Sunday, September 30, 2012

spicy crunchy sweet moist banana bread

So this is one of the most interesting banana bread's I've ever tasted.  It tastes like fall spices, reminds me of pumpkin pie, stays moist for days, is gluten free, and crunches when you eat it.  Crunches.  My very favourite texture in the world.  This is the second best banana bread ever because my Mom's Bread takes the cake.  She makes a coconut lime glaze thing that's pretty damn great.  Totally different thing, different realm of banana bread.   
3 large ripe-to-over-ripe bananas1 large egg
1/3 cup virgin coconut oil warmed until it liquefies
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
1 cup of almond flour                             
1/2 cup of coconut flour  
(substitute flours with 1 1/2 cups of white whole wheat flour if desired)
1/4 cup uncooked millet
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and grease a 9X5 inch loaf pan.  Mash the bananas until they are smooth (a few bigger chunks are ok).  Add the coconut oil and egg and whisk together till blended.  Add sugar and maple syrup and stir it up again.  Toss in the baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, and stir again.  Add the flour and stir just until it's blended.  Don't over-stir!  Add the millet, stir it in, and put the mixture into the pan and then straight in the oven for 40-50 minutes.  Put a wooden skewer or toothpick into the centre to test if it's done.  It's done when a toothpick or fork comes out clean.Pour a glass of wine, a mug of tea, a cup of coffee, a hot toddy, anything your little heart desires and wait.

bread is served.
bon appétit. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Mushroom Risotto and Norm Hardie County Chard.

 Mushroom risotto is one vegetarian dish I will ALWAYS order off the menu at a restaurant, and one that Nick orders rarely (can't convince him not to eat the fancy meat) but none the less he loves.  He loves anything covered in cheese.

The dish isn't particularly difficult, but isn't necessarily easy, per se.
6-8 cups of stock, chicken stock, veggie stock, whatever you like.  Choose low sodium, or use homemade.
1 small package of dried mushrooms
9 ounces of fresh wild mushrooms (make a fun mix of whatever you like)
6 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 cup of chopped shallots
1 cup of risotto rice (arborio or carnaroli)
1/2 dry white wine
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese

Turn the stock you have into mushroom stock.  Put the stock in a large pot and add the dried mushrooms.  Bring to a boil and lower the heat.  Let the mushrooms soften in there for 5-10 minutes.  Remove the mushrooms, chop and put aside.  Chop the fresh mushrooms you have, chopping the stems into smaller pieces and separating them into a pile on their own, and chopping the caps into 1/4 inch slices.
 Grab a wooden spoon, an important tool for risotto.  Use it the whole time!

Place half the butter into a sauce pan and melt, adding all the fresh mushroom caps.  Once the mushrooms are sauteed (soft and brown) remove from the pan.  Add the other half of the butter, melt, and add the mushroom stems and the shallots.  Cook until the shallots are translucent.  Add a glug of olive oil and the rice and cook on medium high until the rice resembles little glass beads.  Add the 1/2 cup of white wine and start stirring.  Add a ladle of stock (3/4 cup) at a time, stirring the rice constantly until the ladle is absorbed and you can see a line in the pan (shown below).  When you can see that line, add another ladle and continue until the rice doesn't absorb any more liquid and has a creamy consistency.

The rice should be mostly translucent but opaque in the centre.  Add really tiny small amounts of liquid stirring consistently until desired thickness of the sauce.  The sauce will thicken a bit once removed from the heat.  Add the chopped up mushroom caps and the chopped up mushroom from the stock, and slowly stir in the parmesan.  Salt and pepper it, and spoon onto plates (or bowls really).  Eat while it's hot!
We opened up a bottle of Norm Hardie's 2010 County Chard.  A rare treat in our house, only because we drink it all when we have it.   After spending a least a few weekends a month in the county this summer, our PEC (Prince Edward County) cellar collections and tasting notes have grown generously. This entry is the second from our favorite vineyard in PEC ( and winemaker).   Norm actually makes a kick ass risotto too. So if you are ever at the winery, ask him for a few of his tips.
Intense fruit aromas with Citrus, apple, peach, pineapple and an insane amount of appealing minerality with gun flint and crushed rocks. Medium bodied with generous acidity and delicate texture. Norms wines really speak of his land. It is hard to find wines this distinct anywhere else in the world. However, ironically enough... some top international critics have said his wines are the most Burgundian you will find outside of Burgundy. So It's nice to have access to these wines, so close to home. I recommend sourcing them out. LCBO:VINTAGES has a few selections in stock right now. It retails for $35.
bon appetit.
dinner is served.