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Sunday, May 27, 2018

Caramelized Banana Upside Down Cake

Maybe it's because I'm seven months pregnant but this cake blew my mind this week. I had a load of overripe bananas and couldn't handle another banana bread. I saw this on Food52 recently and gave it a try. WOW. Not only is it the best cake I've had in a long time, but it took like 15 to make. It's like one big banana sticky bun. Amazing.

Caramel & Bananas
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3-4 bananas, sliced lengthwise either in half or in thirds

Cake
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking pwder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. In a 10 inch cast iron pan, melt the butter of medium high heat. Add the brown sugar and stir occasionally until it dissolves and is bubbly. Remove from heat and add the banana slices, flat side down, in one layer over the caramel so that all of the caramel is covered.

3. Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a small bowl. In a large bowl, whisk the oil, sugar, and vanilla. Add the eggs and whisk. Slowly add the buttermilk until combined. Fold in the dry ingredients with a spatula until just combined - don't over mix.

4. Pour the cake batter over the bananas and put in the oven for 35-40 mins.

5. When done, remove from oven and run a knife around the edge of the cake. Let it sit for 5 mins and then carefully invert the cake onto a platter.

Sloppy Joes

I hadn't had a sloppy joe since...3rd grade? Just hearing the words make me think of the smell of the school cafeteria on sloppy joe day. And it was gross. But these are amazing and one of Jack's favorites. I make the sauce on the weekend and then throw it together during the week in a flash... These would also be good with ground chicken or turkey.

1 lb ground beef
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp onion powder
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup tomato puree
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tbsp + 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp molasses
Hamburger buns

1. Cook the beef in a large skillet until lightly browned. Remove from pan.

2. In the fat/juice still in the pan from the meat, cook the onions and garlic until soft. Add the spices and cook until fragrant. Add the rest of the ingredients until well incorporated.

3. If eating right away, add the beef back into the sauce and bring to a simmer. If making ahead, put the beef and sauce into separate containers and when you're ready to eat it, throw it all in a pan and bring to a simmer. Serve on hamburger buns.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Super Easy Slow Cooker Ribs

I often don't want to bother with ribs because of the long slow cooking. And I never would have thought of this until I saw it on a Tasty video - pop them in the slow cooker for the day and then give them a quick broil before eating to crisp them up. Getting ready for the Superbowl here - go Pats!!

Dry rub:
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp salt
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp pepper

Baby back ribs
Bottle of favorite BBQ sauce

1. Rub your ribs and and keep them in the fridge overnight (or you can rub them right before you add to slow cooker).

2. When ready to cook, smear them in BBQ sauce.

3. Place the rack(s) in slow cooker on their side(s) along the perimeter of the slow cooker bowl so that they're standing up. Cook on low 8 hours.

4. Place ribs on a rack on a baking sheet, smear with more BBQ sauce and broil for 5 mins or until crispy on the outside.


Potstickers

We had a deep fryer when I was little and as far as I can remember, my parents only used it for making fried wontons. And when it was pulled out, it was a major production. But I was raised on dumplings and I absolutely love them. I don't have a fryer and I can't be bothered with all of that hot oil on the stove so potstickers are the best alternative. I make these with ground chicken instead of pork but you could use either.

12 oz ground chicken
1/3 finely chopped green onions - white and light green parts only
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 tbsp dry sherry or rice wine
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp pepper
Package of wonton/gyoza wrappers

Sauce:
3 tbsp rice vinegar or balsamic
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sambal or sriracha
1 tsp minced ginger

1. Combine all of the filling ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper and dust with flour or corn starch.

3. On a large work surface or dry cutting board, line up 5 or 6 wrappers and wet half of the edge with water. Drop a tsp of meat into each and fold in half. I pleat the edges to seal them better. Set aside on the baking sheet until they're all stuffed.

4. At this point you could steam them in a steamer. Or for potstickers: heat a large skillet (that has a tight fitting lid) and a couple tbsp of canola oil. Add the dumplings and fry until golden or light brown. Add enough water to cover the bottom of the pan and quickly cover. Let cook until the water is gone. Uncover and cook another couple of mins to crisp the bottoms.

Chicken and Lemongrass Noodle Stir Fry

This is modified from Fine Cooking. You can sub the chicken for pork or chicken breasts, or anything really...

1/4 cup soy sauce
3 stalks lemongrass - soft bits from the inside minced (shuck the tough, outer layers)
3 tbsp ginger, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp lime juice
1 lb ground chicken, turkey, or pork or any kind of meat
1 package of vermicelli rice noodles
2 tbsp canola oil
1 cup chicken stock
2 tsp sugar
Handful of chopped kale or spinach
3 tbsp chopped mint
3 tbsp chopped cilantro
Sambal oelek or Sriracha to taste

1 In a small bowl, combine soy, lemongrass, ginger, garlic, and lime.

2. In a medium bowl. combine ground meat with half of the soy mixture and let sit for at least 10 min.

3. Prepare noodles according to package. Drain and pat dry. Transfer to a large bowl with 1 tbsp oil.

4. In a large skillet or wok, heat remaining oil over high heat. Add remaining soy mixture and fry until fragrant. Add meat and fry, breaking into small pieces until browned. Add stock and sugar. Stir in kale/greens and cook until wilted.

5. Transfer to noodle bowl, add herbs and mix well.

Pizza Dough

Friday night is pizza night here. Most of the time we make it ourselves and Jack helps. I often buy a frozen ball of dough from the grocery store but lately I've been making it. This Giada dough recipe is dough perfection. It rolls out super thin which makes for a super crispy crunchy crust, which is how we like it in the Saul house. Note: this makes 2 large pizzas.

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 packet active dry yeast
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt

1. Measure the water and add the yeast. Let sit until it dissolves and bubbles - about five minutes.

2. STAND MIXER: In bowl of stand mixer, add flour and salt. Add yeast mixture and work with dough hook for a couple of minutes, until dough comes together and becomes smooth and elastic. BY HAND: in a large bowl, stir until dough comes together, knead on floured work surface until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.

3. Drizzle the inside of the bowl and the dough with olive oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place for 2 hours or until doubled in size.

4. Pull dough out and punch it down. Roll it out, place it on a piece of parchment sprinkled with cornmeal. Dress up up the pizza and place it on a large cookie sheet that's been preheating in 475 - 500 oven. Cook for 10-15 minutes until cheese starts to brown and crust is crispy.

Three Bean Curry

I don't know how many curry recipes I have on this website but I think it's a lot. I keep finding better ones. Plus, I like making a big pot of curry on a Sunday to pop on the stove later in the week when I don't feel like cooking. Pluuus, Jack loooooves curry and I can get at least three lunches out of it for him before he asks for something else. Homerun. I didn't think this was going to be anything special but we agreed that this one, adapted from Food52, was one of the best yet. You could sub the beans for chicken but I actually like it with the beans. You can also use whatever beans you want. The original recipe called for five types, I don't go that crazy. Note - it also calls for one triangle of Laughing Cow cheese - totally random but I welcome the chance to buy a box of these since I lived off of them in Senegal and it brings back memories. You could use cream cheese instead.

Onion/garlic/ginger paste: chop 1/2 an onion and equal parts garlic and ginger so that together they equal the amount of onion you have. Pulse in a processor until you have a paste.

Can of kidney beans (or you could use the same beans for all or different kinds than I have here)
Can of garbanzos
Can of black eyed peas - drain and rinse all beans
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 chili pepper, minced (jalapeno or serrano if you like it spicy, otherwise omit)
1 tsp cumin
1 cup tomatoes, chopped (or diced canned)
1 triangle of Laughing Cow or 1 tbsp cream cheese
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp tumeric
1/4 tsp garam masala
1 tbsp fenugreek
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp sugar
1/3 cup coconut milk (optional)
Couple handfuls of baby spinach (optional, I like to add some greens/veggies to this to balance it out)

1. Heat the butter and oil over medium high in a large saucepan. Add the onion/garlic/ginger paste (and chili pepper if you're using one) and saute for about five minutes or until softened or golden brown.

2. Add tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Add the cheese and cook until melted.

3. Add spices through cinnamon and 1/4 cup of water. Let cook a few minutes. Add sugar and beans and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 20 minutes or so. Add the spinach if using and cook until totally wilted. Add the coconut milk and heat through. Serve over rice.