Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Banana Cupcakes and Chocolate Ganache Icing

So I was listening to Martha Stewart radio and they had a guest on that was talking about Banana Cupcakes. For some reason that sounded sooo good! So I looked up a recipe and decided to try it out. They did turn out very well. You can eat these plain as a breakfast muffin if you want. I iced mine though. I iced half of them with a cream cheese icing (bought, but there are some easy recipes out there) and the other half with chocolate ganache. I also posted this recipe below. This was a good and fun treat!!

Banana Cupcakes

1 1/2 c. sugar

1/2 c. butter
2 eggs
1 tsp. soda
4 tbsp. sour cream
1 c. mashed bananas
1 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. vanilla

Cream butter and sugar, add eggs. Dissolve soda in sour cream, add to creamed mixture and beat well. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Put into cupcake papers. Bake at 350 degrees. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until they are cooked through. Makes about 1 1/2 dozen.

Chocolate Ganache

· 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

· 1 cup heavy cream

· 1 tablespoon dark rum (optional)

Place the chocolate into a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil, watching very carefully because if it boils for a few seconds, it will boil out of the pot. When the cream has come to a boil, pour over the chopped chocolate, and whisk until smooth. Stir in the rum if desired.

Allow the ganache to cool slightly before pouring over a cake. Start at the center of the cake and work outward. For a fluffy frosting or chocolate filling, allow it to cool until thick, then whip with a whisk until light and fluffy.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Summer Vegetable Ratatouille

Summer is coming to an end, but the veggies are still fresh and abundant. This recipe is great for a crowd and delicious to boot!

2 onion, sliced into thin rings
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium eggplant, cubed
2 zucchini, cubed
2 medium yellow squash, cubed
2 green bell peppers, seeded and cubed
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 chopped red bell pepper
4 Roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
4 sprigs fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste


  • Heat 1 1/2 tablespoon of the oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until soft.
  • In a large skillet, heat 1 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and saute the zucchini in batches until slightly browned on all sides. Remove the zucchini and place in the pot with the onions and garlic.

  • Saute all the remaining vegetables one batch at a time, adding 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil to the skillet each time you add a new set of vegetables. Once each batch has been sauteed add them to the large pot as was done in step 2.

  • Season with salt and pepper. Add the bay leaf and thyme and cover the pot. Cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes.

  • Add the chopped tomatoes and parsley to the large pot, cook another 10-15 minutes. Stir occasionally.

  • Remove the bay leaf and adjust seasoning.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Cooking As A Spectator Sport

My mom told me about this piece on NPR- and I had to share. I have to admit, I am guilty of participating in these shows- in fact Dad and I did Friday night when we watched Chef vs. City. I enjoyed it, however I truly doubt I need to know how to split a wheel of cheese.

For full pod cast go to:

Michael Pollan On Cooking As A Spectator Sport
August 3, 2009

The Food Network draws more viewers than any of the cable news channels, but Americans are actually cooking less than ever.

Michael Pollan's recent cover story in The New York Times Magazine explores America's obsession with cooking as a spectator sport — and why the rise of cooking shows has coincided with the rise of fast food and prepackaged meals.

As Pollan points out, the time it takes the average American to prepare dinner has dropped to less than half the amount of time it takes to watch an episode of Top Chef.

In a conversation with Fresh Air guest host Dave Davies, Pollan fondly remembers Julia Child, the woman credited with upgrading the meals coming out of American kitchens. Child, he says, spawned the cooking-show genre, now a TV mainstay.

But Pollan says today's cooking shows are much different than those of the 1960s. Shows like Top Chef, Iron Chef America, and the Next Food Network Star are "more like sports than cooking. They're competitive, they're very macho."

"The Food Network has made the kitchen a safe place for men by ramping up the testosterone," Pollan says. But "you certainly don't learn anything about cooking" from watching these shows; "they go by way too fast, they don't offer the recipes ... and the food they're making is so spectacular that it's really unlikely, I think, that anybody is trying this at home."

Then there are the shows — like the Rachael Ray Show and Semi-Homecooking with Sandra Lee — that stress expediency and convenience over quality of food.

"They're called dump and stir shows," Pollan says. "In a way, they're very much the children of Julia, although I think their style is different, and their cooking is different. It's all about the shortcut. ... I don't think they have the kind of conviction Julia had, even though I think they're probably useful to some people."

Pollan is a Knight Professor of Journalism at UC Berkeley and the author of several books, including In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto, The Omnivore's Dilemma, and The Botany of Desire.

Crockpot Cabbage Soup

Okay, school is back in session, and I am on a mission to plan meals again. I have realized I cook more during the school year- part of it necessity, part of it release. Tomorrow night we have dance class at 5, so I want something that will be ready when we get home at 6. I have all of the ingredients in the pantry/ fridge, so we are going to give it a try. I feel excited to get back into blogging again- so I will be looking for some new recipes to try. Wish us luck!

Cook Time: 9 hours

1/2 head of cabbage, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large carrot, thinly sliced
3 to 4 tablespoons rice
2 ribs celery, sliced in 1/2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon garlic powder
6 cups beef broth (can make from bouillon or base and hot water)
1 pound of ground beef
2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) tomatoes, diced
coarsely ground pepper

Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker/Crock Pot. Cover and cook for 8 to 10 hours on low. Taste before serving; add salt and more pepper if necessary.Serve with biscuits or crusty bread.

Beef Cabbage Soup Recipe serves 4

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Baked Camembert Cheese

I saw Baked Camembert Cheese mentioned on an old episode of Martha Stewart and it looked like a good and easy appetizer. Well I tried serving it last night and it was! Camembert Cheese can be bought in the nicer cheese section of a grocery store (I saw it at Walmart & HEB and I'm sure other chains carry it). It comes in a round box. To bake it I followed the directions in this video. The ingredients are:

-1 box Camembert Cheese

-a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme

-olive oil

Preheat oven to 400F. To prepare cheese, cut the thin layer of wax off of the top of the cheese. Place the cheese back in the wooden box. Sprinkle fresh thyme on the top of the cheese. Pour a bit of olive oil on top of the cheese. Place cheese (while still in the wooden box, but with no lid) in a baking pan. Cook at 400F for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is soft. Watch the video for a better explanation.

Serve with French bread. I sliced french bread into thin pieces and toasted some and left some untoasted. Your guests can spread the cheese on the bread! It is delicious!!

Frozen Watermelon Margarita

This is a recipe that I found on the Food Network website. I decided to try it out when we had some friends over for dinner. It was really really good! The great thing is that you don't add any extra sugar to the recipe...the sweetness comes from the fruit.

Frozen Watermelon Margarita

2 1/2 cups seedless (or seeded) watermelon, cut into 1-inch cubes, rind discarded before measuring

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (don't skimp on this)

4 ounces tequila

2 ounces orange flavored liqueur (I used orange flavored vodka)

1 1/2 cups ice

Lime wheel or watermelon wedge, for garnish


Put cut watermelon in a plastic bag and place in freezer for a minimum of 2 hours. (If time does not permit this step, add a few extra ice cubes when blending, the difference is not that significant.)

Stuff all ingredients into a blender and puree until smooth. Garnish rim of glass with a lime wheel or a watermelon wedge and serve immediately.