Archive for the ‘Gadgets’ category

Gadget du jour: mini measuring cup

July 27th, 2009

419SJQZN12L._SL160_]No kitchen should be without a Oxo mini angled liquid-measuring cup,  a ¼ cup measuring cup lets you measure up to 4 tablespoons of a liquid in a pitcher. I like it because I can measure liquid ingredients in advance and avoid over-pouring mishaps common to traditional tablespoon.

More important, though, it makes it much easier for kids to measure and/or pour small quantities of liquids, like the 1 tablespoon of oil  in Saturday’s banana bread. I measured. Carter poured.

Instant cinnamon rolls

July 26th, 2009

cinnamon rolls I’ve made “simple” (non-yeast) cinnamon rolls, but it was still a lot of work. As an experiment today, Carter and I rolled out Trader Joe’s whole-wheat pizza dough, brushed with butter, sprinkled with cinnamon-sugar, rolled up, sliced into 12 pieces, and baked for 15 minutes at 425F. Pretty close to instant. Here are the sticky details.

Instant Cinnamon Rolls

Flour, for rolling out the dough
1 package pizza dough
3 tablespoons butter, not quite melted
4 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 425F. Generously butter round baking pan.

To prevent dough from sticking, sprinkle flour on a large sheet of wax paper, and flour hands and rolling pin. Roll out dough into thin layer in the shape of rectangle. Brush top generously with melted butter. Combine cinnamon and sugar in the jar with a sprinkle top. Generously sprinkle cinnamon-sugar mixture over butter. Roll up dough from a long side. Using serrated knife, slice through layers to make 12 pieces and evenly space in baking pan. Bake 15 minutes or until dough is browned and firm to touch. Let cool and sprinkle with leftover cinnamon-sugar mixture.

painting butter

When I asked Carter his favorite part of making cinnamon rolls, I expected him to say the rolling or the sprinking, which he did with gusto. His answer was painting the butter, so I have to mention yet another Oxo gadget I love the  silicone pastry brush. (I promise I’m not a company shill.)

Later: Unprompted snack request: “More cinnamon rolls, please.”

Banana bread

July 25th, 2009

red whiskFinally dealing with the black bananas in the fridge. Carter wasn’t interested until I got out the red whisk. (Red is his absolute favorite color in the whole wide world.) Then he really got into it.

This recipe is a healthy take on a childhood classic from Real Food for Healthy Kids. It’s rare that I find a cookbook from which I make more than one recipe, a true hallmark of success in the cookbook world (we cookbook readers aspire more than we execute). Written by two working moms, Tracey Seaman and Tanya Wenman Steel, Real Food for Healthy Kids is one of those books. 

Ba-Ba Banana Bread

From Real Food for Healthy Kids

2 cups whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
4 very ripe medium bananas, coarsely mashed with a fork
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips (in lieu of 2/3 cup chopped walnuts)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9-by5-inch loaf pan.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl and reserve.

Beat the eggs and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the bananas, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla and mix at low speed until blended.

Add the flour mixture and mix at low speed just until blended. Stir in the chocolate chips or nuts and the scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for about 1 hour, until a cake tested inserted into the center comes out clean.

Let the bread cool for 15 minutes in the pan on a rack, then turn out and let cool before cutting.

Life’s the pits

July 20th, 2009

31jq38HECaL._SL160_Jeff poo-poo’ed the cherry pitter when I bought it, but he was the one who looked for it today when I wasn’t home and Carter wanted cherries. I’m telling you: it’s just easier with a four-year-old.

Play-doh to the rescue

July 16th, 2009

Play-do cookie cutters on displayBecause of my cookie-baking phobia, the only cookie cutters in my kitchen cabinet are a set of heart-shaped ones, which I bought to make Jeff Valentine’s treats way, way back when during early dating years. Fortunately, on a party favor-buying  sojourn to Target awhile back, I picked up a Play-doh baking set, complete with colorful plastic “cookie cutters.” The kit’s star cookie cutter saw live action when we made (day-after) Fourth of July cookies with Cousin Elyse. Today, when Carter and I made the second batch of dough, the flower, butterfly, and fluted circle made their kitchen debut.

Opening credits

May 21st, 2009

Editor’s note (July 23, 2009): A few months back, I got inspired to start a blog when I realized that nearly all of my Facebook posts were about me and my 4-year-old son, Carter, baking. My best friend, Dawn, encouraged me to start to writing immediately, so the blog wouldn’t feel “empty” when I officially launched it.

To make this dream a reality, many thanks to Dawn and Adam at Rare Brick for the design; to my niece Elyse for getting the right shot; and Lynn, who gave me my first Internet job, for the idea to include

“Carter’s take” (look for the cupcakes).

I’m deeply grateful to my mom for giving all six of her children the opportunity to experiment in the kitchen starting at a very young age, and of course to Carter for our special time in the kitchen together.

The hardest part of writing is starting, so you just have to start somewhere. Here goes:

May 21

I know Alton Brown is not a fan of mono-tasking kitchen gadgets, but a cherry pitter just makes life so much easier when you have a four-year-old who loves cherries.