Cooking and Eating Over the Holidays

Holidays = guests = cooking.  Thanks, people, for showing up so I can make crazy quantities of stuff and not have to eat it for lunch and dinner myself every day! 

Chocolate chip banana bread muffins are important for breakfast, snack, or dessert.  The recipe is from my college roommate--she sent me a Word document of 5 recipes, some with applesauce replacing this or that, and I picked my favorite.  I make it about once per month; if you've got some browning bananas and the regular baking necessities, you've got this treat.

Banana Chocolate Chip Bread (as given to me,  my comments in italics)

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 mashed, ripe bananas, but if you have 2 or 4 you're all good.
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips, but I add more because it's good luck

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, then bananas. Add flour, baking soda, salt, mixing well. Stir in vanilla and chocolate chips. Pour into a greased loaf pan or muffin tin (fill to the very top) and bake for 60 - 70 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.  Take down the baking time if you decide to do mini muffins or mini loaves.

Pumpkin pancakes are also an important part of hosting. I eyeball the spices, use some pumpkin pie spice in place of small amounts of all that compose it, add chocolate chips, and often sub for white whole wheat flour, if I have it.  I add the choc chips once the batter is down in the pan, 3-5 per (small) pancake.  If I mixed them into the batter beforehand I'm pretty sure they'd just sink. 

We made pumpkin pancakes for our erev New Year's brunch guests, but our Chanukah guests still had some pumpkin in the form of the Whole Foods turkey pumpkin chili, this time whipped up by J.  Their brunch was strata-riffic, with both sweet and savory.  On erev Christmas we went to Ala Shanghai for a delicious meal.  The only disappointment that night was that our soup dumplings were mostly deflated (and thus unsouped). Also, I think I'd like to ask to keep the rest of the Peking duck after it's sliced up tableside onto the individual bun sandwiches. There seemed to be at least a sandwich of meat still on the bones, and our particular table would have enjoyed getting it!

On Christmas Day I took some silver tip (last cut of roast available at the kosher Chop early in the afternoon before the holy sabbath, a little leaner than I wanted), two cans of tomatoes, a beer, garlic, onion, and potato and bid it farewell for 8 hours on low in the slow cooker.  I baked challah with my aunt's recipe that I've been using forever, but in a Chanukah miracle, it came out lighter and fluffier than ever before.  I never measure the flour, so maybe my eyeballs did better this time than before.

Our Sisterfriend cooked the most delicious latkes I've had in years--one russet potato, two sweet potatoes, a handful of small onions, some egg and flour (I wasn't watching that closely...), salt, and pepper.  Parevized J&G soup (sans butter) with quinoa and salad started us off.  Below is our festive Chanukah table.  Thanks to our special non-relative guests for the red sparkly deliciousness.  

Happy January, everyone. I hope you cooked and/or ate some delicious things over the past few weeks.

1 comment:

  1. what a gorgeous table.....happy new year to you!