Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Strawberry Banana Muffins

Well another day another baking experiment! I had some strawberries and old bananas that I needed to use and I began to think of the possibilities of putting them together. I mean strawberry-banana anything is a great thing if you ask me. But beyond smoothies or ice cream toppings, I have never considered the possibility of the combination in a baked good. The muffins were a success and very simple to put together. They are moist with a nice texture and filled with just the right amount of hint of strawberry and banana. Walking into spring and summer, I am sure this is not the last time I will be making this yummy treat so that my berries don't go to waste. Oh what a shame! I will have to make these again. ;)

1 stick of butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
4 mashed bananas
10 (or so) strawberries diced
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon

Melt butter and set aside. Mix brown sugar, eggs, vanilla and mashed bananas together. In seperate bowl combine dry ingredients then fold strawberries into the flour mixture. Add dry into wet ingredients and stir gently. Fill muffin cups. Bake @ 350 for around 2o minutes. 

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Our Favorite Pizza

Oh the love of pizza! It has gotten me through many trying times of pregnancy and many cold wintery nights of being snowed in. It is a dear friend! My passion for pizza has taken me in a few different directions and all of them begin with my fool-proof pizza crust. Whether it is topped with sauce or olive oil. Folded over into stromboli or covered in Nutella and strawberries... it is faithful. With a good crust recipe, the options for amazing pizza is endless. Use what you have laying around and see what you can create!!!!

1 1/2 cups of warm water ( 35 seconds in a microwave is usually good)
2 TBSP unbleached sugar (or honey, agave, brown sugar, etc)
1 packet yeast (2 1/2 tsp.)
Mix together and let sit for 10 minutes

3 cups unbleached flour
1 tsp salt
2 TBSP olive oil
Any garlic and herbs if desired

Stir in 2 cups flour, salt, and olive oil and any other seasonings you desire. As it begins to come together dump out onto a well floured surface. Begin to knead your dough and continue until it is firm and not sticky. Place into a oiled bowl and cover. If it is cold or drafty, place into the oven for one hour.  If you have the time, press all the air out and allow it to raise again. If you need to use it at this stage it is okay too. Press dough out onto an oiled pizza stone and bake for 5 minutes at 450 degrees. Remove and top with the desired toppings. Continue baking until toppings are at desired results :)

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Pie

Mother's Day! We needed some fresh hints of spring so I decided on strawberry pie. But we were also torn between something chocolate, we were celebrating a bunch of ladies after all!!! So this idea was born! And what a revelation! This pie is fresh and delicious that cures and need for chcolate.  

*See below for an additional crust recipe and a chocolate free variation*

Ingredients for the pie crust: (Although, you can use any pie shell you want)
1 cup of unbleached flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup of cold water

Ingredients for the pie:
2 quarts fresh strawberries- diced
3/4 cup unbleached sugar
3 TBSP cornstarch
1/2 cup warm water
1 cup chocolate chips
2 TBSP Heavy Cream

Ingredients for the homemade whipped cream:
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
3 TBSP powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

For the Olive Oil Pie Crust, simple mix the four, salt, sugar, olive oil into a crumb consistency. Add the water and stir into a ball. Dough will be very sticky. Roll out with lots of flour. Fill pie shell and fold under the edges to create the crust. Grease the bottom of another pie pan and put it in on top of your pie dough. This will hold your shell down in shape while you pre-bake it. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove the top pie pan and bake another 7-8 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.

Slice the strawberries into thin slices. Arrange 1 package of the diced strawberries into the prepared pie crust. Heat the other package of diced berries combined with sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. While that is heating, whisk together cornstarch and water. Stir the cornstarch mixture into boiling strawberry mixture. Reduce heat and simmer mixture until thickened, about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. If it does not thicken, make another small batch of the cornstarch paste. When thickened up, pour mixture over the raw berries in pastry shell.

Melt the chocolate chips over simmering water. Stir in cream. Then spread over the strawberry mixture. Chill for several hours before serving. 

In a small bowl, whip cream until it starts to thicken. Add 3 TBSP of powdered sugar and vanilla. Continue to whip on highest speed until soft peaks form. I covered the whole pie with the whipped cream You can serve it with just a spoonful on top if you like it better that way.

This pie was super easy! The most work was the pie shell. You can buy one if you wanted to. I tend to just make things because it's cheaper, but either way it is wonderful....Enjoy!!!!

My tiny helper!
*Recently I discovered a super quick and easy way to make pie crust. This one is an all butter crust made in the food processor!
Ingredients: Makes one crust. Double for a pie with a top crust.
1 1/4 cup of flour- I used whole wheat pastry flour
1 TBSP of sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick of cold butter- sliced into thin pieces
1/3 cup of cold water
Pulse the dry ingredients to combine. Add the butter and turn on until a fine "sand-like" crumb develops. Slowly add in the cold water, a little at a time, with the processor running. When your dough begins to form and ball up, it's ready. You may not use all the water. Remove and roll out onto a floured surface with a floured rolling pin. So easy!
* A chocolate free version is delicious too! Just omit the chocolate ingredients, and add in the zest and juice of one lemon to the simmering strawberries. Very fresh and light.