Saturday, September 18, 2010

An Important Lessons

So I learned a lesson yesterday, some things can be substituted and some things can not. Here's what went down:

My roomies and I were having our first guest and boy was I excited. I am a better baker than cooker (although I hope to change that this year), and I was looking forward to making some tasty desserts for my friend's arrival.  So I decided to make banana bread and raspberry scones. The banna bread went well. I am a big baker, but have been trying to learn to bake more on the healthy side (hoping to avoid the junior 30). So I did some reserach and found that you can substitute  half the butter in your baking recipie with apple sauce. Apple sause? Yes, I was skeptical too...but it has worked pretty well so far and has worked desliscouly in banna bread! Yesterday was also the first time that I ever used whole wheat flour and that worked out well too. The banna bread came out a bit chewy but it was a nice texture over-all.

Healthy-ish Banana Bread (Adapted from the Joy of Cooking cookbook)


1 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons apple sauce
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs lightly beaten
4-5 very ripe banana's mashed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla extract


1. Set oven to 350 degrees

2. Whisk together flours,salt, baking soda and baking powder in a bowl.

3. In another bowl, beat together sugar, salt and butter until it forms a grainy paste.

4. Slowly beat in the flour mixture into the sugar mixture.

5. Gradually add the eggs

6. Gently fold in the bananas

7. Place mixture in a greased baking pan.

8. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a knife comes out cleanly when placed in the center of the loaf.

You're supposed to let the bread cool for about an hour, but I tend to cut a slice off just a few minutes after it comes out of the oven. There is nothing better than warm banana bread. The other thing I love about this recipe is that it gives me something to do with my bananas when they seem to be getting a little to ripe.  Don't they just seem to brown up so fast!

Ok. On to the scones. These were not quite as successful. They weren't a massive failure or anything, they just tasted a bit doughy. It is here that I learned my important lesson...some things can not be substituted! More specifically 2% milk should not be substituted for cream in a scone recipe.

See the thing is, when I went to make my scones I realized that I did not have any cream in my fridge. Not wanting to go out, I thought I would be fine substituting milk. I was wrong. With out the cream, the scones lost there richness in flavor and since they are not sweet it just kind of tasted like doughy bread. I served them with jam and low fat cool whip, so my friend and roommates enjoyed them. However, I know I could do better, given the proper ingredients.

Scones are super easy to make, so I will be trying again soon, but with cream. So the moral of the story. Apple sauce can be substituted for half the butter in banana bread, but you should really not skimp on the cream if you are going to make scones. Sadly, since my scones did not turn out too grand I will not give the recipe here. You will just have to keep tuning in and catch me when I make them right.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

One, Two, Three, Pesto!

I have a vision of the future, and it looks like this:

I arrive home after a long day of even longer feeling classes. I am weak and in desperate need of food. Every fiber of my being wants to pop in a microwavable meal and call it a day. However, a voice inside me (one might say my suborn voice) whispers "do not fail, you must cook." So I wearily trod to the kitchen and survey my surroundings, what shall be for dinner? Two days ago I would have been lost, but now I know the answer...pesto!

Although my cooking quest does not start for another few days. I decided to give the kitchen a test run. I've always wanted to make pesto from scratch and as there is not time like the present; I trotted to my local grocery store. I will admit that I hit a minor speed bump when I saw the price of pine nuts. $29 a pound! We're not talking gold here! But I digress. I decided that since it was my inaugural dish after all, I would splurge. I brought about a third of a pound for $11. Still quite steep, but at least I would have enough to make pesto three times. I returned to my apartment, took out my blender and went to work. And boy was it easy. Pesto takes about five minutes to make!

Classic Pesto (Adapted from the Joy of Cooking Cookbook)


2 1/2 cups of Fresh Basil

1/3 cup of pine nuts

2 Medium cloves of garlic peeled

1/2 cup of Grape seed oil (Olive Oil works too)

1/2 cup of Grated parmesan Cheese and a bit extra to put on top of your pasta at end (you can never have enough cheese)

Pepper and salt to taste


1. Place all ingredients into a a blender and blend at high speed

2. Pour sauce over pasta

It's that easy! Another great thing about pesto is that there are multiple variations. All you really need is some sort of seed or nut, and some herbs. Which means that when I run out of pine nuts, I can buy walnuts or pistachios (much more economical). This is important because I have a feeling there will be much pesto coming out of my kitchen. A meal in ten minutes! It will save me on the days when cooking is the last thing I want to do.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Everything has a beginning

This blog has been born out of spite. I am aware that they say that you shouldn't do anything for such un-pure motives, but I am of the opinion that if you're not so clean incentive gets you off your but and into action, there are worse things.

Here's the story:

I'm a college student. Most students at my school move off campus by junior year. So this year my two friends and I have moved into a three bedroom apartment off campus. I have been anticipating this move for some time. There are so many things to be excited about: leg room, walking space, closets...but most of all I was excited for the kitchen! I would tell my friends about how I was going to cook all the time when we moved into apartment. Each and everyone of them would look at me with pity and a knowing smile. "You're going to get busy and not cook" or "You'll be eating Ramen before you know it." Well I am a typically calm and reserved person but I do hide a stubborn streak. I love to cook and want to become better at it but, now I have a second motive to get into the kitchen: to prove everyone wrong.  To that end, I have made a promise to myself (and now to you lovely reader) that I will cook five days a week. Thus Grating Curve was born.

The End

Or maybe the beginning. Over the next school year there will be a lot of cooking, and a fair amount of blogging (Hopefully, I will get better at both).  Oh yeah, there will be some school work in there too (for good measure).

Well school starts in a week and so does my kitchen...