Orange Spice Banana Bread

I don’t know how long it has been since I have posted a recipe here on daxiang but here is a quick bread recipe that I modified to include some seasonal spices and ingredients (adapted from this recipe from Running With Spoons).

Yields: 1 loaf

Ingredients
Dry
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
zest of 1 orange
½ tsp. sea salt

Wet
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 large, ripe banana
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
½ cup maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and butter your loaf pan.
2) Mix dry ingredients in a big bowl and stir to blend evenly.
3) Mix wet ingredients in a separate bowl.
4) Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients, stir to combine.
5) Once it is mixed in well, pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for 60 mins.

This past week

Cooking some new dishes: Gulai Sayur, collards simmered in spicy coconut milk; Mashed sweet potatoes in chai-infused coconut milk; Lemongrass Chicken Thighs (I marinated, Mike grilled); Coconut jello (no sugar, just coconut water, coconut milk and unflavored gelatin).

Listening to sad bastard (mostly!) music from songsfortheday (thanks to Loobylu!) My favorite song at the moment is Take Me Out by The Wooden Sky. Perfect for a long quiet drive with a loved one, as Adam suggests.

Watching Sherlock. I like the way the series has gone. Very clever.

Would love to taste this gluten-free torte from Macrina Bakery – Torta Gianduja – a six-layer rectangular torta with alternating layers of a chocolate espresso cake and chocolate hazelnut cake glazed with a rich bittersweet chocolate ganache and decorated with hazelnuts.

Trying out new photo app on iPhone called Snapster. You can make your own filters. Neat.

Buttermilk Berry Muffins

We had some leftover buttermilk in the fridge and so I looked for a recipe that I would experiment with, instead of making biscuits. I found this recipe over at Joy of Baking. I love her recipes, they are always very well tested and results always taste great. Try your hand at these some time.

Buttermilk Berry Muffins (from Joy of Baking)

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups (325 grams) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Zest of one orange or lemon
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk
1/2 cup (120 ml) vegetable, corn, canola or safflower oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 to 2 cups (360-480 ml) fresh or frozen berries (blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries)

Method
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Position rack in center of oven. Line with paper liners, or butter or spray, with a non stick cooking spray, 12 – 2 3/4 x 1 1/2 inch muffin cups.

In a large measuring cup or bowl whisk together the egg, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla extract.

In another large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and zest. Gently fold in the berries. With a rubber spatula fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir only until the ingredients are combined. Do not over mix the batter or tough muffins will result.

(The dough is a little thicker than most muffin doughs but don’t worry, the muffin does not come out hard at all. It has a very tender crumb, in fact.)

Fill each muffin cup almost full with batter, using two spoons or an ice cream scoop. Place in the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 20 – 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for about 5 – 10 minutes before removing from pan.

Makes 12 regular sized muffins.

Note: If using frozen berries you may have to bake the muffins a little longer than the stated time.

Lemon Yogurt Cake

Yesterday, I bought new loaf pans from Sur La Table. We had a serendipitous Friends & Family discount coupon. Mum did a bit of shopping for her new kitchen and I wanted new loaf pans because I wanted to make all sorts of quick breads. I’m starting with this lemon yogurt cake from Barefoot Contessa’s Ina Garten. In the making: Lemon Blueberry, Pumpkin, Sweet Potato, Cranberry, Banana and many more.

I made this just in time for tea. Now,  excuse me while I leave you with the recipe, I must have some with my cup of Earl Grey.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it’s all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean. ( I had to bake mine for 55 minutes and it was a perfect golden brown!)

Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake.

Blackberries

Ow, ow, ow…I’m sitting here trying to write this little piece on my blackberry foraging experience but this splinter in my right pinkie is not helping. I cannot seem to get it out. Ouch. The experience of being able to forage for berries within an urban setting is such a new one for me. I never grew up plucking berries, we had other fruit in Singapore but most are high on trees and there was never such a prolific harvest.

I still am not sure if the bounty of berries is worth some of these wounds. The logical side of me disagrees with my instinctive gatherer self, I guess.

One thing I noticed while picking the berries was the ripe aroma of the fruit. As I picked, it was as if the summer sunshine was further ripening these lovelies. It was subtle but it had set the wheels turning in my head, about what I should make with them.

Another thing I discovered while foraging is that I am quite a determined person. It is a possible coincidence that it happened to be dinner time and I was running on empty but those thorny branches were not going to keep me away from my dessert possibilities. I used broken sticks to tug at the fruit-laden branches. It was a good trick but most of the time, I found myself just gritting my teeth as I grabbed at the branches with my bare hands. I didn’t care how those thorns would get me, I was focused on the fruit. It made me think about how my ancestors approached this foraging experience. Hunger is a strong impetus that has endured through the centuries.

So today, I present you the result of my blackberry foraging experience – a blackberry-pineapple dump cake.

A very simple way to create a quick dessert of summer fruit. This recipe works well with peaches, blueberries, strawberries, cherries and nectarines. Preheat your oven to 350 deg F. Spray a 13 by 9″ baking pan with nonstick spray. Layer the bottom with a 20oz can of crushed pineapples (juice and all) and 2 cups of blackberries. Then sprinkle yellow cake mix evenly over the fruit. After that, sprinkle 1/2 cup of brown sugar (packed) evenly. Lastly, drizzle 1/2 cup of melted butter over this. Bake for about 45 minutes. Try to get the melted butter drizzle as evenly as possible so that you won’t end up with dry bits of cake mix.

Delicious on its own, with some whipped cream or perhaps vanilla bean ice cream.

Blue

One of my favorite surprises in the garden this year is the borage. These prickly herb plants look like weeds as they self-seed and show up as volunteers all over the garden, but when the flowers bloom, it makes all the difference. I don’t know if you can do anything with the prickly leaves but I love putting the blue flowers in iced drinks. They just look really pretty in a lemonade. As you can see, I have some harvesting to do.

Today’s bits
:

I wanted to visit Sapa, Vietnam this time when I was home in Singapore but things got busy and I took other trips. I would really like to go, especially since I have a good guide to take me around. In the meantime, I would like to read this beautiful book by Luke Nguyen.

With all the decluttering, I am now setting up a new office space in the house. I am leaning towards these acrylic organizers.

I always like that plain yeast or buttermilk donut. Maybe I should try this recipe out?

It’s been 5 years since I’ve been back to the San Juans, maybe this summer will be a good time to spend some time around those parts. Here’s a good guide from Sunset. [I miss the magazine, I did not renew my subscription when I was away in Singapore, time to renew it, I think!]

O Summer

We had delicious burgers and fries at Five Guys last week, just before we saw Toy Story 3. What a fun night!

Today’s bits:

I decided on this shower curtain for the new walls in the master bath. It is making the bath look quite masculine. I think I just need some happy yellow daisies in there to make it look like a girl lives here.

Dinner swaps/cooking co-ops – what a creative fun idea to make dinner one night for several families to pick up and then enjoy the delicious dinners for another couple of nights during the week from your swap families. It makes me want to start one.

I am a big Nigella fan and when she loves something, I’m always quick to pay attention. I think she has great taste. She recommends this chic new book by her art director/book designer, called The Geometry of Pasta. I am a believer that any shape pasta can be paired with any sauce but this book tells you what goes with what.

My favorite thing to eat is shokupan しょくぱん (Japanese white bread). I like it plain, or with butter & a sprinkle of sugar, or some kaya (pandan coconut jam) or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Tease

Blue Skies

 I love her but she is a such a tease!

O, Seattle, why do you do this? All I ask for, once a year, is to have a nice lovely summer. This past weekend felt like winter. Ok, a little spring-like but it was way too cold for almost July! Please, let the sun come out to play, please?

It was a busy weekend here at Scarlett. I cooked up a Thai food storm in the kitchen and got to spend time with my dear friends. I got to show off some of my cooking skills and recipes picked up from cooking school in Thailand. I did make an old favorite recipe – Fried Prawn Cakes – they were popular!

Today, we celebrated Father’s Day with dad and the rest of the gang with some brunch. It was delicious and always fun to get together and share food. There were fish & chips and creamy crab bisque.

Today’s bits:

How have I missed out on Juana Molina before? Take a listen if you like ambient, electronica and good vocals.

Allison Miller can really play those drums, I’m just sayin’.

I have cupcakes on my mind this week – I want some brown liners for these cupcakes that I’m planning to make.

I need more Cray-pas Oil Pastels for my new Taro Gomi book. I just want to color, doodle, scribble and did I mention, color.

[via Willi @ DigginFood] A tomato trellis makes so much more sense than a tomato cage. It’s hard to find a cage that is strong enough for plants with the larger fruit but if the weather in Seattle keeps up this way, I doubt that I will have to worry about it.

Comeback?

Seed madness

You can call this whatever you like but I call it “I’m so glad to be back!”.

As you can tell, I was picking through my seed packets yesterday and sorting through what I might have time to plant in my backyard. Grow, grow, grow, I say!

Have you seen these adorable little frocks Alicia has been sewing for her baby? I love them!

These brick succulent planter idea from Readymade is genius! I think I have the spot just for these.

I’ve been thinking about Alfajores that Matt Armendariz made and didn’t want to get into exploding a can of condensed milk. Dave Lebovitz has good method of making dulce de leche in the oven, minus the can.

How I would love it if someone dedicated this song to me – Yo-Yo Ma & Diana Krall’s You Couldn’t Be Cuter.

I am very curious about this manual Espresso Maker at Matteria.

Challah

I picked up a loaf of challah bread the other evening to make Mike a bread pudding since he had a “run-in” with the dentist.

It turned out delicious but what I really wanted to share is what I had for breakfast this morning. I took 2 slices of leftover challah bread, toasted it up and drizzled honey (thank you, J!) all over it. It was heavenly.

challahbread.jpg

Can you feel fall in the air yet? I’m enjoying this cool and crisp weather, stomping on leaves with my new boots, admiring the orange, yellow, reds and browns on the trees, drinking cider, dreaming up stews/soups and lighting candles. Fall doesn’t last for long – get out there and enjoy it while you can.