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Meat Loaf gone Bananas

September 18, 2014

Bananas in Meat Loaf?

Yes, you have heard me correctly. It’s not as eccentric as meat & vegetables in Jell-O. This recipe was tried last month; I did not have a chance to post it as I was busy researching for a Disney-themed cake (Watch out for next post; birthday girls loved it).

Weeks ago, when I didn’t want to bake ANOTHER banana loaf, I added mashed bananas to our meat loaf instead. (Most moist meat-loaf recipes call for 1 egg, no? Here’s where mashed bananas can also do the trick!)

Recipe source: Retro Food Fiascos ISBN 1-888054-88-3 (Printed 2004, in Singapore); my copy was a cast-away found from a thrift-store.

Recipe notes: I store shallots in my kitchen readily (for curries; etc), wherever onions are required. The original recipe called for onions, with no specific types. Personal preference: the original recipe also suggested the onions be added to the meat. I added to the banana mixture and it was still fine.

Future adaptations: I will add ketchup/barbecue sauce to the meat loaf, prior to baking next time.

Preheat oven to 350F. Serves 4 to 6.

 

INGREDIENTS

1 lb ground beef
1 shallot, chopped (or 1 tbsp onion, chopped)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup soft bread crumbs (I used the store-bought parsley bread crumb mix kind)

2 bananas, mashed
2 tsp prepared mustard

DIRECTIONS

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Mix meat, salt, pepper, and crumbs.

Combine: bananas, onions, and mustard.

Combine: bananas, onions, and mustard.

Combine bananas, onions and mustard; add to meat mixture and mix well.

IMG_3814
Place into a loaf pan.
Bake for 1 hour or until meat is thoroughly cooked.

Sorry, I just realized I didn’t take a picture of the final product, but it’s just meat-loaf! ;) Easy-peasy? Let me know how your trials turn out!

Pear Banana Loaf

September 17, 2014
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Pears and Bananas

I tried really hard to find a pear loaf recipe in my cookbook collection. Nada — unless I was going to substitute apples with pears, which could work. At first, I was like, pear fritters! Then, I decided I wasn’t going to start an elaborate doughnut project at 8 PM on a weeknight! Even taking butter out to come to room temperature was work… Don’t even try to cream the butter cold. I’ve done that out of impatience; it gives a dry texture, yuck. To add to that prior impatient disaster, there was egg shells in the cake. Mm, extra calcium, anyone? (Sorry, dear husband. Thanks for testing my baking experiments where I try breaking the rules!)

Jokes aside, you can easily substitute butter for vegetable oil when time isn’t on your side.

So, I resorted to marrying and adapting two different recipes! Thanks to a Key Ingredient contribution titled “Mom’s banana pear bread” and Some More Please’s recipe.

Then, I ran out of cinnamon. (How could I?! I had cinnamon sugar — again, I could have easily calculated the proportions using elementary math, then deduct how much granulated sugar to add. Sheer laziness! Tsk, tsk.)

350°F Preheated oven

Pear Banana Bread

Pear Banana Bread

Ingredients

Sift the following dry ingredients:
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp baking POWDER
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp salt

2/3 cup brown sugar

Mix with a spatula. Break the brown sugar further into lumps if needed.

Wet mixture:
1 cup pear, peeled and cored, mashed with a potato masher (roughly 2 normal sized pears or 4 tiny ones)
1 cup banana, mashed (Roughly 2 bananas)
2 eggs, lightly whisked, as suggested by SomeMorePlease
1 to 2 tbsp of maple syrup (for the wet mixture)
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup vegetable oil

  1. Grease two loaf pans.
  2. Mashed Pears and Bananas

    Mashed Pears and Bananas

    First bowl: mash the pears with a potato masher. Then, mash bananas. Continue preparing the wet mixture by adding eggs, maple syrup  This step can all be done using a hand-whisk.
    IMG_4174

  3. Second (bigger) bowl: Sift dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices) together. Then, add brown sugar and salt.
  4. Wet and dry ingredients, together.

    Wet and dry ingredients, together.

    Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Fold gently (using a spatula). Don’t over-mix.

  5. Pour about 2/3 of each loaf pan. Knock the bottoms of each pan to break any air bubbles. (I usually do that with cupcakes. So, why not?)
  6. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until the cake tester comes out clean.

Special thanks to my coworker for the pears from his backyard.

Taste notes: You could definitely taste the pears. Serve with tea or coffee and enjoy! (I found it to be a bit sweet with the maple syrup, but everyone else liked it. It definitely contributed to the moist texture.)

Apple Muffins (Old Style)

September 5, 2014
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In light of what the CFO said in today’s offsite meeting, “Simplicity is genius.” I couldn’t agree more. Simple recipes are the best especially for breakfast or tea time. This apple muffin recipe is so easy that you don’t even need a hand-mixer. Just a fork (to beat the egg) and a spatula (to mix), as well as sprinkles of love for baking.

Recipe source: E. Edwards and Mrs. E. Schon. Unifarm, compiled in 1971. I adapted the recipe a bit by substituting melted shortening with cooking oil (same proportions). Wherever a recipe calls for milk, I use lactose-free versions.

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Preheat oven to 350F.
INGREDIENTS

Dry:
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 tsp. salt
4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1 egg
1 cup milk
1/3 vegetable cooking oil
1 tsp. lemon rind
3/4 cup apples (peeled and chopped; this was roughly 3/4 of an apple)

Sift flour, salt, nutmeg and baking powder together. Add sugar and combine.

Add lemon and apples.

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Beat egg and add.

Add milk and cooking oil. Mix thoroughly. Bake for 23-25 minutes.

 

Taste notes:
Lemon zest complements the crab apple really well. The apple helps give a moist texture.
I think this would be a lazy baker’s favourite.
A coworker who’s not a fan of egg-y muffins asked me for this recipe. It’s great if you want something not too sweet to bake with crab-apples.

Homemade Banana Butterscotch Ice Cream

August 7, 2014
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The secret to delicious ice cream is fat content. I love having whipping cream (aka heavy cream) handy; it’s great to make frosting for cupcakes, or just really good on fresh fruits after using a hand-mixer — and you can make ice-cream. If you’re really ambitious and ready for cleaning up post-fun kitchen mess, you could turn whipping cream into home-made butter & buttermilk, where you can flavour your own butter. (So, don’t over-whip the whipping cream; leave the cream to be blended last.)

Sure, I’ve made two-ingredients Nutella banana ice-cream before, where no ice-cream maker was needed. While it satisfied my sweet tooth in a healthy manner, it felt wrong that there was no cream in the ice-cream. I hate buying ice-cream from the store because I get very sick from lactose. It’s hard to understand what “modified milk ingredients” entails. (I’m guessing it’s milk powder?) 

Ice Cream MakerSo, I found this little guy from Superstore between $20 and $30. It’s great because it doesn’t use a lot of space. As fun as a hand-cranked one is (yes, I do dream of owning one), which I’ve come to learn that it’s called a sabottiere, this little electrical unit has a maximum churning time of 30 minutes. However, freezing time would require 16 to 24 hours, with this little unit. (It can vary, depending on your ice-cream maker)

This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine. I substituted chocolate with butterscotch chips, which gives the ice-cream a crunchy texture.

Banana Butterscotch Ice Cream

Banana Butterscotch Ice Cream

3 ripe bananas
1 1/4 cups whole milk (Optional: substitute with any lactose-free alternatives, using the same measurements)
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 ounces butterscotch chips (I learnt this from the instruction manual, after-the-fact that I should have added the chips 5 minutes before turning off the ice-cream maker — Oops!)

Blended Banana Custard

Blended Banana Custard

  1. In a blender, puree the bananas with the milk, sugar, vanilla, and salt until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and stir in a heavy cream and butterscotch chips.

    Banana and Butterscotch Ice Cream mixture

  2. Pour the banana custard into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
    Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and freeze until firm; mine took overnight.
    Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving. (I totally ignored this part, but I had fun scraping it with my ice-cream scoop.)

French Toast Waffles

August 4, 2014

Happy long weekend, fellow Canadians!

If you’ve got maple syrup, coffee, as well as eggs, milk, butter, bread and a waffle iron, enjoy staying in for breakfast. This is a great recipe to use up many slices of bread before it goes bad. The Joy of Cooking (1975 edition; 5th printing – Aug 1976) has never failed; I’ve made goose from that cookbook and it was so delicious that our new oven had a brief grease fire. (Goose flambe, anyone?) This recipe is hubby-approved. You can easily double/triple the batch if you’re feeding more than one person. Each batch is good for soaking two slices of bread.

French Toast Waffles

French Toast Waffles

French Toast Waffles (1 serving or two slices)
1 egg
1/4 cup lactose-free milk (or any milk substitute)
2 tbsp melted butter (I melted mine in the microwave)
1/8 tsp salt

Warm up your waffle iron. Whisk/beat french toast mixture.  Soak your sliced bread in the mixture. Cook until golden brown. You would have a crispy texture. It’s delicious with Summerland’s fruit syrups or with maple syrup.

It’s that simple. Enjoy!

Cinnamon Buns

August 2, 2014

Hi CJ Kitchen readers,
I am back! Life’s been rough since I’ve last had the chance to bake appelkuchen. But I’m back now. Losing my father to heart attack still leaves deep emotional wounds — never had the chance to say Goodbye — a flight to Brunei, where I was wishfully hoping to see him at the Berakas airport. During this food blog hiatus, I planned a wedding together with the groom and have successfully completed the CMA Board Report/Presentation with my assigned group.

The Cyn is back! I bring you Cinnamon Buns, from the Disney Food Blog.

Wait, what kind of cinnamon roll is this? Sweet dough, which is soft and easy to chew. The frosting is amazing. I’ve used lactose-free milk in this recipe. If you needed to substitute, almond milk would work fine, which might give it a bit of a nutty flavour.

Magic Kingdom's Cinnamon Rolls

Magic Kingdom’s Cinnamon Rolls

Here is the recipe in PDF

Main Street Bakery (Magic Kingdom): Cinnamon Rolls
*makes 16 extra large cinnamon rolls

Ingredients:

1/2 cup warm water
2 packets active dry yeast (which was equivalent to 4 tsp)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 (3.5 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding (I bought Jello’s 100 g box)
2 cups milk
1 stick unsalted butter, melted (if you have salted, skip the 1 tsp salt)
2 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon salt
8 cups all-purpose flour

Filling:

2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
2 cups brown sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon

Directions:

In a small bowl, combine water, yeast and sugar. Stir well until dissolved. Set aside.

In a separate large bowl, mix pudding and milk with a wire whisk*. Add in 1 stick of melted butter, eggs and salt. Mix well then add in the yeast mixture. Gradually add in the flour, 1 cup at a time, and knead until smooth. 
(*If you’re using a stand-up mixer like KitchenAid, you can put it on the paddle attachment, which was what I used.)

Place in another large bowl that has been well-greased. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or clean, damp towel and let rise in a warm place until double in size. Punch down and let rise again.

Above: Dough before it rises Below: It should rise/double in size. TIP: Check your use-by date for Madamme Yeast. Mine was past due, so it took me longer for the dough to rise. (Plastic food wrap works better than a wet tea towel for successful slow-rising dough)

Above: Dough before it rises
Below: It should rise/double in size. TIP: Check your use-by date for Madamme Yeast. Mine was past due, so it took me longer for the dough to rise. (Plastic food wrap works better than a wet tea towel for successful slow-rising dough)

Roll dough out on a very large floured surface. Dough should roll out to a long rectangle, about 34 x 21 inches in size. Take the 2 sticks of melted butter and spread over entire surface, using a pastry brush.

Rolled Out Dough

Rolled Out Dough

In a small bowl, mix brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle over top of the buttered dough. Starting on the long end, roll up like a jelly roll.

Roll it up like a Jelly Roll or a "Cinnamon Dough Log"

Roll it up like a Jelly Roll or a “Cinnamon Dough Log”

Using a serrated knife, measure dough every 2 inches and slice. Take each roll into the palm of your hand and gently pack the roll to keep it from coming apart during baking.

Place each roll into a buttered baking pan and allow to rise again in a warm place for about 20 minutes. Bake in preheated oven at 350° for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and frost with cream cheese frosting (recipe below) while still warm. Yum!!

Right (before baking) Left (Once baked)

Left (before baking)
Right (Once baked) – My mom told me that these rolls are better without the icing.

Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

Ingredients:

1 (8 ounce) brick of cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar (I managed to use 2.5 cups and it was still good — check the consistency of the frosting before adding more. Remember that icing sugar is pretty potent, when it comes to sweetness)
2-4 tablespoons milk

Directions:

With an electric mixer, blend cream cheese, butter and vanilla until creamy. Slowly add in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Mix well. After all of the powdered sugar has been mixed in, add the milk, 1 tablespoon at a time to thin out. Blend on low until smooth. Spread on warm cinnamon rolls.

Other notes:
- this is a very large batch. (8 cups is a lot of flour) So, if you don’t have a stand-up mixer, be ready to use your hands. I’m sure this recipe can be successfully halved. Even my KitchenAid Pro mixer had a rough time with the dough hook at the speed of 2 (which is the maximum it can go, with that hook, FYI).
- I will say this again: check your yeast for freshness. I was told that yeast keeps better when being placed in the fridge. Everyone makes yeast mistakes at least once… When I was at an Artisan bread-making class, the instructor really favours Red Star for yeast.
- I will reattempt this recipe at a later time and stuff it with blueberries, with a lemon glaze.

Yeast doughs aren’t terrifying to work with. It mostly takes patience and knowing what’s the best tipping point to rise your dough at. You know you are working with a good dough recipe if it doesn’t dictate how long you should wait. I am looking forward to trying various bread dough recipes. However, if you are terrified of yeast, try this America’s Test Kitchen version.

You can follow me on Twitter (@Cynderbug) for any new posts. Now that I’m a Mrs. and a future CMA, there will be a lot more collaborative effort to make our home more enjoyable. (Housework during hot summer days does equate to plenty burpees, right?!) I will be updating my food blog on a fortnightly basis. So, stay tuned!

Appelkuchen

October 30, 2013
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Like cake but often find there’s too much cake? Kuchen is nice as it is a single layer cake. You will need a spring-form cake tin.

I baked this on August 30, 2013; it was taste-tested and approved by my coworkers.

This is a great late summer/fall recipe. The only thing I would change about this recipe is squeezing a bit more lemon juice and not slicing my apples too thin. (The recipe didn’t specify, but generally the fruit on top of the cake would be moist)

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