Monthly Archives: November 2012

Chocolate Banana Bread

One of my favorite combinations is banana and chocolate.  More so than chocolate and peanut butter.  (Gasp!)  And, as it seems like I have a thing for baked banana items, chocolate banana bread is one of those things that have been on my to-bake/cook list for a while.  And, as usual, I had the perfect amount of over-ripe bananas sitting around for just this occasion.

 

Won. Der. Ful.  And, that would be an understatement.  We actually made two loaves.  Binks was devouring piece after piece of the first loaf when we received some news from a neighbor, which deserved (at the very least) a loaf to be gifted.  That was probably the saddest my husband has ever gotten about banana bread in his life.

 

This bread is really a denser cake that is full of deep, rich chocolate flavor, without losing the banana foundation.  The chocolate chips in the bread add so much that it really moves this up from a ‘bread’ to a ‘dessert’.  I can promise you on my loaf pans and the pathetic look on Binks’ face when I moved one loaf away from him that this is absolutely addictive.

Chocolate Banana Bread

slightly adapted from Savory Sweet Life

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temp.
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 large ripened bananas mashed ( or 2.5 small bananas)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup + 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 3 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup of sour cream
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (mini chocolate chips work great here)
Instructions:
  1. Preheat over to 350F.
  2. Lightly grease a 9×5 loaf pan with non-stick spray.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter, salt, and sugar together.
  4. Stir in egg, mashed bananas, sour cream, and vanilla until well blended.
  5. Mix in baking soda, cocoa, and flour.
  6. Mix everything until well incorporated, about 3 minutes in an electric mixer.
  7. Add chocolate chips.
  8. Pour batter into loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes – 55 minutes, until a toothpick entered in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
  9. Remove from heat and allow bread to rest in the loaf pan for 10 minutes.
  10. After 10 minutes, invert the loaf onto the cooling rack.
Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under baking, Bread, Cake, Desserts

Oatmeal White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Lately I find myself thinking lately about several things that hindsight would have “fixed”.  Ranging from relationships, experiences, choices, and that horrendous hair cut I had throughout high school (think Pat), I think  know I should have known better.  A reasonable person in my position would have surely known better, made better decisions, and ultimately have been better for it.

When I first began baking (high school), cookies were not my forte.  In fact, I sucked at baking cookies.  I would end up with bready cookies without any chew.  As a baker who threw away more batches of cookies than I’d care to admit, I was convinced that Nestle’s recipe or any other popular recipes didn’t work for me.  Obviously, it wasn’t the recipe.  It was me.  During law school, one of my best friends vetted my issue through to her baking expert mother and found me an answer: “You shouldn’t pack anything except the brown sugar.”  Brilliant!  I was packing flour in measuring cup and was too daft to make the connection to the final result.  And that did it.  This seemingly minor change fixed a problem I was working to solve for 8 years.

Looking back, I should have known better.  Obviously the cookie will be more bready with more flour.  Insert cliché statement about the clarity of hindsight.  But, I was so set on measuring out everything perfectly that I didn’t actually measure properly at all.  Similar to not taking time to measure that 5 inches off my hair length would yield a gender-bending hair style.  ::Shudder::

Bad hair aside (because there is no excuse for that kind of mistake), I realize that there really isn’t much to “fix.”  I’ve made some very dumb decisions and gone through experiences that could have been avoided if I just made the obvious right choice.  But, I wouldn’t be where or who I am if I had.  Deluding myself to believe that I would be a better person without making the foolish mistakes I’ve made is a falsity in and of itself.

If I had reduced the flour at the onset, I wouldn’t have known myself to be the type of person that tries everything I could without resigning myself to think I couldn’t bake a great cookie.  If I had made the “right” decisions, I would not be the type of person who could examine the mistakes, shortcomings and areas of improvement in my life, and be strong enough to dust the flour off my apron and keep moving forward.  And, again, I wouldn’t be as proud to share a great cookie recipe with you.  This is one of those cookies.

SIDE NOTE!  CONGRATS to Eileen at Ham Pie Sandwiches for winning the 4-Piece Le Creuset Mug Set!!!  Eileen, email me so I can send out your gift! 🙂

Oatmeal White Chocolate Chip Cookies

slightly adapted from Martha Stewart

Ingredients:

  •  1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 cups good-quality white chocolate chunks
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (about 4 ounces)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.  Cream butter and sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Mix on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.  Mix in eggs one at a time until combined. Stir in vanilla.
  2. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl.  Gradually stir into butter mixture until combined.  Stir in oats, chocolate, coconut, and walnuts.
  3. Drop batter by heaping tablespoons onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing about 2 inches apart. Flatten slightly. Bake cookies until golden, 16 to 17 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks for 2 minutes.  Transfer cookies to cookie cooling racks to cool completely.

3 Comments

Filed under baking, Cookies

Baba Ghanoush (Eggplant Dip)

Often, I think about how much my life has changed. From living alone, to being married and living with a Binks, and now with a baby, who needs a full meal in between nursing sessions.

When we were first married, our dinners consisted of chips and dip or appetizers. Full meals were saved for special occasions or weekends when we had time and no work. Or really when I felt like it. Oh the luxury of “feeling like it”. Nowadays, I’m making more of an effort to put a complete meal on the table that’s also good for the baby.

On those rare Saturdays, when the baby actually goes to (and stays) sleep at the right time, Binks and I attempt to recreate those days. We pick a movie, a glass of wine, a cheese with accompaniments. My favorite type is of course, chips or veggies and dip.

It’s no secret that I love Mediterranean food. I love the flavor profile and the use of whole foods that tastes absolutely fresh and light. I also love dip. So, whenever the opportunity presents itself that I can have both at the same time, I jump on it. Baba ghanoush is a very welcome dip in our house. When we have a full on meal, we serve it with hummus, falafel, quinoa salad, tzaziki sauce, pita, rice, and on special occasions, baklava. But, more likely than not, I make a meal out of fresh toasted pita and baba ghanoush.

A glass of red wine on the side and it’s a great meal.

Baba Ghanoush

adapted from David Lebovitz

serves 2-3 people

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium-sized eggplant
  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley leaves

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Poke eggplant all over with a fork, and place on foil lined baking sheet. Roast until very tender, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and place in a heat-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap.
  3. After 15-20 minutes, and after the eggplants have cooled, peel the eggplant and place the flesh into a food processor.
  4. Add remaining ingredients and puree in processor until smooth.
  5. Taste for salt and lemon. Add more, if desired.
  6. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, sumac, and/or parsley leaves.

5 Comments

Filed under Appetizers, Vegan, Vegetarian

Roasted Garlic

I’ve told you some basics before (broccoli and rice), but this is a basic that everyone should know.  Absolutely everyone.  I have tried every which way (especially with pre-peeled garlic) to get this right,and most methods have failed – save this.  You can just throw it in the oven while you are baking something else (savory, not sweet).

Versatile is an understatement when it comes to roasted garlic.  I recently used this in a compound butter that I made and can’t wait to share.  I’ve also used it in the past for mashed potatoes – my favorite way to eat mashed potatoes.  And talk about a base for garlic bread.  Or a baked potato.  Geez Louise.

Roasted Garlic

adapted from Simply Recipes

yields one head of roasted garlic

Ingredients:

  • 1 garlic bulb
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Peel away all outer layers of the garlic bulb.
  3. Place garlic bulb on a piece of foil paper large enough to cover the garlic bulb.
  4. Once you place the bulb on the foil, drizzle with olive oil over each exposed clove until fully covered.  Cover up with the foil.
  5. Bake for 35 minutes, until the cloves are soft.
  6. Let the garlic fully cool before handling.  Using your fingers, pinch out each clove from the skin.

4 Comments

Filed under Basics, garlic

Le Creuset Giveaway

{Photo Credit}

So, the blog turned 2 at the end of September!  A couple of things if you will.

1.  I had every intention of doing a giveaway last year on my 1st anniversary.  However, with some family news, I just forgot and didn’t really feel up to it.

2.  I had every intention of doing a giveaway and post on my actual 2nd anniversary.  However, for no excuse whatsoever, I just forgot and didn’t do anything.

So, in all this enthusiasm (can you feel it?), I have some special giveaways planned.

In all seriousness though, this blog has been a wonderful experience.  I cringe sometimes when I read my first post, but realize we all have to start somewhere.  After some trailing off into different waters, I waded back to where I want to be.  A food blog.  I started this blog with every intention of sharing fun eats and treats with recipes, and I think I have brought it back to just that.

I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to be a part of the online foodie community and have met (virtually and in real life) some amazing people.  I wanted to thank you for being wonderful all the way through.  When life was great, you were there, and especially when life was hard, you all were there.  I cannot thank you enough.  You let me speak my mind, listened, commented and even emailed me further.  I cannot thank you enough.

Without further ado…and mush, the first giveaway is a set of four (4) Le Creuset Black-Nickel Mugs.  With fall upon us, warm drinks like cocoa, tea, and specialty coffee drinks are definitely on the daily rotation.

Here is a little blurb about the mugs from here:

A seasonal exclusive, this set makes a great gift and is a wonderful addition to any home. Perfect for mixing and matching, Le Creuset stoneware mugs in pearlized nickel feature beautiful graduated shades with three bold ridges at the rim. Freezer, broiler, oven, dishwasher and microwave safe. Each mug 12 oz. Dishwasher safe.

So, how to win?  Leave a comment on this post telling me “What is your favorite fall drink?” 

For additional entries:

  1. Follow @oliepants on Twitter.  Leave a separate comment letting me know you are following.
  2. Tweet the following statement about this giveaway:  “Enter to win a Four-Piece @lecreuset Mug Set hosted by @oliepants http://wp.me/p16dO9-uz”
  3. Subscribe to Oliepants.  Leave a separate comment letting me know you subscribed.
  4. Follow Oliepants on Pinterest.  Leave a separate comment letting me know you follow.

The giveaway is open until Friday, November 16, 2012 at 11:59 p.m. CST.  The giveaway is only open to USA residents.  Be sure a valid email address is included with your comment(s).  Winner will be chosen and announced on this post. I will email the winner and if the winner doesn’t respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be chosen.

Disclosure:  This giveaway is not sponsored by Le Creuset.  I just love their stuff and wanted to share with you!

Good luck!

38 Comments

Filed under Giveaway

Roasted Tomato & Basil Soup

 

I am not a soup person.  I’m not.  I prefer a hearty salad or sandwich over soup.  But, there are a few soups that make the exception.  First on the list is chili.  Then, we have the bisques.  And, there was a fantastic restaurant in Oklahoma City that served an excellent potato and leek soup.  Then, there of course is the tomato and basil soup.

My better half is the opposite.  Chicken noodle soups, minestrone and anything that’s super watery with bits of vegetables.  I, on the other hand, cannot make a meal out of that.  But, this soup makes a wonderful and satisfying meal.  And, I highly recommend serving this with a crusty piece of bread and butter.

With the baby eating solid foods these days, it’s really important for me to cut down on canned food and make things with fresh whole ingredients when I can.  So, I’m really happy that that this soup is full of fresh ingredients without a can.  Moreover, I really love that this soup is creamy and rich without any addition of cream.  Feel free to add a dash of cream if you want extra richness.

Roasted Tomato Soup

adapted from Food Network

Ingredients:

  • 4 vine-ripened tomatoes
  • 1 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 small carrot, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups chicken broth, divided
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, optional

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450F.
  2. Blanch the tomatoes: In a large pot of boiling water, add tomatoes for 2-3 minutes.  Remove and then rinse under cold water.
  3. Peel tomatoes, cut them into eight pieces and place on foil paper.  Roll up on the sides of the foil paper similar to a box.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Drizzle 1/4 cup olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the tomatoes.  Bake for 20 -30 minutes until soft and caramelized.
  4. While the tomatoes are baking, in a large pot, heat the remaining olive oil over medium-low heat.  Add the celery, carrots, onion, and garlic, and cook until softened, about 10 minutes.  Add the roasted tomatoes and its juices, 1 cup chicken broth, bay leaves, and butter.  Cook until everything is very tender, about 20 minutes.
  5. Add basil and cream, if using.  Please the contents in the blender and blend until smooth.
  6. Return the soup back to the pot with the remaining broth until warm and incorporated.

4 Comments

Filed under Soup, Vegetarian

Buttermilk Cornbread

Now that fall is officially upon us, the comfort food season for me has begun. I love that now the heartier dishes are coming out. The best part is the breads. Whether garlic bread to accompany your favorite pasta dish or scones for the perfect brunch omelette, bread is really a necessary addition for fall. And nothing speaks fall and comfort in the South quite like cornbread.

;

I’m responsible for these every Thanksgiving and there are never any leftovers. Perfectly crumbly without being dry or overly sweet, this cornbread recipe is a favorite. I prefer sweeter cornbread, than ones with jalapenos in it, which seems to be a favorite for many. To me, it’s like putting nuts in brownies: no, no and no. While these go wonderfully with a big bowl of soup or chili, I was content just eating by itself for a perfect late-afternoon snack. Butter optional – but preferred.

Buttermilk Cornbread
barely adapted from Allrecipes.com

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, unsalted
  • 2/3 cup white granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Grease 8 inch square pan.
  2. Melt butter in microwave in large bowl. To melted butter, stir in sugar.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together baking soda and buttermilk. Set aside.
  4. To melted butter, quickly beat in eggs until fully incorporated. Then, add and mix in buttermilk mixture until smooth.
  5. Blend in cornmeal, flour, and salt until fully blended and no lumps remain.
  6. Pour into greased pan.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

7 Comments

Filed under baking, Bread