Tuesday, March 31, 2009

epic sandwich success

Yes, my friends, Epic Sandwich Creation Photo-Taking Adventure was a success this time around. WAHOO. So let's go layer by layer, shall we? And we can witness the building of this marvelous creation that can satisfy tummies nationwide. :)

Oh, and P.S. This Lent thing is lasting a little too long. Thank God I will be nom-ing into chocolate cake 11 days from now.

So yeah, up above we had the turkey layer, and now the micro-thawed frozen spinach atop of the turkey. Oh, and make sure you grill your bread!! And spread the backs of the slices with butter (or chemical butter :).

And then....CHEESE. Now, personally, I think shredded mozzarella works the best here, just because I'm Italian, making me (extremely) partial. However, shredded Swiss was on sale a few weeks ago, so that's what I used in this Epic Sandwich. Still delicious. :)

And TA-DA! The picture of Epic Sandwich success! Look at that bread, all grilled and delicious in its chemical spray butter-ness.

IMPORTANT NOTE #1: When making an Epic Sandwich, you must must must use thick bread. Because, my friends, if you're gonna use something light and Wonder-ously fluffy (get my drift?!??) you might as well be slappin' cardboard around these fillings, people. I'm serious here. And Epic Sandwich-making is serious business.

Nom nom nom.

And a few more close-ups for your viewing pleasure.:)

IMPORTANT NOTE #2: There is no Important Note #2. Sorry, folks. Just go nom. Now.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

grilled sandwich = my drug of choice

Oh my gawwwwwwd. This was GOOD. As in REALLY, REALLY GOOD.

So I had this amazing plan to do this great sandwich photo-shoot today while I made my turkey + spinach + mozzarella sandwich. It started out going alright, but then.....


Yes, Cameron's battery burnt out. He needs to be recharged.

To be continued....

Monday, March 23, 2009

peanut butter scones

Peanut butter scones make regular scones so so much more delicious. I was just in such a good mood yesterday that, yes, I baked twice that day. This also is attributed to being exam-free for 4 weeks!!!! And then finals start up. I can't wait. Seriously. Please, cut my sarcasm with a knife.

So I have this vision of splitting one of these scones, warmed-up, and then schmearing some strawberry preserves in the middle. Wow, would that not taste phenomenal or what? Like a...kicked-up PB & J. YUM.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Scones
Taken from Good Housekeeping: Great Baking

1 cup oatmeal
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
6 tbsp. cold butter, cut up
2/3 cup buttermilk or yogurt or 2/3 cup milk + 2/3 tbsp. lemon juice
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup peanut butter, creamy

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On 13x9-inch pan, toast oats 5-7 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool and place in separate bowl. Spray pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and oats. With pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

In small bowl, with fork, mix buttermilk and egg yolk. Make well in center of flour mixture, pour in buttermilk mixture and peanut butter, and stir until combined. Lightly knead in bowl until dough just holds together.

Transfer dough to prepared cookie sheet. Shape into 7 1/2-inch round. With floured knife, cut round into 8 wedges, but do not separate wedges.

Bake 20-25 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center of round comes out clean. Separate scones and serve warm, or transfer to wire rack and cool.

this bread is bananas....B-A-N-A-N-A-S

So I really don't feel like writing today. Don't know why. Mayhaps because I've been insanely tired, despite getting 8 hours of sleep. I dunno, it's quite the mystery.

But anyways, NINETEEN DAYS TILL EASTER! You know what that means, right? DESSERT-TIME! YES YES YES. Only a tad bit excited, as you can see.

A few weeks ago, Raluca made this delicious banana bread, and she had forgotten the butter. So now this banana bread recipe is baked sans butter, just because it came out so great without it. Personally, I think the bread tastes great without butter, but you might think otherwise. It is a lot healthier, though, and has an airier texture. However, I did manage to mess up the recipe a second time and accidentally added three eggs instead of two. Whoops. :)

This bread is delicious right on its own, but especially delicious with peanut butter or spray butter. Or real butter, if you're feelin' crazy.

Raluca Banana Bread

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup white sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
4 large, ripe bananas

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray. In medium bowl, cream eggs and sugar. Set aside.

In large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Create a well in the middle of the bowl, and pour in creamed eggs and sugar and mashed bananas. Mix until just combined.

Pour batter into loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour, or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool. Devour.

Monday, March 9, 2009

banapple muffin bars

Oh where, oh where could the muffin tin be? Oh where, oh where could it be? I really couldn't tell ya. :( That is why God made 8x8-inch pans....just in case you happen to lose your muffin tin and need something smaller than a 13x9-incher to bake your treats in.

So anyway, I dug out some cinnamon apple sauce from the back of my fridge, and they served as the inspiration for these Banapple Muffin Bars. And where does the "ban" part come in, you ask? From the one banana that was schmashed up because I was low on apple sauce. Adds moisture, ya know.

Another side note....added too much cinnamon and vanilla in here, but that was a good mistake. :)

Sooo yeah. Here they are in all their glory. They came out decently good, I guess. Hey, I'll take whatever has even the slightest taste and texture of cake these days, haha.

Banapple Muffin Bars
Altered from Good Housekeeping Great Baking

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 egg
2/3 cups cinnamon applesauce
1 banana, schmashed
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 8x8-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

In medium bowl with fork, mix egg, applesauce, brown sugar, and vanilla, stirring until well-combined. Stir egg mixture into flour mixture just until flour is moistened.

Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake for 25 minutes. Devour. Delicious with spray butter, or real butter, if you're a purist.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

granola = lenten "dessert"

Dear Cameron the Canon Camera,
I love you. Like...I really love you.
Like a lot, a lot.
Yours truly,


Yes, I FINALLY broke down and bought a new camera. Which has actually made me literally broke. And yes, I like to name inanimate objects.

That is beyond the point, however. The point is, is that I have discovered an amazing camera, and it is good. And I am ironically happy that my old (nameless) camera broke, because Cameron takes wickedly good close-up shots of my concoctions on "Macro" mode that Old Nameless could never come close to capturing. Yeah, yeah, I know this blog is supposed to be about food...I promise you, we're getting there. Just bear with my inner camera-nerd for a sec, alrighty? :)

Now why do I love Cameron so? Let me show you why...

AGH LOOK AT THOSE BEAUTIFUL ALMONDS. Amazing! He's simply amazing! Look how he captures those almond-lines! And the light dusting of salt! Siiigh...simply takes my breath away.

And those OATS! Now, I know, I'm weird and have a thing for actually liking the taste of dry oatmeal...but doesn't this picture just make you want to nose-dive into that oat-y goodness?? Yeah...the detail floors me. I predict that Cameron and I will be together for a very long time. :)

But anyways, back to food. Lent's been kind of rough so far. When your diet consists of 1/3
desserts (Okay, I exaggerate. Not that much....but Dear Relatives Reading This, Please stop freaking out. Love, Patti), you tend to crave sweet things constantly when you're deprived of them.

Enter: homemade granola. I perused a slew of granola recipes on Allrecipes.com, but in the end, made up my own recipe based on what ingredients I had in my cupboards. Want to know a sneaky granola trick? It's super easier than you may think, and it's such a fun recipe because you can improvise every time you make it. All you really need are a bowlful of dry ingredients and some heated-up liquid (which has some kind of sweetener and some kind of fat) to pour
all over the dry stuff.

I ended up using oatmeal, chopped almonds, and raisins for my dry goods. The liquidy part was made up of brown sugar, honey, peanut butter, and cinnamon, the peanut butter acting as the "fat" in this case. A lot of the recipes I looked over used either butter or vegetable oil...but that just sounded disgusting to me. And being aware of the mantra, "Everything is better with peanut butter," peanut butter is what I chose as my delicious butter/oil replacement.

And...oh oh oh, what could be in this bottle??

Why our old friend, Vanilla Vodka, of course! Remember him? And yes, he does now smell (and taste o.O) like vanilla vodka, even though he is vanilla extract through and through. Anyways, I broke this puppy out for the first time since August and used it in the granola. And it must've done the trick, because this granola came out wickedly good. I really, though, am craving to bake real desserts with this homemade vanilla. Mmmm, imagine it used in a tray of ooey gooey brownies....OMG YUM.

But oh well. Granola will have to suffice for now. :)

Pretend-It's-Dessert Granola
*Note: You might want to double this recipe...just sayin'.

2 cups oatmeal
1/3 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

In large bowl, combine oatmeal, almonds, and raisins. Set aside.

In saucepan, combine peanut butter, brown sugar, honey, and cinnamon. Heat until liquified and slightly boiled. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla.

Pour liquid stuff over dry stuff. Stir to coat. Spread in baking pan, and bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool and store and eat!