Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Banana Bread with Crunchy Streusel Topping

banana bread

Over the weekend, a gal named Irene came to NYC. You've heard of her right? She was supposed to come in and swoop us off our feet, but for us she was all bark and no bite. Don't get me wrong, there was massive flooding throughout the city and some houses were wrecked, but our apartment was fine. I did manage to find a leak in the kitchen window we need to get fixed. I'm actually not sure if the crack was a result of the earthquake or not, since I've never noticed a leak before.

Well, since we weren't able to go out, I decided to bake. I had 6 ripe bananas, and no room in the freezer, so banana bread it was! I've made banana bread before, but it was a while ago. It only called for 3 bananas, so I found this one in the BHG Cookbook. I love this cookbook, and I should use it more often. It's a great all around cookbook.

I omitted the walnuts in this recipe, since I didn't have it on hand, but if you have them, I would put it in. I probably won't next time either, because after I finished baking, Gary told me that he doesn't like nuts in his bread. Who knew! You would think that after 10 years together, I would have known something like that! I also replaced some white sugar with brown sugar, and reduced the overall amount by 1/4 cup. It was perfect for me, but Gary thought it could be sweeter.

I love that I was able to whip this up without bring out the stand mixer. Overall, this stayed moist and delicious even after a few days. I stored it in a plastic ziptop bag, but the streusel ended up soggy. If you know how to keep it and keep the crunchy top, let me know!

Banana Bread with Crunchy Streusel Topping
adapted from Better Homes and Garden Cookbook 14th Edition

2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
2 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 5 medium)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 TBSP all purpose flour
2 TBSP cold butter (I used Earth Balance coconut spread)
1/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour a 9x5 pan.

In a large mixing bowl combine dry ingredients (flour through nutmeg). Make a well in the middle of the bowl for the wet ingredients and set aside.

In another medium bowl, whisk 2 eggs, then add wet ingredients (banana through oil) and mix well. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir well until just incorporated. Batter will be lumpy. Pour batter into prepared pan.

To make the streusel, combine the brown sugar and flour in a small bowl. Using a fork or pastry blender, cut in the cold butter until mixture resembles course crumbs. Sprinkle mixture over the top of the batter.

Bake in preheated oven for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.

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Friday, August 26, 2011

Veggie Loaded Turkey Meatloaf

veggie turkey meatloaf

As I was making the chocolate zucchini cake, I shredded a bit too much zucchini. Gary came home with some ground turkey so I decided to use the rest of what I had in this meatloaf.

We rarely eat meatloaf, but Gary for some reason wanted after seeing the meatloaf pan on an infomercial. So I have my fair share of unitaskers, but this one was something I would NOT get! I have two loaf pans and they're already rarely used, so getting another one was out of the question!

I think this meatloaf turned out great. Leftovers were even great as a sandwich! Gary thought it could have used a little bit more salt, but it was fine for me. So if you like things a little bit saltier, you might want to add more. This is definitely a great way to use up some leftover summer vegetables!

Veggie Loaded Turkey Meatloaf
sauce adapted from allrecipes.com

1.5 lb ground turkey (the pack we bought was 1.3 lb)
1 medium zucchini, grated about (1 cup grated, more or less)
1 large carrot, grated
1 egg
1/2 cup panko
1/2 tsp salt (more or less to taste)
1/4 tsp black pepper
2-3 dashes worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup ketchup
2 TBSP brown sugar
1 TBSP brown mustard

Preheat oven to 375°. Spray a 9x5 loaf pan with cooking spray (not necessary if using nonstick)

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients for the loaf (turkey through worcestershire sauce). Shape into a loaf and press into loaf pan.

Bake in preheated oven for about 50 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 160°.

While baking, prepare sauce. Spread sauce over top of the loaf, and put back into oven for another 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice and serve as sandwiches or with sides of your choice.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Chocolate Buttercream

You would never have known that this innocent looking chocolate cake would be chock full of vegetables!

For my mom's birthday, I decided to make this chocolate zucchini cake. I purchased some zucchini because I had plans on making chocolate chip cookies with them. I didn't make them yet, but since I was going to need to use them up, I made this cake. I figured if carrot cake is one of my faves, why not zucchini!

This cake came out beautifully and nobody knew there were hidden vegetables inside! My little cousins ate up big slices and gobbled it up just like any old chocolate cake! However, I'm not saying this is a healthy cake, since it does have a lot of oil in it! I originally intended to use some applesauce in place of some oil, but I noticed it was already expired, (whoops). I also don't know what the nutritional value of the zucchini ends up being after it's baked into a cake.

Even after I mixed in the eggs and oil, I thought the batter looked a little stiff, almost cookie batter-like. However after I folded in the zucchini, it was fine and easily pour-able. I used my food processor to grate the zucchini, and I did not squeeze out any liquid.

I did change this from a bundt cake recipe to a layer cake one. I omitted the nuts since I didn't have any on hand. For the frosting, I reduced the amount of sugar by 1/4 cup from the original recipe.

*note: this is tagged as dairy free, as the cake itself is dairy free. For a dairy free/vegan chocolate frosting option, see this cupcake recipe.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake
cake adapted from allrecipes.com
frosting adapted from More from Magnolia

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil (or replace some with applesauce)
3 cups grated zucchini (about 2 medium)

9 oz semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled to lukewarm
3 sticks (1.5 cups) unsalted butter, softened
2 TBSP milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

bake the cake: 
Preheat oven to 350° F (175° C). Grease and flour two 8 or 9 inch round cake pans.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Add the eggs and oil, mix well. Fold in zucchini until it is evenly distributed. Pour into the prepared pans.

Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to wire racks and cool cake completely before frosting.

prepare frosting: 
In a medium saucepan bring an inch of water to a boil. Reduce heat to low to simmer. Place chocolate in a glass or heat proof bowl over the simmering water and mix to melt the chocolate. Once all the chocolate is melted, remove from heat, set aside and let cool to room temperature, 5-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, on medium speed beat butter in an electric mixer for 3 minutes until smooth and creamy.

Slowly pour in milk and continue to beat for 2 minutes. Add vanilla and beat for 3 more minutes. Add in powdered sugar in small increments and beat at low speed until it reaches the desired consistency.

Frost cake as desired.