Category Archives: Cooking

Ketchup With Us #36 – Kitchen Up

Ms Mel and ODNT are giving you 10 minutes to write something, anything. Starting…now! Ketchup With Us

We all have talents. Writing, photography, drawing/painting, singing. Do we gravitate to what we are good at by trial and error, or do we go with the first thing that we get a sense of reward for?

One ‘talent’ I think it more of a necessity is cooking. What difference is there really between a gourmet chicken dinner and some spices simply sprinkled on and tossed into the oven? Comfort food is rarely difficult, but has the secret parts of preparation (not love…well ok BESIDES love, geez) that make it just right. Probably the reason why I refuse to eat Italian food at most locations.

My introduction to cooking started very young. I watched my parents cook while sitting in the kitchen area, as I wheeled small metal cars along the round white table. Typical Italian fare of course. As time went on I would be allowed to bread the cutlets, season the meat, I still recall handling the squishy ground beef for meatballs, or prepare the sides (usually instant from a box, or canned. Cranberry sauce a la Bart if you get the reference).

In my teenage years my parents were usually working later hours and so my sister and I were the ones who cooked for ourselves. We took the opportunity to mix and match dishes that only a teenage metabolism can appreciate – frozen pizzas and chicken strips, or everything deep fried at once! My passage into adulthood came when I found out Chef Boyardee was a real person who made more than Beefaroni. The innocence of childhood was gone.

In college I learned two things, first cookies. I gained a quick reputation of always having peanut butter/chocolate chip cookies in my backpack. A close friend advised that every woman’s weakness was peanut butter and chocolate. Back then I needed any edge, I had no swerve.

It was also the time that I would look at the way we had traditionally prepared everything and switched it up. There was resistance at first, but then scalloped potatoes do taste many, many times better when made fresh!

At this point, I rarely if ever buy cookies. I have a seafood bisque that soundly defeats any canned variety, and can make in 20 minutes with prep. In a pinch, a spoonful (or just a pinch) of curry can spice up anything, and a big handful of chocolate chips makes it sweeter.
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I admit this took slightly longer than 10 minutes with editing incomplete sentences, and finding that double chocolate & cherry brownie picture. 

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Filed under Cooking, Creative Writing, Food, Ketchup With Us, Life, Writing

Banana Muffins

Summertime equals fresh fruit. It also means, with heat and humidity, quick-ripening fruit. Some are versatile, and have a good shelf life, like apples and pears. Others, like bananas, can turn one shade to another within a day or two. Depending on your personal preference, it may be the difference between eating them, and deciding that they are too brown and soft to eat. Seems like a waste, and in my house, many times it was.

However, one person’s “ewww gross!” fully ripened banana, is another’s “perfect!” If you are adding them to your Cheerios, it’s probably the former. If you have a banana bread/muffin recipe, you are the latter.

In fact, since you started reading this, it is already too late…you have descended into the realm of the latter. Good for you!

Here is the recipe that I have faithfully used for over 10 years. As you can see, I make it often – it’s incredibly easy, and there’s a steady supply of ‘nanas around here. You can also see that I typed it on NotePad (yes I used word wrap). Typing out the directions here would be redundant, so just follow along with the directions and photos!

Some extra notes…
–I’m making muffins, which only changes the cooking time, about 35 minutes a batch. Also, you can use those paper cups or butter the pan, it’s your choice.
–Walnuts are suggested, but you can leave them out, or sub for choco chips (which I am doing here) or use both. Keep in mind it will yield more than listed if you add more ingredients
–When mashing the bananas, no need to make them into paste. Some small banana chunks in there will keep it moist and even more flavorful.

The Directions

Everything you need. Note the bananas, which look like chocolate at this point. Perfect.

Blend the sugar and butter. Resist the temptation to taste a smidge of it. Oh what the hell, go ahead. Yes it’s so wrong.

After adding the eggs, you will get this smooth mixture. If you didn’t sneak a taste before, it’s too late now!

After adding bananas, it will look less enticing to take a spoonful for yourself! All ‘wet’ ingredients are now mixed. On to the dry.

In a smaller bowl mix all dry ingredients together (of course you can’t tell here!). Stir it together with a fork to ensure everything mixes nicely. You will pour this into the larger bowl of wet ingredients, keeping in mind to fold it gently, not like a cake batter.

Choco chips (or whatever you are adding) are also gently stirred in, and you are ready to start filling the cups/tray.

Done! Be sure to hide some away from the greedy, unappreciative masses, but reward the faithful believers that will follow you to the ends of the Earth with a couple of these.
If you store them in the fridge or not is up to you. Reheating in a microwave takes about 15-20 seconds.

Enjoy!

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Filed under Baking, Cooking, Recipes