Once upon a time, I hated bananas. Something about the mushy texture and the smell combination. I carried on avoiding these awesome fruits until one fateful night when I had leg cramps so badly that I forced my way through a banana in hopes that the potassium would cure me. Not so surprisingly, the banana saved me from the leg cramps and suddenly bananas were back on the scene. I still avoid the perfectly ripe ones and really only eat mine when they are still just a bit green, but I now try to incorporate bananas into my diet frequently.
In my new-found acceptance of bananas, I’ve tried my fair share of banana breads. Some with nuts, some with dried fruits, some filled versions and some muffins, but I have to say this classic recipe from my mom is my favorite. This delicate and slightly sweet bread showcases the flavor of the bananas and is extremely moist.
A couple of weeks ago, I posted my third cooking video “E03 Buffalo Lasagna” and just now realized that it might be super helpful to have the actual written recipe posted to go along with the video. I am so excited to share this lasagna recipe with you all. This recipe blends together a simple homemade tomato sauce with umptious cheesy goodness and light, flavorful ground bison. I really prefer using bison in place of ground beef for several reasons; bison is not greasy, it has a lower fat content and it is a very healthy protein. The bison adds the meaty richness that you want in a homemade lasagna without adding the grease and fat that can accompany this dish.
My ground bison for this recipe came from the SunRise Ranch, out of Ramah, Colorado. These folks were selling at the Golden Farmer’s market (you can also find them at the Gilpin and Arvada Farmer’s Markets) and have a variety of bison and poultry products. You can purchase any cut from a bison tenderloin filet to short ribs and various roasts. SunRise Ranch prides themselves on caring for their animals naturally and does not use growth hormones, antibiotics or animal by-products when caring for their animals. Check them out at one of the various farmer’s markets in the area or visit their website at http://www.sunriseranchllc.com/index.htm to learn more about the ranch and order any cuts you desire.
While I love alfredo sauce as much as the next person, I was looking for a healthier alternative. I tried several types of “light” or “low-fat” store-bought alfredos but I was looking for something with fewer chemicals and more flavor. Cue the cashew-based alfredo alternatives. I tried several types of vegan alfredos and came up with a hybrid that has some great rich, nutty flavor but is based in healthy fats and vegetables.
As much as I tried to pretend it wasn’t happening, I can no longer ignore the fact that fall is coming. The trees are starting to turn, the nights are cold, the Broncos are back every Sunday and pumpkins are showing up everywhere. Sigh…goodbye summer! Time to embrace the fall!
In the spirit of the season, and in an attempt to bring a sweet snack to choir that everyone could eat, I whipped up this cinnamon apple cake. I made the cake twice, tested the first attempt on my gracious coworkers and then make some tweaks to make it more to my own liking. This is a simple, moist cake with great spices and a moderate level of sweetness. I’ve added loads of apples so that every bite has a little bit of the tart crunch from an apple mixed with the moist, spicy undertones from the cake. This is a great recipe for a potluck or Sunday dinner in the fall, enjoy!
Well…it happened. The first of the back-to-school colds has made its appearance. Even though we’re not in school anymore, I’m still convinced that we somehow picked it up from some tiny person somewhere. And of course, this couldn’t be worse timing. We have a couple awesome trips coming up, some major deadlines at work and something going on almost every night. Cue the “I-have-to-feel-better-right-now” soup! I can’t call this a full-on chili and it’s not a true chicken tortilla soup, but it falls somewhere right in the middle. This soup uses fresh roasted hatch chilies from the farmer’s market and roasted tomatoes to create a gentle heat with some great, southwestern flavor.
Once upon a time I promised to share about the farmers markets in my area, so now that summer is almost over, I figured I had better get on it! One of the great markets in my neighborhood is the South Pearl Street market. Every Sunday from May 11 to November 2nd, from 9 am to 1 pm, the market is busy and buzzing! Where other markets are focused solely on food or merchandise or produce, the South Pearl market is a nice blend of all of these.
Last weekend we went to see “The 100 Foot Journey” and a major theme in the movie was that “food is memories”. I’ve been thinking about this idea quite a bit, and I completely agree. Whether your idea of cooking a major meal is putting together a PB&J or whipping up a unique souffle that rises perfectly, everyone has at least one food that reminds them of a place, a time or a person. Raspberries are one of those foods for me. When I was little, our neighbor across the alley had a massive raspberry bush. Penny, our neighbor, made the mistake of inviting me in to try the berries ONCE, and that was it. I climbed the crab apple tree in our backyard, dropped over the fence and pilfered berries whenever I was reasonably sure she couldn’t see me. Of course she knew, but every once in a while she would remark to me about how hungry the birds must be because they kept stealing her berries.
Today, instead of stealing from Penny, I go foraging for raspberries every time I’m hiking or camping in the mountains. Wild raspberries are a bit like jelly beans, you never really know what flavor to expect until you bite into one; sometimes they’re intensely tart, sometimes they have giant seeds and sometimes they are perfectly ripe and sweet. Now, raspberries remind me of hiking in our gorgeous mountains and spending weekends with friends circled around the campfire. This flatbread highlights the sweet berry flavor that reminds me of stolen raspberries and mountains and contrasts that sweetness against salty, fresh flavors for a perfect treat.
Consider the roulade. Simply put, a roulade is meat rolled around a filling. On the surface it seems simple, boring even. But fill it with a delicious medley of flavors, cook it gently, give it time to rest and the flavors will explode in your mouth. You’ll taste the saltiness of the prosciutto, the creaminess of the cheese and the aromatic, fresh snap of the sage. This blog has been my roulade. I know, it’s a silly comparison, but bear with me.
Over the past year this blog has turned into so much more than what it seemed on the surface. I’ve learned so much about cooking, felt comfortable sharing my kitchen mishaps and successes and, most importantly, connected with people in a way I didn’t know was possible. I’ve found it so interesting to strike up a conversations with strangers about how they would bake this item, or what their grandmother used to make every Christmas. I’ve connected with old friends and family who I rarely get a chance to spend time with simply because they read my blog. I talk to farmers at the market about the blog and share stories of how they got into farming and how they love to prepare their vegetables. Who knew a cooking blog could bring people together like this? Certainly not me, but I am so glad that I decided one morning to sit down and write about some strawberry muffins…
I’ve always thought scalloped potatoes were one of life’s great comfort foods. Creamy and rich, a nice texture contrast between the crunch cheese on top and the soft and sweet potatoes within-everything I want in a potato dish. I’ve been waiting to make this dish for quite some time but my concern was that my potatoes would be uneven and hard and, especially with my Polish heritage, unsatisfactory potatoes would not do!
All those potato concerns fell away once my new mandoline entered the scene. I am now firmly convinced that all foods should be cut with a mandoline, if simply because it’s so stinkin fun! I got mine for under $20 at Williams and Sonoma and it even comes with a grip for when the veggies get small so that you don’t slice up your hands. So here’s to new culinary adventures and delicious potatoes! If you have a great recipe that uses a mandoline, let me know and I’ll feature it on Messy Kitchen Happy Belly!