Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sarah: ICBC Bananas

Banana Nut Bread
2 1/2 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 stick ( 8 tablespoons) softened unsalted butter
2/3 cups sugar
2 large eggs
3 very ripe bananas
2/3 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 cup toasted walnuts (put them in the oven at 350 for about 10 minutes)

1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter your loaf pan.

2. Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, beat together butter and sugar with a mixer on high until smooth, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, add eggs one at a time, beating till combined. Add bananas and mix till combined (the mixture will look curdled). Reduce speed and add flour mixture in 3 batches alternatively with the buttermilk, starting and ending with flour. Mix until smooth. Add nuts.

4. Put in loaf pan and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, 1 to 1 1/4 hours.


I've never made an official bread before, so I was really excited to make this, and even more excited when it came out well (I was worried as it is not a high altitude recipe). It even tastes awesome. Take that high altitude.

My first banana recipe was "Baked Banana Chips", which I actually made during the challenge week, but didn't take a picture of because they didn't come out. I didn't bake them for long enough, but feel free to give it a try yourself with this recipe.

Bread recipe from "Gourmet Today".

Creamy Chicken Pasta with Asparagas

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 oz macaroni
6 oz frozen asparagus (You'll find an 8 oz bag, just don't use the bottom of the spears)
3 tbl spoons flour, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup grated Parmesan Romano cheese
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Olive oil for cooking chicken

1. Rinse chicken, pat dry and cut into bite size pieces. Combine 2 tablespoons flour, salt, pepper and parsley in a plastic bag. Add chicken and shake till coated.

2. Cook noodles according to package. Cook asparagus according to package.

3. Cook chicken in a frying pan with oil. Set aside. Cut asparagus into bite size pieces.

4. Melt butter in a small sauce pan over low heat. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon flour. Cook on low heat for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Gradually whisk in milk. Whisk in cheese and stir until thickened. Stir in paprika. Stir in asparagus. Add salt and pepper to taste.

5. Pour sauce over noodles and chicken.


This is an old-y but good-y in my house. It was a staple when we lived in LA. Usually it has frozen spinach instead of asparagus, but I think I like it this way more.

From "The Everything College Cookbook".

Sarah: ICBC Black Beans

Black Bean Brownies

  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

  • 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease an 8x8 square baking dish.

  • 2. Combine the black beans, eggs, oil, cocoa powder, salt, vanilla extract, sugar, and instant coffee in a blender; blend until smooth; pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top of the mixture.

  • 3. Bake in the preheated oven until the top is dry and the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 30 minutes.


Now, I know what you're thinking.

"Sarah Michelle, get out of my face with your hippy-dippy California ways. Black beans go in tacos, not brownies."

But I'm telling you. Try it. You get to make it in a BLENDER! COME ON! How fun is that!

So this recipe subs black beans for flour, which I think is a pretty cool idea (as a most of the time pescatarian, I'll take all of the protein I can get), and changes the texture of these brownies completely. They're really smooth, kind of like fudge, which was interesting. I wasn't crazy about them (but I don't like brownies anyway), but my brownie loving friends loved them.

Found here.

Sarah: ICBC Eggplant

Eggplant Curry with Saffron Rice and Naan

Eggplant Curry

2 large eggplants
1 1/2 cups white mushrooms
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 bunch scallions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 fresh red chile, finely chopped
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
14 oz can chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 400. Wrap each eggplant in aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour, or until soft. Unwrap and let cool.

2. Cut the mushrooms in half and set aside.

3. While the eggplants are baking, heat the oil in a heavy pot and fry the mustard seeds for 2 minutes, until they begin to sputter. Add the scallions, mushrooms, garlic, chile and fry for 5 minutes. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, ground coriander, turmeric, and salt and fry for 3-4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes.

4. Cut each eggplant in half lengthwise and scoop out the soft flesh. In a mixing bowl mash the flesh roughly with a fork.

5. Add the mashed eggplants and chopped fresh cilantro to the pan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the sauce thickens. Serve immediately, garnished with a cilantro spring.

Saffron Rice
I winged it. I combined regular white rice, a dash of olive oil, some saffron threads and a handful of raisins (my grocery didn't have goldens, and cashews were $7 per container) in my rice cooker, and cooked as usual.


2 cups unbleached white bread flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 oz active dry yeast
4 tablespoons lukewarm milk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
1 egg
2-3 tablespoons melted ghee or butter, for brushing

1. Sift flour and salt together in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, cream yeast and milk together. Set aside for 15 minutes.

2. Add the yeast mixture, vegetable oil, yogurt and egg to the flour. Combine the mixture using your hands until it forms a soft dough.

3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and kneed for 10 minutes, or until it feels smooth. Return the dough to the bowl, cover and let stand in a warm place for 1 hour, or until it has doubled in size. Preheat the oven to it's highest setting, no lower than 450.

4. Turn out dough back onto floured surface and knead for another 2 minutes. Divide into 3 equal pieces, shape into balls and then roll out into teardrop shapes about 10 inches long, 5 inches wide and 1/4-1/3 inch thick.

5. Place on a preheated baking sheet, bake for 3-4 minutes or until puffed up.

6. Broil at highest setting for a few seconds to brown the tops. Brush with ghee or butter and serve.


I made a lot (and I mean a lot) of subs in the curry, including using a jalepeno, chipotle pepper powder and some not so ground spices. The rice also had a few subs, as my grocery is a bit on the under-stocked side. The naan seemed to have way too much yeast in it, as it was more like regular bread then flat naan.

But... everything tasted good! The curry especially. And everything was easy, even though there seem to be a lot of steps. I didn't do a good enough job of measuring out spices before hand, and it didn't hurt the recipe at all that I took some extra time between steps.

Please take note that Saffron is SUPER expensive. Like $14 for a small bag of threads. But it also takes something like 2000 flowers to harvest enough threads for one bag. So maybe it's worth it. I think it's worth it.

Found in "The Best Ever Indian Cookbook".

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Becky: ICBC Eggplant

Sicilian Grilled Eggplant
This recipe was taken from the George Foreman the Next Grilleration Great Grilling Recipes

1 medium-sized eggplant
1 t. black pepper
1/2 t. salt
8 oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 c. fresh ripe tomato, diced
1 T. fresh garlic, minced
1 T. fresh parsley, minced
1/2 t. salt
1 t. black pepper
2 T. Asiago cheese, shredded

Clean, peel and cut the eggplant into 1/2-inch thick slices. Arrange the eggplant slices on a double-thickness of paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Let stand 10 minutes. Rinse the salt away and pat dry. Sprinkle each slice with pepper.
In a small saucepan, combine the tomato sauce, tomato, garlic, parsley, pepper and salt. Heat through and simmer for 10 minutes. Keep warm.
Set the Temperature to 350F to allow the grill to preheat. Place the eggplant slices in the grill in a single layer and set the Timer to 8 minutes. When the Timer beeps, check the eggplant with the tip of a knife. It should be tender when done.
Place on a large serving platter and grill any remaining slices as directed above. When all the eggplant slices are grilled, gently pour the tomato sauce over the slices and top with the shredded cheese. Serves 4.

First of all, my computer is not letting me attach my pic to this message. Boo! I have been having problems with my computer lately because of a virus, so I'll try again whenever I can get a chance to use another computer.
To be totally honest, I was not a fan of this recipe for one reason: way too much pepper! When making the sauce, I used the whole teaspoon of pepper that the recipe called for, but when I was sprinkling the extra pepper on the eggplant slices, even just 1/2 of a teaspoon seemed like too much to me, so I only used the half. All that pepper made the slices pretty difficult to eat, to be honest. I was done after about 2, and they left me craving something sweet. I was also planning on giving some of this to my daughter for lunch, but it would've been too spicy for her. I thought that it was a little odd that the recipe called for so much pepper. It's probably all in preference though. I'm sure some people like a lot of pepper in their food, but not me. If I ever make this again I'll probably just use 1/4 to 1/2 of a teaspoon in the sauce while just sprinkling 1/4 of a teaspoon on the slices. Another possibility as to why I didn't much care for this recipe could've been because of the whole tablespoon of garlic. Although I love garlic, a whole tablespoon just seems like a lot for just 4 servings worth of sauce. Usually I measure 1/8 of a teaspoon per clove, so that's 24 cloves of garlic! At least I don't have to worry about any vampires in my kitchen lol. I still think it was the pepper that was the main problem here.
I did a couple other things differently as well. For one thing, I used a teaspoon of dried parsley instead of the tablespoon of fresh because I had forgotten that I had no freeze-dried parsley left, which I always use for fresh. I really don't think it made that much of a difference. I also bought a wedge of asiago cheese since you can't buy it shredded, and I cut little pieces to put on each slice instead, and that worked fine as well. As I said before though, I was a little disappointed in this recipe. I have a bunch of slices left over but I probably won't eat all of them. Hope everyone else enjoyed their recipes a little more than I did this week!

Correction: I just read on my jar of minced garlic that 1 clove equals 1/2 a teaspoon, so I was a little off. Someone once told me that 1 clove equals about an 1/8 of a teaspoon and I never thought to double-check until now. Good to know! However, 6 cloves of garlic for 4 servings still seems like an awful lot to me.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Condensed Milk Pound Cake

I had leftover condensed milk from my banana cake recipe, so I searched FoodGawker and discovered Condensed Milk Pound Cake. I love pound cake, and I love sweetened condensed milk, so I figured I'd give this recipe a try. The cake's delicious. Sweet, moist, and actually I think improved over the course of a few days. Click here for a link to the recipe, from Blue Ridge Baker.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Carrie: ICBC Banana Cake

Jen W. chose bananas for this week's challenge, and since my latest obsession is FoodGawker, I headed there to find a banana recipe. I stumbled upon this Banana Cake recipe from My Kitchen Snippets, and decided that's what I would make. Recipe success! The cake was moist and delicious, despite my fears that my batter was too lumpy (which it probably was) and me being just shy of a cup of sugar. Oh well. Still tasty.

2 sticks of butter
1 cup of sugar
4 eggs
4 Tbsp condensed milk
4 mashed bananas
1 tsp vanilla or banana essence
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350. Grease two 8" x 8" square baking pans. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside. Beat butter and sugar on high until light and fluffy. Add in eggs one at a time and mix until smooth. Mix in mashed bananas, vanilla and condensed milk. Slowly add flour mixture and blend until smooth. Pour batter into baking pan and bake for 50 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick comes out clean. (I can't actually tell you if 50 minutes is how long I baked it, because Kevin put my banana cakes in the oven while I was plating dinner, and he didn't set the timer so I set it later but I'm not really sure if it was accurate because I don't know actually know how much time had already elapsed. I can tell you the cakes were in the oven for at least 30 minutes.)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Tuesday Night Dinner: Breakfast for Dinner

For dinner earlier this week, we did something a little different and had breakfast for dinner. I made a baked French toast, Southwestern egg casserole and served them with bacon and corn tortillas. I really liked the Southwestern egg casserole and I'll be posting that recipe soon.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Becky: ICBC Ugli Fruit

This is not my main recipe of the week, but this is just a little concoction that I made which I think is worth sharing. I've recently been on this new diet because I'm sick and tired of the extra weight I've gained around my tummy since I had my daughter. One of the requirements of this diet is to make a protein shake for breakfast every morning with the following ingredients:

Protein powder (I got the uflavored kind, which was not a smart move. It tastes really bad unless I add some vanilla extract or cocoa powder to my smoothie to sweeten it up.)
Liquid (either water, unsweetened almond milk or unsweetened soy milk. I use the soy milk.)
1 handful of fruit of your choice (I obviously used Ugli fruit)
1 Tbsp. or tsp. of ground flax seeds or whole chia seeds (I use the chia)
Veggies of your choice, as much as you want (I always use spinach leaves because you can't even taste them at all when they're all blended up)

A sprinkle of kelp powder, which is recommended but not mandatory. It smells awful but you can't taste it when it's blended up, and it's really good for you too.
1 tsp. of cocoa powder. Ugli fruit taste a lot like an orange, and I love the combination of chocolate and oranges.

Blend it all up! This Ugli smoothie I made was actually pretty good. It did sorta taste like a chocolate orange candy, only less sweet. One thing that I would change though: I dug out sections of the Ugli fruit and tossed them into my blender, but as a result I got pieces of the "skin" around the sections floating around in my smoothie, which was kind of annoying. Next time I think I'll just squeeze out some juice instead, which should be easy because Ugli fruit is really juicy. Other than that, it was good.
I actually add the chia seeds after I blend everything else and pour it into a glass. Otherwise they stick to the sides of the blender and more of them end up getting washed down the drain than in my body. I know the color of the smoothie is pretty un-appealing, and obviously it's not as sweet and sugary as the smoothies you would find at, say Jamba Juice, but I've actually grown to really love these smoothies. They're filling, too! I wouldn't think that just a smoothie for breakfast would fill me up, but they do, and I also feel as though I have more energy in the mornings as well. I still have my sugar-free lattes in the morning too though, can't give those up lol. Anyways, some of these ingredients are pretty pricey, but I definitely recommend these smoothies to anyone who either wants to lose weight, feel healthier or gain some more energy. Actually, I recommend my whole diet that I'm on right now. Feel free to email me if you want to learn more about it! :)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Tuesday Night Dinner: Coconut Curry

I made a chicken coconut curry and a tofu curry for this week's Tuesday night dinner. Didn't love the consistency and the spice level in either curry.

Becky: ICBC Shallots

For the shallot recipe, I made a french dip sandwich.

Servings: 4

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp dry sherry (optional)
2 10 1/2 cans beef consomme
1 10 oz. bag romaine lettuce blend
1/3 cup balsamic vinaigrette
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 whole-grain rolls, split
4 portions lean roast beef, thinly sliced (about 1 lb.)
1 tsp. Montreal Steak Seasoning
8 cherry peppers

Place a large skillet over medium-heat, add olive oil and heat for one minute. Add shallots and saute 2 minutes. Add flour and saute 2 more minutes. Whisk in sherry and cook for 3 minutes.
While whisking, slowly pour in beef consomme. Bring to a boil over high heat. Then reduce heat to low and simmer.
Place salad greens in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with vinaigrette, toss to coat and season with black pepper. Divide into 4 salad bowls.
Set out 4 dinner plates. Place a roll and a ramekin (or small cup) on each plate.
Divide roast beef into 4 portions. Use tongs to dip a portion of roast beef into warm au jus sauce, place inside roll and sprinkle with steak seasoning.
Fill ramekins with extra au jus sauce for dipping. Place 2 cherry peppers on each place. Serve and enjoy!

This recipe came from my Eating For Life cookbook, by Bill Phillips. Inside this cookbook is lots of healthy meal options for breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks, shakes and desserts. This recipe was in the Dinners chapter, although I made this for lunch instead. I also cut this recipe in half because it was only me and my daughter eating while my husband was at work.
I did make some changes to this recipe. For instance, I used beef broth instead of consomme, because it was all they had at Super Walmart and from what I understand, I really didn't think that beef broth was really that much different. I also bought a red bell pepper because I didn't see any cherry peppers there either.
Looking at this recipe, I thought it seemed rather plain, but it actually ended up being pretty delicious! The au Jus sauce made my kitchen smell yummy while it was simmering on my stove-top. I also really liked the extra flavor that the steak seasoning gave the roast beef. The salad was a little bland though, but that's only because I prefer heartier salads with lots of stuff in it. I'm not a huge fan of just lettuce and dressing. Also, I'm not a huge fan of plain red peppers, but I still ate about half of mine just because lately I've been trying to eat healthier. I would definitely make the sandwich again though!