I hope you enjoyed a good weekend!! We certainly had a busy one with a birthday in the family and a party for a friend. Even with all that I managed to squeeze in some cooking that I think you’ll appreciate too. For the party, I made something that I was sure the guys would enjoy. They were pepperoni pizza puffs, and they were a big hit. I only had pepperoni slices, so I diced it up and threw it in with no problems. I also thought it needed some seasoning, so I just added in what looked good from my spice rack: salt, basil, oregano, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and onion powder. They turned out great and were SO easy to whip up. I think these could easily be adapted to so many flavors.
Pepperoni Pizza Puffs (from Everyday with Rachael Ray)
3/4 c. flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 c. milk
1 c. shredded mozzarella
1 lightly beaten egg
1 c. cubed pepperoni
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and grease a mini-muffin pan. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Whisk in the egg and milk, then stir in the mozzarella and pepperoni. Let the batter stand for at least 10 minutes.
2. Stir the batter and divide it among the mini-muffin cups. Bake til puffed and golden, 20-25 minutes.
I also created another easy finger food that was popular at the party: pesto spirals. Again, they were easy to whip up and delicious; they’re also another recipe that is completely customizable to your own tastes. Here’s the recipe:
1 tube of crescent rolls (seamless is preferred, but not necessary)
1/2 – 1 c. pesto (depending on how much pesto you like and how thick yours is)
1 1/2 – 2 c. shredded mozzarella (again, depending on how cheesy you want it to be)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Separate (or cut) your crescent rolls into 4 rectangles. If you had to buy regular crescent rolls, you’ll need to press the seams together so they won’t ooze out your filling. I also roll mine out so they’re just a little bigger.
2. Spread each rectangle with pesto, leaving a 1/2 in. border all the way around. Sprinkle with mozzarella, leaving the same border.
3. Fold the short sides over (like making a burrito), then roll up from the long side. When you get to the end, seal up the final seam. You’ll also want to make sure none of the seams came apart while you rolled; re-seal them if they did.
4. Using a serrated knife, slice the logs into 8-10 pieces (in case you hadn’t noticed, this recipe is done very much to one’s own preferences). Place on a parchment or silicone-lined baking sheet and bake for 10-12 min., til golden brown.
That’s all there is to it, but it’s the beginning of so many wonderful ideas. There are different pestos that you can use, different cheeses, and other things that can be added. Go forth and customize!
In case you were wondering where the title came from, this week’s movie selection was George of the Jungle. (Short trailer here.) This is an older movie, but still enjoyable and funny. George grew up in the jungle and is completely ignorant of the modern world. One day, he saves Ursula Stanhope, a San Francisco heiress, from a lion and falls in love with her. Though she is fond of him, she is also engaged to the nefarious Lyle. He accidentally shoots George and is put in an African jail while she flies George home to San Francisco to be healed. Many mishaps and misunderstandings later there is a glorious happy ending. There are so many funny parts to this movie that it was hard to choose just a few. I love the cheeky narrator, the always hilarious Ape, the goofy, old-time cartoon sound effects, and George’s big, grey, peanut-loving poochie, Shep. The movie is very tongue-in-cheek and a very light-hearted way to spend a couple of hours.
As you might imagine, banana feature prominently in the movie. So what better to make than banana bread. This roast banana-pumpkin breakfast bread is amazing. I used water instead of rum and creamer instead of the coconut milk. I would love to try it with the coconut milk, but couldn’t justify buying a can to use 1/2 c. The biggest flavor enhancer is roasting the bananas; it’s a revelation! It makes such a difference that my husband and I could barely wait until the loaf came out of the oven before we sliced off pieces and devoured them. I’ll warn you, the smell is intoxicating and the taste isn’t half bad either.
Roast Banana-Pumpkin Breakfast Bread (from 101 Cookbooks)
3/4 c. golden raisins
1/2 c. water (or coconut milk)
2 unpeeled, ripe bananas
2 c. cake flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
6 tbsp. softened butter
2/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. unsweetened coconut milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. shelled, toasted pumpkin seeds
1. In a small saucepan, combine the raisins and water. Bring to a boil over medium heat and let stand 1 hour. Strain the raisins and set them aside; discard the liquid.
2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place the bananas on a baking sheet and roast them 12 minutes or til their skins are black and they start to seep. Remove the bananas from the oven, set them aside, and let them cool.
3. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl; set aside. In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and sugar for 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, on low and mix til they’re incorporated.
4. Squeeze the bananas out of their peels and into a small bowl. Add the milk and vanilla and mash them all together. Starting with the banana mix, alternate adding the flour and banana mixes to the butter mixture, blending after each addition. Fold in the raisins and pumpkin seeds and pour the batter in a lightly greased 9×5 loaf pan.
5. Bake the bread for 60-70 minutes or til a toothpick inserted in the center remove cleanly. (You may want to check on your bread at the 30 and 45 minute marks to make sure it isn’t getting too brown. After 45 minutes, I had to cover mine with foil.) Cool on a wire rack.
That’s all for today! Have a great rest of the week, and enjoy some gorgeous spring weather.