Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Whenever I make banana bread, I have to make a loaf of a chocolate version because everything tastes better with chocolate.
The addition of cocoa powder and chocolate chips adds a new flavor to this banana bread that is delicious. It tastes especially great right out of the oven. You can still taste the banana, but you taste chocolate as well. The chocolate is not too strong, so it does still taste like banana bread.
There are so many different variations of things you can do to banana bread and so far I've enjoyed them all. I really am not sure which one I like best. It really just depends on my mood I guess.
Chocolate Banana Bread (recipe adapted from Esther Nelson on allrecipes)
Yields: Two 7 x 3 inch loaves
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup of semisweet chocolate chips
oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Grease two 7×3 inch loaf pans.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Mix in eggs, mashed
bananas, yogurt, vanilla and cinnamon. Mix in salt, baking soda, cocoa powder and
flour. Stir in chocolate chips. Divide into prepared pans.
- Bake for 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Seattle, WA 98121
Since starting this blog, I've become very aware of the lack of traveling I've done in the last year or so. Prior to writing this blog, I had quite a few trips, but since starting this blog, the farthest I've traveled is the Bay Area. I haven't even left the state.
So when the opportunity came to spend a few days in Seattle with some friends, I gladly seized the chance to take a trip. I'd never been to Seattle prior to this visit. Before I started being interested in food blogs, the only thing I knew about Seattle was that it rained a lot and it was home of the doctors on Grey's Anatomy.
A few months ago, I started reading about Seattle being quite a culinary center, offering lots of great food, which definitely piqued my interest.
A visit to Seattle meant having to try some of the many restaurants that are part of the Tom Douglas empire. Tom Douglas is a winner of the James Beard Award, and he beat Chef Morimoto on an episode of the American Iron Chef. He currently owns about 7 restaurants in the Seattle area.
On our first night, we arrived starving and decided to check out Serious Pie, Tom Douglas' venture into pizzas. The joint is casual and small. There are no reservations, but you can put your name on a list and they'll call you when your table is ready.
We arrived at about 5:30 and waited about half an hour for our table. There was quite a lot to explore nearby, so we didn't mind the wait.
Inside, we were seated at a tall, small table with bar stools. The menu was very simple, with only a few appetizers, pies and desserts to choose from.
I chose the chanterelle mushroom with truffle cheese.
Surprisingly, there was no bread served with our meal. It made it a little awkward because the pizza did take a while to arrive. From my seat, I could see the pizza dough being spun until it was very, very thin.
When our pies arrived, I was starving. The pizza crust is very thin and crispy. Towards the center, it tastes more like a cracker rather than pizza dough. I loved the taste of the truffle cheese on my pizza and could eat this cheese all day long. The pizza was good too, though some parts of the crust was too thin for my liking.
Boyfriend chose to order the house salumi pizza. This pizza had a bite to it that was a refreshing change of taste from the truffle cheese and mushrooms. BF and I both enjoyed the pizzas but we weren't blown away by them.
It was a good way to spend our first meal, but I left feeling slightly underwhelmed after hearing so much hype.
Monday, August 23, 2010
I saw a recipe for Clear Water Sponge Cake on The Little Teochew which looked very much like the sponge cakes that are often sold at chinese bakeries. Super spongy and light as air, the chinese sponge cakes are usually the size of oversized muffins. I always pick up a few when I visit a chinese bakery and I make sure to eat them right away because they spoil quickly.
I wasn't sure if these clear water cakes were the same, but they looked remarkably similar and they were easy to make. In fact, I was a bit suspicious at how easy the recipe looked. A lot of chinese desserts and bakery items are pretty complicated to make.
After I finished mixing the batter, I realized that there was no baking powder agent to make the cake rise. I was really concerned. I knew the egg whites would help the sponge cakes rise, but I wasn't sure it was enough. I double checked the recipe, but I was afraid that something got lost in the translation, or perhaps the flour used in the original recipe already had baking powder inside it.
To my relief, the cakes came out fine. They were soft, spongy, airy. They didn't rise that much though. So I still wonder if I was supposed to have baking powder in there. Perhaps next time I'll fill the batter cup higher too, to make these cakes higher.
I'll have to investigate more to see if I should have put in baking powder, but the recipe as written is great too. The cakes tasted just like the chinese sponge cakes I get in the chinese bakeries! I used a regular muffin pan rather than the oversized ones, so these are more like mini sponge cakes. I had no idea they were so easy to make. Next time, I'm just going to make my own rather than buying them.
Mini sponge cakes (adapted from The Little Teochew)
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 whole egg
- 50g corn oil
- 50g cake flour
- 3 egg whites
- 50g castor sugar
- Dash of salt
1) Beat (A) till well mixed with an egg beater.
2) Sift in (B), mix well.
3) Whisk (C) till frothy, add (D) and beat till stiff peaks.
Fold in the egg white mixture to egg yolk mixture in 3 additions, mix
till well combined. Scoop the batter into paper cups till 60% full.
5) Bake in preheated oven at 150C for about 18-20mins.