Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Chocolate Banana Bread With Cinnamon/Sugar and Chocolate Topping

Is that title an irresistible mouthful, or what?
I am salivating just writing it. Not to mention it is baking to perfection right now, and the smell alone emanating from the oven is making me "go bananas" with anticipation.
I have a real thing for breads/desserts with bananas, chocolate and/or peanut butter as its main ingredients. Any combination will do just fine. I seriously spend a few nights per week scouring the internet for recipes. Google Search: Banana Peanut Butter/Chocolate ______, then click! click! click! on links in search if the most delicious concoctions out there. So, it's no surprise that this particular banana bread recipe called my name. I saw it and I said, "you are mine, alllllll mine." And the rest is history.
I found this recipe from the awesome new blog I discovered called Orangette (more about that later). Here it is, in all it's glory. And I must say, it a complete cinch to make!
Chocolate Banana Bread With Cinnamon & Sugar Topping:

3 ripe bananas
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

For topping:
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
1/8 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter or spray 8 inch bread pan.
In medium mixing bowl, mash bananas well with a fork. Add the eggs and stir well to combine. Add the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and vanilla. Add 3/4 cup of chocolate chips and stir. Pour the batter into prepared pan.

In a small bowl, stir together topping ingredients. Sprinkle the mixture evenly oven the batter in the pan and top with remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips.

Bake for 35-40 minutes (although mine took quite a while longer), OR until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 15 minutes.

And WA-LA! The final product - nothing to it!

This bread is a-mazing warmed up for about 25 seconds in the microwave with a little butter on top. After Eric's first bite, he became weak in the knees, fell to the floor and said "you must make this every day." That's how good it is.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Dave's Famous Green Beans

I'm obsessed.
With food. With food blogs and websites. The Food Network. Cooking competition shows. Cookbooks and cooking magazines. Restaurants and cafes. Grocery stores. Farmers markets. Gardens and farms. Breakfast, and lunch and dinner. And dessert.
I'm obsessed.
I've always known I had more of a love for food and flavor than most of my friends and people I know, but I never knew this love would become an obsession or such a growing passion until a few years ago.

Growing up my parents raised my brother and I to give almost everything a try. They'd say, "You have to at least try it; and just one more bite." I'll admit, I didn't like everything, especially a meal my parents adored: the dreaded "Ham and Beans". However, when most children around my age were eating only hot dogs and mac and cheese, I was divulging in fettuccine alfredo, deviled eggs and crab legs (thanks dad and mom!).

I have so many thoughts and ideas for the future, so many recipes I want to remember and want to try. So here I am: starting this blog for myself. A personal place that I can recall past and present stories and recipes, and a place that I can jot down everything food-related that makes me giddy and excited daily.

The first recipe I want to share, I will remember forever and continue to cook on my own. I literally came out of the womb eating and loving green beans. Okay, so that's a bit of an exaggeration, but seriously, I've loved green beans since as far back as I can remember. When my family lived in Illinois, we were all incredibly involved with our community church. We used to attend church potlucks, and it was at one of these events that my parents first tried "Dave's Famous Green Beans." They were smitten after the first bite, and left with the recipe and utterly satisfied palates. My mom has made these very green beans for Thanksgivings, Christmases and other special events ever since. I joke that I could eat the entire batch, but I truly could. Justin and I would be, and still are, the official "green bean snappers" every year for my mom. Hearing the crisp legumes go snap! and then watching mom create this pot of smoky, down-south style beans are such fond memories. And when it comes time to make my own Thanksgiving feast, I too will bring this recipe to my table.

Dave's Famous Green Beans:

1 heaping bag on fresh green beans, snapped
2 ham hocks
1 large onion, roughly chopped
Salt and Pepper, for seasoning

Add all of the ingredients together in a large pot of water, and simmer on medium low for several hours until tender. Remove/or shred ham hocks before serving.

WARNING: The smell will taunt you ALL day.

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