Brown Butter Banana Bread Waffles

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Brown. Butter. Banana. Bread. Waffles.

Boom.

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At least I didn’t try to make it 5 B’s in a row and say Baffles. I’m lame. Ha!

Well, here we are with another Wednesday Waffles post. 3/52 I can’t believe that I’ve only just begun this adventure and it’s already on week three. It’s weird all around.

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Plus, I just turned 30. And we are currenty on a cruise. I’m going to say that we are enjoying ourselves emensely although I’m currently writing this on Saturday night before we even depart as wifi on the boat is $$$ so I’m scheduling this post in advance.

Speaking of which, I am HORRIBLE about scheduling posts. I try quite often and I mess up the date, or time, or just don’t schedule it like a dummy. FACEPALM.

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Anyway, we are on the cruise having a blast and enjoying the warm weather and sun. And you can enjoy these waffles. Totally the same. ha!

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We always have bananas around as Autumn eats them most days but even then some gets ahead of us and get brown and soft. No worries, it’s just perfect for banana bread. Or in this case banana bread waffles.

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But not to leave well enough alone, I browned the butter as well. The banana bread recipe I use most often uses melted butter so I just amped this up by browning it and it really makes the waffles fantastic. I just love that rich nutty flavor.

These are waffles that will knock your socks off.

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Enjoy these Brown Butter Banana Bread Baffles… with bacon.

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Brown Butter Banana Bread Waffles

Makes 12 4″ square waffles

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces butter
  • 3 large very ripe bananas
  • 1/2 Cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Cups flour
  • 1/2 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 Cups milk
  • chopped pecans, banana slices, butter, and syrup for serving

Process

  1. Make the brown butter following this process. Let cool.
  2. Beat together the bananas and sugar. Once combined add the eggs and vanilla extract, beat well.
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl.
  4. Add 1/2 of the flour mixture to the banana mixture, gently mix. Add half of the milk and mix to incorporate. Repeat with the remaining flour mixture and milk.
  5. Cook in your waffle iron until golden brown and crisp. Place on a wire rack to cool.
  6. Enjoy with chopped pecans, slices of banana, butter, and syrup.

 

 

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Monday Munchies: Dim Sum at Myers & Chang- Boston, MA

As part of my Monday Munchies series, I will feature a different eatery for a review on the third Monday of every month. Hope you enjoy!

I’ve slacked off on my Monday Munchies posts this past year. There are a few reasons but the main one is that we just don’t go out as much as we used to. We just don’t have the time or resources. I still love to share the great places that we enjoy in Boston and on our travels so I do want to keep up with this series, but I am going to switch it up and just post once a month instead of twice a month.

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To celebrate our 10 year anniversary on January 2nd Price and I decided to go out to lunch while Autumn was in daycare. We looked into a lot of places as there have been so many great new restaurants in Boston that we’ve been meeting to check out. You know, kinda busy now(!), but we kept coming back to a Boston staple that we have had on the ‘must’ visit’ list for a loooooong time… Myers and Chang.

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When we got there we found out that they were doing Dim Sum instead of their normal lunch as a fun way to wrap up the holiday week. We had already scoped out their lunch menu and pretty much picked what we wanted but this was a fun change of plans as it gave us an opportunity to try a bunch of small things. Ah, variety!

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They make ordering fairly easy if you have food allergies as they identify common allergies on the menu. They indicate which items can be prepared to address you dietary restrictions. Just ask how they can become: GF = Gluten Free SF = Shellfish Free
NF = Nut Free V = Vegetarian/Vegan

We scanned the options and then discussed what we would both really like to try. Everything sounded really good so it was tough to narrow things down. We picked a bunch of things as we were hungry and just so excited to finally be there.

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Whenever we see fresh summer rolls on a menu we get them as they are some of our favorite things. So of course we got their Fresh Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce ($6- V, SF, GF, NF). These were a great start to our dim sum extravaganza! They were assembled neatly, soft, but not sticky. The veggies were fresh and shrimp was sweet. Peanut dipping sauce is a classic pairing with these rolls and this spicy sauce was a great compliment.

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I love anything with vermicelli noodles so getting this Thai Ginger Chicken Salad with Rice Vermicelli ($8- NF, SF, GF) was an obvious choice for me. I loved it. So. Much. I loved the seasoning in the dressing and on the ground chicken that was hot compared to the chilled noodles. It was a great contrast of textures and temperatures. There was something crunchy that I should have asked what it was but I was too busy inhaling it to think to ask our server.

Our server did explain to us that they were making a big batch of stock using a big octopus when we inquired about what was going on in front of us. That’s why I love sitting right in front of all the action!! Dim Sum and a show!

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And then Mama Chang’s Pork & Chive Dumplings ($6 – NF, SF).

Mama knows what’s up!! Oh man, these were great. I could have had a dozen of these. Maybe next time! ha! They were perfectly golden and crispy. The chives seasoned the ground pork with a sweet onion flavor that went so well with the dipping sauce. My general strategy was to get as much of the dipping sauce on the dumping as possible. I just love dipping sauces. They are a weakness.

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We got two Bao’s because we had never had them before and were up to trying something new. Both the Nirvana Chicken ($5- NF, SF) and Asian Braised Beef ($5- NF, SF) sounded great to us so we got both and split them. Both of them were so good. I loved the chicken one as it had the pickled cabbage, which added great tart flavor and texture. The braised beef was super tender and the sauce on it was finger licking good.

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Another one of our Asian go-to’s are Crispy Spring Rolls ($7) so we order them as well as the summer rolls. Kinda the same? Totally different! e 2 spring rolls were cut in half allowing you to peak inside to check out the stuffing made of vegetables, including swiss chard, and glass noodles. These were served with a rhubarb duck sauce.

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Crunchy! Crunchy! Crunchy!

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Wok Roasted Lemongrass Mussels ($7- NF) were also set down in front of us once we cleared off some of the dishes. Gotta make room!

The lemongrass broth was incredible. I contemplated just downing it all in a gulp at the end, but managed to restrain myself. Barely.

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Oh how I loved thee, let me count the ways…

This Nasi Goreng, Pork + Pineapple, Fried Egg ($8- NF, GF) was our hands down favorite  of the meal. We both loved it so much. I’m already plotting my next chance to get this.

The fried rice was seasoned well and had a great texture from it’s trip around the wok. But it wasn’t oily, which can quickly ruin a good fried rice. The pork and pineapple were such a great combination of flavors. The pineapple also help off set the heat from the sambal oelek that garnished the top of the rice. There were also chives and crispy, crunch fried shallots. And, of course, there was a fried egg on top. We broke that and cut up all up and gave it a quick mix through the fried rice.

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We were pretty full but wanted a sweet treat anyway since it is a Joanne Chang restaurant after all!

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We decided to finish off the meal with an anniversary celebratory coconut cream pie ($8). Stuffed but it was still so worth it. The crust was buttery and tender. The coconut cream filling was sweet, smooth, and the perfect amount of coconut flavor. It was delightfully topped off with a lime whipped cream.

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The dim sum lunch was incredible. We were so glad that we finally got around to check out Myers and Chang. It was so nice that we got to try a new to us place, try dim sum, and celebrate our 10 year anniversary. It was so enjoyable all around. I can’t wait to get back and try their dinner. Or maybe just keep go back for brunch so we can keep trying new things. All the things! I’m so hooked!

Myers and Chang

1145 Washington Street

South End, Boston

617 542 5200

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The Best Homemade Sandwich Bread

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I wanted to call this “The Best Fool Proof Sandwich Bread”.

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But I thought that would be wordy and my luck someone’s yeast would be bad and their bread would flop and they would feel like a fool. And I’m not in the position to make anyone feel bad. Especially over sandwich bread.

Plus, I’ve had bad yeast before and it’s so depressing when your hard work is a big dud.

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Anyway, this bread is freaking fantastic.

We haven’t purchased sandwich bread in over 9 months. Even then I bought it purposefully to make a recipe and prior to that it had been months since our last sandwich bread purchase.

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There were a few reasons fro this. One- we weren’t using it enough. Two- as we weren’t using it enough we would then freeze it & forget about it and then it would get all freezer burned and gross. Lastly- it started to bug me that something so simple had so many damn ingredients to it. Most of which I couldn’t pronounce. No Bueno.

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So, in an effort to skip all those fun things that allow bread to hang out on the shelf for weeks on end. I began searching for the best sandwich bread I could make. It had to be easy and delicious… and this bread is a winner!! Check & check!

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I used to be so afraid to work with yeast, but I’ve, thankfully, gotten over it. I used to be afraid that I would use water that was too hot or too cold (even with a thermometer!) or I’d store it incorrectly and kill it. Or I’d use the wrong kind of yeast. Actually, I’m still really afraid of that which is why I google it 10x before I start a recipe.

But this sandwich bread is perfect for the first time bread baker or for master. It produces a great light texture that is sturdy for thin (1/4″ slices) and thick slices. We’ve enjoyed it toasted with some butter and raspberry jam, Autumn has had plenty with lots of peanut butter,  it was great as French Toast, and great lightly toasted for BLT’s.

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Ditch the bagged bread and make your own!!

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The Best Homemade Sandwich Bread

Makes 2 9″x 5″ loaves

Ingredients

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon dry active yeast (I use Red Star Active Dry Yeast)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 1/2 Cups all purpose flour
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, softened & cut into small pieces.

Process

  1. In a bowl or measuring cup, combine the water and the sugar. Mix until dissolved. Add the yeast. Again, mix until dissolved. Set it aside for 10 minutes to allow the yeast to ‘wake up’ and create bubbles on the top the water.
  2. In a large mixing bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, salt, and butter pieces.
  3. Add the water mixture to the bowl and then knead together for about 10 minutes by hand, or about 5 minutes with a mixer. At this point it will feel slightly elastic, smooth,  and it is no longer sticking to the bowl or your hands/hook.
  4. Smooth the dough into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap that has been rubbed with oil or sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Place in a warm spot to allow the dough to rise for 1 hour. (If your kitchen is cool, then cover the bowl with 2 kitchen towels.)
  5. At this point the dough should be poofy and have roughly doubled in size. Remove the plastic wrap and punch the dough down once or twice to knock the air out.
  6. Knead the dough in the bowl for about a minute to form it into a ball.
  7. Sprinkle some flour onto your work surface. Put the ball in the middle of the work surface and cut in half to create two equal pieces. Set one dough ball aside.
  8. Knead the dough a bit by gently folding it over and over again, rotating it every few folds. Work the dough into an ovalish shape. Place it into your lightly greased 9″ x 5″ metal loaf pan. Repeat everything with the second portion of dough.
  9. Set both pans aside where the dough rose the first time, but leave them uncovered, for 1 hour.
  10. When the dough as risen and doubled in size, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  11. Bake for 20 minutes and then rotate in the oven, and bake for another 15-20 minutes (for a total of 35-40 minutes), or until the top of the loaves is golden.
  12. Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes prior to removing from the pans to completely cool on a cooling rack and allow them to cool the rest of the way. (if you cut it when it’s too warm it will be crumbly). Once cooled, wrap, and store at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Slice at desired thickness as needed.

Slightly adapted from Daily Dish Recipes

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Birthday Cake Waffles with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Birthday Cake Waffles

Oh baby! Baby!

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My birthday is fast approaching. Less than a week away! It’s definitely time to celebrate.

While I normally don’t enjoy celebrating my birthday, but I am going for it this year. I’m turning 30 so I might as well.

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We are actually taking off for a cruise as a big birthday thing this weekend. Well, birthday/pre-wedding honeymoon/get the hell out of the cold thing. I can’t friggin’ wait!!

I’m still tossing around the idea of having people over after the cruise to celebrate but truthfully, I’m tired of the work involved for the weather to wreack havoc and wreck it. That has happened more often than not. It’s such a big bummer. I’d love to celebrate with everyone and to make personal pizzas while drinking wine but eh.

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Anyway, I made these Birthday Cake Waffles to celebrate my upcoming birthday on this week’s Waffle Wednesday post.

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I actually didn’t know what to call this…

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Waffled Birthday Cake

Birthday Waffle Cake

Decisions, decisions… some awesome Facebook friends chimed in with their opinions which resulted in Birthday Cake Waffles.

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I guess it doesn’t matter what they are called, as long as you make them. It’s just a fun a way to celebrate a birthday with some waffles. You’ll love it!

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Birthday Cake Waffles with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting 

Ingredients

For the waffles

  • 1 15.25 ounce box Yellow Cake Mix (I used Pilsbury)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 3 eggs

For the frosting

  • 8 oz reduced fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 4 Tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoons milk
  • 3 Cups powdered sugar

Process

  1. Preheat your waffle iron.
  2. Combine the cake mix, eggs, oil, and water in a large bowl. Mix to combine. Some remaining lumps is okay.
  3. Using a round waffle iron, make 5 waffles according to the waffle iron’s manufacturer’s instructions.Set aside to cool on a wire rack to prevent them from getting soggy.
  4. To make the frosting, beat together the butter and the cream cheese. Add the maple syrup and the milk and beat again. Lastly, slowly add in the powdered sugar and beat well to combine.
  5. Once the waffles have completely cooled, lay 1 whole waffle on your serving plate. Spread 1/5th of the frosting over the waffle. Add another waffle on top rotate 45 degrees to misalign the waffles segments as they lay on top of each other. Spread frosting on the waffle. Repeat with the remaining 3 waffles, rotating each one and frosting after each layer. Decorate with sprinkles.
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Healthy & Hearty Mushroom Stew

Mushroom Stew

Bring on 2015 and a fresh start!

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I love the new year. It’s a chance to start over. To resolve to better yourself. And if you don’t like to make resolutions then just enjoy that you are just getting closer and closer to warmer weather, which is what I live for.

This year I’ve resolved to eat ‘smarter’. I am on a mission to be more conscious about what I eat and how much. I’ve lost a lot of weight over the last year and I would like to loose another 15 or pounds before our wedding in June. But even aside from that I want to be more careful about what I put into my body and be more considerate regarding how it could potentially negatively effect how my body feels.

We’re about 2 weeks into the new year and so far so good. I have my moments when I eat a cookie but then I try to balance the sweet out with more paleo meals or salads. I’m just hoping to keep this up and settle in on something that feels good and is good for me.

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Lately, I’ve noticed that I keep seeing an old New York Times article getting shared and shared over and over again on Facebook. I think it has to do with the New Year as people are looking for some insight to a better life in the new year.

The article talks of how the people on these Greek island live significantly longer than most people, it’s known as “The Island Where People Forget to Die”. People are reaching their 80’s, 90’s and even to 100 at a greater rate than the rest of the world. They are not immune to cancer and other illnesses exactly, but if the are living longer than other cultures before getting ill.

They live their lives at a different pace than the rest of the world. They enjoy slower days that are filled with friends and families while they tend to their gardens and livestock. The food that they harvest is the focal point of the meals. Fruits, vegetables, and beans are diet staples, as well as goat and fish. Rich olive oils and red wine are, of course, enjoyed as well.

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But if you don’t live on Ikaria and want you experience some of their cooking yourself then get the Ikaria: Lessons on Food, Life, and Longevity from the Greek Island Where People Forget to Die cookbook by Diane Kochilas. Kochila divides her time between New York and Irakia, her family’s ancestral island. She has first hand experience cooking the foods native to the famous Greek island. She has foraged for mushrooms, dried vegetables, and made cheese, which she has made into incredible meals.

This cookbook shares the foods of the people living on Ikaria in a creative way by mixing in story telling with the recipes. And photos too!! The recipes are focused on Mezedes, which are small plates that are perfect for snacking while catching up with a friend, salads, soups, beans and legumes, meats, and fish. There are some sweet treats in there too. (I swear that one day I’ll make Loukoumades!)

There were so many recipes that I tagged to make but the one that first jumped out to me was the Mushroom Stew as I wanted something comforting for the cold weather. It was a perfect pick!

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The stew is easy to prep, I think it took me just a few minutes to cut up the onions and while they were cooking I sliced kale into very thin ribbons. And as that was cooking I sliced the mushrooms. Super simple.

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The recipe calls for red wine but if you don’t want to use it or have it on hand then feel free to substitute in beef broth. Skip the wine and it will be a great Whole 30 meal. Yum!

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The Mushroom Stew is healthy and hearty. It’s rich tasting but not rich for you. The flavors are earthy and it has great texture. It’s great served with mashed potatoes, rice, freekeh, or crusty bread. Just be sure to have something to absorb the flavorful broth.

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Embrace the ingredients, recipes, and lifestyle of the people Ikaria and you’ll live a long and happy life. Oh, so you can’t take midday naps? Well, at least make this amazing Mushroom Stew! Enjoy!

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Healthy & Hearty Mushroom Stew

Makes 4 generous servings

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds (750 grams) mixed mushrooms, such as white button, oyster, boletus, porcini, chanterelles, portobellos,
  • 1/4 Cup Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 large red onions, coarsely shopped (yields approximately 2 Cups)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1-2 pounds sweet greens, such as chard, spinach sweet dandelions, sweet sorrel, kale, and/or wile fennel  (optional)
  • 1/2 Cup dry red wine, or beef broth
  • 1 Cup chopped canned tomatoes
  • 3  Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • pinch of ground allspice
  • 3 or 4 sprigs fresh or dried oregano
  • 3 sprigs fresh or dried thyme
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Process

  1. Slice the mushrooms, into 1/4″ thick slices, as needed, depending on the size of the mushroom.
  2. In a very large, wide pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  3. Add the onion once the oil is shimmery. Cook until translucent and soft, about 6 minutes. Stir a bit so they don’t brown.
  4. Add the greens, and cook for about 8-10 minutes until they are wilted.
  5. Add the mushrooms and cook for a few minutes to soften. Add the red wine and bring to a boil.
  6. Add the canned tomatoes, red wine vinegar, bay leaves, all spice, oregano, and the salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 30-40 minutes, until everything is tender.
  8. Enjoy with rice, mashed potatoes, freekeh, quinoa, or slices of toasted bread that has been drizzled with olive oil. A glass of red wine doesn’t hurt either!

Sourced from Ikaria: Lessons on Food, Life, and Longevity from the Greek Island Where People Forget to Die

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While I received this complimentary cookbook for review, all opinions are my own.

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