12.24.2013

Bourbon Maple Banana Bread



I'm combing my two favorite things this holiday season.


Baking and booze. Lovely, right?!


And you know how I hate to waste food. So when I see brown bananas, my mind is reeling with what I can do with them. The possibilities are endless. Waffles, pancakes, smoothies, and of course, a classic, banananana bread!


I am making this bread again tonight with the total intention to make it into french toast for Christmas morning. 


Bourbon Maple Banana Bread
Makes 1 loaf
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup of salted butter, melted
1/4-1/3 cup of maple syrup (depending on how sweet you want it)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup non-fat Greek Yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
2 tablespoons bourbon
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups of flour (I use a combination of 1 cup whole wheat pastry and 1 cup all purpose)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together the melted butter and mashed banana. Mix in the maple syrup, sugar, yogurt, vanilla, eggs, and bourbon, then the spices. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour last, mix. Pour mixture into a buttered loaf pan and bake on the middle rack 45-55 minutes or until a butter knife comes out clean. Cool on a rack and slice it up when your ready. 



Happy Christmas!

Erica

12.20.2013

Candied Orange Peels


Holy crap. Christmas is in 5 days, friends. Even though I am somewhat in denial about the holiday being like right now, I am proud to say I was done with my Christmas shopping and shipping on Tuesday. High five for me. But now I am in crunch mode; hunkering down and making little homemade treats for my local people and co-workers. I've made a few batches of my Rosemary Lemon Sea Salt and now I am on to these guys...



Truth be told, I can't stop snacking on these myself. I NEED to give them away fast. More truth, I'll probably just stash a jar away for a little treat here and there.

These little jewels take a bit of time to make, but they are totally worth it. Your dentist will hate you, but everyone else will love you. It's just your dentist, you see them twice a year, who cares right?!



Candied Orange Peels
Adapted from Epicurious
6 large naval oranges
4 cups of water
4 cups of sugar, plus more for rolling

Cut the tops and bottoms off each orange. Make about 6 slits along curve from top to bottom of each orange, cutting slightly through peel but not into fruit. Using your fingers, gently remove peel. Slice each piece of peel lengthwise into 1/4 inch wide strips. Trim excess pith from each strip. You can use a vegetable peel for this if that's helpful.

Place peels in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Drain, rinse, and repeat. 

Bring 4 cups of sugar and 4 cups of water to a boil over medium heat, stirring to make sure the sugar dissolves. Add the peels, return to a boil, then and reduce heat to a simmer for an hour without stirring. Once the peels are translucent in color, turn off the heat and let the peels cool for about 5-10 minutes in the syrup. 

Using a slotted spoon or fork, transfer the peels to a rimmed baking sheet and toss with sugar, separating each strip. Transfer the peels to a wire rack, piece of foil or parchment paper to dry. Coating will take about 24 hours to dry. 

You can use any kind of citrus. I had oranges on hand, but I think grapefruit or lemon would be yummy. 

Save the fruit for other uses - I froze mine for smoothies. Save the sugary simple syrup by straining it through a fine mesh sieve or strainer and use it for cocktails or pancakes! 





12.16.2013

Rosemary Lemon Salt


Homemade gifts are my favorite! To give and to get. They show so much thoughtfulness and personal touch. Homemade edible gifts, to me, are the very best. 


I try to make treats every year for my loved ones. So far, I think this has been one my favorite, because right now, I am on a salt kick.

I want salt on everything! Savory and or sweet; who cares. And, if it's flavored salt, well that's even better!


So, here is one of my homemade holiday gifts this year. Rosemary Lemon Salt!


It is so easy and so good! I've used it on avocado toast, chicken, fish, salads. It's pretty great


All you need is a little lemon, rosemary, salt, and a cute containers like these and you are good to go.


First, you've got to dry your rosemary. It is really easy. All you have to do to is put a fresh sprig of rosemary in the microwave for about 1 minute and it is dry. I started by doing 30 seconds first to see how it went, and added more time from there. All funcookers vary.


Then, take a washed lemon. Dry it off and using a microplane, zest! But don't zest too much that you get into the pith (white bitter part of the lemon). Spread the zest onto a plate and zap it. But not as long as the rosemary. Start with about 10 seconds here and keep going until it is dried out. Use a tooth pick or fork to help separate the peel if it is clumpy.


Then you mix it all together.


Pour it into your pretty jar! There you have it, a lovely holiday gift. Give it to a friend, give it to a host, or just give it to yourself.


Rosemary Lemon Salt
1 tsp dried rosemary, chopped
1 tsp dried lemon peel
1/4 cup of coarse, flaky sea salt

1. Dry your herbs and citrus: Take 1 sprig of fresh rosemary and place it on a microwave safe dish or paper towel. Start by microwaving the rosemary on high for 30 seconds and keep going until dried. Next, wash and dry a lemon and zest with a mircoplane. Place lemon peel on a plate and microwave on high for 10 seconds, then again until it dries out. Use a toothpick or fork to de-clump as needed.
2. Measure: Use 1/4 cup salt for every 1 teaspoon of flavoring.
3. Combine: Using a mortar and pestle, your fingers or pulse in a coffee or spice grinder. Mix well but avoid crush the salt too much.
4. Store and Use: Let the salt sit for 24 hours before using. Store in an airtight container and it should last up to a year. Use often and all of the things. Over time, the flavor will be less intense.


What's your favorite homemade gift to give or get?

Cheers!

Erica

12.12.2013

You Should Go: Urban Adamah


Last January, my BRF Laura found a Zozi deal for this amazing (and kinda super hippy) yoga deal. It was a Yoga Farm to Table Experience where you do a 75 minute yoga session, take a farm tour, and are fed a local, fresh lunch afterwards. 
I looked it over and figured, hey I like yoga, I like food, and I like Laura, so let's do this thing. So, deal bought.
Laura and I are both pretty busy ladies and we went back and forth for, oh about 11 months, trying to schedule this thing. Seriously, we bought this deal in last January and just did it this past weekend! 

Anyway, last Monday I get an email from Wild Soul, who hosts these experiences and many others (pst...you should check them out too), telling me there is an event on Sunday in Berkeley. Laura was free, I was free, plus this thing expired on December 31st, so we had to be free and get on it.
And so we yoga'd and ate and I am so super duper happy we didn't let this deal expire on us. It was such a great way to spend a Sunday.
First, let me tell you a little about the farm we had this shindig at, Urban Adamah! “Adamah” means “Earth” in Hebrew, and Urban Adamah is an educational farm and community center in Berkeley. They integrate Jewish traditions,sustainable agriculture, mindfulness and social action. They provide educational programs and community celebrations for more than 5,000 visitors a year. The organic farm donates their produce to the local community through food banks and a weekly Free Farm Stand. One of the coolest things they offer is a residential fellowship program for young adults that combines farming, progressive Jewish living and social justice internships. Urban Adamah also offers farm-based programs for school-age children. Kind of an awesome place for a little 1 archer farm in the middle of a city.

Here are some photos from our yoga, farm tour, and of course, the FOOD!
You should go there.

12.09.2013

Roasted Cranberry Scones


I hate wasting food.

Especially leftover Thanksgiving food.

I specifically make extra to have leftovers and I do not want a drop to go un-devoured in one way or another.

After last Thursday, I think we did really well! 

I made this turkey stock on Thanksgiving evening. We've had countless turkey sands, I've had my roasted cranberries on the side of leftover pound cake and I'll use more up in some morning yogurt or oatmeal, and earlier this week I made turkey tortilla soup. 


Like I said, so far so good, but I still had some leftover cranberries, so I knew I needed to get baking. After all, tis the season for butter and sugar right?

I decided on scones and these ended up being a fantastic way to use up more of my roasted cranberries. They aren't too sweet, the cranberries add a nice tangy bite, and I used Greek yogurt instead of sour cream to make them a little more guiltless.


I had one for lunch today. It was a good choice.


Roasted Cranberry Scones
Adapted from Pam Anderson's Simple Scones // Makes 8
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cups whole wheat pastry flour 
(Use 2 cups of AP flour to sub pastry flour if needed)
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, frozen
1/2 cup leftover roasted cranberries 
1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
1 large egg
1-2 tsp of raw sugar for sprinkling on top

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
In a medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Grate butter into flour mixture on the large holes of a box grater; use your fingers to work in butter (mixture should resemble coarse meal), then stir in the cranberries.
In a small bowl, whisk the yogurt and egg until smooth.
Using a fork, stir sour cream mixture into flour mixture until large dough clumps form. Use your hands to press the dough against the bowl into a ball. (The dough will be sticky in places, and there may not seem to be enough liquid at first, but as you press, the dough will come together.)
Place on a lightly floured surface and pat into a 7- to 8-inch circle about 3/4-inch thick.  Use a sharp knife or dough cutter to cut into 8 triangles; place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle a bit of raw sugar on top of each square. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes.
Cool for 5 minutes and serve warm or at room temperature. Should keep in a air tight container for 3-5 days. 


How'd you do with leftovers? Do any thing fun with them? 

Cheers!

Erica

12.02.2013

November Adventures!

It's December.

I don't know about you, but I wasn't ready for November to end. Maybe that's because I tried to celebrate my birthday the entire month. What? You don't do that...you totally should. It was fun :)

Here's a bit of my November life.


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