Batter Licker

March 21, 2012

cherry-studded banana bran whole grain muffins

I recently started setting up a sort of brown banana renewal system. I’ll buy a few super green ones and a few yellow ones each week, and then find myself with a consistent supply of brown, spotted mushiness that is sufficient for my peanut butter shake and green smoothie purposes.

It was all working out swimmingly until I got tempted by the very cheap, very large bunch of jet-sized bananas at Costco. Suddenly, I had a serious overflow problem.

SAM_7711 SAM_7713

The first resolution that came to mind was banana bread, which would also conveniently free up some precious space in my overstuffed pantry. Okay, maybe it was actually equal parts resolution and excuse to fill my apartment with the fragrant aroma of freshly baked banana bread.

Either way, I wanted to make a more portable, healthful, whole grain, breakfast-appropriate version. (more…)

April 5, 2010

strawberry (and chocolate chip!) buttermilk muffin-cake

Filed under: breakfast, brunch,cake,dessert,fruit — Tags: , , , — Kristen @ 8:17 pm

Ripe, fresh farmers market strawberries. Dark chocolate chips. Basic, not-too-sweet buttermilk muffin batter. Put them all together and voilĂ ! You’ve got cake (or a muffin, if you choose that pan) that’s perfectly appropriate for a breakfast or brunch. And did I mention that it’s pretty?

Because it is. Beautiful, in fact. Generally, I’m a taste-over-form kind of gal, but this cake gives me both. And look at these pictures … how amazing would this cake look on your brunch table? It’s a showstopper, that’s for sure. And with the beautiful, deep red strawberry slices on a rounded, slightly browned muffin-like top that, if you so choose, is freckled with delightfully dark chocolate chips, this brunch beauty has me looking forward to summer. Except that this summer brings nonjoyous, uncakelike things, such as full time enrollment in Barbri and the California bar exam. So really, this strawberried treat is allowing me to pretend it’s summer now and enjoy the last month and a half surrounded by bright, juicy berries dancing on a fluffy, doughy hilltop.

DSCN6529-250x187 DSCN6532-250x187
DSCN6537-250x187 DSCN6545-250x187

But I don’t just like this cake for its beautiful color, summerly aura, and carefree personality. I also like it for the jam flavor. (more…)

March 7, 2010

The Olive Press cooking competition: 4 extra virgin olive oils, 4 extra vivacious courses

It’s finally that time. Time for me to unveil the results of a few excited weeks of learning about olive oils of various intensity and brainstorming fun ways to use them, all while recovering from a nasty accident involving an immersion blender and an index finger (but I won’t go into that, except to say that I eventually became remarkably adept at nine-fingered typing, shampooing, and cooking). So when The Olive Press invited me to partake in their cooking competition (please vote HERE), I was incredibly thrilled about the opportunity to experiment with the Sonoma, California-based company’s award-winning oils. The Olive Press sent me four different bottles of their extra virgin olive oils – Arbequina, Mission, Italian Blend, and Blood Orange – and challenged me to create a four-course meal using one of the oils in each course. Drum roll please …

Appetizer: Roasted Tomato and Garlic, Kalamata Olive, and Feta Bruschetta, featuring the robust Italian Blend olive oil.

Any time there’s an excuse to do so, I love coming up with different versions of bruschetta. Yes, it’s a relatively simple appetizer, featuring just a handful of complementary, fresh ingredients that can easily be adapted to use whatever you have on hand. But when done right, each bite packs so much flavor and texture. And crunch. (There’s something infinitely more satisfying (to me) when a dish comes with a little bit of crunch, probably because I consistently deprive myself of those pre-made, boxed-up salty snacks that others inconsiderately munch on during my Commercial Contract Writing class.)

For this version of bruschetta, I went a Mediterranean route because the intense flavors of the roasted tomatoes, Kalamata olives, and feta stood up to and were well-complemented by the incredibly robust (dare I say spicy?) Italian Blend olive oil.

DSCN5760-250x187 DSCN5768-250x187

Main Course: Walnut-Crusted Halibut with Roasted Red Pepper Harissa, featuring Blood Orange olive oil.

This dish is near perfection. The halibut is enhanced but not overpowered by the relatively mild Blood Orange olive oil. Both the walnuts and the panko give the fish’s crust a nice crunchy texture, and the walnuts add a rich, buttery flavor while still keeping the dish healthy. (more…)

Powered by WordPress