Monday, June 29, 2009

Banana Bread

From the kitchen of Meshell McPherson
5 Tbls butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
2 egg whites
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups mashed, very ripe bananas(about three average size)
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup heavy cream(I use milk instead)
1/3 cup chopped walnuts(optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray bottom only of 9x5x3-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Beat butter in large bowl with an electric mixer set at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat well. Add egg, egg whites and vanilla; beat until well blended. Add mashed banana, and beat on high speed for 30 seconds.

3. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with cream(or milk), ending with flour mixture. Add walnuts to batter, mix well.

4. Pour batter evenly into prepared loaf pan. Bake until browned and toothpick inserted near center comes out clean, about 1 hour 15 minutes. (I take it out 5 mins. before you are supposed to. The pan is still hot enough to finish cooking and it lets the bread settle)

5. Cool bread in pan on wire rack 10 minutes. Remove bread from pan; cool completely on wire rack. Slice and serve with butter and jam.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Skyrocket Coolers

From the kitchen of Jessica Edling

1 bottle of cranberry juice
1 bottle of "Cool Blue" Gatorade
1 bottle of Diet ginger ale (must be sugar-free)
Tall clear drinking glass(es)
Ice cubes

The key to creating three "stripes" is to layer ingredients, placing the heavier, sugar drink as the base, and then "layering up" to the lighter, no-sugar drink. It's Mixology 101 for kids!Fill the tall, clear drinking glass about one-third of the way with ice cubes. Pour in the cranberry juice (heaviest, sugary beverage) to fill one-third of the glass. Very slowly and carefully, pour in the Gatorade "Cool Blue" (medium-weight beverage) to fill another one-third of the glass. Hint: When pouring, aim for an ice cube to prevent the liquids from hitting each other too forcefully and hence blending. Again, very slowly and carefully, pour in the diet ginger ale (lightest, no-sugar beverage) for your final layer. Again, aim for an ice cube. Top it off with a festive straw or swizzle stick - some red, white and blue garland or pipe cleaners wrapped around skewer sticks work great! - and serve. Be sure to enjoy your coolers pretty promptly; if left sitting too long, the colors will eventually meld.

Pork Shoulder Slow Cook

From the kitchen of Jessica Edling

1/2 c. sliced celery*
1/4 lb. mushrooms, quartered (a bag of the sliced mushrooms works perfectly)
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 c. melted butter
3-4 lbs. pork shoulder
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 c. chicken bouillon
1 Tbsp. flour
Paula Deen House Seasoning to taste

1. Place celery, mushrooms, onion and melted butter in slow cooker.
2. Brown pork in skillet in 2 Tbsp. butter. Place over veggies in slow cooker.
3. Sprinkle with House Seasoning to your heart's content.
4. Combine flour & bouillon until smooth. Pour over pork.
5. Cover. Cook on high 3 1/2 hours or low 4-5 hours.

We usually serve this with jasmine rice, Texas toast and a fruit or green salad. (Or, combine the two to form what Brent calls my Citrus Salad. I'll do another post on that one later.) You can use the drippings in the slow cooker as gravy over the pork and rice.

* The celery is optional. In my haste to get Brent to eat things that are "green" (and therefore, by his standards, evil) I keep sneaking things like chopped celery or spinach into almost everything. So of course, I'm halfway through the prep for dinner and I realize I've used all my celery and its Sunday. It still tasted good, but Brent noticed enough that it looked "funny this time".)

Enjoy! :-)