Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Good Food: Strawberry Cake, From Scratch


I have certain rules I set for myself when it comes to cooking and baking.  Among some of the more important ones include:  Never over-bake anything, always pay attention to what you’re cooking, always use a kitchen timer and one of the biggest, never try a new recipe for an important occasion. 

I learned the last lesson the hard way when I made the brilliant decision to bring a Swiss Cheese Fondue to a gathering of friends.  As I prepared the dish at the host’s house, I just couldn’t understand why the cheese was melting, but only a bit.  In fact, it melted into a big lump of cheese swimming in a garlicky Chardonnay based puddle.  It was a complete disaster.  I was embarrassed.  Only later did I learn the difference between Swiss Cheese and Swiss American Cheese.   Believe me, there is a big difference.  Oh, and when you use the correct cheese, that fondue is wonderful.

Fast forward about 10 years and my culinary skills have continued to improve.  I have much more confidence when approaching a new recipe and find myself becoming more adventurous in trying new creations in the kitchen.  Unfortunately, I still have a problem following my own rules.  Try as I might, there often isn’t a good time to try a new recipe before I need it for a family function or maybe a Presidential Innauguration (I haven’t been invited yet, but who knows, it could happen).  I will probably never truly learn that lesson, except to say that I almost always have a Plan B in place should Plan A fail miserably.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Good Things: Spring Flowers

Spring is supposedly here.  You'd never know it by the weather we've been having, but the flowers are giving it their best shot.  Even with the cooler temps though, the Daffodils seem to be doing just fine.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Good Food: But Not Yet...

Just thought I'd give you a quick preview of something to come.  I'll tell you more about this one in the near future.  For now, just drooooooollll....   As always, if you want a closer drool-worthy look at this Good Thing, click on the photo.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Healthier Choices - Banana Bread Muffins with Chocolate Avocado Filling


Yes, Chocolate Avocado Filling.  I'll get to that in a moment.

While I don’t like to focus on the negative, there are a few ‘flavors’ that I’m not a particularly huge fan of:  broccoli, melon (any kind), fennel and most fish.   Bananas are very close to making that list.  Now, I do like tolerate bananas in their raw form, but start adding banana to something else, such as a smoothie or oatmeal, and I’m immediately turned off.  The one exception to this rule is banana bread.  Don’t ask me why, it’s just something about how banana bread comes together that just doesn’t give it the off-putting flavor I find offensive. 

I had recently come across a recipe on The Weekly Bite for Chocolate Avocado Pudding.  Estela had used the pudding to make a ‘Flower Pot Dessert’ for her daughter.  I loved the idea, but wanted, for now, to try just the Chocolate Avocado Pudding.   On my next trip to the store, I grabbed a couple of ripe avocados and whipped up a batch.  It was actually very good.  Creamy and not the least bit avocadoey in flavor (yes, I know that’s not a real word).  But, I got the distinct impression that this would serve well not only as pudding, but could be used for a filling or even an icing.