Saturday, April 28, 2012

Banana Baked Oatmeal

Ah, the weekend. Is there anything better than waking up on a Saturday with absolutely no plans? There is— waking up on a Saturday with absolutely no plans, except making this banana baked oatmeal.

{Banana Baked Oatmeal}
Makes 4 servings
1-1/2 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup almond milk
1 egg
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
Walnuts, if desired


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, stir together dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk together wet ingredients. Combine. Pour into four 4-inch ramekins or into a medium-sized baking dish. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until edges begin to brown lightly. Allow to cool. I like mine with a dash of almond milk and a little cinnamon sprinkled on top. Enjoy with coffee and orange juice.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Pesto Mac & Goat Cheese

So, my friend entered me into a mac & cheese cook off a couple of weekends ago at our favorite weekend haunt, Spoon Market & Deli. Literally every Saturday, we show up at the cozy, brick-walled establishment for wine and beer tasting, sausage appetizers and the best scones on the planet.
But this Saturday, we were there not as winos, but as competitors.
Okay, so we still had wine.
Problem was, I don't really like mac & cheese. Or so I thought. While as a twelve year old, I used to count the Scooby Doo shaped Kraft as a food group, I haven't willingly eaten mac & cheese for years. It's so sticky. And unnaturally orange. Grow up, mac & cheese, I'd think. You're so immature.
That is, until this cookoff, which featured creations like smoked gouda mac & cheese, pepperjack mac & cheese and lobster mac & cheese. Try this.

{Pesto Mac & Goat Cheese}
adapted from Ask Aida
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1/2 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped basil leaves
2/3 cup panko bread crumbs
1 cup freshly grated parmesan
1/2 pound mini pasta shells
1 cup half and half
8 ounces goat cheese
2/3 cup pesto, jarred or homemade
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
butter or cooking spray, to grease the dish


Butter a medium-sized baking dish. Preheat broiler and arrange a rack on top. In a large bowl, combine the basil, garlic, panko, 1/8 cup parmesan and melted butter. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat and cook the pasta according to package instructions. Meanwhile, bring the half and half to a simmer (in a small pot over low heat). Simmer until reduced and slightly thickened, 5-7 minutes.

Reserve 1/8 cup of the pasta cooking water and drain the pasta. Put the pot back over low heat and add the half and half mixture. When it simmers again, add the goat cheese and whisk until smooth. Repeat with the remaining parmesan.

Toss in the pasta and stir to coat. Stir in the pesto, reserved cooking water, salt and pepper. Season with salt and pepper, then pour the pasta mixture into the baking dish.

Top with panko mixture, then put under the broiler until the mac & cheese starts to bubble and the top is browned. Remove from broiler and let cool for 5 minutes. Serve.

The spicy pesto, along with the tangy, rich goat cheese, put this dish over the top. You forget it's macaroni. Instead, it's a creamy and flavorful and oh so good. Comfort food at it's finest, I say. It's so good, I made it again on this rainy April day alongside my slow-roasted spicy pulled pork and slaw sandwiches with a side of apple sauce. Now that warms you up!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Carrot Cake Ice Cream

Happy Anniversary, belly up! To celebrate the occasion, I made carrot cake ice cream, something I've been curious about and craving for ages.

{Carrot Cake Ice Cream}
3 eggs or egg beaters
2/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups grated carrot

Whisk together eggs, sugar, 2/3 cup brown sugar, and vanilla. Stir in milk and cream. In a sauce pan, combine the 3/4 cup brown sugar with the butter over medium heat. When melted, stir in the carrots. Cook for another 5 minutes, until thick.

Meanwhile, put ice cream mixture in a large 4-quart pot over medium low hear. Heat while stirring. Simmer without letting it boil for about 7 to 10 minutes. Allow to cool (I do so with an ice bath).

When chilled, stir in cinnamon, then beat in the cream cheese. Make according to ice cream maker instructions.

If carrot cake is your thing, make this ice cream. It's all the cold creaminess of ice cream with all the taste of carrot cake. It even smells like carrot cake. So good, I snuck home from work for my second helping of the day. Like I said, please: Make this ice cream.