The Meow Cafe

Cooking and cats

Freezer Cleaner Muffins May 2, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — kathleen @ 9:52 am
Choco-banana-blueberry goodness - perfect for a weekend brunch

Choco-banana-blueberry goodness - perfect for a weekend brunch

What a gross, terrible name for a baked good. However, it does accurately describe the process of these muffins, but not the delicious, delicious taste.

Basically, I was rummaging around in my freezer, thinking, “crap, I’ve got these two small, bananas. They’re not enough to do a full loaf of banana bread, but maybe I cold augment them… somehow? Is that half a cup of frozen blueberries languishing in a sandwich bag? Maybe I can use those too…”

Anyhow, I cook and bake by instinct. This sounds really scary, but as long you know the proper  ratios of wet to dry ingredients, you can basically screw around and make up your own recipes. Besides, muffins are really forgiving. I hope you don’t mind that my ingredient list includes portions like “a splash”. I realize that’s not helpful for people who bake like scientists, but for those of us who take a more Jackson Pollock approach to the culinary arts, this sort of thing makes perfect sense. 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 2 smallish bananas, very ripe
  • about 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup liquid egg whites
  • splash of milk, if required

Method

  1. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Set aside
  2. Mash ripe bananas in a large bowl. Add sugar, egg white and vanilla
  3. Microwave the frozen blueberries for about 1 minute (in my microwave at least…) dump the now thawed blueberries and any juice that comes out from them into the banana sugar mixture
  4. Stir all the wet stuff together, take your reserved flour mixture, and dump in all at once. Stir it together, but don’t overmix. If the mixture seems too thick and dry for muffins, add a splash of milk.
  5. Spoon into greased muffin pans and bake at 350 for about 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

 
Variation: Omit the cocoa powder, and reduce sugar to 1/4 cup.

 

Bananananananana Bread! April 28, 2009

Filed under: baking,breakfast,desert — kathleen @ 7:41 pm
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By popular demand – my new, low fat, low sugar all taste Banana Bread recipe!

It's low fat and high fiber, but I won't tell.

It's low fat and high fiber, but I won't tell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 3 danged ripe bananas, mashed very well
  • 1/4 cup oil (such as canola)
  • 5 tbsp vanilla yogurt (I use the fat free, sugar free kind)
  • 3/4 cup sugar (or sugar substitute, such as splenda, if you’re diabetic, like my dad)
  • 2 tbsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs, or 1/4 + 1/8 cup liquid egg whites
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Method:

  1. Mix together mashed bananas, sugar, vanilla, oil, yogurt, egg whites (or eggs) & vanilla in a bowl
  2. Mix together flour, baking powder, cinnamon & salt in another bowl
  3. Pour dry ingredients into the wet, all at once, stirring until moistened, but not over-mixing.
  4. Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 for about 60 to 65 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  5. Enjoy!

Seriously, this is a deadly simple recipe, takes all of 10 minutes to put together (including mashing the bananas), and is full of fiber and healthy goodness!

I took a standard banana bread recipe, and lowered the fat by using egg whites in place of eggs, replacing half the oil with yogurt, and adding more banana in place of buttermilk. Because the yogurt I use is sweetened, I also reduced the sugar so it wouldn’t be too sweet. However, if you want to use unsweetened Greek yogurt, or you may want to increase the sugar back up to a full cup.

You can also add things to really make this yummy – try a cup of sultana raisins, chopped pecans, or even… peanut butter chips. The thought of peanut butter, cinnamon and banana together is seriously amazing.

Someone make this and stir in a cup of peanut butter chips and let me know how it turns out!

 

Spicy Sechzwan Turkey Hash April 27, 2009

Filed under: Food — kathleen @ 11:22 am
Tags: , ,

This is a quick riff on sechzwan eggplant, and is very tasty! Make as spicy or as mild as you like. If you follow my directions, you might find it too hot.

Supplies:
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 onion, sliced
125 grams ground turkey
1 medium zucchini chopped
2 small heads baby bok choy, greens separated from the stalks
1 cup bean sprouts
1 tbsp Thai chili sauce
1 tbsp black bean sauce

Method:
1) saute garlic, onion and ground turkey until turkey is mostly cooked
2) add Thai chili sauce, black bean sauce, zucchini, and the stalks of the bok choy and stir until mostly cooked.
3) add tops of bok choy and sprouts, cook until wilted.
4) devour!

 

OMG Curry April 14, 2009

Filed under: Food — kathleen @ 7:19 pm
Tags: , ,

I admit, I love curry. I have three different types of curry powder in my cupboard right now. My current favourite is a tikka Marsala mix. Very hot, but so good and slightly sweet due to the addition of Ginger and cloves. Anyhow, feel free to use these veggies, or substitute whatever you have on hand. My ingredients were chosen because they were almost bad, and I didn’t want to waste them.

Supplies:
1 medium Japanese eggplant, slightly old. Bad spots removed, and remaining eggplant chopped into 1 cm cubes.
2/3 of a tomato, diced
2 green onions, chopped
300 ml water
1 cube stock (veggie or chicken)
1/2 tsp curry powder (more or less, to your taste)
1 tsp thickener, such as corn starch (I used tapioca, cause it’s what I had.)
1 heaping tbsp sour cream

Method:
Sautee eggplant and onion in a frying pan until halfway cooked.
Add curry powder, stir for about 30 seconds.
Add water, cube of stock and tomato.
Turn heat to about 3/10, and cook until the liquid reduces a bit.
Add thickener and cook until thickened.
Stir in sour cream and you’re done!!

Serves 1 in a big bowl, or 2 over rice.

 

Salmon Cakes with Dijon Cumin Aioli January 19, 2009

Filed under: dinner,fancy,fish,Uncategorized — kathleen @ 12:21 am
Tags: ,

OMG! Suddenly you have people coming over! You’re in a rush, and you have to make something fancy for dinner! Your father is judging you! Judging you as you frantically search the cupboards for something tasty, fast and healthy…

This happened to me, so I whipped these up, and they were a big hit! Also, really tasty, and pretty good for you.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans of salmon
  • 1 clove garlic, very finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup very finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 a big zucchini, grated and with most of the moisture squeezed out (see below)
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup egg whites, just to bind everything together
  • Dijon Cumin Aioli for garnish

Method:

  1. Chop up the garlic and onion, then add it to a bowl.
  2. Drain the canned salmon really well, and pick out any big bones, dump into a bowl with the garlic and onion, add salt and pepper
  3. Grate your zucchini, and spread it into a tea towel. Now wring the crap out of that tea towel to get lots of the moisture out. Repeat, then add the zucchini to the bowl too. This is about 1 cup of zucchini when I do it.
  4. Mix everything together, and add the egg white a bit at a time to help it stick. 
  5. Take 2 tbsps of the mixture at a time and press into cakes. You may need to squish extra moisture out towards the end. I get 12 cakes, about 2 inches across. 
  6. Fry in a hot non-stick pan with some pam until golden brown.
  7. Serve with Aioli!

Dijon Cumin Aioli

In a bowl, mix together:

  • 2 tbsp miracle whip
  • 1 tsp whole grain dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp cumin 

Spoon into a sandwich bag, nip the corner off with some scissors, and then pipe onto finished salmon cakes.

 

Frying the salmon cakes

Frying the salmon cakes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Golden brown!

Golden brown!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

YUM! He's so happy I'm going to eat him!!

YUM! He's so happy I'm going to eat him!!

 

Quick Salad – Spinach, Shrimp and Blueberry with Dijon Dressing

Filed under: 10 minutes or less,fish,salad — kathleen @ 12:01 am
Tags:

No picture on this one because it’s a really quick prep, and I already ate it. So sorry. 

This is another one of those “what can I eat? What do I have currently in my fridge/freezer, because frankly, I’m lazy, and I’ve already left the house once today my knee hurts.”

Well, you might not have said that, but I certainly did. 

So take:

  • 4 handfuls of spinach
  • 1/3 cup blueberries
  • 7-8 shrimp, sauteed 
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp rice wine vinegar

And then:

Put the spinach on a plate. Add the blueberries, then the sauteed prawns. 

In another small bowl, stir together the mustard and the vinegar. Pour the mixture over the spinach and blueberries.

Enjoy!

 

Whole Wheat Pear Lychee Green Tea Muffins January 16, 2009

Filed under: baking,vegan — kathleen @ 9:32 am

I like muffins. I really like them. They’re good gifts, they’re tasty, and not too sweet. However, I hate buying muffins because they’re awful for you. So I make my own – that way I can control how much sugar and fat goes in them. I am a crazy lady sometimes.

Anyhow, I thought this recipe up while driving home from the ferry terminal,and thinking, I should make something tasty for Graham. What do I have? Not a lot… But I really like green tea…  

This is adapated from a classic recipe standby – the Five Roses basic muffin mix.

For non-Canadians, or non-old farts such as myself, Five Roses is a brand of flour, and some time in the fifties, they put out their iconic cookbook. It’s filled with great mid-century recipes, so that means including great things like basic cake and muffin recipes that don’t call for a quart of low fat yogurt, it’s also got stuff like “how to prepare squirrel”, and recipes for all our favourite now terribly out of style treats like head cheese and jello molds. It even has a few recipes for things like Spaghetti – listed under the “foreign fare” section. It may be common for us to toss some penne and some fresh basil and tomatoes together now for dinner, and finish it with some olive oil and a bit of parmesan, but in the fifties, that was just not done. And if it was, you got plenty of advanced warning in case you didn’t like this weird food.

ANYHOW – muffins. Here’s my green tea muffins recipe, and then 2 variations. We ate a couple of muffins, and then split two of these in half, and topped each half with whipped cream and blueberries. Green tea and blueberry shortcake!

Supplies:

  • 2 Tetley brand Pear Lychee green tea bags
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup + 1/8 cup  liquid egg whites (or, 2 whole large eggs)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar (or splenda)
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Rip open your tea bags, and dump out the tea into a measuring cup. Pour in 1 cup of boiling water and set aside to cool down. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Combine flour, salt, sugar, baking powder in a large bowl.
  3. In a smaller bowl, mix eggs, vanilla, oil and cool tea. At this point you’re saying “there is loose tea in my mix. There is going to be tea in my muffins! What the hell?! Just go with it.
  4. All at once, stir wet ingredients into dry, and now plop into well greased muffin tins.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes until done. Mine took 16 minutes. You should get either 10 small muffins or 8 bigger ones out of this recipe.

Variation 1: Lindsey’s Ray of Sunshine Fruit and Almond Muffins

  • replace whole wheat flour with white flour
  • replace tea with 1 cup milk
  • skip egg substitute and replace with 2 whole eggs
  • increase oil to 1/4 cup
  • reduce sugar to 2 tbsp
  • add 3 tbsp apricot jam or marmalade to the wet ingredients
  • stir in: 2/3 cup slivered almonds and 2/3 cup dried fruit trail mix (the kind with dried cranberries works well – the dried fruit should be chopped into little squares when you buy it) into dry ingredients 
  • Follow all the same directions as above, including baking time. This will make 12 muffins no problem.

Strawberry Raspberry Zinger Muffins

  • replace green tea bags with 2 herbal raspberry flavoured bags
  • add 1 cup chopped frozen strawberries to mix
  • flour should be half whole wheat, half regular.

Lunchtime Bliss Muffins

  • reduce sugar to 2 tbsp
  • add 1 chopped up pear
  • increase oil to 1/4 cup
  • add 2/3 of a large bar dark chocolate to mixture (I used 85%)

 

Shortcake, but with green tea muffins, whipped cream and blueberries!

Shortcake, but with green tea muffins, whipped cream and blueberries!