Saturday, July 26, 2014

Chocolate Dipped Bananas

I LOVE frozen chocolate bananas (in theory), but the thing I hate about them is that they're fucking frozen.
Seriously, they are way too hard, and if I wait until they soften a bit, well, I'll just be holding a frozen banana for longer than I feel comfortable with. In addition, chocolate covered bananas are just too delicious to wait for. 

Don't freeze it! Dip a very cold banana, one that's been sitting in the freezer for long enough that it has started to freeze, in a bath of chocolate a little coconut oil and you'll get an incredible, delightfully textured treat decorated with nuts, shaved coconut, sprinkles or anything your little heart desires. I'll never freeze another banana ever again. Truth.

Chocolate Dipped Bananas

4 bananas
8 popsicle sticks
3 cups 60% chocolate, chopped
3 tablespoons coconut oil
Topping Ideas
Chopped toasted nuts, toasted coconut, cookie crumbs, chocolate chips, sprinkles, white chocolate drizzle or multi-chocolate drizzle, just to name a few.

Peel and cut the bananas in half crosswise, so that you have 8 pieces and place the posicle sticks in deep enough so that it wont come out when you dip them.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place bananas in the freezer on the sheet pan for at least 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the chopped chocolate in a double boiler with the coconut oil, stirring occasionally until shiny and not too hot. Transfer to a large measuring cup or tall mason jar with enough room for dipping. Let it cool slightly while you prepare your toppings.

Remove the tray from the freezer and carefully, but quickly dip the bananas into the chocolate, letting the excess drip off before they are rolled or sprinkled with toppings. Place them back on the sheet tray and back in the freezer for at least another 15-20 minutes. They can stay in the freezer for up to an hour after dipping before they become too hard.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Gluten Free Nectarine Polenta Muffins with Blackberry Butter

I went a little crazy at the Farmer's market last week. 
But who can resist perfectly lined baskets of berries and plump, ripe heirloom tomatoes in every shade and hue? One would think that they were shopping for shoes instead of produce.

As we looked around, into my basket went perfectly sweet white corn, vibrant zucchini, yellow peaches that rivaled the perfume of my grandfather's tree, Bing cherries, a jewel-toned red onion, lettuce, peas, a basket of strawberries that ended up being an impulse buy right at the end, as well as a tempting little brioche (for me, not my gluten free love), and we drove off happy with ourselves ready to eat all of it in it's ripe, raw glory.

Cut to: Thursday when all of a sudden I'm looking at steadily ripening peaches, and a whole bag of cherries that seemed like a good idea at the time, I thought, "Uh, I think I went a little crazy at the Farmer's market." And I got to work making some of my favorite Farmer's market seasonal recipes to finish out the week. But that's another post!

Finally, I finished my veggies, now onto the last of it...those two nectarines that have been neglected all week because they were just under-ripe when I bought them. They now are super-sweet because of the warm weather and have been made into muffins. The polenta adds an amazing texture, and the blackberry butter from jam I made from the last crazed F.M. shopping spree, just makes everything better. 

Nectarine Polenta Muffins (makes 12)
1 ¾ cups Cup4Cup
¾ cup polenta
½ cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
Zest of ½ an orange
1 cup milk
2 eggs
¼ cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon almond extract
1- 1 ½ cups nectarines, diced
¼ cup sliced almonds and 1 tablespoon of sugar
Preheat the oven to 375°

1.     Combine the Cup4Cup, polenta, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and zest in a large bowl and mix well.
2.     In a smaller bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the milk, eggs, buttermilk, butter and extract. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well.
3.     Gently fold in the nectarines and portion into a muffin pan.
4.     Top with the sliced almonds and sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of sugar.
5.     Bake for 20-22 minutes or until the top springs back when touched and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
6.     Once slightly cooled, remove the muffins from the pan and let them sit on a cooling rack for 5-10 minutes. Serve warm or with blackberry butter.

Blackberry Butter
4 tablespoons of butter mixed with 1 heaping tablespoon of blackberry jam and a pinch of salt.