Category Archives: 52Weeks

In my Brain

Banana Waffles

banana_waffles

When life makes you bananas – make a banana split!  Or at least so said my boss last week after a way more stressful than it needed to be week.  While I’m not much of a banana split kind of girl (milkshakes, all the way) I did get a bit stuck on the idea of using bananas.  The next day a coworker gave me a perfectly brown banana that was perfect for mashing and doing something with – so I knew the universe, or at least my colleagues, were telling me I needed to do something with bananas.  Since I was gifted the banana on a Friday it was in perfect shape for breakfast the next morning and after a quarter toss to decide between pancakes and waffles, I got to work!  I used the base waffle recipe in my Joy of Cooking book, and just swapped out the eggs for the bananas.

Banana Waffles

Serves: Yields 6 waffles

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup mashed banana (about 2 normal sized bananas)
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Mix together the banana and milk until smooth and set aside. Sift together the flour and baking powder in a large bowl. Stir in the salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg and then make a well in the middle.
  2. Preheat waffle oven
  3. Quickly whisk in the wet ingredients, and mix until just blended
  4. Spoon mixture into waffle oven based on directions. Continue until done - then Enjoy and Serve!

Notes

Our machine takes a 1/3 cup batter for each waffle

http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/11/in-my-brain.html

Joe topped his with standard maple syrup while I went for some local Pear Butter, which worked perfectly with the cinnamon in the muffins.  I know there are people out there who teased me for asking for a waffle maker on our wedding registry but I am so so so thankful that I did!  There are few things as simple and basic as a good waffle – which is why I’m sending this over to /r/52weeksofcooking for their rustic challenge.  It might not be the easiest thing to make on a camping trip, but a waffle in the morning with a cup of coffee (by which I mean Iced Caramel Latte) is pure heaven!

Having Fun

Fava Bean Soup

fava_bean_stew

I don’t willingly watch horror movies – this is a fact long established and reinforced after various events during my college years.  So when I saw the challenge for /52weeksofcooking was to use a horror movie for an inspiration, I thought about “cheating” by making some gory dessert thing and saying I was inspired by The Saw or I Know What you did Last Summer or some other horror flick thing.  Then I decided to get serious and consider the various “thriller” style movies that I do enjoy, such as Cabin in the Woods and Silence of the Lambs.  From there I was between doing a red wine dish (CitW) or something with fava beans, and in the end fava beans won out.  There is something so iconic about that moment in SotL and while liver will never appear on this blog, fava beans are certainly welcome!  I wanted to have a nod to the Chianti as well as the general feel of the movie, so I decided a chunky red tomato stew would be perfect.

Having Fun

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 Spanish onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup dry fava beans, well rinsed
  • 3.5 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp dry red wine
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large dutch oven. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 10 minutes, or until slightly golden.
  2. Add the fava beans along with the vegetable stock, red wine, and stewed tomatoes. Bring to a boil, and keep boiling for two minutes.
  3. Turn down to a simmer, then add the bay leaf and pepper and cover. Simmer for at least 45 minutes, stirring at the halfway point.
  4. Season to taste with pepper - Serve and Enjoy!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/11/having-fun.html

This is one of those dishes that really benefits from being cooked for a long time, in fact it’s generally best at lunch the following day.  It can also be converted for the slow cooker, cooking on low for 8 hours before turning to high for 30 minutes.  For the ultimate results serve with some crusty bread that can help soak up all the tomato goodness

Gotta, Gotta

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

pumpkin_choco_cookie

When I was in college it was my best friend’s “job” to make a batch, or five, of pumpkin cookies after fall.  After college I realized that if I wanted my pumpkin fix I needed to figure out the recipe or accept a life without these delicious treats.  The main trick I have found is to pre-roast the pumpkin and store the mash in the fridge or freezer until it’s time to use.  In a pinch, canned pumpkin can also work but just make to grab mashed pumpkin and not the pre-made pie filling as it tends to be too runny.  As for the chips, I’m a fan of milk chocolate but as long as chocolate is being used there is no wrong option.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie

Serves: Yields around 60 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 egg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mashed pumpkin
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Cream the butter and sugar for 10 minutes, until slightly fluffy. Add in the egg, salt, and vanilla extract and beat for 5 minutes before adding in the mashed pumpkin.
  2. Preheat oven to 350
  3. In a small bowl stir together the flour, baking soda, and spices. Slowly add to the wet ingredients and beat until just mixed.
  4. Spoon the dough onto cookie sheets in walnut sized portions. Bake for 15 minutes, or until a golden orange shade.
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/11/gotta-gotta.html

These cookies are so good – your dogs might climb up on to the table cat ninja style and eat the last dozen.  Thankfully milk chocolate is not as toxic for dogs as semi-sweet chocolate and Calli is good to go.  Lesson for the future as now we know that she can jump in to the table, regardless of chair placement.   At least we got to enjoy a few dozen before that happened!

I’m sending these over, slightly last minute, to the /r/52weeksofcooking pumpkin challenge!  I also sent a large number of these to my office, where they were totally and utterly destroyed in a short amount of time.

Come True

Acorn Squash with Dried Fruit

acorn_squash

When I saw the challenge for /r/52weeksofcooking was Native American – I was a bit nervous but not for any of the normal reasons.  Recently there has been some uproar on blogger “feedback” sites about the insensitivity of bloggers as it relates to other cultures/religions/practices with a focus on cultural approbation.  While I would hope that posting a recipe would not be considered cultural stealing,  I still paused to weigh if it would be worth being a potential target on one of those more venomous sites, especially after “yelpgate” a few weeks ago.   In the end I decided that sharing recipes should always be allowed, regardless of where (or where not) a person is from.  After all, everyone has to eat!

 

Acorn Squash with Dried Fruit

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 vidalia onion, diced
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary
  • 1 lb acorn squash, partially peeled and diced (reserve 1/4 cup of the seeds)
  • 1 1/2 cups wild rice
  • 3 cups vegetable stock (or water)
  • 1/2 cup cranberries
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add the garlic, squash seeds, and onion and cook for 7 minutes before adding the herbs. Stir well and cook for a minute.
  2. Add the diced acorn squash and cook for 10 minutes, or until soft and shiny - stir frequently to prevent sticking.
  3. Add the wild rice, stir well and allow to soak up some of the liquid in the pan before adding the water/stock. Bring to a boil, then cover, and turn heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove lid, stir, and add the cranberries along with the raisins. For a more "stewlike" option serve now - or wait 5 minutes and Serve!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/10/come_true.html

 In the end,  it’s a balancing act – and I can only hope that this post strikes the right note as I would really like to avoid getting messages (again) about how I need to be hit by a truck.  I enjoyed this dish as is, while my cheese loving spouse adding some Parmesan Cheese to his.  I think in the future I’ll go full stew, instead of debating back and forth while making the dish.

I’m also sending this over to Simple and in Season, hosted by the always fabulous Ren Behan since Acorn Squash is in its prime right now – and there is something very fall-like when it comes to dried fruit treats.

Life is a

Potato Corn Chowder

potato_corn_chowder

I first started to “really” cook when I was in college, thanks to the lack of a meal plan and a dorm room that included a full kitchen.  Most of my dishes were the results of experiments, tossing various ingredients in to a pot to see if the results were edible.  Then I started getting serious, picking up recipe books in the clearance department of Barnes and Noble and using those as the basis for continued experiments.  One such clearance book was all about using canned vegetables – and for a fair amount of time I was convinced that the potato chowder in that book was the be all, end all potato corn chowder recipe.  Then I left college, went up north, and realized what potato chowder really was.  Which is why this is the perfect recipe for /r/52weeksofcooking “screw ups revisited” challenge.  Once I had real chowder, I cut the cord on the recipe which required, no joke, 7 different cans.  It wasn’t horrible by any stretch, but it wasn’t good and the sodium level was insane.  My first attempts to improve this dish involved me switching out some of the cans for fresh ingredients, replacing more and more as my skill level increased.  As a bonus, the recipe wound up being dairy free as well as gluten free.

Potato Corn Chowder

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 vidalia onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 4 butter potatoes, partially skinned and quartered (about 2.5 lbs)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock (plus extra just in case)
  • 1 cup corn off the cob
  • 2 tbsp plain Greek Yogurt (I used So Delicious Coconut milk plain)

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and cook for 10 minutes before adding the spices. Cook for an additional minute, stirring constantly.
  2. Add the potatoes and cook for 5 minutes, allowing the potatoes to slight brown. Then pour in the stock and bring mixture to a boil. Cover, then turn heat to low and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Use an immersion blender to puree the mixture, adding more stock as needed.
  4. Add in the corn, then stir in the yogurt. Cook for a final 5 minutes, then season to taste with salt and pepper as needed.
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/10/life-is-a.html

I’m sure this recipe will continue to evolve, but thrilled to say that my potato corn chowder is no longer a canned screw up.   This recipe can also be easily adapted for the slow cooker, just cook the onion and garlic in advance then toss everything in on low for 7 hours.  This chowder can also easily transition to a sweet potato corn chowder by swapping out the potatoes – for a real treat add some curry powder for a samosa like taste!