Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Happy Birthday!

birthday cake
So my baby turned 8 this past Sunday. We usually do a big party with a store bought cake decorated with her current favorite character. This year since we called off the big party I figured I'd make the cake since really Duncan Hines and Betty Crocker taste just as good as the grocery store bakery cakes.

This also shows what happens when you use buttercream frosting in 75 degree weather, felt really nice to us but was a bit warm for the frosting which I could have poured out of the jar and kept up a steady slide down the sides of the cake. But you know what? It was a lot easier to get a smooth finish with my lacking decorating skills and it tasted just fine.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


I'd heard of schnitzel before but never had it to my knowledge, maybe because it is often served with cabbage or sauerkraut neither of which I am a fan.

Even though reading the recipe it seems to have no flavor, the lemon is a surprisingly big factor.

What we need: boneless pork chops, preferably about 1/2 inch thick, panko bread crumbs, a couple eggs and a few tablspoons flour. We'll also need some vegetable oil for the pan and a couple lemons.

Using some parchment paper to keep the flinging bits of pork to a minimum, pound out the chops til 1/4 inch thick or so.

Dredge in the flour.

Next the egg.

Finally the panko crumbs.

Heat a skillet on medium with about 4 tbsp of vegetable oil and fry the pork chops for about 4 minutes per side. Check the first batch and make sure this is long enough, it depends on how thick they are.

Drain on a paper towel. Squeeze a little lemon juice of the top of the schnitzel and serve with a slice of lemon and some oven roasted potatoes.

4 boneless pork chops
1 cup panko bread crumbs
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
vegetable oil for frying

Pound the pork chops to a even thickness, dredge in flour, egg then crumbs. Fry approx. 4 minutes per side on medium. Drain on paper towels. Squeeze a little lemon juice over the top and serve with lemon slices.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Easy Macaroni Salad

So my faithfulness to glomming Tastespotting in my reader led me to this post here, BLT Macaroni Salad. It looked really good and I had all the ingredients on hand. But of course I had to change it up a bit.

macaroni bacon tomato and green onionCooked elbow macaroni, chopped tomato, cooked bacon pieces and fresh from our garden green onions.

Since there is only the 5 of us I used a half pound of pasta, two smallish tomatoes, half a pound of bacon and about 6 green onions.

mayo red wine vinegar salt and pepperHere's where I made a big change to the original recipe: mayo (1/2 cup), red wine vinegar (a good tbsp.) salt and pepper.

I have a thing for red wine vinegar and it just has more flavor to me than plain white.

macaroni salad ingredientsMix your dressing up in a large bowl and add the other stuff, you can save some onions to make it look pretty or try to hide them in the sauce to get the kids to eat them without the "what's the green things" whine that I listen to.

blt macaroni saladStir it all together and you're done.

This makes a great macaroni salad for people who don't like a lot of weird and or unidentifiable ingredients in theirs. We've had it with panko coated baken chicken and ribs and it was great with both.

For 5 with a bit leftover
1/2 lb cooked elbow macaroni
1/2 lb cooked and crumbled bacon
2 smallish or 1 medium tomato
1/2 bunch green onions
1/2 cup real mayo
1 to 1 1/2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Mix everything together and serve or chill until ready to serve.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Classic Banana Bread

Several years ago I found a really easy looking banana bread recipe in a magazine. Eventually I ended up making changes to the recipe usually due to not having enough of an ingredient or figuring more can't hurt.

Here's what it's become today.

individual banana bread loavesIt's also a great recipe for splitting into smaller loaves, I either break it into half or quarters, these are really perfect for giving to teachers as gifts. You just need to drop the cooking time down to between 35 and 45 minutes.

banana bread sliceThis is a really adaptable recipe, you can add just about anything you like to the batter and it'll come out great each time. Chocolate chips and many varieties of nuts would be good.

3 bananas
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tea baking soda
dash of salt
1/4 cup butter melted, I put it in a bowl and set it on the stove as it's preheating

Preheat oven to 325.

In a large bowl smash bananas (as much or as little as you like), add sugar and egg.

Combine dry ingredients then add to wet.

Add melted butter until just combined.

Pour into greased loaf pan and bake 70 minutes. Or for individual loaves, pour into greased mini pans and bake 35 to 45 minutes.