Monday, February 28, 2011

Jam Muffins

So in keeping with the jam theme I bring to you Jam Muffins!

Jam Muffins

These are yummy snacks that look fussy but are totally easy to make. I made some with whole wheat flour for an after-workout snack, hoping that my batch of 10 muffins (I made them a little big) would last a few days. That idea quickly went out the window, as my boyfriend gobbled up 3 right out of the oven! Thankfully he left a few for me to eat and photograph. He said they were the perfect on-the-go snack as you can tear them open and dip pieces of the muffin in the convenient little well of jam.

I made these muffins with two different types of jam, so every muffin would be a flavour surprise! Enjoy!

Jam Muffins
(muffin batter recipe adapted from Allrecipes)
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups all-purpose whole wheat flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil or sour cream
  • A jar of your favourite jam
Directions:
1.      Preheat oven to 400 F
2.      Mix together dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix together wet ingredients in small bowl, excluding the jam of course!
3.      Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until just moistened. Do not over mix.
4.      Grease your muffin tray and fill each muffin cup halfway. Drop a tablespoon or more (you be the judge) of jam onto the batter. Lightly push down on the jam and top with more batter.
5.      Bake for 18 minutes, or until golden.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Jam Brownies

Jam Brownies

I don't think that 'brownies' is the right term to describe this dessert. This decadent treat is just so dense, fragrant, and moist that it goes beyond the fudgiest-fudge brownie. The texture is almost similar to that of a flourless cake and it is so rich that one slice subdued this chocoholic. Eating this dessert is true bliss!

So it's not cake, nor fudge, nor a brownie....but it uses similar ingredients to a brownie, is cooked the same way as a brownie, and it's jammed full of berry goodness! I'll stick with my basic title of Jam Brownies for the time being.

I discovered this recipe while perusing some of my favourite food blogs. I noticed quite a few entries that included jam as a main ingredient. This one stuck with me for some reason, and boy am I glad I bookmarked it. I love the depth of flavor that jam brings to this dish. I used homemade very-berry jam and it worked very well. Marmalade would work well too; orange and chocolate are a great pair.

I made this recipe for our anniversary. It is definitely special occasion worthy.

Jam Brownies


Jam Brownies
(from Twospoons) -lovingly translated from metric to good-old cups and tablespoons

Ingredients: 
  • ¾ cup and 2 tbsp of unsalted butter 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1 and 1/3 cup of dark chocolate chips 
  • 250g jam or marmalade (just over 8 ounces) 
  • 1 tbsp cocoa 
  • 1 cup of A/P flour 
  • pinch salt 

Directions: 
  1. Grease an 8 inch round or square pan.
  2. Preheat oven to 350F
  3. Melt butter and jam together on lowest heat setting until butter has melted. Add chocolate and cocoa and stir until chocolate is melted and incorporated. Let mixture cool.
  4. Beat eggs into the mixture until fully incorporated. Stir in flour and salt. Pour batter into prepared dish and bake for 15-25 minutes depending on size. 
  5. I cooked mine for 25 mins. The center wasn’t fully set which ended up being perfect. Cool completely and refrigerate before slicing.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Italian Chicken Cordon Bleu

So yesterday was our anniversary and, as I do on all special occasions, I made a special dinner.

For our main course I decided to practice my chef skills, which my boyfriend defines as "cooking without a recipe". This has always been super hard for me. I love improvising and changing ingredients, but I enjoy the comfort of having a recipe stare back at me from the computer screen. I find it reassuring. But to be a good chef you need to be confident in your own skills, experience, and knowledge, and I think that I'm at the point that I can start making things without an ingredient list or directions. I decided to make a cross between Chicken Cordon Bleu and Chicken Parmesan.

I started by pounding the chicken breasts until they were 1/2 inch thick. I then placed a rectangle of swiss cheese on the chicken and rolled the breast jelly roll style, tightly. I used toothpicks to keep the chicken together. I know what you're thinking, "You forgot the ham!", well we don't eat much ham so we don't buy it. This is a ham-free cordon bleu! ;-)

Breading the Chicken Cordon Bleu


I then breaded the chicken with Italian breadcrumbs and baked it at 400F for 30 minutes. I served this with a chunky tomato marinara sauce, vegetable brown rice, and a spinach broccoli salad.  Yum!

Italian Chicken Cordon Bleu

If you think this dinner looked good, just wait until you see dessert!

Friday, February 25, 2011

New Blog and Kaitlyn's Famous Banana Bread

After my first failed attempt at blogging, I have finally gathered the courage to enter into the food bloggerverse.

I don't think my pictures are foodgawker quality yet but I'm working on them and hopefully in the future I'll be able to cross off 'successful foodgawker submission' from my bucket list.

So to start off my blog I couldn't think of a better recipe than my Famous Banana Bread. 

Kaitlyn's Famous Banana Bread

 This recipe has created quite a stir in Southern Oregon where it often gets shipped to my boyfriend's family.  It's incredibly moist and freezes and thaws so well. The addition of chocolate chips makes this an indulgent treat. I'm currently working on making a 'chocolate loaf' version of this banana bread...yummy!

Kaitlyn's Famous Banana Bread
(adapted from Emeril Lagasse)

Ingredients
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 3 large bananas (4 small)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (I add an extra tablespoon due to my high elevation of 3,600 feet)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (optional)
Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Lightly grease a loafpan with 1 teaspoon of butter.

Puree or mash the bananas, sour cream, eggs and vanilla.

Sift the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fixed with a  whisk attachment. Add the stick of butter and mix on medium-low speed until blended, scrape the sides to evenly distriubute the butter in the flour. Add the banana mixture in 2 batches, scraping the sides of the bowl and mixing on medium speed between each addition. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Pour into the loaf pan. Bake until lightly browned and bread bounces back to the touch, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto wire rack to cool completely.