Hello and welcome to Blue Soup Blog! I hope you enjoy your stay and come back as the blog expands and grows. This blog is sort of a motivational tool for me as I begin a new journey on a new career path. I graduated college nearly a year ago, unsure of what exactly I wanted to do with my art degree. Recently I decided to take a big step and enroll in The French Culinary Institute’s Classic Culinary Arts Program. So with the love and support of my family, I’ll begin school again in August! This blog will chronicle my experiences before, during and after school and hopefully be fun for me to write and fun for you to read!
I decided to start this blog a few months before class begins because I want to sort of “prep” myself for the long road ahead. I’ve been reading, reading, reading and cooking, cooking cooking so I figured I should document it all. In case you are curious, the name for this blog is actually a nod to my mom and one of her favorite movies. I was trying to think of a good name for this blog and I wanted it to sort of be a metaphor for growing from an amateur cook to a chef. In the film Bridget Jones’s Diary, the main character, Bridget, decides to make a celebratory/birthday meal for her and her friends. One of the courses is supposed to be some kind of leek soup I think but it ends up turning blue because of some blue string she uses to tie some ingredients together. So thanks, Mom, for making me watch that movie more times than I’d like to admit =)
I guess I should start this blog off with some pictures and a recipe or two – seems appropriate right? Recently, I’ve been kind of obsessed with two things: chocolate banana bread and this incredibly, amazing cookbook, The Golden Door Cooks At Home. I have a recipe for a pretty killer chocolate banana bread but there is a lot of butter and sour cream in it, which gives it amazing moisture and texture but also calories. And then I found a recipe for a flourless chocolate cake in Golden Door that uses wonderful things like a roasted sweet potato and honey for sweetness. I’ve been on a mission to combine the two recipes to make it the ULTIMATE chocolate banana bread. I am honing in on it so hopefully I will have the tasty results for you soon. Until then, below are recipes for the two different versions. Oh, and some eye candy. Enjoy!
Chocolate Chip Banana Sour Cream Bread
Yield: 1, 9×5″ loaf
1 c all purpose, unbleached flour
1/2 c sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine grain kosher salt
3 tbsp good quality cocoa powder
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 egg, room temperature (I use extra large or large eggs)
2 very ripe bananas, mashed (If the ‘nanas are really small, use three)
1/2 c sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
7-8 oz chocolate chips (I use chips that have 60% or more cacao and please note this is a lot of chips – I like this bread super chocolaty. So if you want less, just use less!)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×5″ loaf pan with non-stick spray or melted butter and a light dusting of flour – whatever you prefer. In a medium sized bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until the mixture is very fluffy and very pale yellow (should take 3 or 4 minutes). Add the egg, mashed bananas, sour cream and vanilla extract and blend well. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture in two parts, beating until just incorporated. Finally fold in the chocolate chips to the batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for approximately 50 minutes to 1 hour. When you insert a knife or toothpick into the center of the loaf to check it, it might come out chocolaty because of all the chips, but there should be no batter on the knife once it’s ready. Let the bread cool in the pan for 10 or 15 minutes before inverting it onto a rack to cool. Let it cool for another 10 or 15 before you cut into it so it’s still warm but set up a bit- enjoy!
Warm Flourless Chocolate Cake*
8 oz good-quality dark chocolate with 60% or 70 % cacao, chopped
1 large egg
2 very ripe bananas, sliced (1 1/4 cups)
1/2 c mashed yam (1 small baked, peeled yam) or canned pumpkin**
1/4 c honey
1 tbsp grated orange zest
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 large egg whites
Pinch of kosher salt
1 orange, peeled and separated into segments for serving
Place a bowl over a saucepan filled with a couple of inches of simmering water; the water should not touch the bowl. Place the chocolate in the bowl and let stand until the chocolate is shiny and soft to the touch, about 10 minutes. Stir with a rubber spatula until the chocolate is smooth. Remove from the heat.
Combine the egg, bananas, yam, honey, orange zest, and vanilla in a blender and process until very smooth. Add the banana mixture to the chocolate and stir together until just combined. Set aside.
In another bowl, use an electric mixer to whip the egg whites and salt until they form soft peaks when the whip attachments are lifted up and out of the bowl, about 3 minutes. Carefully fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture until just incorporated. Do no overmix; it is fine if streaks of white remain.
Spoon the mixture into the ramekins to about 1/4 inch from the top. Bake until the tops are set when a ramekin is gently nudged and the centers are slightly puffed, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the ramekins to a cooling rack. When the ramekins are cool enough to handle, run a paring knife around the edges and turn over onto eight dessert plates. The center of the cake should be nice and soft.
Drizzle the sauce around each cake and garnish with orange segments. Serve.
* This recipe is from The Golden Door Cooks At Home. The recipe also includes an orange sauce which I’ve omitted.
** I used a sweet potato