I like to cook. Sometimes my daughter likes to eat.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Banana Oat Muffins with Two Bananas

Awkward title for a recipe, yes, but we LOVE banana bread around here and my regular recipe calls for four very ripe bananas. This is a great back up recipe for when the others aren't quite ripe enough, plus it's quick to put together, and the yogurt keeps them moist for several days. The most recent version of this recipe contained 1/4 cup each shredded coconut (not sweetened), dried chopped cranberries and white chocolate chips -- maybe a little more of these, I was using up odds and ends. I also used coconut oil in place of vegetable oil. They were tender, flavorful, and moderately healthy, a great afternoon snack with a cup of tea or glass of milk. This recipe typically makes 12-14 muffins.

3/4 c each white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour, all-purpose flour and quick rolled oats
1/2 c sugar
1 t ea baking powder and baking soda

1/4 c milk
1/2 c nonfat yogurt
1 T butter
3 T coconut oil
2 eggs
1 t vanilla

2 ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 cup assorted dried fruit and/or nuts (toasted pecan pieces, blueberries and cranberries are particularly good)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line muffin tins.

Combine first five ingredients in a large bowl, whisk. In a separate medium bowl, melt butter and stir in coconut oil till smooth. Beat in eggs, milk and yogurt. Add vanilla and bananas, beat till smooth.

Mix wet ingredients into dry in two batches, stirring till just combined. Add optional nuts or fruit. Fill muffin cups and bake 15-20 minutes, turning once. Cool a bit before digging in.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

New Year's Day Salad of Collards, Black-eyed Peas and Spiced Peanuts

This salad is something of a riff on a recipe that Saveur Magazine posted just before New Year's Day. Like kale salads, it benefits from being made in advance so that the vinaigrette can help to break down the sturdy greens. It is gorgeous and delicious and a refreshing change from the ham-laden peas traditionally served to bring good luck in the new year. A lot of the produce prep can be accomplished while the peanuts are roasting and cooling; although the prep may look daunting, this salad comes together fairly easily.

3/4 c peanuts, raw or roasted and lightly salted
3/4 c grapeseed oil
2 t smoked paprika
1 t sugar
1/2 t ea ground cumin and coriander
1/4 t aleppo pepper
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
2 shallots, finely diced
2 small garlic cloves, grated on a microplane or pounded to a paste
6 T apple cider vinegar
1/2 t dijon mustard
1 bunch collards, well-rinsed and drained
3 rainbow carrots, peeled
1 red or yellow bell pepper, finely diced
1/4 cup mined cilantro (optional)
1 c cooked and drained black eyed peas

Heat oven to 325 degrees. In a nonreactive bowl, toss peanuts and 2 T oil with spices, 1/4-3/4 t salt (depending on type of peanuts being used) and 1/4 t freshly ground black pepper. Reserving bowl, spread peanuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast in the oven, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

In the bowl used to season the peanuts, combine shallot and garlic with vinegar, 1/4 t salt and dijon mustard. Stir to combine and allow to sit at least 10 minutes to mellow the alliums.

Cut collard greens from the stem and slice lengthwise into 2-3 inch widths. Stack the strips and cut into thin ribbons from the short end to create 2-3" ribbons of greens. Cut peeled carrots to a julienne or run through a mandoline.

When peanuts have cooled, chop coarsely and reserve. Scrape up any spice mixture from pan and add to shallot mixture. Whisk in remaining oil to taste. Toss vinaigrette with collards and carrots, working vinaigrette thoroughly into mixture, using hands if necessary to gently massage collards. Add diced pepper, black eyed peas and cilantro, if using, and toss to combine. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes; adjust salt and pepper and top salad with chopped peanuts prior to serving.