Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Banana Oatmeal Snack Cake

When life gives you a plethora of ripe bananas, make a banana cake!

This week for some reason, we ended up with loads of beautiful spotty brown bananas. (And beautiful red tulips from my hubbie for Valentines, but that is not what we are here to talk about now, is it??) I was also lucky enough to receive a bottle of vanilla, straight from Mexico, from--let me make sure I have this right--Dave, my vanilla guy. Now, super ripe bananas, plus some heavenly smelling vanilla (Muchas gracias, Dave!) to me, are two darn good reasons to bake something. (Like I need a reason to bake...) I made banana bread just last week, so something else banana-ey was called for. (is that even a word??) My Muffin Thursday’s Blog had a very nice Banana Crumble Snack Cake, perfectly suited to the occasion. I have been trying to cut down on the refined sugar and white flour that I use in my baking lately, so I did some substituting with the large pail of honey that my veggie guy Shawn procured for me from the market. I changed the white flour to whole wheat, so with the oats there is a good dose of whole grains in it as well. The result is a somewhat virtuous snack cake, while not calorie free, at least with better for you ingredients. Moist, dense and wonderfully banana-ey (there is that word again!) you will never know it is good (ish)for you!  The crumble part is the proverbial icing on the cake, definitly do not leave it out! Part way through the cooking time, I was second guessing the addition of the 3rd banana that I added for moisture, it seemed to be taking way too long to cook, and was getting pretty brown around the edges.  Make sure you wait until the test toothpick comes out just clean, though, with no batter, just a few moist crumbs showing. It is well worth the wait!
The original recipe is here if you want to try it unaltered, I am sure it is positively yummy. 

Banana Oatmeal Snack Cake

1/2c butter, softened

2/3 cup honey

2 eggs

3 large, ripe bananas

2 tsp vanilla

½ tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 1/4c old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick or instant, the large flake kind)

For the topping:

1 c old-fashioned oats(same kind as for the batter)

¼ c honey, softened

2 Tbsp wh wheat flour

4Tbsp butter, softened

Thoroughly grease a 9" springform pan.

Cream together first amounts of butter and honey in a stand mixer until very creamy, at least a minute or two.

 Mash bananas
 Add to creamed mixture. Add eggs, one at a time, beating till fluffy after each addition.

Add vanilla, beat til combined. Add salt, baking soda, oats and flour into the the batter, and mix til JUST combined. Over mixing will make your cake tough.

Pour into greased springform pan.

For Topping: Mix together the oats, honey, flour and butter until a crumbly mixture forms. Sprinkle over cake.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick tests just clean. 

Run knife around the outside of the cake to loosen it from the sides as it cools.
Let cool in pan for 15 minutes, on a wire rack, then remove outer layer to cool completely, still on the wire rack.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Maple Oatmeal Breakfast Risotto

For Valentine's day, I always try and make some kind of favourite or special food for each meal of the day.  With it falling on a Sunday this year, making a real breakfast (not the rushed kind that precedes getting everyone out the door on typical work/school days) was a welcome change.  When I was browsing a new blog a few weeks ago, I found both a new blog and a new recipe, (surprise surprise, I know) that was perfect to repeat for today. The original was posted on a previous valentine's day, so it seemed very fitting to make again for my sweethearts on valentine's day.  The red berries against the creamy grains seem very fitting  indeed.  If you like cooked grain breakfast cereals, you are in for a treat.  We love oatmeal in our house(my hubbie insists on calling it Porridge).  This takes our humble oatmeal to a whole new level.  Creamy and just subtly sweet, it is a definite breakfast indulgence, and the cooking method is totally hands off, which is another bonus. This “risotto” is cooked in a rice cooker, and  I imagine it could be cooked on the stove-top as well.
(With the mess my rice cooker made on my counter this time, I think the next time I make it I may try a stove top method, wow, what a mess! )I will post the results and cooking times as soon as I try it!

I eliminated a cup of water from the recipe, as I feel this was the issue.  The recipe below is changed already, the original one is here.

I made this this morning, while my sweethearts were in my craft room, making me ultra sweet valentines day cards, do I have great guys, or what!

Yummy Maple Oatmeal Breakfast Risotto, original recipe from My KitchenCafe Blog

1/2 cup steel-ground oatmeal (I used PC Blue Menu Steel Cut Oats)
1 cup Arborio rice
1 cup 2% evaporated milk
4 ½  cups water
1 vanilla bean**, scraped (if you don’t have a vanilla bean, substitute 2 tsp vanilla extract) **see notes below
1/2 cup real maple syrup (or brown sugar)
Pinch of  salt
Berries of choice to top it off (we have used strawberries both times, as that is what i had in the fridge, but you could substitute any kind of fresh or frozen berry, just thaw the frozen ones first)

Place all ingredients except for the berries into the rice cooker:
steel cut oats

Arborio Rice
2% evaporated milk

Yummy maple syrup

vanilla bean

Then the water and salt (sorry, no pictures here!)
Turn on  to cook as per your rice cooker instructions. 

When it finishes the cooking cycle, stir well

Top with berries and milk if so desired,  and enjoy.

**To use a vanilla bean: The fresher the bean the better, mine was getting a wee bit dried out, but still useable. Using a sharp paring type knife, slit the bean from one end to the other

Scrape out the seeds from the pod.

Use seeds in desired recipe.

Once scraped, I put the beans into a jar with some white sugar, shake it around, and let sit. The beans infuse a wonderful vanilla flavour into your sugar. You can then use it in anything that you would use regular sugar for.
E-zine has a good article on using vanilla beans here.