Friday, June 28, 2013

Banana Cobbler

Hello all. I know I haven't written much, but I have some recipes to share with you, and I am hoping to have more as I have been learning and experimenting quite a bit. Over the last year and a half, I have added some awesome tools to my kitchen, and they have impacted my cooking immensely. Actually, though I have bought a few tools, my stepmother and father (Daddy gave all the credit to Jan) surprised me last April with a grain mill, and we have now been eating freshly milled grains for a full year.

The taste and benefits of freshly milled wheat are amazing, but I hesitate to share the recipes, as amounts have to be adjusted when you use freshly milled over bagged. For example, we eat a lot of cobbler, and the recipe as I wrote it calls for 1½ cups of grain, and if I were to use bagged, store-bought flour I would probably use 1¾ cups of flour. Some baked items that are meant to rise more would probably need to be adjusted differently, but we can address those issues as they arise. I have decided to share my recipes, and when possible include approximations of how much bagged flour could be substituted.

Now to get to my recipe. This experiment came from seeing posts about banana pudding recipes, which I haven't made because they call for vanilla wafers. With ingredients like soy lecithin and natural flavors in organic versions, and high fructose corn syrup, TBHQ, artificial flavoring, etc joining that lineup in the conventional cookies that I grew up on, no way am I buying vanilla wafers, and if I bake them, I will probably just want to enjoy them in all their golden sweet glory. Still I figured that there has to be a way to have my cake and eat it, too, and that was when an idea occurred to me for a banana cobbler topped with vanilla custard.

Now, I am not going to say that this is the same as banana pudding, but we really enjoyed it. The cobbler is simple to make, and you can top it with any homemade vanilla custard (I haven't written a recipe or tweaked a recipe for that, yet, but I do highly recommend that if you use a recipe calling for corn starch, opt for organic corn starch to avoid GMO.)

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1½ cups soft white wheat berries (I milled this on fine setting, when I used bagged flour, I used 1¾ cups flour)
  • ¾ cup sugar + 2 Tbsp to sprinkle over the bananas
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1¼-½ cups milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 bananas sliced thinly
Preheat oven to 350°F (app. 175°C*), place butter in the baking dish you will be using and put it in the oven to melt while the oven comes up to temperature (I personally like to let the butter brown just a little bit, but you can remove it as soon as the butter melts).

Mill the grain, then mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, & salt together. Add milk & vanilla extract until you get a batter that is thick but can be poured easily into the melted butter.

Top with banana slices and then sprinkle the remaining 2 Tbsp of sugar on top of the bananas.

Place in the oven to bake for 50-60 minutes (check frequently after 30 minutes, and remove when a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

While the cobbler is baking, make a vanilla custard sauce or pudding. When the cobbler is done, serve a slice with a generous amount of pudding on top. Leftovers can be served at room temperature. Enjoy!

*I use an online conversion chart and round up or down, as seems appropriate. Please adjust according to your judgement, and send me a message if you find an error. Thank you.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Golden Turmeric Chai, second look

Hello readers. I have missed you, and am hoping to return to a more regular schedule of posting to you. Now that my back is much improved, but still needing maintenance, I think I will have more energy to put into my writing. This is one recipe tweak has been on my mind for a while, so here are some changes that I made to my Golden Chai recipe to simplify the process and to address the bitterness of the turmeric. Keep in mind that you can increase the spices gradually, and over time you will probably enjoy a spicier brew.

***Disclaimer: Nothing that I post should be construed as medical advice; I am not a doctor, and I do not play one on PC. This blog is primarily about my journey in the kitchen, with detours into personal opinion and stories of what's going on in my world (after all, what is a 'blog', but a web log or diary?). Personally, I try to avoid big pharmaceuticals, and I do believe in the medicinal value of herbs and spices. That said, even all-natural herbs CAN have side-effects, and I encourage my readers to research and question everything, whether information comes from your doctor,  your friendly-neighborhood internet blogger, social media or TV. Very rarely does one individual hold all the answers, and even those answers may not be correct for everyone.***

Now that we have the disclaimers out of the way, I can tell you that this brew has been very helpful for my husband and myself. It helps us with those aches and pains that might have had us reaching for over-the-counter medicines before, and we actually enjoy the taste.

·         12 oz brewed tea (fairly neutral in taste, black, white or oolong would work nicely, I even use Earl Grey)
·         12 oz milk (I recommend the highest quality that you can find, whether that is organic, grass-fed dairy, etc.)
·         ½-1 tsp turmeric (I started with ½ and increased over time)
·         ½-1 tsp ginger (you can adjust the spicy heat of the tea right here, I like full tsp.)
·         ½-1 tsp cinnamon
·         ½ tsp allspice
·         1tsp+ of fat (coconut, butter, etc)
·         pinch of sea salt or Himalayan pink salt (counteracts the bitterness of the turmeric)
·         sweeten to taste

Simmer all ingredients for 5-10 min on medium heat, until the liquid starts to show some yellow color from the turmeric. At this point, you can strain the tea if you prefer not to drink the spices, but I just keep a spoon handy to stir the tea, and swirl the last bit of liquid to get as much of the spices as possible.

*It should be noted that turmeric is known to have a bitter taste, so if you increase the amount, you may want to do so gradually. Please read up on side effects, and if you are on medication, you may want to check with your pharmacist for possible drug interactions. Just as in the case of reactions to food, be aware or your body's reaction to any herbal supplements that you may try.

Information resources:

Showing this day 2011: French Toast (baked)