Banana with Honeyed Mascarpone & Caramel

Mascarpone Banana
Bananas are not my go-to dessert.

I do not like banana splits. Just give me the ice cream!

I’ve had Bananas Foster once, but I prefer apple crisp.

But my friends served this dessert a couple of weeks ago, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it!

It’s like a song that got stuck in my head. And the only way to stop obsessing about the creamy mascarpone and drizzly caramel was to make my own. Obviously.

The banana isn’t just a vehicle for the cheese and caramel, either! The textures pair perfectly, and the banana and mascarpone blend together in a creamy, soft goodness.

Maybe I should take another look at bananas, huh?

Bananas with Honeyed Mascarpone & Caramel Sauce
Makes 6-8 portions

8 oz Mascarpone cheese
1 tbsp honey
6-8 ripe bananas
Caramel Sauce

Whip the mascarpone and the honey until everything is thoroughly incorporated and fluffy. Put a dollop of the cheese on a plate, and top with a banana and generous amount of caramel sauce.

Game of Thrones Pie

Strawberry Almond Galette
I’ve read the Game of Thrones series. Twice.

I really enjoy them, and I was trying to bide my time until the next book in the series came out.

Oh poor, naive Jo.

Can we please please please have the next one? Pretty please?

I’ve also watched the HBO series (which is finally back for season 4!), and have been seeing all the Buzzfeed quizzes about “Which GoT character is your mom’s second cousin?”

Don’t let me fool you, you know I LOVE those quizzes.

You might call me obsessed with Game of Thrones, but I disagree. Everyone knows that my real obsession is food, and those books read like hard core foodie porn! George RR Martin is so tantalizingly descriptive of the food that the characters eat, that people have been able to create whole recipe books based off of the GoT series. The food ranges from brown mystery meat stew to entire royal feasts. Food serves as the great equalizer between peasants and monarchs. Everyone’s gotta eat!

So what better way to pass the time until episode 2 on Sunday than by recreating GoT food? And while I’m not willing to attempt lamprey pie or the raw heart of a stallion, strawberry galette I can do.

And you should too!
Strawberry Almond Galette

Strawberry Almond Galette

Strawberry Almond Galette

Strawberry Almond Galette

Strawberry Almond Galette

Strawberry Almond Galette

Strawberry Almond Galette

Strawberry Almond Galette
Makes one rustic pie

Crust
1 3/4 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, very cold and cut into small cubes
1/3 cup buttermilk (if you don’t have buttermilk, measure out your milk and add a splash of lemon juice or vinegar)

Add the flour, sugar, cornmeal and salt together in a food processor fitted with the dough blade. Pulse several times. Then add the butter and pulse until the mixture starts to look like gravel. Turn the food processor on low and slowly pour in the buttermilk. Stop the processor several times to scrape down the sides, and continue to mix until the dough forms a ball. Press the dough together, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for at least 45 minutes–up to 24 hours.

Filling
2 1/2 cups strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp corn starch

1 egg white whisked together with 1 tsp of water
Extra sugar and slivered almonds for topping

Preheat the oven to 350F.
Combine the strawberries, almonds, sugar and corn starch in a bowl. Set aside.
Roll the dough out into a large circle and place it onto a baking stone or sheet pan. You may want to use parchment paper to prevent sticking.
Pour the strawberry almond mixture into the center and spread it out, leaving a 2 inch edge. Gently fold the edge over the strawberries and press the dough where it overlaps to make sure it stays together.
Brush the crust with the egg wash, and sprinkle sugar and extra almonds over the top.
Bake for 45 minutes. Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving with whipped cream or ice cream.

Keep It Simple

Bacon and Onion Pizza
I love making pizza.

I have this magical bread machine that makes the pizza crust for me. It’s so fluffy! I highly recommend getting a bread machine. Even if all you ever use it for is pizza dough, it’s totally worth it.

Rising Pizza Dough
I do stray a little from the original bread machine’s recommended whole wheat pizza crust recipe. I’ve found that an extra 20 minutes of rising time makes a huuuuuuuuuuge difference in the ease of shaping. And whole wheat pastry flour has consistently turned out softer, crispier crust than regular whole wheat flour.

Pizza Stone
I also find that scattering cornmeal on my pizza stone is essential. There is nothing worse than a pizza slice that won’t come off the stone. Truly a sad business.

Pizza Dough
I roll the dough out right on the stone. That way, I know exactly what size to make it, and I don’t have to try to transfer the dough. We all know how **awesome** I am at working dough.

**Ha!!**

Curled Crust
Just roll the dough out slightly larger than the stone, and then curl the edge back onto itself.

Pizza Sauce
When it comes to sauce, less is more. You need to make sure it touches all the edges, but too much sauce gives you pizza soup when you take it out of the oven.

Pizza
I make no judgements on how much cheese you want to use. Cheesiness is a personal choice, and I believe that we should never judge each other’s choices.

I tend to love pizzas that don’t have too much going on. Don’t get me wrong, if it’s pizza, I will like it. But my favorites tend to have only one or two toppings. Bacon and onion; pineapple and Canadian bacon; arugula and prosciutto; just olives.

In the oven
And whatever you do, do not take your pizza out of the oven before your cheese is bubbly and starting to brown! It’s important.

Bacon and Onion Pizza
Pizza and salad. The perfect, simple dinner.

Bacon and Onion Pizza
Makes one medium pizza. Bake at 400F for 20-25 minutes.

Pizza Crust:
**Every bread machine will probably have different instructions, so be sure to read the directions. The way mine works, it takes about an hour and a half from the time I throw in the ingredients to the time I’m pulling out the dough for an extra rise.

1 1/4 cup of warm water
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp salt
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 cups bread flour
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

Place all ingredients in order into the bread machine. Use the “Dough” setting.
When the machine is fully through the cycle, place the dough into a greased bowl and let it sit, loosely covered with plastic wrap, for 20 minutes. Then spread some cornmeal onto a pizza stone, and roll the dough onto the pizza stone, draping the dough over the sides of the stone. Curl the edges of the dough back onto itself, pressing gently.

Toppings:
3/4 cups pizza sauce (I made a batch of this sauce, and then pureed it in the food processor)
1 1/2 to 2 cups freshly grated mozzarella
2 strips of bacon, diced
1/4 cup of thinly sliced onion

Preheat the oven to 400F. Assemble your pizza, in ingredient order, onto the uncooked pizza dough. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the cheese is crispy and browning. Slice with scissors or a pizza cutter, and serve hot.

Apple Oatmeal Cookies

Apple Cookies
I’m not sure what happened to all of my cookies. These lasted all of two hours before they vanished.

Apple Cookies
I restrained myself from eating the dough, which was no easy feat.

Apple Cookies
And they definitely came out of the oven…

Apple Cookies
They made it to the cooling rack. But then?

Apple Cookies
One by one, they disappeared!

Huh, I guess I’ll just have to make more.

Apple Oatmeal Cookies
Makes approximately 36 cookies

3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup applesauce
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
2 1/2 cups oatmeal (this is the amount before blending), blended
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 to 2 large apples, chopped

Preheat oven to 375F

Start by making oat flour. Place 2 1/2 cups of oatmeal into a blender or food processor. Pulse on low until the oats resemble gravely sand.
Cream butter, applesauce and both sugars. Add eggs and vanilla.
Add flour, oats, baking powder and baking soda and mix. Add the apples and gently combine.
Drop onto a cookie sheet or stoneware pan, and bake 15 to 20 minutes, just until golden brown.

These cookies are perfect on their own, but you can add vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for an extra decadent dessert.

Steamy Rice and Beans

Rice and Beans with Chicken
I love elaborate recipes. I really do.

But 90% of the time, I’ll look at an elaborate recipe with 20 ingredients and think, “Yeah right! Not tonight, my friend.”

Which is a pity, because ingredient lists can be deceiving as far as effort involved.

On the other hand, if I come across a recipe with only 3 or 4 ingredients, I’ll probably dismiss that one too. “Not exciting. Probably has ‘boxed something’ as an ingredient.”

Sometimes I’m too judgmental.

While this list looks medium-longish, just look at the process:
Rice and Beans with Chicken
Rice

Rice and Beans with Chicken
Sauce

Rice and Beans with Chicken
Beans

Rice and Beans with Chicken
Broth and chicken

Cover and cook. Eat.

And don’t get a steam burn!

No seriously, DON’T get a steam burn. I went to pull off the aluminum foil, and my hand got in the way of the escaping steam. It was one of those burns that actually took a second to reach my brain. At first it was like, “oh that was kind of hot,” and a second later I was jumping around the kitchen waving my hand in the air like I just didn’t care. Then I remembered to run it under cold water.

I’m quick like that.

Hours later, I was STILL icing my fingers because they felt like my skin was melting off. Unwrap with caution, folks.

Steamy Rice and Beans
Serves 4-6
Adapted from eat, live, run

2 chicken breasts, diced (or leave out the chicken!)
1 cup dry rice (I used Jasmine rice)
8 oz can of tomato sauce
14 oz can of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 to 1/4 tsp cayenne, depending on how much kick you’re looking for.
guacamole for topping (I’m kind of obsessed with the Wholly Guacamole from Costco. Best ingredients list I’ve seen on store-bought guacamole.)

Preheat the oven to 350F

In a 9×13″ dish, pour in the rice, tomato sauce and kidney beans. Add the spices to the broth and whisk together. Pour the broth over the rice and beans, and give the pan a little stir. Add the chicken, and then cover the pan very tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 90 minutes with the foil on.

CAREFULLY remove the aluminum foil, top the casserole with guacamole, and serve.

Yours truly with peeling fingers,
Jo

Fool Proof but without any proof Quiche

Let’s pretend this is a photo of a beautiful quiche, ok?

Quiche Drawing

And it’s all steamy, and delicious smelling, and puffy.

Puffy is a very important quality in quiche. And don’t tell me you can’t smell food photos. You may need to get your nose checked, ok?

In true Jo fashion, I made yet another meal that I took no photos of.

Not one. Not even an instagram shot.

I am so winning at being a food blogger!

Oi.

Vegetable Quiche
serves 6-8

1 Pie crust (this is the one I used)
9 eggs
1/3 cup milk (I used whole milk)
1/2 tsp paprika
1/8 or 1/4 tsp cayenne (or none if you don’t want any kick)
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup thinly sliced zucchini
1 1/2 cups chopped broccoli
1/4 cup thinly sliced onion
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat the oven to 375F

In a bowl, beat the eggs until all the yolks have broken and are combined.
Add the milk and spices and continue to beat until the egg mixture starts to get thick and frothy.
Stir in the vegetables and half of the mozzarella, and then pour the mixture into your pie crust. Top with the remaining mozzarella cheese.
Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the quiche is set in the middle. If your pie crust starts to get too brown, line it with some tin foil. Serve while hot.

I’ve never had good luck saving quiche for leftovers. I’ve just never been able to reheat it well. Anyone have any suggestions?

Curry Chicken Chili

Curry Chili
I’ve been making this chili a couple times a month for awhile now.

Curry Chili
(Though this is the first time I’ve made it with chicken. I’ve been using ground beef, and it’s been amazing. But I only had chicken, and it was equally amazing.)

It was so simple to come up with the first time. I was making chili, and I decided that curry powder would be fun to try instead of chili powder. And then of course I had to add coconut milk.

I do have to admit that I was pretty nervous about how this would turn out, and how it would be received, but it remains the most requested meal to date.

Curry Chili

Curry Chili

Curry Chili

I make this exactly the same way as I make regular chili, but the difference in flavor couldn’t be bigger!

Curry Chili

Curry Chili
When you add the coconut milk, the diced tomatoes turn everything pink.

Curry Chili
But don’t worry, the curry powder fixes that right up.

Curry Chili

Curry Chili
I’m not a huge fan of pink…

Curry Chili
I am a huge fan of this though.

Curry Chili
Under 30 minutes from start to plate.

Curry Chicken Chili
Serves 6-8

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced
1 14 oz can Garbanzo Beans, rinsed
1 14 oz can Black Beans, rinsed
1 14 oz can Kidney Beans, rinsed
1 14 oz can Diced Tomatoes
1 14 oz can of Coconut Milk
2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp cayenne

Saute the diced chicken until almost cooked through. Add the diced tomatoes (including the liquid), followed by all the beans. Add the coconut milk, curry and cayenne. Salt to taste. Stir until everything is combined, and allow to simmer until the chicken is fully cooked.

You can also make this with 1 pound of ground beef, or no meat at all!