Saturday, September 10, 2011

Very Exciting News!

My brother Jonathan will be joining the Richler Recipes blog! You will now get double the Richlers for the low, low asking price of becoming a follower. you won't regret it! He's a great cook too.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Banana Cake

There are many good things in this world. One good thing is any kind of cake that has bananas in it. Another good thing is when you can make a delicious cake without worrying about ingredients being added in a specific order.

My Father’s wife, Eve, makes a very good banana cake. I recently had a panic attack because I could not find her recipe and could not reach her – it was a true banana cake emergency. While I waited for her to send the recipe again, I made some calls. My Mother, sensing the emergency, directed me to an almost identical recipe in the ancient copy of Better Homes and Gardens that she had given me several years ago. It is falling apart – pages are stuffed back in to the broken binder in a haphazard way. The spine is broken. Some pages are stuck together, others are stained with butter and chocolate, or splattered with tomato sauce. All the signs of a well-loved cook book.

There are three differences between the BH&G recipe and Eve’s recipe – BH&G uses shortening (ugh), 2 eggs, and bakes for 30 – 35 minutes. Eve’s uses butter (yum), 3 eggs, and bakes for 1 hour. The recipe below is Eve’s. Judge yourselves accordingly.

Eve’s Banana Cake

2 1/3 cups flour
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups mashed bananas (~3 medium bananas)
2/3 cups chopped nuts or chocolate chips (or you can use a mixture of both)
2/3 cups butter
2/3 cups buttermilk (or you can use 2/3 cup 2% milk + 1 tblsp lemon juice....mix it together while combining other ingredients)
3 eggs
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray cooking spray on a Bundt pan. Beat everything together, on low, scraping sides several times, for 30 seconds. Then beat on high for 3 minutes. Pour into pan and bake for one hour. It’s done when a wooden skewer comes out clean. If you happen to pierce a chocolate chip, pierce again in another spot to check for doneness.

Let the pan sit on a wire rack for a few minutes. Use a butter knife to loosen the cake gently from the sides if it has stuck in any spots. Flip the cake out of the pan onto a wire rack. Once it is cool, transfer to a cake plate.
This cake is so moist it doesn't need icing. If you decide you want some anyway, I recommend a light glaze of some sort.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

What to bake for this petite platter.....

I bought this little platter yesterday at Value Village for $1.99. What should I bake to serve on it? Send me some ideas and I'll see what I can do.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Roasted Beets with Kale

I have this really great friend who has a really great garden. This is key to this specific recipe. One day in the office, said friend (Kristin) left a bag of goodies on my chair. I opened the bag with great excitement and found beets, kale, and zucchini. Here is what I made with the beets and kale...I think you're going to approve.

Roasted Beets with Kale - serves 4 as a side dish


4 to 6 large, or 6 - 8 medium beets, with the beet greens
1 bunch of kale
2 large sweet onions
grapeseed or vegetable oil, 2 tbsp
3/4 cup nuts (walnuts, pecans, or whichever nut you love best)
paprika to taste
cayenne pepper to taste
black pepper to taste
honey to taste 
brown sugar to taste

Take the beets, cut the beet greens off, lightly rinse the beets under cold water, place them in a baking dish and drizzle some olive oil on top. Cover with foil and bake at 400 degrees F for about an hour. If the beets are small it might take less time (start checking after 30 to 40 minutes - you want to be able to pierce the beets with a fork easily). Remove from the oven and let cool.

Be patient. Letting them cool is key for skin removal. When you're ready to peel off the skin, wear gloves. You have been warned. Put on those gloves, grasp the beet in your fingers, and rub off the peel. It really works!

Once the peels have been removed, quarter the beets. If they are large, quarter the quarters. You get the picture.

In the meantime, caramelize at least 2 large, sweet onions. Again, be patient. Do the caramelization in a few tablespoons of grapeseed or vegetable oil, on low to medium heat. This will take about 30 minutes. You can add some garlic near the end, but it's not necessary for this recipe.

In a separate pan, place some walnuts. If you don't like walnuts, use another nut. Any nut will do. Add a smidge of paprika. Add a tad of cayenne pepper. Grind some black pepper on top. Drizzle with honey. Add a few teaspoons of brown sugar. Toast on low to medium heat til they look ready. You'll know. Taste them. Are they awesome? If not quite awesome enough, add some more of any of the above ingredients. Play around with it 'til you love them.

Grab a big pot that has a cover. Remove the stem of the kale leaves and chop up the leaves. You can add the beet greens into the kale if you like. Wash the kale (and beet greens) very well. Put it into the big pot while the leaves are still wet. Cover the pot. Turn the burner on medium to high and steam the kale for less than 5 minutes. Depends on how you like your kale, but I want it to still be a little bit crunchy, and bright green.

Now - take the beets, throw them in with the onions and turn up the heat in that frying pan. When it's hot and sizzling, add the kale. Then the nuts. Stir 'til just mixed, and piping hot.

Serve while hot. This keeps well in the fridge for at least two days.

I guess photos would be good

I was just thinking about my new venture and realized that I don't have photos of the food that I make. What's going to make you want to try these recipes if there are no photos detailing the overall yummy appearance of the food in question?

I will endeavour to post a photo with my next recipe!

Lemon Orzo Salad

At my last job we used to have awesome potlucks - they weren't just your standard 'everybody-stop-at-the-store-and-pick-something-up'-type potlucks either. We had themes, occasions, and competitive employees. All in good fun.

One of the best recipes that came out of over 6 years' worth of potlucks was this one, shared by my friend Helen. Thanks Helen!


2 cups orzo pasta, boiled for 7 to 8 minutes, drained then tossed with
1 tbsp olive oil (just to keep it from sticking)

2 to 3 large, yellow, sweet onions (I always use 3), sliced thin and caramelized over low to medium heat in
3 tbsps vegetable or grapeseed oil - caramelizing takes 20 to 30 minutes - be patient. Near the end of the caramelization process add
3 cloves garlic, minced

Toss orzo and caramelized onions together, then add 2 to 3 cups baby spinach

Give it a toss, then add the rest of the ingredients:

1 cup creamy feta cheese, crumbled
1 bunch green onions, chopped
zest of 2 lemons
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Toast 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts (pine nuts weren't in Helen's original recipe, but I added them for some additional texture and it is very delicious)

Taste the salad. 

If it is too dry you can add a bit of olive oil (depends on how much oil you used to cook the onions).

This salad will keep very well in the fridge for 3 days which makes it a great choice for packed lunches.

Welcome to my new blog

When I first heard about blogs from a friend who blogged on meatloaf, I remember asking why. Why would you bother to write and hope other people might read what you wrote? I resisted. I resisted some more. Then I started to enjoy reading other people's musings, as long as they were on topics that also captured my attention.

So here is my blog - it's about cooking, baking, and of course eating.

Enjoy! Comments welcome.