Sunday, January 30, 2011

Nutella Hot Chocolate

I came across a cookbook titled Hot Chocolate by Michael Turback. There were photos of cocoa on the cover in cool blue mugs, it was just too "warm and fuzzy" a topic not to grab the book off the library shelf and take it home. Later when I had a moment to look through all of the various types of cocoa available to mankind I happened on a recipe for Nutella Hot Chocolate and the story of where Nutella came from. (I recommend reading the story for yourself, pg. 95)

The "nut-shell" version of the story? The spread was first developed by Italian, Pietro Ferrero during WWII when cocoa was being rationed. First called "Supercrema Gianduja" it was made from hazelnuts, that were on hand, and cocoa. The story went on to explain that children would go to the store with bread to get a "shmear" so to speak.
Nutella Hot Chocolate
3/4 C milk
2 heaping T Nutella
Whipped cream

Heat the milk in the microwave for 2 minutes or in a saucepan until warm. Stir in the Nutella. If you're using the microwave put it back in for another minute and stir. Top with whipped cream.

I will have to try this again with the whipped cream, but it was good without it. One to keep in mind for a snow day!

Recipe Source: Hot Chocolate by Michael Turback, pg. 95, Nutella Hot Chocolate by Chuck Silverston, Paris Creperie

Friday, January 28, 2011

Open-Faced Nutella & Banana Sandwiches

This homemade sandwich is so much better than take-out! "Yum" literally came to mind with the first crunchy-soft-banana-chocolatey bite. (Can I use hyphens like that?) My daughter and I met up for lunch and few moments of Monster Quest while munching on our Nutella (hazelnut & chocolate spread) and banana sandwiches. Get these ingredients, including Monster Quest! Treat yourself. I insist!
About this picture: This was the only one I took, well after the one with the flash--Doh! While eating I was like: "I should take a picture with a bite out of the sandwich!" but then I would have had to pause and the Nutella was all melty and it seemed such a shame not to just enjoy the moment.

Open Faced Nutella & Banana Sandwiches
Artisan bread (Not sour dough or french bread--the good heavy duty crunchy-crust stuff)
Bananas (ripe)

The instructions make me a little giddy they're so easy. Slice the bread and toast it. Spread on the Nutella and slice the bananas right on top. Oh, this is seriously good!

Do you like Nutella? What do you eat it with? Any special combo of ingredients?


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Steel Cut Oats

This morning I looked outside to see if it had really snowed, nope! The sky was cloudy giving the day a chilly feel. A good morning to not reach for pre-processed cold cereal. I don't remember ever making Steel Cut Oats before, so I had no clue how to get started... well there were the instructions on the bag, but ---boring! Thanks to an old Food Network fav, Alton Brown, I was soon on my way.
Toasting the oats.
Appetizing murkiness.
Essential stirring tool.
Almost done. The last 10 minutes.
Steel Cut Oats
1 T Butter
1 C Steel Cut Oats
3 C boiling water
1/2 C milk
1/2 C Buttermilk*
Brown Sugar

Melt butter in sauce pan then add the oats and toast 2-3 minutes. Add the boiling water and simmer for 25 minutes. Add the milk and 1/4 C buttermilk and stir, cook for 10 more minutes. Add cinnamon and brown sugar to taste and drizzle with some of the remaining buttermilk. The bowl above got clobbered with all 3. "Bam!" - to quote Emeril

*I didn't have any buttermilk so to make my own... 1/2 T white vinegar to 1/2 C milk, combine and leave it be for 5 minutes. - Ta Da 

A very hearty breakfast with staying power. Will have to remember this the next time I go hiking! Have you ever made Steel Cut Oats? What do you think of them?


Monday, January 17, 2011

Vegetable Beef Stew

The weather was seriously balmy today! After temps hovering around 10-15 degrees the 40's were warm! The snow? Melting. Le sigh. I heard some stories about Martin Luther King, Jr on the radio while running around today. It was interesting to learn that the famous "I have a dream" portion of his speech was off the cuff.

Eric started cooking dinner, Vegetable Beef Stew, this morning in the crock pot. He found the camera and took a picture so I could show you how it turned out. Hearty and good!
Vegetable Beef Stew
2 pkgs stew beef
3 C chicken broth
10 red potatoes (scrubbed and quartered/or halved)
1/2 bag baby carrots (cut into chunks)
1/2 C diced onions
1 garlic clove diced/mashed
1/2 C water
2 cans green beans (drained, added at the end)
2 T corn starch
Kosher salt
1 beef bouillon cube

Cook the stew meat, then add it to the crock pot. Add broth, potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic and water. Set crock pot on high and leave for 6-7 hours. Add beef bouillon and salt to taste. Add cornstarch (per directions on can). Add green beans and cook for an additional hour then it's ready to serve. It was very good! Thanks for making dinner!
Eric shared a small smackeral of beef stew with the Squirrel who is now quite content, snuggled in, and settled down for the night.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Banana Bread 1940s

Banana Bread
1 1/2  C flour
1 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/2 t nutmeg (fresh grated if possible)
1/4 C butter (melted)
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 C sugar
1 egg
3 bananas
1 1/2 C walnuts (chopped)

Preheat oven to 350F. Coat loaf pan with cooking spray. In a medium bowl sift together flour, baking soda, salt--(stop and grate the nutmeg) then add the nutmeg to the dry ingredients too. In a mixing bowl combine the butter, sugar(s), and egg, then add the bananas. I've found if the bananas are really ripe you can just break them into chunks right into the bowl and the mixer will mash them for you. Stir to combine. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Chop the walnuts and add to the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-55 minutes (until toothpick test comes out clean.)
Banana Bread 1940s
1940s Banana Bread baked from the cookbook Heirloom Baking with the Brass Sisters.
Good tasting banana bread with a bit of crunch to the crust. It looks burned, but it's not.

Recipe Source: Heirloom Baking with the Brass Sisters, Banana Bread, pg. 199

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Monday, January 10, 2011

Creamed Spinach

Creamed Spinach, prior to this recipe, was NEVER part of my vocabulary. Ever. With temps in the 20's and below I decided to pull out my Weight Watchers Pure Comfort cookbook. So, if you like cooked spinach, cream cheese and scallions, you may like this recipe. It's fresh and while a little on the "cooked spinach" side of things (like the stuff hanging off the Creature from the Black Lagoon-I'm just kidding!) it was pretty good!

The Ultimate Creamed Spinach
1 (10 oz) bag of washed spinach
2 shallots (chopped)
1/2 T flour (I left this out)
1/4 t salt
olive oil
pepper (fresh ground)
nutmeg (fresh ground, 1 pinch)
1/4 C milk
1/4 C cream cheese (they call for light)

Un-bag the spinach, then rinse it again for good measure. Next put about 2 inches of water in the bottom of a medium size soup pan and add the steamer basket. Put the spinach in the pan to steam, and cover for about 2-min. Chop the shallots. Add a little olive oil to a frying pan and cook the shallot, then add the cream cheese in chunks to melt. Add the other seasoning. Allow the spinach to cool enough to handle, squeeze out the excess liquid and chop. Add the milk to the cream cheese and mix. I added about 2 T extra cream cheese. Add the spinach and stir until heated. The sauce should be pretty well blended at this point.

Recipe Source: Pure Comfort, 150 All-Time Feel Good Favorites, pg 166

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