Saturday, August 28, 2010


Because of my love of baking, I volunteered for the position to bake cakes at work for my coworkers.  The latest was an angel food cake speckled with sprinkles.  It turned out really good and raised well.  I love angel food cake from scratch.  It is easy and very good, plus this one was really like a party in a cake.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Old Bananas

When I lived in Germany, I took German lessons.  One day the topic of rotten food came up.  My teacher was trying to get us to figure out the word for rotten or spoiled food.  She said something about rotten or black bananas.  I spoke up in class and said that when bananas were "bad" you made banana bread.  She had never had it before, so I whipped up banana bread and brought it to class.  Never again did anyone mention throwing away bananas when they were "bad."

This recipe for banana bread comes from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman.  There is a twist in it because there is coconut in it.  Even if you don't like coconut, try it as it really adds a great flavor to this bread.

Banana Bread
8 Tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 dried coconut

Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease 9x5 inch loaf pan.  Mix together dry ingredients.  Cream the butter and then beat in the eggs and bananas.  Stir wet mixture into the dry mixture.  Do not mix more than necessary.  Gently stir in the vanilla and coconut.

Pour batter into loaf pan and bake for 45-60 minutes, until nicely browned and a toothpick comes out fairly clean.  Do not overcook.  Cook on rack for 15 minutes before removing from pan.  To store, wrap in waxed paper.

It is excellent after a day or two, toasted with peanut butter.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ricotta Gnocchi

One of the things I have been experimenting in this year is cooking more Italian food.  So this lead me to find a lovely Italian immigrant cookbook with tasty recipes which are easy to make, other than sometimes being time-consuming.  This was my second attempt at the ricotta gnocchi and both time it turned out lovely.  Added to that the pesto made from my own basil and you have a simple, yet filling dinner.  The book this recipe came from is called Italian Immigrant Cooking by Elodia Rigante.  Unfortunately, it is no longer published, but you can find it in the used book stores.

Ricotta Gnocchi
1 pound freshly made Ricotta cheese
1 egg
2 cups flour (maybe a little more if your ricotta is really wet)
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

In a medium bowl, mix the ricotta and the egg.  Add the salt and pepper.  Gradually add the flour.  Knead on a floured counter.  Roll into finger-sized logs and then cut into equal length pieces (mine are usually about 3/4 inch each).

To cook: bring a pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the gnocchi and stir to be sure they don't stick.  Cook for about 10 minutes or until the gnocchi is floating.  You can serve immediately with whatever sauce you like or just some grated Parmesan cheese.  The above photo is made with homemade pesto.

These freeze well.  Or if you prefer to cook them all and not eat them all, you can reheat them in the oven with some Parmesan cheese grated over them.