Tuesday, August 19, 2008

C is for Cookie : TWD

"Sometimes me think what is love, and then me think love is what last cookie is for. Me give up the last cookie for you."
-Cookie Monster

Theres been a lot of cookies and love floating around Casa Shebake this last week. After humiliating the hubby with a 'cowboy' themed party - including plastic sheriff badges - for his 30th birthday, he repayed the favor in kind by getting a great group of our friends together for a BBQ bash this weekend.

So, after all that work in planning, I decided to show him some love with a batch of cookies for this week's Tuesdays with Dorie. Of course, after all that cake and food, the granola recipe was a welcome healthy break that even Cookie Monster would approve of.

I jotted 'wheat germ' onto my shopping list this week, not really thinking to look it up. So standing in the aisle at the market, I picked the closest in my approximation that I could find - Wheat Bran. Also, not a big fan of raisins, I opted to use dried blueberries, and a full cup of mixed nuts rather than the slivered almonds and peanuts.

The dough came together easily, and baked up nice and golden after 12 minutes. Love, in this case, was giving the hubby the first cookie to sample while we watched the Olympics tonight. He polished the first, and went to grab a second- voicing his approval through a mouthful of crumbs. We give this cookie recipe a 15.695 for the gold medal.

The recipe for Dorie's Granola Grabbers be found over at Bad Girl Baking, or in Baking: From My Home To Yours, written by Dorie Greenspan.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Oompa Loompa Blueberry Ice Cream - TWD

It happens every time--they all become blueberries.
-Willy Wonka

I am a well known fiend for kitchen gadgets. If its something that makes life more enjoyable in the kitchen, there's a good chance I own it. Case in point - I'm a proud owner of a Lemonader (that name, under all circumstances must be pronounced in a very german accent. And as a second side note - I love my lemonader. But then again, I'm a lemonade addict. Anything that produces this fresh squeezed manna for me in under 30 minutes is a gift from the gods.)

Anyhow, it should be no surprise then, that I of course also own an Ice Cream machine. So I was giddy with excitement to put the machine to work for this week's Tuesdays with Dorie challenge of some blueberry ice cream.

Dorie's recipe was actually pretty easy when it comes to mixing up the custard. No egg separation and tempering here. Simply boil, blend, cool, and freeze. What could be easier?

I had some leftover birthday cake from my office on Friday (Not only did I hit 3 decades, they forced chocolate cake on me. Oh the humanity.) So I figured the ice cream would make a nice almost savory addition to the cake at home.

To add a bit of flavor to Dorie's recipe, I used 1/3 brown sugar instead of white, lime juice and zest, and added 1/2 tsp of vanilla to the berries as they were boiling. I served it up with a nice fat slice of chocolate cake, topped with some dried blueberries from the pantry.

These small changes were minor, but added a subtly smooth depth to the flavor of the berries and sour cream. A perfect accompaniment to the chocolate cake without being toothache sweet, and a cheerful color that would brighten the day of anyone celebrating the 1st anniversary of their 29th birthday.

I give the ice cream two thumbs up, and will be interested to try it as an ice cream sandwich next. Maybe with some vanilla sugar cookies for the sandwich.

The recipe for Dorie's Blueberry Sour Cream Ice Cream be found over at Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity, or in Baking: From My Home To Yours, written by Dorie Greenspan.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

So a banana goes to the zoo to see a zebra... : TWD

“I've got spots; I've got stripes, too.”
- Ani Difranco

We're in the throes of tomato overload these days as I find myself the recipient of an overflowing 4 lbs of tomatoes and small forest worth of Basil from my weekly 'tomato subscription' from the local organic farm. But after popping in a dinner of roasted squash and tomatoes with fresh pesto to bake, I was excited to tackle something sweet after all of that savory.

So, I was excited to see a Banana bread picked as this week's Tuesday with Dorie challenge.

I usually always have bananas in the house for banana bread. Problem is, I don't get the chance to bake it as often as I, or my husband's feet, would like. You see, the problem is, my banana bread bananas don't live on the counter. They live in the freezer, ready to jump out at an unsuspecting guest that goes to grab some ice. Its a running joke in our house to watch out for flying bananas when you go into the freezer.

I was excited to try a marbled chocolate banana bread, a nice alternative to my usual recipe for the sweet moist delicacy.

I followed Dories recipe spot on, primarily because of the comments about problems with varying banana sizes. I chose 2 smaller bananas, so I opted to use all of both of them. A couple minutes in the microwave to defrost, and they literally oozed out of their skins with hardly any coaxing or mashing needed.

For the marbling effect, I opted for the spooning method, figuring if nothing else, it might add a pretty effect. I started to run low on the chocolate batter before I could get everything in the pan, so the stripes are more focused to the bottom of the loaf, but it definitely gives it a pretty effect. The bittersweet chocolate contrasts nicely with the sweet banana flavor for a new tasty take on an old favorite.

I'd definitely give this recipe 2 thumbs up, and willing to try it again the next time the bananas in the freezer decide to stage a rebellious escape attempt.

The recipe for Dorie's Black and White Banana Loaf be found over at A Year In The Kitchen, or in Baking: From My Home To Yours, written by Dorie Greenspan.