I would urge you not to look if you’re not. The good news if that you can stretch this recipe by basically only eating 3/4 of a serving the calorie count is in much more reasonable territory. 

With that said, E’s a huge fan of banana bread, and we frequently have leftover, brown bananas in the house. So, needless to say, I’ve made more than a few batches of banana bread in my life. This one’s taken a few tries to get rights, but it’s damned near perfect at this point.

A couple of tips: First, we put all of our overripe bananas in the freezer. Whenever there are enough in the freezer, I make banana bread. It’s that simple. Just defrost the bananas in a bowl in the fridge. Peel and use as the overripe bananas that this recipe calls for. Second, for whatever reason, I’ve found self-rising flour to work best for this recipe. You can create self-rising flour by adding baking powder and salt (head over to Add a Pinch for DIY instructions). Third, under no circumstances skip the sour cream. I know it’s bad for you. But, it is delicious. Fourth, feel free to add walnuts. Not a favorite in our house, but if you’d like to add nuts, just stir them in towards the end (before pouring into the loaf pan).

At some point I’ll start experimenting with a lower calorie variation of this recipe, but in the meantime, we’re 100% content enjoying this saturated-fat-laden version.

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Rise and Shine! Cheddar and Spinach Baked Eggs

Posted in Breakfast, Dairy, Fit for Sunday

Rise and Shine! Cheddar and Spinach Baked Eggs

The best part about waking up on Sunday morning is the promise of eggs and bloody mary’s (in my house, at least), in which we throw our diets out the window, eat, drink, be merry, and promptly take a nap. Baked eggs provide a much welcomed departure from your usual fried or scrambled variety. Once you’ve mastered this simple recipe, you can easily add and subtract from it. Some of our favorite riffs on this recipe are adding Canadian Bacon (the turkey variety, we’re a pork free household), tomatoes or artichokes.

Rise and Shine! Cheddar and Spinach Baked Eggs

We prefer sharp, white cheddar here – but, really any decent quality cheese that you have in your fridge will work. Serve with fresh bread for dipping.

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Breakfast for Dinner – Perfect Scrambled Eggs, Provolone & Seared Mushrooms

Posted in Breakfast, Dairy, Easy Weeknight, For Cooking Rookies, How To, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Though my culinary prowess has much improved over the course of the past few years, it’s taken me a very long time to learn how to make scrambled eggs well.  You know, like the eggs you get at your favorite brunch spot that are creamy, but never undercooked, without a single spot of brown on them.  It wasn’t until very recently that I learned the patience and technique to really do it right. The trick here is slow and low: using a lot of butter to coat the bottom of a saute pan, using low heat, constantly moving the eggs slowly so that they don’t brown, and removing them from heat just before they’re done.  Check out this post by The Kitchn for some more tips on making perfect eggs.

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Strawberry Basil Jam

Posted in Breakfast, Canning & Preserving, Condiments, Fruit

Strawberry Basil Jam

Basil has always been one of my favorite herbs.  I love what it does to desserts just as much as I love what it does to pasta sauce.  With berry season wrapping up, I couldn’t help but attempt a jam, spiked with basil.  Strawberries have enough natural pectin in them that you don’t need to add any, so this is a great recipe for jam making rookies.

This turned out just as wonderfully as I would have hoped.  If you’re planning on canning this jam, be sure to add an extra cup of sugar to ensure that there’s enough in there preserve it.  This is a small batch recipe, so I opted to eat it right away.  Goes great with an English muffin for breakfast, or in the center of a butter cookie.

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Raspberry-Lemon Marmalade

Posted in Breakfast, Canning & Preserving, Condiments

Raspberry-Lemon Marmalade
Making jam is one of the things that I love most about berry season. Not only is it incredibly easy to make, but after you get a few base recipes mastered, you can experiment by adding new ingredients.  This particular recipe is based off of a very simple recipe for raspberry jam and added lemon. I’m not generally a huge fan of super sweet jams, so I added much less sugar than is generally called for in similar recipes.

If you’ve never made jam before, you can pick up pectin, which acts as an thickening agent for jams and jellies, at most natural food stores.  I opted for Pomona’s Universal Pectin, which I bought from Rainbow Grocery (one of my favorite places to shop for food in SF).  Because I wanted this to have a thinner texture (hence calling it a ‘marmalade’ instead of a jam) I used less pectin.  To thicken this recipe up, just double the amount of pectin.

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Brunch in Monterey, California

Posted in Breakfast, Travel

Monterey - Brunch @ the InterContinentalMonterey - Brunch @ the InterContinental

A few months ago, I packed everyone up (and our little dog, too!) and headed south via the Pacific Coast Highway.  Before we reached our final destination, we got to see a lot of the obligatory Nor Cal scenery – the dramatic cliffs that remind me of The Goonies, the Santa Cruz boardwalk, Cannnery Row, and Rio del Mar – which is hardly a destination, but a great pit-stopped for a beer on the beach and a well-deserved game of fetch with Oliver Gomez.

Monterey has all of the good elements to make up a good food microcosm – decent weather most of the year, beautiful scenery, unlimited access to fresh fish, close proximity to some really fantastic wineries.  I wanted Cioppinos! Jumbo lumb crab cakes! Delicious wine!  Sadly, we consistently found ourselves disappointed. The only exception, however, was an early morning brunch at The C Restaurant at The Clement Monterey – Intercontinental.

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Lemon & Poppy Seed Muffins

Posted in Breads & Pastries, Breakfast, Fruit

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
On any given day, I have a take-or-leave attitude when it comes to muffins.  I don’t find them satisfying breakfast food.  I don’t like chocolate.  And I have only met a handful of banana breads that I legitimately enjoyed.  However, offer me a lemon-poppy seed muffin and my tone changes – my eyes widen, my taste buds perk up and suddenly, breakfast doesn’t sound like such a bad idea.

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