Sunday, October 30, 2011

Spicy Feta

My head is swimming, my nose is running, and there are nails in the back of my throat. 

Ick, ick and ick.

Consequently, I've been using 'The Backyardigans' as babysitters for the last few days.

So unfortunately, the only thing taking residence in my brain is '' We've got the whole wide world in our yard to explore. Now it's time for us to have a snack, meet you next time when your back with your friends the Backyardigans....''

That being said, I'm going to have a snack.
The jalapeƱos in this are going to burn out my cold and the garlic is going to boost my immunity.
And then I'm going to bed.

Spicy Feta
Slightly adapted from: How Sweet It Is
Makes: about 1½ cups

1 brick of feta cheese (8oz)
2 whole jalapenos
3 tbsp olive oil + 1 tsp
1 small bulb garlic
juice of half a lemon
zest of half a lemon
salt and pepper

1. Chop the top off the garlic bulb and drizzle it with the teaspoon of olive oil. Wrap it in foil and roast for 25 - 30 minutes or until golden. At the same time, brush the jalapenos with olive oil  and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the in the oven until charred, about 15 - 20 minutes, rotating at least once. Remove both from the oven and let cool.
2. Once jalapenos are cooled, remove the skin, cut in half and discard the seeds and ribs. Finely chop. (Don't touch your eyes!)
3. In a medium bowl, crumble the feta. Add chopped jalapenos, lemon zest and juiced. Squeeze roasted garlic out of bulb and directly into the feta. Add the 3 tbsp of olive oil and mash with a fork. Season with salt and pepper to your liking. The feta will be a bit ''wet'', sort of cross between a dip and spread. Serve with pita chips, bread or spread on a sandwich. Keeps for about 1 week.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Vegan Banana Breakfast Bar

As my daughter gets a little bit older, she's becoming super eager to help me out in the kitchen.

Her 'help' seems to involve dumping flour on the floor, eating chocolate chips by the handful, making cakes that are 1 part wood blocks to 2 parts fridge magnets and of course sampling anything I'm making by the fistful. 

Don't be fooled by those little fists.
A one year old can get a lot of cookie batter in there.

This breakfast bar (anything with oatmeal can be eaten for breakfast, right?) was a good little baking project for her and I.
The batter has no eggs (hello, it's vegan!) so I really didn't mind if she sampled. 
And then sampled again. And again.
And then just took a spoon and shoveled it in, all the while screaming ''MINE!!! MINE!!! MINE!!!!!".

I'd like to say I'm kidding but that is pretty much how it played out.

This is super easy to make and a tasty grab and go.
You can switch up the cranberries for different dried fruits and the chocolate chips for nuts. 

If you're feeling brave and like you want to spend some extra time cleaning the kitchen.... let little hands get involved by squishing the banana, adding in the dry ingredients and mixing.
(But don't say I didn't warn you.)

Vegan Banana Breakfast Bars
Makes: about 9 bars
Adapted from: Eat, Live, Run

1 very ripe banana
1/3 cup canola oil
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup dried cranberries
2/3 cup dark (pure) chocolate chips
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 cups quick cooking oats (or old fashioned oats pulsed in a food processor for a few moments)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, mash the banana with a fork and then add the canola oil and brown sugar. Mix well until there are no sugar lumps left.
In another (smaller) bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and oats. Mix into wet ingredients and add cranberries and chocolate chips.
Pat batter down into a greased square 8-inch pan. Bake for 25 minutes, or until edges are golden. Let cool before cutting into squares.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

German Chocolate Cake Cookies

Do I really need to discuss the merit of joining german chocolate cake and cookies into one glorious baked treat?

Does not the name say it all?

German. Chocolate. Cake. Cookies.
Is this something you think you can handle?
I barely could.

Pecans, brown sugar and coconut on top of a chocolate cookie.
I'm not sure that it gets better than this.

Bake a batch of these and share them with a friend.... just don't skimp on the frosting or you might lose that friend.

German Chocolate Cake Cookies
Source: Peach Cobbler Murder by Joanne Fluke

Cookie Dough:
1 cup butter
1 cup milk chocolate chips
2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour

½ cup packed brown sugar
¾ cup packed shredded coconut
½ cup chopped pecans
¼ cup chilled butter, cut into 4 pieces
2 egg yolks

1. Use a doubler boiler or your microwave to melt together the chocolate chips and butter.
2. In a seperate bowl, beat together the white sugar and eggs until well mixed and smooth. Slowly add the cooled chocolate mixture and continue to beat. Add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, vanilla and flour. Mix well. Cover the dough and set aside.
3. In a food processor, chop up the brown sugar and coconut until the coconut is very fine. Add the pecans a butter. Process until the butter is in small bits. Add the egg yolks and continue to process until completely incorporated. Transfer to a small bowl and refrigerate the frosting.
4. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Once the oven is heated, pat the cookie dough into 1'' balls. Place the balls on a greased cookie sheet (leave lots of room for spreading). Press down in the center of each ball to make a deep indentation.
5. Pat the chilled frosting into ½" balls and place in the indentations. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack and allow them to completely cool before enjoying.

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