Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Sometimes the strangest combinations turn out to be great meals. Last nights dinner ~ korean short ribs with mac and cheese!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Movie Time

I found yet another fantastic use for the giant Le Creuset dutch oven I got for Christmas - Popcorn!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Glazed-Crumb Topped-Banana Bread

Yes, more banana bread. I just can't seem to eat all the bananas before they get over ripe! This time I made a crumble and then for kicks a vanilla-sugar glaze (spiked with butterscotch schnapps).

Click Here for Printable Version

Bread Batter.
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 very ripe bananas, mashed
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
dash of ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt

Crumble Topping.
2 Tablespoons slivered almonds
2 Tablespoons macadamia nuts, chopped
2 Tablespoons oatmeal
1 graham cracker, crushed
1 Tablespoon light brown sugar
1 Tablespoon butter

Powdered Sugar

Milk or Half & Half

butterscotch schapps (options)

Prepare Bread Batter
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition. Stir in vanilla and banana.
- In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
- Blend the banana mixture into the flour mixture; stir just to combine. Fold in walnuts. Pour batter into prepared pan and evenly sprinkle crumble over the top.
- Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted into center of loaf comes out clean.

Crumble Topping
- In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, oats, and nuts. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.

- Combine sugar with a few drops vanilla and enough of the liquid of your choice for a drizzling consistency

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Hop Monster ~ our latest brew

We've started our next batch of beer... which I've dubbed Hop Monster. This is the most complicated recipe we've tried so far ~ a super hoppy ale using four types of hops and liquid yeast. A few photos of the brew in the works...

Measuring the Ingredients

Craig stirs the wort sitting in an ice bath (with Filly's help of course)

This is the first time we are using a "parka" for the glass carboy. It's supposed to help regulate the temperature/light as well as provide handles for moving. On the right you can see yeast bubbling away (it's alive!)

Sunday, February 18, 2007

NY Strip

Sometimes the simplest meals are the best.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Franciscan Sauvignon Blanc

2005 Franciscan Sauvignon Blanc
Oakville Estate ~ Napa Valley
Limited Release

We picked up this bottle at a recent restaurant wine sale. They were clearing their cellar and selling most bottle for retail price or below. As you can imagine, the place was a madhouse... everyone trying to grab bottles first. Craig happened to pick this one up. We had tasted other Franciscan wines, but this wasn't one we had seen before. The label said that this particular release was only available direct from the winery and had only 416 cases produced, so we decided to pick one up. We were not disappointed!

What delicacies did we pair it with you ask? Well to be perfectly honest, some wonton soup and general tso chicken from The Panda. It was a perfect match. This wine is crisp and full of fruit (pineapple/apricot) on the nose and had enough minerals and acidity at the finish to stand up to the meals spice and salt levels.

If you happen upon a bottle like we did (and like sauvignon blancs), definitely give it a try!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentines Day ~ Chocolate Cream Caramels

I had originally planned on making a chocolate cake for Valentines Day, but Craig and I decided that having a whole cake just for the two of us wasn't the best idea. I decided to stick with something chocolate and make a recipe for Chocolate Cream Caramels that I had saved from my Joy-Of-Cooking-Calendar (thanks Mom&Dad Sipala).

Click Here for Printable Version

1 Cup Sugar
¾ Cup light corn syrup
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
¼ teaspoon salt
1½ Cups cream

- Bring sugar, corn syrup, chocolate, salt, and ½ cup cream to a boil over high heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
- Bring the ingredients to the soft-ball stage, 234˚F, over moderate heat.
- Stir constantly. Add ½ Cup cream.
- Cook candy until it again reaches the soft-ball stage, 234˚F. Add the last ½ Cup cream.
- Cook to the firm-ball stage, 244˚F. Remove candy from heat and pour into an 8 x 8-inch buttered pan. Do not scrape pan. When candy is firm, about 3 hours later, invert onto a board and cut into squares.

Jenn's Notes:
- I used half & half instead of cream since thats what I had on hand.
- I wasn’t able to invert the block of caramel onto a board, so I just cut it in the pan.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Banana Crumb Muffins

I made a similar recipe to this one a few weeks ago. With three bananas on the verge of going bad, I decided to make them again with a few changes. The muffin itself is basically the same (I just added a bit of vanilla), but this time I made a better crumble to put on the top.

1½ Cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
3 bananas, mashed
¾ Cup white sugar
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 Cup butter, melted
½ teaspoon vanilla

½ Cup packed dark brown sugar
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1½ tablespoon butter
1/3 Cup oatmeal
1/3 Cup finely chopped pecans


- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, mix together 1½ cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
- In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg, vanilla & melted butter.
- Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
- In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, cinnamon, oats, and nuts. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins.
- Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Sweet Corn Bread

If cornbread is on the dinner menu, I usually just grab a box of Jiffy Mix (I love that stuff), but tonight I decided to give it a try from scratch. I found a recipe on that looked simple and had a good reviews. The result was a very cake-like sweet cornbread.

Click Here for Printable Version

½ cup cornmeal
1½ cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup oil
3 Tablespoons melted butter
1 Tablespoon honey
2 eggs, beaten
1¼ cups milk

- Preheat oven to 350ยบ.
- In a bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
- Add the oil, melted butter, honey, eggs, and milk.
- Pour into a greased 8-inch square pan.
- Bake for 35 minutes.

Sunday, February 04, 2007


superbowl cupcakes with buttercream icing

I laughed to myself yesterday thinking that before long folks will be sending each other Merry Superbowl cards. There was such a holiday feeling at the market ~ everyone loading their carts with snacks, drinks, and talking about the parties they were going to. The best part, unlike in December, nobody was panicing and for the most part everyone was in a festive mood.

Since there were just a few guys coming over we didn't get too fancy - we went for all the cliche superbowl snacks... buffalowings/rigatoni&sausage/mozzsticks/fruitsalad/bruschetta/cheese/crackers/chips/salsa/queso/guacamole/veggies/onion dip/hummus/cupcakes/beer/beer/beer/beer

I only really have one recipe to share with you today - the experimental hummus I made. Instead of chickpeas, I used cannellini beans and roasted garlic. I'm not sure the guys liked it, but I thought it was pretty tasty.

Click Here for Printable Version

2 Cans Cannellini Beans
2 heads roasted garlic
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/3 Cup olive oil
2 teaspoons dried parsley
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 Tablespoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

- Place all ingredients in food processor. Puree until smooth – adding more olive oil if necessary.