Wednesday, May 21, 2008

a healthy alternative

the title is totally misleading. what i am about to share is not healthy in the slightest but it just tastes so fucking good. i like bananas. i learned recently that they help you not get cramps in your feet which i often experience so i am attempting to eat more bananas. but that is beside the point. bananas. a peanut butter and banana sandwich with a tall glass of milk - heaven on earth. no joke.

so, i buy bananas with the intention of lessening my foot cramps and improving my all around health and they always turn. i'll even break the bunches up at acme and just take home two or three and inevitably the last one or two is dark and spotted and unappealing. thus the utter beauty and joy of banana bread. my very favorite recipe in the whole wide world is from the joy of cooking, a most wonderful and helpful book. the sheer knowledge in the book about fruits and vegetables and meats and how you should clean and cook them is incredible and the kick ass banana bread recipe is just a bonus.

1 3/4 c. sifted flour
2 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. shortening
2/3 sugar
3/4 tsp. lemon zest (who always has zest on hand? this is optional.)
1 beaten egg (recipe calls for one to two but why use two eggs when one works just fine?)
1 to 1 1/4 c. banana pulp

preheat oven to 350 degrees. sift together flour, baking powder and salt. set aside. blend together shortening, sugar and lemon zest. beat in eggs and smushed bananas. add the sifted dry ingredients in three parts beating after each addition until smooth. now you can fold in any extras. i think dried cranberries or cherries are exceptional. this last time i added some chocolate peanut butter chips and those were also very tasty. pour the batter into a greased bread pan and bake around 1 hour or until done.

i like to let mine cool enough where i can touch the pan and then dump it out and wrap it tightly in foil. but when it is still warm slice of a piece and slather it with real butter (soft butter at room temperature) or if you are feeling guilty eat it plain. it is still delicious. case in point:

Monday, May 19, 2008

a pie in the eye.....or in my belly!

my new thing is pizzas. i have always liked pizza but never been totally over the top for it. why? i guess i've never really had an awesome pizza. the other day i finally had awesome pizza AND i made it myself! i picked up some frozen dough on a whim for 99 cents at (gallucci's) (ok, so i didn't make the dough from scratch. give me a break. i'm just starting!) and i picked up my fixin's - fresh romano, buffalo mozzarella, basil, panchetta, pepperoni, and cappicola at (deviti's). both totally amazing places by the way so if you're in northeastern ohio please go patron them.

i made my own sauce which is a take on the 'five minute tomato sauce' i found on one of my favorite cooking blogs:

1/3 c. olive oil
4 chopped garlic cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
2-3 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes (unseasoned)
zest of a lemon or a lil' lemon juice

add oil, garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes to a saucepan and cook over medium heat about 5-7 minutes until fragrant and bubbly - do not brown the garlic. stir in the tomatoes and continue to cook for 15-20 minutes. at the very end add the zing of lemon.

pizza construction is super easy!

saucin' the pies

meat mania pizza
pepperoni, capicola, panchetta, mozzarella, and romano

pizza margherita
basil and mozzarella

finished product

an introduction

in my never ending quest to discover and create good eats i've decided to launch a blog dedicated to my efforts. some background information - i started cooking for my family (dad and two younger brothers) when i was about 12 years old after my parents divorced. i was faced with two options; (1) learn to cook or (2) survive only on my dad's hamburger helper, chicken helper, tuna helper, and whatever helper they would come up with next for the rest of my time in the house. i opted for the first.

many years have passed and over time i have acquired quite a repertoire in the kitchen (amateur by many standards but still pretty good from this angle). i love to eat more than anything else in the entire world and cooking good food for my family and friends comes in at a close second.

i'm not a professional chef and i don't pretend to be. i just like to cook. read on and please share your love of good food.