Banana Muffins

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

3 bananas, mashed

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1/3 cup butter, melted

You may also add 1/2 cup chopped nuts or chocolate chips

Optional topping of sugar and oatmeal

Preheat oven to 350F. Coat muffin pans with non-stick spray or use paper liners. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. Combine bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter, fold in the flour mixture and mix until smooth. Scoop into muffin pans, sprinkle sugar and oatmeal on top (optional) and bake 25-30 minutes. 

Caramel Corn

This recipe comes from a good Instagram friend Kim, @ingleepartyof 5

10 cups popped popcorn

2 cups packed brown sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1 tsp. salt

two sticks butter

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/8 tsp. cream of tartar

1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 250F

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Spread the popcorn over both sheets and add a bit of salt to each tray.

In a medium sauce pan, melt butter. Add sugar and syrup. Stir constantly. Bring to a boil and let cook for 5 minutes, continue to stir. Remove from heat and immediately add vanilla, baking soda and cream of tartar.

Pour caramel over the popcorn and toss to coat. Bake for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes.  

Cool completely and break into pieces. Enjoy!

Note – this makes a terrific gift packed into decorative tins or in goodie bags tied with ribbon!

 

Chocolate Bread Pudding

This recipe is from DeliaOnline

INGREDIENTS

9 slices good quality white bread, one day old, taken from a large, medium sliced loaf
4 tablespoons dark rum
 
You will need a shallow ovenproof dish 7 x 9 inches and approx. 2″ deep, lightly buttered.

Begin by removing the crusts from the slices of bread, which should leave you with 9 pieces about 4 inches (10 cm) square.

So now cut each slice into 4 triangles. Next, place the chocolate, whipping cream, rum, sugar, butter and cinnamon in a bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, being careful not to let the bowl touch the water, then wait until the butter and chocolate have melted and the sugar has completely dissolved. Next, remove the bowl from the heat and give it a really good stir to amalgamate all the ingredients.

Now in a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and then pour the chocolate mixture over them and whisk again very thoroughly to blend them together. Then spoon about a ½ inch (1 cm) layer of the chocolate mixture into the base of the dish and arrange half the bread triangles over the chocolate in overlapping rows. Now, pour half the remaining chocolate mixture all over the bread as evenly as possible, then arrange the rest of the triangles over that, finishing off with a layer of chocolate. Use a fork to press the bread gently down so that it gets covered very evenly with the liquid as it cools.

Cover the dish with clingfilm and allow to stand at room temperature for 2 hours before transferring it to the fridge for a minimum of 24 (but preferably 48) hours before cooking.

When you’re ready to cook the pudding, pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4, 350°F (180°C). Remove the clingfilm and bake in the oven on a high shelf for 30-35 minutes, by which time the top will be crunchy and the inside soft and squidgy. Leave it to stand for 10 minutes before serving with well-chilled whipped cream poured over.

Rutabaga, Celery Root and Potato Gratin

This recipe is from Food and Wine Magazine,
David McCann

Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist
 

Directions

Instructions 
  • Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle position. Place rutabaga, potatoes, celery root, cream, and thyme sprigs in a large saucepan. Cover and cook over medium, turning vegetables occasionally, until cream just begins to bubble around edges of pan. Continue cooking, turning vegetables occasionally, until vegetables are tender on the outside but still crunchy in the center, 12 to 15 minutes, reducing heat as needed to maintain a very gentle simmer. Remove from heat; stir in salt and pepper.

  • While vegetable mixture cooks, lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish or 10-inch cast-iron skillet with butter, and place on a rimmed baking sheet.

  • Remove and discard thyme sprigs from vegetable mixture. Spoon half of vegetable mixture into prepared pan; sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cheese. Top with remaining vegetable mixture, pressing down gently to even top layer. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons cheese. 

  •  Place baking sheet with gratin in preheated oven. Bake until mixture is bubbling and vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Increase oven temperature to broil (do not remove gratin from oven). Broil on middle rack until golden brown in spots, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from oven; garnish with thyme leaves. Let cool 15 minutes. 

Make Ahead

Gratin can be assembled through step 3 and refrigerated overnight. Let gratin come to room temperature before baking.

Cherry Tomato Tart

Once I made this recipe, I knew I had to share it here! A great way to use up all those cherry tomatoes plus it’s super delicious!

2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 tsp. sea salt

9 tbsp. cold butter, cut into small sections

1 egg

3 tbsp. cold water

1 tbsp. dijon mustard

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

2 tbsp. olive oil

pinch of salt and pepper

3 tbsp. tomato paste (optional)

Approx. 1 1/2 lbs. cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1 1/2 tbsp. + 1 tbsp. olive oil

Combine the flour, salt, butter and egg with a fork or pastry blender until loose crumbles. Add the water and mix to combine. With your hands, shape into a flattened ball, wrap and chill for about one hour. 

Gently roll out the dough and place into a 10″ tart pan, cutting off the excess. 

Combine the mustard, basil, olive oil and salt and pepper. Evenly spread the optional tomato paste on the tart base then top with the basil olive oil mixture. 

Add the cherry tomatoes in a single layer as shown, pack them tightly. Drizzle with the honey and 1 tbsp. olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Bake in a 425F oven for one hour. Remove and let rest 10 minutes. 

Serve warm.

 

Classic Cheesecake with Blueberry Sauce

Recipe courtesy of Food and Wine Magazine

Ingredients

  • 2 cups crushed graham crackers
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (4 ounces), melted
  • 1/2 packed cup plus 2 teaspoons light brown sugar, divided
  • 2 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries or huckleberries

How to Make It   

Preheat oven to 375°F. Stir together crushed graham crackers, butter, and 1/2 cup brown sugar in a bowl. Press mixture into bottom of a 10-inch springform pan; wrap bottom of pan in aluminum foil, or place on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes. (Leave oven temperature at 375°F.)    

Meanwhile, beat cream cheese, egg yolks, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Using clean beaters, beat egg whites in a separate medium bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes. Fold egg whites into cream cheese mixture in 3 additions. Pour mixture into prepared crust, and smooth top.   

Bake cheesecake at 375°F until filling is puffed and top begins to dry out, 22 to 25 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack 1 hour.   

Whisk together sour cream, remaining 2 teaspoons brown sugar, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon vanilla in a bowl. Gently spoon onto cheesecake; smooth using an offset spatula.    

Bake cheesecake at 375°F until center is set (center will wobble slightly), 18 to 22 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack 1 hour. Place in refrigerator until chilled, at least 6 hours or up to 8 hours or overnight.    

Meanwhile, stir together blueberries and remaining 3 tablespoons granulated sugar in a small saucepan; cook over medium-high, stirring often, until blueberries start to release juices and sugar dissolves, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat; let cool.    

Run a knife around edges of cheesecake in pan. Remove springform ring from cheesecake, and transfer to a serving platter. Spoon blueberry sauce over cheesecake just before serving.

Green Goddess Dressing

If you’ve never made Green Goddess dressing, you owe it to yourself to try. It is the absolute essence of summer freshness. I toss it with simple curly lettuce greens and that’s it! Absolutely delicious!

Ingredients:

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 cup lightly packed fresh herbs (tender stems are fine), such as cilantro, parsley, dill basil, thyme and/or mint, with up to 1/4 cup chives or scallions

1 medium clove garlic

1/2 tsp. fine sea salt

Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and process until well blended and the herbs are finely chopped and incorporated. Chill until ready to serve.

Tomato, Basil and Corn Salad with Lobster

Here’s a recipe from one of my best friends’ who also happens to be a fabulous cook!

Servings: four as a main dish.

Ingredients:

4 ears fresh corn, shucked, silk removed
Sea salt 
2 live lobsters, about 1-1/4 lb. each (or 9 oz. cooked lobster meat)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 Tbs. white-wine vinegar or Champagne vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb. ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 fresh jalapeños, seeded and minced (to yield about 3 Tbs.)
2 shallots, minced (to yield 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
5 oz. (about 4 cups) mixed baby greens

Directions:

Bring a large pot of unsalted water to a boil over high heat. Add the corn and cook for 3 minutes. With tongs, remove the ears of corn from the pot and set them aside to cool. Salt the water generously (it should taste like the sea) and return the pot to a boil. Add the lobsters and cook uncovered for about 8 minutes. Check for done-ness by twisting the tail off one lobster. The meat should be opaque throughout. If it’s still translucent, continue cooking for another minute or two. Drain and let cool. Crack the shells; remove the meat from the tails and claws. Slice into 1/2-inch pieces and refrigerate in a bowl until ready to use.

In a medium bowl, combine the lemon juice and vinegar with 1/2 tsp. salt and a few grinds pepper. Whisk in the olive oil in a thin stream. Slice the corn kernels off the cobs. Add the kernels to the vinaigrette, along with the tomatoes, jalapeños, shallots, and basil. Toss gently, taste, and adjust the seasonings if needed. Put the greens in another bowl.

Tilt the bowl with the tomatoes and spoon off about 4 Tbs. of the juices. Add this to the bowl of greens and toss to coat. Spoon off about 3 more Tbs. of juice from the tomatoes and add this to the lobster; toss to coat. Taste both the greens and the lobster; adjust the ­seasonings as needed.

Divide the tomato salad, lobster, and greens evenly among four plates, arranging them in separate mounds, and serve.

Classic 4 Bean Salad

I actually use more than 4 varieties of beans for my salad, the choices can be varied to your personal tastes, but the classic version always has one or two of the cut green beans.

1 can each, drained and rinsed, cut green beans, cut yellow wax beans, red kidney beans, garbanzo beans, pinto beans

1/2 each, yellow and green pepper, seeded and diced

1/2 of a small sweet onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

In a medium size bowl toss the beans with the chopped vegetables. Blend in the remaining ingredients until well incorporated. Allow to chill before serving. 

Creamy Hazelnut Pie

recipe courtesy of Taste of Home
Ingredients:

1 8oz. package cream cheese, softened

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 1/4 cups Nutella, divided

1 8oz. carton frozen whipped topping, thawed

1 chocolate crumb crust (9″)

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and 1 cup of Nutella until smooth. Fold in whipped topping. Spread evenly into crust.

Warm remaining Nutella in microwave for 15-20 seconds, drizzle over pie. Gently swirl with a knife. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. 

Yield – 8 servings